Thursday, September 20, 2012

Santa Barbara

We took a trip to Santa Barbara last week for a wedding.  While the wedding was for a friend, we were working as the wedding photographers.  The bride grew up with my daughter and her mother was my daughter's gymnastics coach.  

We had a nice trip in our new ( to us) mini van.  Plenty of room for everything!  It was really long though.  We met up with my daughter and her friend about halfway there.  At one point, I just had to stop for a break and we found ourselves at this really cool place, the Madonna Inn.  We had been there before many years ago.  Hubby snapped a few photos:

Doesn't this fireplace look like something out of the Flintstones?

This place is just over the top!   I would love to go back and spend the night.  One of the things it is most famous for is the men's bathroom.  The urinal is a waterfall.  Hubby checked to make sure that there was no one inside so I could come in and take a look.  I didn't see what the big deal was.  Then he told me that it was only activated by motion.  So, I didn't really get to see the whole effect.  lol.

The wedding was at a beautiful venue.  Everything about Santa Barbara is beautiful.  The wedding went great and when hubby finishes with the photos you will be able to see them at, check out the blog.

I videotaped the wedding and am excited to make a wedding video for the couple.  It was a fast moving day, as all weddings are, for the photographers.  So much to do and never enough time.  The groom is from Australia and there were a lot of people there from "Oz".  I loved the accents.  Something about the way they talk is just fun.  

After the wedding we were worn out!!  The next morning we met up with dear daughter and had some brunch.  The restaurant was right on the beach.  

They went home and we spent the rest of the day as tourists.

This was my chance to learn some basics about photography.  Hubby really needs a "second shooter" at the weddings.  So, I'm it.  

Here are my first attempts at being a "real" photographer.  My son, who is also helping me to learn, told me to just take lots of pictures.  He says that getting a good shot is part luck anyway.  And so I did.  These are my favorites.

This is the Moreton Bay Fig Tree.  I read about it on the internet.  It's so big that it provides the largest amount of shade of any tree in California.  I liked this picture because of the closeup of the fig.

Without a person in the picture it's hard to see just how big this tree is.  It looks like something out of Avatar.  I liked this shot because of the sun peeking through.  And, speaking of peeking.  Hubby said that he saw an old man pop out of the center of the tree and is convinced that there is someone living there.  On the other side there is a person sleeping in the grass.  He looked homeless but very young.  I'm not sure, it IS a college town.

Hubby took this one of you can see how big the tree is!

I had fun taking these pictures, but at the same time, it was stressful.  I was intimidated to just hold the camera.  I'm fine with my little point and shoot camera.  It doesn't send any message, other than that I just want to take a picture.  Holding this serious camera seems to say "I know what I'm doing.  I'm a pro."  Just embarrassing.  Plus, hubby is really good at what he does.  When I compare my meager attempts, it just seems so pointless.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  And, hubby has been a photographer for probably 40 years.  So, I plan to give myself some slack.  At least that's what I keep saying to myself.

After the tree, we headed over the the Mission of Santa Barbara.  I love the old missions.  This one was wonderful. We followed the tour and quickly realized that we took a wrong turn and were following it BACKWARDS.  Par for the course with us!

Here are my favorite shots of the mission:

We had to make our mark, of course!  We placed a pin for where we live.

This was another big fig tree.  Not as big as the Moreton, but really pretty.  In this area were many graves of priests over the years dating back to the 1800's.

Hubby tried to tell me that this shot wouldn't work out.  Instead, it is one of my favorites.  I stuck the camera in between to posts and the flash was concentrated only on the figure in the middle.  I like that.  Art is in the eye of the beholder, right?

I took this picture because I thought it would be a fun craft.  I can just imagine the glittering light reflected from this glass dish.

Inside the church.  Just to show you how good hubby is...this is my picture:

Here is his:

He says it's all about lighting.  

This is the main courtyard.  So peaceful and pretty.

After that we headed out to the beach to catch the sunset.  By the time we were heading down there it started to feel like a race.  We made it in plenty of time and enjoyed a relaxing evening watching the sun set over the pacific ocean.  

 Watching this doggie, really made me miss ours!

I'm always in hubby's pictures.  Now it's his turn to be the model!  He took this one of me:

While I was just watching the water, I saw a dolphin.  Twice!  But, I could not capture him on film.

I took this one of the setting sun:

I liked this pic because of the people just walking with the setting sun behind them.  And, below is my video camera.  I set it up to record the entire sunset.  I don't know what I will do with it, but it's really cool.  Complete with the sound of crashing waves.

I love the colors of this picture and the seagull on the right.

And suddenly I was STARVING!  We headed downtown for a bite to eat.  It was filled with college students.  We chose an Italian street cafe.  The food was incredible and I loved the atmosphere.  It reminded me of the movies.  Hubby took this picture:

In the morning we took our time.  We stopped at the original Pea Soup Andersens.  It was good, but my favorite is still the Santa Nella one.  Since we were so close, we decided to take a look at Solvang.  A Scandenvian village nearby.  We didn't even get out of the car....because the streets were lined up with people waiting for a parade!

