Pretty Parrots

Three days ago, when I was going to the car (and luckily had my camera with me) I  was all excited to see these two parrots on the cable wires above the car.  I got some pics, they were pretty grainy because of zooming in so far, but I was very happy with them.  The next day, also going to the car, I saw a bunch of them on the palm tree across the street from our house.  I didn’t realize how many were there until I looked back at the pics when I uploaded them… there were 10 in one picture, I was shocked. 

Happy about those, I had even uploaded one shot onto my National Geographic Profile yesterday.  Right after I did that, I was eating in the living room, when I heard and then saw one of the scrub jay birds that come around out on the deck.   Grabbing my camera, I went out to get pictures of it, when I noticed a group of parrots on a tree right beyond the deck.  I went up close and was taking pictures of them, and they didn’t seem to mind at all.  Our dog, Bentley barked at them, but they didn’t flinch.  They were eating these tiny white flowers on the tree, and just having a good time.  It was so awesome to watch them. 

These birds are not native where we live, in San Diego, and there are several stories told about how they got here.  Some say a pet store caught fire, and they escaped.  Some say people brought them here as pets, and let them loose.  However they arrived, they have multiplied, and made it their home now, and we’re glad to have them nearby.  They are so much fun to watch, they fly really funny, though they are very loud.  It was cute seeing them eat the little flowers, and my baby girl, Brielle, really enjoyed their visit.  

Hope you enjoy these pics of them (I took a little video as well)

Stay Blessed! 

Bernadette Sunset 

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Becoming Butterflies

The other day, upon opening the front door, my husband, Bret and I noticed this black caterpillar crawling on the stucco.  As someone who loves butterflies, I was happy to see it there, and took it as a good sign.  Having been on my way to shoot, camera in tow, I was able to snap this picture of the cute little creature.  

Prior to seeing that caterpillar, we kept being visited by two of the same species of butterfly.  While cooking in the kitchen one day, through the door, I saw them fluttering around the courtyard.  I grabbed my camera, and my one year old daughter, Brielle, and went outside to chase them. The picture above was the best I could get, as they did not stay still long at all.  There were a few other days that I also experienced these butterflies, having one land on my hand, and even once on my head. 

Wondering what species they were, I searched the internet, and found the website,   The name of the butterfly turned out to be, the Mourning Cloak, which is very fitting.  I am in mourning, and as I write this, it’s the anniversary of the passing of my father, Charles B. McCrea.  It is from him that I inherited my love of nature, which developed into my passion to photograph it. 


He would take my siblings and I hiking on the trails at South Mountain Reservation, to see the cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, fishing in the lake at Weequahic Park, or deep sea fishing on party boats in the Atlantic HighlandsBelmar, and Point Pleasant.   We’d go for walks at the Brick Reservoir, kayaking and walks at the Manasquan Reservoir, where we’d be excited when we’d spot the bald eagle being protected there. 



Even in our house, I love memories of him calling me from downstairs, to come quick, because there was a bunny in our yard, or a rainbow, or beautiful sunset.  When we watched a sunset, he would always say his father (my Grandfather, Grover McCrea), had painted it from heaven.  That’s what inspired me to start painting and photographing sunsets.  I wanted to make them proud, and of course, I truly enjoy it.  I dedicate this post to my father.  I hope he is able to watch from above.  My heart has not been the same since he left, but I am trying my best to continue on, and hope he knows how much he is missed, and truly loved.  The impact he had on my life is profound. 


He will always be my hero!

 The day after I saw the caterpillar, I realized, it had entered into its chrysalis.  How exciting, to be able to watch its metamorphosis into a butterfly.  The fact that it’s happening outside the front door, is beyond awesome. Another funny irony, is that it was near a Butterfly Garden Guide picture I hung outside, as I had planned to grow one, but hadn’t found the time yet.  



Even more ironic, is that the next day, another caterpillar showed up, and the day after that a third.  The third one even chose the bottom of the frame of that picture as its spot.  So, now we have three caterpillars in chrysalis outside our door.  I am so excited to see them emerge as butterflies, and hope to capture it happening.  I might set up a video camera just to make sure I don’t miss it.  If I am able to catch it, or snap some photos, I’ll write a follow up and share them.  


