Captured Images: Earth Day 2017 at Balboa Park, San Diego

 

Celebrating the Earth and the Day…One Flower or Image at a Time!

It was a beautiful San Diego day last Sunday, April 23, 2017. I was meeting friends from the East Coast at the San Diego Zoo. Little did I know that Balboa Park was celebrating Earth Day, and it was extremely crowded! Parking took forever! But lo and behold, I finally was able to park and decided to capture some images of the afternoon at Balboa Park en route to meeting my friends.

Most of the images are flowers. That’s celebrating the Earth, right???

Feel free to enjoy these images by clicking on each one.

Have fun and kindly “Like, Comment, Share” away!

 

All photo credit: SJF Communications

Extraordinary People -Sue Vicory

 Making a Powerful Impact

One Person at a Time:

Award-Winning Filmmaker Sue Vicory

by

Susan J. Farese

SJF Communications

Sue Vicory. Photo Credit: Landon Collis

My serendipitous connection with two-time Telly Award winning Filmmaker Sue Vicory began in 2015. It was meant to be! San Diego filmmaker/entrepreneur/educator Jodi Cilley, the President of the Film Consortium San Diego and the founder and producer of the annual San Diego Film Awards (and an equally extraordinary person) recommended that I connect with her film colleague Sue.  Jodi was so intuitive in facilitating our connection (which I hope will last a lifetime)!

Sue Vicory with Jodi Cilley
Sue Vicory with Jodi Cilley (courtesy photo-Jodi Cilley)

     A quote about Sue from Jodi: 

“Sue Vicory is one of the most inspiring and amazing people I know. She has dedicated her life to helping others and has gone out of her way to help build the film industry in San Diego in a variety of ways. She is a role model and I’m constantly amazed by her efforts to help people from all walks of life.” – Jodi Cilley

After reaching out to Sue via email, my daughter Emmy and I were cast in the short fiction film Downstage for the 2015 San Diego 48 Hour Film Project.  Sue’s production company “Heartland Films” produced and Sue directed, along with the writing team of Sariann Monaco, Holly Rone and Talia Pauletti. “Team XX” was a history-making, twenty-five member, all-female team.  Downstage is now on the film festival circuit. You can view Sue’s films and videos on  Sue Vicory’s YouTube Channel. Read my previous post about Team XX .

Team XX at Filming of Downstage
Team XX at Filming of Downstage (courtesy photo-Sue Vicory)

Besides working on Downstage Emmy and I have participated in a few of Sue’s community service projects and we continually network. It was because of witnessing Sue’s purpose, passion, vigor and selfless “chill” demeanor that I decided to interview her here as an Extraordinary Person, Sharing her Story!

Sue is currently on an amazing one year trip across the U.S. in her branded van with her “extraordinary” “My Power of One” (MPO1) 12 Acts of Kindness National Tour”. Her recently retired and extremely supportive husband Jay and their amazing (will tell you why later) Golden Retriever Kacy are accompanying her.

Here is the MPO1 Facebook page link and “12 Acts of Kindness National Tour”- Go Fund Me Site. You can order MPO1 t-shirts, hats, stickers, note cards, etc.: http://mypowerofone.com/product-category/t-shirts/ and read Sue’s blog: MPO1: blog: http://mypowerofone.com/blog/

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Aha! A Monarch Butterfly Visits Us!

 

Welcome to Our Balcony in San Diego, Sir or Ms. Monarch!*

 

A Magnificent Beauty Arrives!

I had just sat down  looking out at our 2nd floor balcony, when all of a sudden, a beautiful Monarch butterfly visited!

I grabbed my Nikon Coolpix L830 and put it on the “close up” setting and snapped away!

This post will be super short and sweet..

-Just a way to share how gorgeous this colorful butterfly was!

Enjoy these photos, feel free to like, comment and share this post link.

Beauty in nature abounds, we just need to look for it, spot it and savor the beauty of it!

Enjoy!

 

p.s. (*I didn’t get a chance to determine if it was a male (black spot on hind wing) or female (no black spot)!

(Check out http://www.monarchbutterflygarden.net for more info)

 

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4-monarch1

Funny thing is, I just bought those two plants a few days ago and haven’t even planted them yet!

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Lucky enough to catch the butterfly in flight, although a bit blurred!

1-monarch4

Hope your day is as delightful as this butterfly’s has been!

Sunset and Moon for Kate, October 25, 2015

For Kate

by

Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

Tonight we said goodbye to Kate

So fiercely talented, in the know.

Loving Wife, guiding Mom to her daughters

With pen in hand, her words would flow…

She touched many lives in so many ways

by guiding and writing & teaching

A Theatre Mom supporting the arts

Her essence in life so far reaching.

As we left her Memorial Service

An amazing sight was seen

The most brilliant magnificent sunset

With bright light among hues pristine.

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In the midst of that glorious sunset

A shining light appeared…as if to say

My friends, I’ll be with you in spirit

Think of me as the sun goes away.

kate8

And when we returned home

I peeked at the moon

So bright, full and gleaming with light…

kate9.moon

And I pondered, so thankful

For Kate and her life

Touching ours

Dear Kate, Farewell,

Goodnight.

 

 

Ahoy ! My Solo Trip Adventure to Catalina Island!

My Mom,  (who recently turned  80 years “young”),  always said…”Nothing in life is free”. Well, Mom, you were “almost” completely right!

For my birthday this year I did something really out of the ordinary:  I traveled solo to and from the beautiful Mediterranean picturesque Santa Catalina Island, population just over 3000 (I will be referring to it as Catalina Island ) on my “free” round trip boat ride, courtesy of Catalina Express  http://catalinaexpress.com/birthday_promo.html  and enjoyed a few other free or discounted goodies thrown in!

You’re probably thinking…”Huh?”…”You’re kidding..” or “What a risk” or “How idiotic”, right?

Nope! Best trip ever! I am still smiling inside!

Although I’m originally from  New Jersey, I’ve lived in several cities, states and a few countries. California is especially dear to me because overall,  I’ve lived here a total of 18 years. Despite so many years here, I was yet to experience a trip to Catalina.

So, this past April, on my birthday, my husband would be working, my daughter was in school and I didn’t want to “obligate”  friend(s) to pay for the round trip boat ride. Plus, and this was a big bonus: I absolutely love photography, and I’d be able to snap away where, what and when I wanted! So….

I drove bright and early from San Diego to Long Beach, grabbed some breakfast, checked in with proof of my actual birthday, received and donned that  cool “It’s my birthday” ribbon and boarded the boat! I sat outside and bundled up for the ride!

Aboard the boat to Catalina!
Aboard the boat to Catalina!

Oh…I did take some children’s strength medicine for potential motion “challenges” which turned out to be a real plus! Did I say a real plus???? Yep, some queasiness hit me a tiny bit, but I survived!

I’m happy to share some photos and tidbits from my trip.

We left the harbor and suddenly it was extremely windy !

Leaving the Long Beach Harbor
Leaving the Long Beach Harbor

We passed by the Queen Mary on the way to Catalina, another place I’d like to visit sometime soon!

Passing by The Queen Mary Docked in Long Beach
Passing by The Queen Mary Docked in Long Beach

Also saw the “China Shipping Line” En Route!

Passing by Cargo Ship
Passing by Cargo Ship

Aha! Our first view of Catalina Island in the distance!

First sight of Catalina Island!
First sight of Catalina Island!

How cool is this? A parasailer welcoming us!

Another
Another “first glance” of Catalina Island

A view of the beautiful Catalina Island Casino!

The Famous Catalina Island Casino
The Famous Catalina Island Casino

The beautiful Carnival Cruise was in port! Passengers took smaller boats to get onto the island.

When I arrived Avalon was very busy with many cruise passengers for the day. Then at around 4 p.m., they all left, and Avalon felt like a ghost town!

Look! A Carnival Cruise in Port!
Look! A Carnival Cruise in Port!

Another colorful view of Catalina Island!

Catalina Harbor
Catalina Harbor

Once we happily  “disembarked”I was eager to explore Avalon on Catalina Island. What a delightful way to spend the day! I decided not to rent a golf cart (the golf carts are all over the place, since they only allow so many cars on the island and there is a 14 year wait for a car permit)! and strolled at my own pace. Here’s a look at some of the shops and tourist spots I snapped. Feel free to click on each picture for a larger view!

After wandering a bit, I decided to enjoy a delicious lunch and a Margarita at Maggies Blue Rose. I was having such a great time, that I thought…why not stay overnight??? I knew it was completely out of the ordinary for me…but nonetheless decided to do a quick search of hotels but also asked my server what she recommended. Serendipitously, I decided to stay upstairs from Maggies at the  Hotel Vista Del Mar. They also had some fun birthday freebies, including a bottle of wine or champagne (I chose the bottle of wine and brought it home), and a celebratory balloon ! I bought a few essentials for staying overnight and relaxed for the rest of my solo journey! Feel free to click on each picture for a larger view!

Hotel Vista Del Mar Sign
Hotel Vista Del Mar Sign
Fish Tank at Hotel Vista Del Mar
Fish Tank at Hotel Vista Del Mar

The Hotel Vista Del Mar has a great fish tank in the lobby filled with colorful fish and coral decor ! It was very relaxing to peek at the tank while relaxing on the lobby which overlooks the water.

Once I checked into the hotel, I decided to take the very interesting  Catalina Scenic Tour. The bus driver a.k.a. narrator was terrific spokeperson for the Avalon and island of Catalina.

Here are some of the sights from that trip:

Feel free to click on each picture for a larger view!

After the bus tour, I strolled around Avalon some more. I thoroughly enjoyed a great dinner at Steve’s Steakhouse!

Of course, I then had to sample some ice cream and candy from this place!

Feel free to click on each picture for a larger view!

I noticed the beautiful tiled fountain on Crescent Street, which is made of clay from Catalina Island.

The tiled fountain at Crescent Street, Avalon
The tiled fountain at Crescent Street, Avalon

Afterwards, I decided to walk towards the famous Catalina Casino and these are the sights seen on my way! Feel free to click on each picture for a larger view!

That was it for my day in Catalina. Then it was time to get some rest at the hotel! They had some cool DVD’s that I borrowed. I  didn’t drink the wine, brought the bottle home, but enjoyed looking at that balloon! Had a great night’s sleep too!

Time to get some rest at the hotel!
Time to get some rest at the hotel!

The next morning I decided to venture out a bit more to the casino area, the Museum and then and Descanso Beach Club. Feel free to click on each picture for a larger view!

It was soon time to say goodbye to Catalina Island! Here are some photos from my final minutes of solo joy!

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Avalon Veterans Memorial Park
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Catalina Veterans Memorial Park
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Goodbye Catalina Island!!!

Even though I could have traveled free roundtrip, on the way back to Long Beach, I decided to take advantage of the Commodore Lounge on the Catalina Express for $15 and go back in style!

We were served a drink and a snack, and had very comfy seats!

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All aboard inside the Catalina Express Commodore Lounge!

We arrived back in Long Beach and I happily drove back to San Diego! This was a quick, fun, safe getaway and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Avalon on Catalina Island!

Feel free to like and share this post. Subscribe to my blog.

And now to finish with a Haiku:

Overnight in Catalina Island

1.

Traveling alone

Seeing sights, snapping photos

I embraced it all!

2.

A gorgeous island

So perfect for sightseeing

And relaxing too

3.

Yes I will be back

I will bring my family

We shall all have fun!

 

San Diego Zoo Animals on an April Morning!

Thoroughly enjoyed a great visit to the world famous San Diego Zoo yesterday morning!

Here are some photos.  Feel free to click on them individually!

 

Just couldn’t resist this camel’s expression!

