Thursday, April 10, 2014

Commuter Style.

I've had backpacks on my mind for a while now. Commuting on BART daily with a purse and tote bag among other things depending on the weather just has proven to be very unpractical for me. I'm content with the Hershel backpack that I've been using, but it doesn't feel entirely right for taking to work. I love these three backpacks pictured above. I'm seeing the Everlane one everywhere now that the company has expanded in San Francisco. The center one from Moop is gorgeous, but not the same value as the Everlane. I don't plan on making any purchases anytime soon, but it doesn't hurt to play make believe once in a while, huh. 

Everlane $65  |  Moop $197   |  Fjallraven $175

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

As seen in Downtown Berkeley.

It's so refreshing to see things like this go up in Berkeley instead of graffiti. Brings a smile to my face every time I walk past it. It would be great to get some murals up downtown too. Hope everyone's having a good least a better one than I've been having! I'm under the weather.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On being more brave.

This week didn't start out so well. I woke up on Sunday morning with a throbbing sensation in my mouth and some swelling. After I realized it was on a tooth that the dentist had worked on last year I knew I was in trouble. After several panicky moments to myself, I finally gave the dentist an emergency call and got a round of antibiotics and a rush appointment for Monday morning.

Guys, dental problems scare the crap out of me. In the past I've delayed and delayed appointments out of fear, but I at least know better now. I scheduled myself for a same day root canal and am hopefully on the road to recovery now. And should you ever find yourself in the same situation guys, let me just say that swelling means it's serious! Go see a dentist, ASAP. Worse things could happen.

So my bank account is hurting a little, but at least I have my health. When things like this happen, I always seek reassurance in friends, family, and my boyfriend. Being in a long distance relationship has forced me to be a little more brave and learn how to calm myself down. I can hardly believe it's been nearly 7 months now, but I think I've come a long way from where I was before he moved away. I look back on photos I've taken the last year and it feels as if that time is so far in the past now. How quickly things change! I like to think I'm more independent now, and not so reliant upon others for my happiness. And that's how it should be right?

The takeaway here? That nagging task you've been delaying for weeks on end? That bill you haven't gotten around to paying? That *ahem* ache in your tooth that you've tried to ignore for a week? Get  shit done. Don't procrastinate. Be more brave. You'll be so much more sane in the long run and it will instantly give you a boost of sheer, unadulterated happiness.

Your DSLR's New Best Friend

So when I bought my camera back in December, I was largely concerned that I'd never learn how to use all of its settings to its full capacity.

The user manual that came with the camera was helpful, but dense. It took me a while to wad through a lot of the technobabble, so naturally when Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs appeared on the Spring 2014 list at work, I was thrilled.

You can go ahead and take everything I say with a grain of salt given what you've just read, but I can personally attest to the fact that this book is a godsend for beginning photographers. The author's got a really got knack at identifying key elements that a lot of people want in their photos. The instructions and infographics are really crystal clear to follow and truly a pleasure to read. I can't recommend this enough. It's made each venture out with my Canon really fun and engaging.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Santa Cruz Itinerary.

Brunch at Cafe Brazil | 1410 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Order the Avocado a Cavalo and share their famous Acai Bowl for dessert.

Hike at Wilder Ranch State Park | 1401 Coast Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
If it's not crowded, park on the main road outside the entrance to the park and save yourself $10. It's just a short walk to the start of the trail. Mostly level trails make for an easy hike and gorgeous ocean views.

Shopping in Downtown Santa Cruz | Pacific Avenue
Hat tip to Sunset Magazine for recommending Penny Ice Creamery. Grab a cone and walk around Pacific Avenue. There are stores like Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, but take the time to look at some of the smaller shops. If you're hungry, grab a slice of pizza at Pizza My Heart. So. Good.

Drinks at Soif Wine Bar and Merchants | 105 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
We stopped by Soif around 5 PM to enjoy some wine before our dinner reservation at 7:30 PM. They have a nice communal table and airy space for you to enjoy your wine in. Next door you can even do $5 wine wastings during their happy hour.

Dinner at Lilian's Italian Kitchen | 1116 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
We weren't terribly hungry by the time dinner rolled around. But if you want great italian food, Lilian's is your sure bet. Make a reservation ahead of time otherwise you might be looking at a two hour wait. Reservations can only be made day of starting at 11 AM so call in early. We shared the Caprese to start and shared the Sunday Gravy with meatballs as our main entree. These were all delicious. The meal was finished with tiramisu for dessert and two coffees. I think the bill came out to be something like $60 for the two of us, so it was a great value too. 

I definitely want to come back another time for a day trip. There are lots of state parks near downtown Santa Cruz that I want to check out. I'm always down for coastal hiking on a gorgeous day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Santa Cruz.

My brother came up to visit this weekend for his Spring Break, so we decided to spend Friday in Santa Cruz. Fortunately, the forecast was inaccurate once again and we were greeted with a sunshine filled day.

Seriously, who knew Santa Cruz could be this gorgeous? Just a few minutes outside of town lies Wilder Ranch State Park. While the name and the entrance can be slightly misleading, it is a several mile stretch of completely beautiful and primarily level coastal hiking along the ocean. We saw seals, one otter, and several pelicans during our hike. But most of it was spent in awe of how a beautiful hike was just a 5 minute drive away from Brasil Cafe, where we had brunch moments earlier.

This made for a really great opportunity for me to test out my new lens as well! Since purchasing my Canon Rebel T3I in December, I've been using the lens that the camera came with. After some light research, I decided to get the Canon F/ 1.8 lens that retails for about $100 on Amazon. I know a few other bloggers who use this lens and get phenomenal results. And much to my delight, the author of READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO TAKE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS recommended the same lens to me without knowing I had just purchased it! The lower F stop gets gorgeous images like the one above. It made all of the photographs I took during this trip seem totally ethereal from all the sun-drenched backgrounds.