August 31, 2011


When I was a kid, I used to love to lie in the grass and look up at the sky.  My friends and I would look up at the clouds in the sky, and guess what each person thought they saw.  The clouds would become a menagerie of animals, pirate ships, faces and everyday objects.  Childhood imagination at its best.  So, here's to remembering those wondrous moments from days gone by, and reliving them when you can...

Happy Wednesday!

August 30, 2011

Shoe Shopping

Even though, like most girls, I absolutely, positively love shoes, one of the things I don't always like is shoe shopping.  Why?  Well, it's sometimes tough finding shoes that look cute in a size 10, but at the same time are comfortable.  Usually this results in a multi-hour trip to the mall after which I come home empty-handed.  However, when my favorite shopping buddy, Josh, is along, I almost always find something, mostly because he simply suggests styles that I wouldn't necessarily have tried on by myself.  It works out great for me, though I secretly think his objective, like most guys,  is simply to get out of there as quickly as possible.  Regardless, thanks to Josh, I finally have a cute, sparkly, comfy pair of wedges to wear with skirts, dresses, and just about anything else.  Thanks, honey!

Happy Tuesday!

August 29, 2011

Sneak Peek - Castlewood Country Club Wedding

Rachel and Wayne had such a gorgeous wedding last weekend at the always beautiful Castlewood Country Club!  I'm head-over-heels in love with the images, so here's a sneak peek to start your week!

Happy Monday!

August 26, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - The Village Barbershop and Garage Doors

After a string of disappointing movie selections on Netflix over the last month, we finally found another winner.  The Village Barbershop was a great, heartwarming and funny movie about a longtime barbershop owner whose partner passes away, leaving him a bit lonely, short a hand, and without an accountant.  Enter Gloria, a young woman recovering from a bad breakup and in need of a job.  Through trials and tribulations, their lives come together.  I'm being deliberately vague here-- I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, and don't want to give it all away.  In any event, a really great movie, and I highly recommend it.  And guys, it's not a chick flick, so feel free to enjoy it, too!

This week's coals go to...
- Our garage door.  For finally biting the bullet and snapping in half.  Who knew garage doors did that?  We're told is was a super duper cheap door, and that's why.  So, invest a little in your garage door.  You never know when it may decide to stop working and hold your car hostage inside.

Diamonds to...
- The Village Barbershop.  It's one of those movie that makes you feel good about everything.  Even doing the dishes.
- Futurama.  I found the first seven seasons of my favorite cartoon of all time on Netflix.  Yup, I'm a little nerdy sometimes... Don't judge!  :)
- My desk.  Somehow, over the last week, the cleaning fairies came by and cleared all the miscellaneous junk away.  I can see the surface again!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll be back next week with a gorgeous wedding and one of my favorite engagement shoots of all time!

August 25, 2011

The Craziness You Can Buy on Amazon

I can't remember the first item we ever bought on Amazon (though I can probably look it up), but since that first purchase, well, we've been hooked.  A lot of my camera gear has come from Amazon, as well as numerous DVDs, books and miscellaneous electronics.  Over the years, however, we've discovered that you can get some pretty crazy things on Amazon as well, and last week, Josh made our second-craziest purchase.... A piano.  And for only $4, it was delivered overnight.  Yes, an overnighted upright piano is our second-craziest purchase from Amazon.  Our craziest purchase, you ask?  Well, that would be a trailer for our kayaks, which arrived in seven boxes, took five hours to assemble, and had to be registered with the DMV.  Truly proving that you can get just about anything from Amazon.

So, what's your craziest online purchase?

August 24, 2011

Jessica + Nick - Brentwood Golf Course Wedding

The day was sunny and bright as Nick arrived the Brentwood Golf Course.  He pinned his boutonniere to his lapel, checked his cufflinks, and sank into a comfy chair in the lounge to wait for Jessica.

Jessica swept into the bride's room on a wave of excited laughter of her closest friends and mother.  There were tears of joy as she slipped into her dress and put the final touches on her ensemble, an heirloom ring with a heart design, enameled rose earrings, and shimmery champagne shoes.  After a festive toast of sparkling wine and strawberries, she was on her way to see Nick.

