Category Archives: Orange County

The Captain of Love

When my boyfriend told me our next gig was a wedding on a boat, I had a fleeting moment to picture a luxury yacht cruising down the Baja peninsula. He quickly clarified that this boat is actually a river boat that cruises around Balboa Island in Newport Beach, offering a daily happy hour with tacos.
Okay, not quite Beyonce and Jay-Z, but us photographers are concerned with more mundane details such as availability of natural light. The Angela Louise did not disappoint on this count (abundant! diffuse!), nor on entertainment value.
The captain of the ship looked eminently captain-ly. In a wedding, generally the bride is the star of the show, but this time, the captain stole the spotlight. Just as we all turned in anticipation of the wedding march, it wasn’t the bride that emerged from the curtains, but our very own captain … singing “Love Boat.”

The topper was that we later talked to the bride and groom and apparently this performance was not discussed previously. The guests certainly took it in stride.

The ocean theme was integrated into every part of the ceremony. See if you can count all the maritime metaphors in this speech:

The reference to the “mermaids of temptation” is my favorite part. Stay away from this holy union, Ariel!! Viva the love boat!


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Filed under I heart Cali, Los Angeles, Orange County, Weirdness

Seabreeze Pet Cemetery

German and I were driving near Huntington Beach when we spotted a sign for a cemetery…a pet cemetery. It sounds like something from R.L. Stein, but it was very real and quite extensive. Smallest graves I’ve ever seen.

Click here to see the slideshow.

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Filed under Los Angeles, Orange County, Weirdness

The unstoppable Orange County

When I moved to LA, I feel like I inadvertantly chose sides in a long-standing feud: Los Angeles vs. Orange County. There is obviously a lot of history going way back, a lot of bad blood and passion. Well, I’m not from here so I don’t get it, the same way people from Texas don’t recognize the HUGE differences between Sonoma and Napa (Napa’s for auto parts – Sonoma’s the best. Even Grey’s Anatomy hunks agree! McDreamy: “Sonoma. Smaller hotels. Fewer tourists.“). So far, these are things I’ve noticed on my brief forays to Orange County.

  • The highway is a lot wider.
  • There is a lot of water-intensive landscaping, even in the industrial parks, but there are basically no orange trees anywhere.
  • The outdoor mall in Irvine can only be accurately described as vast.

Thankfully, there is a book to enlighten us on the charms of this southern land: Orange County: A Personal History.


I found out about the newest book by Gustavo Arellano, the author of the syndicated column, Ask a Mexican, from his recent Zocalo lecture. I’ve taken to downloading the lectures as podcasts and I listen at the gym so that I’m simultaneously getting both buffer AND smarter.
The same way a good teacher can make anything interesting, so can a good writer. Gustavo Arellano is as funny as ever, plus the book has lots of my favorite stuff – history and musings on Mexican/American culture. He’s got a great section on OC religion from The Purpose-Driven Life to the Hour of Power. I’m planning a field trip to the Crystal Cathedral.
Orange County is actually part of my personal history as well. I may have been raised in Northern California, but my half-sister, Dana, grew up in Newport Beach, as did her husband. I recently visited my sister’s old haunts for the first time ever. We walked around Balboa Island and she pointed out places our dad used to go when his family vacationed down south in the summers. It was kind of surreal to be connected to a place I’d never visited.
But as Gustavo points out, we’re ALL connected to Orange County in one way or another, since it’s one of those rare American places with political and cultural influence far beyond its size. He may be the county’s #1 critic, but he’s also it’s #1 cheerleader. Read it, love it, embrace the OC. (Just don’t call it that.)

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Filed under California history, Orange County