Sunday, November 29, 2009

Family favorites {recipes}

'Tis the season for amazing food! Seems like lately the most simple recipes I've tried have been my favorite, and I'm excited to try and share more recipes with you during the holidays. Lately we've been trying to have real Sunday dinners, so last week we had roast, potatoes, asparagus, and homemade biscuits with homemade strawberry jam. I'm sharing two adored family favorites: roast beef and baking powder biscuits. My mom makes the best roast, and my sister Stacey makes the best biscuits (so light and fluffy- amazing!), so even though it wasn't the best we've ever had, the Mister was pretty thrilled by this meal and so was I.

Roast Beef: this one is so easy and so incredible. Make sure to sear your roast (see videos HERE, or simply cover completely with flour and then brown in shortening over medium heat), then just put it in the crock pot and cover with a packet of au jus and cook on low. The guideline is approximately 1/2 hour of cook time per pound, but I generally just leave the crock pot on low and let it cook until it falls apart. Amazing.

Baking Powder Biscuits:
1/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk

Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork. Combine until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then stir in only enough milk to make the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl (not too much!) then knead lightly for 2 minutes. Roll dough until 1/2 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter. Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet at 450 for 10-12 minutes. For extra soft biscuits, place biscuits next to one another on the cookie sheet (see pics above), if you want the sides to be a bit crunchy, place them one inch apart.

and while we're on the topic of making meals special, I really need a gravy boat. Maybe I'll ask for one of THESE gravy boats for Christmas so I won't have to be so embarrassing with my pyrex ghetto-ness

Stout {portrait of four siblings}

Don't know what to get mom for her birthday or Christmas? Follow this advice: organize a sibling photo shoot! This is exactly what this handsome group did, and I honestly can't think of a better present. I'm sure if you want to see tears of joy, this will do it. And don't we all want to get rid of our high school senior picture on the wall? I know I do!

Can you tell we all had fun on this shoot? We did.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you enjoy the day!

photo taken back in September in Ephraim, Utah

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Garage {August 2009}

My favorite place in my in-law's house is their garage. My father-in-law has got to be the most organized, meticulous person I know. I marvel at his spotless motorcycles, the cleaning supplies in perfect order, the tools in their rightful place on the wall and in their drawers, the pristine white cloths used for cleaning his bikes and cars, and the absolutely spotless floor. Everything is in it's place. I just like being in there because you can tell how much love he has for this space by the way he put it together. . Last time we were home I took some pictures so that I could always remember how much I love that place and the man it belongs to.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Sky {August 2009}

I just found a long-lost memory card! How exciting. On it I found some pictures from our trip to Montana to see family in August. On our drive back the sky was absolutely stunning and I shot these from the passenger seat. Yup, I didn't even make the Mister pull over or anything. I'm so considerate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scott + Christina {love shoot}

Casual, relaxed shoots are my favorite- I'm all for posed shots (that's what people expect) but I think candids get to the essence of a relationship and communicate true emotion. These images of Scott and Christina tell the story of their love and friendship in a unique way. There are only a few shots where they are actually looking at the camera, and I love that. They couldn't keep their eyes off each other pretty much the whole shoot, so I just let them be! Six months of marriage and they are happy as clams. You know, the almost sickening, nearly unbelievable sort of bliss. Very sweet. At the beginning of the shoot I had them pick out two leaves for the shot you see below, and they sort of just ended up being the running theme for our shoot.

One of my favorite concepts to share with my students is that when you shoot you have the opportunity to create unique images that tell a story. They share essentially the same information, but in a more powerful and memorable way than a regular "everyone look here and smile" image. That's why I strive to capture images that tell the true story rather than a staged one. Lately I have been telling my clients "my job is to capture the moments you create" (maybe that should be my slogan or something) and that usually produces a far better result. I give a lot of general directions and work out posing, etc., but when clients realize that it's up to them to create the camera-worthy moments themselves, it's like magic.

This is the most fun I've had on a shoot in a long time. Thanks for a wonderful morning, you two! You should both probably be models.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On Love and Photographs {Jessica Kettle}

One of my favorite photographers, Jessica Kettle wrote a poignant blog post earlier this week about remembering moments through photography. I wrote a post a few weeks ago {why I take pictures} about this same sentiment, but she communicated perfectly what I failed to express.

It's a must read: On Love and Photographs, by Jessica Kettle

Photography is a tool I use to remember. So, when people say "why don't you just enjoy the moment" when my camera's viewfinder is my eye on the world, that's precisely what I'm doing. Enjoying the moment.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christina {Bridal Portraits}

I did a model call a few months ago and Christina kindly offered to put her wedding dress back on (I wish I still fit in mine- that's depressing) and allow me to take some portraits of her. The fabulous Melissa E shot their wedding and graciously allowed me to tag along and second shoot. Scott is one of my sister's best friends from high school (and my friend too!), and I knew Christina and I would be fast friends from the moment we met.

We shot at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, where the lighting was stunning and dramatic. I was in heaven. Too bad you can only shoot there if you have an event booked.

We did a 6 month love shoot following these 'bridals' that I can't wait to share. But I have to wait because I can't stop yawning.

the perfect advent calendar {I finally found it!}

Too bad it won't be back in stock until the 23rd of December. Bummer. After being inspired by this post on Oh Happy Day, I have set out to find the perfect shelf with 25 little cubby holes.

Even if I can't use this idea this year, you bet we'll have an advent calendar like this next year. Thinking about wrapping up tiny little boxes makes me happier than I can say... and for the rest of the year, I can think of no cuter display for tiny trinkets and polaroids.

Images via Pottery Barn

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ketchup {still behind. what else is new?}

I'm still so far behind, it's not even funny. Maybe when January rolls around I'll get caught up? Fat chance.

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments- they keep me going!

And now a preview from a recent shoot (where a friend got back in her wedding dress so I could practice!)