Emily & Jason Davenport Wedding | Olympia Resort | Oconomowoc, WI

I find the paths that lead us through life to be incredible. What is more incredible is how some of those paths can reconnect after many years twisting in opposite directions.  I recently photographed the wedding of an old elementary school best friend. In fact, we went to school together all the way through high school.

I was sort of dazed when Emily approached me and asked me to photograph her wedding. It had been some nine years since I had seen her, and when we talked on the phone to hash out details it felt sort of surreal to hear her voice after so long!

I don’t remember when Emily and I went our separate ways as best friends, but I do remember lots of sleep overs at her house. I remember her adorable little West Highland Terrier. I remember singing county music songs together, and her sister’s giant Reba McIntyre poster in her bedroom. I remember running around on the playground of Rockwell Elementary, shouting Red Rover Red Rover holding hands, while we giggled across the field at our latest crushes.

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Boy do we look so different! This is in our Elementary school days!

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I’m a true believer that each friendship that you have throughout life serves a wonderful purpose. Those purposes may change as you grow, and learn more about yourself. Even if those friendships fade, they were exactly what you needed at that time. Emily was a great friend to me, and I have many fond moments to think back on. It means a lot to me that Emily and I were able to reconnect after so many years, and for her to think of me to photograph such an important moment in her life.  I am so happy for her and her husband!

Before the wedding, I asked Emily and Jason to fill out a little wedding questionnaire. This is to help me get an understanding of what is important to them for images, as well as to get an idea of the type of couple they are. One of the questions was to describe their relationship in three words:

Emily: strong, genuine, love

Jason: awesome, real, beautiful

Their love was indeed all of those.  At this point in life I have been to many weddings, and I am always moved by the different types of love that I witness. Emily and Jason have a love that is also deeply spiritual. It was easy to photograph these two, because when they were together every moment and interaction was intertwined with this deep connection.  Their vows were raw and emotional. I found myself fogging up my viewfinder as I shed a few tears while photographing. These are two people who have a lot of room for love in their hearts, as do their families.

I had a blast photographing this wedding. It was great to see old friends, meet new wonderful people, and watch Jason’s very talented friends and family dance their hearts out on the dance floor. :)  Every part of this day was beautiful.  Enjoy the images! There are a lot,  but I couldn’t stop!































































































































Seven years at Copper Falls State Park

**NOTE: This is a long post–but please read all the way through! Lots of good info and laughs along the way!**

Throughout the years we haven’t always made a big to do about our anniversary. It can be difficult with jobs and financial situations. The Champion family cabin has been our respite for the past few years. I had a growing desire to go on a new adventure this year. To try something that I’ve never done before. We decided to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary at the beautiful Copper Falls State Park just outside of Mellen Wisconsin.  I didn’t think about it or realize that the traditional wedding gift for year number seven is usually something made of copper. How serendipitous that I randomly chose this park to be our anniversary destination, especially since I’m not really one to keep up with traditions like that. :)

Chet grew up camping and was one of the highest decorated eagle scouts in his troop. He is what I consider to be an expert on survival techniques and roughing it in the wilderness. I grew up in the country running around in the woods and learning from my grandmother and mother the art of plant identification, care, and conservation. While I never camped or learned how to survive in the wilderness, there has always and will always be a special place in my heart for being deep in the woods.

I think that was part of the reason I was attracted to Chet to begin with. I admired his ability to tie all different kinds of knots, make a fire for just about any situation, create a shelter out of whatever was around him, be able to find his way through the woods in the dark with no compass, etc. He is and was an outdoorsman with clear passion. Also, I feel incredibly lucky to know that should the zombie apocalypse arrive I have someone who will keep me safe and kick some ass.

Anyways, back to Copper Falls….

We chose to camp at the hike in back packing site. I have only tent camped on maybe two other occasions, and both times were car camping which makes it all the more easy. Backpack camping is another animal. One that I admittedly didn’t fully realize until we showed up. This site was about a 2.5 mile or 45 minute hike from where you park your car. Chet and I both suspect that it is actually more around 3 or 3.5 but we never tracked it so I can’t say for sure. The trail is well maintained, though arduous in some spots.

