10.31.2013

A Very Piggy Halloween

Molly and Gia wanted to stop in and say Happy Halloween.  Well, Molly wanted to.  Gia had to be bribed with blueberries.  Molly, of course, couldn't pass up the opportunity to show of her Halloween costume.  They begged and pleaded with me to let them be Piggy Fairies but it's much harder to find guinea pig-sized fairy wings than I thought.  So I convinced them to be pig-erinas instead.  They were so excited about the tutus, they demanded individual photos to show them off.*

Gia won't do tricks without a little treat...

guinea-pig-in-tutu
guinea-pig-halloween-costume
guinea-pig-in-tutu

Molly's little face melts my heart every time.

"guinea pig ballerina"
guinea-pig-ballerina-costume
guinea-pig-tutu-ballerina-outfit

She got bored with the camera as soon as she found the random fake pumpkin I stuck in behind her, you know, so you'd know it was Halloween.
guinea-pig-ballerina-halloween-costume

Putting together this post, with a fully staged-and-costumed guinea pig photo shoot, just made me realize how crazy I might actually be.  But I kinda don't care because they're the coolest guinea pigs ever.

Are you (or your furry friends) dressing up for Halloween?

*And by "demanded individual photos" I mean it was way too complicated to get them to both pose in one frame.  I have my limits.


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10.30.2013

Kim & Chris | Engaged in Truckee

I am so excited to share this engagement session with you guys today.  It was shot a long, long time ago  -*ahem* 4th of July *ahem* - and it's one of my faves of the summer.  Kim & Chris --who will be married in the jungle of Kim's home state, Hawaii, later this year-- are big fans of the outdoors so we headed up to their home in Truckee for the session.  The small mountain town near Tahoe has become a second, cherished home to these city dwellers.  It's more than just their weekend escape.  It's a place of peace and solace.  A place for them to relax, decompress, and reconnect with each other while hiking during the summer or skiing during the winter.  To me, that makes it the perfect spot for their engagement session.

We started off with a few photos with Jack, their 15-year old fluffy ball of ginger kitty love.  Then we headed over to downtown Truckee for some shots near the railroad tracks, the pier where they spend most of their summer days, and a lovely overlook near Donner Lake.  As the sun dropped below the horizon and we started wrapping up the session, the energetic lovebirds had the crazy idea to return to the pier and take the dive, literally, into the lake.  So, off we went!  Back to the pier for soaking wet smiles and laughter in the lake.  A perfectly adventurous ending for a perfectly adventurous couple.

truckee-engagement-session

truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session

truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
truckee-engagement-session
donner-lake-engagement-session
donnor-lake-engagement-session
donnor-lake-engagement-session
donnor-lake-engagement-session
donnor-lake-engagement-session
 I'm totally enamored with Kim's cool vintage ring.  Have you ever seen such a clear diamond?
vintage-diamond-engagement-ring
truckee-engagement-session

xo


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10.29.2013

Twosday | The Pumpkin Patch

seaside-pumpkin-patch-highway-one






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10.28.2013

Pursuing Happiness: A New Attitude

butternut-squash-risotto
Something has changed since cutting out gluten.  Something I didn’t expect.  I knew my diet would inevitably be different and habits and tastes would change, too.  But I didn’t expect a change in my attitude towards food.  I am, what many would consider, a picky eater.  Finnicky is a cooler word for it, I think.  I have very specific things that I like to eat and ways I like to eat them and I’m not usually open to changing those ways.  At least, I that’s how it was before I had to cut out gluten. 

Thanks to gluten’s pervasiveness in our food culture and my apparent extreme sensitivity to it, a lot of food is off limits now.  If so many options are automatically a no-go, why should I restrict myself from any other foods?  Or from exploring new ways to make my old faves?  I've actually enjoyed grocery shopping these last few weeks, wandering the aisles just to see what foods I’ve overlooked in the past.  I get excited when I find new products or random, never-heard-of-before gluten-free foods.  I find myself flipping through our cookbooks, tabbing the gluten-free recipes and wondering why I’ve waited so long to make their acquaintance.  Rather than passing time with social media, I roam the internet reading about all the strange and unfamiliar grains I can still eat or the latest and greatest gluten-free restaurants and bakeries around SF.   It’s like, as soon as my brain associated gluten with being sick - poof! - all my food finnickiness disappeared. 

