Hello from Istanbul!

We’re about to head to Italy, but I thought I’d do a quick update of our time here in Istanbul!  The weather has been quite pleasant and Nick’s even managed to wear shorts a few of the days!

We learned about Islam and visited a few Mosques.  We’ve eaten all different kinds of street food and only had American food once (and it was shake shack, so who could blame us!).

And while there has been a little unrest in other parts of Turkey, Istanbul has, thankfully, been just fine.

My picture uploader isn’t working, so checkout my instagram feed for all the latest photos :)



How “Kelvin” tried to scam me

I am both very trusting and highly skeptical, traits that have served me well over my 30 something years on the planet.

A few weeks ago, “Kelvin Duaner” (kelvinduaner@gmail.com) emailed Brooke and I to inquire about rates for a family reunion package and whether we accepted credit card.  Both are fairly common requests.

We went back and forth with “Kelvin” a few times, ultimately settling on a rate for 5 hours of service.  The only kicker?  He was adamant about paying by credit card.  As a general rule, we don’t accept credit payments.  We’re setup to do it, but try to stick with checks.  Old school.  I know.  I offered Kelvin a few different options, but he wouldn’t budge.  I figured the miles were REALLY important to him.  Been there.  So I gave in and provided a paypal invoice.

Then I received this email:

The proposal and price is okay with me and i am ready to make full payment of your service now with my credit card so i can be rest assured the date is secured and booked for me already, I also need you to render me a favor regarding the event planner that is handling the event for me. The favor is that the event planner is currently not authorized to accept credit card so i want you to help coordinate his fee on my card along with your payment. I will give you my card to charge for your service and the event planner fee (You will charge your fee then charge an additional $2000 for the event planner) As soon as you charge it through and it approves you will forward his fee to him so everything can be set for the event, Reason i am asking you for the favor is cus i just got out of Intensive care and My Psychiatrist strongly advice me to minimize the stress i go through else i might develop severe weakness and tiredness. I am willing to offer you an extra $50 as tip for your assistance, Bear with me I will be authorizing and responsible for all the charges on my credit card. 
Below is the breakdown of the charges you will be running on my credit card:
Photo-shoot : $1000
Event Planner : $2000
Tip: $50
CC Charges: 2%
Kindly get back to me with the grand total you will be running on my credit card along with the details needed to process my card.
Thank you.
Signed, a Nigerian Prince.  Just kidding.  But seriously, this went from a pushy credit card man to major red flags.  But I couldn’t figure out the scam.  It didn’t feel right – and I’ve learned my intuition is correct roughly 90% of the time (yeah….I’ll admit I was a little off the time the fuze blew and I thought bad guys were about to take over the house).  So I decided to go along a little bit longer and see what I could learn.  Since when does someone try and scam you by GIVING you money?The first thing I did was ask for the event planners contact info.  Guess what his email was?e.planner@aol.com


I’m going to repeat that once more.


Do those email addresses even exist anymore?  Is he still paying AOL for dial up service?! These are the things that went through my head!

I contacted e.planner@aol.com, aka “Lewis” and, over the course of 3-4 emails, learned that he:

  1. Has no website
  2. Has not started filing taxes, so does not have a bank account setup (?!)
  3. Is unable to accept payment at the event

At this point, I was still unclear about the actual scam, but all signs were pointing towards something super shady. I figured it was maybe stolen credit cards, but still couldn’t reason through it all.  I let “Kelvin” know I wouldn’t be able to facilitate his payment to e.planner/Lewis but I’d still be happy to photograph his event.

As you can imagine, I’ve heard nothing since.

Fast forward a week or two and I’m telling the folks at work about this supposed scam and how I’m still baffled as to how they were going to make money.  And then my co-worker explained it to me.

  1. Kelvin pays me my fee + $2000
  2. I send a check for $2000 to e.planner@aol.com
  3. e.planner@aol.com cashes my check
  4. Kelvin tells his credit card company/paypal that I never sent e.planner@aol.com the check (Even thought I did)
  5. Credit card company/paypal takes the money back – the money I already sent to e.planner@aol.com
  6. I’m out $2000 and e.planner, with the dumbest email ever, swindles me

It all made pretty decent sense after it was explained.  And I’m obviously glad I didn’t go along with it.  But it’s probably one of better email scams I’ve seen – and I’m a little annoyed at myself for making it as far as I did before realizing it was a scam.  I hate the idea of someone taking advantage of an unknowing small business owner or someone just trying to help.  Someone who may not realize that an @aol.com email is a major red flag!

