Archive for ‘Photography’

June 11, 2013

Two Months to 30

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. And without going into my entire complicated train of thought, I’m going to give you what it all boiled down to: It’s finally hit me that I’m going to be 30 in two months.

Now I’ve never been one of those people who fears birthdays. To the contrary, I LOOOOOVE my birthday. I have a policy of no driving myself anywhere and no doing dishes on my special day. It’s the only day I make ridiculous demands (like this year I NEED H&H Bagels from New York for breakfast. NEEEEEEEED, people!)…granted, my husband would disagree. Despite the fact that my wedding and subsequent events made me feel self conscious, my birthday is the only day I love being the center of attention.

And this year is the big 3-0. Which is fine with me. I’m kind of excited about it actually. And up until just the other day, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

So what happened the other day, I’m sure you wonder. Well I was on the elliptical machine at the gym and I was scanning the eight or so televisions lined up hanging from the ceiling, each broadcasting a different program, and my eyes landed on a commercial. I think it was for an iPhone, but I’m not 100% sure. It portrayed these 20-somethings in different scenarios: on a college campus, in different landmark locations around the world, hanging with friends, at the gym, blah blah blah. And I realized it: I’m not one of them anymore. I’ve passed that phase of my life.

And it sort of took me to this concept of time, and I spent a few minutes feeling sad, like my opportunity to go after my dreams had passed.

Of course, that’s not true. But I feel like I spent my 20’s stagnant when I should have been out having adventures and trying new things and being a little more carefree. And then I think about all that I went through in my 20’s, all the growth and all the change and, as Jim reminds me, all the adventures I DID have. I mean I traveled to Europe and New Zealand and Hawaii and to all 50 states. I worked for a professional sports team. I got a bachelors degree. I wrote a novel. I got engaged…and broke off a six year relationship with a man I thought was my forever only to find an even better one waiting for me a few years away. I married that better man. I started writing a blog. I started a photography business. I bought a house. I’ve done a crap-ton of things in the last decade, probably more things than a lot of people my age have done.

But among the things on that list are not: living in another country…or living somewhere else in the US. Publishing a novel. Ceasing to work for my parents. … … thinking… … thinking… … I guess that’s it. I guess those are the major things I haven’t accomplished that make me feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. Wow, I’m kind of a whiner, aren’t I?

By the way, I literally just figured that out for myself. See? Writing it down does help you figure out life’s problems.

And since we have some more time in today’s regularly scheduled program, let’s check out my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30 and see how I’m doing with a little over two months to go.

Ok, so I simply copied and pasted the exact list from the “30 things to do before my 30th birthday” page.

1. Try (or create) 30 new recipes

             End of Summer Stuffed Squash

            Carrot and Fennel Soup

            Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

            Granola Balls

            Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

2. Buy a house

So excited to finally be a homeowner! Photos to come!

3. Write a(nother) novel

I’m working on this one. It’s about half done, and I’m pretty excited about it. It may be THE one! 🙂

4. Go to a storage auction (like Storage Wars only I’ve wanted to do this since I was 7 and my friend’s parents brought home a whole crap ton of treasures from one!)

– I still want to do this. I suppose I could call the place where we had out unit from the apartment and see when they do them.

5. Read 30 books

            Where we Belong by Emily Giffin  – Not her greatest, but still entertaining.

            Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch – I have never been a fan of SNL and maybe that’s why I didn’t get this book, but it was really not very entertaining to me. I wouldn’t recommend it.

            The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – This book was so hard to get into. The whole first section was a bit confusing, but by the time the second section began, I couldn’t put it down.

            The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – I enjoyed this one enough. It was sort of strange, but it kept my attention throughout the whole book. I wanted to know what was going to happen.

            The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – For the seventh time, I adore this book!

            The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – It was good..and it was not my favorite at the same time. 

            The House at Riverton by Kate Morton – I enjoyed this book far less than The Forgotten Garden, but it still kept me interested through the end.

            Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr – This book was amazingly enlightening. It made me rethink my entire life starting with what I put in my mouth on a daily basis.

            Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs – Susan Wiggs is one of my favorite authors. Her stories are relatable, yet always end happily, which I love.

6. Sell one of my photographs

– I need to try harder here. If I don’t put them out there, no one is going to buy them, right?

7. Paint pottery

This one is just a matter of doing it. There are two pla

8. Create my own signature cocktail

– Again, just need to do it. Get in the bar and mess around with some stuff!

