extra brute. oh yes, EXTRA brute.

Friday, January 29, 2010

this post is simply for me.
no deep thoughts.
no sassy client (unless you count my cocoa which by the wayside is EXTRA brute not just brute EXTRA brute).
and no sweet lighting.

just me and my kitchen. 

tidbit about me...I LOVE to bake.  I always have.  someday I will have a bakery/cafe/music house.  I will.  but I can't really cook well.  which is why one of my goals this year is to cook something somewhat challenging w/ "real" ingredients at least once a week.  but I do love to bake.  it's kinda like counting money to me.  it's therapeutic in the fact that if you add butter, sugar + flour together you'll get a cookie - much like 1+1=2.  plus, when you feel like the creative side of your mind is on overload it's nice to not have to be creative and still create something.  I just re-read that last sentence and don't think I made sense to you smart english type readers...but it does to me. ;)  bonus factor too, with minimal effort, you get something seriously tasty in the end.  and today, as I pack for a weekend w/ high schoolers + friends after a busy day working...I just wanted a cookie.

what kind of cookie you ask?

well, today was a double chocolate mint chip cookie kind of a day.  I don't bake too often anymore b/c of well, life and the fact that it causes my jeans to shrink in the laundry - strange phenomenon.  but I figured if I was going to go to the effort and calories, I might as well make it a good one. :)  my chef friend dave from liberty gave me a bag of cocoa that was a sample from one of our vendors and it was labeled "extra brute" so I figured it had to be extra good - it's not every day that one bakes with EXTRA brute cocoa, you know. :)

so here you go:
step one...cream the butter, sugar + eggs til' fluffy.  I kinda doubted that the cookie would turn out as chewy as I'd like b/c I like brown sugar...but was really happy with the outcome of all granulated sugar.  just a little fyi for you white sugar doubters. :)

after adding the vanilla.  sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  then add slowly to the egg mixture.  now, usually I just use the nestle cocoa powder at this point.  but how could I just do that when I have a ginormous, restaurant size bag of "extra brute" cocoa powder.  nestle cocoa powder must only be just brute...pbsh regular brute...so if you have the EXTRA brute...by all means use it.

after you mixed the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, add the mint chocolate chips.  another tidbit about me.  I have a thing with words.  some are really funny - like pueblo.  say it, it's funny - especially if you say it slow in a tommy boy fashion. :)  and technically these chips are called morsels.  morsels is just simply a gross word.  say it.  say it again s.l.o.w.l.y.  see, it's gross. 

anyways add their awesomeness to your batter.  it's worth it no matter what they're called.

finally, scoop these badboys with your scooper thing onto your pan and bake for eight minutes in a three hundred fifty degree oven.  when we moved to this house we had no appliances so matt bought me a super amazing kitchen aid convection oven that I LOVE because he is amazing and he loves me.  and it's bakes super evenly.  I love it. and I love him. :)

take them out of the oven and let them cool and enjoy!  totally worth the 125 calories per cookie...this picture would be absolutely perfect if there were a perfectly chilled diet coke right next to it...but I'll just leave that to your imagination :)  plus, I wonder if anyone really reads ALL the way to the end, so I'm pretty sure I could say whatever I wanted to right now and it wouldn't really matter!  ;)  that being said I LOVE DIET COKE.  it's amazing.  it really is.

here's the recipe in case you wanted to make awesomeness in your home too :)

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar (promise you won't miss the brown)
2 eggs
1 T. imitation vanilla extract only 1 1/2 tsps. of the real stuff if you have it
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder (go for the EXTRA brute if you have it. ;) )
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of Nestle mint chocolate chips
how to make them:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the mint chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

seasons :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I feel like I've been having a lot of conversations with people about my 2010 so far.  and the constant theme that I feel like I'm telling people is that I am so thankful.  and I am.  not in a gooey, in your face, talk too much about my life, unrealistic kind of a way...but in a quiet constant recognition that these feelings are for no other reason than it pleases the God I love and makes Him smile.  for a while I've felt guilty about this overwhelming feeling of happiness/thankfulness and that I shouldn't talk about it b/c of where other people might be at.  but it came to my attention that I shouldn't be ashamed of that and that I SHOULD be saying where I am at.

I know I will go through seasons of less.
I know I will go through seasons of loss + sadness.
I know that tomorrow I might not feel as strongly about this.

but right now I need to take this blessed feeling I have and be encouraging to others and more importantly, be available to those to help carry burdens of others who aren't feeling that way.  I think God has given me a lot right now to be responsible with a lot...does that make sense?  and this feeling is not to say that I think I've got it all figured out.  cause' I don't.  quite the opposite usually, really.  but for now and for today, the simple knowledge that I cling to is that I know that God has given me a lot.  a relationship with Him, family that I love, friends who I treasure, a house, a job I love, a creative outlet that's unique, I have amazing clients that teach me to open my eyes wider, even the odd soothing rain in arizona this morning reminds me of the blessing that God has given me...there's just so much that I need and should be thankful for.  and I know now that this is something not to be ashamed and quiet about and it's something that God is repeatedly reminding me of.

