Monday, February 28, 2011

Inland Empire Photographer| Heather and Eric: Anytime

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Heather and Eric were my first guinea pigs from my free photo session giveaway, and boy, did we have fun. Getting up early on Sunday morning, I was plenty cold but these two are from Idaho and 40 degrees is shorts weather up there! We romped around Prospect Park, had only a couple of visitors and talked about Teen Mom. I have found people of my own kind!

I have always known Heather was great. We've done a couple of shows together and actually lived together for about a year. Heather's got a great sense of humor and it takes the right kind of guy to get it. Heather, you found him! Eric is great, really easy-going and just a nice guy. We like the nice guys, right?

He also makes her laugh. When I got married, Heather gave me a picture of me and the Hubs with the quote "You can never truly love someone with whom you never laugh." They make each other laugh... and it made my job a lot easier. I had a such a fun time with the two of you... hope to do it again soon. Idaho, perhaps?

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Heather, you're adorable
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And Eric... model status.
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Totally shows how fun these two are!
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You:Unique

What makes you different? What makes you special? We're all unique, no matter how boring we think we are. I don't think anyone I know is boring. I also surround myself with insanely creative, hard-working, hilarious people. So that might have something to do with it. Every single person in my life has something to bring to the table and it's something good.

Like my friend, Julie. I should call her cruise director. She's the captain of our ship and makes sure that we are set for every Wednesday night Glee party. Who's bringing what food, when we're meeting, every week like clockwork. Plus, a lot of the other things we do as a group are planned by her. She's our organization guru.

Or Peter. Strong, quiet, thoughtful but hysterically funny. Pete always has your back, whether you have a work crisis situation, need help moving or just want to hit up the frozen yogurt place after choir rehearsal. He's a guy you want on your team and we're so lucky to have him.

I could go on and on. Some people are creative artists, some are more analytical, some tell dirty jokes, while some just make me smile. Some are up in front, directing traffic while other friends are quietly working in the back to make me look good.

Everyone is unique. I was prompted on another blog to really think about what makes me different:

Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)
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I know I am stubborn. I flare up easily and am quick to anger. I got frosting on my sweater today and tore it off in the car in a huff. It took a gentle reminder from a wise guy (non-sarcastic) that, "it's not that big of a deal". I have these outbursts a couple of times a week. I don't know if I would call that a beautiful thing, but it makes me me. Warts and all, this is part of my package.

I have other outbursts as well... the good kind. I start dancing during certain commercials (that weird Vegas hotel, anyone? Do do do do do do do do do do do do. The one with the rabbits? yeah.) I sing when I take pictures of people (as Heather can now attest to). I really have to reel it in at the job I'm at now. No one thinks really thinks I'm funny there. But at my last job, wooo weee, we had fun sometimes.

I think I'm funny. Or at least, people are nice enough to laugh when I try to crack a joke. I'm addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I enjoy doing laundry, going grocery shopping and cleaning the bathroom. I hate spending a lot of time in the kitchen and I don't want to iron. I enjoy cleaning out my closet every few months.

I don't know if any of that makes me beautiful but it's a part of me. I like to smile. I love to laugh. I love to make other people laugh. I'm a hugger and usually hug more intensely than the other person (makes for awkward situations sometimes). I like to find the person in the room who isn't talking to someone and go talk to them (leftover from the last job). I like to fix problems and listen to people when they rant.

But does that make me beautiful? Jury is still out... but it all adds up to the complete picture.

What makes YOU beautiful? We're all taught to not talk about ourselves and brag, but I don't see it as that. I see it as what makes you the person you are.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I can do that

I can do that. I can do that.

This rings through my head all day. I love looking at photographers' websites and getting ideas. Not stealing, learning. And all in the name of research. Poses, lighting, locations, focal points, bokeh... I can do that.

I'm constantly singing that song from "A Chorus Line". That one where the guy sits on the sidelines while his sister is in dance class and he knows he could dance like that too. So he does. And he becomes this amazing dancer because he knows he can. He felt this pull to dance. "I'm watching Sis go pitter-pat, said 'I can do that. I can do that.'"

(This is where I'm supposed to post the video but YouTube won't let me! Check it out here. Plus the guy can dance.)

I feel pulled to dance. Pulled to sing and dance and act. Bake and cook and create. Photograph and act like a crazy person for the sake of making art. Have you seen me photograph children? I look like a monkey. Have you seen me teach 4 year olds how to dance? (Don't answer that, some of you) I love it.