9. Throw a party (in our new house!)

– Technically we threw Jim and 30th birthday party and we had a housewarming party. I guess that counts, but I sure want to throw a really good party still!

10. Learn to be happy with my body

I’m trying. It’s hard, but I’m getting there. Maybe not 100% in two months, but it’s a work in progre

11. Revamp my wardrobe (get rid of crap I don’t wear, update my style a tick)

Began this by getting rid of a ton of clothes, and slowly I’m building it back up with new stuff. It’s hard to save money for things like windows and vacations AND build up a new wardrobe, so this is slow going.

12. Figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life

-The neverending challenge for me. I’m getting there, though. Again, slowly. One year was a bit of a small time frame for such a goal.

13. Learn to be happy in Roseville

-Again, getting there. I’m trying to be as involved in town activities and such as I can, and it’s helping. It’s also helped that we now own a house here instead of just renting. I may never be 100% happy, but I think I can be content here…for the time being.

14. Get rid of everything I don’t need (We finally had our yard sale! So nice to have all that stuff gone!)

15. Find my perfect lipstick (inspired by my good friend, Jenny, who feels lipstick is a necessity in life)

-Another one I just need to do. Note to self: text Jenny and go to Sephora.

16. Find the perfect little black dress

– I got A black dress. It’s not THE black dress. So I need to go for take-two on this one.

17. Pay off all debts (excluding house from item 2 and car)

-Getting there! By my birthday our wedding rings will be paid off as well as almost everything that we charged before I wrote this. Since then we’ve had to make a few large purchases (mattresses and appliances) that we’re not going to be finished paying on by late August.

18. Try one of the crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest

-Still need to do this.

19. Take a photo that really makes me go “wow”

-I take a lot of photos of people. And a lot of them catch my breath, but the one I’m thinking of isn’t going to be of a person…see? I might just be too critical of my own accomplishments…how many times now have I written “I did this, but it wasn’t good enough to cross off the list”….oy. Gotta work on that.

20. Go hiking in Yosemite

-Probably not going to accomplish this one, but hey, I’ve got two months!

21. Purchase a nice (non-Ikea) piece of furniture 

master bedroom3

22. Read a whole book in one day

-Oh, to have time for stuff like that these days…

23. Learn the live completely in the moment (starting with practicing mindful breathing and meditation)

-I think this is going to be another work in progress item. It takes time!

24. Take a class with Jim (maybe a cooking class, maybe a photography class or a tennis class, to be determined)

-Just gotta do it…

25. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet

-Jim learned how to do this one and showed me…although I have yet to do it for myself.

26. Compile a cookbook of my most-cooked recipes

-I’ve been doing this on the blog, but not in a book format

27.  I need to come up with something new because I couldn’t donate my hair to Locks of Love

28. Get a dog This is Katie!

29. Take a yoga class My sister-in-law and I have been going to yoga for about two months now and we love it!

30. Have an amazing 30th birthday

 

So there you have it. Progress for the most part. I haven’t really given up on any of them, and I sure have a lot to do in the next two months!

Is anyone else turning 30 this year? Do you have a list like this? Does anyone turning a different age have a list?

May 30, 2013

Ten things to be happy about 5/30/12

I haven’t written one of these posts in a while. I’m not really sure why. But I thoroughly enjoy them and it’s a good practice in gratitude, which everyone can use a healthy dose of every now and then.

 

1. My  brother is bringing me Starbucks! I can’t wait. I am seriously dragging today.

2. Tonight is yoga! When we started, I was nervous about the heat because the place we go to basically only does classes with some amount of heat. It’s been okay, though. I’ve actually been really enjoying it.

3. This weekend is my friend Stephanie’s bachelorette party! We rented a house and we’re spending the weekend relaxing, eating delicious food, and doing all sorts of girly fun stuff.

4. I am almost finished editing photos from Jim’s dad’s wedding! And they turned out pretty great. I’m happy with them. This is one of my favorites so far.

jim and nancy

5. My friend Reanna and I are Costco shopping for the weekend today. I know maybe that makes me kind of lame, but I love Costco!

6. Jim and I are going to Alaska this year! We’ll be spending the 4th of July there as well as attending a wedding of close family friends of mine. I’m beyond excited! Below is one of my favorite photos from our last trip in 2009…too long ago.

alaska1

7. I joined a new book club! Two might be a bit to keep up with, but that’s okay. Just another excuse to read more! And I’m really excited about meeting and getting to know a new group of girls. You can never have too many friends…or read too many books!

