Thursday, December 1, 2016



My goodness, judging from all the blogs and IG feeds I've visited today, December really snuck up on everyone. I got that same vibe as I was out and about today. 
It wasn't so fa la la-ing and more like bah hum-bugish.  
I wonder if people are still distressed about the November election?

I know I woke up early today troubled about a few things myself. Those worries always seem bigger than life and made worse in the wee, dark hours. It was too early for the paper, so I made my coffee & sat in the quite reading e-mails. How perfect to see Michelle's December notes in my mailbox. If you ever need to get calm and return to center, think about signing up for Michelle's emails. Her tender words have a way of soothing me. She also offers wonderful workshops that really get you to reflect on the simple, tiny, everyday moments.(and some big moments too)
 I for one get easily caught up in the day's routine, so her emails are an important reminder to sit back, breathe and "simply begin." Michelle is big on making lists~as big or as small as you need them to be. I wish I could say it makes all the disquiet disappear, but maybe, somehow seeing all the "BIG" worries down on paper makes them...well...not so big.  It also helps to envision what you want your day, month, or year...etc to look like. So for this holiday season, I'm going to journal, make lists, draw, paint, take pictures, and take care to control me and my day and not the other way around. 
How do you deal with holiday stress or stress in general? I'd love to hear from you.

Happy (candy cane) snapping!

Sharing over at Tamar's today

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I've come a long way...!

It's cold, gray and the much needed rain is falling~I secretly wish it was cold enough to snow, but in reality I know it won't. I just warmed up my afternoon java and I like thinking you might be sipping something warm and toasty while you visit. 
Today, I'm talking cranberry sauce!

If you asked, I could never pick just one favorite Thanksgiving dish~I truly love them all. However, cranberry sauce is right there at the top my list. I scour Pinterest for new cranberry sauce recipes weeks before the holiday. I really, really like the recipe I've been making the last few years. I mean you can't go wrong with cabernet & a quick twist or two of fresh cracked pepper...It could have easily been the last recipe I ever needed to look for. That was...
 ...until this year. 
In Emeril's words, I kicked it up a notch!

What's great about this recipe is it can be made up to 5 days ahead so if it was awful I still had plenty of time to make my go-to back up recipe. I never gave the 1/2 cup of bourbon that was called for a second thought until it came time to actually stir it in~that's A LOT of bourbon! I poured in half, stood there stirring the bubbly, popping berries and said screw it...and dumped the rest in. Even though the recipe didn't call for it, I added the zest of 1/2 a lemon. I also added a good squeeze of orange along with with some orange zest. 
It was a little jewel at the table & it gets more scrumptious everyday as the flavors meld. 
It brings our turkey sandwiches sandwiches to a whole other level!

I was worried about finding frozen dark cherries as I've never had a reason to buy them. It ended up not being a problem and found them at my regular grocery store.

I have to laugh because as a kid nothing made me happier or more excited then when my mom opened that perfectly ribbed, jiggly, cylindrical tin can of gelatinous goodness!
Yeah...I've come a long way baby...
But hey...I wouldn't trade those days of innocence for anything.

Happy (cranberry) snapping!

Cranberry-Cherry Compote


* 20 ounces fresh cranberries
(about 4 1/2 cups)
* 10 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries
(about 2 cups)
* 1 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
* 1/2 cup apple cider
* a couple of good twists of fresh black pepper
* 1/2 cup bourbon
* zest of 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
* zest of 1 orange (or to taste)
* good squeeze of  1/2 and orange (or to taste)


Bring cranberries, cherries, brown sugar, cider, and pepper to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in bourbon. Reduce heat, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often~pushing fruit against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon to break apart slightly, until think and syrupy, about 25 minutes more. Let cool completely.
Sauce can be made 5 days ahead;cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

(Adapted from Epicurious)

Sunday, October 30, 2016




Every year, my IG/blogging friend, Michelle, hosts a wonderful week of reflection focused on gratitude. I've participated in years passed, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes quietly.  Either way, I'm always so happy to get Michelle's email letting her followers know about our time together-it always seems to come at a time when I feel like I need to regroup. 
Saturday marked the 3rd anniversary of my mother's passing. Thoughts of her never wander far from my mind. Somedays those thoughts are closer to the surface than others. Her last year on earth was pure hell and it traumatized my soul, my heart and my very being. 
It's been a slow but steady process that I've been trusting...

