Underwater Healer About Face Underwater Healer About Face
2017_survivorsMAP

Underwater Healer About Face in Florida!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
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I'll be in Florida from 2/10-2/15! Arriving at night on the 10th and leaving early in the morning of the 15th. Super short trip but I want to make the best out of this trip! I'm excited! Originally, I was not going to work BUT that never happened for me :) I just LOVE working with cancer survivors, sharing stories and making beautiful memories together. Les is 52 years old and was born and raised in Maryland. He lives in Florida for the last 30 years. He is a 2 time cancer survivor (skin and lung cancer) He used to go scalloping every season. He says, "One reason I want to do this, if I can be truthful, is because I'm kind of worried about getting back underwater since I have only 1 1/2 lungs and no idea how long I can hold my breath anymore. The second reason is because I haven't done anything just for me since cancer took my life and I don't have any pictures of myself! I also want to make my daughters proud :)" Amber grew up in Hot Springs Arkansas and spent time in Ketchikan Alaska as a teenager. Then she lived in Alabama for 14 years until she moved to Florida. She was diagnosed with PTSD and Colorectal Cancer. She has also been left with a colostomy bag and that is a constant pull at her feelings of beauty and causes much doubt and sadness. She says, "I hope to have the opportunity to...
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Italy Trip 2016

Travel
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We were in Italy for my dear friends' wedding in September! First, loong flight to Stockholm, Sweden first. But I know how to entertain myself....wait...SERIOUSLY!!!??? Finally arrived in Stockholm! SUGARRRR! People were so nice. Kids were playing Pokémon Go here too. We went to a jazz bar and the band was pretty awesome!! We were dancing all night! https://www.facebook.com/erena.shimoda/videos/pcb.10154497243683050/10154497222658050/?type=3&theater They were Rockin'!! Special guest, harmonica player was also a pro! Swedish people are so beautiful. In fact, they all had nice skin!! Why is that? Wine everyday? I really liked this bar and people's energy. Yes, talk to each other like it's 1995!! I still went to boy's bathroom by mistake! It was a beautiful night at Stockholm. Next morning, before we left for Italy, we had to get breakfast at this bakery! Moomin! Good bye, Stockholm~ Hello Tuscany, Italy! Arrived during the night and it was a crazy car ride!! Isabell was my roommate in SF back in.... long time ago! She rented this gorgeous house! Wedding make up is so much work!! Da daaaaa- So beautiful! I've never seen a Jewish wedding ceremony live!! Yes, he didn't land on anyone! 1000 cranes here too! Then drove to Florence... That night we left for Sardina by ferry... And we entertained ourselves with... and aaaand We arrived in Palau!   It was stormy the next day, the dive shop had to cancel our scuba trips... Arrived in Arrugelo! Octopus salad was delicious! Morning before the dives! I worked at the dive shop in the past. I...

San Diego Trip Recap!

Travel
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I’m back in San Francisco after an amazing, whirlwind trip to San Diego to shoot three beautiful and strong cancer survivors.  As you may remember, this trip included working with two tattooed mastectomy survivors in collaboration with Shane Wallin, founder of Mastectomy Tattoo! It was incredible to meet him and see his work in person. In addition, I also was blessed to document a happy couple, one of which is a two time testicular cancer survivor, expecting their first child in May! It truly was an incredible weekend. Photos are coming soon, but in the meantime please read and watch their testimonials! JUANITA SAYS: It was my father’s birthday yesterday and this is dedicated to him and all cancer survivors. My underwater photo shoot was a great experience! I felt so free, happy and relaxed - to be underwater my soul was at peace. Underwater I was able to find joy. Having this experience alongside two other survivors was incredible; I am happy I was able to share that moment with them. Erena made me feel so comfortable and at ease, she is a great photographer. I would recommend anybody who survives anything traumatic to go for it - there’s peace in the water! Also, thank you Tony and Shane, my great tattoo artists, for helping me find my “sexy” back. There is beauty after breast cancer! I am a survivor hear me roar! 

TINA SAYS: I felt it was harder than it sounds! In turn, it was more fun than...

