Meet Addie…

It has taken me months to get back to the blog… Summer took me away from it for a while and then I moved my first child into college this fall.  It has been an adjustment for me, and I just haven’t been feeling my creative juices for quite some time.  It took this young lady to get me back into the swing of things.  She is the daughter of a dear friend and neighbor and is just the sweetest girl!  Without further ado, here are some shots from the senior session I did with her last week.

 

Addie17

Addie16

For me, the shot above is the “money shot”.  It is the one I would choose to use for graduation announcements, etc.. However, I know everyone has their own idea of what the perfect shot of their child is, so I took lots of poses and did some edits more dramatic than others.

Addie15\ Addie14

 

I love the picture above, because she looks so relaxed… :)

Addie13

Addie08

 

Addie07

Addie05

Addie04

Addie03

Addie02

Addie01

Nothing else to say about the rest… She is a beautiful girl and her gentle spirit shines through!  The pics that follow are on the more dramatic side.  Just some fun with the sun flares and backlighting.  And some that took advantage of the cool setting where we did the photo shoot.

 

Addie12

Addie11

Addie10

Addie09

Addie06

Don’t know why my watermark turned out so tiny on these!  If you repost them, please link back to Lady with a Lens! :)

Meet Ben and Meredith…an engagement session

I got the great honor to do an engagement photo session last week.  Ben is the son of one of my neighbors and is newly engaged to the lovely Meredith.  The couple was a bit hesitant to do an “official” engagement picture, but since I was a friend of the family they agreed.  We spent less than 30 minutes taking pictures, and I could tell they were a bit nervous, but I managed to capture a few special pictures and sweet moments…

AtwellEngagement08

AtwellEngagement10 AtwellEngagement06

AtwellEngagement02

Caught this one when I asked Meredith to place her hand on Ben’s chest to show off her ring! :)  How cute are they?  Love the way he is looking at her. <3

 

AtwellEngagement01

This one (above) is my favorite… The pose seems the most natural and the smiles are relaxed and genuine.  I edited a couple for black and white.  Always a classic:

AtwellEngagement04

AtwellEngagement07

 

For my first engagement session, I thought it went pretty well!  Hope they love them and that they enjoy this very special and happy time in their lives!

 

Two posts in one day! A guest room mini-makeover (finally!)

So, if you follow the blog, you know I have been very busy with the photography side of things lately.  But, I have still been spending some time on the house when I can.  The guest room has never had a headboard in the 20+ years of my marriage.  We have always managed to have a guest room through many moves and many houses, but never a headboard.  Here is a before pic of our current guest room:

Guest Room Makeover01

 

It has a comfy king-sized bed (per my dad’s not so subtle hints) and a nightstand and dresser and it’s own bath.  Just about everything a guest could need!  But, as you can see, no headboard and the dark brown bedding doesn’t coordinate with the style of the rest of the house.  I came across the plans for a DIY headboard on the site  http://ana-white.com/.  She has plans for just about anything you could want to build for your home, and they include shopping lists and directions easy enough for a girl to follow.  However, I still asked the mister to build it for me! He has all the experience with power tools, and I lack patience!  Here is the headboard during the construction phase:

 

Guest Room Makeover08

Guest Room Makeover09

 

So at this point it was all put together, but obviously needed to be finished with some paint or stain.  I’ve really been into gray lately, so I used one of my favorite colors of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Paris Grey.  Thought I had I photo of the can, but I can’t seem to find it amidst all the senior photos!  Anyway, here is what the headboard looked like after a coat of Paris Grey:

 

Guest Room Makeover17

Guest Room Makeover16

I liked the knotty and uneven texture of the boards, but it still seemed a bit flat and uninteresting to me.  So, I used a small amount of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite (almost black) mixed 50/50 with water and then dry (very dry) brushed the darker color over the whole thing.  It really made the texture more evident and gave a depth to the color.  Of course, then I had to run out to my very favorite store in the world (Home Goods/Marshall’s) and purchase a new duvet set to go with my new headboard.  You know how one project always leads to another and another and another, right?  So here is the final product in the room with it’s pretty new bedding:

 

Guest Room Makeover18

Guest Room Makeover20

 

Wah-la!! Grey and yellow?  LOVE!!!  And can you see how the darker paint really added a lot to the head board?  Well, I wasn’t finished yet!  Because, did you catch a glimpse of the night stand from the first images?  Yucky!  Here is a closeup:

 

Guest Room Makeover04

 