...and then there are days when Austin asks for pumpkin he does every year (so grateful he does.) I sift through my recipes cards until I find the one I'm looking for. It's all too familiar now...her handwriting...written in happier times. Her penmanship that's never deviated and so easily recognizable to everyone in the family. My mom and I loved to swap to recipes and on the days she is close to the surface, I'm ever so grateful to have this, and other small expressions of her with me. It comforts me and soothes the rough edges. 

This is not the first time a walnut heart has appeared on a finished muffin...
You can see for yourself here
It's a Mother's Love
So much to be grateful for.

Happy (grateful) snapping!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A morning with...

...the Gibbons

Groupon has become my new favorite app.
I find the best deals and it's where I discovered the Gibbon Conservation Center. The Mr. and I made the drive out there this morning not sure what to expect. I'm not particularly fond of patronizing places where animals are held in captivity. The enclosures are too small, dirty and impersonal. I do however like to support local groups that make an honest effort to conserve, repopulate and reintroduce an animal back into their native environment. 
I was pleasantly surprised at the GCC and what's going on there.

As you walk through the gates you are asked to dip the bottom of your shoes in a large pan filled with what I can only assume is an antibacterial/water mixture. Thats so you clean off and leave behind anything harmful to the Gibbons from the outside. 
We roamed around for about 30 minutes before the guided tour. The guide was very knowledgeable, engaging and funny. Gibbons are apes not I learned something new. 

The guide was telling us amazing stories about gibbons in general and of the families housed at the GCC. They behave in many ways like humans. She went on to talk about the gibbons very distinct songs. Once one starts they'll all start and the tour would pretty much be over because she wouldn't be able to talk above the callings and we'd never hear another word she'd say. But none of us were prepared for what came next. Pretty much on cue, there was a low sort of hooting noise. Then another...and another and literally within seconds there were 42 gibbons "singing" in tones and sounds that were nothing short of breathtaking. To say it was deafening would be an understatement. Combine thunderous, booming, roaring and powerful...then that might come close to what we experienced. We also learned that their songs can be heard 2 miles away! 

Gibbons can travel up to 35 mph and leap 50 ft at a time. 

I would have loved nothing more than getting a little closer to the enclosures to fade out the chain links but Gibbons' arms are 1 1/2 times longer than their legs so being any closer wouldn't be safe for either of us. So I tried my best to adapt and capture these amazing creatures that were beyond my lens' reach. 

What a thrill and an honor to experience a few hours in a day of a life of gibbons.

Do you use Group-on? What deals have you found? I'd love to hear.

Happy (find your group-on) snapping.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Good, Random...


Anytime you find yourself at a museum, especially a modern art museum in downtown LA, it's good, random fun everywhere you look. I continue my day-cations when I can as the school year is well under way, but The Mr. surprised me with a new lens that was on my short list...and what better place to play with a wide angle lens then a museum with lights!

It was high time to visit LACMA and these gorgeous restored Urban Lights. 
I left plenty early and was well rewarded! 

What are the odds, to be that one person in a city of millions that gets to play at such an iconic place all by yourself?

Oh and the lens did not disappoint!

I heard children playing here call it spaghetti but it's really  Jesús Rafael Soto's "Penetrable." It is described as kinetic and op art and is nothing more than 1000's of yellow tubes hanging from metal bars. It's really popular with the kids especially when most art is "hand off" and this is totally interactive.

