Friday, July 29, 2011


We've been doing a lot of kid shoots lately until our "wedding season" starts in September. And for a long time, we only had families with boys coming to us for photos. These boys were generally in the 2-3 year old range, and while completely adorable, they were a little hard to get to sit still for some modeling. Sigh. 

So I was excited when a friend of Sarah and Kristen's (and I think she used to work with Chris back in his Long's college days?) asked us to photograph her two girls! Older sister was completely up for a little modeling session, and baby sister, while a little cantankerous throughout the shoot, did break through with a few grand smiles everyone once in a while. We also did an entire family session with the girls, their parents, favorite aunt, and grandparents, and I absolutely love the color scheme mom picked out for the whole group- purples, pinks, and blues look amazing for a family shoot!

We actually just did a second shoot for them, to celebrate big sister's fifth birthday, and I've been working on those edits for the past week or so- part of the reason I wanted to go back and look at these first shots. I'm logging off to finish those edits now, and then tomorrow Chris and I are off to Redlands again for another big family shoot with the Cowens!

Monday, July 25, 2011

This is a scratch free zone.

We finally got the Soft Paws from Amazon. I waited two days for the kittens to be sufficiently asleep before attempting to get them on. Jack wasn't too thrilled when he woke up when we were half way through with one paw. Sawyer could've cared less while we put them on; actually, Chris did Sawyer's all by himself. 

And we've been scratch free over here ever since.

And eventually they'll forgive us for the whole thing, right?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Next to Me Studios

So this evening (as my husband and I sit on the couches with our laptops, watching Netflixed shows, in our previously mentioned date night in), I did some research and used some of my internet skillz to figure out the whole blog button conundrum. The result? Two brand spanking new blog buttons, right over there on that sidebar. They link to our main website and to our blog (which ain't nothing fancy yet, but soon). So if you're a reader of this blog and didn't know that my hot husband and I have a photography business, well today's your lucky day. Please check us out, and if you want, you can even leave us a comment about how much you love us. You know, if you want. ;)

And if anyone's wondering where we got our name from, Next to Me was derived, after many months of not coming up with anything good, when I told Chris to listen to his vast collection of music for some inspiration. Check out Sleeping at Last, I told him. We played a lot of their stuff at our wedding, and they're quite poetic and romantic and whimsical. So he did. And the next thing I knew, he was leaning in and whispering in my ear, "Next to Me," and I heard the line sung right at that moment. It was love at first listen.

Next to Me means a couple of things to us. It's symbolic of the photos we take, the bride and groom who are standing next to each other in front of their friends and family, and the families standing next to each other making funny faces and loving on their kids. And it's pretty specific to us, as we are pretty much always next to each other, on our laptops usually, working on editing or homework or researching or just being creative in some way. So it fit in all these ways that we realized right away.

Our business has really taken off in the last couple of months. We've begun booking weddings frequently. We've got two engagement sessions this weekend alone. We generally have 2-3 photo sessions on our editing list at any given time. It's great fun, something we both love doing together, and we're excited to see what the coming year will bring us with our little studio.

So please check us out if you haven't already. And like I said, don't be shy about leaving us a little love note!

It's no secret.

I really, really, really, really love this guy. He's my favorite for sure.

Looking forward to spending a Friday night at home with him. I'm hoping tonight we can watch a Netflix while we work side by side on our photo edits. It's our version of date night in. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuckered out.

Me too, guys. Me too.

Just do it.

Guys, let's be real. Life's scary sometimes. I happen to be feeling quite anxious now that I can actually see the light at the end of my teaching credentialing tunnel. Sometimes? I just want to curl up in a ball under a fluffy blanket on my bed and shut the world out. There are things I think I can't do.

But then I remember this conversation we had once with Chris' dad. I think this was the day before our wedding. We were talking about buying a house and having kids and all that good grown-up stuff. Chris asked him how he did it, because let's be honest, that stuff is daunting. And his dad said you never feel ready. You never think you can do those things. But you just do it. And somehow you end up on the other side just fine.

So just do it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Picasa for the win!

I think I found an awesome way to put up grids of photos- Picasa! Guys, blogger is the WORST for trying to format pictures. The. Worst. So I went a-looking online to see if people had found any workarounds, other than our default of creating a grid in Photoshop. And Picasa scores big. I did this collage in like two seconds. 

Love love love.

(Please don't judge that I take disgustingly cutesy pictures with my kittens. I've just discovered Mac's Photobooth program, and my husband doesn't want to sit still for pictures. These are my only semi-willing victims.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kitten play (during work)

This is what happens when we let the kittens into the office during work time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Family Day

We're on our way to spend a day with Chris' family up on Vista. Apparently some European family members are on holiday in the states (that sentence sounds straight out of a Harry Potter or a Narnia book, doesn't it?).



