Desiree Miranda: Blog https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog en-us (C) Desiree Miranda desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:54:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:54:00 GMT https://www.desireemiranda.com/img/s/v-12/u359970636-o561731949-50.jpg Desiree Miranda: Blog https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog 80 120 Keep on Keepin' on https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2015/9/keep-on-keepin-on Sometimes life just gets in the way. Schedules get hectic, so much is going on, and you feel too busy to do anything besides eat, sleep and work. That's how I felt and I barely picked up my camera. I fell into that common place of leaving my camera at home where it collected dust. I couldn't let that be an excuse anymore.

Luckily I've met some people who have sparked my interest to get back in it. Also, I was able to get in a shoot with my niece. She wasn't too into it first and had a semi-meltdown. I chalk it up to nerves. I took a few shots to just take away the intimidation of this camera directed right on her. After awhile she loosened up and it was a successful shoot. This one is great because her expression was exactly how I felt toward myself. "Tsk tsk don't be a grump! Keep on shooting!" 

So here I am.  :)

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) izzy https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2015/9/keep-on-keepin-on Sun, 20 Sep 2015 18:34:58 GMT
Drifting Majestically https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/7/drifting-majestically Growing up is a traumatic thing. Your feet start to grow, your limbs outgrow your body, and questionable hair-dos adorn your head. For me, well, in fifth grade I was the tallest in my class because I had a growth spurt early on. Things were cool. I was tall enough to play center on the basketball team and got a decent amount of playing time. Unfortunately, I topped out at 5'-0" while others continued to grow. I could no longer see over the tops of peoples' heads and was stuck looking at peoples' chests.  At first I was upset that people now towered over me, but I don't mind so much anymore. The beauty of being short is that I get plenty of leg room on airplanes! My point is, there's a brighter side to everything. You've just got to look for it. During this trip, beauty was found with animals. I know, I know. You're thinking "She JUST posted about the zoo. More animals?!" This trip was a little more magical.

The puffins enjoyed playing with the spectators. Some just waded and stared like this fella below, while others swam laps around the pool followed by spectacular, explosive leaps. There were a lot of "Oohs" and "Ahhs." It was really cute.

 

Here's my FAVORITE part! The jellyfish. It is so calming to watch them gracefully float. Honestly, it so mesmerizing. If I could, I would have a jellyfish tank. There was a huge section dedicated to jellyfish. Here are a few shots.

 

Looks like I'm not the only one mesmerized.

Tons of cameras were out. How could you not take pics?!

Check out that crowd. I wiggled my way to the front and center for better shots. It was easy: I'm short remember?! 

Catch ya later peeps!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) aquarium monterey https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/7/drifting-majestically Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:48:47 GMT
Zoo-mania! https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/7/zoomania Have you been to the zoo lately? Since I'm a procrastinator at writing these things, my answer is 'sort of.' I went to the zoo three months ago. Yes, I know, I could have easily posted up some photos back in April, or even in May! I sit here guilty and will attempt to provide these things in a more timely manner. My excuse this time was a whole bunch (or what seemed like a lot) of life changes. I promise to you, whoever you are reading this, that you'll get an update soon. I've got a few things to share and July is going to be a very eventful month! Celebrations of unions, reunions, and 'just cause' are things I will be sharing. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are some zoo animals. The day I visited, Karl the Fog was present as usual. As the morning turned into noontime, the fog lifted and the warm sun came out to play. Many of the animals lounged around, while others took advantage of the sun. 

 

Check out this male peacock showing his feathers. There was a female nearby that he kept calling out to. She pretty much ignored him, but it gave me an opportunity to snap a few shots of him.

 

When you're patient enough, good things happen. This time I was able to lock eyes with this baby giraffe snacking on a branch.

 

Waddle waddle, splash! Here's Pepper (yes, I named him that!) posing for the camera before he took a dunk into the pool.

 

Make sure to read the signs or ask one of the workers when the feeding times are. I missed watching Pepper eat his morning fish, but was able to see the grizzlies grub on some apples. There were a lot of field trips the day I went, so I thought I might be stuck at the back. I'm short too, so those kids would have definitely blocked my view.  Luckily I found a spot in the corner with a good view. Give yourself 15 minutes to find a good spot or all the good views will be gone. The bears are a highlight of feeding time since they run around and jump into the water.

