It’s been awhile since I blogged with holidays, work, and just overall busyness! But ya girl is BACK and I thought it’d be fun to share our favorite local spots that we go to on a weekly basis. We live in Costa Mesa, CA (beach city in between San Diego and Los Angeles) and we LOVE it here! The traffic gets crazy and the cost of living is pretty ridiculous, BUT we are only two miles from the ocean, surrounded by the tastiest food, literally the best weather you could EVER dream of, and only an hour drive to downtown LA and a 2 hour drive to Joshua Tree, Big Bear, and Mexico- WORTH IT. We are not originally from here, we are native desert rats (Victorville anyone?!) but Orange County definitely feels like home now and we are so so so thankful to be living here. I get a ton of random social media friends from out of state that ask where to go/eat when they visit Southern CA. Most of these spots are picturesque and instagrammable, you should expect that from me, but others are hole in the wall places we LOVE. 



Daydream: only a 5 minute drive from us and we absolutely love coming here! It’s not a typical coffee shop- its a half surf shop half coffee shop so don’t expect normal tables and chairs to sit at when you walk in. I personally love coming with Hendrix for that reason though! He gets bored sitting at a table very easily, so thank you Daydream, for your velvet couches and OPEN space for my babe to crawl around. They also play their music on vinyl and sell vintage clothes in the back. YES PLZ


Sidecar: most of you have already been to or heard of it already but seriously- BEST DOUGHNUTS that go hand in hand with a side of Stumptown. I used to work here for fun 2 years ago during my slow photography season to get some human interaction while Zach worked and before we had a baby. I’ve been so spoiled by the freshness of their doughnuts that I refuse to buy from anywhere else! (unfortunately, no vegan/dairy free options but they DO have gluten free!) 


Common Room Roasters: right around the corner from Daydream but 100% different vibe. With their black walls and loud music blasting, this is good place to work!



Haute Cakes: if you’ve been following me for awhile, you must know my love for breakfast food. I could eat it all day, everyday! Their huevos rancheros are to DIE for along with their orange ricotta pancakes. They use fresh ingredients which makes such a difference, especially for breakfast food. (no box eggs for me!) They tend to get crazy busy on the weekends so I suggest getting there as early as possible!


Mother’s Market: a local grocery store with very few locations spread around Orange County and have an attached juice bar and cafe! Their breakfast is also soooo yummy and again- FRESH.


I’m going to divide this specific category in 2 different ways: cute & not cute (but TASTY!)


Seabirds: vegan, plant based restaurant but-wouldn’t-know-it’s-vegan ‘cause it’s so dang good! Located at the The Lab.

Taco Brat: as in bratwurst, not my child is being a brat, haha! The menu is split between taco/mexican food and then german/brats! Weird mix but so so good. We love coming here with Hendrix because it’s all outdoor seating with a tiny strip of lawn games so we can keep him entertained while we wait for our food. Don’t expect super authentic Mexican food but expect FRE$H.

Pitfire Pizza: Yummy pizza cooked in an stone fire oven (thats my favorite!) with good beer and even a speakeasy in the back! ;)


(The only thing we love more than fresh food is fresh ETHNIC AF food, oh my.)

Thai by Sushi on Fire: not a cutesy/must instagram place but the BEST pad thai I’ve had other than a small spot we ate at in New York, years ago. The drunken noodles are also bomb and will leave you drunk in love.

Fuji’s Famous Burgers: Asian/american burger spot that is known for teriyaki bacon cheeseburgers. They make all their sauces from scratch with secret ingredients. You’re welcome.

