Not Just Another Sandwich Shop

I had the Pleasure of being invited to a VIP Kid's Club Kick Off Party at Waterside Marina Del Rey and opening of the Mendocino Farms {sandwich shop and marketplace}.


Mendocino Farms is seriously the BEST sandwich shop I've been to in a long time - and kid-friendly too! Complete with junior sized tables and chalkboard walls (and those of us who have kids know how important a kid-friendly restaurant is!) That is exactly why the owners chose to open up a second location of their highly successful {albeit downtown} sandwich shop in a more kid-friendly, kid-accessible area. I for one, rarely venture downtown - but down the road...I can do that!

With items on the menu like 'Braised Lamb Sandwich' with mint pesto and 'Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi' with ingredients including aramelized kurobuta pork belly, pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos and chili aiol my 'inner foodie' senses we tingling with delight at the thought of all that flavor!

But it doesn't end there - the kids healthy menu is sure to appeal to most any child-foodie-wannabe. Oh. My. Gosh. the 'Gooey Grilled Cheese' filled with cheese fondue! Or how about 'Healthy Mom's Homemade Peanut Butter' - housemade peanut butter, cranberry jam and green apples on wheat bread.

And if sandwiches aren't your thing, well Mendocino Farms is right next door to our favorite Pizza Place, Fresh Brothers! (the Greek pizza is to die for!) BAM!

The location couldn't be more perfect for Kids Club every Tuesday, where you may just experience a toe-tapping, drum-banging performance by Rhythm Child. They bring great music for kids and plenty of drums for them to join in with the music. Needless to say, this drum lovin' girl was enjoying the afternoon, and Harrison wasn't having too bad of time either - My Gym, Food, Music - what more could he ask for?
(Pinkberry. He melted down because I didn't get him Pinkberry yogurt - which he has NEVER even had...go figure.)

Check out Harrison's blog for Photo Story Friday.

Theme Thursday | An Apple a Day

Joanne on top, mine on bottom.

Did You Know:
  • Apples are grown in all 50 states.
  • Apples are a member of the rose family.
  • Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air
  • There are apples that have an aftertaste of pears, citrus, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, strawberries, grapes and even pineapple.
  • It takes energy from 50 leaves to produce one apple.
  • There are 7500 varieties of apples worldwide
  • Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C.
  • The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspin and the Black Sea
  • Apples were the favorite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans.
  • The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.
  • The pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • In colonial time, apples were called winter banana or melt-in-the-mouth.
  • Apples are a member of the rose family.
  • The largest apple picked weighed three pounds.
  • America's longest-lived apple tree was reportedly planted in 1647 by Peter Stuyvesant in his Manhattan orchard and was still bearing fruit when a derailed train struck it in 1866.
  • Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.
  • Don't peel your apple. Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel.
We're off to the Farmers Market - Have a wonderful Wednesday!
(edited to say: Um, I mean Thursday...)

Hosted by Megan and Hip Momma

Redondo Beach Portrait Photographer | All Grown Up

I was there to sing "Over the Rainbow" to her when she was only three years old.

When she was five years old, I brought my future husband over to her house for dinner. (After all, she and her parents {Harrison's God-Parents} had to approve him.) She took a liking to him and jumped up on the sofa and happily declared, "I'm SIX years old!"

And at seven years old, she walked down the isle before me as my flower girl at my wedding.

I've had the honor of watching her grow up and blossom into a beautiful young woman (and even approve of her boyfriend...) So I was overjoyed when she and her mom asked me to take some head shots of her last summer. In fact, I look forward to taking more pictures in the near future!

She is already and accomplished actress, singer and photographer; so as she finishes up her senior year, I look forward to seeing what God has in store for her.

So very exciting!
She's all grown up.

Team Up Thursday - Things are Shaping Up

I've had my head buried deep in work this week, barely coming up for air. I hate weeks like this, work takes over and I have no inspiration or creativity left for myself.

Luckily, Harrison asked where the dominoes were. He got them out and started building rows then towers and soon there after asked for a picture of his tower.

There is was, right in front of me my photo for this week's diptych.

Joanne's {totally awesome and inspiring picture} left, my {eleventh hour entry} right.

I think this week is finally beginning to shape up!

Hosted by Megan and Hip Momma

Crushed Bliss

There I was holding a small plastic bag containing the bobbin case and foot pedal belonging to my sewing machine for the first time in years. I was ecstatic! I was finally going to finish all the projects I started with Harrison on MY machine! All I had to do was bring the machine up from the garage.

But I would have to wait a couple more days as I had priorities.

Alas finally, I had a free moment. I nervously plugged in the power cord to the machine,then the wall; I flipped the on switch and the light illuminated above the needle and foot. I cautiously became giddy.

