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Ewa Beach Family Photographer | First Family Christmas

Ewa Beach Family Photographer | First Family Christmas 

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from a dad looking to have photos taken in Ewa Beach for their family Christmas cards. After speaking with him for a little while, I discovered this was his first Christmas with his new family. He was so proud of his new wife and daughter and wanted to celebrate their new little family. Not only would this be their first Christmas together, but also their last Christmas on Oahu, before moving back to the mainland early next year.


One thing that really caught my attention when we met with them at the beach, was how very much this dad loved his little girl. You would never know he was a step-dad. She clung to him like he was the only dad she had ever known. You could see how very much she loved him. We were able to get some amazing photos of their new little family and some that I know they will be able to treasure forever.


mother and father playing with daughter at the beach

family standing together on a beachlittle girl in green dress at the beach


husband and wife holding each other laughing

husband and wife at sunsetChristmas card with family on it


Oahu Family Photographer: Debbie Leanne Photography
Time of Day: Evening
Need a Family Portraits? Make sure you book early as we book up fast. For more information on booking your Oahu Family Portrait with us, please click here: CONTACT US
For more family portraits, click here.
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Local Business of the Week – Aunty Angel’s Mobile Pet Service

This week’s business spotlight is perfect for the upcoming holiday season for those of you who are traveling; Aunty Angel’s Mobile Pet Service! If you have furry family members and you work outside of the home or travel frequently, chances are you’ve had to seek pet care options at some point or another. And sometimes, the neighbor or a family member isn’t quite who you’re looking for to take care of your beloved pet. With the holidays approaching, and many of us flying off island to spend time with friends and family, we can’t all take our four legged family members with us. That is where Belen Angel (Aka Aunty Angel) comes into it! As you will see today, Belen is more than just a dog walker or a dog sitter, she offers families the peace of mind to go to work or travel without having to worry about their babies back at home.

Dog with woman

Me: So how did you get started in your pet service business?

Belen: When we first moved to Hawaii, it was really hard for me to find services for our dogs. Now of course being from the veterinary industry, I am very prejudice to the services that I choose and it was very hard for me to find good quality service for my own dogs over here on the Westside of Oahu. Everything that is really good quality, you have to drive downtown to and I felt like there was a need for good services on this side of the island.

Me: So what kind of services do you provide?

Belen: I provide in home pet sitting and dog walking. In home pet sitting involves me coming to your home a couple of times a day or for over night sits depending on what is needed for the animal to stay in its home environment. Dog walking is really a mid day service, where I come to your home while you are at work. I come in between the hours of 11am and 1pm and we go for a little walk. The walking is on a regular basis or an as-needed basis, depending on the clients needs. I also offer pet training. Pet training is basically puppy and dog obedience, as well as puppy socialization. So any time anybody gets a new puppy, I offer classes for them to attend. There are 8 puppies enrolled in a class at any given time and we meet one night a week at a local park and you learn how to train your puppy. Socialization makes better pets. Better pets makes happier owners. Same thing with dog obedience classes, except this is for the older dogs. A little bit harder and more intense training for the older animals, simply because, just like us, they are more set in their ways.

Me: So you can teach an old dog new tricks?

Belen: You can teach an old dog new tricks, yes, it just may take longer!

Me: What kind of experience do you have that qualifies you to offer these services to pet owners?

Belen: My background is in animal health care. When I was 16, I started working at an all feline practice where I cleaned cages, set up exam rooms, held the animals for the veterinarian, and received a lot of knowledge about the industry from those around me. I attended Murray State University, where I got my degree in Animal Health Technology, which gave me even more knowledge towards all kinds of animals, both large and small. After college I became certified as a veterinary technician and I have worked in that field for a little over 20 years.

Me: What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had?

Belen: The most interesting job I’ve had is what you would call a milk maid! I worked in a diary milking facility in college, where I had to round up the 450 head of cattle, get them through the milking barn and then of course clean up afterwards.