Stay blessed!


Bernadette Sunset

After the first catapillar was in its chrysalis, the next day, another catapillar joined it.
The day after the second caterpillar had joined the first, a third chose the frame of the Butterfly Garden picture
And now that third caterpillar is in a chrysalis as well, right there under the picture frame.

Dream On

Dream On

“Everyone has a dream…Mine was to see the sun set over the ocean.”  Bernadette McCrea Klees

The other night, as I was watching this sunset in Ocean Beach, the song Dream On, by Aerosmith popped into my head.  In a sudden flashback, I remembered being a teenager, and the feeling of wishing so badly to see the sun set over the ocean, something impossible to see on the East Coast.

With the sound of airplanes overhead (I lived close to Newark Airport, in New Jersey)  I painted my beloved sunset scene on a canvas in the house I grew up in, dreaming of the day I’d be the one on the plane, going to a place I where I could witness that scene in person.

And here I stand, more than twenty years later, 3,000 miles away in San Diego, listening to the planes fly over (I live near San Diego Airport now) while watching this amazing sunset in front of the Ocean Beach Pier

Goosebumps cover my arms, as my daughter holds my hand.  I’m so grateful to be able to show her this view everyday.  Dreams really do come true.  These photos are proof.

  Dream until your dream comes true.

 Dream On! 

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Mothers Day 2018

Mothers Day 2018

My daughter, Brielle Sunsette McCrea Klees, at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA

      Mother’s Day is such a beautiful holiday.  There’s nothing more amazing than a mother’s love.  I just became a mom last year, to a beautiful daughter, Brielle Sunsette McCrea Klees.  She is such a sweet girl, and my greatest blessing.  She fills my life with so much joy, and makes me feel very lucky to be her mom.   

Becoming a mother has also given me a whole new respect for my own mom, and Brielle’s Grandmother, Josephine McCrea.  I could never entirely express how much I love her.  She is the kindest, most loving, and strongest woman I know.  I feel so lucky to be one of her children.  She has set the best example for my siblings and I, and helped me through all the tough times in my life.  I had hopes of flying back to New Jersey earlier this month to be there for Mothers Day, but due to some medical appointments, I’ll have to wait until later this summer to visit, which made me a little sad that day, though I’m happily looking forward to the trip when it comes time.

Living across the country from my mother is not easy.  I miss her all the time, yet she is with me everywhere I go.  I think of her all day, and see things that remind me of her, or that I can’t wait to tell her about.  So, when I decided to spend Mother’s Day at the Flower Fields  in Carlsbad, it was like she was there with us.  The scent and vision of flowers instantly remind me of her. 

This post is inspired by and dedicated to her, as well as Brielle’s Godmother, Jennifer Burns , my sister, Larraine Lourenco, who’s son Tony, is my Godson, my Godmother, Kathleen McCabe, and all the wonderful and amazing women that I am so proud to have in my family and friends circle.

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Some of my favorite pics of my mom, my daughter, and I.

 My mother and I have many things in common, like our love of flowers.   When I was a child, I would pick weeds for her (that I thought were flowers) on our walks home from school.  My siblings and I would chip in our few dollars to buy her her favorite daisies for Mothers Day, and it made us so happy.  When I commuted to NYC for work, while living at home still, in my early 20s, I’d stop by the flower stands in Greenwich Village, and buy her purple and blue orchids.  Since I’ve been living in San Diego, I’ve loved sending her beautiful arrangements, like the teacup bouquets, and hearing how happy she’d be when she received them.   

She was always so good at arranging bouquets, and finding the perfect spot in the house to place them.  Her elegant, creative touches are what made our house such an amazing home, and wonderful place to grow up. 

Below are some beautiful pictures that she took, of flowers she received, from me and others.  I thought I’d showcase them in a gallery here, to be enjoyed, in honor of her.

