Down winding roads and surrounded by gorgeous country life, out to the beautiful Sauvie Island I drove on a rainy Saturday in January. Adah-Leigh Joy was born six weeks earlier and her new parents, Krissy and Lucas, were excited to have her photo session. I was excited too! I had completed Krissy and Lucas's maternity session a few months earlier, in the pumpkin patch of the farm they live on. It was pretty much the cutest afternoon ever...until I met Adah-Leigh of course:)
Adah-Leigh was one of the sweetest babies I've photographed to date! She talked, smiled, yawned and slept for us. We had to wait for her to sleep a few times, this was when Krissy and I just hung out, talked and laughed. It was a really fun, adorable, lovely afternoon on Sauvie Island and I am so excited to watch this little girl grow up. Here are some of my favorites from the session.
I included Gary because he was very much a part of the photo session:) Plus how cute is he?!
Just love the shots of new parents comforting their babies:)
I've literally known Kayleen Endrikat my entire life (read the back story behind that here).
Her last name has changed, but not much else. She's always been a sweet, funny and strong individual as well as a positive force in my life. After she introduced me to my amazing guy (we'll be celebrating our seventh anniversary this year), I would call her frequently for advice and guidance and she always managed to make time for me.
In 2010, Kayleen married a wonderful man by the name of Jon Endrikat in a beautiful ceremony in my hometown of Eagle Point, OR. Ever since, I have watched them grow and develop as a couple from afar and admire the love and respect they have for each other. Last year, Kay asked me to photograph her and Jon, in their wedding clothes, to celebrate their second anniversary.
We chose to have the shoot at Trail Christian Fellowship, the church Kay and I attended as children and where Kayleen's mother, Debbie, works. The weather and location performed beautifully for us. It was a humid 79 degrees and sunny with a light breeze, what more could I ask for?! Kayleen and Jon were great as well. I love when clients are willing to get a little dirty or uncomfortable to get a shot. It shows how committed they are to making the shoot a success.
Ultimately, I was very happy with how the shoot came out and, thankfully, Kayleen was too! I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again although I'm thrilled to have them in my life as friends:)
I'm going to Germany!
It sounds weird to say, especially when telling others.
It started a few weeks ago, I heard the clock ticking. Perhaps it was because my 26th birthday was approaching or perhaps I just finally slowed down enough to hear it. Either way, the rest of my life was staring me in the face. I could feel time speeding up and knew that it would begin moving faster and there was no way to stop it. In a few short years, I'll be settling down, buying a house, getting pregnant and starting a family. That's why I've decided the time to do all the things I want to do is NOW. I told (not asked) Jason that we will be traveling overseas next year just because we've always wanted to and we aren't getting any younger. Our first trip will be to Germany and possibly the Netherlands, two places both of us have always wanted to go.
It sounded so exciting, so easy. I just decided and that was that. However, when you want to turn a dream into reality, the pile of tasks ahead of you can seem so daunting.
The first thing I decided to do was look into getting a passport. Both Jason and I have never had a passport and I heard it can be a lengthy process so I figured that was the first step. After filling out a short application, I found out that getting a passport is around $150 each when it's your first one plus it can take three months to get. Yikes, no wonder everyone is telling me to get it now.
The next thing I've started is actually learning the German language. I figured this would be a lengthy process as well so I downloaded a few podcasts and free iPhone apps and began listening to them on my morning drive. Jason has helped me with pronunciation since he studied German in high school and still remembers a good amount of it.
Lastly, I began researching culture, society and physical places in Germany. I've traced my family roots back to Lower Saxony which is on Germany's western border. Just across the border is the Netherlands so it would be a quick train ride to the Land of the Dutch. This sounds like where we want to travel and a great opportunity to visit some of my own, very old history.
This is going to be a journey. Not just the actual journey to the country but the planning, saving, and learning it takes to prepare for the trip. I'll keep you posted on my progress over the next year and a half:)
Until my next update, auf Wiedersehen!
I forgot my journal today.
Normally I always have something to write on and lately it's been this super cute new journal I received from Jason's mom for Christmas. Unfortunately, in the true Monday fashion, I walked out the door without it. It makes me feel pent up or caged like I'll say or do something silly if I don't have the ability to write it down. So I thought I'd blog instead.
