Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wedding Planning || Handlettering

Planning a wedding is no small feat, even one as small as ours.  From the beginning, I knew I wanted to be very hands on, doing as much as I/we could do as possible.  Sure, it could be due to that small control freak quirk I have going on.  But more than that, I've looked forward to the opportunity to learn new printing and hand lettering techniques for our save the dates, invitations, menus, etc.  It's also put a little spark in my etsy shop goals. 
Being behind a desk all day at work, it's nice to get away and flex my creative muscles as I doodle the plans for our wedding details.  We'll be screen printing our invitation package and menu boards so I've been prepping files to bring to our friend's shop this weekend to have our screens flashed.  I've also (half) built a small jig that will allow me to print easily at home or really anywhere.  More on that another day.
That pencil doesn't lie, it really is the very best mechanical pencil.  Ever.  Ricky Ricardo can attest; he's eaten two already.  Go get yourself some and thank me later!

I'll keep you posted with more wedding planning details soon as we're just 3 short months away from the big day!  Yikes. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Behind the Lens || 2 Hearts, 1 Kitchen

I'm a big believer in supporting small businesses, especially so when they're owned by fabulous friends with a penchant for good food.  So when my friend of 20+ years, Nikki, and her husband Matt hired me to shoot new promotional material for their catering company 2 Hearts, 1 Kitchen, I was all in.

A little back history on Nikki and I...We met back in 1993 when both of our families were having a house built in the same cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Tucson.  Being just a few months apart, we became instant friends and have stayed friends despite multiple moves between us.  My little brother was a big fan of her house when he was a wee tot since her parents spoiled him with cookies so if he went missing, we knew we would find him at their house.  Or sometimes he'd just wander back on his own wearing just his diaper, bottle in one hand and cookies in the other!  Her house was also where we spent a lot of time watching Steel Magnolias, baking in her easy bake oven, and throwing down on her mom's no-bake chocolate cookies--the best!  Who knew that these early years would be a peek into her future.

I made my way back to Arizona to attend the U of A and Nikki ventured onto culinary school in Scottsdale where she met her now husband, Matt.  Together they've traveled the world, working in various restaurants and eventually settled back in Tucson where they created a catering company and cafe (x2) of their own. They're so passionate about food, they even catered their own wedding, including the cake!  Wonder foodies, for sure! Nikki and Matt have created two tasty cake creations for our family so far, one for my niece's baby shower and another for her 3rd birthday.  And of course I've trusted them with creating something wonderful for my wedding cake and shortly after for my little sister's wedding (that may be news to them, we should talk!).

Back to the job.  I spent a morning in their kitchen as they whipped up one delicious dish after another, all perfectly plated and smelling amazing.  The goal was to create clean, appetizing images to be used on their website and promotional materials to promote their ever growing business.  Last month, Tucson Bride and Groom featured their business on their blog which included some of the images I shot--check it out.  Keep scrolling for some great behind the scenes peeks at our setup and our audience!
The Thompsons' beloved pug, Lola, was an excellent assistant!

The setup was simple: white foam core panels, FANTASTIC natural light, and simple cutting surfaces.

Behind the scenes collage courtesy of Nikki. Ricky Ricardo and Lola even made cameos!

Thank you, Nikki and Matt, for thinking of me for the job.  I hope we have more opportunities to work together in the future.  Can't wait to see what amazing work you create for my wedding!

If you need a reliable, experienced, personable caterer for an upcoming event, big or small, or you are in need of some sweet pastry creations, I urge you to contact Nikki and Matt

If you're looking for a photographer to help you with your small business, I'm always happy to arrange a consult!



*All images featured in this post are mine unless noted otherwise. Graphic design work is credited to Nikki and Matt's designer.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

I'm sure everyone thinks their dad is the best, but I can assure you that mine really is! He is the cream of the crop as a dad and as a man; they just don't make them better than him.  Even if I didn't always understand his methods as a teenager, I knew his intentions were to raise the most well-rounded, self sufficient, respectful little humans he could.  As a military family growing up, we were always seen as a reflection of him which, when you're picking out a model to emulate, you couldn't pick a better example.  And while he may question our decisions sometimes, I think his influence shines through in each of us daily.

Wishing all the daddies, and especially mine, a wonderful Father's Day!

Seattle 2011

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Adventures || LA with La

On a recent business trip to LA, I decided to hang out an extra day to fit in some much needed time with my La (Lauren).  We go back 11 years starting from our freshmen year at The University of Arizona; her dorm room was katty corner from mine.  She visits Arizona often since her roots are here, but I haven't been out to LA to see her in a couple years so this worked out perfectly.

So here's the thing, I love food!  And thankfully La loves food, too.  This is a happy friendship!  The great thing about Silverlake (her hood) is they have some REALLY good food.  So we ate.  Lots. And it was all so good!  We also worked out as to not feel so shameful about our eating escapades.  More on that later.

