Monday, December 31, 2007

Any resolutions, anyone?

I resolve to:

1. Separate my work and home life better (or at all)
2. Cut down on my Diet Coke consumption
3. Walk Fat Heidi more
4. Clean out the garage. We've been here almost 4 years and have never parked in the garage.
5. Cook more, even during the wedding season

There are a whole bunch of goals I set for every year, too, but those aren't as interesting.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New look for the studio

I know, I know, I've barely finished the new studio (we moved in a year ago), but we're going to have a new look. The black and white damask is out, pink and green diamonds are in!

Here's the fabric that started it all:

We're adding drapes, crystal chandeliers, and a really dynamic mural! Stay tuned for photos.

Here's a "before" pic:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

All that jazz

You may not believe it, but little ol' Toledo is known for it's jazz scene. Perhaps it's because we're on the road from NYC to Chicago, most of the jazz greats have stopped in town for a night or two. We lost Rusty's Jazz Cafe a few years back (now the place is called John's Korner Bar and I haven't been able to look inside), but we still have the venerable Murphy's Place.

We are finally slowing down a smidgen, so we took a little time to ourselves and visited. The music, the ambiance, and the food are deeply satisfying. I'm a foodie, and I'm telling you, the orange roughy I had there the other day was the best fish I've ever had.

Do yourself a favor and visit this Toledo institution. It seems that many of the best things about this town are struggling or closing, so it's important to support the local hotspots that make Toledo, um, Toledo.

Friday, December 28, 2007


If you've been living under a rock for the last year or few, you may not have seen the wonderful ICanHasCheezburger pets. Resistance is futile.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not a creature was stirring...

Most of the stores are closed, but if you have an unexpected guest who needs a present, go to your nearest convenience store and pick up a magazine your guest would like. (We love Vanity Fair, Cook's Illustrated, The Bark, ReadyMade, and Domino.) Roll it up and wrap it, and add a card that tells the recipient you've purchased a subscription in their name. Be sure to stick the subscription card in your mailbox right away!

Just two days!

If you've met me, you know I love animals, especially dogs. I went a little nuts buying for the pups this year, and my littlest chihuahua in particular. She got a darling cupcake collar, in pink. It looks a lot like this one.

(I hate to say it, but I found it at Walmart, for $6.)

Brownish Christmas

Well, all our snow melted, so we might end up with a greenish-brown, muddy Christmas. I'm fine with that, as long as it's safe to travel (one year, in an old Honda Accord, we actually ended up sliding backwards down a hill on the way home on Christmas Eve, before being rescued by my aunt, in her Jeep). We've only got a two-hour drive this Christmas, but with all the dogs, it feels a lot longer.

Here's the weather for Toledo for this week, according to

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A great cause

I lost my grandmother recently, a wonderful woman, and it felt so strange, not getting her a Christmas "present". Gramma really understood my love for animals, and particularly loved my senior dog, Benny, so I decided to sponsor a rescue dog in her memory.

Seriously, check this out -- any animal lover would appreciate this gift, and it's completely tax deductible.

I sponsored Bennie. It really made my Christmas, knowing I helped out a little bit. This organization does great work and saves hundreds of lives a year.

Only 3 days

I just picked up the best last-minute gifts... Anthropologie is selling these darling monogrammed mugs, individually wrapped in their own box with felt snowflakes, and your choice of instant hot cocoa (w/ marshmallows!) or candy canes attached. They're so cute and only $6, which I would happily pay just for the package. It was all I could do not to argue that they should charge way more for these.

I like that they have the more feminine style, perfect for Joe's great aunt, and the more gender-neutral, which are actually my favorite. I got a matched set for my best friend and her hubby.

For the cute wrapping job, you'll have to go to your local store.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Early Christmas present

I got the cutest shoes today! If I had to choose one store as my favorite, it would be Anthropologie. They have the cleverest home stuff and the funkiest clothes.

Their shoes are usually out of my budget, but today they had a whole bunch at 75% off. These are just for summer, but I love them anyway. They're much prettier in person, made up of bazillions of pieces of quarter-inch satin ribbon -- a true feat of engineering! I got them for $30, but they're on Zappos for $125.

I really really loved these, on sale in the store for $50, but they didn't fit right. You might want to order a size smaller than you usually wear.

4 days left

A friend in TX said yesterday she hadn't done any holiday shopping yet. So I'll keep going with my gift ideas.

My two favorite hobbies are cooking/baking/eating and, to make up for that, working out. If there's a gym rat or a runner in your life, the Polar F6 heart rate monitor comes highly recommended. Polar is known for accuracy, and the F6 special because it's not affected by other monitors. It comes in several colors, but the pink is my favorite.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A great last-minute gift

We're offering a special only for blog readers. Digital files, retouched, from your wedding or portrait session, for $30 each, with no minimum. I have a limited number of hours this weekend, and can only take a few orders. I will email your retouched image with some one-hour photo lab recommendations so you can put together a professional-quality last-minute gift.

