Wednesday, February 23, 2011


oliver was fashion-forward last night in striped pajamas and cowboy boots (best find ever for $8 at a tiny little antique shop in the tiny little town of elma, wa).

on sunday, we had a family movie night. watched toy story 3. oliver was fascinated by the fact that buzz and woody were sitting right next to him on the sofa and also running across the tv screen.

first thing monday morning, oliver ran right over to his toybox and grabbed woody. he has been his favorite deputy ever since. woody goes where oliver goes. and if woody wears boots, oliver wears boots. it seems "w"s are still a bit tough for oliver so he calls his friend "oody" and/or "baby." 

best part is: i am the mom who swore up and down that my child would not get one single minute of "screen time" until he was at least 2 years old. not one minute. he is not 2 and he has had enough screen time to have a favorite cartoon character. oops.

oliver bug will be 18 months old tomorrow. oh how i love him so. cannot believe how the time has flown right on by. 

the moment we met.

blueberry eyes.

time flies when you are having this much fun... can't help but wonder if maybe oliver might want a baby sister sometime soon? she would be at least as much fun as buzz and woody. 

ok - that thought just left me completely exhausted. 

night night friends,


"we are most alive when our hearts are conscious of our treasures"
-thornton wilder

p.s. snow is falling tonight. it is beautiful.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

henry: senior portrait session; and some super sweet props

henry is a brilliant senior at john f. kennedy high. he has really cool parents and i adore his three sisters. had so much fun shooting these. was verrry cold but the sun did pop out a few times. i (again) love the rich texture if the brick. clearly i have a thing for brick.

meet henry:

(i heart proud mamas)

henry - i wish you the very best of luck, creativity and growth in the adventures that lie ahead. thanks so much for playing your guitar for me. loved it. (cannot wait until oliver can start lessons! maybe you will be teaching by then???)

now for a wee bit of shopping:

i have portrait session props on the brain. been on the brain all day. wish i could have spent the whole day glued to etsy but... ugh - work to be done. dinner to be made. and now, sleep to be had. i was able to sneak in a few minutes of browsing time here and there. check out these fabulous finds:

cannot wait to incorporate this bright 60s mod fabric into tay and maddi's portrait session...

and how about this totally rad french wine crate from here.

this banner from funkyshique screams whimsical, romantical engagement session. this shop is loaded with fun banners - for all occasions.

ok - these last two - not for props. one for above my bed. one for the head of the guest bed. 
love love love them. unfortunately cannot afford bright cherry red headboard at the moment.

find these here

and find this beauty here but don't even think about buying it. ;)


"the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"
- eleanor roosevelt

Monday, February 21, 2011

diva duo: mother-daughter portrait session

this shoot could not have been any more fun! girls were great - gorgeous, fun, sassy. location is one of my faves (my own wedding party shots were taken here. only drawback to shooting in this brick haven: it takes forever to edit out all the bird poo and cigarette butts from the photos. still completely worth it). it was the perfect mix. the dynamic between these two is both heartwarming and hilarious. there is nothing quite like the bond between a mother and daughter. (i am secretly hoping that my next kiddo will be a tutu-wearing little belle). the sky was mostly grey (of course) but there was no shortage of color (fantastic clothing picks ladies!) as we roamed the streets of pioneer square and snapped away.

meet kara and kaitlyn:

thank you sooo much kara and kaitlyn. had a fabulous time. you are a stunning duo. fo sho.


p.s. taylor, maddi, jess and i may have invented the newest olympic sport today: hula jumping. yep. hula hooping while jump roping. quite the challenge. stay tuned for hula jumping video in the near future.

"youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall. a mother's secret hope outlives them all."
-oliver wendell holmes

Friday, February 18, 2011

delicious dinner party and a heaping spoonful of confidence ;)

fabulous company (my belles jen and maria and their hubbies and kiddos) 
+ fabulouso food and wine = awesomeness.

jen, mike and miss nora - thank you sooo much for hosting a delicious evening! you rock.
maria, scott, and baby scarlett: always love some quality time with you. 

the pics:

(oh baby scarlett - how i love you!)