The La Brea Tar Pits with its bubbly pitch are right next door to LACMA.  Fossils are still being excavated from Pit 91. 
You can walk around the park and watch methane gas escape and make its own "art!" 

I draw the line when "art" becomes...well...a 340 ton boulder that took 11 days for the 105 mile journey to it's final resting place...but does all this make it art? 
Michael Heizer and his "Levitated Mass" thought otherwise and it is a permanent piece for sure. 

I will say it is peculiar standing under something so behemoth knowing full well it's weight and size. 
I had another thought as I happily snapped away. Personally, I love being someplace historic and talking photos where there are as few people as possible~even though people can give the pulse and vibe to a setting. People distract me, from the view. Maybe it's a control thing. I know there are way more times than not when people and their energy are an absolute must in a shot. It's something I think I'll work on and get more creative in shooting.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about people vs. no people in a shot.

Happy Snapping!

I'm sharing over at Tamar's today

And Lisa's

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Little Things...



Hello September!

There's a burst of joy, like confetti, that happens inside my brain and trickles down to the tips of my toes when I see September roll around. I know that cooler weather will eventually reveal itself with crisp mornings. There will be warm days but by dusk, the doors and windows will burst open and the evening's fresh air will be allowed to seep into every corner of the house.

Everyone has a favorite season or two...and if we had milder summers, well, she would win hands down. But for me, I adore everything autumn has to offer. It truly energizes my soul with her colors, aromas and flavors that I've waited all year to savor. I know the time to slow down and embrace the inevitable shorter days are soon to follow. This is a time of renewal for me.
And let's not forget that extra hour of sleep is on the horizon! 

I plucked the first two pomegranates off our tree this morning. We haven't had much luck with other fruit trees over the years. We've seen our lemon, peach and plum trees just wither to barren, unproductive woody plants that really hold no other purpose than root support for the tiered  landscape. But our Pom tree is another story. She thrives in the oppressive heat and bears the most delicious, buxom fruit. The jeweled seeds are perfectly tart and juicy~and right now all over my counter and walls as I split them open for todays photos!

Comfort foods like stews and chilis replace salads and Bar-B-Q's. Spices and baked goods will waft through the air. The transition from sandals and shorts to scarves and boots are much anticipated. 
It really is the little things.
How do you welcome the cooler weather?  I hope you'll share.

Happy (almost fall) snapping!

Sharing over at

Monday, August 15, 2016

The final slice...

...of summer

I wanted to post this earlier, like yesterday earlier...really I did. However, it was my last day of summer vacation and with that, my feelings were all over the place. Instead of blogging, I kinda did everything else I could think of to reflect avoid facing what was going on inside my head. I know me and I wouldn't have been able to articulate or make sense out of the jumbled mess in my head.
Today was a pupil free day and it was so wonderful seeing everyone again and
being back at our home school after the relocation.
I had such an enjoyable summer. It was the perfect amount of travel and relaxation. I finished up with a quick trip up to Monterey to visit my aunt, Ms. M.  
San Francisco is as far north as I've ever been and
what a little slice of heaven the Central Coast is.

California has been in a drought for many years now-I lost count how many times my mouth fell open and uttered how amazing this place was. We sat and had a mini breakfast at 
Deetjen's Big Sur Inn. Every cabin is built with milled redwood and named to match its unique personality. The ambiance hasn't changed much in the 70 years the inn has been opened. 
The Library

It's no wonder artists and writers come to Big Sur for inspiration.

Wednesday morning, the Mr and I took a short drive out to the coast to visit the Getty Villa.
The villa is home to some 44,000 antiquities that belong to the J.Paul GettyMuseum.
It was a beautiful day spent with my honey.
I just love this little peek-a-boo shot of the ocean.

I didn't get to check everything off my summer list-but I'm ok with that. I'm ready for another school year and plan on ticking off some of those day-cations through out the year.

What's your favorite part of summer? I'd love to know.

Happy (summer) snapping!

Linking up with Lisa today.