Napa Girls Weekend

Sonoma Vacation Photographer | Published at Gent & Beauty

I was so happy to wake up Wednesday morning to see that the Evalyn Ivy, ran a travel inspiration post featuring my photos as a Sonoma Vacation Photographer.  Evalyn Ivy was formerly known as Gent & Beauty and is a prestigious online Skandinavian Style Magazine run by a very fashionable man and wife duo.  They provide readers with an “eclectic range of inspiration with all the things [they] love housed under one roof.”   I am feeling pretty honored with my inclusion among the beautiful work and photos you’ll find on their website.

Someone recently asked me what my favorite job this year was and this day was it!  I had such a wonderful time following these smart fun Texas women around Sonoma as their vacation photographer that I want to do it all over again.  I still have a few bottles of wine hanging out in my wine fridge from William Selyem that are just waiting for the right occasion to be consumed!

Big thanks to Evalyn Ivy for sharing my work.  You can check out Gent and Beauty’s Travel Inspiration Post featuring my photos via this link.  You can also follow them on Instagram.

Napa Wedding Photographer

Napa Wedding Photographer | Published on Borrowed & Blue

My friends Tracey and Adam are in Napa this week on vacation, fitting as they were married this very week last year at a private estate there and hired me as their Napa wedding photographer.  Tracey and Adam found me on Thumbtack and to this day, I feel so fortunate to have them in my lives.  They are vivacious, fun, wine-loving people destined for a life of win and awesome.  I’m thrilled that as an extra little anniversary present (as if a return trip to Napa wasn’t enough), Borrowed and Blue Napa featured their wedding on their blog!

Head over to Borrowed and Blue Napa via this link to see Tracey and Adam’s intimate Napa wedding featured.

You can also follow Borrowed and Blue on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Murphys CA engagement session

Murphys CA Engagement Photographer | Angel’s Camp | Brittney + John

For as long as Brittney has been alive, her family has been visiting their property outside of Angel’s Camp, CA.  Tucked into the mountains above Murphys, CA, the property feels removed from civilization and remote.  Her father now lives permanently there and although Brittney would have loved to hold her wedding in the nearby neighbor’s meadow, the logistics of getting that many people up into the wilderness seemed just too daunting.  Since the land holds such an important piece of her identity and childhood, when she suggested the neighbor’s property and meadow area for her engagement shoot instead,  I was ecstatic.

It’s a bit out of the way and the day we decided to travel there, her step-mother was reporting pouring rain.  We decided that we’d go anyways and perhaps it would stop, we all agreed, dubiously hopeful.  The storm clouds above Angel’s Camp weren’t just extremely ominous: it looked like we were driving into Mordor.  The worst thing that could happen, we collectively assured ourselves, was that we had sandwiches with her step-mom and Dad and then headed back out of the mountains to explore other locations.

We arrived on site and it was raining so we piled into the neighbors unlocked camper van and feasted on wine, whiskey and the most amazing home made sandwiches.  Just as we finished our lunch, the skies opened up and graced us with time to take photos.  As we were finishing, the neighbor arrived on the property and unlocked the old barn he’s been renovating into a library for the small community that lives there.  In the end, our day turned into the most perfect woodsy engagement session I could have ever imagined. I can’t wait to be Brittney and John’s Lake Tahoe wedding photographer next summer!

 

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San Francisco Engagement Photographer | Julie + Michael

Julie and Michael are getting married here in Lake Tahoe in August and I’m so excited to be their Tahoe wedding photographer.  They kept meaning to sneak away from the city for a weekend getaway up here so that we could shoot engagement photos, but things conspired against them.  Instead, I decided that it would be super fun to have a city getaway myself, so I drove down to San Francisco for a Monday Fun Day with the pair.  We started with drinks in Union Square and then meandered through the city, up through Chinatown, where we stumbled upon one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite haunts, to eat Italian in Little Italy and eventually, through Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghiradelli Square, where we capped our evening off with one last drink at the recently moved Gold Dust Lounge.

We had such a blast on our photo session scavenger hunt through the city that I want to go back and be their San Francisco engagement photographer all over again!

 

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Amador County Wedding Photographer | Rebeca plus Ryan Sneak Peek

Previously unknown fact about this most amazing couple in the world: they went to prom together.

I had such an amazing time as their Amador County Wedding Photographer and felt so welcomed by the two of them, their friends and their family, that I stayed and partied until the stroke of midnight.

More to come from Rebeca and Ryan’s super rad laid back wedding at Rancho Cicada Retreat in Amador County.

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Wine Tasting in Amador County

What’s better than a weekend wine getaway at friend’s ranch in the Amador County Wine Country for Easter weekend?

The answer: a weekend wine getaway at a friend’s ranch in Amador County Wine Country for Easter weekend where we have an adult Easter Egg Hung and roast a lamb.

Pleasantly warm temperatures, abundant sunshine, good friends and a lot of wine equal quite possibly the best weekend ever.  Add some charcuterie and cheese plates to the mix and the whole weekend becomes as delectable as burrata on toast.

