Blawging Thanksgiving

cowgirls

The girls and I drove out to the desert on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. I always love an extra prep day and I knew my mom would appreciate some help since this is the first time she was hosting Thanksgiving since they moved to their new place. She had plans for us to do a little dusting but as soon as we got there we booked it out to the fields to catch a few photos before the sun went down.

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I mean, how can you not? It’s so beautiful out there! I love love love the desert. Lots of people in my family go on and on about how beautiful Northern California is with all its Redwoods, lush greenery and ocean views but I will always be a desert girl at heart. Give me some golden sun, some dark burgundy sage and some pretty views of the mountains through atmospheric moodiness and I am a happy camper.

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Little did I knew we’d get busted for climbing around our old favorite barn.

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Apparently, it’s on private property and not part of the park that my parents live in. Bah Humbug. But you know me, I’ll still sneak up there and take a few photos of my #reinhartcanyonbarn. I’ll just be more careful and not let the girls go inside exploring. I should have known better. That rusty old building has tetanus written all over it.

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After our photography session and a spaghetti dinner, we settled in for an epic game of Uno and looking at Saturn with my dad’s telescope.

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You might wonder how we could see anything with that bright porch light behind us but we could. We just had to wait for the automatic sensor to turn off and then peer through the long viewfinder. My dad showed us Venus and all of it’s moons lined up and then Saturn. You could see the rings just barely but if you asked me it looked like a piece of rice. To prove my point I have illustrated it in that black box. That’s pretty much what Saturn looked like to me. My dad is much more of a space enthusiast than we are but it was still fun. Any time we have together and we are not on our phones is a good time I say.

waiting-for-dinner

The next day my mom put the turkey in the oven at 9 am. I helped of course but I didn’t have much to do.  My mom’s oven is really old and struggled to keep a constant temperature. The turkey managed to cook but it took about two hours longer than it was supposed to which royally fouled up my plans to take our Christmas card photo at golden hour. I knew going into this that it would be a challenge to squeeze dinner and a photoshoot into one magical golden hour but I had high hopes.

And those hopes were dashed.

We did manage to rush out and take a few just-in-case shots before the turkey was done and those will probably be my only shots because wouldn’t you know it golden hour happened at exactly the same time as we were sitting down to dinner. It was excruciating to watch the sun set, glinting with golden light on the table while we served up stuffing and ladled delicious gravy. I was in agony.

But what can you do? Hold up thanksgiving dinner just for a photo? Eat it afterwards when it’s cold? I push my family a lot when it comes to photography, I knew that was my limit.

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So here are the rushed shots.  I’m missing in this one.

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I’m dealing with Cody looking the wrong way in this one.

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This might be a good shot but Bug is smirking and Joon is looking down. She prefers to look away from the camera. It’s a thing.

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This one I’m fixing my mom’s hair that was blowing away in the wind that picked up. Which, by the way, I should mention REALLY picked up and even if we had made it outside at golden hour we would have been blown every which way. So I guess it’s not that horrible that dinner ploughed through my plans.

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This shot of my parents and their dog, Spreckles turned out pretty good.

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This is the best one of the bunch. It’s kind of hilarious and perfect.

dinner

In spite of the oven not working and my roasted vegetables never making it past the super-crunch level of raw, dinner was pretty delicious. I remember when everything was going down I was surprised that my mom wasn’t as upset as I would be. If this had happened at my house I probably would have had a meltdown and be in tears. I’m wound so tight when it comes to entertaining, a broken oven would have done me in. But it wasn’t my house and my mom seemed surprisingly indifferent. So I took my cues from her and tried not to sweat it. I guess if you’ve cooked as many Thanksgiving dinners as my mom has, you know that something will always go wrong and it’s not the thing that’s going wrong that matters, it’s how you handle it.

I might not have a picture-perfect holiday photo but does anyone really love a perfect picture? Nah. Bring on the outtakes!

We Had Such Grand Plans

us-fools-halloween

This post is purely for me because nobody cares what I did for Halloween when we have a massive election going on. But I care and I can’t start my month off properly if I haven’t blogged and created a new banner. So here goes!

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“We Had Such Grand Plans” could be the title of this whole year. We make plans, they backfire. Over and over and over again. But  unlike the rest of 2020, my plans for Halloween this year actually sort of worked out. Well, mostly. The only part of my plans that didn’t work out was that Joon was at her mom’s this year and couldn’t really participate in my grand plan but I forgive her because she sent me a photo of herself wearing the costume I designed and it looked absolutely smashing on her. So there’s that.  I actually think I had a even better Halloween than ever because I got to do all my favorite things.The rest of my family might not agree but I was a happy camper.  And by favorite things I mean: making crazy costumes, carving pumpkins and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Really, that’s all that matters to me.

First up let’s talk about costumes: The grand plan was I would be the mad hatter, Payam would be Volcano Man from the movie Eurovision: the story of Fire Saga, Bug would be a Plague Doctor and Joon would be a witch. Except when I showed Joon the sketch she promptly decided she wanted to be the Mad Hatter. Fine with me! She makes a better model for my work anyway.

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A week before Halloween we got to work. Bug created her plague doctor mask out of a balloon and paper mâché. I thought we were going to paint it black but once we saw how historical and interesting the newsprint was we decided to keep it unpainted as a political and historical statement. That was all Bug’s decision which I think is brilliant. Instead of throwing this mask away I think it will be an art piece we keep in the family for a long time.

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For the Mad Hatter I whispered up some cardboard similar to my crazy cake lady hat. That was such a fun costume. This hat didn’t turn out quite as well as the cake but it was still over-the-top silly which is really all I cared about. Of course Joon looks amazing in her thrift store suit, her crazy hair and the cane her dad put together for her.

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Payam’s costume is a hodge podge galleria of ramshackle cardboard glue-gunned together to look like armor. His helmet is made from San Pelegrino boxes. It was really fun to make. If only I maid a faux fur cape I think I would have really nailed it. But considering he only wore if for the photo I think I put in more than enough effort.

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Around four o’clock I called the family (Sans Joon) together to take a portrait in front of our garage. I’m thinking this is going to be the background for all family photos this year. No need to hire an expensive photographer for Christmas cards when I can use my handy dandy remote and my camera on a tripod. It’s not as magical but then neither has this whole year been. I think families standing in front of garages will pretty much sum up this year.

As you can see I am still learning out to use my remote. Hopefully I’ll be a little more natural at it for our holiday photos.

I want to say, and then we carved pumpkins but you can tell we actually carved pumpkins first. Whatever, it fits better here in the post.

 

I’m so happy Bug shares my love of carving pumpkins. Yes, it’s messy and slimy and gross but it’s also really fun!

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Bug made a pumpkin eating a baby pumpkin and I made a laughing scary mouth pumpkin. Not super creative but fun nevertheless.

We didn’t want to spend too much time on them because we had a photoshoot to do in the tunnels with Bug’s creepy plague doctor costume! And even though I planned all sorts of time to do it we still managed to run out of time and rush the whole thing. I don’t think I’ve ever done a photoshoot where I don’t feel rushed and don’t make a thousand mistakes. It’s kind of the nature of the biz since your subjects usually get bored way before you ever nail the money shot.

Anyway, I forgot my tripod… it was super dark and green from the weird tunnel lighting. In some ways I think it makes the shots better but I also know I could have done a way better job.

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I think it definitely checks all the creepy boxes.

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Pretty much encapsulates 2020 I think.

 

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And so that’s that! We came home, ordered pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, handed out a few candies with tongs and masks on and called it a night!

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And yes, we already voted. In case you were worried.