Friday, November 28, 2014

Crockpotographer Part 2: It's CPR on a Biscuit

Confession: I have three crockpots. I actually only own two, but I stole one from my mom and I hide every time she comes over so she doesn't remember to take it back.  Yes, I'm that shallow.
Holidays are amazing and slightly difficult when there's a studio in the back of your house and brides and teens waiting eagerly on their orders.  Technically the day before Thanksgiving is a work day, but I did very little work. Sometimes, those two handsome men I have take priority and we achieve greatness in making snow cones instead of sales.
But I had fun finishing this up for Allyce!

Let's talk about surviving post Thanksgiving life.  For those of us who don't exactly LOVE being in the kitchen,  holidays call for a lot of food prep, which means a lot of kitchen time. So I say,  bring on some Ed Sheeran, a counter full of food and the dream of leftovers and not cooking for a week.

Crockpot idea for AFTER Thanksgiving.  Ready? 
4 Ingredients.
Leftover Turkey
Can of any cream soup. I like cream of chicken or cream of broccoli.
Canned Biscuits.
1/2 cup milk. 

If you're feeling extra feisty, throw a half a block of colby jack cheese in there.

Turkey in the crockpot
Mix milk and soup and pour over turkey.
(add cheese if you wish)
Let this set on low for at least 4 hours but can go for longer.

Time to eat? Put the canned biscuits in the oven until done and serve the turkey over the biscuits.
Delish.  It's a food revival!

Now here's two holiday gift ideas. One is very practical, the other is not at all.
Genius. You could do an appetizer, meal and dessert all at once!

You can order cardboard cutouts...of ANYTHING. You can even get one of yourself. Don't ask.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Did You Hear?

Did you hear about those people who merged a business and called themselves happy about it?
I did.
Quite honestly, at first I was leery of them, you know how it is, people with new and innovative ideas are weird and kind of quirky.

However, this merging of ideas and producing art has led to three amazing divisions of a company named Amber J Photography.

When you click on our landing page  You see Weddings, Senior Portraits and Epic Teens.

Two crazy girls (their names are Shelly and Amber, not protecting the innocent here!) had the idea to produce weddings together (and had the most ever this year!) and then specialize in teen portraiture.

This slightly insane, but thought provoking idea has infiltrated a coffee shop near you. So what the heck are we doing?  

Amber J Photography in the wedding world is seeing their largest publication in January 2015 (small shriek)

Amber J Seniors: Is in the middle of their model call for next season and found a home with some artistic seniors this year.  Though Amber J Seniors is new in the scheme of things, it's grown as an artistic entity for senior portraiture.  It's been an education experience for clients. We are not for everyone and thats ok, but we ARE for some amazing clients that have launched images we didn't even envision a year ago. Sometimes, you just get bring in an airplane or vintage vehicles and call it a normal day!  Oh we also produced our first Senior Magazine this year!

Epic Teens: A name that could also be The Lost Years.  Those quirky ages between 12-16 that rarely are captured professionally.  We all have our babies and toddler and seniors photographed, but then there's that vast emptiness that IS the early teen years.
Epic Teens is dedicated to that.  Giving young clients something different than a powder blue back drop or hugging a tree with an awkward chin tilt. Best yet, giving parents a memory to cherish.  We all know that children don't stay children for long.

By specializing in these areas we can offer awesome topped off with some phenomenal and served on  a tray of fantastic.  So, go check it out.

I'm going to go grab some coffee and find more crazy people to talk about :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Good Are A Bunch Of Teen Girls Anyway?

I was gonna wait, but decided not to.  So you're welcome for two blog posts in one day.
When I'm not photographing or working on sixth grade math homework or working up wonders in the crockpot, I'm coaching a bunch of teenage girls through a soccer season.

Tonight was the awards night. We get together, make speeches, give awards and all such normal things. I give out awards and the teams give their coaches a thank you gift. Standard procedure.

But, tonight a bunch of teenage girls broke the standard.   No one scored any goals, we didn't celebrate a championship, but we did celebrate something very special.

I don't know how long it took them or how they did it, but  The Middleburgh Girls' Varsity Team stepped up to the mic and presented a check for over $1,000 to LOVE146.    
Love 146 is the organization that fights against child sex trafficking and it's a passion of mine.  That was my gift.

That's right. A team of high school female soccer players took this small community of Middleburgh and raised over $1000. No one made them do it. It wasn't for a grade or newspaper headlines. They just did it. They also threw in a bag of peanut m&ms.  ;)  To say they touched my heart would be an understatement.  I'm even more impressed they kept it a secret until tonight.
I love my girls in green, not just because they are good soccer players, but because they really are wonderful human beings.... teenagers or not. So, thank you my young girls. I love you. 
Thank you to all those who gave and donated. Check out the site when you have a chance and see who you have helped.

My girls in green.

How Do You Get It All Done? Frankly, My Dear... I Don't

How do you get it all done? Work? Coaching? Family? Friends?  It's a question I get asked and I think it surprises people when I giggle.
How do I get it all done? Well, my dears, I don't.

We all have a superhero complex. It's easy to have. Someone posts about game night with their kids and we feel guilty because we didn't have time for game night and three bed time stories. Next up? Someone posts about their latest home improvements and we sigh because we haven't even vacuumed. Then, someone else posts one million and one posts about their kids accomplishments and ours is crying in bed after a bad day.  The life of comparison is a cruel one.  Stop it. We all can't do it all.

However, if you are still searching for ways to get it all done. I have provided a fool proof checklist from a me.

Just some tips from me on how to master the "idea" of getting it all done ;)
1. I overfill my dishwasher to embarrassing heights and pray that it all gets cleaned when I shove it shut.

2. I don't fold underwear.  We stuff it in the drawers and the first guest that comes to my house to complain about my unfolded underwear drawers will encourage me to change my ways.

3. I clean a little everyday, but I don't obsess over people finding my house untidy. WE LIVE HERE!  It's no HGTV commercial, but it's comfy and cozy.

4. I'm not a huge do-it-yourselfer.  I've hired out to have walls painted, I shop online and pick up my groceries and I even outsource some of my work (EEEEK!).  I don't enjoy gardening and canning and find little pride in going to 5 different grocery stores to find ingredients for food that I can't pronounce.  This is NOT to say, that if you are the opposite of all of this that it's wrong. I'm just OK with others being whole food geniuses and gardening extraordinaire while I'll claim the crockpot as the only way to cook :)

4a. I look at some things as "time is money".  Some people swear on doing it themselves to save money, I get that.  Other times, it makes sense to pay. Money can also be more time.... to beat your kids at Wii dance 4.

5. During soccer season socks and underwear can be found in the dryer. They are clean, that's all.

6. I work out. Sometimes, I watch infomercials on working out.

7. Beds don't always get made. I'm ok with that. My bathroom and kitchen are always clean.  I also just found the thank you notes I made my kids write for their Christmas gifts... in 2013.

8. We can ALL wear capes.

We ALL have things we are good at and things we aren't. The comparison of one life to another is silly. We are all great at some things and terrible at others.
 I'm really awesome at time management, I stink at remembering conversations and names.  I'm great at organization, but I throw out important papers...all. the. time.

I'm great with people on photo shoots and weddings, but ask me to return a phone call and it takes me forever to get around to it.

I could keep going. My point is this. Let's stop comparing lives.  Be great at what you are good at and let other people be great too. If we were all great at all things, this would be a very boring world.
Now go be awesome.