Photography by April Pizana bio picture
  • Latest & Greatest

    *DREAMS: getting very close to wrapping up all the work on my end for Junk Gypsy's upcoming book which is available for pre-sale on Amazon and will be out October 4! I'm so proud of all that's gone into it and I think you'll feel like you shouldve paid more for all the junky goodness!

    *BOOT SCOOTIN: more Junk Gypsy goodness...Lane Boots/JG line is availlable! visit laneboots.com to get yours!

    *TEAM NEVER QUIT: shot lifestyle photos for the super amazing Marcus Luttrell/Lone Survivor Foundation. Check the TNQ's website for their fabulous line of goods!

    *PERSONAL: hoping to catch up on some blogging this summer with our trips to DC and NYC last fall. *cross my fingers*

    *AVAILABILITY: several senior sessions for this Fall already in the book...please inquire early if you are interested in senior or family sessions this Fall. I will be "out of office" June-August.

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!

if boots, grit, texas gals, sequins and fringe are your thing

stop RIGHT there and take a seat.

maybe grab a cup of coffee or a margarita if that’s how your roll.

you are about to take a pretty spectacular tour

of what a photo shoot looks…gorgeous boots, fab models, and super team included.

sequins… glitter of the fabric world.

are you sparkling, are you shimmery…it doesn’t matter.

you’re glowing and i love it.

this was a very small small sampling of the jewelry options in not 1

but 2 rooms we had available for our shoot.

imagine the possibilities.really glad i had no part in the choices.

it would have devastated me to have this many options.

these guys.

cameron gott & brandon augilar.

you must go and find them and follow them.

they are MAGNIFICENT videographers and just generally behind a camera.

they have a very natural and creative take on things.

it’s hard to believe they were shooting the same material i was shooting really.

and yet i don’t have them walking through 1 frame.

how did they do that?!

shooting on behalf of Lane Boots was Sam Franks/Texas Star Digital

 who i never quite got a photo of b/c he was usually busy

shooting boots somewhere else simultaneously.

 the boots arrived as the girls were getting ready.

brand spankin new front the manufacturer and smelling of new glorious leather.

let’s look at this pic and take roll.

we had lane boots executives to tell us what they needed product wise,

2 assistants to move heavy stuff and carry drills and hammers around

ready to move anything our little hearts desired,

mama gypsy helping out with wardrobe,

a FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC make up pro (Andrea Schutter),

2 videographers,

2 photographers (including me),

junk gypsy staff

and of course 2 junk gypsies.

what photography looks like if you were in

H E A V E N.

andrea schutter riebeling on glam duty.

such a professional! got in and out like a make-up ninja doing

her thing and leaving no trace behind. wonderful!

perfect.

boots and turquoise

don’t those soles just make you giddy?

on to location 2.

 daddy gypsy and one fabulous red vintage truck provided by Daniel Rebling.

 

i’ve only DREAMED of doing something like this with amie & jolie.

you may be surprised to know that EVERY single time we’ve had a shoot

it’s been in the middle of antiques week, unscripted, unplanned.

it’s amazing we’ve been able to do.

but here today, we had make up, vintage stuff,

superb lighting, fancy clothes…the works.

i wish i could tell you the story

behind this road but there aint that much popcorn in the world.

made for good times.

but we forged on and we got-et-done.

how fab to have beautiful staff to be stand-ins between takes.

Day 2: the models.

first, the INCREDIBLE, FABULOUS, SEXY,

WONDERFUL Archie (i could go on but you’d prob rather see the pics).

This girl. a rockstar in her own right.

giving junk gypsy all that flavor all these years with her smolder & blue steel (zoolander) .

more touch ups and tweaking

the naturalness of this is everything.

enter Riley Fowler, daughter or Kevin Fowler, and future super model.

prepare yourself…this bombshell was 14 when we shot this.

yes 14 and a wealth of natural talent and beauty.

it’ll be fun to say “i knew her when…”

APRIL-PIZANA-PHOTOGRAPHY-58and the boots…can’t forget about the boots y’all!

 

new spot, new details to primp.

love how completely different this is.

glamping at it’s best.

 

imagine having 2 guys who are standing around just

in case you say….”i’d like to shoot over here– can you move that sofa over here?”

dreams come true y’all.

lip gloss and hair check

stopped to do a product shot here and there bc they were so yummy.


boots and more boots

vintage prom dresses and rusty trucks

that smile

not a boot shot but how could i resist.

dad checking on his baby girl

this should be the official postcard of texas

gotta stop for social media/periscope

like poetry

yet another location.

gypsies meet at gilleys?

these 2 awesome dudes ready for anything.

cotton-eye joe anyone?

walking with archie out to get a couple shots when i saw this in the doorway.

gotta love a girl who doesn’t get rattled when someone randomly yells, “STOPPP DON’T MOVE!”

took riley off to the side and continued to watch her

rock more boots.

last location of the day.

i’ll call this one “the farmer’s daughters”

archie in that dress..can you even?

riley with those braids? YES!

help from the littlest gypsy

Lane Boots execs there to make sure we all behave 🙂

love the originality of this

a little american gothic yo

and last but not least….

biker chick chic

again. 14. who can rock a shot like this at 14?

may be why they call them “super models”?