We decided to stop at Pismo Beach on the way home.  I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to the beach.  And, I wanted some more practice with the camera.  This time I tried out the telephoto lense.  

I took a few of this lady.  She kept getting closer and closer to this pelican.  I thought it would be an interesting picture if he decided to take exception to her close proximity!

A fun day at the beach.   My very first telephoto pic.

I really had fun trying to capture the surfers.  I had to anticipate the wave they would try for and then THEY would have to stay up.  

Aha!  Got one!

Small waves.  All that waiting for a 5 second ride.

The star of this show was the pelicans.  

I loved this solohette.  

Then he started to stretch out.

Like something out of Jirassic Park!

I told my son that my best shots were copies.  Like this one.  I just went and stood where hubby was and took the same picture.  My son told me that this is the best way to learn.  Whew.

We had a fun trip, but I was sure glad to be home!  I missed my "boys"!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baby Shower

I was so excited that my daughter allowed me the honor to host her baby shower.  She has a number of friends who would have been happy to do it.  So....I wanted to make it very special.

She does not have a theme for her baby room and I had trouble coming up with a theme for her shower.  She picked out these cute invitations and I decided to use them for inspiration.

So began the hunt for decorations that were blue and white, checked and polka and elephants.  I was so stumped.  I was in a party store and I actually wished for decorations that were blue, white and elephants in a theme, so I wouldn't have to create anything.  I turned a corner, and lo and behold, there they were.  

Blue, elephants, they had plates and napkins, plus all sorts of decorations.  Anything I could possibly want.  And, guess what?  I didn't want them.  All I could think was that they were kind of cheesy.  And, they just didn't seem personal.  So, I went back to coming up with ideas to make the party special and personal.  Unique.  Not a party in a bag kind of party.  

I knew that I wanted to put balloons out front.  And, I saw some pretty banners on Pinterest that I wanted to copy.  I searched for paper to cut and make my banners out of.  I found some that would do, but not perfect.  And neighbor, Kelli (who is also one of my daughter's best friends) stopped by to tell me that she had an idea for making banners.  Wow.  We had the same idea.  She came over and we made these pretty banners.  She made the paper herself with photoshop and cut them into triangles.  We punched holes on each side and threaded some ribbon through.  I found some baby diaper pins to hang them up on my umbrellas.  

I loved this shower.  I couldn't have done it without help.  Kelli helped me make the decorations and on the morning of the shower, Meghan showed up early and put them all up!  

Meghan also took charge of the games and prizes.  How lucky am I?  I told her that I really don't like some of the games that they play at showers and she agreed.  The games she came up with were fun!  We all guessed with a piece of yarn what size my daughter's belly was.  Mine was about double what it should have been!  We also played a memory game with a BIG baby bottle filled with baby essentials.  And the gifts were terrific.  Woo Hoo!

That's Kelly in the Stripes and Meghan in the solid blue.  

For the shower, we had a brunch.  I made two casseroles, one was bacon, eggs and hash browns.  The other was french toast.  Mmmmm, brunch is my favorite meal. I set up the food in the tent.

 Kelli brought the "fruit baby", which was a huge hit!

Jesi made the most wonderful and beautiful cupcakes.

I put them on the cart.

I set up the bar with mimosa punch (non alcoholic in honor of the mommy to be).

  The punch was yummy with orange juice and ginger ale.  I froze some orange juice in cup cake tins to make huge ice cubes that wouldn't dilute the punch as it melted.

I also made big cubes with lemon slices for the water.  And, clear ones for the apple juice.

For dishes, I thought about getting paper plates, but then I found clear glass at the thrift store for only fifty cents each and I found a clear mug at the dollar store.  Somehow these just seemed the perfect fit.

We just visited and played a few games.  Kristen found this vintage shower game that I just love!

Stork Bingo!!

One BIG surprise was that her friend, Terry, from her work came all the way from the bay area.  I knew that she was coming, but I left it for a fun little surprise for dear daughter.

My daughter's friend Stephanie, had a baby just a couple of months ago.  Here is Meghan holding him.

My daughter was wearing "our" shoes.  We "co" bought these a while back.  I haven't worn them yet.  Aren't they cute!


I had three kids myself and never once had a shower.  I don't think I ever even went to one either.  Did we do this kind of thing back then?  I never know what to buy people, so I love the idea of a gift registry.   My daughter used Babies R Us.  I made her promise to NOT look at the registry so that she would be surprised. 


I set up a table with a vintage table cloth for the gifts and we sat on the deck for the unveiling.

My girl was like a kid at Christmas.  How fun!!  Her friends and family were beyond generous.  I can't wait to see the nursery all set up.  

I had the doggies on the deck all morning and they were dying to get close to the people.  When we came down to the deck, they shied away.

I took this picture of the girls and when I posted it on Facebook, they noticed little Pookie under the couch, posing for the pic!

A princess needs a crown.  I found this perfect little tiara for her.  

We packed her up.

And filled up Terry's truck and off she went to get hubby started on putting things together.  Lucky guy.

When it was all over, I didn't want to take down the decorations.....ever!

It was a great time.  Now let's have that baby!!