Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Website

Hooray! Very original title, but it's after 11pm and I'm tired. Just had to get the word out though. We finally finished (I use that term very loosely as there will be many upgrades over the course of time) my new website. My husband is amazing. I designed it, and he put it in to action. We're such a good team, right? Two of my favorite features are that my website does not 1) resize your browser when you look at it and 2) play stupid music. (Our biggest pet peeves about pretty much every other photographers website we've looked at recently and believe me, we've seen a lot). Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My little Caregiver

So I've been pretty sick this whole week. The kind of sick where you are achy, headache, throat hurts, got the chills, and pretty much just don't feel like doing anything. Last night after dinner, I went into our bedroom to lie down and see if that would help me feel any better. I brought my book, propped myself up on pillows and commenced reading. Rachel wanders in and decides she wants to read books to. She collects her stories, blanket, and pillow and climbs up on the bed with me. We remain that way for a good 20 minutes (which when Rachel is involved is a pretty impressive amount of time).

After I decide lying around is not helping me feel any better, I turn off the light and snuggle under the covers to try and get some sleep. After being very annoyed for a minute ("mommy all done sleeping!"), Rachel goes to her room, collects kiki, floppy, cow, her musical zebra and a few toys (her sleeping entourage as we like to call them), tucks them all around me, gives me kisses and hugs, turns on the zebra, says "night, night mommy" and quietly leaves the room and closes the door. How cutes is that? It seriously made me want to cry. Whoever knew a 2 year old could be so perceptive, loving, and just what the doctor ordered?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Blodgett's

This is one of my high school friends and her cute family. They agreed to let me borrow them to try a spot up near SLC that I've been wanting to shoot at. It was great, only it was really, really cold! Their 15 month (I think!) old daughter was such a trooper, but I could tell she really didn't want to be there. That age is so hard to photograph. We had fun wandering around, looking at the ducks, and got some good ones anyway. Thanks Em!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fun Date Night

Those of you with kid(s) can sympathize with how difficult it can be to get out on regular dates. Our dating life usually consists of putting the kids to bed and then eating yummilicious ice cream while watching the most recent episode of Eureka (highly recommend), 24, or some other equally addicting tv show that we have recorded and get to watch commercial free. But, every once in awhile we get a night out. Last night was one of those, and it was awesome.We have great people in our ward that will babysit, for free, with short notice. I cannot thank these people enough for helping Sam & I get away from our two beautiful, yet taxing children.

I digress. The date. That's what you want to hear about. We decided we wanted to go out to eat, but we had so many choices that it was difficult to narrow our selection to the one place we really wanted to go to without having to drag the kids with us. Sam chose Shoots, a new Chinese place in the Shops at Riverwoods that is knock-your-socks-off delicious (I'd link to it, but their website appears to be having difficulties). The best part about this establishment is they take reservations for 2. What was that? Seriously. No two hour wait at PF Chang's. We walked in, stated our name, and it was "right this way, please". We had potstickers for an appetizer (way better than the frozen Costco kind, although those are yummy when you are having a desperate craving), and some steaming, pan-fried noodles/bamboo shoots/shrimp/chicken/beef yummyness that arrived bubbling to our table, and some tangerine chicken. The chicken was okay, the pan-fried delectableness was amazing.

After our stomachs were filled to overflowing, we killed the hour and a half before our movie walking around the mall, buying See's chocolate to sneak into the movie, and just enjoying the time we had to actually talk to one another without interruption. So, the movie. Loved it. We saw August Rush at the $1 theater (i know... spend $35 on dinner, $2 on a movie) and it was moving. I loved the mixture of classical, cello music with more modern guitar rock. I'll admit the ending was a little cheesy, but I'm not sure I could've written a better one. Go see it. You'll love it.

So that was probably more than you wanted to know about my weekend. But, I thought I'd share. To recap: Go eat at Shoots, and go see August Rush. Both have made it to my favorite list.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Williams Family

I have been salivating over this brick wall ever since Sam pointed it out to me about a month ago (unhealthy and weird. I know.). Just waiting for the perfect opportunity to do a photo shoot. The time arrived. As I have been putting together pictures for my website I noticed a serious lack in pictures of children over the age of 2 (and most of the ones I do have are of Rachel. Boring.). This family used to be in our ward, and I've been wanting to do their pictures for at least a year anyway, so I figured they would be the perfect guinea pigs, er....candidates. With inspiration from my friend Natalie, I also purchased some actions and textures from Nicole V that I thought turned out splendid. What do you think? Too much? Do you like them?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ready to Roll

Hooray! My kids are not sick, the house cleaning is caught up (as much as it can be!), and I'm ready to start booking sessions again. I've been feeling the lack of picture taking, and I'm very excited to see what 2008 has in store. I've redone my pricing, so please follow the link to my pricing blog. Also note the "refer a friend" program. Tell your friends about me and get $5 off your sitting price.

