“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”    
                                 -Eleanor Roosevelt-

rileysapple-2Tis the season of apple picking!!! It’s not officially Fall season unless you initiate it with apples galore, pumpkin spice lattes, boots and scarfs. I welcome you to take a peek into the blazing hot, sunny, charming, and fun day the Grace Belle team and the ladies had at Riley’s Apple Orchard.

To start off, this was my first outing with the Grace Belle team. First outing anywhere in California with a group of girls I didn’t know. I met Lorina, the founder of Grace Belle, a few weeks before when I interviewed for a position to be in her team. I wanted to see what these people and the overall community was all about. I had seen their post for this apple picking event and decided to tag along.

That entire day, long drive, and sun scorching hot weather was well worth the trip. I met some pretty incredible creative, beautiful, and talented ladies. I had found my place amongst THIS group.

Everyone had cameras: phones, digital, films etc… Nature, pumpkins, apples, and greenery all around. Photoshoots, and props, left, right and all around. So, yes I felt right at home:) And the work of picking apples and biting into the delicious crisp freshly grown apples? A mouthwatering delight!! I don’t think I can go back to eating store bought apples again.

Not to self: don’t wear boots in the 85 degree sweltering California heat. And bring a hat.

Grace Belle has organized some fantastic trips. Check out their site to see who they are, what they stand for, where they’ve traveled and what their next event will be. They are truly an inspiration. I am glad to be joining their extended team as a photographer, getting to know everyone and look forward to see their team expand and their vision grow.



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Living the Minimal Life
I choose to live the minimal life. I feel like I really discovered minimalism when I met my husband. Once I got married, I then learned from my husband what living like a minimalist really is and my life has changed A LOT and for the better. Choosing to live this way has taught me to enjoy life per se, independently of the value or the amount of stuff that I have. This is also why Danny and I decided to simplify and update our home.

“Less is more”

My first time ever moving out of my parents home was three years ago after our wedding. I could not wait to move out and get my first apartment, and decorate it to my liking. During our engagement period, which was five months, I spent that time gathering all sorts of home decor and styles online,in magazines, and stores, . They ranged from Urban Modern, to Farmhouse Rustic to Neutral Minimalist. My mind was all over the place. I liked this and that, but what if modern got boring, and I love the comforting feel of rustic decor, but I loathe clutter. Ahhh!!! So much to think about. So when it came time to purchase furniture, I didn’t have a a style picked out. And we ended buying pieces of furniture that was a little bit of everything.

Fast forward three years later, and we are living in Los Angeles, inside of 700 sq ft apartment and much more space to play around with. This past week, I had five wonderful, glorious days off from work. During that free time, Danny and I hunkered down and really dove into searching for a home style that worked for us both.

Now to give you a little insight on the type of people my husband and I are: we cannot and will not live in clutter, that goes for house decor, tons of unnecessary amounts of clothing, and just to much furniture. Also, he will start his medical residency soon and will rarely be home. I’m working three-four days per week at the hospital. And the days I’m home, you’ll find me in front of my computer or nestled in the corner chair reading a book.

Functionality was also major factor into choosing the design that we both wanted.

Minimalist Scandanavian Interior Design is what really caught our eyes.We both loved the feel of the whole concept! A little bit of European feel to it, very much minimalist, neutral tones, simple, and oh so functional.

Once you see the photos, you’ll  probably say but how is THAT functional?? Tiny table, no couches, nothing on the walls, and nowhere to sit. Yes, that’s the answer I got from my family. That’s why we love this design!! We rarely have people over, both of our families are back East, and we don’t plan on having kids just yet. Yet it works perfectly for us!

I also need to mention there’s an IKEA store 15 min from our town. That is where we purchased our kitchen table, chairs, and a bit of decor. We traveled around Los Angeles to multiple Goodwill stores to find little adornments for the living room ladder and spent next to nothing on them.  What really added that oomph and color accent to the whole apartment were the green various sized potted plants: Trader Joe’s and Lowes.

Danny and I are very excited about this new style, it’s easy to maintain, and will be less of a hassle when it will come time again change apartments. We’re thinking maybe a smaller studio next:D We are still working on the bedroom, and have yet to move out our old stuff.

Living the Minimal Life

Living the Minimal Life

I look forward waking up early in the mornings, reading blogs while taking that first sip freshly brewed coffee and in the background I listen to the waking hum and noise of the city. I love this fresh, new and clean feel of our home.

