Wedding Wisdom: The Sweet Tooth

At weddings we usually take our break while everyone is eating dinner. Cause taking pictures of people eating just isn't very nice. I've had the pleasure of eating some really yummy dishes, but I will say...it makes me a tiny bit sad that I almost never get to taste test all of the amazing sweets. By the time we scarf down our food it's time to run and start photographing the toasts. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not...I've never been to a wedding that did not have dessert. So, how do you decide what is the right kind to serve at your wedding?

>> Traditional

The traditional tiered cake. This is definitely the most common. Usually focused on how many guests you need to feed determines the size. As the size goes up, so do the $$ signs. While you will most likely get that perfect exterior and yummy interior from a professional baker, you might consider a friend or family member who loves to bake. Just make sure their first try is NOT for the day of the wedding. ;)

Desserts are always photographed, so having them look appealing and picturesque is a definite pro...but don't be afraid to think outside the box.

 

>> The Cupcake Combo

The combination of a small tiered cake {mostly just for the "cake cutting"} and lots of cute cupcakes has been super popular. Cupcakes photograph well, and you don't have to worry about having someone cut slices of a large cake for each guest. You will most likely save some money on the sweets and even extra plates and utensils! Cause no one eats cupcakes with a fork and plate, right?

>> The Donut Bar

Ohhhhhhh, the Donut Bar. *SIGH* I might have to admit that this is possibly my favorite. I mean, it's a donut. But after the fact that you get to eat wonderful donuts, there's so many other benefits. Again, no cost for extra plates and forks. You don't need to worry about the color and design or finding refrigerator space for hundreds of cupcakes or a huge tiered cake.  I mean...easy and delicious. What else can you ask for?

>> The Sundae Bar

Ooooo...also, just so tasty. If you love ice cream...go for ice cream instead of a cake. With all the yummy toppings and such this is definitely a crowd pleaser. I can almost guarantee that my 7 year old daughter will have ice cream at her wedding. In some shape or form...she's slightly obsessed with the stuff.

However, there are the obvious downsides. Freezer space and melting. Enough ice cream to feed 100+ guests...well, that's A LOT of ice cream. And I don't know about you, but my freezer does not hold that much. So...making sure your venue has the proper freezer space is key. And making sure you have someone to serve! Then you're set.

>> The Gourmet Goodies

This is your day. Your day...and it should absolutely reflect who you are as a couple and your likes. Think about your favorite dessert...and that's what you should serve. These mini cheesecakes below are SO gorgeous and wait for it...made by the bride's mother. SO much talent there. While going gourmet might be a bit more expensive, your guests will thoroughly enjoy trying something different.

Definitely make sure you choose a dessert that reflects your tastes as a couple...but also...don't worry about doing a "cake cutting" just to go along with random traditions. You can cut the donut and feed each other, or don't do it at all. Honestly, by that time not very many guests are paying attention anyway. So, embrace your sweet tooth and choose your absolute favorite sweet treat. Your taste buds will thank you.

XO,

Elise

Check out these local bakers for your special day:

>>> Kristin's Sweet Treats       Email: Kristen's.sweets@gmail.com        

>>> Moustache Baked Goods              

>>> Eat. Share. Love. Treats.      Email: Stephanie.a.miller7@gmail.com

                                                                                                           

 

 

Wedding Wisdom: Choosing your bridesmaids

As a wedding photographer, I get to see so many different styles, amazing venues, fantastic florals, etc etc...the list goes on {forever}. But something that I don't think too many people talk about is the dynamic between the Bride and her ladies.

Today, let's talk about bridesmaids.

I can not tell you enough how important the choosing of your bridesmaids is. After being IN numerous weddings, getting married myself, and photographing dozens and dozens of weddings...my advice is CHOOSE WELL.

Things to think about:

            #1-The "Should I?" Bridesmaid: This is not meant to be offensive in any way. But you know what I'm talking about. The girl (or sister/in-law) who you know would be sad if you didn't include her, but you're just not that close. Or that friend who would threaten to not even come to your wedding if she wasn't a bridesmaid. Or a BFF from high school that you haven't spoken to in years. All of these...SORRY, but they should not make the cut. If you have to say maybe...then say maybe not.

            #2-Who would drop everything? Ask yourself this question as you are contemplating who to choose for your big day. You have no idea how many times I have heard my brides say {or yell} "WHERE THE {insert profanity here} ARE MY BRIDESMAIDS?!?" If you have said this...you are SO not alone. But is that ok? NO. In my opinion...the sole purpose of having bridesmaids are to have joyous helpers at your side who would drop everything to fluff your dress, touch up your makeup, hold your drink, etc etc. After all...the day is about YOU (and your groom of course). ;) So when you're thinking of this major decision...ask yourself that question. It absolutely warms my heart to see a group of girls that are focused on the bride and their strong friendship is SO evident. Trust me...it makes for a wonderful day. These ladies below were such a wonderful example of that and it was so obvious.

           #3-Quality over Quantity: How many girls at your side is ideal? Now as a photographer, the smaller the wedding party...the easier it is to fit you all in places! But! If you have 8 AMAZING best friends that you can't imagine your day without them at your side...then GO FOR IT. If your absolute best of friends only adds up to 2...then that's your perfect number. You can also consider your venue! If you know you'll have plenty of space (like a wide open forest of redwoods) then don't be bashful in asking all of those BFFs.

