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A Year of Thanks in a Week: Photographers


Never did I imagine that I would be where I am today. At all. And I know that it wouldn’t be possible without the help of other photographers. Without. a. doubt. Today I’m so thankful for all the photographers I have met and will continue to connect with.

Where do I even begin this post of thanking photographers? I guess I should dial it back to the beginning?

If you’re interested about my beginnings of this adventure, you can read them here. I have to give mad thanks to David Jay and Jasmine Star. They inspired me and showed me that it was possible.

I’m so thankful for sitting next to Lydia of Lydia Photography at the Free to Succeed Tour. My heart’s passion was reaffirmed in the conversation we exchanged and contact we’ve kept up. I’m thankful for Laura Stetser of Laura Lynne Photography for befriending me in the restroom. Yes, the restroom. Together, we briefly got to meet and chat with Jasmine Star. After this first seminar, my photographic life exploded.

I’m thankful for Jennifer Hosler of Candid Moments Weddings. She invited me to tag along on my first wedding. I’m thankful for Robert Her of nLighten Images who asked me to second shoot with him. I’m thankful Lilia Ahner of Lilia Photography for organizing the San Francisco Photographer’s Happy Hour. Turns out we went to the same high school! I’m thankful for having the opportunity of meeting mentors like Gene Higa and Ann Hamilton.

Picture 4

I’m thankful to have met Tiffany Fosnight of Adeline & Grace Photography, Dia Rao, Laura Meyer, and Terra Tabbytosavit through Liana Lehman Hall’s workshop, Bananas EDU‘s Business Boot Camp. I’m thankful that Liana teaches all the not-so-fun stuff because photographers are not only artists, but we have to be business people as well.

I’m thankful for Lawrence Chan of Tofurious for teaching and sharing online marketing strategies. I’m thankful for photographers and leaders like Dane Sanders and [b]ecker who are creating and fostering photographic communities that are about sharing and giving so that we can all succeed. Being for each other. Check out Ask Dane and the [B] School.

I’m thankful for meeting and connecting with other photographers in person, like Scarlett Lillian, who recognized me at WPPI. (Also why it’s important to have a picture of yourself on your Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

I’m thankful for all the photographers that give and share. For the sake of giving and sharing. Seriously, y’all inspire me. I’m thankful for wonderful folks like Justin & Mary Marantz and Zach & Jody Gray, who I was lucky enough to meet in person at Pictage PartnerCon.

When I knew that I would be moving to Dallas and taking my fledgling photography business with me I was nervous about it. I had spent most of the year meeting and making friends with photographers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m thankful for my Bay Area photographer friends, Lisa Whalen, Chris & Sara Goetz, Rosaura Sandoval, and Dustin & Aimee Hatcher of True Beauty Photography.

I was overwhelmed with the fact that I would have to do it all again in Dallas. But the folks in Dallas have been nothing short of amazing. Special shout outs go to my new Dallas and Fort Worth base of photographer friends. I’d be a lost California girl without you! Karyn Kelbaugh, Maggie McDonald, Amy Karp, Jenna Cole, Jason Huang of Table4 Weddings, Cesar & Tanya of Perez Photography, Celina Gomez, Allison Davis, Stacy Reeves, Kari Crowe, Sheila Hannus, Ben & Chrys Q, Lynette J, Jared Rey,  and so many others… And I can’t forget my other Texans, Chasity of Studio 423 and Christine Tremoulet (love them hot dance biscuits!).

Oh! And I can’t forget my Twitter friends too! Shout outs to Whitney Elizabeth, Araxi, Heidi Ryder, Kim of Just Kim Photography, Jordana of Hazelnut Photography, Ala of Modern Type Photography, Jasmine Marie, and Melissa McClure. I love keeping up with the goings on of the photography world one tweet at a time.

I’m sure this list could go on and on, and I’m afraid I probably forgot some folks, which I do apologize for. I appreciate you! I feel so lucky and blessed to be a part of this amazing industry in which I can connect with people near and far and share ideas and where we support each other to succeed. Love it.

Thank you. Infinity-fold.



A Year of Thanks in a Week: My New Family


We boarded a plane this morning bleary eyed and lacking sleep. What airline schedules flights for 5:40AM?! We were on our way to Savannah, Georgia to spend Thanksgiving with Cent’s family. And I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

I’ve heard horror stories. Crazy parents-in-law doing crazy things to ruin their daughters or sons-in-law. Or vice versa. What the heck?

I’ve watched crazy movies about it. Have you seen Monster-in-Law? Would you want Jane Fonda to be your future mother-in-law? Not me!

This is my first Thanksgiving with my new family. And I’m happy to report that I’ve been blessed with wonderful in laws. They have been nothing short of welcoming me into their family and making me feel like I’m really a part of it. I’ve never had a brother before, and now I do!


Cent’s Granny invited me to Thanksgiving when we first started dating. She’s such a sweet lady. And now she’s my Granny too!

Photos by Travis Hoehne

I remember the first time I went to visit my in-laws before I knew that they would be my future in-laws. I was so nervous. I had quickly met them one time before, but I had been so nervous, that I was basically mute, and didn’t say much at all. So when I went with Cent to visit his parents at their home just outside of Savannah, Georgia, two years ago, I was a bag full of nerves.

I wanted everything to go smoothly, you know, just in case they would become my in-laws. I had sought out to find a great gift that characterized California. I had a whole plan to present this hostess gift to Cent’s mom.

Well, the “right” time never presented itself. And my final window of opportunity arrived right before they were to take us to the airport. Cent was in the kitchen doing the dishes and motioned for me to go get the gift.

So I did.

I came back out to the living room to give Mrs. Wood the gift. I presented it to her and thanked her for her hospitality.

She said, “Oh you don’t have to give me anything.”

So I insisted and said, “Thank you, this gift is for you and Mr. Wood.”

She said, “You really don’t have to give me anything.”

We exchanged these words a couple of times back and forth until I said, “No really, please accept this gift or you’ll be offending my people.”

Yeah. I said that. To the woman who would become my mother-in-law.

She looked at me like I was crazy. At that point, the words were out, and there was NO taking them back. I scrambled and stumbled over my words and tried to tell her that in Filipino tradition, a gift to the host/hostess is usually customary. Of course, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the word in Tagalog for it.

It’s pasalubong.

From friendly Wikipedia: “Pasalubong, in general, is a “gift for a relation or friend brought by” a “traveler returning from a trip,” and could also refer to “anything given as a gift to someone on the way home to a certain place.”

Oh man. I thought I would never recover from that faux pas. Who tells their future mother-in-law that?! Obviously, I do.

All is good now. While totally embarrassing, I actually love recounting this story. Because it’s totally ridiculous and hilarious, and what you shouldn’t do.

Tips for meeting your future in-laws for the first time:

  • Relax. Chances are, they may be as nervous as you.
  • Bring a hostess gift. If you have to travel by plane, bring something packable. Like coffee or a book. Wine will require you to check your bag.
  • Get to know them. Get to know your fiance(e)’s sibling(s) too.
  • Have your fiance(e) give you the run down of the family. This will help with any awkward situations.
  • Do not, I repeat, do not tell them that they will be “offending your people.” Learn from my mistake.

Happy Tuesday!



A Year of Thanks in a Week: My Family


With Thanksgiving just days away, I wanted to kick off this week by giving thanks, with my little series of “A Year of Thanks in a Week”. There are SO many things that I’m thankful this year. My heart is so full of thanks and now spilling onto this post. I know a week of thanks won’t even do justice for the amount of thanking I want to do, but here it goes.

I’m thankful for my sister Stephanie. She’s super smart (like acing Organic Chemistry!), funny (she leaves me classic Facebook videos), and helped me so incredibly much when it came to the wedding. During her Spring Break of her first year of college, she came home and helped me with all things DIY for the wedding. She’s my cheerleader and cooking mentor (she’s a food science major, which is different from nutrition!) She’s also super stylish, check the coordinating glasses that go with the bridesmaid dress. I’m so glad that we’re so close even with seven years difference, and now thousands of miles between us. Love you Steph!


I’m sooo thankful for my parents. Aren’t they cute? They’ve been amazing role models! They put aside celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in a big way because I was headed down the aisle. My mom is a labor and delivery nurse and also an instructor, taking students through their maternity clinical rotation. She finished her Master’s degree in May and I’m so proud of her! I admire my dad’s resilience. When he felt the blow of the recession, he tapped into all kinds of resources to find another job. As luck would have it, his career path took a hard right turn in a totally different direction. He used to work in the booming Silicon Valley, until its bubble burst. Now, he’s a Family Services Counselor at Holy Angels Cemetery. And no, he’s not the undertaker. I love you guys! Thank you for your love, encouragement, and support over all these years.


I’m the eldest cousin on both sides of my family. It’s what happens when both your parents are the eldest in their families too. I was so thankful that all my cousins on my mom’s side were able to come to the wedding (my other cousins are in the Philippines and were there in spirit). They came from all around – San Diego, Montana, Massachusetts, and Brooklyn. It was the first time that we were all together since like 1997. The youngest ones weren’t even born yet!


Can’t forget the grown ups! I’m thankful for this cast of characters for providing an unending source of guidance, entertainment, and all around good time. My mom is the eldest of eight. All of her brothers and sisters came to the wedding and like our cousin reunion, it was also a big family reunion. My grandma (the lady in the teal cutout coat) was so thrilled to have all her grandchildren and all her children together. While my Auntie Lizzie past away back in 2000,  I know that she was certainly there in spirit having fun with all of us. Her sons (the two tall young guys in the back) were able to come and I’m so thankful they did.

All photos by Travis Hoehne.

What are you thankful for? Thank you family for brightening up my life, keeping me laughing, and learning from you all the time.

Stay tuned for this week of thanks!


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