PHOTOJOURNAL 2: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

If you know me, you know I just moved 1,328 miles from Dallas, TX to Washington D.C. You'll also know that I recently turned 22. It was pretty wild to have a new year of life coincide with moving to a brand new city--and not just any, my second favorite city of all time (you know Dallas has to be #1). 

My birthday weekend involved some fun shopping with my mom, a lot of food, and fun and mildly eventful boat cruise of the Potomac River, where I got some pretty cool pics of my new city. 

Boat cruises excite me and also terrify me. The thing is, I can't swim. There are no life jackets. And they last a while (okay, like 2 hours...), but mostly, it's because I can't swim. And yes, I've taken lessons (four times, to be exact). 

The start of my birthday was sunny and fresh, but as soon as it was time to head on to the boat, it started lightning, raining, and thundering. At this point, I had already committed to getting on this boat, but you can believe I was mildly (severely) panicking.

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Despite the nerves, I'm glad I got on! The start of the boat ride was super relaxed and we got to sit on the top deck of the bus--which meant ample opportunities for photos. Sadly, it did start pouring rain not too long into the trip and we ended up stuck on the lower, covered level. During this part of the ride, I was definitely in panic mode. Like how the heck was I supposed to survive being on a boat on a river in the middle of a storm when I can't even swim??

You probably think that I was being dramatic. And I most definitely was. I'm pretty sure God specifically provided three little kiddos who were so innocently in awe of the storm and that boat cruise that I couldn't help but smile during the worst of the storm. These kids could have cared less about the safety (or lack of safety) and were genuinely enjoying the full experience. They were even gutsy enough to venture out to the uncovered portion of the lower level to experience the trip in all its glory. Soon after, my family and I decided we might as well head out into the uncovered area, too! 

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Once we were back outside and saw the beauty of D.C. and the Potomac, 98% of my worries disappeared (that's pretty significant, because I usually function at a 110% stress level). The coolest thing was that not long after we stepped out into the storm, it mostly went away! The last portion of the ride was gorgeous, filled with artsy photo opps, and made me feel very proud of myself for conquering a fear on my 22nd birthday. 

Some things I learned on my 22nd birthday are that 1) boat cruises aren't that bad 2) boats are meant for water LOL 3) sometimes storms and icky situations are scarier when you're watching them from the safety of your comfort zone--but when you actually step out into them, they aren't even half bad. Or they just disappear. 

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PHOTOJOURNAL 1: EMILY + JAKE ENGAGEMENT

My first photojournal is something I'm literally so pumped to post. Aaaand it's about some of my very favorite people: Emily and Jake.  I got to take Emily and Jake's engagement pictures last June in Dallas. We split up the shoot into two days so we wouldn't be too overwhelmed traveling from location to location.

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On day 1, we took pictures in an area just outside of Downtown Dallas called Bishop Arts District.

Day 2 consisted of driving to the opposite end of the Dallas area, to a suburb named Plano. In Plano, we headed to a nature reserve I had initially heard about through friends and some Yelp reviews...when we got there, I was pretty nervous I had led us to a random area with somewhat of a forest, but without any really good spots for something as special as engagement pictures. Thankfully, once we headed further into the reserve, we found the most beautiful area probably in all of the Dallas. It was a nice escape from the concrete jungle that Dallas is, and as you can see in the pictures I featured, it basically looks like we were on the English countryside. Like, was this Texas or Europe?? 

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But enough about the details of the shoot; let me tell you about my people.

Emily and Jake met in high school (go mustangs, am I right?), long distanced through college, and have now moved to Seattle to officially start their adult lives. You can read about their full love story on Emily's blog, The Honest Consumer. You can read about my friendship with Emily under my Personal blog tab--she's got a whole blog post dedicated to her! Best friend goals, I know. Here's a quick spiel about some of the important things I associate with this friend of mine. 

Emily's blog, The Honest Consumer, focuses on ethical consumerism and she works crazy hard on it. She's not only talented at writing, but she's a great encourager. She's a big reason I started this website, survived college, and am able to handle all my daily anxieties. Always grateful to 7th grade band for inspiring our sisterhood (Go vikings?).

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About Jake: I met him in 7th period biology, freshman year of high school, and definitely thought he didn't like me LOL. But as high school progressed, Jake and Emily became best friends and eventually began to date, causing our social circles to overlap more and more. As I got to know Jake better in the last four or five years, I have seen just how perfect he is for Emily (and now I'm also pretty sure that he doesn't dislike me...). There are few people worthy of an amazing person like her, but he definitely is and I'm happy to call him friend. Fourteen year old, freshman Sarah would have had no idea that she would one day be a maid of honor at the wedding of the that one guy from bio class! 

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Emily and Jake compliment each other, comfort each other, and are genuinely best friends. The two of them also have the kind of relationship that blesses other people. I feel welcomed, cared for, and important when I spend time with them. They are the kind of people that make you believe in real, genuine, and honest love because they express it to each other and to everyone they come in contact with. 

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I also can't leave out our "photoshoot assistant," Scott, for joining us on both days of the shoot. He's also one of our friends from school and was such a trooper, despite the fact that I made him hold the extra clothes, camera bag, some shoes, and probably a bunch of other stuff I've already forgotten about. Scott is also the king of making people laugh. I love taking pictures that are authentic, with real laughter (not the gross, cheesy stuff). With Scott around, my job was super easy. He made both Emily and Jake (and me) smile and laugh during the entire process; I just had to capture it with my camera. 

After day 2 wrapped up, we all went out for dinner at a fancy Dallas restaurant called, "Sixty Vines," (shoutout to Jake for the food lol). The night was extra special because it was our last night as a friend group in Dallas and also one of my last nights exploring my city. Even now, I feel nostalgic thinking about how much I love Dallas and the sweet friendship it has given me with these three wonderful people.

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*Cue a virtual toast to a lifetime of love for Jake and Emily!