Cham Sut Gol: ALL YOU CAN EAT KOREAN BBQ, CAN I GET AN AMEN. We’ve tried other kbbq spots but this one is our favorite. Located in Garden Grove, it’s a bit of a journey to get to, especially at 5pm on a Friday night, but so worth it. We eat there so much that they ALWAYs recognize us *hashtag embarrassing*


Fishermen's Cove: We love being able to go to the beach during the week, all year round! We live closest to Newport and Huntington Beach but those tend to get crazy with tourists. (and those tourists litter! So sad.) We go to those beaches if we just want to go quickly but if we plan on being there for a few hours, we’ll pack up the car with food and blankets and drive 20 minutes to Fishermen’s Cove in Laguna Beach, off Cliff Dr. Laguna has also gotten super touristy because of Thousand Steps and the Montage (the Bieb’s favorite place to go to) so Fishermmen’s is our little quiet spot. Plus- if you’re driving south on PCH, this beach is BEFORE the downtown traffic! There’s a cool little cliff scenery spot next to a big yellow house that we love to sit at and watch the sunset! Let me know if you guys can find this hidden spot ;) 



PURRE: While I love Zara and Urban, I also love local boutiques that carry my favorite styles. My go to spot is Purre Boutique located at the Camp! I love that they’re active on Insta so I can see when they restock/get new things before I pack the babe up and go shop. They also have a good selection of face/body goods, jewelry, and candles!

Irene’s Story: another sweet, little boutique at Pacific City that carries similar stuff to the shop mentioned above but also slightly different. They carry more earthy, dusty colors and have such a good selection of soft sweaters! **one of my favorite sweaters I purchased from here that I pretty much wore all fall/winter**

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Petals and Pop: this is a floral shop with an Anthropologie/French feel that also sells home goods, cookbooks, darling trinkets, and a wide selection of florals. You can make your own bouquet or purchase a pre-arranged one. Oh, and they have a champagne bar, NBD. (also located at Pacific City)


These are all of our go to spots! There are so many other good spots I could've mentioned but at the moment, these are our favorites. We know most of the employees who work/own these businesses and love to be able to support local. If you visit any of these spots, let me know how you like them! 

Work work work work work

*hope ya sang that in a Rihanna voice ^^^*


This is the hot topic everyone has been wanting to ask about lately! When Zach had to go back to work in September, I was losing my ish during the first few weeks, trying to figure out how to work from home while raising a human and being a homemaker. I think I figured out some ways that have been helping me but before I get started, I want to state that whether you're a full time working mama that has to leave the babes off with a nanny/daycare is no less or more than a mama that "just" stays at home. (We are all MOTHERS at the end of the day and do what's best for our families) If you're in the weird in between where you own/manage a business full time AND stays at home, this is for YOU.

"So can't you just work during nap time?" If only I had enough eyeballs to roll whenever I hear this. Let me breakdown a typical day with my sweet Hendrix:

5/6am: Wakes up to nurse, falls back asleep after 10 min of eating. I choose to stay up this extra time to stretch, relax, and even read/do devotions

7/8am: Wakes up for the day. I make us both breakfast and we eat together. I put him in his bouncer or the ground to play while I scramble to clean up the kitchen so I'm not left with a mountain of dishes. By the time I'm done cleaning up, he's already bored and wants to be entertained with me so I'll take him outside, go to the neighbors to play, etc.

9:30am: Ready for morning nap! During this time, I shower, do my hair/make up, answer emails

10:30am: He's awake again! I make lunch, take him to run errands with me, clean, it just depends on the day. Point is, I'm always on the move with him!

12pm: Afternoon nap for him, lunch time and dinner prep for mama! Answer more emails if clients have responded quickly, sit down for a bit to relax, laundry because #momlife. 

2pm: Wakes up and STAYS awake until bedtime which is 7pm! Zach gets home around 3:45/4pm so during that time, we play and read some more. 

