Avia Photography

My photo
Columbia, Missouri, United States
Warning, the following ramblings are those of a sometimes sidetracked photographer avoiding accomplishing tasks on her list. All we ask is that if you use one of our photos from here or elsewise, you kindly give us credit. = )

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A quote Brian has been using these past few months has really struck a chord in me lately:

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -Albert Einstein

I'm so excited that spring is finally here--rain, laughter, joy, new friends, grand new adventures, and, of course, CHANGE!

Speaking of change, we've made some changes here in the Avia household. We've been working on getting healthier (almost 15 and counting!) and adhering to a real schedule to get our life in order. And finally, just FINALLY I squeeze in the time and creative energy to get a new logo designed. I've been dying to change it for awhile and, well, now we have! A new spring. A new season. A new day!

Happy April, everyone! May it be full of joy and life, my friends!

This particular spring day a few weeks back, Brian and I were taking a break from photography. We walked around a nearby park and ended up sitting down, as we often do, to talk about life, our hopes and our dreams. In the middle of our conversation out of the corner of my eye, I began to notice a gorgeous tree blooming with a rich golden sunlight streaming through the other trees, acting as a beautiful spotlight. We hadn't brought our cameras on this trip so I took a few shots with my iPhone (this being one of them). I was a little bummed, as the photo didn't do the tree justice, so Brian, being the wonderful, kind, amazing husband that he is, agreed to pause our conversation and run back to the house with me and grab some camera gear. Sadly, by the time we returned a few minutes later, the golden spotlight was gone, but we continued our journey around the park, enjoying creation for what it was: absolutely marvelous, miraculous artwork. = )

Brian being oh-so-sweet and waiting on me while I worked on some close-ups (he was not feeling so great that day, which made it doubly amazing that he was so patient!).

This was the photo he was waiting on. The blooms from the first tree. I'm not usually a magenta fan, but with bare branches and a vibrant blue sky, how could you go wrong?

What in this photo doesn't belong (and subsequently makes it different from the previous photo)?

I *LOVE* seeing these everywhere!

The beauty of this next set was almost overwhelming when we encountered it. I couldn't delete many!

This one encapsulates my life. Seriously.

*sigh* I love spring!

Can you see him? He's hiding. = )

Yay spring!

Mallory (& Brian--who seems to be yawning, not growling, in this photo)

Monday, April 4, 2011

.:homemade chai tea recipe:.

Hello my dear blog-reading friends! It's been awhile, hasn't it? Well, since I've been MIA for so long, I'm going to share something with you. My dear prayer partner and sister, Keila Peña-Hernandez, is both an Indian cuisine enthusiast and tea connoisseur, like myself, so when she introduced chai tea made from scratch during our weekly times together, I was pretty excited!

So, as my peace offering this week, I've put together a how-to guide to making your very own delicious, healthy chai tea from home. The great news is that, as with pretty much all Indian recipes, chai tea is not an exact science so add and subtract as you go to make your perfect brew!

Here's what you'll need:
5-7 whole cardamom pods
1/4" ginger root
2 tsp. black loose leaf tea (ceylon works best but you can pretty much use any black tea)
5-7 whole cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1.5 cups of water
1.5 cups of milk or Silk's Very Vanilla Soy milk
sugar or honey to taste
a sieve


Start with your ginger. It looks like this. (Weird, huh?) Fresh is always better and you can rip off a small piece from a larger root in the grocery store if you want. You'll find it in the fresh veggies/pepper section.

Slice off a 1/4" piece.

Next, peel the skin off and then smash it (the bottom of a spoon works nicely). Dump the smashed ginger into your soup pot.

Next I usually grab a small amount of cardamom pods (you can buy the pods in Middle Eastern and Indian stores or you can just purchase the little black seeds sans pods. Six or seven is usually how many I put in there. Again, it's whatever your preference is! The more cardamom seeds you throw in there, the stronger it will taste. If you're using loose cardamom seeds, 1/4 tsp. is pretty equivalent.

You get to smash these, too! Throw the smashed pods and seeds all in the pot with the ginger.

Pick out 5-7 whole cloves.

Guess what? Yup, you smash the cloves, too (I've tried smashing the rest with no success so I normally just smash the heads of the cloves by pinching them)! Throw all of the smashed goodness of the cloves into the pot.

Grab a pinch (or three!) of cinnamon and dump that into the pot.

Next grab some loose leaf black tea and measure out a spoonful or two and dump it into the pot. (If you don't have any loose leaf black tea in the house and want to know what to get, we use Ceylon tea.)

Lastly for this part, measure out 1.5 cups of water (I normally add a little extra just because some boils off) and add it to the mix.

Bring your mixture to a full boil. Turn to medium heat and let it slowly boil for 3-5 minutes.


Add 1.5 cups of milk (we use Silk's Very Vanilla Soy Milk which is better for you, tastes DELICIOUS and ensures I don't have to add extra sugar later) and let the mixture come to a simmer.

Remove the tea before it begins to boil again and let it sit for at least 3-5 minutes.


Using a small sieve, pour your chai tea mixture over your coffee cup to separate the liquid from our ingredients.


If you use milk, you'll probably want to add sugar or honey to your final drink. Serve it with a few Indian cookies (or, as they call them, biscuits!) and you're on your way to some amazing chai.

Yay! Thanks for sticking around for our first (and likely, last) cooking lesson with Mallory. If you're looking for a printable version of the recipe, I've put one together that you can download here at http://bit.ly/aviachaitea. Now I think I'm going to go make some more!

Happy Chai Day!

Mallory (& Brian)