Monday, February 28, 2011

Project 52: Week 9 - Express Yourself

By now, a lot of my regular readers probably would have guessed that one of the ways I choose to express myself is through my clothing.  After all, what one wears really do tell a lot about a person.  And since this blog first started because I was inspired by clothes, it's actually not the most important way I feel I express myself.  Many of you might think, also, that I might use my photography to express myself.  However, I don't feel that way.  I use photography to capture moments for other people.  Rarely do I go out and shoot something based on my mood or take a picture because I feel like I've created a piece of art, on purpose.  Don't get me wrong, I do think a good photo is a piece of art, but when I take pictures, I don't do it thinking I'm going to create art.  I simply want to capture my beautiful subject and make them feel beautiful.

So...this week's photo challenge really got me thinking.  What DO I use to express myself?  And the obvious answer was staring right in the face...err...right under my nose.  Yes, it was the aroma from the yumminess I was creating as I was stirring the concoction while thinking about how I express myself.  Yes, that's right.  I express myself through my cooking.

Unlike me with photography, I was never afraid of cooking.  I've never taken any classes or have I ever asked my mom for help.  What I've learned from making yummy foods came from trial and error.  I am definitely not a chef of any kind...and I don't know how to cook gourmet foods.  I also don't bake!  If you've read my recipes on this blog, you know I don't measure my ingredients.  Which is why I can never be a baker! :)

But I love me some good 'ole home made goodness.  Specifically, I love to make stewed or roasted items that takes hours and hours to slowly cook to perfection.  Hence, the Le Creuset pot in my picture.  This little (well, big) pot was a gift to me from Chris a few Christmases ago and it changed my life.  I use it almost every Friday night to make some type of a meal.  Whether it's roasted pork belly, or home-made Texas style Chili, or oxtail soup, after a long work week, having a meal like that, feels...well...comforting.  Especially right now, in the winter time.  One of the best compliments ever given to me (outside from the compliment Chris gave me when he first met me) was from my friend Michael, who recently told me that being around me feels....comforting.  And I'd have to admit, I try my best to make people feel this way when they are in my presence.  And if they're ever around my house to taste my food, I hope they're extra comforted!  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just a Quickie...

The hubby and I are celebrating his mom's birthday and our 6th month anniversary this weekend so I'll be in and out of the blogging world.  I'll be back tomorrow with more of Project 52 but for now...I'm relishing in my anniversary gift from the hubs!

A LUMPY gift card from Anthro!!  
The hubs noticed I haven't gone shopping in awhile and thought he'd surprise me with this little monster this morning before we got out of bed.  I LOVE HIM!!!  Mooches to you, hubby!!!  :)  

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let's Talk...The Bachelor

I can tell people that I don't enjoy reality TV and I don't follow the Bachelor and its crap...but I'd be lying.  As much as I'd love to hate The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, I just can't.  I love it!  There's just something about watching catty women fight over one guy (most of the time a guy with no depth...just looks) that spark chills inside me whenever I'm propped infront of the television.  Monday sure don't disappoint and I love you for it!

So here he is:
Mr. Brad Womack, the most recent Bachelor.  He's gotten a lot of slack for being on the show a prior season and ended up picking no one.  But I think people are focusing on the wrong thing.  Is it only me or is Mr. Brad the BORINGEST guy ever to walk on earth?  He's definitely the least interesting Bachelor to be on the show...but hey...that's just my opinion.  

And who are the gals left?
Chantel O'Brien is from my neck of the woods Seattle...well not really...Mercer Island, WA...where all the rich people live in this area.  Her dad is the man behind all the O'Brien dealerships here that specialize in selling high end cars.  I haven't actually noticed Chantel too much throughout the show and all of a sudden, she's in the final 3.  Word has leaked that she's the one Brad ultimately picks and after watching this week's epy, I totally agree.  It was in the way they talked that clued me in.  When he visited Seattle, he kept saying to her how he loved the city and that he can see himself living here.  And as they were chatting with one another, Chantel said he would have to like the city because he'll need to visit often.  It was like an agreement she was going to be picked had already been arranged and for a moment, they forgot the cameras were there.  If I'm wrong, I'll definitely be my bets are on Chantel at this point!  

