Dearest Orion Smith,
Today, September 13th, 2021 is your first day of preschool at an epic little school tucked in the San Bernardino Mountains that we humbly call home. You'll be going two half days a week. You are two years and two months old and for the last couple of months, you've been asking to go to school and play with your friends.
It is time. It feels so right and even with that, today, after dropping you off, I bawled my eyes out on FaceTime with your dada while he was at work. As we arrived, you were so incredibly excited, nearly jumping out of your seat to play at the park. You walked right into the gate, straight to a group of three girls your age and you all started giggling about who knows what. I sat there, tears under my sunglasses, watching you in amazement. You asked once, "Mama, come in." I said, "I couldn't." And that was that. They shut the gate, I asked to say good-bye. You ran back for a kiss and immediately started to play.
I sat in the car, tears streaming down my face. It really does go so quickly. It really does go so quickly.
I am so inspiredly proud of you. Truly. I live in absolutely amazement, been enamored by your every growing love, curiosity, and sweet, sweet soul.
You are curious.
You are so adventurous.
You are extremely loving.
You look like your dada, more and more everyday.
You love playing with your friends and turn anyone you meet into "a new friend."
Your vocabulary is exceptional.
Your ability to understand a concept, at your age, constantly blows my mind.
Your love for narrating our lives makes me smile so much my cheeks hurt.
You love the moon, rocks, water, dirt and being outside.
You love Bob Marley, your Oprah book and reciting affirmations before going to bed.
You love making animal noises in the car, pointing out every color you see and bringing your mimi's (what you call your stuffed animals) along for the ride.
You giggle when I tickle your chin.
You say cheese the moment I take out my camera.
You love cuddling with mama and dada in bed just before the sun starts to rise.
You are a dream, truly my dream come true.
I am honored, every single day, you chose me to be your mama, your incredible dad to be your dada and this life to call ours. Keep shining my love. Keep shining.
As I picked you up, I could tell you just had a good cry - some snot coming out of your nose, your forehead freckled with red spots like it gets after you've had a good cry. I walked in and you immediately ran to me saying, "You're here! You're here!" Hugging me. Asking to be picked up. Your excitement still there. Your peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever more there.
We talked to your new teacher for a bit, you nestled in my arms. You kept repeating that you cried at the gate and that I was there. My girl, I will always be there.
This is us.
My little family.
We are humbled.
We are blessed.
We are grateful.
We are happy.
We are content.
We are home.
In May, we bought our first home, tucked in the mountains, engulfed within the trees, nestled by Mother Nature.
We wake each morning with the sun rising through the trees, the birds chirping and crisp sky so very visible above the clouds. We go to bed each night with it being as dark as can be, the little bugs making subtle yet loudest of noises. We spend our days, exploring this amazing landscape, meeting new mountain families, improving upon this home that is now ours and truly living our dream life, every single day.
We had been stagnant, really, truthfully, unadmittedly, yet fully felt. We had outgrown our apartment. We had felt boxed in physical and therefore emotionally. The effects, not fruitful. When first looking at houses, we quickly realized it would be a long time coming to purchase in South Orange County. So, we did as we do and got creative. Before we knew it, we were looking at houses in this very area, that of Running Springs (next to Lake Arrowhead) and falling in love, quickly.
In doing so, the questions started to pour in - “Really? It's so far. What about your business? Are you sure you want to live there?” Can you hear the tone in that last question? My immediate reaction was frustration for not trusting us. My response, was understanding those questions came from love. Truth is, everything about it felt right, fully right. The distance didn't phase us. I knew my business would thrive being in a space in which I am so inspired by. Change, well, it's needed. And jumping, well - that's something I have done time and time again.
Here we are, not even five months later and I feel more alive than ever, truthfully tapping back into the feeling I tapped into while living aboard in Tanzania for the first time.
I am inspired.
I am motived. I am committed to living slower.
I am rooted in being more intentional.
I am beyond grateful.
I am emotionally connected to the universe.
I am trusting my path in a way that I hadn't in the last couple of years.
I am screaming from the rooftops that anything is possible, that you too can jump, that you too can turn your dream life into your reality, every single day.
These time capsules here, are some of my most favorites, EVER! A day in the life of the Smith's. From playing to listening to records to baking to drinking wine to watering our garden and all the love, laughter, pure joy and radiance between. Thank you SO much to Kristi of KLK Photography for bringing these to life! We are forever grateful.
Friend, please remember that anything is possible, that you too can jump, that you too can turn your dream life into your reality, every single day. That you too can be inspired, motived, living slower, more intentional, insanely grateful, unbelievably supportive. Trust in yourself. Trust in the universe. Trust in the process.
Where do I even begin to share the magic created on Saturday at this gorgeous couples wedding?!? I sent them over 30 sneaks and want to share them all!!! Oh my heart! I’ll slow down and start here.
I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again (and again), my couples are truly some of the most incredibly loving, genuine and sincere souls I’ve been honored to meet in this lifetime! They, you, really are!
