Sunday, May 31, 2009

today i woke up and you were four...


dear estee,

this morning you greeted me with the biggest smile on your face, jumping up and down so excited for what the day would bring.

i stayed up all night last night making a pink birthday cake with a big "E" on it for you just like you wanted.

today, once again, i reminded you just how completely loved you are.

today, i looked at you and saw a four year old little girl with absolutely no traces of a baby left.

today, i said an extra special prayer thanking heavenly father for giving me you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a photobooth story...

this morning when i got in from my morning run, estee was on the computer playing games where chris had surely put her so he could get ready for work in peace... "hey estee want to take goofy pictures?" i say...

they started out very sweet, like this one...

and then you know who got a little bit more excited...

and then whoops, we woke up simone (who loves to sleep in) pretty sure this is the one that did the trick

okay simone, come join the fun...

oh man, simone, you stink... and why is my leg suddenly soaking?... yep, i just got pooped on.
off to change simone and get some new pants on...
look who is so sad to suddenly be alone... (rolled when i saw she took this one all by herself)

okay, lets get back to business...

"lets do one with our eyes closed" estee yells...

"let's try again moanie" estee says dead serious

"last one" i say, time for breakfast...

too bad i dont have crying and screaming ones as i drag them away from the computer...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

QandA part two, home...

i loved all of these questions, i had a lot more fun with these than the photography ones. obviously i am no pro but it is something i love to do... in fact decorating my house has been my total obsession as of late. so hopefully these make sense to someone.

Your bedding, your little girls bedding, and the yellow and white rug, custom, homemade, or store bought?
my bedding is from anthropologie's windermere collection, and the throw blanket and pillow are anthropologie as well. estee's bedding is a mix of ikea (the duvet that is folded down at the bottom) vintage chenille mauve blanket (sweet find by ann, still cant believe she gave it up!) and the big throw pillow is from anthropologie. and the big yellow and white rug (in my den) is from anthropologie (love it but it sheds like a mother)

What inspired the d├ęcor in your home?
i am pretty decisive when it comes to decorating my house, i never take a long time to decide on anything from paint colors to rugs and chairs and lamps, i just know what i like and what i want. i am obviously really inspired by a lot of trends from the 50's 60's and 70's mixed with a touch of modern. i love color and i love to mix color and prints. decorating for me is just fun, i don't spend time thinking about what others will think about it. i am not an interior designer so i am sure i break a lot of the rules, but when i look at my home it makes me happy and is a place i want to be, filled with lots of things that remind me of good times and loved ones.
my aunt lane is an AMAZING interior designer and has always been a huge inspiration to me, she is legendary at mixing color and pattern flawlessly, and i swear she is the first person to introduce mid century modern pieces to me way back in the day. she has the most fabulous collection of antique furniture, specifically MCM couches that she had reupholstered.

what is your favorite piece in your home(which could be a very difficult question)?
probably the key that my husband's brother alan sculpted in high school (on our mantle) and all of my mom's paintings (i have four in total and LOVE them)

where is your favorite place to find treasures for your home? - specifically textiles. I really love the patterns on your bedding!
i love to look on ebay for vintage textiles of all kinds, and of course thrifting. also, obviously anthropologie. my mom has cupboards full of vintage and new bedding in pretty much all sizes and shapes, she is the reason i love textiles so much.

where are your favorite places to find your collectibles and furniture? thrift stores, craigslist, ksl?
yes, all of the above. i stalk thrift stores, ksl and craigs list pretty much daily. and ebay too, i love that i can go antiquing in the middle of the night on ebay. i keep a notepad handy so that whenever i think of something i want to look up on ebay i write it down so i wont forget.

Where would you shop for home accessories such as pillows, rugs, bookcase/decorative accessories?
almost every rug and pillow in my house is from anthropologie, what can i say? i still love the store:) but almost all of my decorative accessories are thrifted (milk glass vases, cameras, figurines. etc.)

