Travel Tips: Roadtripping Through California

Over the years we’ve roadtripped to California a number of times, being a border state makes it that much easier. One of my favorite things in the world is just being by the ocean, staring out at the vastness of God’s Hand in creation. We’ve gotten to explore up the Central Coast a little as well, all the way up to the Bay Area. I am amazed at how big the state is, and just how many “major” cities there are - so much to see and do! From attractions, amusement parks, food, and more. Below you’ll find a list of some of my favorites, specifically in the Central Coast area!

Yosemite

I feel like I should just end it there, doesn’t it just speak for itself?? From absolutely STUNNING cliff faces to forests and streams, it’s a nature lovers dream. Not to mention, both times we’ve gone we’ve seen deer wild in the forest - just be careful as you want to respect their space! There’s a gift shop with snacks, cabins, and more. You will need to pay the park ranger to enter, but it’s totally worth it. Also, you’ll need to make sure it’s open due to various weather conditions. I’m not going to lie, I’m not super outdoorsy, so the first time we went David practically had to drag me, and then I couldn’t stop talking about it (typical me). Haha, I think I inwardly love the outdoors I’m just not so used to it. I’ve you’re wanting a solid glimpse at some of Yosemite’s beauty, check out the movie Free Solo, I’ve heard great things about it! And of course, if you’re an art lover, don’t forget Ansel Adams’ famous & inspiring images of Yosemite.

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San Francisco

We recently just went for the first time and I LOVED it!!!! We weren’t there for long, but we were able to soak up a good amount while we were there, and make a whole lot of memories. From delicious food, to fun places to see, it’s just chalk full of beauty and interest - I honestly feel as though we barely scratched the surface.

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If you grew up in the 90’s, there’s no way you can go without seeing The Painted Ladies and The Golden Gate Bridge, your inner Full House fan will surely freak out, well at least mine did ;-) It’s good to mention that there is a toll payment for the bridge, so be prepared to get a small bill in the mail afterwards - ours was only about $8, but TOTALLY WORTH IT. Be sure to blast this song to complete the experience.

Also, China Town. It’s affordable, with lots of food options and fun little shops. Also, there’s Japan Town, with two indoor "mall” type buildings, with LOTS to see and taste. There I had a meat bun, and OHHH man. So good!!!!! I also got some Matcha Green Tea from a little walk-up that was specifically devoted to Green Tea. And THE SHOPS!!!! If you’re looking for low-cost fun items, seriously go there. One of my friends told me about it, and it was just the best.

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Ghirardelli Square was an absolute delight. Besides the large chocolate store, there are plenty of other things to grab your attention, including the coolest little mini golf spot. There are some 18 holes, and each one is designed to look like a famous part of San Francisco, seriously adorable. Adults can grab a drink that they can set in a beverage holder at each spot, and kids get to play as well. It’s just a sweet time of fun and memory making. All to boot, you’re across the street from the water, win!

California now boasts a number of these ice cream shops, which are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. If you know me at all, you know my love relationship with their flavors. I mean seriously, this place turned me into an icecream enthusiast, thanks to them I’ve gotten pretty picky!

Staying in the city can be a little pricey, so we opted to stay in a border city, according to a local it was about half the price.

If you love this city and would like to purchase some prints, head on over to my “Shop” link above!

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Lastly…

Fruit Stands on The Drive

We stopped at one shop on the way up that had TONS of parrots. It was a tiny jungle, with all of the squawking and beautiful colors. Some of them even talked, so there we were with the kids laughing and “talking” to these gorgeous birds.

Another shop boasted garlic ice cream, so being an adventurer at heart I had to try it. It was… interesting! Lol. Not gross, but not something I would delight in. I tried the chocolate flavor, a mini-experience in and of itself.

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While this list is totally not comprehensive, it could be a fun launching point for your own adventures!

Are you from the Central Coast, or have you been? I would love any more suggestions and tips!

XO,

Tamara

Mood Music: J a n u a r y

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Hey Friends!

Just popping in to throw you a little January playlist. It’s a pretty solid mix of everything, a little bit inspiration, a little bit redemption, a little bit fun. Some songs to get you moving, and some to get your soul on fire.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

What progress are you making this month? Working on a goal or a dream? Remember, there is NOTHING magical about January 1, so get up, turn up those tunes and get going!

XOXO

Sessions: Just Us

I thought I would end this year’s session with our little family, pictures taken by my dad, David & I - capturing us as we are this season. Consider this a little blog Christmas card, from our family to yours.

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This year has held many changes, adventures, challenges and memories.

At the beginning of the year we finalized Ella Bear’s Arizona adoption, and I’ll never forget us all gathered around with the judge, looking at camera phones and loudly proclaiming,

“WE ARE FAMILY!”

We never needed a judge to tell us that we were, but to have that finalization was a blessing and a memory I’ll never forget.

