Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beans N' Things

You should know that, at one time, our backyard was filled with plants of all shapes and sizes. A gigantic palm tree that dropped flowers all over the pool, a huge mint plant that took over half the side yard, Yucca trees (?), Birds of paradise, Poinsettia, Hibiscus, Cherry Trees, Lemon Trees, Orange Trees, Apricot Trees,  the whole back perimeter of our property was infested with Blackberry bushes, and we had just about one of each kind of Rose plant possible. But over the years, my dad's pulled them out one by one and hasn't replaced them with anything... so we have dirt and a pool now.

So imagine my surprise when I come home one afternoon to a kitchen and backyard full of seed packets, plants, and potting soil... yeah.. pretty surprised. Apparently, my parents spent part of their spring break down in Carlsbad at the Flower Fields... and they were inspired (after all these years) to plant stuff...

My mom's new babies are her wee little green bean plants she carefully soaked in water for three days, and planted in her little pot of rich potting soil.... I swear she's almost spent the night out there with them to make sure no bugs eat their little leaves. I decided to document their first steps the past week... here's some shots of my new siblings...

After a week of growing the beans in her little pot, she moved them all carefully to a bigger planter.... those little buggers are growing so fast they grew out of their crib! Time for a big kid bed...

I'm happy my mom's so happy with her Green Beans... and I'm glad to know that, in the off chance the world goes crazy with Swine Flu and we can't get groceries anymore, we'll have her green beans to eat. :)

Oh... and P.S. I lied when I said we have NO plants in the backyard... my dad recently planted these beauties in a few of our planters outside in honor of Betsy coming to visit.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Part-ay Time!!!

News Flash: I'm not 18 anymore... sad and happy thought at the same time. Sad because I don't get to go to school everyday, I don't get to be a boy-crazed teenie-bopper without excuse, and I don't get to get all prettified for proms and winter formals anymore. Happy because I have a MAN for a special friend, I get to work for myself, I get to play wedding with brides all the time, I own my own carrrr, I have money (sometimes).... so I guess it's more of a happy thought than a sad one. But still... I have those creepy thoughts about crows feet and smile lines that give me day-mares...and night ones too.

Saturday was MY birthday dinner... you might recall last Saturday was a day filled with Christopher's special wishes and friends.... but Saturday was MY day. I woke up to the Socal morning sun streaming in horizontal lines through my shades, a cat on my feet, and the promise of a fun filled day. The parents, Christopher, and I headed to the UCI farmers' market to get our weekly quota of fresh and brightly colored fruits and veggies (yet another reason I could never leave Socal for too long....) and some morning Java from Peet's coffee. (Side note: I decided something over the course of the past 4 months. I do NOT like Peet's espresso. It's A Grind's Espresso tastes SO MUCH BETTER. Just thought you should know.) We came home, ran some more Saturday afternoon errands, broke a sweat at the gym, and then... I got sidetracked decorating my birthday table. Last week's dinner table was decorated MAN style for Christopher's birthday, but this week was decorated KATE style.... what can I say... I went a little overboard with the creativity.

If you're wondering what the heck these are... I decided it would be a great idea to custom create napkin holders out of whatever was in my art box. It just so happened that I had a bit of 30-gauge wire, some wire cutters, and some buttons & beads... and a bit of the Sunday Newspaper. I had a ton of fun being creative and making something fun for the table... this little project of mine consumed most of the late afternoon..s causing me to be a little late to my own party.... haha. Oh well... such is the life of a crazy junk-hugging artist.

This one is, not by far, my favorite of the bunch... it was hard to choose a favorite...

My birthday would not be complete without some BEEE-yootiful Gerber Daisies to accent my creation. Every Saturday I look hopefully through the flowers at the Farmers' Market for colors to make my heart sing. I don't find colors I like most of the time... they're alright, but they don't make me hungry. Well.... in honor of my birthday, I'm convinced He special picked some just for me :) If you don't know, white Gerber daisies usually have an ucky yellow tinge to them... but I found some beautifully white ones with black centers! I could sit for hours and just look a them!
I also found my favorite shade of orange... a "sweet corn meets butterscotch" yellowish orange. and both of these colors together definitely made my day 153 times brighter! My mom noticed how happy the flowers made me and decorated my cake to match  :) Go Mom!
Notice the Japanese writing above my name on the envelope? Yeah... that's my awesome sister's writing.... she's half Japanese... taking Japanese in school! And for my birthday, she actually wrote it for me! I feel so SPECIAL...

