Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Winter Sunday

Mornings have been extra cuddly around these parts lately. Steven was not thrilled when I reached for my camera immediately after waking and snapped a few pictures, but I love soft winter morning light, and the feeling of sleepy cuddles these photos bring. These were shot on my Nikon F2 Film SLR with Fuji400H film.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

When Doubt Finds You, Do What You Love.


What a troublesome little word to accompany an equally troublesome emotion. It’s something we all experience; we doubt the weatherman when he says it’s going to rain on Tuesday, or we doubt the extravagant tales of that one friend who everyone knows likes to embellish. Sometimes we doubt spiritual or moral ideas we grew up being told were truth.

Most of all, I think we doubt ourselves. 
I experience feelings of self-doubt on a pretty regular basis.  Are my dreams too ambitious? Am I kidding myself? Do I really have what it takes? Why can’t I just be happy with what I have?
These questions find me often, and I’m fairly certain they find their way to most people who have ambitious goals and dreams.  
Ambition can be terrifying because it creates room for failure, and the last thing anyone wants to do is fail.

As you may know, I started up a photography business late in 2012. I was living in Germany, and the lack of competition there had my business flourishing quickly and unexpectedly. I returned to the US in early 2013 and quickly discovered that apparently every other person on the planet had a photography business of their own, and were willing to charge less and do more than I knew I could to support myself and my family. Feelings of self-doubt began to manifest, causing me to question my talents, my choices, my purpose.    

At the end of a long week that didn’t go as planned, I picked up my Nikon F2 which had not been touched in some time, loaded it up with some film and decided, quite randomly, to go for a walk. It was below freezing outside with slick layer of ice coating most of the sidewalks, and the area just around my apartment building is not the most picturesque for photo taking to begin with.  Still, I was curious to test out my new light meter and actually struggled to remember the last time I took photos simply because I genuinely wanted to.

I was freezing by the end of it, but I spent about an hour alone outside, just me and my camera.
It wasn’t just fun - it was invigorating. Refreshing. Wonderful.  I returned to my apartment feeling inspired and engaged. The pictures didn’t even turn out that well! It didn’t matter. The time helped me remember what I loved to do and why I loved to do it.  

The blog world is heavily populated by entrepreneurs, which is part of the reason I love blogging so very much. Hopefully there are a few reading this who can relate. It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer, or a writer, a fashion or graphic designer, a florist, an artist. You are a creative, and you’ve chosen your field because you love to create!  Paint. Sketch. Write. Design - it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing it for you and no one else.

When doubt finds you, do what you love and remember why you love it.   

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Featured: The Ice Queen

Those who follow me on Instagram are probably sick to death of this already, for which I apologize, but I'm excited to announce that this shoot I styled & photographed at the Midway Ice Castles a few weeks ago has been featured on Fab You Bliss.  Pretty cool, right? Check out additional photos and learn more about the shoot on my Photo Blog if you're interested! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Perfectly Cook a Steak

I used to be afraid to make steak. It seemed too fancy, too easy to screw up. I'd eaten enough dry, flavorless steak to think that it would be difficult to get right.

One day when I was feeling particularly brave, I proved myself WAY wrong. It is so, unbelievably easy to make a good restaurant-quality steak that is to-die-for good. And, believe me, it REALLY is to-die-for good. With great cuts of steak sometimes selling at my local Sprouts (my favorite place to buy meat and produce) for only about $4 to $5 a steak, and an unbelievably quick prep/cook time of about 10-15 minutes, there really was no excuse not to be cooking up a romantic meals that would totally knock my husband's socks off.

This method has been tried and tested by me about ten times. I promise, it works.

The secret is pan-roasting. 

But Daryl, What's pan-roasting? 

