With it finally being springtime I have been enjoying spending more time outside! This is especially fun when it involves my nieces and nephews! We had so much fun having a picnic (…of Wendy’s! Ha! I love me some chicken nuggets!) at the park on one of the first nice days! Caleb tried entertaining Hunter. Hunter was not amused. Hudson got a little giggle out of him and then pulled his “model face” out. Love his little baby feet! Looking at me like I’m cray, then looking around to see if anyone else noticing! Ha!
It’s no secret around here that I’m a little bit obsessed with Instagram. What started as a fun social media outlet has become crucial for my business. It has connected me with brides and other business owners, and even helped me find a few new friends. Instagram is an incredibly powerful tool when leveraged correctly. On top of all that, it’s just plain fun. Curating a feed, capturing life moments, and sharing them…I’m all about it. That is why I was thrilled when Trend Magazine reached out to me asking me to write an article about my use of Instagram. Yes please! I chose to write about the community behind Instagram because it is something that has so personally affected me. It’s crazy to me how big a blessing this community has been in the past two years.
Trend, it is a lifestyle publication that is designed to inspire and encourage. You can read more about Trend and their beautiful mission here. I was so honored to be featured on the cover and have my article included in the April edition of Trend. If you are interested in reading more, you can grab your printed copy or digital download here!
I have officially been bitten by the travel bug! I have been home from my last trip for 3 weeks and I am itching to plan my next one! I didn’t start traveling much until I started my business. We took vacations as a family off and on growing up, and often drove to visit our relatives but we were never really the adventurous type. I am so grateful to have a job where traveling can be involved! Between workshops, shoots, and “just for fun” trips I have traveled 6 times in the last year. This may not seem like much to some people, but to me it feels like a lot! I have loved every second of it! Granted, there have been some highly stressful days mixed in there, and not-so-fun experiences, but even in those times I still love that I am out trying and experiencing and seeing new things!
Traveling while I was growing up was always exciting but stressful! Packing, planning, and the actual travel was all very overwhelming to me. Don’t even get me started on airport security. Now I am happy to say that I’m not often stressed during any of those steps! My mom and I have found a rhythm with travel and it’s quickly become one of my very favorite things. With all that being said, today I thought I would share 25 things I’ve learned about traveling in the past year!
- No plans are the best plans. You may be thinking, huh? But I’m serious! My absolute favorite trips have been the ones where we kept plans to a minimum. When we went to Charleston in the fall I had two days at Creative @ Heart planned, and the rest of the trip we just played it by ear. We quickly realized that it is easier to plan once you are already in the city. Restaurants that you find in person are often better than the ones you saw on Instagram. You never know what kind of things you will stumble upon if you stop trying to stick to a timeline. This also reduces the stress level of the trip by a WIDE margin. Did it take you longer to get somewhere? No problem! Need an iced tea? Let’s find one! Forgot your toothbrush? Hey, let’s run by Walgreens! Having no plans keeps you cool as a cucumber!
- Be flexible! If you are determined to have plans, try to take it easy if things change. In a new environment it’s impossible to predict every possibility, so take a deep breath and take it in stride!
- Hotels.com is the bomb.com. Save yourself the hassle of looking at hotel websites and just go straight to Hotels.com! On our drive to Charleston we weren’t sure if we would want to stop and spend the night somewhere so we decided to make the decision when we started getting tired. Somewhere in West Virginia, we decided we were going to spend the night in North Carolina and I hopped on the app and booked us a hotel…only to realize I booked it for the wrong night. A quick call to customer service and they had my date switched in no time! Not to mention your 10th night is always free!
- Backpacks are the way to go! Having your hands free is the BEST. After always traveling with a purse, I bought a backpack with me to Florida and felt like I should be doing cartwheels in the airport. It was awesome.
- It’s worth flying Delta purely for the cookies. Have you had them?? I’m not kidding when I say I hoard them. Savor every bite and do not settle for the pretzels they try to give you!
- Do everything in your power to not have a carry on suitcase (especially if you are traveling alone!!). Why pay the fee when you can have a carry on suitcase? I’ll tell ya why! They are annoying!! They are tiring to drag around all day, obnoxious to get up into an overhead bin, and..and…did I mention they are annoying? I stand by this even more if you are traveling alone. Have you ever tried fitting into a tiny airport bathroom stall with a suitcase? Don’t look at me like that, I know you have!
- There is no reason to stand up right when they say “now boarding…”. You aren’t going to take off any sooner! I’m just saying! I always giggle slightly when they start boarding first class and everyone stands up. That line moves so slow!! Why waste the energy?
- Comfy shoes…fo realz. When everyone in the world reminds you to pack comfy shoes you should probably trust them.
