Reno portrait Session

Downtown Reno Engagement Session | Nicholl + Jason | Sneak Peek

I met Nicholl and Jason at the AHA Wedding Faire, where, in a show of blind faith, they bid on my donated portrait session gift certificate without stopping by my booth, looking at my work, or meeting me first!  When they finally did come by and announce they won the session and I started feeling their personalities out, I was quick to suggest one of my favorite ways to do an engagement session: pub crawl through their favorite haunts.  They were overjoyed with that idea and our plan for a downtown Reno engagement session was hatched!

Here’s a sneak peek from our awesome day, which included a super cool pub with a HUGE craft beer selection, afternoon sushi, and a lot of laughter.

Thanks Nicholl and Jason for such a great day!  More from this awesome couple coming soon!

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Tahoe Happy Hour

Vacation like a Local: the Best Happy Hours in Tahoe South

  Whether you’re putting the icing on the cake of an otherwise amazing day of skiing, or just doing some day drinking in honor of your vacation, here’s a local’s guide to the best happy hours in Tahoe South.

Jimmy’s at The Landing Resort and Spa

Jimmy’s remains one of my favorite places to imbibe in Tahoe and not just because of their new happy hour specials!  Happy hour occurs daily from 3-6 pm and features a small plates sample menu from classically trained chef Maria Elia, $8 glasses of the red and white wine of the day, $5 draft beers and $8 margaritas.  I love their California twist on Greek cuisine and everything on the menu is stellar.  The fig, feta and pear flatbread pizza is not to be missed and the pork belly souvlaki is always a wise choice.

The Chart House

In addition to it’s impeccable views, The Chart House features one of the best happy hours on the lake!   Sundays to Fridays from 4:30-6:30 PM, The Chart House offers a variety of $7 martinis, $6 cocktails, $5 wines by the glass, $4 well spirits and $3.25 premium drafts.  If that isn’t enough to convince you to stop in, perhaps the $6 Ahi Nachos or $5 calamari small plates will.

Basecamp Pizza

After a long day at Heavenly, there is no need to trek far for an exceptional happy hour.  Basecamp Pizza is located in the center of the Heavenly Village and features live music almost every day of the week.   Happy hour occurs daily from 2:00-6:00 PM and features $5 house wine and $3 drafts.  If you’re hungry after shredding all day, look no farther because their happy hour also offers a $12 personal sized pizza and draft beer special!

Azul Latin Kitchen

If pizza isn’t what you are craving, just head around the corner to the Heavenly Village’s newest addition Azul Latin Kitchen.  Happy hour happens here daily from 2:00-6:00 PM and features a $5 taco and Tecate special, $5 house margs, $3 draft beers and wells, $1.50 chips and salsa and more.  Just a tip though: you must sit in the bar to take advantage of happy hour prices.


3rd Annual Angora Lakes Tri

Every year, my bff Meghan Kelly throws an awesome unofficial tri called the Angora Lakes Tri.

And by “throws” I mean she: tells people to show up, sorta of wrangles volunteers, and forces her husband Pat and usually Boyfriend to write down our finish times and suggests that people write things on their legs in permanent sharpie.

It’s the best day ever.

The starting line of the third annual unofficial Angora Lakes Tri (photo by Gretchen Eicher).

The tri is a bit unorthodox and once again the order of events suited me: we ride our bikes from Kiva Beach to the Angora Lakes parking lot, where a volunteer with a car has our running shoes and swim stuff.  Put your running shoes on and run power walk UP the steep hill to Angora, swim across the lake, get a 2 minute time bonus for jumping off the cliff, swim back, run back, ride back, celebrate, drink beer.


Here I am, swimming with style (photo by Court Brock).

I have a tendency to pass people on the swim and make up a lot of time and this year was no different.  That being said, I had zero chance of catching up to the overall and men’s winner Lee who had 10 minutes on me.

Competitors cliff jumping for the 2 minute time bonus (photo by Court Brock).

You can read Meghan’s write up and see the official results via this link.

Read about year 1 here.

Read about year 2 here.

The finish line (photo by Sheriff Underhill).

Superbowl Sunday

I’m not sure if you were on Twitter during the Superbowl blackout, but it was hysterical.

Way more hysterical and entertaining than the game itself.

