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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Special Christmas Blog

Well, 'Tis that time of the year, isn't it?

We decided to take Vivienne to Candy Cane Lane on Oxnard last Sunday.

I had a glass of wine with my wife, while waiting for our friends who joined us for the festive night.

My wife took it easy with the decorations this year.

When our friends showed up, we got in the car.  They had the lovely idea of bringing some glow sticks for Vivienne, which she sure did appreciate.

Before you go ballistic on me for taking pictures while driving, please consider the fact that we were at stand still for a very long time.

Candy Cane Lane adventure has a lot of traffic involved.  
Then  we made the incredibly smart decision to get out of the car and walk despite a chilly night.  And I ended up taking a tons of photographs of my daughter.

The atmosphere of the Candy Cane Lane, which should now be called Candy Cane Block, is almost like an attraction park.  There are "legal" and "illegal" vendors.  Those who have permits, and those who make hot chocolate at home and sell it for a buck in exchange for the trouble they went through putting all the ridiculously elaborate decorations for the people to come and see.  The legal churos were delicious, the illegal hot chocolate wasn't, but it hit the spot.

A family put a sleigh up, dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus and allowed the visitors to take pictures in the sleigh.  Vivienne's excitement while waiting in line to jump on Santa's red sleigh ride was the biggest treat of the night for me.

I also watched her exploring all the decorated grounds with awe and curiosity.  It is just fascinating to relive everything for the first time again through the eyes of my daughter.  Nothing jaded, nothing being taking granted for...  So inspiring.

And of course I carried her on my shoulders and discussed the decorations with her.

And, here is the best decorated "house". Absolutely my favorite!

Click on the link to see the pictures from Candy Cane Lane - What's The Big Deal? Edition

Friday, December 20, 2013

Blue Buddha Studios Now Open

I wanted to share with you a lovely thing that happened last Saturday.  I opened a studio.

A studio you can rent, shoot in or come visit!

The opening went really well, guests, friends and family had a lovely time and we had great pleasure to host the event.  A few of my silly photo booth pictures are here.  Yes, go ahead and make fun of me, it's ok.



One of the many highlights of the night was the cupcakes provided by Big Man Bakes.  These delicious mini-cupcakes were not only delicious but also looked good.

I don't like to eat a lot of sweet, but these bite size treats were absolutely delicious! Again, big thanks to Big Man Bakes.

And now a little about the studio...
Blue Buddha Studios is a full service, Boutique Photography and Video facility located in gorgeous Los Angeles Beverlywood district.  For more information please visit the website.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

16 Appetizing Pictures With Recipes!

As the part of last week's blog entry, this week's entry is all about food.  And of course about photography. KHP's ridiculously talented member Jennifer Fontaine is a true multitasker.  A wonderful wife, a marveloous mom and a talented cook; she has a fantastic blog of her own that I mentioned on the FPB series before.  Mommy Hiker is about being a mom and raising your child(ren) with an active and healthy lifestyle.

Every Thursday, it is Mommy Hiker Food Series where Jen is sharing delicious, healthy and relatively easy to cook/prepare meals.  After she prepares the food, she plates them and works on the photographs meticulously.  Well, here are the results with no particular order along with the links to the recipes under the pictures.

You're welcome.

A delicious take on one of the classic favorites.

A creative, healthy and tasty fall dish.

A festive dessert.

I just love quiche.  And this particular recipe is absolutely to die for!

A cold soup in a martini glass cherished with crostini? Sign me up!

I love seafood, and when it comes to seafood stew, I am really picky.  And I pick this one.

If you love Italian food, let me give you a secret:  the best Italian food is cooked at home.  My father's pasta and my wife's calzone (among her other Italian inspired dishes) are the proof.

Deliciously refreshing...

Whether you eat it hot or cold, this risotto will have you coming for more, isn't that right Secondo?

Now, this is serious territory here.  This is one of my favorite dishes.  My mom used to make this perfectly and Jen's is the best thing next to that.  Forget about the English name and call it Mücver.

A rustic dish in a rustic setting.

A Fontaine family recipe that Hanci family adopted with welcoming taste buds.

Oh.My.God.  Just buy some sourdough baguette (La Brea Bakery's would do just fine), make sure you have some wine, and drop all you plans for one evening this weekend and cook this.  Just do it.  You will not regret it.

A holiday tradition... A la Jen's grandma's style.

And yet another favorite dish of mine... This one is really hard to get it right (to my taste).  Jen always got the taste right, but she nailed it at her 3rd try and since then, I always look forward to the days she asks me to get some eggplant at the store.

Finishing it up with a recipe that is a perfect fit for Mommy Hiker Blog.  You can make this really easily and quickly and take it to any outdoor activities.  It is healthy and delicious and your kids will love it.

Try a few of these and let me know how you like them!

