Treat Yo Self at Base Coat Nail Salon

Basecoat Nails DTLA

If you live in LA or Denver just do yourself a favor and click here and book yourself a mani or a pedi at Base Coat Nails.  I went to the location in the LA Arts District with my sister last month and had a wonderful experience from start to finish.  I sipped on a sparkling water with my sleeping teeny niece napping in my arms while I got a pedi and my sister got a mani as a very welcome 'hey, you just had a baby but remember to give yourself a break' moment.  The vibe was chill, the space was beauuuutiful and everyone was so kind.   The details and thoughtful touches throughout added up to the perfect piece of zen in the middle of the city and do you see that plant wall and neon sign? Too fun! Plus, it's next door to the Museum of Ice Cream.  Hello?  Treat yo self indeed.

06 2017 LA Basecoat Nails-11.jpg
Basecoat Nails DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA
DTLA
Basecoat Nails DTLA

Travelogue: Los Angeles, California

 Poolside at the Upstairs bar at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Poolside at the Upstairs bar at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with movies. It came as no surprise to anyone who knew me that I was destined to head off to Los Angeles to go to film school after I graduated from high school.  You guys this was LONG before everyone had an iPhone in their pocket, and Final Cut and Premiere Pro were completely changing the film landscape. I edited with a little 8mm film splicer, a moviola, a flat bed and tape on the wall with spools of film. We're talking A-N-A-L-O-G. I was processing my film in a darkroom in my photography class and email was barely (barely) used beyond emailing professors or the student loan office. I lived in LA for 9 years.  Most of those days, I had a real dream of working in the biz. I wanted to be in Hollywood so badly, making films, shooting films, selecting music for films, directing films, you name it. Maybe music videos? Maybe animation? My heart was in all of it. 2 degrees, 3 internships, 2 jobs, 1 layoff, some debt, a bit of heartbreak, and lots of restaurant and retail experience later - it was TIME TO GO GIRL. (I sincerely hope some of you have watched Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for this reference, if not - get on it) So the thing is, as much as I wanted my escape up to Seattle to be the end of my LA story, it was just the beginning.  Next thing you know, my little sister moved there.  And after that I worked for an ad agency that shot and edited all their commercials there so I was often traveling to town for shoots and then most surprisingly of all, I started to let go of all my bad LA memories (mostly of the I'm not pretty/skinny/talented/wealthy enough variety) and began to see the city as a place full of opportunity again. This time it came in the form of experiences. I could finally explore LA as a grown woman full of much more life experience and confidence and not the 18 year old that came there wide-eyed and green, and eager to make it in the industry. It is now a place of wonder and beauty for me once more and I don't need anything from it. I can just simply enjoy it. Sure, it still has a lot of the things I used to really struggle with. The sheer amount of wealth and poverty in that place and the striking chasm between them certainly hasn't gone anywhere. But the personal development I was undergoing in my 20s was dramatically overshadowing my ability to see more sides to this city. And truthfully - the city has been doing some changing of its own. Downtown is now a bustling place people actually hang out in. 20 years ago, we wouldn't have imagined it.  All that said, I've made a point in my past two visits to rediscover Los Angeles through my now, almost 40 something eyes. I've been actively seeking time to see inspirational spaces, experiences, restaurants, and bars and instead of just taking my phone - I've been bringing my camera. I have been a tourist in my old home.  I hope that this inspires some LA adventures of your own the next time you're in LA LA Land. Don't get me wrong, you should still go to Disneyland and The Hollywood Bowl and Manhattan Beach Pier and Santa Monica but...also try some of these amazing delights. There's much more to this city than Hollywood and as someone seeking out beautiful design and tasty delights...it worked out pretty ok.  Looking forward to posting more LA adventures really soon.  I want to go more in depth about some of these spots and share about a few others.  I checked out the cutest nail salon, brunched at some fab spots in Venice, and had a glorious backyard bbq with my sister and her family. California love to be continued...

 Grand Park - Downtown LA

Grand Park - Downtown LA

 LAX
 Grand Central Market
 Downtown LA
Danielle Motif Photography Los Angeles
 The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library

