Make Sure to Follow my New URL!

I don’t want to miss any of my followers that I’ve connected with on the site.. so please make sure to stop by and subscribe there so you have the latest updates on my whereabouts =)


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To my readers,

There has a come a time when a blog has done well, and when a person has to move it to a new url.


I truly hope all my readers will follow me there.   All of the stories and comments of the past have followed me over there, and now I truly hope that you do too.

Find me at



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Becoming the Photographer.

As I’m learning more and more about photography I’m beginning to put myself out there more, and learn as I go.

A few weekends ago my SO and I were invited out to photograph a dance group.  The dance group is called Mandala Danceworks and they are absolutely amazing to watch in performance.  If you ever have the opportunity to see them, I highly recommend it.  I was so excited about the opportunity that was given to us.

And these were some of the shots captured that night:

In a nutshell I was pretty happy with the shots I came back with, and was happy to share them with the dancers that partook that night.  And now I’m happy to share them with you =)


Categories: Photography | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Minnesota and Los Angeles similar?

Often, when people find out I’m from Minnesota, their response is, “wow, that’s quite a change for you, isn’t it?”

The truth is, I never know how to respond to that because I don’t think it’s that big of a change.

So, here is my list as to why I think Minnesota and Los Angeles are similiar.  Of course, at the end, I’ll also write how they’re different 😉

1) Bodies of Water

While LA is surrounded by beautiful oceans, Minnesota has beautiful lakes.  People run to the water to hang out, to have fun, to grill, to water ski, to boat, etc.

2) Urban Sprawl:

Los Angeles is a city that keeps growing and sprawling out, but did you know that the Twin Cities is very much like this?  The center are Minneapolis and St. Paul, but all around the cities are both the Northern Suburbs and the Southern Suburbs that continues to build and sprawl.

3) People stick to their areas

If you live in Hollywood, you usually stay in and around there.  If you live near Long Beach, you usually hang out and chill around there.  It is very similar in MInnesota.  If you grew up in the Southern Suburbs, you hang out around there.  If you grew up in St. Paul, you are loyal to St. Paul, if Minneapolis has your heart, you don’t leave it, etc.

4) Traffic

Okay, yes, Minnesota has traffic too.  The only difference is we have less people, and less cars running around, but have you ever been stuck on the 494 during rush hour?  Trust me, you don’t want to be!  And of course, going into downtown on either 35W or 35E during Rush Hour reminds me of heading north onto the 110 into downtown Los Angeles, and lets not forget how the 405  is very much a reminder of my dear 494.

5) Bonfires

Everyone loves a good bonfire, and it’s no different wherever you live.  People in Los Angeles like to head out to the beach to have their bonfires where the people of Minnesota will light one up in their backyard and start cooking s’mores off of them, or will head to the park and have one there with a group of friends.  There’s been plenty of bonfire parties in my life.

6) Museums

The love of museums are in every city.  My favorites of Los Angeles include: The Getty, LACMA, MOCA, The Natural History Museum, and the Annenberg Space for Photography.

My love of museums in Minnesota include: The Science Museum, Minneapolis Outdoor Sculpture Garden, The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

7) The Theater

The theatre community is alive and running in Minneapolis.  A great theater community has been built, and there is a true love of the arts there.

There is also an amazing theater community in Los Angeles with some incredible theaters around town.  I love the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, The Santa Monica Playhouse, The Sierra Madre Playhouse, and a few others around town.  They’re everywhere!

I could continue on and on.  To me, it’s all in perspective.  If you go to a new place you look for the familiarity of the place you came from.  I found comfort in Los Angeles and looked to Minnesota to remind me.  It is there.

However, they have their differences too:

1) Weather

But of course, I knew that coming here.  I needed the sunshine, I had to get away from that snow! 😉 I just couldn’t handle the cold anymore.

2) The Seasons.

Los Angeles has seasons too: Really Hot, and then the Cloudy/Rainy Season 😉 Which, come to think about it, the rainy season consists of maybe 10 rainy days altogether, but when it rains here, we all notice 😉

Whereas I truly miss the warm days of Spring in Minnesota and the changing colors of the leaves come fall.

