Robin Randolph Photography: Blog en-us ะฏR Photography (Robin Randolph Photography) Tue, 13 Feb 2024 20:37:00 GMT Tue, 13 Feb 2024 20:37:00 GMT Robin Randolph Photography: Blog 120 80 RR PHOTOGRAPHY: Surprise Proposal & Engagement Photo Shoot Tips Why I love capturing SURPRISE PROPOSALS...Plus, a few tips on how to get the BEST SHOTS!

As a photographer, there are several reasons why I absolutely love photographing surprise proposals:

1. Capturing Raw Emotion: Surprise proposals are filled with genuine, raw emotions ranging from shock and joy to tears and laughter. As a photographer, you have the opportunity to capture these authentic moments, allowing you to create powerful and emotionally resonant images.

2. Documenting a Milestone Moment: A surprise proposal marks a significant milestone in a couple's relationship. Being able to document such a momentous occasion and preserve it for eternity is incredibly rewarding. Your photos will become cherished memories that the couple can look back on for years to come.

3. Creating Lasting Memories: Your photos play a vital role in preserving the memories of the proposal for the couple. You have the privilege of capturing the magic and romance of the moment, creating images that evoke the same emotions felt during the proposal every time they're viewed.
4. Being Part of Something Special: Witnessing and photographing a surprise proposal is a unique and special experience. You become a part of the couple's love story, playing a role in creating memories that will last a lifetime. The trust placed in you to capture such an intimate moment is both humbling and gratifying.

5. Challenging and Exciting: Surprise proposals present unique challenges and opportunities for creativity. You must think on your feet, anticipate moments, and adapt to changing circumstances quickly. The thrill of capturing the perfect shot amidst the unpredictability of the moment is exhilarating and keeps you engaged as a photographer.

6. Sharing in the Joy: There's nothing quite like witnessing the sheer joy and happiness on a couple's faces when they become engaged. As a photographer, you get to share in this joyous moment, celebrating alongside the couple as they embark on the next chapter of their lives together.

7. Making a Difference: Your photos have the power to make a difference in people's lives. By capturing the love and commitment shared between two individuals during a surprise proposal, you contribute to spreading positivity and hope in the world through your art.

Overall, photographing surprise proposals allows you to connect with people on a deeply emotional level, create meaningful memories, and play a role in documenting love stories. It's a privilege and a joy to be able to capture such intimate moments and share in the happiness of others.

Capturing the perfect surprise proposal photos requires careful planning and execution...

Here are some tips to help ensure you get the best shots:

1. Choose the Right Location: Select a picturesque location that holds significance for both of you. Consider factors like lighting, scenery, and privacy.

2. Time of Day: Plan your proposal during the golden hour (just before sunset or after sunrise) for soft, flattering light.

3. Discuss with the Photographer: Communicate your vision and expectations with the photographer beforehand. Make sure they understand the style of photos you want and the sequence of events during the proposal.

4. Hidden Photographer: Arrange for the photographer to be discreetly positioned to capture the moment without being noticed by your partner. This may involve using long lenses or hiding in plain sight.

5. Test the Equipment: Ensure that the photographer's equipment is in good working condition, and they have backup gear if needed.

6. Capture the Build-Up: Ask the photographer to capture candid shots of you both leading up to the proposal. This helps to tell the story and capture the emotions of the moment.

7. Consider Hiring a Videographer: If budget allows, consider hiring a videographer to capture the proposal from multiple angles and to record the audio of your heartfelt words.

8. Natural Reactions: Encourage your partner to be themselves and react naturally during the proposal. Authentic emotions make for compelling photos.

9. Focus on the Ring: Make sure the photographer captures clear shots of the engagement ring during and after the proposal.

10. Plan for Post-Proposal Photos: After the proposal, plan for a mini photo session to capture the joy and excitement of the moment.

11. Be Mindful of Backgrounds: Pay attention to what's in the background of your photos to ensure it doesn't distract from the main focus.

12. Stay Calm and Relaxed: Try to stay calm and relaxed during the proposal. Your energy will influence the mood of the moment and the quality of the photos.

13. Review Sample Photos: Look at sample proposal photos from the photographer to ensure they align with your vision and style.

14. Enjoy the Moment: Remember to enjoy the moment and focus on your partner rather than worrying too much about the photos. The genuine emotions will shine through in the pictures.

15. Have a Backup Plan: Lastly, have a backup plan in case of unexpected circumstances, such as bad weather or unforeseen interruptions. Flexibility is key to ensuring a successful surprise proposal photo shoot.

From photography techniques to behind-the-scenes stories,

Robin shares insights and inspiration to help you get the most out of your photo experience.

(Robin Randolph Photography) california couple engagement engagement photographer engagement photoshoot engagement shoot february los angeles photographer los angeles wedding photographer love love story lovers month of love photography blog professional photographer professional photography professional photography california professional photography los angeles professional photography southern california proposal proposal photo shoot ring robin randolph robin randolph photography surprise proposal surprise proposal photo shoot surprise proposal shoot valentine valentine's day wedding wedding band wedding ring winter Tue, 13 Feb 2024 20:35:08 GMT
RR PHOTOGRAPHY: WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS - Tips for Photos in the Rain TIPS for PHOTOS in the RAIN...

February may be the coldest month of the year, but it is also a time of quiet beauty and introspection. Through the art of photography, we can capture the essence of winter – its tranquility, its warmth, and its unexpected moments of beauty.

Rain photography presents a unique opportunity to capture the atmosphere and mood of a rainy day, transforming what might seem dreary into something beautiful and evocative. 

Here are some tips for capturing stunning photography in the rain:

  1. Embrace the Raindrops: Raindrops can add an extra dimension to your photos. Get up close to capture the intricate patterns they create on surfaces like windows, leaves, or flowers. Experiment with different angles and focal lengths to emphasize the raindrops and their effects.

  2. Use Reflective Surfaces: Look for surfaces that reflect light, such as puddles or wet pavement. These surfaces can create interesting reflections that add depth and visual interest to your photos. Get low to the ground for dynamic compositions that include both the reflection and the surrounding scene.

  3. Capture Motion: Rain is inherently dynamic, so don't be afraid to capture the movement it creates. Experiment with slower shutter speeds to capture the streaks of rain as they fall through the air. This technique can add a sense of energy and movement to your photos.

  4. Play with Light: Rainy days often come with unique lighting conditions, such as diffused light or dramatic cloud cover. Use these lighting conditions to your advantage to create mood and atmosphere in your photos. Look for moments when sunlight breaks through the clouds or streetlights illuminate the rain-soaked streets.

  5. Experiment with Silhouettes: Silhouettes can be particularly striking against a rainy backdrop. Look for opportunities to capture people or objects as dark shapes against the bright, rainy sky. Experiment with different compositions and poses to create compelling silhouettes.

  6. Protect Your Gear: Rain can be harsh on camera equipment, so make sure to protect your gear with waterproof covers or umbrellas. Consider using a weather-sealed camera and lens if you plan on shooting in heavy rain. Additionally, keep a microfiber cloth handy to wipe away any water droplets that may land on your lens.

  7. Look for Emotion: Rainy weather often evokes strong emotions, such as introspection, melancholy, or romance. Keep an eye out for moments that capture these emotions in your subjects or surroundings. Whether it's a couple sharing an umbrella or a solitary figure walking in the rain, these moments can add depth and storytelling to your photos.

By embracing the rain and experimenting with different techniques, you can capture stunning and atmospheric images that showcase the beauty of rainy days.

From photography techniques to behind-the-scenes stories,

Robin shares insights and inspiration to help you get the most out of your photo experience.


(Robin Randolph Photography) california couple engagement engagement photographer engagement photoshoot engagement shoot february los angeles photographer los angeles wedding photographer love photography blog professional photographer professional photography professional photography california professional photography los angeles professional photography southern california proposal rain rain photo rain photograph rain photography robin randolph robin randolph photography weather wedding winter Wed, 07 Feb 2024 01:31:31 GMT
Covid in California: The Bari-Amazing Sax Master...Mr. Kyle Stolz Music is one of those things that truly makes the world go round ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŒŽ๐ŸŽท๐ŸŽต๐Ÿ’™โœจ

One of the few benefits of COVID-19 is/was that it gave us time. Time to reflect. Time to dream. Time to pick up a hobby. Time to revisit a hobby.

At 11 years old, I joined my school’s band in September of 2000 (yes, the year we feared the ‘millennium’). I wanted to be a Woodwind player and chose the clarinet as my first instrument. Just a year later, I added the alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, and flute to my repertoire so that I could play in jazz band and the pit orchestra for all my high school's plays and musicals. I was a lead player in both the Wind and Jazz Ensembles throughout high school and even recorded a CD during my junior year to send out to colleges (If you want a copy, I still have some in stock!).

It was a no-brainer to audition for the college Marching and Varsity Bands once I found out I was accepted to UCLA in the spring of 2007...So, I did just that.

Alto Sax for the BruWIN!

I didn't bring my instruments with me when I moved to the East Coast in January 2011 to start working at ESPN. So, essentially, I took a few years "off".

I dabbled with my instruments when I moved back to Los Angeles in 2014, but it was never anything as serious as playing in an organized band.

I also didn't bring them to Japan when I was splitting my time there in 2018-2020, because, well...Japan is not a "LOUD" culture. I would have gotten kicked out of our apartment complex (and probably the country) for playing a B flat major scale on my saxophone...

Fast forward to 2020...the beginning of this global pandemic. What to do with spare time? For me, it was a lot of things...exercise / working out, planning our next move back to the states, and picking back up a hobby and passion I love so dearly...MUSIC.

After a few months of rusty saxophone practicing, I realized that I needed a repair. Not many places were open or reliable, but I eventually found Sam Ash music store. After calling to inquire about repairs and how that would work during a pandemic, I was referred to their "Saxophone Specialist," Kyle Stolz.

I drove from Camarillo to Hollywood several times over the course of early 2021 to make sure that my alto and soprano saxophones were getting the best tune-ups. Kyle, a professional baritone saxophone player, made the experience both fun and memorable. The best part of this whole experience, is that I found a new instrument that stole my heart (and my wallet).

In June of 2021, I spontaneously bought the dream soprano sax I've always wanted!

NOTE: I ALWAYS wanted a curved soprano (umm, hello...look how cute they are!).

After this experience, or should I say, these experiences...I asked Kyle if he'd be willing to tell me how COVID-19 affected him.

See below for my Covid in California interview with him, the Bari-Amazing Sax Master:

RR: How has COVID-19 impacted you personally? 

KS: "Nothing happened to me that would not have happened to me pre-pandemic. If anything, I trust news networks less (not that I trusted them much to begin with), I struggled financially a little more, I sat in way less traffic, and watched a lot more movies."

"I ended one of the worst relationships I’ve ever been in because of the pandemic and began the most amazing relationship with the woman of my dreams because of the pandemic."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get COVID-19?

KS: "Yes I had a few close friends and coworkers that got it. Thankfully nobody I am close to died from it."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

KS: "My place of work, Hollywood Sam Ash Music,  closed for about 3 months. Luckily I was able to pick up side work renovating apartments to keep me occupied. AND I was still able to fix instruments from home during the closure for those customers that had my cell number."

"After we (Sam Ash Music) re-opened, my repair business was VERY slow. The store had downsized the staff significantly and required my help on the sales floor often. BUT, when you work on the sales floor at Sam Ash, you’re able to introduce yourself as the Repair technician and meet A LOT of new customers!"

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

KS: "I don’t know anybody that DOESN’T have a story behind their mask. But my stories are the same I tell wearing a mask or not. Come and hang with me next time you have an instrument to fix, I have plenty to share."

RR: What do you miss most about life before COVID-19?


"Going from a full time job and 2-6 gigs in the evenings to unemployed...I didn’t know what to do with myself!"

RR: What has COVID-19 made you grateful for?

KS: "Covid made me grateful for allowing me to spend more time with my family and making me realize that my close circle of friends are damn near like my family. And the awesome people I keep in my life...I keep them there for a great reason."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

KS: "Aside from coming up with amazing covid-friendly date ideas, challenges to me are part of everyday life. This pandemic hasn’t been abnormally challenging but merely presented me with different challenges."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?


Thank you, Kyle, for sharing your story with me and for selling me the cutest, curved, Cannonball soprano sax I could have ever imagined!

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community! The whole point of this project is to connect humans during a time of so much uncertainty.

Much love, health, and happiness,



(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 alto saxophone band baritone saxophone california california photographer californians cannonball clarinet coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 ensemble face mask family feature global pandemic go bruins goldendoodle health high school interview jazz ensemble los angeles los angeles photographer marching band mask middle school music music store musical musician new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography sam ash sax saxophone socal social distancing soprano saxophone southern california stay home stay safe tova the doodette ucla ucla marching band ucla varsity band virus wear a mask wind ensemble woodwind woodwinds yamaha Fri, 28 Jan 2022 22:33:21 GMT
Covid in California: Thirsty Thursday with the Bearded Mead Expert, Aric Deardorff Who is THIRSTY this THURSDAY?!

The correct answer is…”ME(ad)!”

“Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops.The alcoholic content ranges from about 3.5% ABV to more than 18%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage's fermentable sugar is derived from honey. It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.”

Kayla, my lovely wife, introduced me to it when she was living in San Diego in 2017. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some quality mead, consider yourself forever changed. It’s often hard to find and tastes so different from any other type of alcoholic beverage (in the best way possible).

“Mead was produced in ancient times throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, and has played an important role in the mythology of some peoples. In Norse mythology, for example, the Mead of Poetry was crafted from the blood of the wise-being Kvasir and turned the drinker into a poet or scholar.”

“The term honey wine is sometimes used as a synonym for mead, although wine is typically defined to be the product of fermented berries or certain other fruits, and some cultures have honey wines that are distinct from mead. The honey wine of Hungary, for example, is the fermentation of honey-sweetened pomace of grapes or other fruits.”

Kayla, Tova, and I went to San Diego a few months ago on a work trip.

We made sure to pit stop at one of the best Meaderies in Southern California on our way back up the coast.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Twisted Horn Mead and Cider lives up to all the hype and ratings you see online.

It’s sort of a hidden gem, located in Vista, California, where Kayla was living when we first met in 2017.

Yes, you can actually drink out of those horns like a true Viking!

If you’re ever in the area or on a road trip, be sure to head in and ask for Aric Deardorff!

Yes, that’s his real name and yes, that’s his real beard!

He’s essentially a wizard truly a master of the craft, always focusing on precision and authenticity.

See below for my interview with him:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

AD: “Working at a brewery, work hours immediately became limited. The last year has been a slowly shifting grind to figure out how to stay in service while still protecting staff and customers, while also splitting what few work hours were available between all the employees."

"With so little work It's been a struggle to stay occupied, finding hobbies, exercising, eating right, all the little minutiae of living while the world around you goes crazy and people are dying by the led to a long year of introspection and attempted self realization. Biggest victory is that I'm still here, and so are all the people I care about.”

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19? 

AD: “None of my immediate family or friends got it. I know of some people in the industry who caught it when restaurants reopened early, and friends of friends who died in hospital. What really got to me was when the New York Times published a single sentence Obituary for Covid Deaths. They just didn't have room for anything more than a single line, how do you sum up a life in just a sentence? I glanced through the article and one simply said, 'We called him the Grand Poo Bah.' It's a reference to a live stream Dungeons and Dragons show, Critical Role, and I remember breaking down and crying. Here was someone my age, someone I'd never known, but someone that I shared a passion with, and they'd never get to see another episode or play another game."

"Life cut short by a disease that wasn't taken seriously and was actively underplayed by the people in power, all while so many people are trying to do the right thing while medical professionals work themselves to death. It's been a rough year to be empathetic, it doesn't take much to see the fear, the loss, the frustration writ around so many peoples eyes, yet so many people just didn't, and still don't give a shit.”

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

AD: “With reduced hours at work I had to find ways to keep "busy" at home. I'm lucky I'm a natural introvert, so I fell back on reading, painting, I played around with cooking and came up with a bunch of cocktails back when #quarantini was trending. I was on unemployment, so I didn't have to worry about making rent or getting food, but it was still worrisome."

"That worry led me to try my hand at running Dungeons and Dragons games online, apparently there was a surge in demand since people were stuck at home all day with nothing to do. Why not try out a 3-5 hour role playing game? Found out I was pretty good at it, and even as things have started to creep back to normal I've kept a couple paid games running, who knows, maybe it'll pay all my bills someday.”

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

AD: “When it became apparent that masks would be required for everyday life I decided I'd approach them with the same philosophy as my T-shirts."

"Let's display something that I like that can maybe get a chuckle or laugh out of someone. The one I'm wearing is one of my favourites, but I've got a half dozen that are an even split between star wars jokes, history references, anything that might put a smile one someone's face under their mask. My favorite depicts children dancing around a plague doctor from a wood block print dating back to the 1600's, with the caption "Lets party like it's 1346". Black humour about the black death, cynicism and history in a combo package.”

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

AD: “Being able to have friends over. Like I said, I'm a natural introvert, so I didn't miss clubs or cocktail lounges...maybe the speakeasies and breweries."

"But being able to have friends over for game nights, or a movie marathon, to be able to bask in the company of people you care about reveling in each other's presence. I also miss the Gym and my Dojo. I'd started Krav Maga and going to the gym to increase my strength and endurance. It took the better part of a year but I'd dropped weight and was feeling great about my progress in and outside the sparring ring. Then Covid put a quick end to that, and weights were one of the first things to sell out at sporting good stores. Been a hard year to stay motivated to keep up with home exercise, and I just hope I haven't undermined a year's worth of effort with a year of lethargy.”

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

AD: “My friends. I've been lucky that my roommates are also two of my oldest friends, and when lockdown went into effect we welcomed in two of our other friends who didn't want to return to their families and risk exposing them to Covid. So we had five bodies crammed into our three bedroom townhouse. We made it work though, and between game nights, movie nights, and swapping family recipes, it felt like a home. We all kept each other sane, in the most human sense of the word.”

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

AD: “Struggling to come to grips with how little I've been able to effect wider change. All I can really do is wear my mask, keep away from crowds, get vaccinated, and go with the flow. I've donated to charitable causes, especially with all the human rights protests that took place over the last year, but I'm ashamed I never worked up the courage to go in person. Every time I see someone who just doesn't care, or who subtly or openly peddles conspiracy theories, it feels like a slap in the face to all the people who've been risking their lives on the front lines working to end covid or those who've been directly affected by it. But you can't teach empathy, and you can't force guilt on people, they'll either come to grips with it when it affects them directly, or walk face first into someone's grief and loss.”

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to normal”?

AD: “Honestly…I don't know. A part of me is looking forward to having a full bar again, being able to go out for a beer after work, chatting up strangers over a pint. Another part of me feels like we shouldn't push so quickly towards normalcy. So much has changed in the past year, I'd rather people come to grips with that and acknowledge their needs to be some fundamental changes. Both in how we perceive ourselves as individuals and how we comport ourselves as citizens of our country and people of the world. Probably just a fool's hope, but the world has pivoted on less before.”

Thank you, Aric, for the delicious mead, as well as for the honest and intimate feedback on how Covid-19 has affected you.

We can’t wait to come back and cheers to you when this is all over!

Maybe by then, you'll have some dog mead for Tova!

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community! The whole point of this project is to connect humans during a time of so much uncertainty.

Much love, health, and happiness,


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 alcohol bartender beard beer brewery california california photographer californians cheers cider coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 drink drinks face mask family feature global pandemic goldendoodle health interview mask mead meadery mixologist new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe thirsty thursday tova the doodette virus wear a mask Fri, 10 Sep 2021 00:05:33 GMT
Covid in California: WCW's Jaymie January brings (Olivia) Joy to This World During a Global Pandemic We may as well title it, WCW - "Woman Crush Wednesday", because this lady is an inspiration, admired by all of those lucky to know her.

Meet Jaymie January (yes, that is her real name)…today’s Covid in California feature. 

And this is Olivia Joy...born August 8th, 2020, just a few months into quarantine.

See below for my interview with this incredible mom, who altered many of her pregnancy plans during this global pandemic:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

JJ: “When the pandemic started in March of 2020, I was going into my 5th month of pregnancy. I was told this time in my life was supposed to be blissful, where family and friends could come together to celebrate new life and a new addition to the family. I tried to be optimistic and was hoping the pandemic was going to surpass in a month or so, but as time went on my outlook turned into worry and anxiety.”

“The worry was for my unborn child…how will this affect her? If I get sick, will I go into preterm labor? If I test positive for the virus during labor, will they separate me from my child until I get better or, will I even survive?....the list went on and on…I constantly thought of questions to ask myself everyday.”

“Unfortunately, things started to change for me immediately. Doctors appointments for checkups and ultrasounds were limited to patients only. Meaning, I could no longer go with my spouse. This continued throughout the rest of my whole pregnancy. My family and friends stayed away from me in fear that they could be carriers of coronavirus and pass it to me. I stayed home 24-7 and rarely ever went outside, unless I had an appointment to go to. "

“Working from home became limited due to the nature of my business (Cannabis Law). I felt like I was in this pregnancy journey all alone. Needless to say, life became pretty lonely.”

