hometown time | chicago family lifestyle photographer

 

Hey, friends!

 

Remember those kiddos of mine that we had the luxurious opportunity to drop off at grandma and grandpa's in Virginia Beach? Voila our day at Mount Trashmore (Yes, you read that correctly. A mountain/park made of T R A S H !!) I remember growing up in this town, and there was always kite flying. It was pretty nostalgic to see the traditions continue...

 

My seester. :)

 
 
 
 

This calendar year, I committed to a 52 week project (1 for every week of the year) that includes getting in the frame more. I want to show my children that I was there too. Often as the token photographer for the family, I'm participating, but my children and their children won't get to visualize that. So it's been important to me to document US and their fleeting childhood. And I also take self-portraits and share with an intimate group of photographers that has been a HUGE inspiration for me. It's really challenging me in ways I didn't know I could grow so quickly. I'm learning a ton, making new creative friends, and I'm LOVING this process so far. Who knew this vulnerability could lead to so much positivity? Growth is scary, but I hope that I will never stay static and just go the 'safe' route. I appreciate and embrace the challenge! After all, that's just what life is, right?

Collect moments, not things. XOXO

 

dive in the cayman islands | lifestyle travel destination underwater photographer

 

Get ready to DIVE IN!

The husband and I had a recent opportunity to celebrate a belated five years of marriage and dropped the kiddos off at their grandparents for a week (!!!) and we jetted off to a blissful land flooded with vitamin D.

Let's just say that I'm SUPER happy to know that my camera's underwater housing is officially watertight and waterproof. I've played with it before on the beach, snorkeling, and in the waves, but after finally taking it with us on a couple of dives, this camera jig (IKELITE) is just all things awesome because we spent roughly 80% of our vacation underwater. Hooray for no water leaks and not having to use the equipment insurance!

Check out our latest adventure in the Caribbean, hope you enjoy. XO

 

governor's beach

 

grand cayman west wall dive (Our max depth 105')

The best way to describe this location: an underwater cliff. It drops off to about 5k ft! CRAAA-ZY. What's crazier is that it leads to the CAYMAN TRENCH, which drops off to the DEEPEST part of the carribean sea = 25k ft deep... WHOOOOA!! It's pretty much a scary abyss to stare down into in your scuba mask. I may or may not have peed a little. ;)

*Please note that based on the deeper depth we were at, the colors aren't as vibrant nor pretty to look at, no matter how much editing energy I exerted. Womp, womp- oh well- you get the idea here:

 

grand cayman uss kittiwake dive (our max depth 65')

Barracudas are NOT pretty fish:

I can't get over staring and zooming in on this ugly fish's teeth- they're so human-like to me! I'll have to thank our friend who dove with us for pointing this sucker out to me before I returned up to the surface/boat.

 

stingray city

On our last dive in the Big Island of Hawaii, we did a night manta ray dive that was pretty surreal. For starters, a NIGHT dive is pretty cool because we all gathered around in a circle at the bottom of the sand bar, and held our flashlights to attract the plankton in the area for the manta rays to feast upon. With huge wingspans (up to 23 ft), they are majestic gentle giants. 

The stingrays are similar with one slight detail difference- they have a barbed tail. When I first heard of these creatures, I immediately thought of the late Steve Irwin, who had a fatal encounter with one. The locals assured us that the stingrays in this area are particularly docile, are super friendly, and are used to being held and handled. They feel like a fine grade sandpaper on their backs and a wet mushroom on their bellies. AND, if you kiss them, you get seven years good luck. Go figure. So why not, right?!

 

spotts beach

(Best uncrowded place to snorkel and see sea turtles in the area.)

Ladies + gents, behold a PORTUGUESE MAN OF WAR jellyfish. Just hanging out, sunbathing. NBD:

 

blow holes

 

seven mile beach

Our last night on the island and conveniently steps from the hotel... 

My main squeeze. <3

This guy is a sweetheart and is 1000x more patient than I am. Thank goodness- our kiddos are pretty lucky!

 
 

I miss this view already...

Collect moments, not things.

XOXO