Nick smiled as he heard Jessica walking up behind him for their First Look, and when Jessica tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around to see the love of his life looking so radiant and both were overcome with joy.  It was a truly magical moment that lived on through the rest of the day and evening, through their heartfelt vows, loving toasts, first dance as husband and wife, and uncountable tender moments in between.  Surrounded by family and friends, they celebrated love.

Jessica looked incredibly stunning, of course.

And here's what happens when you combine handsome and excited groomsmen with smartphones... Love it!

Jessica and Nick opted to have a First Look, which I absolutely, positively love!

Intimate moments together before the ceremony...

...And a little tour of the grounds to spend some time enjoying each other's company.

A heartfelt ceremony held under an elegant gazebo...

 Jessica and Nick's bridal party was one of the best groups of people you could ever hope to gather up, and working with them was a total blast!

One of my favorite ring shots...

I love the feel of this one from their first dance...

Jessica and Nick, it was such a pleasure and honor working with your two throughout your engagement and on your Big Day, and I wish you nothing but the best in love and life!  Stay fun, caring and genuine!  Love and happiness... Erin

August 23, 2011

Adventure Camera - Mountain Biking the Bolinas Ridge Trail

Back in the day, when I was a kid, there wasn't much that would get me off my bike.  Well, maybe a good book, but I quickly figured out how to combine my two favorite activities by riding my bike to the library.  I was such a smart cookie.  In any event, one of my favorite places to ride, besides the library, was across the road from our neighborhood-- there was a creek with a big levy on one side that my friends and I used to dare each other to ride down.  We called it Suicide Hill, and it was all of maybe a five-foot descent, and probably not all that steep, but as a ten-year-old, it was terrifying.

These days, the levy is gone, long ago plowed down to make room for a new neighborhood, and I've traded in my pink Huffy with a banana seat and handlebar basket for a mountain bike with shocks and clip pedals, but I still love a good ride out in the woods.  I've had a hankering to get the mountain bikes out on a real ride for a while, so Josh and I headed on over to the Bolinas Ridge trailhead in Marin.  What a fantastic ride!  The out-and-back trail is mostly fire road, and climbs up and up and up on the way out, and then you get a major descent on the way back.  Suicide Hill, look out!  There were definitely a few "oh crap" moments.  The first portion of the trail was along the ridgeline, over exposed grassy hills, but after a while, it enters into redwood forest for a peaceful uphill meander through the trees.  The forest was my favorite part, and the fog lent a mysterious, other-worldly feel to our ride, while the rainforest effect lent a very muddy veneer to our bike (and us!).  Overall, though, a great place to ride, if you're in the mood for a good climb and some great views.

Now on to the reward for reading this far... the photos!

Happy Tuesday!

August 22, 2011

Love Stories

Lately, life has been a whirlwind of gorgeous weddings, fun engagement shoots, beautiful album design, lots and lots of processing, and now website updates.  For a while now, I've been working on incorporating designs from some of my favorite storytelling Art Books into the main Wedded Bliss website, and I'm thrilled to let the world wide web know that they're officially up!  Slideshow videos of some of my favorite Art Books can be found under the "Love Stories" tab on the website, and I'll be adding more all week!  So, stop on by and enjoy a peek into a few love-filled and heartfelt wedding days on this foggy Monday morning!

August 19, 2011

New Wedding Day Art Book Slideshows

Usually, Friday is an easy blog day for me.  I blog about the week's successes, trials, tribulations, and whatever else comes to mind.  This week, however, was one of those rarely, uneventful ones.  I had my head down, focused on my to-do list, and accomplished a lot of album design, photo processing, and website updates.  So, being me, I started to write a blog post about having not much to blog about, but then reread it and totally bored myself, so I'm sparing you that version.  Instead, I'll give you a sneak peek of what's to come on the website next week.... Video slideshows of my Wedding Day Art Books!  Several are already live on The Knot, and we're in the process of adding them to the main Wedded Bliss Images website as well, so stay tuned for that early next week!  In the meantime, enjoy the gorgeousness that is Kim and Kyle's Art Book slideshow....