Me: What makes your business unique?

Belen: My business is unique because there are not a lot of services here, on this side of the island. What sets me apart from other pet services is that I bring all the medical experience with me that I have learned over the years. A lot of pet sitters are doing what they’re doing because they love pets, but they don’t have the experience I have with animals. They have simply moved into pet sitting because they are tired of their corporate jobs. I come into the business with not only the love of pets, but also the ability and knowledge to care for them.

Me: What kind of community involvement does your business have?

Belen: Right now, I am volunteering with the Hawaiian Humane Society and I have a unique position because I am on their clinical staff. This isn’t a place where most volunteers are able to work. But simply because I have the medical background that I have, I am able to work there. I am hoping to bring some kind of community over to the Westside of Oahu in some capacity, to really promote adoption verses puppy mill and issues like that.

Me: When was a time you feel you made a difference in a clients life by providing them with the services you do?

Belen: I would have to say my most recent service with a client. Her dog, a dachshund, is well loved but he is very particular. He likes his home and doesn’t necessarily like visitors in his home. He  also doesn’t like to go into a boarding facility where other animals will be. So the owner was gone for about 10 days, and not only was she out of state, but out of country. I gave her the ability to be assured that her dog was in good hands while she travelled. That he was happy and comfortable in his own home. I was able to send her photos to reassure her of these things as well so she could just enjoy her trip and not worry if he was being fed, watered or played with while she was gone.

Me: What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?

Belen: My proudest moment was honestly just opening my doors, establishing myself and starting to put my name out there. Now I can say, “I am a small business owner. Here’s my business.”

Me: If you had one piece of advice for somebody starting out in this field of work, what would it be?

Belen: For somebody starting out in this field, I would say you have to start out with some sort of animal health knowledge. You can’t take on the grand task of taking over somebody’s four legged family member’s health care expecting to be able to take care of them just because you like pets. You need to have knowledge in how to care for them. This isn’t just for the pets either, this is to protect you, too! You need to know signs of aggression in different breeds. You need to know when a dog is going to bite you and how you can avoid it. Animals aren’t going to verbally tell you they don’t like you. Another thing that I think is very important in this field, you need to understand it is the owners that pay you! It’s not the pet! You can’t go into this business because you like pets, but not really like humans. I can tell you this, in all my years of doing my job and all the animals I have healed and helped, they have rewarded me in many ways, but it has never rewarded me with money. You have to like the people and be able to work with the pet owners just as much as the animals.

Me: Is there anything else you want the readers to know about Aunty Angel’s Pet Service before we go onto more personal questions?

Belen: Yes, that I am bonded and insured. I also hold a first aid CPR certification for pets. and honestly, just that I have a very vast knowledge of the medical side of animals.

Me: And how can clients get a hold of you?

Belen: They can get a hold of me from my website, where you can fill out a contact form or find my phone number and call me. They can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram @auntyangelspets

Aunty Angel's Pet Service
Photos provided by Belen Angel

Me: If you have a friend or family member coming to Hawaii for the first time what is the one thing you recommend they do?

Belen: I know it’s going to sound kind of cliche, but go to a luau. They are truly a celebration of a lot of the Hawaiian traditional all in the one location.

Me: When you aren’t running your business, where can we find you or what can we find you doing?

Belen: Haha, when I’m not running my business, I’m running my kids!

Me: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Belen: You know, I always go back to something my father used to say all the time, and that is, when you meet people, you are going to like them based on things they do for you or things they don’t do for you. You are never going to not like somebody because of the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the house they live in or the cars they drive. You are going to like somebody because of the way they treat you. I have always stood by that.

Me: Do you have a favorite book?

Belen: I don’t have a favorite book because I am an avid reader, but I have a favorite author; James Patterson.

Me: Do you have a favorite movie?

Belen: Actually it’s one that our family watches over and over, and that’s Blindside.

Me: What is your favorite drink?

Belen: Coffee! It’s something I start my day off with every day and look forward to enjoying.

