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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas, etc.


You guys don't want to know how many bottles of that cava semi secco we've drank since Thursday night. It's criminal. You can imagine, then, that we've had a very merry Christmas! I hope you all did, as well. xoxo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The scent of home




Living in the desert as I do, you miss out on a lot of wonderful natural scents throughout the year: the first riots of flowers in the spring, wet, fresh cut grass in the summer, dried crunchy leaves in the fall and real wood fires in the winter. Our flowers are more subtly scented, there are few large lawns (I actually have grass in my yard - both front and back, will wonders never cease - but it never has that amazing fresh cut smell even right after it's cut), our leaves don't change color and die in the fall (and they are small leaves anyway), and almost every fireplace is a California fireplace. Unfamiliar? It's a gas fireplace, totally glassed off in front, that "lights" with a flick of a switch. Incredibly clean and convenient, but no wood smell.

Combine that with our very tall and very beautiful but very unnatural Christmas tree (I feel bad cutting down a big, beautiful tree only to be tossed a couple of weeks later) and you really have a dearth of important scents. I love scented candles for this reason. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the cheapies. I don't care what the lady on the Glade commercial says, they do not smell like the high quality, more expensive ones.

While I'm not necessarily advocating a $40 expenditure on a single candle, I think $10-$20 is fair if the candle is truly high quality and therefor long-lasting. Target, for example, has a great line of scented soy candles and scented oil diffusers called Lume Luxe that ranges between $13-$15. My personal fave is their Blackberry Creme. It doesn't have that cloyingly sweet fruity scent you would find in a grocery store version. It is deep yet subtle, perhaps with the slightest hint of musk? It also doesn't totally overpower your room; you smell it wen you're right next to it, and the effect it has on the rest of the room is just one of freshness. Before I started using these, our home would smell stale when we came home from a long trip, but now when we open the door it smells fresh. (By the way, although the website is sold out of most of the candle scents, my local store is still fully stocked so your may be, too.)

However, Blackberry Creme isn't the most festive of scents for the holidays. I have a difficult time with fake holiday scents (as opposed to real pine from a Christmas tree, real sugar cookies baking in the oven, real candy canes in my hot chocolate, real cinnamon on my French toast) so I generally hate holiday-scented candles. There are very few scents I despise more than fake cinnamon. Fake pine is nearly as bad - like your living room was doused in generic Pine-Sol.

But today, my dears, today I found it. The perfect holiday candle. It's burning right now - in front of my California fireplace - and I'm in love. I found it in Bath and Body Works, but they don't have it on their website. It's called "Winter Cabin" and is made by Slatkin & Co. It seriously smells like a winter evening in your uncle's cabin at Lake Tahoe. Very woodsy without the fake chemical smell. The scent of burning pine logs in your fireplace without the smokey scent. It's quite lovely. Like I said, they don't seem to have it on their website; in fact, the only place I could find it online was one listing on eBay, but my local Bath & Body Works had piles so yours should, too. $20 for a 14.5 ounce, three-wick candle with a burn time of 40-65 hours. $20, in my opinion, that is well-spent for the sensory experience of the holidays when your area is lacking in such.

PS - Here's the full line of Slatkin & Co candles offered on the Bath & Body Works website. The one called "Winter" is not the same, nor are any of the tree scents. Definitely swing into the store and check it out if you're at the mall finishing up your shopping this week!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas with friends


Photo copyright Bloom Creatives 2008. All Rights Reserved.

My husband and I are fortunate enough to be welcoming a dear friend into our home for Christmas. She arrives the afternoon of Christmas Eve and will be spending the long weekend with us. This is perfect timing because I have just discovered a wonderful blog called The Blushing Hostess Entertains, written by another old friend of mine with whom I recently reconnected on Facebook. (Isn't Facebook great sometimes?) Catherine, the writer, is someone I have long admired for her poise, success (both personal and professional) and warmth. I spent a memorable summer living with a mutual friend in the lovely town of Bedford, NY, and Catherine was always kind enough to at least pretend to turn a blind eye to my heathen ways. Her blog reminded me that my cloth napkins are all terribly stained and that I needed to purchase new ones right away. For shame! Now I have a nice stack of brand new, sparkling white cloth napkins, and hopefully a box full of the remainder of my wedding china on its way if I've guessed my mother's gift correctly. (Fingers crossed!)

Isn't it amazing how one changes through the years? I'm truly interested in napkins and dinnerware, new cookware, what to make for dinner, etc. I used to go to raves. Now, however, I am spending my Sunday evening carefully spreading anti-wrinkle serum under my eyes (perhaps I should have gone to fewer of those raves) and planning our Christmas menu.

