Nice View

I finally picked up my proofs from the lab yesterday and was reminded of these two pictures with a view.

When roaming the streets of Nice, France, my sister and I turned a corner and wa-bam! There staring at us is a massive Mr. Muscular Statue Man.  How about that for a welcome! Well, I couldn’t help but to snap a picture of the huge statue.  After doing a little research, it turns out this statue (Apollo) was banned for 22 years because it was thought to be too well-endowed and just made its return to the plaza last June. Standing at 21 feet tall, this guy is hard to miss! 

As for this picture, we were walking along the promenade and I found this single umbrella which I wanted to capture so I began adjusting my camera settings. The film camera takes a bit longer because everything has to be manually adjusted. Finally, my aperature is selected, shutter speed set, and focus set at infinity. I hold my camera up and…..oh no!  Two women on a stroll decide to stop right in my picture!  I am working with a fixed lens length (85mm) and standing on a ledge with no ability to move forwards or backwards. So, we wait. My sister so patiently waited with me for about 5 minutes for these two women to move. After no luck, I gave these women a silent count down.  As luck would have it, before I got to 10, the women had decided to continue their stroll which left me just enough time to snap this picture to which I am thankful we waited for.

I love both of these images and as they remind me of all beautiful views France has to offer. So, time for a serious question of the day, which view do you prefer?

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Beach Celebration

The weekend was spent celebrating another Bob’s championship – yes, these are a big deal around our house as there is nothing that Ry enjoys more. While the guys may get older and the trophies get larger, the players are still little boys at heart who get excited to sport their uniforms, put on their cleats, get dirty, and of course win the game!

The celebration pictures are not exactly my favorite blog material, as I prefer to feature images that do not remind me of college in Isla Vista, therefore, I will leave you with several beach pictures from the day.

Congrats Bob’s!

Sleepy Beach Town | Bodega Bay

Having never been to Bodega Bay, I was excited to see this coastal town. Just about a hour north of San Francisco lies a very sleepy community filled with farms, fishing, and not much else. While the weekend was booked with wedding activities, we did manage to fit in a walk to the ocean, which was made all the more pleasant by the beautiful weather and empty beach.

xoxo

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 41

Photo: Shell Island, Florida

She is beautiful. She is quirky. She is funny. Best of all, She is my sister. She was obviously the much cooler, older sister. She knew about New Kids on the Block far before I ever heard of Joey or Jordan and already had her pick for who she would marry – Jordan of course! She provided me with the 90210 episode summaries when I came home from gymnastics too late and had already missed the show {pre-tivo days}. We would spend hours “cleaning our room” {only to be found laughing for most of those hours and spending the last few minutes shoving everything under the trundle bed – and that sucker had a lot of room!}. She liked purple and I liked pink – talk about the sister perfect combo! She was the sister that I would bond with, love, annoy, and look up to during those days and for the rest of my life.

She will always be my older sister {but i just might be slightly taller than her now}. I love you sis and thanks for the fun visit {more pictures to come soon}!

xoxo

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 34

Ahhhhh, to be a kid again.  Spending endless hours exploring the world, having all meals prepared for you, waking up every morning ready to learn and conquer something new in this world, and having endless giggles always on the verge of being released into a full blown laugh. At what age do you turn around and dream to be a kid again?

This picture captures everything that is joyful about being a child and the pure love that being a Mother brings.  I was lucky enough the spend Monday night with this family capturing memories of this fun time that can only be truly treasured once it is gone.

xoxo

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 33

It’s picture of the week time and I can’t decide which picture to feature!!! I know it’s just picture of the week and not the decision of a lifetime, but I am stumped on which to choose, so I thought it might be fun to see which you like better?!

I love these little girls playing in the water and thought the lighting on them was beautiful. This was a harder picture to take because I had to expose for the girls first but make sure that I didn’t lose the water’s reflection on the sand. I position myself so that the sun was behind me and the light was reflecting right onto the girls faces. Also, snapping the shutter when both girls were relatively still took a little patiences.

However, this picture was much easier to take with less technical knowledge required. Expose for the sky, then underexpose it by about 1 stop and ta-da! In fact, I grabbed this as I was getting back into the car in a rush because Ry was blocking the alley. I love the colors of this as it looks like a photo featured on a classic California postcard.

