The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
Ana Maria Montoya Kishihara first landed on American soil in the early 1980s, bringing along her two young children, the traditional Peruvian recipes of her mother and grandmother, and a dream to start her own restaurant. She opened up Inka Grill in 1996, stocking its kitchen with fresh ingredients and setting up a wood-fired rotisserie to roast juicy Peruvian chicken dishes. Today, Ana’s daughter has taken over the family business, whipping up the authentic the Criolla recipes passed down from the three generations of women before her.
Amid the smoky rotisserie and bubbling pots of stew in the Inka Grill kitchen, chefs whip up fresh fish ceviches, savory steak stir-fry saltados, and flavorful seafood paellas. They pair heaping scoops of rice and beans with their rotisserie chicken, a poultry that reporters from Orange County Weekly lauded as “so juicy from tail to sternum you can barely tell the dark from the white.” Servers tote sizzling platters to the dining room, where vivid paintings of Peruvian children adorn the walls and a soft flute plays traditional Peruvian songs, i.e., Wham! covers. The staff pours glasses of the traditional chicha morada corn drink and presents cans of imported Inca Kola to quench the spice of their ultra-spicy green aji sauce, which the chefs have lightheartedly dubbed “Gringo Killer”.
Inspired by her international travels and background, Nayive, spa director of Le Petit Maui Spa, leads a team of massage professionals, aestheticians, and cosmetologists in creating a relaxing spa experience. She and her team welcome customers into private treatment rooms for various massages, which range from traditional Swedish massages to the nurturing lomi lomi Hawaiian massage. With both massages and rejuvenating facials, they employ natural ingredients such as milk and honey, avocado scrubs, cardamom amber oils, and ghost tears.
Belle Amie Studios’ travelling trio of shutterbugs, led by owner and photographer Melissa Olsen, journeys to beaches, piers, homes, and parks to snap shots of families and couples. The team believes that natural light and natural smiles make great pictures, and keeps sessions fun and relaxed to bring out the easy grins it seeks. In addition to outdoor portraiture, the photographers offer their skills to brides-to-be for engagement-party shoots, wedding days, wedding showers, and practice pretend weddings.
Founded with the goal of sprucing up spiritless special events, Sumo Mania bumps soirées into the stratosphere with all the supplies needed for four hours of simulated sumo excitement. Foam-filled sumo outfits ensconce would-be rikishi, or wrestlers, in a layer of protective padding imitative of the sport’s most physically adept athletes. Once suited up and prepared for battle, wrestlers are let loose upon an extra-thick padded mat to settle lifelong grudges and decide who gets first dibs on the buffet line. To maintain a fair match, one of Sumo Mania’s qualified and whistle-equipped referees will be on hand as an impartial arbiter of any disputes over rules, victory conditions, or universal systems of morality.
Providing full-service dry cleaning to the Orange County area since 1950, Kona Cleaners has tidied more than a semi-century worth of suits, space suits, jeans, space jeans, pope robes, dresses, and sticky gorilla costumes. Prices vary by location; pants, on average, cost $5.35, a dress is $9.96, and shirts run around $2.65. Specializing in cleaning unusual materials such as caviar sequins and bread-bowl hats, Kona also expertly performs alterations ($10 average for a pant hem) and employs environmentally conscious cleaning methods. Their use of wet cleaning when possible and high-tech cleaning equipment is buttressed by a sophisticated sorting system and a well-trained staff that ensures each garment is restored to its fresh-off-the-particle-assembler condition.