Happy New Year 2010

I woke up yesterday and decided I wanted to do some stop-motion project. I absolutely love the jerkiness effect. I had a ton of ideas but I know I wanted to try something small first and did not want to commit days doing this. So here's my first production of 1-minute and 16-second video. I am so proud of it and I would do it again in a HEART BEAT! My 5-year old Treyton helped me with gathering the lego pieces and snapping the pictures. He was a great help and even said "This is so much fun!"

It took me approximately 3.5 hours from assembling the legos (finding the pieces that would look good and proportionate), to snapping the pictures (200 of them), importing, color correcting, importing again, and finally touch up on timeline and adding the soundtrack (could've done better with the soundtrack but all of my good songs are not on my Mac, they're on my Windows).

Overall, I had A TON of fun and I can't wait to do more of these. Happy New Year to you all!

Icicles, Icicles Everywhere

If you fancy icicles as much as I do perhaps you would enjoy these images I took off my roof.






Deck The Basement

The basement is where the magic happens during this time of year. This year, we painted the dark and textured wood panels white. This was not the original paint color, we had baby bluish tone and hated it. The first couple of years of living in this first purchased house, the basement was nothing but a place to do your laundry. As we made little improvements here and there, the basement is now a family room where we watch movies and play games.

The bar on the corner is our next project. We plan to turn it into a tiki hut. Once that's completed (I'm hopeful it'll be next Summer) you damn right we're going to throw a Hawaiian party there.

Every year Jeff is in charge to decorate the basement and put the tree up. Treyton and I are in charge of putting the ornaments up. As for many kids, Treyton absolutely LOVES putting up ornaments.

Here are some snap shots I took of our decked out basement. Enjoy and hope your Christmas is Merry!

Here's the newly purchased star. Yes, we're a star folks, not an angel folk

Oomph Your Gift Wraps

It was two days before Christmas Eve and I have yet to start wrapping my presents; not a single one! Thank goodness I took the day off to dedicate myself to gift wrapping. I got out the folding table and set my my gift wrapping station right on the corner of my dining room as the dining table is piled hight with presents waiting to be wrapped.

I find gift wrapping quite relaxing, it's almost like scrap booking. The key is to know when to stop. Here are some ideas to give your gift the ooohs and aaaahhhs wow factor.


If I were Gingy's Exterior Designer

Since we're literally snowed in, about a foot and half of snow and still counting, Treyton said we should make Gingy's house to kill time. There were 3 different designs that we could choose but since we couldn't decided we decided to forget the design and just decorate it however we wanted it.

The skittles were not included but Treyton was adamant to add some to the house.
I was pretty happy with the results especially since this is the first time I assembled a gingerbread house. This took me about 2.5 hours to assemble and I would do it again. To my surprise this was pretty relaxing and fun!

Putting green skittles on the window

Charlie and Panta Claus

This is Charlie. Charlie is a 6-year old very imaginative boy. When I arrived at their house he was fishing for ghosts! I had a good time shooting this family. Charlie told he one of his favorite books was Aliens Loves Panta Clause. Aimee, Charlie's mom, is a friend of mine and is an excellent dancer, especially traditional Indonesian dance. She has been dancing for Sumunar for lord knows how long. I love how she embraces the Indonesian culture as much as she does. Before I left I was given a great big bear hug from Charlie as well as a gem stone that he said I could have. What a sweetie! Here are some of the pictures I took.


Meet Jaden Jaka

Meet my nephew Jaden Jaka. For those of you who are curious, his middle name Jaka is an Indonesian name meaning "a young man" and we often call him by this name. Jaka is now eight months old and these pictures were taken when he was 6 months old.
This boy was procreated by combining the Indonesian chromosomes of my beautiful sister Ade and her go-getter husband Jenson who is a Bahamian. Jaka is blessed with this fabulously mixed complexion.


Twin Moms

I did a shoot for twin moms, Ashley and Alesha, and their wonderful happy family. I knew them through my friend Laura and I was so blessed to have the opportunity to photograph them. Although space, constant movement and the artificial lighting were challenging, I am very satisfied with the results.

They wanted to do a theme shoot, something along the line "I hope your Christmas Rocks" hence the Rock Band theme with the kids playing their instruments. Kayden was definitely born to hit the drums as you notice the scuff marks on the set. Baron was rocking on the guitar as Maddie shyly attempted to sing some Christmas tunes. It was THE cutest idea. You will see also that there no shortage of kisses!

Hope you enjoy these photos. Click on any photos below for a full set on Flickr.

This was their goofy photo which turned out fantastic!

Ninja Party #2

After the party at Chuckee Cheese and a nap, Ninja Treyton had another party at his house. Families only, this time. He was very delighted that everyone came and played along with wearing the ninja head band that his mommy made.

Treyton's 5th Birthday Treyton's 5th Birthday Treyton's 5th Birthday
Chinese food, what else do you think Ninjas eat?

How Do Ninjas Celebrate Birthdays at Chuckee Cheese?

Although I favor more and more to party at our house, I always get reminded how exhausting it is and I'm left with no pictures. Although I'm never short of party ideas, I rarely have time to execute a plan.

