Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Friday!

Had a fun shin dig with a bunch of friends on Monday night. We played rock band and goofed off like we always do. Two of my favorite photos from that night:

Dan gave me my birthday present early so I can get used to it before my trip. I don't turn 24 until September 8th. I really wanted to take advantage of the good weather and I'll be with Jess besides! I have had about a week with this camera and love how light weight it is and its wide angle. It has a large screen, but no viewfinder because of it. Love that turning off the preview allows me to shoot faster and I adore that I can make low res videos too. Got my Eurail Global pass in the mail and my bajillion memory cards for the trip. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'll be bringing 58GB with me. After all, it is 60 days of photography! Also got a silly piece of mail from my lovely friend Amy! Isn't she cute?
Jenny & I went to Japantown to look at some cute paper. We were looking around a store when I happened upon a lot of puppy calendars. Of course they were published by the company I temped for back in February/March. They didn't have the calendars that I worked on but I found the horses here! I dabbled in a few dog breeds as well but spent the most time on editing the horses. I got such a feeling of pride when I saw it. I will probably have to order myself one to remember that time.

I was also excited to find hi chews, a really chewy fruit candy that my friend Suzanna introduced to me two years ago. Yummy!
And to top it off, I found a Black Uni-Ball Signo UM-153. They had it in several other colors but I liked black best. I have several of the unicorns already...

We're going through a heat spell again. Went on a walk on Linda Mar beach with my cousin Kelley last night. Got a little splashed by the waves and it felt good (very rare). Met Eva & kids in San Bruno to play at the park. This photo is a perfect example of when a fill flash is needed. It was a cool 93*! Inland it was supposed to get up to 105.
Cooled off in Pacifica where it was about 85ish. Hung out with Jenna and friends then ate pie at a deserted mall at 10pm tonight. Tons of laughs and memories. It was key lime pie in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

7 days!

My two month journey begins in less than a week! I leave next Wednesday to fly in to meet Jess and her adorable family. Things are beginning to fall into place but I still have lots to prepare for. So I thought I'd start a list of things I have learned about travel and Europe since I started.
  1. No Hassle credit cards are a myth. They really don't exist.
  2. You don't need a signed prescription in Europe unless you're trying to buy Narcotics.
  3. Pickpockets will do anything, include give you their baby while they take your purse. Whose going to drop a baby?
  4. Sleeping bags are thing of the past. Sleeping bag liners are the new thing.
  5. Hostels aren't ridden with bed bugs anymore.
  6. You have to claim any electronics with Customs & Border Patrol before you leave the U.S. if they are newer than 6 months old. Otherwise you get charged a duty price upon return.
  7. Going to Europe when the Euro is strong and the dollar is cheap makes it WAY more expensive.
  8. The movie Sex in the City will be playing on my flight to Germany!
  9. Europe is the size of the U.S. and its really easy to travel around with the Eurail system.
  10. I'm going to make a ton of friends and have the time of my life traveling on my own. I can take photos for as long as I want without having to worry about holding up a tour.
And now, lots of random things to post about... We got the cutest gnome in at the store and I just had to share since they are so popular. Its designed by Jim Shore.
I had fun playing with the dozen's kit and making Chez this cute birthday card. I've been meaning to post it for a while now. Inspired by Michelle Clement. Heather is having a great sale over at Everything Scrappn. She also just got in some lovelies from Pink Paislee which I had to have!And the matching stickers/rub ons:I bought a new camera strap and sadly its not one of Emily Falconbridge's beautiful straps. But I know it will do an excellent job! Normally I swear by the Domke Gripper for comfort. I purchased a Pacsafe 100, which has stainless steel cables running through and an extra fool proof locking system (that I have yet to figure out). Dan helped me with it. I think this is a great investment so I wont have to worry about some person trying to slash my beautiful camera off of me.

This week's mosaic is on Italy. I could have spent weeks just looking at photos from Italy so I had to focus on some of the places I hope to visit. Jenna & I plan to go during her fall break toward the end of October. Hoping for about 10 days there! So here are my faves from Flickr!1. St Peter - Vatican, 2. Fontana di Trevi at night, 3. Roma. Foro Piscario, 4. Venezia, 5. Burano, 6. sleeping in venice, 7. Santa Maria del Fiore, Firenze, 8. Uffizi, 9. Florence. Ponte Vecchio., 10. Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy, 11. Villa Balbianello, Lake Como.jpg, 12. The Cathedral, Milan, Italy, 13. Milan_045, 14. Milan Train Station at Midnight, 15. Naples, 16. Colours of Naples, 17. The Amalfi Coast at Night, 18. capri pathway, 19. Capri, 20. Capri Blue, 21. hotel promenade - sorento, Italy, 22. Colours in Positano, 23. View of Positano, Italy, 24. Positano, 25. Positano

I was given this fabulous award by the lovely Holly Hanks. Thanks a bunch!
Here are the rules:
(1) The winner can put the logo on their blog.
(2) Link the person you received your award from.
(3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
(4) Put links of those on yours.
(5) Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.

