Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Can it actually be 10 days till Christmas?! Really!!!? Is it true I haven't blogged a single entry in months?! Since September? I think I'm about to cry. The slackiness has got to stop! The buck stops here... (what does that saying really mean?) Raise your hand if you're excited for Christmas... (dawn's hand is raised.) Raise your hand if you're only just starting your Christmas shopping today! (dawn's hand is raised once again...)

Can I just say, 2010 has been amazing!!! Passion and hard work have collided- I can't wait for 2011, it's going to be even better! Joy to the world for so many reasons, the most important one being, Christ the Lord!

Merry Christmas to all and a very happy new year to come!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Have An Epiphanie!

Epiphanie is holding a contest through the last day of September that might just make all my photographic dreams come true!!!
They are a chic camera bag company celebrating their one year anniversary by giving away a Canon 5D Mark II!!! You can follow them on facebook and twitter.

Contest rules for the 5D, (hence the photo posted above), can be found here:

To shop:

Fingers crossed and lots of prayers!!! Thanks for the chance Epiphanie!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You can call me Fluffy.

Autumn is undoubtedly my favorite time of year. Even though it does not translate the same way in California as it does in other parts of the country, with the changing leaves, the crispness of the air-- I'm sure if I were to experience those elements, I would only love the season more.

I love the cooling of the weather, the salt-kissed breeze in the air, earlier sunsets, pumpkin ice cream, and family togetherness.

I finally finished Randy Pausch's book The Last Lecture. I cried my eyes out! It is such a good reminder to put others first, show kindness, and taught me when I feel it impossible to pay those back who have blessed my life in tremendous ways, I can pay it forward without guilt.

I had a blast at work with the little ones. Moment of the week: Silas, (a name I haven't heard since I was in Australia), was sitting with me at a lunch table. Excited to be sitting next to me, he grabbed hold of my arm, giving it a good squeeze. He then began pumping my bicep between his fingers, stared at me in amazement and exclaimed, "Teacher! You're SO fluffy!!!" I burst out laughing and the 7 children at my table followed suit. He continued compressions for another 3 minutes, with interjections of fluffiness every 30 seconds--like some pseudo-CPR. Only much more welcome!

Love to you all! Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


After weeks of toil... the little white box from Hades has been dispelled! (HURRAY!) Alas, in the process my beloved former blogger template was lost forever! (BOO!) So...this is the interim. Since my last post, summer vacation has come to a close and I've done several more photo-shoots. I went on a great mountain vacation with the fam and started back, (Monday), at the preschool part-time.

I really am blessed in so many ways and look forward to future growth and betterment.

I hope you are all well!!!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Please Help-

By now you have seen it; the little photobucket notice on my blog. It is causing me GRIEF! I have violated their policy, (unintentionally), by using an image from PB and now I have a nasty little white box that won't go away. It's so distracting to me that I'm considering deleting my blog and starting afresh. (Trust me, I really rather not!!!)

Does anyone know how to irradiate this square-shaped impostor?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I saw a play last night based on the journal entries of Patience Loader, an English pioneer who traveled with her family across the plains with the Willie Martin Handcart Company. She and her family were following the call to religious freedom. Unfortunately, they left too late in the year and became subject to a merciless Wyoming winter. Their struggles, suffering and faith are a strength to me.

My grandpa just had major surgery on Friday. At the moment he is not permitted to eat or drink anything. He is so thirsty and hungry. Granted, we are so thankful he made it through surgery, still I feel so bad for him! There is nothing worse to me than desert-mouth! It would be the ultimate hell. Having visited him in recovery an hour before going to the play, it caused the pioneers predicament to feel all the more real. I could envision in a personal way, what it would be like to harbor a gnawing want for sustenance.

The bishop of my homeward says there is a reason for trials- with special reference to the physical trials that come with old age/physical deterioration. He feels the reason must be to give us a greater appreciation for our resurrected bodies- when we have them...

I love the pioneer heritage of the Church of Jesus Christ. I loved the last scene of the play where an angel and father Loader's spirit appeared, heavenly helpers assisting the starving frozen family with their handcart which became entrenched in the frostbitten ground.

