Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Seattle Engagement Photography | Morgan+Tyson | Juanita Beach Park

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

We’re back from a short hiatus after having our wonderful baby son, Matthew.  I’ll introduce him onto this blog soon enough when the time is right.

Speaking of timing, isn’t it one of the most important aspects of whether something will work out in life?  Morgan+Tyson knew each other in college but never dated one another at the time because the timing wasn’t right.  They both were in different relationships and it wasn’t until a little after both of them graduated, when they were both single, they decided to give it a try.  Try they did and it all worked out because next year around this time, they’ll be married!

Morgan+Tyson really wanted an engagement shoot that spoke to their fun and quirky relationship.  Morgan is a local kickboxing instructor.  Now, I’m not talking about some fru fru dancing kickboxing here.  I’m talking about all out, punching a boxing bag type of a work out.  She really wanted to incorporate that aspect of her life into this shoot and we had a lot of fun doing it!  From the sounds of it, their wedding is going to be a riot and I just can not wait until these two tie the knot.

There’s more photos in Morgan+Tyson’s  slideshow below.

 

Our Pregnancy Journey

Monday, January 5th, 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe New Years Eve and that you were all able to ring in 2015 with your loved ones all around you.  We’ve been pretty quiet on this blog recently and some of you already know why.  But for those that don’t, my husband and I, after a long road to get here, are expecting our first child.  Thus, for our first post in 2015, I’d like to get a little personal and talk about our journey to pregnancy.  This type of post doesn’t happen very often on this blog, but I know 2015 will be a year of personal triumphs and adventures so I thought it would be a great fit to kick this year off with this particular topic.

First let me preface this by saying that I think the issue of infertility is something that’s not talked about a lot and for good reason.  It’s a very private matter and for my husband and me, we pretty much only shared our experience with our closest friends and immediate family.  However, at least for me, when I was going through my ups and downs that naturally come with infertility, I felt a lot of times I was alone.  Even though I know a lot of women go through this, but because I didn’t talk about it in person with a lot of women, I felt like no one understood what I was going through.  That was until I started to find support from online women going through the same thing I was.  Some of these women, whether it was on personal blogs or on YouTube vlogs, have been going through it for longer than I have.  It made me feel just that more included when I was feeling like I was in the middle of a vast desert.  And this is why I’m writing about this.  With the hope that someone will read this and feel the same way I did when I first read about other women’s experiences.  Let me tell ya, there’s a whole community of women out there dealing with infertility that are more than happy to talk and discuss their experience and heartbreak.  There is also a whole Trying to Conceive (TTC) vocabulary out there that I had to learn.  And I’ve made great friends along the way with some wonderful, supportive women that I’ve never even met in real life.  With that said, here’s our story.

August 28th 2010 was the happiest day of my life.  It was our wedding day.  I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a mother, but like a lot of women, I wanted to spend about a year of wedded bliss with my new husband.  So we decided to wait a year before we started to try for a baby.  I was on birth control pills and we have decided that when I ran out of my prescription (May 2011) that I would not refill.  And that’s when our pregnancy journey began.  I have heard numerous stories of people getting off birth control who easily fell pregnant because their hormones fluctuated which worked in their favor.  So I was of course hopeful.  But when it didn’t happen immediately, I chalked it up to us being the couple that needed a little bit more time.

More than a year and half of trying the old fashioned way with no results, we decided to seek help from my OB/GYN in December of 2012.  We decided we’d talk to her first since she was the easiest person to talk about this with.  And my OB gave us some hope.  Both my husband and I did some initial blood tests (semen analysis for him) and the test results came back mostly normal.  Our OB described a procedure I’ve only heard about in passing called Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).  For those of you who are not familiar with this, it’s basically a very quick procedure where sperm has been treated and separated from the semen before being placed in a woman’s uterus around the time of ovulation.  This facilitates an easier “journey” for the sperm to fertilize the egg.  My husband and I were extremely hopeful at this point because this procedure was not expensive and it sounded like it’d finally help us get pregnant.

Six months and four IUIs later, still with no results, my husband and I decided that we’d move on from my OB and seek help from a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).  From my research and communications with women online, their experiences with their RE’s offered a more personal and monitored approach and it was something I felt like I was not getting with my OB.  In June of 2013, we met with Dr. Lee Hickok at the Pacific Northwest Fertility Clinic.  Dr. Hickok was an expert in this field and he was one of the original founders of the fertility clinic.  We placed all of our trust in him and his team.  And his first approach in helping us was to try two more IUIs, this time with different hormone medications to see if it’ll help.  He also explained that after these additional two IUIs, we should begin thinking about next steps in terms of fertility assistance because any additional IUIs after six wouldn’t result in any higher chances of pregnancy.  But because he saw nothing unusual on all of our tests (we were then officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility) he was extremely hopeful that one of the two IUIs at his office would work.

Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you hoped it would and the additional two IUIs, even with a different medication, closer monitoring of my ovulation cycles, did not result in a positive pregnancy test.  At this point in time, I was feeling pretty frustrated.  My days were filled with highs and lows from emotions of this need to be a mother.  I felt like I had no control of anything because this was THE one thing I could not obtain no matter what I did.  No amount of money, hard work, perseverance could have gotten me pregnant and it was devastating.  My husband at this time was so supportive and honestly, without him there to pull me out of my sad pool of despair, I wouldn’t have known what I would have done.  So hope was then restored when both of us decided that we’d see Dr. Hickok to talk about our next steps.

September/October 2013 timeframe, we met with Dr. Hickok again to talk about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).  He helped us map out a plan for the next couple of months and his IVF Coordinator, Renee (love her to death) helped me understand and order all the necessary medications I needed.  Prior to starting IVF, I had done my research online about the procedure and was pretty educated on it and I was prepared for all that’s to come.

For those of you that don’t know much about IVF, let me just tell you that it’s a toll on the body.  I did not know that each IVF cycle would result in me taking birth control pills for a month before I could start on my medication.  So patience was something I had to practice!  The medications I had were mostly daily injections.  Needles scare some people but I wasn’t scared at all because like I said, I was ready and prepared for whatever to come.  The injections were through the stomach area and by the end of my shots, my stomach was bruised as if I was being abused on a daily basis.  It was definitely not pretty.

Throughout my IVF cycle, I was closely monitored by Dr. Hickok on the number of egg follicles I was producing.  The hormone injections I was taking were supposed to over-stimulate my ovaries so I would produce multiple eggs.  I would go into his office every other day or so to check on my status and I was doing extremely well until around Day 9 of my shots when I introduced an additional shot injection.  This other injections made my estrogen levels plummet and right then I felt like something was off.  Dr. Hickok wasn’t 100% sure what had happened but my egg follicles were still growing so he told me to continue on with all my meds until it was time to retrieve my eggs.  At the time of my egg retrieval, they were able to get 18 eggs out of me.  Those numbers seemed promising!

On the day of our first egg retrieval right before I was rolled into the operation room

Let me just talk a little about the egg retrieval process here.  Boy did no one warn me about the recovery process.  The retrieval itself was fine because I was put under and slept through the 30 minute procedure.  When I woke up, it was the start of the horrible recovery.  I did not expect so much pain in my abdomen area, which lasted for two weeks after the procedure.  Going to the rest room (especially number two…sorry TMI) was extremely difficult.  But I digress.

After my egg retrieval, I would get almost daily reports from Renee, my IVF Coordinator on how my eggs were doing.  It would take 5 days for me to get a final result of how many of the 18 eggs would then turn into viable embryos to place back into my uterus.  I won’t go into too much detail here of the technicalities, but long story short, by Day 5, Renee called me with my final report.  And it turned out that out of the 18 eggs, I had ONE viable embryo.

