Baby Beckett

My radiant cousin, Brooke & her husband Jon, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in October 2016. I had such a wonderful time shooting their maternity photos on the beaches of Santa Monica, CA. We arrived right before sunset which made for the most fabulous lighting against their flowy and beachy outfits. We finished off the shoot with some pictures along the palm tree lined streets of their neighborhood.

Congrats you two! OH & how much is Brooke rockin’ that baby bump?!

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My very best friend of 18 years got married this weekend! It was such an honor to shoot this intimate church wedding between Nina and Joe. I held myself together quite well, only teared up once! Joe and Nina are actually having 2 weddings. They did a beautiful, small wedding at their local church in April and will do a larger celebration with all their family and friends in September. I will probably lose all control of emotion at that one!

Nina made the most beautiful bride and was quite calm the entire day. Her blush beaded dress complimented Joe’s navy suit beautifully. You can really feel the love between these two. It’s so crazy to think 18 years ago, Nina and I were on the playground in elementary school, inseparable from one another and now she is a married woman! Congrats Joe + Nina – Love you both!

 

Europe 2016 | Belgium + Iceland

It’s been 2 years since I’ve updated this blog – my apologies. But I am ready to get back into the swing of things!


I just can’t go a year without traveling. International, local, state wide, it doesn’t matter to me – I have the travel bug. So when my sister studied abroad in 2016 in Amsterdam, it was a perfect excuse for a family trip. My parents did a wonderful tour around Ireland before I arrived to meet them all in Amsterdam for nearly 24 hours. I won’t recap here though, because this was my 2nd time in the most incredible city. Click here for my previous trip to Amsterdam.

So…let’s start in Bruges, Belgium (reference In Bruges film with Colin Farrell). Bruges is settled in northeast Belgium and is known for it’s beautiful canals, cobble lined streets and Medieval buildings – it’s straight out of a storybook! We stayed at the cutest hotel within walking distance from the main square and fabulous shops and restaurants.

 

WHAT TO DO:

  • Night walking tour of the city – a great way to hear the history of the city while enjoying the dimly lit cobble stone streets
  • Climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfry of Bruges tower – AKA the tower Colin Farrell jumps off in the film
  • Boat tour through the canals – a relaxing way to see the homes built along the water.
  • Picasso Museum – this museum is incredible and is situated in a beautiful courtyard off the main square
  • Beer Museum – drink your way through Bruges’ history of beer

WHERE TO EAT:

  • Poules Moules – a must when in Bruges, Mussels and Fries!
  • Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – it doesn’t matter what shop you go to because there is one on every corner and they are all delightful! But be sure to get the chocolate covered waffles.
  • Caesars – delicious and authentic Italian food you can’t miss out on!

After a lovely 3 days in Bruges, we boarded the high speed train for Brussels – the capital city of Belgium. Upon arrival, we got a bit lost finding our apartment, but eventually found it and decided to walk around the city a bit. The Royal Square is the most popular area in Brussels. Nothing was destroyed in WWII because the King made a deal with Hitler – making it now the most in tact square in Europe!

WHAT TO DO:

  • Walking Tour from the Royal Square – you will for sure reach your daily steps on this tour! There is not a corner of the city missed on this eventful and informative tour.
  • View the famous Mannequin Pis statue – legend says this little boy prevented an explosion in the square by peeing on a bomb.
  • Archaeological Museum – under the current Grande Palace where you can see the old foundation and ruins of the palace and city from WWII. It’s incredibly fascinating.
  • Galeries St. Hubert – beautiful indoor shopping street designed in the late 1800s for women to shop without having to worry about heat or rain

WHERE TO EAT:

  • Fries! – they all come in cool little cones with yummy dipping sauces! The best are just from stalls along the streets
  • Le Pan Quotidien – originally started in Brussels so it just makes it that much more delicious.
  • Bakeries – stop at every bakery you see! Brussels makes some incredible bread.

