My Life Monday

IMG_5253The sun is shining, the air is brisk, and most importantly it’s Monday! Hey friends!! This next week is gonna be an exciting one for sure. This week I get the chance to be in front of the camera of my sweet friend, Kaitlyn Phipps of Kaitlyn Phipps Photography! I haven’t intentionally been in front of the camera in months so this will definitely be exciting. Besides that good stuff i’ve been crafting like crazy for said shoot! I’m up to eyeballs in paint, wooden letters, canvas’, twine, and craft store receipts, it’s been crazy forsure, but so awesome! Also I found a new Netflix series to help me cope with my One Tree Hill withdrawal, but let’s be honest nothing can ever replace the Raven’s and all their friends.

I have found some awesome new music recently thanks to my Sam Smith pandora station. Seriously, what a guy! I have a deep love for hip hop, rap, and R&B, and Sam really delivers on that pandora station, ha! But seriously guys, it’s fall, which means tons of baking and cider, and most importantly halloween dance parties! Dance parties are my life and I love them. But it’s gonna be great and I’m so excited for this season to really fall into way.

But now for some quirks…

-I know I already said it above but baking is one of my favorite things! You name it, cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, anything I love it! And now that it’s fall it means all the best flavors are out and readily available. It’s gonna be a great time friends!

-Crafting calms me down. It helps me to really mellow out. Sunday I got the chance to really chill, start a new netflix series and craft to my hearts content. Needless to say, Riverside is looking great!

-I’ve said it and I’ll say it again, fried pickles are the best. Seriously, enough said!

-On another not everyone should check out the song “Ghost” by Ella Henderson. It’s the best!

Well that’s it for today friends! Have a great Monday!

Dear Mom,

1994-02Hey Mom,

Gosh there’s so much I want to tell you today, but I just have no idea where to start. There’s so much to be said since this day last year when I lost you. Can you even believe that it’s been a year? Yep, that’s insane! In the last year I’ve stepped on the ground of seven different countries, moved into a house, became a senior in college, and most importantly I’ve missed you everyday.

Mom, it’s weird. I’ll have something happen, or just be driving and get the urge to call you, so I pick up my phone and I begin to dial and then I’m left there right in my tracks. I realize that I can’t call you, text you, Facebook you, ANYTHING! What eff Mom? It’s not fair. I don’t get to have those conversations that ever girl needs to have with her mom. Regardless of the state of our relationship I always knew I could call you. Even if the end I didn’t like what you said or disagreed I still walked away excited that I got to talk to you that day. But I don’t get to have that anymore. Yea, I’ve had friends step up and play that mom role when I need it, but no one will ever replace you. Not even Nonna, and that’s saying a lot.

This time  a year ago I was eagerly awaiting your phone call since we hadn’t spoken in a few days, but instead of a call from you it was Ant Teresa… Telling me news I never thought I would hear, at least not for another 50 years! But nope, it came now. I was forced to my knees in the hallway of my room in Moffett. I couldn’t breathe and I was in utter disbelief. I called in friends to be near during that time, but all I wanted was for it to all be some sick joke. But nope, it was the absolute, ugly truth.

I remember my drive home mile, for mile. Tons of Mariah Carey, BoyzIIMen, and Luther Vandross. Lots of tears. Lots of thoughts. My thoughts ranged all over the place. Anger at my self for not calling you more, or being with you more. More anger for all the bitterness and anger I held towards you for so many years. And then ultimately, knowing that I didn’t have you anymore. I didn’t have that place to run to when I just needed to get away. I looked at everything I would never again and the things I would never be able to experience.

It’s not fair! Mom, Benita, Deven, Kay and I have always had to go without. I know that sounds harsh, but beleive me it’s not meant to be that way. We’ve always been without nice things, and crazy vacations (seeing as we only ever had one of them, haha. Remember your sunburn!). There have even been moment where deep down I’ve believed that you chose to leave us. I’m still working through not believing that lie, it’s easier to believe that somedays. However, through all that one thing we were never truly without was love. I didn’t believe it then but I know it now that you really did bend over backwards for us. There were nights I truly thought social services was gonna take us away, or we were gonna starve, but I knew that if it ever got too hard or bad you would have robbed a grocery store for us (Which you kind of did, you didn’t rob it, but you did steal that Easy Mac that one time for me and you)! I didn’t believe it then, not even for a second, but now I see how selfless you were. I see your heart behind the decisions you made, and your rationale in things. If we’re being honest I always felt like your misfit child, I felt like I was the one you hated. I see the lie in that now and I can call it out immediately! I know you loved me mom, and I know wherever you are now, you still love me. I don’t doubt it at all.

