September 18, 2014

Cayman

Grand Cayman is a keeper for sure. We had the trip of a lifetime! It was so peaceful, relaxing and beautiful. It's hard to believe we've been back for a week already!

When we first arrived, I wanted to keep track of everything because I thought I would do a day-by-day blog post that outlined what we did each day. And then I realized all of our days were going to look the same: drink coffee on the beach, relax on the beach, float in the ocean, take a walk, read on the beach, eat yummy dinners at awesome restaurants. Repeat. So I scratched my day by day plan in favor of just a big summary.

In summary, Grand Cayman was awesome! We did everything I mentioned above for 2 weeks and it was glorious. About 5 days in, we both sort of slipped into a island mentality where nothing really mattered except what time happy hour started at the beach bar and when the tide was coming in.

We stayed at a precious little boutique hotel called the Grand Cayman Beach Suites. It's hurricane season the off-season in the Carribean so we got a killer deal and managed to pretty much have the resort to ourselves. There were maybe 10 other hotel guests staying there with us, it was nice and quiet! Our hotel was right on Seven Mile Beach, so we were able to walk to lots of restaurants enjoy lots of beautiful Carribean sunsets.

One day we felt really adventurous so we took a catamaran snorkeling trip and got to see a ship wreck and some beautiful coral reef. I'm a certified diver, but due to some current health issues I had to stay above the surface. It was still neat to see everything below! There were only 4 other people on the boat with us and the captain seemed a little annoyed with his crew so he let David drive for a while. ;) That was about all that happened on our big adventure day.

We rented a car (let's talk about how fun it is to drive on the left-hand side of the road while also maneuvering round-a-bouts!) so one day we drove around the entire island. It actually took a long time considering it was an island. We headed out to a place called Rum Point and Starfish Point. Neither of us had rum at Rum Point or saw any starfish at Starfish Point. Oh well, still lovely to see!

The rest of our time was spent in a somewhat vegetative state on the beach. It's amazing how listening to the ocean waves 8 hours a day an change your whole mentality! We literally spent all day reading, napping, floating in the calmest and clearest water I've ever seen, and taking long walks on the beach and enjoying the sunshine together.

To be perfectly honest, I'm still struggling to adjust back to life at home where everything feels so fast paced and stressful. I just feel all outta sorts, ya know? I don't even feel like I can write a proper blog post, this one feels so choppy. Blech. For real though, I'm happy to be home, but I definitely feel overwhelmed by being back in reality. Taking a 2 week vacation in the middle of wedding season wasn't my brightest idea. I came home to about 350 emails and roughly 15,000 photos to be edited. Thankfully once next week is over (5 weddings in one week for my company. Eeek!) things will slow way down and my off-season will begin. Until then, I'll just be scrolling through our photos of Grand Cayman, pretending that I'm sitting on a beach listening to the ocean waves.

(Considering I'm operating at about 23% mental capacity right now, I don't have the energy to deal with Blogger's photo formatting issues. Sorry the photos aren't aligning properly!)




 I found my one shoulder dress! It was ridiculously short for my comfort level, so I wore it with leggings. Still a win!
 The best part was celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary together. We went to the BEST oceanfront restaurant, Lucca, which was a 10 minute stroll down the beach from our hotel. We ate lobster and steak and some yummy lemon dessert stuff. It was a great way to spend our anniversary! Marriage just seems to get sweeter as the years go by. I absolutely adore this man, I can't imagine life without him! I think it's pretty awesome that we can travel for 2 weeks together and be by each other's side 24 hours a day without wanting to strangle each other haha! God sure did bless me with a great travel partner!
Always the adventure seeker....

 Rum Point had a fun sign about all the different hurricanes that came close or hit the island






 David sailing our catamaran. I think he was tempted to head towards Jamaica :)
Hahahah, the most random snorkeling selfie ever. I promise we didn't mean to take this picture, but I like how it turned out!




August 19, 2014

Paradise Essentials

Again, if you're prone to jealousy, this might not be the post for you! Just sayin....

