This time of year is a perfect time to take the opportunity for personal reflections and setting new goals and intentions. Many call it New Year’s Resolutions, but I believe you can set new goals at anytime of the year. I actually started the biggest goal ever last year during the week of Thanksgiving. Without going into too much detail, I set a goal to have one dessert a week. (If you’d like to know more, shoot me an email!) Yup, I DID set this goal at the beginning of the holidays! Not only do I have the biggest sweet tooth and would eat dessert constantly if I could, all the holiday treats were arriving at my door, so this is a goal that I never thought I would be able to stick to, much less accomplish. But, with the help of my amazing coach, one year later I still continue to have only one dessert a week.
 
Throughout the year, I would reflect on this goal and … well … one goal lead to another that lead to another and 30 pounds lighter (yay me!) I am still making new goals throughout the year. While making goals might be the “thing to do” during this season, don’t forget you can actually make them at anytime, just like I did. Another important thing to remember at the end of the year? Reflect on how far you’ve come! Too often, we get caught up in the goals we didn’t accomplish or the goals we’ve yet to set … I do it all the time. I’ve learned how important it is to take a step back, reflect, congratulate myself and then reassess. Here are a few tips on how and why this is an important part of goal setting and some of my favorite tools to help me stay on track.

Celebrate

I think the most important thing we forget is to look back and see what we have accomplished and congratulate ourselves on this. It’s way too easy to be hard on ourselves. It takes a conscious effort to look back at all the things we actually accomplished. Chances are you have accomplished more than you think. I know there’s been a lot this year, but in the moment I’ll admit I forget. So sit down and take a few minutes to jot down at least 3 accomplishments you’ve had this year. Now … celebrate these and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! Bonus tip: I do this daily as I journal. I write down 3 things I am proud of from the day before.
 

What’s Working and What Needs Improvement

Who starts their list with the biggest intentions of making all kinds of change? I do, I do! But then over time, all those best intentions fall by the wayside. I’m guilty of this every day! Whether it be my todo list or my goals, my list is usually more than what is realistic. Haha! But with the help of my Day Designer planner (I highly recommend this), I see what I can truly accomplish and what goals I can actually achieve by writing them down. Remember, goals can’t be achieved unless we lay the foundation to make them happen. While it’s important to set those big goals, don’t forget that it’s those small ones that build up to the big ones. You can’t change or do everything at once. I didn’t instantly lose 30 pounds, it took a whole year. I started with one dessert a week, then walking 10k steps, then lowering my calories and now I am doing bootcamp. It was the combined effort that made it possible. I should also share that I didn’t reach my goal for the end of the year, but I’m so proud of what I have done that it doesn’t matter. This is the time to look back and see what worked and what didn’t, without judgement. Just an honest acknowledgment of what didn’t work and set about making adjustments to realign yourself to make it work in the future. Think of it as something new you learned about what you can do differently to achieve those goals in the future. Make a list of your goals ( I set goals for myself professionally, personally, financially, healthy and with relationships) … go ahead, write them down…all of them… big or small. Then decide what’s worth keeping and what needs ditching. I do this with my daily todo list as well. I write down everything that needs to be done and then what I think I can actually accomplish in one day.

Reassess Goals

Now it’s time to review. Do your goals (professionally and personally) align with the kind of life you want to live? My starting goal was to actually be more fit and I have to say I have achieved that and continue working towards a fitter me, but then it grew into other goals and that’s ok. Remember you can reset and reassess goals at anytime, not just at the end of the year. Do your goals get you to one step closer to the person you aspire to be? I didn’t necessarily want to become a health nut, that isn’t in alignment with who I am (at least for the moment), but I did want to be more fit and healthy. I still have my cheat day and I don’t live at the gym, but I am stronger and more fit and I have a healthier relationship with food.
 
Here are some of my favorite tools that I use for goal setting and journaling:

Let me know what some of your accomplishments were this year! Leave a comment or tag me in your Instagram post! I can’t wait to hear some of your success stories!

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It’s been another wonderful year filled with amazing weddings, engagement, portraits and some of the best clients! We have pulled together the Best of 2017 … some of your favorites and ours, too! Everything from your favorite Instagram post to your favorite tips.  Stick it out to the end for a festive holiday cocktail recipe from Tal, one of my favorite mixologists from Pharmacie!

Your Favorite Tip

Your favorite tip of the year is a big one for many of our engaged couples, 5 Things to do to get started planning your wedding. Visit the post to get a recap on 5 things to do before you start planning.

Your Favorite Instagram Posts

We love your engagement with us on Instagram!! Here are the top 3 posts from this year according to YOU!! Looks like 2018 is going to be beautiful and classic!