What I love about Chuckee Cheese, it allows me the opportunity to spend time and talk with family and friends and catch up on things. I get the opportunity to take pictures! YAY! You send your kids off to the play area with peace of mind that no one's going home with the wrong kid or worst, snatch your kids. The adults can sit and occasionally have adult chats between "Mom, can I have more tokens." or "Mom, so and so wouldn't take turns."

Treyton's 5th Birthday Treyton's 5th Birthday
Ordered some black ninja cupcakes and arranged them to resemble number 5
The goodie bags looked good!

Ninja Party Prep

Treyton celebrated his 5th birthday this year and three-days away before his Chuckee Cheese birthday celebration in the late morning and a birthday at home in the evening -- yes, all in one day-- I decided I wanted to put a little more effort this year. Here's what I did for kids goodie bags.

First, the invitation

Have you met Hudson?

I had the pleasure of photographing Hudson, a year and a half cutest ever little boy with him momma Mary and his pop Max. Their pooch Bended is quite a hoot! I was excited when Mary said she wanted me to photograph Hudson wearing a traditional Korean outfit. The outfit was absolutely gorgeous and Hudson looked quite handsome in it.

I had such a great time shooting them outdoors as well, not only the weather and the light was super accommodating for September, the spot that Mary chose was an awesome pick! I hope I get to watch Hudson grow over the years ahead.

Here are some of them. Click here to view the complete set on my Flickr account and or slideshow on the bottom page. Enjoy!


{Mel & Kasey} {Henry & Lucy}

Mel and Kasey are the most adorable couple I've met thus far. They are sickly cute and just beam love. They asked me to do a photos shoot with their "kids" Henry and Lucy, the most well behaved Pitbulls I've encountered. Mel chose one of my favorite places to shoot, Centennial Lakes Park and I had such an awesome time with them. They are so easy to work with as if they had rehearsed the poses before coming to the shoot. They are definitely a photographer's bliss. This was also my first experience shooting pets and I would do it again in a heart beat. Love you guys!

Mel & Kasey
This is Mel, isn't she gorgeous?!

Mel & Kasey
And this is her man, Kasey. She's one lucky girl.

Last Day - Sugarloaf Cove

This is a last beach that we went to before we said sayonara to Grand Marais for good. This is a new beach that I've never been to but Jeff has, when he was little. This is such a secluded beach where you had to go through a trail of jungle. It's heavily vegetated and I was a bit skeptical and praying to god that no creature will jump out and attack me (i.e. bears, fox, witches). This place had that magical feeling to me. You'll see what I mean by looking at my pictures below.

Last Day - Cascade Falls

After breakfast, we head out to Cascade Falls. These are some of the most beautiful falls I've seen because they "cascade" hence the name. We parked our car on the street and while Jeff and the boys decided to hunt for agates the girls went across the street to venture the falls.

This was my chance to play with slow shutter to create that soft blurry flowing water effect. Although it was not a hot day it was a really bright day that so I had a lot of overexposed shots. Here are some of the ones that I thought were "okay and so-so".

Last Day - Breakfast

Breakfast at Cascade Restaurant is Jeff and Dhila's tradition that has now been passed down to the Senna's (my sister's kids, my nieces and nephews, Treyton's many cousins). The place has its unique cabin like decorations with pretty good breakfast. It's the closest place by Cascade Falls.f

Last Day - The Cobblestone

The camp site that we stayed at are a favorite spot of mine every time we stay in Grand Marais. It's called Grand Marais RV Park and Campground. The reason being is, if you could, the spot behind the breakwater is THE spot. At night, it feels like you're sleeping right on the beach as you hear the waves crashing to the shore. I was hoping to point my camera up to the sky, set it for 15 seconds of exposure, but unfortunately it was too overcast. The night sky here on a clear night is absolutely hypnotic! We brought Jeff's telescope so he could show the kids the moon crater. What he found was Andromeda and he almost pissed himself! Here are some pictures of the Cobblestone behind our tent that's only separated by tall bushes.

Day 3 - Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse is best known for its historic lighthouse and offers numerous recreational opportunities. Scenic trails along the lake link up to the spectacular Superior Hiking Trail. Anglers cast their lines for lake trout, salmon, and brown trout. The rocky beach is perfect for skipping stones into Lake Superior.

Despite the chilly weather, the kids still had fun skipping stones while I happily snap away the momentum. I really like this beach because it's quite and calm. There was boat party on the lake and a couple who are just learning to kayak. The treat was there were these cool planes flying overhead that I was able to capture fast.

Day 3 - Sven and Ole's

After spending an afternoon at Split Rock Lighthouse rock skipping Rock we headed back to downtwon Grand Marais. We decided to introduce the kids to Sven and Ole's, an awesome pizza joint with a flair. This is a must-go place for lunch or dinner if you are at Grand Marais. They've been around since 1985 by two Scandinavian brothers. Some of their delicious pizzas are the The Haviian Zah, The Vild Vun, Shicken and Vild Rice Zah, and the regular Meat Zah. All are delicious and the kids agree. They also offer Chicago style pizza which I have yet to try.