San Diego Update: Cancer Survivor + Maternity Shoot!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
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As you read last week, I am headed to San Diego March 12 - 14 for two transformational underwater shoots. I’m excited to announce a third portrait session has been scheduled, a first for me - a lovely couple who is expecting their first child and the father-to-be is a two-time Testicular Cancer survivor! Scott and Mandy are thrilled for their upcoming photo session.  Scott, who beat Stage 4 Testicular Cancer in 1999 and Stage 2 in 2004, and Mandy, who is expecting May 15th, have many reasons to celebrate and participate in my Underwater Healer project.  They were told they had less than 1% chance to conceive.  But thanks to hope, good energy, doctors and the modern practice of IVF, Mandy is now pregnant!  A very expensive undertaking, a GoFundMe page was created and successful helped fund the expensive procedure. Mandy and Scott have expressed how excited they are for their upcoming photo shoot and what they are looking forward to the most.  Scott says: “One way I can explain the feeling of cancer was the feeling of being trapped, secluded, and confined.  I was in the hospital for weeks at a time and sometimes so confined that I couldn't get out of bed.  Only immediate family members could come in the room after they were gowned up and cleaned; much like quarantine.  The freedom, calm, and limitless possibility of movement being underwater brings me happiness and takes me so far away from the confines of cancer and those dark memories.” They both...

Headed to San Diego!

Travel
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I’m thrilled to announce I’m headed to San Diego!  From March 12th - 14th I’ll be in sunny SoCal to shoot two tattooed mastectomy survivors in collaboration with Shane Wallin, founder of Mastectomy Tattoo!  Shane leads a tattoo studio built for breast cancer survivors to reclaim what cancer has taken from them. He does an amazing job and I am so excited to work with him and two of his tattoo recipients. The first mastectomy tattoo survivor is Juanita, a San Diego native. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 in 1987 when she discovered a lump on her left breast while pregnant with her third child.  In 2010, Stage 2 breast cancer struck again, this time on her right breast.  She first saw mastectomy tattoos on Pink Ink Fund.  She was so happy to see pictures of tattoos covering the scars of surgery she cried.  She was joyful to know there is beauty after breast cancer. Juanita wants to participate in an underwater portrait shoot to help her mentally and physically cleanse her soul. She now knows there is beauty after breast cancer and wants to let women, men and children of all nationalities know there is hope and peace within. She dedicates her shoot to all woman who have battled breast cancer, especially those who died fighting.  She says, “Cancer breaks you down in all kinds of ways, but if you are strong we can conquer anything” and I agree!  I can’t wait to meet...

How We Can Heal Maui Yoga Retreat 2016 Recap

Travel
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I can’t believe the How We Can Heal Maui Yoga Retreat has come and gone!  I had an amazing time of relaxation and meditation with a wonderful group of people.  We laughed so much this past week - we all have amazing memories that we have taken home.  In fact, we had so much fun we forgot to take yoga pictures!  But have no fear, we did take underwater portraits!  You saw a few sneak peeks earlier this week on Facebook (see below!), stay tuned for more! I wanted to share feedback I received from two of the retreat participants.  It warms my heart to hear I have made a difference in someone’s life and also confirms I am on the right path with my work.  Feedback is critical and I am so thankful for their kind words! First is Participant A, who had a strong fear of water. Notice, I said had! :) “I was very apprehensive about the underwater photography session because I've always had a very strong fear of having my head under water. Erena has a wonderful gentle, beautiful spirit that touched me and helped me want to try to face and overcome my fear. I've come back to the yoga retreat for 3 years--and getting to work with Erena to face my fear was a major part of why I wanted to keep coming to Lumeria.  I Just finished my third year and I had so much fun in the water-- and more importantly, I feel so...
survivor_katie1

Last Call for How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat in Maui!

Travel
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It’s hard to believe December is here!  As this year comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking of what next year will bring.  I encourage you to enter 2016 with a healing start and sign up to join me in Maui for the How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat before it sells out! Held January 18-22, this year marks the fifth anniversary of the annual yoga retreat with Lisa Danylchuk, a Psychotherapist, yogini and educator who works as a trauma therapist in The San Francisco Bay Area.  Hosted at the Lumeria Retreat Center, you will spend 5 days focusing on finding rest and relaxation to form a greater connection with yourself.  Registration covers all classes, 3 daily meals and double accommodations. Everyday begins with energizing vinyasa yoga practice and in the evening we end with yin, a restorative practice and meditation lead by Lisa.  Each day focuses on a different series of poses, natural element, psycho-spiritual theme and includes a sprinkle of Hawaiian dance and language.  Her wonderful classes help mitigate the impact of extreme stress we face in our daily lives.  The time in between classes is yours to enjoy as you wish.  Lumeria offers beautiful contemplative spaces, salt water pools, hot tubs and farm to table dining.  Hiking, swimming, surfing and more are all just steps away.  The retreat focuses on filling your soul with healing and joyful experiences.  Everyone brings some of the island peace home. There is a special added bonus for attending - I will...
survivor_brian0

Announcing The How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat 2016 in Maui!

