Thursday, September 25, 2008
Over time, brides & grooms have frequently asked us to "make something" with their engagement pictures, some kind of save-the-date. Okay... we can do that. Now.
Carla has created a custom line for balance photography. It includes a very cool guest book as well as three different save-the-date options. Each item is ordered thru balance to showcase your engagement photos and is personally customized and handcrafted by Carla. Incredible.
The carla david design Guestbook is printed on heavy card stock and features a full bleed photo on the back of each signing page. The book is bound in color-coordinated silk ribbon and for ease of signing, the pages come apart. Perfect to display pictures and guest comments at your wedding!
The carla david design Save-the-Date photo collection...
The first option Carla created to show off your engagement pictures is a strip magnet with three photos. It is inspired by classic "photo booth" pictures and has a sweet, lighthearted and fun vibe. The magnet is attached to color-coordinated card stock and comes with matching lined envelopes for mailing.
To announce a more formal wedding celebration, Carla created a second magnet option. It showcases one large engagement portrait and the colors on the envelope liner and on the magnet frame are sampled directly from the background of your photo. Also features an elegant floral edging and rounded corners. Perfect for a more traditional soiree or ballroom affair.
Carla's final offering to show off your engagement pictures in a Save-the-Date announcement is a beautiful custom 3-panel card. Pictures are printed on each panel as well as on a custom sticker seal. An elegant introduction to your guests for your special day.
We are proud to be working with Carla to bring you these beautiful options for your engagement photos. Stop by and see them in person. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
Thanks Carla! We can't wait to see what beautiful custom creations you make from our pictures next!!
At these luncheons, Karen invites different vendors to show off their products & services. This time Wessel's did the centerpieces, Gala Cloths did the linens and Carla David did all the stationary. They all worked well with the modern look of the Hilton and really came together like clockwork to put together a gorgeous event.
So, anyhow ~ the favors on the table were photo scopes, which is what I found so exciting that I am still thinking about them a week later!!!
Years ago ~ like about 30 years ago, yikes ~ I remember going on a family vacation to Ocean City, MD and my folks getting a photo session done of me and my big brother on the beach. My parents bought various prints, which were long since replaced on the walls by other, more recent portraits. But the photo scopes they bought from the session have lasted all these years. I still have mine. My grandmother still has hers -- it lives in the china cabinet with her good crystal and dishes.
But mine sits out at my workstation in the studio. It reminds me of everything good about growing up, about being a kid playing on the beach, about my family then ~ three decades ago. I can still see myself as a little girl, posing on the sand in my favorite Snoopy bathing suit. It was very chic, for a toddler. It had Snoopy as "Joe Cool" and he was holding a surf board. Every time I see the scope, I remember how cool I felt in that swim suit (tho in reality the bum of my suit was full of sand), how exciting the trips to the beach always were ~ the exhilaration & simplicity of being that age. It also reminds me of all the silly stuff that went on in my family that we laugh about now. Like my brother getting sunburned only on the bottoms of his feet. Like when I accidentally locked myself in the hotel bathroom and my dad had to climb in through the window to get me out (toddlers and door locks aren't a good combo). Like when we would all combine our skeeball tickets to get a great big prize on the boardwalk, but fight about which prize to get. And of course, I can still taste the fresh salt water taffy. The orange flavor is still my favorite.
I haven't been to Ocean City in probably 20 years. My family switched to Rehoboth in Delaware somewhere along the line, which is now a favorite place for Nathaniel, Lochrima & I as well. I have no clue where the other photos my parents bought on the beach photo shoot are. But I still have and love the photo scope from our vacay on the beach. The picture itself has yellowed a little, but considering how many years old it is, I have to say, it still looks good.
(You know, until the Perfect Wedding Guide luncheon, I didn't know they were called "photo scopes" -- I usually described mine as "the keychain thingie from the beach that has a tube with a photo in the end and you hold it up to the light.")
Anyhow, you can get your own photo scopes now!! I am so excited to have found this and be able to share it!
We don't sell them, but the company from the luncheon is called My-Scopes and a girl named Melissa Carpenter handles them in the Maryland area. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website. Her scopes come in ten different colors, can have personalized imprinting and start at only $7.99 for one. The more you buy, the cheaper they get: 5 photo scopes are $19.95 and have free shipping. Which is so cool. I know I will get some for us and for gifts as well. You can do so many cute things with these: imagine your save-the-date for a wedding, baby or kids' pictures, party favors, thank-you presents or fun personalized ones as gift tags for the holidays. To make a scope, you go to her site and upload your photos and click, click, click you're done.
