Streets of Charleston, SC



When Oscar and I were planning out our honeymoon, we were all over the map. We had a lot of big ideas, but limited funds. We also wanted to do something a bit different than the beach vacation at a resort (it’s worth noting though that once all was said and done, we realized what a smart idea that would have been, we were exhausted!).

A road trip!!

We were getting married in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains just north of Asheville, NC so we would be using that as the starting point. I’ve always been enamored with Savannah, GA and through my research was introduced to the town of Charleston, SC.

The plan was to drive to Charleston, stay there for a couple days exploring the low country, then head to Savannah for a few days before heading home.

Charleston, WOW!

We both fell in love. There are so many reasons why we love it there, but one of my favorite things is the architecture. We spent a lot of time just walking around taking in the houses and gardens.

This particular shot drew me in for multiple reasons. I love the visual of the decay on the wall, the cracks in the concrete revealing the brick underneath, as well as what looks like patchwork concrete work done at various points in time. I love the old-fashioned window with the exterior wood shutters, complimented by the interior wood shades. I’ve never had legit wood shutters, just the decorative panels placed next to windows on the exterior of our home.

The most intriguing part of this shot is the mini door near the sidewalk. Knowing nothing, my imagination has created a story that there are steps leading to a basement door, which was used regularly when originally built. These days however it isn’t, due to safety or security, so the stairs are covered up by the metal sheet and the wood “doors” are there to block the space that had been the top of the entry way.

If you have knowledge of what this could be, or was used as, I would love to hear.

We’re looking forward to returning to Charleston one of these days, especially as we’re now only about 5 hours away. I can’t wait to walk those uneven streets, marveling at the homes and dreaming about their history, while breathing the warm, salty sea air.

As for the remainder of our honeymoon, well that’s a story for another time. What I will say is that after one night spent in Savannah, we knew we wanted to spend the remainder of our trip in one of our favorite cities, Asheville, so off we went!

Have you been to Charleston, SC? If so, what was your favorite place/restaurant/etc?


Detached Love


At least once a day, but usually many times, while watching Isaiah, I find my breath taken away. (Queue the eye rolls, I know I know! Keep reading…)

“Did I really create this little piece of perfection?”

I can’t believe that he really came from me. That this isn’t just a dream. Or a babysitting gig. I feel surreally removed from him, yet inexplicably tied to every inch of him.

It’s the strangest thing. I love him deeper than I ever knew existed within me, yet I’ll feel so detached at these moments.

I didn’t grow up having that yearning to be a Mama, so is this why I feel this way? Do others know what I’m talking about? Have they felt this too?

It’s the seemingly contradictory feelings – the deepest love, and detachment – occupying the same space that confuses me. In those moments, I’m not only feeling the feelings, but also contemplating what they mean. Especially the detachment.

What does that say about me?

Does it mean that I’m a bad Mama? Well no, because here I am smiling in awe with such joy. Surely I wouldn’t be feeling this intense pressure in my heart if I were a bad Mama.

Does it mean that I’m not connected? Absolutely not, I feel every feeling and emotion he shows, from the joy to the hurt to the heartache.

Maybe it means I need a break.

That’s the only possibility I’ve come up with. That I’m just SO filled up with love, and joy, and stress, and frustration and sharing every second of my day with him, that my body simply can’t process even one more emotion. Much less the insanely intense ones I feel at these moments.

Have any of y’all experienced this?

15 Months

15 months.

My little man is 15 months old, and I have to say, this has been my favorite age thus far! It hasn’t been the easiest of transitions into parenthood, and for a long time I just didn’t enjoy anything about it. These past couple weeks however, I’m loving watching Isaiah grow.

While he seriously keeps me on my toes, I love observing him climb something new. The joy on his face as he reaches the top, then claps his hands for himself, is infectious. I’m a big proponent of letting him explore his surroundings and his body’s capabilities while I look on, as I can then be there to help guide him to the safe way of getting down. This way when he bolts behind my back to scale the wooden chest (as all kids will do!) I don’t have to panic, because I can trust that he knows how to get down on his own. (This doesn’t mean that he has free reign to climb anything and everything in sight, boundaries are a necessity. It does mean that I can move to enforcing those boundaries with a calm demeanor, rather than panicking that he’s about to fall because he hasn’t had experience with it yet.)

