Instagram 2016 Best Nine

Happy New Year! Everyone is once again doing the round-up of their best nine Instagram posts for 2016. I had fun looking at my top posts last year (see my 2015 best nine here), and it was interesting to see which photos generated the most feedback and likes. As we approached the end of 2016, I was curious to see which of my photos were the most popular.

Here are my best nine Instagram photos for 2016:

Instagram 2016 Best Nine

Most Popular Photo – Stickhouse Gelato

My most liked photo (in the top left of the collage) is from Stickhouse Gelato in Santa Monica, California. I had heard about this shop that sells gelato on a stick, and I finally made time to try it in June. It was delicious!

 

Second Most Liked – Alfred Coffee

The middle photo in the top row is from Alfred Coffee in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, near my old office. One weekend, after a meeting, I was able to stop there for an iced coffee. I loved the decor.

 

Photo #3 – Manhattan Beach Sunset

The third most popular photo (top right corner) is of a Manhattan Beach sunset. Sunset photos always seem to be well-liked when I post them, but this one was especially vibrant because the sky was filled with smoke from the Sand Fire in the Angeles National Forest in July. The fire was fueled by high temperatures and windy conditions. I remember when I was walking the dogs along the Strand on that day, everyone was taking photos of the surreal sunset.

Fourth Most Liked – Magnolia Bakery

While visiting New York City in August, I met friends for dinner on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. For dessert, we stopped in at Magnolia Bakery. Their cakes and cupcakes were beautifully decorated. But, I did not have a cupcake – we ordered their famous banana pudding. Oh my goodness, it was delicious. And, I have since learned that they have a location in Los Angeles! It is probably better that it is not too close to home, because I would want to eat a treat there all the time.

 

Middle Photo – Sunset in La Jolla

Our family spent a week in La Jolla, California, in May, renting a house a block away from this beautiful scene at Windansea Beach. Unfortunately, on most days we experienced the, “May Gray,” skies typical for this time of the year in southern California. But this one night, the sun broke through and we had a beautiful golden hour of light before the sun set.

The sun broke through right at #sunset last night. #LaJolla

A post shared by Kiera Reilly (@kierareilly) on

 

Sixth Most Popular – Plane Video!

I used to always want to sit in the aisle seat when flying cross-country, as I liked the ability to be able to stand up and stretch my legs without needing to disturb my seat-mates. Recently though, after a few flights sitting by the window, I now pick the window seat when flying over land. I am often mesmerized looking out the window at the clouds or the landscape below. This is video I took while departing LAX in December. It was a beautiful day for flying.

 

Seventh Place – Santorini

After spending a week exploring Crete in May with fellow travel bloggers, my friend Kat and I took the ferry to Santorini for a short two-night stay. I wanted to see this magical island which seems to always look its best in photos. The stark white buildings, vibrant blue sea and stunning landscape of Santorini did not disappoint.

Bright white, blue sky and sea in Oia, #Santorini #Greece

A post shared by Kiera Reilly (@kierareilly) on

 

Last (Ninth) Place But Not Least – Flytographer in Budapest

This photo, from a photo-shoot with Flytographer in Budapest, is actually two years old. I was visiting European Christmas markets on a solo trip in December, 2014. And at the last stop on my trip, in Budapest, I had the opportunity to have a Flytographer photo shoot. Wow, the pictures captured the magic of Budapest’s Christmas markets, and the photographer Roky took so many fantastic pictures, it is hard to pick a favorite one. It makes me want to return to Budapest for more mulled wine and sparkly lights! You can see more photos from my shoot and read more about my experience in my recent post here.

The Best Nine

2016 was so much more than these nine photos, but it is fun to share daily photos and see which photos receive the most likes. Once again, food and coffee photos are popular, as are sunsets on the beach. I try to mix up the things I post, so that there is a sampling of beautiful cars, food and drink, and a travel location. It will be interesting to see in my mix of photos for 2017 what everyone likes the best!

Have you discovered your #2016bestnine?

To generate your, “best nine,” Instagram posts for the year (which nine posts received the most likes), visit https://2016bestnine.com/, type in your Instagram user name, and the site searches your posts and compiles the top photos in a collage you can post to Instagram, share to Twitter or save as an image. The site also compiles your total number of likes (15,935 for me) and the total posts you shared in 2016 (362 – a little more than one each day).

Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2017!

