Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Simple recipe fail.

I love writing in riddles. I oftentimes don't directly address my thoughts here, but I hint at things changing or happening in life... only to see who might be paying attention; and to be surprised at who actually is. This little blog has changed shape, size, and everything in-between in the last six years. I cannot believe I've been at it, almost daily, for all that time. Who knew I had so much to say, or not say.

Just thought I'd share that. It was on my mind.

So, while I may seem like a great cook, because I am - - - right? ...here's a fail this weekend: I forgot the oil before baking eggplant chips.

They smelled so good though, man.

Whoops! Simple mistake. Bummer.

- kate -

Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Studio Backdrop Stand out of PVC Pipes for $20 #photographer

When I was asked to put together a white background for an indoor winter photo session for my first ever and longest client, I was a bit nervous, but I was going to rise to her request!

I usually shoot newborn portraits indoors, and other portraits outdoors (aside from my own personal shoots). When it comes to backdrops, I've used them often with newborns, but easily draping them over furniture to set them up. This was new, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Spend hundreds on a metal kit, sandbags, etc.? I wasn't sure how often I'd use it, so I didn't want to go down that route just yet. I do however wish I came across this idea years ago, because it's totally going to improve my newborn photography setup now.

DIY Backdrop Stand out of PVC Pipes for $20

I used PVC pipes because they are lightweight and easily taken apart to travel. They are also relatively inexpensive and allowed us to build to the specifications we wanted (and allow for future expansion).

The total size is 5 feet high by 5 feet wide. This is enough for children, or sitting adults.

We purchased two 10 foot pvc pipes at 1 1/2" diameter. Larger diameters seemed a bit much, but the thinner wouldn't have held my heavy white blanket.

For the base, we purchased 4 2ft pieces and cut them to size.

The joining pieces are elbows and T pieces, and we bought the finishing end caps for the base.

I also bought 2 heavy duty clamps ($2 each) to use to clip my blankets or any fabrics to the backdrop and they worked like a charm.

I can make this stand 5 feet wide by 5 feet high, or I can move the poles around and go with a thinner width at 3 feet and 5 feet high, etc. I also wanted the central bar to be able to make it smaller for a newborn session, as I don't need 5 ft tall for those sessions.

It is rather sturdy. Chris used pipe sealant on the base parts to make it solid, but the rest of the pieces are able to come apart. You can always use sandbags to hold it down if you're using heavier backdrops. I also liked that it was lightweight, as if it were to come down on someone, it would not hurt like a metal stand and need all the extra baggage to keep it in place.

The T joining pieces - all come apart.

The elbow pieces.

And when taken apart, this is how I store and travel with it. I can take apart the sides even more, but that wasn't needed in order to fit into my car.

This project was quite fun to pick out the pieces and put together. I already have ideas for future sessions using it, with my own children, as well as with Chris and clients. Chris plans to use it as a backdrop when he does video podcasting, and I may look into other backdrop types or fabrics for something fun. I no longer need white walls in my house, as this can go anywhere the light is best!

I'm all about keeping things simple, mobile, and safe. This did just the job!

If you have any questions, please contact me and I will do my best to help you get setup.

- kate -
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Because I'm Happy.

I had all intentions of sitting down to write up a bunch of helpful blog posts and stories about the recent week, but then I decided to take a nap and have oatmeal and blueberry tea.

So much has been swirling through my mind, but one thing that hasn't -> stress. I absolutely love my new position and the new people I work with. I can finally get back to being a "librarian" in every sense of the word; instead of whatever it was that I was imprisoned in before. What a difference a week makes!

God is good. Life is good. I feel like a whole new person. I feel so lighthearted. So ready to tackle anything that comes my way and ready to really learn and grow more. I have no regrets; it all happened for a reason. And good thing, because this guy needs a fun, happy Momma.

Chris magically convinced Miles to wear jeans today, because hey, you can put your tools in them. So, bam. We finally have a kid who will wear regular pants other than to parties. He always says, "Mom, jeans are for birthday parties."

The guys are out doing house reno and repair at MiMa and PopPop's today.

I'll be enjoying some time to relax (should probably go to the gym...) and messing up recipes by not following all the directions (whoops!).

Ah, it feels so nice to be able to get back to normal life again. Now... if spring would hurry up, then I can get back outdoors, too!

I'm debating on some new workout goals. I'd like to get stronger than I ever have been and focus less on cardio. With the new job, I'm pumped to get back into a normal routine again. I am hoping to hop off the elliptical this coming week and back into the weights area. Though I'm afraid to face how weak I have become.

Always restarting, but never giving up completely.

What are your goals for the new month ahead?

