Hello friends! This month, on April 20th, I turned the ripe old age of 24. And honestly, I can say I am terribly excited to see what this next year of being 24 has to offer. It's that age where you're young enough to not say you are in your "mid-twenties" just yet, though it's old enough to know you have come a long way since your sweet sixteen. Birthdays have always been my most favorite day out of the entire year (with Christmas coming in at a close second), due to the fact that A) you get to celebrate another year of life, B) there is ALWAYS cake and ice cream, and C) everyone else around you lets you know how appreciated and loved you are especially on that day. For my friends, I have always made it a point to celebrate their birthday with a bang. Cake is usually baked for them, drinks are bought, cards are lovingly handwritten (and sometimes handmade) and presents are given. Most importantly, it gives me the most satisfaction to celebrate another year of their life with them.
I received several cards in the mail from family and friends, however one of them stood out more than others. This is sent from my dear friend Becky (I met her working at Pottery Barn, she is the wittiest person you'll meet). Reading this made me so thrilled, that these words I spill out onto pixelated pages are in fact seen by many. I would not classify myself as a blogger though...whenever I think of something to write about it usually ends up being a longer essay as if I was talking to a good friend about life and such. To those who take time out of their day to read these posts, and who click like or comment on them, I want to say THANK YOU. Genuinely. Like seriously, you are what inspires me to continue to write about my new life up here.
I can remember most every birthday I've had really, from my mom baking me a bunny-shaped cake when my birthday fell on Easter when I was in elementary school, to my 13th where I was finally allowed to get my ears pierced, to my sweet sixteen which resulted in a belly button piercing and pool party, to my 21st birthday where I traveled all up and down and around California from Mammoth to Santa Cruz to San Francisco, to last year when I turned 23 and celebrated my birthday at Disneyland with my mom and two aunts...to now, where I celebrated my 24th birthday at the Oregon Coast with my sweet boyfriend Justen. We visited Cannon Beach first where we walked around shops, I tried saltwater taffy for the first time, and got sandy venturing to the bottom of Haystack Rock (pictured below). Next we went to Seaside beach where we ate a lovely dinner, went on bumper cars, wandered through antique shops, grabbed free birthday coffee from Dutch Bros, and walked along the boardwalk. It's strange to think about how fast years go by the older you get...my mom used to talk about that all the time. About how fast time flies and one minute you're in high school giving your sister a pad of paper to doodle on when her crush calls for the first time, to suddenly being married with four kids, to your youngest son graduating high school himself. I can't even wrap my mind around how to even take time out of my day to remember everything and appreciate the time you've been given to take risks, seek out adventure, try something new, sit and enjoy the world around you. I cannot wait to see what the rest of my life has in store; I know that turning 24 is only the (beginning) to my mid-twenties as well as the beginning to a life worth living.
I have always been one who is up for an adventure. Whether it be a day trip, weekend trip, coast to desert, day or night, with a group or alone...I am game for anything. My philosophy has always been, "Why say no to something if you haven't tried it?" Life is one huge, epic grand adventure. From trying a new food to running your first marathon, anything can be considered an adventure.
This month, I have experienced several "firsts" that I'd love to share with you! It started with seeing Anberlin in concert on the first of March. I've been dying to see them since 2005, and finally did it. I've also flown out to San Diego visit my family for the third time (in the last 5 months) which is so strange to me still, seeing as how this is the first time in my life I've ever been in a place where I had to travel to see them. I have also started to get back into running again, and ran my first marathon on March 17th (the Shamrock Run in Portland), and had an absolute blast. It really has inspired me to sign up for more marathons, and I have already signed up for two so far this summer (the Run For Your Life 5k supporting a local Christian-based pregnancy clinic, as well as the Color Me Rad 5k in Portland). I also got a chance to hang out with the coolest dude I've met yet--Josiah James. If you don't know him, you should. A Cali born and raised (like me) worship musician who has made quite the name for himself, made a pit stop on his west coast tour to our church to do an acoustic show for our youth group last night. Justen and I spent the day with him in Portland drinking coffee at Coava (also the hipest coffee shop I've been to yet) and grabbing insanely awesome burgers at the Portland food carts. If there is anyone else (besides Justen Martian) who is as addicted to coffee and adventures, it's this guy.
