Sandy Hook 12.14.12, never again.

These Days


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day One | 8 o'clock (Saturday Morning: lazy start, reading, warm blankets, cold rain outside)

Day Two | Peace (My real 'day two' was packed with Sunday activities, so I actually took this photo a day late.  Ahhh, Monday peace...)

Day Three | Something You Held (my collection of rosaries from Mom, good friends, my big sister, my sons' baptisms, my travels to Rome and the Vatican...  if you ever need time or space to meditate or center yourself--or if you have a case of insomnia, sometimes praying the rosary really does help.  Repetition, reverence, faith, quiet, solitude, healing, peace...)

Day Four | Black and White (After-school pickup in the rain and cold sunshine)

It's time for a mindfulness tune-up.  What better way than to participate in a Photo-a-Day project?  I always enjoy the list that Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim puts together each month.  I am always inspired when I stop and think and look around.  Now that the end of another year is approaching, I thought it would be a great way to close it out.  It's not too late to join this monthly tradition!  I would love to see what you capture each day.  The hashtag is #FMSphotoaday and my Instagram is @charmainevelasco.

There is so much more of my recent days that I want to collect and share, but for now I have this.  You just have to start where you are and be ok with it.  

How have your days been--especially with the holidays in our wake?  If you need a song to slow you down, here's a pretty one for the season from the lovely Nico: These Days.

Autumn in Seattle


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yellow Taxi

Orange Taxi

Post election day.  What a ride!  A nice time to reflect on the current season.  Grateful for having the freedom to use my voice...

One of my best girlfriends and I met for an autumn afternoon in downtown Seattle last Sunday.  It was a mild Pacific Northwest day, and a perfect time for being out on the town.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my senses captured...

Sight: Golden trees and floating leaves dancing under moody skies along Fifth Avenue.
Smell: The potency of vanilla and fruit in the lip balms and cheek tints that we played with at Sephora.  Girl time can be so fun.
Sound: Although we were not in New York City, I still had Ella Fitzgerald's and Louie Armstrong's duet of Autumn in New York playing in my head as I watched the yellow taxi pass by.
Taste: Piping hot portobello mushroom soup at Palomino's for lunch.
Touch: Intricate paper cutting at Anthropologie during their holiday display workshop.  I don't think I have the patience or talent for paper crafting, but it was still an interesting experience.

During this beautiful and hopeful season, what are you grateful for?

Souvenir Foto School | Food + Foto (Assignment Four)


Monday, November 5, 2012

50mm lens | f/3.5 | 1/30 | iso 400 | natural southern afternoon backlight; white diffuser and silver bounce
50mm lens | f/5.6 | 1/100 | iso 400 | white cake stand; natural southern afternoon backlight; white diffuser and silver bounce

In this final Food + Foto assignment, we got to play with dessert!  My favorite.  It being chocolate was a bonus.  Chocolate Honey Mousse with Sel del Mer.  As I was making this over the stove top, I kept thinking that I must be doing it wrong because it was extremely easy to prepare!  The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit via Epicurious.  You will definitely want to serve in small doses because it is very rich and decadent.  So delicious...

Souvenir Foto School | Food + Foto (Assignment Three)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

50mm lens | f/1.8 | 1/30 | iso 640 | kitchen ceiling floodlights at night, diffused by white photo umbrella
Our recent assignment was photographing linguine with pesto, but I only had enough time to work with parts of the ingredients.  Hence, the lonely head of garlic!  I shot this image at night.  I usually like to shoot with available daylight, but this was one of those times when I only had darkness, lamps, and lightbulbs.  I wanted to keep the soft, gossamer quality of the garlic skins.  They are so delicate and pretty to me.  I used my photo umbrella for diffusion, I also worked with some gorgeous Photoshop actions created by Souvenir Foto School.

Souvenir Foto School | Food + Foto (Assignment Two)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

50mm lens | f/2.0 | 1/320 | iso 400 | side lighting from the left, white bounce from a canvas from the right
50mm lens | f/3.5 | 1/60 | iso 400 | side lighting from the left, white bounce from a canvas from the right

Our photo assignment for week two in SFS | Food + Foto was Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Miss Tristan B. of Besotted Blog highly recommended the hand spun mozzarella from the Seattle Metropolitan Market.  Boy, was she right!  Thought I would share my senses of this experience this past weekend.

Sight: During my trip to the market, I loved seeing all of the rich tones of the autumn harvest.  Pumpkins outside the entrance, rows of vibrantly red tomatoes, creamy white tones of cheeses...
Smell: Potently fresh basil as I rip a few leaves from the stems.
Sound: The knife as it hits the cutting board as I slice the roma tomato.  Allen whipping up an avocado smoothie in the background.  The boys laughing while trying to construct their marble game upstairs.
Taste: I couldn't wait to try this caprese concoction.  I wrapped a basil leaf around a bit of mozzarella and sprinkled a bit of salt.  I didn't even get to the tomato yet!  The combination of the cheese and basil was enough satisfaction.  Mild cheese + punctual basil + sip of cool white wine = mmmmm... no words. 
Touch: I was on my way to my girlfriend's house for girls movie night in (we planned to watch scary movies over wine, tortilla soup, and pumpkin spice cake).  The warm afternoon day turned into a mildly chilly evening as I walked out of the market back to my car with my ingredients in hand.  A perfect evening with good friends.

