Becca + Charlie Minnich // August 5th, 2017 // Eau Claire, Wisconsin
I wanted to write this post because I feel like a lot of the people who speak about patience and waiting are the ones who are on the "other side" - and have received what they were told to wait for. When it comes to relationships, there's the hip and happily married girl who's telling you - just wait! Have hope! You're going to find YOUR GUY! (Easy for her to say now that she's got him, right?!) Discouragement and comparison just sneak their way in!
But I'm hoping that because of my position of being smack dab in the midst of waiting, I can be a relatable source to where you're at and what you're going through in the realm of patience with a world telling you that everything you want can be yours NOW. Note: this can totally apply to more than just a future spouse - maybe you're waiting for your dream job, to receive your calling from God, or maybe it's something else! For a second I thought maybe I shouldn't write this, maybe I don't have as much validity as someone who's "made it" to the "other side" - but nope. Those are lies. And there is so much value from what is found in the waiting. In your patience. The seeds that are sown and grown before a harvest.
Now, you may or may not know how much I love a good analogy. And I believe one of the ways God speaks to me is through spiritual analogies, real-time parables, if you will. He orchestrates somewhat of a production to get his point across to me. So, the following is just that - setting the scene at Joshua Tree National Park in California.
I was recently visiting my old roommate in Arizona, and on the third day of being out there, I felt all this creative energy built up in me that I wanted to release into a desert-inspired photoshoot. (Hi, I'm from the midwest, this is a really exciting endeavor for me.) So I showed Kaylie some image examples of environments I wanted to shoot in, and she, having already been to Joshua Tree before, recommended we take a trip there to accomplish what my heart was itching to capture.
So great! We set out - and after a few hours of driving and a pit stop at In-N-Out (talk about the best kinda DAILY BREAD, am I right?) we reached the sign "WELCOME TO JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK!" We were in! ...Or so I thought?
Now at this point, I was the one driving the car because we had switched positions at our last pit-stop, so it was me - girl who had never been here before - who was in charge of directing the journey for the time being. We drove on the main road without saying anything for a good couple minutes - my eyes darting from side to side at the landscape around me. It looked pretty good! Your typical "can't find this is the midwest" desert scenery. So after a bit, I proceeded to ask Kaylie, "So...do I just pull over kinda anywhere, or do I wait for a parking area or, how do we do this?" to which she replied, "Oh! We're not even really in the park yet! We should just keep going." Which sparked confusion in me because we had FOR SURE passed the WELCOME TO JOSHUA TREE sign a good couple miles back. But okay! I kept driving.
The following is the raw and naked example of my lack of patience, which was startling for even me to experience. What felt like driving for 20 minutes was probably not even 5, and I found myself asking Kaylie, "Are you SURE we shouldn't be stopping? I'm definitely seeing some scenery I'd love to have in a photo. I feel like we're missing things!" to which she would replied "I'm sure! The good stuff, the stuff you showed me you were wanting, is way further into the park. I promise!" The rational fact that she had been through this entire park before was nowhere to be found in my mind. I was so concerned on what I might be missing out on.
Also, being the driver of the car was NOT helping. Keeping my foot on the gas and hands clutched to the wheel when everything in my being said LOOK! STOP THERE! PULL OVER! - it was a tormenting self-control exercise. Driving by the things I thought would look great. The things I thought I wanted. But I was (ever so thinly) trusting in Kaylie's word.
Finally - after about 15 minutes and a 4th round of "Are you sure?" "I'm sure" back and forth between me and Kaylie, I had us pull over. Just to get some peace.
But once we got out of the car we started snapping some photos, I realized this wasn't actually what I wanted. It had all looked okay when zooming through the road, but standing here, these pictures were quite flat and uninteresting.
So we got back into the car, and I had Kaylie get back behind the wheel. It took SO much pressure off of me. The voices inside that said "STOP HERE - LOOK THERE" were silenced as I wasn't the one in control anymore. There was a new driver to get us where we were going. One who knew where to go, and even more, knew what I was looking for even when I had not seen it myself, but merely showed her what I wanted.
The next place we stopped was GREAT. It had aspects that I didn't even know I was looking for, full of the most interesting looking cacti and gentle hills in the background. We had a good time capturing each other in this environment. But eventually, we knew we needed to move on, and there was more in store.
Now, something I failed to mention before was how we had each brought 3 different outfits to take photos in while going through the park and its various scenery. And If you're REALLY paying attention, you'll remembered we've made two stops. That means two outfits, and one more to go.
So we got back into the car, encouraged from that good stop, but ready to push forward onto what was to come. From the beginning, because of the reference photo I had shown Kaylie, she knew I wanted the environment to have massive boulders that we could post up next to and make all my desert Vogue dreams come true. Yup. I said it. Desert Vogue dreams I didn't even know I had.
As we were driving along Kaylie pointed out, "Look! Up ahead! There are the boulders! Do you see them?" I looked to where she was pointing and realized 2 things.
1. I could see them, I knew they existed, but they seemed SO. FAR. AWAY!
2. Because we were 'so far away' they didn't really catch my eye because they looked like a very small pile.
But the question was, "Do you see them?" So. My answer was. "Yes!" They indeed existed.
We kept driving, and after a few miles and bends in the road later, I knew we had gotten to where we were supposed to be. I saw the whole picture. It was not a small pile of boulders, but massive rocks surrounding both sides of the road, with cacti and green palms mixed in to the terrain. It was all the things I had gotten glimpses of before, and EVEN MORE. My excitement was SKY HIGH. We pulled into a parking area and I proceeded to whip out my last - and FAVORITE - outfit. I distinctly remember confirming with Kaylie, "So we're SURE. This is the final stop. This is best? This is the place where I'm gonna be using my favorite outfit." And Kaylie replied, "Yes. This is it. We're almost at the end of the park."
And that was all the assurance I needed as I went into the car to start changing my outfit.