Emily was my favorite from day one, but as I continued to follow the show, I started to realize that she was way too good for Brad.  This past week's episode proved to me that he's not going to pick her because he was just way too awkward infront of her daughter.  He almost took a step backwards in their relationship, after wanting to meet her daughter so badly.  He's not ready to be a dad and it's totally apparent.  That's ok though because just look at her.  She's only 24 and have tons of time to find a man that'll be more of a partner and a perfect fit for her.  I only wished Chris from Ali's Bachelorette episode could meet her because they'd totally be cute won't they??

Finally, there's Ashley.  I don't have much to say about her because I kind of feel indifferent towards her.  She's really cute and pretty but I just don't see the connection between her and Brad.  She's from a small town and compared to the other two, just seems kind of "meh".  But words leaked to reveal that she might be the next Bachelorette in the upcoming season.  I don't know how interesting that'll be...but well see if that's true or not!  

Anyone else watch The Bachelor?  Thoughts?  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Extra Extra!!! Free Engagement Pics in LA!!!

I know I have some wonderful LA area readers, so this is your lucky day!!!  My lovely friend Ami Martin launched her website and photography business not too long ago and currently she's running a First Year in Business Special by offering engaged couples a FREE engagement session.  Now, this is probably one of the best offers you can get from a professional photographer, because we all know how expensive pro photos can get.  The deal doesn't stop there, Ami is also GIVING you a CD of all the final edited photos (typically around 30) for you to keep.

She got super excited and even decided to post a video blog about her new special.  Her little laugh at the end is just so darned cute!

So, my dear readers, if you're interested in this offer, visit her site and click on her contact page.  OR...just email her at amisinla(at)gmail(dot)com.  Also, if you get the chance, "like" Ami here on Facebook!

I hope some lucky reader will get a chance to work with her.  Ami shot Chris and I when she visited us here in Seattle and I can tell you, it was such a fun time!  Have fun!  Now...go practice your poses!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: Back Pain? Not Really...


Whoa...did that first sentence put a 0_0 expression on your face?  It sounds wrong doesn't it?  But those words is what you'll hear when anyone tries to touch me in a specific area right in the middle of my two shoulder blades on my upper back.

When I was in the 4th grade, my parents found a tumor growing in my upper back, near my spine, but not ON my spine.  It sounds more horrible than it actually was, because it was a tiny little bump.  But it scared us nonetheless.  My dad was susceptible to tumors, and have had ones removed from his throat, hip, and the bottom of his foot.  But for me, at such a young age, it was quite scary.  My parents took me to the doctors and it was tested to be benign, which was a huge relief. 

But the tumor had to come out.  Since it was a small surgical procedure, the doctor only locally administered the anesthetic.  Which meant that he had to stick the needle right into my tumor, while I was awake.  When the doctor told me this, I felt a little nervous, but as a  kid, I was typically more daring, and wasn't as aware of pain as I am now.  The doctor told me to be brave and stuck the long needle straight into my back.  I won't lie, it hurt like a MOFO!!!  But I didn't even move since he told me not to...and I was a good kid that listened to adults.  If he told me not to move, I knew I couldn't move.

At least the painful part was over.  For the remainder of the procedure, I felt no pain.  And my doctor was making coversation with me, telling me how brave I was.  Meanwhile, I felt him scraping away at my back.  I think this was my main issue.  Although I didn't feel any pain, the scraping of the scalple and whatever other instruments he was using definitely left a permanent mark, psychologically.  At the end of the procedure, I had a whoppipng FOUR stitches to showcase how brave I was.  But the scraping and needle sticking remained with me for the rest of my life.  Now...more than 20 years later, I still cringe when someone, out of kindness lets say...pats my upper back.  Or playfully poke their forefinger on my shoulder blade.  Just thinking about this gives me goose bumps.

