hey, chingedy ching

Our most favorite christmas song ever! Turn up the volume and enjoy!

if you're wondering how this came to be our most favorite Christmas song, it happened about seven years ago while living in connecticut. wonder boy was about almost two when he heard it for the first time during the constant stream of christmas music on the radio. he would ask me to rewind it for him everytime it played, then cried when i told him i couldn't. that would make for a fun ride...not! but whenever it did play, i would crank up the volume for him. it's amazing how the memory of him singing in the backseat is still so vivid.

luckily, on one of our holiday ventures to nyc with friends, we happened to be in little italy. you guessed it, i marched into the first mom and pop store and found it.

so, there you have it...chingedy ching! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!



our first road trips through italy have introduced us to some potential neighborhoods. i have to say that not all of italy is the tuscan dream that everbody escapes to when things have gone wrong but let's not tarnish the dream.

After, three hard core days of driving with the wonder kids sans realtor, we've narrowed it down to a favorite and now it's just a waiting game. the military housing game can be tricky.

now, what brings us back to the italian wonderland is sorrento. it was an instant love affair with this quaint city when we first visited two years ago. unfortunately, not a feasible housing contender no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that military man's commute wouldn't be "soooo bad." it is the quintessential italian town with its central square, cobblestone streets, narrow alleys and stylish people. we adore it there.

some views along the way...

majestic Vesuvius...

three sleeping bambinos in our green machine...

a sunny sunday to catch up on laundry and gossip...

the drive along side the autostrade....

pizza collage 1

pizza collage 2

a quick bite to eat...


buon natale...


from one happy family to be back to their most favorite place on earth!


bueno sere

just a quick note to say that we landed safely and that we're checking things out. first, thing on the list is to find a place to live. oh, what does italy have in store?


fortune cookies + flying

i hate to fly. we're only two days away from our big move and flight to italy and i'm losing hours of sleep. my fear and anxiety completely block my creativity (which explains my lapse in postings) and it takes great effort for me to get through my daily routine without an irrational thought creeping into my mind. i start losing sleep weeks before the flight and begin to practice all sorts of superstitious acts to ensure a safe flight. needless to say, hours are spent in deep prayer and meditation.

now, picture this. we're wrapping up a meal at one of my favorite asian inspired restaurtants. i unwrap a fortune cookie for girl wonder, read her fortune which makes no sense to the life a one year old but then i read mine and it says, "to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive." panic and anxiety ensues. military man and my mother look at me with a worried look in their faces because they now that i'm thinking of the worse. i can't sleep...irrational thoughts creep into my dreams...i'm scared out of my mind!

finally, i can't take it and before beginning to research the phrase, i repeat it a few times in my head and realize it's true meaning, that hope and anticipation is often better than the reality. how true is that! how many time do we get ourselves all worked up about an event and then when it's finally said and done, we realize that it was just, okay, not this great and magnificent thing that we imagined in our head. does this mean that living in italy is going to be just, okay? heck no! think deeeper.

The original phrase came from Robert Louis Stevenson, 1881: "Little do ye know your own blessedness for to travel hopeully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour." Stevenson was expressing the same ideas as the earlier Taoist saying, - "The journey is the reward."

it's all about the journey folks. i've been so wrapped up in life and my phobias that i've forgotten this fundamental message...to count my blessings, to forge through obstacles and to continue to take chances no matter how scary it may seem. it's not the fear of flying that is making me lose sleep. it's the anticipation of a new life for all of us.

it took a trip to pei wei to remind me of this.


the holiday cards orders

is it bad that even though i have branched out as a photographer that i'm my own worst customer? i'm definetely promoting holiday card portraits but the likelihood of sending my own cards is very little. bad, bad girl. the intention is there but with only FIFTEEN days until our big move to italy, my friends and family will most likely be getting a change of address card in the mail, instead.

in the meantime, i'm keeping busy with these gorgeous kids.



you see what i mean. they are beautiful but i'm biased. they're two of my best friends children. love these guys!!!

now, don't be like me get your cards out!


Thanksgiving Recipes for You

Thought I'd share some of the my Thanksgiving favorites. I've been sharing these recipes with friends and family since our first year of marriage They have always been a hit and our families rave about them all year round. I'm not creative in the kitchen. I just follow a recipe, well. So, I hope you enjoy. My family has for the last decade or so. 

Crisitiana Campbell's Tavern 
Sweet Potato Muffins 
(Chrisitiana Campbell's Tavern, Williamsburg, Virginia) 

1/2 cup of butter (softened)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups canned sweet potatoes, mashed
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmet
1 cup mile
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease 1 1/2 muffin tins. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Blend in the sweet potatoes. Sift the flour with the baking poweder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add alternatley with the milk. Do not over mix. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Fill the greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Can be frozen and reheated. 