- kate -
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Nathan's One Year Portraits

I can't believe it's been six years since I first photographed Charlotte as one of my first ever newborn sessions, and now after all these years and many many sessions I've been honored to photograph her with her little bro as he's turned one!

Paula wanted an indoor session for the winter to capture his little teeth and his big personality. It was too cold to go outdoors this time of year! So, I worked my magic and had Chris build me a quick backdrop stand (details later) and we put it to good use indoors.

I'd say not bad for some fun while the snow fell outside on Valentine's Day!

P.S. I can't get my photo blog stomper thing to look just right, so the actual photos are not as grainy... meh, technology.

Looking forward to catching up with these little ones outdoors when it's warmer this summer,

- kate -
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

If it was easy, everybody would do it.

A quick video that I came across might give you a little push... It definitely reminded me of where I need to focus and stop getting distracted with useless activities to pass the time.

Turn your pain into greatness.
Allow your pain to push you where you need to be.

Happy Thursday. Today is my Friday :)

- kate -
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My doctor said I gained too much weight. She's right. Here's why.

There's nothing like going to the doctor and having them tell you you've gained too much weight. She's right. I have. And I needed a bit of a wake-up about it.

Since September, I've been in a state of disbelief, grief, and constant stress. Dreading the 9 to 5 is something I've only ever done seriously twice in my life, and one, surprisingly, was at a location just a few miles from where I have been dreading it the past few months. I said I'd never allow that to happen again, and when it did, I struggled to find a new way. Either a new perspective, or a new direction.

Luckily, God listened to my prayers and accepted my commitment to finding a new direction. After I hit what felt like a rock bottom personally in November, I was lifted up weeks later with a new opportunity that finally begins in a few short days.

I'm hopeful that after such darkness comes light. As after my previous dreadful experiences I brushed myself off and rose to the challenge of starting over again anew... much to great experiences I fondly look back on and learned so much from.

I've given up the feeling of regret. Wishing I had stayed where I was (I loved the people I worked with, but the commute was getting brutal with living in a new area twice the distance away). Regret serves no one well.

Out of struggle comes strength. We learn that when we work out, run long distances, or learn something new. It's always a struggle to get started, but once we're on our way, we blossom and grow in ways we couldn't have imagined.

I'm grateful for the struggle and the amazing people I've met and started friendships with, but I'm also very grateful for the opportunity to move on and truly grow as a professional.

So often I hear others tell me they are unhappy, but the thought of starting over again terrifies them. For me, starting over isn't as hard as living with a constant pit in your stomach; a life that is not fulfilling and one exhausted with stress. I'd rather take a pay cut and take my chances experiencing something new, meeting new people, and growing yet again than staying in a distressing place for fear of the unknown.

Where does this all leave me now?

Well, nervous of course. Will the next chapter be like the last, or will it be filled with longer term success and growth? I believe it will be vastly different and sometimes belief is all one needs. I look forward to getting back to true librarianship and sharing those experiences here as I've been truly encouraged to through the support of other amazing professionals.

I dubbed this year the year of the 5k, giving myself a break from constantly pushing myself (and failing) to reach longer running distances. This spring, I will stick to more lifting and just getting back into "my" routine of health and wellness.

We also suffered another setback in the past few weeks, as our beloved Mar-Mar broke both of her arms on a shopping trip out with Miles. That's been a huge change for our routines and our free time, as Mar was always ready for a Miles visit if we had other plans (i.e. I could use the gym daily after work instead of at 5am!). I also have to *gulp* get up earlier and get Miles ready, since Chris leaves way earlier than Gram is prepared to take him. Quiet mornings and Mar-Mar... you are missed.

Life is full of change, and that's a good thing. I surely would love to choose a few times in life where I'd be happy to stay in that "state of being" but for the most part, I do enjoy change as I kick and scream my way through it.

And yet again, I am in need of seriously changing my dietary habits. Remember my doctor? In times of stress, I revert to old habits that got me into trouble years ago and I've battled ever since. Can you believe, a few weeks ago I bought a five pack box set of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? I mean, it's been banned at the White House now. What was I thinking?

It does taste good though. Just like Mom used to make. #amiright

With the wake-up slap in the face from the doctor, knowing it was coming, I am prepared to up my veggie quotient and down my sugar sucking. I've lived on milkshakes, cheeses, pastas, and junk for the past several months just trying to "stay afloat" in times of stress. Though Abby's pickle dip is something I'll never turn down. You should try it.