Again, my husband and I were devastated.  I was extremely hopeful that out of 18 eggs, I’d at least have 4 or 5 viable embryos by Day 5.  And speaking with Dr. Hickok, he had said that women my age with that many eggs retrieved usually resulted in a handful number of embryos.  However, when I heard I had only one, we were again at a frustrating point.  With this one embryo, it would not guarantee 100% that I would have a full term pregnancy.  Because at my age, 25-40% of pregnancies ended in miscarriage.  And because my husband and I thought we would have more embryos, we were going to perform genetic testing on them to eliminate the embryos that had problems and would possibly result in miscarriage/preterm birth.  But having one embryo was just too little.

From here on we were ready to do another round of IVF to gather more embryos. And so the whole cycle started again.  Birth control pills, medication injections, office ultrasound visits, egg retrieval, pain from recovery, and on and on.  Our second IVF, with the help of Dr. Hickok changing a little bit of my medication cocktail so that my estrogen levels wouldn’t plummet, also resulted in 18 eggs retrieved.  I guess 18 was my lucky number!  By end of Day 5, Renee called me with the news that I had two fully viable embryos.

Now with three embryos total from two IVF cycles, my husband and I felt that was a good number to send off to the genetic testing company for testing.  So we froze our three little babies and waited for the test results.  The test results took about two weeks to come back and it turned out that out of the three, two of them were full healthy embryos that would have a decreased miscarriage rate.  The two that were healthy were from the second round of IVF.  If we would have put the first embryo in me after our first round of IVF (which we considered for a short amount of time) that pregnancy would have probably resulted in a miscarriage.  It was a blessing in disguise that we had to go through a second round of IVF and now we know it was totally worth it.

We were at this point so excited with our two healthy embryos and were ready to put one of them in.  I never thought I’d get to this point and it was so hard to believe that we were finally here.  But remember when I said before sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you want it?  Well, the hurdles that were there through this whole process weren’t quite gone.  When it was time for the transfer of my embryo, Dr. Hickok wanted to make sure that my uterine lining was at a good thickness for that embryo to implant.  The number they wanted to measure and see was 9mm by day 14 of my cycle.  And my lining was 7mm at best.  Again, I felt that sense of cloudiness I felt all through the last three years of my life.  I started to feel that cloud getting lower and lower and that dreaded feeling I was getting where I felt like I was never going to be a mom started creeping back up.  Month after month, with different types of medications, my uterine lining would not cooperate.  And it was such a hard time for us.  We were SO close.  Our baby was waiting in the freezer for us and my body just would not cooperate.  Finally, after five more months of monitoring and with the help of estrogen patches, I was able to get a good lining.  Dr. Hickok, bless his heart, would not implant an embryo if he wasn’t 100% certain it would result in a good viable pregnancy.  And I could tell he was perplexed with my situation during these five months.  But on the fifth month when he finally measured a good thick lining, I saw his face and knew it was time.

I prepped my body for my transfer with additional estrogen patches and suppositories and on August 21st of this year, we transferred our little baby embryo that resulted in my current healthy pregnancy.

Our transfer day! Excited as we'll ever be.

 

Goofing around in the car after a vallium pill. Hey...the doctor told me to take one!

Oh my, that was long.  Let me just apologize if you’ve stuck with me until this point.  I’m almost done!  Before I end this post, I just wanted to say that when we first started our road to becoming pregnant, I never thought we would go through IVF.  I think no women out there automatically think they’ll have problems and jump to the conclusion that they’ll have IVF.  For me, each roadblock we experienced meant that I had to go through an influx of emotions to get to the point where I saw hope on the horizon.  From the IUIs with the OB, to seeking help from an RE, to finally deciding to go through IVF, we’ve had to slowly come to terms with the situation we were facing.  That things weren’t going to go the way we originally planned or wanted but the end result would be a healthy baby that we’d love and have been wanting and longing for the last 3.5 years of our lives.  And that is what’s important.

Our little baby, a true gift, has an estimated arrival date of May 9th, 2015.  Mother’s Day weekend…which seems appropriate because it’ll be the gift of a lifetime for me.  The gift that allowed me to become a mother…finally!