So now that you’ve learned a little more about Belen and the services she offers, please think of her next time you are heading out of town and need to leave your furry family member at home or in boarding while you are gone. Or if you, or anyone you know works all day out of the home and wants your four-legged love one looked in on and taken care of during the day.

Aunty Angel's Pet Service

Belen Angel

Aunty Angel’s Mobile Pet Services

T: 808. 772.3705



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Family session – Ewa Beach | Oahu Family Photographer

I don’t know what it is about when the husband calls to schedule a photographic experience for their family. Let’s be honest, most of the time, men are dragged along to photo sessions with their families. It is very rarely ever their idea. In fact, it is often the very last thing they actually want to do with their day. Sure, they love their family and they want to be in the photos (most of the time) but for the most part, this isn’t fun for them. They would much rather be at work…or the dentist haha. However, when I receive a phone call from the husband, I know their attitude is going to be completely different. I know they are interested and I know they are going to be a willing participant. When the husband calls and we start to talk about this family, I receive some incredible information. They will go into all sorts of detail about their relationship with their wife and children and the meaningful things they want photographed so they can remember forever. So when Patrick called, I knew it was going to be a fabulous session.

Husband and wife dancing on the beach
Mother and son on the beachFather and son on the beachhusband and wife on the beach in HawaiiHusband and wife on the beach in Hawaii

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Local Business of the Week – Mālama Momma

This week’s business spotlight is a woman I met 3 years ago. She impressed me then with her vast knowledge and passion for what she does, and she continues to impress me today.

Jenna was born and raised on the North Shore of O’ahu and after marrying her husband Brad, they moved to his home country of New Zealand where they lived for 7 years. They grew their little family with two beautiful daughters before moving back to Oahu in 2013. Around this time, Jenna was introduced to doTerra oils and began her families journey into health and wellness. Jenna is also a trained doula and owner of Mālama Momma. Without further introduction, meet Jenna Clarke, from Mālama Momma!

Malama Momma
Photo provided by Jenna Clarke

Me: How did you get started in doTerra Oils and how long have you been using them?

Jenna: I had them shared with me about 3 1/2 years ago by a friend. Then, when I came home to Hawaii, exactly 3 years ago, I had a very compelling experience with them and I literally went running to my friend and said “I need to learn more. These are miraculous.” So I went to my very first class with her and ordered my first bundle of oils. She was super sweet and introduced me to the business opportunity, even though she knew I had a professional career. She basically just did what she is taught to do in this business model, and that is to make sure she shares it with others. And at first my response was, “Oh, you’re so sweet, but I ‘m not interested.” But she invited me to some social informational evenings and I was so impressed with the business model and with the women that were creating financial freedom and time freedom here in Hawaii. I was at a point in our lives where my youngest daughter was 5 months old and I was going to take time off to be with her anyway. I came home that night and said to my husband, “If they can do this, I can do this!” And the rest is history.

Me: How many people do you currently have in your team?

Jenna: Gosh, we just had 43 new members join this month. We have about 560 people on our team at the moment and they span the globe, from Western Australia, all the way to Maryland and The Netherlands.

Me: How has essential oils changed your life?

Jenna: For us it has been a complete ninety degree turn towards what we believe is optimal health and optimal wellness. Brad and I already didn’t like to take medication and we already ate fairly well, we were Foodies. And as a rule, Foodies eat well, but they also eat a lot of cheese, breads, meats and lots of wine. But now we are doing more whole, pure foods. Learning what they can do for our bodies and learning about what we know intuitively from my professional background in public health, which is all about prevention rather than cure. Now we are able to live out, and work our lives around our beliefs and philosophies of wellness. And it has been a complete shift to know that plant based medicine really does work. It has totally empowered us because we have all the tools we need. We haven’t been to the doctors for an illness or taken over the counter medications for over 3 1/2 years.

Me: Tell me a time when you feel you made the most impact on a client’s life because of doTerra.