I know you get a lot of your furniture at anthropologie because that is my favorite store. But where is your favorite place to shop for home decor locally or online, other then anthropologie?
what are your favorite stores or places that inspire you the most?
i LOVE your style of decorating. i'm not sure what to call it but it's fresh, unique and things go "together" without "going together" - if that makes sense. do you shop consignment stores, estate sales? i'm in SLC and would love to know where you snag some of your finds.

well, this is a tough question surprisingly because most of the furniture and home decor in my house is either anthropologie or thrifted. i think it is important to mix your vintage treasures with new, nice things or else it can just look like a pile of junk. but if funds were unlimited i would buy one of everything from DWR, and i love to look at sites that sell fancy antiques for ridiculous prices like this one here because it gives me inspiration when i go to thrift stores of things to look for :) oh, and now that it is garage sale season i am all over it! my new neighborhood is jam packed on the weekends!

Your style, to my untrained eye, seems the perfect mix of mid-century modern and vintage/eclectic. How do you mix the pieces and colors you do? Do you have a grand scheme? Do you just pick things you like and they happen to all look fabulous together? And how does one transform her house from one style (mine is very Pottery Barn classic circa mid-2000's) into another style, such as yours, piece by piece, without it looking like a garage sale?
How do you manage to pair patterns + prints together in your home decor (and please say it can be learned)?

that's the look i was going for, so thank you so much!:)
when i am mixing patterns and color i do try to look for common shapes and colors (within different patterns) i try to keep a common theme of sorts and i try to make all of the pieces relate in some way to each other without really matching. when i do have two pieces that don't go together at all (like my two couches in my living room) i try to use other things to tie them together, like my throw pillows and artwork.
as far as changing styles completely i would say, take it slow but try and focus on a room at a time. i bet you will find that much of your existing stuff can make sense incorporated with your new stuff if done right.

I've been wondering where you got your black and white old fashioned style couch that is in your sitting room. Did you re-upholster it yourself, or did it come that way?

it's the anthropologie amelie couch, but they no longer make it in my print anymore. but look at the one on sale now just a little bit obsessed.

i always love your paint colors!! can you share some of your current favorites?
i always buy i tester and paint the actual wall before i commit to a color, here are a few tried and true (for me anyway)
a really good green is behr's martini olive. i also like mink from sherwin williams it is the pretty gray that was in my old dining room, i think i will be using it again soon. i also like S&W tansy green (pretty bold though)
wish i had more to share, i am going to be painting a few walls soon, so i may have more to share in the next few months.

where did you get estee's beautiful bed (it's turquoise i think)
i love her bed too, in fact the girls share a room and simone sleeps on a trundle that pulls out from under her bed so now it is both their bed! works out great:)
you can find it here

Do you have any favorite websites or magazines that you use for inspiration?
love design sponge, apartment therapy, sfgirlbybay, door sixteen, desire to inpire, ohdeedoh, and hus&hem to name just a few, but i could go on for days with sites i look at, the whole time thinking "my house looks like doo doo":)

Where did you get those fabulous daisy coffee tables in your living room? LOVE them!!
can you guess???
i bet you can!
i'm almost embarrassed to write this...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Q&A part 1 photography...

here i go again... i just worked on this post for about 4 hours and pressed the publish button and lost 90% of it. i maybe cried for a second and then maybe walked away and said i wasn't going to do it, but here i am at midnight starting over... i am trying to answer the same but i am a bit grouchy so please excuse! :)

okay, so again, thanks for all of the great questions. i decided to break them down into 3 different groups, photography, home and me.

i am going to start with photography so check back tomorrow or the next if you didn't ask a question pertaining to photography.

here we go...

I have a question - what got you into photography? How long have you been doing it? Any any formal training?
i took my first photography class my senior year in high school... it was a really laid back class, that's why i initially took it but i had an instant love for taking photos and especially loved the darkroom. when i moved to utah for school i literally took every photography class UVSC offered at the time, which was not many. i loved the darkroom and always dreamed of having one in my home (still do)

anyway, after i had taken all of the classes at UVSC i pretty much didn't pick up a camera again until i had estee (about 5 years later) and that's when i got serious about it.