I'm mainly looking at Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas brunch and Christmas dinner. The rest of the weekend will be more casual and of course will be planned, too, but those are the biggies.  Brunch I think will be bagels, cream cheese, lox, bacon, eggs, coffee, mimosas and fresh fruit.

Here are a few things I'm toying with for Christmas Eve:
A lovely white wine (will see what AJ's has in stock)
Crudite and toasted flatbread with fresh hummus (probably artichoke and red pepper)
My variation of Quiche au Frommage (using Jarlsberg and mozzarella, sauteed onion and bacon)
Baby spinach, pear and walnut salad
Dessert: Rum egg nog

Christmas dinner:
A lovely pinot noir
Rib roast with roasted garlic thyme sauce OR Roasted rack of lamb (my vote is for this, as I already have one in the freezer)
Creamed corn pudding (I made this for Thanksgiving and forgot to put it out, but the bit I tasted beforehand was delicious. Did not reheat well, so we'll have to eat it all. Also, just use frozen corn, for crying out loud.)
Lemon-thyme green beans
Popovers with cheese and herbs
Dessert - Malva pudding (a traditional Afrikaans dessert in honor of the South African heritage of the hubs),  substituting this vanilla custard sauce for the one in the pudding recipe
Asti Moscato

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sexy time with Sade



Ah, Sade, how you have been missed. The smooth songstress will release her sixth album, Soldier of Love, on February 8, 2010 - just in time for a cozy Valentine's Day. Judging from this single teaser, it is everything you want in a Sade album - sexy, sultry, with the perfect beat for a Hollywood-style hot hot love scene in your own home.

And of course, the beautiful album art:



I miss album art. It's rare that artists include it with digital downloads from iTunes, and if then only with the whole album. (Singles at the record store used to have great art of their own.) I haven't actually bought a CD in years and have no reason to do so other than the art which, although compelling, is also a very wasteful practice. Digital downloads save resources and money. Anyway... Good album art complements and completes the musician's vision. I do wish more musicians would include them as extra files with album and single downloads.

P.S. A package arrived yesterday, addressed to my husband, from Waterstone's all the way from England... I wonder what it could be?  : ) Guess I'll have to wait until Christmas morning to find out...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Alice in Wonderland trailer!


CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cannot cannot cannot wait for Alice in Wonderland to come out! Tim Burton is the absolute most perfect director for this flick. Did I say I cannot wait? Because I cannot wait.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

More beautiful books - Penguin Classics



Remember these beautiful books? Coralie Bickford-Smith has designed a whole new set of special clothbound deluxe Penguin Classics for Waterstone's in the UK. Thanks to Design*Sponge for keeping us in the loop!



Yup, still gorgeous! I've already asked Santa for them. This new set is only available through Waterstone's overseas, but the original set I wrote about last year can now be found stateside at Borders. Be forewarned though, when I checked them out they were a little different from the originals I had shipped in from Canada. The fabric on the Borders version is not as soft and they are not numbered 1-10 like the original release. Still lovely, though.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jennifer Garner in W



Wow. For the last several years, with the exception of the very occasional movie premiere, every time we've seen Jennifer Garner she's been in jeans and sweatshirts with her holey underwear hanging out, picking up her kids from school. This month, W glammed her back up to Sydney Bristow undercover levels.





Gorgeous. Her jawline photographs so beautifully. Love the late 60's sex kitten vibe she's got going on. This issue should be waiting for me when I get home from LA next week!

Ah yes, I am in LA. Staying downtown, which is a part of the city I've never spent time in before. I've hung out in Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, etc. but not downtown proper. It's very different that I expected - very much like an East Coast city. My husband is here working as well, and since we're with different companies we have different rooms at different hotels. This works out well because due to the nature of my gig I have to bring like pageant levels of beauty products with me, and I can spread it all out without worrying about getting in his way. We take turns staying in each other's rooms. My room is larger and more comfortable, but his has a stunning view.

This morning I looked out the window and noticed a film crew below! They were setting up a walking shot with a bunch of extras and two main actors. Unfortunately I was too high up to be able to make out who they were, except that there was a man and a woman, they both had dark hair and she was considerably taller than him. There was another guy wandering around who resembled (as much as I could tell from so far away) Russell Brand - tall, lanky with wild dark hair. He wasn't part of the crew, but he definitely belonged there and held himself a bit apart from everyone else. I've been on lots of sets before, but it was really interesting to watch it from above and see everything going on all at once.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Elin's Anthem



So Elin Nordegren found out Tiger Woods has been cheating on her for their entire relationship and took a golf club to his Escalade. I love it when little white girls like me go ghetto.

