i’m usually the positive one. the one that is like “go team!”. the one that cheers everyone on and rallies. i absolutely love being able to support what wedding photographers do because i do love their work and their ability to capture the most beautiful and touching moments of one of the most important days of people’s lives.
but i also like being the transparent one. i like to be real. and that might make me sound needy and insincere if i do it too much, because trust me, there are definitely some people are do talk so much what they’ve been through on social media, i cringe too as it just comes off as preachy and self centered.
but here i am today with a plea for help.
many of you are sitting right now reading this from your phone, laptop, tablet or what have you in your studio, office, restaurant, coffee shop or bed. with a coffee in hand, eating your kale salad, or grilling your steak or what have you. and because this blog caters to wedding photographers, i am going to call you out specifically. some of you are getting inquiries and bookings maybe this minute, or this week or the next month that i bet you are in the ranges of $1,000 to $9,000. i have posted this plea in every one of my social media feeds and Lucia and I have strive really hard to think of who else to reach out to. and while i am happy that many of you are sharing these posts about what we’re doing. the donation amount has remained pretty stagnant. and i get it. i totally and utterly get it. i am not rich by any means and i like having money to be able to support my lifestyle. in fact, sometimes i am a downright worry wart and hide in my apartment refusing to hang out with people because it means spending money which i am terrified i might not have next week if i lose my job. no one can guarantee job security whether you’re in corporate America or self-employed. so trust me when i say, i know. but for pete’s sake, give up that cup of coffee or that kale salad and just donate $5 or $10.
it makes a difference.
i saw it happen when we did For Japan With Love. that $72,000 plus didn’t come from people donating chunks of money like $50 or $100 or thousands. it came from over 1,400 individuals that were donating $5, $10, or $25. yeup, that’s right. all of us coming together in small ways to help for a larger cause. people in need and oh how they needed our help and support. we are in a position to give it to them, so please just reexamine your priorities for the next two weeks and help us raise funds to help Nepal.
the media here isn’t really covering it because apparently riots, violence, celebrities and their lifestyles are far more important issues to cover. a natural disaster in a third world country apparently is not as of a concern. but here’s how i see it, not all of us were Haitian or Japanese or Filipino when those major disastrous natural disasters happened. the bottom line is we are humans. we are all human beings. and as human beings, we have the undeniable power to be compassionate, to be in a position to help one another, to have empathy.
SO PLEASE HELP.
the death toll has now surpassed 4,800. over 9,200 are injured. over EIGHT MILLION people have been affected.
it wasn’t just an earthquake. it wasn’t just a 7.8 earthquake. it was also an avalanche that took lives and injured and stranded others. many of whom are still missing. it was also an earthquake that caused a 6.7 aftershock. it was also an earthquake that caused landslides that resulted in 200 more people missing.
so please, instead of spending 5 minutes scrolling through your instagram or facebook or what have you. please take a moment to put yourself in their shoes and what would you hope someone would do for you? then do it. donating takes less than five minutes. and that $5 or $25 or $100, no matter what the amount, i promise you’re going to help a life. and i guarantee that it’s a feeling that will make you feel 100% full. please head over HERE to donate and please help spread the word and keep Nepal and surrounding areas in your prayers and thoughts.
click image below to go directly to donate.
if you are a photographer that wants to help in other ways, please email me. i would be ever so grateful.
for more information too, please head to FOR NEPAL WITH LOVE.
thank you for listening.
have you guys missed confetti throw fridays?? as a reminder, confetti throw fridays is where after spending my thursday nights scouring through my blog subscriptions and social media feeds, i picked my favorite images from any of the wedding photographers i am following and showcased them each week in the friday post. it’s a chance to show off the hard work that wedding photographers have been up to. in all honesty, i see it as a way for wedding photographers to cheer each other on and give high fives to each for the stellar work. never see it as a competition or a let down if you’re not on here, always see it as motivation and to throw confetti for your peers in this industry. i’ve kind of skipped town on the confetti throw fridays because i have literally been flooded with submissions, so i’m trying to be fair and slide those on in on fridays instead. so just a heads up that until i get these submissions under control, these confetti throw friday posts will be rather sporadic.
additionally, just a few housekeeping details and things that have been on my mind, some of which i have shared on my instagram:
1. after five years of blogging about weddings and trying hard to get in the faces of brides and grooms and make them realize how important wedding photography is, i have felt like i was losing a battle. i was constantly complaining about the readers simply just not hearing me, however, the photographers were. so it is my goal to start gearing this blog to wedding photographers. have this place become a home for photographers to be inspired. have this become a place where photographers come to get motivated. a place for the wedding photography community to cheer on each other. at the heart of this blog, that is always what has mattered. hope you are on this ride with me. i’m about to start a new blog series that will highlight a photographer. they may have been a game changer in this industry or someone whose work i truly have valued and supported. either way, i want you to hear them and read their words. i will be posting these on sundays so it’ll give photographers a chance to kick their feet up after a saturday wedding and give you a morning coffee read. first one is coming up this sunday!
2. no one has come out to say it really. but wedding blogs….every vendor has such a love/hate relationship with them. most often, it’s the “I don’t get any inquiries” after being a sponsor or a feature. here is my two cents and this is to no offense to my wedding blogger friends because I know they work just as hard to make this their full-time business. if you don’t find value in placing ads or sponsoring a blog, don’t do it then. it’s true, they can’t guarantee you bookings, let alone inquiries, but note that they should also value you as a client and investor for their blog. so f you think they’re doing a crappy job for what you paid for, then say something. don’t sit there and complain about it. how can you better yourself as a business and better them as a business to help you can and get what you paid for? I mean, we’re all in this together so for pete’s sake, help each other. I can’t speak to what they pick to feature and how their taste has now become questionable. but I’m talking about the services they promised to provide you as a paying client on their space. which leads me to….
3. i have never had the mindest to be an entrepeneur. i don’t really think that way, hence why i am not a full-time blogger. i can’t justify asking vendors for money when i can’t guarantee they’ll profit from being on my blog. i prefer being genuine and having real friendships and find that it’s much easier to be when there isn’t money involved with my wedding industry world. i also strictly want to keep this blog as my hobby- a pure labor love that i can pour my heart into and not be tainted by any financial burdens.
4. therefore, i have a full-time day job. well i did, then didn’t, then do again. back in December, my position was eliminated so i joined the funemployment train. disappointed and sad not to be able to work with my team anymore, i was actually excited to get my career back on track because the current role was going a different direction. i had no financial concern luckily because i was smart enough to be saving money all along. i admittedly really enjoyed myself and kept busy with binge watching tv series and movies. my one regret was not taking a trip somewhere. my ride on the funemployment train didn’t last very long. i’m back at it again behind a desk, but this time with a commute. i used to have a 5 minute walk to work, now i have a 40 minute car ride, but i’m with company that i was fortunate enough to work with before and very excited to be working with again. funemployment is a funny thing. there definitely were anxiety and panic attacks and fears of never feeling good enough, but overall, i think i handled it pretty well.
5. that brings me to my last point of today. please count this as my notice that i know i owe photographers emails about their submissions. i have them starred in my inbox and i promise to return them soon. i just need to adjust back to answering emails on the weekends only. my brain can only do so much with a full-time day job AND a blog that is STILL growing every day. i do intend on keeping my sanity so i can keep the blog going. i truly appreciate the patience and more importantly, the fact that you all want to be on the blog. can’t thank you enough.
ok enough blabbing…
onto the first confetti throw friday of 2015!
and lastly, over the past few weeks, a LOT of my friends have lost loved ones (like I can’t count on one hand anymore). my own grandmother passed away two weeks ago. my heart grieves and each time i am told news of a passing, I have flashbacks to the days right after Mikey suddenly passed over a year and half ago and I feel so terribly sad all over again. however, after a few moments to gather myself, I find comfort in being able to be there for others and attempt to help them as much as possible. i know words barely can hold you together after you lose someone. i know that you can’t seek comfort in being surrounded by the left behind loves ones. nothing feels ok and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be ok. there is no manual on grief so don’t feel pressured that you’re supposed to follow some sort of timeline and miraculously be cured. and honestly, even after one and a half years later, it still hurts like you can’t even imagine. so you know who you are, I am thinking of you all and sending you love.
