F is for Food #allaboutme #lovekate

This week, F is for food. I love food - not just cooking it and eating it, but photographing it, too, as many of you have noticed over the years! My food pix are not fancy - although the food itself sometimes is! - they won't be appearing in Food and Wine or Sunset or even Eating Light or Clean Eating magazines. That's not the point. The point is that I enjoy sharing some of the delicious -and yes, beautiful - meals I've had.

I can't remember exactly when it started, but I do know one of my earliest food photos was at the 2002 San Francisco JournalCon. We were at a lovely Chinatown restaurant (the name of which I've forgotten) and were told regarding the following "eat it like a taco":


In 2005 I took a trip with my BFF Jewel to San Juan Capistrano where we had an amazingly delicious (and beautiful!) meal at The Tea House:


Then in 2007 we went to Niagara Falls and had this gorgeous lunch at The Table Rock Restaurant:


I've visited Green Bay, Wisconsin several times over the past few years, and the most fabulous meal has got to be the homemade chicken booyah and brats and candied pretzels with pineapple fluff made by the beautiful and fantastic June!PicMonkey Collage3

But it's not all just brats and beer in Green Bay. There are also some fabulous restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan dishes as well. One of my favourite restaurants is The RAWstraunt, which specilizes in "raw" food (which means nothing is cooked over 104°). This raw cake was not only delicious, but beautiful as well:


I don't just photograph restaurant food, though. I also like to take snapshots of meals I've cooked. Lately I've been cooking several recipes from the Clean Eating magazine, such as this Smokey Pork Chop:


 Cheers, and bon appetit!

E is for Easter Cards #allaboutme #lovekate

This week the letter E is being showcased in the All About Me meme. I had a hard time trying to figure out what word to use: energy, exercise, elegant, eggs ... there are so many words to use and yet so few at the same time. To be honest, I just wasn't too inspired this week. Then as I was going through some of my hand-stamped cards my grandmother had kept, I came across a few of the Easter cards, and though hey, I'll post pictures of my Easter cards!

Aaannnd, then I remembered I just did an entry about Easter cards back in April, so I'm basically recycling the whole idea. But, I can't think of anything else, so hopefully no one will mind! Here are a few of the Easter cards I had given my grandparents which my grandma had kept. Enjoy!

Easter Card 001

This is one of the first Easter cards I did, soon after I started stamping back in the mid-90s and way before I had a computer that now takes up all my time. All the eggs in this basket were individually stamped and cut out and placed in the basket. Some of them are even embossed which is a very time consuming process! I wish I knew what year this was, but unfortunately I didn't write that down. 


Thankfully I wrote the date on this one so I know I made it for Easter 1999. This is another card that took a lot of time to do what with all the masking and cutting out and colouring in. 


I must've been getting busy by 2000 when I made this card, because it's much simpler than the others above. 


This was the last Easter card I made in 2008. The eggs were stamped on decorative paper, cut out and glued on a blank card, and the greeting was stamped with individual alphabet letters. 


D is for Delightful #allaboutme #Lovekate

This weekend my mom and I took a well-deserved and much-needed "staycation" to Avila Beach and it was delightful! Avila Beach is one of my favourite places to go in SLO county, and we've stayed at just about every other coastal town except Avila Beach. We stayed at the Lighthouse Suites and got an oceanfront room with a great view:


We went wine tasting at a couple of the tasting rooms in Avila Beach. The first was Morovino where we decided to just have a glass of wine instead of a full tasting. We choose a delightful Pinot Grigio and settled in a comfy corner to just relax!


Later we stopped at was Woods Winery where we tasted five different wines including a delightful Tipsy Dog Pinot Noir!


We also took a walk along the pier. The weather this weekend was fantastic and there were TONS of people enjoying the sun and surf. There weren't many very big waves which was good for the kayakers, but there was a nice breeze which was good for the sailboats.

During the summer months, Avila Beach hosts the Fish and Farmer's Market along the promanade. We've been to it before and really enjoyed it. There's tons of delicious food to choose from (I struggled between a fish taco and a tri-tip sandwich before going with the tri-tip, and also had roasted corn - so delish!!), vendors selling everything from handmade lavendar soaps to yard made from the wool of local alpacas, delicious fresh fruits and veggies, and a live band. 

It was a blast! Afterwards we just sat on our deck and watched the sunset.