Not everyone can live this way. That’s totally fine! Whatever floats your boat and makes YOU happy. What make me happy and satisfied is to live with less stuff. It feels freeing. It has helped me to breath easier in a sense. I encourage you to read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although it’s not a book about minimalism, it is a starting point about decluttering and having less.

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!! Stay cool as these last few hot weeks of summer are winding down. It’s triple digits here in Southern California this weekend:D

Living the Minimal LifeLiving the Minimal Life Living the Minimal Life|Home UpdatesLiving the Minimal Life

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I am so excited to present to you the second mompreneur of this series. I  cannot wait for you all to read her inspiring story and see her gorgeous photography. We grew up together, spent celebrating multiple childhood birthdays together, and last time I saw her was when we parted ways at her going away party many years ago for Bible School. Viktoriya has always had that creative spark in her. I remember our tween years when we would have sleepovers and tear apart magazines for scrapbooking. Hers ALWAYS looked like a put together professional magazine 🙂 Fast forward YEARS later, and thousands of miles apart, I am thrilled to have had the chance to catch up and interview this beautiful woman.

Hello, My name is Viktoriya Chuprov – I am a mother, wife and a destination wedding photographer.

Everyone knows me for being creative, in pretty much anything. I have always admired art and photos that portrayed emotion. I could never figure out how someone could capture when looking at photos in a magazine. The raw, real laughter and twinkle in the eye – to the moody and emotion look.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

Throw back to high school, I accidentally got put into a photography class, after sitting through the whole class I got up and went straight to the office and told them I wanted out!

I do sometimes wonder if I had just taken that class, if I would have become a photographer much sooner! My creatively infused brain just did not seam to see the creative side of photography, instead I took an art class – I could not draw anything decent at all! With every assignment I created something with photos from magazines-photos that showed captured emotion and that portrayed a certain deep feeling.

Everything in my life from that point included me working with photos somehow – in Bible school I had the ability to make monthly slideshows from photos of our time there, and while on missions I seamed to be easily attracted to the camera and capturing our adventures. It was like God was hinting to me the whole time of what I desired deep within, and was still not aware…the captured motion, smile, laugh or even tears – a glimpse into a beautiful soul – is what fascinated me the most.

In the end of 2011, my best friend asked me to do a maternity shoot for her…with her iPhone. I started taking the photos and did not want to stop, I had a tool in my hands that fueled my soul. If the sun did not set we probably would have been there all day. I was inspired by light and a realization of how creative this photo taking can be, yes, even with an iPhone. It opened a whole new door for me, in a way where I saw myself behind the camera capturing what and how I wanted to capture it.

The feeling was oh so strong, however it was very fast put out by the feeling of needing to work and pay bills which over powered the need and want of what everyone thought could just be a hobby. So on I went to work in the medical field, endless hours of work and tiring of my soul.

Skipping along life to 2013, I found myself sitting behind a desk checking in patients and wanting to be doing something that’s NOT THIS. My co workers seamed content with their job, seamed passionate enough about it. Me, on the other hand, not so much. My creativity was jammed in to a box and I was going to explode if I didn’t do something, anything! On one Sunday service I heard a sermon about talents that God gives to people, and some people go through their whole life without ever discovering them. That simple sermon changed my life – it was the moment I started praying and seeking for God to show me what it is that He wanted me to do. I was taught to just live and serve but the thought of living my whole life without discovering treasure within me put there by God, frustrated me more then anything else.

It wasn’t until end of 2014, when in a financially rough place – no job and my six month old baby girl by my side, (My husband was making enough to cover the bills) I decided to fully put my faith in God and try out this photography thing to bring in some “necessary money”. It was a huge risk, and I did not want to do it if it was not God’s will. It was a prayer filled investment as I went into thousands of dollars of debt (something my husband is not for, but he let me just this time -he believed in me) – I had to buy a camera, lenses and learn everything about photography, and prayed that people would hire me. I never planned it to be anything major or big, I never planned to shoot weddings, I never imagined it to be everything I have ever wanted and yearned for…I had shamefully underestimated my God. HE can do so much in our lives if we only take that leap of faith and trust him.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My StoryViktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

It wasn’t a random idea to go and become a photographer – I had finally dug up that treasure God had wanted me to discover since I was a teenager. I am forever thankful that He has put me on this journey and has never left my side, not for a moment! (There are so many testimonies I can share).

I am a fan of bold colors, the clean and simple, and when it came time to decide how I wanted to edit my photos I chose to go with just that – The classic look that will withstand time and trends.