 

Here's a full gallery if you're interested! http://www.desireemiranda.com/p921295533

Catch ya later!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) giraffe peacock penguin zoo https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/7/zoomania Tue, 08 Jul 2014 00:30:00 GMT
You're Never Too Old to Have Fun https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/4/youre-never-too-old-to-have-fun  

 

Sometimes life seems a little tough.

Sometimes life knocks you right off of your feet.

Remember that it's filled with thrilling twists and turns.

You can count on others to join in on the ride!

When it feels a little too overwhelming...

...always make sure to have fun because you're never too old to have fun!

Have a good week!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) big fun wheel https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/4/youre-never-too-old-to-have-fun Mon, 21 Apr 2014 05:40:24 GMT
What Makes You Happy? https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/3/what-makes-you-happy Yesterday was International Day of Happiness. I didn't even know that such a day existed. Anyway, here's my blub on something that makes me happy. My niece and nephew stopped by last weekend while they were in town. They ate snacks, watched movies, and ran around until it was time for them to head out to a birthday party. They're always a little quiet in the beginning and then the energy levels skyrocket. Next thing, it's sound of running. Little feet running everywhere.  They like being photographed so it was easy for me to snap a few shots.

Here's Izzy as she starts to warm up to me. 1... 2... 3...

 

Here's Andre with his thumbs up of approval. 

 

Here's something to make you smile... a doggie!

Happy Friday!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) andre happy izzy https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/3/what-makes-you-happy Fri, 21 Mar 2014 17:02:03 GMT
Early Mornings https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/early-mornings If we do it now, we'll never run out of time...

There are always things I want to see, do, and experience. It's really easy to say I want to do something, but the follow-through can sometimes fall flat. This time I told myself I had to do it. No excuses this time. If I can do this, then I'll have less on my to-do list.

What was this thing you say? Photographing the sunrise. Sounds simple right? Well, you know, it's really early in the morning... I'd have drive there sleepy... Is there a bathroom there? Where will I pee?... I'd need to pack some breakfast ahead of time... I'd need to make sure not to freeze... It's clear now, but what if it ends up being overly cloudy before the sun comes up?... blah... blah... blah... I made it past this mental barrier and went for it. I got to Hawk Hill earlier than expected so I got to take a cat nap until the gates opened. Once I was past the gate and driving in I automatically knew it was a success. The sun was starting to greet me hello with a vibrant sliver of orange. I parked my car and made it to higher ground. It was go time!

There's something majestic about a sunrise. It feels like the whole world is asleep (besides the birds that chirp in the morning), everything is calm, and you're there alone with your thoughts. You can see what was once a lonely bridge, now has cars driving across it. Bikers make their way up the windy hill on their morning ride. The colors of the sky change from a black, to deep blue, to a mixture of yellow-orange-pink. Karl the Fog quietly tiptoes his way over the city into the Sunset District. Eventually the sun is completely out and noises from down below start to echo off the mountains. That was my cue to start to wrap things up. Deep breath inhaled and deep breath of satisfaction released.

Check box marked! I did it! I even took a nap once I got home to 'make up' for the loss of sleep and still had the rest of the day ahead of me. Those mental barriers are only that, mental. There was nothing physically stopping me from doing so. I'm glad I did it. I'll be back to try it over again because I'm not completely satisfied with the photo results. But that is OK. Each sunrise is never same, and thus, new challenges and opportunities to grow and learn.

So go do something you've been putting off for awhile. Even if it's just doing laundry, reading that dusty book on your shelf or taking that morning run. The accomplishment feels good. The result may not be perfect, but it's the journey that counts. You can do it! Go do your thang!

Really, go do it!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) Golden bridge gate hawk hill sunrise https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/early-mornings Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:08:50 GMT
A New Year Adventure - Part 3 https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/a-new-year-adventure-part-3  

Last but not least, we headed to London. We had some time to wander around town before we could check into our hotel. After we grabbed a bite to eat we headed over to Buckingham Palace.

 

St. James' Park

We walked by St. James' Park and got distracted by all of the park animals!

This guy kept asking for some cookies.

This little squirrel is bulking up for the winter!

 

We took the tube around town. Here is the boys catching up with the local news. We could finally understand the language and read the newspaper!

