Whichy Wednesdays - Classic Italian w/ Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich / Balsamic Mushroom w/ Fig Butter Sandwich

.1Whole Wheat French roll
.Cajun Smoked Turkey Breast (1/4 lb)
.1/4 cup Roasted Red Pepper
.1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
.1 cup Romaine lettuce (finely chopped)
.1/4 cup chopped Red Onion
.1 Tbsp Olive oil and 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
.1/4 Tsp. Italian Seasoning

1. Mix together Olive Oil, Vinegar, Lettuce, and Italian seasoning together.

2. Lather Mustard on bread.

3. Add Turkey, then lettuce mixture and peppers.

4. Enjoy!

.1 Whole Wheat French Roll
.1/4 lb Smoked Turkey Breast
.1Tbsp Fig butter 
.4 oz. Mushrooms
.1 cup Arugula
.1/4 cup Red Onion
.1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
.1 tbsp Olive Oil
.2 Muenster Cheese Slices


1. Mix Arugula, mushrooms, onion, Balsamic Vinegar, Oil, Salt and pepper in a bowl and massage gently. Set aside to marinade.

2. Lather Fig Butter onto each slice of bread.

3. Place cheese slices and arugula mixture on bread.

4. Enjoy!



Dark Citrus Upside Down Cake

It's January 1st and we spent our day baking and cooking up some new recipes. My favorite color palette is filled with warm tones and I've been dying to shoot something with sliced citrus so Shay decided to whip up this Dark Citrus Upside Down Cake. It's definitely one of those aesthetically impressive cakes but it's fairly simple to bake so follow along and bring this zesty slice to your next gathering. 

- 1 Grapefruit
- 1 Tangerine
- 1 Naval Orange
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Lime
- 1/2 Cup White Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water

- 1/2 Cup Butter Room Temperature
- 1/3 Cup White Sugar 
- 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Grapefruit Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Zest Total (Zest Each Fruit)
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cups Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 2/3 Cup Lemon Greek Yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cake pan with parchment paper. Be sure to spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray.
2. Slice citrus half inch thick and then remove the skin from each slice. I would recommend using scissors to remove the skin so that a more defined circular shape is made. 
3. Microwave the 1/2 Cup White Sugar and 1/4 Cup of Water together until the sugar dissolves into the water. I microwaved ours for roughly 1 minute. 
4. Pour half of the sugary water into the cake pan and line the citrus slices onto the sticky substance. Note: This is going to be your cake top so be sure to arrange them aesthetically. When finished, pour the rest of the sugar water over the lined citrus.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and 1/3 Cup White Sugar & 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar together. Add in the eggs, fruit juices, zest and vanilla extract.
6. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. 
7. Slowly mix the flour mixture and Lemon Yogurt into the wet ingredients, alternating between the yogurt and flour until all is combined. 
8. Pour batter over the citrus slices and spread evenly. 
9. Bake for 35 minutes and remove from oven. Allow the cake to settle and cool completely before flipping over. 
10. Flip and Enjoy!



Twenty-Nineteen Goals

As I mentioned in my last post, I feel like this past week I've had more than enough time to reflect back on the past year and come up with some changes and goals for the next year. This was my first year being a business owner and although I've come far from where I was last year; I'm definitely not satisfied with where I am and want myself to grow more and get better next year. Some goals for the New Year:

  1. - Stay consistent with my health and fitness, take accountability and cut the bullshit. I've come a long way since where I was at the beginning of this year going to meetings and realizing that my relationship with food wasn't normal. I feel like I've gone up and down with struggles and have for a while now but it's about time I just stick to understanding what works for me; no more trial and error.
  2. - Understanding what my priorities are better. I feel like a huge lesson I've come across again and again this year is not understanding where my priorities lay. I allowed myself to feel out of control over certain people without remembering that the only two people in my life that should matter are myself and Shay. 
  3. - Work more and work better. I feel like in a sense this year was spent really understanding my craft and in a way that part sucks; I feel so compelled to go create only amazing content but I had to go through so much trial and error to realize what that meant for me. I want to work on being a good photographer to myself and work on myself often and always rather than comparing and retrying things constantly. 
  4. - Work relationships are work relationships. Again going off of the priorities situation, I just need to know when to leave work at work, even if I have a full-time business that is run at every hour of the day.
  5. - Take more photos for myself. Remind myself often why I love photography, post on here and also take a few snapshots that include myself in them next year. 
  6. - Photoshop. Photoshop. Photoshop.
  7. - Travel more. (like always)
  8. - Shoot at least one wedding next year. 
  10. - Be happier overall.
The next year is going to be an adventure. Every year thus far has been. I feel like so much of the last few years have been so challenging because I've taken myself so far out of my comfort zone. This past year I learned how to create and understand a comfort zone and now in 2019 I want to learn how to push myself to be the best version of myself. I'm not twenty anymore. I'm turning twenty-four in two months and I need to embrace myself as the person I've become. Next year I want to do more than I can imagine, work harder than I ever have and accomplish more than I've been ok with doing in the past. I'm excited for the new year and for a new year with my best friend and partner. Through every goal, I know Shay and I will grow stronger. We have a beautiful home now, we have our two baby girls and we can honestly get through anything and accomplish everything as long as we're together.

Thank you twenty-eighteen for allowing me to find out who I can be as a woman and as an adult. Twenty-nineteen is the year where I can truly begin to live as the being I am; the person I've always wanted to be is someone I worked hard to become. 

