Monday, December 27, 2010

Wedding Tips for the Newly Engaged


It's the most wonderful time of the year ... for the wedding business! Did you know that 19 percent of all engagements take place in December? (according to data from the Fairchild Bridal Group) I know of two newly engaged couples! Well, lucky for you brides & grooms to be, I have a few tips for those just starting to plan their weddings. If this is you check out my blog post: I'm engaged, now what?

Other helpful posts for those just starting to plan a wedding are:

Venue Rental Packages

Inspiration Boards

Choosing Vendors

ME & MA coastal wedding locations

When to ask Attendants

What does a wedding really cost?

Sending a "Save the Date"

 

Enjoy! On a side note, aren't Carrie & Pat (pictured above) adorable? I can't wait to photograph their April 2011 destination wedding!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Maternity photos as nursery decor

Photos from a maternity photo session make a great addition to baby's nursery, don't they? Kate of This Place is now a Home recently posted this photograph of baby Owen's nursery including this print from a shot we got during her maternity session. See more of the nursery decor reveal on her blog. I love seeing how my photos are displayed - thanks Kate!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Engagement photo ideas


Shirts at: http://www.thelovetees.com
Photo by: http://cheyenneschultzphotography.blogspot.com


It's wedding Wednesday, so I have this tip for you. Make your engagement session your own! I was inspired to write this when I saw "The Love Tees." Seriously, how cute is it that this couple made these love t-shirts for their photos? So, when it comes to engagement photos, don't worry about following any certain set of rules! Take risks, bring up any crazy ideas, you can do the formal 'safe' photos that your mom will like later.  ;)


We did Abby & Chris's photos outside, in the winter, in Syracuse. Not an ideal time/place for photos -- but they turned out to be unique and so much fun!


With Bret & Anna I tried some unusual angles to add variety to their shots.

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So don't be afraid to lay in the grass like Mike & Colleen...


go sight-seeing like Lindsey & Ryan...

Or, like one of my favorite unusual shoots, just go singing in the rain!



And if you want to try your luck at the carnival like Jessica & Thomas...


I say, go for it! This last shot was photographed by my friend Gwen Tunderman.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paarsi Tomato - Poached Eggs

Paarsi Tomato - Poached Eggs


Ingredients;
-  Olive Oil, a few tablespoons
- 1 large Onion (I keep some in my freezer so I always have it)
- 2 or 3 Garlic Cloves (I used minced garlic in the jar)
- 1/2 teaspoon Coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Marsala
- 1/2 teaspoon Mild Curry Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cardamon
- 2 1/4 cups of Chopped Tomatoes (I like the ones in the carton better than canned)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped coriander (aka parsley)




Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and cook chopped onions and garlic on medium until they are translucent. Add Indian spices, salt & pepper until they are all mixed in. 


Paarsi Tomato - Poached Eggs


Add tomatoes, reduce to medium low,  and wait for the mixture to thicken slightly. Once you can create little wells for the eggs in your tomato mixture you're ready for the next step. Make four wells in the mixture. 


Paarsi Tomato - Poached Eggs


Crack one egg into each. If you can, don't break the yolks! Cook until your eggs whites are no longer runny. You can make the eggs over easy, medium, or over hard deepening on your taste by letting them continue to cook. Sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander and serve with your favorite bread or toast.


Paarsi Tomato - Poached Eggs


I adapted this recipe from ones posted by Valerie Belew on Hubpages and the blog pot-puree.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

GIVE WATER! Today I'm Thankful for the Things I Take for Granted

Today I'm thankful for the things that I often take for granted. What do I mean by this? Reliable electricity, the roof over my head, available (yet perhaps still working on affordable) health care, & running water. (Click on the top right of my blog to donate clean water now!) None of these things were commonplace in Bolpur India. I traveled there with Operation Smile. My part on the team was to take before and after cleft lip/pallet surgery photographs.

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American kids (as I consider myself to have been 4 years ago when I traveled to India) think that they "get" it and understand that they're privileged. After visiting India  I realized that I didn't have a clue. Did you know that in parts of rural India cow waste is gathered and pressed (by hand) to dry on walls to use as cooking fuel?

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This dried fuel is burned on small cooking fires like this one.

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To make chai many local people boil water in this way. Where does that water come from? It it often gathered at public pumping stations and carried, sometimes extremely long distances, to the homes. I was invited as a guest into strangers' homes for chai prepared on fires like these. Although they purchased bottled water for me knowing that the local water would likely make an American like me sick. When I was there I gave away my backpack, some flip flops, clothing, and granola bars...but I was given such a more important gift in return. True kindness and generosity without expectation and the profound meaning of gratitude and the ability to truly feel it.

