Baby Isabella is a Model!

Remember Isabella from this post? For Isabella’s shoot, I purchased super adorable headbands from LuLu & ChaCha on Etsy! The shop owner put a photo of Isabella, that I sent her, modeling one of the headbands on the product page. Check it out here (second thumbnail). And see the screen shot below:

Bridesmaid Box – Will you be my bridesmaid?

Have you ever heard of a “Bridesmaid Box”? I hadn’t…until I got one in the mail, so I wanted to share!

I have to admit, it was really fun and exciting to receive! Immediately after, I was at my computer looking it up! After a little internet research, it looks like this is a relatively new thing women are doing nowadays as a creative way to ask their besties to be a bridesmaid.

I can see how this would be especially handy if the bride to be and the possible bridesmaid did not live near each other. This was the case with me and my cousin. I live in CA while she lives in VA and it was such a clever way to ask me to be one of her bridemaids. It was way more fun than just receiving a phone call (although that’s nice too!).

Here’s how it happened: I went to my mailbox and there was a small package from my cousin. She had just gotten back from a trip visiting her fiance, so I thought it must be a souvenir from her travels. She had wrapped the box in the brown shipping paper and wrote my address directly on the paper.

Once I got the paper off,  but before I opened the box, I admittedly was so confused! Now it’s so obvious, but at the time, I was scratching my head. You can see the engagement ring sticker on the front of the box along with photos of me and my cousin when we were much younger kids : ) A cute little touch was the place setting stickers on the top of the box!

(click photos to see them larger!)

 

I am totally ashamed to admit this next bit. I was so excited about this mysterious package, that I pulled the lid straight off and put it next to me on the floor without looking at it. (I often open my mail like a kid on the floor. I find the clean up is easier. Call me crazy!) But seriously, HOW cute is the inside lid?! I love it. So sweet…

 

Heeeeeeere’s what was inside! A huge, fake, LIGHT-UP engagement ring (which fit by the way!) and a Ring Pop! (remember those?) OK, that’s not true! Actually there were TWO Ring Pops in there and I ATE one before I thought to take photos…sue me.

 

Finally, here is what it all looked like together! What a super cute idea!

Have you ever received a “Bridesmaid Box?” Or maybe you used this method to ask your girls to be in your wedding party? Do tell!

Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies! I think my first attempt at brownies from scratch should not have been this complicated (layers of caramel and chocolate chips). Ok, well they didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but even bad brownies are good brownies!

Not sure exactly where I went wrong as I had followed the recipe exactly. But the caramel seemed to just soak into the top and bottom layers rather then staying all yummy and gooey in the middle. The brownie I cut below was one of the only ones that even remotely looked like the photo on the recipe. Oh well! They all got eaten anyway ;)

The Cutest Nephew Ever!

OK, I’m biased, but he’s my nephew and he’s Ah-Dorable. Meet Parker! (No relation to Parker’s Pictures…it’s a long story!) Took these while I was home for Thanksgiving and we had lots of time for fun photos : )

I never met a kid like this who LOVES broccoli! (Of course he had to show Aunt Erica what it looks like when he’s chewing it…ew.)

Two of my favorite people…my brother and my nephew. Betcha’ don’t even see the resemblance ; )

I had so many fun photos of Parker from Thanksgiving that I decided to make my brother a framed photo for a Hanukkah gift. It went straight to his office! So glad you liked it bro! Kinda cool to see my photos at someone’s desk! Love you guys!

Venice, Italy Print on Display!

I am so excited! I have my first piece of artwork on display. I never think of myself as an artist, because I typically work with people on their portraits. But when I travel, I take my camera everywhere and end up taking many more landscapes or “artsy” photos then I do at home.

Back in 2005 I traveled to Italy with some friends, an experience I will not soon forget. While in Venice (my favorite part if Italy as of yet) I took this photo:

As soon as I saw it (even on the teeny tiny screen I had on my camera back then), I knew it was a winner. It took me a few years to eventually print it to hang in my own house, but once I did, I fell in love with it again.

Now, hopefully other people will fall in love with it too! This week I hung up an canvas wrap of  Venice at Night in Dominic’s at the Oceanside Harbor! The walls in Dominic’s just happen to be an awesome shade of burnt orange, so the blue from the photo pops RIGHT off the wall. Pretty lovely if I do say so myself! Please forgive the awful phone photo, but I actually forgot my camera the day I hung it up (I was too excited!).

If you are local to San Diego and are at the Oceanside Harbor, go check out Dominic’s for yummy Italian/Pizza and you can see Venice at Night in person! Let me know how it looks : )

Homemade Pesto! Super easy…

That’s right! Homemade. Pesto. Easy. Seriously! First, I bought a basil plant in the store where I buy my produce. It was on sale for $2.99. It was full with leaves when I purchased it, but I let it grow for about another week. It sucked down tons of water everyday! Isn’t it pretty? It smelled awesome and was such a pretty green.

Such simple ingredients! That is it! Pine nuts are expensive, so see if you can buy them when they go on sale. It will make your cost per portion go way down!

Put them all in the blender and wham-o! Deliciousness!

Here is the final product with the poor naked basil plant plucked clean. I’m trying to keep it alive and make it grow leaves back. Any tips?

Ah, and now the pesto on whole wheat pasta! Mangia!

Rice Krispie Treats – July 4th Style

OK, well this post is a little delayed, but I made these Rice Krispie treats for a July 4th get-together. They didn’t turn out exactly like I wanted (more on that below) but, they still went over like gang-busters!