When it came time to partake in the family tradition of telling the birthday person what we're grateful for in their lives, I was blown away at everyone's words. I think it's always slightly awkward being the dead center of attention and praise, but it's what fans the flame of dreams and goals for me. Last year on my birthday I was still finding my place in the dreams and goals I had before leaving for YWAM...& I was treading through all the "shoulds" and "coulds" left in the wake of my life changing adventure. This year on my birthday I am a wedding photographer... I own my own business... and I get to do what I'm most passionate about--live for Him doing what He created me to do.... and it's only been a year. I wouldn't have gotten here without the words and consistent support from the family and friends that celebrated with me in this 23rd year of my life.

Father, thank you for breathing life into my lungs.
Thank you for creating me like I created my napkin holders... with complete and utter excitement... unique and beautiful in my own way.
Thank you for another year to try my best to hear your whispers in the colors and people around me.
Thank you for the eyes you've given me to see in Your measure of beauty.
Thank you for loving me first.
Draw me close.
Hold me tight.
Show me You.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 21st

As I sit at my computer this morning I'm not entirely sure what to think. Today's my birthday--woop woop!-- and it's not the same as it was when I was 12. When I was younger, the whole month of April seemed to be filled overflowing with anticipation and everything else in life seemed to fade to grey as the day approached. I won't lie... I had countdowns when I was younger... 365 days...364 days...etc. Yup.. I was all about birthdays. This year though, as lame as I may sound, I had a different kind of anticipation a month before....more like anxiety! Seriously.... but, being the hypochondriac I am, I was sure I felt my back start going, wrinkles on my face suddenly appeared, and I lost the desire to stay up past 9pm. I feel old.... and I know everyone older than me is rolling their eyes at me and walking away, but IT'S TRUE!!! 

No... it's not really THAT bad... I've just become conscious of how fast time flies and it makes me nervous thinking about how much I want to do and how much of an impact I want to make on my world.... if I think about it too much, it gets overwhelming and then the hypochondriac-monster kicks in. It feels kind of like the heater you left on in your last night blasting you the second you turn the ignition... on a hot day. "Baahhhh! Turn it off! Turn it off!"

At the same time, life at 23 has perks that life at 12 didn't getting roses and a love note left on my car from an amazing and incredibly good-looking boyfriend, driving my car to the gym to work out because I can, going with my best friend Cricket to get a manicure and pedicure because that's what we do, and working...for myself....on wedding pictures and portraits....what I love doing most. So I guess the lesson in the number 23 is learning perspective... and to never blink. Thanks be to God... <3

This shot is from Gwen and Dom's Engagement shoot I did in December... I just love this picture and I love this girl!... I feel so blessed to be able to share in the special events in my friends' lives with my camera....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Christopher's Birthday Dinner

Usually on Saturday's, I either have one of two things going on.... nothing special... or a wedding. But yesterday was neither a "nothing special" Saturday, nor a wedding Saturday... it was Christopher's Birthday Dinner Saturday... which means I was busy ALL DAY doing stuff to make it the best birthday that boy's ever had. And I have to admit, I got a little carried away with colors and buttons and egg rolls... I'll explain.. don't worry.

I love special event dinners at home because it means tons of good food, fun people coming over, games, laughter, and... it means I get to decorate the table. I twittered earlier in the day about trying to find "man flowers" at the farmers' market... but I was unsuccessful so I went home, pulled out my art box, went to "Kate Land" for a while and this is what I emerged with. I was definitely proud of myself for coming up with something "man-enough", yet decorative enough to grace the table we would be sharing his special meal on. As you can see.. I was in a button-y mood.... I think I have Christina and Emily to account for the inspiration since I recently received their wedding invites laced with a button and twine...

Cuff-Link napkin holders.... hurrah!

Here's some shots of Christopher opening presents... he definitely had fun and got some pretty cool stuff from the friends that came... a poop book? Hmm... such a boy present.... thanks to Mr. Kory Kraning of K2 Fitness.
Christopher's meal of choice was Teriyaki Kabob's with rice, fruit salad, and Mom's famous Carrot Cake.... needless to say... we were STUFFED... Kory and Christopher were so full they both had a little food coma going on afterwards...
Even though he's one year older, I think he's definitely become a wiser, happier, and more godly YOUNG man... 
Thanks to my family and our friends Kory, Andrew, and Hayley who made it happen! Stay tuned next Saturday for "Birthday Dinner Part 2- Kate turns another year older"...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stop and Smell the... Ranunculus

Last week I blogged about my ridiculous inability to stop, smell, and savor life's metaphorical roses sometimes. So I decided to do a little impromptu rose smelling to celebrate a semi-momentous occasion in my life. Today, a year ago, I spent 7 hours of my life chatting with a guy named Christopher.... but I knew him as "Phoenix" back then ;)