My parents came up to see me this weekend and to give me my birthday presents. First, I received a super cute slouchy beanie and a beautiful Tiffany's blue scarf, both from my mother's knitting needles. She always knits us gorgeous stuff and Tiffany's blue is my new favorite color!
They also gave me a pair of Dad's slippers that have sat by their front door for years. It's one of those things that's hard to explain why it's special. Finally, I got a great immersion blender for blending soups and dips as well as a beautiful, brand new black KitchenAid stand mixer!
The KitchenAid was actually entirely my father's idea. He even nicknamed it "The Black Mamba" in honor of the super amazing University of Oregon running back, De'Anthony "Black Mamba" Thomas. I was nothing short of ecstatic.
While my folks and I were sitting around singing along to old music videos, my mom mentioned that she was getting hungry and asked if I had anything to snack on. I had some Triscuits and baby carrots so I pulled out my mini-blender and blended up some hummus. My mom really enjoyed it so I decided to post my recipe below. I make it pretty often, especially for work, since it's high in fiber and low in the bad stuff (the worse thing for you in the recipe is salt) so it keeps me full and doesn't ruin all my hard work at the gym (ha!).
After my parents zoomed off in my Dad's truck, I attempted to make basic white bread using the KitchenAid but I definitely did something wrong as the bread didn't rise. I imagine it'll take some practice:) I ended my Sunday by simmering some chicken in a mixture of BBQ sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire Sauce until the chicken was cooked and tender. Then I plopped it in the KitchenAid with the paddle attached and watched, mesmerized, as the chicken was perfectly shredded with ease! Tip: the chicken must be warm.
Here is my recipe for quick hummus. If you have any suggestions or recipes you'd like to share, please leave a comment!
Air contacted me in October about photographing her and her husband, Ryan, with their brand new baby boy, Jacob in their home. Baby Jacob was already asleep when I arrived and was such a little angel for us. He woke and cried a few times but for the most part was quiet and adorable. It was easy to see that Ryan and Air were so very happy with their new addition and were content to just stare at him. And why not? He had the sweetest face and looked so peaceful:)
Ryan and Air hired me to document Baby Jacob's first year so you will be seeing more of this adorable family. Our next shoot is this weekend!
Thank you Ryan and Air! I can't wait to see how much he has grown:)
I was so excited when Krissy contacted me about a maternity shoot with her husband in the Portland area. Other than the fact that I love visiting Portland and maternity shoots, I was most excited about the fact that they live at a farm on Sauvie Island. I had never been to Sauvie Island or even heard of it but the photos I discovered online were stunning, I couldn't wait to see it for myself.
The location did not disappoint. Krissy and Lucas were happy, laughing and pretty much glowing during the shoot. They told me their little girl's name would be Adah-Leigh Joy. Leigh and Joy are Krissy and Lucas' sisters names. Krissy picked great outfits to go with our pumpkin patch theme as well as some adorable props. Later this month, I'll be traveling back to Sauvie Island to photograph little Adah-Leigh who was born at the end of 2012! Can't wait to meet her:)
Here are some of my favorite photos from the shoot:
"Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow."
res·o·lu·tion [rez-uh-loo-shuh n]
1.a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
2.the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
3.the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
4.the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.
I know it's a little cheesy, and I always say I'm not going to do resolutions but there is something about a NEW year and a fresh start that just makes you want to predict all the awesome things you are going to accomplish in this revolution around the sun. Typically, I am thrilled to say goodbye to an old year and feel the bad moments were so prevalent. This year, I can easily see the not-so-great things that happened but I also feel successful at overcoming those challenges but at the same time, my year is ending on a great note. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
This year, my resolutions are pretty much the same as last year:
-It's all in the hips: Permanent lifestyle changes are super challenging, and while I have come a long way in altering my diet for the better, becoming more active and ditching old, not-so-great habits, my journey is far from over. I still hope to lose some weight, eat locally and become more fit in 2013.
-Do as I say: Bowling, golfing, hiking, mushroom hunting, wine-tasting, movie-going and local events: these are all things I said I was going to do this year and ended up caving to my home-body tendencies instead. This year I want to do more of the things I tell myself I'd love to do and less of the things that are in my comfort zone:)
-Read my lips: I read some great books in 2012 but getting back into reading after college was harder than I thought it would be. This year, I hope to read more of the things that have been on my book list forever (Salmon Rushdie, Ken Kesey, etc).
