Friday, October 17, 2014

Miles picked out his pumpkin.

Don't forget to check-out my Fall Mini Session Special!

We took Miles to pick out a pumpkin at Battleview Orchards. When we got there, it had started to rain, so we decided to pick a pumpkin from the store and get a donut to go.

Miles wasn't too interested in sitting next to the pumpkins, but more into lining them up on the ground to count them. He didn't believe me when I said we're getting only 2 pumpkins.

Miles and Daddy took a cart ride to get some fresh apple cider. We missed apple picking this year.

The line to get donuts.

Yep, pumpkins double as nice seat cushions.

Or not. I think the pumpkin Chris picked is almost bigger than Miles!

After braving the rain for a few pumpkins, Miles convinced us to go to Jose's for dinner (again).

He doesn't have to twist our arms much to go get some chips and salsa.

Miles mid-sentence... is he ever not telling stories?

And his favorite spot to hang out right after we eat... the side of the building. That's my boy.

And a random photo from the mall last weekend. Miles convinced Mar to get in the car with him. She loves him soooo much, that silly Mar.

Hope you had a nice week. I'm excited for a weekend where we have no "official" plans. Whew! It's been almost two months without an invite in the mail, but we're still keeping busy seeing family, friends and doing house projects. I'll have to share all of those one of these days...

- kn -

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday | My Men.

I know I am grateful often for Chris and Miles, but when I am in the midst of fearing failure and fear of life itself, I know I can always count on these two guys to keep me smiling. It's the little moments in life that matter so very much, and I'm thankful to be here to capture them. It's these two guys who keep me waking up each day and choosing to tackle the troubles and be thankful for the successes.

Miles is growing so fast, I hope I don't see him shaving for real any time soon, but boy is this cute.

I love you, my men.

And Chris is loving his razors from Harry's b-t-w.

- kn -
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Potatoes and Eggs. Sausage and Peppers.

Over the weekend, we had our friends Steph and Alex for dinner. Chris made his family's recipes for potatoes and eggs and sausage and peppers sandwiches. I was horrible about capturing the evening photographically, as Alex made the most awesome Cheeseburger Dip I've ever had... but we ate it all before I thought to take a photo.

Hey, Alex, don't forget to send me that recipe, okay? When Alex sends it, I'll share with you because I'm awesome like that.

For the sausage and peppers, it was sweet sausage, green and mixed peppers, onions, and tomato sauce. I will have to get you the recipe from Chris if you'd like it just let me know.

For potatoes and eggs, I know he cooked the potatoes ahead of time and then cooked the eggs separately and mixed them together. Want the recipe? Leave me a comment :)

Both sandwiches were put on huge loaves of Italian bread and then cut them up for our guests. Miles enjoyed both in a bowl.

And for dessert: chocolate marshmallow peanut butter fudge. Say that ten times fast.

Chris has been into making fudge a lot this fall. So far, his S'mores fudge and this fudge have been huge winners. It's a basic recipe from the One Pot Chef Show. That guy's recipes are awesomely delicious and bad for you :) We use the basic recipe and then add in all sorts of things. I guess I'll have to write a post about it...

What are you eating?

- kn -
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Mini Session Portrait Special!

I'm currently offering a Fall Mini Session Portrait Special on my website! Mini sessions aren't something I offer regularly, and they are a great way to get some beautiful fall images without breaking the budget.

This session will be open to book until through November 15th (sessions may be scheduled for after that date). I have a limited number of sessions I'll be offering at this price, so contact me soon if you're interested!!

Hope to see you soon!

- kn -
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Overcoming fears and finding joy.

Fear is an amazing force and it can completely take over your life if you let it.

For many years I've been afraid of my business, of people, of photography. I've always felt the excitement during the session and often loved my work afterward, but the anticipation and nervousness got to me at times when I knew a big day or even a mini-session was approaching. I'd always hope to please my clients to the best of my ability. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people, even with family portraits, and I hope to have them love what they receive!

