Thursday, February 14, 2013

Homemade Salsa

So, I've had this recipe for salsa for a few years now, but realized as I was shopping for ingredients that I didn't have a blog post to pull up on my phone to check if I had everything.  SO, just in case that happened again, I thought I would dust off my blog and actually post something.



(1) 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
(1) can of original rotel
(1) cup chopped cilantro (but I LOVE cilantro, so I had close to 2 cups
(1) large red onion, chopped
(2) tbsp minced garlic
(1) tbsp Natures Seasoning
(2) tsp cumion
a little salt to taste
(3) limes - squeeze juice out
*optional* I add 1/2 a jalapeno minced

I like my salsa chunky, but Matt likes it almost like soup, so I'll take half and blend it in the chopper.  


  Nom Nom Nom :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

They were right...Cancer really does suck...

I never doubted people when they said "cancer sucks," but it is hard to truly understand the severity until you're faced with it...against your will. 

I won't go into all the little details, but just a few weeks ago my mother had a procedure done that ultimately found a tumor at the top of her stomach.  The tumor measures 4cm wide and is very aggressive.  She has gastric cancer.  This type of cancer is not prevalent in the United States, but IS in most of Asia (more so in Japan).  It is a mix of genetics and diet (smoked foods, pickled/salty foods).  This cancer is also considered to be one of the deadliest cancers one can be diagnosed with with a 15% survival rate in stage 3.  What stage is my mom in?  Stage 3.  (facts my mom doesn't need to know)

It's all been overwhelming to say the least and I can't help but feel angry about it all.  For anyone that knows my mom, she is a healthy person.  She works out regularly, she eats right, she only drinks water, she doesn't drink or smoke...and this is her reward??  She spent 24 years taking care of her handicapped son with cerebral palsy only to watch him die 6 years ago...and now...she has to suffer through months of chemo and radiation, then major surgery where she might lost all her stomach, and then more chemo and radiation.

By the way - one of the first signs of stomach cancer is acid reflux.

Maybe this blog is more of me venting and less informational, but it genuinely makes me question certain things.  I know for those out there that might be reading this, please don't tell me this God's plan because all it does is make me think you have no clue what you're talking about.  I also have a hard time hearing, "We will pray that God will cure the cancer."  I have mixed feelings about that statement.  On one had, I believe that IS the appropriate thing to ask God for, but on the other hand what if that is what everyone prays for and it doesn't happen??  Then was it Gods plan?  I wanted God to make my brother better, but that didn't happen...so what am I supposed to think? 

Honestly, I believe shitty things happen.  I don't think God has control over who gets sick.  I believe all we can ask God for when horrible things happen to us is that he helps us get through it without becoming bitter.  All I can do is be positive for my mother and show her everyday that I am here for her.

I know one of my mom's fears is to lose her hair, so I took her Saturday to find a wig that matched her natural hair, so it would be one less thing for her to worry about.  The ladies at Admiral Beauty Supply (51st and Harvard) were BEYOND nice and super helpful.  I've even considered shaving my own hair off, so my mom wouldn't feel alone...and that's when I realized how much my hair means to me. For women, our hair is such a big part of us...we identify with it and we are identified by it...I never realized how much its like a security blanket of sorts.  Then I thought of the girl I saw at one of my moms appts in the waiting room...she was probably 14, maybe 15 years old.  She was going through chemo, so she had no hair and she was walking around smiling. 

It will grow back...

Overall, my mom is hopeful and positive.  She came out of the doctors office yesterday saying, "We all have to pray!"  I've said it before...she is a stronger more faithful woman than me.
 

I thought it would be easier to blog about this, so I don't have to answer the same questions over and over again.  No offense my awesome friends. I do appreciate those that have taken the time out of their life to see how I'm doing and how my mom is doing.  It really means a lot to me.  Some people its been a pleasant surprise, some I'm shocked I haven't heard from (but I do know life gets in the way), some I label as "ol faithfuls"  :) 

Anyways, Thursday it begins.  My mom will be getting her port put in for chemo treatments, along with a feeding tube...