Do you wanna know the hardest thing… I’m terrified of marriage mom. I know it’s cliché, but I really am. I’m terrified to meet an incredible man who loves me and treats me right because I know that you wouldn’t have ever had the chance to meet him. He would never truly understand where I get my crazy from, why I drink coffee like I do, why I have  a weird obsession with 80’s music, and R&B. Mom he’ll never really understand. And here’s the real kicker… You’ll never see me in my dress. I won’t get to see your eyes light up, your excitement for me, or anything. You’ll be just a memory, a someone who should’ve been there sitting in the front row rejoicing with me, but now if that day ever comes, that can’t happen. Mom, you’re supposed to be here. You’re supposed to celebrate with me, love me, and just be here. But you can’t be, and that sucks.

I know that this what not in your plans, so a little piece of me has relief for that, but the pain is still the same. I miss you mom. I miss bed time stories, watching weird movies, eating white cheese, deer meat burgers, and Christmas morning McDonald’s runs! I miss it all mom. I love you more today than I have in a while. To me this is in fact just another day, but it’s a day that reminds me of the worst phone call I ever received! I love you mom, I miss you everyday. I wish you were here to see me grow up and be the woman you always wanted me to be. Know that I’m looking out for Kay and Deven. They’re doing really well and we all miss you always. I love you so much.

Fun fact as I write this in my journal, BoyzIIMen, “Song for Momma” started playing, thanks mom!

Today is going to be hard, no joke. But it will get better. It will never be ok, just, it’ll get better.

I will see every sunrise and think of you. I will look at the bay bridge and remember our one and only family vacation. I will sip coffee with salt, milk, and sugar. I will laugh when someone talks about soap operas. And everytime “You are My Sunshine” happens I’ll smile, and release my one tear and walk on. You taught me to be brave, and brave is what I’ll always be!

I love you mom, I’m hopeful for a day we could be reunited, but if we never are, I’ll remember the woman who you truly were, selfless, loving, and brave!

You are my sunshine!

Tuesday Confessions: I’m a Bartering Queen!

IMG_8436Tuesday Confessions is back!! It’s been a few weeks but no worries it’s back and I’ve been dreaming of writing todays post for months now. Seriously! I remember standing in my kitchen in Central Asia taking pictures of my super successful purchases and just ooing and awing over the day I’d get to post them! Well friends, today is the day! With it being Central Asia week on the blog I figured what better time to show you! Before I show you my super awesome purchases, I need to tell you of how I have become this self proclaimed “Barter Queen.”

I’ve been to my fair share of markets, bazars, and “world markets” if you will. And from them I’ve learned that I know how to talk the talk and get what I want for a decent price. I have been to these types of markets in two very competitive and intense areas. I’ve literally had people grab my hands and pull me into their shops begging me to buy something. Believe me, it’s crazy! But outside of that I’m also able to spot a deal when I see one. I love taking my friends to these types of places and helping them to get what they want. Funny story, I was in a bazar in Central Asia, and three of the guys on my team really wanted a toaster and what do ya know, this savvy girl found one! And I was even able to get it down in price by about $10. However there was a tad bit of an issue so we had to return the toaster and then we literally went next door and got the exact same toaster for $10 cheaper than what we actually paid. It was awesome, weird, and super hilarious! So yes, I’ve bought things such as toasters, jewelry, scarves, dresses, tapestries, and even pipes! I love bartering.

The key to a successful barter is the poker face. You have to make the person who you’re buying from believe that it’s better for them to give you whatever item it is you’re trying to get them to sell you at the price you’re asking for. If they wont do it then you literally just have to say no and walk away. They then realize that any amount of money is better than nothing. Usually they will stop you, ask you to come back and from there they’ll usually go for half of what you’re asking for and you can negotiate from there. For me, I let them give me a price, and I just cut that in half and go from there. It’s definitely served me well. Any purchase I’ve ever made through bartering has always been a good one and I hope you agree.

