a san franciscan adventure

it's 10pm on a friday night. i shoot a text to my friends jon and marisa saying "adventure time!". from there we decide to drive up to san francisco for the weekend to hangout and explore. backstory: i lived in san francisco for a few months this past summer and hadn't been back since. needless to say, this was a very nostalgic trip full of old memories and new, so i decided to document it, not photograph it. i had such a fun time capturing these moments, and i hope that as you look through these photos, you can feel like you came along for the ride! enjoy.

↠ a

when life gives you lemons

when life gives you lemons...make orange juice.

diversity. we talked briefly about this last week but i wanted to bring it up again. as artists, it is so important that we try different things so our work can be ever evolving. as artists in the social media space, with a platform to share our voices, it is so important that we represent multiple voices, people, races, cultures, & so on. not just our own. it has been brought to my attention recently that there is not nearly enough diversity within the photo community on instagram & i would like to contribute to changing that, by shooting all kinds of people, regardless of if i think they will get a lot of likes or have the same "look" that's "in" right now. likes are not important. people are important. i hope you all will make an effort to make this change with me. 

the support i have received from my recent twitter and instagram posts about diversity has been so incredible. it's truly inspiring to see so many people joining together to promote love, diversity, community, and equality. since the photos were so widely received, i figured i would share a few more from the set here. remember, when life gives you lemons, make orange juice! or apple juice, or grape juice, or really any other fruit juice your heart desires. :)

↠ a

change the insta game 2017

last night as i was live streaming on instagram, i asked my followers why some of my photos didn't get as many likes as others (how millennial of me), and i had a total epiphany. one of the livestream viewers said something along the lines of "portraits of guys aren't as well liked as portraits of girls. pretty girls have more sex appeal, and are generally more widely accepted in this specific niche of photography". we then went on to discuss how there are specific photos of girls that perform better on the gram than others. as everyone rallied together, we agreed that physically fit caucasian females with long hair definitely win the award for instagram's most popular of 2016. 

the mere idea of this fired me up, and i began ranting about how absolutely absurd it is that we (photographers) shoot for instagram. i know i've done this, and i'm sure you have too. we shoot what we think will get the most likes and be the most widely accepted; and this is just one thing that i think needs to change in this upcoming chapter of life (aka 2017).

as i kept on this topic, we slowly moved to the discussion of diversity in the instagram photography community. more often than not, and i mean a good nine times out of ten, the models in our photographs are all relatively the same race. why is this? why is it that even i myself rarely ever photograph a model of color, or just about any different race other than caucasian, for that matter. now i am not discriminating against people of this race, or photos of people of this race, there is nothing wrong with either. but i do know if the above paragraph & this current paragraph are correlated in any way, that needs to change. we need to stop shooting for instagram, stop shooting who we think will be popular and accepted, and start showcasing something real.

as i ended the livestream, i received numerous messages from the viewers addressing the lack of diversity on instagram, saying they were excited to help change the insta game in 2017. so, who's with us? who else out there is sick, tired, and quite frankly bored of the stereotypical brandy melville tumblr goals photos we see and shoot on a regular basis? i know i am, and i am going to try, within my own work, to make a shift and a statement in this new year.

let's change the insta game in 2017. to new beginnings!

↠ a

quick tips for a better trip

over the past few years of traveling, i’ve made a lot of mistakes. i’ve had the time of my life and created long lasting memories, but not without some hiccups along the way. planning a trip, especially an international one or to a new city can be so stressful, with a capital S…just kidding that was weird. we all know i don’t do capital letters. ;)

somewhere between being at the wrong airport at the wrong time, tracking down lost luggage on my wedding day, and paying hundreds of dollars for things that could have so easily been avoided, i started compiling a note listing all of the little things that i should do differently for the next trip. things that i wish i had known before booking the trip, picking the hotel, saying yes to the short layover, etc. these tips are nothing special and nothing new, but somehow if i follow them, i can get the trip down to a minimum on the unforeseen hiccups and random meltdowns in the middle of baggage claim (not even joking. an airport employee ran some tissues over to me because i was gone…so far gone) and nobody wants that so, here are my quick tips for a better trip. let me know if these help you at all and if you have more please tweet me or something, i am always adding to it, usually in times of distress.

— no liquids at all

airport security is about ninety times easier if you just leave all your liquids at home. you’ll be fine without your perfume for a week if it means breezing through international security and keeping your belongings from being rummaged through by the angry foreign women. trust me.

