Housekeeping.. (AKA, stuff you don't wanna miss!)

Sometimes I feel like I am really good at blogging, and then I notice that I haven't posted anything since October 5th... I mean... It's definitely not for a lack of pretty people to post.  It's actually what some people might refer to as me being a slacker.

Yeah, I know right... Shocker. 

Ashley Stewart Photography Fall Sessions 7

I have been working my tail off the last few months and thus have a plethora of goodies to share.  Weddings, Minis, Engagements, Families, yadda yadda yadda... I PROMISE after this week I will be a posting fool sharing all of your lovely sessions and all the fun stuff in between.  But for right now... Housekeeping.  

I have had a lot of questions about November Sessions, which I had originally planned on keeping very few and far between.  You twisted my arm, so I am offering up a few more sessions on a first come first serve basis.  If you have already chatted with me about a date, you're locked in! I promise not to give those away.  Here are your options for the month of November... Drum roll please.... 

Sunday November 9th - Evening Session

Sunday November 14th - Evening Session

Sunday November 16th- Evening Session

Friday, Saturday or Sunday the 21st - the 23rd - Evening Sessions 

If you are interested, I do have a few weekday evenings left.  I have had several people ask about availability the week of Thanksgiving due to family being in town, etc.  If you are interested in booking during this time, please let me know asap to make sure you get a spot.  I will be spending this time with my family as well, but I want to accommodate whatever I can. So... Don't pull an "Ashley".  

It's true.. I wear the procrastination crown.  

Ashley Stewart Photography Fal Sessions 5

I have also had a bunch of questions about fees, so HERE is a link to the Investment Page.  And here is also a run down for all you lazy bums who don't want to click the link above... Sheesh.. 

Full Portrait Sessions Disk Option - Engagements, Families, Seniors, Kids, Boudoir.. Any Portrait Session Really..

1 1/2 - 2 hours, wardrobe changes allowed, agreed upon locations, a Print Released Disk with 45-50 of your custom edited images + an online password protected gallery for ordering or sharing your images...... $300

Full Portrait Session Print Option - Engagments, Families, Seniors, Kids, Boudoir...Any Portrait Session Really.. 

1 1/2 - 2 hours, wardrobe changes allowed, agreed upon locations and an online password protected gallery for ordering or sharing your images...$175  *This package does not come with a disk*

Mini Portrait Session - Can be used for any Portrait session except Newborns..

30 minutes, 10 custom edited images + an online password protected gallery for ordering or sharing your images.... $175

If you have any more questions regarding session packages or date availability, please don't hesitate to ask!  Email me at ashleystewartphotography@gmail.com.  Now, here is some "hurry up and book your session" inspiration.... 

Ashley Stewart Photography Fall Sessions
Ashley Stewart Photography Fall Session 2
Ashley Stewart Photography Fall Sessions 3
Ashley Stewart Photography Fall Sessions 4


Sunday Funday Freebie!

Hey Y'all!!  Happy Sunday.. I'm not sure where all of you blog followers are joining us from, but if you are in Northwest Arkansas I know you are experiencing a very wet and raining Sunday!  There is the possibility of more sleet and snow this evening.. It was 80 degrees earlier this week.  C'mon Mother Nature.. Take your cranky pills and snap out of it!  

If you are anything like me, you probably have an entourage of calendars with you at all times.  I have my calendar on my iPhone, my iPad, my iMac, a Sugar Paper spiral calendar that I carry with me and the calendar up in the ol' noggin.. I am constantly putting calendars on my desktop as well!  So, I decided to give away the April Desktop Calendar for free.. Yup, you heard right... 

FREEBIE!!!  

To download the high res desktop calendar, right click away!  

Enjoy Loves, and I hope you have an awesome week!  

Pantone Schmantone..

I envy them really.. They can pick ONE color, just one - and label it the "Color of the Year".  I can't even put together a logo and a blog feel that I can live with for a month.  I know, I know.. Why don't I just pay someone to do that for me?  Well, my question to you is how can I have faith that someone else will be able to properly reflect me, my brand and my personality when I can't even pick a color?  So, I have gone back to a very basic blog layout until I can come up with something worth keeping.... It may stay like this forever, but at least it's consistent?