8. We got a new juicer! Not that there was anything wrong with our old juicer. We’re donating it to a friend, and we upgraded. Our new one can do more greens and also can make almond butter and ice cream, which is really exciting!

juicer

9. I made a really yummy quinoa salad two nights ago. We’ve been eating it for dinner the past two nights, and I have it for lunch today. Just another hour and a half! P.S. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

10. I got my wedding ring cleaned yesterday! And its so shiny and pretty today.  It’s an amethyst, so it’s purple, and when it’s clean the stone turns to such a dark color. It’s almost like a different ring.

Your turn! What are some things you’re really happy about today?

May 6, 2013

Summertime White Sangria

I love sangria. Jim loves it too, and whenever we go to Mexican restaurants that serve it, we get a glass…or a pitcher, whatever.

I’ve always wanted to try making my own, but never have had the patience to let it sit overnight and all that. But when we decided to have people over for fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

I searched through our wine “cellar” for a relatively inexpensive bottle of red that I didn’t mind sacrificing (of course there was the potential that this would turn out horribly and waste an entire bottle of wine), and unfortunately I came up short. I didn’t have a single bottle of red wine that I wanted to turn into sangria. So I switched gears. We had TONS of bottles of white because we both enjoy red just a little bit better (until summer comes around anyway), so I decided to make some sangria out of white wine instead.

We popped open a bottle of Rome Valley Vineyards‘ Chardonnay and started making magic!

sangria1b

Summertime White Sangria

The beauty of sangria is that you can pretty much put whatever fruit into it that you want. I mean sure there’s a traditional recipe, but you can make something completely delicious and unique to your own taste just as easily. I used a handful of different fruits we already had on hand.

2 oranges, sliced

1 lime, sliced

5 strawberries, cut in half, tops removed

5 thin slices of rhubarb

2 shots of triple sec

I bottle of chardonnay (you can use whatever white wine you like or have on hand)

Sparkling water (Mine was lime scented, and I used about 36 ounces, but you can taste as you go. It’s not a science)

Pour your wine into a pitcher. Add fruit and triple sec. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight or for several hours. The longer, the better. When you’re ready to serve, pour in the sparkling water. Serve ice cold in your most beautiful glasses, garnished with extra fruit.

sangria3b

It turned out pretty dern delicious, if I don’t say so myself. Originally I wanted to use limes, raspberries and peaches, but they only had limes at our local grocery store…you know, the only one open at 10:30 when I decided I wanted to attempt this endeavor. I think I’ll try that combination next time. I’ve also heard people use ginger ale instead of the sparkling water and it gives it more flavor. I didn’t want the added sugar (or high fructose corn syrup. Yuck!), so I will probably always stick with the water.

sangria2b

Also this weekend, I finally got to play around with my new camera. It does a pretty good job, eh? Here are a few of my favorite shots of Katie that I took. She’s a hard dog to photograph, let me tell you! She’s like my brother when it comes to taking her picture. She always turns away from the camera! So the fact that I got these ones was a miracle in and of itself!

black lab

Isn’t she cute? Just chilling in the grass.

katie2b

This one I made a funny sound at her, so she tilted her head as if to ask “what the heck was that?!”

I hope everyone is having a happy Monday! Or at least a not-sucky Monday as Mondays can be pretty challenging.

Have you ever tried making sangria before? If so, did you use a recipe or did you just wing it like I did?

April 25, 2013

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles and a little update

I love Thai food. Jim does not. I mean he’ll eat it every once in a while, but we don’t go out for it nearly as much as I’d like to. So when I decided to make a Thai-inspired dish for dinner last night, I was a bit apprehensive. I needn’t have worried, though, because Jim loved it. And I think you will too.

thai noodles1

This really is the simplest dish to make. Which is a good thing because Jim and I got home late last night. And honestly, I’m super proud of myself because in the past, after an hour and a half yoga class followed by grocery shopping and returning home after 8 p.m., I would have abandoned my dinner plans and picked something up while we were out instead of cooking. We would have spent more money and inevitably put crap into our bodies that we didn’t want there.

I must be making progress. This new lifestyle Jim and I have been living must be working. That alone is proof of it.

Anyway, I promised you a recipe and taunted you with a photo, so here we go! The update can wait.

