Monday, August 27, 2018

Le Cottage Bise ... Talloires

Talloires. The only word I have to describe Talloires is ... breathtaking. I remember my first time visiting I felt so small in the best kind of way as mountains and the crystal blue lake of Annecy surrounds the little French town. You get a feeling that time stops here, that everything is right there, that it's possible to live in the moment and be completely present. Now, imagine having that same feeling while eating lunch, or waking up to that feeling. In June, I had the pleasure of eating lunch and getting a tour of Le Cottage Bise from Nicolas Bise. Nicolas and I had been working together for future collaborations and I thought it was so important to share my experience with all of you.

The Cottage has been a family business for decades, and prides themselves on their warm and signature hospitality, and sincerity. This you can absolutely feel while walking around the estate. I love when places allow you to escape, dream, and feel good and this is how you feel at Le Cottage.

Nicolas explained that they want every guest to feel this way. That their customers have been families and couples that return year after year. You absolutely feel this just by how warm the staff are when speaking with them.

Now lunch ... lunch started with a summer salad of tomatoes, herbs from the mountains, and delicious mozzarella. We chatted about good food, pairing it with good wine, and how important it was for the ingredients to be hand chosen and locally sourced.

Everything was thought about but not in that over fussy over done way. The main course was Magret de Carnard served on a sweet potato puree.

 My absolute favorite. For dessert a raspberry macaron with strawberry house made sorbet. The whole meal tasted like summer ... leaving you feeling full but not too full. The kind of full that makes you content, grateful, and ready to read a good book by the lake.

I think when it comes to staying somewhere one of the things I look for is a place where the staff just make you feel at home. And this, is exactly what you can feel at Le Cottage.

So, if you are visiting Talloires I strongly encourage you to pop in, say hello to Nicolas, grab lunch, or stay. You will definitely feel what makes Talloires special ... the people but more importantly how
they treat you and Le Cottage Bise knows this and embraces this.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

An Early Morning in Annecy with ... Jaanok Café

As a former baker I am always inspired by great baked goods and cafes that offer a warm ambiance. I can tell instantly if the person running the show loves what they do. I love authenticity and that is exactly what you will find at Jaanok Cafe. 

 It's a mix of eclectic, vintage decor, meets French sweetness. I was thrilled when Oriane agreed to participate in my "We the Doers and Creators" because she is definitely a creator and a doer. The morning I photographed ... an apple tarte coincidentally came out of the oven with sweet smells of caramelized apples filling the cafe. I sat at the counter watching Oriane take orders, make coffee, and handle a multitude of tasks as all business owners do.

 The light was perfect, and I was mesmerized by the sprinkling of powdered sugar on the apple tarte, magic if you ask me. Whens asking Oriane if she prefered Coffee or Tea here response was: Tea, because she likes the refreshing side of tea. Coffee can sometimes be too strong, but she likes the taste and drinks a type of coffee brew.

Photographing in the morning was a perfect choice Oriane's favorite quote is
" Life belongs to those who wake up early" 
and it's true. 

The morning coffee brewing, the energy to seize the day, there is a sense of wonder that fills the air as if there is a clean slate each and every morning. One of the main reasons I started "We the Doers and Creators" was to encourage the people in my community who are following their passion. When you follow your passion it is not always easy. So, "We the Doers and Creators" is here to remind you to keep going, follow that dream, believe, and work hard.  There are often long hours where perseverance, courage and resilience are needed to succeed.  

And, even though it is not easy it is so worth it. I am so honored to photograph Oriane from Jaanok Café her talents are endless and smile contagious. If you are in Annecy I strongly encourage you to pop in and grab a baked good, a meal, or coffee. You will find a place that is inviting, warm, and a place that feels just like home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Motivation ... We the Doers and Creators

 BELIEVERS ... those people around you that carry the weight so you can be your best self.

There are people around you
 that if you look closely 
are continually motivating everyone 
by their actions.
For my latest "We the Doers and Creators" photo session
 I wanted to share with all of you my coach Emeline from Oski Crossfit. 
 When I first started going to Oski I was intimidated for a lot of reasons: new place, new language, new sport.
 I am naturally an outgoing person but also shy when I am not in my comfort zone. 

Emeline's coaching made Crossfit feel approachable, fun, intriguing, and possible in the right way. She is always there to encourage her athletes, but also there to say,
  Oski Crossfit is completely lucky to have a trainer like her. 
Here presence will make you feel comfortable, and she breaks down skills so they are easy to understand.

Did I mention she is SUPER POSITIVE, KNOWLEDGEABLE, SKILLED. and ENCOURAGING. She is a real DOER. Having an army background she explained to me the importance of having a strong mental game.

Heading into my Ultra Beast I wanted to share Emeline with all of you, because for me, she is one of the strongest, motivational women I know. 

 On days where I have woken up feeling not 100% I know I could see Emeline's instagram story and see her working out, inspiring others, and coaching. 

One of my mantra's I will be saying to myself is: 
It's a Mental Game, Stay Focused, Keep Smiling, and Have Fun  

and this is something she has told me. 
Completely grateful to Oski Crossfit and to Emeline for her continual positive support. 
You are a Doer, a fighter, and a motivator. 
THANK YOU for making others' lives that much brighter. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Coffee+Photography ... Tours

I had this idea over a year ago to host a coffee+photography tour as these two are my domain of expertise. Photography because it is what I do professionally and love sharing tips, pointers, and skills that help others visually see their world in a different way. Coffee because I was a former barista now coffee lover with a passion for showing the world of specialty coffee with everyone. 

So, why the two together? 
 I have found while traveling that coffee and photography go hand in hand. Some of the best traveling tips I have discovered were from my coffee shop stops. Always willing to give tips, pointers, or recommendations you will find that baristas are some of the most open, helpful people. So, when I land in a city I am sure to have a list of coffee shops to frequent. Lucky for you, Annecy has quite a few all differing and specializing in certain things. 

 So it is with super excitement that last week I kicked off two tours. We met at my favorite cafe, Brumes, where each guest had a small espresso tasting. We talked about texture, taste, and coffee. During this time we also chatted about why we all love coffee. Afterwards I explained tips on how to take better photos while traveling and gave pointers on how to create a scene and style.

We then hit the streets of Annecy where I navigated guests through the city. I helped them with basic photo skills, and encouraged guests not to get stuck on photography gear that the most important thing is really setting up a photo, composition, and just photographing. Mistakes will happen but sometimes the photos that you think are mistakes are often the most beautiful. 

I love lightly blurred images, photos that get passed by because at first they don't seem perfect. We stopped for an almond croissant as one guest was hungry. Luckily, I know where to find the best almond croissant in Annecy. Afterwards it was to the chateau for a small bit of history but stopping along the way always for a photo. 

If you want to see a city, walk if possible. It's one of the best way to explore, and take photos.  I love stopping at cafes, looking up at architecture, finding the small details. As one of my guests explained, she loved discovering a place and it's ambiance. I loved that, I too think that's why I love photographing. It's a way to try and pause time, to have a tangible souvenir. 

So cool to meet Olga, another photographer from New York
After leaving the guests with more than enough photo tips, places to go, and things they must eat, we finished our tour at my favorite spot for ice cream. I strongly encouraged them to try the caramel beurre salé ... (salted caramel) and with our hands sticky from melted ice cream, smiles on our faces, we said until next time. For me, it was a moment where I just felt overly grateful for travelers, people willing to try something new, experience, and learn. 

Sending everyone a bit of wanderlust, a bit of coffee love, and a

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.