A Countdown to 2018

In just a few hours many of us will be ringing in the New Year with the clinks of our cheap champagne glasses, kisses from our loves ones, hugs with our friends and family and new goals on the horizon.

If you have certain things you want to accomplish in 2018, I still stand behind the notion of letting go of the New Years Resolutions and instead focus more on goals and the experiences that go alongside them.  I laid out a few steps towards goal setting back in 2014 that you can read here.

In looking ahead at 2018 I actually find myself focusing less on specific goals and more on the bigger picture.

Focusing more on living a life of purpose and intent.

Being truly PRESENT.

Being more observant in my career.

Being MORE present for my husband and his business.

Allowing more time for myself to learn and grow in the areas that mean something to me, my self-awareness, personal health, well-being and my bigger purpose.

Making more time for meaningful conversations with friends.

Being quiet, listening more, saying less.

Canceling out the unnecessary noise that life wraps us up in and spending more time on the quiet.

Being less of a copy and more on owning my original.

 

Here’s to a great end to 2017.  I hope you grew, you learned and you loved.

Cheers to 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Homemade Granola

 

If you are looking for a healthy alternative to traditional sugary granolas look no further.  This easy to make homemade granola is quick to assemble, uses all natural ingredients and is modifiable.  This recipe was originally seen at Cookie & Kate, I just modified it a bit to fit my needs.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raw nuts (I used raw almonds. Other suggestions might include pecans, pepitas, walnuts)
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (honey can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries. Other suggestions might include blueberries, cherries, berries)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, salt & cinnamon.  Stir to blend
  3. Pour oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated.
  4. Pour granola onto large rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer, keeping it loose.
  5. Bake until golden, about 21 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway.
  6. Let the granola cool completely on pan, it will crisp more as it cools.  Stir occasionally if you want loose granola or leave it undisturbed if you want granola clusters.

Enjoy on its own, over Greek yogurt, in milk with fresh fruit.  Possibilities are endless.

 

 

Cheers!

The Hobby | Biker Photos

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It all started summer 2017 with this girl, this bike and a camera I had received as a gift nearly three years prior.

I didn’t completely know what I was doing, and I certainly still don’t, but I knew I wanted to try and capture a few photos of Liz with her bike.  And what started out as a fun night of unknowns, turned into a hobby worth exploring.

But not for reasons you might think.

I am connected to many influential, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and inspirational women.   Add to the equation a woman who rides her own motorcycle and you end up with a pretty powerful subject.

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According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, the number of women riders in America is growing daily.  In fact, in 2015 female motorcycle owners made up 14 percent of the industry.   In 2003, an estimated 9.6 percent of the motorcycle owners in America were women, which shows us an increase of over 50 percent in 10 years.

Nice work, gals!

Women Riders Now provided us with an even larger breakdown:

  • Slightly more than 17 percent of Gen X owners (born from early 1960 to mid-1970s), and 17.6 percent of Gen Y owners (born in the 1980s and 1990s) are women.
  • Among Boomer owners (born between 1946-1964), women make up 9 percent.

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We are a highly educated group as well!

  • 47 percent of us have a college or post-graduate degree.

 

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As I said…

 influential,

intelligent,

beautiful,

gracious,

inspirational

WOMEN

Before I knew it, one session turned into another and another, and with those sessions I started to grow in my confidence, abilities and knowledge.   Each shoot I critiqued and analyzed to find something new to take away, whether it was a new technique or studying the settings I had used to get the desired outcome.  I fully invested in studying aperture, ISO and shutter speed and how they intertwine.  The importance of angles and subject placement started to take shape.

The positioning of the sun and the effects it had on the shooting range was an eye opener for me.  Using natural light to enhance the subject while avoiding unappealing shadows or bright, nearly drowned out spots, can be tricky depending on the time of day and location.

 

I started to work on the concept of depth and subject placement in order to get the end result desired, whether it be a bold, loud full landscape statement, or a naturally blurred or bokeh effect background with the focus on the subject.

 

I have learned so much, and have so much yet to learn.  I don’t want to be a hobbyist who is a simple “point and shoot” type.   There are plenty of “photographers” out there.  Anyone with a fancy camera can wave their hand in the air.

Am I a professional photographer?  Absolutely not.  Do I want to be?  No.  Am I trying to be?  No.

I am enjoying learning a fun hobby while working toward producing products for people that have a look and feel of minimal effort, but polished and a semi-professional edge.

 

But, my dear friends… it’s more than that.

Those influential, intelligent, beautiful, gracious and inspirational women I am fortunate enough to know?  I want you to see them too.

 

And I want them to truly see it in themselves.

 

 

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I want to help boost confidence in the individuals in front of my lens.

I want them to own and embrace what makes each of them unique.

 

I want to pull out the happiness and joy these girls exude and put it in print for the rest of the world to experience.

 

I want these girls to feel pride when they see themselves in print.

 

I want to help build self-esteem, self-confidence, pride, happiness and joy into each of my subjects

one shot at a time.

 

And with that,

I think I found my niche.

 

I look forward to the spring months ahead where I hope to hit the ground running with more opportunities to capture photos of not only my friends with their bikes, but also to the many other strong, powerful women (and men) out there riding their own.

When you are ready, so am I.

 

 

 

 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas has arrived in our home!

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Harley couldn’t be more excited.

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‘Tis the season for evenings of nothing but Christmas lights turned on, soft Christmas music playing in the background and holiday candles glowing.

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And naps under the tree for Grimmy.

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I love the peacefulness and renewed sense of spirit and hope that this season always provides.

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And the general feeling of joy that seems to be spread across the city and our neighborhoods.

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Wishing you a Merry Christmas season as you embark on the many holiday gatherings with family and friends.

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Cheers!