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10711 Rose Avenue
Palms, CA, 90034

(323) 450-7616

We are a creative tutoring and photography studio that brings media arts classes and authentic, easy, photos shoots to families and kids. Located in Los Angeles, Serving San Fransisco, San Diego, and all of the West Coast. 

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This is our creative tutoring and photography blog! We bring media arts classes and authentic, easy, photos shoots to families and kids. Located in Los Angeles, Serving San Fransisco, San Diego, and all of the West Coast.  LET'S PLAY!

SOME HAPPY NEWS FOR YOU...

Samaria Daniel

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After just a few months of tests, doctors appointments, and anticipation, we got the fantastic news that my wife is PREGNANT!!!  How in the world parents don't burst with happiness and worry at the same time, I don't know- but I'm learning! Mama and baby are both doing great, and we are happy, happy, happy!  

Since we've both been collecting children's books for a long time, there's a good chance this kiddo is going to be very well read. The above are some of my very favorites. Also, how freakin' adorable are these teensy shoes!? Terrible purchase for how fast they grow, I know...we just couldn't help it!  

 

 

 

PHOTO CLASS FUN!

Samaria Daniel

Yesterday's photo class was so fantastic, I'm happy dancing at my desk as I write this.
This smarty pants was shooting manually within no time, with such a clear understanding of the concepts we covered. While adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO as needed while shooting various subjects and lighting situations, she took some fascinating and beautiful photographs. She totally loved being in total control of the camera and had no idea she could see something in her mind and make the camera replicate it. I'm feeling proud as all hell over here, and am cooking up some fun projects for her next few classes!

EASY PLANTING PROJECT FOR ADULTS AND KIDS

Samaria Daniel

I am enjoying getting back in the rotation of growing my plants, snipping new pieces, and making more to give to friends and neighbors. Working with plants greatly helps my anxiety for whatever reason. I think it has something to do with the act of checking in on something so small and beautiful every day and noticing little changes in the way they thrive.  I found this article that beautifully explains what I can't about what working with plants, flowers, and nature does to our overall well-being. I find it so incredible that nature gives back to us in these ways. Here's a wonderful quote that I loved. 

"Horticulture is a great equalizer: plants don’t give a fig who is tending them and for those with mental health problems to be able to contribute to such a transformative activity can help boost self-esteem."

These are clippings from one of my favorite house plants to grow! The dainty yet mighty, air cleaning, Philodendron! It's one that I can keep trimming weekly, and it's always happy and quickly sprouts new growth. I've had one big vining Philodendron for years that was originally a little rootless baby snip from one of my other plant-loving friends.

It's so quick and easy to grow roots in water, all you need is:

-Fresh water every few days

-Keep any leaves out of the water or trimmed back

-Good light! Not too much direct light, but enough for them to grow

Once the clippings grow roots, you can plant them in soil or keep them growing by cleaning the water and trimming roots eventually they get MASSIVE!

If you plant them in garden soil:

All you have to do is keep an eye out for how they look. If any leaves turn yellow, make sure to allow them to dry out between waterings. These plants tell you what they want. Once the soil is dry (almost crispy) to the touch, give them a good soak (in a pot with holes, never without.) Let it drain all the way through and water it and drain again. 

This is a great project to do with kids by the way- it's so fun to see how quickly they grow and change! Try snapping a photo every few days from the same angle to monitor the growth! They even grow towards the light and like to be rotated if you want them to grow up and not vine up your windows. Vine windows, YES PLEASE! If we owned our house I'd be SO up for the plants taking over. Send me pictures if you have this or make one. 

The way plants move and expand remind me that they are living things that are just trying to feed themselves and grow. Most of my Phil's (yea I just gave the philodendron's a group nickname) get reflected light all day and about an hour or two of late afternoon sun depending on the season. They all do well besides the occasional kitty nibble, and they can be awful (poisonous even) for cats, apparently. I don't know if my cats are suicidal or just like to tempt fate, but they are still alive, so whatever.  Mama needs her plants.

