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Big Sur is Open for Your Next Road Trip

Destinations, Outdoor Adventures, Travel By September 7, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Big Sur is known as one of the most breathtaking regions on the California coast, with its winding roads, rocky coastline, dramatic cliffs, and magnificent seaside views, you quickly realize why it is often featured in movies, TV shows, and photographs. It was an obvious must for our cross-country road trip.

Unfortunately the region underwent a severe winter that included multiple mudslides, fallen boulders, and a collapsed bridge, resulting in a portion of the iconic Highway 1 being closed. When I heard this, I was heartbroken for those who live and run businesses in the area and was selfishly sad that we were not going to be able to visit one of my #1 spots on the road trip bucket list.

As the trip got closer though, I was happy to hear that they were slowly opening portions and many businesses were still open. I was doing research every week to see what else had been opened and where we could visit. Here are some tips from our recent trip:

  • Adjust Your Route – While there is still a portion closed, you can head into the region from the south and north quite a bit. We personally were coming from the North and we were able to follow the coast all the way to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where the road is closed just south of it.

  • Stay in One of the Open Parks or Hotels – We were able to find a campsite at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It is typically difficult to get campsites up and down the California coast during peak summer season, so take advantage of many not knowing these spots are open. There was also the Big Sur Lodge right there at the park and next time we come back, I want to stay at the Big Sur River Inn, complete with a restaurant, store, pool, the world’s cutest gas station (yep, that’s a thing), and the best part being that you can…

  • Have a Drink in the River – Grab a drink from the Big Sur River Inn bar and head down to their adirondack chairs that are in the river, not next to, but in the river. Dip your toes in the water and sit back. Why isn’t this a thing in more places?

  • Stop at Bixby Bridge – while the Pfieffer Canyon Bridge is being rebuilt, the iconic Bixby Bridge is stunning as always. I would recommend being ready to pull off on the right or left before you drive across it. Go slow because it can be quite busy, but this is where you’ll find get beautiful views easily for your photographs.

  • Stretch Your Legs – while many trails are also recovering from the winter and fires, we headed over to Andrew Molera State Park for a hike to the beach. It was all flat, led you through some trees and opened up to a spectacular beach. It felt a big majestic as you looked around to see dozens of driftwood structures built by those who had previously been there.

  • Shuttle Further South – The Pfeiffer Canyon Bypass Trail was created by residents and opened to the public in July. You can use this trail to access the southern side of Big Sur and can board a shuttle at Andrew Molera State Park to get there. We were hoping to do this to go have lunch or dinner at Nepenthe, but unfortunately ran out of time.

While we wanted to explore and stay longer, the road trip must go on! We were obviously not able to continue to drive south on Highway 1, but in a similar amount of time it would take, we went north (yay, one more trip over Bixby and Carmel) and took a detour to Highway 68, through Salinas Valley, to Highway 101, down through San Luis Obispo (a town that Oprah claims to be the happiest city in America) and then we continued south to Santa Barbara.

To learn more and stay up to date on openings and closures, head over to See Monterey’s website.

Happy Travels,



6 Photographers Solar Eclipse Experiences in the Path of Totality

Outdoor Adventures, Travel By August 22, 2017 Tags: , No Comments

It was truly serendipitous that we ended up in the Path of Totality in Oregon during the solar eclipse. I have had this 2 month road trip across the United States planned for almost a year now. A couple months ago, a friend asked what my plans were for the solar eclipse. I had looked up where I would be and was delighted to learn I was in the Path of Totality, which ended up being a 70-mile wide path that ran across the United States, starting in Oregon and continuing across to South Carolina. After some momentary freak-outs about where we would stay because there were campsites going for over $500, we found a spot on a family vineyard, the Hauer of the Dauen winery, on Hipcamp, complete with wine tastings and a German breakfast. It was perfect!

While it was really exciting to see every phase of the eclipse happen, watching the light change so weirdly and eerily around us, I can’t lie, seeing the total eclipse was one of the most incredible parts. I had planned on spending the full 2 minutes taking it all in, not worrying about an elaborate camera set up or rushing for the perfect shot during it. Naturally though, I couldn’t help but grab my camera after a few minutes of it happening.


Later in the day, as I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I found it interesting not only seeing other’s visual perspectives of the eclipse, but also their experiences. While I could explain what I felt further, I also thought it would be neat if I reached out to a few people who took some of the images that grabbed my eye and asked them to describe their experience.

