1 Year Update on Living an Intentionally Sustainable Life

I dedicated 2018 towards learning how to live a more sustainable life. When I made this commitment I didn’t know how much I didn’t know, it has been a humbling experience to say the least. I’ve learned to continue learning from others, give myself grace in areas I’m not perfect in, and to just get creative! With that said, here is a quick recap on what I implemented in 2018 and what I hope to do in 2019…

FASHION

  • Cleaned out my closet and simplified my wardrobe
    • Was intentional about where I got rid of clothes. Either sold/gave them directly to people or repurposed the fabric for other things around the house.
  • Primarily bought clothes used or from sustainable brands.
  • Rented formal wear instead of purchasing a piece that would likely be worn once.

BEAUTY

  • Stopped using single use makeup remover wipes.
  • Use cruelty free products.
  • Use products with clean ingredients.
  • Use products that use recycled packaging, offer recyclable packaging, and/or uses as little plastic as possible). Then actually recycle them when empty!

HOME

  • Educate yourself on how your city’s recycling works.
  • Stopped using disposable wipes and paper towels for cleaning. I now only use washcloths and old t-shirts (that I’ve cut into squares).
  • Use more cleaning concentrates with reusable spray bottles.
  • Started composting.
    • We got a tumbler composter and it’s so dang easy! I’m excited to use this rich compost for our garden in the spring!
  • Avoiding buying new home decor when possible by buying used or going the DIY route. Facebook buy/sell/trade pages are my go-to!
  • Use reusable dishes instead of single use paper ones.
  • Use reusable Tupperware or mason jars instead of Ziplocks for leftovers and lunches.
  • For disposable items you just aren’t committed to giving up (like toilet paper and feminine hygiene products), purchase products that are organic and/or made from recycled materials.

SHOPPING

  • Carry around reusable silverware and straws to eliminate using plastic ones.
    • I’ve learned that you specifically have to ask to NOT get all this plastic. I can’t tell you how many plastic straws are in my car's glove compartment.
    • This is a big area that I’m by no means perfect in, but progress over perfection!
  • Bring reusable bags with me to the grocery store
    • If I ever forgot to bring my bags, I refuse a bag if my purchase is small enough to carry by hand or get paper bags and compost them.
  • Use reusable produce bags or no bags at all
  • Choose produce that isn’t already prepared and prepackaged.
  • Buy in bulk
    • While Noah and I don’t go through groceries very fast since it’s just the two of us, I always try to purchase things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, trash bags, etc. in bulk.
  • Refuse 2 day shipping when you don’t absolutely need something in 2 days. The slower you allow shipping to take, the more efficient it will be. (Even better, don’t order online if you don’t need to!)
  • Choose products that use recycled materials in their packaging.

MISC.

  • Bringing a reusable glass when getting coffee to-go and requesting glass cups when staying (some will give you a to-go cup by default).
  • Choosing glass packaging over plastic (when an option, especially relevant with jarred food).
  • Use a reusable water bottle while out and about.
  • Choose to drive to most gas efficient car when traveling the most (if you have multiple cars in your family).
  • For Christmas, I did not use wrapping paper and was mindful to use as little disposable materials as possible.

All in all, I’ve learned that sustainability takes a lot of intentionality. Especially when it comes to making purchases because consumers want options that are fast, convenient, and cheap. BUT, I’ve found that once you get past the initial learning curve, a sustainable life actually simplifies your life and worth every challenge you do face.

Whether you are only intentional about bringing reusable grocery bags to the store or you are very dedicated to living a zero waste lifestyle, every little bit counts and we are all in this together!


12 Books I'm Reading in 2019

*This post contains affiliate links. This just means that if you like any of the products enough to purchase them, I’ll earn some money (at no extra cost to you).*

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12

Towards the end of 2018 I FINALLY started taking the time to read. Since I’ve picked up reading again, my to-read list has rapidly been growing. While all of these books aren’t brand new (though some are), these are all of the books I’m planning on reading this year!

IMPERFECT COURAGE: LIVE A LIFE OF PURPOSE BY LEAVING COMFORT AND GOING SCARED

I’ve wanted to dig into this podcast ever since it was released, so I’m finally making it happen this year! After listening to Jessica Honegger’s interview on the Sounds Good podcast, I’m extra excited to learn about doing big things and embracing imperfection along the way.

THIRST: A STORY OF REDEMPTION, COMPASSION, AND A MISSION TO BRING CLEAN WATER TO THE WORLD

I’m so inspired by world changers. This is the story behind the non-profit, Charity Water, and the journey behind it’s CEO. I’ve listened to many interviews by Scott Harrison and he inspires me to find ways to make a difference.

IF YOU FEEL TOO MUCH

This book is written by Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms. I’ve been following him for awhile and I admire his compassion for people suffering around him. The book is full of  essays that invite readers to believe that it’s okay to admit to pain and that it’s okay to ask for help - something we all need to be reminded!

THE COLOR OF COMPROMISE: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE AMERICAN CHURCH’S COMPLICITY IN RACISM

I’m a big fan of Jemar Tisby and know that this book will be nothing short of amazing. I’ve listened to his podcast (Pass the Mic) and followed his work for awhile. Jemar has played a huge role in helping my see my own blind spots when it comes to white privilege in our country.

WE ARE NOT YET EQUAL: UNDERSTANDING OUR RACIAL DIVIDE

Last year I learned that I had A HUGE need to properly educate myself on the racial division occurring in our country. I’m ready to be humbled and informed through this hard (but necessary) conversation.

GET WEIRD: DISCOVER THE SURPRISING SECRET TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE

It’s easy to feel pressure that we need fit in a box made by society. I’m stoked to explore the concept of embracing what is weird about yourself and how it can make a difference.

UNCOMFORTABLE: THE AWKWARD AND ESSENTIAL CHALLENGE OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE the church. But let’s be real, the church is full of sinners and there are a lot of messy things going on within cultural christianity. I can’t wait to dig into this book and learn how to help my own christian community grow.

EVERYBODY, ALWAYS: BECOMING LOVE IN A WORLD FULL OF SETBACKS AND DIFFICULT PEOPLE

I know, I know, how have I not read this yet?! I love all of the positive and optimistic vibes that Bob Goff brings into this world, so I’m pumped to dig even deeper in his book!

