San Francisco

My bestie recently moved to San Francisco, and my husband and I were able to visit her last week for the first time in her new digs. What an amazing city! Great neighborhoods, architecture, restaurants, parks, beautiful views, and best of all, nature and the open ocean are close enough to breathe. Maybe a few too many four-way stops for my carsick-prone self, but hey, that's just more incentive to walk, right? As always, her little boy charmed the pants off us, and my camera was mostly pointed in his direction due to his ridiculous adorableness. Here are a few (too many!) photos from our trip.

Christmas Tree Adventure - Year 1

For our first Christmas as a married couple, Caleb and I decided to begin a tradition of heading up to the mountains to find the perfect Charlie Brown tree. Today was the day, and it started with a snowy morning here in Seattle, followed by a power outage (thankfully we had already made the coffee!) that left being under the covers the only sensible place to be. When the snow turned to rain we braved the highway up to the pass, and it was truly a winter wonderland up there. We wandered amongst the trees, made a snowman, threw around a fair amount of snowballs, and soaked up as much winter as we could. Our little tree that we brought home is flimsy and asymmetric and couldn't be more perfect!

Rialto Beach

A personal post here . . . After three failed attempts over the last year to get our butts out to the peninsula (one dead battery in the ferry line, one weekend with monsoon weather, and one cop-out), Caleb and I finally made it. Rialto Beach did not disappoint. It felt so good to unplug and just experience our surroundings. Here's a few of my faves from our trip out there.

Ocean Shores

I have such a connection with the beach, and if it's been a while since I've spent time near the ocean, I feel a distinct draw to get myself there. My momma is the same way, so last week we packed up the car and headed down to Ocean Shores for a night. I couldn't get enough of the yummy light, and my gorgeous mother let me snap away while she took in the scenery and did arabesques.

Miss Ada Turns 1!

It's so hard to believe that a year has gone by already since my sweet little niece was born. She has grown and learned so much, and has become such a darling, curious, cuddly toddler. Her first word, appropriately, was "GO!" And she is always on the go, walking all over the place these days. We celebrated with a delicious brunch of omelette cups, sausage, bacon, banana bread, fruit and green salads, and homemade cinnamon rolls, along with close family and friends. Ada had a blast playing with her cousins and opening presents. She was especially excited about her new piano mat from Grandma Phillips. Happy birthday little lovebug!

Kristi

Kristi started out as the girl who lived in my basement during nursing school (her bedroom was actually the furnace room), and I couldn't have asked for a better roommate because she turned out to be an amazing friend, gym ally, study partner, and Subway accomplice.  A funnier, more loose-tongued girl you will be hard pressed to meet!  We have stayed close, vacationed together, started CrossFit together, compared horrifying online dating stories with each other, and she will soon be rooming with me again, moving up from furnace room to outhouse!  My little Faith Pooches is going to love having her two pups, Bruiser and Vinnie, to play with!

Christine

What can I say about my good friend Christine, or "Teenie Stinie" as she is affectionately known? She's a tiny package of loyalty, logic, adventure, a little bit of crazy and a whole lot of fun!  We've been friends ever since we bonded working at horse shows at the Monroe fairgrounds, in Bend, Oregon, and at Thunderbird in B.C.  We were up from dawn until dusk braiding manes, lunging the edge off the horses, bathing them, cleaning stalls, feeding, memorizing courses, then jumping them, wrapping legs and getting astoundingly wet, muddy and cold.  Oh, and eating boxes and boxes of Cheezits!  I'm pretty sure Christine still keeps a box of them or something similar in her car to munch on at all times.  I had such a good time photographing this awesome girl with her little animal family.  Bella is such a sweet, gentle horse, with the most beautiful eyes, and Mickey is just plain darling.  I can't wait to hang out with them all again!

Soft Noses and Soulful Eyes

Growing up riding horses was such a gift.  I fell in love with them before ever climbing on the back of one, and I know it was because of a deep connection with their giving, loving, and honest nature.  I don't ride much any more, but I always feel at home when I do get to be around them.  Yesterday I tagged along with my good friend Christine while she rode and cared for her horse, and she just laughed when I first entered the barn.  She knew exactly what prompted the audible sigh I couldn't help making: that intoxicating smell of horse, leather, and hay.  Anyone who loves horses will know just what I'm talking about!  I wanted to spend some time capturing those most lovable parts of the animals that will always hold a special place in my heart, so that I can bring a piece of them home with me.  Stay tuned for a post with photos of Christine with her horse as well!

The Lovely Leah

Leah and I have been best friends since we were horse-crazy teenagers, and though our lives have taken us in different directions, hers to California and mine back in Seattle, we've managed to stay in touch and even grown closer through the years (and I can also proudly say that neither of us has lost the horse-craziness!).  I've been able to make it down to her neck of the woods at least once a year, and I have a huge appreciation for what keeps her down in SoCal.  It's absolutely gorgeous there!  We finished out my most recent trip with a last sunset beach excursion.  The light was so warm and perfect, I couldn't help turning it into a Leah photo shoot.  Check out this gorgeous girl and her gorgeous home!

Twig Too

About a week ago I was invited to cruise Lake Washington in my brother' and sister-in-law's new (old) boat, a beautiful wooden Chris Craft called Twig Too.  It was the perfect day for it, sunny and warm.  Of course, I brought my camera, and of course, as usual, it mostly found its focus on my precious niece, Ada.  What can I say, she's just so cute, the paparazzi has trouble staying away!