Snow Baby ~

Everyone meet Bryce, the munchkin I nanny! It’s snowing again here in NY (surprise…) so we decided to take advantage of a little break in the flurries and go play in it this morning! The result was too much cute for even me to handle:

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This little one has the most incredible blue eyes and they express so much! She’s a pretty cute little snow baby!

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!

Brunch Biscuits!

Who’s up early enough for a true breakfast on the weekend, anyways? Weekends are for sleeping in!

Go ahead, lay in bed as long as you want. But when your stomach starts growling and you can’t stand it anymore, I recommend you make these.

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Sausage and cheese biscuits for the win.

Sweet and salty, soft and pillowy, cheesy and more cheesy – how can you say no?

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Super simple with ingredients you probably already have, and less than an hour from start to finish!

I found this one on Pinterest (surprise), posted by Deborah from Taste And Tell, who happens to share my love of travel!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 5 sausage links, or more for extra protein
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Start by cooking the sausage links in a skillet on medium-low heat. These ones are maple & brown sugar flavor, yum! I’d like to try a spicier version next time, but these tasted magical with the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

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While those are cooking, pre-heat the oven to 425*. Next, mix all the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter until it looks like coffee cake crumble. I recommend using a pastry cutter for this, but a fork will work too!

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I found this beauty at Bed Bath and Beyond

After the sausage is cooked, chop it up and then add it to the bowl, throwing the cheese in afterwards and stirring well. When the sausage and cheese are thoroughly mixed, add the cup of milk and gently stir just until the dough starts to come together.

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Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (aka, my counter) and knead it a few times. If you wear rings, I highly recommend you take them off! It’s also a good idea to flour your hands to prevent a huge sticky mess. Once the dough firms up a bit, pat it out into a thick rectangle. The biscuits don’t rise a ton, so don’t flatten them out too much!

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Cut them into even squares, place them onto an un-greased cookie sheet or Silpat and then bake for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. If you like, you can brush them with melted butter before serving, but we tried ours drizzled with a bit of maple syrup and loved the result. Can you tell we like to indulge on the weekend?

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There you have it – quick, delicious, and made with simple ingredients. The perfect way to start your weekend when you’ve slept in and aren’t exactly feeling like Rachel Ray. I hope you love these as much as we do!

White Out ~

I thought I knew what snow was. I’ve seen my fair share of school closures and snow days, been skiing and snowboarding, and caught fat, wet flakes on my tongue. But I have never seen so much snow, falling so hard, that I couldn’t see the end of the block.

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None of these pictures do it justice and really only show the aftermath of last night’s lake-effect blizzard. Seeing all of this, I can’t help but laugh at Portland. School would have been cancelled the night before an event like this. I can remember several times we would be granted a “snow day”, only for everything to melt by noon. Here? No school closures -Watertown is very well stocked with snow plows.

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They run on a pretty regular schedule, which is great because it prevents the city from collapsing. It certainly gets annoying, though, living on a corner and hearing them go by every two hours, all night long. Up one street, then back down the other side. Up the other street, and then back down, passing our bedroom window 4 times with each trip. Hellooooo, New York.

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Lake effect snow is no joke. That lump in the bottom right corner is my car, tucked under 10+ inches of powder. I snapped this photo because of the icicles – the ones on the corners of the roof are about 4 feet long! We have to dodge a few to even get inside our back door. I can’t bring myself to knock any down, they’re so pretty!

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…And a bit scary. One of the many times it comes in handy being a shorty.

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Snow is like sand in that it is incredibly detailed and fine, but can build something spectacular when there’s enough of it. I’ll let you find the analogy there. 😉

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It’s also crazy to think that each flake is completely different from all of the others falling around it. Snow is absolutely mesmerizing to me, but my poor husband is sick of it. I can’t help it! I’ve seen more snow from less than a month of living here than in a single winter spent in Portland.

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Glad I’m not the only one enjoying myself 🙂 I met the neighbors while walking around, enjoying the snow. Too cute.

Enjoy this snow – we have enough to share!

Body Art

 I’m a huge fan of tattoos and have two myself. I think it’s absolutely rad to boast your inspiration, favorite memories and tributes right there on your body. To be able to look down in a moment of weakness and see something that will give you strength and push you forward? That is awesome. Not all tattoos are created equal – those that are tattooed while drunk in Vegas may not have so much meaning – but when an artist can portray what you want, it’s magic.

Bobby had some more work done on his newest piece this weekend, and I jumped at the opportunity to photograph it.