Jenna: Oh my goodness! How do I pick the best story? Ok, so the one that comes to mind the most is my friend, who is now a business partner, because her life was transformed by doTerra Oils. She came to a class of mine about 2 1/2 years ago and she was at her wits end. Her husband was home from work, he’s a hospice nurse in Texas and he came home to Hawaii. He was on the couch for about 9 months in excruciating pain and they didn’t know what to do. He’s a retired Army Officer and Tripler was pumping him with all kinds of narcotics because he was having such bad migraines and was in so much pain that he couldn’t get off the couch. She came to this class and just knew this was what was going to change their life. She bought the Home Essentials Kit with the defuser and all the key oils. I said to her, “Why don’t I just come and do a zyto scan for him”, (which measures our biochemical markers and figures out which oils we need to bring our body back into alignment?) Because I am an aroma touch technique practitioner, I offered to go and do that for him as well as use the zyto scanner. So I went to their house and figured out what oils he needed for what was going on in his body and I gave him the aroma touch. Within a couple of days, he went from a 10 to a 7 on the pain scale just by using the few basic oils she had first ordered, and then when we implemented a couple of the specific oils he had registered for on the zyto scan, he went from a 7 to a 3, and this is literally over a course of days, after months and months of being in pain. Then he went from a 3 to off the couch, totally functioning and went back to work. And their story is just so amazing. It restored their marriage. It restored his health. And it brought such healing. And now they use the oils on a daily basis.

Me: Which oil do you sell the most of?

Jenna: Well it’s hard to say because some of them come in a combination, but probably the Home Essentials Kit, with the free diffuser is the most popular thing ordered.

Me: So, if you had to choose, which oil can you not live without?

Jenna: Actually that’s a hard one. I love the aroma of Balance. That is my favorite. But if I had to choose one that I couldn’t live without, it would have to be Frankincense because that covers a few of my favorite oils, like Balance and it’s like OnGuard in that it boosts immunity and fixes things.

Malama Momma
Photo provided by Jenna Clarke

Me: So when you aren’t running your doTerra Business, where can we find you? 

Jenna: Hiking or at the beach, or hanging out playing board games with friends and drinking wine.

Me: What is your favorite thing to do that you can’t do anywhere else than Hawaii?

Jenna: So this is my favorite thing about Hawaii, being able to wear a bathing suit and go to the beach 365 days a year if we want to. Even in New Zealand you need to be cautious during the summer time because the weather is so intense and changes so quickly. You’re either burning up or you’re freezing. You can get all four seasons in a day. Where as in Hawaii there isn’t very much variation in the weather.

Me: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Jenna: Probably to put God first in all that we do. My faith is an integral part of who I am as a wife and a mom, so I think it would be to make sure you put God first in all things.

Me: So where is you favorite place to eat here on Island? 

Jenna: The Beet Box Cafe in Haleiwa and then my favorite happy hour/evening place is the Monkey Pod in Kapolei.

Me: What is your favorite book?

Jenna: Right now, my new favorite book is “The War of Art.” I don’t have one that I keep reading over and over. I always just default to the latest one I’ve read.

Me: What is your favorite movie?

Jenna: One that I can watch all the time, and I don’t know why I like it, but it’s “The Devil Wears Prada.” If you were to just throw something on, I never get sick of that movie. I could watch it over and over.

So, if you or anyone you know who may be suffering from ailments and would love to be off their medications, feel free to contact Jenna and ask about her free consultation. Or follow her on Facebook at Malama Momma for her most up to date announcements.

Jenna Clarke

Mālama Momma

T: (808) 597-0593


Malama Momma
Photo provided by Jenna Clarke
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Oahu Corporate Photographer | Hulali Kai Realty

Welcome to the new weekly blog post highlighting local businesses on Oahu!