Unfortunately, we said goodbye to Hayley in Brussels, as she had to go back to school but we were headed to the place I was looking forward to the most – ICELAND! Iceland has been a bucket list dream of mine for years so you could say my expectations were a bit high. I can’t even begin to describe how obsessed I am with this country. We were not #blessed with the best weather but we most certainly made the best of it! We did more site seeing than we could have imagined!

WHAT TO DO:

  • Stop to pet the Icelandic Horses! They are so fluffy and short and to die for. I wanted to take one home with me.
  • Golden Circle tour – this is probably the most popular driving tours in Iceland. It takes you to the best sites
  • Gulfloss waterfall – one of the most popular waterfalls, amongst others, in Iceland
  • Silfra – the only place in the world where you’re in open water between two continental plates.
  • The Blue Lagoon – be sure to book tickets before hand or else no chance of getting in. The natural mud face mask while soaking in the warmth is amazing
  • Reykjavik – this main capital city was our base while we stayed in Iceland. The town is so charming with brightly colored homes, hipster cafes and overpriced shops.
  • Hallgrimskirkja Church – this 244 ft. high church is a focal point of Reykjavik and was founded in 1945. Step inside!
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – surrounded by the most beautiful greenery. Be sure to walk behind the waterfall – it’s a cool experience!
  • Skogafoss Waterfall
  • Black Sand Beach – Reynisfjara, located on your way to the small southern town of Vik. Make the trip down to this charming beach town.
  • Glacier – the coolest thing ever! I felt like I was walking on another planet. Where else can you see a massive glacier?!
  • The old harbor – enjoy some seafood and watch the sailors go by
  • Reykjavik art museum – awesome modern art museum

WHERE TO EAT:

  • Freidheimar Organic Tomato Farm – this insane tomato greenhouse provides 33% of the countries tomatoes. They have everything tomato to eat from soup, to drinks to bread! It’s devine!
  • Snaps Bistro Bar – recommended by at least 4 people and it was not a let down!
  • Stop for a drink at the Gallery Bar – quite literally a bar with the most incredible art on the walls. Warning: the drinks are STRONG
  • Coocoo’s nest – best brunch! Located near the old harbor
  • Baejarins Betzu Pylsur – the most popular hot dog stand in Iceland. GO!
  • Vegamot – probably the most delicious and well priced meal during our stay

Southeast Asia in 3 weeks

Hey there readers! I am back in the US after 3 crazy weeks in southeast Asia.  I traveled to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Bali with 2 of my closest friends – eating heaps of pad thai, riding tuk tuks and living out of a backpack for 3 weeks.  The adventure was spectacular and I am so glad I finally got to see that side of the world! I could go on and on about the trip but to spare you the long stories, I am going to treat this as more of a “travel guide” per say – to highlight the best places to eat, the best places to stay and the must do activities. So if you’re ready for this long blog post, sit back, relax and read on!

V I E T N A M // ho chi minh

Ho Chi Minh is a massive city of over 12 million people zippin past one another on their motorbikes.  The city is full of high rise buildings, delicious food and history around every corner. Thank you to my friend Rachel for showing us around your stomping grounds.

Where to stay: Luan Vu Hostel

This is definitely more of a hotel than a hostel! The rooms are incredibly nice and the bathroom is conveniently a shower/toilet/sink all in one…yay! It’s location is “backpacker central” so if you are looking to meet friends and be social this is the place for you.

What to do:

Ben Thanh Market – fruits, veggies & trinkets

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War Remnants Museum – Vietnam war history and aftermath museum, extremely hard to go through.

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Bitexo Financial tower – for a breathtaking 360 degree view of Saigon, buy a ticket to the top of this skyrise and enjoy a beer at the top.

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Where to eat:  It was really wonderful to have a friend that lives in Saigon because she took us to the best local vietnamese restaurants!

Quán Bụi – shared platter style dishes (lunch or dinner)

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L’Usine – french vietnamese quaint/hipster restaurant (brunch)

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Phö on Pasteur street – if you’re looking for the most authentic experience (they don’t speak any english) and the yummiest pho, eat here!