I also adore black and white photos. I used to look through my parents and grandparent’s old photos back in the day (which, most where black and white) and it inspired me to use my imagination and create timeless images like that for my clients, but with a bit of modern flare ;).

My workday, haha. I laugh because I can work 24/7 with a few breaks to eat and play with my child. Honestly, being a photographer is like being an accountant, office manager, creator, editor & scheduler all jammed into one. I don’t mind working random hours and days, when you love your job it just feels like living and not a hassle. However, its not to say that I don’t love organization – At the moment I am still working on all these task into hours of the day. I am taking this summer to prioritize, organize and hopefully by Fall have a decent office schedule and some balance.

Running your own business can be very stressful at times, and after a year of doing it I finally came to a crossroads of “branding” my business and that ultimately gave me a lot of guidance of what exactly I wanted to do. Yes, I was a photographer – but what kind? It came a point when I had to decide if I wanted to be doing anything and everything or just a specific thing. It was hard to balance family portrait sessions and weddings, as both are very different, I loved doing both, but I felt like I was not giving MY 100% to both. I knew that If I decide to pursue one or the other I will have a specialty and thus give my 100% to do just that, and relieving some of the stress of having to do everything. I chose to focus on weddings and couples and even through it was a hard step to take, it was the best decision I ever made! My work load got lighter and the business became more organized and not so scattered, as well as I now get a lot of more free time to enjoy with my little family.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story

The goal for me right now is to provide the best service I can to my couples and clients, I am so thankful for word of mouth from clients, which in turn gives me more clients and couples to work with! In the next two years if I am right where I am at now, I will be content. I am hoping to keep booking weddings in destination locations. I never got to travel much when I was younger and neither did my husband, so weddings give us that opportunity to do it together. We enjoy the interaction with the couple and I just love having my husband assisting me, he is also very good with the camera and has an eye for photography, but still needs some convincing ;). Our daughter stays with my mom when we travel, and she is our biggest support and blessing! The goal for the next year or two – we will just have to wait and see, because anything I can come up with now will not compare to what God has in store.

Go live your life and pursue your dreams, whether its to be a photographer, blogger, missionary, lawyer or doctor. You only live once, go live! What ever is in you, is usually what you are ment to do. Be an inspiration to others and find others to inspire you. I believe life is a journey, it will be filled with ups and downs – so don’t forget to do what makes you smile and heart flutter.

Viktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My StoryViktoriya Chuprov|Mompreneur:This is My Story




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Hi Everyone!! Lena here.

Couple weeks ago I announced on my Instagram that I’ll be featuring a new series on the blog called Mompreneur – This is my story. This idea has been on my mind for quite some time, and I’m so excited to see it come to life!! I am not yet a mother, and I can say that I don’t know what it’s like having kids, and on top of that run a business! But these ladies do know what it’s like. And I wanted to hear THEIR stories, inspire others and share their journey.

I prepared and sent out a list of questions for them to base their stories on. These are three ladies who run their own businesses and are full-time mommies. I do personally know all three women and have been following their business journey on social media from the beginning. And I ADORE their work. And I’m sure you will as well. What inspires them? What message do they want to share with the world through their business? How do they balance everything in their lives lives and so much more!! Each of these ladies has a story to tell and it’s beautiful. I am so thrilled and cannot wait for you to read these inspirational posts in the next couple of weeks. AND look at some GORGEOUS photography:)

This first one is close and very dear to my heart. Viktoria and I have known each other since we were teenagers. And have been best friends ever since. We’ve had our separations and moments as each relationship does, but that’s what made us even closer. We watched each other graduate, grow into adulthood, get married, and have supported each other through life’s thick and thin times. Read on to here HER story.

Viktoria | Mompreneur - This is my story

My name is Viktoria. Since I was little, I loved everything that had to do with making something with my own hands. I was born and spent my childhood in Ukraine. Growing up, I spent a lot of time outside during hot summer days playing with friends, gardening, and sitting on benches making jewelry with friends. In the cold winter, a lot of time was spent knitting by the fireplace with the help of the soft and gentle hands of my mom or grandma. I wouldn’t trade my childhood where I grew up for anything. I always wanted to learn how to crochet, which both of them had no clue how to do. Now while knitting and crocheting was cool and in style, in my country almost every woman knew how to do it. To save money and make ends meet, women made socks, hats, gloves, scarfs, etc. I still love looking through my old baby pictures and seeing what my mom and my grandma created for me. Now a days, patterns are forgotten that were created over twenty years ago. That’s how my hobby started. I decided to learn how to crochet through Pinterest tutorials and Youtube videos. I started from hats to bigger projects such as blankets. I had so much ideas, especially for little girls that I had stacks of stuff.