We are all pioneers in some way. May we forge good paths and keep the faith.

God bless those pioneers and my grandpa.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Encircled by His Love

Each Saturday and Sunday morning, my family gathers for our weekend brand of family scripture study. We congregate round the T.V. and watch reruns of General Conference via DVD (one talk per diem). Today's talk was given by Cheryl Lant, an outgoing member of the Primary General Presidency.

Her talk revolved around the idea of seeking the Lord's face (living a life that will allow us to be with Him and thus, see Him, (His face), in the afterlife.) The comment that stood out the most was, "being filled with the Lords love requires selfless service." Being filled with His love is the ONLY way we are truly able to freely and fully love anyone outside of ourselves. Selfless service and loving others are departments that frankly, I have been slipping in. Sister Lant's words were like manna to my crumbling soul! Selfless service is the key to all woes!

Give selfless service = become encircled by God's love = encircle others with genuine love = love for self, the world, and God increase. This process is one eternal round. No beginning and no end.

Please post an act of selfless service you have enjoyed participating in or receiving. Myself and others would love to read about it!

This week's personal challenge is to give an act of selfless service each day- I will return and report next week.

Sidenote: I love the Claddagh ring~ I really want to travel to Ireland!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


They made a statue of us
And it put it on a mountain top
Now tourists come and stare at us
Blow bubbles with their gum
Take photographs have fun, have fun

Saturday, July 03, 2010

life & liberty

I was summonsed to jury duty this week. I made it through the first cut of juror selection, but was let go the second day. As I sat in the jury box the first day, I felt a sense of excitement to be involved in a legal undertaking and fulfilling my civic duty as an American citizen. I was equally grateful however for being let go as I have so many things to finish up this coming week. A tender mercy indeed.

As tomorrow is Independence Day, my mind turns back to one of the inscriptions on the Superior Court building in DC. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Isn't this the truth with so many areas of our lives! Watch and pray always that we may conquer temptation and any that would seek to destroy or weaken us in even the slightest way.

I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy. I am thankful I can leave my home daily, going about my errands free of suicide bombings and the threat of rape and hunger. My heart goes out to those who live in the midst of oppression, fear and war.

May we live our lives in such a way that the Lord can continue to bless and protect our freedoms and our nation(s).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

~Father's Day~

I have all sorts of names for my dad, but perhaps my favorite one of all is "Poppy". It has a fun, old fashioned, Popeye the Salior kind of ring to it. It makes me smile when I say it and also engenders a fun response from my pops. I'll call up the stairs for him, "Poppy?" He will appear at the top of the stairs with a smile, "Yes my little opium flower?" We have a good chuckle to ourselves and then carry on with conversation.

There are so many good things I could confirm and express about him; his tender heart, his passion for and devotion to the Lord; his countless actions and endless strive to raise his children in the gospel, to help us endure to the end and endure well; his goofy, witty humor. He knows exactly what to say to make my family melt into laughter. He warms my heart.

I love him. I give thanks for him. In family prayer this morning, he gave thanks to Heavenly Father for all He does and has done for our family. He's always deflecting the glory-giving it to God. I give thanks for both my fathers~ Heavenly & earthly.

Happy Father's Day to all the men out there who honor their sacred title of Father.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Color Correcting is fun!

A couple weeks ago I did head shots for an improv actor. It was a blast. There's something about actor folk that I dig! Aaron had a lot of red tones in his skin so it was good practice working with color balancing filters and hue/saturation.

I hope everyone is having a great week!!!!

Much Love!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Cars

They say true photographers always carry a camera with them wherever they go. Well, today I happened to have mine in the back seat of my car.

I pull up to a stoplight and looked to my left. Lo and behold there was a gargantuan forest green semi-ancient-really-cool truck with a pit bull with a melancholic gaze resting his head on the opened window's sill. It was too perfect! A true Kodak moment!

At first I tried to be all stealthy-like and snap a photo unawares- but each time I'd bring the camera up to my eye the light would turn green and all I'd capture was blurry streaks of green...