The air felt different at this last location. A cool breeze had picked up, and even though we were hanging out in the desert while it was pushing over 100 degrees...it was not at all miserable. The entire time we were exploring it was blissful and freeing. This final environment paired with my favorite outfit caused me to loosen up the most - my confidence kicked in as I leaned into the boulders like old friends. The best was truly saved for last, and these were BY FAR my favorite photos of the day.
All this to say, I feel like what the Lord was trying to teach me through all of this was to trust His leading and timing. In the same way that Kaylie had been to Joshua Tree and was guiding the trip, God already knows every road and bend in my life while I'm just driving though it for the first time. It feels better and is easier to be patient when we get out of the drivers seat and let Him take us through. Because of free will, we're able to stop where we think looks good, but He'll always call us back to the promise that He has the best in store for us. When we think we know what we want the 'picture' to look like, He is gently smiling, knowing how wide our eyes will get and how much our hearts will swell when we reach what He has for us.
This lesson at Joshua Tree just snapped me back into purpose and patience. I know God has given me this gift of singleness right now. I know there are so many things I want to grow more deeply in to become more whole before I can find a man who is also whole. Not perfect. But whole, and ready.
That's something else the Lord taught me this week. Don't look for your better half, just look for another whole person. And make sure you are whole yourself. Do not strive for perfection, but for WHOLENESS. Being READY. Athletes don't go into the game with an injury. Don't rush into a situation you aren't healthy enough to handle yet, or that wound/sickness is just going to get worse.
Trust God. Grow in Him. He will not let you miss what He has for you, and you will certainly not miss it if you are constantly in communication and oneness with the Creator of your soul. He is a good Father who gives good gifts, and He waits until we are ready to receive them because a part of His goodness is His timing. So hop into the passenger seat and trust the One who was, who is, and is to come.
Just this past week, God put a story from the Bible on my heart. It’s one I’ve definitely heard before, but I never searched much further into. Found in John 8, it tells about a woman caught in adultery who was then brought in by the Pharisees before Jesus and a crowd in the temple. The Pharisees were completely shaming her and were ready to stone her for what she had done, as was the penalty for breaking the sacred law taught by Moses. They asked Jesus what He thought should be done to her - thinking they could trick Him. But the truth they didn’t see was that Jesus came to refresh the law with grace. And that’s exactly what this story shows.
Jesus answers the pharisees in verse seven, saying, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
This was an amazing answer, and one that turned the tables on the Pharisees, making them look completely foolish. Because even though they were seen as holy teachers of the law, none of them could honestly say they’d never sinned. Jesus was just kind of saying… come off your high horses, guys!
So after the Pharisees left, more frustrated and embarrassed than they thought they would be, Jesus asks the woman, (v.10) “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” to which she replies, “No one, sir” (v.11). And the statement that follows next is what hit me in a new way as God refreshed this truth for me. Jesus says, “Then neither do I condemn you.” He not only says it, but declares it. The voices she heard condemning her were gone. And Jesus' voice was a sweet sound of protection and grace.
In this story, it was revealed to me that the Pharisees are a lot like the voices of the world. There are so many voices who make it their duty to shame you, or confuse you about how you should see yourself. They are quick to put you on trial, and give you disqualifications that say, “You shouldn't even be living!”. I think it's also worth noting in the story that after Jesus challenges them, saying the one without sin should cast the first stone, they didn’t all leave at once. It says in verse nine, “At this, those who had heard began to go away, one at a time, the older ones first.” THE OLDER ONES FIRST. Why is that? I believe it's because there is such an epidemic of PRIDE, especially in younger hearts. As the oldest ones were the first to back down, it was harder for the younger ones to grasp… Woah… maybe I’m not on the right track. Maybe I don’t know everything there is to know. Maybe there’s some truth in this grace replacing condemnation. It was harder for them to set down their stones of pride and know-it-all-ness. And I can say young hearts struggle with pride, because I am a twenty one year old woman myself. I'm a young heart who has had to lay my pride before God. I'm not saying this to provide a label or excuse for people to hold to, but calling it to attention as something we should be aware of and intentional about combatting.
And maybe just as the pharisees brought this woman to trial, even YOU feel quick to put yourself on trial for some things, letting past shame or mistakes cling to you. But Jesus enters in to say that He has gotten rid of all that. Because He is here to shower us in forgiveness, grace, and newness. Jesus calls off the world. Jesus disqualifies their claims. He says - who are they to accuse you? And that leaves you the space to life your eyes… and realize no one is condemning you for your past anymore. Not even Jesus. He calls off your condemners. Leaving you forgiven and free, with a chance to walk into new life.
I’ve been so grateful for the refreshing reminder of this story last week, and just this morning I was listening to a sermon, when a little bit into it, the pastor started talking about this EXACT same story. So that’s what prompted me to write all this. This pastor addresses so many other good points and goes a bit more into the mysterious part of the story where Jesus is on the ground writing in the dirt with his finger. I’ve included the link to that message bellow, which I think could be so eye-opening and freeing for so many others, as it was for me.
Blessings as you go forward, forgiven and free ~
// Zoey Jean
We can only run so far
Before we find ourselves
To our knees
We can only run
Before a part of us
To go back home.
You will find yourself tired
You will find yourself walking
And finally sprinting in circles
Thinking you can run your way out of them
Run your way out of 'lost'
Run your way out of 'tired'
Run your way out of 'broken'
Run your way out of 'lonely'
You and I
Are not built
To run like this
You and I
Are not built to last
Too long on our own
We are meant to have a home.
If you know anyone best,
It is surely yourself.
So you will know the moment
When together your mind and body will heave,
"We are done.
We are tired.
We are lost."
You will hear yourself say
"I remember this place
Where I could rest not just my head
But my whole body
And it was called Home."
I am not talking about your home
I am not talking about your home
No, I'm speaking
Of another Being
Who is our home
Who created our beings
And left a bit of himself
So we will always know
The way back home
Here are some shots from my recent portrait session with Paige! It was non-stop raining this whole day, but she was a champ and wanted to shoot anyway! I'm so grateful for her willing spirit and good energy! Such a cool human!
If you're interested in booking your own portrait session like Paige's, email firstname.lastname@example.org //
Recently, my friends Bryce and Hailey (+ Hailey's brother Wes!) came to visit Minneapolis! I had the best time hosting them and taking them around my city for the two days they were here. It's so sweet when friends are visiting, because it makes me think outside the box of my day-to-day patterns, and come up with fun things for us to do - like going to the Foshay tower downtown! Bryce & Hailey love creating and capturing with cameras like I do, and the city scenery made for some particularly rad shots! I even played around with some double exposure techniques to mix things up.
Enjoy the shots - and go explore your own city!
I’m being intrigued by the delicate.
Drawn to the meek things.
The sweet whispers.
The small notables.
I’m being intrigued.
Because I have a growing desire to be gentler
In a world that is telling me I must always speak up, speak out
and stand for something.
Right now, I am standing for the gentler things.
As I am learning that gentle does not mean weak
But it means a controlled strength.
The art of undeniably being
fully knowing the power behind who I am as a created woman
without forcing it on anyone else.
A moment ago I glanced out my front window
caught my reflection
and thought about what someone would see if they peeked into my home, with the most innocent of curiosities.
They would have seen me.
Blissfully alone at my dining room table
Eating my favorite vegetables that I just cooked up for dinner.
Staring out into my living room
Blankets thrown across the couch from my afternoon nap.
Further into my kitchen they would see a sink full of dishes I had to take care of later.
If they stuck around they might even witness me singing my heart out over the volume of the rushing water and banging of bowls and pans as I cleaned.
I hope they would have seen that I was not lonely.
But maybe they would not.
Maybe I would be the only one to know how much these simple, comforting, routine moments meant to me.
And maybe that’s alright.
Because I’ve learned to love this space I’m in.
This space of coming down from my tower.
The tower that I stood on top of, shouting to let other people know who I am.
You see, I wasn’t asking people to tell me who I am.
No, I was sure of who I was.
But why did I so desperately want everyone else to know too?
Why is it not enough for me and my Father to know.
Why was I trying so very hard to let people know
WHO i was
Instead of Whose?
I am learning.
I am learning to only shout for things worth the volume.
And I am learning the value of a whisper.
The sweet intimacy of soft spoken words.
So I am being intrigued.
And meek things.
Because I believe I have a heavenly Father who is waiting to give me much.
But how can He
when I have already packed myself with so much, ‘much’?
Like a child trying to stick all she can on a piece of paper covered in glue
when there is simply no more room to adhere the feathers and beads.
That is me.
The little girl who wants every sparkling, colorful, pin and ponytail in her hair.
But who I am learning to be
is the little girl who just wants her daddy to braid her hair.
To set aside my sparkles and clips.
To sit nicely.
And have Him do something that I am just too small to do on my own.
I am falling in love with being small.
Embracing the delicacies.
Collecting the gentle things.
So that there is all the more room for Him.
And for my smallness to be able to fit just perfectly
Wherever it might need to be.
// all photos styled & shot by Zoey Jean //
Just yesterday I was asked if I wanted to go on an inexpensive trip to Ireland (that departed in less than 24 hours) and part of me immediately jumped at the situation, saying YES and not caring about the outcome. Not caring about the details. Not thinking about how it might affect my photo projects, or bank account for that matter. I did this before with a trip to San Diego, and everything was great! I knew that I was built for situations like this.
But then I did something I admittedly don’t do as often as I should.
I asked God to reveal what answer was the best. Which answer was more wise.
And over the next few hours of my day I didn’t FEEL like I should be going there. He was gently telling me the answer was no. I didn’t need to go on this trip. Because I felt like my reason for going there was to show other people that I am the person that says YES. That I am the person who welcomes the unknown and figures out life as she goes along. Which - I am! But why was I trying so hard to prove what I already knew to be true about myself?
Denying that chance to go to Ireland didn’t seem like a big deal, but honestly… it was a pivotal moment. I know I would’ve looked so fun, cool, and carefree running off to Ireland for New Years on a whim. And I do believe I am those things. It's not bad to think you're fun, cool, or carefree. But. Suddenly… I don’t feel the need to prove that to anyone anymore. I know who I am. But I don’t need to try so hard to let everyone else know too. And I can say I’m perfectly happy about that.
That is a truth I want to stand in for the new year. That I know who I am, and who I want to be, and I should spend less time letting other people know what that is, and more time just BEING that, and being open to becoming even more.
I want to leave you with my hopes for 2017, even though they’re just a handful. I’m leaving plenty of room for surprises.
HOPE: “The feeling that what is wanted can be had.”
I hope to get more tattoos created by my friends.
I hope to go places that I want to go, not so that other people can see that I went, but so that my heart and mind can grow to be even more beautiful because of it.
I hope to fervently serve others
I hope my heart gets stretch marks from all the right kinds of loving
I hope this new year is a little (lot) less about me.
I hope to become more gentle, but never lose my spunk; to be undeniably dedicated to the cause of spreading Light into the world through the way I live my life.
Last night (11.5.16) I had the insane opportunity to photograph my favorite band LANY at Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis, MN //
This was so special, being able to channel my passion of photography towards a band that means so much to me. The experience was all so brilliant - taking the familiarity of operating a camera and combining it with the flow of knowing every word to their songs and being able to enjoy each moment while documenting it was truly special.
Oh and Halsey made a surprise appearance at the end and sang ILYSB with the boys. It was a dream land. Trying to imagine any concert that could top this experience.
Enjoy the shots. And go tell LANY I'll be their next tour photographer //
* "Hella Obsessed" hand lettering by Emily Poulin
photo by Isaiah Stofferahn
I think sometimes we need to feel like we’re surrounded by life in order to live more. It makes sense. Even as an introvert - I find myself waking up and having days where I need to go out and be surrounded by other people, even if it’s just the bustle of a coffee shop. Even if no one is talking to me. Even if I’m not working my brains out, editing photos or answering emails. Just to be in a space where energy is flowing - THAT is life-giving.
I am confident that no other female on the planet would like to make the following analogy towards themselves - but I’m gonna say it …
I feel like a beached whale.
Not in a “Wow why don’t these jeans fit me like they used to” way, or “Oops can’t wear crop tops this season” feeling … I literally feel out of my element. Stuck on the beach. Out of my ocean. So close to it… right next to it… but unable to get back into the flow of its life-giving energy.
I feel like I’m spread out, laying on a beach - and not in a vacation sort of way. In a beached whale sort of way. If you didn’t know, a beached whale is usually dying or already dead.
Not exaclty California dreamin'.
*Please note, I’m talking about my dead energy, muted emotions … I have a good quality of life, and this is in no way me hinting into wanting to end my physical life.*
Would I rather be where I’m at, immobile on this ‘beach’ instead of being over my head and drowning?
This whole whale analogy made me quickly realize I didn’t have much knowledge on whales, and prompted me to hit up Google to type in questions like, “can whales drown?” and “why do whales beach themselves?”
I really hope the guy sitting next to me at this coffee shop isn't glancing over my computer as my eyes pour into articles on the most morbid times of a whale’s life. Sorry dude. Google is my college. It’s where you get to learn about anything you want, exactly when you want, FOR FREE. Move over.
It brought to my attention that whales can in fact drown. They’re mammals after all. They don’t breathe underwater, Zoey. They live underwater, but they NEED to come up for air. Therefore they can drown by holding their breath for too long, or getting water in their blowhole.
Then. They can beach themselves for a list of various reasons - it can be intentional or not. But. The fact is they are already dead or dying when they do so.
Yikes. This blog has turned from educational to morbid in one foul swoop, and I’m becoming very self-conscious of the fact that I am sitting in a coffee shop writing a piece about whales and how I can very much relate to them.
With all that being said … to answer my question above: “Would I rather be where I’m at, this idle “beached whale” or … this struggling drowning, “didn’t pay attention to how long I was diving, now I’m drowning” whale?
I want to be a happy whale. I want to be a normal whale! I want to be a whale that is IN its element. Swimming in my ocean, chillin’ with my pod.
KEEP WITH ME ON THIS WHALE THING.
I think we forget that option. You can be a normal whale. A really cool, mighty, graceful, freaking WHALE. (Person).
So watch out. Don’t stay underwater too long. Don’t dive down too deep that you forget to come up and breathe!
And beware of the beach. One of the reasons whales beach themselves is because they get confused or misinformed, and all of a sudden the water is too shallow and they get stuck on the beach and can’t get back in the ocean.
Find your flow. Don’t get too shallow. Don’t get stuck in the depths. Come up to breathe! Find your pod. Slap your tail on top of the water when there’s danger. (okay, too far?)
Thanks for reading about me and whales. I think it’s helping me get off this beach and back into the ocean. Which is the difference between us and whales. We have legs. We can dive back in.
Go get ‘em tiger! (err…. whale?) Person. We are people. Be a cool, mighty, graceful, person. YOU.
The Naked And Famous + X Y L O at First Avenue . M P L S
Excited for my photos to be a part of Greta's branding process as she begins a new singer/songwriter career. This shoot was a combination of the softest colors and a touch of tomboy.
Just a week ago, a group of friends - old and new ones - all jumped into cars and made our way up to Palisade Head in northern Minnesota. The purpose was for an H Influencer Meet-Up, but ultimately, it was just a time to be with friends, experience life together, and get our hearts & minds stirred up in all the creative opportunities in front of us that day.
Here's a look at the photos I captured throughout the day:
Hello humans of the internet!
Hopefully you read Part One of this NYC blog series and you're all briefed on who Olivia is & why we're in New York together.
Because in THIS post I'll be getting into the traveler's details of anything and everything we have to say about this trip! (myself speaking for Olivia, cause again - we're basically the same person)
So if you're heading to NYC anytime soon, or just want to live vicariously through us - this post should be satisfying to both of those situations!
Day 1 : Sunday
After navigating buses, subways, and the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, we arrived at our AirBnb with great relief around 2 in the afternoon. I'm gonna preface this whole experience by saying there wasn't a day of this trip that we didn't break a sweat because of the high temperatures. Which you wouldn't really expect from a trip to New York? But in the summer it's just heat, radiating off of a city built of asphalt and reflective buildings. So that's the perspective. Thanking the Lord for the breezes, air conditioned establishments, and countless iced drinks that kept us going.
Now that you know how hot we were. Let's move on.
Next on Sunday's schedule was to meet up with my friend Elise, who had recently moved to Brooklyn from Minneapolis. We met at Dough Doughnuts on Franklin and OH MY GOSH. We took it upon ourselves to taste test a LOT of doughnuts on our trip, but these win. Hands down. They were even vegan. I could eat one of their pistachio doughnuts every day.
Also - it was never a question of how many doughnuts we were going to get. Half dozen or bust.
After some catch-up chats and savoring the doughnuts made by angels, we were all off to catch the 5:00PM service at Hillsong Church in Manhattan!
I love experiencing different churches when I travel and being able to come together with other believers that I don't even know & worship our Creator together. We have Christ in common and that's all we need. It's also so refreshing to hear different speakers and gain new perspectives from what they have to say. It was all so, so good. Grateful for that time.
After the service, we were all pretty hungry, so we headed over to 12 Chairs Cafe in East Village, which served a fusion of Middle East & Eastern European cuisine.
More simply put: their food was incredible.
I got a fresh mozzarella sandwich, Live got a Brie sandwich, and Elise got the most amazing salad. ALSO LET'S DISCUSS THE POTATO PRODUCTS ON THE TABLE. We all shared sweet potato fries and their 'house fries' (the plate with round fried potato slices) and they were both just so fresh and good. Not pictured - our appetizer - which was the MOST amazing hummus served with warm pita. Even now that I'm back home, I still crave that fresh hummus. I'll be eating some Sabra and I'm like. What even is this. Where's my 12 Chairs Hummus. Need that.
So after our dinner, we said goodbye to Elise and grabbed an Uber to Webster Hall for a concert.
FUNNY THING about this concert - one of my best guy friends was in the band that was performing. Hence why we were even there. BUT GUYS - this whole thing is really exciting. Just because of the fact that we're both from the midwest, hailing from the Minneapolis area of Minnesota, and THERE WE WERE in NEW YORK CITY together?? Like. The chances of being in the same city (of 8.5 Billion people) at the same time as one of your closest friends (1200 miles from your homes) completely coincidentally? YEAH WE THOUGHT THAT WAS PRETTY RAD.
Oh also it's Kyle. Kyle Featherstone is the guy. HI KY.
I've known Kyle for 4 years and our friendship is one of my favorites! He's one of the people in my life who knows the realest, rawest version of me, and I love that. We like to pretend to be really cool in photos but we're probably two of the biggest dorks you could find. Even when we're in NYC.
After shooting some photos & listening to their set, we called it a night and made the journey back to the AirBnb.
The only two requirements we really had during our online search for the perfect AirBnb was :
1 : a bedroom with white walls & good lighting.
2 : rooftop access for photo and hangout purpose
Bet your bottom dollar that's exactly what we booked.
So Sunday night, we headed straight for the rooftop when we got 'home' and spent some time up there before calling it a night.
Day 2 : Monday
We let ourselves sleep in a bit, then started our day by grabbing brunch and coffee at Brunswick Cafe
9/10 would recommend because of the cozy yet modern aesthetic vibes, good food - and Olivia really enjoyed her drink.
What? Does that a mean I didn't enjoy my drink?
No. i really really didn't. I got a chai latte. And it tasted like a chai tea that had been left to steep for 30 seconds. I was basically drinking poorly spiced water. So. If you go here - get a regular latte! Get the avocado toast! Get the bacon & egg croissant! But avoid the chai at all costs.
After we got our fuel for the morning, we set out to do what we do best!
Wander around and take photos. We hit up the Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo areas of Brooklyn
We knew we were going to call it an early night because we wanted to get back to the AirBnb rooftop in time to take sunset photos -
We went into West Village for dinner because we had our hearts (and eyes and stomachs, and basically every part of us) set on experiencing The Butcher's Daughter - a 'vegetable slaughterhouse' with an earthy boho, yet clean and modern vibe. The whole place was fresh, in every sense of the word - including the sick music which was being queued up by one of the waiters, who noticed I was vibing and singing along with every song between bites, and came over to recognize my appreciation for his selections. (one of the songs, newer to me, was a song called Panic Chord - Hucci Remix. Do your ears a favor and go listen after reading this post FOR SURE. Make sure you're listening to the remix though.)
*sorry there are no photos of the food we ordered, but this was one of those 'we're so hungry and this food looks so good, I don't even know what a camera is right now'*
After the flawless Butcher's Daughter experience we hopped back onto the subway and made it back to our place in Brooklyn just in time to get some golden hour rooftop photos :
Day 3 : Tuesday
This day was the day we had planned to meet up with Jess (IG : @life_is_sweeeeet) for lunch and then explore and take photos for the rest of the day.
BUT FIRST : DOUGHNUTS
We took a whirl at another donut shop we had our eyes on : Dough Doughnuts
the Hibiscus (pink frosted) and Cafe Au Lait (left of hibiscus) were the best ones. Their glazed and sugar ones were just sort of average. Also these doughnuts were huge. We honestly only took about two bites of each, and combined that was about 3 doughnuts finished between the 2 of us together. These doughnuts were just HUGE. Between the flavors and the size, we just preferred Dun Well over Dough HANDS DOWN.
So after doughnuts and walking around the botanical gardens (which were also a bit of a letdown) our day picked up when we met Jess for lunch.
We went to a small Parisian cafe whose backyard outdoor dining was a dream.
I was in desperate need of some protein because all we'd been consuming was carbs, carbs, carbs, so as soon as I saw "Peach and Salmon Roe" on the menu I thought - YUM! Salmon with a peach sauce? Cool. That sounds great. I'll have that.
Olivia : "What's 'Roe' ? "
Me : "I don't know Live I just really want Salmon."
So we ordered, talked, I went off to the bathroom and when I came back, Olivia looked like she definitely knew something I didn't know. Then she said :
"Well. We found out what 'Roe' means...
It's fish eggs."
So on a plate in front of my eyes was a a caramelized peach cut open and in place of where the pit would have been, little orange jelly spheres overflowed. Little fish eggs. I was about to eat fish eggs. THE MENU DID NOT SAY CAVIAR. UGH.
I was a good sport and tried them out, and they did in fact last like salmon, just in little flavor beads.
They lacked the true texture and sustenance I would have experience had a REAL salmon been on my plate. This is my sob story. All I wanted was some protein. Not a warm peach stuffed with salmon eggs for $17.00
Yes. That's the other sad part to this story. Tears about that money.
BUT LET'S MOVE ON BECAUSE FROM AFTER LUNCH TIL THE END OF THE DAY - THINGS WERE GREAT!
We went to Sweatshop which is a coffee shop in Brooklyn known for putting ice-cream in their coffees. That's right. I got a cup of espresso + vanilla ice-cream + sprinkles. And it was lovely.
Midwest coffee shops, get on that.
After Sweatshop, we adventured around Williamsburg, which is where Jess took most of the photos found in my last blog!
This is Jess! ^^ had to snap a few of her during our adventures :) The light coming through this fence was just too cool.
After walking around Williamsburg, we headed back to Jess's apartment in Queens because she had two Shiba Inus we needed to meet.
Jess also had killer rooftop access that we took advantage off. And we may also have snuck into the next apartment building over to use their rooftop as well :)
Day 4 : Wednesday
This was our last FULL day in NYC so we decided to get up at sunrise and go to the roof to do some portrait shooting of each other. We went back to bed promptly after our half our shoot.
after waking up for the second time that day, we decided to go to Toby's Estate for some avocado toast & coffee. This day basically consisted of us going around to coffee shops and thrift shops, until we made it to Little Italy for dinner at the most delicious (and expensive) Italian restaurant. Afterwards we were on our way to meet my cousin in Central Park where 'Opera in the park' was happening. It was a nice low-key day in the city, only documented on our iPhones, which was a nice break after non-stop shooting the past days.
Day 5 : Thursday (BYE)
This was our travel day. We woke up, packed up, went to a juice bar down the street that we went to the very first day we got here, and hopped on the subway to make it to Port Authority. I think 5 days was just enough to freely explore and experience just enough of NYC to fix our travel bugs. Eating good food, drinking good drinks, and getting a fresh creative spark that can only be found when you leave your familiar for a bit. And getting to experience it with someone you love so much? Bonus.
Here's us leaving our AirBnb and thinking about all the subways, buses, and airplanes we were about to deal with for the day. It was the saddest moment when we realized we had to say goodbye to each other on the shuttle at the airport. Back to Missouri for her - Back to Minnesota for me. But then we were texting each other again within a few minutes ... so, it's not so sad.
One of my best friends Olivia (IG: @oliviariddering) and I have been crowned 'ZOLIVIA' by one of our mentors, Nicole Matthews, due to the fact that we're 99% the same person and basically inseparable when we're in the same environment (which isn't frequent, seeing as she lives in Missouri and I live in Minnesota. But we text each other every day, even if it's just to talk about what we're eating. So we're definitely as in-tune as we could be with each other's lives).
I guess the name comes down to the fact that it's easier to say ZOLIVIA instead of separating us out. But we're not mad about it! We'd agree that we're basically the same person anyway.
So what were we doing in New York?
Well. I had a wedding to shoot there on Saturday the 18th of June, so I texted Olivia seeing if she wanted to meet me out there after the wedding and we could spend the week in NYC together. Naturally. (this was also all before we had even met in person)
Back in January, were both chosen to be ambassadors for a company called The Bloomerie and were made aware of each other's existence through that. I'm not sure at what point we turned from new, careful, acquaintances to constantly texting each other about everything - smoothies, pancakes, wine, PIZZA, New Girl, Friends, Marvel, boy news, our similar family habits, and a million other things we have in common. And forget double-texting. I know when my phone goes off 3 times or more in less than 5 seconds - it's Olivia - and there are probably 5 more messages coming, so I should just sit tight till they all arrive. I love it because that's how I roll with texting too: incoming - you're about to receive 3-8 incomplete yet important (or not) thoughts via blue text bubbles from me. You're welcome.
Also we're both photographers. And are completely content planning our days the day before they happen. So we knew it'd be the bomb spending a week exploring New York City together.
We planned our entire trip via Instagram and picked restaurants, coffee shops, and good photo-shoot locations through the app. You could say we're low-key (high-key) social-media researching experts. Apparently.
We even planned to meet up with another photographer I'd found through instagram - Jessica (IG: life_is_sweeeeet) I told her I was on my way to New York, wanted to meet up, and she was more than happy to adventure around with us - and capture some photos of me & Live together.
I wanted to have this Part 1 post to feature Jess's photos of us, and then ZOLIVIA takes NYC : Part 2 will get more into the details of everything Live & I did, documented, went to, drank, and ate over the week :) Stay tuned for that! Enjoy Jess's images of us bellow :
all images by Forever Photography :
I've recently been getting a lot of Instagram DM's and emails from followers and friends, filled with questions about photography, travel, and my life in general! I think it's so rad that you all are so interested in my experiences and what I have to say! So I decided to compose the various wonderings into a blog post consisting of 12 questions that summarized the lot of them! Enjoy!
1) How did you get started in photography?
In 2012, my oldest brother got married and one of my cousins let me run around the wedding with her Canon T3i. It was so fun. Then a few weeks later I learned I was going to be going off to boarding school and to be completely honesty, I saw that a lot of students there seemed to have nice cameras. So I bought one. SUPER shallow, right?
But the entire summer before I went off to school, I used that new camera and shot photos like crazy - especially during July when me and my parents took a month long road trip to, up, and around the east coast. I was so annoying and shot photos of everything. And I edited them horribly on BeFunky.com.
Once I went off to boarding school, I became a ‘teacher’s assistant’ for the marketing director, and he was the first one to tell me I had an eye for photography. I took a photography class for a semester of my junior year in high school and learned more about the technical basics of photography and how to use Photoshop - actually I REALLY learned how much I preferred Lightroom, and that’s what I began using whenever editing photos for marketing, and personal projects.
So my junior and senior years away at boarding school (Hillcrest Lutheran Academy if you care) were the years I really dug down into photography. I literally shot everything. Always. I was the girl with the school camera at every sporting event and banquet - I even went around during classes and took candid promotional photos of kids in class, taking tests, ect. I shot senior photos and other portrait sessions on my own time after school got out at 3. Photography started for me there, though I didn't get serious about pursuing my photography as a business until after I graduated in 2014.
2) What is your advice for people who want to get into photography?
My advice is just to start. You gotta start doing it. Your eye gets trained for photography the more you do it. Be obnoxious and shoot everything - that’s also a quick way to find out what you are or aren't passionate about shooting.
Know how to use your camera and shoot manual. Learn the basics, learn some general photography rules, and then you know where to stretch from.
Know WHY you want to be taking photos. Doing anything without passion never lasts long, this goes for photography and life in general.
DO NOT get too caught up in other photographer’s styles. Admire, learn, but you do you. Don’t try to copy people. Find out who you are, and stick with that.
Going with that, it IS important to collaborate and surround yourself with other photographers and creatives. We spur each other on, and can learn from each other. Most of my best friends are photographers and other artists. We’re each other’s people!
Be nice, and be open, but never put yourself in a position of mixing friendship and business where you feel cheated. Be chill, but be smart.
3) What are your favorite places you’ve traveled to?
- Norway in the summertime. Bergen, Norway. I think that’s my favorite place in the world.
- New York City. Brooklyn specifically. Williamsburg even more specifically. I would live there.
- Southern California. Specifically San Diego. San Diego is better than LA - there I said it.
4) Where do you still want to travel to?
- England. ASAP. I’ve been to Heathrow on layovers twice and it kills me that I wasn’t actually able to spend time in London. But I need to explore all of England in general.
- Greece. For some reason I’ve wanted to travel there since I was a little girl.
- Australia. No explanation needed.
- Hawaii. I’m growing into more of an active outdoorsy girl, and I’m in love with the beauty found in nature. So I would just wanna explore the CRAP out of Hawaii.
- Europe in general. South America. And Nashville.
5) What do you shoot your photos with?
90% of my instagram IS shot on my iPhone 5s I promise! I only take my actual camera (Canon 6D) out on paid or intentional photo shoots.
6) What editing software do you use for photos?
For photos that I take on my phone (iPhone 5s) I use VSCOcam. On my computer, I use Adobe Lightroom.
7) Have you always been interested in photography?
Nope. Before I was 16, I used to think I was going to be a famous performer. Singer, dancer, actress. All of it. I can sing, I know that, and I was really good at dance the 8 years I was in it. My life used to be consumed with singing and dancing - a never ending performance (bless my parents’ souls). Then life changes, and you decide what are just hobbies and what are actually passions you can pursue in order to create a realistic AND enjoyable future. I still love singing and dancing. But not to pay the bills. Just to make me and others feel something every once in a while.
8) Are you in college?
No. If I was, I would be a sophomore. I have zero regrets about not going to college right after high school. I’m pursuing my photography business, learning things on my own time that I want to be learning, and taking advantage of alternate learning experiences, like the internship I took with Krochet Kids. I’ve recently become really interested in marketing. I research that in my free time.
9) What did you learn most from your recent internship?
I learned how tough I am.
I learned how much there is to know, and how much I didn’t know.
I learned how much I was capable of.
I learned the more technical and business side of photography, along with working on a creative team as a part of a company - adapting to a brand image.
I learned not to be held down by my young age - maturity, skill, and passion is what matters most.
10) What is your advice for people interested in the Krochet Kids internship?
If you don’t have the passion for the company, what they’re doing, or what you’ll be doing for them - you might as well not do it. I don’t wanna sugar coat it. It's not just another internship to check off. You're a vital part of the company and you won't get by as a fly on the wall. It’s hard work. The experience overall changed me emotionally, physically, and professionally.
But if you do have the heart to keep you there, it’ll be one of the most amazing experiences of your life that could never be replicated. Every employee at that company is brilliant, hardworking, dreamers AND doers. The people there are what make it. And southern California is the bomb to live in. Whatever you invest into the internship will be invested right back into your growth.
11) What's the boyfriend situation?
That’s a short story. Single since ’96. Had a couple ‘almosts’ for sure.
But I’m 19 and have things to do.
I already know that I have so much love to give and the guy that God’s got set up for me doesn’t even know what he’s in for. I’ve had my heart tossed around before, and I’ve vowed it’s gonna stay carefully mine until a stand up guy is in intentional pursuit of my awesome.
12) What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I can’t actually share that on the internet haha - but ask me in person and I'll let the stories fly.
I'm still getting used to being back in Minnesota - the temperatures are about the only thing that I can't particularly grasp right now - but the people I get to spend my time with are worth those extremes. I met up with fellow photographer Ivy Christina in downtown Anoka on New Years Day, and we wandered, shot, and survived the chill. I'm so very glad we did - no better way to start off the new year than a killer creative photo session. Here are some of my favorites - Enjoy!
I have some really good friends from Eau Claire, WI who are in a band called The Millenium. This past week, they performed at The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis and I was able to capture the energy of the night through my camera. I absolutely adore photographing friends, especially in some of their most genuinely raw moments of life - like performing in front of a room full of people who are singing along to their passion-packed songs. It makes my heart soar. Love you boys!
insta: @themilleniumwi // facebook.com/themilleniumwi // twitter: @themilleniumWI
It was the day before thanksgiving. I had left work early, and was scrambling to pack bags, camping gear, cameras, snacks, and any other items I thought I would need to survive the next 5 days of the unknown, with nobody but myself. Starting from my home in SoCal at Newport, I had my eyes set North - exploring Pacific Coast Highway, with San Fransisco as an ultimate destination. Other than a stop at a friends' in Gilroy for a Thanksgiving meal - that was literally the entirety of my plans. 500+ miles of I DON'T KNOW, LET'S GO!
Something I've recently learned about myself is that my top two strengths are Activator and Adaptability - which I now see displayed in my life constantly. This coastal endeavor was no exception, as it breathed a dance of these two traits.
You see, activators are the people who are quick to put ideas into action where others would hesitate, or talk themselves out of an idea altogether. It's a nice way of saying: I come up with ideas and bring them into action without thinking too much about it. That may sound a little risky - and it is - but I've become a professional at facing the unknown, which is why I've only gotten where I am today because my God is gracious and gave me my second strength of Adaptability. With every spontaneous adventure comes twists and turns that I'm an ace at rolling with, only because of adaptability. I've learned not to approach things with expectations, but with anticipation, and flexibility.