This probably doesn’t directly pertain to most of you, but a good reminder to be wary! Happy Monday!

We went to DC

Back in April we went to Washington DC.  It’s the only other city besides Seattle where we can visit and see tons of friends!

We started off with a hot, sweaty, humid wog (that’s a walk/jog) around the sites.

#america #vscocam #thatisall

A photo posted by Bryn (@brynashley) on

I couldn't not take a photo. Right?

A photo posted by Bryn (@brynashley) on

We were told that the weather was “perfect” – and I can definitely say that it’s been much hotter and humider, but it was still a little “wet” for us west coasters.

Thursday night we split up – I had dinner with Anthony and Nick hosted a Side Hustle meetup (where he meets and eats with his internet friends).  Per the usual, Anthony and I ate tapas.  For some reason, we always end up at small plate restaurants.  It worked out well that Nick planned a meetup, because he’s really not a fan of small plates.  He prefers big plates.

Friday was spent hanging with our high school friends! We enjoyed the (free!!!) zoo, lunch, lots of walking, and some delicious macaroons! The birthday cake was surprisingly delicious!

And we finished off the day with a Nats game with Kelly and Sean! It may be my 2nd favorite stadium.  The weather and dried off, the temperature was perfect, the nachos were filling and the Nats were victorious!  We saw 5 Nats homeruns.  5! That was a record for me for sure! When we arrived back at casa Hafner, we learned that we had walked roughly 30,000 or 10 miles! Oy!

Not gonna lie, it's a great stadium and a PERFECT night for baseball! #nats #nationals #dc

A photo posted by Bryn (@brynashley) on

We vowed to walk less on day 2.  So we headed to Georgetown for some pizza with Kelly, Sean, Michael, Karen and Charlie! Then it was off to the river, rounded out by a visit to the Kennedy Center. At that point, we learned that it was Embassy day, and proceeded to learn about the UK. No joke.


At this point, we were tired. So we decided that Shake Shack and the Nats game (via the TV), would finish out the night.  No trip to the east coast is complete without a stop at Shake Shack.  Nick and I dream about this burgers.

On Sunday, we bid farewell to our hosts after a stop at DC doughnut.  So many delicious flavors! I’ll be back :)


We boarded our plane and were headed home…..but first, a quick pit stop in Dallas.  Where it really only made sense to have lunch with Kristen and Brian!  Despite having eaten our way through DC, we were ready for some delicious Texas burgers! It did not disappoint.  One of our best layovers yet!

And with that, we were back home, tired puppy in hand, and ready to eat some salad.

Back to blogging?

I recently took an unplanned hiatus from blogging.  Sunday came and went without a blog, and the world kept spinning :) And then another Sunday came and went, and then next thing I knew, it was July! July!!! I haven’t taken this kind of break since forever!

Nick suggested I get back on the blogging train, so here I am.  Sunday night, and writing.  And I’ll be honest, it feels good.  Writing for fun.  Whatever comes out of the ol’ fingers :)

But what’s been up with us? Well, lots since April :)  I’ll start recapping later this week.  For now, the highlights!

– Nick wrote a cute little article about our Year of Slow Dances
– I just finished reading The Testing trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau, another teenage, dystopian novel.
– Nick and I saw Matilda, the musical last Thursday.  From what we recall, it stayed pretty true to the book! The kids were amazing!
– Before the show, we grabbed dinner at Off the Grid – french fry burritos from Senor Sisig and kimchi/bulgogi fries!

Have a great week!

Finishing off Sunday // #ayearofslowdances #sunday #slowdances #zacbrown

A photo posted by Bryn (@brynashley) on

Well that was adorbs! // #matilda #sf #musical

A photo posted by Bryn (@brynashley) on

It’s Monday!

How was your weekend?

