Final stretch! My due date is one week from today, so I've cleared my schedule, am almost finished with all my client work, and am on the lookout for signs of labor. I've always felt like this kid will hang out in there as long as possible. So comfy and cozy in there, why come out into the cold world before you have to, right? And cold it is. This weekend our highs are in the single digits and lows are below zero. So if I was an infant, I'd most definitely stay in a warm cocoon with an ambient temp of 98.5°F too. Although next weeks highs in the teens isn't much better. That's what happens when you decide to be born in December.Read More
Falling behind on this maternity outfit thing, or rather, the posting of said outfits. But I figure as I approach the end of this pregnancy and am busy focusing on a.) finishing up all my client work so I don't have to worry about it when baby comes and b.) preparing for the actual having of a baby thing, I'm allowed to fall behind a bit.
These photos were taken while I was in Tacoma earlier this month to shoot my final wedding of 2016. My BFF (and doula!), Kristina, took these outfit photos for me during a coffee outing to one of my favorite Tacoma coffee shops, Bluebeard. The lovely folks at Bluebeard gifted me a bag of coffee beans as a baby shower gift and it felt a little like things coming full circle. Back when Dan and I got married we had Bluebeard coffee beans as our wedding favors, and now we have a little taste of Tacoma back home in Anchorage.Read More
Over the years, as both a blogger and wedding/portrait photographer, I've acquired a good collection of camera gear. Lenses, camera bodies, accessories, they're all super valuable necessities for my business, and so finding a perfect bag for carrying them when I need to be on the go is essential. There are tons of awesome companies out there who are making camera bags that not only have amazing functionality, but are gorgeous.Read More
Today I voted!! Here in Anchorage we had some early voting polling places open, so I took care of business before the madness next week, mostly because I'm traveling on election day and I'm not sure if I'd have enough time in the morning to get it done! I'm actually glad I'll be traveling that day, it'll keep me distracted from the stress, though I suppose most of the stress is in the evening when polls are closing and votes are getting counted, so perhaps I won't avoid it after all.Read More
I say "fun" wishlist because there are certainly plenty of things that I still need that fall into the "practical" and "necessary" camp, but damn if it isn't more fun to shop for the cute things, am I right? Granted there are some things that are both cute and necessary, like crib sheets, or swaddle blankets, but I probably don't need a fox hat or tiny moccasins. But, also I totally need them. I mean, come on. I have concluded that my child will probably become the most fashionable member of our family because tiny human clothes are super fun to shop for (though I will say I'm looking forward to giving myself a postpartum wardrobe refresh).Read More
If you guys follow me on Snapchat or Instagram stories, you probably saw how excited I was about the snow we got last friday. After years of not having a snowy winter (I luh you, PNW, but I missed me some snowy winters!), that first morning of waking up to a crisp, white landscape felt like waking up on Christmas morning. Usually that first snowfall doesn't stick around very long either, but it's been cold enough that it's stayed put!
These days I feel like I have the opposite of a phantom limb. Instead of feeling something that isn't there, I don't feel something that is there: my bump. I forget that it's so big and then I'll go to touch it and it's like, whoa! It is certainly a most bizarre experience to have your body be taken over and change so drastically in such a relatively short amount of time. I've been going to some prenatal yoga classes and it's funny to be among a group of other women who are all dealing with the same thing, but who are all at varying stages of pregnancy. It's weird to look back on the days when I wasn't showing yet. I'm entering the final stretch here pretty soon, and I think with the holidays fast approaching it'll make everything go by even faster. Honestly, I still wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and feel like I'm still dreaming. Being pregnant still doesn't seem real, even though I'm, oh, almost 8 months into this process.
Coat : Tulle | Leggings : Jessica Simpson via Motherhood Maternity | Boots : Vogue Footwear
Top : Motherhood Maternity | Plaid Shirt : Thrifted
Welp, I'm caught up on outfits now! Well, sort of. Technically I'm 33 weeks now, but I'm such a procrastinator that I usually shoot my outfits on the last or second to last day of my gestation week, which means that I probably will never have an outfit posted in the actual gestation week I'm currently in. I can't remember if us pregnant gals aren't "supposed" to wear horizontal stripes, but I don't care because this dress is soft and stretchy and feels like jammies.
As you can see, the lake is now frozen, though only a couple inches, not nearly thick enough for walking on yet. It's interesting seeing the world around me transform to winter as I transform into a larger and larger pregnant person. The more wintery it gets around here, the closer I get to having a real live tiny person. We haven't gotten snow yet, but it's supposed to snow soon, and the peaks of the mountain peaks surrounding town are all dusted with snow creeping down closer and closer.
