How I view: Nature

As you know, I belong to a blog circle which consists of a group of the loveliest photographers I have had the pleasure of meeting.  When we first started out, we had no idea that our friendships would become so solid and nurturing. We learn so much from each other, and I am so honored to be a part of this group!

This year our blog circle has decided to start off with topics paired up with a technique.  This month the topic is nature – and the technique bokeh.  For nature, I chose my grandmother’s farms and surrounding areas in dedication to her memory. We lost my grandmother February 8th after a four month struggle with her declining health.  She lived a very full, loving, and happy life to the age of 93!  She was very proud of her family, accomplishments and legacy that she left behind.  The area she lived is breathtaking during sunset – and even at this time when harvest is over and farms are withering during the winter – there is still a lovely look to everything even when overcast or with a foggy cover.

A photo of her farm at sunset – I will never forget this sillouette of the house, shed, the lone palm tree and massive pine tree to the right that my youngest uncle planted when he was little.IMG_0671

In my grandmother’s backyard, she had a lovely koi pond, sandbox welcoming grandchildren & great grandchildren, large pomegranite tree, and a lush garden.  This plant was her favorite and was just starting to bloom during her memorial weekend.IMG_0780 IMG_0781

Along the way to her other farms, we would pass acres of these gorgeous tree groves.  We figured they were almond and cherry trees (sakura). IMG_0795 IMG_0797 IMG_0807 IMG_0818 IMG_0823 IMG_0826 IMG_0835 IMG_0846

Here are some of her withering grape vine trunks – I’m thinking these have been around for 50-70 years?  I’ll have to ask my father.  I just love the gnarly, twisty bark of old, pruned back vines. Soon these will come alive again with green leaves and new vines to host new grapes for the next harvest.IMG_0873 IMG_0874 IMG_0875
Rest in peace, grandma. Namu amida butsu

Every month I can’t wait to see what everyone else posts about our monthly topic.  It’s pretty refreshing to see all the different takes and styles!  Check out what Carol Holt‘s take on Nature/bokeh is at her blog here!

How I View – Secret Santa!

During the holidays, our Blog Circle of super talented ladies decided that we wanted to do a secret santa exchange.  We all hopped onto Elfster, set the limit, and did the random draw. I had a blast choosing what to get for my recipient!! From what I already knew about her and a few other tidbits from her blog, I was able to find her what I thought was the perfect gift!!  I’ll save that for later, but for now – here’s how it all went down for ME! LOL

My secret santa sent me a gift before the holidays – and I totally forgot that I had given out my business mailbox address . . . oops!! I picked it up the day after Christmas (sorry Secret Santa!!) and couldn’t wait to open it!  I knew we were going to post this blog – and I’m the most impatient person in the world when it comes to Christmas gifts. . .so I mustered up as much patience as I could to NOT open the package before I photographed it.IMG_0296

Then I tore into that brown envelope and here’s what I found!!IMG_0299

Zipfizz is a powder that you mix with water for energy!!  I used the pink lemonade for my next long run.  It was tasty, and kept me hydrated and alert for my 7 miles.  I didn’t need to take my energy gel that day!IMG_0300

There was also a little package all wrapped up with a bow . . . I couldn’t really understand the note that came with the gift very well either before I opened it.  I was DYING to know what was in it while I was taking photos of it.

Have you ever heard angels singing? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what happened when I saw THIS:

Yep! That, my friend is an Easy-Macro!!  You use it with your phone to take macro photos.  Yes MACROS!!!  I think my husband thought I hurt myself when he heard me scream after I realized what it was!

Here is the result of my phone photography using the Easy Macro during one of our walks around a nearby lake.  I have to admit – I HATE my phone’s camera. My phone is 5-6 years old, and I desperately need a new one! It takes about 24587923 seconds to actually take a photo . . . *sigh*  But when I strapped this Easy Macro on, I waited that 24587923 seconds and here’s what I got!!  Scroll through the gallery to see all 14 photos.


Thank you Secret Santa!!! The gift is PERFECT, and I LOVE it!!!!

Want to see what I got MY secret santa recipient????  I hope she LOVES it!!!  Find out what she thought of it here!

Jen & Sean are married! 9.14.13 {San Diego Wedding Photographer}

This is a special sneak peek for my friends Jen and Sean.  I haven’t been posting any sneak peeks for a while now, because I thought I would be updating my website and blog this year.  So I was going to save all of the new posts for after it was revamped.  It’s proven to be quite busy for me this year though, so the updates are on hold for now!  However, this is a special wedding for me.  So I have to share!

