Birthday Celebration – Essex Steam Train

For my birthday this year Eddie created a Harry Potter day for us to enjoy.
He took me on a Steam Train Ride where we rode through the fall foliage and then hopped on a river boat and road around looking at all the beautiful CT scenery. Since arriving in Connecticut I’ve heard more than a handful of times that the steam train was a fall must; so I was so happy that Eddie surprised me with it. It really did feel like were were in a scene from Harry Potter on our way to Hogwarts for a new semester to start.

I also almost caused us to miss the train because I was taking my sweet time getting ready – I didn’t understand the time schedule apparently ūüėČ haha.
When we got home that night Eddie made us some Butterbeer (SO GOOD but sooooo sweet) and we binge watched a few Harry Potter movies. In the beginning of our relationship (well the first time before he dumped me!) we watched Harry Potter on repeat together…we may have made out during it a few times to. #honesty


This was also my first birthday being away from family & friends and it felt super, super weird.
Thankfully the day before my birthday I took some engagement pictures for my brother and his fiancé!!! On my actual birthday  Eddie & I were able to attend Orlando & Emilys engagement party in CT with her family and it was so nice to spend time with everyone in celebration of love!

I also received some sweet birthday cards and some presents that blew me out of the water:

+ Dyson V8 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum – The husband got me this and he said he felt like a total tool getting me a vacuum for my birthday; but y’all this gift is SO GOOD. With hardwood floors and cat litter and tobi crawling all over the couches and he is long-haired so I went through so many lint rollers. I made him open the box, put it together (so easy) and charge it so I could use it THAT night #YouKnowYoureAnAdultWhen…

+ Harry Potter Glasses Ring (Alex & Ani) – My brother helped feed my HP love with this ring (in gold); to say I love it would be an understatement! I love wearing all my HP!

+ Time Teepee Necklace – My sweet friend Maria got me this necklace (she had no idea I had been eyeing it for a while either!). We are definitely a tribe! After being roomies for about 7 years you kind of start looking at each other as sisters instead of simply “friend”.

+ Mermaid Hair Don’t Care Tea Towel & Anchor Bracelet – My aunt/uncle/cousins got me a handful of super sweet gifts and the cutest mermaid card ever!

It was so nice to text texts and phone calls throughout my special day.
Birthdays change as you get older and especially when you move way from your hometown; but it’s learning to be thankful in all the little things along the way.

Birthday Advice | Year Twenty Nine

This past year has been a whirlwind.
So many beautiful and challenging changes that I’ve walked through and continued to face – and wholly cow I can’t believe I’m 29! Seriously, I feel like I was just 25 and thinking I was 21, HA! I’ve made it a little tradition on here to every year share some Birthday Advice on lessons learned in the last year as well as thoughts to consider as I move forward.

Twenty-Eight.
A year full of love, sacrifice, sorrow, complete joy, pruning, and growth. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, more than I thought was possible and while a lot of it has felt like chaos it’s been really nice to sit back and reflect on all of the events that have unfolded. When I do take a moment to reflect I’m kind of in awe at the amount of change I’ve walked through and how much more is still ahead. It’s terrifying and beautiful; exciting and cautious; I’m learning to live in that in-between place where you just take what life throws and try to respond gracefully and with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. I don’t always succeed, but I am trying.

. . .

Life Advice

1 || Make time for what is important.

2 || Bloom where you are planted.

3 || Find balance.


1 || Make time for what is important.

We hear it all the time, you make time for what matters to you. I have learned how absolutely¬†true these words are in the last year. Make time for your relationship with the Lord, your spouse, your friendships / relationships, and yourself. If you don’t make the time for these things they begin to wither up and after a while will fade away.