I love reading everyone's blogs and I hate picking just a few. But in the name of fun, here goes:

  1. Michelle Clement: I adore her style and feel connected to her simply because we are so much alike that it scares us. I wish we lived closer. I bet we would have been #1 buddies if we went to the same animation school.
  2. Dani Johnston: I've been impressed with this amazing girl since the moment I was introduced by Rachel from the RVA swap. Not only does she rock any paper you throw at her, she puts herself out there and blogs during the times most would just curl up in a ball and say "forget it."
  3. Mrs. Chez: Cracks me up. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, especially with someone that I just met. She's always got something interesting to say and has such a fun style.
  4. Jess Summers: So I know she already got nominated, but I love her blog! I love that she mixes it up with crafty stuff, family photos, and amazing journey's through Germany. I get so excited when she posts.
  5. Fauve Vanmaanen: One of the sweetest girls on the face of this earth. Her comments always make me so happy and I think she takes some of the coolest photos. Love that graffiti!
  6. Vee Jennings: So talented I love to just stare at her stuff for hours. Love her photography and how well she incorporates it into all her projects. Incredibly generous too!
  7. Holly McCaig: she blogs all the time, has incredible photos and designs such adorable stuff. What's not to love?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Photo overload: pretty pretty!

Had a most spontaneous past few days and I'm loving it! Ended up at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Wednesday and got very inspired. Check my flickr account in the next couple days since I took over 300 photos in 3 hours!

I really like the silhouetted look with the window of jellies:
Add lots of mirrors for a cool reflection:
The most beautiful jellies ever from the Mediterranean:
And just for good measure, what sand dollars look like when they are living on the ocean floor:
Stopped by the shopping mall to pick up the Europe walking shoes. They aren't as cute as I was hoping but they are super comfy!
Goofed off with Jessica on Thursday. She got called for an interview while at my house. Sending lots of good vibes for it!

Friday was very exciting for me. I made some much needed purchases due to a well-timed REI sale. I was so excited I brought my purchases into the Scrapbook Depot to share with all the scrappers. I'm so happy with my backpack. Can you tell? And Kristi was there. We had the bestest time ever. Drove to Los Altos to meet my old pal Will. Notice a theme? Everyone is so excited about my trip they want to hang out one last time! We went hiking in near Santa Cruz at the Castle Rock State Park for 2.5 miles. Will enjoys climbing and jumping into the rocks for a quick pose.
And a very cool "cave" painting that I found very inspiring.
Had a very special birthday celebration dinner tonight at the Francos. We hang spoons in our spare time.
So I want to wish Jeff a very Happy Birthday! He turns 25 on Monday. Hope your day is as great as tonight!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

*Scrap Mojo 20* No More Kings

Challenge #20 is up over at Scrap Mojo. The challenge is to use an episode title from School House Rock some where on your project. The other half is to incorporate glitter. Hope lots of you can play! Due August 30th.

I got a chance to play with my new Hambly overlays!
These past few days have been such a whirl wind that Monday feels like it was last week. I ran a bunch of errands all day Monday. I did get a chance to relax and finish reading Deception Point. Ooh was that good. I learned so much about ice, plankton, meteorites, and NASA. I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife and find it hard to put down. I'm trying to balance reading travel books and a fun book too.

Celebrated my mom's birthday at my aunt's house on Monday night. I enjoyed catching up with them and looking at their photos from their European trip from 2005.
In other fun news, I finally broke down and replaced my sad broken iPod. The apple store has a recycling program which gives you 10% off when you purchase a new one! I bought the silver one but haven't had a chance to do a photo shoot with it so here it is off of their website.
I got my beautiful Whimsy jar from Chez at the beginning of this week and I loved digging through all the fun stuff. Thanks so much for happy mail!

