Feature Friday Deb's Great American in redway retro 50’s Coke Shoot

It is feature Friday today and I am featuring a photo shoot I did last summer with my own two children Kaleya and Kasyn. Every time I would walk into the restaurant called Deb’s Great American in Redway I always would dream of a 50’s style photo shoot. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with Marilyn Monroe and James Dean photos as, as well as tons of coke product themed items, so I thought a retro 50’s themed shoot would be perfect for the restaurant. I finally got the courage up to ask Deb if she would mind us doing a phot0 shoot there and she was all for it! She kindly donated the burgers, milkshakes and old fashioned coke bottles. The owner Deb is amazing. She is so friendly when you come into the restaurant and she also donated a lot of great stuff to my 3rd grade classroom this year. She is really inviting when I going to the restaurant and makes me wish that she was my grandmother. We did the shoot early in the morning and as you can see from some of the images, the sugar high that early in the morning went straight to Kasyn’s head! I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do. : )


It's Feature Friday! I am going to be featuring some of my favorite shoots! This shoot was from this past summer. I had bought a few items for my senior closet and needed to someone to model them. We were traveling to Ukiah for my husbands softball tourney so I decided to ask my cousin Riana who lives nearby if she would model some of the items for me. I think she did a great job! It was so much fun hanging out with her and her brother and our Aunt and my two kiddos. We did some of the photos at a park, and my son and cousin got some ice cream. One of those photos may have made its way into here. :) These dresses are available for you to wear for your session when you book a shoot with Parky’s Pics!

Vacation is a state of mind|What I learned from my dream Hawaii vacation.

This working full time, running a business, and being hustling mama  is NO joke! I have been wanting to write this blog post for 6 months!

Back in January for my 40th birthday, we took a family trip to Kauai. It had always been my dream to go to Hawaii, and I figured if I didn’t make it then, I never would!

Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, so family vacations were rare. Besides the annual family camping trip, I think the most exciting vacation was a trip to Six Flags.

No Disneyland

No tropical vacays.

No airplane rides.

In fact, the first time I rode on an airplane was my sophomore year of college when I played in the Jr. College basketball state all star game.

I had been watching so many of my social media friends take all these exotic vacations  and I thought to myself, I work my butt off. I deserve that. So I booked the trip.

I have major anxiety about flying.... so the flight there was a bit nerve wracking. I did my best to not freak out for the kids and keep my composure as we flew over the ocean, as I thought of the multitude of things that could go wrong that ended up with our air plane plunging deep into the ocean.

Once we landed, it was as beautiful as promised. We settled into our hotel and went and got some groceries. The first full day we explored the island with a local photographer. As he took us to different locations I was thinking to myself, A lot of this looks like home. Some of the beaches we went to looked just like Shelter Cove, or Trinidad.

The next day in the early afternoon, I got a massage in a cabana right on the beach. I could smell the ocean and feel the breeze.

When I got back to the hotel room, I immediately felt sick. Fever, chills, sore throat. Sicker than I had been in a LONG time. I didn’t want to get out of bed. The first day or two I barely did. After that I ventured out,because I knew our time was running short, but it was still a struggle.

For my birthday we went to the amazing Smith's Family Luau. But I couldn’t really enjoy it as my nose was running so bad, my throat was burning and I just wanted to crawl in bed.

One of the mornings, I was lying in bed while the kids were feeding the fish in the hotels Koi pond with my husband. The following message appeared as a text message on my phone.






I immediately texted my husband. He had gotten the same text and was walking quickly inside with other hotel guests.

My husband is a very calm person, which completely SUCKED in this situation. I was freaking out on the inside, but had to remain calm on the outside because my 5 and 7 year old kids were in the room with us.   

I was asking him, should we get in the bathtub? We need to get away from the window!

But he said no. If we are going to go, we’re gonna go.

Both kids had settled into doing their Independent study school work. I was thinking to myself...

Is this really how we are going to die? Reading to our kids?

I had texted my dad and my good friends husband who were both ex military. They both had looked online and said they didn’t see anything.

So we waited.

Not long after, but what seemed like forever, I think it was 15 minutes we got the text that it was a false alarm.


So much for my dream Hawaii vacation.

Although I didn’t have the time of my life, or my dream vacation, I did get a few valuable things out of the trip. Lots of relaxation, and some quality family time which were both desperately needed at that point in my life.

But laying by the pool which is about all I could do comfortably,  watching my children play,  and my daughter go down the pool slide a million times, I realized that I didn’t have to fly thousands of miles to have a great vacation.

My kids were perfectly content just swimming in the pool, and walking along the beach.

Sometimes things don’t always turn out as planned, but I take each thing in my life as a learning experience. What I learned from this experience was that….vacation is a state of mind. One that I could escape to at any time in my mind.

I could lay in my backyard while my kids swim in the blow up pool….

I could head to the river for the day, and hang out with friends or family only miles from my house.

Or I could travel on one of my husbands softball tournaments and have fun swimming and shopping. I didn’t have to travel thousand of miles and fly over the ocean to have a dream vacation.

Now I want to turn it over to you. Where do you love to vacation? Do you have any crazy vacation stories? I would love to hear from you in the comments! Drop your thoughts below.