My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

NOTE:  This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic

As I wrote in my last post, this past Monday was my fiftieth birthday.  Many people have parties to mark this momentous occasion, and I was lucky enough to enjoy such a celebration with some dear friends during my recent trip to Texas.  I will also celebrate with family in a few weeks when I travel to Lake Tahoe. But when it came down to the actual day, I opted to spend it in a low-key way with my wonderful husband.

We actually extended our celebration to two days in that we ate lunch at my favorite restaurant on the last day of my 40’s and saw the new Star Trek movie (fast fact – the TV series premiered in 1966 , the year I was born!).

last day of my forties

Enjoying lunch at my favorite restaurant on the last day of my forties.

In contrast to previous years when shopping was on the agenda, I wanted to spend this birthday by the water and taking photographs, so that’s what we did. We drove up the coast to Orange County and visited the seaside communities of Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach.  In today’s post, I’ll share some of my favorite photos from those two locations, as well as a few factoids for those who are interested.

Laguna Beach view

Enjoying a beautiful view of Laguna Beach on my 50th birthday.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is located approximately 72 miles north of San Diego and 35 miles south of Los Angeles.  With normal traffic, it takes around 1.5 hours for us to drive there from our home. Luckily, the traffic wasn’t too bad on Monday and it helped that we left in the middle of the day instead of during morning rush hour.  Although the weather was overcast, it was still a warm day and it’s always nice to be near the water.   I did find it interesting, though, that the day I turned 50 was the first cloudy day we’d had in weeks – and I joked that the weather was a reflection of my ominous milestone birthday.  The sun never did come out that day and sure enough it was bright and sunny the following day, so maybe there was something to my theory!  Of course, I don’t really believe that’s true, but it was amusing to consider…

There are over seven miles of coastline in Laguna Beach and over twenty unique coves and many sandy beaches to explore.  The town includes the most beachfront lodging in all of Southern California and is a popular destination for tourists, weddings, water sports, and yes, shopping.  I have spent my fair share of money in Laguna Beach shops in the past, but this year all I bought there was lunch.

Laguna Beach has a relatively small population (around 23,000 at the last census) but attracts an estimated 3 million tourists each year.  Annual large events include the Pageant of the Masters, Festival of the ArtsSawdust Art Festival, Art-A-Fair, and Kelpfest.  I have attended all but the last of these events more than once and enjoyed them tremendously.  However, I’m not as into art festivals as I used to be, as I’ve been working on shopping less and more responsibly.

Here are some of the photos taken by me and of me in Laguna Beach:

Laguna Beach coastline

Laguna Beach sunbathers

Laguna Beach volleyball

Laguna Beach siesta

downtown Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach mural

Laguna Beach view

Laguna Beach statue

Laguna Beach surfboard bench

Laguna Beach hillside view

Huntington Beach

In the evening, we ventured another 34 miles up the coast to Huntington Beach, stopping for a café latte at Starbucks along the way (I was off caffeine for over two years, but have been struggling with it again lately). Huntington Beach is a much larger city and is actually the most populous beach town in Orange County, with approximately 200,000 residents.  It features a 9.5 mile stretch of sandy beach and is known for its excellent surfing (the U.S. Open of Surfing is held there each summer).   In fact, the Surfing Walk of Fame and the Surfers’ Hall of Fame are both located in Huntington Beach.

One of the key features of this beachside community is the Huntington Beach Pier, which is one of the largest piers on the West Coast at 1,850 feet (560 m).   The pier was built back in 1903, even before Huntington Beach was an official town, and was extended in 1930 to include a café at the end (now the site of Ruby’s Diner).   The pier is frequented by sport fisherman and surfing spectators and is open until midnight each night.

Here are some of the photos I took in Huntington Beach, mostly of the pier and from the pier:

Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier

The photo above and the two photos below were taken at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, an outdoor amphitheater which is located at the entrance to the pier.  Its mural-tiled wall reflects the history and local color of the community and includes my favorite bird, the Great Blue Heron (see my heron photos in this post).

Huntington Beach Pier Plaza

Huntington Beach Pier Plaza - Great Blue Heron

Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach view from pier

Huntington Beach Pier - looking back at shore

Huntington Beach - sun setting

Huntington Beach Pier at twilight


I hope you liked my Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach photos. All in all, I had a happy birthday and enjoyed the coastal drive, beach air, and photography opportunities.  By the time I actually turned 50, I had plenty of time to stress out about it, so I was relatively calm that day and accepting of having moved into a new decade.  I have done some journaling about some changes I would like to make in my life in my 50’s and will share my thoughts on this topic in a future post.

As always, I welcome your comments.  If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more of my photos, check out my other “photography interlude” posts or the photos I’ve posted on Instagram (I don’t post much there, but have achived quite a few past images for you to look at).   Have a wonderful weekend!

26 thoughts on “Photography Interlude: Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach

  1. Di Collins says:

    What a great way to celebrate turning 50. Loved the photos and you brought back so many happy memories of my mini holiday at Huntington Beach. I just love how happy you look in those photos, the best years are far from over.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad I could bring back some good memories for you, Di, and I appreciate your kind words and encouragement!

  2. Sew Ruthie says:

    Oh wow, looks like you had a lovely day. What a great idea for an interesting and memorable birthday. Thank you for sharing your photos with us!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, it really was a lovely day, Ruthie, and I’m glad I spent it the way I did, as it suited my personality and interests well. I’m pleased that you liked the photos!

