Monday, February 26, 2018

Annecy Wedding Photography ... Photographe de Mariage

Love letters, the things we write to the people we love. 
For me, styled wedding shoots are my "love letters" to my craft (photography), to the people I photograph, the couples, the weddings, and the places I photograph.

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor to create a styled wedding photo session in Annecy, France.

 I wanted to do this for some time as a way to say ... thank you to this beautiful place I get to use as a backdrop for my photography. In 2014 I did this in California, so it was only natural to create a special wedding photo session for 2018. Annecy, France is a place I fell in love with and knew there was not much styling I would need to do. I wanted the couple I photographed and the photos to speak for themselves.

I did however know flowers were a must.
I asked a local florist, Murmur, to create my flower arrangement. The boquette added the perfect amount of color to the grey February morning.

The couple, Nadia and Christophe were married a little over a year ago, but live in Annecy. They wanted photos in the place they call home, the place they love, Annecy.

Wedding Photography for me ... is my time to get to know the couples I photograph. I spend hours before each wedding getting to know my clients, and take the utmost care in telling their story on their wedding day. I look at each couple and wedding completely different. I do not have a formula I apply to each wedding .... this allows me to create thoughtful, authentic, intimate, and original photos for each couple I photograph.

I believe wedding photos are souvenirs 
that need to stand the test of time
 and that in 5 years after your wedding 
your photos will allow you to be brought back to that moment 
when you said, "I do".

While photographing in Annecy and Paris, France I would say my photography style has become more natural, less forced, and I ultimately keep things simple.

I have fine tuned my technical skills, and trust completely in my years of EXPERIENCE.
I do not believe in over complicating poses, looking at pinterest for inspiration ... I find my inspiration in who and where I photograph.

This has allowed me to create photographs that speak for themselves. Photographs that make you feel.

My top 3 things all wedding photographs should do ...
tell a story, and tell the story of the couple you are photographing. 
How will you tell their "love letter to each other" in photos?

Capture a feeling, a moment photos need to make you feel something.

Be authentic to the couple, the day, the time, the place, the location.

Questions you should ask your wedding photographer
How would you describe your photography style in three words?
Do you have a portfolio?
Why did you choose to go into wedding photography? If you have a wedding photographer strictly into wedding photography for the money, your photos will definitely lack a sense of compassion and feeling.
What is your professional experience?

A question to ask yourself, how does the photographer make you feel? This person will be with you on your wedding with your closest family and friends, so it is imperative they make you feel good.

I feel so honored that Nadia and Christophe were part of my "love letter" to Annecy. After photographing weddings for the past 8 years, and moving to a new place to photograph this styled wedding shoot was so important to me. I feel grateful when a couple chooses me as their photographer. I love telling couples' stories visually. Your wedding photographer is not just a photographer but they are the person who you have chosen to tell your story.

In the last photo of the day, you can see that snow was lightly falling as the water glistened. 
Nadia and Christophe exchanged one last kiss and the moment was sweet and fleeting, perfect. 
Perfect because the snow was not planned, the pose was not planned, 
it was a moment .... that happened, 
a souvenir. 

I am currently booking 2018 and 2019 weddings in France and California. I am happy to travel, and would be honored to work with you. I also love to create custom wedding packages. Creative budgets are always welcome.You can find out all of my wedding photography details by simply emailing me: or visiting my website at:

Sincerest thanks, to Nadia and Christophe for letting me tell your story in a place I love so dearly, Annecy.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

"We the Doers and Creators" Annecy, Paris, and California

As a professional photographer each year I create a passion project. A project that allows me to expand my vision and work. The idea of my passion project came to me as I photographed several women last year. Each time I photographed I was told that my photo sessions ended up being more than about creating photos. The women told me that I helped them see themselves in a new light. That they felt confident, powerful, strong and inspired. As photographer this is how I felt after learning their stories, getting to know them, and after photographing them. I was even told I was a photo therapist, now that was a compliment. For me, I have always loved creating unique, original, thoughtful photo sessions that allow the people I photograph to feel.

 My sole motivation is to make people believe in themselves and the things they are doing and creating. Thus, this is how my 2018 passion project came to be ... WE THE DOERS AND CREATORS. It is of the utmost honor to present to all of you Fanny the creator of DiCY DESIGNS. Fanny is an artist, creator, designer and a powerhouse female. Her talents are limitless. Immediately after meeting Fanny I knew her potential and capabilities to succeed were endless. Now, how would I photograph this?

