Archive: ‘Our Stories’



5-YEAR Wedding Anniversary :: The Westin Pasadena

June 22nd, 2011, written by Lucia Li
Found in Our Stories

Months before our five year wedding anniversary, Henry and I had a talk about how we wanted to celebrate the special occasion.  “We should take a long vacation and go traveling!” I proclaimed with excitement. My eyes sparkled.  “Let’s go back to Hawaii! It’s the place where we decided to get married, so it’s the most meaningful place to celebrate the anniversary.” “Or, how about somewhere we have never been to? We can go on new adventures and make new memories.” Yes, I started to get creative… “You know? 5-year is a big one, we should definitely travel to somewhere far, beautiful, and romantic.”  After throwing back and forth a few more ideas, which included jetting off to places like Canada, Costa Rica, New Zealand, etc., we decided that there was still plenty of time so we just entertained the ideas.

Then, as time passed by and both of us got buried with work, our “dream destination” became closer and closer to home.  And when it was only one week before the “big day”, this supposedly grand vacation became a short weekend getaway. The final contenders were Big Bear (where we first met each other), Pasadena (where we had our wedding), and Palm Springs (for no particular reason… maybe because I wanted to go swimming and the weather is usually sunny and hot there).

Finally, we made a decision to spend our anniversary in Pasadena, starting with a visit to Pacific Asia Museum (where we had our wedding ceremony), and then a stay over at the Westin hotel next door (where we had our banquet and spent the first night together as husband and wife). It turned out to be a truly special trip and we loved every minute of it!  Even though it wasn’t a long vacation at a far away exotic destination, we got to revisit all these beautiful places, and relived precious memories.

Several weeks after we got back from our trip, Isabella put together a lovely slideshow to help us remember the details of our fifth anniversary celebration.  The pictures in the slideshow above were all taken by her (she was with us briefly, taking a few shots just before we hurried off to dinner). I LOVE the pictures and the slideshow so much I have to blog and share them with the world!! Thank you sis for all these!

Since I mentioned our wedding venues in this post, I thought it would be great to share some of our wedding pictures too. Those pictures were taken by the famous and talented Jessica Claire (Check out her site! She is truly unbelievably amazing!!)

Lucia Wedding Veil

Henry Lucia Wedding Westin Pasadena

Jessica knew that I love to dance, so she asked me to do a few spins for her:

Pacific Asia Museum Pasadena wedding ceremony flowers decorationsOur cute and cozy ceremony site: Pacific Asia Museum

Henry Lucia Wedding Ceremony

I wore a big smile on my face the whole time.

Henry Lucia Wedding party Pasadena Westin Hotel

Pink Lemonade Signature Drink

Our signature drink: pink lemonade.  Both Henry and I don’t drink, so juice suits us better.  I love the orchids.   :-)

Henry Lucia Westin Pasadena Banquet Slideshow

Isabella gave us a surprise wedding gift.  She secretly interviewed and filmed our family and friends and put together a video.  It was a big hit with our guests! Everyone loved it, especially loved Henry’s cousin’s hilarious skit. He did an impression of Henry.  So funny I almost cried.

Henry Lucia Wedding First Dance Westin Pasadena

First dance, to the song “A Whole New World”

Henry Lucia Wedding Cake Cutting Westin Pasadena

I often find myself thanking god and thinking how I am the luckiest person in the world. I married a very very VERY! good man.  Marrying Henry was without question the best thing that has ever happened to me.  He has the kindest heart and soul, and all the small things he does have made me love him more each and every day.

Happy 5-year, and many more to come!  I love you BB!

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By the way, if you are curious about the beautiful song Isabella picked for the slideshow, here’s the lyrics translated in English.

Licensed song, “Mi Ancla” (My Anchor) by Mindy Gledhill

“When all the world is spinning ‘round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
And my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

I am nearly world renowned
As a restless soul who always skips town
But I look for you to come around
And anchor me back down

There are those who think that I’m strange
They would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn’t have me any other way

When people pin me as a clown
You behave as though I’m wearing a crown
When I’m lost I feel so very found
When you anchor me back down

When all the world is spinning ‘round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
And my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down”

WPPI 2011 :: A Photographer’s Odessey

March 2nd, 2011, written by Lucia Li
Found in Our Stories

Isabella and I have just came back from a week-long trip to the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) convention in Vegas.  For those who don’t know, WPPI is this HUGE annual photography event in Vegas, with trade show, classes, competitions, photo-shoots, and parties that will make any photographer feel like a kid let loose in a candy store!  Last year was the first time for me to attend (see our prior post “Quenching Thirst In The Desert” for the benefit shoot Henry and I attended for a really awesome non-profit organization called Thirst Relief!), and while everything was exciting and fun, I remember leaving Vegas feeling utterly exhausted, from attending classes every day from morning til evening, with barely any time left to check out all the vendor booths.  So, this year, I’ve decided to take things slow, and just enjoy being in one of my favorite places on earth, seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

So, nope, we didn’t party like crazy, but in only a week’s time, we’ve enjoyed and gained so much!

My trip started with a two-day workshop with Alycia Alvarez, an award winning Dallas/Fort Worth photographer specializing in maternity, babies, children and families.

