Encinitas Candy Birthday Party!!! Yippppeee!

  I've always wanted to do a candy themed birthday party and I finally did!  This was SO much fun!  I got most of the ideas from the awesome website, The Hostess with The Mostess.  

Not sure how happy all the parents were (sorry charlie) but it's a great excuse to steal their kids candy when they go to bed.

Perfect weather, awesome company and my beautiful little baby girl, Demi Lynn turning 9.  Wow.  Time sure flies.





San Diego Newborn Photography, Featuring Baby Claire

This is an extra special shoot for me because not only is Mariah one of my childhood friends, I also had the privilege of shooting her and her husband Scott's engagement photos AND wedding photos.  I'm the lucky one.  They are like family to me and my children.  I feel so lucky to call them my neighbors now too.  (Okay, they are five minutes away, but neighbors to me!)  Kudos to Scott and Mariah for being great new parents.  I'm so proud of them both.

Congrats to Scott and Mariah.  Your sweet baby girl is a doll.

 Welcome to world Claire.  We love you.

p.s. Their dog Briley is used to playing the starring role, so she of course will still play a big part in all our shoots.  :)

Grandma Cook was on hand of course.  Loved having her around!

California Dreamin.....

I moved!

Took the kiddos and moved to Encinitas, the last "real" surfing town left in California.  (Don't argue with me, it's true.)

We survived our first two weeks.  Brought the kitty, our surfboards and our wits.  I couldn't be prouder of my kids.  They are AMA-ZING.  They took the challenge and ran!  They love their new school and are digging the cool weather.  There is so much I forgot about on the mainland.  Hummingbirds, skunks, deer, fog, farmers markets and TRAFFIC.  :)

Here's a splash of what we've been up to.  Cole's best friend Max also moved here.  Pretty convenient....  I'm about six months behind on blogging so forgive me!  I'm catching up!

Project Demi 365

I know.  I know.  I'm like six months behind it seems on this project.  Believe it or not, I HAVE taken a photo everyday of her.  I just haven't posted them.  Shame on me!  How can I keep this angel hidden?  Well, school, life, laundry, shoots, life, Cole and all sorts of things are in my way!

Negative Space, Maui Photo Group

Negative space is our Monthly Maui Photo Group's "challenge" this month. It's one of my favorite design principles within photography and I use it on almost every applicable photo shoot.

Negative space, in art, is the space around the focal point or subject, thus creating a silhouette or a shape within itself. The use of equal negative space in composition is said to be good design. Because I shoot portraits and weddings, I like to incorporate negative space in my shoots. I think it's a challenge to nail the composition with people. Knowing I had this topic as our monthly challenge for April, I took that into consideration during my last few shoots and tried to have some fun with it. As you can see, I have a wide range of portraits and shoots. Funny because I always thought I was a better landscape photographer and now I don't think that so much.

Make sure you check out my talented sister in law Wendy Laurel's interpretation of negative space here.

Repetition. Maui Circle Photo Project.



Repeating visual elements such as line, color, shape, texture, value or image tends to unify the total effect of a work of art as well as create rhythm.

Repetition can take the form of an exact duplication (pattern), a near duplication, or duplication with variety.

Check out the very talented Trish Donroe Barker's interpretation here.

Strawberry-Basil Scones, Made by Me.

I'm not really a scones kinda girl, but this recipe surprised me with it's goodness.  I liked making it because you have to make it gently and with love.  Otherwise it doesn't turn out.

The key to this recipe is to be very GENTLE.  You don't want the strawberries bleeding and making your scones pink.  (Which I suppose could be cute.)  So make sure you fold the chopped berries in softly, and with love.

With a cup of coffee and fresh out of the oven, these are really good and not too sweet.  One last thing....try to use the freshest ingredients as you can.  I use fresh Maui eggs, local strawberries and basil from my garden.  It really does make a difference.  Enjoy!

(Miss Leah, I'm posting this for you.)


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks

3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries

2 tbsp snipped basil 

2 eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup whole milk (you can use half & half if you feel like it.)

Sugar for dusting (Raw sugar looks good)

Whole milk for basting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gently toss in fresh and freeze-dried strawberries and basil. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together eggs and the half-and-half. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Using a large spoon, gently stir just until moistened.

 Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing it 5 to 7 times, turning dough a quarter turn after each fold. Transfer to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet. (I didn't have parchment-lined baking sheets so I just heavily floured a cookie sheet.)   Pat or lightly roll dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut circle into wedges.  I like to cut them even smaller than I did in the photo.  Also, a larger granule of raw sugar would be more effective for the dusting to give it some texture.

More recipes on their way....

Claire & Jonathan, Haiku Mill, Haiku Hawaii

Thank you to Matthew Alvarado, of Beloved.   He's taught me so much.  What a pretty event.  I loved all the colors.  The flowers were sooooo beautiful.  The PINK.  The pink is amazing.  And of course, let's not forget.  The prettiest venue ever, The Haiku Mill.  Best part?  I live 5 minutes away.






AND last but not least......The Food.

Wow.  Maui Executive Catering did a beautiful and delicious job.

I sort of really enjoy shooting food.  Isn't their food pretty?


Project Demi 365

           Every Thanksgiving, my folks come over from the Westside and stay all day and spend the night.  We play a big game of Yahtzee and tell stories.  (Stories that usually involve making fun of me.)

Demi said "I'm going to sneak into bed with Baboo and Grandpa.  (I have no idea how Grandma Robin became "Baboo" after all these years.)

So she did.  She snuck in.  And so did the cat.  I'm pretty sure my Mom is faking it right now.  Nice try Baboo.

Maui Child Photographer. Sort of.

Sometimes everything can line up perfectly for a shoot.  The weather is sparkling, the people amazing......yet they are children and don't want their photos taken.

Surf kids, aged 8,9,10,11 and 12.  Photos?  Ick.


They hid behind leashes.  They hid behind boards.  They ran away from me.  Oh well.  I tried.  Eventually they will learn to love it when a nice gal like me wants to take their photo.  Until then, we get this.

Kudos to the grom's awesome surf coach Nakoa Decoite.  Nakoa is a sponsored surfer here on Maui and can be contacted here.

More next week on surf coach Nakoa.

Groms featured here are Conan, Cole, Jackson, Izzy, Payce, Kai and two random Stand Up Paddle dudes I didn't know.

Jimmy Kimmel, Lukas Nelson

I've decided that Jimmy Kimmel is pretty rad.   After watching the video from the Jimmy Kimmel show asking parents to tell their children they ate all of their Halloween candy and to video it, I thought I might die of laughter.  It was so hilarious.  Jimmy is neat.

AND so is Lukas Nelson.  Awesome musician.  A super cool cat.  (A fun beach dude as you can see.)  Let's support Maui boy Lukas tonight and tune into Jimmy Kimmel.  Now we get to enjoy both.  Cool.


You can also see Lukas on these guys Innersection videos.  Go Albee!

Thank you to the very talented Krista Newman of Groovy Tuesday and Rust and Diamonds for shooting me beautifully in my bikini.  (Even if I don't say so myself.)

Project Demi 365

I started realizing that lately life has been revolving around one person..........Cole.  Surfing takes a lot of time.  Cole's 5th grade homework takes a lot of time.  (Why did we change math people?  Don't try to fix things that aren't broken...helloooo)  Monitoring of Cole's new FB page takes time.  Cole.  Cole.  Cole. Poor Demi.  Demi just comes along for the ride even when she doesn't feel like it.  You'd wonder why any of us would ever get tired of being at the beach, but it does happen.  Sometimes Demi doesn't want to go, but he wants to.  Cole surfs, we all go.  So is the life of a younger sibling to have to join in on the good AND the bad.  (I remember listening to my sister's choir practice, going to her Volleyball practices, drum marching band parade things, the list goes on.)

So.  I've decided.  It's time for a cool project involving this child of mine named Demi.  It's called Project Demi 365.  I've vowed to snap a photo (nooooot with the iphone.  With the bad boy Canon 5D Mark II.) everyday, for 365 days.  A year.  Now...don't get me wrong.  There will be times when I won't be able to.  (She'll be at her Father's house on the Westside.)  But the rest of the days?  I'll be in her face with a camera.  Getting a screenshot in the life of a Maui born 8 yr old.  Expect this to be somewhat artsy because I'm not shooting fancy.  I want this to be a bit raw.