This is it: hello from Coffee Beans & Bliss.

I’m moving on. For the past (almost year) and previous years of blogging attempts, this has been home. This is where it all began and where I found my passion, drive and hope for blogging and writing. It’s been small and wonderful. However, my blissful adventure, is over… say hello to Coffee Beans & Bliss.SONY DSC

What is Happening Right Now?

I’m not done blogging, but I’ve spent the past month settling into a new home. I discovered I love writing and blogging. I’ve started interacting and talking to some pretty fantastic people and growing as a person.

I started this blog wanting to push myself to learn more and experience new things. I wanted to crawl out of my comfort zone. I wanted something new and exciting to push me beyond who I am. I wanted to find who I am for that matter… and for the most part, I’m heading in the right direction.

I also wanted to inspire people. I want to reach out to others, anybody who may be stuck in ways I am or have been. People who are searching for their calling, who want to try and find new parts of life to touch and reach around in. People who may be unsure right now, but know there is something whispering, and maybe that same thing has been whispering to me as well. (Or you like to cook, and I’ve made some pretty fab things, whichever)

What wasn’t right, was the name of this blog and the limits it set me in. It didn’t resonate with me. My word for 28 (which isn’t until May) I decided was metamorphosis. I need change, I need to rebuild and revamp a lot of aspects of my life.

This started with me personally. I journeyed into mindfulness and minimalist lifestyles. I wouldn’t say I’ve settled in just yet, but I’m getting there. The adventure has just begun. I want to grow as a person and find a blissful space of my own in this world. That’s what I desire to create.

After that I made a change and rebranded my photography business. It’s still a work in progress as I hammer out the details there, but while doing that I wanted to relaunch my blog… “officially”. With an idea of where I was going and what I was doing. That’s where I decided to change it up. A new platform, a new home, an official home.

Most posts are over there as well. And this site will continue to be here for a while longer, I can’t bring myself to just pull it down quite yet. Maybe I never will. The future is fickle.

So, Coffee Beans and Bliss, huh?

Yes! Coffee Beans & Bliss.

I am driven primarily on day dreams and coffee, and of course, Bliss is not only a place I grew up, but a destination I wish to achieve. So, there’s that.

What Can You Expect Here?

Coffee Beans & Bliss will be much like this blog is, except more. I still declare it to be “lifestyle”, as that is what it will be about. Life, adventure, learning, parenting, travel, food & diy all thrown in. It will also be about a huge moment in life that is upon my family, which I CANNOT wait to share the details of… but in fear of jinxing it, we’ll all have to wait *sigh*. Here’s a broad overview of what you can expect.

  • Lifestyle: mindfulness, minimalism, health and (probably not much) fitness.
  • The Art of Motherhood: parenting, family, things I’ve learned and what we do.
  • Home: gardening, renovations, how to make a house a home.
  • Travel & Adventure: we have a big journey coming up, but also how to have adventures at home, traveling and all those helpful things.
  • Bullet Journal: planning, ideas, how to personalize it to fit you.
  • Artwork: mostly photography, but tips, tutorials and other works.
  • In the Kitchen: all the yummy foods
  • DIY: crafts, projects & other such things.
  • All the other bits and pieces that’ll fit in here and there.

Are You In?

I hope to see you all there, even if just to stop by and see what’s going on! I am super excited and quite a bit nervous about where this journey will lead, but I know it’s where my heart is taking me. I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds and what the fickle future holds! I’d love to hear from you and see you soon!

-Tori at



Ground Venison & Rice

I love venison, however I’m often at a loss of what to make with venison burger outside of well, burgers. A while ago though, I found a recipe for venison dirty rice, which sounded great (although there were some things I didn’t like/want like poblano and green peppers, plus I wanted to add more seasonings and polish sausage). So, here’s my version of venison dirty rice.


  • 1 1/2 lb. ground venisonGround Venison in Dirty Rice
  • 1/2 lb. polish sausage, cooked
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cajun seasoning, heaping (so probably really 2)
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions
  • fresh parsley springs
  • 2 c. rice, cooked (I used white, next time I think I’m going to try wild rice)


  1. In a large pan make a roux combining a little under 1/2 c. oil and approx. 5 tbsp flour. Whisk continually until a caramel color.
  2. Once it reaches caramel color, add in diced celery, onion and jalapenos – cooking until tender. (I’ve also considered for next time adding apples and maybe mushrooms)
  3. Add venison into veggies until fully cooked (I cooked the venison until almost done on the side, just to be sure it was done all the way). Add in 1 c. boiling water and bouillon cube. Stirring occasionally, it should become thick.
  4. Add in (cooked) polish sausage, worchestershire sauce, sage, thyme, minced garlic, and salt & pepper.
  5. Let it cook on low/simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook rice until done.
  6. Mix everything together! Top with green onions and garnish with parsley and serve.
  7. EAT!

