ARTIST PORTAITS MALORI MAEVA || FLORIST NOIR FLORAL || LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE || HEYDEAR



Hey you guys! Happy New Year! It's great to be back. May I introduce my dear friend and all time business gal Malorie.  

Malorie Maeva, is something special my friends. I was fortunate enough to have met her last year while assisting the AMAZING Kym Ventola with a wedding she was photographing. Instantly I thought wow this girl is the Brains behind Hoot and Holler / and Noir Floral? She is one talented lady, and been killing it in the floral industry for sometime now. I had been following her for some time on instagram and couldn’t help but instantly be inspired by her floral designs, esthetic and boldness that she was putting out into the universe!

I was honored when she let me photograph her doing her thing, designing and crafting floral arrangements. Here is a peek inside what she does and our time together, enjoy friends!

 

CHEERS,

Nicole






















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Arizona Florist : Malori Maeva http://www.noirfloral.com/

CHOCOLATE GRANOLA RECIPE || GLUTEN FREE+DAIRY FREE || FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE





Hello Friends, 

Chocolate seems to be at the top of my food list, it is only fitting that I would try to add it to almost everything. One of my fondest memories of chocolate was when we used to live in the PNW; we would walk and get a coffee from our favorite shop. I’d order a hot double short latte and on the top they would serve it with a piece of dark chocolate. The chocolate would warm from sitting on the cup. You would have to eat it quite quickly, the melted chocolate followed by sipping your espresso left the most heavenly taste it your mouth.

Lately, I am yearning to recreate moments of food heaven each day. It looks different now. Instead of walking to the coffee shop, I walk into the kitchen. Back then I cooked, but was still getting my bearings down. Lots of burning, lots of undercooked chicken, and lots of baking, I could do that. The baking was easy. Maybe its because the control of the ingredients lead as a guide of safety and comfort. “ Actual recipe development, seemed scary as you had to move with the food, no rules, just feelings. Food makes you feel. It’s instinctual. You are forced to do a dance, taste, smell, and engage with it. Or else you get a burned hot mess; this took me years to sort out. I just kept cooking, and trying. Lots of repetition, as I was learning I would cook the same dish every night until I nailed it! Ryan would ask “ what’s for dinner, I would say – roast chicken and veg! He replied without grumble, SPLENDID! Along with my encouraging husband, the other helper I had was “the naked chef” (AKA JAMIE OLIVER) he taught me how to: boil eggs, make curry, make soup, homemade pizza, what herbs were, and even nail a good granola. Once I sorted out how simple cooking could be, it all came together. Recipes became effortless. 

So, I want to share my take on good ole granola, it’s easy and the best part it takes 15 min to prep!




CHOCOLATE GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA RECIPE// (Makes about 1.5 gallon bag)

You will need: 2 baking sheets, unbleached parchment paper, mixing bowl, spatula, small saucepan

*INGREDIENTS: *

  • 1 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut or no nutz)
  • 6 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 5 ounces high quality dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons high quality coco powder
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped almonds and cashews
  • 1/3-cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)

Directions:

Pre- Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Measure out ingredients, and in a bowl place: gluten free rolled oats, cinnamon, ground ginger, chia seeds, coconut flakes, brown sugar, nutmeg, chopped nuts, and salt mix a little with a spatula. Set aside. Chop your chocolate, set aside.

Take your small saucepan and put on medium –low heat. Add your coconut oil, nut butter, raw honey, and 5 tablespoons of coco powder. Mix constantly, until melted and blended together. Take off heat, add in the vanilla paste and mix in. Pour mixture over the rolled oats mixture and thoroughly combine until the oats are completely coated. Add chopped chocolate, mix.

Finally spread evenly over the parchment paper lined baking sheets. Place both trays in the oven, Bake for 15 min. Let cool completely for about an hour. Store in gallon bags, or mason jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks!

To serve, you can enjoy with nut(or raw) milk, fresh berries like raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries. This granola, also tastes great over ice cream or just by it’s self!


CHEERS, 

NICOLE 








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CLOTH AND FLAME DESERT DINNER || SONORAN DESERT, ARIZONA || FOOD+LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE

















 food and lifestyle photographer, arizona, seattle, pacific northwest





Sonoran desert







 food and lifestyle photographer, arizona, seattle, pacific northwest







 food and lifestyle photographer, arizona, seattle, pacific northwest















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AVOCADO TOAST, WITH FIGS, AND CILANTRO || GLUTEN FREE+VEGAN RECIPE || FOOD + LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



Hello Friends, 

Cooking with children can be a daunting task to some, but I find once you give them a chance it doesn’t take long for them to fall in love with helping out and be part of the process.  It feels only natural to invite them into what we are doing, whether it be flipping eggs, baking some cookies, or just making a simple toast. I tend to give them jobs like; letting them sprinkle on the salt or herbs, or crack the eggs, stir the pot. They love it, give it a try!  - Cheers, Nicole





Avocado Toast; with figs lime and cilantro recipe :

Ingredients:

-A loaf of gluten free (or none GF) bread

- 1 bunch of ripe avocados

- fig fruit (for the top or side)

-1 lime

- chopped cilantro

- salt, pepper, olive oil

- knife, fork, and bowls for mashing

Method: Cut and pit your avocados, in a bowl mash up avocados leaving them pretty chunky. Slice your limes in half, and squeeze over the avocado.  Chop cilantro, set aside.

