Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jodi and Vip

Sometimes things in life are better when mixed. Peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Life has a way of uniting elements in such a way that two separate things are enhanced when they combine. This works the same way with certain people. Jodi and Vip are such people. They mix in such a way that they’re better together. Salt and Pepper.

Their wedding was a unique blend of cultures and to describe the wedding as beautiful would be an understatement. Jodi orchestrated a day full of details and planned two weddings in one day. Knowing they wanted both a Hindu and a traditional Christian ceremony at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Los Angeles, Vip and Jodi hosted their guests to a day filled with intimacy, joy, and tons of delicious Indian food. With help from Angelica of Green Weddings, the wedding—complete with a hand-crafted Indian Mandap, gorgeous flower arrangements in every nook, and customized designed centerpieces—was a complete success.

Part of what makes Jodi and Vip so successful is their circle of friends. Just after the toasts were given during the reception, Vip asked for the microphone and addressed his guests. This isn’t unusual. However, when he went table by table and thanked their families, his friends from medical school, and Jodi’s amazing friends, one couldn’t help but feel the warmth and kindness emanate from his heart.

Sometimes things in life are better when mixed. They mix in such a way that they’re better together. Jodi and Vip, much like salt and pepper, are better together and are enhanced when they combine.

Here are a few from last Saturday…
(There are a LOT of pictures, but seeing how there were two ceremonies and it's my last wedding of the year...I thought it'd be okay!) :)
Indian ceremony preparations

Jodi is peeking on her guests as she waits for Vip

Placing a garland around Vip's neck was Jodi's first act as an Indian bride

Jodi's mother, who's sitting under the Mandap, looking on

Tradition holds for the bride's family to wash Vip's feet

Jodi feeds Vip an Indian dessert

Now, here are a few traditional acoutrements...

Jodi and Vip were blessed because they had not one, but TWO beautiful ceremonies

**To see the shoot in its entirety, CLICK HERE**


Monday, November 27, 2006

Felipe, Baseball, and Long Walks on the Beach

I met up last week with Felipe last week because he was in need of pictures. Having never met before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the minute we shook hands, his smile put me at ease. I came to find out that he's a professional baseball player in the Appalachian League and played with the Yankees when the team won the World Series. He was also part of his college NCAA national championship baseball team. During the off-season he returns to his home and trains in Southern California. It was suggested by a mentor that he get pictures together because, well, he's not sore on the eyes and this could work in his favor in terms of marketing. And modeling.

That's where I came in. Having never met before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the minute we shook hands, his smile put me at ease. As we worked together, we got to know each other and soon started joking around and laughing. When we changed locations, we got into my car and drove to the next spot. During this time, I explained that I'd use his pictures on my blog and wanted to make sure it wasn't a conflict of interest. When he gave me the go-ahead, I began with the question asking (because I always ask too many questions!). So, I queried, tell me more about yourself. Well, he slowly responded, I like to eat alot and I like long walks on the beach.

I didn't mean to, but I laughed out loud. My blog, I said, is not a dating service! I mean, if you'd like I can mention you like long walks on the beach, but I don't think it's necessary :) He thought about it for a second, pensively squinted, and then shrugged. Yeah, he said, you can put that in your blog.

So, for all you single ladies out there, Felipe likes long walks on the beach :)

Here are a few from our shoot...


Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Can YouTube Me!

Now, most of you know how much JD and I loved our wedding photographer and what a special role he continue to plays in our lives. He's fantastic photographer, but an even better person. He's the kind of guy who makes you want to do something nice for someone else...just because. I've always maintained that if my clients appreciate me half as much as I appreciated him at my wedding, I'd be a total success.

Anyway, I dropped David Jay an email a few days ago and included in his response was a link to a slideshow on YouTube. Lo and behold, I discovered that my own wedding was used to make a ShowIt DVD! I'm a total dork because I was excited when I watched the if I had never seen it before. So, yeah, you can now YouTube me. Because I'm now cool like that :)

**CLICK HERE** if you'd like to see my wedding. I promise, his work is worth the hype.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this blessed day, I just had to express how thankful I am for all the wonderful things in my life. I am the first to admit that I deserve none of the amazing blessings, but I thank God nevertheless.