The Big Three Five!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Today I turn 35.  Boy…doesn’t that sound like a big number?  It sure look like it is as I’m typing this out.  I remember when I was in elementary school, there was this city day camp I used to participate in during summer.  And we had counselors that were around 16 or 17 years old.  At that time, I used to think that 16 or 17 was SOOOO old.  But before the blink of an eye, I’m now double that age I used to think was old and then some.

I am not one of those astonishing people that’s accomplished note worthy, life changing things in my short 35 years of life.  I know I still have tons to learn and living life itself is a never ending string of lessons one needs to learn.  But I do have a few things I’ve picked up on so far in life.  This is a list of things I felt I’ve personally experienced and I’m by no means telling you to agree or disagree with me.  So if you’d like to partake in my wisdom sharing, continue reading! :)

  • Fear The Sun – I am a huge opponent of the sun.  I guess that’s why I love living in Seattle, where 3/4 of the year is cloudy.  I whole heartedly believe that one of the keys to stay looking young is to stay out of the sun.  Now, I love a good summer day.  And during a summer like the one we just had this year, when I know I’ll be in the sun (and that means even being out for a 15 minute dog walk) I slab on the sun screen.  You’ll never find me sunbathing and I also drink plenty of water to make sure I stay hydrated.  When I go out without sun screen, I literally fear of melting my skin off…is that bad?  Maybe I’m a little obsessed but hey…I feel like it’s working so far!
  • A Few Good Friends – I was never a popular person in high school and I never wanted to be.  Throughout high school and college, I’ve always had the same handful of friends beside me who have walked through the ups and downs of life with me.  And some time in my late 20′s, I realized that having a few good friends is more important than having a ton of acquaintances.  We all live busy lives, some have kids, but we never let our individual lives compromise our friendship of almost 20 years.  We make sure to take time out to hang out, just us girls, away from our kids and husbands, at least once a month.  It takes dedication to maintain good friendships and I’m glad that my group of friends as a whole values it as much as I do.
  •  I Love Drama – Don’t we all love drama?  I used to go about relationships in the wrong way I think, especially in my 20′s.  I used to think that drama in a relationship is necessary and back then, I used to think drama usually equaled to fights that ended in tears.  And true, sometimes fights are healthy for a relationship.  But when I met my husband, Chris, I wanted that drama!  What I didn’t realize was drama, to me, is an act of overwhelming emotion.  And that emotion didn’t need to be anger that resulted in tears.  After meeting Chris, that emotion usually manifested itself in the form of ROTF laughter.  And this ROTF laughter happens on a daily basis.  When girls usually say their ideal trait in a partner is sense of humor, I always think they are also innately searching for that “drama” in their life.  And this type of drama is OH SO HEALTHY!
  • Whole Foods – No not the market, but real whole, organic foods (and it also can be from Whole Foods!!!).  In the last year or so, I’ve slowly moved to an all organic, grass fed, pastured meats and eggs , low carb and no added sugar diet.  I’ve had certain health issues all my life, from dairy allergies to yo yo weight changes and I’ve never really focused on health until I was in my 30′s.  In my teens and 20′s, weight was the key thing.  It was never an issue of health.  Changing my diet has vastly improved my muscle aches, skin, mood, and energy levels that I’ll never go back to an average American diet again.  I will definitely have “treat” meals here and there, especially when we’re out with friends.  But in my normal day to day life, I say no to processed, packaged, and fast foods and it has made me a happier person and have accepted my weight as long as I’m healthy.  Which brings me to my next point:
  • Weight No More – I’ve fought weight issues all of my life.  And my problems started at the age of 8 or 9 years old when my parents and I moved to the US where I indulged in processed foods and moved less because I didn’t understand English and had very few friend from the move.  I’ve had minor eating issues in college where I maintained a very low calorie diet and ran 5 miles per day to get to my magic number of 110 lbs.  I don’t really know when the coin flipped, but all of a sudden in my 30′s, I wasn’t concerned about weight anymore.  I think somewhere along the way, I learned self acceptance and self love.  Being in a loving relationship where my husband saw my true self, a self I didn’t even see, helped me realize that I needed to live life healthily, love and nourish myself with good whole foods and the acceptance eventually came.  This is one of the most important key things I’ve learned about myself which also brings me to my next point:
  • Boudoir For All – If you follow my photography blog, you know that I LOVE doing boudoir photography for other girls.  These photo shoots help empower women and I truly believe that.  All women are beautiful, in all shapes and sizes and I think everyone should take an opportunity to do one.  We always complain about how we’re never skinny enough but we’re only 25, 35, 37, 40 once.  And 10 years from 25, 35, 37, or 40, you’ll look back at your regular photos and realize how great you did look.  Which was why I decided to do a boudoir shoot with my husband.  I am not perfect by any means and of course I have areas of my body that I’d love to hide.  But doing this and experiencing something like this was something I wanted and needed.  Maybe at the age of 45 I’ll look back and realize that at the age of 45, I feel even better than when I was at 35.  But there’s no doubting the fact that on the day that I did this shoot, I felt totally accepted of myself and 100% beautiful.  And that’s something priceless.

