Chemex Love

To say that I love my new Chemex is an understatement. I’d heard great things about this pour over system, but I’d never had coffee brewed with a Chemex until now.

DSC_4538Talk about a great cup of coffee. And the simple design of glass with a wooden collar, leather and beads look very nice in my kitchen.

The chemist who invented the Chemex in 1941 wanted to create a coffeemaker that brewed a great cup of coffee every single time. He used his knowledge of chemistry to create the design and figured out that the higher water temperature and amount of air allowed to escape the vessel would do just that.

DSC_4598If you really enjoy a good cup of joe, you won’t be disappointed by this pour over system. It’s easy to do and clean-up is a cinch. So far, I’ve brewed a Starbucks blend and blend from Peet’s. Both were good, but Peet’s definitely stole the show. I plan to try out some local Orange County roasters, as well as a few others soon. So, stay tuned!

DSC_4602-2The drip process is also enjoyable to watch. It’s somehow very zen to me. I’ll take that after a crazy busy day. I am sure I’ll be pulling out my Chemex pretty often from now on instead of always using the automatic drip coffeemaker.

DSC_4618Do you brew your coffee with a Chemex? What’s your favorite blend to use? 


{I have not been compensated in any way for this review. I just love coffee.} 

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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Coffee


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Project 365: Week 50

I’ve been taking pictures for 50 weeks straight! Sheesh… That’s 351 photos so far, and this means I have only two weeks left in my Project 365. Here’s Week 50! CC welcome, as always.

Day 345 (October 11, 2014): An afternoon luxury. This may be one of my favorite coffee shots so far of my personal coffee breaks. ;)

Day345_Afternoon brewDay 346 (October 12, 2014): Magnolia blossom

Day346_Dry magnolia blossomDay 347 (October 13, 2014): Street heart

Day347_Street heartDay 348 (October 14, 2014): Sidewalk display

Day348_Sidewalk displayDay 349 (October 15, 2014): Water station

Day349_Water stationDay 350 (October 16, 2014): I’ll have one of each, please

Day350_One of each, pleaseDay 351 (October 17, 2014): Print shop

Day351_Print shop


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Taper time and last-minute fundraising

It’s finally taper time! This is, for some runners, a really hard time of the training cycle. No one wants to decrease their mileage right before the big day. It starts to make you think you won’t have the stamina to follow through like you want on race day. I am kind of in the middle on this one. I understand the feeling of having lost fitness by decreasing mileage, but I also think it’s incredibly important to make sure your legs are well rested and fresh for race day.

So many things can go wrong: weather conditions, an upset stomach or just your own mind playing its games. “Did you train enough? Did you get enough sleep? Are you dehydrated? Maybe that’s why your calves are cramping…” In my opinion, the mind is the most crucial part of training, and I’m the first to say that mine is not strong enough yet. It probably was a couple of years ago, but not lately. I’ve been feeling tired from work, often forgetting to drink enough during the day. I know… my own issues. I’m working on that.

It’s also been a new experience for me to run with a team. I haven’t done that since high school. It’s been nice to get to know people with common interests and values. And I can honestly tell you that Team ASPCA is one of the best groups I’ve seen. I can’t compare to any of the others that run for charities, but I’d run with this team again for sure. :)

And now it’s taper time. The hard work is done. The miles have been pounded out week after week since mid-July. The one part of this training cycle that has been the hardest is honestly not the training. For me, the fundraising aspect is much more difficult. I have never run a race for charity. I have never liked to fundraise. It wasn’t easy this time either, but I felt like I was consistent. And for once, it was actually fun!

I had so many great messages hit my inboxes, as friends who donated told me beautiful stories about their pets. I had at least a handful of people say how remembering these things about their pets brought them to tears. What a lovely way to honor them! I’ve shared so many pet dedications the past few months, and I have some more to share in the coming week or so. It’s amazing how our pets are such an important part of our families. Here’s a collage of some of the pets I’ve shared. There are more, so I’ll make another one soon!

CollageI’m so glad I have been able to share these stories, and my own, throughout the training cycle. I could tell for many how much it meant to them. And I’m not done yet! I still want to honor them all a bit more. I plan to print the photos of the pets I’ve shared and pin them to my race singlet on race day. I haven’t figured out the details yet, but I’ll be sure to share it once I’m finished.

