Leslie & Chris' maternity session is up on the LTP blog this week. I adored working with those two and was excited at the prospect of also photographing their little addition in December. Well, surprise!! I found out last night that baby Brooklyn made her debut two weeks early! So now we're shuffling schedules and trying to squeak in a morning session for her and her amazing parents. I can't wait to meet her in person! For now, check out the maternity gallery here. Happy Friday!!
I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude today. And since this feeling can sometimes be fleeting, I wanted to get all of my thoughts out in today's The Magic, The Wonder.
These photos are actually several weeks old. I took them at a lighting test. We arrived too late, the surf was too big, the tide was too high, and there was a cloudy haze that washed out every photo I took. I left the beach that night feeling a bit defeated. Ever since I started Love This Photography, I have grappled with the fear of failure. It creeps in and won't let my mind be free or creative. I have thankfully only had two photoshoots that were worthy of a redo, but I walk into each.and.every shoot with this anxiety that I won't be able to capture the images I want... the images I feel my client wants.
But when I look back at these photos, I simply adore them. I love the haze, the way they're bleached out from the light with just a hint of pastel undertone, and I love the candid feeling they evoke. I love that my own family is willing to trek around with me after work and school so I can test the light. I love that they support me in this venture of pursuing my passion. I love that everything about these images is perfectly imperfect. These are the kinds of photos I want to capture for my clients, the moments I want to freeze so they can remember them years from now. And it makes me feel grateful to know that I am completely capable of creating work that I am proud of.
So while I'm grateful for many things, I am particularly thankful today for my family and friends that have pushed me to take this leap into photography. I'm thankful that my dad saved a Nikon camera he purchased in the Vietnam war so I could learn how to take photos and develop film the manual way. I'm thankful that my mom insisted there was no way I could use eight rolls of film on a family vacation in 1998. Because I did use them (just to be a brat and prove her wrong) and I became furiously obsessed with taking photos after that. I'm thankful for Mac (my photo teacher in high school) for making me believe that I can be an artist, and for critiquing my work to constantly make me improve. I'm thankful for all of my dear friends who have let me take their photos and experiment with lighting, posing, and editing. I'm thankful to Steph Anderson for talking me through every step of building my new business and giving me priceless advice on what to do and what to avoid. And I'm endlessly thankful to my husband and kids for being patient as I schedule away all of my free time to pursue my passion. I'm the happiest (and maybe most stressed) that I've been in years and damn it feels good!
A few random shots from my camera roll this week... lots of bunny cuddles and family sessions gone on around here :)
I posted Jess, Jack + Dexter's session over on Love This Photography today. Dexter is the sweetest little butterball pup and LOVED being photographed haha! Hop on over and check out their gallery. I hope you love them as much as I do...
With the holidays coming up, it's nice to have a few quick cocktails in your back pocket because we all know the best way to welcome guests to your gathering is by getting a cocktail in their hand as soon as they arrive ;) This recipe is simple to make and utilizes one of the season's most beautiful fruits: pomegranate! It could be great for Thanksgiving and winter parties but I also think it's amaaaazing for Halloween... kind of looks ghoulish and sinister, no? Here's how you can whip up a batch for yourself, via Heather Christo...
Today's post on Love This Photography focuses on the true happiness of motherhood. No props, no distractions, just a clean slate, some early morning sunshine, and a mother that loves her babe to the moon and back. Hop on over and check out their gallery. I hope you love them as much as I do...
As I navigate this busy season, it is becoming more and more clear what makes my photo-loving heart happy. Simple, clean, lifestyle photos are where it's at for me. That's not to say I don't love a staged portrait, but capturing the essence of each family is a true challenge and I'm passionate about it. Hop on over to Love This Photography to view the gallery of Vivienne's newborn session. I absolutely adore the sweet captures of her with her mama, tucked into the corner chair of the nursery, basking in the morning light. I hope you love them as much as I do...
Hey now, it's fall! I love this time of year as we get some produce that's a bit more flavorful and rich. Persimmons are an amazing autumn snack! Just refreshing enough to suit this Indian Summer we're having but flavorful enough to remind me that Thanksgiving is just. around. the corner. Yesssss! I look forward to indulging in Thanksgiving dinner almost as much as I look forward to escaping to Palm Springs to celebrate with family. Another seasonal favorite is pomegranate. I'll be posting a yummy pom cocktail later this week (AND poms are great for decorating too!) Win win in my book ;) Happy October!!
Remember when I said I would be slowing down in blogland? Well this is that dry spell I was speaking of... ha! I am itching to get more recipes and home updates posted but holiday photo sessions are starting to ramp up and I'm *trying* to manage my time effectively :) I should note that I also joined a team for a secret project, launching later this year. Aaaaand I've been asked to share some insight into Small Space Living on another blog I love, which I'm over the moon about. I can't wait to share everything I've been working on behind the scenes. But I digress...
