Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Hi Everyone!

You can now visit my new blog, Jasmine Star Blog, as I'll be posting from there. Be sure to update your Bookmarks and your RSS Feeds to stay updated!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's Coming.....!!

I'm SO SUPER EXCITED to announce that my new blog will be debuting TOMORROW!! I'm quite happy with everything Brock has done for me and totally appreciative for the hook-up from my good friend and fabulous photographer, [b]ecker...but more on that tomorrow! ;)
Brock designed Jessica Claire's Blog, [b]ecker's blog, Image is Found's Blog, so when he agreed to design mine, I knew I was in good hands. Here's a sneak peek at what's in store... ;)


Monday, May 14, 2007

Erika and Ray : Engagement

She extended her left index finger and pointed at a vacant group of red tables. That’s where I was sitting when I saw him first. As Erika walked through her high school campus, she recounted the instances she saw Ray from a distance. As a bold freshman, she approached one of Ray’s friends and asked him to give Ray her phone number. Ray was a senior and stud soccer player, so when Erika pursued him, she made her intentions known. A few months later, they walked through their high school as boyfriend and girlfriend.

It seems so weird walking through the quad, Erika said under her breath, The last time I was here my mother was un-enrolling me from school…pregnant girls weren’t allowed on campus. She blinked back tears. Tears of nostalgia, joy, hope. Erika and Ray’s lives boomeranged back to their point of origin together. After years of dating each other—and pushing through the good and bad times together—they’ll be committing their lives to each other this August.

It was a beautiful thing to witness Erika’s life come back full circle. The last time she walked through her high school campus, she was on her way out…with a baby in her belly. Last Saturday, Erika and Ray walked in together…with two sons as their shadows. They decided to have their engagement session at the first place they met, along the hallways and corridors where they fell in love.

I’m honored to be a part of their day and I’m excited to photograph their wedding at Coto De Caza and work along side Courtney Toney and Joyful Weddings and Events for Erika and Ray’s special day.

Here are a few of my favorites…

Erika and Ray's kids were SO well-behaved throughout the shoot...I decided the spend the last few minutes of our engagement session snaping a few pictures of the family


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

We sat next to each other in church this morning. She proudly sang with her eyes closed, basking in the adoration of her children. I held her right hand tightly and sang in hushed tones. I, apparently, did not inherent her vocal ability…I sing slightly better than my father, who’s sounds like Frosted Flakes’ Tony the Tiger when he sings.

Four years ago to the date, I sat in my car with JD and cried tears of desperation. Long sorrowful wails of one who is losing someone dear. We were buying last minute Mother’s Day gifts—decorative hats and beanies to cover my mother’s chemotherapy balding—but I truly believed it was our last holiday with her. I feared being alone on days like today. Days when children reflect and articulate how thankful they are to the woman who scraped the burned edges of morning toast, kissed band-aid covered fingers, and hid gas money in their wallet when she thought they weren’t looking. I feared never being able to truly show my mother how much I needed her. So I cried long sorrowful wails of one who is losing someone dear.

Today we sat next to each other in church and sang together. I held her tightly and prayed she knew how much I needed—no, how much I need--her. Later, we spent a lazy afternoon with the family enjoying lunch on an outside patio. Every year we make it a point to go around the table and say what we appreciate most about our mother. I try to put to my emotions into words, but I fear I do a lousy job. For everything she’s done for me, I’m thankful. For the woman I am, I’m indebted. For the wife I’ve become, I’m appreciative. And for the child I always desire to be…well, I’m working on that one ;)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

I love you to the moon and back.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Melissa and Jackson : Engagement

They were friends in college, sharing acquaintances, classes, and school leadership responsibilities. Melissa and Jackson, however, never shared a piece of their hearts with each other. Relationships with others overlapped and intersected, never leaving them both single at a pin-point in time. Then summer arrived.

One bright afternoon, while Jackson was escorting new students through their college campus, Melissa happened to cross his path. And as if a lampshade had been removed in a dark room, Jackson saw her in a new light. The way she smiled—turning her head slightly to the right and raising the corresponding shoulder—and the way she laughed. Her blue eyes pierced his heart, and he was smitten.

Shortly thereafter, the pair sat on Melissa’s couch while the television hummed softly in the background. Out of nowhere, she turned to Jackson and asked why they had never dated. Dumbfounded, Jackson replied she had always been in an outside relationship. Well, Melissa boldly asked, if I wasn’t in a relationship would that change things? Her blue eyes cornered him once again and pierced his heart.

