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CITY GUIDE : Fort Langley

April 26

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Heather of Tea with Me! I’m excited to share the first Canadian destination! Enjoy.

Is there good food? Is there fascinating history? It’s these two questions that constantly pop into my mind when choosing a place to visit; it so happens that this city has both, plus one downtown street full of chic boutiques. Fort Langley is an overlooked gem when it comes to the Lower Mainland, especially with Vancouver an hour or two away (maybe if Allie is nice she will let me do that guide for you). It’s a hidden secret with the locals and perfect for a low key Saturday.

Start off by going to Wendel’s Bookstore and Café and don’t get frightened away by the lineup, when it comes to food it’s a good sign and it moves at a decent clip. The problem … trying to actually decide on what to get, everything looked incredibly delicious, not to mention the ooey gooey baked treats that tantalize behind a glass shield with seductive whispering, “Take me home with you!”

Once your belly is full and completely satisfied walk down the road for shopping. This is perfect for a day with the girlfriends, unless your fella is in to shopping. It’s time to catch up on gossip between the clothing boutiques, art galleries, trinket stores and even a spa there is something for everyone. There are two treat stores, one dedicated to candy and another for chocolate if you feel the urge to have a little snack or have the same chocolate sweet tooth I have.

Treasure hunters should not miss the Village Antique Mall, a 10,000 square foot place off the main drag full of wondrous items. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but my guess is an individual can purchase a booth and fill it with their items to sell. It can be a little annoying especially if you know what you want, but I find it intriguing to see the style of each person come out.

The Fort to Fort trail, is a flat all seasons trek that connects the first Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Langley site (1827) to the current fort location (1839) which is a National Historic site in the downtown area. The trail takes you through lush vegetation and wildflowers amidst trees to farmland by the Fraser River and Bedford channel.  It’s a serene trek, especially in the morning, when the grass is still covered in dew and the birds chirp (even better when you stop at Wendel’s afterwards.)

Fort Langley was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America, over a century ago to trade with the First Nations of the area. The fort isn’t of large size, but it’s still fun to take the kids too, especially around Canada day, when they are doing more interactive pieces. Take them there for a little history lesson, gold panning, and visit the farm animals.

For me, a trip to the town cannot be complete without stopping in at Infusion Bouteaque, either a quick hello to the owners or to try a new tea. They have near on a 100 different loose leaf teas for sale and I love how they have placed them in little bottles for you to open and smell. Its fascinating watching people, shake and sniff, then share the bottles with friends with exclamations of, “Try this one!” They are the tea merchant that first got me addicted to loose leaf tea. As of now they have some help, but if you get lucky and find the owners in, you will see how tea is a pure passion of this couple.

Not as popular as the Vancouver core when visiting British Columbia, but it’s still a fabulous place, well worth a taking a few hours of your day with girlfriends to explore away from the hub of city life.

A huge thanks to Heather for rounding up her favorite places in Fort Langley! Be sure to visit her blog and follow her on Twitter! All photos taken by Heather.

Featured image by p medved.

A Step Back

April 25

I’ve been working. A LOT. Like…too much. 70 hour work weeks. Last weekend I had one of those moments where I realized I needed to take a step back. I don’t mean “quitting” anything necessarily but moving things around and restructuring. It was a great weekend to think about it all. One of my friends had her baby boy, another is pregnant, I photographed our friends’ engagement, and two of our best pals moved in down the street. The real stuff. I’m not saying work, blogging and my crazy obsession with Instagram isn’t real. It’s just not what I want my entire life to be consumed by. So what changes am I making? Here’s a list (I love lists):

  • I’m hiring an amazing virtual assistant (details to come). For now, she will handle all inquires and new client emails. Hopefully we’ll build up to her helping with scheduling, blogging and invoicing!
  • I’m turning off my computer by 10pm daily. This is huge for me. I’m usually awake until 12-1am working on freelance projects.
  • Adam and I will wake up at the same time and spend at least an hour together before work. Breakfast, reading, and a kiss goodbye. No more rushing.
  • I recently switched my invoicing platform to Freshbooks. I can’t get enough of it. I’m also starting to track my time on every.single.task so get a better sense on what I’m doing with my time.
  • When in doubt…walk. I want to take more walks with Adam, maybe just Desh and sometimes by myself. Maybe I’ll take a camera. Maybe not.
  • I want to look into either a chiropractor or a monthly budget for a deep tissue massage.

