It’s October today and it seems like the Southern storms that I have been documenting are not just relegated to summer as I formally deduced. Oh, no, it’s supposed to be stormy all week. This was taken over the weekend, thus the September moniker.  Being from Southern California I am really not used to the downpours. The other night the thunder sounded like a gun shot, it gave me goose bumps.  I thought it would be interesting to show you the storm rolling in.  The first shot is when the clouds start to close in on the blue sky, birds are nowhere to be seen, there’s a stillness to the air and it all feels a bit foreboding.  I love the second shot because even though the sky has been engulfed with storm clouds the sun’s rays are still beaming down from above (heavenly), then the sky rumbles and in a blink it’s a smoke + charcoal gray and the clouds release their raindrops in a torrent.  My studio looks out onto a pond and I love the sound of the rain heavy on the pond’s surface. I honestly didn’t do enough research into this cross country move to know that I would be in the eye of the storm 98% of the time. I am not sure how I feel about it; on one hand it’s novel, majestic and awe inspiring on the other it’s disconcerting, a little moody for my sunny disposition and I hate that my dogs fear for their lives (or at least act as if they do). I am in a word torn. What I am not torn about is starting Souvenir Foto School today!  I love to geek out and be in the company of other photo enthusiasts for a few weeks of my life. Food + Foto is always one of our favorite classes as it combines my love for pragmatic craft (what?), you know a hobby that has purpose–food is a great purposeful hobby.  No one around you will complain that you are making them a beautiful dinner.  It’s also nice to be connected to other like-minded individuals whilst I am living in the country and people are scarce. What’s not scarce is wildlife. I did see a turtle the other day walking on the road (we don’t have sidewalks). I made my husband pick it up and put it near water (away from cars and horses) and then went home to Google it.  It seems this turtle is indigenous to North Carolina and is not a turtle that needs/likes water. We went back to move the turtle to higher ground but the turtle had high-tailed it out of the way of danger, smart turtle. Live and learn.


We are pleased to announce that the two scholarships for our Food + Foto class were granted to Lisa S. and Simone|Fleaing France! We wish we could have chosen more scholarships, we believe everyone that applied is worthy of one. We are getting very excited here at the Souvenir Foto School, we have been working round the clock for months planning and for the past few weeks my co-professor Michelle P. and myself have been cooking + shooting like our lives depend on it. To say we are inspired is an understatement, just check out the above test image that Michelle shot above, breathtaking!  I can’t wait, you?  We have a few more spots left, won’t you join us?


I realized this morning that my blog has lacked color lately.  I am all for neutrals and a hushed palette, but even I appreciate a pop of color sometimes.  Thankfully, inspiration hit via an email from Paul & Joe, a French design house that has both beautiful clothes and an equally beautiful beauty line.  It’s their 10th anniversary and they are celebrating it with the launch of a new collection called ‘A Love Story’.  If you have a soft spot for vintage in your heart, then their packaging will delight you to no end.  The round blush packaging wrapped with the storks/pelicans, uhm birds motif? So darling! They pay attention to every detail, from debossing their mark into the the cosmetics themselves (hello, script ‘PJ’ in the lipstick), to replicating authentic beauty packaging of yore with their molded nail polish wand and hourglass bottles.  You know I lean to the clean, but I can really appreciate the work that went into taking this line to market to create all these custom components. The word on the street is that this isn’t just a pretty face either, their products rate rave reviews. I see it as a very ‘gifty’ line, maybe not something you would buy for yourself but maybe your bridal party would love a kitten lipstick?  Just a lovely line, indeed.  Happy Friday everyone!


I found a couple of great tutorials for you this week from James Ketsdever on how to clean up your lettering in Photoshop and how to create a faux chalkboard lettering effect as well. If you have been on my Hand Lettering Love board on Pinterest you may have seen these already, but it’s always nice to have a place where you can easily access this info, right?  I am not having any luck getting concrete information for you on what nibs calligraphers/letterers are using to create non-script lettering (I will keep poking around).  I have tried a few different nibs without much success, who knew it would be harder to print with a nib than create a script?  Not I.  For the image above I tried a nib called a Brause Steno, it is referred to as the ‘Blue Pumpkin’ (cute right?). I also tried a new black sumi ink that glides really nicely on the page (I am using mini Rhodia notepads for practice).  If you are new to this craft and doing lettering practice like myself, do yourself a huge favor in the beginning and get yourself a nice smooth paper stock that will gladly accept your ink.  I’ve tried cheaper sketch pads which just allow the ink to bloom and get yucky fibers stuck in the nib tip.  Better to try to give yourself an advantage with a smooth surface, learning a new skill is tough enough as it is without adding shoddy supplies to the mix!

P.S. When my husband tells me he loves me, every once in a while I will ask ‘how much?’, without hesitation (and in his very serious + deadpan intonation) he tells me the same thing his mom told him when he was a little boy–‘To the moon and back, round and round infinity times.’ I think it’s super sweet and I love to imagine my husband as a little boy asking his mom how much she loves him.

P.P.S. The lovely Torie (a fellow lettering enthusiast) emailed me that Kelsey C. wrote a wonderful little calligraphy article on Note to Self, a must read for all us newbies!


I promise to pop in later today and give you a nice juicy lettering love post, but I felt yesterdays prickly pear experience trumped anything that I could have written this morning.  Let me start out by saying I am brave in many, many facets of my life but not when it comes to food.  I eat what I know and I don’t stray from this formula.  I don’t eat anything smarter than a dog, in case you were wondering, bacon has not touched these lips for about 30+ years.  There are many things I won’t eat, so yesterday when I was presented with a beautiful ruby red drink made with something called a ‘prickly pear’, simple syrup, a twist of lemon and fresh seltzer I was a bit apprehensive before I would partake.  I had to ask how many ounces the glass was and to what ratio the simple syrup was, (hey I am sensitive to sugar) and then I tentatively asked about the fruit/vegetable that was in it. It could have been a beet as it was deep, dark and jewel toned–I don’t like beets.  I was assured it was not a beet, but a Mexican fruit and I was shown the evidence of whence it came from.  Did I mention I am not brave when it comes to new foods?  I was with my husband and his friend had laboriously muddled the Mexican Fruit (prickly pear) to create this custom non-cocktail for moi. I knew that refusing the drink would not be an option, so I closed my eyes and took a sip.  It was so good!  I was soon taking another gulp, the fruit had an almost light watermelon like flavor that meshed so well with the citrus, it was a holiday in a glass, I was transported to sandy beaches with aqua waters.  My taste buds did a double take and tried hard to recollect what this might be comparable to, but came up empty.  It was like a juicy flavor bomb had exploded in my mouth. Have any of you tried this before?  For those that haven’t, let me forewarn you that it’s not a pear, nor is it particularly prickly.  It grows on a cactus and as you can see from photographer/editor Todd Coleman’s beautiful image above, they come in multiple varieties.  This little innocuous fruit made me want to  hop on a plane to Mexico to partake in its glorious variations and all the culinary combinations possible.  I doubt I will become more gastroly adventurous in the future, I am a bit set in my ways, but for today I am happy that I was backed into a culinary corner and tried something new.  You?  Have you tried any new foods lately?  Are you a food coward like me or will you be willing to try anything? Inquiring minds (mine) would like to know…