Have a wonderful weekend!

August 18, 2011

Adventure Camera - Morgan Territory

One of the things I love most about living in California, and specifically Livermore, is the amount of open space that's right in my backyard.  Out in the East Bay, we have a fantastic regional park system, as well as a bunch of local parks in each town.  The Morgan Territory is a lesser-known park north of Livermore in the Diablo foothills.  In fact, you can actually hike through the Morgan Territory and all the way to Mount Diablo, if you so desired.  It's a great place to hike and mountain bike, and just plain get away from it all.  The park is perched above the Tri-Valley area upon ridges and hilltops, and surrounded mostly by ranchland.  It makes for a great escape-- once you meander over the first hill out of the parking lot, you're surrounded by oak woodlands and grassy meadows full of grasshoppers, birds and squirrels.  If you're there on a breezy day (which is just about every day around here!), the grasses ripples in the wind, and the soft sounds of oak leaves rustling permeate the air.  Utter peacefulness just a short drive (or bike ride, if you're up for a big climb) away from home.

Happy Thursday!

August 17, 2011

Stephanie + Rick - Ross Wedding

The day dawned bright and sunny, with bluebird skies and a few wispy clouds overhead.  As Stephanie styled her hair, and put the finishing touches on her makeup, she thought about her groom, Rick, preparing in a separate room, and teared up a little.  It felt so strange to be without him on such an important morning, since he was always by her side, and sat down to write him a letter about all the emotions and happiness and overwhelming love she was feeling.  A short time later, the letter was delivered, and Stephanie was ready to walk down the aisle to join Rick, her groom, her love, her best friend.  As the first chords of the processional rang through the church, she saw Rick waiting at the alter, smiling at her, instantly, everything was perfect.  Friends, family and loved ones surrounded them as they said their vows, and celebrated with the newlyweds in a beautiful and heartfelt reception.  Throughout the festivities, Stephanie and Rick would look at each other, and tears of pure happiness would well up in their eyes.  They were together on this magical day, as they were always meant to be.

Every detail at Stephanie and Rick's wedding had a story behind it, from her grandfather's handkerchief to the heirloom watch she wore.  I especially loved her watch-- it had been given to her grandmother Florence when she was a child, and Stephanie wore it in honor of her on this momentous occasion.

I'm sure this goes without saying, but Stephanie, you look positively radiant!

Of course, Rick looked pretty good himself!

Their wedding was held at the magnificent Saint John's Church in Ross, and the warm colors, stained glass, and buttressed ceiling felt like taking a step back to the Renaissance.  Adorably, the flower girl couldn't resist a peek around the pews to see what was going on at the altar!

I loved the earthy, romantic details of Stephanie and Rick's reception decor.

Stephanie and Rick are amazing cooks (more on that in a moment) and made homemade apple butter for their guests.  The cute jars made for the perfect ring shot, too!

Their cake was the perfect complement to the rest of the decor, and did I mention that they made the cake themselves?  Love!

A tender moment between the new wife and husband....

And another moment in a beautiful blue Corvette to finish things off...

Stephanie and Rick, you are two of the most caring and loving people I've ever met, and I'm truly honored have been a part of your day!  I can't wait to see what the future holds for you, but I'm sure it will include so many loving, caring moments.  Love and happiness... Erin

August 16, 2011

Long Distance Hiking in the Desert

Lately, Josh and I have been devouring travelogues about long distance hiking on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails (someday we plan to hike both.).  So far, I've gotten through one book about a novice hiker tackling the Appalachian Trail with pretty much no prior experience (believe me, his "adventures" were, well, entertaining to say the least!) and one book by the same hiker about his now-less-novice-but-still-a-bit-out-there hike of the entire Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  Now I'm getting toward the end of a second book about the PCT, written by a couple, who also headed out for a six-month hike with close to no backpacking experience, but definitely seemed to have a bit more common sense than the first guy.

