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Tuesday, November 26, 2013  |  Personal

Anniversary Shoot By Jose Villa: Jenny and Ju

I was going to save these for our 6th Wedding Anniversary (which is coming up in February - marking a total of 14 years together as a couple) and blog about them then.... but I wanted to share these images while they are still fresh in my mind, before all the reflections, senses, and memories fade.  
You see, when Ju and I got married, we didn't have the time, nor the money to get pre-wedding photos done. It didn't really bother me back then, but over the years, as I photographed more and more couples, I kinda grew a little sad ache in my heart as I looked at their photos and wished I had some of Ju and I myself in non-wedding attire. You know, just us. And then I thought, why don't more couples shoot anniversary sessions? Because marriage and the celebration of love doesn't stop at the wedding day....and the milestones after the wedding I have found to be just as important, if not more so than the wedding itself.  
I don't know about the rest of the majority, but I have found that over the years, Ju and I have grown more rooted in our roles as husband and wife. It has come through alot of hard work, pain, and many a tear have been shed, but it has made us stronger, and definitely deepened our love to something that isn't lined by crazy fireworks, or a state of constant sweaty palms, or an overwhelming object of desire, but rather...a love that has slowly been marked by increasing respect, understanding, patience, and forgiveness. We're still learning of course ;) But I really believe that a maturing love deserves to be celebrated and documented just as much as a love that is new and exciting :)  
So, by the time it hit the 5th year into our marriage, the idea of celebrating the past few years and all the challenges we had overcome came to light....we had planned a trip to the US of A, and got our photos taken to document this special period in our relationship... and who better than a man who's work I have admired since starting out in photography - Jose Villa. Jose, thank you SO much for taking the time out of your really busy busy busy schedule to make these photos for Ju and I to keep. They're extremely special to us as they represent a time in our lives that symbolizes not only love, but triumph, commitment, dedication, and God's grace in our marriage. We can't wait to put these in frames and up in our home :)  
Anyway, here are a few frames from our shoot everyone :) Contrary to popular belief, while I will share alot about my life online, my marriage tends to be an area that I have been very private about... while I have learned to be okay with people judging my work life, my personality, and everything else that I do, I haven't wanted to put my marriage with Ju out there under that same light or scrutiny as it is an area I have been able to be completely free and putting these images out there was hard and altogether scary at the same time. That said, I just wanted to end by encouraging all of you who are married out there to keep persevering in your marriages.... it's true, that love and marriage is not like the fairytales at all, and at times it can be downright heartbreakingly painful. But with hard work, dedication, and steadfast perseverance to love the other person more than you love yourself, the love that you both can share through and after all the trials is something even more magical and powerful and fulfilling than what the world tells you otherwise. I know, because we stand on the other side of the hardships...while I suspect in this life the trials and tribulations that come with two sinners being together will never completely disappear, the true encouragement and joy is in knowing we are moving forward every day :) And that is worth hope :)  
Much love... 
ps: For those who have emailed and asked, the blue dress I wore is a custom made piece by Celest Thoi.

Thursday, July 18, 2013  |  Personal

Brunch at Antipodean Cafe

here is something inextricably delightful about brunch. I never get up early enough for breakfast, and yet, my stomach is too impatient to wait til lunch time to start plowing through yummies. I know foodies out there cringe at the word 'brunch' as it spoils their purist nature, but since I am not a foodie and a late riser, it is one of my favourite meals of the day! 
I'm in KL this week for a beach wedding on the weekend and while making footprints around the city center, I crossed paths with Australian owned cafe "Antipodean". I know what you are thinking - what am I doing eating Australian food while I am in KL? :P Nothing. I still stuff my face very well with the local delights whenever I am around, but one thing I can't ever get enough of is espresso coffee, and finding good ones in this city is not an easy feat. So while the coffee here isn't the best I've had, it rings close enough to home to pass and keep my caffeine cravings at bay :) On a higher note though, I LOVED the eggs benedict here. The bacon was thick and smoky, there was a generous portion of silky creamy egg to have some in every bite, along with fresh greens and balsamic vinaigrette, and not to mention the bread! I normally hate bread, but this bread had some grain in it that gave it a nutty taste that I took quite a liking too :) And it was brown bread, which will keep my doctors happy :)  
Anyhow, enough rambling. Here are some photos. All taken on iPhone. Yes. The iPhone. I rarely EVER take my camera out when I am not working, so I'm often documenting my daily life through this (pretty awesome) phone camera :) I'd say this is the start of a new series on the iPhone of mine, but knowing me that will just jinx the longetivity of the project, so I'll just leave it at that. Hopefully there may be more to come :) Let me know what you think! :D 
His and hers coffees :) Mine is the smaller one :)
ps: This post took me just 40 minutes. YAY!! :D You'll understand why this is such a feat and a joy, if you have read my last post {HERE