He has also started to test boundaries, which while frustrating many times, I can’t help but also enjoy it. He gets the MOST adorable look on his face as he’s inching closer to testing, with his eyes trained on me for a reaction. I do my best to stay calm and not react while also making the boundaries clear, but it’s definitely a work in progress. My newest challenge is to figure out how to discipline without punishing, and do so in an age appropriate way.

Emotions. He is working on figuring out how to use emotions to get what he wants. At times (much of the time) this looks like whining and screaming and crying. Other times though, this looks like hugs and snuggling and the sweetest little man ever. The other day it was diaper change time. Diaper changing can be a huge struggle, and for a while there, you’d have thought the poor kid was being hurt with how fiercely he screamed. We’re working through it though, and the other day, in an attempt to sway me, when I asked him to sit down so I could change his diaper, he instead wrapped his arms around me and snuggled his head down into one of the sweetest hugs ever. I mean seriously!?! Talk about hard to resist! He did this about 3 times in a row, and when he realized it wasn’t working, started crying.

I’m sure as time goes on “my favorite age” will change, so for now, I’m doing my best to enjoy where we are.

If you have children, what has been your favorite age thus far?

A Walk to Pearson Falls


Over the past 16 months, I’ve spent more time driving than I think I have at any other point in my life. This has been due to 2 factors – where I live, and Isaiah.

I have also experienced a LOT of anxiety around his naps, and would get so overwhelmed trying to plan out and control our schedule and his sleep. The fact that it takes at least an hour to get anywhere (except the good grocery store, which is half an hour, ha-ha!) usually worked to my benefit. I was able to time driving to where we wanted to go with his morning nap, and driving home for his afternoon nap. Most of the time I would take the “scenic” route to get the longest possible nap out of him.

This has given me the opportunity to see much more of this beautiful land than I otherwise would have.

One of those such days, Isaiah and I had been out exploring the town of Saluda with my Mom. After a delicious meal at The Purple Onion I knew Isaiah was at the end of his awake time and we needed to get going.

When we left I decided to take the scenic route instead of I-26, so we headed off on 176. Wow, that has been my favorite drive to date! Maybe it was the golds, reds and greens of fall, but it was a stunning drive. Along the way we saw a sign for Pearson Falls.

Due to my need to control Isaiah’s naps, I refused to stop (lest he wake up and then all hell break loose, at least in my head) but noted that I wanted to return and explore.

A few weeks later family was in town for Thanksgiving and to celebrate Isaiah’s 1st birthday, and a day out in nature was suggested.

So to Pearson Falls we went!

It turns out that Pearson Falls is part of a botanical preserve comprised of 268 acres, maintained by The Tryon Garden Club, a non-profit organization. There was about a ¼ mile walk to the 90 ft. falls. It was fairly easy, but it was uphill most of the way. I took some photos on our hike, but the leaves were all gone, and while it was beautiful to walk there and be with nature, the few photos I took left much to be desired.

As we were leaving however, I looked up and something about the scene before me caught my breath. So this is what I share with you today. A little (or a lot) unconventional, but it’s the best representation of me that day.

This style is also part of an ongoing project I’ve been working on the past few years; you’ll be seeing more of it!

Have you ever unexpectedly ended up driving (or walking or biking) an unexpected place that left you feeling in awe of the beauty?

Meandering Backwards

Do y’all ever look back on a time in your life, where you felt like that was the closest you’ve felt to yourself? You were exactly where you not only were meant to be, but you were happy, feeling your best, enjoying life to it’s fullest?

For me that was when I moved to Orlando, FL just after college for an internship at Disney World.

You know how we all have that one relationship, where when looking back, we just hang our head, because there are just no words? I was in that at the time, nearing the end of college, having no idea what my next step was going to be. We were “engaged” (yes, parenthesis are beyond appropriate) and I was looking not only for what I was going to do next, but also a way out.

I randomly heard that recruiters for the Walt Disney Co. were going to be at my school, and they had a photography internship available they were going to be talking about. Out of curiosity I walked my happy ass there to hear what they had to say. I had a few free hours so why not?

