I feel a little bit quiet right now. In the eye of the storm.

So here are some photos from a quiet midday, still in my pajamas, while making cookies for the kids to come home to. I hadn’t planned on photographing this. But once I got everything out and fired up the oven, I remembered that I had told myself to pick up my camera more. I have been missing it, missing just shooting for myself. My kitchen and I were the only subjects around. It just kind of happened.

Looking at these, knowing I have them, makes me feel good. This is a big part of my life as a mom. Hair in a bun, working from home, no make up on, comfy pants, cooking something up for the kids, appreciating the quiet. This is a story that hadn’t been told for me yet.

Random thoughts that came up when looking at these:

I wear aprons when I cook because I have a bad habit of wiping my hands on my clothes. Better to wipe on the apron. I also hate washing clothes. I also don’t mind wearing a dirty apron.

My kitchen is small and my black cabinets soak up all the light. (We painted them with chalkboard paint when we did some home renovations back in 2007.) Cooking for six isn’t easy in here. Cooking for entertaining is nearly impossible. That counter is my only real working space. If I had a bunch of money it would go towards the kitchen. Knock out a wall, bring in an island, create a more functional pantry, have a few open shelves…

Anything in bulk that I can put in a jar, I do – because my pantry is tiny and overflows onto the top of the fridge. No flat space goes to waste. And jars are beautiful.

Brown eggs are beautiful, too.

Pyrex is also beautiful. I have been collecting Pyrex for at least ten years. I don’t have a lot, but the pieces I do have, I got cheap, and I love.

Most of the things in my kitchen have been purchased second hand. I love scouring thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales for beautifully worn in bowls and containers.

A huge jasmine bush blooms just outside that kitchen window. A great idea that the previous homeowners had. All white carpet was not.

That little red pan on the stove sits there semi-permanently. It is the pan I fry eggs in every morning.

I have a scrabble tile rack above my sink. One word to remind me. The word used to be SMILE – but the E fell into the disposal awhile ago. Now the word is SLIM. That works for me, too.

But not until after I eat some cookie dough.



Unrelated PS –

For Japan with Love has raised over $55k. THAT IS AWESOME!

I will be making final decisions on a graphic designer this week. Thank you to all who have applied.

Join the Conversation


  1. You are BEAUTIFUL, Tara. Do you know that? When I look at that shot of your face, those brown eyes, your nosering, your lips, and hair and glasses, everything is so authentic. It is all so beautiful. It’s what life’s about. I’m sure you are so glad you took these—-

  2. I love this series. I do this too ( well, try to) photograph the mundane, the every day, I think it is usually so beautiful but so mundane we often forget to see it. I love your kitchen BTW, and the idea of searching for old pots to put things away in. (and teh chalk board cabinets). Can I ask how you manage to put up so many pictures togetehr? is that one of the “actions” you told us about once back in the days?

    last (I promise) can I ask what lens allows you to take a self portrait so close?

  3. Tara, as always your photos slay me! They are gorgeous! I love the chalkboard cabinets too! But I must know where, oh where did you score those eye glass frames??? They are awesome and look great on you! Thanks in advance!

  4. I’ve been a reader of your blog forever – love absolutely everthing about it! Your photography is gorgeous and your words, well beyond touching. I was struck by your self-portrait though – your eyes look sadder than I ever remember seeing….hope all is well in your life.

  5. Love these photos Tara..seriously they are awesome and its something your kids will cherish for years to come.. and I know you said your kitchen is small but it looks to be about 5 times bigger than mine, and way prettier.. if I ever have a boatload of money I am getting our kitchen redone.. our home is over 200 years old and the kitchen is tiny and really not so great for cooking anything.. and I am cooking for six too. I love your black cupboards the chalkboard paint is an awesome idea. Need to incorporate that somewhere in my home in the future.. You are beautiful.. in so many ways..

    Have a great day
    e xo

  6. LOVELY! You, the post, the pictures, the quiet, the mess….it all speaks to my heart. I wish I was home baking cookies for my kids right now. Instead, well, I need to get back to earning my paycheck. Thanks for the break.

