Honey Tahini Cookies

These Tahini cookies with honey, almond meal and sesame seeds are amazing!  The kids had a blast – and although they look a little crazy in the photos, I did make some that looked perfectly round… but the kids were so proud that they made these – I promised I would only post photos of what they made!  Image


1 1/2 cups almond meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4  cup plain toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup of black sesame seeds

Yields about 20 cookies
Preheat oven to 350F & Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine almond meal, salt and baking soda.
In another bowl, stir together honey, tahini and vanilla extract until combined.

Add the almond meal mixture to the honey tahini mixture and stir until well incorporated.

You should be able to form balls with the dough. If it’s too wet at a little more almond meal.

Form small balls and then roll in sesame seeds.

Flatten it to 1/4 inch thickness and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leaving about 1-2 inches space between cookies.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden.  I find it’s best to let them cool right on the cookie sheet so that they don’t break apart.



What is a referral worth for your wedding vendors?



There are many unwritten rules of playing fair within any industry… the line is faded and frustrating.  Many years ago, when you were a photographer, videographer or other vendor you saw referrals based on quality and trust. It is amazing to get referrals from other brides and grooms, from planners, from venues… and the list goes on.  But that line of why we are referring someone is becoming quite jaded, and we need to keep our eyes and ears open for little ques that make a “referral” not so sweet or solid.

The biggest issue that has come to light is that vendors have learned that over the years they can get “paid” by other vendors for referrals.  This is the first line that was crossed some time ago, when some venues and vendors decided that you had to only be of “average” quality and pay a huge chunk of money and they would put you on their referral list.  There ARE some upstanding vendors out there that choose their referral list by experience, merit, value, quality of work and customer service ~ but definitely not everyone is in this category.

Things to look for that can be “red-alarms” when getting referrals from vendors, and questions that are important to ask.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask:  Do vendors on your referral list pay to be on your referral list?  That doesn’t mean that they are bad referrals, however, if they have paid to be there… you need to dig a little deeper.  Check and double-check their experience, quality of work, and try to find other people who refer them as well.

2. Vendors that offer HUGE discounts if you go with ONE vendor only.  If you are a professional, you should work well with multiple other vendors.  Offering 30%- 50% off your services ONLY if they book with a specific other vendor should set off a HUGE red flag. They may be just new to the industry and are trying to align themselves with some great other vendors to pump up the quality of their own work, but playing well and being able to refer multiple other vendors that they work well with shows that they have more connections and people that they can produce well with.

3. Tell me about your referrals.  When meeting with a vendor and getting references from them, ask them to tell you about the references and why you are referring them – be in tune to how excited they get about them and how much detail they can give about how they work, their style or how they service their clients.  They should be able to do this about ALL of their referrals they are giving, including their experience, maybe how well they shoot in different environments, or how helpful and present they are with their clients.

In the wedding industry, referrals are the best form getting the best combination of vendors, which equals your best chances of getting top-notch results from them as a team.  So after you ask the hard questions go with your gut… but vendors that play fair with other vendors and that are knowledgeable about their referrals means you are getting the best referrals.  And vendors that can give you a few referrals from each service and that can describe to you why one or the other may be a great fit for them means they are concerned about what is best for you as a bridal couple too!  However, a vendor that says you MUST go with a specific vendor to get a discount from them, OR locations that refer based on them being paid… let the red flags start flying.

Plan a portrait calendar

Busy is the word, and I always suggest taking time each year to plan a portrait calendars.  It doesn’t matter what time of year you start this, but taking a look at where you are in life with your family/children and making a decision on when professional portraits are best each year is a great way to get those memories at a time that works best for you and for your budget.

Here are some great times and milestones that will mean the most to catch with professional photography:

1st year: Maternity, Birth-3 weeks, When your child starts sitting up, when your child stands, first birthday

Youth: Formal portraits yearly(if you would rather have beautiful images vs. school photographs), Awards and recognition portraits when they have major accomplishments (this is confidence building).

Yearly: Family portraits, children’s favorite interests portraits, special outfits for holidays or from special family members, siblings portraits.  Parents… the most un-photographed couple and it is one of the most important to your children~make time for formal portraits of just the two of you every few years at least.

Generation portraits: children with parents and grandparents, mother or father & child portraits, grandparents with grandchildren, and formal portraits of grandparents.

For you:  Update business portraits every 2 years (yes, get rid of the HS photos on your LinkedIn page!lol),  make-over or boudoir portraits because we all need to feel extra special once in a while – and we also need something to look back at to remember what we were like – and your children will cherish photos of you throughout the years too.

Wedding: Yes of course – but also consider formal portraits with your gown when you have made some time and space without the hustle and bustle of the wedding day.

Love: Celebrate… anniversary, birthday ~special places & memories.

