Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells – Aspen, Colorado

We got some time in at Maroon Bells before the government shutdown – thankfully. What a terrible time of year for the national parks to be closed. For those who have not made it to see the leaves changing, here are some photos from our trip. Maybe these will inspire you to get up to the mountains for a peek before winter lays its heavy blankets of snow…

Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells Maroon Bells


The extras at Cannon Beach

My good friend Sarah and I took a spur-the-moment trip to Oregon last weekend. During our adventure we visited Cannon Beach, a beautiful coastal town with vast beaches and rock formations towering above the ocean.

I call this post “The extras at Cannon Beach”, because in reality we are all just extras in someone else’s life story…

Enjoy! :)


Seashells and sand – macro

The warm weather is finally coming out to play and it’s making me want to go to the beach… Since I can’t yet I took some shots of a conch shell that my family brought back from the Cayman Islands years ago, and a vile of sand and baby shells that my boyfriend brought home for me from his recent trip to Jamaica. :)


IMG_8486 Continue reading

Don't let your genes dictate your future!

I will previve!

To all my Living Lightly followers… I haven’t posted recently because I have been working on a new project. After recent revelations about my health and my future, I’ve decided to start a new blog. I encourage you all to check it out and follow me there if you wish! And don’t worry, Living Lightly is not going anywhere. :)

Here’s the link:

I will previve

Don't let your genes dictate your future!

Don’t let your genes determine your future!

Valentine's Tulips

Messing with Macro

I recently bought a new macro lens. After doing so I realized that I had no idea how to shoot macro photos. It’s not as easy as pointing the lens at your subject and clicking a button. There’s a lot more thought required.

I had two sources of inspiration for purchasing the lens. My main inspiration is my love of plants, and my desire to capture their most delicate details. The second inspiration comes from another blogger, Neely Wang, who shares her macro shots every Monday.

Recently she was kind enough to share 10 tips for shooting these up-close-and-personal pictures…

Here’s my first go at it:







Margarita Pizza

Margarita Pizza and Milan

Home-made pizza hits the spot every time. Especially if you’re a once-per-week dairy eater…

I’m doing this post a little backwards because I really had this pizza in Rome, not Milan. I actually didn’t like Milan much at all. If you followed me during my travels you already know that. If not, you can read my very disgruntled post here.

I know I vowed to cook a meal from each city I visited, but I just couldn’t grasp the idea of reliving my experience there – so I’m pretending that I ate this pizza in Milan and not Rome. Anyway, the pizza actually turned out fantastic. It had so much flavor and the cheese was super creamy. I think it even made me associate a new memory with Milan, a good one. Oh the joy of food…

Margarita Pizza Continue reading

G&M - Last Chance, Colorado

The Uninhabited

In the flat and windy eastern plains of Colorado a town ravaged by tornadoes and wildfires sits uninhabited.

The town is called Last Chance…

























Home-made Gnocchi & Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This week’s post was a bit of a challenge, but me-oh-my it was delicious!

When Taylor and I were in Venice we literally got lost trying to find a restaurant someone from back home told us about. “A hidden gem with melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi.”

Making this meal at home was quite a workload, but it was worth it. If you have time on your hands I suggest giving it a try. If not, at least make this bruschetta recipe! It’s easy, flavorful and a crowd pleaser!

bruschetta Continue reading

Mussels, Clams & Shrimp in a Spicy Tomato Broth

Florence for four, dinner and dessert

A Florence-inspired dinner for four…

Florence by night

This week I’m excited to share some tasty recipes courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis. I didn’t have a lot of time to experiment because of the holidays, so I took a shot at some of her recipes.

Inspiration = patio seating at a delicious restaurant in a little Florence square Continue reading

Italian - Photo by Taylor Michelle

Risotto con gamberi e zucca


Benvenuto alla cena Roma!