Here’s a silhouette shot of our beautiful model Mia from the class.  I have always preferred shooting outdoor with natural light.  Maybe it’s because I love the sunshine, the warmth, the winds, and the motion and energy that I can capture outdoor.  However, I still adore the timeless look of classic studio photos.  I am especially drawn to the mood that can be created by a clean background and dramatic lighting.  Silhouette shot is now one of my favs.  :-)

2011-WPPI-Alycia Alvarez-wokrshop-maternity

Here’s another shot:

Alycia showing the class how she works:

Here’s our cute 8-month model, Madeline.  She was probably wondering: “Who are all these strangers and why are they all holding something funny in front of their face?”

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Feeling a little insecure… but no problem, daddy is right here:

Love this one!

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Here’s our youngest model, a newborn boy:

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This is from another evening, when we attended Sony’s Fashion Show with new friends Aika Cardin and Andre Maltais.

2011-WPPI-Sony Fashion Show

Nigel Baker from America’s Next Top Model was hosting the show. During the event, he randomly picked 5 people from the audience, brought them on the stage to take portraits of them.  I was jumping up and down and waiving to him, hoping to get his attention so he would pick me. In fact, you can see me waving my hands frantically in this pic from his blog: click here if you are supremely bored and want to see a blurred image of my back. Oh, I was the one near the bottom left, black hair ;)

2011 WPPI Sony Fashion Show Nigel Baker

Hmm… Nigel with hair?  Almost didn’t recognize him.

2011 WPPI Sony Fashion Show Nigel Baker2

My first time at a fashion show  :-D

2011 WPPI Sony Fashion Show Runway Model Bridal Gown

This is my fav dress of the show!  So pretty!!!

2011 WPPI Sony Fashion Show Runway Model Bridal Gown 3

She was smiling at me  :-)

2011 WPPI Sony Fashion Show Runway Model Bridal Gown 5

The back is so sexy…

2011 WPPI Sony Fashion Show Runway Model Backless Bridal Gown 6

This is from another evening. We were on our way back to our hotel from the Canon Mardi Gras Party.  I think we look so dorky (but really happy!)  :-p   Thanks Eloy Ayala for helping us take this shot:

2011 WPPI Welcome Sign

One of the highlights of this WPPI trip was Jesh De Rox’s “Beloved: The Revolution” class.  It was quite an experience.  Within the short 2 hours, the whole class laughed and cried together.  Jesh believes that the main attribute of happiness is healthy relationships, and noted that “the relationship with the self” is lacking in most people.  He demonstrated the power of using images as doorways back to remembering what is most important in life. While most photographers focus on making beautiful images, he focuses on making his couples feel beautiful and bringing out the authenticity and intimacy of their relationships.

“Beloved is the belief that, as photographers, we have the ability to change the world, one relationship at a time.” — Jesh De Rox

I am very inspired and touched by what he is doing, and am looking forward to his Beloved seminar in LA come this fall.

2011 WPPI Jesh De Rox Beloved

Later on, we also got a chance to catch up with old friends as well as meeting new ones.  Isabella even managed to squeeze in a shopping spree at the outlet (she got me a nice pair of boots :) I feel like I have a personal shopper now!)

Overall, this WPPI visit was a surprisingly “spiritual” experience for me.  The classes and seminars I attended not only improved my crafts but more importantly also recharged my soul.  I came home with my heart filled with tremendous LOVE and my mind filled with fresh ideas of how to improve my business.  Lots of changes to come this year!!

Isabella and I have just came back from a week-long trip to the WPPI (Wedding and

Portrait Photographers International) convention in Vegas.  For those who don’t

know, WPPI is this HUGE annual event in Vegas, with trade show, classes,

competitions, workshops, photo-shoots, events, and parties that will make any

photographer feel like a kid let loose in a candy store! Last year was the first

time for me to attend (see our prior post “Quenching Thirst In The Desert” for the

benefit shoot Henry and I attended for a really awesome non-profit organization

called Thirst Relief!), and while everything was exciting and fun, I remember

leaving Vegas feeling utterly exhausted, from attending classes every day from

morning til evening, with barely any time left to check out all the vendor booths.

So, this year, I’ve decided to take things slow, and just enjoy being in one of my

favorite places on earth, seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Winter Wonderland :: Yosemite 2010

December 1st, 2010, written by Isabella Li
Found in Our Stories

We love the great outdoors, and are huge fans of America’s beautiful national parks. Every year we take a few weekend trips to get up to the mountains and recharge. In 2007 we spent Thanksgiving visiting the Mammoth Mountain, Mono Lake, and Bodie (this one is interesting, if you are into ghost towns). 2008 took us to Mount Rainier in WA, and 2009 we found ourselves in complete awe, waking up one morning in Yosemite Valley to see the whole park transformed into a winter wonderland by the first snow of the season! Maybe it was because we grew up in the cities and have always lived in warm-weathered places… the fluffy snow, the crisp clean air infused with scents of pine, and the intense blue skies just mesmerized us so much, that we’ve decided to make it a ritual to visit Yosemite every winter. Here are some pictures taken over this Thanksgiving weekend.  There are a couple more posted on our Facebook Page, so be sure to check those out as well.  Enjoy, and have a happy holiday! :D

Valley View at sunset:

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Lucked out with the sun :)

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Henry taking a picture of Lucia taking a picture of Isabella ;)

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Upper Yosemite Fall:

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Henry and his two angels:

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Lucia was experimenting with sunbursts:

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Snow playtime!

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Surface of the moon?

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It’s beautiful everywhere you look:
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Visitors taking in view of Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge:

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