Mother's Day

Margret | September Birthday Rewards | Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Bay Area, CA

As the cooler air starts to settle in and we teeter between the remnants of summer weather mixed with the anticipation of a new season to come, I'd like to take the time out to say a happy birthday to the September Birthday Rewards winner, none other than the lovely Margret!

Margret and her family were one of the earlier supporters of my endeavors with Heartbox Photography and to have that trust from people to allow you into their world in front of the camera is a gift I will never forget.

Margret, I hope you had a fabulous September birthday celebration. Thank you for always being so supportive and genuinely kind. Here's to many, MANY more beautiful years to come!


Elizabeth, 2014. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session

The sunshine of a beautiful Saturday morning happily peeked through the curtains as I carefully pulled them back in preparation for that day's scheduled photo session.

As I was immersed in the task of setting up backdrops and reflectors, in walks Elizabeth with a smile, outfits in hand, ready for the fun of having her hair and makeup done by the talented Vlada Fomenko-Haggerty and photo session to follow. It was a day for her to take a break from her duties as a wife and mom and needless to say, I was super excited to provide this experience for her!

One of the things I like most about Elizabeth is that not only does she exude intelligence and confidence, but is also one of the most friendly and down to earth people I've met - an individual who is just plain fun to chat with about everything! I learned that in addition to being a native East-Coaster, a wife and mother, Elizabeth has a passion for writing, sharing, and learning about the world around her. I'm an avid reader and natural introvert, and upon finding out that she shared those same qualities, it took every bit of self-restraint I had to not high-five her right then and there for being super cool.

Elizabeth, it was an honor getting to know you and capturing the essence of you as a person in every single one of these photographs. Thank you for being part of the Heartbox Photography movement that strives to remind and encourage every woman that she is not only beautiful, both inside and out, but is also worth celebrating today.

A heartfelt thanks to the talented Vlada Fomenko for her beautiful styling of Elizabeth's hair and make up!
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"It's OK to make mistakes - in fact, making mistakes is one of the most effective ways to learn. I'd have spared myself a lot of pain if I'd stopped chasing perfect earlier in life."

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"I admire leaders who help other people reach their own highest goals."

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"I love inspiring people to achieve their potential. Mentoring high school students is one of the sot fulfilling things I've done since I moved to California. You get to watch your mentees grow while stretching your own capabilities at the same time."

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Her personal motto or mission statement?
"The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." - Walt Whitman

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"Aim to achieve your own idea of beauty - internal or external - rather than chasing others' ideas about what beauty is supposed to look like."
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Be sure to check out more from Elizabeth's photo shoot in the video here!


Happy Monday, everyone!

When It's Not A Happy Mother's Day

Every year I stand in front of the Mother's Day card section of my local Target, I find myself looking for the most light-hearted, humorous card. The one least weighed down with wordy sentiments related to a mother being a daughter's best friend or anything of that sort. A card that was funny enough, passes the test enough to fulfill what often feels like an obligatory card-giving holiday of the year.

Though my own mother and I get along just fine in recent years, my childhood and even into young adulthood memories were not the greatest and quite honestly, were rooted from a very strained relationship with my mom. And Mother's Day sometimes brings up old memories of a past hurt and even a sense of grieving for a childhood that has long been gone and can not be re-done or changed.

It's so hard to honestly state this when you are practically drowning in a sea of  messages graced with pink flowers, mother-daughter stories pouring generously through your Facebook feed, and a card section of Target that only sell cards with "my mother is my BFF" kind of messages. The moment I stepped into church on Sunday, I braced myself for what I was expecting to be a cheesy message of Jesus' mother or stories of other women who had served as mothers. I mentally made a note to dash out quickly after service had ended just so I wouldn't have to push through the crowds of "Happy Mother's Day" greetings surrounding me and having to answer what special Mother's Day plans I had for the day with my own mom when really, I just wanted to safely hide in my cynicism and pain.

But instead of allowing me the comfort of my hiding place, I was greeted with a surprise that I didn't even know my heart needed so badly. As much as I shrank back wanting to cry, God instead reached through the huge crowd on Mother's Day, took my hurt with a hand that was so understanding of my struggle, and lovingly invited me to give Him my pain. All of it. The pain inflicted from a childhood I wished I never experienced. The pain of hurtful words. The pain of the loneliest and darkest times where I wished I never experienced as a child, a teenager, a young adult.


