Friendship

Another Year Younger // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

To celebrate all the ups and downs this year has brought me (yes, the downs should be celebrated too) here are some of my favorite personal photos I keep close to my heart. Sharing my work is one of my joys in life, but sharing my life with you also give me such happiness. So, here is my imperfect, crazy, weird, zesty life in photos as well as some thoughts :)

Wow, it’s my second birthday I’m celebrating here in Seattle and omg how things have changed since last year. I think of my life in months (freelancers, do you do the same?) so when I look back to the first six months of this year I remember how difficult they were for me.

// Stressful, uncertain, unbalanced.

It’s a strange experience entering your second year in a new city, which was surprising to me considering how all of 2017 was so exciting and wonderful. However, the beginning of the year brought me so many questions and I felt the all too familiar feeling of, “why isn’t everything going exactly the way I want it to?” It’s ok though. Such is life and starting at the end of June I found the clarity I was seeking and then some.

When I say my year began with a lot of questions and uncertainty, I mean it. Maybe it’s my ambitious nature, but I have really high expectations for myself and when I am not meeting my goals at the exact time I want them to be met I am really hard on myself. I have so many dreams and so many things I want to do with my life and often times I overwhelm myself with this insane list. I’m sure some of you can relate. I’m getting better though and have come a long way on giving myself grace.

When I was young (I’m still young. I’m so young. I’m the youngest) I had trouble making quality friends. I would befriend anyone who was friendly. As I got older I realized that should not be the only criteria for friendship and that I needed to be MUCH more selective on who I chose to include in my life.

Friendship is a privilege and should be treated as such. Respect it.

I realized friends should be an escape from life. They should lift you up, make you forget your troubles (not create it), celebrate you and ACCEPT you for exactly who you are. That’s probably been the biggest gift (aside from one other thing…more of that in a minute). I thought moving away from the life I had built in L.A was going to be SO lonely at first, but it wasn’t. I found the most wonderful people to call my own, but most of all, they brought ME in so effortlessly, so willingly, so lovingly. I never take them for granted and realize that they are the most important part of my journey here.

Speaking of finding important people. Let’s talk about finding love for a minute (heeeeyyy). For the sake of keeping some things private in my life, I won’t go into TOO many details, but one of the most wonderful things that has happened to me this year is finding the guy of my dreams. I know, that’s bold. It actually feels a little strange saying that out loud. Man of my dreams? What? I don’t know. It still feels surreal. I have been on my own for a really long time and while a lot of that time was spent growing, learning, having fun, traveling, moving to a new city, making dinner for friends, building a business, it was also difficult. Let’s not pretend single life is all rainbows and sunshine, k? It’s an amazing part of life and I will always look back on those years so fondly, but I will also never forget the hard days. Each time I watched my friends fall in love, get married, start their families a little piece of me hurt. I often wondered if I would ever find someone.

Despite that pain, I always focused on being the best version of myself I could be. To be the best friend I could be, to learn as much about running a business as possible and most importantly, never settling for anything less than I deserved no matter how hard things became. Remember this blog post?

I’m proud for having stayed true to who I am and never compromising what I wanted in someone. I always knew I would find him when the time was right so I just kept pushing forward. What I didn’t realize was that he was also looking for me and that he would find ME.

Friends used to tell me that one day someone would love me for exactly who I am. He would find my boisterous personality refreshing and my weird obsession for earlobes cute and strangely charming. He would think my outlook on life is inspiring and would only want to get closer. I used to close my eyes tightly and squeeze their hands with appreciation for seeing all those things in me. Now I close my eyes tightly with a smile because they were right.

After taking care of myself for so long it’s a bit odd having someone else take care of me for a change, but I love it. I’m learning how to receive all this love and it’s a process I’m enjoying so much.

// I don’t want to say I feel lucky because I don’t really believe in luck. Luck implies you had nothing to do with it and that’s just not the case. I believe in creating opportunities for yourself. I believe in making things happen and that’s what this past year has been. A year of scratching things off my travel bucket list, growing as an artist, becoming even more comfortable with who I am and finding love in the most beautiful human.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sticking around. So many of you have been along for this journey over the past five years and I appreciate it so very much. Some of you have even become clients, which is incredible and just proves to me that I’m doing something right.

Cheers :)











A Fairy Named Mollie

Once upon a time, I was hiking up a mountain in Griffith Park and to my surprise, came across a beautiful pregnant fairy. She stood there smiling at me so I approached her and introduced myself.  We got acquainted and had the loveliest chat as we walked through the trees together. I couldn’t help but ask her if I could photograph her and she asked if that was really necessary? I reminded her that she was only going to be pregnant once with this particular child and how wonderful it would be to look back on these days of anticipation.

