A few weeks ago I set a new picture as my desktop background. A picture very special to my heart. My 3 girls and I – my daughters and my old lady Di (it’s the picture you see above). On the day I took it we already knew we have only a few days left with the old lady and my heart was already broken. She was my everything. My best friend. My companion and the only baby sitter of my kids I ever had.
On that day I put my nice shoes on and we went to the park to celebrate. Celebrate us and our time together. My sweet, old lady is gone and has been for many years now, but she will be in my heart for a lifetime.
I love looking at all the memories we made together. All the moments captured forever.
11 months ago I decided to add another four-legged family member because one heartbreak is not enough, I guess. Rambunctious Oreo. He even has his own Instagram, btw.
This past weekend I made an extra effort to celebrate him and my girls. Us together. Our time, the way we play. The way we hug. The way we love each other.
I know, someday these moments will bring tears to my eyes, just like all the memories of Lady Di. But that’s how it all goes.
So, now is your turn to make memories of the special hugs and kisses and playful moments engraved in your heart forever. The mustard flowers are popping up and it’s the perfect time to celebrate.
Let’s celebrate in joyful YELLOW FLOWERS that are popping out already!
Celebrate whatever you want.
Celebrate Your family.
Celebrate Your best friend: A human, a dog or a guinea pig.
Because the perfect time is now.
In the past, I had clients celebrating Breastfeeding moments perfectly hidden in the tall flowers or proudly standing in the joyful yellows!
I had pregnant mamas and a lot of families just having fun!
And this year, it’s your turn!
The fields don’t last long so book your session ASAP!
Did you know that being a “puppy petter” is a real thing? Well, it is!
I’ve had quite the experience in puppy petting in my life. Let me count… Amor, Rosie, Muffy, Maggie, Oreo, Ewelina, Natalia… Oh wait… the last two are my kids… However, all of my pups came with other (dirtier) responsibilities. The puppy petting I’m talking about today is different. Plus it serves an amazing purpose.
Paws for Purple Hearts, Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy
I recently connected with a non-profit organization which trains and provides service dogs for veterans.
Let’s travel in time to 2006. In that year Bergin University Of Canine Studies (located in Penngrove, California) with the partnership of The Menlo Park Veterans Administration Medical Center started a research program.
Why this program is so important? Because today that program is an amazing non-profit organization with 5 locations nationwide. That organization is called Paws for Purple Hearts.
A few months ago I traveled to Penngrove where PPH’s national office is located. There I met with the founder of the University, the creator of PPH, Dr. Bonnie Bergin, and the team. That was a great experience.
PPH connects veterans with highly trained service dogs. They call them champ service dogs. The organization believes golden retrievers and labradors (or a mix of those two) are the best breeds for the purpose of becoming the champ service dog.
The most amazing thing about their training program is that it involves between 40 to 60 veterans per dog. One pup can have a therapeutic impact on so many people who need it. WOW!
The puppies are born and spend most of their early puppyhood in Penngrove. After they reach a certain age, a volunteer drives them once a week to the Menlo Park location (and back) for a puppy petting event and to start their training with veterans. Now, the best part is that everybody (age 14+) can sign up to become a puppy petter. Yes, you read that right. You come and pet puppies for an entire hour, once a week. I can assure you, just that itself has therapeutic powers! Puppy petting is designed to introduce the pups to all kinds of positive stimulation around people and they need as many of us as possible. 🙂
It costs PPH $35k to fully train ONE service dog! Can you imagine that?
Bergin University programs are growing. PPH is only one of them. When I visited Penngrove’s team they seemed really busy with 3 different litters. One of the litters will go to PPH. It’s the one you can see in the video. The two remaining litters will go to different programs. However, with the growth, they need to increase manpower and raise money.
Simply speaking, they need as much help as they can get.
Volunteers are always needed! Same with donations. PPH’s website has detailed information about getting involved with them, so please visit and see if you can!
Maybe I’ll see you there next time.
Last year, I had a vision for my Holiday card. I’d arranged several dates to do it with my family, and each time there was something that pushed the first date to the second date. And then the second date to the third date. And then the rain came. And then it got very cold. And I finally said, it’s today! With a grumpy husband, hungry kids, and a dog that was all over the place we went out.
For the first 15 minutes, I was trying to figure out HOW for the sake of it all, am I going to manage the big umbrella (behind us on a downward slope), that was flying away with the wind every time I let it go, while running towards the camera to set the self timer, then running back to position myself and manage my kids who were not having it. And the husband. You know, the regular thing. Standing like a statue in a place where he was put, looking up the newest news that might have appeared during the last 15 minutes.
My hands were freezing. In my mind I was just about to commit a murder on somebody. I was ready to throw everything down, and to start jumping on it like a mad woman, smashing and breaking all the equipment.
And here we were, holding a sign that says JOY! Oh the best joke of that entire Holiday Card making process. Isn’t that the truth of self made holiday cards… (at least I got an awesome feedback from almost everybody who received the cart!). The process was similar to a childbirth: you hate everybody around you during it, but after you see the baby, everything is forgotten. (or so they say…) Hehehe (as my 5 year old says it).
