Photo Journal of Summer 2017

at the beach
A typical (and favorite) way to spend a hot summer day!

As promised, here is a visual journey of where I’ve been all summer. It’s alot of photos, but I hope you will enjoy scrolling through them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

hummingbird on a summer day
Look closely!

Summer always starts off with birthdays – both my son’s and my husband’s. We celebrated with a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific and a seafood dinner after. I especially loved the jellyfish (although ONLY when I’m looking at them, not when I’m in the ocean myself!). I think these photos look like paintings. But pinkie swear my friends, these photos are straight off my phone – no filters added!

Moon jellyfish at Aquarium of the Pacific
Moon jellyfish at Aquarium of the Pacific
Aquarium of the Pacific

Every summer includes a weekly trip to the beach for a full day of boogie boarding. The kids and I could live at the beach if we didn’t have to do things like come home and go back to school! I never get tired of Malibu, even when the surf is high and exhausting. These photos are from the same beach, just a few different days.

Zuma Beach seagull
A rat with wings (quote from Finding Nemo, and it’s true!)
boogie boarding
Yes, that’s my son riding a wave in on the board
sunset on the beach
Our parting shot of the day before I reluctantly left
high surf
A huge wave just before the break
huge surf at Zuma beach
Very high surf on this day – sometimes the surf changes throughout the day, but it never did. We got there around noon and at 8 pm, the surf was still huge
paradise cove
Sunset on a high surf day. This photo was taken at a beachfront restaurant and it is so misty because of the water in the air from such high waves crashing in
paradise cove
Same restaurant beach – different view
Malibu
View of Malibu from just before we drove through the canyon. I always love to look at Malibu from high up on the mountain before we drive back through the canyon.

Summer in LA did not have a very peaceful end however. As you probably already saw on the news, we had the largest wildfires in our history, and they were all the way in Burbank. These photos are of what I could see from my street. Thankfully, we have amazing firefighters, and there was minimal loss. To give you an idea of how fast fires start and spread, I am sharing my photos in order from when we all first knew there was a problem in the middle of the afternoon on the first day to what it looked like by that night. It was very frightening to realize how fast a fire can erupt and take over a mountain.

Los Angeles 2017 wildfire
First signs of a fire problem – taken around 5 p.m.
sunset
Sun going down – photo taken around 7 or 7:30 p.m. – you can already see how much smoke and ash is in the air

Burbank Wildfire 2017
The mountains in Burbank on fire – photos taken from my street at around 10 or 11 p.m.

I am amazed at how the entire mountain range where I live appeared to be on fire, and how they were able to contain it and put it out in less than a week. The good news is that once an area burns, it will be a very long time before it catches fire again.

Now that you have seen what was going on the week before my birthday, you can imagine how refreshing and lovely it was to go away to celebrate my birthday. We stayed at a CA Certified Organic Farm and spent most of our week hiking in the Sierra Mountains and in Sequoia National Park. I would try to describe how beautiful the Giant Forest is and how amazing those ancient redwoods are, but as they say, pictures are worth 1000 words. Enjoy!

Three Rivers
View from the farm
Farm donkey
One of the donkeys on the farm trying to get an apple from me. I loved the donkeys! 🙂
Sierra Nevadas
Driving through the majestic Sierra Nevadas – look WAAAYYY down there and you will see the road. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how far up into the mountains we were driving.
Sequoia forest
Celebrating my 40th birthday. 🙂
sequoia forest
Sequoias are so huge it is difficult to get the whole tree in the photo!
Giant Forest
My husband and kids walking through the Giant Forest

giant redwood
A giant redwood
sequoia grove
Even if you’ve never seen a sequoia before, when you enter the forest, it is obvious which trees are the sequoias

While we were up in Sequoia Park, we also took a tour through Crystal Cave. If you ever go, I will just tell you that yes, this is worth the trip, and the LONG hike down!