Tomorrow is the last day to donate to this great cause. Please help an animal find a new home, get a much needed vaccine or surgery or simply be saved from an abusive situation. Anything you can offer is more than appreciated! Thanks, friends! XO


Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Running, Team ASPCA


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Click Away in Salt Lake City

It’s been a month since I was in Salt Lake City at the Click Away conference! I still have to go through my notes again from the sessions, but I was sure to edit my photographs pretty quickly after I got back. Here’s a little summary of how things went down. It’s a little long, but if you’re into photography, didn’t get to attend the conference and you’re interested, grab a cup of joe and let’s chat.


I met my sister-in-law in Salt Lake City for this conference, so it was a bit like a girls’ weekend. :) Who doesn’t love a good girls’ weekend and 3 days to learn about photography while hanging out in a new city? We learned a lot, got some great shots and made some lifelong friends. It’s funny how quickly you can make friends when common hobbies come into play. There were so many creative minds and intriguing conversations, it’s hard to know where to start.

One very memorable moment comes from the first day, early in the morning with the keynote speaker, Elizabeth Gilbert (yeah, you know… author of Eat, Pray, Love). I enjoyed listening to her thoughts on the ways we can stifle our own creativity because of doubting ourselves and our abilities. This is so true, and not just in the sense of creativity, but also in our professional lives in general. My favorite quote from her speech: “You didn’t do all that work to get to the brink of the door just to turn around and leave.” Well said.

On Thursday I attended “Finding your Style: A Personal Journey” (panel session with Emma Woods, Summer Murdock, CJ Nicolai, Meg Bitton and Jodi Arego. If you follow any of these photographers, you know how very different their styles are. Each one had a unique perspective on what it means to find your own style, but they all agreed that your style should reflect you and not what’s currently popular or what will sell a lot of sessions. I really connected with something that Summer Murdock said: “I was that kid with the 110 mm camera around the neighborhood. I wasn’t making art by any means, but I was learning and finding my way.” I laughed a bit and thought, “I was that kid, too!” I’ll never forget my trusty 110 mm camera. It was neon green and I couldn’t get enough of hearing that little click and having to wind the film to the next frame. I truly thought I was documenting amazing things, and I’m pretty sure my parents spent a good bit of money on film (and developing) for me, but I loved it.

I went to a few more sessions on Thursday, but the more memorable ones for me took place on Friday and Saturday. Rachel Devine shared “Photoblogging and Real Life”. It was nice to hear a perspective about making money with your photography without solely booking sessions for portraits. I’ve said before that portraiture is not really my thing. Perhaps it will be one day, but for now, I like learning about and practicing other genres. I was really happy to hear her say that commercial photography is entering a new era. I’ve had many photographer friends tell me that I should look into doing some commercial work because of the style of photos I shoot. Who knows? A second business one day? {Don’t tell my husband. He’d have a stroke.}

Allison McSorley’s “Creating Compelling Compositions” was great. I learned a lot about different types of composition, and also got a refresher on things I had already learned in the past. Candice Zugich’s session on “How to Find You in Your Work” was refreshing. I love her style of portraits and how she doesn’t mind breaking all the rules of photography. And get this! She’s only been shooting with a digital camera for something like 18 months! Impressed.

Courtney Slazinik’s sessions “Mastering the Art of Lifestyle” and “Social Media: Get Your Images Seen by More People Than Just Your Mom” were completely full of helpful information. Her good nature and friendly demeanor make her fun to listen to, and on Day 3 of a jam-packed conference, that says a lot! Here’s a shot from a Photo Walk I did with Courtney.

DSC_4061My absolute favorite session was with Cole Thompson. His style and work are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I enjoyed how he suggested working on several series of photographs for a period of time to try to develop your portfolio. He shared many anecdotes, photos and techniques. He was very honest about his work and what inspires him. One of my favorite lines from him: “They who walk in another’s footsteps, never find their own path.” He mentioned that so many photographers compare themselves to others and try to mimic styles they like from others, instead of finding their own style and path. And another other line: “I don’t take pictures. I create images.” The images we see when we look at something are what we want to portray in an image that we share. Like I said, I loved his session. By far, for me, his was the best of the conference. And it was the last one on my schedule, so I walked out very pleased with my experience.