They sold me. So I applied, went through a couple phone interviews, then come graduation I said PEACE! Off to Florida I went!

I was nervous, but excited. I knew not a soul, would be hundreds of miles from family and friends, but it was exactly what I needed.

I shared an apartment with 3 other girls, in a complex full of other Disney Interns for 7 months.

During that time I almost died from heat stroke (ok, slight exaggeration, but taking a Midwest native and planting her outside for 8 hours in the Central Florida June sun? Holy Hell. It was a brutal adjustment.), learned how to country line dance, explored on my own, wore a bikini for the first time in my life, made some great friends, learned what I was and wasn’t made of, and met my future husband.

Some of my favorite memories from that time are both social and professional. Care to take a momentary trip with me?

At the time, Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney was still a thing. There were dance “clubs” and free cast-member nights. Some of my friends went weekly, and I’d tag along at times. Pleasure Island no longer exists, and Downtown Disney is now Disney Springs, and I’m so glad I was able to experience it as it had been.

The internship I had was for a new department at Disney World, and being at the *almost* beginning was such a great learning experience. I had the opportunity to be on multiple opening teams, watching how a business changes as it grows and transitions, learning what worked and what didn’t. One of my biggest takeaways was Customer Service. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of jobs I’ve had, but the training I got was invaluable, and changed how I view the customer relationship. It’s because of the training I had and my time with Disney that I love providing great customer service!

Thursday and Saturday nights at Cowboys, “Orlando’s best Country Nightclub.” Oh-ma-lord, the times had there! My roommate first introduced me, as I’d never been line dancing or to a Country bar before, and I’m SO glad she did! The dancing blew me away. I had been expecting boring old people dancing to lame country music, but not only was it full of people my age, they danced to both country AND hip hop at times! Then there were the contest nights, where they had the girls in bikinis, and the guys in boxers. Those were fun nights, haha!

Of course, there were the trips to the beach. Both Cocoa Beach and Clearwater Beach were roughly the same distance from where I lived, so I’d go to both. Clearwater Beach though, on the Gulf side, was much more enjoyable to me. I remember one time heading there with friends, I’m not sure why but we ended up in Ybor City driving around. On this one street there were a lot of busted looking homes real close together, and all of a sudden we come upon a house with a bunch of chickens! I was shocked as shit, as that was definitely not something I would have expected.

Then there were the nights when I didn’t feel like going out, but I didn’t want to just sit around in my room. I’d head upstairs to the neighbor guys’ place. They were my go-to for a fun chill night.

Orlando is best known for Disney, but one of my most favorite places ever is in the often overlooked downtown Orlando: Lake Eola. I spent more evenings than I can count walking around that lake. Watching the colors change on the fountain, the ducks and swans swimming with their babies. As the evening turned darker and darker, jumping as the huge outlines of Palmetto Bugs dashed across the pavement at my feet. They always made me jump like a damn girl!

Of course, meeting Oscar, who would become my husband, takes the cake! The days spent working with him and others in that area of the park were SO much fun, it almost didn’t feel like work at times.

I write all this because I’m finding that past experiences tend to get lost these days in my mind. I’m fairly focused on the present and the future, and while it’s not a good thing to get stuck in the past, I find I really enjoy letting my mind wander to the past. It gives me a chance to relive fun events, experience some of the feelings again that I’d had, reflect on what I did successfully, what I didn’t do so well, and helps influence how I move forward. Sometimes I find there are things I’ve done that are still weighing on me that I need to rectify. Sometimes I’m reminded of an activity that made me feel alive.

Many times it reminds me of how quickly time is passing, and how important it is to enjoy the present.

Every time it reminds me of people who will always leave an imprint on my heart, who I could never forget, and were such an important part of my life.

A Walk to Hooker Falls



There are so many crazy beautiful places to hike here in Western North Carolina. When we moved I was big and preggo, so we didn’t get to explore much. Once Isaiah was born, we were able to get out here and there, but not as much as we’d hoped. We’re really looking forward to getting more exposure to nature as he gets older. Last fall we wanted to get out, but wanted a shorter hike. We had been to Hooker Falls in the Dupont State Recreational Forest many years ago, and remembered how pretty it was, so we decided to go there. It was the tail end of fall color season and we were able to enjoy a small amount of it. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a huge attraction in the fall because the mountains are just stunning in their golds, ambers and greens.

