remembering max

most who read my blog already know about my journey with max and his family.  the mikulak family graced and touched my life more than i could ever express. i do my best to continue to photograph the mikulak family in san diego every year. and this year, our session took place a few weeks ago...

and when our session was done, there stood hannah just like this...

with the light beaming through max's urn and hannah. and it was in that moment that i was so perfectly and beautifully reminded that max was right there with us!!

i feel so very blessed to have the mikulak family as part of my life.

and don't ever forget to live life to the max!!

my very first photograph of max, captured december 2007.

open your heart

i wish you that you will open your heat to all these presents [light, water...] and let them flow through you that everyone that you meet on this day will be blessed by you just by your eyes by our smile by your touch just by your presence let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you then it will really be a good day. - happiness revealed | louie schwartz

such a wonderful video. please -- just keep watching...

so grateful to gorete, who not only hosted our workshop a couple weeks ago, in san francisco; but also, so graciously opened her heart and home to me the following days.  i cannot thank you and your family enough!!



fav find | the most fearless animal

due to my traveling (and playing catch-up) the past few weeks, i haven't been able to post my weekly fav finds, so i thought i'd just randomly share this fav find today. while i think i might be a bit late to the parade, when i was in san diego, my dear friend showed me this video and i laughed myself to tears. when i got home, i showed it to one of my friends and together, we laughed ourselves to tears all  over again.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  don't watch with children around.

yep, honey badger don't give a shit!  and i think i might just have to get this t-shirt for myself and a couple friends...

and just because my house has been a disaster lately and well, you know the rest...


it's been a while

just wanted to wish all the moms out there a very happy mother's day!  i hope you're being celebrated today -- and continue to every day. some mom photographs i've been blessed to capture over the years...

and here's an interesting little tidbit on the founding of mother's day.


past few weeks have been crazy. filled with...   two weeks of traveling.   seven client shoots. two editorial shoots. teaching a workshop.   taking a workshop. not much time on the computer. teaching another workshop next week. and lots of prepping for africa, which is just a short bit away now.  

hoping to catch up and share more very soon.

what _____ looks like | month nine

hello from san francisco. missing steve and the kids so i'm excited to share this post today. here's a bit of what our april looked like. we... watched steve jump into an air show.  that's him on the right (so proud of him).

spent a beautiful and fun easter with friends.

played with some shadows and light.

flipped, twisted, turned & spent time upside-down (as the littles do every month).

found a new play spot during horse riding lessons because we're not allowed to visit the animals anymore. :-(

had our family's photos taken and taught the photographer how to climb walls. so can't wait to see the photos.

started reading the hobbit.

drew using pointillism technique.

and played with lots of animals. ryder told me "my monkey makes me feel better".  sigh.

learned new tricks

there’s a circle of 12 photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… chubby cheek photography | child and family photographer.

headed to san diego for client shoots tomorrow. xo.

let your dreams fly free

most people never run far enough on their first wind,to find out if they've got a second. give your dreams all you've got, and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. [william james]

this is what i came home to yesterday...

KIELE:  mom, can i show you something? ME:  sure, what? KIELE:  you have to come in my room. ME: okay, what?

and she brought me into her room to see what she had drawn, cut and taped up on her wall...

sigh -- i love this child and the magical soul that she is.  she's taught me a lot over the years, that's for sure.

ETA: she told me today what she wants for her birthday (may 3rd) -- a vintage bird cage from the store down the street so that she can put it on top of her art cabinet (underneath her LET YOUR DREAMS FLY FREE).

fav finds | twenty-six

i hope

healthy(ish) banana bread

beyond inspiring

custom pillow coming to my home soon

want to do with the kids

homemade granite cleaner

such a cool hanger & holder

i might do this to my own scale

would make a cool tattoo

apple cider vinegar elixir

so wanting to attend this

really?  wow.

yum!  the entire blog looks awesome.

don't give up

great little gift

love more, fear less

"think less. bitch less. push more. create more.  the universe responds to your diligence but also responds to your joy." such an awesome post.

fav photo from this week (after school)


has it really been that long?

hard to believe, but it's true -- i've now had my dreads for almost 2-1/2 years now. this was me the day before dreads and a few days after having them done, in portland.  more photos from over the years can be seen here and here and  here.