We arrived about an hour early from our check in time of 3pm. The front office said that if there wasn’t a car in the back pack site parking lot we were free to set up camp early. There was, however, a car in the parking lot. We decided to grab a few lighter items and make our way to the site to see exactly what we were getting ourselves into.  This site is deep deep in the woods. We kept thinking, “oh the site will be just around this corner!” Each corner led to another corner until finally we ran into the people who had the site before us.  They were a couple who renewed their vows right in the river by the campsite. 25 years married! They were clearly experienced backpackers and told us right away what we could leave in the car.  We left the small amount of gear that we brought at the site and trekked the 2.5 miles back out to the car to get the rest of it. We ditched quite a bit of equipment because while the hike to the campsite sans gear was relatively enjoyable, we knew that the last trip back out with everything on our backs would be no fun.

We set up camp and then ran down to the river to enjoy some river walking in the shallow rapids. We decided to make it a early evening as the following day was the primary day to hike and view the rest of the park. After planning out our route we turned out the light and let the gentle sound of the rushing water lull us into a deep slumber.

The campsite!

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the private shoreline just outside of the campsite that only we have access to!

Chet enjoying his view

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The next morning we slept in for a bit. I began making a tasty campfire breakfast while Chet went to the river to filter water for our afternoon hike. We had breakfast burritos with banana peppers, green peppers, green onions, diced ham, and cheese. While we didn’t see any bears during our visit to Copper Falls we made sure to hang up our food at night and when we wouldn’t be around the site just in case. Matt and Amy our friends who live in Ashland (about 30 mins away from the park) have a saying “If you are North of HWY 8, hang it up!”

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We tidied up camp a bit and began the trek back to the main hiking loop to see all of the waterfalls. Shortly into the hike back up to the main trails I heard Chet swearing behind me. I looked and found him holding his hand with a pained look on his face. He had been stung by something. We looked around and didn’t see exactly where it came from. Chet had his revenge as he killed the bee that stung him. His hand continued to swell throughout the hike . The swelling started to shift to the other hand at one point. I didn’t make matters better for him. The bugs weren’t bad, but you still needed to use bug spray. I had found some “natural” bug spray consisting of lemon and eucalyptus. He asked me to spray him and without thinking I soaked his recently stung hand. :(  We later found out on our final trek to the car on our last day there that he was stung by a ground bee. There was a hive of them hidden just to the right of the trail in a rotting tree stump. Chet walked past them first, which allowed me to see about 50 of them angrily swarm around the space Chet had just occupied. We figured this is why he was stung the first day. I walked past and pissed them off and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The loop around the main waterfalls was easy to navigate and didn’t take very long to complete. I think once we had reached the main loop trail from our site it was around 11. By 12:30 we had visited all the falls.  Most of the falls you are only able to view from a distance. Understandably so, much of the rock that can get you closer to the falls looks unstable. My favorite of all the falls was Brown Stone Falls.  Here are a few pics of the falls that I took with my phone. I eventually went back and took some with my real camera, when the lighting conditions were better.  In order to photograph waterfalls where the water appears silky and smooth versus crisp and rushing the camera shutter needs to be slow. This means that your exposure time will increase, which allows for the movement of the water to look fluid like silk. However, it also means that you are increasing the amount of light touching the sensor. When it is high noon the sun is at it’s brightest and does not allow a photographer to easily capture waterfalls in this way. That also requires special equipment called neutral density filters. I don’t own any of those right now, so I was unable to photograph until later in the day when the sun was lower. (AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY PHOTOGRAPHERS CHARGE SO MUCH!! There is A LOT of equipment needed to do the job right. Photoshop isn’t magic and neither is your camera)

Chet walking across the bridge which goes over the bad river and Devil’s Gate

Rapids in the Bad River at Devil’s Gate. Devil’s Gate was formed when the river cut through conglomerate rock.


A few parts of the trail had some steep steps. It was nice that there were benches along the way to stop and catch your breath and of course take a selfie. :)

My favorite of all the falls. Brownstone Falls. The signage here reads- “Tyler Forks plunges 30 feet into the Bad River gorge. Brownstone Falls gets its name from the reddish-brown wedges you see around it. This rock was formed from red lava flows through a 100 – 200 foot canyon of colorful conglomerates, shales, and sandstones.

Chet was very thoughtful and gave me some clip on cellphone lenses for my birthday (which for those of you who don’t know falls just two days after our anniversary). One is a wide angle and the other a fish eye. It was fun trying them out here, and we got some nice images of us together in the scenery that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Also less gear to haul back to the site!

Chet’s phone can take images and make them into gifs. A pretty cool function, I think. Though he didn’t realize that he had the settings wrong for the first few, so you’ll see eventually the fall goes backwards.

