Uncontrollable Smiles and Giggles with Erynn & Matt

Over Christmas, Ross and I got the wonderful opportunity to meet Ross’ childhood best friend, Matt and partner, Erynn after we were endowed with the task of not spilling the beans about their engagement to her. It was a whirlwind trip, and we were really lucky to be able to spend a day with them, and get to know Erynn a little bit before we had a genuinely epic, and stressful trip back to Jakarta. We left the US as the polar vortex was approaching and were almost stuck all over the US at some point.

Fast forward, a couple months and I get a wonderful, and surprising email from the couple that they wanted to inquire about me shooting their wedding. Let’s just say the answer was a no-brainer, of course, I said yes!

I love shooting weddings for people I know, especially because I am ridiculously curious, and a romantic and it is such a moving day, watching all the love and behind the scenes stuff. Catching those uncontrollable smiles, giggles, and happy tears are really what make me love my job and make the hours on my feet seem like a day sipping cocktails by the beach. Honestly, it makes me smile just thinking about these amazing gatherings.

Matt and Erynn married in Nebraska on a sunny day in August. In addition to the meticulous and beautiful day organized by Erynn’s sister, it was small, and touching backyard wedding, with reminders all day about how companionship, and support are what make life worth living.

I must say, that I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of these significant moments in peoples’ lives and knowing them personally makes it just a little more special. Thank you Erynn and Matt, we wish you a life full of uncontrollable smiles, and giggles and happy tears.

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Wide Open Spaces

This is several months delayed but personally, I think the timing is perfect.

Growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas has really instilled a sense of calm when left in open spaces. As much as I love living in Jakarta, and experiencing such a vibrant and dynamic city, this small town girl still needs her trees, vast uninhabited fields and a big, big, sky.

With our families living so far away, it is sometimes hard to see everyone on every trip, and coming from a family of movers ourselves, they are spread all over the US.  Over our trip home this Christmas, Ross and I FINALLY had an opportunity to fly out to see Ross’ dad and stepmom, Bill and Janice in Montana and spend our New Years at Burradoo Ranch. It was hardly the night of glitter, and drinks and strobe lights of year before, but it was perfect. We were asleep immediately after midnight, watching the ball drop in Times Square a couple hours delayed, sitting my a warm fire, sipping whiskey and ginger ale, and listening to the wind howl across the vastly wide open spaces of Stillwater Creek.

My grandmother has always said that the way you spend your New Years (Eve) dictates how your year will go. So it’s always of the upmost importance that I spend my New Years Eve and day with people I love and doing something that I love. So when Bill asked Ross and I if we would be interested in joining the Stillwater New Years Eve carriage ride, it was hard NOT to say yes. You can always entice me with an adventure.

Every year, the community at Stillwater arranges a carriage ride circling through the array of ranches that spans about 10 miles and ends in a massive community potluck and bonfire. Several generations bundle up and join in with a bottle of Schnapps, hot cocoa and a smile. I must admit that the cold was biting but it was one of the most fun New Years Eves I have ever had. It was totally new, I had my camera, and was with some great people: a good omen.

Now a few months later, I have been surrounded by good company, had my camera by my side and all the new ventures and adventures (Ross and) I have been on have been spectacular. I hope the year continues along the same exciting, yet tranquil pace. But for now, I’m really just missing wide open spaces, and needed a little reminder of what lies beyond the cars, buildings and concrete.

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Discovering Jakarta: Gelora Bung Karno Swimming Pool

Wow. So where do I start?!

I never really pay much attention to how healthy feels until healthy wanes. I’ve been a little under the weather as of late and was finally able to get some spirit back in my bones today and am just so thankful for health and wellness and doctors!

Talking about health and wellness, when my family and I moved to Placerville, CA, my first real friend and neighbor was an avid swimmer.  Summer came around and she and her mom asked if I would be interested in joining the swim team. I LOVED the water and growing up in Singapore, my mom made sure I had my swimming lessons so I was just beyond ecstatic. I remember seeing some of the other girls racing in the pool during my lessons and being so jealous at how fast they glided in the water.

Then the first day of practice came around…It was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life!!!! I realized, very quickly, that I sank better than I swam. Had it not been for my friend, I might have never swam again, that and the fact that on the Dry Diggin’s Dolphins we were graced with coaches that really cared and knew what they were doing, including completely reteaching me to how to swim. They were scary as hell but they cared. I remember seeing the head coaches tanned sculpted calves every time I came to the end of a drill cowering in fear of what she was gonna make us do next!

