moms.

Yosemite Family Portrait Photographer

Since my mom passed away, I think a lot about the relationship between mothers and their children.  I wonder what it is to have this deep bond with this little person who’s wholly depending on you.  This little creature pops out of you and you love it. What’s that like?

When I went to hawaii with my family I spent about ten days with my two nieces, and when I got home I experienced an unfamiliar sense of sadness.  I missed my nieces.  In truth, I’ve never missed a little person.  They’re little.  It’s not like I have deep heart to heart conversations with them.  I wouldn’t describe myself as a kid person.  Sure I love babies but that’s just because they’re cute.  It was strange to say the least.

Nowadays most of my girlfriends are on their second babies.  Their families are growing, and it’s incredible to watch.  It’s crazy to see these women whom I’ve known for so long transition into these new roles as moms.  They’re doing an amazing job.  And I admire them for this new outpouring of love that I see in them.

I love seeings moms with their little people. It certainly melts my heart. I’m looking forward to the day when I have some babies of my own.  It’s not going to happen any time soon, but it makes me happy to imagine it in the horizon.

Yosemite Family Portrait Photographer

Vir & Karis. Yosemite. October 25, 2014 | Fuji x100s

14 before 15

Kailua Lifestyle Photographer

So I’m getting married in less than 50 days. Yikes! And the kind of crazy thing is I’m also going to move across the country soon after the wedding.

For the past two years I’ve been making lists to finish off the years with (2012 & 2013).  With this big change coming in the new year, I thought this year’s list deserved some extra oomph. (Btw.. I had no idea oomph was a real word. #mindblown) Anyway, this list is kind of my California, single-life bucket list.  Anyone want to help me tackle awesome?!

My 14 things to do before 2015.

1. Visit all my Boba places
- Purple Cow
- Boba Guys
- Sweet Booth
- Tea Era
- Plentea

2. Visit my fave coffee shops and try the new ones.
- The Mill SF
- Zocalo
- Coffee Scout
- Bright Coffee
- Sextant Coffee Roasters
- Pinhole Coffee
- Ritual Coffee Roasters (Valencia & Hill)
- Saint Frank Coffee
- Craftsman & Wolves
- Beacon Coffee & Pantry
- Front Cafe

3. Hike Lands End and have brunch at the Cliff House.

4. Pack!
- PURGE!
- Put everything in boxes.
- Figure out a “Capsule Wardrobe”
- do the “Throw Out 100 Things Challenge”
- Sell stuff on eBay
- Donate more stuff!

5. Marry my best friend.

6. Take lots of pictures of family members and friends.

7. Explore Big Sur.

8. Go exploring and eating.
- The Stable Cafe
- The General Store
- Duende
- Unami
- Mission Cheese
- In ‘n Out
- sushi
- Korean food!
- dim sum.
- shabu shabu
- Snowflake shaved ice!!

9. Read three books.

10. Finish all my many wedding craft projects.
- escort cards
- favors
- scrapbook guestbook
- prisms, himelis and diamonds, oh my!
- decorations!
- programs!

11. Spend time with my dear friends.

12. Knit something. Or at least, start to knit something awesome!

13. Celebrate my last days as a Tsang!

14. Watch a movie in a theater. Because I love watching movies in theaters.

 

 

Kailua. Oahu, Hawaii. October 2014 | Fuji x100s

Brunchin’

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This is the cute little brunch, coffee shop spot Lance took me to the day he proposed. I just love it so much.  It’s bright and cheery and has lots of personality.  The food was really tasty.  Lance and I both got breakfast sandwiches and pear juice.

I’m so happy to have these pictures.  I remember how I felt so happy to be with Lance not knowing the ring was in his pocket or that later that day he’d be proposing.  He’d been so thoughtful in choosing a brunch place that he knew I’d love.  He really knows me so well.  I love him for that.  He remembers what I like and takes note of it for future gifts and surprises.  He’s just so sweet like that.

 

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Precita Park Cafe
500 Precita Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

 

San Francisco. August 30, 2014 | Fuji x100s

Engaged.

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So hey. I’m engaged.  It’s kind of crazy to say. But yet. I’m engaged. woot. so crazy.

Here’s just a little (long) story about our engagement and what lead up to it…..

He was the one. 

Lance is just so good for me.  We have so much in common, and we really balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Early on in our relationship I knew Lance was the one.  When I realized I loved him I just knew that it’d either be him or no one at all. So much so that the first time he flew out here he met my family… all fourteen of them. Yikes. Poor guy.  But he did really well, and that just kind of sealed it for me.

Leading up to the engagement.  

We knew we were getting married, but we just had to work out one minor detail.  We’d been dating for almost a year, with the entirety of it long distance. So for us to get engaged, we had to be in the same place.  In July I had visited Lance right before he moved to Alabama to start his new job.  We were hoping to get married in December so that didn’t leave us a lot of time.  To top it off, it wasn’t in the cards for me to visit Lance in August since I had just gone in July for almost two weeks.  For my work, I had to be in California in August.  September and October would be crazy busy with weddings, editing and travel.  On top of that, early fall is crazy busy for Lance.  So even though August was “light” for me, it was hectic for Lance.  So it was decided Lance would visit Labor Day weekend.  And at that point I was hoping/expecting him to propose that weekend.  In fact I had my heart set on it.

I was very persistent in my questioning.  Are you going to propose? Do you have the ring? Are we getting married? What’s going to happen? What’s your plan?  My questions were endless. I’m horrible, I know.  But Lance, of course, was great.  He doesn’t lie, so from the get-go he was very consistent in not answering my questions. He’d field my questions with “don’t ask me’s” or “let’s talk about something else’s” and other clever responses.  So that left me not knowing whether or not he’d propose…. basically really confused.

Labor Day Weekend is here!

Lance was going to fly in on Friday, August 29 in the evening.  I’d become even more persistent in my questioning, and Lance continued to be a fortress of secrets.  I really wasn’t sure Lance would propose, but it seemed like a very logical assumption.  After all, we didn’t see each other all the time.  But, still, I wanted to be prepared.  Friday afternoon I got a manicure. Of course.

With fresh polish I headed to SFO and met Lance at the airport.  Because we’re long distance, meeting each other at the airport is always very special to me.  There’s no feeling that compares to see him emerge from behind security.  It’s just great.  I was sooo excited just to see him!

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We were at baggage claim when I asked Lance which company he was picking his car up from. He pulled up his email on his phone to look for the reservation, and I glanced over. Immediately I saw the names Johnny & Terrysue, my brother-in-law and sister, in his inbox. For a moment I recalled my memory wondering if I had sent my family and Lance an email.  I quickly realized I hadn’t, and you can’t mistake the name Terrysue.  Then I had an asthma attack.  He was going to propose. I knew it!!

But then, Lance, being the leveled headed guy he was (and wanting me to enjoy the surprise) said, “Meg, you don’t know what that email was. I don’t want you to be disappointed.  Don’t have high expectations. You don’t even know if I’ve asked your Dad for his blessing yet.”

Ug.

So that was it. I was duped.  At that point I told myself I didn’t need a proposal that weekend.  I remembered that I was just happy to be with Lance.  I knew I’d knew it was going to be a great weekend with or without a proposal.

Unbeknownst to me…

Lance already had the ring and my dad’s blessing. That morning I had actually gone to bed at 9am and talked to Lance before I went to bed.  At that point Lance knew it’d be long before I’d wake up, so he took that opportunity to call my dad.  They talked for an hour.  Lance asked for my dad’s blessing.  My dad asked him lots of questions and ultimately gave his blessing.

And he had been scheming with my sister-in-law, Alison.  AND he had organized a dinner with all my family to celebrate the engagement.  So everyone knew but me!

Back to the story…

When Lance visits I usually have a lot of ideas and suggestions and let him choose.  He’d been working a lot so before he arrived he had asked that I leave our plans open.  So that Friday night I asked what he wanted to do on Saturday.  He said he had a plan and insisted we started the date early.  I thought that was really weird that he was so specific about leaving at 9am.  When I got home I called him up to ask what we were doing so I’d know what to wear.  If we were going hiking or doing something active I wanted to make sure I was wearing appropriate clothing.  He didn’t want to tell me what we were doing, but he did tell me what he was wearing.  And let me tell you this, his outfit was what I call his “fancy” outfit.   Granted, he usually dresses pretty well, this outfit in particular is his outfit he wears when he wants to wear something nicer.  So I thought…oh I’d better wear a dress.

Meanwhile… I’m still incredibly confused.  It seems like he’s going to propose, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up because it also seemed like he wasn’t.  And I was actually leaning more towards that he wasn’t.

The big day comes!

Lance calls me up early Saturday morning to ask me to bring my camera so I can take head shots of him for his Linkedin Profile. Then he tells me he wants them at Bernal Heights Park.  First I think, that’s not a good place to take head shots.  Then I think, “Hey, that’s we he told me he loved me.” When I asked if he remembered he said, “Oh yeah.”

Ug.

Anyway he picks me up and we embark on our trip to Bernal Heights Park in San Francisco. (Which, by the way I thought it was strange he wanted to go to San Francisco.  He’d told me he was tired and wanted to take it easy on this trip and driving in San Francisco is not relaxing at all, especially for someone who doesn’t live here.)