BECOMING

I mean, what even needs to be said?! I cannot ever imagine having the responsibility of being First Lady and Michelle Obama exceeded all expectations. I’m excited to learn about her life and hopefully become a better leader in my own circles because of it.

I THINK YOU’RE WRONG BUT I’M LISTENING

This book was written by the fabulous ladies behind Pantsuit Politics, one of my favorite political podcasts that encourages civil conversations between the left and the right. I think we all could learn a thing or two about having conversations with those we disagree with (especially politically), so I’m pumped to read this one!

GOOD NEWS ABOUT INJUSTICE: A WITNESS OF COURAGE IN A HURTING WORLD

This is a book than many leaders in the nonprofit world have recommended. While many often wants to separate Christianity and social justice, I’m excited to read about how these two go hand in hand.

THE GOSPEL COMES WITH A HOUSE KEY: PRACTICING RADICALLY ORDINARY HOSPITALITY IN OUR POST-CHRISTIAN WORLD

I just finished Rosaria’s book, Secrets of an Unlikely Convert and learned SO much from her. I’m ready to dive into her second book to learn more about biblical hospitality.

What books are on your to-read list? I’m always looking for recommendations to add to mine! <3


Fort Worth City Guide: Locally Owned Shops

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of supporting small businesses (ESPECIALLY local small businesses). Just in time for your Christmas shopping, here is a list of some of my favorite Fort Worth Small businesses for everyone on your Christmas list.

Note: All of the businesses included in this guide have physical shops, so no need to worry about ordering online!

 


GIFTED

Address: 212 Carroll St #110, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Website: https://www.giftedftw.com/

Who would love this shop: This shop is BEAUTIFULLY curated and offers a gorgeous selection of minimalist items for women, men, and kids.

 

DOCS RECORDS AND VINTAGE

Address: 2628 Weisenberger St, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Website: http://www.docsrecordsandvintage.com/

Who would love this shop: Docs is perfect for anyone in your life that appreciates eclectic gifts or loves music. The shop is packed full of vintage items from different vendors and a huge selection of (new and vintage) records!

 

SHOP SMALL FORT WORTH - THE COLLECTIVE

Address: 3608 Pershing Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107

Website: https://www.shopsmallfortworth.com/the-collective

Who would love this shop: The Collective is a curated collection of multiple Fort Worth Small businesses and is especially perfect for any women or little ones in your life. For an idea of some of the businesses that you’ll find in the Collective, be sure to check out their Instagram.

 

GREENHOUSE 817

Address: 411 S Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76104

Website: https://www.thegreenhouse817.com/

Who would love this shop: Anyone with a green thumb (or wanna be green thumb). Greenhouse 817 is different than your average plant shop because they offer an eclectic selection of pots and some beautiful non-plant gifts.

 

LTO

Address: 411 S Main St #117, Fort Worth, TX 76104

Website: https://ltofw.com/

Who would love this shop: If you’re a fan of the interiors of Brewed, you will absolutely LOVE LTO. This shop has it all. You’ll find everything from new handmade items to beautiful vintage items. The store is full of clothing, home decor, and more.

 

WINTON AND WAITS

Address: 411 South Main Street, #121 Fort Worth, Texas 76104

Website: https://wintonandwaits.com/

Who would love this shop: Winton and Waits is perfect for the humanitarian and activist in your life! All of the products in this shop make a positive impact on Fort Worth and others around the world. The shop is primary for women and they have an adorable kids section!

 

TRIBE ALIVE

Address: 1455 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104

Website: https://tribealive.com/

Who would love this shop: This shop offers PERFECT gifts for women who care about sustainable fashion. Tribe Alive offers beautiful minimalistic women’s clothing and accessories that are made ethically and sustainably.

 

WANDERER

Address: 1455 West Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth Tx.

Website: https://www.wandererboutique.com/

Who would love this shop: This boutique shop carries beautiful women’s boho apparel, jewelry, accessories, and small home goods.

 

SKATE SHOP

Address: 1455 W Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth, TX, 76104

Website: https://www.instagram.com/magnolia.skate.shop/

Who would love this shop: Any and all boarders in your life!

 

FWLOCALS

Address:

2700 Weisenberger St., Fort Worth, TX 76102

and 1208 W. Magnolia Ave, Suite 104, Fort Worth, TX 76104

Website: https://shopfwlocals.com/

Who would love this shop: This shop is perfect for anyone who is a Fort Worth fanatic. The shop is full of products for men, women, and kids. Fort Worth Locals offers t-shirts, keychains, hats, and more!

 

SUNDANCER

Address: 1300 Hemphill St Fort Worth, TX 76104 (Inside Panther City Salon)

Website: https://www.shopsundancer.com/

Who would love this shop:
Anyone who is passionate about holistic home & beauty. This shop is owned by the owners of Holistic Hemp Co. and you can find their products along with many other natural brands.

 

THE BEEHIVE

(Not only in Fort Worth, but a fabulous small business!)

Address: 4808 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Website: https://www.lovebeehive.com/

Who would love this shop: Women who love colorful and bold clothes and accessories. This boutique offers a fabulous selection products by female owned businesses like ban.do and Daisy Natives. Plus, the interiors are FABULOUS!

 

THE LATHERY

Address: 200 Carroll Street, Ste 170 Fort Worth, TX 76107

Website: http://www.thelathery.com/

Who would love this shop: The Lathery offers quality men's and unisex grooming products. The shop is full of specialty bath soaps, shaving products, fragrances and other tools for men in your life!

 

KENDALL DAVIS CLAY

Address: 1208 W. Magnolia, #102, Fort Worth, TX. 76104

Website: https://www.kendalldavisclay.com/

Who would love this shop: This shop is perfect for anyone who values handmade art and curates beautiful pieces for their home!

 

WAG

Address: 4737 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, Texas

Website: https://www.instagram.com/wagfordogs/

Who would love this shop: This is the go-to place for any dog lover in your life (or your own furbabies). WAG has a fabulous selection of pet supplies, dog toys, and the best treat selection around.

 

HOUSTON STREET TOY CO.

Address: 309 Houston Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Website: https://sundancesquare.com/houston-street-toy-company/

Who would love this shop: This classic toy shop will make anyone feel like a kid again. It’s the perfect place to get quality toys for any kiddos in your life.