Though they are a little kitschy, a little touristy and slightly silly, I'm a huge fan of photo scopes. My experience with them has been great so far. Thirty years and counting.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Greyhound events are one of those things almost like a secret society~ you only know about the events if you already own a greyhound or if you accidentally happen upon them. These sorts of things happen all over the country~ from picnics large and small to greyhound wine-tasting events and concerts to greyhound beach or hiking weekends. The mix of people is always incredible ~ all ages from all walks of life, everyone coming together only because they are "crazy greyhound people" and like the chillness of "greyhounding." (That means hanging out with larger numbers of greyhounds, of course!)
This year's GRI Reunion picnic was held at Downs Park in Pasadena, MD. If you are a dog-lover of any kind, you should definitely check out this park. Not only are dogs allowed into the park, they have a special dog beach where your canine can lounge off-lead in the sand or take a swim in the water. Most greyhounds are more prone to wading (or just sunbathing) but there were plenty of other dogs taking a dip in the drink. Some other fun features of the park included volleyball courts, playgrounds, basketball courts and loads of dog-friendly walking trails. A great spot, to say the least!
The GRI picnic was really packed with humans and hounds this year. Everywhere you looked was another family or couple on a blanket enjoying the perfect day with their greyhounds. Unlike many other breeds, greyhounds can congregate in large numbers in complete calm. No barking, fighting or other dogginess. They seem to truly enjoy the company of other greyhounds. And the serene vibe is contagious. Everyone is always relaxed, just as chilled out as the hounds.
To offer activities to all the people that accompany the greyhounds, GRI had various entertainment planned for the day. In addition to fund-raising raffles and a silent auction, they had a reiki master give demonstration about alternative healing therapies for dogs. There was also dog-related shopping, doggie pedicures, clay pawprints and of course ~ plenty of food for two and four legged guests. In past years there has been a DJ and live demonstrations by folks from the Renaissance Faire of greyhounds in history. Always something to do (as if the beauty of nature isn't enough, right??) and something to appeal to the diverse crowd of greyhound people.
For the past three years, Nathaniel & I have blocked out the date of the picnic on our calendar and always go to volunteer and help out in any way we can. The day flies by for us ~ we get there early to set up, help out all day long and close the place by packing cars and cleaning up. Sometimes we barely get a chance to have a break!
But this year we took a short walk to the water with Lochrima to check out the dog beach and the gorgeous views. It was totally worth it to step away for a few minutes and hound around with Lochrima because the park itself was wonderful! Behind the dog park there was a lagoon with tall white herons, which was a fun surprise.
Today it's back to business as usual for us: working on images, answering emails ~ day-to-day life. But the GRI picnic was a nice break from our work to enjoy each other, friends, and of course ~ the company of dogs.
Friday, September 19, 2008
So, last night we scored tickets to City Paper's Best of Baltimore Party at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. There isn't another party in town we've seen with a more ecclectic conglomeration of people. I think we tried a little too hard to look chic because apparently bed head, flip-flops and pj's are the new black. Seriously, tho ~ the people watching was the best we've seen in ages. And not everyone had bedhead. There were loads of Baltimore's glitterati on the scene and some really beautiful people.
There were multiple DJs spinning, go-go dancers, hula-hoopers, a guy on stilts and all the cheap liquor you could ask for. Open bar. Good food too, and much to our delight ~ plenty of vegetarian fare, including the most decadent ravioli in cream and herb sauce! One was enough for an entire meal.
In the huge crowd of hipsters, we found our friend Amy from Crimson and Clover interrogating an astronomer about the sun. He had a telescope for the party-goers showing Jupiter with all of its moons in a row. We also crossed paths with Alicia from the AVAM and we hung out for a while with Carole from A Garden of Earthly Delights (thanks for the tickets!!). Meeting some of the staff from City Paper was also cool ~ a different look into journalism for us both.
It was fun for us to see the BMI in a different way. We're very familiar with the museum from all the weddings we've photographed there, but we've never seen it as packed as it was last night. Besides Pier 5, it's one of few venues literally right on Inner Harbor. It is colorful and visual, which makes a great backdrop for pictures. And for huge gatherings of Baltimore's coolest cats under an orange harvest moon.