Also for the first time ever in my life, I was on the verge of being homeless. Backstory: I moved up here to Washington with a great job already lined up, an apartment picked out, a roommate to move in with, money saved and a church to attend. I had it set to where nothing could go wrong...but little did I know the drastic change of plans God had in store for me. Not only did I lose my job of 3.5 years, I also have gone through 3 different roommates, had to get new breaks for my car when they went out on me while I was driving, I could not find a new job to save my life, as well as went through my entire savings and credit card due to paying for my apartment/bills on my own, which my current roommate decided to not help pay for during these last two months. God was in the midst of (super) testing my faith, and though it was very difficult and painful I powered through the valley and have finally climbed to the top of the mountain. Prayer was generously answered when I found an amazing family from the church to move in with (rent free, praise the Lord), I landed an awesome job teaching kids how to swim and have made too many new friends to count at the church I attend. God has been providing for me in ways I couldn't even imagine were possible. When I thought I was completely alone, broke, and like I wouldn't last...I was carried through the storm by completely having to rely on God's promise to take care of us in our time of need.
New experiences and changes always make for amazing testimonies. Christ has an infallible plan for each of our lives that will lead us to greatness, should we trust fully in Him and perservere through all of life's trials praising his name. He never puts us through anything he knows we cannot handle, and I have learned to Live by Faith, Not by Sight like you would not believe (I knew I got that tattoo for a reason!). This journey experiencing life in the gorgeous northwest has been quite the adventure, and is only just beginning. I would not go back and change a single thing. God is sovereign and faithfull, and trusting him has moved mountains in my life. Why stop now!
This last weekend was so amazing. Actually, the last 2 weeks have been pretty awesome. My dad surprised me by coming to visit in Portland for the weekend! I had not seen him since mid September, before I left to move up here to Washington (he surprised me then too, by showing up to my going away party. Before that, I had not seen him since my college graduation in May). That weekend, we went to Mount Hood and Timberline lodge for the day and explored around in the snow. The following weekend, Justen and I drove up to Seattle to hangout with my dad for the night again, after a much needed day adventure wandering all around Pike Place, Olympia, downtown Seattle and along the waterfront, as well as walking from the waterfront to the Space Needle. Tomorrow, I am going home for the weekend for my younger brother's 18th birthday (my dad will also be there, which is awesome. This is the most I've seen him in one year since 2008), as well as to surprise my best ever friend in the whole world! She doesn't think I am coming home until summer ;) I can't wait to soak in some of that California sunshine.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11
As another year comes to an end, all I can say to all that's happened this year is WOW. Just...WOW! So much has been accomplished! My love for photography, which started as a hobby, has turned into a profiting, reputable business. This year alone, I photographed a total of 5 weddings, 2 engagements, and 2 families. That's halfway to what my yearly goal of photographing weddings is! I've met so many wonderful, silly, amazing, and loving people through this business and can not wait to see what exciting new adventures next year brings. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunities I've experienced in the wedding industry as well as being able to pursue my passion without hinderance.
So much has happened this year in my life that are milemarkers in my young life! The biggest one being me moving out for the first time, to a brand new city let alone a completely different state! I have learned so much about myself as a person and as an artist. Things have been challenging yet rewarding, doors have shut yet windows have opened, and the Lord has shown me in miraculous ways how faithful He is in keeping promises in taking care of his children. I have repeated Jeremiah 29:11 countless times to myself throughout this year (For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future) which has been my guiding light and mantra to getting through the obstacles and new, sometimes intimidating paths laid before me. It's hard to imagine how many opportunities and amazing things are coming your way in the future when you're in the midst of storms. But luckily my friends and family have been so supportive in keeping me positive, motivated, and staying secure in my decisions. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me this year! You have no idea how much I appreciate, love and cherish you.
My goals for this upcoming year of 2013 are ones that I am so motivated to achieve and believe I can definitely do so with relying on God's grace and faithfulness.
So here we go:
1. Get into graduate school for an MA in Museum Studies/
I have always had the thought of continuing on to an art-related graduate program once I finished college. However, I didn't really have any idea as to what I would study. Photography is my heart's passion, but what more could I do with it that will make me a well-rounded artist? How could I push myself to becoming a better artist? In college I took several classes on Curatorial Theory (the practices and management of overseeing objects in a museum setting, leading to potentially becoming a curator and/or director of a reputable museum). This subject greatly influenced me to study more about art history and museum studies outside of a college environment. Eventually I was set on persuing this as a career path! I am very excited to see where this will take me in the next year or two with my own work as well as potentially being in a graduate program setting.