 

W DURABLE GOODS

Address: 108 South Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas

Website: https://wdurablegoods.com/

Who would love this shop: W Durable Goods is the perfect shop for anyone who values classic, handmade, quality products. The shop is full of leather products, quality hand sewn bags, vintage hats, and more.

 

PANTHER CITY VINYL

Address: 1455 W. Magnolia Ave. #113 Fort Worth, TX 76104

Website: https://panthercityvinyl.com/

Who would love this shop: Any music lover in your live would love a gift from Panther City Vinyl! The shop has a curated selection of new and used vinyl records, specialty CD releases and music-related accessories.

 

CABBAGE ROSE

Address: 3905 W Vickery Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Website: http://www.cabbagerosequilting.com/ 

Who would love this shop: This shop has perfect gifts for any crafter or quilter in your life. I can always count on their awesome selection of textiles, quilting supplies, books & patterns, AND they offer classes!


How To Live A Life Of Gratitude (Beyond The Month Of November)

If you live in America and you celebrate Thanksgiving, you’re familiar with the fact that November is our culture's month of gratitude. You might be doing a thankfulness challenge on social where you post something you’re thankful for each day of November or maybe you are being intentional about being extra generous this month. But how can we foster a life full of gratitude BEYOND the month of November?

 

KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL

While I’m nowhere near perfect at keeping up with journals, I think there is SO much value in them! There’s so much value in being able to reflect back on old journals to see how much you’ve grown, how much you’ve been blessed over the years, and be reminded of the things that have shaped you to be the person you are.

If you’re using a regular journal (without prompts) it can be easy to get stuck and only think of very surface level blessings. Click here to download a my list of 85 prompts for your gratitude journal which will help you recognize the big and little things you can be thankful for in your life!

I incorporate my gratitude journal into my daily devotion. In my Well Watered Woman journal there is a section for a daily gratitude on each day and I dedicate that towards gratitude for a character of God that I’ve been learning about lately, a physical or spiritual blessing, or people in my life that I’m thankful for.

If you don’t want to keep up with a physical journal, Grateful is an awesome gratitude journal app. This app gives you daily reminders to write an entry, gives daily prompts to help you think more creatively, and also allows you to upload images that are related to your gratitude for the day.

 

INTENTIONALLY PRACTICE HOSPITALITY

One of the best ways to show gratitude is by sharing what you have with others, whether it’s your home, the food in your pantry, or a card sharing your love through words.  I recently completed the She Reads Truth study on Biblical Hospitality and boy was it convicting for me.

I love this little excerpt on what hospitality exactly is, “Biblical hospitality is about more than sharing a meal or inviting friends over. It is the work of making room in our lives for others. True hospitality is a posture of charity toward the poor, of welcome toward the displaced, and of humility and gentleness toward the hurting.”

Here are a few helpful ways to practice hospitality in your own life…

  • Dedicate a couple hours every month towards organizing cards to send for the following month. These can be anything from birthday cards to just because cards!
  • Invite someone over for dinner once a month.
  • Make some baked goods for your neighbor.
  • Offer to babysit for someone in your life who needs a date night.
  • Host a game night.
  • Ask someone to join you on a coffee date (and buy their coffee).

 

SERVE CONSISTENTLY WITH A LOCAL NON PROFIT

While I think that it’s important to be serving regularly with nonprofits in your area, I think there is extra value in consistently serving with the same organization. This will build stronger relationships, allow you to be involved at a deeper level, and ultimately will make a bigger impact on your community. A lot of jealousy (one of the opposites of thankfulness) stems from focusing on what you think YOU want and what YOU think you need. Service is the perfect way to get your focus off of yourself and become more dedicated towards seeing the needs of others.

 

CHOOSING TO BE THANKFUL IN THE GOOD AND BAD TIMES

Notice that I didn’t say “choose to be bright and bubbly and happy in good and bad times”. When hard times hit (which it’s not a matter of IF, it’s WHEN), it is okay to grieve and struggle with your circumstances. However, it is very important to choose gratuity in hard times. While it’s difficult to see the long term fruit of trials when you’re in the midst of them, there is so much value in seeing the silver lining. Never forget that some of the biggest growth comes through challenges.

 

GIVE REGULARLY

No matter how tight your budget is, I believe you should always make room for giving. Set aside a certain amount every month to donate to a nonprofit and/or to give to people around you (grocery money for your friend who just lost their job, gas money for your cousin that is a college student, or buy coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop).

 

How do you live a life of gratitude? I’d love to hear!


Fort Worth City Guide: Colorful Murals

I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the fact that I LOVE colorful murals! People always tell me that I find the best murals and ask for suggestions, so I figured this would make the perfect addition to my Fort Worth City Guides

Fort Worth’s mural scene has grown TREMENDOUSLY over the last few years and it is continuing to grow every month. Here are some of my favorites!

 

WESTBEND

Address:

1701 River Run
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Kyle Steed

Best time to take photos:

Due to the variety of murals at this location, there isn't one specific time that you need to be limited to!

Tips and things to know:

  • WestBend is PACKED full of murals! Be sure to explore all over the parking garage and stairwells for all the hidden gems throughout the business center.
  • Free parking is available in the garage so finding a parking spot will be the least of your worries!
  • While you're visiting WestBend, grab a slice of cake at Susie Cakes or pop at the Pop Bar for the perfect photo prop!
  • Tag any photos with these murals with the hashtag, #westbendfw and they'll most likely share your content.

 

COLORFUL BIRD 

Address:

Cartan's Shoes
1201 W Magnolia Ave,
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos:

If you're looking to avoid traffic and not do things in the area, Monday's are a guaranteed way to get a parking spot and avoid crowds. Otherwise, late afternoon light is definitely the best option for even exposure. (The photo above was taken early afternoon)

Tips and things to know:

  • Magnolia is packed full of things to do (and multiple murals)! While you're in the area grab coffee at Craftwork, Ice Cream at MELT, baked goods at Stir Crazy, and churros at La Zona. If you're not hungry, stop by Sundancer (in Panther City Salon), Fort Worth Locals, Wanderer, Panther City Vinyl, and Tribe Alive.
  • This mural is right by the street, so be cautious with little ones. To get a good shot of the mural, the photographer will probably have to be standing across the street by Craftwork.
  • Street parking is available along Magnolia, limited parking is available behind Cartan's and Craftwork, and there is a free garage at 1201 Alston Avenue

 

DREAM ON DREAMER

Address:

5702 Locke Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Katie Murray

Best time to take photos:
Due to the location, rush hour would be the best time to avoid.

Tips and things to know:

  • This mural is right by the street, so be cautious with little ones.

 

RAINBOW COWBOY

Address:

Micki Lynn Ave and W Vickery Blvd,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos:

Definitely avoid any high traffic times due to location of the mural. Mid afternoon is ideal.

Tips and things to know:

  • This mural is right by the street and the busy corner of Vickery Blvd, so be cautious with little ones.
  • This mural is in a residential area so you will just have to park on the street. Sunset Heights is one of my favorite cute little neighborhoods in Fort Worth! If you're like me and love looking at old houses with lots of character, consider driving through the neighborhood after your photo!

 


BLACK AND BLUE

Address:

410 S Henderson St
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos:

Photo above was taken in late afternoon. There is direct sunlight on the mural most of the day.

Tips and things to know:

  • This mural is right between downtown and Magnolia, so there are lots of things to do while in the area!
  • There is a free parking lot right by the mural.

 

BREWED - LOVE THE FORT

Address:

801 W Magnolia Ave,
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Artist: Starr Studios

Best time to take photos:

If you're looking to avoid traffic and not do things in the area, Monday's are a guaranteed way to get a parking spot and avoid crowds. Otherwise, late afternoon light is definitely the best option for even exposure.

Tips and things to know:

  • This mural is right by the street, so be cautious with little ones.
  • Be sure to use the hashtag, #lovethefort for a chance to be featured on Brewed's Instagram!
  • The wall on the patio is also a beautiful backdrop for photos.
  • While you're at Brewed, be sure to grab some of their amazing brunch and Kombucha on tap!

 

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

Address:
1305 W Magnolia Ave,
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Artist:Katie Murray

Best time to take photos: Morning

Tips and things to know:

Yellow Wall

Address:

MELT Ice Creams

Artist: N/A

Best time to take photos: Depends on the look you are going for. Afternoon light can be very harsh, so that might be a time you will want to avoid. It can also get very crowded on weekends which will make it difficult to snap that perfect shot!

Tips and things to know:

  • Also check out the black and white stripes on the wall in the front of MELT as well as their "SMILE" mosaic at the front door.
  • Free street parking and in the lot directly behind the shop.
  • If you're planning on getting ice cream for the shot, note that MELT is closed on Monday's and doesn't open until noon on other days.
  • Be sure to tag @melticecreams and they will likely repost your photo!

 

LOVE LIVES HERE

Address:

Chat Room Pub
1263 W Magnolia Ave,
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos: Since it is in a parking lot, morning!

Tips and things to know:

 

RAINBOW SPIRAL

Address:
Fort Works Art

Artist: HOXXOH

Best time to take photos: No specific time!

Tips and things to know:

  • Fort Works Art is a fabulous gallery that you should definitely stop in while you're in the area! You can find their current and upcoming exhibits on their website and Instagram.
  • Fort Works Arts has its own private parking lot.

RAINING TACOS

Address:

Taco Heads
1812 Montgomery St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Sour Grapes

Best time to take photos: Ideally avoid lunch and dinner rush, the parking lot fills up fast!

Tips and things to know:

  • I recommend taking photos while listening to this song.
  • Taco Heads is our favorite local taco restaurant. Be sure to stop in for some breakfast tacos (served all day).
  • Taco Heads has their own private lot.
  • There is also a fun cactus mural on one of their walls, be sure to check it out too!
  • If you're looking for things to do in the area, this mural is right by the Fort Worth Museum District and Montgomery Antique Mall.

PANTONE DOORS

Address:

Trust Printshop
2506 Tillar St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Trust Printshop Team

Best time to take photos: Know that midday will have very harsh lighting.

Tips and things to know:

  • This is an industrial area and you can park on the street anywhere by Trust.
  • If you're looking for things to do in the area, this mural is very close to the Foundry District.

 

BUTTERFLY

Address:

Pearl Snap Kolaches
4006 White Settlement Rd,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos: If you want to grab some Kolaches, before 2pm!

Tips and things to know:

  • The butterfly is pretty high, so don't expect to be able to stand directly in front of it.
  • Pearl Snap Kolaches has a private parking lot (where the mural is).

 

THE FOUNDRY MANTRAS

Address:
Throughout the Foundry District
200 Carroll St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107 

Artist: Brennon Bechtol

Best time to take photos: Anytime since the photos are all over!

Tips and things to know:

  • These mantras are found all over the Foundry District. Look between buildings, on the sidewalk, and all over!
  • Tag your photos with #28mantras and #thefoundrydistrictfw for a chance to get reposted!
  • Be sure to check out Inspiration Alley and the other Foundry District Murals while here!
  • If you're looking for things to do in the area, get coffee at Craftwork and shop at Fort Worth Locals, Gifted, and Docs Records & Vintage.
  • The Foundry has several free parking lots.

SIDEWALK ART

Address: 

Whitmore St & Carroll St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Katie Murray

Best time to take photos: Since they are on the ground, anytime!

Tips and things to know:

CROCHETED BUTTERFLY

Address:

Meyer & Sage
2621 Whitmore St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: London Kaye

Best time to take photos: No specific time!

Tips and things to know:

THE GRAND BERRY THEATER RAINBOW WALL

Address:

2712 Weisenberger St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Mariel Guzman

Best time to take photos: The mural faces west, so it depends on if you prefer direct light or shade!

Tips and things to know:

DOC'S RECORDS & VINTAGE

Address:

Doc's Records & Vintage
2628 Weisenberger St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Artist: Donna (@dlassker)

Best time to take photos: Cars park in front of the mural, so ideally before Doc's opens.

Tips and things to know:

BLUE OMBRE

Address:
201 Vacek St
Fort Worth, Texas

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos: Doors face east, so it depends if you want direct sunlight or shade (this photo was taken in the morning).

Tips and things to know:

 

INSPIRATION ALLEY

Address:

200 Carroll Street
Fort Worth, Texas

Artist:

Multiple artists

Best time to take photos: Anytime!