-Write it out: I promised myself that even if I didn't get it published, I needed to finish my book as a personal life goal. While I'm not going to say I'll finish it this year, I'd like to make some decent progress.
-Care more and care less: I always resolve to see and cherish the people that mean most to me. This stretches from my family and distant relatives to old friends I haven't talked to in ages. At the same time, I find myself becoming far too defensive when people try to give me life advice without invitation. While I find this somewhat rude, I must learn I don't have to take their advice and ultimately, my decision is exactly that, mine!
What are your resolutions for 2013?
Thanks for reading!
When I was little more than a gigantic fetus inside my Mom's tummy, she waddled across the street from our small 3-bedroom home in Eagle Point, Oregon to go to the Eagle Thrift Market, a local grocery store. Upon arriving at the counter to pay for her items, the grocer, a friendly woman with two small daughters of her own, asked if my Mother needed help with the baby. Mom said yes and for my entire life, Debbie Conley would be there.
Debbie helped out in my parents home office, babysat me, house-sitted and eventually became a full-time employee of my parents' roofing company. As a child she was always there to make me food and give me hugs. I also spent a significant amount of time with her daughters who were a little older than me. We swam in my parents' pool, went to each other's birthday parties and often had sleepovers. In 2005, the day after I was released from the hospital, Debbie showed up with a few dinners that we could pop in the oven so my folks could focus on helping me recover.
In 2006, I had returned to the Rogue Valley after my first year of college. Upon walking into my summer job at a plywood mill, I discovered Kayleen, the younger of Debbie's daughters, would be working opposite me. We became close again and she even introduced me to my amazing guy who I have now been with for 6 years and plan to be for many more.
In other words, each part of my life has been influenced in some way by this family. So when Kayleen asked me to complete a photo session of them (including the girls' handsome husbands), for Debbie's birthday I was ecstatic.
Unfortunately, the weather was not.
After picking a weekend in June that worked for all of us, the rain decided it wasn't going to let up. Luckily, we had great wine at Agate Ridge Vineyards to keep us occupied while we prayed for it to stop. Amazingly, it did! I honestly don't think it could have been more beautiful with the dramatic clouds in the background and the sunshine on my subjects. I love how the photos turned out and I felt so grateful to have the opportunity to give something back to people who have given me so much.
Here are my favorite photos of the Conleys, Endrikats and Harrells:
Hello, Greetings, Good Day, Howdy, Bonjour and Jambo,
I haven’t written in quite a while so it only seemed appropriate to greet you several times.
How did time get away from me like this? 2012 has come and gone by so quickly. For the first time in years I can look back on this year fondly and remember so many good things that happened:
-I found, not one, but TWO great jobs after six months of unemployment and a minor identity crisis (more on the new job later).
-My amazing Dad, who I am very close with, kicked cancer’s butt.
-I got my first (but definitely not my last) puppy! He’s a Boston Terrier and he enriches my life every day. Read about my dog history here.
-My amazing guy found a decent job that works around school after losing his previous one. He now balances school, work and me with grace and compassion.
-To show my amazing guy how amazing I think he is, I bought us tickets to Comic-Con San Diego, the world’s biggest comic book convention in the world which was great fun.
-I don’t suck at cooking anymore!
-Finally, my photography side business has had another wonderful year filled with many new clients and returning ones (plus I bought a new super-awesome camera).
What good things happened in your life this year?
I got a new job! It all started in September when I realized, despite the fact that I loved my co-workers and the company, I had to move on from my customer service position at a wholesale manufacturer in Eugene.
There was nowhere to move up there and I knew I had to leave.
I called my temp agency and told them to let me know if there was anything out there that would be a good fit for me. They asked if I was interested in a marketing position at Fall Creek Nursery.
Really quick, rewind a year. After losing my job at HSI just before Thanksgiving in 2011, I had applied for a part-time marketing position at Fall Creek Nursery and declined their request for a second interview because it was part-time and quite a commute from my home. Plus it was my first interview after being let go, there would be plenty more opportunities right? *Insert laughter here*
Okay, back to October 2012: Fall Creek Nursery ended up hiring a person after I interviewed last year but that person didn't stay. So, almost exactly a year after I interviewed with them, I sat at the same table in the same conference room with a year to reflect on.
