Adventures in *almost* trashing a wedding dress with the Gaupers

A couple of days ago Ryan and Holly Gauper rolled into San Francisco after driving across the US for a few weeks, flying to China for a couple more and hanging in Hawaii. If you don’t remember the Gaupers, they are the amazingly awesome husband and wife photography duo who shot all of the amazing pics from our wedding about 6 months back. They’ve been taking some time off to see some of their family, friends and have also been setting up some photography workshops along the way. They’ve been at it for a couple of months and are now finally getting ready to start the drive back to their home state of Michigan so that they can get ready for another crazy-packed wedding season.

Before they took off and headed back home both Holly and Ryan wanted to take Stephanie and I out for a shoot around San Francisco, which we were more than happy to do yesterday (ok, we were giddy like little kids to do it). Of course, with Holly and Ryan there’s never really just a ‘normal’ photo shoot and this time was no exception. When Stephanie and I went home for Christmas Holly told us to have Stephanie’s mom ship out her wedding dress to our place in San Francisco so that we could have a trash the dress shoot. If you’ve never heard of a trash the dress shoot, it’s basically just like what it sounds — the bride gets photos taken of her literally trashing her wedding dress. This usually consists of the bride jumping in water, standing around in something messy or some other type of thing that brides aren’t supposed to do while wearing a pristine, white wedding dress. It’s become pretty popular with brides here the past couple of years and it only seems to be getting more and more popular as time goes on.

We were planning on doing something a little more on the extreme side to Stephanie’s dress (like chopping it up with scissors or covering it in paint), but as Stephanie, Holly, Ryan, Nic and I started running around San Francisco together we ended up spending so much time getting shots of us not trashing the dress we didn’t end up actually doing the trashing that we initially set out to do. I’m totally ok with this as I was honestly a little sad about the fact that we were going to ruin the dress that reminds me of the best day of my life, but I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before we get to doing what we initially set out to do yesterday. That dress is trashed, it’s just going to take a little bit longer before it happens.

Like I said, we didn’t trash the dress, but that definitely doesn’t mean that we didn’t get some freakin’ fantastic shots. We ended up spending about seven hours driving all around San Francisco and the photos that we ended up getting out of it are really cool. Check out a preview of what we came back with below and be sure to keep an eye on Holly and Ryan’s blog for more photos and video (and the video is HILARIOUS).

Checking out the best surfers in the world at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay

There are some really amazing things that can only be found out here in Northern California and one of them has to be the Mavericks Surf Contest. It’s one of the world’s most respected big wave competitions and is held every year that weather permits about 20 miles south of San Fransisco in Half Moon Bay. More specifically, the contest is held in an area that’s known as Mavericks that’s practically built to create massive size waves due to it’s unique ocean floor. Jeff Clark, a local born and raised in Half Moon Bay, was the first surfer to ever take on the once thought to-be-too-dangerous-to-surf waves that can sometimes top out at over 50 feet high.

Jeff Clark, having grown up near Half Moon Bay, learned about Maverick’s at an early age. At that time the location was deemed too dangerous to surf. He spent time watching the break, and conceived the possibility of riding Hawaii-sized waves in Northern California. One day in 1975, with the waves topping out at 10 to 12 feet (3.7 m), Clark paddled out alone to face Maverick’s. He was successful, catching a number of left-breaking waves, thereby becoming the first person to tackle Maverick’s head-on.

Well, today was the day that Mavericks came back to Half Moon Bay (due to lack of optimal weather conditions it was canceled last year) and Stephanie, our roomie Nic, Frank and myself (along with some other friends) all went to see what it was really all about. Although we weren’t able to get super-close views of the actual surfing the day was unbelievably beautiful and just being there to experience it was more than enough to guarantee that we’ll all be back there again the next time it comes around.

Here are a few pics and a video that I snapped at the event. They should give you a good idea of the popularity of Mavericks and just how beautiful Half Moon Bay is during this time of year.

A video and a pic of people who got caught in the aftermath of the 30+ foot waves that were swelling up at Mavericks this morning. Some of the people were actually swept out into the water and had to be rescued by medical staff. Some suffered broken bones and minor cuts, but most only had to suffer through being soaked for the rest of the day. We were literally just about to head into this area when the waves hit.

Can’t say that the people weren’t warned. These signs were posted everywhere on the beach.

What was left on the beach after the waves hit and cleared out a stage and several tents.

A view from a top the cliffs at the Mavericks in Half Moon Bay.

This was view from the opposite side of the beach where we were when the waves got the people wet. There were a ton of people watching the competition from over here. It was amazing to see how many people came out for the event considering that it was only announced a couple days before it happened. Also, most people weren’t at all scared of climbing all over the cliffs as long as it gave them a better view. I guess that they’re all used to hiking and aren’t too worried about falling hundreds of feet to their death, but for some reason it still worries me and Stephanie. Maybe we need to suck it up.

The sun was out in full force, which made for a beautiful day in Half Moon Bay. That weird looking tower with a ball on it in the upper right corner of this pic is part of the Pillar Point Air Force Base (which no one except press was allowed to enter today).

