It's all at your finger tips.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
- Jack Canfield

I’d say I’m both fearless and fearful. 

Everyone is, right?  We all battle between fearlessness and fearfulness and figuring out which situations each is most appropriate.  Walking down a dark, shady alley in the middle of the night in the worst part of town? Fearfulness is probably the wise choice. It prevents you from doing something that could potentially harming you.  Talking to strangers at a conference? Fearlessness is the trait to have so you can meet and connect with people. 

A lot of times I’m fearless. Sometimes I chalk it up to youngest child syndrome, growing up with my parents and five older siblings always taking care of me, leaving me with very few worries.  OrI think back to losing my job and the perspective I gained from realizing God’s plans for my life were far better than anything I could dream up myself. Whatever it is that made me fearless, I’m grateful whenever I choose it.

It was fearlessness that propelled me to go to Alt Summit without knowing anyone, then eventually pitching a class idea to them and teaching the following year.  It was fearlessness that compelled me to build up my blog and reach out to brands for collaboration.  I chose fearlessness and so far it hasn’t let me down.  But it’s really not that easy. I can recall just as many instances when I missed opportunities because I let fear get in the way. The time I didn’t talk to the photographer I admired because I was too scared he’d think I was crazy.  Or the time I didn’t submit a wedding to a publication because I was scared it’d be rejected. Fear can be a real enemy to our happiness. 

That’s why I love that quote by Jack Canfield so much, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” We can’t let fear keep us from our dreams. I see a lot of colleagues and friends who are crippled by their fear of the future.  I sit there and watch as they stay stagnant, my own imagination dreaming of all the amazing things they can do.  But then I see something in them, a glimmer of hope and I see them slowly gripping the strength of fearlessness. I see as they choose fearlessness, then they choose it again, and again, and again.  And I see their lives change before my eyes.

See, when you choose fearlessness, you choose to open yourself up. You open yourself up to God’s plans for your life.  You open yourself up to your dreams.  Ultimately you open yourself up to your own happiness.  You must let fearlessness win!

Choose to live a life of fearlessness! Grab hold of your dreams. Charge forward. It’s all at your fingertips. 

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. June 18, 2015 | Canon Rebel XSN + Fuji s-400 processed by Richard Photo Lab

The Best Apartments by Birmingham's Local Breweries

Birmingham is pretty new to beer game.  Its oldest craft brewery is Good People which started in 2008.  Over the past 7 years a total of four breweries have come out of Birmingham, Cahaba Brewing Company, Avondale Brewing, Trim Tab Brewing Company and Good People Brewing Company.  In partnership with Select My Space we've curated a list of the best apartments by these breweries. Read on to learn more about the breweries, apartments and local neighborhoods.

Cahaba Brewing Company

Cahaba Brewing Company is located in the Lakeview/ Pepper Place neighboorhood of downtown Birmingham.  It's in an area that's in the up and up.  You can go to the local Pepper Place farmer's market on Saturday morning then walk on over to Cahaba to play ski ball and drink beer at their 3rd Avenue South Building.  2616 3rd Ave South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233

A short drive from Cahaba Brewing Company are the Liv on 5th (pictured below) and Station 121 apartments.  Liv on 5th are beautiful condos just down the street from the iconic Iron City music venue.  While there aren't a lot of amenities in walking distance, the area affords residents beautiful views of the city, and if you live at Liv on 5th you'll have access to a rooftop terrace to enjoy those quiet, Birmingham Sunsets. 

Liv on 5th Apartments

As far as breweries go, Trim Tab Brewing Company has the best decor and ambience.  It's furnished in an eclectic way and its outside has one of the "It's nice to have you in Birmingham" murals.  If you're feeling like drinking your beer outside, Trim Tab has a beautifully relaxed outdoor area.  2721 5th Ave S, Birmingham, Alabama  35233

Close to Trim Tab are the Iron City Lofts (still in construction), the Lakeview Apartments and the 29 Seven Apartments (pictured below) which turned out to be my favorite of the three.  The 29 Seven Apartments are a mixed-use building with amenities on the ground level floor.  In the neighborhood you can find adorable coffee shops, delicious foods and everything you might desire as a young professional.  

