Friday, December 31, 2010

Something new and exciting!

Well, new and exciting for me, anyways.

I've always love to cook and recently I've really begun to enjoy sharing, not just the food but the experience of making the food, with other people. Most recently, I made my first lemon meringue pie and posted pictures of every step along with the recipe on my Facebook page. I even included a super easy recipe for fondant to make cute decorations with! Sorry, only friends and family can see currently but if anyone asks I'll post a blog about it. All of the people I shared the pie with expressed their enjoyment of it (they -could- have been lying to me) and several stated that it was the first time they'd had a lemon meringue pie made with real lemons. This surprised me since it was actually VERY easy to make.

In this light, I've decided to make a small blog series on cooking. I'm going to do one or two meals a week (as my motivation drives me). I'll post step by step pictures along with recipes and I'll even include a recipe for a pet treat to go along with the meal. The twist is that I'm going to base each meal around one of my favorite Disney movies. I'll make the meal and as we sit down to enjoy it, we'll also watch the movie. Hopefully the great food distracts Mike from this torture.

Keep in mind that I am, by no means, a chef. Most of these recipes I'm going to make for the first time and there's going to be a lot of winging it. The whole project is just for fun.

Here are my meal ideas so far. All of them are tentative and might change. If anyone has any good ideas, please let me know!

Lady and the Tramp: (For us) Healthy spaghetti with 'surprise' meatballs
                                    (For the dogs)Lady's puppy pasta

The Lion King: (For us) Injera ((an Ethiopian flat bread))
                                        Boboti ((South African meatloaf))
                         (For the dogs) 'Zebra' mash

Sleeping Beauty: (For us) Petite 'dragon' legs with 'dragon's blood' sauce
                                            Veggies with a Sleepytime tea sauce
                             (For the dogs) Woodland creature cookies

Aristocats: (For us) Sushi
                   (For the pets) Special salmon treats

Cinderella: (For us) Happily Ever After cake
                    (For the dogs) Prince Charming cookies

Ratatouille: (For us) My mother-in-law's Ratatouille
                     (For the dogs) Ratatouille with a poodley twist

Have a happy New Year and I look forward to hearing what you all think!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The camera and I. Long lost friends?

I've never like having my picture taken. I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment. So, you can imagine that it's a bit mind boggling to me that this past year I've actually PAID to have people follow me around with a camera. Not only that, but I've begun to enjoy the process, as well as the results.

It started a little over a year ago when I met Kimberly Gauthier. At the time she was an aspiring pet photographer who had photographed a few play sessions of the poodle meet up group I was a member of. I commissioned her to take some fun pictures of Caly with maybe a few of us thrown in. The session ended up leaning more toward a session for us with a few photos of Caly here and there. Looking back at the pictures, I can still see how uncomfortable I was in front of the camera. Except in the candid when Mike was spinning me around in circles on the tire swing. -_-

Photo credit: Kimberly Gauthier Photography

I had a bit of a break through last October on the cruise where Mike proposed. I realized that I was able to actually -smile- in photos without looking like a drooling idiot. It was all down hill from there.

Photo credit: Kimberly Gauthier Photography

This past June, Mike and and I got married. Our photographer was the AMAZING Chris Schmauch. I can not sing his praises enough. The photos he got for us were beyond what I could have hoped for and his work just keeps getting better! With these photos came the realization that even though I might not always be happy with the way I look, I can still see myself as beautiful. It helps to have that 'bridal glow'. I still regret that I had the lack of will power to get my body weight to what I wanted before the wedding but it's hard to be TOO upset when I look at the pictures of that special day. I still have the hope that a few years from now I'll be able to look back at them and say, "Can you -believe- how fat I was back then? I feel SO much better now." At least I can say I'm actually working on it (the soreness from my last trainer session is a testament to this).

Photo Credit: Chris Schmauch, Goodeye Photography + Design

A few months later we did another fun shoot with Kimberly just because. I have nothing but love for Kim. Over the past few months her work has evolved and grown in amazing ways. I'm proud to say I was one of the people that encouraged her from early on and I can't wait to see what she's doing a few years from now!

Photo credit: Kimberly Gauthier Photography

The final nail in the coffin came this past weekend when I again hired Kimberly to take do a Christmas card shoot for us. Oh, I could have sent regular Christmas cards with puppies or kittens with milk mustaches but no....I just HAD to have photo cards. It's in these photos that I believe I've finally been able to go from looking awkward and uncomfortable to letting my true happiness show. And, yes, I am truly happy. My life has become complete since I married Mike and I'm exactly where I want to be. I'm glad that I can finally show this in pictures.

Photo credit: Kimberly Gauthier Photography

Of course, the poodle will always be the photogenic one of the family.
All images and content Copyright 2010 Amber Melena.