Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve: 2008 Wrap-Up

To say the least, 2008 was a year of big changes for me.

January: My old car crapped out on 101 North in the pouring rain, so I bought a car...all on my own.

February: I turned 25, without any quarter-life crisis to speak of.

March: Cent and I celebrated our birthdays in Las Vegas. Cent proposed and I said "Yes!"

April: We had our awesome engagement photos taken by Travis Hoehne in Dallas. We played Mario Kart Wii!

May: We booked the "big stuff" for our wedding.

June: I discovered Jasmine Star's old blog. I was moved.

July: I got published on the BART website! And to think I was just at the airport snapping some randomness!

August: I went to David Jay's Free to Succeed Tour guest starring Jasmine Star. I listened. I met them. It changed my life. I also met Lydia and Laura, who I'm still in contact with!

September: I decided to chase my dreams and become a photographer. Met some awesome local photographers whose work I had only seen online. Oh and my parents finally got to meet Cent's parents!

October: Engagement shoots. I was invited to tag-along to a wedding with Jennifer of Candid Moments Weddings. It was awesome and I was ready to do it again.

November: We elected our new president! My first solo wedding. So fun! And the bride and groom loved the photos!

December: Second shot an awesome post-Christmas wedding with Rob of nLighten Images.

Thank you 2008 for all the blessings you've given me. I'm so stoked about 2009 and I know great things are to come!! More weddings, OUR wedding, and a move to Dallas!

I'm off to Dallas to ring in the New Year with Cent! I will be back next year! :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Longest Day: Episode 1

Woo hoo! It's finally here. I've been reading and watching all about the lead up to the "Longest Day" where 24 of the hottest photographers came together for a 24 hour stretch to write and film a movie! Plus raising money for charity! How cool is that?

Ron Dawson, founder of Cinematic Studios and mastermind behind the project, just released Episode 1:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Here are a few of me and my sister playing with the camera in the mirror. It took some time trying to coordinate with the 50mm and the crop factor and the distance from the mirror.


Please excuse our scary faces.

And here's us looking snappy for Midnight Mass. Actually, this is post Midnight Mass, still looking awake and ready for giving gifts!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Phweew. Just spent most of today in San Francisco braving the mall. No, I wasn't shopping for gifts -- I'm done with that -- we (me and the familia) were just hanging out. The mall wasn't too crazy and I came out with two new sweaters for $10 each! Original price $26.50! I know, I shouldn't be buying anything for myself, but I'm all about bargains!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays, or whatever you may celebrate! We will be off to Midnight Mass and then home to open gifts! Yep, that's right, at our house, we open gifts on Christmas Eve! Ok, so technically it is really really early Christmas morning, but I don't consider it to be "the next day" until after you sleep, so....Then tomorrow, we'll be feasting and doing our Secret Santa gift exchange with the extended family.

Merry Christmas!
One of my favorites, Lilo & Stitch. And bottom left corner, you can see my head... lol.

Merry Christmas!
I think penguins are cool.

Merry Christmas!
Vive la France!

Merry Christmas!
Here's a small portion of our 9-foot tree.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dinner with Friends

I love my friends. Unfortunately I don't get to see them all the time. It's not like high school where you live day in and day out with the same people. It's not like college where you see people and stop to chat or grab dinner after class. No, life is currently full of coworkers, cubicles, conference calls, and confusion (as of late). My coworkers are awesome and keep me sane when things start to crumble, but it's still not quite the same.

Now I have to plan evenings to see my friends. We all have to check out our calendars and make sure we don't run into any conflicts. It's like gymnastics! But I keep at it and encourage my friends that we should keep at it. It's always a good time with them and definitely always delicious! This time we decided to try Burmese food at Mandalay on California Street in San Francisco. Mmmm mmm good.

Yummy dessert:
Delicious Dessert!

Angela, Vince, Amanda, Emily, Cathlin, and me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Showstoppers: Sarah & Omar

Last night, KQED, our local public broadcasting station, aired San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker. It was awesome! It didn't hurt that we were watching in in HD! I saw their newest incarnation of The Nutcracker, inspired by the 1915 International Exposition, a few years ago. In fact, San Francisco Ballet was the first American company to perform a complete production in 1944. Seriously, it doesn't feel like the holidays unless I've seen The Nutcracker in some shape or form.

That being said, my holiday season was officially kicked off with Ballet Petit's production of The Nutcracker. In it's 30th year, Ballet Petit has the longest running Nutcracker in the East Bay. It's crazy for me to think that I have been around for 18 of them, having danced in eleven of those years!