I spent 4 days in Albuquerque.  Then, Brooke and I successfully kicked off wedding season at Wente for Amy and Mark’s celebration!  Sunday was culling down wedding photos, eating leftover wedding candy, and finally cooking dinner for Nick and I after about a week of eating out for both of us!

In my cooking and baking excitement, I decided to try baking paleo muffins.  They turned out great so I thought I’d share the recipe!

Paleo-ish Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Bravo for Paleo)

2.5 C almond meal (I use TJs)
1 Tbs coconut flour (I bought mine at Costco – too much! I’ve heard TJs sells it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs vanilla
1/4 C melted coconut oil
1/4 C maple syrup (grade b)
1/4 C coconut milk (I use the light from TJs)
2 eggs
1/2 C frozen blueberries
1/2 C chocolate chips (no longer paleo)2 Tbs cinnamon

1. Line a 12 count muffin tin and preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine the almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda in a stand mixer and mix until combined.
3. Add the vanilla, coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut milk, and eggs and continue mixing.
4. Add the blueberries, chocolate chips and cinnamon and lightly mix until combined.  IF you are using fresh blueberries add the chocolate chips and cinnamon first, then gently fold in the blueberries – but honestly, don’t waste fresh blueberries on these muffins!
5.  Divide the mixture into the 12 liners and bake for ~25 min.


Addicting Orange Rolls

This. Was. Amazing.

So delicious, I really wish I was eating it now.

They were light, fluffy, with a hint of orange and the most amazing frosting (not glaze).  It tasted like an orange creamsicle!

Ingredients (Adapted from Little Sous Chef)

2 C warm water
2 Tbs active dry yeast (roughly 3 packets)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, room temp
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
5-6 cups flour
1 egg

1/2 c semi-melted butter
1/2 c sugar
zest of 1 orange (we used a cara cara orange)

8 oz cream cheese at room temp
1 c butter at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
zest from 1 orange (cara cara)
3 1/2 c powdered sugar

1. Combine water and yeast in the bowl of stand mixer, let stand for 5 min.
2. Add sugar, butter, salt, dry milk, and 2 cups flour
3. Turn mixer on low and beat until smooth
4. Gradually add the remaining flour until it starts to pull away from the bowl
5. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and elastic – we used the dough hook, scraping down a few times
6. Place dough in a greased bowl and let sit until it has doubled in size
7. Make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and orange, set aside
8. Make the frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter, then add the vanilla and sugar.  Finally, add the zest.  Set aside – but also taste it, it’s delicious!
9. Split the dough in half, roll each piece into a rectangle, spread with half the filling, and roll lengthwise – you want a long log.
10. Cut rounds roughly 1″ long – we used string, but a sharp knife will also work.
11.  Place in a pan so they aren’t quite touching.  Let rise.
12.  Bake for 18-20 min at 350, until slightly golden.
13.  Spread with a generous amount of frosting and serve!

Note: these worked great as a make ahead.  Once they were placed in the pan, we put them in the fridge.  The next morning, we let them sit out for an hour or so before baking.  Delicious!

Potato and Sausage Galette

We had a hankering for something potato-y and crispy this weekend, so naturally we picked the most time intensive dish possible.  A potato galette.  Thinly sliced potatoes filled with sausge, onions and eggs.  Delicious.

But it’s not for the faint of heart.

Ingredients – adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

~4 Medium sized red potatoes, thinly sliced (1/8″ or less)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 package of Jimmy Dean Sausage
4 eggs
4 Tbs of butter
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Move the rack to the bottom of the oven and preheat to 425-450F
2. Rinse the the thinly sliced potatoes and dry completely.  We spread them out on towels and patted dry.3.  Melt 4 Tbs of butter and combine with cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  Toss with dry potato slices (I know….this seems counterproductive, but it’s worth it!)
4. Begin heating a nonstick, ovenproof skillet over med-high heat.  Melt the remaining 1 Tbs of butter and spread around the pan.
5. Beginning laying down potato slices.  Start with 1 in the center and beginning working your way out and slightly up the side, continue layering the potatoes until you’re out – I was able to do approximately 3 layers.
6. Continue cooking the potatoes until they are a little translucent
7. Spray a piece of foil, lay on top of potatoes and place something heavy on top – i.e. pie plate with weights
8. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes
9. While the potato cooks, carmelize the onions and cook the sausage
10. After 20 minutes, remove the pan of potatoes and add the onions and sausage.  Whisk the 4 eggs and pour over the top.
11.  Return to the oven and cook an additional 20 minutes.
12.  After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and serve!

