On The Side of the Road

Friday Favorites

I make no secret of the fact that autumn is my favorite season. I enjoy the crispness of winter, spring’s new beginning, and the beach is my happy place but fall just gets me with the colors and sense of coziness.

And the autumn wildflowers we have around here? Absolutely beautiful.

We may have to wait until along about December to see much change in the color of our foliage but autumn still puts on quite a show for us.

It has been said that autumn is more a season of the soul than of nature and I like that. I feel that. Spring feels like the whole earth is coming back to life. But fall…that feels like my soul is quieting down and preparing for rest in some sense.

The colors are warmer with a little bit darker hue.

And I love the wild tangle of flowers along the side of the road.

I have to agree with LM Montgomery, I am indeed so glad that I live in a world with Octobers. Aren’t you?

A Tale of Two Cookies

Friday Favorites

Macaron. A delicious French confection with a hundred different flavor combinations.

Macaroon. A delicious Italian coconut cookie.

Somewhere in their humble beginnings there is some kind of crossover hence why, when you type macaroon into the Pinterest search bar both types of sugary goodness pop up but when you use the word macaron only the sandwich cookie is offered. It is somewhat confusing and the best way to differentiate in my opinion, has been to use the word coconut when you want that little mound of slightly caramel tastiness.

I have to admit that I am more fond of the French treat than the Italian, no matter how their origins and stories intertwine. The flavors, the colors…more pleasing to my eye and my palate.

But they are a bit more demanding to bake and while I want to make some, I have not as of yet.

But the other night the coconut macaroon was a part of the Great British Baking Show and I learned that my beloved likes them. A lot. So I googled and pinterested and found they can be incredible easy to make. Obviously, the televised baking show required a little bit more from the cookie, and there are two different way to shape them, but for my first time I was willing to go easy and set myself up for success.

I made them while we were all home and I mean all of us. Emily wasn’t working and Sarah came over for dinner. It was such a pleasant evening and I treasure those moments because I realize as they keep getting older that it will be harder to make that happen.

What was funny to me is that they kept coming in to the kitchen wanting to know when they could have one…when will they be ready…cane we have more? I had no idea my people would enjoy them so much!

Three ingredients! That’s all you need to make these and if your people like coconut they are going to thank you and sing your praises. Next week I will share the recipe I used and you can give it a go and let me know how you like them!

For my local friends, we have so much to be thankful for going into the weekend as Hurricane Delta makes its way west, don’t we?
Have a lovely weekend friends, no matter where you are and enjoy a cookie or two.

September Favorites

Friday Favorites

Not sure if this will become a monthly feature but this week’s Friday Favorites post is a collection of a few of my favorite images taken during the month of September. You might recognize one or two but on the whole these are images I loved but didn’t really have a forum to share.

And some from my phone…

Obviously, I use my phone to take pictures of the cats. A lot.

Do you see a favorite? What would you like to see pictures of?

Have a great weekend and be sure to look around and notice some of your own favorite things!

Egg-Cellent

Friday Favorites

Why, yes, yes I did make a word pun for my blogpost title. And I did it because

1.) I love a good corny word pun and

2.) I really love fresh yard eggs.

It made sense to me to combine those two things for this week’s Friday Favorite post.

For a while we had several people in our church raising chickens and selling fresh eggs but then somehow there were no more to be had each week so I have made do with your plain old average grocery store eggs. I still buy brown eggs but there is something so homey to me about a bowl of lovely fresh yard eggs on the counter and you can’t do that with store bought eggs.

Plus I love the various colors and shades found on fresh eggs. They’re just, well…pretty. So while it may seem silly to some that I spent time taking pictures of eggs (eggs for crying out loud!) I don’t feel embarrassed by it. Obviously, because I not only took said pictures but I am also putting them out here for all and sundry to look at, basically inviting you to enjoy for just a moment the simplicity and beauty in something as mundane as an egg.

