Monday, November 29, 2010

The Magic is You {Capture the Magic Project}

Over the course of the last few days I've been trying to think about my favorite Christmas memories from childhood until the present and dissect what exactly it is that makes up "that feeling." It's magic. That captivating, enchanting, ubiquitous feeling is magic. How do you achieve it? That's where it gets complicated. Unlike the nature of "magic" itself, the magic you feel during the holidays has a distinct, recognizable source. The reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Christ. And while as a practicing Christian that reason is more than enough to explain that wonderful holiday feeling, there are traditions, events, music, scents and flavors that further enhance it. That's where the magic comes from.

I'm realizing that it was the people around me that made the magic for me. Mostly my amazing mother and father, but also grandparents, neighbors, teachers and friends. The magic was in the details, and in the big things too. Now that I'm all on my own here in NYC, it's up to me to make the holiday magic in my home and find the magic around me.

It's up to you to make the magic.

Someone strung up those twinkle lights. Someone cooked the ham, baked the cookies, or made that melt-in-your-mouth fudge. Someone filled your stocking. Someone planned the caroling and made the warm cocoa. Someone started the traditions you treasure. It's the sensory overload of sights, sounds, scents, and flavors combined that create that magical feeling.

My plan for creating the magic this week (that I will then capture with my camera, of course!):
Monday 11/29: Christmas shopping at 18th Street, attend a local tree-lighting event
Tuesday 11/30 : Finishing touches on home decorating (we put up our tree this weekend). Organize and assemble our holiday activity advent calendar - SO excited about this
Wednesday 12/1 : Shop for family Christmas gifts, visit the Fabric District to get materials to make a tree skirt... Make a tree skirt.
Thursday 12/2: Wrap Christmas presents to put under the tree and make invites for Ella's Holiday Cookie & Cocoa play date
Friday 12/3: Tree-lighting at the MET, holiday shopping on the Upper East Side
Saturday 12/4: Go see Rockefeller Center Tree and shop windows. Attend annual holiday concert at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Sunday 12/5: Work together as family on our holiday card design, make spritz cookies, get Christmas packages ready to go.

What are your thoughts? Any fun plans for the week? Are you buying a real tree or a an artificial one? We bought a real tree this year and it smells divine...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Capture the magic {Holiday Challenge}

I was talking to my Dad the other day and he asked me what I was doing to prepare for the upcoming holidays. I thought about it for a minute, then shared a few tentative plans I have for our Thanksgiving meal, for a Christmas activity advent calendar I'm making for my kiddos, etc.

I wish I could remember exactly how it played out, but somehow we started talking about the feeling surrounding the holidays, and all the anticipation, the excitement, the joy you feel starting at Thanksgiving and continuing through the new year. And how some years the holidays lives up to those emotions, and some years they don't. He asked whether it was even possible to capture that feeling, and if so, how could we go about making sure that feeling is present throughout the holiday season. Somehow it turned into a project that we are both SO excited about that includes community events, home decor, holiday sweets, lots of twinkle lights, and of course, photography.

In the weeks to come I am excited to post my ideas about how I plan to create and capture the magic of the holiday season for my family. And maybe make a few new friends in the process here in NYC. I'll be looking to all of you to share great ideas and to share your lovely images from the holidays too. I'd love it if you would join in and capture the magic in your home, in your city.

PLEASE comment below and share with us one Thanksgiving tradition you love. This is my first year on my own, and I'd love to start some new traditions to go along with the old. Please share!

And if you have never made a comment, I'd love it if you'd introduce yourself and share your blog link (if you have one).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I love capturing people as they are.

Have you ever noticed how much people's expressions change as soon as they know you are taking their portrait? That's why candids are my favorite.

We had a little get-together in our home and this little girl peeked past her mama to see who just walked into the room. Lucky for me, my camera is glued to my hand pretty much 24/7.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guggenheim NYC

The fall foliage peaked this week in NYC, and following two rainstorms many of the colorful leaves are beginning to drop. It's amazing to me how the changing seasons (and specifically the way foliage hides or reveals) help me see the same object from a fresh perspective.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O Family {New York City Family Portraits}

This lovely family was the lucky recipient of the "mini shoot" I gave away at service swap the ladies at our church hosted. It was a bitterly cold morning and this little boy did his best to smile despite the freezing temperatures.

I always wonder what kids think when their kind, loving parents rip their jacket off and force them to stand still and be happy. Yea right!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gray's Papaya {NYC}

So, I'm not a huge fan of hot dogs, but Gray's Papaya hot dogs are absolutely delicious. I don't know how they do it, but they are super yummy. And for $4.45 for two hot dogs and a papaya juice, I have a hard time resisting when I'm in the area.

I'm curious to know whether you New Yorkers (or frequent visitors) know of a better place out there?

and I was dying laughing as these two strangers were standing at the counter eating their hot dogs in the same manner. Too bad I didn't have my wide angle with me, cause all I could fit in with my 50mm focal length was their feet...

Portrait of my sister {and an apartment}

Before we left for NYC I got to tour my sister's darling apartment after our family photo shoot with all 13 of us there (last one for a while- sad!). While visiting, a part of me longed for the fun, the adventures, and the freedom you have while you're away at school. I wasn't really into photography until after my daughter was born, so I have virtually no pictures of my freshman dorm or the ghetto duplex I lived in with my friends as a sophomore. Pity.

I took it upon myself to document a few of my favorite parts of Stef's new place. She lives on a quaint little street in a darling apartment with lots of character, complete with flamingo and a garden gnome. I especially loved seeing her amazing collection of fashion accessories cleverly displaced in her small space...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Leaves are Turning {Central Park - New York City}

We are soaking up every second of autumn in this amazing city. The leaves are finally turning and I couldn't be happier. Well, I would be happier if it were about 15 degrees warmer. I'm guessing that's not going to happen.

Last Thursday we spent a good part of the afternoon wandering through Central Park. My favorite part of the afternoon was watching my daughter running around Adventure (near 67th and CPW) as gusts of wind sent hundreds and hundreds of colorful leaves spinning to the ground. She discovered lovely little mud pies decorated with beautiful leaves and acorns and she asked me to photograph each one. Aren't they sweet?

And is there anything better than tree bokeh? I think not.

I'll stop answering my own questions now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chelsea Market Trick-or-Treating {New York City}

Gourmet chocolate, hand-rolled taffy, French citrus drops, homemade brownies, delicious ice cream tasting, and Italian cappuccino and espresso candies (whose idea was that?) and gift bags from the hosting venue... that's my kind of trick-or-treating!

Who knows how much my daughter appreciated , but I sure had a great time watching her dart in and out of gourmet food shops and restaurants shouting "trick-or-treat!" at the Chelsea Market. They had free face painting (my daughter got an amazing green butterfly to match her Tinkerbell costume), amazing decorations, a DJ, a woman on stilts, a clown, an incredible pumpkin carving display, a mini pumpkin patch, and of course, fabulous treats for the little ones! It was a fabulous NYC experience I'll never forget.

Oh, and if you've never tried dried cantaloupe dipped in chocolate, you're missing out. I'll be back soon, Chelsea Market.

and a festive Empire State Building lit up to celebrate Halloween (my husband didn't believe me that along with orange and black Halloween colors are green and purple too... back me up, people!)