Those are just a few of things I’m implementing (I started this week). I think I’ll be a better wife, friend and business owner if I take steps backward and look at the big picture more often. The photos above were taken recently. Getting tea with Adam, exploring Columbus, and sending letters to my best friends…all good things.

How do you stay balanced & healthy? When do you know you’ve reached your limit? Any tips or recommendations?

*Top four photos taken on my Minolta SRT-201. Bottom two photos taken on my iPhone.

#snapaphoto April Photo Challenge: Week 3

April 24

Candid shots of strangers. That was Week 3’s challenge. I had high hopes for my photo. I wanted a shot with a lot of character and emotion but it’s pretty dang hard when you don’t want to shove a camera in someone’s face. When I take my film portraits, I’m SO close to my client’s faces. Awkwardly close. I also waited until it was too cold to finally take my shots. Everyone was bundled up and walking quickly to their destination. I mostly felt like a stalker. I ended up taking my chosen shot while eating at Betty’s (a local Columbus restaurant). I’m always intrigued by people who eat by themselves. I’m not saying it’s weird…but I always admire them (unless they look sad and then I want to invite them to eat with me).

How did your experience go? How did you approach it? What surprised you? Did this week’s challenge make you look forward to or dread this week’s challenge?

If you’re just joining the fun, you can take a look at Week 1 and Week 2 of the challenge. Even if you haven’t submitted yet, feel free to send in your portrait for Week 4 here. All entries are due on Sunday, April 29th by 8pm EST. Good luck approaching your stranger of choice!

Now Accepting May Sponsors

April 23
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April flew by. I think I say that after every month nears its end. I’m now accepting May sponsors and a handful of spots for swap. If you’re interested, please contact me here. We can chat about your options, opportunities and if it would be a good fit! I love all the support I’ve received for past clients, readers and local businesses. Funds received for sponsorships are used towards hosting photo challenges, purchasing the prizes, sending gifts to the judges, paying for giveaway postage and monthly fees used to host my blog.

All May sponsors will be added to my sidebar on Wednesday, May 2nd since my blog was down for one day in April. Thanks for considering and as always…thanks for reading!

Life in Progress Giveaway

April 23

One of my April sponsors, a lovely Etsy shop called Life in Progress, is offering a giveaway here on Show + Tell! To win this cute screen printed tea/kitchen towel (made of natural flour sack), you must visit her shop and share your favorite item (besides this towel, of course)! For additional entries, you can:

That’s up to three entries per person! This giveaway will be open until Thursday, April 26th at 11:59pm EST. A random winner will be chosen and announced here on Friday morning. Good luck!

Also, congrats to Chelsea for winning my Aveda giveaway from last week! Thanks to all who submitted!

April Birchbox Review

April 20

Time for my monthly Birchbox review! This month’s was lovely. First off, I loved the bright green tissue paper. I’m not a huge “pink” person and so I definitely noticed this month. Inside I found:

  • Befine daily moisturizer and body scrub. The lotion (SPF 15) definitely smelled a bit like sunscreen but in a way…it made me really excited for summer.
  • YesTo Facial Towelettes. This is actually my favorite brand of facial wipes and was excited to try the blueberry! Plus it’s the perfect size for my purse.
  • Taylor Swift’s new perfume Wonderstruck. Not really for me.
  • Lulu Organics dry shampoo. I tried it and LOVE it. More than any dry shampoo in an aerosol can. It’s actual powder and smells great.
  • Zoya nail polish. Part of their spring collection! So pretty. I’m a huge fan of Zoya. I prefer it over Butter London or OPI.

Overall, GREAT month. I was introduced to two new brands that I love and got products from brands that I already adore. If you want to sign up, it’s only $10/month and you can earn points by reviewing products/buying products/referring friends and ultimately use those points to buy things through Birchbox! I’d appreciate it if you used my referral link! Oh also, I’m going to be sharing some NEW favorite makeup products (brands like RGB, Smashbox, and Zoya!) that I’ve recently invested in next week. Stay tuned!

PSSTT! Last thing: my awesome April sponsor, Emily Elizabeth Jewelry is having a HUGE sale over at her online store (up to 80% off!!!).

I can’t decide between this necklace ($15.00–originally $48.00) and this cuff ($25.00–originally $50.00). If you don’t want to purchase anything yet..head on over to Emily Elizabeth Jewelry’s Facebook page and enter to win their giveaway!  All you have to do is be a fan of their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and answer “yes” in their Facebook questionnaire. You’re welcome!


April 19

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Andrew Neel, Rebekah Neel, and Josh Ohms (all living in Chicago, Illinois)!

