I am in the midst of editing Chloe’s photo session. I couldn’t help but think back to when I was her age. She just turned eight years old. She’s thinking of which school she is going to go to in September. Who’s going to be her new teacher? Who is going to be her friends? Will they like the same shows she does? The important things that eight years olds should be concern about.
What was I doing when I was eight?! I probably had my nose stuck in-between the pages of the newest series of the Babysitters‘ Club or trying to get the AOL free internet CDs to work on our dial-up connection. I never realize how much has changed since then.
Those were the days where every dream was still tangible. I still dream of being this crazy blogger/reporter/life photographer even though I know my bank account isn’t getting any bigger. I just feel I am getting closer to finding a balance between it all. I never thought a photo shoot would get me thinking so much.
I shot my first ever baby session! It was an eye-opening experience. It requires a lot of patience and some planning. I brought my trusty bean bag to lay baby JP in. It was definitely a life saver. I opened up the living room windows and got some natural light in. I don’t tend to shoot with strobes or extra lights, so it was just the camera and me.
I am in love with babies. No seriously, I love babies. I never really had the pleasure of baby sitting or watching a baby recently, but they do look cute from afar! They aren’t the most cooperative clients to work with though. Understandably, we don’t speak the same language to begin with. Baby mumbles vs. English. Timing is very important! Every baby acts differently. Luckily for me baby JP didn’t cry bloody murder when I put the camera in front of him.
I can’t wait to photograph him again when he will crack me a smile and laugh! Big thanks to his lovely parents for allowing me into their home to photograph their baby boy!
Wanted: baby wranglers and smile makers!
I’ve been given the best gift in the world, someone to love for all eternity. I couldn’t have it any other way. It takes a man with incredible patience to deal with me. I kid, but I am just so happy to have someone so special in my life. He’s perfect for me and that’s all that matters!
How did he ask?
In late May we scheduled a portrait session with Tim’s cousin, Jeannie Mutrais, for some time in June. I was under the impression that the photo shoot would involve our cars (the 3rd generation Acura TLs) because it was the car that brought us together after all. Tim was also in the process of changing cars so it was his last opportunity to have it photographed. I didn’t think too much about it.
On the day of the photo shoot, we scrapped the idea of having our two Acura TLs in the photo shoot. Instead we drove Tim’s TL to CarMax to get it appraised and began the process of the resale. It was a bittersweet moment.
Once we arrived in Chino Hills and met with his cousin, we were off scouting for locations. We initially planned to shoot in Chino Hills State Park but the road on the Chino Hills side was closed to vehicles. We opted to shoot in the adjacent hillside. It was just perfect. I was completely in love with how the lighting came out. Funny thing is that I knew a handful of folks who shoot in that same location and never revealed the location to me! The jig is up, and we found it!
We had a blast being photographed for a change. Tim and I are usually behind the scenes on engagement sessions. Jeannie was so patient and bubbly during the shoot. I loved it. I need a dosage of whatever happy pill she is on for portrait sessions.
As the shoot was wrapping up, Tim and Jeannie decided we should include jumping pictures to the shot list. We walked away from the grassy area to the asphalt trail in between the hills. I tried to jump in my heels, but it was impossible! I decided to take them off and try barefoot. Nope, it wasn’t going to happen. So I opted for Jeannie’s sandals for the jump shot.
When we began the transition to the next shot, I decided to put back on my heels. I asked Tim to help buckle the straps of my shoes. He was having a bit of trouble getting the strap through the buckle.
He was already down on his knees at this point.
“Since I am already down here”
He reached down to pull something out of his back pocket and said, “Malissa Tem, will you marry me.”
Jeannie caught that candid moment. I have envisioned my reaction for so long but when it actually happened, I was so shock. I didn’t cry but I was really taken back. Tim was calm and collected for the entire time. I really didn’t have an idea that he was planning to do it during the shoot.
And we lived happily ever after!
When’s the wedding?
We decided to begin planning in August. We have some numbers to crunch and so forth. Let’s just say I have a really really really big family. We also don’t intend to make the official date known to the public for private matters.
Ooh, la la. These are my two favorite hairstyles for the summer. It’s not exactly the newest trend to hit the fashion runways, but I think it’s a lovely transition for those new to color treated hair.
Ombre is a technique in which the crown of the hair remains dark and transitions into a lighter shade like a gradient. My favorite example is Drew Barrymore’s hair. There is a definite contrast between the two colors. The hairstyle is a bit unconventional to most, but it’s an easy hairstyle to obtain for DIY coloring.
Balayage is a technique in which the hair is painted on the bottom. It is often confused with ombre due to the similarities in transitioning colors. The base can remain the natural color or toned down after the tips of the hair are treated. The bleaching agent is applied to the hair in a “v” shape formation on the bottom and goes throughout the bottom in weaving sections. It gives a more highlighted feel to the bottom of the hair in comparison to the ombre’s solid color.
