twinning it up // fun family photos in California

This family lights up my heart SOOOO much. I've been photographing them for over 4 years now, and it's been fun to watch the girls as they grow. And add a PUPPY to the mix, and I was in HEAVEN!

We decided to take photos at Shoreline Park in Long Beach, which not only provided a GOOORGEOUS backdrop (hel-LO ligthhouse!), but gave the puppy (and the GIRLS) pleeeeenty of space to run around and play. And roll down grassy hills. And jump off benches. And all the other stuff that kids WANT to do outside. (FREEEEEDOOOM!!!)

And so, we played. And I chased. And ran up hills right alongside them. And played Simon Says. And "find the man named Bob that lives inside my camera." And all other sorts of hilarious stuff that made the girls (and their fathers) giggle and laugh and have a GOOD TIME.

Here are a few of my favorite moments captured that afternoon. I hope you'll love them as much as I do!

jon-william-twins social media collages 2.jpg

If your heart is SMILING, let me know! Leave a comment below or, even better, CONTACT ME for a photo session of your OWN!

the napkin note

The lunch bell would ring, and I would race to meet my friends behind the statue in the quad. But as everyone else hugged hello (as if we hadn't seen each other in YEARS and not just a period or two ago) and started to tease and laugh and flirt, I would take a moment apart from the crowd to open my brown paper bag, excited at what I'd find within.

My dad packed my lunch each morning, so I knew I'd find the usual fare... lunchmeat + cheese sandwich cut diagonally, some pringles and maybe some oreos (ummm, yeah... the concept of a healthy diet wasn't exactly a hot topic in our household). But my FAVORITE discovery was always the daily napkin note I knew would be there.

Not an emotionally demonstrative man, my dad was never short on sharing words of love as long as he could WRITE them down instead.

So each day I received a "love note" of sorts. Written in ALL CAPS in sharpie marker on a puckered white paper napkin.

Sometimes his words would wish me luck on an upcoming test, some days I'd receive an inspirational quote, and other days he simply wrote of how proud he was to be my father. And each day I would get the warm and fuzzies, simply seeing those XOXOXOs signed at the bottom of the paper napkin.

Such a simple gesture, but one that has remained with me always.

And who knew I would become so like him in so many ways. I find it difficult to say the words aloud at times, and I write them down instead. Journals, post-it-notes, notebooks... papers scattered across my home. In my instagram posts. And now, here.

Because we could ALL use a little LOVE NOTE at times. A few words of encouragement, an inspirational quote, or simply something to say I SEE YOU and LOVE YOU no matter what.

So, carrying on the tradition, here's my first of many napkin notes to come.

And what BETTER time to start than on a Monday... when we could ALL use a little pep-talk?!

the big day // Bend, Oregon Lifestyle Wedding Photography

It was finally the BIG day, and she was a bundle of nerves... dancing through the house on her tiptoes, waving her freshly manicured fingernails about, and peeking around the corner at the grownups in their fancy dresses as they sat side-by-side, getting their makeup done.

A moment later it would be her own turn... with a few strokes of blush and straightened hair, today was definitely an occasion to play dress-up.

Because today was the day her mother was getting married, and she'd be getting a new step-dad, too!

Helped into her flowergirl dress and fancy shoes, she gave one last grin and flew up the stairs to excitedly show off just how TALL she was in her fancy shoes... and they even had HEELS. A few squirts of perfume, and she was feeling like one of the ladies.

With the others still getting ready, the bride-to-be turned to her daughter for assistance in getting dressed in a fancy gown of her own. And what started out as a time-saving convenience turned into a once-in-a-lifetime moment between mother and daughter.

Tiny fingers zipping up her mother's wedding dress, as her mother might be doing for HER one day. And watching in awe as the woman before her transformed from "Mom" into a glamorous bride that could decorate the pages of a magazine.

See, the wedding day isn't always just about the bride and groom...

There are soooooo many amazing stories happening in the background, and it's my pleasure to bring them to light.

That's the fun in being a lifestyle photographer. Seek and ye shall find... because we ALL have a story to tell.


the suitcase studio - workspace - lifestyle photography-rebrand I know it's been a while, but things have DEFINITELY been happening in the background of The Suitcase Studio. If you want to know the details through today, be sure to follow me here on Instagram.

But today found me hard at work behind the scenes again... deep in the zone working on some AWESOME new plans for the brand, and I totally can't wait to share with you all soon!!!


You've been asking for this for a while now, and I'm happy to announce that it's HERE! Introducing the PHOTOGRAPHY 101 WORKSHOP (aka "getting your camera to do what you WANT it to do")!

Whether it's a point-and-shoot or a DSLR, learn to get the MOST out the camera you have.

You'll learn basic creative and technical skills to help you take your camera off AUTO and get the photos you crave!

Perfect for: Moms, Business Owners, Bloggers, and Creative Types.

