Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Mention: Petula Pea Photography

Meet the amazing Patty Brutlag from Petula Pea Photography!  Petula Pea Photography specializes in family, baby, wedding and lifestyle photography. She is based out of Carlsbad, CA but books photoshoots throughout San Diego County.  Petula Pea photographs are the perfect combination of beautiful and fun!  Read more to learn how she got started in photography and what keeps her inspired.  Take a moment to enjoy a few of her beautiful photographs throughout the interview and also keep your eyes peeled for an amazing special she is offering all Creative Travel Mugs fans!

"I find joy in making memories for you! My style is stunning, colorful & crisp ~ I love photographing people & weddings. " - Patty

What inspired you to start your own photography business?

My husband & my baby girl! Owning my own photography business was a dream of mine since I graduated college. But since timing is everything, it didn’t happen when I was young. When I knew I was going to marry Andy & the thought of being a mommy someday, we both wanted to make sure that when we had babies I could stay home with them & work for myself (instead of working for corporate like I had done since college). Having photo shoots in the evenings and weekends allowed for a 2nd income and my passion to bloom.

How long have you been a photographer?

Hahaha, I could say since I was a child when I took that perfect photo with my parents polaroid, but I’ll date it back to Jerry Halfman’s class my freshman year in High School, then continued into college. So, 24 years!

How would you describe your style?
 My photography is very colorful & modern, yet timeless. I like to stay true-to-color when I edit so when my client
looks back at the photos, they are timeless, not some of the trendy looks that are going around right now.

What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
It’s usually my prime Canon lens 50mm f/1.4 but lately it’s been my EF 100mm f/2.8L

Where is your favorite place to have a photo shoot and why?
I don’t have one particular place… if it offers heavenly light and a gorgeous backdrop, I am bound to find it!

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

This is such a tough question! Each session is unique with amazing memories. I LOVE photographing a wedding because it’s one of the most memorable & joyous days for my client. Yet, a gorgeous maternity session I shot last month just resulted in a precious newborn baby girl. Can I say all of them are memorable?

If there was one thing you could have people say about your photos, what would it be?
I’d be lying if I said that didn’t care if people liked my photography. I get the most incredible compliments from strangers and my clients. I sometimes have to pinch myself because I can’t believe that Petula Pea exists. I am so appreciative if 1 person likes what I do.   But as long as I love the outcome (and my husband) that’s all what maters J

What is your best tip to share with a beginner photographer?

Find a local photographer that you admire & whom you love her/his style, then ask if you can work for free!
Having a degree in photography is great but experience is key!!!

Anything else you would like to add?
Yes! I also wouldn’t have been able to do this without my very own wedding photographer (now dear friend), Susie Linquist.
I boldly asked her when I hired her to be my photographer if I could work for her someday for free.

I firmly believed that she said yes because I believed in myself. I interned with her, then became an associate for Susie Linquist Photography until just recently.  She taught me everything I know about the business and shooting weddings. Thank you Sus!!!

Do you have a promotion you would like to offer our fans?

Sure! They can take $100 off any portrait package.
Or, $300 off any wedding package!
(Book by April 15th, 2012)


Twitter: (someday!)

Phone: 760.815.0109

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think of Petula Pea Photography!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Mention: Confections by Shara’s Paperie

Shara Danziger is the Owner and Designer at Confections by Shara’s Paperie, a unique online gift shop that allows visitors to shop and add their own personal design touch to a wide variety of products. Confections is based out of Memphis Tennessee and offers the sweetest line of personalized gifts, stationery and invitations. Their line of custom goods includes iPhone cases, clipboards, cutting boards, pillow cases, melamine plates and bowls, sticky note cubes and more!

"All design work is created by the Confections team of designers and is applied to the product line. Personalize any item with a name or monogram to add a final touch. With a Confections product, you are sure to receive an item that is uniquely your own." - Shara

What inspired you to start this business? Confections grew out of my brick and mortar store, Shara’s Paperie.  I wanted to be able to offer my clients what they wanted and be able to change colors, designs, fonts without having to go through another company, so Confections was born.  Then I realized how much I love designing for products!

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? To get good advice!  Find people that you can truly trust and have them help you make the tough decisions.  Make sure that they have your back, and your best interest at heart…not their own.

What is your most popular product? That is probably a tie between our personalized tempered glass cutting board-

and our personalized iPhone cases-

If there was one thing you could have people say about your company, what would it be? That we try with each and every client to make it perfect, and perfect in the client’s eyes.

What product of yours are YOU most fond of and why? That is a tough one…but I would have to say the framed magnetic dry erase boards.  They are so functional as well as absolutely fabulous!

Do you have a promotion you would like to offer our fans today? Certainly!  20% your entire order from March 19 – March 25!  Coupon code: MUGS

Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for the feature!

Where is your business located? Memphis, Tennessee and

There are so many great products to choose from on the Confections by Shara’s Paperie website!  Which one is your favorite??  Let us know in the comments section below!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Mention - Simply Charmed

California based small business owner, Leann Pignone, is the Owner and Creator of Simply Charmed. A company that creates magnetic charms for wine glasses, or any beverage for that matter-- with dozens of themes. Wine charms from Simply Charmed "make get-togethers more fun!" says Leann.