Tips and things to know:

  • Be sure to check out the other Foundry District Murals while here!
  • If you're looking for things to do in the area, get coffee at Craftwork and shop at Fort Worth Locals, Gifted, and Docs Records & Vintage.
  • The Foundry has several free parking lots.
  • The Alley is in a fenced in area so you be much more at ease brining your little ones!

 

(Throwback to baby Noah & Jessica - Photos by Megan Kay Photography)

THE LATHERY MURAL

Address:

200 Carroll Street
Fort Worth, Texas

Artist:  Katie Murray

Best time to take photos: Anytime!

Tips and things to know:

 

 

MAG & MAY (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Address:

315 West Magnolia Ave
Fort Worth, Texas 76104

Artist: Multiple Artists

*Will add more details after murals and construction is complete*

Locust Cider 

Address:

Locust Cider
710 S Main St
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Artist: Unknown

Best time to take photos: Mural is on two sides of the building, so really anytime of day works.

Tips and things to know:

  • Free street parking
  • If you're looking for something to do in the area, this is very close to Magnolia Street. You can also stop by The 4 Eleven, just a couple blocks down Main Street!

Maintaining Productivity and Growth in my Creative Business

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Being a creative entrepreneur is a BLAST but it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of those challenges being the fact that I set my own schedule and determine my own success (yikes, that’s a big responsibility). To add to that challenge, I’m an Enneagram 7 and want to do ALL of the things.

According to the Enneagram Institute, Type Seven is The Busy, Variety Seeking Type. If you aren’t familiar with Enneagram Types, here are the characteristics of a healthy 7 vs. an unhealthy 7.

Healthy 7

  • Extroverted
  • Optimistic
  • Versatile
  • Spontaneous
  • High-spirited
  • Practical
  • Optimistic
  • Upbeat
  • Enthusiastic about life

Unhealthy 7

  • Over-extended
  • Scattered
  • Undisciplined
  • Impatient
  • Impulsive
  • Anxious
  • Panic-stricken
  • Unsatisfied

Over the past year I found myself really becoming an unhealthy 7 and it was not fun or enjoyable for anyone involved. So... I’ve had to do a major reevaluation of my work and processes. One of the things I’ve learned is that productivity doesn’t happen accidentally, it takes intention and discipline. While I’ve got a long way to go (don’t we all!?), here are some things I’ve learned about how to organize my creative business and be both productive and maintain both my physical and mental health.

 

LEARN FROM OTHERS

While there are no solutions that work for everyone, there is so much value in learning from others! The book, Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by 99u was SO helpful to me and where I got many of the ideas mentioned below. SUPER easy read and extremely practical advice, 100% recommend (and this is coming from someone who isn’t a huge reader). Also take time to ask other friends in the creative industry what they’ve found to help them organize their life, they’re bound to have some advice that you haven’t thought of yet!

 

KEEP A THOUGHT JOURNAL

Basically my mind is going a million miles an hour at every given moment. Keeping a small notebook with me in my backpack has allowed me put those thoughts on paper, not worry about forgetting it later, and review those thoughts later to evaluate whether I should move forward with any of those ideas. I used to always take notes on my phone but I’ve enjoyed having it in a notebook to both spend some time off a screen and I’m much more likely to look back on physical notes than my unorganized and random phone notes.

 

USE A PHYSICAL PLANNER

Over the years I’ve gone back and forth between digital calendars and physical planners. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that for my own sanity and organization (plus again, less screen time), physical planners are best for me. I have the Simplified Planner where I can manage my monthly schedule and daily schedule. I love how each day has a built in hourly schedule, checklist, and section for notes.

 

CREATE CHECKLISTS

I don’t know about y’all but I get distracted VERY easily. I’ve finally recognized how much responding to one text or a quick scroll through Instagram will completely derail what I’m working on. Checklists have helped me remember what I’m trying to accomplish for the day and make me feel good about completing them.

 

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to creating checklists:

  • Determine what kind of checklist works best for YOU! I keep a physical one inside my daily planner but there are also some great chrome plugins for checklist if you prefer a digital option.
  • Find ways to incorporate simple (30 min tasks) AND ongoing/long-term projects into a checklist
    • Spend 1 hour on _________.
    • Send 3 pitch emails
  • Keep your list at a reasonable length
    • If you consistently are not able to complete your to-do list, you will lose motivation. Set realistic expectations for yourself and don’t set yourself up to fail!
  • If it makes sense for your work, create a daily checklist of things that you do every single day. This might include things like spending a certain amount of time engaging on Instagram, spending 2 hours working on content, etc.

 

BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT BRAIN BREAKS

I’m not ashamed to admit the fact I have terrible mental stamina (something I’m working on haha). In order to do my best work and avoid overload, I have to be extremely intentional about giving myself intentional brain breaks. Like all of this advice, EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT so take it with a grain of salt. These are things that have helped me have productive brain breaks, but observe your own behavior and do what is best for YOU.

  • Avoid open ended breaks
    • I’ve learned to give myself breaks that have an ending in sight. Complete a task that can be done in a reasonable time frame like folding and put away laundry, taking the dog on a walk around the block, or eating a snack.
    • If you don’t have an obvious mark to end your brain break, set a timer for yourself. This is an extremely helpful and easy way to make sure you stay on track.
    • In general, avoid getting online or using social media for your brain break, especially without time restrictions!
  • Pay attention to what type of activities recharge you.
    • Maybe you really need a healthy snack to get your brain going or maybe you really just need to move and get your blood flowing. Take note of what specific activities help you recharge and get more productive.

 

GIVE YOUR BRAIN TIME TIME TO BREATHE

One of my biggest takeaways from Manage Your Day-To-Day was to preserve unstructured time and to prioritize being present. Rather than spending my 10 minutes of free time on my phone, train yourself to just THINK (what a novel idea, I know). A creative mind takes practice and we need to set aside times to allow for it. Here is an excerpt from that chapter in the book:

“You are the steward of your own potential. The resources within you - and around you - are only tapped when you recognize their value and develop ways to use them. Whatever the future of technology may hold, the greatest leaders will be those most capable of tuning in to themselves and harnessing the power of their own minds.”
- Scott Belsky

Part of this concept is using free time throughout your day but it’s also important to consistently dedicate some time every day. Maybe this is your first 30 minutes at your daily coffeeshop run or maybe it’s your morning walk. Whenever it is, be consistent and intentional about it!