He's been spending late nights getting their photography business off the ground. Editing photos, creating contracts, and schmoozing clients over gmail.

She's been enjoying her education technology class. Not only is it an easy A, but she's finding great resources to use with her kids.

He's been looking hotter than normal, especially with his unshaven manliness.

(She let him know that.)

She's been working on looking hotter than normal (to even things out) via dance workouts on Netflix. Those things'll kick your butt.

He's been coveting a D800.

She's been coveting an/his iphone.

He's been more considerate letting her borrow his iphone.

She's been more considerate not running the battery down playing angry birds in the car.

He's been into playing video games on the Wii in his spare time.

She's been into taking naps in her spare time.

He's in work mode a lot, but comes up for air (and a quick snuggle) once in awhile.

She's discovered photo booth on her mac. When he's in work mode, she photo booths it up with the kittens.

He's been into researching camera gear.

She's been into researching split toning.

He's been disciplining the cats with an industrialized sniper squirt bottle (originally used to shoot popcorn off the ceiling).

She's been disciplining the cats with a cute blue, four inch high squirt bottle from the dollar bin at Target.

He's been squirting her with the industrialized sniper squirt bottle for not picking up her laundry.

She's been secretly determining the best time of night to pour a bucket of ice water over him.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My kitten is better than your kitten.

Jack is a cuddling machine. His life motto is, "I just... need.... to be inside... your face... let me in...."

Sawyer's life motto would be, "Yeah, I like cuddling. On my own terms." This is not represented by any video yet, but he much prefers to jump up on the balcony and be petted there than have you scoop him up in your arms. Unlike his brother, who spent half an hour yesterday curled into the crook of my elbow because he wouldn't let me put him down.

More kitty pictures:

This is what Sawyer and Chris were up to while that video of Jack was being taken.

And this was the following night. They were enthralled with Chris' video game playing skills. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The pitter patter of little feet.

A few weeks ago, our insurance guy emailed Chris about adding on some extra life insurance, "just in case we were starting to think about the pitter patter of little feet." Chris emailed back a big NOT YET, but little did he know that those feet would be pitter pattering sooner than he thought. Just not baby feet. We're talking kitten feet here.

Chris and I knew we were going to get a cat at some point. When we moved into our condo, I said, "Now?" And he said, "Let's wait until we're settled."

Sometime in April, as we were lounging in bed one Saturday morning, he finally told me what I was waiting for: "I think we can get a kitten now."

Woo-hoo! I was on my laptop in less than a minute looking for craigslisted kitties, while Chris tried desperately to reign in my enthusiasm. You see, while I had finally gotten the okay, he reminded me we were taking two vacations in the coming months, and it just didn't make sense to get a kitten and then not be around for a week to keep it from eating the furniture. 

And though I've dragged him to Petcos and PetSmarts and fallen in love with no more than three different kittens, he held firm to his decision that we would not be getting our cat until we got back from the Vegas family reunion at the end of June. (Confession: I hit up both a Petco and an animal shelter the afternoon before we flew out to Vegas. I wanted to be ready when we got back.)

During our trips to Petcos, and meeting with various kitten foster parents, we were told many organizations would only sell two kittens at a time. That was pretty discouraging, as there was a beautiful little girl kitten at the Grossmont Center Petco that we really liked. But Chris wasn't sold on the two kitten deal. I polled some Facebook peeps on whether two kittens were better than one, and it pretty much unanimously came back as two kittens being the better way to go. Apparently they are less destructive that way.

Alas, Chris was not to be sold on the two kittens idea. I even asked him in Vegas, after I won us $40 playing Blackjack, if we could get two if I won enough money for the second. His response: "You can get two kittens if you win a thousand dollars."

(Obviously, from the photos above, our story ends with two kittens, but no, I did not win $1000 in Vegas. Not for lack for lack of trying, though.)

We got back from Vegas Saturday night, and Sunday morning I pulled my laptop into bed with me and began my search. Sarah and I had seen some fluffy looking little guys that would be at the El Cajon Petco that day, and I wanted to make sure we got there right away because they were soooo beautiful. While I was on Craigslist, however, another ad caught my eye. An organization called SNAP was having a deal on a set of kittens because the fosters were going out of town the next day. Only $65 per kitten, a much better deal than the $125 the other organizations were selling kittens for. The kicker, however? They have a rule that if you want two kittens, you get the second one free.