In any event, the thing that has amazed me about the PCT books is just how much people dislike hiking in the desert.  Granted, they were hiking through the southern California deserts in April and May, when temperatures regularly head toward triple digits, and that sort of heat does tend to have a grumpifying (yes, grumpifying, as in "to make instantly grumpy.") effect on people.  Anyone who has talked to me for any amount of time about outdoor adventures knows that I love the desert-- hiking and camping out there is a lot different than backpacking in the greener mountains.  Less water, less shade, and lots and lots of rocky terrain.  But, despite the heat and dryness, the desert is a truly beautiful and unique place, and hiking through it is most certainly a treat.  So, to anyone looking to hike the PCT, please give the desert a chance--  stop for a moment, and really take a look around and see the beauty of life on the edge.

Happy Tuesday!

August 15, 2011

Sneak Peek - Livermore Wedding

With Josh visiting family last weekend, I spent the time catching up on photo processing, album design and website updates (more to come on that later this week!).  I'm working my way through Rosa and Raudel's gorgeous wedding photos, and came across one (well, actually two, but I've conquered my indecision and chosen one!) that I just had to share!

Happy Monday!

August 12, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Sharing

Back in the day, when we were kids, we were always taught to share with others.  This was especially important in a family of seven.  We shared toys, TV time, and bedrooms, and were best friends because of it.  Well, at least we all were when my brother wasn't eating our Barbie dolls' shoes or using our pink Barbie Jeep as a chair.  We got over it eventually.

These days, sharing means something more than just belongings.  When you're out in the big, bad business world, it's all about sharing knowledge and learning from others.  This week, I had a great opportunity to do just that.  I attended the WPPI Road Trip event this week, and had a chance to learn from some of the best photographers in the world.  They shared their ideas, how they go about getting things done, and what they find rewarding, and not-so-rewarding, in their work.  I attended with another photographer and friend, Jaime Fenwick (of Jaime Lauren Photography), and we met up with a number of other local photographers along the way to discuss everything we'd learned.  Everyone came away feeling inspired (and a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information exchanged), and new friendships were forged.

Sharing with others is a great experience, and benefits everyone involved, so, get out there and talk with your neighbors, friends and coworkers-- they may have something to say that changes your life, or at least your day!

This week's diamonds go to...
- WPPI.  For bringing photographers together in a friendly community to share.
- Fundy.  For being totally awesome and revolutionizing my album design.
- BayPhoto.  I've been with them for years, they've never let me down and are alway listening to their clients.  And, they're super-nice people.

And, since WPPI just plain made my week, well, I have no coals to award!

Have a wonderful weekend!

August 11, 2011

Adventure Camera - Kayaking Lake Tahoe - Day 4

The final day of our Lake Tahoe circumnavigation was probably my favorite.  Since our base camp was Zephyr Cove, we paddled the last section between Sand Harbor and Zephyr Cove in reverse, and once again hired Joe at Shuttle Around Tahoe to drive us and our gear back up to Sand Harbor early in the morning.  As was the norm for the week, the water was serene as we launched, and we took a little more time to play in the rock gardens along the shore than we had on previous days.  Most of the shoreline along this section isn't developed, and that made for some wonderful wilderness-like paddling and great scenery.

The locals also enjoy the rock gardens...

Josh usually leads when we paddle, at least when I'm in photo-mode.  This allows me to take photos of him without his knowledge....

Because the water in the lake is so clear, you can see every detail of the bottom of the lake (at least when the water is calm).  A lot of what would normally be beach was underwater due to the high lake level, and we were fascinated by the ripples left in the sand.  Luckily, I carry a waterproof camera, so I spent at least some portion of each day floating along with my hand and camera stuck in the water beside my boat to capture the bottom of the lake.

While we were planning out this trip, we kept talking about the prospect of pulling up on a beach and going for a swim whenever we got too warm.  With all the development along the north shore, and the relatively chilly water temperature, it just hadn't happened, and I pretty much gave up on that.  Then, we pulled up to a completely deserted, gorgeously sandy cove for lunch, and Josh suddenly said that we needed to swim out to the rock garden 100 or so yards off shore.  And off we went!  The water was chilly, as expected, though the neoprene helped quite a bit, and we luxuriously sunned ourselves out on the rocks for 15 minutes before heading back to the boats.