Superbowl Sunday Taco Feast.

I’m not really a fan of pro football, but I am a fan of good food, friends and get-togethers.

We ate amazing fish tacos and things wrapped in bacon and decorated our faces and yelled a lot.

It was good times.

M took my camera hostage (she loves it) so we have a ton of photos from the festivities.  If so inclined, you can check them out here.

Himmel Haus

Last week was Chris’s birthday so we had a small celebratory dinner at our new German themed restaurant in town: the Himmel Haus. I totally meant to wear my fake plastic bib dirndl from the Septoberfest Photobooth but sadly I ran out the door without it!

They have an impressive number of German and Austrian beers on taps and your options for size include normal, large, excessively large, larger than excessively large and a boot.

Drinking birthday beer, Himmel Haus Style

I’m moving today so between packing my house, trying to finish wedding photos for Matt and Sara, planning our Masquerade Ball, family portraits and a climbing photoshoot for my friend Ann Raber, I’m swamped!


Last weekend, on the spur of the moment, I decided to take my Labor Day holiday and Buddy and I went to Downieville for my second time this season and his first time EVER with a big group of friends. We camped, rode, laughed and drank for three days and it was absolute heaven. We rode a new trail there: the Mills Peak Trail. It is hands down my new favorite Downieville Trail! 9 miles of ripping awesome pumpy flowy downhill singletrack – what’s not to love? You can see all the photos from the weekend here, but these are a few of my faves.

Kiwanis Club Septoberfest

Every year, our local chapter of the Kiwanis Club holds a Septoberfest Party as a big fundraiser. There is German food, beer and wine tasting, and a huge raffle and silent auction. Last year, my friend Curtis Fong who runs Bike the West, the organization that puts Tahoe’s biggest organized cycling events, America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride and Tour de Tahoe, invited me to come join him at his table. I happened to win the beer stein holding competition that evening, which of course landed me in the Tahoe Mountain News.

This year, I thought it would be nice to contribute to the event and offered to host a Oktoberfest themed photobooth for them. We ordered a few Oktoberfest themed props and the outcome was, of course, hysterical fun. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the evening. If you were at the event, follow this link to download your photos for free.

MSS Hellraiser V

Every other year, my friends rent a huge houseboat on Lake Shasta for five days. This year was the fifth anniversary of the trip. I had a blast the last time we did this and oddly enough, we ended up with the same exact boat that we’d rented in 2010. Unfortunately, my work schedule this summer has been hectic x a gazillion so while I really desperately wanted to bail on the trip entirely, I made a concession and went for two days and two nights only. I’m glad I went but it wasn’t without it’s own amount of stress.

Loading up the boat at MSS Hellraiser V!

Basically, 20-25 of my friends and I get together on a houseboat. You each bring a handle of liquor, there’s five kegs, one hot tub, seven highly sought after cabins to sleep in, a third story deck to huck off, two grills, loud music and a lot of fun. As my friend Josh said on the first night, “Houseboat is just a series of naps:” there’s always someone up partying, playing music, dancing, raging, jumping into the water, laughing. You sort of zen out at night and then, at 4:30ish AM when the speakers finally go quiet and every one settles down there is a moment of peace in your heart where you know for a fact that you will have uninterrupted silence for at least 5 hours.

The liquor, day 1.

My favorite time at houseboat is the early morning. I like the quiet. I like cleaning the mess in the kitchen and wondering what the hell happened when I was asleep: making coffee and starting breakfast and waiting for the hungover troops to rise. All is calm.

Trout, fishing for trout.

We made the mistake on the second day, thanks to a bit of alcohol probably, of thinking that we could motor over near the Shasta Dam and climb the scaffolding and jump off it. I like jumping off things into water. I jumped the Shasta Bridge with the boys in 2010 and to this day it is one of the most daring and fun moments of my life. I’m usually the voice of reason on the boat. Reno calls me “Boat Mama.” Why it didn’t occur to me that the dam that keeps water from flooding the majority of the central valley of CA would have security on it is beyond me now, but hindsight is 20-20. Long story short, they didn’t like us parked near the dam. And then, they didn’t like the fact that the boat wouldn’t start.. And then my drunk friends started to fight over what to do and sheriffs were called and well, the boys got in the water and tried to swim our houseboat. Whatever you are imagining as the outcome of this process: yes, and that too happened.

