have a sweet weekend! (and our giveaway winner....)

we certainly hope everyone enjoys their weekend!
josh has a cold and i have a pulled hamstring and sore back (oh, ballet class)
but we're still determined to enjoy ours.

and i almost forgot to announce our photoshop class giveaway winner, nanda! congrats! please email me your information! {naomi.megan@gmail.com}
thanks to all who entered. and if you didn't win, you can still sign up for one of nicole's classes here.

thank you for reading this blog! happy weekend!

*old photos from national slurpee day last summer.

mexico, by polaroid.

regardless of loving our fuji instax, we will always have a special place in our hearts for our original polaroid camera. and we decided mexico was a special enough occasion to use a few of our last precious exposures during our trip (p.s. beyond thrilled the impossible project has had success bringing back polaroid film! just hoping they can bring down the expensive price tag one of these days so we can afford more.)

and another p.s...
exploring cabo together on a rented scooter was probably the highlight of our trip. and it fed josh's dream since high school of owning his own harley davidson motorcycle (i kid you not, he first added it to his christmas wish list when he was 17. who would have thought?) but seriously, we're sold on how fun those little scooters are. we still love you, beetle, but we kind of want one.

i like this photo.

while going through our photos from cabo, i keep coming back to this one.
i just love everything about it. from his outfit (go red sweat band!) to his
adorable tennis face (so serious!) i just love everything about this man.

more from mexico...

a few more instax mini's from mexico...

josh and i discovered the BEST little taco stand in cabo. (photo above).
pulled pork, cheese, lots of grease.... oh my gosh. so good.
we even went back for more the next day!
(and if we would have had our way, we'd have gone back the day after that, too.)
local food beats expensive americanized resort food, any day.
who cares if we got a little sick? it was unbelievable.

rockstar giveaway!

This week we have a giveaway for you by our sponsor, Nicole's Classes!

Nicole's Classes is offering one very lucky reader a spot in the
Photoshop 101 Online Course for whatever month the winner chooses!

"The 4 week long Photoshop 101 Online Course is for beginners with little or no experience working in Photoshop. The class offers weekly video tutorials and assignments where students have their own online galleries to upload homework and receive comments from their instructors. The class focuses on the most important methods of fixing and enhancing your images including cropping, contrast, and retouching. Students will also learn how to work with layers, and how to create actions to perform repetitive tasks.

Nicole's Classes also offers textbooks that are a great companion to the live and online courses."

To enter, please leave a comment below before Friday April 30th!
Good luck!

can i move in?

why do kids always get the coolest rooms?

found via janaehardy via oh dee doh

mexico polaroids, part I

here are some polaroids from mexico with the instax mini camera by fuji*.

we met up with josh's parents in cabo san lucas and we stayed at pueblo bunito sunset beach.

*before we left, i finally gave in and bought an instax mini camera by fuji (the film isn't as costly as the polaroid 600 film which we are almost out of and i refuse to buy more of until it comes down in price.)


we're back from mexico!
such a beautiful place.
and the tacos! oh, those tacos!

more photos to come...

kingsley (and giveaway winner!)

congrats to gabby mooney for winning the tyrant giveaway!

please email me your contact information!

and... here is a cute little photo
of mister kingsley for your friday morning.
no more cone of shame (see here and here!) hooray!


rockstar {candice borup stringham.}

I am thrilled to be continuing on with our Rockstar Interviews this week. When I asked my friend Candice to share some answers with us, I didn't realize what a treat I was in for! I have read and re-read these answers so many times over the past week. They are just so beautiful and heart felt. You can feel the love Candice has for her husband and little boys while reading these answers. What a special lady. And a talented one too. I met Candice while we were both living in NYC (well, she was in Brooklyn, but close enough.) While we met just a few short months before I made the move to DC and she made the move to San Antonio, we have remained good friends and talk and email often. I am so glad our paths crossed in NYC! I find the way Candice approaches her marriage, her work and motherhood beyond inspiring. It is refreshing to observe (and take notes from!)

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a wife, a mother, and a photographer. In that order. I am a romantic at heart, somewhat prone to dramatics, but it's in a good way not in a hard-to-deal-with way. I stress over silly things. I laugh at my boys daily. I love antique stores and reading books that are out of print. I love theater, and I think that my husband is the most talented actor out there. Not in that order. I love decorating my home. Someone at church yesterday said, "you dress so interestingly," and then turned and walked away. So, take that how you want to. I choose to look at that as a good thing rather than in an interesting/bad sort of way. I either don't talk at all or I talk way to much when I first meet someone. There is no in between. It's like I'm so shy because I'm intimidated or I feel like I have to talk all about myself to prove that I'm worthy of someones time...either way, I end up looking horrible. I miss Brooklyn but I am learning to like San Antonio. I have a BFA in photography. I was an editor at Creating Keepsakes Magazine for the past two years, and now I teach photography workshops at Jessicasprague.com and for Canon. I shoot film and digital. I love the look in a person's eyes when they realize that they have mastered manual on their camera and I helped them do it. I love England and Jane Austen. I love Ingrid Michaelson, and I like to use the word huzzah.