South Bay Scenes – Week of December 12 – 18, 2016

I have not posted any South Bay Scenes in a while, and this week’s scenes all come from this past weekend. But the skies were clear and the golden hour light beautiful when we walked the boys late on Saturday afternoon, and I couldn’t stop taking pictures!

Earlier in the week, there was rain and then high winds, so it was not ideal for nice walks along the beach. By Saturday the rain had moved on, and it was a glorious day.

beach volleyball in El Porto beach in Manhattan Beach California

Beach volleyball in El Porto, Manhattan Beach

looking north from the walk section of the Strand in Manhattan Beach California golden hour

Looking north from the walk section of the Strand in Manhattan Beach

Looking south on the Strand towards the Manhattan Beach Pier in Manhattan Beach California

Looking south from the walk section of the Strand toward the Manhattan Beach Pier

This group was playing beach volleyball while the sun was setting.

Playing beach volleyball in Manhattan Beach California

Playing beach volleyball as the sun sets

Beach Volleyball north of the Manhattan Beach Pier

The Manhattan Beach Pier, a setting sun reflected in the water and beach volleyball

Manhattan Beach Pier with Catalina Island in the distance

The Manhattan Beach Pier with Catalina Island in the distance

The sun getting ready to slip beyond the horizon.

The sun sets in Manhattan Beach California

Even as we walked away from the Strand, I kept taking photos of the pretty sky.

Manhattan Beach walk street as the sun sets

Walk Street Manhattan Beach

walk street in Manhattan Beach with street lights decorated for Christmas

Pretty street lights decorated for the holidays

The weather was beautiful, but it was also cold. When I went out to my car early on Sunday morning, there was frost on my windshield! I do not think that has ever happened here in Redondo Beach. I took a picture of it after I scraped it off so I could see where I was driving!

frost on windshield in Redondo Beach California

Frost on my windshield

It’s time to turn on the heat!

cold temperatures in Redondo Beach California

 

The Manhattan Beach Open: Beach Volleyball’s ‘Wimbledon’

Stands south of the Manhattan Beach pier for the Manhattan Beach Open in 2006

Stands south of the Manhattan Beach pier for the Manhattan Beach Open in 2006 (in the foreground are players and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists Phil Dalhauser and Todd Rogers).

Today qualification play begins for the AVP Manhattan Beach Open in Manhattan Beach, California. Match play continues tomorrow and Saturday with the finals on Sunday, July 17th. Known by players and fans alike as the “Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball,” this is the tournament all US players want to win at least once in their careers. Held in Manhattan Beach for the 57th year, this year’s tournament features six of the eight United States beach volleyball players heading to the Summer Olympic Games in Rio in August.

If you are in Los Angeles this weekend, make your way to Manhattan Beach to catch some of the top volleyball players in the world compete! Players who win the tournament have their names immortalized on the Manhattan Beach pier a year after their win.

MB Open Pier fog

The Manhattan Beach pier, as seen in October 2013 during the #FoggyPierPressure Instameet. Plaques for the winner of each year’s Manhattan Beach Open are embedded in the pier.

The Manhattan Beach Open's 1960 winners plaque for

The Manhattan Beach Open’s 1960 winners plaque for Mike O’Hara and Mike Bright.

Usually, the Open is held in mid-August, but since the Olympics will be happening at that time, the tournament was moved to this weekend in July. In years past, the Open was held after the Olympics and it was a great chance to see US Olympians compete after returning home from the games. Many of the players competing this weekend live in and around the Beach Cities/South Bay area of Los Angeles, so this is also considered a home tournament for them.

During the early rounds of the tournament, you can wander from court to court, and watch different matches with your beach towel or chair. There is always a crowd, but during play on Thursday and Friday, it is easier to get a courtside seat.

Olympic volleyball legend Karch Kiraly serving during an early match in August, 2006.

Olympic volleyball legend Karch Kiraly serving during an early match in August, 2006.

Karch Kiraly and Larry Witt play during the 2006 MB Open.

Karch Kiraly and Larry Witt play during the 2006 MB Open

Local papers The Beach Reporter and Easy Reader News both have articles about this year’s tournament, and more information on the schedule, draw and athletes competing can be found on the AVP tour website.

As we have been out of town the last two years, I am excited to head down to the beach and catch some of the action this weekend. If you are not local to Los Angeles, you can watch the final matches on Sunday on NBC.

MB Open big court 2006

Play on one of the large courts during the 2006 Manhattan Beach Open. In the far court are teammates Stein Metzger and Mike Lambert.

