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Marin Wedding Photographer | Jeff + Eva Sneak Peek

This backyard wedding celebration involved a pig roast, a tres leches cake, the greatest vibe ever, and two of the raddest people I’ve ever met.  I want this couple, their friends and all of their family to be my best friends.  I’m so thrilled they choose me to be their Marin wedding photographer and I can’t wait to share more images with you!

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Travel Photography | Washington, DC

After spending a few days in New York City, Boyfriend and I headed down to Washington DC via bus to meet up with M, my post-college roommate, travel partner and marathon running partner.

A few years ago, M got the hare-brained idea to run a marathon and insisted I do it with her.  We chose the California International Marathon as our first event and despite apparently telling people that I was never going to do that again, we signed up again the following year for the Dallas Marathon.   By now, we are absolute pros at our drink-wine-and-don’t-train-marathon-training-program and took it to the streets of DC for the Marine Corps Marathon, which due to it’s popularity is as difficult to get into as it is to run it.

The race itself was absolutely outstanding, though it did have some lonely moments.  There’s an absolutely surreal bit of it that goes on the freeway overpass to Virginia: it’s very exposed, sun baked, and eerie, as if you’re in a zombie apocalypse movie all of the sudden.   The experience overall was phenomenal and awe inspiring.  It was hard not to cry at the starting line as jets flew over, dropping marines with American Flags and parachutes into the crowd as the anthem played.  It was encouraging to run along side Wounded Warriors as they pushed themselves on hand bikes with no gears up the hills of the 26.2 mile course.  It was invigorating to hear words of encouragement from Marines stationed every 200 yards in the last few miles.  “Keep your head up! Run with purpose!  Never give up!” they called.  It was thrilling to know that you were in the last tenth of a mile when the row of marines waiting to high five you for your efforts at the finish line showed up and then, as you cross the line, another row of Marines, waiting to shake your hand, hang your medal on your head and thank you for supporting them.

You think the laundry list of things to see in New York City is overwhelming?  DC is worse.  I wish we’d had two weeks there to really take in all the sights and museums available to you.  Here’s what we did, but this is by no means the extensive list.

STAY: Fred and Kadija’s Cozy Rowhouse on Airbnb is absolutely perfect for exploring DC from.  It’s extremely close to the NOMA metro stop and made it so insanely easy to get out on foot every day and check stuff out. The house is adequately stocked with almost everything you would need, was clean, comfortable and perfect for a group.  You won’t need a car if you stay here!

EAT:

  • Indigo is just around the corner from the Rowhouse.  Order menu items a la carte to share or scarf down by yourself.  It’s BYOB, casual and amazing.  Apparently, it’s the only authentic home-style Punjabi (North Indian) food that you’ll find in DC.
  • Our meal at Tash was one of the most memorable of our trip.  The grilled flatbread rivaled my own and was perfectly accompanied by heaping mounds of Baba Ganoush.  M’s meal, the Gheymeh Lamb Shank, was rich and cooked with precision.
  • Thank god for Teds Bulletin.  I spend four and a half hours of every marathon thinking about nothing but breakfast.  After a serious people-moving snafu occurred after the marathon (apparently moving 100,000 people via public transportation is not that easy), we were a bit concerned that it was so late we wouldn’t be able to find breakfast.  Teds Bulletin came to the rescue and not only did I have the most perfect post marathon breakfast of all time but our amazing waiter treated us to free homemade pop tart treats after we told him what we had just accomplished.

DRINK:

  • Little Miss Whiskey’s is awash with concert posters and a dark, but chill vibe.  The bartenders were great conversationalists and chatted with us for quite some time about our adventures.  The beer selection is varied and filled with local gems and the whiskey knowledge and selection is what you would expect given the name.
  • Beirgarten Haus serves authentic German beer and food in a eerily accurate setting.  It took me back to Oktoberfest.  The draft selection of German brews is extensive and the pretzel bread is not to be missed.
  • The Hawk n’ Dove is practically a historical monument in DC.  It was recently rennovated out of it’s “dive bar” status and while the locals may notice and dislike the changes, we were so comfortable here that we returned more than once to imbibe at the deep dark comfortable bar.

EXPLORE:

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Travel Photography | New York City

In October of 2013, I was registered to run a marathon in Washington DC.  I felt we would be remiss to fly to the East Coast and not visit at least one major city other than DC.  Boyfriend and I settled on New York City: he had never been and I was excited to visit with my old college friends who live there now.

When I lived in Texas, I would travel to NYC frequently since it was an easy non-stop flight.  I hadn’t been back since moving to the West Coast and I how I have missed it!  New York City is a special place: not one that I’d ever like to live in, but certainly one that I enjoy vacationing in.  From amazing food, to fun character filled bars, to gorgeous museums and parks, NYC has something to offer everyone.

When we first started planning the vacation, I firmly told Boyfriend that at least one musical would have to be seen.  He complained about everything from the unforeseen price to the unknown forthcoming experience until the show started.  On a tip from my friend Darbi, we bought tickets at TKTS for Once.  It was the BEST musical I’ve ever seen. 

Once is the musical adaptation of the movie from Glen Hansard by the same name.  When it debuted, the musical received eleven Tony Award nominations and won 8 of those awards.  Less than ten minutes into the show, we could see why.  The cast, which also serves as the orchestra, was absolutely outstanding on their minimalist bar-themed set.   During intermission, the audience can walk up onstage and order drinks from the stage bar!

 In addition to Once, we also went to see an Off-Broadway production of Avenue Q, which I knew would appeal to Boyfriend’s love of non-PC humor.

There is an unbelievably long laundry list of things to do while visiting New York City that I won’t even begin to attempt to start.  Instead, here were the highlights of this particular trip for us:

STAY: We have the good fortune of staying with friends for free, but if we didn’t, I’d totally utilize Airbnb to book an adorable room in an East Village Apartment or book a totally affordable room pod at The Pod Hotel, where a room will set you back as little as $95 on a weeknight. EAT BREAKFAST:

  • At any New York City Bodega, where the cream cheese is plentiful, the bagels delicious and the breakfast sandos are made to order for less than the cost of a Venti Drip at Starbucks.

EAT DINNER:

  • Swine - A gastropub with killer cocktails and an extensive and mouthwatering menu peppered with delights like bacon mac’n’cheese, chicken and waffles, and bacon wrapped dates.
  • Joe’s Pizza - I was tipped off to Joe’s thanks to Jimmy Fallon, who likes to support businesses he loves on Twitter.  The pizza was everything you want in a New York pie: hot, messy, and sold by the slice.  Established in 1975 by Joe Pozzuoli, who is originally from Naples, Italy (the birthplace of pizza), Joe’s Pizza is a “Greenwich Village institution” offering the classic New York slice for over 37 years.

DRINK:

  • Upright Brew House in the West Village serves craft beers on tap and in the bottle from New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.
  • Jimmy’s Corner was an unbelievable find.  In a town of $14 beers, we managed to order two and a shot of whiskey in this dive bar and our total bill was less than $10.   Found oddly tucked away in the middle of tourist chaos in Times Square, as soon as you duck inside everything is quiet and calm.  There long narrow bar is covered in photos from Jimmy’s days as a boxing guru and the jukebox has nothing but jazz albums.  Other than myself, Jimmy’s wife Swannie was the only woman in the bar.

SEE THEATER:

  • TKTS - Do not do TKTS as the tourists do, which is to wait in line for hours trying to buy tickets.  Either mosey on down to the South Street Seaport late in the afternoon and buy tickets for whatever strikes your fancy OR mosey on up to the window in Times Square after 6:00 PM, which is long after the rush.  Sometimes theater’s will release additional seats to shows not available earlier in the day.

EXPLORE:

  • The High Line - The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.  It is maintained as a public space for residents and visitors to enjoy by a non-profit group that works with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM.
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SXSW Photographer | SXSW Sneak Peek

Remember that time that I went to see Alt-J and Phoenix and Joan Jett surprised the crowd by showing up and playing a set and I said it was the best night of my life?  I think this one may have topped it.

Janelle Monae is a verified Bad Ass with capital letters.  Story and more photos to come when I get home!

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SXSW 2014 Preview

I’m back in Texas to photograph for SXSW for the 2nd year in a row.  I know what’s coming for me: loads of amazing new music, beer, and very little sleep.  It’s an awesome time and it all starts this Saturday.

I’ve been attempting to prepare myself by drinking a lot and pre-listening to the SXSW “Four on the Floor” Preview Lists.  Here are a couple of acts I discovered on there that I’m super excited to see:

  • I became super obsessed with Juliette Ashby’s voice the moment I heard the first song.  Her blend of R&B, Reggae and Neo-Soul isn’t something I would have ever pegged myself for being attracted to, but I’m hooked.

  • The Mighty Oaks may be confused since they are playing Americana-Folk but hail from Berlin, Germany but I’m not confused about how awesome their music is.

  • Ski Lodge: pop fun for a bluebird powder day.  Right up my alley.