Here's the thing - Tiger issued a half-hearted, PR-driven admittance and apology for his indiscretions today, but his various extramarital holes-in-one have been known in the gossip biz for years via thinly-veiled "blind" items. You can't be one of the most recognizable sports figures in the world and expect the low-rent cocktail waitresses you sneak around with not to talk about it.

I don't know his marriage and neither do you. What I do know is that they have two beautiful kids, and when you're a father and you sleep around, you're not just cheating on your wife - you're cheating on your kids, too. That is not a role model, and that is not someone who deserves to earn $1 billion in endorsement deals by being a role model.

So Elin, you do what you need to do to that Escalade and every other car in the garage (and the mansion and the yacht, while you're at it). Then get yourself a good lawyer and take those kids someplace where they won't grow up thinking it's okay for a man to hurt and humiliate the mother of his children.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Surprised cat is surprised


A few weeks ago the hubs and I decided that we'll just give each other one (lovely) gift this year, plus stocking stuffers. A few days after that I told him the perfect stocking stuffer for me would be a little gray kitten with white socks. Riley needs a friend to play with! Today a friend posted this video on her Facebook page, and now I know my choice of stocking stuffer is the right one. Think Santa will deliver?

(PS - Every time I type "Santa" I have to double-check and make sure I didn't type "Satan." I don't think the latter delivers adorable fuzzy kittens to one's hearth. Unless it's an exceptionally evil adorable fuzzy kitten.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


Image courtesy Gawker Media.

Happy Thanksgiving my lovelies! Hope you have a delightful, gravy-filled day. I'll be spending a big chunk of my day spokesperson-ing at an auto show (it's not that bad, I'm just grateful it's my home show and I don't have to travel) then joining the hubs at the home of friends for dessert, my homemade pumpkin pie! We had our own big Thanksgiving dinner a couple of weeks ago when his father was visiting. Enjoy your day, and remember your blessings - you have more than you imagine!

xoxo

PS - Speaking of Gawker, if you need some tips on dealing with politically conservative relatives today, check this out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pine Cones in Winter


Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

New fine art print available in my Etsy shop! I really love this one... later this week I'll be adding some greeting cards to the shop, as well -- probably a series based on this photo. I snapped this laying on the ground, half-underneath a tree that had fallen sometime earlier, with my arm and camera extended even further into the branches, pointed up. Sometimes not seeing through the viewfinder allows a beautiful end result... Seeing the world in a different way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show



Very few things surprise this jaded New Yorker, but I would be shocked - shocked - if this was not the very wedding dress Mariah Carey wore when she got hitched to Nick Cannon.

PS - Check out my Entertainment News of the Week...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fire!


Images copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved. 

Again with the wrong kind of excitement... My neighbor's home went up in flames yesterday! Thankfully everyone got out with no injuries, but the home is a total loss. I can't even imagine how devastated they must be right now... But of course with all the DANGER DANGER everyone in the neighborhood (and many from others) (including myself, the geek with the camera) had to come watch the goings-on and, much like a car crash, whisper thanks that tragedy didn't touch us this time. But I got some great shots, if I do say so myself...

See more photos after the jump!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

J'ai ton amour et je veux ton revenge


So infatuated with Lady Gaga... She's brought avant-garde imagery and a measure of originality and excitement back to pop music, I truly think to a point that hasn't been seen since the 80's. Haterz to tha left.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keep calm and carry on


Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

I had a pretty upsetting incident occur today... The short story is that I was basically physically assaulted by my tailor after calling her out on her attempt to rip me off on the alterations I dropped off earlier in the afternoon. Boycott Buckeye Tailoring and Cleaners in Avondale, AZ, people. I'm trying to find out the name of the owner so I can get this see-you-next-Tuesday fired.

So tonight I am trying to calm myself down with a glass of prosecco, delicious homemade shepherd's pie and snuggles from the hubs and Riley Face. Even looking at photos of him slows my heart rate  : )  Amazing the wonderful ways in which animals affect us. I mean really, look at that sweet little nose.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome home, veterans!



You guys, oh my god. This about sums up Veteran's Day, dontcha think? This is why dogs (and veterans) are so awesome. (Also, happy birthday to my dad!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Safe in Pine Plains



There was a horribly scary hostage situation in a school in upstate New York this morning... Maybe you saw it on the news.

That's my high school. I graduated from Stissing Mountain, the Pine Plains high school in 1993 (that's me at the top of the pyramid!). Myself and every other kid in town thought it was hands down the single most boring place on Earth. But this type of excitement isn't what we were hoping for.

