At the start of the summer, I adopted a succulent plant! I've decided to take on the extra responsibility of tending to this cute little plant. I'd like to think I'm learning how to be nurturing... Or how to just keep something alive! It sits on my desks so I get to glance at it in between projects. It is a good reminder of God's amazing creativity. God is definitely my number one inspiration as an artist! I've only had to water it a few times and it's definitely grown since we first brought it home! It's pretty low maintenance... my kinda plant!

Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce my sweet little succulent:



A hipster-themed party... When Kurt told me his idea for the party he wanted to throw for my birthday, I laughed.  How would that even look? After doing some research on Google I became better acquainted with hipster culture and told Kurt to go for it.

And he totally did! The entire party was hipster-ed out! We had an Instagram competition (#yaz23), an ultimate hipster contest with a prize for the best dressed guest, and an improv spoken word on hipster topics like Apple products, blogging, and eating organic. There were skinny jeans, PBR, Wayfarer glasses, mustaches, and Toms. Seeing everyone dressed up was really fun! Here are a few pictures I took:

And here are a few of the Instagram photos that were taken:



Hello there friends! Today on Promise Tangeman's blog, she shared dozens of random facts about herself. She asked her readers to do the same and since I haven't posted a blog yet today I figured I'd join the fun with what I'd like a call a Monday Mixer!

So what exactly do I mean? Here's a quick definition: Mixer /ˈmiksər/ n. An informal party arranged to give people an opportunity to get acquainted.

Hopefully this will be a regular installment on the blog... you know, to help us get acquainted! ;) I will list off several random things and you can feel free to respond with comments on how you can/cannot relate or maybe even with your own random Monday list! Well, here we go!

I am CONSTANTLY chewing gum. I'm convinced it helps me focus.

I have an entire drawer dedicated to sunglasses.

I must watch movies with the subtitles ON.

I am OBSESSED with making to do lists. My desk is covered in them.

I talk on the phone to my two-year-old nephew everyday. We have some pretty deep conversations.

I was voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school.

It only takes 1-2 times of hearing a song for me to memorize the lyrics.

My idea of therapy is walking around in Pier 1 or World Market with my sister during Christmas time.

I LOVE getting mail.

I make New Year's resolutions, even if I know I won't keep them.

I sometimes call Kurt's name from another room just to hear him respond.

I carry gold coins in my purse because it makes me feel like a pirate.

I think I want to adopt children some day.

I don't count calories because I honestly have no clue what they really even mean.

We currently do not own a television.

My favorite place to shop is my sister's closet because it's FREE!


Haha... alrighty, well I hope that was at least mildly entertaining! Feel free to post your own randomness in the comments! Happy Monday to you!



One month ago, Kurt and I began the long drive down to Phoenix for the SiteHouse Go Live Event, where we spent two days with graphic designer/rockstar Promise Tangeman and her equally awesome creative team, learning the Showit software and being coached through creating an amazing website for my photography business!

 first things first, I present, in all its gold glittery goodness, my new website YASMINSARAI.COM!!!

So just how did I stumble upon this amazing opportunity? Well, it all started back in April, when I signed up for a special lifetime account with Showit.  I wanted to become a Showiteer eventually, but when the opportunity to get a lifetime account arose, I knew it was too good of an offer to pass up! This happened just a few days before Promise announced the first ever SiteHouse Go Live Event. I was sooo excited because I knew that if I was going to create a killer website with my brand new Showit account, this workshop would be my opportunity to learn from the best of the best: Promise Tangeman! So I desparately begged Kurt to let me go discussed it like an adult with my husband and signed up soon after. We decided to drive there, making it an almost 12 hour road trip (it really wasn't as bad as it sounds)! It was a perfectly adventurous way to start our summer!

Fun times in Phoenix!

My experience in Phoenix was simply amazing! I truly feel that this event helped me take my business to the next level. I now have an online presence that is totally glam and totally me. The work environment was so fun and I am shocked at how much awesomeness we all accomplished in only 2 days!

I loved that I was able to get individual time with Promise because she is really good at what she does. She is obviously a totally cool, rock-and-roll kinda chick as you'd imagine, but I also really enjoyed her personality because she is a really down-to-earth person and I knew that she really wanted to see each of the attendees leave with a feeling of success and accomplishment.

The time I got to spend with the entire creative team and other attendees when we weren't hard at work was the most impactful. Besides finishing my site, Kurt and I made friends and had a great time! 
We literally celebrated for each site that was launched! Oh, and the giveaways and all the free swag were so so great! I even won a lovely Epiphanie camera bag (blog post on that coming soon)! The value of the whole experience was worth a lot more than the cost of attending!

I am TOTALLY confident with editing my own site now. Maybe even helping show others how it's done! I recommend this event 100% to any photographers (or other creative types) out there who want to create a rad website in a fun, focused environment with the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Showit software while receiving helpful input from Promise and her creative team.

Here are some photos from Alejandra Vidal of Imaginale Design, who also took all our new hot new headshots and made the amazing review video, which you will see later on in this post:

Creative Backdrop

Hard at work on Day One!

Goodies galore!

Day Two!

My short-lived career as a hand model... rockin' the mint polish! And holding my favorite hair product!

Kurt showing his support with a fist pump... and we've never even seen The Jersey Shore!

Celebrating our success with style!

The next Go Live workshop is this October so if you're interested in going I highly suggest signing up now because space is limited! If you do sign up here is my greatest piece of advice: DO THE HOMEWORK! I cannot stress this enough. The homework that we were given prior to the event forced me to dig deep to develop my brand. I think it can be intimidating to try to define yourself because you don't want to seem like your limiting your business, but actually I found that the more time I spent brainstorming and making decisions about colors and design, the more confident I felt going into the event. I was able to really focus on getting my site done and asking the real questions I needed to ask Promise about Showit and my website layout. The homework really was the key to my success! Also, come prepared for your headshots, even if that means bringing your curling iron for a quick touch up like I did!

For more info you can read Promise's recap! Also, be sure to check out the sweet Go Live website too!

I also did a live review shortly after I hit publish! You can see me (and Kurt too!) at the end of the attendee review video:

The Promise Tangeman Creative Team is amazing! Alex and Liz were extremely helpful and totally cool! And I am soooo thankful that everyone was super welcoming and open to letting my hubby join us, considering the first day of the event was our 1-year anniversary and all :) He loved it and we are so happy that we got to experience this event together! 

I want to give a special THANK YOU to our friend Rocco and his parents for being such great hosts to us while we were in Phoenix!

And to my husband Kurt: THANK YOU for driving there and back and for spending those two days supporting me as I pursue my dreams! I love you!

My goal was to create a site that represented me and my brand and I truly expected to publish a site that I would be proud of at the end of the 2 days. 
Mission accomplished!



I love how creativity can be just a click away. I recently found a fun Etsy shop filled with dozens of fun posters with cute graphics and clean typography. I am a fan of good graphic design, and these posters are totally cool, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you guys! Of course, if I like it, it must have involve love, photography, or chocolate so you're guaranteed to see a little bit of that and more below.  (Justin Bieber isn't the only one who loves eatin' fondue, ya know!) 

The super sweet shop can be found here! And I'll be adding these to the Christmas list ;)



My musical tastes have evolved quite a bit over the years.

I grew up listening to a few genres of music. My mom loved country music, so that's what we listened to in the car on the way to school. My parents would always listen to oldies when we went on long road trips. And I would often dance around the living room to classical music during my short-lived career as a ballerina (I was only 6 years old when I hung up my slippers for good). 

In 5th grade all that was eclipsed by pop music. I quickly learned about the plethora of boy bands from my classmates. My first CD was Britney Spears' first album. I would listen to it over and over and over. But I didn't really start forming my own musical tastes until about 7th grade.

