May 31, 2013

May Edition: Living in the Moment

Galaxy-ography dump … it’s been a very pretty month here in SoCal.  Trader Joe’s got oodles of gorgeous ranunculus and peonies.  The waves have been lovely and massive and vibrantly-aqua-hued.  And Big Dude and I discovered a huge cave.  How we missed it our first ten years here, I. do. not. know.beach flowers and hot tub
Mother’s Day was a hoot.  Began with yummy strawberry waffles.  Continued with a trip to Bass Pro Shops for a photo op with the Duck Men (dog dude inclusive!) and a little offroading with the Jeep.
mothers day
Back to the beach, because, why not?  It’s close and beautiful, and Little Dude can make a couple bucks collecting bottles.  Looseleaf Theatre Co.’s production of Shakespeare’s [slightly modified - it was the Mad Men/Desert Hippy version] As You Like It was HILARIOUS.  Oh, and I finally got a hair cut.
beach flowers and shakespeare
Nana and Papa came to town, and so we went back to the beach [duh].  Multiple times [again, duh].  And to Scripps Aquarium – which was cool, but not as cool as the beach.
beach and aquarium beach is better
For more Living in the Moment loveliness, continue on through our blog-loop, to  Melissa‘s blog.

May 29, 2013


IMG_4067daisy2IMG_4069Tdaisy1Middle Dude planted daisy seeds last May.  Many a times we thought this little plant was dead/dying/done.  But this month, for the first time, the blooms have finally opened! 

May 28, 2013


The March & April catch-up dump.  The months wherein Big Dude wore a cast.  And then had the cast cut off, replaced with a boot, and then an aircast (splint).  They were "quieter" months.  More time at home.  Big Dude's presence missing on our walks.  And then Big Dude rejoining us on very  s l o w  walks.




May 23, 2013

Pretty Peony.

After the crazy chaos of Little Dude's amazingly messy bedroom, the sublimeness that is the Peony.  My eyes and disturbed psyche thank me.

post signature

May 21, 2013

Considering Composition.

I’m reading Photographically Speaking by David duChemin.  I’m enjoying reading his thoughts regarding how one chooses to “frame” an image - what one intentionally includes and excludes, and how that decision impacts the story the image tells.  “As craftsmen we have many ways of including or excluding elements at will.  We have optics with different angles of view, we have apertures capable of creating various depths of field that include or exclude elements within the plane of focus.  We can move around a subject, sometimes in every possible direction.  We can expose in such a way that we plunge things into shadow and hide them from view…  The role of the photographer is to make choices.  The frame forces us to choose.  And if you are going to choose, then it’s best that you choose while keeping in mind that the reader [viewer] will make that primary assumption:  that you included everything on purpose, that it means something.” 

Just for the record:  Yes.  Yes, I did very much intend to keep every last little piece of visual chaos in this frame.  I included everything on purpose.  I shot wide and at a time of day when the light floods the room.  My aperture allowed plenty of depth of field.  Behold the glory (?!?) that is my youngest dude’s half of his room.  His happy place = my crazy place.  These pictures tell that story.

May 20, 2013


… payback can be a bitch expensive.  A little background:  one thing that I know beyond a shadow of doubt is that my husband loves me.  He loves me well.  In our nearly 20 years (!!) of marriage, he’s never made me feel insecure, inadequate, anything less-than-what-he’d-want for a lifelong mate. 

So when his gaze lingers a little too long on the larger-than-life Oakley Girl on the side of the bus, or when he jokingly buys himself “Cardboard Girlfriend” for his birthday, the ONLY conclusion that I can draw is that … he must really like those sunglasses.
IMG_6082So I went ahead and bought a pair.  Because I just knew it would make him happy. IMG_6080

May 19, 2013

Turning your pictures into Wall Art …

It’s just me again, exhorting you not to let those lovely photos of yours languish in your computer. 

All right. Let’s jump right in. It’s time to get those pictures off your computer and onto your walls where you can appreciate them on a daily basis. I do need to forewarn you: I live amongst dudes, lizards, a dog and a toad. Two of us work from home. Two of us school at home. And thus, our home is not a museum; in fact, it’s usually a mess. And that will be reflected in the pictures I show you of the pictures that live on my walls [embarrassed grin].