2. Book 8-10 Weddings in 2013.
80% of my clients come to me via word of mouth. I can't tell you how many times someone I went to high school with whose sister's boyfriend's aunt is getting married and needs a photographer, and could I be it. It seriously amazes me that how after 5 years of being out of high school and not speaking to or even seeing this person for so long, they remember me for being a photographer and seek me out to do a family session or wedding. So THANK YOU to every single person who has ever contacted me to do a wedding or some sort of photo session for either you or someone you know! It's you who has pushed my business to new heights, and I can not be more grateful for you remembering me and using me for your photographer. You are so awesome!
3. Take the time to travel to destinations to pursue my own passion for nature and landscape photography.
For those of you who know me as more than just a face and name, you know that weddings are definitely something I am passionate about. However, if you know me on a more personal level, you also know that my heart's true passion is set on photographing the beauty and mystery of the outdoors. Nature and landscape photography has been my heart's first love since I was very young. In the last 4.5 years, I have traveled all up and down and through and around California, photographing everything from San Francisco to the Anza Borrego Desert, to Yosemite (twice) and all over California's coast. Though I have also ventured into Nevada, Oregon, and Washington backcountry it has not been nearly as extensive and thorough as I would like it to be. There are endless monuments, backcountry trails, mountains, lakes, rivers, glaciers and forests I have yet to wander and photograph! Yet due to being in full time college since 2007 until just this January, as well as maintaining at least 2 part time jobs while in school, I have not yet had the time I would've liked to travel and seek out the wilderness. Until now! So this next year, I am planning on saving up enough to travel to several locations I have not yet visited to pick up where I left off with my own photography, submit work to more magazines, and eventually get picked up by National Geographic!
4. Buy, Spend and Consume LESS.
If you're anything like me or a human being, you might have looked back at how you spent your hard earned money this last year and let out a long, exasperated SIGH at the unnecessary purchases that did not really benefit you from consuming (and no, that burger at World's Best Most Amazing Burger Joint does NOT count no matter how amazing and juicy it was). I have spent more than I saved, and saved less than I spent. Yes there were a few purchases I made that actually benefited my life such as gas to move myself and all my belongings three states away as well as buying my new Canon 7D (early Christmas present to myself!), and Sir Winston the Kitty. But honestly, I would've liked to look back at this year and be satisfied with how I handled my finances. My goal for 2013 is to not spend a dime on any unnecessary purchases. And if I feel inclined to do so, buy it for someone less fortunate. If I feel like I need a new pair of boots, buy some shoes for that homeless man on the corner. If I get hungry and want to stop by Burgerville on the way home from work, instead I'll donate food to a local homeless shelter. This is going to require a lot of selflessness but how hard is it really to put someone else before your own needs, as well as think "Hey this 5 bucks can benefit someone else more than me." I'm also planning on investing my savings into a Bond or Stock group. I'd rather it grow and not shrink!
And last but not least...5. Be more proactive on things I am
Such as joining habitat for humanity. Or running in a marathon (Check! Already signed up for the Shamrock Run in March :] Click the link to read more about it), and just take the time to appreciate and experience life and the world more. I have finally reached a point where I have the freedom to decide where my life will go, rather than being stuck in an endless routine of underpaying jobs and full time school. Whether it be pursuing graduate school, saving up and traveling for my photography, or working at a non retail related job (finally!), it is up to me to chose my next right step in life. With the guidance and wisdom from God and the support of my family and friends, I can achieve anything. Here's to a new year filled with endless possibilities and adventure. Cheers!
Kind of crazy how time flies by, especially over the course of a year! I feel like April was just yesterday. This month has really been a crazy one for me! With getting adjusted to living in a different state, making new friends, figuring out the best route to work, getting lost several times, exploring my new cities (I live in Vancouver WA, but work in Portland OR), and finding the time to get my apartment situated...I haven't had time to breathe let alone do the things I love to do!
My sketchbook has been sitting next to my bed for a month now, my camera has been sitting in my camera bag, and my creative juices have been unvoluntarily put on hold unfortunately. In my move, I had to leave all my painting stuff at home since it wouldn't all fit in my car! So sad, I've definitely been going through withdrawls from being an artist. That being said, I've resorted to using my iPhone to document my little journey so far in living in Washington. Using a phone to create art with limitations has been an interesting venture off the route I'm used to taking, so here are a few images that came from this month of craziness and adjusting to my new home:
Now it's time to get ready for Christmas, lattes, cold weather and holiday decorating! I'm going to make it a point to really deck our little home out this year. Well, it will be the first year I actually get to decorate anything to Christmas since I'm living in my very own place! Yay!
