Wednesday, May 30, 2012

stormy spring.

We were graced with typical "spring" weather for Memorial Day weekend. David and I took a drive up to Jackson Lake yesterday. The mountains looked so majestic with their fresh coating of snow.

david took this one. i just love it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

allison's wedding invitation suite

There's nothing I love more than a personalized wedding. That's why I loved the idea of helping my sister out with her own wedding by designing her invitations. She's getting married in San Diego in July and chose fuchsia and royal blue as her colors. We were looking for a "tropical" look, but nothing too cheezy. Here's what I came up with. I had them printed through Miller's Lab on a beautiful pearl paper, which gives them an elegant shimmer. These will be landing in mailboxes all over the USA throughout this month. I am so excited to be a part of this!

5x7 main invitation.

4x6 postcard reply with menu choices.

3x3 information cards.

Friday, May 25, 2012

forbeyon albums

It seems that all people want out of their photo sessions these days is photos on a disc. I get it. With Facebook, Blogging, iPhones, iPads, and all other forms of digital media that are starting to pop up lately, why wouldn't you want copies of your digital files?? I'm here to offer that, plus another option. The old-fashioned album. While I know you might go out and make prints off of that CD and hang them in your home or frame them on your desk, an album offers a timeless way to store your images and a high quality way to share your story. Here I have some photos of a recent studio sample I ordered from my new album company, Forbeyon. This style, their linear bound album, is the perfect way to display photos from your engagement session or have copies made of your wedding album to give your parents and grandparents as gifts. Coming in sizes up to 8x10, this smaller album is made up of glossy press prints mounted to rigid pages in a panoramic style. It's a little more friendly to your wallet than the sought-after flushmount albums, but nevertheless, an amazing way to show off your images. I offer all of Forbeyon's styles with my wedding packages, from magazine-style to flushmounted, 5x5 to 12x12, all coming with super classy leather or cloth covers and imprinting. If you want to see some more of their stuff take a look on their website. Check it out, and see why something like this is wonderful to have around your home to show your friends and family.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I was in Nicaragua for a while and wanted to share some of my photos! What an amazing trip (and learning experience) it was. One thing I wish I would have known: Learn Spanish! I had some rusty Spanish skills leftover from college, but this country is not as developed as its Central American neighbor, Costa Rica, and most business owners do not speak any English. Anyway, here's the recap...

Getting off of the plane, we went through customs and were greeted with an exorbitant amount of faces plastered against the window outside. Taxi drivers, hotel shuttles, who knows. It was kind of frightening. After paying the $10 entry fee, we hesitantly entered the sea of people, only to find a man with a sign with my name and hotel name on it near the front. How relieving!! He led us over to his crappy 1990's beater car and we loaded up our bags. David and I went to put on our seat belts only to realize that there were none. Haha, I guess Nicaraguan safety regulations aren't quite as strict as the US. We would be reminded of this throughout the trip.

The ride from Managua Airport to our hotel in Granada was about 45 minutes. There was no air conditioning, and we let the humid air attempt to cool us off. One of the first things I noticed about the country was the smell. Pungent aromas, sometimes good, sometimes bad, filled the air as we drove through the city streets. It kind of smelled like campfire with a little bit of burning trash tossed in. I can't say I liked the smell, but it will forever remind me of Nicaragua if I ever catch that scent again.

Our hotel, Hostal El Momento, was ready and waiting for us. They showed us our private room, a cozy little space with a fan and its own bathroom. We grabbed a couple of Toñas, the local beer, and relaxed in the common area for a while. We had been traveling all day and were really hungry, but we decided to go for the liquid dinner instead, as we had know idea how safe it was to walk around.

The next day, we spent a whole $2 on bike rentals to explore the city. It was sweltering hot. The temperature was sitting around 95 degrees with about %1000 humidity. Argh! I thought my time in Phoenix would have warmed me up for this. We visited the church, or La Iglesia, on the town square and rode down to the waterfront. The streets were crowded and we feared for our lives as we weaved in and out of the cars. Between the giant potholes, the poor quality of our bikes, and the crazy drivers, it was pretty sketchy! Nevertheless, the city was colorful and beautiful, with Volcan Mombacho looming above the whole time.

We had had enough of the heat after a while and retreated back to our hostel for some more Toña and relaxing. There was such a cozy common area and it was easy to hang out there all day. We eventually got bored and hit up a restaurant on Calle Canzada for some happy hour beers and snacks. Our first meal consisted of fried plantains with beef meatballs and local cheese with fresh pico de gallo. It was pretty delicious!! That night we went out on the town with another fellow hostel guest from Sweden. There wasn't much going on but we definitely made the best of it!

The next day we made our way down to San Juan del Sur via Paxeo, a very easy way to get around if you don't want to take the "Chicken Bus".

San Juan del Sur, one of the most "touristy" places in Nicaragua (although I'd hardly consider it that), is on the Southern end of the Pacific coast. It's a surf town in all its glory. There are cute restaurants, taco joints, shops, and lots of fabulous beaches with great waves that dot the nearby coast. It was love at first sight.

We checked into a private room at Pachamama and went for some lunch at the Taco Stop. MMM!!! This place has really cheap burritos and tacos and stays open all night so you can get your taco fix in whenever you want! We went there a lot...

