What I’m Loving: 2017 Summer Favorites

As I gear up for the busy Fall season of weddings, portraits, and all things leading up to the holidays, I thought it suitable to share about a few of the things that have made my life a little sweeter during the first half of 2017. From my current favorite fashion obsessions, recipes, and reads, here’s a short list of a few of faves that have been on my list of loves this year!

WRITING BY TYLER KNOTT GREGSON: If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed many of my posts authored with his work linked. I don’t get paid to sponsor his work, I just genuinely love it! As I love writing myself, I can always appreciate beautifully strewn together words. Like many of my current favorite reads, I came across Tyler’s writing on Instagram, and was drawn to how palpable the feeling in the words he contrives. I truly never knew I had a love for poetry until I came across his work. Chasers of the Light and Wildly Into the Dark are two of his works that I own and currently read daily. If you’re looking for an easy read that you can pick up on a crummy day to soothe your restless heart, I highly recommend grabbing one of his books–or even just following him on Insta! You can find his Instagram handle at @tylerknott.

FRINGE WITH BENEFITS JEWELRY: I love watching the journey of fellow entrepreneurs as they attack their passions. Callie, owner of Fringe With Benefits, has an eye for fashion and is constantly leaving me feeling inspired and refreshed by her outfits and accessory pairings. If you’re looking for regular fashion inspiration or a fabulous pair of tassel earrings, Callie’s Instagram accounts are refreshing follows! You can find them at Instagram handles @fringewithbenefitsjewelry and @bluejeanedblonde.

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ZUCCHINI BROWNIES: Yes,  you read that correctly. As I’m always trying to find at least slightly healthy alternatives to recipes, I sought out recently to find a recipe for the occasional sweet tooth that didn’t leave me feeling guilty and sluggish. After trying a few that didn’t turn out so well (ehem, black bean brownies), I came across and tweaked a brownie recipe that called for zucchini. While this recipe does contain wheat flour (which I typically try to avoid), it’s still light and fairly guilt-free. Note: If you are a sweets lover, you may not find these sweet enough; however, I’m more of a “lightly sweetened” type of girl, so I find the level of sweetness to be pretty on point.

Total Time: 50 Minutes   |   Prep Time: 15 Minutes   |   Cook Time: 35-40 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 1/2 Cups Grated Zucchini, undrained (about 1 Large or 2 small)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. (It will appear quite dry). Gently stir in the zucchini a little at a time and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes. (Once it hits the 30 minute mark, I start checking them).

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

ESSENTIAL OILS: I know, I know. This is all the craze right now, but I have jumped on the bandwagon to start supplementing some of my daily household products, medicines, and just general daily practices with oils and it’s been quite a pleasant journey for me. While I’m not sure I will ever try to supplement all possible things with oils, I have enjoyed gradually learning and supplementing certain aspects of life with them.

Essential oils have enhanced lives for thousands of years, offering a variety of benefits from cosmetic and dietary purposes to spiritual and religious use. The most common practices for using essential oils include aromatic diffusion, topical application, and dietary consumption. These methods bring the pure essence of health-promoting botanicals to your home, family, and life.

I personally first started really looking into oils for emotional support. As a woman, hormones are no freaking joke, and I sought out to educate myself on how I could clean up the practices in my life, from the products I use to the ways I react to situations with the assistance of more holistic approaches and oils.

Some of the health benefits of aromatherapy include its ability to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boost energy levels, speed up the healing process, eliminate headaches, boost cognitive performance, induce sleep, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain, improve digestion, and increase circulation. I’ve seen improvements in many of these areas of my life from the induction of oils into my regimen. I won’t go into intense detail in this post; however, if you have more questions about this, please feel free to comment or message me, I’d love to share with you!

WINE SUBSCRIPTION: This is something I always got offers for in the mail, but never jumped on, as I figured it wouldn’t be quality or cost-effective. However, after having a wine subscription with Naked Wines for over a year now, I can say it’s been both fun and cost-effective!

What I love about this particular wine subscription is that Naked Wines invests directly in winemakers and much less on things like sales, marketing, fancy packaging and other things you can’t taste. Which means you get more bang for your buck.

I also love that with this particular subscription, I pay $40 per month, which goes DIRECTLY into a tab on my account with them, thus, I don’t generally ever pay outright when I order a case of wine. I order a case every 3 months or so when my tab is around $120, and receive what are often $20-30 bottles of wine for about $10 per bottle. As someone who enjoys trying out new wines and pairing it with a home-cooked meal, I love the ease and luxury of this subscription.

If you’d like to try them out, you can use this link for $100 OFF of your first case! I paid about $60 using this coupon for my first case of wine with them. Ehemm, that’s about $5 per bottle for quality wine. I’ll take it. (:

What have you been loving lately? If you think I’d like it, I’d love to hear!

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Healthy Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta + DIY Slime | New Orleans Lifestyle Photographer

This weekend was one for the books in the littlest of ways. There weren’t crazy adventures or breathtaking sights, but there was lots of genuine, soul-fulfilling girl time, big-bellied laughs, and the best food to fill these taste buds. I’ve truly been embracing this slow season of life, letting myself soak in the mundane moments, meditate on the why behind certain feelings, and cultivating a heart open to change and growth, even when it feels uncomfortable or scary.

