Macro Monday in Southern Utah 

My first periscope of Macro Monday 🙂 I haven’t posted video from Periscope before … so sorry about the skinny vertical format. It’s a learning process for me. It was also my first time using the new Case Relay from Tether Tools. It’s an awesome way to power your camera via standard electric outlet or using an external power pack. The best part is you can switch power packs without interrupting your time lapse! Helps avoid so many headaches!!!!

 

Quick trip to Death Valley 

My kiddos and I did a spur of the moment trip to see the “SUPER BLOOM” that happens in Death Valley about once a decade. It was a long day of driving but I’m glad we did it.  We left at about 4:30 am and drove, and drove…. 

  
Our first stop was Zabriski Point. It was a beautiful combination of light, shadow and texture. 

  
Next we went to the visitors center at Furnace Creek.

  
Then we went to Badwater Basin. The children were impressed with being 300 ft. below sea level. We walked quite a way out on the salt flats and examined the salt crystals. It was beautiful and amazingly loud. The crunch of the salts under your feet were a strange sensation. If you decide to go I highly suggest you remember a hat and sunglasses…and a macro lens….the reflection out on the flats is almost blinding. 

  

New Year resolutions – 

I use the first of the year to evaluate my past year and plan for the future.

Personal resolution #1 –   Better meals!

img_1651-1

I need to put more energy into meals. I’ve been so busy with moving and everything for the past four months that I’ve gotten lazy with cooking. I feel like an important part of my home life is sitting down and enjoying meals with my family. No tv, no phones, no distractions….everyone enjoys the meal more and the time spent visiting with each other uninterrupted is priceless.  For me preparing a special meal is an act of love.  To me cooking is creative, it’s something I enjoy (minus the cleanup 😉). Now if only I loved to do dishes 😀…….

Creative planning ideas….

Almost everyone I know celebrates Thanksgiving in some way. After all of the food and friends and family, I find it’s a good time to reflect on the blessings I have in my life. November and December are slower times in my business which is stressful financially but its also a great time for recharging and planning for the year ahead of me. Setting goals is important…but planning to make them actually come to fruition is the hard part! I work on my personal goals, my business goals and the group goals we set as a family. As a single mom, just figuring out my work schedule and making things work with my children’s schedules can be daunting. I am a list maker…which doesn’t really integrate well with today’s digital technology. I love to doodle and scribble all of my ideas on paper but organizing them and making them accessible can be a challenge. Does anyone have any apps or technology to share with me on how to better handle this? Please comment if you do! I would really appreciate the help!

ipad LWS port

 

Getting ready for SEMA

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with moving my home and studio and everything. I still don’t have my studio put together but I’ve been blessed with some fun projects.

I’ve been working on some photos for a company here in southern Utah, Flog Industries,  they make some amazing bumpers for Jeeps. We did a fun photo shoot with lots fog machines and some crazy lighting situations to deal with. Those fog machines are fun but they can fill up a fairly big area in a hurry. Its hard to get the right balance between smoke and visibility!!!!

Flog Industries has a booth at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV next week. We’ve been rushing to get some last minute pics for some of their marketing materials. I’m looking forward to attending SEMA again this year.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the jeeps we shot.

Flog jeep
Flog jeep

Life is not fair…but I choose to be a survivor.

I have fallen off the radar of social media lately. I have been extremely busy. Lots of life changes all at once can seem like a nightmare ….my life feels like it’s spiraling out of control and I’m just beginning to get my equilibrium back.

I am a very private person and don’t usually share private details of my life…especially not things so emotionally difficult for me. I feel like sharing my troubles today 😳.

