hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Monday, August 31, 2009

mila | news . our first baby picture

last thursday curtis and i heard the baby's heartbeat.  wow... i mean ... WOW.  i tried so hard to be strong girl but one look at curtis' tear stained face and my resolve was broken.  we were both reduced to puddles.  there really IS a baby in there!

today we got to do the ultrasound and saw our baby for the first time!  the technician also confirmed that the baby is 12 weeks old.  our due date is march 11.  i can't stop grinning.  we're both so excited to meet the lil munchkin!  and up until today i thought that i wanted to know the baby's sex but now i'm teetering on the fence.  curtis is still definitely on the want-to-know track.  i bet i wouldn't be able to stand the excitement.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

mila | 20.20.20 august results

we had a great time at the last 20.20.20 session. new people, new chairs, new props, new snacks! it was a happy fun time all around.

  • special thanks to candace and michael magoski of violethour studio. they are the nicest, most accomodating hosts. i absolutely love their art and their space. thanks for sharing it with us.
  • also, thanks to my super awesome sister and her delectable selection of snacks.
  • and finally thanks to all my clients who made the day fun and fulfilling!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

mila | portraits . fashion editorial

nothing like a change of pace keeps the creative juices fresh!  a couple of weeks ago a few photog friends and i coordinated a fashion editorial shoot with a theme that differs from our usual fare.  it was called... THE BREAKUP.

chapter 1 opens the scene with two gorgeous people at the height of passion ... bliss and love eternal.  that butterfly heaven of ultimate chemistry.  chapter 2, the fleeting moment when one or the other is still caught up in a jet stream of interest while the other's attention wanes.  and the conclusion of parting.

how's that for a 180 from the usual love story?  see if you can tell where the cycles begin and end.

the outtakes.  hanssie directing the couple.  matt sleuthing from across the street.  derrick showing off some styling talent.

Monday, August 24, 2009

mila | news . pregnant

so we like to trickle the good news in.  it's all about bite size chunks... i swear.. we're not trying to prolong congratulations or spike my blog numbers or anything.

so here it is...

we're pregnant!!!!!!!   yeah yeah.. i know some of you guessed it already.  not for lack of trying on my part either.  all i said on fb is that i kept waking up super early (like 3am one day and 5 am the next).  of course all my mommy friends were jokingly on to me; and honest little me just couldn't deny it.

well... it's actually early for us yet.  we're only at about 9 weeks.  most people wait till after the first trimester to make an announcement but it gets tiring explaining away all the pregnancy symptoms.  and really... it's silly this whole not sharing business.  i want you all to know that we're happy!  and if anything bad should happen (and it won't) .. then i want you all to understand why i would be devastated.  my point is.... i want my friends and my family to share in my life.  all sides of it.

i'll have you know that i've been in a fog lately.  up until last week my life was controlled by all day nausea.  it hasn't been easy at all.  watching tv was an effort.  my life was really crippled by that funk.  i swear i'm not exaggerating.  so now i would like to thank the following for putting up with me and my bouts of hell.

  • my friend jenny for listening to my woe's and giving encouragement.  you're right.  the phase is passing and i survived.  i swear i didn't think it would go away.
  • my sister for bringing saltines into my life and cooking a 2 month supply of my favorite soup to help battle the throwy-uppys.
  • all my friends for not wondering out loud why i've been so cranky lately and short on energy.
  • every waitress that entered into a conspiracy with me as we secretly ordered virgin bloody mary's while the rest of our friends would enjoy their yummy libations. 
  • my family for their enthusiasm at the news.
  • my dear dear curtis for putting up with cranky michelle and making sure the belly gets some kind of food every 2 hours.
  • hanssie for not spilling the beans
  • kari for donating my first baby item.  we have a bassinet!
this thursday we are getting measurements to have a more accurate due date which is currently slated for some time in march.  and in a month or so we should be finding out the sex of the baby!  can't wait!!!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

mila | stray thoughts . getting carded

so to most people i look REALLY young for my age.  guessing my age is often times a break-the-ice game for some of my friends when we're around new people.  they all laugh whenever i get carded at restaurants and bars.  sometimes i get carded 2 or 3 times in a night in the same place (the shift change of staff).  i just smile.  most of the time (as in 99% of the time), the youthful appearance frees me from a lot of expectations and can be very liberating.  it also allows me to fly under the radar and exceed expectations which can be advantageous...  most of the time.

last night was date night.  last night was NOT a good night to not pass for 21.  we were rushing out the door in a hurry.  we were going to be late for the movie.  district 9 sounded like the kind of movie i could really get into.  we heard great reviews.  cineplex at the garden walk is our newly discovered favorite movie theater.  it's a 21 and over theater, they serve alcohol and have huge leather recliners for you to sink into.  and it's always kinda empty too which totally works for us.  what's not to love right?  well... since we rushed out of the house i forgot to grab my ID.  you can see where this is going.  we ran up 4 flights of stairs, made it to the ticket counter at a minute to 8pm and the attendant AND the manager take one look at me and my distress at not having my ID and just shook their head.  UGH!!!!!!!  i'm 36 years old and i can't even pass for 21 with these people!  i was just lamenting the other day that i pass for 24 now and not 18.  oh what i would give to look 24 now.  grrrrr!!!!! curtis was disappointed and annoyed.  i ruined date night... almost...  i found another theater 2 miles down that was playing the movie at 8.20pm.  thank god!  the evening was salvaged.

