Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Reading... The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Watching... Finished watching all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show on Netflix, how to follow that?

Cooking...  Beef Stew on the second day of Spring??

Eating... Had leftover spaghetti for lunch

Drinking...  Iced caramel latte from Honeymoon Bay Coffee

Calling...  No.  I avoid phone calls at all cost.  Need a dentist appointment?  I would rather drive to the office and make the appointment in person.  Seriously.  Don't call me unless you are dying...and then, text if you can

Doing...  today was errands and garden tilling and photography blogging and driving with the sunroof open

Loving... my new décor in the bathroom, it was sooo time for an update.  Shout out to Ross and Hobby Lobby.

The bathroom before (there was big mirror there under the lights but was taken down for painting)

The bathroom after...for now (there are more projects to be completed)

Discovering...   myself.  Cliché as all get out but seriously.  I'm approaching a new decade and discovering this new depth to myself.  I carry myself differently, think differently, view the world differently.

Enjoying...   SPRING!  Sunshine and flowers and growth and green and longer days and going out without a coat! 

Thinking...  about the William Wordsworth poem I shared on my photography journal today.  Go check it out and tell me what you think.  Also there are pictures of daffodils.  So, win-win.

Listening...   Hawaiian Reggae on Spotify, takes me right back to that time on Kauai

Smelling...   a Meyer lemon candle

Thankful... my clever husband recently installed an exhaust fan in our bathroom (can you believe it didn't have one?) No more showering in the middle of winter with the window wide open!  We also bought a new over-the-range microwave and again, Aaron got it installed and got the exhaust fan on that all hooked up (we haven't had exhaust in the kitchen for 4+ years!)  Yay for boiling pasta without steaming up all the windows!

Considering...  This:  "Do not imitate what is popular for acceptance; practice what is authentic for the sake of your soul." - Brandon Burchard.   I have to embrace this, out of necessity, in every single bit of my life.  Constantly reminding myself to be AUTHENTIC.

Also this:

Until next time!!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

what am I doing

It is no secret, I love taking pretty pictures.  And I feel lucky to have eyes that see things, that notice details it seems others might not at first glance.

Would I call myself a "photographer"?  Here's where it gets a little sticky.  In the sense of the word, yes, I am.  I take pictures.  I even make money taking pictures (more on that later).  But oh my goodness, to claim that title seems so certain, of which, I am not.

To say "I am a professional photographer" eludes to years and years of experience and training, it hints at accolades and magazine articles and trips to exotic places.  It makes it seem that I know what I am doing at all times.  "Leave it to the professionals kids.  Don't try this at home."  When in actuality I feel like a kid out exploring the world with a viewfinder.

I do have years of pictures under my belt and it has always been for fun, capturing my boys as they've grown up, capturing birds and gardens.  And always, it seemed that, when I set my mind to it I could find an artistic way to present the every day.

About a year ago at this time I was in a season of serious discouragement.  I felt stuck and hopeless.  With pen in hand I sat down and wrote a list of the things I really, really wanted in my life.  And I chose at that moment, to build those things into reality.

One of the things on my list was photography.  It makes me immensely happy to be behind that lens.  So I began to build a business.  And still I build.  And still I learn.  And still I stumble.  And still I doubt.

Oh my goodness do I doubt.  There are times I feel like the biggest imposter in the world.  What in the world am I doing here?  Am I really a photographer?

But if I could describe to you the feeling I get when it is just me and my camera and beautiful things are happening and the very angels in heaven are singing a chorus of gratitude.  And I think to myself, do I seriously get to do this?  And people ask me to do this for them?  And they want to give me money?  What!?!

If I didn't have utility bills and an appetite for actual food I would probably take pictures for free for the rest of my ever-loving days.

It's not all sunshine and lollipops when you're building a business.  I'm paying quarterly sales taxes.  I'm invoicing.  I'm building a reputation.  I'm talking to human beings (this may be the most difficult for me).  And every single day I am learning.