I kept pace with that truck for a good 3 minutes-- finally we both pulled up to a light just turning red. I asked the man if I could take a picture of his dog and the result made me so happy that I drooled on myself! (Really!)

On a spiritual note, I've had so many prayers answered this week and so many happy shiny moments. I thank Heavenly Father for every bit of it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Muscle Your Life.

This morning my brother was updating me on his mission to become the next Mr. America. (That's not how he phrased it though--) You see, he has more muscle mass in his little pinky finger than the whole Altier family combined. (OK, that's another exaggeration, as ALL the boys in my immediate family are super buff!)

Justin was informing me that the other day, he did 8, then 6, then 3 push-ups (in a row). (I know what you're thinking, "big deal. I can do that too.") But here's the crazy part: he had a grown woman sitting on his back!!! Yowsers! Just 3 weeks ago he could barely do 2 (with a grown woman on his back). (Where does he find these women???)

"My, my!" I exclaimed. What a quick advance in such a short period of time!" "Not really." "Why not?" "Because, he explained, our bodies are capable of so much more than we usually subject them to. When we attempt something for the first time, it comes as such a shock to what our body, (and brain), that our brain tells us we can't do it. When we persist, that is when our brain begins to get used to the new activity, and can prepare for the next time, even recruit previously unused muscles that were laying dormant."

This line of reasoning resonated with me. It parallels so nicely with life! We are capable of so much more than our usual groove. Is there something you've been wanting to attempt, but feel it's just not possible? Give it a shot! You will find inner resources and those from without to help you form new habits. Realize your possibilities. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. When possibility jives with necessity, God steps in and helps.

Much Love!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Derby Girl

On Thursday I did a shoot with Marin. She skates for a local roller derby team. She is also a film photographer and collector of all things vintage-- The shoot was a two parter- Theme One: Living Space (this girl knows how to design interior!)Theme Two: Derby Girl!

I'm excited to edit and post the pix!

It's been a busy week: I got rear-ended on Wednesday (I'm OK); attended and shot an art auction on Friday; attended the temple on Saturday and had a couple great missionary experiences. Now I'm getting ready to head off to a mid-singles conference today in Huntington Beach.

Have a great week and thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Take a Trip on Route...

I have a friend who was born in Los Angeles County, but moved to Kingman AZ when she was 10. She came back to CA when she was 19 and is now serving a mission in Spain. She comes home in June- I couldn't be more thrilled! So while surfing Flickr this morning, I found another favorite photog-- lj holloway, of none other than Kingman AZ! When Catina returns from her mish, maybe I will be able to talk her into a road trip to Kingman- the place looks super cool!

Reasons to LOVE Catina:

1. Her love for and testimony of the Lord.

2. Her insatiable desire to help everyone around her feel special and loved.

3. Her confidence in others.

4. Her fearless spirit.

5. Her smile.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

No Jellies on this Toast...

Cause it's Fast Sunday. Besides, Jelly Fish are our friends (a.k.a. not for eating).

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I love going to church. The Sabbath is a departure from the usual and that's refreshing!

I took a trip the Long Beach Aquarium on Friday with my Momma. We both had fun with our cameras. I got some great shots of the Moon Jellies. The earth is full of wonder and beauty- even in places we are rarely able to catch a glimpse of.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Quote of the Day

"The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone... The things you do for others remain as your legacy."

Ode to a Memory

Mary Magdalene by Frederick Sandys

I remember visiting the San Diego Museum of Art (Balboa Park), in the summer of 2007 to see "Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites from the Delaware Art Museum." I sat for hours with notebook in hand, sketching and taking notes on the works of Rossetti, Hunt and Millais; paying tribute to a bygone era.

Their rebellion looked back instead of forward. A group of seven artists and writers who yearned for medieval expression, banded together and took on a new identity: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They created a fanciful world pieced together from the past and inhabited by pale-skinned sulking beauties crowned with endless billowing locks and Pre-Renaissance fashion.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just a Spoonful of Sugar???