Copper Falls which the park is named after. I thought that this fall would be the gem of the park, but it was relatively lack luster. The signage explains why- “In 1902, miners re-routed the Bad River by blasting through a bedrock formation upstream from Copper Falls. The re-directed flow of the river, causing more river volume to flow over the east side of the falls, accelerating rock erosion on that side. Since it’s re-direction, it has dropped from its original height of 30 feet to the 8 feet today.

When we were finished with the hike around the main loop we needed to burn up some time as I waited for the sun to go down to take some better pictures of the falls with my real camera. We decided to go into town to get some medical supplies for some of the aches and pains our hikes had caused us thus far. We also decided to get some Gatorade in hopes that the electrolytes would help re-hydrate us in addition to our water.  That didn’t take very long, so we decided to lazily eat lunch at one of the picnic areas in the main camping area. We then reconvened to decide what to do with the remaining 4 or so hours before  I could photograph. I had done some research on the park beforehand and it seemed that there was another set of waterfalls on the south end of the park, which was not part of the main loop. The internet boasted these, as they were falls that you were allowed to get closer to in comparison to the others…

“Red Granite Falls is well worth the hike as you can climb right up to the falls and enjoy your lunch while feeling the mist of the falls on your face.”

The internet did not fail me. These falls were very much worth the trek. However, where I was failed was the park map. While eating lunch we looked at the trail and park maps to figure out the best way to get to Red Granite Falls. I was baffled that there appeared to be no parking lot on the south end of the park aside from the check in parking lot. We both assumed that it was in poor taste to stay parked here, so our best bet was to stay in the picnic parking lot and take a side trail down to the trail that eventually loops around Red Granite falls. It was going to be a good 5 mile hike round trip, which was perfect as we needed to burn some time.  We embarked on the trail and quickly started noticing something strange. Compared to the rest of the trails this one seemed a little less cared for. The grasses were over grown, ferns were poking straight through the middle of the trail; at times they stood a few feet tall. The map also didn’t show all of the turns and forks in the trail as we would come across. It became a guessing game for us. Chet followed his instincts and training from scouting and bit by bit we kept making our way towards the falls. At one point we came across a large fallen tree in the middle of the path. It was obvious that the tree had fallen fairly recently, but no one had come to clean it up yet. We hopped over the tree and shortly after we came across our first and ONLY wooden trail posting. The Red Granite Falls loop was just a few hundred feet in front of us. Once on it we ran into a woman. We felt relieved to see another person and thought we must have gotten it right. I politely asked her if she was headed back from Red Granite Falls. She confirmed that she indeed was. I made a comment about how tricky it was to get to this point and how the park should really consider updating their maps. She gave me a sort of nasty look and curtly responded “Well no, it is pretty easy if you just follow the signs.”

We were peeved at her blithe response and thought “well soooorrrryyyyy if we aren’t master wilderness people. We stomped ahead muttering under our breath.  Shortly after that conversation we came across another wooden trail sign. This one read “Parking lot .30 miles –>”.  Suddenly what I considered as a bitchy response from the woman earlier made much more sense. She was just confused. How can you go wrong, the parking lot is just a bit behind you and the signs very clearly tell you the way. SERIOUSLY? There really was a parking lot to this place the whole time?!? Information that would have been helpful about 2 miles ago.  All we could do was laugh and settled that it was all part of the adventure. Our legs might not think it is so funny, but it’ll make for a good story in the future.

Eventually we came to the falls. They were indeed beautiful and much more accessible than the others. We took pictures together, Chet made more gifs with his phone. I climbed around on the rocks getting as close as I could to the water. I felt the mist on my skin and delighted in the refreshing breeze that helped me forget about the many miles I had already walked that day. We took off our shoes and dipped our feet in the water, eating a few snacks together in silence. I listened to the water rushing, the birds chirping in the trees. I wanted to sit longer but my aching feet and knees began to remind me that if I sat much longer they would go on strike and I’d never get back to camp.

Pano of Red Granite Falls

View from the rocks I had climbed

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We decided to say screw the way we came, and went to the parking lot and walked the road back. It might not be as scenic but it was much more direct and would get me back to the main trail loop to start my photographs. Chet had pretty much had his fill of hiking for the day. He agreed to wait at the car and take a cat nap while I went back through the trails solo, stopping along the way to take as many photos as I wanted. :)

Beautiful colors reflecting back into the water at Devil’s Gate

The ferns at this park were insane. Not only in the number of different species there were, but also in the size and vastness of them. They were also spotted with young maple trees, which I bet will deliver a beautiful spread of color for those visiting this park in the fall. The colors have already begun to turn on a few trees.