This is why I hesitate to say "I'm a professional" because you guys, I don't know what I'm doing!  But I'm doing it.

And I'm thankful for my Aaron because he tempers me.  When I want to quit he says "keep going".  When I say "is this good enough" he says "absolutely".  When I have ideas I bounce them off of him and get incredible feedback.  When this thing is huge and I'm conquering the world he'll be right there conquering with me.  And when it is small and the wheels need greasing he'll be there with the oil can (or whatever you use to grease wheels).

And you guys, whoever might be reading this, I'm thankful for you.  Because really, I have some serious cheerleaders out there and your support is priceless to me.  Thank you!

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

thank you, dad

Eleven years ago today, in the early hours of the morning, my dad passed away.  And still I grieve.

Grief never really goes away, it ebbs and flows as the tides of the ocean.  Sometimes I can smile as I remember.  Other times, tears flow unexpectedly.

Something I have learned about grieving is that it is really fed by the desire to pour out your love to someone who is not here to receive it.  I suppose that is true.  I would love to spend a day with my dad.  To have a conversation.  To cook for him.  To hear a story from his life before me.

Instead, I look for him and find him buried within my own personality.  I'm not just like my dad, rather I think I am a pretty fair mix between both my parents.  But the parts of my dad that I remember, like the way he'd get really quiet when he was upset, yep, me too.  He was a noticer of details and a rememberer of facts, yep, me too.  He was quick witted.  He liked music.  He loved his family.  He didn't like crowds.  Yep, me too.

Dad, you aren't here, but you are.  Someday I will hear your voice again and your laugh.  I'll see the sparkle in your blue eyes.  Until then, I miss you something fierce.  Please know I cherish the parts of myself that I inherited from you because they help me to remember you.  I hope you are proud of who I am, of what I do, because you are the driving force behind so much of it.

So today, like all the other days, I will carry on.  I will take care of my home and my family.  I will get some work done.  I'm going to make some chicken noodle soup for lunch.  I'm going to paint the trim in my bathroom that I've been putting off for a couple weeks.  And I'm going to allow my heart to feel and I'm going to be gentle with myself.

Thank you, Dad, for everything. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

the dome, a tea room, and a bay

We got a dusting of snow yesterday and today the sky is blue but the chill remains.  It's been a cleaning, organizing, restoring order sort of day.  And that's fine by me.

Wrestling season is over around here.  It was quite a season!  We wrapped it up at the State tournament in the Tacoma Dome over the weekend.  Blake didn't do what he had hoped and was sorely disappointed.  There is nothing, NOTHING, I can say that will make it feel better.  Not this.  And it breaks my heart.  But he'll be ok.  Every loss is a lesson.

During a break in the action at the Tacoma Dome we went for a little walk in search of coffee.  What we found was a tea parlor, with real tablecloths and napkins.  We felt so out of place but the owner made us feel welcome.  We each ordered a dessert (cheesecake for him, apple pie for me) and cups of coffee (with sugar cubes and real cream in a tiny pitcher!).

We aren't fancy people.  I don't even own a tablecloth!  So this was something pretty special.

The bathrooms were gorgeous.  You know I'm taking pictures of fancy bathrooms!

If you ever find yourself in Tacoma at Freighthouse Square be sure to stop in at Olive Branch Tea Room.  You'll probably get a hug from the nice lady in the fancy jacket.  And no, this isn't an advertisement.
Last week I ventured out to the beach.  All alone I walked on the rocky shore of a fairly calm bay.  The water lapped in gentle waves, pulling small pebbles out with it.  I had been struggling with some personal things (had been, have been, continue to) but there on that beach I breathed deeply and just let everything be.  It is when you walk along a shore or in a forest or anywhere in nature that you come to peace with the fact that you don't have control and you don't really need it afterall.  Just be with what is.
I had taken my camera with me and there in a state of observation I just enjoyed seeing.  Here are a few pictures from that day, unedited.  You can find more pictures on my website (link below).
From the dock in Bowman Bay:

The pattern and texture here was fascinating:

Here, a large fallen tree balanced perfectly on a gnarled driftwood:

I really like photographing windows:

Bowman Bay:
You can find more pictures in my photography journal over on my business website.  Stick around and explore the site.  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 8, 2018


My to-do list seems to grow by the minute.  And I'm such a procrastinator.  It's really not flattering.  At all.

