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Exploring Northern California

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Exploring Northern California

Every Summer my partner Ian and I take a trip together. He is a full time high school science teacher, so summers are our adventure refuge. We spend pretty much every day either outside enjoying the woods around Asheville, N.C. or exploring somewhere new. This past summer we decided to head all the way across the country and explore Northern California.
One of the main reasons we booked a trip to California was to visit Yosemite National Park, but unfortunately our campsite reservations (that were very difficult to get) were cancelled at the beginning of our trip due to the wildfires that shut down the entire park this past summer. Therefore, we didn’t get to Yosemite at all, but we made the best of it and explored even more of the coast.
Here’s a little look at our journey:

First Stop: Fly into San Francisco & explore a bit of city life

San Francisco
San Francisco
We had fun, used CityPASS (which I highly suggest), but aren’t city people at heart. So, we were excited to get on the road and head out into nature!

We had fun, used CityPASS (which I highly suggest), but aren’t city people at heart. So, we were excited to get on the road and head out into nature!

Headed North on Highway 1 to Mendocino

(don’t drive this if you get carsick ya’ll - I’m grateful that we don’t but it was a beautiful doozy even for a mountain girl)

(don’t drive this if you get carsick ya’ll - I’m grateful that we don’t but it was a beautiful doozy even for a mountain girl)

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Muir Beach
lots of picnics

lots of picnics

a very rare for us luxury camping experience

a very rare for us luxury camping experience

I traded a few nights stay for a video with Mendocino Grove, and I’m so glad we did! It was such a cute little spot with all the right amenities to make a super comfy camping experience. We knew we had to enjoy this as much as possible before we slept on the ground for the next week.

one of my favorite photos of us!

one of my favorite photos of us!

Glass Beach

Glass Beach

Glass Beach is made up mainly of seaglass pebbles

Glass Beach is made up mainly of seaglass pebbles

searching for the rare blue ones!

searching for the rare blue ones!

weather on the coast varies so much! One day it’s freezing and the next it’s warm enough to be in a bathing suit.

weather on the coast varies so much! One day it’s freezing and the next it’s warm enough to be in a bathing suit.

The Redwoods

On a short walk from our Campground

On a short walk from our Campground

forever looking up in this place

forever looking up in this place

Camping at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (loved this campground so much! This little tent was home for most of the trip.

Camping at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (loved this campground so much! This little tent was home for most of the trip.

Redwoods_EvergreenEraFilms
Fern canyon is insane! One of my favorite places to have visited. We hiked 16 miles roundtrip to get to this spot even though you can drive there. I wanted to earn the beauty!

Fern canyon is insane! One of my favorite places to have visited. We hiked 16 miles roundtrip to get to this spot even though you can drive there. I wanted to earn the beauty!

Downieville

Downieville is a tiny little historical town, but it is known for it’s mountain biking trail - and that’s why we went!

Downieville is a tiny little historical town, but it is known for it’s mountain biking trail - and that’s why we went!

16 miles of very technical downhill terrain. I was exhausted but so glad I attempted it and made it down unscathed.

16 miles of very technical downhill terrain. I was exhausted but so glad I attempted it and made it down unscathed.

spent the evening at the clearest river I’ve ever seen!

spent the evening at the clearest river I’ve ever seen!

Downieville003_EvergreenEraFilms

Truckee + Lake Tahoe

Scored ourselves a private dock around the lake near Truckee - we really loved this spot.

Scored ourselves a private dock around the lake near Truckee - we really loved this spot.

Camping at a campground around Lake Tahoe’s perimeter.

Camping at a campground around Lake Tahoe’s perimeter.

All the trails and beaches in Tahoe are busy in the summer, but I’m glad we did at least one hike - these are from Cascade Falls Trail

All the trails and beaches in Tahoe are busy in the summer, but I’m glad we did at least one hike - these are from Cascade Falls Trail

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VERY HOT! Therefore always dunking our heads in water to cool off.

VERY HOT! Therefore always dunking our heads in water to cool off.

Carmel & Big Sur

Because we couldn’t go to Yosemite, we headed to Carmel and Big Sur instead and enjoyed some luxury

Because we couldn’t go to Yosemite, we headed to Carmel and Big Sur instead and enjoyed some luxury

kicked Ian’s booty at a new game

kicked Ian’s booty at a new game

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saw the most colorful landscape I’ve ever seen.

saw the most colorful landscape I’ve ever seen.

PortraitatBigSur_EvergreenEraFilms
BigSur_EvergreenEraFilms

We learned a lot, had a good few frustrating moments, but also had many beautiful, and incredibly redeeming moments.

Later this year I will be visiting the Redwoods further up north to film an Intimate Wedding, and I can’t wait to go back to those ancient trees.

If you have any questions about our trip - leave them in the comments!