Toast your bread to your liking, and drizzle high quality olive oil over the top of them. With a fork take your avocado and smash the rest over the toasted bread. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cilantro. Then enjoy!







I would love to hear from you! Just fill out the form below! 


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QUICK AND EASY VEGAN SNACK RECIPE // BLUEBERRIES + ALMOND MILK // FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


Dear Friends, 

For today's recipe I bring you "easy peasy" as my 7 year old would say. Simple frozen blueberries and almond milk. This is made for one, but you may double, or triple or even add in extra's to make it your own. Then simply enjoy! 

What you will need :

1 bag of frozen organic blueberries

1 bowl, spoon and hungry belly

1/2 cup (or more to your liking) Fresh Almond Milk 

Note : if you aren't vegan I would sub for 2% with a splash of raw cream, or even RAW MILK 

Then pour blueberries in a bowl, pour milk over blueberries and watch the magic happen. The milk freezes over the blueberries and now you "almost" have ice cream.

Cheers and enjoy!

 -Nicole 






 

 

REAL TALK // RAMBLING STORIES OF MOTHERHOOD // LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE





Dear Friends,

How are you this fine Monday?

I have decided to share a story from my weekend. Some of you may approve, and others may roll their eyes. I am going to take a chance and share anyway.

On Friday evening my husband and I attended our children’s school fall festival. Now the idea in my head of what this fall festival was going to be was quite exciting, I thought pumpkins, and hay rides, and horses and hot apple cider, parents dressed up or kids dressed up in costumes. You know the small town festival that you grow up with? Much to my surprise when we walked in it was NOTHING like that!

Where were the pumpkins? And the hay rides? I don’t smell the hot apple cider!! Instead what we found was loud music that should be at a club, parents walking around with cups filled with alcohol, dressed like they were out on the town and children roaming freely from bounce house to bounce house. Kids pulling kids, kids being aggressive towards kids, and kids running around like out of control crazy’s! (That part didn’t bother me, the children roaming, well maybe. I think it was the adult Sippy cups that through me over the edge….)

Then I asked myself are you just being a helicopter parent? Maybe this is what we were supposed to be doing? To some this is fine. To some this is “kids just being kids” but I beg to differ. Maybe you don’t mind being half present and you need to be loaded in order to handle this whole parent thing. Not for me folks, not for me…so I stood there frozen, I felt like I had entered a high school kickback. And just as awkward as it was then, as I was then, I asked myself how did I end up here? With the “cool” kids once again? I don’t want to be with the cool kids, watching there faces, It wasn’t fun, maybe if I was drinking it would have been fun, but I don’t think so. I really don’t think so…. I wanted to scream, I wanted to shake these people. I wanted to get the hell out of there!!!! But we just paid WAY too much money and my children would be devastated if we left so we stayed. We made the most of it.

As Parents came up to Ryan and I while we stood outside of a bounce house, they started chatting, the things these people would say where mind blowing. Standing there like a deer in headlights, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. Frozen, I stood and listened. Speechless. Parents shared stories of how great this was, hanging out while kids roam and we get to drink, or bragging about the night before they got so WASTED that an ambulance had to come and bring them to the ER. As I listened, this pain sank into my heart, which expanded into my gut.  My heart hurt. (Something about this doesn’t feel right) It hurt for the parents, for the children, for my children. I asked myself why can’t there be more, more kindness, more love, more happiness?

Maybe you may think I was judging them maybe you think, How could she say these things? But friends, I am tired of sitting on the sidelines folks, what is happening to our culture, our country, and the world around us? And I have had my own fair share of hiccups, and I am NOT claiming I am a perfect parent, or person. I also don’t think JESUS needs to save you in order to be a good parent but what happened to having some standards, or showing up? There is nothing wrong with drinking, but what are the intentions behind all the charade? Is it this the only way we can be parents, are you trying to escape, or enjoy the moments with your loved ones?

What is happening to the hope of us becoming more empathetic and loving towards each other? Towards our children, and teaching our children to do the same?

I still have that hope, do you??

Thanks for listening friends.

Leave a comment below, we'd love to hear your thoughts.  



 

 

 

 

LAURA + MATT | DESERT ENGAGEMENT SESSION || WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


Learning to be brave. How do we learn to be brave? We learn to be brave by doing something that we are scared to do. This saying keeps flying back at me time and time again. The universe keeps saying, “ be brave” here is your moment, here is this hard thing that I want you to gracefully step into, now go. One of those things are relationships.

(Does this happen to you as well?  The universe / god whomever it may be challenging you on things?)

