Cali + VSCO.

The last few days have been a bit rainy, but super productive. The blog got a much needed facelift. Emails were answered. I got caught up on my projects. And Sarah (a career coach for creative entrepreneurs) took me to Coffee and Tea Collective to really nail down what I envision for my business and future.

And then I ended the day finally indulging in the new VSCO filter pack. Here are a few snaps I grabbed yesterday from C&T Collective and what filters I put on them.

California-3775

Kodak Ultramax 400 Soft Highs

California-3782

Ektar 100 +++

California-3778-2

Agfa Vista Cool +

California-3786

Kodak Ektar 100 – –

California-3788

Agfa Vista 100 – –

California-3792

Kodak Ektar 100 warm

To give you an idea of personality of this new pack, here is a comparison of what came straight out of my camera and then the filtered aftermath.

VSCO test 1

XO, Kendall

California.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut. Not in the sense that I’m not creating, but that I am over creating and left with my tank on empty. I needed a time where I could rest and take time to do something that was for myself. To create things without being told what I needed to accomplish. And while I am blessed beyond measure to be paid to do what I love, I have been desperately craving a space to slow down and play.

When Sarah (read more about this beauty here) invited me to stay with her in San Diego for some sun, creativity and helping with her non-profit, I was ready to drop everything and head to the waves.

california

 

I flew in yesterday morning- after a 5 hour flight squeezed between 4 crying/fighting toddlers. So it was an extra sweet surprise to be picked up and taken straight to the beach. It was like the first breath of the coastal air released a knot from my back.

The rest of the night was left to enjoying some fish tacos and Malbec at a fun little place called Craft and Commerce with Sarah and her husband Joshua. We passionately talked about our adventures traveling or our thoughts on justice. It felt so good to be sitting alongside people who know what’s going on in the world and want to do something about it.

Sarah and Joshua’s house is completely refreshing. Minimal in the most efficient way. Everything is white and uncluttered. They share a car. And while they laugh that they haven’t quite settled in, it’s a breath of fresh air to live in this uncomplicated home for 10 days.

Today Sarah and I did some work together and brainstormed ideas and talked about our business visions. Later in the afternoon, she let me borrow her beach cruiser to bike around with my camera. Riding around, I realized I hadn’t done something like this for myself in MONTHS. Just pedaling around in the sunshine with no agenda or timeline. I would snap photos and listen to music, and it was intoxicatingly wonderful.

California-3648 California-3658 California-3667 California-3670 California-3673 California-3675 California-3682 California-3687 California-3695 California-3700 California-3708I’ll keep you guys posted on the trouble Sarah and I get into.

XO, K

 

Simplify. Community. Travel.

I’m a little late on the new year’s resolutions train, but I’ve been really trying to solidify a game plan for 2014. Something simple but powerful. I decided on giving myself 3 words that I would filter my year through. Those three lifelines are: Simplify. Community. Travel.

And yes, I have a million goals for my career and what I want to accomplish. And while that is well and good, I believe I’ve been letting pride and expectation push me too hard where I can be weathered, empty and over worked. So instead of wanting the “next best thing”, this year is for getting back to the basics of intention. Doing less but doing it better: full of thought, meaning and a story.

1. Simplify.

This is first on my list because it is the most crucial and convicting change I need to make in 2014. To say this is big on my heart right now would be an understatement. It is ripping at me in a way that is both inspiring and deeply painful.

When I moved to Houston, I was at one of the lowest.. okay… the lowest point of my life. I won’t go into further detail- you’ve heard me bitch enough on that subject. And if you’d really like to hear me whine, knock yourself out here: circa October 2012. In that time, I found comfort in the things I surrounded myself with. Oh, I don’t have anyone to hang out with on the weekends? Nothing a vintage couch won’t fix.

But it didn’t fix. And soon I was drowning in possessions that were beautiful, but meaningless. Sometimes I secretly wished (and sometimes still do) that the whole house would burn down and I could start fresh.

When I traveled through Europe, I realized that I could truly live comfortably with only the things that I was able to carry on my back. I jokingly told Clint that we should just get an apartment in one of the countries we were visiting and start over with only the things in our packs- severing all ties with our American possessions.