I love this pine tree trail which is situated on the shoreline of Devil’s Gate. It reminds me of the Nightmare Before Christmas hill, which folds into a delicate spiral. The roots of the pines snarl across what I assume is a trail made by adventurous hikers throughout the years who decided to take an unexplored path.

Brownstone Falls again, my favorite. I had the place pretty much to myself. I love that you can see the small wooden outlook sitting above the falls.

The sun side lighting the pines made for beautiful color when I came back to photograph. Occasionally a few hikers would come by and I would stop photographing and offer to take pictures of them, to try to make up for the fact that my camera and tripod were commandeering the good spots to photograph from.

A zoomed in shot of one of the falls of Copper Falls

One part of the Cascades. This was just barely visible from the trail if you ducked down low enough. There was a steep slide down to the shoreline which you could take to get closer. I didn’t trust my legs to get down and back up so I just photographed from the trail line.


The Cascades as the sun set. I had to be quick because from here we still had another 2.5 miles to our camp. We didn’t want to do it in the dark.


This is Chet’s favorite photo I took.

Once I was satisfied with my photos we went back to the campsite. We didn’t arrive until close to 8pm. By that time I had walked a grand total of 13.5 miles that day. My legs were well aware of this fact. Chet and I struggled to keep our energy long enough to do another dusk river wade. We made a loaded baked potato soup and I was hungry enough to make myself some hebrew national hot dogs. We reminisced on our day and adventures by the campfire. I had hoped that the weather during our trip would lend itself nicely to do some milky way and star trail photos. Alas, each night the clouds rolled in and spots of rain trickled down our tent. I only did one night shot, which was a photo of our camp site lit up by the fire and our tent lantern. I thought it turned out pretty neat.


Chet surprised me and purchased a brand new tent for this anniversary occasion. I wanted to get a nice shot of it.

We were exhausted and knew that the morning brought a lot of packing and a grueling trip back out of the campsite to our car. We passed out quickly once again to the sound of rushing water just beyond the tent walls.

The next morning we woke up and ate up the random leftovers we had and enjoyed a last little jaunt in the shallow river rapids. Chet began packing up some of the gear while I organized the items I would be carrying. It didn’t take us long to pack up camp, maybe an hour and some change.  We said goodbye to our river and beautiful viewpoints. With my cool new iphone clip on lenses I thought it would be fun to take a time lapse of our final trip back out. I put on my back and helped Chet put on his. Chet then place my phone in the front pocket of my phone so it could record our journey out.

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On our last morning by the river right after we woke up. 

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A nice example of the layers of rock along the Bad River

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Chet found the only creature aside from the mouse at camp on our last morning

The last view of the beautiful sandstone cliffs and shallow rapids of the Bad River which we were privileged to camp next to the whole trip

We made our way back, once again passing the angry hive of ground bees. We made it once again to the what seemed like giant and steep incline from the valley to the woods path. It was here that I really felt the weight of my gear and the many miles my legs had endured. I have asthma and felt my lungs grasping for air, wheezing in and out as the weight of my pack burdened their ability to expand. I took a few hits off my inhaler and made a squeak of exhaustion. Chet turned and sarcastically told me that there was no crying and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I kept telling myself DO IT FOR THE TIMELAPSE!! Eventually we made it back to the trail head. I took of my pack and Chet went to stop the timelapse. He made a comment that it must have turned off. I chalked it up to not having enough memory in the phone, or maybe a dead battery. Nope. After review the timelapse stopped the moment Chet placed the phone in my bag. All you see is a blur of trees and then Chet’s smiling face. I was so pissed, I felt like all my hard work up that damn hill and trail was ruined. I turned to Chet and snarled at him to go get the car. You usually had to walk maybe another mile to the parking area, but we had decided about half way into the last trip back that we were just going to bring the car down. When Chet was walking back to the car I started to get really dizzy and felt sick to my stomach. I ended up puking in the brush, probably from a combination of exhaustion and dehydration. Luckily we had more Gatorade and water in the car so I was able to feel better right away.


Chet was sassy and smiled for this photo. We were supposed to show our utter exhaustion.

We waved goodbye as we drove out of the park and back towards Ashland where our friend Amy lived. She and her husband Matt were kind enough to care for Monty and Frankie our dogs while we camped. THANKS GUYS!!! Matt and Amy both have been to the backpack site before and Copper Falls is a very loved spot for them as well. I hope the photos I took did this place justice in your eyes!