district 9 was kool btw.  different ... but so my kind of movie.

oh .. i've been lazy about getting dolled up lately.  so makeup on an evening out has become rare.  have i told you about my hairstylist of 15 years?  i LOVE her!  jennifer alvarez.. find her on facebook.  she works out of irvine and is the bestest bestest best EVER!  had to take a picture of the new 'do she gave me and the rare makeup moment of course.  curtis behind the camera.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

mila | stray thoughts . food

oh the struggle to stay healthy! i've been buying more fruits and veggies... hitting the farmer's market whenever possible. my sis has turned farmer recently and nothing beats the garden veggies she brings. she gave me a tomato plant a month ago and i harvested my very first tomato 2 days ago. it was deeeelish! don't get me wrong though. i'm still the farthest from domestic i could ever be. yesterday we had a scrumdeeliumptious lunch with our friend mary over at jay's catering and we were chattin about how food ALWAYS tasted better when someone else made it. do i hear an AMEN?! this statement was followed by the entrance of chef who had 3 amazing plates of carmelized banana chimichangas. HOLY cow-NOLI! seriously! i was feelin pampered. i would move into that office as mary's pet in a heartbeat.

so after a pat on the belly and a timid burp ... it got me thinkin about all my favorite food places where i gladly give up my tastebuds to the experts. here's some of my uber favorites...

  • soul food
    • roscoe's chicken N waffles - god help my scale whenever i walk into that place.
    • memphis (costa mesa) --- you must order the lemon thyme chicken with a side of greens. thank me later!
  • mexican
    • el triumfo (anaheim) -- it's the bestest best hole in the wall mexican place and it's right next door to my house!
    • miguel's (corona) --- mmmm ... pork, potato and cheese burrito
    • el taurino (los angeles) -- hands down .. the ultimate carne asada
  • clam chowder
    • brannigan's pub ( old town fullerton)
  • shabu shabu
    • irvine shabu shabu - do yourself a favor and go for the kobe beef. huge diff!
  • indian food
    • india cookhouse (irvine)
    • dosa place (tustin) -- my indian friends may turn their nose up at this but i LOVE dosa and i haven't found a better closer one yet. i actually love how spicy their food is.
  • thai
    • thai specialty 2 (tustin) --- oh the lime fish is heavenly and healthy!
  • dessert
    • goldilocks - i'm filipino and i love me some mango cake! light and fluffy!
    • roy's -- i don't really like chocolate but they have a souffle that i could convert for
soooooo many more places i'm sure i'm forgetting. i'm always open to suggestions and favorites. gimme some of yours! oh... and if anyone knows where i can get some good paella and good fabada? i haven't found a spanish restaurant to fill the gaping hole in my gut created by our family cook (esther). i miss her so.

my sister's last tomato harvest. grape tomatoes, perfect for a summer salad.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

mila | newborn . madison

you know... time really is ticking by sooooooo quickly.  i feel like i just shot judy's belly bump photos yesterday... and now madison is here!  come meet the newest kid in our neighborhood and her adorable lil nose!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

mila | portraits . me vs walmart

so i heard through the [b]school grapevine that walmart is offering a one hour in studio-session for $99 (requires a purchase of $150 worth of print material).  additional hours are $75.  i haven't verified this information but that's almost $250 for an hour in-studio at walmart.  i'm not sure what kind of post processing they do but i'm thinkin it's not as much time as i spend on my photos.  it's true my portrait sessions are more costly.  my sessions start at $350 (up to 3 hours in a location of your choice) and yes the prints and/or cd is extra.  but really.... walmart or me?  wanna get in on this vote?

while you're chewing your lip over that... here's yesterday's newborn session with little becket.  um... that's becket... NOT bucket.  the joke's on the last picture ;)  oh and remember blake and his froggy boots?!!  he's back!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

mila | events . cowboy boots + petron

best 1 year old birthday celebration this year!  i can't believe nikolas is one now!  i remember those tiny little feet from a year ago.  his was the last newborn shoot before we left for the philippines.  wow!  time sure does fly!

carissa and joel decked out the lil guy in full gear.  he had his black jacket with leather trim to match his cowboy boots and belt.  it was adorable!  never mind that one boot wouldn't stay on.  it was all in fun.  speaking of fun... he had a blast digging into his cake.  we should all mush cakey fingers just for the fun of it ;)

the taco man was busy.  every table had a bottle of petron.  the band was rockin out and the kids were flyin in the blowup bouncy thing.  yep... it was AWESOME!

just so you can see the diff... here's nikolas from a year ago...