Insta year in review | Best of 2019

DANG was 2019 a year!! I started the year off with my annual winter adventure trip and I hit the ground running when I got back home to Hawaii. I flew to all of the major Hawaiian islands almost every single month for weddings, elopements and portrait sessions, and to the mainland for weddings, portraits and personal adventures. It seems like 2019 was over in the blink of an eye! Luckily I documented quiiiite a bit of personal and work adventures over on my Instagram. So today I bring you my 2019 year in review via my fav (and your fav) photos from my Instagram feed.

JANUARY 24 – SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
I love to trade my surfboard in for my snowboard! This year I spend a week in Santa Fe where I had one of the best weeks of my snow lovin’ life!

FEBRUARY 6 – LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA
Do I travel for portraits? Heck yes I do! I flew to San Diego and Tiffany and Henal flew in from San Francisco for a beautiful sunrise engagement session in La Jolla. I will be photographing their wedding in 2020! See more.

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My first 2020 couple engagement session – and it was in La Jolla! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Tiffany and Henal flew in from San Fransisco and I drove down from LA to meet them for their cliffside engagement session. On this particular the weekend, bright and sunny California decided to send us a curve ball with a weekend full of rain. We saw a little break in the rain for a sunrise session, and thaaaankfully we all made it up in time because the rain clouds provided for some awesome lighting during the sunrise! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photographing while traveling can be difficult – you can't always reschedule! I had a few backup plans for us if it started to pour, and of course you always have the option to go for a rainy romantic scene straight out of The Notebook!

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FEBRUARY 8 – HALEIWA, HAWAII
I was back in Hawaii,  but feeling awfully nostalgic about my travels. I wish there were like…   100 Chelseas to be in all places at once!

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One of my favorite things about traveling is that I learn so much about myself. Sometimes I learn awesome things like, hey I can drive up and down a mountain in a snow storm by myself. I do it reaaaaal slow, but guess what?? I can do it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Sometimes I learn harder lessons like….. wow I am ungrateful for so many things that I have. YIKES, we're going there. Yep. Spilling my guts on the internet because I think we are all guilty of this. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Complaining is human nature, but I'll be the first to admit that I do a lot of it. Just because I know that it's the "grass is always greener" syndrome doesn't mean I always remember to water my own grass. Sometimes it means I am so taken out of the moment, thinking of the things I don't have when daaaamn do I have a lot! I think we all do this – compare ourselves, living situation, job, everything under the sun, to other people and things. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I didn't come into 2019 with a resolution, I just wanted to kick ass at my business and invest more time into my hobbies. So what if it's February, I'm making it my resolution now. I want to bitch less, be grateful more, and water the heck out of my garden. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you can relate to this, don't leave me hanging. Let me know in the comments!

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FEBRUARY 27 – MOKULEIA, HAWAII
This was one of my favorite engagement sessions of the year – literally people texted me that had never met this couple and said it made them so happy. One of my friends, who again has never met this couple, said it even brought her to tears because it was so full of joy. Is it weird that I want people to cry out of happiness with my photos? Caaauuuse I do! See more.

APRIL 22 – PORTLAND, OREGON
Remember when I said I went to Oregon for a wedding? Their first look was inside of a greenhouse and OMG was it what my plant lovin’ dreams are made of! See more.

MAY 3 – WAIMEA CANYON
Dream location – CHECK! This Kauai elopement at the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” was nothing short of Epic! See more.

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Hey business folks – Are you sick of the algorithm? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Not me 🤷🏻‍♀️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ While IG has been amazing for my business, most of my inquiries come from organic search results through my website. No matter what changes Instagram makes, I'm not stressing. That's why my upcoming workshops with @elevateandcreatehawaii are all about driving organic traffic to your business, through your website and blog. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These are topic specific, hands on workshops where you leave with an elevated business, and something you created yourself. Get it?? I'm so clever 😂 But seriously – this is a new style of workshop where we work together to custom tailor everything you learn to YOUR business. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To learn more about the workshops, you can head over to my IGTV, you can go to elevateandcreateworkshops.com, or you can check out @elevateandcreatehawaii and click the link in the bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Easy peasy. Hope to see you soon!