Now it’s time to check out my favorite pieces that I’ve bartered for! They’re all so wonderful and I’m so sentimental with things so jsut thinking about ever losing or damaging one of these pieces make me wanna throw up. So it’s safe to say I don’t let many people touch these pieces or mess with them, because of my deep love for them. So I hope you enjoy them! Check in tomorrow to read a super personal letter that I’ve needed to share for a while!IMG_8449IMG_8452I wish i could say all those piallahs were mine! And check out those earrings! I got them for my grandma, and she loves them. i struggled to give them to her because though pink is no my color, I loved them so much.IMG_8456 IMG_8446This next shot, though it’s not of people is definitely one of my money shots this year! The exposure, the DOF, and everything was just right. So thankful for this crazy spot in my flat that elt in the perfect amount of light for these pictures!IMG_8445 IMG_8444That jar above has been a huge hit all around! Definitely one of my favorite purchases. Now my best gift I bought it this pipe! I got it for my sweet bestfriend! Her birthday was jsut a few days after I got back from Central Asia, and man did she love this thing. I’m so glad I know her well enough to know that she would’ve rather had a pipe than a scarf or anything really! Haha!IMG_8434 IMG_8429Matrushka dolls hold a special place in my heart, man! Come back tomorrow to find out why!
IMG_8442So yea, I’m a little crazy about my things, but boy, do I love them!

My Life Monday

It’s a rainy monday here in Radford, but it’s also an awesome day here in Radford. The last two weeks have flown by like a blur and it’s crazy to think I only have 22 weeks of college classes left… LET ME LET THAT SINK IN FOR A MINUTE!

Alright enough of that now. This week is gonna be really exciting on the blog, because this time I’m serious… IT’S CENTRAL ASIA WEEK! I will be bringing you stories, and fun facts all this week about my favorite place on the planet. So get ready for some crazy stories, and maybe a tear or two, but all in all it’s gonna be great! There is of course one exception of course. Wednesday is going to be a different kind of day for me so of course that means it’ll be just the same way on the blog. So please get a box of tissues and a cup of coffee with just a little bit of salt in it and enjoy a letter that I’ve needed to write for a while. It’s gonna be great.

So in honor of starting off Central Asia Week right all the quirks for the week will be Central Asia based… So, here yah go!

-I really miss the feeling of being on a crowded bus, having to defend my own in a place where I’m far from fluent in the language, and far from understanding of all the social cues and norms and getting mistaken from a national. That’s life in Central Asia right there. Crowded busses that smell something awful, with drivers who can’t drive, and full trusting your life and many others that this will not be your last bus ride ever, ahha!

-I’ve always kind of liked coffee, at least when my mom would make it for me, but I’ll tell ya what! Central Asia, specifically this year, turned to me to a tea connoisseur! I love the stuff! Iced, hot, with or without sugar, fruity, sweet, ANYTHING! I love it!

-I took Spanish in high school, three years of it actually. But I’ll tell you what I’ve never loved learning a new language until I went to Central Asia. The language is just so fun, and exciting! To top it off I pick it up pretty easily.

-You know that moment when you see an old woman squat it out right in the middle of a park and go to the bathroom without a toilet there… oh you don’t. Wow you need to go to Central Asia, it’s quite a sight!

-Speaking of bathrooms… One of the best parts of being a woman in Central Asia is the fact that we have to pay to pee… No joke, we have to pay for the toilet paper we use. It’s roughly 20 cents for a little bit, but man it’s great! Really makes me appreciate that moment of solitude… Please not the sarcasm in my voice.

-Music is a thing for me, and the music over there is interesting to say the least. Lots of electronic dance music, and underground house bands. But the funniest thing is the fact that one second they’ll have classic 80’s music playing, then the next it’s some techno version of Airplanes, it’s hilarious!

Well that’s it friends. Check out the blog tomorrow to read about how yours truly is a bartering queen!! Great finds for great prices is how I live! But first I’ll leave you with an incredible Iphone photo of this beautiful place! You can’t tell me that doesn’t take your breath away.IMG_4665

Wednesday Wrap-up

You know I had to get creative with my tardiness! Hey friends, and happy Wednesday! The last week of my life has been insane!!! This past weekend was amazing and so needed, that I didn’t do any work that I needed to do before the weekend started but that’s ok, but it did leave me having to write an entire 12-page paper on Sunday evening. Yea, that was fun. Ha! But seriously friends this weekend was so wonderful, and I have no previews or anything for you but that will all come next week.