Am I the only one that feels this way?  Has anyone else had small surgery like this but have issues with the scarred area?  Am I just crazy?  :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Photo Shoot: Introducing the Lovely...Jun

She has this way of laughing.  Not a typical "ha ha ha" kind of laugh.  But a kind that brings you into her heart and soul.  She also...almost...always laughs at everything.  Which makes photographing her very easy.  Which also make Chris and I feel like we can take on stand-up comedy as a 3rd side job (followed by photography of course).  We had so much fun spending the day with Jun, and the photos below speak for itself of her beauty.  What the photos doesn't tell you is what a welcoming and heart warming person Jun is.  When we met up with her in her city condo, she consistently asked us if we wanted something to eat, drink, watch and read.  And if one day you are graced with the opportunity to walk past her down the street, there is no doubt she'll give you one of her famous smiles as she passes you.  Yes, she's THAT girl!

Jun is like a long lost sister of mine.  Not only are we from the same Northern parts of China, she and I actually have a lot more things in common.  For one, she LOVES photography and wants to also perfect her craft.  But when the opportunity came for the hubby  and I to shoot her, we jumped on that wagon so fast, we probably almost tipped it over.  We knew she'd be a great subject because...she's easy!!!  Easy going that is...and such a good sport.

Thank you, Jun for one of the funnest days I've had on a Seattle sunny day.  Happy hour soon?  :)

Project 52: Week 8 - The View From Here

It's romantic, dreamy, and picturesque.  That's the location we brought Jun to on her photoshoot this past Saturday.  Fun, gorgeous, and sublime.  That's Jun, our beautiful model for the day.  So...with these two combinations together, the view from here is...perfect.  

Stay tuned for more pictures from this past weekend.  You won't be disappointed, I PROMISE!  

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's the Plan?

The husband and I's what we do...we plan everything.  It's not to say we have no ounce of spontaneity inside us (in fact we have exactly 2.3 ounces between the two of us), but for life's big events, we communicate and we plan for them.  It works for us and I truly believe that's part of what makes us successful as a couple. day...(lets hope sooner than later)...we hope to have lots of potential newly engaged clients asking for our photography services.  And for that initial (getting-to-know) meeting, we want to be able to bring the couple into our home where we'll have an area set aside with a nice cushy couch, coffee table, and photos on our walls that help showcase our work.  Currently, any meetings we have with our friends/potential clients are held at an outside public a coffee shop.  But nothing speaks more personally to me if I were looking for my wedding photographer, than to step into their home office and be offered home made coffee.

And that's the experience I want to create for my brides....and grooms I guess.  :)  So...yes...I started this entry talking about planning and that's what we kinda did.  We took some of our favorite shots we've taken thus far, and professionally printed 8X10 sized prints we'll eventually frame and hang in our client studio.  These are just to start with, but we're proud of our work, so printing these off was the right thing to do.

Oh and we also printed off a huge wedding photo we'll hang in our living room.  We bought the frame ages ago and finally was able to fill the frame with one of our favorite wedding photos.

I'm so happy with our printing results.  It was definitely worth going through a professional online lab rather than taking our prints to Costco or Walgreens to print.  The lustre paper we printed on was amazing!  Too bad these pics can't convey that...but trust me!  :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Need To Make a Moo Point...

We're going legit, ya'll!!!  Introducing our mini-moo business cards!!!

These are half of size of your regular business cards but what's best about them is you can print any picture on the back side of the contact information side.  You can choose as  many images as you want, but we chose five of our favorites.

We decided we wanted our contact info side to look as nice and as simple as possible.  Of course...our logo with our Tiffany blue signature + sign!

One of our favorite photos we took of Ami and Bryan.  Every card on the picture side, we also added our signature + sign.  

The hubby caught Ty tryin' to hand out our first card!  What the!!!  Ty, you naughty little thing.  Make sure to stop by my hubby's blog to see more mini-moo's.