 

London Eye

We took a ride on the London Eye. The view is really nice and it doesn't go too fast to induce any motion sickness. We couldn't resist buying the photo package that they sell at the end of the ride. Got two large printouts, book, stickers, key chain and magnet!

 

Emirates Stadium

Henry was really happy to visit Emirates Stadium. Can you tell?? :D We didn't take a tour, but we visited the retail store to buy some team apparel.

 

Leicester Square

There were so many people here! We shopped, looked around, and visited some nightclubs. We didn't gamble, but I had to take a shot since the gold and red popped out against the sky.

 

Harrods Department Store

My oh my. This place is fancy and huge!! I remember having a Harrods bear as a kid! We bought souvenirs here. We also looked for the Laduree but didn't know where to go at first. We were able to get a map from a cashier after buying something. They don't have maps near the entrances. We went down the Egyptian escalator and watched a live opera performance.

 

Natural History Museum

This place is free! It's a definite must-see! We saw dinosaurs, jewels, mammals, stones, creepy crawlies, and more. We stuck to the main attractions and also managed to not get lost inside!

 

Chinatown

Food, food, and more food. We ate a buffet spot here. Good food and cheap! Happy Lunar Year!  

 

This Eurotrip was a blast! I wish I could go back on vacation. It's only been a little over two weeks and I'm ready to take on more cities!

 

Watch our London experience below!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) london https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/a-new-year-adventure-part-3 Sun, 16 Feb 2014 02:12:59 GMT
A New Year Adventure - Part 2 https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/a-new-year-adventure-part-2 Our second city on our trip was Rome. It was very noticeable compared to Paris that the city is much slower paced. In Paris, it's "go, go go!" In Rome, it's "I'll get there, when I get there." On our first day, we walked around, saw a few sites and made sure to eat some pizza. Italian food is soooo much better there. It's just something about those ingredients that taste different. Or maybe it's something in the water?? I'm not completely sure, but it just tasted so yummy!

 

Colosseum

On Day 2 we went to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum. You could easily spend an entire day here. We booked a half day tour which covered main points. An added plus was that we got to skip the line! Although winter is low season, there was still a line to enter. We were also lucky because once our tour was over, it rained cats and dogs! We headed indoors for awhile to let the storm pass then went out in search of food. 

 

Vatican City

Day 3 was reserved for the Vatican. We also did a half day guided tour. There was a long line of people standing in the rain the day we went.  I'm glad we bought tours for these places. It was definitely worth it to pass those lines!

Here's a representation of what a statue would look like painted. The organic composition of the paint wouldn't have lasted all these years, which is why we see all white statues today.

A shot of the ornate ceiling in the Galleria Delle Carte Geografiche (left) and St. Peter's Baldacchino (right and below).

 

Pieta by Michaelangelo

 

View of St. Peter's Square

If you're ever at the Vatican, make sure to make the climb to the top! It's sooooo worth it to pay 7 euros to take the elevator part way up and walk the remainder 320 steps. Otherwise, it's 5 euros to walk 551 steps. The 320 steps was tiring, but there's no way around it. You have to walk this part. I can only imagine how hot it would be trek up all those stairs on a summer day. Sweaty sweaty sweaty!

 

The Papal Swiss Guard

Quick fact: You need to be at least 5ft 8.5in to qualify. 

 

Here we are at the Vatican post office. We sent off some postcards to friends and family back home. My post card took about 7 days to reach its destination in the States. Did you know that the Pope's face is on the Euro coins? I was able to receive a 50 cent coin, like the one below, as change from my postcard purchase at the post office. You can buy them, however, at an inflated price. I think the 50 cent coin will run you three Euros! I made sure to stash that one away as a souvenir!

 

Pantheon

This place has an oculus inside of the dome which serves as the main source of light. It rained a little that day, so the center area was cordoned off to prevent anyone from slipping. I still managed to get a shot of the coffered ceiling!

 

Piazza del Popolo

The sun shined bright on our last day. So much so, that we could take off our jackets and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin. It was cold everyday of our trip so far. The warmth was welcomed with wide (bare) arms! Since it was our last day there, we did as the Romans do and walked along the streets, did some shopping, and ate some delicious food.

Here's Stacey posing with King Tut.

