There's a surprising place to get a really fantastic cup of coffee in Denver, and it's at the Allegro Coffee Roasters located within the new Whole Foods by Union Station. I'm a bit of a coffee snob, I'll admit, and if someone can impress me with their espresso and latte art skills, you have done quite well! One of the most amazing things about this coffee shop is that they offer the most variety of alternative milk options that I have ever seen: coconut, almond, hemp, soy, and for no extra charge! And yes, you can even get a great latte or cappuccino from the alternative milk! The staff is always nice and greets you pleasantly. It's become one of my favorite places for coffee within the Denver metro area! Cortado and Latte on the counter pictured below. It's truly worth going and checking out!
Because this, my dear friends, is what makes up life. I am finding such beautiful and amazing guidance in these days that are a mix of every piece of life. It's had it's disruptions of late. But then I find flowers for $5 and a warm sun on a Sunday morning, and I find a little bit of perfect happiness in the simple delights of creation, seeing, and stepping back into the simplicity of just being. Just see how the flowers like her pictures taken. What is her best side?
What are the ways we mark the days, the weeks, the months, the years? In this, I hope only to ever grow more into this beauty that surrounds. On the difficult days to be sure, but also in the waiting days, the still days, the moments of in between, and absolutely on the happy days. We each of us tend to live and look for the brightest and happiest days and seek to increase their measure, and for this, it is good, and right. But it is in those waiting days, those days where we must slow down whether by choice or necessity, or merely a simple life rhythm, that we can rest, and reacquaint our souls with those deep paths--that place where the heart seeks. And even still, in the difficult days, I remind myself that often the difficult days still bring us closer to where our heart longs to be, even if it hurts like crazy, even if there is loss that we cannot understand. Even in that, sometimes the difficult days remind me that it's okay to not understand--that I am not required to understand or make sense of everything. And some days when things are falling apart, you take some time to breath, and for me... find some flowers and herbs whenever possible.
So drink deeply of the day, even if all you drink of is simply the courage to move through it. There are bright days forever inward bound to you, to me, to us.
As a means of seeking to grow my skill sets, I will be attempting to shoot something in my surroundings with a few different settings, and experimenting with editing and lighting to see what I would like to see and how and where I would like to grow. What I'm finding is that even after this first shoot, I have additional ideas. Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio has been such an inspiration to me continually, so I'm taking a page from her book and seeing what I can create with what I have on hand. I, however, have a few other jobs other than photography, so you may not see tons of these shoots. Heh. However, these little lovely spray roses were only $5 at Whole Foods, so I bought myself some, and shot some photos about a week later. In any case, I love the opportunity to think outside of the box and am excited to see what I can grow into. Thank you to everyone who enjoys following along. It's learning what I want to see in the details as much as the big picture.
I hope you get to spend the holidays with ones you love and in some amount of happy cheer and delight! This is one of my favorite times of year. There is just something magical in the stillness of winter. May you find some magic in your days!
Here are some of my favorites from my shoot with the Snyder family about a month ago!
I met Dani through both of us working in various ways within the Natural Industry and came to find that she was not only a wonderfully sweet person, but she also was the owner/teacher of Milkweed Herbarium. I absolutely loves herbs myself, and so I was absolutely delighted to work with Dani on a lovely photo shoot all about her and herbs and some milkweed thrown in of course! If you have any desire to learn more about herbs, I highly recommend checking out her classes, as she was a complete delight to work with in our photo shoot! I can't wait to see you again, Dani!
Maybe. Just maybe. This great emptying of yourself....this forcing of you to come to terms with all the weight you’ve been carrying....is much much bigger than you think. You’ve been carrying everything you need not carry for so long that you haven’t left room for your soul.
So this great painful emptying is as it should be. Just the emptying process of everything you don’t need.
You have your dreams but you haven’t left room. So you must be emptied if you want your dreams to come true.
They say you cannot pour from an empty cup. And neither can you pour your dreams from a cup so full of carrying everything it need not carry.
Can you bear the emptiness long enough to heal....to fill again with your dreams?
Oh I know it hurts. Like having your bones exposed. But you need not keep covering with the scraps you’ve had. Build your dreams. It’s cold out. But from what cup do you want to pour? Your dreams? Your loves? Or the same rhythms you’ve been doing that haven’t satisfied?
Maybe. Just maybe. The universe IS standing with you. Believe it.
Feel those fears. Feel that pain. Feel the anger of the road that lead to your emptying. Feel it. Know it. Walk it. Stop resisting it. And let it too, empty from you. You need not carry all of this. You really need not carry it.
Are the expectations of unkind people really how you want your cup filled? This is a new path. Let it be new. And dare to believe that this great emptying is so that you may indeed be filled again....so that you might truly pour out the good and kindness and beauty that hasn’t had quite as much room as it had before.
Be empty for a moment. Heal those deep scars that have been covered so long. Heal. Restore. And let your dreams actually come true.