As this weekend was so fulfilling for me, I thought I’d share a few of the recipes that contributed to it. From healthy, delicious meals to crafts and educational events, it was a jam-packed, yet relaxing weekend. I always get lots of positive feedback from sharing healthy recipes on here, so I thought I’d share one of my recent favorites that we indulged in this weekend!

I try to stay away from pasta, so it’s always fun to find alternatives that are both healthy and tasty. Friday night I made Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta and it was SO delicious! Here’s the recipe…

2017

HEALTHY PESTO-AVOCADO SHRIMP ZUCCHINI PASTA

3-4 Zucchini

3 lbs fresh shrimp

3 TBSP Grass Fed Butter

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Lemon

1 Jar Basil Pesto

2 Avocados

Feta crumbles (optional for topping)

Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

DIRECTIONS: Peel fresh shrimp. Melt butter + olive oil in pan on med-high heat. Once butter is melted, add shrimp and seasonings. Saute until shrimp is fully cooked. Mash two avocados and add to pan along with jar of pesto. Squeeze lemon over all ingredients.

Clean off zucchini and cut off ends. Using a vegetable spiralizer (I use a VERY simple one similar to this), create veggie noodles with the zucchini. Simply add shrimp-pesto toppings and feta crumbles (if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

I was recently introduced to the world of slime on Instagram by a friend and had NO IDEA of how viral the slime trend is right now. In efforts to get my hands dirty with a light-hearted and fun craft, I bought the ingredients and decided to give making slime a whirl. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the slime craze, it’s essentially what you may have played with if you ever partook in the Gak or Silly Putty phase as a child. As with all things in our Pinterest-driven 2017 though, slime has taken a whole new world compared to the simplistic nature it came in years ago. Now, people are adding tons of beautiful colors and textures to it to create an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) aka “sounds that feel good” aspect to the fun. It’s actually pretty cool!

I had my good friend Lauren and her daughter Emma over for dinner Friday and Emma had endless fun with the slime and rainbow beads we added to it.

2017

If you have children (or even if you don’t) and want to try it out, here’s the recipe I used:

EASY 3-INGREDIENT SLIME

1 cup Elmer’s Glue (white)

1 cup Shaving Cream

1/2 cup Purex StaFlo Concentrated Liquid Starch

Food Coloring (optional)

Glitter (optional

Rainbow Foam Beads (to add in for fun after slime is made)

DIRECTIONS: Mix glue, shaving cream, and starch together in a large mixing bowl. The shaving cream makes the slime fluffier. You can also add food coloring + glitter to get different colors.

If you add too much liquid starch to your slime it gets a little stiff. If this happens, just add a little water – a tablespoon at a time, until the slime puffs up again. Knead and mold the slime until it’s the consistency you like. That’s it!

You can store it in jars, plastic bags, or lidded containers to keep it from drying out.

What new projects or recipes have you tried recently that have enriched your life? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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Now Offering Birth Photography! | New Orleans Motherhood Photographer

For anyone who keeps up with my posts regularly, you know the strong pull my heart has always had towards capturing the essence and experience of women. I cannot fully explain it, only that I know in the depths of my soul when I photograph a woman who opens up to me or lets me peer a little into her vulnerability, that there is no other place in the Universe I’m supposed to be more in that moment. Whether it’s a high school senior, a bride, a boss girl, or an expecting mama, the women and stories that have found themselves in front of my lens over the course of my career have left me impacted in the most unusual and profound ways.

For much of my career, I’d never had any stronger pull to any particular type of womanly experience–and while I still very much love photographing ALL types of milestones, I’ve noticed an ever-growing tug in my gut over the past year or so. During this time, I’ve noticed a particular and welcomed shift to clients desiring me to document their journey through motherhood. (This is in addition to weddings, of course, which I still very much photograph). Perhaps, and likely, this has to do with my age and place in my own life (no, I’m not quite ready to be a mama just yet), but, this particularly strong pull towards motherhood portraiture and the intensity of emotion captured through the experience is something I know I’m meant to delve into deeper.

After years of inquiries, pleas, and suggestions that I fearfully turned down, I have now decided it’s time for me and this camera of mine to extend my services to include birth photography and/or hospital photography. IMG_0976

 

Motherhood photography encompasses a wide scope of experiences. Currently, I document many mama moments from maternity, newborn, to growth and regular family lifestyle portraiture sessions and have many clients who purchase my Motherhood Collective which allows comprehensive documentation of these. With this, I’ll now be offering the option to add birth photography or the option to hire me exclusively for your birth experience or time in the hospital with new baby.

Many families are interested in documenting their birth experience; however, some instead prefer to have the experience documented during the first few moments of life after the birth. Whether you’d like me to document the pushes, tears, and intense emotion of your birth or the tender moments together within the first 48 hours following, I am available for either form of documentation.

As this is a brand new venture for me, I’m offering introductory pricing to the first 5 bookings for Birth Photography or “Fresh 48” After-Birth Photography. If you are interested in having me document this part of life for you, please contact me at kali@kalinorton.com for more detailed information + pricing.

