December 26, 2010


A new baby is the beginning of all things: wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

On December 23rd, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary, which we now share with our handsome grand-nephew, Christian Pelenato, who made his big debut into the world that morning. He joins 3 older siblings, and is precious as can be! The perfect Christmas blessing!!

December 25, 2010


After weeks of procrastinating, I "pulled off" our Christmas celebration with a last-minute 4-foot tree we bought and decorated 2 days shy of the big day, chocolate chip cookies we baked for Santa, and wrapped presents that took me until 4:00 am to finish Christmas morning. The looks on the girls' faces were truly priceless as they paraded downstairs to see if Santa had come, and it was all well worth it.

I am so very thankful to have such wonderful family and friends, both near and far, who made Christmas Day all the more special.

Wishing you all peace and love this holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas - from my family to yours!

Eden, Taimane & Israel's Christmas

My baby's first Christmas..checking out his gifts!

December 24, 2010


Amidst the hustle and bustle the holidays can bring, we are ever mindful of the true meaning of this special day. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, as HE is the Reason for the Season. Ia manuia le Kerisimasi!

December 19, 2010


Christmastime is without a doubt, my FAVORITE time of the year.  The sounds, the smells, the food!, the lights, everything.  My best childhood memories are around Christmastime, and I've always intended it be that way for my kids too.  It's about tradition, right?  My husband finds a fresh tree every year and the decor goes up, the lights are bright on the tree each night, the Christmas candles burn, the Christmas songs play, we make Christmas treats, there's a visit to Snowflake Lane, we read about the true meaning of Christmas, and the kids are giddy for weeks.  We rest assured that Santa will come and appreciate our holiday spirit.

This year is a little different.

It's 2 hours from December 20th and I don't have a tree up.  I haven't wrapped a single gift, and that candle there?  It's probably the closest thing I've got going to decorating.  It smells like cranberry, which makes my living room smell slightly Christmasy.

My excuse(s)?  Buying a new house in the middle of the holidays, the girls' birthdays, and our anniversary.  A crazy work schedule, a million and ten things to do before the year is over.  Packing.  Cleaning.  Expenses.  Something had to give, and that was it: my Christmas Spirit.

So, I'm feeling a little Grinch-ish, Internet, and I have 5 days to figure this out.  It'll be my son's first Christmas.  My girls are captivated by the holidays this year.  Eden can legibly write out the alphabet, so she sent Santa a letter (with some spelling help).  Santa sent her back a video via the PortableNorthPole (coolest thing ever).  She and Taimane actually get all the words right to "Jingle Bells" and "Santa's Coming to Town."  They've been asking about making gingerbread houses and cookies and wrapping presents, and I've done zilch.  I need the Procrastination-Fix-It-Fairy to swoop down and wave her magic wand and get it together for me.  Let me know if anyone out there knows how I can find her. *Sigh.*

December 15, 2010


Or, winners, I should say :).

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE for entering the giveaway, and for your show of support and interest in Tiare Photography! I am flattered at the response and number of entries!

After preparing for the big drawing yesterday and reading so many wonderful comments, I decided that Taimane would choose TWO winners - one for a lifestyle portrait shoot (family sessions, etc), and one for a wedding. We also wanted to do something special for EVERYONE who entered - so check out the details after the lucky winners are announced :).

Without further ado...



Congratulations to the PAN Family and MUA LUTU (who also just got engaged)!

EMAIL ME at to redeem your winnings ;)! Looks like SAMOA is in the forecast for 2011! CHEEHOO ;)!

For everyone else who participated in the giveaway, we would like to THANK YOU with a limited time Tiare Photography SPECIAL!

Book a LIFESTYLE PORTRAIT SHOOT by December 31st, for a 1-2 hour session scheduled anytime between January 2nd, 2011 - April 30th, 2011 for only $150! If you entered from somewhere other than Seattle, the travel deal is still in effect if you can find 5 others who will book a session at full price :).

And, if you were trying your luck at a wedding session, EMAIL ME details at for a custom wedding collection and special rates just for participating in the giveaway!

I hope to get together with many of you soon! THANKS AGAIN!!

December 14, 2010


To my dearest and most pleasant "surprise," Taimane,

In a quick 12 months and 3 days after Eden was born, you made me a Mommy of 2.

You taught me that my heart's ability to love knows no bounds. I couldn't have imagined just how much one little girl could make me laugh and smile, or how this bundle of spunk and personality could have come from your daddy and me! I think I hang on your every word, just waiting to see what funny or sweet or extra-honest thing you have to say next. Don't grow up on me too fast.

