Letters to My Children – April 2022

Ariya is officially 9 years old. I can’t believe it. We had a birthday party for you at the roller skating rink, and I think you had a blast. Everyone had a great time, even me. Your daddy and I put on our roller skates and took a few turns around the rink.

Asha had an Arts Start session with Ms Abby at SCAA where she got a chance to learn all about bugs and reconnected with an old pre-school friend.

Anika experienced her first Easter Egg hunt with church, her pre-school and at Grandma’s house! Yup, we went down to visit Nani and Nanu and then drove down to Grandma’s for Easter. We got to hang out with Auntie Carmen, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Mekai and Jayden, so that was fun. And you had your own Easter baskets from Grandma and presents from Christmas. Christmas in April, how fun!

We did make it to Burnside Farms to pick tulips. You guys had a blast playing on the inflatables, but I loved picking the tulips. Or, taking photos of you all picking the tulips. It was chilly, it had rained, and was pretty muddy.

We also celebrated Apple Blossom! You girls had the day off, so we got to watch a little bit of the Fireman’s parade before joining Daddy by Handley high school and watching the fireworks. We caught up with friends, you all chased each other and danced, ate cotton candy and cuddled close when the temperature dropped. Yeah, it was warm during the day, but when the sun set, it was COLD. But the fireworks were amazing.

Then we went to a friend’s house for the apple blossom parade, and wow, that was so much fun. We saw so many floats drift by. You played with your friends, we all hung out. Good times were had.

Unfortunately, the weather was terrible on the day we tried to go to the carnival. It’s a yearly tradition and we just could not predict the thunderstorms. We kept thinking it would stop, but by the time it did, the carnival started packing up and we missed our chance. Ariya, you were heartbroken. I was pretty sad too. Luckily, we have some adventures planned for the summer.

Letters to My Children – March 2022

March was a pretty cool month. I started the month off traveling to Arizona for a photography workshop. You all got to spend some quality time with Daddy, so that was good! When I came back, I made sure to give you all my love and attention.

Ariya, you started Girls on the Run. And girl, you are a runner! I’m so proud of you, and you seem to really love it, which is awesome. We made sure Daddy would be your running partner. I haven’t run since the summer time, so I would not make a very good running partner at all. But I’m sure it will be great, because at the end of training, you’ll be able to run a 5k in May! Very exciting. But what I love about this group is the empowerment, positive affirmations and hopefully quality friendships that you make in this group. It’s so important as girls and women to uplift each other and want each other to do well.

We celebrated Holi, which was pretty cool! It’s not the same as past years. I’m not sure what’s happening with Namaste Shenandoah, but I remember that we had the colors from past years, and I called up Priya auntie to see if her family wanted to do something for Holi. And so she called a few families over and we went over there to celebrate Holi! We lit the bonfire, we talked about the meaning of Holi and we said the prayers. I don’t remember every lighting the bonfire, I think we just did the colors growing up. But it’s always great to understand why we celebrate Holi and why we light the bonfire and do the prayers. This is definitely something I’m thankful for.

And so the following week, I came to Ariya and Asha’s classes to talk about Holi. That was pretty fun and interesting. I couldn’t make it to Anika’s class because Asha came down with this crazy cold/cough that made her throw up every time she coughed too much. So funny how we were in this bubble for 2 years and now all of a sudden, we’re going to birthday parties and we’re no longer masking in schools and germs are being shared and everyone is getting sick again. And the first thing we think of is “I hope it’s not COVID!” Thankfully, it was not covid, just a cold/cough that would not go away.

Let’s hope April brings really good spring weather! It’s Ariya’s birthday next month, she’s having a party at the roller skating rink. Then there’s spring break, Easter, Apple Blossom…Lots of fun things to look forward to.

Letters to My Children – January and February 2022

Hey girls. I can’t decide if I want to continue these letters. I love writing them, it’s like a journal of our lives and what activities we’ve done, places we’ve traveled, etc. I wonder if you enjoy reading (or will enjoy) reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. I haven’t kept up with it as much as I’d like. I’ve started a new project, a daily photo project, where I try to take photos every day to document our lives. It’s tough, because sometimes I take way too many photos and some days, I might forget to take one. But here’s where we are.

Let’s see, January, we had a few snow storms. So that was pretty cool. It felt like for the whole month, we had a hard time getting back into a regular schedule, because either you had snow days, or 1-2 hour delays. It was tough after the holiday vacation but you all persevered. We headed down to Richmond for a long weekend in January, but had to cut that weekend short because of a snow storm coming. I’m kind of glad we kept it short. The drive down was terrible. Anika is not a fan of staying in the car seat for too long. As soon as we hit the mountains and on 64, she lost it. She wanted to get out. She tried to get out of her seat belt. I had to pull over a few times just to make sure she didn’t get out of her car seat. Man, was I glad to reach Richmond.

Other than that, January was pretty normal. Ariya and Asha, you still had tae kwon do and ballet. You attended Balvihar when you could through zoom. And we went to church when Daddy was off on Sunday.

