Happy 2018!

Blue Sky’s is now open for the New Year and ready to start photographing again! I love new beginnings. Yes, I am one of those annoying people that actually spends the first few weeks of the year, reflecting back on the previous year and looking at a few key things! That is one of the reasons I always commit to taking 2 weeks off during the holidays.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself:
  • What went right in 2017?
  • How can I improve in 2018?
  • What are my business goals for 2018?
  • What are my personal goals for 2018?
  • What are my family goals for 2018?
  • What are my spiritual goals for 2018?
As the saying goes, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
That is why it is so important for me, after the very busy holiday season, to take a few weeks off and unwind and spend time with my family. This frees up my mind to start thinking creatively again and start dreaming of the next big thing for myself and my business. I feel grateful that this holiday season I got to spend 10 days with my son Cameron (he only got a short break for the holidays and then back to LSU to train), spent time with my in-laws and enjoyed some much needed one on one time with both my husband, Bob and my daughter, Kasey.
I am so grateful for all the things that went well in 2017 with Blue Sky’s Studio. We had an amazing year and launched our brand new reveal sessions (if you haven’t had a chance to experience the reveal of our favorite images from your session, you are in for a real treat the next time you do a session with Blue Sky’s). We photographed so many new families, high school seniors and corporate headshots. Thanks to Bob, we got an amazing studio makeover complete with a beautiful hair and makeup station. We were involved in numerous charity events and were able to contribute in so many meaningful ways.

Personally, I enjoyed helping Cameron move into his new apartment in Baton Rouge and helping him start his college career at LSU.  I proudly saw my daughter Kasey achieve her goal of getting excepted to Columbia University.  I had several amazing trips with my husband, including a fantastic trip to Florida for a much need week of rest and relaxation and a first time trip to New Orleans which lived up to all of my expectations.

I was inspired by so many amazing teachers in 2017 including the incredible Sue Bryce (Canon explorer of light and all around amazing photographer and educator).  I felt so lucky to get an opportunity to go to Palm Desert and participate in the Portrait Master’s workshop.  I was also able to listen to some really amazing business books.

Here is a list of just a few of my favorite books from 2017: 

Hacking Growth, by Sean Ellis (proudly, he is my brother) and Morgan Brown

Disrupt You! by Jay Samit

The 10X Rule by Grand Cardone

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Unshakable by Tony Robbins

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

10% Happier by Dan Harris

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart **** my favorite this year

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch

The 12 Week Year: by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington

Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (a reread cause I love this book)

#Girlboss by Sofia Amoruso

Purple cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt


To name just a few….. LOL  My key to all of these business books is to listen while I am on my walk or walking the dog.  I feel like I am a more active listener when I am moving.

For 2018 I have decided I will have a word for the year.  My word is Intuition.   I feel like I have great intuition, but I don’t always listen to it.  Usually my inner conversation goes something like this, “I know I should really do this but, I don’t want to hurt someones feelings, or someone might misunderstand, or I can do it later”… etc, etc.  You know, those crazy conversations you have in your head.  This year I am committed to listening to those intuitions and acting on them with love and kindness.

Over the last few years, as many of you know, I have been committed to The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod.  Basically for me, it is getting up early, starting the day with a morning medication, followed by a list of everything I am grateful for in my life, a prayer to start the day and ask for God’s blessing and a visualization of my future goals.  For me, this has been life changing.  I am happier, more relaxed, less worried, and generally just a better person.

My hopes and prayers for all of you for 2018 is that you reach for your dreams, enjoy your friends and family and that you are loved and cherished.  Have a wonderful year and I hope to see you soon.  Here are a few images from my family photography session.  Thank you abundantly to Kathryn LeBoye for taking the images that include me and my family.  The gift of photography is priceless to me and I will cherish these images forever!



Owner, Blue Sky’s Studio

Karkoska KidsKristin & KidsFamily photos-Karkoska family

As many of you know, I love to read!  I am fortunate enough to have a Mom who also loves to read, and that shares an Amazon Kindle account with me.

What you may not know, is I also love to listen to self improve and business books while I take my morning walk each day.  I remember listening to Zig Ziglar years ago and he called listening to these type of books “automobile university.”  Well, sometimes I listen in the car, but I find I absorb more if I listen while I am walking or moving in some way.

I have been an Orange County Family photographer for close to 20 years now, and each day I strive to be just a little bit better.  These audible books give me encouragement and new ideas that I can implement daily to make my work, family and social life just a little bit better.

Some of you may recall an article I wrote on my blog last year about “The Miracle Morning”, if not click on the title link and take a look.  So now part of my morning routine is listening to great audible books.  Here are a few of my favorites from this month:

The Five Second Rule, by Mel Robbins.  I absolutely love this book.  It has encouraged me to face my fears and shyness (yes, believe it or not, when I don’t have a camera in front of my face, I am really kind of shy) and just go for it.  When I feel nervous about doing something, I just count off, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 now just do it… before fear or my brain talks me out of it!  A must read, or listen.
I can’t Make this Up, by Kevin Hart- A hilarious account of growing up and facing adversity in a tough part of town.  Kevin Hart’s perseverance in the face of adversity is absolutely inspiring.
Duct Tape Marketing, by John Jantsch- A great read about getting more out of your online presence without breaking the bank.  Effective strategies that can be used immediately to get results.  In fact, after listening to this book, I bought the hard copy so I can go through all the recommended exercises.
The 12 Week Year, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington- I love this business book and how it recommends breaking business goals down to 12 week time periods to better measure your success and to stay focused daily on the tasks that help achieve your goals.
Right now I am listening to The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg- and so far I love it!  It really help highlight how you take a habit from something you think about doing daily, to something that becomes routine and requires no thought.
Let me know what you are reading/ listening to right now.  I love to have recommendations and also chats about all the great content.  Have a beautiful day!



staying in the moment during the holidays“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.”