And although I could go on and on ~ start picking through the most important things for you on this list and start plugging them into your personal calendar and making your appointments… you can always re-schedule closer to a schedule date.. but if it’s not on your calendar then life gets busy and these very important times get pushed aside.  Make it real, and set up your portrait calendar.

Need help?  We have a yearly portrait planning date at the studio – it’s absolutely free, and booking with us personally is not required.  I just want to help you get on track to great memories that don’t go missed!

Contact us for details:  info@fototails.comJeanine_Thurston_Z_001


Happy Jumping DanceIMG_2916b

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Missing time

Every once in awhile I have a few moments when I remember a smell, a feeling… something that brings me back to youth.  At times it’s so strong that I spend even more time searching for a photograph of my grandparents, my parents ~ a point of validation and a more vivid recollection of what is flighty in my mind.

It’s reflection week.  I remember how “NOT” confident I was when I was in my teens and early 20s.  I was modeling at the time, and was surrounded by people that I knew looked better than me, had a smaller waistline, and was so concerned with people liking me for how I looked.  I had to really push myself to think of anything that I really liked about myself.  Now creeping into my mid-40s… if there was one thing I could go back and do I would just smack my young self up the side of my head.  So, here is my taking a deep breath… please know that these hairstyles and clothes were from the late 80’s and I take no responsibility for poofy hair or bangs.  But, I least now I can look back and see I wasn’t fat, I wasn’t ugly – as I did think so at the time.  Silly children… don’t let a day go by that you don’t tell your children that they are beautiful and help them build confidence in who they are regardless of what they look like.  If I can give one thing to my children – I want to give them confidence in who they are as a person.  There is nothing to compare yourself against, every person has something they can be proud of.

So here you go…. and I’m totally fine if you smile, laugh… because it cracks me up too. 😉


If I could give you one thing in life.

Life passes us by so quickly, and I woke up this morning to a “quote” on Facebook by some unknown that I really had to share.

“If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes, only then would you realize how special you are to me.”

As much as it applies to loved ones, it is why I love photographing so much too.  People in general are so unaware of how beautiful they are, and how other people actually see them.  As does everyone else, some days I wake up feeling a bit ugly and yucky, other days we feel ok or don’t even think about it.  A few days we feel amazing here and there.  But I think if we all actually had a chance to see ourselves how others see us we would have so much more confidence in who we are and how amazing we actually look to other people.

So when I photograph you, that is what I’m looking for… I way to give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes.  Because you are special.Image

Bonkers, maybe….

To keep my edge in my work I need an occasional play date.  Typically my play days are not my normal photography work that you see on a day to day basis.  I spend my play dates with people that like to work a little outside of the box, and I shoot more MY style than at any other time.  I’m pleasing myself, and pushing my boundaries while trying to keep the quality still at it’s best.  My background is actually in the arts, and my personal love of shooting style can be a bit dark and crazy at times… I love people that play outside of the box…..”Bonkers, maybe – but let me tell you a secret… all the best people are.” ~Alice in Wonderland

We had a stellar crew going, but Jill Scott (did her own hair and make-up) kind of took everything to a new level… we have very like brains when it comes to having fun and creating some art.  Susan Dillon of Kitty Mae Millinery is always our go to Mad-hatter and what a beautiful “orb” she had to hat this time around.

In the spirit of Alice in Wonderland we have lots to show soon, but I couldn’t help but show off two of my favorites so far.  Promise, full cast & crew with more photos coming very soon!




“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”
— Cardinal Mermillod

It may sound early to tell you Mother’s Day is the most important day of the year, but it is never too early to think about all of the mother’s out there in the world.  Our children depend on us, they love us, they look up to us for everything as they are growing up.  They look to us when they scrap their knee, spill their milk, and just want someone to lay next to when they are feeling sad.  Our children look to us to be mountains they can climb over when they are small, friends they can dance with to a good song, and someone they can just be comfortable being “silly” with once in a while.

I can also say from experience that as a mother… we don’t get enough photographs with our children.  While we take lots of pictures of them, I’m willing to bet that a majority of those images are minus mom in the photo – as we are also the photographers and videographers – documenting our children’s childhood.  That being said, again – Mother’s Day is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate the relationship with you and your children than with a portrait session that shows that special bond you have with your child or children.  Time to start leaving hints to dads and family to get a gift certificate for a session… or better yet, come in and do a mother and child session as a gift to yourself for all the hard work, tears, smiles & laughter that happen every day – much because of what you do for your children every day.


$500 for a beautiful portrait session for your children and their mother, with a gorgeous 11×14 framed canvas included of one image from their session, and 2 digital files with rights to print for personal use.  GIFT CERTIFICATES are available to purchase with this package and can be used anytime in 2014 as well.


Jennifer with her beautiful girls

Jennifer with her beautiful girls