The interview went very well and I was feeling extremely confident about it but there’s always that slight tickle of doubt in the back of the brain. So I waited…
The next day, October 23, my temp agency called and offered me the job! I eagerly accepted and they asked me to start on November the 1st. I received a 30% pay increase, potential to move up, more job security than I’d had in years and a fresh start with a job in my industry. However, I’m going to be honest, I freaked out on more than one occasion during that last week at my previous job.
Saying goodbye to the first job that rescued me from unemployment was difficult. I had a strange, affectionate connection to the people there and even the building. I kept asking myself whether I was making the right decision because I had it so good at this job even though I knew I couldn’t make any more money or go anywhere.
Most of these thoughts I kept to myself. I know a lot of people who hate their job or have had a very difficult time finding a new one so complaining about having two awesome jobs seemed cruel. Then I went to my happy hour spot, a little dive in downtown Eugene I’ve frequented so often that several people say “Hi Kylie,” when I walk in the door. During this particular visit, I saw an old friend who I’d worked with at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He’d been looking for a new job since you can’t move up at Enterprise without a degree and he didn’t intend to go back to school. Several weeks earlier, I had suggested he apply at my guy’s new work (also a call center), as he could move up and they were not as strict with corporate policies. He got the job and had begun training when I ran into him. I expected him to gush about how enthusiastic he was about it but the person I faced was nothing short of terrified. With a wife and little girl at home, he knew failure was not an option and yet he felt as though he was drowning. He had call center experience (from Enterprise) but was entering an entirely new industry and wasn’t sure if he was cut out for it.
I told him this, “it’s going to take time, but you will get there. You had to take a chance by leaving a job you knew well to give you and your family a better living situation and it will pay off. It’s just going to be a bit scary at first.” As I said the words I realized how much they applied to my own life. I had to leave this cushy position I was in to go after a better one, yes with more responsibilities and an unknown element but also with more potential and payoff. So I left my customer service position with my head held high and walked into my new career trying not to look nervous.
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery is an amazing place to work. Not only do the owners, a local couple, still work there but their children and even their children’s spouses work there! I’m particularly fond of this because my parents have a business as well and I know how hard it is to make a business work. I have much respect for both sets of entrepreneurs.
The farm itself technically produces and sells blueberry plants. They sell commercially, to large companies who want to plant the blueberry plants to harvest the fruit for various products or just to sell as is. Fall Creek also sells to nurseries who then sell to the home gardener. I’ve learned so much about blueberries since starting which is great because they really are an amazing fruit.
In addition to typical administrative support, I am entrusted to write and post blogs, code and send e-communications using an XHTML format, act as a liaison between designers and advertising salespeople to secure ad space, coordinate and plan trade shows, photography, social media and various writing projects. Also, I can’t leave out the blueberry taste-testing! Overall, I am excited about this journey and all the new things I am learning. I am also excited to be working under my boss, the marketing manager, as she is a brilliant and passionate woman who has a lot of expertise to contribute as well as a great personality. She is so very busy and yet she makes sure to ask how I am and give me positive feedback whenever possible.
Despite having a full-time job with a 30-minute commute, a photography business, a close-knit family and a puppy, I have a chunk of free time. With my partner working later I’ve immersed myself in an endless mission to both eat better and eat cheaper. So as I move into a short photography break over the next month or so, you’ll see some of my favorite recipes pop up on here that are so simple, a blonde could do them.
2012 is ending on a great note and, I have a feeling 2013 is going to bring several amazing experiences as well.
Before I end this ridiculously long blog post, I have a few people to thank:
-My family and friends for supporting me through the rough spots and encouraging me to reach higher.
-My amazing clients without whom my business and my passion would cease to exist.
-All the people who sent me job postings and dropped my resume to people when I was desperately looking.
-Mary at OfficeTeam for her effort and professionalism.
Thank you all for your support and words through life's little hiccups and I wish you all a very happy holiday season.