When you come here expect a line and once you place your order sit down in the dining area and your order will be brought out. You may also get them to go and eat them by the shoreline of Lake Superior. Can't beat good pizza and awesome view of the lake.

Day 3 - Bonfire!

This is the last night of our camping adventure and just so happen to be the only night that we successfully built a bonfire! The kids couldn't be any happier! . The temperature was almost freezing that night, about 33 degrees and this fire sure helps.

We roasted some marshmallows to make smores and we also went around the circle and ask the kids to share stories about their feelings; what was the happiest day of your life? the saddest? the scariest? favorite place? favorite ice cream? favorite teacher? what would you do if? Their answers are absolutely priceless! I had some teary moments here hearing their happy and sad stories. My sister learned that Treyton's stories are filled with spanking and a corner time out.

It is unfortunate that Treyton and his many cousins live so far apart, about 4 hours apart, and when we do get together, seems like the Xbox and Cartoons were frequent activities on the agenda. We didn't really get to spend time to get to know each other and these kinds of moments are always overlooked. Kids LOVE telling stories and the video games impedes that. I am not against video games. We own Xbox at home with many games but we don't make it exclusive in our house. That's why I love camping so much and we try to do at least twice a year to get Treyton out of the house and appreciate the world around him beyond Super Mario Brothers.

I also took this opportunity to learn to shoot a no-flash, night photos, a challenge for some photographers, like me.

Haute Dish is HAUTE!

This year is Jeff and I 9th year wedding anniversary. After a successful scout of a sitter for a night, I scouted for the all generic but no fail celebration, dinner and a movie. Archery range was one of the ideas that I thought we could do. My friend at work Tonja recommended me "Going The Distance" which was pretty good by the way, Drew Barrymore was hilarious!

For dinner we went to "Haute Dish" at the Warehouse District. I had such a wonderful experience at the restaurant I decided to share this with you all.

Day 2 - Gooseberry Falls

We headed to Gooseberry Falls from Temperance River. They're not too far apart. Gooseberry Falls can be found in Minnesota's Gooseberry Falls State Park. There you will also find the lower and middle falls. To reach the upper falls from the parking area, follow the signs to the lower and middle falls. Then follow the trails on the west side of the river under the bridge to view the upper falls. If you continue on these trails you will eventually reach Fifth Falls.
This is a very popular park. The lower, middle and upper falls are just a short walk away from the parking area, and you can climb all over them, which seems to be popular with the kids in the summer. Getting a picture of the falls without people in them is quite the challenge. I imagine the falls are much more wild looking in the spring when the water is higher and the people are fewer.

Day 2 - Betty's Pies

After spending the whole morning and afternoon at Temperance River and Gooseberry Falls, we got hungry. There's not better place to have lunch than Betty's Pies and when you're at the North Shore, this place is must-stop.

Betty's Pies

Betty's Pies
ZZ was being curious

Betty's Pies
Since we had to wait to get seated, yes, it's worth the 30 minute wait, I crossed the street and took some shot of Lake Superior. Here's one.

Betty's Pies
The kids decided on a giant, warm chocolate chip cookie ala mode

Betty's Pies
This was my Cherry Crunch Pie

Betty's Pies
Jeff decided on Blueberry Crunch, his favorite

Betty's Pies

Betty's Pies

Betty's Pies
I think the kids like it.

After our bellies are full we checked in to our camping site.
Come back again for Day 3 of Grand Marais camping trip. You'll see why we always come back to this same camp site every year. We also visited Split Rock Light House, had pizza at Sven and Ole's and went back to the camp site and had a HUGE bonfire.

Day 2 - Temperance River

The Temperance River Gorge is in Temperance River State Park is on Minnesota's North Shore, between Schroeder and Lutsen. The Temperance River carves out a narrow and twisted quarter mile long gorge shortly before it empties into Lake Superior. You can walk around the rim of the gorge, climb down into it, and in some places you can even go swimming if you are daring (foolhardy) enough.

The park includes a campground, and hiking and rock climbing opportunities, but for waterfall enthusiasts the gorge trail will be the highlight.

Temperance River

Temperance River

Temperance River

Temperance River

Temperance River

Temperance River
The boys found this deer that couldn't quite make it across the stream

Temperance River

Temperance River

There is a bridge a short way into the gorge. Beyond the bridge you can walk on either side of the gorge. Before the bridge is a fascinating series of potholes, shortly above Hidden Falls. Hidden Falls, as the name suggests, is in a deep narrow part of the gorge, and is difficult to see, let alone get a picture of.

Temperance River

Temperance River

Temperance River

Day 2 - World's Best Donuts

We said good-bye to Blue Fin Bay, packed our stuff and headed to Downtown Grand Marais. We are on a mission to find the world's best donuts and we found it! (not really, we've been here before many times, we just told the kids that). Seriously, these guys aren't messing around with their donuts. Their old fashion donuts are crispy on the outside, soft and melt in your mouth on the inside. Set aside your fear of sugar and carbs, this one's worth the guilt.

World's Best Donuts

World's Best Donuts

World's Best Donuts

World's Best Donuts
Where else can you eat donuts with a view like this?

World's Best Donuts