Once upon a time I really liked this painted nightstand, but now I was OVER IT!  So, back out to the garage and after a quick coat of ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) in Old White, you can’t even recognize it as the same piece!  A new glass drawer knob and here she is:

 

Guest Room Makeover10

Guest Room Makeover11

 

I know, right?  So adorable!  Now, I am dying to replace that brown artwork and paint the larger dresser in the room (which you can’t see in the pics).  I’m thinking of yellow for the dresser!  And, I just may have to commission my daughter for the artwork.  I’m thinking something light and fun like this:

blandford-birdies-winter

So adorable!  This image is from The Land of Nod which specialized in children’s rooms, but this art just makes me feel happy!  So, if darling daughter will paint something similar, it will be in the guest room soon.  Don’t tell the hubby, but I’m also on the hunt for a different light fixture as well.  Like I said, one project leads to another… :)

 

 

 

Meet Alex…

Did a senior session this week in beautiful Falls Park this week.  My model could not have been lovelier!  See some of the pics from our session below:

Alex Senior Session13

Alex Senior Session12

Alex Senior Session11

Alex Senior Session10

Alex Senior Session09

Alex Senior Session08

Alex Senior Session07

Alex Senior Session06

Alex Senior Session05

Alex Senior Session04

Alex Senior Session03

Alex Senior Session02

Alex Senior Session01

 

The thing I noted about Alex’s session was the simple lines of her clothing choices and the fact that she chose to wear color!  So many people want their pictures in white, but I’ve personally found that color (not pattern) is so much more flattering for the majority of people.  Plus, it makes the photographers job just a little bit easier, b/c you don’t have to worry as much about harsh highlights in your photos.  Obviously, Alex is a very beautiful young lady, but her simple, solid-colored tops really allow her face to be the focus of the pictures!

Meet Emilee and Sydney…

Hello!  I have been a busy bee doing senior photo shoots!  A very exciting time for me indeed.  Today I’m going to share the pics from two that I did last week.

First, Emilee:

Emilee Senior Session 04

Emilee Senior Session 03

Emilee Senior Session 02

 

 

Emilee Senior Session 01

 

Emilee was a total sweetheart!  So easy to work with and her eyes just reached into the camera, making my job a cinch!  Believe it or not, we had a horrible day for her shoot.  It was Mother’s Day and it was WINDY!!!  We had to find places to take cover and get her hair to stay down in the whipping wind.  I was so pleased with the shots we got!

 

And Sydney:

 

Sydney Senior Session06

Sydney Senior Session04

Sydney Senior Session10

Sydney Senior Session05

Sydney Senior Session07

Sydney Senior Session02

 

Sydney was a natural!  What a beautiful girl, and so relaxed in front of the camera!  It is so much fun spending time with these lovely ladies  just as they head off to college and such bright futures.  Going to post that guest room, I promise!!!  And I’m doing another photo shoot tonight.  :)

I’m back….and it’s twins!!!

Well, I’m not actually having twins (thank goodness!), but I did recently do a senior portrait session with a beautiful set of twins.  Graduation season is upon us and some of the local seniors, (girls especially), are realizing they do not have a senior portrait to send out with their announcements.  Those drape shots that the high schools do just strip everyone of their individual personalities, don’t you think? Anyway, it was a nice afternoon and we got some great shots for them to send out.  I have a few more scheduled over the next week, so I have been busy, busy on the computer downloading, editing, burning and posting!  Here are a few of my favorites from the session:

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 09

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 06

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 18

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 16

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 03

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 01

And of course we had to do a few together, b/c they are twins after all!

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 26

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 24

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 21

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 10

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 13

 

Finally, I couldn’t resist doing a few black and white conversions… they are timeless!

 

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 28

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 25

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 23

Ellison and Chandler Senior Session 22

 

Another photoshoot tomorrow!  And I still have a mini-makeover of the guest room that I need to post!

The Master Suite and a tiny setback…

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately.  I got a little discouraged as I was taking a class on how to design your own blog, and it just didn’t meet my needs.  I was hoping to be able to design a more appealing background, sidebars, header, etc… but this class didn’t help me figure all that out.  Anyway, onward and upward!! I will continue in this format until I figure out a better way :)

 

In the meantime, how about a little tour of the Master Bedroom?  I love the serene colorscheme in there, and that really set the color palette for the rest of our new home when we built it.  Basically, it is a robin’s egg blue mixed with shades of cream and brown.

