Avery James Photography

Avery James Photography

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lindsey and Nick's 5th Wedding Anniversary Pics

What a fun morning I had today!  I met up with Lindsey and Nick who recently celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary.  Lindsey's gift to Nick was a photoshoot with little 'ol me!  I felt really special. :) :)

They decided that they wanted to do the shoot in downtown El Segundo.  I know Lindsey is a huge fan of this city in general...it has the cutest main street and it's like you're in a little Mayberry in the middle of a big 'ol city.  Nick's also got ties here as the company he owns and runs, Clear Media, has their office down the street from the main drag.  We were sure to walk over there and take some pics in front of his building as well. :)

I had such a fun time because we just strolled down the street and stopped and took pictures in several spots along the way.  It was like a walking photo tour with two awesome models to go along with it. :)

We got lots of cute pics today, but I just wanted to share a few with you for right now.  I'll definitely be posting more soon! :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 2011 San Francisco vacation - Part 7 (Golden Gate Park...and lots of ducks)

Previous San Francisco vacation posts

Day 2: Monday, April 11, 2011 (continued)

After we exited the Japanese Tea Gardens, we headed back out to explore the rest of Golden Gate Park.  I had a whole to-do list of things to see there, and was really looking forward to this part of my trip.  I had been Facebooking throughout my journey and a friend suggested I check out the little lake area that was nearby...so that was the direction we headed.  

As we walked for quite awhile, I realized that I hadn't seen any shuttle buses go by the entire time we'd been there...that was what I was relying on to get me around the park.  I had read online that it was $2 for an all-day pass and it takes you to all the major attractions in the park.  I started to worry so I looked the info up on my phone again and saw that the shuttle only ran on weekends!  I was sooooooo bummed.  The park was way too huge to walk it, especially for a 5 year old.  Looks like I was just out of luck and gonna have to save the majority of the park for another trip. :(

We  did find the little lake at least and explored that area.  We kinda did the area in fast forward though cause all we had for breakfast was a banana at that point and it was getting on lunch time already....tummies were starting to grumble and my body doesn't cope well when it's hungry...so I knew our time was limited unfortunately.

The lake was really neat though - you could walk around the lake (which was pretty big) and in a couple of spots there were bridges that you could cross to walk on the little island.  There was also a paddle boat rental place and so you could see all the people paddling around the lake.

We even got to see little critters like this one :)

Then when you get on the island you can follow these trails that go to the top of the hill (a great exercise trail!  If I lived here this would be a great place to go get a good workout!).  When you get to the top, you're rewarded with a gorgeous view.  You can even see the Golden Gate Bridge off in the distance to the right!

And here's some writing that was on the little Chinese building that you could see across the lake in the other picture towards the top of this post.  Anyone know what it says??

That was about all I could handle...needed food at that point.  So we headed back towards the main road, stopped at a playground for a couple of minutes, then caught a bus towards Fisherman's Wharf.  More from there in my next post! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 2011 San Francisco vacation - Part 6 (Golden Gate Park - Japanese Tea Garden)

Previous San Francisco vacation posts

Day 2: Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday morning we [tried to] wake up bright and early to catch the bus down to Golden Gate Park so that we could get in to the Japanese Tea Garden before 10:00am (free admission M, W, F before 10:00am I believe).  Well...we tried, but missed our bus.  So we had to catch another bus (again with that great transportation system, there was another bus not too long afterwards).  We cut it pretty darn close, but made it there about 10 minutes to 10:00am.  Gates were wide open and we just walked on in. :)

What an amazing place....soooo gorgeous.  It doesn't quite compare to the Japanese Gardens at the Huntington Library that I recently visited, but it was pretty darn beautiful on all its own.  Awesome photo opps everywhere for sure!

This bridge here you could actually climb up and over it...like a ladder almost.  Really cute. :)

More from Golden Gate Park in my next post! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 2011 San Francisco vacation - Part 5 (Japantown)

Previous San Francisco vacation posts

Day 1: Sunday, April 10, 2011 (continued)
This is the last post of Day 1!  2 more days of blogging to go! :)  I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself for getting this far....I'm known to start projects and then get sidetracked a couple of days into it and then forget about it.....but so far I'm on track and really enjoying having all these posts and pictures laid out for my future memories.  And hopefully those out there in the internet-world can also get some fun ideas for things to do while visiting San Francisco at the same time!  If not, hopefully you're at least enjoying the photos. :)

Moving on - after we hit Chinatown, we hopped on a bus that took us back to the beginning of the street, and then walked back over to our hotel in hopes we might be able to check in....we were still had about an hour till check-in time, but sometimes you can get lucky.....unfortunately that wasn't this time.

So we sat in the lobby and I decided we'd just hang out there for an hour and relax from all the walking we had done already...so I picked up the concierge book and started looking through all the different things to do around San Francisco...lo and behold one of the first few pages was about Japantown's Cherry Blossom festival.

