Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Multi-ti-Purpose Room!

It's ready! The new Blog is up and running! I still have a ton to do but its time for it to get out there! I can't wait to share stories, photo shoots and adventures! Come on by, follow me, and watch the blog grow! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Almost Ready…

Hello all!

I'm getting so excited, I can't even tell you! I finally buckled down and taught myself Wordpress! It wasn't easy but I just took it one step at a time and built up my new blog/website as I was learning.

My oldest daughter, Alix drew all the fonts for our new name and my middle daughter, Amanda is just finishing up our darling logo image! I just really wanted to involve my lovely daughters in this endeavor. They are so talented and I wanted everything to be an original creation!

I'm hoping to post our new site on Friday the 13th! Wait, what? I just realized that was the date… Oh my goodness.

Here's a little sneak peak…

I know, that's not fair! It's just a couple of the letters Alix made that I later scanned in. I just don't want to spoil the surprise! I hope you join me over at the new blog! I will be deleting this blog soon and my actual website. So again, I REALLY hope you join me on Friday for the revealing of a lot of hard work! 

Stay tuned…

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Have I mentioned I LOVE CANDY!? I do! It really is one of my biggest weaknesses. My middle daughter, Amanda is also in love with candy! I always thought it's because her nickname, Mandy rhymed with Candy. (please, just laugh a little). When she was a little girl, I would find candy wrappers in her bed, under her bed, in her bathroom, shoes, and every corner of her existence.  I would take all candy out of the house and two days later I'd find empty wrappers in her dirty clothes.

Speaking of dirty clothes, her's smelled like sugar. I'd kiss her good night and when other kids would have smelled like sweaty puppies, she smelled like JAM! 

So…. On to the real subject here. When we were planning Amanda's graduation party we had candy table on the top of the decorating list, and the top of the food list, and dessert list, and take home gifts list…

Ok, anyway, we put together a darling candy table. 

Being that I used to work for a world class catering company, I have a few tricks that are a must for any food table. 

Before you put a cloth or cover on your table, put a few boxes or upside-down plastic bowls on the table top. Make sure they are different heights and shapes for interest. (PS I will blog this technique very soon). Then, lay your table cloths or fabric over the "risers" and allow the cloth to fall between them. Then, set your plates, bowls, or jars of candy on top of the covered risers.

Here is our candy table. I was very happy Amanda chose party decor that just happened to match my home interior! 

Candy room!

I've collected these jars over the years from flower arrangements and hand-me-downs.

Different shaped jars and bowls make it more interesting!

Ok, see the blue and green sugar cookies? They are the best sugar cookie you will ever eat! My sister brought them here all the way from Retro Bakery In Las Vegas. Oh, and they ship, I die.

We also wanted dessert for folks who don't see the intense glamour of eating nothing but candy. Fruit kabobs, always a favorite. This chocolate cake was from Costco. For some reason this cake is a huge fave with the boys/men.  Amanda and I threw some edible gold stars on the cake for a little extra sompin'.

My Mom made all of the floral arrangements from flowers we picked up at Costco and the local grocery store. Every flower is beautiful it's just about how you put them all together, and she does an amazing job! 

 Don't forget to decorate the back of the table if it's not against a wall. We put out Chinese take out boxes so people could take all this candy home with them.

 Now these little babies are a Pinterest special. They're homemade poptarts on a stick. My Step-Mama and sister put these together and they really were fabulous, and so darling, right? 

Side note: don't use candles on a candy table if
your guests are young children. It's just mean to
surround candy with burning flames.

And last but not least, here is another Pinterest trick we used. We made tissue paper flowers and tied them with a couple of paper lanterns, balloons, and curly ribbons. So easy, inexpensive, and fabulous!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What to do , What to do…

I stand here today at a cross-roads. To do, or not to do. 

Over the last year an unbelievable amount of life has happened to me and the ones I love. Two of my three daughter's have grown and left home to start their own lives. I feel like two huge parts of me are lost… but not. It's happy, it's sad.

In October I had half of my thyroid removed and have been playing hormone balance games to try to "find myself" again. Those of you who have been here know EXACTLY what I'm talking about! OK, I'm breathing… breathing…

Over the last six months I went through a rapid onset of cataracts in both eyes. I realize it's no big deal as people live with them for years. However, for some reason, mine were here and taking my vision without being found so I felt like I was losing my eyesight without knowing why. Then, thank goodness, they were found and I had a reason for going blind and that made it so much easier. I had to wait until they were bad enough to repair and was happy that only took about 4 months. However, I was unable to drive myself, see myself, or see things around me. I couldn't shoot any "real" pictures because I couldn't see. I'm so thankful to have still been able to edit for one of my favorite photographers. She kept me busy all summer and that helped me keep my hands in the creative process. I just sat about 6 inches away from the computer screen. I also learned how to work my computer's voice so it could read emails to me.

So, now I'm back, from outer space. Wait, wrong song. Ok, I digress. I'm back in the game! I can see, I can walk, I have the house back in order after the girls left empty rooms behind. I'm sure I'll have my crazy brain in order any day now and I need to make some professional decisions. 

To shoot or not to shoot. To write or not to write. To create new art or not. I'm at this place where I want to share my heart, photography, art, ideas and stories. I really miss writing and want to do more of it. I can't maintain two blogs because I'm terrible at compartmentalizing who I am. I'm the same at home as I am at work and the same on Facebook as I am in person. I'm not good at all at being different people. I can't just show pictures here and then share my heart somewhere else. 

