Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkins Can't Tie

So, last night JD and I stopped by Trader Joe's for a few things. Nothing specific, just the usual tofu steaks, organic strawberries, and whole grain bread for me (oh the joys of being married to a vegetarian!) and a roast turkey for him. On our way into the store, JD scoped out the pumpkin patch and carefully chose a pumpkin for us to carve. This one's nice, he said as he held up a large round pumpkin. I paused, weighing my options, and said, Let's make it a competition this year! Ever the competitor, JD easily agreed and I saw his pupils diabolically enlarge. He's like that. Competitive. Oh yes, he may appear docile and overtly pleasant, but when it comes to a challenge, he has to win. Oh, and if you're wondering, putting a Scrabble board between us is the equivalent of asking the Lord Almighty to beckon World War III.

So, last night a line of demarcation was figuratively drawn between the kitchen nook and the kitchen. He at the table, me at the kitchen counter. We gave ourselves a 30-minute time limit to carve, so while John Mayer serenaded our artistic ventures, we diligently worked. When I walked across the kitchen for a glass of water, JD turned his sketch upside down. Yes, I said 'sketch'. I told you he's competitive.

When the time elapsed, we had to objectively vote for the superior pumpkin. He liked mine (I could see it in his eyes), but...voted for his. And, well, I voted for my pumpkin because it was vastly superior. In the end, our pumpkins tied. JD seems content with this notion, but it doesn't bode well with me. In lieu of this, feel free to cast a vote for the better lookin' pumpkin.

Oh, and in my unbiased opinion, the pumpkin on the right is hot.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jodi and Vip Engagement

They walked down the winding path to the shore hand-in-hand and laughed intermittently. They laughed in a way that made those who watched want to be included in their secret joke. Jodi and Vip share a connection few can savor; one based on love with a healthy portion of humor. Vip could merely give Jodi a sideways glance and she would instantly know the next thing escaping his mouth and preemptively laugh. It was a beautiful thing to watch.

The ginger sun dipped itself into the Corona Del Mar ocean and waved goodbye to the beautiful couple frolicking along the shore, leaving its orange rays on their smiling faces. They’ll be married next month in Los Angeles celebrating both with an Indian and an American ceremony. I’m so excited to shoot their wedding because there’s nothing more beautiful than to watch two people in love laugh in each other’s arms.

Here are a few from their engagement session…


Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Hedgehog in Ink

As we sat in the crowded theater, the electric current of college life surged through the corduroy seats. To be fair, there were non-students sitting in the Claremont McKenna College auditorium, but they were easily identifiable. The eclectic mix of women (mostly clad in layered tie-dyed skirts and Birkenstocks) and men (dressed in carefully selected designer jeans and Ferragamo suede loafers) spoke of Indie concerts and political affairs in the seats around me. They were the NPR-types who wore glasses. Heavy black-rimmed, circular featherweights, rhinestone edged. They all wore glasses. It made me wish I had brought a pair. I mean, I don’t wear glasses, but perhaps they would have helped in achieving the appearance of intellect. Afterall, we were all there to hear one of America’s greatest writers read a few short stories…shouldn’t I look the part? ;)

When JD surprised me with tickets to see David Sedaris a couple months ago, I nearly had a heart attack. It was by far one of the best gifts I had ever received, especially since Sedaris’ book tour is sold out. He is the funniest writer I have ever encountered…so much so that I can’t read his books in public for fear of people inquiring whether I’ve taken my meds.

Sitting in the auditorium last night, hearing him read and seeing him in person, was surreal. So surreal I hardly noticed when JD excused himself three-quarters through the performance to never return. As the show concluded, I walked into the lobby bewildered and wondering where he went. Didn’t he remember I wanted to get my favorite book signed?

Yes, he had. There, standing first in a line of hundreds, was JD. He stood proudly smiling, like he knew my heart melted in gratitude. Hurry, he told me, and pass me your camera because pictures aren’t allowed, but I’ll try to get a few when no one’s looking. My heart melted again. He knew how much the night meant to me and wanted to make sure it ended on a high note.

When David approached the seemingly over-sized chair, I couldn’t help but stare. When our eyes met, he smiled warmly and invited me closer. I wordlessly passed him my book and he noticed the post-it attached to the cover that had my name displayed on it.

Jasmine Star, that’s your real name?
Yes…yes, it is.
What do you do, Jasmine Star?
I’m a photographer.
You're a hedgehog?!
No, I’m a photographer.
I’m so sorry…it’s just so loud in this foyer…what’s your specialty?
I’m a wedding photographer.

He then looked up at me and smiled broadly. He began scribbling on the front page of my book and then said…
Well, I’ve never done this before, but I signed the book especially for you.