hug your loved ones more closely. tell them “i love you” more often.
have a great weekend all!
oh you very well know that i wouldn’t end this without some confetti right?
this above is by far my favorite confetti capture ever. many thanks to BABB PHOTO for this one.
and so there it all is. the “Best of 2014″.
i know it was a massive collection and might have been overwhelming to get through it all. some say that perhaps the specialness of being included might have gone away since there were so many. but that wasn’t the true goal of showcasing this collection. i wanted to make sure to include all the wedding photographers that sent something in because i have appreciated the support and encouragement they give to this blog for the past year. this is my way of thanking you all AND celebrating you all for being part of the blog in 2014. i tried my hardest to make sure to select images where you could all see how truly talented wedding photographers can be. i hope i did it justice.
i want people to know as many wedding photographers out there as possible, to see all the talent there is, to see all their peers and how hard you all are working. and most importantly, i want all wedding photographers in this community to be proud of what all your peers have been up to this year. i want people to remember not to view as competition, but to view it as motivation for their 2015. i want people to realize that while yes, it’s important to keep going, don’t compare yourself to what others have been doing, don’t be jealous of the epic backdrops or destinations, but pick yourself up and get out there. don’t let the competition take away from doing what you love. backdrops, venues, and details aren’t what make the best wedding photography. it’s what story you are able to tell from the wedding day or between the couple that is what is most important. realize that this wedding photography community is here for you and with you. encourage each other. throw confetti at each other. let’s make 2015 better for each other.
this is the essence of this blog. while the primary focus is show off wedding photography, it’s also been making sure you all realize you are all in this together. i love being part of the wedding photography community, even if i am not a wedding photographer. this past year, i’ve truly enjoyed becoming closer friends with so many of you all. all the tears, frustrations, belly laughs and confetti throws. and it’s been absolutely astonishing to see the growth of individual photographers and most definitely fun discovering more talent. i have had this blog for five years, it’s been purely a labor of love. each year, i am even more thankful for the growth it has. however, this year, instead of trying to fight the never ending battle of getting brides and grooms to understand the importance of having a solid gold wedding photographer, i have decided to build upon this wedding photography community instead. i’ll be gearing this blog in a slightly different direction this year while still showcasing the best wedding photographers out there. i’m out here in hopes to make this wedding photographer community even better. i hope you all stay tuned for it and get others to come on board too. let’s do this, 2015.
and on that note, again…thank YOU to all the wedding photographers that have sent in a feature this past year and to all the ones who are still sending in submissions. i thank all of you for the patience while waiting to hear back from me. it’s a one woman show behind here and i truly appreciate those who wait for months for their feature to go up. i truly appreciate how much you all support this blog and i feel so lucky that you find this blog worthy of your work. so thank you so very much.
lastly, thank YOU to all the wedding photographers that sent images in for the “Best Of 2014″. my heart was bursting at the seams with how many of you sent something in and it’s truly with pride that i shared all of these this week. thank you, thank you, thank you. what an incredible 2014 you all had and i can’t wait to see your 2015.
and obviously, i can’t end on that note without some confetti right?! my favorite confetti (or confetti like) images that were sent in below.
AGAIN, THANK YOU TO ALL!
thank you so much for visiting this blog for not only the “Best Of 2014″ to check out these amazing wedding photographers and to cheer them on, but for coming every day to see what other beautiful work is out there. here’s to a year of some crazy beautiful scenic venues and flawless lighting and shadows. and here’s to an upcoming year full of the best of the best wedding storytelling there is.
goodbye 2014. here’s to 2015.
let’s do this.
this sunday, the blog turns five. that’s right, i said five. ever ours has been in existence for five years.
when i first created this blog, i felt that the way to go was to focus on the pretty details and all the work that went on with the production of the wedding day. through time, i realized that it really wasn’t the passion of mine to focus on that. in my first year of blogging, i had to hustle with getting features. this meant me constantly reaching out to wedding photographers to make sure i had permission to use their images. the communication back and forth with photographers drew me to the conclusion that in my opinion, these guys were the most essential people for a wedding day and for the bride and groom. after all, who else would be there to capture this important day forever and ever? not your family friend who has some fancy camera, but a professional wedding photographer who has done this time and again who truly knows what love looks like because they’ve captured it time and time again through their lens.
i decided to then take this blog in a different direction. while details definitely do make weddings look beyond beautiful, i felt the need to just highlight what wedding photographers do and shoot. be THE place to showcase the damn good work they do. while this meant that i wouldn’t get the million readers per day because brides and grooms still don’t realize the importance of good photography and will only flock to blogs that do focus on that which is fine with me, it allowed me to find a passion for this blog and this industry that not many have. it allowed me to create friendships with wedding photographers that i truly treasure. it allowed me to create a community of wedding photographers that have become like family and truly a community that i am so proud to belong to and be part of. i will constantly feature good wedding photography because i truly believe that brides and grooms need to realize how important it is to book a solid wedding photographer. not only that, but to TRUST in the work that they do and allow them to do their jobs to capture your wedding day perfectly. i will constantly be able tog feature some amazing wedding photographers because they somehow trust me with showcasing their work and calling this blog a home for their work.
i love what this blog has become in five years. i love that it has allowed me to establish so many genuine friendships with people all across the world. i love that i did this by sticking to focusing on wedding imagery- still and moving. people have asked me why i don’t start earning money from this and i say because it takes away from why i am doing this. why i continue to blog is because i want this to be a place where i can just get lost for a while and just be in awe of what talented human beings are capable of. i have this fear by opening it up to sponsorships, it will take away from being a genuine place of wanting to highlight some solid gold wedding photographers. i want this place to be a blog where wedding photographers are proud to have their work featured and for other wedding photographers to cheer on the work of their peers. and if they get inquiries and bookings from it, that’s an added perk. but first and foremost, this blog is one that is humbled and honored to showcase the beauty and love that a lens is capable of capturing.
i work hard on this blog as much as i can. on top of this blog, i somehow manage to balance having a day job, a front desk job at a workout studio on the weekends and attempt to still have some life with family and friends. the past year has been incredibly rough as many of you know. the sudden loss of family really took the rug out under me. there were days when i really didn’t want to work on anything at all. it was just too hard to focus when there was so much sadness going on in my life. but i am more than blessed to know so many people through this blog who constantly were reaching out to hold me up in the dark moments. this blog has taught me that if i really want to do something and i really love it, you figure out a way to make it happen. you make the sacrifices because you love it so much and you just truly believe in what you’re doing no matter what. however, all of this said and done can not be accomplished without the loyalty and encouragement of so many, especially those that come read this blog on a daily basis. i do suppose these are mainly wedding photographers who are here to support their fellow wedding photographers. but it’s ok. at least word is getting out and some of us are getting the chance to get lost in truly amazing work. i keep blogging because the community and the friendships are worth it. and obviously the talent.
so wedding photographers, thank you so so so so very much for sending your work to me…every single day. you have no idea how many times i squeal when a submission comes in. some days i still can’t believe people are so excited to have their work on this blog. i am so flattered that you want this blog as a home for your work. thank you for trusting in me to feature your work regardless of whether it gets you inquiries or bookings. i hope you all know that i will do whatever i can to always emphasize the importance of wedding imagery in my little corner of the earth. i’m terribly overshadowed by other priorities that other blogs have claimed to be more vital than wedding photography and cinematography, but i will keep on keeping on and make sure this blog will always stand by this. i will continue to discover and highlight the work of some amazing talent out there.
to the wedding photographers and cinematographers that have become friends in real life, thank you so very much for your friendship. you have no idea how much it truly means to me. the friendships are far more important than the number of readers this blog will bring. there will be nothing that can replace these friendships that have brought belly laughs, ridiculous google hang outs, real life hang outs, WPPI craziness and Photo Field Trip Confetti Chaos. thank you for all the love, laughs, high fives and confetti throws.
so here’s to five years of doing this and to the many more to come.
and of course…no anniversary post is complete without some confetti right?
i reached out to some wedding photographers to send some over. below are a few and i’ll be including more to introduce future confetti throw fridays too.
truly my kind of heaven…being showered with confetti.
i got frames from wedding photogs and friends that have supported this blog from year one to recent wedding photographer discoveries. and it truly warmed my heart. it’s really awesome to see how far this blog has come and just all the amazing people that i have met along the way. so thank you. thank you truly from the bottom of my heart. this blog is truly nothing without you all.
disclaimer: this is an immensely emotional post. for all of you new to the blog and need to catch up, please read this first.
one year later
1593148758430874 tears shed and counting
349853898208 tissues used and counting
50+ anxiety attacks
a continual state of numbness and feeling surreal
and that is just me.
not including my sister, my family or his family. just me.
how do you even start a post like this? my heart is in all sorts of places. on one hand, i want to just stand here and go back a year and stop time right before this happened. on the other hand, i want to freaking throw confetti all over the gaddamn place for making it through this awful year. it’s so hard to believe it’s only been a year. yet, so hard to believe how quickly time flew. i remember feeling how long and drawn out days were right when it happened. our entire family just felt endless days of shock and sadness. the days leading up to this anniversary, for me, were filled with great sadness. i just kept thinking about how exactly one year ago, how different things were and how happy we all were. oblivious to the traumatic event that was about to happen.
it’s still surreal.
it still hurts like hell.
there is no guide or manual on grief. there is no timeline for grief. grief can consume you one minute and another, you have the strength to control it. you can be fine for a week and one phrase from a song can tear you down. grief is like when a person loses their arm or leg and they still sometimes feel sensations where it use to be. grief is a phantom limb. a year later, my sister has the strength of who knows what on the outside, but trust me, i’ve seen the tears and just the agony of having to go each day without him in her life anymore. a year later, my entire family, including myself, puts on a strong face, but inside we are still crumbling and picking up these broken, horridly broken, pieces. but we are keep on keeping on.
i have forced myself to be strong. i now have the strength i never knew i could have. i just had to be. for my sister and for my family. i think because the world still turns, we all were all forced to just keep going. and that’s the thing about the world, it just moves on so easily. right when he passed, there was an outpouring of support and love. and as days went by, some of that disappeared and people forgot. i don’t blame them. life does have to go on. it also showed true friendships- whether in real life or just through social media. i can honestly say their words and love pulled me through some real rough days. you know who you are and i love you all so much for it. thank you so much.
i really debated how to write this post. i didn’t want to be too much of a debbie downer, but at the same time, i always try to be real on here. and i’m still not in a happy place. i know i won’t be for a long time. i don’t think people understand how hard it is, to not just deal with losing someone close to you so suddenly and unexpectedly, but also watching your very best friend in the entire universe, your sister, go through that loss. it’s a lot to deal with. it’s a lot to juggle. it’s a lot of heartbreak and pain that’s insurmountable. and i know this post is mostly how i’m feeling. my sister’s feelings can’t be put into words. people have asked and i can’t really answer.
one year later. and we’ve just about started to realize this is our new normal. life without mikey. we still try to have happy moments, although the air is still heavy with sadness. we don’t try to sit and wonder why anymore because the anxiety becomes overwhelming. we try very hard to keep our eyes focused and forward. ultimate breakdowns are more sparse. the tears are still there though. the ache will never leave.
i think there have been two shining lights throughout all of this. before all of this happened, my mum never liked animals. she never understood why we had dogs and cats as pets. which is why the only pets i was ever allowed to have growing up was fish and a hamster. she never touched a dog in her entire life, up until last year. his passing away meant that my sister would become the sole owner of their dog, Cleo. however, given my sister’s insane residency schedule, she wasn’t able to give the proper care for Cleo. so Cleo came to live with my parents. one year later, my mum pets Cleo with her entire hand, rubs her belly with her foot, makes rice and boils chicken specifically for Cleo only, frets about staying out too long during dinner and we need to hurry home to Cleo, and basically just spoils Cleo rotten. Cleo also has developed a major attachment to my dad. as soon as he comes home from work, she never leaves his side. she even keeps him company while he works in the study downstairs some late nights. it’s truly heartwarming to see. it’s given all of us so many needed laughs and smiles. thank goodness.
