Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Four Years

Last week, Ryan and I celebrated an amazing four years together. I decorated the backyard with lights and surprised him with a candlelit dinner. The framed hearts (below) are cut-up maps we brought back from Europe. Each heart represents a city we stayed in. It reminds me of all our adventures together and how many more we are going to go on.




Dinner menu: Filet mignon with baked potato, grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, and garlic bread. Homemade sangria to wash it down. And crepes for dessert.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Under the Night Sky - Travel

This past weekend, Ryan took me to his childhood camping spot at Trinity Lake. We set up camp on a cliff overlooking the lake. It was the most beautiful view to wake up and fall asleep to. The first night, we all laid under the star-blanketed sky and counted the shooting stars. I've never seen anything like it in my life. I wasn't planning on photographing the stars, but the sky was clear and there was no moon (and I had Internet on my phone to read a tutorial). It was perfect.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Paris, France (day 1 cont.) - Travel

Paris' Sacred Heart


After lunch and a shower, my uncle gave us a quick tour of Paris. Our first stop: the Sacré-Cœur Basilica on Montmartre; the dome-shaped church on top of Paris' highest hill. Walking into the gates, we were caught off guard by men trying to tie "friendship" bracelets around our wrists. We read about the many, MANY scams tourists fall for - but I was actually kind of excited to have it happen to me. I politely brushed him off and watched in amusement as they worked their magic on other tourists.

Montmartre is a busy tourist attraction, but also a popular hang out spot for the locals. People lounge around the steps and street performers entertain the crowd. It's quite a flight of stairs to reach the top, but when you're there, you are taken away by the view. You get an amazing panoramic picture of Paris that stretches for miles. I came during mid-afternoon, but I hear it's beautiful right before sunset and during the night when the city lights up.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lassen Volcanic National Park - Travel

Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell trail is a 1.5 mile hike to Lassen's sulfur works. Elevated at 8,000 feet you get a view like no other. There are perfect spots you can plop on a rock and enjoy the scenery.


Sulfur Works

About a mile into the hike, you begin to smell the stench of the sulfur holes. You get to enjoy this for another 20 minutes until you actually reach them. The sulfur holes are big pits in the ground spewing out clouds of sulfur gas. There are also a bunch of pools and small creeks of water that are boiling hot. Many pools are literally bubbling from the heat.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lake Helen - Travel

Standing above Lake Helen, you are blown away by the crystal clear, aqua blue water and the mountains and trees that surround it. There was still some snow left over from the winter and boys being boys, Ryan and his brother felt the need to swim in the icy cold water. Probably the coldest water they've ever swam in, they didn't stay in long. While they stood there feeling proud of conquering the lake, a German woman who must have been at least in her 70's came down and asked us how the water was. After telling her it was super cold, she got in and said "Oh, this is nice!" as she slowly paddled around. Pro.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Burney Falls - Travel

Burney Falls was only a 10 minute walk away from our cabin, but to see the bottom and top of the falls required a short hike. We followed a 3 mile trail that looped around the falls, and then back from the start. The hike is pretty easy with some incline and plenty of shade. September might just be the perfect month to come; the days are hot (but not scorching) and the nights are cool (but not freezing) - plus, there aren't too many people because everyone's back in school. It's an amazing site, and worth coming any time of the year though. I visited the falls 5 times (before sunrise, early afternoon, and at sunset)! The view changes depending on the time of day you come. The picture above was taken before sunrise (long exposure) and the picture below was taken early afternoon.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cabin in the Woods - Travel

Ryan's mom was so wonderful to invite me on their family vacation to Burney Falls. For 3 nights we stayed in a cabin in the middle of the woods. It was so quiet and so dark, I was actually a bit anxious the first night. But by the second and third night, I really came to appreciate everything around me. I needed this. I think everyone needs to get away from the city every now and then. I saw the most beautiful places - I mean breathtaking places. If you love camping, this is where you need to go! Our cabin was only a 5 minute walk away from Burney Falls and a 1 minute drive away from the lake (where you can swim, kayak, or paddle boat). I'm hoping to make another trip during the winter when it's covered in snow :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Paris, France (day 1) - Travel

This blog is our special keepsake of Europe, so we can remember each day as we spent it and relive it every time we read it. But we also want to share our adventures with our family and friends and hopefully bring a part of Europe to them :) Since I took about 300-600 pictures a day, for 30 days, I decided to give each day its own post with frequent updates. So keep checking in for updated posts. Here it goes!

It was an 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to Paris. We slept most of the way, so once we arrived at 9am Paris time, we were ready to take on our first day in Europe. We were staying with my dad's relatives, so our first stop was our new home away from home in Neuilly-Plaisance. On our way, it really didn't feel like we were in France. The freeways and buildings looked just the same as home, but once we hit town, it all changed. Narrow streets, small cars, and small houses, something you don't see in Orange County.

Once at home, we were greeted with home-cooked Croque-Monsieur sandwiches, a very typical French meal. That's when we learned just how serious the French are about their food. Everything is bought fresh and daily from their local bakery and food market. Mealtime is especially important in France (and Europe in general). It's a time to relax and socialize with friends and family. Typically, lunch and dinner in France can take several hours. Unlike the states, workers here are able to request 2 hours for lunch!

And after lunch (and every other meal), a cup of cappuccino or tea.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Orange County Fair | Personal

Ahhh the fair :) I had an amazing time this year with some new friends. I actually rode more than 1 ride this time - although, I couldn't do the spinning, flipping ones. I'm getting old -__- But the rest of the group went on some ridiiiiculous rides (look up Speed). And in-between rides, we ate...and ate...and ate - deep fried snickers, deep fried zucchinis, french fries, chocolate dipped bacon, buttered corn, sugar-filled lemonade. BEST FAIR DAY EVER!

Monday, July 25, 2011

4th of July | Personal

Delicious food, water balloon fights, blowing up toys, painting boys' fingernails, and amazing fireworks! Yup, just another awesome 4th of July with Ryan's family.

The Wong men always put on the best firework show. And they're passing it on to the next generation. Last year, the kids discovered light painting...this year, they took it to a whole other level.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

San Francisco: The Wong House | Travel

Welcome to the Wong House! Ryan's uncle and his family are very involved in the arts, so their house is a photographer's playground. Everywhere you looked there was something interesting to capture. I wanted to show just a bit of their house, but there is so much more!

For those of you still waiting for my Europe pictures, I am so sorry for the delay. I've been trying to keep my blog updated with current events, so I keep pushing Europe back. And now I'm even behind in doing that. I still have other S.F. pictures AND 4th of July to work on, so please bear with me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

San Francisco: Busing Around | Travel

What I love most about cities...public transportation! It's such an easy way to get around and takes away the stress from traffic. Walking or busing were our only form of transportation in San Francisco (parking was $3 for every 20 minutes!) It reminded me a lot of Europe. For whatever reason, I find buses and metros a really interesting place to see all sorts of people. I was too shy to shoot strangers, but I got tons of shots of friends :P More pictures of other S.F. things to come.

Friday, July 1, 2011

San Francisco | Travel

Every July I go up to Sacramento to spend a week with Ryan and his family. This year, we decided to take a mini trip to San Francisco. I haven't been there since maybe...9? but it was still as if I was experiencing it for the first time. I love everything about this city. The streets are always crowded with the most interesting people. I could people watch forever. Two nights were definitely not enough to see everything. I have to make my way back before the year ends.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Graduation Party | Personal

A big thank you to everyone who came out for my graduation party! And a really big thank you to my parents for setting it all up :) Last Sunday, we packed our little home with 50+ friends and family to celebrate my graduation. The food was and is always the best part. My relatives feed your face like it's a buffet. Even if you're not hungry, they'll fix you a huge plate of food. It was also the first time some of my friends tried Cambodian food (which isn't too different from other Southeast Asian dishes). There was a roasted pig, fresh spring rolls and eggrolls, num pa'chok (a kind of Cambodian noodle soup), cabbage pickles, rice (and more food I can't remember)...I could have died eating.

