Saying Good Bye to Sera’s Youth

Saturday was a birthday celebration for our friend Sera. Since we all are friends with Mandi, you reap the benefits of having your birthday styled by the talented, super creative, gorgeous Ms. Mandi fucking Stewart – I mean Mandi Rae (did I mention she’s gorgeous AND single?)   I am in charge of desserts. I spent Friday night baking cakes and cookies so they can be cooled overnight and ready to be frosted and decorated the next day. This is a challenging task for me because Sera cannot have anything with gluten or dairy or she’ll die. Not really, she’ll just suffer so much that she wishes she’d die. Okay, maybe a little too dramatic.


I picked up a box of cookie mix of each GF sugar cookies and GF double chocolate peppermint cookies. I did a little experiment with both and swapped the butter with shortening for chocolate cookies and coconut oil for the sugar cookies. I had planned to cut them out, make them into sugar skulls and got the molds from Amazon; I bet I could really have some fun with my 8-yr old Treyton with these molds. Like for Halloween. Well the chocolate cookies didn’t hold up. They spread like crazy but still taste good. The sugar cookies held up their shapes and I was able to decorate them. So note to self, coconut oil is a better alternative to butter. Shortening? not so much, in my opinion.


For the chocolate cake, I use this recipe. It’s Gluten and Dairy Free and it’s also Vegan! That means we could eat the entire cake guilt free and PETA will love us! I thought the cake turned out well. It was moist, a touch grainy and the frosting on it is smooth and almost pudding like, my 15-month old daughter Atreya loves it. Of course in the world of unconventional Dhila, a chocolate cake cannot be just a plain old chocolate cake. It’s gotta have a pizzaaazz! A gluten free kind of pizzaaazz.


I saw my favorite, talented and amazing baker ZoeBakes posted a Trix cake and I was blown fucking away! I asked Ms. Google to see if Trix is Gluten Free. I suspected it was since it’s corn based. This website said, Trix indeed is Gluten Free. She tested it with a thing that looks just like a peeing stick (a pregnancy test). I trusted it. Sera, do you possess such thing?


So I whipped up a batch of a layered Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Vegan chocolate cake. I separated all Trix’s colored balls, a tedious task but must be done (my son Treyton helped after I bribed him a lemon popsicle). After frosting the cake, I studded each and every ball carefully to the cake. I had to stop a couple of times to put the cake in the freezer because the coconut oil based frosting melts fast in room temperature.


After careful arrangement of my trunk, both cake and cookies arrived safely to Mandi’s. We enjoyed Sangrias, Margaritas, fish and beef tacos, chips and guacs and shrimp ceviches, my cookies and cakes and a night full of storytelling around her chiminea. Like any other girls get together, we take a ton of selfies and played a game of #wheresmymustache.


Just like all the parties Mandi has thrown in the past, it is definitely another kind of party that I will never forget. Please hire her for your next party! She thinks of things that you would never think of. The details she puts in this party and any other parties she’s thrown in the past are meticulously thought of. Check out her Pinterest Boards


All photos are taken with Smart Phones.

Hello Birthday Girl Sera and her sombrero!

The white skull is filled with vodka

Meet Ms. Kacey aka Instagram @gmadef. She’s an artist and is blessed with the smartest beautiful baby boy Gabe.

These white balloons were supposed to be decorated to look like those sugar skulls but we got sidetracked.

We enjoyed too many of these sangrias. I’m swooning over that vintage ladle.

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Hey Ms. Mandi I “mustache” you how you make those damn fine ceviche?

Mandi is such an expert in setting the mood right for the occasion. We originally was going to her yard and have another bonfire but none us want to leave this magical spot. So in a Mandi’s fashion, if we won’t come to the bonfire, the bonfire shall come to you. She hauled that chiminea from somewhere far, like the front door or something to her backyard. There were candles and citronella to ensure that we don’t get bit by pesky mosquitoes.

Ms. Erin aka Instagram @lilyxena13 and Ms. Heather aka @playmanhm

I would gladly get stranded on a deserted island with these rad bitches

Here’s Ms. Mandi fucking Stewart. Isn’t she lovely! Find her @museinheels

The pinata borrowed Sera’s sombrero and is watching over the chiminea

Sorting Trix

Here’s the Trix cake I made for Ms. Sera. It’s Vegan, Gluten Free and Dairy Free.

Here’s the cake recipe

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And we all came home with a bottle of this bitchin’ nail polish

So Mandi created this game #wheresmymustache and post it on Instagram and we really went to town with it. Excuse me, let me rephrase that, Kacey went to town with it and started going around Mandi’s house to look for things to stick her mustache to.

Kacey won the #wheresmymustache for pinning the ‘stache on Virgin Mary

The pinata was filled with lovely things, just lovely lovely sustanance that we girls almost can’t live without like mini liquors, condoms, and lollipops

The  mustache went on this pretty gift bag that Heather bought from Patina

Ms. Heather got Sera the Dammit Doll.

Poor Kitty but priceless expression

Sisters!!!! photo taken by @gmadef

another @gmadef work

Sera’s soulmate Steve played along from home

I picked up these masks from Amazon too.

@playmanhm, she’s a hair stylist. Go get your hair done by her!

beautiful capture by @gmadef

@lilyxena13 by @gmadef

@dhilab #dhilaeats by @gmadef

@seraholt80 by @gmadef

@museinheels by @gmadef

I love you Mandi girl, you’re definitely one of the people who inspires me. Thank you for the wonderful party.