A women's match during the 2006 Manhattan Beach Open.

A women’s match during the 2006 Manhattan Beach Open.

MB Open 2006 Phil blocks Kevin Wong

The 2006 Men’s Final of the Manhattan Beach Open. (Left) Stein Metzger and Mike Lambert against (right) Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers. Dalhausser and Rogers upset top seed Metzer and Lambert 22-20, 21-23, and 15-11.

MB Open 2006 Phil blocks Stein

Another shot of the final match in the 2006 Manhattan Beach Open between Stein Metzger/Mike Lambert and Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers. On the elevated stage, right under the Crocs logo you can spot Laird Hamilton bent over with his hands on his knees watching the match.

 

Manhattan Beach Pier Lighting

Last week, Manhattan Beach hosted their 21st Holiday Open House and 26th Annual Pier Lighting. It was a relatively warm night, so I threw on a sweatshirt, put the boys in the car and drove down to join in the festivities.

Local streets were closed in downtown Manhattan Beach, and as we parked and started walking, we saw many other people headed downtown as well.

Most of the stores were open until 9:00pm and were decorated for the holidays. Many had snacks, treats and drinks inside, but since the dogs were with me, we were only able to window-shop.

It was a festive atmosphere as the streets were filled with adults and children of all ages enjoying the shops, carolers, and music playing outside.

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York Town on Manhattan Avenue. I liked their wood houses and white light display.

The window display for the Rolling Hills Flower Mart featured a ‘living’ flower dress, but all these children cared about was the snow that was falling outside.

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It’s snowing!

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Snow dance.

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Carolers wandered the streets singing holiday songs. Here is a group in front of Manhattan Beach Creamery.

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I reached the intersection of Manhattan Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard and saw the traditional “Season’s Greetings” sign across Manhattan Beach Blvd., but the tree and the pier was yet to be lit.

SBS Nov 18 2015

Looking west toward the pier – waiting for the tree lighting.

 

And then, promptly at 7:00 pm the lighting began – it took less than a few minutes, but you can see there was a large crowd to watch.

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Looking west and there are no lights yet…

Then the trees lining the pier and the ‘pier tree’ were lit.

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And then everything!

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I continued walking around to see more of the holiday windows.

A snowy window-scape at Dacha.

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Lush and festive floral displays at Growing Wild.

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The windows at Udderly Perfect featured an old-school TV.

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In the Metlox complex, Waterleaf had pretty stars hanging in their windows.

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I love Fringe, the new store on Manhattan Avenue. They also have a location in south Redondo. How cute is this oven display with cookie ornaments?

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Bo Bridges Gallery seemed to be having quite a party inside the studio. This striking photograph of the Eiffel Tower was touching in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

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Manhattan Denim decorated their windows with disco dancers. They kept moving so it was hard to take their picture. I want a wig like that!

At Katwalk there was a large elf blowing kisses to all who passed by (and obliging selfie-takers).

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Prizes were awarded to the best window designs, detailed here in The Beach Reporter. Rolling Hills Flower Mart won “Best Overall.”

There is a beautiful photo gallery, also by The Beach Reporter, with more images from the tree lighting.

It was a fun night to be out enjoying downtown after dark, although I wish the holiday season started after Thanksgiving!

 

South Bay Scenes – Week of Nov 15 – 21, 2015

The week started with cool (cold for southern California) nights and high winds. We didn’t take the dogs to the Strand then, as the sand was blowing and would get in their eyes. Later in the week, the temperatures rose, and it felt like summer during the day.

On Wednesday night, Manhattan Beach hosted the annual tree-lighting ceremony and open house downtown. The temperature was warmer as I was comfortable walking around with only a sweatshirt.

And the nights, while cooler than in the summer, were still California temperate. But you can see the days are very warm! We traveled downtown for the LA Auto Show on Saturday, and it was much warmer there.

But as you can see, cooler weather is on the way – just in time for Thanksgiving!

 

South Bay Scenes – Week of November 1, 2015

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Sunday afternoon, while walking the dogs to the Redondo Beach dog park, it was very windy, and then it started raining and dark clouds loomed overhead. We kept walking and the strong winds seemed to push the storm to the east and suddenly as we reached a high point on the street I saw a rainbow and then a double rainbow! Everyone at the dog park was taking photos of the rainbows. SBS Nov 2 2015 2

SBS Nov 2 2015 3

SBS Nov 2 2015 4

Nov. 3, 2015

More crazy storms in the late afternoon. You can see the dark clouds looming at sunset.