Tuesday night I went to Souplantation with Jamie. We dined on delectable salads full of color and texture, hot creamy soups, and a ton of ooey gooey pizza! Then I made the mistake of helping myself to the molten peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars (with ice cream on top). The entire meal, conversation and company was amazing-- alas...

Sugar has a way of dusting off the welcome mat for any and all cold germs to come visit me. Not even 24 hours later, I was beginning to feel like death. Thursday, blick! Friday, left work early. Yesterday, did a photo club shoot and overextended myself-but loved every minute of it. Today, feeling crappy again. Moral of the story? Don't eat sugar dawn!

Latest photography news: just got booked on Wednesday to do a wedding in June.
Jessica and Josh, Saturday June 19th. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Still Life

I helped on a friend's film set yesterday- I captured some video and some stills. Still photography is certifiably my favorite medium.

My cat is doing so much better. I love that Heavenly Father is allowing her to stay on the earth a bit longer!

I'm teaching Sunday School today- woot woot! Stay tuned: Adam and Eve get dismissed from the Garden! Blessings to follow!

I'm in search of a summer job- out-of-state would be fine- something artsy and creative, working with kids, or at a national park would be cool too!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Cow's Meow

I have a cat named Cow. I found her on my way to a church activity back in '97. She was in a box next to a dumpster outside the building, along with her 5 brothers and sisters. I took the box inside, the kittens scattered and I scooped up the one that came to me and took her.

I could say many things about her- She is full of idiosyncrasies, has an unusually poor sense of balance (for a cat), and drools all over the place when you pet her. She often runs up to my car when I come home, meowing for attention.

This week she got really sick and I thought she was going to die-
She had looked so ghostly on Friday- My grandma took her to the vet yesterday for a super vitamin shot and hydration. I dreamed about her last night- I dreamed that she died. I woke up crying around 4a.m. Cried for a good 20 minutes- prayed for another chance to have her walk up to me for affection and hear her purr—

I walked out to the pool area around 9 a.m. and watched her take a few bites of food. She hadn't eaten in 3 days. She saw me, meowed, and walked slowly over to me. I scratched her head and she purred quietly. I said an immediate prayer of gratitude-- thank you Heavenly Father for allowing me to have this moment with my kitty. May she recover.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Theme of the Weekend...

Why limit ourselves? Why attempt to control the uncontrollable?

I met a man named Craig yesterday while helping a friend's relative move. I took an instant liking to him. He calls himself a story teller. Consequently, he told several stories on our trips to and from the storage units.

He fell in love on a blind date at a doughnut shop. He lived with this woman for over 20 years and took care of her for the last 8 after she was paralyzed in a car accident. She passed away 8 months ago. He is still mourning her loss.

I wanted to share with him the knowledge I have about eternal families and temple ordinances. I later found out that he is LDS. He even served a mission in Kentucky when he was 30. He hasn't been to church in a long time and can't see himself coming back. He referred to himself as "a monster".

I made a comment about the limitations we put on ourselves. We go through life believing our inner talk, that we can only have or be certain things- and it's just not true. I too struggle with self-limiting thoughts, but the difference is I now know those thoughts aren't reality. We can be and do so much more than we tell ourselves. Our potential is divine and with God's help it is infinite.

Flash forward to this morning. I felt prompted to open Jack Canfield's Success Principles. I picked it up and opened to a chapter that I'd bookmarked months ago after reading. What do you know, it was Principle 33: Transcend Your Limiting Beliefs. It was a positive reinforcement to the experiences of yesterday.

"Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone."


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chile con Wreckage

Tonight I had a chance to read about the 8.8 quake that shook the daylight out of Chile Saturday morning. The report spoke of the rising death toll, (currently in the thousands), 1.5 million homes damaged or destroyed, and massive looting sprees igniting across the country.

The quake hit in Concepcion, a city which my brother spent a good deal of time in while serving a mission for the Lord. Through this one degree of separation, I began to feel the weight of what these people must be experiencing. Another thought that came strongly to my mind was the importance of emergency preparedness!

