Strawberry Pickin’ {Boxx Berry Farm}

Monday my niece and I visited Boxx Berry Farm to pick our own strawberries from their fields. I’ve never done this before and with “homegrown” and “organic” being on the rise I was excited to do it.

First of all, let me just tell you how blown away I am by all the GREEN around here!! It’s so beautiful!

We grab our bucket, get told which aisle to start on, and get to pickin’!! Well, obviously Amanda gets started while I’m snapping photos.  Aunt Chris if you get to read this….I now know how you felt when we were growing up and why you always had that camera of yours out!!

Here is my niece’s shot of me! Not too bad, eh?!

We ended up picking almost 5lbs. of strawberries! But at less than $2/pound it was well worth it.

I had the nice young lady working there take our photo. We wanted to start eating them on the drive home but decided we’d better wash the dirt of first! It was worth the wait to have them as our dessert after dinner. They were the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten!! I honestly didn’t know how terrible store bought berries were until now. I don’t think I can ever eat those again!

If you are in Whatcom County and haven’t been to Boxx Berry Farm I highly suggest doing so! It’s a great venture to take the kids to while they’re out for summer.

Hours: Mon-Sat 9-5:30 pm,  Sunday  10-3:30 pm.  You must show up a half hour before closing to pick.

I looked ahead and the raspberry season will open sometime after July 5th. Blueberry season will begin after July 15th. I’ll be back to pick those for sure!!

Cheers to happy and healthy eating!

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2 Years and Counting…

I was so busy last week that it didn’t even occur to me that my business anniversary was coming up and I missed it!! It’s been 2 whole years since I established by business and 8 months since taking it full-time.

I guess it’s true what they say….time flies when you’re having fun! It has been fun…along with scary, trying, confusing, frustrating, enjoyable, rewarding and a gazillion other things.

Yep, these past two years have been a revolving door of changes. Not only dealing with growth but who I am and what my photography is. Learning where to set goals and how to accomplish them. Finding great online resources and soaking up as much info as possible and trying to determine how to apply that information to my business. Just because something works wonders for one photographer in one area doesn’t mean it will for everyone. I’ve learned the beginning is A LOT of trial and error.

For those clients who have repeatedly used me throughout these years during all this THANK YOU! You have no idea how much I appreciate your loyalty and continued support. I only hope that I’ve given photos and an experience that exceed the previous and make you want to stick around for all the wonderful things that are yet to come!!

If you are a photographer reading this and you’re thinking it’s too hard, there’s too much to learn, you’re not good enough, the business side of photography isn’t fun, and you wondering if you’re making the right decisions….I want you to know that those are all valid and common fears that we all have!! Trust me! I’ve thought all those things. But you can do it! If it’s your passion and you feel drawn to it like nothing else then it will work out, if you work at it!

I have found Jenika over at Psychology for Photographers to be a remarkable source of information. I never miss a post and soak up everything she writes. She’s genuinely wants her readers to succeed and it shows!

The same can be said for Elizabeth over at ElizabethHalford.com Right now she’s teamed up with Lightroompresets.com for a 10 video photography series. If you’re just starting out or thinking about becoming a paid photographer I highly recommend watching the videos. She tells it like it is, in plain english that we all can understand.

I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I feel very confident at this point where I am. I understand nothing happens overnight and although I enjoy my “job” it is still a business and I have to treat it as such with lots of hard work. It’s wonderful knowing its all mine but scary knowing if I don’t do anything nothing will get done.

I’ll end with saying lots of wonderfulness is coming and I’m really excited!! Along with a couple of cute shots of my nephew…well just because he’s so darn cute!

“Did a grasshopper just jump into my camera?” He’s checking it out 🙂 We only have a million grasshoppers in our yard so it was slightly believable!!

Spring Cleaning

I’m thinking its the coming of Spring but oh my goodness I have been in the most organization/cleaning mode I’ve ever been in!! Has it hit you yet? The mornings are the best  with the cool weather, mid afternoon I need a break, but then the evenings rock again!

I’m staying with my parents as I get my business up and going and so the organization/cleaning has been happening at their place, not my own. Sunday I forced my dad to take down an old shed that was about to fall down anyways. We emptied it, took boards down off two sides, then he pulled the rest down. We are saving the tin roof and some of the wood but most is so old we can’t salvage it. We worked all Sunday and my prize was a slight sunburn, the first of 2012. In it’s place we’ll build a replacement building that will serve as storage and a garden shed, since it’s located right by the garden. Before and after pictures will be posted as the build starts.

