Local Business - New Thought Montessori

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When Brittney and Brandy re-established their preschool, New Thought Montessori, in a new location in Lake Forest, I knew I wanted to photograph it for them! I had seen all the hard work they put into it, as Brittney had chronicled the process on her Facebook and Instagram.

So let me tell you, this is the coolest preschool ever. It is clean, brightly lit, modern and has so many different areas for your little one to engage in, both indoors and out. The classes max out at 12 children per class, following the Montessori and Reggio philosophies. Oh and they have two adorable baby chickens and four guinea pigs (!!!).

I was curious to know more about the Montessori/Reggio philosophy, so I asked Brittney and Brandy to tell me a bit about it. They explained to me that the Montessori approach focuses on each child as a unique individual, honoring that each child has a different learning style and pace. Montessori students "enjoy freedom within limits," which allows them to become enthusiastic and confident about their learning. The Reggio aspect incorporates the use of nature and natural materials in the classroom setting. New Thought Montessori prioritizes the care of self, care of others, care of the environment, and academics.

 
 

Brandy and Brittney love working with children and have both been in the field for quite some time. Brandy has been working in Montessori schools for about 20 years, while Brittney has been in Montessori education for over 9 years. Their love for the Montessori and Reggio philosophies inspired them to open their own school, to merge traditional Montessori curriculum with a new learning environment. New Thought Montessori hopes to "prepare children for the future, allow for more one on one time, encourage positive relationships with all the teachers at the school, and meet the needs of today's child." Brandy and Brittney are joined by three other Montessori-trained teachers.

 
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I loved seeing the school with all its awesome areas for learning. Brittney, Brandy and the rest of their team are the sweetest ladies and New Thought Montessori is a great place to send your little ones. If you're interested in learning more about them, follow them on Facebook/Instagram or check out their website!

Personal Branding Sessions

I am excited to announce that I am now offering personal branding portrait sessions! Wondering what that is? Well, it can be whatever you need it to be! Personal branding sessions can be used lots of different ways, including: LinkedIn head shots, dating profile photos, blog photography, modern glamour photography or just general photo updates for your social media, .

Once we connect regarding a personal branding session, we work together to understand what it is you hope to get from the session and how you want to be photographed. You don't have to settle on just one style of shoot or even one location, making each session is personalized.

Standard session fee is $275 and includes three web-resolution images for easy online sharing. After your shoot, we will meet again for your photo viewing session. This is where you pick your three included digital images, as well as any additional printed products for purchase. I offer high quality printed products from professional labs that last for generations to come. Printed products purchased include the matching digital image.

Scroll down for some examples for the different styles of shoots!

Standard Head Shots

 
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Modern Studio Glamour

 
 
 
 

Social Media Use

 
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As you can see, personal branding sessions are quite versatile. Don't hesitate, contact and book today!

Ireland & Iceland - May 2017

Hello! Remember how in my last post one of my goals for 2017 is to blog more? Whoops... Better late than never, I suppose. So let's get started then, with our recent trip to Ireland and Iceland. I've been wanting to travel to both of these places for a while so I was excited to get them checked off my list!

We began our travels in Dublin, Ireland. The flight over was pretty painless. The back of the plane was fairly empty so we both got our own rows and were able to settle in for some sleep. Passport control once we landed was slow though. Pro-tip: either print out or be able to pull up confirmation of where you are staying and your return flight to the US, as passport control does request to see those. The airport had free wi-fi, so we were able to pull up our confirmations without a problem. We did end up running into a problem with the car rental agency. We had booked a small car but they were out and gave us a a big ol' van. Not only did we have to get used to the driver's seat being on the opposite side of the car and driving on the opposite side of road, but then we had to navigate Ireland's narrow (and often one-way only) streets in a car that seemed gigantic. Driving into Temple Bar (where our hotel was located) was quite the experience, as it was Saturday night and the streets were full of people walking from bar to bar. We finally got settled at the hotel, had our first Irish meal, then went to sleep.

 
 Temple Bar area during the day.

Temple Bar area during the day.

 

The next morning, we headed out to see the Cliffs of Moher, stopping a couples times along the way. Saw some neat castles and churches and had our first delicious Full Irish breakfast. It got a bit easier to navigate our boat of a rental car once we got out of the city and into the countryside. So many sheep and cows everywhere, even at the cliffs!

It took us a couple hours to get to the cliffs with our pit-stops but it was worth the time and effort. Once you get there, you can walk either to the left or to the right - we went to the right and were able to walk right up to the edge of the cliff, which was cool. There were warning signs posted not to get too close, as there had been some erosion.

 What a view, right?

What a view, right?

 
 On our way back, we pulled over for another castle pit-stop and an Irish sunset.

On our way back, we pulled over for another castle pit-stop and an Irish sunset.

 

The next day we remained in Dublin, walking around to take in the sights offered in town. We also went to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour. It's not currently functioning as an active brewery, more of a museum. We got taken into a room where they told us about the brewing process a bit and the coloring of Guinness, and were given a small tasting. We then walked around and looked at the exhibits. After looking at the exhibits, we had the choice of going up to the restaurant and getting our included pint there or going to a different room and learning to properly pour our own pint, so we chose to do that.