He asked for my number because he wanted to hear more about my life altering international excursion. He wanted to hear more and see pictures... and to ask questions like "what was the hardest thing about being a missionary?"... and "what was the most important thing God taught you on your trip?" He didn't want to date me. He was leaving on his own adventure to Venezuela and Honduras for missions and teaching... for two years. It made sense he didn't want to date and that he honestly just wanted to hear about my trip to prepare himself for his. It made sense. It did. And then we talked for 7 hours about who knows what... and then we hung out again when I helped him pick out a camera for his trip. Then we hung out again.... and again. Then I overhear him tell his friend at dinner that he cut his contract with the international school so he'd only be gone for one year. WHAT?! Then he cut his contract all together and moves to Orange County. WHAT?! And now... a year later... we're dating. And... I love the guy. Who knew? There's only one person I can honestly say knew before we did... Alyssa Issenberg aka "Soliel." She knew a whole year before we did.

So back to smelling the Roses... or Ranunculus... whatever. In commemoration of that fateful day, I surprised Christopher  with a trip to the Flower Fields on our way down to San Diego for a shoot. We walked around, took a hay ride, learned the history of the flower fields, and smelled hundreds of beautiful flowers. Here's some of my favorite shots of the day... I got to whip out my macro... HOLLAAA!

We had a leisurely lunch at Rubios (for old time's sake), got some hot tea and coffee and walked through fields rich in color and poignant in memories. We talked about how good our God is, how far He's brought both of us, separately, in our journeys. We stood surrounded by colorful reminders of God's provision and thanked him for how much He's given us in such trying and stretching times in our lives. Twas a good day to smell the roses... it felt as if their fragrance wafted whispers of His smile. I could stay there all day everyday...

And now... a digi flip book yo!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

John and Christina "Will You" Part 2

I think beards are funny. It really depends on the person, but it's really a hit or miss idea. Some men (and sometimes women :( ) sport beards just because they can....and really shouldn't. But some men (not women) sport them because they actually add personality and maturity to their appearance in a good way. I've heard  that it's a  gift many men covet... a secret and  silent acknowledgement of ultimate masculinity. Yet others still argue that it's an old world commodity to be retired along with mullets and white wigs. While they are itchy sometimes, I still think they're becoming.

If you recall, John and Christina asked me to shoot their engagement pictures in January....with the intention of shooting "Part 2" closer to their wedding day. The reason behind this random request was this whole beard business. Christina agrees with me... beards are nice... sometimes. For her, John's beard made his look more rugged...mature... True. Here's a shot from Part 1.

But she also really likes him with no beard... his face is less scratchy to kiss, he's a different kind of handsome, and his beardless face shows his youthful glow. I agree... John's quite the handsome young man both with a beard and here's Part 2 "Adventures of the Beardless Future Kohlenbergs"...

For this shoot, John and Christina wanted more of a fun and carefree feel. They chose to take their shots in Ocean Beach, San Diego... on their home turf. We started a little before sunset and made our way around town having fun and taking some pretty sweet shots! Thanks ever so much to Christopher who was, yet again, an amazing 2nd shooter and lighting guy! :) (P.S. it's his birthday all should show him some love!)

I love this shot (I know...another shoe shot) because their shoes are SO THEM! John's crazy casual off the wall retro style Vans.... and Christina's sweet and practical complimentary off-the-wall style lace up vans.... at the beach. Too good :)

This one just cracks me up...

The shoot wouldn't be complete without a healthy serving of their crazy-cool sweetly-romantic style of just being themselves in front of the camera...

I CANNOT wait to hang out with them and shoot their wedding on May 24th... Make sure to check out their wedding website and show them some love!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break Recap... Norcal Adventures

As Christopher and I made our way through the rolling green pastures in the outskirts of Brentwood, I drowsily thought about my time with his family. And as I sat there sipping my coffee, a rather disconcerting thought came to me. I am not a patient person. Wonderful. As much as I try sometimes, I want to just "get there now" and "be a perfect person/photographer now." NOW. I sat there just thinking about how impatient I had been the whole week. I wanted to get to Brentwood sooner than the 6.5 hours it took to get there, I wanted to be comfortable with meeting new people faster than it happened, I wanted to get to San Francisco faster than the 1.5 hours it took to get there. I wanted to park right across the street from Pier 39 instead of walking 5 miles. And I wanted to get to the mall faster than the hour it took to get there. There's never been a "stop and smell the roses...for a while" part of me... it's been more like "stop and smell them as you take a picture of them." I guess, when it comes to life on this earth,  I need to relax a bit more and actually enjoy the process of things instead of just getting there already.

Note to self: Stop and SMELL the flowers... not just take pictures of them.