 

Remember what she looked like.

Remember how she felt.

Remember how pregnancy changed her over the course of nine months.

 

It would all be documented in photographs that she could have forever. She smiled with agreement and so we continued walking through the forest stopping when I felt inspired.

Before we knew it, we were losing light as the sun quickly hid behind the mountains.  She offered to walk me back to my car and with delight, I accepted.  We spoke about our lives and how much has changed for the both of us in the last year.  We spoke about friendship and the different chapters we are both in at the moment.  In the midst of this fairy/girl talk we also realized that we are so much alike.  Though we are living very different lives, we are living very similar lives as well.  Both living one adventure to the next, both living very closely to our loved ones, both inspired by fashion and nature.  The list goes on.

 

The lesson I learned that magical afternoon is this:  Enjoy each chapter of your life no matter what it is because it will end one day and a new chapter will begin. Oh, and that fairies are the best and should be handled with the utmost respect. They also love peanut butter and popcorn.

The end.

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Travis

Travis Peery.  What a guy.  An amazing singer/musician with so much talent, but you would never know upon meeting him. He's humble and has this wonderful way of making you feel important and somehow you know that he truly believes that.  He's interested in who YOU are and what YOU have to say. travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

One day we were sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and he asked me if I would work with him to create the artwork for his band's upcoming album. I didn't think twice about it.  He then proceeded to make me one of his famous Moscow mules (with candied ginger of course) and I proceeded to write ridiculous notes on his typewriter (it's a thing).travis_peerytravis_peery

Fast forward a few weeks, we were driving all around LA scouting locations and stopping for cocktails here and there.  We really focused on areas that meant something to Travis because ultimately, he wanted to pay homage to LA, which is where he spent the last two years writing his newest album.  After all the cocktails, all the laughs and all the long talks about what this album means to him, we finally decided on his Silverlake apartment (the best bachelor pad that ever lived), Echo Park and Downtown.  The shoot turned out to be one of the most meaningful projects I've worked on this year and it felt so good shooting in my hometown.travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

If there's anything I've learned about friendship over the years it's this. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, make you laugh and teach you not only about yourself, but how to be better.  I think above all else, friends should lift you up. That's what Travis does for me. He lifts me up and that's something I can always count on.  I'm proud of him, proud to call him my friend and proud of the photos we made together.travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

// P.S  You can check out the band's website HERE!  Word to the wise, go to one of his next shows.  You won't regret it.

Cheers to friendship :)

 

The Beauty of Doing Nothing + Mexico

I took a trip to Italy four years ago and one of the beautiful sayings they have there is "la bellezza di non fare nulla," the beauty of doing nothing.  It's something that has stayed with me because it's so simple, so true and so necessary.  Somehow, our culture in the states celebrates working endlessly and filling our time with countless to-dos as a wonderful thing.  Why?  I've never understood why non stop days seven days a week is always celebrated.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I pour over images daily with pleasure, but I don't want it to ever take over my life completely.  It doesn't define me.  It is a part of me.  

I think we often forget how important it is to regroup and just be still with ourselves, to be alone, to be quiet even if that means sitting next to someone you love and just be.

We can't be 100% in everything if we want balance in our lives.  That goes for our careers.  That goes for our relationships.  Love.  Family.

 

I want to live the most balanced life possible and that to me means napping (gasp!), cooking for people I love, taking editing breaks (even though I love it) or watching that girly movie on my couch for the fifteenth time with no guilt.  It can also mean driving out of the city with friends and purposely leaving my camera at home (no guilt).  

 

What does it mean to you? 

 

*Photos (taken on my iPhone ) from my recent trip to Mexico with two of my best friends.  We sipped moscow mules, took naps, danced, watched dolphins swim in the ocean and enjoyed each others company.  Doing nothing never felt so good. Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_001.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_002.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_003.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_004.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_005.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_006.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_007.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_008.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_009.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_010.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_011.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_012.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_013.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_014.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_015.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_016.jpg Beatufy_of_Doing_Nothing_017.jpg

Matt & Elyse | A Proposal Story

Matt & Elyse_001.jpg This is a (not so short) story of a gem of a man named, Matt.  He has a passion for music, the outdoors, good food and whiskey.  He often graces strangers (and his friends) with his sweet, sweet dance moves and never fails to impress with his skills in the kitchen and from behind the bar (old fashions - oh yeah).  However, amongst his many passions, one surpasses them all.  She is a beautiful goddess named, Elyse.

