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Blog

Our little space to inspire, encourage, and share our heart for you and our company.

Santorini, Greece. Photo Journal

Emily Valdez

Images from my perspective of Santorini, Greece. We stayed on the island during the month of October. To my surprise, this sleepy island was still busy, but no where near as busy as it seems to get in the summer months. What shocked me most was the row of luxury department stores, on what seemed to be like the Waikiki strip of Santorini. But nonetheless, the iconic white washed buildings, blue capped chapels, and sweeping ocean views made this sleepy little island magical.

If you would like to save any of these images, follow our Travel Santorini board on

Pinterest HERE

Celebrating our One Year Wedding Anniversary

Emily Valdez

Small business is personal right? And marriage should be celebrated, because it is not easy. Tomorrow is Davin and I's first wedding anniversary. I'm nostalgic, so I decided to put together this little blog post as a tribute to that day, and to everything we've been through in this past year. Marriage is probably the hardest thing we've both ever done. It is no joke letting another human into the depths of your heart. But, it is worth the work. Having a forever companion by your side that loves you at your best and your darkest, celebrates with you, cries with you, adventures with you, fails with you, laughs at your bad jokes, and doesn't judge you for never being able to decide what you want to eat (well maybe sometimes judges), nothing compares to that type of love.
Thank you for being on this journey with us YIREH fam. xx
-Emily

Scroll down to the bottom for information on all of the vendors I booked for our wedding.

Vendors:
Venue: Kualoa Ranch
Photographer: Erin Paris @erinparis.hi
Second Shooter: Amber Schoniwitz @schyneweddings
Florals: Ocean Dreamer Florals @ocean_dreamerr
Hair and Makeup: Risa Hoshino @risa.hoshino
Bridesmaid Dresses: YIREH @yireh_
Wedding Dress: Rita Vinieris RIVINI @ritavinieris
Wedding Signs: Splinter @splinter_designs
Calligraphy: Karen Domingo @ks.domingo
Engagement Photos: Casey Liu @Caseykaui
Underwater Engagement Photos: Justin Mack @jmack808
Cakes: Rebecca Marti @sifthawaii
Food: Iges Hawaiian Menu
Photo Booth: Shoots Booth @shootsbooth
Music: Matt Melendez @mattmelendezmusic
Day of Wedding Coordination: For the Good Hawai'i @forthegoodhawaii
Video: For the Good Videographer
Pastor: Pastor Fernando Jaime



 

An extremely inspiring MOM-boss, Julianne McGee

Emily Valdez

This weeks feature is beauty Julianne McGee. Not only does she own a modern and eclectic boutique on the corner of Hotel Street in Chinatown, but she also is a new mom. Her boutique, Echo and Atlas, and her daughter Jordan, were both born around the same time. She is an extremely strong willed and motivated woman, so we thought we'd ask her a few questions on how she does it all!

What brought you to this point? How did you end up with this beautiful corner boutique in Chinatown?

I ended up in Chinatown after working in retail for years. I thought that I would end up working for URBN INC. In some way of another. But I decided to take a chance and open my own store and following a dream. 

-Yes! I love that you chose to give yourself and your dream a chance. That's truly beautiful.

What was your inspiration behind the name Echo and Atlas?

Well the name is actually the name of my two cats in Santa Barbara. They are still in Santa Barbara with a friend. Echo is a homebody and Atlas is constantly on an adventure he would bring me avocados and flowers in the morning before the sun came up.

Whats a little background info on you? You just had a baby and opened a boutique in the same year! I feel like that shows a little about how strong of a woman you are!

Well like everyone, there's a lot. I feel like 2016 was the most adulting year of my life and it was difficult. I think what helped prepare me for that year and still to this day is what I have had to go through in the past. I got sober at an age when people just start being a young adult. That might seem irrelevant but for me, it taught me to commit to something even when it sucks and you feel alone. You have to rely on yourself but know when to accept help. I have so much support our families. (Were sister in laws! - crazy) anyway I guess what I'm trying to communicate is that you have to draw from every lesson to get through the times you want to run away and know when to accept help. 

-Wow what an inspiration you are Julie, to be able to get through something like that and not just settle in life but to make conscious decisions daily to live your best life for you and now your daughter. 2016 was a jam packed year for you, but I have a feeling there are nothing but pink skies ahead! You also are now able to share your story and help others do the same. And so happy to be your sister in law!

Any advice for young moms who want to start a business, but aren't sure if they can do it?

Do your best to prepare yourself for success but understand and accept that there are things you don't know and won't until you're actively doing it.

-That is some solid advice, there really is no way to fully understand every aspect of running a business until you are doing it.

                                                                                        Pc: Rhema Jaime @rhemajaime

Being a business owner is tough, especially in Hawai'i, what keeps you going?