Curried Pumpkin Soup (Southern Living, 1996)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 8 oz. package sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tablesoopn ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 12 oz can evaporated milk Garnishes   sour cream, chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in a large saucepan; add mushrooms and onion, and saute until tender. Stir in flour and curry powder; gradually add chicken broth, and cook over medium neat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Stir in pumpkin and next 4 ingredients; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in milk, and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Garnish, if desired. 

Raspberry Wonderfuls, a cookie bar 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
12 oz. can of condensed milk
1 small pkg each of chocolate morsels, white chocolate morsels, coconut flakes and chopped walnuts 8 oz. jar of seedless raspberry jam or jellly
1 stick of butter
1 box of graham cracker crumbs

Melt the butter and pour into a bowl of grahams crumbs. Moisten the crumbs enough to be able to stick together and spread into a rectangular pan as the first layer of the desert. Sprinkle coconut flakes and pour the condensed milk over the flakes. 

Place this into oven for about 20 minutes of until slightly golden. Let cool when done. Spread raspberry jam evenly over the condensed milk and coconut layers. Next, sprinkle the walnuts over the jam. 

Now, you're ready to drizzle the melted milk chocolate and white morsels creating a lacing effect over the entire dessert. Cut into squares. 

 Happy Thanksgiving!


found it...

The inspiration that is. what kind of images do you get when you have a warm sunset, two adorable kids, a cute dress, and a pinata? these...





coming back from the shoot on saturday, i realized that i had all the tools needed to make the afternoon into a wonderful session for mary's family. it must have looked like a fun shoot because a sweet family invited us to join them in celebrating their daughter's first birthday. so, we went with the moment, picked up the baton and took a swing. olé!



finding inspiration

Sometimes we look to others for inspiration, often times forgetting that we can draw from our own experiences. i'm getting ready to shoot another great family today for their christmas and yearly family portraits and i started looking outward at first for a fresh persecptive. it became fruitless. so, i stopped...took a breath and remembered that the family itself can inspire these great images. these are some of my favorites of this great texan family on their florida vacation.






SoFly faves

not too long ago, i shot these brides during a fun practice session with SoFly, a great group of women photographers. this was a fantastic opportunity to shoot brides and really experiment with different shots and observe other photographer's workflow, while shooting the same subject. you always think that somebody else is doing so much better than you, but all in all i love these shots and learned loads.

i've got to thank the lovely emily and babette for doning these beautiful gowns and letting us tweak our wedding photography skills.
other's on the list to thank are... Madame Bridals for wedding gowns. Anna's Flowers & Delray Beach Florist for beautiful bouquets. Finally, a special thanks to Beka Hood of Kallima Photography for setting up this fantastic shoot.



we've had a bit of catching up to do with the military man. we've been in full family mode and the kids and i are still in a tailspin. girl wonder has been in little girl heaven now that daddy's home. she is definitely a daddy's girl but she's starting to come back around to mommy. boy wonder has had some serious male bonding time but still curls up with me when dad's not around. wonder baby is catching on by taking cues from her big brother and sister. she warmed up to him really quickly. then there's us but i'll never kiss and tell.

our family has lots to be grateful for this holiday season and everthing has magically fallen into place.

lastly, i'm especially grateful for the comments on my last post. thank you for sharing in the moment and rooting for our little family!

[photo credit: Country Living]


he's home

taking a little break to remember the day we've been waiting for.


with a little paint


and some imagination


we created some signage. (was it wrong that i didn't correct spelling?)

wonder girl always entertaining.



more signage.


she sees, she runs, she hugs.


proud to show dad their work.

he's home.


count down

.count down.

in ten hours we will be a family again.
in ten hours we will be in each other's arms.
in ten hours there will be tears.
in ten hours there will be cheers.
in ten hours military man will be walking through the gates back into our lives.
in ten hours other passengers and families will see the joy in our eyes.
in ten hours we will be in the presence of a war hero.
in ten hours we will close a chapter of our story.
in ten hours we will meet again.



often times i want to be on topic. sometimes i choose to be witty. i always try to be honest but lately i've been absent. i have to admit that lately i've been absent (and repetitive). a post here...a comment there. blame it on adult ADD or the fact that military man's homecoming is a fews days away and i just can't sit still. it's been difficult to focus on anything and trying to read and catch up with my favorites has been very hard.

so, if you've missed my visits, lately, i'll be back soon...i promise.


pumpkin patch



Picnik collage




what happens when one gets involved in an auction committee at one's school? all free time gets sucked out of the day, which means little time to do what i love the best...reading, sleeping, picture taking, walks, exercise and fun times with kids. even though, i'm sitting on a committee with seven other women, there's still not enough of us to get all things done. it's exhausting and fun all rolled into one.

this day was different. i took the wonder kids, on our our day off from school, to the trinity pumpkin patch for a little fall fun. it's hard to get into the mood for fall activities down here with beach weather in the air. it's still in the nineties but i collected all of us and a neighbor for some pumkin picking in this heat. he was missing chicago and i miss new england. once you've experience new england in the fall, there's no comparison.

so, finding a pumpkin patch in florida that brings the tradition of harvest to this tropical state makes me smile.


and the winner is...

well, and i like to thank jules for this any many of my other awards. my most adoring fan. thank you...

now, there's a meme chain involved and you know how much i love these...NOT REALLY...but since it's from one of the most loyal bloggers i know; i will do it for her. here we go...