Within seconds, Harrison was there hovering over me to see how it worked, wanting to see it sew. I found one of the unfinished projects, excited at the prospect of completion and not caring about the tread color, I sewed one straight line down an edge...

And then it stopped working. Just like that my bliss was demolished in with one tiny thread tightly stuck in the mechanics of the machine. A part that, once cleared of said thread, still refuses to turn.

I swear if there were such things as Sewing Machine gods, they would be a top of Mt. Everest, rolling around on there backs, laughing until the stomachs hurt like a bunch of freakin' hyenas. Like maybe they are trying to tell me something... Come on, throw me a bone here, I know I'm not "domestic" but can't I have one little moment of "domestic glory" in the shape of a sewing machine that allows me to actually sew for more that one minute? Is this asking too much?

Back to square one.


Photo Story Friday - The Wall

I was asked to take a picture of a brand new wall for a monthly newsletter I layout. The wall replaces a chain-link fence in front of Harrison's preschool.

 I took a picture from a different point of view and realized the nice shaded light right there...

 So I asked Harrison to stand against the wall so I could try out the light - on him. Yeah. he didn't have the same plan.

But I asked nicely. Twice...okay three times and got this look.

One more time he leaned against the wall for a split second then shot me a quick smile as he jumped away from the wall and announced we were going home now.


So this is five years old, eh?
Well, it's a nice wall anyway.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Mamarazzi

Team Up Thursday - The Low Down

We took our cue from Melody and Megan again this week, I love a good challenge and hadn't been down low later, like lying that is. What fun can be had from that point of view.

Like Megan, I was thinking on my back, then as a I lay on the ground taking a picture in a classroom today, I realized, "OH DUH! I can get on my stomach too." Indeed, it was the second time in a week that I found myself on my stomach to get a shot (without even realizing what I was doing).

This week I'm above and Joanne below. I love the inside-outside/ work-play feel this diptych provokes. And how can you not love that hint of the lush beauty from Australia?

Hosted by Megan and Hip Momma

Redondo Beach Portrait Photographer | It's All His Fault (or... How It All Started Here)

Over a year and half ago a friend asked me to take some pictures for him. I spent the afternoon in Hollywood taking pictures of an old stand up piano and a guitar. Because he nudged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, I've started a new journey.

I found this image, from a later photo shoot with him for the same project, as I was cleaning up my external hard drive today. I love it.
It's one of my favorites, just a moment frozen in time. So much has changed since this pictures was taken...

Including the release of his album with the images of the guitar and piano on the front. It's an incredible instrumental worship CD that even calms Harrison, in all his strong-headed, excess energy. He loves listening to it.
And David pairs his incredible gifting on piano with the amazing talent of guitarist, Chris Pinnick, lead guitarist of Chicago from 1980-85.

You can check it out here and here. I highly recommend it!

Because David saw something in my pictures, we teamed together and I have since worked with other musicians as well. Thank you David, for believing in me and (albeit unknowingly) pushing me beyond my comfort zone and deep into a new journey of discovering an old passion - photography.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

SOOC Saturday | Trying on New Hats

Big Brother was home from college for Spring break this week. Harrison accosted him every chance he got to play or talk about a video game.

But yesterday we got out of the house as a family and headed down to Long Beach to find a little shop called "Hot Licks" Big Brother was looking for only THEE HOTTEST hot sauce to take back to college with him.

While there we had some fun at the hat shop too.
 Big Brother Spamming

 "Ahhh! I'm a Shark Head!"

The {hunky} Guy I Dig... need I say more? 

And the DEATH sauce!

There were a lot of tears when we got home, as the boys had to test everything. In some twisted way, they were tears of joy. 

Harrison and I? We stuck to the Mango dipping sauce.

Have a happy weekend! 

Slurping Life

Team Up Thursday - Feeling Colorful!

It seems like months ago (11 weeks exactly) when Hip Momma emailed me to invite me to join in a new Thursday challenge. I absolutely love Theme Thursday, but life just took over and I slipped further and further from blog posting.

The new idea was to team up with partners and create weekly themed diptychs. Oh how I love diptychs! It's right up my alley! Alas, I was still mired deep in my own changes, illnesses and stress. I couldn't take on a partner quite yet.

But that was then and this is now, right before I was about to email someone to see if they would like to join, Megan let me know she had someone waiting. I don't like to keep people waiting if I can help it. So I partnered up with a very nice person from Australia! Cool eh?

Check out Joanne's blog and give her some big, warm blogging love! She is also participating in Tracey Clark's Picture Spring hosted by Big Picture Scrapbooking. There is always love for Tracey Clark and her creative soul!

Megan and Melody chose color as their theme this week and since I'm all about COLOR, we went with it as well.

