We Had Such Grand Plans

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This post is purely for me because nobody cares what I did for Halloween when we have a massive election going on. But I care and I can’t start my month off properly if I haven’t blogged and created a new banner. So here goes!

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“We Had Such Grand Plans” could be the title of this whole year. We make plans, they backfire. Over and over and over again. But  unlike the rest of 2020, my plans for Halloween this year actually sort of worked out. Well, mostly. The only part of my plans that didn’t work out was that Joon was at her mom’s this year and couldn’t really participate in my grand plan but I forgive her because she sent me a photo of herself wearing the costume I designed and it looked absolutely smashing on her. So there’s that.  I actually think I had a even better Halloween than ever because I got to do all my favorite things.The rest of my family might not agree but I was a happy camper.  And by favorite things I mean: making crazy costumes, carving pumpkins and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Really, that’s all that matters to me.

First up let’s talk about costumes: The grand plan was I would be the mad hatter, Payam would be Volcano Man from the movie Eurovision: the story of Fire Saga, Bug would be a Plague Doctor and Joon would be a witch. Except when I showed Joon the sketch she promptly decided she wanted to be the Mad Hatter. Fine with me! She makes a better model for my work anyway.

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A week before Halloween we got to work. Bug created her plague doctor mask out of a balloon and paper mâché. I thought we were going to paint it black but once we saw how historical and interesting the newsprint was we decided to keep it unpainted as a political and historical statement. That was all Bug’s decision which I think is brilliant. Instead of throwing this mask away I think it will be an art piece we keep in the family for a long time.

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For the Mad Hatter I whispered up some cardboard similar to my crazy cake lady hat. That was such a fun costume. This hat didn’t turn out quite as well as the cake but it was still over-the-top silly which is really all I cared about. Of course Joon looks amazing in her thrift store suit, her crazy hair and the cane her dad put together for her.

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Payam’s costume is a hodge podge galleria of ramshackle cardboard glue-gunned together to look like armor. His helmet is made from San Pelegrino boxes. It was really fun to make. If only I maid a faux fur cape I think I would have really nailed it. But considering he only wore if for the photo I think I put in more than enough effort.

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Around four o’clock I called the family (Sans Joon) together to take a portrait in front of our garage. I’m thinking this is going to be the background for all family photos this year. No need to hire an expensive photographer for Christmas cards when I can use my handy dandy remote and my camera on a tripod. It’s not as magical but then neither has this whole year been. I think families standing in front of garages will pretty much sum up this year.

As you can see I am still learning out to use my remote. Hopefully I’ll be a little more natural at it for our holiday photos.

I want to say, and then we carved pumpkins but you can tell we actually carved pumpkins first. Whatever, it fits better here in the post.

 

I’m so happy Bug shares my love of carving pumpkins. Yes, it’s messy and slimy and gross but it’s also really fun!

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Bug made a pumpkin eating a baby pumpkin and I made a laughing scary mouth pumpkin. Not super creative but fun nevertheless.

We didn’t want to spend too much time on them because we had a photoshoot to do in the tunnels with Bug’s creepy plague doctor costume! And even though I planned all sorts of time to do it we still managed to run out of time and rush the whole thing. I don’t think I’ve ever done a photoshoot where I don’t feel rushed and don’t make a thousand mistakes. It’s kind of the nature of the biz since your subjects usually get bored way before you ever nail the money shot.

Anyway, I forgot my tripod… it was super dark and green from the weird tunnel lighting. In some ways I think it makes the shots better but I also know I could have done a way better job.

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I think it definitely checks all the creepy boxes.

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Pretty much encapsulates 2020 I think.

 

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And so that’s that! We came home, ordered pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, handed out a few candies with tongs and masks on and called it a night!

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And yes, we already voted. In case you were worried.

Evening Stroll at Huntington Gardens

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On Sunday night we went as a family for a stroll through Huntington Gardens at Golden Hour. It’s a thing. You can buy tickets. It really is one of those good things that has come out of Covid. Maybe it existed before but I’d never heard of it until I saw it on a friend’s instagram feed. I’ve been to Huntington Gardens before but last time I went it was really really hot so the thought of strolling in the evening seemed like the perfect idea to me. And of course golden hour doesn’t hurt anything. I should probably even say it was a photo walk. My favorite!

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Here I am posing in the Rose Garden.

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The roses were reaching their blooming end but they were still nonetheless impressive. Maybe even prettier in their late summer decay. There are just so many varieties. It’s fun to walk the rows and read all their names… some of them are quite unique: Sexy Rexy, Vogue, Hanky Panky, Marilyn Monroe…

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It was a photoshoot every which way we turned.

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I do feel kind of stupid posing in the rose bushes but even though roses are the most beautiful thing to photograph, you’ve seen a million photographs of them. They sort of fall to the back of the pile while we pore over pictures of people. So I take pictures of people with roses.

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I love the Shakespeare Garden. I think I’ve over-color-corrected these because they were in shade. This is what they look like to me in my mind but the original photos were quite blue. Maybe I should nudge them back to blue.

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I don’t have a lot to say about these photos. Just us, exploring and being goofy.

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The two places that I really wanted to see were the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. Since we were only there for the limited sunset hour we had to move quickly. I wish sunset could have lasted three more hours. The Gardens are so big you can really get lost there. It’s almost like exploring Disneyland but prettier and with less rides. It was perfect for Payam’s mountain hike training.

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After the Japanese Gardens we strolled the Chinese Garden which I actually hadn’t seen before. It was a nice surprise.

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So many photo ops! I have to remember to bring people here for model shoots when I have them. It’s really a beautiful setting.

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The girls thoroughly enjoyed it as well which is a big win with teenagers these days. I don’t even think I caught one of them playing games or watching YouTube once!

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So peaceful and serene.

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Payam enjoyed it as well. Though he was a little less enthused with the picture-taking.

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Bug impersonating a Bonsai tree, like you do.

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And then before we knew it it was time to leave.

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Which was way too soon for me.