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

Friday, October 30, 2009

mila | dane sanders roadshow workshop

i'm not a workshop junkie.  actually i'm pretty level headed about what workshops i want to attend.  there are a LOT of options out there and the options were overwhelming when i was just starting out.  i set out with my priorities and then attacked methodically, even with all the homework on each one it's still a hit or miss on whether or not the money spent was well spent.  i never knew until i was done with the workshop if it was worth it.  different needs for different people you know?  up until now the only workshop that was REALLY worth the money for me was the lightroom 2 day intesive with jack davis that i took almost two years ago.  it was $300 well spent and i've used everything i learned from that class and then some.  it was also the most i had ever spent on a workshop.

last week i went to new york for the dane sanders roadshow workshop.  i won't lie.  for me it was expensive.  i spent the $750 for the workshop, curtis and i spent the money for plane tickets and a stay in NY during one of the most expensive times of the year.  it was a lot of bux.  i was hoping and praying that i wasn't going to regret the expense.  this was not a "how-to-shoot-photos" workshop.  this was a business workshop.  i needed this... or so i told myself.  i'm still just as the beginning stages of a business... and i make mistakes and bad choices.  i was hoping this wasn't a big one.  granted, curtis didn't have to come along and we didn't have to turn it into a mini vacation but i was using that as plan B consoling just in case.  but if this was bad i was going to cry over not getting my 70-200 f2.8 IS lens instead.

wednesday evening last week i found myself surrounded by love.  it's been almost 20 years since i've been to a soul searching spiritual retreat.  i was in shock when i realized that i found it in the oddest of places again.  a cleansing, liberating, exhilarating feeling of indescribable amazingness.  dane's workshop was a spiritual journey for my business.. and for me!  i walked in there looking for answers to my marketing walls and technical questions.  i walked out with a perspective for my business that will propel me to success!  i walked out of there with 12 other compatriots who felt the same way!  i walked out of there not as a ME but as WE.  i have a new family!  i have a support group!  and these 12 people are just the beginning.  we are on the ground level of a revolution in this industry.  there are communities across the country that have gone through the workshop and WE ARE ALL FOR EACH OTHER.  i know this sounds vague... almost hokey.. but trust me... it's the best workshop EVER!  if you have your own business, whatever it may be, not just photography... this is the best workshop for you.  

here's the photos from the workshop where we had a chance to shoot with an amazing couple (julianna and fernando) in new york's meatpacking district.

and here's the crew and the venue...

Monday, October 26, 2009

mila | MY baby bump week 20

i feel movement! a few girlfriends told me that at this stage feeling the baby move is like feeling gas bubbles in your belly. well... i had some false alarms a couple of weeks ago. they really were gas bubbles. it wasn't the munchkin AT ALL. but now... it's totally her! curtis is so jealous. he wants to feel the movement too. so cute. he's constantly patting and rubbing the belly in hopes of feeling her move around in there.

i'm so attached to my family. we might not see each other often but we are in each other's minds all the time. facebook, email and skype brings us all so much closer together. curtis' parents moved to virginia a few months ago to help care for curtis' grandpa. and we hadn't seen them since we left for the philippines last year. and as for curtis' grandpa, curtis hadn't seen him since 1996! he was definitely over due for a visit. and so off we went.

it was awesome to see these 3 generations together. it warms my heart. when the little munchkin comes in march we're going to plan another visit to virginia. i would love for her to meet her grandfather and her great grandfather.

gained a pound and a half since the last weigh in. i can't even suck my belly in anymore. she's definitely making herself known these days. i think i should have picked a different outfit for these photos.. she's just not as visible in this.

Monday, October 19, 2009

mila | getting pulled over

i signed up for the dane sanders roadshow (photog workshop) and from a long list of cities to choose from i picked new york. curtis and i LOOOOOOVE new york. we got in town a couple of days ago, taking in the sights, sounds and shopping before the workshop. it was supposed to be pouring rain these past few days but i'm thinkin we brought a little bit of cali with us when we landed coz it's been kinda dry (thank god).

there's something about this city that's just exhilarating. in cali, if i have to walk too far in a large outdoor mall center you can bet that i'd jump in my car and re-park. here, i can just keep on walking. i mean, we might stop occasionally at a cafe or hop on the subway to the next area or we might enter every clothing store in between. but all that walking just gives me a chance to absorb everything about this city. the people are interesting. the fashion is amazing. the food is exemplary! i could totally live here! .... for a year ... or before it gets too cold for my tropical skin, whichever comes first.

yesterday we were in soho, meandering between stores. curtis is on a hunt for shoes and clothes. i want a pair of black boots (shoes and socks are about the only thing i can fit into and feel good in these days). since he's got more shopping in mind than i do i generously call out "just pull over whenever you see something you like". next thing i know i'm walking into a wall coz curtis turned a hard right and walked into me. i'm like... "hello??" curtis is grinning. "...i pulled over. i saw something i liked." he's staring at me and i start giggling. i know i know.. cheesy. but sooooo cute! i thought so anyway. sigh. i love this guy... and i love NY.