I'll keep everyone posted.  Thanks again for those that took the time out to read this and said a prayer.  I feel genuinely blessed to have you guys in my life. 



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blog Update!!

From now on, I'll be keeping my photography and personal posts seperate.  I canceled my website and transferred the domain to wordpress, so it's a website/blog :) 

http://letsabrakadothisphotography.com/

I'll blog about each session and things I've learned on the way.  Come check it out~!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When did I get so busy? September Recap

I think over the last few months I have slowly given up on the idea of a "clean" house.  The most people will get when they stop by is a decent walk way void of hot wheels...and MAYBE I'll vacuum...but there has to be a noticeable amount of dog hair for you to be so lucky. 

This month my husband celebrated another birthday...I would tell you his age, but it might depress him seeing it blasted on the Internet :)  I don't understand why he gets all sad about it...Yes, he has some additional aches and pains....and Yes, on his 22nd birthday his house burned down...and Yes, he has a wild toddler when most people his age have self sufficient tweens - Who Cares?! :)  He still looks younger than most his age, so I would just ride that as long as possible. 



Yes, this is him doing the stereotypical peace sign, lol.  He's teaching our son well.  They are a good looking pair aren't they? :)  I know I haven't said much about Christian, but I'm saving it all for a special All Christian blog.  He's been your typical 2 year old boy...eating, running, playing, sweating, eating, dancing, singing, eating, LOL.   We've had a little bump in the road with his speech, but nothing serious.  I'll go into that  soon. 

This month also marks the 5th year since Matt and I lost someone very special to us.  I've mentioned it before, but September 15, 2007 my brother passed away...8 days later {September 23, 2012} Matt lost his mother to a pulmonary embolism.  It definitely wasn't the easiest time for us, but we got through it. 

 
Pretty lady huh? This was her senior photo.  This picture always makes me think she looks like someone, but I can never put my finger on who.  I only met Debby twice before she passed away, which makes me sad.  I always wished I had more time to get to know her.  One story Matt told me at the grocery store the other night was that when him and his mother used to grocery shop, she would holler from the aisle over, "Heads up!" He would then look up to see a grocery item flying over for him to catch to put in the cart.  I thought that was fun...maybe not if it was a canned good, but most anything else :)  I look forward to the day Matt tells Christian fun stories about his Grandma.

Photo Sessions -

OK, some of these were from last month as well, so stick with me :)  Hey, who doesn't like to look at photos?!

And Then There Were 3 

Remember this couple?  You should!  I photograph them all the time :)

 
Here she is :)  Poor girl had shots that day, so we really only got a couple good ones. 


Baby Harrison - My Rockin' Redhead

 
Then there was Harrison :)  How cute is he?!  The cutest little redhead you'll ever meet.  After hauling around my 35lb toddler, I forgot just how light newborns were. 
 


You know this is adorable.  The chair is actually his grandpa's chair from when he was a kiddo :) He's only 5 weeks old here, but he's sitting up like a stud :)
 
My {Itty Bitty} Sister in Law Katy
 

 
Then for fun, I took my sister in law out and we took some photos.  She's lost an incredible amount of weight the last few months, so I wanted her to enjoy a little photo shoot :) 
 
 
Not too shabby huh? :)
 
 
Rosabella Turns Two!
{celebrates with a tea party and music in the park}
 
 
Here we have Rosabella :)  How cute is this!?!  She totally ran with this tea party in the park.  She poured teddy a spot of tea and then helped him drink it :) 
 
 
Then she played everyone a little diddy in the Rose Garden.   Love her :)
 
 
Simply Jovie
{I just love her name}
 
 
 
This is Jovie!  She was beyond adorable.  Like all kids, it took her a good 30  minutes to warm up to me {and the camera directly in front of her face}, but once she did her personality really came out.  Jovie's mom and I went to college together, so it was nice to see her again :)
 
 
Granted, this was towards the end of the session, so I completely understand her timeout :)  She did really well.  I just think this was a great shot, lol. 
 
