1. I hate winter
2. Eating a bag of donuts is ok before a workout
3. I hate when passwords are case sensitive.

Happy Friday! It’s such a relief that the website is finally done, I just need to add some photos to the California page when I get home. Mariah (from Oh, What Love Studios) helped so much because WordPress is a confusing mess. I did learn a lot though; I finished this week and tried to fix things on my own as much as I could. May have wasted a bit of time googling something for four hours that my friend Dave-o (swobes) fixed in a matter of five minutes. Sorry WordPress you are no match for a web dev ninja.

Been up in cold MN training to open a new outlet store in the Quad Cities. The people up here are great and we’re all learning a lot. Its so great to finally work for a company that values its employees. But. Snow. Sucks.

On the up side I have worked out the past three days in a row. I really need to stop eating so much. However I don’t know anyone else who snacks on tomatoes like I do.

I miss Mollie.


Anyway, what do you think of the blog??? I’m obsessed. The more I do the more I learn. I’ve learned a lot the past year. It’s been hectic and hard. I’ve loved and lost, I’ve been more stressed than I’ve ever been, I’ve improved photographically, I’ve been motivated and inspired.

I attended a conference in my beloved California earlier this fall called Adventure Always. And it was amaaaze balls. Besides being in my favorite place in the world I was more inspired than I’ve ever been.

This conference wasn’t even about photography. It was about life. And dreams. And the important things in life. There were so many inspiring speakers I can’t even remember. Two that stuck out were Fer Juaristi, Gabe McClintock, Melissa and Kristen Kalp.

Fer was amazing. No bullshit and straight to the point. He is a beautiful wedding photographer in Mexico and a funny, matter of fact photographer. He reminded us all that even though equipment and technical stuff is important in the art of photography, we should remember what it’s really about. Getting out and capturing moments that move us, doing what we love to do! It’s hard to stop and remember that when you’re still learning. I get bogged down in the technical stuff and have to stop and remind myself that first and foremost, photography is about heart. Amazing.

Gabe was amazing as well. He reminded us that everyone has to start somewhere, and we are all awful as beginners. He bared a part of his soul to us. This is what made this conference so amazing. It was full of people who came there, stripped of facades, baring their hearts, souls, fears and dreams to each other. I’ve been following Gabe on Instagram ever since and he has been doing some amazing boudoir photographs lately!

Melissa showed us so much strength. Head down, speech in front of her, she talked to us about her fears, using her voice and baring her own soul. We experienced her conquest with her. By the end of her talk, she was strong and brave and kicked her fears in the nads. Completely inspiring and calling every one of us out on facing our fears. Not to mention she’s an incredible photographer. I emailed her after the conference and the next day, I sat down next to her and introduced myself. Progress.

Kristen? Um. Travelled with literally pounds of confetti in her suitcase. Played “I’m on a boat” (the conference was on a ship) and “Roar” at 8 in the morning. We all stood up on our chairs and three confetti at complete strangers and sang at the top of our lungs and danced. It was hands down the coolest thing I’ve every seen. I have a video but I have no clue how to post it. See? Kristen reminded us all that everything and anything is possible, that we should feel joy in everything we choose to do. JOY IS A CHOICE. Cheesy, but incredibly true and uplifting. Why not have a confetti party at 8 am in the morning? Why not do something fun? Why not? Joy is a choice. We choose to be joyful. It was a good reminder for me.

This was such an incredible experience. I saw so many people expressing the things I struggle with, telling complete strangers what’s in their hearts, what they’re afraid of, what makes their heart break. Jesh did something incredible and truly eye opening. He made us all close our eyes and he played a song. Our goal was to dance, move and express ourselves completely and wholly, knowing that nobody could see. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t “dance like nobody’s watching.” But you know what he said? That’s ok. He is such an inspiring person. It’s like he reminds you what’s really real and important in life, that those are the things we should be focusing on. Plus, he isn’t too bad to look at.

I can’t even describe how wonderful this conference was. I even met a woman whose goal was to rid of the thought that plagues so many, that we’re not good enough. Bingo. That is the the root of my insecurities and something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. She got a standing ovation.

I want to go again and I will. But for now, remembering those people and what they told me is enough. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. And I will always keep that experience in my heart, to remind me to put heart and soul into everything I do. To pour myself into my work. no, not into the Gap.

So thank you, Jesh, Gabe, Fer, Kristen, Melissa and everyone for everything you said. For showing us what’s in your heart and soul. For literally being your most vulnerable and showing us the side of your soul that you never show anyone. For showing us your dreams. MY dream is to be that inspired, brave, and completely real. To be able to pour my heart and soul into my photographs. That’s always been my dream and you have reminded me of its possibilities. That taking the risks, doing things that scare you the most, are what gives you the most joy, inspiration and freedom to dance naked in front of the world. Figuratively.

My hand hurts. So for now, I leave you to stew on that for awhile. I never thought I would meet people who had the same heart that I do.

Search for those people. Who inspire you, sparks a fire in you and motivates you and say “me too!” every time you express a thought. Who thing the same, unique way you do, that you’re afraid other people will think is stupid. Because those are the people who will inspire you to be your true self, not afraid to bare your soul to the world.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” Maya Angelou

“If the artists of the world don’t find a way to let go of those basic human instincts, the rest of the world never will.” the man himself, Jesh


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