Yesenia Menchaca: Last 30 Days before 40- A personal project

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Family Session: Santa Ana, California

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Newborn Session: Long Beach

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Ana Lilia: Dream Bigger Event

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Mama and Me: Cristina and Jaguar Long Beach, California

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Las Doctoras

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Newborn Session: Long Beach, California

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Lakewood, California Birth Photography

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Family Session at home: Seal Beach, Ca.

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Private: Our October

Our October… as the nights turn cooler and the long summer is a memory away,

these new family moments are what my heart holds on to as we savor the new season.

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Private: A Blessingway…

A flow of love

A peace that was filled with faith..

As I listened to the wise words of these new and not so new mothers

I took it all in.

Exhaling behing my camera, I visually breathed in the calmness

that was gently being passed on.

Each click, a validation, a security, a promise that this baby will come exactly as it should

and at just the right time.

As we light our candles when Baby Mason begins to stretch and peek out into this new world,

I will again breathe in this moment

that speaks of a woman’s magnificent power.

Magnificently magical.

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Private: A Morning with the Lipeles’

“If we could catch one precious moment I’d pin it to the highest cloud,

Shine a light on all this beautiful mess that makes me whole

This beautiful noise that calls me home…”

I find it an incredible blessing to always leave a client’s home with a full heart.

The time I spent with the Lipeles’ was no exception.  I found myself wanting to just put down my camera and be, hear their story, and share my own.

Birth stories, nursing, motherhood, it makes me melt.

Erin, you are a wonderful soul.

 

 

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Private: Jelinowicz Family

It was the warm homemade donuts on an overcast beginning,

the I never get to have this much sugar kind of morning

the simple home

yet heart bursting family love

It was the sweet words…

“You know what’s funny? Your shoes are backwards!”

It was the wind in the hair, taking my dolly with me, and my fancy shoes

kind of bike ride…

“Where are we going, Blue Windows?” (my kind of girl)

The I want to do everything my sister does kind of life,

the please slow down…

you’re growing too fast,

stay with me and be kind of day.

It was all that, and so much more, that made this morning so perfect.

Thank you Jelinowicz Family

I loved this session in black and white, but family received both B&W and color.

 

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Macy is not only an amazing mother, but she is also a Childbirth Educator who teaches the Bradley Method to expecting couples in Long Beach.

We had so much to talk about! Having used this method with our own homebirth, I can’t recommend it enough.

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Private: Mejia Family, Downey California

Carne asada Sundays… sweet smells of homemade salsa, coziness of warm tortillas, and cool barefoot feet.

The summer days that seem they will never end, the memories that you hold on to on dark winter days.

This is where their love lives, and it’s such a sweet place to tuck away in your heart.

No fancy dishes, no extravagant meals. Mama’s cooking and Papi’s grilling needs no further side dishes.

Thank you Mejia family for such a delicious evening!

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Menchaca Family

Connection. It’s what keeps our families together, it’s what allows our kids to stay grounded no matter how far they walk off the path. Whether it’s having a special dance, or playing their favorite video game (while knowing all the characters), making their favorite dinner, or a welcome home hug. It’s the simple gestures that allow our little ones to feel home time and time again. This precious session included wild curls, coloring, tickles, twirls,  and soothing cuddles. Yesenia and Pablo  fill their home with warmth, they are constant rock that strives to keep their family connected. As we all know, parenting is a  job that can test every inch of you. Yet in the end, it is sweet joy and lots of handmade kid’s cards that make it all worthwhile.

On a side note, I have to say that being at this home truly moved me. At one point, I was so full of emotion, I cried (and I wasn’t even pregnant yet!) There was a moment when Yesenia’s daughter was watching her mom dance one of her favorite songs. I will never forget the look that she gave her as she watched Yesenia flow her skirt, twirl around and sing sweet notes. Her eyes wide and smile beaming, she was watching a true princess. And that pretty much sums up why I do what I do. Being able to be part of these precious moments, and capturing true love in it’s deepest form, well it just doesn’t get any sweeter.

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Private: Bath Time

I sit quietly, and let you enjoy.

I interrupt only to help.

Your hands discover as though it is your work.

splish splash

It’s your you time, but my you and me rhyme.

My heart is full.

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Private: Becoming the Older Sister- Zubi’s Storytelling Session

Making the transition to having more than one child.  It’s an incredible blessing, but how do you say goodbye to having an only? Gone are the times when you were available only for her. Hugs at the drop of a hat. Patience for all the little things, like the knot in her hair that needs to be carefully untangled. Staring into her eyes as she discovered something new and taking in her reactions. Visiting the world without a care. There was time for it all. When we go from one to two, our love grows, but the minutes don’t slow down. The hours pass quickly, and we trust. Trust that we’ve loved enough, hugged enough, raised her high enough to be ready for the jump. This is the story of Zubi, a spunky and loveable new older sister. The love that has been instilled by mama fills her heart with so much warmth and confidence. She will now have to share mama in this new world that will be both difficult and exciting, but those single child memories will forever be a part of her. She will always be mama’s little girl.

