Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top Ten for 2011

Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission

Sunset at the Cayucos Pier

I'm gonna eat you!

Daddy's Truck, 1968 Ford F150

Horses on the Beach, Morro Bay, CA

The Old Truck at Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards

San Diego County Fair at Del Mar

Tattoo Town Exhibit at the Museum of Photographic Art, Balboa Park, San Diego

Sunrise in the Vineyards - Red Soles Winery, Paso Robles, CA

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

The Last Sunset of 2011 - Morro Bay, CA
As the sun sets on 2011 I'd like to take a moment to wish you a happy and prosperous new year. 2011 has been full of ups and downs, but overall it has been good. I have an awesome family, I have fantastic friends, I have a roof over my head, and food on the table. Life is good.

Happy New Year!
Buon Anno!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Buon Natale - Merry Christmas!

I hope your Christmas is filled with joy and love.
Merry Christmas - Buon Natale!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas Eve!

Mom's Collection of Glass Christmas Trees
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I am blessed to be surrounded by family.  Although my hubbie's absence is never far from my mind and heart my parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts & uncles are doing a great job of keeping me entertained.  Cheers to you all! I'm off to help my mom in the kitchen.  :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

San Diego at Night

San Diego - from the Coronado Ferry Landing
Last night I joined friends to watch the Parade of Lights on San Diego bay. While we were waiting for the parade to start I took a few shots of the GORGEOUS San Diego skyline.  What a view! I love how the Midway and several of the Skyscrapers are dolled up for the holidays!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Send a little holiday cheer!

A couple of days ago I added two new products to my Etsy Shop - Artist-signed Original Artwork Holiday Cards! Choose from a classic Holly Berry design:

Holly Berry Note Cards

OR a fun, Quirky Santa design!

Quirky Santa Note Cards

Both designs feature an original 4x6 photograph and artist signature on high quality card stock and include a coordinating envelope. Cards are available in sets of four for $15. For more information or to purchase a set visit

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fair Winds and Following Seas

USS Sterett
These last few weeks have passed in a blur.  With the exception of blogging Thirty Days of Thanksgiving the business of photography has largely been ignored as Les and I prepared for his deployment. The weeks leading up to his departure were fun, busy and extremely emotional.  Yesterday, amidst hugs, kisses and a few tears we said our goodbyes and I watched his ship pull away from the pier. Although I miss him terribly I am so proud of him!

For other military families out there here are a few of my observations about preparing for deployment:

  • An impending separation forces priorities into place - Les and I focused on letting the little things go and enjoying our time together.  We had a fabulous time!
  • Plan ahead - We had list upon list of things to do before he left and we steadily marked everything off.  It was a wonderful feeling to be prepared and to just relax the night before he left.
  • Live in the moment - It was easy for me to think ahead and get emotionally overwhelmed knowing that we would soon be saying goodbye. However, I constantly reminded myself to be present and focus on the "now" and enjoy it! Deployment would happen, but there was no sense fretting about it weeks (or days or hours) before at the expense of enjoying the time we had together.
My Sailor
I pray that my sailor has a safe journey and returns to me soon!

For more photos of the USS Sterett's departure please visit my Facebook page at

If you'd like to know more about the USS Sterett here are a couple of links to recent news stories:
USS Sterett Departs San Diego, Heads to Middle Ease - Video
USS Sterett Deploys to Western Pacific

About the title of this post:
The origin of the quote "Fair Winds and Following Seas" is unknown. It is often said to have been lifted from a poem, phrase, or literary work, but to the best of this researcher's knowledge, it wasn't. Over the last century at least, the two quotes "Fair Winds" and "Following Seas" have evolved, by usage, into a single phrase which is often used as a nautical blessing.
"Fair Winds": The Dictionary of American Regional English defines "Fair Wind" as "safe journey; good fortune." An early example of the phrase's use is in Herman Melville's Moby Dick,published in 1851, where it says near the end "Let me square the yards, while we may, old man, and make a fair wind of it homeward." In other words, let me square the yards (add on all sail) and make a safe journey home.
"Following Seas": Defined by Bowditch's American Practical Navigator as "A sea in which the waves move in the general direction of the heading." It further defines "Tide" as "the periodic rise and fall of the water resulting from gravitational interactions between the sun, moon, and earth. . . . the accompanying horizontal movement of the water is part of the same phenomenon." In simple terms: the movement of the water, the waves, and the surface, correspond with the movement of the tide.
"Fair Winds and Following Seas" is really two quotes originating from different sources. The two quotes are a nautical phrase of good luck--a blessing as it were--as the person, group, or thing it is said to departs on a voyage in life. It is often used at a "beginning" ceremony such as a commissioning ceremony of a ship or people, as well as in retirement, change of command, or farewell ceremonies. (Naval Historical Center)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 30

I've made it to the finish line! Blogging each day for a month is harder than it sounds, but each year it seems to get a bit easier.  This was my third year participating with NaBloPoMo and my personal challenge of Thirty Days of Thanksgiving.

Fish Eye Fun (taken with my iPhone using the Olloclip Fish Eye Lens)
Today I am thankful for:

  • The practice of counting my blessings
  • A cozy house on a blustery night
  • A glass of vino - Cheers!