If you ever get a chance please visit this place. Well worth the drive…and if you do the backpack site just remember…your company will mind your stench a lot less than your body will mind the many pounds of gear you have to haul in and out of that place!! LESS really is more in this case. :)


Egg & Veggie Galette

I’m back! After a long hiatus I have finally found some time to refocus on some personal work and it feels good! The beginning of this year has been a whirlwind of travel, work, and personal trials. I was finding it difficult to find the motivation and inspiration to blog.  It isn’t easy working full time and then coming home to blog part time on the side! I admire those of you out there who can do it, or who blog full time as it is a definite devotion!

So, without further ado–a tasty breakfast or brunch option!

This recipe is relatively simple, especially if you keep organized from the get go. I like to keep puff pastry on hand in the freezer as it is pretty versatile and can be a nice treat special occasions or for when we have company.  The key is to remember to take out your puff pastry sheet before you begin. Even a good 15 minutes before would be best. The recipe is great  because it makes 4 servings total, but a square is a perfect single serving that will fill you up. It would be a great option for when the in-laws are in town and you want to have a nice meal without having to go out.

I used farm fresh eggs from Nami Moon farms , a vendor at our local farmer’s market based out of Custer Wisconsin. I love this farm, they have great food which is farmed and raised ethically. They are also passionate about locally sourced food and are a veteran vendor of the Appleton farmers market.  They are always happy to answer any questions you may have about their products and seem to really love what they do. I’m sure farming in this day and age of corporate food conglomerates and climate disruption isn’t easy, but I’m so glad they exist.

The other great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust the veggies to your own preference. If you aren’t a fan of onions or peppers, you could always try spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes!   Enjoy! Recipe follows images.






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Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

A while back I found a recipe on Pinterest that I just had to try. With most things concerning Pinterest, I had sort of forgot about it. I think a lot of us are guilty of the pin now, read later habit. I have been trying to get back on the exercise and eat right band wagon. Now that Chet has a regular full time day job we are finally on the same schedule after some 6 years! This makes it much easier to plan and make meals that we can both enjoy and eat the left overs for lunch. Anyway, with my renewed commitment to eating healthy and with the encouragement of knowing we’d have time together for meals I started going back through my food Pinterest board. I began formulating a meal plan for the week. I remembered this recipe and was excited to finally get around to making it. The original recipe was found from the minimalist baker, you can check out their blog here. They have lots of great recipes and their images are lovely.

I will admit that the photographs minimalist baker posted of these were what drew me in. Again with the pin now read later habit, I hadn’t paid much attention to what actual made up the recipe. Upon closer investigation as I was planning my weeks worth of meals, I was a bit skeptical. I couldn’t see how the variety of flavors and spices would work symbiotically. I decided to try anyways and boy I was wrong! These potatoes are delicious, even better they reheat the next day perfectly! Chet and I are huge garlic fans so we always end up putting in more garlic than what it calls for. The original recipe called for coriander, but as I did not have any in the house I substituted for basil. Fun fact: the leaves of the coriander plant are actually what we all know as cilantro. Knowing that I was even happier that I didn’t bother to go out and buy coriander as I have a distaste for cilantro.

I personally think that the sauce makes this dish. The sweet potatoes give a heavenly creamy base. This is complimented by the pop and crunch of the roasted chick peas roasted in spices that simultaneously add a savory profile and highlights the sweetness of the potato. The garlic and dill hummus sauce adds zing and a burst of flavor that helps to melt everything into savory goodness on your taste buds. Enjoy the images and please do give the recipe a try! You won’t regret it! This one will go in the cookbook and will be enjoyed for many years to come.



  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each cumin, dried basil, cinnamon, smoked paprika
  • Pinch of sea salt

garlic hummus sauce: (I made a double batch because I know how sauce obsessed we are so half this if you are not a sauce fiend)

  • 1 container of sabra classic hummus
  • 2 tsp dried dill (or sub 2 Tbsp fresh)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Optional: Sea salt to taste and a few teaspoons of fresh chopped parsley as a topping


Make your sauce first, I found that when it was given a chance to marinade the flavors together it was even better!