Personally…

Spouse: Eddie and I don’t always get a lot of time together so when we do we spend it in whatever ways we need to in order to connect and communicate. If we don’t make time for each other we can start to drift apart.
Jesus: This relationship has taken a beating over the last year. With so much change I’ve felt disconnected, un-tethered, and overwhelmed; I’ve also felt joy, peace, comfort and a closeness I’ve never known. I’m learning a lot about grace, rest, and contentment – three areas I really struggle with.
Friendships: This is a really hard area for me to write on as I’ve felt really frustrated and bitter in the last year. Before I even got married and moved away from my home town I felt so many doors beginning to close and it was a very deep and raw wound. Since moving I’ve seen many of my friendships begin to close the last chapter and kind of slip away without much effort. It’s a very hard pill for me to swallow because I’m the “fight till you can’t fight anymore” type of person in relationships and learning to just let things go and take care of my own emotional well-being has been a struggle.

2 || Bloom where you are planted.

I think we’ve all heard this saying at one time or another in our lives.
When change happens we often want to curl within and not seek out the new good things that are in front of us. We can get sidetracked by all of the negativity and throw ourselves a pity party or two instead of sucking up some courage and really digging in where we’ve been planted.

Personally…

This took some getting used to for me; and I’m not going to lie and say its as a cake walk. Moving away from your home-town of 28 years is incredibly hard in itself, then tack on getting married and learning what that’s like, AND THEN tack on being married to a man who is in the military. OOPPHHFF. I wasn’t really prepared for all of the changes that were coming my way, no matter how many times I rolled them around in my head. The first few months being away from Charleston were really hard. It was winter in Maine and a lot of things were closed and people stayed inside so making friends was next to impossible; I was also learning the area and trying to spend time with Eddie while I could. Moving to Connecticut was actually a lot easier than I thought and I forced myself to thrive. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a class, joined groups, went to creative meeting where i knew¬†no one and slapped on a smile and took on a huge amount of courage. It wasn’t easy, there are still a lot of days where I feel really alone, but I’m choosing to bloom where I’m planted (even when they are only short roots for a few months) and enjoy each season of life I’m in.

3 || Find balance.

Work + Life + Commitments + Rest + etc…things can get unbalanced quickly. We live in an age of technology where being connected to any and everything is literally at the touch of a fingertip. Our eyes are glued to screens, numbers, readers, columns, blog posts, pinterest, Facebook, images, movies, tv shows, etc way more often than they are glued to another human being. Our lips speak through small little boxes instead of deep conversations, our hearts are guarded and we forget how to be real with one another. There is this underlying feeling that we should be doing more, writing more, seeing more, and being ALWAYS connected. Stop it. Find balance, live life, and soak in the day-to-day moments.

Personally…

Now that I work from home I have found this to be even more of a struggle for me. My home is my office, and my job is on the internet and out doing photography sessions. I’m creating content for the blog, taking photos for the blog, taking photos of amazing people, and carefully (and sometimes stupidly) watching my numbers grow and dwindle. I am always aware of phone alerts and emails as well as tags and posts…it’s like I feel like I can never really shut off. That is SO DANGEROUS. I’m trying to make “cut off” times and some days I succeed really well and others I just fail. I’m learning more and more about boundaries and making sure I’m actually present when I’m spending time with other people instead of constantly being on my phone/computer. Balance is hard.

 


What I’ve learned this past year…

// Friendships have seasons and sometimes you just have to let them go.

// That my¬†30 before 30 list is creeping up on me! I’ve got to start hustling to cross some things off.

// That embracing freedom means so much more than I originally thought.

// I fell deeper in love with this man.

// Then I married him. <3

// I soaked in some blizzard snowfall and started to understand how cold a winter can be!

// I learned how love can look different than we expect, how

// How to embrace change even when it feels like you’re drowning.

// I’ve learned how to get out of my comfort zone and explore new areas, meet new people, and hold a little less tight on superficial things.

// I have learned that I still have¬†a long way to go¬†in practicing being kind to myself. Seriously I’m a HUGE mean girl to myself and it’s no bueno.