February, the half days started for teacher planning. Anika was so happy to have Ariya and Asha around for those half days. We went to the children’s museum one of those half days and, wow, we haven’t been there since before the pandemic. So it was really nice to visit on an off day where it wasn’t crowded and it felt like we had the place pretty much all to ourselves.

Ariya and Asha, you finally received your orange belt in Tae Kwon Do! You’ve done such a great job at practicing and you’ve really worked hard to get to that next level. We are so proud of you!

Ariya, you’re my little reader. I can always find you in a book, reading and re-reading your favorites. You remind me so much of me when I was your age.

Asha, you’re my little dreamer. You’re always telling me silly stories and spinning around in circles and making me laugh. You love to read and play and make believe.

Anika, wow you are growing so much! You love wearing your tutu pajamas and your tutu dresses. Some days you love wearing your tutu pajamas during the day as well. You’re having a great time at school and learning so much. You love playing with your friends, your “sister” Simisola, coloring and painting. And you love your teachers so much.

Film 366 Favorites of 2016

The year has ended and I have survived 2 366 projects.  One was a digital 366, using my Nikon d610 and Fuji x100t.  And the 2nd was a film 366, using a variety of film cameras and film stocks.  I went a little crazy exploring the world of film.  I’ve acquired a ton of film cameras, tons of film stock.  I was all over the place.  I wasn’t able to keep track of my film 366, because I shot SO MUCH FILM.  Here are some of my favorites of 2016.

37016jbmar137001-r2-0001 38170jbmar610003-r2-001 39855aamar629003-r1-013 39855aamar629004-r2-024 39855eegoo629007-r2-051 39855eegoo629007-r2-053 39855eegoo629007-r2-059 42813nnmar801002-r1-010-2 42813nnmar801007-r4-120-2 42813nnmar801007-r4-129-2 000009430011 000009480020 000009480024 000009490016 000009500004 000024840034 000024860026 000024930005 000024960003 000024960016 000060400019 000060400026 000060410001 000060410018 000064300002 000064300003 000068300009 000068310019 000068320019 000078130004 000078130014 000078150006 000097840037 000097850003 000097850017 000097860001 000097860017 000097860019 000097860021 000097860025 286460020019 286460020023 286460020034 312680020003 312680020006 312680020007 312680030029 312680040010 312680040027 314930010005 314930010013 314930010017 320360010008 320360010032 320360020006 320360020033 320360040005 320360050017 320360060003 320360060031 320360070022 342450010005 342450010010 342450010013 342450020001 342450020009 342450040003 342450050005 342450070003 342450070027 342450080033 342450090005 342450090021 370020020005 370020020014 381720010017 381720010027 381720040015 381720040030 399390010007 412850020020 426610010011-2 436610010025-2 436610030005-2 523900010016 523900020015-2 523900040004 523900040009 523900040011-2 523900040016 523900050016 560040060028 es35135goo509002-r1-003 es35135goo509002-r1-022 es35135goo509002-r2-074 es35135goo509002-r4-103 es35135goo509002-r4-104 es35135goo509002-r4-116 es35135goo509002-r6-161 hp33314goo415001-r1-003 hp33314goo415002-r1-005 hp33314goo415002-r1-006 hp33314goo415002-r2-046 hp33314goo415002-r3-061 hp34249goo427002-r1-010 jo33311goo041503-r1-035 sr33315goo041501-r1-004 untitled-71 untitled-92

I’m crazy enough to do my 4th 365, for 2017.  I’ve also decided to slow down with film and focus.  So, I’m doing a digital 365, and I’m doing 1 roll of film a week, and for each month that I shoot film, I’ll be using the same film camera, same lens and same film stock. For January 2017, I’ve started shooting Acros 100 with my Nikon f100 and 35 f/2 lens.  Let’s hope I come out with some decent shots!

Project 365 Film edition – May 2016

So, as I’ve said in past blog posts about film, I’m obsessed.  like OBSESSED!  I’ve shot a TON of film.  Picking the best 30 or 31 for each month is no problem.  I probably have enough for the rest of the summer, and it’s barely started.  I’ve shared a ton on instagram, so if you feel like checking me out there, the link is here.

Recently, I submitted a few photos to the Analog story.  I wanted to share my story, why I shoot film.  Best decision I ever made, committing to shooting film.  Unfortunately, my husband is starting to wonder what all is involved (cost of film, cost of development, etc).  But then he loves the prints that come back.  So I’d say it’s well worth it.

Here are a few of my favorites from this month. Some Portra 160, Portra 160NC, Portra 400, Lomo 800, Fuji 400h.  Shot with Nikon f100, Pentax 6×7 and Mamiya 645AF.