Last Saturday we had my baby shower, and despite the Alaskan winter knocking on our door, I decided to go for a southwest inspired theme for the party! Which basically meant I could buy more cacti without feeling bad about it. Pretty much everything was DIY, except for the macarons (which I've made before, but was in no mood to bake a fussy dessert. These ones from Sweet Caribou here in Anchorage were to die for).
My mom baked the cake and made the frosting and I frosted it and decorated it. It was an apple spice cake and super yummy! I'll make sure to grab the recipe from her and share it here soon! The pumpkin cupcakes and maple frosting is from a recipe I posted on the blog a few years ago.
One of my favorite little DIY details was the "Happy Pushing" sign. Originally it was going to be a cake topper, but ended up being too wide for my skinny little cake, so I popped it into two baby cactus pots and it just hung out on the table. It was a fun and simple DIY, so I'll be posting the tutorial soon!
I wore basically the same outfit as my last outfit post (just trading out the hat for a succulent flower crown to go with the southwest theme), so all outfit details/links will be on that post!
After looking up baby shower activities and grimacing at how many corny, weird baby shower games were out there, we opted for keeping things simple. One of the only 'programmed' activities was a birth/labor affirmation prayer flag. Everyone who came wrote a short encouragement or affirmation for me to focus on during labor, which I'll be transferring to some home-made "prayer flags" (basically just little square bunting flags) that I can take to the hospital when I'm in labor to meditate on and gain encouragement and strength from.
With only 7 weeks left to go (give or take some days/weeks depending on when this human decides to make an entrance), things are getting weirdly real!
Mmm, lazy Sundays are so nice. We went out to brunch this morning with family, then went shopping around town for some warm clothes, since winter is fast approaching! Our lake is totally frozen now and the nights are falling well below freezing, which means snow should be here shortly!
Last night I was over at my parents' and they have been performing an archeological dig of their home office this past week, unearthing thousands of power cords to devices that probably don't exist any more, tons of documents that are useful only for shredding and recycling, and old laptops which function mostly as external hard drives for photo storage. Anyway, they'd pulled out my mom's old laptop from circa '06-'08 and it's screen saver was a slideshow of old photos taken during those years. One of the big things that happened was our 2007 family cross-country RV trip and hidden amongst the photos of us standing in front of national monuments and at national parks, there's a photo of a 70's Winnebago RV. It's not a Brave, but it's the same generation as my Braves, and I remembered how that trip galvanized my love for them, and my desire to live mobile. I went back to college that fall and started making art about and of Winnebagos, and a year after graduation, got my first Brave.
As far as talismans go, I don't recommend something that takes an oversized garage to house, but we all have those talismans that we hold dear that represent more than just the object itself. While what the Brave represents for me has always been in my heart, that summer of 2007, being on the road with fellow RV residents, and finding my love for 70's Winnebagos galvanized that meaning into something more tangible and real. My Brave represents freedom, living life on my terms, living sustainably, feeling wild and untamed, exploration, creativity, the beauty of necessity, being in nature, the sacred sanctuary of the road, meeting new adventurous humans, and so much more. The Brave encapsulates so many of the things I most value in life. Like a locket worn daily, I keep the image of her close to my heart, reminding me of those things.
My talisman is a ridiculously large vehicle, what is yours? What is the image or object that always hones in on what you value, what you desire for your life, what makes your creativity come alive?
Starting to feel kind of like a house, which makes sense, because there is an ever-enlarging human residing inside me. Two more months of this, woof! Last night we built my crib, so the baby's room is slowly, very slowly, coming together! I've been enjoying my lazy, slow mornings snuggling in bed with Dusty, knowing the my days of full nights of sleep are numbered.
The past couple weeks I've been so focused on shooting weddings and sessions that I've dropped the ball on organizing and decorating the apartment. It's hard finding new places for everything to go, and I desperately want to paint all the walls and make things feel fresh, but stuff takes time. I forget that in our old house I'd left our living room half painted for about 6 months, and that it took all of the 3+ years we lived there to get every room looking the way I wanted. I can be so impatient at times, I think of a project and want to do it immediately. But that's not the way life works always. So I'm learning to be more patient and take projects as I can.
Top : Thrifted (Forever 21) | Jeans : Flying Monkey | Boots : Kensie Girl
Two months to go and I'm starting to feel very pregnant. It's still so bizarre to me that I even am pregnant. Sometimes I'll just stand in the mirror and be like, is this real life? Still haven't started working on the nursery. Still haven't come even close to picking a name. Have bought some clothes, and my baby shower is on Saturday, so this baby thing is sinking in at least a little! A stranger asked me when I was due yesterday, so I guess I'm at the point now where I look actually pregnant, not just ambiguously rotund. Now excuse me while I go take a weeklong nap because I'm an insane person and scheduled a 15 hour travel day with 3 flights at 7 months pregnant...
