the wait is over

the hardest thing about shooting editorial work is the wait.  but the magazine is finally out -- babiekins magazine's exciting first issue in print -- now available at barnes n noble and books-a-million.  so many congratulations to you, priscilla!!


and so now, after six months of patiently waiting, i can share some of my favorite photos from the two editorial shoots i did for this issue.

first up is gina, a regular writing contributor for babiekins magazine.  she is also one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet!  outside of babiekins magazine, you can find her writings and blog here.

and a model shoot in san diego.  three separate locations.  four outfit changes.  this little girl (and her mom) were absolutely amazing.

i always try and get a few shots for the mom too...

love, hope & a little kindness

this was my fifth time photographing the mcnulty family, in san diego (and i adore them).

but this time, things were a bit different. danielle asked if i was willing to also photograph her mother-in-law, her sons and her grandsons. all boys in the mcnulty family thus far.

of course!

she requested pacific beach pier as they are a big surfing family. so the session went on, as most family session do  -- photographing the extended family, the individual families, the kids, etc. we were almost done with the session, when i went to grandma mary to ask her if i could get a picture of her by herself. i thought she was just picking something up, but learned that as she went to reach for one of her grandkids, her wedding band flew off and she was trying to find it -- somewhere in the sand.

OH. MY. GOSH. how in the world are we going to find a wedding band in all this sand...on the beach??

soon, we were all looking for grandma mary's wedding band -- mary. myself. danielle. the sons. the grandsons.

then, as if sent from Heaven, i see a guy walking down the beach, with one of those metal-finding-contraptions. i ran to him and begged him to help us, although it really didn't take much begging. and so he joined us in the search.

as we were sifting through the sand, i learned that this ring was even more special than i could have imagined.

mary and patrick were married in 1960 and had five boys. when mary was 33 and patrick was 45 (in 1972), he died suddenly of a massive heart attack -- leaving behind mary and the five boys, ranging in age, from 3 to 12 at the time. mary never remarried and raised the boys on her own. inscribed in mary's wedding, by patrick, is "The sun and the moon", from shakespeare.

OH. MY. GOSH. we HAVE to find this wedding ring. we HAVE to find this ring!!!!!

from the moment the boys started looking for their mom's ring, all i heard was...

don't worry mom, we'll find it. we'll find your ring mom. keep looking...we'll find it.

there was so much hope. belief. support. and encouragement.  it was pretty magical to see and hear. and be a part of.

and i have to share that if it wasn't for the kindness of the man with metal-finding-contraption, i don't think we would have ever found mary's wedding ring. he was the one who eventually found the band...buried in the sand.

money was offered to him for helping us.  but he didn't take it.  he said he was just happy to help.

of course, i had to get a picture of mary and the ever-so-kind good samaritan.

underwater magic

just returned from san diego late last night and to say it was magical would be an understatement.  i photographed a ton and was able to get together with some incredible friends. i was commissioned by my sweet friend, terrie, to do her maternity and newborn photos (it just so happens that my july trip to san diego works perfectly with her due date).  since she's a friend and a photographer, i knew she would be game for pretty much anything.  so i threw the idea of underwater photos at her -- and game she was.  then i asked my dear friend and partner-in-crime, leah, if she would be interested in shooting too -- and game she was.  together, leah and i, collaborated and photographed terrie in leah's pool and later that evening, in the most magical field, in orange.

the following day, i photographed terrie and her family at pacific beach pier, which was so fun but crazy cold -- i ended up completely soaked and covered in sand.

shooting underwater...i felt this renewed spirit with my photography.  and even with myself.  i'm not sure i can fully explain it but my heart is so happy and inspired by the possibility of shooting more underwater photography and offering it to my clients.  my dream, wish, hope, desire is to purchase underwater housing shortly after we arrive in tampa and just go for it.  shooting underwater is not exactly easy but i love it so...and can't wait!!  what a perfect place to offer underwater photography -- the warm and beautiful waters of tampa, florida.  woot!  woot!

note: terrie and i have a special bond.  both our oldest children are deaf with cochlear implants, which is how we originally met (years ago, at an auction to benefit a deaf | hard-of-hearing organization).  terrie's second son is hearing and her baby girl on-the-way is going to be deaf.  this is what terrie shared with me after seeing the image below, which left me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  love you terrie -- for all your strength, kindness, passion, determination and beauty!!  you are one amazing lady!

