Morning Shoot with the lovely Shhivika

This post is embarrassingly overdue.  Sorry Shhivika, I was withholding these pics while waiting for the donut you owe me.  Just kidding!  Completely my fault for the lag.

A while back I got the chance to meet up with fellow photographer Shhivika Chuahan (shhivikachauhan.com.)  She’s a fantastically creative and inspirational photographer that recently transplanted from NYC.   I was drawn to her photography style because of her stunning light and whimsical perspective play.  She has some lovely inspirational words on her blog as well. Definetely go check out her website when you get a chance.

She was lovely in person too!  I enjoyed conversing and drinking hot chocolate with her and watching the sunrise in the wee hours of our early morning shoot.  I hope you and your kiddos are doing okay girl!

In addition to being gorgeous she took some ahhh-mazing pictures of me on her blog.   My jaw dropped when I saw them. Go check them out!

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Beer Tasting Date Night

Need a fun date night in idea?  Whether you’re with friends or want to get foodie with your significant other, how about switching up that chic bottle of wine for some gold ol’ bottle of beer?  Or better yet, multiple bottles of beer.

For the husbands birthday (a few months ago)  we had a beer tasting night in.  After driving to Bev’Mo and  having fun reading labels for an hour we settled on 5 different big boy bottles of beer from around the world.   To keep thing simple we turned to our local Thai take out place for all the food.  Because Thai food has so many flavor profiles from refreshingly light to spicy citrus to earthy richness, it was easy to match beers up with courses.

Here are the pairings:

  • Chang Light Lager with Spring Rolls.  What a better way to start off a Thai themed night than with a popular Thai beer.  Chang was easy and crisp with a little bit of bitter – a perfect match to the refreshing veggie spring rolls.  If I had to choose one beer for the night, this beer would be a good blank slate beer choice to allow the whole shebang of bold Thai flavors to stand out.
  • Oak Town Brown Ale with Chicken Satay.  The malty flavors of brown ale are a classic pairing with the nuttiness of Chicken Satay with peanut sauce. I picked up this beer because it was crafted locally in Oakland–cheers to local drinking! Like the city it was named after Oaktown was B-O-L-D and unapologetic.   Dark brown, roasted flavors, and drank more like a stout — this beer ended up being way too heavy for the Chicken Satay pairing.   I felt fuller from the beer than the chicken.  Good beer, but not a good food pairing.
  • Stone Ruination IPA with Spicy Red Pork Curry.    I’m not a fan of IPAs in general, but this combo worked because it was like pitting two heavyweights in a ring.  The heavy punch of the IPA perfectly paired with the bold heat of the curry.
  • Pilsner with Thai grilled salmon.  Ah pilsner, if you’ve only had one beer in your life chances are it was a pilsner type (think budweiser.)   Pilsners are great with fatty fish so we chose a German pilsner just for the sake of going around the world.   Our verdict: will skip the german pisner next time.
  • Wychcraft Blonde Ale with Pad Thai.  Holy crap this was a good pairing.  I’m not sure if it’s because Pad Thai is one of my favorite foods and probably goes with anything or if it’s because I happen to be a huge big blonde ale fan; but this combination was heavenly.   I’ll definetely buy this beer again.

Beer tasting date night in was the perfect compromise between being fancy and relaxing at home silliness.  At the end I was so freaking drunk and happy.  On tasting beer.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I barely know my malts from my hops.  I’m not a connoisseur by any means but I would  like to be. And hey if I’m going to learn about something new it might as well be beer.  In the future,  I shall assign myself beer homework. Yes siree.

Want to host your own beer tasting night? Check out this excellent beer tasting guide as a starting point to plan your menu.

Cheers! =)

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Disclaimer. No dogs were intoxicated during the taking of these pictures.  =)

iPhonegraphy: LA Marathon Edition

I FINALLY DID IT!  I ran a my first full marathon!

I’ve trained 4 times before.  And I’ve failed 4 times.  I had every excuse under the sun:  knee injury, deadlines, new puppy, you name it. Once even I gave up training because I wanted to sit on my butt and eat chicken wings.

