summer nights

summer is rushing by fast as always. this summer has been one of the busiest yet and i'm starting to realize that summer nights are the best thing ever. they're usually filled with lots of laughter, friends, family, good music (our family compromise this year seems to be radio disney- which surprisingly isn't too bad), some kind of sweet treat, sun kissed faces, a breathtaking sunset, games, fireflies, and stumbling into the house a little too late with a little bit of dirt on your feet and a happy feeling that fills you up. i think i'd be perfectly content if summer just stayed here forever. 

Carthage IL

Carthage IL: it's a tiny town in the middle of no where. awhile ago i had the opportunity to visit carthage jail where the prophet Joseph Smith was wrongly imprisoned and eventually martyred. It was a really somber experience and it just really made me grateful. Grateful for all the sacrifices made so that I can have the gospel in my life. Grateful for people who are willing to give everything for good, people who act with courage and kindness no matter what. Grateful for the freedom to live my religion. Grateful for the overall message that good does triumph in the end. i'm not sure where i'd be without the messages of hope and happiness that Joseph Smith was a key instrument in restoring to the earth. i'm not sure what my life would be like if he wasn't willing to make huge sacrifices, even unto death, to bring to pass Heavenly Father's work. but i do know that my life wouldn't be as happy and hopeful and peaceful as it is today, and for that i'll be forever grateful and humbled by everything that has been done so i can be where i am today, living how i choose to live. 

a few hours in st. louis

back in April we took a mini road trip and passed through St. Louis. even though we were only there a few hours it was such a cool city and i definitely want to go back! i was amazed at how many different things there were to see- from the arch to the super cool city museum, the river, the zoo, a super cool park, and lots of interesting buildings/bridges there was something new everywhere you looked! 

we started out by visiting the city museum which was crazyyy amazing! i had heard lots about it but it still totally blew my mind! there were tunnels everywhere that connected in totally unexpected ways and it pretty much fulfilled every childhood dream i ever had about secret passage ways. there was so much to do and so many places to explore and climb that i ended up checking my camera/bag so i could just really enjoy. the outside is also crazy because there are these structures that just connect and climb all the way up the building. we got super lucky because even though it was sort of rainy and overcast they opened up the outside for about a 1/2 hour of our time there. the plane was mind blowing- it was literally an old, gutted out airplane that was SO high up!  the castle was also super cool and totally looked like it had come out of a storybook. one of my fav parts was a room with lots of old skatepark ramps where you could climb and slide and swing on a rope, but i also loved the caves and the slides- it's just too hard to pick a favorite! i could go on and on about how cool this place was but it's one of those things you really have to see for yourself.

after that we headed to check out the arch. even though it was closed for rides i was still super impressed- i had no clue it was that big! there were a bunch of pretty bloomed trees around it & it was a fun thing to check off my bucket list. plus we got some super rad boomerangs which were totally worth running out in the pouring rain for haha. 

after that we headed off and stopped at a culvers where a super nice lady randomly made us all balloon things (like a unicorn, an ice cream cone, and a bow & arrow- she was super impressive tbh) and we stayed up way too late swimming at the hotel. 

st. louis was super cool & i 10/10 recommend checking it out even if you don't have long. i'm hoping to be back soon cause there's so much more i want to see! 

(photos above are a mix of iPhone + camera pics)

Nashville Walls: 3 Brothers Coffee

 ^^Downtown Nashville is seriously so cool and colorful! 

^^i love downtown nashville cause it's such a big mix of old and new and southern and modern and it just has really cool vibes

^^Also can we just talk about this street art? ahh i loved it!

A few weekends ago me and emma were invited to one of our friend's house in TN and it just so happened that we had that day off school, she had just gotten her license, and there were a bunch of cool walls on the way. So we headed off a little bit early feeling awfully cool and free driving down to Nashville by ourselves haha.

We talked and jammed out and couldn't wait to get there. The only thing we didn't quite figure into our meticulously made plan (seriously we had it mapped with time between each destination and everything) was that it was St. Patrick's Day and it turns out that that isn't the best time to be in downtown It was super crowded with everyone wearing tons and tons of green. So decided to drive around a little and eventually decided to ditch a few walls and come back another time. It was a excited? interesting? environment haha.

We definitely weren't phased though...we were too caught up in the rush (even if we were just experiencing it from our car haha) and the cool signs and the excitement of being in Nashville by ourselves. So off to the next wall we went!

The wall at Three Brothers Coffee was seriously at the top of my bucket list and it wayyy lived up to the hype of all the pictures i saw online. The light was amazing and it was just so cool.

In between short little rainstorms we ran into the coffee shop (Three Brothers Coffee) right next to it and it was filled with amazing art and a little shop beside it and seemed like a super cool place in general. Then at the end this drunk guy came up and started to talking to us and the the little shop was right there so we ran in it real quick- that coffee shop definitely wins haha.

After that we realized it was time to go so we drove back jamming and laughing and ended up changing in a tractor supply parking lot. adventures, right?

We only ended up hitting that wall but i'm definitely hoping this can be a series- we have a major bucket list of walls to visit:)

this wall can be found right beside 3 Brothers Coffee in Downtown Nashville
all credit for pics of me goes to emma

{#VantagePoint} my photography story: finding beautiful here

About a year ago I fell into a major photography rut.

I dreamed of traveling so badly and as a result spent a good amount of time on pinterest looking at dreamy destinations and watching amazing videos from people who had been all over this beautiful world.

And sometime in the process I had fallen into the mentality that I couldn't really get amazing pictures unless I traveled. And I didn't travel that much. Whenever we went on weekend trips I seemed to get some pretty cool pics- but then we would get home again and I’d feel uninspired and disadvantaged because "i couldn't ever reach my photography goals unless i traveled"

At one point during this rut, I started working on a project to cover part of the wall in my room with pictures. As a photographer, I have a ton of pictures, so the process of picking my favorites, printing them out, and hanging them up took awhile. But one summer day, after a few hours of sifting and hanging, I stepped back and looked at the wall. And I realized I have a pretty great life. It’s filled with goodness and happiness and memories that make me smile.

And all of the sudden my mindset as a professional photographer and someone who just wants to create totally shifted.

I can take beautiful photographs where I am right now.

I don't have to be on a once in a lifetime journey across the world, it doesn't have to be someone’s wedding, a huge party, or the most beautiful location I’ve ever seen

Beauty can be found anywhere you look for it. 

The pictures taken at places right around my house are my favorite places to look back on. So many of my best memories are here.

From shoots with my sisters:

To the craft camp me and a friend put on to raise money for an HEFY expedition:

To just taking pictures of flowers and sunsets when I couldn't get models:

And eventually starting to take pictures for other people to get more practice:

Every now and then, driving a few minutes down the road:

This is where I really learned that you can get great pictures just by walking a few steps outside your back door!  

This is where I first picked up my mom’s camera- a canon powershot-and fell in love with photography. Awhile later it became my camera, and even though I couldn't change lenses and most of the setting were preset, I thought it was the best thing ever. 

After carrying that camera everywhere, annoying my family to death with all the pictures I took, and using up a lot of memory cards; this is where I finally got my first “real” camera and lenses. 

This is where my love for photography grew. 

This is where I discovered my passion.

** I was inspired to write this post by Light’s #VantagePoint project. Light is a compact camera with new technology. It isn't sponsored - just me sharing my story.