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So today I urge you to give thanks by not taking what you have for granted. From your comfortable home all that you have to do is click the give water button on the top right corner of my blog to donate a day's worth of clean water. An email address is required to verify individual clicks, but P&G emails are opt-in! Meaning, unless you click "yes" to receive emails from them -- you won't receive anything other than one email to verify your unique email address and donate water. NO further emails! Couldn't you spare 60 seconds?

 Learn more about the clean water bloivation here. P&G is providing a day of clean drinking water (2L) to a person in a developing country through P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water Program (www.csdw.org) for every click on the "Click to Donate Water" button and click on the "share" buttons in the GIVE HEALTH widget. --- look up at the TOP RIGHT of my blog for my Give Health Widget.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wedding Tip #36 - Registering Part 2

A while ago I wrote Wedding Tip #20: What to Know Before You Register.



I thought that I was so smart when I said: "Make sure you register for enough items! You will break a few plates and wine glasses. We all do. So, if you're hoping to have a set of 10, get 12 just in case."

To this tip I need to add:

- Wine glasses are fragile! You need to be very careful when you wash them and you will need extras....several extras.

- Save a printed copy of your registry. Three years later (now for me) when you want to replace the broken glasses because you've run out of spares you'll know exactly what style to get.  Crate & Barrel has many wine glasses. And, guess what, many different styles look similar online!


What? Three years later I still have a copy of my wedding registry? Um...yeah. I can't believe that I'm admitting that I have such OCD tenancies. The truth is that I had an entire wedding binder. Everything that had to do with wedding planning lived in that giant 3 ring binder. After the wedding, it was like a scrapbook to me. I couldn't bear to part with it. So I saved it. Luckily, now it still contains our registry to tell me that our wine glasses are the "Elite" collection from Crate & Barrel. (Photo above) Technically they're Chardonnay glasses, but they are so nice, full, and large that they work well for most red & white wines. This time I am going to buy 4 extras and hope that Anthony & I become less clumsy as we get older.

I'm also buying some of these stemless wine glasses. Now, when we have a glass of wine with dinner we can just throw the glasses in the dishwasher. Have I told you how much I LOVE my dishwasher?

I'd brag about the other things that we've managed not to break...but I don't want to jinx myself! Speaking of Crate & Barrel, they are currently having a 25% off wine & dine sale. So, if you need anything, or know someone who is registered there, now would be a good time to shop!




*This is not a paid advertisement. I just love Crate & Barrel as much as I love a good sale! The wedding registry photo is (somewhat obviously) my own - but glassware photos are from crateandbarrel.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Veggies at the Common Ground Fair

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While wandering around the Common Ground Fair I met mid-coast Mainers Bill and Lauren. They had the prettiest veggies, and they were nice enough to let me hang out for a while with my camera. They call what they create "Edible Landscape Design" -- don't you just love that concept? I do! Looking back at these shots makes me want to plant veggies in our tiny condo garden! Is it May yet?

And now, on to the beautiful (if I do say so myself) veggie photos. Ahem, yes the Common Ground Fair was 6 weeks ago...better late than never?

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Want to find out more about Bill & Lauren and their veggies? Check out their site: http://consciouselements.wordpress.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wedding Tip #35 - Sensible Shoes!

On your wedding day, just like any other very special event, you'll want to have the perfect shoes. So, go ahead and pick out whatever shoes that your little heart desires for your wedding ceremony. Just make sure that you're able to make it down the aisle and stand for photos! As we all know, adorable shoes are not always comfortable shoes! So, if this is the case for you...have a back-up plan! At my wedding I had a big basket of flip-flops in the ladies room (an idea I stole from my cousin-in-law Cay). My bridesmaids loved this, but so did other high-heeled-shoe-loving guests!


For your own shoes, you may want special shoes, not just one out of the basket. May I suggest these crystal Havaianas from Rue la la?

Or, you may also want to look into a platform wedge white flip flop if you've having your dress hemmed to your height+ a few inches from a high heeled shoe. Are you looking for a more special bridesmaid gift, or perhaps a closed-toed shoe for cooler weather? In that case, try footzyrolls! My co-worker Mel was wearing these at a wedding we both went to. How great are they?


Adorable ballet flats that roll up to fit in your purse! What could be better? Order these in white or silver for yourself, and in black or a color that matches your bridesmaids dresses for them. You'll both be sure to get more use out of them, because who doesn't want to wear cute shoes but worry if they can last all night in them?



The moral of this story? Fashion isn't always comfortable. So, go for it...just have a good back-up plan!