Before each photo session I will put in hours of brainstorming, trying to create a photo session that allows my subject, to feel at ease. I believe my background in photojournalism and literature has played a huge role in how I photograph. I am always seeking ways to say more with my photos. The story behind them, the story that has yet to be told, I love telling those visually.

So for Fanny I settled on a part of Lac d'Annecy that is at a part of the lake that allows you to look out and feel ... limitless. We picked a morning in December that was quiet, cold, and the snow had just fallen the night before, creating a scene yielding ... discovery, adventure.

This woman is incredible and her designs are pure magic. On our photo session the snow glimmered while we watched the winter lake glisten.  For me, I wanted her photographs to show that she is an artist, creator, and person with a heart made of gold.  I am so honored to photograph her.

"We the Doers and Creators" #wethedoersandcreators is my ongoing photo project in aim to photograph people in locations that bring out the best in you while doing the things you love. I hope that the photos are keepsakes that bring to life creators' passions, work, and stories.  Ultimately, you get photos that are more than just a selfie, photos that show just how unique, original, and authentic you are. If interested in participating, email me at
Send me an email telling me about yourself, what you do, what you create and ... lets go on an adventure. "We the Doers and Creators" is currently in Annecy and Paris France, but will be coming to California and I am happy to travel worldwide.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tea in Annecy, Ataya

If you know me than you know how much I love coffee. But, for the first time in my life I have found a tea that I actually like, and love. I am to the moon excited about it and want to share it with everyone.

For 2018, I am working on a project called
documenting people following their passions ... doers, creators, artists, business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, chefs, designers, illustrators ...  
people or couples paving their own way. 

As an entrepreneur myself I have found working for yourself to be a wonderful thing but also very challenging at times. I have noticed the feelings of people not taking you seriously because you love what you do, continually justifying yourself to others for your decision to work for yourself, or feeling great when everything is going great are all things we as Doers and Creators feel at some point.

My project is really here to show others just how creative, powerful, and empowering it is to work for yourself.
 I hope this project builds a community of empowered people that know their journey is unique to them, but also can take comfort in knowing someone else is going through the same thing. 

I discovered Ataya tea while on instagram. A friend had recently been and I was so curious to try something new. In California I loved going to tea with my sister but it was only for special occasions. Over the years,  I tend to sip tea in the afternoons at home. I really love coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.  So, I thought "maybe this is a chance to enjoy tea again" and in Annecy.

As soon as I entered Ataya I was met with the warmest and kindest smile. A "bonjour' that just made you feel good. Looking over the menu of teas I found out the creator Jess selected and made each blend of tea. Each tea also has a clever and sentimental name attached to it. For example, Sourire de Jess (the smile of Jess) is a blend that she says takes her back to the moment when she came up with the concept for her shop ... as someone who loves history and stories, and asking the question why, her story made me all together inspired. My tea of choice from Ataya is the Péché Mignon ... meaning a "sweet habit" or literal translation: weakness. Ha and it's so true, this tea is my literal weakness. It's a combination of walnut vanilla, bourbon, and a couple other things of magic.

If you are someone in need of a special moment, a pause, or are visiting Annecy ... I highly recommend visiting Jess at Ataya. If you are curious about tea ... Jess will answer every question with great passion and detail. All of the teas are hand crafted and bio. Before sipping, you have the chance to smell the tea that you choose, and can change your mind numerous times, ha I feel bad as the first time I was there I asked to smell at least 5, and settled on my "weakness" Péché mignon. Another favorite is La Vie en Rose, a green tea with light hints of rose, perfect for an afternoon.

I find it important to support, encourage, and write about small businesses. This is something I discovered since moving abroad. The amount of work you put into your passion, your job, is unreal as a business owner. So, if I can offer some type of motivation and encouragement than as a business owner myself,  than I have done my job. Ataya is inviting, warm, and not just a tea shop ... but a place you will leave feeling better than you arrived.

Every little detail has been thought about from the names of the tea, the pastries that are made in Annecy, and the signature tree that wraps it's branches magically through the shop. When I asked Jess about the tree she explained "it's a symbol of life, an idea, and the ability to cultivate ideas ... grow, change, evolve. 

