Northern Minnesota Roadtrip

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: 

 

 

 

 

Zolivia takes NYC : part 2

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 - 

BUT FIRST 

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. 

Zolivia takes NYC : Part 1

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.

 image by :  Forever Photography

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

the 1 2 wonderings //

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!

 image by Ivy Christina Photography

image by Ivy Christina Photography

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.

 Bergen City, Norway

Bergen City, Norway

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. 
 image by Hailey Marie Photograpy

image by Hailey Marie Photograpy

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.

 image by Ivy Christina Photography

image by Ivy Christina Photography

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.

New Year, New Friend //

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! 

The Millenium //

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

 

I don't know, let's go. //

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. 

1. GO 

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. 

back to November //

It's now December... and I've realized I have zero blogs from the entire month of November... so did that month actually happen??

I CAN PROMISE THAT IT HAPPENED SO HARD.

Which is exactly why I have NO blogs up about anything I did - I've literally been running, driving, and flying, from one thing to the next, and haven't had time to sort my thoughts or images on here! From SoCal to Texas, back west and up to NorCal - it's been a whirlwind of lovely and crazy.

So here's a collection of highlights from the past month as a quick update on everything Zoe! I'm striving to be more prompt in the future with my blogs - totally top of the list for New Years Resolutions!

But first.... this was November. And it was one unlike any other I've lived before:

// I had the huge blessing of starting the month with a quick visit from one of my greatest friends from back in MN - Paige! ^^ I drove down to San Diego and picked her up at the airport, then showed her around the city and took her to the ocean - HER FIRST TIME EVER! We spent a good amount of our time looking at all the creatures in the tide pools, and even made friends with an older couple who were there doing the same. //

// The following day - still in San Diego - was spent adventuring around Encinitas with two newly found friends, Ben and Mikey! @bendulay777 @mikeydiggs

such a fun afternoon & I loved being in front of the camera for the guys, because I haven't been shot by fellow photographers in quite a while! Any of the images of myself were taken on my camera by Ben & treated by me. TEAM! [Ben also has his own clothing company he co-owns with his brother Levi - @777_collective - so check that out!] //

// a huge portion of my month was also spent pouring into my internship by planning and executing 4 separate photoshoots for the 2016 Krochet Kids children's catalogue, as well as tagging along to a curated shoot in LA, and doing other KK INTL related events and projects with the company! *all of my work from the internship will be up on a section of my website soon* here's two quick peeks of the catalogue work I've been doing here:

// ALSO on the list of things that happened this month - I flew over to Austin Texas because my brother Zak was getting MARRIED! Such a fun time to see my family and welcome a new member at the same time. Love you Emily!  //

// when I returned from Texas, I had another week of normal intern work, then jumped into my car and drove up to Sacramento, CA to be the event photographer for the @glamcampforgirls ADORED conference, and gather footage for a promo video. That weekend was so much more than I ever thought it would be, filled with new inspiring lady friends, as well as professional, and spiritual growth. So grateful to Melinda Watts for hiring me! Such a wonder woman! @melindawatts

// Right when I came back from shooting the event in Nor Cal, I was full speed ahead, assigned to capture images to be in the KK INTL Fall/Holiday 2016 Catalogue *like I said before - more of those images will be up in a separate portfolio part of my site soon!* but peek if you must: 

// You still there?? OKAY! The final highlight of my November craziness was Thanksgiving break! Which was spent mostly by myself - starting with a mini road trip up Pacific Coast Highway, the actual thanksgiving day at a friend's house in Nor Cal, then exploring San Fransisco on my own for two days after that. My next blog will go more in depth about that experience, so enjoy this closing image from PCH, with the promise of my next blog being more focused and thoughtful //


zoe lately // part 2

maybe you've experienced this silent panic that seems to jump into your thoughts out of nowhere:

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing now. 

or later. 

 - what should I be getting ready for?

- who should I be talking to?

- where should I be going?

I know what I want to be doing.

Or I think I do. 

for me, I know I want to travel and explore this world, get to meet those who live in it, and capture photos that share this life with people. 

but now it comes back to why.

I feel like I used to be such an advocate for doing things with a purpose, and now I’m struggling to find mine in anything.

So just writing this and acknowledging that has reminded me of what I already know: 

Love. 

Love is always the purpose. 

Others. 

Others is always the focus.

