Thursday, November 26, 2015


We are relaxing next to a roaring fire on the couch after a night with good food and even better company. I'm watching the All-Star Dog Rescue special which is even more fitting after the eventful day we had. Pulling out on the street to grab some forgotten groceries this morning, a small dog darted in the road and I immediately started hitting Johnny on the shoulder telling him to pull over. He knows this drill well enough. She almost slipped us a few times but the full credit goes to my boyfriend for sticking with her and cornering her in a neighbor's yard until I could get there. She was shaking and scared and responded to my advances with fear-biting. I threw a shirt over her head and picked her up and she immediately settled down.

After taking her home, I realized I had a little female Shih Tzu on my hands. On closer inspection, she was extremely dirty and covered with mats and feces. Taking in her lovely aroma of pee, I left her in our spare bathroom with a blanket and a bowl of water (she was quite thirsty after that run) and a small bowl of food. After coming back home with some new dog shampoo, she wagged her tail at me and crawled into my lap. Once she realized she was safe, she started to come out of her shell and even rolled over for us to rub her belly. I was able to bathe her and handle her with no incident and even cut out most of the bigger mats which she took all in stride. The picture on the left is when I first found her and the right one is after a bath. What a difference some shampoo makes! Now she has met the boys with no problem, bounced around the yard with them, had a good meal, and is curled up at my side as I write this.

It wouldn't be a Thanksgiving without saving a dog. I swear they know where to find me. I'll be taking her into my work tomorrow to scan her for a chip and luckily my rescue has already offered to sponsor her if an owner can't be located. She's a young and energetic thing, I have no doubt she will go quickly if someone's not looking for her.

This Thanksgiving I am very thankful for my supportive family and friends, my furry boys, the wonderful Churchill Foundation, and the new home I share with my love.  I'm thankful for my dearly departed Sinatra and my Grandpap, who reminded me that life is short and that love lasts forever. I'm thankful for the little dog finding us instead of getting hit by a car or starving in the street, cold and alone. I'm thankful for all the rescue dogs I've worked with and fostered that constantly bring joy, inspiration, compassion, and love into my life. I'm thankful for the readers that follow this blog and who motivate me every day to follow my passions and give me an outlet to do so.

Most of all I'm thankful for this guy who wouldn't have crawled under a car to trap a dog a few years ago but doesn't hesitate to help me now. He's a wonderful man and I'm lucky to call him mine.

We decided to call the little one Wishbone, seemed fitting considering today and we will foster her till she finds her owner/forever home.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! This might be one of the first times I'm not working or out of town and am actually looking forward to the holiday. Usually I'm all about skipping it to get straight to Christmas, not this year though! As I've gotten more and more into baking (blame the Great British Bakeoff for inspiring me), I decided that I would make an epic dessert. I love everything pumpkin unless it's pumpkin pie. That can be blamed on a Thanksgiving where I ate wayyyyy too much of it and haven't let go of the regret since. However, I love tiramisu and saw this recipe for one here and decided to do my own spin of it.

I had ladyfingers left over so being the child I am, I dipped one in the coffee mixture and then the cheese mixture and oh my god... I'm winning Thanksgiving for sure.

Before we start, let me just say that I'm not the most advanced baker (getting there) and tiramisu seems really complicated but this one was pretty easy and there's no baking involved. I also bought my Ladyfinger cookies and Mascarpone cheese from Trader Joes. Any excuse to shop there is a good excuse. For the Hazelnut Liquear, I used Kahula Hazelnut. I used more liqueur than the original recipe because duh, why wouldn't we?

I also had more than half a can of pumpkin left over which wasn't an issue because I used it to fill Kongs to freeze for the dogs. It's my go to trick for Mister I-Have-Seperation-Anxiety Murderface and works like a charm. Win win for everyone with this recipe I would say.

Pumpkin Tiramisu Recipe

For Dipping
1 cup water
1 cup brewed coffee (I went to Starbucks and just got a tall black coffee for this)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup Hazelnut Liqueur (The original recipe calls for 2/3 but I used 1 cup)

2 cartons of Mascarpone cheese (8 oz each)
3/4 canned pumpkin
5 Tbsp divided sugar (3 tbsp and 2 tbsp)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 1/4 cups heaving whipping cream

54 crisp ladyfinger cookies. (This didn't work for me, I ended up using about 66 ladyfingers for mine because of the pan I used. I believe I used about 4 or 5 boxes of the Trader Joe brand)
1 Tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Start off with making the coffee liquid. Using a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine water, coffee, sugar, and liqueur and stir until the sugar has dissolved. The original recipe says to move the liquid to a shallow bowl but I just kept it in the saucepan and moved it off the heat. No need to make another dirty dish if you can avoid it. Make sure the liquid cools completely.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix Mascarpone cheese, pumpkin, 3 tbsp sugar, and all the spices till it's blended together. In another separate mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and beat it till it starts to thicken. Add the remaining 2 tbsp's of sugar and continue to beat the cream until "soft peaks form". I had no idea what that meant so basically I just kept beating it till it formed a much thicker version of what it seemed before. Fold the cream into the mascarpone/pumpkin mixture until it's all blended.

3. Now it's time to build your Tiramisu. Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee liquid  and allow excess to drip off. Be careful because these cookies are delicate and can break easily after they are soft. I used two rows of 10 ladyfingers for my pan as well as 3 more at the bottom because there's a gap left when you use the 9x13 pan as can be seen in the above picture. Make sure they are even and resting next to each other in a single layer. You'll have a lot of the cheese mixture to work with so spread an even layer over the cookies and then repeat the process again until you have built two more layers.

4. Sprinkle the combined sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top and voila... You have finished! All that's left is to cover your tiramisu and then stick it in the fridge. Leave in for at least 8 hours or overnight, I'm leaving mine in overnight.

I would have added a photo of a cut piece so you guys could see the layers but that will have to wait till tomorrow.

I'm so excited to see how my family likes it. A few already came by and sampled the cheese mixture and that seems to be good on it's own, so more than likely we will be getting some rave reviews. Let me know how it turns out for you if you try it!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Since the blog is being rejuvenated, I figured I would answer some Frequently Asked Questions about me. I wanted my new and old readers to be able to get to know me a little better.

How long have you lived in Vegas?
I was born and raised in Vegas so I've been here my whole life basically... Excluding my short 6 months that I lived in Kanab Utah when I worked at Best Friend's Animal Sanctuary.

When did you start doing Photography?
I started messing around with a camera in 2010 after years of loving to take photos of my friends and family. In January 2013 I purchased my first DSLR and started my business, JessRaquel Photography. I taught myself everything I know by teaching myself editing and reading lots of tutorials... Not to mention constant practice plus trial & error. I haven't looked back since and thoroughly enjoy every shoot I do. 

What camera do you use?
I have a Nikon D3100. My lenses are currently a Nikkor 55-300mm for wildlife and nature and a Nikon 35mm that I use a lot for portrait work.

What editing software do you use?
Photoshop CS6

Who takes your head shots and outfit photos?
See that remote in my hand in the above photo? Question answered!

Are you in a serious relationship?
Yes, my boyfriend's name is Johnny and he's been a good friend of mine for years before we ever started dating. We have been an official couple since July 2014. I'm lucky to be in love and living together with my best friend.

How many pets do you have?
I currently have two living with me. Murderface is an 8 yr old border collie/husky that I've had since he was 8 weeks old. Jasper is my 5 yr old Italian Greyhound that I adopted from the local animal shelter. Nymeria is a border collie/german shepherd mix that I rescued from a power plant about a year ago that is adopted by my grandparents. Some of you may remember that we had a Siamese cat named Sinatra but he unfortunately passed away a few months ago from kidney failure. 

What animal rescue are you currently involved with?
I'm a full time Adoption Counselor at Animal Foundation and I'm doing a lot of work with The Churchill Foundation. I would love for you check them out and support them! I also still utterly support Best Friend's Animal Society and hope we can end Breed Specific Legislation. Power to the Pitbull <3

Why do you love British stuff so much?
When I was little I basically was raised on PBS TV because we didn't have cable. They had a Saturday night lineup of British Comedies and after being exposed to Mr Bean and Fawlty Towers... I was hooked. It basically blossomed from British Comedy to all things British which was encouraged by family and friends.

Can I see your Fawlty Towers sleeve and who did it?

I've gotten the bottom part mostly done and need another session for the top/background.
Vic Vivid is doing this piece and he's hands down amazing.

Here are a few of my favorite posts that best represent me...

Do you have anything you would like to ask or know about me?
 Feel free to comment with your questions!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Snapshots Lately

We are loving our new home.

These are just a few snapshots from life lately in our cozy new abode.

I can't help myself. I'm already putting up a few things for Christmas, although I refuse to get the tree up until after Thanksgiving. I have some self control. I love these little reindeer lights I found at Target for $1 that already grace my mantel.

I really adore this open cupboard. I love displaying my favorite kitchen pieces and cookbooks in it. The little bird sketching I picked up today from the swap meet and seems to settle well in the kitchen space.

The quality of light is horrific in my closet since the fixture needs replacing, however I'm pleased with how this is shaping up. The hooks were already in the wall as well as the shelving so it was an easy decision (also prompted by sore lack of bathroom storage space) to make this a jewelry area. I'm working on staining a piece that will hold my earrings and will share that once it's finished.

I love our house that's really starting to feel like a home. I have a few projects in the works that I hope to start on during my next few days off and the hunt for a dining room table continues. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Friday Foxy Things

I haven't done one of these in so long but I'm finding so many things as I browse for items for the new house that I can't help but share. Keep in mind that I'm also already decorating for Christmas (never mind that Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet) so some of this awesomeness could make for some great stocking stuffers. It's never too early to get Christmas shopping out of the way!

1// I love these tiny scoopers from The Sucre Shop!
2// I will be adding this unicorn gem to my tree this year.
3// If you haven't heard The Blue Jean Committee then you're missing out. I already have the vinyl on pre-order, comes out in a week!
4// I can see myself wearing this sweater while lounging on my sofa next to the fireplace.

What are some of your favorite things you found this week?
I always love finding new things so share your recommendations!

Monday, November 9, 2015

J & J's New Home

I know my little blog has been awfully quiet as of late but I'm determined to change that.

You see, I've been completely unmotivated and lacking in the creative aspect of things. A lot of it had to do with my living situation and my new job. While I get 3 days off from work, the days I work are 10-11 hour shifts which are incredibly draining so doing photo projects or anything else are the last thing on my mind. I was also living with my boyfriend and basically his whole family and after living by myself in the middle of nowhere for 6 months, adjusting to that was really hard for me. My dogs were stressed, I was stressed.

But yesterday Johnny and I moved all out stuff into our new rental and I absolutely adore it. We even have a decent yard for the dogs and you could see the change in their attitude the moment we brought them over. I already feel ten times happier now that we have our own space and I'm so excited to start decorating and making our mark on it. I have so many ideas and projects that I want to try and we are going to start thrifting and heading to the huge Broadacres swap meet to kick start it off.

One of my favorite features in our new house is the fireplace. 
I mean.. Look at that brick. It reminds me of the one we had in the house I grew up in. 
My Nana felt the same way, which is what sold us on the house.
An actually wood burning fireplace which can be a hard find in Las Vegas.
Actually finding a place with hardwood floors, a yard, a walk-in closet, and large dog friendly in a decent safe neighborhood in our price range is really hard to find in Vegas. We got incredibly lucky to find this place when we did. I think God saw I was at my wits end and sent me this gift of a home that I'm so incredibly thankful for. After moving three times in one year, you have no idea how eager I am to finally settle. 

With this new surge of creativity and an extra room for an office space/indoor photography studio... I'm really hoping that by the start of the new year, my photography business will be headed for bigger and better things to make up for the last year of neglect. (Not that it wasn't worth it of course, dog rescue always comes first)

I'm always thankful for those of you that continue to follow and read this little blog no matter how much it's neglected. I promise to make it up to you all.

Murderface and Jasper thank you as well.