My Work at First Day Photo | April Edition

Since the start of 2016, I've been working as a professional newborn photographer with a wonderful company: First Day Photo. It's such a unique job and I love it. I travel around to Minneapolis hospitals and do photo sessions with families in their hospital room right after they welcome their newest addition to the world.  I'm typically known as a pretty patient and flexible person, which makes this job great for me - because let me tell you, the hospital setting can be a nightmare for taking excellent photos - but it's totally doable. And I love it when I can make more than just the baby cry :P - Showing the family their photos is ALWAYS my favorite part. Tears all around. 

Here's a sampling of some the work I've done for families who have graciously let me feature their photos on my website. Thank you!

My Neighborhood in Photos | January

During the year 2016 (that's now!) I'll be capturing photos of the Powderhorn neighborhood for a community project called Powderhorn365. Each Sunday of the year, I'll share an image onto the Powderhorn365 website, and EVERY day of the year, a local photographer will capture a photo from the neighborhood and share it on the site...hence the 365. Since I can only submit one photo a week, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite images from this past month on my own website.

{Enter fancy slideshows of mostly quirky and colorful images}

I like these photos. Powderhorn is a fun place to be and most of these photos are full of life and color. For February, I'm hoping to capture more events and strangers (gasp!) 

That's me down there this month. I've been enjoying copious amounts of coffee so far. Winter is treating me well. Photo was taken by the cute 6 year old in the photos above. 


Peterson Family

Aren't they adorable?! I loved capturing this family because there's never EVER a dull moment with them. Each member of this fun family is full of personality and quite unique (don't be deceived by the uniformity in outfits and hair...and overall appearance). Plus, there were bunnies involved. 

These photos happened on a Sunday morning before church. I think mornings are going to be my new favorite time for family photography. The kids are clean, awake, the light is nice, and there's no "baggage" from the day. If you have a family, take note! 

This family is particularly important to me because I spent the last year of my life living with them!  They happened to own a triplex in a neighborhood I adore, so I moved in right when I returned from NYC last year. I lived right above them and nannied their boys in exchange for housing. It was a great set-up, and I'm so thankful for the experience. 

Wedding Photography | My Experience

Last weekend I second shot a wedding for the first time. I've third shot a wedding before, but never second shot. And I'm sorry if you find all the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd terminology annoying and/or confusing. It is what it is. ;) I was so excited to shoot this wedding. Everything about it was beautiful and entertaining - and Indian food?! yes please!

In this post, I'll share some of my favorite shots and a little bit about my experience as a second shooter, because it's helpful for me to process what I learned and it could be helpful for you if you are a second shooter or interested in becoming one. 

What I learned about second shooting (that I didn't expect): 

At some point, I want to make a comprehensive list of things that are important for second shooters to know and practice. I'll make sure to do that after I have a little bit more experience. For now, I wanted to share some tips and lessons that I didn't expect:

  1. Second Shooters matter! 
    • Originally, I thought it's not that big of a deal to have a second shooter along. The bride and groom only care about the main photographer, and I'm not the one getting the "important" shots (necessarily). However, this is not the case. An extra set of eyes and hands is so important. Two is always better than one! And to the rest of the wedding guests, I was a photographer. 
  2. Complement people - a lot!
    • Probably 98% of people aren't fans of getting their picture taken. Telling people they look wonderful while they're getting their photo taken (regardless if it's true or not - haha) makes the whole process easier for everyone involved and it gives the main photographer one less thing to think about during those stressful group shots. 
  3. Remembering names is so important
    • Names, locations, numbers. Weddings go so fast and there is so much new information that goes around. I definitely want to improve in this area because remembering details is crucial because you will need that information. And no one wants to be called, "Hey You!"
  4. If you have a camera, you will be stopped!
    • At random points during the day, wedding guests will stop you for a picture regardless of the time or if you have other photos to take. Get used to it. Embrace it. It makes wedding guests happy and it makes you look good as a photographer. Don't stress too much about posing people - just snap the picture and remember tip #2. Candids are the best.
  5. You become a catch-all 
    • This is another way of saying wear clothes with pockets! Sure, you can carry around 20 pound camera bags all the time, but that's no fun or convenient. There's lens caps, pens, papers, jewelry, and other random things constantly floating around at weddings. It's great to have pockets, so you can use your hands for the camera (DUH!) and not for junk. During the wedding, I wore a black skirt (no pockets) and that was a mistake. Why? At one point, the groom handed me his iPhone. I couldn't hold it in my hands, so I had to put it in my camera bag. Do you think I remembered that there was an iPhone in my bag? no. Do you think he remembered that his iPhone was in my bag? no. The next day my camera bag was singing away and I had to arrange a cell phone pick-up with the groom. I'm confident that I would not forget about an iPhone had I kept it in my pocket. 