 

 Storytelling sessions are available for children and families. Different from portrait sessions, storytelling sessions focus more on the everyday and normally take place in your home. Please contact me for details, I would love to meet you.

 Carolina@lifekisses.com

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Private: Baby Manwill, Birth Photography {Long Beach}

There are few things in life that shake the core of your soul. It is hard to describe how giving birth changes you.  And as they say, it is not only the birth of your child, but also the birth of you as a mother. This is a small window to the birth story of Baby Manwill. Kendall Manwill is a doula, whom I was blessed to have be my doula during Daniela’s homebirth. Candace Leach, aka Birth Goddess is a well known midwife in the birth world. Candace has been Kendall’s midwife for three of her children and was also my midwife. Having a homebirth requires a strong, empowering team and these two women fall nothing short of the requirements. It was honor to have been part of this amazing day. Happy Birth Day Baby Manwill!

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Private: Celebrating Zoë…

My family sessions have definitely changed after having Daniela. I worry less about getting THE picture (smile everyone and look at the camera!!), and focus more on finding love in simple moments. I truly love it, and strive to attract clients that also value  these storytelling family sessions. As a mom, I wish I could place in my pocket all the memories that Daniela has blessed me with. I want to remember not only the milestones, but the everyday. The simple stuff. How she brings me joy between the hustle and bustle of the normal day to day. Those are the details we forget too soon. When Nora was on board with the idea of starting the session in her home, I knew we were a great fit. I loved meeting Zoë and capturing the immense joy she brings to her family! Zoë will be turning one this week. It will be a GREAT day of blessings and thanksgiving. This little one is a true fighter, and she celebrates each day by living life to the fullest!

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Private: Happy Father’s Day Papi!

The story of an amazing daughter and her papi…

Happy Father’s Day my love…

to a beautiful beginning.

Words are not enough.

We love you Papi.

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Private: Happy Father’s Day Papi!

The story of an amazing daughter and her papi…

Happy Father’s Day my love…

to a beautiful beginning.

Words are not enough.

We love you Papi.

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Private: Beautiful Mama {Echo Park Maternity Photographer}

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown,

FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly” ~Patrick Overton

There are few things in life that are more courageous than childbrith…

It is a true act of faith that a miracle will happen, that new life will be wrapped around you.

After months of anxious waiting, those last few weeks seem like eternity.

Few things in life are more amazingly beautiful than a confident sexy pregnant mama…

The sway of her hips,

the glow of her love,

the life in her soul.

A new journey about to begin…

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Private: Beautiful Mama {Echo Park Maternity Photographer}

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown,

FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly” ~Patrick Overton

There are few things in life that are more courageous than childbrith…

It is a true act of faith that a miracle will happen, that new life will be wrapped around you.

After months of anxious waiting, those last few weeks seem like eternity.

Few things in life are more amazingly beautiful than a confident sexy pregnant mama…

The sway of her hips,

the glow of her love,

the life in her soul.

A new journey about to begin…

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Private: My Song, Daniela 8 months

I feel truly blessed to have found photography. For me, it is an extension of my thoughts, my mood, my love, my mind, my creativity. When I was five years old, I wanted to write a song. It was going to be about the sun (and rainbows, and raindrops and everything lovely a five year old thinks of). I remember feeling so frustrated because I knew what was in my heart, I knew what I wanted the song to make me  feel, but I had no idea how to express it. Closing my eyes, I would allow my inside to fill with pretty words and notes, yet it would not come out. And it never did, until I found photography.

Photography is my song. It is everything that is in my heart.

Daniela 8 months…

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Private: Is this thing on? Daniela 7 months! {Los Angeles Family Lifestyle Photographer}

When Daniela was born I wanted to write a beautiful blog post describing her amazing birth and coming into this world…

When she was two weeks old, I wanted to share what a true miracle she was and how hard she had fought to be with mami and papi…

When she turned a month old, I was dying to share how absolutely in love I was this little lady…

When she turned 3 months I cried. I had officially lost my little newborn (yes, I was in denial for a few months) and I wanted to post all the

memories I had in my heart before she grew one centimeter more.

And so it went.

It never seemed to be the right time. The words were never enough. How could I put into words what an amazing journey motherhood had been?

I had to let go. Let go of perfection, let go of fear. Daniela was here and I needed to live for the now.

If that meant no blogging for months, then so be it. I’ve soaked up everyday of her first months in this world and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Here we are, and what better time to start sharing than now?

Welcome to the world of non-balance between photography, teaching, and mommyhood.

The third one has definitely taken over my life, and I love it!

I had no idea where to start sharing! So I’ll start with a recent playdate for for one 🙂

Daniela loves her Haba toys! As a mom, I love how durable and safe they are.

She also enjoys reading her Spanish books, love!
She has one tooth that is juuuuuuust starting to make its way out. That means chewing on everything!

Looking forward to sharing more about Daniela!

Also, super excited for spring and summer sessions.

If you have not booked your session, May spots are almost gone. Book now for June, July, and August.

Warmly,

Carolina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Private: Childhood Dreams {Seal Beach Family Photographer}

It was the way they giggled just from looking at each other.

The way her fingers curled around his, playing the role of both protector and friend.