Swimming the MSS Hellraiser V.

When the Sheriff came he told us everyone on the damn clearly thought we were “domestic terrorists” and then was like, “what the hell are you doing by a damn on 9/11?” We had no idea. Seriously. We were drunk! On a boat!

Our starter was flooded. The Sheriff pulled us away from the dam. The boat company came and fixed it. I got sick with a head cold. There was lots more dancing, drinking and partying. There was lots of hucking. Overall, successful few days on Shasta, though I wish I’d been able to stay the whole week.

Night on the boat, Lake Shasta, CA.

These are the rest of my favorites from the trip, but you can see them all here.

MBO 2012 comes to an end

Our third and final day at MBO was nothing short of amazing. Bill, Megs and I registered for a special shuttle to a trail called Moon Point – nine miles of downhill on a trail that was eerily similar to Tahoe Mountain. I was flipping out a bit on most of the descent because I’d demoed a Felt Edict Pro from Karl with a K, an industry legend who now works for one of my favorite bike companies. While I’m fairly certain that my next road bike will most definitely be a Felt, the Edict Pro is not only way out of my price range but wouldn’t work as my only bike in Tahoe.

Riding the Edict Pro is a little bit like driving a Lamborghini. It was SO light, SO fast, SO responsive, SO nimble that I felt like I was going to launch off a feature on the descent, sprout wings and fly. I spent all nine miles trying to ease into how the bike handled.

At the end of Moon Point you get to join up with a long cross country trail called The Middle Fork that ebbs and flows along the edge of the river. It was on this trail that the Edict Pro and I really found our groove. We HAULED. It was SO fun to get in a big pace group with a bunch of other riders and fly around tight corners. The Edict Pro is an amazing cross country bike and totally meant for trails like the Middle Fork. I felt totally molded to the trail on that bike. If you have an infinite budget for bikes and want a supremely fast and responsive race bike, the Edict Pro is the way to go. Just make sure you get one of those sweet X-Fusion seat posts to go along with it.

Hanging on the Willamette River

Megs and I had originally planned to head to Bend on Sunday afternoon to ride some trails there and kick it with friends but we were both feeling a little biked out and altered our plans to kick it at camp one more night with Bill, Leslie and Jill. It was a really nice way to spend an afternoon: drinking beer on the river!

Green Rivers Park, Oakridge, OR

Camp really clears out on Sunday afternoon and it was a total ghost town. We hung out until the sun started to depart and then headed into Oakridge to drink and eat at the Brewers Union Local 180 which had an awesome vegetarian friendly menu full of delicious options and great micro-brews. We managed to get super sauced and I managed to start a fight with a group sitting next to us that included a woman with fake boobs who had pranced around in heels all weekend at the event. But, that’s another story all together.

Cheers to a successful and hilarious weekend.

On the way home Monday, Megs and I stopped to check out an insanely huge waterfall. It was the biggest waterfall I’ve ever seen and this photo does it’s enormity no justice.

Salt Creek Falls, just east of Oakridge, OR.

You can see all the photos from the weekend here.

Interested in attending Mountain Bike Oregon 2013? I recommend the August event over the July event, where it’s usually considerably colder, misty and often raining. Registration is already open for next year. If you are an intermediate to advanced mountain biker that is fond of climbing AND fast descents, I highly recommend attending. If you like good beer, are super social or shopping for a new mountain bike and want to demo bikes on real trails, I recommend attending. If you are a beginning mountain biker used to wide flat trails, do not register for this event.

If you want to head to Oakrdige on your own, I recommend the following:
EAT and DRINKThe Brewers Union Local 180
STAYOakridge Hostel and Guest House
SHUTTLEOregon Adventures
RIDE – Alpine/Tire Mountain/Clover Patch (ATC); Lawler/Hardesty; Moonpoint/Middle Fork; Alpine

Earn your pint on sick Oregon single track!

Forrest Day at Live at Lakeview

South Lake Tahoe’s Live at Lakeview continues to bring fun, sun and music to our summer shores. This week’s band was Forrest Day, a Bay-area band that considers itself to be a “melting pot” of genres.

As always, you can check out all the photos from this summer’s concert series here