Wanderlust on a Budget

About time I get back to some blogging - maybe I can keep semi-consistent this time. 

Coming back home after traveling abroad for those 18 months was definitely an adjustment. We kept plenty busy with visiting friends and family, and eating all the Mexican food we could, but there was definitely something different when we got back. As wonderful as it was, the lack of simply driving somewhere beautiful every weekend like we did in New Zealand was starting to get the best of me. But with a limited income, and a travel credit card that had piled up, we didn’t have the luxury of taking any trips anywhere other than to see family.

With that, I decided to call up a friend from high school who has made a name for himself in the Sacramento photography scene and he will also jump at nearly any excursion opportunity that pops up. As a health and fitness coach, I figured it would be a great opportunity to get some professional fitness shots while exploring the rugged beauty in our town. Along with his adorable girlfriend, Mia, we set out on a warm August afternoon to the nearby reservoir and college aquatic center for some fun.

We started on the hiking/biking trail trying to find a good shot and get adjusted to the lighting, from there it just some awkward (feeling) poses and a few jaunts of sprinting for an in-motion shot. On the way back to the car as we were approaching a hill we were all dreading climbing, Carlos noticed the sun and the hill were working in our favor and told me to “go run up that hill” so he could play with a few angles and the Godly light setting upon it. After a few playful shots and some sweating later, we stumbled upon another awesome area where although it wasn’t even Fall yet, the trees sure made it look like it was mid-November. I feel like I have a pretty decent eye when it comes to seeing a cool shot or something worth capturing, but one of the great things about Carlos and his aesthetic is his unique way of capturing the light and the way it dances upon all it touches.

We made our way over to the aquatic center to rent a few vessels for on-the-water shots. I hopped on a Stand Up Paddleboard and Carlos and Mia snagged a tandem kayak so she could steer and he could snap the camera. After paddling out to the middle of the lake, we had some fun trying to figure out positioning and just how we were going to attempt this. It was pretty comical watching Mia try to position the kayak and photo-taking Carlos in front of her so he was at just the right angle to catch the light. In the end, we figured out that it would be easiest for me to paddle and position myself for the shots. When the sun was a little too high, we decided to let some time pass and the sun set a bit, so we enjoyed the light breeze on the water and tested each other’s SUP abilities after pulling up on shore. I think Mia may have got it down a little quicker than Mr. Photog.

Alas, the sun was just as Carlos wanted it to be, so we hopped back on our vessels and soaked up the sunset in the final photos. Once we returned our equipment I was able to see a few snapshots from the day and to say I was impressed was an understatement. While it can be awkward to take photos when you’re not posing with someone else, it’s also quite strange to look at yourself in a picture semi-model-esk. Regardless of how I felt, it was a really awesome day that was fun, informative and enjoyable for all parties involved. It was a day that I’m glad I took for myself to get out and enjoy the elements and do it with new and old friends. 

If you’re in the Northern California area and looking for a photographer with a keen eye for creativity and adventure, look no further than Elias Visuals.

A Quick Reflection on Living Abroad

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It’s been nearly four months since we’ve been back home on U.S. soil, and I still have to pinch myself about what happened in the last year and a half. I mean not only did we live in New Zealand, but we traveled, A LOT while we were there. From quick weekend road trips, to week-long excursions exploring other beautiful parts of the country, to journeying back to the U.S. TWICE, we definitely...

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If I were a Hobbit...

When it comes to travel in New Zealand, it's not too bad if you're exploring the island you're residing in. However, domestic travel can add up if you're hopping over the Cook Strait - by plane or ferry. As quick as the flights are, it's no Southwest Airlines, so sometimes we have to get creative. When a flash 24 hour domestic sale popped up, I put my thinking cap on and got to work! An hour later, I had booked 3 flights for 2 people and booked our bus and tour fare for Hobbiton in Matamata. I was feeling pret-ty satisfied with my handy work (and so was Heath). All we had to do was wait a few weeks and we'd be playing in the Shire and making heaps of friends back home nice 'n' jealous. 

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What a mouthful! Both in the title and when stuffing these little beauties in my mouth. I'll keep this brief and sweet, so you can hurry up and make this yourself. I was inspired by a recipe I stumbled upon on Pinterest last week from Running with Spoons. Not only is it incredibly quick and simple, but oh-so delicious.

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In August last year, we decided to venture to the East Coast (Pacific Ocean side of the island), which weird to say when I'm a California West Coast girl! Anywho, we heard from some friends of ours that there was this place in Kaikoura that took you out in the open ocean to swim with wild dolphins. They told us about what an amazing experience it was and how it felt to be one with these beautiful creatures. I remembered reading about it in our travel book, but I guess the book didn't sell it as well as our friends did. 

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My Various Homemade Pizzas

My Various Homemade Pizzas

I've received a lot of questions on Instagram and Facebook about the ingredients, toppings, pizza bases, and everything you can think of regarding the various homemade pizzas I make. I mean, when they look as good as they do (and taste even better) I don't fault anyone for wanting to know! Something that I've wised up on in the past few years is reading labels. I do my best to not buy overly processed foods (definitely no more frozen pizzas!), and to make sure I can read/pronounce the main ingredients. I'm not perfect, and neither is our food industry, but we can all do something for ourselves by just becoming more knowledgeable about what we're putting in our bodies!

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