I am pulled to create, to make things for other peoples' enjoyment. I want to make people smile and laugh and enjoy themselves and their life. To remember the good things and not the stupid, mundane and trivial.

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Whatever you feel pulled to do, I encourage you to do it. No matter how scary, crazy, silly you feel doing it. Because the rush that you get... whether it be writing, photographing, singing, dancing, running, gardening, WHATEVER. Whatever it is, your payback makes the fear of jumping in worth it.

What's your thing? What's that thing that, if you won the lottery and could quit your job, you would do it for the rest of your life?

No Real Regrets

As some of you know, I am completely addicted to the website, WeddingBee. It all started when I was engaged and hasn't died down since the wedding. I check it everyday and even got some great ideas after the wedding (wedding gifts for friends, where I made my album, etc).


Today on the 'Bee, they had a section for the married Bees to talk about their wedding regrets. I thought it was interested because even though my day was absolutely perfect, there are still somethings I would have done differently.


1. I wish we had hired a videographer. Both of our parents had so lovingly paid for the wedding and I was very careful with their money. I didn't want them to think I was just throwing it at any little thing I wanted. I saw videography as a want, not a need. But when I think back to that day and the sheer happiness and excitement of it all, I feel a bit pained. I would love to see our reception again. There were so many surprises that the Hubs had for me that I wish I could see them all over again. The toasts by our families and friends were amazing. I know I would cry to see my Father-in-law again but it would have been worth it to have the video. That's my biggest regret.


2. More pictures of me and the Hubs looking at the camera. It's my fault for not telling our photographer. I think we only have 1 or 2 but I'd have to go back through our pictures again. I loved our photographer though and don't regret that decision for a second!!


ummmm, that's about it. Everything else that "went wrong" wasn't that big of a deal. We forgot to include the band in the food count (yay for pizza delivery and father-in-law credit cards!), we didn't get a cake for cutting (we had cupcakes and ordered a little cake but there was a mix up), we had to clean up the reception hall ourselves (all our helpers had to leave for different reasons). But this didn't put a damper on the night. It made it all the more memorable.


This things I will remember are priceless though:

My mom coming over early the morning of the wedding to wash my hair so my nails didn't get ruined.


Sitting on the front stoop with her, just soaking it all in.


Getting my make-up done by my cousin.


Our first look.


The excitement building up to the walk down the aisle.


How the priest messed up the order of everything.


Our first dance.


Dancing with my dad and all the amazing things he said to me during it. (It's making me tear up now!)


My brother crying, thinking the wedding would change everything... when in fact, it made things even better.


His brothers' speech.


His dad's speech.


My dad's speech, complete with red clown nose.


Dancing with my brother.


The inlaws singing "Sweet Caroline" while we cleaned up the reception.


My father in law popping all the balloons that were waiting for us in our car.


Dancing with all of our friends.

Seeing all the people we loved in one room at the same time.


It is an amazing day. I vowed that I would remember as much of it as I could and I truly think I did. For those of you getting married, it truly is a magical day. I was so lucky to have lived it.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Patting Some Backs

Wow. Wow wow wow wow WOW wow.

You guys, you make me feel like a million bucks, let me just tell you. The overwhelming response from Friday's photo post was amazing. If you are the of the people I get to work with, I'm SO excited. If you didn't get on the Hot Tamale train this time, that's ok. I'll take stock after this round and see if my portfolio will need more. I'm thinking not, mostly because of all the hotties I get to work with, but that doesn't mean I won't be running specials and such.

I do want to give a shout out to my friend Erin Vancura who just launched her photography website today. You go girl! Go check her out, she's fabulous. I actually got to be on the cheer squad with Erin in college and she may not remember but I was her GO! Team leader for her first week of college. It's ok if you don't remember, Erin. That first week of college is definitely a blur! It's been fun to watch her progress to going from engaged to married to starting her photography biz. I'm coming up behind you Erin, just you wait!

So run over there and give her some love. This is a big step!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hey Good Lookin'!

As you may well know, I'm working on starting my own photography business. It all started last year when my cousin needed senior pictures done. It quickly moved to my brother's senior pictures, Christmas card photos, second shooting a wedding and many more awesome opportunities.

In an effort to increase my portfolio, I'm offering you, my friends, a chance to have your pictures done by me. FOR FREE! I'm extending this offer to the first 5 people who contact me. This can be any one or anything you'd like. Here are the guidelines.