Like today.  I have a very healthy list going on, things I need to get done, things I've rolled over from yesterday (ahem, last week).  So obviously I go get my hair done instead.  I mean, obviously.

And I'm the only one in the salon and the stylist has an open day so I'm there for a good long 90 minutes for a haircut.  By the time she's all done washing, cutting, styling, chatting, I am famished so I go for tacos.  I mean, obviously.

But seriously, we have the best little place here for carne asada tacos.

In my defense I did swing by Home Depot after tacos for paint.  Because when a person has a really long to-do list the other obvious thing to do is decide to paint the bathroom.  Right?  Ok the story behind this is that I was coloring my hair and I dropped (DROPPED!) the bottle of mixed colorant and it splattered on the wall and quickly stained the wall a lovely shade of brown.  But really, I needed to paint anyway.  We'll just start in the bathroom I guess.

Back home to do things like work on my business website and this is my legitimate face:

So the other day I told my son that my favorite nation was procrastination.  He rolled his eyes and you can too, it's ok, you have my permission.  It just seems that when you're overwhelmed it is hard to know where to even begin.  Am I right?
On that note, I'm off to bake brownies or some other nonsensical pastime.  But first, meet Phoebe.  She was my "assistant" while doing a real estate shoot yesterday. 
Until next time from procrastination!

Monday, January 29, 2018

today with 3 random photos *edited to add recipes*

The day began in a fury of wind, blowing and gusting and shaking the tree branches.  Wind gave way to rain, falling in fat, heavy drops.  And all day the sky has held onto it's gray.

I will only fuss slightly over this storm as I couldn't get out with my camera.  So instead I train my eyes on the sights and record them in my memory, and here, in words.

Gray stormy days are perfect for hanging out at home, puttering about.  I got some housework done and spent some time in the kitchen.

I whipped up a rich vegetable broth with 2 leeks, lots of garlic, an onion, carrots, celery, herbs, and a splash of cider vinegar.  I'll use part of that broth in a cauliflower bacon soup this evening.

There is some bread dough rising under a dish towel.  I'm going to try to turn it into baguettes.  Or maybe round loaves to serve the soup in.  Probably the latter because guys dig that kind of thing and I regularly feed three of them.

The other thing I crafted in the kitchen this afternoon are a variation on a no-bake cookie dough bar.  It's still chillin' in the refrigerator so I'm not sure if they've even turned out but it was my first time using almond flour and coconut flour.  Coconut flour smells AMAZING!  I want to roll in it.  If these do indeed turn out then I'll probably share the recipe.

Now I'm sitting here with a mug of hot tea and my Charlie dog curled up at my side.  He was excited when he saw that I was sitting down, he's always down for a cuddle session.

This week ought to be a good one.  I've got some work scheduled with a new client.  Yay!  We have an exciting date planned in Seattle.  Yay!  Of course, this is finals week for Blake so I'm not sure that he shares my enthusiasm for the week ahead.  And sub-regionals begin on Friday.  Sub-regionals lead to Regionals the next weekend which culminates in the State tournament the following weekend.  It's a bit of a whirlwind.

In the in-betweens there is work and school and business and yoga (I'm working on my forearm stands - almost there!). 

I totally don't have any photos to post with this blog.  Blame it on the rain.  Ha!  Milli Vanilli anyone?  But seriously.  It is the middle of winter.  And the sky is consistently gray.

So...  here are three random and unrelated photos that I took recently.

