On not being a martyr of life.

 

colorado- Kendall Hanna Photography-7046

 

It’s funny. Everyone is encouraging us “LIVE WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG!” or “FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!” and then when you do, you feel something you wouldn’t expect. Guilt.

And for a long time, I would feel guilty any time I decided to go out get some fresh air. As if actually living my life to the fullest was something I needed to apologize for or justify. That if I purposely carved time out of my schedule to refuel, I was getting behind. Being lazy. Being foolish.

But taking time away has actually been the biggest blessing in my personal AND professional life.

1. You connect with people. REALLY connect. 

When you have your phone in your hand, the stories of another human’s life have a 4 second shelf life, until you scroll down and double tap the next. And when you travel, you get to hear the real stories. On my last Tribe trip, we all joked that car rides are for the “long stories”. You have a captive audience for hours and hours, and you get to share the tales that would be too long for a typical lunch meet or quick phone call. And these are the words that matter. The ones that really connect you to other people. And leisure time facilities that more than anything else I’ve found.

colorado- Kendall Hanna Photography-7330

2. You’re filled up. 

Ok. You’re burnt out. Don’t lie. The maze of adulthood is long and hard and if you have to make ONE more U-turn, you’re going to lose it. But any time I get out in the world, I am refilling my tank. Taking in new ideas. Being inspired by things I hadn’t ever taken the time not notice. Feeling healthier.

And this is huge for me. Maybe the biggest part. Because I am someone, that once burnt out, is actually less productive when I just push through and keep working. I’m no longer creative, passionate, or… well.. pleasant to be around.

So when I travel or explore, I am purposely allowing myself to fill up. And all those ideas and connections pour over into my work, relationships, and lifestyle. And I can see this domino effect so clearly in my work that I try to get out as often as possible.

colorado- Kendall Hanna Photography-7017

3. You don’t have to be a martyr in life.

My friend Sarah wrote to me that “It takes so much courage to live free and trust that there’s truly no need to be a martyr in life. We are allowed to receive and live in abundance!”

And it’s such truth. We shouldn’t feel guilty for living this one, precious life.

So work hard. Work so very hard. But then take time to experience the world. Love people. And put that damn iPhone down.

Oh, but before you put it down… watch this video.  While in Colorado, Clint and I met with our best friend Cameron and he took us on adventure where we totally climbed to the top of a mountain in snow shoes.

XO, K.

 

OH! Big P.S.!

Kensfolk just launched it’s Instagram! @kensfolk_blog

There are big, big things in the works, and I would love if you’d like to follow the journey beside me!

That one time we went to New Mexico.

Clint and I have always had an itch for adventure. We’re always falling in love with the idea of the next somewhere. A sunset over a different landscape. Converting the next stranger into a friend.

I’ve been admiring White Sands for a while. The long, rolling hills of seemingly untouched earth. It looked like the feeling of freedom.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a short 3 day break from shooting and Clint helped my visual and adventuring dreams come true. We drove 14 hours into beautiful nothingness, stopping in Marfa, TX on the way.

Marfa provided a night we will never forget- a sleep under the stars, a land of tee pees, a surprise concert, chats over wine… and a freezing outdoor shower.

Then it was off to New Mexico.
We made it to the gorgeous White Sands- and experience that exceeded even my high expectations. We slept in a tent tucked in the mountains, found a random petting zoo in the snow, and ate our weight in road snacks.

Not everyone likes the rough (sleeping on the ground/brushing your teeth in a McDonalds) type of travel. And night number two in 25 degree weather? Neither did I.
But it’s these moments where Clint and I leave comfort behind and connect in a special kind of way.

So here’s a little glimpse into our adventure. Hope you enjoy the ride.

South Africa – part 1

I never blogged my trip to South Africa- so here it is. The extremely short version since people only like pictures these days.

This part of the trip consisted of:

1. Landing in Cape Town after 36 sleepless hours of flying solo… next to a large man who decided we share my seat. It wasn’t the smoothest of international travel, so I was thankful to finally land in Cape Town, South Africa after not seeing my hubs for 9 weeks. His company paid for a night in a beautiful hotel which we will never have the luxury of duplicating again in our lives. So we pretty much just took turns soaking in the huge jacuzzi in the bath room and pretending we weren’t poor all night. And then contemplated drinking my first hotel bottle of water to further financially punish his company for keeping him away for so long.

Cape Town is considered the Paris of South Africa: the Mother City. Full of vibrant personality and beautiful landscapes. We went to a few of the restaurants- realizing that no one could really tell us what South African cuisine was. We gathered that it pretty just means an American diet with some ostrich thrown in. I really loved the Dutch inspired homes with such clean, simple presence.

2. We drove to Simon’s Town where some extremely generous American friends let us stay in their beautiful home there. On the way, we stopped at the beautiful Table Top Mountain National Park right as the sun set- splitting the sunlight across the mountains in a way I will never forget. The home we stayed in had a view of the ocean with the mountains behind it- and for a few days we would just open the windows and enjoy the simple things in life: a good book, a walk on the beach, long naps, and light meals of local cheese and wine.

