Sara & Stephen’s Rainier Chapter House Wedding: Style Me Pretty Feature

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Screen shot 2014-01-23 at 2.07.43 PMSara and Stephen were a joy to work with from start to finish. They were so relaxed and trusting which for any photographer is a complete treat. The entire day felt very effortless. Nothing was overdone. From the stunning flowers by Fena Flowers, to the stacks of library books each individually covered with sparkly crate paper, to the adorable bridesmaids in their perfectly coordinated color palette. Some of my favorite details from the day were the lovely Kate Spade bangles Sara gave to each of her bridesmaids, the gorgeous wedding cake made by the bride’s sister and the dessert bar stocked full of goodies made by the bride’s grandmother and cousin. There were lovely homemade and personal touches everywhere you looked at this wedding. The Rainier Chapter House was the perfect venue for them. The charming and comfortable surroundings were the perfect backdrop to all the tasteful design choices made by Sara and BreeAnn Gale of Pink Blossom Events.

I loved that it was so obvious that Sara and Stephen are a complete team. The love and support I witnessed from these two tell me that not only are they madly in love but that there is a deep and powerful friendship there. I know their future will be filled with tons of joy, endless laughter, and lots and lots of love.

To hear from the Bride herself and to see the complete list of amazing vendors please check out Style Me Pretty’s feature of this beautiful wedding. Also a big thank you to the amazing Adrian Busse who was my second photographer for the day!! Cheers!

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Paper Photoshoot and Review for Wedding Paperie & Purple Trail

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I LOVE fine paper and stationery. I mean I might have a problem…I’m that obsessed. So when Anna Carriveau of Wedding Paperie and Purple Trail asked me to do a guest post reviewing some of their photo cards I jumped at the chance! I love a good photo card. I think at least one piece of your wedding stationery should have an image of you on it. Whether it be an engagement announcement, a save the date or the wedding invite itself. Even for the holidays I find myself always going the photo card route. There is something very special about documenting this time in ones life. Engaged couples are beaming with love for each other, and what better way to announce one of the biggest days of your life than with a photo card with your beautiful faces all over it!

I was able to pick which photo cards I wanted to photograph and then picked images from a few of my recent photoshoots to go with each design. After receiving all the pretty paper in the mail it was time to have some fun. I photographed each set as I would at a wedding. I like to add pretty vintage stamps, bows, ribbons or fresh flowers when I’m shooting stationary. So I pulled out some of my favorite pieces and got to work.

First up was the Mr. & Mrs. card pictured above. This card is on the Purple Trail website and is called the Pink Laser Cut Florals Wedding Invitation. I thought this card was super sweet and perfect for a young couple. I liked that it was double sided and had a large section for the photo. All the cards on Wedding Paperie and Purple Trail are customizable and changing out the information and moving lines of text was super easy to do. This card has a nice matte finish and the paper is thick and has a nice smooth touch to it. The only thing is that the pink of the card was actually much more muted than what the preview shows, but I actually liked the muted pink color better. The matching envelope and RSVP card are adorable. I especially liked the two little birds with the heart and the monogram detail on the back of the RSVP card. Too cute!

Next I chose the Blue Snowflake Wedding Invitation which is also on the Purple Trail website. I like that even though this card was wider that I still could upload a vertical image. I tend to like vertical images more than horizontal images…it’s a weird preference that I can’t really explain…but my favorite images always end up being vertical. I liked that the snowflakes also kind of look like string lights when they’re photographed. I feel like this card could also go very “evening/black tie” feeling as well as winter wonderland. The blue is nice and rich in person as well and I love that the envelope liner and the reply card both have the snowflake dots on them as well. Super charming.

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Up next was the beautiful Watercolor Photo Wedding Announcement card that is on the Wedding Paperie website. One of my favorite aspects to this card is that the water color continues onto the back of the card to make it double sided….and…I get another vertical image. There is something very grown up and classy about this card. The paper is thick and has a stunning luster sparkle to it that really makes the watercolor pop. Again this card is totally customizable and I love whenever you can incorporate a monogram.

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Last but certainly not least, the adorable Rustic Blue and Black Arrow Save The Date card from the Wedding Paperie website. Again I’m a sucker for a cute monogram and this heart and arrow with the couple’s initials is the cutest thing. I love the blue color. In person it’s a little more powdery blue than the blue/green color on the website, but like before I’m happier with the color it actually printed. I like that it’s double sided as well. I think a double sided card looks more finished vs. just having it be blank and stark white on the back. Even the envelope has the heart and arrow monogram on the back which is darling. Even though it’s just a save the date they sent me the rsvp card to show that it has the super cute monogram as well. I like that this rsvp card is vertical. It’s nice to have a horizontal card and a vertical card when photographing the wedding suite. This card also has a nice matte finish and the colors of the image I uploaded look correct.