Early January the Lord released David from his job, the company was changing and merging and it ended up being the perfect time for him to start a new chapter in his career. After two really exciting and blessed job transitions (the second being an unexpected gift from God in His perfect timing) he is back doing what he loves, back in the pharmacy world. We are grateful that God closes doors and opens them, He is our sole provider.

We spent a little time traveling in the spring, visiting some of our dearest friends whom we have missed since their big move, each moment together was sweet and oh so precious.

This summer, I turned the big 3-0. Can you believe it? In some moments I feel so young and green, and in others I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime. My sweet husband made it a birthday for the books, throwing me TWO surprises in one night. A girls dinner with my closest friends, and another get together later in the night with spouses and children. It was a night I’ll never forget.

This summer we also had the joy of out-of-town visitors, five sweet souls over the course of a month and a half. Each one filled my cup, and the memories with them still makes my heart full. The coming of each of them was something God-ordained, His generosity never ending.

In August, school started for the littles, and the Lord helped me see some of Christian’s passions; while opening a door for Ella to go to a part-time Pre-School program that she loves and does so, so well in. Both these babies are so bright and clever, keeping me on my toes, growing me as a mom, and showing me grace when I fall.

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In September, my mom, the kids and I packed up and flew home to Serbia to spend time with loved ones. Oh goodness, the memories made, the connections deepened, I long for and love the people in that small country so, so much. While we were there we also deepened our friendships with the local church, a small but mighty force doing Kingdom work and spreading God’s love on the streets of my birth city. If you want to learn more about them, and find ways to come alongside their ministries (teenagers, homeless, drug addiction and more!) comment and I’d love to put you in touch.

Coming home, my fall photography season started, and it has been one of the biggest blessings. Every individual, company, and family who allowed me to capture them helped further propel this little business. I am deeply indebted to the Lord for starting me on this beautiful journey, and thankful to every soul who has allowed me to walk with them, even if only for a moment.

In October, Mr. Abear and I celebrated nine years of marriage. Nine years, two precious children, job transitions, both of our journeys with school, walking through griefs and triumphs and everything in between - I would say yes to this man all over again.

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The fall and winter season continued with visits from David’s parents, and we look forward to more time with them as they plan trips to travel west to visit kids and grand kids. The kids have loved every second with them, time together is filling. Our kids greatly enjoy time with my parents as well, Christian “helps” them with their work, and Ella loves being spoiled by her “Nana & Keba”.

The biggest news of late was a conversation I overheard while I was at my computer, Christian upstairs sharing the immeasurable gift and offer of salvation with Ella. It was so innocent, sweet and pure; he really loves the Lord and it shows with how he treats her and talks with her about Him. The next thing I knew, two sets of little feet were coming downstairs, and Ella was wanting to accept Jesus into her heart. She repented of sin, and the Lord washed her and cleansed her of all unrighteousness as He has promised. That day was momentous.

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I really don’t know how to follow up from that, if there is anything I would’ve wanted 2018 to hold, it would always be a soul knowing the love of their Savior.

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Early December one of my besties and I put on a boutique & event at our church, and boy was it fun! Every experience comes with life lessons, and I think if we decided to do one again we have more knowledge and tools in our tool belt - isn’t that what life is, one big lesson?

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I think, scratch that - I KNOW my biggest combined life lesson of 2018 was to let Jesus be the Savior, and not overdo it. Sometimes my perfectionism can be a blessing, but most of the time I’m so caught up trying to make everything perfect that I can miss all of the moments that make up now. It’s easy for me to get fixated on the imperfections, and not celebrate the small victories. Thank goodness for David, he’s a vessel from the Lord helping to course correct me through life.

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I’m looking forward, with fresh eyes to what the Lord will do in 2019.

My goal for this year is that I will walk more closely with Him, listen better & slow down.

To all of you who have read this little blog, or who have allowed me to step into your life and capture a memory - thank you. May our Lord mightily bless you this year and always, drawing you to the knowledge of His sovereign plan to send His Son into the world as a love offering. May you fall more deeply in love with Him, and hold those close to you a little bit closer.

In Christ Alone,

Tamara

Sessions: Mr. & Mrs. R ❤

At nearly every wedding I shoot I have a “favorite thing” that I love remembering and looking back on. Whether it’s the the first look, the decor, or a behind the scenes moment not captured - like getting to try a slice of a delicious custom cake. However, this wedding my favorite thing was scattered all throughout the wedding, the photos, and the reception. Without a doubt it was the way these two looked at each other, each time it was as if they were the only two people in the world. During their vows (sooo romantic!), or the first photos after the ceremony, and especially in the moments where I was able to catch just the two of them on the dance floor - this wedding was about a genuine love that has weathered valleys and heights and all of the in-betweens.

To have been chosen to capture it, along with my little TRP team, was a dream. The venue was stunning, the bands throughout the night making me want to dance, the delicious food, the laughter, pure bliss. The bridal party was so sweet and up for anything, they made it easy.

Wishing many, many blessings upon this sweet newlywed couple - may you always look at each other as though you’re the only two in the room <3

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