 

CREATE FOR YOURSELF

One of the downsides of being a creative for a profession is that you can burnout on what you love most. This is why it’s always important to take time to just create for YOU. Not for clients, not for a paid gig, just for yourself.

I love what Todd Henry has to say about what he calls, Unnecessary Creation:

  • Unnecessary Creation gives you the freedom to explore new possibilities and follow impractical curiosities.
  • Unnecessary Creation allows you to take risks and develop new skills that can later be applied to your on-demand creating.
  • Unnecessary Creation provides a forum for the pursuit of voice, and a reminder that you are not the sum of what you make.

 

While this blog is in no way comprehensive or unlocking all of the secrets to perfect productivity (hint: we will NEVER be perfect, but progress in attainable), I hope these points are all as beneficial to you as they were to me. For all my other creatives out there, what has helped you maintain productivity and growth in your creative business?


Fort Worth City Guide: Coffee Shops

As an extravert freelancer who doesn’t have a "real" office, coffee shops are my best friend! I’ve found that I’m most productive in this atmosphere because I like to be surrounded by a lot of people, I’m not distracted by things that need to be done at home, and it’s always fun to run into friends and chat for a little brain break.

While in college (2012-2015) at Texas Wesleyan, Avoca and Brewed were really the only good coffee shop options for late night studying other than Starbucks. It has been so fun seeing so many incredible coffee shops open and thrive over the years.

Here's a simple map that I've made to show you where my favorite coffee shops are! Keep on reading for all the details about what makes each one special.

 

PARIS COFFEE

While I don’t typically go here to work, I can’t leave out the OG Fort Worth coffee shop. Paris Coffee is a great place to go for an old school southern breakfast and lunch. They have been open since 1926 and are one of the oldest businesses on Magnolia Street.

Website: https://www.pariscoffeeshop.net

Address:
704 W. Magnolia Ave.,
Fort Worth, TX 76104.

Hours:
Monday-Friday 6:00 am - 2:30 pm
Saturday 6:00 am - 11:00 am
Sunday Closed

Parking:
Private lot

 

CRAFTWORK

Craftwork is one of those coffeeshops that seems to just have exploded overnight. I remember going to the soft opening of the Camp Bowie location with my coworkers and am so happy that they’ve grown the way they have! Since we live so close to one of their locations, it’s definitely one of most visited Fort Worth coffee shops for us.

One of the things that makes Craftwork unique is that it doubles as a coworking space. For a monthly membership fee, you can have access to their coworking space in the back of their building along with other perks like drink discounts and special events.

Website: https://craftworkcoffeeco.com

Favorite drink: Cappuccino (& they always have good seasonal drinks!)

Camp Bowie

Address:
4731 Camp Bowie Blvd,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Hours:
Mon - Fri 6:30 am - 6:30 pm
Sat - Sun 7:30 am - 6:30 pm

Parking:
Private lot

Magnolia

Address:
1121 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Hours:
Mon - Fri  6:30 am - 9:00 pm
Sat - Sun 7:30 am - 9:00 pm

Parking:
Shared lot in back and free street parking

The Foundry

Address:
2700 Weisenberger Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Hours:
Mon - Fri 6:30 am - 9:00 pm
Sat - Sun 7:30 am - 9:00 pm

Parking:
Private parking and free Foundry District parking lots (2)

 

AVOCA

Avoca has a special place in my heart since I spent manyyyyy late nights there in college. It is also where Noah and I had our engagement photos (pictured above - we were BABIES) taken by my friend Megan Waller. The Magnolia location is the original Avoca location and also where they roast all their coffee. This location is by far the busiest location that is also full of the most personality. If I need a quieter space but am still craving their coffee, I usually will go to their Foch location (note that the Foch location isn’t open as late).

Website: https://www.avocacoffee.com

Favorite drink: New Orleans Style  (16 oz drink, cold brew coffee, simple syrup, & milk over ice)

Magnolia

Address:
1311 W. Magnolia Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Hours:
Open 7:00 am - 10:00 pm everyday

Parking:
Private lot and free street parking

Foch

Address:
835 Foch St
Fort Worth, TX 76106

Hours:
Monday-Saturday 7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Parking:
Shared parking lot and 15 minute Avoca parking by the back entrance

 

AMPERSAND

One of the great things about Ampersand is that they offer coffee AND cocktails! They also have a great patio if you’re looking for a place to hang out with your dog or just enjoy some fresh air.

Website: https://www.ampersandtx.com

Favorite drink: Cold Brew Coffee Frappe

Address:
2905, 3009 Bledsoe St,
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Hours:
Monday-Saturday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday 7:00 am - 8:00 pm

Parking: Private parking and free street parking

 

SONS OF LIBERTY

One of my favorite things about this coffee shop is the sheer size! It can be challenging to find a place to sit at most coffee shops during busy hours but Sons of Liberty offers a wide range of sofas, community tables, bar seating, and more. They also have a wide selection of food options in case you need a little more than coffee.

Website: https://sonscoffee.com/

Favorite drink: Pink drink 

Address:
250 W Lancaster Ave #120,
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Hours:
Open 6:30 am -9:00 pm everyday

Parking: Free parking in garage (behind Sons of Liberty)

 

VAQUERO

Right next to the Tarrant County Courthouse, Vaquero is a great option if you are downtown Fort Worth. This coffee shop has major cowtown vibes and represents the Fort Worth’s roots!

Website: https://www.vaquerocoffeeco.com

Favorite drink: Cappuccino

Address:
109 Houston St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Hours:
Sunday-Thursday 6:30 am - 6:00 pm
Friday-Saturday 6:30 am - 10:00 pm

Parking: Street parking (paid)

 

BUON GIORNO

If you’re looking for a small and cozy spot to camp out, Buon Giorno is for you. They also offer a lot of non-coffee drink options like italian sodas, chai, and smoothies.

Website: https://bgcoffee.net

Favorite drink: Italian Soda

Address:
915, Florence St,
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Hours:
Monday-Friday 6:30 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday 7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Parking:
Limited parking

 

BREWED

Brewed is always very nostalgic for me because it was the go-to place that I went with friends when I was in college and I also worked there as a hostess when I was still in school. Unfortunately Brewed has evolved to be more of a restaurant than a coffee shop hangout location, but it still is a great place to grab a drink during brunch!

