As of today (5/18/2020) the stay-at-home order has been lifted and Minnesota photographer's are back in business!
This is great news for me -- I miss your face!
Although we are back, things unfortunately aren't the same as they were in March and some changes must be implemented. Lucky for us, it is pretty easy to keep you and I both safe during our session. For some reassurance, here is a cute little chart of safety information:
HOW TO MAKE & DECORATE WITH ROYAL ICING
With all that is going on in the world right now, we all need a fun distraction and a relaxing way to pass the time. I have had many friends and family ask about the sugar cookies I've been doing in my spare time. I figured now was the perfect time to do a little tutorial so you all can join in the fun with me! I am by no means a professional, but I have learned from my many mistakes and want to share that with you all. I am also an extremely anxious public speaker, so bare with me on the videos.
Below I have posted two videos; one on how to make royal icing and another on how to decorate with it. I have also written my recipe for both my sugar cookies and royal icing. I hope you enjoy!
Stay joyful, stay healthy & happy baking!
Royal Icing Recipe (double batch):
2 lbs confectioners sugar (sifted)
6 tbsp meringue powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla if you prefer)
12-14 tbsp of warm water (rough estimate, you will need to slowly eyeball this)
Sugar Cookie Recipe:
Double Batch Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 - 1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs , room temp
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract
2 tsp pure butter extract (You can change up the extracts to your own preferred tasting)
I will do a video next time I do them on the instructions, but if you decide to go for them before then it's pretty basic:
Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Mix butter & sugar on high until creamy. Add eggs & extracts, mix. Add dry ingredients, mix.
Seperate dough into 4 sections. Roll 1/4 in thick onto parchment paper. Refrigerate for 2 hours (up to 24 hours max) covered with parchment paper.
Cut & bake cookies COLD! This is KEY!
Bake at 350 for 11 min (time may need to be adjusted for your oven, start with one cookie first to test).
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
In honor of International Women's Day I reached out to the amazing women who have allowed me to photograph their boudoir sessions. I know how much courage it can take to be so vulnerable in front of the camera, especially in a world that can make you feel not good enough for even the slightest flaws. I also know how empowering it is once you've done it and realized just how truly beautiful you are.
Each of these women were brave enough to give me their "Why" for doing their boudoir session and then chose their favorite images from their session (with complete permission to share).
Here are their stories...
“After leaving an unhealthy marriage, it was a long road to rediscover my self-worth and confidence. This shoot was such an empowering experience and the perfect way to celebrate my journey. Working with Michelle was so fun and comfortable!”
"I sat down with the universe and told her I wanted to grow.
I told her to use me as a vessel. So she made me uncomfortable. She stripped me of everything I knew. Made me learn how to be silent, how to let go. How to stand my ground, how to be more understanding. How to fight, how to survive. How to be more assertive, more loving, less naive. She told me to take everything I have learned and share it with others." - Author Unknown
"I have always wanted to do a boudoir shoot, but never thought I was "fit" enough. This opportunity to work with Michelle dropped itself into my lap, and I said yes before I could talk myself out of it. I AM SO HAPPY THAT I DID!! Thanks to Michelle and her glam team, we got to have an amazingly fun girls day, which included spending time with my sister getting glammed up and then listening to my favorite ROCK music while taking the pictures! I think that the monotony of life can often times make us forget how beautiful we are; I got some incredible pictures that not only showcase my outer beauty but have also built up some confidence that I didn't know was there. Now, looking at the pictures brings me back to this unforgettable experience and reminds me of all my beauty inside and out."
"I have always struggled with my body image and self confidence and never in a million years thought I would do something like this. As a newly wed I thought it would be the perfect gift for my husband. Not only was it a great gift for him that he LOVED it was a great gift for myself. It showed me in a way I would never be able to look at myself. Not only is my husband obsessed with my pictures, so am I. It is 100% worth the money. Also, Michelle really works with you and helps make the whole process easy and fun. "
"I was a person who thought “I would never do that, I am not nearly comfortable enough for that.” I decided to take the leap and contact Michelle. She shared some comments others have made and seemed to calm the fears I had. It turned out to be a great decision because the pictures turned out just how I wanted them to and it was a huge confidence boost."
"My feelings going into the shoot were actually pretty exciting. I have grown to love the body I have created as making a baby is pretty wonderful so I have just learned to except what it is and what will come after baby. Michelle made the photo shoot very fun lots of laughs never once felt awkward. She really knows how to make a woman feel good about her body no matter what size! I would do it over again in a heartbeat just to experience the way Michelle makes you feel while doing the photo shoot. I mainly did it for myself because being a woman and creating a human is amazing and no matter how big you get you should still feel good about what your body can do to create that little life!"
"Going into the shoot I was excited but so nervous of not meeting my own expectations, but sometimes when you put yourself out there you can really see your true capabilities. I have always struggled with body image especially within the last couple years, becoming less active and maturing into my adult body has been hard, but this photo shoot really helped me see what others see. I don’t just mean outwardly, so many people I showed the pictures to thought I looked so confident and beautiful but to me these pictures showed bravery and an inner light shone out and completely threw me for a loop. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a picture that has taken my own breath away. Originally I was taking these pictures for my boyfriend as a Valentine’s Day gift, but it turned out to be so much more for me. I can look at these pictures when I’m feeling less than worthy and reclaim myself as gorgeous, beautiful, sassy. They’re a good reminder for me to embrace the change of life, embrace who I am."
"Doing the boudoir session, it was meant to be a gift to my husband but it turned more into a gift for myself. I loved the entire experience and looking back at the pictures. It has changed the way I feel about myself and I have a lot more confidence in myself."
" I was really nervous at first. After the first few minutes it was a breeze. I decided to do the shoot after loosing a ton of weight. I wanted to celebrate my body."
"I found I was more confident when I stopped trying to be someone else's definition of beautiful and started trying to be my own." - Remington Miller