So which is your favorite and should win picture of the week??!

xoxo

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

Recently, a few of us girls were talking about our first experiences once we moved to LA. A few recalled our first time on “the 405” freeway, or the lack of yard space at each house, or what one should wear on the first day of school in California. Jenna, from Oregon, however recalled her first time at the beach when she realized she did not know what to wear!

I thought this was funny, cute, and I kind of understood why she might be confused. The Manhattan Beach style is very interesting: boys wear one size too big board shorts which results in “crackage”, girls mix and match bikini’s like none other, surgically enhanced body parts are not all the rage (despite what Hollywood has us believe about LA), and having an appropriate “walk-to-the-beach-outfit” is just as important as the actual bikini itself.

Some people, ok maybe most, question why we put up with the traffic, the smog, the high cost of living, and it’s for days like this….just sitting around, laughing, chatting, playing in the water with a host of great friends that make it worth it!

Mix & match bikini example shown at its best! I am pretty sure Ashley is one of the queen’s of this trend and pulls it off everytime! I guess that is a result of living at the beach her whole life and needed to keep it fresh! 

xoxo

BEACH TREASURES

So after we assembled our frame wall, I decided we had enough pictures up in the house and needed to switch out these two pictures for something else, not to mention one frame did not have any glass anymore because it shattered somehow at the wedding. I thought I might do the sketches mentioned here, but I needed several supplies such as fabric, iron-on transfer, etc. In the meantime, before I had a chance to purchase those items, I came up with the idea of using the sand dollars Ryan finds and brings home for me while at the beach surfing or on a run.

I removed the glass from the frame and used burlap that I had left over after making the table runner used at this photoshoot. I cut the burlap slightly larger than the back cardboard of the frame and hot glued it in place. You can see the burlap frayed a bit, but this will be the back anyways so know one will see this. I then took a huge amount of hot glue and applied it to the back of the sand dollar and stuck it straight onto the burlap.

I repeated this again on frame no. 2 and waw-la! The whole project took me about 20 minutes start to finish!

I love this project because you can take any fabric you have laying around, preferably one with a bit of texture, and glue any items onto it for instant “art”. While they are no Picasso’s, they certainly help fill an empty wall!

xoxo

Queen Isabel | 6 Months

I cannot believe it has already been 3 months since my last photo session with Isabel, but last weekend I was lucky enough to spend my morning with this precious star.
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EEEEK – I can never get enough of their little hands and feet! I think that is normal, right???!

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Thanks for the great time Isabel and the rest of the G family ladies! You are all adorable!
XOXOXOXOXOXO

XOXO

XOXOXO

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 10 & [Tsunami Watch 2011 Plus in HD]

I headed down to the beach this morning to grab a Friday Picture of the Week. After about 15 minutes on the beach, I received a visit from the lifeguard who warned me that as a result of the earthquake in Japan the entire coast was being shut down due to tsunami warnings. Ah ha – that explained the closed parking lot in El Porto and the police office standing guard blocking access to the pier! Immediately I thought, wait, Ryan is running on the beach right now – will he know?! Turns out the surge wasn’t scheduled to hit for another 45 minutes, so all was good.

Although we didn’t see any surge, I decided one weird wave was definitely “the one” and videoed it!  After deciding that was “the wave”, I declared victory and we headed off start our work day.

* As for the title, you may only get that if you live in Southern California and have to watch “Storm Watch” on the doppler 7000 Plus in HD – thanks Channel 7!

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Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 7

Click here for bigger.

Riding bikes? Nah, not for me.

Crusing the beach on a strand cruiser? Now that is something I can do! Although I did not grow up in Southern California, I have lived here long enough to learn a few cruising musts: 1) wear a bathing suit under whatever you are wearing; 2) grab your sunglasses; 3)  if you break a sweat you should probably slow down!

Enjoy the weekend!

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Costa Rica | Vol. 4 | The Wedding Finale!

Andy and Katie’s wedding at ‘Casa de Capitan’ was an incredible event and the finale of our trip. We had looked forward to the wedding day the whole week and we were happy to see that the event would be set in absolutely perfect weather. As the sun began to set we gathered on the beach and watched Katie, the gorgeous bride, come the down the aisle.