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you can use whatever oil you want, I just like the sesame flavor for this dish)

1 tbsp red curry paste (more if you want…or less. But don’t worry, it’s not that spicy)

1 heaping tbsp peanut butter

A few squirts of Sriracha sauce

1/2 can coconut milk (I used full-fat for a creamier texture, you could probably use lite too if you wanted)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

As many veggies as you can stand, cut into spearish shapes (I used carrots, zucchini, little mushroom guys, broccoli and spring onion)

Handful of rice noodles (again, use as much or as little as you want)

Water for boiling

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add noodles and leave them while you do the rest of your preparations.

Heat oil in a large pan. Add red curry paste. Mix it all around and let them mingle for a moment. Add your firmer veggies (carrots, onions and broccoli for me). Let them saute for a few minutes. Add more oil if you need to.  Add the rest of the veggies and saute for about a minute. Add veggie broth. Cover and let the steam cook your veggies a little bit more, maybe 2 minutes. Remove lid. Add coconut milk. Let the milk warm, about a minute. Stir in the peanut butter and Sriracha. If you like it a little thinner, add more  broth.

Drain the noodles and divide them between your bowls. Spoon vegetables and sauce over noodles. Enjoy!

 

thai noodles2

*Note: This recipe is very versatile, and you’re not going to mess it up by changing things, adding things, etc. Jim likes his extra spicy, so he added a bunch more Sriracha. If I’d had some cilantro, I probably would have put some on top to garnish. You could add shrimp or chicken if you feel it lacking in protein. I actually sprinkled a little bit of salt into mine. You could add soy sauce. It’s not terribly Thai, but then again, I don’t think salt is either. I don’t claim to be any kind of an ethnic cook. That’s why I said this recipe is Thai-inspired.

We both thoroughly enjoyed this meal. There was some sauce leftover, so we’re excited about using it with some brown rice and veggies on nosh night this weekend.

A Little Update

As of April 18th, Jim and I have been juicing, eating mostly vegan, avoiding caffeine, working out weeks we don’t juice, getting enough sleep, I’ve started doing yoga, and overall putting our health before anything and everything else. Mostly. Hey! We’re not perfect! And honestly in those moments of imperfection, I’ve paid dearly. For the pizza and alcohol I consumed last weekend, my tummy paid all Saturday night and most of Sunday. For the hash brown casserole we ate all day the Saturday before, I paid dearly. And when I finish this lovely soy latte my amazing little brother brought me at work (and forgot to get decaf) I’ll be paying dearly this afternoon with jitters, a racing mind and a need to run nine miles. My body is losing it’s ability to handle having crap inside of it. I’m healing!

But mostly, I feel amazing.

I have energy. And without a daily morning latte!

I have a clear mind. I have control over my mind.

I have motivation. To workout. To eat well. To write. To work on my business. To do crafts and hobbies I lost the will to do long ago.

I have a positive attitude. Even about this job which drives me mad but is necessary for, well, every thing.

I have confidence. I KNOW I can succeed. At yoga. At photography. At getting my novel published (you know, once it’s finished).  At losing weight. At being a good wife. Maybe even someday a good mother.

I’ve lost 12 lbs.

I’m happy. Content. Looking forward to the rest of my life. Looking forward to seeing my husband tonight, to going fishing with him on Sunday. To my lovely friend Stephanie’s bridal shower this weekend. And her wedding in June!

I’ve never felt so good in my life.

And that’s your little update for today.

And while I’m feeling so damn positive, what’s your favorite thing about life right now? Anything. Tiny or huge. Share with me!

January 21, 2013

Granola Balls!

I think we’ve got it all wrong. We should be working two days a week and have five days to play and having fun and work on our projects and bake and whatever else we fancy. I know that’s more or less a ridiculous idea, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about work lately, about how this job was always supposed to be temporary, something to get me to the next phase of my professional life, which, in seven and a half years since I graduated from college, just hasn’t happened. After contemplating it a little (and freaking out a lot), I came to the conclusion that there are three reasons why I stay at this job, which doesn’t satisfy me in the least: #1. The money. Isn’t it always a little bit about money when you dislike your job? #2. I DO enjoy working with my brother…most of the time…when he’s not throwing office equipment. and #3, the biggest of them all: I don’t know what else to do.