You get:
*45 minutes of shooting time. Locations can either be in Inland Empire or San Diego. Minimal travel fee if outside those areas.
*CD with the best images. You will have the rights to these images and can use them how you'd like.
*Guaranteed turn around time of 2 weeks. No waiting a month for your images!

I get:
*The chance to expand my portfolio.
*The opportunity to hang out with you!
*To post images on my blog to enhance my business.

Disclaimer: Photo shoots will need to be on weekends. I do have a full time job besides photography and wish I could shoot during the week but until Daylight Savings Time kicks in, it'll be a Saturday or a Sunday. You must book your shoot before March 31, 2011. No more than 5 people at a shoot.

*edited to add* I'm all booked up! Thank you everyone, I'll try to do this again soon!

If interested, please email me at CocoMayPhoto@gmail.com

I can't wait to work with you!


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abby

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Christian

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh Please.

I've got a rant today. Maybe not so much a rant, but a pointed observation towards the cliche that all husbands are useless and boorish.

The Hubs and I have been doing the Love Dare. It's like the worst name ever for something but when it's good, it's great and when it's bad it's embarrassing. And not for ways you might think.

We did this Dare off and on last year and for the most part I enjoyed it. When I asked the Hubs about it last night he was like, "yeah, I remember it being weird like this".

Basically, there's a reading once a day for 40 days. There are guidelines for being a good husband/wife and there are Scripture passages to back up the points. There is also a dare at the end. I like the dares. I'm definitely good with the dares. Yesterday's dare was to buy something during the day that showed you were thinking of your spouse. I bought him some more drinks for his lunches and be bought me my all-time favorite licorice from Trader Joe's. I'm totally down with the dares when they're like that.

We usually do the reading the night before the dare. So, while yesterday's dare was day 3, we read Day 4 last night and so dare 4 is today. We were reading Day 4 last night and it really started to irk me. Allow me to demonstrate:

"But for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man; the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing done." Trophy? TROPHY!? Like the woman is all, "whew. That's over and done with. I don't have to worry about him running away now" and the guy is like, "look at the hot piece that I ended up with." NO.

"Let’s be honest. Men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget the rest of the world. Whereas this can benefit him in that one arena, it can make him overlook other things that need his attention." It then goes on to show how great women are and how much better we are at multi-tasking. Sure, that's great but this is seriously kicking the guys when they're down.

"A woman deeply longs for her husband to be thoughtful. It is a key to helping her feel loved. When she speaks, a wise man will listen like a detective to discover the unspoken needs and desires her words imply. If, however, she always has to put the pieces together for him, it steals the opportunity for him to demonstrate that he loves her." Wow. Ok. So in our relationship, I pretty much say how I'm feeling. In fact, Hubs is usually so tuned to how I'm feeling that he knows when I'm upset before I realize I'm upset. I'm pretty transparent and don't hide my feelings well.

I don't know, the whole reading just bugged me. I think I married one of the most thoughtful people ever. And that's because he was raised right. I was also looking for a thoughtful person because my dad is a thoughtful husband and father. I rolled over to the Hubs last night and said, "Today's reading is crap. I have to tell you to STOP doing the dishes or folding laundry because I was going to do it. I don't have to tell you to do things". He agreed.

I don't say all this to show off and be all, "My husband is the best thing since sliced bread and he's better than all your husbands." He's awesome, that's for sure and I don't take it for granted. But it really makes me uncomfortable to read these words to a man who doesn't think twice about taking my car for an oil change or doing laundry because he sees that the hamper is overflowing. A man who is so incredibly supportive and encouraging of my dreams that he will put other purchases on hold so I can further my business aspirations. It's just this sweeping generalization that all husbands are brainless and selfish and the women are always right.

Trust me, I'm no saint. But I think of our friends and family that have been shining examples of how a husband should act. My dad, my late father-in-law, my uncles, and our married friends. They put their wives and kids first. Don't give me this crap that I have to spell everything out for my husband. He can spell perfectly well on his own.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

3 Generations

I had the great pleasure of photographing these wonderful women yesterday. Susan contacted me saying she needed publicity shots of her, her mom and her daughters for an event in March. I jumped at the chance! I had done "The Wizard of Oz" with Susan and had performed in "Beauty and the Beast" with Elaine, who was Mrs. Potts! Needless to say, I was more than happy to help them out. K and E, Susan's daughters were absolutely cracking me up, especially K in her pink cowgirl boots.