Whether you have been contemplating starting something new, finishing an old goal, or creating, trying I suggest going for it.

I say this ... because just like tea, if you let an idea steep too long the taste becomes bitter
Ideas are like tea, 
you need to let them grow, cultivate them but if you let them sit for too long, 
you lose something, or just forget about your idea all together.
Maybe this is why I love green tea 
it has a moment to be perfect, a moment when it's at its best ...
Don't let your dreams, ideas, or passions become bitter. 
Do. Create. Dream. 

 I end this post encouraging you that if you get the chance to visit Annecy or are a local here, stop by and visit Jess. 
You will be met with a smile, 
and more importantly a cup of tea that is more than just a cup of tea. 

Have a great weekend everyone!! And, if you are curious about my project "We the Doers and Creators" feel free to email me. I would be happy to create a signature portrait session just for you.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Annecy Photographer ... Family Portraits

Since moving abroad and photographing in Paris and Annecy, France I photograph families and couples while on vacation or locals. This concept of photo sessions is something I love and appreciate. Hiring a photographer can often be daunting and especially in a city you may be unfamiliar with. I would also like to say hiring a professional photographer is difficult even if you have lived in a city for some time. For example, some questions that may come up are: What experience does the photograph have? Who exactly are they (anyone can say they are professional, but are they)? What is their photo style? What gear do they have? Are they actually good with people, personable, able to carry a conversation? And what I think is the most important thing is how do they make people feel? These are all things you as a client should think about. Photos are investments but more importantly souvenirs that last for years.

While establishing my business in France I have built a community of Coeur de La couples, creators, and families in the two areas I mainly photograph, Annecy and Paris. One of my favorite things to do is treat families to a local view of the city, photographing you and your loved ones on tucked away streets, hidden and often uncrowded spots that make family photos all together more enjoyable. 

 I also love when a couple comes up with a unique, creative, or original idea for a location. For example, on a family hike, at their favorite coffee shop, a casual day at home ... these locations allow for true and authentic images.

When hiring a photographer you are not only hiring someone to snap a few photos, but you are choosing someone to spend time with the most important people in your life and lets face it, time is oh so precious. 

I am so excited to share with you a recent family photo session I did for a very special family from Annecy. I photographed these four last Spring, and I was completely honored to photograph them again. One of the things I miss most about photographing in California are the families I photographed since their childrens' births, mom's during their pregnancies, families at weddings. These families ... time and time again referred me to their friends and families, and for that I am ever so grateful.

 For me, being a family photographer is truly a huge honor and this Annecy family has a special place in my heart and memory card :)

I chose to photograph this dynamic foursome in old town Annecy. We were a bit hesitant because the weather was not ideal for most of the day, but around our photo session time the clouds literally parted. With brisk temperatures the girls (and parents) were champs. I did not hear one complaint or grumble. The girls were all smiles and giggles as we talked about school, homework, life, and of course the upcoming holidays. For me, one of the main things I love focusing on is capturing children for who they are. I love imperfectly perfect moments, because when you look back when is anything perfect?  The little moments in between photos are my up most favorite to photograph.  
These are the real moment, the ones you want to hold onto forever. 

 For me the coolest thing about photographing for over 8 years, I can look at a scene and now exactly what I want to photograph, how I will photograph a family, and the story I know the family wants to see.
Annecy is a magical place for photos. Walking through the streets you can feel a since of energy, history, and quaintness. When I photograph families in Annecy I want them to look back at their photos and feel just how special Annecy is.

We ended our photo session with smiles and chatting about the cafe with peanut butter hot chocolate. By the end of the photo session I think we were all dreaming of warm beverages (did I mention we are all from California and not use to "WINTER") More importantly, we ended another family session with a photo session the family will remember as fun (maybe cold) but warm because of the experience.

 So, if you are a family living in Annecy and want professional photos I will create a signature photo session just for you. If you are traveling to Annecy or Paris, I would be honored to photograph you and your loved ones. I promise to end the photo session pointing you in the right direction of the best marcarons, coffee, or food. :)

And my answers to the questions I proposed for you to ask other photographers:

What experience do I have? I have photographed professionally for the past 8 years. Studying art, photojournalism, and literature. I have developed a signature style of photography that is journalistic and fun. I photographed and styled a National Best Selling cookbook in the United States giving me the confidence and skills needed to further my career. I specialize in photographing families, weddings, lifestyle and food.