We traveled to their secret world, a place where imagination is king.

Sticks become your shields and a dirt path a road to bliss.

(Formerly Lifekisses Photography)

An adventurous soul…
A heart full of rainbows…

Holding on tight to childhood…

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Private: Maternity Self Portraits 33 Weeks: Daniela

 

 Seven weeks to go….

Unbelievable!

I’ve had an amazing few weeks full of lots of love. Baby Showers, Babymoons, and yummy desserts. Overall, I’ve done pretty well with my pregnancy diet except for sweets. I can’t resist chocolate or cupcakes. I gave up. Don’t tell my Dr!

Most of my time is taken up by reading about labor, breastfeeding, and parenting. I’m sure most of the information will go out the window once reality hits.

Luckily, I am on summer vacation from work which gives me some time to wrap up last minute sessions and get ready for the last few weeks before Dani gets here!

It’s been fun trying to guess what she will look like, and whose personality she will have.

Curly hair is a given and so is a big smile.

From the amount of kicking she’s been doing, she will be just as fun as her Daddy.

Our “alone” time has been at 4 a.m., when she wakes me up to read, relax, or just be.

She’s ready to go back to bed about 2 hrs. later.

The next weeks will be car seats, organization, and lots of breathing practice.

I have a feeling she will not be quite ready on August 17, so there will be lots of popsicles and cool afternoon walks.

Love is overflowing.

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Private: My Dad and Shiny Shoes

I was about 8 years old.  I needed a new pair of school shoes. My mom was working that night, so it was up to my dad to take me shoe shopping. Catholic school meant my choices were pretty limited- Black, not cute, and either laced or some kind of velcro craziness. Don’t judge, it was the 80’s. I knew that going shoe shopping with my dad was my chance to get shoes that I wanted to wear. This included patent leather, some sort of rhinestone/bow clip on, and  they were probably going to be totally unsafe for school.

Purchasing anything with my dad was a process. Once, when he took me to buy my backpack (bookbag in those days) I had to try it on, walk up and down the aisle of the swapmeet, and listen to the vendor convince my dad this was the one that would last me all year. It was navy blue and looked like a boy’s backpack. So not cute. There were never any impulse buys at our house. Everything was bought “con calma.”

So there we are in the middle of Payless looking for my school shoes. It didn’t take long for me to find them. Slip on, shiny, and bow-fabulous. I tried on a few other pairs making obvious “these won’t work faces” until finally slipping into the gotta have shoes. As I walked around the entire store for the Dad test, I was extremely careful not to let him see how slippery these were. I had to curl my toes so they would stay snug and not accidentally slip off my heel, ruining my plan.

“Are you sure you can wear those to school?” This was the only question my dad asked. After lots of pleading and begging, I was the new owner of the most adorable, smooth as glass patent “leather” shoes.

The next morning could not come fast enough! They looked great with white twice folded socks. Obviously, my feet were creatively kept out of my mom’s view as I got ready for school. Flash to the next scene: Recess and kickball. When it was my turn to kick, I knew this had not been good idea. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say there was a shoe flown in the air and a bloody nose involved. My mom marched me right back to Payless that night and bought me ugly shoes with no hesitation on my part.

Thinking back on my shiny shoes, I know now that my dad wasn’t an idiot. Throughout my life he has been a man of few words, and has taught me all I needed to know through his actions and examples. He has allowed my to make many mistakes, and I’ve learned from them (and continue to learn) without judgement. This Father’s Day, I I want to thank my dad for being that silent coach throughout my life. I love you Dad. And yes, I kept the shiny shoes 🙂

My Mom and Dad 2012

An early Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

 

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Private: Mother’s Day Family and Maternity Portraits {Echo Park Family Photographer}

You give me time to breath it in.

Every day I encounter a new unknown.

Time to trust, to rest my heart’s nervous song.

Thank you Mama.

Not yet ready to leave the safeness of your hand curled around mine.

It feels like home.

I reach for your leg during times of uncertainty.

Holding on tight. You let me stay because you silently understand.

One day Mama,

I will do it on my own.

You give me time to walk that journey slowly.

I twirl, I turn, I can’t contain my pitter patter feet!

Mama, you give me space to spread my wings and discover my everyday moments of happiness.

I dance to the beat that only I can hear.

Come dance with me Mama.

Your joys fill my heart.

Mama you are my safe, you are my home.

I will always remember.

For doing the hardest job on Earth, for giving life to your most precious blessings,

Thank you to all the beautiful mothers who sacrifice their time, energy, and give their never ending encouragement.

I’m honored to create images that capture the essence of your love.

Happy Mother’s Day!

With Love,

Carolina

Mama Carol, Abuelita Sonia, and Mama Susan... Thank you ladies!

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Private: Daniela 23 Weeks {Lifekisses Photography Personal}

23 Weeks

emotional roller coaster

date night- chocolate lava cake and jazz

biggest leap of weight gain so far

daddy tears thinking of your coming

lemon bar laughs

sunshine noodles

third grade little ones wanting to play volleyball with you

kick kick kick at 3 am

Te quiero.