Secret Garden – rooftop restaurant in the heart of the city (dinner)

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T H A I L A N D // koh samui

This was our first stop in Thailand.  Koh Samui is one of the many islands of Thailand located on the east side.  The beaches are gorgeous but unfortunately we were struck with some very unlucky weather during our three day stay.  You can’t really go wrong with any of the islands in Thailand.

Where to stay: Bandara Resort & Spa

With it being the off season on the Island, we were able to get this place for a great price! It’s location is a 10 minute walk away from the Wharf district and is located right on the beach, can’t complain about that!

What to do:

Lady boy show in Chaweng Beach – such a fun experience and must do in Thailand

Anthong Marine Park excursion – snorkeling, hiking, kayaking and swimming all day!

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Where to eat:

Nirvana – enjoy your pad thai or chicken curry on the sand under palm trees

Karma Sutra – cheap and delicious breakfast place

La Cabanon – also located in the wharf area with a gorgeous view of the island

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T H A I L A N D // chiang mai

Chiang Mai was my favorite stop on our trip.  The city is the perfect blend of history and small city vibe.  I love the charm the streets have with temples on nearly every corner and markets selling goods within the old city walls.  Not to mention, the northern Thai cuisine & thai iced coffee is to die for!

Where to stay: Green Tiger Vegetarian House

Hands down the best hostel! We were in a mixed room with 7 other people, something I was slightly nervous about beforehand, but it ended up being wonderful.  The people at the hostel were so kind and the setting was absolutely gorgeous and within walking distance of nearly everything.

What to do:

Warorot Market – located outside the old city walls, this market is enormous and sells everything and anything. Go around lunch or dinner time to nom on all the delectable street food and fresh juice smoothies. I recommend treating yourself to dessert with a mint/chocolate gelato pop sold out of a tuk tuk.

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Traditional Thai Massage – there are a million places offering massages but make sure to do the traditional thai, it’s an experience to say the least.

Galagan Cooking Class – when in Chiang Mai, make sure to take a cooking class.  We were taken to a traditional market to pick up all fresh ingredients and learned how to make the yummiest thai dishes.

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Patara Elephant Sanctuary – the most rewarding and exciting experience taking care of an elephant for half a day.  We bathed, fed, brushed and rode* the elephants.

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*we did our research to make sure these elephants were not abused or harmed in any way.  Patara is a rescue facility where no cages, pocking/prodding sticks, harnesses are used.

Temple of the Golden Mountain – there are a gazillion temples to see, but this specific one is located up the windy mountain overlooking the whole city. It’s absolutely breathtaking up there.

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Huan Soontaree – about a 20 minute tuk tuk drive outside the city, this place was recommended to me by an old professor.  It did not disappoint.  This northern thai restaurant offers plates to share while sitting on comfy ground cushions for the ultimate thai experience.

Cooking love – this tiny space is incredibly cheap and delicious. Perfect for a quick bite to eat

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T H A I L A N D // bangkok

36 hours in Bangkok meant we had nearly every inch of every second planned out.  I think that if we had more time in Bangkok, I would have liked the city more, but overall it was one of my least favorites.  There were some great moments though.

Where to stay: Suneta Hostel on Khaosan Road

I am not providing the link to this one because I don’t recommend it, due to its lack of cleanliness and because there were little tiny ants in my bed! NO!

What to do:

Chatachuk Market – if you are in Bangkok over a weekend then you’re in luck! This market is only offered on the weekends and is one of the largest in the world with over 15,000 stalls. We stayed for 5 hours, shopping and eating our way through the alleys.

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Longtail canal tour – this is a great way to see the city. The boat weaves in and out of the canals, passing by temples (wat arun & grand palace) and homes along the river. Also an excellent way to escape the heat.

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Jim Thompson house – This magnificent house is preserved with the history and artifacts of silk extraordinaire, Jim Thompson. I would recommend eating lunch at the café as well, it’s delicious.