Travel
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Announcing The How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat 2016 in Maui! I’m excited to announce the How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat January 18 - 22, 2016 in beautiful, serene Maui.  Join us for healing yoga sessions that can help ease trauma and PSD, group underwater portrait photography by me, nutritious and delicious food and lovely people.  Yogini and psychotherapist Lisa Danylchuk has spent over 15 years helping others overcome their traumas, coping with stress and finding your inner joy.  The retreat aims to enable building skills and a resilient sense of self navigating through the difficult emotions related to stressful events.  Last year was very successful, you can read about it and see photos here. If this is something that interests you, I urge you not to wait!  Early bird pricing of $1695 ends on Oct. 30th.  It includes all activities, double lodging and 3 meals a day.  You can reserve your spot with a deposit of $500.  Now is also an excellent time to book January flights, so what are you waiting for?!  Also, if you are interested in a private underwater shoot while at the retreat they are available and at a discounted price! Spots will sell out and last year was such a wonderful time that I encourage you to attend.  You can sign up here.  Feel free to shoot Lisa or me any questions you may have.  We look forward to seeing you in Maui in January!  And stay tuned for details on an upcoming Apple Store...

Palm Springs Trip Report

about, Travel, Underwater Healer About Face, uw portrait
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Palm Springs Trip Report September 18-20, 2015 Underwater Healer About Face in Palm Springs! This is my first time traveling to Palm Springs! I was super excited to find out about this new place! A little about PS trip: A 3 time cancer survivor and my good friend Nancy is one of the supporters for this project. When I approached her for this year's photos shoot, she was happy to do it! But she wanted to pay her own session and take me to her best friend, Don's house in Palm Springs because he has a beautiful pool! And I can reach out to other survivors. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Nancy!   I can't believe she designed this house!! http://www.homteamdesign.com/modern1--palm-springs-ca.html 今月は忙しい日々が続きました!これからパルムスプリングスで3人のサバイバーと水中撮影をしにいってきます。今回のアバウトフェイスの旅は少し違って、 3人の中の一人は私の親友なんです。3回のがんから克服したとてもパワフルなファイターです。今年の水中撮影プロジェクトの誘ったとき、自分の分は払いた いと言ってきました。しかもパルムスプリングに住んでいる彼女のベストフレンドの家のオリンピックサイズプールでやりたいとの事。私の飛行機代も払ってく れました。彼女は私にもっと他のサバイバーに会えるようにと願ってお金をきふしてくれたんです。この家は彼女がベストフレンドの為にデザインしたそうです。本当映画にでてくるような家でした Beautiful friends, delicious dinner, tasty drinks and full of love! It's my dream land to wake up and swim everyday... Photo shoots with beautiful survivors went really well! Photos are coming soon! DATES!! I bought dates from Palm Springs for my co-workers! They are so...

Boston Trip Report

about, art show, Travel, Underwater Healer About Face, uw portrait
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Boston Trip Report This was my Boston office for few days!! I'm missing it! I met Chien-Chi, a breast cancer survivor at 7:30-8:30am We connected in the water instantly! I met Katie at 8:30-9:30. She had her own mermaid tail from Hawaii! She did a beautiful job in the water! I met Kim at 9:30-10:30. She was nervous at first but look at this! She looks so natural! ' Next day, I had a presentation at Apple Store on Boylston street. I was super nervous as always. I had a different speaking coach this time and I practiced a lot before I left for Boston! The event was successful! It was the most emotional and impactful presentation I've ever had! It was so nice to hear everyone talking about this project. My heart was full with happiness!     I made these cranes for Boston people to wish them good luck and feel better. Next day, I had a maternity photo shoot with Vicky and Charles. They came from NY to support for my project. They helped me so much when I had a ABOUT FACE project in NY in 2013 We had lunch at The Neighborhood Restaurant in Somerville. I came here twice and I really liked it! I was recommended to go to Spanish restaurant, Dali. I was introduced to delicious wince, La Cana. I stopped by at this normal looking Sushi place. AND they were amazing!! So fresh! I always walked by at this local bar with bunch of alcoholics at...