- Amber Lianne, November 2, 2017
Last week I had the wonderful privilege of coordinating a photo shoot with Brittany, the shop owner of Limn here in Denver, CO. We did some lovely work getting her set and ready for an upcoming anniversary event, and I was able to take some fun photos of product she carries (and her sweet pup!). Definitely go see her, not only for your natural skin care needs, but to check out her amazing gift shop connected to the spa space as well! Thank you, Brittany for such a lovely chance to work with you!
Have you ever seen the movie, "Up"? When I asked Joey and Mitchie what some of their favorite quotes were, I was told how much they both admired the love of Carl and Ellie from the movie Up. And honestly, after getting the chance to know them even better, I can definitely say that that love fits these two so well. I met Mitchie over a year ago, and as both of our jobs were changing, we were able to stay in contact through social media. I had the incredible privilege of doing photos of the two of them a little over a week ago. I kept thinking as they told me about them and I got to see them interact that their love was one that was such an incredibly beautiful story.
To quote Mitchie directly: "For one Christmas, Joey painted me a world map with their chairs and on the back he wrote, 'Wherever it may be, my Paradise Falls is wherever you are.' "
This is love. This is one of the beautiful ways that love looks. Their love makes my heart glow. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with me, Joey and Mitchie! (Oh, and for the record, thank you to everyone who helped me choose these final images! I was having an impossible time deciding!)
Today my friend and I went hiking in one of my favorite places. Golden Gate Canyon State Park has been one of my favorites for a long time and I'm so grateful I go to share it with a good friend.
You know those rare few friends you meet and somehow instantly just become friends and then sort of gradually find out some of the reasons you connected so well immediately as time passes? Kat is one of those people for me. I'm truly grateful for her lovely presence in my life and our wonderful conversations and real life questions. To me, real looks like home and is incredibly rare to find. Those people who walk with you no matter how your life is going... and stay walking through it when you don't even know what questions to ask. Those people who laugh with you and let you cry without any discomfort. These are the people who impact your life for the better. Those people you know are in your life just when you needed them to be. Those people who stand real with you as you look at all the world.
Feeling in general very grateful not only for Kat, but also for some unexpected kindness and love from my cousin today, too. Friends and family. You know, those people who have your back even in the kindest of ways. Today is a beautiful day. And there will be more sunshine to come. I'm believing in goodness because of the kindness and beauty that exists in this world that I got to see and experience a bit today.
Here are a few photos from our hike among the remaining golden Aspen leaves before the snow looks to come tomorrow in Denver.
This was such a fun shoot with Emily and Brian! And in perfect timing! Little Grace Elizabeth arrived only about a week after these photos were taken! I'm so glad that we were able to do these photos in the late summer days. Check out a few of my favorite images below.
When I had the privilege of visiting my friend in Barcelona this Spring, I was able to do vacation on my own terms. Essentially that meant wandering the city streets, going to coffee shops, and enjoying incredible food and wine. I went for early morning runs with the sounds of Barcelona waking up to greet me, and my friend and I went to a fashion show over the weekend I was there. It was a fantastic experience. I love truly experiencing the true feel of a place when I have the opportunity to travel, and as such, sometimes I don't bring out my camera as often as I perhaps even should. I also tend to be wary of tourist attractions. That all being said, the architecture of Barcelona is amazing, and there are multiple buildings all over the city that Antoni Gaudí put his craft to display. His work is incredibly iconic, fantastic, beautiful, and reminiscent of nature itself in an unexpected way. My friend recommended touring The Sagrada Família even though it was indeed a tourist attraction. I am so very glad I did. These pictures hardly do it justice I feel, but perhaps you may glimpse a little of Gaudí's intent to incorporation nature itself into its design and structure. If you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend doing so! These are some of my favorite photos of this incredible Basilica and Church.
This March I was able to spend some time with family after a work trip out to California. There really is nothing quite like going back to the place you are from and seeing family again. I'm so grateful for my California roots and being able to grow up in such incredible scenery. Even with my home being Colorado, seeing and spending some quality time with my cousins and aunt and uncle and grandma meant the world to me. It is a beautiful melancholy type of thing to be able to call many places home. I'm so grateful I get to have so much wonderful family to go see out in the Golden state. These pictures are of the ocean at a beach I grew up going to about a 45 minute drive to/from my grandma's house.
I'm sure you have seen many many solar eclipse photos, and I know I've seen some amazing photos myself. If you haven't found enough that impress you, I would recommend checking out Chris Burkard or National Geographic for some amazing shots.
The day was unexpectedly beautiful for me. I had a friend join me on a short hike to the top of a nearby mountain on the front range here in Colorado. She and I talked about life and the beautiful symbolism of the moon covering the sun. The idea that the shadows themselves coming into light. It seems so foreign a thought but beautiful in the opportunity to examine our own shadows and bring them to light. It was the light of that day that fascinated me most, and I admit that I probably took a few more pictures of the plants and flowers that surrounded us than I did of the actual eclipse. The light was fascinating, soothing, mysterious, and incredibly healing in this moment of life, sitting on top of a mountain with a friend. Kat, I'm forever grateful to you for joining me that day and everything we spoke through and about.
