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Roxie

ED8_2479Meet the newest addition to our home: 2 month old golden retriever Roxie "Roxstar" Dietz ED8_2511ED8_2513ED8_2539ED8_2540ED7_2780

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

After a second day at Cabo San Lucas, we sailed to Puerto Vallarta overnight and woke up to palm trees and mountains.  Unbelievable.  We had all day to spend there, but by this time Steven and I were both tired of hauling a camera around (sorry folks) so I only have a few images to share.  Enjoy!

Steve shot this image of an old fisherman's boat.  Such great texture, and I love the use of primary colors.

He shot this one, too.  I love this!  These belong to one of the local artists who was selling homemade paper canvases.  We totally bought one.

This next one is for my dad!  It's a Jeep thing.

Shops were lined up all along the coast.  There must have been several ships at port that day-the stores were completely packed with travelers.  It

Hey check it out, it's The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Day 2

After already spending a day at Cabo San Lucas (check here) followed by a day at La Paz (check here too), we sailed back to Cabo.  Steve, Amy, Chad and I headed straight to The Office for another amazing Michelada and huevos rancheros breakfast (best breakfast ever)

"Looking for something different?"

Alright!  That's enough food!  Time to go find the dirty, gritty, real, honest-to-God Mexico that we envisioned.

Getting further away from the coast and tourist traps...

Keep going...

Bingo!

Tourist alert!  Back to the shuttle to board the ship...

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(PS: Happy birthday, Matt!)

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Hotel Yeneka, La Paz, Mexico continued...

After the bus ride into La Paz, Steve and I had the urge to go urban exploring in the heart of the city in search of the dirty, gritty, real, honest-to-God Mexico that we envisioned.  We didn't quite find it there, but we did find Hotel Yeneka...

We wandered into the passageway at Hotel Yeneka not even knowing it was a hotel.  We slipped in unannounced, but it didn't feel like trespassing.  The entrance was completely packed from the floor to the ceiling with old objects and trinkets, and the more we walked, the more objects we wanted to see, so we just kept walking.  It opened up into an outdoor courtyard surrounded by a two-story hotel.  It was breathtaking.  Overwhelming.

The rooms were modest, to say the least.

The objects-found and donated-weren't just thrown around in piles, they were arranged.  Random, yet organized.

We befriended the owners, a small family who buzzed around picking things up and nailing new treasures to the walls.

As I was looking at the relics, I wanted to know where everything came from.  Who owned it?  Why did they discard the objects?  Or were they left behind?  How did it get to the hotel?  What was it's story?

Everything had it's own space.

Everything belonged somewhere.

I started to feel like I belonged there, in that moment, too.  Every decision I had ever made, even the wrong ones, felt like the right decisions.  Every decision had somehow lead me to being exactly where I needed to be.

On our way out, we signed the guest book.  I flipped through a few pages and found a tiny drawing of a camera.

Everything just felt good.

030111

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La Paz, Mexico

After a tremendously exciting day at Cabo San Lucas (check here too!), Steve, his sister (Amy), and her husband (Chad), and the rest of the cruisers spent the day at La Paz, the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California.  We took a bus into the city while our guide gave us a history of the old city.  Unfortunately for you, readers, I had him totally tuned out because I was too busy talking to Amy and looking out the window, taking in the Mexican desert.   I have priorities, sorry!  I think he caught on and started quizzing us on how many Spanish words we knew.

The streets were lined up with micro-businesses, everything from tailors to dentists to residences, and everything was painted in bright hues.  The storefronts were the size of modest apartments, and it was not uncommon to peek inside to see the owner quietly staring right back at you, or to walk past a business with bars covering the windows.  Not rude, but not friendly.  You knew you couldn't talk to them, and they knew they couldn't talk to you either.

This next photo is Steven's shot.  Love this!

I'm a sucker for great textures.

Another one of Steve's photos, I love this one too!

Look, it's Our Lady of La Paz Cathedral!  So beautiful

Stay tuned....

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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico continued...

After Steven and I got engaged at Playa del Amor (Lover's Beach), we walked over to Playa del Divorio (Divorce Beach).  I know what you're thinking... but El Arco is famous for sharing it's borders with two different bodies of water: Lover's Beach, which borders the Sea of Cortez; and Divorce Beach, which borders the Pacific Ocean.

