what healing really looks like.

a reminder:

healing is something different for every single person you know.

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sometimes it’s finding a sense of self.

sometimes it’s crying on the floor.

sometimes there’s joy.

sometimes it’s being with friends.

sometimes there’s energy.

sometimes it’s heavy.

sometimes it’s long, deep, journal entires.

sometimes it’s cry laughing.

sometimes it’s late nights spent processing.

sometimes it’s being completely alone.

sometimes it’s chasing dreams.

sometimes there’s fullness.

sometimes it’s saying no.

sometimes it’s saying yes.

sometimes it’s long drives alone.

sometimes it’s silence.

sometimes it’s going out.

sometimes it’s long hugs.

sometimes it’s prayers.

it’s all healing. don’t discount the process of it all.

and love one another. check on them. whether or not they “seem” okay or not.

an afternoon shooting film.

About two month ago I decided that I was going to start shooting film again. I used to shoot film here and there but it’s been so long since I just strictly shot with it. So I bought a Canon Ae-1 off eBay from a random guy in Cali, and here we are. I fell in love with this camera so fast. It’s something I don’t go anywhere without, like another limb. The other day, my great friend Alex, who has also fallen in love with film photography, decided to head to a conservatory and shoot a roll of film. These are just those photographs.

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on our devices.

on our devices.

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a patient grandmother and her grand daughter

a patient grandmother and her grand daughter

a man named Scott. he was meditating and telling me about the sunshine and his center of gravity.

a man named Scott. he was meditating and telling me about the sunshine and his center of gravity.

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alex.

alex.

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Shooting film has really taught me a lot about the joy and patience of photography. Just slowing down, truly being intentional about what you’re taking a photo of. In today’s world it’s easy to take 100 photos of the same thing until you get the perfect one, but with this, it’s one shot, it’s now, and it’s so beautiful.

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Music for the Adventurous Heart.

When fall rolls around the corner with it’s crisp mornings and sunny afternoons, my heart just aches for a good, old-fashioned road trip. Maybe you’re going camping, maybe you’re driving through a forest, along a shoreline, through the middle of absolutely no where, or maybe you’re just ready to get inspired to get out there. This playlist was made for those adventurous souls out there. The ones who probably relate too much to the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” (If you know the movie, you get an extra 10 cool person points.) I was inspired to create this by many things - an urge to go, and go for it, to meet new people, to take courage and have joy in the unknown, to not take life too seriously, and the feeling of nostalgia amongst the pages of an old life magazine.

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Fall Thrift Style

Fall has finally come here in Minnesota and it’s here for good. As you may know I’ve written one of these “Thrift Style” blogs before and I really enjoyed making it! So here I am, writing another one - Fall inspired. I’ve been thrifting so much more lately, especially since thrifting for big cozy sweaters is one of my favorite things to shop for. I’m excited to show you some of the pieces that I’ve come to love for these chillier months, so let’s get into it.

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red sweater + bongo jeans

red sweater - $3.99

bongo high-waisted jeans - $5.99

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I like this look for it’s boldness. I wouldn’t normally choose such a vibrant red but I’ve come to love it. These jeans are crazy high-waisted especially with the button fly but I think the two pieces together create a unique, yet simple look, which I love.

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heart to heart tee +

green cardigan

“heart to heart” tee - $2.99

dark green cardigan - $4.99

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This outfit is especially colorful for me. I typically stick to blacks, whites, grey and muted colors. But this one has some sort of fun nostalgic feeling from the graphic tee that I adore.

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hanes crew neck +

levi’s

hanes white crew neck - $3.99

high waisted levi’s - $5.99

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This outfit is straight up comfy. But paired with a pair of black boots creates such a powerful, tom-boy look, that I absolutely love.

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yellow sweater

yellow sweater - $4.99

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I’ve had this sweater for probably about three years now and it’s been a staple when fall rolls around the corner. It’s unique worn golden yellow color makes me feel it has a beautiful story behind it. It' just makes my soul happy.

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That’s all folks!

I hope that inspires some of you to go out to your local thrift stores and search for some cozy gems!

Endeavor Diaries - day 2

 

Day 2 of the Endeavor Diaries is here! I’ve been having so much fun putting together these images and revisiting these moments. Also - if you haven’t read my first post “Endeavor Diaries - Day 1” I suggest doing that before you read this, it’ll make a lot more sense! haha. Any who - let’s get into it!

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Our second day with Endeavor was filled with so many incredible memories that I feel like I would’ve only dreamt about. After a long night of rain (which was so heavenly to fall asleep to) we woke up to the a haze of fog that stretched across the pines. The windows were speckled with fresh rain and the air was crisp, but not cold. Just perfect and cozy for a day up north. We sat in awe for most of the morning and then we turned on some Ben Howard (if you know his music, you can just imagine the vibes). Then we made some breakfast - english muffins, eggs, bacon and avocado, it was heaven!

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After the loveliest morning, we packed up our snacks, and hit the road! Our first stop was to Fika Coffee, in Lutsen, MN, which is about 30 minutes from the home. Fika is a quaint coffee shop that I just adore. They care so much about their community and the coffee they serve. It's so inviting and great for fueling a full day of exploring!

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After some latte sippin' we headed up to a very foggy, Grand Marais, MN, aka one of my favorite places in all of Minnesota! Jake had never been before so I was so excited to show him around and make sure we hit all the obligatory spots!

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Our first stop was for sure World's Best Donuts - it's always a must if you're headed up to Grand Marais! It's one of the best feelings to just grab a donut or two and sit on the beach and watch the world go by, and listen to the seagulls whilst munching on some sweet treats. I honestly felt like a kid, it was wonderful!

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We ate our donuts, checked out some of the cool local shops, then decided that we might as well just head up to Grand Portage, MN, since we were so close now, to do some hiking!

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Something that I didn't realize until this trip is that the farther you drive north along the shore, the more beautiful it gets. More mountains appear. More forests, more islands, more bays. It's absolutely breathtaking. 

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After almost accidentally driving through customs into Canada, we took a hard left into Grand Portage State Park. Something that is pretty cool about this park is that one side of it is Minnesota, and on the other side of the river, is Canada. You're literally right on the border!