 
 
I had an amazing engagement session last night which I will share with you guys shortly :)  I call them my free spirits / world travelers.  I also have a senior session this weekend.  That should wrap it up for September....then...October is going to be baptism by fire!  2 weddings and 3 family sessions!
 
I hope everyone is having a great week :) 
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Pioneer Woman reminded me to Blog Often (via her blog, no actual conversation took place...but I did see her at QuickTrip)

So while I was perusing one of my favorite blogs today and entering my name in her many giveaways, I realized how I am failing as a blogger.  The busier my life gets, the less I blog...and it should really be the opposite!  How am I going to remember everything that happened September 2012 unless I blog...and blog often!? 

The blog I was reading and absolutely love is The Pioneer Woman.  Yes...if you are a woman living in Oklahoma and are interested {even in the slightest} about cooking, photography, and/or country life, you're a fan of Ree Drummond.

 A few months ago I actually saw her sitting in her car at QuickTrip in Sand Springs.  I probably wouldn't have even noticed, but I saw 2 girls in QT wearing shirts that said Drummond. That's when I realized those girls were her kiddo's.  As I walked out to my car, there she was looking down at her phone in her white SUV. 

Side Story: It was the same star struck feeling I got when I saw Garth Brooks at Linens N' Things in Owasso a few years ago. I was working there at the time, so I just acted like I was straightening the aisles when in reality I was watching him through the folded towels.  Yes I know, it wasn't my best moment.  I'm not even a country music fan!  That's when I realized that if you're remotely of "celebrity" status, I might be a little star struck. 

My mouth dropped open and I looked at my husband parked a couple spots down and mouthed, "That's PW!" 

 He then mouthed back, Huh??

Once I got in the car, I repeated, That's the pioneer woman in that white car!

My husband then says, Go up and say hi...ask her to sign your cookbook.

My reply, Yeah, cuz that's not creepy. I'm sure she would appreciate me tapping on her car door just to say hi awkwardly and then to sign the cookbook I don't have with me.

Anyways, the blog post she wrote that caught my attention and made me realize how little I actually blog is this one:

10 Important Things I've Learned About Blogging

#2 - Blog Often.

I really need to make more of an effort.  Sometimes I wonder how she manages her time...to be able to do all that she does.  Maybe she's already blogged about it...I should double check...and to see if I've won anything. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tales of a Noob Photographer

The 1st time I used a Mark II - I felt like a big girl photographer :)

So, I've been working part time at Montag for a couple of months now...part time = one day a week for 3-4 hours.   It's not a lot and I would love it to be more, but I try to take in as much as I can while I'm there.   Everyone there has been super nice and helpful. As of now, they aren't annoyed with all my questions (I think), but I feel I need to start carrying around a pen and pad to remember everything (the down side of one day a week). 


So here are a fews things I've been schooled on

    
1.  Do not edit your images on a PC - invest in a MAC.  What do I have?  Yes, a PC.  A PC is all I've ever known!  There was a whole list of reasons they told me on why Mac is better, but mainly it's because Mac's are geared for editing and the color quality is much more accurate...also something about how they can't get infected.  So, my next big purchase will be an iMac. 



2.  Lightroom is A-mazing.  Ok, I really didn't think so at first...mainly because I had been working exclusively with Photoshop.  I am getting the hang of Lighroom now and I see what everyone is talking about.  As far as color correcting, it's so much easier, but I would say the best thing about LR is you can import all your images instead of one at a time with PS.  Then if you have major editing to do, you can import the image into Photoshop.   

