Lifestyle Photography

Escondido, CA Maternity Session + Erica

Recently, I had the great pleasure of shooting a maternity session, in Escondido, California for my childhood friend, Erica.  

Erica Brauer has been in the Los Angeles area since 2001, where she attended USC as an undergraduate, majoring in biology and minoring in theatre.  Shortly after graduating she founded a theatre company now known as Above the Curve Theatre, a black box non-profit theatre known for producing quality shows with a minimum participation of 50% females. In 2013, she became a full-time science teacher, and now teaches chemistry at Granada Hills Charter High School.  She continues to run her theatre company and perform around the city with other companies as well. In addition, she is involved with a non-profit called buildOn, in which she takes high school students to third world countries to build schools for those less fortunate.

Erica met Ian and his beautiful daughter Avery almost three years ago.  Erica and Ian seem quite perfect for each other, as they balance out each other's craziness.  Their relationship has already survived Ian's back surgery and other hurtles that many couples do not have to go through so early on, which has only made them stronger together.  She has inspired him to go back to school, and he has supported her in her journey to get a Master's in Science Education as well.  They love their time with Avery, and have watched her flourish into a sweet, energetic little girl.  When Erica found out she was pregnant with one of her own, she was ecstatic. Although not perhaps the way she imagined it would all happen, she very much believes in fate and God's will, and truly believes this miracle was meant to happen right now. 

Pregnancy for her has not been the smoothest of processes.  Erica was sick for the first 6 months or so, making it difficult to maintain her normally active and healthy lifestyle.  She has always been a very disciplined eater and exerciser, but those first few months made it tough.  Once that had passed, her pregnancy has been much smoother.  Of course there are certain discomforts here and there, but she will cherish the first time she heard his heartbeat, the first time she saw his little nose in an ultrasound, and the first time she felt him kick.  She feels lucky to have this experience, and is grateful every day for her little miracle.

** Erica and Ian welcomed Hudson Jameson Cochran into the world at 3:28 PM on January 31st.  Erica, Baby Hudson and family are over- joyed and doing fantastic!

What's Damaging Your Happiness + Productivity

What's Damaging Your Happiness and Productivity | Lacey O Photography

I have had to ask myself this question many times in life and with business when I was feeling off, sad, confused, frustrated and overall not focused.  

I have always been drawn to running at high performance in all topics of life.  I love the feeling of being accomplished, productive, kicking-ass and taking names ; )

But what is being productive?  It is how much output you create from focused effort you put in your Life, Business and Mind.

The brain at a positive state is 31% more productive than at negative state or neutral state.  31% more productive!  Y'all,  I personally would feel great getting 31% more done in my day!  How much better would you feel?!

But how do we get to a more positive mind set? Self Motivation.  

Self Motivation is like showering.  You do not have to take a shower everyday, but hell, it's recommended.  In order to self motivate take a moment to identify and write down:

1)  Your Purpose + Meaning

2)  Why is this your Purpose + Meaning

Now looking at what you wrote down. You have pretty freakin' important stuff, right?!  You have a fabulous purpose in life.  You have fabulous reasons to motivate you.  

But what is damaging your happiness, productivity and motivation?  Here is a list of things to consider.  Write down those that apply to you in life and I encourage you to have an authentic/honest moment and write down things that may not even be listed:

1) Over eating/Under Eating

2) Processed Foods/Unhealthy Diet

3) Alcohol Consumption/Drugs/Smoking

4) Lack of Water

5) Sitting Around/Down Too Much

6) Lack of Focus

7) Toxic Relationship(s)

8) Negative Friends/Family

9) Negative Self Talk/Always Complaining

10) Worrying/Anxiety/Stress

Now that you have identified the things that are interfering with your happiness and productivity, I'm going to bring you back to the topic of, Performance.

When I think of my Performance, I want:

1)  to be productive

2) to be accomplished

3) to create efficiently

4) to feel good while doing it all!

So how do I achieve this high-performance, happiness and productivity?
 
Set a schedule for you business and personal life.  Eliminate the bullshit.

You as a person and in your business are always going to be evolving.  That is a serious process in itself.  It can be draining.  But if you have all these negative interferences (like the list you made) and your time and schedule isn't being utilized proficiently, you have zapped your Happiness + Productivity.  So like I said, eliminate the bullshit.

I take about 15 minutes,  every Sunday night, AFTER THE KIDS ARE IN BED, to write down and review my schedule for the week.  I then divide up my taskers per day, in a check list, that I mark off as I go.  There is a feeling of accomplishment when you check things off.  If you make just one large to-do list, it might give you the sense of feeling overwhelmed.  So that is why I suggest breaking up the taskers into daily increments. 

The final thing I really want to touch base on with you, friend, is toxic relationships.  I truly feel that this effects the majority of our happiness, productivity and well being.  I feel it causes stress, that can lead to overeating, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.  Over all it is a vicious cycle of abuse that is a huge time waster.

I, in my personal life, have eliminated friends and even family members that are hurtful,  all consuming, manipulative, dishonest and self righteous.   When I chose to do this in my personal life, I gained such freedom, happiness and have never cared to look back because what I gained in freedom and happiness was and still is far more valuable than that relationship that was just harming me.