Greece offered some pretty fantastic cuisine but it only got better as we moved our way along the map to Rome. Italian food holds a special place in my heart. Although I don’t choose it most days out of the week (I’m a Mexican food junkie), I do love the culture and the language. Travel Map - Made by Taylor Michelle

In college I studied Italian from an adorable little woman with a thick accent from the town of Bari, Italy. She described Bari as this beautiful and tiny place on the southeast coast of Italy with amazing food and rich traditions. She’d often bring in Italian breads like panettone and serve it to us with Nutella. YUM. She was a great teacher – although she would probably cringe at my little “welcome” note above.

Even though I did not have the chance to visit Bari while I was in Italy, I did visit four other Italian cities and thoroughly enjoyed them. With that said, there will be a lot of Italian recipes to come in the next few weeks – meaning a lot of carbs and a lot of wine! Haha.

Primo piatto: Prosciutto e melone

prosciutto e melone


  • Organic prosciutto
  • Organic cantelope
  • Toothpicks
  • A mouth!

To those of you who are thinking, “What the heck woman you said you don’t eat meat!”

Well, I don’t! Except tonight… and that one night in Rome. Actually, being a pescatarian in Europe was a difficult task and I managed to do it the entire time – thank you very much! I had to try it just once. Fellow vegetarians, I apologize, but it is pretty tasty once a year!


  • Cut cantelope into bite size wedges
  • Cut prosciutto into strips large enough to wrap around fruit
  • Wrap fruit and stab with a toothpick
  • Serve!

prociutto e melone - photo by Taylor Michelle

Secondo piatto: Risotto con gamberi e zucca

risotto with shrimp and zucchini


  • 5 cups of organic vegetable broth (you may use chicken broth if you like)
  • 2 handfuls of organic cherry tomatoes
  • 5 T organic unsalted butter
  • 1 organic yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 organic garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 organic zucchini, diced
  • 1 1/2 c organic Arborio rice
  • Deveined, peeled shrimp (amount entirely up to you)
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 3/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 organic lemon, juiced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Organic olive oil
  • Sea salt & pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Put cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet with olive oil (cook for about 20 minutes or until skin shrivels)
  • In a medium saucepan bring vegetable oil to a boil then reduce to low heat and let simmer
  • In a separate large saucepan heat 4 T of butter on medium heat, mix in chopped onion and minced garlic
  • In a medium skillet saute zucchini on medium heat with olive oil, a pinch of pepper and lemon juice – set aside (cooking it in a separate skillet allows it to keep its texture)
  • Add rice to onion and garlic saucepan, and cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes
  • Begin to ladle in (1 scoop at a time) the vegetable broth, stirring continuously until liquid is absorbed – still on medium heat, or medium/low if your burners tend to be too hot
  • Repeat until broth is gone (**Do not let the mixture dry out or be too soupy, there is a happy medium)
  • Add zucchini and whole tomatoes to risotto mix
  • In the same zucchini skillet cook shrimp with remaining butter, wine and a pinch of pepper until it is pink
  • Add shrimp to risotto mixture
  • Slowly add parmesan cheese to risotto mixture, stir (**mixture should be thick but not too sticky, if it feels too sticky don’t add all of the cheese)
  • Garnish with parsley, and salt if necessary
  • Serve!

zucchini shrimp risotto  fresh parsley

Italian - Photo by Taylor Michelle


Reincarnation of a Greek meal

My favorite meal from Greece is now an easy meal at home. The only thing missing is the view of Acropolis.

Melitzanosalata Continue reading

One last cute picture of my pup!

Filling in the blanks and filling bellies – soon

Hi Everyone!

Okay, I’ve got some explaining to do regarding my lack of posts!

Simply put – Balancing a full-time job, moving into a new apartment, evenings and weekends dedicated to Taekwondo classes, and a new man.

Oh, and a lack of inspiration – sorry but it’s hard to compare “real-life” to three months in Europe! Don’t hate. I promise to be better.

I know, I know… Those aren’t good excuses – or are they? (That’s a teaser to get you to read more… and this is a random image of my adorable pup.)

IMG_7853 Continue reading


Rome in Pictures

So I haven’t posted in a long time! A lot has been happening! I’m preparing for a new wave of posts… Since I haven’t been traveling they will be other exciting things – like how I decorated my new apartment with all my treasures from Europe!

