new year, new apartment!

greetings earthlings! happy new year! i hope your first week of january was awesome and full of motivation for this new year ahead! i've been spending this week settling into my new apartment in portland and i am soo happy about it! i love decorating, so i've definitely been having fun!

first up, i wanted to give you a little snippet of my bedroom, decorated with help of Cstudio Home! i'm pretty sure we spend half of our lives sleeping, so obviously we gotta show some love to our bed situation! i picked out this quilt, which is softer than a pair of fuzzy socks...and that's pretty soft — also super in love with this cute knit pillow and this fun little throw blanket! if you know me, you know shades of tan are my thing, so i was happy that Cstudio Home had lots of options to choose from, even down to the organic sheets and pillows *insert heart eye emoji*!

between all my cute 'n cozy blankets + abundance of pillows, it's needless to say i'm going to be doing a lot of sleeping! 

BTW, i am doing an instagram giveaway with Cstudio gifting one of you guys a $300 gift card to their site, so you can do your own bedroom makeover! sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me, so go on over to my post and leave comment to enter!

ok, that's all i'm going to show for now, but stay tuned for more sneak peaks of my new space and maybe a full apartment tour soon! 

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the year i got to travel the world

an ode to 2017...

from africa to london to costa rica and 41 flights in between, this was the year i got to travel the world. it didn't just happen overnight though. i'm not really sure how it happened to be quite honest. but what i do know is i serve a God who is good and this whole path of life that i'm on would not be possible without Him. so let's rewind.

i started off this year living with my family in los angeles, california. with a desire to gain independence and seek more out of life, i decided to spontaneously (and i mean super spontaneously) move to portland, or. i had never been to portland, i hardly knew anyone in portland, yet for some reason i thought it was a good decision. and it was. so on march 2nd of 2017 i found myself packing up my life into my prius and driving north.

i can't exactly explain why moving to portland changed my life, but it did. i was faced with tons of new feelings and experiences, ones that forced me to lean on God in ways that i never had before. and that has made all the difference. i decided i wanted to be someone who lived passionately, experienced as much i could, and share said experiences with anyone who would listen. boy oh boy did God answer those prayers, because about a month after i moved to portland i found myself with job opportunities in california, costa rica, canada, washington, and chicago...and this was all just in the first month. so i took them all, of course, and from that spiraled what would be my craziest year yet. 

don't worry though, i won't bore you with the intimate details of my travels. but what i would like to tell you is that no matter what path of life you are on, no matter your age, circumstances, hopes, or dreams, you have the ability to chase after whatever it is you set your heart and mind to. we have a God who listens to and answers prayers in the right time and right place, and He has the adventure of a lifetime waiting for you. i just know it.  so i encourage you in this new year upon us to reach higher, dream bigger, love deeper, explore farther, and enjoy this incredible journey we call life. there's a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. 


before i go, i'd like to take a moment to reflect on some of my favorite achievements and memories of 2017. thanks for coming along for the ride. here's to more adventures!

- my goal for this year was to go to 3 countries...i went to 7

- i got to work with some super incredible brands, companies, and organizations, like LUSH, Adobe, Apple, Education Cures, and more

- i've formed some really awesome friendships...you know who you are

- i finally built up the courage to jump off a cliff for the first time

- i traveled through europe with my best friend 

- i went on a sea plane...scariest thing of my life btw!

- i got to work with Adobe and Apple on a mobile editing initiative in NYC — probably my peaking moment

- i learned how to play the ukulele

- i conquered my fear of water and went white water rafting

- i moved four times...ok maybe this one isn't a proud accomplishment. but i now live in my own apartment, so that's pretty neat!

- i spent halloween in paris and thanksgiving in africa...AFRICA

- i saw God do incredible things in the lives of so many people around me, and that is the best thing of all

i could honestly go on forever about what an insanely cool year this has been. i feel so blessed to have been given these inspiring opportunities and am forever grateful for every individual who has believed in and encouraged me throughout this year.  i love you all. ok, now here's some photos of the fun times!

 

 

sierra leone, africa

sierra leone, west africa. over the thanksgiving holiday, i was able to spend a week in africa with an incredible group of people from the Sierra Leone International Mission School (SLIMS) and Education Cures. SLIMS was celebrating their 25th anniversary of the school, which made for a really fun week full of celebration and dancing and singing and all my favorite things!

before i jump in, let me give you a backstory to how this all came about...back in may of this year, i was in costa rica working on a volunteer trip with my friends at have fun, do good. one day i wasn't feeling too well, so i found myself sitting in a random cafe in tamarindo, drinking a smoothie. there were a few women sitting at a table next to me, and one asked about my camera. we then began chatting about my photography and i showed her some photos i had taken at a school we volunteered at the day prior. turns out this woman, katie cyphers, owns a non profit in africa & was looking to bring a photographer on her next trip. six months later, here i am in sierra leone with katie and her team. the mere concept of how i got here is 100% a God thing. i love how He places people in your life at just the right time, for all the right reasons, and paves a way for you to shine His light. it's truly an incredible thing! but ok...back to the actual story at hand.

