ericamay photography blog: thought studio.

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Happy 2nd Anniversary to My Love October 14, 2009

Filed under: Erica's Personal Life — ericamay @ 7:51 am

Dear Jeffrey, 

Two years ago today, I thought that I loved you the absolute most that I ever had or would. But I was wrong. See, on our wedding day, I loved you as your bride. And today I still love you as your bride. But now I can love with the love of a wife, who has lived daily life right by your side for the past two years.

I know your quirks and love you more for them. And you certainly know mine… and you’re the most patient, kind, loving man in the whole world because of it.

I love that we have fun together. I love our adventures. I love that you attend more weddings in one year than most guys attend in a lifetime (and like it).

I’m so incredibly blessed to call you my husband. Thank you for being my best friend, and for making me laugh like nobody else ever could.

I love you!



My “famous” pumpkin cookie recipe September 24, 2009

Filed under: Erica's Personal Life — ericamay @ 10:45 pm
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It’s here… by popular demand. :)

Tuesday was the first day of fall, and in honor of all things fall, I just had to make pumpkin cookies. I love all of the flavors and smells of fall — cinnamon, apple cider, and pumpkin! :) Since we’ve had this week off from shoots (to work on a special project — details coming soon!), I know it’s been a slow blogging week. So, to make up for it, I’m sharing my super awesome recipe for pumpkin cookies!

These cookies are super soft, almost cake-like, and are delicious warm or refrigerated. Since these are so delicious, I just start with the recipe doubled. Trust me, they won’t last long. :)


Cookie Ingredients:

1 can of pumpkin

2 c. shortening or butter

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

4 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

Combine, a mix thoroughly. The batter will not be the same consistency as most cookies — it will be softer, a little bit bread-like. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes per batch, until you can see the bottoms just a shade darker than the batter (which is already brown).


Frosting Ingredients:

4 oz. cream cheese

1 c. butter

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Soften the butter slightly. Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar to the mixture while blending until all the lumps are out. Cool the cookies completely before frosting. I like to make the frosting in advance and then frost right before serving, so the frosting is cold. I also store the cookies in the fridge after they’re frosted.


And there it is! :) Enjoy… and share!

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P.S. Apparently there’s a shortage of canned pumpkin this year, thanks to some kind of strange weather conditions in pumpkin-growing locations. If you happen to find a grocery store with canned pumpkin in Kansas City, I’d love to hear it! :)


New York City: A Blog Postcard :) August 27, 2009

Jeff and I always buy postcards when we go on vacation. Always. It’s like we think we’ll actually drop them in the mail to our family and friends. We do, sometimes, but they’re usually post-marked “Kansas City.” We even chose awesome black and white cityscape postcards on our trip to NYC, and did we mail them? No. Because we never mail them. We just buy them, and hope that our family and friends know that we’re thinking of them. So, family and friends, we missed you, love you, and we DID think of you while we were gone.

So, if I were writing you a postcard from New York City, I would’ve said this:

“NY is amazing! We’re wearing ourselves out… seeing everything we can, and pretending to fit in with the locals. :) The food is amazing, the sights are gorgeous, and the people are amazingly nice — in all different languages. Wish you were here! Love, Erica”

Rather than send you all a postcard individually… here’s my after-the-trip postcard with a few photos I took on our trip. I made a pact with myself (on behalf of my fellow travelers) that I wouldn’t carry my big Nikon everywhere with me. When I do that, I tend to go into “photo mode” and not really soak in the experience. So, my time with the D700 was very limited, and most of our photos from the trip were taken with our point-and-shoot. I still haven’t had a chance to sort through all of those, and I’ll probably post a big fat Facebook album with all of those shots in them… but, for now, I have some photos to share with you documenting our trip and the things you voted for us to do! :)

The very first day we arrived, Jeff and I headed straight to Central Park for a picnic. It was probably the #1 thing I wanted to do while we were there, so we did it first. Have a picnic is #15 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, and what better place to do it than the most beautiful park in the country?

Here’s my delicious mozzarella, tomato and pesto sandwich from this tiny little deli close to Central Park:

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The happy picnic pair:

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We had our picnic on the mall, which is the area in a ton of movies… where people stroll by, stop at the benches, and have funny conversations in most chick flicks based in NYC. I loved relaxing there and watching the people who were out strolling around on a weekday at noon.

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This first day, you all voted on this blog for what you wanted us to do while we were in New York City… well, all day, the polls kept changing. It ended up a very, very narrow win for “stroll through Central Park” — by just ONE vote. :) So, we did it. Three different times, actually. We’re over-achievers like that. :) These photos are all from different strolls…

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I loved Central Park. I loved that it’s like a little (huge) natural haven in the middle of a busy, bustling city. I love that tons of people can be there, but you still feel connected to the natural beauty. I loved staring up at the huge trees only to be surprised by the skyscrapers peeking their long necks out even farther than the tree tops. It’s a gorgeous park, and we only saw a tiny piece of it. 

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Belvedere Castle, in the park:

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The view from the castle. And no, I didn’t photoshop the green lake… ha ha.

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Alison and Chris (our traveling partners) in the windy staircase of the castle:

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Another great spot we visited was Grand Central station. It was absolutely gorgeous — we were there late at night, which was super cool. Here’s a shot of the station in the bottom corner with the Chrysler Building behind at night:

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The inside of the station. I wonder where all of those people were headed…

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And another view. Can you spot my three traveling partners? :)

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I liked the constant yellow in the landscape of New York City, thanks to the ever-present cabs… who were always there, unless you really needed one, as we found out the last night we were there… in the rain. :)

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Here’s the statue of Teddy Roosevelt outside of the Museum of Natural History. We did get to spend time in that museum, and it was amazing! I won’t share those photos with you, even though I know the 10-year-old version of my younger brother would’ve loved the dinosaur skeletons. :) This photo goes out to Greg, Teddy’s biggest fan:

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You also voted on Day 2 for us to eat GIANT slices of New York-style pizza. Well, we did. We found this amazing little pizza shop (like 2 booths in the whole place) in the Upper West Side. And they had a slice ready to go with two of my favorite toppings — black olives and tomatoes. Yum!

