Lake Light


Just yesterday I got back from the most relaxing vacation.

Brad and I headed back east for his brother’s wedding, and ended up making a trip out of it.  We saw family.  We saw friends.  We hung out by the lake and ate until our pants were extremely tight.  We both have really big new projects coming up, so it was the perfect get away to gear us up for all of the hard work we have ahead.

But yesterday, we flew back to Los Angeles. We picked up our pup and gave her a bath.

And then we got right back to work.

So before I put on my work uniform today and get ready to head in for the twelve hours ahead of me (my bank account will thank me!!), I wanted to relive one little part of vacation.  I started scrolling through the hundreds of pictures I took on my phone.  And I was drawn to the photos that captured the amazing light at the lake.  How it poured through the trees.  How it dipped below the horizon.  How it glimmered and glowed and cast a golden haze over our lazy summer nights.

IMG_5851 IMG_5862 IMG_5903 IMG_5847It seemed like every evening I was inspired by the colors and the brilliance of the setting sun.  Maybe today I was drawn to these photos because it’s a chilly, gray morning. Maybe I’m missing the warm blanket of humidity and the relaxation of summer vacation.  Maybe I’m missing the quiet so thick that you can hear your own heart beating.

IMG_5947 IMG_5967 IMG_5966Maybe this week it’s back to reality.  But I found so much inspiration and beauty these past couple of weeks.  Now, I’m recharged and ready for all of the challenges ahead.



5 Take-Aways from DesignLoveFest Social Media Workshop

I had a whirlwind weekend.

Five straight shifts at the restaurant. Two of them closing. Two of them Mother’s Day.

I was so relieved to sleep in a little this morning and just throw on my yoga pants once I finally rolled out of bed.

But somewhere in between the craziness, I managed to sneak off to the Unique Space in downtown L.A. to get some killer advice on social media from the boss of bloggers in the social media world – Bri Emery of designlovefest.


(yes, i asked to take a picture with her.  i even sat in the front row and asked lots of questions.  i was in super-nerd mode and she was amazing. i am entirely more starstruck by my blogging inspirations than by big movie stars.)

Bri confessed to us that she is an absolute shareaholic, which makes it easy (and fun!) for her to manage her own social media presence.  She even demonstrated for us how she shoots and edits the perfect pics for Instagram.  I was relieved at how normal it made my pre-dinner photo shoots look.

Of course, I had to take a few pictures, myself.

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It was such an amazing space, I just kept thinking about how inspired I would be if I got to work on The Key of Kels from there every single day.

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I even asked a girl to take a picture of me in front of this awesome wallpaper…

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…and she turned it into a full out photo shoot with direction and angles and everything.

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I loved it.  These are my people!

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But I was there to learn.  And to Instagram.  So off to class I went.

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Bri gave us a very real perspective on sharing, on making it look consistent and professional, and on having a good time with it!

My five favorite take-aways from the workshop?

1. Don’t feel awkward standing on your chair or taking your subject a few blocks down to that adorable little coffee shot to get the best pic.  If this is your brand, you sometimes need to go above and beyond to get the vibe or feel or shot you’re looking for.  Plus, who cares what the table next to you thinks?  Tell them you write a blog and give them the website!  Maybe they’ll be your next big fan!

2.  For Instagram – Take a ton of pictures with different angles and composition. Scroll through the thumbnails to see which one stands out the most.  That’s the one that will stand out when people are scrolling through their feed.

3.  Make every feed completely unique.  Otherwise, people get sick of you just saying the same thing over and over again in five different places.  Use different pictures and text.  Post at different times throughout the day.  Give them a reason to follow you in all those places!!  But take the extra five minutes to edit links/pics/whatever to make sure your posts show up the way you intended on each individual forum.  The picture that looks great on Facebook probably won’t be the one that looks the best on Twitter or Pinterest.

4. Speaking of getting photos right, it’s not the worst thing to scroll through your feed and see which pictures stick out like sore thumbs.  Delete pictures that aren’t consistent or are just kind of bad.  They take attention away from the great pictures!  Good riddance!

5. Create your own unique hashtags so you can easily find pictures.  For instance, my friend Sarah started #funwithproduce, and it’s my new favorite place to post funny produce pictures.  I am thinking about starting one like #tkokfavefoodspots or #tkokbakes to easily “list” my favorite restaurants or recipes for anyone who wants to see.  I’ll keep you updated.

(ps! i found this picture through the #dlfworkshop hashtag later that afternoon. i am pretty proud of my front and center super-nerdom for all to see.)



6. One extra bonus takeaway: Most importantly – have fun!  For my blog, my social media is all about my amazing adventures around this wild town.  I love sharing my daily life and the beautiful things I see with all of you, so it’s naturally fun.  I hope it shines through!

DesignLoveFest is always holding workshops for subjects from photoshop to florals to mixology to calligraphy.  Check out the schedule and sign up for one that interests you.  You won’t regret it – and maybe I’ll see you there!



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Love You, Mom!

I was fishing around for some photos for a post recently and I came across a few gems that I had somehow skipped over.

My favorite of the bunch was a group of pictures that I had taken when my parents were in town back in February.  I was lucky enough to get off from work most of the week they were here and we spent some good quality time together.  This is a rarity, as when we are together it is usually non-stop planning and visiting and eating and everything else…

Not this time.  We actually got to relax and take our time and sleep in and just sit around and cook a casual dinner together.  You might even remember, we cooked some pizzas and tasted some wine.

And although I found enough photos from the day to put together a post, doesn’t this picture just speak volumes?

mom making cheeseI know the exact feeling!  Your first mozzarella ball!  There’s nothing like it!

My mom stayed at home with us three kids for most of our childhoods, and made us a home cooked meal most every single night.  She is a wonderful cook and I owe my love of cooking and being in the kitchen mostly to her.  (The cookie making part is all my dad…)

She can usually be seen dancing to Motown or Bruce Springsteen while she’s stirring pots or checking on meats in the oven.  And the things she makes in her slow cookers – although she always says they are the easiest recipes ever – are the best comfort food a girl could ever ask for.  They make the whole house smell like roast-y heaven all. day. long.  So by the time dinner comes around you are literally ravenous for whatever is in that pot.


As I’ve become an adult, it’s been so exciting to share kitchen tips and dig up old recipes that she made for us when we were kids.  Her meatloaf recipe is still my number one (seriously, this recipe will make you love meatloaf), and she always puts out an amazing spread when entertaining people at the house.DSC_0174Love you to bits, Mom.  I am so very thankful to have you as an inspiration, a shoulder to lean on and – most importantly – one of my best friends.

Happy Mothers Day to all of the moms out there today, especially the ones who have loved and raised me. I wish you all a relaxing day full of love!



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The Rest of My Life

There is this quote that I used to love.


I used to apply it to relationships.  It was originally said in “When Harry Met Sally” about his newly realized love for his best friend.

But this week, I’ve started thinking that it is about finding any little piece of yourself that you have been searching for.

I recently realized that I was already doing what I was supposed to be doing in life.  I took ownership of the fact that I am not a teacher or a lawyer or an accountant or whatever.  I started telling people that I am a blogger, a baker and a candy maker.  I started sharing my dream of one day having a restaurant with my husband.  I started an editorial calendar and taking more photos with my actual camera instead of an iPhone.

I decided I was going to be successful and make a career doing the things I love. Continue reading