Anyway, as I was preparing a new post I came across this “draft”. Turns out I never shared the pictures from my visit to Rome. There are a ton of pictures here, out-of-order, and w/out captions. For that I apologize but I think leaving it up to your imagination is fun too! Enjoy!

Me in front of the Edinburgh Castle

A taste of Edinburgh

My visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, was short but sweet. I wish I could have ventured out and seen some of its countryside but oh well, I will just have to go back! Here are a few shots I was able to get during my visit…

Continue reading

Cliffs of Moher

From the streets of Temple Bar to the Cliffs of Moher

One of the best parts of visiting a new country is exploring the countryside. Visiting the outskirts of the city certainly has a way of demanding your undivided attention. It is there, in my opinion, that you see what is truly beautiful about a country and its culture.

Continue reading


The Versatile Blogger Award


Can you tell that I am super excited?! Well, I am. A couple of weeks ago I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award and I was smitten then… Now I have been nominated by Agujas for the Versatile Blogger Award!! (Yes I am tooting my horn a bit, heh heh.) It’s just so awesome to know that people are not only reading what I have to say, but enjoying it too. Thank you Agujas for the nomination!

Okay, so, here’s what a VBA recipient must do:

  1. Add the award to your blog
  2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you
  3. Mention 7 random things about yourself
  4. List the rules
  5. Pass on the award to 15 bloggers
  6. Inform the 15 bloggers by commenting on their blogs

Seven random things:

  1. I have two book ideas that I want to see through. Yikes – scary!
  2. I got a ticket in Berlin for riding the Metro without a pass and I didn’t pay it! I hope I will not be in trouble when I return =/
  3. Ever since I did a research project on Ecuador I’ve wanted to visit and do a volunteer program there. (In the areas effected by oil spills.)
  4. I’ve been a swimmer all my life. My body detests running.
  5. I’ve had an assortment of pets named after composers. Chopin, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven.
  6. I have a sister who is four years younger but people often think we are twins and, if not, they think she is older. Gah!
  7. I want to make a difference in the world, whether it be writing, taking pictures or just talking a lot. I hope my actions positively influence others!
Now for the nominees!
  1. Il cimento della fotografia
  2. Have Baggage, Will Travel
  3. SKEdazzles
  4. Live. Love. Run Away.
  5. Eurolinguiste
  6. Rant and Roll
  7. Fun & Fabulousness
  8. Bleustarchild
  9. {Hungry Heart}{Thirsty Mind}
  10. Feast from the Land
  11. Canadian Art Junkie
  12. The Writing Aficionado
  13. Sheila Hurst
  14. Herbert Johan | Words and Pictures
  15. Motivation is contagious

All of the above are a great mixture of inspirational, travel, photography and just plain lively blogs. I love them all! Thank you again Agujas and my readers! =)

Reflections of Ben - Tay Tay

My mother made me like London

This was not my first rendezvous in London but it was still as amazing as the first. This city is very special to me as it was my first European city to visit back in 2007. My mother, sister and I went for spring break. It was my first year away at college and it was such a special treat for my mom to insist that the three of us girls get together and do something special. At the time her cancer had just returned and I think she knew that it may be the last time we could all get out as a family.

Below is a mixture of photos – some nostalgic and some from my recent trip with Taylor. Consider it a tribute to my mother, for it was her that gave me the itch to travel and see the world, to seize the moment and to cherish time spent with loved ones.

View from the hotel window

Continue reading


One Lovely Blog Nomination

I am feeling particularly lovely today because I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you paperballpotluck for your generous words and the nomination! I’m psyched to know that my words, experiences and photography have influenced others to be spontaneous and positive! :D Continue reading

A rainy Dam.

The Dam. Amsterdam

Amsterdam is just one of those places that everyone should visit. I felt right at home there surrounded by water, unique buildings, cyclists, vegetation, art, food, friendly people, public transportation, etc. I love the Dam!

Continue reading

Visiting the Holocaust Memorial

Berlin in 10 Photos

Taylor checking out the view from our AirBnB condo patio.

Fall in Berlin

Visiting the Holocaust Memorial

Holocaust Memorial

Brandenburg Gate

The Reichstag

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie