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Jan 192015
 
A long time ago, when I was just a wee impressionistic fresh young thang in college, I made the big decision to go to UCLA, where I learned to embrace all things art. While there, I met another fellow impressionistic young thang who was also an art major. She sat down next to me one day, cracked a few jokes & then announced (after about five minutes of bonding) “I’m Sarena and we’re going to be good friends….”  And well, she was right.
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And Because of our mutual passion for art, we made many projects together. And because of our love for dance, one of those projects was a dance concert. We gathered the dancers, performed in it and we each choreographed a piece of our own. It was one of my favorite projects. Sarena’s choreography was set to the tune of Lenny Kravitz’s “Butterfly,” which was written by him, for his daughter. It’s a beautiful song and I always remembered it.
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Flash forward to today, Sarena is now a proud mama and her daughter Amaya is a 2-year-old reflection of herself. Amaya also loves to dance. I baby-sat her 2 days ago and upon my arrival she immediately announced “We’re gonna dance!” So we did, up & down the hallway, till dark. She would choreograph & I would perform, then I would choreograph and she would perform. I was mesmerized by her. She was a natural ballerina, just like her mama and as I sat in the doorway, smiling on this, I was suddenly flooded with memories and then “Butterfly” began to play in my head, as Amaya danced on…
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Sarena is one of the greatest spirits I know. She has always been so supportive and is always doing her best to push forward positivity. I look up to her like a sister and love her like a best friend. Today is her birthday. So Amaya and I made her this gift.

Jan 122015
 

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

I had the pleasure of shooting this family just before the Christmas holiday began. They were a new family for me and we had a blast together. Due to the remarkably dry and hot winter season, that California continues to have, we were able to have our shoot at the beach- complete with bare feet and summer dresses! (It’s a rough life). As you may know, I prefer to bring my families outdoors and watch them play, interact, and love on one another in big open spaces so a warm winter is always a huge positive since it never restricts us to one space. For this shoot, we started out at The Palos Verdes Beach and Athletic Club’s parks and recreation. We then worked our way down the Malaga Cove trail to it’s Cove. We caught the coast just at sunset so our backdrop was a vivid palette of colors and the sand, due to low tide, stretched out before us like glass.

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

I instantly fell in love with this family and their adorable dog “Dot.” Dot could only make it for part of the shoot, since she’s seventeen years old and can’t take too much action these days but that being said she doesn’t seem a day over five and is still very protective and caring towards the kids.

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

And this was one of the main images they used for this year’s Christmas card. I know the holiday’s are over but I love this image so I thought I’d throw it in.

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

family portraits, ©Jen Castle Photography, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove, Beach, Christmas, holidays

Dec 252014
 

christmas, idyllwild, cabins, idyllwild inn, family

Every other year my family runs off to the mountains for Christmas…

to a candy-cane-lane of log cabins deep within the woods. It’s a tradition that began ten years ago and  I have since come to completely adore it. I used to think that Christmas needed to be spent at home but really, as long as you’re with family, it doesn’t matter where you go. Christmas lives within. So why not travel? Why not explore, get out and share the experience with your closest family and bestest friends? It’s priceless, not to mention, completely romantic.

This year, our cabin resides in Idyllwild. I now lie awake, reflective and child-like, listening to the crackle of our fire. My dogs at my side. Husband fast-asleep. Home-made cookies fill the air and have been set aside, with a large glass of milk (and wine, just in case santa needs a break from the lactose) to accompany them. Our presents are wrapped, stockings stuffed and my spirit is full. It doesn’t get any better than this, really. I’m in a state of complete awesome sauce.

“Home is wherever I’m with you.”

So, here’s to everyone out there, wherever you may be this Christmas. Here’s to a spectacular Christmas morning, to family, friends, unconditional love, the pursuit of happiness and good ol’ father Christmas. Cheers and Merry Christmas to you all!!

christmas, idyllwild, cabins, idyllwild inn, family