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After a surprisingly speedy hike, we made it to the falls and woah, it was massive! Pictures don't do it justice, it was incredible. It's crazy to me how this is in Minnesota. 

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After about 45 minutes on the road, and one food stop later, we made it back to Grand Marais in hope that the fog cleared out for us to walk out to the lighthouse and Artist's Point. But, alas, the fog was here to stay. But it made for a unique experience, and still so beautiful. 

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some quick pics by the lighthouse of a very happy alli

some quick pics by the lighthouse of a very happy alli

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We ended the evening back at the Tiny Home of course. After a long day of adventures, there's nothing quite like coming back to this beautiful home. By this time, we only thought it was fair to build a bonfire, and make some yummy s'mores. That's got to be the perfect way to end such a fantastic trip. 

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We slung up a hammock out on the deck and watched the sun go down. I have to say, that moment was one of my favorite memories. Just sitting in the woods, eating a s'more, in a hammock, talking about out dreams and goals, and feeling so refreshed and inspired. That's something that I always take with me when returning from little trips like this, that it's important to take time to recharge and refuel yourself, to just get inspired and excited about life. Especially staying with Endeavor, it opened my eyes to a new way of living and reminded me to just slow down. Take a breath, and enjoy moments like these.

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Thanks Endeavor Tiny homes for making this happen! It was magical. Make sure to check them out! 

https://endeavortinyhomes.com

 

Endeavor Diaries - day 1

Hey friends! Long time, no see. This past month of life, basically the whole month of July,  has been so crazy and full of so many adventures.  It's August now (that was fast), I'm sitting in a coffee shop sippin' on an iced latte and I'm so excited to tell you all about what I’ve been up to. In mid-July I had the joy of being invited to Endeavor Tiny Homes up in Silver Bay, Minnesota, to stay in their brand new, beautiful tiny home nestled amongst the pines and overlooking Lake Superior. Honestly, all I can say is wow. They knocked my socks off. But luckily - I have a few more words than just wow. haha. Oh and some photos too!

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First off, if you know me or have been reading my blog for a little while now, you’ll know I absolutely love northern Minnesota, it’s my happy place. It has always felt like home to me. Being surrounded by nature, fresh crisp air, tall pines and hearing the crashing of waves from Lake Superior floods me with life and curiosity. So the fact that this tiny home was made literally in the middle of the woods, felt like it was straight out of a dream. So, with that, let's get on to the trip!

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As we were headed up to Silver Bay, we had to make a pit stop in Duluth, MN on our way up. We got some amazing coffee from Duluth Coffee Company, explored some shops, and ran over to Park Point beach which is one of my favorite beaches on the shore with its soft sand and its tall green grasses, it’s always just so dreamy.

This is Jake aka my travel buddy!

This is Jake aka my travel buddy!

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After about an hour more of driving, and a gorgeous one at that, we drove up a narrow path surrounded by pines and wildflowers, and there we finally reached the Tiny Home and wow, it was stunning.

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Something I love about Endeavor Tiny Homes is that they truly thought through everything so carefully to make sure that your stay is comfortable, inviting, and carefree. They made sure to incorporate so many details that really makes it feel like a home. They even have a stove top, sink, cabinet space for food, mini fridge, utensils to use, plenty of comfy sleeping spaces, and a fully functioning bathroom and shower. It was pretty crazy to have all those things so easily accessible from the middle of the woods. From the decor, to the large windows showing off the beautiful view of the pines and lake superior, to the drinks and s'mores supplies left for us to enjoy, to even providing a guest bag with extra fun gifts, you can tell they really care about their guests having the best time. All of that combined made it feel like not just a place to stay, but rather a place to live.

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It was exciting checking out the property and the home itself of course, but one thing I do really miss now when I'm looking back, is this amazing balcony and this incredible view. It felt like we were somewhere else, so far away from any city or people whilst looking over the pines to see the horizon of lake superior. 

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OH - and if you know Jake and I, we love coffee. So we were so happy and relieved to have a coffee machine at our fingertips in the middle of the woods. It was just what we needed to fuel our adventures. 

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Near Black Beach, Silver Bay

Near Black Beach, Silver Bay

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The thing that I was really eager about, me being an outdoorsy lady, is the location of this Tiny Home. It is so close to so many beautiful spots to hike and wander. The home is surrounded by Tettegouche State Park so we were able to hike and climb around Black Beach and Palisade Head, both in Silver Bay and a speedy 5 minutes from the home. It was humbling to experience those places at dusk, when everything had calmed down a bit, life seemed to slow down. 

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Palisade Head, Silver Bay

Palisade Head, Silver Bay

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That's all for now! I will be posting about day 2 very soon. I can't wait to share more of our adventures with you all!

Check them out at https://endeavortinyhomes.com

But, where did my joy go?

Often I find myself dreaming about joyful moments, you know - planning trips, hanging out with friends, watching a funny movie with the fam, yet when those moments come around, I become distant, as if there's a reason to be feeling down and empty. Over the past month, I've had to make a lot of hard decisions and be upfront and honest with myself - where is my joy going? I know it's deep down inside me. But why can't I just let go. Why can't I just enjoy my time with others to the absolute fullest? What's holding me back from my most joyful and true version of me?

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During this moment of self-evaluation and trial, things got real. Like really real. Like the painful, uncomfortable, exposed type of real. I had realized how much I was holding myself back. I was believing lies about myself that were only based off of fear itself. I was beating myself up over my insecurities and throwing them back at people like weapons. Just to pretend I was fine. Pretend like I wasn't worried about anything. Protect myself from the ugly truth. I was believing that I had to look a certain way to feel accepted by society and the people around me. I believed that my features didn't add up to what I thought was "beautiful" and I believe it or not I hated getting my photo taken. I was believing that I had to hold back my "weirdness" and quirkiness so that I wouldn't stick out or look silly. I tried to fit into a box so much...but in those moments I felt boring and I never felt like myself. All these little warning signs started to pop up in front of me like I was trying to play a really hard game of operation, being careful not to mess up and expose this internal battle with a big, loud "ERRRRR! THIS IS UNHEALTHY!” for the world to hear, and for my peers to hear. 

