Where and how to start blogging after coming back from a trip. Trip to Sonoma Part 1

It can be very overwhelming to edit, post and blog after a trip.

This is even harder I feel when you are a photographer and can not share online most photos unless they are rejected by the stock company. I always have to wait to share with you guys the photos from a trip as I am waiting for the approval of the stock company for they want or need. The rest or the one rejected I usually share with you.

The one the company takes, and accept I usually post on my professional blog where you can subscribe of course : http://www.katiasphotography.com/blog/

So this is how I am going to do this trip: I will give you an overview of the itinerary we did and I will post all the iPhone photos, photos of my phone, and Patrick’s phone, including the fun Selfies we did.

I then will as I edit make a post of each location with the history behind it and the photos.


Part 1

Patrick earned a trip with his company AETNA. He helped make the North Carolina team number one in the country. As a broker manager he was 4th in the country. He earned him a trip to Sonoma County and was able to take the person of his choice.

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We had to be on Sunday by 3pm at the Fairmont Mission Inn and Spa in Sonoma to check in. The Fairmont Mission was an incredibly beautiful facility.

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We decided to leave couple of days early versus late as the girls were with their dad the weekend before and therefore, we would not take on the time we have them to go on vacation.

We arrive in San Fransisco on thursday and went to rent our car. We had rented a tiny little car.

By noon (western time) we were on the road. We had decided to get out of the city and go along the road all the way to Bodega Bay.

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Well of course, suddenly I am remembering my wonderful time 20 years ago with my French friend Isabelle and I am wanted to show Patrick Lombard street, the Fisherman Wharf, Sausalito, the hydroplane…

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Well we made it out of the city finally and went to Muir beach, where we watch the sunset there. We then arrived that night in Bodega Bay. We had a reservation that we had taken through Expedia. Wonderful little place call the Inn in the Tides.

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Next morning we left to go visit Fort Ross and go along Pacifica one. We learned all the history of the Valley of the Russian River and saw seals.

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On Saturday, Valentines day, we woke up super early and I took Patrick to the McPhail Winery and then to the Francis Ford Coppola winery, since he loves movies. We then heading to couple of wineries in the Alexander Valley and had a late picnic there. From there we left toward Saint Helena to go visit the C.I.A ( Culinary Institute of America) before heading back to San Fransisco.

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Next morning Sunday we were at the airport to rerun our car and waited for our driver from Aetna that took us to Sonoma.

This leads us to Part 2 of the trip….coming up soon


Lara’s first cooking lesson

Lara has many friends that have been cooking making their own stuff in the kitchen. She had ask to cook before.

Photos are just simple Iphone photos as I was more concentrating on her than on photography for this event. This was all about her, and not about anything else.

She today had her first cooking lesson and she chose to make banana bread. We had music going: Cloud 9, Miley Cyrus, Frozen soundtrack….it was the Chef’s choice of music!

She made the banana bread from scratch, took notes, and was the most incredible student.

She cut herself for the first time with the knife, she learned how to use the kitchen aid and she got to licked the bowl…and she learned how to clean up afterwards!

This was I assure you the best banana bread I ever ate! She was so proud of herself, she learned the cup, teaspoons, and how to properly butter the bottom of the pan.

It was just her and I in the kitchen, we had a blast!



Sometimes it is about being in the moment…

I was grateful and happy to have the privilege to celebrate the Russian Christmas last Tuesday night. It was the perfect number of people, we had our 12 dishes. Sasha made an incredible duck for us, Katya made wonderful food, Perle brought some financiers, Iryna made the crostinis, and we had Misha with his guitar, and his wife and Katya with the voices….

Poetry book from 1917, cup filled of water, dirt, sugar, pennies to do the traditional fortune readings.

That night was memorable for so many instances, so many ways. I felt like it was a therapeutic night. Misha started to play the guitar, his wife and Katya were singing, then lyrics of french songs were read on the background. I will never listen to “Je suis malade” and L’ete Indien the same way… It was like I was in a movie, sitting with artsy Europeans there. Listening to Misha playing was reliving the time with my own family, with “Tonton Daniel”…

It was great to see Cecil take the guitar and play the house of the Rising sun..

You know you are with the right kind of people when we were smelling the pages of this old Russian book , enjoying great food, great company and good wine.

It was on my way home that I had realized, I have an incredible circle of friends.

Chloe’s Christmas Concert

Last week we went to Chloe’s second grade Christmas concert at Kestreil. Jason, Lara and Chloe’s friend were there to applaud her. She was of course the most beautiful:-)

She did so well, she was so cute! She sang beautifully and danced incredibly. What a treat!



Lara’s dance performance

Yesterday Lara had a dance performance at school. She performed on the song ROAR. She was so beautiful!



Sometimes it takes something so simple like a phone call from a friend on final week after they are finished to say: come to the house with the kids, do not bring anything, just show up and we will take care of you.

Last Friday night was great TLC from wonderful friends. Cheese, incredible wine and superbe company. Kids all played together and Jason and I enjoyed great food and talks. Thank you Jeff and Stacey for the fun, the laughs, the food, the wine but mostly for your friendship.


Mother and child

I had the privilege and the honor to be at the birth of Maya over a year ago now.

My life has changed so much since then.

I am so busy. I am working, babysitting to make extra money, taking care of my house, working on schooling, keeping the GPA high, applying for a full scholarship for a Master, dancing tango.  I am doing all this when I do not have my kids. When I have then, I am just a mom. I don’t schedule anything that does not involve them.

I can not believe only one school year before Jason leaves for College.

But the one thing I will be grateful for, is that over the years I have nourished my friendships, I have made so much effort to keep them, and it has paid off. Today I can honestly say to you my friends: Thank you for being there at a difficult time of my life.

Here is a photo of my best friend taking today.

Here is a quote I go daily by:

“Why Do I Succeed?

I succeed because I am willing to do the things you are not. I will fight against the odds. I will sacrifice. I am not shackled by fear, insecurity, or doubt. I feel those emotions drink them in and then swallow them away to the blackness of hell. I am motivated by accomplishment, not pride. Pride consumes the weak-kills their heart from within. If I fall, I will get up. If I am beaten, I will return. I will never stop getting better. I will never give up, ever.

That is why I succeed.”



Invisible Earth…Paperhand puppet show at the Forest Theater

I took the kids to see the Paperhand pupett show at the outdoor beautiful Forest theater in Chapel Hill. It was magnificient.

Beautiful story of taking care of the Earth, beautiful live music and incredible show.

The kids loved it and so did I. I did not have my camera that night, I regretted it. Photos are taken with the Iphone.

Passing of La Caravane right before the riders in Tour de France 2013

The passing of “La Caravane” was so much fun and very entertaining. I was shock to see people coming for that part and leaving before the riders came. Aren’t they the most important part?

People watching, photographing them was the best part…

Great memories of that day.




Tour de France 2013, Stage 10 in Guer, Bretagne

I added the photo on my website of my photographs from “Le Tour De France”. Maillot Jaune that day was with Christopher Froom however he was not in the “echapee” that day.