I have a huge family so our family get togethers are really special to me. I can't even believe how much everyone has grown up. I still remember my younger cousins running around when they were 5 - and now they're 12! and as tall as me! A lot has changed over the years: graduations, engagements, these events are always the perfect time to catch up. I love my family :) and I only hope we stay as close as we are now.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ryan's 23rd Birthday | Personal

Since coming back from Europe, Ryan and I have been really wanting to reconnect with nature. So for his 23rd birthday I planned a hiking trip to Sturtevant Falls in Arcadia. We drove over an hour to get there only to find it was closed for brush cleaning -__- Luckily, Ryan found another trail nearby. We took a 1.5 mile hike to Eaton Canyon Falls in 80+ degrees. It was "sweat dripping down my face" hot...the first half of the hike was mainly under the sun, but the second half was along the creek, nicely shaded by trees. It's a pretty easy hike - a lot of people bring their young kids and some bring their dogs. I think I found a new love for hiking. If you have any suggested hiking spots, please send them my way :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brian + Kaisa Part 2 | Engagement

This was actually our first location for the shoot. It took me a while to post these because I was having a hard time processing this set. I'm still not 100% happy with them but I'll be playing around with them until I am.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chris is Moving...Again BBQ | Personal

In a couple of days, my best friend is taking his new wifey and moving to Portland, Maine! He's moved around a lot, but he has always found his way back home. But I think Maine is it. I think this is where he is going to settle down. As much as I hate saying good-bye to him every time he leaves, I really hope he likes it there (kinda). (I'm just kinda kidding, Chris - we're just really going to miss you)

Oh! the little Asian girl in the pictures is Matt's girlfriend's daughter, Rei. She's seriously the cutest girl with the wildest imagination. I'm thinking about stealing her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Graduation Day | Personal

I GRADUATED! It went by so fast! It didn't even phase me until I was standing in line and my name was called out. I was on that stage for 5 seconds and off faster than I could realize what was happening. But even in those 5 seconds, it was my time, and it was amazing :)

Professor Lawrence Rowe from UC Berkeley gave a great speech at Ryan's graduation. Two things he mentioned really stuck to me:

"Failure is not a disaster" and "The journey is the reward"

I've always feared failure. It's prevented me from trying new things. But everything happens for a reason. My failure will lead me somewhere: to learning something new, improving at a skill, or leading me in another direction. I have to understand that it's all part of the journey. I'm a proud UCI graduate, but it was the 4 years there that really meant the most: the skills and lessons I learned, the new places I explored, and the people I met. There will be no other time like college.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Graduation Announcement | Personal

I'M GRADUATING! After 4 years, I'll be graduating from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelors degree in Sociology and Psychology. where am I going from here? I have no idea. I've been saying that a lot and it's probably something I've been trying to avoid thinking about. So although it's an exciting time, it has also been overwhelming and stressful. I have no clear direction I want to take, but Ryan tells me to just go out there and try anything...and to not be scared to fail. I think that's the best advice anyone could give me. So wish me luck as I wander into life after college..

Photo credit: Chris Schultz

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brian + Kaisa | Engagement

Brian and Kaisa are a living fairytale love story...high school sweethearts...and 6 1/2 years later, a romantic proposal where they first fell in love. We wish this for ourselves because they are everything that love is: adventurous, surprising, magical, trusting, supportive, caring...I've known them since their beginning and am so fortunate to be included in their special day. They're my best friends and I know they couldn't be any more perfect for each other.

Thanks to Chris Schultz for helping me edit some of the photos

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Up In The Air | Travel

It was an 11 hour flight from Los Angeles to Paris. I slept during most of the flight - thank goodness - but still managed to wake up every now and then to get some shots out my window. Top left: LA; top right: Grand Canyon; bottom left: awesome clouds; bottom right: France.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hopping on the Blog Bandwagon | Personal

I'm years behind on this blogging thing...but after seeing the amazing blogs my friends have started I felt inspired to create something for myself. Since photography is the only thing I know, this will mainly be a photography blog (with random rants in between). But I also wanted something to document my travels around Europe - and this way, I can bring you guys with me.

...see you in Paris <3