After doing some research when we got back to the hotel, we decided to head out to Glendalough the next morning. We wandered through the monastic site before taking the path down to Lower Lake and then Upper Lake. The water was so still when we got to Lower Lake and the reflection of the trees was spectacular. By the time we made it to Upper Lake, a small breeze had picked up and broke up the reflection on the water. On our way back, we wandered up a small trail and found a little waterfall, which was a nice surprise.

The next morning, we flew out to Iceland, landing in Keflavik, hopped in our rental car and headed into Reykjavik. We were a little worried about flying in though, as Greg had received an email the night before from the rental car agency warning of storm conditions. While it was cold and very windy (which became the theme of our stay there), it was still doable. We settled in, wandered around town, and got some warmer gear. Our hotel had a cute lobby area which looked out onto the street, perfect for people watching.

My parents arrived the following morning and we set out for a day-long guided car tour of the island. Iceland's terrain is unreal. We visited a lot of popular destinations, including Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, Faxi Waterfall, some geysers, Kerid Crater, and stopped to pet some Icelandic horses, all while battling winds from 20 to 45 mph. Thingvellir National Park was cool because it sits in a valley between two tectonic plates, which are very slowly separating. When you walk through it, they say that you are walking between two continents! We stopped for lunch at Fredheimar Greenhouse which was super cute. They focus on growing tomatoes in their greenhouse, so while they had a small menu, everything was tomato based, including the desserts!

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 This is me pretending everything is okay while trying not to get knocked over by the wind.

This is me pretending everything is okay while trying not to get knocked over by the wind.

The following morning, Greg and I set out on our own to find a waterfall that I had set my mind to visit before leaving, called Seljalandsfoss. It took us about an hour and a half to get there from Reykjavik. The weather was all over the place with high winds, rain and even some snow at one point during the drive. It was super windy when we made it there but we still got out of the car, determined to make it behind the waterfall. We got soaked from the wind blowing the spray onto us, so after that waterfall, we drove a bit further south, where we saw a few more small waterfalls and one of the small churches that Iceland is known to have spotting their landscape. I had some other things that I wanted to see before turning around to go back to town, but the weather wasn't looking too great. We finished the day by meeting up with my parents at the Blue Lagoon for some relaxation.


Don't forget to check out our video that Greg put together of our time in Ireland and Iceland!

And with that, we ended our trip! We actually had a one night layover in Portland, Oregon on our way back. Even though we were there for just one night, we liked our time there a lot and are planning to head back in September. Taking recommendations for Portland!


Tips & Details:
     - We stayed at The Morgan in Dublin. Central location, but it can be loud due to the area it's in. Also, someone set a pile of trash on fire in the alley under our window early one morning so that was a fun smell to wake up to. There is a parking structure just across the street that you can use for 18 euros/night.
     - Rent the smallest car possible if you're going to get a car in Dublin.
     - We stayed at Alda Hotel in Reykjavik. Enjoyed staying here and it was a good location. If you rent a car, there's a paid parking structure a bit down the street, which wasn't too expensive.
     - Iceland itself was pretty expensive.

Photography Gear:
     - Drone footage was done with a DJI Mavic Pro
     - Walk around footage shot with a GoPro Hero 5 and stabilized with a GoPro Karma Grip
     - Canon Mark iii with a Tamron 24-70mm, which is my standard travel setup
     - MeFoto Roadtrip tripod
     - Tiffen Company 0.9 Neutral Density filter for long exposure shots
     - A couple shots included in the post were shot with an iPhone 7+


2016 Travel Photo Favorites

Happy New Year! One of my goals for 2017 is to start blogging, so welcome to my first post! I thought I'd start off by blogging some of my favorite travel photos of 2016.

 

Mammoth Lakes, California is a frequent road trip destination for us. I had seen a lot of photos of Convict Lake (located just outside of town) on Instagram. On our trip out there in February, I made sure to take a little detour on our way into town to see. I was definitely not let down! The view was absolutely breathtaking and the picture does not do it justice. It was on that trip that I decided that I wanted to go back at every season and do my best to get another photo in the same spot, as you can see below!

 
 
 Top left: February     Top right: May     Bottom left: August     Bottom right: October

Top left: February     Top right: May     Bottom left: August     Bottom right: October

 
 

 

We traveled to British Columbia, Canada over 4th of July weekend and fell in love with the country. We drove out from Vancouver up to Whistler, making tons of stops along the way for photos, hiking and to fly my husband Greg's drone. Amazing trip and can't wait to go back to Canada to explore more. We are trying to plan a trip to Banff and would love any input if you have it!

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In October, I headed back out to Mammoth by myself to see the fall colors and to finish the final square of my Convict Lake grid. I also decided to drive into Yosemite. Yosemite is beautiful. I hope to go back some time and enter the park through the west to see the valley.

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While we had a few more trips here and there throughout the year, we ended the travel year with a trip to Saint Barthélemy in the French West Indies. Beautiful beaches and delicious food. All in all, a more relaxing vacation than adventurous, but still just as fun.

 

So excited to see where the new year takes us. Happy travels in 2017 everyone!