I had just had a photo shoot at Treasure Island, so since it was on the way I suggested we check it out.  We park and take in the views of San Francisco.  There’s a vendor setting up his food cart, so Lance decides he wants a churro.  The churro guy actually takes forever, and I’m actually getting annoyed with how long he’s taking when I see the cooked churro sitting right there.  Finally the guy gives Lance his churro.  At that point I’m thinking we should hit the road.  I’m the kind of person that once someone tells me a plan, I want to make it happen.  But Lance wanted to continue soaking in the view and eat his churro.

(He was actually stalling because Alison, who was going to take pictures of the proposal, couldn’t get to the park until the afternoon.)

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Finally we get back on the road.  My navigation is giving us directions to the park, and we’re a couple blocks away when Lance suggests we have brunch first.  I’m growing impatient because I want to get to the park already.  I have no idea that Lance has a plan, bless his heart.  He’s in a real good mood and just kind of going with the flow of everything.

We get to the brunch place and it’s simply adorable.  Totally the kind of place I like.  It’s actually a spot I’d been wanting to try.  He just melts my heart.  He found such a cute little brunch, coffee shop. Yay.

(p.s. turns out I was hangry.  Once I got some food in my belly I was a lot less crazy.)

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While we’re eating our yummy food he suggests we head to the De Young Museum.  We tried to go one time, but it was closed.  So I thought I thought a museum visit was a splendid idea.  The only thing was, he wanted to be at the park by 2pm and at that point it was already around noon.  I didn’t think it’d be enough time because the museum was 20-30 minutes from where we were, which was only a few minutes from the park.  But he insisted that he wanted time to wander around the park.  We were heading to church in San Jose at 5pm, so he wanted enough time to see the park, make a boba stop and get to church on time.  Three hours was a lot of cushion time so I thought that was weird.  But I went with it.

Even though it took forever finding parking, we’re making good time as we wander around the museum.  I love museums.  While we were checking out the exhibits, Alison texted asking what we were up to.  I told her we were at the De Young and put out feelers, “We’re leaving soon.  What are you up to?”  To which, she responded, “Oh it’s about time to put the kids down for their nap.”  Nuts. Alison doesn’t lie.  I thought maybe she and my family would be at Bernal Heights Park waiting for us.  I thought, “Oh well for that.” Anyway at the De Young there’s a courtyard that has this really beautiful underground cave thing that I wanted to show Lance before we left.  As we’re walking to the cave we hear music.  We come to find out there’s an a cappella quartet singing love songs. I’m thinking, “Woah. This is great. How beautiful.”  He’s thinking, “How sweet is this that they’re singing love songs, and I’m proposing to Meg today!”

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Bernal Heights Park. 

We’re driving to the park and Lance is texting or something on his phone.  He was doing a lot of that at brunch and the museum.  I thought this was weird.  I didn’t connect any dots really but I did think it was odd.  When I asked, he told me he’d been texting his brother and looking up the score for the Georgia football game.  Which I thought was strange, because even though he loves the Georgia dogs, he’s not the biggest sports fan.  Oh well.  (He was coordinating with Alison who was already at the park.)

I decide to play the “Secret Life of Walter Mitty” soundtrack because we both loved the music and movie.  I play the first song, “Step Out” by Jose Gonzalez, and Lance asks to put it on repeat.  It’s a really great, epic song.  Lance is thinking, “This song is getting me amped to propose!”  I just liked the song. haha.

All day I was analyzing Lance’s pockets for a ring box with no avail.  So when we were getting out of the car I watched him to see if he’d get something out of his backpack.  He didn’t.  So I thought, “Oh he’s really not going to propose.  Oh man. It’s been a really great day. I just have to focus on enjoying my time with Lance.”

We walk up the hill to the main part of the park where you overlook the city.  There’s a bench where Lance told me he loved me that Lance wanted us to sit on, but two girls were sitting there.  He seemed a little annoyed that we couldn’t sit there. I suggested sitting on a flat rock, but he insisted on sitting on a metal fence thing.  When we sat down he continued doing something on his phone and looking around.  So I looked around to, kind of hoping to see someone I’d know, but I didn’t so took pictures of stuff with my camera.

At some point Lance throws his phone on the ground and asks me if I want some gum.  Strange.  I take the gum and see a little cloth in the gum pack.  I recognize the cloth, it’s similar to the cloths I use to clean my lenses.  My heart starts racing, and I start to wonder if that’s where he kept the ring.  He takes my hand and tells me he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

Then I black out.

I don’t remember anything he says at that point.  I hear a camera shutter and turn around and it’s Alison.  Lance tells me I kept saying, “What’s going on? What are you doing?”  He’s so sweet. He got down on one knee and proposed! (But I didn’t even remember saying yes.)