Location: Connecticut / Rhode Island Border

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birthday advice | year twenty eight

i’m a lover of traditions…
…and the last three years i’ve written posts on my birthday sharing some advice i’ve learned as i walk through life.

year twenty seven.
MAN. some big stuff happened in this past year.
i learned a lot of lessons and i really feel like it was a year of ‘growing up’ for me.
i learned about the comparison game, i hiked my little heart out, i finally crossed something else off of my home list, i soaked in the small moments, and felt the sharp sting of friendship, i traveled like crazy and even got engaged! <3
all in all – this year was amazing.

so here is a little advice from me to you…

1 || your attitude makes a big difference.
2 || chase your dreams.
3 || joy isn’t just a feeling

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1 || your attitude makes a big difference. 
i wish i had learned this years ago. well, maybe if i’m being honest i’ve always been learning this and will continue to walk through it. while we can not always control what happens in our lives we can¬†control our reactions to them. i’ve really felt like the Lord has been chipping away at some hard-rooted attitude struggles. instead of me focusing on all the bad¬†i’m trying to constantly remind myself that there is so much good, and joy, and love around me. even if the bad stuff is really BIG…i can still have a joyful attitude.

2 || chase your dreams.
we all have those little dreams hidden within our hearts – and most of us try to bury them deep inside in hopes that they don’t get crushed or ruined or we find out it’s not really dream-material. can i just encourage you to push past the fear and give it a try? for so many years i’ve felt like my dreams are stagnant and lame¬†and the more i’ve looked into them and found how awesome they are more and more new dreams come to light. i dream of owning a mountain house, of being a great photographer, of hearing peoples stories and connecting with them…i dream of so many things. and it is ok¬†to chase after them!

3 || joy isn’t just a feeling.
this has been a hard, hard lesson for me to learn.
for so long i’ve tied ‘joyful’ to a way of feeling – and in the past few years my worldview of that has been drastically changing. joy does not come from emotion; it doesn’t come from great situations, happy days, beautiful memories, or hopeful moments. it comes from the Lord – and it is rooted deep within you – and as you cultivate it (think of it like flexing and strengthening a muscle) it becomes more and more grounded and firm. so that even in the hardest of times, your joy radiates through to others. to me joy and hope and patience and steadfastness all walk hand in hand.

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since i’ve given you some advice, i would also love to share some things i’ve learned this year…

// when God is bringing something to fruition – don’t run from it.
// you can be creative without having to force it.
// i absolutely love having blue hair and i hope to bring it back next year!
// if i put weight on – i can work to get it back off.
// i love my family.
// i am excited¬†to move somewhere else – if you’ve known me for any length of time you’ll know how HUGE this is.
// i can laugh until i cry – multiple times even in one day.

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birthday | pumpkin patches

for my birthday this year i wanted to go to a pumpkin patch, carve pumpkins, and do a potluck with friends.
let’s enter year twenty-seven strolling through a local farm hunting through picked over pumpkins.
i loved it.
i haven’t been to / carved a pumpkin in probably 17 years.
and we happened to go during the beautiful magic hour #ThankYouTraffic

it was really nice to spend time with friends at the house.
laughing, eating, chatting…exactly how i wanted my time to be.
moments where you feel connected and there is no effort – no need to impress or stress about a timeline.
those are my favorite kind of nights.
(which, ironically enough, i didn’t take pictures of!)

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birthday advice | year twenty-seven

following in the footsteps of the last two years – i thought i would share some birthday advice on things i’ve learned walking into my twenty-seventh year on this earth.

twenty-six was interesting for me.
it was beautiful, challenging, hopeful, painful, disappointing, encouraging, and left an interesting taste in my mouth.

i really processed moving on from an ex, anxiety seemed to creep back into my life, i finally got my feet on a mountain for a girls weekend, i embraced my singleness – and then met someone – and then it just didn’t work out, i finally addressed my 17 year old self, God wrecked me a few times, i had to say goodbye my beautiful grandmother, i traveled with my brother to ireland and scotland, i met amazing people and forged new friendships, i laughed – a lot, i cried – a lot.
all in all it was…good, and hard.

so now onto the advice…

1 || darling, be adventurous.
2 || even if it hurts, say yes to hope.
3 || pursue.

