took a hike, took a camera: Misery Ridge. Bend, Oregon

I attended a wedding in Bend, Oregon with some of the best friends a person could ask for. While there, I also went on a hike. This is a post about all of those things.

Day 1: Arrivals and reunions. I was sitting against a wall in the San Fransisco airport when Lee & Jodi found me. We all had layovers there. Their hugs were healing and I knew this weekend would bring much joy. One last flight to Redmond would bring us to L’Tanya, who was there waiting – making friends with strangers, just as LT does. We visited two breweries then attended Nick and Nicky’s rehearsal/welcoming dinner where we met their friends and family from all over the U.S.bsomeIMG_4765 bsomeIMG_4776 bsomeIMG_4770 bsomeIMG_4766

Crux Fermentation (above) and Rat Hole Brew Pub (below).
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Getting acquainted with our cabin at Rock Springs RanchbsomeIMG_4810 bsomeIMG_4821 bsomeIMG_4822cbsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5084

Cell phone summary, Day 1:

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Day 2: The hike, gas station salvation, Misery Ridge and the naked hiker. We all rented a cabin in cowboy country. Literally, it was on a ranch. The morning came quickly and despite the raindrops, Lee and Jodi and I set off to do a hike before the wedding. The gas station by the ranch has everything: a wall of taps, a sweet lady that made us homemade breakfast burritos on the spot and good coffee. Real good coffee. Pulling up to Smith Rock (where Misery Ridge Trail is), as cliche as it sounds, I felt like I was looking at a post card. It was beautiful. At the summit we saw Monkey Rock, found shelter in a cave to share a brew and the rain let up, the clouds lifted and we could see for miles. It was like doing the hike on two completely different days. On our way down we passed a naked hiker who was on his way up to slack line. Being an East coast girl, I attributed his free-ballin’ to the West coast mentality. Meh, who needs pants anyway?

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Monkey Rock (way bigger in person than we imagined).bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4947bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4928bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4929bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4953bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4949bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4960bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4975bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4981bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_4991bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5008bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5021bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5025bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5034bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5068bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5048bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5000bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5046bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5055bwbsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5067bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5064bsomeMiseryRidge_IMG_5066

Cell phone summary, the hike:

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Still Day 2: “Look et meeeee: I’m gettin’ maaaarrrrried.” Nick marries Nicky. And it is beautiful. Nick has been like a brother to me…a brother in the sense that we annoy the piss out of each other, know exactly how to get under each others skin and have a love language that is riddled with insults and mockery. When I first met Nicky I loved her and I knew she would not only fit it well with Nick’s various groups but that she had what it takes to wrangle Nick’s Greek heart. Not to silence his joy or passion for life but to enjoy life with him…to fulfill their passions together. Guys, she’s a keeper. And I think it’s safe to say they are both very lucky to have found each other. So much <3.bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5101bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5090bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5105bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5111bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5118bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5116bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5096bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5094bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5122bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5123bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5126bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5128bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5135bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5138bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5140bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5151bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5164bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5162bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5159bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5157bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5165bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5167bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5173bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5176bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5191bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5193bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5204bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5209bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5212bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5219bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5221bwbsomeNickNicky_IMG_5222bwbsomeNickNicky_IMG_5224bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5226bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5233bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5244bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5243bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5155bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5251bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5276bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5256bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5261bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5268bsomeNickNicky_IMG_5266

Cell phone summary, wedding day:

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Day 3: Later tater. This short but extra sweet trip was hard to see end but I left fulfilled, renewed and ready to start planning our next reunion. #CHGfor-eh-vor!

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Cell phone summary, last day:

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Say Cheese, Pumpkin.

I have never made a cheesecake. And after this shoot, I can now say: I still have never made a cheesecake but I have seen one made. Seen it right through my camera lens. I first met Isabelle at the Blue Nile (RIP). She was the friendly bartender and I was the loner at the bar, staring at my planner, eating nachos and replying to emails. She would make me a white Russian and keep me company from time to time. Since then, through various social media, I’ve come to know Isabelle as a true lover of kitchen-time…and insects, and the wonderful little trinkets of this weathered-world that go overlooked by the masses. I knew she was a perfect candidate for October’s Celebrating Life shoot.

