Heavenly Tahoe Wedding

Heavenly Terrace Wedding | Rick + Lisa | Sneak Peek

When Rick and Lisa first contacted me, they didn’t actually have a date for their wedding.  She sent me a really amazing email that said, among other things, “I really do think avocados are their own food group, and I can eat my weight in avocados on any given day.”  Over the course of our correspondence, I fell in love with her adventurous spirit, vivacity and general good humor.  When they finally picked their date, it turned out to be a day that I had no intent of shooting a wedding on: the day following my birthday party.  I couldn’t, just couldn’t, not be part of this amazing couple who seemed like such kindrid spirits to me.  Among their love of avocados, day drinking and laughing at themselves, they were also marathon runners.  I said yes.  I would sacrifice the ability to be “not so sparky” the day after my party for these two awesome people and I am SO glad that I did.  There’s more to come from their Heavenly Terrace Wedding, but until then, here’s a few awesome frames to hold you over.

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Chicago Marathon | Fundraising for ALS

I like to run one marathon a year.

At the end of the year, at least I have that.

“What did you do this year?”

“I ran a marathon,” I can scoff, joining the ranks of those elitists who think that marathon running is an accomplishment.  This doesn’t work as well on people who then go, “how far was the one you did?” because then your accomplishment is mired by the annoyance that runners have when they have to explain that a marathon is always the same distance.

Sheesh, those non-runners.

This year, I’m not just going to run a marathon.  I’m proud to say that I will be fundraising for the Les Turner ALS Foundation.   It was recently brought to my attention that the family of a very close friend has been severely affected by Lou Gerig’s disease.

More than 5,600 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year.  It is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects your motor neurons, which carry signals from the brain to your muscles by way of the spinal cord.  As the victim’s motor neurons cease function and die due to the disease, their muscles spasm and atrophy.

Since 1977, the Les Turner ALS Foundation has been a leader in research, patient care and education about ALS.   It is one of the nation’s largest independent ALS organizations and has raised over $48 million to fight the disease.

There are four of us running this year.  It will be M and I’s fourth marathon, Sarah’s 2nd and Taylor’s first.  Collectively, we will be raising, at minimum, $4,000 for the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

Please consider supporting my efforts and kick-starting my fundraising by donating $20 to the cause by following this link.  

I figured out that I need to raise a mere $33 every week from now through the Marathon week in order to meet my goal.  If three people reading this give me $11, or 2 people give me $16.50, or one really awesome amazing person gives me $33, I’ll have met my goal this week just like that.

And don’t be that person who reads this and says, I’ll have to donate later.  Now.  Just give the ALS foundation $10 right now.  It’s a shit disease and they need help.  

Go here to help.

You help them and that supports me.  Win win everyone.

PS.  I know who reads this because the internet is like magic.  I will publicly shame you.

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:

Musings on a New Year

I do athletics.

Some years, I do a lot of athletics.  The last two years, not so much.  I tried to make it a priority to exercise more last year, but let’s just face it: I was overworked and tired most of the year.  Somewhere in the last year I realized that maybe I should quit my job and just be a photographer.  And so I’m going to do that.  I worked REALLY hard last year at both my jobs to get to the position I’m in today and I’m pretty proud of myself.  If some exercising went by the wayside, well, that’s what this year is for.  Right?

Among other informal goals, I try to visit at least one foreign country a year (didn’t happen) and one new ski resort a year (did happen).

In Steamboat Springs for Music Fest with my bff Liana.

My goals for 2013 were as follows.  Here’s how I fared:

1.  Become more proficient at Photoshop.

Success.  Not a total I’m-a-Photoshop-wiz and I no longer scream and want to throw my computer when I’m trying to super-impose my face to Olivia Newton John’s, but better.  I took an online course through LTCC and while the first half of it went really well, things went a bit wayside in the 2nd half while I was shooting multiple weddings, running a marathon, vacationing, fighting with my old landlord, traveling for work and moving.  I’m glad all that is over and I still have the textbook which I plan on going back through and spending some loving quality time with.

2.  I thought I wanted to take on another photo project for the year.  Last year I started a project through a website where you took one shot a month based on the word they chose.  They lost me in August though when they started having a different word for every day.  That was too much.  I thought that perhaps I might want to take on a self-portrait a month project, but I think I’ll just end up over-extending myself.  Instead, I think I should focus my energy into committing to photo sessions at least once a month during the winter with Megs.  It will help both of us reach our mutual goals.

Success.  I’m not sure if we managed EVERY month, but we did have a pretty good run of photos from last year.  I would really like for it to snow so that we can go out and get some amazing photos THIS year.

3.  60 days on the mountain.

Um, no.  Most underwhelming winter ever.  Until this one.

Tahoe Backcountry, Tahoe Backcountry Skiing, Waterhouse, Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Telemark Skiing

4.   Pay off the credit card.  I am the WORST at this.  Most of the time, I feel like life is too short to be ridiculously responsible.  I do things like pay it off and then put a really awesome trip on there.  There will always be more money.  There will not always be fun trips with your friends.  But for real, I really want to pay it off.  Kinda.