Exhibit One: when we first moved down to Southern California ten years ago, I wanted to hang a bunch of pictures that reflected our new locale. I waited for Aaron Bros’ buy-one-get-one-for-1-cent-sale, and loaded up on these 24x20 frames and 20x16 mattes. For not very much money, I filled these walls with pictures that to this day make me smile – especially the one of my teens as very little dudes.

wall - same frame mult times
teens as little dudes

Exhibit Two: I’m a huge proponent of printing BIG. If you have a big wall, put a BIG picture on it! (55x55” canvas – as you can see, it filled half my garage!)

wall - BIG canvas hung

Or put three big pictures on it! (3 – 24x36” canvases)

wall - 3 24x36 canvases

Or maybe nine smaller canvases on it (9 – 10x10” canvases) …

wall - collage of 9 canvases

Or perhaps four 20” square prints (in cheapie IKEA glass frames) …

wall - collage of 4 cheapie IKEA frames

Anywhooo, that’s just my little bit of encouragement to go ahead and print BIG or print many to fill a big space.

Exhibit Three: fill a single frame with multiple images. Oh my, look how little my boys were (excuse me while I go grab a Kleenex and attempt to turn back the hands of the clocks in the house!). If I remember correctly, I got this frame from Pottery Barn – it’s filled with 6 4x6s, 2 5x7s and 1 8x10.

wall - single frame mult pics

Exhibit Four: this is a collaged poster I made for my son out of his favorite images from our vacation. It’s a 20x30 glossy poster print from Costco and cost a whopping $8.99.

And lastly, I keep an inspiration board on Pinterest ( to file away fun ideas for future ways to get my pictures out of my computer and onto my walls. As an added bonus, most of the ideas I pin are in homes that are tidy and beautifully decorated. A girl can always dream, right?

pinterest idea board600px

May 18, 2013

Fishers. And Followers.

Jesus came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea …
From that time He began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers,
Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew, his brother,
casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
And He said to them,
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.
Matthew 5:13-20

May 17, 2013

I Heart Faces 2013 Photography Conference

Back in 2011, I was super blessed to be a part of IHF’s Southern California workshop.  It was such a fantastic day, filled with fun women who all shared a passion for photography.  To this day, it’s my pleasure to stay in contact with those women, be encouraged by them, and to see their talent being put to use in such lovely ways. 

That super positive experience has made me very excited to be attending this year’s conference in Ohio for a whole weekend of photography inspiration!  If you’d like to join me, registration is now open.  The biggest & best reasons to register early:  there’s a $100 discount offered thru the end of May and early registration lessens the likelihood of being waitlisted (last year's conference sold out quickly). 

registration is open

There’s a large list of classes/offerings for all interest levels of photography plus add-on workshops and photography tours on Friday & Sunday, so you can fully customize your weekend’s experience.

I hope to get to meet you there! 

May 16, 2013

A Mysterious Princess. In an Empty Pool.

But first, a colonial girl.  Then a masked princess.  Anyone who knows me, knows that this mom of three boys doesn’t do fancy princess photo shoots.  I’m missing that “stylize a session” gene.  Moreover, I’m the mom who schedules a roadtrip every Halloween, so I can avoid the whole costume thing x3. But.  BUT.  If during a family lifestyle photo session, a youngest daughter enthusiastically digs into her dress-up trunk, who I am not to follow her into her medieval world of palm tree forests, stone mountains, and empty pool tunnels?!?  Because now it’s … lifestyle. [grin]Benson-169Benson-171Benson-202Benson-204Benson-207dress upBenson-235Benson-236Benson-239


Orange County Family Photography

May 15, 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

IMG_5576IMG_5586A nice clean car for Mother’s Day.  Thanks, Dudes!! IMG_5602 And now we hit the road and off-road…and dirty up our newly cleaned Jeep.  Worth it.  IMG_5618IMG_5625IMG_5631IMG_5656IMG_5672IMG_5693IMG_5700IMG_5725Poor rock-climbing Dog Dude.  He was so conflicted – didn’t know whether to stay with me or go with the dudes …IMG_5730IMG_5733IMG_5740IMG_5741Btw, this was all called the “Rim of the World Scenic Byway”.IMG_5758IMG_5768IMG_5793IMG_5790Parking in the shade (what little there was) … ‘cause it was HOT out there.IMG_5799IMG_5808IMG_5809Poor Dog Dude with his heavy black coat.  He soooo didn’t dress appropriately for the weather.IMG_5817IMG_5820IMG_5824IMG_5828IMG_5839IMG_5856And a fun little sighting on our drive back home …IMG_5878IMG_5884It's been quite a while since we've day-tripped (Big Dude's broken ankle and all...).  It felt good to be back in our groove.