A few years later, Jackson and Melissa strolled the streets of Pasadena and recounted their story. They laughed and squabbled over the details, but one thing remained for certain: They’re meant to be together. They began their relationship as friends and it budded into a lifelong commitment to each other.

Melissa and Jackson are best friends…best friends who happen to be in love with each other.

Here are a few of my favorites…


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Bride and Bloom Party

On Monday night, JD and I headed to Cooper Design Space in Los Angeles for Bride and Bloom Magazine’s 1st Anniversary Launch Party. We had a great time meeting up with old friends and making new ones…but I don’t have any pictures to show because my not-so-subtle hints at getting a new point&shoot camera haven’t worked. Hmmm, maybe I need to change my strategy.

TO: Everyone willing to buy me lavish gifts
FROM: Yours truly
RE: My future Canon SD800

I’d really like a digital camera. 10,000 bonus cool points for the person who succeeds in making my wish come true! ;)

In lieu of not having a camera, I stole a few pictures from Drew’s blog. The entire evening was absolutely awesome…of course one couldn’t expect anything less from Jeannie Savage and Details Details, event coordinator extraordinaire! Jeannie and Carolyn Chen from The Special Day worked together planning the party for Carol Poon, B&B’s Editor-In-Chief. The evening’s guest of honor was Preston Bailey and the entire party was decked out in his signature style…like I said, it was pretty amazing. And to make things even sweeter, Good and Gracious catered the event, and Peter Papadapolous was spinning on the ones and twos!

Here's a sample of Preston's funky, cool designs...

Drew and me...

From L-R: Lester Ip (whose wife, Vivian, runs the fabulous Paper Girl), JD (whose name tag read: JD funny! I bet he didn't think it was marrying into my middle name!!) and Chuck (Drew's husband)

Drew, me and Jeannie

Me and Lauren HIllary, Orange County's fearless PUG leader (I stole this picture from her blog too!)

I am so honored to have been a small part of such a phenomenal bridal magazine. Bride and Bloom is an awesome resource, so if you haven’t checked it out already, do so today!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's Better to Give...

We sat and laughed…and ate. Filet mignon, tiger prawns, sweet asparagus, lobster bisque, a vine-ripened tomato salad. The waves ebbed against the Hawaiian shore, as if rubbing elbows with someone rich and beautiful. One by one, the guests at my reception stood in the center of our Kahala Mandarin bungalow and delivered an impromptu speech, roasting JD and me on our wedding day. It was truly moving and unconventional…and everything I dreamed our wedding should be. As guests dried their eyes after each speech, and the dinner china was cleared, JD and I thanked our guests for joining us for our intimate destination wedding. Caught in the sheer gravitas of the moment, I cried uncontrollably. Everyone sitting around us had witnessed our relationship blossom into a marriage, and without them, we wouldn’t have been the couple standing before them pledging the rest of our lives to each other.

Just when I thought the evening couldn’t get any better, my amazing wedding photographer--David Jay--placed his laptop at the head of our grand table and displayed my wedding slideshow. The lights were dimmed as DJ’s work was displayed, and everyone was truly in awe of his talent and abilities. We simultaneously oohed and ahhed over each image and couldn’t believe how hard he worked to show us our wedding day from a photographic perspective. It was unbelievable.

Unbeknownst to me, David Jay was setting a standard I would soon emulate. As a wedding photographer, I prepare a wedding slideshow for my clients to show during their reception. While guests are eating dinner, JD and I are working on a slideshow to display later that evening. These slideshows have revolutionized the way my business has grown. During last Sunday’s wedding, the general manager of Yamashiro passed by the slideshow and asked to use the images for wedding publicity and an upcoming bridal show the restaurant is hosting. In addition to the images, I offered to provide 8x10 promo cards for their use. My good friend and talented photographer, Sara France designed promo templates for our online print lab, Pictage, and decided to share them with other photographers. They’re awesome resources to give to vendors because they’re specific to their needs and venue or business. I learned that giving back to industry peers yields ten-fold…not only is it better to give than to receive, vendors—much like anyone else—appreciate a gesture of kindness. I learned this little nugget of gold from [b]ecker…who learned it from watching his good friend Jim Kennedy (who runs a powerhouse photography business here in Orange County).