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Even after two years of dating, falling in love and moving to Oakland to be with her, Matt knew from the beginning that there would never be anyone else.  So, the plan for proposing to Elyse began.  I would fly in from LA to spend the 4th with them and say I had a shoot that Sunday, July 5th, 2015.  This is not uncommon since I stay with them often due to my travel schedule (and also because I miss them so much and can't stay away).

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Sunday came.  The DAY had arrived.  Per usual, Elyse made us breakfast and a couple neighbors stopped by to join us.  I kept glancing over at Matt to see if he looked nervous and miraculously he looked calm just like any other day.  I mean, impressive doesn't even cut it.  After the neighbors left I stayed in my pajamas (because I like to stay in them as long as possible - duh) and Matt and Elyse began packing for a couple days away in Petaluma to celebrate "Elyse's belated birthday."  Since I wouldn't be leaving until 4pm to pick up my rental car for my "shoot,"  I helped Elyse get ready and kept her distracted so Matt could pack for their trip (including hiding the ring).

Elyse jumped in the shower and immediately Matt and I checked in with one another.  He admitted he was getting a little nervous and I assured him it was all going to work out perfectly.  "I got you."

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They left.  I napped.  I packed.  The door rang.  It was 4pm and time to set everything in place.

I opened the door to find Eddie waiting for me.  We smiled at each other excited for what was about to happen. We jumped in the car and the hour long drive began.  We caught up on life and talked about how crazy it was that Matt was about to be engaged.  After a few wrong turns, lost reception and sweaty palms, we arrived.  As we pulled into the driveway, there stood the most magical tree house, including the most ridiculously charming wooden swing you ever did see.

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That's where it would happen.

That swing would be where he would get down on one knee.

That is where he would tell Elyse he knew from their very first kiss she was the one for him.

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Eddie left to hide that oh so familiar Saturn he drives and I hid in the trees with my camera.  I payed no attention to the spiders crawling around me or the beetles staring at me from the rocks below my feet (I totally payed attention).  My heart raced as I waited for Matt and Elyse to arrive.  It was quiet and all I could here was the wind blowing.  Suddenly, there they were.  I watched them get out of the car and start walking towards the house.  I took a deep breath and stood sideways against the tree (sniper style), careful not to give myself away.  When they were far enough in the distance, I exhaled and got into position to capture what would be one of the most special moments in my friend's life.

Just like we had discussed countless times, I saw everything come to fruition and it was incredible to watch.  Matt held Elyse's hand and walked her to the swing.  My heart kept racing, nervous that I was making too much noise with every crunching step.  I could hear her giggle from a distance, but that quickly faded as they got further and further away.  What happened next was over in a second and to be honest, I kind of blacked out so I'm not really sure how these photos exist. Matt & Elyse_025.jpg Matt & Elyse_026.jpg Matt & Elyse_027.jpg Matt & Elyse_028.jpg Matt & Elyse_029.jpg Matt & Elyse_030.jpg Matt & Elyse_031.jpg

Elyse sat down on the swing and pushed herself off the ground.  Matt stood behind her as he took the ring out of his pocket.  He then walked around the swing to face Elyse.  Her feet touched the ground and everything stood still.  He got down on one knee and there was a moment of silence.  Suddenly, there was a scream then laughter then crying.  Success :)

I could see Matt was looking for me so I stepped out of the brush and began walking towards them.  Elyse pretty much went into official shock.  We hugged, we cried, then we hugged some more.  It was the most beautiful day.

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I will never be able to explain what if feels like to watch something so personal and so intimate.  When I was hiding in those trees and everything was still quiet, I kept thinking what an honor it was for Matt to put all his trust in me like that.  What a beautiful thing to do for the person you love.  They will have these images forever and I'm so happy it was me that got to share in that moment with them.  Just the three of us in the middle of a field with the trees, the swing and the wind.

The end.

Sailing Through the 4th

My friends and I thought it would be great to spend the 4th of July sailing in San Francisco and watch the fireworks from the boat.  It all sounded so romantic and fun, but alas, we all found out I don't have sea legs so I spent the day dizzy and extremely nauseous.  Has this ever happened to you??  It's pretty awful and I don't think I'll be sailing again any time soon, ha.  I guess what I want to say is thank God for good friends.  They managed to still have a good time despite constantly checking in on me, bringing me water, avoiding the high current as much as possible and helping me in ways I don't even want to get into...I'll spare you the details ;) Annnnywayyyy...I snapped a few photos when the day started (you know, before my world got fuzzy) so I thought I would share.  I'm also excited to share a fresh new look here very soon so stay with me, k?  Here's to good friends and a better 4th next year.

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Why I Don't Want To Settle Down With Someone

I've  always tried to keep this blog as honest and organic as possible so in light of that, I wanted to share what I've learned/experienced in the last couple of years being single.  It's been a lot of fun to say the least, but it's also been frustrating and a little exhausting.  I hope what I have to say resonates with you in some way and maybe you can relate.why I don't want to settle down with someone_MG_8775 why I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someone

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I've always been a hopeless romantic.  I admit it proudly.  Maybe that's how I found myself photographing love for a living.  It's also why I've spent a lot of time figuring out how I feel about love and why I've decided I don't want to ever settle down with someone.  I've been a single lady for a while now and in that time have seen some unfortunate patterns that are really common in my generation.  The fear of commitment, the fear of finding something better, the grass is always greener, the idea that "settling down" is the end of your social life as you know it.  I see things differently and because of that it's been hard to find someone in a real way.

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Seeing these patterns unfold before me has made me admire my friend Josh on how he went about his relationship with his wife, Lacy.  He saw her, let her in and went for it.  Was he nervous about what that meant?  Sure.  Was he giving up seeing his friends as often as he used to so he could spend time with her?  Yes.  Three months into their relationship he moved across the country to New Orleans to be with her.  What I think is the most amazing part is that he was smarter than his fear and didn't dwell on the what ifs that so often keep us stagnant.  He moved past the "but my Independence! But my freedom!  Is this the end?!  Is there someone better?  Should I keep looking?"  He let his true feelings for Lacy take precedence.  He chose happiness.   Thankfully, they are back in LA living a lovely little life and more importantly close to me because....let's face it, that's really what matters here.

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The term "settling down" in general needs to stop.  I've always hated the negative connotation that goes with it.  Settling?  Why would we settle?  There is something so finite about it and to be honest, makes me want to run for the hills.  Would I like to find someone to spend my life with?  I sure would.  Do I want to settle for someone just because I want a someone?  Hell no.  I want someone who looks at being together the way I do and is excited about it, not just doing what they think they are supposed to do.  I don't want to be someone's experience.  I don't want to be someone's next step.  I want to be someone's adventure for life.  Unfortunately, I have found that the great guys I have met lately don't see things this way.  Things get a little serious and they run.  Of course, there have been those who have walked away for other reasons too, but for the sake of staying on topic we won't get into that (although...why would they walk away?  I have no idea.  I'm awesome.  Eh..anyway...). I'm aware this doesn't just happen with men, nor am I trying to bash men in any way.  I'm just speaking from my own experiences here

why I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someoneNeedless to say, I've learned a lot in the last two years and I'm so grateful.  I've learned I'm ok being single.  I spent so long in the wrong relationships that I think I forgot myself.  I forgot how much I love being alone and how much I yearned for it when I was committed to people who weren't right for me.  I've learned how resilient I am, how strong I am, how much I love being a kid and how much I need that from my significant other as well.  That being said, I have also come back to understanding what my parents taught me when I was growing up (and still do).  Needing someone doesn't mean you've lost yourself or are less independent.  It's a beautiful thing to reach that place with someone and it should be celebrated, not frowned upon.  I look forward to that happening to me again one day, but until then, I'm going to continue enjoying where I am in my life and that is kicking ass and having a damn good time while I'm at it.why I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someonewhy I don't want to settle down with someone

Friendship in your 30s + a Dance Party

October was crazy with work and planning new shoots so adding travel to the mix was a little stressful, but very worth the stress.  If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have been back and forth between LA and San Francisco lately.  A big reason for that is some of my closest friends live there so we spend a lot of time visiting each other as much as possible.  Every year they become more and more important to me and I smile knowing they feel the same way about me.  If there is anything I have learned in the last couple of years it's that the circle of people in your life is something you create; it's not something that just happens. I have friends who are like family and I know it's not because I just got lucky.  In your 30s you start to reevaluate friendship and who you really want around you for the long haul.  It's not about convenience and quantity anymore, it's about quality.  Its incredible that my closest friends not only date back to high school and college, but also just five or six years ago and still going strong.  They make the effort to stay close just as much as I do and I'm so grateful.  It only gets harder to do as we get older and I'm so proud that I have surrounded myself with people that not only find it equally as important, but also don't consider it a chore.  Whether we live down the street from one another or across the country, we make the effort to check in, facetime, etc. and it never feels like an obligation.  It feels like a necessity and that is amazing.  When we have a trip planned it's all we talk about for weeks and literally count down to our next dance party (it's a thing).  Speaking of which...please click here, turn up the volume and scroll down.  You're welcome.

