Mother’s Day

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Occasionally I get compliments about the person that I am.

That’s not bragging. That’s just the honest truth. I am so honoured every time someone mentions anything regarding my character, but I always just smile and say the same thing.

“Thanks- my parents did a really great job with me.”

I never really realized the truth in that statement until I had kids of my own. Parenting is such a hard job, and it never quits. You don’t get to come home, kick off your shoes, and quit parenting. Your kids watch your ever move, gleaning information non-stop, taking their cues from you. By being who you are, you are forming who they are, and who they will become. It’s terrifying.

I think back on my childhood, and never once do I feel like, “wow, that was sucky.” We had no electricity, television, running water, indoor plumbing, or other basics that pretty much everyone my age has never had to live without. We didn’t have two dimes to rub together. Never once have I felt deprived, or that my parents made me miss out on things. They didn’t have much to give us in the materialistic sense, but I had the best childhood a kid could ask for because of what my parents did have for us.

Love. I have not gone a single day in my life without feeling loved. I wake up in the morning, and I know that I am loved beyond the shadow of a doubt. The words “I love you” have rained down on my ears and my soul since before I was born, and have not quit. I have said those three words so many times I could not count them if you held a gun to my head. I have experienced such a wealth of love and acceptance that it has molded me into a creature who is able to love deeply, fiercely, and without fear.

Confidence. Since I have always known love, I have never felt alone. I have always known that no matter what, blood runs thicker than water and I can unabashedly be myself without fear of rejection. I have such a team of cheerleaders in my parents and family that it wouldn’t matter if someone called me names, or said negative things about me, or tried to bring me down. I would be able to look that person straight in the eye, and deal with it with confidence and a witty comeback. I know that my family has my back, in the way an Italian knows “da family” has your back. I’m supported. I am SO BLESSED to never have to walk alone into anything.

Compassion. We rescue people. I cannot count the times that my family has taken in strays from all walks of life. Five generations of rescuers, and now my husband Graham and I get our turn. We are so blessed to be able to bring people into our homes and hearts, to pour into their lives with the love we’ve been given, to pool our resources and make a difference. My family taught me that people have value, no matter who they are, what they have done, or where they come from. They taught me to see the world in black and white, to have a strong sense of what is right, and to raise people up.

Bravery. When I was about to start college, my mom came into the house covered in blood. In a normal household, that would be seen as alarming, but in our house it wasn’t too far offside. I calmly asked her what she was doing, and with a huge smile on her face she told me, “I know what I want to be when I grow up.”
We had, up until that fateful day, a cow who would not bring a calf to term. My mom, who is a fourth generation Saskatchewan farm girl, had taken it upon herself to perform an “autopsy” on said cow, and had deduced the problem (not that the cow would have that problem ever again.) She told me she wanted to be an OR nurse, and when my younger sister and I went off to college, so did she. She excelled in all of her classes, was a favourite of her classmates, and anyone who has interacted with her in the hospital here sings her praises. She is an amazing woman, and if I can be HALF the woman that she is, I will be successful in any endeavor I choose to embark on.

See, that’s the thing. I know Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day of honour for your mom, but I honour her EVERY day. She is the bravest, most selfless woman I know. When my sister & I were kids and it was time for us to go into the school system, things were less than ideal. Instead of saying, “Well, that’s just the way it is. Good luck, kids!!” my mom chose to home school us. She wasn’t a teacher. She was a hairdresser. She stayed up late at night learning the things she had to teach us the next day. She fostered imagination in us, and taught us how to marvel at things around us. She taught us to ask questions, and to never be afraid to try something new. She sacrificed so much for us, so that we would have a great education, and so we could be well-rounded and experience things that kids in public school didn’t get a chance to. We traveled. We read voraciously. We laughed until our stomachs hurt, and grew together as a family. She taught us respect. She taught us to love Jesus, and to love each other. She taught me how to cook like an army was coming for dinner, which is a skill set that my husband will be eternally grateful for.

I also know that technically Mother’s Day is not about my dad, but he picked my mom, even when she was tossing cigarette butts at him in the bar and he threatened to break her arms if she didn’t stop. They were perfect for each other from day one, and they’ve taught me that love is a choice. You fall in love, but then you choose each other every. single. day. They taught me that some things are worth fighting for, and that the right love is worth waiting for. I’ve married an amazing man, because my dad showed me how to respect myself, and my mom showed me how to honour my husband.

I have the two most amazing parents in the world, and my dad has the two most amazing parents in the world, and one day, I hope my kids will say the same about Graham & I. It’s generational. They have passed on so many amazing traits and lessons that I’ve been set up for success from day one.