With our Cayman Island vacation just 9 days away, I'm in full on prep mode. I wish I could just be one of those people who was like "oh yeah, I guess we're leaving for vacation tomorrow. I suppose I should pack." Yeah, that's not me. Maybe it's watching too many episodes of the Bachelorette (or most recently, Bachelor in Paradise...what a train wreck of a show, but I'm hooked!), but I find myself wanting new outfits, special sunscreen, handpicked books and magazines (and lots of them!), some perfectly pink lip gloss and of course, a sunhat to protect me from evil sun rays. I've been diligently saving our pennies to fund our pina colada obsession and I'm currently researching all the restaurants on Grand Cayman so I can make reservations for our evenings out. Our 1:20am flight next Thursday will be here before we know it!

A few of my favorite finds for our trip...

1. Sunscreen. You know me and my abhorrence for animal testing, so finding some cruelty free sunblock was a high priority. After lots of research, I actually felt pretty bummed at the lack of options. They're out there, but you gotta hunt! Sadly Banana Boat & Coppertone, Neutrogena and Aveeno, some of the top brands for sunblock, all test on animals (ie. they force sunblock into bunnies eyes to see how long it takes for them to go blind. How nice!). So those were immediately crossed off my list. Eventually, I landed on these options which are easily available at most stores: No-Ad, Kiss My Face, Up&Up (Target's generic brand), Alba Botanica, Ocean Potion, and Hawaiian Tropic (I'm 95% sure). I bought a bunch of all of them. No-Ad is the most economical because the bottles are enormous! If you want something that's really kind to your face and has some anti-aging magic in it, Supergoop and Coola are also amazing!

2. Flip-flops. You've got to have some awesome flip-flops for paradise! My favorite find were these bad boys. I loooove the cork and gold detail, so fun! Mine are black, but you get the idea....
3. Ocean floats. I went to the Cayman Islands when I was a kid and I remember seeing all these people floating around in the ocean on little rafts. I was so jealous, I wanted to do that! The Caribbean Sea around Cayman is so crystal clear, so calm and so blue, it's like you've got a warm pool to float around in all day. Assuming the weather cooperates and the tide is calm, we'll be floating around in something like these. I found some blow-up ones that pack down pretty tightly into our suitcases.
4. GoPro. Thankfully, I was able to expense this bad boy to my photography business, I even used it at my last wedding! We may do some reef diving while we're in Grand Cayman, and we thought it would be a pretty cool way to document our underwater adventures! Thankfully, the GoPro comes with waterproof housing, so you can take it with you underwater to take pictures and video of the beautiful fish and coral. I don't think I'm going to be taking along my professional camera gear since I'm scared of getting sand or salt water in the sensor, so the GoPro and our point-and-shoot will have to do!
5. Bikinis. Ok, confession time.....I've lost 20ish pounds in the last year. I've worked really hard, stayed very committed and I'm finally for the first time in 7 years, comfortable in my skin. Even then, it was only at the urging of my sister, that I decided to upgrade my swimwear. I don't know what my original plan was, considering I only have one hideous tankini. I guess I thought I'd just wear t-shirts or something? Who knows, the point is I got some cute bikinis. For bikini standards, they're modest and I got them all on sale, so that helps too!
6. Clothes. With my weight loss came the realization that none of my clothes fit me anymore (in a good way haha!). My precious husband has been so good to me, he urges me practically every week to go shopping for some new summer clothes. I've finally given in and bought some shorts, jeans, a few dresses and some cute shirts too. I'm still on the hunt for a particular one shoulder dress, so if you know where to find something like this bad boy, let me know! Oh, and preferable not $500 ;)
7. Good reads. My in-laws are such a blessing to us in so many ways. But one of my favorites ways is that they pass along good reading material to us. They keep us well supplied with good books and magazines. They have about 7 dozen (ok, I might be exaggerating a little) free magazine subscriptions, which they get each month, which they graciously pass along to us. I've been hoarding copies of Southern Living, Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living for weeks now. Combined with a few fruitful trips to the library, I'm set for 2 weeks of reading on the beach!
8. Booze. Last but not least right?! ;) Soooo the Cayman Islands aren't exactly cheap when it comes to eating out. For all the money I saved on airfare, I will surely make up for in buying cute little drinks with paper umbrellas in them. The currency exchange rate is not great, $1US=.85 in Cayman currency. So a mojito is like $14. For real. Needless to say, David and I will be stopping at the duty-free shop in Miami to stock up on tequila and Malibu rum :)

I might sneak in another post before we leave, but if not...I'm sure I'll plenty of pictures to share when I get back! So weird that we're leaving in summer and when we get home, it will be fall :)

August 11, 2014

Spontaneous Joy

We are fresh off one of our best weekends of the summer!