There's a few different days and events for the festival, but the street fair just happened to be this very day!  And we still had a couple of hours before it was over.  So even though we had just sat down and rested our exhausted feet, how could I resist checking out Japantown and its festival???  My mother is full Japanese and so I'm always interested in seeing and participating anything to do with the Japanese culture.  I'm 100% Americanized, as is the majority of my family, but I still love to learn about my culture. :)

So we got back up 5 minutes after sitting down to go catch the next bus heading to Japantown.  It was about a 15 minute bus ride (have I mentioned how AWESOME the public transportation system is there???  Sooo easy to catch a bus down there).
We were greeted by Japanese architecture, signs, and statues....and lots of people.  Not as many tourist looking people here though, more of a local vibe, probably because it's pretty far from all the typical tourist spots in town (as far as I could tell at least, but I could be completely off.....??).

We wandered around the booths sampling cold teas from different vendors that were there.  We watched a performance for a little bit of Japanese dancers next to that awesome looking building in the first pic up there.  Then we stopped in one of the stores that looked bustling with activity.  Pretty neat - it was basically one big store that had lots of different vendor booths set up in it...all small, handmade style booths.  Upstairs were a couple of clothing boutiques, one of which had some different, but extremely pretty outfits....pictures weren't allowed in there unfortunately, but it was called Baby, The Stars Shine Bright...check out their website and outfits....it's all in Japanese but they have stuff that looks straight out of that one Gwen Stefani music video...really cute, but I have no idea where you'd wear it to....??

We went up one more level in the store and there was an art gallery there...this was the sign on the door:

I was immediately intrigued because I'm half Japanese and half Irish/German....I've always heard those like us referred to as "Hapa"...never Hafu...but I definitely wanted to check it out.  It was basically a project that someone had done where they interviewed various Hafu people around the world to find out how their being half Japanese has affected their lives when it comes to culture and "fitting in".  It was all so interesting to read as I can relate somewhat, but none of the subjects were raised in the U.S. and so their experiences were still very different from mine.  Here in Southern California I pretty much just fit in for the most part.  I've never really felt like I belonged to any specific "group" though...in high school you had the "Asian crowd" and I didn't fit in with them...but I really didn't meld with any group, I had a best friend and we stuck to ourselves most of the time....either way, I'm proud of my culture and family, and I kinda like being different. :)

After checking out the gallery and signing the guest book, we headed back out to the street and walked the rest of the way down.  They had a band playing...

And they had this cute little Sanrio area set up where you could buy tickets and play little games and make different crafts all related to the Sanrio characters.  They were all really adorable things, but a bit too girlie for my 5 year old boy. :)

After checking everything out we headed back to the food area where I was trying to figure out what I wanted to try...I was debating between a teriyaki burger and fried mochi.  I saw the sign for fried mochi and was immediately excited, although I have never had it from a booth like this....based on the lady's description, it sounded just like what my grandmother used to make for me when I was a little girl.  It's basically fried mochi with a sweet soy sauce over it.

Caydan wasn't interested in a burger, so I decided to go with the mochi.  What I hadn't realized is that they sprinkled seaweed over it...common sense would have told me that's what the green specks were, but I kept thinking it was some sort of seasoning powder or something, lol.  I hate seaweed.....but oh well, too late now, and I wasn't about to waste my $5...so I ate them up.  Caydan tried it and loved them too which made me sooooo happy. :)  The seaweed taste wasn't too overpowering...and they tasted EXACTLY like what my grandmother used to make for me!  I was so excited!!  She made them a little differently (the sweet soy sauce was just soy sauce and sugar mixed together, and she would cook the mochi in the oven or microwave....I liked it the way the booth made it better though, it was softer while my grandmother's was crunchier on the outside), but it was such a nostalgic taste to me.  Such a great way to end my trip to Japantown.

After Japantown we jumped on the bus back to the hotel, finally checked in.  Re-energized for a bit.  Went down to the mall to get something for dinner but couldn't find anything I wanted.  Ended up at a Denny's behind the mall which I do NOT recommend....food wasn't great, way overpriced, service was horrible, area was a little creepy at night.  But I was hungry at that point and just wanted food.  Oh well.  Finished eating then headed back to the hotel.  Got Yahtzee from the front desk, played that with Caydan, watched tv, then went to sleep to get up early the next morning to head to the Golden Gate Park.

Great Day 1!  More to come!! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mason and Jackson

You may remember this adorable baby from his newborn shoot here: Baby Mason 
His parents signed up for the Baby's First Year Package and so today was his 3 month photo session!  It never ceases to amaze me at how fast babies grow their first year...such an amazing process. :)
In addition to little Mason's photos, we also took a few pictures of his big brother, Jackson, to celebrate his 2nd birthday!  What handsome little men these parents have. :)

Here's a little sneak peek at their session today. :)