Featured on Life + Lens Blog | "Father's Day Inspiration."

The Warrior's took home the NBA Championship last night. I was woken up by a kiss from my amazing (and amazingly happy) husband. The girls were in great moods all morning and went down easily for nap. I flipped a perfect omelet and actually had my tea while still hot. How could this day get any sweeter, you might ask? How about getting FEATURED on Life + Lens Blog's "Father's Day Inspiration" post!

Two features in two weeks!? (okay, one day over two weeks but "two features in 15 days!" just didn't sound right). What an honor!

On Memorial Day, Joe, Ruby, Vera, and I walked up to the UC Berkeley campus, as it is a quick twenty minute walk down the street. On the way we stopped to grab sandwiches and when we got to the campus, laid out a blanket to have a low-key picnic on the grass. The girls had other plans! The moment they got out of their stroller, they were on the GO. Daddy, to the rescue, found a nook (California Hall) to read the girls a book in. But, that was short lived. I think the stairs were far too tempting. Then, as per usual, Ruby wasn't too happy about being put back in the stroller, so daddy caved and let her play some more. What a softie.

I'd have to say what made this day especially memorable was, as we were strolling through campus preparing to exit, we heard "The Star Spangled Banner" resounding from the bells of the Sather Tower. It was a lovely reminder of why we were able to spend the lovely day with one another.

Some more photos from Memorial Day:

For My Daughters: Tuesday Tomfoolery

Hey boo boos,

You two have grown increasingly more sweet with one another over the past few months (thank. GOODNESS!). Now, unlike a few months ago, when daddy or I ask either of you to "give a [insert toy/snack/pacifier/musical instrument/book here] to your sissy" you actually DO! I'm afraid with your *terrible twos* rapidly approaching, that magnanimous attitude may change a bit, so I'm going to relish in it for now.

On Tuesday, you were being particularly silly and sweet. Quite a lovely combination of traits for me to witness. I decided it would be the day I would open up your Minnie Mouse instrument set you got as a gift for your first birthday. It said it was for ages 3+ so, being the worrywart you know I can be at times, I held off for a long time to open it up for you girls. Only thing is, it had a transparent case. You poor things had to stare at the maracas, whistle, castanets, A RECORDER; all without the ability to actually PLAY with them. So, when I finally pried open that case, you two were hysterically giddy...

You were very inventive, Ru, utilizing the recorder as a drumstick. Much better grip. Vee, you weren't so taken with the innovation.

You were very inventive, Ru, utilizing the recorder as a drumstick. Much better grip. Vee, you weren't so taken with the innovation.

for about five minutes.

During those minutes, though, we sung and played "If You're Happy and You Know It..." because that's how mommy gets you girls to do silly commands like, "touch your nose, dance around," or, of course my favorite, "give sissy kisses!"

Moments before a sissy smooch!

Moments before a sissy smooch!

You were battling a bit, Ru, with the whistle. I showed you how to play it several times. But, you just couldn't quite get it. After you got frustrated and threw it on the couch, sis took her opportunity to snatch it. Didn't look like you minded.

There's a grin on that cutie face. Nice snatch, Vee!

There's a grin on that cutie face. Nice snatch, Vee!

"I don't need no stickin' whistle!"

"I don't need no stickin' whistle!"


After a while I thought I'd try "If you're happy and you know it, pretend you're sleepy" 'cause you've been so silly with fake snoring lately; especially you, Vee. Instead, you girls did the SWEETEST thing. You laid your heads really gently on the couch and just looked right at mommy. I kept the camera down so my eyes weren't blocked by it (and hoping it wouldn't be a distraction). I could cry even right now just looking at the sweet expressions on your faces here:

The moment was short-lived.

You started up with the shenanigans once again.

When daddy walked in the door, he grabbed the camera, thinking the light looked cool on my face, and took these photos of me. I figure you might think they're silly.


I love you,


Jessica + Joel | Berkeley Engagement Session | Tilden Regional Park

This is Jessica and Joel.


Adorable, right?