If you’re still thinking about doing your own holiday photos (or skipping it all together), because:
- the offers you see don’t look like anything you’d want to have on your Holiday Card, (same old, same old holiday photos), (that’s why I was considering not doing any holiday minis this year because I was struggling with coming up with something special for my clients)
- you really need 1 or 2 (ok, 3 images at the most), – and you could always use some of the iPhone photos you already have. I DARE YOU!
- you want something unique,
Well, then stop that train of thought. I have something better for you. Something that will save your sanity.
We will find a unique message for your card!
No matter if you have kids or maybe…
…expecting a delivery…
or maybe, you have a different kind of kids…
Holiday Mini Sessions – Unique Silhouettes
Detailed address will be available upon signing up. Email me to email@example.com to secure your spot (or use my contact form).
OR SIGN-UP HERE
If you want to get very special offers and prices for mini-sessions, full sessions and portrait playdates, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography.
or stay on top of all the specials I run through the year by signing up to my newsletter:
Today, a little not portrait related post. I’d say, it’s going to be more delicious then normal. I’m going to share with you my favorire homemade garlic bread recipe!
How have you been? I hope not as busy as me. However busy is good, in some ways.
Busy in business is good, right?
Busy vacationing is also good, I think.
How about busy in the kitchen, while being busy with kids, while being also busy with some four leg companions, and then being busy having to keep it all together (because there is nobody out there to help you).
I have this suspicion you know what I’m talking about.
Even while that busy, and not wanting to have anything to do with the kitchen part of your house, you can still make this delish thing:
I was the brave one, always trying to do as much as I could at once!!! Not always succeeding, like with the walks. They would always end before they even started.
Luckily, my kids don’t need any leashes these days. But my dogs still do. All 3 of them.
So, this past week, my husband was gone. The whole week. He’s been gone quite a bit this year.
So, while running a business, and trying to still cook homemade dinners (well, some kind of meal whenever I find the time for it), while experimenting with different approaches to eating is challenging.
For example, I tried the zero sugar diet. And the time-restricted eating. Thanks to a good frined, I also brew my own Kombucha!
I think, this whole “sugar thing” is some kind of joke. I’ll share my experience with you in the future, however, I’d like to hear your thoughts on that if you have something to say!
The time restricting eating is so funny. At least in my case, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, too.
Anywho…, going back to my husband being gone, I’ve mastered some simple recipes that all of us like. I have to admit, we often have banana pancakes for dinner, or store bought cinnamon rolls. The majority of the time we have homemade and super quick to make, so-called by my kids, “milk soup”. It’s an oatmeal, really. With a lot of cinnamon and turbinado-coconut sugar mix.
This past week, my kids were gone playing almost the whole day. Coming back for a snack or two. Bringing with them a bunch of friends. And when you have to feed a bunch, you go for the easy fix. In my case, store bought cinnamon rolls. I go with these guys, becayse they do not have any corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in them. Just good old sugar! (well, not really, but still better then most of what you can find in the stores).
But today, I’d like to give you homemade garlic bread recipe!
And why do you call garlic bread a “garlic bread”?
– because it’s a bread and it has garlic in it.
A joke created by my kids. I couldn’t have made it, I’m just not that funny. 😂😂😂
The dog picture is not there by accident. The pup was seriously too cute not to throw it in the post!
Homemade Garlic Bread Recipe
- Loaf of french bread (we love the freshly baked bread from Safeway). You can use sourdough instead. When husband is not home I use sourdough for this recipe, because it’s my favorite!
- Stick of butter. Not salted. ROOM TEMPERATURE, so it’s soft and easy to spread.
- Garlic powder.
- Minced onions.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- Slice the loaf of bread leaving the bottom of the bread intact, so the slices are still attached to each other.
- Spread the butter inside the slices.
- Sprinkle inside of the slices with garlic powder, onion, and salt. ( I like a lot of garlic powder and a lot of the minced onions.
- Wrap in the foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
I eat it simple. Bread, mozzarela, pickles, wine. The wine is optional in my case, as with age my tolerance to alcohol is getting lower and lower. With this speed, I’m assuming by age of 40 I’ll be totally allergic to even the smell of it.
The kids eat it plain!
This recipe gets pretty messy with the butter. However it’s really quick. And seriously delicious!
One more thing, this bread is WAY MORE delicious than the store bought garlic bread (pre-made and ready to heat-up). I’ve tried it and the store version doesn’t get even close to the homemade one. It’s a little more work then just throw it in the over, but the love you’ll get from your kids for it will speak for itself.
What’s your favorite recipe for a quick and easy dinner?
I’m two weeks behind with posting about my 52 Stranger Challenge. So, I’m getting back to work and catching up. My super awesome stranger from week 12th was Beate. She has delivered to us our two new family members: Jitterbug and Muffy.
My husband met them both two weeks prior to their arrival back in Virginia. And yes, Beate from B’s Pet Delivery drove our four leg buddies from Virginia. Not to mention other places she was heading too, or going from.
