Lessons from 2019

Made it to day 365 of 2019!
My birthday is October 30th so ever since I was little I was always looking forward to my 30th birthday. I wasn’t wishing I was 30, but always knew I would get there… so when I turned 30 I wasn’t shocked and like, “oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’m 30!” Like I was seeing from so many others.
Now, when I turned 31 I felt a little thrown off like, “Well, I was prepared for 30, but 31 came out of no where!” I know it sounds silly but I think that is how a lot of things in life are. You prepare for the wedding but what about the marriage? You prepare for birth but what about the 4th trimester? You prepare for having a plethora of learning tools and creating just the right environment for free play but what about the tantrums and meltdowns or the hangries!?! Everyone talks about the terrible twos but what about the stubborn threes?
I think we tend to get tunnel vision on the short term goals so when we hit them we’re kind of floundering on what happens next…
I hope you don’t misunderstand me. Short term goals are great! And when you hit them it’s invigorating and a time that should be celebrated! But I do think we need to see what our long term is. What is the ultimate goal? Because the ultimate goal is what directs our daily path.
My ultimate goal is to love my husband and show my children Jesus (to love like Him, serve like Him and take the time to spend time refreshing my soul like Him). To pray for my clients and help them to see how blessed they are (immediately and years from now) by using my talents that God has given me to share. To raise awareness of amazing causes and document those who might otherwise go unnoticed.

I see much, I feel deeply and I am fully aware of the limited time I have, so I want to make the most of it.


The lessons I learned walking through 2019?

I have to be truthful here… I was this close and I mean this ** close to just saying, “I’m done”. I was feeling pulled in too many directions. I was ready to close the doors on Alaina Nunez Photography once I was done with current obligations.

I was asking God to show me if this business should continue and if so what direction He wants it to go in.

I don’t want to give my leftovers… My children don’t deserve my leftovers, my clients don’t deserve my leftovers and my husband for sure doesn’t deserve my leftovers! I am not a perfectionist but I am definitely one who carries high expectations for myself.

This past year has been the slowest year I’ve had in a long time. Being an artist, I’m pretty accustom to the wave of clients that come throughout the year but after awhile it can be demotivating and super discouraging.

December came and I felt this renewed vision. I was asking God to show me if this business should continue and if so what direction He wants it to go in.

My kids and I have these great conversations one the couch at least once a week. I think I’m impacted by them more than they are but even if they just hold onto snippets of these moments I know the memories of these conversations will come to mind at the moments they will need them. We were talking recently about why it’s important to have respect for yourself. The main consensus was, “Because if you don’t, no one else will.” I said well… You can’t control what other people say and do but you can control what you say and do. So then I repeated my question, “Why is it important to have respect for yourself?” They couldn’t think of anything other than trying to reword their first answer. I told them, when God created you, He didn’t just speak and you were there like everything else He created. No, He took care to “weave” you together with your hair color, eye color, gender, skin color, character traits, strengths and weaknesses. You are created in the image of the Almighty. You are created to do mighty things even in your weaknesses. If you respect the Creator then you will have respect for the created and be in awe of it. You are created to do amazing and mighty things because the Almighty made you. If that doesn’t deserve respect, I don’t know what does.

So with that, I have an appreciation for the 2019 business blight. It was a good year of emotional and spiritual growth. Pouring into myself, my marriage, my family and the clients and students that I was pleased to be with.

My husband is my life partner and now will be my business partner. I’m pretty excited about that!

So 2020… I won’t be floundering when the clock strikes midnight or when I wake up tomorrow to celebrate “Nunez Day” with my family (I’ve told you about Nunez Day right?). I’m ready. I’m ready to see the sights and enjoy the company. And when I don’t know which turn to make… I know Who to ask for directions.



Alaina Nunez Photography
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Alaina Nunez is the professional photographer who specializes in documenting unforgettable moments in an organic and documentary way. Home is in sunny Southern California with her husband and 6 children. They love road trips so if you’re not in the area and looking to have Alaina document your family or intimate wedding Contact her about her travel schedule.



