2017 DVC Graduation: Brittany Ayala

Brittany is a Political Science student who is ready to change the world! She is graduating this year from Diablo Valley Community College and is looking to transfer to a U.C. (She has already gotten into U.C. Santa Barbara and we are waiting to hear from the rest).

Brittany is one of the hardest working people I know. Every time I talk to her she tells me she is working a new internship and balancing a full course load. Brittany wants to change the world. She feels passionate about civil rights, social justice, and fairness. It is inspiring to know someone with such a genuine fire in them.

I have no doubt that Brittany will create the change she wants to see in the World.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Harriet Tubman

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Congratulations Brittany! I’m so proud of you!


4 Years Ago Today

A lot happens in four years. Couples can meet, get engaged, and married in four years. Students can start their first day of school and be graduating in four years.

Four years ago I was working my first job out of college and living in Sacramento. So much has changed since then! I live in a new city, have new friends and I know new things. Many other things have changed in the last four years and I thought it would be fun to make a list looking at what was going on four years ago in 2013.

  1. Barack Obama was President.
  2. Jennifer Lawrence trips on her way to the stage to accept the Academy Award for Best Actress
  3. Disney’s Frozen came out and the song Let It Go got stuck in all our heads
  4. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina becomes Pope Francis
  5. The Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act
  6. We are all shocked by the Boston Marathon Bombing
  7. Red Wedding. enough said.

17 Senior Photos Tips

I’ve thought a lot recently about what makes a “good senior portrait.” I’m thinking about this as both a photographer and a recent graduate of UCLA.

Naturally I decided to make a list of what makes a good senior portrait! Even if you don’t choose me for your photographer, I hope this list helps you out when you take your senior photos!


  1.  Research and talk with your photographer before the shoot. Have a good relationship with your photographer. Be friends!!!
  2.  Make sure the photographers style of editing is something you like.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes!
  4. Wear clothes that make you feel pretty/cool.
  5. Ask your photographer how many outfit changes you can make. Then pick out several outfit changes! You can even ask your photographer for help on which outfits will look good on camera.
  6. Bring your graduation robes 🙂
  7. Don’t get a new hair cut or fake tan right before the shoot. (You want to be comfortable with how you look …and really who wants to look like an oomp-loompa?)
  8. Pick a place to shoot that means something to you. Think about your school, favorite local hang out spot, etc.
  9. Do your make-up and make yourself feel pretty 🙂 You will be so much more relaxed at the shoot!
  10. Bring a friend…bring a whole cheer squad. Just make sure the people you bring are supportive and help you relax.
  11. Listen to pump-up music in the car ride over to the shoot location (think Rocky theme song…duna da, duna da)
  12. Practice smiling in the mirror before the shoot.
  13. Bring props! Bring a football, a flute, your ipod…heck bring your pet bunny if you want! Bring items that show who you are and make you comfortable.
  14. Remember it’s okay to be silly
  15. Please don’t wear all white or all black…
  16. on that note…wearing lots of color tends to look really good!
  17. Work with your photographer to not only get prints of your photos but also get digital copies. They will make awesome facebook profile pictures!

2017 Goals

As January comes to a close I thought it would be good to publicly state my goals for 2017. To be honest this is terrifying but it is the truest way I can think of to hold myself accountable.

This year I am choosing to keep it simple. Only five goals. I can make five goals, right?

These are real goals though. I want 2017 to be a year where I focus on growing. Thoughtfully growing. So here is the list:

  1. Find a fulling job
  2. Figure out a path to joy
  3. Get to 140lbs (ekkk! can’t believe I’m sharing that…)
  4. Run 3 5k races and 1 10k!
  5. Read a book a month

2016 Graduation: Morgan + Adolfo

They met in their hometown in California, started dating in community college, and left to go to school together in Arizona. Now they are graduating together.

College is a fun time. For a lot of us it can be a bubble, classes, parties, and clubs. Though for Morgan and Adolfo college was a little bit more of real life. It was working, paying rent, and meeting some serious obligations. They worked through it all. Together.

I am so proud to know them and to have had the opportunity to watch them grow.


“You cannot authentically live anyone’s life but your own. That is the deal life offers us.”

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Ret.)





“You are my best friend, my human diary and my other half. You mean the world to me and I LOVE YOU.”








I’m Coming Home

The pilot comes on over the loudspeaker: “we are starting our decent into Manchester, England” and my heart leaps. I do not go home to England as much as I would like and as we start our descent through the clouds I can start to see the English countryside and it feels like coming home.

I grew up in England. Living in a little house in West Derby, Liverpool. My mum is English and her whole family still lives over there. I miss them all the time and I miss the life I might have had there.

Going home and walking the same roads I walked as a child is an odd feeling. Not much has changed. Afterall, West Derby is so old it is named in the Domesday Book. Little things do change. People get older, some businesses change, but most of it is the same.

I miss everyday life. I miss the chip shop and sausage rolls. I miss red postboxes and postman that ride on bicycles. I miss Christmas cards and neighbors that just pop by for a cup of tea and a “hello.” My mum always says that life moves at a difference pace in England. It is slower. I agree.

Sometimes I miss that pace. Though I do think I am fundamentally an American who loves to hussell but that pace is nice to go back home too.


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Michcel Proust