Postings & Pictures

Thoughts and captured moments - this is where my inner writer lets loose!

I've Got A Secret....

I had a meeting this morning with a very special someone.  He only comes around once a year, but today, we met for coffee. To say I was and am excited about our meeting and the outcome, is an understatement. 

You see, I've known this jolly old fellow since I was a little girl. I have vivid memories of him sitting in a big chair in the window of Gilmore's Department Store every Christmas. The anticipation of getting to sit on his lap and tell him of all my wishes was so hard to hold in, especially when standing amongst all the other little girls and boys waiting in line in the toy department.

He always managed to fulfill my wishes on Christmas morning too. The baby dolls, the pink Barbie Jeep and my Dancerina Doll, that I still have to this day, all hold special memories in my heart and mind. 

So imagine my excitement when a few days ago, he reached out to me! He happens to be in Michigan taking a little bit of a vacation before the busy season starts up again. You know there are barely 5 months left until Christmas.

We met up at a local coffee shop this morning and talked for a few hours. We reminisced and we got caught up and we shared about the joy we both find in the spirit of Christmas. And we have some exciting news to share...............very soon.

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Local Fare

Let's talk food.......and coffee.....and local fare. 

Mmmmmm-kay?

Something that my guy & I love is to explore our city and surroundings. This year is going to be no different. We live in a small village of less than 900 people, but we can head east or west and be in the middle of a city. 

Heading east brings us into Battle Creek, which is struggling to bring it's downtown back to life, but we keep hoping that they will get the formula right and that it becomes a booming place to hang out once again. 

I do a lot of photography sessions in downtown Battle Creek, as they went through a few years ago and revitalized the walk along the main river running through town. The gardens and walkways are immaculate and have such charm and character to them, no matter what time of year I choose to do a shoot there.

 Skidmore Family Session - Battle Creek river walk

Skidmore Family Session - Battle Creek river walk

But the livelihood of the city, the core, the business, is a struggle. They have just not found the right combination of whatever it takes to attract businesses and people back downtown.

Now on the other hand, if you head west, you end up in Kalamazoo. 

Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo, and the song wasn't making up the name!

 Monthly Friday night Art Hop is a strong pull to downtown, especially  in the summer!

Monthly Friday night Art Hop is a strong pull to downtown, especially  in the summer!

This is the city that Steve & I grew up in and call our home base. The downtown was struggling for years, when the big indoor mall move was so popular in the 70s. It lost business after business, but our Downtown Association, found the ticket, the formula to bring it back to life and it is thriving. 

It seems there is always someplace new to explore and things to do.  This past Friday was Art Hop, but with the frigid temps and below zero windchills, we opted to stay inside close to a warm fire.

But Saturday dawned, and we were ready to get out and do something. We decided to take advantage of a gift card we got for Christmas and try out a local restaurant in the Washington Square area. I believe it opened last summer, early fall. 

 POTB - Pho On The Block

POTB - Pho On The Block

If you like soup, you like Vietnamese cuisine, you like to try something new, this is an amazing place. With common tables, where people just sit and share a table with someone they didn't know when they came in, but know a little better when they leave. 

They have options of Pho (sounds like FUH), which is a soup with rice noodles, your choice of meat, red onion shaving, broth, and a tray with sides you can add - bean sprouts, jalapeño slices, fresh herbs and a lemon wedge. 

Welcome to Pho On The Block.

 Shrimp Pho and Honeydew Bubble Tea

Shrimp Pho and Honeydew Bubble Tea

I'm not a fan of "heat/spice", so the jalapeño stayed put, but I added a squirt of Hoisin sauce for a little kick. This is so refreshing and hits the spot on a cold, winters day.

Steve had a Lemongrass Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl and was equally satisfied with his choice. We shared an order of Pot Stickers as well, and quenched our thirsts with a pint of Bubble Tea, mine being Honeydew and Steve's being Matcha. The "bubble" is the black pearl tapioca at the bottom of your tea jar. A sweet little surprise!

Needless to say, we did not leave hungry and we can't wait to go back and try out more of the menu selections!

 Photo courtesy of the nice gentleman we shared out table with!

Photo courtesy of the nice gentleman we shared out table with!

Over the past few weeks during my winter break from school, I have been doing a lot of reading and working on my goals and plans for my business this year. One of the big items on my list is to work on my social media presence, namely Instagram.

I've spent a lot of time exploring and jotting down what I like, presentation, content, and learning about algorithms and hashtags. While browsing, I've come across some new coffee shops in Kalamazoo as well.

So after church on Sunday, we headed to one of them that is north of downtown. It's in an old factory building and appropriately named "Factory Coffee". They have utilized their space from top to bottom and have some awesome plans on expansion and growth.

 

 Factory Coffee - Latte and Pour Over

Factory Coffee - Latte and Pour Over

 Factory Coffee interior

Factory Coffee interior

They bring their coffee in from San Francisco, a fair trade operation that the owner knows from when he lived out there. 

Gus, our barista, was so friendly and was more than happy to give us a tour of the whole building when we finished our coffees.

 

 Gus, the friendly barista!

Gus, the friendly barista!

 This is a "pour over", where the boiling water is poured directly over the coffee grounds and brewed directly into your cup.

This is a "pour over", where the boiling water is poured directly over the coffee grounds and brewed directly into your cup.

The tour took us into the owner's shop, where he rebuilds Mopeds, his original business. We then were led to the basement, where they have their own pottery shop. They make their coffee mugs, growlers and other beautiful pieces. The final stop of the tour was on the 2nd floor where they hold #coffeeyoga classes and have plans for many more activities in this great space!