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My husband is a huge fan of this painting called “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. Instead of simply getting the painting, he asked his artist, Raquel, to add the twist of a zombie apocalypse – mixing classic with modern in an epic work of art.

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He’s spent a total of 15 hours in the chair at Broken Clover Tattoo, watching his imagination come to life.

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I absolutely love that his artist is female. She truly has an eye and is incredibly good at what she does.

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She’s also fun to watch in that she’s meticulous and careful, thoughtful in what she does with that needle.

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And she clearly enjoys her work – a mark of a good artist, doing what she loves because she loves it, not for fame or fortune. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see her making big bucks in the future!

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I wanted to make this post as much about her as it is about her work because art is often a reflection of the artists themselves. This certainly holds true for me and the photos I take.

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This is my favorite shot from the 4-hour session. I haven’t figured out why quite yet, but it definitely speaks to me.

My New Views ~

It turns out the desert is not deserted, and is actually quite beautiful. I finally explored the area beyond our backyard and caught some of its beauty on camera.

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I’m used to the lush green of NW Oregon, where there are enough trees around to make one feel borderline claustrophobic. Here in Arizona, there is space.

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Until I arrived, I didn’t realize how much I missed the huge expanse of open sky that dominates the southern US. My thirst for change and different scenery is quenched – for now.

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This area of Arizona does see plenty of rain, but only during Monsoon Season when violent rain and thunderstorms plague the mountains and valleys below. The rest of the year (or so I hear) is pretty dry. In fact, it’s not as desert-y as I expected: there are lots of little reminders of home!

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I don’t have to look far to see the sun burst through a colorful tree – this beauty is just beyond our temporary backyard. I wonder if it will ever lose its leaves?

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There are even a few pine trees (Pinyon Pines) to make me nostalgic for home. It’s been nice to see these pine trees here this holiday season; they are everywhere in Oregon, especially around Christmas. The smell, the cones, the needles everywhere – it all reminds me of going to a tree farm and picking out the perfect tree to bring home and decorate with memories. A very popular tradition in Oregon that is nearly impossible here in Arizona.

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There’s nothing like a little taste of home, no matter how simple and small it may be 🙂

June Photo Challenge: Day 15

Raindrops

Since this Oregonian summer has gotten off to such an unusually dry start, my mom and I have been tending more to the garden – which means creating our own rain!

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I’ve always found scenes like this fascinating. Nature truly does it best!

I got inspired after capturing the photo of the Marigolds so I went in search of more garden beauty and found this beautiful pastel Nasturtium. Did you know their name literally means “nose-twister”? They’re also edible and a great source of Vitamin C and Lutein! More on that here. My grandma likes to grow these and put them in her salads so they must be good! Maybe it’s time for me to try them.

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I think they’re too pretty to eat!

P.S. Remember how in my post about Macro photography, I mentioned using a lens with more zoom? I took these with that other lens and loved the results!

June Photo Challenge: Day 10

Before we get to the challenge I just want to say, sorry about the delay in posts. I promise I’m actually participating in the challenge, road tripping just put a couple time kinks into the timing. 🙂

Anyways, todays challenge is Macro Photography! Macro refers to a subject that is photographed to be larger than life-size with as much detail as possible. To get these photos, I use an 18-55mm lens, zoomed in all the way to 55mm. The trick is to zoom in on your subject, that way you can appear to be extremely close without being so close that your camera can’t focus. Also, the more you zoom in on a subject, the more the background of your photo will “compress”, making it appear closer. This can create a really cool effect. We’ll get into more detail on that when I post tips and tricks for photography in July! Send in your requests 🙂

Macro photography is a great place to start out if you’re looking to improve your photography skills. All of these photos were taken in my backyard, with the basic lens included in my camera package. No special equipment necessary! Just look closely for detail and you will find great photographs waiting to be captured.

Here are some examples:

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I love getting close enough to see the fur and baby spines on rose buds. Did you know that Portland is known as the City of Roses? Of course I had to include a rose photo!

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Right now this little bud is smaller than the tip of my pinky, but in a week or so it will be a full-grown tomato!

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Fruit always makes the perfect subject and is a great place to start exploring your macro photography skills! I used my hand in this one to give a little size comparison.

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This is my favorite photo from this series – I’d never seen a cricket’s eyes until this morning! I would never have seen this little guy had I not been looking closely at a rose for detail shots. It’s truly amazing how many cool things there are to see in this world, and so simple too! This was a great reminder for me to slow down and observe the world around me.

I hope you feel inspired to try your hand at Macro photography and I’d love to see your work!