2015 was a grand adventure & I will be forever grateful. It began watching fireworks in Sydney, Australia & ended at home in West Seattle but the last 365 days changed me, challenged me & put some stamps in my passport. On a personal level, I found out I was stronger than I knew & braver than I thought I could be. I laughed a lot & cried a little & took a whole lot of pictures all over this beautiful world that I'm lucky enough to call home.
So, a few of my favorites from the last year.
2015, You were a whirlwind in the best way possible. I can't wait to see what 2016 holds ... It has a whole lot to live up to.
January. Lord Howe, Australia.
January. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
February. Cayman Islands, Caribbean.
April. The Bahamas.
May. The Enchantments, Washington.
June. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
August. Lopez Island, Washington.
September. Kona, Hawaii.
September. The Kingdom of Tonga.
October. The Shetland Islands, Scotland.
October. London, England.
November. Capetown, South Africa.
Ah, the Bahamas. Land of bubblegum ice cream colored water, white sand beaches that go on for days & sharks that miraculously decide against eating you for dinner.
I spent a week there last April, diving with sharks, swimming with pigs, combing the beaches for treasure & hanging out with some of my favorite people.
So here's to the Bahamas, to merciful sharks, to aquatic pigs & to several women sharing a toddler.
Ah, the Fall.
I always yearn for the Fall & then as soon as it shows up with its wind & rain & falling leaves, I find myself longing for the warm days of Summer & all the delightful things that filled them.
One of my favorite weeks of this Summer was the time I spent volunteering at Camp Side by Side, a camp for families who are fighting childhood cancer. And coming from a family who has faced this, it was so encouraging to be among these people who daily face the monster that is childhood cancer, but in the midst of that heartache, find joy, are full of laughter & most importantly have found hope & community in places like Side by Side.
I am eternally grateful to have had the divine experience of meeting these kids, capturing their smiles & experiencing hope in the midst of great trial.
These are the moments that truly make me love what I do.
Here's to you, Camp Side by Side. I can't wait until next year.
On a rainy spring day in Seattle, nothing feels quite as right as revisiting the sun.
In February of this year, I had the privilege of spending two weeks in the Cayman Islands. It was a healing trip for me after what had been a challenging winter. Among the palms, the turtles & the warm winds of the Caribbean, I found the space to begin to recover some pieces of myself that had been lost along the way.
& I am just ever so grateful to have had the opportunity.
Because some Spring holidays are best celebrated with pastel colored ponchos & giant blue bunnies ...
I can tend toward being a person who is easily overwhelmed by beauty.
I remember being in Alaska when I was working there in college & as I would drive through the vast mountains & valleys that the Southeast is full of, I distinctly remember looking out from my tour bus and thinking about how truly lucky I was.
Lucky to touch, hike through, and experience a place that so few people get to. Sometimes, I would cry about it. (remember that part about me being easily overwhelmed by beauty?)
It felt so special to me.
And I've been incredibly blessed to travel & to have seen a lot of very interesting places. But this last February, in the Galapagos Islands off of Ecuador, for the first time in a long time, I experienced that same sense that I had in Alaska when I was in my early 20's.
The feeling that I was touching, feeling & seeing something that most people won't have a chance to.
And when I think about it, I don't totally understand why I get to experience these things. But for as long as I am, I'm going to enjoy & embrace every second.
And share them how I know to. As much as humanly possible.
& if you have the inclination, the availability, or the chance to go to the Galapagos Islands, do.
It's truly the weirdest ... From the boobies, to the flamingos, to the crabs that could inspire a paint palette, to the prickly pear trees, to the marine iguanas who spit salt water on you when they're just not that impressed, to the tortoises who are bigger than your dining room table, to the post office that is run off by goodwill of travelers, to the baby sea lions who think that you might make a pretty good mom ... There is truly no place on earth like it.
(BTW, baby sea lions ... You know I would totally take you home and be your mom, but there are laws that regulate that sort of thing. Sigh.)
Rose & Anthony wed on a peninsula in the middle of Moran State Park on a magnificent Wednesday afternoon last October.
Their wedding day inspired me for many reasons, but most profound was the love they so clearly share. Anthony & Rose exemplify a couple that is truly better together than they were apart. Together they are strong, creative & exude a beautiful confidence.
So Rose and Anthony, here's to you, to your future, to beauty & to a love that makes us braver, stronger & more steadfast than we thought we could be.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. It's most likely rooted in my love of chocolate, cards & glitter, but coupled or single, I've always adhered to the belief that a day dedicated to telling those around you how much you love them is just a really positive thing.
So, happy Valentine’s Day, loves.
This year I celebrated by dressing sweet Eila Gabel in pink and forcing her to wear a hat with an absurdly large pom-pom.
& it was the best.
There is simply nothing as delightful or quite so festive as dressing 7 one-year-olds in gnome hats & taking their photographs as they run rampant through a plant nursery.
As one does during the Thanksgiving holiday, I spent my weekend with family, eating too much, sleeping too much, laughing just the right amount & pondering the last year, picking out the things I was most thankful for.
& despite a rather tumultuous last few months in my personal life, I found the list was full.
Of course, the standards were right there at the top: my incredible family & friends, my little house & my little dog, americanos with skinny straws & electric blankets.
And when I really started to think about it, I found I was thankful for something that used to terrify me - the unknown. I'm thankful that despite it sometimes being frustrating, I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring and I don't have any easy answers for what I might be doing this time next year. My life is continually morphing & not turning out like I expected it to.
And that's okay.
Because sometimes life exceeds our expectations & I'm learning to remain open to that possibility.
So with that, welcome to my new blog, my new brand, my new space. While I'm eagerly looking forward to moving into the unknown of a new year & new clients, today I'm looking back over what the last year had to offer - a lot of beauty, new friends & oh, so much love.
My new brand, much like its namesake, is a work in progress. Thanks for joining me on the journey.