La has lived in Silverlake for a few years now so she has a pretty good handle on the go-to spots for good eats and drinks.  I also came prepared with a list of places thanks to the suggestions of another local, Bri of  By the time I made it back to the airport to return home, my non-forgiving pants hated me but my tummy loved me!

Even though I still had business to attend to on Monday, I had to check out of my hotel Sunday so I stayed with La which worked out well and allowed me more time with her.  Sunday night we hit up Diablo for some tasty tacos--they didn't disappoint.  I got the rockfish which was pretty good, but it was the sweet corn that stole the show.  So good, in fact, that I got an order to go so I could relive its glory again the next day.  Best. Corn. Ever.  I'm a fan of simple but powerful flavor and this corn knocked it out of the park.  I'm drooling thinking about it now.  At the suggestion of the staff, we treated ourselves to dessert: churros with bacon caramel sauce and chocolate ganache.  You really can't go wrong with churros or bacon so this was another win!  Now, I'm not a huge beer fan but lately I've been drawn to hard ciders.  Diablo had a cherry cider michelada that sounded intriguing so I figured I'd try it out.  With the ridiculously yummy rimming salt and chili combo (can I get that in a bowl, please?!) and a pineapple popsicle to drop in for added flavor, this really was a party for my mouth.  You must try it.


This ain't no regular sweet corn!

Before heading out for business Monday, we hit up Sunset Junction Coffee Shop for brunch per La's craving for the best huevos rancheros in town.  I opted for the "Healthy" plate in an attempt to save calories for later.  Was it good?  Yes.  But can we talk about the BEST iced soy vanilla latte I've ever had in my life?!  I could have kissed the waiter when he asked how I liked it.  Heaven in a glass--so perfect.  So perfect that I had to get another one before they closed for the night because there was no way I could sleep well without it.  Dramatic, I know.  Had my flight not been delayed (twice) then re-instated (only to be delayed again once I got to the airport--fun times) I would have grabbed another glass to go, making it three servings in less than 36 hours.  Fanatic about this damn crack coffee!
BEST iced soy vanilla latte EVER!
I'm the crazy who walks in 2 minutes before close for another cup of crack coffee.

After taking care of business, La and I hit the trails for a hike up to the Griffith Observatory and beyond.  With her two weenie dogs in tow, we made our way to the top for an incredible view.  It also helped to make us feel less guilty about our cupcakes and churros!  I wish the heat wasn't so intense in Arizona right now because I would love to get out and go on more hikes.  There's always November!
That's Griffith Observatory as we were half way to the top of the trail.

Hiking up a mountain can leave a girl hungry, so after a quick change we headed to Umami Burger in Los Feliz.  Do you know what beets, ricotta, and arugula do when they get together?  They have a party in your mouth and you wanna lick the plate when you're done.  (No, Dad, I didn't lick the plate!)  For burgers, I opted for the turkey burger and La went with the manly burger (seriously, it was called the manly burger) and we split and shared the love.  In case you forget where you are, they stamp their buns with their logo taking branding to the next level!  Throw a hard apple cider into the mix and I nearly had to be rolled back to the car.

As if I hadn't had enough good eats so far, we still had brunch to conquer Tuesday morning.  With doughnuts on our mind, we headed to LAMILL Coffee.  I had had their iced soy vanilla latte my last visit and honestly wasn't really impressed, so I went into this cautiously optimistic.  We can all rejoice that they have redeemed themselves this time around, not only with a delish latte but with the yummiest brioche doughnuts complete with sweet vanilla cream and jam for dipping.  It's a good thing this place wasn't a library because I'm pretty sure it sounded like I was having a When Harry Met Sally moment right there at my table for the third time this visit--remember there first was that ridiculous corn then the best latte of my life!  There were some tasty eggs benny, too, but they were definitely not the star of the show; it's tough being the second act.  Apparently this joint is celebrity approved since we were a couple tables down from Matthew Lillard, ya know, Shaggy himself!

Brioche doughnuts-yes, please!

Despite the looks of it, I had other plans besides eating my way through LA.  After seeing a picture of La doing aerial yoga, I put it on my must-try list and lucky for me we had time to squeeze in a class before my evening flight.  If you have the chance, you have to try it for yourself.  There is something very therapeutic and freeing about being suspended by a hammock of fabric and having faith that you won't fall.  It was challenging while also allowing me to move more fluidly than I may be able to in a traditional yoga practice.  I'm hooked! 

The takeaway from this trip?  Corn.  Coffee.  Doughnuts.  Oh, and aerial yoga!

In between stuffing our faces, we fit in some fun shopping also.  I'll post about all the cute shops and sites soon, including a great florist that had the perfect plant boxes for our wedding center pieces.  Win!

*Pardon the crap iPhone pictures; that gadget is a hot mess right now but needs to get me through for just a few more months.