Now I will end this post with a song that Mandi introduced to me and I cannot get it out of my head and I must iTune it.

Thank you for checking out this post.

Diana – Senior Session

Oh how I’ve watched this little girl growing up in to a beautiful, smart, kind, loving human being. She can be really really shy but she’ll rapped on the radio, 101.3 KDWB to be exact, on the spot, to win tickets to see Macklemore! Aw she’s so cute. Did I mention she’s captain of the Academy of Holy Angels Cheerleaders

Here are some pictures I took for her senior pictures at Elm Creek Park as we’re trying to catch the sunset.


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Atreya and the Cabin

It is June 15, 2013, Father’s day weekend and we finally got a chance to open up the cabin. We usually try to come out late April, early May. It’s been a sucky Summer this year with mother nature punishing us Minnesotans by depriving us of our Summer as if we’re not punished enough to have long winter months all year. I have a love-hate relationship with Minnesota. It’s mostly love though.

It’s Atreya’s first visit to the cabin and we didn’t get a chance to get the dock out due to the storm. Treyton, all of the sudden gained interest in fishing, so we got him a new fishing rod to which neither his Dad or Grandpa knew how to line it. Thank goodness for YouTube. The storm also had prevented us from having a seafood boil on the deck on this so we had it inside.

Jeff and Treyton had a chance to bond on one of the two nicer days — Sunday — to shoot BB guns while Jeff smoked his cigars on the deck. It can’t get any manly-er than that. I was okay with Jeff teaching such skills, in case of Zombie Apocalypse, in which Treyton replied: “Mom, there’s no such thing as Zombie Apocalypse.” Yes, I’m obviously not the adult in this relationship, on this instance.

Here are some pictures I took from the cabin in honor of Father’s Day. To my love Jeffrey. There’s no other man on this planet Earth that is more perfect than my man to procreate and raise our beautiful offsprings together. We three (Agate the dog too) are so lucky to have you.


Atreya Renna – One Month Old

At one month, Atreya is more demanding. Unlike the first two weeks, refusing to sleep in her bassinet. No longer wanted to be swaddled although I modify the way I swaddle her now, not too tightly with her arms on the side, instead, I’ve loosen up a bit with her arms folded on her chest and I let her legs free. Her lungs are so much stronger now that her cries are louder. She grunts a lot too.
She’s so goddamn cute though, I’m willing to overlook these annoying new habit, for a moment.Here are some one month old pictures that I took during our impromptu vacation Up North. We love impulsive trips. Jeff was dying for a vacation so at the last minute on Friday night, we booked a one night stay at Cove Point Lodge, facing Lake Superior, equipped with an in-room jacuzzi.


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Carson + Jenni = Engaged

We did this session with me 6 months pregnant, waddling around with my camera bag trying really really hard not to slip on ice. It was a beautiful day with zero clouds in the sky, albeit chilly by the time sun started to set. We went to Minnehaha Falls where there’s almost zero plowed ground and the Stone Arch Bridge in a little bit of a hurry to catch the last few minutes of the sunset.
I really have nothing to say about how sickly in love they are with each other. Cannot wait to photograph this couple at their wedding (I won’t be pregnant then, yay!)
Congratulations you two. I’m SO SO HAPPY for you!



Baby Sammy

I am so excited to welcome Baby Sammy! At just two weeks old he’s as strong as a bull. Just look at how he held his head up! I think he really wants to catch up with proud big brother Tristan.

We had a little bit of a hard time getting this little peanut to go to sleep. Seems like with all the commotion he wanted to stay awake for it. As you see in this picture Momma is looking gorgeous as always even after a rough delivery.
I’ll have more pictures coming soon! In the meantime enjoy these….

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Sneak Peek: Sam and Tristan

I’m SO FRIGGIN’ EXCITED when Jenny called me to do a session with Sammy and Tristan. You MUST check out the sessions I did with Tristan for his three, six, nine,  and twelve months. This handsome punk is turning TWO next week and he’s now a big brother to little Sammy! He’s grown up so much and he’s bloody HILARIOUS! I have a nickname for him now: pickle face
(sorry Jenny), because throughout the session we use pickle (with a long pronunciation at the end, thus creates an “O” opening on the mouth).

I had a REALLY fun session this Sunday at Jenny’s house, despite my limitation in mobility being six months pregnant. We worked really hard to put Mr. Sammy to sleep, he was wide awake and the only time that he’s actually asleep I tried to work as fast as I could to get some posed shots.

Congratulations Jenny and Dave, I cannot wait to show you all the rest of the pictures!


Carson + Jenny = Engaged

Here’s a sneak peek of Jenny and Carson engagement session. It was a chilly early March Minnesota afternoon but we were blessed with no clouds in the sky. We did the session at the beautiful Minehaha Falls (sorry we missed the gazebo, kids) and we also did a short session at the Stone Arch Bridge

I’ve known Jenny for many years and this girl can’t sit still! And just from the session we did Saturday, these two can’t keep their eyes off each other and are sickly in love, it makes me sick (in a good way). They are the cutest, super active couple. They run marathons, they hike, they bike, they row, they snowboard, they ski and who knows what else, I really can’t keep track! No matter what the weather, nothing would stop them from being outdoor. As a friend, I’m absolutely ELATED for these two lovebirds and I cannot wait to be a part of their wedding. I love you two!