Who am I: Friends call me Caro or Coeur ... I love to run and hike mountains in my spare time. Believe that passion can only take you so far when it comes to following your dreams. Moving abroad was the biggest risk I have ever taken and this has made me more courageous, and fearless. I love coffee, but recently started drinking green tea. I believe luck is a culmination of hard work and effort.

What gear do I have? I believe a photographer can use almost any camera as long as they know how to use it. I photograph with a Cannon 5d mark III and photograph with a 35mm f/1.4 L lens and an 85mm f/1.2 L lens. After years of photographing with fixed lenses I have created a photography style that is tangible, soft, and journalistic.

Am I personable: if you have yet to figure out that I love talking, communicating, telling people's stories visually than you have missed the point of the post. The main goal of my photo sessions are: to make people feel good and see themselves for who they are. I feel grateful to photograph and show my enthusiasm often.

I am currently booking 2018 and 2019 Destination Weddings and Elopements ... all destinations are welcome. Booking lifestyle, food, and family photography as well.

Email me with any questions, inquiries, or just want to chat about photography at:

Monday, August 7, 2017


As we are several days into August I can't believe how quickly Summer has gone by. It's crazy. This summer has been one of finding balance. Creating or trying to create routines that help my overall wellness. Some days are better than others ... progress not perfection. I competed in the Spartan Ultra Beast in Morzine in July  and had a very difficult time. I honestly thought I was prepared, but found out I was not.  So, after the midway mark I opted out and reassessed my training and goals. I did  need a boost in morale and raced the next day in the Super with a team. A decision that kept my motivation going strong and helped with my overall attitude. I left Morzine with a new found admiration and energy for the sport. Thus, I will be competing in another Ultra Beast on my home turf in California in October.

I used the moment in Morzine to reassess my eating, wellness and fitness figuring out what was lacking. And what did I discover? While I had been racing and training a lot ... my overall wellness was lack luster. Not terrible but not nearly what it should be for someone who is running high miles and racing every weekend. Now, I have been trying to create better habits pre and post race.

Eating: During the week I keep it pretty simple: chicken, salads with homemade dressings, steamed vegetables, tuna, morning smoothies, fromage blanc with kiwis and apples for a dessert, and yes I do have an occasional splurge, I am just more aware of what I am eating. I try to eat balanced and everything in moderation. I look at food as a way to literally fuel my body. Apples are my go to snack to curb cravings and water with lemon keeps me hydrated.

Wellness: I have been really trying to get up early and train before work. Getting up at 6am has changed my daily routine immensely. I am more aware, alert, happy, and focused. It's definitely not easy and the last two days I have sluggishly wanted to sleep in ... but I know how much I need the early hours in the day. I've also been trying to limit my phone use after 8pm ... it's so difficult. I often feel like I am being rude not responding to messages or emails after 8pm but it's a boundary I need to set for myself or I will just get lost somewhere in the interwebs.

Fitness: One thing I realized is that I did not run enough. Now let me explain, while I was running a trail race almost every weekend, during the week I was just not running enough, logging in trail miles to help with my technique. So, after Morzine I have been waking up early and running. My favorite is a quick reset run ... it's a run I do when I feel funky, in a bad mood, or just start to over think. I also use this run if I want a boost of energy. It's a short run for 20-30 minutes and it has done wonders for me. Waking up early has allowed me to get bike rides in as well. Biking has helped my overall endurance and leg strength something that was lacking before. Workouts lately are: trail runs, morning swims, bike rides and lots of strength training. It's been a blessing realizing how I am motivated by so many external factors but what I needed to be guided by was internal factors. I am trying to find the strength internally to stay on course, and disciplined. This alone is something I did not have before the "internal motivation", and I know this will allow me to reach my goals. Realizing "The Ultra Beast" truly is not a race with anyone but myself.

So, without further ado I thought I would share with you a little recipe that keeps me satisfied in the morning, or even as a dessert.  I typically use apples and kiwis as they are lower in sugar than berries and have more fiber, but as a treat I use berries and bananas.