One thing I love to do is meet new people. And when I meet new people who own businesses, I want to get to know them more. And when I get to know them more, I want to refer them to friends and family, so you too, can meet incredible people. When I was thinking about doing these blog posts, I thought about how one thing can lead to another, which leads to another, which leads to another. Those “things” could be anything. Opportunities. Friendships, Business. Help. You just never know where anything will end up when you meet someone new. Kind of like the book, “If you give a mouse a cookie”, oh the adventures that can be had!

These blogposts will highlight a particular business here on Oahu. Each business owner is someone I have met personally, done business with, or have spent a lot of time with getting to know them as a person and entrepreneur. They are people I would not only be happy to do business with, but also people I would call my friends. Each one of these men and women have invested into my life and/or business over the past few years and I want to take some time to say THANK YOU. Each week I will highlight one person or business and ask them a series of questions so you can get to know them a little more intimately.

This week’s local business owner is Jill Federizo, Principal Broker and Realtor at Hulali Kai Realty. I have known Jill for just over two years and she has been a great resource for real estate knowledge in both commercial and residential properties. So sit back, grab a coffee and get to know Jill a little bit better.

Real Estate Agent Head Shots
Photo by Debbie Leanne

Me: How long have you been in business and what made you choose Real Estate?

Jill: This is my 10th year in the Real Estate business. I was working at a law firm that was focused on commercial litigation, property foreclosures,  and construction, so I was involved in some development aspects of law, but I would have rather been outside working with people.

Me: How long did it take you to make that transition?

Jill: Let’s see…the transition was pretty easy. I was with this company for maybe 3 years and when I first started as a realtor, I started in commercial real estate for another 3 years doing sales and leasing. Then I worked at Locations for another 3 years and then the last 4 years I have been on  my own with Hulali Kai Realty.

Me: How did you come up with the name Hulali Kai Realty?

Jill: It means, “The suns reflection on the water.” I used to paddle board in the morning and the sun’s reflection on the water was always very peaceful to me while I was out there. I was very drawn to it. So I asked a friend who was fluent in Hawaiian what a loose translation of that would be and I wanted to incorporate it into my business name.

Me: How many employees do you currently have?

Jill: We have 7 agents that are working with me right now.

Me: What is your favorite part of the business?

Jill: Definitely being able to help families get into a home so they can see their dreams come true. It gives them hope. Being a home owner changes their life. I love that. And as far as the business side of it, I like to be able to solve problems. I am out and about a lot in the community and I can see how things change and move and grow. I’ve watched Kapolei grow for the past 16 years and it has changed so much. But this is where most of my business is. Even though I am Island wide, I know Kapolei. It’s my home.

Me: What is your favorite part about having a business in Hawaii?

Jill: Oh gosh, the opportunities for growth. Hawaii has a really strong real estate market. Because our inventory is typically low, I have some job security. Plus, I love where I live. I like to surf, I like to be outside. I believe in the people and I love the culture, all of that. I am lucky to live here. It definitely makes for an interesting day.

Me: How do you connect with your clients?

Jill: I get to know who they are as individuals. I look for common interests that I would have. A lot of the people I meet are in my natural environment, like if I am golfing, if I’m surfing, or if I am out at food and wine events. I meet people naturally who have similar interests as me and that way there is already an instant rapport there. My business is 95% referral based, at this time, as I don’t do any advertising. So rapport is huge.

Me: What is the one thing you do to celebrate when you have closed a deal/had a great day?

Jill: I always like to give my clients a gift and celebrate them first, because that was the goal. The second thing for myself, is buy something for my kids, or buy myself a nice bottle of wine!

Me: If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out in real estate, what would it be?

Jill: Don’t give up. Be true to yourself and what you are doing. And also, make sure you have a genuine interest in people because if you focus on your clients and their goals, yours will all fall into place.

Me: What do you do when you aren’t selling homes?

Jill: I am usually surfing, spending time with my kids, drinking wine, enjoying life, or watching sunsets. I love being outside and being active, very active.