I love you so very much, and I thank Heavenly Father and my lucky stars for you all at once.

Happy Birthday My Baby Cookie! I hope your day is as WONDERFUL as you!

Taimane is the life of the party in the Tagoa'i household, and she has blossomed into quite the little girl, with a mind all her own. As clearly as I remember welcoming Eden into the world, I remember when Taimane's arrival was imminent. Eden had turned 1, and although I was anxious to get the pregnancy over with, my emotions were on quite the rollercoaster. Looking back, I know I was so afraid of being a mommy to two little ones, so close in age - worried one would feel neglected or get less attention; and I wondered how on earth I could love another baby as much as I loved Eden. I had no idea that I would be JUST as overwhelmed with this insurmountable love for Taimane as soon as I heard her first cry and laid eyes on her, and that love has only multiplied infinitely since. She is truly such a special part of our family, with quick wits and a sweet smile that melts my heart.

December 11, 2010


To my beautiful baby girl who made me a Mommy for the first time, 5 years ago today...

My days are brighter, my world is fuller, and my life is better, because of YOU.

Mommy loves you more than there are words in this world to describe. Beyond all space, all time, and all measure.

Happy Birthday Baby!

I vividly remember this very day 5 years ago - this hefty little girl, 9-1/2 lbs with a head full of black hair, staring up at me. I recall feeling so overwhelmed with a love I hadn't known existed until I held her in my arms. I am thankful every moment of every day, that the Lord blessed me with my sweet Eden, and decided I was worthy enough to be her Mom. Her Daddy and I are so very proud of the little young lady she's growing up to be - she is patient and loving and kind, and we are truly SO blessed.

December 10, 2010


Ashley & Kose have the cutest family! We'd planned their family holiday shoot around the weather forecast, and thought we totally lucked out when we saw a full day of SUN forecasted for the Sunday we scheduled their pictures. As Washington weather is ever so temperamental, we got caught in the rain! Little Kose enjoyed it for all of us nonetheless :)!


GUYMON FAMILY : HOLIDAYS 2010 | Puyallup & Fife, WA

When I took the Guymons' 2009 holiday photos, baby Traysen was just a few months old. It's great to look back at their family photos and see how much their kids have grown - and the most changed of course is little Traysen, who is about 19 months old in this year's photos! Alaina does the best job at dressing her kids and matching them up so well for their photo shoots! This family is wonderful - the girls are in Alaina's Leap & Learn preschool again this year, and absolutely LOVE it! Trendon is still their favorite buddy, they're still enraptured by baby Traysen (and for a while, Eden wanted us to name Israel, "Traysen"), and they still adore Miss Krailyn :).

December 8, 2010


I say it often - here, and here, for example (and probably a dozen more times in other blog posts), how very special this little family is to me and my family. My middle daughter truly believes in the depths of her heart that she is actually Rose & Legi's oldest child, and no one can tell her any different :). I'm blessed that they love her, and Eden and Israel too, as if they were their own.

Little L is 9 and a half months of so much FUN in his first family holiday pictures. We bundled him up one cold winter morning and headed to downtown Tacoma. You'd never know it felt like 10 degrees outside judging from how great this family looks, right? :)

Here are a few photos of some of my FAVORITE people in the whole world...

December 6, 2010

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES : The “Gingerbread-bread” House

If you're looking for the big GIVEAWAY, click here.

My almost-5 year old asked me last night if I could get her a few things she’d need to build a gingerbread house – “It's Israel’s first Christmas, Mommy, and Taimane and I can build him one,” she added.

I asked her, “You mean, ‘a gingerbread-bread’ house?” with a smirk, and she looked at me with one of those are-you-kidding-me-mom looks. She responded slowly (for my benefit), “No - a gingerBREAD house, Mommy – there’s only one ‘bread.’” I laughed and told her there was once a time when she refused to say it any other way but “gingerbread-bread.”

I looked for this blog post on the very thing, and read it to her, thinking all the while, how on earth did she grow up so fast…

December 17, 2008

A little while ago, Eden brought home a small, plastic gingerbread girl from school. She excitedly told me it was a "gingerbread-bread girl," and has said "gingerbread" with the extra "bread" at the end ever since, even after being corrected. It's been one of her favorite little things to play with lately.

On Monday, Aunty Rose got a gingerbread house kit for the girls and she and Eden began putting it together :). Monday was FREEZING cold here, so all heaters were on full blast. That made it a bit difficult for the icing "glue" to set. After I picked up the girls that evening, Rose finished up putting it together and decorating it, and brought it by today. Eden was so thrilled to see her "gingerbread-bread house"!

