My Dream Kitchen has come to Life

Posted on June 10, 2016

How does one go to this:

From This:

Answer: A lot of work and living around a construction zone for 2 months (I washed dishes in a small bathroom sink for about 2 weeks and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!)

When we were moving from Romania, my husband had come here first to look for houses and his priority was a pool so he got a house with a pool…. and a pretty crappy kitchen. He assured me that if we got a house with a pool and a terrible kitchen that we could renovate and it would be the perfect kitchen that I had visualized. After years of watching Fixer Upper and Flip or Flop I knew I could handle this task (and have fun with it!)

It took a few months to get rolling but by March we were ready to dig in and hunker down for the long haul towards completion.

First to go was the wall between the kitchen and the dining room:

Our idea was to eliminate the formal dining room. Since we plan on having about as many visitors as we did in Romania (translation, about 5) we figured we didn’t need a stuffy old formal dining room for the two times a year you host a big family get together. We enlarged the kitchen area and made the eat in kitchen area larger for our dining room table to fit. Eliminating the wall allowed back wall of the house to become almost a full wall of windows. The light is fantastic!

Then we lost our sink and dishwasher  for two weeks. (cue sad music).

We were able to persevere and we slowly began to see a light at the end of the tunnel

As the days went by things really came together and started to look like the kitchen I had envisioned (and pinned a million pins on Pinterest).  We are now almost complete (just  a few touches to be done). I’m sure my contractor is about ready to be done with us at this point. We are thrilled with the results.

So this was my first foray into design that involved removing walls and breaking up all sorts of things (most of my prior design was to figure out which pillows to put on the couch and which photos to hang on the wall) and I must say that I’m pretty proud of the results. I’m not quite ready to hang another shingle on my home for another home business but if you need any design ideas for your own space…. please don’t hesitate to ask. I have tons of ideas and there’s nothing I love more than spending other people’s money to make thatdream a reality!

I will leave you with some parting advice:

Design Tip #1: Always design a room to match your pets! (or design the space and go out to get a pet that matches)




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Welcome to the Family

Posted on May 3, 2016

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a big heart when it comes to animals. I tear up just watching commercials with animals. So when my daughter’s wanted to volunteer at the local animal shelter I knew I was in trouble. Every time I’m at an animal shelter I leave in tears (and without an animal) but something about this beautiful cat just called to me. I didn’t adopt her the first (or second) time I saw her but when we went back a third time and she was still there I knew it was meant to be.  She was just too pretty to stay in a shelter.  I knew my other pets would be put out (to say the least) but I also knew that, with time, they would accept her. It’s been a few weeks and things are definitely improving amongst all the pets.

So join me in welcoming Niamh (pronounced Neeva…. yes, when you adopt a pet from a town called Dublin it’s only polite to name her a Celtic name that’s impossible to pronounce).  Stef Purry was also in the running as a possible name.




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Spring has arrived

Posted on March 29, 2016

California has finally turned green! We’ve had a pretty decent amount of rain this winter and the landscape has recovered from the harsh summer drought. I’m sure the hills will be golden again by June or July but we are enjoying the green grass and the amazing views.

Days are getting longer and the weather is warming up (though, truth be told, it never was even that cold here) so I’m looking forward to being busy this spring!




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The Winter Mini-Sessions are Coming

Posted on January 14, 2016

I don’t often do mini-sessions but with the business restarting I’m really looking to reach out to more local people so if you are in the Dublin, California area, contact me and I can work out a time that works for you.

One day only!




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Restarting the Jeune Girl Brand Again.

Posted on November 20, 2015

I’ve been chugging along with my Jeune Girl brand for about 10 years. In that time is has grown, changed, evolved, imploded, rebuilt… you name it. Our first move from New Paltz came at a time when I was booking 4 or 5 families every weekend and was spread pretty thin. I welcomed the opportunity to step back, breath, and focus on travel photography. I eventually came to take on a few clients in Romania (mostly within the confines of the expat community since my Romanian is non-existent I could only work with English speaking clients).

In June, we picked up and moved again and had to adjust from our expat life to our re-pat life. With this move came the opportunity to re-open my business (complete with shiny new business license from my town). I was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by a friend of a friend who had been following my work and I just happened to land in her backyard. Since that chance encounter I’ve managed to start building my web of clients (not that I’m a bloodthirsty spider but I always equate growing my business to that of a spider weaving a web that just grows and grows from a central point). I’ve been thrilled to have a few shoots and meet some great new people.