 

"But what about me.” - my heart

“But what are you actually capable of.” - my brain

 

I want to share life. 

I want to share love. 

 

Well Zoe, you know where the truest love and life come from.

You know. You know. 

they’re from the Maker.

So. 

- what should I be getting ready for?

I’m already ready to live and love because He’s made me ready. He’s already equipped me with true life and love. 

- who should I be talking to?

Him. the Maker. 

first. first. first. 

Talk with the One who holds the plans. It’s the surest way to be more in tune and make you less susceptible to the worldly worries of what’s next.  

- where should I be going?

it doesn’t matter where. we must just go. take a listen to where your heart is being drawn and that's usually a good place to start.

be going. don’t wonder where you could be going when you could already just be there. 

I know what I want to be doing. 

and He does too. He created me with all my passions, after all. 

One of the truest things that I hold to is that God gives us the desires of our hearts that are rooted in him. 

I find myself again and always, clinging to the words in Proverbs 16:3 - “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” 

 

commit. He will establish. all you must then do, is go. 

that's zoe lately. 

One Arrow Tipis //

I was approached by the lovely Meredith Vandewege - momma of Harlow and co-designer of One Arrow Designs - to do a product shoot for her beautiful tipis! 

The little lady above is Harlow, and the redhead is a mini friend of mine named Elliot! His momma and I became friends a few months back through instagram - find her & her darlings on instagram @moriahflorence - and I thought he would be a perfect playmate to bring into the shoot!

It was so fun just to capture these two new pals interacting and having a day of fun around these beautiful tipis. Check out Meredith's blog on HausOfHarlow.com and email her onearrowdesign@gmail.com to put in a custom tipi order! 

instagram: @onearrowdesign


Raising Arrows //

I recently had the privilege of shooting photos for the fall launch of a faith-based threads company called Raising Arrows.

This was definitely one of my first 'big production' shoots, having the responsibility of styling, directing and shooting the whole project. But I wasn't completely alone because the group of gals we had modeling the threads were such light hearts to work with and a joy to be around. ALSO a major shoutout to my friend Erik Bear for being my selfless assistant the whole day - everything from holding my keys and coffee to lighting things on fire for elements in the shot, and just being an extra pair of creative eyes for the day! Such a valuable addition to the day that I could not have done the shoot without! 

I totally encourage you to support Alysia, of Raising Arrows who shares a snapshot of their mission as this:

"Too many many follow the movement of the world. Raise your arrows, and be the change! Start a new movement. Give God His glory, be who He says you are, and actually believe in it! You are loved, you are worthy, you are enough because Jesus is Enough and what God gave to Jesus, He gave to us! Rise up and stand strong!" 

find their products, which also include children's apparel, on shopra.co 


California bound //

If you're not into details, I'll spare you the suspense:

On September 1st - in less than 2 weeks - I'll be driving out to Costa Mesa, California and living there for 4 months while I'm doing a photo internship at a nonprofit company called Krochet Kids International. [krochetkids.org // @krochetkids // their hat that I'm wearing - the Brady - can be found here ]

This idea that I had my sights set on only seemed like a dreamy possibility until I got the call telling me it was a yes.

My soul adores the midwest, but if you know any basic bit of me, it's that you will not find me in the same spot for long. I haven't even been living in Rochester for a year, SO WHY NOT CALI NEXT?! Not only because of the beach life, different people, and adventures waiting to be had there, but the inspiring mission of Krochet Kids that I get to be a part of through my passion of photography. 

FOR YOU DETAIL LOVERS: At the end of my senior year of high school (May 2014) my parents were all too encouraging about getting me to make a move towards college plans - bless their souls, better they care than not - but I just didn't feel like college was going to be the next step for this chick. I had heard about the KKI internships before my senior year started, but the thought hadn't come up again till I was grasping to put together somewhat of a 'next step' for life. After I graduated, I had thought of applying for the internship for last fall, but a few people in my life encouraged me to wait. So as you might know, this past year has been a mixture of working 2 jobs, traveling, and doing freelance photography for cool humans. However, in the back of my mind throughout this whole year, has been the idea and hope of being the photo intern at Krochet Kids come fall.