here's just a few things to start :)

moving on up :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I wonder how many of you actually watched that show?  I was kindof a 80's freak tv watcher..."gimme a break", "growing pains", "217", "the cosby show", "the facts of life"...good stuff. :)

so I digress and that is not the point of this blog post :)

here's the final product of a 5x7 "we've moved" postcard.  obviously I was "moved" (dad would be so proud ;) ) by this weeks contest of textures and I'm really starting to get into them - they're just SO much you can do with them!  this one has about 4 different textures and I just love this picture of the four of these kids...super cute!

ring a ding ding :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I am in a funny mood right now...the only thing running through my head as I write this blog post is the song "...if you like it then you should'a put a ring on it...whoa oh ohhh, oh oh oh ohhhh, whoa oh ohhh, whoa oh oh ohhh..."  I know, I'm a dorky white girl who probably just violated your mind. :)  but in my mind I sing + dance just as good as miss b w/ more of a b.e.p. vibe...jus' sayin'. ;)

here are some latest pictures of rings...favorite?  ideas?

can't take credit for this one...my sister (who was my 2nd shooter) took this one :)

texture - i ♥ faces

Monday, January 25, 2010

this is my second challenge for I ♥ faces.  and it WAS challenging!  I don't normally use any kind of texture in my photography.  so I loved the tutorials given by the guest judge shana rae and it's obvious why she's a judge this week!  her use of textures is amazing and inspiring!  maybe I'll continue learning the art of texture in some of my upcoming shoots!

anyway, here' my entry for this week!  comments are welcome and appreciated - I'm still new and learning with this so any of your thoughts would be most welcome!

after texturizing (is that what this is called?) the picture...I just love this one of my little sister...makes me smile :)

and the before


Thursday, January 21, 2010

new logo...yes? no?  will post more options soon... :)
I would love to hear what you have to say!

colorful, beautiful love

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

can I just say for the record that I L.O.V.E. my job?!  I would never have met these amazing, super cool people if it were not for photography.  and I am so thankful for it!

marissa + michael are down-to-earth, appreciative of art and incredible parents.  spending the morning with these two still makes me smile + I am genuinely glad that I've met them.  and the product of their coolness is evident in their sweet son, zade.  wait, his name is zade?  I know, right?  a super cool original name that has the ability to be manly at the same time be cute and boyish.  perfect!  he was perfectly smiley + good natured...a photographers dream in meeting a three month old!  I still believe he actually posed for a couple of the shots. :)  and I simply couldn't get over his blue, blue eyes and dimple...adorable! 

definitly a fun, memorable shoot for me...thanks michael + marissa! :)

love his loooooong lashes!

we are family - I ♥ faces

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

so I joined this really cool photography forum and there's contests!  contests, you say?!  oh yes, contests. (I am entirely too competitive inside) :)

here's my pic for the challenge "we are family"...it's my favorite and makes me smile everytime I look at it...here's hoping to win...and if not I love this forum - super encouraging and motivating!

baby design

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I just finished up the new year/baby announcement design for stephani...here's the orginal design and then what it evolved into...super happy with how it turned out...kind of a "where the wild thing's are" color spectrum/feel  :)  thanks stephani!

original front...

original back...

finished front...

finished back...

my "cheers" :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music." - julia child

I had a mini-conversation with one of our barista's the other day about how liberty market is like cheers.  typically this is what happens when you choose to eat there:
1.  you walk in and at least five people say hello to you (by name if you're a regular)
2.  they serve incredible food + beverages
3.  the people that work there treat you like family - conversation/joking/stories.  :)

yes, it's my cheers.

maybe I'm biased since I've worked there for about a year + a half...but it is one of the coolest places to work/eat.  and a lot of the time it doesn't feel like work b/c of the people who I get to work with.  dave is the chef and he is incredibly gifted in the art of making food.  I forget sometimes how good he is until he whips out his apricot chicken's (twice b/c I was late to photograph it) and makes it look super stunning! 

plus, he teaches me things like phrases like "...I'm totally weeded..." or that orzo pasta is spaghetti that's he's personally handchopped into hundreds of little pieces (liar...but I'm sure you laughed hard cause' I believed you!)

then there's kiersten.  my kiersten.  I just love her...she is one of my closest friends in the whole world!  and I'm not sure how to describe her either.  the best way I think I can is to compare her to a hummingbird.  she's super beautiful and animated and one of the fastest fliers in the world (just try and keep up with her walking...sometimes I try to "compete" with her w/out her knowing and I LOSE everytime!)  but if I'm being honest...I think she is the heart of the restaurant...she geniuinely bleeds the restaurant...she loves the people that come in the doors - always thinking of how to serve better and with a servants heart...she loves the staff and considers them her family (yes, some of them are that "crazy uncle" type, but she loves them too!)  she considers the restaurant her ministry and it is...no one see's the prayer and money that quietly goes towards the people that enters it's doors.  you should see how she and dave love each other too...I could write a book with all the "post-it" love notes they give each other and the way they converse and love each other is SO worthy of it's own hilarious chick flick romantic comedy!