So, back to the title at hand.. It's time for a little out with the old and in with the new.  These Pantone Peeps, they really know their stuff.  

Out with the old - Pantone Color of the Year 2013: Emerald

In with the new - Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

I'm not going to lie.. I'm going to miss the Emerald.  My favorite way to showcase the emerald is with glittery gold accents.  Who am I kidding.. My favorite way to showcase anything is with glittery gold accents.  

My name is Ashley, and I have an addiction to glittery gold..

Brides, you are in luck!  This purpley goodness is already everywhere.  If you've opened Pinterest this month, you know that the Pantone people are pinning fools - rightfully so.  Purple in any shade is beautiful without being too girly, bold with out being wild and warm with just a hint of fun!  That being said - we all know how much orchids cost.  So I doubt that the flower will become the trend of the year along with the color, but it sure does make for a pretty cake doesn't it?

Mmmm... Cake.  

And glittery gold... 


Thanks a lot Pinterest...

This is the Birthday Cake that I made my stepson last night...

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Okay, so maybe it doesn't look like this.. at all.  But it is this cake none the less.  Which leads me into my rant... Put on your seat belts folks.

How many of you out there are Pinterest-ers?  I would assume a good number of you have at least looked at the website... Well, let me just start by saying I love it.  I do. 

My name is Ashley, and I am a Pinterest-aholic. 

That being said..  The cake that you see above is a lovely photo by Sifting Focus, and her cake looks fantastic.  Fan-freakin-tastic.  I spent a long time on this little loaf of sugary goodness, and I followed the instructions precisely.  But still... My cake looks absolutely nothing like this.  

You know it's bad when your handsome hubby takes the spatula from you and says "Here, let ME help".  Oh, geez.  

So, thanks a lot Pinterest.  Thanks for suggesting such high hopes of talent and creativity for oneself, only to be let down time and time again.  I even consider myself somewhat crafty.. or I did.  I even made these:

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However.... My name is Ashley, and everything I bake turns out ugly.. Yummy, but ugly.  

I didn't take a picture of it because I am honestly hoping that by the time I get home today, it will have magically morphed into something out of a Martha Stewart Magazine.  Even though it is a hot holy mess, the recipe is super easy and very yummy!  Here is the recipe I followed.. to a t... and still got a monstrosity of a cake.  It honestly looks like the icing is melting off.. Oh well.... 

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Cake:
3  ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
4  ounces unsweetened chocolate
9 tablespoons half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar sifted *

For the cake:  Grease and flour two 9-inch layer cake pans and line with parchment paper rounds.  Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring in between intervals – approximately 1 1/2 – 2 minutes; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Mix in vanilla and melted chocolate, beating until smooth.  Add the buttermilk, flour, soda, and salt; mix until incorporated.  Add boiling water and beat smooth.  (Batter will be thin.)  Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the layers comes out clean.  Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.  Remove to cooling racks and cool for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert onto the cooling racks.  Cool completely.  At this stage the layers can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to a month.

For the frosting:  In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, place the chocolate, half and half, vanilla extract, butter, and salt.  Stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted.  Mix well with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the powdered sugar at a time until the frosting is smooth.  Frost cake  immediately , as it hardens quickly.  If frosting becomes too stiff, add hot water a teaspoon at a time.

**Place one cake layer bottom side down on a serving platter lined with 4 strips of waxed paper extending from underneath the cake on all sides to protect the platter while frosting.  Spread approximately a quarter of the frosting over the layer.  Top with second layer, bottom side up.  Frost the top and then the sides.  Carefully remove the waxed paper strips.

* This measurement is approximate.  Add the final cup of powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments until the proper spreading consistency has been reached.

** I would change this last part up if I ever got the cojones to try to make this cake again.  Putting the bottom rightside up and the top upside down creates a monstrous gap in the layers.. I would put the bottom upside down (that's normally how I do layer cakes and never have any problems) and the top rightside up so that they middle is flush.  But then again.. whudoiknow.. 

Check back tomorrow just in case I decide to post a picture of this warlock.. It honestly belongs on this Pinterest Fail Page... 

Nailed it.