Today's photography post is Elle's newborn session and you can view it over at Love This Photography. Kelly and I have this "click + go" friendship. We've known each other for yearrrrrs (since kindergarten to be exact) and even though we've never been cross-your-heart-bffs, we are always able to pick up right where we left off. We have the best time laughing and joking and savoring this craziness called motherhood, so it was fitting that I was able to capture her newest addition and their sweet relationship in images. Check out the rest of the gallery here
This edition of The Magic, The Wonder is a departure from the normal format because I jumped in front of the camera with the kids. Caden LOVES the remote I have for my camera and he jumped at the opportunity to "take pictures." I setup the tripod and let him click away as we talked and giggled and had a party of 3 when Dad was watching football. I love how they turned out :)
Last night, I posted the mommy & me session of Natalie + Madalyn over at Love This Photography. We shot it as a celebration of Maddy's 2nd birthday - a milestone that snuck right up on me. Maybe I'm partial because Natalie has been one of my closest friends over the years, but I think the photos are just the sweetest :) I love the bond those girls have! Check out the rest of the gallery here
Mildly obsessed with Blue Apron's meal delivery service. Have you tried it?? I never imagined I would be the person to order something like this but now I'm hooked. After reading about it on eight-gazillion blogs, I finally signed up through Oh Happy Day. Best.Decision.Ever. Meals are $9.99 a person and it is worth every penny. The Furikake-Topped Salmon (shown below and recipe here) is just one example of the awesome dinners.
We chose to sign up for three meals a week with two portions per meal (portions are generally large so this is enough food for our whole family. Plus we gave up having a microwave so it's best that we don't have leftovers). Blue Apron delivers a box to our doorstep every Wednesday, filled with chilled ingredients and awesome recipe cards. That's right! No grocery shopping midweek with children clinging to my legs as I clumsily navigate Trader Joe's... can I get a woohoo?! Each meal takes about 30-40 minutes from start to finish and the instructions are laid out in a beautiful and user-friendly manner.
The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. The packaging is what most people complain about but all of it is recyclable or biodegradable. Plus the exact portions mean I don't end up with food waste - something we used to have a lot of! Not all of their food is organic but they do try to locally source ingredients and their meals are based on seasonal items. We aren't picky eaters so the variety of dishes has been really fun for our family. The one thing we absolutely haven't liked is the cod. After I get my weekly delivery, I go online and check the menu for the following week. If cod shows up on the menu, I change my preferences to "no fish" and it substitutes that meal with one of their vegetarian friendly options. I just have to remember to go back and add fish back as an option on the following week (the salmon dishes are amazing!).
So that's my unsolicited praise for Blue Apron :) If you're interested in trying it out, leave a comment or send me an email telling me so. I have several free meals I can give away on their site. Happy Friday!!
I'm slowly but surely making progress over on the new website.... woohoo! Some of my older sessions have been added to the blog and I'll have several more pages completed soon (About, Gallery, etc). If you hop on over there today, you can check out a new family session with the soon-to-be Rosecrans crew :)
For me, summer is kind of like pregnancy: I look forward to it and enjoy it and think it's the best time ever, until I get to the final weeks and I'm miserable. SoCal always has a gnarly heat wave in September and this year's was accompanied by insane humidity. No.Fun. Needless to say, I am over the moon about welcoming fall and all of it's cooler temps!
Despite the heat of the past few weeks, we were able to squeeze in some fun: attending a wedding, getting back on track with healthy eating (minus some ice cream binges), and I met the sweetest newborn with the most amazing name, Vivienne ;) Here's a look at how spent the final days of summer and welcomed fall with open arms...
I am thrilled to celebrate the launch of Project Lead Kindly, a nonprofit organization founded by Pamela (from Macdonald’s Playland) and her husband. Project Lead Kindly assists mothers and children affected by homelessness and domestic violence by providing charitable service and grants to assist them in getting closer to safer, stable housing as well as educational or professional dreams. They are also on a mission to spread the message that EACH PERSON can do good and spread kindness, no matter their circumstances.
You can still spread kindness, even when things are hard.
I am asking my readers to participate by:
1) Creating your own "Spread Kindness, even when...(fill in the blank)" sign and take a photo of it!
2) Sharing your photo THIS WEEK on Instagram or Facebook. Be sure to tag Project Lead Kindly and/or hashtag it #projectleadkindly so they can share your photo which will inspire others going through difficult challenges!
3) Tag 3 friends and ask them to create a "spread kindness, even when..." sign too and ask them to join in and post the photo on their favorite social media.
