Today, I love

moody spring
3E0A9738.jpg
moody spring

Waking up early so my morning can be a little longer. 
The way the spring means that some walks come with the threat of rain. 
These moody flower photos from one of said walks.
Listening to Bob Dylan songs that remind me of fried eggs made early in the morning over a bonfire. 
Remembering that we never went to sleep. 
Blueberries, frozen and saved from last summer, in my yogurt.
Impending adventuretimes. 

il pleut

flowers

I've been thinking about the winter blues, and how every spring I find out just how real it is. That first day it's warm enough to wear clothes that let my skin breathe a little and I'm a new person. This is my springtime mood board.


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 

il pleut was my addition. The French expression for "it's raining." 

You're so vain.

easterdress.jpg
easter dress
easter
leopard print flats

There are a lot of things that I tend to feel silly about. Asking someone to take a picture of me is one of them. But since the first day with my new camera was such a beautiful day, and I couldn't con any friends out of easter dinner with their families to shoot with me, I ended up asking my mom if she would take a few photos of me. I needed a new headshot anyway and I actually washed my hair that morning, so it was a perfect storm. 

I'm not used to having someone take photos of me. I don't know what to do with my hands or my face. I usually just get a serious fit of giggles. It's good for me. It reminds me to give a lot of direction and encouragement when I'm shooting. But my mom was great. It's really good to have someone on the other side who you know thinks you're beautiful. 

So since this post is already very much about me, here is this list of things about me presently. Cassie of The Veda House posted this recently, and I thought it seemed fitting. 

I AM…

MAKING the most of mornings, evenings, and days off for more freelance. 
COOKING anything easy, fast, and packed with nutrients that I can also take for lunch. Today, it's tomato and mozzarella salad with pesto. 
DRINKING peppermint tea in the afternoon to curb my craving for a latte.  
READING very little. 
WANTING more opportunities to do what I love. more energy. more time. 
LOOKING at green and gray through the window.
PLAYING music with a beat to keep me awake. Miike Snow, Lorde, and Ellie Golding.
WASTING time on the internet. Always. 
SEWING not a darn thing. 
WISHING that I didn't have to go to work. that morning coffee was a forever thing. 
ENJOYING open doors + windows + breezes. 
WAITING for May and my trip to Portland.
LIKING these shoes
WONDERING what is the next step and who will be a part of it.

LOVING that it's warm enough to eat my lunch outside. 
HOPING to find a new apartment sooner rather than later. 
MARVELING at the glorious effects of sunshine on my mood. 
NEEDING a good long chat with my dear friend in Spain.
SMELLING coffee. It's always going to be coffee. 
WEARING pajamas. But in the photos I'm wearing a dress found on the sale rack at Madewell and leopard print flats from Target. 
FOLLOWING open doors and my heart and such. 
NOTICING more of the things that make Columbus kind of wonderful.
KNOWING that good things come to those who make them happen.   
THINKING about all the things I need to do on my next day off. 
BOOKMARKING inspiration for my spring and summer wardrobe. 
OPENING my sunroof on my drive to work.
GIGGLING at this video.
FEELING optimistic, but a little anxious too.

True love.

grandpa
3E0A9500.jpg
coffee

GUESS WHAT? I HAVE AMAZING NEWS. 

I just purchased a beautiful new Canon 5d Mark III. The past week really has been what dreams are made of in my little world (a new website and camera!). I had been planning to buy it next week, but because of an impending photo shoot and a lost camera charger, I decided to make the big purchase on Saturday night. I have been squealing and cooing and snapping pictures of every little thing around me. I can't help it. This camera makes everything beautiful. I think I'm in love. 

If you'd like to have a free photo shoot with me, today is the last day to enter my giveaway on facebook. All you have to do is like or share my photo, or leave a comment letting me know how you'd use your free photo shoot. My camera is pretty kickass now, so you're really gonna wanna enter. 

 I even like this crazy face car selfie. My camera is magic. 

I even like this crazy face car selfie. My camera is magic. 

Family photos

old-family-photos.jpg

Last night I was just lying around and decided to retouch a few old photos that I had of my grandparents. Aren't they adorable? I love this photo of them. My grandma, with her arms thrown around my grandpa's neck, standing on her tip toes. And I swear my grandpa looks just the same somehow, even though he just turned 80. He dresses exactly the same, seriously. Their 50th anniversary is coming up this June.

p.s. I'm loving my grandma's bikini in the shot on the right. What a babe!

Here are the photos before I retouched them. Though we'll never get rid of the originals, I'm sure that our family will appreciate seeing the photos restored a bit. 

original-old-family-photos.jpg

Remember, there's a giveaway going on over on my Facebook page. I'm looking forward to making some great images with one of you. 

