life, as told by hops.

This weekend was full of french fries, laughing until I teared up, finding ourselves in an underground club by complete accident, brewery tours, inappropriate and loud games of cards for humanity while indian style on dirty floors, watching youtube diaries of complete strangers, staying up all night telling secrets, waiters with weird tattoos and missing teeth, cocktails with flowers, snuggling, and running and dancing through the pouring rain with 3 of my oldest and dearest friends.

It’s weekends like this last one that reminds me how fun life is. And how nice it feels to be around the people who are as close as family where you don’t have to think before you talk and you don’t have to brush your hair for 3 days. To have people around you who make a simple trip to lunch into a great memory. And who remind you how to laugh without fear of tomorrow- because all you need is playing out right before you.

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austin street art.

It’s no secret how much I miss Austin. I was spoiled rotten by living in a city that encompassed everything I love. A city where you didn’t even have to go looking for an amazing dive bar, live music, delicious hole in the wall, or a store busting at the seams with vintage vinyls and apparel. But distance makes the heart grow fonder, and I treasure each time I have an excuse to make it back to my stomping grounds.

Something that I love about Austin is it’s saturation of artistic expression. While some people find this to be overwhelming, I am so interested in the varied ways that human’s choose to leave their mark on the world. The amount of character and passion that is embraced by this city is so quirky and fun. It’s like walking into your grandfather’s study that is littered with knick knacks, but the intention behind every object makes you feel at home.

This trip, I decided to snap a few shots of graffiti with my friend Whitney from an area called “Castle Hill”- a sanctuary for spray paint artists that are free to billboard their art onto huge cement walls. It’s different every time you go, as each work of art is always evolving or covered up by a new one. I was pleasantly surprised to find so many heartfelt messages on the walls, not just Jnko Jeans font scribbled into different tag names.  austin-0671 austin-0673 austin-0681 austin-0701 austin-0705 austin-0710 austin-0717 austin-0719

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It was actually Whitney’s birthday, so the picture of her by the cake with “Happy Birthday” beside it was quite fitting. And the last one is of her little fluff of a son, Juju.

If you ever happen to find yourself in Austin, here are just a few places that I would stop by:

1. Hop Doddy. Oh how I miss that place. Truly the best burger you can imagine with plenty of cold hops to wash it down with.

2. Kayaking on Towne Lake. You can rent canoes or kayaks for 10 dollars an hour/30 for the day and spend the day paddling through downtown Austin with a friend or lover or bottle of wine. You can even paddle board. Or be super hip and take a paddle board yoga class.

3. Congress. This street is teaming with antique shops, costume shops, boutiques, rustic/quirky hotels, and great restaurants.

4. The Oasis. This HUGE three-floor restaurant looks out over lake Austin and is super beautiful at sunset. Great prices for a fun date night or night out with the girls.

5. Castle Hill. Because I just blogged about it. Duh.

And I just realized from my list that I like wine and food. Welcome to my life.

XOXO, K.

cleanse: day 10.

Throughout my college experience, my roommates, one by one, did a 30 day cleanse called Advocare. They would finish this cleanse with glowing skin, a pant size smaller, and a new outlook on what health meant. I was always encouraged to join into this health nut party, but opted out for fear of starving. I completely survived those years off of food encased by a box, wrapper, or tin, and this cleanse required a clean break from processed foods. No gluten, no dairy, no bread, no starches, no alcohol, no caffiene, no sweets, no red meat, no (insert anything enjoyable in life here). I would applaud them in their efforts as I continued to eat my macaroni and cheese with hot dog weiners.

Fast forward three years: Clint and I are traveling with work or play most weeks of the year. I am tired and groggy and seem to be continually getting sick. I contend ignorance that the gas station food, alcohol, and sheer magnatute of caffiene have anything to do with this.

I make small life changes. I go to the gym and practice yoga. I learn how to cook. I try to cut back my sweets- but if I’m honest, I am doing this out of fear of The Almighty Bikini.

Then one day I decide it’s enough. I’m an all or nothing type of gal- and so once I had my mind made up that it was time for a life change- I dived in head first. I was ready to take accountability for what I was doing to my body.

Day 1: I almost vomit on the fiber drink. This is no exaggeration. I quickly learned that it takes about 60 seconds for this liquid to become a solidified mass in your throat if you don’t chug fast enough. I know my fellow Advocareians feel my pain.

I am feeling extra earthy and domestic cooking for every meal, and my husband decides this is the greatest thing ever. Until I won’t let him eat chips in front of me.

Day 2: Diet Coke withdrawals hit, but other than that, I am feeling fantastic. I may never eat another processed food again!

Day 3: Am I dying? I think I’m dying.

Day 4: I am quickly running out of things to make- and eat an entire bag of baby carrots for lunch. Time to do some internet research of “things to make devoid of anything delicious”.