Stay tuned for a year of chaos, laughter, and work. 
Happy New Year. 

Wildlife Learning Center - Sylmar, CA

The last week has been utterly and terribly boring and difficult. In LA, during the week between Christmas and New Years literally everyone is out of town and the entertainment industry is completely on break and shut down. I remembered last year being slow but this year I have been working and shooting almost every day the past few months. To not work for over a week was killing me and I was going stir crazy at home. 

Shay decided to help me tick something else off our bucket list and we went to the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar, CA. We have always enjoyed going to hidden nooks around California that are retreats for different animals and places to learn and donate to. Even though zoos are beautiful places, going to a rehabilitation center for animals or a safe space for forgotten pets allows you to donate your money to the correct organizations and you're insured there isn't any harm or mistreatment going on behind the scenes. This place was beautiful and you could tell that everyone who works there genuinely loves each animal that lives on their grounds. Most of the animals were once illegally kept as pets and had to be surrendered because the owner wasn't able to take care of them anymore. 
It's heartbreaking to see some of their stories and you're able to read about each animal and get to know their personality while seeing them roll around and play. I had a special spot for Zeus, the little owl who actually happens to be blind. 
We did end up going the weekend after Christmas and right when California decided to be freezing cold and windy so we weren't able to stay for too long. We'll definitely make it back sometime soon and possibly even buy one of their activity packages where you're able to go inside the animals' cage and play with them one on one. Admission is incredibly affordable and I would definitely recommend anyone in LA to go and visit the Wildlife Learning Center. 



Havarti Joins the Party, Balsamic Fig Arugula Pizza

For Christmas Eve we decided to have a pizza night and one of the pizzas we whipped together was this Havarti Joins the Party, Balsamic Fig Arugula Pizza. We are big foodies so when we do cheat meals, we go pretty hard. We ended up making four large at home pizzas and this one was both of our favorites. This pizza is definitely one to make when you want to wow your guests. One bite and we both instantly were impressed. Pizza is such an easy go to when you're trying to please everyone who's hungry - this pizza is the perfect taste to impress and to whip up. 

- 1 Pizza Dough Roll
- 2 cups Arugula 
- 8 ounces Mushrooms (different assortments make for better taste)
- 2 tablespoons Fig Butter 
- 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 6 ounces Havarti
- 3 ounces Goat Cheese
- 1 tablespoon Butter

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and begin prepping your vegetables in a separate bowl. 
2. Mix arugula, mushrooms, minced garlic, and thyme together with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Rub the oils into the vegetables and allow to marinate while you prep your dough. 
3. Roll out the pizza dough and spread fig butter evenly throughout. 
4. Sprinkle goat cheese onto the fig butter and move onto topping with your vegetable marinade. (After your pizza is topped, don't worry if it looks like a salad ontop, the arugula and mushrooms shrink down in the oven so you'll want a lot of toppings!)
5. Slice Havarti over the pizza and add the tablespoon of butter cut into three pieces on the beginning, middle and end of the pizza.
6. Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 12 - 15 minutes. Take out and Enjoy!! 


Key Lime Meringue Pie

This Christmas Shay and I kept everything simple and enjoyed the holiday together at home. Holidays always feel so complicated when your family life isn't picture perfect so instead of making due with a bad situation, we just created a better one. Growing up, we always celebrated Christmas on the night of the twenty-fourth. Shay did as well so on Christmas Eve we settled into our home and made a massive dinner for two. Shay cooked up four different assorted pizzas for us while I attempted to bake during the day. After finally figuring out how to make a meringue, I feel silly writing this but I had such a hard time baking this pie. I spent four hours trying to get everything right and after tossing the topping out twice, my meringue wasn't set and didn't cook. Shay came home to a jello type pie that was shortly after tossed in the trash. We went out and bought ingredients for a Chocolate Smores Pie and I thought I'd just never perfect a lemon meringue. 
Fast forward to Christmas Day and with Shay's help, we're both determined to make this citrus filled sugar basket a reality. We went to two different pharmacies (because that's the only place open Christmas Day) and found some key lime juice. Here's the idiot proof recipe we ended up whipping together to get this beautiful Key Lime Meringue Pie:

- 12 Graham Cracker Sheets Crushed
- 6 Tablespoons Melted Butter 
- 1 Tablespoon Key Lime Zest
- 14 Ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/2 Cup Key Lime Juice
- 5 Eggs Room Temperature (Yolks & Whites Separated)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1/2 Cup Sugar

1. Preheat the Oven to 350 Degrees. Combine your crushed Graham Crackers & Melted Butter to create and lay down the pie crust.
2. Combine the lime juice, zest, egg yolks, and condensed milk for the filling in a separate bowl. When mixed properly, fill the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes or until set all the way.
3. While pie cools, beat the remaining egg whites with your electric mixer. THIS STEP WAS KEY FOR ME. Beat only the egg whites first. (Tip: place your mixing bowl in the freezer before mixing, it helps!) 
4. Slowly add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing and add the cream of tartar and vanilla extract. If it's your first time making a meringue, don't worry! It's supposed to take a while until you start seeing the mixture create peaks. If you're mixing for twenty minutes and there still aren't peaks, you've done something wrong! 
5. Preheat the over to Broil and top the meringue mixture onto the set cooled pie. Place in oven for roughly five minutes. WATCH YOUR PIE CAREFULLY. Broilers work fast but if you don't have a kitchen torch because honestly, who does?, they're perfect for the meringue textured burnt tips!
6. Serve and Enjoy! 

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