But it finally happened at the Asics LA Marathon on Sunday March 9th.

I take that back.  It didn’t just happen. This time around I worked my butt off for it.

After months of long runs and carb loading (pasta diet is the best diet ever btw) I lined up with 21,828 runners to begin a 26.2 mile trek.  From the start I channeled my marathon spirit animal: the tortoise.  It didn’t matter how long it took, my only goal was to finish.

Taking it slow and steady I was able to soak much of the LA scenery as the course winded from Dodger Stadium down to the Pacific Ocean.  Even with all the awesome neighborhoods, the best sights were the people.  A few other characters along the way:

  • Runner in a Aztec warrior costume.  Wearing sandals too.
  • The pro speed walker who was passing up runners left and right (me included.)
  • Group of grandmas, wearing too much makeup and neon fanny packs, supporting each other to the finish line.
  • Little kids holding up signs way too big for them to cheer runners on.
  • Firefighters using fire hoses to cool off runners in the 81 degree weather.
  • Teen wearing a shirt that said: “I run this race for someone who can’t.”

As the hours passed I lost all interest in the surroundings as switched my attention to convincing my feet to move forward. Miles 20-24 were hard. My feet were saying, ‘ouch what the hell.’  My brain was thinking, ‘it would be wise to stop now.’  My heart shouted, ‘don’t listen to those other two and keep going.’

When I finally saw the ocean around the 25 mile mark, I don’t what came over me but I cried. And I cried hard.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put down in words the crazy emotional wave that came over me upon realizing that this crazy life goal of mine was about to be checked off my bucket list.  The feeling that I could do anything I set my mind to.  Believing I was unstoppable.  Yeah it was a beautiful feeling.

Still crying, I picked up my pace to cross the finish line. My time was an hour and a half more than I anticipated but I didn’t care. I finished. I could now call myself a marathon runner. =)

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left to right, top to bottom:

  1. A stranger salutes during the singing of the Star Spangled banner at Dodger Stadium
  2. Palm trees: The view above me for much of the race.
  3. Running by the beautiful Disney Building
  4. I’m in Hollywood baby!
  5. Getting some motivation from local cheerleaders in front of Mann’s Chinese theatre.
  6. Running on the Walk of Fame
  7. Lots of great street art everywhere
  8. My shiny medal
  9. Relaxing at the beach post marathon. Can’t feel my feet anymore at this point.

Not pictured: My post marathon meal, a bacon wrapped hot dog.

Barrett Family Welcomes Baby Max

Confession. I talk to myself when editing photos. “Gotta adjust the exposure, add a vignette here…”   Mumbo jumbo like that.  While editing this session the only phrases coming out of my mouth were:

‘Sooooooooo friggin cute.’

“What a squishy butt!”

“Wook at those wittle feet.”

My husband gave me the strangest looks as I baby talked to my computer monitor.  It was full blown cutegasm mode. This may have been my first newborn session (and to be honest my first family session ever) but based on my reaction it certainly won’t be the last.

Thank you John and Sarah for welcoming me into your home to capture these beautiful tender moments between parents and baby.  It was an honor to photograph these early memories of the Barrett couple transforming into the Barrett family.  From my short time hanging out with you guys it was obvious that little baby Max is going to be surrounded by so much love on his journey to becoming tall and mighty Max.

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Welcome to the world baby Max!

Cherish and Laxman Japanese Garden Engagement

She went to his birthday party.

He got the best present of all…

Her phone number.

The rest is history.

The title reads engagement pictures, but they should really read ‘my camera can predict the future’ pictures. Haha. No really, even though they were not yet engaged during the time of this shoot, it was easy to see by the way that Laxman’s fingers lovingly brushed the curls out of Cherish’s eyes that this relationship was headed into forever territory.  They were so easy to photograph because not only were they gorgeous (and kind) human beings, their PDA was the perfect balance between intensity and tenderness. I just loved photographing these two.

And I’m so happy to hear about the recent engagement news! Best wishes for the both of you!  =)

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