           #4-Consider Having a Chat: Let's say BFF #1 does NOT get along with future sister-in-law, but you desperately want to have them both in your bridal party. Take some time and sit down with them separately. It should be assumed...but so many times it's not...but they need to know that the day is NOT about them. Like...at all. Tell them to put on their absolute best face and save any snide remarks for...well...never. Once you get to marrying age, all of your bridesmaids are adults. Even if they're young ones, they should know that your wedding is all about YOU. And that they are there solely for love and support.

         #5- Note to Bridesmaids: Be there for your bride/friend. If she chose you to be in her wedding she obviously loves you. Love her back. Especially on this most important day in her life. Ask her what role she would like you to play. Be happy for her. Make her feel more beautiful than ever. Be calm before the wedding so she is calm. Be excited during the ceremony as she cries and laughs. Have so much fun at the reception, but still remembering she might need you to help with her bustle or find her bouquet. Just be the best bridesmaid ever. ;)

I promise ladies, having wonderful people at your side just enhances your most wonderful day.

XO,

Elise



>>> FALL FASHION <<< featuring Mack Floral

Hello and Happy Veterans Day!! Let me start this off by saying I am so thankful and grateful for all of them! Sitting here at my desk, in my warm home with my kids running around just makes me think of the wild comparison between jobs. My biggest worry when doing a wedding is missing a beautiful shot. Sometimes their biggest worry is actually being shot and not returning home to their friends and family.

To all of you who have served our country, and to all the spouses who have had to go it alone...worrying if your loved one would be coming home...THANK YOU! Sincerely...THANK YOU!

Now, starting to think about what to write here about this fall look seems so trivial. Well, it is, but I'll write anyway.

When Natalie (www.MackFloral.com) brought over the flower crowns...she said she threw together this bouquet and we could use it or not...but really...it was too beautiful not to use. Bouquets are generally associated with weddings and bridesmaids, but I don't care! We made it work with this fringy boho look.

Speaking of fringy. This top. This is horrible...but I totally forget who the designer is! Akk! I know. Totally bad on my part. It's like 1984Kelley...or something weird like that. Oops. Reason being that the models were allowed to take an item home after the shoot and Ana (other gorgeous model) chose this one and I didn't even think to check it. Oh well.

It's a gorgeous top. The fringe, the weaving, the color. And with Malia's hair and skin color it just looked amazing on her.

So! A couple things! First...I actually decided to do some black and whites! :)  The colors are so good...but then again, so is no color. And if you know me at all...you know I'm a sucker for anything Black, White, or Gray. (No joke...basically my whole house is neutral)

Second thing! For some reason I shot ALL of these vertically! Super weird of me to do.

And third...you may notice that Malia's bottom half (the shorts and boots) are the exact same as the last blog post. Welllllll....that's because we were losing light crazy fast and had to just do some super fast changes.

And again...can't forget about that gorgeous Forever 21 necklace. It totally makes the look go from good to great.

Ok guys...HAPPY FALL and go thank a veteran today!!

>>> XO, Elise <<<

>>> FALL FASHION <<< featuring Forever 21

As I sit down to write this post, I can officially say IT FINALLY FEELS LIKE FALL! I'm sitting at my desk in my cozy sweater, boots, heater blaring and hot coffee. {and my cute pup at my feet}

So...keep in mind with these fall fashion looks that, well...you might want to wear pants. ;)

Malia's look is basically all from Forever 21. This sweater is so awesome. You get the feel of being wrapped in a blanket, but it's so cute and totally flattering. The sleeves are fitted so it doesn't look like you're wearing a poncho and it still shows your shape!

We paired it with cut offs {now's the time to change that to pants} and a lacy top. And of course boots. Also, throwing on that floppy hat can keep your head warm with style.

Ok...so...a little story. Hopefully you don't think it's gross. :)

While we were out shooting...Malia ran in to change and I was just chatting with April (makeup) and Ali (hair). I noticed this butterfly just sitting out in the field close to where we had been walking around. I thought it was weird that it hadn't flown away.

I have a weird issue with things flying at me...birds, moths, and even beautiful butterflies. So I tried to just blow on it to see if it would move. It didn't. April was super brave and just grabbed it with no hesitation. It was dead. Yep...we were playing with dead insects...but it was so beautiful and in perfect condition. So we had to use it in the shoot. I mean...it totally went with the look. :)

Of course I need to mention our lovely makeup artist April (the naked brush artistry) and Ali Pederson (our awesome hair stylist).

HAPPY FALL EVERYONE!

>>> XO, Elise <<<

>>> FALL FASHION <<< featuring Lauren Conrad Runway & Mack Floral

When I was putting together all sorts of looks for this shoot...I always try to find something a little different. Wearable but unique. This dress from Lauren Conrad Runway fits that perfectly. Ana is wearing it with a simple cami underneath and a pair of light pink Lauren Conrad scalloped shorts. 