(precious nora belle - gorgeous!)

(recipe for this photo: ISO 250; f/2.0, s 1/60, 50mm w/ flash, one fork full of delicious apple tart, one impatient baby with bubbles on the brain)

 (another play date soon is a must!)

(i am calling this photo "diva in jammies" - love it)

(the belles - me, maria, jen. love you ladies!)

the food:


mini caprese salad skewers

  • 1  pt. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 10  to 14 fresh small mozzarella cheese balls, cut into thirds*
  • 32  (4-inch) wooden skewers**
  • 1/4  cup  extra virgin olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • 6  thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Thread 1 tomato half, 1 piece of cheese, and another tomato half onto each skewer. 
Place skewers in a shallow serving dish.
2. Whisk together oil and next 3 ingredients. Drizzle oil mixture over skewers; 
sprinkle with basil and salt and pepper to taste.
*1 (8-oz.) package fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, may be substituted.
**Wooden picks may be substituted.
beef tenderloin cocktail sandwiches with flavored butters:
see recipe here.

 sorry. no salad recipe today. sadly, maria indicates that her yummy spinach salad recipe is top secret. this is fine with me as long as she promises to bring it to the next dinner party. delish!

jen made great use of her ina garten/barefoot contessa cookbook with these delicious recipes:
herb-roasted salmon
1 large (2 to 2 1/2 pound) salmon fillet, bones and skin removed 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 cup good olive oil 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
5 scallions, white and green parts, minced 
1/2 cup minced fresh dill 
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley 
1/4 cup dry white wine 
Lemon wedges, for serving 

1. Place the salmon fillet in a nonreactive roasting dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature to marinate for 15 minutes. 

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

3. In a bowl, stir together the scallions, dill, and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet, turning it so that both sides become generously coated with the green herbs. Pour the wine over and around the fish fillet. 

4. Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon across into serving pieces and serve hot with lemon wedges.

wild mushroom risotto
see recipe here.

dessert (omg soooo yummy)!
french apple tart. (recipe here).

thanks again jen, mike and nora for hosting a totally rad dinner party! xoxox

boost of confidence today:
i was very fortunate to be invited to join a conference call this morning with me ra koh (oober talented photographer and one of my most favorite ladies on the planet) and karen buckley, beautiful and inspiring business coach with wisdom connection. this call was all about boosting confidence and encouragement in women starting and/or running a business. it was amazing. what a delightful way to spend an hour. what a fantastic group of women - all supporting each other in their passion for photography
 (and family and friends and business).

my favorite tip i am taking away from this call:

'valuing yourself and your dreams will teach your children to value themselves too.'

  one of the questions that karen asked all of us to ponder:  
"jump ahead to december 31, 2011 and pretend you are looking back on this year. tell me one step that you could take this year that would make you feel fulfilled in yourself and your business... a step you could take that would make you feel really really good about yourself"?

hmmm.? i am going to "think on" that one for a bit. what would your one step be?



"Practice random acts of awesome" - spotted on a bumper sticker on our trip up the oregon coast last year. i am adopting this phrase as my business motto because i love it so.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

portrait sessions in review (oh and meatloaf)

i have had the pleasure of snapping away at some verrry precious little faces (and hands and feet - i have a slight obsession with baby feet) in the last few months. below is a smorgasbord of faves from portrait sessions with these fabulous darlings:

(max and makenna)

baby max - what a little prince! this little guy is a natural born heart breaker. i met max when he was just over two weeks old and had the pleasure of seeing him again about 2 months later. what a gorgeous little lovie.

max's big sister makenna is (of course) gorgeous too! and so much fun. i giggled when editing her photos. for every photo of her pretty smile, i had at least five of her sticking her tongue out at me. way to have a strong personality, missy!
i love it.