So basically, I've mastered cleaning/cooking with a baby but no time to edit because it's such a process I take very seriously and can't give it half my energy. I've learned that it's not fair to Hendrix AND my job/clients to give only half my effort and that's what happens when I try to work from home during the day. So after a few meltdowns, pep talks from my hubby, and talks with other mamas who are in the same exact season as me, I've been trying a new routine that seems to be helping so far! Here we go:

Organize + choose when you want to work: Scheduling coffee dates, dinner dates, Bible studies, social gatherings, etc. ahead of time helps you pick and choose when you'll devote time to home stuff and work. Before, I was just planning on working whenever I had time and would get annoyed if Hendrix woke up early from a nap or was having a rough day. Picking a day/time has helped so much because I don't have to go to bed worried if I'm even going to get work done the next day! So far, my new schedule goes like this: Mondays and Tuesdays are for cleaning, Wednesdays are work days! When Zach gets home after work, I leave the house to edit for a few hours without the fear of dishes not being washed or an angry baby waking up! Thursdays are normally for social time with friends and Fridays are date nights with hubby! (or a photo shoot, sorry Zach!)

Communicate your upcoming week with your spouse/partner: This kind of piggy backs into what's written above! When I plan my week, I communicate with Zach to make sure he doesn't have to do work the day I need to work. Doing this ahead of time truly makes you work as a team and makes the week SO much smoother!

Ask for help: We thought about hiring a sitter weekly to help me catch up on work bit at a time so I'm not flooded with tons of weddings/shoots at once but we don't have the finances for that during this season. I've gotten really good at asking Zach for help if I need to meet a certain deadline and he's so quick to help because guess what? He is the father of our child who craves time alone with him too, he's not just the sitter! Thank God for husbands. I'm still working on asking close friends for help but hey, I'm getting there ;)

Keep clients in the loop: Before babe, my turnaround time during busy season was a few weeks! Now it's a few MONTHS because I pretty much have one day a week to focus fully on work. Clients have been extremely understanding! YAY!

Learn to multitask: This is a skill I've always had, luckily! Zach called me a machine the other day when we were all home- I had dinner cooking on a low heat on the stove while I was feeding Hendrix. In between those spoonfuls of mush, I ran out to the garage to switch over laundry. You CAN learn and do multiple things at once, the trick is figuring out which tasks you can do during that blended time that won't overwhelm you!


I LOVE being able to work my dream job and love being a mama even more so being able to do both is a real win! Do you guys have any tips for working/SAH mamas that I might've missed? Share with me! Xoxo


Photos courtesy of Whitney Darling, modeling for Intrinsic Flair <3


I just want to start off saying, thank you thank you THANK YOU to those who have been so supportive of my personal blog. I felt that if clients should hire me, they should know me 100%, including my family, travels, life, etc. It seems trendy to have a "personal mom blog" but I genuinely love sharing real life with anyone who's interested! With that being said, I want to share my 4 month journey as a mama bird so far...


Guys, it has been a CRAZY season. Good, but also a little rough. There are so many things I didn't expect going into this that I could blog about for DAYS but that would also take forever so I'll just hit the key points. I've shared in my previous posts that my pregnancy was a complete surprise!  Pre-pregnancy, I truly wanted to wait a few more years. It wasn't only my freedom I was afraid of losing, but also my identity. I didn't want to become just another stay at home mom who always posts photos of her baby doing NOTHING on social media. (Funny thing is, that's me now!) I took so much pride in being able to work from home or on the road and always being able to go out on photo shoots, blah blah blah. I would lie if I didn't say it is hard to see my babyless photog friends get all these cool trips and opportunities that I just cannot do anymore. Or even being able to go out for lunch without the stress of naps, feeding him before I go, or being that mom with a loud baby in a restaurant. (I was always a planner before baby but now? I literally have to plan out EVERY time I want to go out. It gets pretty overwhelming.) My friendships have changed, my weekends end earlier, my patience is tested with my hubby during those sleep regressions, it's wild. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. My identity is as a wife, no, PARTNER, first of all. To put photography/freedom above that is unfair to my husband, the full time worker who doesn't even know what traveling for a fun job looks like because he's committed to 8 hour days in a classroom with little kids screaming, Mr. Metz, Mr. Metz, Mr. Metz! How selfish of me to even compare that. *facepalm* And for my freedom and friendships, they've changed but also been filled with things that fit our lives during this season. I can't complain about this either because God places things in your life knowing what's best in His timing, which has been such a blessing being surrounded my new friendships with other mamas.



