Monday, January 31, 2011

Best January Face...

Over at iheartfaces, they are hosting another weekly photo challenge.  This one is a challenge for the best face in January.  I thought I'd enter this challenge when I saw this photo of my son.  He was trying out the swings for the first time all by himself, and he was really proud of himself.  I just adore him. 
If you'd like to enter one of my challenges, please check out this blog post about portraits. I'd love to have your link! :)
xo, Kristen

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Revisiting NYC.

The place where dreams are made...

I can not tell you how much I adore New York City.  It's the most amazing city.  I'm thinking of getting these photos blown up onto canvases and putting them in my bedroom so that I can just lie in bed and dream about it.  After all, there's nothin' you can't do there.

have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Minty Fresh. #2.

Mint. (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

I've decided that I want to try to include a weekly installment on my blog- just a little tutorial. So although this is the second "Minty Fresh" post, (here is the first) it will mark the first of the tutorial series.  I want to encourage you to share your shots with me, so please use the linky tool on the bottom of the page, or go ahead and leave a link in the comments! 

So for your first tutorial, I want you to look for the extraordinary today. Or look at the world in an extra ordinary way... think of it as being "minty-fresh." :)

Sometimes a great portrait doesn't have to include a face. Remember, a portrait is just a way of telling a story about a person. Go ahead and use that husband, kid, or dog of yours as a little experiment.  Grab your camera and just hang out with them.  Let them talk, play and explore.  Keep your eyes open for things that they do; little motions they make with their hands, messes they get into... Try to capture moments without getting their face in the shot! It's fun!

I'll share with you some of my favorites...

Have fun! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More of my every day...

I really, really, really love taking photos every single day.  I honestly learn so much from doing it.  Finding something to take a photo of each day is a fun little challenge.  I try to tell stories with each photograph- sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but it's fun to make something artistic every day.  Even if it means taking my macro lens to my daughter's gold sparkly shoes, or a toy shark:
 or checking out my roses, my hair, and my baby:
 I just love Jack on the swings by himself.  I had to make another collage of just him- oh, and who let him turn into a little boy so quickly?  He shouldn't be riding a swing all by himself!! :
 May you find beauty in your every day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Innocent Wonder

The innocence of children absolutely amazes me.  One of my favorite parts of being a photographer is finding little fleeting moments like this one.  Jack was crying, but just heard a puppy barking.  He forgot all about his sadness and walked to the glass door so he could try to see the source of this mysterious barking.  This is one of my favorite images!

If you've got an "Innocent Wonder" image to share, head over to I Heart Faces...
see you there!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meet the Toy Fairy.

I mentioned the Toy Fairy in my last post, but I didn't explain her very well.  The Toy Fairy is a pretty nice fairy, but she takes toys.  No, no. She doesn't steal or anything like that.  I don't want you to get the wrong idea about her.  After all, look at how pretty she is! So let me clarify.  The Toy Fairy comes when children don't clean up their toys when they are asked.  It is supposed to work something like this:

Mommy: "Ok Lilly.  Time to clean up these toys." (Keep in mind, I have giant bins that the toys can just be thrown into.)

Lilly: "I really like messes. I don't like cleaning up."

Mommy: (thinks to herself, "oh brother.") "Lilly, if you don't clean your toys up, the Toy Fairy will come and take them."

Lilly: "oh!  Ok, I'll clean them up."

That's the fairy tale version of the story.  Here's how it really works.

Same conversation as above until I tell her the Toy Fairy is coming... then...

Lilly: "mom, I want her to have my toys.  I like to share with her."  Or there's always the distracting technique: "What does she look like?  Is she nice? Can I draw a picture of her?"

Great. Now when she goes to sleep, I have to stash all of her toys in a hiding place and tell her the Toy Fairy took them and is keeping them. I know she won't care because she has a billion other toys to play with.   Clean up FAIL.

ahhh, I love these little moments of parenthood.


Tell me your tricks for getting kids to clean up!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Minty Fresh

Mint. (adj.) meaning new, fresh, sweet, brilliant, awesome.

This is going to become a monthly thing for me, I can just tell.

One of my goals for this year is to have a cleaner house.  So I got some tips from Martha Stewart (don't hate), and I'm going to try to do a little every day.  Each day, I'm going to give myself some tasks.  It might look something like this: Monday-laundry, Tuesday-windows, Wednesday-floors, Thursday-bathrooms, Friday-counters, Saturday-clutter... wait.  Clutter?  Shoot, I think I need to revise that.  You see, I have these two little people who live with me.  I have tubs for their toys, an entire play room, but toys somehow end up everywhere in the house.  Everywhere.  No place is off limits to them. Not even (dare I admit this?) the toilet.  *gross.*  I just gave myself the chills.  I will literally pick up a toy and put it in the toy bin just to have Jack take it out as soon as I turn my back.  Along with two more toys.  This is a photo I took when he was about 11 months old. It's titled "One Baby, Ten Minutes."  Completely true.

The other day, I sat down with my four year old, Lilly to help her clean her room.  "I like it messy," She told me.  "It makes me happy." So I came back with, "but my dear, it doesn't make ME happy.  It makes me sad.  And the Toy Fairy will come and take your toys if you don't clean up." (the Toy Fairy will be explained in my next blog post...)
"But mommy," she replies, "I want to share my toys with her."  Awesome.  No need to clean the clutter! 