After that first season, I grew to love the burn in my lungs after a ladder drill, and really craved the weird sensation of being steaming hot in a cold swimming pool. I loved my speedo tan, and slowly made my way up the heats and less 8th place ribbons started appearing in my folder, in fact I had EVEN had some pretty blue 1st place ribbons sometimes.

Once I got to high school, I  thought that other sports were so much “cooler” and “in” than swimming. Afterall, who at 13 wants to wake up at 5AM for a freezing morning swim only to get back at the pool right after school, snow, rain or shine. I packed away my swimsuit, cap and goggles through high school but every summer, something seemed to be missing.

As an adult, the one sport that has always comes back to me is swimming. I never found much clarity in running, and though I biked a lot as a child too, the burn of an uphill climb in the mountainous foothills really didn’t provide me with as much gratification as swimming a cpl miles in the pool. Counting my breath, and adding up my laps was my meditation.

In every country I have lived in, I have sought out the nearest pool. My speedo, cap and goggles are always on the packing list. In college, the pool was always open during my breaks, Ghana was tough, I never did find one, and therefore I came home a chunk. Singapore was great, as my grandparents lived in a condominium with a huge one, and Paris turned out to be fantastic because every arrondissement had one if not two public piscines, and though their swimming culture was very different, I was swimming.

Fast forward to now! If there is one thing that Jakarta is, its HOT! It’s hot and polluted, and incredibly crowded.  Running has never been my friend, though I oblige, we will always be at war. Just when I was starting to feel like my yoga was not enough, guess who comes creeping back to me? swimming as always; the speedos, my pink swimming cap, and goggles never fail to remind me why it’s ok that I have such wide shoulders and big feet for a girl of only 5′ 3″.

It took Ross and me months to find this pool. A lot of the more well off people and expats live in apartments here that have their own pools, but Ross and I opted for a quiet neighborhood so we didn’t get that luxury, though we have others :) And Ross’ stipulation for any swimming event is, “Can I jump off something?” So when we finally found it, located it, I mean, it was heaven!

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Situated in a very urban area is Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex. It’s HUGE. Wanna play….anything? Baseball, Golf, Swimming, Running, Track, Soccer Stadium, Convention Hall.

As are/were many things in Jakarta, it was built with a lot of hope and intention and continues to run but truly by the skin of it’s teeth. I must say that as little attention as the complex seems to get in terms of repair and beautification, it is certainly a hub of activity. Concerts, art exhibits, BMW car show, massive soccer games, you name it, it’s there.

So back to the pool, it’s not the Ritz Carlton but for what it’s worth it has charm, and the water is clear, chlorinated, and clean. I still reserve my shower for home but for my simple needs of swimming back and forth in a pool 50m long, it fits. I spoke to a gentleman that noticed me taking some pictures and he told me that the pool was a fixture in his life. That in the last 25 years nothing had changed. The kitschy blue and mustard tiles, the teal walls, faded bleachers, it was all the same. Though they hosted the 2007 Asian Games here, the swimming complex doesn’t look like it has changed much since 1960 when it was first built. It made me love the pool even more! (You will soon see my love for old things, Jakarta has so much to offer!)

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During the evening hours (after 4pm), the pool is closed to the public for swim team trainings but during the day (8am-4pm) it’s open to the public for 20,000 rp per person. There are several pools in addition to the main Olympic sized pool. A diving board with several heights whose pool serves as a training place for a lot of avid scuba student. I also met a swimming coach who conducts private and group swimming lessons for kids and triathletes. He even threw in some tips to help me with my stroke!

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I love that this pool has so much history and holds so many memories. Think of all it has seen Jakarta go through and now from the high dive you can see the city in its rapidly growing, chaotic, grandeur.

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I am so happy to make it a part of my life, a healthy one! So when I am done with my antibiotics and healthy, hearty Gabbie is back to 100% you will find this little fishy HERE!

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Oh, and here’s something to make you laugh a little by my personal photographer, Ross Mytton. The perfect combination: yoga AND swimming.

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“Extraordinaire” by Caren Templet

I have been waiting for this moment anxiously! Remember Sacramento Fashion Week 2012, and my wonderful opportunity to shoot backstage for Caren Templet?! Well after seeing my images, Caren asked me to meet with her and to discuss working together. (UM…SCOOORE! I totally did NOT expect that at all! Thank you Beela for the invitation!) She had me shoot a few portfolio shots in her clothing for the beautiful Andra Mortensen and then we started planning her lookbook for “Extraordinaire” a collection of beautiful A-line skirts made for every kind of woman and for every occasion!

