Thursday, January 29, 2009

sacred heart chapel wedding photography: bryan + samantha

bryan and sam. a couple after my own heart. according to the matron of honor, sam knew bryan was "the one" because he loves "Star Wars". Yes, the movie. i think that's so cool. i'm a moderate "Star Wars" geek. actually our whole family is. i've gotten into many philosophical and biblical discussions regarding the saga. "Star Wars" geeks are the coolest!

another reason why we were honored to photograph their wedding, is that they remind us of US when we were young. j. and i met each other when i was in college, and i remember we almost eloped after three months of dating. we were so in love. so looking at sam and bryan brings us back to the ol' days!

they were married at Sacred Heart Chapel, in Covina. Sacred Heart Chapel is a quaint, old-style chapel. perfect for a romantic, intimate wedding, like theirs. richard, the coordinator, was very informative and accommodating. the ceremony was tearful and exactly what the couple wanted. bryan's mother was the minister, and both his father and mother decorated both the church and the reception site, which added a special touch. talking to them, you could tell they were happy to do it for the bride and groom. it's all love, right?

later, we headed to the Radisson Suites in Covina, a few miles away. Radisson Suites had a cute courtyard and fountains to take romantic pictures of the couple, perfect for sam's 40's look (created by Bravo Urban Salon in Pasadena) and bryan's dapper style.

there were so many nice shots, here are just a few. my brother, chad, helped us out as a second shooter, and captured some great shots of the groomsmen! check out the images below. to see more highlights from bryan and sam's wedding, click here to check out their slideshow!
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
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From Drop Box

sacred heart chapel
381 E. Center St.
Covina, CA 91723

radisson suites hotel covina
1211 e. garvey st.
covina, ca. 91724

bravo urban spa & salon
455 s. lake ave. #101
pasadena, ca. 91101

Sunday, January 18, 2009

wake up call

remember the post that i said i needed to take care of me this year? well, after this weekend, that means more than just an empty resolution. i think i aged a year or two from a recent medical scare.

today i went to the hospital because the night before, out of the blue, the back of my head was throbbing. i felt like someone was hitting my head with a bat over and over again. the pain was excruciating to me because i didn't want to do anything but hold my head between my hands. i felt like my head was going to burst. after the encouragement (and scare tactics and worst case scenarios) of my brother, i decided to go to the hospital first thing in the morning, if the headache didn't go away. now, blog readers, i normally don't get headaches, except for hangover headaches if i'm not careful (but that's another post, another day), so i did think the benefit of the doubt that maybe, maybe i was overreacting because i had never felt a "real" headache before. i don't take headache medicine, only when i have a fever. so i don't have anything to compare it to. for instance, last summer, i experienced heartburn for the first time. i've never had heartburn, so i thought i was dying. literally. i literally felt like passing out. i didn't know if it was heartburn or cramps (which i've never had before, either...i know,  i know, not looking forward to child labor, folks). so in short, i'm a big baby. but my brother reminded me that we've known many people that have died or hospitalized with aneurysms, so that was enough to scare me straight to the hospital. 

we got to the hospital, and waited for hours, of course. people entering with limps, bandaged limbs (and a toe), wheelchairs, shivering under blankets and hoodies, and there' 

"what is the reason for your visit?" the clerk asks.
 "i have a...headache." i think she was trying not to roll her eyes. so i tried to explain:

"this is a different headache, a very rare headache that simply needs special medical attention, because i'm not a headache person, and this headache brought me to tears, and...and...i don't really stress..well, i mean, people tell me not to stress, and ...well, i do have blood pressure meds, but i have to tell you the truth i don't take it all the time..not because i don't want to, it's just that i sometimes forget, blah blah blah."

at this time i realize i'm wasting this lady's time. she doesn't want to hear my sob stories. i quickly shut up and wait. and wait. and then...wait some more. and then, re-enact my dialogue with the nurse, as she starts to take my vitals, and learns very quickly that in less than 5 minutes of my rant, that i haven't been taking care of myself, not eating right, not taking my meds like i should, that i don't even know the name of the medication that i'm on (i quickly pointed to the computer screen and said it's all in 'there').

then, i saw the doctor, and she was this cool lookin' rocker chick. i started to rant again, and she knew that she needed to quickly control this conversation. j., my husband, was there, and she asked him, 

