Entries Tagged as 'Santa Cruz'

On Halloween
+ California Traditions

Posted on: Saturday, October 31, 2015

Our first Halloween in the Bay Area, Christian and I drove up to San Francisco to visit our friends Jake and Cecille. I dressed as Alice in armor from the battle scene in the Tim Burton adaption of Alice in Wonderland–no one really knew what I was, but I wore fabric that looked like mail wrapped around silver leggings and a duct taped coat I’d fashioned over a sequined top. I wielded a cardboard and duct tape sword. My hair was long and curly and wild. Christian dressed as a peanut. He got chased by some monkeys we met on the street. Our friend Meryl was Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. Jake and Cecille were bacon and eggs. It was fun.

That year, we also hosted a pumpkin carving party at our first apartment in Live Oak. We’ve carved pumpkins with the same group of Santa Cruz friends (give or take one or two) every year since. This year we carved pumpkins at our friend Tish’s place. I carved a Hello Kitty face. C carved a Hello Kitty witch. After we were done with all the gutting and careful chiseling (and occasional hacking) of our selected pumpkins, we threw a bunch of food on the grill and sat around Tish’s fire pit. We also broke out some glow sticks and Christian and I played with neon light and long exposures on my camera (see the last photos of this post for a message from us!). It was a slightly new spin on something we’ve been doing together for years now.

These last three years, Christian and I have driven up Highway 1 to Bob’s in Half Moon Bay to pick out our pumpkins. There are closer pumpkin patches we could visit but Bob’s holds a certain charm. The sign declares “Pick ’em where they grow!”. At Bob’s you have a view of the ocean while you browse the fields in search of your perfect pumpkin to pick (I like mine short and squat! Christian favors the tall skinny ones). There are “spooky” stand-ins for photo ops, a rusted out truck and bins filled with bewitching miniature pumpkins and squash–striped ones, green ones, white one, yellow, gray, orange, peach. And just outside the patch, there is a small petting zoo with goats and pigs and chickens and a turkey. The whole area is usually shrouded in fog, which I love. It’s a very California version of fall.


This year we’re going up to the San Francisco to celebrate Halloween with Jake and Cecille again. I think it will be our last Halloween in the Bay Area. It feels appropriate somehow–that our very first and very last Halloween will have been spent in the city. Although admittedly I’m a little sad that I’m going to miss the downtown Santa Cruz experience this year. Every Halloween Pacific Avenue is closed off to cars and big lights go up and the street fills with crowds of costumed people, many of them decked out in the most incredible ensembles you could imagine. You walk up and down the street and marvel at people’s creativity. There is a lot of exclaiming and calling out to one another; lots of congratulations are exchanged. You take photos with people and their costumes. Groups of people stage dances and crowds of other people in masks and makeup and dress-up gather around them to watch and cheer and applaud.

That being said, I’m very excited for Halloween in San Francisco. Especially since our friend Russ is hosting a Halloween party. It will be good costumes and great people. Christian and I are going as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I think my favorite costume from our years in Santa Cruz was the year I bedazzled black leggings and a hooded sweatshirt and went as “outer space”. This year should be funny though (because I’m going as Bernie and Christian is going as Hillary). But mostly, I’m just looking forward to seeing our friends in the city.

I guess what I’m trying to get at, is that we’ve established traditions here in Santa Cruz. And even though my heart has never fully left Washington, I know I’m going to miss this place when we finally leave–I’ll miss our favorite haunts and all of our friends and the things we’ve done together every year for the last five years. It’s kind of silly that Halloween makes me feel this way, but it’s the only holiday that we’ve consistently spent here in the Bay Area. And it’s the one that has always meant hanging out with the friends we have here (people who we’ve grown to appreciate more and more each year). Since moving to California we’ve spent Thanksgiving in state, but typically it’s been with family; for Christmas we always go back to Washington. And Fourth of July… well Fourth of July is kind of a nonevent in Santa Cruz (to be fair, it could never compare with how we do the Fourth up in the Pacific Northwest!). But for the last five years, we’ve always celebrated Halloween in California with our California favorites. So Here’s to one last Halloween Hurrah in the Bay Area!

Photos of our pumpkin patch adventures at Bob’s and the pumpkins carved at our fifth annual pumpkin carving party below:


I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! I’m excited to see friends and strangers in crazy, creative, hilarious, beautiful, whimsical, nostalgic, surprising costumes! Maybe you’ll see a few of the costumes I saw on Halloween here on the blog in a couple of days… Think of it as my belated treat to you. I’ve never been very good at tricks…


*Photos 11 – 13 (of me and Buckwheat) taken by Christian

29 Portraits Project
Portraits 21 – 23 / 29: Sam, Meg & Sammy

Posted on: Monday, September 28, 2015

On a Sunday morning towards the end of August, I hung out with Sam, Meg, and their little boy, Sammy at their home in Soquel. Their dog, Dusty made a few appearances, too.

Sam started grad school the same year as Christian. He and his wife, Meg moved up here from LA. I first met them at our friends’ house and instantly felt at ease. Both Sam and Meg are originally from North Carolina and they have that southern charm. But even back then (almost five years ago!), they were also at home in California. Sam surfs, and outside of work, Meg found time to be a Zumba instructor and now kicks ass in CrossFit. They are funny and kind, laid-back and lively, smart and generous, easy to talk to and fun to be around and full of outrageous stories. And these days they are loving parents to an adorable and energetic little boy who was a total ham when I arrived with my camera bright and early on a Sunday morning.

