Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Popp's Topps, It's More Than A Fabulous Name

If you are looking for my site, please click here.

When I first heard of this business, I was immediately excited and eager to showcase the work here.  If you are considering family fall pictures....THIS might be the perfect touch to your unique family.
Amanda Popp, a Stamford resident and mom of some adorable kiddos, recently started her own business with the catchy name Popp's Topps (how does that name not make you smile?). 
The hats are crocheted and designed by Amanda as she strives to create a unique and individualized "topp" every time.
She began crocheting just last year under the tutelage of her husband's grandmother, Sally Whitney who has always presented her family with hand made gifts.  The personal touch of a handmade gift propelled Amanda to venture out on her own.
As she began to conceptualize her idea she had to admit there wasn't anything better than a fun hat on a cute baby.  Of course, the hats aren't just for babies. Amanda can make a hat for anyone and she strives to design it to YOUR liking. Pick the colors, give her an idea and she will do her best to customize it just for you.
"My kids inspire me," Amanda said. "I love seeing their adorable little faces surrounded by one of the hats I've made special for them. They get excited to have a new hat too. I also love to see instant gratification. These hats take me about an hour or so to make, so for me, being a mom of three small children three and under I don't have a lot of time on my hands, but when I get a free minute or during nap time, I can pretty much complete a hat, start to finish. INSTANT GRATIFICATION! And if it allows me to make a little money to stay at home even longer with my babies, why not? I also enjoy crocheting, it's a little escape for me."
Amanda is located in Stamford on Kemper Mountain Road and her contact info is:
facebook - Popp's Topps
Cell - 607-643-3629

If you know anyone who would like to be featured me at or find me on facebook! We LOVE small business as it relates to our photography!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Glassblowing? You bet.

 First: If you are looking for my photography site, click here
In my local(ish) wanderings, I ooze excitement when I find local diamonds of creativity.  I admit I didn't know much about the art of glassblowing, but after visiting with Teddy Halstead, I not only fell in love with the art, but earned a respect for the precision and dedication it takes to make just one beautiful wine goblet or lamp shade.
Halstead's passion for his work is evident in the pieces he creates. Bold colors, whimsical design that are one-of-kind.  You won't find pieces like his in any chain store, that would be insulting to the genius of this art.
As I was watching his artisans stand in front of nearly intolerable heat ovens, blow glass and begin to shape it's future I knew he would be worth sharing.
A better idea of his work can be found on his gallery site,  He visits Atlantic City and Las Vegas  frequently as his work comes in higher demand to clientele who desire unique and hand crafted gifts that explode with beauty.
I could easily see his exquistitely designed items wrapped up for my next bridal gift and I had visions of his work on the head table of receptions filled with dancing and laughter.  His lamps would cause impressive gasps and if you don't know what a wall taco is, it's about time you found out!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them as our purpose is to encourage buying from local businesses and create a community of creative brilliance. If you know anyone who you think would be an interesting feature for this site. Please email your comments or suggestions to
If you know of someone who should be featured here...please email me at We are looking for creative, inspiring and relatable products! So let me know!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Creative Wedding Invitations? This one ROCKS!!!

If you are looking for my site, please go to
Otherwise, sit down and take a look at this amazing idea for a wedding invitation. I fell in love with it when I saw it on my co-workers desk and I HAD to find out what inspired the bride.  I was going to blog it out for you, but she wrote it all so well, I shall not touch what she wrote!!  It's a little detailed, but it will give you an idea for an invitation that will be turned into a small work of art. Seriously, I would never throw this one away, I would probably have it framed.
So thank you Christina Hunt (now Wood  ) of Oneonta, you have inspired me!

