Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Team Gavin

A few weeks ago I was asked to photograph an event to promote awareness for Team Gavin, a fundraising team preparing to run a half marathon to raise money for Pediatric Cancer research. The annual event is put on by PCRF - Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, a wonderful non-profit organization that raises funds for research. Diagnosed at age 12 with Leukemia myself, the Foundation is near and dear to my heart and love to donate my time and skills whenever I can. Team Gavin was started in honor of Gavin Rowe, an adorable boy who is fortunately winning in his battle against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Team Gavin learned a dance and performed it flash mob style at the Irvine Spectrum. They did a great job! I have a link to the video at the end, here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

{Last practice before the big reveal}
{In action!}

{Gavin Rowe, the inspiration behind the team,
currently fighting against Acute Lymphatic Leukemia}
{Gavin and Dad}
{Gavin's sister, Mia}
{Kim, Gavin's mom and leader of Team Gavin, speaking to the crowd}
{The Team}

♥ To learn more about Team Gavin click HERE.
♥ To donate to Team Gavin, click HERE.
♥ You can also watch the Youtube video of their dancing, HERE!
♥ For more about PCRF click HERE.
♥ Contact me at for all your photography needs: portraits, events, engagements and more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Don't Fly off the Mountain!

Hi and happy Tuesday everyone! Pull up a chair, let's have a little cup 'o' coffee and chat. I have a fun story to tell.
Last Thursday, my mom and I made a trip to Palm Desert to visit my Grandma Pearl who is battling some very tough health issues. You can read more about the amazing Pearl and about the trip HERE. She and my Grandfather live in a beautiful community with a pool, country club, golf course, and impeccable kempt grounds.
Okay, now for the story.

To get to Palm Desert, you take the Highway 74, part of which is traveling over the big winding roads of a mountain. I get car sick easily so I am not a fan of this part of the drive, but it really is beautiful. There was snow on the side of the roads at the highest point, and the lower parts were sprinkled with purple and yellow wildflowers. The view down into the desert is gorgeous.

On the drive back up to mountain on the way home, I wanted to make a stop at the viewpoint to take a photo of the view. There was a big storm brewing, and it was incredibly windy. I opened the car door and it flew wide open, and my mom was apprehensive to even let me out.
"I don't want you to get picked up and blown off the mountain!!"
"I'll be fine mom, don't worry"

Well, attempt one, fail: just walking to the lookout wall I was getting a not-so-polite push by the wind. When I took photos, hair was flying every which direction so the photos consisted of the view blocked by wisps of brown hair. I felt like I would be picked right up (yes it was that strong) so I hurried back to the car. But me being me, I wanted that photo! I found a hair clip (take note...always, always have a hair clip for unforeseen weather conditions) and prepared to brave it again.

Meanwhile, a van pulled up beside us, two men got out carrying a large wooden chair and placed it atop the wall. My mom and I watched in horror...
"oh my god! They are going to sit on that chair, fly off and we are going to see someone die!"

I got out of the car again, and walked over to the men. It went like this:
Me: "What are you guys doing??"
Gustaf: "We design furniture using wine barrels, and we like to take photos of them in unusual places. We are on our way to deliver one in Palm Desert."
Me: "Oh thank god, I thought you were going to sit in it!"
Gustaf: "Oh...we are!"
Me: "But you are going to fly right off the mountain!"
Gustaf: "'s heavy."

They were very nice, I took a few photos before being totally freaked out I would die, and they even let me use them as a human wall to brace myself against. Unfortunately because of the wind I could not get high enough to show the scale of it, but on the other side of the wall it is a major major drop and had that chair blown away, well that would have been the end of Gustaf. Trust me on would have freaked out too. Their company is called Barrelly Made It and the furniture is gorgeous, you can see more of their products HERE.

When I got back into the car, my mom said she was sweating because she was so afraid I would get blown away. But I lived to tell the tale!

Thanks to Amy at Lucky Number Thirteen for hosting coffee today!!

Monday, March 28, 2011


We have a new puppy in the house! Say hello to...

::Ella Grace::

She is right there in that puppy phase...chewing, biting, crying at night, but boy is she she cute. She is a total lover, and likes to cuddle. She provides us with hours of entertainment playing with all her toys, racing around in the backyard, hiccuping, and boy does she ever have that "puppy dog eyes" thing down!Ella
She even shares my love of Shutter Sisters' Expressive Photography!
Ella reading the pet section of Expressive Photography
DSC_0500 - Version 2

♥ ♥ ♥


Thursday morning after I finished with aquatic physical therapy, I checked my phone to find text messages from my mom saying to call her ASAP. She said Pearl, my grandmother was not doing well and she was going to visit her. I hurried home, set my personal time record for showering and packing, made the hour drive to my mom's house, got into her car, and finished the hour and a half drive to Palm Desert, CA. We were worried sick and wanted to make sure we could spend some time with her no matter what the outcome.
{Pearl on the back patio at home}

Thinking it would burden us, my Grandpa hadn't mentioned to us that Pearl had been in the hospital for 9 days after a minor heart attack, putting in a pacemaker, pneumonia, and now diagnosed with congenital heart failure. Now back at home, also suffering from bed sores and a urinary tract infection. Pearl is 90 years old and quite the fighter. She had another heart attack many years ago, but otherwise has been the perfect model of health.
Pearl is not actually grandmother, more my step-grandmother. My mom's mom died when I was about 3 or 4 years old and only have one fuzzy memory of her. Grandpa met Pearl while living with his best friend, Lee, and they have been together for 14 years. When I was younger I used to refer to Pearl as my "Grandfriend" but I do think of her as my Grandmother. Pearl is generous, curious, loves people, befriending anyone who will talk with her, loves to paint, always the fashionista...even when lying in her hospital bed, a New York native, and loves to travel.
{Even when sick, Pearl looks her fabulous self}

It was tough to see her feeling so miserable. As I lay next to her on the hospital bed set up in her bedroom, I stroked her beautiful white hair and we talked about how she didn't feel like herself, how I could relate to how she felt, how happy she was to have us there. I spent hours reading to her from Jane Fonda's biography "My Life So Far." I did my best to distract her, asking her questions like "if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" And my mom brought photos from our family roadtrip to Arizona 12 years ago. It was very special to spend this time with her.