    

3.  Invest in a Graphics Tablet. For example, the Wacom Intuos 5.  It does make editing much easier and precise.  With a mouse, it is hard to make clean edits, but with the fine point pen you have better control, which makes for a cleaner editing. 


4.  Invest in some Eneloop batteries for your external flash.  They last longer, but order them on Amazon!  So much cheaper.  Actually, with any purchase, I check on Amazon first.  8 times out of 10 it's cheaper.  Free shipping, can't beat it :)


5. Always have a backup camera with you at shoots!  I know this might sound like a given, but uh, camera equipment is EXPENSIVE.  That is why you can always rent from www.borrowlenses.com


So, there are my top 5 for now.  Next time, I'll share whatever else I've retained :)


It's been fun helping out at Montag and getting to know everyone.  Even though it's just for one day, I do feel I'm learning a little here and there.  I'm nowhere near where the other photographers are, but I'll get there someday :)  I work with Shonda - I've actually known her for years and she's the lucky one I ask question after question to...well Jeremy too.  I've been warned though, if I ask Jeremy the same question more than 3 times he tends to think you're stupid.  Yaaaaay, can't wait for that awkward moment :)  Anyways, back to Shonda....she said, "I think anyone that cuts hair should work at a Super Cuts for a little while...just for the repetition.  It's the same for photographers.  If you have the opportunity to work for a studio, you should.  The repetition is good for you.  The posing, lighting, etc...it'll feel more natural."  Smart gal huh?  :)  When I watch them at a wedding, I'm always amazed how smooth it runs from beginning to end, but it's because they do wedding after wedding every weekend.  Maybe I'll come into a large sum of money and I can just devote my life to photography...maybe?  no? 

For all the noobs out there, I hope this helps!!




Monday, August 13, 2012

My Baby Brother Turns 29 and I turned 31

As far as I can remember, my brother and I celebrated our birthdays together.  My birthday is August 11th and my brother Jearamiah's is the 13th.  So naturally, we celebrated it on the 12th.

 

I never thought anything of it.  I liked it actually...being able to celebrate with someone.  My mom and dad would always make a cake for us or have a neighbor friend make a special character cake (i.e.  cabbage patch doll cake, etc). 

In about a month, it'll be 5 years since my brother passed away and for whatever reason I'm finding this year to be especially hard...I don't know...maybe it's because this year marks the 5th year.  It feels like a milestone or something. 

I miss him terribly.  I feel this sense of loneliness.  Granted, I know my sibling relationship wasn't typical, so I don't know what it was like to argue or fight with my brother, but I did have a brother.  I have to imagine always being an only child feels different than being an only child due to an unfortunate circumstance.  Even though it was never "normal" he was all I had...and I don't have him anymore.  


It never even crossed my mind growing up that he would go before me...and so soon in his life.  Even in high school and college, I mentally planned to be his caretaker once my parents became too old to do it themselves...and I always told myself that I had to find a special man that would be able to handle my special circumstances. 


Most of everything good in me, I truly think came from my brother.  From an early age, I naturally had a big heart and didn't like hearing of people being mistreated just because they are different in any way.  I never understood it and I still don't.  Not many people in their lives can say they knew some genuinely perfect...without fault...sinless.  I did and he was beautiful. 

Happy birthday Jearemiah.  When I picture how you would be celebrating your 29th birthday, I vision a little awnriness, a little booze, maybe a tattoo... a lot of fun, and a lot of smiles.  I miss you and losing you has never really ever gotten easier for me...I constantly think I am disappointing you with my actions or my thoughts.  I've never claimed to be perfect, but when you know that your brother was perfect, it's something to live up to.  Love you baby brother. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Part One of Our Mini Vacation - Coriander Cafe


Last weekend, we took a mini vacation to Oklahoma City/Norman.  Matt always refers to the OKC/Norman area as "my hood" but so much has changed in the last 12-13 years, it's almost unrecognizable.  Good grief, has it really been that long?!  It doesn't feel that long, but when you see it in print, it kinda stings a little.