 Huntington Gardens

Huntington Gardens

 Good Vibes

Good Vibes

 The Getty

The Getty

 The Getty

The Getty

 The Getty

The Getty

 Los Angeles at dusk from Griffith Observatory

Los Angeles at dusk from Griffith Observatory

 Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

 Magic Hour at the Ace Hotel Upstairs bar by the pool

Magic Hour at the Ace Hotel Upstairs bar by the pool

 Old fashioned turned sundial at the Ace Hotel Upstairs bar in DTLA

Old fashioned turned sundial at the Ace Hotel Upstairs bar in DTLA

 The Broad Museum DTLA

The Broad Museum DTLA

 LA Flower Mart in DTLA

LA Flower Mart in DTLA

 Fruit Stand in LA

Fruit Stand in LA

MOLLY & TRAVIS

Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding

Seattle is a small big town.  If you're in certain industries it seems inevitable you're going to run into people all the time. I never actually worked with Travis but we crossed paths through two different jobs and tons of mutual friends.  We finally met in person at a friend's wedding a few years back and have kept in touch here and there.  I followed along on his Instagram when Molly first appeared in his 'social' presence. 'That's adorable' I remember thinking. Cut to a message from Travis asking if I'd be interested in shooting their wedding.  It was going to be something low key on the other side of Bainbridge Island just across the Agate Point Bridge, in the resort behind the Clearwater Casino.  Obviously, I said. I had actually been to this venue once before for a work trip years and years ago and I recalled the lodge-like atmosphere and coziness to the place.  Seattle weather surprised all of us and we were graced with 80 degree weather and sunshine as far as the eye could see making it the perfect evening to take dinner outside and enjoy early magic hour. The event was exactly what he had described - low key, relaxed, and full of awesome. Molly looked absolutely radiant in a wedding dress that her mom had made for her paired with a small shimmering purse from the early 1900s that her mom had also fixed up for the occasion.  50 or so of their friends and family gathered to watch them say their vows and outside boats zipped by and kids ran across the lawn.  It was picture perfect and incredibly sweet.

Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Milberger Wedding-29_3500_2up.jpg
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding
Danielle Motif Photography Molly and Travis Wedding

FRENCH PRESS 101

French Press 101

(Affiliate link disclosure here friends, both the french press and the grinder shared in this post have affiliate links meaning if you make a purchase of them, I receive a small % from Amazon)

Ok if you're anything like me, you probably enjoy a little caffeine in the morning. Generally speaking, I'm not too serious about it but I do appreciate something beyond the Dunkin' Donut variety. I think I can recognize a 'good' cup from a 'bad' cup but I'm not at the level of buying special water to brew my coffee nor to I spend much time thinking about the chemistry of it all (while it is fascinating)  - at the end of the day, my goal is just to have a tasty cup or two in the morning before starting my day. What I'm finally accepting is that things like grinding your coffee right before you brew do have an impact that I can taste and appreciate. I've also recently learned that I've been making french press coffee all wrong, for years. Ha! Soooo, for all those in this boat - let's get to brewing some french press goodness properly so we can at least make our cups the best we can. By the way, if you're in the market this freaking gorgeous copper Bodum french press I photographed here is avail at Amazon.

French Press 101

1. Get a bag of lovely coffee beans - I'm extremely lucky here in Seattle to have a great coffee shop in the bottom of my building (shoutout to Royal Drummer). They bring in new coffee constantly from a variety of roasters and I feel like I get to try so many offerings.  For today, I'm going to use Pink Bourbon (hailing from Jose Antonio Trujillo in Colombia) from Evans Brothers Coffee in Idaho.  Even if you don't have a coffee shop near you to snag beans, you can always get them at the grocery store. Check for the roasted date to try and get something as fresh as you can.

French Press 101
French Press 101

2. Grind your beans (coarsely) - The folks over at Bodum say that if it's too fine you'll clog the filter and create high pressure. No one wants high pressure right? (insert joke about not knowing why this is important, but I tend to believe what instruction manuals tell me so let's just go with it). I was using a coffee and spice grinder for years but felt like I never quite had the right consistency.  I finally invested in a grinder that does some of that guesswork for me. So far, it has been far more accurate.  This is the Krups Professional Burr Grinder

French Press 101 Krups Grinder
French Press 101 Krups Coffee Grinder

3. Measure out 1 tbsp of ground coffee per cup (4oz) of water and put it in your french press - I think this is where I usually fall a bit flat and I usually just eyeball it. Trying to kick the habit.  True aficionados will have a scale and measure out a specific amount.  I'll be honest, I'm just not awake enough to deal with that. Plus, it's another step - however, it's a real thing and people who want to spend the time and energy with that, definitely should.

French Press 101
French Press 101

4. Pour hot (not boiling) water into your french press. Most of them have little cup marks along the side to help you measure how much to pour in.  Now, a word about this - how do you know how hot is too hot? I don't and again I try to do my best here without getting too technical with it. So I boil up some water and then just let it sit for a minute to come down below boil temp and then pour it in. 

French Press 101

5. Stir the brew up with a plastic spoon for about :30-:45 - The concern about using anything metal is that you could hurt the glass. I haven't managed to screw that up yet, but makes sense to me. I apparently couldn't find any plastic spoons in my kitchen so I opted for a little mini spatula to do the job.

French Press 101

6. Put the plunger in and let it brew for 4-6 min - I've been reading a variety of write ups on this and while Bodum suggests 4 min, some people say a slightly longer amount of time will be best. Play with it and find what you like best.