I'm also stoked because this was the first time I did a shoot entirely in Manual mode. I have always shot in Aperture and this has been taking some getting used to. I love it though and I love how much control I have over the situation. Where I used to overexpose, I can now adjust and have the exposure I want. This photography thing is so fascinating! Thank you Susan for letting me spend a little time with you all. I had a great time.



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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Speaking of Veggies

Was I speaking of veggies? Oh right, my lunch today. Well, if you thought that was good, you should see what dinner was last night. The theme? Eat Your Colors!
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We had a "Make Your Own Salad" Night with tons of veggies and some chicken on the side.
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We had J and M over to dinner and of course, had to play a little Wii

Hubs, riding his Harley
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J, having a good time
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M, upset about losing
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Ok, we played this game Raving Rabbids TV something or other. The first time I played, I lost. Spectacularly. I mean, dozens of points below everyone else. Last night? Hubs and I tied for FIRST but it listed me first so it said I won. I WON! HA HA! I told Hubs to leave the TV alone while I took a picture with the final score and he didn't. He said I didn't "win". This is my reaction.
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Whatever. I won.

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green

I was pulled to green things for today's lunch:
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Veggie sandwich on a bagel thin with hummus, cheese, spinach, bean sprouts, green bell peppers and feta cheese. With a side of edamame of course. GREEN!

What did you have for lunch today?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reason # 4,457 Why I Love Him

One of my many irrational fears is opening a tube of biscuits. I hate it. I feel like it's going ot explode and hit me in the chest and/or face and blind me. Totally irrational and I accept it.

So I make the Hubs do it. I just walk in the other room and hand it to him and he takes it and opens it without question. Heaven forbid I make Monkey Bread and have to open 3 tubes. ::shiver::

So last night I'm making dinner and I have a tube of crescents on the counter. He walks in to check on dinner, sees the tube and opens it without saying a word.

I love this guy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Honestly Sincere

A long time ago, in the Summer of 1999, something magical happened.

Up until that point I had been performing in musicals through my grade school and high school. I was surrounded by people that I saw every day in school. My directors were also my teachers. We had no choreographers, no real costumers, just our teachers and some parents volunteers.

I got involved in musical theater in 5th grade. That musical is a story unto itself. Before then, I have never been involved with any choirs or anything. I had piano lessons since I was 8. The shows were ambitious for my small private school (Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music, Oliver!)

High school, even more so. The Secret Garden, Children of Eden, Cinderella, The King and I. But it still felt like something was missing.

Until I auditioned for Summer Youth Theater. I had wanted to audition for Joseph the year before but for some reason didn’t. Maybe it’s because I wouldn’t have had a solid ride from my parents. I can’t even remember if I was driving. Oh wait, I was driving but I had a job. Whatever. I didn’t get to audition when I wanted.
In 1999, the show was Bye Bye Birdie. I had never met the director before, I had never even seen my fellow cast mates before. I vaguely knew one from church. I ended up getting the part of Kim McAfee when I didn’t even think I was going to make the show. I knew no one, I had no training, no experience working with a choreographer (although I did take dance lessons for a few years).

What followed was one of the most magical summers of my life. I’ve only had one show experience like that since (Beauty and the Beast 2006!) but it was truly amazing. I seem to have good luck when I audition for a show where I know no one.
I danced harder than I ever danced before. I would get to rehearsal early and wish it would run later. The costumes were adorable. The cast mates were like family by the end. My parents came to see it and couldn’t believe I was in such a professional looking show. (compared to the other shows I had done) After months of rehearsal, I hadn’t let on that this theater was several steps above the last places where I did shows.

I made friends that I’m still in close contact with today. I showed my parents that this was something I was willing to work hard for. It was a show that just had "it" from the very beginning.

But those kinds of experiences stick with you. I will forever be chasing after shows like that, that push you and make you work hard. Where you welcome that kind of work and appreciate the long hours, bruises, soreness and lost voices. The camaraderie backstage, the reactions from the audience. It’s all worth it and is not often repeated.

Oh right, you probably want to see pictures, huh?

My mom not understanding the magic that is Conrad Birdie (and my brown hair)
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Telephone Hour (I spy Puddin' Head Eric!)
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Conrad on his bike
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Dancing at the Icehouse (I see Dori and Marissa!)
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Jailbait Kiss
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What is that "thing" in your life? What is it that makes you want to show up early, stay late and just keep practicing until you nail it?