Pan roasting is the super-easy technique of searing a steak in a pan on the stove on both sides before finishing it off to cook in the oven. This gets you that irresistible dark brown crust that traps in all of the juices in its heavenly, just-pink-enough center.

print recipe

Unbelievable Pan Roasted Steak - A Foolproof Recipe
I promise you, it will blow your mind. The simple recipes always do.
  • 1 per person Top Sirloin Steak
  • 1 Liberal Drizzle Olive Oil
  • 1 Pinch Kosher Salt
  • To Taste Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 Pat Butter
1. Drizzle your stakes with a liberal amount of olive oil. Rub oil all over the steaks with clean hands.

2. Sprinkle one side with cracked black pepper and kosher salt (I like to use sea salt,) to taste, on just one side.

3. Set your steaks to the side. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and heat up a heavy-bottomed pan on medium high heat on the stove.

4. Put a little bit of butter or olive oil in your pan. Add your steaks, seasoned side down. Leave the heat on high. There should be an immediate loud sizzling. Be careful of spitting oil and don't be afraid of the steaks - this is normal Do NOT move the steak around after it's been placed in the pan, this will keep the crust we want from forming. Sprinkle the unseasoned side with salt and pepper. Cook for about three minutes on medium high to high heat.

5. Cook for three more minutes on the other side.

6. Remove from heat and move to your heated oven (375 degrees) and roast the steaks in the oven for about 4-10 minutes. You will need to watch them here - if they are thinner steaks, four minutes will be about perfect for steaks cooked medium. Thicker steaks will need more time. Check back often. If I'm in doubt, I leave the steaks in for less time - they can always go back in the oven if they're too rare. See the "tips" section at the end of this post for more information about meat temps.

7. Pull the pan carefully from the oven, remove onto a plate and tent with foil. Let the meat rest for about five minutes. The meat needs to sit for a few minutes before cutting in order to trap the juices inside.

8. Top with a pat of butter. This will melt all over the steak and add to the flavor. If you're feeling really fancy, use a compound herb butter!

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

Monday, February 10, 2014

California Mountainside

Believe it or not, these are the views from my parents home in the mountains of Tehachapi, California. I'm blown away by it every time we go to visit. I'd love to do a couples shoot up here some time, too bad it's three hours outside of everyone I know in Los Angeles, and a twenty minute drive up a mountain to get there!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Day Job

| Skirt: J. Crew | Blouse: Anthropologie | Bracelet: OIA Jules | Purse: ALDO | Shoes: Nine West | 

It occurred to me the other day that I haven't spent any time on this here space talking about what I do all day long, five days a week.  When I first moved to Salt Lake City, I searched around for a job - just something to hold me over until I gained a photography clientele and my business took off.

The business did take off, but the job I found turned out to be pretty amazing on its own, so now....I'm trying to figure out how to balance both, because I can't imagine not doing either!

I work for a company called the Beauty Industry Group. It's an umbrella company made up of several smaller beauty related companies - hair extensions, eyelash extensions, cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, you name it. It is based out of a fun, artsy warehouse space in downtown Salt Lake.

My official job title is Accounts Manager. Basically, what this means is I maintain relationships with all of our major accounts and make sure they have everything they need. I also get to travel around a whole bunch to work at trade shows and meet amazing stylists and vendors! So far I've already traveled from Utah to Birmingham, Alabama and Long Beach, CA. On the agenda this year is New York, Chicago, Houston, Orlando, Las Vegas, and more. It is honestly a blast and a dream come true.

I'm still in the process of figuring out how to manage a lifestyle in which I am a student (yep, still chugging away at that degree!) a small business owner, a wife, AND a successful "career woman," for lack of a better term. It's just about as hard as it sounds - maybe a little harder, but as of right now I'm loving it and loving my life.

What do you do for work? Love it? Hate it? Just "meh" it?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

America IS Beautiful: An Open Letter to the Internet.

The following blog post is written not only in response to the above commercial, but a response to all of the responses it's received since it aired. The internet lit up with negative responses after Coca Cola's commercial featuring America the Beautiful sung in numerous languages aired during the Superbowl on Sunday. My twitter feed was clogged with angry tweets directed at Coca Cola for tarnishing the ultra-american icon that is coke by using languages of "foreigners" to sing a patriotic, undoubtedly American song.