Fine print: Sorry, we can only retouch images created by Decisive Moment. Only Visa and Mastercard will be accepted, and this special won't be extended.

Email me for details.

5 days

And you're going to need some stocking stuffers. I love my iPod nano. The new ones play a few hours of video, too, which is awesome when you're stuck on a plane in a teeny tiny coach seat. I use the Nike+ system as well, to monitor my walking and running. Don't worry, you don't need Nike shoes to use this sensor. I use a shoe wallet instead.

The shuffle is great for the gym, or just for tooling around the house. I like it for home improvement work, because it's small enough to tuck away to keep the dust and paint off.

I guess I have really tiny ears, because the regular iPod earbuds hurt. I love all the new earbuds with different sized ear thingies -- you can get them for as little as $15, but if you want to get great sound, these are the ones I'd choose ($139). My husband is under strict instructions not to buy them for me, though, since I lose stuff. These are similar, but less fancy/pricey ($59).

If you're shopping for wedding photography and need an iPod, stay tuned. We're rolling out a new iPod package in January!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is Pablo

He cracks me up. He's a little "off" so this shirt is perfect for him. He's my dog, and he's hangin' out on my kitchen floor.

My nieces

Are very beautiful.

7 days

And I've just about had it with online shopping. One place charged my card and now can't find my order anywhere. They can't figure out how to refund my money because they can't find the order.

Another company can't seem to get an email through to me and won't pick up the phone.

So here's a really fun gift that you can buy locally!

Great for hosts and hostesses, the Method Peppermint Vanilla candles at Target are perfectly scented. Enough so you can smell them, but not so much that they make me sneeze. They're snazzy looking and made with soy wax and cotton wicks.

Click here for more info, but do yourself a favor and buy them locally!

Monday, December 17, 2007

8 days

Here's a good gift for the marrieds - wireless headphones. What a marriage saver. I can watch TV while Joe reads, or my brother in law can listen to sports without driving my sister crazy.

I have these and have been really happy with them. There are sleeker models available, too.

Have you noticed Best Buy is open really late for the holidays? I drove by around 10:30 last night (a Sunday) and they were still going strong. As a night owl, I'm loving the holiday hours at the stores. The mall is dead at 10 p.m., so if you have some more shopping to do, go late!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We got some snow

And I'm really happy about it, because it hid all the leaves we haven't raked yet! We got a quick photo, since we never take pictures of ourselves. Maggie's in the middle (click to enlarge).

9 days, part 2

You gotta have candles at Christmas. Don't give me any of those fake, battery-operated ones, either. Real candles, please. There's not enough magic in the world for adults - we need all the help we can get.

Here are my favorite candleholders/sticks, all from ZGallerie, all really cheap.

I love this designer knock-off

So funky, and great for the holidays

Pretty as a centerpiece.

Not candleholders, but so fun!

My favorites. They're so striking.

9 days, part 1: Know any boring people?

Get them this! It's great for parties with those who don't drink. Trust me, I shoot weddings, I know about the dangers of a dry event.

Disclaimer: If I've ever gotten this for you, it's not because you're boring. It might be because you don't drink, though.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Only 10 days!

I love to give kitchen gifts, because they tend to be used and appreciated for a long time. Here is a fantastic enamel-covered cast iron pot (by Martha Stewart) for homemade soup, stew, pot roast, or no-knead bread.

I have the much more expensive Le Creuset in this size, but I wish I had waited for Martha to come out with hers. The quality and weight are comparable, and the color is perfect. All for a quarter of the price!

$60 right now at Macy's. There's a smaller one, too, for $50.

Friday, December 14, 2007

11 days

You do know you can't buy your wife cleaning supplies or diet cookbooks for Christmas, right? If you have a health-conscious loved one, however, a food scale is a good gift. It works great for bakers, too.

This is the ORDNING food scale at IKEA, which is just as cool as the pricey Salter scales at Williams-Sonoma, and only $25. Works great, looks great, and measures grams or ounces up to 6 lbs. I bought one to use in the kitchen, until Joe stole it and brought it to the office to weigh small packages! (He got me another one.)

Not available online, but here are details.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jessica & Matt at the Toledo Club

What an amazing wedding. Their very personal ceremony at Christ the King was followed by a worldly reception at the Toledo Club. This well-traveled couple was so easy to photograph!

Joe did a fantastic job and had a great time. He said the guests really appreciated the White Castle burgers Jessica and Matt had delivered to the club, late in the evening.

Click on any image to enlarge.