and these are my dreads now (all very recent photographs courtesy of jen and alpana)...

my hair pre-dreads was super high maintenance and i always struggled with it. i'm super lazy about my dreads and do absolutely nothing most of the time. ninety percent of the time, my dreads are pulled back in a ponytail. i don't dread the roots; they dread on their own, as they will. i wash the front part (the non-dreaded hair) every time i shower. i wash my dreads about every 4-6 weeks or so (either with apple cider vinegar & baking soda or with castile soap). i do have to keep them from mingling.  they would grow together if i let them and so i have to rip them apart every couple days. sometimes if they've mingled too much, i can't rip them so i have to cut them apart. i have my roots colored about every 3-4 months. they're still itchy on my neck, but less itchy, now that they're a bit longer. i dream of the day my dreads are really long and i can wear them in a variety of style. i absolutely love my dreads and have never been happier with my hair(style). i don't regret getting dreads for a single second.

how long will i have dreads?  five, 10, 20 years? who knows. only time will tell.

have a question about dreads?  please ask.  i'm more than happy to answer.

do you want to make it happen?

watch this (regularly) for inspiration.

i loved these thoughts so much, i wrote down her ten tips for making it happen and posted them to my inspiration board.

01 | you'll figure it out strike 'i don't know what to do from your vocal

02 | life is on your side everything that you have done has brought you to this point. that's a lot of life force.

03 | start fresh beginners mind is an open mind. an open mind innovates.

04 | fear is natural fear is part of creative process. keeps you alert.

05 | make tough choices you can't have it all but you can always do great things.

06 | passion is fuel aim for passion. balance is a myth.

07 | come out declare and share your dream. you're accountable and help able.

08 | do it now don't let perfection become procrastination. launch and learn.

09 | you're growing everything is progress.

10 |integrity do what you say you're going to do. every day, do a little more of what you want to be doing.

11 |focus you CAN make it happen. [danielle laporte]

fav finds | twenty-five

this week has been busy prepping for our upcoming wallflower friends retreat, along with trying to knock lots of things off of my to-do list.  and what a great segue into this week's fav finds... a couple of these to-do lists are on their way (i'm a huge written to-do list gal)

really want a big bag like this

love everything about this photograph -- shirley temple in the 30s

vintage hand-stamped silverware

i could find a fav find at free people every week

give freely

what a great print to way up to in the morning

i think i'm going to start a ransom box for toys AND clothes

tons of awesome real simple cleaning tips

love the idea of adding a bit of neon to your planters

each and every time i look at vivian maier's work, i'm blown away by how incredibly amazing she was -- for the pure love and passion of taking photographs

pretty cool website

steve and i have talked about doing a home outdoor movie since ryder was a baby

love your decisions

must make this non-dairy, sugar-free strawberry ice cream soon!

loving this blog for getting crossfit workouts that i can easily do at the gym OR at home

my fav photo of the week -- which happens to include a couple super hero rabbits (one with a full leg cast), a tagged toothless rabbit, a little one wondering WTF those things were on her head, an elephant with a sword and a couple others.

fav finds | twenty-four

dream house

although love the thought of living in a shipping container home too

remind yourself

need to organize electronic drawer cords

new at IKEA

longing to go tubing as a family

carrabba's bread dip recipe

a privilege, for sure

dinner party tips

and great party supplies source

frozen chocolate covered bananas and peanut butter -- yum!

don't be afraid to swim

someday i'll have a HUGE print in my house

who do you want to be?

been wanting a new umbrella stand

i am the queen of unnecessary holes in walls

my fav find this week of the littles on the couch

no clue who this guy is but love this


let the season begin

super excited that the season for underwater shooting is about to begin. i actually was already underwater with cheryl jacobs during her film inspires! workshop.  but this shot -- mostly above water -- happens to be my favorite from the afternoon.

but how i love this one too.  red-haired CJ with her ziploc-bagged holga.

and a couple of my holga shots from the workshop, taken while walking around the neighborhood where the workshop was held.  hopefully more fun film shooting in the near future.  maybe even some home-developing too.

p.s. more exciting raffles being announced very soon!!

live the life that only you allow

kiele had an assignment in her creative writing class, where she had to write a poem about bullying.  this is what she wrote... I don’t know how I can keep living on Every time I wake up the pain resumes Hurtful words in my head from night to dawn My hope keeps dying like the waning moon