Now, it's time to get back to my wacky ways of proteins, nuts, seeds, green vegetable goodness, and actually a bit less fruit. I've decided to give protein powders a go again, as I have found I just can't eat enough meat to satisfy my protein needs. Meh, I kind of like protein powders as my sweet treat during the day (minus the real sweets and added-filler-junk) and I'm not a huge fan of meat anyway.

I'll be checking in from time to time, as we're still adjusting to the new schedules and still more changes yet to come. I'm optimistic (me? yes...) and I'm looking forward to getting back in the game of my profession as well as my passions with running, healthy eating... and maybe even a bit of photography tossed in here.

What changes are you afraid of? What fears are driving you?

- kate -
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My very own tool man and crock pot pulled pork.

Nothing like a quick power outage to spoil a crock pot dinner only a few hours into the cooking process. That's how my life feels right in this moment, but it's a moment, and it'll surely pass. I was able to salvage the dinner, cook the rest on high (it was fully cooked when I found it, just not pull-apart), and enjoy pulled pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw (I never knew it was that easy) on kaiser rolls.

Lemonade out of lemons friend.

Thank goodness I married my very own tool man. Home Improvement was a favorite show of mine as a youngin'. I always wanted a humorous husband who was good with tools... and that people, I got. Now, a truck to drive home such projects... we improvise. He at least knows how they drive in Compton now.

Miles has been enjoying cooking a lot. Beware, this kiddo is going to make some amazing meals when he can work with real food. He has been helping out in the kitchen and he's pretty spot on with his cake recipe.

Don't mind his reaction. He was in the middle of explaining his recipe for the soup on the stove there.

And most evenings and weekends I've spent cuddling with my Rubes. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have a pup who is so intelligent (already knows sit, down, stand) after one night of home training. I kept my notes from my 8-week course with Bambi eight years ago (alongside rotties and pit bulls no kidding); I've been using those and it's working perfectly. She walks on a leash nicely, looks at Miles like he's a nut, and has spent time with my mom's dogs without issue.

Ruby dooby, you're awesome.

I haven't gotten much in, in the way of working out, but those moments are starting to return to my schedule. I've been walking outside when I can; Ruby makes that easier. And I'm looking forward to the snow and getting out on a trail or two soon.

So much for better content, ha. This is all I've got for now, but spring is coming...

- kate -
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Friday, January 16, 2015


One of the concepts I've been holding tightly too this winter is that life is a series of seasons. We go through time periods of change, stagnation, setbacks, and tremendous growth.

As I was mulling within a setback this fall, my friend Liz said, "it's just the season you're in." This age, this position, this season in parenting and in life. It's a season we'll be out of in a few years, but a season to be enjoyed nonetheless like any other season.

As days are sometimes difficult, I remind myself that this is just "the season I'm in" and that it will not last forever. Nothing is permanent. Everything is always changing.

Raising a toddler/young child is challenging. Deciding the next steps for your own professional life or path, on top of the transitions in other areas of life is also challenging. Put it all together and it makes for a messy season of change.

A season nonetheless. One that'll be over before I know it, but feels like it'll never end while in it.

- kate -
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankful for the moments.

I'm always thankful to have Chris and Miles in my life. Often times, we are amused and surprised by Miles' thoughts and expressions.

I am thankful for moments like these...

One evening at dinner, Miles started throwing his dinner in the air to catch it in his mouth.

He of course missed each time to have food land on the table or the floor (thankfully, Ruby was a great vacuum).

Said dinner was homemade southwestern black bean egg rolls (my favorite!).

We did our best not to encourage his fraternity like habits before the age of three, but we couldn't help but laugh as we asked what he was doing. "Catching my food," he replied.

We have never done that ourselves, mostly because we miss, so I'm not sure where he picked up that idea...

Moments like these help me to remember the fun in life, and not to take it all too seriously. Thank you Miles for that simple reminder :)

- kate -
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Slowing down to a halt.

It's so strange to be in a state of limbo. It's permeated several areas of my life, while I wait for the days to pass and the next step to reveal itself.

I've been spending time reading personal development blogs like Raptitude and Altucher Confidential while I wait to begin again. To start fresh. To remember what I enjoyed about my work before, and bring that into a new space once again. Hoping to be embraced and hoping to continually learn in the process.

Very few times in life do we stop and take a breath. It's hard for me to slow down, let alone sit in a standstill for any amount of time. It's provided opportunity for deeper reflection on my decisions, my values, and my desires.

I may have been slowed to a halt, stuck in the traffic of it all, but soon enough things will start moving along again. It's the perfect season for such a derailment, as the winer gets even colder and the days quiet down after the holidays, maybe it's the perfect time to say that it's okay to just stop, ponder, and listen.

Take a moment and listen. You might be surprised by what you hear.

- kate -
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