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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.

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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.

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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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Why Wedding Vendors Should Stop Commenting on the Looks of their couples

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Why Wedding Vendors Should Stop Commenting on the Looks of their couples

This is going to be tough for a lot of people to hear...
But it's time for me to share an observation that I think needs to change.

Statements like "Aren't they beautiful?",  "Look how gorgeous", "These two are babes", "They are the freaking cutest", are overwhelmingly common these days in relation to wedding or elopement photos. You know you've seen it, you might have even done it yourself. But here's why I think you should think twice before you combine statements like that - especially with the photos of white, hetero, thin couples.

First things first: I'm a firm believer in the power of language. The words we use and don't use form our cultures and alter our perceptions. I don't believe "free speech" is at stake due to the compassion it requires to use inclusive and connective language rather than destructive and divisive words. The fact that we have politically correct terminology is proof that we are moving forward as a culture to recognize the variance in the human experience and are purposefully sensitive to the weight of that change. Free speech to me does not mean you can say whatever the heck you want and that political correctness is holding us back from saying the "honest" things. That is hate speech.

So now that that's clear - let's talk about beauty.

The media is a mix of visual imagery and words, and therefore could have an even more powerful effect on culture than just words. This is what we are a part of every day as wedding vendors on social media now - we are creating the culture around weddings with our images and our words.

So when we post pictures of white, hetero, thin couples and mainly focus on their looks, all we are doing is perpetuating the long-held and incorrect belief that people who look like that are the most beautiful.

If that's what your clients mainly look like, do you really believe that to be the truth? I doubt you do, and I hope you don't. If you do, I don't know how to reach you quite yet... So mainly, I'm sure it's really nothing you've ever thought of before because that's all you've ever been taught and shown in media. Plus it's easy to just talk about surface level looks when we want to post a picture of something we just created, right? We want to share it with the world and we think it's beautiful, what does it hurt? But I'm asking you to think a bit harder about what your putting out there and it's effect on people.  At this point I'm practically begging it, because the fact that there is only one magazine I know of that makes it a priority to talk about all aspects of the wedding day other than looks AND includes couples of all colors, shapes, sizes, and looks is proof that we are still in a standstill on beauty expectation in the wedding industry.
Shouldn't weddings, a celebration centered around love and connection be inclusive to all people?
(Shoutout to Catalyst Wedding Co. - I'm so thankful for you!)

So, what can you do?
For a start, instead of talking about the visual aspect of a couples wedding, talk about what they said, how they acted, moments that connected with you - literally anything else. I honestly think it would be better to just say nothing at all rather than comment on their looks.
If you want to go further, make diversity in your portfolio a priority.

Our words and our images are powerful - why don't we try and use them as a force for good instead of perpetuating the same self-deprecating and unrealistic standards our consumeristic culture has been pushing for so long now.

Inclusivity, self-love, and connection are well worth it, I promise you.
 

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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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Join the Facebook Group & Learn to Embrace Every Era

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Whether you're planning your wedding, enjoying life solo, or have been married for 30 years, embracing every era requires personal care, attention, and open-heartedness.

I founded Evergreen Era films with a focus on what our name would represent and hopefully invoke in not only our couples but in all people who come across it.

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evergreen

adjective  ev·er·green \ˈe-vər-ˌgrēn\ 

        1:  having foliage that remains green and functional through more than one growing season 2:  retaining freshness or interest
 

era

noun   \ˈer-ə, ˈe-rə, ˈir-ə\
        1: a memorable or important date or event; especially :  one that begins a new period in the history of a person or thing

 

Symbolically, Evergreen trees signify remaining true to oneself throughout all seasons in life. They remind us of the importance of retaining our lively and unique spirits in all things that we experience, joyful or difficult.

Upon starting a new Era in life, I believe that the reminder that the Evergreens provide us with is one of encouragement and strength, bringing together both the old and the new for something even more beautiful to come.

 


We are bombarded with would's, should's, and could's consistently. Our lives change and mold and sometimes things happen so quickly it seems as if we aren't in control. The moments wash over us and leave nothing more than a droplet of water on our skins instead of sinking in and leaving a deep, calming ocean in our hearts. 

Just like anything else, being present and embracing every single era in your life - whether it's a wonderful experience or sorrowful grief - requires practice and intention.

Embracing Every Era - with Evergreen Era Films is a space for this process to be nourished and encouraged. I would love to see you in there sharing your story as well as helpful articles, videos, blog posts, etc.

The only thing I ask is that you are always encouraging, honest, and inclusive of all.

Cheers,
Kathryn

 

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What Marriage Means: Jennifer Morgan

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What Marriage Means: Jennifer Morgan

Photo by Amy Ellis Photography

Photo by Amy Ellis Photography

Just last week I shared a very heartfelt post about Ian, myself, and our current views on marriage for us. You can read it here, but the more I thought about it while writing the piece, I realized that this would be a great blog series... to learn different peoples opinions and hear their experiences related to marriage.

