Precious Love

Piglet: “Pooh, how do you spell love?”
Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”

Maxi Dress, my new bff?

Maxi dresses – oh how I love you! You are like one big blanket that wraps around and never has to be adjusted for bending or sitting. You give this party of two enough room to keep everyone involved happy. The best part, you don’t give me extra bulge in unwanted places like those evil, dare I say,”maternity” pants do. Any and all maxi dresses are welcome in this house (at least for the next 8 weeks).


Secret is Out

My wonderful husband took this picture of me almost 2 months ago when I was……..5 months pregnant! I know, I know, I waited a while to post anything about it, but I haven’t been posting about much lately anyways and all of my posts have been random bits from our life, so I guess in the random nature…the secret is finally out! Since then my belly has grown quite a bit because this baby is coming in just a couple more months.

The late April fog had rolled in and I decided we need to head down to the beach before dinner to use up the last of our film before heading off to France. I love to see how Ryan decides to capture things, even if I might boss him around a little to make sure he “gets” what I am going for! I tell him my thoughts, and show him where to stand, and which lens to use  (i know, annoying!), all of which he is half listening to so I freak that he doesn’t get it and wont get the picture I want. But when the film comes back, he never fails and his talent always surprises me and makes me excited that he shares the love for photography as much as I do! Thanks cutes for dealing with me and creating such pretty pictures!

Fuji Pro 400h; Nikon FM3a, 85mm f/1.4


forever friends

One of the best things about the holidays is the time I get to spend with family….evenings cuddled together around the wood stove catching up on all the daily chatter. Seems like this just doesn’t happen as much as we would like, so I will treasure it when it does.

The best part about it is, the older I get the closer I become to each of them. I always loved my family but I can say there was a time when I was…well…less than enthused to be seen getting dropped off for school by my Dad in his work truck. Now days, I’ll ride shotgun in any car he comes to pick me up in — added bonus if my Mom is in it too because they, along with all my siblings, truly have become my best friends.


Florida Sunshine

Ah, at last we had arrived in the Sunshine State and our first stop {ok technically the second stop — the first stop was at the Destin Outlets obviously} was off to AJ’s to catch the sunset while enjoying some yummy vacation style cocktails while watching the Destin Fishing Rodeo! With a city tag line “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” you bet those fisherman brought in some good competition catches!

The next day, we decided to catch the ferry to Shell Island near Panama City and soak in the isolated, sandy island and our first touch at the sugary sand!

Look at that water – looks refreshing huh? Makes you just want to bury your feet in the sand and tread further into the waves. That is until you see one of theeeeese guys!   

JELLYFISH! The Gulf Coast is covered in jellyfish. Um, yeah you bet we were staying out of that water! 

And instead we will get back to admiring this yummy sand. You ready for a little Wikipedia fact?  Turns out the sand comes from the Appalachian Mountains, and is made of finely ground quartz crystal giving the appearance of sugar. Basically, it is truly remarkable and I wish I could curl my toes up and walk in that sand just about everyday. 

We couldn’t leave Destin without a quick stop to Donut Hole, a local bakery and cafe. While everything looked so delicious we settled on a few omelets, eggs, and left with a couple of donuts for the road!

We had a great trip visiting my sister and it was a great way to extend our summer all the way into October! We can’t wait to go back!


Word of the Day: Geothermal Features

Want to know the quickest way to sound smart and like a total Yellowstone local? Use the term geothermal in a sentence when referring to natural occurrences such as Old Faithful, hot springs, or other various unearthly things such as mud pots and other geysers.  Little fact, because we are full of knowledge about these smelly, weird, and slightly creepy features, Yellowstone has over 10,000 thermal features! These pictures are from the Mammoth Hot Springs which are located at the north end of the park. 