Two years later God gave us a gift, a little girl that we named Jasmine, and that’s where I got my inspiration. I had so much ideas and I made her everything that you could think of. My family and friends encouraged me to share my creations with others. So I decided to open  Jazziadore. At the same time a lot of people told me about how much competition Etsy was. While I put it off to the side for a long time, deep inside I knew that if I never tried, I would never have found out if it would work.

“The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” Fabienne Fredrickson

I decided to try and I knew that if it’s God’s will for me, it would work out.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

In the beginning it was very hard to balance everything in my life between being a wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, business and so on, but with God everything is possible. The most important thing for me is to start my day right which is to give God all the glory and to bless my day for my family. I learned that when I give Him my time with my children first thing in the morning, I always have time for my other tasks during the day. No rest can lead to stress; it is very important to remember. I often just go grab coffee even if it’s just for an hour, and go to a craft store brainstorming on what product I could add to my shop and honestly that’s really relaxing for me, or completing my orders while watching my favorite show. I love what I do, and it makes me very happy. I am always excited to make something new!

Viktoria | Mompreneur - This is my storyViktoria | Mompreneur - This is my story

My children are often a part of my work. For example, while I take pictures of my product, my little girl plays with bows, trying to organize them herself. I love when my little boy asks to cut fabric, or writes cards in his own writing skills so he could be just like me. All my orders are completed while everyone is in their bed, which saves me time and keeps me focused. I couldn’t make anything without my big support from my husband. He believes in me. He helps me as much as he can, especially with kids. Almost every day he spends the evening with them. They build things and play so I can get my stuff done or be alone for a bit. I cannot be more thankful to him.

My goal right now is not to be afraid to dream. I knew what I wanted to do. Everything is possible with God. My goal and dream is to make my own little office space where I can make more quality and affordable products for moms and their precious babies. I followed the famous online shops and I was curious how they found their ‘thing’. It seemed like they were born with it. I opened my Etsy shop three years ago, making crochet hats. I sold a few things and I thought that it would be just a seasonal business. I wondered if maybe I just didn’t have that ‘thing’ to do it. After I had a girl, I really enjoyed making headbands. I read Fancy Free Finery where owner Katie shared her story about how she started her first headbands. She inspired me, and I decided to try it again. Maybe some people assume that all these shops got successful right away and it’s just their ‘thing’. I felt the same way! But sometimes you have to do several tries to find your ‘thing’. No one is perfect from the beginning. Do what you enjoy. Don’t give up. For some it might take months, for others it takes years. Don’t compare your work, and understand your worth. Don’t let someone else’s opinions change what your goals or dreams are.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Maya Angelou

Viktoria | Mompreneur - This is my storyViktoria | Mompreneur - This is my storyViktoria | Mompreneur - This is my storyViktoria | Mompreneur - This is my storyViktoria | Mompreneur - This is my storyViktoria | Mompreneur - This is my story

To see more work from Viktoria, follow her on Instagram and check out her work on Etsy.
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This week I flew back East to visit my hometown of Asheville, NC. It’s been a much needed time to clear the mind, relax, and visit family. During my stay here, I ventured out and explored a couple of cafes. Asheville offers so many delicious, unique, and charming little places to eat. And a lot of these eateries support local farmers, brewers, and coffee roasters. If you’re ever in the area, or even if you’re a local reading this :D, I hope you check out these few gem spots and treat yourself to a truly tasty cup of coffee and dessert. These are my three must visit cafes in Asheville, NC.

High Five Coffee Bar 

Day 1

Nestled in the corner right outside of Asheville downtown, and below a newly built apartment complex building, this urban styled coffee house is the absolute perfect spot to visit for an impeccable cup of coffee/espresso/cappuccino. This coffee shop has a offers classic brewed coffee, local Asheville beers, smoothies, and light, savory and tasty eats such as bagels, hummus plates, and salad wraps.

You will encounter friendly baristas, locals chatting away deep in conversation, the elderly reading a book, and students busily typing away on their laptops. And then may be you’ll see a person like me who’s creepily taking constant photos of her picture perfect dirty chai latte, stuffing her face with a yummy salmon bagel and writing this article near the tall sunlight window.