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My insecurities were holding me back from my truest self and God was there through it all, and heard my cries for help. I told him to change the way I see, to show me that I don't need to worry anymore and that I never needed to. I was tethering myself down with heavy, thick, binding ropes of fear, anxiety, insecurity, and loneliness. He ripped them, burned them, and gave me a new freedom that I have never quite felt before. He clothed me in strength, understanding, and joy. I found a freedom that I can be joyful and fully myself in any circumstance. He showed me that I was purposefully created to be who I am. Every freckle was placed on me with thought, my nose and my smile and my eyes were created one-of-a-kind, for me. Every passion, gift and desire of my heart was placed there for a reason and wasn't put there to be ignored. I wasn't meant to be anyone else but who I am. We all have gifts, talents, smiles, and voices to be shared with the world. And I'm here for it. I'm excited for it. So here I am, stepping into the sunshine, and the freedom that he gave me through his grace. And to answer the question "Where did my joy go?" Well, it's in you. Listen to it. Always try to listen to truth over the lies and fear, even when it seems almost impossible. In truth there is so much joy to be shared.

 

xx

12 Hours in Duluth, MN

A week ago my boyfriend, Jake, and I decided to make a quick day trip up to Duluth, MN, to explore, hike, shop around, and just enjoy some time away from the our day-to-day lives. Recently I've discovered that for me, photography isn't about posing people, it's not about perfection, for me,  it's about real life. It's about capturing our daily stories in small moments and looking back on them with gratitude. Basically - I've come to realize that I fell in love with capturing life. The things around me. So with that - here's my visual diary of our trip up north. 

enjoy.

xx

duluth coffee co. - always our first stop.

duluth coffee co. - always our first stop.

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old town antiques & books - an awesome antique store to get lost in.

old town antiques & books - an awesome antique store to get lost in.

hucklebeary - cutest new gift shop and creative space in duluth, definitely worth a look!

hucklebeary - cutest new gift shop and creative space in duluth, definitely worth a look!

climbing in silver bay, mn.

climbing in silver bay, mn.

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my "it's so cold but I'm so happy to be up north so who cares" look

my "it's so cold but I'm so happy to be up north so who cares" look

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love my adventure buddy. always down to explore and feed me snacks so i don't get hangry.

love my adventure buddy. always down to explore and feed me snacks so i don't get hangry.

arrived at gooseberry falls, mn.

arrived at gooseberry falls, mn.

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hello reflections.

hello reflections.

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double exposure fun.

double exposure fun.

jake in canal park brewery - our favorite place to grab a burger (their chips are THE BEST EVER)

jake in canal park brewery - our favorite place to grab a burger (their chips are THE BEST EVER)

park point.

park point.

park point beach.

park point beach.

my favorite new travel backpack.

my favorite new travel backpack.

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lift bridge.

lift bridge.

headed home.

headed home.

the end.

xx

10 creative women who made me who I am today

My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive & to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
— Maya Angelou
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Is that not the most empowering quote ever?! It's become one of my mottos this past year. It reminds me to stay true to myself, to really be intentional about my life, and to follow my dreams. Speaking of following my dreams, in honor of International Women's Day today, I'm here to share with you some creative and inspiring female bloggers, filmmakers, photographers, and influencers who've inspired me to follow my dreams. I would not be the same woman I am today if I hadn't gotten lost in their art. These women are from all over the world and I am so thankful to have stumbled across their work at different points in my life.

HERE. WE. GO.

Poppy Deyes

Poppy is a blogger from the UK. She is an amazing photographer, food lover, fashionista, travel guru and all around lovely human. I love reading her blog and seeing what she's up to and excited about. She is unapologetically herself and you'll find this with a lot of these woman I'll be talking about, they are so empowering. Any who - Poppy is one of the bloggers I that truly made me want to start blogging and blog about the things I love, regardless of what people thought about it.

Zoe Sugg -

Zoe is a HUGE Youtube and Blogger also from the UK. She mainly focuses on lifestyle and beauty but she is so much more than just that. She is a goofball but also one bad ass business woman who inspires me to take life a little less seriously, but also push yourself to your full potential because you never know what you're capable of until you try for yourself. Definitely check her out. 

Hailey Devine -

Hailey is an incredible filmmaker from Utah. Her and her husband, Brad, make incredible travel videos and also vlog and blog about their daily life with their two little girls, Lucy and Greta, who are SO ADORABLE. She inspires me to travel the world, and to never be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone. She also inspires me to be an amazing mom who shows her kids that life is so beautiful and worth living, when that day come of course. I hope to be as loving and joyful as she is.

Taylor Tippet - 

Taylor is a tatted up, Jesus and Justin Beiber loving blogger and influencer from Chicago, Illinois. She is a flight attendant and created the movement called "Words from the Windowseat." Which spreads positivity around the world. She inspires me to travel more and open my heart to new experiences. She shows others how to be joyful regardless of your circumstance.

Shawna - 

I've watched Shawna's videos on Youtube when I was in probably sixth grade. She is a filmmaker and she is SO incredibley talented. I used to wake up super early before school so I could watch some of her short films before heading out because I always felt so excited to create after I watched them. She's one of the main reasons I started making videos on youtube, which also led me to trying my hand at photography. 

Tessa Violet -

Along with Shawna, I also watched Tessa Violet's videos alongside her because I they created a lot of short films together. Tessa inspired me to take down my guard, to laugh a little more and get excited to create. She also reminded me that it's okay to not be okay. To realize that we all aren't perfect and that is a beautiful thing.

Ella Grace Denton -

When I think about Ella Grace Denton, words that come to my head are - empowering, encouraging, real, honest, authentic...she is all those. She is a singer/songwriter and influencer. She loves empowering woman to be whoever and whatever they want to be. She inspires to to love other woman like they were my sisters. To always root for them and encourage them because we aren't so different from each other at all.

Arden Rose - 

She is hilarious, honest and unapologetically herself. Arden is an Actress, Influencer and Youtuber. She loves books, films, film cameras, beauty and the nitty gritty REAL life conversations. She's has inspired me to be myself, and reassured me that it's okay to not have it all figured out yet. That there's no rush to find what exactly you want to do, just do the things you love.

Christine De Villiers -

Christine is a youtuber who I believe is my age. I've followed her for a while now and she makes beautiful videos of her travels and the things that inspire her. She is hilarious and real, she is not afraid to be vulnerable and I think that is so courageous and special.