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The Simple Guide for a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

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Oh social media....It's a love/hate relationship right?
There's even science to back up why we are so addicted - we literally get a dopamine release when we check our phones. It's wild...

Ian and I talk about the woes of the young adults growing up in this age frequently.
He, as a teacher, experiences it first hand every day with his students... 

I didn't get a smart phone until the end of college and now children have them by middle school at least...
So instead of fighting something that we feel we can't really fight, how do we use it to our advantage?
How can social media be a good thing?


I think that if we choose our interactions properly and with purpose, social media can be a tool for growth, connection, and education. We just have to make the conscious effort to make it that way. 



1. Take notice - start recognizing how you feel after social media scrolls or even after certain pictures pop up. Do the images make you compare yourself to others? Do you feel like you have wasted all that time? Do you just feel like shit a little bit deep down? Empty and bleh? This is how you know it is time for a change.

My experience: I was constantly comparing myself to other peoples work on social media for a long time. I especially envied those who looked like their life was just a breeze, traveling all the time and doing all these fun things. Isn't that annoying when thats how people represent themselves but don't talk about their background? Like WHAT THE HECK DO YOU DO TO MAKE MONEY PEOPLE?!?! It was infuriating to me. Once I started to notice all these feelings I knew it was time to make a change.

 

2. Find purpose - Start recognizing those posts that uplift you and make you feel better about your life. Start READING CAPTIONS! I know, I said it, crazy right? But that's where all the good stuff lives in Instagram if people are putting effort into it. If the post doesn't serve a purpose to you, why waste your time? 

My experience: Honestly, I'm sick of half-assed captions. And I'm really sick of following wedding industry vendors who only talk about how beautiful everyone and everything is when all the people look the same -white, thin, & "attractive" - (There will be a blog post on this topic soon...). Diversity is important to me, it is a priority.
My friend Tyler McCall taught me that I need to inspire, educate, or entertain people with my posts so this is what I look for in other peoples posts. Could you imagine if everyone was this intentional? Some people just want to look at pretty pictures, but I want some depth ya'll. 

 

3. Weed it out - start unfollowing. You don't have to do a big sweep all at once but as you spend time on social media, start unfollowing as you notice things that aren't serving you. 

My experience: Just let it go - I know it's hard when you are running a business specifically and you feel like you need to be connected to certain people in the industry, but this is where you decide what is more important. For me, my own sanity and healthy relationship with something so common now is way more important to me than just following people "I should follow". Sometimes I will go and like a few things on peoples pages I don't follow for business, but then I let it go if I don't see any more purpose in their message.

 

4. Rebuild - Think about what you want to be learning, what messages you want to be seeing, & how you want social media to positively re-wire your brain. Then start building that sort of feed for you to experience when you pop online.

My experience: For me this has mainly been making sure I see different types of people - different ethnicities, larger bodies, different sexual orientations. The more I see these things, and read posts by these people, the more I fight against societal norms of beauty and normality.
I also make sure to follow people who bring peace to my day and ground me with their words. People who educate me with their experiences and women who are inspiring me to be stronger and not making me feel less than.

 

 

 

Make your interactions purposeful.

Make your time worthy.

Give yourself some grace and some love instead of forcing constant comparison into your mind.

 

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My top 5 Storytelling Podcasts

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My top 5 Storytelling Podcasts

NPR Storycorps

Listen to this if you want to cry... but usually in an uplifting way!
Storycorps is the largest audio compilation in the Library of Congress, recording stories from people all over the United States.

What I love most about it: How incredible the act of interviewing someone can be for a relationship.
 

Ivisibilia

Invisibilia is co-hosted by 3 women who interview and explore ideas and concepts that we can't see. Things that are intangible.
 
What I love most about it: They explore things from many different angles AND they are topics I haven't fully heard about before.
 

TED Radiohour

Most of you have probably heard of TED talks. This podcast is a compilation of different speakers presentations blended with further interview conversations on their topic. They usually interview 3 different people who are all relating to a central topic.

What I love most about it: The fact that they dig deeper into the topics that are spoken on the TED stage to give you more background and information than just watching the video.
 

Radiolab

This podcast is one of my absolute favorites. Even though they don't focus on any topic in particular, they explore interesting ideas with open minds and a sense of true discovery.

What I love most about it: The sound effects they use throughout the podcast are like any other - they make it an experience and immerse you into the story in a beautiful and intriguing way!
 

Modern Love

Another NPR Podcast, Modern Love is a beautiful mix of storytelling, theatre, and writing. Actors present essays written about love that were submitted to the NY Times, representing real people who live among us.

What I love most about it: It provides a larger perspective of what love is like - what it can do, what it  means, and what it looks like.