“After a few months passed, I was going into my 8th month of pregnancy. The last time I had seen my parents I was barely 4 months pregnant. When I saw them next I had a belly! They decided to take a drive to see me and stayed in the driveway to wave and have a brief conversation. I'd never been so happy to see my family. I remember all of us crying, wishing we could hug each other, but with all the uncertainty of the virus it just wasn't possible.”

“Before we knew it, I was going into my 9th month of pregnancy. My nesting stage soon arrived and I was very anxious and excited to meet our little girl!”

For those of you wondering what the nesting stage of pregnancy is…it’s “The overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.” It’s the strong urge to clean and organize, which essentially occurs weeks before labor is about to begin.

“Laboring in the hospital during a pandemic was an experience like no other. I wasn't able to have family in the delivery room (only my spouse), and no family members were allowed in the waiting room for the arrival of our baby girl. We weren't allowed to leave the delivery room during our ENTIRE STAY.”

Talk about feeling alone and secluded…

“The hospital had a separate entrance for us. Meanwhile, Covid screening tests were done while in labor, and my doula, who coached me through my pregnancy, was not allowed to be by my side during this very crucial moment of our lives.”

For those of you not familiar with a doula, “the doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. Their purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience.”

Despite all of these changes and letdowns, Jaymie remained positive during her final moments of pregnancy. “This was not what I envisioned for my birth plan, but despite all of this I was still so happy and excited! It didn't bother me that we had to take all the precautions because I knew I was going to meet the best thing that ever happened to me!”

“In all, this experience humbled me, made me stronger, and showed me that I can get through anything with the right attitude and strong will. I knew I had to stay mentally and physically strong for my child, and in return we were blessed with a healthy and beautiful, bright smiled little girl.”

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

JJ: “Yes unfortunately my grandmother got Covid-19. She passed away on Christmas Morning, which was devastating. I also had a few friends and a friend’s father pass away from the virus. “

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

JJ: “I work in cannabis & ABC law. We help clients open retail, manufacturing and distribution businesses for cannabis and alcohol.  Business slowed because it a lot of our projects needed to go through the court systems for new business applications and building permits etc…"

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

JJ: “Nothing out of the ordinary, Just a career driven girl, with all the blessings I could ask for and a beautiful new family.”

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

JJ: “I miss concerts! I missed traveling. I missed spending time with family and friends the most.”

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?


RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

JJ: “Going through a life changing moment and not being able to share with family and friends.”

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

JJ: “Giving someone a hug without living in fear of giving the virus to someone I love. 
Going to dinner and sitting in a restaurant. Im tired of cooking!!!”

Moral of the story: Have a good attitude. Adapt to changes. Be a good role model for your children.

Jaymie — thank you for being an inspiration to your cute, baby girl, as well as all of those lucky to receive your positive energy.

And Happy (belated) 1st Birthday, Olivia! You bring so much joy to this world! Pun intended.

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 baby baby girl california california photographer californians cannabis coronavirus covid covid 19 baby covid baby covid in california first time mom first time mother first time parent jaymie january joy mother motherhood olivia joy pregnancy pregnant pregnant during covid soon to be mother wcw woman crush wednesday women crush wednesday Thu, 26 Aug 2021 01:33:44 GMT
Covid in California: Los Angeles Actor, Model and Yoga Instructor Turns Van Life Photog Explorer

If you search #VanLife on Instagram right now, you'll find over 10.5 million images of people sprawled out in all sorts of vans, all around the world, parked next to picturesque ocean views and trees in the wilderness.

Or, if you're THIS guy...parked next to a dog beach in San Diego, California!

According to MSN, “The hashtag dates back to 2011 when photographer Foster Huntington used it for the first time."

"A decade later, the hashtag has grown to represent an entire lifestyle — a group of people who've given up traditional living to live in vehicles that have been turned into tiny houses."

“Van lifers opt for this lifestyle for the simplicity, minimalism and freedom it affords."

"Some simply travel; some work remotely from their vans as they roam; some take temporary gigs in the towns they visit along the way."

"Normally, they park their homes in fee-charging public or private campgrounds or in free campsites on public lands. If they need to pop into a city, they’ll post up on a street in front of a friend’s house or in the parking lot of a rec center, where they can also shower.”

“During the pandemic, camping, in general, has been popular. Sales of RVs have soared and could hit an all-time high this year, as many Americans hit the road for vacations instead of getting on a plane.”

Covid—19 sparked a whole new trend of #VanLife because it’s socially distanced, can be done on a budget, and encourages outdoor activities, which also provides much safety during this catastrophic global pandemic. Sounds pretty clutch (pun, intended).

But what if you can’t afford a new van? Some can cost more than $50,000. They key is to get it used!

Van lifers prefer smaller, cheaper vehicles because they can be taken everywhere and can serve as a daily vehicle if necessary. RVs can cost anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most times, these people park their van in a beautiful location for a few minutes to get the photo, post it on social media, and then drive to a parking lot or a campground to spend their night.

Meet Garrison Lambert.

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Garrison moved to California and started modeling with Abercrombie & Fitch while shooting several international campaigns for Hollister.

I mean, just look at this stud!

From modeling to acting, the City of Angels became this young star's home for quite some time. In fact, I first met Garrison when he and his agent hired me to take these most recent set of headshots back in 2018. I say back in 2018 like it was ages ago, but the reality is, it was just three years ago!

If "Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius" could come to life, Garrison would be him. Look at his hair!

Garrison was "living the dream" in Los Angeles, auditioning for acting and modeling gigs, while also waiting tables at high-end restaurants in Downtown LA, as well as teaching yoga classes in Echo Park. But was this really his dream?

Fast forward three years to 2021...

Garrison quit his jobs, left LA LA land, grew out his hair, got a divorce, sold his Subaru for an old van, invested in some camera gear, and hit the road for a life less certain, but a life more his true style.

I caught up and interviewed Garrison when I was in San Diego a couple of months ago, whereby he suggested to meet at an awesome off-leash dog park.

We both had our dogs with us, so this was a stellar idea to ensure that all of us were happy!

Little did I know, Garrison is ALSO a dog whisperer!

Garrison was caffeinated and full of smiles that day.

His positive energy and zest for life is truly contagious.

See below for my full interview with him:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally? 

“Well, at first it was all of the obvious ways. Shut downs, lock downs, quarantines, whatever you want to call them. As a yoga teacher and a restaurant server in Los Angeles all of my work disappeared. Naturally a lot of community came along with those places too and those communities either shifted on line or dissipated quite a bit.”

“Now that I live in a van full time, it’s little things that most people wouldn’t necessarily think of. There were closures to navigate with forest service land, national parks, finding places to camp, etc. Lots of public restrooms are still closed for some silly reason. I still can’t grind the coffee beans I buy at the grocery store. It’s trickier to find a gym with open showers, although as California opens up, showers open up too.”

“Personally, I haven’t ever been particularly worried about Covid, and I’m grateful that I haven’t had to deal with some of the intense anxiety and fear that has come along with this whole experience. I’m not in a high-risk demographic and I spend the majority of my time outside, naturally distanced, so I haven’t had to worry about potentially passing anything on to anyone either.”

“I miss community, I miss hugs and handshakes without the awkward pause before, I miss smiling at people as I walk past and getting a smile back instead of a dirty look because I’m typically not wearing a mask outside. I’m quite ready for the whole damn thing to be over.”

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

“I haven’t that I know of. It’s very rare I get sick. My whole family did around Thanksgiving as did their close circle of friends. So they had Covid Thanksgiving and no one could taste or smell very well.”'

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

“Good God everything. The story is far too long for this feature. But, very long story short, I lost all of my work, I got divorced, and I decided to move into my Subaru and start living on the road full time. I had been ready to leave LA for quite some time but was teaching at a wonderful yoga studio in Echo Park, Samarasa Center. We had just celebrated our 2nd birthday right before Covid hit. That studio was one of the main reasons I was still in LA. We were building an incredibly special community, and I wanted to see it through. Sometime in June, within the same week, I found out Samarasa was closing permanently, and my ex and I decided to end things. It didn’t make any sense to try and move to another city and find an apartment given the desolate job market.”

"I’ve wanted to live “van life” for years, so I followed my heart. I spent July-December living and traveling out of my Subaru Forester, and in January I bought my van, Blueddha (like Buddha, but blue)."

Garrison found Blueddha on Facebook Marketplace. Although it had 180,000 miles on it, Garrison’s negotiating tactics got the owner down from his $7,000 asking price to $4,100. Talk about a STEAL!

Garrison was up in Washington for the holidays and left the Subaru in San Diego. As fate would have it, the van happened to also be in San Diego, so he bought it the day he got back in town. Nice New Year’s gift!

The Subaru also went to a good home…Garrison’s partner’s brother bought it!

Garrison also invested in some used camera gear and began expanding his passion for photography!

"My daily routine is unbelievably different. I went from teaching 18-20 public yoga classes, 7 days a week, and serving tables 3 days a week just to pay the rent, to being outside 95% of the time with few bills, few possessions, and way more time to do the things that make me happy. Like surfing, taking photos, hiking, flying my kite…”

Speaking of few possessions, this is one that I thought was worth documenting.


“It’s my altar! The figure is Shiva, the Destroyer, in Hindu tradition. But without destruction there is no creation, rebirth, or transformation. Super symbolic of the last year both personally and on the bigger scale.”

"It was gifted to me by my good friend Houssain maybe 2 years ago...But it was one of the few possessions from my old home that came with me."

The sentimental key chain from his mom is something I found extremely meaningful.

Garrison's van also has a man-made bookshelf with some solid reads.

And we can't forget his wardrobe drawer, located conveniently underneath his bed! The actor in him still likes an outfit change here and there!

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

“Actually the masks I’ve managed to not lose were given to me by my dear friend Charles who runs a very successful jewelry business in LA called 8 Other Reasons. I love that they’re adjustable. It took so many terrible masks to finally find a few that are semi tolerable. But I only wear these suckers when I have to.”

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

“More than anything, live music and festivals. I miss getting freaky with my freaky people in a field. I miss dancing. I miss seeing my favorite bands." 

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?


“Fresh air and community! I feel like my way of existing this last year has provided me with a lot more of those things than most. I’ve driven all across the country and seen friends from LA in all sorts of different places, whether they moved home or were traveling as well."

"The van life community is also the most warm and welcoming group of people out there. Especially since we all live outside, in general there isn’t much worry about getting each other sick. So ironically, in a year when most people were isolated, my circle expanded.”

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

“Honestly one of the biggest challenges has simply been to witness the state of our society, especially in the US. It’s depressing and discouraging to see how intensely our consumerist and capitalist mindset has steered us wrong. It seems as though we live in a way that seeks to eliminate uncertainty, and when uncertainty inevitably appears, fear, anxiety, division, and hate started to flourish rather than love, compassion, understanding."

"We were gifted this opportunity to do some serious internal work and make a shift on a universal level, and it still seems like we are still generally unwilling.”

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

“Well I’m tired of these damn masks for one. Perhaps more than anything I’d like to be done treating each other as though we’re all somehow contagious or dangerous."

"Personally though, I don’t see my life returning to “normal” any time soon. I’ve done normal, it didn’t make me happy. I’ll be out here in my van continuing to nurture and create my own reality with more happiness and way less stress.”

Thank you, Garrison, for sharing your Covid in California story with me! Keep being YOU and living your best life!

To keep up with Garrison's adventures, check out his Instagram!


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 actor california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 dog beach face mask family feature garrison lambert global pandemic health interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography san diego socal social distancing southern california stay safe van van life virus wear a mask world traveler yoga yogi Sun, 25 Jul 2021 22:21:15 GMT
Covid in California: Nurses with PRIDE fell in love during a Pandemic With Pride Month coming to an end, I had to make sure I featured someone in the LGBTQ+ Community on Covid in California.

In fact, this feature highlights not one, but TWO female nurses, who started dating during the pandemic, while working on the frontlines.

Meet Micaela Pericone-Kapp (left) and Lindsay Singer (right).

Two nurses, working on the frontlines, who fell in love during a global pandemic.

Let’s back up for a second. Lindsay and Micaela did not meet during Covid-19. They actually met a year prior, in April of 2019, through a mutual friend. Although they both were not looking to date at that time, the stars aligned as everything was shutting down in April of 2020. Sometimes, things happen when you least expect it.

RR: How has dating been during Covid-19?

LS: “Dating during Covid-19 has been awesome because we really got to know each other fast and spend a lot of time together. We are still adjusting to the relationship post pandemic because that’s all we have known…”

MPK: “It was a truly special time for our relationship to grow and for both of us to grow personally, as well.”

The two nurses were actually working at different hospitals when Covid-19 surfaced, but in October 2020, Micaela got a job at Lindsay's hospital. How convenient!

When I heard this, I obviously had to ask the following question:

RR: What’s the best / worst part about working with your girlfriend?

LS: “The best part about working with my girlfriend is that I get to see her beautiful face and laugh with her. The worst part is when we see each other stressed and overwhelmed.”

Sidebar: They filled out these questions separately and at different times, but look how similar their responses are!

MPK: “The best part about working with my girlfriend is that I get to see the sweetest face more often, even if it’s just in passing between shifts! The worst part is seeing her stressed out and wishing I could help more.”

It is quite evident that the two are head over scrubs in love with each other (bad joke, sorry). I got to see this first hand during my photo shoot with them. But then I wondered...what would it be like to work with your significant other?!

See below for my interview with Lindsay and Micaela:

RR: Do you keep this hidden from your coworkers or are you open about it?

LS: “Everyone at works know we are together.”

MPK: “We’re both pretty open about our relationship.”

RR: Did you celebrate Pride Month? If so, how?

LS: “We celebrated just us two being together because everything was closed for Covid, and there weren’t any parades. We just hung out by the pool and relaxed.”

MPK: “I was so honored I to spend Lindsay’s first pride month with her, even if it was just us!”

Now, let’s shift gears to what it has been like to work as a nurse in a hospital during Covid in California…

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

LS: “I have never seen so much struggle and death in my life. It made me grateful to have good health and no major comorbidities that put me at an increased risk for the virus. I was grateful I had the health, strength, and energy to be able to care for these patients. Before Covid, I thought I was tired on my days off and I was only working 3 shifts a week (normal workload for a nurse).  I found myself working up to 5 12-hour shifts for weeks on end. I surprised myself many times when my body fought like hell to be there for my patients and my unit when they needed it most. My life changed drastically during this pandemic. I had a breakup in the beginning and started a new relationship. I’m really close with my family and I wasn’t able to see my parents at a close distance. It became a normal thing to wave and say hi to my parents from the doorway. I became so grateful that every morning I could wake up and be able to breathe and go back to work and take care of these patients.”

MPK: “It’s impacted every aspect of myself, but my mental health and work life the most. I will never be able to forget the impacts of Covid-19.”

RR: Did you or anyone you know get it?

LS: “We had a breakout of Covid-19 amongst my colleagues in my unit at the hospital. It was definitely tough when we were already short staffed and we had one of our own struggling at home. We had a few of the staff hospitalized for treatment, but thankfully, they all have recovered. My twin sister ended up catching Covid…the hardest part was seeing her home sick and not being able to take care of her.”

MPK: “To my knowledge, I have not had Covid. My sister and Lindsay’s sister had it though.”

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

LS: “It was weird when Covid-19 hit because I was used to doing a lot of things on my days off. When I did get a day off, I usually spent the time resting, catching up on sleep, and washing my scrubs, so that I was mentally and physically ready for my next shift at the hospital. I always wanted to try and do more on my days off, but I continued to remind myself that if I didn’t get some rest, I wouldn’t be able to do my best for my patients and coworkers.”

MPK: “The energy of our hospital grew to be chaotic and at times, almost suffocating, due to  how much physical work there was for us nurses. The nurse to patient ratio was so off and. the demand for a healthcare professional was at an all time high. In all honesty, my co-workers and I are still traumatized by everything we’ve seen. We really maxed out our physical and mental limits to care for these incredibly sick patients. Personally, I’ll never forget the first full day I had off after working a month straight at the hospital. I literally couldn’t get out of bed and cried for the entire day. It was like my whole body actually had a chance to stop and process everything I had been putting myself through. The sadness and weight of my job completely affected my personal life because it was so emotionally and physically taxing.”

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

LS: “My mask at work has become a life-saving symbol. We went from changing it every time we went in and out of a room to using the same one for weeks on end because of the shortage. We put our trust in this object to protect us. It is especially scary when we are in a code blue and it’s hot and sweaty and you’re worried about air escaping into your mask. My personal mask is such a relief. It’s so much lighter than the typical masks we wear at work. I also love my personal mask because Michaela gave it to me."

MPK: “Behind the mask is just me. Someone who loves life and deeply misses being with others without any restrictions.”

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

LS: “I think the thing I miss the most prior to covid was traveling. I loved traveling to try new foods in different countries and see how different places live day to day. As things start opening up again I hope to try new places locally and travel within the US more.”

MPK: “I miss being able to take in a full breath metaphorically and literally when outside my home.”

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

LS: “Covid-19 has made me grateful for my health, my girlfriend, family, and my dogs. I don’t think I could have made it through some of these days without them. My dogs have been my saving grace. They always are so happy and just give me that extra layer of love and happiness.”

MPK: “Covid-19 has made me grateful for my body, mind, and support system that I’ve been able to rely on.”

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

LS: “The biggest challenge for me is I wanted to do more and give more. I wanted my patients to get better and go home and unfortunately a lot of them haven’t had that privilege. We give everything to our patients and sometimes it just isn’t enough.”

MPK: “The biggest challenge for me has been actually turning inward. For me and I think a lot of other people, 2020 has also been the year of the inner child. I have addressed deep rooted personal issues that have stretched me beyond my limits, even more than the pandemic has. When the world literally stops as we know it and distractions aren’t as easily accessible, you begin to hear your inner child calling for you. I was shutting her out for the longest time and now that I had more time to sit with myself, I heard her very loud and clear for the first time. It was time I gave her the love and attention she’s been waiting so patiently for. This has been by far the most challenging time of my life, but recently I have been reaping the benefits of more consistent inner peace and self love.”

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

LS: “I’m most excited to travel with Micaela! We have a huge list of places we want to see together and I can’t wait to be able to hop on a plane and not worry about anything. All of our relationship has been during this pandemic so I’m excited to see Lindsay & Micaela without this pandemic. Another thing I’m excited for is be able to hug my parents and see my 1 year old niece. I want to be around them and not worry about giving  them covid! I’m excited to not see multiple people die on the daily. I have faith science will be able to give us the resources to send these patients back to their families and people will get vaccinated!”

MPK: “I’m the most excited about experiencing normal life again with the love of my life. Lindsay and I met in April of 2020, right when the world was shutting down. Our entire relationship has been during quarantine. I can’t wait to do many “firsts” with her, like going to Greece and Bali, Disneyland, and even just going out on a normal date where we can sit in a restaurant without any social distancing or mask restrictions. Life right now is already amazing with her, so I can’t even imagine what it will be like when we get to share all those other experiences together.”

Thank you, Lindsay and Micaela, for sharing your stories with me and for your sedulous work as nurses on the frontlines.

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured on Covid in California, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

Although things have opened up and we are inching are way back to normality, we cannot forget the impact(s) Covid-19 has had on all of us.

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community!

Much love, health, kindness, and happiness,


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 frontlines global pandemic health healthcare healthcare worker healthcare workers lgbt lgbtq+ mask new normal nurses pandemic photography photojournalist pride pride month professional photographer quarantine robin randolph photography stay safe Tue, 29 Jun 2021 21:27:08 GMT
Covid in California: National Donut Day and Tova's FIRST Birthday!

Today is a very special’s Tova the Doodette’s FIRST birthday AND it’s National Donut Day!

Tova the Doodette tried her first donut when she was just two months old (see photos below) and she is still a huge fan of the deliciously sprinkled treats.

Tova has matured so much over the past year that she now has upgraded to a mug of coffee with her colorful, sprinkled donuts.

Covid-19 has impacted all of us in more ways we would probably like to admit and recall.

Keeping the positivity and finding the silver (or in my case, GOLD) lining has been the ultimate key in getting through the past fifteen months.

On June 4th, 2020, Tova the Doodette was born and Kayla and I officially became Dog Moms!

Getting a GOLDENdoodle during Covid really did make things better.

Shoutout to the best breeder and nurturer ever, Alana Christensen, for meeting me at the Fargo airport to drop off our four-legged, apricot baby, Tova.

If anyone is looking to get a Goldendoodle, hit up Alana (Christensen Doodles).

The trip to North Dakota is SO worth it for the puppy of your dreams. Tova is the best doodette Kayla and I could ever ask for!

Now, let’s get back to donuts…

I had the serendipitous pleasure of meeting Pam Gaines a few months ago.

It was thanks to our puppies, Tova the Doodette and Pam’s puppy, Del, that we met.

Pam also got a puppy during the pandemic!

Tova and Del became FURiends at first sight and could not stop chasing each other around the dog park!

