Engagement Session – Liz & Craig

I was excited to take my friend Liz’s engagement photos. We did our first shoot in the orange grove in Mesa and our second shoot at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library. Here are some of my favorites. I am so excited for their new adventure!

LC_S2_forward hug smile

LC_S2_rockPaper 3LC_eye to eye suncastLC_hand to hand sunflareLC_arm_hug_smileLC_lookdow_bw





San Diego – Weekend Getaway

I love weekend getaways…you know because some days you just literally need to get away from your day-to-day life. A quick trip to San Diego was the perfect solution. My soul loves the sand and ocean air. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take the California out of the girl.

I am lucky to have a bestie who is up for my crazy adventures and tags along with me.

One of my favorite trip planning tools is the Trip Advisor app. It is perfect for looking up local activities and fun food. The fact that you can read other users reviews is great! On this trip I also used my cousin Kristi since she spent a couple of years in San Diego. Thanks to Kristi and Trip Advisor we had a great trip.


First stop on our way out of town – Dateland! We thought as single ladies this would be the perfect stop to find a man, but we only found date shakes, and not the kind that pay for dinner. ūüė¶ Have you ever stopped? It’s a random exit off with a Interstate 8 before you reach Yuma, AZ. You read more about Dateland’s history here. There is a Dateland/Quiznos combo restaurant. Inside they sell date shakes, ice cream, candy, accessories…pretty much anything date related.


A beautiful AZ sunset.


Our post church vaca selfie! We sat by the cutest family with the spunkiest little 3 year old girl!


Our next stop was the beach, of course! We visited Mission Beach. Mission Beach has a pretty long shoreline with fun black sand. The waves were huge! We ate a little tiny taco stand but I forgot to snap a pic! Sorry! I guess you’ll have to be adventurous and find your own eatery on the beach! ūüôā


I was trying to take a photo of my shadow in the next picture but I happened to capture Kelli’s reflection in the water. Cool, huh?


Next we stopped off at La Jolla Cove cave.¬†The cave area has a well marked pathway with large steps (not stroller or handicap accessible) that lead out onto a huge cliff where you can enjoy the wave crashing into the rock. It’s like being on the edge of the world! You can also tour the inside of the cave but you have to pay for the tour, so we opted not to do it. The tickets are purchased inside the gift shop.


After we enjoyed the ocean spray we made our way back up the steps to the pathway which loops around about a mile or so. I would rate the path as easy. You will see lots of locals getting their exercise and maybe a painter or photographer as you walk.


With all that exercise we obviously needed a treat! We stopped by the Donut Star a little hole in the wall doughnut shop we found on trip advisor. My favorite was the orange glazed, Kelli loved the blueberry cake doughnut. How fun are the fruity pebble ones?!?


My cousin Kristi suggested the Torrey Pines hike. So we reviewed it on trip advisor and everyone said they would classify it as a walk and less of a hike. They are wrong. I would classify it as an easy or beginner level hike. It starts with a pretty steady incline and then breaks off into multiple trails. We took the Beach trail which lead us up, down and around to the beach shoreline. I loved it! When you finally reach the end you are rewarded with the beach! Yay! I would go back again. The reserve is family friendly but I would ditch the stroller, only the first portion is stroller friendly. There were warnings about it being too much for kids, but honestly all the kids we saw were kicking butt, it was the parentals that were struggling.

I would suggest getting there early in the AM so you can snag one of the free public parking spots just outside the entrance, otherwise you will have to pay to park. Bummer. I would recommend a small bottle of water and good walking/hiking shoes. It took us about 2 hours to go down and back.


My cute acorn necklace is from the Shine Project, a gift from my bestie Mary. Thanks, girl!


After the pines we stopped for lunch at the BEST Italian restaurant, Cafe Milano! It was seriously so good! Homemade pasta, whipped balsamic dipping sauce. Mmmm…I need to go back. The owner,Pasquale was super friendly and hospitable.¬†Such a great little stop.


And one last beach photo to hold you over until the next adventure….




The Raglan by Patterns for Pirates


I love Patterns for Pirates! They offer so many options and add-on packs! You really get the biggest bang for your dollar! They even include amazing tutorials for converting this top into one for nursing mamas! Which is great since my sisters and sister-in-laws keep building our clan!

One of my favorite things about P4P patterns are the straight forward directions loaded with pictures. This eliminates the any confusion I might have with the text directions of her patterns. Love it!

Raglan P4P tips :

  1. This top is designed to be loose but if you want a tighter fit, just cut your pattern a size smaller (size down).
  2. This top is great for contrasting fabric pieces, making it great for using up your smaller scraps.
  3. Takes about 1.5 hours to complete.
  4. You will need 2 yards or less (depending on your size)
  5. Beginner Level.

capturesunshine_floral_raglan_laugh capturesunshine_floral_raglan_sit

The Raglan Tee pattern can be found at P4P, Patterns for Pirates, here. Hurry and get yours, it makes a perfect gift!