EPIC fail.  Pretty sure I put more stuff on there.  Well, hell, there’s always money in the banana stand.

5.  Legitimately train for the marathon.  Perhaps run more than 30 miles in the six weeks leading up to it.

Ha!  Just this week, my marathon running partner wrote a very eloquent post about why she puts herself through the torment of running a marathon every year.  I didn’t actually realize it prior to reading it, but our feelings towards it are the same.  Although I totally improperly train or fail to train at all or just stop training or whatever throughout the course of my marathon training season when push comes to shove there’s this: I run marathons because at the end of the year if I have completely and totally failed in some partial or entire sense of my goals for the year, I always have the marathon.  And you know what, marathons are fucking hard.

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6.  Consistently: swim more, run more, ride my bike more.  Make sure that I schedule in time to exercise, time to work and time to learn and frankly, time to do nothing.  Time to veg on the couch is sometimes needed and I think the only days this year that I had literally nothing to do where the days that I was on vacation.

None of this happened.  At all.  At any time this year.  I’m just going to leave it at that.

7.  Read more non-photography books.

I actually did fairly well with this one.  That being said, it wasn’t quite as many as I would have liked but still a reasonable attempt and moderately successful.

8.  Photograph more music festivals.  Seriously!  Two of my most favorite loves: live music + photography.  So awesomely fun I wish I could do it full time.

This happened.  I photographed a LOT of music this year and it was rad.

Snowglobe Music Fest, Snowglobe, Tahoe South

My goals for 2014:

1.  Read 20 pages a day.  One of my wedding clients started a group on the FB to help keep her accountable for a promise to hike for 30 days straight.  It piqued my interest and I decided I would join in on her goal, but instead read 20 pages a day.  It’s been such an enjoyable experience, I think I’m going to keep it going all year long.  I haven’t missed a day yet.

2.  Exercise 5 days a week.  I have to start making time for myself a priority again, regardless of how many hours a week I am working.  I sleep better and my stress levels are lower if I just force myself out the door in a timely manner to sneak a little cardio in.

3.  Stop interneting in bed in the morning and after 6 PM.  I have a tendency to wake up and bring my coffee and laptop into my giant cozy amazing bed in my big dark wonderful bedroom.  This keeps me from wanting to get out of bed in the cold to go run or swim or ride my bike.  I need better work-life balance and keeping myself to this along with a commitment to exercise and a pledge to read every day is going to get me there.

4.  Run another marathon.  Because after all, I always have that.

5.  24 weddings in 2014.   My calendar is filling up fast – 11 dates are already taken!

6.  Go to Moab with the Purvis-Daniels clan.  For years I have been promising to tag along on this trip and this year I’m going to make it happen.  You can hold me to it friends!

7.  Cook more.  My boyfriend is the most supportive boyfriend in the world and all last summer while I worked 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, he would make me dinner.  It was an amazing relief in a summer that was super stressful.  I appreciate it, but I also don’t want to work that hard this year which means I get to spend more time in a place that I love: our kitchen.

Here’s to another awesome amazing super crazy insane fun filled adventurous year that only I know how to do.  2014, lets do this! 

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Type II Fun Update

Remember that time I registered for another marathon?

I think that was a bad idea.

Every time you go to the Dallas Marathon website there is a handy dandy countdown clock that lets you know exactly how long it is until you run a marathon you haven’t trained for.  As of right now, I have about 10 days and 19 hours until that point.  Tick tock tick tock.

Last year, I did a REALLY bad job of training for the marathon. So bad that I was determined to do better this year.

I actually did worse.

I didn’t think that was even possible.

On the left, you can see my mileage by week leading up to the marathon.  On the right, you can see my mileage by week leading up to today.  I actually managed to run almost 100 less miles this year than last year, which is about 36% down from the ridiculously small amount of mileage I actually did last year.  I am clearly insane.

Important things to note:

  • I went into last year’s marathon feeling overly trained to the half marathon point.  I do not feel this way this year.
  • I went into last year’s marathon feeling like miles 20-24 were probably going to suck really bad.  I think the suckiness might actually start around mile 16 this year which is going to be a real bummer.
  • I am not sure if there is any amount of shot blocks that can make up for the fact that I have not been running.
  • I’m pretty certain there is a stress fracture in my future.

My plan, much like last year, is to just run really slow, slower than I want to, keep my heart rate low, and let the fact that I’m at sea level work to my advantage.   I have to really watch out for this because when I get to sea level I usually feel an uncontrollable urge to run really fast.  If I can reign in my pace and make sure I run 10-11 minute miles, I’ll hopefully still feel pretty good at the half way point.

What’s even more annoying than the fact that I didn’t train is the fact that I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice and that I can do better and I already want to do another one to prove that I can stick to a training plan.

Like I said: INSANE.