Do you have any advice on what to do first, when you are a beginner (which camera to buy, take a class or learn from books, etc.)
Advice for beginners in the world of photography? Cameras? Books?
Can you give me any info on how to start taking some photography classes and buying cameras...just getting the ball rolling?
i would just say go to a camera store nearby and look and and hold the cameras you are deciding between, perhaps one will feel better than the other to you. also, once you get your equipment try and get your camera out and shoot every day. just like anything else the more you do it the better you will be. i would also suggest looking into a community class to learn the basic technical stuff. also, there is a wealth of knowledge online so many people want to learn how to take better pictures and everyone is learning from everyone else... sites like and have extensive message boards and also allow people to post photos they have taken and have them critiqued. (its been a long time so hopefully those are still around!) i have really loved all of the canon cameras i have owned, but i have never shot nikon so it's difficult for me to compare. when i was first getting started i knew that nikons were much noisier (more grain at high ISOs) so that was one swaying factor for me.

I am wondering if there is something specific that you did to take the leap from an amateur to a professional? Was it a lens upgrade? Photoshop? You can see how your work gets consistently better and better and I've sort of hit a wall, so I'm just curious. Thanks for doing this!
really i never make the decision to go "pro" i just had people ask me to take photos... at first i didn't charge anything and then after a while i decided i should probably start charging, so i set my price really low thinking no one would pay me to take their pictures! i did a lot of shoots when my price was so low that i actually got burned out a bit. i had to ask myself what it was worth to me, because even though i enjoyed it i still saw it as time away from my family, so i set my price at what i felt it was worth to me to be away from family while i did the shoot and edited the photos.

Do you still work professionally photographing other people?
no, i don't. i just realized it wasn't for me. i got to a point where i dreaded shoots, dreaded proofing and never took photos for me. i was taking photos of the girls one day and i was just capturing them playing in their dress ups, being little girls and it struck me that this is what i want to be doing with my talent. i have completely changed my style of photography since that day. i have no desire to stick my girls in front of some colored wall and have them smile at the camera (like i always did), i want to capture them as they are every day doing what they do, being who they are. i have found my biggest challenge in photography is to take photos like those that have something extra special that evoke emotion and set them apart from just an everyday snap shot. i am shooting everyday again and have a new found love for the hobby.

Favorite lenses. What's your very, very favorite? And do you use filters or hoods?
If you could only use one lens from now on to take pictures of your girls, which lens would it be?
What are your top 3 lenses and why?
What is your favorite lens to shoot your girls with?
How do you like your 16-35 lens?

my very favorite all around lens is my 24-70L 2.8, it is tack sharp at all focal lengths and the color is dreamy. i have this lens on my camera 75% of the time.
my next favorite is the 16-36L II 2.8 i just love the different perspectives you can achieve with such a wide angle, it is a fun one to play around with and great for shots of my house:) but be careful, at 16mm it does distort quite a bit around the edges.i have that one on my camera about 20% of the time
and the other 5% is my 50mm 1.4 i put this on when i need the larger aperture in low light situations. it's a great lens too.
i sold my 85mm, it was a good lens but i had no use because of the three above.
i don't use any filters and once in a while a hood but usually just use my hand :)

Do you feel your photography was brought to a new level when you bought your 5d or do you think you took just as good pictures with your old camera?
not really my photography but my quality of photos, i think. i love my 5d and love having the full frame sensor. i am pretty sure that my photos are sharper now than they were with my 30d.