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until they are well blended. Taste and adjust if needed. Set aside.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a two large baking sheets with foil.
  2. Rinse and scrub potatoes and cut in half length wise. Rub the sweet potatoes with a bit of olive oil and place face down on the baking sheet.
  3. Drain and rinse your chick peas. Combine the 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of spices in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Add your rinsed chickpeas and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the coated chick peas onto your second foil lined baking sheet.
  5. If you have large and thick sweet potatoes even after halving, place them in the oven for a good 20 minutes before you roast the chick peas. Large potatoes should cook for 40 minutes total.  If you have smaller potatoes you can place both the potatoes and the chick peas in the oven for just 25 minutes.
  6. Use a fork and poke the center of your potatoes to check. If your fork goes into the potato smoothly they are done. The chickpeas should be golden brown and should only bake for the 25 minutes.
  7. While everything is cooking,chop parsley for garnish if desired.
  8. Once potatoes and chickpeas are done, remove from oven. For serving, flip potatoes flesh-side up. Then top with chickpeas, the garlic and hummus sauce and parsley garnish. You can mash your sweet potatoes a bit to give a better surface for the chick peas to sit. Serve immediately.

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Easy Valentine’s Day Dessert: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you all! I hope that all of you got to enjoy it in some way. Chet and I had a very laid back weekend, relaxing and hanging out together. It was great to have some time together after a long week of travel and work. We made a delicious rack of ribs in the crock in pot which was doused in a Georgia mustard bbq sauce. For dessert I wanted something that was easy but still felt special.

A while back Chet and I had watched an episode of Friends (thanks for the good month plus of binge watching Netflix) which revolved around a stolen but delicious cheesecake. Every now and then the thought of a flaky graham cracker crust gracefully supporting a fluffy and airy medallion of cheesecake complete with raspberry swirl would consume me. I decided enough was enough and made us some mini cheesecakes. They are delicious but dangerous. As I type I am currently trying mentally block the churning in my stomach from the three (yeeeaaah….just three….) that I ate after dinner tonight. :)

Enjoy the images and give the recipe a try next time you crave cheesecake!

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes


    • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs (from 7 full sheets)
    • optional 1/4 cup of golden graham cereal (I just happened to have this and thought why not!)
    • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
    • 3 1 /2 Tbsp salted butter, melted
Raspberry Swirl
    • 6 oz fresh raspberries
    • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Cheesecake filling
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened well but not melted
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


  • For the crust:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. However you decide, smash up your graham crackers and optional golden grahams. I used a potato masher. In a mixing bowl, using a fork, stir together graham cracker crumbs and sugar, then pour in melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Add just under a tablespoonful to 24 paper lined muffin cups. Press crust firmly into an even layer. I used a mini mustard from one of my various hotel stays to press the crust firmly down. Bake in preheated oven 5 minutes then remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • For the raspberry swirl:
  • Add raspberries and 2 Tbsp granulated sugar to a food processor and pulse until well pureed, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Press mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl (basically until there are only seeds remaining in strainer, you should get quite a bit out of it). Set aside.
  • For the cheesecake filling:
  • In a Kitchenaid mixer, mix together granulated sugar and flour. Add cream cheese and lemon zest, blend mixture just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and sour cream just until combined. Tap bowl forcefully against counter top, about 10 times, to release large air bubbles. Divide mixture evenly among cups over crust layer, adding about 1 tablespoon to each and filling nearly full. Jiggle pan to level cheesecake filling then dollop about 5 small circle of raspberry sauce over each cupcake. I used a butter knife to distribute the drops.  Using a toothpick, swirl raspberry filling with cheesecake mixture to create a marbled design. I also created some with hearts by taking the toothpick and dragging it straight down through the center of each circle. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes until cupcakes are puffed and nearly set. They will crack, but once they deflate your cracks will fill in a bit. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, then chill in refrigerator 3 hours, until set. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Recipe adapted from cooking classy.








Baked Wild Salmon fillet with an herb potato bedding

Hello All!

The beginning of the year has been much busier than I anticipated. Lots of stuff going on at work and many personal matters that Chet and I have been taking care of. With that being said, I have been dedicating time to creating more food imagery though I haven’t had much time to post and share.

I am typically not adventurous when it comes to sea food. Admittedly there are some things when it comes to seafood that I just refuse to try because it looks strange and I haven’t opened my mind up to them.  I’ve been trying to be better about this as I know that there are many other foods that I never enjoyed as a child that I savor now as an adult.

Over the Christmas holiday my sister made a meal (even after hours of travel) that she modified from The Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. The recipe originally calls for Bluefish fillets, but my sister substituted Wild Salmon fillets. The fillets are baked on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes dressed in herbs and olive oil. I was amazed at its simplicity and even more so at the flavor and rate that I gobbled it up. I thought this was a perfect opportunity for personal growth and a chance to learn something new in the kitchen.