Here are a few of my images from that beautiful day on August 21st, 2017. I didn't take many as I mostly wanted to take in the day, but these were what I came away with and am happy to share with each of you.
If you haven't checked out the first part of my shoot with Sarah, please check it out here first for some context to this second part.
I think the best place to start with the story behind this shoot is with the song that Sarah is really connecting to for this, and that is "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys. Because truly, this is about Sarah being who she is in this time, on the other side of loss. The way she lights up a room and brings her full presence to every place she enters. This is about who she is on the other side of an unexpected loss and how she continues to move through everything in her life... through every roll, from that of a mother to an employee, to the very soul of who she is and what brings her to light on fire. Sarah, you go, girl. Way to bring your passion to the table and make your goals continue to grow even as you explore all ways of who you are as you are. This is Sarah on fire in her life, and I'm so glad to be a part of the adventure!
About a week before Sarah came to visit me, I sent her a text that started with something like, "so... don't hate me... but I have an idea." Sarah's husband left her about a year and a half ago, and so the story of this shoot has a lot to do with that reality. I've watched Sarah grow and move through the pain of the leaving and the divorce into an even better friend and a more stunning woman of heart and soul than I knew of her before. They say trials brings out who you really are, and as such, it is my privilege to call Sarah my friend. This shoot is about moving through the process of releasing dreams and hopes and stepping out of what was, even allowing it to fall away. Sarah played the song "Burning House" by Cam a few times that day and it seemed to fall in line with everything. Sometimes you have to let what was burn and wash away so that you can become new. Like a phoenix from the ashes, Sarah is still Sarah, but more of her than she was before. Sometimes you start anew. Sometimes you find life on the other side and even through pain. It's not as though what was no longer exists, it's just in a different state of existence and you yourself have become more of who you are through it, and I see this so much as a part of Sarah's beautiful soul. Sarah, thank you for being so willing to work through all this with me. I'm truly so grateful for you and the woman you are and how you have come even more into yourself through this.
Rumi has often been an encouragement to me. Very often, very easily I can get bogged down in my surroundings. In the gentle misting rain of today, I set an intention, a reminder for myself using these words by Rumi today:
“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”
So lift up your eyes today. Even if your sight is blurred. Find your wings. You have them.
This post has a story to tell. To begin, I owe thanks to my friend in Barcelona for encouraging me to go stargazing to help with my insomnia and calm my mind. The experience of the drive, and the time to sort and think while in motion through mountains, begun my day in such a way that I'm still sitting without enough words to describe. The timing was unintentional for how the lighting worked to my favor, but being on the continental divide at Independence Pass in perfect time to watch the sun peak over the mountains... leaves me speechless still. The rising sun... at just over 12,000 feet. I drove all the way to Aspen and back today for my little journey. I hope the pictures speak for themselves to you as they stood out to me and speak to my heart still.
Also, to note, I know I don't always watermark, but for me, this is some of my best work. Let me know if you would like any reprinted for yourself without the watermark.
You know those times when you tell yourself and others a truth over and over again....and you think you get it yourself but suddenly it really hits home?
How many times have I said that it's not about the arrival but about the journey....the rhythm. Somehow awoke feeling discouraged again about many things. Got my butt out the door for a morning trail run. And it was rough going at first. Feeling every hill to be bigger than it was.
And that's just it. Finally on the way back when it was just a minuscule easier than on the way out, it finally struck me.
Life really is about the rhythm. It is about somehow finding our soul's best path, best balance in what we can do for others and ourselves. That rhythm is life. And frankly sometimes just moving in that rhythm is so difficult.
Sometimes the run is easy. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it feels almost impossible. Sometimes your best rhythm is tears and hiding under covers. Sometimes it's your soul bursting into all the crevices of an empty mountain.
It is all rhythm. It is all about balance. And let yourself move in rhythm. Sometimes telling yourself how to when you can't figure out how.
Loss comes. Rebirth comes. Rhythm is yours through all of it. And somehow timing--in this construct by which we manufacture out lives--ends up being what you need
To all in the midst of loss or rebirth today.....may you find rest and movement as needed in your soul's natural rhythm.
Shot with my Canon 5D at Pismo Beach, CA on the evening of 13 March 2017
And self preservation
Shot with my Canon 5D 11 June 2017
I had the wonderful privilege of taking photos of Miss Cassandra TeLae and her beautiful boys earlier this year in March while I still lived in Minnesota. This March day greeted us with lovely sunshine and warmer than usual temperatures. Cassandra also happens to be a dear friend, for whom I am so grateful. She shines so brightly in all that she does. She is a wonderful mother, and incredible encouragement and loving person to so many. You and your boys are amazing people, Cassandra, and I am so grateful to know you!
“There is no greater heaven the heart of a loving mother”
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom