On the day I graduated from my university, I put a countdown widget on my laptop. It wasn’t counting down to an exciting day but counting the days since I left college.
A lot has changed since I last blogged. I am now working two different jobs. While I wish I were working one full-time job with benefits, I am so blessed to have the opportunity to grow as a young professional. I am excited to see where this will take me.
In the meantime, I am adjusting my work schedules to accommodate more photo sessions on the weekends and scheduling blog entries on the side. I still have hopes of owning a small business in the future. I am learning as I go. A lot has been on my mind in which direction I should take my life. My favorite poem is A Road Not Taken by Robert Forest, if that is any indication of my personality.
It’s really early to say. I have a lot of projects progressing at the same time. Only time will tell where my life will end up. I just try to be optimistic on this journey.
Two definite changes will occur in a couple months.
- I am working on branding my blog and photography portfolio. At the moment, it’s a very confusing place to find my work. It’s an on-going process. I am still figuring where I should keep my regular “behind-the-scene” updates and photography stuff. I also reevaluating my standpoint as a photographer.
- I will be working on more narrative driven blog posts. It’s my favorite kind of writing style!
I’ve been inspired to cook new recipes in the kitchen. The only part I hate about experimental cooking is that I have to buy so many different ingredients that aren’t cooking staples in my regular cooking. At least now I am prepared to make more Japanese dishes in the future.
I read a few different recipes but I decided to go with Cooking with Dog’s recipe.
200g Thinly Sliced Beef With A Little Fat (0.441 lb)
1/2 Onion (130g/4.59 oz)
5g Ginger (0.176 oz)
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sake
1 tbsp Hon-Mirin
100ml Water (3.38 u.s. fl. oz)
1/2 tsp Granulated Dashi
Beni Shoga – Japanese Pickled Ginger
Shichimi – Seven Flavor Chili Pepper
The dish came out a little sweet because I used low-sodium soy sauce. If you use regular soy sauce, it will counterbalance the 1 tbsp of sugar that is included in the recipe. I also blanched the beef in boiling water to take out any excess fat. However, be very careful because you can easily over cook your beef.
Disclaimer: If you would like to make this a “cleaner” meal, substitute white rice for brown rice or quinoa. Also include a handful of steam veggies as your sides.
When I used to work in Chinese Fast Food places, my favorite dish was the wonton soup. This was my second attempt of making wonton soup. I haven’t perfected it yet to make a formal recipe. I had some leftovers and I decided to fry some up. It was like a modified egg roll with the pork, crunchy water chestnuts, and onions.
I was thinking of doing an entirely separate food blog. I already bought the domain months ago… so let’s see where that goes.
Yay or nay to food devoted blog?
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.
I covered an event on summer solstice and this was my favorite shot. I loved the color and the fog lingering around him. I love having the opportunity to go to events like this and meeting a different crowd of folks. I wish I brought batteries for my external flash to bounce some of the light.
I was a one-woman show that night. Camera bag+ DSLR, iPad, iPhone, and notepad were my weapons of choice that day. I totally need to invest into a better camera strap or sling to carry all my junk. I am pretty sore and I feel like I had one too many drinks (even though I sipped on my coconut juice all night).
I did manage to try something new at the event. I was sending out live clips of the performances through Instagram’s new video feature. It’s pretty revolutionary!
Graduation season is over, but it doesn’t mean we’re too late for graduation photos. I met up with Natalie and her brother, David, at Craig Regional Park in Fullerton, Ca. I used this park a few months ago for an engagement session and I am completely in love with it. I am a creature of habit, so I tend to shoot in places I’ve been to.
Natalie just graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in business. I know, she looks young for her age , but believe me, she is a woman of exceptional talent and knowledge in the business world. She landed a great opportunity with a well-known company right out of college! Yes, a rare thing in these times. Kudos! I know she will be going onto bigger and better projects in the future, who knows, future CEO of a company.
Now, it’s back to the editing room.
What did you do this Wednesday?
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.