Back in November, though not engaged, Jessica and Joel were kind enough to partake in a portfolio-building couples’ photo session for me in Clovis, California. I had, just prior to that session, began researching the concept of experiential photography, as it pertains to couples’ sessions. To put it simplistically, experiential photographers put just as high a value on the experience of being photographed as on the images produced from that experience. I hadn’t really discussed the concept with Jess and Joel (other than the few minutes we had on the ride to the shoot location), as the session was somewhat impromptu and, quite frankly, I had no precedent with which to base just how impactful this type of session would be. Huge mistake. It. Was. A. ROLLERCOASTER. They laughed. They wept. They danced. They played. They held each other. They gazed. They shared their honest emotions. They experienced.


After that very raw and emotional photo session, I was convinced that the genre of experiential photography was something that resonated with me not only in theory, but also in practice. Though, I was also convinced that to create an authentic, meaningful, extraordinary experience for not only two people in love, but also for a seasoned family, or even a person entering into the exciting and frightening realm of new parenthood, I had to prepare. Prepare my clients? Sure. Providing more information regarding the experiential genre and my take on it would most certainly be beneficial. But, also, prepare myself. Prepare myself for the range of emotions and subsequent actions that could potentially arise from those triggered emotions. You see, to be the conduit by which others are able to tap into their true -- scared, angry, exhausted, anxious, joyous, insecure, confident -- feelings, means tapping into the place within myself where those emotions reside as well. Real deal stuff.

While strolling along the beach one January evening, Joel knelt to one knee, asked Jessica to be his bride (with a pretty spectacular vintage ring, I might add) and, against the pristine backdrop of a California sunset, she said yes. Not long after, they asked me if I would take their engagement photos. I was honored, of course, but also nervous at the prospect, as I recollected the vast array of emotions that bubbled up in all of us during the last photo session. Nonetheless, I emphatically accepted and began the preparation.

The engagement session took place in Berkeley, at Tilden Regional Park. The ambiance of this location was ideal for Jess and Joel’s playful, rustic yet modern tastes; we hopped on the merry-go-round (all discovering it goes MUCH faster than we'd anticipated), hit up the Little Farm, and strolled around the gorgeous gardens. This time we went into the session with a clear sequence in mind (the teacher in me created an agenda that was the backbone to our session flow), and I commissioned “interactions” from them to help facilitate a meaningful experience -- ranging from reciting previously unseen love letters to one another (written on their phones, as you’ll see in the images) to sharing secret songs they had chosen specially for one another. Tearjerkers. Were the emotions still honest and palpable? Certainly. Well, the flask of rum may’ve helped with that, too. In any case, preparation was key to navigating those emotions within the framework and setting of an engagement photo session.

Here is a selection of photos from this lovely session:

Thank you, yet again, Jess and Joel, for sharing yourselves with me. I look forward to one huge celebration come wedding day!


Special thanks to my assistant for this shoot, Ginger (left☝). You're rad, lady. And really good at furiously flapping a reflector.


Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about the experiential photography concept, this engagement session in particular, or anything else you’d like! Thanks for stopping by.

Take good care,



8/52: Out Of Focus

“My beautiful daughters, I was blessed with two of you...

You will never know how proud I am of all the things you do.


You came into my world, so tiny and so small...

And I was in awe at the wonder of it all.


Then you placed your little hand in mine...

There was no denying, my heart was yours 'til the end of time.”

-Debra L. Cash


This week I decided to try something a bit more experimental for me; do a family self portrait. I had initially taken a half-hearted “out of focus” photo a few days ago. But, took my camera along with us to the park today. The girls (and us) LOOOOVE family dance parties. So, we boogied in the park a little bit and decided to document it.

7/52: Dramatic Light

From the moment my daughters could reach up and grab at my face, they have tried to pull off my glasses (and, many times, have succeeded). The other day, with a particularly hectic day transpiring, I became especially flustered at their fervent efforts to rip off my spectacles. I hate feeling frustrated with the girls and, even more so, when I realize that their actions are directly related to their curiosity of the world around them; something I will strive to never quell.

So, while popping another load in the wash I had a moment of *mom-spiration*. If the girls had their own pair of glasses, they could explore that fascination without, ya know, making me pretty much blind.

They loved the idea.

A Well-Documented Holiday Vacation

For the first time in over five years (i.e. when I dragged my Jersey-boy out to California), we went back East for the holidays. This was the girls' first, we'll say interactive, Christmas & New Year's, as they were only just over three months old last holiday season. So, what did I do? DOCUMENTED IT! Not to mention, Santa brought me a new, amazing camera that I call the girls' "new sister." So, I had a lot (understatement) of fun putting her to use.

