It's not the most amazing picture.
But, I snapped it quickly Friday night as the wedding I had photographed all day was finally coming to an end. I wanted to remember me at that moment. That moment when photographing weddings was new. When it was a challenge, but extremely exciting. When I don't have all the equipment I want yet and rely solely on my eye and knowledge to get me through. I wanted to remember being the second photographer. The nameless girl in a new town with a box FULL of business cards sitting at home on the shelf. That girl who has wanted this for five, going on six years. The girl that will someday look at this picture when she's a hot item on the photography market and feel humbled that I made it happen- every step of the way. You will want me to photograph your wedding, you just don't know it yet.


p.s. I'm also the girl that took pictures for 2-3 hours that day (including ceremony) with her pants unzipped.



my nature box.

When I was probably 4 years old my mom encouraged me and my older sister to start a nature box. She bought us these white cardboard-like boxes with outlined pictures on them meant for coloring in yourself. They were crayon boxes to be quite exact. The type you take to grade school to hold your pencils, glue, scissors, and saved pieces of candy. We used marker to color them in, mine of course never made it inside the lines. That box held some of the finest treasures any young girl could hold. Pine cones, leaves, rose rocks, dried flowers, seashells, fuzzy cotton, feathers, and lots and lots of rocks. It grew quite heavy, and was never big enough. It sat on a shelf for a while in a safe place. Every once and a while I'd get it down and look through it, taking each item out one at a time, inspecting it carefully and remembering where I was when I got it, who was with me, or how the air smelled. As I got older I quite adding to the box and instead kept it in my closet with other special, saved things. I had it up until a few years ago, when I pulled it out and for the first time what once looked like treasures now looked like a pile of ugly rocks and some crushed brown leaves. The story tied to each token was lost in my memory. I've gotten rid of A LOT of things in the last 2-3 years, that being one of them.

I've learned a lot in recent years about letting go. And with that comes trying not to be afraid and living in the moment. Today all of this, even my nature box, came full circle.

I was rudely awakened by the alarm around 1:30 am. I had prepared for it the night before: went to bed fairly early, laid my clothes out for the day ahead, and packed a small bag. But even so, the sound of bells ringing was still alarming. And no matter how early I'd gone to bed, 1:30 in the morning will always come too soon. The plan? To drive 45 minutes to Mt. Engineer and hike it (over 4 miles round trip) in the dark to be at the top by sunrise. With the moon a few days shy of being full and the summer heat having melted almost all of the snow, the conditions were perfect. Or so they seemed the night before when my boyfriend had unknowingly convinced me to go. He has this way of always inventing adventurous, labor-intense things for us to do together that I gruel at the sound of. Even though, deep down I know the end result will be worth it. And this time was absolutely no exception.

I didn't bring my camera, which I slightly regretted. And words can't describe the beauty of what I saw. But, I will say that I had the most incredible morning, partly because of my boyfriend's motivation and also because of mother nature. The hike was difficult for me, physically and mentally. I'm not in my best "mountain woman" shape and the thought of a bear eating me in a dark forest for breakfast was terrifying. It was cold, and very steep. I had to trust myself and not be afraid. But mother nature prevailed as usual to say, "I told you so." She knew all along if I could make it to the top she'd make it worth it for me. And she was right. 
As the sun rose over the top of the mountain I found myself almost holding my breath. The warm light made the bright green valley below glow with shades of pink and orange. I could see the top of every mountain in sight. Stunning. 

It wasn't until the walk back through the lower valley though that I started to think about my childhood nature box. While in search for the tiniest pine cone I all of a sudden realized that the world was now my nature box. Full of any treasure I could bestow. 

To my boyfriend who had made this hike 15 times before, I'm sure it was almost old news. But to me, the entire experience was like holding a handful of jewels. Except this time I didn't need to put them in a box in my closet. I felt like royalty. And my kingdom, right outside my back door.

My Oklahoma roots and deep love affair with Montana will forever run in my blood. But I can officially say today for the first time since my move, I fell a little bit in love with Colorado. 



I realized the other day that exactly a year ago today I started this blog. I sat at my computer on a lazy Sunday afternoon eating toast topped with huckleberry jam I'd bought the day before at the Missoula farmers market. I loved the way the light streamed into my small little bedroom I rented while I was in school. My computer sat by the window, where I spent most of my time if I wasn't in class. 

I started the blog so that friends and family back home could see the pictures I was taking and track the adventures that happened along the way. 56 followers and hundreds of anonymous readers later, it has become WAY more than I ever could of imagined. It's served in place of my website, connected me with people all over the country, been a constant outlet for creativity, and motivated me to keep on trucking because, well, people are watching after all. And I LOVE that!

So this is me saying thank you. Thank YOU. All of you that read this. Thank you for stopping by every day, every week. Thanks for the lovely comments. And thanks for supporting what I do. Because sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything. And then I realize how many people are watching and sometimes quite moved by what I say or a photograph I take.

So if you're reading this, leave a comment! Let me know you you are, especially if we haven't met yet. And if you haven't done so already, become a follower! Because, well, there's no reason why you shouldn't be. Especially if you fancy yourself here often :)

Happy blogging! And happy Monday!


It was one of the best weeks. And ironically a lot went wrong. But in that wrong, a lot was learned.