Finally, I realized that the business of wedding photography can be overwhelming. The pressure is insane, but the results and experience are incredible - and so worth it. 

I shot with Angeli, a long-time friend and mentor. She's the best!



Vegetarian Eats

During the summer I love gathering veggies and produce from Farmer's Markets and gardens (with permission :). Then I hang out in the kitchen and whip together a summer meal. I love the whole process: the gathering, cooking, and picture-taking. I highly recommend cooking without a recipe - it's an adventure. 

Top: Fried Eggplant and Cucumber Peach Salad

Bottom: Super Herb-y Zoodles with Tomatoes

Jennifer | Senior

Jennifer is a senior at Hope Academy, my Alma Matter. I've know Jennifer since she was in elementary school and it's been awesome seeing her grow up. She is an impressive athlete and student. She's polite and strong. When I asked her how much she trains for basketball she said, "honesty, half the day." Talk about dedication. And can we please talk about those dreadlocks?! They're flawless. 

Congrats Jennifer! 

K. Hazlewood

Katie is a sweet friend of mine that I met this spring. She's incredibly honest and caring. She can talk to anyone and she always has something positive to say. When I talk to her I feel like she is 110% present. It's written in her eyes. Katie is bright in more ways than one. She's pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota. I'm so thankful for you, Katie! <3

P.s. Isn't her last name the coolest?

Camping in Madeline Island | Family

I haven't gone camping in ages. Taking the road trip up to Madeline Island was so much fun. We stopped at Tobies for pastries. We stopped for a windy picnic along the water. While driving, Shelby and I colored on paper towels and told some of the cheesiest jokes I've heard in my life (Just know that 99% of them had the word "diaper" or "crossing the street" in them).  Once we made it to Bayfield, I had no idea that we would have to take a ferry to make it to the Island - magical!

The camping trip went by fast. We swam, roasted marshmallows, slept in a tent with rain pouring down on it, hiked, ate yummy meals thanks to my Aunt B, told stories, explored the town, and snapped photos along the way. If you ask my sister what her favorite experience was, she would say meeting a bike-man who turned old bikes into motorized ones. They were semi-scary to ride, but quite creative. He was very kind to let us test-drive them. Shelby enjoyed the water and eating lots of sugar. Uncle Eric enjoyed packing all the gear into the van like a boss (just a hunch) and reminiscing about being on this island with Park Avenue kids a while back. Brenda enjoyed cooking (another hunch). Michaela enjoyed hiking (right?). And I enjoyed being somewhere new with people I love. (Is that too sappy?) 