Staying in people’s homes abroad was really shocking. They had such simple lives- having nothing more in their fridge than what they would eat in the next few days. Closets with only a few high quality staples. Small homes with minimal furniture and uncluttered presence. It was as if every other country had this innate sense of what mattered and didn’t waste anything beyond that.

And I was disgusted with myself. Absolutely embarrassed by my gluttony. Our overflowing closets (PLURAL.) and so much food we have to throw it away because we couldn’t even consume what we bought. Ew.

I can’t continue to live a lifestyle that is so very careless and wasteful. Clint and I collectively decided it was time for a big change. So we’re dumping out our closets. And selling all our furniture (okay, not the coffee table… so no you can’t have it) and moving to much, much smaller apartment when our lease ends. We’re flushing our lives of the things that we previously believed we needed to be happy- an idea so ludicrous that it’s hard for me to type.

And I know that this may sound like such a small battle. Not everyone struggles with excess. I envy you, you rare bird, you. But we do. And I’m out to really conquer my flawed lifestyle.

A book that I could read over and over that has been really getting in my face and heart on this matter is “7” by Jen Hatmaker. She can have you on the floor laughing and convict the shoes right off of you in a single sentence. I can not recommend this book to anyone more. But beware. This book is scary. And you can never unread what truth she will speak over you.

2. Community.

I can feel this strong pull going through the creative world right now based on the idea of gathering together. Some really awesome publications are going back to the roots of unfussy, authentic community and the power of simply gathering people around a table.

Some of my favorites include:

1. Kinfolk Magazine (I actually found this magazine after I named my blog, but felt a deep connection to this seasonal publication so maybe it was meant to be?)

2. Hearth Magazine.

3. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. The hostess with the mostest who invites you to her table and into her raw soul. Her other books have helped me as much as a friend during the hard times. She begins this novel out with this:

“My prayer is that you’ll read these pages first curled up on your couch or in bed or in the bathtub, and then after that you’ll bring it to the kitchen with you, turning corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine on it and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chop and play, music loud and kitchen messy. And more than anything, I hope that when you put this book down, you’ll gather the people you love around your table to eat and drink, to tell stories, to be heard and fed and nourished on every level.”

I want this year to be full of authentic relationships, an open door to my home and table, intentional connection to the people I care about through handwritten letters and warm gatherings, listening to people’s stories, and letting down some of those walls that keep people at arm’s length. I want to meet strangers. I want to people to sleep on my couch. I want to be involved with the people in my church and do life beside them.

In all, I want to spend less time on myself and more time on building, nurturing, caring and feeding those around me.

Today I met up with a fellow photographer I met on Instagram. We virtually met through a friend of mine who heard I was interested in starting to shoot film. With his current goal being to build community as well (us artists can be a lonely bunch), he invited me to coffee. It was completely invigorating to my soul. We talked for hours on the importance of community and sharing deep stories that matter.

He told me a story of a woman he knows that lives in a 500 sq foot apartment that had a grassy area behind it. She had a huge table made with the goal to have 1,000 people eat a meal on that table before the end of the year. With a budget of only 75 dollars, what started as a small get together became hundreds and hundreds of strangers and friends coming together at one time to share food and their stories.

I seriously got the chills. Here I am being inspired and poured into by someone who was a complete stranger hours before.

And I am aiming for this year to be full of a lot less selfishness and a lot more connecting.

Come stay with me while I still have a guest bedroom.

3. Travel.

While I love seeing new places, this is more of a goal of stretching my understanding of the world- and myself in it. One of the things I love the most about leaving home is that is scares the pants off of me. It strips my sense of control and forces me to look into myself the way few other things do. And this self reflection and personal growth are paramount for this next year.

It teaches me to live in the moment. To be strong when things go completely and totally wrong. To be humble. To be in awe of what God has so skillfully crafted. To be open and understanding to all different ways of life. To grasp that your individual talents are desperately needed in the world and you must share them. To accept your self in a way that is devoid of self hate, but eager to change.