How were you first introduced to photography? And what camera and lenses do you shoot with and recommend?

I was 15 when I really fell in love with photography. I was a sophomore at Kahuku High School on the north shore of Hawaii. I took a photography class from Mrs. B and she changed my life. It was just a little point-and-shoot camera and we didn't learn anything about technique. In fact, we spent half the class shooting with a homemade pin hole camera. Mine was made of an oatmeal box so the images had an odd curved perspective. It was a whole year about composition and creativity. I'm so, so thankful for that. Technique can be learned, but being given permission at a young age to creatively express oneself was a priceless gift.

I went on to do an internship in the afternoons during my senior year of high school. And then received a talent award to get my BFA in photography from BYU.

Digitally I shoot with a Canon 5d for the most part. I love it. I have a lot of lenses but right now I seem to find my 24-70mm 2.8L lens on it most of time. If you are just starting out, I highly recommend getting an open aperture prime. Something like the 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 They don't cost a lot but will make a world of difference in your photography from using the basic kit lens your camera came with.

For film I have a Bronica GS-1 it's a medium format camera. I also have a few polaroid cameras and an instax. They are all fun to shoot with.

What is your favorite part of the day?

It has to be right before we put the boys to bed. Either Mark, my husband, or I read a chapter from a chapter book each night to the boys. It's something I remember my own Mother doing for me. She would sit in the hallway on the floor so that all four of us could hear her from our bedrooms. I remember thinking how perfectly lovely she read the stories and how much she loved us all. And now I get to live that moment with my own boys. I like the nights that I read but I LOVE the nights that Mark reads. He is an actor and a theater professor and he does the BEST voices for each character. Right now as I type this I can hear him in the other room, he is reading them Peter and the Star Catchers. Each little boy has his own British accent and Captain Hook/ black stache is very alarming. It's quite frightening, really.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

My answer is different now than a few months ago. I feel like a lot of photographers are trying to be each other right now and the internet has sort of encouraged that. I know I myself was falling into that trap a lot in the last year. But the truth is, I know who I am as an artist if I only just let myself go and not worry about what is the right way and what is the wrong way to shoot.

Trends are going to change: actions are in and then they are out, black and white is cool/ colors are saturated, toy cameras are genious, Film is out/ digital is in, film photographers are better; digital ones lack technique....I could go on and on, we've all heard it right? But who is anyone to tell you that? Really? If you like shooting and then using actions, go for it. If you like editing faces until they look like plastic, feel free. It might not work for me, but isn't that what photography is all about? A photograph can never be everyone's truth because it's your truth, your perspective. So my feelings are as long as you are being true to yourself and your own aesthetic, then an image will be truthful and the viewer will feel that.

Before the internet and now again, I've turned to a few sources that really inspire me. 1. Old movies, mostly old musicals. The colors and clothing, the story, all amazing. 2. Old photographers from the hollywood days. George Hurrell is my favorite. 3. Rodney Smith is probably the most influential photographer for me; not that my style is even similar to his but I think he is a pure genius and he has a blog now! 5. Old Books- Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens is a favorite I always go back to. 6. Shopping at antique stores and flea markets. I have a love of all things old. They have stories to tell.

We both moved away from NYC around the same time and I know we've talked before about how creative opportunities appear endless in that magical city. Since your move away from NYC to Texas last year, how has the artistic setting around you changed? Have you been able to find or create equal opportunities artistically?

Ha! It's very different here. VERY. While there are some cities in Texas with a large design and art world, San Antonio isn't one of them. But I have faith that it's hidden somewhere and I will find it soon. I recently found a blog from a local design lover that has given me hope! In NYC things just really fell into place for me. I worked for some major camera and photography companies. I shot images for booths at PMA and for catalogs. I started teaching classes and workshops. Everything just seemed to come and knock at my door. I realize that this isn't normal even for there. Somehow the stars just aligned for me during that period. When we moved I decided to take a break and refocus on who I needed to be for my family and who I wanted to be for me. I'm just starting to branch out here in San Antonio and find new opportunities. Really no matter where you are I think it comes down to working hard, being kind to the people you work with so they will want to work with you again, having your own style and vision and getting your name out there.

You and your husband Mark are absolutely adorable together (I have witnessed this!) What sorts of things to do you two do together to keep that fun romantic spark alive?

That question makes me smile. Two of my best friends, Sarah, Chloe and I were walking into the movie theater to see Victoria and Albert and Sarah said, "I realize that my problem is just like the line from Sleepless in Seattle - 'I don't want to be in love I want to be in love in a movie'". And then she turned to me and said..."you can't say anything, you already are in love in a romantic movie because Mark makes it that way". Ha! It's true. He is a romantic. He could have been an 18th century poet.