Overall...Spring Break this year has been fun, relaxing (for the most part) and a much needed change of scenery. Meeting new people is never easy for me, but it's made easier when the people you're meeting are so wonderful. Brentwood definitely isn't home for me, but it has it's beauty and character that I wish parts of Orange County could have. Now it's back to work and back to the gym for me! 

P.S. I'm craving some good soccer playin' time... anyone know of some pick up games in Orange County happening soon?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break: Day 5

Today was a day centered on one person.... Christopher's younger sister Robyn. We took her on a shopping spree (where we randomly bumped into Traig Smith... haha!) and then spent the afternoon traipsing around Brentwood and the neighboring area shooting her Senior portraits. Big thanks to my lighting guy Christopher :)

I first met Robyn last year around this time at Disneyland when she came to visit. She greeted me with a big hug and her smile reached from ear to ear. And now, getting to spend more time with her and her family, I've seen that smile over and over and it never gets old. Not only is she just the cutest thing ever, but she's sweet, very smart, and just stoked on life. I love how much she loves her family and how loyal she is to her friends....such admirable traits for someone just coming out of high school! :) Here's some snapshots of the fun we had today....

I have to add.... when brainstorming ideas of places to shoot, Christopher suggested something with book since her favorite thing in the whole wide world is reading. And sure we pulled out to start shooting, we asked her if she had a book and she did! I love this picture because it totally captures her spunk :)
Thanks Robyn...and the entire Kernutt family for such a fun time with you guys! I'm positive that this is not the last you'll hear of this girl....

Peace for now...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break: Day 3 & 4

Day 3:

Mr. Kernutt says to us "we're going to dinner to celebrate everyone's birthdays (Chris', Mrs. Kernutt's, and Mine) tonight so make sure you're dressed a little more fancy." We leave and none of us know where we're going... all we know is we're going to dinner and then dancing (?). So we show up to this place... and I'm stoked because I've never eaten here before.

We had an amazing dinner of prime cut filet steaks paired with a perfect merlot and... to top it all of each of the birthday kids got to choose a dessert compliments of Ruth's Chris. Yesss... this was one of the desserts after we all got done with it. This chocolate explosion cake definitely exploded...

Shot of us on our way to dinner....all prettied up :)

The family and me at dinner

Day 4:

Aaand today Christopher and I went on an adventure to San Francisco....and WE HAD SO MUCH FUN! The adventure started like all adventures begin... with conflict. Neither of us knew where to park or where anything was with all the tall buildings blocking our view. I mean... how is anyone supposed to navigate when you can't see anything? So we ended up parking by a museum and then decided to walk to Pier 39 for an "early lunch." As we walked, my internal compass red alerted me so I asked where exactly we were headed. Christopher thought he had some sort of direction and so he said "we'll just head down the street to the right" ....but all I saw ahead was a HUGE STEEP hill. We went with it and walked for, what seemed like, a mile into China town. My internal compass was red alerting along the way and finally I decided to check my Blackberry for some GPS help. LONG walk short...we ended up walking close to 4 miles before we found Pier 39. (long sigh...) This is us after we found our way and I had some coffee.... we liked each other again.

We finally stumbled across Boudin Sourdough Bakery on Pier 39.... my San Fran Mecca. And we ate our "early lunch" around 1pm....and it was SO GOOD! Probably the highlight of my day was the awesome Tomato Bisque Soup in a Sourdough bread bowl!

Yeah.... I dug in and it was REAL GOOD.

After lunch, we wandered around a bit more and headed down toward Ghirardelli Square to get some free samples! After a short trip to chocolate land, we stood in line for a ride back to the general vicinity of our car... on a famous cable car (since Christopher had never been on one). 

Once on the cable car... we sighed as we rested our poor feet. And I sneaked peaks at Christopher taking in his first cable car experience.... he was a happy boy on that ride :). Just look at that contented face!

The last portion of our adventure included some shopping, dinner at CPK, and some night shooting of the city sights. Here's some of my favorite shots from the day of Christopher sunglasses shopping... he decided he needs to broaden his fashion horizons... and this is what he came up with :) I was entertained for sure!

And now... as I write and reflect on the day... I'm grateful to be under a roof with a full belly and with my feet elevated with Christopher dead asleep on the couch beside me. We saw so many homeless and hurting today... breaks my heart and leaves me feeling small again... but also reminds me of how blessed I am. Hearts breaking... seems to be a reoccurring theme this Spring Break. Thanks be entirely and fully to Him for all He does...I pray for courage to do my part.

Peace for now...
"Welcome and thanks for stopping by my blog! I've discovered recently that, in addition to photography, writing is a passion of mine and I've loved including you all in my personal journey this past year. So please feel free to read about my adventures, comment often, and enjoy my photos!"     - Kate Noelle | International Wedding & Portrait Photographer |