Here's a video montage. When I showed the girls yesterday, they watched it intently, then clapped and said, "YEEES!" Hopefully you enjoy it in a similar manner :)

Below are a few photos from our amazing celebrations. To see the lot, go >here< to check out the gallery.

Hope you all had a lovely holiday season! Thanks for taking the time to see a taste of ours!


Thoughts on Dr. King and Photojournalism

Joe and I went to a Warrior’s game on Monday. He had the day off, as it was Martin Luther King Jr Day. In remembrance of Dr. King’s birthday there were several beautiful tributes scattered throughout the ball game. Joe and I chatted a bit about how truly incredible it is that one person had such magnetism, to say the very least, to unify a once staunchly polarized society; most impressively surrounding an issue that many believed to be a foundational, even defining aspect of that 1960’s society.

I got to thinking about how King was not only charismatic in his speeches, his profound writings, but also quite strategic in his use of sociological dramaturgy to aid in creating resonance and eventually activism for the Civil Rights Movement. I believe the images documenting communities protesting en mass, illustrating youth objected to ghastly violence at the hands of those who were supposedly there to protect and serve, or depicting peaceful students being viciously tormented for sitting at a lunch counter; all of these images paved the way for what I believe the essence of photojournalistic documentation should be: a means to bring to light a visual representation, that illustrates an otherwise verbal/written explanation or presumption, in which someone may find resonance, invoking and stirring up latent sentiments, deep significance, and overall sense of connectedness to your fellow man or woman.

Here is a (lengthy) paper I wrote several years ago regarding the concept of dramaturgy in two specific campaigns for social justice; one of Dr. King's and the other of César Chávez. If you’re interested, Take a look.

A picture may be worth a thousand words. But, it also may impress upon in the hearts of many who do not need words, only actions, to describe how it affected them.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Take care,


2/52: Family


This is Scarlett.

Not the raggedy-haired, wide-eyed, boogie-nosed little girl. Not the teddy bear. She’s the one with the antenna-like appendages, clutched tightly in the ever-loving grasp of Vera’s left hand. Scarlett is unequivocally a member of this family.

We introduced “loveys” when Ruby and Vera were about 7-months-old and transitioning to their cribs. Generally speaking, a lovey is an inanimate object, usually doll or blankie, used to comfort the child and offer a sense permanence; especially handy when introducing big changes, like them sleeping in an entirely new location! Around the time the girls were born, we had received a gift from their Aunt and Uncle that live in New York. This gift included a set of pajamas -- which they *just* were fitting into at 7 months of age -- with an accompanying doll, assumingly meant to be used as a lovey. So, we gave it a shot. And. It. Worked. At least for Vee. She ritualistically rubs Scarlett’s “feet” all over her face and, just *like that* her eyelids start to droop. Truly it’s miraculous.

Long story short, Vera can’t even contemplate sleeping, be it nap or bedtime, without Scarlett firmly in hand. And, of course we had to pick a lovey that is super tough to duplicate. Though the girls’ Grandmom (“Mum-mum”) did find a nearly identical one, as Scar is getting haggard real quick. Yay for grandparents! Though now Vee thinks it’s amazing that there are TWO Scarletts to snuggle her to sleep. Oops.

1/52: Where You Live

This one is particularly literal. But, I have good reason.

We just returned home to Berkeley after going back East to see my husband’s family for just about two weeks. Unfortunately I brought back a bit of a sinus cold/ headache. So, for the last couple days we’ve stayed cozy in our jammies, said “the hell with it” to taking down holiday decor (scant as they were), flipped through our books, jammed to our music, and basked in this lovely California sun via the light of our living room window.

It’s good to be home!

My Icarus Complex

Photo Credit: Meghan Schmidt

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Daedalus, before embracing his precious son, Icarus, for the final time, cautioned him:

“Take care to wing your course along the middle air;

If low, the surges wet your flagging plumes,

If high, the sun the melting wax consumes:

Steer between both:

Nor to the northern skies,

Nor south Orion turn your giddy eye,

But follow me.