If you’re in the area and looking for an easy hike with a beautiful waterfall at the end, this is definitely it. Afterwards we picked up carry-out from Flat Rock Village Bakery in Flat Rock. It was about a 10-15 minute drive from Hooker Falls. They have delicious pizza, and I believe the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.

Drop me a comment if you’ve been, or if you go, to let me know what you thought of the hike!

Why Hello Again!

Hey y’all, wow it’s been a minute.

I’ve been saying for a while that I want to get back to writing here, but I couldn’t figure out what my focus would be. I had to have the perfect idea, with the perfect things I could write about, and I had to have it all perfectly organized. So today I made a decision:

Fuck that Shit.

I’m just going to start. I don’t know what direction this will take, or what I’ll primarily focus on. At this point, I’m just going to write what comes to mind, post some photos, and go from there. Expect lots of Mama focused posts, as that’s my current season in life, but also just musings on life in general, music, photography and possibly some food related stuff.

Who knows. It’ll be an Odyssey for all of us!

I looked at this last post that I’d written, way back in September 2013, it’s kind of surreal to read. I wrote about how I was thinking about Asheville, that Oscar and I wanted to settle there one day. Fast forward to now, 2 years and 6 months later, and life finds us living here! Technically we’re just over an hour southeast of Asheville, but none the less, Oscar works in Asheville, and I go there every few weeks. Our plan was to move to where we are to get our feet back on the ground, then move to Asheville. You’d think after 32 years I’d get it that nothing ever goes “as planned”.

We moved at the beginning of August 2014, and here we are, still not “on our feet”. When we moved I was 6 months pregnant, and it’s been a roller coaster. We’re here though. We did what we needed to do in Illinois to be able to move, and we made it happen. So I know we’ll make the next step happen when the time is right (and we figure out what it is, haha!).

I’ll talk more about that another time, for now, I’m enjoying the feeling from reading that last post, knowing where we’re at now. Asheville, and Western North Carolina, is absolutely beautiful. We’ve had our share of culture shock, but more and more I enjoy the beautiful mountains, breathing the air, the friendly people, and my day trips into Asheville!



shifting time of year

Fall seems to finally be settling in. We had a few random days where it hit almost 100 degrees, but temps have come down, and today we have our first chilly, rainy day. Typically, the cold has me thinking of Florida, and our some-day move back there. Today however, it’s bringing me to Asheville, NC.

Those who know Oscar and I know that it’s our dream to move to Asheville one day. Actually, Asheville is our settle place. As in, when we’re ready to really put down roots, we want it to be in Asheville. If you’ve never been, I can’t recommend enough you take your next trip there. Asheville is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at a low elevation, so you can experience all four seasons without any of the extremes. Here outside Chicago we get down to and below zero every winter, and come summer, we hit 100. I’m not a fan of those extremes. Asheville’s coldest month is January, and the average high is 47.


That’s downright balmy in January to us here in the mid-west!


Weaverville (outside Asheville) last Thanksgiving

So, my heart is in Asheville today, dreaming about the food(I could make a post just on this!), the culture, the art and the chocolate (oh, the chocolate!!). Oscar and I have had some talks about the life we envision when we move to Asheville, and a business idea. My thoughts are on that as well. The past year has been especially challenging, with life throwing things at me, at us, that at times I didn’t think I was strong enough to handle. I’m at a point today, however, where I see my  past and my future in one window pane. I realize that if it weren’t for my past, my vision of the future wouldn’t be what it is. The challenges of the past year have given me opportunities for growth, and lessons that I needed to learn from, to build a better foundation for my dreams of the future. I know, it sounds super deep and cheesy, but such is life!

As I write this I’m listening to the Mumford & Sons Pandora station, because that music always brings me to Asheville. Here’s a song from the Old Crow Medicine Show that just popped up, which feels like Asheville to me:


Swirling Thoughts

As you can tell things have been quiet here. I have some thoughts I’m working on turning into something though. It’s been hard for me to get on here and post without a clear direction as to what I want this space to be. I think I’m getting there though. Stay tuned! 🙂


I miss photographing horses. Maybe I should do something about that…..