I look at this and it is such a symbol of strength for me.  Knowing what this baby will go through with her hearing loss, knowing how strong she will have to be, how strong I'll have to be for her and my family, how much she will lean on me as she becomes a woman.  love that I'm standing tall and strong and ready to bring my babe into the world and face it together----oh how i love this photo!!!!

hoping to share more field photos tomorrow.  my heart is so happy!


i believe in choosing our family of intention - our friends, our tribe, our soul sisters. for me, this all started when i was 12 years old, when i met gina, when i began to understand that friendship had the ability to make us feel settled and at home in our spirits no matter what else was happening in our lives. and that our friendships - the people we choose to surround ourselves with - gracefully hold the divide between all the experiences we travel through in our lives.- kelly rae roberts

oh these words of kelly's... they resonate in my soul.  deep to the core. i can't even begin to share how important my friends are to me and how much i cherish my amazing friendships. as one of my best friend's steph says, my childhood was rather "unconventional"...i no longer talk to my sister or my dad. and i talk to my mom on rare occasion. it's not something i'm proud of; it actually makes me sad, but it's the way it has come to be. but i think that is the reason why my friendships mean even that much more...they truly are, as kelly describes it, my family of intention.  i hold them close. and tight. they are part of me. they are my family!


when we lived in san diego, we lived next to the hasson family, for about six months. during the time, kiele and nat, developed a friendship that was beyond special--deeper and more mature than most eight- and ten-year-old friendships.  the hasson family ended up moving to FL and then to HI...and through the distance and their time apart, kiele and nat continue as BFFs, stronger than ever. if you saw this post, you know that one of the things kiele wants for christmas is to see natalie (they haven't seen each other since mid-2007). it was in 2007 that i took these photos of kiele and nat--a storyboard which still graces kiele's book case, front and center.

if you haven't seen kelly rae's artwork, you must check it out. she offers the most incredible and inspiring products--necklaces, prints, stationery, books, and original artwork. you can find it all here. and you can read more about kelly's post on her BFF and friendship here.

to my friends, my tribe, my soul sisters... i love you. i adore you. and i will forever be grateful for you.

words of wisdom

today has me thinking. i'm not talking about the thinking that i whined about in yesterday's post. this thinking is about passion, inspiring, exploring, discovery, freeing, supporting and really living. some of you might recall that i've mentioned maggie doyne a few times in the past, here on my blog.  today on maggie's blog, i read and want to share some incredible words of wisdom, from her mom, nancy doyne.

these words... Frankly, my desire was that each of my 3 daughters, connect to their own passion, so that their passion would drive their lives. To wake up feeling passionate about life, one's own life, and to feel life as an adventure with you directing the course.

It is a journey that includes introspection, and a willingness to be honest with oneself. Know yourself, and not judge. All 3 of my daughters were offered opportunities to unplug from the world including family, social, educational and mental expectations. To let all these drop away is frightening, yet freeing. Because as those structures come down, YOU as your own source comes forward, and helps direct your path.

To take some time out/off from the world, and live below the radar, and off the grid, and truly connect to your SELF is not something most parents are comfortable with. They become frightened of the short sight, and don't trust the longer goal/objective. But, there is an intention for this unplugging... not just a form of procrastination and sense of being lost.

My daughter Kate worked on an organic lettuce farm in Hawaii. My daughter Libby just took a semester in New Zealand. Most parents and families are only comfortable when children follow the dotted line of social expectations. I have always felt the decade of the 20's was a time to connect your Self to the world, and to explore. This can be done cheaply, especially when there are no committed relationships and no obligations. So, keeping yourself free, allows time to be a little 'selfish' in a healthy definition of selfish. No debt, and working to save some money that you value is important. Clothes Labels are not important in our house. Being comfortable with the 'unknown' and being a good judge of healthy risk vs stupid risk is a must in the journey of 'self discovery'. It is almost like being an entrepreneur of your own life.

Start with taking long weekends, and going hiking, backpacking or some other form of inexpensive adventure, that reconnects you with nature. The natural world allows your soul to remember and to commune with you and your mind. Go to the library, and read some books that inspire and support you.

Stay drug free and be careful of surrounding yourself with people who are into drama and victimhood. Like attracts Like, so surround yourself with people/places that inspire you.

1000 people on 1000 different paths all going in the same direction..toward love and light. Connect to and trust your own instincts.

My daughter Kate has a wonderful blog. She has a different style than Maggie, but read the archives, and she will give you additional courage to BE YOURSELF with all the ups and downs of being the artist of your own life. She may help inspire you as well as Maggie.

It is truly a GREAT time to be young. Stay away from news/news media and TV as much as possible. It is a brain dead megaphone. I hope this helps.

My very best wishes, Nancy Doyne.

these words of nancy doyne blow my mind, in the best and most powerful way. you see, once steve retires (in nine years), our plan is to buy a sailboat and sail around the americas. we're planning to do so for at least a year...maybe more.  we're going to make stops and give back, wherever and whenever we can.  the little ones, who will no longer be little (13 and 15 years) will come with us. kiele, who will be 21, will have the choice, although she has already shared that she wants to come too. we're doing this for a couple different reasons: 1) steve flat out loves to sail and 2) for the exact reasons that nancy doyne writes about--a journey of living without constraints. a journey of not only connecting with nature and the world around us, but also connecting with ourselves and one another. a journey of living and being free. of teaching and inspiring. of giving.

steve has always said that he doesn't care if our kids go to college and obtain a bachelors degree. maybe they have some natural skill/ability/talent that doesn't need a four-year degree or any degree for that matter. and while i haven't always completely agreed with him...he is right!  in the end, it's about teaching our children about passion and what's possible, not what the majority of society has deemed as successful.