Megan Hughes -

Megan is a Youtuber living in Oregon. The main reason I started watching her was because she has this series called "Pizza Talk" which is when she sits down with a friend, devours a pizza, and talks about life - like REAL LIFE. It's pretty beautiful and it's almost as if you're sitting down with some sisters. I always came back to her videos when I felt down or discouraged, they always tended to raise me up again and left me feeling so empowered.

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I could list of a hundred more women who've inspired me throughout the years but these are just some key people who had a huge influence on me that I wouldn't necessarily get a chance to thank in person. It's so important to let people know how much they mean to you. Even a quick text or a phone call makes all the difference. Let's encourage each other, root for each other, be cheer leaders for one another. Let's stop competing and start leading, helping, cheering, loving, caring, and celebrating. What a beautiful thing it is to be amongst so many beautiful hearts and minds. So here's to International Woman's Day! I would like to thank my mom, for being such a hard worker and always being a great example of how hard work pays off. I would like to thank my friends who I've met and loved over the years. I'm so thankful for these friendships and womanhood that are full of love and support for one another. Thanks for everything.  

Make sure tell the strong women in your life that you love them today. Give them a fist bump and say, "you're freaking awesome."

xx

2017 - a year in review

I'm a little bit late to the party here, but I always love looking back on the past year when the new year rolls around. I love to see where I went, what inspired me, and how I saw the world. So here's a brief "through-my-eyes" of 2017.

Enjoy, xoxo

J A N U A R Y

January 4th, 2017 - started the year off with a trip up north.

January 4th, 2017 - started the year off with a trip up north.

F E B R U A R Y

February 4th, 2017 - met a new friend via Instagram

February 4th, 2017 - met a new friend via Instagram

February 11th, 2017 / aka my birthday - got baptized, best decision ever.

February 11th, 2017 / aka my birthday - got baptized, best decision ever.

February 20th, 2017 - took some of my favorite photos of my friend Abby on a rainy day in the town we grew up in.

February 20th, 2017 - took some of my favorite photos of my friend Abby on a rainy day in the town we grew up in.

February 21st, 2017 - got coffee, walked around town, as per usual.

February 21st, 2017 - got coffee, walked around town, as per usual.

M A R C H

March 7th, 2017 - wrote a blog post on how I learned to love who I am.

March 7th, 2017 - wrote a blog post on how I learned to love who I am.

March, 2017 - spent lots of time in coffee shops writing papers for college and wondering what I was supposed to do with my life.

March, 2017 - spent lots of time in coffee shops writing papers for college and wondering what I was supposed to do with my life.

A P R I L

April 25th, 2017 - fell deeply in love with spring, probably because college ended.

April 25th, 2017 - fell deeply in love with spring, probably because college ended.

April, 2017 - got one of my photos featured in a local Magazine along with a story about it. ALSO had my first art showing in April but I don't have any photos of it, go figure.

April, 2017 - got one of my photos featured in a local Magazine along with a story about it. ALSO had my first art showing in April but I don't have any photos of it, go figure.

M A Y

May 26th, 2017 - photographed Victoria in my favorite bush of flowers.

May 26th, 2017 - photographed Victoria in my favorite bush of flowers.

May, 2017 - realized how much I loved fashion and thrifting so I blogged about it.

May, 2017 - realized how much I loved fashion and thrifting so I blogged about it.

May, 2017 - enjoyed hiking in state parks with Jake, and blogged about it, this was one of the moments I realized how much I loved blogging and creating these little photo journals.

May, 2017 - enjoyed hiking in state parks with Jake, and blogged about it, this was one of the moments I realized how much I loved blogging and creating these little photo journals.

J U N E

June 14th and 15th, 2017 - went up north with my sweet friends, Meg and Eli, and my boyfriend, Jake. Seriously such a magical few days.

June 14th and 15th, 2017 - went up north with my sweet friends, Meg and Eli, and my boyfriend, Jake. Seriously such a magical few days.

June 14th, 2017 - enjoy windy days on Minnesota's North shore, a dream.

June 14th, 2017 - enjoy windy days on Minnesota's North shore, a dream.

June 5th, 2017 - reconnected with an old sweet friend, Kaia.

June 5th, 2017 - reconnected with an old sweet friend, Kaia.

J U L Y

July, 2017 - took trip to Chicago and Milwaukee with my boyfriend, Jake.

July, 2017 - took trip to Chicago and Milwaukee with my boyfriend, Jake.

July, 2017 - Chicago Trip, re-fell in love with this city.

July, 2017 - Chicago Trip, re-fell in love with this city.

July 9th, 2017 - went up north for a Hippo Campus concert and then exploring the shore on the calmest summer morning with my friend, Abby.

July 9th, 2017 - went up north for a Hippo Campus concert and then exploring the shore on the calmest summer morning with my friend, Abby.

A U G U S T

August 14th, 2017 - Went up north AGAIN with my Instagram friend/now real life friend. This is her, we look the same.

August 14th, 2017 - Went up north AGAIN with my Instagram friend/now real life friend. This is her, we look the same.

August 28th, 2017 - went to Michigan with Victoria to visited her family, walked along lake superior.

August 28th, 2017 - went to Michigan with Victoria to visited her family, walked along lake superior.

August 17th, 2017 - ran around Stillwater and photographed in the flowers with my lovely childhood friend, Jaz.

August 17th, 2017 - ran around Stillwater and photographed in the flowers with my lovely childhood friend, Jaz.

S E P T E M B E R

September, 2017 - Visited my grandparents in Iowa. This is their barn.

September, 2017 - Visited my grandparents in Iowa. This is their barn.

September, 2017 - Went to the Quad cities, went to American Pickers store.

September, 2017 - Went to the Quad cities, went to American Pickers store.

September, 2017 - Went to a cousins wedding in Iowa with my parents and my boyfriend, visited lots of coffee shops, went to the Quad cities, made lots of fun pit stops, impulse bought a striped jumpsuit, read a lot. 

September, 2017 - Went to a cousins wedding in Iowa with my parents and my boyfriend, visited lots of coffee shops, went to the Quad cities, made lots of fun pit stops, impulse bought a striped jumpsuit, read a lot. 

