Photography by April Pizana bio picture
  • Latest & Greatest

    If you've noticed my site has been a little slow this past year, pat yourself on the back for being a good observer!

    In the past year, I have photo'd 2 books:

    Junk Gypsy book that made the NY Times Best Seller List..shameless brag)

    and a cookbook with Carolyn Westbrook (her 5th book) which will be out this Fall but is available for pre-order on Amazon.

    a product line with the great folks at Marcus Luttrell's Team Never Quit ,

    and even had photos featured in some of my fav mags like Country Living and on and on

    And I STILL made time for family & senior sessions that i didn't get a chance to blog about ..booooo. Who has time to sit at the computer!

    Oh yeah and then there's my home gig...spending time and traveling with my boys (the 12 year old one and the husband one). Had a blast in Vegas 2x in the last 6 months!

    I've begun taking on regular sessions now so email me at 97,112,114,105,108,112,105,122,97,110,97,64,103,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109moc.liamg@anaziplirpa if you're in need of beautiful photos and a day of memory making this Fall after I return from Italy! Ciao Bella!

“Whomever receives one such child in my name receives me” Mathew 18:5

I feel like this verse should printed on the header of every adoption paper ever made.

Not only does it stir the soul but it hones in on what humans are called to do:

be the face of unconditional love.

have the heart of Jesus.

This story begins with a family of 4.

The perfect family in every way.

Active, lovely, sweet, charming, and most of all kind.

I should know…i’ve gotten to see them every few years….

here and here for example.

when you go through life and you’ve worked hard together.

made plans together.

build your dreams together.

when your cup is filled and runs over with a daughter and son.

a handsome, curious, and playful son (who by the way looks like a young brad pitt to me)


beautiful, smart daughter who is confident and observant.

so fun to see how these 2 have evolved over the years.

truly the epitome of being blessed.

even with their cup filled, this family has found room for another to love.

a darling, sweet, and utterly adorable little guy “Jo-Jo”…

(his face is blurred bc they are in the midst of fostering sweet baby boy.)

but he is scrumptious i can say.

although i positioned everyone where i wanted them for logistical & aesthetic purposes,

the looks of love are solely theirs.

this is something i can’t stage or photoshop.

to teach your children unconditional love…

what on earth could be bigger than that?

especially in times like these with so much that is wrong in the world.

what you’re doing is so big. so courageous.

not only in the act of teaching your children what unconditional love looks like

but also in giving hope to a tiny person who would have none otherwise.

I’m wishing & praying for the best for your family

Clint & Amy!

when you think about it…

it’s really one of the most important things there are– this thing called ‘bravery’.

i put it up there with hope, faith, and love.

really, how can you attain any of those if you aren’t brave?

you must be WILLING to be BRAVE to hope for good.

BRAVE  to sustain Faith and turn away from doubt.

and boy do you have to be BRAVE to set out on

the journey of love – be it loving your passion, a person, whatever……

yeah so i’m a philosopher now.

namaste.

but it’s that time of year.

when seniors are preparing to take flight.

and we’re all so hopeful for the future and hopefully taking it all in.

i took a few minutes to take in the “before I die” wall while i waited for my shoot.

the myriad of colorful chalks, different fonts, and messages of anonymous hope…

what can i say?

hope inspires me.

it takes courage to hope for something better. something amazing.

that and “eat tacos without being judged” is fantastic.

loved this b/c it set the tone for my shoot with one great girl.

meet Meghan Anderson.

remember this name.

obviously, the girl is easy on the eyes and then some

but to hear her sing!

goodness gracious.

check her site out, videos on youtube, music on iTunes…

this is a brave girl.

brave not only to get up in front of a crowd and sing

(which she does at many venues around houston including

the Houston Rodeo this month)

but also because she dares to dream.

and DREAM big she does.

back to our shoot.

such a fun time coming up with different looks…we did it all.

i even made up the names of the looks:

warhol/contemporary

neutral/sophisticated

eclectica/boho

glam/americana

poetica/girl next door

fun college girl

and finally

the grad.

yes i am a philosopher AND i have a very big imagination.

you get the whole package basically.

neutral/sophisticated

hard to believe this is a senior girl.

