Climbing hills and eating donuts in San Francisco

Those two things cancel each other out, right?

This year Kalen and I ventured to San Francisco to celebrate our four year anniversary. We both love California but had never been to the northern coast so we decided it would be the perfect place. We stayed in an Airbnb in Bernal Heights which was great because we were close to Bernal Heights Hill and the Mission District. We got 3 day bus passes that took us pretty much anywhere and we walked, a lot. I would say my least favorite part about San Francisco was walking straight up hills. By the end of our trip my calves, hamstrings and glutes were dead.

In just three and a half short days we managed to do so many things! We climbed Bernal Heights Hill for some fantastic views of the city and cute dogs. We relaxed at Mission Dolores Park and saw even more cute dogs. We went downtown and walked through Chinatown and rode a trolley to Fisherman's Wharf and watched the sea lions at Pier 39. My favorite part of our trip was traveling all the way across town to Land's End and watching the sunset. On our last day we hit up the tourist spots. We ate Bob's Donuts, saw the "Full House" house and then realized we were actually looking for the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square Park (which we eventually found), and we ended up at the Golden Gate Bridge at dusk.

Our most important mission (and almost always is our most important mission on vacation): good food. We brunched at Precita Park Cafe, Boogaloos and the Crepe House. We had a nice dinner at Alamo Square Seafood Grill and Fog Harbor Fish House. I would recommend eating at any of those places if you visit the city. Also, the weather in San Francisco is on another level. Compared to New York in mid January this place was heaven. Even though we had beautiful sunny days each day we were there, I was disappointed that I didn't get to see #karlthefog.

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Spending a winter weekend in New York City

New York I love you, but you're bringing me down because I miss you.

It's been six months to the date since I visited New York City for a short but wonderful winter weekend. My boyfriend Kalen and I had been planning for months to celebrate our three year anniversary in New York. I had just barely recovered from surgery and we survived an ice storm drive to the airport and a delayed flight. Nothing was going to stop us. While there the most important thing to us was eating as much good food as possible. We learned about the magic that is New York brunch at Pershing Square Cafe and Clinton Street Baking Company. We also ate at Shake Shack, which they don't have in Austin yet, and Del Frisco's steakhouse. My favorite part of our trip was when we walked around Central Park for hours and played in the snow. We don't get real snow like that in Texas and it's been years since I've seen some. We also did some more touristy things like visit the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square at night, and the Metropolitan museum (and yes I sat on the steps of the Met JUST like Blaire Waldorf).

We stayed at the Pod Hotel on 39th Street which was only a few blocks away from Grand Central Station. Grand Central was our savior and we only took a cab once. Plus the inside of GCS is so recognizable you feel like you're in a movie. The Pod Hotel room was tiny but perfect for a weekend getaway; I would definitely stay there again. The cold weather was fine during the day, we were prepared with heavy coats and boots, but at night it was almost unbearable. The positive side to visiting in January though is that the city was practically empty compared to how it normally is. We didn't have to wait long for anything. Kalen had previously been to New York City in the summer time and warned me about how swarmed the streets would be. Well, in winter this was not the case but Christmas time is an exception to this.

Now I know why everyone I talk to who has been to New York is in love with this city. I loved the way the buildings looked and it all felt so different from home -- in a good way. Although we fit in quite a lot for just a few days there are still so many things we didn't have time to do. I'm not sure when, but I know I am planning to go back for a longer trip.

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Summer Travel Photography - Mexico

Lately my wanderlust has been getting out of control. I'll find myself randomly browsing airbnb, thinking of possible trips I could plan. It's probably because I follow far too many people on instagram who live in more scenic and mountainous states. I had been craving a change of scenery to take photos in. Luckily my family goes on vacation every summer and this year we had planned to go to Mexico. So I packed my camera and three lenses into my awesome leather ONA bag (pictured below) and I was determined to make photos during my trip. It was exactly what I needed. Our phones were turned off, we had no access to internet, we ate chili and limon on everything, we had dinner by the ocean, and we swam every single day. We completely enjoyed ourselves. Although I didn't get as many pictures as I hoped to (it was difficult with wanting to be extra careful not to get my gear wet) I was very happy to shoot in a different setting than normal. I still feel the need to travel more though :)

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Nessa K and Sara Byrne - Austin Workshop

I attended my first workshop this weekend and it was one of the best photo experiences I've had so far. I was surrounded by a group of talented and artistic people, talking about the thing I love most for hours and hours. I met photographers from all over the US and it was awesome to make connections with people outside of Austin. Best of all, the workshop was hosted by two wedding photographers I truly admire, Nessa and Sara. The workshop lasted two days and we had a sunset shoot and a sunrise shoot with two lovely couples. Unfortunately Austin weather decided not to cooperate and both session were overcast and cold but we still got some great shots. 

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Austin Texas Photographers - Texas Towns

I've been doing mini photo essays of Texas towns for the real estate company I'm working for. As I've traveled around to Round Rock, Taylor, Hutto, Thrall, and Thorndale it's been a new experience because although I didn't technically grow up in a big town I definitely did not grow up in a small town like some of these. There's something quaint about these towns that makes them visually interesting. I also experienced deja vu, revisiting Thrall High School, where I had gone to a movie set for one of my very first Daily Texan assignments. All photos were taken with my iPhone and processed with VSCO Cam.