A few weeks ago, I jumped in my car on a Saturday and made a 7 hour drive from NYC to Norfolk, VA where local chihuahua loving, cat owning, fringe wearing jeweler Hillary Davenport lives. Hillary was my first friend at school, and we were actually supposed to live together before a last minute mix-up on behalf of Residence Life & Housing. Probably for the best because I’m really not the world’s greatest roommate (as any past roomie of mine can attest to. You have to know your flaws, y’all, and being a good roommate is a serious flaw of mine).
So there was no hesitation when Hillary mentioned needing new photos, and we both conveniently had the same days off from work.
We woke up Sunday morning and headed out to what we thought would be a beautiful location for some jewelry shots on and off the model- a cute little garden not far from where Hillary grew up. Well it turns out that flowers aren’t actually in bloom in the middle of why-is-it-still-winter (new season, who dis?), so the garden was locked up. We tried to brainstorm some other locations, and I suggested the up-and-coming downtown arts district NEON. There is some amazing and fun graffiti there with a ton of color, which I knew I wanted to incorporate into the photos!
Hillary’s jewelry is super fun and quirky (my personal fave piece is her toast necklace; it’s so bizarre and I can’t help but giggle every time I see it!) and I knew I wanted a background to match the brand. More colors! More shapes! Hillary’s mom is also a photographer, so I wanted her mom to be able to recreate our photo shoot as Hillary made more jewelry (community, not competition!). I’m SO glad we chose to go with an urban street style feel instead of nature, because it really accentuates her funky designs! Every piece of jewelry got it’s own time to shine in front of a different colored background with varying shapes. I honestly just want to spend this whole blog post going on and on about how much I love Hillary and her work, but I’ll just show you instead:
I made a lot of minor fixes to the skin: smoothing out wrinkles or correcting small blemishes, but I also got to make some big edits which I don’t really get to do much anymore! Sometimes it can be fun to just go to town with your Wacom and Photoshop and see what happens after everything is done!
I took my sweet time driving back to NYC, allowing myself to pull off whenever and wherever to take whatever photos I wanted to. Sometimes the city can be so claustrophobic, and getting out can be so refreshing! Especially when you’re getting out to go meet up with old friends and their new cats (well- new to me, not to Hillary).
And of course- Hillary and I are already planning my next trip down to Norfolk. Maybe when it’s actually warm outside so we can hit the beach!? Hillary was always my go-to beach friend when we lived in Savannah. She’s one of those people that was made for the beach. I, however, burn to a crisp (and to sun-poisoning) after a few hours. Midwesterners, amirite? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
When I graduated from college in May 2015, the plan was to move to Denver for a few months to start job hunting before coming back to Savannah in August for our wedding. My husband Zach and I were all set to head out west and even had my sister (who lives there now) looking at apartments for us.
Then the call came.
It was our friends. They wanted to know if we wanted to take the fourth bedroom in their Brooklyn 4-bedroom apartment. We’d never thought about moving to New York before! It was always between either west coast or Denver, and the mountains won us over. But on a whim (a life-changing whim), we decided to take the fourth bedroom and move to New York. Rent would be way cheaper to take a bedroom in a shared apartment than to find a one-bedroom in Denver (oh how I miss spending only $416/month back in Savannah).
If you follow me on other social media platforms, you may know by now that New York has not been the kindest to me. We’re in a very toxic love-hate relationship, and I often come home feeling bruised and battered by the harsh city streets. I had dreams of living out Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York,” knowing that the lights would indeed be so bright but could never blind me (I was 22 so pls don’t judge). Oh, New York, you are so different than what Alicia Keys told me.
So I have to find ways to cope with living in a city that I sometimes love and sometimes hate. To start with, you need a job you enjoy where you don’t feel drained and miserable at 5pm every day, and you’re not always “working for the weekend,” (that’s a bullshit mantra. I refuse to live happily only 2/7 days). You need a place to call your own- be it your apartment, your neighborhood, a local coffee joint. And you need a place to decompress and spread out.
And for me, that last place has become Maine. It’s close enough for a weekend drive and my in-laws recently built a house up there, so it makes for a very convenient long weekend getaway. It has all of the things I love the most- mountains, rocks, water, and beer. So a few weekends ago, Zach and I loaded up the car (climbing gear in tow) and made the 6 hour drive north. (About 4 hours into the drive, we realized we forgot the Maine house key in New York, so there’s that.)
We hiked and drank beer and tried to climb rocks and shopped and watched movies and took baths until my skin was pruney all over. There are so many cute fishing towns with adorable diners, quaint post offices, and coastal churches (where people literally row their boats to Sunday Service). There are lighthouses for days and incredible scenic views from mountaintops.
Oh and did I mention the beer? There are so many breweries. We only managed to hit the Maine Beer Company this time around (and only briefly), but we’ve also been to Allagash and a few smaller ones before.
On our way back south, we drove through Portland to grab some vegan donuts for my sweet tooth and peeked out heads into a few small boutiques. There were so many cute shops, I didn’t want to leave! But alas- New York was calling me home. Because as much as I hate this stupid city sometimes, I also don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t live here. Catch 22 I guess.
Over the weekend, my husband and I loaded up the car (let’s be honest, we brought a change of clothes and a few Larabars… the car wasn’t that loaded) and drove down to Washington, D.C. for the March For Our Lives Rally. I felt prepared- I’d been to the Women’s March in D.C. in 2017 and several rallies in NYC since then, but y’all. Wow. I was not prepared for what these KIDS had accomplished!
For starters: they’re literal children. Some of the speakers were only 11 years old (Including the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King: talk about your good genetics), but they spoke with more conviction and poise than many speakers several years their senior (hello- we all remember Madonna talking about blowing up the White House, right?).
The streets were jam packed with children as young as babies through senior citizens. White people, black people, Native Americans, Latinxs- everybody. The woman in front of me was from Canada. The family to my left was from Louisiana. The school group on my right was on a field trip from Pennsylvania. Not only were the streets filled, but the National Mall was packed with people taking a break from standing. And when the speaker asked who had been affected by gun violence: almost everybody raised their hands.
Gun violence is an epidemic that has not personally touched my life, although it has severely affected the lives of people I hold dear. I am so eternally proud of these kids who watched their friends gunned down and murdered in front of them, but still find the strength to organize a movement. I think about what I was doing at age 17 (sneaking out late at night and then yelling at my mother for taking my phone away the next day, ugh). I could barely wake up and get myself out the door in time for homeroom, let alone successfully coordinate one of the largest rallies our nation has ever seen. These kids have courage and wisdom beyond their years. I took a lot of photos at the march, but I’d encourage everyone to go watch videos of the speeches at the march (and then try not to cry).