As the look came together...it dawned on me. This would be the PERFECT bridesmaids outfit! And instead of bouquets...flower crowns (which of course you should have done by Natalie of Mack Florals). I see TONS of bridesmaids dresses. Of course I have some that are my personal favorites. But what I rarely see is originality. I mean, I get it. Many times you have to try and fit all different shapes and heights. But can't you just imagine your group of girls just strutting down the center isle with the front of the dress flowing open? I can just imagine how awesome those photos would be!

Ana's beautiful makeup is done by April from The Naked Brush Artistry. She accomplished that perfect look of neutrals. Edgy enough for our shoot and soft enough for this beautiful look.

Okay guys...tell me what you think of this look! And if you want to contribute to my next seasonal fashion shoot send me an email! ;)

>>> XO, Elise <<<

>>> FALL FASHION <<< featuring Target & Forever 21

This look comes from probably the two most-shopped stores on the planet. Target & Forever 21. I mean, the reasons are pretty obvious. Target: has everything, usually not expensive, actually has really good style in almost every department from home items to clothing...AND biggest plus?! You rarely have encounters with the breed of people that shop at Walmart. **Insert emoji of monkey covering his mouth** Sorry. I said it. I just prefer to shop where people are fully clothed and have most of their teeth, and don't make comments about your toosh (I'm using nicer words here) in the checkout line. Bleh.

 DISCLAIMER!! If you are one of my clients...trust me...you do NOT fall into this breed. ;) I love you all!

And Forever 21. Good Ol' Forever 21...where many, many of us shoppers are 30 and over. Reasons why this store is a gold mine: It's basically impossible NOT to find something. And you can seriously buy like 10 things for under $100.

Umm...time to get to the look. :)

Ana is wearing this SUPER comfy dress from Target. Cost: $23.00. This dress feels like a feather and somehow managed to look awesome on 3 totally different body types. And this olive green color will look so good against that leftover tan from summer.

Now to this necklace. Of course we went to Forever 21 for accessories, because duh...everything is so cheap! Looking through the sea of jewelry...my thought was basically "the bigger the better." We (my assistant Rachelle and I) found this in like the first 2 seconds. It worked with pretty much every outfit we had and was bold without looking crazy. Only downside...it weighs like 10 pounds. BUT! It adds so much to this simple dress.

It's time to get back to Ana for a minute here. One of our models for the shoot. She was gorgeous...and drumroll please...13. Yes. THIRTEEN. If I even inserted a photo of myself at 13 you guys would probably just cry for me. Not joking. I mean not too much has changed except for being 20 pounds lighter, straighter teeth and no uni-brow...most days. ;)

After the shoot, Ana said "Is it horrible if all I want to do is just go home and take off all this makeup?!" We were all like "NO!" She was such a beauty without it.

Of course, again I need to thank April from The Naked Brush Artistry for makeup and Ali Pederson for hair. Geniuses these two.

Ok guys...thanks for reading and HAPPY FALL!!

 

>>> XO, Elise <<<

>>> FALL FASHION <<< featuring Free People & Mack Floral

Fall 2015, here in Northern California, currently does not mean sweaters boots and scarves. We are still hanging out in shorts and tank tops most days. So...while our gorgeous model Malia isshowing you some skin, we are still embracing this fall season...at least in the color scheme. ;)

This amazing dress she has on is by Free People. This is one of the most comfortable, yet stylish Little Black Dresses I've ever had an encounter with. But...as much as I'm in love with this dress...it just wouldn't be the same without this beautiful flower crown. Natalie from Mack Floral stopped by our location to drop off the crowns and immediately EVERYONE on set was Ooooing and Awwwing at these perfect creations. The second Malia put this on...the look was complete.

So, duh. Malia looks fabulous. I mean...even coming in with no hair and makeup she could have rocked it...but the team behind her look did such a fantastic job.

We had April from The Naked Brush Artistry doing her makeup. And Ali Pederson for hair. They are not only so talented, but seriously...they just knock it out of the park every time. And they are just so fun to have around on set. Cause I like to have fun. I mean...if I'm going to have my own business, the least I can do for myself is have awesome people around me. Right? :)

So there you have it! Our first look (of many) for our 2015 Fall Fashion shoot. Tell me what you guys think!

>>>    XO, ELISE   <<<

 

Sophie & Riley || Expecting

I had the wonderful pleasure of photographing Sophie and Riley at their gorgeous Glen Ellen wedding a couple years ago. So when Sophie emailed me that they were expecting their first baby I was so excited to get to plan their maternity session.

Sophie picked out the most amazing, romantic and beautiful wardrobe. I loved every single detail. Even to the tiny pop of color on her necklace.

So. It's no secret that so many guys are just not as into being in front of the camera as their beautiful wives, fiancés, etc. But Riley just seemed so at ease and seriously in love with his glowing wife.

I absolutely would not have changed a single thing about this shoot. Without a doubt one of my favorites of this year.