Chile is not a newcomer to seismic disasters. In fact, Chile was home to the largest earthquake ever recorded. The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean Earthquake rated 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. Its resulting tsunami's affects reached as far as southeast Australia! This formative quake changed the course of Chile's building codes, laws, and regulations. Their retrofitting standards are among the highest in the world! Thus, many of the building were able to roll with Saturday's quake for 3+ minutes straight.

Unlike Haiti, Chile also takes great care in mixing high grade cement- 3 parts sand, one part cement. The sand is washed first to remove impurities that could cause it to fracture and crack under pressure. Much of Haiti's cement was 5 parts impure sand to one part cement which is why it pancaked.

Disaster forced Chile to prepare themselves for the future which spared them from greater destruction. For decades modern prophets have pleaded with the membership of the church to gather and store a years supply of food and water in case disaster strikes. We are asked, at the very least to have a 3 day emergency backpack on hand, with enough water, food, clothes and supplies for 3 days.

After reading about Haiti and Chile's woes, the importance of being prepared is so clear to me now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

He Stopped the Rain

Saturday, Jon and I drove out to Irvine to catch The Young Victoria- clearly one of the best films of the year. The DP's style is unlike any other- a fascinating use of shallow and rack focus! After the movie we went to the Irvine Spectrum and ate at the Veggie Grill; 3 words: Sweet Potato Fries (with chipotle ranch)!

Yesterday Nick and I drove to downtown Long Beach to plan a pirate scavenger hunt for my birthday. It rained all the way there. We parked the car and prepared ourselves for the frigid wet cold we were about to embrace. Minutes after shedding our vehicular skin, the rain ceased. We proceeded to have a great time traipsing about, pinpointing hiding places for clues, concocting the puzzle our guests will unravel on Saturday night.

I felt like a parent on Christmas Eve wrapping the last gifts- It's an exciting feeling to create something for others to enjoy!

Exhausted from our adventure, Nick introduced me to a delicious El Salvadorian eatery on 7th- our famished state made grand food more glorious, our hilarious server Able added to the impressiveness of the experience.

When we walked to the restaurant there was no rain- as we ate, the sky rung heavy drops from the clouds... we walked back to the car and the skies were dry yet again! I could not help but feel watched over, smiled and upon even- Heavenly Father stopped the rain so two of His children could enjoy a beautiful afternoon by the sea, worry free of future colds or sore throats:)

The evening concluded with Br. Johnson's Institute class. He taught us about the importance of bridling (directing) our passions. Loved it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Some of you know that I work at a preschool part-time. I absolutely LOVE 4 & 5 year olds! For some reason, this year more so than other years, the kids have been taking a great interest in my fingernails; they'll take my hands in theirs and try all sorts of tactics to remove them. Yes children, I felt that. They are real. They all comment on how long my nails are and counsel me to cut them as soon as possible.

Yesterday, one of the girls came up to me, scoped out my nails briefly and concluded, "Teacher, you have long claws!" I laughed so loud and quickly shared the observation with fellow teacher Sarah.

Earlier that day, Sam was laying across the bike path staring and the ground with his arms pulled into his shirt. I called over to him to make sure he was OK. He called back and said, "Teacher! I'm a snake!!!"

Preschoolers never cease to amaze me with their beautiful minds! :)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Traveling the World

World Book style.

I overheard a conversation yesterday, in which my brother was informed tomorrow would be Columbus Day; to which the other person informed him that Columbus Day was not February 8th, but was in fact in October, the month Columbus struck land, San Salvador, a little island off the coast of Cuba.

Well...I forgot about this correction of dates and was pleasantly surprised when this morning, the encyclopedia I was holding in search of the color wheel, fell open to Christopher Columbus. "How appropriate", I thought to myself, "with Columbus Day just around the corner."

Thus, I refreshed my memory in honor of February 8th: Non-Columbus-Columbus Day.
I read about Columbus' Italian birth, his young love and loss, his 4 voyages, in which he only touched, very briefly, what could be considered North American soil, (Costa Rica), once.

Most of his explorations were contained in Hispaniola. We give him a lot of credit, but his vision seems so limited from the account I read this morning. He continued to return to and work to redeem his original discovery which did not produce the kinds of results anyone had hoped for.

