elisalou designs & photography » Columbus, Ohio photographer | child and family photographer | senior portrait photographer

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California Part 1

Ok it’s time to get these California pics up!

Back in February Andy had to go to California for the week to meet up with Facebook, instagram, snapchat. All those social media companies located on the west side.

He asked if I wanted to tag along for a bit, and I asked if we could take Blake. He had been wanting to go back pretty bad since our last trip and he had a long weekend and would only miss a day of school. So…. Grandparents came up to stay with the youngest two and dogs and off we went.


Of course it’s our luck that California finally decides to get some rain ๐Ÿ™ But that’s ok- it wasn’t too bad.


Our first stop was Los Angeles.


Not a bad place to hang.


Imagine living on this street right on the Pacific.


I had just upgraded my camera to this one so I took it with me. The colors straight out of camera are not near as warm as my Mark III. You can see how much more drab they are. Of course it was also a very drab kinda day.


The Pacific Ocean is one scary Mama.


While I will always be an East Coast girl there is just something amazing about the West. Just don’t try to get in that water! Fa-reeeezing!

I saw this picture on Pinterest and told Andy I wanted to see it.


You guys- this is what it looked like that day! Apparently the conditions have to be JUST RIGHT and the tide has to be JUST RIGHT, etc etc. I think 99% of the time it looks like my pic below!


I’m not gonna lie- it was a little scary.


It was so great to have Blake with us- that middle child that always wants attention. More to come…

Susan - Very nice pictures.

BJ - I remember when we lived in California the water was always so cold, even in summer.

Elizabeth - I’ve got to get out West. I’ve never been and I want to go badly. That water looks so scary one mis step and you could be a goner. You know I couldn’t help but think of the homes right on the cliffs by the water without thinking of the erosion and wondered how long would they still be there, but it’s still quite the view ๐Ÿ™‚

Black Bean Queso

I found this recipe on this blog (and it looks like she has TON more great ones that I will checking out!) It was SO good and it’s vegetarian which helps since Austin was home the night I made it. It also was great added to our breakfast tacos the next morning. Enjoy!



3/4 cup tomatillo salsa verde
15 oz [1 can] vegetarian refried black beans
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt
8 oz pepper jack cheese, freshly grated, plus a few extra ounces for topping
1 oz grated mozzarella, for topping
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes for topping [deliciously spicy + optional!]
1/4 tsp dried parsley for topping
tortilla chips and veggies for dipping


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take out pepper jack cheese and cream cheese ahead of time and allow to soften.
Next combine your beans and green salsa in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and bring to medium heat on your stove top, stirring frequently.
Add softened cream cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Once the beans are hot and the cream cheese has fully melted, slowly add freshly grated pepper jack cheese, stirring constantly to incorporate.
Top with extra pepper jack, grated mozzarella cheese, parsley and red pepper flakes, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly!
To make the cheese bubbly and golden, switch your oven to broil on high for just a minute or so [keep an eye on it to prevent burning]
Dig in right away and store leftovers for up to 4 days in a covered bowl. May be reheated in the oven or microwave. Enjoy!

Next time I might add jalapenos to part of it for me ๐Ÿ™‚

Elizabeth - Did u you use a cast iron bc I don’t own one. Will it make a big difference in how it tastes? Looks sooo good!!

elisa - I don’t have a cast iron so I just did it in a regular pan. Turned out fine!

Andy - This was SOOOO yummy. We need to make this again soon!

A good day and a not so good day


Yesterday we went to the Franklin Park Conservancy to check out the butterfly exhibit.

Andy was about to leave to a conference for the next 4 days and we wanted to do something as a family.


The Chuhily art is always impressive.


Austin’s Spring Break was nearing an end and it was nice to get out of house after lots of cold days.


Cole was so into figuring out how to make this work. Future engineer.


Eva was so into this little fairy exhibit but because she could touch any of it- well it was absolute torture for her. The boys kept laughing because why temp little kids with this perfect little play stuff- but they cant touch. It seriously made her crazy. We couldn’t even walk through the whole part. We had to move on.


So we went on to the butterfly exhibit. So cool


They had just released butterflies out- they were flying everywhere. But Eva was going crazy. She wanted one to land on her.


And then a couple landed on me. This did not go over well.


Thankfully there was a very nice girl that helped us move this butterfly from my hand to Eva’s.



Today was a little harder. Lots of big life stuff bearing down on me. And single parenting. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better!

Gretchen Poulson - I can’t get over how grown up Cole looks! Time slow down! Single parenting can be hard, sending hugs! Hope the days fly by while Andy is gone.

5pm on a Wednesday night

Cole’s lacrosse was cancelled because the temps were just way too low for them to play outside. So instead he helped me make dinner. I love that he has been helping more and more with things like this. Twice this week he has made brownies for the gang. They don’t last long.


He’s also good about feeding the dogs.


This night he was making Annies mac and cheese for both of them because they didn’t want what I was making for everyone else.


After that it was snuggle time with the big guy.


Big hearts ๐Ÿ™‚

Snow Day Fail

We were so hoping for a Snow Day today. We made chili and twice baked potatoes last night and Eva and Cole even tried the ice cubes in the toilet trick.


It didn’t work. ๐Ÿ™

But the good side is now Austin and his girlfriend and family won’t have to drive through a lot of snow as then head up to Cleveland to watch the Cavs game tonight.

So….since mother nature isn’t giving me snow then I want Spring. Off to restock our local store with Elisalou items and maybe even add some to the website ๐Ÿ™‚