the other shining light is it’s really shown me a lot about myself and my strength. yes, i have those who have really stepped in to make sure i was ok. but more importantly, i’ve done it on my own. i’ve handled it on my own. i’ve had to take care of my sister while handling my day job, this blog, picking up a front desk job so i could be healthy and work out for free. in other words, i’m hustling my ass off despite all this grief. in some ways, it’s the best way to work through the grief. by keeping excessively busy, i have no time to really think about what is happening. but it’s taught me a lot about myself. and while overall it still causes me great sadness, i have to say i want to high five myself for somehow getting through this year in one piece (at least on the outside).
one year later. it still hurts. it’s still numbing. it’s still overwhelming. it’s still hard to get out of bed some days. it’s still hard to breathe.
but we’re adjusting baby steps. learning how to live each day with this new normal. until something like this happens to you, you can’t really understand or appreciate the meaning of “life is short so don’t take anything for granted”. we don’t let the small things get to us anymore. we just can’t. we argue less because we just should. and when we do argue, at the end, we still say “i love you” cause you really just never know. we just appreciate life in a very different way now. and i have to say i get irritated when others complain or whine about something petty. some days, i just want to yell at them. but at the same time, i would never wish upon them what we’re going through.
regardless though, i still want Mikey back. i still miss him more than he will ever know. we all do. i still thank him for all he did for my sister. for showing her how it feels to be truly loved. not many people can say that. i still thank him for giving the gift of Cleo to my parents. i still thank him for giving me strength. but it doesn’t take away the fact that i still wish he was here. here with my sister. here with my family. here with his family.
anyways, this was a much longer post than i anticipated. thank you for sticking through. thank you for so many kind words throughout this past year. thank you for still coming to this blog every day. just thank you so much for everything.
and to Mikey, wherever you are,
we miss you so and we love you so.
we’ll raise a glass or two of Guinness for you this weekend.
three years later. this day still gets to me.
the feelings i felt and the overwhelming sadness balanced with the overwhelming of happiness of what we did together for Japan after will never ever leave me. to this day, i will still excitedly talk about what we accomplished altogether. and i’m still in disbelief at times at how in two and a half weeks we surpassed any of our expectations.
you kind of never forget natural disasters of this magnitude where the damage is eternal and physically scarring not just for the people, but for the land and the culture forever. we’ve all seen the images and the video footage before. but the horrifying feeling of seeing that 30 foot wave knock entire ships into shore and in a matter of few seconds, pull thousands of lives into the massive ocean. it just never leaves you.
i am thankful for community as i spoke about in this post. thankful to have friends like Lucia and Henny from Utterly Engaged who immediately jumped to action with me and started For Japan With Love. despite the melancholy of the event, i still have to giggle at how doubtful we were to raise $5,500. in fact, we were so doubtful, we almost made our initial goal $3,500.
every year, i will write these number out again and again. it’s the only way to emphasize that every little helps. but in just two and a half weeks, we raised $66,733 from 1407 individual donations and we had 1200+ bloggers involved with the blogger day of silence. we owe it to the power of social media but more importantly, the power of community. we would never have been able to pull it off without your help. this further triggered a SF benefit a month later and with the help of Floral Theory, Blu Bungalow, Lovely Little Details and Bustle Events, our end total for For Japan With Love, was approximately $74,000.
one of the reasons that also helped this community raise that amount was having a great organization to donate to and believe in. we picked ShelterBox because of what they do. each ShelterBox contains the daily living essentials from utensils to blankets and pillows to coloring books for kids to a tent that houses about 10 people or an entire family. each box is about $1,000 and so by raising $74,000, we were able to help 74 families or about 740 people.
takes your breath away doesn’t it?
however, at the end of the day, this post isn’t meant for gloating. it’s to showcase just how beautiful human beings can be. that a horrifying tragedy like the Japan earthquake and tsunami can bring so much kindness and compassion.
my heart still aches for the losses that day and the days after. i will always remember this day and think of all those affected closely to my heart. and i will always be ever so thankful for everyone that donated and helped spread the word. there will never be any words close to describing how i felt or still feel about For Japan With Love.
take a moment today and join me to remember those lives lost and those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
in remembrance. 3.11.11.