September 15th, 2017 - starting shooting photos for Duluth Pack, fell in love with product photography.

September 15th, 2017 - starting shooting photos for Duluth Pack, fell in love with product photography.

O C T O B E R

October 2017 - became an ambassador for Krochet Kids and did a photoshoot up north (of course) with my boyfriend, Jake.

October 2017 - became an ambassador for Krochet Kids and did a photoshoot up north (of course) with my boyfriend, Jake.

October, 2017 - drove up north on the most beautiful fall day, as Jake snoozed in the passenger seat, I sipped on my coffee and drove, the sun shone down through the windows and the through the yellow leaves, it was golden. Easily one of my the most magical days of 2017.

October, 2017 - drove up north on the most beautiful fall day, as Jake snoozed in the passenger seat, I sipped on my coffee and drove, the sun shone down through the windows and the through the yellow leaves, it was golden. Easily one of my the most magical days of 2017.

October 2017 - that same north shore trip. We cute.

October 2017 - that same north shore trip. We cute.

October 27th, 2017 - ran around and did a photoshoot with my lovely friend Megan. She is such a beautiful human, also so hilarious.  

October 27th, 2017 - ran around and did a photoshoot with my lovely friend Megan. She is such a beautiful human, also so hilarious.  

October, 2017 - enjoyed the first snowfall of the year with my friend, Victoria.

October, 2017 - enjoyed the first snowfall of the year with my friend, Victoria.

N O V E M B E R

November, 2017 - went to Minneapolis...a lot.

November, 2017 - went to Minneapolis...a lot.

November, 2017 - realized that long hair looks good but is too much work and that I need to cut is ASAP.

November, 2017 - realized that long hair looks good but is too much work and that I need to cut is ASAP.

November, 2017 - went out for coffee and found a cute pink staircase with Meg.

November, 2017 - went out for coffee and found a cute pink staircase with Meg.

November, 2017 - prayed for a new job, something I knew how to do, something close to home. Then got a new job working as an almost full time barista. *cue praise hands*

November, 2017 - prayed for a new job, something I knew how to do, something close to home. Then got a new job working as an almost full time barista. *cue praise hands*

D E C E M B E R

December, 2017 - barely survived a frigid Minnesota winter.

December, 2017 - barely survived a frigid Minnesota winter.

December, 2017 - enjoyed a trip to the conservatory on a cold winter day with Jake.

December, 2017 - enjoyed a trip to the conservatory on a cold winter day with Jake.

December, 29th, 2017 - spent one of the last days of 2017, getting brunch, drinking coffee and shopping around downtown Minneapolis on a snowy day. It felt like a dream.

December, 29th, 2017 - spent one of the last days of 2017, getting brunch, drinking coffee and shopping around downtown Minneapolis on a snowy day. It felt like a dream.

December 31st, 2017 - celebrated New Years Eve with some friends from High School.

December 31st, 2017 - celebrated New Years Eve with some friends from High School.

Loving Your Now

As I've been entering a new season of my life, with a gap year, being busy with work, and focusing on photography, I've found myself losing focus on my now. My now? you ask. Yes, my now. You know, the things you're putting your heart and time into at the moment? That now - the work, the hobbies and passions, the family gatherings, the encounters of everyday life, the little things in life. The present season of your life.

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How often do we find ourselves looking too far ahead? So far ahead, that we start stumbling over the things that are right in front of us? Like an old pair of shoes that we forgot we owned and never wear anymore. Or maybe we aren't even looking ahead but instead looking at others? Their successes, their wins. For me, this happens quite a bit. But the more I've delved into this new season of life, I've learned to slow down, focus on, and love my now. No more comparing. No more envy or jealousy. No more trying to compete in this race of life that was never even meant to be run in the first place.

Life is not a race to the next big thing. It's not a race to the promotion, to the new apartment or house, the vacation, the opportunity. Life's full of little pieces of nows, like a puzzle. Each piece is put together over time, meant to be enjoyed individually to their fullest, not thrown together and shoved to make fit where it shouldn't. Who ever told us to shove together our puzzle as fast as possible? No one. So slow it down. Find ways to enjoy each piece, each step, to the next thing. When you enjoy your now, you find a peace, and a gentleness about life. You find fulfillment in the little things, in the process.

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If you only had one day left on this earth, would you rather have enjoyed your now? Or been beating yourself up because your not where someone else is? Seems like a pretty obvious choice, right? This world sometimes seems to be a world of comparison and competition - it's not, and it was never intended to be. Enjoy your now. Enjoy your part time job, enjoy your walks by the lake, enjoy your coffee in the morning, enjoy the conversation with your parents, enjoy the small things, because those are what count. No job promotion, vacation or material desire will fulfill the desires of your heart. And most of the time, we are all so focused on ourselves that no one else cares where your at, so you just go and DO YOUR THING! We are all just trying to do our best we can in this world, let's stop trying to one-up each other, and instead support each other in each step.

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Love your now

You'll fly from there.

xx

 

Chicago

It's been a bit of time since I last went to Chicago. Last time I went I was about 11 and I would've bet you a thousand dollars that I was going to live in Chicago by age 20....hah. I wish. But for real, I'm always truly enamored by the sights and sounds of this diverse, lively city. Basically it was love at first sight. I then time passed (about 7 years) And here I am. Back in Chicago, with my boyfriend, Jake. WOO HOO!

I'm going to walk you through some of my must-do's! There's a lot. I know there's much more to explore than this but this is what what we did within the 2 days we spent there.

SO - let's go!

Art Institute of ChicagoThis is a MUST if your into history or the arts like me. It's a decent price for how much you get to see, and man, it's massive! You could spend multiple days there looking at art. Plus, it's just a beautiful building to get lost in. 

Millenium Park - The Bean, the park, the tourists, gotta love it. I mean it's cool to see especially if it's your first time in Chi town, it's iconic. The park in general is just lovely to explore on a nice day! There's always a fun, lively atmosphere in this park - so so cute. 

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Next off -  coffee shops. I know I know, I'm addicted. It's a problem...kinda? But when you're on Va-cay and pulling late nights and early mornings, this is all I wanted!

Metric - This coffee shop was a little farther outside of downtown Chicago (about 2 miles from downtown). We walked, which was a bit far. The shop was super small but extremely cool, with carefully placed plants and a wooden backsplash. There's a decent amount of outdoor seating though, and the coffee was lovely. I would just recommend catching an uber or driving there!