I've often let this fear creep in and take over my thoughts and actions. I've often wanted to throw in the towel and give up. It would be far easier to do so. Countless times I've told Chris that this session or that wedding was going to be my last. And after going through the photos and editing that "last" time, I start to feel overjoyed and want to keep going... of which he'd ask, "what do you want me to support you in again?" the poor guy.

This past year, I thought I was done. I posted this on my website:
I am very grateful you are here and welcome your interest in my photography. At this time, I am allowing my business to appreciate some quiet time. I am accepting a limited number of sessions this year. I feel a strong calling to make my family and other passions my priority.
To my surprise, I actually booked several sessions with clients who really were excited to work with me. It was amazing, fun, and inspired me to reconsider completely giving up and giving in to my fears of failure.

I hadn't shot many weddings (or a ton of portraits) in the past few years since having Miles, and this past month I was super nervous for what was to come with two weddings in a row. I wasn't sure if I'd remember what to do, what to capture. I took tons of notes, I reviewed books on techniques, I talked with my brides and I got a feel for what was important to them.

And then I took a deep breath and showed up to do the work.

I was super nervous to get it "right" even though being right in photography is so subjective. Every person has a different style; no wedding would be shot the same by two different photographers. The only right is for who I'm shooting for and that they love my vision to begin with.

I am more than just pleased with the images I captured the past month, and truly brought my "A" game. I wanted to not only give what was expected, but to go above and beyond, and learn something new in the process.

I chose to have fun instead of fear...

I overcame those big windows with the bright afternoon sunlight brightly backlighting the ceremony that kept me up at night.

I follow a lot of full-time photographers who's work is amazing, but so varied from each other even so. It's said "comparison is the thief of joy" and it's true. All these years, I've wanted to be those I follow and who inspire me. Their work is perfect! I've ignored my wins and took the failures to be complete truths. I beat myself down, instead of lifting myself up.

What I learned this past month is that I am capable. I've got a lot of the technical aspects down. I've even got some of the "shot ideas" ingrained in my brain permanently. I've come a long long way since that first wedding I shot six years ago this month. A loooong way. Longer than I ever could have imagined.

There will always be more to learn, and I finally feel confident to get myself out there to learn more. I'm not giving up on myself. I'm giving in to the change, quieting the fears, and going with what I love to do - and that's to meet new people, photograph in new places, and keep trying.

In honor of moving past my fears, tomorrow's post will be a Fall Mini Session Special just for you!

- kn -
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Friday, October 10, 2014

What happens when you stop resisting change.

As I sat there Tuesday morning in the dark listening to the app Headspace, it clicked for me.

In resisting the change I created, I was making myself and others miserable. I had high expectations. I clung tightly to those expectations and when they didn't come to life, I resisted any and all change in life.

As the instructor told me to notice how my body felt when I didn't resist change, any change, I noticed in my short meditation session how much I was at ease the moment I decided to let go, to stop resisting the traffic in my mind and let it flow.

I listened intently to my thoughts and found those expectations and fears yelling at me. Instead of fighting back, I just let them speak and in that moment, they actually quieted down.

I chose to take a different path the next few days. One of "going with the flow" which is not easy for me at all, and one where I let go of my expectations of what was supposed to be, and embrace what actually was.

It made a huge difference in my week. I stopped being afraid. I let others see who I am. I let go.

While my words aren't as graceful in explaining what I actually did, Zen Habits has a wonderful post including 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go with the Flow for you to enjoy.

- life -

Ones and Tens via steve pavlina (awesome take on How to Win Friends)

11 ways to Let Go and Feel Less Stress via Marc and Angel Hack Life

The Painful Beauty of Impermanence via Zen Habits

- food - 

sweet potato waffles via the lean green bean

smokey black bean burgers via minimalist baker

inner goddess truffles via pinch of yum

healthy cinnamon sugar apple muffins via pinch of yum

- fitness -

I ran a total of 3 miles this week. Stellar!