Friday, November 29, 2013

How to Make A Business Getaway Pleasurable

A fair warning:  This blog is about indulging in earthly goods and if you are hungry and/or thirsty, you should first feed those desires and then come back for some photo-journalistic account of our last weekend.  And this is only a small part of why I am thankful in my life.  Being able to do what I love to do while I am making a living and grow spiritually with my family! Happy Thanksgiving everyone (who celebrates it)!

Jen and I left the baby with the capable, trustworthy and much appreciated hands of grandma last week and drove to Ojai for a little getaway.  We needed this time, not only to unwind and leave the daily grind behind, but also to be with each other and to plan for our family's future.

We are going through a wonderful time of changes where our businesses are evolving in the direction as we  define it.  As things may get a bit overwhelming at times, it may be easy to lose one's focus and steer off course.  While a strongly grounded relationship could keep the parties involved in check, it is definitely worth to step out of the frame in order to get a better view of the big picture and this is exactly what we did.

Of course, leaving town without the baby also calls for some time of relaxation and rejuvenation.  This was a wonderful couple of days of work and pleasure combined in a lovely trip.

We had a long, luxurious and comfortable brunch at The Oak Grill of Ojai Valley Inn.  It's been probably close to 20 years since I've had a Kir Royale... It just seemed appropriate.....
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa's The Oak Grill has a fantastic brunch.

 .....right before the steak and eggs.....

The delicious steak and eggs were served with home fried potatoes and béarnaise sauce

.....that was followed by a Bloody Mary.....

A meal in itself, this ridiculously tasty bloody mary is a must at The Oak Grill

.....which I shared with a humming bird.  No, no, I didn't.  But that humming bird definitely had brunch with us.

At Ojai Valley Inn & Spa's The Oak Grill, it is possible to dine while the hummingbirds feed themselves above you.

If you think it was all play, think again... Both Jen and I were adamant about getting things done!

I don't always play golf, but when I do, I prefer to enjoy a nice beverage and look at the empty field.

As the Oak Grill closed the kitchen at 12pm, we left there around 1pm and strolled down to Jimmy's Pub.  Jen opted for the Rosemary Gimlet and I chose the Watermelon-Basel Margarita while we pigged out on deliciously evil homemade chips.

Before the night's big dinner, we decided to chill at our hotel room looking at the Channel Island Harbor and Mother Nature threw in a great sunset for romance.

Before dinner, we had a delicious wine tasting at Herzog winery.

And we ended up our day-long feast at the terrifiic Tierra Sur restaurant.   Receiver of one of the highest Zagat ratings in Southern California, Tierra Sur is a divinely delightful fine-dining heaven.

Receiver of one of the highest Zagat ratings in Southern California, Tierra Sur is a delight for fine diners.

We were fantastically fed, while quenching our thirst with exquisite beverages and to top it all, we were absolutely productive drawing a well thought plan for the next few years.  Now, if you excuse me, I need to join my wife executing them!

Thank you and cheers!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Windmills of Your Mind...

...or Les Moulins de Mon Coeur.  It is one of my favorite songs (both the original French version and the English language version) and it came to my mind during a wedding I shot a few weeks back...  More on that later.  

Let's meet the beautiful bride Lauren and the handsome groom Jason...  This is the First Look.  It was a wonderful sight to photograph.  The moment Jason turned around and saw Lauren in her gown for the first time, the time stopped, everything, every sound, every movement around them lost their meanings.  At that point they were each other's universe, period.  It was beautiful and intense.

Marina Del Rey's Shangai Red's witnessed an intense and beautiful moment.

Following the first look, we had a lovely and intimate portrait session right before the ceremony.

Lauren and Jason embrace each other while the setting California sun is shining upon them

As I mentioned on another FPB entry a few weeks ago, the Fall season is my favorite.  And Fall weddings can also provide tons of colors and that is the equivalent of the candy store for this grown-up photographer kid.  Look at these gorgeous details...

And, of course, the bouquet...

Wth a little help of the magical light of candles, this very bouquet provided the perfect backdrop for the rings as well...

The color scheme was extremely well thought-thorough and well executed.  The cake and the flowers were in perfect unison.

Even the fire and the orange and pink of the setting sun were contributing to the colorful evening.

Now, as a lover of the Fall season, I also love songs about Autumn.  Like the obvious ones: The Autumn Leaves (another song that was in my mind while shooting this wedding), Forever Autumn by Moody Blues.  Not so obvious ones like California Dreaming and The Windmills of Your Mind.

I only thought of the line "The Autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair" while I was preparing this blog.  Hence the title.

May your love flourish in endless seasons of happiness, health and prosperity!

The couple having their first dance as husband and wife with the setting sun's gorgeous sky provides the backdrop on a lovely California night at Marina Del Rey's Shangai Red's