Morning "motivation" Bowl
fromage blanc or greek yogurt
handful of blueberries
granola of your liking

In a bowl add a couple of spoonfuls of greek yogurt or fromage blanc. Top your yogurt with your berries and granola. I am big on eating foods that look pretty, and creating something that makes you enjoy every last bite. When you go out to eat, to brunch, lunch or dinner it's a special treat. So, why not make what you eat at home just as special. Make your meals intentional allowing you to enjoy each and every bite. Serve your bowl with a cup of tea, coffee, or water with lemon. You can also make this for on the go, put the granola in a separate container and add right before eating. No one likes soggy granola ... no one :)


Monday, June 12, 2017

the "almost" pancake ...

I am a big believer of moderation. While training diet is an essential part to everyday life and goes beyond looking good. What you eat directly is related to how you feel. However, I have found simply avoiding foods ends up making me feel frustrated, annoyed, and as if I am missing out on something. I want my overall nutrition, and workouts, to be more of something I do for the rest of my life rather than something I do just to look good for Summer or a vacation. So, over time I have found recipes that work with my sensitive stomach that are healthy, tasty, and perfect for training.

My race schedule is jam packed so it is imperative I have a breakfast that keeps me full but not feel heavy. Several years ago, I realized I had a small dairy intolerance and that I am sensitive to eating carbs. Now don't get me wrong, if I crave pasta before a big race I eat pasta. But, I do not have carbs in my everyday diet ... I don't need them nor do I really like them at every meal. I grew up having great breakfasts. My dad would make French Toast with peanut butter before schoool. On weekends he would yell from the bottom of the stairs ...."breakfast is ready" ... I can still hear him!! My sister, brother and I loved Saturday morning breakfasts. There was not a dull or quiet moment at our table. We pretty much would argue who would get the next pancake or French toast, while poking fun at each other.  And my mom  .... she makes the best blueberry pancakes. The kind of blueberry pancakes that are perfectly crispy on the outside, light brown, and when you take a bite fresh blueberries burst with summer flavors.

 I happened to have found and adapted a recipe that still gives me the nostalgia of pancakes but with no carbs. I call them my "alsmost pancakes" and they do not disappoint. It does take me one or two pancakes to perfect as I always always make a royal mess out of the first pancake on the grill. These pancakes are perfect while training, on race day, or on a slow Saturday morning. They have three ingredients and are super simple to make. The banana is a great source of potassium, the eggs are a perfect protein, and cinnamon, well I put it in almost everything.

So without further ado ... "the almost pancake"

2 ripe bananas
1 egg
a pinch or two of cinnamon

1. In a small bowl mash your two ripe bananas ... I do so with a fork
2. Mix in your egg and make sure your mixture is well mixed and bananas are well mashed
3. Sprinkle in your pinch or two of cinnamon

4.Use a medium sized pan and put a little bit of coconut oil or I typically use a little bit of butter. It's my way to get just a little bit of dairy and fat. Once your pan is ready pour your batter onto your pan. Let cook about 5-6 minutes. The batter sometimes breaks apart but if you are patient the batter will stay firm. They are definitely not like the consistency of other pancakes but do fill the void in a healthier way for me. Flip your pancake one or two times making sure the center is cooked.

5. Drizzle with maple syrup, honey, or I use agave

6. Pair with a cup of coffee and enjoy

These pancakes again are my go to, my fuel, and keep me full and feeling strong. Wellness and Fitness isn't just about your workouts ... I don't believe there is one solution for everyone. Everyone is different so find what foods work for you, what workouts make you feel alive and vibrant ... and do them.

So in true fashion, Breakfast is Ready!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Coffee and Photography Stroll ... Annecy, France

I am so excited to announce a "Coffee Tasting and Photography Stroll" I will be putting on for fellow coffee and photo lovers in Annecy, France. I have had this planned for some time now but wanted to wait till the weather and timing were right.

I recently met up with a blogger and photographer visiting Annecy who emailed me directly because of a post I did on Brumes Coffee. We met for coffee, then I took her and her friend on a market tour where we tasted local cheese, I shared what wines to pair their cheese with, and helped them with speaking to the locals in French. We finished with of course, more coffee. I shared that I was planning on doing a coffee and photography tour for other travelers, and she gave me the nudge to do so, saying, I must. For me, this is the reason I love blogging, writing, and sharing.

