Shipwreck Trail


Sunday my husband and I left our teenage kids to do their thing while we went to do our thing.  We drove along the coast to explore a new hiking trail: Shipwreck Trail on the Palos Verdes Penninsula. Despite reviews warning us of rocky and dangerous terrain we decided to go anyway lured by the promise of gorgeous views, tide pools, cove surfing and many photo opportunities.

The trail did not disappoint.  We loved it.  We took lots of photos and had an interesting adventure at the end. As we began our trek back through the rocky landscape we found a steep, dirt trail we knew would save us time. We could see it was steep, but as we started up it proved trickier than we imagined.  The path was unstable and loose so each step was like a tiny landslide. The big rocks on each side of the path initially looked like good hand holds but crumbled when we touched them.  Just when we thought we’d made a terrible mistake, the path became more stable and easier to climb.  After we made it to the top we agreed we should have taken a photo of the path before we attempted it.  We knew our kids wouldn’t believe us when we told them the story.

We will definitely go back because the Palos Verdes cove had some interesting surfing and we never made it to the actual shipwreck.  I read in the trail guide that the shipwreck is the SS Dominator from 1961.  All the reviews said the shipwreck was cool and worth the hike.  Next time…



Phoneography Challenge: Macro Monday

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Here in Southern California something is always blooming.  I’m not sure what kind of flower this is, some kind of lilac I think.  I love the tiny, delicate purple blooms. Every time I see it I think it would make a good macro Monday post, so here it is.  I used an Olloclip macro lens and staged the setting against a neutral background.  It was an overcast day so the light was bright and soft.  I edited it using Snapseed.

Happy Monday!

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Friday Find: Bookjigs

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I love to read but I have a love/hate relationship with bookmarks. I’ve tried everything from scraps of paper and receipts to a variety of bookmarks, but they always fail. I’d resorted to dog-earing the pages until a few years ago when I found Bookjiigs!  I won’t use any other bookmark.

Bookjigs just came out with some beautiful new designs that are colorful and fun.  Check them out if you like to read!

Happy Reading!



3 A.M. Thoughts

Everest -A time lapse short film from Elia Saikaly on Vimeo.

You know that quote, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”  I’ve always applied that quote to professional goals rather than personal goals.  I don’t know why.  I am single-minded when it comes to myself so maybe that’s why. Or maybe it’s because our culture is obsessed with accomplishments.  Either way, when I woke up thinking about it early this morning I knew the answer.  I’d climb Everest if I knew I could not fail.  I’d summit that mountain and sit on top of the world for as long as I could.

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

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Some days I feel restless.

Call it wanderlust or itchy feet, but every once in a while I get an urge to just go and be in nature.

So Otis and I set out to find adventure. He loves to go. Maybe he feels restless too.

I was imagining canyon vistas with sweeping views.

Well, let’s just say my canyon adventure was more like a walk in a park than an adventure hike.

It was pretty, just not what I was imagining.

Trail apps are great, but until you go explore the place you don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into.  I both love this and loathe this at the same time.

Otis had fun chasing squirrels and ducks. He got some good exercise. I was happy to get out.

Instead of posting the details of my hike and the photos from said hike, I am posting one photo of a blooming tree from our walk in the park.

It’s January and things are blooming all over Southern California. January! It’s crazy. While most people are living in the polar vortex I’m living in a perpetual garden.

It’s wonderful.


Stop Rock


Sometimes my mouth gets me in trouble with my kids especially now that they are both teens.  I’m learning to read their cues and choose my words carefully rather than say the first thing that comes to mind.  It’s harder than it sounds especially when they give me such good material to work with. Like last weekend. When I picked my son up from his friend’s house he got in the car and said, “I’m gonna need new clothes.”  That’s it. He’s very matter of fact.  There was no explanation, just “I’m gonna need new clothes.” He’s fourteen and doesn’t say a lot anyway.  It was late so I said, “Ok.”  Then it occurred to me to ask why.  Did the boys say something to him? Had styles suddenly changed?  Why now?  My imagination was running wild. Then he told me he hit a stop rock in the road while skateboarding, flipped over and scraped up his leg, elbow and wrecked his favorite shorts. Ah, I thought. That’s why he needs new clothes. He ruined his favorite shorts. Buying clothes for him is always an emergency.  He hates shopping so he’ll wait until it doesn’t fit or it’s ripped or stained before he’ll say anything. Then he wants it right then, that moment.  So, instead of pointing out that this is not an emergency and can wait until tomorrow I simply say, “Ok. We’ll go tomorrow.”

When we arrived at the store he said, “I think I need to get a pair of jeans.”  What? Jeans? He hasn’t worn jeans or pants since we moved to California 13 months ago.  If I even mention pants he starts in on how it isn’t cold enough here and he’s never cold anyway.  I’d given up asking.  I really wanted to say this to him, but I noticed he was trying to be cool about it so I decided I would try to be cool about it.  My husband and I started looking through the racks and we found him a pair of khaki colored skater pants.  This is apparently pretty cool.  My son said, “Yeah, I’ve wanted this kind of pant for a while now.”  Really? He hasn’t said anything about it to us.  I wanted to point this out too, but instead my husband and I shared a look and didn’t say what we were both thinking.

He went in to try them on and came out wearing the pants and the biggest smile. Clearly, he loved them, but what he said was, “Yeah, these are good.”  I wanted to say, “Really? Because your face says you love them.”  Instead, I was trying to be cool about it so I said, “Great” and smiled at my husband.

I started to declare victory that I’d made it through without any snarky comments and then I noticed that only one of the pants was denim that will protect him from road rash next time he comes across a stop rock. I had a choice to make. I could point it out or I could just let him enjoy his new clothes.

We left the store with two pair of pants, three pair of shorts and one happy kid.  Victory was mine!