Let's clarify: Instead of one kitten for $125, we could get two kittens for $65.

Chris was interested. And even though the photos of the three kittens that were available weren't very flattering, we thought it was too good of a deal to pass up on. I ended up calling the foster parents to set up a meeting time that day, and he told me all about the kittens. They had two boys and a girl, and the boys were best buddies. Not only were they playful little guys, but they loooooooved cuddling. They were raised by the foster mom since they were ten days old, and the couple's giant dog had acted as their mama in the beginning. They'd been around people and dogs all their lives so they were super socialized, not shy or timid at all. They were fixed, vaccinated, microchipped, and all ready to go. 

So we went down to meet them, and guess what? We loved them. 

From the second she put them in our arms they cuddled our faces and licked our hands, and then we watched them play for a little while. They loved chasing a ping pong ball around, and we made a note to buy ping pong balls when we got them home. The foster mother also gave us two big bags of their food, which made the deal even better. 

So. Now we have kitten babies. We named them Jack and Sawyer, because we wanted them to have cute paired names, and I already kind of liked the name Jack. Jack's my cat, and Sawyer is Chris'. 

So here's what we've learned about them in the week and a half they've been part of our family:
1) Boy kittens like to play rough. There were times in the first few days I thought I'd have to intervene, but an internet search told me that was way normal and they really were just playing with each other.
2) Sawyer's super sensitive. Anytime we tell him "No!" to try to train him not to be on something, he'll freeze, stare at us sadly, and then turn and bolt. But he always comes back a few minutes later, happy as can be.
3) Jack is afraid to jump in a horizontal fashion. For instance, Sawyer has discovered he can jump from an armchair to the banister, but Jack refuses to try to jump. He looks like he's going to try every once in awhile, but he chickens out every time. He does, however, climb vertically very easily, unlike his brother. A few nights after we got them, I was eating soup at our tall kitchen table, and I watched as he circled the table several times trying to figure out how to get to my lap. Finally he just jumped, grabbed hold of my jeans, and scrambled the rest of the way up. He's super awkward, and super cute.
4) Jack is way more cuddly than Sawyer. Jack will let you pick him up and carry him around for awhile just to be with you, while Sawyer prefers to be loved on his own terms. Usually this means us walking up the stairs and finding him on the top of the banister, waiting for some loves. They're both especially cuddly when we come home and they've been alone for awhile.
5) When Jack cuddles, he just wants to kiss your face all over. I've got a cold right now, so it's especially difficult because he likes to press his wet furry noise right underneath mine. He also seems to want to crawl into our ears, nose first. 
6) Much as we'd like for them to cuddle up with us at bedtime, they're way too young and rowdy right now to just settle in to sleep. If we move a foot under the blankets, they pounce. So the bedroom door stays shut at night, but they've found plenty of places they like to sleep: the bathroom floor, a little cubby behind Chris' giant speakers, the armchair, and any other place besides their actual kitty bed. Waste of $15, I tell you. 

So that's our kitten story! We love them, and even Chris is happy we went with two instead of one. They really do keep each other busy, and less in our stuff, but they're still curious as all heck and will get into anything they have access to. Sawyer got stuck under the dishwasher the second night home, and today I had to search for Jack when I was playing with Sawyer and suddenly heard faint, desperate baby kitten squeaks. I thought he'd gotten himself stuck somewhere painful the way he was carrying on; turns out, he'd found his way into the hall closet while I was rummaging in there, and I must have closed the door on him later. Did that stop him from running right back in once the door was opened? Nope. 


Monday, July 4, 2011

I know, I know.

I know what you're thinking. Jordan, you're thinking. What's going on over there? You've got beautiful new kittens, and you haven't said a word about them, other than post an unflattering picture of their first trip home. Jordan, you're thinking. Why aren't you putting up any new pictures? Aren't you starting your photography business right now? Where's the photographic evidence? 

And, Jordan. Come on. Where are the pictures of your hot husband? Do you think I come to your blog to read that you know you're a terrible blogger, and maybe see a line or two here and there about the major bummers of student teaching, and every once in a while a photo of your dinner? 

(Yeah. I know some of you are only here for that hottie. S'okay. He is nice to look at.)

Well. You're in luck because this is my summer vacation (week). So I have a-plenty of time to sit in my unbearably hot house, or possibly run over to Starbucks to suck up their glorious air conditioning, and post photos, update, and tell you all about the newest additions to our house.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my dinner dessert!

(In honor of the 4th, we have strawberries, hulled and filled with vodka soaked whipped cream, with a patriotic blueberry on top. Courtesy of somewhere on Pinterest!)