I am working out everyday, which actually helps calm the hunger for a few hours. I am feeling strong. And guess what?! I like almond milk. This is a revolutionary thing for me since I am a lactose intolerant woman who loves dairy. (You can ask a few very close people to me what happens when I choose to partake in ice cream.) If there is one thing that I can take from this cleanse, it is that I can now live relatively milk free. Hallelujah.

Day 5: I can NOT stay full. I eat and I eat and I eat and there is this pang inside of my stomach that I am sure will only be satisfied next time I eat waffle fries.

I text my council of friends because I need to be talked back from the ledge before I jump head first into a sugar sack. They tell me I don’t need sugar, I need Jesus.

I pray and sob into some broccoli.

Day 6: I watch a documentary about food and how much what we put into our mouths and our health are connected. (DUH.) But then I dive into more research. First, about what benefits come from clean eating which range from mental clarity to fighting off cancer. I decide it’s time to be thankful for this one body I have, and treat it like it’s supposed to run. You don’t buy a luxury car and shove saw dust in the gas tank.

Day 7: I can see a noticable difference in my complexion. My acne has almost completely cleared up already, and I am going out in public without make up on.

I am texting every spinach leaf and spoonful of almond butter I put in my mouth to Tessa, who is also on the cleanse. Lindsey is sending us bible verses and encouragement through our group text every morning. Buffy sends an “after” shot from her clean eating and she looks hot. I love that this challenging time has brought our group closer together.

I do some research about becoming vegan. I have no plan of living animal free, but I want to become aware of the food industry and what really goes on before I bring home my pretty little package of boneless, skinless, 95% fat free meat.

I watch Vegucated on Netflix- a documentary on a group of cheese loving people who agree to adopt a vegan lifestyle for 6 weeks. I am definitely in shock. And anyone who knows me is aware that I like animals more than most people, so I am sick to my stomach. I still believe that animals are made for us to eat, but that it’s important for me to support local farms that have safe and natural practices for their livestock.

I am feeling more connected to my home and my husband by cooking every meal. We’re also saving money by not eating out at all. And we’re exercising together. I am really getting into the groove of this whole thing.

Day 8: It’s best that I don’t speak to anyone. Withdrawal has hit me in full swing. I am tired and cranky and the last ounce of hydrogenated oil has officially left my system.

Clint tells me that we’re walking too fast on our trip to the park and I cry.

Michelle tells me that I can have a cheat since I’ve been doing so well. Bless her. And then Whitney texts me and says the words “cellulite dimple” and I refrain.

Day 9: We go to the grocery store, and I am excited! I am waltzing through the produce section buying up every color of fruit and veggie I see. HEB is my new best friend. Just aisles and aisles of gluten free, dairy free, organic goodness to devour. This is when I realize I am becoming lame. When going to the natural food section of the grocery store is the highlight of my weekend.

I get to the eggs. After inspecting each brand of “organic”, “free range”, and “cage free” (is there a difference?), I settle on a carton that is from a local farm. It even includes a picture of their farm inside and a small newsletter about the chickens living their wonderful feathered life out on a pasture, free of cages and hormones. I run up to Clint, just giddy about how eccentric and natural I am becoming. He is less than enthused. “Kendall, this is like Portlandia crap.” But he’s a good husband and only laughs at it one more time before we leave the grocery store.

Day 10: Jen Hatmaker has a book called “Seven”. This book humbles me every time I read it. In part of the book, she also does a cleanse. She writes-

“I realized that my slightly reduced life is still extraordinary in every way. There is no end to my advantages. For whatever reason I was born into privilege; I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been blessed, blessed, blessed- relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. My life is so happy it’s almost embarrassing. So I thawed into a gratitude puddle, exchanging my physical aching for spiritual communion. It was a good trade. I exhaled and breathed, ‘Thank You.'”

Well, amen.

xoxo, k.

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a wedding of two best friends.

// in respect for the photographers of the wedding, some images have been taken down until after their posting.

Ben and Candace are one of those couples that, when you raise your glass for a toast, you know they deserve it. They have fought hard over these last few years to get to the vows that will forever bond them. Here are a few pictures from their amazing barn wedding.

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A litte history: My friendship started with Ben when I was in Jr. High. He was this shy 6’9″ boy at church who had a great taste in music and refused to give hugs. We slowly became best friends. We hung out almost every day after school and his family even bought extra peanut butter, honey and bananas so I could make my favorite sandwiches at his house at lunch. I spent most weekends of my highschool experience at the Knox’s house with the rest of our friends. Ben became friends with Clint- a missionary kid who had moved from California. Clint was the only boy who wouldn’t shoot me with are-soft bullets or put pepper in my Diet Coke, so I decided he was datable. He also rocked the Justin Bieber hair before Justin Bieber hair was a thing. Me, Ben and Clint hung out a lot. And I was grounded alot because of them. One day, Ben got pneumonia. And bad. He was in the hospital for a quite awhile and Clint and I would come and keep him company and make fun of his paper robes and weight loss like any good friend would. During Ben’s lengthy sickness, Clint and I were hanging out alone for the first time. Our first alone hang out was us chugging two Route 44 Ocean Waters each because we heard it would make your pee turn blue. Spoiler: it doesn’t. We never stopped having dates after that. So thank you, Ben, for being my best friend growing up and for introducing me to my husband.