Both looks are relatively low-maintenance and give a summery vibe to the ordinary solid hair color.
I am a total newbie to hair color. The last time I actually colored my hair was five years ago when I was going through, “I need a NEW me look.” I went for the peek-a-boo highlights after finding some inspiration with some hot celebrity then. I wasn’t too thrilled about it but I lived with the consequences for the next 4-5 months.
I decided to take my hair in the balayage route this time around. I had a few bad experiences with my hair in the past couple of months. I figured I would spice it up and try something new. I went for the balayage look because I had shorter hair and can’t afford to keep running to the salon every other month. I am pretty happy with the results. I shopped around for different colorists until my cousin recommended me to her special lady. I wasn’t disappointed with the result. These looks can be achieved with at home coloring kits, but for dark-haired girls like me… you might need extra help lightening up the color.
Photo credit to Henry Wang.
I am little overwhelmed with words to say about Cambodia but this picture stood out to me among the hundreds I took.
This is my niece, Ching Ching. She is my father’s first grandchild. This is her first introduction to her grandfather’s life, a memorial video I made for his funeral.
Three years ago, my father had reconnected with his family in Cambodia. In the process, he had met his first grandchild via international calls. She was barely two at the time. I can imagine him with his bluetooth in his right ear, pacing the front perimeters of the Chinese Fast-Food restaurant when business got slow.
He might have said, “Ching Ching, this is your kong.”
He would have smiled ear to ear just hearing her mumble words together.
Ching Ching probably had the slightest idea of what was happening. My brother or his wife must have sat her on their lap and coaxed her into saying words to the eager grandfather waiting on the other side of the world.
To my dad, it didn’t matter. She was his first grandchild.
I remember him showing us a flimsy album containing photos of Ching Ching, a Chinese chubby baby. He told everyone that one day he would visit her whenever he retired.
When I arrived to Cambodia, I knew I had to make their first meeting happen. It was tucked away somewhere in the back of the million of things that I ended up doing. When the day came, I loaded the video onto my iPad and set it up for Ching Ching to watch. Understandably, she was unable to sit still. I snapped this photo before she hopped off of my mom’s lap and into the small group of cousins.
My dad must have been smiling down on us.
I have arrived safely to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have taken my first shower and ate my first meal. So far, so good. The weather is quite humid and the city has changed since I last visited, a decade ago. I wanted to share some photos of Cambodia so far. I am trying to fight off my jetlag.
I hope to update every day I am here. Please let me know if there is anything interesting going on in the capital.
All photos were taken by me. Please credit if used.
I remember meeting Monica for the very first time at a summer journalism internship almost two years ago. We sat in a circle around our editor and journalism professor as we went through potential leads. Monica was always the ambitious one, taking on stories that required extensive reporting. I realize that was her writing style, there was no half-assed work coming from her. Since the internship, she has gone off to write for India-West and Alhambra Source.
I was excited to have the opportunity to photograph Monica. Initially we had only planned the shoot around the handful of Indian outfits that Monica brought, but we decided to wrap up the shoot with a mother and daughter portion. It was perfect because the remaining outfits matched perfectly with Monica and her mother.
It’s actually my 3rd and final celebration for this new year.
In the month of April, Southeast Asian (SEA) countries including Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Burma celebrate the Water Festival (aka our new year). My earliest memories of the new year were of my family traveling to our local temple. My mom would wake up early to prepare several different dishes to pack into her ornate metal food containers. She would mark the top, sides, and bottom of our family’s containers with her initials in red nail polish to distinguish her containers from others. It sort of reminds me of how lunch(Dabbawalla) is delivered in Mumbai, India. Our family would get dressed in our brand new clothes and load up into my mom’s minivan. I remember packing a plastic pencil box with pre-made water balloons to attack my targets, young unassuming people. It was something I always looked forward to as a kid.
Now that I am an adult, I look forward to seeing my family and friends at the temple. Everyone is busy with their lives and it’s become a challenge to make it out for the new year celebrations. I value this tradition because it keeps me connected with the culture I grew up in. I will continue to attend new year events even when I have my own family because it’s something that is truly special to me.
Here is a sneak peak of an engagement session I shot today with my high school friends, Lisette and Jose. I had known Lisette from middle school and I met Jose in the music department at our high school. It’s pretty funny but I think everyone knew they were bound to be together. They balance each other’s personalities. Lisette is full of energy and Jose thrives off of her laughter.
They made my job a whole lot easier because they were completely natural with each other. To be frank, not many people are natural in front of the camera. It’s the duty of the photographer to give directions that will make a couple comfortable during a session. I realize I am still learning and every session is completely different from the last one. Some people will surprise you!
Cheers to their engagement!