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3.27.2015

Friday Four

1  //  Last weekend, The Husband and I explored a new neighborhood not too far from us.  Bernal Heights.  We started off with a hike around Bernal Heights Hill, then had lunch at Bernal Star.  Their delicious brunch/lunch menu made it really hard to choose just one item but when I saw they could make the burgers with a gluten-free bun, the decision was made.  Afterwards, we walked around the main strip and found a few other restaurants we want to go back and try (they're only open for dinner, otherwise I may have been tempted into a second lunch...).  We also discovered a new shop, The Epicurean Trader, and ended up buying some yummy cheeses and a banana-honey peanut butter that has been topping my gluten free waffles all week.  I'm excited to go back after Easter and pick up some of those pretty chocolate bars, too!

bernal heights photos




2  //  My wedding season officially kicks off this weekend!  I haven't shot a full wedding since November so I'm looking forward to spending the day with these two and capturing lots of little moments of love tomorrow.

engagement photos at crissy field




3  //  I'm officially in the third and final trimester of this pregnancy!  I hit 28 weeks this week (some sources say 27 is third trimester, some say it's 28 - it's so confusing) so we're counting down the next 12 until we find out whether this little human kicking me all day long is a boy or a girl.  Overall, the second trimester wasn't that bad.  Other than the stuffy nose and the occasional back aches, it was much more pleasant than expected.  Things are already starting to feel a little tight and uncomfortable though (seriously, where is everything going to go over the next 12 weeks?  I feel like I'm already running out of room!) so I have a feeling the "pleasant" days of pregnancy are coming to an end.

progression of pregnancy in second trimester




4  //  This one is a little sad to report.  Molly's health seems to have taken a turn in the last few days.  Just two days ago, she happily came out of her cage to hang out with Gia and give lots of guinea pig kisses in exchange for some blueberries.  But now, she's not really moving around much and she's not eating either.  She still wants food, but it seems difficult for her to eat and after a few bites, she stops.  The lymph nodes under her neck and back legs are significantly larger than they were just a few days ago so we're concerned that's was causing her to have trouble eating.  It completely breaks my heart because she's just not herself right now.  Even when she was having trouble walking a few weeks ago, she would still perk up when I talked to her, responding with little chuts and squeaks and purrs, get excited for food, and have no trouble eating or drinking.  Now, she's not very vocal and mostly just quietly lays in her little igloo.  She has a vet appointment for this afternoon but it's not looking good.  All we can really do for her right now is cuddle her and tell her how much she's loved.

guinea pigs on bed



Please keep my little piggy love in your thoughts today.  She has put up such a strong fight thus far but I fear she may not be with us much longer. :(

guinea pig photos


xo

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3.24.2015

Bloom Retreat Photo Shoot | Walnut Creek

Earlier this year, I did a photo shoot for Bloom Retreat, a yoga studio and workspace here in the Bay Area.  The photos were primarily for their Self Love Challenge, a 28-day challenge organized by the studio's founder, Michelle, that encourages you to take a little time for yourself -even if it's just 5 minutes- everyday for the entire month of February.  The challenge included things like Read a Good Book, Have a Girls' Night, and Indulge in What Makes You Feel Sexy (lipstick on a weekday maybe?).  Michelle has a new, more in-depth 8-week online program, Becoming Grace, which begins at the end of this month for women who feel they've lost their sense of self.  In Michelle's words, "Becoming Grace is a guide to help you become your true self.  The 8-week journey leads you back into your desires and helps you find your voice, find confidence in your decisions, feel good in your body, and celebrate both the grace and grit in your life. We do this through teaching modules, weekly practices and meditations, weekly live community calls plus Q & A with me, and a supportive community of women to hold you as you unravel into who you truly are."

