Today on the blog I'm talking a little bit about In Home and Lifestyle Sessions. What they are and why they are so meaningful and important. Check it out!
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I'm drinking out of a coffee mug that used to be mine but I'm not in my kitchen. A cooler with our last name on it is sitting out in the hall. One of my favorite floral blouses is in the laundry basket. It's like that moment that you first wake from a vivid dream and can't tell where you are. But you know something isn't quite right. It's like the sinking feeling of dejavu.
Before Zach and I left with our daughter to travel the US for a year, we sold our house in a hurry. To say it was chaotic was an understatement. Zach would have gladly set our belongings ablaze in the front lawn to save the hassle of dealing with them. But we opted for peddling them on our friends and family any chance we got. Our former belongings are scattered across East Tennessee and on up to Virginia. I don't miss them. Each time we gave away another thing I thought it would be so hard. Once gone however, it was like it was never there. They were just things after all.
Now as I sit at our friends house, having just crossed the US in a rush to tow their truck home, those things are reminders. Reminders of the home we renovated. The home that we brought our daughter back from the hospital to. The house that we won't be returning to.
Coming back made it just feel like a long vacation. That we should walk through our front door and find our house just as we left it. That we'll sigh and clean and cook and put our daughter to sleep in her crib and crawl into our bed to whisper to each other about the adventures we've had.
It's a strange feeling to yearn for a place that is so close and yet no longer what it was. Not for us. I guess that is the duality of what we are doing. That I both crave more travel and miss a place. That I feel both lost and more on a path than I have in a long time. That I both have a home and am homeless. That I am both homesick and already home.
While visiting in Los Alamos I had the awesome opportunity to photograph this great family! They are seriously some of the sweetest people we have met. They took us in, they entertained our 1 year old, they fed us amazing food, took us rock climbing...seriously the list of awesomeness just goes on and on. We headed out one night during the week to grab some family photos before a big rain storm hit. These cliffs are right down the street from their house!! How amazing is that? I could go on and on. But for now, here's the Knight Family.
To me, there is absolutely nothing like starting my day off with a warm drink. It's one of my few daily rituals that I stick to. I also realized this morning that it's one of the few Still Moments that I have everyday and it always starts the day off right. My morning usually starts very early and there is something about making coffee or pouring tea that calms, rejuvenates, and prepares me for the day ahead. It's a time where I contemplate the dreams that are still on the edge of my consciousness and turn my thoughts to what's in store.
We all need morning moments that speak to us whether it's coffee, prayer or meditation, or maybe lacing up your shoes for a run. What is yours? I encourage you to revel in your personal still moment this morning and start today feeling reawakened.
As a professional photographer its incredibly important to me not to forget to capture my everyday life. Don't get me wrong, there is a side of my brain that never stops taking pictures. I see them EVERYWHERE and try to capture the most I can. But there are times when I get so focused on work, bookings, editing etc, that I forget to take a breath and look around me.
Like at this little guy, who is just begging to have his picture taken...
He loves the camera. I was surprised how comfortable both my niece and nephew were with the camera. I don't get to see them as much as I would like to so I was a little worried they would shy away from it but instead they went right for it. Which made my heart happy. I would love to look back years later and have many photographs of these normal moments in their lives along with the great achievements.
I'm sure there will be times when they get tired of their crazy Aunt with the camera but in some way I hope it teaches them to keep doing the things they love, to struggle through the mental blocks and fatigue, and to strive to make their passions happen even in ordinary moments. So for now, I plan to just keep clicking away.
I absolutely love when I hear from a client that I have worked with several times before. It's so much fun to see their lives change, families grow, and be part of some really big moments in their lives. So I was thrilled when I heard from Tiffany, asking me if I would do a Four Generations shoot for the women in her family.
We met up at the greatest little coffee shop in Seymour, TN called Brewed Awakenings. If you are ever out that way I highly recommend it. Great coffee, friendly atmosphere, and cheese cake that is to die for.
