Friday, December 31, 2010

some recent photos.
I have a terrible cold which is adding to my sleep deprivation
my old computer broke and so did my car.
The car is still functional but the computer is gone.
the last thing I need in my life is more broken things.
I need to do something positive for myself.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It's important to feel something as strong as love.
I got a strong message about a year ago. It was loud and clear that this was something that I needed to work on. The message was:

Open your arms to love.

So I did. In the past year of my life I have tried to open my arms to all the love around me. Collect it, reciprocate it, hold on to it. If I have learned something in the past year though, is you can't control love. You can't try to tame it and keep it locked up. It is not something meant to be controlled.

The ends of years have always been sort of sentimental for me. It's a closure of sorts. One year ended is a start to a new one. There are 12 months to do meaningful somethings, to have adventures and to meet new people and experiences. So while I'm feeling my heart hurting at the end of this year, I also look back at the last 12 months of my life. I'm looking back and feeling proud. I am amazed at what I have accomplished and allowed myself to feel.

I forgave someone and made amends.
I have taken hundreds of thousands of photographs that involve light, people, things, emotions-difficult ones and light hearted ones. I'm proud of those.
I networked like a mad woman. My friend circle has significantly expanded, I'm grateful for those new friends and the old ones.
I was forced to grow up and face consequences of my actions. That was a hard one.
I became a coffee drinker.
I applied for multiple grants. I wrote a grant. One got accepted, one did not. In the long run, it was for the best that it didn't work out.
I found a roll of film I shot when I was 6.
I prayed. A lot.
I left my pride at home and I went trad climbing. I laughed at myself a lot.
I conquered one of my worst fears which was going back to Yosemite. I went, I stayed, I fell in love with the place. I understand why my Uncle loved it so much. I made peace.
I shot photographs of a wedding. That was incredible. The amount of love, family and connectivity I felt there. It was beautiful.
I was a leader for groups of girls in the back country. I fell in love with wildflowers and mountain meadows. I learned to like backpacking. I learned how to be confident in decisions and making them. I learned how to be by myself. That was huge.
I stayed in a hostel for the first time. I made conversations with random strangers and got to know people who had incredible life stories. I'm lucky.
I was a photo assistant on a river trip. I faced a fear of water and rafting after a previously scary experience. I voluntarily jumped in the river and swam along side the raft. This was a huge step. I left the trip feeling happy, fulfilled and grateful for such a rewarding experience. I learned a lot about commercial photography. I learned a lot.
I made a spur of the moment decision to drive 8 hours to see a best friend and finish the summer off well. I also made a spur of the moment decision for her to cut my hair at 2 in the morning with a pair of paper-cutting-scissors. That was entertaining.
For only having my license for one year (yep, I'm serious), I drove 4,000 miles by myself. Not proud of that carbon footprint, but I am proud of being able to sit alone with myself for that long. I brushed my teeth on the side of the road, bought an old feather mattress for $2.00 and took naps in the back of my car.
I was a teenager for the last time...ever.
I won a grant to fly to New Orleans and found out I want to do social justice photography for the rest of my life. I saw heartbreak and loss and people let me into their lives without knowing me. That was huge.
I lost people in my life.
I went on tour with The North Face for the second year in a row and got to work with amazing athletes and people again.
I can truly say I loved some people with my whole heart.

2010 was about learning to love. 2011 is learning about how to let it go and realize there is no control in it. There was a lot of "I" in those sentences. It's because I needed it; Today I needed to be proud of what I have accomplished in my life in the past 12 months. All of that could not have happened if I didn't have an open mind and heart about what I could do with my life. It's the end of a year. It was a good one. You should be proud about what you have done this year in the world. I'm proud of you.

My new years resolutions:
1. Be proud of who you are.
2. Learn to live without. Being alone isn't a bad thing. Being with someone isn't always a good thing. But it's important to be able to live your life and be comfortable being alone.
3. Take care of yourself. Do whats good for you. This is your life, your time, your emotions. Don't waste your time on things that aren't going to benefit you. Don't rent your mind space to someone who doesn't deserve it.

Today I'm going to do things that are good for me. When my heart hurts, I do things to make it fulfilled. That means a day full of photographs. Bring on the healing.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Kids (Mgmt Cover)

Nori and I finally recorded a song. The words aren't right in the middle....but that's okay. Enjoy :)
Happy holidays, friends!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a lot of learning

I use the word wholeheartedly a lot. I try to live my life according to this, making every good intention wholehearted. There are a lot of things that fill my soul to the brim, and I can honestly say that make my heart whole. I've also spent the past year of my life learning how to be comfortable being by myself.

I was once told that that is one of the most important things you can learn, and I have to agree. I drove over 4,000 miles by myself this summer and there were times that I was really uncomfortable spending so much time without anyone. After a heartbreak, it was good to figure out where I was with myself. I talked to myself a lot (which sounds creepy, but I bet you do it more than you think), trying to form my thoughts into words and figure out who I
was, who I wanted to be, my goals and dreams. I would roll down my windows on the highway and sing so loud that I would start laughing at myself because I knew I looked and was acting ridiculous. But this was needed. I had to put things back into perspective.
But I am in a different place now, and I am forgetting how to be by myself. Starting that process over again, or keeping it up is hard.
So here it goes: an effort to relearn what I knew so well a couple months ago.

We are different people than we were just a month ago. We are constantly changing and adapting. Give yourself some credit for the things you have accomplished.

I was thinking about it today, my life has been a series of overlapping circles. Where I think one ends, another one actually begins and that happens over and over again.
How wonderful is it that my 19th year of life ended and began the 20th year with a trip to New Orleans, which changed my life. Not only the trip, but the people I've met, the things I have experienced, the parts that made me cry and finally, the end of one circle. As we come to the end of this calendar year, I am ecstatic for the adventures and wholehearted things I will experience in the next year.

