Travel

Isle of Skye Road Trip | Scotland

When I’m with you, I’m home.

My boyfriend, Ross (who has the kindest heart and is the loveliest human I have ever had the privilege of knowing and loving) and I travel back and forth between our two cities regularly every few months. He is Scottish and lives in the beautiful historic city of Edinburgh and I am an American who lives in the stunningly modern city of Chicago.
With that said, when I visit Scotland, we road trip, multiple times a month when I’m in the country. Sometimes our travels consist of weekend flights to nearby countries (well relatively, to me) to France or to Ireland, sometimes we do long weekends away in the Highlands (the most consistent and always regular, to explore Scotland’s beautiful countryside), other times it’s day trips that we can take around the coast in the middle of Scotland.
However, of all of our trips we’ve taken together, we don’t go for the purpose of shooting but to just spend time together in new places, which is why this is the first post I’ve taken enough on my camera to share. I love capturing the land, but more so just seeing it with my eyes, in general, since I never grew up or experienced much of the outdoors as a child, and Ross…well he grew up in Scotland and was practically raised outdoors and would hike and be in nature with his family constantly. This blog post is a simple look into one of our many road trips taken together over the last few years. I also wanted to show some lovely scenes from a country that I currently spend half of my time living in and that I’ve fallen in love with over the last few years. I just love it. Although, I definitely don’t need to sell the majestic beauty of this place with my words, which I couldn’t do if I tried, so enjoy the images below. And if you haven’t yet, I highly suggest visiting Scotland. Just driving anywhere north in the country is beautiful, no location tag needed. It’s truly a beautiful land.

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Ross is featured in this edition of Rucksack Magazine.

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We never go on a trip without an Aeropress and a bag of local whole bean coffee.

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We like crosswords + breakfast bagels.

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The two above images were taken 2 minutes in between each other. This is Scottish weather at it’s finest.

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We’re not super into the “tripod and formal pictures” being taken of us, but when it started pouring rain we ran to the overhang of this house for a bit and I saw our reflection when I was looking too hard inside the windows, ha. Thankfully, no one was home.

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We stop at many small inns for soup + hot drinks on our road trips.

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Porteous Studio | Edinburgh, Scotland

Watch carefully the magic that occurs
when you give a person enough comfort
to just be themselves. - Atticus

Eilidh and Jack, of Izat Irundell, are the beautiful humans who created this serene and cozy space, quietly located in the center of Edinburgh. Its name is Porteous Studio. It encompasses who they both are and was their first project working together as a couple. I truly appreciate the thoughtful details they included, from the local coffee beans in the cupboard to the custom furniture that was commissioned for the space. The textured design, the clean lines and the calming color palette all contribute to the experience of a stay at Porteous Studio. I’m so grateful to have spent a few days here and can’t wait for my next retreat in this beautifully designed getaway, nestled in the heart of my second home.

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photography Melody Joy Co. | oak screens  @56northkitchens  | brass object @fionadeanartist  | linen print @hayleymccrirrick | textured walls @clayworksclayplasters  | clay pots @_rebeccaproctor  | sofa @namongaston | toiletries Aēsop Skincare | coffee table read Rucksack Magazine | that delicious carrot cake | Love Crumbs

Iceland Vow Renewal | Anastasia + Felix

Anastasia and Felix had me document their wedding photos in Iceland... just three years after they were married.
Their story moved me so much. 

This is a "renewal of love" that is pretty unique and beautiful.

Not filled with a lot of detail, but a lot of love. 
 

Anastasia and Felix are an endearing, entrepreneurial and charming Ukrainian couple who had to flee their hometown just two days after their wedding because of a war breaking out. Their photographer had decided to leave their city a week earlier, so there were no official images on their wedding day. In circumstances like that, photos seem a bit trivial. 

It was my honor to document their love on a very special trip to Iceland after years of them not even thinking of professional wedding photos during these transitional years of settling into their new home and lives. My favorite part of the trip was just spending our days and endless hours with them in the car just enjoying ourselves and the beautiful views. 

We discovered a favorite stop along our route for soup, hot dogs and coffee. And after endless days of them speaking amongst each other, I definitely want to learn how to speak Russian. I also learned that we peel potatoes differently, ha, and that we share a love for any type of board game. 

We ended up extending our stay with them at an Airbnb in Reykjavik on our last night (after a hilarious balloon-animal-making, taco-eating, and local-cat-stalking adventure) and playing this game called "keep talking and nobody explodes." It's an online game and everyone should definitely go play it with some friends today. 

All of this to say, the images below are beautiful moments from the trip, but nothing is more beautiful than truly enjoying the company you are in, in person and not in front of a camera. 

I've learned that my favorite moments with the ones I love from the last few years have not been documented, because I'm too busy enjoying them in person, and I love how special that is between the individuals that are there in those moments. 

Cheers to many more beautiful adventures together, Anastasia + Felix! 

