October 30, 2010


Here's wishing you a SPOOKtacular Halloween, from my very own "Good" Witch, Asian Princess and handsome Little Lion!

October 28, 2010


I've been getting over a mild case of congestion and the flu, and getting my three munchkins over their little bouts too, so I've got a bit to catch up on!

A few weeks ago, Fancy Frenchwood, owner of Saké in Seattle, contacted me about photographing an event she'd be hosting on behalf of Child United.  The event - a fundraiser - was held at the newly-opened Choice Gallery in Bellevue last Thursday - a great little gallery filled with grand pianos and artwork of all sorts.  Several members of the community attended the event in support of Child United, an organization headed by Christine Umayam.  The organization that focuses on educating impoverished children in many different countries is currently leading a serious effort to aid in disaster relief for victims in the wake of super typhoon Megi that devastated the Philippines just last week.  Last year, Christine traveled with Child United to the Philippines after Typhoon Ketsana rendered so many natives homeless and helpless, bringing staple items, clothing, food and hope to survivors. 

During the fundraiser, which included saké and wine tasting, Asian hor d'oeuvres and silent auctions, guests watched a slideshow prepared by Child United showing the devasation in the Philippines, and photos of children who were left without parents and homes, living in flood-stricken areas and struggling for survival.  Both Christine and Fancy urged attendees to help support those in need, as 100% of proceeds from the Saké in Seattle event that evening went toward assisting Child United's relief effort.

Find out how you can help support a great cause by visiting Child United's website here.  Also visit Saké in Seattle's website to host your next event!

Making a Difference - Christine Umayam and Fancy Frenchwood

October 18, 2010


I don't normally have the tendency to cry at weddings unless I have a serious emotional connection to the bride or groom - as in, a family member or very close friend.  But on a hot California afternoon in September, I found myself having to blink back tears just so I could see through my camera lens - not once, but SEVERAL times during the special day that belonged to Marco & Sandra, or "Manu," as she was affectionately known by her family.  A family who, I might add, felt like people I'd known for years by the end of the night. That's how great the day was.

I had the pleasure of second-shooting a spectacular wedding alongside Mapu Mataele of Mapuana Photography in Southern California a few weeks ago.  With my 5-month-old son in tow, we hopped on a plane to Long Beach for the weekend and left Seattle's cold and gloom for sweltering California heat.  Lucky for us, my son got to bond with his G-Mom (ahem, grandma *smiles*) while I spent a good part of Saturday helping to document an amazing day.

For my Seattle-weathered skin, the heat was almost unbearable at mid-day (yes, me, born and raised in hot and humid American Samoa, couldn't handle some real sunshine for a few hours...makes me sad just thinking about it).  Mapu and I drove to Manu's brother's home where Manu and her bridal party were getting ready, and welcomed heaven-sent central air conditioning when we walked inside.  Having never met Manu before, I knew we were in for a stylish, fabulous wedding at the sight of her stunning Maggie Sottero dress, Chinese Laundry heels, and the beautiful white phalaenopsis orchids that adorned her hair.

Marco and Manu solemnized their marriage and exchanged vows at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia. The ceremony was beautiful, and the sounds of a well-harmonized Samoan choir filled the church. It was truly music to my ears!

Bridal party photos were done at the nearby Cerritos Sculpture Garden, and the light was divine.

Mr. & Mrs. Marco Hernandez...

The Bride & Groom Transportation was slick!

The reception was held at the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel and the banquet room was decorated with vibrant colors and floral arrangements.

As is customary in Samoan weddings, the bride performed a Samoan siva, and Manu changed into traditional Samoan wear. In honor of her late father, she performed a second dance as well. The energy in the room was intense, and I found myself letting out a faaumu here and there in between shutter clicks...LOL! I was pretty impressed with Marco, who isn't Samoan, and his Samoan dancing abilities too!

Over the course of that day, I learned that Marco and Manu met in college, and they'd been together for several years since.  I'd seen first-hand, and heard as witnessed by close friends and family, how well they complimented each other, and how much they loved one another. There is no doubt in my mind that they've found, together, their true life partners. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of their special day.

Marco & Manu, congratulations and best wishes! Ia manuia lava le ulugali'i fou!

October 12, 2010


Dear Blog & Internet,

Rest assured...
I haven't fallen off the face of the earth!
I have a million things to catch you up on,
but it probably won't happen today.
Tomorrow...maybe. Or the next day.
It'll be soon, promise.
I have a myriad of excuses for my prolonged absence,
but I'll spare you.
Life happens...what can I say?
When I get back from my little blog-leave,
I'll make it a point to be around more often :).

Hope this smiley face makes up for it in the meantime...
It always makes everything better for me.

- xoxo -