Mother with her teenage children on the beach in Hawaii
Photos courtesy of Jill Federizo

Me: When you have a client who isn’t from Hawaii, what is the first thing you recommend they do?

Jill. Visit the beaches. I share with them the things that I love and the beaches or hikes I think they will enjoy.

Me: Do you have a favorite beach?

Jill: My favorite beaches are on the east side, like Sandy Beach or Makapu’u. Obviously White Plains is a beach that is a lot more family friendly, and you can’t beat Yokohama Bay or Makaha. They are all beautiful.

Me: What is the best advice you have ever received?

Jill: The best advice I ever got was probably from my parents, “Be genuine and sincere in business and true to yourself.”

Me: What is your favorite kind of music?

Jill: I like all kinds of music, an eclectic mix of reggae, ska, pop and jazz.

Me: And finally, what is your favorite wine?

Jill: I am a Napa Cabernet kinda girl, but love an old world French wine as well.

Now that you know a little more about Jill, keep her in mind if you have any Real Estate questions or know of any friends or family looking to buy, rent or possibly open up a commercial property. Thanks Jill, I look forward to enjoying a delicious glass of Napa Cabernet with you soon.

Jill Federizo

Hulali Kai Realty

T: (808) 218-8631


Real Estate Agent Head Shots
Photos by Debbie Leanne
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Oahu Family Photographer | Choosing life against the odds

Oahu Family Photographer | Choosing life against the odds


Have you ever wondered what you would do to be in a situation where you had to decide on life or death? Would you choose life? Would you do whatever it takes to give this young life a chance? Most of us have never been in this kind of situation before and will never be during our lives. However, a few weeks ago we received an email from a mom interested in finding out a little more information about the organization, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. There are usually only 2 reasons you want to find out information about us.

1. You want to volunteer your time as a photographer or

2. You have a baby that has passed away, or about to pass away.

Unfortunately, Tina was the latter.

Mosaic Trisomy 13

At 15 weeks gestation, Tina and Jayson found out their little boy was diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 13, a diagnoses not compatible with life. At 33 weeks, she contacted us to see if it would be possible for her birth to be photographed while at her final ultrasound of Finn. The doctors at Tripler were very welcoming and allowed us to be in the room for the ultrasound before her scheduled c-section. Although the genetic testing blood work had come back showing that Finn had Mosaic Trisomy 13, every ultrasound, and other test Tina had done, did not show any abnormality and the doctors couldn’t find anything else wrong with him. However, Tina and Jayson were told they would not know anything definitively until after Finn was born, thinking he may still have a neurological defect.

The doctors were not able to say if Finn would live a day, a week, a month….

pregnant belly and ultrasound photo of baby's face


It was such a pleasure photographing Tina as she watched little Finn up on the screen. The room was dark and small. Tears flowed from the corner of  Tina’s eyes periodically throughout the ultra sound. Not knowing the outcome of Finn’s future weighed heavily on her.  She was so calm and collected, treasuring every little glimpse she got of his precious life up on the screen. Tina and Jayson knew that no matter what the future held, they would chose life for their little boy. They would hold him, kiss him, love on him and when and if the time came, they would let him go.

Pregnant mom getting an ultrasound of her baby

On baby’s schedule.

As we all know, babies have their own time table. They never abide by the calendar we’ve set for them. Even though Finn was scheduled to be delivered on July 15th, doctors put Tina into hospital on July 7th, and scheduled Finn’s c-section for the following morning. I was on Maui, working with a client and was unable to get back for the delivery. Here in lies the amazing thing about working within a professional network of other photographers. I was able to contact several birth photographers here on Oahu, who stepped up and volunteered to photograph the birth, even though they had never worked with NILMDTS before. It is now that I would now like to welcome you to head on over to Lydia Stemke’s blog, to read about Finn’s birth and the amazing story that follows.

Pregnant mom getting an ultrasound of her baby

Oahu Family Photographer: Debbie Leanne Photography
Location: Tripler Army Medical Hospital

To see more posts on Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, click here