Sure, I enjoy certain things that have the potential to become money-making endeavors: photography, writing, baking. But none of them are go-out-and-apply-for-the-job type careers. They take time to cultivate into something that can translate into our mortgage payment. And I’ve never been patient. And honestly, I have a hard time taking an idea and converting it into action. I get the brilliant beginnings and then they fizzle out, seeming to hit a mental brick wall in my brain.

And now I’ve started ranting about it and you probably think I have some profound conclusion to present to you now. I’ve figured it out! Right? But alas, I haven’t. All I got for you is a pretty cool recipe for what I’m calling “granola balls.” Jim helped me come up with the name. They’re kind of my take on like protein or energy balls, but Jim likes to eat granola bars for breakfast, so I told him they’re granola balls so the transition would be easier for him.

granola balls1

Granola Balls!

(yes, they do have an ! at the end)

makes approximately 16 balls…if you don’t eat about a ball’s worth while you’re mixing

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tbps honey

3 tbsp protein powder

handful of chocolate chips

handful of shredded coconut

Mix and mash and smush it all together. Roll into balls. Enjoy!

As for that other stuff we talked about today, I’ll keep you posted. I think I’m beyond the freaking out phase and into the lets-get-something-done phase. It’s hard for me. But I can do it. Just keep telling myself that, right? I can do it!

 

Any photographers, writers or bakery owners out there have any advise for me on how to run a successful business in those fields?

October 17, 2012

One year down, the rest of our lives to go

I know, I know. I promised you a full report when we got back from our anniversary weekend, but things got a little crazy in the meantime. Jim gave us about half an hour to eat lunch when we got home from Monterey before we were off with our realtor looking at more houses. She had six lined up for us and boy were we striking out.

The first one was…weird. That’s the best we could describe it. Not bad. Just weird. Like you walk in from the street to what is essentially the back yard, with a pool and a patio and a bbq area. We then walked around the other side of the house, looking for the front door, but all we found was a small patch or tan bark surrounding the walkway…we’re talking a few feet from the fence to the house. The door was there, but it was…yea, weird. We went inside and into the first bedroom to the right. It had double closets, which was nice….but in the back of the second one was a door…to the next room, the den, basically. Weird, right? The kitchen was nice, good size. The living space was…big…and there was a little..sunroom? except there was no door, so it was more like a nook of windows…it was…yea, you guessed it. Weird. The master was small. Master bath was small. Overall, it wasn’t bad. We didn’t cross it off the list…not till later. But I’m getting there.

Next we saw two foreclosures on the other side of town, the side I don’t want to be on. I gave it a chance. It struck out. What can I say? These houses were AWFUL. Completely trashed, needed so much work AND priced way too high for us to even consider.

There were two houses in Rocklin. One the owners accepted a cash offer pretty much as we were on our way there and the other one, it ended up they weren’t ready to show it yet.

The last house we saw was in central Roseville, pretty much on the very edge between “I won’t live there” and “I’ll consider it for the right house.” We drove up and I wasn’t impressed yet. It is painted a pretty icky brown. But paint isn’t permanent and it really isn’t a huge deal to me. I just don’t care that much. What I did love at first sight was the red door. I have always told Jim I want a red door…in the past we even joked about him buying me a red door for our future house. So this red door was promising.

Once inside we found ourselves facing a lovely open floor plan, three bedrooms, a beautifully updated kitchen (in the exact color scheme I would have chosen myself) a really cool little den with french doors and a cute little backyard, a tiny bit smaller than we were hoping for, but it’ll do.

We put an offer in that night. They accepted the next morning. We had the contract by that afternoon and I was in the loan guy’s office the next morning signing paperwork. That being said, we’re in escrow! We just had the home inspection last night and there are no major problems. The house isn’t falling down or rotting from the inside out, so we’re moving forward. Appraisal should be next week and that’s pretty much our last major hump. As long as it appraises at or above what we offered, we’re moving forward!

So that’s why I haven’t posted about our anniversary yet. I haven’t had time to sit down and edit photos, mostly. And my brain has been on overdrive. Anyway, better late than never right?

The actual date of our anniversary was Monday October 8th, so we decided to take a long weekend, starting in Santa Cruz for a night with Jim’s grandparents.

Highlights of night one:

Hours of enjoyable conversation with the grandparents

Delicious dessert crepes at The Crepe Place (which won out over ice cream at Marianne’s because Jim hates the crowd and The Crepe Place has an amazing outside garden patio area)

Rescuing a cat from under the house

Grandma’s scalloped potatoes

In the morning, we started south for Monterey and stopped at one of Jim’s favorite beaches, Seacliff State Beach.

