Monday, November 19, 2012

Snappy Inspiration

Disclaimer:  I am not a professional photographer.  I have never claimed to be.  I am a hobby photographer that makes mistakes, struggles to find the perfect combination of manual settings and hasn't mastered the best ways to make every lighting situation workable.  I do however, have a love for the art, a knack for composition and I'm learning more and more every time I hear the sound of a shutter. 

With that being said, I love to capture life.  A perfect shoot with the beautiful people in my life includes a portrait session and some sort of fun experience.  Stand up straight, then relax.   
That sums up this session quite nicely.

This beautiful old Thermos was my inspiration for the design.  It has sweet little cups and quaint style, but I cannot get over the simple carrying case and cork.  A cork!  This antique was quite the find at a local vintage store.

The thermos led to this -- A cozy hot chocolate picnic in the middle of the woods. 

Don't worry, the whipped cream and chocolate syrup were covered.  They are just out of the photo. 

A cozy space for this beautiful family of four to sit back, enjoy one another and forget that I am snapping away. 

The sweet kisses and sweet chocolate are in abundance.  All are happy with both.
What matters is the perfect amount of whipped cream and the wonderful mommy carefully crafting the swirl.
Spills couldn't be further from the mind.

There isn't a care in the world.  Just a toast to a very fun family. 
Oh, and those portraits? 

More like the photos that are featured in the frame when you purchase them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Match Made In Heaven

Do you want to know what makes this tolerable?

Minus the wonderful skiing we are about to enjoy, my only solution to a cold winter day is this:

Delicious tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons.  I can see the heavens opening and hear the angels singing when this bowl of goodness is placed before me.

**Quick side note:  My cooking talents are inherited from my mom.  Hence the absolute difficulty of this dish.  As a kid my mom used to make us grilled cheese.  We may have been a distraction or the heat on the stove may have been faulty, but every. single. time., the sandwiches would be burnt.  We would just use a butter knife to scrape off the charred remains.  It makes for a messy counter top.  But because this was my experience, I honestly thought that the scraping was part of the 'directions' for making a grilled cheese until I was about 15.  Not a quick learner, I know. 

While the rest of the world may not need a tutorial to make this not so rocket science dish, here are my couple of tricks to make this hearty meal just a smidge better.

Tip number 1:  Pesto!  Don't accept the contents of the can.  You can even cut up some lovely basil to top this one off.

Tip number 2:  Before you make your grilled cheese croutons, flatten the bread.  This way you'll get an extra bit of texture with each crunchy bite.

Tip number 3:  Cut those cheesy squares into tiny pieces.  You'll want to have enough for each bite.

Tip number 4:  Garnish, garnish, Garnish!  My favorite add-ons are chopped basil, sour cream and pine nuts.  Oh. So. Good.

Tip number 5:  Eat with someone you love.  Warm your belly and your heart.

Keep warm!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

...And I Approve This Message

I love politics.  I study it.  I observe it. I analyze it.  Publicly, I keep it to myself.

It's not that I don't appreciate my right to free speech.  It's not that I am timid or afraid to offend.  It's not that I straddle the metaphorical fence.  Ask those close to me.  I am willing to engage in the discussion passionately, thoughtfully and without reservation.

I remember as a child, maybe 4 years old, going to vote with my daddy.  We walked behind the curtain, #2 pencil and ballot in hand.  The writing platform was well above my reach.   I remember asking, "Who are you voting for?  Are you voting for the Easter Bunny?  Are you voting for Santa Clause?"  I couldn't see what he was writing but I knew it was important.  I treasure that memory.


Today I choose.  I choose the President that will lead this nation through the next four years.  I choose if Idaho will transform through controversial Education reform.  I choose the neighbors that will be my voice through their service of representation.

Most importantly, I choose to look forward. 

Many of those that I love, that I call family, that I call friends, that I call co-workers, that I call people whom I respect, that I call my fellow Americans.....   will be disappointed tonight.  They will look at the candidate and the reform that they cared so deeply about and realize that tomorrow, their hope for an America, led by an individual or guided by policy, is no longer. 

Hearts will hurt.

Tomorrow, when the blackened eyes of a hard-fought political battle emerge, I promise this:  I will be empathetic. I will consider the feelings of others when I speak about concrete results.  I will not make generalized comments about who should have won or who should not have won. 

