Kailua Portrait Photography: Meet Sarah & Kyle

Meet Sarah and Kyle, crazy in love newly weds married in 2012.  We met near Kalama Beach for a mini session last Friday.  As soon as I met Sarah I instantly liked her  She was so warm, friendly, and sweet.

Then I met Kyle, and I knew I had lucked out.

These two are happy together.  I mean, butterflies in your stomach, happy together.  They are like two peas in a pod.

Sarah was grinning from ear to ear the entire time.  Her smile is so sunny.  She was looking at her man, Kyle, like he was the absolute best thing since sliced bread. And Kyle held her like she was real and someone to be loved and cared for.  It was evident that he sees her, cherishes her, and wants to protect her.  He was proud to have her at his side.  When he looked at her it was more than obvious that yes, clearly, he would do anything to make this woman happy.

They’ve been living out here for the past 2 years while Kyle was finishing his degree.  In December they’re moving back to Orange County, just in time to celebrate Christmas with their families.

Happy 1st year of marriage and here’s to wishing you many, many more together.

With aloha, Crystal Chanel

Like what you see?  See more at http://crystalchanel.instaproofs.com.  Click here to order prints.

PS  (Here’s a cheesy photography metaphor for, what I’ve been thinking about lately) I used to fear the bright sun during photo sessions because of the potential it had for creating shadows.  Well, I’m not afraid of the shadows anymore.  Sometimes, seeing both at the same time – the sun and shadows, looks more like true life to me.   You can’t always control all the variables (failure, disappointment, rejection) in life, or you might miss out on the bright sunshine (success, contentment, and love), too.   So spoken with love, to one of my dearest friends in life, struggling to find her path.  It’s ok if you can’t always avoid the shadows or control the outcome of every experience, it doesn’t mean you failed.  Because the truth is, the space in between the light and dark is where all the magic happens.

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Sand, Sticks, & A Two Year-Old: My Saving Grace

This is Ava.  My sweet little Ava Lilikoi.  Today is her birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY AVA LILIKOI!  This is my favorite day in the whole wide world. She’s one of my favorite things ever.  One of the brightest lights in my life. Really, I can’t get enough of her. She’s my saving grace.  I never want to say good bye.

A couple of weekends ago, I was afraid I might have to.  She’d been running a fever and playing hard all morning long.  Just as we were about to take a walk (so she could rest in her stroller), all of a sudden she collapsed. She stopped breathing for 10 seconds. Her little lips turned scary purplish blue.  She was limp in a funny posture.  Lifeless in her daddy’s arms.  She seemed so small, so precious, so innocent, so young, so vulnerable.  To my mommy heart, it seemed like forever.  My PA brain reminded me this is probably a febrile seizure.  My chaotic internal dialogue went something like this:

Hopefully it won’t last longer than a couple of minutes. Her little brain will be ok.  Her color will return soon.  Ok, find your stethoscope, where is it in your purse? Wait, no it’s in your white coat.  Wait think, what are the vitals for little people again?

I can’t think clearly, she’s so pale.  She’s unresponsive.  Open your eyes, baby please.  Ava, mommy is here.  Why are her perfect little lips so white now?

Wait, ok check for breath sounds and heart sounds.  Ok, good she’s alive.  Heart is pumping, lungs are working.

Where are the paramedics?  Weren’t they supposed to be here 5 minutes ago?  Should I be doing more?  Am I forgetting something?  Should I do CPR?

No, don’t do CPR she has a pulse.

Are you sure I’m not supposed to do CPR?

No, she has a pulse.  She’s breathing.  She’s alive.

Long story short, Ava took her first ever ambulance ride  to the ER.  She was a little champ the whole time, ate stir-fry broccoli by the fistfuls, lol (see the i-Phone snap), and was discharged home later that day.

The day Ava was born, a whole new realm of endless possibilities was opened up to me. This little girl has changed me.  She is my heart.  She is cheerful, full of joy, hilarious, endearing, sweet, and very, very smiley.  She’s strong willed, persistent, and stubborn, with the occasional flare for being dramatic.  Hmmm, wonder where she get’s that from?