Throughout the years I've seen dancers come in a little ones and move up the ranks into lovely young ballerinas. Ballet Petit's focus on classical ballet: the technique, the musicality, and the grace has truly helped shape these talented dancers. I remember when I was a little kid, sitting in the waiting area watching the "big girls" (ie older girls) do pirouettes and saute de chats across the room. I grew up and so has the studio. From a little backroom studio of four little dancers, it has expanded into a production of 200+ students. As dancers have come and gone in waves, the talent has continued to shine brightly through each production.

Sarah is one of those dancers. I remember when she was a little girl in the tiny kids' class. I always knew that she had a love of dance. What I didn't know was what an astounding dancer she would become. Seriously, this girl knocked my socks off! When Sarah evolved into the dancer that she is today, performing roles of the Sugarplum Fairy and Nikiya in La Bayadere, I was away at college. I never actually had the chance to see her perform. Well, as part of the 30th Anniversary Nutcracker, Ballet Petit alumni were invited back to perform. Sarah was invited to reprise her role as the Sugarplum Fairy, with Omar as her cavalier. Omar is one of the teachers at Ballet Petit as well as a former Principal Dancer with Ronn Guidi's Oakland Ballet. These two have such amazing dance chemistry that you just get sucked in watching them.

One word: breathtaking.

Here are a few shots from my view from back stage:
30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary

Thanks to Ballet Petit, Peggy Peabody, Darlene Brower, all the teachers, dancers and families as well as, the Chabot College Performing Arts Center.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My 18th Nutcracker!

I can probably hum the entire score to The Nutcracker. Yes, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. Yes, the same one that Macaulay Culkin was in post-Home Alone fame. Yes, the same music that they set to Macy's and JCPenney and Kohl's commercials. Why is that?

From 1990-2000 (plus this last weekend) I danced in The Nutcracker with my ballet studio, Ballet Petit. I have probably have seen over a dozen versions from animation to classical ballet to modern dance. And for me, well, it's just part of Christmas. At my house, what is the holiday season without The Nutcracker?

Over the weekend, I had the delightful opportunity to return to the stage after seven years. I danced in a bunch of different parts, each one posing an interesting challenge. Alright, before I get ahead of myself, I'm so not trying to say that I'm all that and a bag of chips. Because I'm totally not. I'm glad I didn't fall or break something. And I had so much fun reconnecting with old ballet friends and reliving the rush of being on stage, even if it was a combined total of less than ten minutes.

Ballet Petit celebrated their 30th Anniversary this year. Peggy Peabody, or "Miss Peggy" as well all affectionately call her, started the studio in the back of her mother's preschool in 1978. Her early performances featured preschoolers and cardboard boxes. Now the production includes over 200 dancers ranging in ages as little as 3 through high school, with a sprinkling of adult dancers. Thanks so much to Miss Peggy and her partner in crime, Miss Darlene for their unflinching love and support to all their dancers over the past 30 years.

Alright, enough of my blabbing, on to the photos!

30th Anniversary
Alumni photo, with Miss Peggy and Miss Darlene in front.

30th Anniversary
A little rehearsal action. (or non-action, haha).

30th Anniversary
My sister with her magical jumping skills. "Look Ma, no legs!"

30th Anniversary
Behind the scenes view.

30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary
This front row are all alumni!

30th Anniversary Nutcracker
Oh, and if you're looking for me in action, unfortunately there are none (that I have my mits on yet), but here's one of us in costume!

Happy Holidays!

Also, cans for comments! See below :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cans for Comments!

Alright Internet, I'm all about giving back, especially during the holidays, so this is your chance.

Comments light up my day, (well truth is the fact that I get any traffic to my blog lights up my day), and so to say thanks, I've been inspired by other photographers across the country and from our neighbors to the north!

Chris+Lynn started sharing the love - Cans for Comments! For every blog comment for the next seven days, they will be donating a can of food to a local food bank. Thanks guys for the inspiration. Be sure to check out their blog as well as many other inspiring photographers out there including: Ed Pingol, Anne Ruthmann, Jason GrouppJustin&Mary Marantz, Jamie Delaine, Heather Garland, Bebb Studios, Ohana Photography, Livingproof Photography, and many others!

I'm jumping on the bandwagon as well, so for every comment I receive between now and December 15, I will donate a can of food to our local food bank for Alameda County. So the challenge is on, Internet, bring it! And  to show you, I'm all about jumping in and helping, here's a little photo goodness:

Monday, December 8, 2008

I survived!

I've neglected the blog this last weekend because I've been in a whirlwind of busyness!

In the last four days I have driven 300 miles within a 25-mile radius, attended a performance of the Nutcracker, done makeup for some of the dancers, gone to a Toys for Tots Christmas Party, entered Jasmine Star's Six Word Short Story Contest (I didn't win, lol), learned and performed two parts in the Nutcracker, and gone shopping!

Photos to come! :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Birthday, Britt!

