Category archives: california

California Road Trip

If I am not working, 99% of the time I am shooting film. I find that if I am not taking photos for a job, I rarely spend the time in Lightroom to edit the raw digital files and I started crazily hoarding unedited raw files on my harddrive. It also meant that we would go these amazing places and the photos would never see the light of day. Which makes me sad. Shooting film also just feels a bit more soulful (even though writing that makes me cringe) and is a fun way to document the everyday. Like most years, we spent the holidays in California with my family. This year though we spent an extra week there and had the chance to actually do some exploring and lots of relaxing. Andreas and I spent a few days in Oakland and San Francisco, escaped to downtown LA for a night and another day drove up highway 1 for lunch at Nepenthe. Looking back through these images I get a giant pang of homesickness, I think no matter where I live, California will always have my heart.

scans by Richard Photo Lab

pismo beach

Walk on Pismo Beach

Surely most people think of snow and frosty weather when Christmas comes to mind, but for me, Christmas means time with my family and walks on the beach.  I always cook up a big breakfast (with my cinnamon rolls), open presents, and then get some fresh air and exercise before preparing our Christmas dinner feast.  This year was no exception with an afternoon walk along Pismo Beach, somewhere that holds a special place in my heart because I spent so much time there growing up and still remains one of my favorite beaches.

hometown love

Christmas in CaliforniaReturning back to Germany after two weeks in California, I am feeling all kinds of blessed.  Being able to spend the holidays with family and friends in such an incredible place as the central coast of California, was the greatest gift of all.  I feel so very lucky to call this my home.

Here are a few shots from an afternoon hike up Madonna Mountain with Andreas and my mama.  After a week of almost non-stop grey days here in Berlin, I could really wish I could teleport myself back.  Oh sunshine, I miss you.

Madonna MountainMadonna Mountain Madonna MountainMadonna Mountain

we were missing miss hazel so much that we had to kidnap one of my best friend’s dog, Emmy Lou, for the afternoon

Madonna Mountain

Christmas on the Central Coast

a gift I am hoping is a joke & FaceTime with Hazel in Germany on Christmas morning.

my sister-in-law’s impressive wrapping skills

I have made cinnamon rolls every year on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember.

wine tasting in the evening at my favorite local winery, Kynsi.

checking out the butterflies at Monarch Butterfly Grove

Andreas was very excited about a walk on the beach

No Christmas is complete without a stop at the wonderfully gaudy and fabulous, Madonna Inn. It is one of our favorite places to grab a cocktail, people watch, and admire the explosion of Christmas decor.

All in all, it was a wonderful two weeks of relaxing, eating and celebrating with family and friends. I took a very lovely and much-needed break from my computer, which those of you who own your own business know, is very hard to come by. I am starting the new year off playing catch up, but it was well worth it! I hope all of you had a great holiday as well. I have a sneaky feeling 2013 is going to be a really great year!

Santa Barbara

a boy madly in love with California ♥
It is funny how time and distance can completely change your perspective.  I attended college in Santa Barbara and while it is an undoubtedly a beautiful place, I was never in love with the small city.  Now as I get older I see Santa Barbara in a whole new light, and while it may never be “my city”, I love spending time there while we are in California.  We spent 5 days there in July for my brother’s wedding and one night while waiting for a table at Brophy Bros we stolled around the harbor at sunset and I suddenly could no longer remember any of the things I disliked about Santa Barbara when I lived there- that California sunshine is some kind of magic.

sunday suppers at del monte cafe



My first job was as a bakery assistant.  I was 15 and started work at 4am on the weekends.  As I have never been someone who went to bed early, and I would never in a million years call myself a morning person- I didn’t last long at this job (less than a year, and I fell asleep on the bakery’s work table at least once).  My second job was bussing tables at a small diner in my hometown called Del Monte Café.  It really is a real life Cheers.  The same customers have been coming in every day (some of them more than once a day!) since Del Monte opened in 1981 (the building itself was built in 1901).  I waited tables on and off at Del Monte until I moved to Germany and loved it, and the regulars were definitely one of my favorite parts of the job.  Of course now we stop by at least once on every trip back home and I get to say hi to some of my favorite regulars- this time one of them was talking to Andreas about his time in Germany 50 years ago, it was adorable.
My friend Carrie’s family owns the restaurant and since she moved back to San Luis Obispo from San Francisco last year, she has been cooking at the restaurant on Sunday nights with an all southern menu- a night she has dubbed Sunday Suppers.  When Travis and Randall were driving through town on the Sunday night we were in town, we picked up a bottle of Kynsi rosé (my favorite local winery) and headed over for our fill of good old southern cooking and like we expected, it was delicious.

Del Monte Café
1901 Santa Barbara street
San Luis Obispo, CA

I shot some photos for their website 2 years ago and look on their contact page for a surprise (we took it as a joke, and they used it!) :)

rehearsal dinner + tacos

To be completely honest, I have never been much of a taco girl.  I love fish tacos, but I have been known to be a little obsessed with veggie burritos and always thought tacos were too greasy. After my recent taco experience, I am sold.  My brother and his new wife, Katie, wanted to have a big rehearsal dinner so everyone could attend, as it was a mini-destination wedding and almost everyone was traveling to get there.  My mama and I did lots of research to try and help plan the friday night dinner, but when they mentioned the idea of a taco stand, it was clear that was the best choice ever.  The taco stand came up from LA for the occasion and their food was AMAZING.  Even just writing this post my mouth is watering just thinking about the tacos, quesadillas and guacamole- what I would do for a homemade corn tortilla!  I really should have posted this while I was still in California, because looking at these tacos is torture right now.  Berlin might have some mexican food, but I don’t think it comes close (although, I guess I haven’t tried it all yet).  To my California friends looking for a caterer for an upcoming event, Nana’s Tacos were amazing and really affordable.

view from the train

When we arrived in California we spent a short day shopping, eating and exploring with our friend Rade.  Instead of renting a car like we usually do, this trip we decided to take the train up the coast to my hometown of San Luis Obispo,.  Trains are typically my favorite way to travel because they are so relaxing, but before this trip I had only rode the train in California once- for my friend Carrie’s 13th birthday when we rode down the coast two hours to Santa Barbara.  Train travel in California is not particularly fast or convenient, but the views between LA and San Luis are particularly gorgeous and worth the trip alone.  Boarding the train at Union Station in LA gave the trip a bit of a old fashioned, romantic, feeling and the slow speed on the train definitely added to that ;)  I made a short little video of the view from our window on the Coast Starlight train, enjoy :)

brooks & katie

Today, my brother will marry his long time love, Katie.  I have considered her my sister for years already, but I feel so blessed to be here in Santa Barbara to celebrate with them as they finally make it official. Katie makes Brooks so unbelievably happy, and surely that joy will only continue to blossom as they continue to grow together.  Congratulations to my dear brother and my new sister, I love you both so much!

I was lucky to have been able to take engagements photos while I was back in California in February- these are two of my favorites :) 

Griffith Observatory

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Bringing Andreas back to California gives us a great excuse to do some sightseeing, and I have realized how many places in my beautiful home state I myself have never even visited.  We spent a whooping 24 hours in Los Angeles after we arrived in California last week and after some shopping at the Grove, headed up to the Griffith Observatory before our dinner reservations for some amazing views of the city.  Los Angeles was never a city I could ever see myself living, but I have to admit it is starting to grow on me…. I should probably thank my dear friend Rade for that- his love for Los Angeles is contagious. :)