when the parents came to visit...

my parents had never been to california and trust me, they've been around the world and then some. it was thanksgiving weekend and their 44th wedding anniversary, so there was a lot of celebrating to do. their trip started in downtown los angeles. i had created an itinerary of the area for them, including where to have lunch (grand central market, of course!...which they missed, but that's another story). we then traveled to malibu for brunch, drove down the coast, past santa monica, venice beach...the whole enchilada. on that sunday after mass, we took off to joshua tree national park. my parents, who live in florida, don't have anything like it anywhere near them. i knew they would enjoy being there as much as i enjoy going. 

for thanksgiving, we drove up the pacific coast highway to see my cousin and his wife who live in daly city, right outside of san francisco. the drive was educational because my dad kept googling anything we were curious about: why is it called "camino real"? and who was van nuys?. we managed to catch the sunset crossing bixby creek bridge. i learned my mother was dramatically afraid of heights. 

san francisco is always a great getaway. we went down lombard street in my green fiat, we had the famous clam chowder soup inside a sourdough bread on the pier, and you know we had to hit up napa! i treated my parents to a wine tasting tour of the mondavi winery where we laughed a lot after the tasting. 

this isn't my first time traveling with my parents, but it was certainly the best trip we had ever taken. i'm adding some pics from my parents cell phones so that you can get their POV as well. 

girls fantastic voyage

my friend Viv loves nature like no other person i know. if you go to her instagram account @vivworld, you will see what i mean. at home, she surrounds herself with plants, fruits and vegetables that she grows with her amazing green thumbs. she makes delicious meals from her own garden and lobster that she catches herself in the keys with her hubs. so in between production gigs, she made up her mind (and a great itinerary) and invited me and her friend Venus to join her on what became the #girlsfantasticvoyage across national parks from los angeles to san francisco. on this trip, i saw snow for the first time in my entire life! we were in awe of the sights, sang "america the beautiful" and ended our trip under a full moon in the hot springs of mammoth lake. Viv's friend Danny and his dog Blu were excellent hosts while in mammoth lake. if you haven't done this trip yet, please plan it now; and if you already have, then do it again and bring more friends this time around. 

Hermosa Beach

A few weeks ago my good friends from Miami, Alex and Aida Sabina and sons, came to the West Coast and invited me to spend some time with them at the Sea Breeze Motel in Hermosa Beach. Alex's sister, her husband and daughters were also there. Aida had warned me that there would plenty to see and photograph...she just knows me! Here's a glimpse of what I saw and caught with my lens while hanging out with great friends and their amazing kids (who have given me hope for the next generation). 

http://www.seaspritemotel.com/

Photo Meet Up - Manhattan Beach Sunset

new year and new photo meet up. this time, we met at the manhattan beach pier to shoot the sunset. there is always a new set of members and what i enjoy the most is everyone's willingness to share skills. as a female photographer, i have always been hesitant to wonder into certain areas on my own with my gear. therefore, i have never been able to shoot a sunset at the beach. but this time, not only was i surrounded by a great group of people, one guy stayed back with some of us and talked us through shooting the most magnificent sunset i have ever captured. we then went to have dinner and talked a bit more about our stories because that is how new friendships are formed. i'm loving my new life in LA. 

Joshua Tree National Park - it's just 2 hours east

Joshua Tree, a road trip and I am 40. And in this car are 4 of my very good friends. Friends that you meet later in life, but that you already know you’ll be friends with for life.  And Mr. Bailey, our road trip mascot, a furry Dachshund mix with very short legs, who managed to jump around the car and eat whatever was left behind while we stopped to get some pictures. 

The soundtrack to our trip  was ideal from the moment we got on the highway. Everything from The Strokes to Journey to Rancheras. Once deep inside the park, we lost wifi signal. It was great to be able to put the phone down and get lost in the walls of rocks that surrounded us. We were like kids with our heads out the windows. 

This trip was an affirmation that my journey to this part of the country was not in vain. I would discover many beautiful sights that continually feed my photographic appetite. Can't wait until my next expedition.