2016 Christmas Photos


We got our Christmas pictures taken last month. It’s the second year we’ve had Vanessa Brooke take them for us and I absolutely love them. I don’t care what kind of middle-class, white-woman bandwagon, marketing ploy I’m on…it’s just cool to take family pictures every year and since I design Christmas cards for a living (well, at least one month of the year I do) I might as well make some for us too!  So that’s why I still send Christmas cards. Don’t judge.

I love seeing how much the girls change from year to year. It’s going to be hard to take last year’s photos off the wall because last year’s were really cool too. I haven’t aged as well as I’d like and I think I look better last year but whatever, right?! Time marches on!  I only have so much wall space. Next year I’ll probably feel the same way about this year’s.


Last year (I can’t find my old post on last year’s photos. Did I not post them? Musta been on Facebook only.) we had our pictures taken out in the country, walking through brush and amongst oak trees. It was so pretty. I love how the magical sunset time of day makes everyone seem all aglow.

This year Vanessa asked us if we wanted to do country, city or beach and the kids picked beach of course. I was voting for city but obviously my vote means zip. I was stressing big time too because the beach kinda knocks out all my favorite shoes. I was planning on wearing my boots, that I wear every day with everything, but that’s not gonna work with sand and surf. Flip flops seemed too casual and heels were obviously not an option.

Thankfully the day we took these photos turned out to be unseasonably warm and I wouldn’t have wanted to wear boots anyway. In fact, we all made completely different outfit choices because it was so hot! But I like it. It’s more representative of our usual Southern California lifestyle.  We don’t dress up. No Christmas sweaters here. Sometimes a random outfit from the back of the closet shows a better slice of life than some perfectly chosen one.


The orange loafers that I chose out of desperation last minute are probably my favorite thing about our Christmas card photo this year. Sometimes the wrong thing is just right.


Like kids pretending to get along just for a photo. Just kidding. They actually got along great this day because, duh we were at the beach and there were about a thousand Pokemon creatures to catch that we’d never seen before.


Most of my favorite shots are of us on this rock where you can’t even see the ocean. I don’t mind though. I love the rough texture of the rock and the colors.

November is prime beach-photo-taking season and everywhere you looked there were other families doing the exact same thing. It was hard for Vanessa to get a shot of us with the ocean in the background without having to do hours and hours of photoshop to clone out everyone else. But she managed.


Then the sun went down and we got this goober shot.

Thank you Vanessa!

Slow Living Part Two


It feels like fall here lately but I know it’s a trick. Summer here usually lasts until Halloween so I’m not digging out my sweaters anytime soon. I’d rather shiver all fake-fall long, in layers and hoodies than put on an actual warm wooly pull-over sweater because the sun is watching me and as soon as I do, it will poke it’s angry head out of the clouds and make everything A HUNDRED DEGREES! I can’t complain though because of the whole no snow, no mud, no ice thing. We do have it pretty good here.dogs-being-dogs2

The girls and I have started a tradition of going to the beach on Saturday mornings. Remember my old beach that I used to take walks on everyday and share pictures here? Same one.  I miss that old beach so this new dog-morning tradition is fixing that up.

The beach allows dogs on leashes on the beach between 7am and 10am which is perfect because I don’t think I could handle the dogs on the beach any longer than that. They are so dirty and ill-behaved. It’s pretty much sand and digging and dirty, smelly dogs for hours. Then we haul the sandy wet dogs back into town for bagels and coffee, walking of course. It’s great. The dogs then try to eat our bagels and get wet sand all over everyone and the other patrons at the bagel shop get annoyed with us but we persevere. I have a theory that the more we do this the easier it will get.


The lovely thing about beach-dog mornings is that we have amnesia about them. While we are there the girls complain about everything under the sun. They are wet, they are not wet enough, they should have worn their swimsuits or leggings or ugg boots or whatever, they don’t want to carry their leggings or ugg boots or flip flops or whatever… they are cold or hot or they want to stay longer, they stubbed their toe on a rock, they are starving and need to eat right this very minute or use the bathroom…etc etc.


I’m not much better myself. I’m getting pissed at the dogs for fighting with each other or eating seaweed or drinking drainage run-off water that is probably contaminated with some kind of algae that will make them puke in the truck later…but then magically, as we climb over the hill back to our inland city, those bad memories dissipate into thin air just like the humidity. All we remember is how pretty the beach was, how the ocean was so peaceful and grand at the same time, how beautiful the sky was in it’s myriad of subtle colors stretching on forever…and how yummy the bagels were as if the salt in the air perfected their flavor somehow. It’s funny how the misery of the beach becomes what you savor later.

Just like I always say, you love what you suffer for! Psychology 101.

So my message for today is: get out there and suffer a little!