— pack less clothes

no matter how many times i tell myself “i brought more than i need”, i still keep doing it! seriously, we all have our favorite clothing items regardless of how much we pack, so pack light on the clothes. worse case scenario, you have to do laundry along the way. but it’s a lot easier managing less items in the suitcase so you don’t end up paying $70 for a stranger to ship your clothes back to you that you accidentally left in sydney, australia. :) still waiting on those!

— one small book

i often think i will want to read multiple books on the plane, the train, the beach, the hotel…i never do. because of this i ended up playing tetris trying to fit multiple books into my backpack each day. do yourself a favor and just bring one small book. if anything you can pick up a new read when abroad, or better yet, a kindle would work just as well!

— bring a smaller camera

this is more of a personal one, but i am always lugging around my huge Canon 5D Mark IV + lenses and accessories and not only is it such a bulky item to travel with, but the weight just crushes me. that said, getting a smaller camera for travel would not be a bad idea for us all!

— pack a plentiful variety of snacks

no matter how many snacks i bring, it’s still never enough! when traveling, you get hungry at such random times, so it’s always a good idea to have healthy, energizing, wholesome snacks with you to help get you through. my favorite is macro bars, they are the best. some other suggestions would be apples, dates, nuts, you get the picture! i typically get bulk items from the local market & put in reusable containers. that way i have containers for the trip and can refill for the journey home.

— always have a reusable water bottle

cannot stress this one enough. single use plastic is gross and traveling is one of those times where convenience can start to slip in and feel so good. however, having a reusable water bottle means you can skip the plastic and stay hydrated for free!

— stay hydrated at any expense

this. this is so important. zach and i have been on so many trips where we just get back to our hotel room at night, with no water, and deal with it until the morning. let me tell you that this is not only awful in the present moment, but has terrible lasting effects too! keep your body healthy and be sure to always have some water with you or a way to easily refill.

— book flights mid day or evening

this sometimes can’t be avoided depending on where you are going, but if it can, do it! starting out a trip by waking up at 4am to go to the airport is just not great. that is all. even if it’s a few extra dollars, it is worth!

— book lodging in the heart of the city

zach and i have been burned by this more times than we can count. we always book a hotel or airbnb that’s a little farther outside the city because it’s “cheaper”, but in reality it is just very inconvenient having to travel back and forth every day, plus we spend a fortune in transportation doing just that. so this tip is a must follow. book in the city where you can easily walk to sights, shops, and restaurants without having to hop on a bus or train or uber every day.

— make transportation easy

sometimes taking the train is the cheaper option, but sometimes taking an uber can avoid hoisting your suitcases up flights of stairs & taking up too much room on the subway/metro/tube etc. give yourself some grace and take the $20 uber.

— pack my hat into my suitcase or don’t bring a hat

if you’re like me & like to travel with a large hat, then you know the struggles of trekking through the airport with your hat, holding it, wearing it, having to find somewhere to put it once you’re on the plane, accidentally leaving it places, the list goes on. as much as i love a good adventure hat, i think i’ve finally concluded that it’s not worth it. either find a way to pack it into your suitcase (let me know if you want a tutorial, i think i’ve finally mastered this) or just do without!

— carryon suitcase only

this is a big one! it is such a blessing to roll off the plane and out to your destination without having to wait for your bag with a billion other people. you get through everything quicker, don’t have to worry about losing your luggage, and you have a smaller bag to deal with. a win win win i will never check a bag.

— always have a sweater

airplanes are so cold! be comfy!

— show up prepared with reusable items

already touched on this a bit but, having a reusable water bottle that can be refilled, a few containers for snacks, along with some bamboo utensils makes traveling such a breeze. i always feel prepared to fight off single use plastic in any situation.

— make sure devices are always charged

trying to navigate anything without a charged phone or laptop or something…very difficult. having a portable charger is great too, just make sure that is also charged. :P

— download movies or shows pre-flight

flights can be boring, but if you download your favorite shows to binge, it goes sooo quickly.

— never book basic economy

airlines have economy and basic economy. basic economy gives you no carryon, doesn’t let you pick your seat, and doesn’t let you change anything about your flight if need be. it’s usually only $20 or $30 more to book economy, and i would definitely say it’s worth it! been burned one too many times by trying to be basic.

— book from home airport always

ok i really hope this one is just a me problem but zach and i have this tendency to book big international flights from cities where we do not live. ie. book a flight to australia from san francisco, then having to book another flight to san francisco to get there. we always think we’re saving money by flying from a bigger airport but no, it literally creates such chaos and adds many extra flights and stress and i really wish we would start booking flights from portland, where we live. i truly believe life will be more beautiful when we do so. so please learn from our mistakes and don’t fly from portland to denver to san francisco to australia or fly from portland to san fransisco to london to iceland. it’s just. never. worth it. pay $200 more dollars for the direct flight.