The best {healthy} cake ever

I made this cake for Easter and I loved it. The cashew frosting was rich and lemony. The cake was filling, fresh, and full of chewy carrots and oat-y, coconut goodness. I love dense and moist cakes and this one delivered. The special thing about this cake is that it's raw and plant-based. So I didn't have to do any baking which is a win in my book. I didn't have to compromise on sweetness for this cake either. The cake is sweetened with Medjool dates and the frosting is sweetened with real maple syrup.  Once the cake was blended together, I formed it and put it in the freezer to solidify. The frosting was blended in a Nutri-bullet and then spread on the cake.  I topped the cake off with coconut flakes, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds...because presentation counts ;) 

Would you make something like this? Or at least try it? 
Want the recipe? You can find it at my favorite vegan blog: This rawsome vegan life: carrot cake

Tight: A Dread Update

All about the hair: 

I washed my hair for the first time since they were dreaded. I felt like I had a big sponge on my head after I was done washing it. My hair just ate up all the water, and it took a while to dry them out. My hair and scalp felt really nice after washing it though. I didn't use a special shampoo to wash it -- just my Aveda shampoo that I used with normal hair (pre-dreads). I love Aveda products and I still want to use it even though it's not recommended for dreads. 

Lately, my hair has been feeling really dry. I'm experiencing lots of breakage and my dreads feel so dead. To cope with that, I recently bought moisturizing olive oil for my dreads. I was nervous to put oils in my hair, but now I'm realizing that it's a necessary thing to do. A few weeks ago, I complained about my head being really itchy. The itchiness has definitely died down, which is great. A scalp massage always feels good, but I appreciated those even with normal hair, so that's nothing new. 

I have strings tied around every dread near the roots. The string is there to help the dreads lock together at the roots - where it matters most. One of these days, I'll take close up pictures of the dreads. They're still a bit frizzy, but the roots are defined and I like that. 

My dread bangs are really wacky. I wouldn't leave the house without pulling them back with bobby pins. My bangs are also having a harder time locking together compared to the rest of my head. I don't mind the extra maintenance, but the bangs are definitely weird. They want to go back to their old free flowing days. 

Having Fun at the Minneapolis Midtown Global Market

Minneapolis is a great city to live in. Even though it's cold half of the year, there are large places other than the Mall of America to visit that will keep you and even kids happy. 

I'm a live-in nanny, and I happen to live one block away from the Midtown Global Market. The market is indoors and open every day. There are restaurants, bakeries, shops, entertainment, a play area, and even a public cooking school - got to try that sometime - in the market. There's also the global touch here, so you can try food and buy goods with an international flair. The market is basically as cool as it sounds and it's along the biking greenway, so if you ever want to spend a Saturday biking around Minneapolis, the Global Market is a great and convenient landing spot. On the flipside, the market is also in the same building as the DMV, making your chances of finding joy in going to the DMV all the more attainable. 

The Salty Tart Bakery

This cafe is called Grass Roots Gourmet. I haven't tried their food, but I will. My favorite places that I HAVE tried are La Loma (Mexican food) and Salty Tart (bakery).

Does anyone else remember the Stinky Cheese Man when they were a kid? I do, and so I naturally had to snap a shot of this mural. 

The play area! A great place to let the kids go wild ;)

so sweet!

Have you been to the Global Market before? Do you have markets like it in your city? 

How's the hair?

How are the dreads, that is.

I still love them! They don't smell, I promise. They hardly itch either. They are a bit frizzier than I would prefer, but it hasn't even been a month yet, so they still haven't fully locked together. Two dreads have experienced breakage because the ends are so thin and my hair gets really dry. I definitely did NOT expect that my hair would get so dry. The other day I literally lathered Aveeno body lotion on my hair - haha. I guess I'm going to have to start using some sort of hair/dread moisturizer.

I've started putting them up in a bun or ponytail. I play with my hair a lot, so when I'm at school or trying to study, it's best that I put my hair up so I can focus. Isn't that ridiculous? :) I guess dreads can be distracting.

People have all been generally positive when it comes to my dreads. At school, lots of people will shout "I like your hair!" The other day I went on the elevator with another girl and she said, "I like your dreads." Sometimes it gets boring just to say "thanks," so I said, " french fries smell good."
She really had french fries, but I think that comment deserves some ridiculous points.

