Mercury Hall Wedding

Mercury Hall Wedding | Lisa + Michael

You couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful Texas summer day than the one Lisa and Michael were graced with for their Mercury Hall wedding in Austin, TX.  Perfect bluebird skies brightened up their day and although it was warm, by Texas standards it was downright pleasant, especially in the shade.  Their wedding featured an outdoor afternoon lunch catered by Hoover’s with some of the best brisket I’ve had in quite some time, beers from Real Ale brewing company (Fireman’s 4 is my Texas summer jam), and a traditional Reiki ceremony from her maid of honor Katie.

Lisa was incredibly stunning.  Two wedding dresses were double the fun and I was head over heels for her Watters ceremony dress.  It was flowy and delicate – a great compliment to the Austin afternoon.

I hadn’t been back to Mercury Hall in quite some time.  It’s such an incredible venue right in the heart of Austin, TX!  Despite the fact that a very important basketball game was on simultaneously, the dance floor eventually got going and even grandma couldn’t keep her feet still.   I’m so happy I was connected with this rad couple via Thumbtack – I had such a blast dancing with their friends and family.  We all know that I love Austin and I can’t wait to return for more weddings at Mercury Hall!

Also, super huge thanks to my good friend and fellow wedding photographer Lisa for stepping in and being my second for the day.  This was an adventurous weekend and I actually photographed a wedding the day before in the Bay Area, took a red eye to Texas and slept on the plane and then went straight to Lisa and Michael’s wedding for more wedding fun.  It was an absolute blast of a whirlwind weekend!  I knew when I made arrangements that it was either going to be amazing or terrible and it was amazing.  Working is always more fun with a good friend alongside you!

Venue: Mercury Hall | Officiant: Reverend Jacqueline (Jackie) Hammett | Florist: Petals, Inc | Bakery: Coco Paloma Desserts | Catering: Hoover’s Cooking |  Guitarist: Josè Manuel Tejeda | DJ: Toast Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Watters and Pronovias  from Serendipity Bridal | Bridal Party Attire: BHLDN | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: JC Penney and Bows-N-Ties | Makeup: Rachel George at W3ll People | Hair: Bethany Lessick | Hairpieces: Aya Jewellery | Second Photographer: Lisa Hause

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Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding

Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding | Brittany + Crystal | Sneak Peek

The island of Isla Mujeres is a magical place where you ride golf carts from place to place, eat fish tacos from a man in a plywood stand who presses his own homemade tortillas to order, swing through the rafters of the bar on the main street after one too many tequila shots, and, apparently, have one of the most amazing weddings I’ve ever had the opportunity to photograph.  Big thanks to Brittany and Crystal, who not only entrusted me to capture their Isla Mujeres destination wedding at the Zama Beach Club, but also gave me an entire afternoon to tromp around the island taking portraits before the ceremony.  It was basically my dream come true: beach, fish tacos, plenty of hilarious women, and a wedding.  Here’s a few images from their incredible day.  I can’t wait to share more, including the ones from a day after trash the dress session in the ocean!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Downieville

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.