Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kutting for Kids 2009 - What an Awesome Event!

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Kutting for Kids, an annual First Coast event started by Jeannie Blalock of First Coast News, as a drive to get donations for Locks of Love. The hair collected is crafted into custom wigs for children who do not have hair due to medical reasons. It takes six to ten donated ponytails to make just one hairpiece and each ponytail must be at least 10-inches long!

This year again, I had the incredible opportunity to photograph this amazing event at the Orange Park Mall. Seeing all the wonderful people who selflessly donate their beautiful locks. Last I heard, the total amount of hair collected was 7,004 INCHES! WOW!!! This year I was especially proud because my beautiful daughter also donated her hair, although she had it cut a few weeks ago because she wouldn't be in town this week. Her donation put the total over 7,000. Way to go Mikaela!!

A lot of people who donated last year brought back their spouses and children to donate this year! Next year, the last year crowd will be ready to donate again!

I captured over 450 smiles, tears, cuts, styles and expressions this year. These, along with those photographs from the other volunteer photographers, will be posted to the First Coast News website in a few days, as will the before and after shots! Until then, here are just a few I selected to share and a few short stories about some of these wonderful people!

First let's meet some of the beautiful children that these wigs may one day help!

Dorian is shown below with the wig that he already received!

And just a few of those who donated!
First is my little guy. He didn't donate his hair, but he was excited to turn in his sister's hair!

As soon as she saw her ponytail, she had an ear to ear smile. I think she was just a little bit nervous!

I had a blast watching this guy and his buddies. They all came in together and they all donated their hair. They were so funny as they all were taking photos of each other in multiple ponytails! In the second image, you can see the three buddies standing behind their friend whose turn it was to have his hair cut. And, yes, they even measured the one guy's beard - but it wasn't quite long enough! Way to go guys! You're awesome!

Isn't this little guy such a cutie! His mom said he was 4 years old and the stylist cut his hair as mom and his brother looked on. As soon as his first ponytail was cut, the stylist handed it to him and he kept saying over and over again with a HUGE grin, "This is my hair. That's MY hair. Look at my hair." :) What a cutie pie!

This little girl was definitely not sure about her new haircut!

This next three images are from the same family. Mom came out and brought her two daughters. Both the girls got their hair cut first, then when they were done, mom got hers cut. The stylist could sense that mom was a little nervous so she asked the girls to come hold mom's ponytail as she cut it. Mom's tears came right after the cut so I suggested to the girls each give mom a hug. They did and mom held them tight. Shortly after, I asked them to all get together for a family moment with their new "do's".

Mom brought this 3 year old little guy in to get his hair cut. Can you see how long it was? He wanted to have nothing to do with it and the tears were just flowing from his eyes. Poor little man. The stylist finally got his hair into a ponytail and started cutting as mom was keeping him still in the chair - although he was fighting it. After she snipped off the ponytail and showed it to him, he reached back to where his long locks were no longer and realized it was gone - he got quite upset.He then put both his hands on the back of his head and held them there to tell the stylist not to cut anymore. He was fine after a few minutes and the stylist was able to finish the styling. By the end of it all, he was trying to sneak a tiny little smile.

This gentleman was the very last cut of the day. Yeah, the guys look a little funny when they have their hair cut, but they're so proud and we're proud of them, too!

We had some amazingly talented musicians for everyone's listening enjoyment.

Everyone was also entertained by dancers from the Step by Step Dance Studio of Argyle. From little ones like the ones below to the big kids - they all did a fantastic job!

And, of course, the event couldn't be complete with out some extra special fun for the kids! Several clowns entertained the young ones with balloon animals and face painting!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Model Search! Time to Vote!

We are excited to currently have four BEAUTIFUL children entered into the National Charity Model Search and we need everyone's help to vote for them as Jacksonville's Cutest Kid (and America's Cutest Kid) and to raise money for an awesome organization.

In just a few short weeks, this National Contest has raised more than $13,000 for the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep organization.

I know each of these children's parents would appreciate any votes you would like to give them and feel good knowing that each dollar goes directly to the charity! Please click each of their names below to go to their entry.

Miss Kelsey
Miss DarienBrianna
Mr. AlecZander
Mr. Keyan

To see how each child is currently doing in the contest, please click here.

Click the graphic below to enlarge:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Yummy Pizza with Food Processor Crust

If you're anything like me, when you read the title of this, you thought that a Food Processor Crust sounds very odd.

Yes, it is a bit unusual, but I can honestly say that this is the BEST TASTING PIZZA CRUST ever and so simple to make! It's a great family project as you can make two larger pizzas or 4 individual sized and let the kids create their own pizza masterpieces.

Pizza Crust Instructions

One 1/4 ounce packet of yeast (abt 2 1/4 teaspoons if using jarred yeast)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 to 2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Combine 3/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F), the yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade; let stand five minutes.

Add 1 3/4 cups of the flour, the salt, and oil; process until a soft dough forms. Add as much of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, as necessary to make the dough manageable.

Shape the dough in a ball, place in an oiled bowl, turning so an oiled surface is up.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 35 minutes.

Use as directed in a recipe or refrigerate for use up to one day later. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before using.

Makes about 4 individual sized pizza crusts or 2 large pizzas.

For two larger pizzas, split the dough in half and gently spread the dough on a slightly greased cookie sheet. For 4 individual pizzas, divide dough into 4 and spread out two on a cookie sheet.

Top with tomato sauce, then sprinkle on garlic powder, basil, oregano and then top with your favorite toppings (mine are below) and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

My Favorite Pizza Toppings:

My favorite pizzas are veggie pizzas with little or no cheese and include all of the following of my favorite toppings:

Sliced Plum Tomatoes
Green Bell Peppers
Red Bell Peppers
Sweet Yellow Onions
Artichoke Hearts
Black Olives

Yum! I hope you enjoy this as much as our family does! Tell me what your favorite toppings are!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Operation Love Reunited Information

The word is getting out about Operation: Love Reunited and we've been receiving an increased number of calls from military families wanting to take part in an OpLove session. That's awesome news! It's such a wonderful organization and I know that I can speak for all OpLove photographer volunteers, that it is our honor to photograph these sessions for our military.


As of this post, there are currently six local photographers who are volunteers for OpLove. Most of us run full-time studios so we can only accept a limited number of OpLove sessions a month. As soon as you think you may want an OpLove session for pre-deployment or mid-deployment, please contact our studio or any of the others for the greater Jacksonville area and we will accommodate you as soon as we are able to schedule you in. If there is a homecoming coming up soon, please call our studio or visit the OpLove website to find the other photographers in our area as soon as as you have finalized dates. Unfortunately, we need to accommodate our paying clients and it isn't possible if we're on a holding pattern for the span of a week. Having been a Navy wife myself, I know dates can change, so when you believe you have actual dates, please contact us!

Number of Sessions Per Year

Since OpLove is still gaining recognition, this may be something that many military families are not aware of.

OpLove only permits two sessions a year for each family - (1) session pre-deployment OR (1) session while deployed of family AND (1) Homecoming session when soldier returns from deployment, upon photographers availability. Using the same photographer for both types of sessions is not required.

If you have called and scheduled a pre-deployment or mid-deployment session with one OpLove photographer OR you have scheduled a homecoming session when the ship or squadron arrives, please don't also call the other photographers unless the photographer you first contacted is unable to accommodate you. We have found that some families have contacted two or more of the area OpLove photographers and we have all put you into our schedule.