He knew what I needed and instead of faking an obligatory happiness on Mother's Day, He gave me love and what I needed the most on a day that is difficult for me.

God allowed me to grieve, to cry for a childhood lost.

Instead of a message filled with what I thought was going to be an overdose of Mother's Day cheesiness I would need to grit my teeth and survive through, Sunday's sermon was filled with the heart-wrenching truth that for some of us, Mother's Day is hard.

Some because they've lost their moms, have lost a child, or have lost a childhood to a parent that has hurt us. Hearing this message was a like a much-needed salve to a bad cut in my heart that I am sometimes ashamed to admit is there.

I was given the freedom to hurt. I was reminded that though I was hurt emotionally by mother, she is imperfect and was bound to make mistakes, as will I if and when I ever become a mom myself. I was reminded that I am imperfect. And the beautiful hope I rest my struggles on is the fact that God redeems for imperfect people like my mom and me. That the finality of my story isn't determined from a rough childhood or the darkest moments littered throughout my upbringing, but from a perfect and loving God who continues to breathe life into the moments in my life that seem the most painful and dead.

I write this post with a bit of a tear in my eye because I just know that I am not the only one who struggles with holidays that ask us to honor our imperfect parents. And I hope that you find encouragement in knowing that it is ok to hurt and to wrestle with this hurt.

He knows your pain, anger, and sadness, just as much as he knew mine walking into a Sunday service. And as He reached through a crowd for me, I know for a fact He is reaching through a crowd for you, too.


Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the Spirit of the Lord is 
Chains are broken
Eyes are open
Christ is with us

 - Hillsong

Happy Monday - here's to hope.




Margret, 2014. Bay Area, Glamour Photo Session

I love being able to tell the story of every woman, but especially mothers. The kind of beauty they posses deepens far beyond what the eye can see and is made of an intricate depth that was fashioned out of both the joy, pain, and perseverance that make up the life of a woman who shares her heart with others as a mother.

They are fabulous in their own way and Margret is no exception. She has experienced the highs and lows of past experience that have helped shape the woman and mother she is today to two beautiful daughters. Though having experienced the grief of a past miscarriage, she still believes everything happens for a reason and felt no desire to take it against God or anyone else.

Margret is a firm believer in having not only faith and confidence, but also being a go-getter, and unafraid to learn new things whether it's in cooking/baking or in business. But more so than that, she also believes in sharing a message with other women that beauty on the outside as well as within are what build a true and genuine confidence.

Margret, thank you for being a joy to work with. You are generous with your smiles and laughter and it was a honor to photograph you and share your beauty, both inside and out, with the world.

Here's to celebrating a mother's timeless beauty - Happy Mother's Day!

A special thank you to the talented Vlada Fomenko  for Margret's beautiful hair and make up! 














To see more of the behind the scenes of Margret's photo session, feel free to watch the video below!




Preview of My Momma

"But, Mo-omm. I don't wanna bring my camera."

Yes. I still whine.

After a lunch with my family, I had planned to spend the rest of the afternoon at my parent's house since my dad had to work. My mom had asked that I bring my camera along to snap a few photos of her with the flowers that she received from my dad and niece. Nothing fancy, just a few shots to share with family. I wasn't sure that I was up to lugging my camera bag, purse, and a 15 pound cockapoo named Kona Bean down the stairs, into my car, and all the way to my parent's house, but what the heck, it's Mother's Day and it's just a few photos, right?

Alas, I don't know what it is, but my little perfectionist photographer enthusiastically emerged as I realized that the afternoon light was still bright - hence, I couldn't settle for a few photos by the dining table with flowers. Most of my studio props are stored at my parent's house and Mom seemed game to play photo studio, so why not go all out?

Here's a little sneak peak into the impromptu photo shoot of my beautiful mommy. (Please, please, please I inherit whatever it is that makes you look like this at 59 years old.)

There's definitely more so stay tuned!

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the mommies out there!


Mother's Day Special

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th and while the ideas for Mother's Day gifts range anywhere from flowers to candy to home decorations, why not celebrate it this year by giving her a something a little different - the gift of a professional makeover along with a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography?