Working with Caren is always such a whirlwind of excitement and fun. She is truly a professional and visionary and is such a gem to have in Sacramento. Please do go and check out her website and perhaps indulge in something special for your wardrobe! One of the things I absolutely love about Caren Templet is how engaged she is with her clients. There were times when we were brainstorming in her boutique and mid-sentence she would say “Please excuse me for a minute” and go talk to a client and find out exactly what they were looking for, and find something that would make them feel stunning! She gives so much attention to detail and extends so much respect to people regardless of who they are. Not to mention her momentum!

We had so much fun the day of the shoot! Beela and Sui did an amazing job making the models look even MORE stunning and sophisticated than they already are!

Here are the shots from “Extraordinaire”. Hope you like them :) Can anyone guess where this was shot?!

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Clothing and Styling by Caren Templet
MakeUp by Beela Shaikh of Henna Moods
Hair by Sui Mike Crusett Hairstylist
Styling Assistant: Adrian Reyna

Photographic Assistant: Ross Mytton  

Black Sheep Part 2

So you saw a few looks last week from Black Sheep Vintage’s Spring Lookbook!

Here are a few more!

Styling and Wardrobe: Becky Carter from Black Sheep by Velvet Leaf (clothing available on etsy)

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Model: Cecelia Cole, Cassandra Leconte, Paris Coyne
Styling: Becky Carter of Black Sheep by Velvet Leaf
Make-Up Artist: Nicole George

Blacksheep by Velvet Leaf

A few months ago, Becky Carter of Blacksheep by VL and I collaborated on Frida and had a fabulous time. Becky and I really wanted to work together again, and her Spring Lookbook became the next project!

Black Sheep by Velvet Leaf is an online vintage shop based out of the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas in Northern California. Black Sheep is “vintage & organic love for the wallflower, the daydreamer and the rogue soul.” Black Sheep is constantly posting new items to their etsy store, and not just new items but AWESOME new items. She has an impeccable eye and instinct for fashion that is just so spot on! She skillfully hand selects items for that “wallflower, the daydreamer and the rogue soul.” The aesthetic of her store, and the way she styles each looks is such a testament to her personal style.

Black Sheep’s etsy also features some items from an organic line, Velvet Leaf Clothing, that Becky and her sister, Laura Carter started in 2005. Velvet Leaf is not currently producing new lines but some of their previous collections are still available for sale. I personally own a few of these items and absolutely LOVE everything about them! From the cut, the quality of the fabric, the fit and the style, I am so excited to put them on every time.

Here are a few images from the spring line.

Be sure to check out her new site and her etsy store. I guarantee you will be hard pressed to leave without wanting to buy something. Black Sheep also has a smaller but equally tailored selection of men’s and children’s clothing as well as accessories, shoes and some housewares. Image

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Blacksheep by VL Spring Lookbook

For more images from Black Sheep by Velvet Leaf’s Spring Lookbook check out http://www.blacksheepvintage.com!

Styling: Becky Carter of Black Sheep by Velvet Leaf
Models: Cecelia Cole, Paris Coyne and Cassaundra Leconte
Hair and Make-Up: Nicole George 

Bliss-ters

As some of you may know, I am pretty wild about yoga. Ross finds me pretty entertaining, especially midway through a movie when I have an itch to do a backbend or try a posture I saw on instagram.

My grandfather taught yoga and my mom is a dancer, so growing up we were always asked to randomly stretch, and with movement in my blood, I suppose the obsession really makes sense.

A huge part of my practice has been the friends that I have made, and the relationships and support that I have come to receive. During a conversation after class at our home studio, Bikram Yoga Folsom, between a couple of my yogi buddies, Nicole and Tiffany, coined the term BLISSTERS: sisters in bliss.

Blissters describes the relationships you build in practice so perfectly. Tiffany and Nicole are really a great example of this. They practice together, play together, support each other, and kick each others’ butts.

Here are some photos we took during the summer of the blissters playing outdoors in Folsom.

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In addition to being rockstar yogis, Tiffany has a gluten-free blog, and Nicole is my go to hair and make-up artist! If you need some help with your gluten-free diet, check out Tiff’s blog! And if you are in need of an awesome stylist, let me know and I will get you in contact with Nicole. Nicole did Frida, Matti, Silkworm Vintage (Just to name a few) AND her work has been published in magazines around Sacramento!

Pictures from me to you

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