 

 

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Private: Daniela at 21 Weeks {Lifekisses Photography Los Angeles Family Photographer}

When I found out I was pregnant, I swore I’d:

1. Snap pictures each week to do all those cute weekly updates I’d been obsessed with on Pinterest.

2. I’d walk, workout, eat perfectly, and stay healthier than I had ever been!

3. Not wear ugly maternity jeans

4. Treasure the time my hubby and I had together, alone. I know things will be a bit different for a while once these two extra little feet come into the picture 🙂

5. Slow down, shoot sessions that I love, and take time to develop my style as a photographer. Once Daniela arrives, I will have limited time to shoot, and I want those sessions to be meaningful for both my clients and I.

So how have things gone during these 21 weeks? Drum roll please….

1. …aaaaannd 21 weeks later I took ONE picture. It was at 12 weeks, and I didn’t even get around to posting it! So this is my chance to catch up, and hopefully I will get better from this point on. It is unbelievable that in about 4 months I will have a little girl in my arms!

2. I’ve taken a total of 3 great noteworthy walks. (Uno, dos, tres) I’ve tried half of a yoga dvd, eaten waaaaaay too many pancakes, and just overdosed on Easter jelly beans. I will say though, my veggie consumption is awesome. Love green drinks, veggie frittatas, and arugula salads!

3. I’ve officially outgrown my regular jeans and have now joined the maternity clothes loving world. Can I just say LOVE again? The jeans are not as bad as I thought, and I managed to find a few stylish options that are the most comfortable pants I have ever worn. I don’t think I will let go of these, ever!

4. Treasuring hubby time. Every single second. It’s in the little moments like uninterrupted dinners, watching way too many 30 Rock episodes on Netflix together (we got rid of our t.v. – I know, gasp!)  Pinkberry dates, and cuddle time.

5. Shooting: I’m proud to say that I’m finally getting there. Though challenging, the last months of photography have been full of growth. Shooting more purposefully has forced me to prep more for sessions, and make sure my clients and I are on the same page. I know what I don’t want to shoot, and what makes me leave a shoot feeling empty. I also know what images give me that walking on clouds feeling, when you have just created something really special.  Creating true moments is what I love, and families that treasure those images are who I want to work with.

So… I have about 4 months to improve my weekly updates. I know I may fall short, but this is a good start!

I'm still at the "are you pregnant or did you eat too much" phase, depending what I wear. This is me at 21 weeks!

I debated on posting this pic, because I didn't know if I wanted to post all my business out there. But, I know in the months to come there will be a lot of swelling, growing of things left and right, and I think it will be fun to share the transformation! Daniela was off to a slow start at first, but the baby bump is now officially here!

This is one of the rocks in my life, my sister. We are about 10 days apart. Since this is her third baby, she's obviously winning the who has a better rocking baby bump competition. I think she looks amazing! Daniela will be blessed to grow up with her baby boy cousin!

The man who brightens up all of my days. I adore him.

So now I’m off to have a really great walk and cook a really healthy dinner!  Hopefully my next update will be sooner than later 🙂

With love,

Carolina

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Private: My Little Love

“Y si me alcanza la vida

Será tan sólo para amarte más…”

You came at just the right time.  I was home alone, and I had a feeling I was about to meet you.  The bright pink parallel lines jumped out, this was it. You were here.  It was a combination of peace, excitement, love, and nervousness. As I sat on the couch, staring at what seemed to be a wall of nothingness, the rapid heartbeats seemed to push me to move. But the weight of shock kept me from placing one foot in front of the other. You were here!  And at the moment, I felt God’s love.  It picked me up and wrapped around me like a silent breeze. And then the tears.  You were here. He could not have blessed me with a more amazing gift.

Each week, I’ve fallen more and more in love with you. We have been getting to know each other for 20 weeks, and Daddy and I have been having so much fun telling everyone about you.

My sister is also pregnant with her third little one! We are 10 days apart. Fun fun fun!

I’m blessed to work with wonderful people who have been by my side through some of the most important stages of my adult life.

These teachers are not not only my coworkers, but my friends.

So I wanted to do something special, just for them!

Here is the little poem I placed next to my gender reveal basket:

Martha Stewart my mommy tried to be,

so she made these treats so you can see

if boy or girl our family would grow,

take a sweet bite and you will know.

Blue= boy

Pink= girl

I’m not, I repeat, not a baker. But I wear my mommy baker in training sticker proudly 🙂

Unfortunately, I did not take my camera  to capture their reactions when biting into the cake pops!

But here is a little hint :

Daniela Rose will be joining our little family in August!

Daddy has already been practicing his “dancing with my daughter standing on my feet” moves.

I can imaging her little cubby fingers wrapped around his legs.

To say she will be a daddy’s girl is such an understatement.

My wonderful hubby has a way of wearing his heart on his sleeve,

and Daniela will not go one day without knowing she is daddy’s number one  love.

I am more than ok with sharing the position 🙂

 I look forward to sharing more good news and some belly pics during the next few weeks.

Thank you for all the love and prayers.

