October Sunset from Mount Tam

A couple of weeks ago I went for a run after work. It was a Monday. I was in Piedmont at the top of a hill, up above Oakland and I could see everything. Lake Merritt, downtown Oakland, the port, the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, Alcatraz, Mount Tam. The fog was pooling over the Golden Gate and had already engulfed San Francisco, only the Sutro Tower was poking up and through. The sun had just dipped below the horizon and the sky was putting on a show. Florescent pink, purple and orange lit up the clouds and were reflected by the bay. The city lights were starting to twinkle, and headlights were snaking a river of light along hwy 24.

I didn't have a camera or I obviously would have taken a picture. I focussed on allowing what I saw to imprint itself in my memory. I stood there and watched the colors change for 10 minutes and felt lucky to be alive just to witness the beauty around me. I couldn't fathom how any person in the presence of such a vision would not stop and think "wow." I decided that the next night I would get somewhere spectacular in time for sunset, I would invite a friend, and I would have my camera with me.

I'm so glad Nicole and Edie could join me. 

Short and Sweet // Grass Valley, CA

At the end of July we drove out to Grass Valley for a short weekend with friends. I had a photo shoot up there on a Friday and Jeffery took the train and met me that evening. On Saturday we hiked Gracie Ditch in Nevada City. It was nice and shady, had a creek for the pooch, and opened up to some pretty spectacular views. 

hiking Gracie Ditch, Nevada City
hiking Gracie Ditch

After our hike we cooled off in a doughboy pool, horsing around with floaties, and I laughed harder than I have in ages. It was so much fun, and so refreshing. We had BBQ tacos for dinner and it was so good. Once again this little peach stole the show. In these pictures she is 3 months old, growing up so fast and already such a beauty. We love her to pieces. And I quite clearly have a problem: I can't keep my camera off of her for more than a minute. It's those eyes!

baby ava
smiling baby

The cuteness. I just can't. 

happy baby

Auntie love, grandma and cousin love. What a lucky little lady. 

grandma and cousins

She sure lights up when she sees her papa!

daddy daughter

We had a good laugh over that milk belly...and that face. 

milk belly
baby loving
sunset and sleep

Every trip out there restores something in us. It is so good to slow down, be with people we love, and get outside and enjoy nature. And being around puppies and babies doesn't hurt either.

P.S. Our last visit up there was pretty great too. 

A Birthday on the Russian River

We celebrated the birthday of a dear friend at the Russian River a couple weekends ago. I didn't pick up my camera until it started to drizzle, and I wish I had gotten it out earlier. We headed to a brew pub nearby and were able to sit outside at picnic tables under the protection of leafy green trees. We played dice and enjoyed some fried food and beers, because our picnic of bread, cheese, olives, grapes, salami, potato salad, cupcakes, chips, and salsa obviously wasn't enough. 

My pace of life has slowed down, and after a very busy May and June I am grateful for the breathing room. I find myself mistaking contentment for boredom and I have to remind myself that it's temporary. The last couple years have felt very charged. There have been a lot of high highs and invested emotions, sometimes leading to disappointment. I've stumbled upon an anxiety-free period of peace and I don't want to take it for granted. 

Memorial Day Weekend with Friends // Grass Valley

Warning: this is a photo-heavy post. 

We drove out to the Sierra foothills on Jeffery's birthday to spend Memorial Day weekend with some of our favorite people, to enjoy the lush surroundings, and to meet a very special little lady. Jeffery had never held a baby before and it was pretty incredible watching these uncles fall in love with their one month-old niece. 

On Saturday we hiked past Lake Carr and Lake Feeley to Island Lake, fishing poles in tow. 

Island Lake, Tahoe National Forest

That evening we enjoyed some more baby snuggles. 

Katie runs the garden program at the Grass Valley Charter School, and on Sunday morning she gave us a tour of the [incredible!] grounds. I would send my kids to this school just for the garden. Ranger liked it too.

That evening: family, food, and more baby loving. Uncles, aunties, and cousins, all gathered around, we couldn't keep our eyes off of her.

Welcome to the party, little Ava! We're so glad you're here. 

Happy Donut Day!

Happy Friday! Did you enjoy National Donut Day? I was in Sacramento with my beautiful friend Jess who will be moving to Texas in three weeks! She accepted a promotion in the Lone Star State and I couldn't be more proud of her. And I can't wait to visit!

Marie's donuts are delicious.

After lunch we did some shopping and then went to a matinee of The Fault in Our Stars and cried our eyes out (along with every other female in the audience). It was adorable, well cast, and really sad. I can't wait to read the book.

When it was was starting to cool down we took a dip in the river. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I have two mini sessions tomorrow and three on Sunday, I'm looking forward to meeting some new faces this weekend. 

Muir Woods

May was ridiculously busy. Good busy. And June is shaping up to be the same. I don't want to forget any of the good, so I making myself get some of it up on the blog before I reach the statute of limitations on old news.

Our friends Josh and Katie came and stayed with us a few weekends ago. On Saturday night we ate veggie lasagna and Caesar salad and stayed up late talking and playing Cards Against Humanity. On Sunday we packed pb&js and carrot sticks and hiked Muir Woods. 

I think I need a much wider angled lens to do it justice. Great friends, great hike, great weekend. If you've never been, (we had never been!) go.

Raeann at Gates Pass // Tucson, Arizona

A beautiful friend whom I love and admire, the desert at sunset, and a pineapple: pretty much a winning combination. I loved visiting Tucson. I'm so glad I got the opportunity and I can't wait to share more. 

pineapple in the dessert.jpg
pineapple smiles
pineapple sunset
beautiful hair

Isn't she lovely? It's hard to believe we've been friends for 12 years. And I am so proud of her. She just graduated from the University of Arizona with her Master's Degree in Public Health and is moving back to the Bay Area! Yay! 

Nicole and Ross // Bay Area Couple // Lake County Engagement

Nicole is one of my very good friends, and our friendship is the effortless kind: we have so much in common and the conversation comes easy. I have known Ross just as long (they were already dating when she and I met working as shop girls) and I've liked him all along. But their pup Edie is brand new, and I'm a huge fan. Even more than I like each of them on their own, I really love them together. Together they're a family, and a really freaking good one. Relaxed, interesting, fun. They bring out the best in one another, and they look damn good together. 

We found a jawbone and they did some tooth extraction, perfect opportunity for a ring shot (here's some backstory on the bones).

Ross is from Iowa. Nicole is originally from Alaska, but spent most of her adolescence just miles from this Lake County valley. After undergrad, Nicole's best friend Elaine was starting at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and she decided to tag along. "We went to a movie night to watch Rosemary's baby, which my mother and I had listened to together when she drove me out to Iowa. I met Ross that night and Elaine encouraged me to join Facebook so I could flirt with him and the rest is boring stable relationship stuff." 

Ross and Nicole, congratulations on your engagement and welcome to the club of boring stable relationships, also known as a happy marriage! I couldn't be more thrilled for you guys.