The short story, if you haven't seen the news, is that former student Chris Craft (I think he's about 42 years old) snuck into the school with a disassembled rifle when the kids were coming in, hid in a bathroom while he put the gun together then took the middle school principal Bob Hess - my mom used to babysit his daughter -  hostage (the middle and high schools share a campus). After about two hours the gunman surrendered and thankfully no one was hurt.

Pine Plains is a tiny town in the middle of the Hudson Valley. There is one single traffic light. The townspeople fought each other for years and years before deciding to allow a convenience store to open. There are more cows than people. My school bus ride took an hour each way because of all the weird, windy back roads we took to pick up kids scattered all over the county. I don't think anyone anywhere ever expects what happened there this morning, but you really don't expect it someplace like that. In fact, that's the place you move to when you want to avoid things like that.

The good news is, as I said, Mr Hess was released unharmed and all of the kids are fine. I'm sure they will be very glad to go back to being boring tomorrow, when boring equals safe.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hot Buttered Cider




Autumn is hands down my favorite season. A big part of the reason is that the summer here in Arizona is so brutal that the cooler temps are a welcome respite, to put it mildly. Our autumn is like late spring/early summer in the northern part of the US. But the other big reason why I love autumn so much is because I of the food. I am a glutton and can't get enough of traditional fall cuisine. After months of eating lightly because it's just too hot to bother with anything but a salad, fall brings back the rich tastes I crave.

My father-in-law is visiting us from South Africa until Monday, and I wanted him to experience a real American Thanksgiving. We're throwing one on Wednesday and I am eagerly planning the menu. This is super exciting for me because it means I get to stuff my face with Thanksgiving deliciousness twice this year!

I'll be posting more of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes later throughout the week, but this one came to mind first because A) it's so sinfully delicious and B) I am nursing a hangover, not from this, but be warned - it can pack a punch.

A note on ingredients: I like to use organic apple cider (not apple juice) and Knudsen's organic mulling spices, but of course your favorite brands are fine. Look for mulling spices sold in tea bag form. You can make this without the rum for a non-alcoholic version, just replace that amount with more cider.

Hot Buttered Cider
1/2 gallon apple cider
8 mulling spice bags
2 cups white rum
8 pats butter

Simmer apple cider and rum in a large pot over medium heat. Add mulling spice bags and steep for ten minutes. Ladle into cups and top each cup with a pat of butter. Makes 8 servings.

This is a lovely beverage to offer guests at holiday festivities or just a nice reward to yourself on a chilly autumn night. It can be made ahead of time and reheated. Just wait until right before serving to top with butter. Make sure you use real butter, not a butter substitute. I used salted butter because that's what I had on hand, but I'm sure unsalted would be fine as well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My little pumpkin pie


Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

I was going to make a pumpkin pie last night, but my other Pumpkin Pie decided the main ingredient had better uses. Riley really did not appreciate the paparazzi disturbing his cat nap. Quite comfortable where he was, he stayed there until I went to bed a couple of hours later, then followed me in and continued his slumber by my side. The life of Riley, indeed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I *heart* Ainjel Emme


Have you heard this beautiful girl Ainjel Emme? She's a magnificent singer/songwriter (and also lovely friend) from LA by way of Austin, TX who is currently finishing up her second album Songs to Pass the Quiet Hours. The above video is a special leak just for you called The Down Song. Do you like it? 'Cause I love it.

While waiting for this new album (with baited breath, I might add) I've been listening to Ainjel's first release, Heartache is Boring, which by the way is fantastic make-out music. Luckily this was one of the first CDs I transferred into my iTunes because the disc was sadly destroyed and is now out of print. BUT! Lucky for you! CD Baby has eight copies left of the original 1,000 and you can still get your hands on it. Doing so will help Ainjel finish this long-awaited, much-anticipated second album. Preview a couple of songs over there and let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Vendor-Client Relationship


Welcome to my life. (And the life of every copywriter/photographer/designer/videographer/actor/musician/anyone in any creative field.)

How do we put a stop to this nonsense? Stop accepting less than what you're worth. Writers, stop accepting $2 per article because you think you need clips. (Here's a clue - if you can't get a better paying gig than that, writing should not be your profession. Do you understand that major mags pay $1 per word?) Photographers, $300 to shoot a wedding? Really? $300 for an 8-10 hour day of shooting under the most demanding conditions plus 20-40 hours of post editing plus covering all of your expenses, including a real big girl camera and lenses? $50 to design a website? Are you all insane?  Do you realize you're just screwing yourselves? Again, I reiterate: if you can't get jobs that pay better than this, you're in the wrong business. You're dragging down the market.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Happy Halloween!






