There has been some pretty nice things that happened in the adaptions that we've been forced to make lately. Though the pandemic hasn't been easy, to say the least, we have gotten time to have a self inspection of each of our own lives. I could see the places in my life that weren't letting me live my fullest. And like me, some clientele were taking advantage of the down time for rebranding, updating photos, building content, and began leaving products at my door to photograph. It's been so awesome seeing how Houston business owners have found the silver lining. It's also been amazing seeing that through this all many friends of mine, both in life and through social media, have decided to also take this time to follow their heart and consider a career change. And some have inspired to be photographers for the longest time. I've been promising to write this blog post for ever for them. And today you'll find my essentials for Studio by Christa Elyce equipment list!


Since the stay at home order, I began shooting regularly in my home studio that we fitted out. The first thing had to be installed was a motorized backdrop system. I found mine on Amazon and luckily for me Malcolm is super clever and handy because it didn't come with directions and mainly in Chinese. I was sick of setting up the traditional stands and bar every time I wanted to shoot at home (that old backdrop system now is in my traveling studio kit which pretty much my below photo).




There was a dead space off of my kitchen. I seriously can't think of what people would have done with the space in the 80s (around when my home was built). It was a space for a tv that sits inset of the opposite wall to the back patio. I've made that my storage area. It's perfect for light stands, my Replica Surfaces, posing apple boxes, ring light, video slider, more 4ft paper backdrops, and a few other photography odds and ends. This is what my home studio normally looks on a random day after a shoot. I'm not messy but give me a break...I just had a shoot the day before. Access to our back patio on the left and retro entertainment space converted to studio storage on the right under stairs landing.


I found these Backdrop Foam Holders from Amazon. They've been a God send of a product to store my Savage Paper Backdrops on display. I bought two because the paper was getting out control and I'm thinking of purchasing another (I have a backdrop purchasing problem). It really has turned into a space I can work! I have to move the kitchen table sometimes but it's much larger than other studio spaces I've had in the past. (Plus, the kitchen table makes it for a consult space or prep table. And for food shoots my kitchen is just right there for prep). I also have space to handle professional business portraits so it was necessary to have the Posing Table and Stool. Another purchased I've been crazy about it my foldable and portable V Flats from V-Flat World. 


So here is the list:

Nikon D850
Nikon D800
Nikon D700
3 Godox Speedlights
Godox Transmitter
3 Elinchrom Lights
Nikkor 70-200mm 
Nikkor 24-70mm 
Nikkor 50mm 
Nikkor 85 mm
Nikkor 100mm Macro
Phottix Transmittor and Remotes
Portable External Hard Drive
Sekonic Light Meter
Manafrotto Tripod

So many light stands to count







Here are some photos that I've photographed in my studio or on location with my equipment.






Hopefully I answered a lot of questions about my studio! 





This was by far the best quiche I've ever had. Thank you Homemade Interest for sharing this amazing dish for all of us living the Keto lifestyle. I had purchased my quiche dish from a estate sale earlier this year and put it away and forgotten I even had it till I saw this recipe on the Homemade Interest blog. It was so easy to cook and I even allowed myself to be a little late to work just so I can have a 2nd slice of this dish!


Here are your ingredients: 

  • Eggs
  • Ground breakfast sausage
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy Cream
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh baby spinach

HOW DO YOU MAKE SAUSAGE AND SPINACH CRUSTLESS QUICHE?

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet over medium high heat brown the ground breakfast sausage until it is almost cooked through. Drain excess grease and return to the skillet.
  3. Add cream cheese and stir together with sausage cooking until the sausage finishes cooking and the cream cheese is fully melted.
  4. Place baby spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until spinach is lightly steamed and tender. If you prefer you can saute the spinach in a skillet with a teaspoon or two of olive oil rather than microwaving. 
  5. In a bowl add eggs and 1 cup of heavy cream. Whisk together.
  6. Spoon the sausage cream cheese mixture into a greased 11×7 inch casserole dish. You can also use a 13×9 inch casserole dish the quiche just won’t be as thick and may cook slightly faster. 
  7. Add spinach on top of the sausage and sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over everything.
  8. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and spinach and use a spoon to move things around just a big to let the eggs get down into the mixture.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until you can jiggle the pan and the quiche doesn’t shake in the center.
  10. Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

calories: 429kcalcarbohydrates: 2gprotein: 18gfat: 38gsaturated fat: 19gcholesterol: 212mgsodium: 559mgpotassium: 299mgsugar: 1gvitamin a: 2385iuvitamin c: 4.5mgcalcium: 234mgiron: 1.6mg
 

I started noticing that Brighton was squinting a lot lately. Brighton loves playing video games with his friends, creating animations, and using his eye pad. With school just around the corner I knew it was probably time to take him to see our neighborhood optometrist at ProOptix since we found out that his schooling would all be virtual this year. Brighton's main concern was discussing his gaming advantages with better eye care and eye sight. He learned a lot about eye strain from looking at screens and how it affects his eye health. It was eye opening for him! ;) Pun intended!