Note: all photos from this post are from vendor websites. I was not paid or given free samples...I just love these shoes and have purchased my our Havaianas & footzy rolls.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Kids' Portraits

I've been photographing more children lately. How adorable are these sweet little girls? You've gotta love something a bit unexpected...my favorite has got to be big sister sticking out her tongue.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And the winner is...

And the winner is...commenter #5, Krista of Krista Photography. Congratulations! I hope your friend in Texas enjoys the flowers. Look our for an email from 1-800-Flowers about your $40 credit.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

1-800-Flowers giveaway!


Do you remember my previous post Cute Birthday Cupcakes Zero Calories? I gushed about these cute little cupcake flower arrangements called Cupcakes in Bloom. I thought these were just too adorable and so did my mom. I liked it so much that I sent one to my aunt for her birthday as well!

Now here is your chance to see these for yourself! 1-800-FLOWERS has given me the opportunity to give away a $40 credit for their site to one of my readers! Just leave me a comment with who you'd send flowers to and you'll be entered to win. Want to send flowers to me? Hint: I like this Pink Mini Margarita!

Rules/Details: The winning comment number will chosen by www.random.org. Comments are open from now until Tuesday night at 9PM. If you comment with a profile that doesn't provide a way to contact you (email or twitter) it is up to you to check the blog within 24 hours of the contest end and email me. (Katie [at] ringimages.com) The $40 credit will be provided to you directly from 1-800-flowers. I will supply them with your contact information.
(Photos courtesy of 1-800-Flowers)

Disclosure: The first cupcake arrangement was given to me for review. However, I liked it so much that I paid in full for the one that I sent to my Aunt. I do not blog about freebies terribly often because I only want to post about products that I would actually buy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding Tip #34 - 3 is a good number...of years!

It seems appropriate that wedding tip number 33, about being married 3 years. How is this a wedding tip? Well, the tip part comes first and it's not long winded.

Remember that you are planning a marriage and life together not just a wedding day!


After the music stops, all of the flowers wilt, and the cake is eaten, all you have is each other. (And your photos...of course!) I'm lucky to be married to a man who is hilarious. Well, at least to me. Everyday he makes me laugh, and the follows up with "that joke was just for you -- don't facebook it!" Yeah, he knows me well. Well enough to anticipate what I'll do. Well enough to tell his friends "you're on your own bro" if they make a sexist joke around me. Neither one of us is perfect, but we're pretty good together. We're opposites, but it works. Being married isn't easy. I don't believe couples who say they never fight. Disagreement can be healthy, you keep each other from doing stupid stuff. However, at the end of the day, you take some of the things that the other one does that you find totally ridiculous, and you let it go. Why? Because in every marriage you have to make choices: do you want to be right...or do you want to be happy? Lucky for me, Anthony really enjoys being happy. ;) Happy Anniversary honey! I love you.

P.S. This post was Anthony approved, except that he thinks I'm not the only one who finds 'the dude' hilarious.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On Running a 1/2 marathon


I'm not a runner. I never have been. In typical Katie fashion I skipped over 5k and 10k races and went straight to a 1/2 marathon. Go big or go home, right? But...I'd trained all summer. I was running consistent 10 minutes miles. I was cross training with yoga. I was ready! Then a week and a half before the race I got a killer sinus infection. Race day, 10.10.10, was the first day I stared to feel normal again. I hadn't been able to exercise for the week and a half prior to race day. It was a colder morning than any I'd run - 42 degrees! My muscles felt sort of tight, but I felt pretty good. I was excited - but also nervous. I turned to my friend & training buddy Inga as we were waiting to start running and said "this is your fault!" It was her idea to do this race thing anyway! But you know what? The first 5 miles were fantastic. I was feeling good despite the last week. I was running well, and we could tell by the time displays that we were running about 10 minute miles. I wasn't trying to break any records; I just wanted to finish before the course closed at 2:30. I was on pace to finish in 2:10. I wanted to be sure to get my t-shirt and medal, and just finish. That was my only goal. As Inga and I passed the turn around point, in the fenway area, I was so excited and thinking that I could really do it!


Everything changed around mile 8. All of the sudden I felt a shooting pain in the side of my knee. I have bad knees and I was running with a knee brace because I had felt soreness before. This, however, wasn't soreness. As soon as it happened I knew something was wrong. Inga ran on and I lagged behind. Runners started passing me from behind. As I approached mile ten my knee was throbbing. Every step was painful. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. The tears were not from the pain (it was bad but tolerable) but because I was afraid that if I had to walk the last 4 miles that I wouldn't finish in 2:30. Then I might not be an official finisher...and I might not get my medal. I started looking at the spectators. A women in blue looked me in the eyes as I climbed a hill. She kept smiling at me and cheering, telling me I could do it. Lady in blue, whoever you are, THANK YOU! I wanted to stop; you kept me going.

