Ashli Marino is one cool girl. She is super sweet, easy going, affectionate with her parents, loving with her friends, and has a way with animals.  So it’s only natural that she celebrated her Sweet Sixteen birthday on Friday with family, over 200 friends, and a few furry beasts: an African Lion, a Mountain Lion, an African Monkey, and a Wolf.

Pre-party, getting ready…



Peeking out of the dressing room as her friends arrive…


Ashli makes a grand entrance with a wolf, and the paparazzi swarm!


This African Lion is named Romeo, and we weren’t allowed to get too close.  Romeo’s trainer told me to stand back up when I had crouched down for a shot, warning me that Romeo may try to fire pee at us.  Seriously? Yes.


The African Monkey is also “very dangerous” according to the trainers, and no stranger is allowed to hold, pet, or interact with him… Until he met Ashli and was completely won over by her.  Look at him – he’s practically coo’ing in her lap.  (Do monkeys coo?)  And yes, even though he’s wearing a diaper, he still looks scary to me.


The dance floor was packed the entire time…


The party was held outside at Mountain Gate Country Club.  My second shooter for the evening was the amazing Shani Barel – who’s presence on Friday night was a Godsend.  I recommend her highly!  I am so grateful for her enthusiasm, positive attitude, and generosity.  Here are a couple of Shani’s shots…



It’s all about the shoes, until —


Cupcakes and a cocktail of milk – perfect.


Happy Sweet Sixteen, Ashli!

Thank you for a memorable evening, and I’m looking forward to geeking out with our camera’s together soon 🙂