Venison in Dirty Rice


  • As a “not beer drinker”, this was really good with a cold Budweiser (courtesy of whoever left that in the fridge for our “after new years” party. I thank you.)
  • We used the leftovers the following night, I stuffed the rice into two acorn squash halves, which was also delicious. I followed the same idea I use for Apple & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe.
  • As a side note, I like that much of this can be created locally in the fall. Between farmers markets and hunting leaves alone a few things needed from the store. Which in return makes me think perhaps that’s something to focus on this summer/fall, local eating and cooking.
  • And finally – this could easily be made using regular burger or other ground meats as well, and would probably also be quite delicious.

Do you have any ground venison recipes!?

Leave me a link!


Brighten Up Those Winter Blues

“Winter Blues” Or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a very real thing, affecting more winter-blues-mbathan 3 million people in the United States alone. Commonly beginning late fall and last until early spring. For many it’s those temporary “dark months”, where even the happiest people can fall into it’s grip.

I wrote this a few months ago, but teetering on whether or not to post it, but I feel like it may be time. For me, you can see it in this blog (or lack of?) It’s cold. I go to work in the dark and come back right before the darkness returns. I live in a state frequently ranked in the top 3 most miserable winter states. And while I love my small tourist trap of a town, it’s not exactly booming in the winter… my motivation and excitement slips away. I want to curl up in my blankets with coffee until spring.

And I’ll let you in, I was the girl at work excited for the snow. The winter wonderland, the snowflakes and magic… but as the snow turned dirty, my excitement faded quickly into… this mess.

So here it is, I’m tired, it’s cold and I have no motivation… here are some ways to fight that.


1. Get Outside

This is the biggest and easiest. Staying couped up inside your house all winter is bound to get you gloomy. The cool air can actually be somewhat intoxicating. Fresh air, the ambient silence you can find in the snow fall, The sunlight touching your skin for the first time in what feels like forever. Go snowshoeing, build a snowman, grab a cup of coffee/cocoa and go for a walk through town. Winter may suck, but surely it’s also magical.

2. Let the Light In

Years ago I used to cover the windows with blankets to keep the heat in (I know, don’t judge) but I began noticing I also felt worse in the dark. Open the blinds and let whatever light you can get in. I also turn on as many lights as I can, even as night falls to keep the place bright. Also consider lighter painted walls (if you can), using mirrors in your decor to reflect the light.

3. Consider Your Health

Once November hits I begin taking my vitamins more seriously (hello Vitamin D, I need you.) and focusing more on regular exercise and eating healthier. Summer is easy, it’s full of farmer’s markets, good food and days hiking or at the beach. Winter however, remember the blankets and coffee? This is also the perfect time to try out all those delicious recipes and work on that beach body!

4. Plan a Vacation

I remember reading this before and thinking ehh, we don’t really vacation so… which is a. no longer true and more importantly b. IRRELEVANT! Right now, the Bahama’s is an entirely up in the air idea that if does work out is at least another year away – however day dreams of enjoying the sunshine on a pink sand beach and swimming in the ocean with the pigs is enough to fill my mind with happiness and pull me out of the winter slump. So plan, plan your spring break, plan your honeymoon, even if you aren’t engaged, plan your dream vacation… it really doesn’t matter, as long as it makes you happy.

5. Be Social

We’re humans, not bears. We’re not meant to hibernate all winter, so it’s important to get out among your friends and socialize. I’m normally not a social soul, however I’ve kept my Friday paint & wine nights and Wednesday morning coffee dates. You can also look for things to do in your area: events, festivals, etc. are all great to get you out of the house, maybe trying something new and enjoying these winter months.

6. Clean Up

From mid-December until mid-January I took to the task of going through everything in our house and decluttering. Followed by making a routine 20-30 minutes of cleaning a day to stay on top of it. It’s truly refreshing to come home to a clean house, no paper piles and be able to crawl into a fresh made bed.

7. Get a Hobby

Finally learn that thing you wanted to learn. Or pick up that thing you used to do. Read some books, do a DIY or home project, learn, whatever it is you want to invest your free time in, do that.

8. Cut Out the Naps/Over Sleeping

A cat nap is one thing, and can actually have a positive impact on your mood, mind and overall life. However I noticed when I’m in a depressive mood (which I know is also a sign of depression for many people), I like to “nap” for hours, wake up for two and go back to sleep until I have to get up for work. This makes me feel overly tired, lethargic and irritated, almost as if I didn’t sleep at all. It can also have long term affects on your health such as higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and weight control.

Do you have other ideas or ways of brightening up your winter blues? I’d love to hear and try new things.

Share with us in the comments below!

If you suffer from any type of depression, remember and know you are NOT alone.
Don't be afraid to reach out or talk to your doctor, whether it's from SAD or 
something else, if you feel like you aren't in control, hopeless, or have thoughts of 
hurting yourself or otherwise I encourage you to speak to a medical professional.


Bullet Journal for Bloggers

Despite the vast amount of blogs about bullet journaling, when I began looking for posts about how to use your BuJo for blogging, things got pretty slim. Although I’m still looking for that happy routine and the ability to actually write my ideas out, I’ve slowly been adding a few things to my notebook to help my blogging along.

Here is how I use my bullet journal for blogging.

1. Ideas

I tried everything from analog to digital to organize my ideas. Apps, memo pads, separate notebooks, index cards… finally I gave up and decided to go an easy (albeit less organized) method.

I took the last five pages of my notebook to list ideas. I’ll be honest, this is probably much easier if your blog has a niche, whereas I’m still all over the place trying to find my happy medium… so if you have multiple topics or subtopics to your niche, I used high lighters to color code my ideas.

I also added a flip out card to keep track of the color coding and symbols just for fun, or if I ever get fancy and actually use them.

For current/immediate ideas or posts I want to write, I keep a blog section in my weekly pages. (this picture reminds me, I really need to actually write the ideas into these pages, they’re still on a scrap of paper tucked into this spot… I’m hopeless.)

2. Blog Notes

Monthly bullet journal notes for blogger and blogging

I make this page each month and find it’s actually become my favorite and most used

page for blogging. It includes

  • top 3 goals
  • stats
  • post sharing (because I am literally the worst at this)
  • ideas – any ideas I have or want to write about for that (or the up coming) month, because who posts about Halloween in April? Some posts have a season, and I can take from my blogging ideas and add them here for quick reference.

3. Editorial Calendar

I’m going to be a hundred percent honest – I don’t use this. I add writing and posting into my weekly spreads, but for anyone who does want/need the calendar, I made one I could re-use each month and use little post its.

My favorite thing about using the post its instead of actually writing it in is that if I get an idea I want to post sooner or need to move it up a few days, I can move the post it around instead of making a mess of the page. (And thank you kind lady that gave me this idea when I first started bullet journaling, if you read this, HI! Let me know it was you if you see this!)

Add an editorial calendar and blog outline in your bullet journal to keep track of your schedule and research

4. Research & Outline

Almost every blog post needs a little research and planning. I personally use a separate notebook for this, but I made a mock page (pictured above, on the right) to show you how I would if I used in it my BuJo.

5. Hashtags

Keeping track of most used or popular hashtags in your bullet journal

This is the most recent addition to my BuJo, and

I’m still working on “collecting” them all and finding a layout that works for me. Depending on how any different topics you’re using on your IG, this could be much easier (for example, if you’re primarily a food blogger, food tags would be the majority of yours). But here’s the first go at using a hash tag page, I already see some ways I want to change it, but you get the idea 🙂

6. Some Other Ideas

Since I am just beginning to take this blog seriously, I still have some things to add when I get there – here are a few ideas:

  • blog information
    • domain, hosting, due dates, etc.
  • income reports
  • major goals
  • views & visits
  • traffic sources
  • expenses
  • email
    • subscribers, ideas, etc.
  • to do list
    • whatever you want to do with your blog: for example I want to move to self hosting, new branding and design, etc.
How to use your bullet journal for blogging, tracking stats, ideas, goals and writing.

“The Creative Adult is the Child Who Has Survived.”

I always want my children to find, feel and chase their passions, to thrive on inspiration and follow their heads, hearts and dreams. I want them to experience, learn, grow and form into the individuals they’re meant to be.

For Christmas I wanted to give them at least one thing to encourage the things they’re passionate about.

  • Trystan got sheet music for his sax.
  • Chase got a skateboard for his future broken arm athletics
  • Izzy got a an art set and a set of watercolors for her art.

And I get to document their lives through a lens, I am falling more and more in love with lifestyle photography – but if you’re a parent without the passion or talent for photography, I encourage you to also take these photos. Because someday, they’re memories.

This year, while doing my project 365, I will be trying to capture more of my children, family and life in the project instead of just “art”… this year will be a photography focused mix.


Rock Your Resolutions!

8 tips to successfully achieving your goals and resolutions!

Twenty seventeen is just days away, we could probably start counting the hours at this point – and for many, it’s a new beginning looming before us. And whether or not you find a fresh start and motivation with a new year, there’s no denying resolutions are a big thing – let it be the first of January, or in my case May, here are a few tips to rocking your resolutions and achieving your goals.

1. Write it Down.

First and foremost, this is literally the easiest step. Always write your goals down because the greatest satisfaction is crossing something you did off a list, well maybe second to actually achieving your goal.

But more than writing it down, keep it somewhere you’ll see it. On your wall, in your wallet or planner, as the background of your phone, etc. Something you look at fairly frequently.

2017 goals and how to achieve your resolutions

NOTE: while images in this post are form my bullet journal, you do NOT have to use a bullet journal to use the tips in this post!

2. Really want (or need) it.

Sure, I’d love to be a size 6 (hello cute tops!), but honestly, I’m not motivated to put in the work. I’m (mostly) fine with my weight, though I do plan to tone it up a bit this year. However, I am motivated to go on more adventures, read more books and cook more food! And I need to be better about budgeting and saving money.

3. Be Realistic.

I’m the worst about factoring reality into much of anything – especially my dreams. But the reality is, there is a huge difference between “saving an emergency fund” and “save a quarter million dollars”.

I’m still going to stick with nothing is outside the realm of possibility – I could feel lucky one Tuesday afternoon, buy a lottery ticket and wake up a millionaress one morning… but I’m twenty seven, and I’ve felt “lucky” enough to buy a lottery ticket twice – so I’m not counting my hens before they hatch… or however that works out. But realistically, I can save $1,000 dollars.

4. Be Specific.

Define your goals this year. The thing with making things like exercise more, read more, save money, etc. is that there’s really no limit or goal to it. How do you know when you’ve accomplished your goal? How do you know when you need to get a little more serious?

If I went to the gym one time in 2017, I have officially went to the gym “more” than I did in 2016. I wouldn’t exactly call that over achieving. Especially with the cost of gym memberships, I’d call that wasting money.

However – say I want to try a new recipe every week (or 52 recipes), read 50 books, lost 20 pounds, 5 new day destinations, save $1,000, etc. Now we really have goals.

5. Break It Up & Make a PlanGoal and resolution action plan on how to rock your resolutions

Let’s go back to that saving money example, where I said I could save a thousand but probably not a quarter million… remember?

Here is the perfect example of how to save $1,000. Ultimately the goal itself is a decent chunk of change I can’t just throw in savings on Tuesday, I need to add it into my budget.

I can however set up an automatic transfer to take $50 out of each check/$100 a month and by October have achieved my goal. For goals that need more planning, write out a plan. One of my goals is to achieve digital organization, to the right is a quick draft of my action plan to successfully complete the goal.

NOTE: There are a ton of printables and layouts available if you look them up as well, to be honest, organized planning is hard for me, I usually just write a bunch of notes  until I know where I’m going.

6. Deadlines & Reminders

Set deadlines, time tables and reminders to help keep yourself on track and hold yourself accountable. It’s easy for the year to fly by and suddenly it’s October and you can’t even remember what your resolutions are. When you work out your action plan and decide on how you’re going to break it up, give yourself a deadline to accomplish each part, and set a reminder to keep yourself going.

7. Review

I review my goals every three months, I look at where I am, where I planned to be, what’s working and what is not. And with all of that I decide on if and what changes I can make to adjust for a successful outcome. I don’t only do this with resolutions and goals, I do this in general. I take a day on the first Saturday of March, June, September and December to look at how I’m progressing in everything I am doing. (I actually plan to take this action more seriously this year, because December this past year, I went and ate a cheese burger, looked at my list of things I’m doing and crossed off and noted what I had accomplished and a few to-dos).

8. Don’t Give Up

Above everything and anything else, DO. NOT. GIVE. UP! Keep working until you have what you want. Even if you find yourself falling behind, take the chance to review and re-approach what you’re doing, something it can be your resolution itself needs changed. I can’t tell you how many times my goals have changed over time and I needed to redirect myself to something else.

Some Other Notes/Ideas to Think About

  • Reward Yourself
  • Make an Inspiration or Vision Board

While none of my goals above are “new”, I’ve decided to keep stealing from my 101 Things Project to achieve that rather than try adding something more.


Merry Christmas

I hope everybody had a spectacular holiday and 2017 shapes up to be your best year yet!

As for last night, I played Santa and got distracted by the shiny lights, hello beautiful bokeh!