December 4, 2010


This little Miss will determine the winner
while celebrating her special day on 12.14.10.
When I hit 25,000 views the other day, I was pretty ecstatic, and thought I should celebrate it -- with more than extra cheat days for myself (as per #2 of the big list, I should stop with the desserts after every meal anyway). So instead of basking in self-indulgence, and in light of the holiday season, I decided it was GIVEAWAY time :). And then I realized this post would be my 100th on this blog, and so I've dubbed it the 100th Blog Post Giveaway.

A friend gave me this idea a while back. Ready, Internet? This is it:

At random, a name will be picked on December 14th by my baby girl Taimane (who will be celebrating her 4th birthday), and they will win (cue drum roll)...a FREE PHOTO SHOOT that can be redeemed ANYTIME and ANYWHERE before September 30th, 2011.

We're talking ANY kind of shoot:

- Senior Portraits
- Children's Session
- Newborn Session
- Family Photos
- Headshots
- Boudoir Session
- Engagement Photos
- Maternity Session
- Bridal Session
- and here's the big one...6 Hours of WEDDING DAY COVERAGE!*

Here's how this GIVEAWAY works:

1. Follow me on Twitter, or let's be Facebook friends :).

2. If you decide on Twitter, copy and paste this as a Twitter update:
@TiarePhoto is doing a GIVEAWAY for a FREE PHOTO SHOOT!! Check out the details on the blog to ENTER:

And if it's on Facebook, copy and paste this as your status:
Tiare Photography is giving away a FREE PHOTO SHOOT - ANY shoot, that can be done ANYWHERE and ANYTIME before 9/30/11 - check out the blog for details and to ENTER:

3. Leave me a comment on this blog post - it can be anything, but to qualify, you MUST include:
~ Your Name (especially if you post as Anonymous)
~ Your Email Address (so we can nail down the details of your fabulous, FREE shoot if you win!)
~ The type of shoot you want

Simple, right? And since it's the holidays, feel free to GIFT it if you win! Electronic and/or a printed gift certificate can be available to the winner too, if they'd like to give away their winnings :).

The contest will close at 6:00 PM Pacific time on December 14, 2010, so be sure to enter before then!


- I must be available on your date.

- As mentioned, your shoot can be ANYWHERE - I travel often throughout the year, and may be planning to be in your area, so we can coordinate schedules (shoot me an email to find out)! However, if you're outside of the greater Seattle/Tacoma area and choose a FREE LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOOT at a place or time I don't currently have plans for, all travel fees must be paid in advance. BUT, if you can find 5 other people in your area to book photo shoots at regular price around the time of your shoot, travel fees will be waived! :)

* If you choose (the best deal yet) 6 HOURS FREE WEDDING COVERAGE, email me your wedding date, venue and a photo of you and your fiance(e) for the winner announcement blog post.

* If you're outside of the greater Seattle and Tacoma areas, and you choose the WEDDING COVERAGE for your prize shoot, all travel expenses must be paid for by the bride & groom. Email me for more information.

* Additional wedding coverage can be purchased - flexible collections available; shoot me an email for more info!

And that's it. Ready, set...ENTER! ;) GOOD LUCK!

December 3, 2010


{Just a little disclosure here..this is long and really more about self-gratification, so consider yourself forewarned.}

It goes without fail. I start thinking about “resolutions” in December before the New Year.

In January, I’m ready to rock and roll, with all the resolve one could possibly muster up. By February/March-ish, rockin’ those resolutions becomes ahh, a “part-time job,” more or less.

April: it's a weekend thing.  May: once a month maybe?  June: What resolutions? Oh yeah, those. July: There's always next year...

And so goes the cycle - year in and year out. So here I am, Internet, thinking about resolutions again, and figuring that blogging them might keep me a little more accountable. Kinda like how “putting things in writing” makes those things official.

So I'm a little early, but I thought I better get a head start.  Without further ado, here we go (in absolutely no particular order of importance, by the way)...

1. Be a better BLOGGER. Of the two thousand and ten things that 2010 brought this year, I've blogged just a tiny fraction. I used to have a family blog - updated with the crazy happenings of two little toddler girls' lives, and I loved it. I started a photography blog when I started this business, and kept it - for the most part - photography-related, with a few personal anecdotes here and there. I just want to blog TO BLOG, whether I have a fabulous shoot to share or not. So look out for a slew of multiple appearances in the New Year. Maybe 3 times a week or more? Oh geez, do I even have anything interesting to say 3 times a week??