Want your own Amador County wine weekend?

STAY:

PLAY:

  • The roads in Amador County are perfect for road biking so bring your bikes along and tour the wineries in the best way possible.  There is a limited amount of road routes available at this site, but from what I can tell, most of the roads we were on, including the main highways, would be amazing to ride on.

EAT:

  • Taste has a rotating menu of seasonal ingredients and you can get an appetizer and beverage pairing for $13 at Thirteen Dollar Thursdays at the Wine Bar.
  • Andrae’s Bakery is heaven from the tables of cookbooks outside the door to the breads, pastries and sweets that line the glass counter inside.  Make sure you pick up some of their specialty sea salts while you’re there.  The Mediterranean Blend is great to coat on grilled fish, chicken or veggies and the Durango Hickory Smoked Sea Salt can’t be beat for steaks and burgers.

DRINK:

  • Holly’s Hill is my most favorite winery of all time. It’s not on the fastest road to Amador, but you should totally take the long way to Plymouth and Sutter Creek vie El Dorado County and stop into Holly’s Hill. Their staff is unbeatable and their grounds are gorgeous.  Nearby Madroña Vineyards is also always a clear winner.  I love their zinfandel.
  • Helwig has beautiful grounds with an amazing outdoor amphitheater.  Large groups can reserve the private tasting room for a true tour of what Helwig has to offer.  Check out their summer concert series schedule – buy a bottle (or three) of wine and take a picnic to enjoy the summer nights.
  • Cooper Vineyards is a favorite.   The owner, the grounds and the atmosphere are relaxed and unpretentious.   Locals love to visit on the nights they host their “Old-Timers’ Music Jam.”
  • Turley is one of my most favorite wineries of all time.  I can still remember the first time I ever took a sip of their wine.   Their wine is hard to come by and a must order when I find it on restaurant wine lists.  The tasting room is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Wedding Dance Party, Wedding Photographer, Tahoe Wedding Photographer, Berkeley Wedding Photographer

Berkeley Wedding Photographer | SSquared Day 1

The first time I spoke to Sarah, I felt totally at ease with her.

You see, Sarah and her husband to be, Suman, had been together for 10 years.  There was no doubt in their minds, she explained, that they were committed to a lifetime together but they had seen no reason to formalize it.  I get that.  

So when Sarah told me the story of her relationship, their history and her wonderfully fun and totally informal wedding plans, I was sold.

It was the Best. Wedding. Ever.

Here is a little bit of info about this couple and their totally informal, off the beaten path three day extravaganza that they called their wedding.  Fist off, the whole weekend was a huge party of the best kind.  They had their own twitter handle.  Their friends and family are not only hilarious, but insanely intelligent.  They love wine as much as I do.  They are self-depreciating, sarcastic and witty.  They hosted a trivia night.  SERIOUSLY.  Even better, the trivia night involved a New Orleans themed restaurant.  Stop my beating heart.  By the end of the weekend, I felt like a guest.

I loved every minute of this wedding weekend and every one of their family members.  I’m sad I don’t get to hang out with them all the time.  I feel so honored they choose me as their Berkeley Wedding Photographer.  I am super excited to share the photos from the weekend and in the same fashion as the weekend, I’ll break it up into the three days of events.

So, without further adieu, I present to you SSquared Day 1: a gorgeous celebration and party at the Berkeley Alumni House on the UC campus with unbelievable food from Bistro Liason, a Lauren Lindley photo booth, a “This is Your Life” retelling by Sarah and Suman that introduced each and every person in the room and their relationship to the couple and ultimately, a dance party so epic thanks to DJ Wayne that I couldn’t bear to leave when my contracted time was up.

Venue: Berkeley Alumni House | Catering: Bistro Liason | DJ: Golden State Productions | Photo Booth: Lauren Lindley Photography 

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Tahoe Event Photography | Women’s Wellness Weekend at Granlibakken

I had such an inspiring and educational weekend accompanied by wine and amazing food at the Granlibakken Resort’s Women’s Wellness Weekend.

The Women’s Wellness Weekend focuses on providing the fusion of Western practices with Eastern philosophy to provide women with information, inspiration, activities,  and great female company.  This is an awesome opportunity for any woman, but especially for those in the medical field.  For an additional $75, healthcare professionals can earn nine hours of CE credit at this amazing weekend getaway in the stunning Tahoe basin.

Granlibakken is a gorgeous resort.  Conveniently located in picturesque Tahoe City, CA, it offers tons of trails for hiking and mountain biking in the summer, a tree-top Adventure Park, a spa, and, in the winter, nordic skiing.  There is a plethora of rooms, units, condos and even large houses available for everyone from the single occupant to an entire family to come stay and enjoy the Tahoe area.

