Friday, December 26, 2008

andy+katina | engagement shoot

a couple friends visited us from Shanghai last weekend, and one of the items on our agenda was to take their engagement photos. when i first met andy and katina, i thought they made such a handsome couple. so i was definitely excited to get to do this session. the session was a lot of fun - along with a bit of a workout as i made them hike up and down a mountain. =) but they were open to try anything and had lots of their own ideas too. i'm still wading through the *tons* of photos we took, but i know they're eager to see some, so here is a small sneak peek.
it's also a breath of fresh air for me to finally be posting some people pictures on this blog, rather than inanimate objects. =) because photographing people is what i really love in the first place.




some landscape you can't find in the States - a bamboo forest.

and finally they were determined to get a jumping shot - it made for a lot of laughs.

congratulations andy and katina. we're very excited for you guys.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

carols, cookies, care packages, and the christmas story

Merry Christmas everyone!!

With Christmas not as widely celebrated around here, we've had to largely depend on our own means and creativity to remember the Christmas season. In some ways, it's not such a bad thing. So our Christmas this year has consisted of...

lots and lots of singing these past few weeks. there's nothing like christmas carols to warm the heart. hannah's favorite is "gloooooooooooria in excelsis deo"

lots and lots of baking going on... literally made hundreds of cookies. homemade cookies are a rare commodity around here, and people were impressed and happy to receive them.

Care Packages
lots of packages have come in, to our pleasant surprise. and thanks to some loving friends, we even got to make our own paper ornaments and hang lights for decoration.

Christmas Story
finally, it's been good reading the Christmas story a lot of times, and being in wonder of the greatest Gift of all.

May your Christmas be filled with joy and wonder, as well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

thanksgiving, part 2

another big thing i was thankful for this Thanksgiving was that our shipment of belongings finally arrived right on Thanksgiving Day!



The move-in process was fast and impressive. Who knew one person could haul so much on their back.


So we've been busy unpacking the past couple weeks (i.e. my excuse for not blogging lately) and making home more "home". It's nice.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


i am thankful:
- for being able to bake pumpkin pies and sweet potato casserole on this side of the world
- for friends who take me to local markets to find pumpkins and sweet potatoes
- for friends who have extra (toaster) ovens* that they generously give to us so we can now bake
- for friends to feast with tonight

*note: most kitchens here don't come with ovens. so the next best thing is basically a big toaster oven. and ours is even a convection oven. ooooh...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

mail and bananas

after 1 1/2 months, i am happy to say i know how to send and receive mail here.

i had stocked up on some beautiful stationary and thank you cards from dozi before leaving the States. btw - she's having a giveaway in honor of her blog's one year anniversary, so go check it out!

several stamps and a mandatory (i.e. boring) "standard airmail" envelope later, they were finally mailed off and will hopefully brighten someone's mailbox soon.

we've also received our first postcard in the mail(exciting). And then a couple weeks ago, our first care package arrived, which included this:

um... yes, if you do the math, it arrived a little too late to be filled out and counted.
But we still watched the election results from here that day. And as we watched, hannah kept repeating the name of our new president - "Barakobanana! Barakobanana!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

this time there's something for mom *and* daughter

Once again, Grosgrain has a couple more fabulous giveaways:

Perhaps something for hannah

or something for mom

Thursday, November 20, 2008


one of the neat things about living here is that you are bound to meet some interesting people who do inspiring things.

this weekend, i met the co-founder of Shokay.
Shokay is a company specializing in luxury products made from yak fiber (think cashmere, without the itch of wool).

For you moms out there, they have an adorable baby collection.
For you knitters out there, they have wonderful, luxurious yarn.
For you Christmas shoppers out there, they have handknit and woven goods for the home, for women, and for kids.

I guess I fall under all those categories, which makes me extra enthusiastic.

But perhaps the most meaningful aspect of Shokay is that it was started in order to "empower some of China’s most impoverished communities".
From their website:
"At Shokay, we aim to impact the lives of Tibetan herders in China oppressed by poverty. By introducing luxury yak down to the global market, we hope to create a market for yak fiber, thus increasing the value of the raw fiber to provide herders with long-term employment and a greater sustainable income."

I'd post a few pictures from their website, but I rather you head on over and take a look for yourself. Feel free to pass it on to others too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a journey

Ten years ago, I came to this place. And a few days ago, after 10 years, I got to return.