Two of my daughters have had a bout with Covid 19 and neither one has had her sense of taste or smell return yet. Same with some friends. They all say the same thing…eating is just weird when you can’t taste your food. And that got me to thinking. God could have made us without the capacity to taste. Or He could have made what we eat tasteless. But He didn’t do that. He gave us the gift of flavor and the ability to enjoy it. Of course we would have never known we were missing out but that makes it all the more remarkable to me. Us not knowing the difference just makes it a much bigger gift in my eyes…He did it because it pleased Him to do so. Just for the pleasure of it. Just for our pleasure.

Which is really the reason why I don’t feel embarrassed about taking and sharing pictures of weird things like eggs and such. He made a world full of taste and color and texture and shape and it is all there waiting for us to enjoy and appreciate. Simply for the sake of it.

“It is true that all people are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.” ~ Edith Schaeffer

So happy Friday, friends! May you have a lovely weekend abounding with beauty in the ordinary things.

A Few Favorites

Friday Favorites

It’s time for Friday Favorites! Sometimes the pictures come from a session I might have done recently but when I did one of the first ever FF posts it was actually cell phone pictures of things I saw at Target that I really liked. Sometimes it has been a group of images from a trip we took back in the good ol’ days when one could take trips. I like keeping the theme loose and broad though so I am not all boxed in. Because, ya know, I am a free spirit like that. (Said typed totally tongue in cheek. I really just like the alliteration of Friday Favorites.)

Anyways…I have a couple of images to share today that really are favorites of mine for various reasons. It might not be an easily articulated reason, like with this first shot, but I just feel something when I see it. I think it is a combination of a sweet little girl, a baby brother’s chubby little foot, and the way you don’t see mama’s face. It seems to capture the essence of motherhood to me.

With the girls back in school I have had some time to play around with some photography tricks. I have known that my camera is capable of in camera double exposures but I had never done any before. Definitely something I want to practice more but I was happy with my first results even as I recognize there is more for me to learn in how to do it. There is a certain art and science to layering your images just right that I need to master. I’m not above sharing my fledgling first attempts just don’t judge them too harshly, m’kay?

I thought my best one is a double exposure with some flowers and Abby. Not your typical portrait but I was concentrating on remembering where I had lined up the first shot to have it lay well with the second image. Not perfect but a good beginning to the experiment.

Another way to achieve different effects with an image is to add a texture or overlay in post processing. I had so much fun setting this shot up and editing it and really love the way it turned out. All three times I edited the image. (I feel like I should insert a smiley winky face or eye roll here so you know that I know how silly that sounds. But I feel like using emoticons in a blog post is bad form.) The upshot is I realize it seems a little ridiculous to share the exact same image three ways but I like each of them for different reasons. But the top one is my favorite I think.

One last picture. We have a large bathroom window made from those square blocks of glass. I love the light it gives the room (and it makes a great home for my African violet!) but yesterday morning it was the top corner of the sunrise coming through the curtain that caught my eye. All warm and golden, the dawn creeping in seemed hopeful somehow. Peaceful.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends. Look for beauty in the normal places you would not normally look for it in. I bet you will find it.

Hats Off!

Friday Favorites

One of the first things that pulled me back into photography and was really the beginning of the end of my hiatus was the opportunity to do some product shooting for a friend of mine. She makes hats. Big beautiful derby style hats and she needed images for her etsy shop, Amy Jo Original Hats.

I’m not going to lie, that first session was a little stressful for me. I had never done that kind of work before and rarely did indoor shooting so I was worried that the lighting would be off or my white balance would skewer the colors.

But everything went fine. Better than fine actually. It reignited my love for photography and gave me the confidence boost needed to approach my work as an actual business and not just a cute little mom with a camera side hustle.

Since then we have done several more shoots. Her hats are always stunning and we genuinely have the most fun working together. We had such an amazing time collaborating with dress designers Camilyn Beth Studio and Bespoke Southerly.

A few weeks ago she texted me about a shoot but this time she was doing something just a little different. I am always up for a shoot with AJ’s gorgeous hats but this time she was going to be in front of my lens modeling her headwear and that made me so happy!