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June 24 – THE. VIDEO.
I wanted to share more behind the scenes of what it is like to join me on a hike for an adventure session or adventure elopement. This video alone had me doing this hikes every other day in September. No freakin’ joke. No complaints when this is your office!

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Are you down for an adventure? SAME. I'm so lucky to call this place my office + playground as an intimate wedding and adventurous elopement/couples photographer based on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Documenting the adventures of best friends in love (like in this video) is one of my favorite things to do! I'm all about the non-traditional wedding days, and couples who have chosen to have a wedding that truly represents who they are. So I am excited to officially announce my new full service elopement collections! You'll get me as your photographer, and I'll handle booking and coordinating your officiant, getting your florals, and securing your beach permit, so you can just show up and say, "I do!" with a truly stress free day and the adventure of a lifetime – whether on the beach or on the side of a mountain! Hit me up at chelseastratso.com/contact for all the details! Thanks to @alohafilmshawaii, @laflorevents, and love birds @jaybird__9 @tomas.baggio for being part of this video! Oh and of course my fav @fabletics for my monthly adventure wardrobe!

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JULY 18 – HONOLULU, HAWAII
My adventure sessions reallllyyy took off this year, and I am forever grateful!! This was one of my fave simple and minimalistic adventure shots from this year. Love this view!

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Tis the season for adventure…. seriously I have SO many adventure sessions this summer and I am loving it! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I'm not going to lie, when I decided to add adventure sessions to my collections, I was scared. It is challenging as a photographer and asking my clients to stand on the edge of a cliff while it's windy requires a lot of trust between myself and my clients. I've been adventuring around Hawaii most of my life, and have lived here on Oahu for 4ish years. I know the terrain on the hikes I do, I know when it's safe and when it's not, I know how to prepare my clients for their specific location and I know how to make a good judgement call. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And if things don't go according to plan, I know the perfect back up locations. We were unable to shoot at our original location for this particular session, so I deferred to my favorite backup spot. Katie and Derek trusted my vision, and the results were stunning! You can see them for yourself over on my blog!

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JULY 26 – GREEN SAND BEACH, BIG ISLAND
Efrain (who will be featured here in a moment) and I went to the Big Island for an epic weekend adventure. You can see all of our travels here! This is from my all time favorite beach in the world. It’s an adventure to get to, and it just doesn’t seem like it’s Earth when you are there. Of course I had to flex with the Jeep!

AUGUST 9 – WAIMEA VALLEY, OAHU
The veil photo and blog that sent all my brides to the bridal store to get a veil for their own wedding!

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"CHELSEA! She is phenomenal! I had a destination wedding in Oahu, all the way from New Jersey. She was eager to get to know my now husband and me, our personalities, and vision. She easily brought my ideas to life which was imperative. Connecting on Instagram made wedding day a breeze because it felt like we already knew each other. Chelsea is sweet, funny, and easy going. I'm not a very photogenic person, but our pictures look like they belong in Vogue Wedding! She was able to capture jaw dropping wide pictures, intimate moments, and everything in between, I am so thankful she was my photographer. I'm still gushing over my wedding a month later and able to relive every moment because of her. Chelsea is truly a master of her craft. Hire this woman, you won't regret it!!" ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ OKURRRR. @mandy_cane this might be the best review ever 😭 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Want to see what the hype's all about?? Head to chelseastratso.com/blog or click the link in my bio to navigate. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The vendors who helped bring Mandy and Josh's dream to to life: Venue: @waimeavalleyoahu Coordinator: @tropicalmoonevents Hair&Makeup: @jessicastylehair Flowers: @hawaiianfloral Entertainment: @akahiproductions Rentals: @island_paradise_party_rentals Specialty Rentals: @alohaartisans Catering: @kenuikitchen Video: @hothawaiianweddingstv Transport: @amthawaii

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AUGUST 22 – HAWAII POLO FIELD
Brides and horses, enough said!! See more of the Hawaii Polo Field wedding inspo on the blog!