 

 

Of course there's a video with some action of our time in Rome! Ciao!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) Rome europe https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/a-new-year-adventure-part-2 Tue, 11 Feb 2014 02:00:18 GMT
A New Year Adventure - Part 1 https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/a-new-year-adventure-part-1  

After I turned 29, people asked what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday. Geez, it was a year away! I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew that it had to be memorable. After a little bit of thought, I decided that I wanted to travel to Europe.  But where?? I gathered a list of 7+ cities to visit.  I wanted to see it all! When would I ever come back?? That was way too many sites for a 10 day trip. I somehow managed to narrow it down to 3 cities: Paris, Rome, and London. Here is a little taste of what we saw in Paris.

 

Champs-Élysées

First stop on our trip was the Arc de Triomphe. We walked up to the top and saw what you see in the picture below. The fog was low, the wind blew the rain around, and the temperature was on the chilly side. We couldn't even see the Eiffel Tower in its entirety! Afterwards we walked down the Champs-Elysees, ate a Parisian breakfast, passed by shops, and strolled along the gardens toward the Eiffel Tower. 

 

 

Eiffel Tower

We made it! Up close it's huge! Since there wasn't a good view for the day we didn't take a trip up to the top. We had other views to visit over the next few days.

 

Military Academy

I caught them enjoying the scenery during our quick break.

 

Mona Lisa

It's true, everyone makes a beeline to see her and form a crowd around her. She's much smaller to see in person and protected by glass.

 

Wedding Feast at Cana

Across the room from Mona is this huge piece. The man looks tiny compared to the painting.

 

View of Paris from Notre Dame

These gargoyles are just enjoying the view since the clouds moved on and the sun started to shine.

 

Feeding birds in the park

We saw this man feeding the birds in the park. He was nice enough to give us some bread to feed them too! Those birds were crazy!  

 

Versailles

Boy, this place is amazing! It's covered in gold and HUGE! Everything is big! The gardens go on for miles. You can buy a ticket for a tram ride to take you to one end and shorten the walking distance. Inside is just as fancy, if not more, than the outside. Every room is decorated. Make sure to pick up a free audio guide upon arrival to let you know the importance of each room. They're really helpful.

 

View of Paris from Sacré Cœur

On our last night we made it up to Sacre Coeur to catch the sunset over the city. The clouds look like they're on fire.

 

 

Here's a little video too! Enjoy!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) paris https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/2/a-new-year-adventure-part-1 Fri, 07 Feb 2014 02:37:30 GMT
Happy New Year! https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/1/happy-new-year Wishing you many years full of love, laughter, happiness and prosperity! Live life to the fullest and embrace everything that comes your way. Every new day is a chance to learn and grow. Make this year one to start something new.

Here are a few shots taken from Treasure Island last night.

Happy New Year!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) new year https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2014/1/happy-new-year Wed, 01 Jan 2014 22:19:48 GMT
Tis the Season https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/12/tis-the-season Holy smokes! It's December already?!?! When did that happen? Wasn't it just Thanksgiving last week?

I swear, as you get older time speeds up exponentially.

Christmas this year was at the Sexauer house.

They got a huge tree! It was so big that there were over 150 ornaments hung from the branches.

 

 

First on the agenda was to eat! Here was the main course. Not pictured: snacks and dessert.

 

 

Here's Rachie looking for a little lovin'.

 

 

After everyone got their fill of food it was game time!

For the first game everyone was split into two teams. Looks like Shayne and Debbie are have a little bit of sibling rivalry.

The first team to successfully have each person peel Hershey kisses with mittens and feed it to the person behind them was the winner.

Shayne's geared up and ready to go...

 

 

Next game was to wrap a gift as fast as possible. Sounds easy right?

Well, how fast can you wrap a gift with a partner tied at the wrists?

Looks like there are a few tape issues.

Winner winner! Nate and Melissa finished well ahead of everyone.

 

 

Check out this little diva. She was hiding upstairs while the adults played games. I didn't make her pose that way!

She's on her way to breaking hearts!

 

 

A view of the games from above.

 

 

Debbie and the kids.

 

 

Auntie Jo and Izzy hanging out going over princesses.

 

 

"We've got to go to sleep so Santa will come!"

Happy Holidays!! 