I didn’t cooked a single pasta dish for four weeks.  As someone who loves pasta and is married to an Italian, that’s got to be some kind of record.  Instead, we've opened ourselves up to new meal options and found gluten-free dishes that were satisfying for both of us.  We’ve eaten things like zucchini and squash risotto made with a homemade vegetable and herb broth, hearty beef and vegetable stew, quesadillas (on rice tortillas!) with grilled chicken, sauteed mushrooms, and gruyere cheese, quinoa with crispy prosciutto, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, and reggiano cheese.  We've since worked gluten-free pasta back into our weekly menu but we now have homemade Chinese dishes (with gluten-free soy sauce, of course!) and yummy new Vietnamese restaurants mixed in, too.  All things I probably wouldn't have tried before discovering my gluten sensitivity.

The picky finnicky eater in me is now focusing on the foods I would’ve ignored a month ago, the unfamiliar flavors I used to shy away from, and even the things I’ve never heard of before.  Speaking of which, has anyone else heard of sorghum?  I certainly hadn’t before last month, and I’m still not sure how to pronounce “sorghum.”  (Sor-gum …?  Sor-fum …?  Sor-goom …?)  Who knows.  But I’ll try to find it next time I'm at the grocery store stalking the aisles, on the hunt for my next great food adventure.  And I’ll do my darned-est to make it taste as good as it probably sounds.

Are you open to new foods?  Or do you prefer to stick to your tried-and-true faves?


PS - That's butternut squash risotto with rosemary and reggiano cheese in the picture up above.  The delicious and completely gluten-free recipe is coming soon!

(PS #2 - The link up for tomorrow's "Twosday" post will open at midnight California time tonight.  If you want to join the link up, just post two photos on Tuesday (tomorrow) of anything that catches your eye, with little to no words/text.  Can't wait to see what you come up with!)

xo


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10.25.2013

Friday Finds | Utopia Home & Garden, Plus A Converation With The Husband

Utopia-home-and-garden-on-etsy
Clockwise from top left:  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

This week's Friday Find reminds me a lot of the goodies you'd find at Anthropologie or Restoration Hardware, but at a price that doesn't make my wallet run in fear.  Utopia Home & Garden offers cool housewares and vintage-style signs to add a chic, rustic touch to your home.  This year, I really want to make an effort to buy from local and independently-owned shops for holiday gifts.  Wouldn't those candles or chalkboard tags be the perfect hostess gifts?

* * * * * * * * *  

Before I let you head off to enjoy your last weekend of October (<-- crazy!!), I have to share a little convo the Husband and I had recently.  This happened literally 10 minutes after I woke up and if you know nothing else about me, know this - I am not a morning person.

Me:  Your arms look bigger.  Have you been lifting weights instead of running when you go to the gym?

Husband: Yeah!  I need to start working on my legs though.  They're too skinny compared to the rest of me so I gotta even things out.

Me:  (silently stirring my coffee, not really paying that much attention ... because I just woke up!)

Husband:  What!!  No response??  You must think they're too skinny, too!!

Me:  You're such a woman sometimes.

* * * * * * * * *

Happy weekend!!!
xo


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10.23.2013

Wise Words | The No Escape Clause

ira-glass-quote-about-marriage

Now that we're married, the most commonly asked question is, "So how does it feel?"  Honestly, it doesn't feel much different in the day-to-day, but then I think of this quote by Ira Glass and am reminded that, yes, something is in fact different.  There's no escape ... but in a good way!  We're in it for the long haul and no matter what happens, we've got each others' backs.  For life.  And that's a pretty awesome feeling. :)

(The tumblr I originally saw this poster on is no longer active but you can find it here on my Pinterest board.)