Lots of people ask me how long I plan to keep them, and they are always surprised when I say years. They're even more surprised when they find out that I have to cut them off to get rid of them. So far dreads have been easier than I thought they would be and I can't imagine getting rid of them.

Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments!

In case you missed it: DREADS - the before, the during, the after.

Getting Dreads: After

These are various pictures of what brand new dreads look like during the first week. My hair was dreaded and permed to help keep the dreads in place. 
New dreads = new attitude 

Bathroom selfie - I know...pathetic. 

My bangs are a little wacky in this picture. I pin them back now so they're really hard to notice. I'm glad I dreaded the bangs. I think it would be challenging to take care of two different types of hair on the same head. 

I generally wear my hair in a half pony-tail these days. 

 I'm curious to see what they will look like in a month from now.

I currently DON'T like the variety of thickness in the dreads. The ends are tiny. The rest of dread is really fat. I'm not a fan of the frizz. My head itches a bit. #realtalk

I LIKE the curls, but I'll be fine when the curls go away. I like taking care of them. And when I say taking care of them,  that really means I like that I don't have to. I enjoying putting my head down and having lots of cushion. I have so much hair, it's crazy! I'm pretty sure my dreads could substitute as a helmet.

Getting Dreads: the process

Before you read this, check out this POST with before pictures.
The Breakdown: The dreading process took 5 hours to complete. My hair was sectioned off into 58 dreads. Each section of hair was backcombed quite viciously to create lots of frizz. The hair was then twisted together and rolled into a curler. 

After my hair was completely dreaded, it was perm time!

Please note: I'm not crying or hiding my face in these pictures. I'm protecting my face from the perm chemicals. The process to apply perm solution took 10 minutes. Then the perm had to set for 45 minutes. Finally, it was rinsed out.

The perm helps the dreads hold in place and form a dread-like texture. I have especially smooth, silky hair so perming the dreads was necessary to keep them together. 

Questions & Answers:

Was it painful? Nope. I didn't love watching my hair being backcombed. I kept imagining all the breakage happening, so I had a few "nails on the chalkboard" moments during that process. 
The perm stung a little, but that's normal. 

How long will the dreads last? The curls are supposed to last a few weeks. The dreads will last as long as I want. 

What if you get sick of dreads? I'll cut them off and go suuuuper short. I don't think that will happen anytime soon though. It's supposed to be very painful and/or impossible to undo them, so when the time comes I'll chop them off. My goal is to keep them through college. As of right now, it's day 5 of dreads and I LOVE them. 

Can you wash your hair? Not really. And get this, I can't wash my hair at all for the first MONTH. I think I said that before, but I'm still in shock about it. 

How will you take care of them? I'll write a later post on this because I'm still learning :) But there will be lots of twisting involved. 

Where did you get them done and how did you find the place? I had my dreads done at a place near Uptown, Minneapolis called the Hair Police. My mom actually found it using Google. 

Cost? $300 to $350

Any other questions? Let me know!

Can't wait to share the AFTER pictures!

Getting Dreads: the before

On Saturday, February 7th I locked my hair and got dreads. Crazy, I know. I've had the idea for a while, and I haven't been able to shake I went for it! So far so good. I've always admired people with dreads, and I've always wondered what it would be like to have them for myself. I like my hair, but I wasn't really doing anything with it. If it was a good day, I would blow dry my hair, but that's as much as I would do. Dreads are going to require a good amount of work, so that will be different for me.

My hair prior to dreads was approximately 25 inches (and still is). It was mostly straight, with a tiny bit of wave. The color is all natural. I've never died it before. In the picture below I noticed two large blonde streaks - surprise! I had no idea they existed. The ends are a little rough. During the few weeks leading up to dreads, I washed my hair 2-3 times per week instead of every day because during my first month of dreads I can only wash my hair ONCE.

Up next, Getting Dreads: the process.