{Mel & Kasey} {Henry & Lucy}

Mel and Kasey are the most adorable couple I’ve met thus far. They are sickly cute and just beam love. They asked me to do a photos shoot with their “kids” Henry and Lucy, the most well behaved Pitbulls I’ve encountered. Mel chose one of my favorite places to shoot, Centennial Lakes Park and I had such an awesome time with them. They are so easy to work with as if they had rehearsed the poses before coming to the shoot. They are definitely a photographer’s bliss. This was also my first experience shooting pets and I would do it again in a heart beat. Love you guys!
Mel & Kasey
This is Mel, isn’t she gorgeous?!
Mel & Kasey
And this is her man, Kasey. She’s one lucky girl.

Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey Mel & Kasey
Yes, I am a sucker for lens flare
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Thou shall not throw away overexposed capture
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Left to Right; Lucy, Mel, Kasey and Henry
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey
Mel & Kasey

Last Day – Sugarloaf Cove

This is a last beach that we went to before we said sayonara to Grand Marais for good. This is a new beach that I’ve never been to but Jeff has, when he was little. This is such a secluded beach where you had to go through a trail of jungle. It’s heavily vegetated and I was a bit skeptical and praying to god that no creature will jump out and attack me (i.e. bears, fox, witches). This place had that magical feeling to me. You’ll see what I mean by looking at my pictures below.

sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
one of favorites shots
sugarloaf clove
among the greens and copper my eyes caught these bright orange tiny little mushrooms growing on a dead tree. I was really hoping I would find Papa Smurf and his people there.
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
this bench overlooks the view below
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
we’ll eventually get to the island pictured on the background where the boys hunt for agates
sugarloaf clove
Getting closer to the island
sugarloaf clove
They all made it waaaay before me. I had a lot of stops as you can see.
sugarloaf clove
an interesting arch
sugarloaf clove
it was REALLY windy and cold that day
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove
I found at least 5 different types of mushrooms on my way through the trails.
sugarloaf clove
aren’t the rock colors gorgeous!?
sugarloaf clove
On the way back, my eyes caught these red birch trees. I didn’t see them on the way up. I was REALLY fascinated by it
sugarloaf clove
sugarloaf clove

Last Day – Cascade Falls

After breakfast, we head out to Cascade Falls. These are some of the most beautiful falls I’ve seen because they “cascade” hence the name. We parked our car on the street and while Jeff and the boys decided to hunt for agates the girls went across the street to venture the falls.

This was my chance to play with slow shutter to create that soft blurry flowing water effect. Although it was not a hot day it was a really bright day that so I had a lot of overexposed shots. Here are some of the ones that I thought were “okay and so-so”.
cascade falls
cascade falls
cascade falls
cascade falls
cascade falls
cascade falls
cascade falls
This is the other side of Cascade Falls where the boys hunted agates and clearly the girls were just chillin to catch some rays
cascade falls
cascade falls
not agate but good for skipping
cascade falls
Jeff’s newly found sidekick. An agate hunter that Jeff fears and intimidated by
cascade falls
not an agate hunter…yet…
cascade falls
but fonds of skipping stones

Last Day – Breakfast

Breakfast at Cascade Restaurant is Jeff and Dhila’s tradition that has now been passed down to the Senna’s (my sister’s kids, my nieces and nephews, Treyton’s many cousins). The place has its unique cabin like decorations with pretty good breakfast. It’s the closest place by Cascade Falls.f

cascade restaurant
cascade restaurant
Treyton’s face of uncertainty whether this bear was alive before.
cascade restaurant
I love the light fixtures in this place. They took cart wheels and lanterns and made beautiful light fixtures throughout the dining room. Definitely accented the dead, skinned animals that littered throughout the walls and ceilings.
cascade restaurant
Everyone had hot chocolate to star the day
cascade restaurant
And everyone liked it
cascade restaurant
including this rocker girl, Ivory
cascade restaurant
dining around the table brings the family close together especially when you have a view like we do (see the window)

Last Day – The Cobblestone

The camp site that we stayed at are a favorite spot of mine every time we stay in Grand Marais. It’s called Grand Marais RV Park and Campground. The reason being is, if you could, the spot behind the breakwater is THE spot. At night, it feels like you’re sleeping right on the beach as you hear the waves crashing to the shore. I was hoping to point my camera up to the sky, set it for 15 seconds of exposure, but unfortunately it was too overcast. The night sky here on a clear night is absolutely hypnotic! We brought Jeff’s telescope so he could show the kids the moon crater. What he found was Andromeda and he almost pissed himself! Here are some pictures of the Cobblestone behind our tent that’s only separated by tall bushes.

The Cobblestone
Do you see that little rock island behind her? to get to that we have to go around the sharp rocks, picture below
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone
This spot is the perfect spot to just gather yourself as your five senses heightened. You get the hear the calming sound of the waves and the seagulls, the sight of sunsets or sunrise or the sun reflecting the water creates diamonds sparkling and twinkling in the water, the smell of fresh water as the air cleanse your lungs and the sun kissed your cheeks and and your skin for that healthy glow. You can taste how fresh the air is on your tongue.
Lovely, lovely place.