- Sometimes it’s worth it to pay for convenience (i.e. Why I don’t take red-eyes). I used to think that the cheapest option was always the best and I’ve found that (at least for me) this isn’t always the case. I used to love the idea of a red eye, they are often cheaper, you sleep on the flight and get an extra day added to your trip right? Wrong. I am not particularly fun to be around after I have been on a red eye. Finding your terminal during your 2am layover in an airport you’ve never been to is not my cup of tea. I do sleep easily on planes, but in my experience you spend more time “traveling” then you do zonked out on the plane. Not to mention the nutrition I get through my feeding tube runs during the night which you can’t bring through airport security. So now you have me, awake all night, with no nutrition…this is not worth it to me. I also used to consider myself a master at finding cheap hotels. Then I would get to hotel and it would be (1.) not particularly clean or good smelling, (2.) suuuupper far away from the area I wanted to be in and (3.) not have a continental breakfast.
- Continental breakfast FOR THE WIN.
- Pack less. I go over this with myself every single time and every single time I overpack. When traveling less really is more. I now prefer to pack fewer, more versatile pieces. (My dad is probably laughing at me as he is proof reading this post because he endlessly mocks me for overpacking! Hi Dad! I promise I’m learning!)
- You will fill your suitcase so use a smaller suitcase. I used to pack entirely in a carry-on and somehow in Florida I hit exactly 50lbs in a massive suitcase. Reign it in Katie, reign it in.
- You don’t read as much as you think you do. You just don’t. One book is plenty! If you finish it and need another one get one at the airport, download it on your phone, or stop at a drugstore! You don’t need to pack a whole library!
- Little Bibles are great. Along the same lines, I used to always bring my study Bible. That baby is huge and weighs a ton! I felt stressed about not bringing it though because the study notes are so helpful and I have a lot underlined. But here is the thing, it’s not the study notes or what I have underlined that matters. It’s the actual word of God. Study notes are great but you don’t need them all the time! Especially not when you are trying to keep a suitcase under 50lbs. I now have a smaller Bible that is lightweight and I have really enjoyed traveling with it. If I mark something in it I now put the date next to it. When I look through it now it is a reminder of what the Lord was teaching me on each trip! You also could just stick with an Iphone app if this works for you…I have a distraction issue if I get on my phone so small Bible it is!
- Keep track of your phone charger. Just do it or you will end up spending $30 on one in an airport even though you bought the exact same one at Target last month for $9.
- Research traffic before you go. This also should come into play when deciding on a hotel. Turns out in Seattle 13 miles = One hour and twenty-four minutes.
- Traditions are cheesy but fun.
- It’s okay to spend more money on something than you would at home. Aside from the phone charger that I am still bitter about, I have found that sometimes it’s okay to buy overpriced things. I have some little things from Denver, Traverse City, Etc that were more than I would spend on it at home but SO worth the memories.
- But it’s not okay to spent too much money on something you don’t actually want. The way I draw the line here is by asking myself “would I buy this if I found it in Grand Rapids”. It’s easy to feel “in the moment” and justify something, but if you don’t see yourself getting lots of use/wear out of it at home put it down and walk away.
- Don’t feel bad staying in the hotel. The biggest thing I’ve realized that I didn’t expect is to not overdo it on trips just because you are there. It’s easy to stay out late, wake up early, and push yourself past your limits because you’re “only there for a week!!”, but it’s not worth it in the long run. If I stay up late I may have fun for the night, but I’ll be whopped the next morning and not enjoy that day as much. My mom and I have spent lots of night eating dinner in our hotel room, watching fixer upper, and going to bed early and that is OKAY! Some may call us lame, but I would argue that it is a good thing sometimes! While I was in Disney last month I wasn’t feeling well one afternoon and had to go back to the hotel. At Disney. Was it a bummer? Yes. (a big, huge, whopping big bummer). But was it worth it to be able to feel better the next day? Yes.
- Stop being a hipster and just go to Starbucks. I am all for trying new coffee shops, but I’ve realized that when I’m traveling I just want good ol’ reliable coffee. I will try new foods, experiences, etc, but I just want to trust my coffee. Oh Starbucks, you never let me down
- Being alone is okay sometimes, peaceful even. I have flown by myself twice in the last year and the first time was mega stressful (mostly because it was a last minute change of plans) but last month I really enjoyed it! It was kind of peaceful being alone. I could read, work, and just enjoy the quiet! I thought I wouldn’t like it but I was wrong!
- It’s okay to visit the same place multiple times. People always say “but haven’t you already been there?” To which I would say “YEAH, BUT DISNEY IS AWESOME!!”. If you find a place you like, go back! Enjoy it again! Going to new places is great to, but don’t let that hold you back from visiting your favorites again!