The best part about this meal is the herb bed of potatoes that the fillet rests on. They crisp up as the fish cooks and marinades in the entire flavor. When my sister made it she cut very thin medallions with a kitchen knife. I had helped out with this process and determined it was way too time consuming for my taste, so I busted out my handy veggie slicer Kitchenaid attachment.  This attachment works great for creating medallions. I’ve even made my own potato chips with it before. If you don’t have a Kitchenaid mixer you can also use a mandolin which you can pick up pretty cheap at most home good stores. The recipe calls for quite a bit of oil, so I decided to cut it back a bit and I didn’t think it made the dish dry. I also added more garlic because we are huge garlic lovers and used rosemary infused sea salt for the potatoes and fish. The recipe will be the non-adapted version. Enjoy the recipe and photos!

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A quick Iphone snap shot of the dish in the pan

A quick iPhone snap shot of the dish in the pan

Baked salmon fillets with herb potato bed

  • Ceramic or cast iron bake and serve dish sized appropriately for your fillet
  • 2 lb Wild Salmon boneless fillet with skin
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ c. chopped parsley
  • 1 TB chopped garlic
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs boiling potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice potatoes very thin, barely thicker than potato chips using a knife, mandolin, or Kitchenaid mixer slicing attachment. Wash them in cold water, and then pat dry thoroughly with paper towel.
  3. Put all the potatoes in a bowl with half the olive oil, half the garlic, half the parsley, several liberal pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss the potatoes until evenly coated. Cover the pan on the bottom and sides with the potatoes. Be sure to only create one layer with the potatoes.
  4. When oven is preheated put your pan in the oven and let potatoes roast for 12-15 minutes until they are about halfway done. (mine began to brown in some areas depending on thickness)
  5. After potatoes have roasted halfway, take out dish but do not turn off the oven. Gently salt and pepper your fillet to taste. Put your fillet skin down on top of the potatoes. Mix together the remaining olive oil, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl and then pour over the fish, distributing it evenly. Return dish to oven.
  6. After 10 minutes take the dish out and use a spoon to scoop up some of the oil from the bottom of the dish and baste the fish with it. Loosen any potatoes that have crisped up and replace them with ones that have not. Return the dish to the oven and bake an additional 5-8 more minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. A good way to judge if it is done is to stick a fork in the fillet and see if the meat flakes gently away from the fork.
  7. Remove dish from oven and allow it to set for a few minutes. Cut and serve, being sure to scoop up all the delicious potatoes and juices. I also cut a few lemon wedges to have on the side to spritz on the fish.

2014: A year in Review

Happy New Year to you all! 2014 was a pretty great year filled with lots of travel, weddings, beautiful sights, and fond memories. I look forward to 2015 and while some may view new years resolutions as trite, I enjoy the tradition of reflecting and goal setting. Here are a few of my 2015 aspirations.

1. Spend more time photographing and less time on the couch watching Netflix.

2. Make more of an effort to make healthy meals aka less cereal for dinner.

3. Continue to work on being more physically active. Charge up that fit bit and meet my daily goal of 15,000 steps.

4. Walk the dogs more often and have them properly groomed.

5. Enter Photographs into competitions and (hopefully) WIN!

6. Read more books/magazines/journals

7. Practice gratitude daily

8. Go within daily to work on self care and self reflection aka meditation

9.  Let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.

10.  Learn the art of saying no- don’t lie, don’t make excuses, don’t over explain yourself…simply decline.

With all that said and done, here is my a review of my 2014 in photos. Enjoy and cheers to the new year!

January IMG_0168 IMG_0400 IMG_0397 IMG_0385 IMG_0349 IMG_0295 1524977_10100651795628726_1964191032_n 1538911_10100651793957076_482692705_n 1507911_10100651707051236_522480326_n DSC_0006 IMG_0444 IMG_0255 IMG_0196 IMG_0180 1545234_10100641075447056_107470021_n 1536585_10100641093181516_1077623634_n 1525064_10100641077682576_1943922802_n 1493265_10100641079623686_1325804462_n 1493265_10100641782036046_2035434597_nFebruaryIMG_0512

1609991_10100665827044656_1644162388_n IMG_0542 1780655_10100662179534296_1148745971_n 1517508_10100661618897816_1933945873_n