Day 3 – Sven and Ole’s

After spending an afternoon at Split Rock Lighthouse rock skipping Rock we headed back to downtwon Grand Marais. We decided to introduce the kids to Sven and Ole’s, an awesome pizza joint with a flair. This is a must-go place for lunch or dinner if you are at Grand Marais. They’ve been around since 1985 by two Scandinavian brothers. Some of their delicious pizzas are the The Haviian Zah, The Vild Vun, Shicken and Vild Rice Zah, and the regular Meat Zah. All are delicious and the kids agree. They also offer Chicago style pizza which I have yet to try.
When you come here expect a line and once you place your order sit down in the dining area and your order will be brought out. You may also get them to go and eat them by the shoreline of Lake Superior. Can’t beat good pizza and awesome view of the lake.




Sven and Ole's
The walls are filled with these interesting trinkets. The kids had a ton of fun playing “I spy”.

Sven and Ole's
The kids waiting just across from Sven and Ole’s. This place is called The Beaver House, a bait and tackle family run shop that’s been around for 40 years. The kids were asking why there was no beavers coming out of the roof.


4th of Jul Vac to Grand Marais 315
Here’s another cute place to grab fast lunch. The Dockside Fish Market. They serve whatever they catch that day as well as smoked fish.


Day 3 – Bonfire!

This is the last night of our camping adventure and just so happen to be the only night that we successfully built a bonfire! The kids couldn’t be any happier! . The temperature was almost freezing that night, about 33 degrees and this fire sure helps.

We roasted some marshmallows to make smores and we also went around the circle and ask the kids to share stories about their feelings; what was the happiest day of your life? the saddest? the scariest? favorite place? favorite ice cream? favorite teacher? what would you do if? Their answers are absolutely priceless! I had some teary moments here hearing their happy and sad stories. My sister learned that Treyton’s stories are filled with spanking and a corner time out.
It is unfortunate that Treyton and his many cousins live so far apart, about 4 hours apart, and when we do get together, seems like the Xbox and Cartoons were frequent activities on the agenda. We didn’t really get to spend time to get to know each other and these kinds of moments are always overlooked. Kids LOVE telling stories and the video games impedes that. I am not against video games. We own Xbox at home with many games but we don’t make it exclusive in our house. That’s why I love camping so much and we try to do at least twice a year to get Treyton out of the house and appreciate the world around him beyond Super Mario Brothers.
I also took this opportunity to learn to shoot a no-flash, night photos, a challenge for some photographers, like me.
bonfire!
This is our tent. This is my first attempt on no-flash, night shots.
bonfire!
The kids singing and sharing stories around the fire.

bonfire!

bonfire!
Fire is hypnotic!

bonfire!

bonfire!
Ivory warming up her toes

bonfire!
This is Jacob’s attempt to roast his bad guy figurines. On the picture is Zack and his mama Putri, my youngest sister.

bonfire!
This was by far my favorite night shot, thus far. I asked ZZ if we could play a game with flashlights. My opportunity at a shot of no-flash night shots. Each kid was equipped with a mini flash light. Amazing how this simple thing brought such joy to the kids.

bonfire!
This is Zack and his interpretation of scary.

bonfire!
A night view of downtown Grand Marais from our camp.
I think I need to work on this more.

bonfire!
Can you guess what’s going on here? Email me or post a comment below and I’ll give you the answer.


Continue to our last day at Grand Marais >>>>

Day 3 – Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse is best known for its historic lighthouse and offers numerous recreational opportunities. Scenic trails along the lake link up to the spectacular Superior Hiking Trail. Anglers cast their lines for lake trout, salmon, and brown trout. The rocky beach is perfect for skipping stones into Lake Superior.
Despite the chilly weather, the kids still had fun skipping stones while I happily snap away the momentum. I really like this beach because it’s quite and calm. There was boat party on the lake and a couple who are just learning to kayak. The treat was there were these cool planes flying overhead that I was able to capture fast.

split rock lighthouse

split rock lighthouse
On the way up to the beacon
split rock lighthouse
split rock lighthouse
The machine that makes the beacon goes round and round

split rock lighthouse
The beacon

split rock lighthouse
A view from just outside of the light house. We’ll eventually end up there to skip some rocks!

split rock lighthouse

split rock lighthouse
View from the beach where we skip rocks

split rock lighthouse
The water of Lake Superior is so clear. There’s agates here somewhere. Only Jeff can spot agates, he’s got the talent which he happily shared this talent with Zack, his new student.

split rock lighthouse
There’s a small island (right) that can be explored by crawling along the rocks like what we are doing below.

split rock lighthouse
This way leads to a small bay below where you would go around to get to the island across the beach.
split rock lighthouse
split rock lighthouse
The party boat

split rock lighthouse

split rock lighthouse
These were flying over my head.

The kids are getting hungry and I asked what they wanted for dinner and to my surprise (not really) they want pizza. So off we go to Sven and Ole’s

Haute Dish is HAUTE!

