Life in Photos, Little Style

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Meanwhile, on vacation…

Images used by permission; ©Nathan Munsey 2012.

Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: NorCal with Me: The Launch of the Summer Vacation Tour, a Virtual Travel Series

I am so excited to launch the Summer Vacation Tour, a brand-new virtual travel series! I have enlisted the help of some amazing friends and bloggers, and over next couple of weeks, they will take you to places like Costa Rica, London, Paris and more. This series wouldn’t be possible without their photos and perspective, so a huge thank you to each of you who contributed!

To kick off the series today, I want to share NorCal with you. It was really hard to narrow down what I wanted to say, since my love for this place is a whole lot bigger than I can convey in just a handful of photos. But, I’ll try… :)


My top five things to love about the Sacramento Valley

  1. The people, of course! This goes without saying, since California holds a huge treasure trove of my dear friends and my husband’s family, whom I love like my own.
  2. The food! It’s less expensive, fresher, and there’s more variety than anywhere else I’ve lived. California produces more than half of the United States’ fruit, vegetables, and nuts. When you break it down to specific foods, the percentages are even higher — nearly 100% of the nation’s pomegranates, kiwis, olives, figs and artichokes come from California. The state also provides 90% of the nations’s avocados, 85% of the nation’s garlic, 75% of the nation’s lettuce…and the list goes on. This is all available to locals at farmers’ markets, and is reflected in the state’s restaurants, too, which are widely diverse in terms of different cuisines and different countries represented. (No, actually, not everyone is a vegetarian. Californians cook up a mean tri-tip steak, a cut of beef the rest of the US has rarely even heard of. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I don’t even eat beef!) Oh, and did I mention food is much less expensive there?
  3. I love Californian style. I love that Californians, by and large, are a stylish lot. Clothing and looks pop up in California long before they appear in the rest of the United States. In fact, our family jokes* that if one moves away from California to another state, one doesn’t have to buy any clothes for five years! (*very much based in fact)
  4. The weather in the area surrounding the Sacramento Valley is perfect. Spring is a gorgeous display of every kind of bloom imaginable, and definitely the greenest time of the year. The hot dry days of summer are countered by the refreshing Delta Breeze which blows in each evening and creates as much as a fifty degree difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Autumn’s crisp days and crunchy leaves swallow up the summer haze little by little, until it’s suddenly winter. Winters in the Sacramento Valley are cool, wet, and deliciously windy (although the strong winds which blow everyone’s fences down in December and January always seem to take people by surprise!) It regularly freezes in the Valley, and just 30-45 minutes away, into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and beyond, winter is white. An hour outside of Sacramento, snow is measured in feet, not inches.
  5. Is it cheating to say that a favorite thing about this location is…the location? The Sacramento Valley is right in the middle between the Golden Gate Bridge and Lake Tahoe. Enough said, right?

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Rural Towns Rural landscapes — Yes, California is FULL of the most gorgeous rural areas you’ll ever see. This photo was taken on the street we lived on before we came to Florida. Looks are deceiving, because this view is only a mile from city life. I LOVE that California is full of contrasts like that.

Favorite Places in Northern California - Lake TahoeLake Tahoe area in the Sierra Nevada mountains — From where we lived in NorCal, one could go the ocean and the snow in the same day — there’s that profoundly wonderful California contrast for you again.

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Point Reyes Point Reyes — If we’re Facebook friends, you likely recognize this as it’s my cover photo. I took this picture on our second anniversary, right before we hiked up 2,948,795,843,987 stairs to the Point Reyes light house. I was pregnant. It was a loooooong climb. But the view is one of my favorite in the world!

Favorite Places in Northern California - Bodega BayBodega Bay — I could write for days about Bodega Bay, and I’m still not sure words could do it justice (and that’s saying a lot, because I am a lover of words).

Favorite Places in Northern California -  Oak Trees and Foggy Sunrise Foggy sunrise shining through the oak trees — another photo from our old home in NorCal. I miss those trees, and the cool morning air that we definitely don’t get here in Florida.

So there you have it! NorCal, my favorite place. I can’t wait to introduce you to the other locations in this series!

This post is a part of the Summer Vacation Tour, a virtual travel series hosted here on To ‘travel’ to other locations while I’m taking a brief break from blogging, click here. (Want to be featured in the future? Email me!)