Last Saturday, Isabelle invited me over on a chilly fall morning to help….er watch her do some baking in her adorable apartment in the heart of Harrisonburg. When she greeted me at the door it’s as if she was holding the smells of fall mornings hostage. A warm, comfortable wave of baked  pumpkin hugged my face and my cheeks rosied at the latch of the door lock behind me. What a great reflection of the soul a home is. I let myself get lost in her comforts before getting down to business. I mean, pumpkin cheesecake is surrrious business.

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"That's Logan's little pile."

“That’s Logan’s little pile.”

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As Isabelle measured and tossed ingredients into the mixing bowl, she told me about the glass jar of vanilla on the table. Her sister makes homemade vanilla each year as gifts for the family. When they are finished with the jar, they return it to her to refill. She also shared that she got most of her ingredients locally at the Friendly City Food Co-op which is walking distance from her place. She described that she loves to give her adored knickknacks away to spread joy because they’re just things that she’ll find joy in replacing on her next round of thrift shopping. Some of her things hold sentimental value…like the artwork on her fridge. And her cat. When I asked about her home and her style inspiration she put it simply: “it’s all about color and comfort.” And I guess she nailed it…because it all visually worked and I was dang comfortable. Isabelle loves baking and sharing the sweet goods of her efforts with local friends. On the evening of this particular day, she would head off to the Shendandoah Mountain Bike Festival to volunteer her time shuttling bikers and sharing her homemade cookies at the cookie table (<—every event needs one of those!). She talked about her dreams of opening a local, French-inspired bakery. She spoke kindly of her family and her parents and her life. I have only one wish for my time with Isabelle that day…and that is that I could’ve stayed just a bit longer. She is a joy to be around and her loving, positive outlook on her life is refreshing. And yeah, the cheesecake was dank!FriendlyCityLensPumpChs11FriendlyCityLensPumpChs12FriendlyCityLensPumpChs18FriendlyCityLensPumpChs20FriendlyCityLensPumpChs7FriendlyCityLensPumpChs22FriendlyCityLensPumpChs23FriendlyCityLensPumpChs21FriendlyCityLensPumpChs24FriendlyCityLensPumpChs25FriendlyCityLensPumpChs26FriendlyCityLensPumpChs27FriendlyCityLensPumpChs30FriendlyCityLensPumpChs29FriendlyCityLensPumpChs31FriendlyCityLensPumpChs35FriendlyCityLensPumpChs33FriendlyCityLensPumpChs36

I hope you find some time today to enjoy a friendly face in your community, bake something that makes the smell of your home hug someone’s face, support a local business that bakes goods with love and purpose or, perhaps, indulge in a hefty slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Here’s a recipe that look a-friggin-mazing. And here’s one that doesn’t even require and oven (and it has lovely photos too). Happy National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!

And be sure to check out more from my Celebrating Life series!

 

Red Wing Roots II: Day 3

It felt a lot like a Sunday when I parked my car on the third and final day of the second annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival. Time moves differently on Sundays. It ticks away and reminds us to notice the smells and colors and faces and light, to slow ourselves down and enjoy one last little morsel of, in this case, a mid-summer musical dessert. When I shut my car door, there were no echoes on this third day…no soft melodies or harmonicas bouncing off the Chimney’s. There was quiet. A little alarming, I admit, for a music festival…but I proceeded anyway, with curiosity and camera. As I moved towards the back of the seated, silent crowd, I heard Trent Wagler wailing out a line from his gospel set. It was an experience to be there in that moment, watching this community church under overcast skies, surrounded by beauty and bodies who needed this healing sound. People napped and recovered and carried themselves to the stage to wake up. Dang good way to start a day.
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Next up was Willie Watson, who I found to be a pleasant surprise. I love watching passion pour from a face with each lyric…eye wrinkles forming in the delivery of a verse, veins bulging with blood pounding from an aching heart and a shaky esophagus to distract from a tear. I got to see this in Willie’s performance of Rock Salt and Nails, among others. I feel you man. But before I let myself get stuck in my own head, I wandered around to mingle and grab images of smiling faces. It was a good move, the sun joined us and the rest of the day came with a smooth, steady beat as each new band took the stage.
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bsomeIMG_9686bsomeIMG_9699Above: Lucas Roasting Company saved the day for a lot of folks. Below: Year-old swag…we missed you this year Caleb!