Jen is a friend from – oh my gosh – junior high school?  We go way back!  Jen and Sean met in high school when they both worked at Taco Bell.  In one of the speeches it was even mentioned that Sean had moved her (or had her moved) to cashier because “she was hot”. Sparks were flying back then even!  LOL  They became good friends and then finished high school going their separate ways.

A couple years ago we had a high school reunion in Vegas where I caught up with Jen, and Sean “happened to be there” (keep in mind that Sean was from our rival school – he SO crashed our reunion ;) )   They were able to rekindle those sparks, and Sean finally decided to pursue the hot girl!  Ever since, they’ve been together and if you are a friend of either of them on Facebook you can see how much they enjoy each other and how much their love for each other has developed.

When Jen asked if I could photograph their wedding I was over the moon! A private orchard in our hometown, gorgeous and fun couple, with Jen’s stylish eye? Yes, please!

As expected, it was GORGEOUS!  I’ll save details about the wedding for later, but for now . . . here are a few image that I absolutely love.  I love the way Sean looked at Jennifer even though I could tell she was concentrating on being in front of the camera.  I loved the huge smiles on their faces coming down the aisle after they were pronounced man and wife.  I loved the orchard and the Camarillo mountains in the background . . .  I hope you love these as much as I do!


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How I View: My Favorite Things

This month’s blog circle topic was a fun one for me, although I did worry about whether this would come together cohesively or be just one hot mess.  But then again – I can be a hot mess at times, so maybe it’s fitting!!  Throughout the month I tried to “see” what my favorite things are in my every day life.  I would run to get my camera and snap away thinking – well – I will store that in the library of favorite things and just keep collecting.  I know that if I’m absolutely obsessed with something, they probably are a favorite thing of mine!  Here is a LONG list of my favorite things that I was able to spot in June.  (Lists are also a favorite thing!!)


If you know me – you know that I’ve been ultra obsessed with running this year!  In 2002, I completed my first marathon in Honolulu.  I did a couple races in the following years, but then something always seemed to come up to prevent me from continuing until recently.  I trained for my first half marathon in January this year – Disney’s Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon.  Since then I’ve run 2 more half marathons and earned a Disney Coast to Coast medal.  I have another half marathon coming up this Sunday, and then another planned for September with my sister for a total of 5 half marathons this year!  I’ve already signed up for my first half in 2014 as well.  Yeah, how can you not call that an obsession? :D
Why do I run?  My training locations and mostly the medals!  Can you see why?005lake-wIMG_1250w

These girls are not technically puppies, because they are already 10 years old!  But they will always be “my puppies”.  I have been obsessed with them since I first took them home, through training/feeding/cleaning up after/ and loving on them.  I don’t know what I would do without them because they make me smile whether I expect it or not. <3




Huge huge obsession with food this year – but it’s coupled nicely with health.  I have been working closely with a nutritionist since February working towards goals which include feeling better, gaining energy, and as an added benefit – losing weight so I can feel + look better, and run faster.

I’ve watched my carbs and processed foods in the past, but I never really understood how much more was worth monitoring until I started working with my nutritionist.  I cannot tell you how much I value his program and what it’s done for me.

I’m currently planning meals 1 month in advance, cooking from scratch and tweaking recipes to match how we want to eat, eating mainly vegan, eating organic foods from our garden, avoiding anything processed or with additives.  As a result, I’ve lost 20 lbs, sped up my running pace and I’m continuously reaching new PRs, I feel better, I have a ton more energy, and I don’t even look twice at the old foods I used to eat.  I’m pretty ecstatic about this lifestyle change!


Garden list – strawberries picked fresh from the garden – what our veggie bowl looks like every day!

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Vegan Pesto Potato



This was an impromptu dinner that I threw together.  I didn’t used to cook like this before!  Edamame, Bok Choy, pine nuts, green onion, napa cabbage- sauteed in soy sauce (can use tamari for gluten free), lemon, dash of sesame oil.IMG_1209w IMG_1211w

A recent obsession of mine is taking health and food to the next step.  Researching raw foods and trying different foods that I’ve never had before.  This was a mint chocolate chip smoothie – yum!  I didn’t add any sugar because I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible, but if you were used to sugar – stevia would probably work nicely!


