April 18, 2013

Penland

This post is a little over due. Truth is, I needed some time to digest the experience that I had last week. As I sit here, I find that it's really hard to put words to. What I can tell you is that it was a total game changer.

Penland brought many things into focus that I've struggled so long to see.

I found such value in the people that I was surrounded by. Artists. People with so much talent it was difficult to wrap my mind around.

I couldn't help but question my own work. I have so much to learn. I sometimes struggle with translating the vision in my mind into an image. I often find this really paralyzing.

Penland is where I started to believe that sometimes the most difficult thing about making art is overcoming that paralysis. It's allowing yourself the freedom to do things wrong. It's making work that you're proud of, only to question it an hour later. It's learning to appreciate your critical eye.

I've always found this Ira Glass quote super inspiring,

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work... It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” 

I've been working really hard since I returned from Penland. I hope to share my ideas here with you soon. In the meantime, below are some photos from my week away. I must say, I spent a ton of time in the photo studio, so I didn't get a lot of pictures of the beautiful scenery. I did manage to snap a few instagrams, though. I'm also posting some of the portrait work that I did while there.

I can't help but miss the evenings. After long hours in class, we would head outside to the back porch of our studio. We shared drinks under twinkle lights. Talked photography and laughed until our stomach muscles hurt. I can't wait to go back.


April 16, 2013

Revel



Two years ago at this very moment, I was getting ready to be his bride. The whole thing felt surreal. We had waited for this for so long, yet nothing could have prepared us for the whirlwind that was our wedding day.

Sometimes I like to reflect on the feeling of a specific moment. What emotions were actually pulsing through my body while I applied my makeup for the supposedly biggest day of my life? Did I understand the full weight of it or did the ritual of getting ready take over?

The ceremony. Did someone else carry my legs down the aisle? Was I sure to make eye contact with Jake as he stood there waiting? Did I kiss him like I meant it? I can't really be sure. I'd like to think that I did all of those things. That I lived our wedding day with intention, conscious of my actions.

What I do know, is that our wedding has been just one day of our now two year marriage. A great one at that, but not the single most defining moment we've spent together in my mind. I talked a little about this idea here. After the wedding all of the family and friends leave town and the gifts slowly stop arriving. If you're lucky, you're left standing beside a partner that fills each day of your marriage with the same sense of love and support as your wedding day.

Sometimes when the thing that we anticipated for so long finally arrives we lose sight of the excitement we once held. Like a child on Christmas who has finished opening all of their gifts. What's next? I think we are presented with a choice. We can start the 364 day count down until next Christmas or we can take the time to revel in the gifts that we were just given.

I try to approach each day of our marriage with the same sense of wonder as we held before our wedding. It's not always easy. To take notice of the subtle (and not so subtle) changes we have made as individuals and as a couple. To celebrate one another. There in lies the work of a marriage.

Some days feel more like work than others. If you're lucky though, each day feels fulfilling. Feels worth it. Our marriage has been a road full of twists and turns that I never could have anticipated.

This morning, Jake wrote to me in an anniversary card, "Keep following your dreams. I'm just happy to be along for the ride". I feel the same way. So happy to have the best man I've ever known riding along side of me. 


April 6, 2013

The B E S T Waffles


You guys, I've come across the best waffle recipe ever. I'm not kidding. I simply had to share this one with you. You should make these tomorrow morning -- better yet make breakfast for dinner tonight

These are lighter than the average waffle with the perfect crisp to chewy ratio. I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten a waffle but something came over me yesterday. I had a craving that could only be satisfied by homemade waffles with melted butter and real syrup.

I think the real key to keeping these waffles fluffy and light in the center are the whipped egg whites. Sure, it's a little extra work - but I think it made all of the difference.

 
Recipe (yields 7 medium waffles):

Ingredients: 
1 1/3 cups flour
4 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs - separated
1/2 cup melted butter  
1 3/4 cups milk
1 lemon (juice and zest)

Directions:
Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Add the yolks to the dry mixture and put the whites in a separate small mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. I suggest using a hand mixer for this, as doing this by hand would require some serious muscle. Add milk, lemon juice and zest and melted butter to dry ingredient mixture and mix thoroughly in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Fold (gently stir in) egg whites into mixture. For my waffle iron I used just under 3/4 cups of the batter.
 
*Tip: Keep waffles warm by resting them side-by-side (do not stack) on a cookie sheet in an oven set to 275.
*Bonus tip: use measuring cups to determine the exact amount of batter your waffle iron requires for the perfect waffle that doesn't overflow. I found that just eyeballing it makes it nearly impossible to get consistent waffles.

Enjoy and please let me know if you give these a try!

April 5, 2013

Setting Forth



This weekend I leave for Penland. I'll be taking a week long intensive photography course with a focus on lighting.

A week away in the mountains to clear my head, center myself and focus on my greatest passion. It's not lost on me that this is a rare opportunity. What a precious gift as an adult to leave behind responsibility in order to be totally immersed in creativity. I hope to squeeze out every last drop from the experience.

Beyond diving head first into all things photography, I hope to take some time to explore the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, meet new people with shared passions and to visit some of the other studios (wood working, glass blowing and metal work are at the top of my list).

I think we experience the most growth when we leave our comfort zone. I have my journal already packed and I'm open to all things that this next week has in store for me.


I must mention that this trip was made possible by the support of my husband, parents and brother-in-law, Mike. It came as a total shock to me when my parents called me and told me that they wanted to help send me. My brother-in-law was the one who brought the idea up to my parents and urged them to look into it. I'm really not lying when I say I have the greatest most supportive family!

April 2, 2013

Weekend Recap

This weekend was full of family celebrations. On Friday night we celebrated Addie's 4th birthday at an indoor trampoline park with some of her friends. Everyone had a great time!


Especially her dad.

Well, almost everyone...


On Sunday we went out for Easter Brunch and then Jake and I put our new dining room to use and hosted the family for an Easter egg hunt and a casual Easter dinner.

Oh, and there's this...
Sisters in sailor dresses 25ish years later.
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