{personal} anacapa island part 2

East Anacapa Island in Instax.

1. Sean walking east towards the lighthouse
2. Inspiration Point
3. Service buildings with the lighthouse in the distance
4. Arch Rock
5. East Anacapa with West Anacapa in the distance


{personal} anacapa island part 1

I first read the novel San Miguel five years ago which ignited a spark in me. A spark in me that flares whenever I read tales of people in isolation, in nature, surrounded by the vast openness of the world, people who struggle and work hard and who live off the bare necessities. It's highly romanticized, but I often long for this seemingly peaceful kind of life. San Miguel tells the stories of three separate women who live on San Miguel, "a tiny, desolate, windswept island off the coast of Southern California." Though the first two women struggle to find happiness, the third blossoms amidst the peace and beauty of the island. I relished her accounts of everyday life and longed to one day visit the island which is part of a group of islands that make up Channel Islands National Park.

Last year I officially wrote down and shared my bucket list which contained, among other things, visiting the Channel Islands. So, in an attempt to start doing and stop dreaming, I quickly booked a trip to Anacapa Island (famous for its Arch Rock) and Santa Barbara for Labor Day weekend with my husband to celebrate our four year wedding anniversary. After being together for twelve years, though brief, it would become our first true vacation for just the two of us.

We departed on an early, gloomy Saturday morning, driving sixty miles west to Oxnard Harbor. We then took an hour-long, overcast ferry ride to the islets, East, West and Middle Anacapa slowly emerging from the fog. We docked at the landing cove and spent the next three hours traversing the two-mile-long trail system of East Anacapa. The sun emerged and we delighted in the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the mainland. The island was near silent, the only sounds being the wind, the waves, the seagulls and the other hikers. Though it lacks a single tree, Anacapa boasts its own stark beauty of meandering hills, scrubby bushes, a patchwork of guano, feathers, rock, and dirt, the odd flowering plant, and stunning coastal views. We visited the last permanent lighthouse built on the west coast, Cathedral Cove, Pinniped Point and Inspiration Point, named for its remarkable view of Middle and West Anacapa trailing off into the distance.

Being a photographer, I often battle between completely savoring a place, unhindered by technology, and the need to document it (I took three cameras with me, four including my iPhone). I feel I would have been better able to appreciate this experience if I hadn't been distracted by the need to capture it all. But alas... this is what photographers do.

Though we didn't actually visit San Miguel Island of the book, Anacapa Island was beautiful and I was very excited to see the Arch Rock. Being only an hour away from the nearest port, we can always visit again and see the other islands!


{personal} study in black and white

The bathroom gets the best light.


{personal} monochrome world

These are my first shots with monochrome Instax mini film. I'm really loving how they turned out!


{personal} on continuing a new hobby

It's been a little over two years now since I picked up needle and thread and started cross stitching again. I honestly didn't think it was something I would continue for very long, but here I am, stitching away! These are just a few of the creations I've completed over the past year. I'm trying hard to come up with my own original creations rather than just taking inspiration from cross stitch books and such. I'm also working on building my inventory of finished pieces so that I can start selling at craft fairs, though that seems so far away...

1. Tiny pineapples from Pinterest
2. Pluto Loves You by StellarSpaceCraft (inscribed with my godson's birth date)
3. Cute and colorful flowers by andwabisabi
4. Patterns from Japanese cross stitch patterns
5. Rainbow inspired by The Apricot Memoirs
6. Moon and stars by myself
7. Flower by Threadwork Primitives


{personal} sarasota, florida

A Virginia native, but current California transplant, Florida plays a part in my family's history. Both of my parents grew up in Ohio and, sharing a mutual disdain for the suppressing winters of the north, hightailed it to southern Florida as soon as they were married (my father had previously spent some time in Florida prior to their marriage). They only ended up staying a few years before moving north again to be a little closer to family (this time to North Carolina where the winters were a little more forgiving), but during their stay they invested in a time share condo in Sarasota, Florida.

And so they've continued to stay in the same condo during the same week in October each year since the early eighties. The resort is on a quiet stretch of Lido Key off the mainland of Sarasota, Florida. The warm water and calm waves are incomparable to any place I've experienced since (especially on the west coast). A protected state park to the east and the Gulf of Mexico stretching to the southwest, it has provided my family years of fond memories. It's where my brother and I took our first steps. It's where my parents took some of our best family videos of him, myself and our sister. It's where we spent all day outside, alternating between the beach and the pool, the pool and the beach. It's where we slowly waded out to the sandbar until the water was almost over our heads. It's where we watched thunderstorms roll in from miles away. It's where we attempted to play shuffleboard. It's where we watched the play of heat lightning in the huge Floridian clouds. It's where we collected seashells and sand dollars and built sand castles. It's where our bodies became a deep bronze and grew exhausted after long days in the sun. It's where we watched a myriad of beautiful sunsets each and every night.

We went each year for the first eight years of my life until we became too old for my parents to pull us out of school for a week each October. After that we exchanged it for a different week during the summer in different locations mostly along the east coast. Because of it we had a week of family vacation somewhere different every summer. It's easily one of the best decisions they've ever made! We went once more during the summer I was thirteen years old, but we haven't been back as a family of five since. My siblings and I are now grown and living our own lives, doing our own things, making our own plans, but my parents continue to go each year on their own. It's something they look forward to immensely. They literally start counting the days until they return as soon as their stay ends!

I was finally able to return this October for the first time in eighteen years. It was exactly as I remembered it, as if those long years of absence never happened. It was such a pleasure to see my parents and my sister, to show my husband a place that holds so much of me, and to have a truly relaxing vacation with nothing to do but swim, tan, read, eat, sleep... swim, tan, read, eat, sleep.

And so I'm determined to return each year from here on out. It's a "lifetime" deal that my parents invested in, so it will be there as long as we are willing to continue it. It's something that will be there for us and for our children, something that will always bring us together.

1. Sunrise over Siesta Key
2. Palm trees
3. Sunset our first night
4. White sand
5. A dramatic sunset (I took three versions of this - one for myself, one for my parents, and one for my sister)
6. Those clouds!
7. Clouds
8. Palm trees
9. That deep, deep blue...


{personal} hello

Hello, beautiful world.

Roses, Burbank, California, 3/29/2018


{personal} instax mini

I'm really loving my Fujifilm Instax Mini camera! It's like Polaroid but tiny (about the size of a business card). It's been so nice to have something "real" that I can hold in my hand. And the quality is so beautiful! It has that soft magical quality that I love so much about film that digital just can't capture.

1. Museum of Neon Art, Glendale, California
2. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, Van Nuys, California
3. Burbank, California
4. Burbank, California


{personal} safari inn

I love photographing this sign...

1. Holga, 120mm film
2. Holga, 120mm film
3. Instax Mini 90
4. Instax Mini 90
5. iPhone
6. iPhone