So Happy Mother’s Day, mom. Every time someone tells me that I’m turning into you I smile and say thank you, because that is the biggest compliment they could give me. You are an incredible woman and I am SO BLESSED to have you in my life. You have shown me over and over what it means to be a mother, and are the perfect example of what motherhood is. You’ve lived it and walked it every day of my life, even when you were scared, even when you thought you were failing. I look up to you, and I am so thankful that my kids get to have a relationship with you too. You are such a huge part of who I am- thank you for believing in my dreams even when no one else did, and for pushing me to be better. Thank you for beating me with a pencil when I couldn’t focus on numbers, for cheering me on, and for helping me become an instigator. I love you so much, and didn’t even realize how much you loved me until I loved my two daughters.

This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give a shout out to another amazing mom in my life- my mother in law, Barb. She’s raised the man of my dreams (sorry Derek- it’s Graham this time…) and I’m not sure how she brought up those three hellions without becoming an alcoholic. Barb- thank you. You’ve welcomed me into your family with open arms, and much less trepidation than a normal family would have. I am so blessed to have a mother in law that is fun to be around, who loves my kids beyond measure, who accepts me and makes me feel at home. You are so supportive of us, even when we’re flying headlong into another adventure. You’ve always been there, working tirelessly in the background, and I want you to know that your hard work has paid off. You have raised such an amazing man in Graham, and he is an incredible father because of you & Jim. I love you!!

So, if you’re still with me after that novel- go hug your mom. Hold her like it’s the last time you’ll get to, and make sure she knows how much you appreciate all the sacrifices she’s made for you. Heck, hug a mom on the street, and tell her she looks beautiful because she needs to hear it. Help her with her groceries. Buy her flowers. She’s changing the world, one tiny human at a time, and none of us would be who we are without our moms.

Happy mother’s day!!

xox Stephanie

My mom and dad <3 Momma & Me! Daddy's Girls

Thank you- a letter to my wonderful clients

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As the holiday season draws to a close, I am seriously overwhelmed with the e-mails, messages, & text messages coming in from clients who gave their special someone boudoir images for Christmas. It makes my heart SO HAPPY to hear things like:

“He says he’s even noticed a difference in me since I did them….but didn’t know I did them…”
“She was so happy doing it for us. They are very beautiful and I’ll display them proudly.”
“His jaw dropped-thank you thank you again!”

Awww- I love it!! But- as happy as those men are… that’s not the main reason why I do what I do. (Guys, you know I love you, but your happiness is only a byproduct. You’re welcome.)

Do you know what the BEST part of my job is? Watching the women that I work with change-gaining confidence, being empowered. Seeing a woman come in, nervous, baring not only her skin but also her insecurities, her soul, her passion for her mate, and watching her transform before my eyes. Everyone is nervous their first time. There are a lot of laughs- but there is also vulnerability. It takes a lot of bravery to come in for a session with me, especially for intimate portraiture. To watch a woman come into her own, to really take hold of her feminine side and grow more powerful is an incredible experience. It brings tears to my eyes, and gives my spirit wings.

I truly believe that if a woman can really see herself as beautiful that it will change her life; and in return, she will change the lives of everyone around her. She will love more fearlessly, look the world straight in the face, and conquer any challenge with the grace and tenderness that only a woman can.

As the thanks are coming in, I wanted to say in return that it is a great privilege to work with these women. Ladies, every day, you inspire me and challenge me to be better. Thank  YOU for being so brave, for fearlessly putting yourself out there and trusting me with these sacred moments in your life. It is truly an honour to work for you, and to help you realize just how beautiful you truly are. Each and every one of you has touched my heart, and I can’t wait to work with you again.

May your 2014 be blessed- and thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

♥ Stephanie

Now that all the presents are opened- finally, FINALLY!!!- I can share with you some of the incredible images from my last marathon session at St. Eugene. Ladies- you are gorgeous inside AND out- not only in the after photo, but in the before. Thank you for allowing me to share these images. You are BEAUTIFUL!

Special thanks to my incredible team for this shoot- Kayla Brunner & Morgan Gingerich, my makeup artists, Jill Heer & Aaron MacDonald from Studio 134 Hair Design, and the gorgeous St. Eugene Mission for hosting us and allowing us to use their beautiful venue. You all make me look goooooooood… and it is a real honour to associate myself with such dedicated professionals.

If you are interested in booking a space in my upcoming January 11, 2014 Valentines Sessions,  you can do that by clicking Stephanie Moore Valentine’s Sessions at St. Eugene. Valentine’s Day can’t come soon enough! I am so excited for these sessions- we will be using the fabulous Chief Isadore Suite at St. Eugene, and it is amazing.