"did you notice anything out of the ordinary when she first had this headache?"
 j. said, "no, she was just walking into the street, i'm thinking she's going to get hit by a car. she seemed like she was just walking around, not knowing where she was, and refusing to follow me to the car, and she just kept on saying her head hurts and she started crying..." 

oh yeah...j., that's me, being normal. hello? this doctor must think i'm a crazy, drama queen, if this is normal?! tell her i'm NOT normally like this! help me out here!

so, long story short...i know this is already longer than it should, they ran a CT scan for good measure, and found no evidence of ruptured blood vessels in my brain. hallelujah! the doctor said that i should be taking my blood pressure meds, like i should, and to.....relax

i really can't believe something like this is caused by stress. i wasn't in a stressful environment. i was at a family party, having a great time, singing and laughing. i really don't know what triggered it. but anyhoo, it was a scare, nonetheless. i don't want to ever be in that predicament or worse again. so i need to be better about taking care of myself. 

j. and i talked about it, and we both believe that trying to conceive a baby is probably not the best time right now. we both really need to take care of our health, before this baby comes. so, i'm going to work on relaxing, and not taking on too much. that will be a challenge. but if it's for my health, it's a serious "must do." as i was trolling the streets last night, as j. described it to the doctor, all i kept thinking was, i don't want to die. there's too many things i want to do. i don't ever want to think that again. i don't want to think that there's too many things i haven't done. 

so, blog readers, make a commitment to put your Self back on your to-do list. you're worth it. (and you don't want to go through this crazy situation, like i did!)

and that's my 2 cents

Monday, January 12, 2009

longest day: episode 3

the story unfolds..

the greatest show on earth, check it out! Wedding and Portrait Photographer's Institute

Friday, January 9, 2009

first week of the year

here's an update on how my resolutions (goals) are going. 

i cancelled my RSVP to the social networking meetup tonight, due to transportation problems. BUT i was able to schedule in a lunch with a dear friend o' mine, from like 2 years ago, and it time well spent. good food, good convo, and laughs! i felt inspired and positive after our little luncheon. 

i haven't implemented the walking dog routine, yet. but it will definitely be implemented tomorrow. (as popo sleeps between my two feet as i type; where did this dog learn to be so lazy? i wonder where?).

cooking: i'm going to do that this weekend. so keep your eyes peeled for the blog that reveals the mystery dish. in the meantime, i just ordered pizza hut, online!! woo-hoo for technology!

last but not least, my "Me" goal. does sleeping until 3p every day count? hmmmm...ok, well, i will start that tonight with maybe 30 minutes of writing (i am starting to write my memoirs for my future children about what i know about life, well the little i know about life). 

that's all for today. oh, and with that, i also wanted to post some pix that i took on the street of my parents' house. 30 minutes of solitude with my camera---best gift i could give myself!

From Drop Box
From Drop Box

From Drop Box

From Drop Box

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

best week of your life

so i just finished watching Oprah last night, and she talked about her recent weight gain, and how she's going to address it this year. i know some people are Oprah-haters out there, (my brother) saying she's wealthy and famous, she can buy the body she wants or she can afford a trainer/chef, but watching the episode made me think, it's not about the fame and the fortune, a personal trainer/chef (although it helps). those things, as much as we non-celebrity status people might think, will not make us happy or joyful (and in Oprah's case, not even skinny!). i know this Christmas, i thought to myself, i wish i had money to buy gifts. i wish we had a Christmas tree. i wish we had money to fix our 2nd car. i wish we had enough money to go on trip for our wedding anniversary. i wish i could do something to make my parents' health better. but i had to stop myself  before i started feeling sorry for myself, and ask: am i happy? the immediate answer would be, yes because i'm grateful for the things i DO have and the people who are in my life. but the deeper question: could i be happier? yes. and i guess that's when i had an Oprah moment, or she likes to say, an "a-ha" moment.

i'm not happy with my health. in her interview, she talked about "putting yourself back on the list." this to me spoke more to me than the cliché, "love yourself." but essentially, loving yourself means taking care of yourself. i have to admit, i haven't been taking care of myself the last two years. the last two years, i moved away from my single life (my apartment), got married, bought a home twenty two miles away from work and family, and opened up my business. my strategy for dealing with change, was to just "get through life"- ie., get through school, get through deadlines, get through this meeting, get through traffic, get through the day. my idea was to "once i get through it..then i can relax and do something for myself." in other words, putting myself last. i started to care more about taking care of my clients, students, work, and truly forgot about me. this is what it is to live unconsciously. i have to say the only time i actually feel like i'm in the moment and truly present is when i'm photographing. my saving grace. at times, my only joy came from photography and other people's joyful moments.