Sarah, Katrin, Vivian, Alexandra and Shan

Charlie and Me

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SPACE

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Anthony & Alex, Sarah and Brian

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SPACE

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The newly engaged.

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SPACE

SPACE

For the reception dinner, Shan and I were assigned to the “pantera” table.

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After the ceremony, the group enjoyed drinks and appetizers on the beach.  There could not have been a better setting.

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Fitz played a few a songs.

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The ceremony amongst the palms, the circular arrangement brought everybody close the action.

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The groom, very happy obviously.

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Mr. and (very soon to be) Mrs,

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And they’re married!

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First steps of many in a life together!

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Brian, Sarah, Katrin and Sten

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Shan, Kim, and Suzi

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The Father-Daughter dance was all time, a full, intense swing dance to Free Bird.  An instant classic.

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The Punta Coco clan, those who live together, party together and eat ‘Gallo Pinto’ together:

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This is scene looking towards the beach from the house and swimming pool, Marty, myself and Kevin.

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Flor de Cana a local rum,

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Dinner was first class, also first class were the “Shot-skis,” here the Curtis’s give a lesson in teamwork.

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Andy’s brother Erik, delivered a great speech.

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Some ‘Shot-ski’ races.

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The happy newlyweds.

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At midnight, Katie surprised Andy (and all of us) with a firework show! We were blown away!

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I really like the shot on the right here, it’s the Grand Finale on 20 second exposure hand held.  What you’re seeing on the bottom is the tent illuminated by the fireworks and framed by palm trees on both sides, quite an experience!

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Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Curtis!!!

Costa Rica | Vol. 3 | Santa Teresa

The ride from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa is a long one but very pretty and hugs the coastline the whole way.  We passed some very pretty towns including Jaco which stands out a bit in Costa Rica due to its few high rise buildings.  One ugly town we had to pass through was Puntareraus, the town where the ferry departed from.  We made our way through Puntareraus as quickly as we could and without incident that is until our last turn before boarding the ferry.  Standing in the middle of the road with his hand up was a weird looking dude and we had nowhere to go so we had to stop.  With the guy now standing on the running board right next to me, I gassed it a bit and he jumped off.  It was kind of a crazy experience and none of us were sure what he was after, we think he wanted to help us find the ferry and get a tip.  We knew the direction so he was just a hindrance.

With that passed us, we boarded the ferry for the first time.  The whole process stumped us initially, the tickets are sold out of store across the street. We boarded the ferry and were on our way. The boat had a full snack bar and even karaoke!! One Costa Rican sang the whole time and nobody had a problem with it because he pretty much killed it.  The four of us ate a churro, a taquito, and a beer.  About an hour later, we arrived in Paquera.

Once on the other side of the peninsula, we started our drive towards Playa Santa Teresa.  We heard the roads were bad, but we had NO idea.  The procession of cars that left ferry left me in the middle of the pack so I had to tackle the road at the same speed as the locals who had memorized the pattern of potholes.  This left me at a serious disadvantage.  Their line swerved on the left side of the road and included the shoulders on both the right and left side of the road. Flying down a road that was 40% pothole at 40-60kms per hours was definitely an experience.  It was nuts!

Finally, we arrived in Santa Teresa to find a big group of our friends having lunner at Burger Rancho.  Everybody literally jumped on our Mitsu’s running boards and bumpers as we drove a short distance down the road to where we’d spend the next week, Punta Coco.

“Punta Coco” was a gathering of jungle casitas (jung-alows) in the midst of dense trees, right on the beach.  The property came with a native family of caretakers who protected us and cooked us “Gallo Pinto” breakfast.

Here is the sign that marked our entrance, it was doubly important.  The sign was a marker for tourists as well as for “Rocko” one of the property’s dogs who would hang at the local bars into the early morning hours.

Looking north-west-ish from under the Punta Coco sign. “Super Ronny” is pictured, this is where we picked up water, beer and other snacks on a daily basis. This dirt road is the only road through town, so you can imagine how dusty it can get during peak hours!