Lately, I have been on this quest to find out how to really build lasting relationships, to understand what true love really is, and you know I may not have all or any of the answers on the subject. What I do know the scary thing to do is to step into them. The brave thing to do is take a chance on the person in front of you. Sometimes we mess up, sometimes we don’t have all the tools, but what I do know is this:

“Before your ready – before your good at it that’s when you start something. That’s how you get ready, that’s how you get good at it” – ELIZABETH GILBERT

Sit for a moment – let that quote sink in a bit……

This is how we learn to be brave. This is how we step into things we want to make, or do, or who we want to become, or how to lean into relationships, partnerships.  

With that I give you Laura and Matt, and their engagement story.

 

– Cheers friends


 





































SCOTTSDALE PORTRAIT SESSION // SMOCA CURATOR CLAIRE CARTER// ARIZONA LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


portrait claire - curator

SMOCA is by far one of my favorite places in Arizona. What is SMOCA you say? Well it is a little haven in the melting pot of Arizona, also known as the Scottsdale museum of contemporary art. You see, it’s more than just a museum, but a community, learning hub, and from time to time they have some pretty fun events they put on throughout the year. 

In addition to having Amazing Art instillations, SMOCA has some very down to earth Curators running the show. I was honored when Claire asked me to spend the afternoon with her and photographing her for a portrait session.

This woman is strong, intelligent, and did I mention has excellent taste?! To top it off she was the first woman curator at SMOCA and plans to keep on doing her thing for years to come. Most recently, Claire curated : southwestNET Sama ALshaibi: Silsia. A short description : (Sama Alshaibi's (b.1973, Basra, Iraq) epic series of photographs and videos is named for the Arabic word silsia, or "link"-a simple noun describing a point of connection. As a verb, "link" also describes the act of joining two discrete units. Silsia represents the joining of individuals to one another, humans with the natural world, and the self to the dive.) To read more head over to the SMOCA page

Lets just say Claire rocks my socks off! She is a powerhouse. 

Here are my favorite images from the portrait session we collaborated on together. 

Cheers, 

Nicole 












 

 


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DAIRY+GLUTEN FREE ICE CREAM RECIPE || ARIZONA FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


Hello Friends, it has been wayyy to long since I have posted. With that I deeply apologize for the radio silence. I feel that I have neglected my little blog that honestly I have missed so much.

Over the last few months I have been busy, I had some more health issues come up and really just hit the wall of exhaustion. I could blame a lot of things but I would say mostly I chose to stop prioritizing, and made a huge mess of my personal life. If I am honest with you, I just kept saying yes to all the jobs offered, to the grind, to the over working, to the sacrificing and putting all that in front of myself, and my family even. Which as stubborn as I am, hates to admit I was doing too much.

Have you ever heard of the work smarter not harder mentality? Well I switched those around, and for sure worked harder not smarter. And when I fell flat on my face, instead of calling it quits I thought I would take a break until I knew where I was going.. When that didn’t happen, I realized I needed to take a harder look at myself, I needed to see how I could stop falling short, and start being the person I was preaching I was and “trying” to be. Which is ultimately my BEST SELF always.

Someone very wise recently told me this quote from Wayne Dyer:

----“When you squeeze an orange, you'll always get orange juice to come out. What comes out is what's inside. The same logic applies to you: When someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, or says something unflattering or critical, and out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, tension, depression, or anxiety, that is what's inside. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, change your life by changing what's inside."----

Light bulbs went off, Shooting Stars in the sky! This quote changed my prospective immediately. Who was I on the inside? Does this quote mean I need to be perfect no, does this mean that I am a failure no. This simply means, what do you want the insides to look like? Is it possible to be your best self always?

All I know is I want to be the kind loving person always, in work, in home life, same inside and out.

So who do you want to be?

Thanks for listening friends, thanks for following my journey.

Until next time.

-Yours

Nicole 




Mint Chocolate Coconut Ice cream Recipe :

You will need :

4 cans coconut milk (full fat)

4 eggs

1/2 cup raw sugar or honey

1-tablespoon vanilla paste

2 – 4 oz. of good quality chocolate (I love Theo chocolate) they have minimal ingredients and some are vegan!

1-2 tablespoons peppermint flavor

1 pot, a whisk and an ice cream maker

Prep: place your cans of coconut in the refrigerator upside down overnight.

-Open the cans of coconut milk and separate the fat and liquid. You can save the liquid for another project, such as coconut water. Put your pot on the stovetop and set to medium. Then add in the coconut milk, sugar or honey, vanilla and peppermint to the pot. Whisk together until you see little bubbles and the chunks of coconut dissolve.

-Taste to see if it needs more sugar, then set to the side. In another bowl whisk together the eggs until light and fluffy. Add into the coconut mixture. Then place the bowl in the freezer for about an hour.

-After the mixture is cooled pop into the ice cream maker and follow your machines directions. ! About mid way through of churning add in your chocolate chips, or fresh chopped chocolate pieces. Also, If you don’t have an ice cream maker to churn you can simply pour into Popsicle molds!

Enjoy!