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 :)

It's Been a Year // Seattle Lifestyle Photographer

Last week on Valentine's Day was my one year anniversary living in Seattle.  One year since I got on a plane with my carry on suitcase filled with camera gear, the one trench coat I owned and my sweet parents who insisted on helping me move to my new loft.  I stayed quiet about it because I wanted to feel it first.  I wanted to privately bask in all the memories 2017 brought me.  I thought about how I would blog about it and decided that instead of showcasing street photography of Seattle, I would share some of my favorite personal photos taken on my iphone last year.  Some are grainy and low quality, but I kind of love that.  It's real and imperfect, just like my life.


* The first two photos were taken days before the move.  My best friends came to help me pack and it will always be a time I look back on with a full heart.  

I'll never forget a few days before I left L.A I had a shoot in Santa Monica.  The sun was shining, it was 75 degrees and strangely more beautiful than usual.  It was the kind of day people were talking about.  Even my Uber driver had something to say about it. We drove in silence and enjoyed the breeze coming in from the windows.  I hoped she didn't see the tears rolling down my face as I thought about how these sunny, warm days were soon to be limited.  I teared up again on the way home, but tried to enjoy the ride nonetheless. I memorized how the wind made the palm trees sway and how the sun peeked through the leaves making me squint.

I came home, continued to pack and a few days later it was time.  I said goodbye to all my friends, my beloved apartment, sent a million texts to everyone I care about and just like that, touched down in Seattle. My mom hugged me as tears rolled down my face.  I felt nervous, anxious, worried and yet, excited, free and motivated.  It's surreal feeling so many things at once, but I knew it was where I needed to be. 

My parents and I spent the first week getting me settled and walking around downtown together.  We put up shelves, I made them dinner and I thought how very soon I would be making dinner for just myself.  I only knew a few people and had no idea if I would see them often or if I would meet new friends soon (I would and I did).  I started counting down the days until my friends in L.A would come visit me because I already missed them terribly.  I giggle looking back at those early days because almost all of them have now come up to visit.  

As I think about all the things I accomplished last year with my business, I feel such pride.  It's my baby and I protect it with everything I have.  I'm also happy to report that my time here has allowed me to come back to myself without distractions.  I was lost and searching for something and I finally figured some things out.  I've relished in the little things like seeing the leaves change for the first time in my life.  I moved into a workspace/livespace environment like I always wanted.  It's a place I hold shoots, study light, host friends and where I hide from the world when I need to recharge.  It's funny how an extrovert like me still needs a lot of alone time.

There have been really stressful days full of questions and uncertainty, but I pushed through all that and embraced everything that came my way.  I've worked harder than I ever have in my life, I've met some amazing friends and explored a new city that I'm still getting to know.  I've learned that I'm stronger and more resilient than ever before.  Most of all, I'm braver than I ever gave myself credit for and that's something I want to bestow upon everyone I love.

// Be brave, learn to trust yourself and go with your gut.  Things still scare me and I still worry about a lot of things, but the difference is now I do the things that scare me despite the fear.  I feel free and I'll always work hard to keep that sense of peace within myself. 

So, what's next?  I have some ideas, but I think I'll let them marinate for a little while.  For now, I'm going to enjoy where I am at this very moment and stop fighting the urge to eat the pint of ice cream that's in my freezer.

I also just want to say thank you.  There are so many of you that have been following along on this crazy journey.  So much has happened and I'm thankful to have had you with me.  To my people in Seattle, I don't even know what to say to you.  You are my lifeline here and there is NO way I could have had the year I had without you.  You made it fun, you made is safe, you made it special, you made it home.  I'll cherish you always.

Inspiration on the Streets // Seattle

Oh Nicole.  She came into my life at just the right time.  She pushes me, teaches me and always makes me laugh.  We spent four days together, shooting anything that inspired us and having one adventure after the next.

// Find your people.  Don't let go.

How I'm Doing // Seattle Life

Two months ago today (happy anniversary to me!) I packed up my entire LA life into two U-Packs (I encourage you to look these up.  I had never heard of them before, but it's crazy that my whole life fit in them), got on a plane and landed in Seattle.  I'm going to be honest with you.  The minute the plane landed I burst into tears and held onto my mom for comfort and reassurance that I made the right decision.