Now, about those photos... :)  A lot of our session focused on yoga poses and reconnecting with your physical and emotional self, but I also captured a few shots around the studio as well as some head shots of Michelle at the very end.  The studio is a gorgeous, serene, peaceful space to sit and catch up with friends or just have a few moments to yourself while reading or writing.  It was a joy being in such a lovely space for the afternoon and working with Michelle.  The space felt very Anthropologie-inspired, but in an approachable and homey way.  If I lived just a little bit closer, I'd be settling in to do work at one of the lovely window seats at least a few afternoons a week!  If you're ever in the Walnut Creek area, I highly recommend checking it out!

Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
yoga portraits
yoga portraits
yoga studio portraits
creative yoga studio portraits
creative yoga studio portraits
creative athletic women's photography
creative athletic women's photography
creative athletic women's photography
creative athletic women's portraiture
creative athletic women's portraiture
creative athletic women's photography
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
Bloom Retreat Walnut Creek
creative women's photography
creative women's photography
creative women's photography
silhouette of woman putting on makeup
nontraditional head shots for women
glamour head shots for women
Styling: Melanie Kluger
Hair & Makeup: Melissa Hoffman

PS - If you want more info on Bloom's upcoming online course, click here!

xo

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3.20.2015

Happy Friday | This Week's Blooms

It's officially Spring!  Even though it's been warm and spring-like here in California for some time now, I'm sure today is a day most other people around the country have been looking forward to with much anticipation.  The days are just a little longer, the sun is just a little warmer, and the earth is starting to come alive again with all sorts of greenery and blossoms.  I love having fresh flowers in the apartment year-round but it's especially awesome in the spring because there are so many lovely blooms to choose from each week.  As I was browsing the seasonal standards -tulips and daffodils and calla lilies- in the Trader Joe's flower section the other day, something a little crazier caught my eye.  The intricate details and bright colors of the quirky Pincushions were just too cool to pass up.  And, of course, I had to photograph them too.  Flowers make the perfect subjects.  So, in honor of the first day of Spring, here are this week's blooms to brighten up your day and welcome you into the weekend.

orange and pink pincushion flowers
orange and pink pincushion flowers
orange and pink pincushion flowers
orange and pink pincushion flowers
orange and pink pincushion flowers
orange and pink pincushion flowers
orange and pink pincushion flowers
Any big plans for the first weekend of spring?  Wedding season for me starts next weekend (yay!) so I'm hoping The Husband and I can get outdoors for a little hike and maybe explore a new neighborhood here in town before the pre-baby wedding season craziness kicks into high gear. :)

Happy Friday!
xo

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3.19.2015

Awkward & Awesome | Pregnancy Edition

26 weeks pregnant


AWKWARD
1 \\  There are so many random pregnancy symptoms that no one really warned me about beforehand.  The stuffy nose being the worst.  It's basically impossible to breath when laying down and you know what you have to lay down to do?  Sleep.  Last night, I snore/snorted so loudly I woke myself up.  Why?  BECAUSE I COULDN'T BREATHE!!  My mouth was totally parched from the mouth-breathing and I've woken up with dry/cracked lips so often I've lost count.  Saline nasal sprays help, but they don't completely cure the problem.  And nasal strips were working for a little while but after a few days of wearing them every night, I started breaking out on my nose exactly where the strips went.  At one point, I had three little pimples all in a perfect line right across the bridge of my nose.  Lovely.

2 \\  Watching the numbers on the scale continue to rise can be very scary.  I know it's all for a good reason and I haven't really been obsessing about it (at least, not as much as I know I could be) but I've maintained roughly the same weight for most of my adult life -minus freshman year of college ... let's not go there- so seeing those numbers creep up on a weekly basis is strange.  At least, I think it's strange.  I can't actually see the numbers over my belly now but I do a quick "lean forward to check but try not to fall over" after each weigh-in.  After gaining exactly nothing until week 16, I've been averaging about 1.5 lbs increase a week since then, but that's definitely not consistent.  Some weeks there's no change at all and some weeks I've gained as much as 5 lbs in just seven days.  Talk about awkward.