Having these make me feel like a grown up...err...a professional...err...a *gasp* photographer!  We've yet to hand these out, so I wonder who'll be the lucky first person to get a mini-moo.  :)  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: Hi I'm Cindi...and I'm a cat thief

When I lived in China, I've never seen a cat before.  But after moving to the States, I fell in love with these furry little animals that were running around in my friends' homes.  I was a pretty lonely kid, oftentimes played with only one friend, but most times I wandered outside of our apartment just by myself, doing...I don't know what!  But this one day, I was outside our front door and I heard this meowing sound that was coming from an apartment complex next door.  It was a gray/white/brown tabby staring straight at me, talking to me as if we've been friends for ages.

*Disclaimer - Please please please...pretty please don't judge me for what I did next because I was, after all, 8 or 9 years old at the time* :)

I walked up the balconey stairs the kitty was hanging his head off of and started to pet it.  He continued meowing as if he was telling me something and I knew at that moment...he wanted me to rescue him.  I didn't know what it was that surged inside me, I just knew I needed to swoop this kitty and take him home with me.  As I started hearing the theme music for Inspector Gadget in my head, I made a swift move and picked up the cat.  Off it went with me to my home.

When I got home, I prepared a sob story to tell my parents.  "The cat followed me home...he had nothing to eat...all I wanted to do was feed him...and I won't let him in the house...etc."  I was quite proud of my persuasive skills at such a young age, now that I think about it.  But my parents gave in pretty easily and said I can keep...Cookie...yep...I had already named him at this point.

Fast forward almost two years later (and five pounds heavier for Cookie), my friend and I met a very nice young student attending school at the local University.  Him and his girl friend lived in the apartment complex next to ours and they owned lots of animals.  From rabbits, to cats, to snakes!  Being that I loved animals, they would invite us in to play with them.  Now..I know this sounds creepy...but it totally is not...I swear!  One day while we were inside, I told the nice young man that I also had a cat.  And described Cookie to him.  He looked at his girlfriend with a suspicious eye and said, "You know Babe, that sounds like Toby." 

Cindi, "Oh cat's named Cookie.  He's great!"
Nice Young Man, "Well we lost Toby about a year and a half ago, he sounds like he looks like your cat."
Cindi, "No...Cookie's MY cat!"

So he dropped the subject because...well...he's a Nice Young Man and he probably didn't want to take a cat from a little girl...even though Toby was his.

A few months later, my parents decided they would move to a bigger apartment, which allowed NO pets.  I met up with Nice Young Man and his girlfriend to ask them, sadly, if they'd take care of Cookie for me.  Tears were streaming from my face as I asked them to be good parents to my little baby, Cookie.  And his response:

Nice Young Man, "Oh sure!!  We'd love Toby back!"

I think it took me a couple more years to finally realize what I had done.  I stole this nice couple's cat!!!  I was oblivious at the time, but now I feel horrible.  If one day I have the opportunity to meet up with Nice Young Man again, I'd buy him some drinks and apologize!   

Oh and another cat Ty was from the pound.  :)  I learned my lesson and know now that stealing a cat is not the right way to go about owning a furry four legged friend.
My his best!  

Happy Tuesday all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day = A Celebration with Steak!

Chris and I are not huge Valentine's Day people...I mean why make just one day especially about love when it should be everyday right?  I know...mooshy and yucky!  I'm not a romantic, I swear.  But I love being loved.  Hence, I love my hubby.  :)

So Valentine's Day for us is more of an excuse to overeat and cook at home.  We love celebrating with food, so this year we decided we wanted to buy a huge tenderloin from Costco and age it in our fridge.  Last night, Chris butchered it up and we made filet mignons, ceasar salad, and mac 'n cheese.  It was an astronomical amount of food, which was probably why we both fell asleep before 10 pm! 

Chris literally butchering the steak

Oh I was sipping on this while I was cooking!  One of my favorite CA cabernets!  Got a case of this on my drive back from LA to Seattle.

Chris searing the steaks first before they went into the oven.

Mmmm steaks!

I tried making a mac 'n cheese

Chris made a home made caesar salad

And when it all came was yumminess in my tummy!

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day.  Word on the street is that Chris had flowers delivered to my office...but they never came!  Hmm...a mystery which we shall hunt down! :)