Maya Rose Turns One ~ Event Photography ~ Walnut Creek, California

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||Styling & Event Coordination by:  Simply By Bethaina||

http://simplybybethaina.com/wedding-event-planning/

||Vintage Rentals by:  Trunks and Tales||

http://www.trunksandtales.co

||Cake by:  Just Bake Cause||

http://justbakecause.com

||Florals by:  Flower Girl Em||

https://www.facebook.com/Flower-Girl-Em-926438277468570/

||Venue:  The Gardens at Heather Farm||

https://gardenshf.org

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Travel Series: Budgeting Part 1

I often get questions about our travels.  If you haven’t followed me on Instagram (@pixelpagesphotography) you may not know we are big travelers.  We have a passion for exploring new places and adventuring.  National parks, our annual road trip to Washington, camping, a tropical oasis, a visit to the family cabin, it all gives us stars in our eyes.

Probably the most common question is “How do you afford/budget travel?”  To people on the outside it seems like we are constantly visiting some place, and I get it.  It can really add up if you don’t budget, save, and plan accordingly.  To answer this question requires a somewhat lengthy response because it is made up of multiple components.

For big trips we typically plan at least a year in advance.  We are definitely not spontaneous travelers.  My husband and I actually find enjoyment in the whole planning process and have too many “adult responsibilities” to just take off a moment’s notice.  Other reasons for advance planning is securing the dates you want at a popular destination (Yellowstone and Yosemite will start booking up a year in advance, same for my favorite hotel chain in Oregon, and other popular national parks and cities), my husband’s job, and getting the best rates.  Here in California many of the most popular campsites will book within minutes of being released.  That age old mantra “fail to plan, plan to fail” can be pretty accurate for travel.

Once our plan is in place we then have an idea of how much we will need for our adventure.  This includes the cost of getting there, lodging, food, excursions, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous items.  Our tax return is a big part of our travel budget.  To supplement it my husband will work some overtime and I will use a chunk of my income.  Sometimes I will have a garage sale or sell things on a Facebook group just so I have an envelope of cash.  Why donate it if you can sell it?

I am passionate about road trips.  My husband, welllllll, not so much.  When we first started dating he told me he would hop on a plane and meet me in Yellowstone.  Now he tows a trailer there.  So I will take what I can get and chalk that up to a win.  Road trips require a lot of lodging.  We do not stay five star, but we want clean (definitely no ick factor!), located in safe area, and nicer than a Motel 6.  To be blunt, I don’t want to be afraid of getting an STD while sleeping in a hotel bed or having my car broken into.  That being said, I also love to stay places that are a little different or as I call them, “quirky”.  Often times these locations are cheaper, but have more to offer in the scenery department.  We have stayed in a treehouse, a few yurts, a rustic homesteader’s cabin, a KOA cabin, and a teepee on an Indian reservation.  But these will also typically require you to bring your own bedding and are absolutely more rustic.  But listening to the distant sound of the fog horn along the Oregon coastline, waking up to a mossy forest bathed in dew, and watching cobalt waves gently lap the lakeshore, well those are moments that you will never get at a big chain hotel.  Road trips aside some of our travels require an airplane and more luxurious accommodations.  I am have a phobia of flying so direct flight (a good drugs) is a must.  The moment the destination and dates are set my husband is researching airfares.  He has found some awesome fares by booking early.

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http://nfhostel.com

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http://www.blackfeetculturecamp.com

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http://koa.com/campgrounds/crescent-city/

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http://treehouses.com/joomla/index.php/treesort

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http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=reserve.dsp_cabinsyurts

 

Although we are big foodies we will usually provide our own snacks and some meals (breakfast and/or lunch) while traveling.  This will save you a decent amount of dough.  If you are road tripping stopping by a store is not a problem.  If you are traveling by plane it can be a bit more challenging.  In Hawaii we rent a car and will make a stop at the grocery store.  In Disneyland I discovered Kroger’s will deliver to your hotel if you shop online.  In Washington D.C. we shopped online at Safeway and had our groceries delivered to the hotel.  It was a bit of a hassle with the delivery so I would definitely check with the grocer and the hotel on whether they can accept the delivery on your behalf.  Our friends took an Uber to the closest grocery store and did some shopping rather than deal with delivery. But this is really a money saver when traveling with kids.  Food can quickly eat up your budget.  I will usually bring our own coffee maker and coffee.  This isn’t only monetary though.  My husband and I like our coffee really strong.  Like, really strong.  Hotel coffee just doesn’t cut it.  So we bought a small coffee maker that travels with us.  It has seen as many states as we have!

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Souvenirs, the dreaded souvenirs…My kids would rapidly drain our travel fund with crap souvenirs if we let them.  Four years ago during our camping trip to Crater Lake National Park we decided that we would buy the kids t-shirts as souvenirs.  If they wanted something else it was up to them to purchase it.  We got sick of them wanting what amounted to useless junk that either fell apart or sat in the corner collecting nothing but dust.  Months before our trip they have the option of earning money by doing chores.  This money may be used to buy whatever they want during our travels.

Hopefully this answers some travel related questions.  I will be addressing more questions in future posts, but in the meantime, if you have any just email me at:  pixelpagesphotography@gmail.com.  May the following images inspire you to get out there and see the world.  Take some time to wander, adventure, and create a lifetime of memories.

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Long Time No Post

This poor little website, it has not seen a lot of love in quite a while.  Admittedly it has been a combination of not making it a priority, the busyness of life, and really, not being a fan of the WordPress platform.  But in two years a lot can change:  life, my business, even Wordpress.  So now it is time to make this blog a priority again.

