In Category: ‘Personal’

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but for us, 2012 was a blur!  As wedding, senior, family and portrait photographers, we’re definitely grateful for all of the business that kept us in the throes of busyness the past twelve months, but before the pages on the 2013 calendar start flying by, we’re taking time out to reflect, recharge, and make a plan.  Our goal for this New Year is to be clear about our goals…whether it’s carving out time to just sit and watch the clouds go by…doing the work to make our photography dreams come true…spending time with friends in Reno and Tahoe…or going on new adventures…we want to be deliberate about our intentions this year, so that we have more balance and more time to live this life to the fullest.

One of the things that suffered in the busyness of 2012 was our diet, so on this first day of a brand New Year, we’re sharing our new toy (Thank You, Santa (a.k.a. mom & dad!)), our Vitamix blender!  Dean and I are both interested in health and nutrition, and I know there is a lot of information (sometimes conflicting) out there.  One thing that strikes a chord with us is eating more whole foods.  We believe that the more simple you can keep your food choices, the better off you’ll be.  As much as we can, we support local, organic, and sustainable food options.  We have lots of room for improvement, but an easy way for us to get great nutrition is in a green smoothie.  We’re so excited about our new Vitamix that we did a little New Year’s Day photo shoot to share with all of you!

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New Year’s Day green smoothie recipe:

1.5 cups water
juice from 1 lemon and 1/2 orange
1 avocado
1 banana
1 pear (if it’s not organic, peel the skin)
2 Fuji apples (if they’re not organic, peel the skin)
1 (overflowing) cup spinach
2 small heads Romaine lettuce
6 ice cubes
*orange slice and cilantro for garnish.  :)

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Some of my favorite books on food and nutrition, including the easy to read Green for Life, and the corresponding Green Smoothie Revolution (with recipes)!  Green Smoothie Girl is another great site, if you’re interested in checking out what Green Smoothies have to offer.  They’re quick and easy to make…and they’re DELICIOUS!!  :D

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*Disclaimer…Omnivores Dilemma and The China Study are full of great information, but are not light reading.  ;)

Isn’t my Green Smoothie chef handsome?  oxo

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I also really liked Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

If these subjects interest you, you should also check out:  Fat, Sick and Nearly DeadForks Over Knives… and Food, Inc.

We hope that your 2013 is off to a great start…we’re writing a list of goals (101 in 1001) that we can’t wait to share with all of you!  This year, we want to make our goals public, and we’d love for you to join in and leave a comment…what’s one of your goals for the New Year?

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Cheers to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013 full of joy, grace and dreams come true!
Hugs and love, Tiffany (& Dean)  oxo

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Today is the first day of my 44th year and right now, in this moment, I am happy.  Dean and I are sitting on the front porch of a cabin in the woods and I am counting my blessings.  It takes a while and fills my heart to the brim, as I take a deep breath and really soak it all in.  I am truly grateful for this life and all the blessings in it.

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Inspired by the beauty and serenity at the Lodge at Whitehawk Ranch, I’m writing and Dean is taking photos, so that we can preserve this moment for us, as well as share it with all of you…

Summer grass, aspens, and pine trees dancing in the wind create a symphony reminiscent of the sea–rising and falling in nature’s rhythmic crescendos.  Light and shadow take their turn in unison with the clouds and sun.  Birds chirp high above, ducks race across the pond, butterflies float on the breeze and the mountain air is fresh and crisp.

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Yesterday was my birthday and I got to share it with ‘Grandpa Bill’ as he celebrated his 90th (and a half) birthday.  Officially, we were there to photograph his family, and then as day turned to night, Dean and I were included in the celebration by Grandpa Bill’s twenty-three family members, as they spent the evening visiting, laughing, and raising a glass to toast the patriarch and each other, revealing in their reunion.  And then (led by Claudia) they surprised me by singing ‘Happy Birthday’…to me.  I was humbled and honored and so touched that it brought tears to my eyes.

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We have the best job…EVER, and that’s one of the things I’m most thankful for.

When you get to spend time with a group of people who love each other, and whose laughter and humor are as infectious as the Millers’, it’s easy to get caught up in the celebration.  But to meet a family who includes you in such a way that you are buoyed along by their generosity of spirit and their open hearts is a true gift.  The Miller family gave us that gift, and we are grateful. It reminds me why we choose to chase this dream, as visual storytellers, so we can return the favor and give them the gift of the images we create that document them in a way that will keep this weekend’s memories alive for generations to come.