Zach and I went on our first baby-less trip this past weekend and all we could talk about was Hendrix and his stinky butt. Our love for each other has changed and grown in ways I didn't think were possible and for that, I thank my stinky butt baby. He's teaching mom and dad that marriage is supposed to be constantly changing, growing, and ALWAYS bringing out the best in each other. Thank you, son.

Aside from my emotions during motherhood, there are physical ones as well! Breastfeeding, sleep regressions, food diet (because at one point, you could eat kabobs and feel fine but now, those garlicy, juicy kabobs upset your son's stomach and you have to kiss them goodbye!) and Google. YES GOOGLE. YOU STRESS ME OUT. Researching things lead to stranger's horror stories or even worse- that what you're currently doing is damaging your baby. Let them cry and self soothe, don't let them cry for too long, vaccine them, vaccinations are Satan, stick to a nap routine, let them fall asleep whenever. GUYS THIS IS THE MOST STRESSFUL PART, I KID YOU NOT. At least once a week, I'll have a meltdown because Google led me to a blog that says what I'm doing is wrong and that I need to do the opposite. Ugh. Thank goodness for my husband who just says, "So? If every baby is different and what you're doing works for Hendrix, isn't that you being a good mom?" Y'ALL. Bless him. The best advice I can give any new mama is this: Do what works for your family, ask your pediatrician the questions, NOT Google, surround yourself with other mama friends, and listen to your body (including your heart) I hope this helps any of you who freak out as much as brings some reassurance that yes, this journey is crazy, but we were MEANT for this. 

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Baby's First Woodstock

I can't believe I haven't gotten around to blogging my baby shower, WHAT! It was way back in December and our life barely hit a slow pace recently, so here I am catching up on little things before H gets here! Let me start off by saying planning your OWN shower is literally no joke. I make my life 10 times more difficult than it needs to be because, control freak problems. I wanted a Woodstock/campy theme and I knew I was the only one who knew enough about that style + music so it had to be done PERFECTLY. (Again, control freak problems) I had a few lady friends help out and I'm SO thankful for their help but I think next time, I'll let them completely take over ;) My shower was December 10th, the SAME day we were moving. So in the middle of sorting through decor and running errands, my AMAZING husband, father in law, and friends were moving everything. So so so thankful for them.

INSPIRATION: I OBVIOUSLY had to have a shower that went his name but not overdue it. I stated in my earlier posts that I actually hate themes because they get too blown up. And that. Is. Stressful. I also don't like cheesy decor or games so I thought long and hard about unique details/activites I wanted. I decided to go with lots of indigo/tie dye, wicker, and a kombucha bar (because mama can't have the real stuff), and some of my favorite song lyrics hung around with the perfect Woodstocky font. I tried to not rely too much on Pinterest actually and looked more into real photographs and style magazines from the 1960-70s which was really fun! I also didn't want traditional chairs + tables either; I had a diverse group of people attending so something more intimate and comfortable was important to me for the guests to feel. I had some furniture rented through Antiquity Design and some stuff was also from our own house. 

FLORALS: I wanted more dried/natural looking things. Hands down to my florist, Olive + Blooms, for nailing my floral vision, including a guitar piece that sprouted assorted flowers and the cute peace sign wreath that's placed on the gift teepee! 

DECOR: Wicker, lyrics, and old things. I have WAY too much wicker at home so I was able to use it! The lyrics were handmade by one of my good friends. I specifically asked her for a bubbly font that looked like a concert poster from the 1960s. I chose the songs Simple Man- Lynyrd Skynyrd, Take a Walk on the Wild Side- Lou Reed, and It's Only Rock N Roll- The Rolling Stones. (I know, I'm the worst for not picking a Jimi Hendrix song) My other friend also handmade a wooden sign that said "Groovy Way" and "Free Hugs", similar to an actual sign that I saw was used at Woodstock.

