Sift Bake Shop | Mystic, CT

I’m a lover of buying local, especially when it comes to coffee shops and sweets.
Maybe it’s the fact that there is a little extra love put into each cup and bite coming from someone chasing their dreams; I’m not sure, but it just taste better to me.
I stumbled upon Sift when I was in Mystic for a branding photoshoot a few weeks back and completely fell in love. The space is so crisp and clean, the baristas were beyond sweet, the food and drink were delicious, and those pumpkins just made everything a little bit better. I’m not sure about y’all but a warm drink is 10x better in the fall when the air is crisp.

Sometimes I find myself getting lost in thought inside of a coffee shop.
Something about the welcoming atmosphere and people just “being” that makes me take a pause for a moment or two. As I was sipping on my chai tea I found myself really processing all that has happened in the last eight months and how thankful I am. I’ve married the love of my life, moved (twice), seen so many new places, met new people, been tested, found some creativity, etc. It’s humbling to just pause and reflect and sip on something warm.

Where are some of your favorite local hangouts?
I would love to add them to my list in case I’m ever in the area! =)

Sift Bake Shop
Mystic, CT

Grounded Coffee Co | Willimantic, CT

Since we’ve been in Connecticut I’ve found myself doing lots and lots of driving.
Finding new towns to explore, state parks to be seen, and some of the most gorgeous sea-side americano towns I’ve ever seen; it’s been an adventure.
Recently I scheduled a photography session in the town of Willimantic (it was a middletown for the two of us) and I had yet to visit it so I planned a day to go explore the area for some great session locations.

I found myself stumbling into Grounded Coffee Co and felt like I had just walked into a friends home. The staff was so sweet and we chatted about all of the things I should see while walking through town (which is where I learned about the drive in movie theater!). I tried a new drink, their honey chai latte, and downed it so fast I felt like ordering another but instead nibbled on a cowboy cookie!

Truth be told I love coffee shops.
There is something completely welcoming about them; I also love trying all the local drinks people carry that you can’t get anywhere else! I’ll actually be sharing my favorite places for chai tea lattes in the area come fall time. Who doesn’t love to hear about new coffee shops?!

Grounded Coffee Co, Willimantic CT
Kamerette Camera Bag

charleston | classic coffee roasters + vinture giveaway!

there is just something about spending time with friends with something warm in your hand.
last weekend my friend lauren (the darlin magnolia), my roomie, & i bundled up to go grab some coffee before heading downtown for a morning full of picture taking – lauren is a style + lifestyle blog – and i even got some pics of myself for some style posts.

one of my favorite coffee shops in west ashley is classic coffee.
the environment is inviting, the staff super helpful and friendly and the drinks & food are delicious.
the food comes from a local bakery, wild flour pastry, and i dove in to a sausage + egg biscuit while the girls got chocolate scones!
i absolutely love grabbing a cup of coffee (or chai tea!) and sitting outside with the sunshine chatting with friends.
it was absolutely perfection.

if you’re ever visiting charleston and find yourself in the avondale/west ashley area – make classic coffee a must-stop. just pop on in, grab a cup, and go walk through the consignment and thrift shops in the area! you can even pop across the street and go check out all of the awesome graffiti.

location | classic coffee roasters, charleston sc
shirt | vinture apparel c/o
jacket | BB Styled
jeans | old navy
watch | JORD
booties | francescas

…now for the fun!
enter for your chance to win a shirt from vinture apparel!
this shirt is so comfortable. it feels like one of those shirts you’ve had for years and has hit that “just right” softness after so many washes. they do run small (i ordered a L and am normally a M and the L was still a little snug) but the cut & design is gorgeous!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

and may the odds be ever in your favor….
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coffee | open door traders


i recently won a single pour-over coffee from open door traders.
and i am in love.
first things first, their packaging – i personally appreciated!
i put the wood shavings right into a fire and LOVED IT. i really liked how personal it was and that it was a little something special from their shop…just some extra love.
i wouldn’t say i’m a coffee snob – i’m more of a tea snob – but i love trying new ways to make coffee and had yet to try the pour over method.
after making my first cup i thought, why haven’t i tried this yet?!
it was so easy, so delicious, and so smooth.

the best way i could describe the texture of the coffee was that it was similar to a french press, but if it was possible it was even more smooth. the coffee wasn’t as strong (french press, it sits for around 6 minutes) but i liked that. plus it’s WAY CHEAPER than a dang keureg and much more tasty! (all you need is a coffee filter, hot water, and coffee!)

i loved watching it slowly drip into the mug, it was almost therapeutic.
then i grabbed that sucker, curled up in a chair, and watched the morning unfold outside of a window.


how do you like your coffee?
do you have a favorite way of making it?
and are you looking for a new delicious way to make that morning cup? seriously go check out their single pour over stand – soooo worth it!

i won the coffee maker and was not asked to write a review, but i loved it so much that i had to share my opinion with all of you!

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His cup of coffee…

Back in June i shared with y’all a story.
{i would definitely read part one first before reading this, they compliment each other}
It had been so long since i actually sat down and wrote fiction that i was really nervous to post it.
Y’all were awesome though in your responses and so encouraging {thanks!}.
I decided to continue the story this month, but with a twist…from his perspective. 
Hopefully you will enjoy…

. . .