2. Be HEALTHY (and maybe shed 20 lbs doing it). Yep, I had to throw in the stereotypical LOSE WEIGHT resolution in there, even if it was as a side note. It’s not one I started thinking about til after the babies came; and granted, every pound gained was well worth it, I need to start setting a healthy lifestyle example for those three munchkins. Recently, I took my husband to an awesome naturopath, and she suggested a meatless diet for my extremely carnivorous man. So a vegetarian he became, and I heard very little about aches and pains and feeling crummy. Then he had several helpings of Thanksgiving lunch, still felt OK, and thought he must be all better – a few cheeseburgers and Taco Bell nacho plates later..he’s back at square one. Case in point - too much of a good, greasy thing isn't so good after all. While I may not make the leap to vegetarianism right away, I do want to change my family’s lifestyle habits and be healthier (and happier)– eating better, exercising often, keeping doctor visits to a minimum, and ENJOYING life!

3. STIMULATE MY MIND and resist the TV – Translation: READ MORE BOOKS. There was a year that my husband and I got completely consumed with reality TV trash. Embarrassingly – and I really can’t believe I’m admitting this on the World Wide Web – we got a kick out of Flavor Flav and his love escapades and laughed our butts off every episode we just “happened” to catch every week. Then we’d say we’d never watch another one...and before we knew it, we were watching the season finale. I know, I know. Save the judgments. Then, in the last year, we watched the last season of 24, and proclaimed it the best show of all time (and this, I still do believe deep in my heart – so don’t hate if you’re not a Jack Bauer fan). We slowly bought every other season in the series and watched it all in a few months time (thank you Hollywood Video for closing down and allowing me to score whole seasons for under $10). And there are others, believe me – frankly, it’s really just gotten out of hand. It’s another one of those set-a-better-example things, and so I’m back to being a book worm. Growing up, I always had my nose in a book – and I’d have no problem if my daughters adopted the same habit, considering their own addiction to Good Luck, Charlie. The hubs is an avid reader (although he could lay off the $25 hard-cover books and wait til the paperback versions come out...just sayin’), so at least this can easily be a joint effort. 2-3 books a month is what I’m pledging to myself for 2011. I think I read 2 books this entire year (and way too many magazines..ugh).

4. Go HOME. I don’t know how realistic this is, honestly, but a visit is long overdue. I’m SO sad I’ll miss my high school reunion next week. A quick trip to American Samoa with the whole fam-bam would be a whopping $8K in round-trip airfares alone. Maybe I’ll be lucky and win the lottery (or maybe someone will need a wedding photographer in Samoa? I can recommend a great venue!), but my goal is to go home once in 2011. By then, it’ll be 5 years since I was home last – which was for a short, and sad 3 days only, to lay my grandfather to rest. It was my husband and oldest daughter’s first times to Samoa ever, and Eden was only 2 months old, so it doesn’t really count for her. My immediate family ALL live in the mainland now (as of 2004), but my grandma is there, and no matter WHAT – it’ll always be home.

5. FOCUS on my “WHY.” I took an amazing workshop in July by Natalie Norton, and she talked about finding our “why.” Why do we get out of bed in the morning? Why do we try at anything? Why do we do what we do? Nothing on God’s green earth matters or means more to me than my family. I’ve said it before – my children simply drive me to DREAM and DO. I’ve discovered a type of selflessness I didn’t know existed in me, with each of their births – and it continues to grow as they do. Ultimately, everything I do and everything I strive for – is for them. Whether it’s to support and feed and clothe them, or it’s to show them that they CAN do whatever they put their minds to, they are my “WHY,” and I’m thankful every day for having 3 particularly good reasons to get out there and get it done. I truly believe that focusing on my WHY will help me accomplish a LOT of goals I’m setting for the New Year – that’s for another post.

6. DISNEYLAND, here we come. Gotta take the kids to Disneyland. The girls begged me all year, and in 2011, I’m giving in. Nuff said.

7. Love MORE, complain LESS, and face adversity with a SMILE. Junior will love this one, I’m sure. This is a bit of a spiritual goal for me, and maybe one of the more important ones. I am human – as much as I like to filter it out on the handy dandy blog here (and that will happen less next year..see #1) – and loving without bounds comes without thinking for me for only a select few in my life (see #5 for about 3 examples). It’ll take time and practice, and probably a lot of prayer to get through this one, but I’m gonna try. This year has come with its share of achievements and happy times, along with a good deal of challenges and bumps in the road. Trials are inevitable. We all have good days and bad days, and trials can either build us up or break us down. Resolve to live and learn – as much as that’s easier said and done – and grow from it. That’s the attitude I’m adopting for the New Year.