Anyways, our first stop was Coriander Cafe.  This little eatery is nestled in Norman on Campus Corner and is the product of my old friend Chris and his partner Jeremiah.  As long as I can remember, Chris has been involved in the food industry - bartending, waitering, or managing...usually sushi restaurants, so he has a pretty good handle on how a restaurant should run {smoothly}.  He may have his degree in Architecture, but his passion has always been food and I'm so happy for him that he took a risk for something that he loves and so is my belly :)


Address: 323 White st.  Norman, OK 73069
# 405.801.3958
Hours: M-S 11am - 9pm

Fresh local ingredients + traditional Vietnamese recipes = Amazing flavor! The menu is simple, so you won't spend hours perusing your choices (I'm talking about you Cheesecake Factory...seriously?  It's too many things!!  Your menu makes me want to cry.).  They also serve a couple staple Korean dishes - I like to think I had something to do with that....oh wait...I didn't?  Whatever Chris. That's what I'm going to tell people. 

Vegan and vegetarians!  He didn't forget about you!  Many things on the menu can be animal free.  Normally, I would call you guys weirdos, but my sister in law is a hardcore vegetarian, so I will refrain :)
We started out with egg rolls and pork spring rolls.  I have this thing...I always order egg rolls at an Asian restaurant.  If they can't get the egg roll right, 9 times out of 10, the rest of the menu is lacking as well.  It's such an Asian staple and most people order egg rolls, so make sure they taste good is all I'm saying.  If you bite into an egg roll and cabbage is all you taste...BOO.  To me, that just means you didn't even try. 



Their egg rolls had meat!! Very exciting :)  I ordered me some pork spring rolls...I LOVE spring rolls.  (My mom and I will sometimes just have a spring roll day - we eat them as we make them...by the end it's just an empty plate and 2 full ladies) The pork had a nice flavor and they added a "crispy" (I think it was a rolled up fried wonton skin) inside which gave it a nice crunch :)   They really were de-lish.  LOL -  How am I doing as a food critic???





Yes, they have a kids menu.  You pick your meat (i.e. roasted chicken, pork, etc), rice or noodles, and an egg roll.  Christian mostly played with the noodles, but he ate all his chicken...I think Matt ate the egg roll.  The portion was a good amount.  His belly was sticking out...that's how we know he's full.  It's like the thing in your Thanksgiving turkey that pops out when it's done. 

Matt had something similar to what Christian had.  I appreciated that nothing was greasy...everything tasted clean. 

I had the banh mi sandwich.  I think I saw it on his website and that was really the only thing I wanted to try.  I think since it's 115 degrees outside (I'm not exaggerating), the thought of hot soup didn't sound appealing.  I'll come back in the fall for that :)  So, you get to choose what kind of meat you want, so I chose the roasted chicken.  (See vegetarians, this is a sandwich you could have - no meat!  Still would be tasty).  I've never had a banh-mi, but it was SO GOOD.  The bread was soft and toasted (and local!), the veggies were fresh, the chicken just came out of the roaster...Mmmmmm....I want one now!!  It really was good folks.  If you're ever in Norman, you should really give this place a try. 

Now I know what you all are thinking...he's your friend!  Of course you're not going to say anything bad, but it really was delicious.  Matt is one of the pickiest eaters and he loved it.  He even liked the soy sauce, LOL.  They use a Maggi brand.  Matt then says, "Well it ain't no Kikkoman!"  Jokingly of course.  Way to sound like a  hillbilly husband.

Hands down though, if I lived closer, I would be a regular.



This is Chris - I always like to put a face with the name.   He's single laaaaadiiees ;)  Ambitious, smart, funny...basically he has his $h!t together :)  Stop by and see him sometime ;) Heehee...sorry Chris, but just trying to get the word out about your awesomeness.  =D








Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Little Bitches - A Shout Out To My Cousin Amber





My cousin Amber is fulfilling a passion of hers...dressing up your bitch dog.  She doesn't discriminate, male dogs need love too :)

Little Bitches provides a selection of fun dog clothing with personality as well as accessories and toys. Based out of Portland, Oregan. 
 