I thanked him profusely and as I turned to walk away, I glanced down and saw this:

There, in a legend’s writing, is a cartoon of a hedgehog saying ‘I do’. Sure, I might not have been wearing Birkenstocks or viewing life through a pair of glasses, but I was the only girl that night to walk away with hedgehog. It was a beautiful night indeed.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Nice Twin

When I was in 10th grade, my teacher required the class to read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Now, the story itself was compelling and tragically beautiful, but what really struck me was how Hugo juxtaposed two characters to show diametrical opposites. For instance, Jean Valjean was a wonderful man, but when compared to the nasty Innkeeper, Valjean appeared almost holy. And vice versa.

I think this notion struck a nerve because it seemed like my life was somewhat like those in a Hugo novel.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a twin. I have a fantastic twin sister, Bianca. But that's just it...she's fantastic. As in wholesome, gentle, kind, giving...and just about every other Godly characteristic there is. And then there's me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm nice, but when compared to my twin (who appears well on her way to sainthood), I just can't compete :) Growing up, I became accustomed to kids referring to Bianca as "the nice twin"...great, if you sat us on someone's shoulders, I'd be donning the horns and she'd have the glowing crown. I've always maintained that if I didn't love her so much, I'd hate her! :) Just kidding...well, sort of...okay, okay, I'm kidding!

In lieu of this, I asked her to help me write my bio for my website. Can you believe it? I mean, I can pretty much write about anything...except me. For weeks I've drawn a blank and can't come up with a single thing to say, except the fact that I love photography. Well, duh. So I've solicited her help from the advice from a friend, so hopefully she won't let me down.

However, if she does, at least it'll be one dark mark on her otherwise clean record. :)


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

An Oath

I just made an oath. After seeing a picture of myself.

My good friend Greg Bumatay and I often shoot together. Because of this, I'm quite sure he has more than enough pictures to use a blackmail, should he find the reason ;) I received an email from him yesterday and he sent this picture:

Apparently, he shot it while I was taking this picture:

Now, I was thoroughly embarrassed because not only do I appear imbecilic laying in the grass, I didn't even take off my backpack!?! Surely I have a first-class ticket to Dorksville, with no return. I clearly remember this moment because the couple was having a moment with each other and I didn't want to miss it, so I just plopped down where I was and shot away. With my backpack on. I'm cool. Reeeeeally, really cool.

So, if there are prospective brides perusing my blog, please keep two things in mind: (1) I'll do anything to never miss a shot; and (2) I'll hide my backpack at your wedding...I promise :)


Monday, October 23, 2006

Aqua Blue

When I was ten years old, I begged my mom for a Tony Little workout video. I had seen his informercial early one Saturday morning and firmly believed that he was, in fact, going to make my chubby legs thin. I envisioned myself prancing the streets in aqua blue spandex (gimme a break, it was the 80s!) and LA Gear hightops feeling oh-so-lean. I beckoned her to the television where we sat mesmerized by the mullet-haired body builder promising us a trimmer future. So we ordered not one video, but the entire set. Aqua blue spandex here I come!

When the video arrived, I crunched, twisted and squatted in hopes of being the next Cindy Crawford…I just needed a way to replicate her infamous mole. After a week of intense work, my buns weren’t feeling like steal. However, I realized something more important: it wasn’t until I took a step back and surveyed myself when I was able to make the appropriate changes to help me achieve my goal.

So, I suppose I’ve recently had another Tony Little experience. No, I didn’t buy his newest work-out invention, but I did step back and take a good hard look at myself…and my photographic work. I’ve been editing pictures for my website and seeing image after image has opened my eyes to my flaws and short-comings. Things I need to work on. Ways to see a moment from a different perspective. Things I have to change in order to take my work to another level.

I was somewhat bummed seeing that I was falling into the same patterns wedding after wedding, but JD reminded me—in a somewhat clichéd, yet poignant way—that it’s not about the destination, but, rather, about the journey.

The good news is that my site is almost complete and this alone makes me want to put on a pair of aqua blue spandex and run around. But don’t worry, I spare my neighbors the agony ;)


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Your Words

The sky is clear and the wind is blowing outside the hotel room. I look over at my dad, who's reading by the light of the window, and I can't help but feel blessed. You see, my dad's a pastor of a large church in Los Angeles, but he also has a nationally syndicated radio program airing his sermons. For some reason, Texans love the way he much so that he's repeatedly asked to host speaking engagements. That's the true reason we came to Texas.

Later this evening, my dad will be speaking and when I read DJ's blog this afternoon, the quote he posted resonated to my core:

I'm really proud because my father uses his words to change people's lives, and my life is no exemption.