Building an empire.

brocante-toulouse.jpg
wedding-cake.jpg
bordeauxwine.jpg
roses-france.jpg

Welcome to the brand spankin’ new brookmade! I have been waiting for this day for a long, long while. I’ve had dreams of a more polished website for ages.

My old set up was a little hard to navigate. I hated that my portfolio wasn’t hosted under the same url as my blog, and that it wasn’t custom. I know a lot of my business is generated from people looking at my website (plus all the nice things my mom says about me – thanks mom!), so presentation is everything. Now it is much easier for potential clients to sort through my work, plus I made it a breeze for them to contact me. Speaking of, you should hit me up. <3

I’ve been putting a lot of thought and effort in this business over the past few weeks (or realistically, months and years). It seems like a lot of work to put into this tiny business, but I know I have to work hard and be strategic for every single client I get. I have to fight to be seen over all the other voices in the industry, and a lot of times I watch as jobs I would have loved go to other people. The only choice then, is to tighten my game. Take better photos, serve my clients well, and keep working. Slowly, building an empire. I’m always rethinking how things are done, learning from each experience, and watching others to see how they’re making things happen. But let's be real, it's been really rewarding. I love the strategy talks I have with my mom when we're shopping. I like thinking about it on my drive to work. I think this year is going to be a big year. I want to make it happen.

I want to give major kudos to Squarespace for making this redesign possible. I know I'm not walking away with the most custom website, but it looks good. And I did it myself with a minimal budget.

Of course, I have to celebrate all of this with a little gift to you. The giveaway will take place tomorrow on my Facebook page. Check back for details. 

Rachel loves James. James loves Rachel.

IMG_1053.jpg
James & Rachel : Engagement
James & Rachel : Engagement
James & Rachel : Engagement
James & Rachel : Engagement
James & Rachel : Engagement

I know this is where I’m supposed to write about how Rachel and James met, but what is actually going to happen is I will write about how Rachel and I met. I think we were in the same class in like 3rd or 4th grade, but more importantly we were cheerleaders together in middle school. These are the dark ages in my mind, but I do remember taking all our water breaks by one another’s side, finding respite from the preppiness. I don’t know how Rach felt, but she was totally my security blanket during those pep squad days. We left our cheerleading days behind in high school, but we’ve been friends ever since. We have one of those adorable, I-will-reference-weird-things-about-your-past-because-I’ve-known-you-forever friendships. Y’know, the stuff that chick flicks are made of. So all that to say, I can’t wait to be a bridesmaid for this lady come August. 

Also, James. I like him. He’s funny, and kind. He picked Rachel up at a party because he noticed what a hottie she is. I approve. 

Healer hands and rhubarb pie

healer hands & rhubarb pie
healer hands & rhubarb pie
healer hands & rhubarb pie
healer hands & rhubarb pie
healer hands & rhubarb pie
healer hands & rhubarb pie
healer hands & rhubarb pie

Maybe you might remember me mentioning a collaboration with my magnificent writer friend Marijean (here’s the proof). Well, her words and my photos were shared on wolftree.co and I would highly recommend taking a second to click through and read what she wrote.

Warm thoughts to you all as you enjoy pies of your own. Happy thanksgiving! 

Never too busy to watch the sun rise.

Never too busy
Never too busy

I haven’t meant to be so quiet. It’s only, I’ve been fighting the fatigue of starting a new job. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll leave it at mentioning that it is by no means the dream. Although, I’m still figuring out the dream anyway. 

I have been using my days off to schedule a few photo shoots before the under-appreciated winter sets in. And I’ve been watching the sunrise nearly every morning, and if you’ve ever wondered if I prefer to see sunrise or sunset, I would choose sunrise every time.

So despite the month of silence, I do intend to continue using this space with more regularity. Because it’s certainly not that my head is empty, or this part of the world isn’t as wonderful as that part of the world. 

Whitney and Damian

Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian
Whitney & Damian

Engagement shoots are actually pretty fun and a little awkward and I really hope that I get to do a lot more in the future because I really like it. I like getting to watch how people interact. I enjoy trying to make them feel more comfortable. I think the moments behind the scene are the real magic.

p.s. I put a few more photos from this shoot on my facebook page.

Pisa, Italy

Leaning tower of Pisa.
Pisa, Italy
Gelato.
Gelato
Pisa, Italy

Pisa was only a stop on our journey because we found a 15 euro flight to Paris, but when we realized it was so close to Florence it only made things better. There’s not really much to see there other than the leaning tower, so on our one morning in Pisa, we easily navigated straight through the whole city right to it. 