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Where to eat:

Ranee’s – located right off Khaosan Road, this restaurant is tucked away down and alley and is a delicious combo of thai and italian…sounds weird but trust me.

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S I N G A P O R E

I have family that lives in Singapore, so this leg of the trip was made possible because of their hospitality. Otherwise there is no way we could’ve afforded this city.  Singapore is incredibly clean, expensive and full of rules and shopping malls. We kept calling it the “future city”.  None the less, I found it spectacular and it was really wonderful to see family along the way.

What to do:

Little India Walking Tour – This is such an excellent walking tour, taking you around to little shops, markets and temples.  The influence of Indian, Chinese and European tradition is fascinating.

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Raffles Hotel – Definitely a tourist destination, but regardless this hotel is spectacular and gives you an excuse to enjoy a famous Singapore Sling at the Long Bar.

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Marina Bay Sands Hotel – you’ve probably seen this hotel on the amazing race or all across google images but the important part is the view from the top.  Buy a ticket to the sky deck to capture the 360 degree view of the city, its stunning.

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Gardens by the Bay – this man made oasis is a must do! The grounds are covered in beautiful flowers and trees and offers two exhibits, a cloud forest and flower jungle where you actually feel like you are in these areas.  It was so sick!!

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McRitchie Reservoir – If you’re obsessed with monkeys like me, you have to hike the trails of McRitchie Reservoir to see them in their natural habitat, no cages, no feeding, no nonsense. Make sure to take the “treetop canopy” trail, it’s intense but definitely worth it.

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Where to eat:

House of Kebab – located on Arab street, this walk up shawarma place is to die for. My mouth is literally watering writing this. I could’ve eaten here a million times over.  Make sure to explore the area surrounding the restaurant as well.

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Din Tai Fung – incredible authentic Chinese dim sum restaurant with to die for pork dumplings.

Takishimaya Food Court – like much of the city, many restaurants are located in malls.  This specific food court is famous for its variety of asian cuisine and is delightful.

Sushi Tei – Also located in a mall, this sushi is fresh and yummy!

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B A L I // ubud

Our first stop of 2 in Bali, Ubud is a little town surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, also known as the famous location where “eat, pray, love” was filmed.  It’s absolutely incredible and was my second favorite spot of our trip because of the hindu culture, relaxed vibe and beautiful scenery.

Where to stay: Sri Ratih Cottages

This villa is in the perfect location, just outside of the hustle and bustle but still within walking distance of everything.  The pool is delightful and the balcony overlooking the grounds isn’t too shabby either.

What to do:

Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek – this is the sole reason we came to Ubud.  A wake up call at 2:30am is startling and the hike up the volcano is not easy (although it said it was on the website) but the sunrise coming up over the clouds and mountains is once in a lifetime.  After a million photos of the sunrise, you have time to explore the volcano and interact with monkeys a bit.

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Rice Terraces/Temples – visit any rice terrace and temple because they are all gorgeous.  Our driver/tour guide Wayan was incredible and took us all around to traditional balinese places. I recommend hiring him to anyone going to bali!

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Balinese home – Balinese people accept anyone in their home and anyone is allowed to enter at anytime.  Visiting a home in an artist village was a great way to connect with the culture.

Luwak Coffee Plantation – located on the outskirts of Ubud, this place became a tourist destination after the movie “Bucket List”. Luwak coffee is coffee made out of literal cat poop (wayan liked to call it a catpoocino!) You are given different teas and coffee’s to sample all while taking in the beautiful surroundings.  FUN FACT: luwak coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world – 1 lb sells for about $150 in the United States.

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Where to eat:

Taco Casa – yes we ate Mexican food in bali but believe me it’s worth it!

Naughty Nuri’s – a balinese bbq place that is delish! make sure to get the short ribs and fries.