I will contribute.  I will look forward.  Even if the ballot I cast today is not reflective of tomorrow.

We are made of our experiences.  We believe our truths based upon the circumstances that we have faced and the disposition that we use to navigate our trials.

I believe that people who hold their values close to the vest are noble.  I believe that people who care deeply about issues are noble. I believe that the people who catapult themselves into the public spotlight to be of service to their neighbors are noble.  On either side of the ballot. 

Today, those noble individuals are hopeful.  Tomorrow, many will feel defeated.

For myself, for my community and for my nation, that after months of divisive dialogue, just needs to be healed, I will contribute.  I will be part of the solution. I will engage in dialogue that works toward a common goal and a shared vision.

Won't you join me?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Take Two

I started blogging because I needed balance in my life.  I am currently working on my doctorate where technical writing is a constant.  It is mind numbing.  Blogging allows me to have a creative outlet which I am really enjoying.  I hope you're enjoying it too.

Blogging also has 2 other perks that I love. 

First, it's nice to be constantly reminded of how grateful I am.  Taking the time to type about my day or what I am dreaming about is fun.  I realize that my problems are few.  I am lucky.

Second, blogging allows me to be reflective.  Case in point: 

On Monday, I posted this photo.

If you are dying to make a pair of those antlers yourself, head right on over here.

As you can see, I doctored up the photo a bit to make the walls look busy.  The text was supposed to distract you from nakedness.  Did it work?  Seeing it on my blog however, I knew I had to do something about it.  The window was driving me crazy!  Are you ready for the reveal?

Drum roll......

How about that chalkboard, eh?!  That is the future project that I was eluding to. 

Quick story:  I went to an auction about 3 months ago.  They were selling all sorts of old school equipment including a beautiful old card catalogue.  Remember those beautiful old drawers and hardware?  To die for!  But not to bid for...  at least not to bid as much as everyone else was willing to.  I was so bummed to leave without the item I came for, but I picked up this amazing score for a single dollar.  It didn't fit in my car though... and it weighs about 70lbs.  So we had to balance it on top of the car for the drive home.  I love it!

I bought the curtains at World Market.  My FAVORITE store.  They are simple, but I couldn't find anything that was loud and appropriate.  So I just dolled these up.  If you like the garland, there is a great tutorial at Ashley Ann Photography.  Do you read this blog?  It is wonderful!  Here is a close up of my finished product.

I cannot get enough color. 

Table centerpiece.

And a note from a friend.  Catherine... Can you confirm that this was your husband?  We didn't see it until today, but were so excited when we did.

Two dining room walls down, two to go. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Big Reveal

So, that Halloween costume reveal that I promised yesterday?  I'm ready to deliver.

Imagine if you will, walking up to the door of strangers. 

Do they to scream in terror at the guts and fake blood you have carefully crafted? 

Do they Ohh and Aww at your creative get-up? 

Or do they exclaim with delight, "I JUST WON $10,000,000!!!"?

We went for the latter. 

Prize patrol anyone?  Who knew we could get a two-fer out of that hairstyle?!

I was behind the camera all night, but I accompanied this fine looking fella in my pajamas and hair rollers.  As people would open the door, I would start jumping up and down as if I had just won.  Craig would reach out and shake my hand.  You can imagine, can't you?  It was so funny.

And now, for the main event...

Do you want to hear something funny?  I thought that at the end of an evening, trick-or-treating with an 18 month old and three year old that I would want to edit photos and post a blog that same night...

Is it totally obvious that I am not a parent?

Let's be positive though.  The kids had a great time, they only had one piece of candy, they were fed a healthy dinner and were in bed by 8:30.  Not so bad, eh?  Minus the fact that today, the day after Halloween, I feel like a zombie. 

For the record, the kids didn't get our costumes at all. They thought we were pretty close to crazy.

So... Photos of the kiddos you ask?

Here they are!

I felt very safe with these muscles following me.  


This guy wouldn't slow down.  He was not as amused with trick-or-treat as he was with doing karate moves in the leaves.  Here he is, strapped down in the car seat -- the only place that he was calm enough to capture.


And PS... You know I am helping myself to some Reese's Pieces from this little one's bucket.