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Vicki-BA(1)Alanna-BeforeAfter  Alanna-2400c(1) MelissaBefore

This last client- I just want to take a quick second to say something about her. She is gorgeous- and perhaps one of the bravest women I have ever had the honour to meet. At 78, she is more radiant than a lot of 20-somethings I work with, and the most mature woman I have worked with to date. She wanted a very special Christmas present for her husband and although she had never done anything of this sort before, she fearlessly booked a session with me. She was my first client of the day on a day where I photographed nine beautiful women, creating an age range of 20-78!! She has beaten cancer twice- loved the same man for many years- has beautiful children and grandchildren- and has and incredible life story full of adventures that I hope will continue for many good years yet. I was so inspired by her that I asked her permission to share with you one of her elegant photographs, and to my great joy she said YES! Isn’t she gorgeous?


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Hope you all have a happy New Year!!♥

 

Dear Target…

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Ok. I have to get something off my chest here. Grandma- this post is not for you. Look away. This is going to be a bit of a rant.

Target has turned me into a dirtbag.

In my bedroom renovating adventures, we’ve been searching for the perfect duvet cover. I ordered one online from India- and it’s true- you get what you pay for. I knew it was too good to be true as soon as I opened the box and it smelled like the sweat and tears of small children. The opening was sewn in backwards. Two of the ruffles didn’t match the rest of it. It was a poly-blend, NOT 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton.

Back to the drawing board.

Fool me once, shame on you… I’m not ordering online anymore. I scoured all of Cranbrooks VAST selection of bedspreads and duvet covers- the shopping here is, well… Moving on.

Finally we ended up at Target. USA Target. Supposedly that is the mecca of Targets, and the Canadian Target is just a pasty northern cousin.  I expected to buy more, and pay less. I expected big things. I expected to be blown away.

I wasn’t. There were only a couple more styles than I had seen at my home Target. Graham and I hummed and hawed over our options, and finally picked one.

Image from Target.com

Image from Target.com

We both thought that the geometric pattern would sort of compliment the diamond tufting on the new headboard and that the purple-ish grey tones would bring out the French Linen colour of the buttons and the bedside tables. I took it home, washed it, and put it on the bed. I stared at it for a very, very long time.

Then I gasped.

It was a…

GRANDMA- LOOK AWAY.

It was vagina print.

GAH I can’t believe I just wrote that, but so help me God that’s what I saw. All. Over. The. Bed.

I was horrified (sort of like my grandma will be if she is still reading this post. I DID WARN YOU- i’m sorry, i’m sorry, i’m sorry……)

I couldn’t stop looking at it. It was like watching a decorative train wreck. And maybe, yes, that does make me a dirtbag but I am a boudoir photographer and well, I deal with a lot of nude and semi-nude women. I’m just sayin’. I know what I saw.

I sent a photo of the bedspread to a reliable friend. I asked her what she thought. She said she saw the same thing I did. Two rights make a wrong, or at least confirm it.

After I recovered from my initial shock, I decided to write Target a friendly letter, outlining my experience and perhaps giving them some advice for moving on in the future.

Here it is:

Dear Target, I recently purchased a duvet cover from your Kalispell, Montana location. I was so excited about it- I rushed home, washed it, and immediately threw it on my bed. It was the perfect colour. It was soft and inviting. It was printed with vaginas.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that my bed had been transformed. There were little purple pussies plastered all over every king-sized inch. It was vagilicious. It oozed sexuality. I was taken aback, unable to get the gaping babymaker print out of my mind. In horror, I tried looking at it from another angle. It was no use. Ladybits stared me blatantly in the face.

Target, I was in no way prepared for the erotic overtones of this bedspread. The label should come with an 18A Explicit Content rating. Never before have I seen so much vag on one bed- even in my wine cooler-induced college experimentation days. Now every time I slide into bed and my feet snag on the sheets, I feel like I’ve stolen someone’s virginity.

You have made me into a porn star, Target, and for that, I shake my fist at you.

Sincerely, Stephanie

Anyway- now I am thinking we probably need to find a better duvet cover. This one is scandalous and I just don’t know if I can slide into bed without feeling like I’m stealing home base.

End rant.

Bedroom Makeover Part 2- The Headboard

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What a busy, busy summer! Photo sessions, the kiddos, weddings, and of course, my new infatuation with DIY projects.

As some of you might know, I am in the middle of a bedroom renovation brought on by my husband’s Kijiji obsession (read the full post here). What started as “oh- I should totally buy that for a photo prop!” has turned into a full blown bedroom renovation to create A)A gorgeous space for boudoir photography and B)A little oasis away from the craziness that is my life 99% of the time. In the first part of this project, we covered the tables. Today’s post is all about the headboard… and it’s going to be a long one.

Oh the headboard. The most lovely piece of furniture ever to come through my bedroom door.