i wish i could be as free as nancy doyne, but i'm not. i do get tangled up in having a nice house and nice things. i wish i didn't. and that's why i can't wait for the day when we can pack up 99.9% of our belongings (our nice shit!) and just go and be free-- to take some time out / off from the world and live below the radar, off the grid and truly connect (nancy doyne).

thank you nancy for your incredible words of wisdom.  i look forward to the day when we can read more from you.

and i encourage everyone to read maggie doyne's journal. she is one inspiring young woman doing incredible things in this world.

boho girl

free. radical. independent.her style is her own. it's personal, existential.

her only fear is convention. her only weakness, shoes. the bump on her nose adds character., the scar on her shoulder adds strength, the curl in her hair adds attitude. there is no such thing as imperfection, just originality.

unmovable, unshakeable, unstoppable, she is america's next top role model. someone both inspired and inspiring. she embraces her spirituality, aspires to her dreams, lives through her passions. she is a world changer. she is bohemian. she is boho girl. - boho magazine

denise shared boho magazine with me today and when i read the above description of boho girl, my heart sang and my lungs filled with air. a smile consumed my face. i really do believe that denise's path and mine were meant to cross...and at just the right time. i also believe that the boho in me is on the brink of exploding. naturally. beautifully. and i can't wait till it does. sigh...amidst the chaos of my house, my life, our move, my heart is so happy.

another favorite shot of denise.

and another shot denise took of me.


there's no place like home

i long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever i find myself.- maya angelou

well, i survived the two birthday parties last weekend.  and now we're on the brink of another weekend.  how did that happen?  another week came and went and i didn't keep up very well. damn. and now, only 11 days remain for us here in san diego.

but, but, but! the super exciting news of the moment... after a few counters back and forth, we are in contract for this house (photo taken by realtor, not me).  

yep, we are.  if all goes through with our pre-approved loan, we will live in this home by the end of the month.  our home. together in kansas.  even if it's only for a year.  no wait...11 months. it will be ours, all ours.  after that, we will rent it.  to others, just like us--but not as daring or risky or crazy enough--to buy, when only living there for umm...less than a year.  you see, my husband has this entrepreneurial spirit and that includes real estate investing. one day, he'll even own a he continues to share with me.

i nod my head, yes honey.  but you watch.  he will.  i guess that means i will too.

so hell yea to 2500 square feet, four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a two-car garage and hopefully a linen closet (forgot to check on that). and we will say good-bye to a 1500 square feet of house that has been good to us and taken care of us for the past 3 1/2 years (we've actually been here 4 1/2 years but cat pee, gopher, rat, maggot and fly infestation (left to us by the previous home owners) caused our relocation from our first san diego house, after a year).

we will miss you dear betty street house.  you have taken such good care of us and left us with so many wonderful memories.  and i thank you for that.

we're not in kansas anymore!

and i return with my dream of our family remaining a complete family pulled out right from underneath me. just like that. yet from my own doing.

we left for kansas friday morning, so excited about the thought of finding a home, where we could live together under one roof.

we finally made it to KS at 7:30 PM, four hours behind scheduled arrival because of severe thunderstorms, high winds and hail. saturday and sunday, we spent morning to night looking for homes. about 50 all together. exhausted, we were pretty sure that we were going to put in an offer on a home we found in lansing, KS.  on our way back to the hotel sunday night, we spoke with the deaf/hard-of-hearing (DHH) special education lawyer that we had been working with over the months. she shared a bunch of info with us, e.g. out of 90 DHH cases that had gone to due process in her area, only one partially won. that's not good all!  frustrated, i flat out asked her,

do you think i'm stupid for doing this move for only a year. after a long pause, she said, you want me to be honest? i don't think it's the best idea. me: really? her: people are still having to fight for transcription in CA, where they have supporting case law. what makes you think that they're [the school district] going to give kiele transcription with no supporting case law. and if you end up going to court, it will take more than a year.

while that was super hard to hear, we were so thankful for her honesty. i told her that we might not have to discuss this any further and i would call her back in 5-10 minutes, after i talked to steve.

while still en route to the hotel...we talked. i cried. and then decided that steve will go to KS, while the kids and i stay in san diego. and with that decision, my stomach instantly tightened in knots and my heart ached.

later in the evening, we attempted to have a nice dinner, but it transpired with little conversation or happiness--a sullen mood and more tears. my mind was (and continues to be) flooded with thoughts... alone. sadness. am i making the right decision? what about the little ones? what about steve? how can i do this to the family. how can i not do this for kiele? i have to do this. it's only a year.

on the flight, about an hour from san diego, i looked at steve and said, we're going to be okay. he said, i know we will. but the kids are at such a great age for doing things. i should be with them...especially with all the time off i'll have in kansas. with tears welling, i know. i know.

when we picked up ryder from preschool, after our flight today, the first thing he said, with a tight hug and the biggest smile on his face, did you find a house with a pool?

fighting back the tears, i replied, no, we didn't find a house with a pool. we're not going to move to kansas anymore.  well daddy is. daddy's going to be going to kansas by himself but he'll visit us as much as he can. oh, he replied.

and so, we will do our best. i will find the light again. i will be optimistic again. but that will take time. for the moment, i'm nothing but numb. looking at another year apart. and well...that pretty much just sucks.