March 603667_10100690740842206_1137660117_n _MG_0039 charlene sunrise 1782006_10100692310810976_554950427_n _MG_0075_1 _MG_0148 _MG_0160 _MG_0152 1970643_10100703282039546_168768146_n _MG_0058 _MG_0064 CMC_0018 CMC_0090 CMC_0184April CMC_0303 CMC_0057 CMC_0053 CMC_0043 10406824_10100837908546946_2309313589313789852_n _MG_0054 _MG_0170 10012435_10100717347876496_3036568320661468544_n _MG_0138 10269648_10100739796908456_362582360904181841_n 10251943_10100726848836496_1793341465485435117_n 10168072_10100727934840136_1605552207273909045_n 10155394_10100727934266286_5576107946682082402_n 969858_10100708448785346_1044620216_nMay _MG_0021 _MG_0043 _MG_0050 _MG_0075 1924365_10100837346153986_4336726972299946638_n 10154525_10100718958054686_9198644608145234477_n IMG_1171 IMG_1091 10325222_10100745251198016_4966954946151259559_n 10277548_10100745232590306_3998927745340321098_n IMG_1248 10274045_10100747096729556_2713142144346510452_n IMG_0839 IMG_0794 IMG_0967 IMG_1323 IMG_1295 10366194_10100759170269086_6235950032826064227_n IMG_1350 10458730_10152639139896579_890149109092763356_n IMG_1359 10414628_10100759868619586_2151451026144373923_n 10411978_10100759857042786_53734356508162997_n 10171901_10100759869462896_8695533469591466341_nJune CMC_0082 IMG_1635 IMG_1599 IMG_1596 IMG_1571 IMG_1569 IMG_1514 IMG_1485 DSC_0001 10462529_10100784242623886_6912073711467545731_n 10411976_10100789363321966_968083017181599009_n

July 10438585_10100797314487766_3124077953815315479_n 10487241_10100797006869236_8966580131997584215_n DSC_0054 Untitled-1 IMG_1761 1395783_10100840092595096_1430552951734139999_n IMG_1754 10382640_10100822239592656_2920650394249740782_n 10574348_10100822602026336_1184750598055569100_n 10552485_10100822598977446_4827456010523498009_n 10577072_10100820215908136_879731543936413726_n

August IMG_2026 10551127_10100843229329056_7513240254009178160_n 10417644_10100843227497726_1067219619513287248_n CMC_0182 IMG_2076 IMG_2066 10626635_10100845214311136_8737330511668879023_n CMC_0179 IMG_1950 IMG_1919 10569038_10100827521946776_7399444800924297502_n 10659422_10100856843835476_5276656479285064209_n 10527536_10100827509541636_1733270298644353560_n 10345556_10100802221913246_6999830760212073228_nSeptember 10632659_10100849544054296_986722602700549699_n IMG_2317 10620604_10100880785096996_3738833550955343905_n IMG_2487 479710_10100879620969916_7706610186224876242_n IMG_2402 10711148_10100880784762666_7462602972468390208_n CMC_0063 10356314_10100880783894406_5867501846140104995_n Untitled-2 10635766_10100886958425596_6950365334583456389_n IMG_2242 CMC_0254 IMG_2304 10401345_10100860730122326_4556586677889952913_n 10686612_10100868679836036_2542557984056220201_n 10670218_10100874726303866_1646070874930801014_n 10625162_10100874724133216_6999590562900218144_n 10450031_920645507950216_3625249946356312526_o _MG_0231 _MG_0171 _MG_0139editOctober IMG_1966 IMG_2743 10514551_10100904306300316_5252812299356643980_n IMG_2757 _MG_0021b _MG_0017 _MG_0200 IMG_2678 IMG_2675 IMG_2661 CMC_00840 10384553_10100922370474566_2755977852732023836_n 10647132_10100925694268656_7471840182893746317_n 10256858_10100925699288596_401230240231649720_nNovember 10665879_10100954386688816_1512141050642276187_n 10665214_10100927703137866_7224039205675583866_n 10615400_10100927711256596_3893718283932608595_n 10365730_10100927708327466_2968121974480424489_n 13029_10153323226817222_6116191111785435757_n 30 22December CMC_0058 CMC_0032 10406432_10100960804707056_4267667744131272816_n 10351076_10100951163987136_7266209879929462425_n 1513723_10100946643181866_3331208564524744892_n 2014 Christmas card IMG_3112 IMG_3135 IMG_3148 IMG_3154 IMG_3157 IMG_3160 IMG_3162 IMG_3166 IMG_3171 IMG_3173 IMG_3176