Bare-faced and Beautiful: featuring Jen Santos

-So, what made you want to volunteer for this project?  I volunteered for this project because I feel socially we are conditioned to see beauty in a certain way. Skin should be smooth and one color, lips should be pink, eyelashes as long as you can make them. In a world with botox, nose jobs, and eyelash extensions, before we end up looking like the capital people from "Hunger Games", we must say "enough!". The truth is I love makeup. I find great joy in having the ability to change my look and love getting new makeup. I am typically not a morning person yet, when I get new makeup I typically jump out of bed in the morning to try out my new product. But where does that end? Leave the health risks out for a minute and ask "why is it necessary to alter your look so much that when you don't have makeup on, you are not even recognizable?" I see this project as a way to get the idea that that you are beautiful not Mac or Cover Girl but you... just the way you are.    

-So, what made you want to volunteer for this project? 

I volunteered for this project because I feel socially we are conditioned to see beauty in a certain way. Skin should be smooth and one color, lips should be pink, eyelashes as long as you can make them. In a world with botox, nose jobs, and eyelash extensions, before we end up looking like the capital people from "Hunger Games", we must say "enough!". The truth is I love makeup. I find great joy in having the ability to change my look and love getting new makeup. I am typically not a morning person yet, when I get new makeup I typically jump out of bed in the morning to try out my new product. But where does that end? Leave the health risks out for a minute and ask "why is it necessary to alter your look so much that when you don't have makeup on, you are not even recognizable?" I see this project as a way to get the idea that that you are beautiful not Mac or Cover Girl but you... just the way you are.    

-Going bare-faced in public can be really scary for some women. How did you feel about meeting me at a very crowded Starbucks?   Going to Starbucks was kind of scary. I haven't seen you in so long and have gained a lot of weight. The thought of meeting you felt scary because I didn't have the ability to hide behind my makeup. I was almost like showing up naked. This sounds extreme but really. Having worn make up since I was 11 years old, It has a sort of safety for me. It has become so much of what I do/ who I am it was like leaving the house without pants on. While I felt no judgement from you, I had all that crap in my head. "Fat", "Ugly", blah, blah, blah.  

-Going bare-faced in public can be really scary for some women. How did you feel about meeting me at a very crowded Starbucks?

 

Going to Starbucks was kind of scary. I haven't seen you in so long and have gained a lot of weight. The thought of meeting you felt scary because I didn't have the ability to hide behind my makeup. I was almost like showing up naked. This sounds extreme but really. Having worn make up since I was 11 years old, It has a sort of safety for me. It has become so much of what I do/ who I am it was like leaving the house without pants on. While I felt no judgement from you, I had all that crap in my head. "Fat", "Ugly", blah, blah, blah.  

-You talked about your two young nieces (1 and 4 right?). What advice would you give them for their future in regards to beauty?    Growing up I was told I was beautiful a lot. My grandma would tell me I was beautiful every time I saw her. This was a huge complement because my grandmother was absolutely breath-taking. She was a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like. She would tell me "you are beautiful but there is nothing more ugly than I beautiful girl with no brain. Due to your beauty you have to work extra hard to show people you are smart as well!" After 9 years of college I think my degree speaks for me.  I want my nieces to know that they are beautiful. While I would love to see them go to college, I understand that is not for everyone. My sister-in-law got her certificate from the JC and is now a home maker. I often envy her ability to "make a home". My sister-in-law is beautiful and seems to hold the weight of the world on her shoulders flawlessly. While I find true beauty in the strength of women, I am realistic on the fact that people are not often judged on how they love their children, the ability to keep their house running, Often being judged by wrinkles, eye shadow and pant size. I wonder how many relationships are missed because of initial judgments and superficiality. Albert Einstein was quoted saying "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." This is analogize to beauty. I believe everyone is beautiful but if you judge someone on their ability to look like a supermodel they will spend their life thinking they are ugly. I hope my nieces can see their beauty and embrace it.    

-You talked about your two young nieces (1 and 4 right?). What advice would you give them for their future in regards to beauty? 

 

Growing up I was told I was beautiful a lot. My grandma would tell me I was beautiful every time I saw her. This was a huge complement because my grandmother was absolutely breath-taking. She was a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like. She would tell me "you are beautiful but there is nothing more ugly than I beautiful girl with no brain. Due to your beauty you have to work extra hard to show people you are smart as well!" After 9 years of college I think my degree speaks for me. 

I want my nieces to know that they are beautiful. While I would love to see them go to college, I understand that is not for everyone. My sister-in-law got her certificate from the JC and is now a home maker. I often envy her ability to "make a home". My sister-in-law is beautiful and seems to hold the weight of the world on her shoulders flawlessly. While I find true beauty in the strength of women, I am realistic on the fact that people are not often judged on how they love their children, the ability to keep their house running, Often being judged by wrinkles, eye shadow and pant size. I wonder how many relationships are missed because of initial judgments and superficiality. Albert Einstein was quoted saying "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." This is analogize to beauty. I believe everyone is beautiful but if you judge someone on their ability to look like a supermodel they will spend their life thinking they are ugly. I hope my nieces can see their beauty and embrace it.  

 

I met Jen about 4 years ago at a good friend's baby shower. She had just had her own little baby herself and I had just found out I was pregnant with #2. We stayed in touch through facebook but no more than that. 

When I put out a plea to have women pose for me bare-faced she immediately responded and made the time in her busy schedule to meet me at a very public place...Starbucks. :) She was absolutely gorgeous...and her eyes...my goodness. You'll have to check out the close ups. 

So, let's get to her story and hear why this project was something important to her.

