1 Year Down, 1 More to Go…

On Saturday, Shawn and I completed our first year of grad school for our MBA!  Just one more year of late nights, exams, presentations, papers, case studies, group projects, and complicated financial equations (that I am still trying to figure out)…

We have a break before beginning our 2nd year of classes and Golden Week has arrived at the perfect time!  We are taking a break from everything and departing for Singapore this morning (Tuesday).  This is our first vacation in a very, very, very long time and we are looking forward to it!  I just need to make it through the 7 hour flight first…

The temps in Singapore are a cool 90+ degrees – with a 105+ degree heat index.  This should be good for my ghostly white skin.  🙂


Anthony Marinaro |::| Out of Box Event Planning & Management

When Shawn and I were in the U.S.  during the holidays, we met up with Anthony – a friend of over 25 years!  Anthony owns and runs Out of Box Event Planning & Management.  Anthony is definitely the “go-to guy” in the Des Moines, IA area for event planning and catering.  Springtime brings the beginning of wedding season, which means Anthony is busy planning multiple events.  If you or someone you know is getting married, contact Anthony to plan your wedding!  Anthony will take care of all of your need in style and he will keep you laughing through the process!  Contact information can be found at the bottom of this post.

We met Anthony at The Village Bean, a great coffee shop in the eclectic East Village area of downtown Des Moines.  (Out of Box serves lunch daily at The Village Bean…so make sure you drop in and say hello to Anthony!)

After we had caught up on life, business and everything in between, I realized the daylight was beginning to disappear.  We quickly headed outside to capture a few photos in the fleeting daylight.  I guess you could call this my first “official”, yet “unofficial” photo shoot.  Anthony was the first person I’ve attempted to do a portrait session with…but we only had about 20 minutes to complete the session!  (I guess we should have stopped talking earlier in the day, to leave more time for taking photos!)  I love Anthony’s style and I look forward to doing more of an “official” photo session the next time we are back in Iowa.  I am waaay overdue in posting these photos, but hopefully the delay was worth it.  🙂

This one is my favorite…

Twins…?  🙂  No!  There is only one Anthony!

Cheers to another 25 years of friendship and laughter!  🙂

Happy Easter!

Wishing all of our friends and family a very Happy Easter!

Enjoy a few more photos of the beautiful cherry blossoms in our neighborhood…

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Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo

Spring has officially arrived in Tokyo!  The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and they look beautiful!

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Thank you Melissa and Gary!!

On Sunday, Shawn and I took a break from our studies and walked around the Photo Imaging Expo in Tokyo. Thanks to the power of social networking, we were able to meet and enjoy lunch with the dynamic duo of Gary Fong and Melissa Carl. Gary is an incredible entrepreneur and slightly well-known in the photography community. My write up will not do him justice, so I encourage you to read up on Gary for yourself and check out the business website – Gary Fong Inc.

Gary and Melissa were in Japan for the initial launch of Gary’s products to the Japan market. (There is no doubt their products will be well-received in Japan!) We had a great time getting a peak inside their creative minds, as well as listening to their stories on how impressed they are with everything in Japan. We can’t say enough about how down-to-earth and hilarious they are! Maybe it’s the ‘midwest connection’ that Melissa, Shawn and I share. 🙂 Their energy is contagious and we walked away feeling so inspired!!

Melissa & Gary – We honestly can’t thank you enough for your time. This was an experience we will definitely not forget! (Can you say “C-o-l-l-a-p-s-i-b-l-e”?)  We look forward to following the success of your business and meeting up with you on your next trip to Japan.

Arigato gozaimaus!!

# 21 and 22  🙂

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Abby + Jason

Spring is finally starting to make an appearance in Tokyo!  The birds are chirping outside our window, the sun is rising earlier in the morning, and the cherry blossoms are just about ready to bloom.  Even though we are in living in a busy city of millions, there always seems to be a refreshing buzz of new life and energy that fills the air this time of year.

Our friends Abby and Jason are preparing for the addition of a new life of their own!  They are patiently awaiting the birth of their first child!

When Abby asked if I would capture a few pregnancy pictures, I was honored, excited and nervous.  So many thoughts rattled through my mind.  “I’ve never done this before…I’m not a pro…I’m excited to practice, but what settings do I use…how do I make Abby & Jason feel comfortable…what if the photos don’t turn out…ahh…overload!”

Shawn is too familiar with me over-analyzing things, so he simply said to me, “Just have fun.”  Perfect advice…and that is just what we did.  A few weeks ago, I met Abby, Jason, and their ‘baby-to-be’  at the Meiji Shrine for an afternoon (of fun) in the sun.

Doesn’t Abby look totally radiant!?


Best.hat.ever!  🙂

I love how peaceful Abby and Jason look in these photos.  It’s a perfect reflection of their strong faith and beautiful marriage.

Abby & Jason – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to capture memories of this exciting time in your lives.  Shawn and I look forward to meeting the new life that you will introduce to the world!

I have so much to learn about photography, but I am excited with the results of this new experience!  I can’t wait to practice even more!  Does anyone want to be a ‘model’?  🙂

Someone New is Coming Soon…

…but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow!  🙂

Don’t you just love Abby’s hat!?

I almost forgot…HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!