The beginning of this summer is when I really knew it was go-time and started preparing everything to apply for this. Even when I was in Norway, your girl Zoe was preparing pieces of the application cause I just SO wanted to do this! It was basically the only plan I had going for the fall. I'm barely good at plan A's so you bet your bottom dollar I didn't have a plan B if this didn't work. I just definitely felt like this past year of life, God has been preparing my heart, skills, and passions for an opportunity exactly like this. And He is so faithful in providing this new adventure for me. Oh yes the adventure it's going to be. 

By now, I've re-read what I've already written a few times, and I've come to the conclusion that I sound a bit crazy - like passionate crazy? Still my usual crazy, though. 

Cause, why this company? Why are they so different? Why do I want to be a part of the Krochet Kids mission? 

Empowerment and Love. That's the lifestyle that Krochet Kids is all about. All of their amazing and tasteful products - not just beanies & scarves, but duffles, backpacks, bowties, and their expanding clothing line - is all produced by women in Uganda and Peru, providing these individuals with income and mentorship, empowering them to thrive as individuals, flowing over into support for their families, and ultimately contributing to the growth of their community as a whole. 

But KKI doesn't stop there - their Know Who Made It campaign allows you to know the EXACT person who handmade your product, because each item is signed by the woman that made it - and you can go onto the KKI website to search and find each woman's summary. HOW RAD.

This is just my next big adventure I'm taking in life, and I want to keep each one of you right alongside me for it! *hundreds of miles away via the blessing of technology  ;) 

The support that I constantly have around me throughout each step in life is something I'm truly always grateful for. From each brilliant individual that found me through instagram, (some now close friends!) to other midwest creatives I've become acquainted with during this past year, friends and family, other adults and mentors that are always peeking into my life and cheering me on with each crazy plan - I LOVE YOU ALL TOO MUCH! And I will definitely miss those of you that I get to see so often. No matter where I am - Norway, Minnesota, Wisconsin, East Coast, West Coast - I have always found myself missing the ones who aren't there with me. That's something that keeps me running around the globe - the immense love that my Creator has shown me, and the need to share that sort of love with anyone and everyone in life.

I'm very stoked for this photo internship opportunity and can't wait to share my new adventures with each of you. Keep loving, keep exploring. Do not only what makes you happy, but do what makes a difference. // 

 

 

 

Como creative collaboration //

while I was shooting at Sonshine music festival in July, I met the beautiful soul that is Hailey Kneprath [@dreaming_outloud] // within the first day of working on the same photo team, we became fast friends and by the end of the festival, we crowned each other as soul sisters.

She is simply stellar in every way.

So stellar that she invited me to join a group of herself and 4 other creative females to a day of style, fun, and shooting at Como Zoo & Conservatory ini Minneapolis. 

*& her rad boyfriend Bryce joined us, [who i became friends with at Sonshine also] but everyone was cool with it cause he's equally as rad! [& then we had someone to get shots of our whole girl squad. essential.]

here's more of a peek at our day: 

Day & Night in Eau Claire //

I've said it before, that to me, home is a heartbeat.

I'm not necessarily drawn to call one place or another 'home' but as long as I'm with people that I absolutely love, that's home to me. But of all the cities I've lived in, there's one that I feel appropriate in crowning my hometown. And that's Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I go back and visit often, for the friends I'm connected to there, but just its familiar yet growing atmosphere has something about it that makes me feel like it's somewhere I want to be. 

This past weekend I went back with intentions of being a second shooter at a wedding, but I drove up the day before and spent it with one of my absolutely best friends Hannah. 

Now I'm sure there will be many many future blog posts that are about her and every wonderful bit of our friendship, but for now I just wanted to share these images of our latest adventures - all which happened in one day - from about 4pm to midnight. 

A stop at a favorite local coffee shop [Racy's] - shooting around a parking garage - Thai dinner - chasing lighting, and running around the town after sunset - picking up Sean along the way too. 

*photos of me are shot by Hannah, edited by me - photos of Hannah & I are shot by Sean & edited by me. all other photos are shot/edited by me*

Here's a Friday in Eau Claire ~

Marianne

Taking a step back into Norway here.

These are some portraits I took of my friend Marianne as we spent a Sunday with our cameras exploring by the sea and old (Gamle) Bergen. There have been a few times during the past year when I've just felt like "Oh I wish I could be on a photo adventure with Marianne right now!" because we never got to go on too many when we were at school together. I think that's what sometimes happens, you grow apart for a while, back to your separate places, then realize just how great the other person is, by noticing their absence and just how much you wish they were with you in a particular moment.