You see, by the wedding day, both them and their people feel like friends. One where we can be ourselves, laugh, joke, have fun and truly be in the moment! This reality creates space for this incredible synergy to exist, therefore allowing magical moments like this to turn into tangible time capsules. Keepsakes for days, week, months, years, decades to come. Gosh, am I ever so grateful for this exchange.
These specific moments were documented after the ceremony, family and full wedding party portraits were done! When it was just the them, the two of them as husband and wife! Being together, in one another’s presence on THEIR wedding day! Ekkkk! The greatest feeling!
I cannot wait to share more of the magic this whole day was, but for now, I will start here! Congrats again @tee_marieee13 and @mattycain! It truly has been such an honor being witness to and documenting this sensational time in your lives!
Wedding Planning + Design: @sevenstems
Dress : @monamiebridalsalon
Tux : @friartux
Makeup : @hannahraeebeauty
Can we just talk about perfection in the moment?
This, right here is the perfection in the moment. Two souls being completely intertwined and perfect in the moment. Soaking up time as the two of them, before it’s the three of them.
Since the start of COVID, I’ve witnessed massive shifts in the photography industry all together! Weddings are more intimate and feel more intentional than ever. Lifestyle sessions such as this one, a maternity shoot are becoming way more personal as this was done in their space, their home.
I’ve done more in-home sessions in the past few months than I’ve done in years and it’s truly been so inspirational!
There is this calmness.
This sense of peace.
This immense presence.
In their own space.
As you prepare for your next session, think about the spaces that are most you, most authentic, most natural and bring about your true essence! It’s incredible what is birthed.
Let’s talk about connection. This woman right here, I knew we would be friends, before even meeting one another.
A few years ago I documented a badass entrepreneurs portraits in Little Italy. Every single outfit she wore fit her perfectly and complimented the environment, completely. I said, “Who styled you?!?” I just knew it! She said, “You have to meet my girl!” And so, immediately we met for a lovely cup of coffee that I didn’t want to end. Her spark.
Her zest for life.
Her intention in living fully, authentically, wholly - gosh, was it so truly beautiful.
After having the babes, she came to my house and put together an epic #batchwardrobe for upcoming shoots, weddings and life that I felt so radiant in. And then featured them in one of her “Batch Wardrobe” videos that featured the babes and I!
Fast forwarded a few years. We’ve stayed in touch. Admired one another’s work. Supported each other, you know as boss babes do. I’ve always wanted to work with an intuitive branding coach and one day, I saw her talking about her “Aligned Visibility” 1-1 coaching where she supports entrepreneurs in amplifying their unique brand voice and attracting their soulmate clients. I signed up, immediately.
Trish and I had a two hour session, one Friday morning just after moving to the mountains. The clarity, the ah-ha’s, the breakthroughs, the realizations, the tears, the laughter, the truth - it was all there, so very much there.
Have you noticed the changes on my social media? How I show up on my stories? How I’ve been sharing? What I’ve been sharing? Well, those are all implementations of the incredibly aligned, intentional and heart-centered work I did with Trish!
It has been one of the greatest gifts with my business, truly. As if that exchange wasn’t incredible enough, I had the honor of documenting her radiant portraits in a place, so special to the both of us - her childhood home, my new home. Gosh, was it pure magic.
So grateful for connection.
So very grateful for calling inspirational entrepreneurs such as this soul my friend.
So extremely grateful for the encouragement and support in showing up, fully, authentically, wholly AS ME!
Some say perfection does not exist, I believe it exists in the moment.
It’s being in the moment that has enabled me connect so deeply with my mission, my purpose, my commitment. That of documenting love, spreading love. My company, has three pillars in which I do this.
1️⃣Photographer : for passionately vibrant, joyful and present couples, families and souls.
2️⃣Creator : for Mother’s and spirit seekers.
3️⃣Mentor : for intentional photographers and entrepreneurs.
Interwoven between it all, connection and love.
Love and connection.
Connection and love.
Love and connection.
As I connect with my very mission, purpose and commitment, I become overwhelmed with gratitude, with joy, with love, with humble pride.
My couples, truly become my friends - so much so that by the wedding day, I feel like I’ve been a part of this dynamic, for it’s whole existence.
My families, start to feel like my family as I witness engagements to weddings to pregnancies to birth to first birthdays to more siblings to anniversaries and all that comes in-between.
The souls I document, truly become some of my greatest inspirations as I really spend time in getting to understand them, their message and how to really bring this to life in the physical world.
That which I share around being a creator, is a passionate reflection of my very existence and the foundation behind my business.
Those I mentor, I do so with the upmost respect, passion, professionalism and honesty as I too have been through navigating starting, maintaining and thriving in my business.
Love and connection.
Connection and love.
To this community, thank you for being here, for showing up as you, for being in exchange to bring all of this to life.
I am humbled by you.
I am inspired by you.
I am grateful for you.
I am in belief that you are perfection, perfection in this very moment!
My heart is bursting (and my body is definitely exhausted)!
Over 16 hours of shooting.
From a family shoot to a wedding to a lifestyle shoot to another family shoot.
It was glorious.
It was exhilarating.