This is a picture I snapped of my dad just after we pulled off the side of the road to stretch our legs on our drive to south Texas...people we say we look alike and, sadly, I kinda agree :)


Thursday, October 19, 2006


I'll try to be posting sporadically, but I'm excited to announce I'm in Texas. I'm here for a few things, but I'll try to post on that later. I flew in early this morning and spent the day with a realtor looking at homes. Homes? Yes, I know this must seem random, but JD and I were thinking of buying an investment property (a la Gary Fong) and we've heard great things about Texas. And so far, things are looking good. I'm still not sure whether we'll finalize anything, but it's been a great experience thus far.

Top Ten Things I've Learned on My First Day in TEXAS:
10. Everything's bigger here
9. I'm referred to as ma'am...which is a little disconcerting because it makes me feel old. I find myself saying, 'Feel free to call me Miss...really, it's fine', but this is only received with a scrunching of eyebrows and a shoulder shrug
8. Texans sure love their Sonic Burgers...they appear on every other corner
7. People drive trucks. Everybody has a truck.
6. Texans drive at the speed limit. Never, ever faster than that. It kind of drives me crazy.
5. Every Texan doesn't wear a cowboy hat and boots...this made me sad. Perhaps it's like when a tourist visits California and realizes our lifeguards don't look like Pamela Anderson.
4. People seem happier here...maybe it's the Sonic ;)
3. I haven't seen a single European-made car, just lots and lots of Fords and Chevys
2. Texans love their American flags...from t-shirts, styrofoam cups, and trucker hats, the flag is everywhere. Everywhere.
1. Don't Mess with Texas! (At least that's what everyone's bumper stickers state)


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Just a quick note:
I'll be leaving town until Sunday, so please forgive the forecasted delay of blogging, emails and calls.
Hopefully I'll get the chance to stay in touch, but, if not, forgive me but I'll hit you up when I get back! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nick and Aimee

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of being invited to shoot an intimate wedding with my dear friend Drew. She’s an amazing girl and she attracts the same types of clients.

Nick and Aimee had a backyard wedding and invited the closest of family and friends. They were such a sweet couple and their wedding was just as special as their love.

Once I’m feeling better, I’ll try to post a few more pictures. I spent most of yesterday afternoon in the doctor’s office (but I brought along my computer because I’m a multi-tasker!), but here are a few of my favorites…

The gorgeous dress

The shoes

Getting ready

The rings

The handsome groom

I have to say something about Aimee: she has this 1940s glamour look about her. She was just really stunning and photographed SO well...I could have easily picked 20 more beautiful pictures!

Okay, this is the last one of Aimee, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was totally thinking about David Jay as I took this shot! :)

The happy couple


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Happy B-Day Sara France!

I should be at dinner tonight celebrating my dear friend Sara France’s birthday, but I’m sick. I should be dipping sushi in soy sauce and raising chopsticks in her honor, but I’m here. Coughing in bed.

With hopes of making me better, JD sliced a crate of strawberries and strategically placed dollops of Cool Whip around my plate. And while I would have preferred to be in a restaurant with friends, swirling the velvety white puffiness in my mouth kinda makes me feel better.

I’m going to have to make it up to Sara, but I want to wish her a very happy birthday!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Moth

As we drove along Westwood’s Veteran Avenue last night, I became a bit nauseous. I’ve heard of this happening before. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I read extensively about the side effects of chemotherapy. I’ll never forget reading about a woman who underwent intensive chemo and hated every minute of it. Four years later, as she was shopping in the grocery store, she saw the doctor who administered the chemo and immediately vomited in the aisle. The article cited some psychological explanation, but what it really boiled down to was the association of sights and emotions. The doctor = chemotherapy.

As we drove down Veteran, just before Sunset Boulevard, I rolled down my window to get some fresh air. There it is, JD said pointing to the studio I lived in during law school. I sighed deeply. Westwood, CA = Law School. My sister, who was sitting in the back seat, asked if I regret not being in school. In the twinkling of an eye, I unabashedly said no. I love my life. I love the decisions I made and I’m so much happier than I could have ever been as a lawyer. Ever.

We were on our way to UCLA’s Royce Hall to watch The Moth, which is a series of true stories presented by writers, actors, and artists. I can’t even begin to describe how great the show was. The tour kicked off in LA, but will be in cities around the US. The stories were heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and provocative and the audience was able to connect with presenters like Margaret Cho and Run DMC on a whole new level. I would highly encourage people to see this show if given the opportunity.