Read on to hear about 6 other Instagrammer’s Path of Totality experiences:


Photo Captured by @shnsks_

“The total solar eclipse was a completely surreal experience. A few minutes before totality, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The sunlight turned to an almost-white color, casting a double shadow. As the moon completely overlapped the sun, daytime suddenly turned to night and the sky turned dark. And yet everything was still evenly lit by the same white light from the outer edges of the sun, creating a day-night fusion. For a brief moment, I was standing in a different realm.” See more of Shunsuke Imura’s photographs on Instagram.



Photo Captured by @samnegan

“I was on a ridge below Fred’s Mountain near Grand Targhee Ski Resort and when the eclipse hit. Everyone on the ridge just started whooping and hollering because it was truly epic. You could hear people from all across the mountain range which was one of my favorite parts. I also felt kind of disorientated in a good way after like some internal clock or instinct was kind of thrown off too. It was by far the most incredible experience of my life.” See more of Sam Negan’s photography on Instagram.



Photo Captured by @horohophoto

“The chance of seeing the eclipse in it’s totality was only part of the entire experience. Knowing that I was participating in something the entire United States was experiencing all at the same moment in time was something special.” See more of Brandon Horobo’s photography on Instagram.



Photo Captured by @bryanminear

“My friends and I planned for weeks. After a 9 hour drive, multiple days of scouting the area. We picked our location on the little Tennessee river and posted up immediately following sunrise. We waited out the 91 degree heat and at the very last moment, it seemed like the clouds were going to ruin the entire view. The temperature began to drop, and the light began to dim and it was one of the most amazing sights that I have ever experienced. We were all absolutely reeling from the adrenaline and anticipation. It was the quickest 2 minutes and 23 seconds of my life, gone in and instant, but the memory will last forever.” See more of Bryan Minear’s photography on Instagram.


Photo Captured by @rangerrikk

“Today was the first time I have had the “I got the shot” moment. I had planned a fashion shoot for today during the eclipse. Posing, walking and twirling were in order to highlight the clothing and my girlfriend who was modeling. I did not however expect to be so baffled by the sight of totality. It was utterly beautiful and magical. My girlfriend decided to put her hand up as if to touch the sun and I just instinctually decided to snap a photo. Turns out that was the one I was the most happy with the entire morning, and also made the 2 hour traffic commute home worth it.” See more of Erik Sanders’ photography on Instagram.


Photo Captured by @kili_warrior

“D-Day had finally arrived. Anticipation and excitement were off the charts. Indescribable, eerie, surreal. Truly once in a lifetime experience!  How often can one get in the shadow of the moon?” See more of Vina’s photography on Instagram.

After reading about these experiences, I hope you are ready for the next total eclipse in North America! It will be happening in April 2024. Perhaps we can meet in Mexico? Or Austin? The Finger Lakes? Maine? Toronto? Decisions, decisions.


A Look Back on 2016 in Photos

Art, At Home, Baltimore, City Adventures, Destinations, Engagements, Food & Drink, Lifestyle, On The Road, Outdoor Adventures, Photography, Travel, Weddings By January 23, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

It may have taken me a little longer to put this post together for many reasons, but mainly because I got a little lost in reminiscing through it all. 2016 was a big year. It was filled with travels, decisions, friends, milestones, and lots of memories. I’ve heard that the only time to look back is to see how far you’ve come and before I fully kick it into 2017 (yes, I know it is already the 22nd of January), let’s take a look back on 2016 together.


The year kicked off with a trip to Austin, Texas – where I immediately felt at home with all of the delicious food and funky street art. Ironically, I took a picture of the weather sign while there was nearly 2 ft of snow falling at home in Maryland.


Despite the snowstorm threat, my brother and sister-in-law had their second child once it all calmed down. Needless to say, we all fell in love.


I had the opportunity to join my husband in Nashville, which is basically his second home with work travels. I was cool with Nashville becoming my second home for a bit too.


Especially with all of the cool murals and delicious food in East Nashville. My mouth is now watering for some Hot Chicken and biscuits.


We headed to the southernmost city in the US to celebrate a good friend’s 30th birthday. Not much can compare to a friendship that has lasted for over 20 years. Something like that deserves a trip to Key West! Pineapple drinks for all. Even the roosters in the streets were ready to celebrate.