FOOD, DRINKS, GAMES: My shower started at 4pm and I knew it wouldn't last ALL night long so I stuck to finger foods since it was an awkward time to eat a full meal. I had a kombucha bar from my favorite place in Orange County, Farm and Culture, where they gather their sources from local suppliers so it tastes THAT fresh and natural. (I can't even have bottled kombucha from the stores anymore, officially spoiled!) I don't drink soda so this was a funky drink to have! Also, a ton of guests have never tried or even heard of kombucha so it was really fun to see them give it a try! Lastly, the games we played were "Guess that Lullaby" which was a game Zach and I accidentally made up with our friends! We were all hanging out one night and for some reason, we wanted to listen to classic rock lullabies on Spotify. (THEY ARE SO CUTE) I kept asking Zach to guess which song was playing since it sounds drastically different changed as a lullaby. He was pretty quick to guess the right answer which made me REALLY competitive. We ended up playing each other and it was so much fun! I decided to have that game played at my shower! I also had guests play "Mom or Dad?", where they were asked questions about me and Zach and they all had to guess if it's mom or dad! (or BOTH!)

There you have it, folks. I wouldn't have changed anything about that day (except maybe moving!) and I'm so thankful for my friends and vendors who made my shower dreams come true!

No One Told Me!

My few posts about have been all emotional and what not, so I thought it'd be fun to post about weird things about pregnancy that NO ONE told me about! Future mamas, this is for you ;) 

-No one told me that your sense of smell is 1,000,000 times more powerful during your 1st trimester! I swear, police should hire pregnant women on the force since we can smell anything + everything from FAR away.

-No one told me the power of cravings. I knew pregnancy came hand in hand with cravings but I did NOT know you could suddenly sob and want to punch someone at the same time till you got that craving satisfied. 

-No one told me that the fatigue is insanely real. One time, I fell asleep outside on a bench during a sunny day like a little, old lady while Zach was talking to me!

-No one told me that your VERY first sonogram is NOT on your belly.. Ladies. Mentally prepare yourselves for a large stick inserted...

-No one told me what to do next after finding out you're pregnant. I literally called Kaiser and said, "Hi, I took 2 pregnancy tests and I got a positive sign. Um, what do I do next?" 

-No one told me that you notice other pregnant women EVERYWHERE. And it's always so exciting!

-No one told me how annoying everyone's opinions/comments will be. I think I might scream at the next person who tells me "Birth is going to difficult for you because you're so small!" or "You better get all the sleep now!" Ugh.

-No one told me that you. Will. Cry. About Everything. Especially food. I can't tell you how many times I've cried saying, "But I don't know what I want to eat so YOU pick!" *Zach made a suggestion* "EW NO, NOT THAT, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT"

-No one told me how DRY your eyes get. Contacts were my enemy :(

-No one told me that your gums bleed a lot. Like literally every time you brush your teeth! 

Maybe some of you moms already knew these ahead of time but I for sure did not! The things that happen to our bodies are seriously so random/weird but I will for sure miss it all once Hendrix is out! 


IT'S A BOY: We had planned to find out the gender as soon as we could, which was 13 weeks. (We went to an ultrasound technician for this!) Everyone around me felt that we were having a boy including myself! I was way too scared to admit it to anyone, besides Zach, because I didn't want to get my hopes up and end up sad if we were having a girl. Girls are TOTALLY rad, don't get me wrong, but my family has not had a biological boy in the family for FOUR generations. Can you imagine that pressure?! As soon as the technician said, "It's a boy!" Zach shouted a "YESSS" SO STINKIN LOUD while I just sat there. IN. SHOCK. I couldn't believe it. We had a few names picked out for either gender; Hendrix Lou was one of the choices for a boy, along with a few others that we'll be saving for future babes ;) We looked at each other right away and both said "He's a Hendrix". The freaky thing that happened right after was that right when we got in the car, the radio came on and "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix was playing! WHAT... We are big Jimi fans but felt the meaning was more important to us so we looked into it beforehand. Hendrix means "Powerful" and we were like, YES, SOLD. We wanted a simpler, but cute middle name to go along. I was on my Spotify the night before we found out the gender and the Velvet Underground came on. Listening to Lou Reed singing "Rock and Roll" got me thinking about his name so I excitingly suggested to Zach at that moment. We looked into the meaning which is "warrior". Our son's name literally means "Powerful Warrior". And that he is.