These tweets and facebook posts got me pretty fired up. Fired up enough to post some of them here. I highly considered blurring the tweeter's names, but decided that they put their tweets out into the world to be seen, so I should let them be seen in their entirety. Behold:

** Added Snark-Note: America the Beautiful is not the national anthem. Now who's unpatriotic? **

  **Added snark-note: I really hope they don't believe that American is a language and they're just being ironic?** 

To these last ones, the first thing I have to say is simply:

But now that that's out of the way, there are a few things I'd like to address here.

I APPLAUD Coca Cola for their beautifully made and touching commercial. This is coming from a girl who rarely drinks soda at all because I think the chemicals in there are the devil. But as far as commercials go, I think this one is top notch.

I can't believe I actually have to say this and it's not just painfully obvious, but America, believe it or not, is a country of immigrants.  It is one of the youngest countries on earth, because all (excluding native-americans, who were treated very poorly by us I might add) of its residents came from somewhere else. We arrived speaking all sorts of different languages, and representing all sorts of different cultures that are vibrant and beautiful and still alive to this day.

I feel like this is the most basic concept in the world, but I'm going to spell it out:

+ You do not have to be white to be an American.

+ English does not have to be your first language to be an American.

+ You do not have to speak English at all to be an American.

+ Languages that you, as an American, do not understand are not automatically "the languages of terrorists." The last time I checked, terrorism did not have an official language. Actually, neither does America. 

I could go on. I could rant about the sense of entitlement I feel so many Americans seem to carry with them, as though other cultures are beneath them and unworthy. I could reference the time my college history teacher announced that "The US government is the best in the world," but had no real way to back up her statement when asked why. I could condemn these people for racism and bigotry.

But, better than that, I just want to wrap this up and say that I love you. I love you regardless of what you look like and what language you speak. I invite you, if you're able, to see more of the world as you can, and maybe learn another language or two. Not only will it look good on a resume, but you may learn that there really is a whole lot more out there than just America and just English.

I am proud to be American, because America is, in fact, beautiful.

But it's a country that is beautiful in any language.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Solo Airplane Travel

Airplane travel. We love it, we hate it. One one hand - yes, it's amazing! New York to Los Angeles in five hours? A hundred years ago, that took 10 years!  

But...well, despite the fact that human flight is a miracle in its own way, it comes with certain quirks. For one reason or another I've been finding myself on an increasing number of airplanes, and it occurred to me as I was flying this weekend that SO many others (probably) experience the same little travel pet peeves that I do. Here's my take on solo airplane travel from start to finish. As you can see with all of the internet gifs and memes, I took this post very seriously.  No really. I'm very serious.


Going through security:

When you have to put your shoes through the X-ray but you didn't wear any socks and have to walk barefoot: 

When you're in your seat and you see someone board the plane you really hope won't sit down next to you: 

But then that person keeps walking and SITS SOMEWHERE ELSE and you're SO RELIEVED:

Because the last thing you want on a plane is:

If you get lucky and are seated next to someone attractive and interesting looking:

When you find out you have to sit on the runway for an indefinite amount of time before taking off: 

When the flight attendant apologizes and tells you to turn off your cell phone:

When you're seated next to first time fliers:

When the person next to you tries to put up the arm rest:

When you discover that in-flight internet is a thing:

When you make plans to be super productive on your flight and get lots of work done:

When the attendants come by with the drinks and snacks:

OR, when you wake up from a nap and realize they've already come by with the drinks and snacks and you missed it:

When you can see the first class cabin from where you're sitting:

When someone tries to talk to you while you're watching the movie: 

When an attendant announces you're beginning final decent:

And then the glorious moment when you step off of that plane and GOSH DANGIT YOU ARE FREE:

In all seriousness though - we can be melodramatic, but air travel is pretty much one of the coolest things to have ever been invented and I'm so grateful for it, quirks and all.


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