Every day for her is challenging, but we are hoping for the best. Pearl is so strong and I think she can pull through - painting, hosting dinner parties, and going for walks in no time. It made my mom and me so happy when the new nurse was asking Pearl how she was feeling and her reply was "oh fabulous. Fantastic. I just can't decide what I want to wear to the ball." This was the first time we truly saw Pearl being Pearl...and I think that is a great sign. Below are photos of Pearl from last Thanksgiving.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Scavenger Hunt

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. We awoke this morning to rain, which I love. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

{1. Decay}
Down at the beach, everything erodes so much faster from the salt water. But I loved the way the rust color looked against the blue paint of this trash can.

{2. Groups of Three}
This day was wet, rainy, and cold. All the birds were puffed up in an attempt to stay warm, and seemed to always stay with each other in groups.

{3. Kitchen}
I love cookbooks. I can spend hours browsing them, looking through the photos and the recipes. I keep them safe on a shelf in the kitchen.

{4. Things that make you go "hmm"}
I love to play words with friends on my phone. It is a fun way to play along with my friends and family, and can feel my brain working. It very often will make me go "hmm"...what words can you spell with all vowels, or no vowels for that matter?!

{5. "Me" Time}
I love to go for coffee with other people. But solo trips to the coffee shop are so therapeutic for me. Sitting alone with the company of my drink, a good book or music or working on my laptop. When I am in need of "me" time, this is what comes to mind first for a nice little escape. I love the smells of coffee, of baked goods, and people watching is never dull!
♥ ♥ ♥

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes

Springtime is perfect for bright flavors and bright colors. Awhile back for my mom's Bunco group I made lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, topped with candied lemon peel and lemon curd. The candied lemon peel sounds intimidating but it is really very easy! Recipe adapted from "Cupcake Kit" By Elinor Klivans.

:: Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting ::
Makes 12 cupcakes


1 box lemon flavored cake, prepare as directed.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons lemon curd (optional)

{GLAZED LEMON PEEL - optional}
1 large lemon, washed
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, grate lemon peel, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Scrape sides as needed. Add powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Use a small spatula to spread about 3 tablespoons of frosting over the top of each cupcake. Top with approximately 1 teaspoon lemon curd, if desired.

Using a vegetable peeler and a slight sawing motion, remove the lemon rid from the lemon in large strips. Trim off any white pith that remains on the rind and cut the rind into matchstick-size strips. Put the strips in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Strain, then rinse the lemon strips with cold water. Heat the water, sugar, and vinegar in the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon strips. Simmer for 10 minutes.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coffee Date - Spring is in the Air

I knew you were coming over today for coffee, so I went all out. Peppermint mochas with homemade whipped cream. Soo tasty! So how are you? Happy Tuesday, glad you could stop by! Things have been pretty busy around here. A new puppy in the household, Ella, keeps us on our toes. She is absolutely adorable, but right there in that puppy phase...biting, chewing, potty training, getting into trouble. But look at that face!
The first day of Spring brought with it a huge rainstorm. Crazy winds and a solid sheet of water pouring down. What is spring looking like where you are? Love the color starting to emerge with the new flowers! It is hard for me to not buy every type of Easter candy from the store, all those chocolate eggs are calling my name! I will give it another week or so. I love the whopper eggs, the Reese's eggs, and the Cadbury eggs. And they have so many jelly beans now! Starburst, Jolly Rancher, sour patch kids?? Am I too old for an Easter egg hunt?
I want to share this recipe I got from my mom and tried out yesterday. Easy to make and very tasty! You could substitute any flavored jam you have, same with the nuts. I used part cherry and part raspberry jams.
::Crumb-Topped Pecan Cherry Cereal Bars::
1 cup all-purpose flour (or you could use whole wheat)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup puffed rice cereal (regular or brown rice)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 (10-ounce) jar cherry all-fruit spread

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch-square baking pan
2. combine flour, oats, puffed rice, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well-blended and creamy. Add dry ingredients until dough forms. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the dough for the topping. Firmly press remaining dough evenly into bottom of pan.
4. Spread fruit spread evenly over dough in pan. Sprinkle reserved dough mixture over the top. Bake 30 minutes or until deep golden. Cool 15 minutes and slice into bars or squares.
So tell me...what is new and exciting (or old and boring) in your life?
I have to get going, I am off to aquatic physical therapy, this will be my third week. I love being in the pool but it really takes it out of my and makes me extra sore. But crossing my fingers it helps in the long run!

Thank you for stopping by, have a wonderful week, and thank you to Amy for hosting Virtual Coffee!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

{1. Camera Phone}
{2. Camera}
{3. Shoes}
{4. Chair}
{5. Imperfection}
Thanks to Ashley at Ramblings and Photos for hosting the scavenger hunt!
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