Toward the end of World War I, when the country was facing steel shortages, this ship, as well as two others like it were built of cement, but weren’t finished until the war ended. This ship, the Palo Alto, was towed here and settled into the bottom and became an amusement attraction with a dance floor, heated pool, cafe and other such concessions. The company that owned it went broke after two seasons and it was stripped and left to the seagulls. (source)

Its kind of sad, really.  It just sits there, half sunk and stinking like seals and seagull poop. We didn’t stay long. Just long enough to take some photos before climbing back up the 150 steps (yes, I counted) to the parking lot.

Once back on the road, it took us close to an hour to get to Monterey. We settled into our room and walked down to the wharf.

You like my gettin all crazy with my saturation? I think it looks cool.

Ok, real time now. This was our view at dinner. Not too shabby, eh?

It just occurred to me that I didn’t take any actual photos of the wharf. Oh, well. I did get this shot of Jim with our appetizer course before dinner (we had an hour before our dinner reservation and we were STARVED).

I know San Francisco is supposed to be The Man when it comes to clam chowder, but I’m not sure they’ve got Monterey beat. The next day we had another bread bowl from a different restaurant and we couldn’t tell which was better they were both so dang delicious…and different.

And I did get this photo of me trying on a cool mask in a store.

That night we picked up a bottle of wine from a little boutique wine shop after chatting wine with the owner for like half an hour. He was cool, knew his local stuff. We also stopped at the chocolate shop along the way and grabbed some dessert to go with our wine.

Don’t these look delish? Mine were the one with the jelly bean on top. It had peanut butter inside and the s’mores one with the graham crumbs on top. Jim’s were peach and coconut…also in the photo above you can see my dark caramel marshmallow and Jim’s key lime which were eaten before the photo below was taken.

The wine was so-so. A little dry for my taste, but it was drinkable.

The next day we went to the aquarium, Jim’s favorite part of Monterey. We were a little early, so we went to look at the bay and finish our coffee.

Jim doesn’t let me take many pictures of him…or us together for that matter. He gets so annoyed. So I’m going to post all four of them.

The first place we went was the penguins because they were being fed right as the aquarium was opening. This is my favorite shot. It’s blurred because he’s diving, but I love the spray of bubbles behind him and how just smooth he seems to be slicing through the water.

From there we went to check out a few other feedings, including the puffins. The one in the bottom left of the photo below was heading toward the door where the guy eventually came out with food. He sure knew where his meals came from!

My favorites are the jellies, I think. They’re so pretty and so bright and colorful. I don’t know, though. Seahorses are pretty dern cool too. They look so peaceful and serene…and also a bit mystical, like they might not exist outside of a fantasy or something.

The rest of the day we spent just sort of roaming around by the aquarium and resting. We got a couples massage, which I think is pretty overrated. There’s not much special about simply being massaged in the same room. Although I’m not sure what else I expected. Then we had a relatively early dinner, followed by another trip to the chocolate shop.

Dinner was interesting. We bought a living social deal for the hotel, which included a room, a spa credit and a restaurant credit. Well the restaurant was Spanish inspired, so they served tapas, which I’ve had only once before and Jim’s never had. It was interesting. And delicious and we would definitely do it again!

Grilled peaches with goat cheese and spinach and a tomato tart. I didn’t get a photo before we devoured our first course: hardboiled egg with shrimp and something spicy, watermelon with feta and fig and goat cheese toasts. Oh man, I want some just writing about it!

Free “Happy Anniversary” chocolate cake with raspberry gelato!

After dinner was the most special, though. No! Not like that.

On the last evening of our honeymoon in Santorini, we shared a delicious bottle of wine and watched the sunset over the Aegean Sea.

For Jim’s birthday last year, my mom bought (Read:imported) him a bottle and we decided to save it for our one year anniversary.

The next morning we left Monterey around 9:30, got home just after noon, ate lunch and met Kia to look at houses! And you know the rest.

September 14, 2012

Sooooo cute!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing two of the cutest kids ever! Bekah and I have been friends for several years. Even before her son, Logan, was born.  Bekah’s on the far right on the photo below, and she had just given birth to her daughter, Sabrina, a couple of weeks earlier. Sabrina actually turns 1 year old today. Happy Birthday, Sabrina!

