I am so excited to share my daughter’s 10th birthday celebration and her
Hip Hop styled fashion shoot in the middle of Times Square New York City!
Believe it or not, I’m the mother of a 10 year old. I don’t know how it happened, but it happened. In keeping true to my way of parenting, we went all out and invited a friend to NYC for the weekend.
I just knew that Izzy’s yearly birthday shoot would have to really special for the big 10. I found this sequin jacket at Bloomingdales just like the one Taylor Swift wore for her 1989 tour. It’s now sold out EVERYWHERE I look. I’m so glad I didn’t procrastinate on this one. That boombox? Borrowed from the neighbor, circa 1981.
I hope she never forgets the experience! I know I won’t.
We decided to drive up since its only a few hours away, and we couldn’t get there fast enough. We stayed at the Hyatt Centric Times Square and that will be my go to place when I can’t afford the Plaza from now on;) Such an awesome hotel, huge rooms (for NYC), and steps away from all the action in Times Square. Here are some fun picks of the rest of our time there.
This shot was taken on my living room floor, next to a window. Our simple surrounding created something stunning. It’s her birthday, and every year she picks the theme and I shoot it. We finished up this shoot in about 2 minutes. After the second shot, I showed her the back of the camera and said “we got it”.
It may be the biased mother in me, but I do believe she is a naturally beautiful girl. But with every portrait, there is a little work that goes into it, to complete the art.
I’m posting the before and after’s if you were interested in seeing how I transform my photos from the unprocessed raw images to the final polished image.
SOOC (straight out of the camera)- I shoot all of my images in RAW, meaning they are completely stripped of any processing and color profiles. This is not even what I see on the back of my camera. The back of the camera shows you a rendering of the image with a camera profile applied. But it does give you an idea of what your image could look like.
After I applied toning. I am attracted to the look of film shot on Kodak Portra 160. I use this toning on almost all of my images.
Final with retouching. We are so blessed with dark under eye circles. While she looks incredible here without any retouching, it is just not my style to not polish an image. The toning and deep shadows to create the moody look we were going for over accentuated what was there. I like to say I make you look like you on your best day. I retouched under her eyes and took out a few stray hairs in her eyebrows. I also helped clean up her lips. They were so chapped and don’t normally look like that.
I had a pretty crappy start to my week.
For the past 3 years of living in our home “on the mountain”, we have owned 2 cars that fit perfectly in our garage. My husband decided that we needed a big truck to haul things since we live in the woods. He parked that big truck in the driveway. So for the past 3 years, when I’m pulling out of the driveway at 7am every morning to take my daughter to school, again, like I have EVERY morning for the PAST THREE YEARS, I don’t exactly look behind me. I sideswiped the damn truck. It had only been in the driveway for 2 days.
And like any good wife, I stormed into the house, and I was yelling, and then I started crying, and in between hysterics, I informed my husband that he was going to expand the driveway so his truck had its own parking spot and it better be done by the time I get home. (totally reasonable right?) My very understanding husband handed me a cup of coffee, told me to sit down and relax, and he drove our daughter the 40 minutes to school.
And as if some higher power wasn’t telling me to calm the hell down already, I received two boxes in the mail. They revealed two dozen gorgeous roses and the biggest chocolate covered strawberries I’ve ever had. The most touching part to me was the personal note inside the box. They were from my wonderful clients Crystal and Kyle, who married this past year!
Crystal also recently became a Realtor in Virginia for Keller Williams. If she is this thoughtful to her wedding photographer, I can only imagine how well she will take care of her clients.
Thank you so much Crystal & Kyle for being so wonderful!
I will always remember the huge glass cookie jar at my grandmother’s house in Baltimore. During the holiday’s, it would be filled with crispy & thin sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, and crumbling peanut butter cookies, marked with the crisscross pattern placed there by a fork before baking. Thankfully, no one in my family had any nut allergies!
I’m pretty sure my grandmother got her peanut butter cookie recipe from Betty Crocker, and I guess classics never go out of style. You can find the recipe HERE.
Once cooled, the practically melt in your mouth.
I don’t usually take the time for pictures of my everyday treats, but they were so beautifully crumbling on the dish. The coffee cup in the image is very important to me. I inherited by paternal grandmother’s Mikasa dishes in my early 20’s. They stayed at my sisters house on display for several years, but when she remodeled her house, she packed them back up and gave them back to me. I recently unpacked them to keep them safe in a spare cabinet I had in my kitchen and let them see the light of day again.