Here is her story:

What inspired you to start this business? After moving to CA we developed a huge appreciation for wine. We spent many evenings at different wine events, or at home with friends trying wines and "doing research". When we discovered these crazy cool magnets, we knew exactly what to do with them!

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? I had no experience in starting a business, at times I didn't know what to do next. Someone told me, rather than hesitate because you are afraid of making a mistake, just keep moving forward-and you WILL make some mistakes but at least you are moving forward.

What is your most popular product? I would say it is our wine themed sets.

If there was one thing you could have people say about your company, what would it be? "I love it! That's really cool!" I'm fortunate that I get to hear this a lot, it's what keeps me going when the work seems larger than the rewards!

What product of yours are YOU most fond of and why? I still love the elegance and grace of the Swarovski Crystal sets. They work for any time or occasion.

Anything else you would like to add? We will be introducing our new website by the end of March--give us a "like" on Facebook ( to find out about the promotions that will be going on along with launch of the new site!

Connect with Simply Charmed!
Twitter: #wineswithcharm

Let us know what you think of these adorable wine charms in the comments section below!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

11 Tips for Beginner Photographers

If you're anything like me, you're always looking for great ideas and suggestions to help capture that perfect photo....without having to go out and drop a nice chunk of change on one of those fancy shmancy cameras.  Why shouldn't I be able to capture great pics on my point and shoot, right?  Well, the folks at have given us 11 tips for beginners and I have to admit, I got sucked in after reading #1.  It's like the author was speaking directly to me....trying to make me feel better about demanding that my $80 piece of equipment to give me beautiful photos.  Let's jump on in and break it all down, shall we?!

#1 Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away.

"It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point and shoot. See these examples on Flickr. The more photos you take, the more you’ll know about what kind of camera to get when it’s time to upgrade."

See?  What did I tell you........this      File:U+2191.svgFile:U+2191.svgFile:U+2191.svgFile:U+2191.svgFile:U+2191.svgFile:U+2191.svg    IS good enough! (We will just ignore that "right away" part for....well, probably for ever in my case.)

2. Consider a tripod.

On the other hand, an inexpensive tripod is worth getting, especially if you have shaky hands like mine. When I got a tripod, my satisfaction with my shots skyrocketed. For even more stability, use your camera’s timer function with a tripod (read our introduction to tripods).

This I totally agree with.... see below for case and point.  This could have been an absolutely adorable shot had it not been for my shaky, over caffinated, hand.

3. Keep your camera with you all the time.

Photo ops often come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple – just a small camera bag and a tripod – you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take “notes” on scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.

....and if I can't take advantage of some of those opportunities, I'm sure I'll find out later that one of my little monkeys has!  That's right folks....I'm breeding future professional photographers here!

4. Make a list of shots you’d like to get.

For those times you can’t carry your camera around, keep a small notebook to jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Make sure to note any important details, like the lighting, so you can come back at the same time of day or when the weather’s right. If you don’t want to carry a notebook, send yourself an email using your cell phone with

My list of shots I'd like to get:
Vodka, Tequila, Whiskey.....Oh, right, back to photography.

5. Don’t overlook mundane subjects for photography.

You might not see anything interesting to photograph in your living room or your backyard, but try looking at familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. You might catch an interesting trick of the light or find some unexpected wildflowers in your yard. Often a simple subject makes the best shot.

Fresh eyes???  Obviously this writer doesn't have kids....we'll move on.

6. Enjoy the learning process.

The best part of having a hobby like photography is never running out of things to learn. Inspiration is all around you. Look at everything with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.

7. Take advantage of free resources to learn.

Browse through Flickr or websites like the Digital Photography School Forum for inspiration and tips. Also, your local library probably has a wealth of books on all types of photography. If you’re interested in learning about post-processing, give free software like the GIMP a try.

...Yeah, he lost me at "post-processing"....

8. Experiment with your camera’s settings.

Your point and shoot may be more flexible and powerful than you know. Read the manual for help deciphering all those little symbols. As you explore, try shooting your subjects with multiple settings to learn what effects you like. When you’re looking at your photos on a computer, you can check the EXIF data (usually in the file’s properties) to recall the settings you used.

Read the manual?  Nah, It's 2012....I'll just ask my 5 year old.  I'm sure he can explain all the buttons to me.  What?  Don't have a 5 year old?  Well, maybe this little resource from Cameras for Kids will help.

9. Learn the basic rules.

The amount of information about photography online can be overwhelming. Start with a few articles on composition. Be open to what more experienced photographers have to say about technique. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

10. Take photos regularly.

Try to photograph something every day. If you can’t do that, make sure you take time to practice regularly, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned. 

And lastly.....

11. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If you’re using a digital camera, the cost of errors is free. Go crazy – you might end up with something you like. You’ll certainly learn a lot in the process.

This is my favorite tip because it finally gives me justification for my "crazy photo snapping".....If you were to ask my hubby, he would tell you that I am a mad snapper. (Not sure exactly what that means, but I'm sure one day he'll explain it!) But I have to admit...without the fanatical snapping of pictures, I would have missed out on some of my favorite pictures.  And, because I know you're just dying to know which one's they are....I posted them below.   Yeah, you're welcome. ;-)

All in all, this is one of the better lists of tips that I have come across for the true beginner.  Do you have any other tips to add to the list?  If so, leave them in the comments below.  I would love to hear how you captured some of YOUR favorite moments!