After chatting with people, playing a round of ping pong, and relaxing in the hammocks at our hostel for a while, we went down to the bay to watch the sunset. What a reward that was!!

The next day, my friend from Washington, and the hostel owner, Alex, drove us down to a fabulous beach for a little surfing. We strapped the surfboards to the top of his truck and piled in the bed for a long bumpy ride down a crappy dirt road (this is typical beach transportation). When we got there, I saw these colorful little crabs running around the beach. They had so much personality, I couldn't resist snapping a few shots. Alex's dog kept chasing and battling them. So funny to watch. We stayed out on the beach until sunset.

The next beach we visited was Playa Hermosa. This one was a bit further away, with a drive through a jungly wash. We even saw howler monkeys in the tree tops! They are pretty small but make noises like a gorilla. That was pretty wild to see. Anyway, I loved this beach. It was huge, with lots of little huts with hammocks dotting the shore. There were not rocks to worry about while surfing and plenty of room so you don't get in other people's way.

We moved out of our private room and into the dorms soon enough at Pachamama. I don't want to dwell on it too much because you can read my review on Trip Advisor if you are so inclined to hear more about the experience.

Side note, this photo was taken right before one of the WORST NIGHTS EVER on our trip. Nicaragua seems to have a bit of an issue with keeping its power up and running, especially when it rains. I'm sleeping in my bed, and am suddenly awoken by a stagnant heat. The fans had shut off, meaning the power was out. It had started raining for a bit, adding a significant amount of humidity to the already dense air. Within seconds I could hear mosquitoes buzzing around my ears. After having had several nightmare mosquito experiences while camping, I can hardly handle it. I tried to make a little "net" by tucking my sheet into the bunk above, but I was sweating bullets underneath it as I tried to fall asleep so that wasn't going to work. I heard David rustling around on the top bunk and I got up. He saw I was awake and followed me out to the front porch, where it was significantly cooler. We sat out there for over an hour, frustrated by our lack of sleep and experience. David had woken up to a giant cockroach just inches from his head. The power flicked back on, and I vowed to give it ten minutes before I trusted it enough to go back to sleep. Soon enough we jumped at the sound of an explosion coming from a nearby transformer. It was like someone had set off a giant firework in the front yard. Big surprise, the power was out again. After debating what to do for a while, David put on long sleeves and pants, which was practically unbearable in the heat, and slept in a hammock outside. I grabbed my sheet, covering myself up the best I could to protect myself from bugs, and slept in a hammock in the lobby. While hammocks are pretty comfortable to relax in, they don't put your back in the best sleeping position. We both woke up sore and exhausted after only about a few hours of sleep, the power still out. We packed our bags and set out for a new location.

We found a little slice of heaven on the other side of the beach, Yajure Surf Hostel. With a pool and air conditioning, it was everything we needed. And the power was on! This place, owned by an ex-pro surfer from the Caribbean, Chely, is a two story mansion with an assortment of dorm rooms and a few private rooms. We felt so much better and checked in immediately.

We had thought we would travel around Nicaragua more, but our love for San Juan del Sur was strong, so we just...stayed. For two weeks! I went to yoga a few times a week to relieve my sore surfing muscles, we shopped for fresh fruits and vegetables at the market, we had family-style dinners with people we met at the hostel, and soaked in the life of this great beach town.

Soon it was my birthday, and what a great day it was! We went surfing at Playa Maderas, where I drank passionfruit daiquiris, and soaked up the sun. We arrived back at the hostel to find that Chely had made a huge batch of rum punch and was having a pool party! We ended up going out to the Black Whale bar that night. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day!

David and a new friend from Aspen, Colorado spent one afternoon surfing on the beach outside of our hostel. It was such a beautiful evening, I couldn't resist bringing my camera out.

Ahhh, Playa Remanso. As a beginner surfer trying to improve, I had some of my best days at this place. The waves were perfect for me! Not scary, no rocks, and not crowded. Paradise.

After many days of surfing, the end of our trip was near...just in time. The rainy season started to take over. There was one crazy storm where the power and water were out, and everyone was sleeping in the common areas because it was so humid. The storm continued into the next day and cleared just enough for us to go for a quick afternoon surf session at Playa Hermosa.

Ah, the famous Chicken Bus. I was fortunate enough to not have to ride on one of these, although I'm sure it would have been an adventure. Nicaragua seems to be the place where all of our old school busses go to die...Then they get painted with bright colors and people pack it in to the max. One day we even saw people jam packed on the top!! Also, it is not uncommon to be seated next to someone with a chicken on their lap or a pig en tow. Behold, the Chicken Bus.

Towards the end of our trip, a couple of friends from Jackson made it to San Juan. They were staying in a cute little guest house on the south side of town. We had a great time hanging out with them drinking Flor de Caña on their terrace and partying at the Black Whale for our last night in town.

Our final day in Nicaragua was spent in the capital city of Managua. We "splurged" on a nicer hotel, La Pyramide, with air conditioning and breakfast included. We ate two wonderful meals in their restaurant, with the final meal of filet mignon and homemade crepes for both of us topping out at $15. It was the perfect ending to a great trip.

I sure am missing the food now that I'm back in the States! Nothing beats the size and price of those enormous avocados they have down there. If you are looking for an adventurous, affordable vacation, check out Nicaragua. You won't be disappointed :)