 

 

 

HAPPY & TOUGH PARENTING MOMENTS

Samaria Daniel

I love these two memories from one of my favorite photo clients about the crazy rollercoaster that is being a new mom. I'm still on a kick about asking any and all parents advice before my wife and I have a baby. I'm all about gathering info from the experts, and so many of the moms in my life are full of advice and wisdom. 

"My toughest mom moment was when I had to be strong and guide her through a scary time when she was in the NICU on her 5th day of life. I had so many emotions running through me worrying about this tiny being. I was also thinking, I worked this hard to push you out, there's no way I'm giving up! A memorable happy moment was when Ripley was about 6 months old.  I remember I made her giggle and squeal at the very loudest I had ever heard her laugh before. At that moment I saw the pure love and joy on her face I realized how much I wanted to make her this happy all the time."   -Kristi Studdert

Ok, I'm happy crying into my coffee now, thanks Kristi! I hope you all have a beautiful day.
 

TRAVELING WITH ANXIETY

Samaria Daniel

My body is in Los Angeles, but my mind is still in Italy.  We planned our honeymoon after a ridiculous amount of overtime and months of hard work for my wife on her latest project, Call of Duty-Black Ops 3. We had such a lovely trip, but my anxiety knocked me on my ass a few times.
Sometimes, I get nervous around big crowds of people. So, traveling after the Paris attacks through places like Brussels was a challenge. There were armed military guards on every block, and my sweet wife checked in and communicated with me in times where all I could think was, "There are three guns within 6 feet of my body- GO HIDE UNDER BLANKETS!"
We didn't hide, we kept all of our plans and did almost everything on our list of "must do's" before we have a baby. I'm so thankful fear didn't stop us from celebrating and exploring Europe together.  

CARRYING MY CAMERA EVERY DAY

Samaria Daniel

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When I was an art student, I practiced every day and had at least one camera with me at all times. That daily photo shoot inspired me to pull myself momentarily out of my anxious-about-everything brain and meet people all over San Diego. 

Once when my friends were playing a big show at an excellent music venue, the NBC photographer who was covering the event didn't show up. I had my equipment with me, so I took photos and submitted them to his editor. After that, I was shooting music weekly for them until I moved to LA. Even though I was getting paid a tiny amount for that work, I was so excited to see my name credited and spelled correctly under every shoot I turned in. Also, I got to be around so much incredible music and met so many creative minds through that adventure of a job. 

After working for almost five years at a corporate photo/video job in the video game industry, I had almost lost that camera carrying habit and only used my cameras when I had a family session, headshots, or for the day job. I am very proud of things I made there; it just wasn't ever really MY work.

Now that I'm out of the corporate world, I've been carrying cameras with me again and am pushing myself to do that regularly because bright ideas pop into my mind every time I leave the house with my tools. 

Through this, I've also prepped a fun lesson for a new art student and turned this theme of keeping creativity an option into some of the work she's going to practice!

 

STARTING A FAMILY | TWO FUTURE MOMS & A BOTTLE OF WINE

Samaria Daniel

My wife and I are in the long process of trying to have a baby, and it's been such an interesting experience so far. To start the weirdest online shopping we've ever done, we opened a bottle of wine and picked out a donor that is super close to my ancestry, (my wife is the one carrying) and they hit most of our "must haves." Some of those things were: creative, mindful, healthy and smart, and we found a great match. In a fun twist, they even look incredibly similar to my brothers as kids.

We don't have baby news yet, but I'm already having a hard time not picturing a mixture of this sweet face on the left with my weird, frizzy-haired antics on the right. I can't WAIT.

By the way, you can subscribe below to follow along with our crazy baby journey if you'd like! 