Although I was there to photograph the event, I learned so much from the presenters and I found more than a few of them to be fascinating.  Tahoe City based nutritionist, dietician, and triathlete Jill Whistler specializes in sports nutrition and really reinforced my own personal thoughts regarding nutrition and the best eating habits to fuel your body.  Nueropsychologist Suzanne Aberasturi, Ph.D provided us with a hilarious guide to how your brain develops and grows with age.  Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM is a family practitioner and the ice President of Medical Affairs and the Medical Director of Las Vegas Recovery Center.  His presentation on the disease of addiction was enthralling, surprising and peppered with humor.  I had the pleasure of dining with who is now going to be my new dermatologist: Dr. Jennifer Janiga.  She was a refreshing, gorgeous person who gave a fantastic presentation on healthy skin.

My favorite presentation of the weekend came from Joyce Mikal-Flynn, Ed. D, RN, FNP, MSN, a marathon runner and triathlete, who survived a sudden death in 1990 requiring 22 minutes of CPR.  She released a book, Turning Tragedy into Triumph MetaHabilitation: A Contemporary Model of Recovery which presents her system of rehabilitation.  Mrs. Mikal-Flynn spoke about what happens to people when they suffer life changing events and why some are able to turn their tragedies into triumph when others cannot.   I found her presentation to be particularly inspiring.  As an athlete myself, I wonder how I would react if faced with a similar circumstance.

In addition to the lectures and presentations, the weekend also offered various physical activities such as yoga, zumba and ki gong, as well as, social hours, lots of wine, a health expo, and shopping from local artisans.

The 2014 Women’s Wellness Weekend will be held on November 8 and 9, 2014.  If you register before the end of 2013, you can lock in this year’s super reasonable rate which includes all the Women’s Wellness Weekend Activities, one night lodging, hot buffet breakfasts, 2 lunches, and use of the pool/sauna/hot tub.

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Destination Wedding in Temecula | Haley + Dave

My best mate Haley and I have been friends for over ten years now I think.  We’ve never lived in the same city.  If one of us suddenly gets the feeling that it’s been too long, then we make a point to meet up.  We call them our “rendezvous.”  In 2006 we travelled to Coachella together.  Sometimes we each go half way to San Franciscosometimes I fly to LA.  When Haley and Dave became engaged, I felt honored to be asked to take their engagement portraits.

Though we’re often far apart and sometimes go months without catching up, when we’re together, we’re just the same as always.  I love her to death and I’m so honored to have been able to travel to Temecula Wine Country to witness her marriage to the man she loves.  It should go without saying that I also approve of him.  He drinks great wine.

Haley rented a beautiful house on the top of a hill over looking the wine orchards of Temecula for her venue, which the groomsmen and bridesmaids also stayed in during the week.  It was very much so a family affair – we cooked together, decorated together, puffed up puffy lanterns together, drank wine, laughed and danced and joked together.  Haley’s family and friends all pitched in to arrange flowers and fill ice buckets.  It was a whirlwind of activity and a truly DYI wedding, right up until the point that her amazing wedding coordinator showed up and took over for us.  In the end, it all came together in the most beautiful of ways.

I was not the photographer for the wedding and I was more than happy to put away my camera and dance my butt off all. night. long.  I did photograph most of our week and getting ready photos before the photographer arrived, so that’s what you’ll see here.  Haley and Dave hired the uber-talented, super fun, really adorable Caroline Fontenot and eventually their photos will grace the pages of her blog.  You should go check out her work, it’s fantastic: energy and fun exudes from the very page when you look at her photos.

Haley’s wedding was nothing short of a spectacularly good time: beautiful but relaxed, stylish but informal.  We were paraded around by mariachis, ate street corn and tacos, drank wonderful wine and beer that went down all too easy from Stone Brewing Co, took silly photos in a photobooth, and danced long after the sun went down until we had blisters on our feet.

Temecula was such a great place to visit and if you are in the southern CA area, it would make a great weekend get-away.  I wrote about our adventures wine tasting the other day.  Temecula also has an adorable main street called Old Town, filled with bars and restaurants, hotels and tiny shops.  I stayed in The Palomar Inn, an amazing European (read: shared baths) style hotel right on the main street of Old Town.  The 10 room historic inn is family run, was built in 1927 and is supposedly haunted, though their ghost didn’t show his face to me.  Right around the corner from my Inn every Saturday is an awesome farmer’s market where I sampled amazing hot sauce from Vera’s Tamales Express and then filled my belly before the wedding with a blue crab burrito from Street Foods Co.  I needed it because I’d woken up at 6 AM to run 10 miles with the Temecula Running Club!

Photographer: Caroline Fontenot | Violinists: La Libradolce | Mariachis: Los Salazar | Dress: JLM Couture | Flowers: The Empy Vase | Decor: West Elm | Caterer: M&L Taco Catering | Wedding Cake: Hotcakes Bakes | Popsicles: Front Porch Pops | Bartenders: Always a Happy Hour Bartending | Rentals: Temecula Party Rentals | Wedding Coordinator:  Vanessa Vargess | DJ/Lighting: Brett Elliott | Vacation Home Rental: Eva Woodsmall