It is easy to get bogged down with the challenges of daily life, but blogging daily about the good stuff, big and small, keeps me focused on how good lif is. I hope that, as a reader, this series has inspired you to take stock of the goodness around you and focus your attention there, if even for a short time. We are truly blessed and have much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 29

My Fuzzy Buddy
Today I am thankful for:

  • Pumpkin - my fuzzy shadow and faithful companion
  • A new photography client
  • A priority adjustment - with Les' impending deployment we've been forced to focus on what really matters and make the most of the time we have together. While I am unhappy about the looming separation I love that we have pulled together and are making every moment count.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 28

Blogger FINALLY released an iPhone app! I thought I'd give it a go and see how it works today since my laptop is in the middle of having its hard drive upgraded.

Today I am thankful for:
-My bicycle
-Time with my hubbie at a favorite coffee house & a short bike ride together
-Dinner with my awesome auntie
-A hubbie with technical proficiency - who is right upgrading my computer as I type away on my iPhone

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 27

Shapes + Reflections = Photography Fun!

Today I am thankful for:

  • A bike ride with my hubbie and a destination that included a cappuccino
  • Christmas lights decorating our front porch
  • My NEW food processor and the AMAZING pistachio pesto that it helped me make tonight

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 26

Pure Happiness! (A shop window in the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego)

Today I am thankful for:

  • A yummy breakfast with my parents
  • My parents' safe drive home
  • Nap time on my comfy sofa
  • Christmas decorations
  • Dinner with my hubbie on the ship

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 25

After almost five and a half years of blogging I have finally reached my 500th post! Thank you all for following and continuing to follow my journey. I can't wait to see what I find through my explorations and have to share with you in the next 500 posts!

Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

Today I am thankful for:

  • My awesome parents - I am truly blessed to have parents who are also my friends
  • My hubbie having the day off from work
  • The best Black Friday:
    • Yummy breakfast made by my made daddy
    • Shopping my favorite camera and art stores
    • Cappuccino and gelato in Little Italy
    • A drive out to Julian for lunch and apple pie with cinnamon ice cream
    • Time to take a few pictures (I haven't had a chance to upload them yet, but expect to see a few in the next couple of days)
    • Amazing turkey tacos (prepared by my mom and dad) for dinner

It doesn't get much better than this!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 24

Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

Today I am thankful for:

  • Family
  • Good food
  • A couple of days to spend with my parents

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 23

Urban Garden - Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

Today I am thankful for:

  • A house that smells like Pumpkin Pie
  • A fantastic afternoon with my daddy
  • A comfy bed to go crawl in to

Good night world!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 22

Plaza Hotel, Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Today I am thankful for:

  • Naps
  • Homemade Apple-Pear-Cranberry Crisp (I modified the recipe just a bit to include the apples)
  • My parents' safe drive to Southern California

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 21

Reflecting - Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego

Today I am thankful for:

  • A productive day
  • My hubbie making dinner AND cleaning the kitchen
  • An evening with two of my favorite kiddos

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 20

Beauty Abandoned - Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego
Today I am thankful for:

  • Catching up with a good friend over coffee
  • AppleCare protection on my iPhone
  • Dinner with my hubbie on his ship
  • Rain

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 19

Today Les and I got out to shoot some pictures. We spent a couple of hours wandering around downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, exploring and capturing a bit of our awesome city.

With my camera in hand I tend to see more than I do when I'm simply running errands or out for a shopping trip. I noticed little things - colors, shapes, historic details...some of my favorite photographic subjects. Over the next few days I will be sharing a few of my favorites from my downtown exploration. I hope you enjoy them!

Today I am thankful for:

  • Time to make photographs
  • Time with my hubbie, doing something I love and sharing it with him
  • The release of Topaz Adjust 5 (a free upgrade if you have Topaz Adjust 4!!) - one of my favorite tools in the digital darkroom
  • New pictures to "play" with

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 18

The Owl Pendant on the necklace that Les gave me for our anniversary

Today I am thankful for:

  • The time my hubbie and I had to spend together while he was on leave
  • Date night - I'm savoring these because there won't be many more before my hubbie deploys
  • Crossing a few more items off of the pre-deployment checklist. I strongly dislike the countdown, but I'm thankful to know that we are going to be as prepared as possible.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 17

Sunset Surfer 2 - Morro Bay Strand

Today I am thankful for:

  • The release of the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau
  • A new keychain, the Wisdom Owl Charm by Brighton - I've wanted it for months! When I first saw it I didn't have the money for it and when I went back to buy it as a birthday present for myself it had sold out. I lucked out and found it back in stock today!
  • "Jewels" from a Pomegranate - eating a Pomegranate is like a treasure hunt!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 16

Anniversary Rose
Today I am thankful for:

  • Eight years of marriage to a great guy!
  • A nice relaxing anniversary
  • A massage
  • A fabulous dinner at Island Prime
  • Two very thoughtful gifts from my hubbie (even though we had agreed no gifts) :-D A cute little necklace with an owl pendant and a "just because" gift that happened to arrive today - an Olloclip len for my iPhone - crazy cool! (The rose photos above were taken with the macro lens attached to my iPhone!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 15

Sunset Surfer on the Morro Bay Strand

Today I am thankful for:

  • Making it halfway through the month, blogging daily! Its not a easy as it sounds...
  • A yummy dinner with a very fun guest - one of my lovely aunties!
  • A relaxing end to a very busy day

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - Day 14

Wine & Olive Oil - A year ago in Sicily

Today I am thankful for:

  • A good start to Anniversary Week - a flower from my sweet hubbie who noticed I needed a pick-me-up
  • An (almost) clean house, at least the laundry is done...for today
  • A tasty glass of French wine to sip while I unwind