The National park service states, “Geyserland, fairyland, wonderland–through the years, all have been used to describe the natural wonder and magic of this unique park that contains more geothermal features than any other place on earth.” Fairyland? Wonderland? Not sure those are accurate descriptions of these guys, as I spent the day with my nose covered and laughing because I couldn’t believe how BAD it smelled. I continued to tell Ryan this is one big fart being released by the Earth. Everywhere you look, Earth farts were occurring – and more than one at time, so you can imagine something as big as the Earth releasing this “excess air” and how bad it would smell. Sulfur mixed with rottenness equals smel-ly! 

We weren’t sure what to think of these things. They were cool, but, not that pretty, yet we kept taking pictures of them. They were mysterious and intriguing because it’s as if we were seeing the crust of the Earth. I guess we were just fascinated by them as neither of had every seen anything like it before. This was copied from the National Park Services website regarding the Mammoth Hot Springs:

“Water rises through the limestone, carrying high amounts of dissolved calcium carbonate. At the surface, carbon dioxide is released and calcium carbonate is deposited, forming travertine, the chalky white rock of the terraces. Due to the rapid rate of deposition, these features constantly and quickly change.”

The park makes these cool boardwalks so that the millions of visitors every year do not disrupt the natural occurring events, such as the hot springs. 

So there you have it – the weird, creepy, kind of pretty in a un-earthly way Mammoth Hot Springs geothermal feature!

{I’m sure after my description you are all dying to go now – sorry if these are one of your favorite Yellowstone features they just weren’t for us!}

aqua grace

Underwater cameras and photo booths are two of kind and basically irresistible to all who come in contact with them.  Checking out everyone’s funny faces, weird air bubbles, and floating hair can offer endless fun. Now, if only we had some long flowy dresses to throw into the mix would we have real photography magic…maybe next time! Until then, here are some goofy faced, pure summer photos.


Savoring Summer

Summer, please don’t go! I love you toooooo much and will hang on to every last ray of sunshine that you use to warm my skin with! I will kick off my sandals and treasure the grass under my feet and the freedom of walking barefoot on the beach. I will joy in the last of the 4/$1.00 corn on the cob at the grocery store and the smell of meat on the barbecue. I will take in and savor every last piece of what you have left to give, until the cool breeze will soon force me to put on a jacket and long pants and prepare for the looming winter blast. Yes, I will. I promise, I will.



Good morning sunshine! Rise and shine to meet the day awaiting you. While we love spending mornings together it is unfortunate that Saturday and Sunday are our only days to enjoy a leisurely morning sitting around in our PJs, catching up on the morning sports news (because you know, a lot happens between 10:30pm and 8am in the sports world), and jump starting the body with a warm cup o’ coffee. Omelets are one of our favorite things to cook for breakfast and over the years, Ryan has sealed his position as the resident omelet flipper. This makes me so happy because I hate wet, undercooked eggs and insist that my omelet be cooked on both sides so you can imagine my excitement when Ryan perfected this trick.

Hooray for yummy eggs and the joy that a new morning brings!


Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 28

Before I say anything else, please take a look at that hydrangea bush…its owner must have one serious green thumb! And don’t worry, the picture is not deceiving you. The bush is as big as the house, has as many blooms as the entire LA Flower Mart, and by my calculation if the owner was to sell each bloom for the going rate that bush is worth $400!

I have seen this bush bloom for the past three years and every time I am in awe (and secretly kind of want to “snip” a few blooms….juuuust a few.) I even asked my husband what he thinks about taking a few and he was appalled I even asked. I thought he must be a boy and just doesn’t get it. So what do you do when you need advice on something only a girl can relate to? Ask Mom of course; she loves flowers so she will understand. I asked my Mom, if it would be “ok” if I took a few and then tried to describe to her just how many blooms this lady had and how she really really would never know or miss those blooms and that I would really really enjoy those blooms in my house. My Mom replied, “SHANNON? You can’t STEAL the neighbors flowers!” Yikes – I guess I got my answer and I learned, at 27 years old (this was last year when I asked), that taking a few blooms from the neighbor is not allowed.*

Until, I have a yard that consists of more than my three potted plants, I will be enjoying this seasons hydrangea blooms only through my pictures.

*Travis McConnell, if you are reading this, picking strawberries from the “neighbors” would also fall under this category.

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 25

Yes, this actually happened and I was lucky enough to capture it in the camera where it will live forever (sorry babe, even if you try to delete it, I have it backed up)! For those of you who know Ryan, you will see the amazing humor in this shot; however for those of you who do not know him I will tell you, Ry conducts himself in a very serious manner–always thinking and always learning. Ryan’s idea of “letting lose” means going out with his top two shirt buttons undone compared to his usual one and maybe throwing a few fist pumps while on the dance floor. So when Ryan came with me to take a few pictures of the goats, this particular goat began kissing his cheek which resulted in Ry, well wanting more I guess!!!

Now that we had a little fun with Ry, this is me laughing so hard……hmmmm..what could it be that has me almost on the floor laughing?

Well, you see I just asked: “Check out that goats goat-…Wait, GOATS HAVE GOATEE’s?!!?!”  At this point the entire barn stall stood looking at me with a long pause, then I saw small confirming head nod from my husband which turned into a “Omg, Shan are you serious?! Yes!” At this point, I was in full blown hysteric’s repeating my new revelation that the term “goatee” comes from GOATS!!!  I am pretty sure an actual light bulb went off during this revelation! Seriously, goats have goatees — Still cracks me up!  Does everybody know this and I am the last to put this together?? Doubt it, but if you did then A+ to you in farm animal class!!!

Thanks for the laughs and hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!!!


Animal House

Beautiful. Powerful. Friendly. Funny. A horse is all of those things to me. Beautiful are the markings, hair, mane, and trot. Powerful describes their overwhelming muscles that stare you in the eyes. Friendly, hold a carrot in your hand and that horse can’t get enough! And funny? Well that goes to their teeth and lips of course! Remember this picture?? (it’s a must see so please click the link if you want a laugh!) We saw these horses at the Longshadow Ranch Winery this weekend while wine tasting in Temecula. This blonde horse was my favorite!!! Maybe because I am sort of jealous of his/her summer bleached look!I hope to try and ride a horse one of these days – I haven’t done it since I was seven years old while camping with my sister’s Brownie troop in Yosemite!

Airport Travel

Although travel is usually thought of as a stressful time, the first few minutes on an airplane seem to be when I am most relaxed.  No cell phones to answer, no dinners to make, no blind spots to check for. I am filled with excitement for where I am headed and who I will see. Often, we are so rushed in the hustle of life to sit and enjoy the sights of what is really around us. So, I do just as any good passenger does, I sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Can you guess which airports these pictures are from?

#1: LAX at take off
#2, #3: Sacramento
#4:  Facing south towards Palos Verdes (left) and facing north over Malibu (right)
#5: Sacramento Baggage Claim stack of suitcases

Dear Mr. Rain,

Rain, rain, rain – you just keep coming down leaving me in one continuous outfit of boots, thick socks, and a jacket with a hood! Right when my mind starts wandering to thoughts of summer dresses, sandals, and new bathing suits, you whop my bare legs with a burst of cold air and leave my hair in a wet mess. Since, you will not leave us alone, I figure I might as well get out there and enjoy the beauty you have to offer and beautiful it is…



Wedding | Megan & Chris | Lucchesi Vineyard

I am beyond excited to share with you this wedding that I shot a few months ago with Kevin George Photography. Megan began her morning with her bridesmaids at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.  The hotel was filled with lots of historical character and beautiful lighting and made a fantastic place to take pictures.

Again the beautiful lighting and historical furniture set the stage for these beautiful images of Megan. These are some of my favorites of the day!

Chris and Megan opted for a “First Look” which allowed us plenty of time to take pictures before the ceremony. We did this in the Holbrooke Hotel lobby.