Fairgrounds - We actually found out about this place whilst walking by it. I'm glad we did! The staff was so welcoming. What makes them unique is that they have coffee from multiple coffee roasters, so you can choose what you want and where it's from. They even have Spyhouse Coffee from here in the Twin Cities!

Asado - Asado was unique in atmosphere, yet still had that relaxed coffee shop vibe. The coffee was great!

Intelligentsia -  This was our first stop when we got off the train in Chicago. We were both exhausted from a long travel day the day before but this hit the spot! Intelligence never fails, I tell ya.

Chicago Public Library - Okay. To be 100% truthful we actually came in here looking for a bathroom. Don't worry. We found it. But this library is HUGE and has everything you could imagine. We ended up taking the elevator to the top floor and we were not expecting what we found - a huge reading/working room, minimal tables all spread out with tall ceilings with massive skylight windows. The whole room was a blue hue and wow, it was gorgeous.

Shedd Aquarium - This Aquarium is what dreams are made of. When I was younger and came here I was seriously AMAZED by the aquatic life in this massive building. Now coming back, I was equally amazed. From the fish of the Great Lakes, to petting stingrays, to seeing huge amazonian fish that were bigger than me, to the most adorable Beluga Whales which will steal your heart, as they did to me multiple times. Seriously a must-go. I little pricey, but SO worth it. 

Eleven Diner - Just go. Just do it. It's SO good.

360 Chicago - Formerly known as the John Hancock building, 360 Chicago is a must if this is your first visit to Chicago. Definitely not something you do every time but it's so cool. You go in an elevator going 20mph, up to the 94th floor, where you get to see a 360 view of the entire city of Chicago, from up above. Seriously SO cool!

Navy Pier- I'm sure you all know this tourist go-to. It's always great, especially in the evening to night when all the lights glow amongst the city - so gorgeous. We adventured around the stores, and by the lake side, all for the people watching, the various smells of greasy but yummy food, the lively atmosphere, everything! One tip for Navy Pier: Go to the very end of Navy Pier where there's a parking ramp, take the elevator to the top of the ramp to find a spectacular few of the city in all it's lights. The weird thing was that nobody else was there when we went! Good thing? Bad thing? I don't know, you can decide, regardless it was so worth it!

 

Until next time Chi Town!

xx

Summer Thrift Style

As some of you may know - I'm absolutely obsessed with thrifting! Second hand shops are my JAM. It's not until the past year or so that I've realized how much my style and expressing myself have been so important to me. Before you go "Ew. Thrift shops are nasty and old and smelly." Take a moment and check this blog out! I understand - thrifting is NOT for everybody. But I encourage you to check out your local thrift stores and look for some unique and classic pieces. Pieces with character and stories behind them. I'm not saying everything in the store will be worth buying just because it's cheap, it's far from that. But you can definitely find some quality pieces - You just have to have an idea of what you're looking for! PLUS you're re-using quality clothing and giving it a second life, lovely isn't it?

I thrift shop a lot - probably an excessive amount. But I just find it so fun, you never know what you'll find! You can usually catch me wearing some funky 80's denim pieces or weird printed shirts, or men's boots...or all of that at once. I like to think my style is categorized as "quirky but cute grandpa" - so that's just flattering right? It looks better than it sounds I can PROMISE you that! ANYWAYS - I created a little "lookbook" if you may, of some outfits I'm loving this summer - ALL from various thrift stores! 

Denim Overall Dress

(Minneapolis) Buffalo Exchange for $12.99

Black and White Striped Tee

Goodwill for $3.99

I've seriously had this Tee Shirt for about 3 years now - It's thick and still in great condition! I wear it all the time!

Large Light Blue Long Sleeve 

Goodwill for $4.99

Obsessed with this shirt for the summer - lightweight and super comfy!

High-Waisted Denim Shorts

Goodwill for $5.99

I bought these as full jeans and decided to cut them for a 50's high-waisted short look! 

Yellow & White Striped Tee

Goodwill for $3.99

High-Waisted Jeans

Goodwill for $7.99

I bought these a while ago now but I ripped them on the knees, so it's a more comfortable option for breezy summer days.

What are your thoughts? Are you into thrifting or nah? What's your style like? Would you like to see more posts like this? I personally LOVE doing posts like this one here, they are SO fun to create. Comment below - I always love hearing your thoughts! 

Seeking Joy on the North Shore

I am and always have been quite a sentimental person. You know, the one that's like "oh my gosh, remember this?! That was amazing, I miss going _____ everyday - blah blah blah.." by this point the person I'm talking to is most definitely thinking - yeah that's cool and all but I get the point you LOVE this place/thing/person, get over it already. But in all honesty, I will probably never get over it. I've always been a nostalgia dweller, if you may.

A couple of weeks ago, some lovely friends of mine, Meg & Eli, and my boyfriend, Jake, booked a hotel for two nights, packed up our bags, and made our way up to Duluth, MN. We were all so excited to arrive in such a cozy yet exciting place in Minnesota. In my brain, the planner that I am, I had an endless list of places we HAD to go, no excuses. I was overly prepared to have the best time with these wonderful humans.

This is me!

This is me!

Fortunately, this place, the north shore of Minnesota in general, holds so many sweet sweet memories for me. You know, the moments I daydream about when I'm feeling bored. Many of being a kid, running around on the stone-covered beaches and hearing them clank against each other under the pressure of my little feet. Searching for the BEST rock I could find, and being so excited about it that I would have to show everyone in the family. Memories of biking along Lake Superior in Grand Marais with my best friend. Memories of that cozy feeling of playing card games around the bonfire with people you love, when the air is crisp but being wrapped in huge blankets was the perfect remedy. Nothing would or could ever hold back my happiness in these moments. Being a kid was forever exciting and it seemed as if every little thing was worth celebrating. 

Black Beach in Silver Bay, MN 

Black Beach in Silver Bay, MN 

As I grow older and visit these beautiful places once again, I realize that I'm changing, life's a lot different than it was 10 years ago. Our lives are full of the unexpected, the scary, the filters, the illusions, the fears and anxieties. As we grow older our lives become more and more complex, like a bundle a yarn being woven in and out of itself. But sometimes God has a nice way of showing us just what we need at just the right time. 