Cash Baker…future photographer

what bad assery looks like.

inspirational, exciting, and super cool shoot to work on with Lane Boots!

wishing ya’ll lots of success with your boot line Amie & Jolie!

 

count yourself lucky

if you are fortunate enough to live in a school district that

does Junior Achievement/ Biz town.

basically…it’s kids learning facts affecting finances, money,

economy, businesses and how it all relates to the real world.

from about the time of kindergarten all the way through their 5th grade year they do

a unit once a year

It is a program that relies on area businesses and parent volunteers

to fund and volunteer in making the town work.

and boy — does it WORK!

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                          photo courtesy of jennifer lucas

speaking of work— at the end of 5th grade the big finale begins with

 the students going through an interview process for a job they are interested in applying for.

jobs can range from Mayor, snack shop worker, CEO, meter man,

flight attendant…you NAME it…the list is very long and specific.

my son chose DJ.

he was so thrilled he got his 1st choice of being a DJ given his

love of music. I was thrilled he got to do something so fun and out of the box for him.

He’s a very responsible type of kid usually so this was a welcomed break.

THIS is BIZTOWN!

It had a cartoony feeling which made it fun but the actual business had actual

useful equipment which made it more realistic.

The kids walking in…they were so excited! They couldn’t have dreamt up a place more fun.

as a volunteer for the day, i was assigned a shop– my “job” was at Centerpoint Energy

Let me tell you…this is NOT a play date. NOT by far.

Here’s a glimpse of how it all works— take the centerpoint shop for example…

Every business is given a “Loan” from the bank to pay off before they can actually make a profit.

in our case, we were a utility company so the kids first took inventory as they passed out “supplies”

to the other businesses.

they then had a meter reader who would go to each business and check an ACTUAL meter where

he would write down the units of energy used.

THEN he has to return to the shop– enter the units used.

through the magic of networked computers and stuff i don’t know or want to know

that data is compiled into an invoice that is sent to the print shop (all over networked programs).

The print shop delivers the invoices to the businesses

where at each individual business– the CFO enters the invoice so that an check is made out

(through the print shop again) to the center point.

The CFO deposits the check into yet another laptop with networked program

which puts the money into the company’s account.

Unfortunately, as in the real world, the money does not go very far.

centerpoint like the other shops are still responsible for paying OUT many funds

including but not limited to: employee wages, web design fees, advertisement fees, rent,

taxes, lots of not so fun stuff.

it’s not wonder being an adult is not very fun.

the kids get a taste of this when they see how fast money goes out and slow it comes in.

in the mean time they have fun trying to keep their heads above water.

i can’t tell you the joy in  seeing them work together- sometimes in a panic – but together

nonetheless.

another joy….just seeing them in their little worlds and how far

they’ve come growing up. You have understand.

like many other parents, i’ve seen these sweethearts grow up from kindergarten– which is basically

half their lives.

onto the radio station…where their “product” is music and advertisements.

what fun he had as the dj.

he got to choose the music, make announcements, and just step into another world.

and if you get too tired of your job- you an always take a vacation.

need groceries? no prob. everything is in stock.

maceo’s best friend….the judge! now that sounds like a stuffy kind of job unless

you’re this guy who made the best laws which included “you must dance as you pass by the radio station”

and you must say “happy cinch de mayo” if you see the cop…

he had a great judicious and commanding presence about him.

next up insurance and lots of “jakes” running things.

another cutie radio station employee getting info from the area businesses.

the cop on the beat.

flight crew

sports store for your sporting needs

now and then there was a break for messages and announcements from CEO’s

and officials.

back to work at the AIG shop

no lay offs at the Schlumberger branch!

bank was crazy busy but handled it like pro’s.

definitely the cutest IRS agent i’ve seen.

each crew took a lunch break in which they

had 30 min to eat, deposit their checks at the bank (sorry no direct deposit here), and go shopping.

city hall, radio station, and insurance guys eating together networking i guess…

a funny pic considering the only thing in focus here

is the sign:

“money doesn’t grow on trees”.

exactly the point.

just like real life, the kids have to run errands during

their lunch break. this line wasn’t bad at all

but there were times the line was VERY long.

balancing his checkbook so he could go shopping for important stuff like

gummy worms  and a pet rock at the nature store.

and he’s back at work….

what a super fun day for these kiddos who

have had to grow up so fast in the age of

way too much pressure and responsibility in elementary.

It did my heart good to see kids be KIDS and get to play

dress up for prob the last time

and all in the name of learning about how money flows in and out

(mostly out).

i can’t wait to see who you all really become kiddos!

here’s a little sample of

BIZTOWN IN ACTION!

 

C O N T A C T