Crossing all the things,

Samaria

HAPPY FAMILY PHOTOS IN SOLANA BEACH

Samaria Daniel

This sweet family had me come over to their family home in Solana Beach to take photos of them all in one place. The day was filled with so much love and so many laughs. In a wonderful coincidence, it turns out I played softball in 5th grade with Lauren, who reached out to book the shoot! I just love how small this world is!

I adore seeing people that have been together for many years flirting with each other. These two are still pinching each other's butts and stealing kisses while their kids and grandkids are occupied. Major marriage goals right here.

 

A LITTLE YELLOW TO BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY.

Samaria Daniel

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As I was going through my old photos of Sara and Jay's wedding and engagement photos for the previous post, I came across these cute little flowers that stopped me in my tracks. I remember loving brides who went simple and handmade for their weddings. How HAPPY are these colorful blooms?!

 

FAMILY PHOTOS & WISDOM FROM A NEW MOM- OLD TOWN, SAN DIEGO

Samaria Daniel

Back in my full-time wedding photo days, I got to take pictures of this adorable couple's engagement & their super colorful wedding which was as fun and laid back as they are. Seven years later, they are now incredibly happy parents to a little one-year-old ball of sunshine, Elliot! Somehow, even when the poor babe is teething like crazy, he's so happy and fun to be around. 

For their (now annual) family photos, we went back to where we had our first of many photo adventures, Old Town San Diego! It's also the town where I had my first live/work space and where The Sprouting Image was created, so it felt very familiar and wonderful to be back there.

Since my wife and I have started trying to have kids I've been soaking up any and all parenting advice so of course, I asked Sara and Jay lots of questions as we spent the morning together. I so loved these wise words about Elliot and parenting in general from Sara:

 

I love watching him discover new things...and seeing how much he really understands. He understands so many words, even though he can’t say them. He can point to 10 body parts! Ok so bragging about him is fun too :)
As people tend to say, being a parent is both the hardest and most wonderful thing in the world. I read somewhere that being a parent makes the emotional lows lower but highs higher. That’s so true. It can be so maddening and frustrating at times but the good times are so so wonderful.

Enjoy this lovely little family, I sure do! It's SO amazing to see how much this kid has grown since his newborn photos a year ago.

 

Photo from 7 years ago as a freshly engaged couple on the left...New little family on the right!

In the words of The Bloggess, "click to embiggen!" (the thumbnail images, that is...)

You kidding me with this sweetness??? Baby fever is in full effect, I tell ya!

You kidding me with this sweetness??? Baby fever is in full effect, I tell ya!

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ART DAY WITH TWO SWEET SISTERS! | Santa Monica, CA

Samaria Daniel

I spent a wonderful afternoon with two creative kiddos and it was so much fun! We made messy oil pastel art and painted their pretty designs with thick, shiny mod-podge before they photographed their finished pieces. They took turns directing photo shoots and learned about light and composition while testing out a bunch of different cameras. We created, talked, and giggled like crazy-it was incredibly fun for me and the girls had such a great time they asked me to come back again this week! I woke up this morning to the sweetest words from their Mom and I had to share because it nearly made my heart explode:

"Today Mikaela and Naomi had their first photography session with @thesproutingimage. Samaria is absolutely incredible when it comes to doing what she loves! Her passion for art and photography, mixed with her compassion for differences really touched me. 
Watching my girls learn and create, they were so inspired, and I truly felt like she opened up a magical wonderland for them. By the end of the session, they were full of giggles and smiles! She's just that kind of happiness that brings out the best in those around her. Summer's still here for another 4 weeks before school starts! Visit www.thesproutingimage.com, you'll be so glad you did!"

MAGICAL WONDERLAND??? I for sure have a few more wrinkles because of how hard this phrase made me smile...but I don't care in the slightest. Here are some photos from our awesome art-filled afternoon!

Mikaela photographing her finished oil pastel/mod-podge creation!

Mikaela photographing her finished oil pastel/mod-podge creation!

Naomi showing off some of her artwork!

