June 29, 2010

Hate The Bird, Love the Color

This past weekend I did something I have not done in a long time. I painted. Which is a shame because I am one of those rare birds that loves to paint. There's something so soothing to me about taking an afternoon and erasing the old with something new, bright and colorful.

I lived in rentals for far too many years. Those all had boring white walls, but I was never invested enough in them to do anything about that. The last time I painted was when I was living in my spacious one bedroom in small town Michigan. Yes, that too was a rental, but it was a rental that was plastered in floral wallpaper and pink walls. Some of it had to go.

It wasn't until I moved into Mike's place that I felt some permanence. And it was shortly after I moved into Mike's place that I noticed I hated the paint colors. The bedroom color isn't too bad, but rest of this place is an offensive neutral. Yeah, I know, I didn't think neutrals could be offensive either but they are. We have offensive neutrals and I want them gone. So I started small. Small being our bathroom.

Oh lordy people, our bathroom is small (as you will see). And it is the only one we have, so really I wanted to try to make the best of out of it, because honestly, I really truly did hate it. But no more. It is now easily my favorite room in our house.

Here is what made me have such a drastic change of heart.
Ok, here we are facing west, toward my shower. From this angle things don't look too different (aside from the tile, but I can assure I did not change the tile color. That's just natural versus artificial light.) They don't look all that different because they really can't. It's not like I was going to move the tub. But I did buy a new shower curtain - a white one that definitely lightens up the space.
Here you can begin to see some of the bigger changes, namely the paint. I don't know what the previous color was called, but I can only describe it as a dingy, pale green. The new color is Seagull. I hate the bird, but I love the color. It's a light blue with a tinge of gray.

This photo also demonstrates Mike's main contributions to this remodel. I painted but he rehung the mirror as well as completed some minor electrical work. When I decided to paint, Mike did something he wanted to do for quite some time. When his place was built, the mirror was hung to a standard height, but Mike is not of standard height. He couldn't see his entire face in the mirror. He decided to raise the mirror along with the lights above it. That simple change I think made this remodel completely worth it for him. He also hung the shelf above the toilet, but I'll discuss that story after the next photos.
That white shelving unit was the bane of my existence in this condo. And it's my own stupid fault. Last year on a trip to Home Depot I convinced Mike we needed it for bathroom storage. I didn't have anywhere to put my things as he was already quite settled into his own place. Well it was bigger than I thought, so when it went into the bathroom I instantly knew it was a bad idea. It was like having another person in there at all times. Well when I took it out to paint the walls I realized it was not going back in. The room immediately felt twice as big.

I had to convince Mike to add the shelf above the toilet. That was a serious negotiation which included demonstrations prior to its purchase to convince Mike that he wouldn't hit is head on it all day everyday. It also took some serious paring down on my part. I had a ton of crap just sitting in the storage unit which is now in the dumpster out back. The cats like the change as well. They've rotated turns taken up residence on the bottom shelf of the cabinet which is now sitting in a nook in our living room.
The only problem with the shelving unit being gone is we now need a new permanent home for our towels. They took up the top two shelves in the cabinet (when they weren't hanging on the back of the door). Mike hates the back door hook as well. He deems it ghetto. So at some point we'll add some towel racks in that space between the door and the frame on the wall. The frame on the wall by the way has four of my favorite coastal photos from our California trip. because they are coast line, they all already had blue in them so it goes with the remodel.

There are a few other odds and ends I still need to take care of. I need to do some paint touch ups, we need to purchase and hang a toilet paper holder and we purchased a towel rack for above the toilet that is too large. That needs to be returned and a new smaller one hung. I bought new bathmats and a new soap dispenser tonight but didn't feel the need to photograph the bathroom again because of those small changes. The changes that we already did made me so happy that really the rest is just icing on the cake - a giant seagull-colored cake.

June 23, 2010

Over My Hump Day

It's hump day. It rained most of the day here in Chicago. I was supposed to go to an outdoor concert tonight with my co-workers but that didn't happen thanks to tornado warnings. I was a little bummed about it. I also got some sad news about a family member tonight. So yeah, today isn't necessarily a banner day here in Chicago. I could use a little lifting of my spirits.

These did the trick.

These are from my session last weekend. I had a fantastic time hanging out with this family and getting to know Zoe. Zoe is a friend of Jack's. You remember Jack! So yeah, I had a feeling this would be a good session. More to come.

Oh and happy almost Thursday.

June 20, 2010

Everyone's Doing It

Apparently it's what the cool kids are doing - changing their blogs. I saw Blogger added some new templates, and I think it's got everyone thinking they must shake things up. I noticed new designs tonight on at least three of the blogs I regularly read. (Hi Kelsa, Lexi and Megan!)

Being the lemming that I am, I decided to do a small change to my blog as well, but just in the color scheme. I have so many photos posted at this point that I'm always afraid that changing my blog drastically will alter everything I've already put up. And I'd kind of like to keep my photos as is. I've spent way too much time formatting them to have them all wiped out with a mindless redesign.

So my blog change was a minor cosmetic one, like a Botox treatment of blog updating. But it serves another purpose. I got it stuck in my head last week that I need (NEEEEEEEEEEEED) to repaint my bathroom. I've been itching to paint the entire condo for a little while but the only task that seems manageable at this point is the non-tile portions of the four tiny walls of my bathroom.

I really do love my and Mike's place with the exception of our one bathroom. It is small. It's closet-sized. Mike and I never get ready in it at the same time because we cannot. It's impossible. In fact I kick the cats out of there in the morning because they take up too much room. And for some stupid reason a year ago I decided what we really needed to add to our bathroom was a shelving unit that took up floor space. A year later, I realize we do not. We need the exact opposite - a wall-mounted shelving unit to hang above the toilet. So yeah, I guess I'll be doing more than painting the walls, but painting the walls is a nice start.

