Book Review #3 – The Ciccarellis

This book review is another 2 for 1 in our 12-in-12 book challenge! Our December book was The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber and our January book was The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout. If you missed our 1st or 2nd review, catch up by clicking the link. Don’t miss our bonus book at the very end of this post!

Scroll down to watch our live review via Vimeo or read our review instead just below the video.

Book #4: The E Myth

Michael Gerber spells out specific situations in this book dealing with small businesses. Gerber gives you steps that you can apply toward your own business along with concrete examples and changes you can make. It can be easy to look at his writing as negative. Try to see the positives in his examples.

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Systemize – Creating a system for our business is crucial. With any business there needs to be a process. Taking the photos and editing are the two main things people think of  with photo taking. There are many steps in between. Systemizing our process keeps us both on the same track and organized to work more efficiently and give our clients the best work we can provide.


Book # 5: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Al Ries and Jack Trout are two of the biggest marketing strategists. In this tiny book they give they’re professional opinions on their thought process on starting a business or maintaining a business.

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Treat your clients as Humans – Remember, if you’re working with people, they aren’t just clients, they’re people first. It’s actually a very simple concept. People know when they’re being treated like a thing instead of a person. Sometimes we’ll tell clients that we also feel a little uncomfortable in front of a camera. Having them realize that we know what they’re going through takes the edge off a bit. They start warming up and then we get the shots we and our client wants. Win win situation! All because we let them know that we can relate to how they’re feeling on the other side of the camera.


BONUS BOOK: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

We are extremely excited to tell you that we also read a Bonus Book in January that really changed our lives! A special post coming soon, but let’s just say it changed our business, and more importantly our personal life. If you want to learn how we went through OUR total money makeover stay tuned for our confessional on this life-changing book!

These two books are not page turners. They are books that give insight into the broad spectrum of this thing we call business. Take away what you can from them and let us know what you think. On the other hand we totally recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover to everyone, seriously. We thought we knew about money, but were totally re-educated by Dave! Thanks for reading!
~Erik & Marissa
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Baby Ana – Donnelly Family | Seattle

We first met the Donnelly’s when Monica was pregnant for her maternity photo session. They were kind and collected and we knew they would make great parents! A few weeks after their daughter was born we were invited to their home for a newborn session with Baby Ana, who is oh so tiny with a grand head of dark hair! She was cuddly on her parents and didn’t fuss hardly at all. We can tell Monica & Steve aren’t just going to be great parents, they will be amazing and are already totally in love with Ana that you can tell she completes their family. We are so happy to finally meet you Baby Ana!

Thank you Donnelly Family, we can’t wait to see Ana grow in the months and years to come.

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Paleo Blueberry Recipes | The Ciccarellis

We’ve talked a bit about how we eat Paleo, basically no processed foods, like a “caveman”. What this means in real life is that we eat a ton of fresh vegetables and fruits. We eat meat that hasn’t been processed or marinated (we marinate on our own). We buy as much organic & local as we can. Breakfasts are a lot of eggs, egg & veggie casseroles, leftovers, and bacon – our favorite!

Items we’ve switched in 2013 to be even better Paleo eaters:

milk —> coconut milk

peanut butter —> almond butter

butter —> bacon grease/coconut oil

pasta —> zucchini or squash pasta

desserts —> Paleo desserts

*If you’re trying or going to try any of these changes just FYI, it takes a bit of getting used to! You have to like the taste of coconut, for one. Almond butter is a bit strange at first when you’re used to peanut butter, but now we love it! We save the bacon grease in a jar from when we cook bacon and use it for most of our cooking, except when we use coconut oil or sometimes olive oil. The coconut oil comes in handy for baking, plus it gives the extra flavoring of coconut!

My mom (Susan) gave us a fantastic cookbook called Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, where we get a lot of our recipes. One of the hardest things to switch and eat Paleo is dessert, but alas there are many ways to still enjoy a sweet treat! Below are 2 blueberry treats from this cookbook (a must read!).

 Blueberry Lemon Muffins

6 eggs

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup grade B maple syrup

1 lemon, juice & zest

1/2 cup coconut flour (hardest to find, try Whole Foods)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk the eggs, butter or coconut oil**, vanilla extract, maple syrup, lemon juice & zest together in a large bowl. Sift in the coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir until well combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined muffin cup (natural parchment muffin papers work best for lining), and bake for 35-40 minutes.

*We made mini muffins because we had the linings for them and just baked them for a bit less. Next time we will add more lemon!

**If you’re using coconut oil, melt it COMPLETELY, then stir it in last and QUICKLY sift in the dry ingredients and put it into the cups RAPIDLY. If not the coconut oil starts to harden back up (this happens really fast with coconut oil). It happened to us and we were disappointed because we thought they’d be ruined. We had to scoop out hard chunks of oil and try to get a bit in each cup. We probably had unevenly-oiled muffins but they all tasted great and turned out fine! (So if this happens don’t worry.)

Fresh Blueberry Crumble

2 pints of fresh blueberries

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup almond meal/almond flour

1/4 cup chopped walnuts/macadamia

1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 pinches of sea salt

Preheat oven to 375.

Place blueberries in a 9 in. x 9 in. baking dish and squeeze the lemon over them. Toss slightly to coat. In a mixing bowl, combine the almond meal/flour, nuts, melted butter or coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Spread nut topping over blueberries and bake until fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown (approximately 30-40 minutes).

To see more from author Diane Sanfilippo go to her website to find recipes, podcasts, and articles.


~Erik & Marissa

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Brand New! – C.P. takes on Boudoir

That’s right…Ciccarelli Photography is joining the boudoir party! I (Marissa) am super excited to announce that I will now be offering boudoir photo sessions, as add-ons to weddings or just for fun on their own. I had been thinking about it for awhile, but it wasn’t until one of my friends, Hannah, asked me to do one for her that I truly considered it. I was worried what it would be like, but honestly we had so much fun! It happened that Valentine’s Day last week was free for both of us during the day so we planned a session, both of us pinning to Pinterest like crazy for ideas. Hannah’s make-up & hair artist was just finishing up so we got to chat and I prepped the room for light (it was ideal for an indoor photo shoot with huge windows on two walls). We had the best time coming up with natural, but fun & sexy poses that she felt comfortable with and we discussed outfit changes to give her different looks. Even though Hannah said she wasn’t good at being serious it didn’t matter because we got amazing laughing shots (my favorite) and a few serious ones stuck in between when she could keep it together. You look Amazing Hannah!

Lisa Henry - Great pictures!

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Fun Day – The Ciccarellis | La Push

Part #2 of our Adventure last week…

One of our favorite beaches to visit is just around the corner on the peninsula, La Push, or rather First Beach. We trekked out there last week on our continued adventure of showing Erik’s parents the northwest, figuring we had to show them some evergreen-forests and beaches, and knowing that the Olympic National Forest was where we had to go. We happened to make it there just at sunset to exerience some amazing views as the sun dipped behind clouds and ocean. 

The beaches on the coast are littered with huge pieces of driftwood, which is just amazing to think that the waves pushed them there.

We were taking pictures and a swell came in! Erik’s mom didn’t make it to high ground because she ran into this driftwood and got stuck!

Right by the beach are some fantastic hikes where we felt the quiet and calm of nature as we hiked and breathed in all the fresh air.

It made us want to watch Twilight…

Hope to be back soon!

~Erik & Marissa

Lisa Henry - Just so everyone knows…they were all laughing at me! I could have died! ~ Erik’s mom! ❤

Erik Ciccarelli - Haha, theres only one person I know that laughs when danger is happening.

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