Join us in inspiring someone out there to know they are not alone and still have light within them to do good, no matter what life throws at them. Let's remind people of their light and assist mothers & children in need!
Visit www.projectleadkindly.com to find more ways to lead kindly and to assist mothers & kids affected by homelessness and domestic violence. And HAPPY Monday!!! :)
I kept thinking about the best way to launch the blog over on the new website. Do I add all of my previous sessions and make it complete before it goes live? Should I re-edit some sessions? Or do I just jump right in and build it as I go? All of the over-thinking led to a whole lot of inactivity. So I'm kicking myself into gear with the first official blog entry of Love This Photography, celebrating the Ross family!
I found what I've been missing: ROUTINE! Oh my goodness, I am very happy that school is in full swing for these kiddos. Viv has been exhausted from playing with her friends all morning so it gives me a bit of peace and quiet as she naps post-lunch. But of course the demands start as soon as she wakes... "iPad, bankie, Piwates Booty pwease!" Those cheesy crumbs stick all over her lips and her blue eyes gaze for miles out the window. I'll give this girl anything in the world, as long as it keeps her happy ;)
Haaaaaappppppy Tuesday! I'm struggling with this little blog of mine. I started it as a personal outlet; a way to build my skills in writing, photography, and graphic design. And while it has done ALL of that and more, it's become somewhat of a burden on my daily routine. I recently launched Love This Photography and hoped to find a balance with the two sites but it's becoming more and more apparent that the photography business will be taking up every ounce of my free time. I haven't even been able to keep up with my favorite posts, The Magic, The Wonder. So while I'll continue to post here, you can expect to see the content become a little more sparse until I find a sane rhythm.
On a positive note, I am LOVE LOVE LOVING my adventures as a photographer! It honestly feeds my soul and makes me proud that I have been able to build on these skills and capture some amazing moments. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing alright, if my clients love their photos as much as I do. And while that anxiety can make me bonkers, it only takes one comment/email/text confirming their happiness to wash it all away.
So anyway, the message for today is that I'm having an amazing time with my new little business but it is taking me some time to adjust to the demands (I have three sessions waiting to be edited... ahhhh!). I have some content already live on the site and will be building the blog/gallery portion soon. I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think :)
P.S. if you're interested in booking a session, send me an email and we'll setup a date. Also, I'll be announcing some mini-session dates over on Instagram, so follow me there if that's your jam ;)
P.S.S. I'm totally in love with this shot of Sophia & Eric from their family session. They're the sweetest and I'll be sharing more of their photos in the coming week! xo
I was lucky enough to photograph another hospital session, this time with baby Elle. Meeting a baby in the first few days is truly special, and I adore seeing the love that parents have bursting through the seams. There is something raw and emotional, and it results in some of my favorite memories to capture.
I had previously mentioned that she was named Mae, but after long thought and a perfectly timed smile during a 3am feeding, her mama switched it up. Now this beauty is Eloise, Elle for short. I think the name is incredible and I love that it resulted from a special moment in the middle of the night with just baby, mom and a Lumineers song.
I can't tell you how often I walk into Viv's room and stare at the walls, imaging the possibilities. It is SOOOOO plain Jane right now but I am itching to make it spectacular. The tricky part is doing it on a budget... like under $100 type of budget. I'll be using mostly items that we already own (frames, homemade art, previous clearance purchases from Target, sharpie wallpaper, etc) and that should help with my gameplan. Plus, her room is the size of some people's closets so that will be key with the mini budget as well :) Now let's take the quickest tour of the smallest bedroom in our little abode...
^^ If you're new here, then you might be wondering why this room is so itty bitty. We decided early on in the remodel that the 3rd bedroom would have to sacrifice some square footage in favor of a larger communal space. The original bedroom door (top left) is where our media center is now installed. And the lovely closet that used to be next to the door? It's not part of our bathroom :)
Viv's room is exactly wide enough for a twin bed to fit wall to wall. My goal is to embellish the Ikea frame with a upholstered headboard or possibly make it more daybed-ish. I've already ditched that trunk on the left and moved a small nightstand in place of her toy fridge. I want to keep white bedding but with vintage, floral sheets (those are words I never thought I'd utter!) I also want to hang sheer, patterned curtains around her window, install a ceiling fan and hang a collage of art on the wall behind her bed.
By the way, her room color is Lightest Sky by Pantone and is amazing at night time. Unfortunately, our neighbor's teal house reflects blue light into her room and dilutes the effect of her wall color during the day. Hopefully that'll change when we install window coverings.
^^ Now looking the opposite way (seriously, there are only two ways to look at this room haha) you can see more plain, plain and plain. After this photo was taken, we hung two picture ledges on that back wall. I have a few books placed on them for now but I want to stage them with some framed art and a few collectibles that Viv has.
