Lush Mountain Photo Shoot

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be photographed by the talented Jen Rosse of Rosse Photography. We’ve been having this never-ending heat wave here in Utah, which actually, now that I write this, seems to be going away finally to be replaced by some slightly cooler weather. Anyways, it was darn hot and super dry leading up to this photo shoot, and then the day of the shoot we finally got a little rain, plus the mountain air is always cooler than the valley, so it was a refreshing change indeed!

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This was my first time since senior pictures (more than a decade ago!) being the lone subject of a photo shoot. And aside from feeling suuuuper awkward trying to pose, it was a really fun experience!

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These pictures were taken in Alta, Utah– a place that up until this week I had only seen covered in snow. It’s Garrett’s and my favorite local ski resort! Turns out, buried underneath all that snow is an absolutely gorgeous landscape with tons of texture and life… and wildflowers!

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The rain, which thankfully held off for most of the shoot, really brought out the deep greens of the landscape. I couldn’t get enough! I can’t wait to take my kids up there and explore some more. Apparently there’s a lake, too, up the trail just a little higher. Where we were, though, it was a lush and mossy woodsy wonderland.

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Jen, the photographer, was so friendly and professional– it was fun getting to know her! She teaches classes too, so I’m hoping to take one in the near future to work on my own photography style and technique. And she shoots boudoirs, so I’m totally adding a boudoir session with her to my bucket list!

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As we were leaving the mountain at the end of the shoot, the rain picked up again. And honestly this was the best part. The sun was low in the west so it shone under the clouds, making the rain absolutely sparkle. There was a pretty epic rainbow too! Since we were at the end of the session, I didn’t care about getting wet, so Jen snapped a couple last photos– which ended up being a couple of my absolute favorites!

So if you’re in the market for a great photographer here in Utah, definitely check out Jen on her website or Instagram!

 

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Checking In

Little Bird Nest | Checking In | Arches National Park

You may have noticed (or not, and that’s cool too) that I started with weeks one and two of my real life series and then disappeared after just two posts. I haven’t forgotten, I’m not procrastinating, and I definitely haven’t lost interest. The truth is, I’ve had a lot of other stuff taking up my time lately. For those of you who don’t already know, I’m a Soldier in the Army National Guard, which means that I typically have duty one weekend a month and two weeks a year. The last two weeks have been my annual training and I’ve just been super busy with that. (Although my duties did take me down to Moab which is why I’ve included a picture I took at Arches– not such a bad gig, huh?) I’m doing an additional National Guard course right now, and I’ll be doing that for the next two and a half weeks as well.

I often wish that life would slow down and allow me some time for my hobbies, but that just ain’t the case right now. I’m sure we’ve all been there. My favorite thing about being in the National Guard, though, is that I can be on duty for weeks or even months at a time, and it’s kind of like having a full-time job again, where I get to interact with adults everyday instead of just toddlers. But unlike a real full-time job, there’s an end in sight. And as much as I love the work, I’m focused on that light at the end of the tunnel where I’ll get to spend all day every day with my kids again, dabble in photography, enjoy my hobbies, and try (and fail) to understand toddler logic.

So until then, I’m just checking in to let you all know I’m still here.

(If you’d like to be notified when my Real Life series resumes, be sure to subscribe to email updates!)

Real Life | Week 2: Guilty Pleasures & White Chocolate Peanut Butter

This week’s prompt in my photography e-course was “Guilty Pleasures”. The challenge was to photograph the stuff the stuff I enjoy but am not necessarily proud of, with the idea that these so-called guilty pleasures are often fleeting phases and can change drastically over years or even months.

I would have to say my biggest guilty pleasures is catalog shopping. I enjoy the catalogs I get in the mail the way some people enjoy magazines. I’ve actually enjoyed catalogs for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the couch with my mom, flipping through a catalog of fancy girls’ dresses. I would point to one I liked and ask, “How much is that one?” And my mom would read me the price, which meant absolutely nothing to me at the time, and then we’d move on to the next one that caught my eye and I’d repeat the question over and over until we had flipped through the entire thing.

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Even now, every time I check the mail, I’m secretly hoping to find a catalog, preferably one from Hanna Andersson or Lands’ End or The Company Store or Knit Picks— those are my favorites. I almost never buy stuff from catalogs. Occasionally I’ll see something I really like and order it online, but for the most part it’s strictly eye candy.

Originally I thought I would have difficulty documenting my catalog obsession this week due to a large purge that happened at my house a couple of weeks ago. But, like a true addict, I was able to find some squirreled away throughout the house, including the Spoonflower catalog– seriously, I think I may never throw that one away!

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Another one of my guilty pleasures is my love for classical choral music. Ola Gjeilo happens to be my current obsession. I never listen to this stuff with other adults around– not even my husband. It’s not that I’m that embarrassed about my slightly choir-nerdy music tastes– I just don’t want anyone to say anything negative about it and ruin it for me. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think.

Okay, enough about catalogs and choral music– let’s get to the good stuff. My current food obsession: white chocolate peanut butter. If you like peanut butter at all, you’re going to want to try this stuff. I literally eat it by the spoonful.

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My version is based on a recipe from Laura Fuentes’ cookbook The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet, and it seriously is the easiest thing to make. It’ll take you like less than 5 minutes. I make it with fresh ground unsalted peanut butter that I get from the bulk section of my favorite grocery. Using fresh ground or homemade peanut butter makes it a minimally processed food that’s actually not so bad for you when eaten in moderation. However, in moderation is generally not how I eat this stuff, which is why it landed a lead role in my “guilty pleasures” post.

Scroll down for the recipe!

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White Chocolate Peanut Butter

Makes about 1 pint

Ingredients

1 cup fresh ground or homemade natural peanut butter
1 cup white chocolate chips or vanilla melts
pinch of sea salt (optional)*

Directions

Combine the peanut butter and white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for about a minute or so, until the white chocolate begins to melt, being careful not to overheat it which could cause the sugars to caramelize. Stir until the white chocolate has completely melted and everything is evenly mixed. Add sea salt, to taste. (*If you use pre-salted peanut butter, you can skip this step.)

Spoon into a glass jar and allow to cool… or just eat half of it right away, like I would! 🙂

Note: When I make this, it’s really thick at room temp, though it will depend on the texture of the peanut butter and type of white chocolate you use. If it’s too hard to spread at room temp, microwave it for a few seconds before serving.

 

What are your current guilty pleasures?