B A L I // kuta

Kuta is 100% an aussie tourist destination. We wanted to spend our last 3 days of our adventure lounging on the beach, so we splurged a bit more for the hotel.  Other than good food and beautiful beaches, kuta is crowded and overwhelming.

Where to stay: Sheraton Bali 

Located in the heart of Kuta, this sheraton is gorgeous and has an awesome pool that we utilized nearly every second possible. It was a good way to end our trip!

What to do:

Honestly not much to do in Kuta, hence my lack of photos.  It’s quite commercialized so there are some great shops but no temples or museums.  Mostly water sports and shopping.

Where to eat:

Fat Chow – we ate here twice because it was THAT good.  Thai fusion for the win!

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Potato Head Beach Club – This place is great for sunset watching with delicious cocktails and food. DSC_0961

It’s weird

It’s weird to be a college graduate | It’s weird to live with my parents again | It’s weird to not know what my future hold | It’s weird to think I am supposed to feel like an adult now but I don’t really | It’s weird not seeing my friends every second of every day | It’s weird that I have to make “responsible” decisions now | It’s all weird (right now).


Let’s rewind a bit

On May 16, 2015 I graduated from the University of Arizona.  My loud, amazing, fun, obnoxious, loving family was there to celebrate the weekend with me and it was all great fun.  We celebrated the only way I could think of : EATING. We ate so many delicious meals, leaving a happy feeling in my heart and tummy (bye tucson mexican food, i’ll be seeing you).

BUT

It was all weird.  It was a weird feeling to sit in those chairs amongst my fellow 5,000 graduates, shake the hand of the dean and receive my diploma (well not technically since it’s now mailed). It really hasn’t hit me that I am a college graduate yet.  The whole time I was just pretty excited thinking I would never have to take a test again or email another professor detailing my greatest concerns.  I was surrounded by my wonderful friends who have shaped my whole undergrad experience, which made the commencement exciting and exhilarating.

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I thought for sure it would hit me the second I got back on the freeway and saw “Sacramento 871 miles”…but it didn’t.  It just felt surreal. It felt like I was leaving for summer break like any other person and would return for the start of school in August. But unfortunately the reality is not so.  I will not be returning in August but rather I will be beginning a new chapter in my life, starting a job (still unsure on that minor detail) and experience life in a new city. 

I could not be more grateful for the experiences the U of A gave me.  The friends I made in the 4 years will be friends for a lifetime and although I will be saying goodbye to college and hello to real world, I will always be a wildcat!


{oh and since I never posted these, shoutout to the incredible Madison DeWeerdt for taking my senior portraits }

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only 2 more

Only 2 more days until I graduate and only 2 more photoshoots to share with you all!

// It’s really happening – I’m graduating college (sappy post to come later) //


On a beautiful semi stormy day in Tucson, I had a photo shoot with 6 lovely girls.  The six met studying abroad in London and they are inseparable. This shoot was by far the most fun of the season.  As they all embark on various journey’s, I know they will always remain the british bombshells!

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Last but definitely not least, I finished up the season with Lexi, who will be heading to law school!

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Congrats to all the graduates I have photographed! This grad portrait season has been my favorite. I have really fallen in love with portrait photography again and am looking forward to where it may take me in the future.

P.S. Im in the market for a new camera — for all you photographers out there, any words of wisdom, advice, opinions?

since day 1

I have to dedicate this whole post to another graduate I photographed – she has been by my side since freshman year and is my numero uno. Hayley and I met in the bathroom of our dorm first day of sorority recruitment freshman year.  It basically went like this

Me: “hi, wanna be friends?”

Hayley: “sure”

You can really feel the instant connection right? Ever since that day, we have been by each others sides and have continued to live with one another throughout college.  As she moves on to conquer the world in Salt Lake City, I will miss her so dearly.  I could not have done college without her, thus why she deserves a whole post dedicated to how awesome, intelligent, loving, and an all around incredible friend she is.

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Can’t wait for our final hoorah in Asia together this summer!

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// From freshman year —-> to senior year //

XOXO