This 3-hour workshop will provide printed materials as well as hands-on learning, so be sure to bring your camera!

Date: March 14, 2015 Time: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Location: Timree's Paint Studio (Newport Beach location)

Space is EXTREMELY LIMITED... click here to save your space!

I hope to see you soon... and I can't wait to PLAY!


gotta love my Starbucks lovers...

20150111-192032-69632215.jpg Ever since the first time I heard the song "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift, I've been getting the words wrong.

You know the line that goes, "Got a long list of ex-lovers...?" Well, instead, I heard, "Gotta love my Starbucks lovers..."

And with that one small difference, the entire song played out differently in my head.

I saw Taylor sitting in her local Starbucks, sipping her pumpkin space latte (or whatever seasonal drink might be appropriate), and checking out the different types that wandered in the door.  Because Starbucks CAN be one of those amazing places to meet a lot of new people, right? And she picks out her new seasonal flavor (new money, suit and tie), and the "blank space" is actually that spot on the Starbucks cup where they write in the name you give them... whatever it is you want for it to be.

So, yeah... a far cry from what Taylor was probably envisioning as she originally wrote her song. But that's perfectly okay... and what art (and life) is all about... because you can have 5, 10, or 100 people listen to the same song, see the same piece of art, or even go through the same life experience, and each person will report getting something different out of it. That's how life works. It's all about where we're coming from, who we are, and how we perceive things.

That's what makes this imperfect life so damn beautiful, and what makes us all unique within it.

So, while Taylor keeps crooning about her long list of ex-lovers, I'll keep picturing that magical Starbucks where temporary dreams all come true.


let the adventure begin.

The Suitcase Studio - Adventure
The Suitcase Studio - Adventure

[one month ago]

December 5, 2014... Let the ADVENTURE Begin!

There's a great deal of rumbling beneath me. A roar of engines, then a pressure at my back... like going light-speed on Star Tours at Disneyland... only 159,982 times better. I give a quick glance out the window to my left (past the bored-looking girl already reading a magazine) and the world suddenly tilts sharply. Drastically. And there's the wing of the plane, acting as a level to indicate just how sharply we are pointed.

Going up, up, up... and I want to throw my hands up and giggle. For real. It's the best rollercoaster I've ever been on. Because this adventure is real.

And just like that, the tears prick at my eyes. Unexpectedly, but not unwelcome. Because I've still got a HUGE grin on my face.

Gaining altitude, plane shaking, and my heart soars and shakes along with it, too. Because I'm uphere... high above the ground... in one of those planes I'd watch from the ground and wistfully tell myself "someday."

That was always it. "Someday," I'd say... dreaming of a future when the timing would be right, the money would be there, I'd have a good travel companion and the stars would be aligned... then I'd "do it." Whatever "it" was. Fly to New York, Seattle, San Francisco, ITALY, or even back to Walt Disney World. Someday I would travel. I'd go, really...

I promised this to myself every day as I'd drive into work, watching the planes fly overhead... looking up and wondering where they were headed. I'd smile and wish them well on their travels, then imagine I was high above myself, in that plane right along side them.

"Someday," I'd whisper to myself on a sigh... driving to my daily drudgery. But someday never seemed to happen. Days turned to years. Same routine, same life, same issues, same promises.

Till today.

My stomach keeps dropping and tightening and the butterflies are definitely putting on a show in there... but I can't tell if it's caused by the dipping of the plane in turbulence, or because I know this is such a big step in my life, and the reality is finally hitting me a bit more.

I've talked about adventures and finding it "someday." But this is finally happening today. The twisting and turning continues, and I've still got that stupid grin plastered to my face.

Alone, but not lonely.

And incredibly excited to see where my path leads next.



minted magic and holiday fun

Several months back, asked if they could use a few of my photos as samples for their new holiday cards. It was fun to see my images start to pop up in several new designs, but yesterday was a FABULOUS surprise...

Out of THOUSANDS of entries, a card design which showcased one of MY images was selected as one of four Guest Judge winners of the Let it Snow! Holiday + New Year’s Photo Card Challenge! (squeeeeeeeee!!!!)

Guest Judge Elaina Sullivan, Market Editor at Domino selected the "Handwritten Noel" design by Sarah Curry.

Here is a snippet of this fantastic announcement, as seen on Minted's blog:

minted card design winner - photo by The Suitcase Studio
minted card design winner - photo by The Suitcase Studio

(See all the winners by clicking here.)

Although I REALLY should give a lot of the photo credit to my fabulous clients... this family was SUPER-adorable and it was their idea to bring the little car with the tiny tree tied up top. And, oh yeah... they all showed up in JAMMIES! (I puffy-heart people with this kind of creativity.)

Check out how much FUN we had together during last year's mini-session:


Ready to PLAY? I am holding Holiday Mini-Sessions this year on October 11 and November 9. Contact me to learn more and sign up for a session of your own.