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10.22.2013

Twosday | A Growing Succulent

I was concerned I might've damaged the roots when I re-potted this little guy, so seeing a new sprout this morning made me smile.

small-potted-succulent
small-potted-succulent

Just a thought - would any of you be interested in participating if I made Twosday a weekly link-up?  The "rules" are simply this: two photos posted on Tuesday, little to no words - but you should know, I'm not much of a rule enforcer. :)  They can be photos of anything your heart desires.  I think it'd be fun to see what catches your eyes each week so maybe we can start the link up next Tuesday!

xo


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10.19.2013

Web Love | Buzzfeed Think I'm Hilarious

I love Tina Fey, and not just because everyone tells me I'm her doppleganger.  Or she's mine.  Or we're each others'.  Whatever, all I know is every time someone makes the Tina Fey comparison, I consider it a compliment and in case you're wondering why, just read this.  So excited she and Amy Poehler will be hosting the Golden Globes again!

Also, Buzzfeed thinks I'm Hilariously Clever ... at least when it comes to Halloween costumes.  Check out Number 17!

Ever wonder what the view is like from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge?

When I was in middle school, I went back and forth between wanting to be a photographer for National Geographic or a photographer for Sports Illustrated so I could have a front row seat for football games.  Between the 35 Most Spectacular Wildlife Photos from The National Geographic Photo Contest and our wedding photographer Jeff Marsh's fan perspective at the Seahawks vs. Titans game, that childhood dream has been reawakened.


I've admired photographer Sue Bryce for a long time, not just for her photography skills but for the boost of confidence and self-esteem she so naturally provides for other women.  It's pretty awesome that after decades of building up others, she's finally finding that same confidence within herself.

Finally, did you know you can hard wire your brain for happiness?  Seems all that hippie-dippie advice to "focus on the positive" and "be present" for joyful moments has some scientific merit to it after all.

And with that, have a happy Saturday!


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10.18.2013

Friday Finds | Lisa Congdon Art & Illustrations

Lisa Congdon prints

I literally just discovered Lisa Congdon's Etsy shop about 12 hours ago (yes, that would be around midnight last night...) and quickly favorited just about every print in her shop.  The inspirational quotes, the quirky graphic art - I love it all.  And I may or may not have added a few to my secret "gifts for others" Pinterest board, too...

Anything in her shop catch your eye?

Happy weekend!
xo

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10.17.2013

Awkward & Awesome | Wedding Photographer Edition

rustic chic farm wedding

AWKWARD
- I'm very good at taking precautions on the wedding day to avoid any traumas.  For example, I don't usually wear lipstick because I'm totally the girl who would get red lipstick all over the bride's dress while carrying it to the perfect photo spot.  Well, while taking lovely photos of the most beautiful white/cream/ivory bridesmaids bouquets recently, a random gust of wind blew the vases over, knocking the pretty flowers into the mud and splattering grossness all over the delicate bouquets!  We wiped them gently with tissues but the damage had been done.  If only I could control the wind...

- Or how about walking to what I thought was the "perfect!" spot for photos at a farm venue, only to find myself and my skimpy flats ankle-deep in what I hope was just mud?  You really just have to laugh at that point ... and hope you don't smell like poo for the rest of the night.

rustic chic farm wedding modesto


- I especially love the groomsmen who get a little too wastey-face at the wedding.  It always makes for interesting toasts and a very entertaining dance party.  But sometimes it goes a little too far, like the time one drunk groomsman got down on one knee and proposed to me during formal photos.  Then again during dinner.  Then followed it up at the end of the night with, "Are you gonna marry me or what?"  Um, I'm married already, dude.  And this isn't Utah... (please don't be offended Utah folks, it's just a fact.)

- Oh, hi Wedding Guest!  What's that?  You want to take some photos of the wedding with your iPad?  Okay, no problem.  Wait, you want to shove your iPad in front of my camera during the ceremony right when the kiss is about to happen?  Okay, but you might get punched in the face.

- Sometimes the wedding party needs a little booze to loosen them up before photos, and sometimes every member of the wedding party needs their own bottle of champagne.  That's cool.  Except for when they accidentally leave it sitting right beside my foot during photos.  They clearly don't know just how clumsy I truly am ... until I knock the whole bottle over onto my own camera bag.  Whoops.

wedding portraits at brandeis


AWESOME
- My job is focused on creating the first heirloom for a brand new family that their kids and grandkids will cherish decades down the road.  The photos I make have the potential to carry that couple back in time and let them relive their wedding day -and all the joy and love that goes with it- any time they wish.  It doesn't get much more awesome than that.