I'm the least spontaneous person that ever lived. It's so hard for me to roll with last minute invites, cancellations or quick ideas. I need a solid 24 hours to think about things. So when my friend Jenn sent me a last minute text to come hang out Friday night at their fire pit, it took me a minute to get on board. David and I had both had looong weeks and we were just starting to unwind. Turns out, accepting their invite was a GREAT idea. We relaxed all night (when I say all night, I mean aaaaallll night. We went to bed at 3am haha!) with our sweet friends, talking about life and drinking wine. It was perfect! And can I just say that I love that these friends happen to have 4 children, but are so incredibly faithful to continue reaching out to David and I to build and maintain our friendship. In the midst of us navigating how so many of our friendships seem to have changed recently, these guys most certainly will never sail away from us, and I'm so grateful for them!

Saturday, we were supposed to head to Copper with another couple so we could spent the weekend together. We had reserved a 2 bedroom condo for the weekend so the boys could hike a 14er while the ladies spent the day in Breckenridge. But at the last minute, our friends cancelled on us and we were left wondering what in the world we were going to do. David lost his hiking partner and we were both feeling a bit lost as to what to do. We had already paid to upgrade our condo and there were no refunds, so we decided to just roll with it. It dawned on me that it was my sister and brother in-law's one year wedding anniversary this weekend, so I thought they might like to escape to the mountains to celebrate. Thankfully, they accepted the invite and we spent an awesome weekend with them!

Sunday, we rolled out of bed and strolled Copper Village. Grabbed coffee and breakfast while soaking in the mountain air and sunshine.

View from our balcony
 Haha, I made my sister and her husband get in this giant chair for an anniversary picture ;)
 While my sister and brother in-law hiked, David and I took the chairlift to the top of the mountain. We wandered into this beautiful field of wildflowers and decided we should probably just sit in the middle of them and soak in the beauty. We didn't move for a loooong time. Just enjoyed the beauty.

We headed back down the mountain with no clue what our plans were. And then we stumbled upon an awesome concert and so we spent the entire afternoon relaxing on a patio and listening some awesome music in the village. I can honestly say it was the most relaxed I've been all summer! David and I both enjoyed it so much, neither of us wanted to leave. Yay for spontaneously enjoying good music!
 
Eventually we had to leave our little slice of free music heaven. Somewhere amid all our fun this weekend, I also managed to photograph a wedding and an elopement, so duty called and we left the concert so I could run around the mountains with my clients. David fished while I worked, so he had a pretty good evening too!
This was where I took bride&groom portraits...crazy beautiful 
Seriously!!! How incredible would this be as the backdrop to your wedding photos?! Hands down, some of my favorite pictures I've taken. I'm a lucky girl to get paid to take pretty pictures in places like this! It's a little bit ridiculous.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend thanks to our ability to throw plans out the window and be spontaneous. Rolling with unexpected punches, while really hard for me to do, often has pretty big payoffs. I loved getting to spend time with my sister and brother in-law and I really loved my time with David. This weekend was proof that I need to try to be more open to last minute changes, because who knows what lies on the other side of saying yes! This weekend was full of joy I didn't expect, spontaneous, family-filled, laughter-filled, beautiful, amazing joy.

August 3, 2014

This & That


  • I feel a little bit bad posting this. Because I know it's going to make you jealous. And I don't want that for you. If you're prone to jealousy, read no further... here goes....we booked our 8th anniversary vacation to....the Cayman Islands!!!!! We're going for almost 2 weeks (yes, you read that correctly). And. I. cannot. wait. Our last 2 anniversaries didn't go as planned. Emergency surgery and job loss has a way of throwing a wrench into vacation plans, so we're kinda making up for lost time with this vacation. We knew we wanted the Caribbean. We knew we didn't want all-inclusive this time (our typical go-to). And we knew we wanted a killer beach. I looked into everything from the Virgin Islands and Jamaica to going back to Aruba or Cuacao. But when I found round-trip tickets from Denver to Grand Cayman for $350, I couldn't resist. T-minus 4 weeks until I'm sitting on 7 Mile Beach with a pina colada in my hand. Lord willing, of course. I've learned to hold my travel plans very very loosely. 