Katrin, Kim and Alexandra hanging in our second story room during our first night in the jungalows.

Chris and Shannon enjoying a drink before we went out for a family dinner at “El Pulpo”.  El Pulpo served some of the best pizza we’ve had anywhere.  Shan has even vowed to learn to make pizza as good as El Pulpo’s because she liked it so much!  The chef/owner was European (and he had a really sweet sheep dog too).

Poosman and Toneman

From right to left, me, AC, Sten, Chris and Jaime (led the Costa Rican Pacific league with 17 goals in the summer of ’09, and great guy, we gave him a Laker’s shirt and even though he didn’t speak a word of English he fit right in).

Aside from surfing and lounging on the deserted beaches, Santa Teresa offers many opportunities for adventure.  On one of the days, about a dozen of us rented quads and headed south east-ish towards Montezuma to see one of the many waterfalls.  Quads are the way to do this as it provides a chance to ride on the back-country roads through beautiful farmland with several fun water crossings.

We sped along on this dirt road until we hit our first hold up.

Costa Rican road block!

These bulls were not happy!  The black one was scrubbing his front feet just like the cartoons so we held off and let them pass.  Fortunately no one got horned. Thanks to Fitz the photog for getting this picture of me and Shan participating in a stare down with “el torro negro”.

Soon after this bull encounter, I saw something move and before I had a chance to stop I ran over about a 4-5 ft snake.  It was red and after we hit it, it scurried very quickly into the green. I’m glad we didn’t kill it. The road paid off with this great waterfall.  We swam in the pool and did some jumps.  Fitz grabbed these shots with our Canon (underwater camera), kudos for the timing the second one.

Shan grabbed these great shots as the sun set on Punta Coco while I was out surfing.  Her first attempts with our ND filter and I’d say she did an ok job!  The fog is actually waves moving water while the shutter remains open. Nice job Shan!

Kim and Chris enjoying the view from Andy and Katie’s rehearsal dinner at Brisas Del Mar.  Incredible food and an even better view! Everybody was happy that the taxi driver didn’t kill us on the way up.  It was a close call as the driveway feels like 45 degree hill and at the very top he pitched his ten passenger van sideways and way off camber.

Early morning from Punta Coco, a few hundred yards down the way was where we surfed each day.

Alex and AC were newly engaged just before the trip so it added to the fun of traveling with them.

Really fun waves the whole week, Stenner.

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Katrin was getting great waves the whole week, here is one.

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Kim at our pool, where we hung out each day.

Here is one of my favorite shots of the week, Shan grabbed this after one of our afternoon sessions.

Andy and Katie’s wedding day came on a gorgeous day.  Everybody was ready to go and the cab was waiting but Sten wasn’t ready yet so it gave Shan and I some time to mess around and take some shots of each other.  I’m a lucky guy!

Shannon getting in touch with her inner-self.

The last sunset before the wedding from our pool at Punta Coco.

Stay tuned for wedding shots and more!

SPACE

SPACE

Untraditional Thanksgiving

The beach is just a part of our life here is Los Angeles and these pictures are a perfect example of that. As much as I have always hoped to one day spend a Thanksgiving among the beautiful east coast trees full of orange, red, and golden leaves, I am a California girl and here in Los Angeles, we have an endless summer made up of palm trees, sand, and light weight scarfs that eventually leave you sweating because it just isn’t hot enough to actually need one. Sad, but true.

This all leads me to our Thanksgiving morning which began with a walk on the beach and a quick surf in the Pacific Ocean before heading to the grandparents for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. While it may not be what most people envision for Thanksgiving morning, it was our morning. Spending it enjoying this beautiful land that God created for us to enjoy with lots of family and laughter – now that is something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

random pieces of our life.

This collection of pictures have never made it into the blog for one reason or another, but they are still some of my favorites that just make me smile. They represent a quick glimpse into the random pieces of our lives that make up the everyday.

 

For as long as I can remember handstands have been a part of my life. I have been trying for years to teach Ryan to do one, because I can’t fathom the idea of someone NOT being able to bust out a handstand on command – I mean, really they might just be the best thing ever!