Frank loved hanging out at the beach, but we probably walked over 5 miles altogether, which is like running a marathon for a Pug. Here you can see him getting some much needed rest while we were checking out the surfers. He had no trouble getting up and down the cliffs and got to meet several other dogs that were also hanging out at Mavericks (including a few Pugs). People really love their dogs in the bay area, which makes is completely normal to bring them with you to outdoor events like this.

Here’s another view from the other side of the cliffs. The surfers were grabbing their waves right around the area to the right of cliff in this pic. Unless you had some binoculars or a serious camera lens (which several people had), you pretty much had to rely on people’s reactions to know whether or not someone had actually caught a wave.

This is a shot of the rest of the coastline, which I thought almost looked too beautiful to be real. If you look in the bottom right corner of this pic I snuck in a guy who was chilling on the side of the cliff. He was pretty high up there, but didn’t seem to be too worried about it. Like I said, it’s something that they’re used to.

After walking a couple of miles back to the car (part of which I carried Frank after he started panting like he was going to die) it didn’t take Frank too long to crash. He was so tired that he fell asleep on Stephanie’s 7-up bottle which was in our cup holder. I thought that this was way too funny (and cute) to pass up taking a picture of it. Frank’s just like us — he’ll go and go until he practically passes out, which he obviously did today.

Have we ever told you how much we love our roommate?

Our roommate Nic (facebook) really outdid himself with this Christmas photo that he worked his magic on. It’s the final (and best) photo in a 3-part series that was aimed at adding a little more ‘flavor’ to the Santa Claus of old by suggesting new ways that he could become more awesome this year.

This photo in particular took him an entire night to set up. You can’t really tell, but the stuffed animals are hung from his ceiling with fishing line, he’s holding on tosome ribbon that he bought and he’s riding on his bed whose blankets are rolled up to look like bags of presents. Amazing.

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better, here’s the caption that he added to the photo:





Yep, this is why we love our roomie.

Could Frank be the next spokesman for Sam Adams beer? Todd Bellomy says no thanks.


After seeing the above picture you would think that Sam Adams would love to have Frank represent their tasty beverages, but unfortunately Todd Bellomy, the Consumer Relations Representative at Sam Adams said that they weren’t currently looking for a ‘spokesdog’. Well, it was at least worth a shot and I guess that I should give a huge thanks to my always entertaining roommate Nic for emailing it over to Sam Adams without me or Stephanie even knowing about it. Good looking out, roomie.

Here’s the rejection email that Nic just forwarded to me this morning — it’s still good stuff even though they didn’t bite:

Dear Nic,

Nice photo…I’ll let you know if we ever need a “spokesdog”!!

Thank you for your email and you interest in the great beers here at the Boston Beer Company.


Todd Bellomy
Consumer Relations Representative
The Boston Beer Company

Now THIS is how you get picked up from the airport! (some fun with our roomie, Nic Engel)

nicWe haven’t talked a lot about the phenomenon that is our roommate, Nic Engel, but I’m starting to think that we should add a new section on this blog just for all of the amazingly wacky things that he does on a day-to-day basis. He’s by far one of the most randomly creative people that I have ever met and he never fails to surprise me with the awesome ideas that he comes up with.

For instance, Nic was coming to pick Stephanie and I up at the San Francisco Airport (SFO) a couple days ago and after we had grabbed our luggage and texted him that we were ready to roll out, he said that he’s be there in 3 minutes to grab us. It had been a long couple of weeks of traveling, a wedding, a honeymoon and lots of flight time, so needless to sat Stephanie and I were both ready to get back to the SOMA Shack (our condo) for some much needed rest. All we were expecting from Nic was a normal, everyday airport pick-up, but of course he had to go and take something that’s so simple and ‘normal’ and kick it up a notch to a level that he was a little more, ummm…comfortable with.

You see, to us we were just getting picked up from the airport after being gone for 2 weeks. But, to Nic we were getting picked up after being gone FOR 2 WEEKS and we were also COMING BACK TO AMERICA AFTER BEING OUT OF THE COUNTRY FOR MANY, MANY DAYS!!! I use capitals because that’s really the only way that I can do this airport pick-up justice.

When Nic pulled up in Gloria (that’s what we call our black Pontiac G6) with the windows rolled down while blasting a CD of an African children’s choir that Stephanie and I had got from church, it didn’t really surprise me…but, it did surprise me when he started screaming “WELCOME TO AMERICA!!” while jumping out of the car and looking like a crazy Mexican Mayan Indian warrior  that was wearing a lei and holding two juggling pins. Oh, he was also wearing a red, white and blue “Happy 4th of July!” crown that Stephanie made in her preschool class, which I thought was a nice touch. :)

As the other people who were innocently standing on the curb waiting to get picked up watched in shock/horror, Nic threw the lei around Stephanie’s neck and slapped the 4th of July crown on my head. Then while screaming “WELCOME TO AMERICA — THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY!!” he grabbed our luggage and threw it into the back seat. The tribal markings that he had drawn all over his face and body with green, black and brown markers were also looking fabulous and they definitely added a lot to the overall entertainment value of the airport pick-up and it was good to see that Nic didn’t slack on any of the details (he never does).

I’m a little sad that I didn’t get video of this whole thing, but I did get a good picture of what he looked like, which is probably good enough to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Check it out below and enjoy all that is Nic Engel. Oh, and don’t worry, there’s a lot more where this came from.