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Ruth + Mark | Isle of Skye

Ever since being introduced to Ruth (thanks Ian!) I knew she would become a close friend of mine. I appreciate her kindness, hospitality and just overall genuine personality. She is a gem and a firecracker at the same time. I was so grateful to spend this past weekend capturing Ruth and Mark's engagement photos on the Isle of Skye, where Ruth grew up. She had plenty of hikes lined up and plenty of food and drink to satisfy an army. Ruth's grandma also contributed with delicious homemade food multiple times, so I now know where she gets it from! 

Anyways, enjoy these images of our weekend...and always remember..."a couple that lunges together, stays together!" (see second to last image)

If you'd like me to come with you for an engagement or elopement weekend, contact me and we can work something out! 

Iceland | A 36-Hour Layover on a Budget.

Iceland is a unique beauty.

Let me start by saying that if you can afford to stay for longer, I would highly recommend it. Iceland has endless sights to see, mountains to hike, beaches to stroll on and waterfalls to climb to the top of. This post is just geared towards those traveling from the States (Chicago) to Europe with a long layover (like I did), or those wanting a little taste of Iceland on a limited budget.

First, I flew with WOW Air. It was not sponsored at all. It's just a really good airline; new planes, friendly staff, new seats and the best prices around. $370 round-trip is the average price. Sometimes less! You just need to bring your own snacks and entertainment with you. For example, I edited on my computer and played games on my phone the entire time (when I wasn't sleeping). I'm very much into puzzle or problem-solving games where you can race against a clock. So it was between Sudoku, Crosswords, Unblock Me, Flow, and a new game I just started playing on plane rides called Disney Emoji Blitz (thanks to going to Disney a few weeks ago and my friends playing it constantly while waiting in line for the new Pandora ride at Animal Kingdom).    

And for packing, make sure to just put your clothes in with your camera bag because it's cheapest to have only one bag with you on WOW air. Your jacket, jeans and boots are all that are needed daily and can stay the same. Just switch up the undergarments, sweaters, scarf, tees and beanies for different looks. And basic knowledge...always wear your chunkiest jackets and shoes when flying if you must pack multiple. And don't forget a swimsuit and a towel! 

When I arrived in Iceland, Ross met me at the airport. His flight to Iceland from Scotland was even cheaper with WOW Air than mine was. Then we both flew back with EasyJet, which is another very inexpensive airline to cheaply travel around Europe.  

From the airport you must either take a bus to Reykjavik to hire a rental car, or just hire one from a closer rental company. The bus could be the price of one day of a rental car, so go with something near the airport. They all usually have shuttle services even if they aren't located directly in the airport, but nearby. Lagoon Car Rental was who we went with. They have such a wide range of vehicles for different price ranges. They have an airport pick-up service with someone waiting for you when you arrive with their logo on it. Like anything, the more people you go with, splitting a rental really helps cut down on costs. Another fun fact is that Lagoon Car Rental cars come with a wireless router for you to have internet on your travels. I never needed to use it though, because one... I was barely on my phone in the short amount of time I had to cherish the scenery, but two... I have T-mobile and I had fast 3G data the entire time I was roaming around iceland at NO extra charge (and every country I've been to thus far). So good job, T-mobile! It is seriously the best phone company for those who travel often, for work or for pleasure. (not sponsored...I've been with my family using T-mobile since I had my first phone with the Snake game on it and the t-9 buttons were memorized when I was 14).

For lodging, go with a rental that has seats that can lay down, or a tent attachment that comes with it. This will also save you from any additional lodging expenses and give you the freedom to park your vehicle anywhere (legally, of course) to wake up to the most beautiful views. You can also just drive through the night to see as much of the scenery as possible and keep switching drivers if you have an automatic (so you both can drive and rest equally).

For food, we headed to a local grocery store in Reykjavik for a ramen-like meal for dinner and oatmeal for breakfast. Both meals you just had to add hot water to, and it was the perfect amount of food. And from the plane experience, we already had plenty of granola and cereal bars in our bags as snacks. Ross brought the pot to boil water and we needed to find a small gas canister to heat up the local water you use or the large bottle of water you buy. One of the locals who worked at the tourist office told us to just go to a hostel or hotel and ask for one because tourists leave them half-full, since they can't bring them on planes. So you can start there to save a few dollars... or you can just buy one to save time. They really are not too pricey and the grocery store and camping store are both walking distance from Reykjavik Coffee Roasters (the original location), which is where we grabbed two cappuccinos before setting off on our long and beautiful drive across the south side of the country. 

For coffee breaks, we also brought an Aeropress so we could have some of our friend's coffee (locally roasted in Edinburgh), called Obadiah. And let me tell you, no coffee tastes better freshly ground on a cold morning in front of the bluest icebergs I've ever seen. 

Also, for anyone wanting to go to the Blue Lagoon, unless you are going on your honeymoon, it can be fairly pricey for the average traveler, so bring some all natural or organic face masks and enjoy them while soaking in one of the natural hot springs all over Iceland... for free. The views are all stunning at the hot spring locations that I've seen, and you'll be surrounded by way less people. And in some locations you will have the hot spring all to yourself! 