Those who know me well know I was recently evicted from my home in Colorado City. Due to illegal maneuvers by the state of Utah and a corrupt judge, the church trust that owned the property where I built my home was seized and given to a fiduciary who is prejudiced against anyone from the FLDS faith. It’s truly “the fox watching the hen house” and the fiduciary is plucking out the hens ( people like me ) as fast as he can, for his own financial gain.  So since I won’t sign their occupancy agreement and pay their ransom (fees that give us no rights to the property and can be changed at any time if the fiduciary sees fit) I have lost my home. The fiduciary, Bruce Wisan, gave my home to someone I don’t even know, to someone that has no claims or ties to the property as I was the first occupant there. I personally did a large part of building that home from the drywall up. (Thanks to my background in construction I was able to do drywall, painting, ceramic tile, finish electrical, finish plumbing, trim, wood flooring, refinished all of the cabinets, and turned a barren yard into an oasis.) That home was a labor of love and we worked hard and scrimped and saved to make it happen! I feel screwed!

As a single mother with 5 children at home it has been a nightmare! We suddenly had to vacate our home and our community because no homes are available to us. I have no credit and no renters history so finding a home to rent has been daunting. I have been turned down by a lot of renters because I have “too many children” . And to add to that we have a dog that I’m not willing to give up because my children are so attached to him. They have had to give up too much already! My children have been heartbroken to have to leave their friends and cousins. It’s been a very difficult time for them.

It’s also been a “double whammy” as far as my livelihood… Loosing my home meant loosing the studio in my home. I now have the added financial burden of setting up a studio and office in St.George. I’m mostly stressed that by working completely away from home I am missing priceless time with my children. Work/home balance is already difficult for a single mother.

It’s very difficult, if not impossible to forgive the parties that put me in this situation!  I felt like showing up on Judge Denise Lindburg’s doorstep with my 5 minor children and asking her what I’m supposed to do! Does she have a spare bedroom for us? How is this right? How can a person who has sworn to destroy the FLDS be put in charge of watching out for our best interest.  What the heck happened to separation of church and state. Who is looking out for people like me? I feel abused by the system! Who cares?

Anyway….I’m done with my rant! I CHOOSE to not be a victim. I CHOOSE to grow from the difficulties in life. I CHOOSE to be a good example and a strong, loving mother to my children. I choose to SURVIVE! And hopefully someday I will be in the situation financially and socially where I can help others going through what I’m dealing with. I CHOOSE TO CARE!

The Granary at Santa Clara, Utah advertising photo shoot.

On Saturday I did a photo shoot for a local company, Most Wanted Jeans. They arranged for us to shoot at “The Granary” in Santa Clara. I suggested this location because I fell in love with their patio while driving by. Although I knew they existed, I just hadn’t tried them out before. The setting is beautiful! They have a lovely patio with gardens and fountains. It has the mood of a little European bistro. The historic granary building has been lovingly restored and is a nice centerpiece for this little gem. Pat and her staff were very sweet and accommodating. They were the models for the product we were shooting (aprons).

Mostwanted_D4A7238

 

 
Mostwanted_D8A8886After our photo shoot we stayed to sample the cuisine. Their menu may be small but what they do, they do to perfection! My daughter and I had the Quiche Lorraine and my son had their special, baked Caramel Apple French Toast. (BTW, if you don’t like bacon…make sure you order the vegetarian quiche. This was loaded with bacon! 😊 yum!!! )  Everything was fresh and delicious. It’s worth the drive! Go try the Granary, I know you won’t be disappointed!

Mostwanted_D8A8888

Patricia – the owner (and fabulous model) 

  
iPhone pic – Quiche


iPhone pic – Baked Caramel Apple French Toast

The Granary Cafe summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday 8 am to 3 pm. Click on the link to take you to their website and menu.
 

Summer is almost gone! Trying to do it all…work and family balance.