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Project 365 Film edition – April 2016

This project focused solely on film has become so much bigger than I thought it would.  I’m obsessed.  The loading of the film, the guessing with the metering (I’m too lazy to pull out my handheld meter most of the time, a goal of mine is to get better at metering accurately), deciding what to rate the film at, if I’m going to push it, shoot without knowing if I got the shot, or how it will look after it’s developed, the process of packing up the film to mail out and be developed by a film lab, the anticipation of getting that email saying that my scans are ready to be downloaded, clicking on the link, and loving close to every one of my photos.  No joke.  This is a serious love affair.  I have BARELY touched my dslr b/c I’ve been OBSESSED with film.  Like, really obsessed.  Any way, I’m not going to bore you with my all of my film shots, b/c they’re mostly of family.  But I will post a few of my favorites from this month. If you follow me on instagram, you most likely have already seen these pictures, as I was too excited to wait until this blog post to share.  But if you haven’t seen these, well here you go!

Nikon f100, fuji200


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Nikon f100, portra 800

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Nikon f100, fuji 400h


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Nikon f100, ilford xp2

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Project 365 Film edition – March 2016

I’m so in love with film.  So in love.  I’m learning a ton, and I still have a LONG way to go.  But shooting film just fits with my lifestyle right now.  one thing I’m starting to hate is the time I spend on my laptop.  When it was just Ariya, I had plenty of time to sit down after her bed time and just hang out on the laptop, upload pictures, edit, etc.  Now, with a baby…forget about it.  Asha only naps for 30 minutes at a time in her crib.  She can be high maintenance at night.  And honestly, I’m just tired. At night,  I just want to sit down, watch my favorite tv show, hang out with the hubs actually have a conversation.  So the only time I want to spend on the laptop is if I’m typing up a blog post.  Like right now.  Right now, my husband and I are catching up on the OJ mini series.  Ariya is in bed, Asha is swaddled and in his arms.  And I”m catching up on blogging.

So, a few days late, but here are a few pictures from March on film.

Mamiya 645 and Portra 160

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Mamiya 645 and Kodak 400vc (Had I known how awesome this film was, I would have treated this differently.  But now I’m on the hunt for more VC. If you have any, send some my way)

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Nikon f100 and fuji 800.  This was old expired film that my mom gave me.  I didn’t know how to rate expired film, or if I should tell the lab to push it.  Had I known, I would have done things differently.  But now I know, and have some more expired film that I plan to experiment with.


Mamiya C330 and fuji 400h

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Mamiya 645 and Portra 800

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Nikon f100 and Portra 400 rated at 200

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That’s it for March!  I’ve got plenty more for April.  This 365 project is going much better than my digital version, that’s for sure.  But, I refuse to give up!

Project 365 Film edition – February 2016

I survived the 2nd month of this film 365.  I tried 2 different things this month.  I tried pushing film and I tried using the lensbaby sweet 35 on my Nikon f100.  I’m not sure if I was successful, but at least I tried 🙂  I still don’t know what I’m doing (I don’t know if I ever will), but I’m having fun trying! And for the record, I’m having a hard time taking a photo every day.  so my rule for this project is to get at least a decent photo for each day of the month.  I may get a few decent photos on one day, nothing on the next day, maybe a few more dent photos in one day, etc.  The only way I can keep this project going.

Tri-X 400 +2 on Nikon f100, using the lensbaby sweet 35

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Tri-X 400 on Pentax 6×7 with 105mm lens

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Portra 400 on Mamiya 645 and 80mm lens50_021916 51_022016 52_022116 53_022216 54_022316 55_022416 56_022516 57_022616

Portra 160 on Mamiya 645 and 80mm lens58_022716 59_022816 60_022916

My first film Project 365 – January 2016

So, I fell in love with film some time last year.  Within that time, I’ve acquired a lot of film and a few (ok, a lot of) film cameras.  Somehow I developed a fear of shooting film in manual.  I was always ok with a point and shoot.  I shot film a ton in high school, I just let the camera make all the decisions.  After taking a workshop last year, I got into it…and then I stopped.  I took ANOTHER workshop late last year, got into it…and then stopped.  What was wrong with me?  The fear was there.  So I thought for 2016, in addition to my regular digital project 365, I’d do a film 365.  I’m crazy, I know.  BUT, I really want to know these cameras and these film stocks inside and out.  I want to get comfortable with metering.  And I figured this would be the best way to do it.

I won’t post all 31 pictures for this month.  There were  a few successes and a few failures.  I’ll go ahead and post a few of both, b/c I need to document this progress.  I also need to go back through my notes to see why some of these photos worked and some didn’t.

I also have 2 rolls of black & white film still in development (at the FIND lab).  So look out for another blog post from me soon.

Here goes (and yes, I know more than a few are blurry and aren’t that awesome.  but not every photo can be awesome right?  and yes, most of these photos will be of my girls while I try to figure this film thing out):

Mamiya C330 with fuji 400h

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Nikon F100 with Portra 800

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Have you met…Me?

Early on in my photography journey, I’ve done tons of research, read lots of articles and watched a lot of tutorials.  This was how I stumbled upon Click It Up a Notch.  I started my first Project 365 because of that site, as it gave me inspiration and courage to try it.  A while back, Courtney from Click It Up a Notch asked for submissions to be featured.  And what do you know, I’ve been featured!  You can find the article here.  Check it out, and enjoy!