Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Coffee Cocoa

I don't really drink coffee but I adore how it smells and tastes. On a recent Target trip, I convinced my family that we needed a French press because we had no way of making coffee (instant coffee doesn't qualify as real coffee). It's been surprisingly simple to use and makes a great cup. I've heard that the French press is the preferred brewing method for coffee aficionados but I personally like the fact that I don't have to buy coffee filters.

I haven't quite acquired a taste for black coffee, though. I prefer a bit of coffee with my milk. And I drink decaf. So anyway...

I discovered that the combination of coffee and hot chocolate is my ideal way to drink coffee. I've been using a decaf coffee but feel free to use your favorite type.

Coffee Cocoa
Serves 4

A French press
Your favorite coffee grounds
Cocoa powder

In the French press, put in 3 Tablespoons of coffee grounds, 2 Tablespoons cocoas powder. Pour hot (not boiling) water into the press. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Place the top on the press without pressing down the filter. Let brew of 4 minutes. Slowly and gently press down the filter. Pour into cups, adding milk and sugar as desired, and enjoy!

P.S. Another fave drink as of late- peanut butter banana smoothie from Gimme Some Oven.

What's your favorite cold-weather drink?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Photo Cards | Paducah KY family photographer

When was the last time you took a family photo? Spots are still available for my Christmas mini sessions! In addition to the mini photography sessions, I'm offering custom Christmas photo cards for your annual greeting card.  Check out this page over on my website for more info and to see my other designs.

Questions? Contact me here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


As we get closer to Thanksgiving here in the US, we begin thinking about gratitude and being thankful more often. It's become a popular seasonal topic, but it's really something that we should ponder throughout the rest of the year. My church is doing a series of sermons on gratitude and is challenging us to actively express it in our lives. I thought I'd share a bit of what I'm learning throughout this month as a post series.

Starting off my day by reading scripture in the morning has become part of my daily routine. There are still some days that it doesn't happen first thing and it gets pushed later in the day, but the intention is still there. The reading gets me into a better mindset, adjusting my attitude and actions, and changes the way I interact with others. I am more willing to go out of my way to help others and be more patient. I find this is especially important when it's Monday morning and I'm not feeling very peppy.

Here are a few verses I've been reading that speak about gratitude and thankfulness.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thes. 5:16-18

"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!" Psalm 95:2

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!" Psalm 100:4

Do you have a favorite verse about gratitude or thankfulness?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Bucket List.

I love making lists- from my daily to-do list to my reading list to my "people I want to photograph someday". You name it, I've probably made a list about it.

Even if you aren't a chronic list-maker, a lot of people have "Bucket" lists, or a list of things you want to do/places you want to go before you die. Back when I first discovered blogs, one of the first bloggers I started following, Susannah, shared her list and I thought it was such a cool thing. After that, I found several others who shared their lists and I love reading them (and still do!).

It inspires me to see the crazy, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime things people want to do. I thought I'd share a few things that are on my list and I'd love to hear about yours, so please share a few of your top items in the comments or share a link if you've got it on your blog.

- Go to (and photograph, of course) Paris
- See the Nutcracker Ballet
- Learn to surf
- Learn to speak french (better)
- Run a 5k
- Read the LOTR books
- Go to a beach in CA
- Complete a 365 photo project
- Own a corgi
- Publish a book
- Take an aerial silks class
- Go to a photography workshop

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My favorite photograpy apps

As much as I'd love to, I can't lug around my DSLR with me all the time to take photos on the go. Instead, I use my cell phone camera, which is currently an LG Android. I've found a few apps that I love using to edit and share my mobile pics.

(all of the photos in this collage were edited with VSCO Cam and taken on my phone)

Instagram (iOS and Android)
This one's pretty much a given. While I don't really use the built-in filters anymore, it's become my favorite social media network. I enjoy how easy it is to interact with other people and discover new inspiring feeds to follow  (you can find me @EmiMarg). A tip for taking photos- I've found that using the in-app camera tends to blur easier than just using the camera on my phone, so I always take the photo before opening the IG app.

VSCO Cam (iOS and Android)
My favorite photo editing app so far. I use this for cropping, adjusting contrast, fade, and applying filters to my photos. While I've only used free filters as there are several to choose from, there are many ones you can also purchase. You can adjust the filter after you apply it and I love the black and white filters. They also have a social network of sorts called VSCO Grid, which is similar to IG in that users can post a feed of their photos. It's definitely more art-focused and not as interactive as IG (my grid can be found here), but just about all the photos I've seen are absolutely beautiful to view.

Afterlight (iOS and Android)
Back in the day before I had a smartphone and hadn't found VSCO Cam, I used this app on my iPad. Now, I primarily use VSCOcam, but I do use this one occasionally. It has great editing features and has frame option that allows you to post photos to IG without cropping the square. Any photos you see on my IG that are rectangular have been run through this app.

Do you have any favorite apps for photo editing?
EMILY MARGARET | photography + lifestyle. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.