So I keep talking about “this past weekend” but you have no idea what I did. This past weekend was the company’s annual fall retreat! This weekend is always amazing, and life changing for many. I have looked forward to this weekend for a whole year now since the last time I went, ha! But seriously this weekend is always the best! But for me it was also very bittersweet. Being a senior it was my last time loading up my car and driving to Camp Powhatan (cue tears). But no worries, you guys will hear all the details of that next week, so get ready for that. But now for the quirks…

-I have a confession, I have a terrible mouth, and I’m super sassy, and very sarcastic. It’s actually a problem I will find myself shouting profanities for no reason. Recently my phrase of choice has been, “(insert name, item, or thing here) is a piece of sh!t.” Yep, it happens. I should probably get better control of my tongue, but yea, who knows. Ha!

-I’m in deep need of a day off. I’m mean seriously! A day off from everything, friends, my phone, camera, blog, EVERYTHING! I want to make this happen but, we’ll see.

-I’ve recently been doing a lot in the means of knocking out my bucketlist and I’m loving it. I only have 21 left now! One of which is to go to a High School Football Game, so that needs to happen soon since the season only has about one month left!

-I’ve officially started season 9 of One Tree Hill. What the heck!? That season premier is so confusing and all over the place. But still so good. Brooke Baker and Haley James Scott are two women after my own heart! Seriously they’re wonderful and I want to be just like them when I grown up.

-Camping brings out a side of me that I love. Laid back and chill without a care in the world is a place I love to be!

So that’s it for this week friends. Check out the blog tomorrow to see my thoughts on where we find our significance!

Engaged: Nathan and Maddie

IMG_7464She was a young girl from Maryland searching for her future, her purpose, and most of all her calling and somehow she ended up in Radford, Virginia. In her time there she would see many new and exciting things and one of those things would be him. That boy who played ultimate frisbee and had an obnoxious passion for rocks and running. By some playing of the cards they both ended up being Resident Assistants in the same building during their junior year and from there a love was born that no amount of tampering, or fighting could tear apart. Nathan and Maddie are a couple that you feel included around and that you know there is nothing but love between the two of them. I remember sitting in a room with them my freshman year, meeting them for the first time, and seeing the spark being to flicker.

So we started our new year at Radford and I would go to Maddie for life and RA advice and I would sit on her bed for hours divulging on life and of course talking about Nathan. I knew it was gonna be good. Then I would go to Nathan’s room and play guitar and talk about a new book I had gotten him and without fail I was hoping and praying that he would just ask Maddie on a date. It would be about four months until anything really happened but once Nathan asked Maddie to watch a documentary it was done! From there these two were inseparable! Seriously, I got to see these two through some hard times and never once did they say die. These two fought for one another and they fought hard. It’s been so beautiful to watch them fall in love and when I got the snapchat(yes a snapchat, hah) during my time in Central Asia I knew it was done. She said yes and now the rest is history!! These two are beautiful and I cannot wait for their big day! Unfortunately it’s two years away and I wont be able to shoot the wedding cause I’ll be a bridesmaid!!! But all the same it’s gonna be amazing.