This year is Jeff and I 9th year wedding anniversary. After a successful scout of a sitter for a night, I scouted for the all generic but no fail celebration, dinner and a movie. Archery range was one of the ideas that I thought we could do. My friend at work Tonja recommended me “Going The Distance” which was pretty good by the way, Drew Barrymore was hilarious!

For dinner we went to “Haute Dish” at the Warehouse District. I had such a wonderful experience at the restaurant I decided to share this with you all.

Reservations were not available, they were booked until 9 pm although they suggested the bar is open seating and there are a couple of tables for walk-ins. So we said, okay! We showed up at the restaurant with no surprise, it was packed! The host told us we could hang out at the bar, but there was no seats at the bar and we had a feeling we won’t be able to get a table at all.
Almost walking out to try a different restaurant, a gentleman came up to us, the restaurant manager I assume, and offered us to look at the drink menu. He suggested that we waited at tiny little corner lobby, sip cocktails and he promised us the next table that’s open is going to be ours. Thumbs up, way up to the restaurant manager.
Jeff ordered No. 2, a drink (two I guess) consist of, Jameson whiskey and a Surly Furious. I, on the other hand was enjoying Pimm’s Cup, a concoctions of Pimm’s gin, 7-up and lemon juice. The last time I had a Pimm’s Cup was at the Napoleon House in New Orleans.
As we waited sipping our cocktails, admiring the warm and classic hues of the ceiling and people watching (love this part), I couldn’t help but notice that the clienteles that night were so diverse! Gray haired executives with their wives in Channel wrap. Biker guys in chaps, biker guys in tights. The gays and the lesbians. The young executives. The girls who just ended their shifts from, Sexworld and Sinners, the restaurant next door neighbors. The restaurant is definitely situated on a prime location.
After a couple of rounds, we finally got sat. We were greeted by this cute, warm waitress who has a full sleeve tatts on her right arm. Beautiful work on the arm. She went over the specials that night which I could not remember. But I vividly remember what we had.
The menu was constructed with First, Second and Third courses and Jeff and I decided to try two dishes from each course. Yeah, we came really hungry.
First course
I had Steak and Egg – steak tartare, egg in a hole (they cut out a hole on a piece of toast and placed a sunny side up yolk) and bloody mary oyster shooter. The steak tartare was wonderful and melts in your mouth. Sip on the oyster shooter after the tartare and you’ll left with a wonderful after taste.
Jeff had Buffalo Quail which he said was okay.
Second Course
Jeff went with Mac & Cheese. This is no Mac & Cheese from Noodle’s & Co nor Kraft, my friend. The chef uses large rigatoni as noodles with creamy cheese sauce, shaved Tallegio cheese, bits of truffel and topped with cilantro. The king crab pairs is so buttery and pairs well with the cheese sauce.
The asian in me went with General Tso’s Sweetbreads. I was a little disappointed with this choice. I’ve had better combination of fried rice and general Tso chicken. The sweetbread had a little bit of “fishy” after taste but I liked it. If only they put a few more morsels of those sweetbreads, I only had a sliver.
Third Course
I went with Tater HauteDish. This was also a delight. As soon as I broke open the crispy potato croquette, creamy light potato mousse oozes out as it marries with smooth porcini bechamel sauce. The short ribs were fork tender and also melted in my mouth.
Jeff went with Steak and Potatoes. Why of course Mr. Whitey! The presentation was beautiful. The marrow was still inside the bone and I instructed Jeff to scoop out the marrow and spread it on the toast and topped with a little of the Gremolata (parsley, garlic, lemon zest) . It was an acquired taste and I gave him props to try. But I was delighted to finish it. He said the Ribeye was cooked as he asked.
And for dessert we went with Peaches and Crumble because the menu said it had bacon, yeap you heard me right, in it. Whoa, was I in for a treat! Peach ice cream, peach mousse, with cubed peaches topped with candied crumbled bacon. There was absolutely no odd taste here. Everything works and my mouth just had a party. I wanted seconds!
They truly took classic Midwestern cooking to the level I’ve never experienced before and for Jeff this was such an experience because he grew up with meat and potatoes as a staple. I’ll be back for the Duck in a Can as well as Pork and Beans. This classic Midwestern join sure has our thumbs up, way up!

Day 2 – Gooseberry Falls

We headed to Gooseberry Falls from Temperance River. They’re not too far apart. Gooseberry Falls can be found in Minnesota’s Gooseberry Falls State Park. There you will also find the lower and middle falls. To reach the upper falls from the parking area, follow the signs to the lower and middle falls. Then follow the trails on the west side of the river under the bridge to view the upper falls. If you continue on these trails you will eventually reach Fifth Falls.
This is a very popular park. The lower, middle and upper falls are just a short walk away from the parking area, and you can climb all over them, which seems to be popular with the kids in the summer. Getting a picture of the falls without people in them is quite the challenge. I imagine the falls are much more wild looking in the spring when the water is higher and the people are fewer.