As we paddled closer and closer to Zephyr Cove and the conclusion of our trip, buildings popped up on the shore, including the Thunderbird Lodge, and the community of Glenbrook.  Glenbrook used to be a large lumber settlement, and piles from the old docks still poke up through the water in strange, jagged lines all over the bay.

A short time later, after hitting some of the largest (and very fun!) chop we had seen on the lake, we were back at Zephyr Cove, and celebrated our 72-mile accomplishment with prime rib (yum!) and banana splits.

Overall, a great trip, and I'd love to paddle in Lake Tahoe again!  We'll be back to our regularly scheduled, wedding-related programming next week with more gorgeous shoots and beautiful brides, so stay tuned!

Happy Thursday!

August 10, 2011

Adventure Camera - Kayaking Lake Tahoe - Day 3

Our third day on the lake brought many of my favorite parts of the trip.  We awoke to a gorgeous sunrise over Emerald Bay, and were, of course, the first ones up.  I headed out of our tent with my camera to capture the light just before it peaked over the eastern mountains, and the sight was just amazing.  It's one of those places that makes you feel alive in a way that only nature can.

We packed up quickly, and headed out to finish paddling along the edge of the bay, seeing only one other boat in the bay all morning, a sailboat heading out of the bay.

After a quick trip around Fannette Island (the only island in Lake Tahoe), we were headed out of the bay and toward South Lake Tahoe and it's sandy beaches.

Of the four or so major public beaches along the way into South Lake, Pope Beach was the favorite, with soft, gravelly sand and many trees for shade.  The Tahoe Keys marked the return of private land along the shore, and the number of "Keep Out" signs posted on very empty beaches was more than a little depressing.  However, just after passing the Keys, we decided to take a little side trip up the Upper Truckee River, which was flooded and flowing like gangbusters from all the snowmelt.  The water was seemingly only a few degrees above freezing, and as we paddled upstream, we saw some very cold-looking geese hopping from one foot to the other, possibly to warm up their toes.  Off to the west Mount Tallac rose up above the marshland for an impressive sight, and you can see the extremely quick current in the river below.

Since the river's banks had been long overrun, much of the surrounding delta marshland was under a few feet of water and made for a fun labyrinth of water trails to explore.

After exhausting all the possible trails through the marsh, we headed on by South Lake Tahoe.  It was a little strange to see the resort hotels and casinos from the water, especially after the quiet wilderness of the river, but we soon reached the far side of town and Nevada's less-populated shore.  We stopped for a break at Nevada Beach, another public beach gem, with a campground and picnic areas, and decided to come back later that evening to watch the sunset.  A little while later, we were back at Zephyr Cove and basecamp, showered up, and ready for dinner at our most favorite restaurant around Lake Tahoe-- Latin Soul at the Lakeside Inn and Casino.

Stay tuned for the final day of our trip tomorrow!

August 9, 2011

Adventure Camera - Kayaking Lake Tahoe - Day 2

After a good night's sleep, we were woken early by the McDonald's delivery truck (as I said yesterday, there's a strip mall right next to the Tahoe SRA campground!).  We packed up our slightly soggy tent and carried the boats back down to the water.  The sun was just peeking over the mountains across the lake, and the water was once again peaceful and glasslike.  We launched our boats from the campground beach, right next to the park pier.

As we hit the open water, the sun shone on one of the larger lake cruise boats, the Tahoe Gal, and it seemed like we were taken back to another age as the boat twinkled in the warm morning light.

We paddled along past the rest of Tahoe City, Homewood, Tahoma, and various other smaller settlements over the course of the morning.  The houses were of a less extravagant size along this part of the shoreline, and the lake was extremely quiet all morning.  It made for truly peaceful and very enjoyable paddling.  We stopped at the gorgeous beach at Sugar Pine Point for lunch, and once again, it was deserted.  It was like having a little slice of paradise all to ourselves.  (You may recognize the beach from Angela and Paul's engagement shoot back in May-- the water level has risen considerably since then, and many of the rocks and logs we used as props were under 4-5 feet of water!)

