Summer Road Trip Series: from San Diego to San Francisco

montana de oro feet

Have you ever traveled solo?

Like, get in the car/on a plane and spend a night or week or month (!) discovering, eating and sleeping by yourself?

I’ve realized… that I haven’t. Long day trips, yes, but I’ve yet to experience the peaceful silence of solitude that descends at night on my own. I’d like to change that one of these days, but for now, I’ll live vicariously through my next Summer Road Trip Series featured guest. Meet Corey of But We Will Stay, and follow along on her adventure traveling from San Diego to San Francisco!



“To get out of town. To think in quiet. To take pictures. It was to see a friend that had just gotten back from Afghanistan and then explore some places on the California coast that I had seen Kevin Russ take amazing pictures of and that I never knew existed.”

moro bay floaties piratescove


“I almost didn’t go in the beginning AND when I first go to Fairfield my car smelled like sulfur… turns out the battery in my car was all but bursting into flames by the time I got to a Pep Boys the next morning. My clothes, being that they were in the trunk (where my battery is in my car, weird I know) smelled of sulfur so I had to air them out a bit.

I went Zuma Beach in Malibu to take a picture of a FOOD sign and went on to Santa Monica Pier to ride the ferris wheel. Turns out you are not allowed to do so by yourself there, so by myself so an employee had to ride with me.

I also went to Photobooth SF to get my tintype taken. That was an awesome experience and I highly recommend it. They have all different sorts of toy cameras and refurbished polaroid cameras. After getting my tin type I headed down the coast to stay in Morro Bay. The next morning I went to Montaña de Oro beach and Pirate’s Cove/Shell Beach. It ended up being a nude beach, but as it was very overcast when I was there, there were only a few sunbathing.”

santa monica ferris wheel food zuma beach pismo beach


“In the fall I am moving out to Nashville, TN. I am so, so excited not just to live in a new city but to road trip it through the states to get there. I have my current plan on Roadtrippers. I am moving and making the most out of the trip, stopping and going a little out of my way here and there to see gorgeous things. I am so excited. I love road trips so much.”

polaroids morro bay

Corey’s Blog // Instagram // Twitter 

Good luck on your big move, Corey!

The series continues this time next week—with an international road trip!

Through the lens: photos from February

golden gate park

For such a short month, February was all over the map.

And it was an absolute whirlwind. I feel like I use that word a lot—whirlwind. But it’s a very accurate description of what life feels like lately. I’m just taking it all in.

One way I’ve been taking it all in is by taking even more photos than usual. Sometimes I go through photography slumps because I get bummed out that I’m not as knowledgeable about all the manual settings as I’d like to be, and I can’t justify shelling out the cash for a fancy lens. But I’ve made efforts to learn more about my camera over the past year or so, and I don’t need an expensive lens to be a good photographer. I’ve also gotten better at pretending not to care that I probably look more like a tourist than I do a photographer when I whip out the DSLR. So that helps.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the past month, including pictures from my San Francisco trip last weekend. This first shot was really underexposed originally, so I played around with some edits… which resulted in this watercolor-y looking picture:

little-italy waterfall

Below, scenes from the Potrero Hill neighborhood where we stayed with a friend. Such a gorgeous, walkable neighborhood.

flowers-bike-2 potrero-hill-2 mariposa-2

Meanwhile, back in Silver Lake, jasmine is in full bloom. EVERYWHERE. It’s my favorite smell.

jasmine Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

John and I spent approximately 45 minutes in Santa Cruz on our way back from the Bay Area, but I’d love to spend a lot more time here. We sat here for a while watching the world’s happiest dogs run around on the dog-friendly beach. (And I fell deeper into my I-want-a-dog despair.)

santa-cruz-dog-beach santa-cruz-cliffscalliandrasan francisco fogEcho Park

So much beauty in this big, wild state. The amazing thing is, it’ll never run out—so there will always be plenty to photograph.

Bring on March! I’m looking forward to celebrating John’s birthday, getting some much-needed time off for spring break and discovering more of what the California coast has to offer. How about you?


Driving stick in San Francisco

Petrero Hill

I bought my new car, Sheila, just a month or so before moving to California.

When I got her, I envisioned lots of day trips and road trips along the West Coast. This weekend, I had the chance to show Sheila what San Francisco is all about.

When I began to get serious about moving to California and going to grad school, San Francisco felt like a real possibility. The last time I visited four years ago, I was enamored. Northern California is one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

To think that San Francisco is only a five-hour drive away from Los Angeles is kind of mind-boggling to me. You know what else is mind-boggling? How frighteningly steep the hills are—especially when you’re driving stick.

My first car was a stick shift, so I’ve always had an appreciation for the art of getting into first gear. But parallel parking on a steep incline was never part of my training. I might’ve had a mini panic attack over the summer when I was parked between two BMWs on a hill in Runyon Canyon and wasn’t exactly confident that I’d be able to get out of the spot without causing some damage. John gave me a crash course in using the emergency break as a back-up then (and no damage was done), but San Francisco was the real test of my abilities.

There’s something special about zipping around a city as a visitor in your own car. Even though Sheila was embarrassingly filthy (bird poop, bug guts, desert dust, etc.), I was proud to take her around town. We visited Golden Gate Park, drove along the Embarcadero and struggled with directions when we realized you can’t make left turns anywhere. We even parked on one or two of the steepest hills San Francisco has to offer. Though I handed John the keys and let him sweat it out when we parked here.

The weekend went by fast, but knowing the Bay Area is just a few hours away means we won’t go another four years before we visit again, and that’s pretty cool. I’ll share more pictures later this week, when I do my monthly photo roundup.

Do you know how to drive stick? Has anyone ever driven stick in San Francisco?