So, here's the deal, I'm going to transition into something new. I'm almost 50 years old, what better time to reinvent myself? Kelley Simpson Photography is going to change into Kelley Simpson Photography and some other stuff. 

Now, after almost a year of trying, I need to think about what to call myself. 

I'm building a blog of my very own where we can talk about real life and look at it in beautiful images. I am surrounded by amazing people and artists and I want you to see them and their work. Over 30 years of being a homemaker and a mom I think I have some secrets I can share with you that may bring you a little hope and peace of mind. I'd also like to share some homeschool adventures as Emma, my youngest, and I figure it all out.

I want to do this, I need to. Come with me, watch the transition or the train wreck. Either way, it'll be a fun adventure! 

So, tell me what you would like to see or hear about. Go ahead, don't be afraid to leave me a comment, they help me so much. I'm totally open to Blog name ideas because I've been coming up with some crazy ones and I think my sister is getting tired of me asking her everyday about each new name idea. Meanwhile, I'll be setting up my new site and bringing in some new content here. 

PS Don't say, "KELCO." Steve has already suggested it 1001 times and I still don't like it. I'm not a tire store.


oxox, Kelley

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Senior Portraits!

Here are our "inland" portraits of Amanda. We decided to walk around our neighborhood to get a few pictures of her to finish up her Senior shoot. Once again we left the house later than we wanted to and I was actually surprised that the spring sun was SO different from my usual fall spots that I like to shoot. It was fun though because it made us adventure more than usual.

Into about ten minutes of the shoot Amanda started yawning and so I did too and then the cold wind started blowing. Then Steve called to tell me my other two daughters just spilled coffee on my white couches at home! That was all it took for Amanda and me to skidaddle on home! 

We like shooting but we do it together so often that we're totally happy to hit it fast and personally, I LOVE what we shot!

 This is my favorite image of the shoot. So Amanda
on every level.
PS The tattoo is a temp that she forgot to take off
so I actually made it look newer here but removed 
it on some of the other images. You know, like the
 ones for Grandmas and stuff.

 This is pretty classic of Amanda when she's in trouble...
Right?! How could anyone get mad at that face?

The rest of these are just me, watching her and 
just hanging out. 

 I like flare and Amanda likes flare so yeah we have
a lot of flare in these pictures. 

That's my middle girl who's getting ready to head out into the big wide world. She has some great plans to go to art school and to make some fabulous stuff with her hands and heart. She's strong and brave and wonderful! Happy Graduation Pandy Bear, I love you, sugar.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Senior Portraits

 My Middle Daughter is Graduating from High School this June. As it did with my oldest daughter, it brings up the event of Senior Portraits. This means going to the portrait studio the school has chosen and getting portraits taken. Both of my daughters have gone through this ritual and it's been fun to go with them. It not only brings back memories of doing it when I was 17 but I like to watch what other photographers do when they're shooting. 

My oldest daughter wore a "metal" band shirt for her senior portrait because she wanted it to reflect who she really was in the yearbook but we never had any intention of buying the images. When Amanda went we still didn't have any intentions of buying them but only choosing one for the yearbook. 

During the shoot Amanda was so uncomfortable and awkward I couldn't help but laugh. I was smiling at her and standing behind the photographer, way behind him jumping, waving my arms and making weird faces at her to try to get her to relax or maybe laugh naturally. I saw her make some smiles that I'd never seen her make before. It was really weird. 

How can you expect a 17 or 18 year old to relax and be themselves in a 10 minute studio photo shoot with a photographer they've never even seen? I knew we had a problem when I made a joke about her doing a "Napoleon Dynamite" pose and he looked at me and said, "Yes we do those all the time" (and not for laughs). At that point I just shut up.

As I looked around at the large portraits I thought about how much I don't appreciate formal studio portraits where they slick the kid's hair down and put a tie on them or wear clothes they would never be caught dead in. It's weird. I was talking to Amanda this morning about it and we thought maybe parents have those images of their children taken because they aren't photographers who get to have professional pictures of their children taken whenever they want to. Maybe this is their only chance to get their kid behind a camera so they put them behind a drum set or hand them a football or make them wear their cheerleading outfit. I'm not sure maybe parents don't know there are other options.

Here is Amanda's Senior portrait that she chose to have in the yearbook. There really is nothing wrong with the image. Personally I think she's beautiful and you just can't get a bad picture of her.

I have no idea who she is by looking at it. She seems like every other senior which is perfect for a yearbook.

When I think of senior portraits I think about catching a glimpse into her world right now and capturing it forever. I want her to look back and remember who she was and what she was like. I want to see if I can grab a piece of her essence and hold it in some images that we can look back on and remember what she was like, how she laughed, and what she loved. 

We talked about where to take pictures of Amanda and of course it had to be at the beach. She loves it, she goes there whenever she can and this summer her great uncle Leo loaned her a surf board so she could start surfing. She loves that board and she loves the ocean so it made sense to shoot there.

Of course the two of us together is ADD city and we left for the beach really too close to sunset and had about 15 minutes to shoot until it was dark. This is what happens when your Mom is the photographer, you get squeezed in when you can.

Shoot I:

 Leaving the parking lot with her board. It's really cute 
watching her carry that thing because it's twice as
big as her.

How can you not include the iPhone? Besides she is
a natural photographer and shoots everything. 

 Yeah, I KNOW this look...

 My daydreamer...

 This is one of my favorites 

I think tonight we're going to shoot some inland photos of Amanda to round out the shoot but I think we covered a lot in fifteen minutes and can't wait to hang out together to get more.