My disclaimer: I'm cheap. I know. I want to be. We decided that it is more important for me to get experience now than it is to make money. I'm totally okay with that. If my prices are still too expensive for you, talk to me anyway. We'll work something out. You can babysit my kids or something. :)

Oh- and stay tuned for my new website! I'm so excited!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Through the Looking Glass

A glimpse into the life of Andrew. Seriously. Sitting in his car seat, happy as a clam (where did that phrase come from anyway?), playing with his toes. I love this kid. We went for a drive today since we're quarantined and can't do anything else to get out of the house. Wasn't as relaxing as I'd hoped due to Rachel asking me for water, books, dolly, dolly's backpack every 5 seconds, but it was good nevertheless.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ahhh...the memories

It's no secret that Sam & I were never very happy with our engagement or wedding pictures. I don't think we realized how important it would be to get a good photographer. They are all the same, right? wrong. Anyway, thought I'd play around with some in Photoshop and give them a little more zing. I think I like them much better. Maybe even enough to actually put some on our walls? What amazes me is that they are pretty good pictures as far as composition, poses, etc, they were just boring. Not a whole lot of post-process went into the prints we got straight from the photographer.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One More


My friend Natalie sent over a vintage action (pulled the crinkly/lined look) and a link to a tutorial about cross-processing. Way fun stuff to play around with. Here's the before and after (Sam's grandma--isn't she great?!):

I like the crackly & lined layers. They add a good effect. Maybe slightly tinted too blue? What do you think? Click to enlarge...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Goals for the Year

I'm really not New Year's resolution kind of person. I really don't follow through. But, I thought I should try anyway. Besides, I think these should be fun.

1) Try something new with photography. I really like the idea of setting up and really thinking about what I want the end result to be. Take my time. I've been following this guy who takes a portrait everyday and then posts it on his blog. These look like they were just point & click, but I guarantee he took time to set up lighting, composure, etc. I think I'm just too used to working with a 2 year old. Not exactly your ideal model.

2) Attend a workshop. I am one of those learn-best-in-a-classroom-environment type of people. There's one I want to attend given by Skye Hardwick this summer. Unfortunately it also takes a lot of $$$. We'll see.

3) Start doing engagement photos and/or shoot a wedding. eeek!! Maybe be a second-shooter at a wedding. Or have Sam be my second? We'll see.

4) Help Sam finish school, be able to afford a new mimi-van by the time we're done, and get into a house by Christmas. All lofty goals, but definitely achievable. I don't think we've told a ton of people yet, but we did get an official job offer from Empire West over the break. Sam's been working for them since before his mission, and they want him full-time after he's done with school. The perks? 8 hour days. Working with awesome people that he knows and trusts. Time for side projects (can you say website for Jess?). Getting into a house in CA. Bonus program. Health insurance. CA weather. Hiking year-round. The cute town of Windsor. We're excited. But, we'll still be around until next Nov/Dec. So, no hurry to say good-bye.

5) Be more spiritual. Vague, I know. It's hard to get a lot out of church when you have two kids, and hard to want to find time to read scriptures, study, and do other things when I get a total of 1 hour to myself everyday. I'm going to be better though.

6) Lose the baby-weight and keep it off. Who doesn't have a losing-weight goal? Sam's brother and sis-in-law just started their own Biggest Loser competition. I'm unofficially joining them. 15 lbs lighter by March 31st. Maybe my prize will be that workshop...

Well, that's probably all I should commit to presently. Here's a picture to start out with:

Andrew is in front of our living room window. I exposed the picture to totally blow out the background, fine-tuned Andrew's exposure in Camera RAW, converted to b&w, and then added the border in Photoshop. Voila!

Fun and Exciting Weekend

Okay, not really. For those of you who haven't heard, we had to hospitalize Rachel this last weekend because of pneumonia. Ugh. She caught a cough from cousins out in CA, but then it just kept getting worse when we got back. She had a fever Sat afternoon, so I made an appt to take her to nighttime Peds, and received the shock of my life when the doc said we had to take her to UVRMC. What? My daughter? That sick? I think it's one of those things you never think will happen to you. I honestly hope you get that lucky. Holding my screaming daughter while the nurses try to start her IV (for an hour!) is really a nightmare. You want so much to protect your kids, but sometimes the best things for them just hurt. It breaks my heart.

Anyway... after a really long night (chest x-rays, medicine, IV's) we finally got Rachel settled in bed with her sleeping bag, two blankets, and all her stuffed animals around 11pm. Much later than her normal bedtime. They wanted to watch her O2 levels to make sure she was getting enough with all the junk in her lungs. Her fever finally broke in the middle of the night, and she got some sleep.

Was it worth it? Probably. I never would've forgiven myself if something worse had happened because we elected to stay home. We got discharged yesterday around 6:30pm and got to all sleep in our own beds. And Rachel's doing great. We're going to lie low for a week or so while she still on antibiotics, but I think the worst is over.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that Andrew doesn't catch it as well (so far no symptoms). Thanks for all your support, phone calls, and prayers!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I love this little girl. She's 5 going on 16, and so photogenic. I asked her if I could take her picture and she immediately starting posing for me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Baby Boy

I can't believe he's 4 months old already. We've spent the last few days recovering from vacation (ironic how that works), and have noticed how much Andrew has grown while we've been away. He's getting so big, so aware of his surroundings, and loves, loves to munch on his hands, play with his toes, and smile. I love it. He is always smiling. Unless he's hungry. Or tired. Such a good baby. A nice side effect of all sleeping in the same room in a small house with other small kids in CA is that Andrew (and Rachel) have developed a high tolerance for noise. They are now both sleeping in the same room, Andrew can cry himself back to sleep at night (mom is tired of getting up to feed him) and Rachel sleeps through it. Ahhhh....time to put the bassinet away.