I also walked a total of about 7-8 miles this week during my lunch.

- photos - 

I'm glad I have a little break in the coming weeks from photography. It was getting pretty intense there weekend after weekend! I'll be posting about fall mini sessions for the holidays soon!

- kn -
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

I broke down and bought one.

I used a 3D printer for the first time this week at my new school and chose to make something small to start out: a cherry! It was super cute and the students absolutely found it fascinating. I cannot wait to see what else they decide to build.

In testing it out (we several problems getting it up and running the past week) I made a quick cell phone case with Batman on it for a student. It took 2 hours to print, wowzers.

This week we found some time to play in the park... and as usual Chris is silly.

And I started a 5k training plan to get myself back in to the groove. I ran 1.5 miles the other day, no stopping, and no music, etc. I felt so much better, and I am thankful for giving myself a mileage break and just building back slowly.

Walks, runs, weights, ah, I needed it. Miles had a ball running away from us in the park.

And, I broke down and bought a Keurig!! I blame peer pressure. We had been given a coffee maker over eight years ago and only just opened it a month ago for our house warming party. Well, I'm sure the coffee was good (I don't drink coffee much and neither does Chris), I decided I needed something a little quicker for hot water. Seeing as how everyone I know has one of these and we enjoyed using it while staying at my mom's - we decided to get one.

Now... the story of buying one was awful. I bought one on sale at Shoprite; turned out to be the wrong size - who drinks a 5 oz cup of anything? Then I returned it, found one at Target on sale, and brought it home, set it up, and it didn't work. Say wha?!!? Chris returned it for me the next day (a piece was broken inside) and we finally... sigh... finally found success.

My mom says the machines knew I didn't like coffee.

I already have a single serve custom cup, so I'll be using that to brew my favorite teas from Mountain Rose Herbs. We don't plan to buy too many K-cups, but who knows. When we have parties now, we'll have perfect coffee to serve - much to the cheers of friends and family I'm sure. No more instant... unless it's like this type of instant ;)

- kn -
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The best photography assistant.

Chris never gets any credit for the work he does during the weddings he's assisted me on. Without him, I probably wouldn't have been able to get a lot of the gorgeous portraits I have over the years, nor the family groups together and lined up so nicely.

In an ode to Chris, here's a bit of what I captured during the last wedding we did together. I tend to get a feel for the scene while he's setting things up, so I always snag a few photos of him during the day.

He always notices the little things during a wedding, it's awesome.

Look at that dress fluffing. Ha, he's a pro at it now.

And, as usual, I only have one photo from this wedding of a selfie with Abbey on the dance floor! Unless I hand over my camera or ask Chris to use my backup, I rarely am photographed working. I've got to get better at capturing some of those hilarious moments for my own keeping :)

Thanks Chris, you didn't expect to join me on this journey when I said "I think I'd like to become a photographer" but you've had my back the whole way. Without you encouraging me each and every day to keep going, keep trying, and keep learning... I don't know where I'd be.

- kn -
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Monday, October 6, 2014

What we've been eating (broccoli bites, taco pie, split pea soup).

It's taken us some time to get our act together this fall, but we're finally getting ourselves settled back in the kitchen. Last week, for the first week in quite some time, we didn't eat dinner our. We actually finished off the week with leftovers for dinner (on Thursday) and dinner at wedding last Friday.

One of my favorite quick go-to small meals is to make broccoli cheddar bites. Miles loves to help make them and I love to eat them even more.

This time around, I baked them in a silicone muffin pan so they stayed together and I didn't have to make them into balls. I also used fresh broccoli, as well as parmesean cheese for added flavor. You can also make them with quinoa for more protein.

A side note... something I saw in a magazine sparked my interest in having Chris build us something similar by our stairs. I love the seating and the cubbies underneath.

