I'm nervous.  Those are foreign words coming from Christine.  I mean, this girl has it together. Top of her class, finished college early, landed a job at a top accounting firm.  Impeccable style (mini-confession: I want her clothes), sweet personality, humble and thoughtful friend. She is even almost as funny as me. She sounds pretty amazing, right?  Still, she was straight-up about how she was feeling about being photographed. So I gave her my honest reply.

You know, I'm nervous too. I reassured her, But that's okay, because we are friends already.  (Plus, we've lived together before so I'm pretty sure we've seen all the bad that we could possibly see anyway.)

Christine showed up for her shoot with several wardrobe options (all fabulous btw) and we settled on her lovely Jessica McClintock frock.  And she was able to set aside some time from her crazy-busy life as an accountant to spend a Sunday afternoon with me.  She was even sweet enough to even bring me a tasty, cool beverage (an aloe vera drink that is apparently all the rage in Korean circles) to sip in between poses. And despite her nerves, this girl worked. it. out.  Even though I was not looking to be impressed, I certainly was.

Proof that I am as funny as I claim to be...
 Pretty, pretty!

Classic beauty...

Gotta love a good ol' satin bow... 
 Model status... btw, she is single, fellas! ;)

Thank you, Christine, for your honesty and for letting me capture your beauty with my camera. I hope you can see what I see: a driven, compassionate, fabulous, and absolutely gorgeous friend.



It is so amazing when friends become your family.

Even if you don't talk everyday, even if you are separated by distance, you just know you will know them for the rest of your life. I will write in more detail about these two people in the future, so for now I want to wish them both a happy birthday.

Crystal, happy birthday! (It was this past Saturday). Your friendship changed my life. Thank you for becoming a sister to me.

Louie, happy birthday (today)!  Thank you for loving my sister, being my big brother, and giving me the 2 cutest nephews ever!



The other day, one of my good friends and blog readers wrote out a response to my post Go Hard.  And it was not just a comment.  It was a very thoughtfully written blog post, complete with a bullet list of how she can be working on her dream today, even though she is quite aware that it will certainly take time for her to reach her intended goal.

Now, the fact that something I had to say about my own dream made someone else think in that much detail about their own is both humbling and encouraging.  And my hope is to continue to inspire by sharing my own journey with you.  Below the lovely photo is Casey's response:
My dream

One of my favorite bloggers is my friend and Bay Area photographer Yasmin Sarai. She is an incredibly talented budding photographer and Santa Clara alum whom I admire for many reasons. You should click on her name and check out her blog.

Yesterday, she posted a piece entitled Go Hard, where she challenges her readers not to back down in pursuit of a far-off and intimidating dream or goal:
I have to learn, even if it is at a painstakingly slow-pace.  Piece by piece, I will build knowledge and gain experience, because there is no short-cut to excellence.
At the end of the post, she asked her readers what their big dream was, and what small steps they were taking to achieve it.

I knew immediately what mine was. Want to know? Are you ready for this? It’s silly. I’m a little embarrassed, to tell you the truth.

Well… here goes. 

Everyone has a dream. What's yours?

Post your answers in the comments section. As a thank you for reading/sharing I will randomly choose one winner to receive a $10 giftcard to Starbucks!



Happy 's Day!  If you are reading this, I love you.
Your support means the world to me!
And to Kurt: thank you for being my sweet Valentime [sic].  I love you as well.



When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes comes out - because that's what's inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.
 -Wayne Dyer



This is what happens when a 10-year-old gets inspired.  This week, Emma's big brother was bedridden with a fever and while keeping him company they watched a marathon of Cake Boss.  This inspired her to do one thing: be creative!  She saw those amazing, edible cake creations and dreamed up a beach cake, complete with an ice cream stand, sand castle, and tasty golden sand met by the deliciously soft ocean blue.

Kids are so great at naturally doing what brings them joy.  She made this cake because she was happy to do it. It wasn't to show off, to compete, to get rich. It was because she had an idea she wanted to bring to fruition.  So, she made this beach cake.  And oh, how sweetly inspiring this is to me...
As long as I continue pursing my dream to be a photographer, I want to do it because it brings me joy, it makes me happy, and it is an outlet for my creativity.  That isn't to say that I am going to quit at the moment things become challenging or not-so-fun. But I will not let my motives for pursing this become impure.
Are your pursuits motivated by joy?



Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not of more value than they?




It's been one month since the calendar changed to 2012 and the hopes of change for this year have faded away for many.

At the beginning of this year I decided to plunge into something new: photography.  In the past month, I've realized that I am not going to start out with perfection (apologies to all my fellow perfectionists).  Anything worthwhile takes effort and pain and patience to get it.  There isn't an easy way to truly succeed.  The truth is: it takes hard work.

Learning photography, starting a business, being an awesome wife, getting healthy... it's gonna take time and work.  I must accept that I have to start small to continue dreaming big.  In other words, if I want to succeed in photography, I have to learn, even if it is at a painstakingly slow-pace.  Piece by piece, I will build knowledge and gain experience, because there is no short-cut to excellence.

Most of us believe the lie that we can be great and it will come at no cost to us. When we decide to try something new, we get lazy, weary, impatient. We give up way too easily. We quit. Or even worse, we fail to try at all.  But in words of Haley Williams (of Paramore), "I refuse, I refuse, I refuse!"

What is your big dream and what are the small steps you are taking to get it?

Remember: The hardest part of doing the work is doing the work. -Jasmine Star