-What make-up is for women, do you think there is an equivalent for me   I don't believe there is an equivalent for men. 

-What make-up is for women, do you think there is an equivalent for me

 

I don't believe there is an equivalent for men. 

-Do you feel a certain pressure to wear make-up daily?   Absolutely! Being a doctor, I feel like I am supposed to look a certain way. I defy this by wearing jeans and flip-flops in my office everyday. I have gone to work some days with no makeup and I always get asked if I am sick or not feeling well. This happens every time without exception!   

-Do you feel a certain pressure to wear make-up daily?

 

Absolutely! Being a doctor, I feel like I am supposed to look a certain way. I defy this by wearing jeans and flip-flops in my office everyday. I have gone to work some days with no makeup and I always get asked if I am sick or not feeling well. This happens every time without exception! 

 

**See. Her eyes are insanely gorgeous. I couldn't stop staring. And so unique.**

**See. Her eyes are insanely gorgeous. I couldn't stop staring. And so unique.**

Bare-faced and Beautiful: featuring Ashley Cornett

In this new year of 2014 as I saw everyone posting about their resolutions, I started thinking to myself about what was important for me in this upcoming year. It started with me wanting to find value in myself. Hmmm...sound strange? Well...when you are a wife whose husband works long hours, mom of 2, and running your own business 100% solo, finding time to even think about yourself and what you want to do is rare. 

So, I began to dig a little deeper and think about when I feel valuable. What it came down to strangely was that I feel better about myself and more "valuable" when I have a face full of make-up, hair done and have on a good outfit. Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with all of those things...but I began to really dislike the fact of what was making me feel valuable. So...I decided I needed to change that. I am learning that I can feel self-worth with my naked face. Undone hair. Etc. Etc. Then I thought, that if I feel like I NEED to do all those things just to be seen in public and feel good about myself that there must be other girls and women out there who feel, or have felt the same. And so became the Bare-faced and Beautiful Project. 

I want to empower women to not feel ashamed of what's underneath all the make-up and be willing to shine 100% natural. 

So, let's meet my first subject of this project. Ashley. I have so many wonderful things to say about her...but I'll let her get talking:

"Let me just say that I am a girl that loves her makeup. I have always loved getting dressed up, and I am no stranger to the process if getting gussied up to be on stage or in front of the camera. As a model and actress, I understand that my job requires a certain level of commitment to a regular beauty routine. Whether it be a commercial audition or an editorial shoot, I know I want to look my best and reflect my inner confidence and commitment to the project.

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As a woman, however, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the industry's obsession with an unrealistic standard of "perfection." Social media has exploded with video time-lapse "tell-alls" and gives us a glimpse at what retouching really reflects. Women are being photoshopped and retouched far beyond their actual physique. 

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 Pounds are instantly shaved off, pores are shrunk, legs are lengthened, breasts augmented, lips injected, and the list goes on. I am baffled and saddened at these decisions. Because these images then get published all around the globe, girls grow up comparing themselves to these super-shopped images they see every day. What we need to remember is, no one actually looks like that. I was honored to be a part of this project. I believe so strongly that we should embrace what we've been given. We were designed by one who sees us as perfect, unique, and so stunningly beautiful. We are daughters, mothers, wives, and we are each capable of achieving great things. Many people may choose to forever chase after that unreachable goal; they will forever spend their lives in vanity. I say that life was designed to celebrate beauty, not alter it."

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1 Year Photo Shoot with Asher

I have had the pleasure of taking little Asher's milestone pictures ever since he came out of the oven. ;) And let me tell you...I always have the best time working with him and his little family. His creative mama never never disappoints when it comes to thinking up the theme, location and of course...his adorable outfits.

This time around she secured the AMAZING location called Stoke Ranch. It's an old ranch that has these awesome vintage cars, buildings, phone booth, the works...it was so fun to just go there and walk around...but lucky for us, we got to use it as our photo shoot back drop.  Here is only a small hand full of the photos from that day. Enjoy!

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Annnnnd...that's a wrap! 

Model Interview: ALLEGRA

 

 Allegra. 

I had never met Allegra before this fall photo shoot. She submitted her email with all of her details and a few photos to see if I would be interested in using her for the shoot. My first thought was "Wow...she looks like fun!" 

Her vibrant red hair had me at "hello." ;) 

And...guess what...I was right. 

She was super fun and I'm so glad she was a part of this!

Let's get to know her a little. 

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AGE: 18 years young

 

Occupation: Fairytale Princess at Amazing Fairytale Parties

 

Tell me a little about yourself: Im a theater geek at SSU. Who loves mexican food and makeup. I hate essays. Thats about it.

 

Ideal man: I love funny guys with sweet kisses. Exclusively, from my boyfriend Tyler Box. (Prince Charming) ;) 

 

Describe your personal style: Thrifty and Vintage, baby! Keep it old school!

 

What are your thoughts about fashion: This trend going on with camo needs to stop. Other then that... nice job people! Valentino and Chanel will always have my heart.

 

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Favorite Place: Armstrong Woods and Disneyland (I refuse to grow up!)

 

Favorite person: Jean Luc Picard and Frodo Baggins

 

Musical preference: The golden oldies

 

Thoughts about your photographer: Adorable and Sweet! Ready to make the shoot work no matter how crazy things get.