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Above: Blackfeather Furniture made taking a break look goooood.bsomeIMG_9632

JP Harris & The Touch ChoicesbsomeIMG_9603bsomeIMG_9626bsomeIMG_9645bsomeIMG_9636bsomeIMG_9602bsomeIMG_9612bsomeIMG_9646bwbsomeIMG_9623bwbsomeIMG_9655bsomeIMG_9613bsomeIMG_9677bsomeIMG_9678bsomeIMG_9671bsomeIMG_9668bwbsomeIMG_9667bwbsomeIMG_9582bwbsomeIMG_9477bwbsomeIMG_9480bwbsomeIMG_9482bwbsomeIMG_9719

Bourbon Barrel CongressbsomeIMG_9727bwbsomeIMG_9730bsomeIMG_9726bsomeIMG_9722cbsomeIMG_9733bsomeIMG_9755bw

Bryan Elijah Smith & the Wild HeartsbsomeIMG_9874bwbsomeIMG_9864bwbsomeIMG_9889bwbsomeIMG_9941bwbsomeIMG_9915bwbsomeIMG_9893bsomeIMG_9894bsomeIMG_9903bsomeIMG_9896bwFCLIMG_9688bsomeIMG_9713bsomeIMG_9716bsomeIMG_9759

The Revelers

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Love CanonbsomeIMG_9807bsomeIMG_9804bwbsomeIMG_9812bsomeIMG_9802

It was time to fill our tanks with some Hanks.bsomeIMG_0030 bsomeIMG_0027 bsomeIMG_0034cbsomeIMG_9578bsomeIMG_0212

Peter Rowan’s Bluegrass Band
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Townes Van Zandt Tribute Set packed the stage with a smorgasbord or festival talent.bsomeIMG_0171 bsomeIMG_0136 bsomeIMG_0116bsomeIMG_0060bw bsomeIMG_0132 bsomeIMG_0135 bsomeIMG_0162 bsomeIMG_0064bsomeIMG_0106bsomeIMG_0065 bsomeIMG_0056

Hayes Carll wrapped up the evening and the festival for the year.bsomeIMG_0291 bsomeIMG_0251 bsomeIMG_0216 bsomeIMG_0228 bsomeIMG_0219c bsomeIMG_0247bw

See you next year, friends!bsomeIMG_0050

Didya miss Day 1? Click here to get caught up! What about Day 2?

This post is part of my year long series Celebrating Life.

Check out my photos from last year: Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2013! Day 1Day 2, & Day 3.

Red Wing Roots II: Day 2

It took two showers to wash away Day 1. Fragments of nostalgia broke away from my muddy footprints on the shower floor. Pieces of Mt. Solon dirt and blades of surely the greenest-grass-in-all-the-land sang sweet harmonies as they swirled to their watery death. I assured my lonely pores that their sweat buddies would return soon. Red Wing Roots Music Festival II, Day 2, started at noon with two bands I did not want to miss: Loves It and Smokey and the MirrorbsomeIMG_8553bsomeIMG_8554

Loves it.bsomeIMG_8564bsomeIMG_8569bsomeIMG_8570bwbsomeIMG_8594bsomeIMG_8600

Above: Red Wing shirts printed by The Mark-it.
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Lucas Roasting Company (above) keeping folks energized and Wholistic Wisdom (below) keeping folks relaxed.bsomeIMG_8558bsomeIMG_8782