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@akelarenae living out literal wedding day goals right here. Seriously, her hair, makeup, haku lei, and dress, it was all a dream! Then add a horse on top?? Pure magic! ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I just blogged my set of photos from this beautiful styled session packed with wedding inspiration! Head over to my blog to see all the beauty! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks to these vendors who put together this awesome shoot! Host + Design: @jamieleenoguchi Venue: @hawaiipoloweddings Florals: @mariebloomsfloral Gowns: @masakoformals Tuxedo: @dosformal Rentals: @hawaiifinelinens, @mainpartyrentalshi, @pacificpartyrentals, @roamrentalshawaii H/MUA: @whikd_weddings Invitations + Calligraphy: @thesimpleflourish Linens: @hawaiifinelinens Cake: @bearandbeebakehouse Jewelry: @hawaiianjewelry Accessories: @muse_by_rimo Bar: @sodapophawaii Models: @ariellemenendez + @joshua.l.menendez, @julesandchar + @david.hamlin, @akelarenae

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SEPTEMBER 16 – NORTH SHORE, OAHU
And finally, Efrain’s official introduction on my Instagram! He was in my stories, but I of course had to be super extra and get my hair and makeup done for an official “Hey guys, we’re dating” post even though it wasn’t a secret by any means.

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Right before Efrain showed up to our first date, I thought I was being catfished. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I pulled up to the restaurant when I got a text from him saying that he just got there. I looked to my right, and saw an 80-year-old getting out of his car and felt a little bit of panic set in. I thought, "no way" and was vowing to never try online dating again. I went and sat on a bench, and the old guy started walking directly toward me. I remember thinking, damn this old dude figured out how to use Bumble. Did he use his grandson's photo as his profile photo?? My heart was beating out of my chest and at the last second, he turned away. That's when I saw Efrain walking up from the parking lot, and I immediately felt at ease. He's brought that sense of calmness into my life every day since, and I couldn't be happier. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks to my wedding vendor besties @styled_by_rocco (hair and make up) and @laflorevents (haku lei) for helping me be extra for our first couples shoot! And @chanteelphotography_ for the photos! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Oh and btw everyone wondering, it's pronounced E-Frin 😉 @efrainsgram

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SEPTEMBER 23 – ESTES PARK, COLORADO
Hawaii was SO SO SO hot this summer. I was literally melting so I booked it to Colorado for a few days to cool off. Was it that dire of a situation? Not really, I just love Colorado so much.

MORE COLORADO BECAUSE,  COLORADO.

OCTOBER 15 – PAPA KONA EVENTS, KONA HAWAII
Rachel and Peter had an EPIC sunset during the wedding, and this was one of my favorite photos of the day because it’s so true to them. Love them, love it, love Kona!

OCTOBER 25 – MOLOKAI
The drone makes its debut appearance, showing me doing what I do when I’m not working. Get ready for more!

NOVEMBER 25 – NORTH SHORE, OAHU
Another engagement sesh stunner. We got so lucky with this rainbow! See more.

DECEMBER 9 – BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA
My bestie, Courtney, and I met up in Cali to adventure around Big Sur on her way to Hawaii. It was what my NorCal dreams were made of. I can not wait to go back!

DECEMBER 19 – MAUI TROPICAL PLANTATION, MAUI
The announcement of this lovely new site design that you are currently scrolling through right now! Thank you to all my clients who left me so many amazing reviews describing how my work made them feel. That was the inspiration for the colors and joy that you see here.

DECEMBER 21 – KAPAA, HAWAII
My last Insta post of the year, because your girl is going to spend time with the fam! Happy new year, everyone!!!

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If you haven't heard, island life is temporarily on hold while I get my winter fix in!! For the next month and some change I'll be spending a lot of time in the snow for my annual winter adventures! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I like to recharge and kick off every year with a long trip, and this year is extra special since I will be turning 30 in just a few weeks. So I treated myself to the Ikon pass and a month long snowboarding trip, which is something I've always wanted to do! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ During this time I will still be working, taking phone consultations for 2020 and 2021 couples, and working with my mentees with @elevateandcreatehawaii. Feel free to slide into my DMs because I love my job (and I'm addicted to WiFi) if you are interested in booking a wedding, couples session, elopement, or mentor sesh with me! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Enjoy the holidays with your friends and fam, folks!

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