Her imagination runs wild.  She sees icecream cones and space ships and houses and cameras when I see a colorful stack of bristle blocks.  She pretends to take pictures of me saying, “Mommmmmie, cheeeeez.” She scribbles simple lines on a piece of paper with her crayon and triumphantly yells, “LOOOK at Mooooooomie, kiiiiiittty!”

She’s a dancer.  She knows how to throw a party.  ”Mommmmie, music? Dance, an-uhh-mal party?”  She rocks out to John Mayer, wearing only her tutu and bright blue rainboots, surrounded by all her guests she’s gathered in place – her turtle, elephant, fox, owl, and the list of animals goes on and on.

She’s fearless, she loves the ocean more than I want her to at times.  She trusts me at swim lessons, bravely jumping off the side of the pool into the water, knowing that mommy will be there to catch her. And that, is the craziest part of this mommy-daughter relationship.  The fact that this little girl thinks I’m worthy of her innocent trust and perfect love – in spite of all my mommy flaws and shortcomings.  Even when I feel like I totally sucked at life that day, failed everything I set out to accomplish, she will hug me at random, wrapping her pudgy little hands around my neck, draw me close, and tell me softly, “Wuvvvvvv you mooooomie.”  She’s my heart melting buddy.

This little girl has changed me.  I’m less impulsive now. Less selfish.  More willing to sacrifice that which I couldn’t or wouldn’t before.  I’m not so naive as to say that parenthood is what everyone needs to grow or learn or experience the world fully.  Most definitely not, but for me personally like I said before, it was a game changer for sure.  I’d do anything to keep being this little girl’s person, because I finally understand what it means to love someone more than life itself.

So here’s to you kiddo!  Here’s to two years and being the brightest light in my life.  Mommy loves you, always have, and always will.  I promise.

With aloha,

Crystal Chanel

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November 6, 2013 - 8:21 pm

Larissa Hamel - She is so adorable! And you are a great writer btw! I’m glad she is ok, I would have flipped out.

November 6, 2013 - 8:21 pm

Larissa Hamel - Oh, and happy birthday Ava!

November 6, 2013 - 8:24 pm

Jenika - Just beautiful, Crystal. Words and images. Thank you for giving such a beautiful glimpse into your life and heart. This little girl is so lucky to be surrounded by such beauty and love!

November 7, 2013 - 6:41 am

Tiffany Hodgson - This is one of your most beautifully written blogs! Happy Birthday Ava!

November 10, 2013 - 4:30 am

Sierra Smith McQueen - Totally agree- my boy has changed my world in the best way. I feel things for him I never thought possible! What a blessing these precious little souls are, being a mom is the most amazing experience, wouldn’t change it for anything! Glad it has been the same for you! Miss you friend

Waimanalo Maternity Session: Meet Nicole and Kenji

Meet Nicole, a sweet, creative entrepreneur, and wedding planner (co-founder of Best Day Ever) who is one lovely, hot mama to be!  Ladies, her legs are killer.  Just wait until you see the last photograph of this session. I was like, “Really, you’re pregnant?! Wow, what’s your secret?” What’s more, she is a beautiful person,  smart, down to earth, light hearted, and genuine.  In fact when I first met her, we talked story for 2 hours and it felt like hardly any time had passed at all.  She’s very easy to get a long with and a great listener too.

Kenji, her handsome man, is her main squeeze.  The love of her life.  He adores her.  She adores him.

Cally, is her crazy cute dog and buddy of ten years, almost eleven.

Blessings to your family as you welcome your little one into the world soon. So very thrilled for you.  Mamahood is heaven on earth.

With aloha,

Crystal Chanel


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Bellows Maternity Session: Meet Maggie & Corbin

Meet Maggie.  Ava’s truly fantastic baby sitter who has the playful heart of a child.

Meet Corbin. Maggie’s one and only love, who just happens to do the same exact thing that the main character in Hurt Locker did.  He disposes of bombs for a living!

They met, fell in love, and the rest is history.

Today is their due date:)


Crystal Chanel

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