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  • Welcome to Our Journal

    Keith is a photographer who believes that kids are nearly perfect and that great images capture a bit of that perfection for all eternity. He loves that children don’t filter their emotions. Living loud is their power. And his job is to capture a moment of their uncontained imaginations: your children, unscripted.

    Melissa is the studio manager, adoring wife, busy mom and occasional writer that believes she is living the most beautiful life in the whole world.

    Keith and Melissa have two amazing daughters, Isabella and Gabriella and a little Jack Russell named Pooch.

    This journal is our personal blog about our family, photography, travel and how we are inspired by children in all their authenticity, one beautiful photograph at a time.

Cleo + Clementine | Handmade Bridal Dresses | Melrose District Phoenix

cleo and clementine melrose bridal

Monique Sandoval of Cleo + Clementine created the most beautiful flower girl dresses for Isabella and Gabby to wear for a super special wedding this summer.

Her process was so thoughtful. She asked each girl to sketch an idea of their perfect dress and to use pantone swatches to color in what they envisioned.

The dress on the left is Isabella’s. (Notice the hand stamped name of each girl on the wood hanger) Bella had envisioned layers and layers of tulle in this champagne colored fabric. A little glitter. And the straps. She wanted straps made of the same tulle. The dress was just perfect. Bella looked sophisticated and so grown up.

Gabby chose the palest of yellows. When she tried this dress on at the fitting I just about cried. I don’t think I have ever seen her look as adorable as she did that day. This color was so perfectly matched for her skin and beautiful blue eyes. She broke the cute bank for sure.

Monique you are an incredible professional – I wish I had 1/1000th of your talent. Thank you so much.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks | Personal

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Look at my little puppy. She is just so cute I can’t stand it.

You would think that being 15+ years old would have taught her a few things over the years. But oh no not Pooch.

She embraces thinking something is there but it isn’t. She has done this since she was a puppy. She will convince herself that she remembers something being somewhere once. That once could have been years ago. But she will try to disprove herself, over and over.

In this instance, she is convinced there is something to eat on this table. Yes, over a week ago Isabella had made a spa product as a favor for her birthday party. The lavender sugar scrub was in a mason jar, wrapped in tissue paper and tied with ribbon. But to Pooch she had hit the jackpot. After knocking a few of them onto the ground and trying her best to get into the mason jar, she was discouraged to find out that there was nothing edible in the packing, nothing at all!

But she will keep trying.

Anyone who knows Pooch knows this habit of hers. She will scratch on a cabinet for hours on end. You can open that cabinet and show her what’s in there but that doesn’t help. One day in her life there had been something behind a cabinet door that she wanted and that’s all she can remember. Who knows when, who knows what cabinet. It doesn’t matter.

She will sniff under the oven for what seems like days (once when we lived in NYC a mouse ran under our stove so she has had this fetish ever since). She is just hoping with her Jack Russell genes that a rodent is somewhere to be found.

She is relentless, she is persistent. She is our little Poochie Pitts and we wouldn’t have her any other way!

Caroline Barkley - August 20, 2014 - 1:26 am

Yes, I know Poochie well and everything you described is true. But who wouldn’t love Pooch ?

Thelma Dugan - August 21, 2014 - 11:10 pm

Ditto, on my best friend’s post!
When pet sitting for “Herself”, I had the honor of sharing the guest bed each night (the Pitts’ taking a weekend off), with Pooch curled up under the covers with me each night— another one of her charming idiosyncrasies!!

Beach Session | Dana Point, California

dana point beach sessionsdana point californiasummer laguna beach photographysummer beach photosfamily beach photossummer beach photography southern californialaguna beach sessionsbeach session california

How cute is this face??? Just adorable.

I love my kids ages right now, I’m really enjoying 7 and 10 because they are self sufficient and mostly agreeable. But my favorite baby age is 9 months to a year. I just LOVE this age, they can sit but not walk and they are so intrigued by touching absolutely anything that their little hands or mouth come in contact with. Including sand of course!

This session took place in Dana Point (just south of Laguna Beach). I just love the beaches in this part of California. Well really, what beach don’t I like? A stunning backdrop and a beautiful family. These ingredients combined for a perfect early evening family beach session.

It is always such a treat to photograph one of our Arizona families in a different location – perfect timing that we were able to meet up while we were in Southern California.

Back to School Resolutions | Personal

Gabby-in-Siracusa(photo taken by me! damn that Gabby is cute!)