I’m blessed and amazed to see how willing so many photographers are to help each other. The foundation of my business is comprised of mortar from many other photography business cornerstones and I’m indebted to their knowledge. I hope this structure continues to feed off itself and challenge me to help others as much as I’ve been helped along the way. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people!!

**Here's a sample promo card I put together today...if you're a photographer and would like more information, contact the friendly people at Pictage and they'll hook you up!** :)

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Ni and Reza : Wedding

The sounds of Farsi filled the air, while the smells of Vietnamese spring rolls floated through the living room. A cacophany of voices filled the air while aunts, uncles, and cousins prepared for the tea ceremony. When the limo arrived, Reza’s Persian family debarked bearing gifts and passed through tunnel of Vietnamese greetings and hugs. As Ni descended the staircase as a tearful bride, Persian sugar rained down on her. When Ni and Reza saw each other for the first time as bride and groom, they held each other tightly while Ni cried tears of joy. On one side of the room stood one family looking directly across at the other, and the two souls in the center joined them in love.

Love transcends language. This was extraordinarily evident during Sunday’s wedding as neither family spoke English. Reza and Ni would flip back and forth between their native tongue and America’s lengua franca, filling in the translation gaps will laughter and smiles. A simple handshake, or hug, or three kisses on the cheek made up for traditional communication, but where there were no words, there was love. True and unadulterated love. A love that punctuated sentences and completed silent paragraphs.

JD and I were so moved to be part of such an amazing wedding day and heart-warming ceremony…we walked away from the day knowing that love has no tongue, but takes the form of a touch and a smile.

Here are a few of my favorites…

Ni was looking out from an upstairs window as her groom met the family outside...

Ni grandfather delivered a speech in Vietnamese, but at the very end looked down at a crumpled piece of paper and recited a sentence of congratulations in English...everyone cheered and this was his reaction...

As the group was walking toward the videographer, Ni stepped on her dress and started falling, but was carried along by an unknowing bridal party and groom...her face says it all! :)

After the tea ceremony, the wedding reception was held at the fabulous Yamashiro Restaurant in Hollywood was awesome!!

A cool view of Los Angeles...

To see more of their wedding images, CLICK HERE for a slideshow!

**On a personal note, I want to thank Reza and Ni for making JD and me truly feel like family. Everything from the shrimp springs rolls silently passed our way, to the Vietnamese pastries, to the saffron rice and pitas, to the amazing limo ride and Persian music…everything felt like family. Thank you for forcing us to put cameras away at the end of the night and raise serpentine arms along side you and dance to Persian music like no one was watching. We loved every minute of it and thank you for becoming our friends!**

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Polo Update: Keeping the Dream Alive

This afternoon I was greeted by JD at our front door with a cool little gift...although the Lakers are done for the season, I've just discovered that Polo is keeping the dream alive for next year! :)

JD discovered a dog boutique by our home and has become a canine shopper extraordinaire...we know we have issues. We've accepted that we may be a little crazy buying our dog organic food, bedazzled leashes, and a Lakers jersey, but like I said, we've accepted it ;)


Friday, May 04, 2007

Nancy and David : Engagement

They speak softly to each other. As if each word is accentuated with a pillow and an Egyptian cotton duvet. That kind of soft.

As they stroll through the grassy knolls of the UC Irvine campus, David gently places his hand on the small of Nancy’s back and guides her along the red earth path. She looks up and bashfully laughs, tilting her head into his chest. Then they speak softly to each other.

They met in college—in an Earth Science class they both dreaded—and haven’t left each other since…two people finding love somewhere nestled between the chapters on the Mohorovivic Discontinuity and Clayey Dolomite. Deciding to visit the root of their love, Nancy and David requested their engagement session walking through their alma mater. Along the same paths they traversed together just a few years ago, they held hands, kissed, and laughed together. And spoke softly. Egyptian cotton soft. Nancy and David’s interaction—between themselves as well as outsiders—is a testament of their love. Often times it is believed the one with the loudest voice, the strongest opinion, will be heard…but their devotion and strength seems to stem from a docile part of their soul, inviting onlookers to partake in the joy they both share. Gently, happily, and softly.

I’m truly happy to be a part of their wedding day in June!

Here are a few of my favorites…

Chuck Taylor Lovin'

The man behind the bling! :)

To see more of their engagement pictures, CLICK HERE for a slideshow!

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