the banks of the seine

the banks of the seine

I took a bunch of fun outfits to wear in Paris, but I actually ended up wearing pretty much just one outfit the whole time, and this is it.  I did so much walking and in the end I was way more interested in being comfortable than fancy, and I had no one to impress anyway.  I planned a styled bridal photo shoot while I was there and I took just one carry-on because I was not interested in having Delta loose my bag full of the entire wardrobe for my shoot.  It was a Françoise Hardy inspired shoot and so one of the big pieces was a giant faux fur coat similar to the one in her iconic photos, but a shipping error left me running around Tacoma last minute scrambling to find something that would fit the wardrobe.  My friend Brooke from Urban X Change pulled through last minute with one of her vintage coats, and since I didn't have any room in my bags for any other coats, it was my daily coat for walking around Paris.

I had some pretty bad jet lag that lasted almost the entire time I was there, so the morning of these photos I was up at like 4 am and decided to head down to Notre Dame and watch the sunrise over the cathedral.  It was pretty cloudy, so it was more like watching it go from dark to dim, but still a moving experience.  I sat there for a while taking it all in, but my style shoot was later that morning and I wanted to scout out some spots to shoot.  These photos were actually test shots to see how the light in Paris looked on camera (magical, duh).  Notre Dame in the background?  Still so crazy to me that I was standing right there one month ago.  

"i am going"

"i am going"

When people ask how my trip to Paris was, the only thing I can say that is truly honest is that it was a lot of things.  and many of those things weren't positive, but no one really wants to hear that.  They want to hear that you had the time of your life and you didn't want to leave and that it was magical.  And maybe for some people it is, but for me, this time, it wasn't.  

I love travel.  I feel pretty pro at travel.  Growing up in Alaska going anywhere meant flying there.  Or road-tripping for about a week.  My first solo flight was when I was in 6th grade (I think) and I was so used to flying that I didn't realize that traveling as an unaccompanied minor was different.  I filed off the plane with the rest of the passengers, met up with my mom at the gate and we went on our merry way until the panicked flight attendants caught up with us and confirmed that I was leaving with the proper guardian.  I've flown to countless cities and road tripped from Alaska to Florida and back to Washington State solo.  

paris here i come!

My brand new passport came in the mail on Saturday, which means... I'm going to Paris! After finding a super cheap milage ticket on Alaska Air, I booked my first trip across the pond!  I'll be staying in an artist's studio and even though it will only be for a few days, but I'm thrilled to finally see a little bit more of this world beyond our US borders! Domestic travel for me no longer stretches me out of my comfort zone. I feel completely competent and comfortable traveling in any city in the US, but international travel is definitely out of my comfort zone and I desperately need to push past that comfort zone. I want to fill this passport with stamps and need a new one before it expires because it's already full. I want to understand more of this planet and the people on it in an experiential way. I want to grow personally through stretching myself out of my comfort zone, and putting myself in different cultures.

I've had two different flights across the Atlantic that I had to cancel.  Not this one.  Not this time.


"What woman does not know this broken promise by heart? 'As soon as I finish this I can go. As soon as I can get away... when the springtime comes, I'll go. When the summer's over, I'll go. When the kids are back in school... Late in autumn when the trees are so beautiful I will go. Well, no one can go anywhere in winter, so I'll just wait till sprint... I really mean it this time.'
... Your dog will try to make you think you are abandoning a child on the highway, but will forgive you...
'I am going.' These are the best words ever. Say them. Then go."
- Clarissa Pinkola Estes Ph.D. Women Who Run With The Wolves

I am going.

So, friends, give me all your Paris advice and recommendations.  Food, drinks, sights, favorite bloggers, all the things!

I'll be there the first week of December, so I'm not getting the springtime-in-Paris experience, which I'm actually fine with.  I tend to prefer traveling on the off-season so things aren't overrun with tourists.