My favorite mug :)  I used to drink a lot of regular coffee with creamer from this mug.  Now I use it for decaf with coconut milk, or green/black/herbal tea.mmugw



They are some of my favorite flowers – especially in the home! This one was a gift from one of my friends who stayed with us recently.IMG_1222w



I remember two years ago, I tried a pay it forward on my birthday – I was going to do that many (my age) gestures in a day, but I never got that high LOL  I ended up doing around 10 that day including handing the Starbucks barista my free birthday coffee and telling her to give it to the person behind me.

My good friend did a creative pay it forward and ended up giving me this beautiful necklace with a key, lock and heart charm with me and my husband’s initials etched in it.  IMG_1237w

I kid you not – I have a drawerful of all different colors of fuzzy, soft, some aloe infused socks!


This is my most embarassing one . .  . as I was cleaning one day, I knew this fit the obsession category of favorites.  I have stacks of magazines lying around everywhere.  Real Simple, Time, Runner’s world, and a handful of fashion mags.  I love to tear out tips, recipes, etc and make inspiration folders.  This stems from my pre-Pinterest days! With Time I just love to read about what’s going on around me. So this pile shows me just how far behind I am in reading all these subscriptions :(  All of my subscriptions are cancelled until I can catch up LOL

And one of my favorite all time movies . . . I laugh so hard and cry whenever I see this.  Every.single.time!


Whew! If you made it that far, I applaud you :)  Thank you for letting me share my long list of favorites!  Next in the circle is the very talented Julie Mak!  Check out her favorite things here!  

How I view: Motherhood

I wrote this post intended for my monthly photography blog circle post, but I don’t have an image for this – just words.  May’s topic, motherhood, was extra challenging for me, and I’ve decided to approach it outside of my own comfort zone. In a way, this post is a picture of me on a much more intimate level than I usually reveal to the world. While this might actually give you more insight of who I am as a person (not just another photographer), more importantly, I also want to dedicate this to all moms out there being your month of May.

I hope you enjoy it!  Happy Mother’s Day! xoxo


The realm of motherhood is so foreign to me, yet it’s also already a big part of me.

If you’ve met me, you already know that I don’t have any of my own children yet.  If you are a previous client or even a good friend, you know how much I adore children of all ages.  If you’ve chatted with me at depth, you know that I have two dogs that I wholeheartedly adore, pamper, and fully enjoy being mom to.  If you’ve talked with me at length, you know that I have two nephews and a niece whom I love to pieces and would do anything for.  Chances are you would also know that I “might” get to see them once a year, so I am not able to remain close to them as much as I really want to.

Something that most people don’t know, though, is that even though I am a little older than most women trying to bear children; we have been trying to have a child since a short time after my husband and I got married.  Along the way, we experienced a miscarriage 3 years ago.  At the time this was devastating.  We’ve learned since then that miscarriages happen much more often than we know.  We realize now that if it weren’t for miscarriages as a natural control, that each woman might have around 40 babies to raise – thank goodness that’s not the case!  I am picturing a Monty Python scene in the kitchen with crying babies everywhere . . .

To me, motherhood is the ultimate and most precious responsibility that one could have.  Having only been mom to my dogs, I understand that to a certain degree.  I’ve seen these helpless creatures through milestones, watched them succeed and grow, and have spent so much time training and guiding them towards comfort and happiness in their lives with us.  I can only imagine bringing up a child through the years and what completely different and complex challenges that mothers face.  I feel the vulnerability and pain (although I can’t imagine the overwhelming grief) of the motherhood role when certain social pressures get introduced to children, or disasters like Sandy Hook Elementary occur.

I also have no words and cannot wrap my mind around why a small percentage of mothers don’t care as deeply and strongly as most.  Why some might feel the need to hurt, punish, or destroy an innocent child’s life.

I have the highest respect for mothers out there of all ages. For those who have watched and cherished every moment of their babies’ growth and adaptation into this world.  For those who are currently juggling 1 to 4+ children at home.  For those who work while raising children.  For those who are raising special needs babies.  For those who have adopted or fostered children. For those who have lost their babies before and after birth (including my own mother).

My husband and I have talked about children at length, and we are both okay living a full life without children of our own.  We know it may never happen. But for now, we can still dream for a couple more years.  Even though I have come to terms with not ending up with a baby of my own, I’m secretly hoping (and I know my husband does too) that I will someday be able to experience true motherhood at its finest. <3

Please continue on this blog circle dedication to Motherhood by visiting Nadeen Flynn’s blog!