3) Backyards

Since I live in Los Angeles, and there’s so many people everywhere, the lack of backyards, the lack of green is really noticeable to me.  People do have tiny areas, and small backyards, but not the huge backyards that I have come to know.

Perhaps this is more seen in the Inland Empire or in the OC. 😉

4) The Cost of Living 😉 

I had to put this one in here. 😉 The cost of gasoline is about 20 cents higher per gallon.  I could get a 2 bedroom apartment for the price of 900 dollars a month in Minnesota, where as here, it goes for nearly 1300 to 1500 a month.  😉

However, people can still make it work if they downsize, and keep looking until they find an apartment they’re getting a great deal on.

5) What People Eat

There’s a different style of cooking out here.  Of course, alls I know is my own style, so I don’t notice it all the time, but the first time I did was when I attended a cooking class last November.  And I heard of the conversation around yams.  And it began to open my eyes.

And I’m sure there’s a ton more, but for me, I always look towards the positives and look for the similarities more than the differences.  I hope you enjoyed this fun read.

Categories: Life, Travel | 3 Comments

Happy National Photographer’s Month!

April is National Photographer’s Month, and I will be sure to talk up photography as much as I can this month.  Not only will I be sharing photos from some of my readers and friends and family, but also…

Every Thursday I’ll be talking more about photography by sharing some of my favorite photographer’s, and techniques I have learned along the way.

And as promised, the pictures below were submitted a few weeks ago.  I truly hope you enjoy them! And all of the pictures are taken with cell phones only =)

This is from one of my long time childhood friends, Courtney Smith,  of her beautiful daughter Sydney.  A precious moment captured.

Su Pak from submitted this photo.  It was a picture of a macaroon from one of her favorite bakery in Claremont, CA.  Pretty creative on how she even got the name of the bakery into the photo =)

This photo was taken by Alexis from  She was hanging out in Malibu for the day and utilized the Vignette App for Android while this was taken.

Maribel Reyes from submitted this phot of Los Angeles Union Station.  This is going down one of the main segways people utilize to catch their Red Line or Gold Line or Amtrak train.

Erika Kuznia submitted this photo.  It is of beautiful Lake Michigan.  Yes, in the midwest we may not have the Ocean, but we have beautiful, beautiful lakes, and the GREAT Lakes are the most spectacular.

Melissa Reyes from submitted this photo.  These are the delicious veggies laid out at the Calabasa’s Farmer’s Market.

Heather Atkinson from submitted this photo.  She says that her cell phone has become her main camera that she utilizes.  She was bummed on this day that they forgot the other camera at home until she got home that evening and was pleased with the photos taken.  She just utilized a black and white feature with this picture.

One of my amazing friends Noelle submitted this photo of her youngest daughter which has been coined the nickname of “Bean.” =) She is getting so BIG!

Lindsey Renuard from submitted this photo.  It had just started snowing, and her son, who was 3 at the time was fascinated by it, and just wanted to pick it up.  =)

Kristi from submitted this photo.  What a great capture of her child in the background of this magnificent light.  How many of you fellow photographer’s love taking pictures of fire? =)

Beautiful flowers that were captured by Jeni Ketchum that were taken by North Fort Hood, Texas.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  I know I truly loved looking through them as I received them in my email inbox.  Next week I’ll be showing other photos that were submitted.

Also, if you want to see your cell phone photo up on this blog next week, it’s not too late to send some photos in.  Email photos to me at:

Categories: Photography | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

My BUDGET Friendly Travel Tips ;)

*Disclosure* I understand that everyone travels differently.  These tips are my strategy when I pick a place to travel to or visit.  It’s helped me out tremendously*  Feel free to share some of yours!

It is no surprise that I don’t have all the money in the world to travel, but I haven’t let that stop me in the past.  I have taken a few vacations in my life, and loved every minute of those vacations.  And now I want to share some of my strategies with you for Budget Friendly Travel

Little Italy, San Diego

1) Pick out Pedestrian Friendly Places

By doing this you’re saving on transportation costs.  No car to rent, no need to, and your go see places are all within walking distance.