I'm thinking that by redoing this one room in our house which I like the least that one, I'll start to like it more. And two, I'll be motivated to continue on with the house projects. This whole condo could use a fresh coat of paint.

Mike and I went to our local Sears on Saturday. And while Mike browsed the tools, I took every available blue paint sample there was. I have 10 different shades of blue, and I need to pick one. I think one sample is the same color as my new blog background. The bathroom already has tan tiles, a tan shower curtain and white fixtures and molding. So dear blog readers, while you may be noticing my blog changes what you're really seeing is my bathroom remodel beginning to take shape. Now if only painting my bathroom were as simple as changing a blog background.

June 14, 2010

This Third Time Was Charming

I am well-acquainted with Shayla and her family, and I feel like you all should be now too. I photographed her and her parents for the third time a few weeks ago. Since I don't have too many repeat customers (yet) I get worried that my ideas won't be fresh, and that my subjects will find themselves saying, "Didn't we do this last time?" Well that did not in any way happen with this photogenic family.

I am in love with this shoot and am about to share more photos in one post than I think I ever have before. The light was just so perfect. Honestly, we don't get a lot of great light in the Midwest. But I learned that this time of year around 6 p.m. it could not get any better.

We started at The Bean and used the reflections to our advantage.
So you all remember Shayla right? She's the same little girl from this shoot. She's now one-year-old. That's hard for be to believe because the first time I photographed her, she was still in her mom's tummy.


The Bean and its reflection was great for photos, but poor little Shayla bumped her head on it. It took her a little while to recover, so we took it easy once we made it over to the lawn at Pritzker pavilion. Her mom tried to comfort her a bit.

But really, she just needed to have a moment.
I had to post those for all you who think all I get are smiling, happy kids. Shayla was, but she had her moment too. And don't worry, her mom made sure I snapped pics of this Shayla too. I like to think I capture kids as they are, and sometimes they cry.

This is the face she currently makes all the time.

How cute are her little "Shayla" undies!?!

We left the grass and rounded a corner to find some beautiful, purple flowers and some of the most golden beautiful life I've ever seen. I can safely say that some of the following photos are among the most best I've ever taken.

As hard as it was to walk away from the light, we did. And then we made our way over to the reflecting pools in Millennium Park. This was an awesome idea as Shalya was fading but absolutely loved the water.
I snapped that last pic of Shayla and her dad and then she was spent. I couldn't have asked for antyhing more though. I loved, loved, loved this shoot.

Shayla, Carly and Bun, I can't wait to do it again. Lucky number four! But I hope you all are feeling a little better next time.

June 12, 2010

A Great Day for a Parade

I'm not gonna lie. I had a very good Friday. I had a great lunch, met up a friend for coffee and the best part, left work mid morning to attend the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade that took place just a few blocks away from my office.

It was estimated that about 2 million people were in attendance, so it's not like my coworkers and I got a spot up front. However, we found some room under the el tracks and hoped to catch something. All the spots on higher ground were already taken. And the cool part about watching the parade under the el, was that every time a train passed overhead, the conductor slowed down, honked his horn and waved as he went by.

Higher Ground

 Thankfully the parade organizers had the fans in mind and put the players all on doubledecker buses. So even though we were at ground level, we saw them.


Now I have to say, I am a Red Wings fan through and through. I've been to two of their parades. And seeing this one made me a little nostalgic for the team that made me first fall in love with hockey. But seeing my hometown boys in all there red and black glory, well that was pretty cool too.

June 8, 2010

A View from the Top

Ok, well I'm not really on the top, but it feels like it some days. Remember how I started a new job a few months ago? Well that new job came with an office with a view. This is my view.

Office with a View

I love it. Even on gloomy days like today. Obviously this photo was not taken today. Today I had no view. But I've realized I'd rather see the gloom than the same old boring four walls everyday.

June 7, 2010

Going to the Chapel

Erik and Jessica's wedding was a decade in the making. I felt absolutely honored that they chose me to capture this most important day in their relationship. So here are a few of my favorites from their wedding day.







I absolutely love this quiet moment with Jessica and her pastor shortly before the ceremony started.



I found it incredibly sweet that even though their relationship is far from new, Jessica still was emotional walking down the aisle to her future husband.

Jessica and Erik also did a beautiful job of including their two children in their wedding. Here they are lighting the unity candle as a family.

Their pastor made both Jessica and Erik write their own vows, which was incredibly touching. Before the wedding started, Jessica's pastor asked if she wanted to hold the microphone while reciting her vows. Jessica didn't. But she said could do it if Erik held the mic. It's a small gesture, but I thought it was incredibly telling of their relationship that in such an important moment, she knew she could get through it with Erik's help. I'm pretty sure the photo below was taken when Jessica mentioned in her vows how she patiently waited 10 years for this day to happen.


And then we were off for some photos in downtown Plymouth.



Their kids, by the way, are adorable.





Their cake looked good, but the massive sweets table they had totally stole the show.


first dance

dad,mom dance

The bouquet and garter tosses were fun to watch, full of great facial expressions and action shots.

Following that, there was dancing. Lots and lots of dancing, by guests young and old.


She was my absolute favorite. She just didn't want to leave the dance floor.


Jessica and Erik, thank you both so much for inviting me to be such an integral part of your big day. I had a wonderful time meeting you and your closest family and friends. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness.