Maggie's Story | Inland Empire, CA

This post is going to be a little different than the others. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love dogs. I have always grown up with dogs being part of the family. I have my own fur-baby, Lola, who I love like no other. This session touched my heart, and you're about to read why.

I recently photographed a dog (that would be Maggie) and her family. For many people, dogs are more than just a pet, and Maggie most certainly is. We took her to her favorite park, and just captured some precious moments of Maggie with her loving family. I honestly can't say anything better than the way Melissa, Maggie's mom, put it, so I'm turning over the reigns for her to share Maggie's story.
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Maggie's Story:

     Seven years ago, as much as I'd like to say I had things together in my life, the reality was I didn't. I was longing to love something unconditionally and be loved the same way. All my life I grew up with dogs in the house. I always loved my dogs, but they always tended to be more my "mom or dad's dog". One day after I was married I was on the internet and an ad popped up for the local animal shelter. I usually don't click on those things, but something in my heart told me to do so. I did and they were advertising the dog of the week. It was a standard sized black schnauzer about the age of 5. However, there was no way, no how this dog looked anything like a schnauzer. Her hair was going in every which way possible and I guess putting it lightly she looked like a Neanderthal (the name my dad gave her the first time he met her before my husband and I got her her first haircut)! HOWEVER, her eyes spoke to me. I knew I had to get this dog! It was exactly 5:15, I called the rescue and they stated they closed at 6:00, however this was her last day there before she was going to be transported to a kill shelter. I told my husband to get in the car and we drove as quick as we could down to the shelter. I'm still not sure if I even showed him the picture of her or even told him where we were going. She wasn't in a pen. She was behind the secretary's desk because they had just gotten her "fixed". I went around and laid on the floor with her, head to head, eyes to eyes and talked with her. She began to warm up to me and gave me kisses. I immediately said "we're taking her home", while my husband told me that there was a cute beagle puppy in the back and pointed out that the dog I wanted was probably the ugliest one in the entire shelter. I didn't care, I made the purchase and told my husband to put her in the car (thank God he went along with my craziness!!!). As soon as he was loading her into the car she bit him under his chin, (granted he picked her up by the tummy where she just had surgery), but he had a look in his eyes of wanting to take her back, while I had the look in my eyes of "Hell No!".

Come to find out Maggie (the name we later picked out for her) had a very rough time warming up to and trusting men. We all began to believe that she was once abused by a man. She was also VERY sensitive when it came to anyone touching the bottom of her feet or toenails. Perhaps they burned the bottom of her paws. With it all, she quickly became MY dog. Attached to my hip, we went everywhere around the house, I even convinced my husband to let her sleep "at the bottom of the bed" (about six months later they ended up spooning together every night and he loved every minute of it!!).

When I was at my worst with my mental illness she knew it. When I cried she was there to console me, let me lay on her or cuddle with her. When I was manic she would follow me from room to room until I was able to calm down. When I was anxious she would lay right next to me. When I couldn't sleep she was the one that was up all night with me. She just knew me and my needs more than anyone else did. One particular instance that I remember the most was one of the worst days of my life. I'm not sure if my husband was home or at work, but I was having a horrible day mentally and contemplating a few things about my life. I was in our master bedroom closet or more like a holding cell for clothes and shoes galore. Nothing was organized and you needed to walk on top of shoes just to get to the clothes. I was in there (on top of everything) just bawling. I had kept the sliding door open about 3 inches. Maggie was looking for me, but at that time I was so oblivious to anything outside of myself that I wasn't even looking for her. All of a sudden the door began to open slowly. She opened it just wide enough to fit all 40lbs of herself inside. She climbed the never ending mountain of shoes and laid directly in front of me. She then put her head on my lap. I then put my head on her head and just sat there crying for another 20 minutes or so, neither one of us moving. It was then that I discovered that not only did I rescue her, but she had also rescued me. I needed to live for her.

We've been through many bad times together; mental illness, miscarriages, etc. and she has always been there by my side supporting me and loving me through and through. She's also been there for the greatest moment of my life which was having my son. She was my baby girl and we weren't too sure how she'd react to Brayden. Throughout my pregnancy (all 40 weeks!) she'd often times put her head on my tummy and lay with me. I called that their bonding time. When we brought him home she bonded with him right away. She'd often times lay her head on his boppy during feeding times and would follow me wherever he and I went. Needless to say Brayden loves her so much. Which, in a way, is bitter sweet. I know that when the day comes for her to crossover the rainbow bridge, I will just be beside myself, but I know that this little boy will be too. He knows that there are two kids in this family; him and Maggie. He will even state that, "Brayden is Mama's baby boy and Maggie is Mama's baby girl"! It will be twice as hard seeing him go through the loss of her as well. Just thinking of losing her makes me cry. I pray that she goes on her own. We've seen some deteriorating signs in her and I CAN NOT imagine making that life choice for her, BUT, there is one thing I know for sure, AND that is, she will ALWAYS be my forever HERO.
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire CaliforniaPet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire CaliforniaPet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire CaliforniaPet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California
Pet Portrait Photographer Rancho Cucamonga Inland Empire California



Welcome Home, Marine! | Military Homecoming Photography | Twentynine Palms, California

What better day than Veterans Day to share my most recent Military Homecoming? (Although, any day is good...because there's not much that compares to seeing loved ones reunited!)
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California

Amanda reached out to me to find out if I was available to photograph the return of her husband, John, and what she said made it impossible for me to turn her down! She said she had been checking out a few photographers, and I was her first choice. Add into the equation Penelope (John and Amanda's dog, who was super excited for the return of her dad!), and I couldn't say no! I've photographed homecomings for service members being reunited with their wives, parents, children (even meeting their baby for the first time!), but this was the first with a dog. Anyone who knows me, knows I love dogs. So, naturally, I was excited to be a part of this!

It was a beautiful day out at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base, one of those you could just stay outside all afternoon. While we anxiously waited around, we chatted, and watched Penelope perform her tricks. Once the van that held the returning Marines pulled up, Penelope was let off her leash, and didn't miss a beat, rushing over to John. She was SO excited! After Penelope said her hellos, Amanda finally got to hug her husband after several long months. We were able to fit in a little mini portrait session for them, which of course made me happy! Thanks to Edi, my friend and fellow photographer, for tagging along for the long drive, and capturing some different angles!

Here's a look into this very special military homecoming!

Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms CaliforniaMilitary Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California
Military Homecoming Photography Twentynine Palms California

Parents Of Murdered Children National Conference 2014 | Rochester, Minnesota

Parents Of Murdered Children 2014 Conference Rochester Minnesota Photographer

The images from the 2014 Parents Of Murdered Children National Conference are no available to view. This National Non-Profit Organization provides "on-going emotional support, education, prevention, advocacy, and awareness" to survivors of homicide victims. After my brother, Ronald, was murdered on April 27th, 2002, my mother became involved in support groups, and I joined. Currently, I am the Secretary for the Inland Empire Chapter of POMC.

This is not only a great resource for those affected by the horrible crime of murder, but a group of people close to my heart. Each conference is like a family reunion, of a family no one would ever choose to be a part of, but that we are all thankful to have.

This year's conference was held in Rochester, MN at the Kahler Grand Hotel. It's my pleasure to be able to provide something I love doing as my way of giving back to the group.


           For more information on the Parents Of Murdered Children Organization, please visit: www.POMC.com

                        Here is the link to my local chapter's website: www.IECPOMC.com

If you haven't already, I would love for you to "Like" my Facebook page! Stay updated with all that's going on in my photography business, and keep up with specials and contests!

To view the photos I took at the 2014 National Parents Of Murdered Children Conference,
follow this link: 
Password: pomc2014

Instructions are below. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

Instructions: At the top of the photos, the days are separated into folders. You can view each day separately, by clicking on the date link. Click a photo to view it larger. You are able to download individual photos, or the entire set. At the top of the photos, you will see a button to download, next to the little heart. You will be asked to enter your email, and the PIN number. The PIN to download the set is 2880.You will then be given the option of which days to download, select all three to download the entire set of photos. If you want to download photos individually, click the photos you want, then click the download button at the top of the photo. 
Finally, click the little heart on the photos to tell me which ones are your favorite, and share with everyone! Click "Like" and "Share" to share on your Facebook, so everyone who attended (and those who missed this year's conference!) can view the photos. If you are going to post photos, and would like to give credit (which is an awesome thing to do!), please credit
Stephanie Ann Overstreet Photography | www.StephanieOverstreet.com

Girls Night Out at Alfred Angelo Bridal in Oceanside | Winner Announced

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of participating in an awesome event put on by Alfred Angelo Bridal in Oceanside. The Girls Night Out event included wonderful vendors, beautiful models, and champagne and chocolate for the guests!

I really enjoyed talking to all the brides, and soon-to-be-married couples! I'm hoping to work with many of them very soon!

Wedding Photographer Alfred Angelo Bridal Girls Night Out Oceanside California
Wedding Photographer Alfred Angelo Bridal Girls Night Out Oceanside California

Now, onto the exciting news! The winner for a free session has been chosen! I entered the names of everyone who submitted an entry into a random picker, to come up with the winner.

Please visit either my Facebook page or my Instagram to see if you have won!!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SAOPhoto
Instagram: @photographybysao (http://instagram.com/photographybysao)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to talk with me, and all those who took part in making the Girls Night Out event a success!! Stay tuned for a full blog post on the event, coming soon!