Hi everyone! I know I've been MIA for a solid month or two but now I'm back and here to update YOUUU with some awesome new changes my life is about to experience. So here it goes... I'm MOVING!! For the first time in ever. Like out on my own. It's so exhilarating to think about! I'm pretty stinkin excited about it though. I've always wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest, it's something I've been dreaming about doing since I was in high school. And yes...I will be driving the entire way. All 1100 long gorgeous miles.
The inspiration to move to Washington actually came from photography (big surprise there), when I first took a trip to Yosemite in 2003. Now granted Yosemite is nowhere near the PNW, BUT I still got a taste of being in actual seasons, in the mountains, surrounded by trees and rivers and nature and green. The idea of actually living in a place like that grew more so in high school, and eventually developed into this idea that Oregon or Washington would be my new favorite place to live. Now that I'm older and have greater appreciation for nature and have an idea of where my life is heading (and now that I'm graduated from college and can actually DO something about it), my heart has been set on moving up there for the last 3 years. I just had to finish school (check), save up some money (check), find a roommate (awesome check, she's so cool), and get on outtta here (check will commence on September 27th)!!
It's all happening so fast. I feel like these next three weeks will FLY by, I'll be moved in, and then sitting in my new room thinking "okay...WHAT'S NEXT!" :] It's a really amazing feeling, having my first move be 2 states away all by myself. But I love it and can't wait to see what God has in store for me and my business and my career. I'll be living right on the waterfront, on the border of WA and OR on the Washington side. I seriously can't wait. I do think I may have to invest in a fixed gear bike though for reals. I want to fit in juuust slightly.
Here are some things I'm so super looking forward to when I move:
1. Experiencing actual seasons. Living and growing up in San Diego CA my entire life has really spoiled me for experiencing summer the ENTIRE year with the luxury of having several beaches to chose from all within 15-30 mins driving distance with water you can actually go in without freezing to death. I think it's time for a reality slap, moving to a place where people dont "go to the beach" and also don't believe in umbrellas (even though it rains a ton). It's funny to think about.
2. Moving out on my own for the first time. Granted, this is a given that any post college person who's never moved out before would drool over for obvious reasons. I'm a very homey person, I love to decorate and nest and create a living space that will meet all of my needs aesthetically, emotionally, and physically. I'm SO excited to finally be able to do this in my OWN place!
3. Powel's City of Books. This is by far the most amazing incredible bookstore I have ever been to in my life in the history of ever. I could live there seriously. It has actual gigantic rooms divided by type of book. It even has its own APP. Like really? SO awesome. I love books. I love reading. I love everything about books and reading.
4. Real rain. Now I know this correlates to number 1, but let's be real. Real rain in San Diego = tiny sprinkles that last an hour or two on a "these-clouds-will-be-gone-in-three-hours" cloudy day. Real rain in Washington = pouring for hours sometimes for days and thunderstorms and lightning and "those-are-some-DAMN-rainclouds" type of cloudy day. Which, let's be real again, happens more up there than I'd like to totally mentally accept right now. Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited to be in a place that's green and lush and mountainy and rainy, but I AM going to miss my San Diego sunshine summery days and wearing shorts all the time! BUT it's time for a change; I've always been drawn to nature and the mountains and greenery, nottt so much dry desert and dirt mounds for mountains like that in San Diego. No offense SD. But whenever I've come back from camping in Yosemite and Mammoth these last 3 years, I would get more and more depressed the closer down to socal I got. It just gets browner and browner.
5. Food Trucks! I know this is such a touristy thing for Portland, but let's be real ONCE AGAIN. They have the best freaking food trucks I've ever heard of. Even Sunset Magazine says so. I'm such a foodie, I'm totally excited to try every single food truck down Fifth st.
6. Hipster everything. Portland is definitely known for its artsy hipster atmosphere, and I am SO ready to get down and dirty in the art scene there. I'm really excited to dress for fall 6 months out of the year, buy a bike (Portland is also known for their amazing bike trails), make new hippy friends, and discover local hip spots to hangout at. I revel in that kind of stuff, being outside and doing things and being spontaneous and adventurous and trying new things and places. Yay!