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They also offer great address labels that match your chosen design and don’t forget to grab some super cute vintage stamps that match with the colors or the theme of your invites. A great stamp can really take it to the next level….yes I just said that….I told you I have a problem;) One thing to note, Wedding Paperie does not offer envelope liners, just Purple trail and their affiliate website InviteShop.com.

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Overall my experience with Wedding Paperie and Purple Trail was a great one! Their websites are super easy to use, they have lots of fun options, and the paper quality is lovely. As a photographer I can get very picky when it comes to my images being printed, and the print quality of my images was great. Next time your in the market for a great photo card, or any stationery needs, check out Wedding Paperie and Purple Trail. Chances are you’ll find something you love!

Ginger Snaps and Peonies

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Justin and I celebrated 2 years of marriage on Monday. After spending 7 years together prior to marriage it still feels weird to say such a low number like 2….we’ve almost been together a decade! The last two years however have really flown by. From an amazing honeymoon in Spain, to moving into a lovely new home, starting new businesses and discussing the addition of cute little mini Parras has been very exciting.

On Monday we decided to have ourselves a little adventure. We stepped away from the computer screens and the emails and hopped in the car on what was a spectacular day in Seattle. Sunny and high 70’s…perfection. We made a stop at The Rootbeer Store which is something Justin has wanted to do for quite some time. We shared the most incredible rootbeer float and picked out bottles of rootbeer from all over the country. Next we went to the Woodland Park Zoo and spent two hours walking in the sunshine and visiting our favorite animal exhibits. (The white wolves are Justin’s all time favorite). We finished the day off with Chinese food and a stop at a local pub. We decided to forgo the anniversary cake this year and opted to ask our dear friend Kara of The Sweet Side for some of her incredible ginger snap cookies. Justin has had one with every meal since!

Life is treating us very well right now and we are trying to appreciate every single second. We feel incredibly blessed to not only have each other but to have friends and family who love and support us. I knew a life with Justin would be amazing, but so far our story has been even better than I imagined. That is what we celebrated on Monday…made even sweeter by the addition of ginger snaps and peonies…..life is good!

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Teeny’s Tour of Pie: A Cookbook + A Giveaway!

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Well the day has finally come. Teeny’s pie adventure has turned into an cookbook and has been something she’s been working on for the last few years. She now owns Teeny Pies which is an online pie shop that sells the most delicious and delectable pie. When she first started her tour of pie she came here to Seattle to work for Dani Cone at High 5 Pie. I had the great pleasure of photographing a number of her favorite seasonal pie recipes and I am extremely proud to see some of those images in the final cookbook in bookstores all over the United States! You’ve seen me post about Miss Teeny before when I baked her famous blueberry rhubarb pie and Style Me Pretty Living featured the recipe back in early October.

Here is a brief description of the cookbook by Workman Publishing: Teeny’s Tour of Pie is a love letter to a celebrated dessert (arguably America’s favorite—what’s more American than apple pie?) from a young woman determined to take her education in her own hands and learn more about baking than pastry school could offer. In one year, blogger (click here to view her blog!) and would-be baker Teeny Lamothe sent herself on a traveling apprenticeship throughout the United States, baking under the guidance of regional experts and in this debut book she shares the invaluable real-world know-how, and the recipes, these mentors taught her along the way.

Workman Publishing asked me to join the “virtual pie tour” and blog about two pies from Teeny’s book and share my experience with all of you. I of course jumped at the chance! Food Lion was gracious enough to send me all the ingredients I would need to make my Teeny Pies….thank you Food Lion!! I chose one sweet and one savory pie from the spring section of the cookbook. Being a breakfast lover I went straight for the Breakfast Pie with Hash Brown Crust and since my husband loves Key Lime I made him the Zested Lime Curd Pie in teeny pie form. Not only are you getting incredibly scrumptious and ingenious pie recipes but you also get the lovely stories behind the pies. Who or what inspired them and how they played into the entire adventure that was “Teeny’s Tour of Pie.”

I happen to have a signed copy of this cookbook that I will send to one lucky reader. Head over to Katie Parra Photography’s Facebook page and leave a comment under the link to the Teeny’s Pie post. I want to know what your favorite flavor pie is….then I will randomly select a winner from those who commented and I will private message the winner for your address.  For those of you in Seattle Teeny will be at Elliot Bay Book Company with Dani Cone of High 5 Pie on Saturday May 10th at 2pm for a book signing. I know I will be there!! If you don’t have a copy of this book already please head here to purchase one for your very own….trust me…you want this book!!