  • Pompeya is a pop blend of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.

  • Shakey Graves has been making headlines outside of his hometown of Austin, TX: headlines loud enough that his reputation precedes him and he’s now on my must-see list for the week.

  • Elle King mades waves last year at SXSW but I unfortunately missed catching one of her shows.  I will not make the same mistake again this year!

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Travel Photography | New Orleans Photographer

Oh man.

I hate to tell you this but my life is about to get even more awesome than it already is.

In three days I get on a plane to my favorite city in the world to celebrate Mardi Gras.  I can’t wait to dance, eat, drink and laugh my way through New Orleans.   After that I head straight to Austin to photograph for SXSW.

I might be tired for most of March but I’m gonna have a rockin’ and rollin’ good time.

In Gert Town where the cats all meet
There’s a Mardi Gras mambo with a beat
Join the Chief with the Zulu gang
And truck on down where the mambo’s swing

The Mardi Gras mambo, mambo, mambo
Party Gras mambo, mambo, mambo
Mardi Gras mambo, ooh
Down in New Orleans

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Travel Photography | Napa, CA

I’m catching up on old shelved projects and photos that were shoved to the bottom of my list during the busy season.  This list includes these stunning photos from Napa, CA from this past Fall.  I was there to photograph Adam and Tracey’s wedding on a private estate in the area and spent the extra days visiting with my friend Jessica and her girlfriends and eating pastries from Bouchon.  I’m anxious to get book for another Napa Destination Wedding so I have a reason to return!

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Second Shooting | Las Vegas Destination Wedding with Ms. Wedding Image

This one time I flew to Vegas to 2nd Shoot for McKenzie Stewart of Ms. Wedding Image.  I put up a preview image at the end of September (yes!  September!) but then failed to get around to even looking at the rest of the photos.  That’s how busy I’ve been.  

I connected with McKenzie through Jasmine Star’s 2nd Shooting Facebook Group (appropriately titled J*’s 2nd Shooters).   Although McKenzie now lives in Orlando, FL, she grew up in Vegas and knew the bride from college there and needed a 2nd shooter for the wedding.  Vegas is a quick hop skip and a jump plane ride for me and one of my really awesome college friends whom I hadn’t seen in awhile and his fiancee live there so the trip was a no brainer.

Second shooting is an awesome way to hone your wedding photography skills while under less pressure as the primary.  For me, it’s also a super fun way to spend the day at an awesome wedding totally relaxed because thankfully I’m not the one editing the images.  While you may think that your photographer is awesome while he or she is running around snapping photos at your event, the bulk of our work comes in the post-processing: the culling, the editing, the exporting, the uploading.  When you 2nd shoot, while they may get your images as their own, depending on your agreement with the main photographer, you don’t actually have to go back and even peek at them if you won’t want to, or in my case, simply didn’t have time to.

What was most exciting for me was to work with someone else who was so drastically different in personality than me.  McKenzie is a bubbly effervescent positive lady with a knack for campiness and formal group photography.  In short, she is everything I am not.  I like dance floors: she likes posing couples.  I am snarky and cynical; she is optimistic and very polite.  I love wine; she never drinks.  I like candids and chasing children; she would rather I just go ahead and do that for her.  I dread grouping people in matching pastel dresses and neckties into lines and taking their photos; she loves it.

It was a match made in heaven.

What’s really fun is now that I’ve gone through and culled, edited and chosen my favorites, it’s super fun to go look at the actual wedding album.  McKenzie did a stellar job and while our aesthetic is fairly similar and my photos blend seamlessly into hers, it’s neat to notice the subtle differences and choices in the images I chose to highlight here.

I had such a great time working alongside her.  Please go check out her website or like her facebook page.  I had hoped to make it to Orlando to assist for a wedding the Friday before Christmas but the flights were too full for me to get there and back to celebrate Christmas here in Tahoe, which was super disappointing.  However, I’m planning on assisting her on a destination wedding in Ogden, UT over Labor Day weekend and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Thanks for the awesome time lady!  I can’t wait to do it again.

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Countdown to Snowglobe: Act Like a Local

Snowglobe Music Festival is returning to Tahoe for it’s third year and it’s not too late to join in on the fun.  Three day passes and single day tickets are still on sale.   If you haven’t made your plans yet, here are my recommendations to make the most of your Tahoe South experience.