Souvenir Foto School | Food + Foto (Assignment One)


Monday, October 8, 2012

Rosemary :: 50mm lens | f/5.6 | 1/200 | iso 100
Herbed flatbread :: 50mm lens | f/5.6 | 1/25 | iso 200

So here are the results of my first assignment from Souvenir Foto School | Food + Foto.  I am having so much fun and definitely learning a lot from this class.  There will be three more weeks of material.  So please stay tuned for more postings.  Bon appétit!

Hello October!


Monday, October 1, 2012

My Monday morning :: calendars, permission slips, a birthday card for Ms. Rose...
Madeline for my Goddaughter Emily's 3rd Birthday :: this should be in every child's library
So that I can stay motivated with my blogging!

Ahh, October...  A gorgeous, crisp, and sunny first day in the Pacific Northwest.  What a beautiful way to start the week!  Autumn is my favorite season and October is one of my favorite months.  I get to celebrate a birthday, cozy indoor weekends, baking, pumpkins, cinnamon sticks, fiery colors of red-orange-goldenrod on outdoor hikes and soccer games...

I'm trying to stay afloat in the busyness of life's waters.  Coordinating my boys' 4th and 2nd grade classroom and after school activities.  Balancing work and my photography business.  Connecting with my loved ones.  Staying positive.  Being inspired by creative folks.  All good things--but they can definitely derail the mindfulness track.  So, I wanted to take a quick moment and record my senses before the day gets too far ahead of me.  

My senses this morning...
Sight: Robust and swelling pinecones on the treetops ready for the birds' harvest.
Smell: My boys' apple-scented hair as I flatten down their cowlicks--more like their rooster combs (I didn't know what the top of a rooster's head thing was called until now--there's actually a Google search named "what do you call that thing on top of a rooster's head?" Apparently, I wasn't the only one who needed this information).
Sound: A neighbor hammering away on some house project.  I wonder what it is?
Taste: Rich and steamy espresso with a drop of heavy cream.  My 'I Heart NY' mug with the perfectly hot temperature for clasping my hands around.
Touch: The coolness of the morning air that I breathe in as I work on today's projects at my kitchen table next to an open window.

I invite you to stop what you're doing right now.  Take a deep breath, and get present.  What are you seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching?  Right now?  I would love to know...

Souvenir Foto School :: Food and Foto


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Photograph courtesy of Miss Tristan B. of Besotted Brand

I am looking forward to attending another photography project by Souvenir Foto School | Food + Foto beginning October 1st!  It's the latest installment by Miss Tristan B. of Besotted Brand and Michelle P. of Creatocrat.  I have taken a couple of their classes before, and these ladies really know their stuff.  They are creative, smart, and stylish.  You will receive lots of positive encouragement and photography tips from them, as well as from fellow students.  One of my favorites is Jamie of Intertwyned with an amazing collection of photography!  I have learned so much from being a part of this group--and I'm still learning as I go.  I can't wait for this new challenge.

This class will surely be a sumptuous feast for the senses!

Summer Interlude ~ Fin


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A summer evening by Pike Place Market, Seattle
Salad Stuff :: Mateo's Market List of the Day
I wasn't much of a cantaloupe fan when I was a kid, but I'm liking them more.  My boys love them, however!
I still need to create a dish with the few chocolate fettucine nests that I picked up at the farmer's market.
Wouldn't be a farmer's market without buckets of fresh flowers.
90-degree evening at Cedar River :: This reminds me of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher (Mateo, Tomas, and Maddie)
Classic vision of river rafters and beer.  Love this.
This was a memorable evening with my brother, sisters, and friends.  We watched Meatballs!  One of our all-time favorite movies.
Canoeing with my family on Lake Washington :: There are many enchanting coves to explore
The new ferris wheel along the Seattle Waterfront

The International Fountain :: Seattle Center

Oh, there's so much more that I want to share about my summer.  'Twas a good one.  I feel like I get a free pass to post summer since it's still quite warm here in the Pacific Northwest.  These are some images from my local summer days around Seattle.  Wish I could have shared more, but alas, it's almost time to welcome a new season (Autumn, my favorite!).  I am also excited to introduce a new project that I'm working on.  I'll keep you posted.  I hope that you will join me.

Thank you, Summer!  "Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." ~John Lubbock

the sea.


Friday, September 7, 2012

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient.  To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith.  Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches.  Patience and faith.  One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach -- waiting for a gift from the sea."

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh :: A Gift From the Sea

Summer Interlude - Part Two


Thursday, September 6, 2012

AKL Maui Lavender Farm (one of my favorite haunts in Maui)
The boys at AKL Maui Lavender Farm doing a bit of "meditation" during their treasure hunt.