Your Favorite Facebook Post

It was a tie between these two posted on Facebook this year! The excitement of just being wed and the beauty of this stunning table by Nicole George Events and Peony and Plum.

 

Your Favorite Krista and Aldo Adventure

Scotland and the Cairngorms were on our top list as well! But you guys were the sweetest, loving the pictures of Aldo and I at Arthur’s Seat! Those rolling green hills are to die for, I’ll admit, and it was so fun walking around being photographed by our good friends.

Favorite Portrait Session

Oh yeah, this was a good one! This gorgeous maternity session has opened up a new love for in-home maternity portraits for me.

Favorite Wedding

This was a close one, but in the end you all loved this beautiful Palos Verdes wedding at Wayfarers Chapel. I mean, with this adorable couple and beautiful glass chapel with stunning views, it’s hard not to love!

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Favorite Styled Shoot

This was such an amazing shoot! So much color, so many bridal styles, so much beautiful awesomeness! All rolled into one killer shoot with my favorite dream team, Chic Celebrations and Lauryl Lane! I have a surprise for you next year involving this awesome dream team!

Fig House

Favorite Engagement Session

Those Santa Ynez views and sunsets are my favorite too! This beautiful engagement session was filled with as many surprises as it was stunning images!

destination engagement {Krista Mason Photography} [post_title]

Favorite Cocktail

Well, if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a cocktail!! So, as promised, here’s one of my favorite holiday cocktails! As a bonus, Tal has graciously given us his secret recipe! If you try it out this holiday season, we’d love to see your version of it! Post your pics up on Instagram and tag us: @kristamasonphotography and @pharmacie__ (that’s 2 dashes at the end smile.png )

(Hint: Right-click the image to save the recipe for yourself!)


And there it is!! All of your favorites from 2017!! We love all of you and appreciate your support and always look forward to the next event or portrait! Thank you to each and every one of you – you know who you are! You know you want to join in on the fun and be part of the KMP family! Give us a shoutout! Happy Holidays!!

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Remember our last post with Sterling Engagements for the Herbalife party? Well, I’ve got another grand event to share with you for your holiday inspiration!

This time, I got to shoot the Google holiday party! And let me tell you…Google knows how to go all out! This was an absolutely beautiful event! The party was so much fun to photograph, basically because it was Christmas themed AND there was some super fun entertainment!

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel lobby was decked out with grand Christmas trees and elegant evergreens everywhere. As guests arrived, they were treated to a red-carpet experience  lined with trumpeters that lead to the lobby filled with all types of festive performers.

In the grand room, guests were treated to a fabulous seated dinner. Throughout the evening, they were entertained with acts ranging from sword fights to mime performances, ballet performances, dancers and acrobatic performers. Yes, they were well entertained throughout the entire night.

Of course, one thing I loved was all the different rooms with all the different themes and foods for everyone to enjoy. So many details…you know I love the details. Probably my most favorite room was the one where we got to make our own flower crowns!!

holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration holiday inspiration

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It’s really beginning to feel like the holidays – I can’t believe Christmas is so close!! We decorated our house very minimally this year, but I’m happy to say that it’s done! I’m happy I get to enjoy it for a little bit longer this year! In celebration of the holiday, I thought I would share this Herbalife holiday party I photographed last year. Sterling Engagements and Shawna Yamamoto flowers teamed up to put together this amazing party for Herbalife company party! So, hang on for some gorgeous holiday party inspiration!

I’m so honored to work with these wonderful vendors! They really know how to plan and pull of an amazing party! As you walked into the venue, you were greeted with the most beautiful grand entrance. I felt like was walking the red carpet! Everything was so lush and welcoming! The Herbalife employees were in for a treat with the whole venue! It was so nice to see a company treat their employees to such a grand party!

So, let’s take a look at these five different looks! Using all five ideas might be a bit much, but maybe at least one of these will inspire your next holiday party – or any party for that matter!!

party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration party inspiration

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With Thanksgiving this week I thought I’d share this past event at Pasea Hotel and Spa that I photographed last year with Louise & Third. Don’t you think some of these touches would translate perfectly into Thanksgiving Decor or even your very own Thanksgiving table scape? I love the touch of cotton that Penelope Pots Floral & Event Design added to the bouquet. Such a fun fall look!
This event was a re-grand opening for Pasea Hotel and Spa Weddings. With a modern touch and gorgeous 0cean views, it is the perfect place to say “I do”. I always love the opportunity to work with new vendors , so when Megan, of Louise and Third, invited me in on the fun, of course I had to say yes! It was a great opportunity to get a feel for how well we could work together and continue building our business together. An additional plus? A super fun opportunity to photography all those details you know I love plus getting to meet tons of new people.