Website: http://www.brewedfw.com

Favorite drink: Holy Kombucha on tap

Address:
801 W Magnolia Ave,
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday-Thursday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Parking:
Private lot and free street parking

DWELL (COMING SOON)

While I haven't been to Dwell's Fort Worth location (opening this fall), I have been to their Burleson location. My favorite thing about Dwell is their delicious homemade biscuits that pair PERFECTLY with your favorite coffee. Can't wait for this new coffee shop to open by TCU!

 

Other nearby noteworthy coffee shops...
(outside of Fort Worth)

  • Roots (North Richland Hills & coming to Fort Worth!)
  • Society Coffee (Euless)
  • Dwell (Burleson & coming to Fort Worth!)
  • George Coffee and Provisions (Coppell)
  • Summer Moon (Keller & Frisco)
  • Re:Defined (Grapevine)
  • Buon Giorno (Southlake & Grapevine)

 


Colorful Sustainable Clothing Brands I Love

As I started researching sustainable fashion, I realized that finding colorful pieces was a very difficult task. Understandably, most sustainable brands create neutral pieces so that they are timeless and easier to mix and match for a capsule wardrobe. However, anyone like me needs some bold colors to mix into their wardrobe. Here are just a few of the brands I’ve found who create sustainable AND colorful pieces…

BIG BUD PRESS

Known for their incredible jumpsuits, Big Bud Press is an LA based label that produces all of their clothing in the USA. They also recently opened their first storefront in LA! Congrats, Big Bud Press!

My favorite pieces from Poppy and Pima are their Rainbow Airbrush JV Tee and Lilac Jumpsuit.

EVERLANE

Everlane is the perfect place to get your wardrobe staples! One of the things I love the most about Everlane is their brand transparency. On their website you can see the breakdown of exactly where your money is going and how each of your pieces are made.

My favorite pieces from Everlane are their yellow Japanese GoWeave Tank Wrap Dress and Cotton Box-Cute Tee Dress.

MEEMOZA

All of Meemoza’s (cotton) pieces are made from organic cotton and reclaimed deadstock fabrics from fashion houses that over-ordered. 

My favorite pieces from Meemoza are their Erin Pic Nic Dress and Daisy Linen Skirt.

 

PEOPLE TREE

People Tree is hands down one of my favorite sustainable clothing brands. Based out of UK, People Tree overs clothing in fun and colorful patterns, as well as solid staples.

My favorite pieces from People Tree are their Floral Florida Jumpsuit and Cat Pyjamas.

POPPY AND PIMA

Poppy and Pima primarily works with artisans in Peru and specializes in pieces made of Alpaca wool and Pima cotton (hence the name).

My favorite pieces from Poppy and Pima are their Mesa Tank and Rain Skirt.

NOOWORKS

Nooworks is a women run brand, based in California. Their funky prints are perfect for those of us that want to keep things sustainable while making a statement.

My favorite pieces from Nooworks are their rainbow jump suit (past season, pictured below) and Coveralls Pink Corduroy.

JESSICA REY

Jessica Rey’s brand started as a modest but trendy swimsuit brand (all ethically made of course), but she has expanded her brand into dresses, skirts, and more.

My favorite piece from Jessica Rey is her Button-Down Canary Skirt.

AWKWARD CHILD

If you love rainbows, then Awkward Child is the brand for you! All of their pieces are handmade to order in Australia.

My favorite pieces from Awkward Child are their Rainbow Pants and Rainbow Tee.

REFORMATION

Reformation makes the most stunning and feminine pieces. All of their pieces are created from sustainable materials, including repurposed vintage clothing.

My favorite pieces from Reformation are their Natalia Top and Short Pajama Set.

 

ELEGANT TEES

All of Elegant Tees products are ethically made in Nepal. They have some great staple, easy to wear dresses in beautiful colors!

My favorite pieces from Elegant Tees are their VIVIAN dress and MARGOT dress.

 

OUTDOOR VOICES

It's about time for some athletic apparel! Outdoor Voices works hard to use sustainable materials for their products. Their lightweight Rec Poly fabric is crafted from post-consumer water bottles, they use sustainably raised wool, and their Seamless collection also works to decrease waste (no scraps).

My favorite pieces from Outdoor Voices are their 7/8 Springs legging (in pink of course and Venus Crop Top).

And that's a wrap! Also never forget that buying used clothes is a great sustainable option for clothing.

What are some colorful sustainable clothing brands that you love?

 


Let's Talk Branded Photography

Let's Talk Branded Photography

Whether you’re a personal brand or you sell a physical product, photography is a crucial part of the branding process. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand what branding photography is and the importance of it. Because of this, SO many people are missing out on a great opportunity to tell their brands story through the images that represent them online. Ready for a crash course in branded photography in under 1,000 words? Lets go!

WHAT’S BRANDED PHOTOGRAPHY?

More than headshots

A lot of people want a solid headshot and then think they’re done. Branded photography is so much more than a headshot. A headshot is a photo that shows your face well, you’re typically looking at the camera, and it’s usually framed pretty tight. Branded have a much more lifestyle feel and shows you in action.  

Not stock photos

While stock photography is tremendously better than it used to be, branded photography should be your original content. While you may use stock photos for occasional things like social posts, I always encourage brands to avoid stock photography on their website because that is the place to let YOUR  brand and YOU shine!

Tell a story

While your headshot should reflect your personality, branded photos are your place to really let people get to know you. These images tell a story of who you are, what you do, and what it’s like to work with you.

WHY DO I NEED BRANDED PHOTOGRAPHY?

Peace of mind

How many hours have you spent searching through old photos, trying to find something to post on Instagram? Maybe you’ve tried to handle the photography aspect of your brand yourself (let’s be real, you’re busy being an awesome business owner and don’t have time for that). Branding photography allows you to always have a gallery of quality images that are just waiting to be published.

Quality content

Anyone who is working on their online presence knows that content is King. In a world being flooded with content every single second, your photography needs to stand out. While any type of photographer can take a quality photo, branding photographers specialize in creating images that pop and stop those scrolls.

Creates a consistent look for your brand

When your photos appear in your audiences feed, the goal is that they know it’s you without even seeing your username or product. Just like in every aspect of your marketing efforts, consistent photography builds trust, loyalty, and brand awareness.