I also met Brittani in studying abroad in France. She hails from Carmel and went to UC Santa Barbara. Britt is probably THE friendliest person I know. She can seriously make friends with anyone. I'm thinking it's her wonderfully laid-back nature and her ability to just "go with the flow". Back in France, she used to host parties and I remember times hanging out at her apartment until the wee hours of the morning gabbing about everything or nothing at all. She's also a great listener and advice giver. I consider her to be our group's "sage", dishing out sage advice as needed.

Britt was born on Thanksgiving Day and this year we celebrated her birthday a little early with some grubbin' at Andalu and dancin' Blondie Bar in the Mission District of San Francisco. It reminded me of old times in Lyon. We used to go out ALL. THE. TIME. Now with our "grown up" lives, juggling jobs, rent, grad school, law school, significant others and friends, it takes a lot more to keep up with each other.

We had this spot in Lyon called Ayer's Rock. We kept trying to find different places to go out, but somehow, we always ended up at Ayer's. It was hot, smoky (because it was France and not California with no smoking laws!), sweaty, and yet soooo fun. We literally used to just rock out with almost reckless abandon, including dancing on tabletops because it was too hot on the floor (plus it deterred unwarranted attention from creepers to some degree). It was SO. MUCH. FUN. Oh, good times. This was back when Outkast's "Hey-Ya!" and Justin Timberlake's first solo album dropped. For the Frenchies it was merely catchy beats. For us, we could sing along too. And we did, all night long. Until the closing time signal of "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

Britt's birthday was kind of like reliving those old times. We had a blast at dinner (the food was awesome!). We wandered up and down Valencia looking for somewhere to dance, and found Blondie's. It was a flashback for me and so much fun to hang out with the girls + Vincent. Happy Birthday Britt!

So to add to my collection of my sweet and delightful friends, let me share some recent photos from dinner:

Britt's Birthday Bash
The lovely Britt.

Britt's Birthday Bash
So my friend Hana took this photo of me blabbering. I thought that it was so me. I talk with my hands a lot, and this picture stands as proof. I even talk with my hands when I'm on the phone, ha!

Britt's Birthday Bash
My Lyon girls - Elana, Hana, and Vanessa.

Britt's Birthday Bash
These girls crack me up. Constantly.

Britt's Birthday Bash
My study abroad buddies (minus Vincent who took the photo) - Laura, Britt, Elana, Vanessa, and Hana.

Britt's Birthday Bash
Vanessa being herself. Hana being the ghost in the background. Also, normal behaviors. :)

Britt's Birthday Bash

Britt's Birthday Bash
Me being me. Laura and I have matching polka dots!

Couldn't forget my favorite Belgian, Vincent.

Britt's Birthday Bash
If you're ever at Andalu, I recommend this dessert - the brownies!

Britt's Birthday Bash

Britt's Birthday Bash
The Pacheco Street roomies.

Thanks again friends for an excellent evening! I haven't stayed out that late in a long time!

PS, these were all taken indoors without flash, hence the ISO is in serious overdrive, with the widest aperture :) but I do like the textures!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Elana : Anytime

Elana and I met in France. We studied abroad in Lyon during the 2003-2004 academic year through the University of California system. Elana went to Cal; I went to UC San Diego. She grew up in Santa Monica; I grew up in the Bay Area. If it weren't for our love of travel and love of all things French, our lives would have never intersected. I'm so glad they did intersect. We've been friends for five years now! And she will be one of my bridesmaids in my wedding in July!

I always think of Elana as the intrepid traveler, the adventure-seeker, the master networker, and the truest friend. When I first met her, she was always coming back and forth from a trip somewhere in Europe. She went to Greece, Spain, England, Italy, the Netherlands and that's just a sampler.

One trip, she came with us to Vienna and Budapest, and let me tell you a true story. Elana snuck into the Budapest National Opera House. In fact, because of her curiosity, we all did. She wandered down the hall and started talking to a Clarinet player for the National Symphony...and even tried out her Clarinet. Now, I'll admit that I was a little nervous: We were in a country not yet in the European Union. Hungarian isn't exactly the easiest language. What are you supposed to tell guards wielding big guns?? Needless to say, we made it out alive.

She's always played to the beat of her own drum and has been wildly successful in her career. I mean, can you say you wore T-Pain's hat? She loves music and music has been infused in her job. She continues to travel a bunch and may even go to a music festival in France! When she asked me if I'd take her photo for a conference profile, how was I going to say no? Of course I would! Here are a few from our impromptu session...

The sun was setting fast, so I had to grab all the available light!

Elana - 6

Elana - 5

Elana - 4

Elana - 3

Elana - 2

Elana - 1

Elana, je suis tellement contente que nous sommes si bonnes copines!