Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sisterhood Stories...Happy Halloween!

Welcome to another edition of Sisterhood Stories. Please follow the blog links, through a group of International photographers for some insights and inspirations. This week, I wanted to unveil the Lanes Family's Halloween costumes. ;)   My eldest, is a Spanish Pirate.

My youngest is Elmo.  Her best friend is Big Bird, which by the way, is the most popular costume in the U.S. this year since the candidates mentioned Big Bird during one of the debates. Going with the bird theme, my husband is a a person riding an ostrich, and I'm a peacock.  P.S. The only reason the adults have costumes in this family is because of a Halloween party we attended that require costumes for entry.

Have a Happy Halloween and please follow the Sisterhood links to my sister in photography Aziza Alghunaim, of Little Twinkles.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

“Nothing ever becomes real 'til it is experienced.” ― John Keats

Welcome to this weeks entry of "Sisterhood Stories," a blog circle, of an international group of photographers, sharing friendship, stories and imagery. 

This week, I wanted to share about a behind the scenes tour of The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, CA.   My daughter's Girl Scout troop had the privilege of touring this hotel, and being introduced to what it takes to run such a large hotel.

The hotel was beautiful and the workers let us know how they take care of the laundry, things that might break and need a handy man, plus a guided tour of the kitchen with the chef. 

I find it so wonderful how accommodating people are to Girl Scouts.  I often wonder what the girls are learning, and ponder what door a new experience might open for a child.  We noticed an interesting quote on the handyman board during the question and answer process.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,mind your own business and work hard with your hands.

 We ended the tour with a spectacular chocolaty tea party.  Since it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they had a chocolate fountain with white chocolate, tinted pink.  There were so many goodies, and the girls earned a badge for using their social graces.  

It felt like a real life sisterhood journey, having tea and enjoying this opportunity with the girls.  Thank you for stopping by and please visit my sister in photography Aziza Alghunaim, of Little Twinkles.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"All I can say about life is, Oh God, enjoy it!" ~ Bob Newhart

Welcome to this weeks entry of "Sisterhood Stories," a blog circle, of an international group of photographers, sharing friendship, stories and imagery. 

This week, I have a question for you.  Are you making beautiful memories for your family and yourself?  Are you enjoying your life?  My husband and I made a decision, after three people we were close to, died recently in a very short succession.  It certainly was a wake up call to remember that there is a great "the end" to one's life.  At a funeral we attended, they mentioned that our friend had a passion to create one amazing memory a day with each of his family members.  When it rained, he grabbed a pair of rain-boots, and took his youngest child out to jump in mud puddles.  Believe me, I was impacted by his passion for life, and the reality that it did end, and in his case, sooner than anyone expected.  

I wanted to share a visual diary of some of my own new "lasting memories" and the outcome of my "saying yes" attitude to opportunities.   

First stop, a trip to downtown Los Angeles, to my first opera, Mozart's Opera, Don Giovanni.  Right outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion is a peace fountain and the Mark Taper Forum in the background.

 This is my neighbor, and my silly husband, enjoying our night on the town. Thank you to our neighbor John (left), who invited us to go to the opera with his Italian Club.

We all enjoyed the ambience and beauty outside the theater.

And we parked near Disney Hall, which we are so lucky to have in Los Angeles.  This night out was my first time to an Opera. Thankfully, there were English subtitles above the stage.  It was fascinating to realize the this opera was three hours long! ;)  Mozart certainly was prolific, and Don Giovanni was enjoyable.

Next early morning drive to Union Station.

My friend responded to an advertisement to get free tickets on Metrolink's Surf Line.

You could spend hours inside Union Station with your camera. 

We chose to take a Sunday trip to San Juan Capistrano, on their double decker train.

We sat at a nice table, in the upstairs section of the bicycle train.  It was a great spot to see the sights and take photos.

Upon arrival, we headed to Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776.

The garden is filled with native plants, that thrive in our dry, arid climate.

This is "The Jewel of the Missions" founded by Junipero Serra.  It is number seven, in  California's twenty-one Spanish missions.

I've always enjoyed gardens where Catholic priests and monks bring their rich gardening experience. They planted beautiful patches of Mexican Sage, which is a favorite to hummingbirds and butterflies.

This mission is a photographer's paradise.

It's chapel gives you a spiritual nudge to pause and pray.

And California's Oldest Chapel, a stunning golden chapel, evokes peace and tranquility.  

Southern California tends to have ideal weather 320 days of the year, being 70 degrees and sunny.  We accidentally traveled there when thermometers hit 100 degrees.  We were sweltering by the mission bells, where the famous swallows flock to the Mission each year on March 19.  We finally gave in to the  heat and went to an air-conditioned restaurant.

Finally, after a ton of iced tea, and a delicious lunch in town, we strolled over to the historic section of San Juan Capistrano, located right beside the train stop.  There we found charming Victorian homes.
Plus, a sweet bed and breakfast spot, where you could host a wedding, or family function.

 There were cottage gardens, and we found a few leaves giving a slight hint of Fall's approach.

 Interestingly, I noticed that this vintage property had a sign for a lawyer's office.

And my personal favorite shop in the town was this sweet artist nook called "Nest."  

It's great to say "yes" to new experiences.  Be sure to tell me what you say yes to, and share your beautiful memories with me.  Thanks for stopping by, and please visit my photography sister Aziza Alghunaim, of Little Twinkles at

Thank you for visiting. ;) 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

“Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.” ~ Christopher Columbus

Welcome to another edition of "Sisterhood Stories," an international blog circle of photographers.  Grab a tea or coffe, follow the blog links, and be inspired.

On Monday, October 8, 2012, we will celebrate the U.S. holiday, Columbus Day.   It's a day when we honor the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World.  This arrival marks new beginnings in history, and a reflection of the bravery of European Explorers.

How does this day connect with photography?   I had the pleasure of photographing a young girl, who is about to begin her journey into the world of modeling.

 She was invited to become part of a successful modeling agency, and with that, she needed photos.

In her own way, she's setting sail on an adventure, and will make many new life discoveries of her own.

Explorers by definition step into the unknown.  Sometimes human nature causes us to fear the unfamiliar, and cling to routine.
But by braving new worlds, we feel more courageous, experience new possibilities in our lives, and we grow. 

What expeditions are you starting in your life?  What new journeys will you embark on soon?  Think of how small those vessels were that brought Christopher Columbus and his fellow explorers to the New World, yet they arrived safe and sound. Move towards something unfamiliar, and let me know what New Worlds you uncover.

Please follow the link to my sister photographer Az Alg, of Little Twinkles