We sat and enjoyed the gorgeous weather for a while, then headed on out towards Meeks Bay.  Meeks Bay has a nice public beach (and clean bathrooms!), and everyone from sunbathers to paddleboarders was out enjoying the warmer water.  After Rubicon Bay, the shoreline is part of DL Bliss State park, and the wild coast returns in a series of stunning, boulder-strewn cliffs, tall trees, and giant rock gardens. It's an amazing sight, and one best seen from the water.  The cliffs rise nearly vertical from the water in some places, and extend down 50-100 feet underwater as well.  It's definitely a place that makes you feel wonderfully small in a very big, wild world.

A few hours later, we rounded the bend into Emerald Bay, and wow, what a place!  I'll go into more detail for tomorrow's post, complete with photos, but we stayed at the boat-in campground on the north shore of the bay, and had one of my favorite established campsites to date.  We were at the very edge of the campground, with a huge site, and a "private" set of steps down the rocky cliff and right to a little pocket beach (well, there would have been beach if the water level was lower!).  It was perfect for a chilly after-dinner swim, and, after two great days of paddling, we slept very well.

Day 3 to come tomorrow!

August 8, 2011

Adventure Camera - Kayaking Lake Tahoe - Day 1

Happy Monday!  For those of you into the kayaking and outdoors scene, you're in luck this week!  Josh, who has yet to see most of the photos from last month's trip to paddle the 72-mile circumference of Lake Tahoe, asked for a full blog exposé of our trip.  So all this week, I'll be featuring the gorgeousness that is Lake Tahoe.

Because kayak-friendly lodging is a little scarce on the northeast lakeshore, we use the Zephyr Cove campground as a base camp, and hired Joe from Shuttle Around Tahoe to drive us and our boats and gear up to the Sand Harbor put-in site on the first and last day of our trip (we paddled the last segment of the lakeshore in reverse).  On a quick aside here, I can't say enough good things about Joe and his shuttle service.  He's professional, friendly, punctual and an all around great guy.  He took great care in loading and unloading our gear, and if you're looking for any sort of outdoor adventure shuttle in the Tahoe area, I highly recommend his service.  Getting back to the paddling, we headed out from Sand Harbor on a chilly morning on glasslike water.  It's absolutely amazing how crystal clear the water is, and boulders and tree snags that were under more than 50 feet of water seemed like you could just reach out and touch them.  It's a little unnerving at first, but very, very neat altogether.

From Sand Harbor we headed north along the shoreline along Crystal Bay and past Incline Village.  Between Sand Harbor and Incline Village is one of the most beautiful sections of shoreline you'll ever see.  Boulder fields spill into the crystal waters of the lake, and the bottom is fairly sandy.  It feels like a tropical paradise, but with pine trees instead of palm trees.  Pure gorgeousness.

Once you reach Incline Village, the shoreline changes.  We've spent a good bit of time up in the Tahoe area over the past seven years, but we were still surprised by how much of the lakefront property is built out with some very large private houses.  This would be a recurring theme throughout the first day, and for large portions of the next several days as well.  We ran into relatively little boat traffic as we paddled along, stopping at the few public beaches along the way for lunch and breaks.  My favorite stop was in Carnelian Bay, where there are aspen-shaded picnic tables at the top of the beach.  It was the perfect place for lunch.

By noon, the clouds were building in big time, and we picked up the pace a bit to try to beat the thundershower to our planned campsite at the Tahoe State Recreation Area.  As we paddled, we occasionally glanced over our shoulders to watch the brewing storm following us, and of course, it made for some great, moody photos!

Another thing we hadn't totally expected was the sheer number of off-shore moorings.  At the north shore of the lake, the majority of the moorings were occupied by some very fast boats, closer to Tahoe City, we came upon a few smaller fields that were relatively empty.

We reached the Tahoe SRA just as the rain did, but fortunately, when everything's packed up in a boat, things stay dry (well, at least until you unpack them!).  We took advantage of the hot showers at the campground, and the strip mall (complete with McDonald's) and restaurants within walking distance, and by the time we were headed back to our tent, the rain had stopped for a lovely night under the stars.

More to come tomorrow!