Well there ya have it. In exactly 3 weeks from today I'll have Red Rocket packed with my entire life (so, basically all my clothes and shoes) and ready to embark on this crazy new 1100 mile adventure to experiencing, thriving, surviving, and living up this new awesome chapter of my life. SO excited and blessed to have so much support and love from my amazing friends and family. I couldn't be happier making this change, and hopefully new doors and windows will open and God will stir things up a bit, challenge me, and bless me with the things I will learn and experience throughout this journey. I will miss EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has impacted my life, my best friends, my coworkers, my family, my friends who basically fit in as my family, everyone. But especially Paisley. And for those of you who are like who the heck is Paisley, she's my cat and the most awesome cute little thing ever in the world ever. But don't worry, I'll definitely visit plenty of times ;] I still have weddings to do here, family to see, and friends to hangout with. I'll always be a California girl, with a Washington heart. Much love, and until next time...SEE YA.
So today I had another wedding! That makes two in the last month already! Seriously what job would be more fun than this (besides my dream of becoming a national geo photographer)? NOTHING would be. I honstly love what I do to pieces. I adore it. Today, I brought along my sweet little friend, Ale. She's just starting on the route to establishing herself as a photographer and I thought it would be fun to have her tag along and help me with photos today! On a normal wedding day, I usually am on my feet running around and shooting thousands of photos for 12 hours or more. But today was a smaller wedding, about 8 and a half hours of shooting, and just under 800 photos. It's not every day I photograph smaller weddings! It was a nice change :] Karla and Scott were the funniest couple I've photographed yet. He's VERY into her, and makes it clear how alive their chemistry is which is AWESOME for a photographer! During their engagement session, he couldn't keep his hands off her. If only every relationship was that way! Don't be afraid to show some love and affection, people! Their wedding was at a local clubhouse pool, another first for a location for me. I really enjoyed the intimate setting and atmosphere it gave me to photograph. Ale and I had so much fun shooting this wedding, I can't wait to start editing the photos! I think in total, Ale and I have 1800 photos to go through and process and edit, ahh! And people wonder why it takes so long to recieve your photos after the ceremony!! In the end though, there is never anything to complain about in being in this line of work. The emotions, locations, the love two people share, and everything else that goes with weddings is always such a joy for me to experience.
I had the most fun and pleasure photographing this awesome couple on Sunday. I love my job the most when the people I'm working with know how to work the camera, work each other, love on each other, and aren't shy at all about their affection for each other. The love totally shows through the images I took last night, and I can't wait to post all of them! I took 502 photos of them, I counted. That's pretttty normal I'd say for a given day. We went to the Hillcrest Suspension Bridge in San Diego, I was super excited because not only have I never been there before and always wanted to go, I never even knew where the place WAS. It ended up being one of the most fun couples' sessions I've ever done.
The month of July has been a crazy one for my business, I was blessed enough to have every weekend booked from the last week of June until the last weekend of July! I just feel so lucky to have worked with the people I have since I started doing sessions. Everyone has their own story and their own way of interacting with the camera as well as each other. Moments where I get to witness a couple's love, a family's closeness, and the beginning of a new life together in weddings just blows me away at how awesome my clients are. Not only are they just clients, but have become friends as well. I love my job so much and wouldn't trade it for the world! Be on the lookout for more photos of this awesome couple, you wont want to miss these.
Today I was having a pretty crummy day. Things just weren't going great plus I had a very long shift at my day job. When I finally got on my lunch break I saw an email notification from The Knot Wedding Magazine...something I was very much anticipating getting! If you aren't familiar with this amazing mag, take a look at their website and see for yourself how awesome they are with weddings, bridal party ideas, vendors, locations, basically anything you can think of to have yourself a pretty rockin' wedding.
Earlier this month I emailed them with a request to be one of the photographers they sponsor for weddings and suggest to their brides. This magazine recieves hundreds of requests per day to be involved with their affiliate program for vendors and photographers! It's really competitive and so I thought eh, I don't think I'll get picked but who cares I'll try anyways. I'm usually pretty optimistic haha. And a month later...I WAS ACCEPTED!!!! I might've shrieked in the break room, I don't remember. But I'm very super excited to be honored to be an affiliate with such a respected wedding magazine! I'm so thrilled :] It totally turned my crummy day into an amazing wonderful one, and I couldn't be happier. Such an answer to prayer!
So after nearly a year of having my new phone number and website name, I finally made new and exciting business cards. I didn't know how expensive it was to design them yourself at first... I used to have a generic design that hundreds of other people had for their own business (recently saw a banner for another business in Washington state that was the exact same design my old business card was...embarrassing. VistaPrint needs to get more creative). So this time around I decided to design my own, complete with custom logo and QR code. Awesome huh? I think they turned out pretty good! :] Next on my list is a new Welcome Package and Thank You care package, I've already got some pretty sweet ideas up my sleeve!