A Minimalist Christmas – Gift Ideas

(This post was originally published on Orange County Moms Blog)

Back in October I was in the hardware store and there were Christmas decorations that greeted us as we walked through the sliding doors. We as a family totally love Christmas and really the whole season, so it never bothers me when all the decor comes out, even if it’s before Halloween.


The sign on the bench said to take a selfie.

We live in a time where everything is so easily accessible. Literally at our finger tips! If I can order it online and not have to leave the comfort of my home? Ummm, who can say no to that? Not this mama!

I wanted to talk about Christmas now because November is “the deal month” where all the stores are thankful for you so here’s another “deal to show our appreciation…” I’m not saying this is a bad thing. For sure if it’s something you’ve had your eye on and just been waiting for the sale, it’s a good thing. I just wanted to bring up another way to approach the season of giving without loading your house with more stuff.

We have 8 people in our home… we’ve got some stuff… It’s really unavoidable to accumulate stuff. But it’s also mentally draining to be surrounded by stuff! So my kids and I (actually mostly my kids) came up with a list of non toy/stuff gift ideas. I basically asked them what things they would like to receive. They are 3, 6,9, 11 and 13. My 3 year old didn’t help with this list but you’ll see some suggestions for that age as well.

So hide those gift catalogs when they come in the mail and check out this minimalist list instead.

Gift Cards! Money is fun but gift cards make you go to that specific place which makes it feel like a special outing for your kids. So here are some places that my 6 year old said he would like gift cards from.

In N Out, Home Depot, Costco, Bass Pro Shop, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Savers.

Special Treats! We very rarely buy candy since one of mine is allergic to food dyes and dye free candy is expensive so my kids look forward to their stockings filled with special treats. These are things my 13 year old said.

Licorice, cookies, gummies, chocolate coins (from Trader Joe’s)

Tools! Not much needs to be explained here. All boys and girls need tools and they have kids kits at hardware stores.

Plants! Cleaning the air and adding beauty to the home. Good idea son!

Carving Kits! There’s stamp carving, soap carving and for those more advanced, wood carving.

Books! We’re a Charlotte Mason homeschooling family so good books are the best! Not more to say here.

Arts and Crafts Supplies! We’re talking journals, gel pens, paints, stamps, colored pencils, canvases, nice paper, face paints, glitter glue, paint brushes, etc. We bought our 3 year old a pack of colorful glitter glue and she was the happiest little person ever!

Army/Survival/Camping Gear! This was mostly from my boys who wear camouflage attire more often than not. We just took some family pictures and I had to prepare my 11 year old before hand that he would not be dressed in his army fatigues. My request was met with disappointment but he got over it and put a button up shirt on for his mama.

Army watch, straw filters, hand pump, tent, chairs, rope, grappling hook, flash light, first aid kit, canteen, walkie talkies, hydro packs.

Bible/Devotionals! There’s devotionals for all ages and my 9 year old just reminded me that he needs his own bible (his older brother and sister got one for their birthdays with their names on them).

Camera! My 13 year old said a film camera and I also thought about sun print paper.

Season Passes! Some places that came to mind are, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland, Aquarium, Zoo, Legoland.

Skill Lessons! Archery, instruments, sewing, painting/drawing, climbing, etc. Do your kids have an interest in something specific? A lot of times there’s deals for the first lesson for them to try it out.

Experiences! Ziplining, road trips, camping, family game night (new board games?), family story night (new books?), cruise.

Subscription Boxes! There’s so many great subscription boxes now that come with science experiment, history or art supplies. They’re basically like a unit study in a box and the kids get a new one every month. Fun!

The idea behind these non toy things is, they’re dual purpose, open ended, foster creativity and encourage time together. That was the hope in putting this list together.

I would love to hear how you have a minimalist Christmas!




Alaina Nunez is the professional photographer who specializes in documenting unforgettable moments in a lifestyle and documentary way. Home is in sunny Southern California with her husband and 6 children. They love to travel on road trips together so if you’re not in the area and looking to have Alaina document your newborn, family or intimate wedding Contact her to see if she’ll be passing through your area.




Family Photojournalist Association


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