ina+tee : my wedding necklace

in honor of mother’s day today…

i love this picture that christine chang photography captured of my mom helping me put on my necklace.  not just because she captured the moment so well, but because there is so much meaning behind the necklace itself.


the necklace chain was a gift my late grandmother (my mom’s mom) gave to me before she passed.  my grandmother was a big part of my life growing up and i wanted to wear that necklace on my special day to honor her.


the necklace pendant is the same exact one my mom wore on her wedding day.


it’s easy to see from this picture, where i get my smile and my laugh from.  🙂


happy mother’s day, mom!  
thank you for the joy and laughter you bring to my life and those around you.

xo, ina

ina+tee : wedding jewelry by april kawaoka

so much of our wedding that i have shared so far has been stationery related.  however, today, i want to showcase something a little different.  the jewelry and the amazing woman behind them, my best girlfriend and partner in crime, april kawaoka.

tee and i have known april for 15 years.  she’s been there since the start of it all and we knew that she would be “the one” to create our wedding bands.


i always like to pick up a piece of jewelry when i travel as my little souvenir.  when tee and i traveled to Costa Rica for the first time 10 years ago, i bought a sterling silver ring.  i told april that it would be pretty cool if we could incorporate the design of my Costa Rica ring into my wedding band.  so that was the inspiration behind my ring.  the curve in the design lent itself real nicely to mold with the shape of my vintage engangement ring.  it’s almost as if the two ring designs we’re made for each other.


tee was pretty excited when he knew that he could have april make pretty much anything for him in the form of a ring.  only problem with that is, it left tee with endless possibilities!  in the end, tee decided on a two tone brushed ring in the form of white and yellow gold, with a high polish look on the inside.


i think it’s rare that wedding bands can have as much meaning behind them as ours and to have someone that means so much to us hand make them, makes them priceless.


we also asked april to make our entire wedding party thank you gifts, which we presented to them at our rehearsal dinner.



bracelets for the ladies and tie clips for the gents.


each bracelet and tie clip was also hand stamped on the back side and personalized for each person.



for mine, we customized it a bit more by doing a gold chain with the sterling silver so that it would be a little different from the rest.  i love that april uses such unique jewelry box packaging as well!


april will be at Unique L.A. May 9th & 10th.  come by and visit her if you’re free.  or if you prefer to shop at home, you can visit her Etsy shop.

p.s. may 10th is mother’s day so you can always swing by and pick up a piece of jewelry for the mamas in your life!

photo credit: christine chang photography & april kawaoka

day 25 – #dailysoul


“handmade earrings & card… love my friend’s thoughtful & generous heart”

if you follow my blog, you’ll know how amazing my friend april is.  my best girlfriend, partner in crime, and yoga buddy is also an amazing artist & jeweler.  in completion of our 108 sun salutations she gave me a new pair of her latest handmade earring design (which i secretly wanted) and this sweet little card she watercolored.  we’ve been friends for about 14 years now and her thoughtful and generous heart just seems to grow more and more with each passing year.

make sure you check out april’s website to see her amazing work and etsy shop for original jewelry designs.

to learn more about the #dailysoul challenge, click here.

hello my name is…


pronounced, ee-ray-nuh

whether at starbucks or a restaurant, when asked for my name, a part of me has always wanted to just make up a common everyday name.  a name that people would get immediately, know how to spell, say and write.  however, my conscious takes over me and i end up saying my real name, because somehow i feel like they’ll know i’m lying if i say anything other than irena.  even though, clearly they wouldn’t and probably don’t even care.

but i guess in the back of my mind, i do.  i care.  i like my name and i’m proud of it.  it’s unique like me, and plus, why should i pretend i’m someone else?

so even though my starbucks orders will always end up looking like this 98% percent of the time…


once in a blue moon, i meet someone that falls in the 2% category and gets it juuuust right! without having to ask me twice or how to spell it, they scribble my name down and when i grab for my coffee and see it spelled correctly, i just smile.  real big.  yay!!!


name necklace pictured above is by the amazing, april kawaoka.

support japan

my best girlfriend and favorite jeweler, april kawaoka, has created these amazing tribute pieces to support the relief efforts in japan from the march 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters. half of the sales to these pieces will go to the american red cross to help aid japan.  visit her blog post for more information and details.

please visit april’s Etsy shop,, to make your purchase and help support japan.

like i’ve said before, i believe that a kind heart will inspire many more.