Monday, July 23, 2012

July in a Nutshell - Busy, busy, busy

Forgive me readers for I have not blogged in weeks!  July (actually this whole summer) has been nothing less than chaotic. When I am exhausted from a busy week I wonder if I would be happy with nothing to do.  Honestly, yes...but only occasionally. 

So, I can't remember if I have posted that I have a second job now....well, I have a second job now.  I started working a few evening hours on Fridays at Montag Studio.  I'm happy to say I haven't snapped one photo for them yet.  I've enjoyed being the assistant/lackey.  After a 40 hour work week (in a cubicle), it's nice to interact with others on a social level and move around.    Montag is the official senior year book photographer for my high school - Union.  Photographers are always capturing some milestone in your life.  Whether it be your senior year in high school, your engagement, your wedding day, or your newborn, the photographer you hire is responsible for taking that moment and making it tangible through a photo.  I think that is why weddings make me so nervous.  You have one shot to get that moment the bride and groom kiss at the alter or if the couple decides to smash cake in each others face.  If you're messing with your settings, that moment could potentially be lost. 

Over the weekend, I shadowed/assisted Mallory at this B-E-A-UTIFUL wedding at Tarp Chapel.  I knew I would love it when I saw Tiffany blue everywhere.  Mallory never ceases to amaze me with her wedding skills.  She's so organized and efficient.  She takes AMAZING photos and she has a way of making you feel "gorgeous!" on your wedding day. She genuinely loves weddings - when we found the perfect place to hang the dress for photos, she literally GASPED and said, "Tell me that is not perfect?!!"  I love her enthusiasm and I can not begin to convey my appreciation for all her help and mentoring. 




As far as my own independent work, here are some of my favorite shots this month :)

Seniors - Class of 2013! 
No, that doesn't make me feel old at all. 


I love how the shades of brown work together.  Don't you love her smile?!


I'm not sure if Lynnzey realizes how photogenic she is.


I love the pink, green, and browns.  Great smile :) 


Babies!


This is Eli's 1st birthday shoot :)  He was such a sweet baby...so chill!  He never became fussy or grumpy. 


"Where's my money bird!?"


This is baby Harrison :)  HOW CUTE IS THIS PHOTO??  I wasn't sure if we would be able to pull it off because he's 5 weeks old, so he was awake most of the time, but after a full belly he passed out :)  Those are my old glasses with the lenses popped out. 


Heehee, love it.  The chair is Harrison's grandpa's chair from when he was a child.  How awesome is that? 5 weeks old!! He did amazing.


Ahhh, the Meadors :)  I've taken their engagement and maternity photos.  They were nice enough to ask me to take some hospital photos.  I LOVE this one :)



Wedding & Receptions!!


Angela's Wedding :)  Love country theme weddings.




Herring Reception :)  I'm still working on these, so right now this is the only one :)


The area I feel I need work on is editing...color correcting.  I'm still feeling my way through Lightroom, which frustrates me.  "I don't know how I ever lived without Lightroom!" says every photographer EVER.  Hopefully over the next few months, I'll get better. 

The other area I need work on is posing...and posing quickly.  I  know this just takes time and experience, so I'm trying not to let it get to me.  
So, needless to say, I'm happy about our mini getaway this weekend to visit friends in OKC.  We're going to eat at my friend Chris's new restaurant, which I'm super excited about...you know, because I love food :)  I'm already perusing the menu.  Hmmm, Chris may I just sample all the above?  Don't judge me.   Here's the website:


I can't wait to see all my girls and just relax.  Maybe I'll take Christian to the OU campus and snap some photos :) 


Solomon Family Update - next blog :) 






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