(caleb, hope and ellis):

i shot these three beauties while in san fran at the me ra koh confidence seminar. precious.

(miss scarlett):

allow me to introduce you to miss scarlett! aka muffin or bean. she is absolutely perfect (and her mama, one of my best belles, isn't bad herself)! scarlett was an itty bitty 5 lb., 9 oz. when she was born. these shots were taken 10 days later. wait until you see her now - cutest chubby little lovie cheeks ever.
i adore her.

(nora jean):

oh my - miss nora jean! she brings a whole new level of cuteness, spunk, and charm to the game. and if they made this tutu in my size, you better believe i would be rockin it. nora has awesome parents. jen and mike - you are fabulous. thanks for letting me shoot your girl. i love her. ;)

(autumn and aaron):

 twins! this little dynamic duo is full of personality! this shoot was a blast. i commend spud and kristen for being so calm and collected with two new babies on their hands! they are oh so sweet, especially with quivering bottom lips sticking out in protest. "we know we are sooo cute but stop pointing that camera at us already!"

(mr. logan):

i could have spent all day with sweet baby logan. no tears from this little guy. he was in front of my lens for a good 3 hours before he made a peep. stacey, jared, big brother trevor and baby logan - it was a pleasure spending this time with you. there is obviously no shortage of love in your family! these photos make my heart smile... and i am sooo looking forward to your next photo session!

(baby jerami and big sis makenzie):

brand newbie baby jerami is an angel! i loved him the second i laid eyes on him. thank you so much brigit and jerami for the vote of confidence in my work. i enjoyed spending a few hours with you and your kiddos. they are perfect. 

big sis makenzie was really into the photo session... for about 10 minutes. after that it was all tea party and doctor's office. (she asked very nicely that i put my camera down while she "checks my fever!" ha! what a sweet little bugaboo). despite her disinterest in the camera, i was still able to snap some really fun shots of kenzie darlin. she is precious!
tea, anyone?

(taylor, maddi and reece):

taylor and madison were the first two apples of my eye. my nieces, lovely in every way possible. although they are certainly not babies anymore, they are still my baby girls. their baby brother reece, aka "bear" is the epitome of sweetness. and he loves the camera! just nine weeks apart, he and cousin oliver are the best of friends. it is so fun watching the two of them grow up together. i adore these kiddos to the moon and back and really love snapping photos of them. cannot wait for the fun, colorful springtime shoot we have planned!


ok. the meatloaf. first i have to admit that i was dreading the valentines day meatloaf. a loaf of meat? ugh. one of ryan's favorites and one of my least favorites. i wanted to do something lovely for him on v-day so i decided to give meatloaf one last shot. i planned to do some meatloaf research on but got busy with work and mommying and thus found myself in the kitchen last night totally winging it - i added random ingredients until i thought it looked and smelled like it could be edible. turns out winging it is a grand idea. after two bites of meatloaf, i stopped eating to grab a pen and paper and try to recall what the h i had put in the meatloaf. it was really, really good. maybe, just maybe meatloaf will be more than a once-a-year at the mclaughlin house.

if you are ever in the mood for a loaf of meat, try this:

nik's eclectic meatloaf

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork sausage
1/2 a package ritz crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
2 medium carrots, grated
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 plus 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tsp for top
2/3 can of tomato paste (reserve remaining for glaze)


remaining 1/3 can tomato paste
2/3 cup ketchup
1-2 tsp yellow mustard (depending on how much you like mustard)
1 tbs brown sugar

loaf: mix all ingredients but 1 tsp of olive oil and the egg in a large bowl. whip egg and then add to bowl. bind together and put in greased loaf pan. drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil on top. bake 1 hour at 350. remove, add glaze and then bake for another 10 minutes (longer if temp has not reached 165 degrees).

prepare to be a fan of meatloaf.

p.s. - this is my happy meatloaf-making song. if you have it on repeat long enough it will likely add a bit of a bounce to your step.



"a photograph is like a recipe - a memory the finished dish." - Carrie Latet