Over these 10 years, she has seen so much change, so much growth, so much faithfulness. I was beyond words to see and reflect on this amazing journey we have both been on these past 10 years.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the city


this past weekend, we took a trip to Shanghai, and soaked up the, um, more modern feel of the big city.

I'll post a few posts about our trip, but of course, our trip would not be complete without FOOD adventures. On Saturday, we went to this crazy big and packed food court. We circled around the whole thing to check out the selections. There must've been 30-40 different stands, selling all sorts of goodness. But perhaps the more impressive point is that all 40 stands were selling some kind of Asian food. Who knew you could have so many choices in just Asian food alone? I guess that's why we Chinese people like to eat. =)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

from a child's perspective

So last week, my girl suddenly developed some drawing skills. Instead of random scribbles, she actually drew objects that had some semblance to what she said they were.
You know how you record your kids' first words? Well, here are my daughter's first objects she has learned to draw (in actual order), along with what she called them shown in "quotes" (english translations provided in parenthesis when necessary).

1. "goggles"
she gets very excited when she sees goggles. maybe because she loves swimming. but we haven't found a pool here yet, so maybe the deprivation is making her dream about goggles and swimming.

2. "yu yu" (i.e. fish)


3. "dun de matong" (i.e. squat toilet)


Ah. The beauty of living here, expressed through art. =)

Note: Art shown are not the original first objects drawn, as those got wiped away on the Etch-a-Sketch. However, drawings shown are still by original artist, though proportions and shapes may have changed somewhat since the originals.

By the way, thanks for all your suggestions on creative constructive activities too. I enjoyed reading them, and mostly just hearing from you. I will have to try to implement some soon, as the garlic peeling seems to have lost its appeal.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

what do you do when...

you haven't found a playgroup for your kid? or there aren't a wealth of fun programs or storytimes or playgrounds to take her to? and most of her toys and books are still on a boat somewhere on the ocean? and she seems kind of bored and keeps asking what we're going to do?

you put her to work.

...and she actually finds it really fun to peel garlic and it keeps her preoccupied for a while. and mom has one less thing to do too. =)


of course, i'm open to other suggestions for some creative constructive activities... anyone?

Monday, November 3, 2008

this is too cute

the idea of trick-or-treating has not quite caught on around these parts, so i am just living vicariously through other people's blogs. haha.

look at this cute cute costume:
Tropical Tree Frog Costume Giveaway!
...and you can try to enter to win it too if you're already gearing up for next year.

you can be sure, though, that when Thanksgiving comes around, we will be feasting over here and not just salivating over food blogs. =)

Friday, October 31, 2008

can you tell we had a good time?

Here are more from this session.

I had this session during the last week we were in Michigan. Had a lovely morning with her and her mom. Thanks M! =) It was a nice final note to leave on before moving. Lots of fun shots, I had a hard time picking which ones to post now... so I'm posting a lot. Hey... why not, it may be my last sneak peek for a while... though definitely not the last blog post you'll see from me. =)







Thursday, October 30, 2008

weekend outing

last saturday, we decided to explore our local area a little by going to an area that seemed to be more busy and had more shops. i guess it ended up being more of a food outing for us, as that's all we ended up purchasing. but that is not so unusual for our family. =)
we got to experience the extremes of eating out in china...

first, going to a street cart that sells lots of food-on-a-stick, which they cook for you on the spot and slather with yummy sauce. we have been told you have to be careful not to get sick when getting food off of street carts, but it looked so good, we couldn't resist. and none of us (thankfully) got sick either. =)

then, we decided to go for some hard-to-come-by western food. amusingly, pizza hut is a fancy ordeal around these parts and hannah enjoyed finally going somewhere that had high chairs. we soaked up the pristine surroundings and the waitresses wearing witch hats for halloween.

finally, we topped it off with a cup of mango juice from the local milk tea stand. good stuff... hannah definitely agrees.

now i'm getting hungry...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


... is probably not the first word that might come to mind when it comes to toddlers. But when I saw this picture, that is all I can say.


Will try to post more from this session soon, but just wanted to give mom a peek, since she's been patiently waiting so long!

Monday, October 27, 2008


During my girl's first year, I would take pictures of her on each of her "month-birthdays". After she turned one, I cut it down to every 6 months. Maybe after she turns 3, it'll be a once-a-year occasion.
But this weekend, she turned 2 1/2, so we did a little mini-session in honor of it. In her new room and around our new neighborhood. Can you tell she's used to the camera? =)





Saturday, October 25, 2008

Grosgrain - a new online find

So I just found this blog through another photographer blog last week. I've only glanced through it but it's full of cute clothes and fun giveaways. And it looks like she'll be opening a mini online store soon. Fun!
I love the skirts in this post... think she'll ship to China? =)

Friday, October 24, 2008

hanging out

so it's been 2+ weeks since we moved.
as expected, life is a little different around here.

example #1:


no dryer.

but i've come to appreciate the wonders of liquid fabric softener, along with a good working washing machine. (our washing machine broke earlier this week and i learned that hand-wringing clothes is not fun nor is it effective. fortunately, service people here come very quickly and repair costs are very inexpensive.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ni hao

so it's been almost exactly a week since we landed here in China. it's such a huge change, that i'm a bit at a loss as to what to write.

but just in terms of this photography blog...
the good news: i can still access this blog and post to it. so keep checking in. =)
the bad news: i'm not having as much luck with accessing or being able to update the rest of my website. =/

but i have a feeling that, just like everything else... how i use photography here will look a whole lot different from before. we'll just have to wait and see...

hopefully, after we're fully over jetlag, and semi-settled into our new surroundings, i'll post more and include some pictures next time. in the meantime, would love to hear from you guys, from all parts of the world. =)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

first she insisted that he be in the picture...

(these two are inseparable sometimes.)
visa take 1

then she insisted that she get out her camera too...
visa take 2

then she was just being a ham...
visa take 3

...before i finally got a normal, boring shot for her visa application (not shown here). =)

So I was "tagged" earlier today by the lovely Jen, a fellow photographer. Fun! So here's how it works:
The rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Write 7 random things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag.

So here's my stream-of-consciousness list.

1) In one week, me and my family are up and moving to China (thus the visa photos) !!!!!

2) Contrary to somewhat popular belief, we are moving to China and not back to China. None of us have ever lived there, except for one summer I spent in Shanghai during college.

3) I tend to blog as a form of procrastination (thus blogging the night before the movers are coming rather than packing or sleeping)

4) I used to be an engineer

5) After studying Materials Science & Engineering for 6 years, I realized I actually wanted to work as a Mechanical Engineer. go figure.

6) The common theme among a lot of things I like to do (e.g. photography, cooking, knitting, craft projects, engineering) seems to be this insatiable need to create

7) When I got married, I only had to add one letter to my maiden name to get my husband's last name... and I didn't even need to change my signature. Convenient.

OK, jean, rebecca, wendy, sarah, julie, michele, joanne... your turn.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

if you give a child a cookie...






...he'll work the camera for you.

Btw, I could get lost in those deep brown eyes, can't you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

what happens when your child doesn't nap...

well, most of the time it just makes for a grumpy afternoon and evening for everyone involved.
But sometimes, surprises happen.

Like this afternoon, after waiting almost 2 hours for Hannah to fall asleep, I finally was going to give up and get her. (Yes, I am stubborn too, and can wait it out that long) But I got momentarily distracted by something else, and when I went to her room, she had finally fallen asleep... at about the time she normally wakes up from her nap. But I'm not complaining, I'll take the extra break anytime.

Or sometimes, they just fall asleep right in the middle of eating...


Thursday, September 18, 2008

just in time for my birthday/Christmas...

So after years of rumors, Canon has officially announced the release of the new 5D Mark II. It won't be out until end of November (conveniently right before my birthday and Christmas). I guess that gives me a couple months to devise a plan as to how I might afford to buy one. Canon, if you're reading this, I'd be more than happy to "test-drive" one for you. hahaha.

For those interested, you can read more details here.

Ok... off to read more and continue with my obsession. =)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

wide-eyed and red-y

Had the privilege of photographing this lovely newborn recently. She had the biggest eyes and greatest red hair for a newborn. She must've been extra excited for her session too, because she stayed awake as long as she could.


But we outlasted her and got some sleeping pictures in the end too.



I love the proud look on big brother's face.



This family may look familiar to you, as they are all over my website. Mom was one of the first people to take a gamble on me as a photographer, and I am so thankful for her faith in me! I may not have gotten to this point otherwise.