Meet BIMCO!

C and B are the coolest, most charming, and most beautiful couples I’ve ever met.  I love their style, their colorful home (which reflects their magnetic personas), and I love the way they love each other.  They are the epitomy of the perfect couple : )  I am super excited to shoot their wedding in August.  Fitting to them both, they will be having a three-day wedding at a campsite in Cambria, CA …yay!  Marshmallows!!! (Those cool socks they are wearing are from  www.rocksocks.net)

This is Joe, their first child : )



There is definitely a backstory to this wall.




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Andy Swan

There are those few moments in life that make you re-evaluate yours.  Maybe it’s cause I have a toddler just like Andy Swan that I really gravitated to his world.  I don’t know Mr. Swan personally but I know that everyone around him love him very much.  I was given the honors of documenting a day when Andy Swan realized how truly blessed he is.

The event surrounded a documentary of Andy Swan, produced by AREA-9 Productions, which highlighted the determination and drive that is not only helping Andy live his dream but to also battle a very serious lung cancer. The evening was filled with lots of gestures of support and kindness that bring attention to a battle that has claimed many lives.  All I remembered from the evening was saying to myself ..”Wow, a lot of people love this man.”

The night started at the preparty held at Elements Cafe, right next to the Pasadena Playhouse where the documentary featured.  There were lots of people pre-partying… if there is such a word.  I heard their mojitos and their tacos rocked the house.  Though this event was of a serious matter, lots of people and supporters were at ease with having a few drinks and making a great night of it all.

That’s Andy Swan with his lovely wife Jen.  I can’t imagine what she is going through.  (They too have a toddler.)  The idea of being without my husband is an idea I can’t even think of – ever.  Just watching Jen throughout the night made me really proud of how strong people can be for each other.

Zadrina Eissman, a producer of Area 9 Productions and a very dear friend of Andy.  Actually Zadrina was the one who got me to shoot.  I can’t even find the words to describe this woman’s passion for this project and her passion for her friend.  Everything that would have taken two years to produce took her 8 weeks.  It was not a choice to have to move that quickly, but it takes a lot of drive, commitment and love to put that much effort into a project that reflects just that … in such a timely manner.  I’m sure her and her crew of a handful of angels (ie: Al Eisenmann, Lee Allport -the queen of blogs, Shari and more…) went through a lot of tribulations and emotional knots in the name of Andy Swan. The proceeds will benefit the Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA). I read somewhere that this company is a huge advocate to finding a cure for such a grueling disease.  One of the experimental medications have helped Andy with his battle… a mere sign that all those prayers and good thoughts are coming into fruition.  Just witnessing the amount of people that turned up,  I know that my being there that evening was a small part of something super important.  That makes my heart beat.

Infact, some things that night made my heart beat.  First off, just being in the presence of Kim Norris, is an experience in itself.  I didn’t even know who she was.  I just knew that my camera loved her smile and the presence she had in the air.  I wish my energy was less hyper and more Kim-like… or Kim-ish… or a little Kim-lified.  She just has such an inviting spirit.  Come to find out she is actually a known warrior of the lung cancer research after she lost her husband many years ago.  Some people are just born leaders and dress in fabulous purple dresses.

It was a pretty big deal.  There were lots of close friends and family of Andy Swan, some wanted to just be a part of it to benefit the LCFA and some wanted to rub elbows with their favorite Criminal Minds actor.  Andy works in the property department of that show. Shemar Moore showed up and wowed a bunch of fans and handled the media very well.  Mingle Media and ABC 7 News are lucky to have had the chance to interview Shemar… there’s something really cool about that guy… like a cool old soul.  He is in the limelight cause his wisdom and influence was meant to be shared with many.

After mingling with the media and enjoying the glow of everyone’s presence, the documentary was premiered.  If I was Andy Swan, I’d probably be in tears.  It was a touching one.  It made me realize how short life really is and what we do in this lifetime should be something we have always dreamed.  Can you believe it?…  the excecutive producer of Criminal Minds, Ed Bernero hosted this event?  If I had a boss like that – I’d make a real good friend out of him.  Obviously, Ed is another one of Andy’s earth angels.  I can’t find a better word than ‘kind.’  That is a SUPER kind thing to do… Ed Bernero… you are a hero!  How awesome are you?  I bet you can’t imagine how this touches the Swan family.  I know I wouldn’t be able to express enough gratitude for such acts of kindness.

There’s Shemar Moore, sharing a letter with Andy, jerking tears from the crowd.

That’s the ever funny Criminal Minds cast member, Kirsten Vangsness, who had to rush to catch this event after a stand-up show.  What a stand-up human being (no punn intended).  She didn’t have to do this for ANYONE… but she did.  Actually NO ONE had to do anything for Andy Swan or for the LCFA – but there is definitely still kindness in the world and events like these reminded me of that.  The LCFA gave out grab bags for raffle prizes and winners got to take home a signed T-shirt and of course, I sent them their very well deserved photographs with the stars : )  Kindness begets kindness right?