Thanks for inviting us Carole ~ and thanks Ashley for Rissa's awesome hairdo!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I know the thing you want most on your birthday is more photos of your granddaughter!
and this guy too!
Enjoy! ~ Rissa
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
For a town founded at the turn of the 19th century to keep its sense of community for so long is truly a testament to itself and the people in it. It is a great place full of history and good people. There is always fun stuff happening, too.
The following is a photo journey of Catonsville's annual Arts and Crafts Festival as well as our weekly Farmers Market.
The Willow and the Rowan was amazing. Gina's artwork was so unique I have never seen anything like it. I was mesmerized by the intricate detail and color of her clay & metal work.
Although the judges at the festival thought her jewelry was a 2nd place, we felt she deserved a blue ribbon! Cornucopia's jewelry by Carlene was our favorite. She was from Lancaster, Pa., near where Rissa grew up.
We love our Farmer's Market too! It is right downtown off of Bloomsbury Ave. and contains loads of tasty morsels, every Wed. in season. We shop here for fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and more. The food is fresh, vine ripened and also from local farmers.
Support local business and your taste buds!
Tomatoes - I can eat these every day and never grow tired of them...
Special tip for men: You don't have to do something wrong to buy flowers for your lady...
Having juicy watermelon all over your face will bring out your inner child.
Eat well and be merry!
Many of my favorite memories revolve around this time of year. Hayrides and bonfires, hot spiced apple cider. Getting cozy, warm sweaters out of storage and trading my flip flops for boots. And of course, the fall holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Who doesn't love them? One month you have costumes and candy and jack o'lanterns; the next month it's eating more than you knew you possibly could and get up at 5am to go bargain shopping . We even got married in fall because we both love the harvest season so much.
This fall Nathaniel has a special treat for me ~ he grew pumpkins. All summer long we watched as this huge vine kept creeping further and further across the yard. One of our assistants used to look at it and say "Feed me!" ~ like the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors. Until the pumpkins started growing. We have a pumpkin patch in the yard and I am so excited! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli... fall is also my favorite time of the year for seasonal foods, especially pumpkin.
If you've never had fresh pumpkin, seriously ~ put down that can opener and go get one. The taste, color and texture of real pumpkin is totally different than canned pumpkin and it's absolutely worth the extra effort.
I have to say, I think pumpkin pie is one of the reasons I first fell for Nathaniel. He was the only guy at college who made pumpkin pies from scratch and brought them to the photo lab to share with everyone. Yea, he even made crusts from scratch. Those pies were so good... it was the kind of thing you just couldn't stop thinking about. Days later, folks would be asking him when he was going to make another pie. (Here I want to pass along a HUGE thank you to Nathaniel's mom, Cindy Corn, for teaching him how to make incredible pumpkin pies!!)
Because Nathaniel loves to share and neither of us believe in "secret recipes" I want to share a few of our favorite pumpkin recipes with you. Sadly, there is no recipe for his pumpkin pie ~ it's all in his head. I've begged him to write it down year after year, but so far it hasn't happened. But these are both totally incredible, too, and we make them every autumn.
These delicious muffins are so rich and dense, they can easily be a dessert, too! Just top with ice cream for a sweet ending. This recipe came from one of our former brides!
6 T butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 T soymilk
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 cup cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 12-muffin pan by greasing or lining with muffin papers. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, then soymilk and vanilla. The mixture will look lumpy. Fold in pumpkin, chocolate chips and almonds. Set aside. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients, mixing well. Fold gradually into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula without over-mixing.
Spoon batter into muffin pan, about 1/3 cup into each well. Immediately place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake another 10-15 minutes until muffins are puffed and golden. Remove the muffins from the oven and tilt each one slightly to keep the bottoms from getting soggy.
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 T olive oil or butter
1 lb pumpkin, cooked and pureed or mashed
1 cup vegetable stock
1 t parsley flakes
1/8 cup orange juice
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t dried sage
1/2 cup soymilk
1/4 t nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese to serve
Pasta of choice
Boil water and cook pasta of choice. This goes well over hearty whole wheat pastas. Fry the garlic and onion in the olive oil until clear. Add the pumpkin and the vegetable stock, bring to a boil then let simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir with wire whisk to smooth and creamy texture. Cook until reduced to desired thickness, stirring frequently. Pour over your choice of cooked pasta and serve immediately garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Nathaniel harvested the first pumpkin of the fall this morning. For now, it's on the front porch, an unspoken understanding for everyone that yes, it is fall.
