Spring Equinox

This whole blogging thing is really fun, unless I don't feel inspired, and then it's a bit of a drag. I know that there are countless books on this subject, especially relating to writing, and that they all have the same message. Do not wait for inspiration or you will be waiting your entire life, and nothing will ever be created. Instead, I find myself waiting and my mental todo list keeps hovering over me reminding me that I haven't added a new post since 2016. So here is to throwing out any rules associated with social media, and writing when I have time and content I feel proud of. Or maybe just writing crap (not a judgement) just for the sake of creating something.

The Vernal (Spring) Equinox is here, which feels like a lovely breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. This is an important and potent time to reflect on our lives. Viewing everything from a place of balance we can ask ourselves, what are we ready to release? What do we want to create?

A classic sign of Spring is new life. Buds on the trees, sprouts in the ground and babies of all species being born. With that in mind, I share with you a handful of babies I have been lucky enough to photograph.

In gratitude for health, community and our Mother Earth and all her gifts, Happy Equinox to all!

The Feelings of Abundance Thru Death

I started this post back in August, feeding it some love around the time of the Fall Equinox, and finishing it on Halloween. My mind was telling me to hurry up and finish, but now looking back I can see the symbolism and how my experiences brought me to this point. So I will start with today and move backwards.

Halloween comes during a time where we are moving towards the cold and dark of winter. And sometimes it is hard to see the beauty of life when leaves are falling, darkness is lurking and death is showing it's face as the seasons turn. But for some reason, Fall has always stood to be my favorite time of the year. Maybe it's because my birthday is in September, or maybe it's because I love the smell of wet earth mixed with dead leaves, but something in me feels at home with the melancholy offerings of Fall. I have always seen death as the chance for rebirth. The slowing of space and time, allowing for us all to go inward, recharge, and generate new strength for the impending change of season. This is death. Not an ending, but a new beginning of something often unknown. Death and regeneration are linked in Goddess theology. Birth, growth, death and renewal are a cycle that plays over and over again through natural systems and human lives. Embracing this cycle, we don’t need to fear death, but instead can see it as a stage of life and a passage to some new form of being.

Now, I have totally said it before, but I am in awe of the berries here in the PNW. The abundance that's literally growing on the side of the highway makes those of us who aren't originally from here giddy with sweet delight. But in truth, I am feeling grateful for ALL the abundance that mother nature, the goddess that she is, provides and surrounds us with. The hundreds of apples falling off my parents trees. Picking them by the box full and to eat and press and bake and preserve. The tomatoes grown by our neighbors to can for the winter. Our pantry is filled with jars of nettle tea from this past years harvest. Bags of strawberries in our freezer from our neighbors garden because she grew too many!? I walk outside to find herbs and roots and seeds that heal, nurture and fortify my family and our community.

The list of abundance goes on and on, leaving me in awe, but also asking why we don't always feel this awe? Our natural state is that of total abundance. Meaning, we are whole and lacking nothing, and everything we have ever wanted or needed is already right in front of us. Even as death surrounds us, often leaving us frozen in fear, our true nature exists within us.

This season of death asks us all to shed the pieces of ourselves that do not serve humanity or our highest selves. Asking us to look deep and see the darkness that lives within us. Once we see it and accept that it lives within us, sit with it and let it all die. Ultimately this death of ourselves allows space for transformation, bringing us back to wholeness. Back to a state of total abundance and remembering that death is no barrier to love, and every ending brings a new beginning.

“It’s time to step into personal as well as our collective Darkness with courage and a willingness to ‘take Death as your adviser’ as don Juan advised Carlos Castaneda.

Aja, River & Rainey | Magic

The first few days and weeks after a woman gives birth can be described in so many ways. Enlightening, challenging, exhausting, magic. You wake up one day and you're suddenly sharing your space with another human who you have never met before. This tiny creature cries and sleeps and nurses and nurses and nurses and needs you for its survival and takes up any time that you used to have for yourself. Your old life is gone in an instant, leaving you with a body you don't recognize, and zero instructions on how to navigate this new way of life. But... birth also brings pure joy. The closest love to god you have ever felt. Pride in yourself for accomplishing something so immensely magnificent. Happiness that this creature chose you to be its mama. Gratitude for this body that can create life AND nourish the life it created. Thankful for the challenges, knowing that this time in your life is just a blink and will change again tomorrow, so you cherish each and every second. 

This goddess mama invited me into her space during this vulnerable postpartum period, to photograph her and her now two daughters. This was healing for me. To be able to capture this unique love between mother and babies, in a safe environment, surrounded by... Magic. It was. They were. And I am so grateful. Thank you Aja. You as a woman and a mother exude grace, beauty and strength. I bow to you. 