She was on schedule an eager to hit the road as her fella pets on the back were not as patient as she was. However, she stayed long enough to have a friendly chat with us about her business. Of course, I had to ask her if she was ever hurt by any of the animal she transports, and of course, her answer was yes.
She was totally surprised when I asked her to model for me, and despite the fact that she was tired after days and days of driving across the country, she did awesome.
She told us, she works 3 weeks (3 weeks on the road driving), and then she takes 3 weeks off. She has visited almost all the states in America. She doesn’t have much time to “visit” the places she stops at, but it didn’t seem to bother her. She just loves what she does the way she does it 😀 What I totally get!
So, thank you so much Beate for safely delivering our new family members. They have already adjusted to us quite a bit, and we already see their cute personalities shining through.
Meet Jitterbug and Muffy:
If you have an interesting story to tell with your life, let me know. Maybe we can create wonderful memories with the story shining through, for you and your family.
This weekend I got inked with two cool tattoos I’ve been planning to get for years! But this is not about the cool tattoos as it is about the cool story behind it as well as the cool tattoo artist who did it for me.
Meet Jessie. She is currently traveling the country with her sweet four-leg companion Chico, in her, mostly self-remodeled, van.
Jessie, my stranger no. 5 who doesn’t really feel like a stranger from the first moment you meet her.
Australia-born, Jessie started her journey as a van dweller and traveling artist this past Thanksgiving. After 8 years of living in Minnesota. Her current travels brought her to Eileen from Flora and Fauna Jewelry. I met Eileen several months ago. She was staying in Morgan Hill in one of the cutest RV’s I’ve ever seen.
Eileen and Jessie met through Reggie. I haven’t met him but after watching his youtube videos (one of them is about Jessie itself), and following his Instagram, I feel like I want to meet him. So maybe our paths will cross, because who knows. Anything might happen.
Just several days ago I saw on Eileen Instagram account her new addition to the tattoo family she has on her. She credited Jessie, and I immediately went to her account. To my surprise, I saw she’s in Los Gatos!!! How freaking crazy is that?
Just the night before, I was sitting on my computer photoshopping a picture of tattooed Tinkerbell so I could use it for my Facebook profile. Yes, it was just for a fun profile photo, not the real tattoo (which my husband was very worried about!).
I’d been longing for a new tattoo so bad, it’s crazy. If I was looking into a tattooed Tinkerbell pictures, you know it got really bad. In the past month, I’ve looked for local tattoo studios and artists and I inquired for some of the ideas I’ve had. But still, I wasn’t sure about any of the people I’ve found.
And here she was, Jessie. I inquired to her as soon as I discovered her. And we were set for a tattoo session the next day. The best part of all, she helped me to create one awesome piece from two tattoo ideas I had planned to put in separate places.
Here are some shots from the session we had.
Picture of Jessie and Eileen during their tattoo session here.
And here is the wonderful movie Reggie made about Jessie (and you can see Eileen in it as well):
Thank you so much, Jessie, for appearing in my life from nowhere. You’ve made a mark on my life, and not only! 🙂
See you next time!
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I left for the camping trip not really in a mood for much more then to throw my own computer into a wall, and then do the same thing with my phone, and after that a few more things could follow. The technology is good, but sometimes I can’t deal with it, especially in moments when all the gadgets stop working, AT THE SAME TIME.
Anyway, we left, and we got to the camping ground in Porterville, around 3am. In the deep darkness we set up the trailer and went to sleep. Got very cold that night, but we survived, well, barely.
Got up to the sound of singing birds and people taking. It was 7am. When I opened one side of our “bed” I couldn’t believe my eyes. The view was spectacular, especially after not really knowing at 3am how the surrounding looks like.
We all got up and went to get breakfast and do some basic shopping for food and other supplies we didn’t have and couldn’t get through without, like a heater. Yeah, that’s right. We didn’t have one.
For the whole two days I did not hear once about adults or kids being bored. We explored, got stuck in mud and danced in fields of mustard flowers. However the most funny thing was, while being in a place that’s a “dream come true” to a photographer, I was not able to incorporate or make my kids interested in doing much in those fields.
The mud and mountains made out of rocks was something they couldn’t stop playing with. Flowers were out of question. They were ok for one quick picture, and then it was “mission mud”. “mission get dirty”, “mission fall down”, “mission climb up”, etc. All my tricks to make them cooperate failed, and I simply let it go after a while. There was a small heart ache while doing so, but sometimes it’s just better to let it go. I can feel, there will be more mustard fields in my future, and for those moments I’ll be prepared better.
I think, I never before had photographed a kettle so many times in one day. I took tens and tens of pictures of this darn thing. It was looking so pretty. And the light was so playful on it. It was like a magnet to my eyes, and to my camera. I won’t post all of them here, but just a few.
We also attended a field trial, and I was able to take some great photographs for their community. I think that was pretty neat.
Our dinner was pretty simple, yet delicious!
During this trip the kids, as well as myself had our first ever roasted marshmallows. And as much as I don’t want to admit, they were pretty darn delicious!
Did you have any interesting adventures this past weekend, or maybe planning something for the upcoming one? Feel free to share.