  3. Jane says:

    Aaaaahhhhh, you were in OC! Glad you had a great time here. The pictures are beautiful. I love True Food Kitchen as well, but haven’t had the chance to go there recently, due to my budget.

    I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to celebrate my 50th. I told myself I was going to surround myself with my family too. I recently heard an interesting alternative though; my friend said that she was celebrating by doing something small but nice for herself….for 50 days. Hmmm.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yeah, True Food Kitchen can be pricey, Jane, but one only turns 50 once 🙂 We don’t go there all that often, either, but it makes it more special when we do. I love your friend’s idea for celebrating her 50th! I think that’s a wonderful idea for you and perhaps it’s not too late for me to jump in with that, too…

  4. Terra says:

    Beautiful photos of the beaches and of you. Great photography Debbie. And I loved revisiting the beaches I frequented while growing up in So Cal.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Terra. I’m glad I could help to bring back some nice childhood memories for you! I always enjoy your beach photos on Facebook, too. We both need to get back to Catalina soon. Wouldn’t it be cool to meet up there one day?

  5. Liz says:

    Many happy returns of the day, Debbie!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you very much, Liz!

  6. cm says:

    Love the compositions! Especially ones with the strong diagonals- captures movement and draws your eye into the picture. Many of these images have a lot of energy and feel dynamic. Enjoy the details like the wind sock (??) blowing in the wind on the pier, the volleyball in the air, the person napping.

    Noticed that there’s a wide variety of where the horizon lines are in the images. I’m partial to the ones where the horizon line is just a bit higher or lower than halfway- the weighting feels right. It’s interesting how that affects the composition and feel- I’ll bring awareness of that that into my own photography. I’m curious if there’s a formal composition or art principle about horizon lines…. time to research!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your kind words about my photos, cm, especially the fact that you are so detailed in what you like about them. Yes, I am a big fan of diagonals. My husband always chuckles about it, but that’s just what I feel called to shoot. I’m not really trained at all at this point; I just go with it and have fun (which I hope I will still do when I know more about photography). I would like to learn more about the principle of horizon lines, too. My husband always says the horizon shouldn’t be in the center of a photo, so if I forget that, I either break the rules or crop the photo for a different effect. I definitely want to learn more about photography so I can improve my pictures.

  7. Dory says:

    Hi Debbie, happy birthday(month)! 😊 You are looking great on the pictures! And you have nice hats!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Dory! I have always liked hats, but I’m starting to wear them more often because of my gray hair transition. I expect you will see hats on me for quite a while now…

  8. Murphy says:

    Looks like it was a great day! Lovely pictures!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, it was a very nice day, Murphy. Glad you liked my photos!

  9. JaneN says:

    Happy birthday Debbie! Thank you for sharing your day with us and the amazing photos. You are looking fabulous!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate the birthday wishes and compliments, Jane. I like that readers enjoy my ph0tos and I am happy to share!

  10. Barbara Rios says:

    Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos, Debbie! Looks like you had a wonderful 50th birthday (in spite of the clouds)! May you experience many blessing in the coming year! 🙂

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You’re welcome, Barbara. Yes, it was a wonderful birthday even though it was cloudy. My husband likes to say that we make our own sunshine 🙂 Thank you for the blessings!

  11. Sharon W says:

    Hi Debbie. Lovely photos I especially like the sea by moonlight ones! You look very glam in your fedora. You’ve given me lots to think about as my family are pressuring me to have a big celebration of my 50th but I find the whole thing very overwhelming. I decided this morning that it’s time to stop people pleasing & Im beginning with my 50th birthday which I’m choosing to spend just with my husband who will attend to my every need!(I’m quite low maintenance a milky coffee & Im happy)

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Glad you enjoyed my photos, Sharon. I love evening photos the most, too. I’m glad you are going to honor your own wishes on your 50th birthday. After all, it’s YOUR day and others should respect your wishes to spend it how you like. I’m pretty low-maintenance, too, and don’t need a big party or lots of fanfare (which is good because I probably wouldn’t get it anyway). I hope you and your husband enjoy a lovely day together much like my husband and I did! Savor that milky coffee and maybe even have two 😉

  12. Maggie says:

    Hi Debbie, You rock the hats! I especially like the black one with the wide brim. I remember in the “Coco Before Chanel” movie a scene in which Chanel substitutes a black hat for a pale one with many adornments on her friend and tells her that “black sets off your eyes” or something like that! (I have the movie so the next time that I watch it, I will let everyone know exactly what she says in that scene.)

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words about my hats, Maggie! I remember seeing the movie “Coco Before Chanel” and I really liked it, but it’s so long ago that I don’t remember the line you mentioned. Perhaps it’s time to see it again. She was such a wise woman! I often think of her advice to take off one accessory before you leave the house.

  13. n says:

    Just a thought… I have been told by photographers that cloudy days are actually better than bright sunny days for outdoor photography, so maybe the weather was a birthday gift. You do look super relaxed and happy and your photos are terrific! What a great gift to all of your readers that you shared your milestone birthday and photos with us. Wishing you many many more!!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Good point about the cloudy day, n! I like your perspective on the weather for my birthday 🙂 I appreciate your compliments on my photos and your birthday wishes. Thank you!

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