After making my photography giveaway post, I was overwhelmed with the amount of responses I received. My Facebook and Instagram messengers flooded with people asking to do all different types of sessions: couples, family, senior portraits, boudoir, wedding, pets, etc. I am completely taken aback by all of the love and support that I’m surrounded with. I appreciate you guys. I am shocked that so many people think I’d be a fit for them. Thank you, everyone.
Firstly, let me state a few things: my Facebook messenger app is completely bonkers and sometimes, if I receive more than 3 new messages at a time, I go without seeing earlier ones. They disappear into a black hole that is the technology matrix. I am not purposely ignoring you guys. The most effective way to reach me is through here, in the comment section, or through Instagram (@ashleylorrainee). Obviously, my cellphone as well, if you have that number. Others that I have talked to, keep in mind that I am just one person. One person that works a full time job, usually picking up extra shifts every week. Who also goes to school and has friends and family– a life, if you will. Sometimes, my busy schedule can become kind of annoying. Some days, I would rather not do ANYTHING AT ALL except sit on my couch, snuggled up with the pups. I am human.
Secondly, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I have always said that photography for me is just a hobby. It isn’t something that I want to make a career. I am not comfortable charging people outrageous prices just to click a few buttons on my camera. I have always been afraid that I would lose my passion in the midst of “duties”. You can probably find those exact words somewhere here, on this blog. I say it a lot. I’ll be honest though, I convinced myself and everyone else around me that after making the investment in a better camera, that I’d start to charge for sessions. Hell, I’ve practically been nudged by every person that I know to start doing that. “I’m crazy for not already doing it.”
Well, it isn’t news to me that I am crazy. I’m proud to be different. Pictures are something to be cherished and it’s disgusting to me how expensive some prices can be. The idea that you need to have a certain amount of extra money to fork over to someone just to have a decent picture made is ridiculous. I’m not knocking photographers at all. It can be a tedious, aggravating job and usually the ones that charge high amounts do that for a reason; because the photos they create are MAGIC. Absolutely radiating with skill and passion. You do pay for what you get, I agree, but I also understand what it’s like to not have the extra spending money. Something that I have ALWAYS done for people is the “give me what you can” method. Over the years, I’ve been paid with money (however much they feel it’s worth), plants, gift cards, beer, art, clothes, you name it, I’ve probably gotten it. Whatever you can give in return, even if that’s only a million thank yous and a warm smile, I’m here for you. I’m by no means a professional. I don’t have the experience or the equipment that some have, but I won’t leave you with nothing just because you can’t afford it. What I’m trying to announce here is that my ‘contest’ won’t be closing. Reach out if you need something done. I am happy to help. Heads up, though: I do not do weddings or boudoir. If you need recommendations for an expert, I gotchu. My circle is filled with creative geniuses that have an eye for beauty. Thanks again, guys. I really do love you all.
Photography aside, let’s get to the important stuff- FOOD!
What you’ll need:
3 large tomatoes
1 yellow squash, grated
1 small handful of chard, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar (more for topping if ya want)
3 slices mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup plain couscous
(salt/pepper/parsley/garlic powder/onion powder if preferred)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium pot, brings 2 cups of water to a boil. (I, personally, add in a little bit of olive oil, onion and garlic powder, and parsley to the water to give the couscous some flavor.) Stir in one cup dried couscous. Cover and remove from heat, setting aside for about 7 minutes. Fluff up finished product with a fork.
On low heat, saute onions in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. After they begin to soften, add in chard, olives, squash, basil and almonds. Grind in some salt and pepper if you’re using it. Stir slowly to coat, avoiding letting the contents sizzle.
Add couscous to the veggie mix and stir to evenly coat. Cover and let sit over low heat while you prepare the tomatoes.
Carve a circle into the top of the tomatoes and gently hollow out the insides with a spoon. You can throw this into the veggie/couscous mix, too!
In a greased baking pan, set the tomato bowls down and begin spooning the couscous mixture inside until filled. Top with cheese slices and bake for ten minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve immediately!