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I'm Bri Garbani, a designer + photographer living in San Diego, California. It's here that I express my passion for dogs, design + DIY through writing + photography. If you like what you see, you'll want to check back often as I have a constant need to create + Native Blonde is my prime creative outlet.

A Family Portrait

A Family Portrait

This year I did a holiday card. It was important for me to do more than ever. Plus, it is fun to keep in touch with people you haven't seen as often as others. Our family has changed, where we live has changed, our jobs - we’ve changed in just about every capacity. I did a letter too for the first time. If you’re ever feeling down, write a holiday letter to tell friends and family about what you’ve been up to over the last year – it will surely amaze you. It seems that life doesn’t change much day to day, but upon reflection, I was stunned to recall the highlights and adventures I’ve experienced in such a short amount of time.

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I hired The Leo Loves to photograph my family at Coronado dog beach, and I am so pleased that I did. What a wonderful job she did capturing the spirit and personality of our dogs and the love we have for them!

Being a photographer myself, it’s pretty rare that I end up in photos other than the occasional selfie, or self portrait as I like to call it. It’s always a bit uncomfortable for me to get in front of a lens and all too easy to get caught up on the little things. Is my makeup and hair okay? Am I smiling genuinely? Do people notice that my teeth aren’t straight? Is my skin clear? The reality is this - none of these things matter. None are excuse enough to avoid taking a picture. Time is fleeting, and yes, it takes planning, but anyone can find a photographer in any price range or even a friend to take pictures for them. Better yet, do it as a favor to each other! Do it to create memories, for the sake of helping you remember later in life. Do it without the scare of poor health or the threat of shortened time. Do it to be present. One day, when you’re gone and when I am gone, loved ones will reflect upon us with photos. They won’t care what you were wearing, whether your nose was powdered or any other vain thought – they will simply want to be able to still see your face.

This is how I think of photography, which may be morbid, I understand. Of course there are very creative and artistic shots that many talented individuals are capable of capturing, but I’m talking about just documenting life. Don’t discredit images simply because they aren’t as pretty as you had hoped. It can be hard to ignore a world of perfected imagery, but this is life!

And here is a recap of mine over the last 14 months…

Greetings from San Diego, California!

Since the holiday season last year, life has brought us celebration, loss, mourning & growth. But more than anything, the past year has been full of great adventures. And we couldn’t be happier about having experienced them together.

November 2015 was spent in Las Vegas with close friends over Thanksgiving. While in sin city, we enjoyed a special dinner celebration for Brittney’s 30th birthday, toured the strip & downtown Vegas, took in a show & the sights from the world’s largest observation wheel, tried our hand at gambling & reveled in the nightlife too. What a perfect way to spend a milestone birthday!

To celebrate our first year of marriage, we cruised the Caribbean in December 2015 by way of a Norwegian ship. We visited Tulum & Mahahual, Mexico where we walked among ancient Mayan ruins & went scuba diving along the coral reef.  We rode inner tubes through underground crystal caves & a zip line course through the jungle during our stop in Belize. And in Roatan, Honduras we snorkeled with dolphins in the open ocean. It was the trip of a lifetime.

Early 2016 was spent designing & landscaping the front & back yard of our 1927 Spanish bungalow. This entailed building an outdoor bar & grill area with custom furniture for entertaining, planting an urban garden containing a variety of fruit trees, herbs & vegetables & we even made space for our very own cacti & succulent garden. Outdoor living in San Diego just doesn’t get any better!

In May, wedding bells took us to Dallas for a visit where we gained a sister-in-law, Morganne. All we can say is Sean is certainly a lucky man; he couldn’t have picked a more kind-hearted, beautiful soul to spend his life with. In June, we took our adventures sky high with a sunset hot air balloon ride - a first experience for us both! And before summer was over, we lost our dog, Duke, to a 7 month long battle against CNS Inflammatory Disease. It left our household devastated & we still miss him dearly to this day.

But we kept ourselves occupied over the following months by continuing to enjoy the great outdoors in Southern California by hiking, biking, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking & whale watching. We took two backpacking camp trips this year, one at Weaver Lake located in Jennie Lakes Wilderness surrounded by Sequoia National Forest & the other in John Muir Wilderness, extending along the crest of the Sierra Nevada in the heart of Inyo National Forest. Both locations were simply stunning & we look forward to exploring more of California’s vast landscape in the New Year. 

In late September we rescued a dog! We felt that Dutch, now 6 years old, needed a friend to help her heal from the loss of her brother. Our newest adoptee, Hank, is a 3 year old Redbone Coonhound. He fits right in with our little family & we are so happy to have him live out his days adventuring with us. Handsome the cat, a senior now, is doing well too.

In mid 2016 Patrick accepted a role as an Accounting Manager for Qualcomm, an American multinational semiconductor & telecommunications equipment company. And for the last two years, Brittney has been working in the graphic design & marketing field for Rancho Valencia, a Five-Star, Five-Diamond, Relais & Châteaux resort & spa. We are both pleased to be working for such valued & recognized companies in the greater San Diego area.

Since moving west, we have sipped our way through the craft beer capital of the world & we spend a considerable amount of time with sand between our toes at the dog beach. The longer we’re here, the more we discover why San Diego is indeed America’s Finest City. How likely is it that we’ll tire of the year around 70 degree weather? About as likely as our chance for rain today.

From the land of sun, sand & surf, we wish you & yours warmth, cheer & a very happy New Year!

With love,

The Garbani family

Photography by The Leo Loves | Card design by Minted

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