Jan 22, 2013

Ever since the new year started I have not gone back to my usual 50 blogs a day (seriously) reading list. I get overwhelmed when I see a blog has posted multiple times in the same day. I just don’t have time to be reading them like I used to. However, there are a handful of blogs that I stop and read no matter what is going on. I get delighted when I see them in my feed.

I wanted to share 5 of my top favorites that always keep me coming back for more. These ones in particular share a common aesthetic—lovely photographs with just a paragraph (or less) of writing. These blogs might not be new to you, but I hope you appreciate them as much as I do.

Pencil Box—Katie blogs about her sweet family life in Ohio. I love love LOVE her photographs. She always wraps up her short posts with some touching, encouraging words. I am always in a good mood after reading her blog.

Traveling Mama—Tina and her family are expats living in Denmark. They live the ultimate beautiful Scandinavian life, or at least that’s what her photos convey. Lots of soft white light and a sentence or two about something she’s been thinking about. Tina’s blog is such a breath of fresh air.

Bluebird—Another “mommy blog” with gorgeous photos. I love Miss James’ great taste, and her adorable kids. She has style and charm, but always puts her dear family first. I love getting a peak into their lives.

Saipua—Sarah is a flower farmer and owner of Saipua Soap & Flowers in Brooklyn, NY. Her photos are breathtaking—simple and dark. They look more like still life paintings. But what I love most about this blog is Sarah’s brilliant sense of humor and candor. She’s not afraid to tell you she’s had a horrible day, and that’s refreshing.

Brick House—Here we go again with beautiful images, but this time their of interiors (and puppies)! Morgan is hilarious, and I am beyond jealous of her amazing home. Stop by the Brick House for Southwest home decor inspiration, and some biting sarcasm.

Those are my top 5 blogs for quiet day reading. Which blogs you gravitate toward? Do you prefer lots of photos and little writing, like I tend to?

We’re having our engagement photos taken today! Read my tips for any photo shoot, and get a peak at what I’m wearing here.

For all you engaged folks, or wedding junkies the Love Tour is happening this weekend in Manhattan Beach. I’ll be there (with M in tow). It should be a fun time. Don’t forget to RSVP so you can get a goodie bag!

I leave for Alt Summit tomorrow! I am so unprepared, but I’m excited. I’ll be rooming with the lovely Rachel from Lupa & Pepi and the girls behind Gather Events. I’m looking forward to being inspired and learning how to really make this blog something special. Please forgive me if the posting isn’t as regular as usual. It seems ironic that blogging would fall by the wayside at a blogging conference, but I know from experience that’s what usually happens.

Have a great week!

We’re having our engagement photos taken next Monday (can you believe it?) by our dear friends Lukas & Suzy VanDyke. I designed their logo last year, so instead of paying me in money, they are paying me in photos! Isn’t it awesome to have talented friends?

I’ve started to pull a couple outfits together for the photo shoot  I wanted one to be a more “everyday” look, and one to feel a bit more special. We’re doing 3 locations—our home, a favorite restaurant, and CSUN, the college where we met. Overall I want the outfits to feel like me, but me on a good day. I’m getting my hair trimmed and my nails done on Saturday, and I’ve told M to make sure his favorite shirt is washed.

made with Polyvore

As I was doing this, I thought of 5 tips for engagement shoots:

1. Less is more. I tend to go overboard with the accessories when I want to look nice. Keeping it simple makes the photo about you, not about your jewelry, or that hot pink jacket. Layer neutrals with one bold color to keep the photos from being too busy.

2. Underthings. As you can see from the collages above, I plan on keeping my navy tights on the whole time. I’ll be changing my dress at home or a restaurant bathroom, but I don’t want to take too long. Keeping your underthings (including bra straps!) the same for each outfit will keep the photo shoot moving, and also lessen the amount of stuff you’re taking along with you.

3. Details. Get your hair cut, your eyebrows waxed, and your nails done a day or two ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about looking your best. If you have time to bleach your teeth, that wouldn’t hurt either.

4. Layer. Bring a sweater, a jacket, a scarf, even a hat. You never know if you’ll feel cold, or hot. Taking off or putting on a layer is an easy way to change your look without changing your entire outfit.

5. Be yourself. Have fun. The point of this photo shoot is to capture you and your love. Once your photographer shows up, hand over the reins and be flexible. The photographer will make sure you look your best, so smile, laugh and don’t worry about the camera.

I can’t wait to show you all how they turn out!

Wedding Wednesday is a series started by Lovely Struck.

Jan 15, 2013

If any of you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’re sick of looking at my Hawaii photos by now. I’m sorry, please indulge me just one more time! I wanted to tell you all about our trip!

Waikiki, Oahu—Shopping, dining, tourist shops and big hotels. We stopped at Waikiki for some shopping and dinner on the beach our first day in Hawaii. We had limited time on Oahu, so visiting Waikiki was a must.

Waimea Canyon—The Grand Canyon of the West, beautiful vistas, hikes and trails. We tried to hike in Waimea Canyon, but unfortunately it was just too muddy and slippery and steep. We got a mile in, and decided we’d had enough and turned around. It was a good laugh, but if I had to do it again I wouldn’t have done that specific hike.

Helicopter Tour—One of my favorite days, and coincidentally my birthday, was the day we did the helicopter tour around the island. Much of Kauai is off limits to most people because it’s such rugged terrain, so the only way to see everything is from above.

Wialua Falls—This falls was really easy to get to. We drove right up and took some pictures.