My lovely friends, Megan and Elliot.

My lovely friends, Megan and Elliot.

As the four of us drove, our worries and our fears seemed to have silenced a bit. They seemed to have taken a back seat as our minds made room for the joy, the sweetness, the well-being and the pure delight of life. As Megan, Elliot, Jake and I arrived in Duluth, as tired as we were, I could see the joy filling up our hotel room - like being little kids again, laughing, giggling, talking about what we were going to do the next day. 

Meg & Eli - soaked in the rain and a BIT muddy 

Meg & Eli - soaked in the rain and a BIT muddy 

The waterfall we trudged through the rain to see! (In Tettegouche State Park)

The waterfall we trudged through the rain to see! (In Tettegouche State Park)

There's definitely something special about this atmosphere I'm describing. The time to finally leave all of our distractions behind us, and in return, focusing on what's truly vital and important to this life we live. For me, going up north always brings me a sense of clarity. It brings me back to the present moment, a few seconds in time where I'm so joyful to be where I am that I run and actually fall (like a "face-plant-in-the-rocks" kind of fall), this did actually happen when we were up north - I'm a dork but hey I love this life. Or even at one point during this trip, we were hiking, and it was DOWN-POURING, and lightning - yet we were determined to see a waterfall so we kept on trudging forward. I heard Meg and Eli yell behind us so I quickly spun around. Of course -  they were laughing, soaking wet from the rain, and slipping around in the mud and trying to get out. They were LAUGHING. Boy, I love 'em. What I'm saying is that it's so healthy to have carefree moments like this, like being a kid again. Rather than constantly being distracted by work, drama, technology, worry - whatever it is for you. Being away from my day-to-day distractions made me feel forced to let go of things that weigh me down - stress, anger, frustration, worry, anxiousness, expectations, tiredness - in order to fully focus on the people I'm with. I later replaced those harsh but necessary feelings with joy, love, acceptance, openness, and trust. 

My wonderful boyfriend, Jake.

My wonderful boyfriend, Jake.

Being home and looking back at all this, I'm so glad I let go of those harsh feelings, I didn't ever push them away, but just accepted where I'm at. Because the people to be around are ones who love you exactly where you're at. Every flaw, every imperfection and every mistake. I remember walking along the beach and talking with Megan and she had said something about "growing together in the struggle." How beautiful is that? No matter what is happening in your life, huge or microscopic, an argument or a loss - you can always choose to grow through it with people who love you, although it may be difficult at times. 

If you can take anything away from this ramble, stream of consciousness type of blog post, please let it be to allow yourself to feel joy in every circumstance, even if that's only a little bit. Although under certain circumstances it can be extremely difficult, it will always be necessary to seek joy and hope as much as it is necessary to feel pain and sadness.  

Where or when do you find your joy? I would love to hear you thoughts!

xx

A Day Away

Sometimes a day away is just what we need. A "day away" can mean something different to from person to person. Maybe it means a vacation somewhere far far away. Maybe it's a night in, cozy on the couch in your pajamas, binge watching episodes of New Girl and eating ice cream with someone you love. Or maybe it's just going out to your favorite coffee shop to read and take a mental break from it all. All these things are so different yet, they have the same general outcome - a more peaceful and energized mindset that's ready to take on a better, healthier perspective on life. Right? 

The other day my boyfriend Jake and I decided to change up our usual date plans, which is normally going out for coffee or ice cream somewhere in the city, and instead we went hiking - because, I mean, why not? SO - we looked up way too many places to hike in Minnesota, we were looking for some place that wasn't too far away, but just far enough away. Then we finally came across Willow River State Park, near Hudson, Wisconsin, a place I know so many people have gone too, yet we both somehow had never been. So we packed up a backpack with plenty of snacks and water and - we were off!

We weren't entirely sure exactly where we were headed but we knew we were going to the falls...somehow. I mean we had a map, but who uses a map, ya know? The walk was a lot longer than we anticipated as the park was absolutely massive. It was definitely way bigger than we had originally thought. But hey - more to explore right? So we continued to walk - through the trails outlined in mossy logs, clovers, grasses and wildflowers, and canopied by huge, green, twisted trees - it was so insanely beautiful. It made me remember how much I love the outdoors, I felt like a kid again as we walked deeper and deeper into this lush park.

Sometimes I forget how the outdoors and being amongst so much nature can make me feel. I mean wow. I always leave hikes and camping trips feeling so much more inspired, uplifted and mainly a lot more peaceful. And man, that fresh air can work WONDERS on your mood, I can tell you that for sure. It truly amazes to me how much I've yet to see in the world, especially places like this, that I live so close to, yet I had no idea about previously. There's so much to explore, all the way from huge waterfalls to small little flowers. We even saw this sweet little baby bunny all alone on the side of the trail. I may or may not have tried to lure him over so I could pet him. But things like this, I tell ya, they make life just a little bit sweeter.

After the walk that seemed like possibly the longest one ever, we made it to the falls(thank the LORD). Which, can I say, was WAY bigger than I ever expected. Like WHAT. It was HUGE. The water was flowing like crazy, and as loud as could be. We took in the sight (and all of its - for lack of a better word - refreshing mist) and decided to go up to the lookout, which contained a gazillion stairs, but definitely worth it. After that, we scrabbled back down to the bottom of the falls, happily sat down on some rocks, and had a well-deserved lunch, which, by the way, we ate in record time. It was just lovely. 

I honestly don't remember the last time my body felt so tired, that I could actually, willingly go to bed early(I'm a complete night owl if you didn't know). But that's what happened. You know you had a good day when you're happily exhausted for once. It's a wonderful feeling, that I wish I felt more often. Days like this just remind that getting away is A-okay - and necessary. People aren't meant to stay in one place all the time and do the same exact things everyday, it can easily become overwhelmingly boring, too routine, and mentally draining, if you don't change it up a little bit here and there. It's almost like your just surviving, but not necessarily feeling like you're living in the moment, or thriving. But right now is all we have, the present. So live for it. Give yourself a break from the chaos and busy schedules and just open up your eyes to the inspiration and beauty that surrounds you. 