And finally, a very belated photo mosaic of France. I have three great grandparents that lived near the Pyrenees. And family in Lyon and various other parts of the country. So without further ado, my favorite photos from Flickr!
1. Indiscretion, 2. Palace Of Versailles (Chateau De Versailles), 3. Versailles / Le Hameau, 4. Cahors cathedral (HDR), 5. An sunny afternoon at Eus, 6. city hall in Paris, 7. the Concorde square by night in Paris, 8. autumn begins in paris, 9. Paris Cathedral, Notre Dame, 10. Notre Dame at Twilight, Paris, 11. Crozon Morgat - brittany - France, 12. Hotel de Ville, Lyon, France, 13. Arles, France, 14. Calanque (Provence / Côte d'Azur, France), 15. Cascade des Tufs - Baume les Messieurs - Jura - France, 16. Moulin de Chambeuil - Auvergne - France, 17. BOUTIQUE A HONFLEUR (FRANCE), 18. Moroccan flavours in the South of France, 19. Petite France, 20. Solar Furnace France @CNRS, 21. France, Rodez - Cathedral, 22. France, Strasbourg la cathedrale, 23. Chateau Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France, 24. + The Castle (en France) +, 25. Aisle of the Cathedral of Chartes, France.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yosemite Part Deux

Made it back to the bay area safely. Lots to catch up on. 2.5 weeks before I leave for two months. Just trying to get everything taken care of before then is crazy! So on with the fun stuff.

Say It In Scrap's 6th Challenge is up. Hope you try it out. We scrapped the phrase "Oh No She Di-int." I'm so excited to be creating with such a fun group of ladies. Here is my take on the challenge:Went swimming and spent most of Thursday reading Deception Point by Dan Brown. I'm totally sucked into the story line. Celebrated my Mom's birthday in the fancy restaurant the Ahwahnee.

Went for a bike ride and saw something I'd never seen before. A mountain lion cub crossed the road in front of me. It was carrying a squirrel in its mouth. I was scared that its mom was near by so I didn't linger to take any photos. Jenna, Mom, and I went to the Merced river to cool off after. We helped Jenna pack up and said goodbye. She had to be in Sacramento Saturday morning for an orientation for her study abroad program. Then the four of us went swimming at the Lodge pool. Dan jumped in before I even noticed he was out of his chair!

Woke up early Saturday morning for a bike ride before packing up. We were resting at Happy Isles when a bear cub and mom crossed the road directly behind us. I didn't have a camera with me, but my mom got this blurry photo of them walking through the woods to the Merced river.
My mom wanted to stay and watch them cross the river but the rest of us were ready to put some distance between ourselves and the bears. Mom took this photo of Dan & I outside of our cabin before we sadly sad goodbye to Yosemite.
Thanks for all of your sweet comments while I was gone. They really made me smile. I've missed reading blogs and hope to catch up these next few days. Its so nice to have fast internet back.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

from Yosemite

Happy Birthday Mom! Today we are celebrating my mom's birthday in Yosemite. I love coming up here every year. Its so interesting to see how things vary. Here is my Mom and Dad on their way up the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls.

Dan & I left Monday morning for Yosemite. I drove all the way to Oakdale and then had Dan take over so I could take a nap. My parents & Jenna were waiting for us at the cabin when we arrived. After the long drive and altitude, we were exhausted. We had dinner at the Yosemite Lodge. Everything tastes absolutely wonderful up here.

Tuesday we went for a 5 mile bike ride around Yosemite Valley. We stopped at Curry Village for an ice cream break before lunch. That's how we roll. ;) Jenna, Mom & I went swimming at the Lodge pool. It felt great since the weather has been pushing triple digits.
Had pizza at Degnan's loft for dinner and then rode around on the free shuttle for a while. Why the heck do we do that? The drivers are such great entertainment, when you get that fun story-telling personality. Our driver was telling us to look to the right to see some bucks and to the right to see a bear.

It was standing up on its rear legs when we saw it! Of course we jumped off the bus to run get a closer look of the bear. Park Rangers were on either side of the meadow to make sure people didn't get too close. The ranger told us that there was a mother and her two cubs at an apple tree. We saw a male bear coming over to get apples from the tree. The mother bear got really protective and started rushing the male bear while the cubs ran up the apple tree. It was such an exciting night! I had my camera, but even at 1600ISO, the photos were so incredibly blurry that the bear looked more like a furry blurry bunny. Maybe better luck next time.

