Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

There’s almost nothing else that shows the passage of time more than going back to the place you once lived. The old haunts you once went to — still there, but different. The new places that have shot up like weeds in spaces that you didn’t realize existed, or spaces that formerly housed a favorite place. The wonderful thing is that nature changes slowly, at least in Southern California, so there is always the beach and the ocean. That, will always feel familiar.

Last November, I packed my bags and jetted down to my old place of residence, San Diego, for a week to shoot a wedding, and in the process decided to visit some old and new places while I was there. Catching up with old friends, usually over a hearty meal or a drink, enjoying company, and lots of sun. Because of the nature of the trip, this is by no means a comprehensive guide, but more of an outline of some of my favorite places, and places I went to for the first time.

I also added photos from a previous trip as well, taken on film, to round out the entire post as well. :)

From Sacramento, it’s only a 1.5 hour flight into San Diego, from gate to gate. You know you’ve entered Southern California once the mountains surrounding the Grapevine would come into view. Not long after you’ll see LA, and then San Diego. When you land, keep an eye out for Balboa Park and the Spanish style architecture in the park zooming by!

The area I stayed in was close to North Park (which is north of Balboa Park and not far from downtown), so I made many trips into the neighborhood and surrounding areas while I was there. One place that I finally got to check out in person after following them on IG for years was Aloha Beach Club. That rug/wall hanging has been on my wish list for years now.

After perusing the shop, I got the chance to check out City Taco (yum), which I have never been to before now. When going to a new place, and I have a hard time deciding what to eat, I usually ask what’s the most popular dishes and go from there. Their menu has since changed, but I believe I had the Chorizo, Especial (shrimp), and Puerco Agridulce (pork tenderloin). They were all amazing but I think my favorite went to the Especial!

Park House Eatery, a charming house-turned restaurant, where I got the chance to catch up with my dear friend Jasmine (who took the photos of me). Chilling on their patio, with an egg omlet and bloody mary? Perf.

Another place that filled the tummy and was so fun to boot? Neighborhood, which is located in Downtown San Diego. I’m pretty sure I had my first sour beer here (The Dutchess of course), and it was love at first sip. The best part about it? It has a speakeasy!

Not far from Neighborhood is another favorite too, Cafe Chloe, which has all the French charm. Their affogato is just yum.

Another favorite that I love is Polite Provisions with Soda & Swine connected next door.

Grab a bite at Soda & Swine, and head over next door to Polite Provisions to enjoy the charming decor and excellent cocktails. It looks completely old, but they redesigned this from the ground up, which is totally impressive!

And if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like getting the vibe of a town by hanging out at coffee shops (plus you can get some work done). Plus points if it’s super pretty to sit and sip a coffee in!

Two that I visited in the North Park area – Coffee & Tea Collective (another place I’ve been following forever on IG) and Holsem Coffee. My favorite? C&T wins with coffee & simplicity of decor (and the fact that I got to spend time with an old friend there too, and her freaking adorable son)! Although Holsem, shown below, was gorgeous in its own right. Those gold pendants and marble detail just get to me!

Holsem above, and C&T below

We can’t have a mini guide and leave out shopping, and my most favorite shop of all, Pigment. I pretty much make it a point to stop here when visiting San Diego now. There is no end to the cute and style and air plants at this place, and I could pretty much just live here. I didn’t take many photos of the inside, but I could pretty much buy the entire place!

Another store that caught my heart was m a v e n, located in South Park. Minimalist design for the win.

Verbatim Books was also a really cute stop to peruse in as well! Book shops always get to me. I loved all the possibilities and worlds that you could dive into with a book.

After soaking up all the urban cool of the North Park area, spending time in the sleepy, beach town of Encinitas was next up for me. This area certainly had the most special place in my heart, seeing as this is where we resided for 5 years of our 10 year San Diego stint. About a 20-30 min drive from North Park, Encinitas houses a charming downtown sign (almost all San Diego County neighborhoods/towns have one), nestled next to La Paloma, one of the oldest theaters and the first in the West Coast to have the “talkies” as it was called back then!

After soaking up a bit of sun in the neighborhood, hitting up Raul‘s and their carne asada burritos while catching up with a friend was first on my list. It’s also a super short walk to the beach, so you could easily grab a burrito for a beach picnic!