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Breakfast Pie with a Hash Brown Crust:

3 tablespoons olive oil                       3 1/2 cups peeled, shredded hash brown potatoes

Salt and ground black pepper          1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons unsalted butter          1 large leek, halved lengthwise, cleaned and whites and light greens thinly sliced into half-moons

5 large eggs                                           About 8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices

3/4 cup heavy cream                           1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle position.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the skillet heats, combine the shredded potatoes with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the rosemary in a large bowl and toss to combine.

3. Add the seasoned potatoes to the hot skillet, spread them into a single layer, and cook, flipping once with a spatula, until they are crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

4. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms and cook until they are soft and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

5. Meanwhile, combine the eggs and cream in a large bowl and whisk together. Add salt and pepper and half the grated cheese and whisk until incorporated.

6. Press the cooled hash brown into the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch pie plate. Spread the leeks and mushrooms over the bottom of the crust, and top with the remaining cheese. Pour in the egg mixture.

7. Bake until the filling is cooked through and the top is nicely browned, 30-40 minutes. Serve immediately.

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4 large eggs                                                         1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt                                               1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest             1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 prebaked 9-inch Graham Cracker Crust  ( I split mine up to make smaller teeny pies)

1. Make the lime curd: Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the sugar, salt, lime juice, and zest, whisking to combine after each addition.

2. Add the butter and whisk constantly over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture begins to develop body and thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. (Watch closely to make sure the mixture doesn’t boil, which can cause it to separate.) Immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the prebaked graham cracker crust.

3. Let the pie sit at room temperature to set and cool completely, at least 1 hour. Refrigerated the pie, uncovered, until you are ready to serve.

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (8-9 graham cracker sheets)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle position.

2. Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar in a medium bowl to combine. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and mix with a spoon or a rubber spatula until the butter is evenly distributed. The graham mixture will be slightly darker and should clump easily when pressed together.

3. Spoon three quarters of the mixture into a 9-ince pie plate ( or the smaller tins) using your fingers, press the mixture up along the side of the plate until you have a 1/4 inch-thick shell all the way around. Spoon the rest of the mixture into the center of the plate and press it to form the bottom of the shell, making sure the bottom and sides are joined.

4. Bake until the shell is slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack before filling.

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Citrus Inspired Recipes: Style Me Pretty Living Feature

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smpliving_badge_white_2014It’s been a little while since I did a post…needless to say March and April were crazy busy, chock full of fun projects that I can’t wait to share with all of you!

At the beginning of March I had the opportunity to team up with my fabulous friend and talented chef Miss Megan Doherty for another lovely food photoshoot. This time it was going to be about all things citrus. Meyer lemons and blood oranges are super tasty this time of year and Megan came up with three amazing recipes, two of which were featured on Style Me Pretty Living last week. First up was a Meyer Lemon Flatbread with arugula, mozzarella and prosciutto….you guys…this is so easy to make and beyond delicious…it’s a must have for your summer menu planning.

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Next was a Lemon and Rosemary Cava Cocktail. Megan knows that I LOVE cava so this was a particular favorite of mine. Not too sweet and super refreshing!

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Lastly, Megan made some Olive Oil Cupcakes with Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Syrup…..yes they were divine….hands down the best thing I’ve eaten in a while!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. Perfect for Spring and Summer and best eaten while one is wearing flip flops and soaking in some sunshine!

The recipe for Olive Oil Cupcakes is as follows:

Ingredients:
Cake: butter and flour, for pan                                 3 eggs3 cups granulated sugar

2 cups extra virgin olive oil                                       2 cups whole milk

zest of 3 meyer lemons and 1 blood orange           2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda         1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar, for dusting                                     1 for garnish orange, sliced

Syrup: Juice of 3 Meyer lemons and one blood orange1/2 cup sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Butter and flour two cupcake pans. (Aerosol cooking spray will also do the trick).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until blended. Add the olive oil, milk, and orange zest; mix well.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture; stirring just until blended. Do not over mix.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes; until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. While the cup cakes are baking, prepare the syrup by simmering the citrus juice and sugar on low heat until it thickens slightly.
6. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Loosen the sides  with a knife and invert the cakes onto a serving plate.
7. Brush the syrup over the cupcakes and dust  with powdered sugar. Garnish the cupcakes with fresh Meyer lemon and blood orange slices.

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