So the list current list includes:

Cape Town in Africa (March/April)

Marfa, Texas (to sleep in teepees!) (Feb/March)

Florida (so excited to have the opportunity to shoot a wedding here!)

California

Portland (May- and will be my first solo trip where I will travel from Oregon to Canada with my backpack and no companion.)

Most of these trips will not be fancy. I will most likely sleep in my car a few days. Or in a tent. Or on someone’s floor. But that’s going to be the best part of the journey. And I can’t wait to be broken and remolded over and over this year.

What are your goal words this year? Your stories inspire me.

XO, K

Days 3-7: Tuscany

The wanna-be Italian cruising through the country side. 

Where an American girl finds her passion among cobblestone hills. 

November 25, 2013// Day 2// 10:15pm

THE GAME PLAN:

Orvieto

Montepulciano

Montichiello

Montalcino

Siena

Where I decide that I can no longer live in the USA.

The last few days have been life changing. Every little detail has been a new visual adventure. Every experience is teaching me more about what it really means to live. Tuscany will forever live in my work and the life that I wish to create for myself.

Tuscan cities just have it right. A beauty without being pretentious. Clean, friendly and humble. They drive small efficient cars, recycle everything and stop eating when they are full. They walk around and meet in cafes with friends. They live a full-bodied life of long talks over local wine and rich landscapes. They just seem to have an innate sense of what life is about and don’t need more than what satisfies their basic needs. This is a life I aspire to live.

tuscany-4282tuscany-4441tuscany-4383Tuscany-4154tuscany-4335

tuscany-4784tuscany-4129tuscany-4194tuscany-4342Tuscany-4136tuscany-4222tuscany-4297tuscany-4179tuscany-4270

tuscany-4730 tuscany-4229tuscany-4291

tuscany-4774tuscany-4241tuscany-4324tuscany-4305 tuscany-4349tuscany-4376tuscany-4399tuscany-4410tuscany-4425tuscany-4435tuscany-4427

Tuscany-4148

tuscany-4469tuscany-4525tuscany-4513tuscany-4548tuscany-4535tuscany-4555tuscany-4594tuscany-4634tuscany-4487tuscany-4588tuscany-4703tuscany-4600tuscany-4651tuscany-4672tuscany-4640tuscany-4695tuscany-4608tuscany-4712 tuscany-4768tuscany-4722tuscany-4743 tuscany-4780tuscany-4784tuscany-4789tuscany-4804tuscany-4810tuscany-4839tuscany-4976tuscany-4892tuscany-4903tuscany-4861tuscany-4954tuscany-4960tuscany-4925

tuscany-4388

 

 

Rome: Day 2

The wet crusader in a city of clown cars and marble wonders.

Saturday November 23, 2013// 10:31pm

Well, we quite literally did “Rome in a day”. This city is chalk full of history. It’s crazy to be surrounded by buildings that are over 500 hundred years old. We did the “Caesar Shuffle”- starting with visiting the Vatican City, which is it’s own COUNTRY inside of Italy. Inside, we saw the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. The beauty was almost overwhelming. I couldn’t even fully take in the magnitude of the artwork work around me. Every square inch from the ground we walked on to the expansive ceilings were gilded, carved and painted to a maddening perfection. This city could keep even the most fidgety traveler satisfied and eyes entertained. We also visited the Spanish steps (I would have skipped this one due to our tight schedule) and the Trevi fountain (a beautiful must see).

There is heated debate between whether Lonely Planet or Rick Steves is a better literary tour guide. Clint and I are team Rick- his style of writing is like reading recommendations from a friend and peppered with racy humor (which you know I love). He led us to a small italian restaurant for some fried cheese and spaghetti. Afterward, we picked up some wine at a local market and went home to rest our aching feet.

It rained the ENTIRE day- which I honestly thought was quite charming at first, romantically damp and sidewalks full of lovers holding each other tight under colored umbrellas. And it was all fun and games until the temperature dropped to 30 and the water was so deep on the sidewalks that it completely flooded my shoes and I was left to slosh in freezing water for a few miles with my drenched hair and coat. This was about the time that Clint probably had a small panic attack about the trip- wondering why he brought a sun loving girl to Europe in the winter.