 

Spring Home tour 201327

 

I have been loving that organza bedskirt in a sheer golden taupe for many years now.  It is starting to show wear along the bottom edge from where it sometimes gets caught up in the vaccum!  OOPS!  The sheer overlay covers a basic white skirt.  The beautiful reversible duvet in blue with golden swirls and all the king and euro shams were sewn by my dear Mom.  She is so awesome with a sewing machine!  How lucky am I to have custom bedding and curtains for the cost of the fabric?

 

Spring Home tour 201332

 

Speaking of the curtains, here is a shot of those beauties!  They are a new addition to the room this year, and I love that the ikat fabric updated the space and still matched the bedding.  There are lined panels on the big window and small faux roman shades on the door and side window.  All sewn by my Mom!!

 

Spring Home tour 201329

 

Here is a view of my little reading corner.  I have a basket with all my magazines there and a cozy throw to cuddle up with.  I had this chair recovered years ago to match the bedding and it is still looking great!  You can also see a little portion of the cream shag rug I bought just after Christmas this year.  It is soooooo soft and squishy on the feet in the morning!  LOVE!

 

Spring Home tour 201324

 

And here is a dresser I purchased from Craigslist and then painted with a combination of Duck Egg and Old White Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I also changed out the center fancy pulls for some mercury glass knobs.  I LOVE mercury glass and I think these helped update this piece from being a little too french country for my taste.  I have a photo gallery wall of my 3 babies (who are teens now!) and some of them are nudies!  I cropped them out to avoid any embarrassment for them.

 

Spring Home tour 201330

 

And one last view of my nightstand.  (Did you know a digital clock doesn’t photograph?  I didn’t)  It features a mercury glass lamp (did I mention I LOOOVVVEE mercury glass?), and a reproduction fan that I picked up at Home Goods.  The fan is awesome for two reasons.  One, it helps to keep me cool and night, and I really like to feel the air moving.  And two, it acts as a pretty fantastic sound machine to drown out the sounds of the three little monkeys who live upstairs! :)

 

Hope you enjoyed the tour and I hope to do a tutorial on the chalk painting as soon as the weather warms up a bit!  Where are you Spring???

 

Spring House Tour

Let’s start the weekend with a few little updates for Spring, shall we?  The weather has started to warm up just a bit here, and the daffodils and cherry trees are blooming, which makes me want to freshen up the house with a bit of color and some fun springtime decor.  Here is a picture of how my family room looked before…

Spring Home tour 201302

 

Pretty neutral with some black, white, grey and my favorite shades of blue.  For spring, I like to bring in a pop of color to freshen things up…

 

Spring House Updates 201301

 

Aren’t those yellow pillows divine?  They have adorable details on them as well, including some beading in the perfect shade of blue!  I picked them up last year at HomeGoods and just love them!  Another area I freshened up for Spring is the little sitting bench in my main hallway.  The before…

 

Spring Home tour 201306

 

The chevron is definitely a favorite, but for Spring, all I have to do is turn them around and the backside looks like this…

 

Spring House Updates 201310

 

Isn’t that awesome?  Two pillows in one!  All I had to do was flip them over for a new look! :)  How about a few peeks at some other Spring touches?

 

Spring Home tour 201309

 

You can never go wrong with a pop of green in the form of a healthy houseplant!

 

Spring House Updates 201330

 

This planter is at the bottom of the stairs in the foyer… I added a few cute fuzzy chicks and some hand painted easter eggs to this area.

 

Spring House Updates 201313

 

Spring House Updates 201311

 

I don’t like to go to cutesy with my holiday decorating, but a few little things placed here and there really do make it look like Spring around the house.  And who can resist a fuzzy yellow chick?

 

Spring House Updates 201307

 

Another of those sweet guys found himself a home on my desk.  He makes me smile :)

 

Spring House Updates 201304

 

And what is Spring without a few blue, speckled eggs?  In the wintertime, I have pinecones on this tray.  And in the fall, acorns.

 

Spring Home tour 201311

 

The powder room has a year-round touch of Spring, just because I love it so much.  ;)

 

Spring Home tour 201323

 

 

This little guy sits on the sink all year, making me smile every time I see him.  I can’t bear to put it away all winter!

 

Spring Home tour 201322

 

I think those blue eggs and that silver birdie just belong in there, don’t you?  Now I need to find something to go over that toilet to fill up some of the empty wall space.  I have been looking, but no luck yet.  Across the room are these chandelier canvases, which go with the mirrored vanity and light fixture in the room…

 

Spring Home tour 201321

 

 

So there is a little peek at some of what I’ve been up to as Spring arrives.  What is your favorite way to freshen up for Spring?