Avondale Brewing Company, in my opinion, has the best beer. Adjacent to its main building is an outdoor biergarten and a large outdoor music venue space.  What I love about Avondale is its nod to the local history.  The name of each of their beers is derived from some part of the Avondale neighborhood history.  If you get a chance, you should take a tour of the Avondale Brewing Company to learn a little about beer and the Avondale neighborhood. 201 41st Street S, Birmingham, AL 35222

The Avondale area is up and coming.  With that said, a lot of new businesses are popping up in this older neighborhood which was once thought of as "dangerous". Most of the housing options by Avondale Brewing are older residences, but if you drive a bit you could live in places like the Avondale Apartments (still under construction), Highland Court and Clairmont Hill (pictured below).  The Clairmont Hill apartment complex is located in a quiet neighborhood across from a golf course and down the street from a bunch of amenities.  While it's not in walking distance to the Avondale Brewing Company, it's located in a beautiful area that's also up-and-coming. 

Good People Brewing Company knows how do breweries. Being the first brewery in Birmingham it set the stage for good beer and a welcoming atmosphere.  Good People has two areas for stages as well as two awesome outdoor spaces, each equipped with large (almost life-sized) jenga sets.  Not to mention Good People is at a prime location, across the street from the brewery is Regions Field, home of Birmingham's minor league team, the Barons, and kitty-corner to the famous Railroad Park114 14th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35233

I love this area of town. It's a good mix of industrial and modern, just what I love.  Adjacent to Good People Brewing Company and Regions Field is University House, a new, modern apartment building which looks like it's geared towards UAB students and young professionals.  Other apartments in the area are LIV Parkside and the Venue at the Ballpark, which is still under construction but looks like it will be amazing. The Venue at the Ballpark is right across the street from Regions Field and most of the units on the Regions side have views of the ballpark from the outfield.  It will be incredible to live there.  

That's my roundup of the best apartments by Birmingham's local breweries.  I hope this gives you a good glimpse of the different areas of Birmingham.  I love it here and hope that this post shows you the side of Birmingham you never thought existed. 

* This post was sponsored by Select My Space.  I was paid for this post, but all these pictures and opinions are my own. 

 

Birmingham, AL. July 2015 | Fuji x100s

HISTORIC ST. LUKE'S CHURCH

A couple months back, Lance and I attended our friends, Paul & Stephanie's, wedding in Virginia.  Their ceremony was at St. Luke's Historic Church, which is one of the oldest protestant churches and the first brick church in America.  While Lance and the rest of the bridal party were rehearsing, I went exploring the grounds at the church.  I was enthralled by the historic aspects of the graves and property.  It was a little overcast that day so I my experience was a little eerie but so serene.  I walked through the grave-sites noting the dates on headstones and appreciating their natural decay. 

 

Historic St. Luke's Church, Smithfield, Virginia. May 1, 2015 | Fuji x100s

BLACKOUT

Last night was an adventure. 

Lance and I are headed to California tomorrow (yay!). But we each have so much work... like an insane amount of work.  Yesterday we hadn't even started packing when the power went out.  Turns out 88,000 customers in Northern Alabama were experiencing power outages due to the storm, and lucky us, we were one of them. 

Of course, just when I needed the power to get work down and bear down on my long to-do list the power goes out.  I was stressed a bit at first. How I was going to finish everything before out trip?  How was I going to work? How long would the power be out?? I was silently freaking out inside.

Then Lance showed me the twitter of Alabama Power (which powers a most of Alabama).  Alabama Power's twitter feed was filled with witty and kind tweets from "Toni".  People were complaining left and right, and she just kept calmly responding.  If you have a chance, you should read some of her tweets. They're hilarious.  Their tweets helped me embrace this little adventure of ours.

A bit more relaxed, I took advantage of the blackout. I rested and read and just let myself enjoy this break.  It was good. When we finally got power back I got so much done! I was refreshed and ready to work.  I'm still trying to tackle my to-do list, but that blackout got me in such a good mood.  It was so great to take a break. 

See you soon, California! 

p.s. Here's an interesting post about the benefits and reasons for taking a break

 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee. June 17, 2015 | Fuji x100s

RUSSIAN HILL BOOKSTORE

If you know me or been reading my blog for any period of time, you know I love bookstores.  When I was in California, I dropped in on Chronicle Books and got to talking with one of the employees.  We talked about all sorts of things, books, bookstores, book sales, used books... the works.  And it was she who suggested I visit the Russian Hill Bookstore.  It's located on Polk Street just a few stores down from Saint Frank Coffee

What I loved about Russian Hill Bookstore was that it was quintessentially San Franciscan.  It carried a wide variety of books and had just a quirky, laid back kind of feel.  It was pretty busy for a weekday afternoon.  I bought a few cards from their generous section of letterpress cards.  This is the kind of place where I'd curl up on the floor and read in one of their cozy corners.  

1450 russian hill bookstore15.JPG
 

Russian Hill Bookstore, 2234-2230 Polk Street, San Francisco. April 15, 2015 | Canon 5d markii 50mm 1.2L