Marriage has changed so much and still looks different in different parts of the world. People are married for status and wealth as well as partnership and love. Some people believe marriage is a religious union, some people don't connect it with religion at all. So this is our goal, to learn about marriage from the people, and maybe through that we will be able to discover what our own hearts and minds value as well. If you would be willing to share your thoughts, experiences, and hopes on the blog, please email me at evergreenerafilms.com.


(PLEASE NOTE: this is an open-minded space. It is for people to share their opinion and to be heard, not to be argued with. It is a safe space. If you want to debate, hate, or discriminate, this is not the place)

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First up, Jennifer's view on marriage...

"Personally I am so excited to get married. Not for the party, not for the gifts, or photos, but for the symbolic stamp of affirmation that you get when someone promises you in the most ardent way possible that they see themselves with you forever. It's not something I need, but something I think will be mind-blowing to have, freely given and with intention. 


In the past I've wanted my ex's to talk about marriage because I needed them to, because I was insecure in my relationship and wanted that contractual commitment. So unhealthy. But now that I've met Bobby- my perspective has totally changed. I'm no longer in any rush. He makes me feel more secure than anyone I've ever known. I know he loves me, and I know he intends on staying with me long into the foreseeable future. It's not about need, but rather just a desire to eventually experience the process and the promise that comes with marriage. To have them say it out loud would be a powerful experience that I wouldn't want to miss out on, whether it was in front of 1000 people or just in front of me and the mountains. (In Colorado you don't even need an officiant to get married.) I guess in a way, it's just as meaningful as any ritual is to groups that find value in whatever ritual they practice. To me it's a way of ultimately expressing and honoring your relationship. 


And again- it totally depends on the people- but I think sometimes if things get rough and rocky, it's a little bit more difficult to exit a marriage than it is a non-contractual relationship. This is the most shallow point in a way, but I think it can make some difference. If there's more at stake, more headache and difficulty to make the exit, sometimes it forces people to reflect a little on whether or not they actually want to leave something so serious. It also keeps people in situations they should have gotten out of, and that isn't to say non-married couples don't take breaking up very seriously as well. But as with many things in life, impulses can overrule reason fairly quickly. When there's a kind of forced waiting period, sometimes the dust can settle and people can remind themselves of why they made the commitment in the first place. Sometimes they'll be obliged to make the extra effort. ? Like I said- just a small reason but I think there's a little validity to it. 
! I wouldn't consider myself a traditionalist, I just think this is one I would choose to follow because of what it [would] mean to me personally. <3"

-Jennifer Morgan
 

Jennifer is a wedding photographer based out of Boulder, Colorado.
See her beautiful work at www.jennifermorganphotography.com

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Why I Film Weddings But Don't Want to Get Married

Three years ago I fell in love when I least expected it. Fast forward to now and here we are having lived together for 2 years and moving into a home that Ian purchased this month. He is my best friend -  He tickles me just to hear me laugh uncontrollably because he loves it. I've never seen my family bond with someone outside of our family so much before. He amazes me every day with his kindness and intelligence, but not once have I ever thought "I'm going to marry this man".

This doesn't mean that I don't want to spend as many years as I can with him, that I'm not happy enough with him, or that I don't think we are a good match. I have truly never known a partnership like this before... It has blown my young hearted expectations out of the water compared of what I thought my future serious relationship would look like back then. I couldn't have imagined anything as purposeful or enjoyable as my partnership with Ian has been so far, and for this I am so very thankful..

So the reality is that I have never been sold on the idea of marriage itself.
I have never been sold on the idea of marriage *for me* and Ian feels the same way. This is where we are, where we are happy, where we find the most purpose right now as a couple and that's all that matters to us currently.
I'm a questioner, and the older I've gotten the more proud of that I have become. Ian is a questioner at heart, more so than me thanks to his scientific brain. We like to rip traditions, societal expectations, and cultural propagation apart until we can wrap our mind around the "why" and see if it fits with who we are. We believe it's healthy and important for all people to do this (and are grateful we live in a place where we get to).

It's not even that I'm afraid of all the negative things you hear about people once they get married - divorce, cheating, etc... I believe that marriage can be incredibly powerful and worth it amidst all of those challenging experiences. It's mainly that I want to know in my heart what I believe a marriage is - what makes it different than what I have with Ian right now, other than legality and a title, and I don't know what that is yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe it's something you can't know until you are married, but I'm okay with trying to figure that out.

So when it comes to being a wedding filmmaker (and loving every minute of it), but not really wanting to be married myself, I have chosen to live (and work) by two of my biggest beliefs:

1. Love is a beautiful, purposeful, worthy mystery that we get to enjoy as humans. I want to celebrate that and share the stories that show the depth of that. We spend a majority of our lives searching for, struggling with, and relishing in the whirlwind of love, therefore my films aren't just a representation of a day - I strive to make them a representation of the couple. Love is my focus and I don't believe there is anything more worthy to spend my career celebrating.

2. All people are different, and deserve to choose different things for themselves to live their most joyful life. I ask all my couples why they want to get married. WHY - what change do they think will occur, what will it bring to their life that they don't have now that means something to them - And you know what? I get some badass answers and they are always different. I love that. Just because I don't necessarily want to get married doesn't mean other people shouldn't. We make choices based upon what those choices mean to us and marriage should be no different.

 

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