Smokey and the MirrorbsomeIMG_8618 bsomeIMG_8625 bsomeIMG_8636

Above and below: So sweet to see their daughter watching the performance from backstage.bsomeIMG_8644 bsomeIMG_8642bw bsomeIMG_8622bw bsomeIMG_8631bsomeIMG_8739

Above: remnants of Pokey LaFarge’s performance.
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Above: One cute little Blue Mountain supporter. Below: One cute little Red Wing supporter.bsomeIMG_8606bsomeIMG_8674bw

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Below: Artery kicked off on Day 2. Hundreds of children and adults came to help work on this community painting.bsomeIMG_7494absomeIMG_8585bsomeIMG_8579bsomeIMG_8705bsomeIMG_9030

Eric Brace and Peter CooperbsomeIMG_8753bwbsomeIMG_8732bsomeIMG_8746bsomeIMG_8589bsomeIMG_8961bsomeIMG_8654bsomeIMG_8766bsomeIMG_8614bsomeIMG_8970bsomeIMG_8712bwbsomeIMG_8760bwbsomeIMG_9136bwbsomeIMG_8617bsomeIMG_8825

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Above: Grilled Cheese Mania. Below: Jack Browns Beer and Burger JointbsomeIMG_8832bsomeIMG_8896

The Stray BirdsbsomeIMG_8814bsomeIMG_8789bsomeIMG_8817bw

Brothers Comatose
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Miss Tess and the TalkbacksbsomeIMG_8933bsomeIMG_8924bsomeIMG_8932bsomeIMG_8661bwbsomeIMG_8938bsomeIMG_8906

The Judy ChopsbsomeIMG_9025bsomeIMG_9017bsomeIMG_9004bsomeIMG_8983bsomeIMG_9008bsomeIMG_9012bsomeIMG_8986bwbsomeIMG_9045bwbsomeIMG_9042bwbsomeIMG_8974bsomeIMG_9036bsomeIMG_8950bsomeIMG_8899

Sarah JaroszbsomeIMG_9117bsomeIMG_9068bsomeIMG_9073bwbsomeIMG_9061bsomeIMG_9122bsomeIMG_9095bsomeIMG_9100bwbsomeIMG_9115

One really awesome thing about photographing this festival, is that I get to work with other photographers who I know and love. I admire each of them in very different ways and I’m truly a fan of their work. I feel we have a great network and support system of creatives here in the Valley and I simply can’t imagine it being any other way. I’ll introduce my photog friends below. I encourage you to check out their work!

This is Keesha of Ruby Sky Photography. <–If you click on that link, I have a feeling you’ll enjoy her music selection. In fact, feel free to let it play as you continue to look through the rest of this post…you’ll find it quite relevant. Keesha can usually be found with three little assistants. In the photo below, the third assistant is playing hide-and-seek.bsomeIMG_9103

This. Ha. Well, this is Pat Jarrett. He likely rode in on his motorcycle that morning after shooting in Newport News. He’s a busy dude and if you’re a Stauntonian, you’ve probably seen him walking to and from his downtown studio.bsomeIMG_8977

These girls are my studio neighbors at Spitzer Art Center and are an inspiration to me. They own and operate The Pinwheel Collective. It’s great how well they not only work together but also how nicely their work compliments each others. They do cool stuff. And sometimes funny stuff, too.bsomeIMG_8158c

Oh hay. That’s me. You’re looking at my work now…but I do some  other stuff to. Like weddings and portraits and I photograph for a blog I do with my friend Katie about Harrisonburg. I also plan this really cool community portrait show with my friend Denise Allen every year called Art Lotto.bsomeIMG_9131

Trent Wagler and the Steel WheelsbsomeIMG_9147bwbsomeIMG_9148bsomeIMG_9155bsomeIMG_9174bwbsomeIMG_9164bwbsomeIMG_9221bwbsomeIMG_9389bwbsomeIMG_9216bsomeIMG_9182bsomeIMG_9226bsomeIMG_9158bsomeIMG_9266bsomeIMG_9235bsomeIMG_9314bwbsomeIMG_9331bw

Didya miss Day 1? Click here to get caught up!