Back to food! One night we made a taco pie from Stuft Mama's website. I used fresh tomatoes instead of salsa, and homemade taco seasoning mix. We didn't have on hand a pie crust, so I defrosted the pizza dough Chris made and froze a week prior for the base (and pre-cooked).

This was gooooood, and I didn't tell Chris it was greek yogurt. It made enough for two whole meals for us, yum. Miles loves black olives and tomatoes, so he was chowing this down.

And last, but not least, split pea soup. As it gets colder, I always feel the urge to make soup and eat a lot of soup. Miles loves soup; he could eat it all day long. I don't prefer canned soups unless I have a weak moment while shopping, because it's so easy to make fresh soup.

I used the package recipe on a bag of Goya split peas. Instead of cooking this soup for a long period of time, I soaked the peas in the recommended water over night, then cooked the soup when I got home from work. Took about an hour, which isn't too bad. I always throw in hot dogs in place of the ham bone, just easier and adds a nice flavor.

For lunch, we've stuck with sandwiches while we get back into the swing of things (which seems to be taking me far longer than normal these days).

So, that's some of our weeknight meals, what are you eating?

- kn -
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Walking through the leaves.

I've been struggling through some moments in life this fall and I've been walking to try to calm my soul, take the pressure off, and reevaluate my goals. I have missed running tremendously, and the only person I can blame is myself. I've tried T25, but I find it boring even though I know it'll give me great abs. I like it as a supplement, but I just do not want to commit to it.

I love to run, this is the perfect season to do so, yet the two times I've tried, I've made it a block away from home only to turn around and give up. Bummer.

In order to rewire my brain, I've been listening to various podcasts while I walk during my lunch break. It has been helping me decide what goals I'd like to achieve, and what just isn't that important right now. I've been overwhelming myself with work, fitness desires, personal goals, family plans, and house reno projects. It's all been way too much.

And, well, I broke down and cried over it. The ugly cry. Gah, Beavis. Totally embarrassing.

I'm pretty sensitive, especially with other's opinions of me. It's my biggest downfall as a human being... I care too much what other people think and not enough about what I think of myself. My self confidence disappeared this past month, went on a vacation somewhere I'd probably rather be right now -- sunny, warm, and eating well. Ha.

I posted this photo to IG the other day with the caption "the moment it all falls apart" to let myself be vulnerable for a moment, to feel, to be true to who I am. Life's not perfect for any of us. What I'm being told by God is that there are no bad days in life, just moments to be learned from.

Several friends have been wonderful throughout my journey of stress, reminding me this is a "season" and to live "your truth" -- very much appreciated. I'm not sure where I lost myself in this process, but man, I was lost there for a few days. Unsure of who I was, why I was here, and why I would even want to continue on. Chris was my rock, Miles as well, reminding me that I'm one of the toughest people they know... and I'll get through this just like I have every other tough day, hard moment, rocky season of life.

Sometimes being vulnerable helps you reach that point when you can smile again. After losing myself earlier in the day, we attended my cousin's wedding, where we felt the groom's sister, Melissa's, presence strongly there. The evening was beautiful, and the sunshine and a ridiculous husband selfie is just what I needed to snap out of it and remember to be in the present.

He claimed the sun hurt his eyes, but he does this to me all the time. I rarely get a nice "selfie" of the two of us, every time I check the photos, something is just... off. Silly man.

And the weekend culminated with what I thought at first was a praying mantis on my car, but my cousin pointed out later it was a leaf bug. I'm still going to say this guy was a sign that there is so much beauty to be had in life and to cherish each day we have together.

I know I'll survive this season, I'll come out a better person and stronger for the next. I felt it was important to show that life is not full of perfect moments we always see in our news feeds, and at times, we all have those dark, ugly, tearful moments that rock our depths and wake us up. This was mine, and thank goodness I'm past it for now.

- kn -
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