– Tennessee Williams

I make my living capturing the fleeting moments of my clients’ lives. In fact, that is one of the reasons I love what I do so much. I know that each family will be able to look back for generations at the memories of the time and place of each photograph. But even I will admit, there is no substitute for living as fully as possible in the moment.

During the holidays our time is pressed more than ever, with ‘to do’ lists, events, gifts to buy, etc. More than ever, though, I want to remember the good moments with loved ones.

The holidays can be an especially sentimental time–a time when so many of us take a collective breath and try harder than ever to see those whom we love, or at least send them a little something to show we care. While the meaning of Christmas or other holidays may get lost in ever-growing commercialism, there is still time–if we make it–to stay in the moment.

A few things I like to do to soak in the precious moments of life (during the holidays, or otherwise):

Schedule time for a low-key, holiday past-time/tradition. Maybe it’s  sipping some holiday tea by the fireplace before the kids are up, or perhaps you could go for a family stroll one night and take in the holiday lights; maybe just decorating cookies with the kiddos. Doing activities that have more to do with just “being” there in the present can create that much needed space from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Gratitude List. I try to write my list every morning, putting myself into a positive  state of mind. It’s amazing how much you’ll notice the wonderful things all around, by just getting your brain into the habit of looking for them.

Getting up a little earlier. If you know me, you know I’m an early bird. I know not everyone is, but there’s something special and grounding about getting up before everyone else. Creating space in the morning to do a silent or guided meditation, stretch, etc. is scientifically proven to help you stay in a more mindful place all day.

Regardless of how you find peace during the holiday season, I hope you have a beautiful time and get some quality moments to enjoy with those you love the most.


It’s that time of year for many of us to get in the holiday spirit, and more than gifts, time together is the greatest present of all. So pack up the kids and head out for some local holiday fun. Here’s a compilation of some of fun family holiday events I’ve found in Orange County. I truly hope you enjoy this season with your loved ones!  And don’t forget to take some snapshots that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Sawdust Winter FantasySawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy | Laguna Beach, CA  | weekends through Dec. 18th

This festival is a one-of-a kind annual holiday arts and crafts festival, discover unique gifts in an enchanting winter wonderland. Petting zoo, Santa, food and drinks, thousands of holiday decorations make this a fun event for both parents and kids.

More Info >  | Adults $7, Children 6-12 $4, Seniors $6, Ages 5 & Under Free

spectrumDisney Magical Holiday Lights  | Irvine Spectrum Center | Dec. 7 – Jan. 3

Every night in the Edwards Courtyard a special “magical” tree lighting showtimes start at 5:30pm and occur every hour until 9:30pm.

More Info > | Free


Candlelight Walk  |  Heritage Hill Historic Park  | Dec. 12-13, 2015 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Experience this historic park in a new way! Over 1,000 luminarias will light the park’s pathways. Strolling carolers and musicians will set the holiday mood. Santa will also be there. Hot cider, hot chocolate and cookies will be available for purchase.

More Info >>   | Admission: $5 for ages 3 & over. Tickets sold onsite.


Winter Wonderland at the Zoo | Santa Ana Zoo | Dec. 7-Dec. 31st

The zoo has been transformed into a Winter Zoobilation with magical decorations, lights and falling snow.

More Info > | $10 Adults, $7 Seniors and Children 3-12 yrs old. The Zoofari Express & Conservation Carousel rides are $3 each. 


Snoopy House | Costa Mesa City Hall | Dec. 12-23rd.

The sprawling Snoopy House display has long been a Costa Mesa tradition (for almost 50 years). See life-size scenes recreated from the “Peanuts” characters. Santa will also be there from 7pm to 9pm at night.

More Info>> | Free

Winter Fest (OC Fair & Event Center)  | Dec. 18 – Jan. 3.

winterfestWho says it doesn’t snow in Southern California? For a little over two weeks the OC Fairgrounds will be converted into a Winter Wonderland.

Enjoy ice tubing down Snowflake summit, carnival rides and games, indoor ice-rink, reindeer, the world’s largest walk-thru ornament, nightly Christmas tree lighting with snowfall, crafts and exhibits, Santa & Mrs. Caluse and daily entertainment.

Tickets: www.winterfestoc.com   |  $15-45/pp.  Tip: Scroll to the bottom of their homepage to enter to WIN free tickets.


For more holiday events visit:  http://www.planadayout.com/Holiday-Celebrations-for-kids-in-Orange-County-54

South County Holiday Events: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/dec-695247-center-saddleback.html

schoolpower hall of fame honorGiving back to my community has always been important to me and while I don’t like to toot my own horn, I am very honored to receive this Hall of Fame Award from SchoolPower. I’m proud to be part of an organization that helps children in my local Orange County community.

About SchoolPower:

The oldest, non-profit education foundation in Orange County, SchoolPower has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. The funds raised through SchoolPower go to causes like class size reduction, performing/visual arts in middle and high school, exta electives, music, foreign language programs and technology advancements.

Thanks to SchoolPower for allowing me to help in its outreach efforts!