Learn how to be by yourself. It's not always enjoyable, but you will love yourself for it. Heartbreak is inevitable. It's a battle, but you've won when you can realize it's made you a better one for experiencing it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I've been trying to be really honest. My feelings, thoughts, words--all things that I'm attempting to make better and more whole.
It's easy to miss.

Little things that have been really inspiring to me lately:

Honest words about difficult life things.
Bones: collarbones, cheekbones, hip bones, back bones.
Driving by myself.
Remembering good moments.
Open fields full of snow dusted sage.
Hard conversations.
Remembering being barefoot.
Big trees with Christmas lights.
Suspenders and high heels (see above photo).

All of these things have been somehow mixed into my life and creating a swell of emotional waves. Throughout this break it will be good to It will be good to concentrate on simple things.

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 13, 2010

all about love.

Its been a whirlwind of events in my life. School is finished up, finals and all. I've been doing housework for the last 3 days among spending quality time with people I love before we all separate ways for the next month.

It's been a lot of learning lessons built up in these couple days, all revolving around love. I did a family photo shoot the other day, two people obviously head over heels for each other, and an engagement photo shoot for one of my best friends. Both sets were full of that heart warming, 100% complete love. Whew, it made me tear up a bit. It's something about this season, remembering to hold people closer, give more kisses, hug everyone, love regardless.

Here are some of the wonderful people I got to shoot:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bluebird wings.

I have lost a lot of people in my life, unfortunately. But for almost every close friend or family member that has passed, almost immediately after, I see the same bird figure. This happened starting with my Uncle's accident. I picked up a book with birds on the front to start writing down people's favorite stories about him. Ever since this, I have seen the exact same birds.

on television.
in movies.
in friend's houses.
everywhere after a friend passes.

So a couple months after I noticed I see the birds, I found this verse...
"He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."- Psalms 91:4
It reminds me that I'm being protected, I have the reminder that I'm not by myself.
That I'm not alone.
It's not me against the world.
Or the world against me.
That I have powerful forces on my side. Literally.

It is a mountain bluebird because they can't be contained. They need wide open spaces with lots of places to roam. If I was any sort of creature, I would be this bird. Our personalities match, I wander and get anxious if I feel contained.

It is flying towards my heart on my left side because I wanted this protection somewhere that felt close.

I love this. So much.
And it hurt like hell.

This is my last tattoo. (Thank you Meghan It is one that means something so much to me, and I'm so happy it's on me forever.
I hope you all did something wonderful and meaningful with your day as well.

Also, it was my best friend's birthday. I'm so blessed to have these sorts of people in my life. To Nori Javalina, thank you for inspiring everyday.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I have really talented friends.

I know a man who is one of the most talented musicians I know.
He can write brilliant, soulful songs in the blink of an eye.
He reminds me that we all need to take time to look into our souls and make sure we are doing what we love.
And he is a wonderful, wonderful person.
To you, my friend.

Here is a little taste of the wonderful music he creates:

Keep your head up, it'll be good.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

letting it go.

This trip to San Diego was (for me) focused on learning to let things go. I struggle with this constantly, as I feel really comfortable being in control. So I jetted off to a place as far west as you can go in the United States. I've been feeling so low on self confidence and the right words to say, I hope this is a fraction of what people have shared with me lately.

First of all, it was freezing cold. I wore my down jacket for about 95% of the time there.

I wanted to be alone, to take a quiet walk and think about all these things that have been swimming in my brain. I forgot how well I travel by myself. It's a lot easier to get yourself from point A to point B rather than 5 people. I have learned that I thrive on time spent alone. I am so used to it that I often long for it when I've spent a bit of time around more people.

While we were there, we went to Sea World. I saw Shamu. He is one talented mammal, let me tell you. Take a look:

Sea world day was also the day of my friend's memorial back home. I wanted so badly to go, but couldn't. Put that on my list of things to let go.
So the first time I had a chance, I ran to the beach. It wasn't very much because we were on a tiny island facing condominiums and ships. But I wanted to take a moment to appreciate being outside, being alive and being in one piece.

I take self portraits a lot. Mainly it's because I usually have really good light and I know that someone else isn't going to be able to come to my location quickly enough. I also think it is good for all of the photographers to step in front of the camera. Having taken my own photos, I learn how to better communicate with the people I shoot photos of.

I spent this time taking photos and thinking about things that I needed to just let sail into the wind. Earlier in the day, I was trying to get a picture of this guy:
He kept moving and I just kept asking him, please stay still, please sit, don't fly, come back. Right after I thought this, I thought, "why are you asking a bird to not fly? thats like asking the waves of the ocean to stop coming back and the sun not to rise each day. Things will be. It was a moment, now let it free."

The last day we visited a beach pretty close to the border. It was foggy, windy and cold. And it was wonderful. I spent time hugging my brother and sister and mother and father. I was grateful for the time I got to spend with them there.

In the end, I didn't let things go. I wanted to but I couldn't get them to completely take off. I think that's okay. Because at that same point I started to let go, I realized something. You can't appreciate life without death. You won't appreciate love without some sort of pain. All things return to the earth. Things remain, and that will be the way life goes. You appreciate the joy in your life because of the times where you thought the hurt would last forever.

So it goes. And I'm loosening the grip (thanks Mei.) on things and while doing that, focusing my attention on love and appreciation. Cheers to those of you living life by the wind, by following what your heart says is good and right for you and by loving to the fullest capacity.