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Private: My Little Love

“Y si me alcanza la vida

Será tan sólo para amarte más…”

You came at just the right time.  I was home alone, and I had a feeling I was about to meet you.  The bright pink parallel lines jumped out, this was it. You were here.  It was a combination of peace, excitement, love, and nervousness. As I sat on the couch, staring at what seemed to be a wall of nothingness, the rapid heartbeats seemed to push me to move. But the weight of shock kept me from placing one foot in front of the other. You were here!  And at the moment, I felt God’s love.  It picked me up and wrapped around me like a silent breeze. And then the tears.  You were here. He could not have blessed me with a more amazing gift.

Each week, I’ve fallen more and more in love with you. We have been getting to know each other for 20 weeks, and Daddy and I have been having so much fun telling everyone about you.

My sister is also pregnant with her third little one! We are 10 days apart. Fun fun fun!

I’m blessed to work with wonderful people who have been by my side through some of the most important stages of my adult life.

These teachers are not not only my coworkers, but my friends.

So I wanted to do something special, just for them!

Here is the little poem I placed next to my gender reveal basket:

Martha Stewart my mommy tried to be,

so she made these treats so you can see

if boy or girl our family would grow,

take a sweet bite and you will know.

Blue= boy

Pink= girl

I’m not, I repeat, not a baker. But I wear my mommy baker in training sticker proudly 🙂

Unfortunately, I did not take my camera  to capture their reactions when biting into the cake pops!

But here is a little hint :

Daniela Rose will be joining our little family in August!

Daddy has already been practicing his “dancing with my daughter standing on my feet” moves.

I can imaging her little cubby fingers wrapped around his legs.

To say she will be a daddy’s girl is such an understatement.

My wonderful hubby has a way of wearing his heart on his sleeve,

and Daniela will not go one day without knowing she is daddy’s number one  love.

I am more than ok with sharing the position 🙂

 I look forward to sharing more good news and some belly pics during the next few weeks.

Thank you for all the love and prayers.

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Private: Life and Baseball

“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends.

Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”

The Babe

“Let me tell you something kid, everybody gets one chance to do something great. Most people never take the chance,

either ’cause they’re too scared,

or because they don’t recognize it when it spits on their shoes.

This is your big chance, and you shouldn’t let it go by…”

The Babe

Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off… the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases.

~Rick Maksian

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Private: Dreaming… Big.

Dream.

Easy words to say, extremely hard to do.

Children should be taught… to dream… and dream BIG.

Because when you are a child, nothing seems impossible.

It’s not until we are adults that the candle’s flickr is blown out by our fears.

Dreaming does not involve a how or when, that’s the beauty of it.

It’s not your job to figure it all out.

The steps will appear once you make the decision to MOVE.

Go ahead, throw it out into the universe.

It’s never to late to start dreaming.

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Private: Zoe’s Birthday: Celebrating Life!

Zoe.

The meaning of your name…Life

At one years old you love to observe, love to take in all the details.

Your best friend is Bunny and he makes you feel all better when you are sad.

Bunny and Zoe will be friends forever.

You have the most adorable chubby legs and delicate little fingers.

Your lips give the sweetest kisses that can melt anyone’s heart.
You love strawberries and grapes and all things in life that are sweet.You take pleasure in the rhythm of nature.. the bird chirps, the calm waters, the lazy turtles.

You know to hold on to life, and you know it is one big adventure!

You know that sometimes, a girl’s just got to take off those cute shoes and feel the earth move under you.

Zoe,  70 years from now…  I wish that you continue to hold on to what brings you joy today.

May you have bunnies in your life that you can truly call friends,

stop to enjoy the sweet blessings around you,

May your hands continue to bring happiness to those you love,

and your kisses warm the little hands that curl around your own.

Tell the stories of the laughs that were your treasures,

heartaches that taught you strength,

and cute shoes that you collected along the way.

Happy Birthday Zoe!

Here’s  to an infinite amount of LIFE.

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Private: Play With Me {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

Do you want to play with me?

There is such deepness and honesty in those few words.

When a child asks if you want to play with them, it’s an invitation. An invitation to how they see the world.

Their dreams, their wishes. Their fears, their love.
Carolina, my niece, adores playing.

What I admire about her is that she never STOPS playing.

Imagine how much more fun our adult lives would be if we would have been able  to carry on the joy that play brought to our lives as children?

These next three images are called: I have a great idea. She ALWAYS comes up with great ideas. They usually involve me being some type of assistant.

Alejandro always manages to take her idea and give it a “boy twist”.

Kind of like a princess castle that now has a big truck in the yard.
How do you feel when you are playing… REALLY playing with a child? Lose yourself and give into the fullness of the moment.

Catch the dragons.

Look for the magical eggs.

Find the treasures.

Carolina: “Alejandro, remember that one time when I told you we were being chased by big dinosaurs?”

“Don’t I have a great imagination?”

No matter how small a child’s world may seem be.. it is immense in their eyes. Embrace it.

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Private: Little Feet {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

“There are tiny little fingers pressed against my cheek, and the palm of the hand that holds all my dreams.

There is a careful little grimace directed right at me, and the expression of innocence that grabs me every time.

There is a pair of big brown eyes that light up in the dark, and the window to a soul that knows only truth.