So the rules are:
Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. You must use only one word answers!

Once you have filled it out you then pass it on to 6 of your favorite bloggers and alert them that they have been awarded.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your hair?
3. Your mother?

4. Your father?

5. Your favorite food?

6. Your dream last night?

7. Your favorite drink?

8. Your dream/goal?
9. What room are you in?
10. Your hobby?

11. Your fear?

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?

13. Where were you last night?

14. Something that you aren't?

15. Muffins?
banana nut

16. Wish list item?

17. Where did you grow up?

18. Last thing you did?

19. What are you wearing?

20. Your TV?

21. Your pets?

22. Friends?

23. Your life?

24. Your mood?

25. Missing someone?
26. Vehicle?

27. Something you’re not wearing?

28. Your favorite store?

29. Your favorite color?

30. When was the last time you laughed?
last night
31. Last time you cried?
32. Your best friend?
33. One place that I go to over and over?
34. One person who emails me regularly?
military man
35. Favorite place to eat?
mekenita (tampa, fl)

The six bloggers I want to pass this on to are:


are we killing the magazine industry with our blogging


here's a short list of publications that are folding...

Gourmet -- in publication for over 60 years
Cookie -- oh, where will indulgent working mothers go?
Modern Bride
Elegant Bride
Wondertime -- my personal favorite and miss it like crazy!!!
Ebony -- on the chopping block
Town & Country
Cottage Living
National Geographic Traveler

I know that from personal experience I haven't subscribed to a magazine since I started my blog. There has been so much fabulous content posted for free on the internet that I just haven't found it necessary to pay for the glossy pages from the stands let alone a magazine subscription. Another reason is my serious attempt in going green. I just didn't feel the need to have a magazine delivered to my house that will eventually end up in the recycling bin. To add to that, it's been years that I picked up a newspaper, except to use it for packing materials. It's sad to admit it but why hide the fact that we are in tough times both econonically and with the environment.

It's not helping those in journalism. Many are using this medium to help further their careers but are they hurting themselves along the way? Now, that's another debate. I've personally enjoyed their blogs and making connections with them. So, I hope they never stop. It's been a great way of putting a personal touch to their professional work. In addition, is it helping or hurting the photography business? Hum, another debate. There are so many images online one might say that it is saturated and extremely useful for individuals that may need an image to enhance a project.

Now, I'll stick to something I know. My simple life of blogging. I entered this world to enhance my relationships with those I loved, never imagining that I would be making connections with fabulously talented individuals that I would have never met. I'll never give it up.


sick day

Wonder girl is home with a fever today. the poor thing has had this cold for a week and it's not going away. i have her in the bath splashing around and playing with her sister and bath toys while i clean up from the morning rush. it's helping with the fever and not to worry i'm only five feet away from the bathroom, well, within ear shot and in my view. she's singing and splashing and teaching her baby sister a few tricks but what's standing out to me the most is the change in her voice. she's growing into her little girl voice. she's sounds more articulate and grown up. i just love to hear her play make pretend with the figurines and include the baby in her world.

it's the cutest thing to hear. well, gotta go... she's out and wrapped in a towel asking me to smell her soap scented skin.


tt: time flies

Well, as you can see the blogs are all dressed up and running smoothly. it's thursday already and time is flying. i couldn't be happier. in just three weeks military man will be home from a hellacious two plus years. they're behind us, baby. thank God! it will all be over, soon.

what else can i say but HOOOOOORRRRRRAAAAAAAAYYYYY! no, nothing deep or poetic like willow or brian, or witty like subby, nor scandalous like jules...just hip hip hooray tomorrow is one less day!!!!!


under construction

Hi all,

If you're visiting and

the site is a little wonky (love this borrowed word from the brits),

lizabee & co. as well as exposures by liza is getting some work done.

By this time tomorrow I will have a new 'do...CAN'T WAIT!!!

Lyndsay and Susan at the lovely

created this simple and elegant template. Some of their great work is also featured in

nienie. Yes, I read nienie, their life puts my life to shame. There is no room for

complaints or pity parties for the nielson's. Well, with recovery, four children and fellowship

they have little room for that but I digress. I'm really happy with the header and my new
buttons. Check out the sidebar action and grap a link for yourself.


it's friday night

friday, sept 18

i'm in the mood for an outdoor concert downtown. now, if i had the time and unlimited budget to shop to my hearts content, i would get every one of these pretty little items for an outdoor concert with mom and kids. but for now i'll have to settle what's in my closet. i can hear the music, now.

for the fashionistas out there, everything was found on polyvore.com