They have an outdoor pizza oven that they will fire up for special events as well and we can't wait to go back and try it out.

We highly recommend stopping by this place and warming up with your favorite cup of coffee!

What an adventurous weekend we had exploring the Local Fare. 

Here's to many new adventures in the year to come!

 

Forward.........

I used to be so adamant and focused and determined to "find that one little word" to carry me through a new year. Not so much anymore. 

Now, I let it find me. If there is to be "a word", let it speak to my mind, to my heart, to my very core. This year is not an exception. I have thought about it, let it go and finally thought, no big deal - I really don't need a word to define my year or for that matter, me. 

I resolved yesterday that this would be a year without that word, until I went to church. The pastor finished his sermon with the thought of moving forward. And there it was....the word.

Forward.

I spent a lot of time last week on the couch. Not by choice, but due to my illness and drug reaction. So, I spent a lot of time reading and taking notes. 

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I'm moving forward in my thoughts, my processes, my business and my life. I can only learn from the past, I can't change it. 

I'm taking careful notes, I'm writing down my thoughts, I'm reviewing what didn't work and what did. I'm learning from the past and moving forward in my future.

I'm learning more and more that I need to be more deliberate in all that I do, especially where my photography and business is concerned.  I really am trying to make this work, and make it a more full time part of my life.

So changes will come this year, as they always do. But with more thought, more determination and more acceptance of it all. I look back at a blog post from a year ago, and my heart was very heavy at this time last year. It was a rough ending to the year, so the beginning of 2017 started out rising from all that had gone on in the final months of 2016.

This year as well, will start out with rising up and moving forward. Each day will begin by moving forward and learning from the past and letting the past go. 

I have ideas for my photography that will have me reaching out more to you, I will need models, I will need to step out of my comfort zone and approach neighbors and businesses for the use of their properties for photo sessions, I will reach out more to attract people to my business and the work I create. I will accept my work, and not fall into the trap of comparison, and know that my work is good. It may not be suited to everyone's taste, but it is good, and it is right for someone.

God has granted me with a creative mind, a mind to express and use and share through my photography and writing. I will move forward this year and embrace this more and accept this. I will work harder to not doubt myself, but to know that I am ever changing, and so is my work, as long as I put forth the time and effort to continue to nourish all that God has given me and created me to be.

I have a verse on my business cards, and it is written on the very 1st page of my new planner for 2018.  May I remember this, hold it close to my heart, always have it on the tip of my tongue and may I live it out loud throughout this coming year.

"Celebrate God all day, every day!"  Philippians 4:4

So moving forward, you will see more blog posts, about my business, about my clients, about my life and of course, about our Little G-man.

Thank you for continuing this journey with me or starting this journey with me. 

I know that I am blessed.

Happy New Year.

Welcome

I am so glad you stopped by today!

Welcome to my new website and blog space - an all in one adventure!

I want to spend this time chatting with you and getting to know you. Actually, I'm going to share about me, and I hope that it will lead you to wanting to share back. 

I am married to my best friend. Sounds cliche, doesn't it? But truly, anyone who had stuck it out with me for 37 years of marriage and 2 more years of dating prior to that, has got to be someone who gets me and someone who I get. 

We have 2 grown sons who are both married, giving us 2 beautiful daughters that fit into our family like they were special made for us! Our oldest son and daughter (in-law) have brought into the mix of our dynamics the most adorable grandson. No kidding - he is beyond cute!

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You have to agree - you smiled when you saw this picture, didn't you?

He has brought so much to our family and to look at him here you would never believe he was 6 weeks premature.

We are also fortunate that this little peanut and his mommi & daddi live only 5 minutes from us.

Our younger son & daughter (in-law) live in the great PNW - Seattle to be exact. It is so far away, but it is a beautiful part of our country and my hubby and I so enjoy our time spent there with them.

We also have a white chocolate lab named Libbi - the Wonder Dog. She has more lives than any cat I've ever had, truly.

While I continue to build my photography business, I am also working at our local high school as a paraprofessional.  I've been there almost 19 years and I love what I do and the kids I work with. They change every year, but while here, I have made some lasting relationships with students that carry on into their adult lives. 

All my life I have been infatuated with photography, whether it be looking at pictures or taking them with my little 110 instamatic, I have loved the ability to capture life & its memories. I feel it is so important to record those life moments for yourself and for generations to come. One of my greatest treasures are the photos I've inherited through the years that include my family.

With my blog you can expect posts that are personal and posts that highlight my clients. I am a wedding and portrait photographer - especially loving high school senior sessions.

My style if to capture your life as it happens. To portray it as you live it. Whether it's walking through the woods hand in hand with your family, your fiance or a senior session where we cover the urban areas of downtown or the shoreline of Lake Michigan or the many, many forests in our local area, I work hard to help you feel comfortable and forget the lens. I want you to enjoy yourself, relax and just have fun with the whole process.

Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event, and I will work with you side by side to make sure all those important to you details are carried out and captured. I understand these are memories than can only be captured once and I come to you with over 10 years of wedding planning experience where I was on the other side of the lens, making sure your day went off without a hitch, following the photographer around and pointing out a great place for that certain shot, and paying attention to the details of your ceremony, bridal party and guests. 

I'm excited about this new journey in my photography career and I am so happy you are here, right now, to follow along. I hope that you will feel comfortable and welcome here in this little space and will someday reach out and let me capture your special lifetime moments!