Kona the Awesome

I’ve mentioned before my very talented friend Lisa – she’s a great photographer and I’ve known her for over a decade, since we were both frantic brides planning our 2003 weddings.

Lately, Lisa’s been taking some photos that just make me smile. And since this week is a tough one for me (Wednesday will be three years since my dear dad died), I am taking all the smiles I can possibly get, and with Lisa’s gracious consent, I am sharing some of sweet puppy Kona’s photos.

Isn’t she talented?

This one with the inspiration for the “Kona on Things” photo series:

Lisa dedicated this one to me – for my “morning smile” – yay!

And finally, KOT (Kona on Things) the KOFE division (Kona on Farm Equipment) ūüėÄ

Aren’t these great? How could you NOT smile looking at this adorable puppy???

Thanks, Lisa, for letting me share these, and for these wonderful KOT pictures!


I did a lot of camera-aiming at people this weekend. We went to Yosemite and had a great time camping and at one point I turned and my oldest was doing this:

I didn’t wash my hair for four days so I will not be showing you the picture he took ;D

But I will share some of the others later this week.

Interview with Lisa Epp of Captured Grace Photography

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lisa since we were both brides-to-be on a wedding planning message board. Some of the local brides would get together and eventually some of us became friends, attending each other’s ceremonies and keeping in touch past the “I do” moment.

Back then, Lisa was known as the one who would capture beautiful details at our weddings, she would catch a corner of a wedding cake or the lacy hem of a bridal gown and compose beautiful images. Today, she does the same with nature, truly capturing grace in the details that most of us miss.

She also does portraits, maternity, family and baby pictures and recently opened an Etsy shop — Recently I got a chance to ask her a few questions about her work:

CB: If you could spend a day anywhere in the world, photographing anything or anyone, what would it be?
SUCH a hard question because there are several places that get my blood pumping thinking about the photography opportunities.
I would love to see Ireland and the rolling hills, the towns, general beauty of the land
Italy and Greece call to me for the bright colors and architectural details I have seen in images.
AND if I could photograph anyone I would be running towards Johnny Depp. There is something so captivating in his face and voice, that make me just want to capture him.

CB: What is it about the details of nature that draw you to capture them?
I am drawn to the details of nature because they are so amazing when you take time to really look and appreciate all the details.
Yes flowers are pretty to look at, but if you look at them from a different angle, examine how they are put together, the petals and colors it is breathtaking. Take a leaf in fall, the colors are stunning, the textures and patterns. Each one different.
I love taking the time to notice what we pass by every day without taking the time to really look at it.

CB: What kind of camera/equipment do you have?
I have a Nikon D700. Love it!
I generally almost always have my 50mm. 1.4 lens on, but I also adore my 85mm lens.

CB: What is the best compliment you have received on your work?
Well I don’t have a specific one, but when people comment that I made them really appreciate and see the beauty in the simple details of life, it is wonderful.

CB: What do you see for your photography in the next 5 years?
I would love to be doing more portrait sessions, especially with babies, my favorite.:)
Mostly, I just hope to be still looking for those details of life and enjoying my journey with photography.

If you are in the South Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, and need some newborn, family or engagement portraiture, Captured Grace is a wonderful choice. She also does very tasteful and elegant boudoir portraits, which I highly recommend as a special gift to your other half.

Lisa is also kind enough to offer a 20% discount on any item in her Etsy shop with the code 20claudia, good until the end of April — she has gorgeous note card sets, nature and still life prints, there are a couple I would LOVE to have framed up in my office area.

Thank you Lisa, it’s always nice to chat with you, chicka!

Birthday weekend, part 3

After leaving Castello di Amorosa, we drove to Joseph Phelps for the tasting our friends C&D had set up for us.

Joseph Phelps has not only great wines, but also glorious views from their tasting terrace:

The tasting we had included their Insignia wines:

My favorite was the 2006 Insignia, followed by the 2005 Cab.  I am a Bordeaux girl at heart but love Cabs as well, so this tasting was right up my alley.

Me with our friend M. ¬†Yes, I am a hobbit. ¬†Ironic since she is from New Zealand ūüėÄ

For lunch, M had made reservations at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, a super charming restaurant from the owner of Brassica and Mustards. ¬†I loved that the window boxes surrounding the restaurant were full of vegetables!

I had the Backstreet Burger, my husband and J had the Adult Grilled Cheese, and M had the Duck burger.  Everything was delicious and we headed back to the hotel for a nap.  More about my birthday weekend tomorrow!

Birthday weekend, part 2

My husband had planned a surprise for Saturday morning, my actual birthday. ¬†He and our¬†friends¬†convinced me to get up early and “beat the rush” — I am a morning person and I thought, hey, if you want to get up at 6am too, whatever. ¬†Well, the three of them were in on the secret, which was a balloon ride!

Unfortunately, Calistoga was very foggy that morning so it was canceled. ¬†Boo. ¬†Hiss. ¬†At which point my husband told me of the plans and I was disappointed but not as much as the three of them, who were so excited over the balloon ride. ¬†Oh well. ¬†It was a super sweet plan and someday we’ll go up and see the sights from way up high.

Instead, we ended up going to a winery I’d been wanting to visit for a while. ¬†If you ever get a chance, you should visit Castello di Amorosa.

image above from destination 360.com

Dario Sattui, owner of V. Sattui, built this castle in the style of a medieval Italian castle, and only produces Italian style wines.  You can read the story here.  It is quite historically accurate Рfollowing modern codes and regulations, of course Рand it was nice to see details like the one my husband pointed out; a warming fire used to heat the rocks that made up the walls and then that heat would radiate into the rooms, making them cozier.

This place is breathtaking, and to someone who a) likes wine, and b) is a history addict, visiting Castello de Amorosa was a great experience.

My husband at the entrance of the castle.

The banquet room

My husband chose to have the wine & chocolate tasting.  Honestly, this day just kept getting better and better!  Our guide, Alene, was awesome, full of information, engaging, etc.  After the tasting, we headed over to Joseph Phelps because our friends C&D had set up a tasting for us there.

I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow ūüėÄ

Thursday Favorite ThingsWeekend Bloggy Reading

Fashion Friday: Family Pics

As the days of Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, there is another event that we honor every year – Family Picture Day.

This year I am considering a very neutral theme:

family photos

Special friends such as my oldest’s Soft Elephant and my youngest’s Zebra & Rabbit are always welcome – they are part of the family ;D

Do you take annual pics?

2012 Calendar by Georgianna Lane

I recently ordered a calendar from an etsy shop, I was very taken with her photographs of Paris and the price was an absolute steal. Usually each 5×5 print sells for $12 and here was a calendar = 12 prints for $20 with free shipping. How could I resist?

First, I received a very nice (personal, not form) email shortly after paying, and a few days later I got this in the mail:

There was a very nice card inside . . .

. . . with a gorgeous bonus print:

And the piece de resistance, the 5×7 prints that make up the calendar:
The prints have the calendar bit on the bottom 2 inches so when you’re done, you can cut that off and you have the original 5×5 print ready to mat and hang up.

The 2012 calendar is currently 20% off and shipping is free, so I highly recommend you get one now, the images are beautiful and you have art to treasure forever!