A Dunder Mifflin Birthday Party

What do you watch when you’re caught up on all your shows and suddenly fall into the dreaded “show hole”? For Joe and I, one of our favorite shows to fall back on is The Office. Between Michael & Dwight, Jim & Pam, Kevin & his chili, what’s not to love?! In fact, while I edit photos from the week’s photo sessions, I often have an episode of The Office playing in the background. So, since we love throwing each other funny, elaborately themed parties (Joe threw me a magical Harry Potter birthday party a few years back), we decided to bring Scranton to Portland and plan a Dunder Mifflin birthday party to celebrate Joe’s 30th!

It wouldn’t be one of our parties without our signature party guide, which this year included Stanley’s crossword puzzle, a “That’s What She Said” quote-matching game, and a scavenger hunt to find Dwight’s hidden weapons throughout the house. Office Olympics were set up all around, and guests competed for Schrute Bucks throughout the night, all leading up to an award ceremony where three lucky partygoers won gold, silver and blue medals (aka: yogurt lids). We had a blast designing and crafting hidden little details for Office fans to discover, including the infamous stapler in Jell-O, a Michael Scott quote gallery, Angela’s live cat cam, and even Café Disco! For Joe and me, half the fun of these parties is just dreaming it up and planning it all out. But once our friends start arriving, we remember just how amazing it is to celebrate such special milestones surrounded by the people we love.

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Valentine's Day 2018 - Bandon Beach, Oregon Coast

Meet Joe Bahar. This man is the love of my life. He supports me, loves me, encourages me, and is the sweetest, most romantic man alive. Some days I really just don't know how I got him! Today he has been blessed with the gift of Jury Duty, but that didn't stop him from planning a super romantic weekend getaway last weekend. He knows how much I love exploring the Oregon coast, so Friday afternoon we jumped in the car and headed south on a road trip to Bandon, Oregon. Joe booked the most adorable little cottage with a view of the beach from our balcony. Just a short walk through the dunes and we were at the beach, with the most beautiful, rocky views. We spent the weekend eating seafood and exploring the coast. It was a weekend for the books, and I am so thankful I get to call this incredible man my husband. I love living life with you, babe! Happy Valentine's day! 

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Valentine's Day 2017

Joe and I are both huge romantics, so everyone always asks us what we did for Valentine's Day. When it comes down to it, Joe and I simply love any excuse to celebrate. Most people celebrate holidays on just one day, but if we can, we prefer to make a week of it. This year we decided to have a weekend getaway in Astoria the weekend after Valentine's...but of course we planned on celebrating the day of too. Joe told me that he would be cooking me dinner that night and that we could exchange gifts then.

Valentine's fell on a Tuesday so we were both working as usual, him in downtown and me in my home office, when all of a sudden the doorbell rang! Knowing Joe, I wouldn't have been surprised to find a deliveryman at the door with something sweet, just to make my day. But low and behold, it was JOE himself!!! He had picked up flowers (from my favorite florist, Spellbound Flowers!) and some yummy strawberry-basil chocolate for me, and drove ALL the way home during his lunch break just to deliver them in person, give me a kiss, and then drive back to work! What a sweetheart!!! Sigh....sometimes I think this man isn't real. But wait.... there's MORE?!

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Chez Joe

Several hours later, after the shock and delightful surprise of flowers and chocolate, Joe arrived home to cook me dinner. (Gosh this man is amazing! Seriously... men out there, are you taking notes? Because Joe is a good one to take notes from!) But back to my story.... so Joe starts making dinner, sets the table, lights some candles, puts on some romantic music, leads me to my seat (in our dining room), and welcomes me to "Chez Joe": A restaurant (seating for two) with a four-course menu modeled after one of our favorite German restaurants, which sadly, is now closed. Reindlander would be happy to know, though, that Joe definitely did their restaurant justice. It felt just like we were back there eating at our favorite booth.

Our first course was Reindlander's signature swiss cheese fondue with rye bread, paired with a sweet Oregon pinot noir.

....followed by Caesar salad, complete with home-made croutons and, my favorite, an extra side of fresh lemon.

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The main course was a chicken breast schnitzel (breaded to PERFECTION), with potatoes, asparagus, and a caper lemon pan sauce.

And for dessert, a delicious molten chocolate cake, flawlessly gooey in the center, topped with ice cream, served with strawberry and basil accents, and dusted with powdered sugar (perfectly matching my chocolate from earlier in the day. How clever, Joe!)

After Dinner I surprised Joe with a tricky little scavenger hunt. Suffice it to say, puzzle pieces were hidden all over the house... which, when put together led to two separate riddles, leading him to his respective presents: a video game, and a new vinyl record. Unfortunately, in my excitement for him to find the puzzle pieces, I forgot to document the event, so I have no actual photos to show for it. But let's face it, his present deserves to be featured. :) Tomorrow Joe and I will be off for more adventures at the Oregon coast in Astoria! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's/Galentine's day too! 

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*Disclaimer... this blog post consists of a variety of iPhone photos, DSLR photos, varying levels of lighting (thanks, light-dimmers), and brightly colored (soon-to-be-repainted) walls that cast yellow onto everything. All that to say, please don't judge too harshly if the colors are all over the place. ;)

Top 19 Newborn Photographers in Portland

As a photographer, there are lots of things you may find when opening up your email. Inquiries from potential new clients, shipping notifications of items ordered, receipts from packages you've purchased, etc. But today, I was pleasantly surprised to be notified that, after lots of analyzing, rating and narrowing down, that I was selected as one of the top 19 best newborn photographers in Portland. What an honor! This is so unexpected and exciting. Thank you so much to the wonderful team at Expertise who painstakingly searched through hundreds of Portland photographers, and eventually came across my little business, and found it to be one of their top picks. What a fantastic surprise.

Shelley Marie Photo has come a long way since it's beginning in 2011. When I started out I had no clue what it took to be a "legit business;" one that made any sort of profit, or had a steady stream of clients inquiring of it's services. It's taken a lot of hard work, trial and error, finding out what works best, and growing with my business. To anyone wishing to start a business of their own, in photography or otherwise, I encourage you not to give up. You will not know everything from the beginning, and you will probably never truly feel like you know how to run every aspect of your business. But don't let that stop you from starting your business. There's always something new to learn, and something you can improve upon... and that will always be true no matter how long you've been in business, but that's part of the fun! I'm so proud of how much my business has grown and all that I have learned in the past several years. And I am even more proud to see that my business has passed all the criteria and tests that Expertise put in its way. If my clients are happy then I am happy; and that's all any business owner can ask for.