Three generations, and they all have the same expression on their faces. Priceless.

We managed to flag down our water taxi driver and hopped inside to check out the famous flea market.

Here's Steven's photo of a pelican.  Amazing shot!  Perfect frame!  It's like you're sitting right beside him!

We boarded and headed towards the flea market and passed Senor Frogs where local boys were break dancing for tips.

And here's Steve's shot.  This particular dancer was special, as he only had one leg.  He was a better performer than the guys with both legs (but don't tell them that)!

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" --Frida Kahlo

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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Guess what!

I went to Mexico and got engaged!

And lucky you, I have tons of pictures to share.

Steve, his sister Amy, her husband Chad, and I spent 9 wonderful days on a cruise along the Mexican Riviera.  We left port from San Diego and headed to Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, back to Cabo San Lucas, and then finished the excursion with an entire day devoted to Puerto Vallarta.

I'll do my best to narrate along with the photos.

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Cabo doesn't have a port large enough for cruiseships, so we shuttled over in tenders.

Hi, Amy!

During our shuttle, we passed El Arco, the extreme southern end of the Mexican Riviera.  It is also a hot spot for sea lions, as you'll see later.

In order to get to get around, just find a water taxi driver and he can zip you anywhere you would like to go.  Sure, you could walk, but some places, such as Lover's Beach, are completely remote.  No restaurants, no shops--just beach, surf, and your loved one.  We enjoyed breakfast (huevos rancheros!) at The Office with Amy and Chad before heading over to Lover's Beach.

Now I know why he's smiling...

See that little cave to the right?  That's where he proposed!  I had photographed it along the way.  Coincidence?  Destiny?

At this point we had gotten off the water taxi,  and started to walk towards the cave.  I-oblivious at this point-started to go off on my own to explore and shoot the rocks while Steve was laying down a beach towel.  I should have known that something was up, since Steve and I tend to be on-the-go type of people.

He called me over and, to my surprise, pulled out two champagne glasses and offered me champagne.  Yes, I'm still oblivious at this point.  We have a moment together, sitting, drinking champagne, watching the water taxis float by when he repositions himself and props up on his knees.  'What's he doing?' I thought and looked over at him, still oblivious, only to see him holding a tiny white ring box in his hands.

Normally, I'm a pretty laid back person.

Nothing really phases me.

Until this happened.

Tears immediately began streaming down my face and I turned into a huge mess, saying "Oh my God, yes!"  I lunged at him, we embraced, and I kept crying and thinking, 'Oh my God did I just get engaged in Mexico? I just got engaged in Mexico!! I gotta call my mom!'

We had gone on casual ring shopping excursions before, but I couldn't really decide on a style that I liked.  Still, I trusted that I would "know it when I saw it".  The problem being that I was on a tight deadline and had no idea!  So, Steve used his grandmother's ring to propose to me until we got back to the States.  How sweet is that?!  It was such an honor to be given such a special gift, I loved it!

When I regained composure, we asked another couple to take our picture.  And here  is our first official engagement picture...  :)

We packed our things and headed back to the main part of Lover's Beach so we could relax and recharge before heading out to explore Cabo San Lucas!

But that didn't last long...

I love you so much, Steven!  Thank you for being my best friend, my mentor, my #1 fan, my everything.  I can't wait to "take only photographs, and leave only footprints" with you.  I'll always be your girl :)

022811

(More pictures to come)

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Europe

I had the opportunity to travel to Europe with my classmates (and best friends) my junior year of high school. We were in England for three days and Paris for four. At that time, I was shooting on a regular point-and-shoot camera, not having a clue on how to shoot or what to look for; my style was pure, I was able to shoot anything that satisfied me.

As I look at them now, almost a decade later, I am surprised by how little my style of shooting has changed! I use a lot of the same styles of compositions in my photos to this day-using lines to lead in to the photo, unusual crops, use of negative/dead space, and, most importantly, an early attempt at playing with light and shadows. At first the idea that my style hasn't evolved was slightly embarrassing, but the feelings have settled into a feeling of reassurance that maybe I have chosen the right path afterall. It's so strange to me, how could I have seen basic compositions in the same way that I see them now? Is having "an eye for it" something learned, or is it some type of artistic instinct?

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