And, since I don’t have heaps more to share with you today (I made a delicious smoothy this morning, but it looked slightly like baby poop, so I didn’t want to take photos…but maybe I’ll include the recipe below. We’ll see), I decided I’ll share some of the photos from the shoot instead.

Logan and Sabrina

Aren’t they cute? We had so much fun playing at the park, dressing up a little, snapping a few shots. That’s my favorite way to shoot kids (that sounds so awful!). Just let them be themselves and have fun and I’ll capture the moment. I feel you get the most genuine representation of their personalities that way. And isn’t that what we are aiming to do? Remember them at this age? Anyway, here are a few more. Enjoy! And happy Friday!

September 13, 2012

30 things to do before my 30th birthday

Last month I turned 29. I am not like most people when it comes to birthdays. I freaking love mine! I love that there’s a day that’s just mine and I don’t have to drive or pay or do dishes. I can’t change the fact that it comes around once a year, so why fight it?

Lil Man helping me finish my birthday ice cream…

But this was the last of my twenty-something birthdays. So far I don’t feel like that carries any kind of stigma, at least not for me. I know people tend to go bat-shit crazy when they turn 30, 40, 50…you know, the milestones after 21. But for now, I don’t feel like the world is going to end or that I’ll be instantly rocketed into senility. That being said, I do realize it’s a milestone and it’s caused me to reflect on my prior 28 years and nineteen days and I’ve made a list: 30 things to do before I turn 30. It’s more fun stuff than crazy “Oh my god, I haven’t DONE THIS!” type of stuff, and while I’d love to finish it, it won’t completely screw up my life if I don’t. It’s for fun, for motivation, a little bit of enrichment and some of them are just so I can say I did.

Without further adieu, the list!

30 things to do before I turn 30

(This list can also be found in a tab at the top of the page!)

1. Try 30 new recipes

2. Buy a house

3. Write a(nother) novel

4. Go to a storage auction (like Storage Wars only I’ve wanted to do this since I was 7 and my friend’s parents brought home a whole crap ton of treasures from one!)

5. Read 30 books

6. Sell one of my photographs

7. Paint pottery

8. Create my own signature cocktail

9. Throw a party (in our new house!)

10. Learn to be happy with my body

11. Revamp my wardrobe (get rid of crap I don’t wear, update my style a tick)

12. Figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life

13. Learn to be happy in Roseville

14. Get rid of everything I don’t need

15. Find my perfect lipstick (inspired by my good friend, Jenny, who feels lipstick is a necessity in life)

16. Find the perfect little black dress

17. Pay off all debts (excluding house from item 2 and car)

18. Try one of the crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest

19. Take a photo that really makes me go “wow”

20. Go hiking in Yosemite

21. Purchase a nice (non-Ikea) piece of furniture

22. Read a whole book in one day

23. Learn the live completely in the moment

24. Take a class with Jim (maybe a cooking class, maybe a photography class or a tennis class, to be determined)

25. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet

26. Compile a cookbook of my most-cooked recipes

27. Cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love

28. Get a dog

29. Take a yoga class

30. Have an amazing 30th birthday

So there ya have it. They’re not all amazingly exciting or anything. Some are downright boring and serious, but these are the things I hope to accomplish in the next year. I’ll keep you up to date as I tick them off.

June 1, 2012

weddings and allergies and acupuncture, oh my!

My life has been in kind of a whirl-wind lately. And as I type that, I know I’m searching for excuses as to why I haven’t posted in over a week. All I can tell you is that I’ve opened wordpress a handful of times, stared at the blank screen for hours (between doing other things at work, of course) before giving up and closing the window, vowing to try again tomorrow.

It probably hasn’t helped that I haven’t stopped moving in over three weeks. I haven’t had a weekend where I could just sit back and relax and recharge for the next week. Sure, we spent last weekend at my family’s house in Shelter Cove, but between packing and cooking and walking around at the tide pools and the 11 hours of driving there and back, it’s a fun weekend, but not necessarily a relaxed one.

I’m not saying that the past several weeks haven’t been good either. They, for the most part, have been very good. Last Wednesday I photographed my first wedding. (I’m gonna sprinkle some photos in between my text)

It was stressful at times, but it went really well. The bride and groom and their families were amazing. So friendly, so easy to be around. No one was cranky or weddingzilla-y at all.