Why photos and why coffee? These are two of my favorite things and they happen to go hand in hand. Often when visiting a new place it is hard to find the "best" coffee or the secret spots for dreamy photos. Well, after several requests to give small guided tours I decided ... why not share my love for coffee and photos with the community.

 I have photographed professionally for the past 7 years and before coming abroad to France photographed and styled a National Best Seller, "The Seasoned Life" by Ayesha Curry. I have an eye for details, a love for good food and coffee, and photography experience that I want to share with you in a fun, natural, candid setting. What better way than walking through Annecy, France and drinking coffee.

Why Coffee?
As a former Barista and avid coffee drinker, I know what good espresso needs and should to taste like. I also have become a pro at finding cafes that make you want sit, dream, read, talk, and relax. I want to share my tips and tricks for photography while we sip tasty coffee. How to take better iphone and camera photos while out and about, traveling, eating, or adventuring. My goal is to help you create a story with your photos while enjoying the present moment.

The details: Saturday, June 17th 9am -10:30am
Price and what it includes: 19 euros, (Coffee at two locations :) a small practical guide to photography, and an hour and a half walking tour)
Where: Annecy, France (exact location will be emailed once registered)
Languages spoken: stroll will be in English and French
What will we do: We will go to two of my favorite cafes, there we will take photos, enjoy coffee, and afterwards go on a small walk where I will show you some of the sweetest spots Annecy has to offer, perfect spots for photos. I will give you tips and tricks on how to take better photos, and offer suggestions and critiques.
What to bring: Small journal for notes, camera or iphone welcome 
Who should sign up: locals, visitors, coffee lovers, photo lovers, dreamers, travelers

Intention: To find a way to build a community through sharing what we love about coffee and photography

For registering please email me at: coeurdelaphotography@gmail by Wednesday, June 14th

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Coeur de La's Half Marathon and Race Day Tips

A friend recently wrote me for some half marathon tips for race day and coincidentally I received several emails during that same week, if I had general tips or advice for race day. Like many runners, I am always on the lookout for more tips. I google, pin, search, and ask for tips myself. After consistently running races for the past year (every weekend) I have ran enough miles to feel comfortable sharing some of my race day tips.  I hope they help you, and feel free to share these with your other running buddies. My best tip is to: 

listen to yourself, learn as you go, and over time you will find what works for you.
 I still get race day butterflies, feel anxious the night before a race ...
I think that will always happen for me. 
Those race day nerves show me I care, allowing me to show up,  
and run.

My Half Marathon Race Day Tips ... but you can use them for any race

In General: have fun and make it fun ... I like to run dedication miles to people who inspire, motivate, or encourage me. This helps me put my race into perspective that in the end it is just a race, that life is the big picture. One of the best races I have ran was a 10k trail race in France where I actually made podium, coming in first. I ran that race for my sister. She had recently been running and started training. She inspired me with her photos she would send showing her new joy for running. So, I ran for her.

Bring water, I run with a light weight water belt and for longer runs I use a camelback so I never have to stop at water stations. If you do grab water, grab water towards the end of the water station,  you will bypass everyone at the first portion of the water station.

Race Goal: Have a goal to keep moving, even if it is slow towards the end, make it a goal to move.

The Start: The first 5k of any race or start you will have a surge of adrenaline to run fast, it's adrenaline and others will be running fast too, but keep your pace. It's a half marathon you will make up that time at the end.  

Your race, your pace.

Mantras: Create a mantra you say to yourself: for example you could say your race, your pace. Mantras are quick reminders to stay present. Stay positive. Stay focused.

Sipping Water: Drink water at every mile sign, even just a sip. I do this because if I start getting negative it usually means I am needing fuel, or my body needs water. Remember when you start to get thirsty it's too late. Keep hydrated.

Properly Fueling: Bring race fuel and bring your own. I have a sensitive stomach and there are only few Gu's that set with my stomach. Use whatever you have been training with. I also love (this is for long long trail runs over 30k-40k) eating dried apricots or a piece of bread.

What you Wear: Wear clothes you've been training in, sometimes there is a pressure to get a new race outfit but no no wear what is comfortable. After 11 miles, chafing does happen, and new outfits will move. You will have no idea how they feel on you while running. Are they comfortable or not?  I once wore a new bra and oh my the story is not pretty.

