settling in to a new school year.  School's started here at Samford and the campus is filled with students.  I'm adjusting to all the people and excitement that comes with a new school year.  I'm looking forward to what this year holds for me and lance. 

searching for a car. Our little explorer died on us, so Lance and I are on a the search for new car for our little family.  It's been fun researching and searching and comparing.  

preparing for my photography class tomorrow. I'm excited for the class tomorrow.  I really want to help people get better at their photography skills.  I love it! 

nursing a root canal. Long story short, my tooth got infected from an old filling so a root canal was in order.  Funnily, I was on my way to the dentist when our car started smoking.  So thanks to Lance's RAs who drove me to the dentist and endodontist. I'm patched up and running on pain killers and anti-biotics. It sounds much worst than it actually is. 

reading slowly. With all the chaos of the past few weeks I've been slacking on my reading.  I just haven't found the right groove. I'm kind of in a reading funk.  The last few books I've read were good, but I wasn't really into them  like I normally am.  

dreaming of our next adventure. It seems Lance and I haven't been on an adventure in a while.  With me going to California without him, I'm aching for our next trip together.  Hopefully we can take a beach trip before the weather gets cold.  We hadn't got much of a chance to enjoy the beaches at the Gulf yet. 

thinking of the past year. It's almost a year since Lance proposed and about two years since we started talking.  God's showed us great things over the course of our relationship, and I seriously marvel at how blessed I am to have Lance in my life. 

listening to "my soulful heart" playlist. This playlist is a good mix of melodic songs that reflect my mood these days.  It's been raining and muggy all week. I will be happy when it all clears up! 


Great Smoky Mountain National Park. June 18, 2015 | Fuji x100s


In my opinion learning and teaching is a part of any successful business.  Over the years I've learned a lot from some really amazing photographers that I admire.  I owe much of my success to them for their guidance and advice.  Now that I'm more established, there's so much that I could teach others.  So this year I've pursued sharing that knowledge with others.  

It started with speaking at Alt Summit in January.  Then teaching in San Francisco through Fullosophie.  And now, this weekend I'll be teaching a photography class through the Birmingham Bloggers at Revelator Coffee in downtown Birmingham.  I'm so excited! 

Who: Anyone who wants to take better pictures!
What: Photography 101
Where: Revelator Coffee, 1826 3rd Avenue North, Unit 101, Birmingham, AL 35203
When: August 22, 2015 at 4pm 

If you or anyone you know lives in Birmingham, AL let them know I'll be teaching a Photography 101 type class.  So anyone with a camera I'll teach you how to take better pictures, how to understand whatever camera you own and how to find your voice.  



This April set of books has an interesting backstory.  Growing up my mother always took us to the library, and as an adult, she even signed me up for the adult summer reading programs.  I'm not a stranger to libraries, but I was always too lazy to get a library card and check out books (and return them on time).    But there I was needing to read "I'll Give You the Sun" for a book club not wanting to actually buy the expensive hardcover. So I thought it was finally time to get that library card.  On a Monday Lance and I went to Vestavia Hills Library, known as "The Library in the Forest".  We got our library cards and a stack of books, and these three books were my first borrows.  (yay!!) We visited the library two more times that week because we were seriously like kids in a candy shop. I went to library, and now I'm addicted.  It was both magical and life-changing. Oh how I missed out all these years!

1459 library book photography.JPG


This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
This book is totally young adult fiction.  A famous teen star accidentally emails a girl in small town and they fall in love. It's so predictable and ate it all up.  Each character is protecting a sort of secret life and only finds solace in the other and the anonymity of their email exchanges.

I'd recommend this to anyone who's ever read Teen Beat or had a celebrity crush. 

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Oh I love this book! It was a little slow starting, but once I got into it I loved it.  Jude and Noah are two twins whose lives change dramatically when they share a tragic loss.  The book follows Noah's story as it leads up to the event and Jude's as it traces backwards to the it. I really enjoy how Jandy Nelson writes. Her descriptions are so vivid.  I loved her other book, The Sky Is Everywhere, which is very different from this book.

I'd recommend this to anyone to teeters between reading young adult and adult fiction.  The story will feed your craving for YA and the writing will appease your adult side.

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
This book is like Little Miss Sunshine meets an epic-after-college-one-last-hurrah road trip story. Also, it has some interesting similarities to Silver Bay: a young pretty woman with a child(ren) meets a wealthy, successful man and he saves her after a bit of unspoken attraction.  This was one of my least favorite JoJo Moyes books, and ironically, this is the one that's being turned into a movie.

All in all I still love Moyes' books, just unfortunately the main character, Jess, was very annoying. Her character is independent to a fault, struggling with her inability to accept help, even to help her children.  While opposite her, Ed is very likable even with all his faults.

I'd recommend this to anyone who loves JoJo Moyes, because otherwise you might not really like this book.

Paper Towns by John Green
I love a good John Green book. I appreciate his character development and love how his stories unfold. Quentin is a senior in high school when his life gets turned upside-down after a brief reunion with his childhood friend. I love these coming of age stories with a nerdy protagonist. However it felt fairly similar to An Abundance of Katherines and especially Looking for Alaska. All three are about nerdy teenage boys, their nerdy/quirky best friends, their crushes on free-spirited girls and some sort of epic adventure/prank.  With all that said, I still loved reading Paper Towns. John Green is such a great writer; I love how he inserts nerdy facts into his stories.

This is no doubt a great book.

I'd recommend this to anyone who was a nerd in high school and had perfect attendance or who is aching for a great change in their life.

The Room by Jonas Karlsson See my review here!

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
My inner teenager enjoyed this book. I picked this book so I could devour another Jennifer E. Smith book.  Her books hit that sweet spot of teenage romance.  This book, however, was a little different, the story, of course, was predictable like her other books, but it didn't tie up in a neat bow leading up to the ending.  You still know that they're going to end up together, but in this book, Smith puts in a lot more obstacles.

The Geography of You and Me is about taking chances and having faith in that guttural feeling you have about someone. In a way this book made me a little nostalgic about my relationship with Lance.  While I didn't get stuck in an elevator with him during an epic blackout, I did know right away something about him was pulling us together.  Through travels and relocations Lucy and Owen keep in touch over a series of postcards and emails, much like me and Lance.  These kind of stories make me fuzzy inside.

The Geography of You and Me reminded me of a modern, teenybopper version of An Affair to Remember starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

I'd recommend this to anyone who's had that one epic night with someone where you learn everything about each other then feel like you're floating for days. 

Read my other book reports and check out all the books I've read over the years here.


Happy World Elephant Day.  

Today is a day to consider the welfare of elephants throughout the world, their dwindling numbers and vanishing natural habitats.  When I was Thailand and India I got up close and personal to these massive, yet gentle creatures.  It was such an experience being with these elephants.

I love elephants, and it's awful what a threat we've become to them. According to, 

"The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.

World Elephant Day asks you to experience elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments where elephants can thrive under care and protection. On World Elephant Day, August 12, express your concern, share your knowledge and support solutions for the better care of captive and wild elephants alike."

And just because.... here's an image of that time I charmed cobras.  It was thrilling! I love snakes. 

*images of me were by Richelle Dante


Kanchanaburi & Phuket, Thailand.  December 2009 | Canon 30D