- About half way through my first season of shooting, I decided to start carrying a little "wedding day emergency kit" in my camera bag - Tide bleach pens, tissues, mouth wash, safety pins, bobby pins, hand sanitizer, band-aids, and a few other little extras are stuffed lovingly into a small side pocket of my bag.  And every time a bride/bridesmaid/family member/etc needs one of those items, I feel like a super hero saving the day.  You spilled a little wine on your dress before heading out for the first look?  Have no fear!  Super Stephanie is here to save the day with a bleach pen!  Those awesome heels are giving you a blister by the end of the ceremony?  How will you ever be able to dance the night away?  I know - Super Stephanie's band-aids will save the day!

- Believe it or not, I actually get a pretty awesome work out at weddings.  I wore a pedometer to one recently just for fun and, by the end of 8 hours of shooting, I'd "walked" almost 7 miles!  Not to mention all the lunges and squats and other random positions I find myself in just to get a good shot.  It's no wonder I'm usually crazy sore the day after a wedding.

mountain wedding portrait photography


- Nothing really beats getting a huge bear hug from a bride at the end of a long, hectic wedding day while she professes her lover for me and her overwhelming excitement at seeing the final photos.  Well, you know what?  I love you, too!  All of you.  Seriously, my clients are the best. :)

PS - No, I do not wear the same thing to every wedding, but that red dress is my go-to on 95-degree days so you can guess how hot it was for those two weddings above! 

PPS - Thanks to my second shooters, Cristal, Mindy, and Adrienne, for all the action shots!

xo


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10.16.2013

A Steam Engine Train and Ceremony in the Redwoods | Ben & Felice

After Ben & Felice's high energy, tons-of-fun engagement session at Moss Beach, I had high hopes for their wedding.  With a pie bar, swing dancing, and a train ride to a sunlit ceremony in the Redwoods, their wedding far exceeding anything I imagined.

The happy couple invited friends and family to join them at Roaring Camp Railroads for a jaunt through the redwood forest on an authentic, 19th century steam engine train.  When guests arrived at the mountain top, they were greeted with sunshine peeking through the trees -a big improvement from the fog below- and a beautiful cathedral of centuries-old redwoods.  Their ceremony was sweet, personal, and emotional for all present.  On their way back to the train, Ben & Felice couldn't help but literally dance with joy.  The newlyweds showed off more swing dancing moves at the reception before surprising guests with dancing lesson for everyone present!  Overall, the day was energetic, romantic, emotional, joyful, and laid back all at the same time - a perfect representation of the lovely couple.

Ben & Felice - thank you so much for inviting me to capture your awesome wedding.  I'm honored you chose me to be with you that day and I'm thrilled to count you both as new friends. ♥

"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
red and teal wedding roaring camp santa cruz
red-and-teal-wedding roaring-camp-railroads-santa-cruz

red-and-teal-wedding roaring-camp-santa-cruz
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
red and teal wedding at roaring camp railroads in santa cruz
red and teal wedding at roaring camp railroads
red and turquoise wedding invitations
red and teal rustic wedding escort cards

"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
roses and freesia wedding bouquet
rustic wedding pie dessert bar
sapphire engagement wedding ring
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
wedding-photos-on-old-fashion-steam-engine-train
"wedding photos on old fashioned steam engine train"
wedding-photos-on-old-fashioned-steam-engine-train
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
tea-length-wedding-dress-with-bow-detail
sapphire engagement ring
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
old-fashioned-steam-engine-train
wedding-old-fashioned-steam-engine-train
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"wedding ceremony in redwood grove"
"wedding ceremony in redwood grove"
"wedding ceremony in redwood grove"
"wedding ceremony in redwood grove"
"wedding ceremony in redwood grove"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
steam-engine-train-through-redwoods
"Wedding at Roaring Camp Railroad Santa Cruz"
choreographed swing dance for first dance at wedding
choreographed swing dance for first dance at wedding

All four feet off the dance floor!

choreographed swing dance for first dance at wedding
choreographed swing dance for first dance at wedding
choreographed swing dance for first dance at wedding
"wedding at roaring camp railroad"
"wedding at roaring camp railroad"
"wedding at roaring camp railroad"
"wedding at roaring camp railroad"

 xo

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