Check out this writeup and MORE of my photos from Red Wing Roots 2014 Day 2 on ilovemyburg!

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This post is part of my year long series Celebrating Life.

Check out my photos from last year: Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2013! Day 1Day 2, & Day 3.

Red Wing Roots II: Day 1

I played Bob Dylan on the way to this year’s second annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival. I felt it was a decent way to get my soul ready for the day that awaited me in that magical, green pocket of Mt. Solon. When I parked and stepped out of my car to a distant harmonica chirp being carried through the trees with the mountain breeze, I couldn’t help but smile. I’m baaaaaack. Finally. I slung my camera around my neck, grabbed my cash and i.d. and followed the tunes. It led me straight to the Shenandoah Mountain stage where Charlottesville’s The Honey Dewdrops were mid-set. Sadly, I missed the Walking Roots Band all together because I got distracted by the awesome kids activities that Larkin Arts offered this year. They’ve really evolved with the festival and is one of the many ways the whole experience, that was already dang awesome, got even better. bsomeIMG_8551bsomeIMG_7384bsomeIMG_7452bsomeIMG_7373cbsomeIMG_7369bw bsomeIMG_7446 bsomeIMG_7470

Artery's blank canvas awaits hundreds of children and adult artist to leave their mark.

Artery’s blank canvas awaits hundreds of children and adult artists to leave their mark.

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I spy a Judy Chop!

I spy a Judy Chop!

bsomeIMG_7871Peyton Tochterman takes on the crowd at South Stage.

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#redwingselfie

#redwingselfie

WNRN volunteers were there and happy about it!

WNRN volunteers were there and happy about it!

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Old Hill Cider was my go-to when the sun heated up Day 1.

Old Hill Cider was my go-to when the sun heated up Day 1.

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I was particularly excited to see the performance by Many Nights Ahead. Amy, the lead gal, is my former art student and I’ve been trying to catch them live since they started playing. I let myself indulge in photos of these guys. They’re awesome and I felt so proud of them!

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I left the Local Roots Stage to take on what I feel is the most difficult part of the festival: deciding what to eat. There were so many goooood and local choices of festie cuisine available. Luckily I have friends that share so we ordered a bunch of food and taste-tested all of it!bsomeIMG_7752bsomeIMG_7759c

A Harrisonburg TRUCKS staple: Grilled Cheese Mania.

A Harrisonburg TRUCKS staple: Grilled Cheese Mania.

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Sexi-Mexi…oh God.

Sexi-Mexi…oh God. Straight from my other favorite ‘burg: Strasburg, VA!

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David Wax Museum and that sweet sounding jaw bone gets the crowd moving at South Stage!bsomeIMG_7784cbsomeIMG_7788bwbsomeIMG_7793bsomeIMG_7809bsomeIMG_7802bsomeIMG_7852bsomeIMG_7844bsomeIMG_7849bsomeIMG_7880bsomeIMG_7882bsomeIMG_7931cbsomeIMG_7938bsomeIMG_7985The Hackensaw Boys

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After witnessing all that is Pokey LaFarge last year, I could hardly wait to see him again. And I wasn’t alone. The crowd quickly migrated to the Shenandoah Mountain Stage, ready to shake a thang or two.

Also:
Dearest Pokey,
I love all of your faces. Every. Single. One.
Love, Brandy
P.S. I’m glad the watermelon didn’t hit me in the face. bsomeIMG_8395cbsomeIMG_8388bwbsomeIMG_8117bsomeIMG_8091bsomeIMG_8061bsomeIMG_8067bsomeIMG_8236bsomeIMG_8248bsomeIMG_8282bsomeIMG_8160bsomeIMG_8216bwbsomeIMG_8273bwbsomeIMG_8295bsomeIMG_8358bsomeIMG_8134bwbsomeIMG_8276bsomeIMG_8214bwbsomeIMG_8189cbsomeIMG_8152

Night came and The Duhks took the stage. I was ready to take a long nap and prepare for Day 2.bsomeIMG_8509bsomeIMG_8484bwbsomeIMG_8432bwbsomeIMG_8448bsomeIMG_8497

Don’t miss my photos from Red Wing Roots II: Day 2!