Maddie and Nathan you are the best and two of my closest friends and I love you both so much. I cannot wait to help in the planning and see all you guys do together once you pledge forever to each other. You’re both so wonderful and perfect. I hope you enjoy some of my favorites from our time together! I can’t forget to thank you for also being my very first couple and for sticking with me through it all and for allowing me to capture so many parts of your lives together. It’s been the best!IMG_7407_1 IMG_7408 IMG_7409 IMG_7414 IMG_7436 IMG_7441 IMG_7445Had to tie Radford into this whole thing! After our time on this awesome back road we headed to the place Nathan proposed, squealing!!!IMG_7462IMG_7490 IMG_7494 IMG_7495 IMG_7498Maddie’s ring is insanely beautiful! Nathan actually took the stone from Maddie’s grandma’s ring… SO PERFECT!IMG_7505 IMG_7518 IMG_7521 IMG_7542 IMG_7543 IMG_7548 IMG_7554 IMG_7560 IMG_7564 IMG_7566Gosh these two are just perfectIMG_7614 IMG_7619 IMG_7622 IMG_7625 IMG_7634To conclude the shoot we went to a place called the Mill and it was handsdown my favorite spot. If we had only shot here the entire day I would’ve been just fine. These first pictures were taken with just a bit of sunlight left. Maddie and Nathan led me to an open field and in the back I saw this beautiful hill that had just the perfect amount of sunlight to take some gorgeous photos. I will tell you right now that I did in fact make this couple run all the way to that hill so we could get the last bits of sun. I would say it was well worth it, wouldn’t you?IMG_7637 IMG_7641 IMG_7645 IMG_7651 IMG_7655 IMG_7659Now these next ones are me continuing to try to nail down the walking pictures… Try being key word. Regardless, Maddie and Nathan look awesome in every setting. IMG_7670 IMG_7674 IMG_7688 IMG_7727 IMG_7733 IMG_7734Maddie’s eyes tell a story. That’s all I can think of when I look at this picture. IMG_7743 IMG_7761 IMG_7771 IMG_7786 IMG_7795 IMG_7801IMG_7817And then this happened… Yessss! In a dress and slacks Maddie and Nathan climbed that very unsteady tree to capture these beauties!IMG_7826 IMG_7841 IMG_7846 IMG_7852 IMG_7858 IMG_7864Nathan and Maddie I can’t thank you enough for always allowing me to love you and capture your love through my camera. I can’t think of better people to help me start this business and launch my love for photography to the stars. You guys are so amazing and I can’t wait for your wonderful day to come so we can celebrate you guys! I love you both and I hope you loved running around Maryland all day to get these wonderful images.

Golden Hour: Freddy and Emily

IMG_7142Happy October blogosphere! October is here and that means it’s truly fall! No joking about this now. The breeze is in full swing, grandpa sweaters, leggings and boots are everywhere, and most importantly to me and my photography mind the leafs are changing and colors are booming! It’s such a beautiful time. Though the shoot I’m bringing to you today was shot in September that doesn’t take away from it’s beauty or the people in it! Y’all have met Freddy and Emily before, they’re beautiful veterans to the blog today! I got to do a spontaneous shoot with these two to practice with some awesome equipment for an engagement shoot I had and they were literally perfect models!

Freddy and Emily are two of the sweetest and most beautiful people I’ve ever met. They love each other so relentlessly and it’s been beautiful to get to see their love grow over the last four years. Just wait until you see the way Freddy looks at Emily you’ll be swooning over the beauty of it all. Not only that but they’re naturals in front of the camera. They’re so free and just smile, squeal, and laugh at each other and it’s so beautiful.

Freddy and Emily thank you so much for experiencing Southwest Virginia’s golden hour at Harry Dehaven park! You’re both so beautiful and thanks for dealing with my crazy antics and driving to get us to this beautiful gem! Y’all are the best and I can’t be more thankful. I hope you love some of my favorites!IMG_7137IMG_7122Emily, you’re so stinkin gorgeous! So a classic.IMG_7150Looking good Freddy, can’t even tell what you’re wearing under that shirt, ahah!IMG_7143IMG_7153IMG_7146Look at that gorgeous light! Virginia, you kill me!IMG_7160 IMG_7167 IMG_7174 IMG_7175 IMG_7168 IMG_7179 This next image is one that I want to create over and over again. Definitely one that would go into a my style folder. Just genuine, undying love for people. The image below is why I love photography!IMG_7182IMG_7190IMG_7191IMG_7208IMG_7220IMG_7227IMG_7231IMG_7241Just look at them! That look, I love it.IMG_7251IMG_7247Right as the sun was setting we caught these last few images. Check out that sick lighting! The sky was literally pink, blue, and purple. It was so beautiful!IMG_7252IMG_7263IMG_7281So sweet and tender, I love it!IMG_7285 IMG_7287Of course I made them stand on a table, haha!IMG_7323 IMG_7339My favorite shot, hands down! So classic and chic! Just another money shot for the portfolio!IMG_7290Freddy and Emily, you;re incredibly beautiful and you share an unbreakable love. You’re both so beautiful and I can’t thank you enough for being spontaneous with me and running around this park in the middle of nowhere with me. I love you both so much and I hope you enjoyed our time together.