3. Boulder’s Bay- where I got to play with penguins on the beach and it was pretty much the best day of my life.

4. Cape Point- a part of Table Top Mountain National Park that juts out into the ocean. We hiked to the top and witnessed some stunning views and relatively deserted beaches.

5. Travelled a little farther down the Garden Route and made our way to Franschhoek for horse back riding and wine tour where we learned about adult things like tannins and what good brandy is supposed to taste like.

* Part 2 coming soon. 

 

artifact album-8078-2 south africa-7951south africa-8158 south africa-8150 south africa-8128 south africa-8126 south africa-8121 south africa-8120 south africa-8101
south africa-7989south africa-8088 south africa-7981 south africa-7960 south africa-8429 south africa-8408 south africa-8307south africa-8356 boulders beach

 

Here is a video of our trip. As you know, I’m a videographer so I almost didn’t show this to the public because of how unprofessional it is, but take it as just what it is: two crazy kids slinging a camera around to a few of our daily adventures. Enjoy!

 

XO, K.

It’s been a minute.

Well, it’s been a while. *cue staind song to now be stuck in your head all day*

My absence has been related to: (since I know you all care soo much and all.)

1. Business has been insane. Like… I’m crying from both joy and sleep deprivation kind of insane. You see all those big princess cut halo rings on your facebook feed? Those are my beautiful brides. And they put food on my table with their gorgeous weddings that need to be documented. And let me tell you- prime wedding season had me living life out of my little duffel bag and using the word “Starbucks” as a holy word. And I have been loving every minute of it.

2. Somehow in there I squeezed in moving. We packed our 3 bedroom, 3 bath home in 48 hours. People, I don’t know how it happened. Or how I’m still married. But it happened. And then we moved to our little one room warehouse loft. But more on this later.

3. Oh, and then I got poison sumac on my… face. This produced a selfie I took and sent to a very select few that I trusted wouldn’t sell it to the magazines if I ever decided to run for president. Eyes swollen shut. Lips blistered. And I wish I could prove to you that I’m not over exaggerating- but I’m not that brave. And you don’t want to have nightmares of the Quisimido I looked like. The doctor gave me medicine and put me on complete house arrest for 5 days. And I went a little coo coo and started talking to my plants as I watered them.

How did I get poison sumac on your face, you might ask? Oh, you know. I saw this pretty little green berried plant I thought would be just perfect for a shoot.

If the devil himself had a physical form- it would be the picture below. (The plant, not my hubby.)

View More: http://cottonwoodroadphotography.pass.us/kendallandclint

P.S. Shout out to Cottonwood Road Photography for taking our anniversary pictures!

P.P.S. Book us for your wedding. I’ll film. She’ll photograph. Or we’ll both photograph. And we’ll throw in a free choreographed dance if the reception gets a little stale. We haven’t learned the dance just quite yet- but we will if this is something you and your future hubby/wife agree on.

4. Oh, and I spent about 3 and a half weeks in South Africa playing on a beach with penguins and learning how to surf after my husband sailed across the world for 9 weeks for work. I’ll post about this later as well. Jeez, we have a lot to catch up on. Pull up a chair.

5. Free People. Oh, that beautiful, inspiring brand that has been letting me run free with my camera. You know how when you were a little girl, you would dress up and put all your friends in your clothes and take pictures with those disposable cameras? (Was this just me??) Well- this is the adult version, where I get to style up outfits of whatever is trending in the fashion world and photograph pretty women wearing it. And I got to “suggest” we have the shoot in the “woods” across from my apartment this morning so I could walk to work. 🙂 But really, I am so crazy blessed to work for a company that allows such creative freedom that I can totally pull out some crazy idea and run with it (and sometimes it looks completely ridiculous- but they somehow still trust me). And I can’t get enough of it.

6. And a whole lot of back and forth with a long distance marriage. So- pretty much 2 weeks of editing until I see the sun rise while he’s gone (+totally considering popcorn a meal) (or getting the irrational, but totally wonderful grocery items that he eye rolls at: organic produce and individual waters) and then two weeks of dragging him around Texas for shoots and binge watching Scandal.

So, here I am, breaking the seal- and writing something down so that I can actually get back on this blog I love so dearly. Plus, far less people are brave enough to get married in the heat of July or August, so work life has finally (and temporarily) slowed down. And thank you [no, really. THANK. YOU.] for those of you who have recently pushed me to get back on here. Sometimes I wonder if putting my words out in the world even matter- or if I’m just jabbering on to myself. So I appreciate those of you who have encouraged me to start again- and that creating just for the pure enjoyment of creating is something worth sharing.

 

XO,

Ken

 

Marfa.

As some of you may have followed on Instagram, I recently went to Marfa with Maddie to shoot some Free People pieces for their social media/fpme. I’ll be excited to share some of the photos we got once we have them submitted and approved by the company.

Until then- in a bout of insomnia yesterday, I decided to stay up until 5 am and put a video together of our road trip.

10 hours there.

10 hours back.

And tee pees, one legged motorcyclists, running in empty highways, open mic night, a pound of cheezits, playing the piano with strangers, getting stranded in the desert with no gas, and lots (and lots) of twirling in between.

 

 

Enjoy.

XO, K.

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