DREAMY then there’s the eclectic/boho look which

she rocked in her super cute shoes.
and then there’s THIS.

so just a week or so before our shoot was set to begin,

Meghan’s mom asked me if we could photo Meghan at a piano

b/c of her love for music.

so i find a cool little place to do a couple shots

and what do i hear behind me? someone playing the piano.

the owners were only too kind to let her sit for a few pics.

how this happened, boggles my mind.

i did not dare to even dream we’d find a random piano for our shoot.

but there it was.

next up

american glam girl.

somewhere between marilyn and the the uso

was our next look.

i’ve struggled with trying to decide what looks better….

b&w or color. she is so photogenic.

 i called this poetic/girl  next door.

effortless for this natural girl.

a focusing glitch…but i loveeeeeee it.

profound b/c of the blur.

it all goes by in just a blur doesn’t it?

this cuteness.

not only a girl who’s got the best smile since Julia Roberts

but humble and the polar opposite of pretentious too.

all american college girl.

you’re gonna make it after all (in my fav mary tyler moore voice)

and last but not least…

“the grad”

i have BIG hopes for you Meghan!

1 afternoon and i’m sold that you are the next big thing.

your sweetness, your humor, your talent…all going to take you far!

wishing you the very best on your journey!

 

once up on a time there was a

precious,

muchy muchness

girl named Addie.

doesn’t that just sound like a perfect fairy tale?

it does and it is and she is.

months ago, Addie’s mom, Melanie Luttrell and i talked

about birthdays and my obsession love  for birthdays after a shoot we did.

i showed her a photo

of a darling daddy/daughter tea party from way back when…

i maybe begged suggested a mad hatter tea party

all shades of dreaminess went off in our heads!

months later she made it happen and

i couldn’t have asked for a more magical day to be part of.

our shoot landed on addie’s actual birthday AND her actual birthday party!

you know that is really hard to make happen…

so the set up…

a miss mash of

some of my own vintage fair coupled with some of melanie’s

abundant array of vintage goodies,

 coupled with about 12 dozen flowers she picked up  for our shoot/party all

made for a perfect muchy muchness mad hatter tea party.

melanie and i are kindred spirits….

our visions just came together in such a whimsical way….

on my end for the shoot and on her end for the party planning.

we really didn’t have a lot of convo’s about this and yet

it all meshed together seamlessly!

we speak the same vintage language you could say.

ever in need of an instant table? turn a big basket upside down!

i mean sure – i had to empty the 148 toys inside but totally worth it.

took this just a tad early b/c we added more and more stuff.

but i was in a mad rush to make sure i got SOMETHING

before Miss Addie’s tea party guests arrived.

such a darling set up!

I love that we did this on their front porch.

it was raining off and on so it made sense to move it but i also just think it made

for a sweet memory.

and then there was this.

Marcus Luttrell – American hereo bad ass–

playing the role of the Mad Hatter.

does it get any better?

i was thrilled that he agreed to play dress up with us

but then he went and exceeded all my expectations.

It was a real treat for Addie to see her daddy dressed up and play tea party with her.

can i get an amen for the tough daddys out there who are willing to

put on a hat with pink ribbon and 2 ties to play tea party with their little girls?

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

 

this right here was my dream come true.

i so wanted for addie to have adorable moments frozen in time forever

of just how deep her daddy’s love runs for her.

and though i know there’s probably like 88k of these already…these dress up

ones will be among the ones that she will not be able to contain her smile looking at.

and the cutest sweetest family guests…

onto the party!

the tea cups, and candelabras, roses, candy, breakables…

hard to believe this was a party for a 4 year old.

and yet not 1 petal ruffled, not one glass shattered…such good boys and girls.

while all the details were magical and fantastical,

the real magic was in the love that addie’s mommy, family, and friends all

put together for her special day.

petit fores, sherbert punch, cupcakes, mini sandwiches, candy, and more delectables.

even addie’s super adorable cousin loved it.

how could anyone not?

beauty runs deep in this family!

of course there was time for a wardrobe change b/c every princesses/hostess needs

wardrobe changes to wow her guests!


one of her favorite people in her little sweet world making her smile <3

piñata time with brave uncle morgan.

addie’s current fav mood…painting!

and why not when you’re a sweet, dear girl loving life?

the painted fingers are almost too much to handle.

and then time for happy birthday and of course

melanie had the perfect candle!

exactly what i wished for.

here’s what i find endearingly lovable about this party.

*most of the details put together where from stuff around the house (both mine and melanie’s)

*entertainment provided by dad

*a couple of simple yet fun activities to entertain the littles

* a smattering of various bakery goods  instead of a big fancy cake

*oodles of balloons (b/c it’s not a party if there’s not balloons)

*12 dozen (at least) of roses so a girl knows she’s a princess

*a party at home with the family and small group of friends

and best of all, done with mommy’s love.

just adore this day and these memories for you sweet addie and

i wish you a lifetime of special, muchy muchness birthdays!

i’m an ‘over the top’ kind of mom.

yep.

and i don’t feel bad about that not one bit.

hubby is an enabler so that doesn’t help.

but in a world filled with chaos and fighting and just plain ugliness

every day in the media and even real life…

i choose to make make my child’s life a bright spot.

a giant ball of flaming, hot bright spot in the sky.

he works for it.

he started 6th grade this year and he is ROCKING it!

still straight a’s.

respectful.

just a GOOD kid all around.

keeping up with all his responsibilities.

so excuse my mama brag,

but i think he just deserves it.

so the story begins here.

he came home from school on friday

to a big surprise in the yard from his grandparents.

no time for ooh’ing and ahhhing….there’s a party to go to!

Truly an awesome way to make your kid feel special!

 Kim at Cypress Yard Signs made this a very easy task.

I highly recommend it!

hubby says the time has come for me to stop with the cutesy party stuff.

and to that i say….

pshhhhhhh!!!!

sorry it’s just how i tick hun.

and in my defense-  this was a much lower level of

cutesy than previous years (eye roll)…

i mean i didn’t even really make anything hand make anything this year.

i should get credit for that.

ok i made ONE thing- but i don’t think it really counts b/c

it was just a piece of tape in the middle and a string and a tag i printed.

surely, that does not count as crafty (candy tubes from amazon 12 for $10).

for the bags….just a print out of a pikachu outline on yellow paper

and then matted on black card stock.

i didn’t even measure anything so it doesn’t count either

(even if they were super cute).

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FINE maybe 2 things….

it’s just a wreath though…

a really really cute wreath that made me happy 🙂

so it shouldn’t count either.

i mean it’s technically home decore that i happened to hang during his party.

to make:

duck tape around a foam wreath (smaller the better)

got some foam balls from hobby lobby,

put on a couple episodes of housewives and painted half of each ball red (didn’t even measure).

put a piece of duck tape around each ball,

inserted toothpick on each one and plugged those bad boys into a foam wreath.

printed a pikachu outline on yellow paper and colored in a couple thingamajigs on pikachu’s face.

glued onto a foam core board laying around the garage…

made a duck tape bow to hang it from.

BOOM! instant pokeball joy.

could’ve added a couple more balls to make it more full but

it’s not like I’m OCD or anything.

then came the big surprise of the night….

hummer limo to go pokemon go hunting with 9 fab friends around town.

a little over the top. sue me.

piled in and got going.

kids were pretty stoked!

the cutest girls eva!

hubby drove to meet us at the restaurant we were headed to.

he saw us on the highway.

gotta take time to DAB ya know

so part of maceo’s night was to take his friends to his favorite spots.

First stop LUNA PIZZA

also know as the best pizza in metro houston and surrounding counties.

we were SOOOO lucky….

we have been frequenting the location on Kirby for 2 or so years

but they happened to open a 2nd location recently at Yale/I-10

which is a bit closer.

They are having a soft opening so we had the place to ourselves!

just love how they have fun stuff to sit around and do

while you wait.

Which we didn’t have to wait long b/c the management took very good care of us

having our pizza hot and cheesy when we got there.

YOU MUST GO to have their pizza and their house salad.

Anyone i’ve taken there raves and will drive from Cypress to Kirby— um that’s says a lot

for Houston standards.