I really thought he would be nervous but he was really excited. It was great to see that new technology eliminates you from having to have your eyes dilated and the time it takes to take effect and wear off. Lucky guy! That's not how it was when I was a kid. 

ProOptix was great at taking all the proper precautions for our city's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. You text them from your car to let them know you've arrived. They only allow one patient at a time into the office. There's even a cup to dispose of used pens once you've filled out the initial forms.







That's the kid's eyeball! He would keep asking if it looks nice and healthy. 







He struggled through some of the smaller letters. I mean, seriously, I still couldn't do as well as him.








He found these Ray-Bans that he absolutely loved. He had a chat about needing lenses that had added protection for his eyes from all the computer time he'll be spending with school and his friends virtually. I normally would have opted out from blue light protection and glare but now I see how absolutely vital it is. This little dude is ready for school now! Even if it's not in the real classroom this year.

   
It might have been an impulsive project but it had to be done. Since our home had now become the only place you could hang out, do all your work, and teach school since the Covid-19 pandemic it was time to make our outdoor space a bit more livable. We truly didn't have this at all planned out but within a matter of a week Malcolm and I were so in sync with how we were going engineer and design what would be our courtyard. 

    We had a wishlist of what we thought we could do without breaking the bank. We went to our neighborhood Home Depot and pick up bags of dirt, white rose bushes that were half off, and splurged a little on the out door uplighting. Spending just a bit more than we wanted on uplighting made all the difference in the world. 



    Our drive way had become the place where we could watch the kids play and we like outdoor living so we needed some lush greenery out there. I found these amazing 6"x8" Turf Outdoor Rugs at Target and placed them side by side. I used my RedCard and saved 5% off my purchase too! We already had an empty brick garden box to frame the space and it instantly transformed the space for a place for us to lay on for picnics. Put out a bistro table or even just a place to play with out dog, Mabel. 





Our next and probably our biggest project yet was the eye sore of our side house where you could see the garbage cans. So ew! 


AFTER/BEFORE PHOTOS


    We decided that this just wasn't our style and we had to do something about it. Malcolm and I (but really I was the brains of this operation - Mal is the know how and muscle) engineered something that allowed air to pass through it. Was light enough for install and would completely disguise the alley way. 
   
    So we wanted our Courtyard to be something that reminded us of how Malcolm and I met.  Malcolm and I had randomly met one Tuesday night at Brasserie 19. It had to be a Boxwood Wall. I had looked high and low at different shops and wasn't willing to pay the price when we could pretty much make it ourselves at the same quality.


We measured the length of our space and looked up on HomeDepot.com how many of these trellises and how many of these 20"x20" Boxwood Panels we would need. We had a spare long board for the base from a previous project (See Hiding Air Conditioning Units Project) and black paint from painting our dining room (which is still in progress but I'll share soon). We knew we would rather use black zip ties than nails to make sure that the squares were secure and it didn't ad much weight to the wall. Plus the last thing you want are fallen nails in your driveway.


We used our saw to cut the 3rd trellis to fit the last length of the fence. We drilled all the trellis bottoms to our painted black base. We secured all three trellises to each other using zip ties. I like these zip ties because you don't have to waste time cutting them because you just twist them and they break off. They're very durable so your hands may get a little raw from twisting so many. 





It took use both and with the fence propped again our brick we made sure that the boxwood panels were flat and stretched so they didn't appear to bulge any which way before zip tie-ing them. We measured this out so perfectly that I only had to order 1 order of 12 boxwood panels. We had probably 6 inches scrap left after this. 



It already fit snugly into the fence space between the column and the corner of the fence but we went ahead and heavy duty zip tied it to every other bar of the fence (top, middle, and bottom). 


Malcolm just wanted to trim it perfectly. I mean it does kind of look like a real hedge. Our neighbors love it so much!

And now the absolutely favorite thing we love about our back patio space. The Bed Swing we found on Facebook Marketplace for $300. This was the most tedious project because we had to be sure we hung it from the beams of the driveway port. 


We requested it be painted black before we picked it up and the seller did it! We had to purchase chain for it because the rope that came with it was too short. Besides the chain was sturdy and I can always cover it up with material. We already had a spare twin mattress that the young ones had grown out of. And too many extra couch pillows to shake a stick at. So all I need to purchase was an outdoor waterproof mattress cover. The clock was a broken clock that Malcolm refused to get ride of so I told him to take the face off the backing and paint it black. It worked perfectly in the space. The topiaries I purchased from Amazon as well and the pots actual came with the house though they were an ugly brown, it wasn't anything a can of spray paint couldn't fix. 


I'm really happy with the transformation. And now it's an extended outdoor space we enjoy!
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