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A shot of the Manhattan bridge, which was apparently painted blue so it would blend into the water more and not take away from the Brooklyn Bridge’s glory… interesting… :)

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And, one more shot for those of you who voted for us to stand in the middle of Times Square. You knew we wouldn’t let you down, right?! :) I love this, because you can STILL “people watch” in the background of these images. There are a little series of these, and there are new people in each of them! Thanks to my brother-in-law Chris for taking this shot! Here we are:

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That’s my very random post of little pieces of our trip to NYC. You know… a postcard can only be so long! :)


More to come from NY… I still have a super fun photo session of a couple in Brooklyn to share! Stay tuned!


I <3 NY (and the delicious dining!) August 21, 2009

Filed under: Erica's Personal Life — ericamay @ 9:53 am

Day 2 in NYC!

I read somewhere that New York City has somewhere close to 19,000 restaurants. Nineteen. Thousand. Can you believe it? I love this place. :)

Want a chance to see us scarfing down some New York City-inspired food? Now is your chance. You guessed it… we’re polling again today. Since I am the most indecisive person ever when it comes to eating out (unless eating Mexican food every night is an option that anyone else in the world would agree with…), we’re letting you pick for us.

So, pick something good… My tummy thanks you in advance!


What will we do today? You decide! :) August 20, 2009

Hey there…

So you know by now that we’re in New York City, walking around like tourists with our camera gear and fanny packs (okay, okay… Jeff made me leave that behind!).

In a city this big, the options can be overwhelming. So I thought it would be fun to put a little poll on here where you get to decide what you want to see us do! :) I promise we’ll take photos of the winning activity for proof that we did it, and I’ll post when we get back.

So… what should we do while we’re here?


Headed to the Big Apple August 19, 2009

Filed under: Erica's Personal Life — ericamay @ 7:32 am

When I was younger, I loved the Baby-Sitters Club books. Seriously loved them. I have a collection of well over 100 of these books, in a storage tub in my basement (don’t be jealous). When a new book would come out (which I knew about, of course, because it was in my Fan Club newsletter!), my dad would take me to the bookstore at the mall so I could get it as soon as possible.

I loved the characters and how they were all so different, yet all the best of friends. I could still recite way more information than you’d ever want to know about each of their lives. It’s just one of my many hidden talents. :)

What does this have to do with heading to the Big Apple, you ask? Well, it just so happens that I have a point… ever since I was 10 years old and read about the fabulous life of Stacey McGill (whose real name was Anastasia), who hailed from New York City before she moved to Stoneybrook, Connecticut, I knew I had to go there. I read these wonderful tales of Stacey walking the streets of New York City, wearing something super cool (for the mid-90’s) and bringing that urban sophistication to the small town in Connecticut. I knew I had to experience that lifestyle, walk the streets of the city, and act as trendy as that 13-year-old baby-sitter in the book. :) You had no idea I was this cool, did you?

And now, that wish is a reality. Jeff and I (and my sister- and brother-in-law) are headed to NYC tomorrow morning for several days of vacation… and a few photo shoots, of course! I’ll be capturing our trip, the city life, and doing some portrait shoots while we’re there. I will also be making progress on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days —  #11, hopefully #15 (in Central Park!) and #34. Stay tuned!

Just as an FYI, I’ll be returning e-mails and phone calls after next Monday if you try to reach me. I’m leaving my laptop behind — yay! :)

And if you happen to be on a flight from KC to NYC, and you’re sitting next to a girl reading the Baby-Sitters Club Super Special edition book, “New York, New York!” — say hello. I promise to say hi back. :)



A Great Independence Day Celebration: My Brother’s Home from Iraq! July 8, 2009

If you’ve been following this blog very long, you know that my older brother was deployed with the Army to Iraq for this past year. Well, he came home last week — just in time for the 4th of July! We drove to visit them in Oklahoma, welcome him home, and celebrate the 4th of July! It was awesome.

I get asked a lot why I do the Operation: Love Reunited sessions (free portraits for military families going through deployment), and it’s because of soldiers like my brother. People who leave their families, their homes, their comforts to fight and defend the freedoms that we celebrate every 4th of July. It’s because I know how important it is to have something physical, like photographs, to remind families of love and joy and warmth and smiles while they’re far away. I have an OpLove session coming your way from tonight as well…

But for now, I have a few photos that I snapped while we were visiting. I have more group shots and candids that we grabbed on our point and shoot camera, and I might post some of those if I get a chance — otherwise, if we’re Facebook friends, you’ll probably see them on there! :)

I am so proud of my big brother. He was promoted to Captain while he was in Iraq, and we couldn’t be prouder to have an American soldier in our family.

These photos mostly center around Justin’s homecoming present…

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Justin and Leslie (don’t worry, they didn’t ride in these clothes!).

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My little brother had to jump on to pretend like this is what he got for his 16th birthday. I can’t believe he’s turning 16 this weekend…

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Leslie looking cute in her riding gear:

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He looks good on that Harley. Just don’t tell him I said that. Motorcycles totally freak me out. :)

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Jumping for joy… Justin’s home! :) Ha ha. I guess my cheerleading days came in handy after all. 

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Justin, welcome home. We love you!