This is one of a kind coffee bar. High Five Coffee Bar  partners together with Counter Culture Coffee  Developers and make it their mission to not only bring you the perfect cup of coffee and roasted coffee beans but also to deliver an inviting and light ambient atmosphere and baristas who know their coffee skills. Come with a group of people or by yourself. Bring your dog, order a cup of cold brewed coffee, and just sit back and treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon soaking up the sunshine or enjoy the pitter patter of raindrops on the outside patio.

I could sit here for hours, watch the locals pass by, listen to the soft jazz music playing overhead and life would be perfect. But for now I’m gonna go be a tourist, take photos, and order myself a lovely crafted cup of cappuccino and plan for the rest of the week.

Three Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NC

Dobra tea

Day 2

I may be a little late to jump on the band wagon to write about this place, as Dobra Tea Franchise has two locations in Asheville(I’m in the Downtown spot), one in nearby town Black Mountain, five other locations in the U.S. and even more in Europe( place of origin)!! But either way, this place deserves yet another raving review.

This serene and relaxing tearoom is a tea lover’s dream.  You come in and choose a place to sit, there are long counter window seats, and open corner booths. The perfect and most intimate setting is in the back where you take off your shoes, settle down on a soft small cushion and the lights are completely dimmed. It has a Spa like feel to it. You hear the gentle trickle of the water fountain, clinking of teaspoons as one stirs their tea, and peaceful mediation melodies playing quietly in the background. The server gives you a bell and when you’re ready to order, ring it. The small sized tea menu is eighty-one pages and can be overwhelming at first, but this menu provides everything you need to know about the teas they serve, how they will make you feel, how they are prepared and the history of how Dobra Tea was established. It’s quite an educational experience. I took about fifteen minutes to look through every page and finally ordered the Jasmine Pearl Tea and a Green Matcha Cheesecake. The photo will describe the rest.

The cheesecake was divine. And the light, aromatic Jasmine Pearl tea?  I’m sipping on my third cup as I write this. Dobra Tea delivers fresh, loose leaf tea that is imported from countries such as China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. As for the Jasmine Pearl Tea,  I was able to brew for a total of four cups over a peroid of an hour, while the small tea candle kept the glass teapot hot.

If you need some peace and quiet time to think in a relaxing environment or just go out for a date with someone, this is THE spot. I really hope the owners will open a location in Los Angeles. 😀

By this sentence, the candle has waned, and I’m finishing up a forth cup of the tea. I will sit here for for a while longer and let the last few drops of the Jasmine Pearl linger on my palette.

Three Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NC

The Chocolate Lounge

Day 3

Growing up in Asheville for nineteen years, I’ve visited this spot a few to many times. The Chocolate Lounge has recently moved their location to the middle of downtown and is A LOT more spacious. Towards the evening hours and especially on the weekends, you will see a long line of people pouring out the entrance and waiting to place an order and get of taste of the rich, luscious, chocolate goodness. If you have a sweet tooth and are a chocolate lover of all sorts, this is your spot. This is basically Chocolate heaven.

I arrived here thirty minutes after they opened, and there were only a handful of people here. I settled into a cozy corner seat in the back and had the whole view of the lounge, including the coffee bar. The service staff here was impeccable, very friendly, and smiles all around.

I ordered a Chai Latte, Beer-a-misu, and a six-count variety of delicate chocolate truffles. Imma be on a sugar high the rest of the day :D.

Having tried the truffles before, I got them as a gift for a friend. The Chai Latte and Beer-a-misu were a good balance as the Chai has a slight hint of sweetness and the dessert was a luscious tiramisu filled with soft cream and a sponge cake soaked in beer.

They serve pastries, brownies, lots of desserts, and some beautiful picture worthy espressos, and lattes. . And guess what?! You can order all sorts of yummies on their website and they even have a monthly subscription of truffles delivered monthly  to your home! They’ve been around for a while and have been featured in food magazines, newspapers, and blogs. You will find children snacking on ice cream, and couples of all ages talking over cups of coffee. Mellow, laid-back and comfy. Want to see a scene out of a story book? Come to the Lounge around fall-time when the vibrant red and yellow leaves are fluttering all over the city.Sit near a window and sip on one of their out of this world famous rich and savory hot chocolate drinks. You will never regret coming here.

Three Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NCThree Must Visit Cafes in Asheville, NC


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Welcome to my blog! I'm Lena-a nurse by day, lover of nature, yoga pants, tea and coffee in between. This is a place where I document life's moments, along with adventures/travel and little bits and pieces of practical simple living. I'm Thank you for stopping by <3


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