On Saturday afternoon, we were given the choice of several locations to go to for an off-site shoot. We chose to go to Historic Ogden. And while I didn’t get as many good shots as I wanted, I did get a few that I’m happy to have.


DSC_4241Probably the best part of the conference was meeting so many like-minded and creative people. It was a nice break from work and a fantastic outlet to really immerse myself in learning about and practicing my photography. The speakers were very generous with their time, and you could just feel a sense of excitement the whole weekend. I also found a running buddy and new friend from Canada, Kristina Nichol. Check out her work. I think you’ll love it!

There are things that I think most attendees would agree should change for the next time they hold the conference, but overall, I think for it being the first one of its kind, it was incredible! I can’t wait to hear where they plan to hold it next year. Hopefully they’ll have more street photography sessions. Can I sign up again yet?


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Project 365: Week 49

This is the first week that I have posted the photos on time in a while! Here’s Week 49 of my Project 365. Enjoy! ;)

Day 338 (October 4, 2014): Red Vespa. I have always wanted one of these, but a certain significant other of mine says, “NO!” Well, they’re fun to photography anyway.

Day338_Red VespaDay 339 (October 5, 2014): Historic Clock Market in Beverly Hills. This building is from the 1920s, when drive-up markets were becoming more popular in Southern California. Today, this building is owned by the Porsche-Audi dealer on Wilshire Blvd.

Day339_historic Clock MarketDay 340 (October 6, 2014): Bakery goodness

Day340_bakery goodessDay 341 (October 7, 2014): New growth

Day341_New growthDay 342 (October 8, 2014): One of my favorite things to do

Day342_One of my favorite thingsDay 343 (October 9, 2014): My southern home

Day343_My southern homeDay 344 (October 10, 2014): Alexandria sidewalk and door. I came across this quaint gate while on a business trip in Alexandria, VA about a month ago. I completely forgot that I had this shot, but when tagged by a friend on Instagram to share #onefromthecuttingroomfloor, this is the one I found and shared.

Day344_Alexandria door and sidewalkFeel free to offer any CC. Hope you’re enjoying the weekend!



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B&W Photography Challenge

Have you seen the Black & White Photography Challenge on social media lately? If you don’t follow any photographers, you may not have seen it, but in my circles, it’s been hugely popular. I was challenged this past week by my friend Beth to shoot 5 different B&W photos and post them, passing on the challenge to a fellow photographer each day.

I really enjoy B&W photography, but if I’m being honest, it is quite challenging. Not every shot can convert well to B&W. Once you change the saturation of an image, it can be hard to play up the tones if the image does not have a lot of contrast to begin with. That’s something that I’m still working on, and it’s a struggle at times. As a good friend reminded me, it’s important to think of how the shot will look in B&W before we shoot it and to shoot with that purpose in mind. I hope to continue to develop this style, as it truly is one of my favorites. Here are my images from the challenge.

B&W coffee drip

B&W Vespa

B&W historic Clock Market

B&W bakery goodness

B&W one of my favorite thingsWhich shot is your favorite? Did you take the challenge? Please share a link to your photos if you did. 



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Project 365: Week 48

One month to go! Check out this week’s shots for my Project 365. I have a bit of a mix here this week, as usual. ;)

Day 331 (September 27, 2014): Cinema lights

Day331_Cinema lightsDay 332 (September 28, 2014): Saban Theatre

Day332_Saban TheatreDay 333 (September 29, 2014): International Coffee Day. This shot feels so cozy to me.

Day333_International Coffee DayDay 334 (September 30, 2014): Skating through the palm shade

Day334_Skating through the palm shadeDay 335 (October 1, 2014): Coffee and cream

Day335_Coffee and creamDay 336 (October 2, 2014): Bar prep reflections

Day336_Bar reflectionsDay 337 (October 3, 2014): Mandela on the Berlin Wall (one of the 10 segments of the Wall brought to Los Angeles’ Wende Museum)

Day337_Mandela on Berlin wall

Did you celebrate International Coffee Day? How do you feel about photos with reflections? You can probably tell that I love them, as I’ve posted at least a handful already! Have you ever seen the Berlin Wall in person? I have–in 2005, and it was definitely a moving experience.


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