I was totally in love with this set in pink- but after we decided *coughIdecidedcough* to keep it full time in our master bedroom and Graham didn’t want to sleep in a wedding cake… there had to be some changes made.

My friend Jan, who conveniently runs The Painted Crate here in town, and I put our thinking caps on, and decided we could totally do this ourselves. The re-covering of the headboard & benches by a professional was going to run me about $800-1000 at least, and a vacation with drinks and little umbrellas is higher on the priority list than doing a headboard.

After trying to find a video on YouTube on how to recover a headboard with no luck- we decided to make our own. It’s going to follow soon with its own post- but I also wanted to document the transformation with still photography. After all, that IS what I do.

HEADBOARD-8883 HEADBOARD-8885I love the detailing in this piece- so gorgeous. It was in excellent condition, minus a bit of minor staining. We tossed the option of painting the fabric back and forth before I decided that no, we couldn’t paint it- it wouldn’t have the same lustre and feel. Our only other option was to figure things out as we went. I sort of felt like one of those kids who takes all of their toys apart in order to see how they work. I just hoped we could put things back together. Headboard-9279On most tufted headboards, the buttons are sewn through the back of the headboard to create the tuft. Holes are drilled into the board, and a thick layer of foam is applied over the board. When the buttons are pulled tight it creates that gorgeous, tufted effect. We looked at the back of my headboard. NO holes. We looked at the buttons on the front- and then I pried one out- it was an upholstery nail! Hooray!

nails

We quickly got to work gently prying the nails out of the headboard with finishing hammers. The fabric was stapled directly to the board underneath. I’m not one to re-create the wheel… so we decided to do things the MacGyver way- Swiss Army Knife and all.

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Prying out the nails

Prying out the nails

Just a note- after we got all 179 of the nails out of the headboard…………… (yes, 179) I found a mini crowbar- I wish we would have had it for all of these buttons. I am currently using it on the benches and it is WAAAAAAAAAY easier- so if you can get one of those for this sort of project… do it.

Anyway- I was so in love with the French Linen Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that I thought it would be awesome to be able to incorporate that colour into the headboard. It is a VERY tough colour to match- but after bringing one of the drawers from the bedside tables,  I found some gorgeous upholstery fabric at Fabric Land that complimented it very nicely. The best part? It was regularly $18/metre- on sale in the bargain bin for $3/metre. UNBELIEVABLE! *insert happy dance here*

frenchlinen fabric
We decided to paint all of the buttons and the cording on the headboard with the French Linen chalk paint to tie everything together in a neat little bow. We stuck them in one of my old reflectors to make them easier to paint. Who knew that styrofoam would be the best reflector ever? Not the point.

HEADBOARD-8895HEADBOARD-8905After we painted the buttons and the cording, we got to work on painting the trim around the headboard. We used Pure White by Annie Sloan, the same as on my night tables. I love the two colours together!!

HEADBOARD-8897HEADBOARD-8899Even just that little bit of paint on the trim made the headboard start to pop, and with excitement in our hearts and our brushes we gave it two coats and created a plan of attack for the rest of the project.

Since the fabric was stapled to the headboard, we thought it would be the easiest to staple MY fabric on top of the pink fabric. After some experimentation, we quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. The staples kept peeking out from behind the buttons and it was driving me insane. We sat there, Jan & I, stumped- drinking coffee. LOTS of coffee. I wished we could just STICK it on there…. EUREKA!

We grabbed the hot glue gun and got to work. The method was simple- put a tiny dab of hot glue in the hole in the fabric, stick my fabric down, take the repainted nail, hammer it into the headboard. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Headboard-9288Headboard-9290Headboard-9292It went SUPER quick- which is awesome because I am not a patient person and this project immediately appealed to my need for instant gratification. Before long, it was starting to take shape and Jan and I were jumping up and down.

ok… I’ll admit it. That could also partly be the coffee.

It was looking amazing!!

Headboard-9297When we got to the edges, we stapled the fabric down and then cut off all of the excess, leaving only 2.5 inches of fabric hanging over the frame.Then I started on the cording edges by rolling the remaining fabric and tacking it down with hot glue.

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Measuring out the cording trim for the headboard

Headboard-9299 Headboard-9305After the edges were secured, I dabbed a bit more glue over the rolled edges, and then stuck the cording down around the frame. The French Linen colour was just SLIGHTLY darker than the fabric, and was a lovely contrast between the stark white of the frame and the smooth fabric.

Headboard-9317 Headboard-9316 Headboard-9312I JUST LOVE IT.

This is one of the most fun projects I’ve ever done. SO Fast, and what a huge difference between the pink and our new lovely French Linen and White! As my grandma, who is one of the smartest people I know said, “It’s gone from an over the top Marilyn Monroe to an elegant Grace Kelly.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself!!