— stick with one air alliance 

this one pretty petty but, sticking with one air alliance can help you earn a lot more travel points which can be redeemed for airline tickets or hotel stays. a lot of the time when zach and i travel it’s because we’ve accumulated points by flying the same airline repeatedly or only flying in one air alliance (one world, star alliance, etc). as a bonus, having one airline allows you to earn status and be complimentary upgraded to first class more often than not! so many little hacks to ensuring a more pleasant travel experience!

— neck pillow & eye mask for long flights

a must! i never thought these would make a difference but they DO! on my last long haul flight i put to the test my eye mask and neck pillow combined. i slept for EIGHT hours straight. have never done that on a flight ever. i shall say no more. treat yourself! i currently have a merino wool eye mask from parachute home, but i’ve been eyeing (see what i did there) this silk mask from lucia laferme and i have just a random neck pillow from amazon!

— book airbnb’s the night before

this is a new one! more often than not, zach and i will land in a new city at 7am and not be able to check in until 3pm in the afternoon, forcing us to lug our suitcases around all day, which is quite possibly one of the worst things ever. so something that we are going to try on our next trip is booking the airbnb or hotel for the night before, that way when we arrive, we can go straight there, check in, shower, nap, refresh, drop our stuff, ahh i’m getting excited just thinking about not walking around with a suitcase all day in my airport clothes. will report back to let you know how this goes and if it’s worth paying for an extra night.

— eat tons of fruits & vegetables before, during, & after

random, but necessary! it is so incredibly easy to get run down and catch a cold when traveling, from the lack of proper nutrients at the right times and from the stress of travel. i’ve found that i feel my best when i am loading up on fruits and veggies and juices and smoothies before, especially during, and after the trip. just trust me on this one! on my last trip i ate gummy bears every day and am currently still recovering, almost two weeks later.

i hope you enjoyed these random tips and travel hacks that i’ve accumulated over the past few years. enjoyable travel is such an art and it makes me so excited to continually improve at it. i hope these help you, encourage you, inspire you, or scare you into never traveling again. just kidding. if you have anymore tips, let me know! let’s keep this list growing!

until next time,

↠ a

springtime in portland with earth shoes

let’s talk sustainable fashion! for those of you who are unfamiliar, sustainable fashion refers to fabrics derived from eco-friendly resources, such as sustainably grown fiber crops (100% cotton, linen) or recycled materials. it also refers to how these fabrics are made, where they are made, and how the hands who prepared them are cared for.

there is something so special in knowing that the garments you wear were made with your wellbeing and the planet’s wellbeing in mind. recently i had the opportunity to go on a little shopping trip with earth shoes, a responsibly made footwear company. from their shoe materials to their recyclable glue-free shoe boxes, this company is doing things right and i am so excited to support that!

i went to a cute boutique store in portland called imelda’s, which had such a wonderful array of shoe brands, bags, and accessories! also the cutest bandanas that i may need to head back in for! i started out by pulling one of every earth shoe from the shelves so i could find the perfect pair. being that i am a huge fan of warm, earthy tones, i naturally gravitated towards these green heeled sandals and adorable wooden clogs! trying them on around the store had me sold in seconds, as they were both SO comfortable. like walking on a squishy cloud. couldn’t decide between the two so i decided to get both!

the store staff at imelda’s was so super helpful from the moment i stepped into the store to the moment i checked out. it truly makes a shopping experience that much more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by individuals who are passionate about what they do. earth shoes even had these cute little reusable tote bags so i could carry my shoes out of the store without having to use a single use shopping bag that i’d end up tossing out at the end of the day. earth shoes is a company truly committed to keeping our planet clean, which i admire so much!

if you are in the market for some fresh new shoes for the warmer season ahead, and want to do your part by choosing to shop consciously, look no further than earth shoes. :) if you are in portland, i would certainly suggest popping into imelda’s shoe store on hawthorne to try these on for yourselves. you will seriously be soo impressed! earth shoes also has an extensive online collection. life is a little sweeter knowing that our purchases are not only helping to build a sustainable wardrobe, but also helping companies like earth do their part in the sustainable fashion industry. since 2015, earth has partnered with trees for the future to plant over 480,000 trees! if that doesn’t make ya smile, then put your screen away and go step outside to enjoy our planet earth!

thanks so much for reading and hearing a little bit of my heart and thoughts on sustainable fashion! if you have any questions or are curious to know more, send me a message on instagram. i’d love to chat! :)

until next time,

↠ a

since it was such a lovely spring day, i couldn’t help but wear my new shoes out and about to give them a little test! wore these strapped heels and was truly so blown away by how comfortable they were.