On our way back to the 405 freeway, we passed the famous Bel Air gateway I used to pass every morning on my daily run. I could almost hear the way the red clay from the path would crunch underneath the weight of my rubber soles and the smell of the eucalyptus trees overhead. And while those images conjure fond memories, I was happy knowing that I wasn’t returning to my studio on Veteran Avenue…I was going home. With my husband. With my camera. And I couldn’t be happier.

This is a picture of me and Cindy Chupack, author of The Between Boyfriends Book. She delivered my favorite story of the evening...she was absolutely phenomenal. Because I've lived in LA, I'm not usually starstruck--afterall, they stand in line at Starbucks in front of you (except they order the non-fat drink, no whipped cream) and shop along side you at Whole Foods (except they buy only distilled water and something non-carbish). But for some reason, when Cindy walked out from behind the stage during intermission, I approached her and must've looked like I was speaking in tongues, like I created the Tower of Babel myself. I'm sure I told her how moving her story was and how much I enjoy her work, but I could be wrong. I could have also have said I like orange zebras in tutus. I don't really remember, but the good thing was that JD was there to take this picture. That's what I love about the guy...he always has my back!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Late Bloomer

She sat across from me looking as if she was trying to decide whether to believe me, or if I was playing some joke. I didn’t really learn how to read until I was about 10 years old, I told Rita Hermes this afternoon over lunch at her studio. She tilted her head slightly, weighing her belief options, so I continued with my narrative. I guess I was a late bloomer, I said, but once everything clicked, I couldn’t be found without a book in my hand. By the time I was 11, I was finishing novels in a single day. I guess that’s how I learned to write.

We sat in Rita’s living room and the light poured in like electric lemonade. The conversation we were having spawned after she asked what type of literary training I had—to which I have none. Then how do you know how to write, Rita—Grace Ormonde’s Contributing Editor—asked me. I just do, was my uber eloquent response. For fear of sounding like Jessica Simpson, I quickly followed the response with, When you love something, you find a way to put words to it.

We had a wonderful afternoon together and I can’t wait for our paths to cross again in the near future.

Rita and me with electric lemonade falling on our faces ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Both sides

There are two sides to my brain: the right and left. Or, as I commonly refer to them, the dumb half and the smart half. The doctor and the starving artist…the chemist and the reality TV junkie. I try to lead a balanced life, so when I treat my creative side, I have to feed my strategic side for fear of cranial malnutrition. And the fear of one side of my head appearing much larger than the other. Like a light bulb, sideways.

The Right Menu:

I just finished listening to a book on CD entitled Brand Warfare by David D’Alessandro. Twice! It was really, really that good. This guy is so smart I have a crush on him…like the same type of crush I had on Professor Yeazell, my Civil Procedure law professor. D’Alessandro was the CEO of John Hancock and while he’s extremely knowledgeable about the multi-strata business environment, he dissects what a brand is composed and its importance. And brotha’ really broke it down…buy the book or the CDs because it’s a phenomenal read.

The Left Menu:
I gave in. I capitulated. I bought the Justin Timberlake CD. I seriously thought I had outgrown JT after college, just the same way I had outgrown The Real World marathons and 2am dessert feasts with my friends. I thought wrong. I saw him in concert with Christina Aguilera at the Staples Center during his ‘Justified’ Tour and it remains the one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. When I heard Justin was releasing a new CD I thought—hoped—it wouldn’t faze me. I thought wrong. It’s SO good! I mean, if you’re looking for lyrical depth, perfectly composed melodies, or vocal distinction, this CD isn’t for you. But, if you’re looking for a good time and want to bob your head and snake your shoulders in traffic, then this is your cup of alize.
**Dad, if you’re reading this and wondering how your offspring diverted from such a wholesome path, I’m just kidding. None of what I said was true. By the way, I really liked the Simon and Garfunkle CD you lent me ;)

So, I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I have split personalities. One afternoon I’ll be listening to a baritone voice of D’Alessandro breaking down business philosophies and the following afternoon I’ll be sitting and inharmoniously singing along to a fabricated cultural pop icon. If they only knew. If they’d only ask why my listening choices are so random, I’d tell them: I have to feed both sides.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Got Insulin?

What might not have made sense to an outsider was perfectly clear to the 1,000+ people walking and running for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  A group of boys were playing with balloon swords, each trying to poke the other boy's t-shirt which read: Got Insulin?  

JD and I were invited to participate in this event to raise awareness--and funds--for the foundation by one of his co-workers.  Greg's niece and nephew are both diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and their story pulls at your heart strings.  Everything from daily injections, hospitalization, and lifestyle restrictions are just some of things these kids have to face.  As we ran, I couldn't help but feel grateful for my health and happy that we were promoting such a worthy cause.  We proudly wore our "team shirt" (which displays the kids we're sponsoring) as we ran along the rolling hills of a park in Orange County.