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VENDORS: Planning: Louise & Third Events @louiseandthird \\ Photography: Krista Mason Photography @kristamasonphotography \\ Ice Cream Cart: The Sugar Philosophers @thesugarphilosophers \\ Linens: Wildflower Linen @wildflowerlinen \\ Bridal Attire: The White Dress @thewhitedresscdm \\ Floral Design: Penelope Pots Floral & Event Design @penelopepotsfloraldesign \\ DJ / Lighting: Invisible Touch Events @invisibletouchevents \\ Cake:  Rooney Girl Bakeshop @rooneygirlbakes \\ Photo Booth: The Instabooth @instaboothco

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Not every person who contacts me to photography their wedding ends up becoming a wedding client. For what ever the reasons may be, the stars don’t always align perfect for us to capture everyone’s big day, and that’s OK. But I do love it when I’m still able to make a connection and they end up contacting me later for portraits! That’s exactly what happened with Gillian!
Gillian is originally from California and had her beautiful wedding here. But soon after her wedding, she and her husband relocated to Arizona for his job. As you can see, their family is growing! Gillian wanted to have a maternity photo session here in SoCal since she was having her baby shower here too (which we also had the honor of photographing – yay!) She wanted her baby girl to have some Southern California vibes since that is where all of her extended family reside.
Maternity photographs can be so intimate. You have this growing creature inside you that has taken over your body, mind, and heart. The little bean hasn’t even been born, yet you feel this unbelievable love and connection already. And those feelings are only about to get stronger! I know often times mothers-to-be are hesitant about maternity sessions because they aren’t feeling their normal selves or maybe they’re feeling like a large beach ball about to bust, but trust me … no one has ever regretted having captured these moments. The only regrets I hear about are about not doing them! Believe me, more often than not I hear, “I wish I had taken pregnancy photos … I didn’t realize how much I would want to cherish those 9 months before baby came into the world.”
If you are on the fence just go for it. Ignore those disapproving thoughts because your heart will always cherish those 9 months you and your little bean had together, so why not remember it with photos as well.

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How in the world is Thanksgiving holiday just over a week away?! Living in Southern California, it’s really hard to get into the holiday spirit. When it’s still sunny and warm outside, it makes all the holidays feel like it’s so far away when it’s actually just around the corner. And before you know it, Christmas has come and gone, we’ve rung in the New Year and we’re already halfway through the next year!
From September to December, my days are filled with birthday celebrations and anniversaries and all the different holidays. But some how, among all the craziness of this time of year, I still manage to squeeze in our annual holiday portrait, which is a whole event in itself – as it should be!
No matter how far in advance I plan, or how much I’ve prepped, or how much I’ve thought about gifts from the beginning of the year, I always feel like I’m playing catch up during this time of year. Anyone else feeling that too?
With all the prepping and planning for the upcoming holidays, I am also taking time to plan our annual holiday pop up sessions. Documenting your daily moments is great – can you say selfie? – but having a professional capture you and your family in the most beautiful, natural way is priceless … AND you get gorgeous art to hang in your home! That’s why we have our annual pop-up sessions … so that each and every one of you can have that opportunity to capture your most valued treasure (your family) in the most stunning way.
Here are some of our favorites from last year’s pop up session. While we mostly photograph families with children of all ages during this time of year, as you can see, we do love to include those fur babies! We also love including couples and expecting parents. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I recently found how important it is to capture your portraits each and every year. So don’t let this year sneak by without capturing your loved ones.
Don’t let this year pass without updating your family portraits, contact us to schedule your session. We have tons of various holiday sessions available to fit your needs.

 

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I love Entertaining! I’m always so excited for this time of year. It’s the beginning of entertaining season from Halloween to Thanksgiving and all those December holiday parties … not to mention all the birthdays and dinner parties scattered in between. And I’m always looking for the next best thing to up my entertaining game!
My favorite thing to host is our annual Christmas Potluck. It started out 14 years ago when Aldo and I first started dating. Over the years, it has evolved into something we truly treasure. Our first party, we were – no joke – an hour late to our own party that we were hosting in our own home (we were still out getting food and decorations). Our first guests were sitting on our couch watching TV when we got back. I will never forget that. Ah to be young and carefree again – OR NOT!
I’d like to think that we have improved since then and, while we may not be late to our own party any longer, we are always upping the stakes little by little each year. From the food to the decor to the ambiance. My friends always laugh and tell me I get too fancy, but I love it! Yes, it can add stress and be a little chaotic, but the payoff is always so much fun!
We have also been hosting our family Thanksgiving for the past few years and each year it as well gets a little fancier and fancier, even if it is just 6 of us. Can you tell I like to decorate and entertain? I am so excited to up the game this year with with a special added touch to the dinner table.
I partnered with Ro & Co Events and Hostess Haven to share with you 9 creative napkin folding techniques. Head on over to Ro & Co’s site to see how it’s done with some video tutorials and how to’s.
If you are hosting multiple parties and looking for a way to change things up, the easiest way is to change up your napkin fold. It will give your table an entire new look, even with the same napkin. Another simple way to change things up is simply changing out the flat wear. It’s super easy to do when you have great places like Hostess Haven to rent gorgeous table wear.
My favorite napkin fold is a tie between the tossled napkin with a ring or the simple knot. Not only are they both simple, but it’s also a little less formal and more organic. So, tell me, what’s your favorite fold?
1. Simple Knot
As you can see here, simply changing out the flat wear gave this table a completely different look.
2. Three Pocket Fold
3. Single Pocket Fold
4. Burrito Fold
5. Hexagonal Pocket
6. Banded Tri-fold
7. Tossled Napkin
8. Romantic Layered Edge
 9. Angular Pocket