 

 (this was one of my favorites from the whole day!)

 (this was one of my favorites from the whole day!)

 

How do you feel about fall: I ADORE autumn! Perfect cuddle weather. I love being bundled up with warm drinks and beautiful colors.

 

Hobbies: Watching Disney movies, collecting makeup/clothing, acting, singing, dancing, hanging out with my cat, and being joyful 

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Best of 2013

I can not believe that this year is already over! (Well, almost) Seriously, where did the time go? I had the honor of working with SO many wonderful people this year. My clients are all amazing people and I actually find that photo shoots with you all relaxes me! How incredible is that? Because of all of you I absolutely LOVE my job and am so lucky to have spent 2013 with such lovely human beings. THANK YOU! 

So...here's my thank you to you! First...come check out some of my favorites for the year! Second, in the comment section below write the # that you think should win the title of BEST OF 2013! (The numbers are ABOVE the photos)

The winner will win a $100 gift certificate to Elise Aileen Photography. 

The runner up will win a $50 gift certificate to Elise Aileen Photography.

(if by chance you are in more than one photo and want people to vote for you...have them vote for 1 specific photo...it will be the photo with the most votes!)

Now...get to it!! 

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Model Interview: AMARA

Amara. I've actually known Amara for quite some time. We went to elementary school together. :) She has always been such a fun person to be around! Since childhood I've gotten to meet and photograph her insanely adorable identical twin girls too. As I assumed she would be, Amara was tons of fun to have on set...even shocking all of us with a little secret she had been keeping. ;) Let's get to know her a bit. 

-Age:  28

-Tell me a little bit about your family: I'm married to the most kind hearted, genuine, honest man I know. He’s my age and is a CPA. I mural paint and do henna tattooing beside from being mom of two adorable twin girls that just turned 4!

-What is the best compliment you've ever received? I don’t know how true it is, :P but a good friend who’s older than me, once told me that I’m wiser than my age.

-Your look is so exotic! :) What nationality are you? Thank you, I’m full-blooded Palestinian Arab

-What are your thoughts about the photographer? I just have to ask ;) Elise is amazing!! She knows how to capture beautiful moments and is great at understanding her models, whether they be children or adults. I love her trademark lighting in all her photos and her sense of balance and contrast!

-What is your must have beauty product? Aquaphor…I apply it every night to my face. Heals and restores overnight! I love it!

-We all learned a little secret about you on set...do you mind sharing? I’m pregnant!!! I was so jumpy at the shoot..being in the middle of the woods and amongst eerie ruins really got my senses heightened and I just had to blurt it out a little earlier than planned! lol


-Any tips on being a momma of twins and still finding time to try and look put together? Preparation is KEY in my life. I try to have everything prepared ahead of time and it makes everybody’s life  a whole lot easier and smoother…Every day is a whole new adventure and patience has also been key when raising twins. Time will pass nonetheless, so I try not to waste it stressing or worrying...I just try to go with the flow and accept moments and live life gratefully.

-What is your favorite trend for fall or winter? This winter I've really been into hats and headwear more than ever…turbans, vintage beanies, headchains, hairbands.

-What is the biggest life lesson you've learned so far? To always hold true to who are and where you come from, and to never let anything get in the way of what you really love.

-What items are on your nightstand? I have about 20 books stacked up…from Charles Bukowski to  Kenneth Patchen, Khalil Gibran, Henry Longfellow, Baudelaire..the list goes on...an interesting mix…I love to read about art, poetry, religion, anything super existential…Also my trusty aquaphor, hand lotion, prayer book, some art pieces made by my twinnies, my sketchbook and pencils.

-If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would it be and why? My father...I would love to live life through his eyes… his humility emanates through his constant serving and giving to others. He has a huge heart..i only wish to live up to the great person he is. 

-Describe your perfect day from start to finish: Nothing interesting…just literally lounging around with my husband and kids……all day :)  With no plans or obligations, just living and bonding and spending moments together.

-What do you think is the best quality a woman can have? Humility..I think it’s the best quality any single person can have.

Model Interview: ROWYN

Rowyn...I met Rowyn over a year ago when her and a friend volunteered for an artsy shoot I had been wanting to do. She's obviously gorgeous in person, but the camera just loves her. My camera in particular. ;) Earlier this year she hired me to do some shots to expand her portfolio and some of those were my favorite from this year. Those of you who have hired me probably recognize her from my promo cards. Oh...and all over my website. Anyway...when she emailed me wanting to participate in the fall fashion shoot it was kind of a no brainer. Not to mention...I was mostly looking for girls that were all the same size (so that our clothes would fit everyone)...and she fit. Perfectly. She modeled my favorite look from the shoot. This awesome blue, Aztec print dress with the sleek cut out back. Well...let's let her talk...

AGE: 18

IF YOU COULD TRADE PLACES WITH ANY PERSON FOR A WEEK WHO WOULD IT BE? I would say Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue USA. She has so much power and esteem. And she does her job incredibly well. She is a role model to aspiring fashionistas everywhere. 