If you guys know me, you know I can't just have a regular fridge. In my last three places I've re-covered my fridge with contact paper, and even the Winnie(s) got a chalkboard fridge! Refrigerators can be ultra boring, especially if you're in a rental. And if you're renting, it's not like you can paint it or replace it, so you're stuck with it. Not so! Ladies and gentlemen, contact paper is your fridge's best friend.
I've used chalkboard contact paper, woodgrain contact paper, and marble contact paper to cover fridges and I like all three (though I will say the seam on the chalkboard contact paper is more obvious than the other two, just because it's black and the white chalk makes a little line where the two edges of contact paper meet).
First thing you need to do is remove the fridge door handles, which is very easy. There's usually just a screw on top the door and either on the bottom of the door, or on the bottom front of the door. Unscrew both screws and the handle pops right off. You can screw the handle back on after applying your contact paper, but I liked how clean it looked without the handle and it's perfectly easy to open without a handle.
Applying the contact paper to the fridge is pretty straightforward. I did two vertical pieces of contact paper on the front (one full width, and then one to fill the remaining space), and then the sides also took two vertical pieces, again, one full width and then a smaller strip to complete the side.
Measure how much you need for each piece as you go, cut the piece and then pull a few inches of the backing off to start applying. Make sure your measurements include enough to wrap around the edges of the doors. Apply it to the front of the door, leaving the edges loose to wrap once you've got the front stuck on. Pull the backing off and smooth the sticky side to the fridge in increments so you don't get air bubbles. Once the front is stuck on, go around the edges and stick them down. You'll need to cut a little slice out of the the corner so it lays flat.
Continue that process around the whole fridge till it's all covered!
If you want to put the gold border around the front of the doors, measure how far you want the tape from the edges of the door (I measured 1.5 inches) and put pencil marks at that measurement to give you a guideline for where the edge of the tape will go. Once you've got all your tape placement measured out, you can start sticking the tape on!
Cut a slight diagonal on the end of the tape and put the point right on the corner where you measurement marks are. Stick it down making sure it lines up with the other measurement marks. When you get to the end, cut it at a diagonal again so the point is in the corner. Repeat that process until you've got all your lines done! Now revel in the awesomeness of your swanky new fridge! And for only about 12 bucks!
Fall flavors are some of my favorites, and with chilly mornings and the leaf covered ground, I'm totally in full-on fall mode. Besides the obvious (pumpkin), fall is full of amazing flavors, from winter squashes, to apples, and everything is hearty and filling. And, well, it wouldn't be a fall recipe list without plenty of pumpkin recipes, which I have included aplenty. My stomach is growling just putting this post together!
Fall is in full swing and I'm so happy. I'm having a little baby shower/blessingway next weekend and my mom and I have been testing out cake/icing flavors (and sort of unsuccessfully attempting to learn how to naked-ice a cake without making it look ugly). We tested out this cake + icing recipe pair last night and it was super tasty, but we've still got some work to do on getting the icing to actually look like a nice naked cake. Who knew a naked cake would be harder to do than a regular iced cake? Not me.
Either way, moral of the story is it's fall, so pumpkin cakes with maple cream cheese icing are totally in, which makes me a happy camper. I'm actually not a PSL person (or a Starbucks person, really, for that matter), but I have always loved fall flavors. My wedding was in November and we had pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (and red velvet cake, mmmm) and they were delicious. The whole pies-as-wedding-cakes thing hadn't hit the mainstream yet, but in retrospect, I totally would've had pumpkin pie and apple pie at my fall wedding too. Aaaand now I'm craving pie.
I was introduced to Katie's rad business, Odd Daughter Paper Co. last year when I saw one of her amazing little prints in Moorea Seal's shop. I had my eyes on it for a while and now the little cactus print is hanging on my wall. Her illustration style is so quirky and fun and her cards are hilarious and perfect. Hallmark ain't got nothin' on Katie's cute and totally relevant cards.
Get to know more about Katie (spoiler alert: she wasn't planning to become an illustrator and didn't go to school for graphic design or illustration!), her creative process, and how she ended up making cute cards for a living in our interview below! And because you're gonna want to snatch up some of her cards and prints, you can get 15% off in her shop with the code "TACKY15" now until October 13th!