Then as if that wasn’t enough, yesterday I start cleaning out the tiniest room we have in the house. It’s so tiny that it becomes disorderly super fast. Old carpet (that was just laying there) is out. Tons of stuff was donated to Goodwill today and more was trashed. The closet got cleaned out today and I took the door off. I’ve been scouring Pinterest for craft room ideas and I am so blown away by what some lucky people get to have!!!! I started a “Craft Room Inspiration” Board if you’d like to check it out.

The room is only about 9×9 with one wall taken up by windows, one the has the closet, one has the entry door, leaving only one clean wall. I’ve got lots of ideas and I can’t wait to get it completely empty so we can get started! I just found this linoleum lacquer stuff  and am thinking about painting the floor and putting some sort of stencil on it. Way cheaper and more creative than replacing it all together! I’ve taken many photos of the progress and look forward to photographing the final result.

If you’ve got a craft room you’re super proud of I’d LOVE to see it!! Post a link in the comment section!! Or if you need to start a craft room project, too, let’s do it together and share ideas, inspiration, progress, and final results!!! That would be so fun! Comment below and let me know!!

Gaining a New Perspective

Today was a perfect weather day in my little dot on the map (sometimes we’re not even a dot). Blue, cloudless skies, the sun beaming down its warm rays on my skin, with no risk of sweat because the breeze was constant and cool. Yes, we really soak up days like this because in Texas we rarely get them. In fact, we may get one then have an ice storm the next day.

I was taking the designated lunch break while watching the awe inspiring Sue Bryce over at CreativeLIVE and decided to whip out the iPhone and snap some photos. Like I said we had some nice weather, not just today, so it’s starting to look like Spring with trees and flowers blooming.

I guess it was because of the workshop or something but my mind was totally turned on and open. I’m not going to get all philosophical on you, I don’t have the education for it. However, one thing did strike me though and I’ll illustrate with the photos I took.

You can look at something the same way everyone approaches it and achieve the same mediocre results:

Flowers. Or in this case I think these are common weeds. Even better because the feeling you get when you hear “weeds” is a negative feeling. Nobody loves weeds, they want them gone.

By just changing my view of them I can achieve amazing results! Not feeling anything negative anymore.

Once I realized how amazing my new perspective was I couldn’t stop shooting. We can apply this to all aspects of life don’t you think?

The weeds don’t have it so bad do they?
(until we mow)

Something on the Horizon

Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters photo by LinnyJo

Wouldn’t you love to wake up, grab your cup of hot coffee, open the sliding door, and sit on your deck and see the view above? The air would be so cool and crisp you wrap your hands around the coffee mug feeding off the warmth. Every way you glance you can’t help but soak in all the natural elements, from the bay, the mountains, eagles searching for breakfast, to the sun slowly rising. Eagle sitting on top of a tree photo by LinnyJo

It’s the beginning of July and if there isn’t rain in the forecast you pretty much know the day will be perfect. Time to get ready for a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood.

Okay, okay….enough with the daydreaming!!! Everything you just read was me experiencing Birch Bay, WA last summer. This small town Texas girl who knew nothing more of flat dry lands and summer temperatures that make you break out in dripping sweat the moment you walk outside. Heat so intense when you get in your car after its been sitting out all day it takes your breath away and you feel like you’d suffocate if the air conditioner didn’t kick in soon enough. Oh yea, air conditioners. You know they don’t typically even have those in houses in WA???

My sister and her family moved up there and bought a house not that many years ago, so I’ve had the pleasure of visiting as I choose. That really is their view front the deck in the morning!!

The reason I bring this subject up is, well, I miss this place like crazy!!! Also, I’m 95% sure that I’ll be spending ALL of July there this summer!! Yes, all of it. Don’t worry there will still be plenty of sizzling Texas summer waiting for me when I get back hahaha

My niece and I taking that bike ride through their neighborhood

The last trip I easily took over 1000 photos in my week’s visit. I can’t even try to guess at all the photos I’ll take over a month!! I hope to take in some paying sessions as well. 🙂 I did last time and the family was so sweet. They had just adopted a little girl and I offered to take their first family portraits as a whole. This was a chance meeting as my niece and I were taking in some sun and fun at the community pool.

Family Portrait photo by LinnyJo

So as the time gets closer I’m sure you’ll be seeing more posts about my departure from Texas and see the excitement building 🙂 I cannot wait!

Photos for Your Home

I love taking pictures! Aren’t you glad since that is what I’ve decided to do with my life!? Even when I’m not taking photos for clients I am snapping away, whether I’m on vacation, driving down my country roads, or just walking around outside. This has left me with some quite spectacular images in a file folder on my hard drive. I just think it’d be rude of me to leave those there and not share them with you. I’ve been wanting to sell my prints for a long time now but never found an easy online way to do so. Etsy doesn’t provide an easy way for me to offer one print with different sizes and paper types. I’d have to create a separate listing for each one….no thank you! Ebay, no offense to anyone using it, makes me feel cheap. I don’t want anyone bidding on my stuff. I want you to see a price and that’s the price. Also, now I have a way to give you high quality products that can be shipped directly to you.