Can I wonder why you cause me this pain Am I allowed to think or has that gone Along with my mind that had kept me sane Should I just give up for what I’ve done wrong

Death beckons me with it’s shadowy gaze I want to follow to escape your grasp You’ve seen my beauty only through a haze And I want to leave your bullying clasp

I want to live free of all your torments Can’t keep pretending that things are okay Instead of going down a dark descent Instead of breaking and being your prey

I will stand up for myself and fight now And live the life that only I allow.

gratefully, kiele has not been bullied.  i can't imagine what these children, who are bullied, go through. but my hope is that each and every one of them finds a way to stand up for themselves, fight back and live the lives that only they allow.

fav finds | week twenty-three

cool. skinny jeans and leopard belt.

my kitchen is for dancing, especially since i just moved our record player nearby.

friendly reminder note cards (free & downloadable). thank you.

63 budget-friendly meals.

who knew?  stylish resumes.

and who knew this?

the powers & pitfalls of social media (and the need to occasionally disconnect).

wish they had my size.

'if i had to live my life over' by erma bombeck.

quick reminder...

cool IKEA DIY.


how i found them yesterday. a fav find and treasured photograph for sure.



what ____ looks like | month eight

march madness.  another month that has come and gone in a blur.  a month that involved... location scouting after gymnastics


chillin' out after school


building lincoln logs

building forts

spring break and...

lots of beach time with friends

the beginning of swimming in our pool

riding with turkeys

st patrick's day pranks

saving a catepillar

some serious glimpses of my baby growing up

lots of laughter

and you can see more of our days here.

there’s a circle of 12 photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… chubby cheek photography | child and family photographer.

ETA:  we've decided to extend the wallflower friends retreat raffle for another couple days.  winner will be announced this wednesday!!

last day to enter

...our wallflower friends retreat raffle. leah and i are so excited to be raffling off the last seat at our upcoming, april 27th - 29th 2012, wallflower friends retreat [a $1900 value] -- to benefit the children of tanzania and the foundation for tomorrow (TFFT).   see retreat details below and on the wallflower friends website.

PLEASE FOLLOW THESE QUICK STEPS TO ENTER THE RAFFLE: donate $10 HERE be sure to submit your first and last name when donating for every $10 donation, you will receive one raffle entry you can enter as many times as you wish

note: if you are already signed up for this retreat, you are still eligible to enter.  if randomly selected, your tuition will be refunded.

the winner will be randomly selected and announced here on monday, march 26th.


WHEN april 27th - 29th, 2012 limited to 13 photographers

WHERE located near half moon bay, california, wallflower friends has reserved the entire seal cove inn for this retreat. set amongst a meadow of wildlflowers and towering cypress trees, this serene hideaway offers a unique and unforgettable retreat setting.

WHAT wallflower friends 2-1/2 day retreat is not your standard teaching workshop; this is a unique retreat for sharing, growing and learning -- through the discussion of photography's creative process and exploration of your unique voice and vision as an artist. some of the topics that will be covered are: being inspired finding your unique style being true to yourself in your art shooting and light workflow and processing being and staying passionate exploring your portfolio

INCLUDES two nights shared-room lodging at the spectacular 14-room seal cove inn instruction by both deb and leah a wallflower friends inspiration photo book welcome appetizers and drinks daily complimentary breakfast and lunch a few fabulous surprises and giveaways

for more information, please visit the wallflower friends website.

fav finds | week twenty-two

missed last week, thanks to the craziness of spring break.  but now i'm back on track. hope you enjoy a few of my favorite things i've come across this past week... love this and adore the woman behind this.

add goat cheese to anything and i might just think it's fabulous

love this office space and it's inspired me to put cabinets above my desk. lots of office inspiration here.

i love everything about this image.

happy go lucky bangle.

fun project with the kids.

such lovely words.

b/c it's that time of year.


want this chair.

b/c we all act a little crazy sometimes

wallflower friends retreat $10 raffle. 100% of the contributions go to the foundation for tomorrow.

love this pool rider photograph.

love this incredible artwork so much.

such an incredible letter written to a daughter.  write more.

i stumbled upon this on my computer the other day, which i hadn't seen since the day it was taken.  sky at 10 months.  "wooooooo!"

this is so cute, i can barely stand it.