First off, Allie is awesome for having people do these city guides, and she gets the biggest of props from us here in Chi-town. Thanks, Lehman!

To be true to the spirit of Chicago, this guide is divided up by neighborhoods, just like the city itself. If we were to cover all the diverse sections of Chicago this guide would take over Allie’s entire site, so to keep it small we highlighted some of our favorite places in just a few areas of the city.


If you ever find yourself near Wrigley Field, go eat at the Pick Me Up Cafe if you’re a fan of buffalo chicken, breakfast foods, milkshakes, coffee, vegan cuisine, or all things that are good and enjoyable in the world.

This 24-hour, always-open and always-tasty spot has a great vibe and a better menu. The buffalo chicken wrap is so good it caused Andrew to give up his Lent restaurant fast to eat it again, and the omelettes are BAMF. No, seriously, that’s the name of the the best breakfast dish on the menu: The BAMF omelette, which includes spinach, feta, garlic, tomato and the fulfillment of culinary dreams. Go there for food. Go there for milkshakes or coffee. Just go there.


One of the most visually vibrant places in Chicago is up on Devon Avenue (specifically between Ravenswood and California), where you’ll find Pakistani, Indian and a variety of other cultures beautifully compressed together.

We explored the neighborhood and settled on eating at the Pakistani restaurant Sabri Nihari. This turned out to be a monumentally good decision.

Upon hearing that we wanted to take pictures of our food, the owner graciously invited us to eat with him and the restaurant’s top chef at their table. We were treated to beef kababs with raita, chicken makhani with rice, their eponymous sabri nihari beef with naan, and a variety of other outstanding dishes. Everything was succulent, well-seasoned and, ultimately, pretty dang delicious. The owner also let us photograph newly-prepared dishes on a table they set up just for us, which was an unexpected and surreally cool experience.

While on Devon, we also stopped by the clothing store Studio Elite, not because any of us is in the market for a Sari, but because the interior was gorgeous and filled with vivid colors. We’re fans of frivolous window shopping – if you can’t afford to buy anything anyway, you might as well look at the coolest stuff possible. (All photos taken in Devon were taken by Josh.)

Wicker Park

Wicker Park is one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods and a nucleus of awesome. And what’s more awesome than an independent used book store that sells real life books you can see and touch and smell? Nothing, that’s what. Myopic Books has a bizarre and extensive selection, and you’re guaranteed to spend hours searching through its voluminous shelves (according to the store’s site they carry more than 80,000 editions).


For a finale, we’re advocating the fun and free activity of visiting Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center in the heart of the city. Not only because learning is fun (which it is, kids!), but because the top floor features a breathtaking, massive open space with reading tables and a cool view of the skyscrapers that encompass it. We took a picture of the outside, and we’ll let you discover exactly what the top floor looks like for yourself sometime.

A huge thanks to these three for showing us around their city!Andrew is a writer and filmmaker currently working on a feature film project. Rebekah is an artist who specializes in prints. Josh is a photographer extraordinaire. All three love Chicago.

Featured image by bryce_edwards.

Here We Go: Images

April 18

A few weeks ago, I posted about LINKING which often refers to images or sources. Today I’ll be talking about images in more of a technical sense. So often I will visit a blog and the images really set a negative tone for the entire site. The great thing about this problem is that it’s usually an easy fix by only addressing a few issues.

1. Take photos in natural light.

Find a window or a room with natural lighting and stick to taking your photos consistently in that spot. I tend to take all my photos right near our large, front window. Make sure you turn your flash OFF. You can see the differences below:

2. Allow your photos to take on full width.

Make sure your photos represent the full width of your blog’s body content! You can re-size them in your photo editor or even scale within WordPress. It really creates continuity for your readers when scrolling through your blog. All of my photos are consistently 700 pixels wide.

3. Save for web!

Even if you’re sizing your photos for the width of your blog, they will still be larger (we’re talking GB/KB…not pixel width) than necessary. If you own Photoshop, you can save for web and devices. Here is a tutorial. If you do not have Photoshop, you can install WP Smush.it which will do bring your photograph to the smallest possible. I don’t use this plugin so I can’t testify to quality but it’s worth giving a shot! Doing this for all your photos will allow your blog to load faster!

Some other small tips include:

  • Be intentional with your image file names. It will increase visibility when people search keywords relating to the name. For example: saving a photo as “blog-photo-tips.jpg” will probably bring about more traffic than an image saved as “image.jpg.”
  • Use original photos! It’s much more interesting for your readers.
  • Save them all on your computer or someplace like Dropbox in case anything on your blog is lost.
  • Create collages or grids of photographs to give variety to your posts.

