photo diary | adventures in nyc

Prior to this trip, I sat down on my bed with a pen in one hand and my journal in the other. I wanted this trip to be unique- an adventure. I wanted to see and experience New York like I never have before. So, I did some research. I jotted down events and locations that caught my eye, and made a tiny checkbox next to each one. It was my mission to check off every single box.

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DUMBO, Brooklyn; this was my very first time visiting this part of town and let me tell you- I was utterly and completely in love. It was an artistic community filled with gorgeous buildings and lovely coffee shops. If I could pack up my things and move there tomorrow, I most definitely would.

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Here is a photograph of me in a state of complete happiness, complimented by the ever-so-glorious Manhattan skyline. The photo is a bit overexposed and the shadows on my face are weird, but my smile is so genuine that I just fall in love with this photograph every time.

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Turtleneck gal (me) in a subway station

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Another first: visiting Chelsea! If you ever find yourself in this part of the city, check out The High Line. (It actually runs through multiple parts of town: Lower West Side, Meatpacking District, etc). Anyway, The High Line is an abandoned railway that was eventually repurposed into an elevated public park. It’s filled with so many lovely plants and flowers and you get to walk through and above the city. HOW AMAZING IS THAT

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Washington Square Park; finally got a chance to walk under the Washington Square Arc and take in the gorgeous scenery of this park. (didn’t intend to make that rhyme)

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Lastly, I took a ride on the top of an incredibly touristy sightseeing bus. Whether you’ve lived in NYC or not, I highly recommend spending the money to take this tour. My parents and I learned so many interesting facts about the city, like how the Oreo was invented in Chelsea. On top of that, I got amazing photographs of the city that wouldn’t be achievable from walking around on the streets.

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Overall, I managed to complete my checklist and experience one of the most incredibly unique trips to New York I’ve taken thus far. This city never fails to inspire me and keep me coming back for more. You have my heart, New York.

photo diary | adventures in nyc

hello 19!

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With my birthday being the first day of August, the day always seems to pop up abruptly and surprise me. However, that didn’t stop my family from planning a weeks worth of fun and adventures.

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It started on the 31st of July with a lovely dinner party at my house. Some of my closest friends came over to eat, laugh and make memories. We didn’t take many pictures, because we were all too busy living in the moment, but I did manage to find this gem. It truly captures how full of joy I was that night. I think those are the best types of photographs- ones that capture rare moments and raw emotions. They speak for themselves.

I took the whole week off from work to relax and find my inner zen. We all deserve to find a peace of mind and make time for yourself, so I considered this a little birthday present to myself. It felt nice having time to focus on me again, doing the things that I love and the things I never get a chance to do.

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetThe next thing on the birthday week list was traveling to Orlando, FL! We stayed in a hotel that was a walk away from Disney Springs (AKA the newest part of Downtown Disney). I must say, Disney really outdid themselves. I’ve always loved the atmosphere of Downtown Disney, but this new portion carries you away to another world. Sometimes I questioned if I was still in Florida.

The next day we had an early start and headed to Discovery Cove! We were greeted at the entrance by a friendly sloth. I was honestly freaking out because how often do you get to pet a sloth??Image-1.jpgWe all geared up in our wet suits and set off for a day of adventures. We snorkeled with fish, sharks and stingrays and we relaxed in lazy rivers. It was absolute bliss.

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Overall, I had a lovely birthday. It was filled with so many surprises, from trying new things to spending time with the people I love dearly. Heres to 19!

hello 19!

photo diary | gloomy afternoons

While it is quite rare for me to have the afternoon to myself these days, I found myself alone at home feeling inspired by the grey clouds that surrounded me. It was as if the soft mist in the sky was whispering to me, telling me to take advantage of the resources within my home. I read, I painted, I snuggled up with my cat; sometimes all it takes is bad weather to remind yourself of the things you love to do.

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photo diary | gloomy afternoons

photo diary | NYC (& a video)

With little sleep the night before, our flight left at 7 a.m. sharp and Joshua and I could not contain out excitement. Not only were we looking forward to our first flight together, but simply the fact that we would be spending the next few days in New York City.

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When we arrived, my uncle took us to two local parks in the Bronx. The weather was gloomy, making the trees and plants pop with color and life. The bridge pictured in the second photograph is the Throgs Neck Bridge.

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The next day we ventured into the heart of the city: Manhattan. The car ride alone had Joshua and I jumping out of our seats. His head was practically glued to the window in complete awe of the buildings and life that surrounded us.

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This photograph shows my Aunt and Uncle taking in the peaceful atmosphere created by the 9/11 Memorial. Despite living nearby, this was their first time stepping foot into the area since the time of the attacks. You could see the appreciation and remembrance in their eyes, as I’m sure they felt it in their hearts.

Views from the One World Trade Center: both daytime and night.

The next morning we had breakfast at the Crosstown Diner. It was quite rainy that day so we stayed inside relaxing- until we heard a little tune cruising down the street. MISTER SOFTEE! We don’t have Mister Softee ice cream trucks in Florida, so Joshua and I hopped on that, bare feet and all.

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Before being dropped off at LaGuardia airport on our final day, we decided to take in some breathtaking final views. My uncle took us to spots in the Bronx with the BEST views of the city skyline. An unforgettable trip followed by an unforgettable view.

photo diary | NYC (& a video)

lost & found

One year out of high school and life is much different. While on a roller coaster of ups and downs, I have realized a lot about myself: my strengths and weaknesses, what I want out of life, and especially what I have lost and found.

One year out of high school and I have lost great friends. Friendships that have faded out with time or distance; friendships that were only strong due to being in each others daily lives via school. I have lost a sense of time- a schedule, a routine. The days have become lazier and more relaxed. I have lost a lot of creativity and inspiration. My elective classes in high school really helped to keep me on my toes with ideas and being able to pursue them. In AND out of school I was constantly challenging myself to excel with a photo project, a painting, a song on the piano or even a yearbook page spread. Without those classes there are no assignments to tug at my creativity. Without those amazing teachers I am no longer inspired on a daily basis.

However, with any hardship comes experiences and lessons learned. Deep within the vast layers of myself, I have found the ability to be more outgoing and proactive with making plans. Sometimes you truly have to be if you want them to follow through. I have found that sometimes schedules will conflict- for months- but if the friendship is true and genuine, then you can pick up right where you left off. I have found that some days my body wants to stay in bed until the afternoon, and that it is okay because my body deserves it. I have found that keeping a big calendar on my wall helps me to stay organized with what I have to do and when something is due. While college material is a challenge, taking the initiative to keep track of your assignments and complete them on time is an even bigger one. Something that I am constantly losing and finding is inspiration for creativity. Some days I find it through social media while other days I cannot. Lately I’ve found a lot of inspiration within this Earth: nature, cities, humans- you name it. While I may not have the time or materials to pursue some of my ideas, I DO write everything inside of a journal. The things I see, the things I love, ideas, goals- they’re all written within the pages of this journal. I’ve found that this alone keeps my creativity/inspiration in check. Something else that has helped me is this blog! I set a tiny goal to post material at least once a week, and it truly does wonders for me. It keeps my passion for creativity alive and thriving. As much as I post for others I am very much doing it for myself, as well.

And I guess that’s the most notable thing that I’ve found: that you come first. That as much as you may lose yourself, you will surely find yourself again. Because these ups and these downs are what make you, YOU. Because this life is all about learning- about losing yourself in the things that you love, but finding yourself in them, too.

lost & found

photo diary | favorite local getaways (1/5): riverside

Riverside (5 points) is a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida located along the St. Johns river. I find myself coming here as a place to get away. Flowering with art and beauty, this part of town never fails to inspire me. Below, I featured pictures from my most visited and beloved places in Riverside. Whether it be the grand trees in Memorial Park, the dusty antiques and vintage records inside the shops, the rich smell of coffee at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters or the breathtaking views from the Cummer Art Museum- Riverside always has me coming back for more.

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photo diary | favorite local getaways (1/5): riverside

spring break: unplugged from the world

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I’m the type of person that tends to store negative feelings inside of me in order to move on with my life. I don’t really know how to react to bad situations. Instead, I quickly turn on a fake smile and resume living. Sometimes life can become so overwhelming that ‘brushing things off’ is no longer an option. With that being said, last week I decided to take a break from every aspect of my social life and take time to focus on me.

With no phone, no one to talk to and nothing to see, I was able to dig deep inside of my brain and find strength in unfamiliar places. Every morning I struggled to stay away from my phone. Checking social media and talking to people are things that play an important role in my daily routine. Not only did I feel left out, but also forgotten about. For whatever reason, it killed me to know that I wasn’t showing off what I was doing or even where I was eating. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth. As the week went on I had many life realizations. First and foremost: we live in a generation that thrives off of showing off. I feel as though people are slowly forgetting how to live their lives without showing everyone else. While it IS a blessing to share with others and document your experience, I think everyone should have their limits. Sure, take some pictures, but then put the phone away and live in the moment. Even as a photographer I struggle to do this. So often I find myself more focused on capturing the moment rather than experiencing it.

Through living unplugged for a week, I was also able to find a sense of freedom. It was such an odd, yet inspiring feeling to live my life without documenting it. My spring break will forever remain a mystery to the world. This has inspired me to change my habits and how I go about life. While I adore taking pictures and videos and sharing my life with the world, I am definitely going to cut back. I want to take more time for myself and for this beautiful life that we only experience once. Ultimately, I realized how important your own well being is. It’s not selfish to take time for you, because at the end of the day life isn’t going to be wonderful if you don’t feel wonderful; you are your first priority.

spring break: unplugged from the world

a new sense of optimism

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Losing a loved one has always taken a unique toll on me. While it does hurt and bring me down, it also gives me a newfound sense of optimism. Loss tends to reveal the bigger picture. It reminds me how special our lives here on Earth are and how minor our problems are. It reminds me to live each day like it’s my last, with no worries. The gift of life on Earth is so precious and I believe that we should value every minute of it. Be thankful to see the sun rise every morning, as it is the start of a new day- a new sense of hope.

Yesterday I held my great grandmothers warm hand for the last time. I talked to her about our memories together and how wonderful her time here on Earth was. While her story is coming to an end, we are all able to look back at the pages that are filled with millions and millions of memories. I could only hope the same for every one else. Live a happy life with many memories, as this story of life isn’t forever- it’s only a mere chapter of what will come next.

a new sense of optimism