Thanks for capturing this ridiculous moment in time Elyse :)

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A Nod to Summer's Ending + Photos from Cancun Mexico

Oh Summer.  It really IS all it's cracked up to be.  Every spring I think to myself, this summer is going to be better than the last and you know what?  I'm usually right.  I was so inspired this summer and I realized that I shot more these past few months than ever before.  I went on more trips, I saw more friends, I threw more parties, I mended a broken heart (including my own), I watched dolphins swim in the ocean and I ate my way through LA.  The list goes on and on.  I hope the following reminds you of your summer and perhaps inspires you in some way.  

* The sun coming in through my window every morning telling me to wake up and get outside.

* Iced coffee I chilled the night before.

* Welcoming home friends that moved back to LA from the east coast and beyond.

* Dinner parties in my apartment filled with music, laughter, hugs and twinkle lights.

* Days at the beach that started at 11am and ended at 7pm (or longer).

* A Road trip with the windows down to watch two of your most special friends get married.

* A Road trip to your cousin's wedding in Palm Springs and being honored with the responsibility of photographing it for her.

* A sweet, short flight to San Francisco to visit your friend that moved and forced everything to change.  That first beer together in the bar never tasted so good.  Maybe it was because we missed each other or maybe it was because catching up over a beer felt familiar and that in itself felt like nothing had changed.

* Driving to the desert to photograph a girl with the most stunning skin I've ever seen and capture that beautiful warm light.

* Allowing myself to cry due to a broken heart, but better yet, allowing a friend in during such a dark time to comfort me (something that is hard for me to do at times).

* Taking walks at night with my girlfriend who lives next door to buy salted caramel ice cream followed by long talks on my couch.  Sometimes we laugh so hard I wonder what life was like before we shared a wall.  There is nothing like a delicious laugh attack.

* Singing on the top of my lungs while driving to orange county with the sun roof open and all the windows down.

* Getting to orange county and being greeted by an old friend who reminds me every single day that I'm worth it.

* Taking a long overdue trip to a beautiful country to lay in the sun with a friend.

* Stumbling upon a new friend at the beach who not only makes everything better, but shares cupcakes with me on a weekly basis and realizing they are one of the best surprises that summer could bring...

* Letting go of the past and allowing that sweet, warm summer air to take the pain away.

* The ocean whispering to keep my heart open because anything can happen if I just listen.

* Watching my bedroom turn bright tangerine orange as the sun sets over the city and then just like that, it is dark, cool and I am fast asleep (kind of like falling in love).

* Getting all your friends together for no reason at all and enjoying cocktails under a blanket of soft lights.  Looking around the room that night my heart was full and never have I been more proud of the friends I have made in my life.

 

Photos I took on my mini digital camera in Cancun last month.  We stayed at The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya and it was by far the most beautiful resort I have ever been to and I can't wait to go back.  We made nothing but warm memories there.  Here's to summer...

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Wanderlust No More - For Now | San Francisco

I think the hardest thing about growing up is seeing your friends move away.  They are so much a part of your every day life for so long and then one day they meet someone, fall in love and move to a new city.  It's happened several times now where close friends of mine move away, but the one thing that has remained the same is our friendship.  I'm proud of the fact that my little circle stays close no matter the distance and I think that's because we just really need each other.  A codependency in the best way!  We may have separate lives, but at the end of the day we still need that phone call or that text or that little weekend trip to reconnect. Last weekend I took that trip to see my friend Matt in San Francisco.  Once upon a time we were having dance parties in his living room every Saturday night and trying out new bars in Silverlake.  Then one day everything changed.  I miss those days, but so happy about his new life.  Cheers to friends, dance parties and new chapters._MG_3481_MG_3487_MG_3488_MG_3492_MG_3496_MG_3500_MG_3502_MG_3507_MG_3518_MG_3524_MG_3531_MG_3532_MG_3538_MG_3554_MG_3555_MG_3561_MG_3569_MG_3572_MG_3576_MG_3585_MG_3593_MG_3620_MG_3632_MG_3637_MG_3639_MG_3658_MG_3667_MG_3669_MG_3674_MG_3680_MG_3688_MG_3691_MG_3692_MG_3695_MG_3706_MG_3707_MG_3711_MG_3712_MG_3714_MG_3715_MG_3726_MG_3728_MG_3731_MG_3733_MG_3734_MG_3747_MG_3760_MG_3763_MG_3768_MG_3770_MG_3774_MG_3776_MG_3792_MG_3794_MG_3798_MG_3847