We had the chance to go to Puerto Rico to visit our friend’s amazing home in Vieques with a quick stop in Old San Juan. I. Need. To. Go. Back. If you want in on the good times and laid back vibes, look up the Oreanda!


2016 was the first year of Light City, a festival of light, music & innovation in Baltimore. From the light installations to the energy on the streets to the official Light City cocktail, it was a very special time for this city. I am honored to be involved with making 2017 bigger, bolder & brighter.


Our endless adventure then took us to Denver, Colorado – the mile high city. The food, the music, the beer, everything, Denver rocks, especially the Red Rocks. (hey oh)


A good friend recently moved to Chicago, Illinois and she gave us the best tour of all the best spots in just under 48 hours. Must return for more deep dish.


What better way to celebrate a friend getting married than to discover a new city together? Savannah was full of beautiful sights, ghosts, and coffee. Thanks for having us, Georgia!


Then said friend had a perfectly intimate and loved filled wedding in Rehoboth Beach, which I had the honor of capturing. I can’t wait to capture more intimate weddings in 2017.


As the maid-of-honor AND engagement photographer, I was super excited when my good friend and her fiance had no issue taking an adventure into the woods of Loch Raven Reservoir and then to the piers of Fells Point. Can’t wait for June 2017!


When I visited Austin earlier in the year, I knew I had to come back. At the very least, for the tacos. Torchy’s Tacos does not mess around.


I also wanted some of my closest ladies to experience Austin with me. From kayaking to mural hunting to getting down on Rainey Street, a huge thanks to them and the city of Austin for making my 30th birthday one that I will not forget.


We couldn’t forget to celebrate Chris and his birthday. San Diego seemed like a good choice. While the sunshine, beers, and tacos were amazing, it was even more wonderful to catch up with high school and college friends. Thanks for living in paradise so we can visit often.


In between trips, there is always more to explore in Baltimore. 2016 was a big year for @thebmorecreatives. It feels like their event at the National Aquarium was ages ago. Chris and I also fully enjoyed heading back to our old ‘hood to enjoy the lights.


As if 2016 didn’t have enough fun packed in, one of my dearest friends, who I have know since I was about… 6 months old, decided to get married on New Year’s Eve in Madeira, a tiny Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. We couldn’t say no.


It was a truly a magical island and a magical night. I’d like to find other words to describe it, but magical is really nailing it.


But at the end of every trip, there is nothing like snuggling up with my little family at our home in Baltimore. Not pictured: our spotted pup that I was cuddling.

Looking forward to 2017 and all that it will bring.


Carolyn & Adam’s Adventure | Loch Raven & Fells Point Engagement

Baltimore, Engagements, Outdoor Adventures, Photography By October 17, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

I recently had the pleasure of capturing engagement photos of two of my good friends, Carolyn and Adam, who are getting married next June. When chatting about spots for photos, they were hoping for a balance of some outdoors and some in the city. I was super excited when they completely trusted me to go wander in the woods to find a reservoir that none of us had ever been to. Loch Raven Reservoir was very gorgeous in early October and we already want to go back for more adventures. We then wrapped up the session with a gorgeous autumn evening in Fells Point, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore.

I first met Carolyn in middle school, as she was good friends with my sister. In college, I was lucky enough to live with Carolyn, along with a few other amazing ladies, and we have been pretty inseparable ever since. Carolyn is one of the most loyal and incredibly caring friends I have, always willing to put everyone before herself. She is upbeat, friendly, and ridiculous, needless to say time with her is never boring.

Adam and Carolyn met through some mutual friends. After months of Carolyn talking about how rugged and handsome our friend’s friend was, all they needed was a not so coincidental table assignment at a wedding for their romance to truly start. From there, there were many weekend trips back and forth between Maryland and Connecticut, with Adam eventually making Baltimore his new home with Carolyn.

While I did not know Adam previous to their relationship, I can say I’ve never seen Carolyn so happy and in love. I believe they truly complement and balance each other. You can tell they care deeply for each other by all that they do for each other and with each other, all with a great sense of humor about life. Also, I love that they are just as happy to curl up on their couch on a Saturday night with their dog, Winston, as they are up for sailing around the Caribbean (where they also got engaged, not romantic at all, right?). I have so many other details I would love to share about them here, but I need to save some details for my maid-of-honor speech!

Without further ado, enjoy some moments with Carolyn and Adam below. Happy Engagement!

Much Love,