I could tell right off the bat that I was dealing with some pretty tough customers here. Didn't want to smile, hard to work with, no fun at all......NOT! These ladies were amazing from the get go. Our whole session was full of stories and laughter. I honestly felt like I was having coffee with them at their house and chit chatting the day away.
Mrs. Lille Rose is a hoot. Her quiet demeanor is just a cover up for a truly amazing, beautiful, and fun loving nature.
Her daughter, Donna, is just the same. Fun loving, beautiful, and full of spirit. You can tell the traits of a good sense of humor have passed down the generations.
And of course, Tiffany and Avery have a very special place in my heart. I have enjoyed getting to know Tiffany better as a friend and to watch Avery grow into a beautiful little girl.
A special thanks to everyone at Brewed Awakenings for letting us invade the space and for the delicious cheesecake and coffee. Thanks to all these ladies for letting me be a part of your day and peep into your lives together. Love really does last generations and that is something so lovely and so worth passing on.
You might be thinking that I'm on some sort of Mexican food kick. And in some ways you would be right. Really it's just a matter of convenience. I hate when ingredients go bad, so these two recipes had similar ingredients, so I made them close together. But I promise you will enjoy both! When I first heard the term "fish taco" I thought, "Ew gross! Who would want fish in their tacos!" My husband looked dismayed at my outburst. BUT thanks to his prodding and poking, my tastes have expanded and I now love fish tacos. And these were particularly fabulous. This recipe is also from www.eatingwell.com I'm kinda stuck on them right now.
Again, this serving is for 2 people so you might want to double it up. It took me roughly 30 mins! Yay for fast food!
First you want to make the Tomato Avocado Salsa. Dice a large tomato, add 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1/2 jalapeno minced (or dried jalapeno), 2/3 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1/2 diced avocado, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and cayenne to taste.
Next in a small bowl you want to combine 3 tbsp flour, 1/8 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp cayenne. Whisk in 1/3 cup of beer to make batter.
Add two tsp oil to pan on medium high heat. NOTE: This recipe calls for a nonstick pan and they mean a nonstick pan. My first go at this I used a regular pan. I had fish, but all the batter was stuck to the pan...not fun. Dip your 1 inch strips of tilapia into the batter, let the access drip into the bowl and then put the pieces in the oil. Fry into golden on each side (doesn't take to0 long). Place fish into warm corn tacos (I used flour tacos because I think they're tastier) and then add salsa on top! That's it. I added sour cream and hot sauce for a little extra flavor. What I love about this recipe is it's tasty AND quick, just remember the non stick pan so your not doing dishes for the rest of the night...like me.
That's right friends! It's been a long time, but there is finally another Dish-o-the-Week! I think you will be particularly fond of this one, I know Speed Racer and I really enjoyed it. It's an interesting combo, and of course I cannot take credit for it. I found this recipe on www.eatingwell.com. I changed just a few minor things here and there, but I think you'll like it. ALSO, this is a two for one special, I'm also giving you my Green Green Guacamole recipe in honor of all the green grass outside and as a way of saying sorry it's been so long. So now, less talk, more drooling.
Dice 1/2 pound of portobello mushrooms as well as 1/2 of a medium onion.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally. The recipe says for 5 min, I did mine a little longer. Add onion and continue to stir until the onions are looking golden and translucent.
While the mushrooms and onions are sizzling away and making your mouth water, prepare your delicious sauce. You will need. 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, we use Stubbs. (Until I took this picture I never realized the moto was "My life is in these bottles." It kinda creeps me out, just sayin'.) Combine barbecue sauce with 1 1/2 teaspoons of tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar (I actually forgot to add this, still tasted good), 1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce. Our grocery store doesn't have the best variety so I couldn't find the chile in adobo sauce, so I added green chiles instead and they added a great flavor to the sauce.
Once your onions and tomato's are done, add them to your sauce and mix until they are coated. Then lay out your whole wheat tortillas (8-10 inch kind). On half of the tortilla add Monterey Jack shredded cheese and your mushroom mixture. Fold the tortilla in half. Add another teaspoon of oil to your pan and then lightly fry your quesadillas on each side. Mine took about 3-4 min total. Now all you have to do is enjoy the cheesy goodness. That's it..the end...bye bye.....