Wednesday was hike day, so we all woke up extra early and headed to Happy Isles on the shuttle. We took the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls bridge and then continued on to the top of Vernal Falls. There was very little water this year in comparison to years past.
The last 1/3 of the mile up to the top of the falls are incredibly steep stairs.
It's called the mist trail because you walk right into the mist from the falling water. This is one spot that you'll be guaranteed to see a rainbow or even a double rainbow as long as there is water!
Looking down at the path that we just came up to reach the top. 3 miles round trip. I've never drank so much water in my life! Jenna & Dan had already reached the top and were waiting for us. Poor Jenna pulled some muscle and she had to use a walking stick (found in nature) on the way back down.
The oasis at the end of the hike is Emerald Pool. It is snow melt run off that feels great. 50 degree water in 100 degree weather.
The water runs down granite rock that is super slippery. A lot of people like to go down the waterslide part of it. My mom went down the smaller one on the left side of the rock. Not many go down the bigger one because its too powerful and there are lots of jagged rocks at the end of it.
Even though I went swimming in the cold water, I was completely dry by the time I finished the hike. I went with my Dad to the Lodge pool to cool off, again. On the bus ride back, we saw the same male bear out in the meadow. My mom got off to try getting better photos while it was still light. By the time she got there, the rangers had scared him back into the apple tree.

This morning I got up early and went on a photo walk. It was so serene and peaceful. I've taken this shot several times but never in the early morning. I was surprised that I didn't see any wildlife. I ended my photo shoot a little early because a photo tour of people came through.

Animals I've seen on this trip as of Thursday morning:
  1. Bears
  2. Deer (dawn, doe, and buck)
  3. Mole
  4. Squirrels
  5. Stellars Jay
  6. Robin
  7. Butterflies

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I drove to Hambly first thing Friday morning. Here is one of the entrances:
No surprise, I was the first to arrive and they were still putting out the finishing touches. They have a really great family/small business vibe that I really admire. everyone was very welcoming and so fun. I was a bit silly with my entrance. I threw up my arms and said, "I'm here!" Allison wasn't there so I took my time shopping.
I was surprised when Ginger walked in and recognized me from Scrap Mojo. She was shopping for a whole bunch of people, one of them was Marie. Ginger let me call Marie on her iPhone and chat with her. We totally caught her off guard.
They didn't have any of the new rub ons yet. Can't wait to get my hands on those cameras!
Allison arrived back at the studio and we talked about her trip to Europe that she took a few years ago. I'm loving all of the advice that I am collecting. Then she took me back behind the scenes. The silk screen printers do not work on Friday's so they don't give tours on Friday's. Of course I had to see it! I love that they leave the ink right there on the screen. I didn't realize that rub ons were made the exact same with with just more layers of ink.
Pretty ink/paint cans that they used for the 2008 Summer CHA display:
This screen had a calendar on it:
I loved seeing the silk screening area but the art department was the best. What more could a girl ask for than a light table and a dark room with a bunch of Hambly overlays all over the place?
Allison had a table in a room with stuff all over. I wish I had such a large table to work at! I could work on multiple projects and leave them out.
Storage for the stickers:
I had such an incredible time at Hambly Studios. They told me to come back any time I was in the area. Too cool! Of course I bought a ton of stuff, including limited editions or the new designs, and the regular new designs. Allison even gave a me a few of the mock ups of the camera overlays. I'll add a photo of my purchases here in the morning.

Friday was such a great day. That evening i met Kristi at the Scrapbook Depot to scrap. We have so much fun together and its even more fun when we shock other scrappers with our unique personalities. We love Carina! We've already signed up to go back in two weeks. Can't wait!

Went to Per's house warming in Half Moon Bay on Saturday afternoon. It was also a birthday celebration/get together for a bunch of his co-workers from Oracle. I met so many cool people that all had amazing stories. The food was incredible and I was so thrilled to be included in the festivities. I met another photographer named Michelle. She was so full of stories and places that I have to go in Italy. Sita made an incredible meal. Food kept appearing for hours. I tried so many different plates that were delicious.
Sita and Steve are visting from Italy. Sita's father is a night/panoramic photographer. We're hoping that we can arrange for me to meet him and see some of his work while I'm in Italy!

Per's incredible view. I say I live at the beach, but its really two short blocks away, not my backyard!

And here's my favorite part of his side yard. And outside shower!
I'm packing for my trip to Yosemite. My family and I celebrate my Mom's birthday there every year. This is the first year that I'm bringing my laptop, but I am not sure that I'll have any success at finding an internet connection. So check back and leave me some love. I'll do my best to post a few photos! I'll be home on Saturday. <3

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