Tomorrow we leave for Tuscany.

romeday2-3798romeday2-3813romeday2-3796romeday2-3823romeday2-3786romeday2-3831romeday2-3817romeday2-3835romeday2-3843romeday2-3880

romeday2-3849romeday2-3899romeday2-3920romeday2-3884 romeday2-3931 romeday2-3946romeday2-3962romeday2-3960-2 romeday2-3994 romeday2-4010 romeday2-4014 romeday2-4016 romeday2-4034 romeday2-4097romeday2-4055 romeday2-4069

 

Rome: Day 1

Backpacking through Europe:

I will be chronicling my trip through the writings I scribbled down in my journal. I hope to be completely honest in my experiences- good and bad. I do not claim to be a history buff nor a well seasoned traveler- so I understand if one may have very differing views of areas I will be writing about, but this is my personal experience as I saw, smelt, touched and ate my way through 4 countries.

Untitled-1

The novice with a notebook and a backpack.

Where she has 8 clean pair of underwear and an open mind.

November 21, 2013//8pm American Time

Sitting in the airport about to leave. We will be flying to London for a 40 minute layover. I wish that we were staying long enough to see it. It’s my first time flying on British Airways, and I feel like a “real” traveler already. Everyone around me has different accents that tell of their journeys that they have weathered- the ones that I am about to experience for myself. Going on my first back packing trip is like crossing over into a new world- one where travelers speak their own language of passion and intrigue- and me and my 45 gallon pack are suddenly allowed to sit at the table and listen.

I am entering this trip hoping to truly move something inside of me. I am honestly quite frightened. Not for my safety or health- but of the unknown. I am scared I am going to be severed from the possession and places that define me- and when those things are gone I will find something within myself that scares me. Like that I was naive to believe that I could really travel 3 weeks on 2 measly outfits and some travel toothpaste. That my idea of traveling was but a fool’s paradise that will melt into a big ugly puddle of disillusion in front of me. (I can be quite melodramatic when left alone with a pen, can’t I?)

Last night I journaled a small prayer:

“Lord, please keep my heart and my mind wide open. Show me a part of myself and a part of you that I must fight for. Help me find a deeper connection to the world, to develop relationships that enrich, to be blessed by strangers, and see the world with childlike curiosity.

I want to let go of my need for control that as kept me from loving others over being comfortable. I want to embrace my individualism outside of vanity. I want to soak in my surroundings to my very core- learning more than what is simply given to me. Please help me eat up every little bite of beauty and let it pour out of my work and my life in a way that changes the world around me and brings glory to your name. I want to learn who I am without the comforts of home or the material possessions that I believe to define me or others. Give me the strength to be authentic and full of beauty the world lends to me for the next 3 weeks. Amen.”

europe-3675 europe-3699

November 22, 2013// 1:30am Rome Time

I need to sleep, but I wanted to write a few things down about the day.

We flew around 15 hours and finally arrived in Rome around 8pm. It’s a 9 hour difference between here and the states. We took a train to the home we will be staying in for the next 2 nights. We found most of the places we will be staying through Air B&B, and tonight we are sharing a small apartment with a woman named Angiola, a writer in her late 50s. She came and picked us up at the station- which we were extremely grateful for because we were worried about being able to find her place in the dark. Once we arrived at her apartment, small but full of old charm- white washed with creaky wood floors and high crowned walls, she poured us a glass of wine and patiently helped us figure out how to get to the colosseum. We met her brother who currently lives with her. He introduced himself as Michelangelo, followed by the only english he knew: “like the painter!” in a giddy Italian lilt. We wasted no time getting back out to explore, even though it was dark, cold and raining (a temperament that would follow us around for most of our time in Rome).

europe-3704 europe-3710

Google has ruined the magic of the great wonders of the world. Before the all mighty internet, one would have to actually TRAVEL the world to see something like the colosseum. And I stood in front of it sadly realizing that the pictures on Pintrest that I looked up a few days before were alot better looking than the real thing. (Note from future self: Rome wasn’t my favorite. And before you get worried that I’m going to rant on google being better than one of the most important historical sites in the world, I won’t. Until we get to Paris.)

europe-3738

We got some pizza at a small cafe. We learned very quickly that there is no such thing as free water here. If you want water, it will be bottled and almost as expensive as your entire meal. So you might as well have a beer.