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Summer Elopement in Cancun | Alli + Steve: Mexico Wedding Photographer

“Now that I can talk to you from age forty, I can tell you–don’t worry, it’s all good. Life is the same, only better. Never perfect, never settled, never figured out, but ever beautifully flowing.”

– Garance Dore, Love Style Life

As I spent the week in Mexico laughing, dancing, and conversing with Alli and Steve’s nearest and dearest friends, it filled me with so much joy to be able to spend so much genuine time getting to know and love those who support them the most. I’ve known Alli since college, and without a shadow of a doubt, she’s deserving of the abundance of love and joy that is present in this season of her life. Alli is one of the most thoughtful, selfless, and positive humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a friend, and after spending the week watching Steve completely and utterly dote on her and speak on the qualities he adores in her, I felt just how genuine the respect the two of them carry for one another is.

Alli and Steve eloped for a destination wedding in Cancun at Dreams Playa Mujeres Resort. This was my first time in Cancun and from the resort to the locals, food to the gorgeous sights, it was one of my most favorite trips, to date. In a blog post soon, I’ll post about the trip and personal adventures, specifically, so stay tuned! For now, enjoy these dreamy photos of their elopement!

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

One of my most favorite parts of the day is watching couples exchange letters. It always gives me a little glimpse into the little quirks between the two of them. Alli is a graphic designer and creative through and through, so naturally, her gift for Steve was laid out in the most picture-perfect way.

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Steve’s relationships with his guy friends was so neat to soak in–most of them friends since childhood.

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

The details and anticipation of bridal prep just never get old.

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli and Steve chose to keep it traditional and not see one another until the ceremony, so we snuck outside with the girls to the other end of the breathtaking resort for a few quick photos.

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

When I tell you that Alli and Steve have the most genuine group of friends and family, I’m not exaggerating. I’m pretty sure holding back tears was difficult for everyone during the overwhelmingly joyful and emotion-filled ceremony. 

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

There was no shortage of fun to be had with this crew, when in Mexico. The fiesta game was strong.

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

And as I walked over to photograph the guys, I found them already posted up…

Alli + Steve Wedding

Alli + Steve Wedding

Quite possibly my favorite detail of the day was the Mariachi band that played during cocktail hour. Mexico cocktails to a mariachi band at sunset, yes please.

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli + Steve Portier Wedding

Alli and Steve, thank you for not only asking me to document this time for you, but also, inviting me to connect with and soak in the genuine personalities of those who love and support the two of you the most. Spending the week documenting the two of you enter into this next chapter is something I’ll never forget.

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Milk Bath Maternity | Awaiting Ivy: New Orleans Maternity Photographer

“I guess I always believed the moments that would one day end up defining me would be loud. They’d be noticeable. I pictured fireworks. I thought I would definitely be able to point the moment out from all the rest if you put them side-by-side in a lineup. I’d be able to stand there, on the other side of the glass and say, ‘That one. That one was loud and big and mammoth and I knew it would change my life.’ But you can’t put moments in a box. You can’t keep people forever. Those moments are meant to happen and disappear.”

Excerpt from If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher.

How eerily true is this? I think it’s so easy for us to be ready for what’s next in life, that we so often don’t take the time to fully embrace the seasons we reside in in the present. Whether the season be happy or sad, it’s a natural part of the human experience to wonder, plan, or anticipate what’s ahead. When I first read these words when reading Hannah’s book, they stopped me in my tracks. Umm, hello reality check. Moments, seasons, experiences exist for us to feel what we feel from them in those moments and mold us into the future human we evolve to.

As Danielle got out of her car and greeted me, it was the first time I’d ever met her. It only took a few sentences of dialogue between us for me to notice the calm, peaceful personality she emanated. After spending that afternoon with her and looking through her photographs, I was able to put my finger on what was so alluringly tranquil about her–she embraces the now of this beautiful season of life she is in, awaiting her daughters, Ivy and Lily.

It wasn’t until after her session that Danielle shared with me the news that she learned weeks ago that she lost one of her girls, Lily.  She is currently still carrying both girls. I had no clue of this while photographing her, and now looking at these photographs radiates her strength during this season in a whole new light.

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

I cannot begin to fathom both the fear and excitement she has for her delivery next week. Observing the contentment and love for that beautiful belly and the spectacular ability her body possesses during these months was so incredibly empowering. Nine months, a “moment” so inherently special to her, Lily, and Ivy alone, that she can never replicate in this exact way again.

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

The morning of Danielle’s session, there was a stirring in me to do something more than just dreamy, creamy photographs of her in a field. We’d never spoken other than through email before, but as she picked up the phone and I introduced myself, the conversation went a little something like this, “I know we’ve never met, but umm, are you down for a milk bath?”

I’m incredibly glad she was open to the idea, because the way they display the beauty and strength of her body during this season of life is so profoundly breathtaking to me.

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle Pauli Maternity

Danielle, I have no doubt that you will execute motherhood just as gracefully as you do the road leading to it. Thank you for allowing me to capture your strength and beauty during this stage of life for you, Lily, and Ivy.

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