 

 

Ryan took this picture at Ya Ya’s Boutique in the El Segundo Plaza. Usually, I prefer more soft, subtle earth tones and whites, but I love the bright pops of color in this picture and the way the gold of the statue looks against the background.

 

The smooth sand, mixed with the colorful blue water, and the way Ryan was able to capture my quick escape from the waves – just love it.

 

 

This picture was taken last Valentines Day during our beach walk. We saw tons of ladybugs that day and I wanted so badly to have a Macro lens to capture this guy with. Until then, those extreme close up insect pictures will have to wait.

 

 

 

Walking into a perfect supermarket (or Michael’s Crafts for that matter) you feel as though you have just walked into a box of endless possibly. The combination of items you can put together to create a true work of art are endless.  Do you buy butter and apples for pie or apples and blueberries for dessert?  This photo represents the endless choices available to us at the store and the immaculate shelves Cook’s Market always keeps.

 

 

 

This goofy fun photo was taken in El Porto one Friday night after a long work week. After we got done snapping these pictures, we walked back  to the car and drove home. Once home, I sat on the couch to relax a bit before dinner. Little did I know, while at the beach, I had sat in tar! In the matter of 10 minutes I had caused a 6″ streak of black tar on our tan car cushion and another streak on our ivory couches. Lets just say we spent the rest of the night research how to remove tar from fabric. We tried WD-40 because it got great reviews and rubbing —  the rubbing alcohol was the winner!

 

 

This picture was taken immediately after we bought our 12-24mm Tokina. It represents our daily life here in El Segundo and Ryan’s always active personality. While I spent my childhood at the gym flipping and tumbling, Ry was hitting the streets on his skateboard. Both of us still have much love for our childhood hobbies and I love watching Ryan hop (or whatever its called, ollie?) over random curbs as we make our way through El Segundo.

 

 

 

Not sure why I like this picture, but I do and its the end of the post anyways so the words say it all.

 

 

 

SPACE

Featured: Malibu Dream Home

I am not an art lover – and frankly the thought of looking at a painting such as the Mona Lisa just bores me. On the other hand, buildings are something I can admire.  They are massive undertakings that take years to plan and execute and change the landscape of the earth forever – sorry, but a mini 30″ x 20 7/8″ canvas just can’t compare. Churches, hotels, banks,  and homes they are all true works of art to me!

Here is a beauty of a house that was built in 2002 by Finton Construction.This house is located off of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. It sits on approximately three-quarters of an acre, has 180 front feet of glistening sand on Malibu’s coveted Carbon Beach. Lavish scale, unparalleled comfort, eight bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, nine wood-burning fireplaces, breathtaking cook’s Kit with every amenity to delight a passionate chef, extraordinary family room, disappearing walls of glass and limitless vistas of the shimmering Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island and the Queen’s Necklace all blend in perfect harmony to create a rare and uncommon Southern California lifestyle. Sweeping Oceanside terraces, an unexpected swimming pool and spa, endless walks and the promise of sand castles.

Goodness, don’t you just want to move in now!

Stone entry way to separate the house from the highway. The limestone flooring  continues into the house.

I am a sucker for paneling, especially if its white. Check out the floor to ceiling paneling in this room! When we eventually have a house poor Ryan is going to become an expert at this skill because I want it everywhere – but it will have to have pretty molding to go with it!

More fabulous white wood paneling!  I love the neutral tones with touches of green throughout!

180 degree views of the ocean, now that is bliss!

Even a bit of grass for those grass lovers like myself!

This home  is  on sale and can be yours for a whopping…………..$57,000,000!!!!! Really, $57 million? I showed my Mama dearest and she said to dream big, but this one is sort of like dreaming to see God! For now, just beautiful images to admire!

** all photos courtesy of Chris Cortazzo

Christmas Fireworks!

One of our favorite festivities is the Manhattan Beach Christmas fireworks, in fact it was our first real dates way back in 2003!  This year, we started the night out at a Christmas party with my sister, Taylor and Alana at their strand house.  From their we walked a bit closer to the pier and had a great time watching with a bunch of friends.  It was a great show, Merry Christmas!

Manhattan Beach Pier

31/365 - Fireworks

Us ball

Check out our sideshow here, and if you want to download a particular shot, try here.