If you missed it on TV the other night, please enjoy It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! here today. Nothing will get you in the spirit more! As for myself, I am currently finishing up my nutritional shake breakfast (I use the Isagenix system) and will be hitting the gym shortly thereafter to combat the 11 pounds of candy I have sitting in my kitchen right now. I stupidly bought the good stuff - Almond Joys, Heath bars, Rolos, etc. - and already put a dent in it last night. We haven't had Halloween on a weekend since we've lived in this house, so I have no idea what time kids will start showing up. In the five years we've been here it's always been on a weeknight, and because the kids can't go until the parents are home from work, our first usually come around 5:30. Should I be prepared for earlier today? Maybe the early bird kids will just get rocks like Charlie Brown.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Leaf Me Alone


Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

New fine art print up in my Etsy Shop! I made this photo the day before yesterday at this historic watering hole called Greasewood Flat in Scottsdale, AZ while showing Kai's father around to some of our favorite places. I always get some great Wild West type shots there, but this was different and a pleasant surprise. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Winona!



I watched The Age of Innocence the other night and was reminded of how magnificent Winona Ryder is... She owned that film. Michelle Pfieffer and Daniel Day Lewis had nothing on Winona's subdued yet compelling performance of a woman we think is flighty, unintellectual and clueless but is truly cunning and calculating while rallying her allies and devising a plan  to keep her marriage and her good name intact while her husband's hormones lead to several makeout sessions with her own cousin. Winona deftly develops this character throughout the entire film with a well-placed question here and a pointed look there until she drops the hammer down towards the end. Whammo! Winona wins!

Anyway, today is Winona's birthday and in celebration I thought I'd share this photo... An oldie but goodie of a troubled actress having at least the sense of humor to mock her situation.

(PS - If you enjoy historical fiction and haven't read Edith Wharton's masterpiece novel upon which the movie is based - and to which it stays rather true - please treat yourself and do so immediately. You won't be sorry. Wharton's description of 1800's New York society is spot on.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The ol' magnet in a box shenanigan



Just say no to drugs, kids. (Love the silent film editing on this!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Casper the Commuter Cat



Been spending the week getting our home ready for the arrival of a VIG (Very Important Guest)... Kai's father is visiting from South Africa for three weeks and gets here Saturday morning! Visitors are the perfect excuse to get all those odds and ends done around the house. I've sorted out all the closets, gone through all of my clothes and gathered three bags worth to bring to HALO Animal Rescue's resale shop, repainted the living room, washed the curtains, got a new living room rug and a matching one for the entryway, finally put a bed frame on the bed in the guest room, put new bookshelves in the guest room that coordinate with the rest of the furniture and hid the new ones that don't behind the couch as a sofa table, gave the grout in our tile floors a good scrubbing, gave the pussycat a hair cut (tummy and butt fur only)... We still need to hang additional shelves in the laundry room, wash the baseboards, tidy our own bathroom, drop off the stuff we want to donate (the aforementioned clothes and an old TV), drop a broken DVD player at our town's electronics recycling center, and tidy our office. And I need to plan some menus and go grocery shopping.

Sigh. I think I'd rather go for a ride on the bus through the English countryside with Casper. (FF the video to 10 seconds in past the advertisement.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nicole & Joe Scottsdale Engagement Photos



All images copyright Caroline Goddard/Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.
(Click on any of these photos to see full-size...)

Nicole and Joe joined me last week for a really fun engagement shoot! Nicole is a model (gorgeous, no?) so she was very comfortable working the camera, but her fiance Joe was a bit more reticent. Okay, a lot more reticent. However, Nicole knew just how to get him to relax and soon he was having fun and they were being silly, goofy and loving together -- the perfect recipe for engagement photos with personality!




Nicole shows off her ring while Joe whispers a silly joke about dancing the tango...



How sweet! (Until he tried to shove it up her nose... Goofing, of course!)


This shot drove me a little crazy... Neither the wall nor the bench were flush to the ground. Both were angled in opposite directions. I opted to negate the angle of the bench, but in doing so the wall behind them seems a little wonky. Gotta love that terra cotta color, though.




(Click on this for a full-size view - it's totally worth it!)
Talk about personality! They demonstrated their secret handshake for me as I snapped away. (Guess it's not so secret now that I put it on the internet...)


This was one of the last shots of the session, and also my personal favorite. Very big and dramatic, just like falling in love feels.

Best wishes to Nicole and Joe, and thanks for such a great shoot!