There are clumsy little legs dancing to a tune, and a chubby little bottom to break their every fall.

There is a babble and some laughter coming from my room, and the sounds of heaven right here in my home…”

Author: Jaqueline M. Sinkes



I have had the pleasure  of photographing this sweet little one since her first days, and every time I see her she fills my heart with such joy.

Until next time Elie!

HU
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Private: Family California Christmas {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

 

I was a total peeker when it came to Christmas presents. I waited until  our tree was decorated, Disney’s Christmas Carols played on the record player, and my lite-brite had been arranged to show a sort of tree snowman snowflake (I always ran out of those darn pegs… and don’t get me started on how good I was at refolding that black construction paper so I could reuse it). I tried to be good and patient, but the tempation was just too much. After my parents were asleep my tiny toes would make their way back to the tree. I would pull back the scotch tape ever so sightly and get a sneak peek of what I was supposed to be excited about on Christmas. Lucky for me, my mom was really into that double fold that moms tried to do to make their folding look fancy. Anyhoo, if I lifted up the fold juuuuust right- and without ripping the paper, I was in. Does this scream a scene that should have been in The Christmas Story or what? (You’ll poke your eye out kid!)  Needless to say, I’m really good at fake surprise faces.

Luckily, the Zaucha boys did not have to be as naughty as I was to enjoy early Christmas presents.

We got together for some Christmas fun, sunny California style!

Both boys received what boys love best- trucks!!!

Though Brian was super thrilled about his new treasure, he had one best friend that could never be replaced,  “Brownie.”

“Carolina, I think I love Brownie too much.” Brian said as he hugged his friend with the love that only a child could give.

Melissa and I have been friends since high school.  I can go a billion years without talking to her, yet the minute we reconnect it’s like that lost time never existed.

She is one of the people in my life that I truly treasure.

Thank you Zaucha family!

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Private: They Will Remember… {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

I have to admit, it’s hard not to get emotional when I edit.

Perhaps it’s my Priscilla Ahn Pandora station, lack of sleep, or overdose on chocolate chip cookies… but I get teary eyed after I finish a session.

I usually spend about two hours photographing a family, and many more hours editing their images.

To say I get attached is an understatement.

I mean really… how could you not?

But it’s more than adorable faces. It’s more than the innocence that blankets their laughs. More than the hugs that I take with me.

(Oh how I love these)

Knowing that these little ones  will hold these images in their hearts makes me melt.

Because I know… they will remember.

And when they do, whether it be five, ten, fifty years from now… their hearts will dance.

They will remember

   Mama’s beautiful face…

how great if felt to be together…
…how proud he was to dress like daddy
how they were adored…
…how there WAS always enough hugs to go aroundthey will remember WORDSDISCOVERIES
FAMILY
LOVE
PLAY

Hold on to the memories.

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Private: Simply Family. {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

I’ve had the pleasure of being able to have more family sessions lately, and although it’s been quite a challenge, I’ve loved every minute.

I’ve  been most proud of being able to create sessions that capture each family’s individual essence. I don’t enjoy posed sessions and honestly,  the kids end up crying their eyes out when forced to look at this big scary black thing that the lady is holding. Because really, as much as much as I love my camera, it’s not very funny.

My family sessions revolve around what brings out natural, happy expressions in children.

If you want to get to know a child, play with them. Have fun! Slooooow down.

And that’s exactly what Sonja forced me to do.

How awesome is it that she found a bird’s nest the first few seconds of our session?

 

 Kids are always the boss during family sessions.

Sonja and Niki came with one thing on the agenda: To laugh.

This session was filled with so much LOVE.

Andy and Lisa, you guys are the greatest.

Running. The funnest kid activity. Ever.


Lisa mentioned that during family nights, it has become a family tradition to bring out some cookies and milk.

I adore when families bring props that have meaning and significance. What warm fuzzies these images will bring back when these two are fully grown!Who wants a soft chewy cookie, like NOW?



Most of the session, Niki was running. Around. and around. and around. Sonja would hold up her hands and as if to say, “Yes, that is… my brother…

and I love him.”

 

Thank you Lisa, Andy, Niki, and Sonja for just being YOU during this family session.

I hope these images bring your hearts as much joy as they did mine.

Can’t wait until next time!

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Private: Furlough Days and Cheap Coffee Cups {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

Today is a furlough day at my school district.  This means:

A. I can’t rush out and buy those darn cute fall boots I’ve been dying to get (unfortunately, this is only one of many other furlough days this year).

B. I don’t have to do the pipi dance with 10 other teachers during recess time while we wait for ONE bathroom.

C. I can have a few extra  seconds minutes hours to lose myself on Pinterest and

D. I get to have a stress free Friday morning breakfast with my hubby.

D is by far my favorite.

These are two coffee cups I bought a week after we got married, with a Target gift card. They were $2.00 a piece. And I love them.

I chose a black one for him, because he always drinks his coffee black. And of course, I chose yellow for me because there is no better choice! If it comes in yellow, I’ll take it.

We talked about our families, work, our plans for the week… nothing ground breaking. But in that moment, I was thankful.