Phoneography Challenge: Nature

Today’s submission is inspired by sunsets and sunrises.  There is something magical about a sunset.  As evening approaches I find myself looking out to see if the sky will light up and draw me down to the beach to watch the sun slowly descend beyond view.  Some evenings the sunset is so vibrant people stop, pull their car over and jump out to catch a glimpse of the end of the day.  It’s fascinating how we are drawn to sunsets more so than sunrises.  Recently though I’ve fallen in love with the sunrise.  It’s difficult to get out of bed in the dark and cold to see the sunrise, but it’s so worth it.  Watching the sun peek over the horizon or peek over the mountains restores my soul.  The color before sunrise changes gradually from its cool edge to a warm, vibrant center.  It bathes everything in beauty and it changes moment to moment, East to West.  I’ve become a light chaser since I moved to the beach.  Everyday is a new opportunity to see something new and I love it! Below are three of my favorite sunrise photos.  I was out testing a new toy, my watershot housing for my iPhone.  It was a great day.  Which one do you like best?  The light is different in each one and the colors are phenomenal.  It was a beautiful sunrise.


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Sunrise Crystal Cove

Today is the first anniversary of the Phoneography Challenge by Lens and Pens by Sally.  I’ve only been participating for a short time, but I enjoy participating in part because it keeps me blogging and it inspires me.  I also enjoy this community and the people I’ve come to know through their submissions.  Thanks Sally and congratulations!


Artifact Uprising

Earlier this year I found a company I absolutely love and want to share with you.  I found them on Instagram, but you can also follow them on twitter and Facebook.  I enjoyed the photos they posted so much I decided to follow them.  When I clicked into their profile what I read inspired a “you had me at hello” reaction.

ARTIFACT UPRISING // inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible / bettered by a community of inspired storytellers / driven by the belief everyone has a story to tell. Tell On.

As a storyteller myself, I love the eclectic and creative group of people they feature.  I also love that they understand those of us who still enjoy a printed photograph.  This is going to date me, but in college I used to love spending hours in the dark room developing film and playing around with the enlargers.  I miss developer and the fun of watching an image slowly form on paper.  I also love reading a printed book, good stationery and sending handwritten notes through the mail.  So it isn’t surprising that I love this company and their mission to help me get my photos off my computer and into memorable prints, books and gifts.

Soon after I started following them I found out they were a relatively new company that had just launched their app through iTunes.  I downloaded the app and went to the website for more.  I was hooked.  I lost track of time reading through the blog and clicking through the website.  I love the simplicity of the website and blog.  It’s the perfect blend of simple and functional.  I decided to order prints and see if the products were as great as the digital side of the company.  The ordering process was easy and fun.  The hardest part was deciding which photos from my Instagram gallery I wanted to print.  (By the way, the photos don’t have to be from Instagram.  It was just the easiest way for me to test the product without spending hours on the computer trying to decide which images I wanted to print.)

A week later the package arrived and the prints were beautiful.  I love the square prints.  The paper is recycled and the quality is great.  Some of the photos I chose look better on the matte paper than others, but now I know what to expect next time.  I’m already thinking of gift ideas for my friends and family.  I can’t wait to create a book too.  I’m in love with this company and its products.


This Place Is Part of Me Too

This Place from Instrument on Vimeo.

I love living at the beach in Southern California.  It’s warm, sunny and unlike any place I’ve ever lived before.  Once in a while though it reminds me of the Oregon Coast.  This morning the clouds hung low and gray covering me in a cool dampness.  It was peaceful and beautiful just like the Oregon Coast.

Today’s video feature gives you a taste of the rugged beauty of the Oregon Coast.  There truly is no place like it.  Watch the video and if you can, go visit.  Rain or shine it’s one of the most beautiful and interesting places you’ll ever visit.

I can’t mention the Oregon Coast without including one of its unique treasures: The Balance & Light Gift Gallery in Rockaway Beach.  The owners create one-of-a-kind gifts using Oregon rain and recycled light bulbs.  They call them Oregon Du Drops.  I have four myself and one of them commemorates my beach trip from one tip of the Oregon Coast to the other.  Cat and Dubois are the creative owners.  They are the most interesting people.  If you’re in the area stop in and visit them.  The shop is located at 480 Highway 101 South in Rockaway Beach or check them out online at



Hope Wins


Last week I was contacted by a woman and asked if I’d be willing to read her story and write about it on my blog.  She initially asked me to reflect back on the holiday season and post about something I’m thankful for as well as share a bit of her story with you.  As I was reading her story and preparing to write the blog as requested, one phrase struck me so powerfully.  The phrase was, “with hope the odds don’t matter.”   I read her story a few times and each time I came back to that phrase.  How powerful and true is that statement?  With hope the odds don’t matter.  Immediately I knew I wouldn’t be writing about reflecting back on the holiday season, but about the power of hope in our lives. I hope Heather doesn’t mind.

Hope, according to Merriam-Webster, means to expect with confidence.  Imagine what we can do when we expect with confidence that something good will happen.  Heather’s story is based on that expectation.  She didn’t give up when the doctors gave her 15 months to live.  She was only 36 when she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.  She had a three-month-old baby girl and a loving husband.  She admits that throughout her life she’s been accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. I think her rosy outlook saved her life.  She expected with confidence that her outcome would be good.  She never gave up and today she is an eight-year mesothelioma cancer survivor. Because she beat the odds and is one of the few long-term survivors, she is on a mission to spread awareness of mesothelioma by sharing her personal story.

Hope is powerful.  I have many friends who have battled and survived cancer.  I am so grateful they have beaten cancer and are living examples of hope for others and myself.

Please visit Heather’s website and help her spread awareness about mesothelioma.

Hope Wins!