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER? Elise is AMAZING! She always knows how to make you feel comfortable while you are taking the picture and she is great at capturing your best side, best image, etc. 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE LOOK FROM THE SHOOT, WHY? My favorite look was the blue dress from Ooh La Loft with the back cutout! It was so cute and fun but at the same time allowed enough coverage to be classy. 

IF YOU HAD THE ABILITY TO SPEAK TO AN ANIMAL, WHICH ANIMAL WOULD YOU CHOOSE? My two poodles, or dogs in general. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF DAY, WHY? I am i night owl at heart so I would honestly have to say from 8 pm to 1am. Not good for my sleeping schedule, or the bags under my eyes, but I find that I am the most inspired late at night when I have time to think. 

 HOW DO YOU KNOW ALLEGRA? We became friends in 7th grade and just couldn't get rid of each other! She is my oldest friend and my best friend and I love her dearly! 

IDEAL MAN: Someone who is willing to put up with my craziness! They have to be kind to others and most importantly, taller than me so that I can wear heels. ;)

BIGGEST FEAR: the dark. 

HOBBIES: singing, acting, figure skating, fashion.

 

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 IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? PARIS!!! I am planning on doing the study abroad program there next fall semester and I cannot wait! 

 

 WHAT ITEMS ARE ON YOUR NIGHT STAND? My water glass, some candles, a box of hairties and bobby pins, an amethyst crystal (my birthstone), and a tiny Buddha statue that I got in China Town. 

 WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS? As a freshman in college, I don't think I have my life as put together as I should. Because I have honestly no idea! I have always loved fashion and I think that becoming a stylist would be amazing. But I have also always loved the performing arts, so that is a possibility as well. No matter what I do I want to end up in New York City, or Europe.  

IF YOU WROTE YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY, WHAT WOULD THE TITLE BE? "Rowyn, A Story of Stress, Style, and Sass"

 

Designer Spotlight: Miles & Louis

Now that Fall is in full swing...so is the fashion. One of my favorite women's trends is...menswear. Yes. I think women can look so sophisticated in button up collared shirts, men's watches, a good fitting blazer and...the perfect oxford loafers.  

Like...the GORGEOUS oxfords that come from the shop Miles and Louie

Miles and Louie graciously donated a pair of their beautiful oxfords to me for the fall fashion shoot...and while I SOOO wanted to shoot them on the same day as all of our other items...it was raining. :( Not a full downpour, so we were able to pull it off...but honestly...we wanted to protect these shoes! They are luxe with a capital L. I remember the moment that I first opened the box after it had come in the mail. The first thing that came over me was the smell of brand new leather. Second thing...the quality. There was not an ounce of fake on these babies. 

So, we ended up saving these beauties for a cold, but not so rainy day. You can really wear them for so many things. Obviously...they are perfect for the working woman, but they are something that you could wear running errands...you would just have to be aware that people just might be staring at your feet all day. :)

And now...I am currently drooling over these new beauties in the Miles and Louie shop. *SIGH* Might I recommend you put these on your wishlist for the Holidays? I know I'm going to. ;) 

Side Note! When ordering for women... Ali usually wears a 7.5 and the size 7 fit her well! Might even work if you're a size 8!

Model Interview: JEN

I was just SO glad to have Jen as one of our Fall Fashion models. Tall, gorgeous...and that HAIR! Sheesh...way to make a girl jealous. ;) She was so much fun to have on set and was amazing in front of the camera. Here's a little behind-the-scenes interview:

AGE: 28

JOB: Barista at a Natural Foods store

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CAUGHT SLEEP WALKING? Not that I know of, however I have been caught sleep talking. It was pretty embarrassing when I was young and went to camp and I would talk about what boy I liked!

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH? I'm an excellent problem solver! 

THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER <GOOD OR BAD> ? ;) Elise is amazing!! She made me feel really comfortable and was great about getting everyone organized and set up. 

FAVORITE HOLIDAY? I love decorating the house for Christmas, hands down!

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? I just re-read The Time Traveler's Wife. I love anything sci-fi/futuristic, but throw in a little romance and I'm sold. 

IF THERE WAS ONE FOOD YOU HAD TO EAT EVERYDAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I LOOOVVEEE avocados. They're amazing with anything or by themselves. Yes please! 

FOREST, CITY, BEACH OR SMALL TOWN? I prefer the redwoods to anywhere else. They're so mesmerizing.

WHAT IS THE MOST ATTRACTIVE QUALITY IN A PERSON? Confidence! It's a fine balance between being egotistical and just confident, but when you've nailed it people can tell.

HOBBIES: I like to crochet, play guitar, go on long hikes or spend way too much time on Facebook.

IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY? Audrey Hepburn is my all time favorite actress, and I would love to pick her brain. However, I am not a necromancer so I don't foresee this happening any time soon.

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT OUR LOCATION? Jack London State Park is a gorgeous venue with plenty of mystery and natural beauty. There's a certain sense of eerie calm that surrounds the ruins. 

IF YOU COULD HAVE A HAIR AND MAKE-UP CREW AT YOUR HOUSE EVERYDAY WOULD YOU USE THEM? Probably not, just because I like imperfection and if I had someone making me look so good everyday I would forget about my flaws.