Whidbey Island Fair

It's that time again... county and state fair time! A time over the summer months where people gather from far and wide for fried food, Four H, and fair rides that look like they are from the 1960's. The Whidbey Island Fair is no exception to the greatness of fair's. This was our first year attedning and I left feeling like I understood this island just a little bit more.

My understanding is that most people go multiple times over the four days that it is open. For us, one day was perfect. The highlights for us were attempting to visit ALL the animal barns, the man on the corner with the bubble wand, the woman making balloon creatures (or in our case sparkle & heart wands), and the merry-go-round. Oh, and the curly fries. I can't leave out the deliciously crunchy curly fries.

If we could do it again, which I'm sure we will next year, I will plan to see the art & agriculture barns, which would really round out the cultural experience for me.

Until 2017!


Nut Hut Kitchen

I LOVE working with small businesses. Especially hard-ass working mamapreneurs who should receive a trophy for all that they do. Meg is both lovely and creative, and the fact that her almond hummus creations sell out every Saturday at the Bayview Farmers Market is a reflection of her drive and refined palate. Check her out... Nut Hut on Facebook & Nut Hut on Instagram.

The Hess Family | sisters

Sometimes you meet people who you just click with, and in the case of Teresa & Corey Hess, it's as if we have walked similar paths leading us to this moment. Teresa and I figured out that we are both from Minnesota, around the same age, and as I imagine it, rolled around the same Minneapolis lakes with our home-girls singing Bone Thugs-N-Harmony or Black Street's No Diggity. (Okay maybe that was just me) But in truth, our husbands worked the same farm job, delivering the same vegetables to the same Minneapolis cafe's, about six years apart. Such an interesting web to find ourselves now living on the relatively remote Whidbey Island.

Teresa recently gave birth to the sweetest little angel baby, Simone Sparrow, who could not be more loved by her two older sisters. It was my goal to capture that love exchange. In fact, the whole family exudes love that is infectious and genuine. And maybe it is because I have a sister who is a huge part of my life, or maybe it is because I have two little girls of my own, but I have a soft spot for sisters. There is nothing like having a sister so share with, steal clothes from, work out insecurities with, or confide in. Sigh. Sisters.

A huge thank you, Teresa, Corey, Rose, Fiona & baby Simone, and big love to you five.

The Stibich Family | the many faces of Sage

One of the things I love about photographing people, families, weddings, is being invited to follow individuals along their journey of life. I was super stoked to photograph Allie & Paul's wedding on the island of Lanai a couple of years ago. And when they found out I had moved to Washington, and lived just over an hour from them, they asked me to photograph them again, with the addition of Sage their son. The loveliness of these three is apparent in the light that shone through the clouds, breaking the rain and wind that is Washington winters.

And every time I get to photograph people, I feel like we shared an experience that bonds you together for a very short time, maybe even just a few moments, but it feels very real to me. And I love it. By the end of this session, Sage was blowing me kisses and giving me hugs, solidifying that these moments are real.

YAN FAM WAY Portland

This past September I had the privilege of attending a workshop taught by a seriously talented and lovely human. I went into it hoping to get a few great tips, but came out of it having learned about who I am as a person and an artist, which is a really big deal for me. I feel like she handed me a key to unlock a door within myself. It's funny how sometimes you just need someone to see you in order to see yourself. Thank you just doesn't do justice, but thank you Yan!

Here are some images taken of the incredibly gorgeous Dimoff family, from the workshop.

Pumpkin Carving | A New Island

What can I say... With an updated website, comes a new blog! And because writing about myself makes me feel like puking, I nervously and hesitantly welcome you. But really, thank you for reading!

My little family up and moved from Maui to Whidbey Island, WA this past July. We left 95 degree weather for, 95 degree weather. At lest that is what July looked like. November looks more like cozy wool sweaters and fires every day, and we couldn't be happier about it.

We have found that Whidbey Island is much more than we had expected. Before moving here we had spent only a handful of extended weekends here visiting my parents. My imagined life here looked more sleep and retired, where time had not only slowed down but also stood still. Instead we have been welcomed with really rad people, a lot of young families, and the continuation of "Island Time" which is fine by me. To get on and off the island you have to plan around ferry schedules, which are generally on time but also dictated by tides and can easily fill up during tourist season, leaving you waiting. And I don't mind having to slow down and wait while the rest of the world hurries on.

Our new community came together for a pumpkin carving party, filled with bonfires, costumes, bobbing for apples and yes, carving pumpkins. It was fun and sweet and was graciously hosted by lovely people. Thank you Courtney, Tom & Maggie!