Every year, my family has a tradition of going around the table and expressing what they are thankful for. Tears never fail to fall while we look into each other’s eyes and see our souls. It seems like I am always first to cry. I can’t help it. When I begin to list the things I’m thankful, the first thing I mention is my mother’s health. She has been battling various illnesses for the past seven years, so I’m most thankful to have another year with her. It’s sobering to look at her and realize the fragility of her health…to realize the fragility of life. When I openly thank God for her presence in my life, I can’t help but cry. Tears of joy, tears of appreciation. My family is phenomenal and I am so blessed.

Amongst many other things I’m thankful for, I can’t help but mention my relationship with JD. He alone is reason enough to be thankful for the rest of my life. I am so fortunate to have had him by my side for the past nine years…I don’t know where I’d be without him.

This past year has been a whirlwind and I owe most of this new chapter in my life to my friends, both new and old. Everything seems to be flying at warp speed, but my friends help me keep life in perspective. Thank you to everyone who has stood by my side and supported me.

Lastly, to every bride, groom, and client who has entrusted me to document their lives, THANK YOU. I am honored to be entrusted with capturing your lives and creating memories. My life is fuller having met so many wonderful people and I thank them for making me a better person.

Here are a few photos from today...
Sneeking a few bites before dinner :)

My little sister, Zoe Belle, made place settings for everyone this year...she's so cute!!

My dad carving the turkey

Family Toast

And here is another HUGE reason to be beautiful family dog, Juny!! :) He's three and a half pounds of sheer joy and teh best dog in the world. No, really, the world.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Like any other food-a-holic, Thanksgiving is a great reason to binge. Because, well, food and thankfulness goes hand in hand in my book. The Book of Jasmine. I've been scouring the Internet for delicious recipes to add to my family's traditional meal. Yes, there is ham and a golden turkey (unfortunately no one liked my idea to bake a Tofurkey instead of a bird), but I like to add accompanying dishes to complete the meal. If the dish is good enough, it'll last throughout the my sister's mashed potatoes. No one does potatoes like that girl. I promise, you'd think she was from Idaho. That's how good her mashed potatoes are. I'm talking about butter, cream, chives, and cheese. We don't do anything plain in my family.

In case there are any blog readers who'd like to overdose on their caloric intake with me this Thursday, I'm picking some of my favorite recipes to share. I'll be giving a full report on my findings and whether they'll be invited back again next year, so stay tuned.

Oh yeah, every Thanksgiving eve, I've have a nightmare that I turn into Violet, from the original Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory movie. Just as Violet finishes chewing the full-meal bubble gum, she blows up into a lifesize blueberry after eating the blueberry pie and the Oompa Lumpas roll her away. Every year, I fear having Oompa Lumpas having to roll me away from my dinner table. I sincerely hope y'all have such a wonderful Thanksgiving meal you fear the Oompa Lumpas lurking in the corners of your minds :)

Spiced Pumpkin Soup
~A medley of exotic spices plus coconut milk and banana add complexity and rich flavor.
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped carrot
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped ripe banana
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups canned pure pumpkin
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk*
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot and next 6 ingredients and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer mixture to processor and blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot. Add broth and all remaining ingredients except cilantro. Boil soup over medium-high heat 15 minutes to blend flavors. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate.)
Bring soup to simmer. Divide among 8 bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
* Canned unsweetened coconut milk is sold at Indian, Southeast Asian, and Latin American markets and at many supermarkets.

1. Cutting board: Peel and cut 8 large sweet potatoes
2. Boiling pot of salted water / strainer: boil 5 minutes.
3. Casserole Dish: add potatoes and dot with 6 tablespoons or 1 stick butter.
4. Mixing Bowl: combine these ingredients, then sprinkle over potatoes. If they don't combine well in bowl, melt together in saucepan with OJ concentrate, then pour over potatoes.
3 cups light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup bourbon
2 tsp. orange zest
5. Pour 1 cup orange juice (use the orange juice from concentrate, but don't add water!)
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

CRANBERRY COMPOTE (for those of you who don't like the canned cranberry sauce)
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
3 (16 ounce) cans whole cranberry sauce (not jellied)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
1 (6 ounce) can mandarin oranges
Shaved apples
Orange zest (not sure how much)

In a large bowl, mix together the pineapple, cranberry sauce, walnuts and strawberries. Mix in orange zest. Cover and chill overnight before serving in glass serving bowl. The truth is, you can't screw this up. Just drain out the juice, or it will be too watery. And if you want more mandarin oranges in it, just add them. Everyone, EVERYONE, loves this, and it's so easy.