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Cheers to the Miller family (all four generations), and especially Grandpa Bill…THANK YOU for inviting us to document your family’s story, and for a birthday dinner I will never forget!  oxo

June 6, 2011

Hug a teacher…!

For anyone who has ever watched an episode of ‘Clean Sweep’ or ‘Hoarders’ and experienced even a slight glimmer of self-recognition as you watched the people brave enough to go on those shows…this post is for you.  It’s also for all of my teacher friends who know that teaching is not just a job…it’s a part of who we are.

You see…I’m going through all of my teacher ‘stuff’ right now, and sending it on its way, so that others can breathe new life into it, and use it in their classrooms.  (Much better than having it sit in our garage or storage unit collecting dust, right?)

But.  I’m having a really hard time.  Letting go.

I’ve changed jobs before.  I’m actually one of those people who actively seek out new opportunities, and truly embrace change.  But this time it’s different.  Teaching is not just a job…it’s part of who I am, and as I close this chapter and finally move on, I’m finding it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I’ve been out of the classroom for almost exactly a year.  I taught my last day on June 9th , 2010.  I resigned in August and haven’t been back since.  (Truth be told, I’ve avoided going back into a school for the last year…it just seemed like it would be strange not to be a part of it all…)

Over the years, like any teacher worth her salt, I accumulated lots of great…well…um, err…teacher ‘stuff’.  I’m not sure how else to put it.  I’ve got 11 years worth of books, binders, lesson plans, posters, manipulatives, games, and who knows what else sitting in a huge pile in our garage.

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Which is where it’s been for the past 10 months (much to the chagrin of my amazing, but decidedly anal ‘Mr. OCD/Clean Garage Guy’ of a husband.  Thank God he’s a patient man.)

Now that our photography business is up and running, and I have a new ‘day job’ that keeps me out of trouble, I’ve come to the realization that the chapter in my life where I welcomed other people’s children into my classroom (and heart) has officially come to an end.

I guess there was a part of me that didn’t have to accept this reality as long as I still had all of my ‘stuff’.

Deep down, I know that this is the right decision for us, and I’m so looking forward to what this next chapter holds.  But I’m a little sad too.  I have so much of me wrapped up in all of the ‘stuff’ in our garage…so much time, energy, and great measures of hope and excitement went into the lessons that I created and taught to my kindergarten, and then middle school students.

So, if you know a great teacher…and I know we all do…make sure that you go out of your way to give them a hug today. (I was always so appreciative of those who stopped to simply acknowledge the job that I was doing…whether they were strangers, friends, or parents who had students in my classroom.) Unless you’ve ever been a teacher, there’s just no way to explain the level of commitment it takes.  Teaching is not just a job…it’s a part of who they are, and good teachers put more of themselves into their ‘work’ than any other group of people I’ve encountered.  Every. Single. Day.

Hug a teacher.  Say ‘thank you’.  Believe me, it means more than you know.  oxo

(And if you know anyone who needs any ‘teacher stuff’…give them my #!)

Single, married, engaged, ‘it’s complicated’, and everywhere in between…we’ve been there.

Somehow, despite the wrong turns, potholes, and broken hearts we each encountered along the way, we ended up exactly in the right place, at the right time. Together. In hindsight, the detours and the lessons learned make perfect sense. Our separate journeys made us stronger than we would have been otherwise, and I think that helped us recognize what we have, and trust enough to believe that this time would be different.

That a love like this is worth the risk. So, loving with our whole hearts, we hold hands and take the leap.
Every day.

The first time I heard the song that perfectly described our journey to find each other, I cried. Big, fat, wet tears (the kind my dad used to call ‘Alligator tears’) leaked from my eyes and down my neck. I knew it would be the song we danced to at our wedding. And five and a half years after that first dance, we want to share it with you…

And because our first official blog post wouldn’t be complete without sharing an amazing image with all of you, here’s a sneak peek of our weekend in Sedona, AZ. Can’t you just picture a couple in love standing in this very spot…at sunset? Stay tuned…Melissa & Brian’s Sedona engagement session coming soon!

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Loving with our whole hearts,
on February 14th, and everyday,

Tiffany (& Dean) oxo

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