8. TRY something new. I’m not much of a risk-taker. I’ll never bungee jump or skydive, and I will always conservatively opt for the safest option. Even my 401(k) investing is low-risk when the stock market’s doing great, and I think I’m young enough to take a few chances without losing my entire retirement savings. lol With that said, I’d like to try something new this year. Speaking of Natalie Norton, she said something pretty smart on her blog the other day: “I BELIEVE in specificity when it comes to goals. Which packs more punch? ‘I’m going to take up running.’ VS ‘I’m going to run the Gunstock Half Marathon on October 30th 2010 at 7:00am.’” TRUE THAT, right? So this last resolution will need updating later, because I haven’t found out what new thing I’d specifically like to try. But stay tuned, because when I do, I'll be blogging about it.

There it is, Internet - my big list. All long-winded and drawn out, but more importantly - officially in “writing,” so I can start owning up to it. Come June, when I usually forget what my New Year resolutions even were, I'll revisit this and we'll see where I ended up at the half-way mark :).

So glad I already have a supportive FAN... :)


November 15, 2010

A GIRL IN A CHAIR : JASMINE STAR + YWD WORKSHOP | Rancho Las Lomas, California

I set two pretty lofty goals (in my opinion) for my photography business in 2011: 1) Attend a Jasmine Star workshop, and 2) Get published in some type of wedding publication - blog or print. So when I saw Jasmine Star's post about an exclusive, unique workshop she'd be doing, partnered with the fabulous Editor in Chief, Thea Lignos-Hargrove, & Creative Director, Cathryn VanBreene of Your Wedding Day magazine, I couldn't believe my luck.  It was the perfect opportunity, and the very first workshop of its kind: a collaboration of a renowned photographer and a renowned magazine - how could I NOT jump at the chance?  The workshop's focus would be on shooting editorially and submitting work for publication. The venue: the beautiful Rancho Las Lomas in the hills of Silverado, California. My excitement level? Through. The. ROOF.  The experience itself?  Indescribable.  I walked away with a wealth of information and inspiration, and I am SO excited for what the new year will bring.

When I started this photography "venture," it was sort of on a whim, and I was unsure of where the road would take me.  I had a love and passion for photography that I felt I needed to acknowledge at the very least - and whatever would happen next, I'd planned to simply enjoy the ride.  In my very first blog post, I mentioned Jasmine Star, one of my utmost favorite wedding photographers, and I didn't think I'd so quickly get the chance to meet her, let alone shoot alongside her!  Jasmine was just as down-to-earth and awesome as she comes across in her blog, and her husband JD was so friendly and welcoming as well.

STAR-struck! :)  Not the most fabulous picture of me, but I take consolation in the fact that it's still a photo with J*!

I was SO excited to be meeting Thea and Cathryn of YWD too, and I was equally amazed with them!  YWD is a wedding publication I love to read/look at, cover-to-cover.  It was truly a welcomed opportunity to meet, in-person, the creative geniuses behind the scenes!!

The workshop was held on a Thursday and I'd originally planned to just fly in and fly back out. Instead, I ended up taking some vacation time and spending a few days in sunshine (getting to visit my mom again in less than 2 months - double score!).  Sadly, I missed the soiree YWD hosted the evening before, but made it early to the workshop the next morning.  You know you're a serious fan when your 4-year-old can peek out a car window and say, "Look -- there's Jasmine Star!" and be right! lol  My little Eden LOVES watching J*'s CreativeLive videos with me :).

Four BREATHTAKING wedding sets were designed and set up for the next YWD publication, so I'm unable to post images of those until after the next issue of the magazine is released, but I, along with Jasmine and almost 30 other uber-talented photographers, did get to shoot two gorgeous models, and those images, I can post :).

Here are a just a few photos - for now - of the Girl in A Chair workshop.

A HUGE thank you to J* & JD, Thea, Cathryn, Rosalind Bordo of Two Bright Lights, Sofia Singelstad, and everyone else who made the workshop happen!  SO thrilled to meet such amazing photographers who also attended as well!  xox 

The light was A-MA-ZING.

I LOVE a dress in motion...gorgeous!

And here is the awesome group with J*, Thea and Cathryn - photo credit: Jasmine Star Photography.