I had my first round of acupuncture last week, and another one this week. It’s a big thing for me because I hate needles. Hate them. And I realized that the reason I hate them is that nervy feeling you get when they go in. Well, that’s what acupuncture is all about. So I more or less dislike it. I know it’s going to help me feel better, and I’m going to keep going, but I don’t enjoy it. I’m hoping I’ll grow to though. My mom has been doing it for a while, and she enjoys it. Maybe I just need to get over the initial newness of it. I’ll keep ya posted.

And since I don’t have any acupuncture photos to share, I’ll post ya another wedding photo.

I am also kind of still getting used to eating things without wheat and corn. In and of itself, the change isn’t hard. I’ve been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, straight up. I’ve found some crackers I like and I’ve been packing string cheese and bard boiled eggs to take to work. With the hypoglycemia, I’ve pretty much eliminated the concept of “lunch” and snack on what I pack throughout the day.

What’s hard is making dinner. I’m still experiencing a lot of fatigue, and dinner has always been my hardest part of the day. I can’t tell you how many pizzas we’ve ordered in the past simply because I was too tired to cook (and Jim was coming home at 8-9 pm every night).  I can’t do that anymore. I have to think it through, I have to have ingredients on hand. I need to find some time to make up a bunch of tomato-basil pancakes to throw in the freezer so I can just pull them out and heat them up when I feel like I can’t cook.

Last night after the acupuncture rendered me more or less useless, I lied on my bed wondering what the heck I was going to eat for dinner, straining my brain, like so many other nights recently, to come up with something easy based on what I had in the fridge and cabinets.

I would up throwing together a little “Breakfast for dinner” of sorts. I threw some potatoes and butternut squash into a pan with some olive oil and spices, then added zucchini, onion and peppers once they were almost done. I mixed in some vinaigrette dressing and some dijon mustard and topped it with two poached eggs, 1/4 of avocado and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese..oh and salt and pepper. I thought it turned out pretty tasty for a meal thrown together with only half of my brain engaged.

(this photo looks kind of funny with all the wedding ones. lol)

With any luck, I’ll get a little relaxation out of this weekend, although I doubt it’ll be much. It’s funny because when we’ve had a long string of boring, sit-at-home style weekends, I wish like crazy we had something to do, somewhere to be. But now that I have just that…all I want is to sit at home! Jim and I haven’t had a Sunday afternoon nosh on the couch with a Nancy Drew game or reruns of Storage Wars in months.

This weekend I have to test out gluten-free strawberry cake for the cupcakes I’m making for Tucker’s 1st birthday party next weekend. Then on Sunday Jim plays basketball and we have an event to go to at the vineyard. I feel like I may be able to sneak a few hours of relaxation in on Saturday. Although I do need to go grocery shopping and plan meals for next week, so I don’t end up in a frenzy like I did this week.

I’m hoping that my weeks start slowing down a little. I miss spending time with my blog (and with other people’s blogs! I’ve had no time for reading either!) And sleeping. I miss that too…..

Happy weekend, everyone!

May 25, 2012

Where did this week go?

It’s Friday. Did you know that? I certainly didn’t! What a crazy, busy, stressful, fun, hectic week!

But now that its coming to a close, the relaxing portion of our scheduled programming can being! Jim and I am his brother’s family are going to my family’s house in Shelter Cove for the holiday weekend.

This is the only photo I could find of the house. It was from….2004? When it was still being built. That’s my mom, me and my brother…well, our heads at least! (I’ll post some more photos at the end of the weekend)

I’m excited to get up there and crash. The house is beautiful and the architect designed it so you can see the ocean from every room (he actually was on his way into retirement and decided to do this one last job…he was stoked. that’s how fabulous the house is). I packed my rice crust pizza and some gluten-free snacks, which I will be eating while the others have delicious fish burgers and the Cove’s most amazing pizza (after last night’s run in with tempura shrimp –read: covered in flour– I’m pretty okay with the not repeating this morning’s misery). We have pleeeeenty of wine and I’m making some gluten free brownies…or maybe cookies…before we leave this afternoon.

I just can’t wait! Only one more hour of work!

To recap my week a little bit (because I know you’re curious {gee there are a lot of parenthesis in this post!}), I had a wedding to photograph on Wednesday, for which I was preparing most of Monday and Tuesday evening. I tried acupuncture for the first time yesterday. I’ll tell you more about that later.

I guess that’s really all. But coming off a nonstop weekend, it felt like pure madness.

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely and relaxing (or not, as long as it’s fun) weekend! If you need me, I’ll be at the beach!