We have been married for almost 11 years now and we still stay up late talking, I still feel a thrill everytime he takes my hand or glances at me from across the room at a theater party and smiles. I still miss him everytime I leave to teach. We still talk or text several times a day. He still tells me I'm beautiful when we wake up each morning no matter how bad my morning hair is. That doesn't mean we haven't had major hardships strike our marriage in those years. If anyone tells you marriage is easy, they are lying. I married an actor and with that comes many challenges - ones that normal marriages don't have to face. We've spent a lot of our marriage apart. He would have to leave to tour or to work at a regional theater for months at a time. There were days when I thought my heart would break alone raising two very little boys while he lived his dreams away from us. But I could never had made it through if I hadn't had known without a doubt that he was in love with me and only me. He wrote me letters everyday he was gone. He called us several times a day and I knew all of his thoughts were with us and coming home. He told me once that acting was a dream but that it would be a nightmare if it ever came between us. I know that he really does feel that way. Now that he is teaching, he is home and things are wonderful.

I'm slightly obsessed with romantic period movies & books. Mark recognized this in me right way and he is great about playing up to it. He is one of the most romantic men I have ever known. For Christmas one year he presented me with a box covered in silk, when I opened it to my surprise it was filled with letters, a love letter for each day of the year. He loves to surprise me with little notes and gifts. He was even willing to borrow a costume he wore in a Christmas Carol so I could shoot him as Mr. Darcy. He got a lot of flack for that from the guys at the theater but he loves me so he says it was worth it. Was it Mark?

Now that the boys are older and both in school we have afternoon dates. I'll meet him at a movie theater or a restaurant near the university and we will spend a few stolen hours together. It's so much fun to just talk and create new dreams together.

What is the BBQ like in Texas? Any favorite places to recommend? :)

The BBQ is great. We've been a few places but we still love Rudy's the most. Texas BBQ is something everyone should experience. You order meat sliced by the pound and they give it to you on brown paper with a stack of wonder bread and pickles. I love the turkey; Mark and the boys love the brisket. We all fight over the creamed corn. I know your probably thinking, "creamed corn? Gross." I know I was, but, oh how very wrong that thought is. Creamed corn Texas style is heavenly. Throw in some peach cobbler and you've got the perfect Texan meal.

Although I have to say the real gem of San Antonio are the empanadas and the tacos. We have great authentic Mexican food here!

What is your favorite children's book or story?

As far as picture books are concerned:

Mo Willem's "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" and all the other pigeon books are very big hits at our house as well as the Scaredy Squirrel books . I highly recommend either series.

To date, our best chapter book family experience has been "The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.l. Konigsburg. It's also a book that we read when I was little and when we moved to NYC, I knew that we had to read it. You see, I wanted to take the boys to the MET but I knew that I needed to make it exciting because I didn't want them to be bored with their first art museum experience and not want to go back. Obviously art is very important to Mark and I so we hoped that they would love it, too.

In the story a brother and sister who live in the suburbs of New York run away and live in the Met for a week while they uncover a mystery of a scultpure that might possibly be a Michelangelo. What could be more captivating to little boys than a great mystery story? Nothing. They were hooked from the beginning. They talk all about the museum and there is even a map and they explore a lot of the different sections of the MET in the story. So when we came to the end of the book and told them that the MET was indeed a real place and only a few minutes away they imediatly wanted to go.

We had the best afternoon that day exploring the museum, and looking for things mentioned in the book. Of course the Eygption section was the favorite. Who can resist anchient temples and a mummies?
As a successfully established photographer, as well as wife and mother, how do you find balance in what you do? Any tips or advice on how you've learned to juggle and balance life's priorities?

Does balance really exist? If so, it's elusive to me. Sometimes I try fighting for it, but I never win. I've sort of realized along the way that the scripture about there being a time and a season for all things is true. I can't do everything I want to right now. I just can't. Realizing this concept and letting go of a few dreams here and there for the time being is just the way that life is. There's nothing more important than my family but that doesn't mean that even their needs aren't sometimes put on hold for a deadline. I may be working from home for the most part but I still need to be professional. I've become better at asking for help. I've become better at realizing when I'm getting too close to making my job too important. I want my children and husband to know that they come first. Period. I'm not always the best at that.

I have to, absolutely must have a calendar, I put family things first and then add work things after. It's working so far. I wish I could be more helpful to others needing the answer to this but I think there are others who are way better at this than me! I mean currently I've decided that the house was the thing to go this week and as I type this my counter is covered in dishes. What can you do? Something had to go.

What is your favorite part of being a mother?

I love that I get to watch my babies become children and soon teens. Watching them develop personalities, talents, likes and dislikes is an amazing process. Mark and I really believe in teaching them now to learn how to make choices on their own so that later when the choices are harder they will know what to do and what is right and what is wrong. They are amazing. My two little boys are already better people than I ever will be. I am so happy that they are the people I get to spend my life with. And I'm so happy that I'm married to the sort of man who is teaching them how to open doors, and pull out chairs for the women in their life.

Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful answers with us, Candice!

our family. part III.

and the last of the photos by leo patrone.
the first can be seen here and here.

our family. part II.

here are a few more of the photos from our shoot
with leo patrone a few weeks back.

see more photos here.


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