In time, I know it will be transformed from porch decor into a delicious taste of the season. Perhaps pie, maybe muffins. Maybe soup or pasta sauce. I can't wait to find out.
Happy fall, everyone.
Friday, September 12, 2008
We love artwork, especially original artwork ~ one of a kind pieces that you won't find duplicates of at Target or Ikea.
(Sidenote: Now, I love Target and Ikea. Design for all ~ it's a great idea and I respect that. But when you walk into someone's home and see the same artwork on the wall that you see in our assistant's college dorm room, it's kind of weird. At some point, I mean... don't people move on from mass-produced art & plastic picture frames?)
Anyhow, original artwork. Something truly one-of-a-kind. You just don't see much of that anymore, so when it appears right in front of you, it's pretty astounding. Like Leah MacDonald from Philadelphia. Leah is a fine artist who does encaustic wax paintings on photographs. Sounds incredible, right? Oh yea, it is beyond incredible.
We first saw Leah's mixed media work earlier this year at a photography seminar. It was at once haunting and breath-taking. Weeks went by and neither of us could forget her work. We both kept coming back to it, talking about it, looking at it online. We had to buy some of her pieces and even moreso, we wanted to offer them to our clients.
Encaustic wax painting is an ancient art, originally dating back to Greece around 800 B.C., and also has history in Roman and Egyptian cultures. Leah's process begins with a photograph that is transferred onto either wood, steel, plexiglass or heavyweight art papers. From there, she coats it in organic beeswax and the piece is washed in oil paints with a variety of techniques and sometimes she even carves into the wax. The combination of creative mediums is imaginative, moody and evocative -- a blend of ancient mystery and modern cool. Truly the work of an artist. And each piece is one of a kind ~ completely unique.
You can see Leah's work at Galerie BMG and Rodger Lapelle Galleries. Or here, at balance. We proudly offer our images to you, as artwork by Leah. While these pieces, known as Waxworks, aren't for everyone, they are extremely powerful, bold and will certainly appeal to discriminating, creative people. Leah's vision can reinterpret an already beautiful image and take it to the next level. We think they have to be experienced in person to really appreciate the depth & artistry of the medium. So stop by and check it out.
Welcome, Leah, to balance. We are proud to offer your beautiful artwork to our clients!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It has been 7 years since I was in NYC documenting the attacks of 9-11 but the images still haunt me. It is easy to forget that we were attacked on our own soil and that thousands of our fellow Americans lost their lives.
Please don't forget them. Don't forget what happened. And the next time you see a police officer, fireman, ambulance driver or other such civil servant, shake their hand and tell them that you appreciate what they do.
Please, never forget.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Just kidding! This is Lochrima, balance's official greeter.
She is a retired racing greyhound. Her career as a racer was a winning one. She got 1st place 13 times and placed 16 other times out of her 72 races. Lochrima, her track name, is Latin for "tears." It seemed really deep and meaninful to us so we decided to keep it.
Lochrima came to us on Halloween of 2005. We went to the kennels of Greyhound Rescue Inc. to pick up our new dog ~ one they had selected for us, a small red female. Well, that dog was not into us at all. But when we pulled up, Lochrima had both front feet on the fence and her tail was wagging like crazy. She knew we were coming for her, that her new life was about to begin. So instead of a tiny 50 pound red female, we left with the dog who chose us ~ 70 pounds of blue brindle greyhound. Our Lochrima.
Greyhounds are the oldest purebred dog, dating back 8,000 years and originating in Africa. It is believed that every dog breed on Earth evolved from either greyhounds or wolves. For thousands of years, greyhounds could only be owned by royalty and the upper class. Kings usually had a pack (aka "brace") of several hundred greyhounds with their own personal servants that lived outside, as well as 5-10 favorites that lived alongside them. An amazing book about the history of the greyhound is The Reign of the Greyhound, by Cynthia Branigan and it is a must read for dog lovers in general!
As pets, greyhounds are amazing, gentle and well natured. They come crate-trained, walk on a lead and take commands very well. They sleep about 20 hours a day, like big house cats. They are hypoallergenic so if you are normally allergic to dogs, you would probably be fine with a greyhound.
