"Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did."
We wish everyone out there the best year ever this 2011. Happy new decade!
For those of you unfamiliar with the term "muffin top" wikipedia can give you the low down here:
muffin top 101
Chocolate Marble Cake
2 cups cake flour (or sub with all-purpose flour, just minus 2 tbsp flour per cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder
1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg white
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(Recipe courtesy of Alice Medrich:
Chocolate and The Art of Low Fat Desserts)
Have all ingredients at room temp. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lower third of the oven. Spray 8-10 cup tube pan with cooking spray. This recipe also makes an awesome pound cake. I used a different pan for mine.
Jin and I stumbled upon this awesome little urban shop called Nood in Gastown, Vancouver during Christmas weekend where I spotted this cute mini bunt pan from across the room and I had to take her home. I felt weird putting rubber into the oven but I soon fell in love with this little invention, plus I love me some pink!
Use a whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift together. Set aside.
Cut the butter into pieces and place in an electric mixing bowl. Beat for 1 minute to soften. Gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar and beat at high speed for about 3 minutes. Dribble eggs in slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly for about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture. On medium-high speed, beat in half of the yogurt. On low speed, beat in half of the remaining flour. On high speed, beat in the rest of the yogurt and the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour.
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I was a little bummed it snowed three flakes last winter which was a surprise since it felt like 20 below zero and naturally assumed we wouldn't go boarding, something we waited all year for. So when Jin surprised me with a trip to Whistler as my Christmas gift I was psyched! I
love taking random trips as is, even if it's to the park down the street so you
could imagine my excitement when he told me were going to Whistler. Don't get me
wrong I love unwrapping presents but I'm beginning to realize that I also
love gifts that allow for some good ol' memory-making, something you have for a lifetime.
So I really appreciated this thoughtful gift and we had an amazing time from
drinking wine in Lululemon (holiday party) on our way to Sushi Village
(amazing!) to waking up to inches of snow on one of the mornings. I thought an eskimo from the north pole had moved their igloo onto our hotel balcony.
So the post-it notes are my game plan for this Christmas. This year I'm planning
something for Jin. I surprised him with a W Seattle getaway and burlesque show last year but this time it will be a little different. I wanted to keep it a surprise because I love
surprises, giving and receiving. Plus I have a little feeling he might find out
if I tell you what it is :) But I'm excited. Let's just say it will be our first Christmas
away from home. I'll really miss that feeling of waking up under a Christmas tree but this will make it
that much more memorable!
Photographically for both Linda and I, it was such an amazing learning opportunity by having jumped into unknown territory of family portrait photography. It's a very different ball game than say an engagement shoot or personal portrait shoot but what a rush it was! We learned so much by diving right in head first and just doing it on the fly. For example we ended up only having about 20 minutes to setup the studio when we were supposed to have a whole hour to get ready before the first family was scheduled to arrive. Then to top it off, because nobody replied to my several emails prior to the shoot to get a feel for what kind of team we were made of, I found out there that nobody was familiar with setting up or using studio strobe lighting....Luckily Linda and I were able to get it setup from all the hours of home schooling we've taken through YouTube University and the likes. Maybe you've heard of it? =) It was a huge task for us working with the challenges family photos present like for example, getting all the model release paperwork filled out beforehand, group positioning, ensuring everyone was in sharp focus, capturing enough keeper shots where all members of the family actually looked into the camera with nice expressions, catering to the kids that had special medical considerations, getting everyone lit evenly without hot spots or unwanted falloff, and finally building rapport with the the family and kids making sure they were getting guidance and felt comfortable throughout the whole shooting process. In all, it was absolutely touching, rewarding and exhilarating!
| About Starlight |
When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, the day-to-day joys of childhood take a back seat to the rigors of treatment and hospitalization. For more than 25 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries by providing entertainment, education and family activities that help them cope with the pain, fear and isolation of prolonged illness.
Starlight understands what families go through when a child is sick, and how important it is to find relief from constant worry and isolation. Its programs have been proven to distract children from their pain, help them better understand and manage their illnesses, and connect families with others facing similar challenges so that no one feels alone.
A few of the pictures...