You see, I have daughters. Four to be exact and daily they are bombarded with society’s version of beauty and success and I want them to see women who exemplify beauty and success differently. I want them to see the women who work with willing hands, that make their arms strong and perceive the value of what they offer. The ones who start a business in their forties and clothe themselves with strength and dignity and laugh easily as they move into the season of life that the world by and large says we should fight against with all the diet and beauty aids at our disposal no matter the cost.

I’m really hard pressed to choose a hat from that day as a favorite because they are all so great and create such varied looks. Having just recently begun to eat it again after years of swearing off because of the texture I find myself having a bit of an obsession with all things watermelon this year so I do find myself rather partial to this cute little number though.

The thing I am learning by working with AJ is that hats really class up an ensemble or just add a fun touch to the casual outfit and that a little veil gives things an ultra feminine touch.

My grandmother used to love wearing hats every Easter. Great big floppy ones with brims so wide they could provide shade for half of the state. She would love these Amy Jo Originals!

Someone once said that saying you don’t look good in a hat is like saying you don’t look good in shoes so the next time you have the opportunity try a hat on. I bet you’ll like it!

Snugglebunnies

Friday Favorites

Over the last few months I have shared several post about Fox’s Farmstead and their regenerative farming and pastured chickens. You really should go follow their facebook page because they share some pretty interesting stuff.

They also have added something new. Que up Fox’s Farmstead: The Kids Edition. Of course when you have two brothers as industrious and hardworking as the McGee men the odds are their offspring will be as well. At the last butchering day the kids were selling peacock feathers, pretty rocks, and lemonade. It seems they wanted to do offer a little bit more than that at next weekend’s farm sale day so awhile back they got a new buck rabbit to breed with their doe rabbit and wouldn’t you know it, they have two cute little baby bunnies up for sale!

And let me tell you, these little guys are just the cutest!

Have you ever heard the phrase snugglebunny? Maybe it’s a southern thing or maybe it’s just a weird family thing but we’ve always used it to describe someone or something that likes to cuddle. Or I guess, makes you want to cuddle. As in, “He sure is a snugglebunny.” After watching the kids with these baby rabbits I have a deeper appreciation for the term. They would just close their eyes and lay back basking in all the affection.

Just look at those cute paws and his buck teeth! Three of my children saw these pictures and immediately asked if they could have a bunny. They really must make for the best pets even for young children. They’re so gentle.

I think he wants you to come get him and love him and make him your own snugglebunny, don’t you?

A Few of My Favorite Things

Friday Favorites

Since earlier in the week I talked about pictures of random things I decided that today’s Friday Favorite post is just going to be an oddball collection of images that have been photographed and are now sitting on my computer.

In no particular order, please enjoy the things that I have put in front of my camera.

My happy place. I love the beach and have a bunch of pictures to prove it.

Back before Covid19 life Rob and I would occasionally take a trip over to New Orleans where we would eat, walk, eat, and people watch, and did I mention eat? The food is so good there! I miss our little two night getaways and hope we get to go back soon. Most of these are cell phone grabs because I think Mr. Hadding might be wise to the fact that if I took my real camera I would be completely distracted and he would get stuck somewhere sitting on a bench waiting for me or just standing around carting my bag.

A lovely shot of a head of cabbage I took to be part of my food series.

I remember taking this picture last year of the Gulf Power plant. The sky was on fire that night.

Did you know I have a food blog? It doesn’t see consistent action these days but I still share the occasional recipe over at She Feeds Her Family. Last autumn I had the best time trying out a recipe for pumpkin pudding and styling pictures to post with the how-to.

I love rainy days and this has always been one of my favorite images.

Last favorite for the week…I have about a bazillion pictures of my African violet. It is such a happy plant with rich green leaves and delicate pink flowers so it’s hard not to photograph it. Kind of like Monet’s lilies I guess. (He painted 250 pictures in his lily series so I have a few more clicks before I reach that status. We don’t count the ones we don’t use.)

Anyway, I was pruning the flowers the other day and not for the first time realize how pretty even the discarded petals are.