Miles 10-12 were awful. I walked some, but even walking I felt the sharp pain. I jogged, and felt like the pain wasn't much worse than walking. I just felt like I was going so slow. All I could think was why was my stupid knee giving out? I wasn't winded! I had the stamina to finish, I just needed this joint to hang in there! I tightened the brace as much as I could. I kept jogging. I kept seeing the time displays and realizing that I was going slower and slower. I cried a little. I berated myself for crying. I said to myself, "YOU HAVE TO FINISH! This isn't fun, clearly you're not built to be a runner, but you've come this far and you are GOING TO FINISH! Just finish, get your medal, and then YOU NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN." As I crossed into mile 13 I was telling myself I could do it and tuning out the pain. I was behind a team of women all wearing pink and encouraging each other. I fed off their energy. Then I could hear the music at the finish line. I crossed into the park. One mile to go. 2:18:30. I needed to finish by 2:30:00!

The last mile wound through the Franklin Park Zoo. It was the longest miles of my life! Every step felt like slow motion, every time my foot struck the trail pain shot through my knee. But I was almost there. The time I saw when I finished was 2:32. I know it sounds crazy, but I was so disappointed. Even though the announcer was still there and there was still a crowd I was so very afraid that they'd be strict with the 2:30 cut off and I wouldn't be an official race finisher. Then I saw the medals. As a guy handed me one he said "Smile! You're done!" I felt overwhelmed. I couldn't find my husband. I could find my friend Inga. I couldn't walk without a serious limp.

Fast forward 10 days. I had seriously sore muscles for 3 days. My knee still hurts a lot up stairs, down hills, and if I go for any kind of a walk on pavement. But it's getting better. The best thing that happened was when I received the race results. It was then that I realized that I acutally finished at 2:29:33! Wait, that's under 2:30:00! I DID IT! 27 seconds to spare! On race day I wasn't thinking about how since I didn't cross the start line with the first racers that the clock was ahead of my actual time. It took my part of the crowd a few minutes to get to the start! I also saw confirmation that I did the first 5 miles in 50 minutes, and that felt really good too.

I look back on the experience with mixed feelings. I had high expectations. I expected to feel awesome when I was done. Since I hurt myself mid-race I didn't feel awesome. I just felt...so...done! I don't know that I'll ever do a 1/2 marathon again. I do know that I won't be attempting a full marathon any time soon. I could be convinced to run my first 10k. We'll see what happens with my knee. The positive side of struggling through the race is that I feel like I overcame and even bigger obstacle. Not only did I run 13 miles, but I ran the last 4 through the pain of my knee. I did it. It feels empowering; and - if nothing else - I can now cross 'run a 1/2 marathon' off my bucket list!


Thank you to my husband, Anthony, Inga my training buddy, and all of my wonderfully supportive friends! I flooded Facebook with my running updates and you all kept supporting me. You're the best. I'm a lucky girl. I always admired and respected anyone who runs marathons; but now I have an even deeper reverence for them. You people are amazing.

Photos & graphics from
baa.org

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cute Birthday Cupcakes -- zero calories!


What? Cupcakes with no calories? Too good to be true? Ok, these cute little treats from 1-800-FLOWERS aren't for eating, but they sure do bring a bit of birthday fun. FUN FACT: Did you know that today, 10/5, is America's most common Birthday? Apparently 'tis the season of Birthdays! Last weekend was my mom's birthday. I had planned on going to visit her, and then I got taken down by a nasty sinus infection. (That's another story, but I'm feeling mostly better now.) Since I didn't get to drive up to see her in person I was extra glad that I had decided to send her one of these cupcakes! I saw it and couldn't help but thinking about how when my sister & I were little my mom used to tell us that carnations were her favorite flowers. She said she liked them because they last such a long time. Maybe she just said that because they were the kind of flowers for sale at our school on mothers' day? It's funny, my mom usually has expensive taste, but I know she loves these simple flowers. Every time I see cute little carnations I think of her. I was so glad that I was able to send her this carnation cupcake! What's the best part? When the cupcake in bloom arrives it actually looks like the website photo (as you can tell from the iphone photo my parents sent me).

Hopefully soon I'll get to see my mom in person so I can give her the rest of her birthday gift. Hint, it's a foodie gift that I'll be blogging -- but later so I don't give away the surprise!

*1-800-Flowers did offer me this complementary arrangement to review for my blog. Look for another blog post later this month where I'll give away a $40 savings pass from 1-800-Flowers to one lucky blog reader! While I do occasionally accept products to review on my blog, I only accept & post ones that I really love!