Another local favorite haunt, one we used to go to pretty much everyday, was Lofty Coffee. Oh, I miss their long blacks! The funny thing about Lofty is that there are two locations, directly across from each other on the 101. I remember before Lofty showed up, I thought that Encinitas was missing a *good* coffee place. And I knew it would be a huge hit once one popped up. (I would have totally done it myself, but I know zilch about roasting coffee! lol). Enter Lofty, and they became so successful that they opened the second location and roastery across the street. They both totally have different vibes too. The original Lofty is smaller, more intimate and bustling, with more food options, and the roastery is far more chill, more open, and a good place to survey Encinitas from above.

After grabbing some coffee, I headed to the beach and watched the sunset at our old local beach, Stone Steps. We formerly lived two blocks from this beach and I miss it dearly! Although Moonlight Beach is not very far away and is also a worthy visit if you’re in the area, and don’t feel like walking up and down 100ft of stairs. (lol)

Rounding out the day was a must visit to Fish 101, which to me, is where the best cheap fish tacos and oysters in the area reside – especially during happy hour, which is $2.75 for a taco, and $1 for an oyster. Add $5 for a wine on tap or brown bag beer (or $4 Dos Equis) and you’ve got yourself a happy stomach.

If you’re one for surfing, and you want to go somewhere less crowded than Swamis, check out the other beaches along the Encinitas coast, like Moonlight, Grandview, D Street and Beacon’s (shown below).

Video included from Beacon’s!

Other places to stop in Encinitas that I didn’t get a chance to visit to this time around:

Pannikin Coffee & Tea is amazing if you love old world charm – this place is located in the old yellow train station, and is so cute! Their food and teas are great, but I would recommend going somewhere else if you’re hankering for coffee.

Priority Public House – good food, good craft cocktails, super instagrammable (that’s totally a word!)

Lou’s Records for all your new and used vinyl & cd’s needs.

Swami’s Cafe for your authentic beach food experience. Acai bowls a plenty here! After grabbing a bite to eat, be sure to walk across the street to Swami’s Beach, one of the most renowned surf spots in the world, to check out all the little people sitting in the ocean, trying to catch a wave.

Self Realization Center Gardens is a beautiful stroll on the cliff overlooking the water. Formerly the home (I think?) of the guy who popularized yoga in the US, quite a peaceful and beautiful spot to spend an hour in.

It’s no Pigment, but if you’re looking for some design-forward shopping, Grounded is your place to go! I could lounge around their mid-century replications all day.

Have some time and want to get your asana on? Yoga Bergamot was my favorite place to practice (the space it inhabits is amazzzing). Apparently they’re about to move, but I’m sure it’ll still be amazing because the instructors are so great!

If you get the chance, make your way down south a bit to Cardiff, where The Cardiff Kook resides, and is always donning a new attire! If you stop by anywhere, give Seaside Market a try for their Cardiff Crack (aka Burgandy Beef) sandwich! Mmm so good! Other favorite spots in the Cardiff area are VG Donuts and the Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop. They’re in the same shopping center, so after an hour or two of thrifting (and I always find such good gems at this spot), I always grabbed a donut. They not only baked them fresh in the morning, but in the afternoon as well – 3-4pm was a sweet spot for freshly baked goodies! Also, just the drive down from downtown Encinitas to Cardiff is worth it I think, to see the ocean whipping by on your right. Classic So Cal.

So I think it’s about time to hop into the car or plane and head on over to San Diego, don’t you think?


Over a week ago, we took a week off and road tripped down to Bishop, CA, where we rock climbed, hiked down into the Owens river gorge (with two small kids, a baby and a small dog, no less!), had Gromit experience his first snow, went to a hot spring surrounded by snow, and all around had a lot of fun. I brought my little Fuji x100, which I’m finding is spectacular for travel, especially with a lot of hiking, because it’s so lightweight, small and fun to use!

mono lake, california

When clients fully trust me and my vision, magical things can happen. <3

Usually when couples approach me to do a shoot with them, they have a general idea of where they’d want to shoot. We will talk about a few potential locations, and brainstorm something that works for them. Rarely do I ever get a “do whatever you want to do creatively,” but that’s exactly what Tommy & Rosemary said to me, in regards to this shoot. Um… *anything??* That’s a bit overwhelming. There were so many places in the world I’d love to shoot, but what was something we could do in a day, that really sparked my curiosity and interest? After a bit of pondering, one thought immediately came to me: Mono Lake & the Eastern Sierras. Looking at things logistically, I said, no…. that’s way too far away! It was an 8 hour drive round trip to & from Sacramento! After that realization, I thought: we’ll just do Lake Tahoe. It’s still pretty, has a lake, and it’s a much closer drive. But my heart kept tugging at Mono Lake. Finally, after thinking about it (and listening to a podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert, talking about how creativity “isn’t going to make sense,”) I decided to just go with my gut desire and curiosity and follow it to Mono Lake, even if logistically, it was a bit crazy. These two were totally on board, as they explain that they wanted me to be as creative as I could. So off we went! In the end, I was SO glad we decided to go for it. What sparks your curiosity creatively will lead you to interesting places! Lake Tahoe felt like settling for me in this shoot (which I know sounds crazy, but my heart just kept wanting to go here!), and I was SO JAZZED about this location and working with them – I felt my creative juices just flowing everywhere. That’s the feeling that I love to feel when I’m in creation. That flow that allows me to be present, collaborate with the people in front of me and make some amazing images. :) So enjoy the images from this magical day!