Myth Busters: Most of the world did not believe the world was flat at the time of Columbus' voyage and Columbus did not intentionally bring diseases to the people of Hispaniola (i.e. nasty blankets). He did enslave the people, make them mine for gold, and punish them if they failed to meet their quotas. A bit of a power trip?

The positive note:
He ended centuries of ignorance about what lay on the other side of the Atlantic, and his discovery led to trade with Native American peoples who taught the ancestors of our future founding fathers the love of freedom and shared leadership. So in an indirect way, Columbus led the way to democracy and freedom, even though his personal choice did not reflect such values. This is most likely how he ended up being mentioned in the Book of Mormon (1 Ne. 13:12) and why we of the LDS faith, consider him to have played an integral part in the restoration of Christ's gospel.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lights... Camera...

Yesterday I helped film a short called A Drink to Savor. I was invited by a friend to be the lead camera operator. P.S. The B camera operator was Australian!!! It was such a diverse mix of people coming together in the name of art! We shot from 10:30-8. Craft service was delicious and the fight scenes were exhilarating. Both of the "assassins" were individually directed to sit on top of me while I held the camera and pretend to stab and beat the junk out of each other (me). Then we did a 360 roll, where I ended up on top of them-- It was the most intense film making I've experienced to date.

Thanks to a great crew and super talented director!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Safe and Sorry

I was away at a training retreat for work this week high above the little Podunk town of Banning California, off Highway 243, in Idyllwild. Despite horrid weather conditions we traveled anyway rather than holding retreat in Long Beach. 5 minutes after our arrival on Wednesday, it began to snow- it rained and stormed and felt like the wind might blow our cabins away.

We were set to return home on Friday. We began the slow descent around 10 a.m. My car began sliding off the road on a few icy turns leading to a side-on collision with a guard rail, which protected us from a 500 foot drop to Never Never Land. Thanks goodness the railing was there.

We were towed down the mountain, yes, me and 4 passengers- still in my car, riding at a 45 degree angle. Thank you AAA man #1. We got on the 60 W and made the interchange to the 91 W. It had begun to rain again. All my passengers were now sleeping. I attempted to clear my mind while listening to the melancholic crooning of Keane, trying to be thankful that my car,(pictured above- pre-accidents), was still drivable and everyone unharmed.

Minutes later, I hydroplaned at 50mph into the center divider waking everyone up with my shouts of terror just before impact. We hit the divider, flew 3 feet in the air, slammed back down to the ground, and went sailing ahead, still uncontrollably, for about 30 feet before the popped front wheel managed to create enough resistance to stop us-maybe our halt was angelic, both were most likely responsible.

A CHP officer pulled up behind us within 5 minutes and helped us pull over to the side of the road. We called AAA again. A man arrived, threw a spare onto my car and said in a hurried tone,"gotta go!" Another wave of relief began to wash over me- Wow! My car is STILL drivable! After all that, it's really ugly, but drivable!

However, it turns out that the underpinnings of my steering/wheel system were twisted and bent, so when I attempted to drive my car again, with the wheel turned all the way to the left, I was still moving right.

My passengers, once again protected from injury, were picked up by the last drivers from our group to reach the bottom of the mountain- I rode the last hour home with Joe the tow truck man, Great White trailing behind us in all her new found glory.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Saturday, January 02, 2010

~~~~~~Hello 2010 : NYD HIKE 3.0~~~~~~

I am such a fan of creating traditions! And I am happy to say that the annual New Years Day Hike is 3 years strong now! Yesterday Erin and I, the co-founders of NYDH, welcomed a new member- We'll call her Autumn, cause that's her name:)

We drove down south to one of my favorite destinations! San Juan Capistrano. We took the Ortega Highway towards Riverside and parked across the street from "The Candy Store', a.k.a. tell-tale sign you've arrived at the San Juan Loop trail head.

Highlights: The descent into the cool, damp, earthy smelling shadiness of the trail; Lots of great photos; Great conversation; El Champeon for delicious Mexican food; and all the laughs on the way home.

It was an absolute success- I can't wait to do it again!