Tell us about your creative business! What do you do? How did it start? Where do you want to take it?
I'm a graphic designer / illustrator and I have a stationery line -- all under the name Odd Daughter Paper Co. Over five years ago I started painting cards one by one and selling them at a local farmer's market. I slowly started refining my style and after a while I began getting my designs printed. I truly love seeing them screen printed, letterpressed and/or detailed with gold foil! I studied Interior Design, so this isn't the path I expected, but it is definitely the one I'm passionate about.
What do you do to keep your creative juices fresh and flowing?
My goal is to design cards that you'll want to give to your BFF, sister, husband/wife. With that said, spending time with friends and family helps to keep me inspired! Conversations and funny moments with people are often what spark my card ideas. I also try to get outside, spend time going for walks and practice yoga.
What is your favorite part about having a creative business?
My favorite part of having a creative business is being able to call my passion "work". Yes, there is a ton of work (admin, managing wholesale, shipping orders, etc) that isn't drawing/ designing.... but still. The fact that my job revolves around something that I love is pretty darn cool.
Do you have a routine that helps you stay balanced? If so, what do you feel is most important to your routine?
I've had a couple different routines since leaving my day job to work on Odd Daughter full time. At the moment, I'm working part time at a local floral shop. It helps by adding structure to my routine and schedule. I basically split time between the flower shop and working on design work at my studio. Aside from that structure, I still need to continue to refine my routine!
What are the biggest struggles associated with having a creative business?
My biggest struggles have been 1) Financial and 2) Getting stuck in the lie that "my work isn't good enough". Still working on both of those! ;)
Other than what you create for your business, do you have any other creative pursuits that are merely for your own pleasure?
Right now, I see my work at the floral shop as a creative pursuit that I'm able to enjoy for fun. Over the past 5 months (since starting work there), I've learned so much about floral arranging and love that the act of "designing an arrangement" complements my graphic design and illustration style.
What other makers, creative folk, shops, instagrams, etc. are inspiring you at the moment?
I'm currently listening to Joseph's song Blood & Tears on repeat. They are amazingly talented sisters and such an inspiration. I also love the shop Shorthand in Los Angeles. It has the best stationery / office supplies in all the land (aaaand they carry some of my work!).
What was the path that brought you to where you're at with your creative business right now? Any specific, notable moments you remember that led you to where you are now?
The path that led to where I am right now has been windy, difficult and rewarding. A significant turning point took place when I graduated with my degree in interior design; it was during a recession and I knew I wasn't going to get a design job. During that period (of working a slightly-design-related-admin job), I realized that I was more interested in graphic design and illustration, rather than interior design. I began poring over every design blog I could find -- and that was definitely the beginning of my journey. Leaving my full-time day job about 18 months ago was also a significant moment. I've since taken on some part time work... but that moment of saying "I'm going to choose to pursue my business and give it the time it deserves" was equal parts amazing and terrifying.
Make sure you head over and check out Odd Daughter Paper Co.'s shop (and use the 15% off discount code, "TACKY15". Expires Oct 13.), and give them a follow on Instagram and Facebook!
If you know of a rad lady who runs a creative business making super awesome stuff who you think should be our next Maker of the Month, submit them at the bottom of the page here! We love learning about new BA Chicks making stuff, running business, and being generally kick ass and creative.
All photos c/o Odd Daughter Paper Co. by Marissa Maharaj
It's been fun returning to old photo haunts in Anchorage. Many years ago, before my first Brave trip, I took photos at this spot with the Brave. I was a couple months from setting out on a huge adventure, and that photo set is still one of my favorites. Here we are again, a couple months from another huge adventure, taking photos in the same spot. This time last year I was buying tickets to Paris, and now I'm researching strollers online... crazy how much difference a year makes. But I like the change. I actually find myself a little disappointed if, at any point during the year, I look back to 1 year ago and could've imagined myself where I am.
The past few years have felt a little doldrum-y, doing the "normal-life" thing in Tacoma, and even though getting pregnant, moving back to Alaska, and living next door to my parents might not feel like the most adventurous of changes, I'm glad for a new life-scenery. Getting un-stuck takes that first step of actually doing something new and different, so even if where I'm at in the present isn't where I want to end up, at least I'm moving towards it.
Tee : c/o Modcloth | Skirt : Thrifted | Jacket : Modcloth | Necklace : c/o Moorea Seal
Shoes : c/o Seychelles | photos by Dan
Welp, as of today, I'm 30 weeks pregnant. Only 10 more weeks to go, and I'm almost caught up on posting these maternity outfits! It's crazy to think I only have 10 more outfits left! I might end up photographing more than one per week as the end approaches, just because it's almost a bummer only having 10 more bump outfits to rock! Of course, in my final weeks we'll be in the throes of winter up here, so maybe I'll rethink that idea when it's below freezing and snowing outside...
