Sunshine and Lemonade, Birthday Party Invitation and Party Photos

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sunshine and lemonade birthday party invitation processIf I haven’t said it a thousand times already, Jess and I make a great team! So when she came to me with the idea of a vintage summer birthday party for her son’s second birthday, back in probably November haha, I had many months to get excited to get started on the project. This time, she left it fully in my hands on what to do. She just gave me a photo of a lemonade stand that she wanted to make and then said go. I thought about it for a month or two—seriously, she always gives me plenty of time—and came up with using watercolor as a way of coloring in the invitation. And since her colors started as being yellow, gray and white, I thought a simple line art illustration would work perfectly.

sunshine and lemonade birthday party watercolor invitation processJust to show Jess the layout I wanted to go with, I sketched out a rough idea. Once she saw it, she suggested adding the pendant banners. Love! And then we also decided to add the blue and green to add some more color and make it more kid like. It was for a 2 year old’s birthday party after all.

I then traced the photo she had given me of the lemonade stand, added a kid’s big wheel bike and voila! The invite was almost done.

Then came the fun part… I first tested water coloring straight on the invitation. We ended up not going that route for two reasons: 1. who has time to paint each invitation? and 2. the paper just got too warped from the water.

So instead, I painted on a blank page with the general idea of what I needed. I then scanned that in and added it the drawing. I really am happy with doing that, it allowed us to have the lemonade stand wood in solid white rather than having the green grass show through.

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But to still give it that tactile feel, we printed all the invites on watercolor paper from our home printer.

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sunshine and lemonade your new friend sam birthday invitation


Then my part was pretty much done. Except for a few more graphics for the party, the rest was up to Jess’ magical party planning hands (see her Pinterest board here).

It’s always fun to hear about all the planning that goes into such an event and then get to just show up and see it all brought to life!

I took a few hundred photos of the party… the day couldn’t have been more perfect for a sunshine filled party celebrating little Grayson! Hope you enjoy…

And thanks Jess for sharing some of your photos with me too… hers are marked below. Read her post on the party here, and then invitation here.

Since this was a lemonade party, the focal point of the decorations was this amazing lemonade stand that Jess and her hubby Scott made!


Then Jess took a few old bicycle tires, found at a garage sale, spray painted them white and adding dozens of photos of G through the years. Such a cute idea!

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Then she had the treat table…


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Along with the “guest book,” a sun I designed based off the invitation that was filled with fingerprints of all the guests (like last year’s caterpillar!).

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And then of course, a party couldn’t be complete with cake!

Grayson seriously makes the sweetest faces! Here’s just a few as he was so adorably admiring his cake…

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And any good 2 year old’s party includes lots of kiddos running around… so let’s end this post on the cutest of notes!

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You remember baby Parker?

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Grayson had the sweetest reactions to his presents… especially his new Toy Story pajamas.

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Little Grayson,

Hope you know how much you are loved… how much you have been prayed for. I love your sweet demeanor, those sparkly eyes, and your flirty show-off side… may you never lose that sparkle and precious little smile that shows us all that dear heart of yours.

Love, Auntie Sam

Meeting Baby Emily, My New York Niece

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See part 1 of my trip to upstate New York to visit my best friend and her new baby here.

I can’t believe I’ve already been back from New York for a week! I seriously miss it more and more each day… once you see these photos you’ll know why… we spent the week relaxing and cuddling on the couch with the new babe… going on walks downtown… taking baths of course… and then taking lots of photos to document little Emily in all her 3 weeks adorableness!

I love this little family of 3 and just couldn’t wait to go through the photos from the trip. Shockingly, there aren’t that many… Considering I was there for almost a whole week that is! But it was so nice to put the camera away and just enjoy life! Hope you enjoy this small glimpse into small town life from upstate New York where the fields are green and a little rain never hurt anybody!

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I’ll forever cherish these little moments when Joyce was napping and Emily and I got to snuggle up… she was a big fan of all my picture taking… 🙂

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We spent an evening just sitting on the porch, Emily loved looking around at the trees and birds flying by. And of course I just loved how she was so gently holding on to her mama’s arms. Ugh, so sweet.

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Seriously, check out that head of hair!!