I saw this pretty butterfly sitting on our bougainvillea.

SBS Nov 4 2015

We finally experienced some fall temperatures – or LA’s version of fall temperatures – and bright, clear skies.

SBS Nov 6 2015 2

SBS Nov 6 2015 1

Saturday night, after I walked the dogs, I saw this bright blue-ish light in the sky. At first I thought it was the moon behind clouds but there weren’t any clouds in the sky. It was so odd, that I went inside to get my phone to take a picture. It doesn’t look like much, but apparently it caused a bit of panic and lots of social media postings.

Apparently the Navy test launched a trident missile from a submarine off the coast. News reports earlier in the week reported that the flight patterns in and out of LAX would be changed for “military operations,” but I didn’t put two and two together when I saw this light burst. There are better pictures of the sky on KTLA‘s site and more information on the launch via The Los Angeles Times.

SBS Nov 7 2015

South Bay Scenes – Week of October 25, 2015

Enjoy scenes from the South Bay (Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach) for the week of October 25, 2015.

The first half of the week I was in Austin, but when I returned home, the weather was still warm although the nights are finally starting to be cooler. The sunsets and early mornings were beautiful at the beach. There was a high tide warning in effect in the morning, and there were bigger waves which the surfers seemed to enjoy.

For the first part of the week, sunsets were slightly after 6:00 pm, so the days are much shorter than in the summer. On Saturday night the clocks “fell back” an hour for daylight savings time, so tonight the sunset was at 5:00 PM.

Manhattan Beach Pier, October 29th.

Manhattan Beach Pier, October 29th.

 

Sunset October 30th.

Sunset October 30th.

Taking Flight for #FriFotos

Last week, the theme for #FriFotos was FLIGHT. Finally I was able to share some of the photos I took from an airplane! I used to always want to sit in an aisle seat when flying, for easy access to the bathroom and to be able to stretch my legs. But, once I was seated at the window after a long-time of aisle-only seats, I saw that being by the window was fun – looking at landmarks, seeing the airport during take-off or landing, and spotting other planes in the sky.

Here are some of my photos from last Friday (May 30th). This week’s theme is colorful, so get your photos ready to post on Friday, June 5, 2015!

Aer Lingus planes in Dublin.

Aer Lingus planes in Dublin.

This bird is taking a break from flying and resting on the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Resting on the Manhattan Beach Pier, January 2015.

Resting on the Manhattan Beach Pier, January 2015.

Here is a view from my seat flying from San Diego up to San Francisco. Whenever I fly up the California coast, I try to sit in a window seat on the right side of the plane.

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Flying San Diego to San Francisco in October, 2013.

Leaving Los Angeles (LAX) and going east across the country, most planes bank to the south and then fly over the Palos Verdes peninsula. It was a beautifully clear day in December when I took this photo (en route to Newark).

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Beautiful view of the Palos Verdes peninsula. Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach – the “South Bay” are just up the coast.

Arriving into Los Angeles, the approach is from the east. Here, as the sun sets, you can see downtown LA in the distance and the beautiful mountains.

Approaching LAX, December 2014.

Approaching LAX, December 2014.

One of my happiest views from an airplane is when we fly to Hawaii, especially when we visit Kauai, our favorite island. Even though it was overcast and rainy the day we landed, we were excited to return for a relaxing stay.

Arriving into Kauai, December 2013.

Arriving into Kauai, December 2013.

Do you have any fun photos from your flights?

New to #FriFotos? Here’s a quick guide on the rules by Jeffrey Epstein.

#FriFotos was started on 15 October 2010 by Jonathan Epstein (@EpsteinTravels). Jonathan is the President and Owner of Celebrated Experiences, a company focusing on travel to the UK and Ireland. He is passionate about photography, his favorite hobby. Each week Jonathan cohosts #FriFotos with Stephanie Diehl (@TravelDesigned), Charles Yap (@CharlesYap), and Spencer Spellman (@SpencerSpellman). Jeffrey Epstein (@jeffreyinmotion), CEO of HBIM was a key advisor in the creation of #FriFotos and continues to assist in the Forum’s growth and success.

A WARM #FriFotos

The warm sun hits a colorful building in Trinidad, Cuba

The warm sun hits a colorful building in Trinidad, Cuba

Two weeks ago, as everyone on the east coast was suffering from record low temperatures, snow and ice, the theme for #FriFotos was WARM.

It was fun to look through my photos and see which ones depicted a warm-feel. The first photo above is from Trinidad, Cuba. This colonial town is bathed in beautiful light early in the morning, which is when two of the travelers in our group and I took a taxi into town ahead of our guided tour so we could wander the streets and take photos. The lighting was just right, and the colors of the town popped everywhere we turned.

When I visited Rome in May of 2013, it was a bit cooler than I expected. I ended up wearing several of my t-shirts at once to keep warm. But the warmth of the sun on this bright day, showcased the beauty of the city. We were at the top of the Vittorio Emanuele II monument when I took this photo.

Rome on a warm, sunny day as seen from the Vittorio Emanuel II monument (aka The Wedding Cake)

Rome on a warm, sunny day as seen from the Vittorio Emanuele II monument (aka The Wedding Cake)

One of my favorite places in the world is the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii. We always stay on the North Shore, where there is beautiful scenery and lush vegetation. This photo is of the Hanalei Valley lookout – there are always cars here stopped to take photos of this scene overlooking the taro fields.

The Hanalei Valley on Kauai's North Shore.

The Hanalei Valley on Kauai’s North Shore.

We were in Buenos Aires in May of 2014, and as it is the start of winter in the part of the world, the weather was cool. But the lighting at the end of the day warmed up the luxurious Hotel Alvear.

Hotel Alvear in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hotel Alvear in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In December, I flew to Honolulu to meet up with my friend Rosemary who had traveled to Hawaii for the very first time in order to attend the opening ceremony of, “The Eddie.” This annual invitational big-wave surf competition was celebrating it’s 30th year, although the event has only been held nine times. Waves need to reach a certain height for a sustained period in Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore in order for the competition to run. At the beginning of the holding period each year (usually from early December through late February when the North Shore waves are the biggest), there is an opening ceremony with the Aikau Ohana and the invited surfers and alternates for the competition. After the opening ceremony, the surfers paddle out to the ocean for a ceremony. You can see more photos from the opening ceremony, which was on December 4, 2014, here.

Paddle-out for the opening ceremony of The Eddie in Waimea Bay, Oahu.

Paddle-out for the opening ceremony of The Eddie in Waimea Bay, Oahu.

The sunsets in Hawaii are always spectacular, and on my last night there in December, the sunset in Waikiki did not disappoint. It was a warm aloha before my flight home that night.

Warm Waikiki Sunset

Warm Waikiki Sunset

About #FriFotos on Twitter

Here’s a quick guide of the rules by Jeffrey Epstein.

#FriFotos was started on 15 October 2010 by Jonathan Epstein (@EpsteinTravels). Jonathan is the President and Owner of Celebrated Experiences, a company focusing on travel to the UK and Ireland. He is passionate about photography, his favorite hobby. Each week Jonathan cohosts #FriFotos with Stephanie Diehl (@TravelDesigned), Charles Yap (@CharlesYap), and two guest co-hosts that change each week. Jeffrey Epstein (@jeffreyinmotion), CEO of HBIM was a key advisor in the creation of #FriFotos and continues to assist in the Forum’s growth and success.

Flashback: It’s Cold Outside!

Given the beautiful weather we’ve been having in Los Angeles the past few weeks, and the frigid temperatures on the east coast, I thought it would be fun to re-visit a post I wrote for the Frankly Penn blog last year (March 13, 2014 to be exact):

I work in Penn’s Los Angeles office, and I always enjoy returning to campus for some seasonal weather. When I was back on campus the last week in February for campus meetings and the annual Penn Alumni board retreat, I was treated to a real winter blast.

I left this in Los Angeles….

Sunny and warm in California (Manhattan Beach, CA)

And arrived for a week of cold weather and some snow!

Snow falling as seen from my temporary office in the Sweeten Alumni House

My Sweeten House colleagues were less than excited to see more snow given the harsh winter this year, but I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I even enjoyed bundling up in all my winter clothes that I never get to wear in Los Angeles, especially on Friday, when the temperatures were in the teens.

Cold temperatures!

Bundled up in a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, a scarf and gloves! Brrr!

College Green looking magical in the snow.

The next time I’m on campus, for Alumni Weekend, campus will be lush and green and in bloom for spring.

This article originally appeared on the Frankly Penn blog on March 13, 2014.