Then comes Candace. The first thing I ever heard about her was Ben’s confession that “there’s this SUPER hot girl at my school named Candace”. Candace and I laugh about the first few times of us meeting. We were scared to talk to each other because I thought she was “shy and didn’t want to be friends” and she thought I was “hyper and didn’t want to be friends”. Ben and Candace started dating when Ben had just gotten to UNT. We went to Ben’s basketball games together, college get togethers that Ben and Clint’s friends (who all lived together in a house) put on (which really ended in us secluding ourselves in a corner and making bets about how many germs were infested in their couch) , and weekend hang outs at the Knox’s when we were all in town. The four of us have pretty much been inseperable. We even spent our Christmas break traveling all the way to New Mexico and the Grand Canyon together. She even traveled out to Houston on THANKSGIVING DAY to cook beside me. I seriously love Candace, because she unapologetically herself. And she is going to make one helluvah wife. So thank YOU, Candace, for being such a constant, real, and loving best friend to me. You’re stuck with me forever.

So cheers to such a beautiful couple! Please pray strength, protection, and joy over these two in their first year of marriage. And try not to be insanely jealous that they’re adventuring in Colorado for two weeks right now and you’re not.

xoxo, k.

//you will be able to find the official wedding pictures from the photographers, Luiz and Lo Baptista, at lhimage.com.

a new face.

Hello there.

As you can tell, the blog got a bit of a face lift overnight. And by overnight, I mean that I am still up at 3am trying to figure out how in the hades to get this whole code situation sorted out. Word Press is making it increasingly difficult for me to pretend that I am a blogger who knows what she’s doing. So be distracted by my words and pictures until I figure out the art of getting an Instagram icon into the side bar and/or a decent header. Hats off to all of you code artists out there.

Now on to something I can conquer: Gift wrapping.

I am not going to pretend that I am good at giving gifts. I’m absolutely not. I am not the friend who is going to remember your birthday. And I feel bad about that… I do. Butttttt I am trying to get better. With so many weddings, graduations, and other summery celebratory situations, I have been exercising my gift giving muscle. As I get older, I am beginning to realize that a well thought out gift can be the water that keeps a friendship from drying up. When life gets busy and you don’t have time to catch dinner or call more than once a week (if you’re lucky), a well thought out present can be a tangible token of loyalty and love until things calm down a bit.

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For any of you gift givers out there, here are a few of my gifting favorites that are sure to please: {pictured above}

Rifle Paper Company anything. They have wonderful vintage inspired paper goods that are all so cute and useful.

Donna Hay cookbook. This is coffee table material, folks. Beyond the mouth watering recipes, the layouts and photography are gorgeous. She also divides the dishes by what ingredients are in season so that you have the freshest meals (and impressed guests).

Ravens Wood Wine: My parents actually gave me this Zinfandel as part of a Christmas gift, and I loved it so much that I decided to spread the wealth. Definitely a good wine for your buck.
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In other news: Today was one of the most wonderful days I’ve had in a while (!!!). I’ll update you more on that tomorrow. This coding mess has got me all kinds of sleep deprived tonight.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

xoxo, k.

Shira wedding.

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This last weekend, I had the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful marriage of two of me and Clint’s dear friends committing their lives to each other. It was such a sweet time of breaking bread with our friends and being reminded of how sacred and wonderful marriage is. And having an excuse to spend the weekend in Austin wasn’t too shabby either.

Here’s a sneak peek of a few shots I got from the weekend.

DSC_0030The guys were nice enough to let me join in on their man time the day of to capture some last shots of Elben’s singledom. I am so proud to call this group of men my best friends. They are some of the most intelligent, hilarious and solid men out there.

As for some background: Elben (pictured on the right in the blue) was Clint’s best man in our wedding. Most of the  others were roommates with Clint in college. We actually all went to the same high school- even though our friendships at  that time were limited to (and fondly remembered) as a few head nods in the hall ways.

Over the years, we all shared a love for Dexter, late night donut runs, nerdy games and getting into mischief. They helped make Austin my home and stood beside me when I, myself, said “I do”.

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xoxo, k.

All in the small details.

There is something grounding about focusing on the little things.

The things that are truly meaningless, but mean everything.

The “something”s that take you away from the overwhelming weight of “everything”.

The little pieces of life that bring color to the puzzle.

So I set out to capture the small.

To remember the moment in it’s unframed personality,

not just of posed smiles and staged theatrics.

It is the small, I have found,

that make today unique

and tomorrow an anticipated meeting.

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you

because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

Those who do not believe in magic

will never find it.”

Roald Dahl

xoxo, k.