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The “maiden voyage” of the stroller… walking around town with the pups.

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More baths!

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And of course, after bath time, I just had to take some last photos before my plane ride home.

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I was so fascinated by those gorgeous eyelashes of hers. She’s just beautiful!

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And then on our way out to the airport, we just had to take a photo of us girls and one of mama and baby!

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Miss Emily, oh how I miss you! I’ll start sobbing if I write too much to you here… but I will sure miss seeing you growing up in person. But I am so excited to come out and see you, and of course living vicariously through photos! With parents like yours, I can only imagine the selfless, carefree, and funny Godly woman you will grow up to be.

Forever and always yours, Aunt Sam



Miss Kaelea’s Two Year Outdoor Park Photos, Murrieta and Wildomar Children Photography

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Last summer I posted a glimpse of little miss Kaelea’s photos and somehow the rest of her photos never made it on my blog! After helping with a photoshoot at this same park a few weeks ago, I realized that I hadn’t ever posted these adorable photos… better late than never, right? Can’t believe she’s now almost three!

I met miss Kaelea at Rachel’s baby shower last year and fell in love with her sweet little smile and adorable little laugh… and after seeing these photos I bet you will feel the same way!

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Loving Life thru My Lens

This past week was just so fun… from Disneyland trips to the birthday celebrations over the weekend… I spent a lot of time behind my camera capturing the moments. I feel so incredible blessed to call these people friends who are really more like family.

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from this last week, just a glimpse of the joy I saw thru my lens.

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Molly’s first trip to Disneyland.

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Just the cutest little profile of an almost 2 year old on a break from playing with the ducks.

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Eli runs home at his weekly baseball game.

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Trying to capture all my last moments [for awhile]  of the Happiest Place on Earth.

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Amelia’s happy grin in her mama’s arms.

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Eli’s first pinata experience.

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And a dad’s extreme joy and getting to pull the pinata out of reach. 🙂

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How cute are two 2-year olds!? I mean really, is there anything cuter??

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And then spa splashing fun!

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Eli’s fun with his new bubble machine from Auntie Yoyo.

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Hudson’s backward binoculars experience.

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The big boys playing ball games.

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And to end the weekend, our new two year old Owen being so happily embarrassed during his happy birthday song.

Hope you enjoyed loving life thru my lens!

Amelia’s 9 Month Bubble Bath and Easter Photos, Menifee Baby Photography

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Rachel and I had been racking our brains trying to come up with something unique for the little miss’ 9 month photos.

rachel bathtubA few times Rachel had mentioned wanting to get a photo of Amelia in an old wash tub—like a photos she had of herself as a child—so that inspired our outdoor bubble bath session!

But first, we had to get a few photos in her Easter dress!

What I love most about having these sessions every 3 months is capturing the ever changing personality of a child. Mia loves to clap and gives these amazing crinkle nose smiles!

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And for awhile now she’s been standing up—when holding on to anything she can, but holding mama’s hand is definitely the sweetest!

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And now time for the bath photos!

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Again, I love how these capture Mia so perfectly. She’s so observant, always looking down to explore everything within reach. And of course, once that new found object is within her little hands, in the mouth it goes!

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These last few remind me so much of Mia’s newborn session when she would not leave her mama’s arms. So so sweet!

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Baby Mia… I will forever love you as you’ve captured my heart with your sweet smile and curious personality. I am so blessed to be able to watch you grow and honored to be able to capture all that you do with my lens. <3

Some tips for you, if you plan to totally “wing it” with your own outdoor bubble bath photos….

I really wanted to make sure the setting had the depth and wide open light to really make the bubbles shine, however this led to us having to transport many gallons of water in the trunk of a car. So preferably, having a hose nearby would have been pretty nice! 🙂

Also, make sure the water isn’t too cold… since I’m not a mama, I definitely didn’t think of that going in to this shoot so it took Mia quite some time to allow us to sit her down in the tub. Oh well, the standing photos are just as cute if not more so!

And of course, bring lots of extra bubbles for the bubble machine!

New Etsy Shop Launched: Mama & Mia Boutique, Hand Knit Infinity Scarves + Giveaway!

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I’m so excited to share this new shop with y’all!

Over the past few months, Rachel has been racking my brain regarding all things Etsy so it’s been fun seeing this come together! And just last weekend, her Etsy boutique went live!

In her own words, Rachel describes her scarves:

After having my darling daughter Amelia, I really felt inspired to start using my creative juices and get crafting. Since being fashionably dressed has always been a must for myself, Amelia now gets to share in that same joy! Scarves are a staple in my winter wardrobe for staying warm and cute so it only made sense that Amelia have her own as well! Voila! Mama & Mia, scarves for littles and their mamas and basically anyone else with a neck that needs a little lovin!

The Mama & Mia scarf is handmade, hand knit, chunky infinity scarf, made from 80% acrylic and 20% wool yarn.

A couple weeks ago, we got together to take some photographs of her infinity scarves product line. Little Mia napped as we shot all the Mama scarves and then woke up just in time to model the Mia scarves for us.

Hope you enjoy the images as much as I do… product photography is fun! Such a different approach than regular portraits… always trying to maximize the versatility of the scarves and bring all attention to them rather than the model herself—although the model is just as gorgeous!

Check out the photos and then at the end of this post, enter our giveaway for a free scarf for yourself and a friend—or your very own Mia.


Comes in sizes for Mama and Mia.

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Comes in sizes for Mama and Mia.

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Comes in sizes for Mama and Mia.

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Comes in sizes just for Mama.

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Comes in sizes for Mama and Mia.

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Pink to Grey Ombre

Comes in sizes just for Mia.

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And of course, Rachel also had me create them a custom lettered stamp for the hang tags…

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mama and mia boutique pin it and win it contest

This contest is now closed… Jess won a Mama scarf in Mustard with her Pinterest entry! Sweet Rachel has given us a coupon code for all my readers, use code NEWFRIENDSAM when checking out at Mama and Mia Boutique for $5 off your order!

So with all that to say, I’m having a little contest and all you have to do to win a set of your very own scarves is…

1. Pin, to one of your Pinterest boards, from any of the above images (you can pin from this post using the Pinterest button below or from the Etsy shop)… and then…

2. Leave a comment on this post below telling us which color and size (Mama or Mia) scarf you want—along with a link to your pin.

And that’s it! Then you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free set of scarves from the Mama and Mia Boutique.

Fine print: The contest starts today until Saturday, March 15, 11:59 PST. Once the winner is selected, I will contact you via email to get your shipping address.

Baby Violet, Newborn Photography, Menifee


Oh this sweet baby girl! Born just before Christmas, her mama and I planned this little mini shoot and got together right in their backyard (gotta love So Cal in December). She wore homemade knitted beanies and booties and just kept flashing us those beautiful eyes of hers!

Enjoy these favorites of mine of sweet little Violet at 2 weeks old…

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Kali Ann, Anaheim Newborn Photography


Let me introduce y’all to little miss Kali Ann… even though she made her first debut on this blog in her aunt Amie’s giant wedding post while she was still nice and snug in her mama’s tummy—only weeks before she was born.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Amie’s new family—her husband’s giant family—over the last few years and they couldn’t be more full of love for each other. Miss Kali definitely has them all wrapped around her little fingers already… Aunt Amie even let her wear the bridal hair pin flower—that never made it in time for the wedding—for her photo shoot too! Plus, this sweet little miss has 2 big sisters that are just so happy and excited to love on their new little sister too. You can definitely feel the love when you’re with the whole family so it truly was an honor to photograph the newest addition to the bunch!

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A Rice Family Christmas, Murrieta Family Photography


Just days before Christmas, our friends BJ and Melissa—along with their little family—were in town and we were able to get together to take some family photos!

My hubby and BJ have been friends since forever, BJ was in our wedding and my hubby in theirs… so it was an honor to be able to capture some memories of their sweet—and growing—family!

(And if you’ve been reading this blog from the very beginning, you may remember them from one of my first ever vacation post series: Roadtrip 2010 when we all drove to Kansas, South Dakota (part 1, part 2) and Colorado in a week.)


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A dad and his son, a mother and her daughter…


These next few are my absolute favorite!

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Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me and smiling for my camera!