So much has happened in the two years since I last posted (I can’t believe I just said two years…wincing at that number right now…)  Right before my last post we had just lost my brother in law.  He was killed in the line of duty.  I had hoped to open up about that but it was just too raw, too new, and too personal.  No doubt that is definitely part of the reason I initially stayed away for so long.  In the time since we have learned how to heal, we have moved two times (both right before Christmas which I do not recommend),  traveled to new places in an attempt to satiate my constant wanderlust, created so many sweet and tender memories, adopted a new dog that happens to be a carbon copy of our son (crazy full of energy), said goodbye to another as he took his journey over the rainbow bridge, and really, just surrounded ourselves with good people and good times.  There has been so much personal growth for all of us, but it has given me a sense of fulfillment to watch my work evolve and improve.

It is my hope that this blog becomes a place that I not only share my work, but also personal stories, travel adventures, and the growth of our littles who happen to not be so little anymore.

 

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Getting Personal

For quite some time I have been wondering how to approach this whole blogging thing.  My conundrum is that you, all of my clients, graciously let me into your lives.  You share special moments with, tell me all these details and charming stories of your lives.  I feel like I should be giving something in return, details of my life.  It seems only fair that you should get to put me under the microscope as well.  But where do I do that?  Do I create a personal blog to include these snippets of our life, or do I post them on my professional site here at the Pixel Pages Photography webpage?  Then, to make things more interesting there is this whole thing called “a brand”.  Do these details and daily musings really fit in with all of this?  I mean, how confusing can we make this whole process?!  Oh!  And don’t forget social media.  It is enough to make anyone’s head spin; and since I already over-analyze ev.ry.thing. it feels as if my head is on a constant whirling dervish in my attempts to figure it all out.

Here’s what I feel is the best solution for me, my life as it stands right now, and my business:  I will be blogging about business and professional life right here on the Pixel Pages Photography blogsite.  One less place for you go, and one less place for me to maintain.  But the type of personal content I post will fit into who I am as a person (mom, business owner, wife, co-parent, photographer), the people, places, and things that inspire me, and the beauty of everyday life.

We have had a lot go on this past month that has changed not just me, but my entire family.  As a result I am throwing the book out the window and doing what I feel is right for my business, my clients, my family, and me on this blogsite.  I hope you all enjoy the changes!

 

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Mike & Dallas ~ Wedding Portraits ~ Lake Tahoe, California Photographer

True  (tro͞o)  a: steadfast, loyal   b: honest, just

There was a place I used to go as a kid.  It was a tiny town nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas.  This part of the Sierras holds such magical memories for me.  All those summers of running around chasing my imagination, swimming in the Feather River, getting a frosty in Graeagle, and dinners at the lodge or Mount Tomba.   The countless winters of sledding and snow mobiling up the Yuba Pass, the sound of the wind blowing in the trees, the crunch of the snow beneath my boots.  Yes, those were the days…  The freedom, the joy, the outdoors.  This place holds a magical place in my heart because it was all those things a kid should do in their childhood.

Imagine how my heart leapt out of my chest when Dallas and Mike asked me to photograph their wedding in this same region!  I was just plain giddy.  The two of them were tying the knot an intimate wedding at a horse ranch in Quincy.  I may or may not have jumped out of my chair and done a happy dance when I received her email.  Would I be available to travel to Quincy?  Photograph their wedding?  Hang out with horses?  Yes, yes, and yes!!!!  It was not only the location that made me so excited for this wedding, it was also the couple.  We first met during their engagement session.  Mike and Dallas brought along their dogs, River and Lily.  They warned me they were nervous and were feeling awkward about posing in front of the camera.  The funny thing was this ended up being one of my favorite sessions.  Not only did their love for one another and senses of humor sweep me off my feet, but we just had a great time.  They were just so easy to be around, the kind of people where what you see is what you get.  It was this ease and their love for one another that made their images some of my favorite and most genuine.  I was honored to spend a weekend with them during such an intimate time in their lives.

I arrived on Friday to photograph the rehearsal dinner.  A real cowboy cookout, complete with a huge iron triangle they rang when dinner was ready.  Mike, Dallas, and their families welcomed me into their fold with open arms.  The evening was filled with laughter, good food, and multiple rounds of pool and ping pong.  Watching Dallas’ parents battle one another in ping pong left me in stitches.

On Saturday there was so much calm.  I observed as Dallas and Mike went over their vows with her dad’s close friend who was ordained for their wedding.  River and Lily lounged on the patio of their cabin.  Friends and family fished in the pond.  The guys played their favorite board game while the girls did hair and makeup.  Everyone just calmly went about their day.

The ceremony was lovely, even I grew misty eyed.  Something about their love was so genuine and true.  Like all of the guests, I was ecstatic to these two lovebirds make the commitment of marriage.  The way they looked at one another, the way Mike wiped away Dallas’ tears, and the way their fingers were tightly interlocked through the whole ceremony.  It is in these little details that you can see the truth in their love.  Then, to add to the excitement of the wedding, as soon as Mike and Dallas kissed a team of horses was released in the background.  Absolute magic!

Mike and Dallas, as clichéd as it sounds I wish you a lifetime of happiness.  The love you share with each other and your families is just magical.  This is such a vital component to the foundation of your marriage.  I cannot wait to see what life has in store for you, from your passion for all things Star Wars, to your two fur babies, to your fabulously themed parties I know there will be many joyous times and much laughter.  I totally want you two to get married all over again so I can photograph your wedding once more.  Much love to you both!

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