Check out an excellent writeup and MORE of my photos from Red Wing Roots 2014 on ilovemyburg!

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This post is part of my year long series Celebrating Life.

Check out my posts from last year: Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2013! Day 1Day 2, & Day 3.

Today is not National Macaron Day.

This post is a testament to one of the most delicious mistakes I’ve ever made. May is home of National Macaroon Day. May 31st, to be exact. There it was, jotted into my planner, making it fact. For this month’s Celebrating Life post I wanted to photograph a macaroon maker, working his or her macaroon magic at home in their kitchen. With some word-of-mouth references I quickly landed a sweet, willing candidate…and cute to boot! When I arrived at Amelia’s house to invade her space for the afternoon, she greeted me at the front door with a big smile, warmly welcomed me into her home, offered me a glass of water…then straight up schooled me. “People always confuse macarons with macaroons,” she explained as she showed those eggs who was boss. Wait, what? Ah geez. That’s me. I’m the people.

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MacarOONS are chewy and made with coconut. MacarONS are made with almond meal and resemble a cookie-like sandwich. They basically share the same list of other ingredients, but let’s face it: as delicious as they both are, macarons are the Homecoming Queens and macaroons are sitting at home in their sweatpants, eating a pint of Kline’s peanut-butter-cookies-n-cream, watching reruns of Girls. After some brief research, I learned that they both started in Italy but the recipe branched into the two directions where macarOONS became more popular with the European Jewish folks and macarONS became a thing of France. Which is why you may know them as French macarons rather than just plain ol’ macarons. Went to foodiversity; servin’ up some knowledge. Aw sookie! Seriously though, you have no reason to trust me. I just used high school, Hollywood and binge eating to prove a point.

As I photographed Amelia in her kitchen, her daughter and the two boys she was babysitting that day played contently in the room around us. Crawling in and out of the sliding door, tossing sippy cups for more water, piecing together giant puzzles on the floor, tugging at her apron and coming in for leg hugs. All the while, Amelia mixed batter, refilled their water, cleaned her work surface, translated the child-grunts, carried on conversation with me, babbled with the kids and distributed about four rounds of gold fish crackers. What a sweet juggler-of-the-daily-circus she is.

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When Amelia pulled the macarons out of the oven, she pointed out their feet. “They gotta have feet,” she explainedThat’s the raised up, crispy-looking bottom half of the cookie that is not as smooth and fluffy as the top half. She had lavender and buttercream ready for the first batch of decorating, followed by cocoa powdered macarons filled with a family recipe for caramel cream that she whipped up on the spot. The kids acted out my thoughts as they tried to snatch a filled macaron at each hint of her potential distraction. It was also hitting that weird hour of nap time when kids turn into zombies on the verge of self-destruction…fearless of consequence. Must. Eat. Coooo-kieeee.

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Even though this was intended to be a shoot to celebrate National Macaroon Day…it is not. I didn’t even shoot macaroons for cryin’ out loud. But I did learn something new and meet a pretty cool gal…and that’s really why I created this whole series to begin with. It was great spending the afternoon getting to know Amelia and taking a glimpse into another hardworkin’ mama’s life…and learning that I’m a culinary idiot, but I’m trying ova hea! I didn’t know anything about Amelia before knocking on her front door, other than she was kind enough to invite me into her home for baking and photos. And after checking out her work online, I’m thankful I knew very little because I would’ve been intimidated by her craftiness! Amelia does creative design/styling and has a growing portfolio of handmade details to make any event extra special and unique. 

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The most precious unintentional smear of flour on her face is a document of hard work in the kitchen…with a super sweet payoff.

