January and February were slow months for me so took it as a time to work on personal projects and here’s one with Marissa who I have always loved shooting! With all the rain we’ve been getting I got really lucky with clear skies and even sun that day. The shoot was primarily inspired by these fluffy pampas that pop up all over around this time.
And if you don’t want to read the details of my day-by-day, here’s a summary of what I recommend on Oahu. I tried my best to make it more of a local experience while incorporating some tourist attractions, because those are the most popular things for a reason! Feel free to reach out or comment with any questions!
Kaneoheo Sandbar – Rent a kayak and paddle out to the sand bar to stand in the middle of the ocean. When the tide is low, the sand sits well above the water.
Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove
Shallow waters with plenty of cool fish in an enclosed area. Also checkout Hanauma Bay (more crowded and touristy, but a great spot) We recommend full face snorkel masks, they make everything so much easier, and pickup a pair of fins at a local store!
Swim at Halona Cove
This was a great spot to just swim and jump in the waves, they aren’t small waves, but also not gigantic. This spot is also really easy to find and get to!
Sunset at China Walls
A great spot to see the last light of the country and watch the surfers, plenty of parking and easy to find!
Sunrise at Sandy Beach
Worth waking up to see all the colors of sunrise reflect on the tidepools at Sandy Beach (a.k.a. Broke Neck Beach). Stop at The Cream Pot nearby for breakfast!
Hangout at Lanikai Beach
Just one of many of Oahu’s gorgeous beaches, hard to find parking though so just drive around. Bring lunch and hangout all day!
Other: Sunset at Sunset Beach, Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, Shop at Ala Moana Center, Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, Shop at Waikele Outlets, Buy a fresh coconut from a road-side stand or farmer’s market
Makua Cave – 1.7 mi RT, Easy-Intermediate, Stunning sweeping view of west side’s coastline.
Koko Head — 1050+ steps, Intermediate, amazing 360 views of entire southern part of island
Lulumahu Falls — 2.5 mi RT, Easy-Intermediate, Extremely muddy
Makapu’u Tidepools —2 mi RT, Intermediate, Hike down from the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail to these semi-hidden tidepools that you can swim in!
Crouching Lion Hike — 1.5 mi RT, Intermediate, Pretty steep and muddy hike but a nice view! You don’t have to walk all the way out to the rock to get the view either!
Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Hands down our favorite spot to eat on the island. We were obsessed with their spare ribs, but their laulau, kalua pork, and macaroni salad was all delicious. There is usually a wait but it’s totally worth the wait, or take it to-go!
Foodland is just a grocery store but it’s probably the best deal on the island for poke, good quality for a reasonable price. Can’t go wrong with a half pound of Shoyu Ahi, half a pound of Spicy Ahi (not spicy), and a bag of Tostito’s Scoops.
Ono’s Steak and Shrimp
Something so simple about really good steak, butter garlic shrimp with rice, and macaroni salad just sealed the deal for me! Another great option is Giovanni’s Shrimp.
Other great food: Button Up Cafe, Sura Hawaii, The Cream Pot, Poke on Da Run, Rainbow Drive-In. Great food we wanted to try but didn’t get to: Boots and Kimo’s, Marukame Udon
Dessert + Snacks
Specifically the Matcha and Chantilly Coco Puffs! Seriously so good, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
We had two other acai bowls while on the island but this was definitely our favorite. I also wanted to try Sunrise Shack but didn’t get the chance.
If you like mochi, you need to try these, they have so many good flavors. Their location was a little hard to find but I shared a tip here! My favorite flavors were cookies and cream, black sesame, and earl gray!
Shimazu’s Shave Ice
While everyone recommends Matsumoto’s, I loved Shimazu, short line, lots of options, huge portions, and good quality! We got the Milk Green Tea and Matcha flavors, haha adventurous I know. (Thanks for the recommendation Bailey!)
Other: Ube Pie from McDonald’s, Malasadas from Leonard’s, Dole Whip from the Dole Plantation
I can start by saying 2018 was way better than 2017. I’ve shared some of my favorite memories below, both professional and personal from this past year. While this post is super long, it’s only a fraction of all the great things in 2018 (mostly the parts that have photos.) But there were so many great un-captured moments that I am still so thankful for.
P.S. Stay tuned or just scroll down to the very bottom for a special feature!
January 07 Started the year off meeting new friends (Ian, Chris, Jaclyn, Yiju , and Matt) and of course and an old friend (David) adventuring to the top of Mt. Tamalpais for our first sunset of the year. This is where Ian took one of my favorite photos of myself (Thanks Ian)! #wuttreehill
P.S. January was also when I finally launched this site, thanks for answering all my questions Maya!