Have I ever told you about our first “date”?

16 years ago Nick called me on the telephone.  You know, the single land line in your home. I’m sure I answered on my super cool headset.

Did I want to hang out?  Sure!

It was a crazy Friday and I was always up for an excuse to leave my books for an evening (party animal, I know).  I suggested the mall and he agreed.  And the rest is history.

10933734_10103727890828798_2238875543792864766_n I’m still not sure how many years passed before I realized he didn’t actually care for the mall AT ALL!  He calls it the “malo”. Which is Spanish for “bad”.  Go figure.

I also thought he wasn’t super smart because he was always calling for help on his homework. Turns out it was just an excuse to call.


Today marks 16 years since that night at Bellevue Square.  And 5 years since that infamous day at SF City Hall.

The other night Nick mentioned celebrating 6 years of marriage.  I told him not to count his chickens because we were only on year 5.  He was bummed because the gift for 6 years of marriage is candy!

Do you know what the 5 year anniversary gift is? Wood. Get your head out of the gutter.

Guess what he did? He stripped half the dining room table.  Get it?! I couldn’t have been happier.

SFHall.jpg (3)

How I picked my NCAA bracket

Nick in golden gate park I don’t know why I always complete a March Madness bracket.  Basketball is not and area of expertise nor is it even a remote interest.  I’ll pay attention if UW is in the tournament – and I’ll fill out 2 brackets. 1 where they win it all, and another where they lose in the 2nd round.  I was going to sit this year out, but Nick had a group and I decided to join.  Not realizing when the games started, I ended up choosing my teams before I left for work, the morning the tournament started.  In general, this is my strategy:

1. Do I have a connection to the school.

That’s about it.

Oh, and if a team is undefeated, I’ll pick them to go all the way.  We’ve got some friends that went to Wisconsin, easy.  Gonzaga is the only Washington school in the tournament.  And our good friends are from Michigan.  And I always pick Oregon to lose.  Always.  Some of these strategies work, some don’t, but I currently have a 93% ranking on ESPN….whatever that means :)

Did you have a good weekend?  I accidentally booked back to back shoots in the city – Saturday and Sunday.  The weather was great…..which meant the city was crowded.  But Nick tagged along on Saturday and worked under the shade of a small tree and blogged while I shot photos for a friend from work.  We had some delicious Vietnamese food (but not as good as the real stuff) and saw this hilarious sign outside an adult store.

Then Brooke and I spent a MARATHON day in the city on Sunday.  Ironically, the Rock n Roll half marathon was being run in SF on Sunday….not my first run in with marathon chaos 😉  And now I’m pooped.  I need a weekend from my weekend!

Happy Monday!

Did you celebrate Pi(e) day?

I don’t normally celebrate this nerdy day, but since it was Saturday, and an epic Pi day (3/14/15), and I own a Pi(e) plate….you get my drift.  Nick actually suggested we buy one, then I offered to make one instead.  The rest, is history.  Delicious, delicious history.

Do you have a go-to pie recipe?  I’m an apple pie girl, through and through.  Warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  My current favorite is the sour cream apple pie that we make every year for Thanksgiving.  It’s delicious.  Apples with a touch of sour cream, it’s a delicious combination.

Want to give it a try?  Here’s the recipe!

6 to 8 Apples: Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, Macintosh are all good – peeled and sliced
1 Egg (beaten)
1 c Sour cream (you can add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/4 c Flour
1/2 c Sugar (use ¼ if you are using a sweeter apple)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Pillsbury crust
1 stick Butter (1/2 cup): soften and cut into pieces, using a pastry cutter
1/2 c Oatmeal
1/2 c Flour
1/2 c Brown sugar
Combine filling mixture and pour into crust, bake for 30 min at 400F
Combine crumble and add to pie after 30 min of baking. Bake an additional 35 min at 350.
 Serve with vanilla ice cream!