Naomi showing off some of her artwork!

She saw the punny-ness of this situation, adorable. 

She saw the punny-ness of this situation, adorable. 

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Here's a photo of the three of us at the end of our fun afternoon!

Thanks to these kiddos and their amazing Mama for the awesome day, and I simply can't wait for our next lesson! 

SPREADING LOVE | AFTER ORLANDO

Samaria Daniel

I am scared and angry. Scared for my future kids, for my wife's safety, for so many people who just want to live their lives in peace. 

It's hard to see any light after another terrifying and violent attack. We all feel helpless with shooting after shooting taking away sons and daughters that weren't supposed to be ripped from us. We all imagine a future where this horror ends forever, but it is not happening fast enough. I'm working on letting myself feel angry and sad, while manifesting hope that I can't feel quite yet.  For now, I am going to continue trying to spread love and not let fear tear my life away.

Now onto spreading some LOVE: this happy kiddo has two awesome moms that love the heck out of him, and their joy is truly contagious. These are the things we need to take care of and protect. Our love, family, and our kids...we all deserve to be safe. 

Let's kiss and squeeze the hell out of the ones we love, and reach out to people that need to be heard. I don't know what else to do but that will have to be enough for now.

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FAMILY PHOTOS- VENICE BEACH

Samaria Daniel

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This family has experienced more than their share of heartbreak, but their love and strong connection were wonderful to witness. I got to spend a day taking photos of them while they were visiting LA from Denmark. Pensive and quiet Olivia was laughing and chatting like crazy by the end of our time together, and I even got a hug! I love documenting kids and the parents that adore them. ✨ 

BOOKS AND THEIR MAGIC

Samaria Daniel

I adore books and their strange magic. They can calm a swirling brain or instantly make laughter pour out of us. The remarkable experience of getting lost in a story or becoming fascinated with exploring unique ideas through reading is something that is precious and should be enthusiastically encouraged.
Two quick book recs- Furiously Happy, by the great Jenny Lawson for adults who need a laugh, and The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss for both kids and adults (so much goodness in that one!) 

What's the last great book you read?

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year

Samaria Daniel

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One of our good friends (and this sweet kiddo's Mom,) Anna Donlon, is nominated for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year award because of all her hard work and dedication supporting cancer research. There are only 3 days left to contribute to her team's campaign and if you can donate anything to support this important research, please do! Check out her incredibly intelligent and giving daughter's reasons for wanting to help and donate here ---> {fundraising page} My wife and I will be at the Gala this weekend supporting Anna, (it sounds very fancy typing the word gala- btw,) and I'll be taking photos for the LLS while my wife mingles and looks adorable.

Here is some info from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website:

"LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research since our inception. Over that time, survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled. Moreover, we have learned how to cure certain blood cancers. And many therapies first approved for blood cancers are now helping patients with other types of cancers and serious diseases.

But more than one-third of blood cancer patients still do not survive five years after their diagnosis. So more funding is needed to advance more research and to ensure access to treatments to help save more lives."

RAISING KIDS TO BE GOOD WITH MONEY

Samaria Daniel

While I was growing up, my family did not have a lot of money, and it was a huge (unnecessary) source of stress for my little brain. So much of my childhood was spent trying not to stand out in any way, and aiming to look like all the other girls was a huge part of that. 

I remember feeling sorry for myself and embarrassed by my family's situation. All that while I had a safe and warm home, healthy meals cooked for me daily, and was consistently surrounded by art and learning. (Thanks, Mom, Dad, and Grandma!!!) 

After years of being angry and scared about money as a kid, I see the huge importance of teaching kids from a very young age how to recognize and appreciate what they have and why learning about money can create a healthy and needed dialogue that can contribute to their future as happy and self-sufficient adults.

Check out this great article from Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks on how to empower kids to be in charge of their money. 

How do you talk to your kids about earning, donating, and saving money? Any tips or comments are very welcome!