Music: If you run with music try resisting for the first 5-6 miles, and use it at the end, it is great motivation and something to look forward to. I don't run with music but when I did this was a very good way to get a bit of energy at the end of the race. When I am not running to music at the start of the race I am more present allowing me to take in the sights and sounds of the race start.

Your Time: Don't get stuck on a specific time, just be so proud you signed up, and are doing what others would maybe be afraid to do. Focus on times the more you run, the more you train. If you are a runner and you don't meet your race day time, reevaluate your training, set new goals, and move on.

Your Breathing: Breathe, and breathe out any negative thoughts, open up those lungs. This helps at the end of the race when one's breathe is shallow and short. Try to create a meditative easy rhythm with your breaths.

Last but not least: Remember why you run, why you signed up for your race, and then simply run. I hope these tips help and I would love to know some of your tips if you have your own. Leave a comment so we can chat, share, and motivate each other to keep ...  running. :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Spartan Races ... fight through your fears

Spartan Races what are they and why do them? Usually, when I tell people I am doing Spartan Races I get puzzled faces. Spartan races? Insert really strange look of confusion. I then will proceed to say it is just like a run, more trail running with obstacles. Ohhhhhhhhh, ok typically says the person. Why do you do that? Ha. My response back is usually, why not? This year my life has been filled with races, training, and more races. Last July I registered and finished the Beast in Morizine (my first Spartan Race) and was hooked. Right after, I quickly registered and completed the Super and Sprint in Barcelona, to now only being a week a way from my first race in the Competitive Heat in Paris, where I will be doing a Super and Sprint in one day. Being that Spartan Races are a huge part of my life I thought I would explain what a Spartan Race is, why I do them, and maybe inspire you to register for one yourself. I really caught the bug for Spartan Races after doing Spartan's first Sprint in the snow at Valmorel in France.

 Here I registered for two days of racing. I don't know the exact number but I am pretty sure I was one of the only few along with my fave training partner to register for two races in two days. Two days of running in the icy, cold snow, with obstacles, burpees, exactly what was I thinking?

I will be completely honest with you ... the first day was very challenging. This California girl is really just not use to the snow. I ran with a team and thankfully they offered words of encouragement, motivation, and were there to literally pick me up when I fell. This was enough to get me to the finish line, and boy did it feel great. That evening I laid in bed thinking, "why the heck am I doing another Sprint tomorrow?" I contemplated making a thousand excuses but knew in my heart I would be so disappointed if I didn't race. What I have learned doing these Spartan Races is to: not let fear dictate one's decisions in life. 

Often our fears are unrealistic, not rational, and often worse than the actual outcome. 

So, I laced up my shoes, wore my special waterproof socks that actually did nothing after an hour of running in the snow, and was determined to finish the race. Annnnnnnnd thank goodness I raced. The second day was incredible, challenging, but oh so incredible. I completed every obstacle and did not have to do one burpee (and for my fellow Spartans you know what this means). It is the best feeling. But, my greatest achievement this race was keeping my mental game strong and focusing on the present moment. 

 I was sore, tired, bruised, but I was able to race again. 
I pushed through. The moment I jumped over the fire pit, and crossed the icy finish line I realized: Wow, I can push through. 
Push through moments that are less than ideal, 
push through negative thoughts, 
and push through future challenges that may come.

It is pretty surreal to me when I list off the races I have done in the past year. I had this crazy idea to do an Ultra Beast (this July 1st) but I had no idea how much I would change physically and mentally during the time training and racing in between.

 I thought I was strong before, but I was scared. 
Scared to fail, scared to fall down, scared to try big things, scared to even try 
but what I can say now is:

I am still scared but I do the things I am scared of, and that is why I love Spartan Races. 

*this is not a sponsored post, and are all my personal opinions :) 
however if you do want to Sponsor me email me at:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Let Life Flow" ... Emilie of Naoussa Studio

I am a big believer that there is nothing by "chance" in life. That the people we meet are people who are pivotal factors in one's journey. I also have come to realize that with time being fleeting the people who you associate with, call your friends, and engage with daily directly shape who you are. For example, how you feel ... they can lift you up or bring you down.

Moving to a new country was intimidating and often a little isolating in the beginning. Making friends felt impossible and especially trying to do so in a new language. How was I suppose to create friendships without being able to express myself?