then there's all the supporting cast members that I have genuinely grown to love...
joe + cindy - two of the most generous people I have ever known!
teresa  - sassy and a good friend who makes me smile
jamie - one of the most creative + interesting people I've had the pleasure to meet
carylann - salt of the earth and a super hard worker
adrienne - super soft heart and amazing baker and
ms. betty who always calls me " darlin' "

so even though I was only supposed to take the apricot chicken picture for the spanish food magazine...this post turned into a "why I love liberty market, oh so much" post. :)  go there.  you'll like it, I promise. :)

amazing wood-fired pizza's (dave's are the best if he happens to be throwing that night)

liberty is know for it's amazing coffee at the e-61 bar...the only reason I ever consider maybe taking up the habit. :)

made by the beautiful ashley johnston :)

I told you adrienne was the best baker, and she is...are these not adorable?!  and wickedly tasty!

joe is a total wine conessuire...and picks amazing wines to complement dave's dishes!

one of my favorite things about the decor are these old thomas edison light bulbs...super cool.

I love this place. :)


Thursday, January 14, 2010

I have too many jumbled thoughts today.  maybe it's the dayquil/breezers/excedrin combo. :)  but I feel inspiried today.

life is short.

I'm realizing this more and more. 

what inpsires me?  today it's blogs.  there are about fifty blogs that I follow regularly.  kind-of my own daily magazine reading of sorts. :)  and a couple of them are truly creatively inspiring.  some blog every day about the life they are living.  some are once every week about amazing things they are doing.  some are informative.  some are family oriented.  some are about design.  but it got me thinking about my blog.  what I want to accomplish creatively.  do I want to blog everyday?  do I share too much about myself?  what is it about someone that makes them inspiring?  I don't have a conclusion today.  but I know that the main thing I love about all these blogs that I read is that they're DOING.  doing life.  I want to DO life.  do work my husband always tells me....here's my makeshift list of things I want to do in 2010 (so far and not in order)

1. have a shoot on a train or a trolley.
2. really learn my manual settings.
3. get a fish eye lens.
4. capture a picture of my son scoring a touchdown.
5. add more weddings to my schedule.  I actually enjoy them a lot.
6. paint my cabinets + antique them.
7. finish my license plate bathroom.
8. de clutter my entire house...do I really need it?
9. run a 5k...I'm actually starting to enjoy running if I make it a competition with myself...you should see me in action...I always win. ;)
10. put my prints as art on my walls in canvas.
11. learn to knit something other than a scarf.  I knit a wicked scarf.
12. stop biting my nails.  I quit for awhile, but then just stopped.  the trouble is I like biting my nails.  yes, betsy.  parting the waters is something I enjoy. :)
13. update my website.  maybe a new look?  I dunno...gotta think on this one more...
14. learn what it means to brand yourself...do I need to do this, I wonder?  people talk about this a lot lately...maybe I do?
15. find ten more really cool shoot locations. 
16. to drink more water...it's boring but good for you, I hear.
17. to grow a vegetable garden.  especially tomato's + cucumbers...I like them.
18. to plant my morning glory seeds and hopefully watch them grow.
19. to become better friends with my "girls".
20. be a better friend to my "friends".
21. pray more.  and then some more.
22. to love matt in the way he loves to be loved more...not the way I think he should be loved. :)
23. to blog more :)

twenty three's a good number, no?  it was michael jordan's number...so I'd say yes...I'll probably put more, but at least it's a start.

and it wouldn't be a blogpost without a picture...so here I am...in one of my most favorite cities in the world (so far) :)  bring it on 2010.  bring it on. :)

grandma's are the best :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I cannot wait to be a grandma.  what's that you say?  I'm only 32?  well, it's a job that I'm looking forward to just the same. :)  you don't have to stay up all night if you don't want to.  you don't have to change dirty diapers if you don't want to.  you get to buy all sorts of cool things and you finally have the money for them...yes, I'd say being a grandma is going to be pretty dang cool. :)

and I'd have to say victoria is a pretty dang cool grandma!  ronda + kristy gifted this shoot to her for her birthday...so it was kristy with her twin girls, ronda with her little man + birthday girl victoria!  Happy Birthday and thanks for an amazingly fun afternoon! :)

boys times three :)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

when stephanie approached me to take pictures of her boys I was super excited and slightly astonished...mostly because she scheduled her appointment only a week after her delivery date.

a week?  oh yes, a week.

two things about that...
one, she is the coolest, most resilient mom I have ever met to date!  she most definitly has been made to have boys...and adorable boys at that! :)
and two, OF COURSE I said yes...who doesn't want to get to hold and photograph a week old newborn?!

nolan is the newest arrival to jamie + stephanie.  I loved getting photograph all the baby fold's, full head of dark hair + cutest littlest feet you will ever see!

luke is the middle man and had me giggling with him all afternoon.  he made over a hundred faces during the shoot and especially loved getting to wrestle around with his super cool older brother. :)

and caden is the oldest and is seriously one cool kid...and probably has the coolest hair I've seen on a little boy in a while. :)  he did great balancing holding nolan - ever so carefully :) - and wrestling w/ luke all while smiling perfectly at the camera...super cool kid. :)