I've known Shari since we were teenagers. We used to work at a movie theatre (we have some movie theatre concession confessions lol), but in 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated our home. We lost touch after awhile, but saw each other for the first time in years in January. She'd started her own mental health care practice, and when she asked me to photograph her, I was elated. I love photographing my family and friends. We joked and laughed at talked about the days when things were simpler, but also confided in how much we'd grown over the years into the women we are today. I'm so proud of her and all that she's accomplished, and I'm happy that she chose me to capture her essence in photographs!
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We don't get traditional September weather in NOLA. We won't even have boot appropriate weather until mid-October. Fall is my favorite time of the year though, and I can't wait to break out the fall attire. The summer to fall transition is therapeutic for me because the planet isn't the only thing that goes through changes. The falling leaves off the trees always reminds me to let dead things go: stagnant relationships, anger and resentment, weight and even bad habits. As we get older, I believe we should constantly develop our mental palettes, make it an effort to constantly learn new things and reinforce our values with action. August was a great month, but I'm going to make this a September to remember.
As an ode to my Babes & Beignets Portrait Special, I thought it was would be cool to look up a unique homemade beignet recipe!
INGREDIENTS (yields up to 4 dozen beignets)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peanut oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar for serving, as much as you think you'll need—then double that!
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles form at the surface. Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk, and then pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.
Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot to fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375°F over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes). Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a rough-shaped round. Dust again and roll the dough out into a ½-inch- to ¹/³ -inch-thick circle. Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef's knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48).
Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil. Add a few beignets (don't overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown, turning them often with a slotted spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest. Serve while still warm, buried under a mound of confectioners' sugar, with hot coffee on the side.
The beignet dough can be made up to 8 hours in advance of frying. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. After cutting the dough, place the beignets on the paper and place another greased sheet of parchment paper, sprayed-side down, on top. Wrap the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The beignets can be fried straight from the refrigerator.
Ann Marie, surrounded by family and friends, celebrated her Bridal Tea Party in downtown New Orleans at the Windsor Court Hotel. This was such a fun event to photograph, everyone was dressed in their best with hats to match!
Amelia reached out to me earlier this month to photograph her engagement session. After we went over the details, we decided to go to City Park, one of our favorite places in the city.
The day we shot was beautiful with a slight overcast with a soft breeze. We instantly connected as we had a lot in common, and over the course of an hour, we got to know each other and even learned we knew some of the same people (y'all know NOLA is super small).
Amelia, a Retention Specialist, and Jason, an Account for the City of New Orleans, met on Plenty of Fish about 4 years ago. They took their time to get to know one another as people and friends, and according to Amelia, took courting to a new level by dating for 8 months before they became a couple. Jason decided to surprise Amelia by proposing using black stickers are her front door. As she was leaving, she initially missed the message, so Jason had her go back inside to make sure they didn't leave anything. When she came back out, she realized what was on her door, and the rest is history! They're set to marry in May, and I wish them nothing but love and happiness!
I shot their engagement, their wedding, their birth announcement, and now their maternity session! I swear, these two are some of my favorite people. Kind, compassionate, fun and so so in love. I am so happy for Carie and Jonell, and I can't wait to meet baby Addison this summer!
My good friend April Dupre with Footprints to Fitness approached me about a month ago to help her with a few projects. April has dedicated her life to helping others live a healthier lifestyle and in doing so, she has helped transform the lives of so many people with her positive mentality and generosity. She needed beautiful imagery for her social media, website and blog. I was super stoked to help out and we came up with a few ideas to complete the look for a few healthy styled photoshoots. We ended up meeting in City Park in New Orleans and having a blast! The weather was perfect, the light was even better, and we captured some amazing photographs! Check them out!