The kids went back to school on Monday. Am I a terrible parent if I say that I am thrilled? That I’ve been counting down the days? That summer break is a long 3 months even though the kids were in camp most of it and we were fortunate enough to travel quite a bit?

I’m not even such a person that enjoys routine. But I do enjoy the routine of the kids going off the school at 8:15 every morning and being picked up at 3. I like knowing that Keith and I can be productive for those hours in between. We try and jam as much as we can into those 7+ hours.

Back to School is kind of like ringing in the New Year. It’s time for resolutions of what we are going to work harder on over the next few months. So here are my Back to School Resolutions for school year 2014-2015.

1. Exercise as often as our schedule allows. I was just out in our backyard spray painting Isabella’s new bed (that is another resolution…) and the flab under my arms was flabbing around. What the heck happened to my arms? It used to be the one – two I guess – body parts that I actually liked.  Turning 45 – well let’s be honest I have been very neglectful for the past few years has caused my once trim shapely arms to turn into old lady arms. So Amenzone we go – every day at noon to have our a**es kicked either by the primal or the boxing class. No more excuses!

2. Redo the Girls Rooms. I have been promising Bella + Gabs this for years now. Somehow they went from having their own rooms, to sharing a room. Now they want their own rooms again – with updated furniture, bedding, etc.  The pinning (love you Pinterest) began a few months ago, now we are slowly but surely putting it all together!  Stay tuned for their after pics.

3. Go Back to School. Yes, I will be the 45 year old taking an intro to film photography class starting next Monday. Heading back after all these years to purse photography! So excited. A fellow photographer friend inspired me a few months ago about going back to school. I really want this and really can’t find any good excuses not to go for it. If she can do it – with four kids, working and doing it all, well than so can I!!! She inspired me to just do it. So I am. (Thank you Keith for all the support you give me)

4. Take our little Etsy business to the next level. My good friend Dianna and I have this adorable little Etsy Shop called Chasing Bliss Design. We feature handmade items for weddings and decor. And it is starting to really take off! Exciting.

5. Blogging with Purpose. Our blogs are such an important part of our business. For years I have wanted to have more purpose to my blogging. And come hell or highwater, I am going to do it.

I am feeling inspired and oh so happy. I love this time of year. I love my kids, love my husband and most of all love my life.

Gabby’s shirt says it all “I love being me”!

Thelma Dugan - August 20, 2014 - 7:11 pm

Good luck Melissa (& Keith), on ALL your superb “resolutions”! Especially, with getting those arms back to perfection as I remember them BEFORE you married and began a family—you’re still a good looking “young” woman, but I really GET IT about the “old woman’s arms”—something that I am personally acquainted with, being one of those “old women”! Kudos to you for taking the initiative before it REALLY takes some punishing exercise to be rid of that flapping arm skin–think I will just tie mine up when working in the yard! LOL! I went back to “school” at 45 and didn’t stop till I had my Masters in Ed., so you “go girl”, have fun too! You & Keith are already so busy, and do so much traveling, etc., etc., with your adorable girls, it is hard to imagine that you are NOT accomplishing more than you have both already done! “The World is your oyster,” Melissa, go for it!! Love you all, T. & G.

melissa - August 21, 2014 - 12:48 am

Thanks Thelma!!!

Instagram Photos | Aeolian Islands | Sicily Travelogue

Eolie Islands - Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano and PanareaThe blog over the past several weeks has been full of Keith’s beautiful photos of our trip to Sicily. But I figured I might share my Instagram photos as well – sort of a highlight of different parts of the trip.

The first of three weeks was spent on Lipari, one of the Aeolian Islands just off the coast of Sicily. When I began researching our 3 week trip, these islands didn’t make my radar. I scoured books, travel sites, etc. wanting to make the most of our time in Sicily. Finally after reading as much as Trip Advisor could muster on the subject (yes my go to site – I LOVE travel reviews and definitely use this site in trying to make the most educated decision I can) I had narrowed it down. Lipari it was. And believe me the only thing we regret about going to this little group of islands is that we didn’t stay longer. So much more to explore.

Islands visited: Lipari, Vulcano, Panarea and Stromboli. Next time we will spend time on Filicudi or Alicudi – more remote and beautiful in their simplicity. (We returned to mainland Sicily (funny to say that since Sicily itself is an island) by ferry from Lipari to Palermo by way of Filicudi and Alicudi. So we were able to catch a glimpse of their quaintness. I had read a bit about their beauty but the stop on each confirmed the rumors! Maybe a good spot for a honeymoon??)

Ciao Eolie. Thank you Trip Advisor for confirming this spot was well worth a visit!