Let's Study Abroad

It's kind of funny how life takes such unexpected turns.

I'm a firm believer that God's plans for your life are bigger and better than anything you could ever dream up on your own. Time after time God showed how marvelous his plans were for me.  From when I was laid off from my architecture job to then becoming a photographer, working from home, traveling the world, and meeting amazing people. To when I met Lance and he had characteristics, qualities, and interests I hadn't even considered looking for in a husband, but yet matched me so well. It was all part of God's plans for my life. Putting my faith in God and trusting Him really changed my life. 

Looking back on my life I don't have too many regrets, but the one thing that is most prominent is the fact that I didn't study abroad in college. At Cal Poly, my architecture program curriculum dedicated a year to studying abroad. You're meant to go travel and discover architecture of other countries and cultures. But it was expensive, so I didn't even bother applying to any programs. After college when I started traveling a ton, I realized the value of traveling abroad (and even out-of-state) in order to not only progress my career and design aesthetic but also to open myself up to difference experiences, to leave my Californian bubble. With my travels since, I feel like I've made up for it in a way, but there was still always that lingering regret. 

Flash forward to now and I'm in London with a study abroad program. Granted I'm not a student and I'm only here to be with Lance, I still feel like I'm finally getting to study abroad and it's thrilling. I get excited talking to the professors and students and hearing what they're seeing and learning. The students give me fresh eyes on the city, as they're experiencing it (and for some a big city) for the first time. I'm so thankful to be given this experience. 

I definitely would never have thought at the ripe age of 32 that I'd be in London with a study abroad program, but wonders really never cease. 


London, England. March 21, 2014 | Fuji x100s

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

Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah Georgia Photography

Over the holidays Lance and I visited his family in southern Georgia. While we were visiting they so sweetly took us on a day trip to Savannah so I could check out the city.  We walked around River Street, an older part of the city with little shops and restaurants along the riverfront.  Afterwards I suggested heading over the Bonaventure Cemetery for a bit of history (and of course, to see some spanish moss).  

Bonaventure Cemetery is located east of Savannah on 100 acres of land by the Wilmington River and is a registered historical landmark by the National Registry of Historical Places.  It was beautiful and fascinating to explore the grounds.  I don’t know why, but I love cemeteries like these.  They’re full of history and stories.  We wander through the graves, reading dedications and historical markers.  As a native Californian, I love to wander through cities like Savannah which are considerably older with longer histories.  If you’re ever in Savannah, check out Bonaventure Cemetery. They have tours, too!


Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia. November 27, 2015 | Fuji x100s

Powerhouse Books

When I flew to shoot Deric & Victoria's wedding last month, we shot their portraits in the DUMBO area.  Before meeting up with them, I explored and had some lunch.  I was pleasantly surprised to come across Powerhouse Books.

I was pulled in by their iconic New York exterior with its large, inviting glass windows.  Inside was no disappointed as I was surrounded by clean, white walls and high industrial ceilings. Powerhouse Books itself is a fantastic bookstore.  Its books are well-curated with bits of fun doodads sprinkled throughout the store.  Powerhouse Books even had an excellent selection of children's books as well.  For it's high ceilings it still had a very warm book-lover-friendly atmosphere. 

If I had more time I could have spent hours thumbing through their selection. 


Powerhouse Books, 37 Main St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. December 5, 2015 | Canon 5d markii 50mm 1.2L

Happy New Year!

Today’s kind of a Bon Iver day.  Lance and I just returned from a whirlwind of travels to California & Georgia to visit family and celebrate Christmas.  And I must admit, after having two weeks off of work, it’s hard to settle back in to work.  Everyone feels me, right? 

Well, 2015 was a pretty good year.  It wasn’t easy or all glitter and cupcakes, but it was wonderful overall.  I had to overcome moving my life and my business all while navigating a new life with Lance here in Alabama.  There were nights of tears, but there were far greater number of nights with belly-aching laughter.  There were lots of adventures and hikes and dinners eaten on the couch and late night talks I never wanted to end.  I wouldn’t trade 2015 for anything.

Looking into 2016 I’m wondering what I want it to be like.  Taking a nod from Elise’s blog post, here are my goals/resolutions for the new year.

I want more reading less phone. I spend way too much time on my phone.  Almost after every time I’ve been on my phone I think, “I could have been reading.” Last year I surpassed my reading goal of 52.  And this year I want to continue reading every day and reach a goal of 60 books in 2016.  Reading’s been really good for me.  Last year I discovered the joys of the library and science fiction.  Reading brought me an incredible amount of happiness and introspection, and I loved it.  Hopefully this year, I’ll choose reading books over surfing the interwebs. 

I want more hiking/exploring/adventures less complacency. Lance and I did a pretty good job exploring the area last year.  It was one of my favorite things to do with him.  We tried a lot of new things.  Hopefully in 2016 we’ll hike the trails we missed last year. Also, I get pretty set in my routines, so I’m hoping to break out of that in 2016 and get out of my comfort zone.

I want more home-cooked meals and less going out to eat. When I lived in California, I was pretty content to eat a bowl of cereal for every meal. I think that was mostly because I didn’t want to spend money when I could eat at home, and I couldn’t drive to eat out when I wanted to.  Now that Lance and I are married and I can drive, I’m always aching and bugging Lance to go out to eat.  We usually have some great groceries in our fridge and the school cafeteria, so I have to be vigilant about sticking with those options. Plus, when I go out to eat at a restaurant, I’m not choosing the healthiest options. woops.

I want more cleaning and less mess. I’m pretty messy. I’m pretty good about keeping my mess to specific room or area in a room, but nonetheless it’s still a mess.  I’d like to be more intentional about putting things away and throwing away anything I don’t need.  Lance notes that it’s a lot easier to get things done with a clean, un-cluttered apartment and I completely agree with him.  

I want more early bedtimes and mornings less late-nights and mid-day naps.  This will be one of the tougher ones, as I am a night owl and I “work better at night.” (This one is debatable.) I noticed that I feel much better when I got to bed and wake up early. But this is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.  I think this new schedule will help me live a healthier, more productive life.

I want more structure less chaos. Learning to balance work and housework is a struggle. In the year that I lived in Alabama I haven't figured any of it out. I always say "I'll _______ when I have time." And I really never have time.  I need to learn to prioritize and multi-task.  This year I want to sort out a rough schedule of when the housework and errands will be done in tandem with everything I need to do with my job. Easy right? haha. 

I want more kindness less complaining.  This is who I am—a complainer.  In the new year I want to be more intentional in my attitude towards others, to become a more loving, giving person in all aspects of my life.  I’ll have to combat all aspects of myself, my laziness, my selfishness, my youngest-childness.  But I know if I can just tip the scale a little bit I’ll be better for it. 

So what are your resolutions for the new year?


December 28, 2015. Point Reyes National Seashore, CA | Fuji x100s