all things

“Are you a koala?”
“Excuse me?”
“It’s just that you’re meeting koala-my-expecations.”
A Tinder-man used the pick-up line on my friend, and she shared the comment with our book club tonight.  The silly introduction made her smile, and then it convinced the 12 of us that the man deserves a date.  Men, take notes.

Jon and I road-tripped home from Wisconsin today, and we passed the four-hour drive listening to TED talks.  Has anyone listened to how Amy Webb hacked online dating?  I read my favorite wedding blogs as I listened to Amy talk about attracting people online, and it got me thinking about capturing ‘love at first sight.’  More specifically, we have so many photos of people that are engaged, married, and celebrating anniversaries, but we have so few images that capture the first time those people met.
Does anyone have a photograph of the first time they met the person they ended up dating and/or marrying?  If i was a photographer, I would do a series called ‘the first glimpse.’  It would be tricky following people around on all their first dates (snapping pictures and hoping they see each other again), but I think it might be worth it.
My head was filled with all kinds of ideas about photography and dating when I arrived home, but I shoved them aside to begin preparing for book club.  A different girl hosts each month, and July was my month: game time.
Lucky for me, I happened to have exactly 12 of everything necessary to host the group.  Funny how things tend to work out, right?  I did get a little scroungy (is that a word?) pulling out anything that would suffice as a wineglass (oh college skills), but all is well that ends well.  Before the group arrived, Jon and I tested some drinks (I think he was just anxious to try the strawberry lemonade) and we found that slipping fruit into a wineglass ups the fannnnciness about 99%:
Okay okay, the silly beverage photos are a little more about us playing with our new camera than trying drinks, but what can I say?  We replaced an old camera, and now I’m snapping photos left, right, and center — which makes me wonder, where do you get photo inspiration? Do you ever just want to run out the house and photograph all things? Maybe that’s just me, but I definitely felt that way today.  I had to resist every urge not to snap photos of these lovelies all night long:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I like good books and the girls that read them.  The ladies pictured above are some of my favorite people in Minneapolis, and I couldn’t be happier that our book club has turned into a ‘lets get together for all things’ club ❤

That’s my update here: Are you in any clubs? Any suggestions for what I can photograph?

roll my dice

What do internet dating, gambling and spring 2014 have in common?  Hehe, you probably already know, but if not, I’m about to let you in on a little secret: ya never know what you’re going to get.  Seriously, y’all — I had just about packed up my winter gear when I woke up to swirling snow and biting winds that made me grab my book and warm some tea and crawl back into bed.
And by the time I got out of bed?  You guessed it- so sunny that I ran out-of-doors to soak up the blue skies and fresh air before the next blast of snow.  All the focus on the ‘here and now’ and ‘enjoy it while you can’ inspired me to design a spring photo challenge to make sure I capture the best moments of the season. One thing led to another, and wah-lah-tee-dah, my challenge:
Truly possible or too ambitious?  Not sure yet, but I’m definitely going to give it a try –  I even got started  today.   Two cupcakes for me: I’m now 1/9 of the way done 🙂

swoon over the moon

I go weak in the knees and swoon right over the moon when you say something I’ve never heard before. What could be better than using wordplay to create something entirely unique and perfectly you?
For example: His last proposal was a lollapalooza, but this time around the Midwest man caused a hullabaloo with his imaginative ideas.
The Wallstreet Journal reports on ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ events every year or so, but similarly unique moments occur regularly inside my journal.
Where am I going with all this? Well, I felt a similar appreciation for the funky/quirky/extraordinary (pick your adjective) when we went to the Renaissance Festival today.
Perhaps the most interesting part was how contemporary society merged and collided with Medieval culture. For example, have you ever watched someone record a jousting tournament on their I-Phone?
Do you seek out unique moments or stick close to the familiar? Have you ever been to a historical festival?

all is bright

My family spent Christmas in DC two years ago, and when it started snowing just after breakfast, my little sister’s eyes grew wide and she ran to the windows: “EVERYONE – get outside, it’s s-n-o-w-i-n-g!!”  My parents shunned the cold, raised our family in Arizona, and refused to take trips to anywhere the temperature dropped below 32F.  For me and my siblings, however, snow is a somewhat magical thing that makes everything glisten and gets everyone a little more cozy.