 

 

 The koala exhibit is an amazing natural habitat

 

 

Check out this condors wings!

condor1

 

 

 

 A condor in deep thought??

condor2

 

 

 Fun spotting this “Secretary Bird”. Love those colorful eye shadows!

 

 Captured a view of this “contemplating” orangutan 

orangutan

 

 

 

This colorful lone dragonfly landed on a perch!

dragonfly

 

 

 

 

 Gorillas in our midst!

 

 

 

 Caught some glimpses of this Tasmanian Devil!

tasdevil

tasdevil2

The pelicans greet visitors to the zoo!

flamingo

Merely Meerkats!

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meerkat

 

And a few more animals we visited!

Tell me, is there anything cuter than a mama duck and her little one?

 

 

And finally here are a few of the gorgeous flowers at the zoo!

Such a fun way to spend time with friends or family, get some exercise walking, and observe the animals!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Proposal Atop a Cliff at Torrey Pines State Reserve and Beach!

 

You never know what you’ll find or stumble upon at Torrey Pines State Beach!

Today was no exception.

What a joy it was to spot some cool “raked” writing in the sand and discover it was a marriage proposal…in POLISH!

(What a joy it always is to have my camera in hand as well)!

It took a small village to plan and make today happen.

I asked the two guys on the beach (Gino and Dan) who had just finished “raking” the proposal for their friend/co-workers Nathan and his soon to be fiance, Catherine (who is Polish).

It said (in Polish), “Catherine, will you marry me?” in the sand.

Here’s a quick video!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vrLdWVyAO8M” target=”_blank”>

And a photo of the Proposal!

Nathan's Proposal for Catherine in Polish  in the sand
Nathan’s Proposal for Catherine in Polish in the sand

 

Plus an extra added bonus, they made a giant heart  in the sand as well. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the heart!

Heart in  the  Sand
Heart in the Sand

 

 I was so captivated by the soon-to-be joyous (hopefully) occasion, that I offered to help keep beach strollers away from the masterpiece and photograph the “event” from below.

I told passersby why we were “diverting” them. It was really cool. The excitement was building. Everyone was smiling Where was the couple??

They were  going to be atop a cliff up above from where the proposal was etched!

The Proposal Cliff!
The Proposal Cliff!

The guys said that their friend, Nathan who was proposing to Catherine, had planned the exact spot up top and on the beach below.

Another friend, Scott, was waiting up above, concealed by the bushes. He was going to snap photos of the magic moment. Hopefully we’ll get a few later from Scott and I can add them to this post!

I took a few more pics of the cliff above.

We waited for about 15-20 minutes.

And then…We spotted Nathan and Catherine! Like little “ants”!

Another view of the Cliff
Another view of the Cliff with Nathan and Catherine  atop the cliff!

 

I zoomed it from the beach!  Here’s Nathan Proposing to Catherine! Soon we were all cheering and clapping!

Nathan Proposing to Catherine!
Nathan Proposing to Catherine!

 

 One more photo of Nathan and Catherine from the beach!

Nathan Proposing to Catherine! ! Photo by SJF Communications
Nathan Proposing to Catherine!

 

 

 And here are Dan and Gino, celebrating the success of the proposal writing mission!

Dan and Gino: Beach Mission Accomplished!
Dan and Gino: Beach Mission Accomplished! Photo by SJF Communications

 UPDATE! 4/28/15 7:36 p.m.

I just heard from Scott Mahoney, who took some great photos of the couple from above at the cliff!

Here they are! (Click on each photo to make it larger)!

Incidentally, you can find more of Scott’s Photos on his Instagram Account  (@srmphotography)

 

Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography
Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography

 

 

Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography
Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography

 

 

Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography
Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography

 

Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography
Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography

 

Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography
Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography

 

Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography
Photo by Scott Mahoney, SRM Photography

 

  Congrats to Nathan and Catherine for many happy years ahead together!

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San Diego or SAND Diego??? Catching up in Del Mar with JT and Tony of San Diego Sand Castles!

What a fun surprise! While power walking today on Del Mar Beach with my friend, (yep, we powered on for 7000+ steps), we serendipitously saw something really creative and cool!