That is mint.
-more minty freshness: here's a quick photography tip- keep your camera close to you all the time. Capture messes that your family makes!  These photos will always tell their own story, and will make you laugh one day!  Maybe one day far, far into the future... but still. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lilly is 4!

She actually turned 4 on January 6th, and I posted her slideshows on facebook.  I'm sharing it here, too!  Enjoy.
music by Matt Mintz. Written just for her. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow Baby.

This one is something really special to me.  We were in New Jersey, visiting my family for Christmas.  The day before we were supposed to fly home, this amazing thing happened.  A blizzard.  In a crazy turn of events, our flight the next day was of course canceled.  The next flight they could get us on would be a whole week after our original departure date.  It was a little hard to swallow at first, I'll be honest.  But then I realized- we had a whole entire week to just play.  I couldn't believe our luck.  We had a friend who loaned us snow boots for my 4 year old, and a hand-me-down snow suit for my 1 year old.  We had a blast!
What was really magical about it all was this: we were staying in the house where I grew up.  I got to see my kids playing in the same places I used to play- walk down those same streets, sled down that same hill, sit in the snow like it was a couch, just like I used to.  Seriously, talk about nostalgia.  wow.  Amazing.  I'll never forget it.

 and now for one without a face- (it's not for the contest, but I had to share it)

Doesn't snow just make you feel dreamy?
Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Every Day.

On my last blog post, I talked about my goals for the year.  I can't believe I did this, but I left off an important one: I'm doing another project 365 this year!  I'm going to take a photo every day this year.  I've done two of these already- one all about Lilly and another about Jack.  This year, my 365 is focused on life, and finding beauty in things around me.  I thought I'd share the photo's I have so far for the year!

In the above photos: Lilly sleeps on my parent's old bed, visiting my father's grave, Jack reaches up to be held (many times that day as we were flying back to CA), Lilly with braids.

these are a bit out of order: on the 6th, we celebrated Lilly's 4th birthday at Disneyland. On the 5th, we dressed some paper dolls, and the 7th shows some of the decorations around the house put up by two little people..
above: Silly bands and coloring, a new Diana Lomo film camera, Jack plays guitar, and Jack's new hair do.

Above: Lilly's new doll house, courtesy of her aunt Jenny, Lil's babe, my little boy blue.

If you are doing a photo each day, please feel free to add your link in the comments- I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If I can get through this flight, I can do anything.

That's what I was thinking about an hour before our trip.  You don't want to know what I was thinking during the trip.  Just trust me on that one.

I've made the trip before.  Lots of times.  I have moved an inconvenient 3,000 miles from my family, but I make the trip from California to New Jersey as often as I can.  Things got a little more complicated when I added a husband.  And even more so now that we have a 4 year old (just turned 4 on the 6th!) and an 18 month old.  Our 4 year old is and always has been absolutely perfect on airplanes. Sure, she would want to get up and walk around a bit, but she has never made a peep.  People would look at Matt and I as though we were heroes.  We'd soak it in, thinking, "Yes. We are the model parents. After all, we are fabulous. Of course our children are bound to be utterly awesome."
We haven't been so lucky with our 17 month old. Especially now that he wants to walk and move everywhere.  He screams and cries because he hates being made to sit still for so long, and even when he's being held, it's a fight. Now we're the parents who every one stares at.  I feel like I can try everything in the book with him, and he still feels so sad that he has to be forced to be on this machine flying in the sky for the next 6 hours.  I want to offer him up to the staring people and say, "You want to give it a whirl? Go for it." Because nothing works.  Not until he sleeps.  And then of course, he wants to be held the whole time.  But it's back-wrenching heaven, I tell you.

So, back to my first thought; "if I can get through this plane ride, I can do anything." 

I'm making goals for myself this year, and I'm going to keep myself accountable to them.  I'm going put my goals on a giant piece of paper, and add a call to action on each and every one of them.  I'm going to have a check in with myself at the end of each month to see the progress I've made.  Right now, my goals are pretty broad, but I know that whatever I choose to focus on, I'll be able to do. I'm the master of my fate.

Some goals I'm choosing:
-Eat better.  Have 3 green drinks per week.  
-Exercise.  This should be easy since I got "Just Dance 2."  I love that game!
-Keep a cleaner home.  Make a schedule of when cleaning needs to happen, and do something "big" once a week.
-Cook more often.  I love cooking, but I always feel too tired to do it.  Last year, I made a menu for the entire month, and it really helped with planning.  I'm going to go back to it. 
-Get my business license.  I really want to be up and running for the new year.  I plan on doing at least one craft fair, and I have the most fabulous idea for a booth.  *not telling*.  :)
-Save more $$.  This one is important because I'm not getting a paycheck in August due to a change in my district's schedule.
-Blog more often.  I'd like to blog about 2 times a week.  Maybe more!

This is just to name a few...  Stay tuned.  Feel free to share your goals- I'd love to hear how you are making them happen!!!  Maybe we can help each other stay accountable!!

oh, and here are some pretty pictures for you to look at. :)