January 27 We went to the ModCloth, decade themed holiday party when I was working there. Dress from ModCloth, and hair by Sandy!
February 17: We drove 5 hours north to see Burney Falls. It was a super cool site and on the way there we stopped in Chico for some home-made tamales.
March 6: Took a real leap and started a new job at Stitch Fix as a contract graphic designer. Shout out to you MR Krause.
March 24 + 25: Our first trip of 2018 to Yosemite, a bit of winter remaining, with snow at higher altitudes and some cool fog in the valley that day. We spent the first day shooting with Lynn and Keith, baring the cold and rain. We stayed in a canvas tent in Curry Village. On the second day we hiked to the top of Vernall falls, I ate shit on the ice twice.
March 28: Another favorite shoot with Stephanie at one of my favorite beaches in San Francisco!
March 31: We went on another adventure with Lynn and Keith, this time to the Lights Festival in Willows, CA. Impossible to photograph, felt like I was going to catch fire everywhere I turned, but still made for a cool experience. (Photos of Jordan and I by Lynn!)
April 13: My dance team and I performed at the King’s half time show, that we never got a video for, cool thanks Kings. Also shoutout to Channon, Chad, Kara, Didi, Kyle, and Nicki for coming out to support!
April 15: Another favorite shoot with a new friend Adrienne who frickin killed this shoot. I found this gem of a spot that happened to have poppies so had to shoot! Also this shoot kicked off allergy season for me and I was in the heat of it for two solid weeks.
April 21: First competition of the year, Breakthrough! We surprisingly got second place.
April 26: Took a family trip to Cabo San Lucas, ate way too many tacos, ATV’ed on the beach, took a boat ride to Land’s End, and learned I am allergic to sunscreen.
That same day: RIP Jordan Sanchez ‘91–‘18
June 16: Let’s not forget about one of my best shoots of 2018 if not the one of the best of all time for me. Sunrise elopement at Glacier Point for Joseline and Tucker. Thank you, you two for trusting me with such a special day. It was my first time shooting an elopement and I was so lucky it was such a great couple in such a gorgeous place.
June 18: Congratulations to my little brother, Aaron for graduation from UCI with a degree in Computer Science!
July 6: I finally caught the sunflowers and boy did they no disappoint, shout out to my model Sofia and all the bees that didn’t sting me.
August 4: A really solid and hot day on the Yuba River with Jordan, Ori, Channon, and Shawn. We also met a new friend Bean! Some of the clearest river water I have ever seen, and endless perfect swimming holes.
RIP Grandpa August 17, 2018 <3
October 19-28: Let’s just say Oahu was a trip of a lifetime, and there will be a full blog post breaking down each day with what to do, where to eat, where to take pictures, etc.
RIP Maddox October 24, 2018
November 3: The weekend right after we got back from Hawaii we did a day trip to see the Fall colors in Yosemite. Totally worth the exhausting trip.
November 11: This was a big deal because this was my first out-of-area wedding, flying to Southern California to capture Sam + Ray’s wedding at an airplane hangar in Fullerton.
November 24: Our annual celebration of Kyle. HBD! (Also our team won the escape room—Not pictured above, this is us posing with some of the losers)
December 2: First time performing with two new teams (new gen of FP, and AMF) at Onyx Dance Competition. 1/10 would recommend this competition, the only good part was that its 20 minutes from my house. Note I am aware of the shitty quality that is AMF’s team photo, represents our set. Shouts to the bestie Melissa, and sibs: Christian + Ryan.
December 21: Went snowboarding the weekend before Christmas at North Star in Tahoe with old (Waylan, Paulina, Brian) + new (Nora, Hong, Christian, Jessica) friends! It was Jordan and I’s first time returning to snowboarding after a six year hiatus for both of us. I only bruised my right but cheek and Jordan destroyed his tailbone so hard he felt like he had to poop, A fun trip though with a solid group.
And just a moment to thank all my clients who chose, supported, and work with me this year. I’m proud of the work I was able to put out this year and it is a hugely thanks to you guys, can’t wait to continue meeting new friends and sharing my work!
Thanks to those of you who follow my BART snaps, and understand it’s just for jokes.
Thanks to those of my friends + family who didn’t get pictured in this review but took the time to be apart of my life in 2018: Heather, Ellie, Allison, Cindy, Gerilyn, Helina, Heidi, Anthony, Natasha, Maryanne, Jack, ModCloth Squaggle Squad (Emily, Justin, Sam, Megan, Ryan), Madi, Jess, Julie, Kelsey W, Daisy, Joyce, and The Sanchez’s (all y’all).
Finally, of course, to you Jordan Sanchez, thanks for errthang.
The moment you’ve all been waiting for…Oscar’s 2018 in Review