The next series of pictures were taken while walking around Grass Valley.

Next it was off to the Lucchesi Vineyard for the wedding ceremony and reception.


Congratulations to you both and thanks to Kevin George for letting me second shoot for him!!!



Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 1

With the start of the new year, many photo enthusiasts like to start a 365 Project, which requires them to take a picture everyday! At this point, I do not have the time to create an interesting photograph everyday of the year (especially because I spend the best part of the day in a florescent lit office). So, instead I am going to try a 52 week project and will post 1 picture every Friday. So…….Ta-Da- here is my first picture!

While in Cambria, Ry and I decided to take  little drive around the town and Mark Epstein recommended this boat launching area near Moonstone Beach. It was raining so we both scrambled under the bridge to get some cover and I snapped this picture. I love the lighting and the  emotion of the black and white capture.

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Photoshoot | Finals

As previously mentioned, on Thanksgiving we had our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving vacation photoshoot! The pictures are a bit overdue, but my Dad took some pictures as well and I grabbed them off his computer over the break. I wanted to make sure those were incorporate into this post so I apologize for the delay!

I wish you knew how much we were laughing while taking these – seriously laughing 99% of the time! This is why we are not paid models because we would be on the floor rolling the whole time! So, yes, please laugh along with us as I show these!!!!


Even Kevin George got in on the action.

And lastly, photo credits go to both Kevin George and myself (as previously mentioned, we both took pictures and it would be to complicated to say who took each one)!

Engaged | Charlie & Vivian | El Porto

I was so thrilled when Ryan told me that Charlie & Vivian wanted us to shoot some engagement pictures for them! Immediately we started thinking about different places and ideas for these two and when Charlie & Viv recommended El Porto I was so excited, not only because it has such fun character and a lot of cool walls, but that is also were Charlie proposed to Vivian!

While we started out the day with hopes of sunshine, that quickly faded because the second I pulled the camera out the sunshine suddenly turned into a cold, wet, foggy rain that seemingly took over the South Bay for all of October. These two were so awesome to work with, so cheerful and full of love. Thanks so much for the fun time!

Vivian’s is a natural – she made my job so easy and always knew the right look to throw at the camera! Look at her owning it here!

I am so happy for these two and can’t wait for them to get married!!! Congratulations!!

To see more pictures, CLICK HERE FOR SLIDESHOW (click on HD at bottom)



Every now and then throughout history…

…a genius creates something that is timeless.

Something that is so indisputably timeless and cool that anybody who has ever experienced [said timeless item] has a story of hilarious and gleeful admiration. And the story follows this pattern.

{enthusiastic & loud voice} “No No No….MY [said timeless item]…was terrible it had [insert long list of faults] and it couldn’t [insert long list of limitations] but it had more personality in its [insert small component] than my [insert said timeless item’s replacement] whole being. Every single time it would [story detailing one of the faults that is both unbelievable and hilarious.]

{somber & much quieter voice} One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was [selling said timeless item]. If I could do it all over it again, I would have saved [said timeless item], perhaps restored it. I would have cherished it to this day, man was I stupid for getting rid of [said timeless and genius item].

So here is my story of my timeless and genius possession:

No No No….MY tan ’72 Volkswagen Squareback was terrible it had a starter that wouldn’t work for months, a passenger window that wouldn’t roll down and no CD player. It couldn’t even ride at freeway speeds because the brakes required pumping to stop at any speeds over 40 mph and the wheel bearings were shot so if my speed ever broke 50 mph the “wobble of death” would scare me and my passengers “to death.” That car had more personality in its soft leather shift knob than my 4runner’s whole being. Every single time I had to turn left into oncoming traffic I had to use a hand signal because the front blinker was gone. That’s right, just a hole in the body where the blinker once was…it was cool though, that’s where I stashed my keys when I went surfing.