In an effort to be more social I signed up for a yoga event with Summerlab Events (more on this later). I was nervous because I knew the yoga class would be entirely in French, and socializing in French at the time wasn't the easiest. But, upon arriving the atmosphere at Yoga Searcher was inviting and warm. Olivia from Summer Lab Events (I will introduce her on here soon) created a morning yoga event reminiscent of yoga events in California. I immediately felt excited and happy to meet new people.

The yoga class was inspiring but what stood out was the instructor, which now gets me to the point of my post. Emilie, one of the best yoga instructors I have ever had. Her presence, knowledge, and the affirmations that she offers to her students in her practice are incredible. I introduced myself before class and she made sure to say things in French and English. Immediately, I knew she was a bright light, someone who makes people feel better after meeting her. Not to mention, her yoga classes are the perfect balance of mediation and flow. I thought without further ado I would share Emilie's bio with all of you. She is one talented lady that I feel like the world needs to know :) And if you are visiting Annecy, France you must take a class with her.

My name is Emilie, I am 25 years and 9 months old and I define myself as a poet novice botanist. I have difficulty with the fact that our profession or our activity defines us. I love poetry and nature so this is the best definition I have found for me at the moment. Otherwise, I practice and teach yoga, and I create things. I am very happy to introduce myself to all of you.
General background in yoga
 I have practiced yoga for almost 10 years. I teach Hatha and Yin. It is a discipline, an art, and a philosophy that accompanies me in every part of my existence. It is also one of my most precious friends who teaches me a lot about myself and about the world around me!
My first yoga experience was a disaster, I think I was not ready but I also believe it depends a lot on the teacher.  He or she must give you confidence. I graduated 200 hours in India, in Goa, and another near Geneva.

Why I teach
 Two years ago, during an internship in Greece, I had the "revelation" that I had to teach, that the time had come. I started because it was obvious. It fills me with happiness. However, when the students thank me for a lesson at which they feel good, I want to tell them "it's not me, it's yoga.
 Yoga, like life, is magical.

Fun facts about me
1) I have a cat that sticks out it's tongue constantly. It is both funny and tragic, since it missing a piece of the lower jaw. It had a fall from a 3rd floor ... however that does not prevent it from devouring his croquettes, so everything is well! 

2) Even if I have a little difficulty in admitting it ... I was the one who asked my husband to marry me. We celebrated our one year in India and I asked his hand (to marry me) in a tuk tuk ! Of course, I forced him to re-ask the next day, where he dropped to one knee.

3) I am phobic of the papers ... This is really embarrassing for a French girl ! I really struggle with administrative tasks. I would love to have someone take care of them for me ... :)

I've traveled extensively on every continent since I was a little girl, thanks to a travel agent mom and a dad passionate by adventure. This has become a kind of addiction to me. The journey opens horizons, pushes us out of our comfort zone, and to be more attentive. I like the feeling of a change of scenery. I also like to go home after a trip!

Why I travel
Travel is a constant question. The people we meet, the flavors, the landscapes, the climates help encourage a type of rethinking of what we think we know. I'm passionate about that. I also travel alone, I spent 6 months alone in India. When no one is available to go with me, it does not bother me to pack my bags for a solo weekend. It is very different from a couples trip or with others, but I invite everyone to do the same at least once !

1) Naoussa Collection
About 5 months ago, I launched my collection of yoga mat bags, Naoussa Collection. They are inspired by the world and travels. 

I would like people to see them as bags not only for yoga but also for life, that they can slip their drawings if they are architects, their sports outfit,  or a bouquet of flowers 

2) Radyoga 

Radyoga! This radio should be broadcast continuously and everywhere. I created it with my friend and associate Boris, who is a great guy.

We wish to transmit well-being and happiness through this radio. In addition, on the site, you can buy items like decorative objects, or draw recipes and tips to make you feel better. Learn more on our website : !!!

3) Yoga & Meditation for all ... Community classes

For me, yoga should not be reserved for an elite who has money. Of course, people who work a lot are often stressed, but there are also people in difficulty, unemployed or students who do not allow themselves to go to yoga classes. That's why I created the community yoga classes, the price is free from a minimum of 5 €. Each month, the profits are donated to a charity. 
Do not hesitate to come, Thursday from 16h to 17h at the Studio du Pâquier in Annecy!