Happy Mother's Day 2016

I dedicate this post to my strong, beautiful mom who is always watching over me;

my loving and thoughtful mother-in-law who goes out of her way to take care of us;

and all the mothers out there, family and friends, clients, and strangers with whom I exchange understanding nods when I'm out and about,

who are strolling, sprinting--or, in my case--stumbling, on this path of motherhood alongside me.

Monterey Beach Monterey Photography Portrait Session Maternity California Los Gatos San Francisco Bay Area

Happy Mother's Day.


For our wooden anniversary, my husband and I thought it would be nice to exchange gifts. My husband is a man of many interests and talents.  Unfortunately, none of his talents would be considered "mainstream."  So, when I decided that a magic wand would be the perfect wooden gift for him, I had no idea where I would even find one.  After doing some super secret undercover work (looking up the magic forums he reads), I located a website... and from there, I located a conversation thread about magic wands... and from there, I located a magic wand maker: Michael of Moonlight Magic.

Although I have never met, or talked to, Michael in person, from the very first email correspondence, I could tell he was an expert at his craft.

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I could go on and on about how awesome Michael was, but I don't want this blog post to sound like a Yelp review so I'll simply state the facts:

  • Michael and I corresponded via email at least 52 times.  That means I probably bothered him at least 36 times about color and wood choice and who-knows-what-because-I-am-so-indecisive.  And he responded promptly every single time.

  • I told him that we had little ones and I thought something to protect the wand would be helpful.  So he made me this case.  He MADE this!  Like... with his hands!

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  • Michael recommended Yew Burl wood for the tips of the wand.  I thought they were too "mature" looking because I still like to think I am "young and hip"... and so is my husband.  So I asked for the Cocobolo tips.  Then I thought... no, he is the expert.  Yew Burl.  But... really... we are young and hip and cool so Cocobolo.  Due to my indecisiveness (see above), he recommended 2 different sets of wooden tips and spacers for the wand.  Because Michael's wands have removable pieces, my husband essentially has 2 different wands.  Did I tell you he made this case?!

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  • Last, but definitely not least, he made a baby wand for one of our little ones.  My husband and I have decided that we will see who grows up to take an interest in magic and gift that wand to the "worthy" child.  Or... we might just have to order another baby wand from Michael.


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Michael, thank you so much for the hard work you put into emailing me back and making this beautiful wand for my husband.  He absolutely loves it.  And, you were right... he likes the Yew Burl tips better.


The A Family - Southern California Family Photography (Sneak Peek)

I had the very amazing privilege of photographing my sister-in-law's family last weekend.  I can't even put into words how excited (and super nervous) I was about this session! Amy has always been so supportive of my photography; from getting me my first camera bag to dressing up her gorgeous family so that I can photograph them!  I just wanted to deliver some awesome photographs.

This one, I think, might be one of my favorites.

Irvine Family Photography Kids

Los Gatos Mommy and Daughter Photography

This is my niece. Los Gatos Mommy and Daughter Photography (1)

Isn't it amazing how fast time flies?

I remember when my niece was born.  I remember the day we took her to the beach for the first time.  I remember her dancing on our wedding day.  I remember her making my mom smile... even from miles away.  I remember teaching her how to wink.

I remember so many things.  Which, if you know me at all, is almost as amazing as how fast time flies.

My oldest sister came up for a visit so we had to take the opportunity to make some memories.

Los Gatos Mommy and Daughter Photography (3)

A few things about my oldest sister.  She is one of the best sisters anyone could ever have.

Growing up, she took care of me while our parents worked.  She would make ramen for me when I got sick.  She would plan entire family trips for us (including renting a minivan that could fit all five of us)... and then drive us around for days.  This was before the internet and Yelp reviews of best places to visit so I have no idea how she even came up with these ideas!  Whenever my parents needed help with anything, she was the one they depended on because not only is she a doting and selfless daughter, she is fluent in English and Korean.

As far as oldest sisters go... I really really lucked out!

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My sister and niece have a special bond for many reasons but I think one of the most significant reasons is that they are both first-born daughters.  There is a profound connection between a mother and her first-born because the first-born child changes a woman into a "mom."

Grace, always remember how much your mom loves you.  Unee, thank you for being such a loving and supportive sister and for always indulging my need to document all parts of this life.

Los Gatos Mommy and Daughter Photography (2)


I love you.  I miss you.

ONE Fine Day

A few friends and I met up for a photo session with our one year old toddlers... each born in consecutive months.... in the same year. They were all in a good mood so we started the day out with the three of them all together.

After a few shots, the babies decided they were done and started walking in opposite directions.  It's a walk off!

A quick snack break and we were ready to take some individual photos.

Baby O held onto his letter really well...

... but spent most of the time running away from me.  He's very persistent.

Luckily, he gets his persistence from his mama.

Baby N was a natural model, flashing his handsome smile...

... funny duckface...

... and fierce eyes.  Eat your heart out, Tyra Banks.

Baby E made us laugh with her silliness...

... melted our hearts with her bright blue eyes...

... and didn't need any coaxing at all.

Our little ONEs.

Happy early Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.


My husband approached me last weekend with his (one of many) deck of cards and gave me a challenge: Take pictures and write a post about this deck.

Say what?

So, I racked my brain about how to spell "rack" (is there a "w," no "w?") and then I racked my brain about what to write (is there a "w," no "w?").

As usual, my mind was completely empty but for a song made popular by one my favorite rappers, Shawn Carter.

Then my mind started to wander.  Are the cards like people and I am one of the cards?  Do the cards represent different facets of my life?  Can the mind exist without the cards when the cards can't exist without the cards?  My ideas became very abstract... almost as abstract as the challenge itself.

So I stopped trying to be profound (and I use that term very loosely here) and simply stared at the cards... for a really long time... a whole week, in fact.

This particular deck has special meaning.  There's really nothing intrinsically unique about the cards but my husband used them while learning card manipulation (they are even kept in a special case resembling a torture device when not in use).  This is the deck he used to audition at the Magic Castle and the deck he used at a magic show for my niece's 1st birthday party.  They are special, his toes... I mean, these cards.

And as I studied them more closely, I started to see the many creases and tears.

I thought about how many hours my husband spent, practicing with them.  How he loves his craft and excels in it more than he admits.  Then I started thinking about my husband and how he perpetually inspires me to practice what I love.  How lucky I am, how well he suits me, how he doesn't let me get lost in the shuffle, how he helps me deal.  How I wouldn't even have a blog if he hadn't set it up for me and didn't encourage me with random challenges.

So I guess this post didn't end up exactly on point... or even end up having a point.  I guess it's less about the deck, itself, but rather about the man behind it.  And how he makes these ordinary Poker Size Bee cards... super extraordinary.  Well, that's what you get when you give me blog challenges.  May this be a lesson to the rest of you (all none of you).