Each session that we are contacted for, goes into a database at the time session is scheduled. Taking the time to sort through the confusion when multiple photographers are called means fewer families that can be accommodated. If one photographer commits to photographing your family or homecoming, then they have committed to it. The other photographers are then available to photograph these special moments for the other families. With this being such a huge military city, and a limited number of OpLove photographers, this is of great importance! So, please help us help as many families as possible by only scheduling with one photographer.

If you or your family are in pre-deployment, mid-deployment or have a homecoming in the near future, please contact our studio at 904-403-9553 for more information or visit the OpLove website for other OpLove photographers in our area.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Casting Continues for Jacksonville AND America's Cutest Kid! :: Jacksonville Children's Photographer

We all know that each one of us has the cutest kid ever! Now's the time to show it! We're still casting for the title of Jacksonville's Cutest Kid and America's Cutest Kid and raising money for Charity!

Contest details are in the post below!

Don't wait much longer, time is running out! Schedule your child's 30-minute model session today with the greater Jacksonville area Child Photographer, Keely Deuschle.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jacksonville's Cutest Kid? America’s Cutest Kid? Your Child Could Be!

National Charity Model Search Jacksonville Florida

Do you think your child is the Cutest Kid in Jacksonville? Or even the Cutest Kid in America? He or she just may be! There's one way to find out!

Mikkean Photography is excited and proud to be an affiliated photographer for the National Charity Model Search to select the cutest child in Jacksonville who could possibly be named “America’s Cutest Kid” all while raising funds for charity.

We’re looking for cute children, boys and girls, between the ages 18 months to 14 years old who may just have what it takes to win!

The Jacksonville winner will be invited to model for the Jacksonville stop of the upcoming Tots2Teens tour presented by well-known child photographer, Sandy Puc', on March 5, 2009 and will be automatically in the running for the national grand prize.

If your child is selected as the national winner, you'll receive prizes including a $5,000 US Savings Bond and a Canon G10 digital camera!

Mikkean Photography studio prizes will be awarded for the studio's top winners, which we hope will be Jacksonville's winner and even the national winner! (Studio prizes to be announced at a later date).

Models Search Special:

There is a $25 contest entrance fee, which includes a 30 minute model session and one image submitted to the national gallery. Special print packages and products will also be available for purchase.

Jacksonville finalists will be determined by online votes on entries from all participating Jacksonville area professional photographers. Anyone may vote and you may vote as many times as you'd like. Each vote is $1, and all proceeds from votes benefit the non-profit organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (

The grand prize national winner will be determined from the 50 city finalists and will be selected by photography and modeling industry experts.

For more information about this model search and contest, and/or to enter your child(ren), please call our studio at (904) 403-9553 or email us at All Model Sessions must take place between January 1, 2009 and February 21, 2009 to be eligible for the contest.

Limited sessions are available and we're already scheduling appointments, so don't wait another minute! Call now for the best selection of session dates and times! For additional information about the contest, please visit

Happy New Year!

A new year has arrived and we're very excited about many things going on in the studio this year! We can't wait to share them with you!

We've been enjoying spending time together as a family with everyone out of school and Karl on vacation from work while the studio has been closed the last week and a half. While we didn't have any sessions scheduled, we've still been working on some awesome things for the studio, which of course, is always fun!

Our family ended the year with our annual New Year's Eve family tradition - fondue night with Chocolate fondue and strawberries, pound cake, pretzels and apples for dipping, and a scrumptious cheese fondue with French bread, vegetables and apples for dipping. We had some fireworks stashed away from the Fourth of July so we got those out and the kids had a lot of fun. They were all the sparkler type that stayed on the ground, but it didn't prevent us from enjoying them as all around the neighborhood, families were setting off the larger types!

Our little man wanted so badly to stay awake, but by 10:30, he was out. Nothing could wake him, so it was just Karl and I and our daughter to hug and kiss at midnight after which we set off a few more sparklers.

If anyone is in need of delicious fondue recipes, let me know and I'll share the ones that we made!

From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy, safe, and healthy 2009! Happy New Year!

So, what was your