For information on hiring me as your AZ engagement photographer, for Phoenix engagement photography or Scottsdale engagement Photography, please contact me via the Bloom Creatives website.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nicole & Joe engagement photos - Preview!


Image Copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Stay tuned for more photos of this fun session in Scottsdale, AZ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

One year

Image copyright Ursula Graham 2008. All Rights Reserved.

A year ago today, I married this amazing man. While I'm sure he often wonders who invited the Tasmanian Devil into his living room, on the whole he tolerates me very well. He even cleans! Much more than I do! He inspired me to leave a job I hated for a life I love, doing things I only would have dreamed of - if that - ten years ago. He's the reason I now get paid to write and make photos; he impressed upon me that life is way too short to not spend every day doing something you're passionate about.

But mostly he just holds my hand, and makes funny jokes, and plays with the cat and generally makes my world a much brighter place.

Happy first wedding anniversary, Kai. I love you more than you could ever know.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Etsy!

Photo copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

I finally did it! My Etsy shop is all set up and ready for customers! I currently am featuring seven prints, with more to come in the next few weeks - including holiday cards and greeting cards. Check it out, and if you're so inclined do purchase a print! (This rooster would be lovely in a country kitchen...)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

People will see me and cry


The PS 22 Chorus does it again... And check out Jennifer Hudson 2.0! I am so in love with these kids - and their an inspirational teacher.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My dream office

Dreaming of a new house and a new home office... Would love a place with a guest house/MIL quarters or pool cabana that I could convert into my private studio and office. I love the clean organization and use of my favorite light blue in this office done by West Elm... And I really love that door. I would replace the chair with this one. Then my office would match my redesigned website!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Zen

Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Don't listen to this nonsense about summer ending on Labor Day. The calendar says it doesn't end for another week plus, and my thermometer says it will last much, much longer than that... Sail away on these precious warm days while you can...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Once, there was a tree..."


"...and she loved a little boy." Found via Spike Jonze's neat little blog We Love You So, this is the original 1973 animated version of Shel Silverstein's classic "The Giving Tree," narrated by the author himself.

Shel was a master poet and lyricist and a personal favorite of mine since a family friend gifted me a copy of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" as a child. I still have those dog-eared pages on my bookshelf.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Janet Jackson talks Michael

Image courtesy Harper's Bazaar

The normally super-private Janet Jackson sat down with Harper's Bazaar for the new issue (on newsstands this week) and talked a little food, a little fashion, and a lot family -- particularly her big brother Michael.

While she doesn't comment on his death or the events surrounding it -- she's secluded herself completely from media coverage -- she does paint a picture of a fun, loving sibling relationship. There's nothing earth-shattering in this article, but it's a nice read from an enigmatic woman who rarely gets personal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Poison Pear

Image copyright John Foley 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Had a photoshoot (in front of the camera this time) in a funky furniture store earlier this week. This store has room after room after room of beautiful, one-off pieces that look like they came straight from an old hacienda. (If you're in the Phoenix area, check out Urban Southwest off Camelback and 10th Pl.) This is the result of our evening.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer loving

Photo copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

My vacation to my favorite beach in the world was lovely, thank you. I love this stretch of beach, so quiet and picturesque. I found a new-to-me walk to take and turtles waiting to have their pictures snapped and sea oats bobbing in the breeze.

This is the unofficial last weekend of summer for many, but here in Arizona we'll enjoy summer through most of October. It's still over 100 degrees during the day and will be for quite some time - with no cool Gulf breezes to comfort us. These are the days I venture outside only in the wee hours of the morning or just to hop into my air conditioned car. Even the neighborhood stray cats do little more than lounge under our bushes, picking off the occasional lizard for sustenance.

Perhaps I should head back...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

They make the coolest stuff in Japan



AAAAAAAAANNNNNNNDDDDDD I just died of the cuteness. That's it. I am now dead.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Southern Beauty

Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

One of the nicest things about what I do for a living, I think, is the ability to turn every day into a new professional opportunity. I can write an article about some cool new place I've visited or interesting person I've met, and I can photograph beautiful people and places wherever I happen to find them.

Okay, so I found this beautiful place - Eden Gardens State Park - and this beautiful person - Mischa Marie - before I actually left home. I had heard and read about the park before and had momentarily considered it as a possible wedding location. Found a local model through a database through which we both belong. Scouted the location a few days before and turns out it was perfect... And so was Mischa.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Interlude



I'm still on vacation (hence the lack of posting) but had to share this video... My awesome cousin Justin and his buddies are truly too fab for words!

Be back soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Zen

Copyright Bloom Creatives 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is just lie back and watch the deepening blue sky through the sea oats swaying above you. Find your inner beach bum this week. I'll be looking for mine on the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deadlines

Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2009. All Rights Reserved.