Making Rice Krispie treats can be REALLY easy if you know what’s coming. If you are not prepared or used the wrong tools, you end up with a sticky mess (but still very delicious)! The first challenge is melting the marshmallows without burning them or the butter they are in.

You have to keep a CLOSE eye on them…and when they are almost all melted, just keep stiring until all the last bits are completely melted away.

Then add in the Rice Krispies and carefully stir together (trying not to fling the cereal all over the kitchen) until all the cereal is nice and coated with the marshmallow goo!

Next, dump the mixture int your dish and here is my TIP! Put a tiny pit of water on your hands and QUICKLY press down the mixture into the dish. If you work too slowly it will start sticking to your hands! If this happens go ahead and eat those yummy bits, then wash your hands and try again! Do not, I repeat, do not try and use a tool, like a spatula or plastic wrap to press down the mixture. It doesn’t work and is messy! How yummy does that tray look! I could eat a whole batch!

Because these treats were for a party, I wanted to make them festive! The plan was to use these white candies I had leftover from another dessert project. I had only a few, but it was JUST enough!

I put them in the microwave and melted in approximately 30 second increments until they were all melted.

These were my other fun tools!

This picture was supposed to be halfway through the process. First step was to dip the treats into the white candy. CHECK! Then sprinkle with blue sugar. CHECK!

Next step was to color the left over white candy with red food coloring and drizzle it all over the treats! Below you can see me adding the red coloring.

That is where it all went wrong! HAHA! I kept adding more color to try and get a pretty red color (not pink) and I guess I added too much color because the candy seized up and became HARD! Some sort of strange chemical reaction.

So, onto plan B: I just added red sugar to the blue sugar that was already there! And, voila! July 4th Treats!

Vegas Baby!

Vegas Baby! Oh, how I love Vegas! Which is honestly kind of strange because to know me, you wouldn’t think I would be the kind of person to love Vegas. I think I love the idea of people not judging me for staying up until all hours of the night/next morning!  : )  Last time I was there, I took out my camera and tripod for a little night shoot. This first photo was my fav of the bunch! Yeah, it’s a little obvious, but I don’t care! (Click the photos to see them larger.)

If you’ve been to Vegas, why do YOU love it?

Aloooo-haaa!

I’ve always heard and seen in pictures/movies/TV how beautiful Hawaii is, but WOW, it really is! I recently made my first trip to Hawaii, to the island of Oahu. The weather? Forget about it! Hawaii has ruined San Diego for me!  Just thinking about the warm ocean water makes me feel more relaxed…ahhhhhhh. I can not WAIT to go back. Hopefully someday very soon, because the little 3 day tease I had, well, that was just mean!

As you probably know, I usually don’t take too many landscapes or artsy images, but occasionally it does happen! Like in New York City and Hawaii, because it is just too beautiful!

We went for an ATV tour (yes, I drove an ATV!) on Kualoa Ranch. They do lots of things there, including filming for movies and TV. This is where they did a lot of filming for LOST. It was so pretty, although when the tour was over we were DIRTY, covered head to toe in dirt from the ATVs!

This crazy looking dish will start the “food” portion of our tour. From what I gather, this is a traditional Hawaiian dish (please correct me if I am wrong) that was invented for hungry surfers and is high in protein and carbs. It is basically white rice, a hamburger patty, an egg and gravy. It’s called “Loco-Moco”…crazy!

I had to share this image because it was THE best shave ice I had in Hawaii and I’m sad because I didn’t order it! It came from Hawaiian Island X-treme Smoothie & Shaved Ice, a food truck next to the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. And yes, for those wondering, it is called shave ice, not shaved. After a little research I found that shave ice is different then what we call snow cones in that shave ice is finer (like a powder) as opposed to chunky like a snow cone.

Giovanni’s Shrimp came highly recommended! Personally, I don’t like shrimp, but my travel companions said this really was amazing shrimp! So instead of eating, I documented!

All the colors were so vivid!

I’d like to close out this post with this photo that I call “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh….”  ; )

Christmas In (Almost) July!

Christmas in July!? Well, almost July anyway!

Yeah, Yeah, I know the holidays are over…as a matter of fact, we are getting closer to Holidays 2011, can you believe it? YIKES! Before it gets even later in the year, I wanted to post some photos I took in New York, Holidays 2010. I went home to see my family and acted like a TOURIST! <Gasp!>  I hate looking like a tourist anywhere, but especially my home state! Luckily it resulted in some really nice images, so I feel OK about the tourist thing!

Upon arrive in Grand Central station, I walked past Junior’s.  Actually, it’s a baby Junior’s, meaning it’s just a small shop where you get dessert to-go. They also have several full restaurants around NYC. They are famous for their cheesecake, which is the ONE dessert I don’t eat (although I eat everything else!). I could not help but take a photo of the boxes and boxes of cheesecakes stacked in the tiny shop for all of the holiday travelers!

The Empire State Building is styled in Art Deco, which I love! From this angle though, it’s hard to tell, but I do love how you get the feeling that the building is just so big.

I’m pretty sure that if I had lived in the city when I was in high school learning photography, I would have taken these subway photos back then : )


Per their website, Mcsorley’s “can boast of being New York City’s oldest continuously operated saloon” as it opened in 1854! What the what? Yes, 1854! We stopped in to check it out, how could we not!

You can’t go to NYC around the holidays and not go into FAO Schwarz, come on, am I right? This was by FAR the biggest stuffed animal I have seen in my whole life!

Remember the movie “Big”? If you grew up the 80′s like I did, this next photo will both excite you and make you want to cry an little (because if you don’t win the lottery, you probably will never own one, sorry!).

The snow makes everything so quiet…