This fall has been different from any fall I’ve ever photographed. Both NY and Romania have a true autumn… with trees bursting with color. California does it a little different but it is still beautiful.

I hope you keep up with me on this new journey. Thank you to all the new clients who have jumped on board and made this transition such a success for me.




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California, Here We Come!

Posted on September 23, 2015

Jeune Girl has moved! That’s right. After 4 amazing years in Romania and living a life of travel and leisure in Europe, we have picked up stakes and heading west…. way out west. We are now in California. My husband has taken on a new position with a company in San Jose and we have, once again, embraced the spirit of adventure. Before moving here, the furthest west I’d ever been was Las Vegas.

So, how is California treating us so far? This summer was pretty hectic with getting a house, cars, our belongings from storage in NY (we are STILL WAITING for our Romanian shipment which is vastly overdue) and getting settled. We have tried to get out and about a little bit to see some of the beauty of this great state. Things are DRY (an understatement) so the hills are more golden than green here. The temperature variations are so unique that the weather people here break it into zones… I’ve never seen this before. The clouds here are also very unusual and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The bay is often foggy and cloud covered. Sometimes the bay clouds creep over the hills and into our town and almost give us hope that it will rain. The locals say the rain is coming so I am holding on to that hope.

We moved into our home in June and have been getting settled and making small changes here and there. The girls have had to adjust to smaller rooms and (eek!!) SHARING A BATHROOM. The spoils of expat life have not been lost on these two.  School has been quite an adjustment for them as well. They went from being together at an amazing private school to being in two different buildings on different sides of town in schools that are completely different than their school in Romania (in both good and bad ways)  They dearly miss their friends in Romania and actually talk of their eventual return to see them there. We will have to see about that. Meanwhile, they are quickly making friends in their new schools. Brynne has joined the marching band so she’s taking her baritone skills on the road. Both girls are continuing their instrument lessons (piano for B, violin for C) and will be starting after school activities very shortly.

You will all be happy to read that the pets (Meille, Reese, and Dolo) made the move like champs and Dolo has already figured out multiple ways to open doors in our new home. We have “Dolo-proofed” but it only goes so far. I was surprised how well they did on the long flight all the way from Romania. (Only Meille couldn’t quite hold it and made a bit of a mess in her cage)  After the jet lag and living in a hotel for 2 weeks we were able to start setting down some roots. We are all adjusting to America. Heck, the pets had never been out of Eastern Europe so you can imagine it was quite a culture shock for them. LOL

We are getting reacquainted with all things American and enjoying the simple things that we used to take for granted. I’m still on the lookout for decent pizza around here (and places that sell by the slice…. apparently it’s not an American thing…. more of a NY regional thing). We have proudly avoided McDonald’s (except one emergency pit stop on the way to Napa).

So now we are in California. Does this make us “Californians”? I don’t quite think so just yet. We have way too many cultural attachments to our home in NY and our temporary home in Romania. Embracing the local ways in California (including my husband adjusting to his brutal commute) will take more time.

Meanwhile, enjoy a sampling of my California adventures:




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My Girls

Posted on March 12, 2015

My girls are getting so big. They aren’t the little peanuts we moved to Romania with 4 years ago. Brynne is now in middle school and Catrina is almost double digits.

I am not sure if I will have many opportunities to photograph them once we move back to the states and I ramp up my business again so I’m taking opportunities during our quiet time in Romania.

These photos were taken on two consecutive days. The day I took Catrina’s photos was foggy and warm (well, by February standards) and the next day I took Brynne and it was much colder. Both were excited with the results of our modern day Red Riding Hood and Mad Hatter concepts.




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Crunch time! Getting My Travel on!

Posted on February 18, 2015

We’ve been in Romania for over three years and it looks like we might be heading back stateside once the school year ends.  With time of the essence, we realize we need to hit it hard and fast if we are going to check off all the “must-sees” on our list.