Gift certificates are available for purchase and can be used for a session with just her or even as a mother/daughter shoot.

Remind her this year that her elegance and grace as a woman and mother is definitely something to celebrate - every year.

Because her beauty is timeless.







Mother's Day Special

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th and while the ideas for Mother's Day gifts range anywhere from flowers to candy to home decorations, why not celebrate it this year by giving her a something a little different - the gift of a professional makeover along with a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography?

Gift certificates are available for purchase and can be used for a session with just her or even as a mother/daughter shoot.

Remind her this year that her elegance and grace as a woman and mother is definitely something to celebrate - every year.

Because her beauty is timeless.







Mother's Day Gift Promotion

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th and while the ideas for Mother's Day gifts range anywhere from flowers to candy to home decorations, why not celebrate it this year by giving her a something a little different - the gift of a professional makeover along with a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography?

Gift certificates are available for purchase and can be used for a session with just her or even as a mother/daughter shoot.

Remind her this year that her elegance and grace as a woman and mother is definitely something to celebrate - every year.

Because her beauty is timeless.







Mother's Day Promotion

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th and while the ideas for Mother's Day gifts range anywhere from flowers to candy to home decorations, why not celebrate it this year by giving her a something a little different - the gift of a professional makeover along with a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography?

Gift certificates are available for purchase and can be used for a session with just her or even as a mother/daughter shoot.

Remind her this year that her elegance and grace as a woman and mother is definitely something to celebrate - every year.

Because her beauty is timeless.







My Gold Dancing Shoes and Mother's Day

Whatever you've been told, you're worth  more than gold
So hold your head up high
It's your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you're worth more than gold.
                                                                        -Britt Nicole

I stuck it on repeat. Like, probably 5 times.

Ok, I'm lying. More like 35 times.

Whenever I hear a song that makes my heart smile, makes my ears perk up something crazy happy, and and simultaneously makes me want to break out my gold dancing shoes, you can bet that I will be that annoying passenger in the car who will press the replay button on that CD - and proudly sing aloud all the way through 5 hours of traffic like a BOSS.

Road trip, anyone?

I love how music can spark inspiration and today my ear buds at work have been blasting Britt Nicole's song "Gold" all afternoon. I'm in a dancing mood, so hit that repeat button! I think I love love love love this song because my heart and photography are all about wanting to make every woman feel that she's worth more than gold.

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th and while the ideas for Mother's Day gifts range anywhere from flowers to candy to home decorations, why not celebrate it this year by giving her a something a little different - the gift of a professional makeover along with a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography?

Gift certificates are available for purchase and can be used for a session with just her or even as a mother/daughter shoot.

Remind her this year that her elegance and grace as a woman and mother is definitely something to celebrate - every year.

Because her beauty is timeless.







My Grandma's Photo

My mom has this beautiful old photograph of my maternal grandmother that sits carefully encased in a green frame on a shelf in my parents' home. The sepia colors and time creases of the photo reveal that my grandmother was probably in her 20's when it was taken and that the occasion was probably a very special one as she is adorned gracefully n a terno, the traditional butterfly sleeved dress worn by Filipino women.

Her glance is off to the left side, telling me that perhaps the photographer intentionally posed her in this way to capture her carefully styled hair and the elegance of her fair and feminine profile. I never got a chance meet my grandmother as she passed away suddenly when my own mom was only two years old. Growing up, I would look through old family photos both in albums and on the shelves of my childhood home and this old photo of my grandmother always caught my eye. To me, this photograph was beautiful because it captured the great mystery of a woman from long ago who had direct influence in my life by giving life to my own mom. It's funny how a simple photograph, even from years ago of a person you barely know, can speak volumes of elegance and grace into the present and fill you with a bit of wonder.

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th and while the ideas for Mother's Day gifts range anywhere from flowers to candy to home decorations, why not celebrate it this year by giving her a something a little different - the gift of a professional makeover along with a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography?

Gift certificates are available for purchase and can be used for a session with just her or even as a mother/daughter shoot.

Remind her this year that her elegance and grace as a woman and mother is definitely something to celebrate - every year.

Because her beauty is timeless.