On This Day 3 Years Ago…

On this day 3 years ago, Hailey and I embarked on yet another one of our photoshoots. We’ve done some pretty wild photoshoots over the years, with crazy outfits and unlimited creativity, but this is still one of my favorites. I was still studying photography and my assignment was to imitate the work of the great David LaChapelle. His portfolio is eccentric, colorful, exotic, arresting, and completely unique.

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These aren’t my typical style, but it’s really important to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while and remember what you’re made of. You might find yourself out there.

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I didn’t have the incredible studio space or budget, but I did have a very creative model with a vast wardrobe and an amazing (secret) location. Can you say improvisation?

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 There was something so freeing about forcing myself to take wild photos like this, especially with my favorite model. It is so much fun to look back at these and see how much we’ve changed and grown. Here’s to even more growth in the next few years!

New Opportunities and Favorite Memories

I have totally neglected my website as of late and I feel terrible! I have good reason, though:

I’m a nanny! This is my first week caring for the cute kiddos, so I’ve been trying to fall into a routine. I get to hang out with a toddler all day and read Frozen books, swing, color and decipher babble. 😉

I’m also a fresh part of a really cool new app called KKTalkee, which helps people in China learn better English through live video broadcasting. Basically, I deliver a bunch of content and then answer any questions and encourage them to speak. I’m really loving this because those who know me well know I’m a total stickler for grammar and spelling, and I’m also following in my grandma’s teaching footsteps – just in a modern way.

It’s been a week of firsts! Glad to have the nerves shaken off and ready to grind 🙂

When Moo.com has a sale, I always take advantage. It seems like these sales happen right as I’m running out of business cards – win! Anyways, I was taking advantage of this sale last night, which meant perusing my photo catalog to pick out my favorite photos from the last few months, so I can print them onto my new set of business cards. It sounds silly but I hardly ever look back at my work, so going through all of these photos totally brought back memories. And made me homesick.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites from last fall:

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Seriously missing Clair and our pho dates. Nobody understands my obsession with Cilantro like this beauty.
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Are they the absolute cutest or what?!
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This is hands down one of my absolute favorite shoots, ever. I had so much fun documenting their love. I don’t think they could be anymore photogenic!
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There are so many amazing shots from this session, it was incredibly hard to narrow it down even this much!
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Can you tell I love sun flares?
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There are few things in this world that bring more joy than teaching one of your favorite things to a group of young ladies who are dedicated and determined. Oh, and absolutely hysterical. This is the 2015 RHS Varsity team. Shout-out to my JV & JV2 girls also ❤
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I could do an entire pack of cards with just volleyball action shots (like I did last time). Hard work pays off and it shows.
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These ladies also clean up pretty darn well 🙂 Kadyn asked me to take her senior photos and they turned out beautifully, with her bubbly personality shining right through!
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Speaking of seniors, my brother is one and graduates in a few months! WHAT?! Time seriously flies, people.
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What happened to the little cutie playing rec basketball? He’s 6’4″ now, an entire foot taller than me. It is so cool, yet so weird, watching siblings grow up.
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Kassidy and Kate are the cutest sisters ever. We had a ton of fun during this shoot!
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Sisters by birth, friends by choice, together for infinity.

 

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This is easily my favorite photo from their photoshoot. I don’t know what it is about this one but I just love it.
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Last but not least, this little ham! I’ve been taking his photos since he was about 3 months old. It was so special for me to be able to see him grow and to document it. I even got his first steps!

I think I’ll look back through my work more often. This was just what I needed to cure my homesickness ❤ I can’t wait to start networking here so I can get some more amazing clients!

Breakfast Cookies

I’m guilty of being a slug in the morning – make a nutritious breakfast? Ha! More like eat a cookie with my coffee. I just can’t remember what “nutritious” means that early in the morning 😉

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I am the queen of trying new things – routine makes me feel extremely claustrophobic. Plus there’s the voice in my head always saying “what if!”. What if I miss out on a fantastic recipe because I’m too busy making the same one I’ve made a hundred times? I’m like a Pokemon player in the kitchen – gotta try them all!

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I only have a few recipes on hand that I make often, like my jambalaya, burrito bowls, and pork tenderloin with sweet potato hash. These insanely simple recipes will be shared soon! Another classic in my kitchen is my Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie. Versatile, simple and easy-peasy, I make this one quite often.

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Trying to keep these as healthy as possible, I scoured the pantry for some dried fruits and came away with Craisins – yum! I knew they’d be tasty as I’ve made these cookies with Craisins a few times. Well, genius that I am, I had the dough base finished and was about to stir in the dried cranberries before I realized they were actually blueberry Craisins. Oops. I was a little worried that these blueberries would taste funny in the cookies, what with the recipe calling for maple syrup and cinnamon. That was a flavor combo I couldn’t even imagine. I scooped some dough onto a spoon, topped it with a couple dried blueberries and then came the moment of truth.

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It was delicious! Tart blueberries and a unique hint of sweet maple syrup combined with cinnamon-y spice was an explosion of new flavors. I immediately dumped half the bag of dried blueberries into the bowl and stirred away, already counting the minutes till I could try one warm and fresh from the oven. Thick, fluffy, and chewy, they tasted even better baked! How ironic that I was planning on making a classic recipe and then accidentally turned it into a new creation. Improvisation and creativity in the kitchen are so important! Make a mistake like I did? Who cares.. just roll with it. 🙂

If you want to invent your own breakfast cookie, or just love oatmeal cookies in general, here is the recipe for my Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie. Follow the directions for the cookie dough base, and then mix in anything your heart desires! If you come across an awesome flavor combination, please let me know so I can try it too!

Happy Monday

A new dawn, a new day, a fresh chance to follow your dreams.

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We’re Not in Kansas Anymore..

Goodbye, Kansas – Hello, New York!

After driving across the country for the 3rd time in 2 months, we are finally home! I’ve been off the grid since Christmas Eve, traveling and getting everything set up in our new home. It’s been a bit eye-opening – how much more time I have to myself, Bobby and I are communicating better, and we’ve actually been able to enjoy our new house. Yep, I said house 🙂

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Our Traditional-style home was built in 1880 – how’s that for history?

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Just like the outside, the inside has been completely remodeled and looks immaculate. We got so lucky finding this gem! Two stories (3 if you count the creepy basement!) with 3 bedrooms plus an office, and 2 full bathrooms. Interior pics coming soon!

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Charming is the perfect word to describe it, along with old-fashioned. The heater vents are the huge, square iron kind in the floor, we have incredibly squeaky stairs, the basement is unfinished, and we even had to have a phone jack installed.

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Whoever remodeled this place did a magnificent job repainting, updating the lights and replacing the floors. The updates are awesome, but I’m really happy they left the original (I think) hardwood floor in the living and dining rooms. I just love the charm of this house and the whole city in general ❤

We are so unbelievably excited to finally be here. 2016 will be filled with new experiences, adventures and so much happiness!

12/9: A Mason Jar Christmas!

What can I say – I’m in love with the idea of reusing things, I just can’t help it. So, I compiled a huge list of my favorite Holiday-themed mason jar ideas: from desserts to decorations, I listed just about everything you could imagine!

A Mason Jar Christmas!

12/8: DIY Gift Bag!

I don’t know about you wonderful people, but I seem to have the hardest time finding bags that match my wrapping paper. I finally said forget this and found a tutorial for making your own bags, custom fit and look, from wrapping paper you already have! This couldn’t be more easy.

It’s also a great way to use up little scraps of paper! This bag is pretty teeny – about 5×5″, but you could absolutely try it with something bigger!

Intrigued? Click here!