today we're heading to B&H. my photog shopping mecca! i've only shopped online with them so going to the store is gonna be like toys r us for me. the clouds part and angels sing. can you picture it?! goosebumps already. tonight, i meet up with the roadshow gang and tomorrow we begin the workshop.

here's a photo of me n c (circa 2007) ... blast from the past

Friday, October 16, 2009

mila | orange county photographer . holiday special

holiday photos from milaPhotography $250

this special price is only available for the month of november so hurry and book your session now!

  • 1 hour session in a location of your choice
  • CD of all edited images - full resolution files good for printing included
  • private online gallery to share with friends and family
  • sorry but studio sessions are not available for this promo
to book your session

call michelle at 949.616.0105 or email at michelle@milaPhotography.com

get in first on future promos!  Subscribe to my newsletter

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

mila | news . we're having a GIRL!

WE'RE HAVING A GIRL!!!! so the question now is who won?

i wanted a boy but thought it was a girl .. based on scientific deduction of course. my family produces a high percentage of girls, very strong women actually. "strong" is the most PC term i can think of to describe our female tribe. curtis wanted a girl but thought it was a boy... based on a hunch ( i think he was just trying to make me feel better). i know one thing for sure. my shoe shopping budget is gonna lose out. there's gonna be some serious dents made in that fund :(

i texted the family and friends this morning with the news and here's some of the initial reactions...
  • from my sis -- "WOOOOOOOOOOO! No more arguing about boys names :)"
  • from my aunt (the rare one on my dad's side that produced boys) -- "I knew it!..."
  • from my cousin (one of the girls) -- "... score one more for us!"
last month we started thinking about names and got really stumped on boy names. i mean REALLY stumped. i was getting desperate and thought we could just call him friday. curtis threw that into the dump pile along with all the other names. it was getting so ridiculous that i threw my hands up and said it was pointless since we didn't even know the baby's sex yet! good thing we stopped. no reason for anyone to sleep on the couch over that now!

tonight i'm gonna dig up some of our baby pictures. we can start guessing what this baby is going to look like. i was born with two teeth and curtis actually had hair!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

mila | craftiness and compliments

if i had a dollar for every idea i came up with i would be a millionaire. i'm a problem solver, a fixer, an enhancer. it's in my nature. it's this particular ability that made me successful in my previous career as a business analyst. my problem is follow thru.... these days anyway. and that is where curtis comes in.

my creativity needs an outlet, sometimes it means CREATING work where there isn't a need for it. curtis balances me out. he reminds me of where we are, why we are and why i should or shouldn't pursue an idea. and sometimes... he just follows through for me.

i'm somewhat of a pack rat... albeit an organized one. my creative streak demands that i don't waste anything so i have a bunch of odds and ends tucked away in boxes everywhere. a moment of inspiration hit me when i saw a display at a craft fair over the summer and i told curtis i wanted a wall of photos in the living room. after i told him what i had in mind (using a handful of drawer pulls) he took my ideas, and threw up a wall of our favorite photos from our recent travels.

don't you just love it?!?!? frames from IKEA + silver drawer pulls + ribbon. voila! i've got a few more crafty nifties waiting to get explored in my head. i'll be sharing as i go along.

p.s. i actually took these photos coz i rented a tilt-shift lens and wanted to understand what it did. now i know.

Monday, October 5, 2009

mila | summer 2009

the weather's turning. i turned the fans off around the house last night. i wore my uggs to the store yesterday. i had a long sleeve shirt on today. summer is passing ... and i've got my fuzzy slippers out again. curtis and i haven't seen this side of cold since the fall/winter of 2007 coz we bailed out before the cold hit in 2008. dare i say it.. i missed my boots and my sweaters!

it was a fun summer! lots of photo shoots, friends, bbq's, picnics, beach days and happy surprises. here's some pictures from a couple-three summer get togethers with our k-rews. backyard bbqs, fourth of july at the beach and the OC fair!

one of these days i'm going to figure out how to get this slideshow to be the right size. any suggestions anyone?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

mila | orange county portrait photographer . published parenting magazine

my photos were published on parenting magazine! barni, one of my girl friends from high school works for parenting magazine philippines. she saw one of my family photo posts on facebook one day and jokingly commented that she wished she could use my photos for her articles. the wheels started rollin and she extended the opportunity to use my photos in parenting magazine and working mom. she loved my style and i loved that she loved it! they used 7 of my photos for the august issue and have a few more lined up to be published thru december. in some cases it looks like we made the cover!

thank you so much to all the families who gave permission for use of the photos.