1 || darling, be adventurous.
run. jump, hike, climb, swim, run, sweat, lay down…experience life.
adventure can come in trips, but mostly adventure is found within – in how you view your day to day life. it can come from delving into a new friendship, a hard conversation, taking a day trip, and finding that spark in the smallest areas. i truly believe i have a wandering heart – one that craves the adventure the Lord has created, one that won’t be tamed by the mundane…but that is seeking out new experiences.

2 || even if it hurts, say yes to hope.
this is hard for me – because i’m a pretty guarded individual.
if you get to know me – i’m rather optimistic and positive, but i don’t allow myself to be super hopeful. i’ve had the rug yanked out from under me more times than i can count….so i get cautious.
but there is something beautiful in hope, even if the hope is dashed later on.
it allows you to feel things you didn’t think were possible.
and i think that is beautiful – being reminded that life itself is fragile so the things we are able to experience is so delicate and precious and we should be thankful.

3 || pursue.
God, passions, new experiences, friendships, community, goals…
anything and everything that is good.
complacency is for the birds – and it does no good for the soul. so push yourself, harder, faster, stronger, more diligently – and pursue what’s in front of you. pursue what you thought was never possible. pursue the Lord in new ways….pursue.

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…after the advice, i figured i might as well share some things that i’ve learned this year.


// i’ve learned i have a heart bent towards adventure.
// i’ve learned i have a lot of work to do to move forward in some areas.
// i’ve learned laughter truly is the best medicine.
// i’ve learned i can still fall for someone.
// i’ve learned the Lord is bigger and more personal than i ever imagined.
// i’ve learned it’s ok to feel things – and not shut down.
// i’ve learned i can push myself farther than i think i can.
// i’ve learned good things take time, and a lot of effort
// i’ve learned to love those who walk into my life.
// i’ve learned that while life may not be where i thought it would by twenty-seven, i can be ok with it.

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birthday | shenanigans

turning twenty-six started out like any other day.
alarm went off at 6:30 (ok so that’s later than normal, didn’t exercise that day) i rolled out of bed to go feed the meowing tobi. when i turned on the light in the laundry/mudroom/back hallway i saw that my roomie used her (unknown!) skills to leave me a little message on the pantry chalkboard.
uh…too sweet and too cute!
i made my coffee.
spent time with Jesus. 
got dressed and then the phone started pinging away with lovely texts from friends and family.
work was work –  mixed in with a little birthday celebration.

my office will bring in the birthday person’s choice treat. i chose greek yogurt, fruit, granola, (and some cinnamon rolls and cheese danish) since we had red velvet cake on monday.

i actually went out of the office for a few minutes towards the end of the day and came back in to my friend Beverly jumping out from behind my desk with balloons flowers and a present. seriously, my friends are too awesome. we hung out until the end of the work day and then headed on to eat at the tattooed moose. y’all….delicious. duck-fat fries with garlic aioli….swoon; and their burger, oh my gosh don’t even get me started on that burger. IT WAS SO GOOD! 
what you’re hearing is that i basically threw my healthy eating out of the window for the day! 
while we were finishing up our food and chatting i was taken back with ANOTHER suprise.
my roomie had ordered me a cake from my absolute favorite coffee house/bake shop/craft beer local joint: bakehouse. this cake.
this cake.
i.
just.
can’t.
even.
it was so good…and HUGE. one small sliver was ginormous due to it being like 5 layers. 
5 layers of deliciousness. chocolate, caramel, more chocolate and a ring of salt around the top.
yes. cake heaven.(i may or may not have had a fork-full each morning since tuesday night #IDon’tEvenFeelGuilty)
after dinner we all gave big ol’ hugs and drove our separate ways.
at home i vegged out to project runway and got into bed early…yes that is a wonderful way to end the birthday DAY on a tuesday ūüėČ
<3 <3 <3
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sooo obviously there is a “lack of pictures”
ha.
that is how my life rolls – live with it instead of always snapping a picture!

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