I love that you use your photography not only to document the beauty
in the people you interact with, but also the beauty in all of the
things around you that often go unnoticed. I'd like to learn to be
better at this... I have a rebel xt, which I think is a decent camera
to start out with. How would you suggest that I get better? Practice?
Books? Classes?
first off, thanks so much! i know that i see the world completely differently than i did before i was taking photos everyday. i find the beauty in things that maybe aren't so beautiful, i always notice the way light is hitting something and it never fails that when i am out in the evening and the sun is low and that pretty golden color i long to be shooting. so all i can say is to try and see the world differently and maybe try different angles than you normally would (like laying down or getting high) you will find if done right it will make for a much more interesting photograph. also, try and find your style, what you love to shoot and ways to shoot that make you extra excited.

oh and practice, practice, practice!

do you ever use skin softening software? or do you soften skin by hand? and if so, what/or how.
do you ever use photoshop actions? and if so, what are your favorites?
do you have any other favorite photoshop tips and tricks?
What are some of your favorite Photoshop tips? Any special little must have tweaks you love to use?
How do you get the eyes and the skin to look so perfect?
How are your pictures so crystal clear???
My question is what is your workflow like. You unload your images and then what?

let me start this answer by saying i have a real love/hate relationship with photoshop. i look at my older photos and i just laugh at how over saturated, over everything they are. i am at the opposite end of the spectrum now. i do use photoshop but never to really fix anything just to give a little boost or tweak.

let me walk you through a typical photo, in fact i just opened this one at random!

so, i shoot RAW exclusively so the first thing that opens is the RAW dialog box. here is what the photo looks like straight out of my camera (just re sized for web)

so in the RAW dialog box there are temp. and tone sliders, i thought this looked a little warm so i made it just a tad cooler and then opened it in PS.
in PS i opened curves and bumped it just a bit (tiny tiny bit) then i dodged the color part of the eye at 3% and then saved. here is the after, not much different but just what it needed, in my opinion :)

that is a very typical work flow for a color photo. the trick to having great color is getting the exposure right (and a good lens doesn't hurt!)
when i shoot indoor under nasty light the work flow is the same except i have to tweak the tone and temp. a lot more to get the colors right.
as far as skin goes, i have never used any of those skin smoother or softeners, i just use the spot healing tool (proximity match) whenever i need it.
when i first started learning photoshop i bought a big set of actions (jinky's) and one was a sharpen for web and one a sharpen for print, those are the only actions i still use.

my question would be on your black and white process.
i've always loved your black and whites?
any tips/steps on your processing?

What is your favorite B & W conversion tool? I am in search of a great way to turn my photos into a nice, clean, crisp B & W. I also love the Br & W of your post 'I often go walking' That's a nice one. How did you do that?
i was shocked to see that many of you like my black and whites because there are SO many black and white conversions out there and i have such an easy work flow for them it is crazy... here is what i do.

i open the photo in PS (not doing anything in RAW) make sure your foreground and background colors are set to the default black and white, like this...

i use the gradient map so you go IMAGE>ADJUST>GRADIENT MAP, like this...

press okay and the open curves and adjust to your liking being very carful to not over do. this is what i did...

then i thought it needed a bit more contrast so i opened levels, adjusted a bit and here is the final... oh and once in a while i will add a slight tone using color balance.

so easy right? and totally adjustable to every photo that is properly exposed!
hope that helps.

How did you protect your blog so that others can't right click and steal your photos?
you have to add a code to the html of your blog template, i couldn't find the exact site i used but this one is the same thing.
find it here

What are some of your favorite places to shoot in the valley? I need some new backgrounds! :)
oh this is a tough one because i am a bit out of the loop this way, of course you know that in the heart of downtown salt lake there are a million great places but also, west valley has a lot of buildings with some crazy colors and textures.

how do you get your photos bigger on your blog?
my sister in law amy wrote a great tutorial on this and she does it the exact same way i do so click here to see it.

Do you have a good point and shoot camera that you would recommend? I already have a great SLR, but need one to carry around in my purse.
yes, we have had a canon powershot for about 2 years now and still love it.

Do you ever use flash? Indoor or outdoor?
no, never. if i ever need a flash like at night outside or something, we use the point and shoot. it just requires a skill i don't have and really have no desire to learn. natural light is a huge reason why i love photography.

whew! i think that's it! hopefully some of these were helpful and please please forgive me for the millions of typos.

oh, and for sure let me know if i left out a question... it's late!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I have a house full of kids tonight but I wanted to say how excited I
am about all of your great questions! I am going to work on them this
weekend and will get a post up on Monday. I am really thinking this is
going to be fun!

