Reid and Kamakana Watanabe

3My colleague and very good friend Kamakana and her husband, Reid, were married a year ago. They asked me to take some photos for their anniversary. We went to a Diamond Head lookout, where there was a little, neatly landscaped garden nearby.

Here are some of their favorite shots:

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The sweetest part of this shoot was that Kama and Reid each wore something new and blue for their anniversary day. Kama is a maxi dress fanatic and she found this flattering print just days before the shoot. Reid was treated to some new Cole Haan shoes just a few hours before we all met up.

New and blue…perfect little details to commemorate their first year of marriage.

Happy Anniversary to you both! Now make me a neice or nephew.

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Congratulations Momo!

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Last week, my cousin Momo asked if I could take her graduation photos. You may recognize her from the very first portraits I did two years ago, when she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree. Well, she’s getting her Master’s Degree in Public Health this time! Whoo hoo! Momo is one of those individuals that excels in everything she puts her mind to. She’s a smart, innovative and bubbly type of woman and I’m so happy for her latest accomplishment.

MOMO3 copyOur shoot started out with some scenic shots. This was around 5:30 p.m. The city looked so beige so it was a nice contrast to the graphics on her dress.

MOMO2 copyI love this one.

MOMO6We did a jumping shot last time, so it felt right to do another this time around. That hill was pretty steep!

MOMO13Momo wasn’t too crazy about this shot, but I loved how it captured the light in her hair, the dimension in the bark and it was one of those cheesy, but not-too-cheesy shots.

MOMO15We found a swing and decided to go with it. Totally random, but it was a pretty spot.

MOMO9This one is probably my favorite because she was just about to tip over. If you know Momo’s personality, you understand how she makes silly look cute.

Thanks Momo, for asking me to photograph you. It was so fun!

MOMO7Congratulations on getting your Master’s Degree!

Haani Raine

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Since Haani Raine and her mother moved back to Hawaii, I’ve been wanting to photograph her. She’s a tiny little girl from the mainland with strong island roots and a happy personality. Her mother, Rochelle, is one of the strongest, nurturing women I know. Yesterday was Rochelle’s birthday and as a small gift, I did a “Mommy+Me” shoot for her. Enjoy only a few of the best shots…

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This last shot is one my faves. It truly shows off Haani’s personality. I hope you enjoy these Rochelle, Happy Birthday!

Saying Goodbye

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It’s so sad to say goodbye to my HPU familia. I’ll definitely miss my colleagues and students. HPU is the second university I’ve taught at and it has been the most stress-free and relaxing job I’ve ever had. My colleagues are caring, creative and insightful. They’ve given me career and life advice that I’ll probably refer to time and time again.

Teaching others the Spanish language and culture is something that sort of fell into my lap and I thank God for the wonderful experience. As for my students, they’ve opened my eyes to new things throughout the years.

One of my biggest accomplishments is inspiring one of my students to apply for grad school and become a Spanish teacher. I like to think of it as a perfect way to (maybe temporarily) end my career in education. I’ve contributed one more Spanish teacher to the world.

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I’m so lucky to have met one of my good friends, Sue Haglund (on my left), while working at HPU. She kicks okole in everything that she does and is finishing up her dissertation this year. She, too, has opened my eyes to new things and always offers another perspective. As for the rest of my HPU family, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you all!

My new job at Easter Seals Hawaii, a Chicago conference and a new life mission

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I’m proud to say that I’m a new member of the development team at Easter Seals Hawaii! I never thought I would get back into public relations and marketing until my good friend Umma recommended that I apply for an open position. Upon my first week on the job, I was told that I would be flying to Chicago for a marketing and public relations conference at the Easter Seals headquarters. It was amazing and eye-opening. I’ve met some really altruistic and insanely intelligent marketing and PR managers that dedicate their lives to the beneficiaries of Easter Seals.

In addition to meeting fellow public relations and marketing managers and learning about the impact of having a news background (which I am very proud of), I was given a personal tour of the headquarters office in Willis Tower. I instantly became inspired by the quote that is embedded into the wall of the lobby. “Your life and mine shall be valued not by what we take…but by what we give,” said the founder of Easter Seals, Edgar Allen. This is something I’ll have to frame in my office to remind me of my mission in case any unnecessary stress arrives.

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After the conference, I did some exploring on my own. It was my first time in Chicago and I had never seen snow until this Wednesday. Crazy, huh? Aside from freezing my tail off, it was nice to see what people in Chicago ate, wore and behaved. Based on my observations over the past three days, I can tell you a few things: Chicagoans love sandwiches, pizza, dark clothes and they always joke around. Although I wasn’t a deep-dish fanatic, I did enjoy the regular pizza and cafes on every corner. People in Chicago love their coffee, heck, if it were 30 degrees out, I’d love coffee that much too. I ran into every coffee shop on every corner just to warm up. This island girl can’t take the cold weather! Can you see my teeth chattering in the first photo?

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This photo pretty much sums up my experience. I took a head cold and a new life mission as souvenirs and I’m full of ideas for my new job. Now preparing for takeoff…here we go!

Travel essentials

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I’m getting ready to leave for Saipan and Guam tomorrow. Here are my travel essentials: lots of black clothes, tons of necklaces, headbands (because it’s maipe – hot), my passport, a journal for ideas/poetry/inspiration and a little purse. Of course I’ll be taking my DSLR along for the trip. 🙂 One of my goals is to learn at least five new phrases in Chamorro. My friends and I have this thing where we jokingly try to one-up each other on Chamorro phrases and vocabulary. I always lose, so I’ve really got to step my game this time. ¡Biba Marianas!

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

IB Lanikai Pillbox copyI’m not the kind of girl that hikes. I don’t look like a hiker nor act like one. But FoodographyHI is one of those people that make anything treacherous or physically painful seem exciting and adventurous. She convinced me to do the Lanikai Pillbox Hike with her yesterday and we died many times before making it to the top. We had a little spat about making it up that last part because I didn’t want to fall off the cliff and get killed. But again, she convinced me with the “we made it all the way up here, what’s another five minutes?” speech. As terrified as I was, I managed to climb my way to the top with her and we sat atop the pillbox and enjoyed the view of Kailua, Lanikai and Waimanalo. It was worth it.

The hardest part of the hike was actually going down. I think I fell a good six times due to the worn out traction on my sneakers. I got some cuts and scrapes to prove it!

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Inside of the pillbox, there were some tags and this awesome artwork. I didn’t get a good photo of the outside (which had a snowman and some Christmas designs), but the inside was pretty cool.

Thanks to FoodographyHI for pushing me to the top. It’s awesome to feel that fear inside you once in a while, it makes you feel alive! That’s my take on the last adrenaline rush for 2012. Peace.