 If it is not a relationship that builds you up, encourages and stimulates your growth, inspiring, encompassed by love... have the self respect, close the door and deadbolt it.  Never invite any of that negativity back in.  

You are meant for glorious and wonderful things in your life, purpose and the people around you.  You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.

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JULIAN CALIFORNIA, CHARLOTTE + DONNY ENGAGEMENT

Charlotte and Donny first met in downtown San Diego, California, 6 years ago (this coming February) Donny was 27 and Charlotte had just turned 22.

Charlotte and her friends were standing in line at a club called Double Deuce and so was Donny standing in line with his friends. 

Charlotte shared with me, “I saw him in line with his friends, he was pretty easy on the eyes and I remember he was wearing a beanie.”

Donny and his friends were really excited that they got to go into the bar for only $5 per person which was less then the usual cover. Charlotte and her friends got in for free.  Later that night they bumped into each other on the dance floor (literally) as they were the only ones jumping up and down dancing to the club music that was on. He yelled to her "I love club music" and she said "me too" then she proceeded to jokingly rub it in his face that her and her friends got in for free.

 He offered to buy her a shot and suggested Vodka. She suggested said Tequila with a smile.  They took a shot, talked amongst their friends and she gave him her number. They parted ways for the night.

The next morning Charlotte got a text from Donny and she was so giddy!  For the next few weeks they text and talked on the phone for hours.

 Donny kept asking to go out with Charlotte but she was busy with work and school and she was really nervous as she had never been on a date before or had a boyfriend. 
 
Charlotte finally agreed to go on a date with Donny. She shared with me, “I was so nervous hoping that he'd think I was pretty.”

He suggested that they meet at the boardwalk and she asked him which one. He said the one in El Cajon...turns out the Boardwalk is a bowling alley and not the beach like she thought.

They met there and they got Icees, while Donny playfully teased Charlotte because she didn't want to mix the blue with the red.

As and Charlotte hung out, Donny told Charlotte stories about how he use to work there as a kid. They walked around and then played a couple games of pool.  Just chatting the night away.

Later, Donny wanted to grab something to eat so they walked out to the parking lot and started walking to his car. He motioned to his vehicle and said, “Mine is the truck” so she started walking to the huge truck but she walked to the wrong one. The 4Runner, that was his, was lifted and loud and she just loved it, being a Florida girl.

Charlotte couldn't decide where to eat so Donny took her to the mall food court. They got Subway and they talked and walked around the mall some more. They loved talking with one another.

They wanted to continue their date and decided to go drive around town. Having fun hanging out together, and Charlotte even started singing to songs on the radio!  She had never felt so comfortable around anyone!

It started raining later and Donny took them off-roading in the mud and they came across a rainbow.  They decided to follow it and drove to the end of the rainbow and saw the end of it!

Charlotte said, “I remember after our first date I thought to myself ‘he was fun, I don't see anything serious coming from it but he'd be a fun friend to hang out with.’ I had just moved back to San Diego from Florida so I hadn't made a ton of friends yet. The thing is the more time I spent with him the more fun I had!  I had fallen for him.”  

Everyone at Charlotte’s work and family had heard ALL about Donny because he was all she could talk about. They were inseparable.

Charlotte shared with me, “ I remember asking him one time, ‘why do you love me’ and he told me ‘because you're the only one who's ever believed in me’ and then asked me, ‘why do I loved him’ and I told him ‘because you're the only one I've felt like I could be 100% myself around and you still love me for it.”

This was just the beginning... their life together has been an amazing roller coaster of a ride and now that they are engaged and soon to be married. But they can always count on each other sitting in the seat next to each other holding each other’s hand. :)
 
They feel like they have a pretty great support system of friends and family. They are grateful for people that are cheering them on and they are so excited for their future together.

CHULA VISTA, VANESSA + JASON

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement Photography

Jason and Vanessa met in middle school and began dating in high school. 
The two were married in 2007 and moved to Nevada where Jason was stationed with the Navy.

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement Photography

Life, with all of it's complications, unfortunately, they lost their way and separated, both moving to San Diego in separate homes.

Now this sounds more of a tradgedy than a love story for a couple's shoot.  Reader's do not fret!  When connections are real, they simply never die.  They can be buried, ignored and walked away from, but NEVER broken.  When you deeply resonate with a person or place the connection remains despite any circumstance, distance, time or lack of presence.  Real connections live on forever and that is the epitome of Jason and Vanessa's bond they have to each other. They always kept in contact, no matter how far the distance or circumstance.

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement Photography

Over 7 years of deployments for Jason.  Law school and the bar exam for Vanessa, they found their way back to one another. They are now happily remarried, recently purchased their first home, and welcomed a new fur-baby into their house.

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement + Wedding Photography
Washington DC Photographer | Engagement + Wedding Photography

They have fantastic plans and hopes to continue to grow their beautiful family to add to Jason's son/ Vanessa's step-son, Maddox, and their two dogs, Nissa and Jackie. 

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement + Wedding Photography

You can say, these two are better together.  But I feel it is deeper than that.  Some people were destined to be together before they were spoken into exsistence, like it was almost written on the stars... that is Vanessa and Jason.