FYI - I did.

If you've ever moved to a new city/state before you know how daunting the task of moving is and how stressful it is to decide what to take, what to leave behind and what to expect when you get there.  You anticipate loneliness and an endless to do list in order to get settled and you lie awake at night wondering if this is a mistake.  You also know that every other day is the complete opposite and you're just bursting with excitement for your new life and looking forward to the change you know you desperately need.

Oh.  I know.  I felt alllll of that.  My family and friends were amazing and never got annoyed with my constant need for reassurance and hugs and late night packing sessions and bottles of wine to keep things light.  This all may sound ridiculous, but when you've never left the city you grew up in and suddenly leaving everything you know it's a lot and much harder than you imagine.

// I did it though. I'm here and I'm HAPPY.

The past couple of months have surprisingly gone by slowly, but in the best way.  The inconvenience of not knowing how to get around was hard at first, but I quickly learned how to use public transit and where the closest Target was to my loft (priorities).  It's so strange not having a car anymore, but I'm actually loving it.  In LA I sat in a car all day long to get from point A to point B and now I sit on a bus or take longer walks and feel more present.  I listen to music and take more photos and SEE more.  My eyes are wide open.

My friends here have been amazing and have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome.  I anticipated seeing them a lot less because, well, life, but they have not stopped checking in, making plans and scheduling work days together. I haven't felt alone a single day and that is a gift my friends.  I literally moved from one beautiful home to another.

However, I do spend a lot of time alone, but that's just part of being a freelancer, working for yourself and being a business of one. It's actually one of my favorite parts about what I do.  It's even more important to me now that I'm in a new city and constantly being forced to reflect on my surroundings or meeting someone new or planning shoots. I feel so inspired.  I was lacking so much of that back in LA and wasn't sure how to change things.  Well, I think I figured it out, guys.

I'm growing, I'm changing, I'm doing great.  I walk around my new neighborhood sometimes and can't believe I did it.  I finally got the balls to leave all my usual comforts and do something different with my life.  I went with my gut and it was the best decision I could have made.  

Can I get an amen?! If you've done something similar or have been sitting on an idea for a long time and not sure how to move forward, please tell me about it!  Cheers to grabbing life by the balls.

Los Angeles Women's March // The Future is Female

Honestly, there isn't anything I can say that hasn't been said before.  All I want to say is that being a part of this march was one of the most amazing things I've ever done.  I was surrounded by my best friends and their husbands and boyfriends supporting us the whole way.  I met strangers who loved our signs and chanted with us down Hill Street. I saw little girls holding up signs of of their future wishes.  There was such a sense of community, love and hope and I'll never forget it. 

BLAZE Business Intensive with Tonie Christine // Connection

I've been thinking a lot about what I want out of this life.  Where do I want to go? What really makes me happy and what inspires me so I can continue to pull from that. 

The answer is CONNECTION.  Connecting with people is what fuels my fire, what makes me fall in love, what keeps me honest, what I thrive on when I travel. 

I realized that I need to step out of my bubble and learn more from my colleagues in the industry.  That's where Tonie comes into the picture.  She was hosting her very own workshop and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.   I wanted to ask questions, I wanted to walk away from a conversation that left me excited and motivated to not only keep going creatively, but how to be a better business owner as well.

I am so impressed with everything she offered us that day.  She answered every question and gave us such amazing insight in what it really means to run a successful business.  I went home knowing it was a day well spent and worth every minute of my time.

Tonie, thank you for keeping me on my toes.  I'm so grateful :)

// Some favorites I took that day.  Enjoy :) \\

Design and Styling & Florals // Bixby + Pine

Rentals // Unique & Chic Event Rentals and Design //

Chairs // Grand Event Rentals //

Cakes // Baked. //

Ribbon and Table Runner // Adorn Company //

HMUA // Katie Boyar //

Paper Goods // Minted //

Ring // Trumpet & Horn //

Ring Box // The Mrs. Box //

Dress // The Dress Theory //