3 \\  Clothes.  The bane of my existence right now.  I've reached a point now at roughly seven months pregnant where I wear more maternity clothes than regular clothes but still occasionally fit into a 'regular' outfit, mostly maxi dresses and loose-fitting tops.  But I also seem to be in between maternity sizes because some things are just a tad too tight for comfort while the next size up will fit around the belly but be too loose in the chest.  I've just decided to go for things that are on the bigger side because, at the rate I'm expanding, they'll most likely fit in a week or two anyway.  And then be too tight another week after that.  Yippee.

AWESOME
1 \\  As awkward as the belly is for me, other people seem to really like it/respond well to it.  The other day I was running errands downtown and met up with The Husband for a quick coffee (yes, I'm still drinking coffee).  As I was walking to his office, I passed by the SF Art Institute where a bunch of students were hanging out outside.  Out of nowhere I hear one of the girls shout, "Aw, how cute!!!  Baby on the way right there!  Look!!!"  Not realizing she was talking about me, I looked around to find out who the obviously-pregnant lady was on the sidewalk and noticed I was basically surround by a bunch of dudes in business suits and tech wear (aka hoodies and skinny jeans).  It was me!  I was the obviously-pregnant lady she was referring to!  Hey, at least she said I was cute...

2 \\  People are really nice to you when you're pregnant.  Seriously, if you ever doubted whether chivalry still exists in the world, get knocked up and see for yourself.  People open doors for you, give you their seat on the bus, pick things up for you when you clumsily drop them (which is especially nice because bending over isn't really an option at this point), and just generally smile and soften up around you when they notice the belly.  It's a little sad that it takes being pregnant for strangers to show basic manners but, hey, I'll take it!

3 \\  Feeling the baby move is kind of fascinating to me.  It's a totally weird and foreign sensation and I'm pretty sure I'll never get used to it, but it's also very entertaining.  Baby is super active and has been ever since the beginning.  In fact, our doc had a hard time getting ultrasound photos at our 10-week appointment last fall because Baby wouldn't stop rolling around and moving its little arms and legs.  But now, I can actually feel all those little movements basically any time I'm sitting still.  It's to the point now where it's visible from the outside too, which really blows my mind.  I can't even describe how freaky it is to be editing photos or reading in the evening and see little jerking movements in my abdomen, like it's trying to break free of its watery womb enclosure.  It definitely adds to the feeling of being a walking science experiment but in a way that's actually kind of cool.

xo

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3.18.2015

Diana & LiWei | Lake Merritt Wedding Photography

Diana & LiWei met in a way some would say was destined to be.  Diana, a young Mormon dedicated to her church, was serving a mission in the Chinese community here in San Francisco when LiWei caught her eye.  She did her best to resist and focus on the purpose of her work, but she couldn't help but be drawn to him on a deeper level.  As Diana put it during a sweet slideshow at her wedding, she simply fell in love with her convert.

After navigating the stresses of school and a brief period of long-distance in their relationship, Diana & LiWei knew they were both in it for the long haul.  They chose to be sealed in the Oakland temple where dozens of friends and family (some traveling from as far as China!) waited to greet them with hugs, smiles, and lots of photos.  Because they wanted their non-Mormon friends and family to be fully included in their special day, the chose to also have a ring ceremony followed by a traditional reception at Lake Merritt.  The whole event was filled with little personal touches: a fun reception game allowing guests to get to know each other -and the bride & groom- in much more depth, a dessert table featuring a homemade cake, cupcakes, fruit tarts, and a few of the couple's favorite candies, a slideshow chronicling how these two individuals came to be a couple, and a sweet serenade Diana wrote and played for her new husband on her charming ukulele.  All in all, it was the perfect blending of families, cultures, and tradition and left Diana & LiWei feeling more loved and supported than ever before.

Diana & LiWei - thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of such a special and personal day, and for allowing me the experience of photographing my first Mormon wedding!  I wish you both nothing but love, friendship, and happiness now and forever. ♥

lace sleeved wedding dress
blush pink wedding shoes
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wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
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wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding photography at the mormon temple in oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt hotel oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland
wedding at lake merritt oakland

xo

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