From Dress to Top

A while back I found this really cute tunic dress from Forever 21 but like most items from Forever 21 they are SUPER short but a great price. My mom suggested I shorten the dress and turn it into a top. So I did! I love the way it turned out. I provided the steps below for you…just in case you spy a dress you love that is too short.

step 1

turn the dress inside out on a large surface.


step 2

decide on the new length. I used a t-shirt that I knew I liked the length of. just make sure you line up the shoulder seams of both items. then add an inch to the bottom. mark.


step 3

continue to mark with a ¬†water soluble fabric pencil and seam gauge. adjust your seam gauge to match your desired length. then use the bottom seam gauge to make your marks, moving the tip along the original dress seam. you always want to use the bottom seam because you don’t know if the dress’ seam is truly straight.


step 4

once you have finished marking the dress, using a ruler and rotary cutter cut off the excess.


step 5

move the seam gauge marker to 1/2 inch, then fold up the bottom edge, pin. continue until you have made your way around the entire dress. take it to your sewing machine and sew a straight stitch around the entire dress. *tip: if you pin your pins up and down or vertically you should be able to sew across them without breaking your needle or removing the pins.


step 6

remove the pins, iron, and wear!




Strawberry Rolls


What you need:


  • water 125g
  • whole eggs 565g
  • flour 1125g
  • yeast 17.5g
  • salt 27g
  • sugar 135g
  • butter – cubed and cold 505g


  • milk
  • strawberry preserves 340g
  • fresh or frozen halved strawberries
  • 1 package vanilla pudding (pie filling directions)


  • powdered sugar 256 g
  • milk 225 g
  • strawberry preserves 55 g

Brioche Directions:

Combine dry ingredients¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†–

flour, yeast, sugar, salt.

Add wet ingredients – eggs & butter

Mix on  low speed 1  for 4 minutes Рscrape the bowl.

Continue to mix on medium or speed 2 for 4 minutes.

Weigh and cube butter. Add butter in small increments. Once all butter is added,  mix for 4 more minutes on speed 2.

Cover dough and place in refrigerator. Let rest in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile mix vanilla pudding according to pie filling package directions. Mix in preserves. Place in fridge to set up.

Remove dough from fridge, spread on a parchment, sprayed cookie sheet.  Wrap with plastic wrap.  Let dough rest for 4 hours (overnight for best results).

After dough has rested. Roll out dough on a flour surface (until even).

Spread a layer of vanilla pudding and strawberry filling evenly on dough.

IMG_9026 IMG_9029

Top spread with strawberry slices.


Tuck and roll, from the outside edge in. Like a strawberry filled burrito!



Slice roll in 1 1/2 inch slices.


Layer in pan,  swirl side up. Allow the rolls to touch.


bake for 18-22 @ 325


Mix powdered sugar, strawberries, and milk  in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Cover.

Once rolls are golden brown, remove from oven. Drizzle with frosting.


***special thanks to Kelli for allowing me to capture a chef at work!


Chop Shop also in Tempe

If you read my post about the Original Chop Shop in Scottsdale then you know I am a fan. Did you know there is also a location in Tempe? Woot! It’s a happy day for all my Tempe and Phoenix friends. The tempe location is perfect for a quick lunch with co-workers or a casual girls-night-out.

The Tempe location is surrounded by a whimsical courtyard dotted with bright flowers, candy striped umbrellas and life-size games.



Located on University across from the ASU Tempe campus making the Tempe spot a perfect place to grab a juice on your morning walk to class.


chopshop-juice-friendNot into walking? Then take inspiration from this darling vintage bicycle and ride on over on your favorite two-wheel vehicle. Exercise with a treat! My favorite kind!

Feeling invigorated from your fresh pressed juice? Grab a friend and play a game of life-size chess on this amazing toddler-sized chess board.


Is your brain too tired from chasing your little people all day or cramming for your O-Chem exam? Then skip the chess and take your turn on the bocce ball court!

Or enjoy a cozy chat  with your favorite beverage in the courtyard during Happiest Hour which happens everyday from 4 pm Р7 pm.

Are you suffering from the mid-week slump? No problem, the Original Chop Shop has you covered. Just stop by for live entertainment. Follow on twitter @ChopShopCompany for up-to-date information on events.


Be sure to take the time to enjoy your day. Life is more than just a routine, find a bright spot. Find your happy.


Stopping by the Original Chops is just one way to add a little happy to your day.

Be crazy – try a new juice! I dare ya!!!

***special thanks to my juice model Little E and the fun folks at the shop!