Stripes in Newport

TOP: Topshop  |  JEANS: Asos  |  SANDALS: Kensie (similar)  |  BAG: Lulu's
          I recently got this top and sandals with some of my birthday money (gift money).  I've had my eye on these sandals for several months.  I think they are so cute.  It's a bit of a shame that the weather is cooling down but I think I can still get away with wearing them longer because I live in Southern California.  Maybe I will just put them away till next summer.  I wore them to Newport Beach today.  We spent the day there exploring the area.  We hadn't been there since moving here, and wanted to see what the ocean front was like.  This is what I wore.  

San Diego Zoo on Halloween

You can't tell with this awful lighting but my cotton candy is candy corn colored!
          I haven't had time to create any outfit posts lately because of work and the time change making it dark so early, so I thought I'd talk about the San Diego Zoo.  I visited it last week on Halloween for the first time.  They weren't really doing much to celebrate Halloween, it was just a coincidence that we went that day.  It is such an amazing zoo.  I heard it was supposed to be the best one in the country and that is so true.  Although it is pretty expensive to get in, it's totally worth it.  It's an enormous zoo.  They have every animal you can imagine, it's super clean and well kept, and really fun to walk around.  The way it is laid out is in a hilly area so there are different levels and it feels like you are in a jungle.  There is also an areal tram that you can ride for free.  It takes you from one side to the other.  I will definitely be going back sometime.  If you are planning on visiting San Diego, I suggest you check it out.  

30th Birthday on Catalina Island

DRESS: Roxy  |  SANDALS: Report
          I celebrated my 30th birthday on Sunday and Monday, at Catalina Island with my fiancé and his family.  It was a really nice way to celebrate a birthday, especially a big one like 30.  There is a ton to do on the island and it's really beautiful.  We went Kayaking, rented a tandem bike, visited the botanic gardens, ate a ton of good food, shopped, and explored.  We had a seal swim around us a few times while we were on the Kayaks.  It was really cool to be so close to one while he was fishing.  I loved riding the tandem bike too.  I've always wanted to ride one!  It's been on my bucket list for several years.  It's much harder than it looks.  
          This dress that I am wearing is by Roxy.  I bought it on the island after feeling unsatisfied with not having anything special to wear on my birthday.  I bought 5 dresses from Asos before we went, hoping to find the perfect one for my birthday.  None of them fit.  I will probably just return all of them.  I really love this one.  It fits so well and was perfect for the occasion.  It's a bit beach-y but not too casual.  

How to Take Your Own Engagement Pictures

DRESS: ASTR the Label  |  SANDALS: Forever 21
          If you're like me and don't like to pay somebody to do something that you can do yourself, this post may be for you.  My fiancé and I have been planning our wedding and we are doing a lot of DIY's, including taking our own photos.  Hiring a photographer for all of the wedding-related things can cost thousands.  Even an engagement session can cost several hundred dollars.  We decided that instead of hiring a photographer, we were going to buy a nice camera and take our own photos.  It's not as difficult as it sounds.  Maybe these photos aren't up to your standards but we aren't that picky.  We just want to remember the moments and have some nice looking pictures.  
          These are from our second session.  Another perk of taking them yourself is that you can take as many as you want, wherever you want, until you are satisfied.  We are both super awkward in front of the camera as well and don't like the idea of having a stranger take such intimate pictures of us.  As a child, I remember my mom paying for professional photo sessions for me instead of buying school pictures and I never liked any of them.  At least this way you can choose your own poses and make sure your smile looks alright.  
          The way we take our own pictures is by setting up the camera on a tripod.  This is pretty obvious, but you really do need one.  The camera we use is the EOS Canon Rebel SL2.  It was pretty affordable for what it can do.  With this camera you can connect a phone to it through an app.  You can see what the camera sees through your phone and take the picture when you are ready from a distance.  A lot of Canon cameras can do this and probably some others.  Canon has it's own app that lets you view and download the photos straight to your phone.  It makes taking pictures so easy.  You just have to hide your phone in the picture.  You also have the option of using the self timer.  If you want to have your hands free this is a pretty easy way to do that.  For photo ideas I just looked on Instagram and Pinterest and saved some images to my phone.  Be sure to let me know if you guys try this. 
          These are the pictures from our first session.  We took these so long ago (a year ago) and always planned on taking more.  The reason some of the poses are the same is because we didn't want to do any of the close-up cheesy hugging poses.  If you missed my post about our engagement, you can find that HERE. 

Kings Canyon National Park

Can you see the black bear to the left? The cub is a few feet behind, but behind a tree.  
TOP: Forever 21  |  CARDIGAN: Forever 21  |  JEANS: Forever 21  |  SUNGLASSES: T.J. Maxx  |  BACKPACK: Primark
          We spent Sunday at Kings Canyon National Park.  I'd never been there and it's such a pretty park.  It's right next to Sequoia.  The mountains there are super tall (around 11,000 ft.).  It has valleys,  waterfalls, and other unique sites.  We didn't have a lot of time to hike because the road into the park is super long and curvy.  On one of the trails a mother black bear and cub crossed the trail right in front of us.  It was just far enough away that I'm not sure if they noticed us, but also close enough that we could see them in great detail.  We were able to observe them for a little bit before turning around.   The bear cub was eating things off the ground and it was so cute.  I wish we could have spent more time at both parks.  We are already planning on going back in the near future.