The main highway is the route we took in the southern region, as there are plenty of sights right near the road to maximize your time if you don't have very long. We were able to visit all of the places in the images below with under 24 hours of daylight and driving in the dark during the other hours. And it was all worth it.

I can't wait to go back and properly explore some more. So if you only have a little bit of time or a small budget... you can definitely visit Iceland! 

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Can you find the little yellow jacket roaming around? This waterfall was huge.

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That pipe on the bottom left is what heated the hot spring, as well as a light hot stream running off the mountain to the left into the pool. This pool is more warm than hot...unless you hang out by the pipe...like me. :)

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We, or I should say Ross, drove throughout the night for hours through intense wind and rain. It was worth it to see this as daylight arose. location - Jökulsárlón

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This sweater from Romwe definitely fit the surrounding. The color fit the natural tones landscapes, and the warmth was just enough to not need a jacket during midday. The lines on the sleeves are my favorite part. Buy here!

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Also, some may be amazed or not surprised, but the image above and the two images below this text were all taken by me standing in the same exact spot and just turning from side to side. location - Dyrhólaey

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Just remember, when getting close to Skógafoss, the smallest gust of wind will have your whole body soaking wet. And you will have to change and your hair will be drenched like you just hopped out of the shower. Memories. So only get super close if you have a change of clothes.

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Below is my "what would people on ANTM do" faces. Probably missed the mark, but the sunset on the black sand beach was the most beautiful one I've ever seen. 

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A Hike In the Dolomites | Val Di Fassa, Italia

Everyone should visit Val Di Fassa, Italy. The area is one of the world's best ski-resort towns and has the most epic views from every vantage point. The gang and I went on a couple-hour hike in the mountains and the views were stunning. My favorite part was coming across an abandoned hotel. It was beautiful. There were a couple of abandoned cabins around as well. I absolutely loved these few hours of my life. Below are some snapshots of the hike. I also wore snowshoes for the first time. They are very practical for not sliding off the edge of a cliff on a small path. Highly recommend them for any hikes in the snow. Enjoy! 

Also, if anyone wants to do a styled shoot at this hotel....let me know! I would easily fly back! 

Thank you @visitvaldifassa, for such a beautiful experience! 

The Not So Green, Greenland.

There was really no idea in my head of how Greenland was going to look. Since I was a child I had always heard that the country was huge, cold, and "wasn't very Green". All true, but in the most beautiful way. I wouldn't change a thing about Greenland. It is definitely among the most surreal and stunning places I have ever been.  Everywhere we turned there was another iceberg, another glacier, and another epic mountain in the mist. Greenland's landscape is truly a work of art.

First stop. Nuuk, Greenland. 

Amongst the beauty we were not able to just see the land but experience the water and the ice first hand. We slipped on our wetsuits, hopped in the freezing cold waters, and swam to go stand on an iceberg as we waved to fellow crew members on the boat. Afterwards we floated peacefully in the water as we looked at the majestic skies above.

Second Stop. Ilulissat, Greenland. 

Greenland Guides Visit Greenland, Touring Greenland, World of Greenland

Lodging of Greenland.

Touring Greenland Adventure

A beautiful combination of glamping yet being far away from any civilization.

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Hotel Hans Egede

The most colorful and beautiful hotel in the colorful city of Nuuk.

Hotel Arctic

The coziest hotel, where you are surrounded by icebergs and arctic snow dogs right outside of your window. 

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Colorful Nuuk.

Nuuk is the capital city of Greenland, with a population of around 17,000 people. The Visit Greenland headquarters is based here, as it is the largest city in the country. If you are planning a trip to Greenland (which you all should be), then I highly recommend that you contact them or visit their website for inspiration. 

As much as I love the moodier weather and a darker color palette for my images, I absolutely love the pops of color that come from the historic houses that are scattered throughout the city. Each color represented a specific building in the original colony. That palette has now expanded, but you can see only the original colors in the "old town" by the waterfront. 

Below is the stunning cultural center of Nuuk, called Katuaq. It is used to hold concerts, exhibits of local artwork, conferences, and it also serves as the local cinema! In the lobby cafe I was able to try a muskox hotdog and it was amazing. I love hotdogs generally, but this one was one of the best I have ever had. It was amazing to see the distinctive architecture of this center amongst the historic homes that make up this colorful city. 

Up in the Air.

To get to the beautiful and remote country of Greenland you have to fly with Air Greenland. A few years ago I found out that my favorite chocolate chip cookies overseas were the "Maryland" brand, and I was so very happy to see that those were served on all Air Greenland flights. Helicopter tours are popular in Greenland but, to be honest, I can't imagine views better than the ones from the plane rides to and from each city. You fly close enough to the ground where the visibility of the vast ice sheet is so clear on every flight. When you look out the window and see the tiny "ice cubes" below you, it's crazy to think that they could weigh over 100,000 tons. 

These views were so surreal and ones I will never forget.