HEADBOARD-8885 HEADBOARD-8883 headboard1 headboard2I can’t wait to show you all what it looks like all put together. There are two more parts to the makeover- the dresser, the two benches, and then of course the entire redecoration and repaint of the bedroom.

Whoops… guess I should let Graham know we are repainting.

Thanks for reading!! HUGE thanks to Jan who is my project BFF and also so much fun to hang out with- and always game for me to just show up at the shop with big dreams, coffee, and projects for us to laugh over and work on. I’m glad she’s so cool. Go into her shop and hang out- it’s the best little place to meet interesting people. She likes lattes with honey, in case you want to bring her treats ;)

Bedroom Makeover- Part 1-The Tables

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It started with Kijiji.

I was editing- as usual- my husband Graham was browsing on Kijiji and waiting for me to finish working so we could go to bed. It was starting to get late, we were both tired, and it had been a long week.

Sigh.

“Hey- you should buy this set.” I heard from behind me. He was holding out his iPhone so I could see the pictures.

Cue the music crescendo- cue the slow-mo running-through-the-fields- cue love at first sight. In pink.

It was an old bedroom set- in pink silk. Gorgeous details. Glam-worthy and boudi-licious. I swooned, right then and there.
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Bedside table- before

Bedside table- before

Unfortunately- it was king sized… and we had JUST sold our pickup truck to buy a more family-oriented Ford Flex. I was bad at math, but even I knew those dimensions didn’t work. The set was located out of town, and so the next day we packed up the family and headed out.

The set belonged to the nicest man- it had been his late wife’s set, and he was remarrying after a courtship with a widow who had been friends of theirs for years. Aww- so cute. Anyways- the set needed a new home and I was MORE than happy to basically steal it from them for only $400. Headboard. Two lovely tufted benches. Two glass-topped sidetables. Two lamps. Brand new king mattress & boxsprings, frame.

Unreal. START THE CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

We rented a U-Haul, and drove it home.

I’m notorious for biting off more than I can chew. I knew I wanted to re-cover the set, paint the tables, make it a little more modern, and avoid being stuck in a pink bedroom. (I love pink obviously, don’t get me wrong… but it was a little like sleeping in a wedding cake.) I had never, ever attempted furniture restoration before. I’ve never even painted a straight-backed chair, let alone re-tufted a headboard and two benches. I did what any person in my situation would do- I hyped up my friend Jan from the Painted Crate and hit Pinterest.

I had a lot of suggestions about what to do with the set- paint the fabric with Annie Sloan chalk paint, don’t paint it!! Re-cover it with new fabric, or sell the set to someone who could (I’ve had numerous offers haha). I decided no- painting would *sort of* be easier, but wouldn’t give me the look I wanted. So Jan and I decided to attack it ourselves- after all, how hard could it be? I mean, she OWNS a paint store- isn’t that all we need??

We went to the Crate- Jan was SO thoughtful and offered the space so that we could work on the project together away from my children and their grabby, grabby, no-no hands. Wet paint+kids=me on the news… and not in a good way. Plus- I could double as entertainment for the clients coming into the store for their own painting projects.

THANK YOU! I’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK!

I chose French Linen and Pure White from Annie Sloan- I wanted classic, neutral, and elegant for the set.

I chose French Linen and Pure White from Annie Sloan- I wanted classic, neutral, and elegant for the set.

We decided to try the Annie Sloan paint that everyone on Pinterest raves about, and started with the bedside tables.

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It was sort of a cream/gold when we started- but I loved the hardware and the detailing of the the edging, and the LEGS! I LOVE the legs on this set. They match the benches perfectly. (They will have their own blog post when we finish them)

We pulled all the drawers out, took off the hardware, and got to work. The nice thing about this chalk paint is that you don’t have to sand or prime- you just give the piece a rubdown with some soap and water and you’re good to start painting!

The top of the tables was cream silk- and it was horribly waterstained, so we painted it the French Linen color- unfortunately I don’t have an image of the tops because we were so excited we just started painting- but the chalk paint went on really well and looked awesome!

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We chose the white for the body of the bedside tables, and French Linen as a nice accent on the drawers. We also decided to re-use the hardware and paint them white- this paint will stick to everything. The handles are a nice “pop” against the darker drawers. Gorgeous.
Tables-8696 Tables-8695
The chalk paint dries really quickly, so we worked in small sections. We’d never worked with it before, but the consensus at the end of the day was that we’d definitely use it again. In the middle of our project- my aunt and grandma stopped in to check out the project- every good project needs a foreman, right Grandma!? xoxo

Tables-8699 Tables-8700The best part about working at The Painted Crate (OTHER THAN JAN of course-she’s like my soulmate) is that if you need a brush, or drop cloth, or sandpaper, or whatever- it’s all right there! Plus, once we got the drawers painted, we hit the paint swatches with my beautiful Auntie Susie to pick out the new colour of my bedroom walls- Benjamin Moore Pashmina- AF-100. SUCH a great colour! Benjamin Moore paint is my favourite, and it’s not just because we shared the same last name.