Oh. What's that? I forgot the guacamole? You MUST have the guacamole?? Okie dokie then.
This is my favorite guacamole recipe, it's so good! And one of the reasons I love it is that it's not a spicy guacamole, so it's nice for parties. If you want to spice it up some though, you can. Just add cayenne or red pepper flakes.
So! You will need 2 medium avocados, 1/4 cup of cream cheese (softened), 2 tbsp onion, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/8 tsp salt, dash of black pepper, and 2 tbsp cilantro.
Mix all ingredients well in large bowl. Simple. I just mash mine until it's the consistency I want, I like it a little chunky. Also, I would definitely add fresh cilantro. A friend of mine recommended this recently and it has changed my life. Cilantro is Fan-freakin'-tastic.
Now go stop drooling and enjoy!
Last weekend was Speed Racer's birthday! The Padre, Mr and Mrs Hokie, and even Mrs Miami and Little Miss came down for the weekend. Our house was chock full of people but we wouldn't have had it any other way. Everyone got in on Friday and we had a great time staying up late and catching up. Saturday the boys went off for a manly pancake breakfast, and we ladies slept in and started on cooking the desert for that evening...delicious delicious banana pudding! Mrs Hokie brought the double boiler and stand mixer (so jealous!) needed for the recipe, apparently it's a Paula Deane recipe and I highly recommend it.
With all that girl time I think Little Miss was ready for the boys return. She hung out with them outside while they got the brats and hamburgers ready. She had them wrapped around her little finger though. These next pictures of Little Miss and The Padre were all taken by Speed Racer. I saw this out the window but was mashing up ALOT of potatoes for dinner, when Speed Racer walked by with his camera and starting shooting. Great minds think alike, huh?
They were feeding this stray that has been around our house a lot. She's suffered some abuse and we keep trying to get her to come to us. She only will if you have food, and even then very hesitantly. She's very sweet and I wish we could find her a good home.
Unfortunately, this is the last picture for the night though. I had my hands pretty full for the rest of it. So after this we dug in. Speed Racer's special hamburgers, brats with sauerkraut, creamy mashed potatoes, and of course...banana pudding. The girls and I put candles in the banana pudding and had Speed Racer blow them out. Classic. Soon after that Little Miss fell asleep on the couch, while the rest of us sat around the bonfire and enjoyed just being together. All in all I think it was a good birthday, I know I had fun, and hopefully there will be many more like that to come.
It's the first day of spring and the flowers in my front beds are blooming. This week they really just came up out of no where and opened up to the world. I couldn't resist sharing them with you. As I mentioned in my post "I Spy Something..." my Mother helped me plant these flowers last fall. It was really special to me to be able to spend that time with her. Although I spent most of the time watching her plant these flowers since I was recovering from surgery, it was just nice to sit and catch up. These days it's pretty rare that we get time together, just the two of us. While we were together she told me a story about one of her fondest memories of me as a little girl. She also told me how she told herself at that moment that she had better remember it. While she said this I was thinking the same thing about watching her plant these flowers. I thought to myself, you have to remember this, don't let this memory slip away. And lucky for me, I have a beautiful reminder. Each spring, when these flowers bloom, I'll think about that weekend with my Mom and how we planted these together.
Another memory that the flowers in our yard bring, is that of Speed Racer's Grandfather. He planted most of these flowers, and since I've moved here I've tried very hard to maintain them. But he must have used the front flower beds for annuals because they were empty before we planted bulbs in them. Last night though, Speed Racer turned to me as we walked by them in twilight, and said "My Grandfather would have loved to see those flowers, they're really nice. You did a wonderful job." That meant the world to me. When you move into a house that was owned by a family member it's hard to balance the "This is now your house" and the "This holds lots of memories." So when I look out at my front yard and see the flowers, it just makes me smile. I just look out and see Speed Racer's Grandfather, and his love for nature; my Mother and I, and the bond that we have; and our future...small little children picking flowers in the front yard. These are the best parts of home ownership: dreaming, making memories, and keeping memories alive.