Today was the first ‘snow-emergency’ of the 2013-2013 Minneapolis winter, and it was such a lovely day that I’ve dedicated this post to it.
The loveliness kicked off when my grandma sent me thermal socks in the mail (she was watching QVC in Arizona and saw something that her Minnesota granddaughter could use):
I tucked them into my waterproof boots and set about my daily walk as usual:
My feet stayed warm, but my hair got a fresh sprinkling of snow..
Since I don’t have a fireplace, I put a little sizzle on the TV to get the mood right in my apartment:Image
Then I hopped in my tub to warm up:Image
Okay, okay, that part is only 50% true.  I did take a bath, but not in anything quite as extraordinary as that tub.  I’m a little jealous of the person washing their hair and soaping their arms in that gem.  My tub is a little less glam, but I used my tub time to read the new Vogue, and, well, it felt pretty perfect to me:
Recognize the cover?  It’s a remake of the painting Flaming June by Sir Frederick Leighton:Image
Gorgeous, right? The actress Jessica Chastain modeled as women from some of history’s most famous paintings for the issue, and it got me thinking: which painting would I want to recreate?  Not that Vogue is likely to call me up or anything, but, ya know,  I want to have my answer ready just in case.  I decided on a Renoir, either a portrait with my little sister or my husband:
What do you think of the cold? Is there a painting that you would want to recreate with a photograph?

sippin’ sweet tea

Bits and pieces of memories fade, resurface and transform when we recall important moments from our lives. The happy thing about photographs is that they have the transcendent power to capture these memories, to immortalize the visual details, and help ‘paint the scene’ when we ‘remember the times.’

The absence of a photograph, however, speaks just as loudly, perhaps providing even more detail, than an album of memories. How is that so, you wonder? The undocumented moments occur when we’re too caught in the moment, too busy laughing, enjoying, and just, well, being, that we forgot to snap a photograph or 7. And you know what? Those moments, despite my love for photography, are my favorite kind.

Fill my days with laughter and activities and people that make me forget about my phone and my camera. Give me sunshine that begs to be enjoyed rather than documented. Let me sit in the grass, read away the morning, and then spend the afternoon hitting balls with my brothers. I’ll drink sweet tea and chat with my baby cousins as the sun goes down.

I boarded the homeward bound train wishing I had photographs of Thanksgiving in Chicago, but as I muse about my lack of documentation, I am grateful for the special moments that made me forgot about my camera. Those moments helped make memories more valuable than a collection of photographs.

smile on a stick

Candy apple on a stick makes my tummy go 2-4-6.  I spent loads of playground time singing the candy apple song with my elementary school crew, but I hadn’t thought about the hand-clapping anthem for nearly 15 years when it popped into my head today.  What was the occasion?  A rah rah rah experiment aptly titled ‘smile on a stick.’

I just might have discovered the fastest way to make a stranger smile:
All my smiles came from spending a gorgeous day in St. Paul with Lyda Ham.  She’s a talented Twin Cities photographer with lots of heart and just as many laughs.  Oh, and good news — Lyda writes a lovely blog of her own, and you can read all about her adventures here

a kind heart behind the camera

Imagethe only thing better than making people smile is capturing that happiness in a photograph.  photographs have this wonderful ability to express emotions and convey ideas that are often impossible with words – essentially letting the photographer express the unspeakable.

i went to cinque terre with a dear friend, emily, a few years ago, and i kept asking strangers to take pictures of us together.  i wanted to document the memory and have images to review when i felt compelled to ‘remember the time.’
emily happily agreed, and she smiled at tourist destinations until my collection of images grew large enough to fill an album.  never once did emily ask someone to take a picture of her, and when i inquired why, she explained that she liked being behind the camera – capturing other people in moments that she could look back on.  she was more interested in documenting the sincerity, genuineness, and spontaneity that characterizes the candid, private photographs.

at the time, her response only prompted me to grab her camera and see what gems her sneakiness had produced.  since then, however, i’ve continually reflected upon that moment as being very revealing of her selflessness.  it takes a kind heart to find the infinite in seemingly ordinary, every day activity.