Bodum French Press 101
Bodum French Press 101

7. Plunge slowly & pour and there you go! - I'm a sugar + cream kind of gal so I also add in a little of that for good measure. When in doubt about your efforts, just try it again tomorrow and test new timings and grind-sizes. You'll find what you like best. 

French Press 101
French Press 101
French Press 101

Here are handy (affiliate) links for the Bodum French Press & and for the Krups Grinder one more time for those in the back. Now go make some delicious coffee and have the best day ever with your caffeinated self. 

Bodum French Press 101
French Press 101

Travelogue: Santorini, Greece

 The town of Oia at the northern end of the island of Santorini.

The town of Oia at the northern end of the island of Santorini.

8 years ago I took a solo two week adventure to Italy and Greece.  It was before I had been really doing any blogging, before I was on Instagram, and at a time when I knew photography was going to be a big part of my life and I wanted to discover more with it.  I took my little Canon Rebel with me, my kit lens, a fisheye, a hard drive, and a little Canon Elph point and shoot desperate for some sort of 'epihany' to point me in the right direction in my 30s. Besides the obvious excitement about an adventure and traveling to new places I was specifically hell bent on seeing the places that had been visualized so viscerally for me in cinema, music, and literature, and food shows. I had to have pizza in Naples. I needed to be on the twisty road to Positano.  I wanted to wear capris in Capri.  I wanted to have a Greek salad in Greece.  And most importantly, I absolutely positively had to see the caldera of Santorini. My personal links to the Mediterranean are limited to a teeny tiny % of my DNA being Iberian (which trust me, was enough for me to be ELATED about - proof! I have a connection there!) - however my romanticized version of this region and subsequent level of exception is just hard to encapsulate into words. In a previous adventure (my first to Europe) I also traversed more of its coasts.  From Barcelona and Nice through to Monte Carlo and Cinque Terre, I melted into this part of the world as though I had lived there my whole life.  The food, style, music, art, architecture, everything has resonated wth me since I can remember.  And with all this backstory, I give you the first in a series I would like to share of my adventures.  And while Santorini wasn't my actual starting point - it was perhaps the destination I was most excited about so we're going to begin there. It was the most magical place I've ever been.

 Greek olives forever and always amen.

Greek olives forever and always amen.

 Breakfast over the caldera in Fira.

Breakfast over the caldera in Fira.

 Just as sun starts to dip, overlooking the caldera in Fira.

Just as sun starts to dip, overlooking the caldera in Fira.

 Fira

Fira

 Santorini sights. Doorways and donkeys.

Santorini sights. Doorways and donkeys.

 Sunset on the caldera in the town of Fira on Santorini

Sunset on the caldera in the town of Fira on Santorini

 Couple taking a moment in Oia

Couple taking a moment in Oia

 Exploring on Santorini

Exploring on Santorini

 Walkways and doorways in Oia

Walkways and doorways in Oia

 Looking at Oia and Fira in the distance over the caldera.

Looking at Oia and Fira in the distance over the caldera.

 Oia

Oia

 Atlantis Books in Oia.

Atlantis Books in Oia.

 Tuxedo cat perched in the best view in the town of Oia.

Tuxedo cat perched in the best view in the town of Oia.

 One of the many churches on the island.

One of the many churches on the island.

 Dinner in Oia on the edge of the caldera.

Dinner in Oia on the edge of the caldera.

 Taking in all the beauty over a delicious meal

Taking in all the beauty over a delicious meal

 Sunset in Oia is not to be missed. 

Sunset in Oia is not to be missed. 

HONEY LAVENDER ICE CREAM

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

If you live in Seattle, you probably know of Molly Moon's Ice Cream.  They've been around since 2008 and I've spent many a summer night (and truthfully cozy winter nights too) just sitting in one of the shops enjoying a rich scoop and taking in the waffle cone smells. Every single time a friend or family member would come into town I simply have to take them.  

(bit of legal here...the link below to Molly's cookbook on Amazon IS an affiliate link meaning I get a commission if you purchase through it - ok back to it)

Molly Moon Neitzel not only gives us tasty ice cream and a beautiful place to enjoy it in, she also put all her recipes into a seasonally organized cookbook!  Thank you, thank you Molly!  Last weekend I had an inaugural go of: 1) making ice cream 2) using my Kitchen Aid's ice cream attachment and I started with one of the classics from the shop - Honey Lavender. To my surprise it was relatively straightforward with just 5 ingredients: cream, whole milk, honey, lavender, and sugar. Definitely required a lot of setting the timer on my microwave and iPhone (I may have also tackled a recipe I found for honey lavender popsicles at the same time) but so worth the wait and it tastes so good. The biggest challenge I had was getting it cold enough, gathering pals to partake with me and drink up a bit of rose - no problem.  

Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Rose and Lavender
Rose and Lavender