It was the perfect reminder of honoring and listening to that inner voice, my intuition.
What do I mean by this?
Years ago, when I first started my business, it was suggested, by multiple people to only specialize in one type of photography. For example, only doing weddings. Or only doing family photos.
Every time I was told this, everything in my entire body told me - no, no I don’t have to. That feeling, it’s intuition. I knew then and even more confirmed of it now, I am not a one type only photographer.
I am a photographer who documents from conception to expansion. From engagements to weddings to maternities to newborns to anniversaries to lifestyle portraits and oh so much more! I am there, literally witnessing and documenting it all.
For this, I give thanks, every single day. Like really. Every single day I am so grateful for listening to that inner voice, that inner teacher in knowing, in feeling what is meant to be.
Right here, are time capsules from this Sunday’s rad lifestyle shoot for the most incredible eco- friendly, extra soft children’s clothing company @sweetbambooclothing! I documented dozens of kids in an array of outfits amongst a rad landscape for nearly four hours! Each kid, being just as adorable as the last. Each kid, being a tangible expression of pure sunshine! Each kid, making me smile with immense happiness for this very reality! Gosh, am I grateful!
Thank you to all the amazing mamas for being a part of this rad lifestyle session! Please comment so I can tag your little one! You’re sunshine! ☀️
When two become three.
I love getting to document maternity portraits - especially when it’s a dear childhood friend, even more so when it’s first time parents.
It’s truly so difficult to put into words how much the little soul (or souls) coming into the world is going to change every aspect of life. Initially, it’s terrifying, it’s so confusing, it’s incredibly exhausting, it’s overwhelming processing the love and connection with this little human. A creation of the two of them. Gosh, does it just melt me, every single time.
I’ve recently really attached to this idea behind being a conception to expansion photographer. It resonates so deeply with my connection and commitment to the souls that I get to document. You see, it’s rare, to document someone only once. Most of the souls I document, I do so throughout the various phases of their lives. Hence, conception to expansion.
From being a couple to being married to becoming pregnant to being parents to honoring the milestones that come after and oh so much more.
Each phase, just as exciting, as special and as joyful as what was before. Each phase, a reflection of the every changing, ever expanding reality of us as human beings in this lifetime. Each phrase, a beautiful reminded of honoring what is. Each phrase, a complete express of love and joy.
I recently had the honor of documenting these intimate in-home maternity portraits in my dear friends rad new home! Truly the perfect expression of their love and excitement for their little man joining the world any day now! Congrats you two - I cannot wait to meet him!
July, is truly my favorite month out of the year! The 11th is the day my daughter joined our rad party hearthside. Two days later, on the 13th is my birthday. It's a pivotal time in my business as after July, I am booked nearly every single weekend through the end of November! AND it's Christmas in July - where I release my holiday mini sessions for the year! Ekkkk!
Here you are - 2021 Holiday Mini Sessions include 4 dates / 4 locations / 4 counties / 7 spots per location!
Those in RED are booked.
Mini sessions include:
Truthfully, every year these mini sessions sale out. To reserve your spot, just email me the desired date and time! 50% payment is due within one week of getting your agreement and all the details for the specific session location will be sent! Don't miss out as a little secret, I am not shooting the entire month of December this year. Get your holiday portraits in early!
As always, thank you for your immense love and support! I am here because you are here!
LOCATION #1 : Carbon Canyon, Brea
LOCATION #2 : Calavera Nature Preserve, Carlsbad
LOCATION #3 : Corona Del Mar Beach
LOCATION #4 : Lake Arrowhead, San Bernardino
Well hello there! It’s been weeks since I’ve posted here as my goodness has my world been so chaotically yet beautifully full. From packing up our old place, to celebrating my girl in Mexico, to moving into and rooting down into our dream home AND documenting all kinds of goodness in between!
As I drove to Saturday’s wedding, so too did I process all the emotions! Exhaustion, grateful, overwhelmed, present, in awe of truly listening and following my intuition - truly it all. This energy, the excitement, the love, the gratitude heighten the moment I arrived!
I’ve been working with this couple for almost two years now. They booked their perfect wedding venue long before covid hit. Then, had to reschedule when it hit. Then, had to reschedule again when it lasted far longer than we all imagined. Then, they changed it again. A new date, a whole new location and vision. What went from a large scale wedding in downtown San Diego, turned into an intimate secluded, nature engulfed ceremony and picnic reception with their family and wedding party! It was divine. Truly divine.
All throughout the day, I kept saying, this is exactly what it was meant to be the entire time. And truth is, it was. It was perfectly them. It was perfectly peaceful!
One of the greatest parts of what I do and how I connect is built on trust. This very couple and many others, trust my photographic vision and create space for me to be in the moment, creating magical moments such as these. For this trust, for this space - I am infinitely grateful as the most authentic, loving, pure representations of their love come to life! It’s the greatest! Congrats you two!
Location : Personal Estate
Dress : @dangelo_bridal
Tux : @friartux
Hair : @hairspray_studio
Makeup : @makeupbychristranx3
Florals : @thesdflowershop1