When speaking with Pam, I soon learned that she, like myself, is a Los Angeles native.

When she learned that I am a UCLA Alum, she instantly asked me if I knew of Stan’s Donuts…which obviously, I have! I mean, seriously. Who hasn’t?!

For those of you who are a) not a donut lover, b) not a UCLA Bruin fan and/or c) not familiar with Westwood Village, Stan’s Donuts was a Los Angeles staple and iconic shop for fifty five years.

The man behind the beautiful display of doughnuts? Stan Berman, Pam’s father.

Peep her awesome mask as she represents her dad’s famous store.

Stan was born in 1929 and came from a long line of Jewish bread bakers. According to BBC News, “As a child, he would wake up before dawn to fry doughnuts at his father's little Philadelphia bakery, finishing them off with a generous coating of granulated sugar. When people came in to buy a loaf of bread in the morning, they'd pick up one of Stan's doughnuts too.”

Stan took over his shop in the heart of Westwood Village over fifty five years ago. The building was quite unassuming, but the benefit was that it was located on two busy streets (Weyburn and Broxton), less than two blocks from UCLA, and across the street from the Fox Bruin and Fox Village Theaters.

Stan described it as "the smallest little shop you've ever seen”.

When Stan first took over, the store was called “The Corner Shoppe”, and although it indeed had equipment for baking, the only items sold were other people’s food.

That didn’t last long.

“One Sunday morning when the shop was closed, Stan popped in to clean up and, noticing the heavy footfall in the area, saw an opportunity. He called a friend in the bakery business who brought him flour, yeast and everything else he needed.

He made a piece of dough and fried a batch of doughnuts, then sold them through the shop's window.” - BBC News

Alas, Stan’s famous donuts were unveiled.

This Sunday ritual became known throughout Westwood Village. So much so, that come Monday mornings, people would come into The Corner Shoppe looking for doughnuts and nothing else!

As BBC reported, “They'd say 'Stan why aren't you making doughnuts?'" Stan, now 91, recalls. "And I'd say 'Well you know, we're not really doing that'. Then, before you know it, we were doing that."

In no time, The Corner Shoppe became The Corner Donut Shoppe, and then eventually, Stan's Donuts.


“Doughnuts were considered at the low-end of the bakery business, but Stan applied the techniques for making fine pastries learned in his youth to create a new product.

‘They were so different from most doughnuts, even though I used the same flour, and shortenings and toppings,’ he says.”

"My idea was I'm going to make something you really like. Tell me what you like and I'm going to try and make something for you as a doughnut so you will come in for yours - I did that for hundreds of people.”

“He packed his array of flavors - cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, peanut butter - into a display case that ‘blasted’ people when they walked into the tiny room.

Before long, Stan was selling thousands of doughnuts every day.” - BBC News

As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Stan’s Donuts was known for its unique doughnut creations.

The Peanut Butter Pocket — a peanut butter-filled doughnut topped with chocolate glaze and chocolate chips, became the shop’s most popular doughnut.”

After fifty five years of running this LA staple, Stan was forced to close up shop on April 10th, 2020.


The above photo is a message from Stan Berman he posted on a window at Stan’s Donuts: “Thank you for being by my side for all these years.” (Alene Tchekmedyian / Los Angeles Times)

“It is with a sad heart that I inform you that I have made the decision to close my doors and today will be the last day I will be making donuts,” Berman wrote. “Unfortunately COVID-19 made the decision happen sooner, but I hope that you will remember how our donuts made you smile for many years to come.”

When interviewing Pam for this feature, she relayed that the closing of her Dad’s famous donut shop was the most devastating part of the pandemic for her family.

In his goodbye note, Berman wrote customers’ “support and friendship has meant more than you know. Thank you for being by my side for all these years.”

You may be wondering why Stan’s Donuts were so good...

Well, Stan Berman says there are three reasons:

“The first was the sea air that blew into his shop from the Pacific Ocean some five miles away - he never used air conditioning, even at the height of the LA summer, to avoid spoiling the perfect atmospheric conditions.”

“The second reason was the skill that went into making the doughnuts.”

“And the third, simply, was love.”

Pam went on to say that Covid-19 essentially, ”killed the business”. "We had to make the choice of whether to stay open by going into my father's savings and it wasn't worth it," she explains. If it weren’t for this global pandemic "we would have continued. The store would have stayed open until my father passed away."

"It was so much aggravation trying to run the store without my father there - that's what made it a bit easier to close the doors. But it's been very sad."

Thank you, Pam, for sharing your story with me, and thank you, Stan, for the delicious donuts you served us over the years!

Oh, and let’s not forget to wish Tova the Doodette, a HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!

If only she could try a dog-friendly donut from Stan…

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians christensen doodles coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 donut donut day donuts global pandemic goldendoodle goldendoodles health mask national donut day new normal pandemic photography photojournalist professional photographer puppy quarantine robin randolph photography stans donuts stay safe tova the doodette ucla Fri, 04 Jun 2021 20:18:50 GMT
Covid in California: PRIDE Month 2021 - Celebrate in a Colorful Pandemic Fashion It's June 1st, which means the month of PRIDE has officially begun!

Every summer in the United States, the LGBTQ+ community comes together for a month-long celebration of love, diversity, acceptance and unashamed self-PRIDE.

The month of June was chosen for Pride Month to commemorate the riots held by members of the LGBTQ+ community against a police raid that took place at New York City's Stonewall Inn on June 28th, 1969.

"The 1960s and preceding decades were not welcoming times for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. For instance, solicitation of same-sex relations was illegal in New York City. For such reasons, LGBT individuals flocked to gay bars and clubs, places of refuge where they could express themselves openly and socialize without worry. However, the New York State Liquor Authority penalized and shut down establishments that served alcohol to known or suspected LGBT individuals, arguing that the mere gathering of homosexuals was “disorderly." Thanks to activists’ efforts, these regulations were overturned in 1966, and LGBT patrons could now be served alcohol. But engaging in gay behavior in public (holding hands, kissing or dancing with someone of the same sex) was still illegal, so police harassment of gay bars continued and many bars still operated without liquor licenses—in part because they were owned by the Mafia." -

What happened in the early hours of June 28th, 1969 changed history and will forever be a moment that the LGBTQ+ community celebrate. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents, as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of Stonewall, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement both outside the bar on Christopher Street, and on the neighboring NYC streets. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world, as they truly were a "tipping point" for this progressive movement of love and equality for ALL.

To quote President Joe Biden, "Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality.  Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity.  This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice. The LGBTQ+ community in America has achieved remarkable progress since Stonewall.  Historic Supreme Court rulings in recent years have struck down regressive laws, affirmed the right to marriage equality, and secured workplace protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in every State and Territory."

Around the world, Pride celebrations take a variety of forms, from parades to parties to protests and proms. Since the start of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the 1970s, hundreds of independent Pride events have sprung up in cities worldwide, each distinctly local and generally tied in some way to the historical and foundational Stonewall Riots.

After 50 years of Pride celebrations, these colorful events have become so varied that you can usually find a way to celebrate that feels best to YOU.

Furthermore, the iconic, rainbow flag is prominently displayed throughout the month of June. Gilbert Baker, an American artist, gay rights activist and U.S. Army veteran, created this flag in 1978 as a new symbol for the gay and lesbian political movement at the suggestion of his friends and colleagues. According to Baker's website, the colors of the flag each have a meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and violet for spirit. I have always associated a rainbow with happiness and vibrancy...As Mariah Carey says, “In a perfect world, human beings would co-exist harmoniously, like a rainbow. A multitude of colors, each layer vibrant and clear by itself, but in unison, boundless, breathtaking, celestial.”

Kayla and I incorporated the rainbow flag in our engagement shoot, three years ago, in June 2018. Shoutout to my associate and photographer, Kelli Bee Photography, for capturing these!

Not to mention, ever since Tova the Doodette joined our family in SoCal last year, she's been representing and sporting ALL the colors of the LGBTQ+ community.

We even dressed her up in her "Be Kind" tie-dye shirt for our PRIDE feature we shot with ABC7 last weekend.

Stay tuned for our promo that will be airing on ABC7 throughout the month of June!

Shoutout to John Squatritto for the behind the scenes photos of me and my girls!

Although the global pandemic is on the mend, this year's LGBTQ+ Pride Month will be celebrated a little differently than it would have in years previous.

After Covid-19 canceled nearly every in-person event in 2020, many are back this year, in some fashion.

All fifty states in the U.S. have started to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions, which leaves the LGBTQ+ community with a mixture of in-person and online events.

For those of you in the Los Angeles area, here are a list of the PRIDE Events:


Much love, health, and happiness,


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 abc abc7 california california photographer californians colorful coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 equality global pandemic lgbtq lgbtq+ love is love pandemic photography photojournalist pride pride month professional photographer proud rainbow robin randolph photography stonewall riots tova the doodette Wed, 02 Jun 2021 02:08:02 GMT
Covid in California: A handwritten song and encounter with fashion icon, Betsey Johnson Do you know anyone who's seen the future?! I didn't, until I met Betsey Johnson...

Truthfully, I didn’t even know what Betsey Johnson looked like before this encounter.

I know, shame on me…a Los Angeles native, former Hollywood Assistant, Entertainment Media Professional, and California girl through and through.

I was almost in shock when my wife, Kayla, spotted her at a Malibu Italian Restaurant on a Sunday afternoon.

Betsey definitely has a distinct look and she had her four-legged sidekick with her, Mr. Johnny Cash, which helped to identify this fashion icon.

Side note: Kayla actually wore Betsey Johnson shoes at our wedding! Peep the below photos for proof:

I usually don’t go up to celebrities, because let’s face it, they are people, too - I imagine it is quite exhausting to be recognized in public when you are trying to go about your day.

I don’t consider myself a “fan girl” as I don’t like to intrude, especially when someone is out in public, enjoying daily life.

However, Kayla quickly convinced me that not only did Betsey seem extremely friendly and approachable, but to also see if she would like to be featured on my Covid in California project. DEAL, SOLD!

As Betsey was getting up to leave, she walked by our table. Johnny Cash locked eyes with Tova the Doodette (she was there, too) and I decided to say hello!

What a woman and gem of a human, is all I can say. Betsey’s positivity and zest for life are evident in her colorful appearance and vibrant personality.

She was indeed smiling from ear to ear, and it wasn’t just because of her Strawberry Daiquiri! She frequents this Sunday brunch spot and told me that next time, I need to try this favorite drink of hers. Betsey literally pointed out her pink house to me in the distance, which you could distinctly see from the rooftop of this restaurant. How neat and PINK!

We took a couple of selfies, did a quick photo shoot, and then she gave me her phone number because she couldn’t remember her email address.

I chuckled, called her to make sure I entered the digits correctly, and her phone began buzzing away in her “Betsey Johnson” purse. Obviously.

The following day, I texted her my Covid in California questionnaire and before I knew it, I received her responses.

The thing I love about Betsey, is that she is unapologetically herself. She radiates good energy and knows how to have a good time!

While most people (and actually everyone I have interviewed thus far) have sent me electronically, typed out answers, Betsey decided to handwrite and take photos of her responses, truly adding an artistic element to her interview. I especially love the highlighted numbers and cut out paper she decided to use!

See below for our interview exchange:

1) How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?


2) Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?


3) What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?


4) Is there a story behind your mask?


5) What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?


6) What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?


7) What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?


8) What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?


I inquired about how business has been during this time and asked if it has slowed down or sped up...and how Betsey's online sales are doing during Covid-19. Here's what she had to say:

Betsey Johnson is not just a fashion icon; she is a human with a good heart and the epitome of a creative.

Check out the custom Covid in California song she wrote me:

And just for kicks (pun intended), here are a few more photos of Kayla rockin’ her Betsey Johnson heels at our wedding on November 2, 2019.

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured on Covid in California, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community! The whole point of this project is to connect humans during a time of so much uncertainty.

Much love, health, and happiness,


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 betsey johnson california california photographer californians celebrity coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family fashion fasion icon feature global pandemic health interview johnny cash los angeles los angeles photographer malibu mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask Wed, 12 May 2021 22:49:06 GMT
Covid in California: Life, Legacies and Love at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary "We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will." - Chuck Palahniuk

"Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live." - Henry Van Dyke

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” – Buddha

The words “death” and “cemetery” often conjure up frightful and disturbing thoughts for many people.

If I’m being completely honest, I, too, used to be scared of death. That was until I experienced the loss of a loved one, pretty early on in my life.

"Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time. It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other." - Leo Buscaglia

When someone close to you dies, it is often very hard to fathom the reason why and to actually conceptualize it. It tends to make more sense if the individual was battling an illness or if old age was a factor. Regardless, death is a part of life and it is truly inevitable.

"I regret not death. I am going to meet my friends in another world." - Ludovico Ariosto

My great grandmother, Ruth Channon, used to talk a lot about death, not in a morbid way, but rather, as a natural subject of conversation.

She often spoke about her parents and recalled how great her childhood was.

Most often, she told me (and several others) stories about her son, Richard (“Dick”) Channon, my great uncle, who I sadly never got the chance to meet.

"Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them." - George Eliot


Dick tragically passed away in 1988 on Super Bowl Sunday, at just fifty-four years old. It was a devastating day for my family, as he really was, “one of a kind.”

Dick suffered from severe asthma, which ultimately led to his death.

I am so sad that I never got the chance to meet Dick because I know how amazing of a person he was. Mina (as we called my great grandmother) talked about him as if he were still alive - she kept his legacy strong and memorable.

(Photo above was taken during Tova's first visit to see Dick in September of 2020 - she was just three months old)

(Here is Tova on April 1st, 2021 at ten months old)

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Thomas Campbell

The silver lining for me is that I was born a year later and my parents intentionally named me “Robin”, after him (Richard).  I take so much pride in being named after such an incredible person.

Dick is buried at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles, whereby there were hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people at his funeral.

Photo courtesy of Hillside

He made a difference in so many people’s lives, and when he died, everyone who knew him wanted to pay their respects and attend the memorial service.

Photo courtesy of Hillside

"I think of death as some delightful journey that I shall take when all my tasks are done." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Mina took me to the cemetery to visit Dick ever since I was a child. I don’t remember the first time I stepped foot at Hillside, but I do recall being struck by how peaceful and special this place was.

Photo courtesy of Hillside

Up until then, I hadn’t been to a cemetery, so I didn’t really know what to expect. What I can tell you now, is that having been to other burial sites, Hillside is a very unique place.

Photo courtesy of Hillside

“For more than 75 years, Hillside Memorial Park has provided members of the Jewish community the means to honor and remember their loved ones in beauty, tranquility and the comfort of Jewish traditions.”

Photo courtesy of Hillside

The name holds its meaning - there are hills and it feels like you are indeed in a park. The grounds are well-manicured with beautiful trees, vibrant flowers, and freshly cut, green grass.

Photo courtesy of Hillside

I feel at ease there. Going to visit Dick, and now Mina (she passed away at one hundred and a half years old in 2015) is something I enjoy and look forward to.

Photo courtesy of Hillside

As fate would have it, Mina resides in the “Court of Love”, and she is buried next to her mother, Regina (my great great grandmother), while Dick is located just down the way, next to his best friend, Marty Nadel.

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." - Mark Twain

On April 1st, 2021, Mina would have turned a hundred and six. My Mom, Dad, Tova, and I went to visit her and to wish her a “Happy Birthday.”

We brought balloons and sang a tune to honor Ruth Channon, the Matriarch of our family.

According to the New York Times, there have been 574,000 more U.S. deaths than normal since Covid-19 struck in early 2020.

“For comparison, around 600,000 Americans die from cancer in a normal year. The number of unusual deaths for this period is also higher than the typical number of annual deaths from Alzheimers, stroke or diabetes.

As 2020 ended, the United States surpassed 20 million infections from Covid-19. Globally, cases rose to 83,832,334 and 1,824,590 deaths (Source: AJMC)

"Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is to lose your reason for living." - Jo Nesbo

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to work at a cemetery, especially during a global pandemic?

I didn't plan to bust out my camera during our visit at Hillside, but as soon as this young man graciously helped us hang balloons up on Mina’s spot in the mausoleum, I knew I had to run to my car and get my gear.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Jaime Sandoval, a sincere and kind soul who works at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary.

In addition to looking like a model, Jaime is completely genuine and down to earth. 

We spoke for a little while, whereby Jaime explained how Covid-19 impacted Hillside and his job as an employee there.

See below for his interview on Covid in California:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

JS: "Covid has impacted me personally in different ways. It has affected my physical health (due to gyms closing), which in turn affected my mental and emotional health by not being active enough and socializing with loved ones. I felt hindered due to isolation, staying away from the people I care about for long periods of time."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

JS: "Unfortunately, a lot of my family ended up getting Covid. The only two people in my family that did NOT get it was one of my brothers and me. My parents and the rest of my siblings got it, but I am very thankful that none of them had to be hospitalized because of it. My parents and siblings are located in Virginia and they were fortunately able to cope and fight it fairly well."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

JS: "Covid changed so many people's schedules, and I'm so sad for those who lost jobs, had to cut back on hours at work, and those that lost income."

JS: "You can imagine with my line of work, our job didn't stop, but we did have to adjust our schedule to make sure that we were following health protocols and being safe during these very unknown times."

"I went from working a full-time schedule to working every other day. We split up the employees evenly in order to limit the amount of people at the worksite. We did this for 3 solid months."

"I think the saddest thing of all was that we had to cut back on the amount of family members allowed to attend funerals."

"Up until now, we are only allowed to have 10 seats (six feet apart, of course), whereas before Covid, we had 25 or more."

"Some families prefer to not even do an in-person service because they are still afraid of contracting Covid. This has resulted in many livestream funeral services, which we started doing during Covid."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

JS: "I miss indoor dining and not having to wear a mask everywhere! I miss the feeling of everyone not being in a constant state of fear and feeling confused over this virus."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

JS: "Covid has made me grateful for many things. It showed me a whole other side of human you remember when everyone went crazy for toilet paper!!!???"

"It also made me grateful to see a complete other side of life. Appreciating the simple things. After all, these are times that many of us, if not all of us, have ever seen and lived through."

"Seeing the usual, very busy streets of LA to then not having a soul or moving car in sight with no traffic on the freeways...that really was something. When will we ever see that again? I actually thought that was such a beautiful and eerie feeling."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

JS: "The biggest challenge for me during this time has not necessarily been the virus or quarantine, but more about myself and how to deal with these changes, emotionally and mentally. What I mean by that, is that the pandemic has made it extremely hard to keep a level-head. It's really all about how you react to things and the pandemic itself."

"Another big challenge I've faced is choosing how to protect myself. I work at a cemetery, so I am around a lot of people and families, often those that are elderly."

"I've seen how different people want to protect themselves...some believe that the vaccine and mask will protect them, while others are completely against those things and believe that exercising, eating well, and having a strong immune system is all they need."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?


Thank you, Jaime, for your integrity and friendly demeanor. Your smile is contagious and Hillside is lucky to have you as a part of their staff!

"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." - Norman Cousins

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians cemetery channon coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 death dick face mask family feature funeral global pandemic health Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary interview legacy los angeles los angeles photographer mask matriarch mausoleum new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography ruth socal social distancing southern california stay safe virus wear a mask Tue, 27 Apr 2021 23:58:47 GMT
Covid in California: The Vaccine, Part 2 Today was a good day. ๐Ÿ’‰

I got the second dose of Moderna at our local Ralph's Pharmacy and took Tova along for (moral and literal) support. โค๏ธ

She stole the show, of course, making friends with patients and the pharmacist. She was also called gorgeous and mature. You go, girl!

For all those that got Moderna, did you have any symptoms?

Most of the people in my age bracket did, so I'm assuming that by tonight or even tomorrow, I will feel some of those. But who knows! I'm just feeling hopeful and grateful.

I was in fact the last one in my family to finally get vaccinated, so this is a huge sigh of relief!

Note to all: If you are not in one of the groups allowed to get the vaccine yet, get on a waitlist or just show up...any extra vials have to be discarded if they aren't used, so go get them if you still need a dose!

Much love, health, kindness, and happiness,



(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid vaccine covid19 covid-19 face mask get vaccinated global pandemic goldendoodle health mask moderna moderna vaccine new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography service dog socal social distancing southern california stay safe vaccine virus wear a mask Wed, 21 Apr 2021 22:53:34 GMT
Covid in California: 420 and the global pandemic have everyone wanting some fresh flower! Happy 420, peeps! ๐ŸŒฟ

As many of you know, California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64, on November 8th, 2016, which established sales, cultivation taxes and legalized the sale, possession, growing, and consumption of cannabis to adults age 21 and older for non-medical purposes.

Proposition 64 legalized sales of cannabis products throughout the state, but that does not mean that consumers can find it everywhere: Only 89 of California's 482 cities allow retail sales. A paucity of legal retail drives people directly to the illegal market. Prop 64 was supposed to generate new jobs, taxes, entrepreneurship, investment, and opportunities for those hardest hit by drug laws. It hasn't, but that might soon change.