16 ounce bag stuffing cubes
16 ounces cornbread cubes (or use fresh, cube yourself and dry out in oven)
1 1/2 lb. sweet sausage, casings removed
4 cups celery, fine chop
3 cups onions, fine chop
1 cup water chestnuts, canned sliced
3 cups nuts (1 c. toasted walnuts, 2 c. pine nuts) coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped include stems
1 tablespoon dried sage, or 3 tbl. Fresh sage
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
3 eggs
5 cups chicken broth
4 ounces butter, divided *keep in mind 1 ounce=2 tbl.)

1. In a BIG bowl, add both bags of stuffing or bread mixtures.
2. Melt 4 tbl. butter in pan, add sausage, cook until it loses most of its pink color. Add fat and broken up sausage to stuffing mix bowl.
3. Chop the onions, celery, water chestnuts (coarse chop), toasted pine nuts or walnuts, & parsley and add to pan with butter, cook until onions are soft. Then combine with the stuffing mixes in the BIG bowl. Toss with hands.
4. Add sage, rosemary, thyme, pepper & toss again.
5. Break eggs into a smaller bowl. Whisk to mix until uniformly yellow.
6. Add 2 cups of chicken broth to eggs & mix.
7. Melt 2 ounces of butter & mix into eggs & broth (do not melt butter too hot or it'll cook eggs).
8. Pour eggs & butter broth into BIG bowl of stuffing mix & gently mix with your hands (No Smushing, just lightly, lightly fluffing).
9. Add enough additional broth to get an evenly moistened (not drippy or gloppy) mix.
10. Place in lasagne pans (goal - no more than 2 inches thick in pan).
11. Melt remaining 2 ounces of butter & mix with an additional cup of broth. Drizzle over pan of stuffing. Cover pan with tight-fitting aluminum foil & bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes covered & 15 minutes uncovered for a nice crust - adding more broth along the way to prevent drying out (but do not want mush either). Serve in enormous silver bowl, warmed.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Steve and Monique

The morning’s greetings were much different than greetings past. Que tal? Hola. Buenos dias, senorita. A smile was proffered and pleasantries exchanged.

As Monique walked down the winding path to her suite, she pointed out the cocktail lounge and the cliff where she was to be married, which overlooked the Mexican coastline. She spoke animatedly and nervously touched her veil as she knocked on her suite door. Her son, Josh, answered the door and shyly smiled. In his hands was his freshly pressed suit, as he was giving away his mother.

Monique spoke fondly of her long-time boyfriend, Steve, who was soon to be her husband. She described in great detail his beautiful ring and recounted how excited he was to begin their lives together. From the way she spoke, one could easily tell the feeling was mutual.

As Josh and Monique stood arm-in-arm before heading down the aisle, she looked to her son and gave him a look that said love. Love for him and love for their new lives with Steve. The wind blew through the palm trees and against the cliff as Monique pledged her life to Steve and he looked at her like it was first time. The day and the vows were beautiful, but the relationship they shared was as strong as the cliff which they stood upon.

Congratulations Steve and Monique! Thank you for making me feel like I was a part of the family and embracing me like one of your own. Everything from the gift basket to the hugs to dancing along side you during the reception…it was perfect and I’m honored to have been a part of your day!

Here are a few from Saturday…
The rings

The dress


I don't know if it's just me, but I loved how Monique took on the natural form of the statue in the foreground...

Getting ready

A peek into the ceremony

Josh giving his mom away

The lovely autumn light

Just married

Just as they were pronouned husband and wife, Steve and Monique walked down the aisle, then turned around to smile for their guests...I couldn't resist capturing their shadows! :)

The fabulous Monique

Just as I was shooting Monique and Steve, Josh peered out from another building from behind them. That's how great this new family is...they just fit right into each other's lives like puzzle pieces :)

Happily ever after