 

 

Best Dinner Ever…

About time for a blog post, don’t you think?  This one will be a little different, because it is about food.  Usually, I leave the cooking to my very skilled and wonderful cook, my dear husband.  It’s not that I’m not a capable cook, but he actually ENJOYS doing it!  GASP!  Not the case for me.  I enjoy baking and doing some cooking, but when the audience is 3 unappreciative children, not so much!  He does travel for work however, and sometimes he is just too busy, so I do have a few “go to” recipes up my sleeve. One that I started making this year has become one of my family’s favorites.  I found it on Pinterest (shocking I know!).  My kids totally make fun of me for finding all my ideas on Pinterest, but this meal really makes them think twice about mocking me! ;)  The recipe is Slow Cooker Teryaki Chicken and it from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen blog.  It looks like this:

Teryaki Chicken13

Is that a beautiful meal or what?  Suitable for a family dinner or even company with its textures and colors all on one serving dish! And I’m telling you, it is the MOST delicious, hearty meal you could ask for!  And healthy too… :)

So here is my step by step the way I make it for my family…I have altered the amounts based on our personal preferences from the original recipe.  I use a bit less meat,sugar and vinegar, but keep the rest the same.  I end up with lots of sauce left over to pour over the rice and broccoli at the end.

 

Teryaki Chicken02

8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs (I find they are usually packaged this way at the store)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water
Brown Rice and Broccoli

 

Begin by placing the boneless, skinless thighs (please use thighs!  It won’t be as good with white meat) in the slow-cooker and turn the heat setting to low.

Teryaki Chicken03

 

Teryaki Chicken04

 

I do trim off some of the bigger blobs of fat, but sometimes I just put them in there frozen, so I can’t.  Either way is fine!  Get a medium sized bowl and combine the first six ingredients.  Whisk them together and pour over the chicken.  Put the lid on and cook on low for about 4 hours (I would say 4 is the minimum, but I have left it as long as 6 and it doesn’t dry out).

 

Teryaki Chicken05

 

Teryaki Chicken06 Teryaki Chicken07

 

 

About an hour before we want to eat, I put some brown rice on the stove to steam (it takes 45 min to prepare).  If you are in a hurry or aren’t home, quick rice would be just as good! :)  When the rice is done, I turn the heat off, put some broccoli in the microwave to steam, and pull out my chicken from the crockpot, saving the sauce.

 

Teryaki Chicken09

 

 

That chicken just falls apart with no effort on my part.  I cover it to keep it warm and transfer the sauce to a pan on the stove to thicken. Add your cornstarch and water and it will thicken up by the time your broccoli is ready.

 

Teryaki Chicken11

 

Place the chicken, rice and broccoli on a serving platter, pour the thickened sauce over all of it and watch your family inhale every last bit!  I’m telling you this is so DELICIOUS!!!  I hope you will give it a try and let me know your results!  Thanks to Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen for such a yummy recipe!

 

Senior Group Photo Shoot

I have a super fun photo shoot to share today.  One of my daughter’s friends was having a birthday and the girls decided it would be fun to do a photo shoot together to celebrate!  They picked up some balloons and we went to a local park to take some group shots.  They all dressed so cute, and even though they didn’t plan their outfits to match, I think they look great together!

Senior Group Shoot01

 

Senior Group Shoot02

 

Senior Group Shoot05

 

After a few shots with the balloons, I did some group shots without them and also some smaller groups of girls together.  I also played with a few photoshop effects to blur the edges and enhance the colors in the photos.

 

Senior Group Shoot03

 

Senior Group Shoot04

 

Just had to take a shot of all those boots!! :)  Aren’t they fun?

 

Senior Group Shoot06

 

Senior Group Shoot08

 

Senior Group Shoot09

 

Senior Group Shoot07

 

And then we thought we would be finished, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a few individual shots of all these beautiful young ladies.

 

Senior Group Shoot14

 

Senior Group Shoot13

 

Senior Group Shoot12

 

Senior Group Shoot11

 

Senior Group Shoot10

 

No, you are not seeing double!  There are a set of twins in the group ;)

I’m hoping to do another shoot with these lovely ladies in the near future as soon as the weather warms up.  They are all about to graduate and head off to college this Fall, so I hope to photograph them at least once more!