Let me before you lay rules for the flight,

and mark the pathless way.”

In one ear and out the other.

My “Icarus Complex.” That’s what I call it.

I’m sure you know the type...

The type that daydream in the back of the class and, only when called upon without warning, you come to realize were lost in their own thoughts for the last hour...

The type that seemingly have no verbal filter, chatting insistently while interrupting you mid-sentence in a thoughtless but well-intended attempt to wedge in their two-cents without the slightest regard for courtesy...

The type that find such true insight and resonance in a piece of music that, while bussing to school/work/home, they can’t help but ignore the stares as they tear up and get lost in the melody…

The type that grin widely and wave hardily at a beckoning stranger, moments before cowering in embarrassment as they catch a peripheral glimpse of the oscillating hand (and eyes) of the intended recipient behind them…

The type that actually stop to smell the roses; then grab their camera, put on the perfect lens, adjust their settings, take seven photos of the roses from differing angles, stop to smell them again, look around for where their friends wandered off to, then go on their way...

The type that find it impossible to not express (all over their face) what they are feeling the instant they are feeling it...

The type that, though try as they might -- be it bleaching their arm hair to the point of numbness, extreme dieting to be able to beat the scale and squeeze into smaller jeans, even traveling the world in an attempt at self-realization -- simply will never fit into the mold society deems appropriate for them.

Now, I’m sure you’re savvy enough to know that this is me we’re talking about here. These types are my people. I love, nurture and wholeheartedly accept these aspects of myself now. But, there was a time I neither loved nor accepted my strange brew of idiosyncrasies.

Although I feel I’ve been an anomaly since birth, being in one of two sets of twins, I do have several very specific life experiences -- some of which I will doubtlessly share at another time on this blog-- that help to shed light on my disposition. From childhood abuse and severe trauma to bouncing from one temporary home to the next as a very young child (until my aunt and uncle intervened when I was nine), the chances of me becoming a square peg were pretty much guaranteed. But, you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let me explain my “Icarus Complex.”

I tried so so hard to conform. To fit in. But, I wasn’t being my authentic self. Like Icarus, in trying to be somebody I wasn’t, I foolishly flew higher than my fabricated wings could handle because I thought it felt right, and, as a result, felt myself plummeting into a sea of negative emotions. For a long time I felt constant, overwhelming anxiety, bouts of paralyzing depression, unfounded heated jealousy and, probably worst of all, an aggressive, unrelenting sense of self-doubt.

I felt doubt in my ability to truly listen to and reciprocate happiness or even sympathy for dear friends. I felt doubt in my ability to excel academically when rightfully challenged by a plethora of highly intelligent peers. I felt doubt in my ability to grant the type of emotional support and understanding that my husband so instinctively and consistently provides me. I felt doubt in my ability to connect to my daughters in such a way that they fully understand the aching love that swells in my heart for them, the unconditional appreciation I have for their uniqueness, and yet still the deep-seated, petrifying knowledge that I mustn’t shield them to the sometimes harsh realities of this world (at this point in their lives their “harsh realities” include not being allowed to eat books or dip their hands in the toilet water, but you get the idea). And, I think perhaps more than anything, I felt doubt in my ability to escape the self-fulfilling prophecy of somehow following in the footsteps of my mother.

So, I had a decision to make:

A. Sink under the weight of the negativity and ever-mounting stress.

B. Continue to doggie paddle through, dodging the tempests as they come.

C. Stop the wading, grab onto the outstretched hands reaching in from the shore, dry myself off,  fashion some kick-ass wings, and soar.

Through the encouragement of my insanely supportive and creative husband, as well as other dear friends, I chose C. This Icarus survived, is wiser from the long journey, is forgiving to herself (mine’s a chick). This flight may still be foolish and undoubtedly filled with risk, but I believe that taking flight despite the risks is related to the profoundly interconnected nature of the human spirit and overall meaning for purpose in this life.

So as I stand here at the precipice of this tower, prepared to embark on this new flight, determined to stay the course, staving off the storms as they come. But as I hunker down in preparation to push off, I will reflect upon these befitting words of Oscar Wilde’s...

“Never regret thy fall,

O Icarus of the fearless flight

For the greatest tragedy of them all

Is never to feel the burning light.”

and take the leap.