  7. that kitchen of yours, as imperfect as you see it is such a yummy, happy, homey place to be. i miss hanging out there so much! loved pouring over these pictures, and remembering all the little details. and your beautiful face. love you xx

  8. I love the simplicity of these photos. Your kitchen is adorably lived-in and totally real in every way. Your counters are their own little vignettes with a story to tell behind every angle.

    I know I’ve commented before about your uber-writing skills. Lovely. This is the kind of simple journaling about everyday things that we all forget (or don’t bother) to record but would be so meaningful to our kids and family years from now because it provides another glimpse below the surface. Great reminder to write down the “everyday” for posterity.

    I also like the way you incorporated the chalkboard paint into your cabinets. Fun idea.

    Your self portrait is sweet and a bit pensive. Enjoy your day (and the cookies).

  9. Just.Lovely. BTW, when you are missing your camera, we are all missing your camera too;). I love it when you shoot (and write) just for yourself. I know it is not for us (can I speak for all your readers? LOL), but it resonates with us and that is why we keep coming back…TFS

  10. As much as I am dreading my babies growing out of babyhood/toddlerhood, one thing I do long for is quiet time in the kitchen. These are lovely and real. Thanks for sharing them.

  11. Photos of the everyday are the greatest. I’ve been reminding myself to pick my camera up at home more too, even if lighting conditions aren’t “perfect” and despite what a bitch it is to white balance in the kitchen. Loooove this series, and your apron! :)

  12. I love seeing your hair in a bun. Very cool how you got that pic of your hair like that. My favorite pic is probably the one of you in the microwave with your cabinets showing. Oh, wait…I love the one of you with the apron, too. They are all delightful and I admire your honesty and writing.

    I have been envious of the chalkboard painted cabinsets since you painted them. Still can’t convince my husband.

    Your pictures make me long for some quiet time.

  13. What a lovely post. We so often don’t want to show the real us, only the glammed up version that we want people to think we look like all the time – ha, as if! :) You’ve inspired me to pick up my camera more often too, and not to complain so much when my husband only takes photos of me looking terrible in my daggy PJs! :) PS. Your work is brilliant! Love it!

  14. i love every single shot and word. i too have a mix mash of thrifted pyrex that i love, a cast iron skillet that is permanently affixed to my stove, i love comfy clothes and totally dig your specks. these kinds of photos put me at ease with life and ooze a sense of calm quiet that we mommas need to see.
    love this post. thanks for sharing bits of your real life with us.

  15. ok, this is freaking me out. We have the same exact kitchen. I also painted my cupboards chalkboard, it is tiny for our 5, and IT IS THE EXACT same! White time, black appliances etc… trippy that the cupboards are painted the same too.

    I totally rock the mom bun, no make-up, apron look too. You are way cool!

  16. Your kitchen is beautiful, even if it doesn’t feel like it to you. Looking at it makes me want to come over in my house clothes and apron, and have a cup of coffee and solve world problems…and stay long enough for a cold beer too!

  17. one of my fave posts ever. you know already that i love to see YOU, your home, what your day is like. to know that you and i really ARE alike…… this for me was a total and complete surprise. a total and complete treat. i will never get my thailand trip back (the way it *should* have been) but i hope some day to hang with you again (eat mexican, get a pedicure, whatever)….hit some thrift stores, flea markets…farmer’s markets…outdoor market….beach….take a trip to somewher else. i liked my time with you and em (and the others) even though i was still in shock about james and at that point i hadn’t yet grasped what was to come, and the changes i would make. just saying hello…. :-)

  18. Tara,
    Wow is really all I can say. It’s so wonderful to see a working Mom taking ME time but also doing something for her family all in one moment. I often tell myself I need to just pick up the camera no matter what is going on in the homestead but… I always have an excuse. I am inspired to stop coming up with these excuses…
    I love seeing the “Inner Tara”. You are awesome, as already stated…

    Quick question…. Do you shoot mostly in Manual mode or a semiauto mode such as AV or TV?

  19. Oh my God, Tara. I LOVE this. I didn’t see it til this morning. I want to be sitting at your table, hanging out, watching you make cookies. Then later that night, we all head out to that Mexican place you love so much.

    I am missing your presences today. xo.

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