March 21, 2019

Minneapolis Summer Lake Engagement Session | Malia & Jason

FILED IN: couples, lifestyle

I don’t even know where to begin with these two. First of all- let’s just say that Malia & Jason are a total power couple (if you know them, you know that is 100% an accurate statement!). They are inspiring and hard-working and kind and thoughtful and successful and intelligent and generous and alllllll of the things. All of them. They are always striving to be better versions of themselves, both individually and as a couple. And for all of those reasons, I simply LOVED my time with these two. They were actually the winners of my summer session giveaway and it must have been God’s way of telling me I needed to meet these wonderful humans. I could go on and on, but Malia tells their story so perfectly. Scroll through some photos first & then read about these two & how they first met (it’s straight out of a movie).

**sidenote- Jason is the co-founder of BCE (Best Christmas Ever), a non-profit organization that partners with business leaders and communities to lift up families who have fallen on hard times through no-fault of their own by giving them a Best Christmas Ever! If you’ve never heard of it- do yourself a favor and check them out! Some seriously inspiring & life-changing stuff!

Here’s their story I mentioned. In Malia’s words :

“Jason and I met on 6/2/13, yes I remember the date. Like he said, we met at Wild Onion at Grand Old Days. His pick-up line was, “Have you ever done rooftop yoga?” My answer was no. We proceeded to talk for no more than 5 more minutes that day. I was with all 8 of my best college girlfriends and Jason was with Josh Neumann. Josh Neumann actually was the one to ask for my number on behalf of Jason before leaving Wild Onion. I never used to give my number to guys, but I did this time. And that was that.

Two days later, Jason asked me to go on a date on that following Thursday (6/6/13). All he said about the date was “To meet at his place in downtown Minneapolis & to bring a change of clothes?!” I was like “who does this guy think he is, I will not be sleeping over”. Thursday date comes, I worked at Target HQ at the time, so I went prepared to work with my “change of clothes”. Still not knowing what we had planned for the date, Jason texted me that afternoon and said, let’s meet at my place and we can walk to the coffee shop near my place.

Long story short – I get to Jason’s condo, we walk to Dunn Brothers, where the barista proceeds to hand me a dozen blood-orange roses and a card that read on the inside, “Valid for a candle-lit dinner prepared by Chef J.R. Kunz” with an “Expiration Date/Time: 6/6/13 11:59PM”. On the back of the card it had 2 facts about Target and 1 fact about Hawaii.

After our walk to Dunn Brothers, we walked back to Jason’s condo. We walked into his lobby and his security guard, Adam, said, “Are you Malia?” to my surprise, he handed me a bag of dried mango & another card that read, “Valid for a personal tour of Downtown Minneapolis via nice ride” with an “Expiration Date/Time: 6/6/13 11:59PM”. Again, on the back of the card, it read facts about Hawaii and Target.

We proceeded to go upstairs where Jason began to cook dinner, poured me wine, had Amos Lee playing in the background, set dinner up and we ate. After we ate, he took my plate away and the 3rd card was on the table. This card read, “Valid for a rooftop concert by the fire via Pandora” and an “Expiration Date/Time: 6/6/13 11:59PM”.

We went on the “personal tour of Downtown Minneapolis via Nice Ride” after dinner, and then followed by cozying up on his rooftop with Pandora in the background & a fire going.

IT WAS INSANE. I WAS LIKE WHO IS THIS MAN? To be treated like that by a man, to have someone plan something so special for me, to only talk to a random stranger at the Wild Onion for 5 minutes and have him plan this simply extravagant, thoughtful, beautiful, and intimate first date was one of the most special and cherished memories of mine. From our 5 minute conversation, he listened and planned an entire first date around (most likely) the only 3 things he knew about me; mangos were my favorite fruit, I was Hawaiian, and that I worked at Target, and created this “scavenger-like hunt” that allowed us to talk, connect, learn about each other, and created excitement.

The reason I share this story – our first date is a direct reflection of who Jason is and why I love Jason. Intentional, self-disciplined, reliable, responsible, thoughtful & always having people feel heard & seen. Maximizing each opportunity life offers and creating something even greater. Being spontaneous and adventurous, but always has a plan. Challenging me and others to be the best version of themselves by sharing himself through authenticity and vulnerability. He cares for ALL people and loves ALL people.”




  1. […] If you were a fan of Amy & Erik’s engagement shoot, you miiiight like Malia & Jason’s shoot. […]

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I am a Minneapolis, Minnesota wedding, family & portrait photographer, kindness spreader and storyteller for laid-back, free-spirited souls who are looking for an adventure— no matter how big or small. Browse my site to learn more. I can’t wait to meet you!