It was, in a word: delightful!!


C is for Coffee

All photos taken by me; collage created at picmonkey.com.

This week's All About Me Blog Challenge is the letter "C", and I have chosen to write about coffee - with much thanks to Kate for the prompt!

As you can see from the collage of coffee pictures I've taken over the years, I LOVE coffee! It started in childhood when I tried some of my grandmother's coffee with Coffeemate Creamer. Oooh, the creamy goodness! I wasn't allowed to drink much coffee as a child (it stunts your growth!), but started drinking quite a bit in high school. My friends and I would go have Cafe Mochas at either The Combine Mall in Pullman, WA or The Peppermill at the Moscow Mall (Moscow, ID). (I wish I'd thought to take pictures of those cups of coffee complete with the swirls of whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings on top, but I had no idea taking pictures of food and drink would become such a "thing"! ) 

In college (Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA) my roomie and I had our own coffeepot and made and comsumed at least a pot of coffee a day. Just regular coffee like Folgers or something; nothing fancy or special. It was good, though, and really helped us study! On the weekends, I would walk downtown to The Village Cafe and treat myself to a Cafe Mocha and toasted cheddar bagel. I believe there was a little bookstore downtown that also made espressos, but I can't recall the name of it now.

Nowadays I'll get coffee at Starbucks, or Peets, or my current favourite coffeehouse, Bru in Atascadero, CA. At home I prefer Dunkin' Donuts regular coffee or flavoured coffees (I love vanilla!), but I'll buy pretty much whatever's on sale, and at work I use the Starbucks Via packets to make a cup of really yummy coffee. 

B is for Bees #allaboutme #Lovekate

In the garden there is a small, but abundant lavender bush. Lavender is one my all-time favourite fragrances. I used to buy straight lavender oil to use as perfume when I was in college, and have a couple lavender-scented sachets that I keep in my "intimates" drawer. (I know, TMI! Sorry!) I would love to cut off a few pieces  of this plant to bring that delightful scent into my home, but I'm not quite brave enough to battle the bees for it! The bush is simply COVERED with bees! I tried to get some pictures, but most of them didn't come out because those busy little bees are fast!




I was doing OK until the bees kinda discovered me and started pestering me, so I fled! It's not that I'm scared of bees, exactly, but when I was a kid, I was stung by a bee, so now I'm wary of them. I was on a field trip to Rocky Reach Dam with my Blue Bird group frolicking barefoot around a grassy area by the Visitor's Center when I stepped on a bee and it stung me. I suppose it had every right to since I stepped on it, but ouch! It hurt like madness and my food swelled up really bad. It was scary, but a really nice older couple came over and helped out. They carefully pulled out the stinger, then mixed up some bakintg soda and water and put the paste on the site of the sting. I think that was supposed to take the swelling down or something, but I remember my foot was swollen for several days.

I didn't have any other allergy problems from the sting - thank God! - but I really don't want to get stung again and find out if my allergy to bees has gotten any worse!

Still, I really wish I knew where those bees lived, because I bet their lavender honey is delicious! 


A is for Art (All About Me Blog Challenge) #allaboutme #Lovekate

For the first installment of the All About Me Blog Challenge over at Love, Kate's blog, I chose Art to represent the letter A. Art has always been a big part of my life from playing with colouring books or drawing stick figure pictures as a child to writing poems and stories, creating rubber stamped greeting cards, and taking artistic photos as an adult. 

Below are a couple of hand stamped cards I made for Thanksgiving and Christmas:


And a few years ago I made a chapbook featuring some of my hand stamped art, photography and writing including short stories, poetry and haiku:


Recently I have been participating in a Photo a Day Challenge hosted by Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim, and while I haven't always managed to take a photo for every topic or theme or whatever you want to call it, I have taken several pretty good shots. I posted 30 of my shots in a 30 Days of Creativity Wrap Up post just the other day. Check 'em out! 

I also enjoy viewing other people's art in museums, galleries, in coffee shops, or just on the street. 


Painting by a local artist displayed at Bru Coffeehouse in Atascadero, CA.


Graffiti found on a wall in an alleyway in San Luis Obispo, CA.


A statue in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in Santa Barbara, CA.


A painting in progress in the gardens of the San Juan Capistrano Mission, San Juan Capistrano, CA.

'Till next time ... cheers!