Joanne is on top, I'm on the bottom. 

I'm back baby!

Hosted by Megan and Hip Momma

Redondo Beach Family Photographer | Mind Farts...

That is the name of one unpublished blog posts from the dead of winter. When it seems I got caught in my own frozen tundra.
Is that what it is? Frozen tundra? Honestly, I just like the way it rolls off my tongue.

I opened that draft - one of many
It was empty.

Apparently another victim of a reckless mind fart.

But my season on the frozen tundra (because seriously, if the tundra is frozen you can't really be in it, you are just stuck on it. Literally speaking) was not with out accomplishments, I spent a lot of time behind the camera looking at faces in front of the camera.

Meet one family - the Graham Family, they are a wonderful family and Jen is an incredible digital scrapbooker, if you love to scrapbook, you'll love her kits!
I'll catch you up with some more over the next couple weeks as well as a peek at the latest maternity newborn session. LOVE THOSE BABIES!

Hope you enjoy this Jen!

Another Word on Change

This particular move from residence to another provoked a change of thinking and living in me. We really downsized and it feels good to totally declutter. Not that we were junk hoarders by any means, but we had some things tucked into closets and drawers that we just never used, did really care about and especially didn't need.

With this move, I insisted that we go through EVERY storage container and box that we had. There are things that had only been touched once in our 10 years together; and that was when we moved from our little beach house to our bigger (make room for baby) house. I know how to de-clutter. I know how to organize. I just DON'T always follow through with it.

Now, though we're in a smaller house [a.k.a. apartment] it's roomy enough for a family of three and it's not crowded with *stuff*.

This move as allowed me to get back into better habits - like making beds. I know, I know, I didn't make my bed every day - don't hate me. It was upstairs, out of the way, no else one saw it and, quite honestly, I wasn't the last one out of bed in the morning. [no, I didn't nag my husband to make a bed - sorry that's just not me]

I've also had GREAT success in getting laundry done!


Who knew that having to collect laundry from no less than four places upstairs then lug it all downstairs and outside really wrecked havoc on me subconsciously. Apparently I didn't. At the old house there seemed to always be - more. Just when you thought the laundry was done for Ah Day, there was MORE.
Not here, the washer and dryer are conveniently located in the hall close to everything. The machines are always clean, dry and ready to go; no spiders to contend with, no soot to clean off, no rain to deli - awesome!

I think I love doing laundry now!

In fact, last week I couldn't believe that I had FINISHED the laundry! It was washed, folded, put away and I was slightly unsettled that there wasn't anything left to do with it. I even looked under our beds and behind doors for something I may have missed. No basket of old rugs just hanging out getting dirty, no piles of laundry to fold.
It. Was. Finished.

I had to WAIT for days to do more!

Real Men Carry Easter Egg Baskets

On Saturday morning I left the house early to take pictures at the annual Easter Egg Hunt that my church hosts for the local community.

Harrison and the G.I.D. arrived later and shortly thereafter my hubby quickly noticed a reoccurring theme - Real Men Carry Easter Baskets. 

Yup, that my MAN in all his Easter-Basket-toting glory!

More Real Men

After the hunt, as kids temporarily abandoned their baskets for the the thrills of the playground (until they crashed from their sugar highs) the hubby pointed at baskets in hand and on the ground and saying, "I know the father of that one, I saw the father belonging to this one..."

BUT ...

Real Men don't just carry Easter Egg Baskets, oh no, they wear and carry multiple children.

AND they hula-hoop with their daughter.


they are Real Men.

Just be ready when they get a common cold...

The Silver Lining

It has been almost two months since we've been in our new home. This morning as we put up the last of the window coverings, Ken once again said "I wish we hadn't had to move", a sentiment that Harrison has expressed multiple times - for different reasons - torn at my heart strings all the same.

But - change IS Good and change does happen.

And God is always in Control.

Last week after I dropped off Harrison at preschool, I came home to work but first I opened the door to the patio and stepped out. In the morning shade the air was warm and I felt it seep into my very being. I looked out at the deep blue of the ocean where it touched the vivid, clear blue sky and felt a peaceful joy rise up in me.

At that minute I knew we were home.

When the Guy-I-Dig came home that evening, we sat out on our deck and watched the sun go down in the cool breeze.

"This works." he commented as the dust left from the last year began to fall from his shoulders.

Then we lit a fire in our fire place...because we could.

As for Harrison, he loves eating his breakfast in front of the window as he watches a calico cat's daily routine of laying in the sun on a rooftop near by then listening to the birds at the end of a warm day as he eats a favorite snack. Less and less he asks about the Emerald house and his room with the blue floral wall paper.

And how has this change affected me?

That's a story for another day.

Happy Easter.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" 
Matthew 6:25-27
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