At the end of the course, we met up with Greg and his family.  We were greeted with warm smiles and gratitude for which we were unworthy and met Greg's niece and nephew.  I felt really blessed to be a part of this event and I encourage people to get involved with giving back to others in need because it helps keep life in perspective.

JD and I passed the boys wearing the 'Got Insulin' t-shirts on our way out of the park.  As they laughed and poked each other with their latex swords, I could help but find a distinct parallel: I'm hoping our efforts help these kids cut out the insulin of their lives so they can go on living long and healthy.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Long-Distance Minutes

My friends often make fun of me saying that I have a red phone line to God. If I need anything, just pick up the red phone-a la Batman and Gotham City's Mayor. They insist they're trying getting their prayers answered, but seeing how I'm exacerbating the celestial long-distance minutes, they're feeling a little left out ;)

This past week has been no exception…and I have a brand spankin' new 17” MacBookPro to prove it.
There have been SO many blessings and hook-ups in getting this laptop-and I don't mean this in the shopping-from-the-trunk-of-a-car kind of way-but they shall remain nameless. Their kindness has reserved them a special place in this world and I'm sure it's somewhere between Successful and Legendary.

I'm still working on getting my website images sorted, but it's been a blast with my new baby!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I have not been a fun girl lately. I quite preoccupied with, well, things. I can’t quite put into words what exactly is robbing my time, but I feel it weighing heavily on my chest. As a kid, I’d make fun of my mom and insist she was stressing out about nothing—a.k.a. ‘things’. I’d fling my arms out wide, dangle my wrists, tilt my head, and begin spinning in circles on a pivot foot. I’d raise my voice and imitate her favorite phrase: I just wish I had an extra hour in my day! This past week, I shocked myself when I uttered those exact words to JD. In a nanosecond, I had morphed into my mother. I immediately thought back to my childhood spinning routine and decided to take a step back and reeeeelax.

Most of why I feel overwhelmed is because I’m trying to organize images for my website. I was really amped to start this project, but when I sat down, I realized I had over 15,000 images to sift through! All of a sudden, I had the urge to breathe repetitively into a brown bag.

The story behind my website creation is quite awesome, so I need to remember to be thankful for such an amazing blessing. Essentially, I needed to fold the proverbial brown bag and get my groove on. I had be struggling for SO long trying to get a website together and pursued a plethora of avenues, but nothing seemed to fit. Shopping for a website was like shopping at a Sample Shoe Sale—the Manolo’s were taken and the tacky glitter and rhinestone platforms were left in their place.

I had expressed my frustration with my friends and while they all offered great advice, it wasn’t until I had dinner with a fellow photographer that things started looking bright. She had a custom site she was no longer using, so if I made basic changes and swapped out pictures, the site was mine. I was so ecstatic I could’ve done a jig. Perhaps I did ;)

So that’s the story. That’s why there’s not a need for me to spin around with a brown bag attached to my lips. I’ve been blessed and for me to become stressed is antithesis of how I should react. Today I’ll be sitting and editing my pictures…and having fun.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The First Year in Review

Oh, you mean this old anniversary gift?!

This was my coy response yesterday when my best friends complimented the new purse JD bought me. I had been eying it for quite some time, so when I received the over-sized copper shoulder bag as an anniversary gift, I was overjoyed.

A group of us sat at a large table under sconce lamps in the shape of tulips. They didn’t know that JD and I had asked them to lunch to show our appreciation. This time last year, JD said as he placed his fork next to the dessert we were sharing, we were in Hawaii celebrating our marriage with you all…Jasmine and I want to thank you for the sacrifices you made to be there with us because you made our wedding extraordinarily special.

They asked how we spent our anniversary and my first response was, Well, it wasn’t in Barstow!! And then I let out a hardy Woo-Hoo to fully articulate my happiness. I knew JD was trying to throw me off by telling me we’d spent our anniversary stuck in the desert. And he knew I knew too.

JD had planned a relaxing day just hanging out along the Malibu coast. He procured tickets to the Getty Villa and we spent the afternoon lounging in the sun amongst Grecian and Etruscan antiquities...with my camera. It was perfect. I’m a huge fan of classical art, so the day was a little piece of paradise.

We then went to the beach and shopped along 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. JD surprised me by arranging a fabulous dinner along the coast and room at the Huntley Hotel.

Overall it was the perfect way to commemorate a successful first year. Sitting a couple days later surrounded by my closest friends I couldn’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world.