My Mothers Day adventure this year, began having brunch in Mission Beach, on the outside deck at The Olive Cafe, one of my favorite places, located on Mission Boulevard, down the street from where I used to live.  My husband, Bret Klees, had a Bagel BLT, while I had a California Chicken sandwich, and we both had mocha lattes,  (my first in a long time, since I gave up sugar, which made it even better).  Brielle ate some avocado (her favorite).  She also surprised us, by standing up in her stroller, which she never did before.  When our food came, I had put her back in without buckling her up,  and within minutes she was standing.  I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures before putting her back in correctly.  It was scary, but also kind of funny. 

Mothers Day lunch at The Olive Cafe

Then we headed to the Flower Fields.  It’s such a beautiful place where rows upon rows of colorful blooms are grown, reminiscent of the field of poppies in The Wizard of Oz.  There are gorgeous fountains, an Artist Garden with coops of doves and finches, a Master Gardener area with the most beautiful roses, bonsai trees, poinsettias, a Sweet Pea maze, Santa’s Playground for children, a garden center, Tractor Wagon rides, and some great treat stands with ice cream, lemonade, and fresh grown strawberries.  We always get the delicious strawberry shortcake at the Carlsbad Gourmet stand in the Garden Center.  It was an extra special treat for me this year, because I’m on a diet, and also because I got to share it with Brielle, along with some vanilla ice cream.  She absolutely relished every bite, and had the time of her life enjoying the scenery, playing in the playground, and test driving a Tesla.  It warmed my heart to see her so happy and having so much fun. 

Strawberry Shortcake and Vanilla Ice Cream from Carlsbad Gourmet Stand in the Garden Center.
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After the fields, we went home to watch the sunset, and change for dinner.  I spoke to my mother on the phone, and heard about the nice dinner she had with my brother, Bernie McCrea, his wife Diana McCrea, and their family, which made me happy to hear.  Then we went and had a delicious dinner at Miguel’s Mexican Cantina in Point Loma with my Mother and Father in Law, Bill and Marti Klees.  They are such awesome people, and grandparents to Brielle.  It was an amazing Mother’s Day, and one I’ll never forget.  

Stay Blessed!

Bernadette Sunset

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Glitz and Glam

Glitz And Glam

Glam look on model and singer Jennifer Rhynes

My favorite type of evening makeup look to do, is what I call Glitz and Glam.  For this photoshoot of up and coming singer Jennifer Rhynes, I shot some portraits of her that could be used for a CD cover.  

When I think of the great singers of all time, like my favorite, Billie Holiday, I tend to conjure the classic black and white images in my mind.  So, I decided to do a makeup look, that could translate beautifully, in both black and white, and color photos. 

The focus was on the eyes and lips, since they tell the story when you’re singing.  I did a very natural, subtle foundation to enhance her beautiful skin tone, with a slight contour and some blush. 

Next, I did a smokey eye with shadow, a cat eye with liquid liner, and some lash-lengthening mascara.  I chose a deep red lipliner and lipstick, to give her that classic Old Hollywood Glamour that I think she represents beautifully.  

I think her striking beauty and star quality really shines through in these shots.  Here are just a few of my favorite pics from this shoot

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SoCal at Sundown

SoCal at Sundown

Festival Style Outfit and Summer Evening Makeup look on mode Virginia Nunez Rivas. Photography, Styling, and Makeup by Bernadette McCrea Klees

     With Festival Season in full swing, I thought now was a great time to share this photoshoot that I did with model Virginia Nunez Rivas.  A fun thing about Southern California, is that the “Festival Style” is pretty much worn year round. 

I styled two looks that could be worn from day into evening.  Both outfits feature tank tops, one paired with shorts and flat boots, the other with a miniskirt and heels.  For that rock vibe, I added layered chain necklaces, a funky bracelet, and some chunky cocktail rings.  

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Backyard Beauty

Backyard Beauty

Sometimes, the best things in life are right in our own backyards. 

I usually go out for a walk at sunset time, but wasn’t able to make it out in time on this particular day, because my daughter was napping.  She woke up just before it was about to set, so we saw it from the backyard instead.  We often think we need to be somewhere else, or doing something else, when in reality, we’re right exactly where we’re meant to be.  This beautiful view reminded me of that.  Nature always has a lesson for us, if we just open our eyes, and hearts, to receive it. 

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