The most precious unintentional smear of flour on her cheek is proof of her hard work in the kitchen…with a super sweet payoff.

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 As I drove home to my children with a packed plate full of freshly made macarons, I felt a wee bit smarter, a wee bit plumper and whole lotta happy.

Stop by your local bakery and taste a macaron today…then tomorrow, celebrate National Macaroon Day by trying one of those coconut goodies. You can feel smarter and plumper and happier, too.

MacaronSmall07Check out more from my Celebrating Life series by clicking here.

 

Lucina’s Tortillas

With two shoots under my belt and flurries swirling towards my windshield, I darted up Rt. 11 on the brink of flight. Running late. As usual. A text came through: “Take your time. Latinos are an hour late for everything. No worries.” Well ok then. The text was from Anneke, my former teacher, current coworker, friend, professional spreader-of-joy…and, today, the interpreter. Anneke arranged this particular shoot after I did a call for tortilla chip makers on my photography page as part of my year-long Celebrating Life series. Being the connector that she is, she worked her magic and even agreed to come along. For this shoot, we were celebrating National Tortilla Chip Day by making homemade tortillas in the Cardoso household. Not chips…but hey, it’s my series so I can bend the rules, yeah?

When Lucina opened her kitchen door to greet us with a warm hug and a smile, a sense of comfort came over me. She was wearing a pink pearl-button apron that made her feel like family. My grandmother (Nanny) had variations of this apron for every day of the week. And just like Lucina, she wore it as a uniform of sorts for her day-to-day living.  As I stepped into the kitchen a wave of bakery-esque sweetness smacked me in the face: freshly made cinnamon biscuits. Aw lawdy. Just hangin’ out in that blue bowl on the table like it was their job. I was immediately drawn to this unintentional still-life basking in the natural light. I swear though, in the half a moment it took me to press my shutter button, Lucina was elbow deep in a bowl of Maseca, flour and water.

Habiendo completado ya dos sesiones fotográficas, que realmente es un día completo de trabajo en sí, iba volando por la ruta 11 con poquito de nieve cayendo en el parabrisas.  Iba a llegar tarde para la tercera cita a las 11:30.  Tarde.  Como siempre.  Entonces, recibí este mensaje de texto: “Toma tu tiempo.  Todo empieza una hora tarde para los latinos.  No te preocupes.”  Bueno, pues.  El mensaje era de Anneke, mi profesora de la prepa, actual compañera de trabajo, amiga, y profesional repartidora de alegría… y, hoy, intérprete.  Anneke coordinó esta sesión fotográfica después de que yo anuncié en mi sitio web de fotografía que buscaba a una persona que hiciera tostadas como parte de mi proyecto “Celebrando La Vida.”  Anneke arregló esta sesión fotográfica.  Siendo la que sabe contactar con todos, hizo su mágia y hasta aceptó acompañarme.  Para esta sesión fotográfica, celebramos “El Día Nacional de las Tostadas” haciendo tortillas de maíz en la casa de Los Cardoso.  No fueron tostadas, pero es mi proyecto y yo puedo manipular las reglas, ¿no?

Cuando Lucina abrió la puerta de la cocina para saludarnos con un abrazo cariñoso y una sonrisa, me sentí inmediatamente cómoda y a gusto.  Llevaba un mandíl rosado con botones brillosos que me hizo sentir como si fuéramos familiares.  Mi abuelita, (Nanny) llevaba mandiles semejantes a éste. Ella tenía un gran surtido y uno para cada día de la semana.  Y, así como Lucina, lo llevaba como algún tipo de uniforme para su rutina diaria.  Al entrar la cocina, me llegó a la nariz un aroma dulce de pan horneado: gorditas de trigo.  ¡Ay Dios!  Allí, no más estaban en el plato hondo azul, tapadas con una servilleta como si su único trabajo fuera existir. Inmediatamente me llamaron la atención en toda su belleza y bajo la luz natural.  Juro que en el segundito que me tomó sacar una foto de las gorditas, Doña Lucina estaba hasta los codos en la masa.
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