So within my wonderful circle of Facebook businesses I follow daily I’d kept hearing of this other thing called Big Cartel that a lot of prop makers use to sell their products. They said it was super easy and the cost of having one was really reasonable. So this past week I looked into it and was surprised to see how professional their “stores” appear.

They even offer a small free plan for you to try before upgrading. Free you say?! I’m game!

It allows you to sell up to 5 items, so I dove into my prints folder and picked my top 5. Not only are they photos that I love, but ones that I can imagine someone being able to add to their home decor.

With all that said please click the image to be taken to my storefront on Big Cartel. Browse around and if you have any feedback there is a contact form on there, please use it! Oh and share with your family & friends….Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else to help spread the word of my budding store!!

More will be added within the month. This is just a start to see how I like the site. If you should so decide that one of these photos would look great in your home please know, too, that shipping is free!

Happy New Year {2011 in Review}

I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve. I pigged out on not-so-healthy foods with some pretty fabulous peeps. When I wasn’t doing that I was making everyone laugh at my outrageous answers to Catchphrase. Oh my, that game is so fun with the right people!! We stopped long enough to catch the broadcast of the countdown at about 1 minute and rang in the New Year. Then I got to wake up this morning to watch Tom and Jerry with the cutest little 4 year old on the planet. I was also privileged enough to watch him play Ben 10 on his DS. Boy am I lucky!! haha

Since the start of a new year is all about reflection I want to show a photo (or two) from sessions from each month of 2011. Hopefully we’ll see some progression in my work. So here goes….

January

February – None professionally taken

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

So there’s my year in photos. I can’t wait to have another great year. It feels really good to start 2012 knowing I have the most amazing job I could ever want. Not only that but amazing friends and family that are so supportive and give me so much motivation to succeed. I thank the Lord daily (sometimes more!) for all my blessings, no matter how small.

Looking forward I want to travel, even if it’s only to WA state again, and take more photos for me….how I see the world.  I also hope to establish a studio this year. That’s a big time goal. I want that so bad!! A place to showcase all my work and run my business. It’s so exciting to think about!! It will happen, I just have to be patient and work my way towards it.

Oh and get ready in April to start seeing tons of photos of a certain little baby girl. My best friend (since we were 4) is having her first baby!! That child will have soooo many photo sessions she’ll think she’s a movie star!! I’ll have my own little model to practice on.

Here’s my other little model (the cutest 4 year old I talked about earlier) from yesterday.

From the bottom of my heart I want to say a big THANK YOU to all my clients. You are helping me live my dream. I love getting know each and every one of you and look forward to many more sessions. Keep spreading the word! ha ha Once again Happy New Year and God Bless!!

Thanksgiving Fun Photos

I’m only 27, okay almost 28 but still relatively young for the amount of nieces and nephews I have. At least I think so. I have a 3 nieces, 2 nephews, and 1 great-niece. To say they’re all cute and/or beautiful only scratches the surface. They are all kind, sweet, well-mannered, funny, genuinely good people. I am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life.

You’ve seen this little guy before. His momma wanted a new photo done for their Christmas card. The candids I got are absolutely to die for! Then scroll down further to see photos of my nieces.

This expression makes me think he’s some cool kid skipping school that all the girls chase after.

Love all his unique little “looks”

My favorite of his sweet smile!

And now my beautiful niece, Hailee, Thomas’ cousin.

This was my first time taking her pictures and she was such a natural in front of the camera I’m already planning a real shoot just for her!

And as a special bonus for you here’s sweet little Nolie Jane, my great-niece.

Here’s wishing you all a continued blessed holiday season!!

God Bless Texas {Thomas}

This handsome little guy is my younger brother’s little boy. We were watching Sunday football and took a halftime break to go outside and take a few photos. They have this painted on one of their barns.

He is starting to say the cutest things. He cracks me up all the time, especially with all his different facial expressions. He’s also becoming a busy little boy. Too busy sometimes to pause and give me a hug. Like yesterday I asked for one, he thinks about it a second and replies “I can’t right now”! Needless to say I tricked him into giving me one!!

We have a future heartbreaker on our hands!

To make matters worse (for the future girls) he is being raised to be super polite. He walked in wearing a hat the other day and I told him I liked it…he takes it off and looks over said hat and replies “Thank you”.

He totally has Aunt Mina (me!) wrapped around his finger!

So proud of the little man he is growing in to.  Good job to his parents Adam and Sarah!!