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Coming from a small family, I always wondered what it would be like to have a bunch of brothers and sisters. I picture there never being a dull moment, loud family dinners, and always having someone to hang out with. This sounds like a pretty awesome way to grow up if you ask me!

I have photographed this sweet family for the last few years, and it’s been such a pleasure to watch them grow and change. Not to mention this crew is so much fun, and you can just imagine all the adventures they have together.

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“Set a goal to achieve something that is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time” – Bob Proctor

We all have dreams, goals, and hopes for a better future. Some take time, others require a bit of luck, but most require work, and a lot of it. I’ve never had a problem putting in the work, but when you don’t know where to begin, or even if the work you are doing will get you to your destination, it’s nearly impossible to move forward. I have felt like this countless times in my life, and I’m sure you have too.

For years, I have had a “loose goal” (as I liked to call it) to complete a half marathon. Just the thought of it made me nervous, and I would doubt my ability to complete it almost instantly. See I’m not what you would call a runner. Although I did track in high school, I never ran anything over 400m, so the idea of running 13 miles seemed unrealistic to say the least.

For whatever reason, this goal has stuck with me for years. Somewhere in the back of my conciseness, I just couldn’t let it go. It wasn’t until I told my sister-in-law that I wanted to attempt a half marathon that things really started taking form. Before I knew it, she agreed to run it with me, a race was picked out, and we had a 12 week training plan.

We are entering week 5 of our training, and with each workout I know I am getting one step closer to that finish line. My body is getting stronger, my pace is increasing, but most importantly my mind is beginning to believe I can do it!

I would love to hear from you in the comments below, what goals have you been putting on the back burner? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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I learned one very important thing during this weekends engagement shoot… Ashley and Sean couldn’t be more perfect for each other! Several times throughout their session they finished each other sentences, and responded with he exact same answer. You would think I see this a lot working with so many couples, but it’s actually very rare. It’s undeniable the connection they share, and spending the afternoon with them was the highlight of my weekend.

As if I didn’t already love them enough, in a few short months Ashley and Sean will be getting married at Franciscan Gardens, which also happens to be the same location I tied the knot – clearly they have great taste! ;) I will be counting the days until I get them back in front of my camera, and I am thrilled to be working with Confetti Skies and Design Visage to make their wedding perfection!

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  • Rachelle - So pretty! Love the gorgeous setting and stunning blue lace dress!!

  • sue - OMG, you two are gorgeous!! Ashley you are stunning! Sean handsome as ever!

Watching your best friend become a mom is a pretty incredible thing. But when that baby starts walking, talking, and becoming a little person of their own, well that’s even better! It’s been so fun to watch this little one grow and change into a mini version of her parents.

I photographed little Ruby June from before she was born, so naturally I had to take some portraits of her to celebrate her first year of life. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this little ones life, and I am just so proud, and impressed with the amazing job her parents are doing raising her. I hope one day I’m half as amazing as her mom and dad!

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Someone loves her mama!!! :)one-year-birthday-shoot-costa-mesa-photographer-006one-year-birthday-shoot-costa-mesa-photographer-007

  • Rachelle - Happy belated birthday Ruby! You are a beautiful reflection of your parents love!

Today, I’m getting personal. As much as I love sharing session after session, I’ve been spending much of my off season focusing on my work life balance and overall health. This is something so many of us ignore, even though we know changes need to be made. So it’s time to mix things up, and share a little more of my behind the scenes journey. Here goes nothing! ;)

When I committed to doing my first Whole 30 at the start of 2016 I had no idea how much would change in those 30 days. My hopes were to gain a better understanding of how my body reacted to foods, and hopefully drop a few of those holidays pounds. What I got was a complete overhaul of how I think about food, and it’s profound effect on my body.

Throughout most of my life I picked foods based on what I was craving. This meant lots of carbohydrates, sugar, and dairy. Running a small businesses means my time is limited, and more often than not I grabbed what is quick and easy. It’s no wonder the pounds increased, my priority wasn’t on the quality of what I was eating. Even worse I would get so distracted by work that I didn’t eaten anything until 2-3 in the afternoon. This is a recipe for disaster on so many levels. Needless to say there was lots of room for improvement in my diet, and Whole 30 was going to be the first time I really stuck with an eating plan for more than a few days.

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After successfully completing Whole 30 along with the reintroduction phase, I wanted to share the top 6 things I learned. This is solely based off my experience and opinions, but I hope it’s helpful to you some small way.

I actually liked the food! At first I was not happy about giving up grains, sugar, legumes, alcohol and dairy, but there are so many great resources for meals that I found myself really enjoying the food.

Planning ahead is crucial. This means cooking, and a LOT of it. I underestimated this for sure, but if you have approved food around you at all times you will make the right choice. This requires a lot of prepping, but if you make larger portions each time you cook you can extend the life of a meal for a few days. This saved us on so many occasions.

Keep food with you. I quickly learned that as long as I had good food with me, even if that just meant a Lara Bar in my purse, I made better choices. If I allowed myself to skip a meal or go past the point of hunger I would reach for whatever was close, regardless if it was good for me or not. This puts you in dangerous territory, and you’ll be making bad food choices before you know it.

A support system is key. Since my husband and I did this together (along with a few friends), we were able to share our experiences, keep the house full of healthy whole foods, and support each other throughout the 30 days and beyond. Doing this with your family, coworkers, and friends will help you tremendously! I also joined a wonderful Facebook Group lead by The Organic Kitchen, which was a great source of inspirations and advice.

The cravings will go away. I have a serious sweet tooth, so for the first few days I had terrible headaches as my body adjusted to not having a constant stream of artificial sugars. After the first week these cravings went away, and before long I wasn’t controlled by them anymore!

You’ll gain energy. Within the first 2 weeks I noticed a dramatic change in my energy levels. I was more alert, excited and driven throughout the day. I didn’t crash in the afternoon like I used to, and I even found I slept better.

I could talk about Whole 30 for hours, but I want to share a little of what I learned in the process. If your curious or unfamiliar with what Whole 30 is check out their website for a full description. Since completing Whole 30 I have never felt better, and I am in control of my diet for the first time in my life. It will be a continual learning process, but I now have an understand of what my body needs in order to thrive. When it was all said and done I lost 7 pounds, but the change in my body and mind is the real success.

Have you done a Whole 30? Are you curious about how to get started? I would love to hear from you in the comments!!

  • John - Great Work! Proud of you!

  • RoBert - Great job! Love your top 6

  • Rachelle - Great job! You have inspired me to get back into a healthier eating routines! Thanks for sharing your journey!! :)

  • joel kaufmann - I am always delighted to see your work and how you are growing with your craft. You should be proud of your growth.

  • Dan Head - I’m on day 6 and going strong! I have more energy and WAY less cravings now. Thanks for your encouragement. :)