Look at my I's all in caps I guess the iPhone isn't as lazy as me.

And a doodle for the kids :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

ask away...

i need to start this post by honestly apologizing for not always answering my emails. i am really bad at it... it seems that when i am so busy and cant seem to do it all that is the first thing i neglect and truly, i am sorry. i always get the sweetest emails from people who read my blog, it means the world to me and i feel really lame that i haven't always been great about writing back... in fact i got a nasty comment once because i didn't write a woman back and she was offended and wanted to give me the what for. so sorry.

so i was thinking i would do a little q&a... ask anything from photography to where i got something to how i did something, etc. you can leave a comment or email me and i'll do a post in a couple of days answering them all, cross my heart.

and if i don't get any questions will someone at least ask a courtesy question so i don't feel too bad.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

i often go walking...

i guess all i can really say is i have been blessed so far beyond what my imagination could have ever imagined for myself.

i honestly know that i was born to be a mother.
i am not perfect, in fact far from it... but i do know that this is the greatest gift i will ever know and i do not take a second of it for granted.

to my little girls... it is beyond bliss being your mom. you two are such amazing little beings.

and i cant wait to have more babies.

and to my mom... your love for me has been the driving force of my life.
thank you so much for making my life magic.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

a hoarder in the making...

no, not really... but i do love a good collection. so does grammy, in fact i think she may have invented the whole idea of collecting, if not she took it to a whole new level.

i have quite a few collections going right now, some old, some new.

here are just a few...

vintage glasses. my rule is there has to be at least six to warrant a purchase and they have to be in really good condition (these are not all of the sets i have just the ones i have on display)

vintage towels. i know you are thinking "how gross" but i only buy them if they are in new or like new condition and we never use them. just ask chris, he has gotten in big trouble for that one.

old cameras. this one is new. really i guess you could say i was collecting them without realizing it. my mom has given me my favorite ones and the rest are just thrift store finds... however i have used all but 2 of them.

and everything else. well, salt and pepper shakers, pyrex bowls, tea cups and saucers, and those old salad bowls that are my newest obsession. ann got the cups and saucers for me because she knew estee would go nuts for them and the salt and pepper shakers i have had for a long time, i love that so many of them were given to by family and friends and i get the warm and fuzzies every time i look at them. i only have two of the salad bowls so if you see them around let me know... i think they may be a hot ticket item.

tell about your collections...?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

sad state of affairs...

tonight i was taking photos with photobooth pulling my eyes back to try and remember what i looked like when i actually got sleep. oh, those were the days. i have to admit though, that it is not just the girls (but they do both wake me up at least once a night each) i love to stay up late and work on projects, watch tv or scour ebay.

man i am boring lately. i promise to cook up some good posts soon.

tonight when i was talking on the phone to sister she said she needed to go because her ear was hot. never heard that one before. i must be real lame :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

another one...

from yesterday... the lighting was so bad, it worked. i love about a handful of them.

makes me want to be a kid again jumping on my parents bed.

Monday, May 04, 2009

the perfect day involved...

little girls jumping on our bed this morning (photo above)
lunch with girlfriends
a walk to the park
moanie on the big girl swing holding on so tight her knuckles were white... but loving every second of it
sugar cookies with lots and lots of frosting
getting to see my beautiful pregnant CC (sister) she is glowing
breakfast for dinner
playing in the backyard while chris mowed the lawn
smelling fresh cut grass
freshly bathed, soap smelling girls all worn out and tucked into bed by 8

hope your day was good too.

Friday, May 01, 2009

look at what i found today...

this is a shot of our mudroom. that is the spiral staircase that leads up to our playroom. i have been really excited to do this room because it already has a ton of charm... like the original wood floors (that i cant wait to paint) and the whole opposite wall and side wall are windows and now i find this!

i just started ripping the bead board away when i spotted a glimpse of this brick. cant wait to get it all off and the glue off and new trim on. couldn't be more perfect.

and now i realize (duh) that this is what used to be the outside of the house so it is also in our (future) nursery/ sunroom... it just keeps getting better.