Thank you LUNA PIZZA!

the toppings…soooo good!

had such a good idea….

kids had their phones like to take selfies right?

so why not make it fun? At the beginning of our fun, i had them all text me their names

and told them the person with the best selfie with maceo would win a prize (a pokemon hat).

ummm….they took some fabulous shots!

The girls received a special prize so we decided they would vote on the winner.

they did an insanely cute job!

Onto our next stop….

Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston.

lots and lots of pokestops.

they did an amazing job of staying together and not stressing me!

and they obliged me several photo ops….

how fun would it be to redo this shot in 20 years?

<3

don’t we have some of the cutest friends?

mace’s known this sweetie since kindergarten.

and these guys…so cool!

working on their selfie contest submissions.

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some of these kids are seriously talented…

this sweet girl….um please don’t take my job!

this is the shot she was getting…

more awesome friends

so this random pic…maceo passed these guys and told them

“they didn’t look real”.

they thought he was hilarious but it was true! they just didn’t look real for some reason.

they were really cool letting me take a pic.

back to the limo shenanigans

way too much fun

partying like rockstars

after a sweaty humid trek at the park, it was time for some dessert

at maceo’s fav ice cream shop SWEET CUPS on Montrose.

i’m telling you…..this is truly the best ice cream we’ve had anywhere.

and mind you– i make my own homemade ice cream so I’m kinda a ice cream snob.

the flavors are crazy original and they include gelato, custard, and sorbet…

out of this world flavor combos…

blueberry marscapone, zambioni (? wine- yes WINE ice cream),

rose petal, olive oil and pepper, tiramisu, Malai Kulfi, whiskey butter….changes daily.

very happy customers.

the choice process here is intense.

good times

like could they not be an ad for this place? cuties!

we had the limo service for FIVE – yes FIVE hours.

we could’ve done a little more poke-hunting but we decided to head back

and have some non-phone time.

this boy smiled like this all night.

maceo loves studying about cultures

and he recently discovered an african birthday game called “pass the parcel”.

we found a more common, somewhat related idea with the seran-wrap party ball.

talk about fun!

basically you put a big prize in the middle and then continue to wrap a thousand layers of seran wrap

around and around, tucking prizes, gag gifts, candy, etc…in each layer.

1 player starts unraveling the ball while the next player rolls dice.

when doubles are rolled — that player is passed the party ball and begins unraveling until

the NEXT player rolls a double.

we had everything from flavored chopsticks, stickers, bouncy balls,

fake dog poop, mcdonald’s happy meal fair, and a grand prize of $20.

the kids loved it!

 ended this cool, fun night in presents.

maceo is so blessed to have such generous and thoughtful friends.

in 6th grade they’re embarking on different paths,

making new friends, finding their way to become who they’ll become.

but for just 1 more birthday we’re holding onto hold on to a few more minutes

of childhood and making memories with friends.

 

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the sweetest pictures from the sweetest senior session last week.

with all the time i’ve devoted over the last 6-7 months working on a big project

I’ve hardly been able to accept sessions.

oh how i’ve missed my senior girls and boys!

you lift me up.

you give me hope and inspire me for all the possibilities that exist in the world.

i need lots of that to just get me thru an ordinary week.

THANKFULLY

as always

GOD has my back.

He sent me this little piece of senior heaven to finish off my season with.

meet class of 2016 senior ashlynn norris of rose hill christian.

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what a treat to meet this girl and her family.

not only did mom come along but maybe the first time i’ve had a dad come too!

how sweet is that?

you are LOVED if your daddy will come along and patiently

sit thru this and that and lip gloss and shoes and necklaces….

that’s not to take away from Ashlynn’s mom/personal stylist who didn’t miss a beat.

what do you do with a love like that?

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i’ll tell you what you do.

you become a GENUINE and FREE SPIRIT.

you sprout beautiful feathery wings.

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you grow in to yourself with amazing confidence.

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you look stunning and work some model magic.

684A7473you walk to your future with ease.

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you smile a real and gorgeous smile.

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you take on life with deep Faith.

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you laugh and love your life.

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you live out loud.

wishing you a most wonderful journey Ashlynn!

C O N T A C T