I really want to succeed for myself but also Jordan. 

When I walked into Echo and Atlas I felt very at home, everything was styled so that I immediately felt cozy and comfortable. How did you learn to create such a space?

My mom. She has an ability to transform environments and I always appreciated it from a very young age. We moved a lot and she always made us feel at home in impeccable style.

What is a piece of advice looking back now, after all you've accomplished, you'd give to your twenty year old self?

Believe in yourself. Manifest what you want and don't stress on the idea of forever. 

Echo and Atlas
@echoandatlas
1 North Hotel St
Honolulu, HI 96817

Julie wears the Roya Jumpsuit in Khaos from our Streets of Gold Collection.

Luna Oscura by Brennen Cunningham

Emily Valdez

Luna Oscura: Dark Moon

This is a collection of images shot by Brennen Cunningham. He's a local boy, born on Maui, relocated to Oahu for 8 years and then moved again to the West Coast to road trip around, and finally settle in the Bay Area. Luna Oscura portrays the balance between dark and light. Featuring Kori Pilago as the model wearing YIREH streets of Gold.
We were also able to ask Brennen some valuable questions that may help you aspiring photographers keep your drive, and continue to do what you love. We are so thankful to have been able to work with him.
Ibiza Maxi in Moonstone

What do you do, and why did you start?

I do photography which I've loved since I was young but never saw as a career when I was a kid. I was working a 9-5 in the fashion industry which got me back into dabbling with photography. Having a set schedule and paycheck was nice but it lacked creativity and I found myself missing out on so many experiences that meant a lot to me. This and having friends who are talented creatives helped me realize that if I worked as hard for myself and on my skill set as I did for my bosses, I could build my own career around the things I love. I saw photography as a perfect avenue to live a creative life and do the things I enjoy; along with absolutely loving taking photos of course.

Your Photography is beautiful, when you shoot what is it that you are trying to capture, and how do you come up with shoot concepts?

     Thank you! That means a ton. haha Everything around us is so absolutely beautiful, everywhere has its own amazing character and beauty, just like people. I really appreciate the natural beauty and unique character in things or subjects and try to capture those subtleties in the most simple and intimate ways I can.
      When it comes to shoot concepts its all about the emotion and vibe. I drive a lot and look at a lot of magazines and I'll see interesting places or concepts and those sit in my bran and I think of how to use a place or do an idea differently. This is something I definitely need to work on though.

Mudra Playsuit in Moonstone

What is it like owning your own business? Any tips for those that would like to branch out and do the same?

It's definitely tough and there are a lot of ups and downs. For a long time I had my work cut out for me and now I have to be completely self motivated. I love being busy and having a lot of work to do but when I'm busy I forget to line stuff up for the future. That's something I'm really trying to work on is keeping a more consistent work flow. It can also be financially challenging at times but it's important to remind yourself of your end goal and why you started in the first place and just keep working hard. At the end of the day it's all worth it and I am so grateful to have the freedom it allows me to have.

Leena Top in White, Pantai Short in Lux

What are your go to's in your arsenal of photography gear?

I tried to put off getting a digital camera for as long as possible but finally caved. So I have my Canon 6D which I use for most shoots. It's great and works well for what I need it to do. I've loved how versatile digitals can be and the instant gratification. I've always loved the 50mm lenses but I've really started liking the 85mm lens on this camera.
     As for what I enjoy, I basically have 2 film cameras that go everywhere with me; a Pentax k1000 which I've had since I was little and a Rollei 35. Both are super simple and relatively cheap, I'm not a believer that it takes nice gear to get great photos.

Being a creative takes a lot of energy out of you and sometimes we all lose that drive. How do you stay inspired?

Definitely. It's super easy for me to get complacent or stuck and nothing feels new around me after awhile. When this happens I try to get out of what I know and get a fresh perspective. I'll go for a walk and see a cool little nook or two strangers interacting and the beauty of that will often give me a jolt.
     I've got a great group of friends who are also creatives and seeing what they're doing or talking about new projects always lights a fire in me to create more and create better. I've also been blessed with being able to travel a lot and see new things and places and this is where I am constantly able to draw inspiration from. Coming home from a trip or even a long drive always gives me new eyes and a fresh perspective.

What are your thoughts behind this set of images with Kori, what were you trying to portray?

With this project I wanted to do something a little different for the brand and I'm thankful that Emily let me explore that. I've been wanting to shoot in the jungle for awhile now. I just love the way the sun comes through the canopy and makes these beautiful pockets of light. Kori is naturally gorgeous so I just wanted to keep the looks simple and play off the dramatic lighting coming through the trees contrasting with the darkness of the shadows.

Mahlia Maxi in Stone

Last question, any tips for aspiring photographers out there? Why they should pursue this passion?