The optimism generated by the passage of Proposition 64 was infectious. Sacramento estimated it would collect as much as $643 million in new tax revenue in 2018-2019. That figure could only grow, according to lawmakers, advocates, and bullish investors.

But nowhere else is Proposition 64’s unanticipated short-comings more evident than in the dismally low number of retail licenses issued since becoming law. Retail is supposed to generate the most tax and create the highest number of jobs within the industry. But it didn't...surprise, surprise!

It might be the global pandemic of Covid-19 that actually saves California’s cannabis industry.

Why? As a result of the economic devastation caused by Covid-19, California is bracing for a severe economic downturn. Throughout the state, many jurisdictions, both large and small, are rethinking their prohibitions. Mayors, city councils, and county supervisors are looking at cannabis and the tax revenue that it can generate in a whole new light.

Just one successful dispensary equals hundreds of thousands of dollars in new tax revenue, while back-end processing could generate millions more. Faced with escalating unemployment and drastic reductions in municipal services, about a dozen California cities - from Sonoma to Yountville and Signal Hill to Lemon Grove - are exploring opening up licensing. Cannabis, it seems, is one of the few viable options.

At least in the short term, “Saint Covid, the California Cannabis Savior” as one industry insider put it, may actually provide some relief.

Truth be told, I have never been a huge stoner, but once Covid hit, I, too, thought the CBD route would be a good way to "escape the reality of the pandemic" and cope with the stress, loneliness, and uncertainty many of us were facing. I remember one of the first days in March of 2020 whereby my brother and I took my mom to a local smoke shop in Sherman Oaks (The Higher Path) in March of 2020 and got some goodz. Don't be fooled, my mom went with us for the ride and experience, but she didn't partake (since she has light asthma). Needless to say, I'm pretty sure she enjoyed and supported our decision to buy some CBD oils.

When I moved to Camarillo in June of 2020, I stumbled across this ZZYZX Smoke Shop when I was dropping something off at the Post Office, and decided to walk in to see if they had anything CBD related.

ZZYZX Smoke Shop opened 5 years ago, but this cool dude took over ownership 2 years ago...The name may have you perplexed, but the way to pronounce it is "ZY-ziks." In fact, the name does have a profound meaning, as it is the location of Camp Soda and Soda Springs. It's located at the end of ZZYZX Road, a 4.5-mile-long rural road off Interstate 15, in San Bernardino County, California. I've actually driven past it several times on my trips to Vegas and always thought it looked interesting. The town has roots of being a sacred and spiritual ground that was self-governed. There is a lot of hippie influence in the area as well, which makes sense as to why the owner of this smoke shop decided to name the spot, ZZYZX.

Not only is it pristinely clean and eclectic inside, but the man who runs the place is a true GEM of a human.

And that's what you want, right? To feel like you are in good hands, that you can trust someone, and that you are SAFE.

Furthermore, the shop sells some sweet Supreme, Dodgers, and Lakers memorabilia that you really can't find anywhere else.

Want a new hat? New shoes? A vintage Kobe Bryant jersey?

ZZYZX has you covered! And the prices are reasonable.

They even sell some really neat Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z swag.

This is more than a smoke shop, as you can see. There's literally something for everyone! Even dogs!

When I was in the shop today working on this interview, a nice man by the name of Durrell Mike-Prince walked in.

He's been coming to the shop for about two years and agrees that the customer service and expertise from ZZYZX is one of a kind.

He's also a fellow UCLA Alum (Go Bruins!) and a Laker fan. His purchase today was very meaningful and practical. He bought two Laker pins to use as golf ball markers. 

Representing Kobe, LeBron, and the Los Angeles Lakers. That's what's UP!

The highlighted purchase for me is this amazing CBD roller that puts Icy Hot® to shame. I personally think it smells and feels DIVINE. Coming from someone who exercises and works out a lot, this relieves the pain pretty much instantly and it has an amazing cooling sensation that will have your muscle aches feeling fabulous in no time. Not to mention, the work I do as a photographer (shooting and editing photos) always has my neck aching. Thus, this CBD roller is the perfect item for someone that doesn't want to get "high". If anyone is looking to turn over a new leaf (pun intended!), I highly recommend (pun intended, yet again!) this CBD roller. I use it multiple times a day to relieve any pain and tension.

To top it off, Tova approves of ZZYZX Smoke Shop and she is in the market for some CBD gummies once she hits her first birthday.

See below for my interview with ZZYZX:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

ZZYZX: "As a newly reopened small business, COVID’s impact was felt immediately. Zzyzx was strictly an in person retail business. Having to shut down for two months put us in a position to close our doors several times."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

ZZYZX: "While none of our employees have gotten Covid-19, some of our customers, friends, and several family members have been unlucky.

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

ZYZX: "Zzyzx has adapted to offer our customers different methods of purchasing our products via online, delivery, etc. Many consider us an essential business and count on us to offer the best products available. We have also expanded our line of merchandise to deliver a wide experience when visiting Zzyzx."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

"Wearing a mask has shown a sign of respect to our community and society. We also support anyone with their own beliefs of our current situation. Honesty has always been our best policy."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

ZZYZX: "The large crowds and gatherings when we were at 100% capacity."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

ZZYZX: "Time."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

ZZYZX: "There has been increased competition in our retail space. With our continued quality products and service, we are confident we will thrive in a crowded field of Smoke Shops."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

ZZYZX: "We miss having our seasonal in store celebrations with in store raffles and giveaways. We will continue to keep giving back to the community that has supported us during these struggling times. We are excited when all new and old customers come and visit us again."

To check out the shop and see the goodz, be sure to visit, follow, and like ZZYZX on social media:

Instagram: @zzyzxsmokeshop / @zzyzxshop

Yelp: ZZYZX Smoke Shop

Happy 420 to all those celebrating, and remember to stay safe and healthy!

With love,


P.S. Learned a little bit about cooking with cannabis while I was in the shop. Did you know some couples are ordering cannabis cakes for their weddings?!

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 420 california california photographer californians cannabis cannabis legalization coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask feature flower global pandemic health interview marijuana mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask weed Tue, 20 Apr 2021 21:35:13 GMT
Covid in California: "Mommy, You Can Choose to be Happy." The best choice for the Rosenblooms. "If you want to be happy, be." - Leo Tolstoy

"Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it." - Lou Holtz

Take if from Jade and Jack...a five and three year old, respectively.

Happiness is always a choice. And for kids, it is the best choice, always. Even during Covid-19...

You may be wondering, "What is it like to be a kid during a global pandemic?" ...

Let's just say, I literally was "Waving Through A Window", like Ben Platt in the 2017 Tony Awards and Broadway Musical, Dear Evan Hansen. Safety first, kids.

Evey Rosenbloom will tell hasn't been easy, keeping her kids safe at all times while also making happiness a priority has been the ultimate goal.

Let's be real, though. Shouldn't these always be the intentions in life?! To choose safety and happiness...Well, yes, of course.

With no school and friends around to have playdates with, Evey Rosenbloom turned her house and backyard into a complete playground for her three and five year olds.

A moon bounce, swing set, monkey bars, and battery operated cars had Jade and Jack completely and diligently occupied, stimulated, and HAPPY.

Boredom was not a word that was ever going to enter their vocabulary.

And thank goodness for a sibling...a built-in FRIEND!

To give you some background, Evey is a rock-star fashion designer who thinks outside the box (or the cage). She is known for her electrical light-up wedding dresses, and her wearable art gowns made of odd-ball materials. I actually met Evey in 2017 when I shot some of her dresses with Laura Grier. She legit made a wedding dress out of coffee filters! Creative is an understatement when describing Evey.

Evey creates ethical, sustainable clothing that turns both heads and minds. Her love of vibrant color, crystals, and Japanese fashion, inspired her to create one-of-a-kind custom clothing as unique and vibrant as the musicians, performance artists, and brides who wear them. Her cruelty free fashion work is approved by PETA and the Humane Society and she is also an MSW Candidate, involved in Human Rights campaigns and issues related to Social Justice. She has also written a couple of children's books, Let Yourself Sparkle and You Were Born to Be You.

All in all, Evey believes in pursuing your dreams, living your authentic life, and being HAPPY.

"Happiness is a choice I make everyday,  and I truly hope that I can help other people find these resources because I believe we were all born to be happy."

"And more importantly, happiness is vital. I've seen what stress and despair can do to the body and mind, and how profoundly this framework can help people find joy."

"Trying to keep my kids happy is my number one priority..." 

See below for my interview with Evey:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

ER: "Trying to keep my kids happy is my number one priority, because of Covid-19, they've been unable to spend time with friends and family. They're so little, and before the Pandemic they loved being around people. My daughter would skip through preschool holding her best friends hands, she would strike up conversations with strangers when we went to a restaurant. My son would make everyone laugh with his silly faces, and loved to spend all day at the farm - riding ponies and bottle feeding the baby goats. This all came to an abrupt stop a year ago."

"They haven't seen their friends in more than a year. They've missed out on in-person school, they can't do the things they used to do like ballet, gymnastics, swimming, karate, yoga, going to fun places like Disneyland and indoor play gyms. When they say things like "why can't we see our friends, or go back to that fun place, this is a boring world".... it breaks my heart. Everyday I make it my priority to make sure I see them laughing and smiling and enjoying life, even if we're stuck at home. I try to find creative ways to bring the fun here. Because they're kids, and I want to do whatever I can to give them a happy life, even if we're surrounded by so much darkness."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

ER: "We think we may have had it last February. I was extremely sick for weeks, couldn't get out of bed and had a high fever that wouldn't go away for days, (even with medication), but it was before they were doing any testing for it so I have no way to know for sure. We are being extremely cautious because every time we've gotten a cold or flu within the last 3 years, my kids and I have gotten extremely sick to the point of needing inhalers and breathing treatments."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

ER: "At the beginning of the Pandemic, I was glued to the news, watching case numbers rise and reading death tolls. At the time I had recently been diagnosed with Vestibular Migraines, I was having daily migraines and vertigo attacks that left me feeling like I was on a boat being tossed around by a violent ocean, every day, for a year. I could barely walk and it was difficult to see from the migraines. I was nauseous and depressed all the time trying to accept this as my new normal. I spent weeks trying to hide my tears from my kids, wishing I could have given them a happy life. I felt so bad for them. I wished they could have had a happy mom. But they got me. The vertigo was endless. Then I was hit with what I thought must be Covid. Then I was glued to the news watching the horrors unfold with the Pandemic."

"Suddenly, everything changed when my daughter saw me crying and said - 'Mommy, you can choose to be happy'..."

"At first I was blown away by how profound this was coming from a little kid. But then I thought about it, and's not that simple."

"True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." -  Helen Keller

"And suddenly, I realized: what if she was right? What if happiness could be my choice? and then it hit me that my life was not going to change until I chose to change it."

"I was desperate and determined, so I dove into the research on how to boost joy, and I tried it all. I read everything I could find, written by gurus, scientists, psychologists, economists, and spiritual leaders about how to find happiness. I discovered all the foods known to cause anxiety and depression, and I replaced those with nutrient rich foods known to boost energy and mood, I realized, after reading all the horrible things happening all around the world, I might have been subconsciously blocking myself from feeling happy, because it felt wrong. I adjusted my schedule, sleep and exercise habits to fit the recommended guidelines set by positive psychologists, I developed a gratitude and mindfulness practice, I eliminated unnecessary stress, turned off the news, disconnected from all emotionally triggering social media accounts, and spent more time doing fun activities that are known to rewire the brain and naturally boost joy by increasing the production of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin . (For me that meant- I started making light up dresses again and dusted off my old roller skates)."


"Today I am skating through the hallways, singing and dancing in the kitchen with my kids." Talk about a COOL MOM!

Evey has made sure to engulf her kids in several backyard activities (thank you, SoCal weather). A Mustang with a motor, bikes, basketball, a moon bounce, tree house, and swing set...just to name a few.

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

ER: "Behind our masks, I try to make sure we're smiling. Everyday. It's a choice and a priority every single day. If I see my kids frown, or cry, I do what I can to give them the tools to help them change the way they're feeling. Happiness turned out to be the best medicine for me, and I believe that I needed to experience the pain and suffering of anxiety and depression, so that I could discover and share the tools to light myself and my kids up every day, and share these resources with anyone else who wants them."

Check out these "astronaut helmets", as Evey describes them to her sounds a bit more exciting than a mask, don't you think?

Jack and Jade are ready for SPACE!

Evey bought these "astronaut helmets" because she needed to take her kids to the doctor appointments and wanted to make sure that they avoided any and all exposure to Covid-19.

But underneath, you can see they are smiling.

How could you not with this awesome environment Evey created for them?

ER: "It's funny. I make light up dresses and I used to think that was my mission in life: to help people shine and be the most sparkly version of themselves. But I realized it's deeper than that. I realized my purpose is to help people light up from the inside-out. It's cool, I finally found a use for my degree from UCLA, in Cultural Anthropology and my background in Social Work. I always thought that those were just completely random things I have done. It was weird. I was a light up dress maker with a background in mental health. I never told the people I made dresses for that I also worked part time in psychiatric hospitals and homeless shelters and with youth in foster care. I never really understood how I could be so strongly drawn to both completely different career paths. It's cool that it all makes sense now. Now I am still making light up dresses, while continuing my education through Yale's Science of Well Being Program, and I'm so excited about all of it!"

"Happiness is an inside job." -  William Arthur Ward

ER: "Happiness is a choice I make everyday,  and I truly hope that I can help other people find these resources because I believe we were all born to be happy."

"And more importantly, happiness is vital. I've seen what stress and despair can do to the body and mind, and how profoundly this framework can help people find joy."

Being a creative and entrepreneur, Evey put together a framework to teach anyone how to find joy in dark times, and she is giving it away for FREE at

ER: "It's for anyone, but I made it so simple that even a burnt out mom with zero time to herself could do it." Be sure to check it out HERE!

Evey's book, titled, "Mommy, You Can Choose To Be Happy" will enlighten, inspire, and even make you it's FREE! Thank you, Evey.

"Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." - Guillaume Apollinaire

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

ER: "Watching my kids run around with their friends on the playground. Watching my daughter run across the school yard to give her best friend a big hug."
Jade is the friendliest girl you've ever met...she waved at me through the window and then asked me when I would come back and hang out as I was leaving the shoot.

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

ER: "Our health and the precious time we have together."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

ER: "Keeping us all healthy and safe, happy, entertained, and educated, staying on top of laundry and dishes and keeping the house clean, all while my husband and I both work. It's been a juggling act for sure. And I just need to be OK with not finishing everything I'd hoped to complete in a day, the drawers stuffed with mismatched socks and unfolded clothes, and paint covered floors."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

ER: "Hugs, playdates, family dinners, being able to have someone help us watch the kids for even just a couple hours, riding Splash Mountain."

"Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes." - Charles Dickens

Thank you, Evey, Jade, and Jack, for allowing me to capture you in your element of pure HAPPINESS.

Whether you're going to "space", riding your bikes, swings, or driving that sweet Mustang, I know you will be making the most of your time together during this pandemic.

Oh, and be sure to look out for JADE...America's next TOP MODEL!

This girl is a natural performer and loves the camera! Agents and Managers...look out!

Oh, and Jack..I know you're only three, but be sure to let me know when you get your driver's license...I want to ride in the car with you!

Finally, a special shout out of appreciation to super mom and motivator, Evey Rosenbloom, for being a shining light and inspiration to all those lucky to know you.

Evey Rosenbloom's book, "Mommy, You Can Choose to Be Happy", can be found online, at no cost, at

I know what my next read is going to be!

Stay safe, have fun, and keep smiling, kids.

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community! The whole point of this project is to connect humans during a time of so much uncertainty.

Much love, health, and happiness,


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 be happy california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 evey rosenbloom face mask family feature global pandemic happiness happy health interview kid kids los angeles los angeles photographer mask mom mommy mommy you can choose to be happy new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask Fri, 09 Apr 2021 19:55:55 GMT
Covid in California: Cassie and her Chameleon - How Sage and Vitamin D Prevailed
Met the coolest chameleon over the weekend...and his name is SAGE! Go androgyny!

Let's give you some background about these reptiles...

Chameleons are a distinctive and highly specialized clade of Old World lizards with 202 species. These species come in a range of colors, and many species have the ability to change color. MIND. BLOWN.

Chameleons are distinguished by their zygodactylous feet, their swaying gait, and crests or horns on their brow and snout. Most species, the larger ones in particular, also have a prehensile tail. Chameleons' eyes are independently mobile, but when aiming at prey, they focus forward in coordination, affording the animal stereoscopic vision.

Kayla and I were on a casual hike this past Saturday at our favorite local spot in Ventura. I looked up, saw a woman with a Patagonia hat on, and something dangling behind her...little did I know, it was Sage's tail! I legit had to do a double take...I mean, do you blame me? When do you see a woman hiking with a chameleon on her head?! That's right, we just did.

Cassie was gracious to stop for some photos and agreed to be featured on Covid in California. Now that I think about it, she probably gets stopped ALL. THE. TIME.

Let's also note that Sage was soaking in the SoCal sun just as much as we were that day...

Giving your pet chameleon regular exposure to natural sunlight is one of the best things you can do to keep it happy and healthy.

These are animals that, in the wild, spend most of their time perched high up in trees. This gives them plenty of access to natural sunlight, which is important for the chameleon's overall health.

Cassie has known this and makes a conscious effort to take Sage out wherever she goes. I mean, he definitely can fit in her pocket, backpack, or on top of her hat!

Natural sunlight contains UVB rays, among other types of rays. UVB stands for ultraviolet B. It makes up part of the visible spectrum of light, the part that we can actually see. Chameleons and other types of lizards rely on UVB for their overall health. Specifically, they need it to manufacture and utilize vitamin D3 within their bodies. Reptiles are not able to absorb this vitamin from their food. At least, not as efficiently as you and I can. So they need regular access to UVB light to manufacture the vitamin.

In chameleons, vitamin D3 is needed for many life-supporting functions. Most importantly, it helps to support proper bone development. When chameleons become deficient in this particular vitamin (due to a lack of UVB or for any other reason), they are likely to develop metabolic bone disorder. This condition can lead to deformity and death. Obviously, this is not the path you want for your pet chameleon. So, you need to ensure it is getting a proper level of UVB light exposure every day. The best way to do this is by placing your chameleon in natural sunlight. Helloooo Patagonia hat!

Depending on where you live, this may only be possible for a few months out of the year...but not in Sunny SoCal, folks! Cassie, you're doing it right. Sage, you're a lucky man.

Covid has affected everyone in California, even Chameleons like Sage.

See below for my interview with Cassie:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

CC: "I have personally been fine. My family, however, has had a really hard time. My niece and nephews have been very depressed and lonely. I tried telling them that this is all temporary, but they are almost too young to understand. At one point, my niece was having really bad anxiety. She is 17 years old and missed out on her last year of high school. She plays sports and misses the team environment. My other niece who is 27, gave birth in the middle of the pandemic. After the baby was born, she also suffered from depression and anxiety. Being stuck in her house all day and night took a huge toll on her. She and the baby also got Covid, which was the hardest time of her life, by far. I felt hopeless and helpless, but all I could do was call her everyday. It was hard not being able to physically be there to help her."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

CC: "In addition to my niece getting Covid, my older sister and all of her family got it as well. Living across the street from them and not being able to take care of them was extremely hard for me. My niece ended up in the hospital for three days. My wife went to visit her family in Las Vegas and her and her family also got Covid. They must have got the really bad strain because five out of six of them ended up in the hospital. My wife's 47 year old brother with no underlying health conditions ended up on a ventilator. At one point, the doctor called my wife and said he wasn’t going to make it through the night. Fighting against all odds, he pulled through. My wife called me crying every single day. I wanted to be there with her so badly, but the pandemic didn't allow me to. It was awful not being able to be there for her and her family while they were suffering from this awful disease."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

CC: "Not being able to do all the activities I normally do was a big change for me. I continued to work during Covid."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

CC: "I continue to stay strong for my family, but seeing all the sadness and pain in people's eyes is hard to bear. Especially my own family. The eyes can say so much about a person, even with a mask on. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget. And an experience that has changed me forever."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

CC: "I miss feeling normal and safe. Covid-19 will forever traumatize me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always known the danger of a pandemic, but never did I think it would happen in my lifetime. An earthquake, yes. But we were blindsided by the worst pandemic in human history."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

CC: "Definitely my family and the freedom we have as Americans. We as Americans had a taste of what it feels like to have freedom taken away from us. Even though it was necessary, it was hard."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

CC: "Staying positive. It just seemed to get worse and worse as time went on. And as if Covid-19 wasn’t bad enough, we also had riots happening all over the country. Our capital was attacked. At one point I remember thinking the world was going to shit."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

CC: "Well, I don’t think things will ever be 100% normal. I really just want to be able to start traveling again. Traveling all over the world has been a big part of my life."

Thank you, Cassie and Sage, for stopping mid-hike to share your Covid in California story with me. Keep soaking up that vitamin D and living your best lives!

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians chameleon coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature global pandemic health high school hike interview lesbian lgbt lgbtq los angeles los angeles photographer love is love mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine reptile reptiles robin randolph robin randolph photography socal socal sun social distancing southern california stay home stay safe ventura virus wear a mask Wed, 07 Apr 2021 03:13:13 GMT
Covid in California: UCLA Alum, Bruin Badass, Super Mom, Journalist, Entrepreneur...Jinah Kim Today and always, it's about the BLUE & GOLD.

UCLA's entrance to the Final Four has sparked so many 8-claps.

I would like to introduce you to one of the coolest, True Bruins and all around ballers, Jinah Kim.

I met Jinah at a virtual Dinner for 12 Strangers on February 27th, 2021. Dinner for 12 Strangers is a 50+ year UCLA tradition that has become a global phenomenon. Every year, on one of three nights, alumni, faculty and students come together to enjoy good food and great conversation. This past year, alumni hosted more than 500 dinners around the world involving more than 3,700 Bruins. And it was all VIRTUAL! Thank you, Covid-19.

Due to the current pandemic affecting the world, they kept the program going by transitioning to an online virtual gathering format. UCLA believes in the power of community and the Bruin network to inspire and guide one another. And it sure lived up to its beliefs...Thank you, Mitch Sodikoff (another awesome UCLA Solid Gold Sound Marching Band Alum), for letting me off the waitlist and for the honor to join your eclectic group of UCLA Bruins. The awesome Italian themed dinner was delicious and engaging, even behind a screen. Shoutout to my wife, Kayla, who made homemade pasta. Her Italian roots came out in full force for this meal with homemade tomato sauce and crab (Maryland roots as well, might I add). The saying "Happy wife, happy life" was also something I was cheering, in addition to the several 8-claps during the D12 dinner.

As fate would have it, Jinah Kim was also at this dinner. Located in Simi Valley, not too far from us here in Camarillo, we bonded right away. Her broadcast journalism background and career as a reporter caught my attention from the get-go. Note to all: My first job out of college was at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. My middle school goal was to be an On-Air Sports Broadcaster, so naturally, my first job was at the "Worldwide Leader of Sports".

Thank goodness for Zoom's private messaging, I hit her up instantly. Being Bruins, we bonded and exchanged info. Community and family are two things UCLA ALWAYS took pride in. Jinah loved the idea of Covid in California, so I asked her if she would like to be interviewed. we are.

A week later, in early March, I met Jinah in person, and I interviewed her. She showed up wearing shoes with RAINBOWS on them. Another sign of fate. This woman is all about bringing color and positivity into the world. She looks for the good in everything, something I was brought up doing, too.
Not only has Jinah been a successful reporter and anchor, but she is also quite the entrepreneur and super mom. This woman does it ALL! Another UCLA trait. We love variety and we like to live life to the fullest, taking advantage of any and all opportunities that interest us.

Jinah is the inventor of the US Patented Niko Easy Wash Children’s Car Seat covers, which are "selling like hot cakes for spring break right now because people are able to travel again!" Her other company, WorldWise Productions, is currently producing 115 videos for a hospital client thanks to all healthcare workers being vaccinated and Covid restrictions easing! "Those are two Covid related positives in my life for ya! I am also covering the Oscars for NBC on April 25!" Talk about a Bruin Badass.

Why did Jinah choose UCLA, you may ask? Well, "UCLA was the best school I got accepted to. I got into a couple other schools, including the red and yellow that we can’t mention, but for me, UCLA was the clear choice". Goodbye, U$C.

As we say, "A Trojan is only good once, but a Bruin lasts forever." Sorry for all those of you that attended USC or for you Trojan fans, we clearly have our own set of opinions.

Anyway, back to Jinah Kim. She enrolled at UCLA when I was just a one-year old. Not trying to age you, JK, but trying to put things into perspective. She graduated from UCLA when I was entering Kindergarten. Crazy how that makes us all feel. Time is truthfully relative.

And my point doesn't matter how old you are, it matters how you live your life and connect to those around you. I felt Jinah's young energy from the Zoom D12 Dinner. Also, look at her youthful skin and ask her what her secrets are. I did! ;)

Jinah's positive attitude and ability to look at the good in everything, are two things I noticed off the bat. Even though we are talking basketball today, it doesn't hurt to use a baseball analogy, right? It is the NCAA tournament, after all. #Sports.

See below for my interview with her:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

JK: "The toughest part was having to explain the pandemic to, and restrict the activities of, my six year old (now seven). 'No, you can't go to school. No, you can't play with the neighborhood kids right now. No, you can't take your mask off.' He's a super social kid and we had to do a lot of television and divide time to supplement what he would typically do outdoors with other kids."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

JK: "Yes. My cleaning lady and her whole family got it. My cousin in Texas got it. My husband's best friend got it, and same with his entire family. One of my dearest friends also got it. Thankfully, no one in my immediate family got it."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

JK: "My son was the most deeply impacted, as well as my step children, who we didn't see as much ,as we would have liked to because they wanted to keep their own 'bubble'. I was also constantly worried about my two businesses and whether or not I would have to lay off any of my employees."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

JK: "I love to smile and show warmth with my facial expressions. It's been hidden for much of last year. So much of humanity is lost when you can't see someone's whole face."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

JK: "Everything! Being able to stop into a restaurant and actually being able to sit down and enjoy a meal. Being able to schedule a lunch or dinner date with my friends, and not worry about optics, whether they are going to give me a disease, or whether a certain restaurant we wanted to meet at is going to have outdoor seating or not. Or even if the restaurant is still in business! Not having to wear a mask every single place I go to. Being able to do fun activities at museums or parks or theme parks with my kids."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

JK: "I am so grateful that I can work from home. I know so many moms who have to work outside the home, and both they and their children suffer when someone isn't there to monitor the kid's zoom schooling. I am grateful that I can still nurture, cook meals, and be an emotional comfort for my kids."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

JK: "I am very lucky in that I had and continue to have financial, mental, and social stability during this time...especially compared to so many others who have been struggling so much during this past year. I would rather not complain about my challenges, because I realize I am extremely grateful and fortunate, even though it hasn't been 'easy'".

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

JK: "Seeing my family and friends without restriction! Being able to travel! Supporting local businesses and venues in person! Not wearing a mask every single moment I'm outside."

Thank you, Jinah, for your motivating words and affirmations. You are someone worth knowing and someone who inspires us all. UCLA, please win tonight so Jinah and I can do an 8-clap via FaceTime!

Follow Jinah and her companies on Instagram:

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 8 clap anchor california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 entrepreneur face mask family feature global pandemic go bruins health high school interview journalist los angeles los angeles photographer mask middle school new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine reporter robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe ucla ucla bruins virus wear a mask zoom zoom classes zoom school Sat, 03 Apr 2021 05:32:32 GMT
Covid in California: The BIGGEST BRUIN, L.A. Sports Fan, and Overall Badass...Sandra Tabares In honor of UCLA's Sweet 16 win last night and their entrance to the NCAA Elite 8, I present you with: THE BIGGEST BRUIN I KNOW! Oh, and yesterday was also her BIRTHDAY. Talk about a great GIFT! Thank you, Bruins, for the W! You made this UCLA Alum's day one she will always remember.

Sandra, or Ms. Tabares, as I still catch myself calling her, is a family person. I saw that early on when I was just in the 5th grade as she smiled and introduced herself with a great, big, "Bruin" hug. She is warm, loving, compassionate, and understands people from the inside out.

Sandra is the Magnet Coordinator and Athletic Director at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (SOCES), my alma mater, and has been working there since the millennium...AKA the year 2000, the same year I began attending this amazing institution and family-oriented, visual and performing arts school.

Sandra IS a family person, as she introduces new students, siblings, and parents to the well-rounded, SOCES community. Ms. Tabares always makes sure that everyone is happy and at ease. Let's also note that although she is super fun and chill, she is also quite the disciplinarian and knows exactly how to deal with all types of people and their respective personalities. She takes her job seriously, but also knows how to have a good time. I always felt safe when Ms. Tabares was around. I mean, not only carried a walkie-talkie and rode around in a golf cart, but she was in charge of rounding up the twenty-seven yellow school busses that students rode from all over the valley to get to school and home on time. Bottom line: Sandra is one you can trust and she knows hot to get things DONE.

Although UCLA's NCAA Basketball appearance is currently making her smile from ear to ear, Covid-19 made it extremely challenging for Sandra to show her true happiness and zest for life.

In the Summer of 2020, Sandra's father, whom she was extremely close with, contracted this awful disease. As a positive person and fellow Bruin, I empathize with how hard this must have been for Sandra and her entire family. Her dad was her biggest cheerleader. In fact, they were cheerleaders TOGETHER. They were extremely close and went to almost every sporting event as a duo - from Los Angeles Kings games at STAPLES Center to UCLA basketball games at Pauley Pavilion, and football games at the Rose Bowl...they had season tickets and cheered on our LA teams, often losing their voices because they cared so much. Losing their voices for passion was never an issue, but losing her dad was absolutely devastating.

See below for my intimate interview with this amazing, True Bruin:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

ST: "I lost my father on September 28, 2020, to COVID. It has been  the most devastating thing to ever happen to me. The difference for me, was that I was able to see him in the hospital every day. My sisters and I were was fortunate to visit our dad in his ICU room in full body PPE. I was able to talk to him, hold his hand, and let him know he wasn’t in that room alone. My biggest fear was that he would feel alone. I remember his blood pressure and heart rate fluctuating when we spoke to him. Some say it’s coincidence. I believe this was his way of telling us he could hear us. This was a blessing in disguise."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

ST: "I have not gotten it, but many family members have. I know of colleagues and friends who have as well."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

ST: "I am an LAUSD educator (Coordinator and Athletic Director) who now works from home. I miss the kids!!! I know many are upset at the stance teachers have taken, but for me personally, it’s all about safety. My safety, the student’s safety and the safety of those they live with is of the utmost importance.  PERIOD. Doing our jobs from home is not easy, it’s not ideal, but it is the safest."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

ST: "A long one...GO BRUINS!"

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

ST: "Traveling, gatherings, watching my students succeed."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

ST: "My health, the friendships that were created from this. The support system I have."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

ST: "Getting over the fact that my dad was stolen from me. He easily had a good 10-15 years left. I constantly wonder if he realized before they intubated him, that he would never see his kids or grandkids again." She goes on to say that, "being separated from most of the people in my world has been difficult as well."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

ST: "Traveling, hugging my friends and family."

Thank you, Sandra, for being completely and utterly vulnerable with me. Your honesty is the best policy, and you have always been an inspiration to all those lucky enough to know you. Oh, and GO BRUINS! This is for your dad.

CAN I GET AN 8-CLAP and HAPPY BIRTHDAY for the one and only, Sandra Tabares?! Please, and thank you.

This is Robin Randolph, with your SOCES Sports Report...just kidding. This is Robin Randolph, with your latest Covid in California feature.

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature global pandemic go bruins health high school interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask middle school new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography sherman oaks center for enriched studies socal soces social distancing southern california stay home stay safe ucla ucla bruins virus wear a mask zoom school Mon, 29 Mar 2021 23:21:55 GMT
Covid in California: Master Chief and Master of Life, Ronald (Ron) Pekkala Sr. Serendipity: noun. "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. good fortune; luck."

I absolutely love when serendipity occurs, and I often think of it as fate rather than luck. Meant to be, sort of thing. Ya feel me?

Last Friday, I was walking Tova home from the dog park and she and I both looked up as soon as this man walked by. To be honest, I felt like I had seen him before, which I probably had...Truth be told, masks and Covid have even made it hard for extroverts like myself strike up a conversation with the average person.  However, Ron smiled at us (yes, he forgot his mask at home - whoops!), which gave me the green light.

Usually, conversation strikes when I see someone or something interesting. But with masks and Covid, I'm sure many of us can relate and say that we have "held back" and "kept our mouths shut". I'm going to blame masks for this one, even though I still wear mine and strongly believe that even after you are vaccinated, we must continue to wear them to stop the spread of this awful thing called Covid-19.

Okay, back to this encounter...I knew I had to know this man. Not only was he wearing a U.S. Navy sweatsuit from head to toe, but his smile was contagious! Even Tova noticed the "good" in him. Pun intended.

Going off that serendipity, Ron relayed, "I was quite surprised, IMPRESSED, when you accosted me the other day. We started chatting as though we had known each other for a long time. That does not happen often. I was pleased to meet Tova. I had seen her as you were walking her before and thought her one of the prettiest pups I had seen. Her prance is delightful. She enjoys meeting people. Just as her Mom does!"

I know a lot of us can't say it was a "GOOD year"...but let's be real, there's good in everything. We just have to be open to seeing it!

Meet Ronald (Ron) Pekkala Sr...Retired Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO/E-9) and the most humble man you might ever meet.

Just to give you some information, for all those not familiar with the military, Master Chief is the most distinguished Petty Officer. They are also known as “Department Chief.” MCPO is highly credentialed in their expertise and holds the most authority in large Departments. As Master Chief, they must maintain unity, communication, and cooperation in the Chiefs’ Mess.

There are not many assigned to each ship, possibly one Master Chief to each large division, but not necessarily. "I would have been the most senior enlisted sailor in a ship's division, or possibly the department. Perhaps I should break a ship's structure down. Each ship or shore command is set up into different departments i.e. Medical, Dental, Navigation, Engineering, Air, Supply, Deck, Executive, Weapons, etc."

A department is headed by a senior officer. It is then divided into different divisions depending upon the technical skills, or ratings, required in that division. As an example, on an aircraft carrier here are some: V1 - Flight Deck Aircraft Directors (Yellow Shirts), V2 - Catapults, Arresting Gear, plus those of us who maintained the PLAT and FLOLS (Green Shirts), V3 - Hangar Deck Aircraft Directors (Yellow Shirts), V4 - Fuels (Purple Shirts, often called Grapes. Launching officers, called shooters, wear Yellow Shirts as do a select few other officers. The Engineering Department consists of enlisted Machinist Mates, Electricians Mates, Enginemen, Damage Controllmen, Each department is headed by a senior officer and staff. It is subdivided into divisions each headed by an officer/s and staff.

"Had I remained in the Navy, I may have been assigned to the Engineering Department and Electrical (E) Division or could have been assigned some administrative position other than those."

"The most senior MCPO assigned to a ship or shore command would be designated as Command Master Chief and acts as senior enlisted representative to the Commanding Officer. He remains junior to a Warrant Officer or commissioned officer, but due to his years of service AND his positional authority, is respected by all. But then, so are all MCPOs."

"The Master Chief of the Navy is chosen from one of the most senior E9s in the Navy. By seniority I mean time as an E9. He works with/for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO)."

A little more about Ron:

A good, driven, Midwestern young man, Ron was born in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and moved to Northern Wisconsin at the age of 4 or 5. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserves in high school in 1956 and went Active Duty upon graduation. He enrolled in technical school in the U.S. Navy. He went on to graduate from Interior Communications Electrician Class “A” School, Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill. He was then assigned to the USS SARATOGA CVA 60. Commissioned in 1956, this ship spent most of her career in the Mediterranean, but also participated during the Vietnam War, receiving one battle star for her service. One of her last operational duties was to participate in Operation Desert Storm. Yes, they refer to ships as "she"...I kind of like it! :)

Ron's highlights of the Saratoga were two trips to the Mediterranean Sea and ports. He then left the Saratoga, accepting discharge, and after a period, he reenlisted in the Navy as it was agreed to take him at his separation rate and rating of IC2 (pay grade E5). For anyone curious about Navy pay grades, visit

Prior to being assigned to the Pre-commissioning crew for USS ALBANY (CG10), Ron attended a 12-week school at IC “C” School in Great Lakes. The ship was commissioned at the Boston Naval Shipyard where she had been converted from a WWII heavy cruiser (CA) to a Guided Missile Cruiser (CG). The highlights of Albany were being promoted to IC1; being a Plankowner; visiting Holland as part of a North Atlantic cruise; becoming a proud Bluenose awardee when we crossed the Arctic Circle and another Mediterranean 

Ron then reenlisted for IC Class “B” School. After graduation, he was assigned to USS INTREPID (CVS11), an updated WWII Essex Class aircraft carrier.

"Highlights of INTREPID include transiting the Suez Canal en route to the Western Pacific and Vietnam. Highlights include the Indian Ocean and sea snakes; becoming a Shellback; Subic Bay Philippines; Yokosuka & Sasebo Japan; Hong Kong; Singapore; Mombasa, Kenya; sailing around the Cape of Good Hope; promotion to IC Chief (E7) and a stop in Rio De Janeiro returning to Norfolk. On my second trip to Vietnam, I left the ship early, as I became eligible for shore duty. Transferring was an experience! I took a public bus from Subic Bay to Manila, flight from Manila to Hong Kong, caught another flight to New York via India, Saudi Arabia, and one other stop which is probably best forgotten." I like his sense of humor, don't you?

"After stammering my way through Instructor Training School, I was assigned to IC “B” School where I taught for a total of 4 years (3 plus a 1-year extension). Upon completing my duties, I used a reenlistment bonus to attend Class “C”, Closed Circuit TV School. This was a 19-week class which covered Pilot Landing Aid Television (PLAT) on carriers and covered Shipboard Information Training and Entertainment (SITE) on smaller ships. Graduating from this course awarded me an all-expense paid visit to USS ENTERPRISE (CVN65) in Alameda, CA. The Big E was a great tour! Due to my being in the Air Department vice Engineering Departments as I had been on the other ships, I was promoted to Senior Chief (E8) while on the ship and Master Chief (E9) shortly after leaving her. The E was a tough ship for families. Out of 3 1/2 years of duty, we had two eight-month deployments to Vietnam. In between deployments the ship went to Bremerton, WA, Naval Shipyard for refueling and overhaul for six months. I attended another school learning about the Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System in Lakehurst, New Jersey. At least this happened while the ship was in drydock in Bremerton. The class was taught in a blimp hangar (you recall the Hindenburg disaster?) This blimp hanger is so large it has its own weather."

"Returning to Alameda from the second West Pac visit, I discovered my promotion cut my sea tour short and I was eligible for shore duty. Once again, Great Lakes. I ended up as Branch Head of IC “C” School. That is sort of like a civilian school principal."

"Completing this tour, I was assigned to The Chief of Naval Broadcasting. This office oversaw TV on Navy ships and shore stations. Because he and his head engineer took a liking to the sailors, I had on staff teaching the Closed Circuit TV course, he had me visit a number of Navy shore stations and ships to recommend how to relieve the US Army from being responsible for our SITE TV and shore station television maintenance."

Ron spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy, and although he retired from the service, he still continues to stay active and work when he can.

Another fun fact: Ron is both a wine connoisseur and a beer lover. Two things I love as well! When asking him about his favorite wine and beers, here's what he had to say:

"What is Wisconsin famous for? Beer and Cheese. So; Beer is likened to Mothers Milk to most of us present and former lads. So, then, being a Cheese Head (Packer Backer) comes naturally as well. One thing I have done in my travels is sample the local beer. This is especially rewarding now that Craft Beers have become so widely popular. The food available in many of these places is often unique and good. There are very few communities which do not have a small brew house. Wines are a bit different. Wine is something which some folks must take a liking to. Living in California for many years, I first became interested in the grape when I was transferred to the USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) home ported in Alameda. There are several good wineries in the Bay Area. It was natural to pile wife and kids in the car or RV and explore. With very little planning, the trip would take us close to a winery. Sampling there we always picked up a red we liked. At first, being ignorant novices, we chilled our reds. Don’t! It has been fairly recently that I have taken a liking to dry whites. Enjoying Italian foods and fish, I soon found the snobbish “reds with meat, whites with sea food” was not true. A good wine is a pleasure with any food, or without."

Now to get into the specifics...

"Wines I enjoy...

Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo. The reds I enjoy most must be high in tannins.

Whites: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling. No real preference. I prefer dry whites. Preferably aged in oak which lends a softer, buttery taste/feel than does steel. No sweet stuff.

Wine companies I have used: Naked Wines, an online seller with good, discounted wines. A variety.

Wineries NAPA area: Clos Pegase, Silver Oak, Beringer, Rutherford Hill, Caymus, Clos Du Val, Stag’s Leap and really, you cannot go wrong driving through and sampling any winery. Part of the experience is visiting the winery and taking a tour if offered. This holds true for any of these areas on this page. I guess I am easy to please. I drink even Vendange (cheap) in boxes.

Wineries Central Coast/Paso Robles/Templeton area: Justin (!!), Wild Horse, Maddalena, Tablas Creek...

Wineries Escondido area: Miramonte (Has a wine dinner!), Orfila...

Santa Barbara area: Buttonwood, Cottonwood Canyon, I have found some excellent whites around here.

He goes on to say,  "I have not found a region in California which has wines I have not enjoyed."

In terms of beers, this is what Ron had to say:

"My favorite beer, as my brother says...FREE BEER!"

I love his unapologetic honesty and sense of humor! 

"Actually, 805; whatever Lazy Dog has; Mickey's; Spotted Cow, a micro brew sold only in Wisconsin; Lone Star; most any micro brew because of the experience. Like wines, the experience is in the tasting. There are lots in San Diego which I enjoy when I visit there. Including Pizza Port, Stone Breweries and several others in North County."

Drinking has definitely become a way to cope with Covid-19...something we all are probably afraid to admit, but hey, that's half the battle, right?

See below for my interview with Ron to get to know how Covid-19 impacted him:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally? 

RP: "I find that being confined to the house is difficult. Being an explorer probably even more so."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

RP: "Not to my knowledge."

RR:: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I. E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

RP: "Professionally, I have been in the Entertainment community for a few years. Covid has negatively impacted those of us in small companies; no matter what industry it is."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

RP: "Nope. Just continue to take it with me and sometimes forget to put it on even when I have it."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

RP: "The freedom to eat out when desired. The freedom to visit son-in-law and grandkids in San Diego. This may not be a good answer: I just miss life as it was even two years ago. A visit for two or three days was always a pleasure. They made me feel welcome. My son is a great cook and host. San Diego, especially North County as it is referred to, is great. I also enjoy visiting the Navy Base and driving by the ships, wandering through the Navy Exchange store."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

RP: "Ha! The way life was pre-Covid!"

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

RP: "Keeping my sanity. Trying to do more on less funds. I have not been able to travel as much as I would like. Not in my RV which was another life. I have family in San Diego, Orlando, and Wisconsin I would love to see. There are places in the US, South America, and Europe I would love to see again, or anew. Not now! Keeping my sanity...connecting with many people have been "hiding" behind the mask...I am not a shopper. If something is needed, I generally will get it and be done. However, I do enjoy seeing people without the hideous masks we are compelled to wear. An example, I sometimes visit COSTCO simply to see what new items there are, and to people watch."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

RP: "Throwing away the masks, traveling, returning to life as it used to be...if we'll ever get back there again. To not have to sit at every other table. To go in and enjoy chatting with people that you don't know at different tables. I enjoy cooking...Soups, chili, pasta sauce, BBQ ribs, stuff that must simmer long times. I am lazy, so I do not do it often enough. As I mentioned, I enjoy going out to eat. Lazy Dog being one favorite. I also enjoy good Mexican or Italian restaurants, good steak houses, fish places. Conversations with your table mates is great. One can meet the most interesting people when dining out. The patrons of course, but I enjoy good servers. By good, I mean competent, friendly, even sassy. Food is meant to be enjoyed and atmosphere is a big part of that. Once found, a good restaurant is meant to be revisited. Once poor service or food is encountered, that place goes on my “never again” list!"

Thank you, universe, for connecting Ron to me. And Ron, thank you, for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and someone I am lucky to know. #serendipity

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 beer california california photographer californians chief petty officer coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature global pandemic health interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask master chief military military life new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine Retired Master Chief Petty Officer robin randolph robin randolph photography serendipity socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe united states navy us navy virus wear a mask wine Sat, 27 Mar 2021 15:58:32 GMT
Covid in California: The Vaccine Spring is the season of new beginnings...

Fresh buds bloom, animals awaken, and the earth seems to come to life again. ๐ŸŒป

Oh, and today I got my first dose of the Covid Vaccine. 

Let’s do this, world! ๐ŸŒŽ

Much love, health, kindness, and happiness,


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid vaccine covid19 covid-19 get vaccinated global pandemic health mask moderna moderna vaccine new beginnings new normal pandemic safety first spring stay healthy stay safe vaccine Wed, 24 Mar 2021 23:14:45 GMT
Covid in California: The REAL Magic School Bus, featuring Meeka, Cally, and Ron Once you become a school bus driver…all your problems are behind you! Just ask the proud owners of this "house on wheels"!

I came across this bright yellow bus when I was walking back from a photo shoot (once again, thank you fate and spontaneity).

Not only did the color of the bus strike my attention, as it was in the parking lot of a residential apartment complex with no school in sight, but I also had to do a double take because I saw a dog behind the wheel in the driver’s seat. Say what!

At first, I thought I was a) dreaming or b) that the dog was a statue or stuffed animal, and that someone was playing a joke on me. Ha. The joke was on me, because neither of those things were true. In fact, as soon as I busted out my iPhone to take a little behind the scenes video of this encounter, the dog tilted it's head and started barking (aka talking to me), which quickly resulted in me figuring out that this was a REAL LIVING DOG.

Seconds later, a human by the name of Ron, popped his head up out of one of the bus windows.

 Everything was much clearer now…Meeka (the dog) doesn't own the bus, but she is the driver!

Before I get into this exciting feature, let's first rewind to childhood for a second, since we are in fact talking about a bright yellow school bus.

Does anyone remember the mid-90’s series, “The Magic School Bus”?! I sure do. As a matter of fact, it was a pivotal part of my book collection back in the day.

The best-selling Scholastic book series follows Ms. Frizzle and her class as they set off on field trips. Ms. Frizzle takes kids on a virtual bus ride full of adventures, magically transforming the vehicle into a plane, submarine, spaceship or surfboard, while still managing to teach science. Cool teacher alert! Oh, and she has red hair. Can you see why I liked these books?

As soon as I started conversing with Ron, I realized how cool this was and asked if he would mind if I took a few photos of Meeka (the four legged bus driver) and the bus. After all, this story was TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL, and I needed to feature them on Covid in California.

Meet Cally & Ron Trandell, aka the new Ms. Frizzle — this couple’s Covid-19 story is full of creativity, love, and passion for travel…a few of my favorite things! The Trandells are truly making MAGIC happen inside this bus and I can't wait to take the "after" photos once this Covid-19 job is complete!

See below for my interview with them:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

C&R: "Honestly, Covid has made us realize even more how grateful we are for the friendships and amazing experiences we have had in our lives thus far. More than anything, it has lit a fire in our souls again to take risks and do the things that make us happy in life because life is short, and all of it can change in an instant."
RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

C&R: "Quite a few of our friends and family members have already gotten Covid, and a few of them are still battling the long-term side effects."

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

C&R: "Our lives have completely changed since Covid began. Originally, we were living in Michigan in our own home. We were getting ready to sell our home, and we were looking for another adventure. Ron applied for a job in California on a whim, and a month later, we were packing up everything and moving to California. We have both been through a few professional life changes since last March."

C: "Professionally Ron has been working in different aspects of heating and cooling throughout the Pandemic. I have been transitioning from being unemployed to working at home and now starting a new job as an activity assistant for Senior Living. Once we moved to California, Ron began working in the Heating and Cooling industry again, and I was stuck home every day by myself job searching. Being so far away from family and friends and not interacting with others in California to build a new support system and friendship circle here took a huge toll on my mental health. In November, I began hiking around 15-25 a week, and I fell in love with nature and myself all over again. Spending time in nature and connecting with the mountains and the ocean allowed me to grow personally more than I ever imagined."

C&R: "A few months ago, we decided that we would make another huge life change and convert a school bus into our home on wheels. We knew international travel was on the back burner for a while with so many unknowns due to the Pandemic. Also, with the cost of housing in California, realistically, we didn’t know if we could afford to stay here. We love to travel, and at this point, building out a tiny home on wheels is the best way to satisfy our craving for adventure and have a little bit of stability at the same time."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?
C: "Before we moved to California, Ron’s mom made us about 8 different masks, all hand-made so that we would be stocked up to stay safe!"
RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?
C: "For me, I miss interacting with people in general and making new friends. I also miss spending time with my family. Both Ron and I also just miss the simplicity of being able to go out to the bar after a long day of work and just hang out together and have a drink or grab some food."
RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

C: "Covid has made me grateful for the alone time I have had with myself and my own thoughts this year that has ultimately helped shape me into a more secure and confident woman. I have had more time alone with myself and my thoughts this last year than I have probably had in the last 10 years. I used this time to face many of my inner demons head-on and improve my mental health. Time alone with your own thoughts can be terrifying, but it has given me such an amazing chance to grow as a person and finally be confident with who I am."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

C:"Honestly, job searching. I have wanted to work at an in-person job since we moved to California, but it has been tough to find a job during Covid. I can’t tell you how many jobs I applied for when we first moved here before deciding to take a work-from-home job. But then being by myself day after day really took a toll on me. Thankfully, I just started a new job as an activity assistant for Senior Living, and I am so happy to be back in the world and helping others!"
RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

C&R: "We are both most excited to travel back home to Michigan to see family and friends safely!"

RR: Does your bus have a name?

C: "So far, we have not been able to make a final decision on our bus's name. We feel like she needs a name to properly suit her, but we still haven't decided. We are open to recommendations for names! Right now, we are hoping to complete the build by the end of June because that is when our lease is up. We have had the bus for about a month now and have a crazy long way to go to get her finished by June. With that being said, even if she isn't fully finished by the end of June, we still plan on moving into her and just finish the build while we are living there to save money. Right now, we love the area, and once we move into the bus, we still plan to stay in the area for a little longer so we can both keep our jobs and work to save up money before we travel."

RR: Do you have a timeline for how long it'll take to complete, what you anticipate it looking like, the features inside and out?

C: "Honestly, we are just taking the bus build one step and one decision at a time. We know that we will be painting the outside of the bus, but we are not sure what color. As far as the insides go, it will have many of the features of a regular home, just smaller! Our solar panels on our roof will be enough to power a few small lights inside, our fridge, vent van, water pump, and charge our electronics. Our elevated bed will be in the back of the bus, and we are going to build a frame a few feet off the floor to have storage space underneath the bed. Having the bed in the back of the bus will allow us to open our handicap accessible door and have outdoor access right from our "bedroom". We will also have a bathroom that includes a hot water shower and a compostable toilet."

C: "Since we are originally from Michigan, we wanted to make sure we could take the bus back home and still be warm, so we will be including a diesel-powered heater in the bus along with a rooftop AC unit so we can transition from a California summer to a Michigan winter. For our kitchen, we would like to have a deep sink to do all of the dishes, along with a camp stove that will give us 2-3 burners and a small oven space powered by propane to cook and bake. That is one thing I was not willing to give up because I love cooking healthy meals and then treats for dessert!"

C: "To accommodate any extra company, if we have any, our couch will convert into a bed for extra sleeping space. We will have a removable table to put in front of the couch to eat, play board games, and work.  Overall we have certain things we are unwilling to budge on, but we are still flexible with how the overall bus will turn out.  We are not sure how we want the final style to be on the inside, but we would like to incorporate some of our previous travels and adventures into our build. We figure we will find inspiration for our build along the way!"

RR: What are some of your "must have" items that will be coming along with you in this bus?

C: "Some of our 'must-have' items that will be coming along with us on the bus include; Meeka's Toy Box and dog bed, Ron's surfboard and violin, and my yoga mat, rock tumbler, and jewelry making supplies to make my sea glass jewelry, as well as a decent assortment of our favorite board games and hiking and camping gear. And of course, all of our needed electronics like laptops, phones, cameras, etc."

C: "We still aren't completely sure what life on the road will look like.  We would like to transition to doing things we truly love to make money on the road, and we are still exploring ideas. But we also have the option for Ron to work at various locations along the way since help in the heating and cooling industry is always in high demand. To do this, we will be building a few metal storage boxes underneath the bus that you can pull out like a drawer, where Ron can store all of his tools he would need for work.  Having access to tools like this will allow us to stay in one location for a few months and explore the area while working."

RR: What's the gas mileage like for this magic school bus?

C: "As far as mileage goes, yes, we were told that the bus gets between 10-14 mpg, but once we have the whole bus built, this might change depending on how much the bus weighs. I wish we could share more quirks about her, but we haven't been with her long enough yet to know of any! ...Oh, wait! When we first got her, I was driving her home from just east of LA. There was a problem with the emergency brake alarm. There was an extremely loud beeping I had to deal with the whole way home during LA rush hour traffic. Not to mention all of the loud road noises, especially from the handicap lift rattling around in the back. I was completely terrified driving her home for the first time, but I was oddly at peace even with all of the beeping, road noise, and traffic. Thankfully, Ron was able to play around with the wires and figure out the problem a few days later."

RR: Most important question: How did you get the bus and were you specifically looking for it? 

C: "As far as how we got the bus, we had started seriously looking for buses in December, and we found a few good contenders, but nothing felt like it was meant to be.  We knew we didn't want a full-size bus, but we also knew that a van would be too small."

C: "A week before we found our bus, we had found a good bus in Texas that we were thinking about taking the 21-hour drive out to take a look at it, but I ended up backing out because I got nervous. Ron was getting impatient with me because I just kept saying, 'we will just know when it's right.' The next week on a Sunday morning, we were looking for buses on the Facebook marketplace and found a short bus that looked appealing. It was listed from a private dealer, and we made the drive out to just East of LA to look at the bus that day. Unfortunately, the bus had more miles on it than we were comfortable with, but the seller had many buses for us to look at. We decided on the bus we have now because the bus was a bit taller inside, which gave us more standing room, there were no wheel wells to deal with inside, and it seemed to be in pretty good shape. And honestly, it really did just feel right. We put a downpayment down on the spot and drove back to pick her up the next weekend!"

FUN FACT: Ron and Cally are Ron are trying to be partially eco friendly for the build and use second hand materials. They have already gone around to second hand stores to try to find a good sink and cabinets for their kitchen. Cally relays, "I saw someone throw out the old wood slotted collapsible bed frame by the trash a few weeks ago, so I picked them up because the wood was in perfectly good shape and I figured I could use the wood for a bus project rather than it going in a landfill! We know that because of our time constraints we won’t have the time we want to be able to find everything second hand, but we are at least trying to be creative and save money where we can along with being sustainable!"
Anyone want to take a ride in this COOL SCHOOL BUS? I know I do!

Thank you, Ron and Cally, for your creative and inspiring Covid in California story. And tell Meeka that I will be bringing her treats next time I see her!

To keep up with the Trandell's progress on the bus, check out Cally's instagram: @littlebackpackbigdreams

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community! The whole point of this project is to connect humans during a time of so much uncertainty.

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 bus california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 diy do it yourself feature global pandemic health house on wheels interview los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography school school bus socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe the magic school bus virus wear a mask Fri, 19 Mar 2021 21:27:00 GMT
Covid in California: Wine, Peloton, books, & a Goldendoodle...the keys to getting through Covid! Wine, Peloton, books, and a Goldendoodle...the keys to getting through Covid-19!

RR: Did you or anyone you know get it? 

K&S: "Luckily we and our families have not gotten Covid. We know lots of people that have had it, some worse than others. We have had friends in the hospital and acquaintances die from Covid. We have all been very careful not to get it. I am definitely the most cautious person out of all of my friends! It can be difficult to be the most cautious person, especially when friends or coworkers don't seem to care. I have definitely felt judged for trying to stay healthy which is a weird experience. My Dad is in the medical industry and has to help Covid patients everyday, so hearing stories of my Dad living through it in a very real way makes it very real to me."

I had the pleasure of sitting down with two incredibly, motivated individuals and dedicated doodle parents, Kelsey and Sam, and learned their secrets to surviving Covid in California.

Let's just start this off by saying that they've truly made the most of the pandemic, and that their positive attitude has gone a long way in getting through this extremely trying time. Kesley & Sam, you really do have a lucky "Penny" (yes, that's the name of their Goldendoodle!).

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

K&S: "It has changed our lives in almost every way...honestly a lot for the better, you always have to find the silver lining."

K&S: "Things we can't do because of quarantine: Eat at restaurants, get our hair and nails done at the salon, hug or shake hands with anyone, blow out birthday candles on a big cake and share it, spend holidays with our families, share a drink or food with friends, hangout inside a friends house, and so much more..."

K&S: "Things we now get to do because of quarantine: Be thankful for everything, save money on gas and travel, spend more quality time with the people and animals you live with, slow down (this has been the biggest blessing), enjoy nature and fresh air to get out of the house, educate ourselves and others on topics like systemic racism, time to organize and reorganize your home, do something nice for your neighbors, make home cooked meals, work on projects you never had time to pre Covid, read books, pause to appreciate our health and realize what truly matters and what else is just fluff that we did to keep ourselves busy."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

K: "HEALTH AND FAMILY. I have prayed for my health and my family's health multiple times a day since March and we are so blessed to have been able to all stay healthy. Praying that continues! During Covid and the year of 2020, I realized that you can truly get through anything with strong faith in God, the love and support of family, good wine, and great Wifi."

The couple has also gotten super into Peloton, which I can 100% relate to!

Anyone else addicted to Peloton?

Oh, and who had to adjust to 24/7 work from home life with your significant other?

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust? 

K: "Sam and I were both working in offices and have now both worked from home since March 2020. I am an extremely social person so it was an adjustment but now I LOVE being at home with Sam and our dog! We are both extremely thankful that we have been able to keep our jobs and work from home. Sam was also getting his Masters Degree so when that switched to being online we were able to spend way more time together, which was also an adjustment since we hardly saw each other the last two years."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

K&S: "It is crazy that we actually didn't get any masks until about a month into Covid because we just kept thinking it would end soon and we wouldn't need them. We literally didn't leave our house (we had EVERYTHING delivered). Now we have a ton of masks but don't really love any of them haha. We still haven't found the perfect fit yet, if you know of any great fitting ones please let us know!"

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

K: "I miss hugging my parents, having people over and going over to other people's houses, going to target and it feeling like 'normal going to target', dog park meetups, happy hour with friends, and weddings (my brother was supposed to get married in July 2020 then rescheduled for July 2021 and now they have canceled until the vaccine is fully distributed)."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

K: "Not wearing a mask anymore, lysol wiping EVERYTHING all the time, touching things without being paranoid after and going to the spa. I know that is super random, but I really miss the spa. Going to the spa was mine and Sam's "thing" so I can't wait to do that again. Oh and we are both excited to go to the salon to get our hair done. I have given Sam all of his haircuts since March. He would not let me give him a haircut for 2 months and finally caved when it was growing over his ears. Now I have gotten the hang of it and they turn out pretty good."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

K: "Most days are good days, but probably once a month I just have bad quarantine day, where I want to be anywhere but home. I am sure everyone has hard quarantine days, it's not like we are trained on how to stay home all the time. We love to host dinner parties, game nights, super bowl parties, etc. and I can count on my fingers how many people have entered our house since Covid started. I crave family and friend gatherings, but I know that all of our health and safety is way more important. The hardest thing has been feeling like I sit ALL THE TIME. I miss moving my body the way that I used to constantly move it. Luckily we got a Peloton, that has been keeping us sane."

The 2020 holiday season was an interesting one for many of us...Kayla and I were actually supposed to fly to the East Coast to spend it with her family, but then they all got Covid and our trip was cancelled.

Kelsey and Sam were fortunate to spend some of it with their family.

K: "My favorite moment during covid/quarantine was on Thanksgiving. Sam and I tried to get tested a few days before but the lines were hours long for a free test. We ended up going to a rapid testing site where we paid $150 each for a test (the things we do for family and holidays, it was worth it). We did this so that we could spend Thanksgiving with Sam's parents. Usually we have about 20 people together, but this year it was just the four of us. We still made all of the delicious family recipes and had lots of leftovers. My parents did a driveby Thanksgiving where we exchanged food. Anyways, my favorite part of the day was right before we were about to eat. We had all the food spread out and ready to dish up, the last thing we were waiting on was the green bean casserole to come out of the oven. Sam's Dad reached in to take it out of the oven and it somehow did a complete flip inside the oven and onto the floor. We all stood in the kitchen in silence as we looked at the gigantic mess that had just been made. We were all just standing there in shock for a few seconds and then Sam's Mom was the one that broke the silence. She turned to me and said "take a picture"as she laughed. We all laughed so hard we cried. We were able to save part of the casserole, but we all got a MUCH needed deep belly laugh. I don't think I had laughed that hard this entire year. So a huge mess ended up being one of my favorite moments from 2020." See the below photo for this candid memory!

Thank you, Kelsey and Sam, for sharing your stories with me. You have been, and always will be, a ray of sunshine in my life!


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 books business school california california photographer californians coronavirus couple couple goals covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature fitness global pandemic goldendoodle health interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask MBA new normal pandemic peloton pepperdine pepperdine university photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask wine work out working out workout Fri, 19 Mar 2021 00:42:04 GMT
Covid in California: Dining out and Teaching in with Longtime Friends, Sue and Michelle Who has eaten out in LA since restaurants reopened for outdoor dining?

I personally haven't, but, on January 30th, I interviewed two women who were enjoying the first weekend of restaurants being open for business in 2021.

Meet Sue and Michelle. I noticed these two lovely women enjoying a little, social distance, outdoor lunch at the one and only, Art's Delicatessen. It was their first time out since everything reopened the day before.

This is a halfway point for them - they each live in other parts of the valley…they are walking buddies and they are both teachers. In fact, they are the best of friends and were even in each other's weddings!

Sue & Michelle wanted to see what this whole outdoor dining thing was about, in order to switch up their normal walking routine, so they met halfway this day at Art's. I asked them if they felt safe in this "new normal" and they both replied, "Yes."

When getting to chat with them, I learned a lot more about how virtual learning has been both a positive and negative experience during Covid-19.

They both teach in Burbank (virtually). One of them gets completely dressed up and one wears sweat pants to teach behind the screen, for now.

RR: What did you miss most about life before Covid-19?

"Social aspects. Seeing students, teachers…"

RR: Has it been challenging teaching virtually on a screen in terms of connection?

“Yes and no…we have office hours so that kids can come on Zoom for extra one-on-one help.”

RR: What has been the biggest challenge during this time?

"I feel bad for kids that don’t have good environments and for those kids who feel like they are not able to see the world."

Sue teaches middle school, while Michelle teaches high school. Both of their stories are so fascinating!

RR: How do you think classroom learning has changed with this "new normal" of Zoom learning?

"Certain things will digress and certain executive function skills because they are kind of on their own. They have to figure out how to get up and manage their time differently than they would if they were going to school."

"It really depends on how disciplined the students and even the parents are. They are not required to turn on their screen. About half of my 6th graders actually turn it on..."

A technique that some teachers have adopted is to have the students turn on their camera and show his or her face when they first begin class, and then again at the end of class. “Even if you just want to show your nose, that’s fine. I just want to know that there’s a person behind the circle. When they don’t have their camera on, all you see is the circle with their initials in it.”

I found it so interesting to hear what it's like to teach via Zoom, from teachers who have worked in the school district for many years.

“Sometimes I know they are playing video games or doing something else because they are laughing and I’m not saying something funny...", Michelle relayed.

RR: What is the funniest story you’ve heard from virtual learning?

Michelle gave them 10 minutes to complete a task, and told the kids that they would go over it together. After 5 minutes, one kid unmuted himself, and then proceeded to ask, “I’m all done, do I have time to go take a shower?” ... "They’re all over the place. A kid was smoking on camera…and I said, ‘you need to sit down so I can’t see it’ and the kid said, ‘that’s ok I’ll move’."

RR: How do you think virtual learning has impacted students during Covid?

6th grader: “If not for virtual teaching, I would want to kill myself”. He was exaggerating, but the point is that Zoom school has given him some type of stability and community, while still growing, even if it’s coming from behind the screen. The kids are so genuine in that way…" 
You know what they say..."kids say the darndest things".

Thank you, Sue and Michelle, for being gracious with your time and for sharing your stories with me! I hope you enjoyed your meal at Art's!

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 arts arts deli arts delicatessen and restaurant california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid learning covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 deli delicatessen" feature food foodie foodies global pandemic health high school interview jewish deli la dining los angeles los angeles dining los angeles photographer los angeles restaurants mask middle school new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay safe teachers virus wear a mask zoom zoom classes zoom learning zoom school Thu, 18 Mar 2021 22:28:44 GMT
Happy International Womenโ€™s Month to all the lovely ladies out there! Happy International Women’s Month to all the lovely ladies out there! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป

Yesterday, I was humbled and honored to interview and photograph two extremely strong, accomplished, and motivated women, who also happen to be UCLA Alumni, just like myself ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’›

I am so excited to share these features with you soon, but for now, please spread the love and tell the women in your life how much you admire and appreciate them! ๐Ÿฅฐ

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 bruins california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 feature global pandemic go bruins health international women's day international women's month interview los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography ucla ucla alum ucla alumni ucla alums ucla bruins Thu, 18 Mar 2021 22:07:55 GMT
Covid in California: Mental Health Matters - Clinical Psychology Doctoral Intern, Ariela Rabizadeh ๐Ÿง  MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Here's a feature I'm excited to share with you...

Ariela is a Child/Adolescent Clinical Psychology Doctoral Intern at a residential treatment center with youth who have life threatening mental health symptoms. Her job is extremely important because she is on the frontlines of supporting these youngsters from all sorts of crises. She works with youth who are diagnosed with a range of different disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD) that may present in emotional dysregulation and difficulty regulating/calming down/soothing. This dysregulation can often lead to life-threatening behaviors such as suicide, self-harm, and/or aggression. Many youth use self-harm as a way to cope with really intense feelings. These 'crises' can be defined as anytime someone is at imminent risk of being a danger to themselves or others.

See below for my captivating interview with Ariela, and let us remember to be gentle, smile (even under a mask), and support one another, especially during this time.

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally? 

AR: I am super close with my family so it’s been tough not to hug them when we social distance outdoors. On a positive note, it inspired me to slow down and take time each day to appreciate health, people, and all the things that are going right. I began engaging in way more self-care with bubble baths, baking, essential oils, new candles and more! It also allowed me to reflect on me and values that are important to me.

RR: Did you or anyone you know get it?

AR: Yes, and it was terrifying! There was a breakout at my workplace, which resulted in mass-testing. I actually took two tests on the same day (mouth swab was negative and an hour later, the nose swab test was positive). I quarantined for 2 weeks and luckily didn't have any symptoms, but apparently that was my case of Covid! It was so scary...I was waking up literally every night terrified that I’d have symptoms come up.

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

AR: When the pandemic first started, I was treating kiddos with OCD and we had to shift to telehealth...which was very odd for the type of interactive and hands-on treatment I was providing. Then half way through the pandemic, I completed all my coursework and I shifted into my full time clinical residency/doctoral internship year which is supposed to be the hardest year of my graduate school experience. I moved away from my family and I began working as a full time clinician treating youth with severe mental health symptoms. I had to adjust to going to work in-person because the youth I work with are at risk for life-threatening behaviors such as suicide and other symptoms that require more intensive treatment and monitoring.

I also had to start wearing very uncomfortable protective gear. As a (soon-to-be) child psychologist, my facial expression/affect is a big tool to show empathy or other’s been so weird doing this job without being able to show my kiddos my reactions... like if I’m laughing with them or that I’m sad with them. Sometimes I feel like the protective gear creates more distance or that it makes therapy less personal.

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

AR: Not really in a figurative sense. In a more literal sense, there’s just a bunch of facial expressions that nobody can see! On the few really hard days where my youth were really struggling, my mask held some of my tears.

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

AR: Going to work each day and being with coworkers in a shared space, grabbing dinner or drinks with friends.

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

AR: Health, gatherings with friends/family, and HUGS!

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

AR: 1. Living and breathing the challenges of 2020/2021 through the youth I work with who are already struggling with so much 2. Having really hard days at a challenging job and not being able to hug or gather with friends/family because I am at high risk for exposure.

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

AR: I am completing my doctoral degree in clinical psychology in a few months so I’m hoping for an actual in-person graduation!

I also can’t wait to provide treatment without a mask, getting dressed up to go out with my friends, traveling, doing hot yoga in-person and decreased worry about keeping those around me healthy and safe! I am also soooooo excited for my hands to become smooth again when I don’t have to sanitize or wash hands a million times a day!

Thank you, Ariela, for sharing your story with us. You are an inspiration to all those lucky enough to know you and we appreciate all that you are doing to make this world a better place!

If you or anyone you know has a story to be shared, please feel free to message or email me!

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians Child/Adolescent Clinical Psychology Doctoral Intern clinical psychology coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature global pandemic health interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask mental health mental illness new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer psychology quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe suicide suicide prevention trauma virus wear a mask youth Thu, 18 Mar 2021 21:03:21 GMT
Covid in California: Charlotte Gets a Car Wash and I bust out my Canon I stopped to get Charlotte cleaned before a gig and ended up doing a spontaneous Covid in California shoot with one of the guys that takes care of my car...

If you live in the Sherman Oaks / San Fernando Valley area and need a car wash, an oil change, or a full detail job...look no further than Fashion Square Car Wash!

As soon as I turned 16 and began driving my 2004 Toyota Highlander, my dad treated me to an unlimited membership at FSCW, which meant that I was showing up to get "Lander" cleaned bi-weekly. Yes, that was the name of my first car and I always had to have his silver rims SHINY AF.

What's noteworthy about this local car wash is not just the quality of the work, but the lively and friendly demeanor you feel as soon as you drive into the parking lot. Family owned since 1964, the staff greet you with smiles and remember your name. They take care of you and make sure your ride is looking as fly as can be!

Fashion Square Car Wash is conveniently located just off the 101 at Woodman Avenue in Sherman Oaks. Turn South, and BOOM! Entrance is on the right.

Just like every other business in the beginning of the pandemic, Fashion Square Car Wash was forced to close for two months to stop the spread of Covid-19. They reopened as soon as they were allowed to, but they still were not hitting full capacity. On a good (normal) day, 800 cars roll in for some sort of service. However, due to Covid, business was cut to about 50%, with 400 coming in, which was significantly slow for the crew.

I rolled into the car wash before a photo shoot the other day, and was greeted by one of my favorites, Freddie Campos. He asked me what I was up to and I told him I was on my way to a photo shoot.

He proceeded to ask if I was the model. I chuckled and replied, "No, dude, I'm the photographer!"

Minutes later, Freddie was modeling for me, as my car went through the wash. I mean, look at his hoodie, mask, and hat! He's a natural!

Special shout out to Edwin (aka Chapin) for the hose special effect! It felt like I was in a movie.

See below for my interview with Freddie:

This stylish dude has been working at Fashion Square Car Wash for the past 5 years. See below for my interview with him on how Covid has effected both his personal and professional life.

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

FC: The lockdown and social distance guidelines have become part of everyday life. The first few months were a complete daze with what the future holds, but now things are starting to look better and more promising.

RR: Did you or anyone you know get it?

FC: I personally came out positive; same with my mother, but we never had any significant symptoms and we quarantined until we came back negative. We made sure everyone around us got tested, too, and luckily they came back negative.

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

FC: Having to wear a mask. Luckily we have a good location at the car wash. Really blessed that it's well known...right off the 101 at Woodman Ave. Only a few car washes do full service, and we are one of the big ones in the valley. My hours were cut a bit, but I'm fortunate to still be working.

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

FC: I like angels.

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

FC: Going out with friends to eat and going to fun places.

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

FC: Regular LA life. We have it good compared to other places.

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

FC: The pay cut...less hours because of less work.

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

FC: Going back to enjoying all the LA attractions.

Thank you, Freddie & Fashion Square Car Wash for always making your customers feel at ease and for taking care of our vehicles! We appreciate you!

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians car car wash cars coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family fashion square car wash feature global pandemic health interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography san fernando valley sfv sherman oaks socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask Thu, 18 Mar 2021 19:48:36 GMT
Covid in California: On the frontlines with Speech-Language Pathologist, Liana Kogan Do you know anyone working on the frontlines during COVID?

I had the pleasure of interviewing my Hot 8 Yoga buddy and healthcare worker, Liana Kogan, who happens to be a Speech-Language Pathologist. Her story about working on the frontlines is eye-opening and jaw-drop worthy. Both literally and figuratively. For those of you that know or see healthcare workers, please thank them for their selfless service and immense responsibilities, both now and in the future. Thank you, Liana, for being willing to share your story with me.

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?

Initially, I thought it was just another virus that the media was hyping up. However, as the months passed and members of my own family and friends contracted COVID, it became apparent that we were dealing with something very serious. The fact that there was, and still is, so much uncertainty, made it very uneasy for me personally.

RR: Did you or anyone you know had Covid-19? 

LK: Yes, members of my family and some of my friends have had COVID. While some have fully recovered, some still have lingering symptoms months later. I also know people who have passed away from complications of the virus.

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19? 

LK: I miss normalcy. I miss doing hot yoga with my hot8 community. I miss going out dancing, traveling, and seeing people walking on streets without their face masks.

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?  

LK: Something I was already so grateful for, but even more so now, my big, beautiful family.

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust? 

LK: This answer is complex. The pandemic has affected me personally and professionally, in more ways than I could ever have imagined. I’ve been a Speech-Language Pathologist for about 13 years and my job goes beyond teaching people how to speak again.

A medical speech-language pathologist works in an acute setting or a hospital and diagnoses and treats a wide range of speech, language, cognitive, and dysphagia or swallowing disorders. SLPs work with patients affected by a variety of neurological disorders, such as brain damage, stroke, seizure, and cancer, and many others.

Our job is to provide therapy for the COVID patients coming off of the ventilator, in addition to working on their ability to swallow, we also focus on their loss of voice as well as cognitive deficits related to the delirium and confusion of being in the ICU for an extended period of time. During intubation, the tube goes down the throat and through the vocal cords, keeping them open so the patient can breathe. To be able to speak, vocal cords should close in a certain way. The vocal cords must also be closed to prevent food or fluids from going down the wrong pipe. Aspiration occurs when a foreign body such as food, liquids or saliva enters the lungs by accident. This can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which is a serious and life threatening condition. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, my goal every day is to use my best clinical judgement to assess and provide the appropriate therapy for my patients so they can safely and adequately eat by mouth and communicate. The challenge is to be able to rehabilitate a patient’s voice and swallow function while also protecting myself and my family. Fortunately, the hospital I work for never had a PPE shortage. Since visitation is highly restricted, the toughest part of my job has been to witness some of my patients pass away from complications of COVID without their loved ones by their side.

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

LK: I am a very private person and am not speaking up to call myself a hero or show the lines on my face from wearing an N95 mask all day. I am truly honored and humbled to do my job during this difficult time. I just want people to know what is really going on in hospitals, to understand that there is so much more to this than what the media portrays and a lot of things still remain unknown. I have no political agenda. Rather, I choose to speak up on behalf of healthcare workers who face this virus on a daily basis, as well as all the people who have been affected by COVID and required hospitalization. I have seen firsthand that this virus can affect people of all ages with no underlying medical conditions. It is very real. Working in the COVID unit has made me see things from a different perspective and has made me appreciate things I once took for granted, like simply waking up in the morning.

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

LK: Working on the frontlines and seeing people suffer and die has been the biggest challenge in the last 9 months. Being a highly sensitive person, it has been a challenge to separate my work from my emotions.

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”? 

LK: Unfortunately, this pandemic has created an even greater human disconnect than there was before. Fear and isolation have adversely impacted people’s mental health. I do think COVID is here to stay for a while, but more than anything, I am looking forward to probably what everyone is looking forward to: normalcy.

Lastly, I just want to express that it’s important not to let fear overtake our daily lives, as stress suppresses the immune system. However, we do need to be aware that COVID does exist and take proper precautions. Oh, and please get vaccinated, of course, if you did your research and no longer believe that it will make you grow a tail.

Thank you, Liana, for sharing your story with me!

And to everyone else - thank your healthcare and in the future!

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature frontline frontline worker global pandemic health healthcare worker interview liana kogan los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california speech and language pathologist stay home stay safe virus wear a mask working on the frontlines Thu, 18 Mar 2021 19:08:52 GMT
THIS is Covid in California: Spontaneous Saxy Saturday Who knew my spontaneous saxy Saturday performance from our balcony would result in the utmost act of genuine kindness.

Around 11am on February 27th, Kayla, Tova, and I heard cheering and honking outside our window, as balloon-studded cars drove by for a Covid-style birthday celebration. ๐ŸŽ‰

THIS is Covid in California...
I was just wrapping up a photography lecture, when Kayla urged me to pick up my Alto Saxophone to play a little birthday tune for the crowd. ๐ŸŽท๐ŸŽถ

I was unprepared, but that’s not the point. The point is that the birthday crew loved it, appreciated it, and hand delivered a thank you note to our front door about an hour later. It was totally unexpected. Let’s also make it clear that they had no idea where exactly we lived, but they figured out which apartment we were in based on the location of our balcony. #skillz (our place can be confusing)

The take away...

This is my Covid in California story of the day. Thank you, Thompson family, for brightening my day! ๐Ÿ˜โค

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please direct message me on social media or shoot me an email - I’d love to share your story with the world! ๐ŸŒŽ 

And, if you haven't done so already, please follow along this journey with me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter - and share it with your community! The whole point of this project is to connect humans during a time of so much uncertainty.

(Robin Randolph Photography) birthday california california photographer californians celebration covid covid in california covid style birthday happy birthday music musician photography sax saxophone Wed, 17 Mar 2021 04:54:36 GMT
Covid in California: Anchor / Reporter, Broadcast Journalist, and College Professor, Tracie Savage I had the ultimate pleasure of sitting down last week with my lifelong mentor, Tracie Savage, to chat with her about "Covid in California".

Tracie Savage, a versatile Anchor/Reporter, has worked in broadcast journalism in Los Angeles since 1991. Since then, she has covered nearly every major news story, both local and from around the world. She has reported LIVE from the scene of BREAKING NEWS, from floods to fires to riots. She is a skilled, multimedia journalist, who has worked for TV, radio, and online news organizations. Tracie has done it all, and when I was only a junior in high school, I knew she was someone I HAD to meet. #goalz
Savage is currently an assistant professor at Pierce College, where she teaches journalism, broadcasting and multimedia classes, but I came across her back in 2006 when she was radio broadcasting for KFWB 980 Radio.

With Tracie’s expertise and knowledge, she taught me the ins and outs of the broadcasting business in which I was so eagerly interested. I sat in the studio booth with her on several of her live shows, in which she would give me guidance and tips in between segments and on commercial breaks. Tracie is the first real mentor that truly inspired me to network, make incredible connections, and learn the field of broadcast journalism. Sitting in on these live newscasts taught me so much, especially coming from someone as talented as Tracie Savage.

Not only is Savage an amazing spokesperson and all-around brilliant individual, she is also a magnificent teacher. She knows how to get the job done while also fulfilling others’ needs and desires. When talking to her, everything becomes so much easier and clearer, because all she wants to do is help others. It's no wonder she's now a college professor!

Tracie admits how fortunate she is to still be working right now..."I am one of the lucky ones. I will never complain of boredom...I will never lament that I can't go to the movies or some trivial thing like that. My life could be so much worse, I know that. But, there have been changes. You have to, to stay safe."

As a fellow Californian and someone who loves hosting people, Tracie decided to turn her patio into a "COVID-safe" social spot. Not only is it completely furnished with couches, pillows, TV trays, a television, microwave, refrigerator, snuggies, food and drinks, but she THEMES it every season! I caught her in "Spring & Sunflower" mode. This environment has everything one needs - comfort, space, nourishment, entertainment, and socialization! 

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? 

TS: "WORK...I have worked hundreds of hours adapting my college courses to an online platform. I began this process in March, 2020, the day that my college sent us home. Since then, I have recorded and edited dozens of lecture videos, adjusted many assignments, uploaded quizzes and step-by-step instructions for numerous classes. I continue to do this work now. I also now get text messages and emails from my students at all hours of the day and night. I want to be available to my students. It means that my phone is constantly in my hand.

COOKING...Some of the things in my daily routine that have changed due to Covid19 include frequent cooking. I used to cook some of my meals at home and eat in restaurants, often. Now, while I do order take-out, I am cooking more than I ever have in my lifetime. My son is not in school, so I am preparing three meals a day for him.

SHOPPING...I also only go to the grocery store once per a week - at 8am on Sunday mornings. I do this to avoid the crowds. I order most things that I need online. Amazon deliveries arrive almost daily.

EXERCISE...I like to hike, but now I only go on Sunday's at 6:30am - again to avoid the crowds..the maskless hikers.

I used to belong to a gym. Now, I work out every morning using online work-out videos. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been meeting a friend on Zoom five days a week. I cue up a work-out video that we take together. I have always been active, but I have never worked out so consistently in my life. Having a friend to hold me accountable has been very helpful, and being able to do it from the comfort and convenience of my own home has made it do-able."


RR: How has covid impacted you personally?

TS: "I worry about the health and safety of my family and my friends. I am fortunate to have both of my parents. They are elderly, and I worry about them. I worry about my own health and the health of my 16-year-old son. I fear getting infected, knowing that it is essentially a roll-of-the-dice whether you have a "mild" case or you end up in the hospital, and in many cases, never come home.  I understand that it is more dangerous for the elderly and for people with underlying conditions. But, I watch and read a ton of news, daily. Every day, I read or hear about those "healthy, young people, with no medical issues" who get sick, very sick, and some die. It feels so random, and that is what makes it frightening. 

I am grateful and feel somewhat guilty that I am so fortunate.  Other than increased anxiety and many restless nights, I have been able to continue working throughout this pandemic. I am a college professor, and I meet with my students online. I have not feared losing my paycheck. I have not feared losing my home. I have not had to wonder how I would feed my son. I haven't had to go to a job every day where I engage with strangers. I am safe in my home, protected, for the most part. So many people don't have this luxury. The essential workers and medical workers risk their health every day. I am so thankful for the work they do, and I am so relieved that I am not forced to take those daily risks.  It is a privilege, I am aware, and I can't help feeling guilty for that privilege."

RR What is the number one thing that keeps the students engaged virtually?

TS: "That’s a tough takes a self-starter, a special kind of student, to be able to handle an online class. It’s tricky & very easy to sort of 'fade out' and lose interest, but I make sure that I keep things very interesting, that students are engaged, and that I’m not just lecturing. I record all my lectures in advance." Tracie's live classes involve more of a Q & A, to engage students and encourage participation and attention; “It’s not just me blabbing and talking for two hours."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

TS: "I have remained Covid19 negative and so has my immediate family. But, I know many, many people who have gotten the virus and many who have died - too many to count. I have had family members of very close friends get sick. Almost daily, I read about my many friends and work colleagues, current and former, who have lost loved-ones."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

TS: "What I miss most is hugging my family and friends that I don't live with. I miss being able to travel. Every summer, I take my son on a three-week adventure. We have been to Alaska, Seattle, Japan, Ireland, London. These adventures have allowed us to create great memories and to bond. I had an entire trip for last summer planned and paid for. It will have to wait. I miss that, a lot. I miss not having to fear getting sick and dying."