That’s me…  I know, what a dork right?  I thought it would be fun to take a photo with Shemar and Kirsten – so I can show my children someday that I rubbed elbows with actors of a show I’d love her to be a cast of.

The night ended at El Portal Restaurant.  I spoke with the manager (Abe Ramirez) and personally thanked him for being so generous in being a part of this event.  I wonder if Andy Swan liked the tacos as much as I did : )  The El Portal had an awesome outdoor area where JR Richards, the Lead singer of the former Dishwalla,  perfomed a set along with the funny J Chris Newberg and the beautiful Tyler Collins.

So there it was…. the event that touched people, wowed people, and most of all exposed the brutality of lung cancer.  Zadrina mentioned to me that Andy Swan is actually doing better.  Bless everyone who put good thoughts in for Andy.   And Andy, may you discover how powerful your body and mind is… may you beat the odds and may you reach your dreams : )

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KULTURA, Dance, Rythm, Harmony 7.1.2010

Wow!  Have you ever watched something so amazing that you are just like – ‘Wow!’?  Yeah, that was my inner dialogue for the whole 3 hours of the first tri-level performance ever done.

Being allowed to photograph (even this dress rehearsal) was super important because they were turning photographers away.  I was sooooo thankful to be there.

Three distinguished Los Angeles performing groups – Kultura Dance Company, Philippine Chamber Singers, and the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) – celebrate the multi parts of the Filipino Culture – even I (born in the Philippines) – haven’t seen.  AND I used to dance in a Filipino performing group (like uber years ago)!  I know, I’m ashamed.

Experiences like these make me so proud to be Filipino – will you real Filipinos please stand up!?  I mean, it rocked my Filipino house down.  However, I may be pure blooded Filipino but I may get some of the names of the dances all wrong   : )  Bare with me, I wanna do them justice…

This is called Pamaypay ng Maynila, a dance that is telling of the natural beauty  of the Filipina. ‘She can be anything…a mother, daughter, sister, lover, friend…‘  It also shows the practiced traditions of their relentless faith in the Virgin Mary.

The one thing I cannot take a pictures of is music.  I wish you can hear how beautiful this choir sang.  I especially loved watching how much they love to sing.

I don’t know what the story is of this dance, but watching this woman made me cry.  She was a very passionate soul and dancing seems to be how she shares that part of her.

This dance is called Tinikling. All I know is – boy, I got excited and tired at the same time.  It’s such a happy dance.  Try tap dancing your way between bamboos clamping to trap your feet AND still have phenomenal hair after.  Dancing with the Stars can’t beat these folks.

Wow… I wish I can do that.  The last time I performed this dance someone’s napkin set on fire.  What in heaven’s name is it called?  Ah, yes, of course…. Pandango sa Ilaw – thanks to all  of you who left a comment).

I think he looks better in coconuts than I ever would.  Actually, that’s a very old friend, Wilsun Menor : )  And he does look good in coconuts.

I didn’t know Filipinos were known for their hopeless romanticism.  Must be a Spanish influence.  Hey, don’t some of the costumes look Spanish?  Yes… because they were in our country for 300 years (I hope my history is better than my math).

I hear her real shawl is beautiful.  This is a dress rehearsal, after all.

Again… wow.  This dance, called Singkil, pays homage to the prince and princess.  If I were a real princess I’d wanna dress like her for a month.  I’d even have that lady carry an umbrella over me – I’d pay her well of course (just kidding).  This dance was rad!  I mean, awesome!  I loved the passion of it.  I think it’s called the Paunjalay.  A couple’s togetherness as they ward off evil spirits portrayed by the use of languid arm and wrist movements.  If there were a Filipino Dancing With the Stars I think this dance should be a standard.

And that’s how it’s done!  This show has been made possible by not just the sponsors, but the commitment of everyone involved. Dina Jose, the director, said something that sums up the whole experience I had last night…it went something to the effect of –‘Filipinos have always prospered through unity. The country, the culture, the traditions and the art.’ It’s true.  Without the fruits of Kultura’s labor and commitment to the production I wouldn’t have had awesome photos and information to share with you : )

I hope you guys get a chance to watch this show.  Here is the information…

Event Date/Time 7/2/2010 8:00 PM to 7/3/2010 11:00 PM
Location John Ahnson Ford Ampitheatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd, East
Hollywood, CA 90068
Telephone: (323) 461-3673Early buyer incentive: purchase by June 25 & 26 and pay only $60
Buy three or more events and pay only $48
Full price $65
Students $48
VIP tickets available
Reserved seating

For more information visit one of Kultura’s sponsors, FILAM NATION

Wink wink… If you email me at mentalpictureslab@gmail.com I  will tell you a way you can buy two tickets for the price of one…

Enjoy and Mabuhay! (that means long live)

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Sweet Pea Organics Launch Party

The world seems to be going organic.  What is organic?  In the case of baby food, organic baby products are made without pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, genetically modified organisms, additives, irradiation or sewage sludge – that’s all according to wikipedia.  I personally believe in organic products and food, especially now that I am a mom. I just think of it this way, someone out there is going out of their way to make stuff we buy healthier, happier and more wholesome.  I innately just feel better knowing I ate some eggs for breakfast that were organically raised in a cage free environment… Happy food, happy me : )

Sweet Pea Organics is a new company that launched on June 25th, 2010 and I had the honors of experiencing its first step to success.

The event was celebrated at The COOP in Studio City, a true place where a kid can be a toddler : )  I love places like The COOP cause my active little girl can run around safely and tire herself to a deep sleep.  It was a perfect environment for the Launch Party – its fresh, clean aura lends itself to what Sweet Pea Organics is all about.

I have a real taking to these kinds of events.  I feel like I fit in now.  Mommy groups take guts people!  And THAT world is bigger than you think.

It was a great chance to watch little ones run wild, that absolute joy in a child is an absolutely joy to watch.

This was a totally important event.  I always have a great time on shoots but when there are little children around me my whole life lights up a different shade of bright.

Grace GlennAnthony, the owner of My Sweet Pea Organics is one of those green warriors in this world, doing her part in saving Mother Earth.  One way she accomplishes this is through her love for food.

There is something pleasantly addicting about these Toddler Protein Bars… I don’t think the fun stops with the kids.  I shamelessly dove into a bowl of them : )

Sponsors of this event are: Hopscotch Kids, I loved that they were able to keep my little one still long enough to apply a lovely coat of ‘Three Sailors went to sea,sea,sea’ – that’s the name they gave their shade of blue.  How cute is that?  Then there was Nola Ice, their snow cones were a super hit!  And so was the face painting lady! She is really good at what she does, I think her way of making this world more colorful is through face painting – Nina Greville. With their own booth was Green Beginnings Preschool,and Izze Drink .  The fun Miss Birdie of Birdie’s Playhouse sang some really cool songs. She sure spices up all the nursery rhymes us mothers hear over and over and over again.  The ever so popular The Pump Station were a proud mention.  They are like the Beattles to mommy groups. Little Twig, a super popular organic skin care line for kids.   And of course, all these photos… that’s right, I took them : )  Louella Allen Photography.  Gosh, I know I’m forgetting someone, umnn… oh yeah, Dana – I don’t know your last name but I loved your cupcakes : )

This was all planned and almost single handedly coordinated by a super cool woman named Michelle Orego…. definitely worth the mention : )

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100 years of HOPE

I just launched my new website in February of this year (2010) and I had to sift through my thousands of photographs.  I have many to share with you, both old and new but I thought I’d start my new blogginess with a special lady who turns 101 years old today.  Yes… over 100 yrs folks… Her name is Dolores Hope, most commonly known as Mrs. Bob Hope.  I had the privilege of shooting her 100th birthday last year and I thought I’d share those photos with you.  I hear she is keeping her birthday in the down low this year since she had a gazoogle celebration last year.

I came to really appreciate this woman while shooting this event.  In her lifetime she was a professional singer, was married to one of the most famous comedians (Bob Hope), a street was named after her (in her hometown the Bronx), she was named an outstanding Catholic laywoman (she has donated a lot of money to her passion which is the Catholic Church), got a Humanitarian Award for all her charities, travelled with her husband when he entertained the American troops, she’s a great grandmother and has far more numerous honors than I can research.  I don’t think she realizes the amount of kindness and difference she has made so far.

She helped build a church in Toluca Lake (St. Charles) and as one of the most devoted Catholics she celebrated the first part of her birthday there.  Boy, if you knew who was who in the Catholic Church you would know that the priests who celebrated with her were like the rat pack in old Hollywood.

The second part of her birthday celebration took place at her house in Toluca Lake.  Her best friend Mrs. Mako, her son Kelly and her daughter Linda propped her massive yard with kiosks from different eras.  They hired a bunch of actors to dress like each era.  I bet Mrs. Hope would be happy to know they didn’t hire any actors for 2010.  I think she would freak out with some of the current styles today.

Mrs. Hope has this awesome field where they propped cars from different eras.  Here are 2 juxtoposing cars. (I guess they have high hopes of her living up to the era of the Jetsons.)

Lots of food and entertainment.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a party where there were lots of old Hollywood players and priests in the same room.  I only know the three ladies.  That’s Phyllis Diller, Katherine Crosby and her daughter Mary Crosby (she shot J.R.).

That’s Cardinal McCarrick and Cardinal Mahoney. My sister is a nun and she would just pass out if she knew I took photos of these Catholic bigwigs.  They are like Tom Cruise and John Travolta to her.

A hundred balloons were released that day.  When I turn 100 I think I’d rather ride in a hot air balloon.

Today Mrs. Hope is 101…. I wish we can all download into our minds the journeys this woman has travelled.  I know that if I can accomplish half of what she accomplished I would have had a life well lived.

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