Late last year, my mom announced to the family that she was going to officially retire. For years, we’ve been telling her – just retire, you’re so old 😉  – jk, mom! But when it finally happened, it felt like more than just an end to her days of working – but the culmination of a lifetime of sacrifice to make myself and my two older brothers the people we are today. Over 40 years ago, my parents came to America from the Philippines to give us a life of opportunity. They lived in a tiny apartment, slept on cardboard boxes, and worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet. They bought their first small house in Bensenville a few years later, and have upgraded houses twice in my lifetime, all the while giving us everything we ever needed – spending way too much on those Abercrombie jeans that I had to have in high school, paying for my college education, and still to this day always willing to give me the shirts off their back (or quite literally the purse in my mom’s hand if I like it).

So while this post isn’t photography related – I had to send some love to my mom and share with all of you how awesome she is. She’s an incredibly supportive mother – never missed a basketball or volleyball game in high school, and didn’t doubt me for a second when I told her I wanted to quit my desk job and pursue photography full time, which meant EVERYTHING to me. Having that support gave me the confidence I needed, and made me believe I could do it. She’s funny, strong-willed, and deserves every bit of free time that she now has (whether you spend it selling random things on Facebook or at the casino is up to you, mom!).

I’m so glad we completely surprised you with this dinner at Gene & Georgetti – even though Dad came a little too close to blowing the surprise a few times! We love you so much and just wanted you to know how much we appreciate everything you and dad have ever done for us… now we just have to get Dad to retire 😉


My oldest brother Oliver made these BEAUTIFUL center pieces, and the place cards and menus were designed by yours truly.