Boogie Boarding at Polo Beach, Maui.  The boys couldn't get enough of the rolling waves.
Low sun.  Just a few more waves before dinner :: Maui
Wouldn't be a Maui escape without a luscious Mai Tai
My men and me at the Banyan Tree.  Lahaina, Maui
School has already begun, but it's still officially the summer season.  I figured I still have some time to share some Maui moments.  What a fabulous time we had!  The next installment will be our Seattle "staycation" days.

Are you still in summer mode?  Still trying to squeeze every bit of the blooming season before the Autumn harvest?  What summer moments are you still trying to hold onto?

Summer Interlude - Part One


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mama's Fish House - North Shore

Colleen's - Haiku



Over the past few weeks, my family and I spent some time in Maui, Hawaii.  It is one of our favorite places to visit together.  We are given a chance to slow down, reawaken our senses, and just have wonderful family time.  Then we had some family visits from out of town.  We've been very busy and happy and tired and wet and sandy.  Here are some photos from our summer escape in Maui.  I took a lot throughout July and August, so I will post more later.  Now that it's the first week of school (first day today to be exact!), it was nice to collect these images and reminisce. As we talked about our highlights from the summer, the boys were nostalgic and wistful over the fact that summer vacation has come to an end.  That, of course, made me teary as well.  I think it's a sign that we had a beautiful season.

How has your summer been?  I hope that it's been restful as well as fun.  I hope that you had a chance to connect and reconnect with loved ones.

A Sense of Place


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have you noticed that I love this coffee table?  Back when I used to write in my old blog, The Delicious Home, I talked about this beloved coffee table.  Check it out here: If Furniture Could Talk.

One of my favorite go-to books on living with mindful gratitude is called Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.  I love how it contains Anne Sexton's reflective poem, Welcome Morning.

Welcome Morning by Anne Sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared I've heard,
dies young.

In the common and familiar, we do find our sense of place in the world.  We can be away from home--feeling out of place--but when we sense what we know to be true, there is comfort in that knowing and recognizing.  We just have to slow down and spot it.  There is Joy.

A few of my joys lately...

Sight: purple and blue hydrangeas on my kitchen table
Smell: chlorine from the swimming pool on hot afternoon
Sound: The Perfect Kiss by New Order playing at Chocolati Cafe on Greenwood Avenue, Seattle
Taste: my morning espresso; rich and potent, like a fresh waffle cone dipped in chocolate
Touch: cool sheets at the end of a full day

What are some of your joys?

Nocturnal Skygazing + A Little Dose of Nostalgia Friday


Friday, July 13, 2012

"See that big, puffy cloud up there?  Somewhere inside it, there's a yellow [golden] door.  That's the door to Heaven."  This is what my boys tell me right before bedtime; our faces squished up against the cool mesh of the window screen.

Sight: Glowing tungsten lights around the neighborhood while the sun melts westward.  Golden pink clouds with a wash of seaglass and sandy sky.  It's as if the ocean had been turned upside down.
Smell: Clean, warm air.  Not yet the looming smog of late summer.
Sound: A neighbor's car quietly retiring into the driveway.  Must have been a long day.
Taste: Minty goodnight kisses from the boys.
Touch: The wire graph of the window screen reminded me of when we used to press the net of a badminton racket upon our cheeks as kids.  Our fingertips would scan the puffy bulges on the other side of the racket.  It was such an odd sensation.  Of course, we had to try it on our kneecaps, our shoulders, our bellies.

Do you recall any textures that amused you as a child?  So much wonder and discovery at your fingertips...

Nostalgia Fridays - The Bus in Senses


Friday, July 6, 2012

This morning I heard the Metro bus make a stop in front of Luther's Table where I was having coffee and banana bread with my friends.  The bus took my memory back some years ago.  Almost every summer growing up, my siblings and I would hop onto the Metro into downtown Seattle for the afternoon.  Our destination was Mom's office, Dad's office, and then off to saving a spot on the 3rd Avenue sidewalk for the Seattle Torchlight parade later in the evening.

The Metro Bus in five senses...
1. Sight: the shadows moving down the rubber-ridged aisle every time the bus driver turned a corner
2. Smell: the warm breeze of exhaust mixed with stale body odor, perfume, and vinyl seating
3. Sound: the monstrous roar of the engine and the clink of the coins for bus fare
4. Taste: grape-flavored Bubble Yum bubblegum while having bubble blowing contests
5. Touch: sticking to the hot vinyl seats, then jumping off the bus with relief when we arrived at our city destination

The Past Few Days in Stills


Monday, June 25, 2012

The soothing droplets of this evening's summer rain.  It was really coming down too.  One of my favorite sounds in the world.

Day Twenty-One :: Where I Slept (In the morning, the boys and dogs jumped right in to wake us.  Oh, alright, we'll get up...)
Day Twenty-Two :: From a High Angle (A fun Girls Night In with some of my best girlfriends, complete with karaoke!)
Day Twenty-Three :: Movement (A warm bubble bath for the boys after a sleepy Saturday)
Day Twenty-Four :: On My Mind (A perfect Sunday of reading, writing, planning, relaxing...)
Mateo and Tomas surprised us with Sunday breakfast :)
Day Twenty-Five :: Something Cute (I love our bedtime reading ritual; the boys like to have a sleepover on the big couch when there's no school)

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