And if any of you are in Paris and want to meet up for coffee, drinks, or do a photo shoot, let me know!  I'd love to!

photo credit //  Georgianna Lane,  Tell Tale Blog, + unknown

texas style council: a campy farewell

t's been over a month since Texas Style Council's final conference, CAMP, but I'm still feeling inspired by my weekend surrounded by amazing women.  With founder Indiana now living in Atlanta, GA, Texas Style Council pulled out all the stops for this final event.  I've always appreciated Indiana's focus on community and connections rather than stats and sponsors when it comes to the content of the conferences.  TxSC has been the one conference I choose to attend simply because of the more down-to-earth vibe.  Big conferences with the focus on networking and business connections and becoming the biggest, richest blogger on the block, they're just not for me.   A weekend in the woods with my favorite ladies, casual style, sessions on journaling and confidence, and s'mores?  That's what I'm talking about.  
And you know what?  Even though I didn't attend any sessions on making connections with big brands, crafting super pinnable content, and growing your audience, I left feeling so much more motivated to make this space meaningful, healthy, and inspiring.  I suppose, since CAMP stood for "Create A Meaningful Presence," that means the weekend truly lived up to it's intention, eh?  One of the big reasons I'm going on a new Brave trip and starting my podcast is because of TxSC and the encouragement from blog friends to just go for it.

I co-lead a session with Megan from Greetings From Texas about what to do when your blog becomes a slog.  The word for the session was "SHIFT," but Megan aptly noted that perhaps it should be "SHIT."  Like, oh shit... this used to all come easy and I had tons of ideas and sponsors were interested in working with me and I was excited and now I feel all blah and don't know what to say anymore and sponsors don't seem to give a shit about my blog, and being a full time blogger just isn't what it used to be.  We talked about shifting focus to keep the passion alive, or even shifting to different goals other than blogging, even quitting blogging.  We talked about how in the past year or two there's emerged a huge gap in terms of income between the top 200 bloggers (in terms of income) and the rest of us and how that's affected monetized bloggers.  We talked about finding new passions through blogging, and focusing more on quality than quantity when it comes to blog posts.   Megan was way more on top of her stuff and actually had someone tape a little snippit of our discussion, which you can find on her blog here.    
I had learned about Megan last TxSC when I attended her + Becky Murphy's session on book writing.  Megan wrote a book about her experience with Ovarian cancer and adoption, which is hilarious (despite those topics not seeming immediately hilarious), but I hadn't really read her blog until learning that we'd be co-leading our discussion session.  Julie, Jen, and I were supposed to be rooming with Moorea, but after Moorea had to cancel her trip to TxSC, Megan took her spot in our room and I was so glad she did.  It was a blast getting to know her and I feel like I gained a brand new amazing friend.

Hanging out with blog friends I've known since 2009, I realized that they aren't just blog friends.  They're truly some of my best friends.  I've known these women since before they were married, or had kids.  I've watched them change careers, get new jobs, start their own businesses, write books.  They saw me graduate college, drive around the country, get married, and buy a house.  All of a sudden I realized that these aren't just "blog friends," they're full blown real friends I just happened to meet through blogging.  We pick up right where we left off (when we hung out at TxSC in 2013!), and stay up till 3 in the morning chatting in our bunks, cracking up, sharing secrets and dreams.  The sessions and workshops at these kinds of blogging events are nice, but those are the things that stick with me, not the notes I jot down listening to keynote speakers.  


I'm sad to see TxSC go, mostly because this last iteration of the conference was my absolute favorite.  I mean, you know me, I love camping, so a weekend full of inspiration with rad chicks in the woods?  Such a perfect event.  Honestly, I wish I could put something together like TxSC Camp here in the PNW on a yearly basis.  I feel like we don't need more blogging conferences, there are plenty of those.  But a weekend getaway where you get to meet up with old blog friends, meet new blog friends, and feel encouraged and inspired to go after the dreams you feel you were meant to live out?  Heck. Yes.  More of those, please.  Less feeling not good enough.  Less stressing about looking fancy and impressive.  Less strategies.  Less networking.  More connection.  More friendship.  More empowerment.  More soul-feeding conversation. 


Over the last five TxSC conferences, Indiana and her team put in countless hours of work, dozens of sleepless nights, and some serious blood sweat and tears to bring a truly inspiring event to life each time.  I'm so thankful for Indiana, both as a friend, and a "friendtor" (a term we learned from TOMS' Bethany Joy Clark at CAMP).  She poured her heart into each TxSC, from the very first meeting of a few bloggers over Costco quiche during SXSW, to a full on sold-out ALT style conference, to a weekend glamping retreat in the woods.  This lady is a powerhouse and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeves next.

photobooth photos by Logan Pearce Photography, other photos by Liz Morrow Studios, Chelsea Laine Francis Photography, and via instagram.