Thankful for my faith.

Thankful for my health.

My Family.

My job.

Wishing you a wonderful Friday…  hope you find a few minutes today to stop and do something that brings you peace and happiness.

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Private: Dear Daddy… {Los Angeles Children’s Photographer}

Recently, I came across a beautiful post by Michael Mitchell entitled 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters.

I was so moved by the post, and decided to pick my to 10 favorite rules to share here. Please grab a tissue… I sure needed it!

1. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

2.Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

3.Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

4.Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

5.Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

6.Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

7.She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

8.Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

9.Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

10.She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

Because I couldn’t stop at 10…

11.Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

Happy Sunday families!

To read Michael’s original post, please click here.

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Private: Happiness and Baby Swings {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

“Happiness is a choice.

It doesn’t make the bad feelings go away but it gives you the courage to know you can make it through another day.

Think about the first hour of your day… what do you focus on?

Do you rise and shine or do you rise and whine 😉

♥ Perspective means everything.

You can shift. Be patient with yourself…. and others.

Change takes time.

Take a moment to be still and focus on how you’d like your day to go.

What kind of a day will you have today?” ♥

Happy Sunday!

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Private: Brother and Sister Games {Los Angeles Family Photographer}

“Un Serio”… that’s the name of his favorite game. Basically, it’s the equivalent of a stare down and as intense as a blinking contest. You laugh? You lose. If you are a champion at either one, I applaud you. Myself… not good at either of these games, english or spanish. My nephew Alejandro thinks he’s the champ. But this is pretty much the process each time he plays the game. Step one: He laughs for about 10 seconds to get his giggles out, then it’s game time. It’s on.

Pretty good right?

This lasts about oh…. 2 seconds. And then….

going... going...

gone.

He loses… every time. How could someone with a smile like THAT try to hide it? Of course, we let him think he won after a few times because we think it’s the funniest ever and would hate for him to stop. My niece Carolina, on the other hand? She’s got it down packed. She’s trained long intensive hours and beats us all. FIERCE I tell you.

Go ahead, I dare you.

Now you KNOW you want to try it. It’s as fun as opening up a cracker jack box and finding a fake tatoo (I was SO not allowed to put those on). What fun games did you play with your brother or sister? Whatever they were, keep them in your heart and hold on tight to those memories.

Love.

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Private: Leaving on a Jet Plane…

This Sunday I will be leaving for Europe for about 18 days with my musician husband (Really??). We will be participating in a house exchange with a lovely Parisian girl (ummm, ok). Those sentences beyond boggle my mind. I’ve never been in the air longer than 5 hours, and that included one too many gin and tonics to ease the anxiety. If someone would have shared with me, say five years ago, where my life would be at this moment I don’t know if I would have jumped for joy or ran for the hills. I was at a point in my life where I was settling. Settling for what I thought was good enough and safe. Everything seemed to fit. I was surrounded by a wonderful family, great friends, and was blessed with a great teaching job. Most of my life I had done exactly what I was supposed to do. Besides driving a bit too fast, I  followed most rules. They kept me safe. And I was not one think outside the box. Then one day, it was as if God picked me up, turned me inside out and threw me against a brick wall. He said, you can be comfortable, or you can LIVE. (yes, VERY eat pray love ). I chose to get uncomfortable. I let go of safety nets that were holding me back from what it was I really wanted. Since then, I have shed more tears than I would have liked to, and I’ve failed miserably time and time again.  And yet  here I am. With a man who is the opposite of the person I envisioned marrying. He’s loud and drives me completely crazy sometimes, but he’s my biggest fan. In a “I’ll drive you  to Sacramento for a photography workshop after you procrastinated and had to spend all day editing… so now we have to leave at 9:00 p.m. and get there at 3:00 a.m. And I have to go through like 5 bags of sunflower seeds so I can stay awake” kind of way. And this blog? It’s MINE. It’s beginning to be filled with work that I am beyond proud of, and love. Those lenses? I actually know how to use them! That logo? It is a part of my brand. Fancy, huh? I continue to be blessed with my amazing family and friends. Yes, life is great.. and still a bit scary at times.. but I’m excited for what’s to come.

"Learning to Fly"

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marrianne Williamson

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Private: Brother Love {Glendale Family Photographer}

Luca loves his brother Dominic. The love oozes out of him. It’s the way he hold his hand… secure and just tight enough. It’s the way he lights up when he laughs. His proud face when he is able to stand with just enough help from his big brother. The connection they have goes beyond words.

We started this photo session with a party for two! In celebration of Dominic’s first year of life, we created an outdoor photo booth. Adorable.

No one over the age of four was admitted.

Definitely a good look for Luca.

I’ve always referred to  Dominic as a ball of joy. Because he is just that. I simply cannot get over the cuteness in this family.

Brother Love

The most random photographs are usually my favorite. This one sums up the Bonnici brothers pretty well. A whole lot of joy… with just enough quirkiness on the side.