He needed this time. 
Time to think, unwind, and completely detach from his responsibilities.
Time to put the pieces back together. 
The coffee shop offered that; serenity.
This felt like home; somewhere he could read, write, smile and have surface conversations.
A place without any real expectations. 
He noticed it was cloudy outside for so early in the morning; the sky was getting darker as each minute passed.
It would storm today, storms made him happy. 
He mindlessly slid his hand over his scruff, ‘i really need to shave’ .
Staring down at his notebook he had nothing
Nothing is not always a bad thing; but when he had to turn in a manuscript in a week…well nothing seemed a lot more threatening. 
He thought back to something he had read once, “to write means to live, and to live means to take chances and taking chances always leads to interesting experiences”. 
Well if that wasn’t subtle. 
‘…but take a chance on what…’  he wondered.
He watched people; attempted to unravel their life stories and create new characters in the process. 
He learned by overhearing conversations and skimming book covers. 
By guessing what their choice of coffee meant; did they have a late night? Need an extra boost for a test? Just attempting to make it through the day…yes he always thought too much. 
He knew the regulars, knew most of their names…
…all but her. 
She was there, she was always there on Tuesday mornings.
For as long as he had called this shop home, she sat in her little corner. 
He often studied her and always found himself noticing the little things. 
The bracelet she wore had on her left wrist; worn leather with some metal shape attached.
The one streak of pink tucked on the underside of her curly mane.
And that hair…up, down, pulled over to one shoulder, straightened, covered by a hat…it was beautiful.
It reminded him of the new disney character…what was the movie…Fearless? No Brave…wild and free, untamed.
Was her hair a reflection of who she really was?
‘You sound like a stalker’  he mentally checked himself. 
Her eyes found his.
Well well, now. That was unexpected.
He saw her embarrassment at the hollow of her neck creep up to take hold of her cheeks.
He had caught her staring. 
He enjoyed it.
She peeked through her curls…
Something resembling the word cute resonated in his head.
He broadened his smile.
Was this a ‘take chance’ moment? 
How could it not be?
Grabbing his cup he went over to the table.
Sprinkling a little more cinnamon into his black coffee. It honestly didn’t need more, he just really needed the moment to collect himself. 
‘no…not today, maybe next tuesday’ he started back towards his corner, ‘yes today. if not today…when?’
He noticed that her pencil was hovering the page, yet she wasn’t writing anything.
Attempting to distract herself maybe? He wasn’t sure. 
Yeah, that was suave. 
She fidgeted, unconsciously, doing her tick of pulling on a piece of hair. 
{not that he had noticed that before}
He heard her clear her throat.
“Oh, um Hello…er…Hiii….?”
That was actually the cutest response he had ever heard.
She had to be uncomfortable looking up at him like that.
Oh what the heck…
…He pulled out the chair opposite hers and took a seat placing his cup in front of him.
He laced his fingers around it.
“My name is James, i couldn’t help but notice a fellow observer and wanted to come say hello
Could he sound any more lame…or desperate?

. . .
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A cup of coffee…

{I recently realized that i haven’t attempted fiction in a long time. I used to find myself writing short stories, poetry, essays, whatever almost daily; I have journals filled with stories. Since i didn’t take any pictures of anything i did this weekend, i thought i would try my hand at writing again. Hopefully it isn’t too corny, or overly lame -but it’s been a few years so no promises. Maybe i will even start making this a monthly thing, exercising this part of my artistic brain, who knows. Happy Monday!} 
The mug radiates warmth in her hand and she can feel the temperature shift each time she takes a sip. 
The coffee shop is busy this morning. 
The expected chaos of regulars and strangers; a sea of faces preoccupied with their own lives, rarely delving into the other worlds around them.
She prides herself on noticing the details…the hair clips, the untucked shirts, the lopsided smiles. She empathizes with the mother of three children, one who is currently having a melt down; and the college student pouring over books demolishing a tooth-worn pencil with frazzled hair. 
This was her tri-weekly ritual; people watching and journaling while pacifying her growing caffeine addiction. 
The truth is within these walls overflowing with beautifully unique individuals she feels alive. 
Falling into a plethora of lifestyles:
A learner.
A musician. 
A businessman. 
…the tip of her pen connecting with the page; capturing each moment.
Every day bringing something different; unraveling a new story…
…but this morning caught her off-guard.
This morning she noticed another like her.
Mug pressed to his lips, eyes soaking up the lives brushing past him, scarf bundled next to his book, pencil tucked through dark shaggy hair.
People watching.
The more she reflected, the more she began to wonder if maybe this wasn’t her first recognition of him. 
Yes, the lines began to appear, dot to dot, connecting this hazy revelation. 
She had seen him before, maybe even a handful of times.
Writing in some journal, slouching in a chair with a book obscuring his face, nursing a warm mug, conversing with other regulars. 
His eyes flicked into rhythm with hers.

She averted her eyes while feeling the heat creep up her neck and settling in the arches of her cheeks.
There are few more awkward moments than being caught mid-stare. 
She battled with herself over stealing another look.
No, she thought.
Her eyes won.
He was still looking.
…and what was that? She noticed that he was smiling…well i guess she would consider it a smile. 
But over what? she thought. Ah yes, the inevitable rationalization that plagues the female brain. 
Dissecting every noncommittal move to where up is down and left is right…throwing off the balance of the entire social norm.
Maybe he was smiling at someone behind her, maybe he didn’t even notice her catastrophic moment of embarrassment…or her ability to make things more dramatic than they really are.  
Curse her eyes, she looked again.
His chair was empty…

…where did he…
She glanced around the shop to notice him sprinkling something, cinnamon maybe, in his mug. 
She praised God for creating peripheral vision.
She noted the hesitant step in the direction back to his chair, she really noted the pivot of his heal that pointed his path towards her side of the room.
Do. Not. Stare.
Breath in, breath out
He wasn’t coming over here to talk to…

Well i’ll be darned.
Her fingers betrayed her, sweeping strangling hair behind her ear. 
*chmmf* awkwardly checking her vocal chords. 
Feeling the sand paper effect of her tongue clicking against the roof of her mouth.
“Oh, um Hello…er…Hiii…..?
. . .

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