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?

TS: "My health. My family and friends. My job. My home. Medical workers. Technology that has enabled me to do my job and connect with people. Lack of freeway traffic - what a game-changer in Los Angeles."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

TS: "The biggest challenge has been dealing with the constant anxiety, wondering when will this be over and wondering when I will be able to get vaccinated. Also, it has been a challenge to keep my mouth shut when I see people in public places NOT wearing a mask."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

TS: "I am most excited about living without a layer of fear that is draped over my life, and hugging! I look forward to my teenage son returning to in-classroom learning. I look forward to being back on my college campus and seeing my students - in person."

Prior to being hired as a full-time instructor at Pierce College in fall of 2015, Savage worked as an adjunct professor at USC-Annenberg School of Journalism, Santa Monica College and LA Valley College teaching journalism, media studies, and film production. To sign up for her classes, enroll at Pierce College and register accordingly!

Thank you, Tracie, for being a constant inspiration to all those lucky to know you!


(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 anchor broadcast journalist california california photographer californians college professor coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 family feature global pandemic health interview journalist los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist pierce college professional photographer professor quarantine reporter robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe tracie savage virtual learning virus wear a mask zoom zoom classes Tue, 16 Mar 2021 22:02:20 GMT
Covid in California: Sweet Sibling Love and Sewing Masks with Zack and April Alessandro ¡Hola mis amigos y mi familia! Es martes de tacos...aka, TACO TUESDAY! ๐ŸŒฎ

This chick has the right mask. And guess what? It was homemade by her bro, Zack!

Once again, this shoot occurred spontaneously as I was walking down Ventura Boulevard, in between gigs. Gotta love LA and the SFV (San Fernando Valley).

I actually noticed April’s shirt (courtesy of an awesome thrift store, NCJW The Resale Shop and stopped her to tell her how cool it is. Yes, it says, “JUST DO IT” and yes, that’s Shia LaBeouf spelling it out. ๐Ÿคฃ

It wasn’t long before April recognized ME! Say what?

April recognized my voice through my mask. #madskillz

That’s right, I was the Sports Reporter for our shared alma mater and broadcasted the morning announcements over the Public Address System every morning. "This is Robin Randolph, with your SOCES Sports Report"... ๐ŸŽ™

Anyway, back to April’s story:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally? 
AS: “When COVID began, I was living in Brooklyn, NY. The pace of the city was intoxicating...and then it came to a halt in March 2020. Soon after, I lost my job and had to move back in with my parents in LA. It felt like the life that I'd begun to build fell apart in an instant.”

RR: What has Covid-19 made you grateful for?
AS: “My health above all, but also the immense privilege I have that allowed me to come home and stay with my loving family. So many have been displaced with nowhere to go.”

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time? 
AS: “I’ve learned to put my "struggles" into perspective. Even on the hardest days, it is so important to be grateful for what I do have. It has also challenged me to reassess this "linear" life I had been planning. Perhaps all of the goals of mine could wait while I learned to sew, zoomed with old friends and smelled the roses. Perhaps this was better. "Maybe my self worth shouldn't be based solely on my productivity," I thought.”

What struck me most about April and Zack was the genuine, sweet sibling bond that they share. I initially thought they were dating because of how affectionate and kind they acted towards one another. #sibgoalz ๐Ÿ‘ซ

Not only did they express their gratitude toward each other to me in person, but it's evident that Covid has brought them even closer...

AS: “They say friends are the family you get to choose, luckily, I have a built in best friend. My brother is my role model and our bond is stronger than ever because of quarantine. For months, we would play gin rummy and sip IPAs until way past our bedtimes and divulge all kinds of hopes, dreams and secrets." ๐Ÿคซ

RR: Is there a story behind your mask? 

AS: “My mom taught my brother and I how to sew in April 2020 and we began making masks! Soon it bloomed into a beautiful initiative called ZaxMasx. We've made over 1000 custom masks since then with fun fabric featuring Dr. Fauci, Bulldogs, Tacos and more!” ๐Ÿ˜ท

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”? 
AS: “Going to get TACOS of course!!”

Thank you, April & Zack, for being true gems and for inspiring us to live, love, and laugh! ♥๏ธ

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 brother california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature global pandemic health interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal new york nyc pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography siblings sister socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask Tue, 16 Mar 2021 18:37:28 GMT
Covid in California: I scream for ICE CREAM! And so does Marlon Barillas I scream for ICE CREAM! And so does this guy right here. ๐Ÿ˜‹

I met Marlon in between photo shoots while I was walking down Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. I smelled the impeccably fresh waffle cones of Salt & Straw, looked up, and there he was...waiting patiently in line outside this ice cream shop’s plexiglass setup.

Marlon saw my camera and immediately struck up a conversation: "You into photography?" "Why, yes...I am a photographer", I said. ๐Ÿ“ธ

Although all I saw at first was his patriotic face covering, I knew this man was smiling underneath. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ  I mean, the guy was getting ice cream for himself and his son (who was waiting in the car) on a Saturday afternoon! ๐Ÿคฉ

See below for my interview with Marlon:

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?
MB: "The story behind my mask is freedom, the hope for a better future, and for the start of a revolution."

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?
MB: "Very stressful to say the least, you feel a headache and you wonder if you have it or not. Most of us are getting mentally sick, if anything..."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?
MB: "Two of my sisters got it and my niece's grandma died a few days ago from it."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?
MB: "Taking my kid to parks without the fear of contracting the disease."

RR: What has covid made you grateful for?
MB: "If anything, just life itself, looking around you and appreciating the beautiful world."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time? 
MB: "Hanging with my kid every other weekend and being afraid that I might get him sick...oh, and eating out!

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?
MB: "Traveling and being able to see my parents without any fear!"

Furthermore, Salt and Straw's Covid-19 setup is something worth talking about...the plexiglass installation and the ability to order everything outside makes it a safe space for anyone with a sweet tooth! Plus, it’s delicious! ๐Ÿฆ

Marlon’s story reminds us to enjoy the little things and to satisfy those foodie cravings, whenever the opportunity arises ๐Ÿ˜

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 dessert face mask family feature global pandemic health ice cream interview los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography salt and straw socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe sweet tooth sweets virus wear a mask Tue, 16 Mar 2021 05:00:37 GMT
Covid in California: Writer and Content Creator, Dean Lin
It was Saturday, November 18th, 2017. I was invited to shoot an Outwords / LGBTQ+ event on the rooftop of the W Hotel in Hollywood (Thank you, Creel Studio for hiring me). Yes, it sounds dreamy...and it was. That was the night that Dean Lin crashed my third date with Kayla. I don't know what kind of intuition this guy has; his first question was, "When is your wedding?". ๐Ÿ‘ฐ‍โ™€๏ธ ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ‘ฐ‍โ™€๏ธ Meanwhile, Rinat Greenberg & Leanna Creel were smiling in the distance, totally unaware that they would officiate our wedding 2 years from then. ๐ŸŒˆ♥๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ

This is the photo our clan took that night:

Three and a half years later, it felt like no time had passed...

Everyone has a story…here is Dean Lin’s:

RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally? 

DL: "I remember reading something about COVID in a news article in mid-January and joked around, being like, 'wow Americans taking this so lightly watch it become so serious and a traumatic pandemic.' LITERALLY jinxed it. Anyway, COVID was so sudden and it was a Wednesday, then by Monday I was unemployed. At first, I think the pandemic really helped me catch up on YEARS of sleep, but it obviously got pretty old. As an extrovert, COVID hit me and my mental health like a wrecking ball but it also was a time where I was allowed a lot of self-reflection."

RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?

DL: "I’m grateful that I haven’t gotten it, but I swear I felt like I got it. I got really sick back in Dec. 2019 and had the same symptoms as COVID, so honestly... SUS. Some of my friends who were the most careful got COVID and it really put it into perspective for me. There were some friends who tested and had antibodies but were never aware they had it.”

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?

DL: "As I said earlier, I was unemployed in March at the start of the pandemic. At first, I was so scared of the unknown because working in entertainment, it was already hard trying to land a full time job after college. And the fact that it was almost a year of my first full-time job.. it was gone just like that. However, this gave me time to really unpack things that I needed to work on mentally whether it be from burn-out at work, from school, or from life. I got to finish a manuscript and publish my first book during the beginning of the pandemic. That was something I was really/still am proud of!"

DL: "Personally, I think I grew a lot during this time. I was able to set more time aside for virtual therapy and work on what people call “shadow-work,” trying to get to know myself without all the stress in life. My daily routine changed from your typical 9-5 to a more relaxed routine, which helped me conquer lots of my anxiety pent up from overworking. I had more time to explore nature alone, run outside, and spend time reflecting. This was a time where I got to be an adult at my own pace and actually accomplish some goals (drivers license, car, solo travels, etc). But also, I lost some good friends I thought I had non severable bonds with and got closer to people I didn’t think I would. I moved into a studio apartment and experienced living alone for the first time in my life without roommates (honestly, liberating)."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?

DL: "I miss hugs and I miss going on road trips with close friends. As much as I felt burn-out, I love the hustle of Hollywood and the excitement of working on my career. I miss being able to see my sister, since she’s all the way in NYC. I miss meeting new people and I miss… MONEY haha."

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?

DL: "I actually got this from a show I worked on as Talent Assistant. Either the 2020 BET Soul Train Awards or on the set of Cardi B’s new show, Cardi Tries."

RR: What has covid made you grateful for?

DL: "COVID made me grateful for my health, technology, and the peace/silence when living alone. Also grateful for all the frontline/healthcare workers aiding us to get out of this pandemic..."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?

DL: "The biggest challenge for me during this time is finances and sometimes still my mental health in terms of not being motivated to be creative due to the feelings that this won’t be over…

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?

DL: “Being able to work in-person in entertainment again, travel back to Europe and continue pursuing my dream to be on camera/host my own talk show…! ONE DAY!"

Thank you, Dean Lin, for sharing your story! Literally. ๐Ÿ“–

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 book california california photographer californians content creator coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask feature gay global pandemic health interview lgbtq lgbtq+ los angeles los angeles photographer mask new normal outwards pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe the outwards archive virus w hotel wear a mask writer Tue, 16 Mar 2021 04:16:56 GMT
Covid in California: Zoom School with Madeline and Hannah Bushell In 2014, Mrs. Feinberg, from my grade school alma mater, SOCES, referred me to tutor Madeline & Hannah Bushell. When I walked through the door of their home to tutor them for the first time, their mom, Lara, looked at me and said, “Well, it looks like you’re part of this family.” When I saw that Maddie & Hannah have natural auburn hair, light skin, and freckles like mine, I understood exactly what she meant. We literally look like we could be sisters.

Not many of us have the exact shade of natural red hair and dark brown eyes.

I then learned that the Bushell family is epically cool. Hannah & Maddie’s dad, Jeff Bushell, has a life-size framed poster of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua, because he actually wrote the script for the film. The icing on the cake is that they have a real Chihuahua named Carlos. How could I not love this family already? 

When catching up with Madeline & Hannah last week, I got to relive my childhood and also learn what it’s like to be a student glued to a screen of Zoom classes (something we definitely didn’t do in the late 90’s and early 2000’s)!

See below for a snippet of my interview:

MADELINE (11th grade):

MB: “I’ve been in online school since the week after March 13, 2020. Online school has been much different from in person learning. I get to sleep in a bit, which is nice, but online school is very depleting of social interaction and extra curricular activities. As a person who loves to learn, I really would prefer to be back in school right now. I want to be able to interact with my friends normally, and get to be a normal teenager again. 

RR: Is there a story behind your mask?
MB: “My mask actually glows in the dark! That was one of the reasons I got it. It also has dinosaurs on it which is pretty cute.”

RR: What do you miss most about life before covid?
“I miss getting to perform in musicals and plays. Performing is one of my favorite things, and because of covid it is almost impossible to get that community feeling of putting on a show right now. I miss getting to go places as well, besides the market and drug store.” 

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?
MB: "Balancing my mental health has been hard. I have realized how much I need to be around people during this pandemic, something that I think most teenagers understand. Keeping myself positive and motivated has been a challenge, and some days are better than others. But having someone to talk to, whether it be a family member or friend, has made it more manageable.” 

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?
MB: “Hopefully I get a senior year! I’d love to get to some sort of senior activities before I go off to college. I’m excited to see my friends and to perform again. I really hope I’ll get to sit in a classroom before I graduate, and I won’t have to see a zoom screen again for a while.”

As an 11th grader, Covid has been stifling for Madeline, a student who craves connection and in person learning. She is used to raising her hand in class. In fact, she is 1 of 3 students who logs in and actually SHOWS her face on her Zoom English class of 27 students.

On the other hand, her younger sister, Hannah, is happy to virtually show up to her 7th grade math class (and yes, she is still getting straight A’s). She explains, “…now that there is online school I don’t have to get up as early or even get dressed. It’s nice but I also have a lot less motivation to do things and I’m just procrastinating half of the time.”

As you can see, virtual learning has benefited some, while for others, it has been quite the challenge to stay motivated. 

For all the students out there, how do you feel about virtual learning?! Do you prefer your avatar or your actual face?

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 beverly hills chihuahua california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask family feature global pandemic health high school interview jeff bushell los angeles los angeles photographer mask middle school new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography sherman oaks center for enriched studies sherman oaks ces socal soces social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask zoom zoom classes zoom school Mon, 15 Mar 2021 23:27:04 GMT
Covid in California: Yogi and Fashionista, John San Juan If you're going to wear a face mask, you may as well wear a trendy one, right? ๐ŸŽญ

John San Juan is the creator of Face Masks by John San Juan, which up-cycles designer dust bags into luxury face masks. 

This came to fruition through his experience in the fashion industry. He also makes custom dog clothes, modeled by his adorable pups, Pancake and Godiva. ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿพ

John is not only a Fashionista, but he is a breathtaking Yoga Instructor (literally and figuratively). I met this incredible human in August of 2019 because of a free week trial at Hot 8 Yoga. I randomly selected his class because it fit into my schedule that day. Five minutes into it, I was HOOKED. It was everything - the heat, the workout, the mental clarity I felt during and after. This studio became my yoga home very quickly. Sadly, Hot 8 Yoga was forced to close in March of 2020, like many businesses. What was our yoga community going to do without the one thing that kept us the most sane and centered? ๐Ÿค”

When sitting down with John to talk about his experiences during Covid, I was refreshed, reinvigorated, and reminded that our breath and community are always with us. We just have to tap into it, set our intention to move into the positive energy, and focus on staying grounded. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

John was not only able to maintain his community, but to expand it during Covid-19.

"The pandemic has actually created immense growth and expansion for me." Even though everything around him shut down, he literally opened his home to become a virtual yoga studio, to continue teaching and guiding his students. "Mental health is a necessity and a commodity that people have been willing to pay for. I am so grateful to not only work, but be of service in helping people find and maintain well-being during hard times."

John teaches yoga because he LOVES IT. Taking a class with him is personal - he knows all of his students, and if he doesn't, he gets to know them. He values human connection, growth, and being your true self.

John is a pillar of our community. He inspires gratitude and reminds us to slow down, to tap into the power of our inner voice amidst the chaos. He is a radiant light during a time that has felt so heavy and dark.

See below for my interview with John:

RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. What daily routine did you have to adjust?

JSJ: "Turning a large working part of my apartment into work space. I teach online classes by converting my living room into an online yoga studio, complete with lighting, props, audio equipment, tv monitors, etc."

RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?
JSJ: "Humanity. I used to joke that generally humans deeply annoy me. Now I want to hug everyone because I miss social connection so much."

RR: What has covid made you grateful for?
JSJ: "My health, prosperity in work and an income better than the one I had before the pandemic."

RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?
JSJ: "Shifting how I teach to accommodate how people are learning and paying attention these days. Attention span and willingness to exert effort are generally diminished virtually.  Also not being able to see my family as often, even when they’re only 2 hours away."

RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?
JSJ" "The new normal. The old normal was broken. People have learned so much about loving kindness, awareness, self-accountability, and empathy toward others in the last year.  Meeting my students at that new normal to forge a new path is exciting. I cannot wait to meet it head on."

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 face mask face masks family fashionista feature global pandemic health hot 8 yoga interview john san juan los angeles los angeles photographer mask mental health namaste new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer puppies puppy puppy fashion quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe virus wear a mask yoga yoga instructor yoga teacher yogi zoom fitness zoom yoga Mon, 15 Mar 2021 22:27:17 GMT
Covid in California: How it all began... On February 16th, 2020, I hopped off the plane at LAX (What up, Miley Cyrus?!) with the anticipation of throwing my sister her bachelorette party and being the Maid of Honor in her upcoming wedding. Let's also note that I got to live February 16th twice...Tokyo to Los Angeles means gaining a whole day!

The day before my flight from Tokyo to LA, I went to the 100 Yen store (Japanese 99 cents store) and bought a pack of six disposable black masks to wear while traveling. After all, traveling with a mask has always been en vogue in Asia, long before Covid. While I had no idea that the pandemic was looming, my dad urged me to wear a mask because he knew that Covid had surfaced in China at this point. Flash forward 2 weeks and those masks suddenly became a hot commodity that sold out everywhere.

Obviously my first stop (and one of the last restaurants I actually ate at IN PERSON) was the iconic Mexican joint, Tito's Tacos.


Six days before my sister and her fiancé's special day, they were forced to cancel the celebration due to the unveiling pandemic. Additionally, my plan to fly back to Japan to be with my wife, Kayla, who was stationed overseas with the US Navy, was about to be completely derailed. What started as a visit with my family in Los Angeles, quickly became a 5 month stay in my childhood bedroom. Japan implemented strict entry regulations and I was not able to book a return flight.

Kayla and I were newlyweds ourselves, and at that point, had only been married for three months. Honeymoon? No chance. That was put on the back burner. FaceTime and WhatsApp Video for the win...the 16 hour time difference got nothin' on us! Our wedding hashtag, #KRgothedistance, was really put to the test.

Kayla would eat her breakfast, while I would eat my dinner. And vice versa. We had the most romantic virtual dates from across the Pacific Ocean! We would fall asleep on the phone and be each other's vocal alarm clock.

Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot
The silver lining to getting stuck in LA was that I navigated the first few months of the pandemic and social lockdown with the two people who raised me, my loving and supportive parents. I never thought that, at 31 years old and happily married, I would find myself living at home with my mom and dad. But then again, I also never thought I would live through a pandemic like this!

Looking back, buying masks ahead of time feels like the ONLY thing I did to prepare myself for what was about to change our world forever. I had taken the flight between LA and Tokyo many times over the past 18 months, but had no idea that this would be my last flight for a long while. I left Japan thinking “cya later”...little did I know, it was more like “sayonara” โœŒ๐Ÿผ

What I wasn’t prepared for was physical separation from the love of my life for 5 months. It was an extremely difficult time filled with so much uncertainty and sadness. My dad would always say, “I feel bad for you girls. I miss Kayla. When is she coming home?”. Kayla was slated to move back to California on June 1st, but that date was delayed indefinitely due to military travel restrictions surrounding Covid. No longer having a concrete date for her return was unsettling, nerve-wracking, and stressful, to say the least. My parents kept me sane and hopeful, during a time when I felt like I had so little control over my life. I cooked with my mom and went on neighborhood walks with my dad. We developed new routines that helped us cope together.

To keep myself from sulking in my emotions, I proceeded as if Kayla were still coming home in June and went house-hunting in the area of her new duty station in Ventura County, California. My mom took on the role that Kayla would normally fill and came with me to look at several apartments in that area. Despite not knowing when Kayla would return, I took a leap of faith, signed a lease, and moved into what would be our first home together as a married couple in June 2020. I lived there alone for the first 3 weeks but my parents stood by to support me and to help me settle in to the new place.

Covid reminded me that the bond we have with our parents never fades. I have always loved and appreciated them, but they were really there for me during one of the most challenging times of my life thus far. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being two people I can always count on, no matter the circumstances. I am blessed to have parents who show up when it matters most. ♥๏ธ

(Robin Randolph Photography) 2020 california california photographer californians coronavirus covid covid in california covid news covid stories covid updates covid19 covid-19 family feature global pandemic health interview japan LAX los angeles los angeles photographer love is love mask military navy wife new normal pandemic photog photographer photography photojournalist professional photographer quarantine robin randolph robin randolph photography socal social distancing southern california stay home stay safe tokyo virus wear a mask wife Sat, 13 Mar 2021 03:21:47 GMT
Covid in California: Authentic & intimate stories from Californians during Covidโ€”19 ๐ŸŽ™Friends, Family, and my Fellow Californians:

I am so excited to share my personal photojournalism project with you, COVID IN CALIFORNIA. ๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿ“ธ๐ŸŒด

For the majority of us, Covid has been a loss.