Thursday, July 18, 2013  |  Personal

Filling in the spaces

igh. I don't even know where to begin. Except by saying, I feel overwhelmed. You know, those moments where everyone and everything is tugging at you, and eating a piece of you, til you feel like there is nothing left? Well, I've been feeling a bit like that lately.  
As I mentioned in my last post, I've had to shoot and work through peak season while being sick. And I'm not just talking about the regular yearly flu. My body had to battle 3 major illnesses all at the same time, which eventuated in 2 stretches of bed-riddenness, and an eventual visit to a specialist who could treat what I had. And now is the long term process to proper healing through a completely new diet, mandatory sleep (so sorry to people who have tried to call or sms me after work hours or requested rushes on anything. I'm on really strict orders that have serious health complications so I'm working within those boundaries as best as I can), and new work rules. It's hard I tell you. I'm naturally a people pleaser by nature, which means saying 'no' is almost inhumanly difficult for me, and also a workaholic... so having boundaries of when and how I should be working is kind of foreign. And while I've had a pretty good grasp of that rare work-life balance goal we all strive for in the past couple of years, the cheating of it every now and again to expedite work, or say 'yes' to just that one more client has had awful long term effects to my health which I am now experiencing. Long story short, if I want to continue this line of work, I have to take care of myself and follow the rules.  
To those who have been so incredibly patient with me, to those who haven't pushed during the past few months, THANK YOU. Really. From the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much it has meant to me, and how much good it has done for me to just be able to stress about one less thing, to lose sleep over one less thing, and so on. It is clients like yourselves that deserve nothing but the best, and motivates me even more to look after you :) You are little sprinkles of blessings that God has sent my way, and I am so grateful.  
Anyhow, one of the new rules is to do with blogging. I want to tell you all that blogging takes me A LONG TIME. One post (especially wedding posts), takes me a full 6-8 hours - that's a whole day!! And often, if I have a whole day free, it's spent catching up on sleep, or spending some much missed time with people I love. The fear of not blogging work has paralyzed me in the past few months... so much so that if I didn't have time to blog work, I just wouldn't blog at all. Now thinking over things, it makes me sad. Because my blog used to be a place of joy, comfort, and of an natural expression of things I love. These days it has just become a must-fill canvas of work to prove I am busy, or shooting, and to be honest, if it has come down to that, its just down right stupid. Because why do I need to prove that I am busy? Shooting? Editing? I know that for myself already, and have no need to justify that to the world, and I refuse to play in that ridiculous 'need to be seen' game that our industry exercises to get on top. Especially if it makes my very time-limited life more limited. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to blogging, and writing what I believe in, so I'm making an effort to try and fight this 'must-fill with work' voice that keeps screaming at me. If there is time for a wedding, or an engagement post, great, I'll definitely be posting it. If not, I'd be just as happy sharing a small snippet from a lunch I ate, or a little segment from photos I've taken while on travels, and not pressure myself to make it a full total complete post. The stress of that pressure I've come to realize is not worth it, and doesn't really give you an honest snapshot into what goes on in my overall life and mind and heart. Which is where my blog gave birth from. And I miss that place.  
So here's to purity. And health. And saying no. And going back to the heart of things, and where it all began :) 
If all goes well, you may even see a post of some sorts later today with photos. Time permitting of course, and if not, you can always follow me on Instagram (where I do an almost once a day, update via a photo and a small caption), or my facebook :D 
Thank you friends for staying with me all these years! I plan to stick around! I just want to make it much more fun and more 'me' from here on out :) 

