California!

So I am only two weeks in to my Friday blog schedule and I ALREADY missed one! But yesterday I was in Hendersonville doing an engagement shoot and I can't WAIT to show you guys the photos from that session. Dream couple + gorgeous location = giddy photographer :)

Today I just wanted to share some photos from our California trip that we took this summer! I was scrolling through my photos from the summer and saw that I had over 700 photos just sitting on my hard drive, so I thought they deserved to be shared! 

IMG_7290.JPG
IMG_7372.JPG
IMG_7323 2.JPG

Chris and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Occidental, CA this summer for TWO weeks and team up with a church for their summer camp. It was actually a lot of churches that came together for this one camp, so it was hundreds of students!! Chris spoke 20 times in 12 days (the Lord totally sustained him, and he is such a trooper) and we got to meet so many incredible youth pastors, leaders, volunteers and students. We faced some intense spiritual warfare while we were there, but it was seriously the most uplifting experience. We were able to have SO many conversations with students who are really trying hard to walk with the Lord and have a thriving relationship with Him. We talked to other students who have a crazy home life, divorced parents, abusive relationships etc, and got to just love on them and encourage them in the Lord. We talked to students who got SAVED at camp and hear their salvation story. It was such a blessing being there for 2 weeks, building relationships and enjoying Jesus. Not sure why the Lord uses unschooled, ordinary people like Chris & I to share Jesus with other,s because we are absolutely unworthy, but we are honored to be on mission with Him and for Him. 

IMG_7136.jpg
IMG_7111 copy.jpg
IMG_7389.JPG
IMG_7361.JPG
IMG_7219.jpg

After the 2 weeks were over, Chris and I stayed an extra 3 days to explore and travel a little bit. We stayed in Occidental for the 2 weeks of camp, which was a SUPER cute, hippy, and small mountain town. Chris and I found our favorite restaurant EVER there, and ate there way too many times in those 2 weeks! We then stayed in a little cottage in Guerneville (which had a population of about 2000 people) which was so quaint. We decided to walk around the property a little bit one afternoon, and stumbled upon a BEAUTIFUL orchard, with trees FULL of fruit. We literally picked handfuls of plums, apricots, and apples and ate them right there (not sure if that was allowed, but oh well). 

IMG_7407.JPG
IMG_7416.JPG
IMG_7414.JPG
IMG_7423.JPG
IMG_7463.JPG
IMG_7464.JPG

While we were there, we loved asking the locals what their favorite towns, attractions, restaurants, and dessert places (of course) were in the area. Lots of people told us to go to Healdsburg, which is apparently one of the top 10 best small towns in America. We got there one afternoon, went and got dessert and coffee before dinner (because why not?!), window shopped in some super cute stores, stumbled upon a photo gallery that I was SO excited to have found, Chris tried oysters for the first time from the Pacific ocean, and then we ate dessert again after dinner (because..again..why not?!). After we stuffed our faces, we drove back to our sweet little cottage in Guerneville, and it was the most beautiful drive. Through miles and miles of vineyards, small towns, and a beautiful sunset out the window. 

IMG_7488.JPG
IMG_7501.JPG

The next day was on of my favorite days. Whats great about California is that you really have the best of both worlds. Its not just a lot of big cities, but its also full of incredible countryside as well. You have big cities, and then beaches AND mountains all right there together. Its phenomenal. Again, the locals told us Point Reyes National Seashore was a MUST see! So we hopped in the car and drove out to the point. The drives in California are just as beautiful as the destination. We got out of the car and stopped multiple times before arriving at Point Reyes. This was just some of the stuff we saw along the way..

IMG_7543.JPG
IMG_7551.JPG
IMG_7580.JPG
IMG_7602.JPG
IMG_7623.JPG
IMG_7629.JPG

We drove through fields and fields of cow pastures, dairy farms, and hay fields, and finally came to a dead end. Where the land meets the ocean. We stepped out of the car and the wind almost knocked me over. It was about 20 degrees cooler there, but unbelievably gorgeous. The ocean was so blue it looked like it had dye in it. You could see the ocean from every direction, as far as the eye could see. We saw whales peeking out over the water. The waves were GIANT and made the ones on the East coast look like little ripples. Unreal. Probably my favorite part of the trip. 

IMG_7659.JPG

We had also heard that Nick's Cove was a GREAT restaurant, with fresh fish and oysters. We were so excited about trying it! The wine was great, the appetizer was great, and the dessert was great, but the dinner was not so great. Chris said we basically paid $50 for a piece of cardboard. But I had a great dinner view, out the window AND across the table ;) 

IMG_7719.JPG
IMG_7721.JPG

Our last day was probably spent the best of both ways...exploring San Francisco by day and strolling through Napa Valley by night. I had been to San Francisco yeaaars ago on a 4 day trip with school. It was an incredible trip, until the last day, when our hotel got broken into and someone stole ALL of my camera equipment, cell phone, my friend's laptop & Ipod. The whole situation was pretty terrifying, but thankfully we had some wonderful friends who were with us and who made the experience so much better. All my photos from those 4 days roaming the streets of San Fran were obviously lost, so I got to go back for a redemption trip and photograph again! 

IMG_7771.JPG
IMG_7784.JPG
IMG_7787.JPG
IMG_7801.JPG
IMG_7842.JPG

After our feet and legs were hurting from walking up the steep streets of San Fran, we drove over to Napa where Chris' aunt lives. Her house is literally walking distance from downtown Napa. So we walked downtown right during sunset, ate gelato, explored their local market, and went back to her house for wine and cheese. Literally the perfect way to end our trip. 

IMG_7854.JPG
IMG_7866.JPG
IMG_7873.JPG
IMG_7879.JPG

So I think I probably win an award for the most photos on a blog post in history! But thank y'all for putting up with my way too long blog posts and excessive amounts of photos. This trip was incredible, and I just never want to forget it.