**Side note** We just got our maternity photos done last week and OMG, we are dying. I didn't care for the stereotypical "white dress in a flowery field" look; I wanted black, edginess, gloom, and snake boots. (And I looked long and hard for THE perfect snake boots!) Thank you to my good friend, Jaicee Morgan, for helping me bring my vision to life!



Baby Metz

I thought I would share our story and what I've learned so far as a mama-to-be, so prepare yourself for lots of feelings, honesty, and highs/lows of pregnancy! 

If you were to ask me exactly a year ago if I wanted kids soon, I would LAUGH and immediately talk about how even the thought of having kids stressed me out. Zach has been ready since a year and a half ago but I sure was NOT ready to give up my freedom. He was fine with us waiting for another few years or until I decided I was ready. (We also had plans to adopt our first) I LOVED how flexible my schedule was last year with photography- I could spontaneously drive anywhere with other photographer friends and just felt so creatively FREE, something I had never truly felt before. I wanted to be selfish with my job and my identity- I didn't want to lose myself to become "just another mom" who happens to take cool Instagram photos. 

Coming up at the end of May, I remember hanging out with a friend and I felt really tired. Like REALLY tired.. To the point where I couldn't even drive. I was passing by Target and decided to stop by because WHAT IF I WAS PREGNANT. I already knew mother nature was late late. As I was frantically looking for the lady aisle, I was passing by all of the Fathers Day merchandise. C'MON. That was totally a sign already. I found the tests I needed, immediately felt anxious, and took that dang test in the Target bathroom because I was shaking too much to drive home. Guess what? I couldn't tell what the test said.. TRUE LIFE. (I don't know how to adult 90% of the time) It looked like it could be a faint yes but also an unsure no? I couldn't stand being inside Target anymore, I just wanted to be home before Zach got off work! Before I left, I bought a cute little bag that said "I love Dad" on it JUST IN CASE that maybe test was a for sure test. I drove home, took another test and it was a clear positive. Guess how I felt especially after reading the beginning of this? I cried. BUT SO MANY HAPPY TEARS. The first thought was, "You got this". And seeing how naturally peaceful I felt helped me know that this was God's plan and my identity/confidence is always in Him. 

I waited half an hour (which felt like 5 weeks!!) for Zach to get home where I had the tests inside the bag, propped up at the edge of the bed. He walked in and was SO confused! He thought it had dog toys inside for Lucy because our little pug is definitely our baby. He opened up the bag and whispered an "Are you serious?..." and started laughing and crying! We both just hugged there and cried. And cried. We called the hospital, heard his heartbeat the day after Father's Day, and here we are.


I had MANY insecurities and fears going into pregnancy- I did NOT want to deal with all the throwing up, sleeping all day, nausea and then the third trimester effects: Swollen feet, heartburn, etc. What I'm about to say isn't to make all you ladies hate me BUT I have not had ANY of those side effects besides mild nausea at 8-10 weeks. I don't know how I dodged all of that and if I did, I would most definitely share my secrets! I will say though... I had a strict gym routine and ate pretty healthy pre-pregnancy and my doctor encouraged me to keep that up during pregnancy. I'm pretty sure staying active and eating as healthy as I could (let's be honest, doughnuts > kale) helped things go smoothly so far. I start off every morning and I mean, EVERY morning, with yoga and stretching. (Stretching helps with nasty Charlie horses, btw!) The more my belly grew, the more proud I was of my body and what it's able to do with a real life baby inside. Zach tells me I look like a goddess when I do a handstand or backbend 36 weeks pregnant. AND THAT MAKES MAMA FEEL REAL GOOD. ;) 

36 weeks and still feelin' AWESOME.