- Be present where you are. AKA put down your phone. This is something I am still working on. With my love of photography I often want to capture everything all the time, and sometimes it’s okay to put the camera down, step away from the phone, and just be in the moment.
- There’s no place like home. And no bed like your own bed.
Now you tell me!
What are some things you have learned about traveling?
With the change of weather comes a change of attire! Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons to dress for because you can layer and style things without being too hot or too cold. For spring, I’m swapping snow boots for ankle boots and fleece lined leggings for lightweight linen. Today’s look is a go-to for lightweight layers! //Jacket//Top: BP, Similar//Pants: Gap, Similar//Ankle Boots: ASOS, Similar //Bag//
In April I had the blessing of joining my friend Kirsten’s family in Florida for a week! We. Had. So. Much. Fun. Traveling by itself is fun. It’s even better with your best friend. We were so excited for the trip that anytime we texted about it we put “Florida” in all caps. Hence, the title of this blog post. Laughter, sun, sand, and 2 days at Disney, what more could you want? NOTHING! It was so nice to get away for a week of rest right before heading into a busy wedding season!
Happy Wednesday folks!
I have been quite enjoying writing my Wednesday Rambles posts so I thought I would keep going with them. It’s fun to feel like I’m just casually chatting with you. So here is what’s on my mind today.
I turned 20! What the what?!?
So weird!! Does this mean I have to change my “about me” page to say “I’m a twenty-something….”? On my birthday, I was telling my Mom that I think I’m going to feel 18 years old forever. I think this is because I started by business when I was 18, and I still feel like a new business owner. The craziest part about being 20 isn’t being 20, it’s that I’ve been in business for almost 2 years! I so did not expect this all when I shot my first wedding 2 months after turning 18. I’m not a teenage business owner anymore. I feel a little sad about it.
The travel itch.
In the last 2 years I’ve traveled more than I ever thought I would. I am so grateful for the opportunity. I have truly fallen in love with traveling and I am itching to plan my next trip. While I probably won’t take my next trip for a while, I’m always interested in good travel ideas. Where have you been lately? Any places I must visit?
I think I’m gradually becoming a neat freak
…and I don’t hate it. Although I am pretty messy by nature, it has always bothered me. When I walk into a messy room, I instantly feel stressed. Recently, this has been taken to a new extreme. If there is a single pen out of place on my desk I have to move it! I have to tell you, I think I’m okay with this. It’s helping me create new habits and I feel like I’m being more productive during my workdays. Maybe it’s all in my head! Either way, a clean room is always a good thing.
It finally feels like Spring!!
YIPEE! The weather in Michigan is finally warming up it and instantly makes me want to get out and take pictures! I loved soaking up every second of sunshine I could on shoots this weekend!
Tell me what’s on your mind today? Leave a comment and we can chat!
One of the sweetest joys in life is being an Auntie. If you couldn’t tell from reading my blog, I’m obsessed with my nieces and nephews. A few weeks ago we welcomed another little nugget into the family so I thought I would share some pictures of her first days! I’m so grateful for older sisters who are amazing best friends and wonderful mothers. I look up to them so much!
When we were looking for a hotel to stay at while in Charleston we found Zero George. Aka…the cutest place on the planet. I’m pretty sure you have to have a small fortune to stay there, so we passed. However, we couldn’t resist stopping by to look around one morning. A few days later Ashley, of Ashley Brooke Designs, instagrammed that she was staying there. I felt like we were practically “besties” because I had been somewhere she was…even if it wasn’t at the same time. I’m a nut. I am also a sucker for bikes. Here are some of the pictures we took!
Oh, the overwhelming peace and security that comes from knowing Christ has risen. Our God reigns victorious over our sin so deep that we were incapable of saving ourselves. The righteous and holy judgement placed on sin, the grace so deep and abounding. I am in awe and wonder at how a Creator could love us despite us failing Him daily. In awe of how He could redeem our broken, fallen hearts. In awe of how He could cleanse and wash us white as snow (Psalm 51:7), our hearts once red with sin. In awe that He would not only save us, but that He would do it by sending a Son who was perfect and blameless to take our punishment. That the law could be fulfilled and sin judged. But also that salvation would be granted and new life permitted.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5
A gift, given freely to those who recognize the gift. As the church I visited yesterday morning reminded me, an encounter with Jesus leads to believing, obeying, and worshiping. My prayer is that this year each step of each day would be filled with these things.
If during this Easter season you are left with more questions than answers, and are unsure of your next step, I would highly recommend listening to this sermon series by my home church Ada Bible Church.