Investing in your own creative self can be hard to focus on, especially if you're also running your own business, wrangling kids, working full time, or just getting through life in general. Doing anything that fosters your own creative life can feel like a luxury that you just can't afford, but there are some simple little things that can help infuse that creativity into your life and help grow that aspect of yourself. A lot of us spend too much time looking at other creative people and thinking about how green the grass of their creative lives looks, wishing ours was as lush, while we neglect watering our own creative grass. It can feel daunting to even start watering when we look at the crunchy, ugly, brown grass we're sporting, so here are three easy, simple ways to begin caring for your creativity.
1. Journal every day
This one can be hard to stick to, but I find that it's much easier if I get into a routine with it. I find that I like to end my day with a journal sesh, so I can decompress and hash through everything that happened that day, but I also know that starting your day with writing a few pages in your journal can be great too. Having a blank slate mentally, without all the crap from your day cluttering your mind, can be really good for getting into your true thoughts. I used to be a crazy good at journaling in high school and college, I have notebooks full of entries for years, but once I started blogging I pretty much stopped altogether. I've been trying to instill this habit again because, honestly, blogging publicly is no replacement for having a personal, private journal where you can be 110% uncensored and really just get it all out there. It's therapeutic and, even if you don't express yourself creatively through writing, journaling can really help a creative mind feel more fresh and inspired. Maybe it's the process of just getting all the stuff out that's clogging our brains creatively. Clearing the headspace and making room for creative thoughts to flourish.
If you have a hard time with figuring out what to write, or blank out when your pencil hits the page, having some prompts can really help get your brain flowing. Googling "journal prompts" is a great way to find, literally, thousands of prompts to give you direction, and you can even search for more specific directions like, "journal prompts on creativity." Sometimes it just takes a while for your brain to be able to open the floodgates, so you have to prime it a little bit and get the juices flowing.
2. Find your play
Creativity is inherently playful. When you think about kids, they're SO creative, and SO good at playing. They don't care about what something is supposed to look like or supposed to be. There is no right or wrong way to play. As adults we've un-learned this and become really good at feeling like we're doing things wrong. A lot of us have to re-train our brains to be able to even accept playing, especially playing with no goal or purpose, as something acceptable to do. I am incredibly guilty of this. I feel like everything I do has to have a goal or serve a purpose and if it doesn't, then I'm wasting time that should be spent working one something. It's hard to convince my brain to release that and to just do something purely for play. But play and creativity are intertwined and squelching one can only squelch the other, so investing in things that are purely play for you will infuse your creative self with new life
3. Commit to actually making
With stuff like pinterest and instagram and infinite scrolling, it's easy to do a lot of "becoming inspired" and consuming of inspiring ideas... but never actually doing anything. We want to do stuff because we're so damn inspired all the time, but it's easier to scroll through pinterest one more time than actually get off our butts and actually make. Being inspired can certainly be great for creativity, but when the ratio of getting inspired time versus actually making stuff tilts so heavily in the direction of getting inspired, you don't actually do anything with all that inspiration. I fall into this trap all the time, because being inspired kind of feels like making. But nothing can take the place of actually making stuff when it comes to cultivating your creativity. And while getting inspired by others' work can be nice, there's nothing that can replace making your own work for growing as an artist and honing your own personal style, regardless of what kind of medium you prefer working in!
Oof, you guys. The day after shooting a wedding I feel like laying around and doing absolutely nothing. Like, someone just come make me food and give me foot massages and complete my to-do list, K? Luckily I only have two more weddings to shoot this year before I'm on "maternity leave." Thankfully things worked out so my due date was smack dab in the middle of the off-season for weddings! I'm going to be taking on lots more portrait and boudoir sessions this next year, just because it'll be nice to have shorter sessions than a full wedding day, which can be 12+ hours. I've also been really drawn towards the more intimate day-to-day moments that can be captured with lifestyle portrait sessions, so it's cool that my creative leanings are lending themselves towards those kinds of sessions too.
My outfit photo sessions have been doubling as re-acquainting myself with local photo locations! It's fun going back to old spots that I used to shoot at and finding new spots that are awesome where I could take clients! This spot is actually just in my front yard, and I used to take outfit photos here way back in the day, but further into the woods. Since I've been away, though, there was a house built on the vacant lot that was there, so no more traipsing through the woods next door for me any more!