Walk through this world of tiny cars, ornate buildings and gelato- wondering how we could really actually be here. Right now. Starting our journey.

When we get back to the apartment, we realize we can’t figure out how to use the Italian keys. We end up waking up Angiola with our loud attempts of entering past midnight. She graciously assured us that she was “up writing”, but I saw her robe and disheveled hair and tip toed around the house to keep from any further disturbances.

Clint excitedly told me there was a urinal in the bathroom, along with the toilet. (This “urinal” turned out to be a beday. But I’m pretty sure he still peed it for the remainder of our visit.)

More to talk about later, but it’s 1:30am and I haven’t slept for 2 days.

Buonanotte!

 

3 weeks. 1 backpack.

Tomorrow I will embark on the biggest adventure I’ve ever been on.

The run down:

In a 3 week period, Clint and I will visit Rome, Tuscany, Siena, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan, Venice, Paris, Granada, Barcelona, Fes and then end on a camel trek in Marrakech.

We will be sleeping on various night trains, hostels, or abodes found on airbnb (the right way to couch surf).

Now, we will be landing in 60 degree weather, making our way into 20 degrees through Europe, and ending in the heat of Spain. And I have to be able to carry all these climates in one backpack. This thought has plagued me for weeks. I mean- I would wake up in the middle of the night with a nightmare of forgetting everything. As a diagnosed pack rat (just ask any of my friends how much I will bring for an overnight trip), multiple weeks in one bag seemed impossible to me. I made lists and did research. Everything I was going to bring had to serve multiple functions (could be layered or worn alone depending on the weather), felt comfortable enough to walk miles in everyday, and wasn’t going to fall apart. Finally, I settled on what I was going to bring. Blogs like this are what ultimately helped me narrow down what to bring, so let me share my list to any other first time backpackers.

backpack-3663

This is my bag.

And here is all it contains: (after the Tetris game I had to play to figure out what could go and what couldn’t make the cut.)

1 black sweater

1 grey sweater

1 black pair of pants

1 pair of jeans

1 white v neck/1 black vneck

1 striped shirt

1 button up denim shirt

1 black skirt  (can be worn alone in the warmth, or with tights for the colder weather)

1 pair of jean shorts (” “)

1 simple dress (to be able to worn on “nicer” occasions and go into the museums that have dress codes)

2 pairs of leggings

1 pair of opaque tights

7 pair of underwear

2 sports bras

1 regular bra (I don’t even wear these at home, but I guess I’ll pretend to be a proper lady in Paris)

5 pairs of socks (long and short)

1 wool scarf

1 silk scarf (spice up my dull black and white wardrobe)

1 pair of smart wool long johns (to be worn under EVERYTHING in Paris where I will surely freeze up and die)

1 thick puffer jacket (which will be carried with me because it takes up half the backpack on it’s own)

1 beanie (warmth and covering up my nappy hair between shower destinations)

1 pair of gloves

1 watch/1 necklace

1 bag of travel toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, face wipes, Moroccan oil (sue me, I can’t live without it), toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, deodorant, lotion)

1 small bag of makeup (only the bare essentials made the cut- tinted moisturizer, chap-stick, trail sized blush and mascara)

1 travel blowdryer

1 pair of black boots (more dressy and can be worn to nicer things)

1 pair of brown boots (scuffed and worn- good for hiking and long walking days)

1 pair of tennis shoes (for running/ comfortable shoes in the countries that don’t judge you for wearing them)

——

Ipad (for blogging)

Iphone

Journal/pen

Camera/ Extra memory cards

We are hoping to be able to do laundry somewhere at least once along the trip. And we’ll see how my amateur packing list holds up.

I’ll blog as soon as I get somewhere exciting! Your prayers for our safety are gladly accepted!

XO, K