He definitely surprised me.  All day I thought he was acting strange, but I never really connected the dots.  He did a great job planning out this proposal. It was so beautiful how it all happened.  And I’m just so blessed to have such a thoughtful and caring future husband!

Woot!

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And here’s a fun video from Alison right after Lance proposed.

 

Bernal Heights Park. August 30, 2014 | iPhone, Fuji x100s & my sister-in-law’s camera

When you open your eyes..

“Breathe, let it all go by
Breathe, I’m always by your side
Lean on me now. Lean on me.
I’ll still be here
When you open your eyes”

Cliff House Wedding Photographer

Wajhma & Karim, Cliff House, San Francisco. October 23, 2014 | Canon5d markii 50mm
“When You Open Your Eyes” by Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen

Fall Back Playlist

Fall in Yosemite

Here’s a little Fall Back playlist for y’all.  (Like how I slipped in that y’all, y’all?) Fall Back isn’t a typical fall playlist with mellow and reflective music.  Instead, it encapsulates how I’m feeling at the moment as I transition to married life in Alabama.  Of course, there are nods to my love for California.  Fall Back is a playlist for a day of walking and exploring around the Bay.  woot.

Read More

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Sutro Baths Engagement Photographer | Joanna & Will

I am thankful for…

Friends. I just came back from a trip to Yosemite with my college friends and was reminded of how great it is to be surrounded by friends.  I’m rarely in a group of friends hanging out and spending time together.  Usually I’m spending one on one time with my friends, and even that is sparse.  So to be with a group of great people for an entire weekend was pretty marvelous… And just a little fun fact, most of them were introverts so we all allowed each other some alone/recharging time. win!

California weather. Oh man. It felt like 80 degrees the other day, and it’s almost November! I’ve been to three states in the past two months and California really is by far, hands down the best! You just can’t beat this warm, dry, brisk weather.  uggggg. I’ll miss this when I move!

Inspiring books. Oh wow. I’ve been reading some good books and listening to some awesome podcasts recently.  All of which have been a good kick-in-the-pants to get some work done and start some awesome projects.

My family.  So above all else, I’ll miss my family when I move.  I’ll miss the hang outs and the crazy family gatherings and all the family gossip.  It’s really been great to see my family pull together for weddings and parties and holidays.  I hope the babies don’t forget me!

Heavy blankets. Heavy blankets are like a getting a great hug/snuggle while I sleep.  It’s felt so good to be in my own bed, sleeping alone in my room.

Work. I’m glad I have work!

Water. I was sooooooo dehydrated over the past couple of weeks.  I take for granted that East Bay faucet water is soooo delicious. When I’m at home I drink about 2 or 3 liters a day.  When I was traveling I really didn’t drink any water.

Lance. Oh man. I love this guy.  He brings out the best of me, and because of him I’ve seriously become so much of a better, kinder person.  He encourages me in my strengths and supports me in overcoming my weakness. My favorite person.

 

Sutro Baths | Canon 5d markii, 16-35mm

Whoa.

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Whoa.  It’s been a month since I blogged and ages since I’ve blogged regularly.  I have so much to blog about now! I’m not saying I’m going to suddenly get gung-ho again about blogging and blog everyday.  Let’s just be real. I haven’t been so bloggy-reliable lately, but I certainly do miss it.

September and October have been insanely CRAZY.  Maybe my life is always crazy, but sept/oct were especially crazy for me.  Let’s have a little fun recap because I love lists so much.

- I got engaged!
- We found a venue (after many bridezilla moments. woops!)
- I flew to New York.
- Shot a two-day wedding and portraits every day.
- Flew back to California and two days later shot Suzanne & Eugene’s fabulous wedding.
- Edited. Edited. Edited.
- Shot Joanna & Will’s sweet, sweet wedding.
- Took a red-eye that night to Birmingham for a week.
- Flew back to California… with a delayed flight and even more delayed luggage.
- Flew to Hawaii the next day. (yikes!)
- Walked around barefoot for practically all ten days of the trip.
- Return to California to shoot a wedding two days later.
- Road trip to Yosemite the day after for a very relaxing trip.
- Get home. rest. tackle jetlag.
- Photo shoot two days later.
- blog. woot.

breathe.

I have so much to share and so much to say about what a wonderful experience these months have been.  Hopefully I’ll be doing more than just listing.  But I’m glad to finally be home for a while.  Now for editing, wedding planning and packing.  My next big trip will be my move to Alabama as a wife! WHOA.

 

Bernal Heights Park when Lance proposed and where he first told me he loved me a year ago.  August 30, 2014 | Fuji x100s