This summer I have been trying to hit the farmer’s markets as often as possible. It’s hard to take off on a Saturday morning when I already feel guilty because I’ve been away from my children so much during the week. As a single mom I find myself struggling constantly to balance income and family! So, lately I’ve been taking turns making it a “date” with one of my children. We get up early, grab an ice chest and head to one of the farmers markets. I usually go to the Farmers Market in Ancestor Square or the Zion Canyon Farmers Market in Springdale. It’s fun to have the one on one time and also nice to have someone to help choose our purchases and plan what we are going to make. After we are done at the farmers market we go on a brunch date. I let my “guest” choose where we go to eat.. It’s been so fun for me and my children. The children look forward to “their turn”, and plan well in advance where our “next date” will be. 

I feel like it’s very important to have fresh fruits and vegetables as a large part of my family’s diet. In the past I’ve always had a large garden. Due to moving and my hectic schedule I was not able to plant a full garden this year. ( I do have tomatoes and a good assortment of herbs in pots.)  It’s such a blessing to have farmers markets to fill that void somewhat. But there’s still nothing like harvesting it at home and using it immediately! Nothing beats that fresh picked flavor. 

   
  

  

  

  

 

It’s Summer…. Enjoy the simple things

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in so many activities during summer time that we forget to slow down and enjoy it. There’s a reason they call it “the lazy days of summer”, but you wouldn’t know it by most parent’s summer schedules. This summer as a break for mom (me), we have been taking turns making meals. To make things interesting we’ve been trying at least one new recipe a week. It’s so easy to be stuck in a rut when it comes to meals, especially when you are on a budget. This has become one of our new family favorites: BBQ Grilled Pizza!

  

It may not be pretty…but it’s delicious!

It’s so easy! All you have to do is plan ahead. These pizzas are very inexpensive if you make your own dough. About one and a half hours before you’d like to eat, mix up a batch of pizza dough and leave it to rise. (Recipe follows.) When you are about ready to eat…punch down the dough and heat up the grill. Separate dough into 4 equal pieces and have each person roll out their own. 

The key to making it great it how you cook it. When you heat up your grill, half of the grill will need to be set on medium to high heat and the other half set to low. Oil the hotter side of the grill with a little bit of olive oil. Then put your pizza dough on that side. Watch it carefully and just when the bottom is starting to turn golden turn it over and put it on the cooler side of the grill. Now is when you put on the toppings. Next you close the grill for a couple of minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese without burning the bottom of the pizza. Finally, remove pizza and enjoy while it’s still hot.

 You can use whatever you want for toppings. My favorite is a simple garlic marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella pieces. My daughter, Summer likes one with BBQ sauce, leftover grilled chicken, fresh basil and shredded jack & cheddar cheese. The combinations are endless. You can just use whatever leftovers you have on hand; pre cooked meats, lunchmeats, sliced veggies, etc. We’ve even tried dessert pizzas… Sliced fresh peaches with cinnamon & sugar. Or caramel sauce with apples, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with sea salt. I think they are great sweet or savory. Let everyone get creative and make their own masterpieces.  Please share what you come up with! We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

iPhone pic of my daughter’s masterpiece 
Grilled pizza dough recipe: 

Ingredients

  1 teaspoon sugar 

  1 packet active dry yeast 

  2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing 

  1 teaspoon salt

  2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 

  1 cup warm water 

Directions

1. Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

2. Stir oil into yeast mixture. 

3. In a standing mixer with dough hook attachment, add flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry). Knead on low setting, until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 20 minutes.

Roll out using extra flour. Lightly oil dough and take it to the grill 🙂

  

  

Plan ahead for your marketing….Double chocolate mousse… YUM!

Here’s a dessert shoot i did a few weeks ago for my portfolio. Since it was personal work, I just barely got around to processing it. Clients work always comes first!  

You may notice some ornaments in the background. It because we generally shoot holiday items as early as July. It’s a good thing to keep in mind if you are planning an advertising campaign for the Christmas holidays, you will be better organized if you have your photography done in advance. (Plus it saves you money, rushed shoots usually cost more!) When you plan in advance you can save money by scheduling in photographer’s and designer’s slower times, plus you have more time to get all the little details perfect. A rushed job is rarely a great job!