Tables-8702Once we put the drawers back in, and put the freshly painted hardware back in, we both just stood back and stared. What a huge difference, and in such a short time!

Before and After transformation!

Before and After transformation!

I love this updated look- it is exactly what I pictured going in to this project. Better yet- it exactly matches the fabric I picked for the tufted headboard- which is part 2 of Project Bedroom Makeover. Stay tuned for that one- it is definitely more involved than this one was.

Hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving weekend!! Happy creating :)

Mad Edits- the Boss is in.

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Okay- so I have an alter ego. Before you start calling the men in the white coats, let me explain.

A while back I started doing a few edits, here and there, for other talented photographers who are super busy and don’t have time to learn the intimate ways of Photoshop. Photoshop and I have had an ongoing love affair since 2006, when we first met in journalism school.

“WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?!” I asked myself, as I watched an image MAGICALLY transform before my very mouse. “I want to KNOW you, Photoshop, in the biblical sense.”

Anyways. Cough. Awkward.

Unbeknownst to me at the time of my agreement to manipulate said images, this was a much needed skill. A friend of mine told me I should make a website, so I did. (Thank you SHOWIT for the ability to do that in 20 minutes or less)

Fast forward at least 2 days- I have over 30 editing clients.

Some of the stuff is really cool- and super challenging which I like. The edits are on a per-image basis: I never take on a whole portrait session, or, God forbid, a whole wedding. It’s a lot of the same thing I am already doing on my images for my clients, taking something distracting out of the background, “helping” with double chins, correcting posture… and then there are some things that are CRAZY.

Take the t-rex phase of 2013.

This is something that I am getting asked for more and more- clients see the image on Pinterest or Google and think “THAT IS SO AWESOME I MUST HAVE THAT AS A HUGE CANVAS ON MY WALL!!!” Ok, so maybe not the huge canvas part… but at least a Facebook timeline photo. I’ve had the uhhh good fortune of being able to terrify wedding parties with velociraptors, the Kraken, and some crazy Star Wars thingies that look like they could crush you. (I haven’t had a Sharknado request yet, but I’m sure that day is coming.) Let’s be honest- no one really expects these to look realistic, and it’s more just a fun/goofy thing that clients want and specifically request.

I’ve also been able to help by recreating a first kiss, removing a creepy balloon holder and people that JUST.WON’T. MOVE. from the backgrounds of photos, touching up cake photos, removing uncles and grandmas and other troublesome family members, bringing visions to life by combining images, and making a client’s hair look like Eva Longorias.

As photographers in this digital age, we get asked for these things all the time. What the clients don’t realize, however, is that this sort of image requires a certain skill set, and that it’s difficult to create. It is time consuming and painstaking, and with a lot of wedding photographers shooting every weekend and staying up until 2-3am editing, they just don’t have time.

Hello there- the Boss is in. I can generally pull off one of these images and have it back to the photographer-and therefore the client- within a few days. I never want to neglect MY clients, hence the only taking on one or two or five images at a time, but I love doing these hard, finicky edits for some reason. It’s exciting.

Maybe that makes me a geek. That’s ok. I’ve been called worse.

On that note- here are some Photoshop before & afters i’ve been working on this past month. Enjoy!!

For more edits and to check out my alter ego, you can visit my little editing website at http://likeaboss.stephaniemoorephoto.com

Our Two Hearts photography  http://handoverhandphotography.com

Our Two Hearts photography
http://ourtwohearts.com

Justine Russo Photography http://www.justine-russo.com

Justine Russo Photography
http://www.justine-russo.com

Brienne Michelle Photography http://www.briennemichelle.com

Brienne Michelle Photography
http://www.briennemichelle.com

Stefanie Miller Photography  http://www.stefaniejmiller.com

Stefanie Miller Photography
http://www.stefaniejmiller.com

Michelle Renee Photography http://michellereneephotography.com/

Michelle Renee Photography http://michellereneephotography.com/

Selah Photography www.selahlife.com

Selah Photography
http://www.selahlife.com

View More: http://katieschoepflinphotography.pass.us/thelatimers

Cortney Talbott Photography http://www.cortneytalbott.com

Cortney Talbott Photography
http://www.cortneytalbott.com

Jenny Nguyen Photography http://www.studiosimplicity.com

Jenny Nguyen Photography
http://www.studiosimplicity.com

Stefanie Miller Photography  http://www.stefaniejmiller.com

Stefanie Miller Photography
http://www.stefaniejmiller.com

Brienne Michelle Photography http://www.briennemichelle.com

Brienne Michelle Photography
http://www.briennemichelle.com

Stefanie Miller Photography  http://www.stefaniejmiller.com

Stefanie Miller Photography
http://www.stefaniejmiller.com

Three

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Three years ago, through the worst pain of my life, the doctors handed me a squalling, pink baby and in seconds my life changed.