Take your brand to the next level

When you’re brand takes the cheap route for visual branding assets, it shows. Like it or not, if you don’t care about how well your brand is represented, it can reflect how much you care about the quality of your product. Professional photos will help people view you as a professional, not just another amateur.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Work consistently with one photographer

While this isn’t a necessity, it is extremely helpful to work consistently with the same photographer. This will allow your photography assets to be extra consistent, your photographer will already be familiar with the look and feel you’re going for, and most photographers will give a price break for regular clients (if you do weekly or monthly mini shoots).

Budget for multiple shoots

I often encourage brands to do one large branded shoot every few years (great for staple product shots, web images, headshots, etc.) and many mini shoots throughout the year.  These monthly or quarterly mini shoots are helpful to keep your brand fresh and provide you with timely and seasonal content!

Create a photography branding guide

Just like you (hopefully) have a branding guide for your logo usage and brand colors, a branding guide for your photography can be just as helpful. This will be helpful for yourself and any photographers that you work with! Again, that consistency is key! I have a photography branding guide worksheet to help walk you through everything that should be included and you can download it here.

As you consider the best ways to grow your brand, launch that course, or personalize your website, I hope you recognize what a big role professional branded photography will play. I absolutely love created branded photography alongside small businesses and you can learn more about my service offerings here.

Have you invested in branded photography and how have you seen it impact your business? I’ll love to hear your thoughts below!


Texas to Cali: Roadtrip Recap

My family takes road trips seriously and this summer was one for the books. At the end of June Noah and I drove to Cali with my family and stopped several amazing places along the way.

ARIZONA

Grand Canyon

This was my 4th time to visit the Grand Canyon and it never disappoints. I think that everyone should visit sometime in their life because it is a truly beautiful and humbling experience.
  

Horseshoe Bend

This one’s been on my bucket list for awhile! While it should have been a reasonably easy hike (less than a 2 mile round trip), I just about died because it was 105 and the majority of the hike is in sand. Learn from my mistakes and do this hike in the morning!

Lake Powell

Wow wow wow. Lake Powell is the most beautiful and unique lake I’ve ever seen! Not only is it HUGE, the views surrounding it are simply stunning. It’s the perfect spot for a swim after the Horseshoe Bend hike!

PALM SPRINGS

Joshua Tree

If you’re staying in Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is a great day trip. We mostly just drove through the park on our way west, but I’d love to go back and spend more time there. The campground are surrounded by jumbo rocks (and yes, they are actually called jumbo rocks) which is the dream for the kid inside all of us.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

I don’t think it’s possible to visit Palm Springs without also going to the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Located just outside of Palm Springs (in Cabazon), the dinosaurs are the dream for fellow cheesy tourist spot lovers like me. While there is a paid exhibit, the two large dinosaurs are free to walk around and take pictures with.

The Saguaro

The Saguaro was everything I hoped and dreamed it’d be, and more. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Palm Springs, The Saguaro is an absolute paradise (though you might not want to ever leave and do more sightseeing).

Frankinbun Gourmet Sausages

Two words: chicken & waffle.  Frankinbun Gourmet Sausages is known for their chicken sausage and waffle corndog which featured on Diners, Drive-ins, Dives!

Moorten Botanical Garden

The Moorten Botanical Garden left me so inspired. This garden packed full of unique cacti and the famous cacti greenhouse is one of my favorite things about Palm Springs. There are also tortoises scattered throughout the garden, see how many you can spot!  Entrance is only $5 for adults, just be sure to check their seasonal times before you go.

Palms to Pines Scenic Byway

If you need a break from the high temperatures in Palm Springs and enjoy long scenic drives, you’ve got to add the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway to your agenda. There are some adorable little towns up in the mountain, we stopped in several resale shops while we were up there.

Ernest Coffee

While I didn’t plan it ahead of time, this coffee shop was walking distance from our hotel. Their coffee was delicious and they also have a great selection of baked goods to start your day on the right note.

SAN DIEGO

Communal Coffee

This place is packed full of so many things I love, coffee, fresh flowers, and the prettiest little gift shop. I’m honestly a little bitter there isn’t one closer to me so I can visit regularly. (Psst, Communal Coffee… Come to Texas. Thanks.)

Balboa Park

What an AMAZING city park! Well done, San Diego. While you could easily spend days in this park (if you go to museums and the zoo), we were only able to make a brief stop. We spent some time in the Spanish Village Art Center where the entire courtyard is covered with vibrant cobblestones leading you to shops for local artists.

Hammond’s Ice Cream

Since I’m such an ice cream fan, I always like to visit local ice cream shops whenever I visit new cities. We stopped in Hammond’s Ice Cream, which is in North Park San Diego. One of my favorite things about this shop is that you don’t have to limit yourself to one flavor because they offer mini-cone flights.

North Park

North Park was our favorite area in San Deigo. It's packed full of beautiful colorful murals (my favorite).

SOUTH CALI

Carlsbad

Carlsbad is packed full of great shopping but the Succulent Cafe is what won my heart. This beautiful coffee shop doubles as a plant shop and is PACKED FULL of succulents. It's a must visit for any plant lover like myself.

Oceanside Pier

Fun fact of the day, the Oceanside pier is the longest wooden pier on the California coastline. We had a blast walking along the pier and beach in Oceanside. 

La Jolla Beach

La Jolla beach is beautiful and the perfect spot to watch sea lions and seals (though don't get too close, they're MEAN). La Jolla is full of coves and rocks to climb around, which makes for a great time! The surrounding area is also full of lots of great restaurants and shops.

Moonlight Beach (Encinitas)

One of the reasons by family went on this cross country road trip was to attend the Switchfoot Bro-am, which was a free concert and fundraiser right on the beach. Moonlight beach was hands down my favorite beach of our trip, absolutely stunning (and the live music wasn't too shabby either).

Disneyland

While I've been to Disneyworld many manyyyy times, this was my first time to Disneyland and a dream come true! A lot of people have told me that Disneyland is a letdown if you've been to Disneyworld but it absolutely didn't disappoint. I loved the charm of Disneyland and it was so exciting to see original creation of Walt Disney!

What is a trip to Disneyland without a classic Dole Whip Float and photo at the Small World Wall?!

WHEW, that was a lot! What fun summer trips did you go on?