Guest Blog, Summer Vacation Tour, Travel/Moving

TRAVEL :: Summer Vacation Tour Blog Series :: Guest Q&A Submissions Now Being Accepted!

I’m putting together a guest blogging series called Summer Vacation Tour, which will showcase various places around the world. (Well, that’s the idea, any way. In order for it to happen, I need YOUR help!)

Summer Vacation Tour Hosted by Oaxacaborn dot Com

Here’s how it will work. If you wish to participate, email me (oaxacaborn at gmail) with the following information:

  1. Your NAME and the LOCATION you wish to showcase
  2. A brief BIO of yourself which includes how you are CONNECTED or RELATED to this location (i.e., currently live there, hometown, favorite vacation, etc). Please also expound upon WHY you chose this location to this feature.
  3. Your favorite PHOTO or three or five of the location (Photos must be at least 530px wide. You must own the rights to the photos; i.e., can’t have copied them off someone else’s blog.)
  4. A list of the TOP FIVE REASONS you love this location, or the TOP FIVE THINGS this location is known for.
  5. [Optional] LINKS to your blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter accounts (If applicable; not at all required in order to participate.)

Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family — let’s see how much of the world we can cover! Have fun — I can’t wait to read your entries. :)

The fine print: Submitting content does not constitute a guarantee the entry will be published. All submissions are subjected to editing for content and clarity. If multiple submissions for the same location are received, one or two will be selected for publishing. Submissions which are missing major sections of the Q and A may not be used.

Life in Photos

a spring vacation week with lauren: the instagram version

this week was amazing. my lovely friend lauren–who was a bridesmaid in my wedding–came to visit! i haven’t seen her since 2008, so (obviously!) this was her first time meeting aveline.

they got along smashingly. lauren was so patient with the fact that aveline’s naplessness and teething took precedence over going out and about. so, we settled in on the couch and took turns holding aveline while drinking iced coffees, tweeting to each other, and watching back to back (to back) episodes of say yes to the dress. (ssshhh, don’t tell.)

Auntie Lauren and Baby Aveline - Baby is sporting NatureBabiesUK Leopard Pattern Cloth Diaper Cover

we did have a few outings. it’s always fun to wander around ross, right? especially when you’re with a friend, and you get the giggles upon spotting the creepiest clearance rack ever. i mean, seriously! how can this get much worse? mr. chipped-ear-elephant gave me the willies. and why exactly is he giving the bottle of yeast the eye?

TwinLab Yeast Supplement and Ceramic Elephant with Chipped Ear - Creepy Clearance Aisle at Ross Store

we also drove downtown and took a lovely walk around lake eola. in all the times i’ve been there, i’ve never noticed this monument to the confederate states. it kind of blew my mind. i should have taken a photo of the inscription on the base of the monument. a lot of people will argue that florida isn’t really the true south, but if that’s the case, why are they celebrating the confederacy every time i turn around? i’ve seen more confederate flags here than any other place i’ve ever lived. it’s bizarre.

Confederate Monument at Lake Eola, Orlando Florida

but i digress…

while lauren was here, we also drove to the coast and spend the afternoon at cocoa beach. this beach as a special place in my heart, as my family came here on an amazing vacation when i was 16 years old, and it’s where josiah proposed in 2008. this time, we introduced little aveline to the ocean for the very first time.

Gina and Aveline under umbrella at Cocoa Beach - baby's first trip to the Atlantic Ocean

she was dressed as lawrence of arabia for the majority of the time, but i think she enjoyed herself. it was a gorgeous, beautiful day. i just love the florida coast. as i was sitting on the beach looking out over the rolling crystal blue waves, i commented to josiah that as awesome as california is, i really do love florida and i wouldn’t mind living here for years. i see beauty everwhere here now. i know God has done a work in my heart, as i really am so content and happy here this time around — and it wasn’t like that at all before. thank you, Lord, for this wonderful peace.

Lauren and Gina with baby Aveline at Cocoa Beach, Florida - Baby's first trip to the Atlantic Ocean

doesn’t lauren look every part the doting auntie? we had an amazing time together.

Auntie Lauren and Baby Aveline (and Lauren's new haircut courtesy yours truly!)