This angle also shows a good transition of the floors. Original floors (top left) were really really warm in tone, not to mention beat up. You can see where my dad patched in raw oak planks (bottom left). The wood was seriously gorgeous in the raw state and for the first time ever, I wanted light floors. Alas, the originals were still stained after being sanded down so we went with a deep, but neutral, brown. I kind of love that the wood grains pop and make it feel old school.
We intentionally left the doors long for a nice, clean look without gaps BUT the drawback is figuring out what rug to put in here. Viv's door swings right over the middle of her room and it catches on even the flatest rugs. Thoughts on how to work around this? Maybe a budget-friendly version of this round jute rug?
And that's all for now! If you need me, you can find my in Viv's closet, metallic Sharpie in hand ;)
Please excuse my photo dump, but Muir Woods was too good not to capture! First off, it's only a 20 minute drive past the Golden Gate Bridge so it's amazingly easy to get to if you're in the Bay Area and it's only $7 per hiker. Plus there are a ton of trails that can accommodate any type of hiker (the scenic trail from the visitors center is even easy enough for wheelchairs and strollers). We started at the main entrance and took the Ocean View Trail around to Fern Creek. Don't be fooled by the names; while Fern Creek did feature ferns and a creek, Ocean View Trail did NOT have a view of the ocean. Hmm, odd.
Our route was about 4 to 5 miles long and mostly on an incline. It was tough hiking it with babies strapped to us, but easy enough that Caden was able to hike the entire route by himself (woohoo!). Even with this year's drought, the woods were amazingly beautiful and serene. We're looking forward to going back again soon :)
Kelly and I snuck in a few final photos of her belly (stunning at 37 weeks!!). I had wanted to test the lighting at a new favorite spot, and didn't really plan too much for this session. We ran out there (leaving our husbands and kids back at the pizza joint) and snapped away for 20 minutes or so... the light was divine and she rocked the belly like no other! I am so happy we got these photos of just Kell and the baby-to-be :)
In fact, while we were vacationing last week, baby Mae was born... eeeee!!! So exciting!! I got to take some newborn pics of her yesterday, and will post those soon. For now, here is a peek at Kelly's maternity session...
We just got home from our family roadtrip to San Francisco and WHAT FUN it was!! If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably got a feel for our on-the-go style of vacationing with the kids. It was non.stop.madness. Here is a peek at some other shots from the trip. I'll be posting a full breakdown of where we went, what we saw, and all of our favorites later in the week.
On Sunday, we drove up on Highway 1 which was long and winding but completely worth it! The fog settled in around Big Sur and the sights were breathtaking. We pulled over to see a few coves like the one pictured below. And when we snagged a family shot on the seaside bluffs, we also caught a glimpse of orcas feeding about 100 yards off shore. AMAZING!
I am 100% in love with these guys. We ventured through the Ferry Building on Monday morning and grabbed bites at several stops along the way. It also helped that the kids were obsessed with the Bay Bridge!
Afternoon run through of the Academy of Sciences was BEYOND! The exhibits were amazing and the crowds weren't too bad since Bay area schools started this past week. Tons of animals and aquariums to stop and stare at :)
We rode bikes to the Palace of Fine Arts and I won't lie, the ride this day wasn't the best because of the wind and the tired kiddos. But we redid the trip on another morning when and it was divine... amazing sights and a really great ride through the Presidio.
Clarion Alley was on my "must see" list and while it's small, it was worth it. There is some amazing artwork to be seen - we even witnessed one of the alley's creative directors painting a piece to promote an upcoming event.
Wednesday was all about Muir Woods! I highly, highly recommend it! I'll post more details about the location, the cost, the trails we took, etc in my next SF post. A must see whether you're with kids or without.
And walking around the neighborhoods is always very fun. The Mission is great for people watching and bar hopping, though not when you're towing around 2 kiddos ;) They also have some of my favorite places (like Delores Park and Tartine) that you can squeeze in during sightseeing.
We also made it by Land's End and the Sutro Baths, which was a first for me. As with everything else, the sights were amazing and the kids had a great time.
For the drive home, we decided to take the 5 Freeway because it would get us home quickly. Unfortunately, the only plus side to this drive was the epic sunset seen below. The drive itself was dragged out due to several pileups and we didn't make it back until nearly 3am.
Overall though, the week was amazing and the few troubles we did encounter could be attributed to tired kids or traffic. Six days of fun, new adventures is always a win in my book! And now that we're back, we're ready to relax with family during the holiday weekend :) Happy Saturday!
Hi, I'm Vanessa! Love This Crazy Life is about seeing the beauty in a fast-paced environment. I share daily inspirations, DIY projects, and all things family. I believe that every stage of life is worth loving, no matter how crazy it can seem.