2) Look for the Deals

Whether you’re scouring the newspaper for travel deals, or the hotels for even better deals, do it! Buy when the price is low, and affordable.

Also, often times cities have their annual City Pass deals where at one price you purchase this city pass and it gets you into some of the more famed museums and attractions the city has to offer.

3) Visit a Friend

How many of you have friends located out of state?  How often do you get out visit them?  If not enough, plan a visit.  They’d love to see you, and it’s good for both of you.  You for getting away from the place you reside, and for your friend because it may give them a new approach to the place they live in.  And it always ends in lasting memories.  And who knows, they may even let you stay with them which saves on the accommodations 😉

4) Make it a StayCation

We all have a list of places we want to check out in our city.  On a weekend you’re wanting to get out and about pull out your list and pick something at random.  It’s a day out on the town in the city you may forget to give a second glance from time to time.

5) Cut the cost on the Hotel

Some people won’t agree with me on this, but lets think about this.  When you go on vacation how often are you in your hotel room?  For me, I usually go there to have breakfast and to sleep.  As long as the hotel has a bed, a bathroom, and offers free breakfast it’s enough for me.

Don’t get me wrong, every now and again, it’s nice to stay at a really nice, extravagant hotel to go all out on, and it’s totally okay to do once in awhile.

But another key point when looking for hotels is look for newly open hotels, sometimes they have really good prices and deals because they’re not as well known yet.  I did this with a hotel in Orlando, Florida, and it was one of the nicest hotel stays I’d ever had!

6) Go Camping!

Some of the most affordable accommodations are at campsites!  So go camping and make it an adventure as you travel.  I know on our cross country road trip from Minnesota to California, we skipped the hotels and stayed at campsites the entire way.  And it was such a blast.  Sleeping in that tent at night looking up at the stars in the Colorado mountains was heavenly.

7) Hit the Cities around your State

Instead of flying across the country for a major vacation, think locally.  Have you been to San Diego? Las Vegas? Places in Arizona or Utah? Or even San Francisco?  If not, make it a weekend getaway.  Just getting away from home will rejuvenate you in a way you’ve needed.  And these are some pretty awesome places.

For those elsewhere think of the surrounding areas around you.  Is there a place within 4 to 6 hours that you’ve always wanted to visit?  DO IT!! You won’t regret it.

8) Go on a Cruise

These cruises especially around the months of February and March offer affordable deals, and the best part is: food and accommodation are all apart of the deal.  And you get to stop at different ports along the way and see a few places you might not have otherwise.

Some people don’t like cruises because they feel too rushed at a Port stop, but it’s a great way to visit a variety of places in one excursion.

9) Rent a Motor Home 

Who doesn’t love a good road trip?  But think of it this way, a road trip that has the avail of food and accommodation all in one place??? Oh yea, that’s definitely the way to do it.  Just do your research and look to where you can park the motor home at night.  The cost may get hefty on that end.

10) Travel on the Actual Holiday.

A lot of times the crowds at the airport are before or after the holidays, but the actual holiday the airports aren’t as hectic.  4th of July had a ton of travel deals each year, so look into those.

The only holidays I wouldn’t recommend travelling around are Thanksgiving and the end of December 😉

11) Use your Tax Refund

Put that tax refund to good use by planning a vacation.  Every year I don’t anticipate getting anything back from the government, so when I do, it’s a nice surprise and it’s used for something I’ve been saving up for or a vacation getaway!

Anyway, just some insight into travel suggestions for getting your family out and about this upcoming year.  Summer’s right around the corner, start planning those vacations today =)



Categories: Fun Stuff, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

My Top 15 Food Picks from #ExpoWest

ExpoWest was huge, literally, the biggest Natural Foods Expo that’s out there, and I walked away with 15 Favorite items from that show.  I tried to narrow it down to 10, but I just couldn’t.

1) White Girl Salsa

With a name like White Girl Salsa I knew I had to try it.  And I was so glad I did.  I love tomatillo’s, and this is what their salsa consists of (mild and medium)  They also have a few other varieties available.  Their Salsa is completely Gluten Free and yum, yum, yummy!

