Carissa, Class of 2012

When a great photographer friend of mine {the amazingly talented Jen Disney} recently told me about this super cool hippy style restaurant, the Gypsy Den, in Santa Ana’s Art District, I knew right away that I would shoot Carissa there. Carissa has this incredible sort of easy hippy style, but she’s also super athletic and totally stylish with an easiness about her. No fuss. With legs for days, and huge blue eyes, Carissa has this truly Next Top Model quality about her. B. E. A. U. T. I. F. U. L. You know, that quirky beautiful look that so many girls die for!? The Gypsy Den has an equal quirkiness about it. Lovely deep jewel tone fabrics, rich woods, and funky arty details create this chill ambiance and a perfect spot for drinking some fresh squeezed lemonade and taking a few photos. And PS..They have excellent food too!!

After picking Carissa up at the Grand, where she had her makeup and hair done by my amazingly talented stylist Bree, she and her mother Carmen and I traveled down to Santa Ana to explore different backdrops and make our way over to my finale- the Gypsy Den.

Carissa’s first outfit was so adorable, and even though it was like 90degrees in Santa Ana, she still glowed in this funky little ruffle skirt, grey jacket, and army boots. Carissa has been an army boot fan from her beginnings, so this look is so very her. I loved it.

As we continued on our way, we explored some of the back alleys over near a few of the Santa Ana galleries. It was funny because we would pass a little artists colony or gallery and comment on the gigantic paper mache ear made of brown paper, or the funky colorful paintings and tables full of art supplies we could see through the windows. Such a lovely morning. The district is usually full of people later in the day, so to get a mostly empty area for our shoot was absolutely fantastic.

Carissa changed into her fun long maxi dress and we started a little trek around the exterior of the district, having spotted some cool teal doorways, an abandoned building, and ivy growing across some peeling white window frames. I loved how this maxi dress fit Carissa, and although she almost fell in these awesome platforms (her mom explaining that she’s not the best at walking in heels… haha) we still were able to get all sorts of fun poses in this awesome location.

Carsisa has lettered in softball and track at Valencia, and is also part of a traveling team. They go everywhere. In fact, the day after our shoot, Carissa and Carmen were headed to Pennsylvania to check out a college that is offering Carissa a softball scholarship for next year… full ride people. Pretty awesome. This soft green background was my favorite. Simple, gorgeous lighting, and her poses with that bat- I seriously couldn’t pick it was so difficult… I die.

And once we were exhausted from the heat and totally thirsty, Carissa changed into her hippy look, and to the Gypsy Den we strolled. I think all three of us were glad to have a seat and sip some iced tea or lemonade and just chit chat. I loved how free Carissa felt to curl up on their awesome green velvet couch, or pose in the middle of the restaurant. Can you say rock star! So cute.

Carissa my dear, thank you so much for such a lovely and fun day. You are the perfect hippy, and I love love love your style. Can’t wait to hear which school you choose, and in the meantime, enjoy your Senior year my love. Blessings!

Meet Jess

Jessica Spinella has been capturing the world in photographs for over a decade. She has a great passion and talent for identifying and freeing the incredible beauty in her clients and showing them how to be free and comfortable in their own skin, especially in front of the camera.

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