  • Netflix is going to become the death of me. David and I pretty much use it exclusively to watch TV series that we can't watch on tv because we don't have cable. I'm getting sucked into sooooo many good shows! Most recently, we binge watched our way through the first 4 seasons of Downton Abbey. Holy cow I'm hooked on that smug little English family. And now I'm stuck waiting until January for season 5 to come on TV! I suppose I should be grateful I at least get PBS and can watch it on TV though. The rest of the shows I'm hooked on are all HBO or Netflex Original Series: True Detective, Orange is the New Black, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland and House of Cards (oh. my. goodness. House of Cards is quite possibly the best show I've ever watched). It's getting out of control.  
  • This summer I got talked into participating in something called No Junk June & July. I think it started with my brother in-laws work. It was a challenge he decided to participate in and he extended the invite to David and I. Essentially you sign a contract that you won't eat any junk during the 2 months. You can outline the specific things you want to abstain from like alcohol, sugar or fast food. And if you fail, you owe your buddy some money. I decided to cut out sugar because it had a pretty strong hold on me. I have noticed a decreased craving for sugar, which is really nice! I would crave dessert every evening after dinner and now, my sugar cravings have decreased. I've found that I'm satisfied with a simple cup of tea instead. Now I would just like to say, I'm really happy it's August (she says, eating a chocolate chip cookie...)
  • I'm debating whether or not I should another audit class at Seminary this fall. I really really want to. The trouble is, fall semester starts in like 2 weeks, which is still in the middle of my wedding season and it feels like I might be biting off more than I can chew. Plus, the class I'm interested in is a night class and goes from 6:30-9:30pm, meaning I wouldn't get home until close to 11pm. Lord knows I put David through a lot of late nights while I was in grad school and I kinda don't want to do that to him again! I still have a little time to think about it...
  • Speaking of fall....it's almost here! I love August so much, because it means fall begins next month. YES!!!! And football season is finally here! YESSSS!!! The Broncos first preseason game is this week already! Why oh why does it have to be against the Seahawks though?! As if the memory of losing the Super Bowl to them isn't still fresh in my mind...gah! Oh well, hopefully we'll crush them in the preseason game and it will give us a big boost of confidence :) Oh fall, you can't come soon enough...

August 1, 2014

Decoration Procrastination


Remember that one time, back in April, when we sold our coffee table and end tables? Yeah....about that....3 months later and still no tables. My sweet husband is so patient with me. Every so often, as he sets his beer on the floor next to his chair, he'd gently say "soooo, how's the progress on furniture going?" and I'll fly off the handle and rattle off like 85 furniture stores I went to that week which had nothing to offer and make some comment about my current abhorrence that my town doesn't have a Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware or West Elm (ha! as if we could afford that stuff! I digress....). 

There were just so many options! Seriously. So many options. Did I want distressed wood? Barnwood? Matching tables? Mismatching? From Etsy? Or a locally sourced pine table made in my town by a carpenter? Dark wood? Light wood? Drawers? Shelf? No shelf? Do you see what I had to deal with? It was like a whirlwind of unknown in my mind whenever I thought about our coffee table situation.

But I have good news! I came to the end of my ridiculous decorating procrastination. We finally bought a coffee table. Praise the Lord! My lack of ability to make a decision when it comes to furniture means that occasionally I just give up and spontaneously make a purchase. And so we did.

We got a screaming deal on a 3 table set that we just couldn't pass up. So we are now the proud owners of a coffee table and 2 matching end tables. How's that for living on the edge? All that frantic stress and we end up with something so simple.

Speaking of procrastination.... Remember that one time when I thought I would turn our spare room into a guest room? Yeah...that was like 18 months ago perhaps? Well I fiiiiinally got around to finishing it too. Look at me go! 

This poor room sat there empty and dull forever, just a lonely bed in an empty room. We have even had guests stay with us and still, I couldn't bring myself to make a decision about how to decorate. But I finally got over my angst. A few trips to Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target later, bam! Guest room finished. There are still a few things I'd like to do (one more canvas and some curtains perhaps), but for the most part it's done. Yay for finishing things! 


 
 
And now to finally tackle our master bedroom. We've only slept in that room for the last 3.5 years with only one photo hanging on the wall...what's another year that we wait before I finally spur myself into decorating action? :)

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Hi friends, my name is Becky and this is my journey through running a photography business, being a loving wife, 4+ years infertility, traveling and adventuring with my dear husband, following hard after Jesus and seeking out joy in every area of my life. I'm glad you're here!

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