Sunday, December 26, 2010

Alpha Resource Center Holiday Thank You Party, Montecito, California

Photography by r.s.thurston photography

What do you get when you take a beautiful Spanish-style Montecito Home, mix in mini-cupcakes, a make-up artist, jeweler, Artiste Wines, a tarot-card reader, masseuses, loads of scrumptious plated cheeses, breads, and stuffed mushrooms, and a costume room full of hundreds of alter-ego possibilities?

A dang good time right before the holidays!

Alpha Resource Center wanted to give back this year and thank some of their top donors for their generous support. For those of you who wonder what Alpha does besides operate those killer-good-deal thrift stores around town, they're a Santa Barbara based non-profit committed to empowering individuals with developmental disabilities. The rewards event was spearheaded by Alpha’s Outreach Coordinator Marisa Pasquini. My good friend Michele Sakakibara was in charge of helping to orchestrate the night at Molly Houston’s gorgeous home in Montecito (she generously donated her place to be the event venue).

In my humble opinion, I think I had the coolest job of all! In my photography I absolutely love to “style” my clients and I’ve always been a glutton for costumes. I’m known for bringing several pieces of my own clothing, accessories, and props along to pump up fun in the shoot. Molly’s costume room is an absolute dream for anyone who loves to dress up…for all of you who love to try-on different personas….you wouldn’t believe the quality of costumes she’s both collected and created over her past many years in theatre and events….hand-beaded mermaid dress with matching slippers, Spanish dresses with layers of ruffles and matching hats, Chinese headdresses, weighty beaded flapper dresses, and whimsical chiffon princess skirts and bustiers…..and there’s a room full of Tupperware packed to the brim with every color feather boa and wigs you could imagine and hope for.

For four hours I helped to style, dress, and then photograph the guests at the party. I know, I know, it was rough work but we made it through the night….laughing, cajoling each other, and having a ball encouraging these beautiful women live into their alter-egos.

Of course, we had to have a costume contest and the winners were given some fantastic prizes. I’ve posted the top three winners here but definitely take time to check out the slideshow as well!

Molly is hoping in future years to grow this event and possibly hold a fundraiser here. Her place is an absolute dream to celebrate in and I hope to be a part of it next year~

Thank you again to all of Alpha’s Donors as well as to Marisa, Molly, Michele and the rest of the amazing men and women who came together to donate their time and help to create this event.

Happy New Year~!

Enjoy the Slideshow~

r.s.thurston is available for events and private portrait sessions. To see more of her work, just click on “portfolio” above or check out some of her photo sessions here on her blog. You can contact her at

*The slideshow does have a music track. If the sound doesn't come on within a second or two, refresh your page and then click "play" again.

For those of you who attended the party and would like to download some of these photos, please follow these easy steps:

1) Click in the upper right corner to “visit gallery.”

2) You will be redirected to my Zenfolio Professional Gallery. Double click on the picture you would like to download. Roll your cursor over upper left portion of picture and select “Download Original.”