Connections and the Blue Lily Tribe

There are many elements to life that equate to happiness. My children, family, experiences, accomplishments, friends, food, sleep.  The list goes on. But my favorite kind of happiness is simply a truly bonfiable genuine connection with another human being. Your kids come with it built in, you meet it in your future husband for the first time, and sometimes if you are lucky, you will find it in other friends or colleagues.  Not just a trivial, networking–on the surface connection. But something much more than that. I value a true and meaningful connection more than most things on my happiness radar. It’s not easy to do and very hard to find.

This group, or rather as one member said it best, this TRIBE is so FULL of connections and on so many levels that is sends my personal happiness radar off the map. I won’t bore anyone of our stories of laughter, randomness, epic think tanks, classes taught by one (all) of our own, amazing photo opportunities, or just plain old inappropriate–good for the soul—discussions. I won’t bore you with that at all.

BUT, if you are a photographer (like me 4 years ago) on the verge of deciding vs hobby or pro….you must I repeat MUST attend a Blue Lily Go Pro Seminar. It really will change your life. And we might even let you into the tribe when you are done.:)

Here is a look back at my 4th workshop with the Lilies. This year was in Las Vegas, NV.


Thanks to my friends for capturing my perpetual smirk that doesn’t seem to change much. I should work on that. I also have perpetual fly aways, my harness upside down (my apologies to hold fast gear) and my inability to recognize spatial awareness (aka the bandaid photos).  Good times.

Thanks to Wendy of Blue Lily, Miranda Stratford of M. Shanti Photo,Kelly of Pear Tree Photography, and Alicia of Gray Wren Photography—- for making me feel awesome and enjoying 2nd of our shoot!






Costa Rica: Round 3

It’s hard to imagine that I would love Costa Rica anymore and any better than each of my previous destinations here and here but in true Costa Rican style, our last and final stop in Guanacaste didn’t disappoint. It was pretty much pure perfection. We ended our journey wanting to relax, not do too much and that is exactly what we did. We were happy though that we took the advice of a great friend of mine and headed to a local beach town of Tamarindo where met up with a few locals, surfed in the soft warm ocean and dined in a hidden spot along the river. I can’t go into details about all of it but lets just stay that when one asks me to picture myself on a beach somewhere—this is my go to meditative picture.






















Adios, Costa Rica! We will be back.

Bonus video: Surfing quickly became on of our FAVE activities!




Costa Rica: Round 2

We really didn’t want to leave our first spot in Costa Rica, it was the perfect spot. So in typical (our family) fashion we pushed ourselves a bit on timing–soaking up more beach and more sun until we came to the conclusion that we better hit the road.  We were CLEARLY told many times not to drive at night but we thought why not right up until sunset? Only timing never works out so smoothly. With many stops—bathroom, snacks, dinner, mommy meltdown (cough), and a few other incidents we were well on our way to being 2-3 hrs PAST sunset on our drive. Oh well, we thought—we wanted an adventure! Or did we?

The drive to our next spot, Arenal, was windy and longer than we planned. And we enjoyed it right up until we got into the height of the mountains and then all of a sudden—major dense fog. For you Cali folks in my life, picture the road up to Fish Camp near Yosemite National Park PLUS the dense California Valley Fog. Luckily the road was illuminated by reflectors along the middle and the sides…..for a bit….. and then BOOM—they were totally gone. It was like we froze completely. There were a LOT of swear words coming out of my mouth along the lines of “WTF?, we can’t do this, oh SH&&, we are going to die”! We are convinced that in that hour of driving in that condition (luckily it cleared the rest of the way) we lost a good year off of our lives and I will need to get in to my colorist to get the gray out. Sigh. Again, we remind ourselves we wanted adventure. We are just grateful that we lived through this one.

But 4.5 hrs after we left Manuel Antonio, we arrived at our 2nd spot–Hotel Arenal Manoa in Arenal. Home to a beautiful picturesque volcano, rolling hills, warm rain, and lots of sunshine. Again, I won’t bore you with details but rather share in the photo goodness. This leg has been a little bit more relaxation with some fun adventures squeezed in between. And by fun I mean—an amazing and AUTHENTIC horseback ride through some of the most scenic land I have ever laid eyes on that led us to a crazy big waterfall. Mixed in with a rain storm on our way back. Seriously, my girls have been non stop writing in their journals.  And on day 2–we enjoyed another resort near us—rock climbing wall, followed by a visit to an animal rescue center, and then a river tubing excursion that should land DYPHUS in our lap when they see the video of our kids plummeting down this river, HAPPILY, by tube IN the rain!

Seriously though, this climate suits me and I am pretty sure I am never coming home.




Bonus Video: No harm came to any children in the making of this video.

If you missed Round 1 of our trip–click here.

We leave today for our last adventure and spot—where we are pretty sure we plan on doing nothing. Wish us luck with that.


Costa Rica: Round 1

When we decided that we wanted to really start traveling with our kids, meaning not just Disney and the local beach , we decided that we would make sure to take them some place special for the very first time. After polling some friends, we settled on a 10 day excursion to Costa Rica.

Our trip did not start off so great. Let’s put it this way, the start of our trip made me wish I was doing ANYTHING but that. Seriously, it was so bad that I would rather be stuck in a hurricane or snow storm, waiting in the longest line getting my license renewed at the DMV, all while listening to Snooki sing the Star Spangled banner on repeat.

It started out with 4.5 hour delay in Newark airport that basically resulted in us being routed through a random country for the night, we were told it was that or not leave for another 2 days when the snow storm settled. We finally landed in Panama City at midnight, after being herded like cattle through customs, put on a bus and driven 30 minutes outside our airport—at one point I questioned the sanity of it all—only to finally get into our hotel room at 3am. After laying our heads on a pillow, in the same clothes we started out in, we were forced back up 2 hrs later (I was screaming an insane amount of profanity)—caught that same bus back to the airport, only to be told that we had been BUMPED again. Sigh. At this point, do any of the details even matter?

2014-11-29_000124 hours after we officially departed NJ—we arrived at our first destination in Costa Rica. Si Como No in Manuel Antonio. We were warmly greeted by the friendliest staff on earth and met up with some truly AMAZING friends. I won’t bore you with too many details of our trip but instead will inundate you all with photos. We are still dealing with some serious crankiness/behaviors with our kiddos and maybe one mama (cough, cough) but the magic of this place is settling in, we are finding our groove, exploring, adventure, making new friends and lots of celebrating with old ones too.

Pura Vida baby!




These photos are a combo of my 5d Mark III, iPhone, and underwater camera.

And for bonus  and proof that I am still “living la vida loca” after 40.

I  decided that I should flip before I zipped. And cliff jumping–there are 2 depths to the cliff jumping. The one you see of my kids and honey do and then the one that I (and a few others) did at 25 ft.  We have an insane amount of video that we plan on editing down into an awesome keepsake for our kids!

Yes, I am pretty sure I get felt up by a guy who spoke zero English but self dubbed himself Rambo–at about 14secs.:)

We are starting Round 2 of our trip (there are 3 total)—and it already had an insane crazy start—more adventure to come.