I’ve never done anything like this before because I am not one to really post that many photos of myself on this blog.  It is for my clients after all!  So today, I bring you a few photos of me taken by my husband in the comfort of our own home.  Thanks for staying for this long as I rambled on and enjoy!

And because this is the cutest thing…I leave you with Chewy!

Seattle Family Photography | The Harris Family

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Today we bring you Julie, Alex, Nev, and Ryker:

 

Seattle Portrait Photography | Tiffany+Fam | I Am Style-Ish

Friday, November 8th, 2013

I remember when I first came upon Tiffany’s blog.  It was about three years ago and I had just gotten married.  Bored with my job and also wanting to start my own photography business, I went online searching for Seattle wedding photographers for inspiration.  But somewhere amongst my Google searches, I came upon Tiff’s blog and instantly started to follow her.  I didn’t know it at the time, but soon came to found out that in addition to being a wedding photographer with her husband, Jared, she was (and still is) a very popular fashion blogger in the fashion internet community.  Now with their first daughter, Layla, welcomed to their family, they do not photograph weddings any more but Tiffany is still a very active blogger.  I love visiting her OOTDs (outfit of the days for those not in the know :) ))) and she was actually the person that inspired me to purchase my first Chanel bag through a second hand retailer.  Tiffany has a shoe collection to die for and lots of vintage designer bags passed down from her mom.  I strive to be like her in every way possible!  I am so thankful for Tiff and Jared for opening their doors to Chris and I, allowing us to photograph their cute, adorable family.  Check them out!  And also check Tiffany out on her blog!  

 

Seattle Engagement Photography | Courtney+Zac | Pike Place Market and Washington Arboretum

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Love is moving across the country for someone because you can’t live without them.  Courtney+Zac are both from the East coast and when Zac was offered a job here in Rain City, Courtney followed after graduating from school.  Now that’s what I call love!  They wanted to take engagement photos in Seattle before their wedding next year back home across the country and although we will not be their wedding photographers, we’re so glad we got to meet them and got to spend the morning with them around beautiful Seattle.  They are shy, funny, daring, laughable, and adorable all at once.  Just check them out and see for yourselves!

There’s more photos in Courtney+Zac’s  slideshow below.  If you are on an iPhone or an iPhone, click HERE.

 

 

Seattle Wedding Photography | Nichole+Tim | St. Ignatius Chapel and Pioneer Square

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

When the first words out of the groom’s mouth during his wedding day is, “TWO-CHAINSSSS!!!” you know it was going to be a good day.  As photographers, on a wedding day we spend about twelve hours on our feet and it can sure be tiring.  But being with Nichole+Tim, they made us forget about our aching feet.  Nichole+Tim just wanted to have fun on their wedding day…and they weren’t kidding.  When we saw that each of the banquet tables at their reception housed two Costco sized bottles of liquor, we knew this party was going down!  Oh…and did we mention the Costco sized wine buffet off to the side in case people ran out of alcohol at their tables?