now, after two years later, i've gained forty pounds, been diagnosed for diabetes and pre-hypertension, and have essentially, given up the time i used to spend taking care of myself (i.e., exercising, cooking, spending time with friends, nail salon days, hair appointments, writing, reading, shopping!). two years flew by. i used to be so healthy. what happened? i joke to j., my husband, that "marriage" happened. i never had all these problems before i got married. but that's not true. j. and i have been through everything with each other----over a span of almost fourteen years now. i know that there has just been a lot of change in my life, unexpected change, and have not coped with the change in a healthy way.

this year, in addition to my resolutions (what i like to call "goals" instead), is to put myself back on my list. make appointments for myself. learn to say "no" more often than i actually do. i know that it will make me a better person. a better worker. a better friend. a better wife. a healthier person. heck, maybe even a better photographer.

so "goal" update for 2009:
1. attend one social network event a month.
2. cook one new recipe a month.
3. walk the dog 30 minutes a day.
4. do something for myself, at least 30 minutes in the morning, and 30 minutes at the end of the day (unrelated to work and off the computer!)

i wish for everyone else to have a year filled with more joyful moments, and more love for your SELF. it's never too late to put you back on your list.

and that's my 2 cents.

post a comment below on my blog in regards to your ideas about this

the longest day: episode 2

Friday, January 2, 2009

happy new year! highlights from '08

i know, this is 2 days late, but the end of the year crept up on me! 

we wanted to take this time to thank all of our clients, vendors, and friends (both old and new) for making our 2008 a fun and special one! there were many favorite pictures to choose from! here's a sampling of how our year was. our year was exciting because we had a ball photographing your special events and families. we made a lot of  great new friends along the way. and we are oh so grateful! enjoy!

special shout-outs to vendors and small businesses that were very nice and accommodating to us, and our clients. we appreciate it. truly.

view slideshow below, or see it in its own window here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

hello, 2009!

i have been in the habit of making new year's resolutions since i was in elementary school. i always liked making these resolutions. it gave me a sense of optimism and a promise of growth (yes, i was a very dramatic, sentimental child...and very geeky) for the new year. later, as i grew older, i stopped making resolutions. not that there was no need of improvement, but i didn't want to disappoint myself if i didn't keep my resolution. 

this morning, i read an interesting take on new year's resolutions, that well, has inspired me to go back to making them at this time. it's from a cool site, called PhotoJojo, which gives photo hobbyists a plethora of creative ideas. today, i read their post on new year's resolutions, and gave me a new perspective on making them. it says to make at least one resolution to do something you are passionate about or absolutely love to do. instead of picking something you "ought to do," pick something you "want to do!" i know, i know...flow with me now. i know people might say, g., that doesn't mean sleep all day or don't do the laundry. that's just a free ticket to Lazy-Land. what i think it means is to live your life~joyfully.

so it got me thinkin'...hmmmmm...what is one thing that i can commit to, one thing that i can commit to doing, that is something i want to do, not ought to do. 

photography is definitely my passion and it's something i know i will do with or without my business. so...that's a no-brainer. almost too easy. must be something else. something that i don't take the time to do for myself. i got it! 

i am going to cook (gasp!) at least one gourmet meal from my collection of cookbooks per month. yes...i have a collection of cookbooks. i collect cookbooks! i don't use them. i just collect them, in the hopes to have the time and...essentially, cook. i can already hear my husband's sigh, a desperate sigh of "there she goes again with the promise of cooking. promises. promises" but this time, i'm going to do it. i used to love cooking and learning new recipes. i used to love cooking for others.  i gave it up after wanting to please my taste testers, my biggest critics (my family!). trying to walk in the shadows of my grandmother, who is the best cook ever, i was never going to live up to that kind of expectation. so i gave up,  out of discouragement. forgetting that i should have been cooking to please myself. 

so there it is, blog readers. i....will...cook this year ! (as i walk out on my balcony, like Evita Perón, about to sing "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina." and i will photograph my masterpieces (and not-so masterpieces) as proof of this commitment. 

new year's resolutions (so far)
1. attend at least one social meetup group a month (at least until the end of Aug.)
2. cook at least one fancy shmancy NEW recipe a month
3. walk my dog daily, for at least 30 minutes

what's your resolutions? post your comment below!!