But the true fun came when talking to them as they prepared me for my picture 😉

2) The Bunnery

You may have heard of the restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  People have become such fan of the restaurant that they started to create their own products.  Their granola is to die for, and I am a huge fan of their Cranberry Vanilla variety.  They also have their own line of Pancake and Waffle mixes.  I can’t wait to try them out!

3) Laughing Giraffe Organics

Did I ever tell you that I am a huge fan of macaroons?  From the very first time I made my first batch I have been hooked, so when I tried the Laughing Giraffe Organics macaroons I was in heaven.  Absolutely delicious coconut flavor. All ingredients are organic.

4) Noosa Yohgurt

This yohgurt was voted Best of the West by the Press, and let me tell you it’s THAT good!  And I was thrilled to find out it was already available in Whole Foods Markets.  The yohgurt is smooth and absolutely delicious.  A heavenly treat for those yohgurt lovers out there.

5) ThinkThin Bars

From the moment I tried these delicious bars I have been hooked.  I absolutely love their Cranberry and Mixed nuts bar, and also their Brownie Crunch bar.  These bars are high in protein, gluten free, and zero sugar!

6) Turbana Plaintain Chips

Absolutely delicious! And btw: this won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing about these chips from me 😉

7) Love Crunch Granola

Granola with bits of chocolate in it, who doesn’t love that!  But this is a granola I absolutely could snack on at any time of the day, not just in the morning.  Convenient for lunches, or during the workday snack time.  The chocolate is real organic italian.  And has bits of berries in the mix.  A sweet tasty joy.

8) Odwalla Snack Bars

I tried their newest variety: White Macadamia, and omg I could go back for seconds and thirds it was that good.  Perfect for snacktime, or even after a good workout.  You’ve earned it! 😉

9) Rush Bowls

What is a Rush Bowl?  It’s a complete meal that truly fills you up.  With granola to mix in on the top and frozen all natural blended fruit on the bottom, it’s a perfect wake me up snack.  These are to be kept frozen, but they unthaw pretty fast, and are absolute divine.  I am a huge fan of the Yoga flavor!

10) Oogie’s Popcorn

I am usually not a fan of popcorn, but the minute I tried Oogie’s Gourmet Popcorn I was hooked.  With delicious flavors such as White Cheddar, Kettle Corn, Hatch Chili Con Queso, Romano and Pesto, Smoked Gouda and a few others.  This is one popcorn I’ll be munching on in the future!

11) Justin’s Nut Butter

Justin’s launched their very own Candy Bar at ExpoWest this year, and let me tell you, it’s heavenly!  Mixed with their own organize peanut butter and infused with organic chocolate.  I could eat these every day and be satisfied.

12) Green Chopsticks

Their Potstickers are amazing, and the company is a ton of fun to talk to.  With facilities located in Alhambra, California, it’s local, and awesome.  They also offer an Organic Seaweed Snack, dumplings, and other asian specialties!

13) Peanut Butter & Company

When I tried their chocolate peanut butter I swooned.  I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but never thought of putting it together into one spread.  And boy oh boy was I happy to taste this idea.

14) SolBites

A two pack peanut butter and jelly snack.  Perfect for on the go snacking!

15) Eat Pastry

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Yes please.  Gluten free varieties along with dairy free varieties.  You keep the cookie dough refridgerated, and pop it out when you want to make a fresh batch of cookies.  This is one cookie dough you can eat raw 😉



Categories: Cooking, Fun Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Great ANDROID Cell Phone Apps.

For about the past 8 months I’ve been playing around with different cell phone apps for the android. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 apps I really like and would like to share those with you.

If you don’t mind spending a little money, I highly recommend these first two apps. I believe they’re both 5.99, one is for sure, the other may be lower than that.

1) Camera 360: This app has a variety of effects from: retro, lomo, hdr, black and white, night enhancement features to back to 1839 looks. This also has tilt shift modes, color shift modes and different scenery options. This is one of my favorites to utilize.  They have both a free version, and a version that costs 5.99 that gives a little more features, mainly on the effects side.  Camera 360 seems to be the app that has all the features we look for.