So I'm pretty sure I just told you all that as a preface and reassurance that I'm not completely crazy, and this blog will have true nuggets of life that you can trust. This post is basically me debriefing on everything I may have thought, experienced, and found insightful enough to share to anyone who will take it. Apparently, that's you! So you're wonderful.
As I was running in and out of the house, hurriedly packing up my car, and finally turning out of our neighborhood with a huge exhale, I had a thought.
"Zoey. What are you doing? You have 5 days off of work ahead of you that you could spend sitting and relaxing at home while it's empty! You could be sleeping, blogging, and getting your life in order. Why are you running off? Stay."
I can't tell you what made me turn the voice off. Maybe the really loud music I was jamming to. But I continued driving and rested with the fact that I was not one to so easily give up an adventure. Which is why from experience, I encourage you to GO. Even if it's nothing the world tells you is huge and epic - GO. If it's going out to a coffee shop, book store, being with friends, or even walking around your city a little bit more to experience something outside your ordinary - GO! With an open mind, it'll be hard to NOT grow or learn from even the smallest of adventures. Save the snoozing or internet surfing for another time. When choosing to stay or go, ask yourself:
"Which option will add to the story of my life that I'm living?"
2. KEEP GOING
So often in life we think there couldn't possibly be anything better than where we're at right now. Everything seems so amazing, and when we're forced to move on, or make changes, we can't picture there being something better. I experienced this often, quite literally, as I was exploring PCH.
I'd pull my car over to see an astonishing view - trying my best to take it in and capture it through my camera lens. After a few minutes, I'd reluctantly get into my car, thinking I had seen the climax of my drive, when little did I know that a few miles up the road, I'd find an even MORE incredibly breathtaking moment.
But I wouldn't have known it if I hadn't kept going.
Now get me straight, I'm not telling you to rush through life looking for the bigger and better. I'm saying that it's a gentle balance of enjoying exactly where you're at, but being obedient and open enough to move on to what's calling you next. Don't stay stuck. Don't be stubborn. Something incredibly amazing is waiting for you, but it cannot happen if your'e stuck in the past, or even wasting time being idle in the present.
3. YOU ARE NOT THE POINT
I'm sorry if that's rough, but you'e not the point of things. And I'm not the point. As much as we'd love to have life revolve around us, it absolutely does not. In fact, life is heavier when we have a list of demands or expectations on how things should function in order to please ourselves, because in over half of most situations, those expectations are not going to be met.
You can find yourself in a more joyful and content state of life by simply taking the focus off of yourself, putting thought into others, and ultimately, appreciation onto the Creator of everything good and true.
4. TAKE TIME
I love peace.
I mean, who doesn't right? But if you haven't noticed, I have this prevalent GO instead of STAY theme, very high activity, yeah? So one of my favorite parts of this trip was in Big Sur, when I was very overcome by crowds and activity that had been populating PCH that day. It pushed me to pull off to the forest, park my car, grab my camera, and hope I remembered where I started walking from. I didn't know where I was going, I crossed a bridge and simply wandered, gazing at the forest surrounding me. It was magic, and one of the many times during this trip I wished I had some company.
Before going to the forest, I was very hesitant, thinking I should just keep trying to get to my destination, even though I knew I had plenty of hours to spare. Thankfully, I decided I needed to take the time. I needed the silence and serenity of these wandering moments, even if it was simply for an hour.
I'm still standing behind what I said before about KEEP GOING, but I'm not going to pretend to be a superwoman who never needs a breath. I need them so often, and I'm the worst at reminding myself to take them.
So if you're like me, here's a reminder to breathe. Take time.
Then find your way out of the forest and get back into your car.
5. YOU ARE MORE CAPABLE THAN YOU THINK
These three photos hold more weight in my heart than anyone else could possibly know, because I shot them in a location that made me realize things I didn't know about myself.
While in Big Sur, a more popular beach was completely full, so I opted to keep driving to get to another one suggested by the parking lot attendant. All I wanted was to get to the beach.
Except at this particular spot, it required parking your car, wading through a creek, and walking a mile and a half out on a trail before reaching the beach.
If you've never met me, just ask anyone who has, and I'm sure 'outdoorsy' will never be an adjective used to describe me.
But I told myself there was really no other option, and pushed myself to do it.
I took off my shoes and waded through the freezing creek. I don't do that. But I did it.
I hiked a silent mile and a half by myself in converse and skinny jeans. I don't do that. But I did it.
There was so much silence on this trail. It was only a mile and a half, but it actually seemed endless. It was lonely. There was no end in sight. It kept winding, and turning, looking to be leading anywhere but the beach. I had major doubts.
Do I turn around? Where am I going? Is this going to be worth it? Is there even a beach at the end of this? Should I just turn around? When is this going to be over? What. Am. I. Doing.
But again, I just kept going. I came that far, I wasn't just going to turn around, no matter how outside of my comfort zone I was venturing.
There was just something insane about where I was at in that moment. Literally all alone, in a part of California I'd never been, on a trail that I had never walked, leading to a place I'd never seen.
Nobody knew where I was. I wasn't lost, but I had never, ever, EVER, felt more alone.
This trail was getting mental.
And just when I thought I'd had enough of it - I saw sand. And sand meant beach. There was a peek of light - clear, wide and open - that I hadn't seen on the trail before. *third photo above*
And I knew I had made it. It was all worth it. I was okay. I had been okay, all along. I had made it to the calming shores.
I wasn't more capable in that moment when I reached the shore than I was a mile and a half before, when I had started.
I was capable all along. It just took that pressing situation for me to realize it. And now I'm telling you, you're capable too.
If something's hard - do it anyway
If somethings new - give it a shot
If you feel like you're at your end - go a little further
This trip inspired me. This trip pushed me. It was lonely. It made me lean closer into the company of my Maker. It revealed more than I can put into a 5 point blog.
I'm very grateful if you've made it to the end of this, and I encourage you to say YES, GO, and make some adventures of your own.