When it rains, it pours... I have been blessed to have more than enough work to keep me busy this summer. I know far too many people who have no work, and am very grateful that my well is not dry. This week has been one of many deadlines, so many that I was so busy with one yesterday that I forgot about another and missed it. I got it in today, and luckily it was for a longtime client with whom I enjoy a great relationship, but still... No bueno.

But I truly can not complain about having too much work when others have none. I can not complain about a lifestyle in which my commute is generally from my bed to my home office in my PJs to write, and to beautiful places with beautiful people to photograph. No Office Space for me.

Speaking of beautiful places (and beautiful people), another lovely benefit of this self-made lifestyle of mine is that since I can work from wherever I want, I can pretty much go wherever I want whenever I want (as budgets allow, of course). Next week that means I'll be traveling back to the beach where I married, to enjoy 8 days of sand and sunshine with my family and meet up with an old friend or two. And only one or two deadlines.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Zen


A brand new baby panda was born at the San Diego Zoo this week! None of these are it, obviously, but enjoy this video of a bunch of fuzzy baby pandas play fighting and making adorable baby panda noises. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ray Charles covers Johnny Cash



I was very, very confused the first time I heard Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's Hurt - until I actually listened to it and realized how heart-wrenchingly awesome it was. I was likewise very, very confused when I ran across this video on BoingBoing of Ray Charles covering Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire - until I watched and listened and realized how blues-gasmically awesome it is. Check it out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes


One of my favorite directors of all time, John Hughes, died yesterday of a heart attack at the ridiculous age of 59. I won't write his obit here - you can read the article I wrote yesterday about his life on SheKnows.com - but I do want to share this incredible tribute montage someone put together on YouTube. Love the increasingly frenzied dancing at the end.

This summer's a bummer. The 80's are dying. I hope Madonna's had a recent check-up.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Inspiration Binders

Photo courtesy See Jane Work.

One of my favorite ways to spend a slow afternoon is poring through some of the multitude of magazines that seem to gather around my house. I currently subscribe to... hmmm, let me count... Glamour, Lucky, Arizona Highways, Writer's Digest, W, House Beautiful and Photo Pro, and pick up many others in airports around the country during my travels. Favorites include Coastal Living, Yoga Journal, Better Homes and Gardens and Vanity Fair (mostly for the portraits). I also have a nice size backlog of copies of The New Yorker from when I subscribed a few years back, and Mac World, which Apple automatically subscribes you to whenever you buy a new computer (and we've bought more than our share over the last five years).

You can imagine the stack that piles up after a couple of months. That simply won't do when you're living in a little house like we do, with a husband who despises clutter. But tossing them out, when they contain so much good stuff, isn't an option to me.

Enter the inspiration binder. I tear out anything that grabs me or that I want to emulate: paintings, drawings, portraits, fashion photography - any great artwork or things that I think I could make into great artwork. Anything that gets me going. Anything I think will get my creative juices flowing on days when I need a little, well, inspiration. All these pages are places in plastic sleeves and hung in the pretty binder, which sits neatly on my office shelve (right next to the binders that hold my tax receipts).

Inspiration can't be had from a plain old boring binder. Use the prettiest ones you can find (mine are from Greenroom and can be bought at Target). They should be a please to handle, a pleasure to use, and a pleasure to see on your shelf. If you have a hard time finding something that you love, decorate your own with old wallpapers scraps, fabric, etc. Make the first page something you love to look at over and over again - mine is part of an old article on Courtney Love, showing snippets of her diary and this fantastic snapshot of Kurt Cobain holding a kitten up to a toddler Frances Bean in her playpen.

After I've torn out the pages I want to save, then and only then do the magazines head to the recycling bin. You could also call up you local elementary school or after school center and see if they could use them for art projects. (Just make sure the subject matter is age-appropriate. 7-year-olds don't need to be reading Cosmo's latest article on Your Best Orgasm Now. But it's a good article, you should read it.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Zen



I'm starting a new feature here at Blue Satin Sashes: Sunday Zen. Enjoy the first installment - this pup loves to swing next to his human kid companions!

"Religion is a smile on a dog." - Edie Brickell

PS - Happy Birthday Mom!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy Saturday!

Dandy Bejewelled by Algo. Used with permission.