HOW MANY TATTOOS DO YOU HAVE AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE? I have 7 in total, and I plan to get more. My favorite is my giant lotus flower surrounded by waves located on my stomach. I love it so much because of is vibrance as well as it's meaning. It suggests a process of rising up from the mud in order to find the sun. Essentially it's a metaphor for how I strive to live my life.

Super Easy {Chunky} Pumpkin Spice Coffee Fudge

So, let me begin by saying that me in the kitchen is not always pretty or productive. There are a few things that I am awesome at. For example, I have mastered the egg. I can make spectacular omelettes, quiches, fried eggs, veggie scrambles...I've got it down. Aside from breakfast foods and simple stuff like sandwiches, pasta, rice...I always have this strange need to NOT follow the recipe. I don't know what it is...I think it's my artsy side feeling like the more creative I am the better things will turn out. Well...cooking has not always proven this theory true.
Luckily, my husband doesn't think I'm a bad cook! :) thank heaven! But, it's kind of difficult living in the shadow of an older brother who is like self-taught master chef. Seriously, he's won major cooking competitions! But at least I try! (Most days!)

So...all of that said, you'll have to forgive my lack of actual skills in the kitchen.

Randomly though today I decided that while my 2 year old was napping I would make something yummy for Fall with my daughter. She loves helping in the kitchen and we just don't do it often enough.
So, first important thing: it had to be easy and not dirty a lot of dishes. (Have I mentioned I hate doing dishes?!?)
Second important thing: we had to have all the ingredients in the house.

After about a minute of searching on Pinterest I found a recipe! Coffee fudge. All we had for instant coffee was the Starbucks via pumpkin spice. So I thought that would make it even tastier than regular coffee.

Let's get to this.
Here's everything you need:

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 pack Starbucks via pumpkin spice
Tiny chocolate chips (I just dumped a bunch in)
1/4 cup Water
(I also threw in a tbs of coconut oil just for kicks)

 

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First you pour the can of condensed milk in a sauce pan on medium heat. 

Second, get that coffee dissolved in about 1/4 cup of hot water.
Dump the coffee mix into your pan and keep stirring. Then turn the heat down and add chocolate chips.
Here is where I started to stray. I decided to use a package of Hershey kisses instead of the tiny little ones that are made for melting. So, because of that I learned that NOT ALL CHOCOLATE IS CREATED EQUAL! *sad face* The chocolate was NOT melting! My super smooth fudge was looking weird and chunky. I ended up fishing out the huge chunks and adding in more of the little ones.

Time wasted: 15 minutes while I kept hoping it would melt. :(

Doesn't that look so cool? :)

Doesn't that look so cool? :)

Using Hershey Kisses = BAD IDEA!

Using Hershey Kisses = BAD IDEA!

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Too chunky...

Too chunky...

 

So, it was still a little chunky but we finished up our fudge and poured it into an oiled 8x8 pan and stuck it in the fridge.

We put ours on top of our big box of spinach. Kind of ironic.

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Wait about an hour then it's ready to cut into little squares! This stuff is rich, so don't make your squares too big. :) And use a plastic knife! It makes them look much nicer.

And there you have it! Super simple and delish fudge. Really inexpensive too! :)

Ps: all photos were taken on my phone...not a planned photography post. ;)

ENJOY YOUR FALL FUDGE!

Boutique Spotlight: Ooh La Loft

Today's spotlight is about a {pretty awesome} little boutique called Ooh La Loft. I had the pleasure of working with the two owners {twins Michelle and Cristina} last month for a merchandise shoot. I absolutely loved everything in their store and loved how they had decorated. And being a small business owner myself, I like to support other small businesses...especially cute ones. And so! This post featuring items that can be purchased from their shop! :)

This dress. *SIGH* This dress! Yes, I love it. And how amazing does Rowyn look in it? Not only is the print on trend, but it has such fun and unique detailing on the front.

And can we talk about this back?!? It's sexy and sophisticated without being sleazy {because we wouldn't want that would we?}. 

Now let's talk about sweaters. No matter who you are, where you live, where you came from...I honestly think everyone wears sweaters for fall. It's that time of year when you don't always need a full on coat or jacket, but a sweater is just right! 

Ooh La Loft has so many unique and on trend sweaters right now. How do I know? I just bought one a couple days ago. :) Yep...I love it.  

Amara is wearing a sweater that can be purchased there...and it's one of my favorites that they carry. One of the things I love about it is that is has gray, black and brown tones in it...so you can really wear it with anything! And another favorite thing? It's super comfortable. I think I've gotten a little bit old lady-like {in my ripe old age of 28} and I love anything that feels like I'm wearing a robe or pajamas. {Just being honest people}

So! In case you didn't know...they have stores in Downtown Petaluma and the Santa Rosa Plaza (across from GAP). Go check them out if you haven't already and find yourself a staple item for your fall wardrobe!  

 

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Designer Spotlight: Little Things Happen

Here is another look into one of the {amazing} pieces that was donated. This one comes from an awesome shop called Little Things Happen. The designer works with the most beautiful geodes and agate. Allegra is wearing the Tiger's Tooth necklace. The geode is such a beautiful, natural form of ombre. Make sure you check out the shop and let them know who sent you! :)