If you can find the peace and clarity to accept where you are, you will soon have the insight to get where you’d like to go.

Growth, Life & Trust

Spring is on of those times of the year that always catch me by surprise. I kind of forget how beautiful this transition into life is. Honestly. I used to hate spring; all the melted snow, the muck, the mud - HAHA NOPE. It wasn't my thing. But the past few years, spring has brought me a sense of relief (I made it through another cold and dark winter, heck ya), and a period of growth, life, and rebirth, even in some literal senses. On the flip-side, winter has always seemed like a struggle to me. I was always excited for snow at first, then after about one month, I was OVER it, like most minnesotans (and freeze babies like me) of course. The farther into the winter I got the more memories of loved ones, and friends who had passed on during winter would flood my mind, those memories stick with me every winter. The depression sometimes overtook and controlled my life. But now I see how blessed I am to have known these people, and to celebrate and cherish their lives that they lived, rather than the lives they didn't. Although winter is hard, it's necessary to see how wonderful spring is. Thankfully, winter does end, and then comes the beginning of spring. The first days of warmth are so radiant that it warms up the patio, just enough to MAYBE take off my socks and stand out in the sun, even if it is only 50 degrees. I feel a breath of life within the world around me as the green leaves poke through to greet the crisp air, the birds sing, the sun rises to warm the cold earth, and life begins again. But that life never stopped, it was just out of sight. 

This spring has definitely felt like a long time coming. With this year of my life being the BIGGEST period of growth so far, somedays I felt hopeless, confused, lost, anxious and in fear of what was to come. But looking back on this winter, I am nothing but proud of who I have become; more independent, stronger, more accepting of myself and others, more loving, more confident in who I am as a woman in Christ, although I will always be growing, changing, and making mistakes. I've especially learned more about how to trust. Trusting this journey of life that God is taking me on. God's love for us is like the life to this earth, sometimes we can't see it (like in the winter) but it's always there.  Then there are day's when we can see the life. We can see what he has done in our lives. We feel gratitude wash over us, as we are thankful to have lived through tough times, because God showed us his love(kind of like spring, you can see the beauty of his love). He knows the trials we have faced and which ones will come. He knows our sins, shame, insecurities, struggles and doubts. Yet he knows our hearts, our passions, our ideas, our goals and our love for life. He knows us by nameI cannot wait to see what kind of plans he has in store for all of us, both challenging, and exciting.

This spring is going to be a season of trust. I am ready to rise up to who God wants me to be rather than what society says I should be. I am ready to be patient and thankful in whatever circumstance I find myself in, knowing that every moment is fleeting and temporary. I want to be joyful in as many ways I can, at home, at school, at work, and in everyday life. I am ready to love myself in every state I am and to just to be thankful I am alive with such great opportunities to take advantage of. We are able to handle challenges, hurdles, and unexpected things that life throws at us because the Lord is on our side, he's on everyone's side. Life is never easy, nor is life always fair, but God provides and he has a purpose  for you. He knows your heart.

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."

- Isaiah 40:8

 

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

- Philippians 4:13

 

An Exciting Announcement!

I never really thought I would have the chance to do this in my life, even if I did, I thought it would be farther down the road. So, this is EXCITING. I'm so happy to announce that I will be having an Art Showing/Open House on April 18th!! 

Here's what you need to know:

- When? Tuesday, April 18th, from 5pm to 8pm

- Where? At the Kellerman's Event Center in downtown White Bear Lake (2222 4th St, St Paul, MN 55110-3011, United States)

- There will be "adult beverages" available for purchase from The Alchemist (attached to The Kellerman's Event Center) 

- Coffee and yummy snacks will be available 

- There will be prints of my photographs ranging from my trips in Northern Minnesota to local White Bear Lake photos to the mountains of Montana, and some others scattered in between. PLUS - Prints will all be up for SALE! (whaaatt??!)

- There will be a great community of people attending and plenty of conversation!

 

I think that about covers it! But WOW. This is so incredibly exciting. I'm elated to share my photographs and passion with the community who has raised me and supported me in every way possible. It's truly a blessing. ALSO - Thanks to The Fifth Element for kindly hosting this event! 

Come join us for an fun evening of conversation, food and art!

Thanks!

-Alli 

xoxo

 

s e l f - l o v e

Man, self love is TOUGH. It's one of the toughest things I've ever learned to deal with and I'm still constantly learning to embrace it. But the pay off is OH SO powerful. We live in a world where our sense of beauty and worth is controlled by the media, by what big companies and businesses consider beautiful and worthy. They try tell us our beauty comes out of a package, that beauty is bought. They tell us that the beautiful eyes that we were born with need more, that they're not quite beautiful yet. They tell us our lives aren't beautiful because we don't "have it all together" - um. honestly...what does that even MEAN anyways? 

Let's start now. TODAY. Now is the time to tell our brothers and sisters that they are wonderfully made. We need to tell them that they are beautiful and WORTHY of happiness because of everything they are capable of. They are strong. They have beautiful eyes to see color and light and the world.  They have hands to create, hands to hold, people to hug and embrace. They have legs to leap and bound across the yard while feeling the grass tickle between their toes. They have a smile to share, with a mouth and voice to speak their word, and tell others about their wild ideas and dreams. They have a nose to smell a fresh home cooked meal or their favorite kind of pizza, of course. They have ears to listen for cries of help from others, the much-needed advice from their parents, OR to just jam out to their favorite song. They have a heart that is beating and keeping them alive. They have a body, no matter what shape or size, that is an incredible mechanism enabling them to live a life unlike any other.  They have ambitions, passions, ideas, and a love for life, that still may be waiting to be delved into. They have a open mind with thoughts that flow in and out of it 24/7 to share, to ponder and to wonder about this insane, messy and beautiful life that we all live together on this planet. It's time to tell them, your friend, you parents, your brothers and sisters, your neighbor, coworkers, partners, strangers, and especially YOURSELF. We are worthy, beautiful, and living, breathing works of art.

There are no more beauty standards. No more self-depricating thoughts. No more jealousy. No more comparisons. No more bringing others down for what they are/are not. There is only the absolute incredible beauty of what the Lord has given you. It's YOU! Try and love every bit of yourself as hard as it may be, because you are so SO worth it. 

 

xx