I lost my waitress job. But after the initial frustration of feeling misunderstood and moneyless was gone, I felt lighter on my feet than I had in months. It literally felt like a HUGE pile of bricks had been removed off my back. I immediately immersed myself into the things I loved. I felt creative, driven, and motivated to be the photographer I knew I could be. And I began working on the physical steps to get there.

I am checking the paper for jobs, but in the mean time have been hired as a photo editor for a local wedding and commercial photographer to do post processing of weddings and possibly design work as well. I finished revising my new wedding prices and designing a cute handout for potential clients. I've been working on my logo, starting an etsy account, and next up is advertising and marketing as well as updating my portrait prices. AND Chad and I photographed our first wedding yesterday with Matt from Allison Ragsdale Photography. It was an amazing learning experience and a great way to kick start the wedding season for us. Matt and Allison have become great friends and a fun photography resource for bouncing around ideas. I'm photographing another wedding next weekend with a photographer from California, and another in early August!

There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done, but it feels good to at least be working towards something I love.
here's some images from my week...

for $2.00 at a thrift store this week I updated our miss-match plate collection. Aren't they pretty?

I bought new nail polish: bright yellow :)

found the most beautiful peppers at the farmers market Saturday morning.

watched the sun dance on the driveway.

bought myself flowers.

and baked my favorite biscuits.


sante fe.

I played tourist (minus the fanny pack) two weeks ago and spent a couple lovely days in Santa Fe, NM with my mom. We experienced a city-wide power outage in the middle of the day while trying to find somewhere to eat. You'd have thought the world was ending the way everyone was acting. We sat and "people watched" as we shared the last Frito chili pie from a hot dog stand that was running out of food due to the madness. Luckily the outage occurred right as we were leaving the Georgia O' Keefe Museum. It was the highlight of the trip and wasn't even supposed to be open, due to a change of exhibits. The other highlight was going to the Andrew Smith Gallery where I got to see some original Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz, and more. (I think I completely geeked out on photography just now.) 

I got a little burnt out on art after just two days. Weird for me, I know. But the storms and skies while we were there were amazing. Better than anything on canvas. 


Twas a good morning. Hot tea in bed. Sweet boyfriend.  Furry little cuddle monster.

It snowed in the mountains last night. With a chill in the air we made hot breakfast: oatmeal and eggs with the best vegetarian sausage ever. (It's made by Field Roast. Flavor, Smoked Apple Sage...yuuumo.) You could say Chad and I are addicted. We discovered it in Missoula last summer while shopping for kabob goodies. It also makes for an amazing hot dog in a whole wheat bun with sauerkraut.  I love finding yummy vegetarian foods. Well, any yummy food for that matter.

I also love days like today. The skies are gray with little flickers of sun peaking out. I'm all cozy in my new favorite green t-shirt and warm grandma sweater. I think I'll bake bread and something with bananas. This can only mean one thing:

Any good brown banana recipes?


While the neighbors across the alley were having a  loud and wild "pig party" (literally roasting an entire pig), we quietly sat in our yard drinking smoothies, eating watermelon, and dipping slices of pita bread in our semi-homemade hummus. Daphnie literally licked her lips at the sight of dripping watermelon juice and we gladly shared. It was a hot one today. I think summer actually started this weekend. There was no warning either. No, "hey I think I'll stop by next weekend if that's okay." Instead the warmth came knocking early Friday morning like an unexpected visitor and I think it's here to stay.

Hope you have a lovely week!


one year.

Several nights ago I was laying in bed as my mind raced about everything you could possibly think of. I had just gotten home from another exhausting night of waiting tables. The last thing I needed was to be wide awake thinking of how I was going to prevent my 2nd basil plant from dying, marketing ideas for my photography, my upcoming visit from my mom, whether I should wear shorts to work the next night, and how I really needed to buy new shoes.

It's called "monkey mind" and I wouldn't doubt that I have some kind of severe condition of it. It feels like my mind is a jungle and my thoughts are chattering monkeys jumping from tree to tree. Somehow, in all the chaos of random thoughts my mind landed on Missoula, Montana...and it was like someone slammed on the breaks as my mind came to a screeching stop. A deep ache began in my chest and found it's way into my throat. I remembered what it felt like to be in Missoula. The way the light hit the rolling hills at sunset and the way the river smelled. I could taste an ice cream cone from the Big Dipper- coconut, tangerine sorbet, yellow cake, mexican chocolate, and cold smoke. My senses became alert as if I were in school again eager to soak in anything I could from the amazing classes. I thought about what it felt like to literally use my camera every single day. It was an extension of myself, like an arm, or a third eye. I think about Missoula all the time, but that night was the first time I could close my eyes and feel like I was really there.
Exactly ONE YEAR ago today marks the anniversary of the beginning of my 6 month journey into photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. When I think back on how much my life has changed in result of that town and that school I'm literally taken aback. Of all the things I've done in my life, that's the one that makes me the most proud. That's the thing that has had the most impact on me and my dreams. And I miss it deeply. And I miss my friends.
I can talk all day about this, but it wouldn't really do any justice for the way I feel. So, in tribute, I decided to post a group of random moments from my time in Missoula. It was nearly impossible to pick from nearly 12,000 images. Some of them are repeats for the blog, but just like any good meal, any good moment deserves to be repeated. enjoy!

photo of me by Chad Neufeld. :)

happy anniversary.