"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." -Ernest Hemingway
Three days have passed since 12 little girls and eight little boys were brutally murdered inside their own elementary school in Newtown, CT and the time feels as though it’s dripped by, painfully slow. Everyone seems to feel hurt and emotional pain over this shocking situation: parents or not, nearby or on the other side of the country. The disturbing events that took place on Friday morning highlight the very worst within our society and force us to ask, “what could we have done?”
Almost immediately, Americans took the opportunity to discuss political change that they feel must occur in order to prevent more tragedies, while non-Americans chimed in with suggestions from their own corner of the world. Even though this dialogue began instantly after the shooting, giving no time for grieving or reflection before people were willing to open their mouths, this was not what frustrated me. Over the last few years, encouragement to vote and become more active in the political system has heavily influenced my generation and voting numbers are up higher than they have been in decades…for the U.S. presidency. Most of the younger people I know who voiced their opinion about the election had no clue what bills were up for a vote right here in their own town and county (other than the bill that would make smoking and carrying marijuana legal in the state), and mainly cared about the Obama vs. Romney chronicles. While I can agree that the results of this particular race is important, only caring about the presidential race and nothing else means you are expecting change from the very top, for 300 million people, to trickle down to you eventually when you have the opportunity to vote for local politicians and bills whose decisions and support will have a direct effect on you.
What does this have to do with the shooting?
By calling on law makers to enact stricter gun laws, people are waiting for their voice to reach the leader of 300 million people and asking him to work with others, who don’t agree with him, to come to a common solution. Seriously?
If people are so determined to make the world safer from shootings why not write your local gun suppliers and ask that they not carry assault weapons? If you know they do, start a petition asking them to stop and have members of the community sign it. Write to your local congressman, join groups online where open dialogue can occur, volunteer to help educate people on guns, do some research regarding these shootings and how the guns are obtained, start or join a peaceful demonstration, etc. All of these options hold more weight and can accomplish more than screaming at a guy via social media 3,000 miles away who has 299,999,999 other people screaming at him.
This applies to any and all societal changes you’d like to see occur whether it’s within the health care system, gun control or animal abuse. Do, rather than talk, act rather than say, start in your own community and allow it to trickle up rather than down, make an example of your city for other cities to say “wow, it worked for them, maybe it will work for us.”
If someone has a different opinion than you, try to remind yourself not to go on the attack. I can’t speak for others but I know when people start to become condescending or make assumptions to me, I tend to defend myself or completely shut down and really, what will that solve?
On the other hand, try to understand the opposite perspective, whatever that may be. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they may be feeling based on their experiences.
It is possible to create change without going through the government. While we should be able to count on the government for a number of things the reality is these troubled times mean sometimes we have to find our collective voice of the people and accomplish things for ourselves.
Below is a copy of a letter I have written to a local gun shop, please take it with a grain of salt as I wrote it in five minutes but also, please feel free to take it, make it your own and then send it off! It’s also important to remember that we don’t want to harm these businesses, they are a part of our community but they should know what the community, they’re customers and constituents, want in this day and age. Be respectful, be courteous and, above all, be heard.
"Be the change you want to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi
Dear _____________, December 17, 2012
Hello, my name is Kylie Keppler and I have been a Eugene resident for six and a half years. As a child raised in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, I was subjected to and taught to shoot a number of guns, mainly single-shot 20 or 12 gauge shotguns. My father had a number of reasons for teaching me how to shoot, one of which being protection. I do not currently own any firearms myself, my father still has the one he bought for me to practice with at the shooting range. Eventually, I would like to get one but not before getting a safe large enough to house the weapon and its accessories. I would also ask my father to bolt the safe to a few studs in the wall as he did with his own, this was the one and only reason the safe and all the guns inside were not stolen from my parents’ house when they were robbed in 2001, the robbers literally could not get the safe open or out of the house despite their efforts.
In the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting, I also want to be conscience and aware of the businesses I am supporting when I purchase my firearm and its accessories so I am writing to you to ask about your policies:
-Do you sell assault-rifles or semi-automatic/automatic weapons? If so, why?
-What do your background checks involve?
-Do you sell high-capacity magazines? If so, why?
The answers to these questions will greatly influence my decision to do business with you so a response would be appreciated. If email or phone is more convenient, I have included that information below. Thank you for your time.