after a little over a 30 hour travel day, we arrived in sierra leone, with eager hearts, open minds, and a goal to serve this school and these people for the next seven days. before we jump into things (again) first and foremost, i want to talk about katie and the amazing work she is doing with education cures. education cures is an organization that provides teacher training to the teachers in sierra leone. helping them learn different tactics and tools to better lead the children and grow them into well educated young adults! education cures also has a heart for children with learning disabilities, and puts a great focus on that area through one on one teaching with the children. all in all, what katie has created is truly miraculous, and the difference she is making in the lives of those in sierra leone should not go unnoticed!  below are some images of the work being done at SLIMS through education cures.

the next bit of photos i'd like to share are photos from the local neighborhood surrounding the school campus. walking through this neighborhood really puts quite a bit into perspective and i'm left feeling very grateful for the experience.

i get so emotional just looking through these photos, and like i said before, i am incredibly grateful for this experience to see life lived in a completely different way than i have ever known. next time you are upset about something that you don't have or something that doesn't go your way, i highly encourage you to really think through your emotions in order to prioritize what is truly important in your life. for example, on this trip, we had little to no solid internet access (i couldn't post on instagram, and could hardly send a photo on imessage) & halfway through the trip, my macbook broke. while those are crucial pieces for my career, i really had to stop and think about how i was in a beautiful place surrounded by the happiest people, and simply did not have the right to be upset about anything. i was grateful that my camera was still working fine, i could still take photos, i was healthy, i was experiencing the world, etc. this is why i loved being in africa so much. the simple things that we think hinder our daily life are quickly put into perspective and we realize what really deserves attention.

i want to end this blog post on a high note, so lastly i will show a few of my favorite photos i took in sierra leone with a little backstory on each one. enjoy!

thank you all for one, taking the time to read this blog post. there is so much more that i'd love to say, but i don't want to strain your eyes too much! perhaps i will just make a video! second, thank you for following along the whole trip, and for being such big supporters, encouragers, and lights throughout the journey. i appreciate it more than you know! i look forward to continuing to work alongside education cures and SLIMS and i'm excited to share a few ways that you guys can get involved as well. stay tuned for that on instagram and until next time, keep being amazing. 

if you want to check out the amazing people who made this possible, you can do so below!

Sierra Leone International Mission School & Education Cures

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iceland

iceland. easily my favorite country i have ever had the pleasure of visiting, hence why i keep coming back. 

as david & i rounded out the last leg of our trip, we met up with friends philipp & aaron in iceland to roam around for about five days or so. now, iceland is one of those places where it doesn't matter how long you're there, because you will still never have enough time to see all that you want to see and do all that you want to do.  however, we definitely packed a lot into this short week on the south coast!

one of the main reasons we came to iceland was for philipp and i to work on a video project for an apparel brand called albion fit. you guys may remember when i worked with them this summer in bermuda! fantastic company, and we had a blast shooting for them! because of this, our days began early and ended late, as we ran around with cameras and video cameras and drones galore capturing the scene. while this lifestyle can be very tiring at times, i truly wouldn't have it any other way!

some of my highlight places from this trip were glacier lagoon, seljavallalaug, fjaorargljufur, and our thorsmork trek with midgard adventure. first off, good luck trying to pronounce any of those names, haha. we just stayed on the south coast of the country this time around and there is seriously so much to see that we didn't even scratch the surface. so my pro tips for iceland would be, stay as long as you can, rent a car that can handle the tougher terrain (we had a landrover from blue car rental and it was perfect!), and be sure to seize every moment of the day! there is so much beauty literally everywhere you look!

oh, one more pro tip before i sign off...iceland is super expensive & the food is not a quality time. except reykjavik roasters in downtown reykjavik. they are great. shout out to them.

thank you guys so much for following along the #iendedupineurope trip. it was truly the trip of a lifetime with too many memories to count. until next time, keep creating, keep exploring, aaaaand go to europe. the end. 

paris, france

ahhh paris, what an incredibly beautiful city. there is something so magical about this place, and you can just feel it when you're there. i think out of all the places we went, i miss paris the most. i really hope to go back soon!

some highlights for me were the architecture, the cafe's, and the alleyways (if you read my london blog, clearly i have a thing for alleyways). i was so in awe of every building i saw in paris. just thinking about the fact that someone made all of the intricate details of each structure is honestly mind-blowing. if there's one thing you do in paris, it should just be walking around & taking it all in! it will not disappoint!

my favorite places we went were obviously the eiffel tower, the louvre, palais royal, montmartre, arc de triumph, the river ahhhh so many places! we spent every sunset at the eiffel tower, and it just got even more beautiful as time went on! pro tip: if you wait until it gets super dark out after sunset, the lights on the tower twinkle for five minutes on the hour. truly so magical.

we ate at a lot of random little cafe's and restaurants that i don't particularly recall, but honestly there are so many little hole in the wall places in paris, you're bound to find something! although a few places that stuck out were strada cafe (such a cute exterior), cafe pinson (this one's for all you vegans out there), and amorino (best vegan gelato everrrr). i also for some reason ate a lot of falafel whilst in paris, which was all fantastic!

ok i'm going to stop talking now & just share some photos!

paris, you have my heart. <3