#1  a Heron from yesterday, he was pulling up grass from the water and running it through his beak

#2 My eldest son, looking dapper and adult-like, whatever

#3 The restaurant I work at, just before the dinner rush
There you have it.  Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I have some bread dough to shape and a soup to craft. 
Until next time!
-Edited to add the recipes!-
So I just can't leave you hanging.  The bacon cauliflower soup turned out incredibly.  And the cookie dough bars were also quite good.  I made the bread dough into boring loaves but it was perfect dipped into the soup.
Here is what I did to make the Cauliflower Soup:
Combine these in a soup pot and cook on med-high for about 10 minutes:
  • 1 T. oil (olive or coconut would work)
  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
Finely chop 1 head of cauliflower and add to the pot
Add 1 14oz can of coconut milk to the pot
Add 3-4 cups of broth to the pot (I made my own vegetable broth - very easy!)
Add fresh ground pepper and 1 t. sea salt
Bring to low boil then simmer for 20 minutes
Mix 2 T cornstarch with 1/3 c. water and pour into the soup.  Stir until thickened.
That's it!
Here is how I made the Cookie Dough Bars:
In a large bowl mix 1 1/4 c. almond flour and 5 T. coconut flour, and a sprinkle of sea salt, set aside.
In a small bowl mix 2 1/2 T melted coconut oil, 1/3 c. honey, and 5 T. nut butter (I used cashew).
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add 3/4 c dark chocolate chips and mix.
Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper.  Press the dough firmly into the pan, flattening and pressing well.  Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 1 c. dark chocolate chips with 2 T. nut butter and 1/2 T. coconut oil in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well between.  When the dough is chilled pour this chocolate topping over the top, spreading evenly.  Let chill for 1-2 hours.  Remove from pan, cut into squares and serve!
Do you like to try new ingredients?  I love trying out new things.  This was the first time I had used coconut milk in SOUP.  And my first time using both almond flour and coconut flour.  Cooking can be such a simple adventure so long as you're not afraid to mess up sometimes.  I'm always doing new things and I can tell you, they don't always turn out. 
Isn't that life though?  It's ok to mess up.  It's ok to not know everything. 
Stay humble friends. 😻

Monday, January 22, 2018

the woods

A simple walk through the woods, drawing out of my soul memories, joy, reflection.  The woods will do that, just kind of uncover the layers you have and expose a little something.

For me, the woods expose the tomboy inside.  She's there, buried deeply, wild eyed and fearless. Sometimes I forgot her.  But the woods remind me.  And for awhile we walk, this wiser, careful version of me and that young, spirited girl.  And I wonder, is she proud of me?  And she wonders, is it as wonderful as I dream?

I reflect on my childhood as a spirited tomboy and mind fills with scenes:
  • Wandering through sage brush covered hills
  • Wading in the creek and catching minnows
  • Riding my bike down gravel roads
  • Cutting through a neighbor's field, dodging cow pies
  • Jumping from a tree fort in a walnut tree
  • Eating plums fresh off the tree
  • Making forts out of tumbleweeds
  • Building cars with an Erector set
  • Walking through a fresh green alfalfa field out to the barn
  • Carving roads for Hot Wheels in a ditch behind the house
  • Shooting BB guns with my brothers
  • Going to school with mud up my backside from riding my bike

When I was eleven we moved away from the open fields and the sage brush and the gravel roads.  I really didn't know that I would miss it like I do.  The most tomboy part of me lives there, fearless in the face of ticks and rattlesnakes and thunderstorms.

I grew to love the woods and the river, finding solace from the difficult years in adolescence.  The woods always had the sweetest, damp smell and I could inhale deeply and feel the cool air.  And still, when I'm in the woods I inhale deeply and it's there, that smell so comforting and reliable.

Now I live on an island in the Puget Sound.  I find solace on beaches, with the tide and the salty air. Yet still, the woods welcome me with open arms, layers of decaying leaves softening my foot steps, mosses displaying their texture in the most brilliant greens.  And for a few moments I revel in what will always feel like home.

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.

Henry David Thoreau