Are you having a wonderful weekend? I do hope so. Here in Arizona it is scorching hot and staying inside in the air conditioning sounds like the ideal way to spend the day. Alas, I must bring my sweet little iBook to the Apple hospital as it seems to be suffering from general malaise (luckily my gorgeous iMac is undisturbed), so I do have to venture out into the heat. Heat which I have had quite enough of, thankyouverymuch. I do get a reprieve soon, though -- yesterday I found super-cheap tickets back to the Emerald Coast, so in 18 days I will be planted on Grayton Beach with a cold drink in my hand and a cool breeze on my skin. Aaaaaahhhhhh...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Baby wolf's first howl!



Shaun Ellis is British a wolf expert who studies the behavior of these amazing animals and focuses on humane conservation efforts so they can live in harmony with their farmer neighbors. (You may have seen a couple of documentaries about his work on The National Geographic Channel or Animal Planet.)

In this video, Shaun gives a pup his first howling lesson. Look how readily the baby throws his head back and makes a perfect O with his mouth! Instinct is magical.

By the way, if you are as much of an animal lover as I am and you care deeply about conservation issues then you'll be appalled by the cruel and brutal practice of aerial wolf hunting in Alaska. If you want to help end this disgusting and scientifically unsound practice, write to your local legislators and help the Defenders of Wildlife get the PAW Act passed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hypnotic

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

We live in a world of wonders...

(Watch in full screen with your volume on. Every time you watch it you'll discover something new... I like how tiny the human divers at the bottom of the tank are compared to the other creatures... And the reactions of the crowd watching them float by.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tribute


I think we'll see lots of tributes in the wake of the death of Michael Jackson, but thus far this one is my fave... David Ryan Harris is a renowned guitarist who, in addition to his own bands and solo efforts, regularly plays with John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Santana and Guy Sebastian.

I love the simplicity of this cover, and the completely new spin Harris' voice puts on the song, compared to MJ's. I do have a soft spot in my heart for acoustic covers, though...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson tribute



Michael Jackson dead? Say it ain't so, Jacko... I think the greatest legacy Michael Jackson left is that his music was so transcendent that even Philippine prisoners got their groove on to it.

I don't think there's anything I can say that others already have not. He was an incredibly gifted, yet incredibly troubled man who lived and died in a way the rest of us can never imagine, nor should we judge him for it - that's someone else's job, in whose presence he is right now. Unless he's still waiting in line - maybe he and Farrah are chatting over a Starbucks at the gates?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Buffy takes on Edward Cullen



In this brilliant video mashup from Rebellious Pixels, Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes on Twilight's Edward Cullen. I hate Twilight (I find the books to be very poorly written and the movie, which I was forced to watch while getting a Vietnamese mani/pedi to be an abomination of film). And as any TV viewer of the 90's knows, Buffy always wins. Go kick some Cullen ass, Buffy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who would ever want to be king?


Mr. B teaches music at PS22 in NYC. As you can see, he does a bang-up job of it! The PS 22 Chorus has garnered the attention and accolades of Nightline, the Bonnie Hunt Show, Tori Amos, Stevie Nicks, Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, among many others... Even Ashton Kutcher says they're his fave!

These kids are seriously amazing, and are a testament to what a good arts education program can do for kids in public schools. Beyond the people they are meeting and places they are performing, there are a multitude of benefits that come along with participation in the arts. And how excited are these kids to go to school every day, even if only for the chance to sing?

Every child should have a teacher who inspires her as much as Mr. B inspires these kids.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Australian Illustrations

Found some beautiful children's book illustrations on Bibliodyssey today... Thought I'd share some of my favorites.

These two are by Australian illustrator Margaret Clark, and were produced in the mid-1920's. I love the moon peeking over the horizon and smiling at the unseeing sprites below!

Florist Shop, Margaret Clark


The Spirit of Mischief, Margaret Clark


Makes me want to take a trip to the antique book store in Scottsdale and see what tresures they have!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vanity Fair: The Portraits

Photo copyright Michael Thompson 2000.

My Riley Face Pussycat Head III, Esq. generously gifted me with a $30 card to Borders for my birthday. That combined with a 40% off coupon left me absolutely no excuse not to treat myself to a book I've been lusting after since its publication last autumn: Vanity Fair - The Portraits.

The photo above is of Julianne Moore, recreating Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres's masterpiece La Grande Odalisque.  There are so many lovely portraits, going back to the beginnings of the Golden Age of Hollywood to present.

Some of my favorites...

Gloria Swanson, actress and fashion icon:

Copyright Conde Nast Publications.

Hilary Swank, running on a beach in Malibu:

Copyright Norma Jean Roy 2005.

Julia Roberts reaching full career trajectory in the 90's.

Herb Ritz, 1993

So lovely, so evocative of their personalities and those specific times in their lives, and something for to which this photographer shall aspire!