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Here’s another favorite family popup session to share with you as we are booking up our holiday popups. This was one of the fastest mini sessions we have ever had. Two kids can be a challenge sometimes, am I right mom and dad? But even with all the chaos and melt downs during the session, we captured some of the best portraits this family now proudly displays in their home.
Do you ever look at an image and have all sorts of memories come flooding back, no matter where or how that image may be displayed. Isn’t that the best feeling? This family has outgrown their previous home. Even though they’re in a temporary home at the moment, these images still grace their walls. Time will pass, day after day, and life will bring more hiccups, but your family images can make any house feel like home. I’m so thrilled to say that Gianna has not 1, but 3 of these beautiful images printed at poster size.
Maybe you hear yourself saying, “I love the images! I’d love to frame and hang them once we have our permanent home!” Or maybe you have your home, but the thought of trying to figure out where to put your beautiful images overwhelms you, so you just keep delaying it. Whatever excuse you may be telling yourself, it’s time to stop and just print those beauties. There is no perfect time to wait to put your images up, there is only now. I promise you won’t regret it! You’ll only regret letting time pass and wishing you put the images up sooner!
Gianna may not have had the perfect family session, but I’m here to tell you no one does. When one kid was smiling, the other was melting down and then both. But with a little love, maybe some bribery, and the removal of some shoes … bam, they were happy again! You’re kids will probably have meltdowns just like Gianna’s, but if you wipe away the tears and keep going, you’ll have beautiful images just like this family. You won’t admit it now, but aren’t their cries a little funny? The images you get can definitely be some blackmail material when they get older, lol. You don’t have to strive for perfection, go for real and they will be perfection.
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I look back and feel like I’m that fresh kid just starting her business … ready to take on the world. Honestly, that’s how I feel every single day. But then I look back and see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. I’m sure you do the same thing in your life and with your loved ones!
That’s why I love this family! They understand the importance of capturing moments in time each and every year. It all started with their engagement photos where we captured the beginning of new love while Mike and Vanessa embraced each other with those googly eyes, full of excitement and joy for what was about to come. Then we captured their wedding, which was just pure magic. You could not only feel the blissful love that the couple was in, but wanted to hold onto it with them for years to come. I remember Vanessa and Mike telling me, “Whatever we have to do for the photos is fine; that’s the most important memory we will have.” OK, it was Vanessa that said this, but Mike was definitely along for the ride. I couldn’t have said it better myself. For Vanessa and Mike’s wedding, that meant that they missed their cocktail hour, but it was totally worth it for those precious memories they now have hanging on the wall in their home. Plus we had some good laughs and of course cocktails of our own, or at least the couple did, lol.
Vanessa holds true to her conviction of capturing memories … each year she has captured her baby boy as he grows. The first year with his smash the cake session. (OMG, that was the best – In the middle of the woods in his high chair with his cake – but of course we captured the family first.
Baby V was a bit of a crab monster that day, but we still made it happen. Some of my favorite family photos came out of that session. Capturing the bond between mother and son as Vanessa tried to soothe him … the three of them playing and laughing as little V rides on dad’s shoulders … V looking on as mom and dad embrace in a kiss, and of course the little tike’s solo shots.
Now let’s get to the latest session with this adorable family where I played with and chased little V, capturing those candid smiles as he laughed at whatever goofy face or gesture I was making – maybe it was the crazy dance mom was doing behind me. Either way, I love nothing more than capturing those genuine smiles, especially from the little ones. They just make you wanna bust up laughing with them. I mean look at all those different facial expressions! 2 years old is absolutely one of my favorite years. They have the biggest personalities and fully express how they feel, from grumpy, to laughter, to funny faces.
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