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!

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!

Knowing Your Food

Fox's Farmstead

For the majority of my life I was pretty thoughtless about where my food came from. Not quite a city girl but not really a country girl, I knew a little bit about gardening because my grandmother grew veggies. (My Dad’s mother that is. My Mom’s mother had an amazing green thumb too but she was quick to tell you she was a city girl and only grew flowers.)

Basically, I knew a little bitty bit about growing vegetables and raising chickens for fresh yard eggs but nothing about raising animals for meat. Chicken was something wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store and the only thought I really gave it was did I need a package of thighs, breasts, or legs? You had fat ground beef and a little less fat ground beef. Some kind of rump roast. Thick or thin cut pork chops.

Years ago Rob and I came across a book titled, The 100 Mile Diet. It’s the story of a Canadian couple who decided that for one year they would only eat what was produced within one hundred miles of their home in an effort to learn and connect with the people who grew and raised their food. It was the first time I learned that the average ingredients in a typical meal I prepared probably traveled well over 1200 miles before reaching my grocery store shelves and then making its way into my kitchen pantry.

Our friends at Fox’s Farmstead allow us the opportunity to close the distance between knowing where our food comes from and also how it’s raised. They practice farming in a way that is respectful of the land and is also mindful of the animals themselves producing healthy and delicious tasting chickens.

I’m not going to lie…it was a little ewww for me at first. It was my first chicken slaughter day afterall. But the cycle of life and death is natural and there is wisdom I think in seeing how one thing dies so that another thing lives. Plus they have these cute little helpers just going about their business helping so I couldn’t be a big old cry baby.

We live in a society where entitlement is all but imbedded in our dna. We have choices and options for whatever food we fancy whenever we fancy and we can make those choices completely divorced from the reality of who made it happen, how it happened, and where it happened. And that does not make for a thankful people but breeds a certain consumeristic ignorance.

Throughout history food has always been about more than just eating. Eating has always been about more than just eating! Food nourishes our bodies but meals nourish our souls and community. Connecting the two deepens the connection.

One of the things I found so interesting about my morning spent at Fox’s Farmstead was the atmosphere and camaraderie of everyone. And the children! People brought their kids with them to pick up their orders and it allowed them to see the process in all it’s natural and messy goodness. They were by turns fascinated and grossed out but also intrigued.

The other thing that really stood out to me was how much life was being lived wherever you walked on the farm. Things were growing, creeping, and pecking all over the place! As I wrote this I realized I missed getting pictures of the goats they raise but I have eaten some of the delicious cheese made from their milk.

All in all it was an amazing experience. We’ve been friends for years and it has been really neat to watch them learn and create a place that offers a beautiful alternative to bigger is better mass produced food sourcing that benefits not just us in the here and now but also the land for generations to come.

I encourage you to check out their Facebook page and watch a couple of their videos and get a glimpse into what they are doing and why. It’s really interesting, not to mention delicious. Plus, I think they still have a few chickens for sale!