One of the biggest benefits of moving back up to Sacramento has definitely been the proximity to San Francisco. With the ability to make a quick day trip into one of my favorite cities in the world is definitely a perk! On this particular trip, my dear friend Vanessa and I explored some new areas, and hit some of our favorite local spots.

Up at the crack of dawn, Vanessa and I drove into SF playing music that we inevitably ended up creating into a playlist for you to enjoy, while perusing the images. :)

Above is The Mill, who has probably the most amazing toast ever. Seriously! Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!

We then wandered into The Perish Trust, which was only a few doors down, and browsed at all the lovely wares they had there. I wanted to take everything home!

We then hit up the Haight for some vintage shopping at Wasteland, where I snagged a cute slouchy sweater, and then some eats at Sparrow Kitchen & Bar. The most delicious huevos rancheros I ever had!

We then hit up The Mission District, and lounged at Delores Park, after indulging in some Bi-Rite ice cream! That was a definite must to round the whole day out. :)

A few days ago, I was going through the archives of my blog, looking over old posts, and reading old things I wrote. I was a much different blogger then than I am now, and it made me wonder, why? What changed? Why did I stop sharing so much? In all honesty, I think that is one of my favorite things about photography — sharing the way I se the world. I love sharing with people how I see life, and how I want to live it. The things that inspire me, that make my jaw drop, the tidal wave of emotions that is the human experience. That is what art is all about, right? A way to express emotion, when simple direct words fail you.

Adventure has always been something I highly value. The ability to explore new places, and to experience that magical feeling of awe — is one of my favorite things in the world. This past summer, Zach and I, along with some of our friends, took off for the Eastern Sierras on a camping trip with the goal to hike Mount Dana. This would be my first mountain summit, and it was quite the experience. I caught my first fish, and we got chased off the summit of the mountain by a sudden thunderstorm! We camped at Tioga Lake, which was always a dream of mine – to camp right next to a lake in the grass, and we canoed, fished, and enjoyed the beautiful Sierras. During our stay there, we also visited Mammoth Mountain and surrounding areas, hiking to Rainbow Falls, stopping at random places by the side of the road (like abandoned homes that overlook the mountains) and Alabama Hills, which was HOT, but beautiful.

In addition, you will also noticed more photos of me! That’s because Zach had taken a photography class this past year, and shot alongside me during this entire trip, which was awesome. :) He made some really wonderful images — like the one above, which was just before sunrise on the way to Tioga Lake (to which I was passed out in the car at the time).

All in all, a wonderful adventure, filled with good memories, and new experiences!

Corn Island & San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

I am finally getting around to posting these images from Nicaragua! Almost a year ago, we embarked on an adventure to Central America to capture Brandon & Zandi’s wedding. After the wedding on Corn Island, we headed to the mainland of Nicaragua, and made our way to where we’d be staying the rest of the trip — San Juan del Sur. The images in this post are from just before we left the island, to our last day at San Juan del Sur (which produced the most amazing sunset that day, shown above).

The place we stayed at was this lovely little home, that looked over the city. The most awesome thing about it was that the living & cooking space were all outdoors, so we spent many meals overlooking the ocean and city, and watched thunderstorms pass over almost every night we were there. Our place was even struck by lighting, which actually affected Zach — he blacked out for a second during that event — it was all pretty crazy.

In addition, we went on hikes, hung out at the local cafe and took buses to the famous local surf spot, Playa Maderas, where Zach tried his hand at 16-22 foot waves. Mostly though, we enjoyed our time together in a completely different country and absorbing life in a whole new place. My favorite thing about the whole experience, beyond spending time with Zach and learning more about myself, was actually the joy I got out of living as simply as we did. There is something beautiful about living only with what you need, and nothing more. It opens up life in a way that allows us to focus more on experiences, and living, which I think allows more  room for bliss and happiness in the everyday.