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was selling that car for $600 bucks. Even though I didn’t need a car to attend UCSB, if I could do it all over it again, I would have saved my squareback and fixed it’s ailments and maybe even restored it. I would have cherished it to this day, man was I stupid for getting rid of VW.

I know this isn’t a Squareback, but equally cool, the Bug that reminded of my timeless and genius car.

The Ericson Wedding in Austria!

I had the honor of being a groomsman in Sten and Katrin’s wedding.  To add to the excitement, the event took place in Going, Austria, in January!

Unfortunately, Shan and I had used up most (ok, all) of our vacation time on our own wedding and honeymoon which meant we couldn’t plan a proper European vacation.  This caused the trip to be a total whirlwind for me, one day traveling from LAX to Munich and one day back, and in between three and of half days of action.  It was quite a way to visit Europe for the first time!

It took about 20 hours of flights, delays and layovers to get to Munich, from there it was an hour an forty five minute train ride and forty minute taxi ride to get to the town of Going.  My taxi driver didn’t know the address and didn’t speak English so we were lost.  We turned down and unmarked alley and what did we see?! My friends! A group of Californians walking to the local market in Austria! Got to love the town of Going, for too many reasons to list actually but the small town feel was incredible.

This was the view looking off the back balcony upon my arrival.

A quick chat with Ligget and a beer later, it was time for Sten and Katrin’s rehearsal dinner.  It was hosted in an incredible chateu-like hotel, I really dug all the unfinished wood. I was blown away by the talents of local carpenters.  The included drinks and the best beef I’ve ever eaten, the speeches were heartfelt and memorable.  Catching up with friends was a blast.

The next day we took a snow hike and saw some of the best views of my life.  The path was covered in fresh snow so the whole hike we didn’t see any footprints.  It was the best!

Then came the big day! It was time to get ready with groomsman.  It was just a few months prior that the roles were reversed and Sten was one of my groomsman in my wedding so I knew exactly what was going through his mind.  We shared a few stories and threw on the coats and ties (the less manly groomsman also wore long underwear as it was ~zero degrees that day).

Sten and a particularly special groomsman, his father.

The wedding was incredible, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me.  It was at town of Going’s church right in the middle of the city.  The pictures below are from the town of Kitzbuhel were the reception was held in a very posh hotel.  Congratulations to the Ericson’s, your wedding was awesome!!

I now have the desire to go back, there was so much I didn’t see and do, and this time Shan is coming with me!

New Years Eve 2010 – Big Bear

We had the pleasure of spending New Years with SEVERAL of our closest friends in Big Bear, CA.  Alexandra, Anthony, Chuck, Vivian, Chris, Kim and an awesome group of Alexandra’s bros friends contributed to a great weekend.  Snowboarding, eating pizza, playing Balderdash, jacuzziing, drinking, singing and dancing were a perfect way to bring in 2010! Lots of great pictures can be seen here, below are just a few of my favorites.

New Years eve isn’t right without a proper sparkler burning, pot banging exhibition.

9 & 10/365 – Lunch Walk

Today Shan and I met Brent and Suzi for tacos, it’s really so nice to work across the street from each other. Lately we’ve been having lunch at least a couple of times a week so today we enjoyed the company of friends.  After lunch we walked downtown for awhile and ended up spending a few minutes in the park adjacent to the library.

Since I didn’t post a picture yesterday, there are two today.  #9 is my favorite of the 365 day project so far.  I love ya Shan!

The Braid - 9/365

The Braid - 9/365

Library Fountain - 10/365

Library Fountain - 10/365


I didn’t have the opportunity to take any photos this Saturday so my bid for 365 pictures in 365 days is off.  I still plan on getting to 365, it just might take a little bit longer than 1 year, that’s all.

This afternoon was grey, but I did have a great time watching this little bird exploit the low tide.  He worked alone, and found lots to eat.  It was interesting because the rest of breed worked in a group, sort of following each other around, he did his own thing.

Lownly Tide - 5/365

Lownly Tide - 5/365