I had a great time visiting (and photographing) these three at their place. They live in a house full of natural light on a sprawling property which is abundant with vegetable gardens and home to some chickens (and a goose!). After goofing around for a bit, Sam read Sammy his favorite book and then we adventured outside–watering plants, taking a wagon ride, playing with chalk, visiting the chickens, and feeding their sweet old dog, Dusty some treats. It was a lovely morning with two wonderful people I feel so fortunate to call friends and one hilarious little toddler who kept me on my toes, but who was a total breeze to photograph!

Below are some of my favorite photos from my morning with Sam, Meg, and Sammy:

PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_001_1 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_003 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_004 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_005 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_009PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_010 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_012 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_013 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_017 PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_018PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_023PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_024PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_027PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_028PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_029PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_031PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_032-altcropPortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_035PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_037PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_039PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_040PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_042PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_044PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_045PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_047PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_048PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_053PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_055PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_059PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_060PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_061PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_062PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_063PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_065PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_066PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_067PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_069PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_070PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_071PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_074PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_075PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_076PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_079_1PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_081PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_083PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_084PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_086PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_087PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_092PortraitProject_Sam-Meg-Sammy_093For more information about my portrait project go here: 29 Portraits Project.

29 Portraits Project
Portrait 20 / 29: Kate

Posted on: Wednesday, September 23, 2015

After a relaxing vacay in Hawaii and a wonderful birthday celebration (I’m officially 30 now guys!), I am back with the rest of my portraits from my portrait project. I ended up taking 30 portraits before I turned 30. Goal accomplished! So now it’s time to share.


These are my portraits of Kate. Kate is someone I find hard to summarize in a blog post, which is maybe why it’s taken me so long to post her photos. Kate and I lived together the first semester of my senior year at Whitman (the second semester she was studying abroad and living in an apartment in Paris being très chic). Our house together was called the Byrdcage and it had amazing old wallpaper and chandeliers, and we filled it with vintage furniture from the thrift stores of Walla Walla. She had lived there over the summer and I when I moved in, she had just started dating Gabe. This last May the two of them got in engaged. They’re currently living up in Humboldt but before that they lived in San Francisco and Seattle and we met up whenever we were in the same area.

Kate calls herself an introvert (I feel I fall into that category as well) but I always love my conversations with her; she is wicked funny and smart. She is also grounded and driven and fun. For awhile she kept a weekly blog documenting Gabe’s outfits, which if you know Gabe, is a pretty hilarious premise for a blog. Mostly though, it was a place for her to share her writing. And Kate is a great writer. I appreciate her humor and insight.

Anyway, towards the end of July, while Gabe was away in France, Kate drove down from Humboldt for a visit and some portraits. She arrived on a Friday night and first thing Saturday morning, after grabbing some coffee and pastries from Verve Coffee, we headed to the Boardwalk.

I love the Boardwalk in the morning–before the crowds, when nothing is running or open yet. It’s technicolor on mute. I’d been wanting to take portraits there for years; Kate humored me and all my ideas. We started by making our way down the nearly empty but vividly colored Boardwalk. Next, we hit up the main beach. As the crowds arrived, we made our way back to my car and drove over to one of my favorite murals in Santa Cruz–a big black and white rendition of the Santa Cruz coastline on the back of a building off of Swift. We ended our photo adventures near a wall of graffiti behind the Jack in the Box. But not before an impromptu photo shoot with some beautiful flowering Oleander shrubs (I think?) that I spotted in a nearby parking lot.

Kate was so much fun to photograph. But mostly I enjoyed catching up with her. She arrived in the evening and we settled in on the couch with Buckwheat and talked about our lives–what we’ve been up to, friends, travel, work… The next day, after portraits, we met up with Christian and talked over a tasty lunch at the Picnic Basket. It was a wonderful reunion with someone I feel I can now call an “old friend”. C and I are planning on visiting her and Gabe up in Humboldt this fall and I can’t wait.

Here are some of my favorite photos of my morning with Kate:

PortraitProject_Kate_008 PortraitProject_Kate_010 PortraitProject_Kate_011 PortraitProject_Kate_013 PortraitProject_Kate_015_016_M PortraitProject_Kate_019 PortraitProject_Kate_018PortraitProject_Kate_020 PortraitProject_Kate_027 PortraitProject_Kate_028 PortraitProject_Kate_033 PortraitProject_Kate_034PortraitProject_Kate_037 PortraitProject_Kate_039 PortraitProject_Kate_040 PortraitProject_Kate_042 PortraitProject_Kate_044 PortraitProject_Kate_047PortraitProject_Kate_048_duplicatePortraitProject_Kate_049 PortraitProject_Kate_051 PortraitProject_Kate_053 PortraitProject_Kate_054 PortraitProject_Kate_056PortraitProject_Kate_057 PortraitProject_Kate_058_1 PortraitProject_Kate_060 PortraitProject_Kate_061 PortraitProject_Kate_062PortraitProject_Kate_065_1 PortraitProject_Kate_067 PortraitProject_Kate_070 PortraitProject_Kate_071 PortraitProject_Kate_074 PortraitProject_Kate_079PortraitProject_Kate_080 PortraitProject_Kate_081_colorblocks PortraitProject_Kate_082-ab PortraitProject_Kate_085-ab PortraitProject_Kate_086-abPortraitProject_Kate_088 PortraitProject_Kate_091 PortraitProject_Kate_092 PortraitProject_Kate_093 PortraitProject_Kate_094 PortraitProject_Kate_095For more information about my portrait project go here: 29 Portraits Project.

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