Travel

NASHVILLE, TN /// NEW ORLEANS, LA /// MARFA, TX /// ROADTRIP

this past march, my and my sister, aubrey, drove from michigan to california and took the very long scenic route. a drive that typically takes us 3 days, we stretched to 5 days and planned to stop in nashville, new orleans, austin, and marfa. we only had a few hours in each city before we had to start driving again, but it was such a magical little trip. nashville in the rain was perfect. riding bikes through the streets of new orleans was a highlight. we met up and thrifted with our friend, alexis, in austin. and we finished up an amazing trip by catching the sunset in marfa. for anyone interested in our city recommendations, here's a little list:

NASHVILLE, TN
coffee: barista parlor
lunch: pinewood social
thrift: thriftsmart, unique thrift store

NEW ORLEANS, LA
stay: the drifter hotel
bikes: blue bikes
tacos: felipe's mexican taqueria
shop: blue dream, thrift city usa

AUSTIN, TX
coffee: jo's coffee
shop: austin motel, passport vintage

MARFA, TX
stay: el cosmico
eat: al campo

BIG SUR /// CAMPING WITH MY PAL, JENNA

Big Sur is such a healing place. Void of billboards, politics, cell phone service, and anger. You're forced to use a map to find where you want to go and life just feels simple there. It always helps me to step out of the stress, chaos, and anxiety in my daily life and it reminds me who I really am deep down. 

Every time I'm in in Big Sur, I'm reminded that someday I want to get married here. I want 20-30 of my closest friends and family to experience this magical place with me. I want a weekend together filled with hikes, good food, and laughter. That being said, i'm not even close to getting married, so that's all just a dream for now.

A few months ago I went to Big Sur with my friend, Jenna. We slept in my Subaru Outback and it poured the whole time. We fell asleep to the rain hitting the top of my car. We listened to inspiring podcasts together, talked about our goals and dreams, and hiked to an amazing waterfall deep into the woods. Our shoes were soaking wet at the end of the trip, but I drove home with new life in me. Here are a few photos from that trip.

2016 FAVORITES

2016. glad it happened. glad it's over. thank you to all of my amazing clients, i love y'all so much!

NOT FROM AROUND HERE

sidney had texted me one day, "hey, do you want to go on a road trip with me and 2 other girls?" i had no other information, but i said yes. and it was going to begin the day after i moved out to california. i had slept 1 day at my new house and i was already off on an adventure with 2 girls i had just met and sidney, who i hadn't known super well at that point. i was nervous. being an introvert, i couldn't believe i was going to spend 3 weeks with 3 girls i hardly knew.

saying yes to that was the best thing i might've ever done in my life. those 3 weeks on the road changed me. those girls changed me. i consider them some of my best friends now. not only did i get to see so many beautiful places, but i learned so much. about myself, about how to overcome complications (like van problems and sliding down an icy hill at 180 degrees and some more van problems), about sharing your story with others, and about saying yes.

i can't believe the people we met along the way. adventurers, locals, other van owners, old friends, grandparents, family members. the kindness of others is the biggest thing i took away from this trip. people willing to share their homes so we don't have to sleep in the van when it's 20 degrees outside. people who baked us cookies. people who stopped to see if we were okay when we parked our van on the side of the road to check instagram (lol). people who helped us blow up our tires. people who stopped to see if we were okay when we were sliding down the icy hill (okay, mostly he just watched us slide). people who helped us start fires when we couldn't and were starving and just wanted some spaghetti-o's. people who just simply sat with us and told us their stories. i just couldn't believe it. people are good.

i took gopro videos throughout the whole trip and made them into this little video. this trip was the best thing i could've done for myself and i miss those girls like crazy.

AUBREY /// JOSHUA TREE DESERT

my little sis drove across the country with me when i moved to LA. we decided to stop in joshua tree to hang out and take a few promo shots of a dress that she made. if y'all don't know it yet, my sister is extremely talented at dress making. she's only a young 17 year old and she's selling her dresses in stores and taking commissions. she's the real deal and so are her dresses. if you'd like to buy one, email her at aubreyvanvels@gmail.com.

p.s. if you'd like to see more photos and funny gopro videos from our trip together, click here.

*only the black and gold polka dotted dress is her design.

FAVORITES OF 2014

2014 was a transition year for me. i spent a lot of time figuring out who i wanted to be and what kind of life i wanted. which eventually lead to the biggest change of all...moving to california. most of this year was spent in temporary living situations. i even spent 3 weeks living in a VW vanagon and maybe spent a few nights in my car. but it was all worth it. this past year gave me a clearer vision of the kind of life that i want to live and i think 2015 will be about working towards that life. i'm so excited for whatever 2015 brings my way.

that being said, 2014 was definitely the most adventurous and fun year of my life. i've seen more new places that i can count, visited cities i've never even heard of, made so many new friends, got out of my comfort zone, and had the craziest adventures. almost all of those adventures involved photography and i'm so thankful for that. i can't say it enough, how thankful i am for the people that hire me. they take me to new places and let me do what i love for a living.

despite living in california, a huge part of my heart is still in michigan and i'm planning on spending most of the summer there, so if you're thinking of booking me for your wedding, don't hesitate! no travel fees included! i'm so excited for the weddings and sessions booked so far and all the places they're taking me. 2015 is going to be one heck of a year! and i'd love for you to be a part of it!