So there are a few tips on images. Let me know if you have any questions or advice to share below in the comment section!

#snapaphoto April Photo Challenge: Week 2

April 17

I really adore these detail shots for Week 2! My shot is of my husband, Adam, and his tattooed wedding band. I love the moments when he’s really listening to me and moves one of his hands near his face because he’s really concentrating. I think that’s why I really love the submissions this week. As I was compiling the post, I realized that each of these shots were taken in sort of an intimate moment. You can’t get too close to a stranger without them feeling uncomfortable or awkward. Each of these photos tell a story or are prefaced with a history. I even love the anonymity in each photograph. You only see a small part and really–in real life–that never happens. My favorite submission was Jon’s. So gorgeous! What is your favorite photograph?

Next week’s challenge is to photograph a stranger (without them knowing or aware). I’m excited to see these because it sort of preps us all for the final week…approaching a stranger and trying to capture who they are within a matter of seconds. Good luck and be sure to submit by Sunday at 8pm EST!

Relish: Mushroom Asparagus Quiche

April 16

This new food-inspired series is called Relish! Today’s guest blogger is Jon and you can find out how to connect with him further down at the bottom of this post! Enjoy!

I began Foodie Friday on my blog as a way of committing to trying at least one new recipe a week, but it was more about the food photography than learning how to cook. The actual cooking part was intimidating, and I assumed I would turn down a lot of recipes due to complexity. What I discovered, though, is that cooking is really easy no matter who you are. I know Rachael Ray says stuff like that all the time, but now you’re hearing it from me: some dude with a blog.

This made practically every recipe an option so I started theming my months, and this month I’m focusing on egg-based recipes. One of my favorite egg dishes to eat is quiche, but I’ve never made it before—clearly I was meant to make it.

My search for an appealing recipe led me to the website Taste of Home, which I will definitely visit again. They have a recipe for a mushroom asparagus quiche that looked amazing. I made only a few minor modifications, and it is probably the best quiche I’ve had. Even my wife Kelly—typically not a fan of quiche—said she really enjoyed it.

If you’re a timid cook, I hope you make it all the way through that list because it’s really not so bad. You cut up a bunch of vegetables, throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, mix it all together, and then bake it. See? Simple.

Regarding the crust: you can buy a crust at a supermarket or you can make your favorite home-made crust (keep in mind you want less sugar in a crust since this isn’t a sweet pie). If you avoid gluten, you can even buy or make gluten-free crusts, making this a gluten-free dish!

I used a super simple quiche crust recipe from Food.com which goes like this: mix 1 cup of flour with 1/2 tsp. salt; in a separate bowl beat together 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup ice or refrigerated water until “mixed;” pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix with a fork; roll it out thin and round (no need for perfection, though); and place it in a pie dish or tin. Set it aside for later! One note: I used 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and it turned out really good. Also, you may need to slightly pre-bake some crusts if you use a different one.

Here’s what I used to make this delicious dish:

Relish: Mushroom Asparagus Quiche
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A modified version of Taste of Home's Mushroom Asparagus Quiche. It can even be made gluten-free!
  • 1 crust
  • 1½ lbs. fresh asparagus
  • ½ cup rehydrated Porcini mushrooms
  • 2 medium-large shallots
  • 1-3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded Colby cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. basil
  • ¼ tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. sage
  1. Alright, now start out by re-hydrating the mushrooms. If you don't have directions with your mushrooms, you rehydrate by pouring ½ cup boiling water over dried mushrooms and letting it sit for 30 minutes. You can really use any mushroom you favor, dried or fresh, but I LOVE Porcini. It has rich flavor, almost smoky. I highly recommend it.
  2. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut into ½-inch pieces.
  3. Once the mushrooms are re-hydrated, drain and dab dry with a paper towel then chop them.
  4. Combine the shallots, garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms in a large frying pan, add the cubed butter, and saute until the asparagus is tender-crisp (not crunchy anymore, but not squishy either). Set aside and preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and sage. You may say to yourself at this point, “There is no freaking way this is enough egg!” Fear not, though, because it is. Mix it all thoroughly, then stir in the sauteed vegetables.
  6. Finally, pour everything into your crust, spread it flat, and bake it for 25-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before you cut it into slices.
It looks like a lot, but—like I said before—it's just chopping, sauteing, mixing, and baking. Simple.