Just shoot a lot and be critical of your own work first and foremost. Try and pin point why you like certain images more than others and do the same with what you don't like. Similarly look at other artist's work and define what you like and don't like and apply that to your work. But most importantly stay focused on what you like, have fun, work hard and enjoy what you are doing. As a photographer you have one of the most amazing gifts, to share the beauty you see in the world with the people around you, so just have fun.

Brennen Cunningham of http://www.pirateeyes.com

Photographer and Writing: Brennen Cunningham @saltyeyesofapirate
Model: Kori Pilago @korihoney
Clothing: YIREH @yireh_
Jewelry: Aoko Su @aoko_su
Styling: Emily Jaime @emilyjaime

The Details Behind Running a Small Business from Awattz

Emily Valdez

I had the honor of meeting up with Amanda from Awattz Jewelry, photographing her in her workspace, and getting to know a little more background information about the struggles and triumphs of running a small business in Hawai'i.

*How would you describe your esthetic and how many years have you had your business:

Awattz dezigns has been around since 2009.  The business began slowly as a way to keep myself busy and eventually evolved into a full time gig.  I never imagined myself becoming a jewelry designer, but sometimes you end up right where you need to be.  My designs are very color saturated, i love mixing different colors and achieving a different design.  I also make metal pieces that complement the color heavy beaded pieces. I like to have options.
 

*What does an average work day look like for you:

I usually take my time getting to the studio as I like to focus on self care in the mornings.  Otherwise life takes up most of the day and all your energy goes out into the world leaving you spent.  So i enjoy my mornings walking my dog, exercising, making a morning tonic, and spending time with my husband.  I usually make it in to the studio around 10 and start by answering email and checking social media.  The rest of the day I spend filling orders or creating new designs.  

Wow that sounds like an ideal day! It's so important to partake in self care. I find most people believe if you own your own business you just have to grind all day. So this is refreshing to hear! :)

*You are a creative, and have your own business in Hawai'i (which is extremely expenisve), owning a business is hard AF, what keeps you going?:

That’s  a great question, ha.  When things get hard I really just try to think of the alternative.  Working a 9-5 just doesn’t work for me, so I do what i have to do to be able to live this life.  Sometimes that means having a few side hustles.

Yes, 9-5's are so draining, and not good on the soul. It's inspiring to hear you'll do whatever it takes to make the business work!

_MG_1832.jpg

*What is the best and worst thing about being a jewelry designer?:

The best thing is the instant gratification.  When I have an idea I can make it tangible almost immediately.  That satisfies my impatient nature.  I wouldn’t say it’s the worst, but being creative can be challenging.  There are times that ideas don’t work or there are no new ideas at all.  That’s when I take a step back, go outside and let it go.  

*Do you have any help? Or are you a Solo Girlboss?

Currently it’s just me.  I do have amazing friends that help me out with photography, graphic design, and general support.  I am so thankful for that!

*Being in the fashion industry you know all about fast fashion and how big box stores can rip you off in a second and charge a quarter of the price. How do you stay relevant, and do you participate in the "annual fashion calendar deadlines:

When those things happen it pushes me to come up with something new.  I try to see it as motivation.  I have a hard time keeping up with the fashion calendar and I now realize it’s not beneficial to my brand.  Because fashion accessories can be produced so quickly, it doesn’t make sense to sit on a product for months.  So i am currently changing my brand strategy to reflect this revelation.

And this is what being an entrepreneur is all about. I have so much respect for that. Understanding what your brand is, and being able to change and adapt to whatever it is that will make it better. This inspires me!
 

+Did you take any classes for business, or jewelry making? Or was it more of a learn as you go thing? Would you suggest others to do so?

I’ve taken jewelry classes here and there, but I have not take any business classes.  I think it is somewhat beneficial to have a business background, or better yet, hire someone that can do it for you.

I hear ya on that. Hiring someone who has the passion to do the business part for you. In my experience, it's very hard to balance the creative and business side.
 

*What would be a valuable piece of advice, in your opinion, to give a young woman looking to start a business?

Do it!  There’s so many more avenues that are available for young entrepreneurs. But, it s not easy.  Owning your own business requires hard work and hustle.   

So, so much hard work and hustle. That cannot be stressed enough. It is not easy, but in the end if you're passionate about it, its worth it.
 

*What is your biggest inspiration moving forward with Awattz?

I am really inspired by all the amazing creatives in Honolulu.  I love collaborating with friends and that always pushes me out of my comfort zone.  And that’s where the magic happens!

*Any Awattz styling tips? Your jewelry is very bright, and fun, whats your favorite way to style your beautiful creations? 

Actually, about 90% of my wardrobe is black and white.  I rely on my jewelry to make a statement.

Designer: Amanda Watkins @awattz
Dress: YIREH Ibiza Maxi
Photos: Emily Jaime