It’s hard for me to believe it. Three years has flown by with a ferocity that I didn’t expect. I was prepared for my life to change, or so I thought. I knew things would be different. With every kick I felt in my womb, every alien movement, I knew I would never be the same. Graham and I would never be the same as a couple. Our house, which struggled to maintain it’s uhhhh “composure” already would never be as clean or orderly. I knew there would be changes… in my head.

What I wasn’t expecting was that our baby girl would come out and in an instant, my heart would change as well. I didn’t know that when they placed her on my chest and Graham bent to touch his daughter for the first time-and she reached out her tiny little hand and grabbed his finger- that my favourite part of becoming a mother would be watching him realize he was a father. It took my breath away to watch the man I love transform right in front of me, tears filling his eyes, realizing he had helped to create this tiny life.

I didn’t know the depth of love that a human being is capable of containing; a love so multifaceted and complex that it took me three days to become aware of. A violent love, that would die or kill for someone else. An all encompassing love, that held fast through struggles of breast feeding and sleep deprivation, through tears and wonder.

I didn’t know what my parents meant when they told me they loved me until I said those words to my little girl. I LOVE YOU. Powerful. A love that watched my daughter take her first breath, first step, first word. Watched her first time on a bike, swing, slide…and first time holding her new baby sister.
Three years. I knew there would be changes, but what hasn’t changed is how much I love our little Mia. Precocious. Adventurous. Compassionate.

Sweetheart, on your first day in this world, we thought we loved you then. We saw you and marvelled at your perfection. We had overcome so much- all the fear, the nights of crying myself to sleep hoping I would be ENOUGH as your mother, worrying about your health, hoping for a perfect baby, hoping you would eat well, sleep well- and there you were, wrapped in a blanket with your hands clasped. Perfect, and so innocent. Beautiful.

Three years, and you are more beautiful than I imagined. I still marvel at you and the way your mind works. Your daddy and I laugh ourselves to sleep now instead of cry. You bring us so much joy, satisfaction, and more blessings than you even know. You hold my hand and my heart swells with that same love, a love that you won’t be able to understand until you have a beautiful baby of your own.

Amelia Taylor- my big girl. You are growing and changing every day, and I am so blessed to be right beside you painting, baking, dancing, and singing. You taught me how to love this way, and I will always be here, loving you fiercely as only a mother can.

Happy birthday, little puntkins. We love you.

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My sister hates my bangs

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My sister hates my bangs.

I don’t mean she thinks I look uglier than a mud fence with them. She just thinks I look like a tv character from the 80’s when I style them myself. There’s nothing she’d like better than to come over and slick them straight down. Because this bothers her so much, I make it my personal goal to send her as many bad photos of my bangs as I possibly can.

This is the reaction she gives me.
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Yep. It’s bad folks.

Now don’t judge me (or do, what do I care?!) but these are all iPhone photos. Most without makeup. So proceed at your own peril, as I present to you….

Bang Styles my Sister has Vetoed.
(And how she thinks they should look)

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One of these days I’ll get it right. Probably.

The World’s Best Hamburger

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Confession: I’m a bit of a self-proclaimed foodie.

I love food. There’s no way on God’s green earth that I could ever be anorexic, because I would miss food too much. I love cooking it. I love eating it. Some days I eat so many delicious things that I fear one day I will be 400 pounds.

But not until AFTER i’m done eating it.

One of my most favoritest things in the world to cook (and eat) is hamburgers. I freakin’ LOVVVVVVVVVVVE hamburger night, and the reason is… I add every good thing in the world to my hamburgers. My theory is that if you take loads of ingredients that kick tastebud butt on their own and then add them all together, then your average Joe burger magically transforms into SUPERBURGER- but like the Adam Levine of burgers. YUM!!

Anyways, last night was Burger Night. I started drooling just writing that sentence and remembering how tingly my tastebuds got biting into that succulent piece of meat- SO to be fair I decided to share with you, the world, my WORLDS GREATEST HAMBURGER FORMULA.

You’re welcome!

Now, before I get hate mail, “save the animals, why must innocent cows die!? STOP THE MADNESS” type letters, let me save you the trouble. I hate cows. They are good to eat. They are better to eat with BACON. I will never apologize for being at the top of the food chain. If an animal wants to evolve enough to grow opposable thumbs and hunt ME, so be it. Until then, I will hunt and eat them. Humanely. Of course.