One thing about living with expat ladies is that we don’t like to sit around. If we are “just sitting around” chances are that we are plotting an adventure. We were able to make a weekend escape to Bulgaria… just the ladies. We had a blast (and it was good prep for the last trip on my list here)

For my (ahem) 40th birthday I decided to take a trip with my best friend to Dublin. She flew in from NY and I flew out from Bucharest. We spent 4 great days exploring and enjoying this great city. I had visited 5 years earlier but it was great to go back (and see the stuff I missed the first time!)

Trinity College:

An Irish Birdie (in St. Stephen’s Green)

U2 Recording Studio:

An Unusual Sight Along the Way:

No Trip to Ireland is Complete without a Rainbow

In keeping with this theme, for Christmas, the family took off to see the UK. We had already been to London with the girls but this time we were going to see more of England and then the added bonus of Edinburgh and Wales.

Our first stop was to see Stonehenge. The weather was pretty rotten but we were still eager to see this unique place. It’s amazing that primitive people could build such a massive and complicated structure using rudimentary tools.

After a quick trip to London (for some great Mexican food and seeing a matinee of Les Miserables) we were off and running again to the Cliffs of Dover. We were treated to the most beautiful weather that anyone could expect to have in December in the UK. The day was brisk but picture perfect. The cliffs were utterly stunning to behold and I am so glad we got to see them.

Many of my favorite shots came from our time spent on the road. I have a thing for lone trees and nothing is easier than just shooting from the comfort of the passenger seat (hubby drove the whole time since he is more comfortable driving on the other side)

We spent the majority of our trip in Edinburgh visiting with my husband’s parents, who flew in to celebrate New Year’s with us. This was my second trip to Edinburgh but my first one in over 15 years. Happy to say that not much has changed. This city is timeless and gorgeous. I’m glad we were able to treat the girls to seeing the land of their ancestors.

This photo is from the Torchlight Procession, which is the kick-off event of Edinburgh’s three day “Hogmanay” celebration. New Year’s celebrations in Scotland are serious business and cannot be held on just one night.

The last stop on our whirlwind trip around the UK (minus Northern Ireland… sorry Belfast!) was Wales. Brynne was especially excited since her name is Welsh and she was hoping to find a souvenir with her name on it (she didn’t!) but we enjoyed a family walk on the beach (with the entire seaside town since it was such a gorgeous day) before setting off back to London for our flight home.

After traveling in November and again in December I was looking forward to a break from airports and other travel headaches but my Bucharest friends decided that we needed another girls’ weekend. This time, we were off to Jerusalem. I had never thought that Israel was a “must see” but I was blown away by its beauty and I am so glad I was able to go.

A Colorful Market:

Young men off to worship:

Gorgeous Doors and Carts Everywhere!

Jerusalem is a holy city to three major religions. I loved this peaceful spot in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre




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Working Girl

Posted on October 27, 2014

Fall to photographers is like the weeks before April 15 to accountants… super busy.  Living in Romania has given me the chance to slow down to the point where I’ve honed my skills without the pressure of a full work load. This month has been really busy with clients and I realized how much I miss working every day and I’m hoping that if we move back to the US next year that I’m able to pick up where I left off three years ago.

Up first we have a beautiful expat family that I met this summer. Their little one is a such a doll.

This summer was a summer of big changes in my neighborhood. We lost some of our favorite families to the “expat lifestyle” but we actually gained some as well. My newest neighbors have been a great addition and their son is super cute.

on a side note… how awesome is that tree??

Finally, a photo of a rescue dog belonging to another soon to be ex-Bucharest family. I’ve known Miriam since I moved here and she has such a huge heart for all of the homeless dogs of Bucharest and she gave so much of her time and energy to rescuing them. This was her last rescue dog (who was part of her family) and will now go to a loving family in Holland. I think life on a farm will suit her.

On a side note… look what we got the other day:

Merry Halloween!!!!




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Wine and Run

Posted on October 6, 2014

Now what we’ve been up and running with our regular schedule we had the opportunity to do some fun things with our friends.

We took a bus out of town to the wine region of Romania where we enjoyed a day amongst the grapes. The children enjoyed the activities and the adults enjoyed… you guessed it… the wine!

Everyone knows that I’m not going to run unless someone is chasing me with a knife or something similar but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take on the Color Run (the Happiest 5k on the Planet as they call themselves).  It was SO MUCH FUN. We were doused with color as we passed each kilometer marker until we reached the finish line and saw ourselves as living, breathing rainbows.




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