Sequoia National Park
Rugged terrain on our way to Crystal Cave
Crystal Cave
Inside Crystal Cave – and yes my friends, this photo is exactly what we saw. I don’t use filters on my photos, but this looks like I did! Some things in life are amazing all on their own! 🙂
Crystal Cave
A tunnel in the cave with water running through it. Curious minds would love to know where it goes…but Elizabeth is not the sort to leave a group in a dark cave to go find out…
Russian nesting dolls
Nesting Dolls straight out of Russia. This photo was taken at a local shop in Three Rivers. I have never seen such a huge collection of nesting dolls. She even had dolls that were stamped with the factory and year they were made in the USSR.

I hope you enjoyed this LONG post of photos. I always enjoy reading photo journal sorts of posts and thought it would be a fun way to document the last few months instead of writing. I hope you all had a good summer too and are enjoying the early fall.

The Perfect Weekend

It’s always lovely when a fun holiday falls on a long weekend (the kids have the day off school because of President’s Day) and the weather happens to be perfection. I had a very stressful week last week, complete with getting stuck in a pitch-black subway tunnel – a first for me, despite the fact I’ve ridden the metro in at least four cities! To say the least, by Friday, I was in a very frazzled state of mind.

The kids had Valentine’s parties at school Friday morning and were dismissed at noon, so I started the weekend off by taking them to the beach for the rest of the day. I went to a party at the yarn shop on Saturday, enjoyed family time at home, and went out with friends whom I like to think of as my sisters from another mother. We are heading back to the beach today, and I can honestly say that when we wake up tomorrow morning to head back to work and school, we will be doing it with smiles on our faces after the best weekend we could have asked for. I hope all of you had an equally lovely weekend, and that you enjoy browsing the photos from mine.

The perfect song – for any time, in my opinion! Even more perfect, riding around with your best friends singing it!

My son taking a breather after all his boarding.
My son taking a breather after all his boarding. Forget Disneyland! Malibu is our happiest place on earth.
Look closely! That spout you see is a whale. Sadly, I was not able to capture the whale coming out of the water! It is a rare treat to be able to stand on shore and see whales.
Look closely! That spout you see is a whale. Sadly, I was not able to capture the whale coming out of the water! It is a rare treat to be able to stand on shore and see whales.
A Valentine's gift for the kids - these garden cookies are supposed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
A Valentine’s gift for the kids – these garden cookies are supposed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
One of our cuddle cats - you can see why my daughter named her Bonita (for my non-Spanish speakers, that's Pretty).
One of our cuddle cats – you can see why my daughter named her Bonita (for my non-Spanish speakers, that’s Pretty).

Fiesta Week

Every year at the beginning of September, we have a week of celebration. My birthday and our wedding anniversary is in the same week, and we have a week of randomly eating cake and celebrating life. Here, a few photos I hope you all will enjoy as much as I did being there to take them!

My constant source of inspiration and place to clear my head - and my allergies when needed - THE OCEAN.
My constant source of inspiration and place to clear my head – and my allergies when needed – THE OCEAN.
Another photo of our favorite place in the world taken a few weeks ago during the high surf. I wish my photography skills could do its beauty justice!
Another photo of our favorite place in the world taken a few weeks ago during the high surf. I wish my photography skills could do its beauty justice!
Is there anything better than seafood with an ocean view? I think not!
Is there anything better than seafood with an ocean view? I think not!
Homemade. Well, the guacamole is anyway. :) LA has been having temps over 100 degrees, and nice cold beer and homemade guacamole is a perfect way to celebrate.
Homemade. Well, the guacamole is anyway. 🙂 LA has been having temps over 100 degrees, and nice cold beer and homemade guacamole is a perfect way to celebrate.
I haven't figured out yet which is more inspiring - the ocean or flowers. My husband gave me these for my birthday, and I would love to have some yarn dyed based on the colors in this bouquet!
I haven’t figured out yet which is more inspiring – the ocean or flowers. My husband gave me these for my birthday, and I would love to have some yarn dyed based on the colors in this bouquet!