It was a charming little Italian city, but we were pleased to find that a morning was sufficient. We wandered around the tower, took our requisite leaning tower photos as punishment for all the touristy things we didn’t do in Rome, and grabbed our last Italian gelato. We went back to our hostel to grab our things where we met the hostel owner who fulfilled every stereotype of a charming Italian man. He told us that we would surely fall in love in Paris, and that we need not buy a ticket for the train to airport because all we needed was our womanly wiles to distract the conductor. He kissed our cheeks and we were off. We made it to the airport in the knick of time, and even managed to get seats together on the flight (because we always get what we want).

Leaning tower of Pisa.

The selfie.

Self portrait.
Self portrait.

Lately I’ve been carrying around a composition notebook. It feels less precious than my neat little sketchbook, and it gives me space to write or draw very imperfectly. I’ve nearly filled the whole of it in a month, which is not always usual for me. My mind has been burning with ideas, and sometimes I get a little fire in my belly that I must make something right now. Like, if I don’t, everything bad will only be worse, all deflated and lackluster. I start to crave the kind of gratification that only the combined effort of my mind and hands can bring. This feeling had been dormant for a little while, but it’s been happening a lot more lately, and I think it has something to do with my notebook.

I feel like every time I open my browser, everything seems crowded and my voice is drowned out. I can’t hear myself think. Our minds need space to be creative. And so many are creating so many wonderful things, it’s easy to scare ourselves with our good taste* into being timid and very much afraid of making our own things. But when I write in my notebook, I feel like I have space (pages and pages!) and I feel productive. 

Last night when everything was golden and I was all alone, I felt like I couldn’t possibly wait to make something until someone else was available. Self-portraits often feel silly and narcissistic if you make them without the same need that you always have. Because sometimes the subject happens to be yourself because you were there, and that’s all.

So I haven’t really shared anything here for a while because my head needs space and computers are too two-dimensional right now. And because I want this space to always feel refreshing, and not too contrived, so sometimes that means leaving it alone for awhile in favor of a notebook. 

*this is a reference to the quote by Ira Glass on good taste.  

the VSCO grid

the VSCO grid

I recently started using the new VSCO grid, which probably you’ve heard of. If not, it’s a photo-sharing platform associated with the VSCO cam app, which has some of my favorite filters for editing phone pics (truth: I have never used one of the instagram filters).

I think it’s pretty cool. It’s just a really simple webpage, with no comments, likes, or follows. Can I tell you? It’s really refreshing for me. I can be a big mess of self-consciousness when it comes to sharing, and the need for affirmation can take the fun right out of it. Also, you can share the full photo and not just the square. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has come to detest the Instagram square.  

I totally didn’t expect to be into it. It seems like just another silly social media thing. And maybe it is, but it kind of reminds me of back in the day when we would have secret xangas because we wanted to keep expressing ourselves, but needed to be a little more candid (but no behind-the-back-trash-talking this time!).

I’ve uploaded a few photos, most of which have never made it onto Instagram (for fear of the dreaded photo dumps, usually). I plan to keep adding photos from time to time that I just want to share for sharing’s sake. I like that it doesn’t necessarily have to be real-time either. Throw those #latergram’s right out the window. 

Mine is here.

Does anyone else have a grid? I would love to see what others are doing.   

Home, Sweet Home.

back in the midwest
back in the midwest
back in the midwest

It’s been a whirlwind month since I got home from France, and I need a little real time update about what’s been going on in my world since I flew over the ocean. It’s crazy how in just a month that life seems so far away (did it even happen?). On the bright side, I showed up just in time for America’s biggest party and I’ve been remembering some charms of life in the midwest (even if I’ve been basically weeping for some good cheese and good walking routes).

I’ve been doing a lot of fun things like going to the fair, watching fireworks, eating birthday cake, and holding about 8 baby goats at one time. This weekend, I got to make a trip over to Indiana for a wedding (hooray love!) and spent a few days saying hello to friends, and it kind of made the whole “back home” thing seem complete. I even came home with a million blueberries thanks to Deutscher’s blueberry bushes.

Other than the major partying that’s been going on over here, I’ve been on the job search/switched right back into my goal-making-true-blue-american way of thinking. While this year looks a little less adventurous than the last, I’m excited about some of the possibilities that come with being in the same place for a longer period of time.

back in the midwest

There are still more photos from Italy and France to come, but it might be a little while before I get around to sharing them. For now, I can hardly bear to sit in front of the computer for longer than I have to, so I’m giving an advanced warning that this space might be a little dead for a few weeks. Although I’m really thinking about how I’m going to use all of those blueberries, so I might be sharing some recipes soon (in a maybe series called Baking Blueberries with Brook - my cooking show dream come to fruition).

Basically, if you don’t care about blueberries just don’t even bother coming to my blog anymore.

TTYL