Thank you Bonnici Family for a fabulous morning! I hope you enjoyed your cupcakes 🙂

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Private: It’s… a boy? {Maternity Session}

When I first met Maribel, the first thing that came out of my mouth was… “Wow, you reeeaaaallly love pink.” Well, it may  not have been the first thing said but I was definitely thinking it. This woman has a plethora of pink. The list includes purses, cell phone, laptop. cutesy pens, pink eye shadows galore.. you name, she has it…in pink. (Her wedding? The rose colored bridesmaid dress still hangs in my closet). So you can imagine my surprise when my friend called me up one evening to announce that she was having… a BOY!

“A boy?”

“A boy!” We couldn’t be more excited. Yes, she will have to wait to wait for the pink tutus and pink headbands, pink rufflebutt covers and matching pink tees. But this beautiful mama has never looked more gorgeous… in blue. Words cannot express how blessed she feels to be having her first baby in July. Maribel, we can’t wait to meet your little one! Te quiero amiga xoxo.

Blue is the new pink!

Technically, it’s salmon. Very chic color for men.

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Private: Beautiful Zoe’s 3 month Session {Los Angeles Children’s Photographer}

Here is a quick sneak peek at a perfect little princess! Three months is always a bit of a challenge to capture since babies are past the newborn stage but not  independent enough to pose  on their own. Zoe was pure joy during her session. She is the twinkle of her parents’ eyes! Adriana and Mauricio, I can’t wait for the family session when Zoe is 6 months!

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Private: Retro, Candy, and Mommies in Love {Los Angeles Children’s Photographer} Penn Park, Whittier

Technically, I’m only a little late. Since Mother’s Day was on Tuesday for Mexican mommies (like mine!)… that only makes me 3 days late. I’ll take it. I’m sure you will forgive me once you see how adorable these kids and mommies are. A few weeks before Mother’s Day my great friend Skarlette decided to offer a Mother’s Day session for some of her friends. Wanting to go a bit above and beyond for these special mommies (afterall, being a mom IS the toughest job on Earth), we decided to team up with Melissa and team from My Favorite Events and Adriana from Classic Beauty Artistry to create something fabulous for these everyday heroes. Melissa came up with an oh sooo cute “Retro Candy Bar “and a “Tea Time with Mommy” table that both mommies and kids could enjoy. Some of the moms got together for Muffins with Mom earlier that morning, where Adriana did her magic. It turned out to be such fun day!

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Private: Palomino Family {Sneak Peak} Los Angeles Children’s Photographer

Fun, bubbles, and all smiles! The last time I had photographed RJ was for his newborn session, only a few days old. At 9 months he is beyond adorable and has the most contagious laugh… ever!  His mom was more than ready with a set of props that she had planned  to use. Apparently, our economy is so bad she has to send  her nine month old to join the work force! Rj now has gained experience as a business man (check out the chic tie), milkman (no milk.. he drank on the job), boxer (runs in the family), and newspaper boy (not reading quite yet)! The Palomino family were such great sports when I decided to end their family session with a family bubble blow out. I think they had more fun than RJ! Can you feel the love???

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Private: Cortes Kids {Sneak Peak} Los Angeles Children’s Photographer

This was the second time I had photographed the Cortes kids.  The first time I met them, we had a full family session. Isa was just a few months old and Eric quickly decided that my camera and him would never be bffs. I think he knows I just want to hug and squeeze him (how could you not want to squeeze this little one?)  The Cortes family will soon be celebrating Isa’s first year of life this month. She had no problem showing off her adorable outfits! I lost again with Eric after he decided  Woody was way more cool than I was… which was fine with me because I got some great shots out of it! Remember how fun it was to just throw a toy in the air???  The simple joys of childhood. Enjoy your sneak peak Cortes kids!

Isa was so tired and done at this point, but it’s still my favorite image… so sweet.

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Private: Echo Park Beauty

I find myself constantly looking around when driving (I know, probably not the best idea)… Recently I’ve been somewhat obsessed by outdoor natural light. A few weeks ago, my hubby took me on a oh so romantic drive around our neighborhood.  On a gloomy rainy day we drove through the hidden hills of Echo Park. Little did I know I was about to thank baby Jesus for the gorgeousness I was about to find. As soon as I saw it I knew it was love. Beautiful, lush, green, and all mine. How could I have not known about this place? I could only imagine how amazing it would be blanketed by yummy sunlight. The following week I dragged the only poor soul who would put up with my endless “stand here.. no wait, here…ok, no.. HERE!”  Thanks sister! Let’s drive around all weekend and look for more thrown out chairs. Only you could make it look oh so fabulous. XOXO.

Yummy Yummy Light!

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Private: Carolina and Alejandro

She’s the observer, the thinker, the fashionista. She despises sweaters and has an imaginary best friend who loves to listen to her “scary” stories (that have great sound effects).  At 3 years old she can tell you the difference between salsa, merengue, and jazz.  And those hips? Yeah… Carolina is her mother’s daughter.

Trains, dirt , play ball with daddy? Yes please. His idea of the perfect outfit is his diaper plus any shoes he can use to stomp on blueberries.  Alejandro is ALL boy.

Both are my loves and both can make my heart melt with a single smile.

I love being a “tia!”  Hermana, you are a wonderful mommy. Thank you for bringing such beautiful children into this world!

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