Greyhounds may look big, but they take up very little room since they grew up in crates. They do not need lots of exercise or to run around all the time. That is a myth. At tracks they are forced to run, but if they had their wishes, greyhounds would lounge all day long! We like to say they take their retirement very seriously. The breed's average racing speed is 45mph and the fastest clocked in just under 52mph. Ask any greyhound owner, though and they will tell you their average speed is 0!
If you haven't been to our studio to meet our official greeter you are missing out! If you want to see what a greyhound is really like or adopt one of your own come see us or visit Greyhound Rescue. They really are remarkable dogs with individual personalities.
Just ask Lochrima, she'll tell you all about it. More of Lochrima's adventures to come...
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Here is the info...
|Backyard Creations: A Floral Design Workshop|
|Presented by A Garden of Earthly Delights|
| Wed Sep 17 7-9:30pm.|
Adv reg $60, $55 mbrs. Walk-in $70, $65 mbrs.
Carole Langrall, flower expert, designer, and proprietor of “A Garden of Earthly Delights” shares basic tips and a few trade secrets for how to transform your backyard flowers into unforgettable arrangements. Langrall combines local and imported florals for distinctive, “green” oriented designs. Tonight, she works with you to create a freshly cut masterpiece! Students strongly encouraged to bring their own cuttings to combine with material from Langrall’s own yard for discussion and use in your arrangement.
Click here to sign up. And look below to see a few of Carole's gorgeous creations from a wedding this summer.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Everywhere I look in magazines and on blogs and websites, people say cufflinks are the best gift for a groom. That I'm not so sure about. I attend a lot of weddings and own about ten pairs of cufflinks myself. No guy ever stops me and says "Cool cufflinks man, where did you find those?!" What I am sure about is that grooms LOVE boudoir pictures of their lady!
It's hard to find cool cufflinks to begin with. Most of them are totally boring and if your man doesn't have a pair before you get married, he probably doesn't need them anyway. A watch is nice but somewhat impersonal compared to a Fantasy Book of boudoir pictures featuring his lady! We've seen engraved keychains, too. Which are nice... but I know your man would rather have a Fantasy Book than a Tiffany's keychain with his initials.
We were at a wedding two weeks ago and the bride told us that sometimes her husband will pull up the website and leave it running for her to see! Wink* Wink*
Another groom we were meeting with in our studio got a funny look from his bride when he recognized the music we were playing and mentioned it as being on our wedding website. Hee Hee. His face was a bit red when we said "Nooooo, but it is on our boudoir site!"
I am always there when a groom opens up his gift and I usually don't photograph it because he isn't excited and the pictures would show it. Generally, grooms seem to think cufflinks are pretty anti-climatic. Especially when he has bought you a pair of diamond earrings or some other gift you will truly love.
I am not usually there when a groom opens his gift and finds a Fantasy Book, but those guys typically smile alot more whilst getting ready for their wedding! They always mention how much they loved it or stop to thank Rissa during the day.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that your guy would love for you to do this!
Why not mention it and have him eating out of the palm of your hand already?!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
And now we move along to the good stuff.
balance has been formally offering boudoir photography for about a year though I have been shoot it quietly by referrals for almost a decade. Last spring we launched an all-boudoir website and it's been really popular. There's nothing as satisfying as empowering a woman by holding up a mirror to her true beauty. That's what I see happen so often with boudoir photography and I just love being part of that, of being able to give that to my clients. Almost every girl who comes in for a shoot ends up telling me how amazed she is and how she didn't know how pretty she was. (Girls... everyone else around you knows how pretty you are! Really!)
But I'm never satisfied to sit still for long. I always want to stretch the creative limit and find a new way to see beauty. Enter the Flower Goddess...
In collaboration with Ashley Riddle and Carole Langrall, a new kind of boudoir shoot has been born. One where we dress you in flowers. What could be more exquisitely feminine, more sensual, more absolutely gorgeous than a stunning woman and her favorite flowers??
To test our idea out, we hired model Raluca, an Eastern European beauty, to wear some of Carole's incredible flower creations, blended with Ashley's hair and make-up artistry. I'll soon post more from the shoot on our boudoir website, but until then... take a peek. : )
These pictures were made on location at A Garden of Earthly Delights Floral Design Studio in Paradise, MD. Raluca's wrap is a vintage Spanish shaw provided by Carole for the shoot, and her blue bra was from her own collection.
We are excited to offer the Flower Goddess shoot to all girls.
Now it's time to reach into your soul and let your true beauty blossom.
See you in the boudoir ~ Rissa