Monday, July 8, 2013  |  Weddings, Personal

The Love Story Project

kay, I'm going to finally put this out there. A huge part of me is scared, because I don't know if any of you will care, or find this pursuit of mine interesting, or even worthy of paying attention to. BUT.... 
After thinking about this idea for the better part of a few years, I'm taking the plunge to try and actualize a personal project of mine. For my whole life, I've been fascinated with love and marriage...and how something so beautiful is also so complicated and hard. Much like finding a diamond in the rough, My own personal experience has taught me that marriage isn't easy and that it isn't at all like hollywood portrays, but that it is SO worth it if you fight for it. It takes alot of polishing and shining in the form of hard work, and tears, patience, sacrifice, and a myriad of other things to make it as beautiful as it can be, and even then we are still not perfect or experts. However, my story is just one in probably thousands, millions even. And so, I want to hear those stories. Because we can get so very lost or jaded in today's crazy day and age, where lasting love is rare...or the belief in it is slowly becoming endangered which makes me so sad. So... I'm on the quest to find married couples who have a story to it yourselves, or your parents, or even your grandparents!! 
If you are a married couple, or know of any married couples (of any age, religion, race, culture, duration of marriage ) who have an inspiring story, or have inspired/touched you with their love and marriage, I'd love to :  
1) photograph them, and 
2) tell their story.  
The story doesn't have to be grand or anything. Inspiration comes in all forms... small or big, in simplicity or through challenges. 
I'm going to be putting together a book to celebrate love and marriage, and the end result will be a very special surprise that will hopefully touch your hearts and make you believe in love, and that it can last. If you are interested to be part of this, or know of anyone who would be willing to be part of this, please send to us via email at
a) your names/the couple's names 
b) how long you/the couple have been married for 
c) your love story and (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART:) what you believe makes (your) marriage strong/work/last/stay strong...or if you are submitting for someone else, their love story and ESPECIALLY why they have touched/inspired you/others in the area of love and marriage.  
c) video submissions will definitely get some bonus points and are highly welcome so I can get to know you and your beautiful faces over the miles (if you are far away! :D) 
I'll be picking one couple a month and hope to pick one for July/August in the next week or so. Couples picked, will of course get a handful of about 20 images, (as well as your story written personally by myself, as a keepsake to maybe share with your future generations) to keep as a token of thanks for your beautiful contribution.  
A last PS and SIDE NOTE: for all those wondering, this isn't a quest to give out free photos. I really am passionate about telling a couple's story. So pretty please think about that part of my blog post. I'm looking for married couples with stories to tell Thank you!!  
Okay world. This is in your hards now. I'm kinda petrified and a little embarrassed because of the prospect that this may not go anywhere.... and I don't know how many of you will care, BUT if you do, or this has sparked something in you, please do pass the word around. Share it with your friends. Share it with your family. Tell people at work, at church, wherever. It would mean the world to me :) 
And because no post is ever complete without a photo, here is one from a wedding I hope to blog soon :)  

Friday, March 22, 2013  |  Personal

Of Stillness :)

It was nice today. 
To feel your fingers lock around mine, as our feet walked side by side while we felt the orange sand tingle with heat from the sun, between our toes. I giggled in amusement at you, because you tried to sync your footsteps with mine.  
I remember the salty sea breeze energetically brush past our faces, our necks, and our hair. And watching you smile as you looked from left to right, taking in the full wonder of God's creation around us. And although you didn't know it, it made me happy, to see you happy then.  
I remember thinking in quiet adoration of you, and of God in that slice of time, thanking Him for these quieter moments that we can simply just relish in together.  

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