STAY

  • $$$ The Stardust Lodge is always a favorite recommendation of mine, not just for it’s quirky lovable retro sign: it’s striking distance from the casinos, but it’s not a casino itself, allowing guests the value and location of staying in our nightlife corridor, but not sleeping with it.
  • $$$ Basecamp Hotel in Tahoe South is a new boutique hotel built for exploring the incredible lakes, trails, and mountains in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Located in the heart of the casino corridor, it’s a short 5 minute walk to the lake and an even shorter 4 minute walk to the Heavenly Gondola. Their 50 stylish rooms are designed for adventure and relaxation seekers alike, with the amenities and style of a modern resort, but at more affordable motel or inn-like prices.   At the time of this posting they still had one room left!
  • $$ Montbleu Resort Casino and Spa still has a handful of rooms left for you to ring in the New Year.   It is the official location for the Snowglobe Afterparties as well as the drop off and pick up location for the Snowglobe Shuttle, which will make your visit to Tahoe South and to Snowglobe a breeze.
  • $$ The Park Tahoe Inn is a fantastic choice if you are bringing fido along. It’s one of Tahoe South’s premier pet friendly accommodations.  The Inn is walking distance from the Heavenly Gondola, one block from Nevada casinos and two blocks from Lake Tahoe and offers the best in amenities, including Tempur-Pedic Beds and two outside terraces with fire-pits.

EAT

  • The Keys Cafe is my go-to to-go breakfast joint: their breakfast burritos and sandwiches are to die for, they have quality coffee, and an extensive menu of inventive smoothies (to rehydrate you after a late night of too much fun) or one of their fresh hot soups made daily (to keep you warm).  For those of you with a sweet tooth, make sure you try one of their Swedish Snowballs, a family recipe brought out just for this event.  On Hwy 50 at Keys Blvd.
  • Simple Bliss Vegan Cafe in the Swiss Chalet Village is open daily from 6 AM to 4 PM, and is Tahoe’s only vegan restaurant, offering locally grown organic produce.  Hwy 50 and Sierra Blvd.
  • Sprouts Natural Food Cafe near Lakeview Commons on Harrison Ave offers organic, delicious and affordable food and juices. The Classic Burrito and the A.T.O.M. Bagel are my personal favorites. Don’t forget to bring cash because your plastic won’t work here!

Basecamp Pizza has great service, fun and lively atmosphere and the best pizza in Tahoe South.

  • Basecamp Pizza in the Heavenly Village has a pie that will please every palette and a variety of beers on tap.   If it’s sunny and warm, sit on the patio and enjoy a meal or play a game of cornhole while you wait!  The

PLAY

Wait, you don’t like skiing?  If Snowglobe brought you to Tahoe but shredding it up on the mountain isn’t on your list of must-do’s, here are some alternative ways to spend your day in Tahoe South if you managed to actually wake up at a decent hour feeling marginally sparky.

  • Snowmobiling is available from a number of different vendors and your options include both self-guided tours and scenic back country adventures.
  • Zip Tahoe offers Tahoe’s only canopy zip line tour and is located at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
  • Snowshoe rentals are available on site at most of our most popular and scenic snowshoe areas. You may also rent snowshoes at most of the local ski and snowboard rental shops in town.
  • Shop like a local at Gaialicious, a global gifts boutique, which offers an eclectic fusion of gifts, clothing, body care products, music and books. The store supports fair trade and eco friendly products and offers the widest selection of goods from local Tahoe artisans of any other shop in town. 987 Tallac Ave at Harrison Avenue.

Ring in the New Year with friends in Tahoe South!

SURVIVING THE FEST

  • DO NOT DRIVE to the festival.  There is NO PARKING on site.  There is NO PARKING in the adjacent neighborhood.  You must purchase a shuttle pass and take a shuttle from the various locations around South Lake Tahoe or call a cab. The shuttle will be running exclusively from MontBleu Casino Resort & Spa to the fest this year.

  • Dress warm. No seriously. This isn’t the Black Rock Desert and we aren’t at burning man.  Snowsuits optional.  If you must wear a ridiculous skirt, make sure you put some polypropylene base layers under those tights.  Buy those super cheap disposable hand and toe warmers at the grocery store.  You’ll be the only person there with warm toes and you won’t regret it.
  • Drink water. You’re from sea level? Drink three times as much water as you think you need. Those of us who live at altitude love to watch those of you from sea level get tipsy on one beer. It happens.
  • Look around you. Holy snow covered peaks Batman!  It’s gorgeous in Tahoe and you’re at an outdoor music fest with thousands of excited people to ring in the New Year.  You made a wise choice my friend. Haven’t bought your ticket yet?  Better snap that three day pass up quick like!  It will sell out and you’ll be left out in the cold with no music.  Instead of in the cold with music.  See what I did there.