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour. ” ~ William Blake


Most Random Friday Favorite

Friday Favorites

Confession: I have literally picked out a piece of produce based purely upon its photographic potential.

What can I say? I really enjoy food photography. Not sure what to do with fabulous pictures of cherries and radishes and now corn, but I have some if anyone needs them!

Confession number two: this isn’t even the first time I have taken pictures of corn on the cob. I’m fascinated by focusing on the little details and I am amazed to see the science and magic visible in something as simple and common as a piece of corn.

Plus it is really just fun to me.

Do you know that corn is actually classified in the grass family? And while most plants that we grow could continue to survive in the wild without human assistance, that is not the case with corn. Human selection of seeds and growing methods over the last six thousand years means that the corn of today has very little resemblance to its humble ancestor. In fact our corn is about 1,000 times larger than the original plant and doesn’t look much the same at all.

The average cob of corn has about 800 kernels in roughly 16 rows. There is a strand of silk for every kernel too. And apparently cobs will always have an even number of rows.

A bushel of corn equals 8 gallons and that can be used to create 32 pounds of starch.

Except for Antarctica it is produced on every continent.

So, why am I giving you all of this random trivia on corn? Why do I even know all of this random trivia about corn? I’m glad you asked because a few weeks ago Rob and I had the opportunity to visit a sister church in Mississippi and one of their members had a truck full of corn available for anyone who wanted some. We brought a bagful home and the family that was hosting us for lunch also got some to throw on the grill to go with our lunch.

And I am not kidding when I say it was the best corn I had ever eaten in my life! Sweet and delicious. But what really made the afternoon lunch experience was this nifty little gadget.

Behold, the corn zipper.

I love fresh corn but it makes my teeth hurt and can be so messy. Confession number three: I usually have Rob cut it off the cob for me. That might be why he saw this little guy in action and immediately got on Amazon and ordered one for us. It is simple to use but does have a wee bit of a learning curve to it. Which made it quite fun when we used it at home for the first time when some friends were over. There was a lot of laughter as corn shot across the table until the right amount of pressure was figured out.

There you go. Today’s Friday favorite can help you impress your friends with your wide range of trivia knowledge and make you enjoy this summer’s cookouts more.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Lady Lavender

Friday Favorites

I have a friend that lives waaaay on the other side of the country in Oregon. Oftentimes she sends me beautiful pictures that she has taken of all the glorious wildflowers that grow up there. Last Friday she invited me to like a facebook page and while I was elbow deep in preparation for a taco bar I just accepted it, noticed it had something to do with flowers, and went back to the food stuff.

The next morning I had the chance to actually look at the page and y’all, it just made my day. It was a flower truck business! A lavender 1964 Ford truck that had been converted into a mobile flower bar. I assumed it was local to Lauren and was so delighted to see that it was actually local to me! As in here in Pace, Florida as opposed to Joseph, Oregon.

If you know me at all then you know I love flowers in general and I love to photograph them. I also love quirky and fun small businesses and this just tickled my fancy! I immediately started daydreaming about all the ways this could be fun for pictures. I found where they would be on Monday and and reached out to see if they would be willing to to let me snap a few pictures and feature them on my Friday Favorites.

Things were already hopping when I arrived and Lindsay said she had barely gotten the flower buckets out before people were stopping to buy flowers. Prices vary from day to day depending on what her stock is but everything was fresh and colorful. She carries some unique and fun filler stems and bright cheery blooms.

She is as helpful and as hands on as you would like for her to be. She is willing to help talk you through what flowers go well together or she is happy to let you do your own thing. She has only been in business a little over a month but has some fabulous ideas about how to make the most of her mobile flower bar.

I love her idea of a bride and groom stocking the truck with blooms that match their wedding colors and allowing guests to create a small bouquet as a thank you. Or how about a lovely bridal brunch the morning before the wedding and the bridesmaids all get to create their bouquets? Birthday parties, tea parties. So much potential for such a fun and unique business!

Click on over to her Facebook page and start following her so you know where she will be and you can stop to make your own bouquet to brighten up your home. We have certainly enjoyed our flowers!