In 7th grade I heard of the band No DoubtWhile many of my peers were drooling over Good Charlotte and Simple Plan (both of whose music I still can't stand), I was listening to a band that formed before I was even born! I remember putting a sticker of the band on my binder and thinking I was so rad. And that was pretty much how it all began: No Doubt had become my favorite band ever.

My music tastes have continued evolving. Throughout the first half of high school, I went through an R&B phase, a hip hop phase, a 90s dance music phase (don't ask!)... only to learn of a thing called "Top 40," which pretty much encompasses all music genres with fun and popular beats. Eventually, with the dawn of the Myspace era, I started to use the site to search for indie artists, with sweet melodies and dramatic lyrics. (I liked Adele and Ingrid Michaelson before they were famous!) I guess I was sorta a music hipster before I ever heard of such a thing, haha.

However, towards the end of high school Gwen Stefani went solo, reaffirming my absolute love of all things No Doubt, even if it was just Gwen. When my sister surprised me senior year with concert tickets, I was super excited! My first real concert! Gwen is not only my favorite vocalist, she is also my favorite fashion icon and even inspired me to bleach my hair platinum blonde a week before I graduated high school. I've been waiting since then for more No Doubt music and was surprised (again!) by my sister with tickets to see them in concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater back in the summer of 2009.

It's taken several years for the band to complete their comeback album Push and Shove and today they released the first single from the album. "Settle Down" starts with a slow melodic intro, only to transition into an upbeat anthem filled with dozens of fun hooks and a punchy chorus with that signature No Doubt sound. 

Below is the video... it just debuted about 45 minutes ago. And I'm already OBSESSED! I cannot wait for September 25th, when the long awaited new album is released! And hopefully a new tour will be announced soon, so my sister can buy me tickets... again ;)



I hear that in the blogosphere it is an honor to have your blog hacked on your birthday.  So here it is:


Just kidding, haha! I was informed that this type of hack isn't as loving... So instead I want to tell my wife how much she means to me and wish her a happy 23rd birthday...


Thank you for the best 5 years of my life.  From the moment I asked you out in Benson basement, to the moment we kissed on our wedding day, and now to this moment, where I get to reflect on your 23 years of life, I feel so blessed to know that I get to spend the rest of my life with you!

Even though we did not spend the first 18 years together, I feel as though I knew you growing up.  Through baby pictures of you eating Lucky Charms, sharing identical experiences of watching Rugrats, and stories about Grecia being a "little phone" as you bleached your hair during your senior year of high school (just to name a few), I have had the privilege of knowing little "Yazzie" as your family still likes to call you.

But I am ever more blessed to have known you for real in college, because you helped make those 4 (technically 5) years the most fulfilling years of my life.  Whether you were buying me a turkey sandwich with hummus and pesto and a bag of hot cheetos for lunch every day or letting me use half of your desk to study on, you always made sure that I was taken care of and loved.  And not only have you been so sweet, but you have been so fun to hang out with too... I cannot think of an exciting memory from college without you in it, whether it be spontaneously driving to the mountains or going to an A's game.  Thank you for spicing up my life! (I knew dating a Chicana would pay off!)

Now that we are in a new chapter of our lives, I am even more excited to see what God has in store. I am already BLOWN AWAY by how courageous, creative, and talented you have been in starting your photography business, I'm also ELATED to see the chef you have become, and I think above all I am super encouraged to see the godly wife God has grown you into.  Although we have a long way to go, and there will be always something to work on in our marriage, it is a project that I love working on with you.  So thank you for saying, "I do."

I'm really excited to celebrate the big 2-3 with you today with friends and family and I pray that God gives you many more birthdays to spend with me. I can't promise that I'll always have cool themed parties planned, but I can promise that I will love you more deeply each year.

Your husband,