In the words of the bride....
When we began planning our wedding, my (soon to be) husband and I determined a “vibe.”  Not a theme…themes seem superficial.  A theme is a topic and people purchase items that concern that topic.  A vibe is a mood – it is the emotion that you hope to evoke from your event.  As a couple known for boundless energy, creativity, and an ability to have a really good time, we had a reputation to keep so planning commenced!
Words thrown around in our bedtime brainstorming session included “classy, casual, old time, local, live music, rural, fun, and a little unexpected.”  We love dancing and have been doing so since the day we met five years prior and we love our community of friends – all of these elements would become a part of the experience.
 Over nachos and beer at a local haunt, Chris Lott, owner of Evening with Designs listened to a summary of our evening’s events.  I brought several images with me that I liked:  sample invitations, font styles, and concert posters (50s rock and country).  After tossing around ideas we knew we wanted an invitation with a traditional front and an unexpected “POW” on the inside (aka the “Get up and dance” effect).  We wanted it to feel like a show poster.
Now, let me explain, Chris Lott is not an invitation designer…he’s a show poster designer! He definitely fits the vibe.  Jared and I were charged with producing a photo of us dancing and from there, Chris would work his magic.  Only problem, we didn’t have pictures of us dancing!
So, one night Jared and I cleared out the living room placing our SONY Cybershot camera on a nearby bookshelf and setting the timer.  It was tricky…it took about 30 shots, but we finally got a few that were worthy of being sent to the designer.  Chris was pleased upon the receipt of the images and went to work.
Draft one was pretty good.  I loved the font and the design elements, but it wasn’t what I had originally envisioned so I pushed Chris to keep working and tweaking the invitation.  When all was said and done, I had dragged him through several weeks of tweaking only to come full circle back to the original with slight changes.  While it wasn’t exactly what I had originally envisioned, it was really awesome invitation and spoke to the mood of our event entirely.  I was elated by the results of his unique vision of the day we had planned for our community of friends and family.
We sent the invitation to print at a digital printing company in a nearby city.  I had worked with this outfit many times professionally in the past and was always satisfied with the price and quality.  It was an easy choice – family owned and very down to earth.  Again it spoke to the vibe.  They were hands-on with the selection of paper to suit the imagery and very attentive to my fairly confusing layout.  “Wait, you mean the photo is on the inside! Ohhhh, now I get it.  That’s really cool,” says the assistant after a very long and confusing (and amusing) telephone conversation.
The invitations arrived and were processed for announcing our intentions to “CELEBRATE” with 300 lovely individuals that have touched our lives professionally, spiritually, and personally.  A most raucous party was about to occur!
As you start your planning process, I offer these thoughts on your “do-it-yourself” day:
    •    Do the research.  Buy a couple overpriced wedding magazines and rip out the good ideas – put them in your planning journal; go online and seek out great invitation ideas to add too.
    •    Look for unique fonts – default fonts on Microsoft products are often overused so look for something tasteful but a little different.  Some cost money and some are free.  There’s a good chance that if you can’t do it, your computer savvy designer friend can find what you’re looking for.
    •    Offer an element of surprise.  Something that speaks to your personalities and the mood you wish to create – make your friends and family excited to join you in the celebration. 
    •    Always remember your vibe.  Fall back to the mantra: this party needs to feel ______ (insert appropriate descriptive words: heavenly, down to earth, sophisticated, intimate, etc.)
    •    Use the ones you love.  Use vendors, friends, and family members you know, love, and can trust to make your day that much more personal.  Those folks that you entrust in the planning process will be honored and proud to have created a magical day for you and your honey. 
    •    Let the artist be the artist.  People always have their own vision about an idea, but if you find a designer you can trust with your idea…then trust him / her even if it’s not exactly what you expected. Imagine that it’s not your wedding – how would you feel if you got the invite in the mail? Does it fit the mood and the couple? If the final product is so off base that it makes you sick to your stomach, it’s time to change the design or (in worst case scenario) the designer.
    •    Have fun.  This is (hopefully) your only wedding so remember not to sweat the small stuff.  Rock the process, have fun, and enjoy being engaged!
A few of the vendors and resources:
    •    The Knot.  (hosted our wedding website and offered a ton of ideas!)

    •    Rainbow’s End Weddings and More.  Oneonta, New York.

    •    Callahan Digital Printing.  Binghamton, New York.  800-797-7314
    •    Eveningwith Designs.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA? Or do you know a business I should feature? I would love to know! Contact me at!~

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gulp. Blogging do-over.

First off: If you are looking for my site, please click here or go to
I just wiped away over a year of photography blogging. I consider it cathartic, but it wasn't easy. I just closed my eyes and I pressed delete.
 I had a love/hate relationship with this blog, almost like trying on a pair of jeans that you can't quite get to fit though your really like them.  THEN! just when you are about to give up and go home, you try on one last pair and BAM, you like the look and feel perfectly.
After churning out several ideas of what I wanted to do here. I decided to integrate other businesses that hold hands with mine. I come from a small town and small town business owners are GEMS of the marketing world.  These people have independent, strong and creative minds that have survived everything  (including the latest floods here in upstate New York.)  Therefore, my blog will focus on them and act as a resource for those looking for the most out of their photographer.  I already have my features lined up for over a month. I was inspired by a recent wedding invitation - and so we will be featuring it here! Glassblowers, cake decorators, card designers, florists, local and obscure places for weddings, jewelry designers, graphic artists and so much more. I am looking to publish a blog every Wednesday, that is my goal :)
Additionally, I want YOUR help. If you know of someone who would be a great feature on this blog. Let me know. I would love to help out a small business. This blog has been averages thousands of hits and I want that to keep growing!!!  If you see a creative idea that others should know about it, please get in touch with me. 
Ideas I am looking for: those that apply to weddings, child photography shoots, newborn portraits and senior shoots.  (think unique jewelry or shops for gifts,  someone who designs clothing or hats, a baker? candy store? get the idea). Email me at with your idea and contact info!
Thanks and see you Wednesday!