luckily for me, my wedding photographer didn’t ever get very far from away from her:

follow your bliss


it’s been quite the whirlwind year, and i am feeling incredibly blessed and optimistic for what is to come next.  jon and i got engaged in chicago last year, and then his job moved us to mondovi, wisconsin (a town of 2,500 people) just two months later.  we’ve spent the past year exploring the back-roads and planning our wedding, and now we are officially getting married in 11 days.

right after the wedding, his job is relocating us again — this time to minneapolis, minnesota. we have an apartment picked out in a neighborhood called ‘uptown,’ and i couldn’t be more excited about the potential for riding my bike, lazing by the lake, visiting museums, and exploring small music joints.

i’ve been working for a community action agency in wisconsin since we moved here — doing grantwriting and development for a variety of programs that help people living in poverty. the community mission has always been important to me, but living in the country has shown me that something else is more dear to my heart: photography.  i find myself looking forward to lunch breaks with my camera – just me wandering the hillside and capturing pictures of the sunlight, the lakes, the changing colors of the leaves.

the only thing i like capturing more than nature is love. cheesy, yes, but absolutely true.  i am even known for sneaking pictures of unsuspecting lovers in public places.

anyway, with all that said, jon and i have decided that i will pursue my passion for photography when we move to minneapolis after the wedding.  i will miss my nonprofit agency and the work i do, but i will continue volunteering and remain committed to the causes that i support.

this decision does not come lightly, and it’s truly a little scary: i’m giving up the career that i’ve planned to follow my heart down a path that is less clear.  i believe that the dots will connect down the road if i follow my intuition, and i’m crossing my fingers that good things will happen where passion and creativity mix.

stay tuned: it’s not going to be an easy year, but hopefully it brings me a little closer to where i’m meant to be ❤

photo challenge

I’ve been working a lot on my photography portfolio lately, and it got me to thinking about other ways to get creative with photography – such as a photo challenge.  So, right here, right now, I am committing myself to a photo challenge, that consists of me photographing, in order, the following things:

1.      Wine
2.      Tea/mugs
3.      Candles in the snow
4.      Blue
5.      White
6.      Purple
7.      Brown
8.      Yellow
9.      Red
10.     Pink
11.     Teal
12.     Black
13.     Green
14.     Boots
15.     Heals
16.     Lace
17.     Dress
18.     Self portrait
19.     Outfit
20.     Clouds
21.     Hands
22.     Feet
23.     Cuddles
24.     Snuggy
25.     Flannel
26.     Ice cream
27.     Faceless self portrait
28.     Flower frowns
29.     Flowers
30.     Books
31.     Pretty pattern
32.     Trees
33.     Sunset
34.     Sunrise
35.     Smile
36.     Something vintage
37.     Balloons
38.     Bubbles
39.     Glitter
40.     Sunlight on the snow
41.     Something funny
42.     Fabric in the woods
43.     Written words
44.     Birthday party hats
45.     Artwork
46.   Coffee
47.   Ice skates

Perhaps a little silly that I stopped at 47, but round numbers like 50 are just as arbitrary as odd numbers like 47, so I’m going with it.  I expect that in some instances I’ll have to deviate from the challenge a little bit because of weather or location (ie I have a lot of vacations coming up), but the idea is mainly to get me out and about using my camera.

Stay tuned! Or should I say focused? hehe 🙂

all that glitters is gold

the title of this post is nonsense.  all that glitters is sunshine and love, surely.  but, i am turning 26 tomorrow, september 26, and so the golden birthday is on my mind.  it’s been on jon’s mind too, because the sweet boy started my birthday celebration last saturday night with dinner at Eatery 112 in Minneapolis (get in your plane/train/automobile/carriage and go immediately – order one of everything and then send me whatever is left over, thank you), and then a carriage ride through the city.  when the carriage ride was over, he told me that he was always impressed with my iPhone photos, but that i would be a much better photographer with a real camera– which was my present! oooheee, ice ice ice, just wait til you see how much better my pictures become 🙂

on the wings of a dove (or in my suv), i spent the following sunday testing out the new camera by taking shots of the landscape surrounding our house (yes, i told you before it was rural…)

and, as you know, no post is complete without a picture of these two:

and, my favorite shot from this morning:
isn’t the rural life lovely? oh fall in wisconsin, please stay!