Every year, my daughter’s school holds an amazing trunk or treat event for Halloween. This is the first year I have remembered to NOT schedule a session so I could participate. My husband took our daughter last year, so I was trying to pick his brain for our trunk theme. As soon as he said, “we probably won’t win” it was GAME ON.
I was able to put this together in just a few hours the day before the event. It was so easy to do!
Materials for ship: 3 large moving boxes from Home Depot, black duct tape, 3 rolls of wood grain contact paper, 2 sheets of tissue paper, spray adhesive
Construction of the ship: basically, I cut open the seam of each box, opened them out on the floor side by side and taped them together. Sprayed adhesive and rolled out the contact paper. I cut out window panes and outlined it with the black duct tape. I finished it off by cutting away some of the cardboard to shape it into a ship.
Materials for mast: pvc pipe, rope, hot glue, old curtain rod, 1 yard of fabric
Construction of mast: I hot glued the rope around the pvc pipe. I wrapped some of the rope around the curtain rod to hold it to the pipe. The fabrics ends were tied onto the curtain rod. Plastic skull stuck on top of pvc. We decided it was better to just sit the mast in the trunk instead of trying to secure it to the ship.
We finished everything off by spray painting a styrofoam cooler brown as our treasure chest. We didn’t have access to an electrical outlet but lighting can really transform anything at night. We used a converter plugged into the lighter outlet in the car and plugged a LightShow projection light into that. We ran it for 4 hours on my car battery and it didn’t come anywhere close to draining my battery.
I’m showing off my little guys today, Hooper & Tanner, for National Dog Day!
This was quite the experience! We should all feel a little beautiful when putting ourselves out there for the world to see. Definitely the most makeup I have ever worn, and as I get older I’m noticing I have to use more of it. I have been really interested in glamour/fashion photography for several years now, and want to start adding more sessions to my portfolio.
I created these portraits on my own with just my little guy Hooper as my assistant.
I grabbed a few accessories and about 5 yards of pink tulle to wrap around me into a top.
Yes I am brave enough to post the before! And look at all it took to make the after! Hmmm…
I took all of these images sitting on the floor against a wall, with a self timer, 50mm 1.4 lens, and a large reflector.
When I’m feeling brave enough, I will post the before/afters of the retouching process.
Happy New Year! I honestly can’t believe that we are already into 2015.
We usually keep it pretty tame at our house on NYE. The night usually involves mismatched pj’s, ponytails and good wine. This year we decided to ditch our pj’s and glam it up. I had a ton of good chocolate left over from Christmas and pulled the fondue pot out of the cabinet. I paired that with strawberries, Bartlett pears, marshmallows, cheesecake and a few chessman cookies. It was a feast!
I have this knack in the kitchen for making up recipes and having them turn out completely edible. I am no way the next Top Chef, but no one is starving in our household. One thing I’m really good at is making up recipes that are hacks. I have a very short attention span so these kind of recipes work for me. I’m going to share a Sunday morning favorite with you. I will admit, I don’t really measure anything precisely and feel free to use more or less of the ingredients. You can also create your own hack and change the ingredients around. Blueberries and walnuts anyone?
1 can of crescent rolls
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans
2 strawberries sliced thin
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the crescent rolls to lay flat. Take a rolling pin to thin out the dough slightly and to mend the pre-cut edges.
Cut the butter into thin pieces and place all over the dough.
Sprinkle remaining ingredients to cover all of the dough.
Roll it up. Cut into sliced. I try and cut 1 1/2 inch slices, sometimes they are a little bigger. Depending on how thin you slice them, you can yield 6-8 rolls with this recipe.
Place slices in cupcake baking pan.
Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes. I have a convection oven, so mine only take 10 minutes.
Serve warm and ENJOY!
We moved to a mountain.
First of all, I am a city/beach girl. Maybe it’s an elevation thing, but I like being near sea level. Somehow, my husband convinced me this would be an awesome move for us. It could have been the five or six vineyards within 5 miles of the house that convinced me. I have to admit, the first 3 months of summer and fall living were so much fun. We went tubing on the river with friends, and we also found an incredible distillery called Sweet Shine that makes their own limoncello among several other amazing libations. On cooler fall days, my daughter and I would take walks along the river in historic Harpers Ferry and go horseback riding.
And then it all went to hell when the winter of 2014 descended upon us. I officially hate winter. I really officially hate winter living on a mountain. So I’ve decided I am done with winter and I’m embracing spring. Wait till I share images of the killer garden I have planned. I’m going to be begging people to take some of the bounty off my hands. I’m starting a few of the guys a little early so they are strong when it comes to planting time. Turns out, I don’t mind getting my hands a little dirty in the soil, even if I really prefer my toes in the sand.