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Some of the Most Breathtaking Places in the World

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Some of the Most Breathtaking Places in the World

Need a few more places to put on your bucket list? 

I asked around, and some lovely people shared the most beautiful place they have ever seen.

Lists like these make me realize how lucky we are to be able to travel.
They make me realize how incredible our earth is.
They make me realize how diverse our planet is and the importance of that (reminding me of how equally important human diversity is!).
And they make me realize how much we need to take care of our earth, to keep it healthy and be grateful for all it provides us with.

(This could also be a list of badass places to get married!)

Herman Gulch Trail - Colorado - @evergreenerafilms

Herman Gulch Trail - Colorado - @evergreenerafilms

evergreenerafilms  (us!) - The Herman Gulch Trail (photo above) is one of the most gorgeous hikes I have ever been on. It is a little hidden gem that we found randomly on our drive back from Vail, Colorado and decided to conquer. It isn't easy but the view changes throughout the whole hike, allowing more and more beautiful scenery each step you take. You end at a natural lake high in the mountains, a blue so light its almost white.

The Azure Window, Gozo - @carolynmariephotography

The Azure Window, Gozo - @carolynmariephotography

carolynmariephotography - In the US, definitely Zion National Park. The view from Angels' Landing was indescribable. Completely took my breath away. Outside the US probably the Azure Window on the island of Gozo, just off the coast of Malta. We went snorkeling and I've never seen water such a rich, deep, clear blue. And the sunset was incredible!

Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. - @evergreenerafilms

Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. - @evergreenerafilms

_chelsealane_ hiking the coast in Cinque Terre 😮 and hiking all around here! (Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C.)

sambusch3 Definitely Mt. St. Helens. I didn't have a permit to hike the whole thing, but the grounds were breathtaking in the spring!

sewtheland Top of Mt. Whitney! 14,500' !

wildflowerbridal Ngorngoro Crater- it was like the Garden of Eden!

bossybetsy Wharton Beach or Hellfire Bay, Western Australia. HANDS DOWN!

Grand Canyon - photo by @onebluebike

Grand Canyon - photo by @onebluebike

onebluebike Definitely the Grand Canyon!

colleenjm The last big trip my family took was to Canada and I have to say one of the most breathtaking places I have been to was taking a hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House. I will never forget that adventure!

coppercauldroncheese Redwood National Park in California!

its_rachelreed Machu Picchu! A mountain like no other!

editorkristina The jungles of Panama!

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Some of the Best Shows on Netflix to Find Inspiration

Some of the Best Shows on Netflix to Find Inspiration

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Even though we frequently talk about watching TV, and now-a-days, Netflix, as being a waste of time, I have found a wonderful use for it. There is a world full of knowledge and inspiration exists at our fingertips through the internet, videography, and technology. I believe you just have to be looking for the right things.

Therefore, I decided to share with you a few of my favorite shows (& 1 movie) that I find uplifting, interesting, and purposeful. They will make you want to follow your dreams, dive deeper into learning about the world around us, and most likely travel the world while eating good food. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Then we can geek out on food and film together. =)

1. Chef's Table

I'm currently on the French season and am lulled into their stories by their lovely accents, as well as the cinematography and the story lines of each episode. I'm a bit of a story lover, and I always find it interesting how people's lives play out to end up living a dream: The hardships they go through, the life changes, the things they give up to live out the purpose they want to experience. It's quite enthralling, and especially if you're a foodie. I could talk about it forever.

2. Human Planet

Oh my I am obsessed with  Human Planet. You might have heard of Planet Earth before, therefore this is another series quite similar yet focused on the only species who has carved out a place for themselves in all environments - Humans. Everyone should watch this simply for the education and appreciation it provides you with. Not to mention the incredible cinematography as well!

3. Cooked

This 4 episode series based off of a book is something not to miss. You learn about the aspects behind how/why humans cook their food relating to each of the elements. The narrator/author is likeable, open, knowledgable, and again there is beautiful cinematography. Can you catch a theme here?

4. Cosmos

Switching it up a bit here with the concept of space and time and the universe. Cosmos will absolutely make your brain hurt (at least it does for me...), but it is incredibly awe inspiring. Hopefully you like Neil Degrasse Tyson because you will see a lot of him, but the effects they use pull you in to the information and make it at least a bit more understandable. I believe knowing about the universe is important to understanding ourselves even better, so it's worth a watch!

5. Hector and the Search for Happiness

This is a quirky and silly movie, yet relatable for all of us. I believe it tackles the human wide search for happiness with great beauty and honesty. 

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Happy 100th Year National Park Service // National Park Video

I am thankful for the spaces that were left untouched. I am thankful for the places that were protected. I am thankful for the appreciation that they instill in us.

Thank you National park Service for all you do, and all the life you bring to the world with your work.

Here's a little video of our time in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO in celebration.

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