Weddings are supposed to be fun and Nichole+Tim proved this to be the case.  I’ve known Nichole for years!  In fact, Chris and Nichole worked together when he purchased my engagement ring and Nichole actually remembered the day he took a long lunch to get it.  So it was even more special for us to photograph their special day for them.  We’ve never had such a crazy time with them and their wedding party, walking around Pioneer Square yelling at the top of our lungs.  Just check them out!

There’s more photos in Nichole+Tim’s  slideshow below.  If you are on an iPhone or an iPhone, click HERE.

 

Seattle Wedding Photography | Linh+Celso | Olive 8 and Sculpture Park

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

One of the best perks about being a wedding photographer is having the opportunity to meet so many different kinds of people from many backgrounds.  It’s fun to learn about each individual couple, how they met, how they became engaged, as well as where they came from.  So when we met Linh+Celso, we were so excited to find out that they wanted to incorporate as many of their cultural traditions as possible in their wedding.

Me — being from Mainland China and growing up in the States since I was 8 — I did not really know what all goes into a traditional Chinese wedding.  Of course different parts of China have their own different traditions, but the tea ceremony is very widely practiced, and it is a symbol of paying respect to the couples’ parents, grandparents and other family members that have been a part of their lives up to this point.  It was so nice to be a part of that, and be able to capture that in photos.  Mix this with some fun groom games here and a lion dance there, and this absolutely becomes one of the most anticipated weddings we wanted to blog to date.  Judge for yourself!  Enjoy Linh+Celso’s wedding sneak peek below!

There’s more photos in Linh+Celso’s  slideshow below.  If you are on an iPhone or an iPhone, click HERE.

 

Seattle Portrait Photography | Olivia+Family (6 Months Later)

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Ever since I set up a little home studio, I’ve been really into shooting kids.  When Cynthia contacted us about taking Olivia’s 6 month photos, I was ecstatic to shoot her in the comfort of my studio.  Cynthia+Bryce are the type of parents who love to document their kids’ different stages of growth.  And thank God for that because I feel it is so important to capture photos of children more frequently than your standard milestones–birthdays and holidays–because they grow and change so fast.  It’s not only important for the parents but for the children as well.  I personally don’t have a lot of pictures of myself as a baby (hardly any actually) because my parents in China were poor and couldn’t afford a camera or have professional photos taken.  Parents nowadays are extremely lucky to have an abundance of resources to make sure these memories are captured.

Just look at this cute family!  We shot Olivia at three weeks old and just in a mere 6 months, she looks like a totally different little person.  It’s such a joy to see her grow into her own self and I hope I get to be there to preserve more of her memories in the future.

 

Seattle Engagement Photography | Jamie+Khiem | University of Washington and Washington Arboretum

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

I love working with couples that are high school sweethearts.  Usually, these couples have been together for so long, they are so in tune with one another.  They can just look at the other person and immediately know what the other is thinking.  Jamie+Khiem are no different.  They knew each other in high school but didn’t start dating until their senior year.  They then went to the University of Washington together, which held significance for both of them and that’s why they picked it as their first shooting location.

Jamie is quiet, shy, and sweet.  But a totally classy lady.  There’s actually 10 years that separate Jamie and me, but I feel like she’s one of the most mature ladies I’ve met at her age.  She’s just one of those gals that seem like she’ll stay calm, cool, and collected through anything.  And those are the type of gals I love working with.  Khiem is one of the “laugh-iest” grooms I’ve ever worked with.  There’s no middle ground for Khiem.  If he smiles, he SMILES!  With ALL CAPS.  His face lights up every time we told him to smile and it’s such a great feeling we get behind the camera.  People like Khiem make ME smile behind my view finder and that’s something really special.  Check out their engagement session sneak peek for yourself.

Play the slideshow below for more of Jamie+Khiem.  If you are on an iPhone or an iPhone, click HERE.