MOVING ON! If you have any food allergies, preferences, dislikes, etc… this is probably not the hamburger for you. But for everyone else… this is delicious.

First off! We start with butter. Yes, I said it. Screw Atkins- this is the stuff good dreams are made of. Chuck it in a pan over med-high heat and let ‘er sizzle.

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Then you add butter’s best friend, Garlic. Lots of garlic. Like, 3 cloves, crushed with the nifty garlic press my mother in law gave me. THANKS BARB!

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let that dance together for a bit, and then add in some big chunks of mushrooms. Yum!

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after the three are intimately acquainted- you want to add in about a handful of breadcrumbs. Right now I’m using the cubed ones- but you can pretty much use whatever you want… even soda crackers would work- but I like breadcrumbs because they’re less salty, and when they’re paired with the butter & garlic and are in a hamburger, it’s like little landmines of flavor.

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Saute those for a bit- say 5-6 minutes. Then you’re gonna add 1/4 of milk into the saucepan and mash everything up real good- and saute for another 10 minutes. I’m not saying this is the quickest way to make a burger, I’m just saying it’s the best.

I also don’t have a photo of that, because it looks like garbage. And to be honest- I only decided I was going to blog this AFTER I dumped the mixture into the beef and started mashing. Ooops.

So ok- dump the whole pan into about a pound of hamburger. (We are eating Thunder right now- that was the cow’s name. See? Humane. No cows suffered in the making of this feast. I swear.) Add one egg. Mix until it is JUUUUUUST all combined. Too much mixing makes tough hamburgers.

Burgers-8731Remember how I said everything’s better with bacon? Well I decided to wrap the burgers, after I formed them into balls, with bacon. Best. Decision. Ever. I also used a kabob stick to hold it all together while we BBQ’d it.

Worked perfect!!

Burgers-8732Look at those delicious little meat balls. I’m getting hungry again already!

Burgers-8745I also believe if you’re going to be consuming that many calories already- might as well put the burgers on cheese rolls. Why not?

ok! BBQ time!! Burgers-8747 Burgers-8748Graham is my BBQ Chef, and Mia is his beautiful assistant. They’re working super hard, as you can tell. It was such a nice night that Mia asked if we could sit outside. Of course, she’s the boss, and so we did. Good choice, Mia!

Once the burgers are getting nice and crispy looking, you want to add cheese. They’ve already got the bacon & mushrooms incorporated. Generally, I also add diced onions to my burgers, but unfortunately I was out last night. They’re on my grocery list for next time though.

Burgers-8751At this point, I also line up the condiments we’ll be using. The usual culprits are all there- mayo, mustard, ketchup, and even Budweiser BBQ Sauce… but hold onto your hats, ’cause there’s a new sheriff in town- President’s Choice Bacon Marmalade. Now, this stuff changed the way we do burgers. I know it sounds weird- but HOLY COW ON A BUN is it amazing!! Go out and get some at Superstore if you’re in Canada- and if you’re not, I can be bought for a price and will UPS you some. Life. Altering.

Burgers-8753We’re also eating salad tonight to try and counteract some of the damage I’m doing to my waistline with burger night. It’s pretty. Lots of yummy veggies!!

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On the salad is one of the other life changing products I use all the time- Little Creek Vinaigrette. SO good. It comes from Kelowna BC and is found at lots of little supermarkets around the area-BC & Alberta. Very tasty!! Also good on chicken.

Burgers-8758By the time I’m done setting the stage, the Burger is ready to make it’s grand entrance. You’re going to want to smear a ton of bacon marmalade on your cheese bun, slap some mayo over that, dabble in BBQ sauce, a smidge of mustard, some crispy fresh lettuce (and tomatoes if you’re into the kinky stuff) and OMG.

It’s ready. I think I died a little when I bit into this masterpiece.

Burgers-8757So good.

And here’s the hamburger recipe just because I rambled a lot, and I’m not sure I was all that coherent. Enjoy, people!! Let me know what you’re adding to your hamburgers, and how you liked these- the more we share together, the happier we’ll be!

WORLD’S BEST HAMBURGER RECIPE:

1 pound lean ground beef

1tbsp butter

1 cup chopped mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

Bacon. Lots of bacon.

Sauté butter & mushrooms until mushrooms are soft. Add breadcrumbs. Sauté 5-6 minutes- add breadcrumbs and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add milk. Cook until mixture is soft and resembles a rough paste. Combine with ground beef and egg and mix until just combined. Form into balls, wrap with bacon, and BBQ. Generally, I think it’s about 10-15 minutes for BBQ- but that’s Graham’s department.

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