Sequoia National Park

A few weeks ago, I went on a day trip to Sequoia National Park. The trip was organized by one of my very talented photographer friends, Daniel Woods. We carpooled to Bakersfield where Dan lives, which is the halfway point between Los Angeles and Sequoia. We had a big group but unfortunately most of the models bailed last minute so it was mostly photographers. This did not stop the fun though! 

We then caravanned through the canyons and forest to get to Sequoia where we continued on the windy roads. We were supposed to meet up with another car full of people there as well, but as luck would have it - there was no phone service! Our group of four cars got split up and since no one could call or text anyone we just did our own thing. The park was pretty packed since it was peak season and on a weekend so that didn’t help either. Thankfully, a couple hours later we ended up finding each other at the Giant Forest shuttle station! Tip for next time: BRING WALKIE TALKIES - or you’ll lose each other haha. 

Once the group had been reunited, we wandered through some meadows and a forest path that led us to the most beautiful lookout of the mountains during sunset. We took so many photos but we also took the time to appreciate our surroundings and how incredible it all was. 

After dark, some stayed to get starry Milky Way photos until dawn (they turned out so good!), some drove back to Los Angeles, some drove back to San Diego (I know, I know.. don't know how they didn't fall asleep!), etc. and I drove back to Bakersfield and stayed the night with a college friend of mine, also named Allison, who just moved there. :)

It's hard to put into words how creative trips like this make me feel, but I saw a quote today that really resonated with me. It said, "jobs fill our pockets, adventures fill our souls." - pretty much spot on. I've been so busy with my job lately that it's really been the weekends and adventures like this that have been keeping me sane. Anyway, can't wait for more amazing days like this one!

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Models: 

@jessicagjurashaj @jessicagunzs @_markohhpolo @sosodrunk 

If you want to see other photos from the trip, be sure to check out the hashtag #DWxSNF

Southwest Road Trip: CA > AZ > UT > NV > CA

This year both my boyfriend, Zach, and my brother, Nathan, had the same spring break - yay!! My brother is in medical school at the University of Arizona and Zach is in physical therapy school at California State University Long Beach, so you can imagine our family's excitement that they would be out of school at the same time! When schedules align, my dad loves to plan family trips so this time we made it a southwest road trip!

Zach and I drove out from Long Beach to Scottsdale, AZ where my parents live and stayed a couple nights. Nathan and his wife, Deanna, drove up from Tucson and met us in Scottsdale a day later. We then caravanned in two cars (mine and Nathan's) to Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon for two nights. We stayed in the cutest lodge right on the creek and it was super roomy for our group of six. While in Sedona, we hiked, explored and shopped around downtown Sedona, went to Tlaquepaque, etc.

On day three of our trip, we ventured north to Flagstaff and stayed at my aunt and uncle's cabin in Forest Highlands. We did a little bit of hiking, explored downtown Flag, etc. We also went to one of my fave restaurants, Whyld Ass - literally the best vegan mac and cheese and baked goods omg. unreal. 

We continued north on day four and drove up to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. My dad booked us on a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon which was pretty cool! I had seen the Lower Antelope Canyon before but this was my first time seeing the Upper one. The main difference is that the Upper one is more expensive, there aren't any stairs or climbing that you have to do, you get driven in, and you walk through it there and back. After Antelope Canyon, we stopped by Horseshoe Bend. It was really windy and people were getting way too close to the edge it looked like some of them were going to blow off the edge! Serious anxiety there haha but the view was worth it! Nathan and Deanna parted ways with us here and drove back down to Flagstaff for the night as we continued the trip to Utah. 

Once we left Page, we drove into south Utah and made it to our cabin in Duck Creek Village around dusk. It was such a cozy place but every restaurant nearby was closed so we ended up scrounging up some food from the cooler to put together dinner. It was super cold and snowing out too which we didn't prepare for either. 

On Day five, we drove through Bryce Canyon National Park which was spectacular! There is one main road and many lookouts and places to stop along the way. We didn't bother hiking much here because it was snowing, my dad has a bad hip, and Zach recently hurt his ankle. We ended the day at a hidden gem of a restaurant that was super nice! We drove back to our lodge in Duck Creek and stayed for a second evening. 

In the morning, we packed up our stuff and got ready to go to Zion National Park. Because I was so cold the day before, I thought it would be a good idea to wear four pairs of pants (three leggings and one pair of loose fitting jeans over lol). This was a new record for me, but Zion was surprisingly much warmer than Bryce Canyon so I ended up taking off most of my layers. Zion was much more crowded than I was expecting and it made for a less relaxing time there than Bryce. It was still very beautiful and scenic though! Once we were done driving through the park, we started making our way to Las Vegas!

We checked into the Mirage and got settled. They got both of our room arrangements wrong and my dad through a fit haha but they wouldn't do anything to fix it - pretty bad customer service if you ask me. Anywho... we ended up finding this super vegan-friendly steakhouse (lol, weird I know) at the Wynn and ate dinner there! This was probably one of the most expensive menus I've ever seen but everything was amazing and they really catered to vegans so my mom and I were super happy. After dinner, we went back to our hotel and got ready for the late showing of the Cirque du Soleil show Beatles Love. It was very 70's and hippie vibes - pretty cool tricks and acrobatics as well! We finished off our night in Vegas drinking at a cocktail lounge and hanging around the casino. 

We ended the last morning of our trip eating at a buffet at the Mirage for breakfast. Zach and I parted ways with my parents and drove back to Long Beach. It was such a great trip and even better times with my fave people! Can't wait for our next family vacay :)

 

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NOW ENTERING...

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LAST STOP... VEGAS!

Saltwater Luxe Collaboration

This was probably one of my favorite shoots I've ever done! I had the pleasure of working with Saltwater Luxe, a casual luxury brand based in Long Beach, California. No joke, their office is two minutes from my apartment!! As you guys know, I'm a huge advocate of ethically sourced goods and Saltwater Luxe is Los Angeles made (yay no sweatshops!), and often sources vintage fabrics reducing their carbon footprint. Their style is beachy bohemian with a little adventure. Toria Webber (model) and I sought to capture the wanderlust #SWLBabe vibe and hit the road on a day trip to Angeles National Forest just east of Pasadena. Side Note: I highly recommend going on a weekday, there were barely any cars or people! We also ventured around some neighborhoods around Pasadena. It was so much fun and I can't wait to work with Toria and the gals over at Saltwater Luxe again in the future!