Watch out! New Years is right around the corner!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) christmas https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/12/tis-the-season Thu, 26 Dec 2013 22:07:58 GMT
4 More Months of Butterflies! https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/11/4-more-months-of-butterflies Guess what?! The Conservatory of Flowers has extended their Butterflies & Blooms exhibit until March! That's right; more butterfly goodness! The exhibit was set to last until October, but with such a great demand, they extended it! Here's a sneak peek of what's there.

The butterflies are located at the far end of the Conservatory. They freely flutter by finding a place to land. If they're not not actively looking for nectar they're hanging out on the nets. If you're lucky like the lady above, you can even hold one! (They don't want you to actually pick them up though.) Henry even had a few land on him.

There's a case with various species cocoons. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll see a butterfly emerge from it! Look how these have a gold strip across the front. It's really pretty.

This little kid loved the turtle in this area. He also loved splashing in the water. His dad kept having to hold him back so that he wouldn't lean too far in.

There's more than just butterflies and flowers at the Conservatory. Check out the textures on these leaves.

They have a tropical area, simulating the highlands and lowlands of the tropics. Be forewarned! You'll want to take off your sweater in the lowlands. It's hot and humid!

If you have a hour to spare stop by! It's $8 for adults and the butterflies will be there until March! FYI, SF locals get a $3 discount. :)

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) butterfly conservatory flowers https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/11/4-more-months-of-butterflies Sun, 03 Nov 2013 18:15:00 GMT
Pretty Pretty Princess https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/10/pretty-pretty-princess Izzy loves princesses! Butterflies and princesses was the theme at her birthday party. Can you believe she's 3 years old?! Her mom made her butterfly cake in the shape of the number 3. Chocolate ganache cake! I could have eaten more than one piece! Those butterflies were also edible.

Her favorite present of the day was her princess shoes. Aren't these the cutest shoes!?

She immediately wanted to put them on. Here's her posing on the steps.

She LOVES to play dress up so it was obvious what the next step was. Outfit change! Here she is in all her princess glory!

Happy Birthday Izzy! You're growing up so fast!

 

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) Izzy birthday happy birthday https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/10/pretty-pretty-princess Mon, 21 Oct 2013 01:39:00 GMT
It's a Girl! https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/10/its-a-girl Kyle and Liz are having a baby! This past weekend they had a baby shower at their local park. The sun was out, the wind was calm, and there was tons of food to eat! I think I ate 4 plates and I made sure to take some food home! We played a lot of baby themed games, check out some of the pics below. Congrats you two. We can't wait to meet her!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) baby shower https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/10/its-a-girl Tue, 08 Oct 2013 04:40:16 GMT
Happy Birthday Baby! https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/9/happy-birthday-baby Meet Stacey. She's smart, a go-getter, and designated body guard. It's also her birthday tomorrow. Yesterday we were able to give her a surprise birthday party. Her first one ever! If you know Stacey, you'll know that she loves to know all the details and keeping something hidden from her is a hard thing to do! She's good at taking the little details to figure out the big picture.

We thought she may have figured out the surprise; She saw a figure in the windows (probably me!) while driving by and also noticed some friends walking down the block. Nonetheless, the surprise wasn't thwarted! We got her good!

We had snacks, drinks, tres leches mango cake, followed with getting our groove on at a nearby club. Age has nothing on a little booty shaking! 

Happy Birthday baby! We love you!

xoxo, Desiree

Shout out to Charlotte and Alvaro for the fine execution!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) birthday happy birthday stacey https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/9/happy-birthday-baby Mon, 09 Sep 2013 01:36:49 GMT
3 Going On 13 https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/8/3-going-on-13

A little bit of spunk, a little bit of sass, and a little bit of snacks make up this little gal. She's not your average 3 year old. You would have sworn she was 13! Don't let her small stature fool you because she will let you know what is on her mind. Even as a baby, she would sign to you how she felt. 'Milk', 'More', 'Eat'. All by baby signing! I don't even remember them all.

Taylor is good friend's daughter. I don't see them all too often, but when I do there is a lot of energy expelled! All in all, it was a fun day at the park watching the kiddies play!

Happy Birthday Taylor!

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desiree@desireemiranda.com (Desiree Miranda) birthday happy birthday taylor https://www.desireemiranda.com/blog/2013/8/3-going-on-13 Tue, 06 Aug 2013 03:55:11 GMT