2) Camera Zoom FX: This has a variety of features from overlays, vignetting, to adding props. You can do collages, and cropping. This also gives you a timer setting along with trying to stable the camera phone.

If you like FREE apps then I highly recommend these apps.

1) Photoshop Express: An easier version of photoshop at your fingertips for your phone. From getting the exposure, saturation, tint, black and white, contract and brightness right for the picture. So far I have liked the results from this app.

2) Little Photo: This has a lot of effects to play around with, and you can add more than one effect to the photo. It’s a fun little app that I’ve enjoyed playing around with, and it’s one of my favorites.

And if you like to do crazy stuff with your photos and just play around to see what you can come up.

1) PhotoFunia is a free app in which you can add photos to billboards, wanted signs, photo booth strip, etc.

2) ColorTouch: This app allows you to add a bit of color to your photos while keeping the rest of the photo black and white.  It’s pretty neat once you can figure out how it exactly works.  And with the right photo, have fun with it.  This is another FREE app.

And good news for those that love the idea of Instagram.  Thanks to Alexis from I found out that Instagram is releasing an android version.  You can sign up to be one of the first here

I hope this is helpful advice.  If you recommend any apps feel free to share it hear so we can learn from others.

And if you still haven’t submitted your favorite cell phone photos to me to be featured in the weeks ahead, you can still do so by sending the photos to


Categories: Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Built NY Wine Totes and Giveaway

Built NY was started in 2002 when Aaron Lown and John Roscoe designed a wine satchel from Italian leather.  The bag was both beautiful and purposeful, but extremely expensive to make.

So, in 2003, Aaron and John designed a more affordable wine bag out of “neopene,”  Yes, the same material utilized in wet suits.  And this is when Built truly came to be.

Built NY has bags, totes, and purses available for on the go convenience.  Along with these bags, they also have wine totes.  In their own words:

BUILT is a New York-based company that designs fashionable and functional bags, totes, and cases for life on the go. Our roots in American industrial design guide us in the belief that form is as important as function and that great design makes life more enjoyable. Drawing inspiration from the city that never sleeps, we apply color and pattern to laptop sleeves, iPad cases, camera bags, lunch totes, and other accessories that protect the stuff you love wherever you go.

These wine totes keep your wine insulated when on the go.  They also make for a great house warming gift.

Being a huge wino myself when I ran across these wine totes I was ecstatic!  They offer both single and double toted wine bags.

The wine tote to the left is an Origami Wine tote.  What’s truly neat about this wine tote is that it scrunches down, meaning it’s a ton of fun to play with.  They retail at 24.99

The wine tote to the right is an example of their single wine totes that are available.  They have a variety of designs to choose from so choose what’s right for you.

How cool is that?

They also have double toted wine bags available for you.

The red bag is convenient as you carry it by the handles.  And let me tell you if I ever received this as a house warming gift or hostess gift I’d be ecstatic! The red bag retails at: 17.99

The black bag is really neat in that it has over the shoulder straps so it’s extremely convenient for on the go.  Anytime you shop at a wine store, bring this bag with you, after purchasing your wine, pop them in the bag and away you go.

And now you have your chance to win your very own Built NY wine bag!

Win the Red Bag Above along with the Origami Bag Below.

But first, feel free to connect with our sponsors via Facebook or Twitter

Prize: The Red Double Tote Bag (17.99) and the Single Origami Wine Bag (24.99)

And how do you enter:

***Mandatory Entry*** Leave a comment below ~

Giveaway Ends Friday, March 30th at 6pm Pacific Standard Time.  Giveaway is open to residents of the US only.  No purchase necessary- void where prohibited by law.  Winner will have 72 hours to respond to email notification by providing shipping address to claim prize.  If there is no response within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.  Find the Official Rules of the Giveaway here. 

Winner is chosen via

Sponsor provided the samples and prize, and this prize will be shipped by Minnesota Girl Transplanted into LA.

Categories: Fun Stuff | 13 Comments

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