Wialua River—My favorite experience on Kauai was kayaking and hiking at the Wailua River. This is where the Fern Grotto and the Queen’s Baths are. We rented our kayaks, and took our time exploring the river, getting out and hiking around the beautiful rainforest. We hiked to Secret Falls which was about 1.5 miles, but unlike the other hike in Waimea Canyon, this one was mostly flat—still muddy though!

Hanalei Bay—On Christmas day, we drove north to Hanalei bay and took a long walk on the beach. I think this is the most beautiful spot on the island. They get a lot of rain on the north shore, which makes the whole area feel very magical and mysterious.

Pearl Harbor, Oahu—On our last day in Hawaii, we stopped at the Pearl Harbor memorial. Unfortunately, all the tickets to see the Arizona were sold our by the time we got there (at 10am!) so my advice to you, is get there super early. We still had a good time walking around the exhibits, but we’ll have to come back next time to get the whole experience.

Diamond Head, Oahu—On our way back to the airport, we drove up to Diamond Head, the extinct volcano that formed Oahu. From a far the peak is very impressive, especially when contrasted with all the development in Honolulu. Inside the crater however, I thought I was back in Southern California.

Pretty much every other day we weren’t going on a hike, or sight seeing, we spent on the beach or by the pool. After all, that’s what vacations are all about! It was a wonderful trip, of course made even more special by our engagement. Kauai will now and forever hold a very dear place in my heart.

Have you been to Kauai? What were your favorite places?

All photos taken by me via Instagram

Top from left: Wialua Falls, old coconut palm grove, sand writing in Hanalei Bay

Middle from left: the mountains behind Hanalei Bay, carved tiki in a coconut palm

Bottom from left: shaved ice, Bali Hai at Hanalei Bay, the view from Diamond Head, Ohau

Dec 21, 2012

Well after 3 flights and a whole day walking around Waikiki, we finally made it to Kaua’i. It’s beautiful here, and we have a fabulous condo right on the beach. Today is of course, the end of the world, so I’m glad I’m in such a beautiful place. Although, unfortunately I won’t make it to my birthday tomorrow ;].

We hiked through the highest swamp in the world yesterday at Waimea Canyon yesterday (would NOT reccommend) and the sights were breathtaking. I’ll try to post photos soon. Today we’re lounging at the pool, walking along the beach, etc. Can’t complain about that!

I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend as well. Aloha!

I took this photo in the Spam section of the market

Happy Friday //

posted by Amanda // Photography

Dec 14, 2012

Sometimes, other priorities come up, and this blog has to take a back seat for a week or two. This was one of those weeks. I’m up to my ears in printer cartridges, label making templates, and cookie recipes. Tis the season to be overwhelmingly busy…

But the good news is that after this weekend I’m off to Hawaii for Christmas! There will be plenty of relaxing, and hopefully more consistent posting. Until then, have a wonderful, festive, delicious weekend.

P.S. The photo above is the cookie recipe book I’m putting together for the party on Sunday!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I started this book while in the Bahamas after watching Susan Cain’s wonderful TED Talk. I am an introvert who has learned over the years how to function and play nice in an extroverted world. Growing up people thought I was stuck up, or mean because I didn’t want to talk to anybody. In preschool the teachers worried my mom because I preferred to play alone. So naturally I find this topic very interesting. I suggest this book for fellow introverts, and for any extroverts with introverts in their lives.

Nikon 50mm, 1.8g Nikkor Lens for Sale! I’m upgrading to a camera that can shoot video, so I’m selling this beautiful 50mm, 1.8g lens (I’ve already sold the camera body). Seriously guys this lens changed photography for me. Before this lens, I never understood why when I did everything right, my photos still looked just “ok”. A good lens takes your photos to the next level. The first thing I did when I got my new camera, was to buy a 50mm for it. I can not live without this lens. It is especially good for table top photography, so if you’re doing product shots, or food, you need this. Email me at amhabbershaw[at]gmail[dot]com if you’re interested. Christmas is coming, so don’t wait too long!

This Warm December by Brushfire Records is one of my favorite Christmas albums. And now they have 2 volumes! If you like folky, indie music, this is your christmas album. It’s produced by Jack Johnson’s record label, so that should explain why it’s so freakin’ good. They have a lot of original songs, but some of my favorites are the classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer reimagined in a contemporary style.

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Nov 30, 2012

I’ve been trying all morning to post a DIY, but the internet here just can’t handle all the photos. So I leave you with this instead, the view from my hotel room. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Nov 21, 2012

I always need a good playlist when I cook. And it’s so important to have great tunes playing when people come over. Something fun and light hearted, even if it’s just in the background. This playlist has a little something for everyone—oldies and newbies—that are sure to put everyone in a good mood.

Listen & Subscribe to the Entertaining & Cooking Mixtape on Spotify

Remember this photo from the Blueberry Muffin post?! You better believe we were rocking out when we baked these bad boys.

Nov 13, 2012

For one glorious day last week, it rained. I was so excited I created this whole mix tape. Unfortunately  it has been dry ever since, but it’s still been quite cold (at least in my drafty apartment) so I’m sharing this playlist nonetheless. Play this Rainy Mood soundtrack and get totally wrapped up in cozy wall ambience.

Listen to the Cold & Raining Mix Tape on Spotify

What’s your favorite song for rainy days? Let me know in the comments.

(I took this photo on a gloomy day in Michigan with my old film camera)