First we saw these buckets…and wondered what was going on!

Sand Castle Gear

 

Then we met JT and Tony from San Diego Sand Castles who were coaching their prospective clients of the afternoon how to build their own masterpieces! San Diego Sand Castles has many terrific reviews on Trip Advisor too! Here’s their Facebook Page LInk

First we met Sand Sculptor Tony Leib who was working with local resident,  Catherine. It was Catherine’s  first private lesson and she was excited to spend three hours learning a bit of the craft.

 

Then we walked a few hundred feet and met the owner of San Diego Sand Castles, JT Estrela (in the hat) with a cool Father (Chris) and Son (Trey) from Seattle, who were celebrating Trey’s Spring Break. Great Father-Son bonding in the sunshine!

We left the beach and saw the cutest bunny near a unique tree, a few interesting palms and a train passing by at Seagrove Park in Del Mar. Couldn’t resist snapping away!

Seagrove Park in Del Mar
Seagrove Park in Del Mar

 

Rabbit at Seagrove Park, Del Mar
Bunny  at Seagrove Park, Del Mar
Rabbit at Seagrove Park, Del Mar
Bunny at Seagrove Park, Del Mar
Palm Trees Del Mar
Palm Trees Del Mar

 

Train Passing Through Del Mar
Train Passing Through Del Mar

 

 Lesson for the day: You never know  what you’ll discover each day, so have your camera handy!

 

Torrey Pines State Beach and Los Penasquitos Salt Marsh

A Few More Snapshots from Torrey Pines State Beach and Los Penasquitos Salt Marsh, March,  2015

♦ Three colorful airplanes flying past us

Three Colorful Airplanes
Three Colorful Airplanes at Torrey Pines State Beach

♦ A Sandcastle

Sandcastle at Torrey Pines State Beach
Sandcastle at Torrey Pines State Beach

♦ Sneakers in a Cave!

Sneakers in a Little Cave in a Rock at Torrey Pines State Beach
Sneakers in a Little Cave in a Rock at Torrey Pines State Beach

♦ Colorful Umbrellas

Colorful Umbrellas at Torrey Pines State Beach
Colorful Umbrellas at Torrey Pines State Beach

♦ A Hanglider Passing By

Hanglider at Torrey Pines State Beach
Hanglider at Torrey Pines State Beach

 

♦ Artists Carole and Linda Painting at Torrey Pines State Beach

Artists Carol & Linda Painting at Torrey Pines State Beach
Artists Carol & Linda Painting at Torrey Pines State Beach

 

♦ A few birds at the Los Penasquios Salt Marsh

A Peregrine Falcon & Art in Nature at Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego

I Spied a Peregrine Falcon!

I love living in the San Diego area. Every time I visit Torrey Pines State Beach I discover something different and magical!

Couldn’t believe my luck today when I saw a fellow photographer ahead of me, with his camera and large lens, looking up at the rock formations.

He told me about seeing two peregrine falcons. We spotted one of them perched high up, atop a rock formation. 

I zoomed in and snapped several photos for your viewing!

 

 

Peregrine Falcon at Torrey Pines State Beach
Peregrine Falcon at Torrey Pines State Beach

 

 

Peregrine Falcon at Torrey Pines State Beach
Peregrine Falcon at Torrey Pines State Beach

Peregrine Falcon at Torrey Pines State Beach
Peregrine Falcon at Torrey Pines State Beach

I also marveled at how much beauty and “art” there is in nature. Here are a few photos that demonstrate patterns, colors, textures, etc. in today’s ‘beach finds”

 Finally, here are a few more photos from today. A group of college students from Vermont were enjoying Spring Break at Torrey Pines State Beach near Flat Rock .

Here are some photos!

Spring Break at Torrey Pines State Beach
Spring Break at Torrey Pines State Beach
Rock Formation at Torrey Pines State Beach
Rock Formation at Torrey Pines State Beach
Rock Formation at Torrey Pines State Beach
Rock Formation at Torrey Pines State Beach