We joined YouTube! We are so excited to begin sharing more through video and give you guys a different look into our daily lives. Here is a little video from our most recent trip to Seattle. We’re looking forward to sharing more of our travels, clips from around our home, tutorials, and more!
Let us know what you guys wanna see and subscribe to follow along with us. 🙂
Many moons ago, I found myself writing an email to a blogger I admired. I was particularly frustrated with my career at that point, where I worked in education. Why? I can’t really say. I was getting paid well, had a roof over my head, and worked with really kind people who I enjoyed being around. Still something just didn’t feel right. There was a creative void and I didn’t know how to fix it. So, I found my way to my keyboard and poured my heart out. I asked for advice, not on blogging, but how one gained the courage to quit a consistent “9-5” job and trade it in for a place in the creative world, where everything felt like a gamble. I always wanted to pursue the arts: painting, printmaking, photography. Coming from a very traditional family, that wasn’t in the cards, so I followed the path I was put on. There wasn’t much support in the creative realm from those around me, at least not in the sense of making art a career. For leisure it was fine, but not for a “real job”. No way. When I didn’t get a response from that blogger I emailed, not even one line of encouragement, I couldn’t help but take it personally. It may sound silly, and maybe looking back it was, but it was the truth. I moved on with my job, we got married, and we continued to create art together on the side: painting and making music on weekends.
When we moved to Arizona, that’s when things began to change a bit. We were on our own and found ourselves marching to a different beat. It was one that was familiar, yet tucked away for some time. We starting blogging (or instagramming for that matter), while we were still working in education. We had a desire to share our personal style, our new life in Phoenix, our favorite local spots, and our travels. It was a way we found ourselves connecting with locals in a new-to-us city and a way to share and gain inspiration. When we started blogging three years ago, we never thought it was something that would turn into a career for either of us. Before we dived into the world of social media, we were both big readers of blogs. Everything from fashion to home décor grabbed our attention each morning, over our cups of coffee. We enjoyed getting a peek into the lives of others all across the U.S. Today, we’re happy to be able to create content and share a bit of our own story with others. It felt like a long time coming, but being surrounded by others who yearned for creativity no matter the medium, was really encouraging. We feel extremely lucky to be able to work with brands we love and work in a creative environment together. We are passionate about sharing that in any way we can. Now, ironically enough, we are on the other end of those emails. Very often we receive messages from people who are interested in starting a blog and are looking for some tips or a place to start. We are definitely not pros and are still learning every day, but we’re happy to share some of our essential tools and things we’ve picked up along the way.
WHERE TO START?
We talk about this a lot with friends. Whether you’re looking to start a blog or a printmaking business, having the right tools makes the job a bit easier. Our phones, cameras, back-up batteries, and laptops are always with us. We mentioned a while back that we picked up the new HP Spectre. We’ve been using it for about a month now and brought it with us on our Seattle trip. It’s been great for editing and running multiple programs at once. (Does anyone else have an addiction to opening numerous tabs?) We’re always multi-tasking, and this laptop has held up to it all. It’s lightweight, which makes throwing it in your bag a breeze for editing on the go.
When we started taking photos and sharing them on Instagram way back, we were using a SONY point and shoot, along with our iPhones. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was easy and compact enough for us to snap photos while we were out and about and we had fun with it. In 2014, we started sharing more formal blog posts and shortly after upgraded to a Canon Rebel t5i. It was a great starter camera for us and we find ourselves still using it often as a second camera. It has a touch screen, which makes changing settings and zooming in and out really simple, as it mimics the ease of a smart phone. For quite some time we used the kit lens it came with, before investing in the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4lens. This has to be one of our favorite lenses and we use it for a lot of our blog photos. We recently upgraded our camera body to a Canon 6D, which has a full frame sensor, allowing you to capture more in the shot. We use the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II lens often when traveling as well. You definitely don’t need an expensive camera to blog, but having one that can deliver high quality images that you’re comfortable with is helpful and saves time with editing.
Within the last year we started using Lightroom to edit all of our blog photos. We know, we’re pretty late to the game, right? Well, it’s been a game changer. Lightroom has cut our editing time down in half, by allowing us to edit photos in bulk and create our own filters which is biggg! When we first started using Lightroom, we didn’t really commit to it. It was unfamiliar and using apps on our phones seemed easier. As we began to edit more photos in bulk, Lightroom just made more sense to us, so we gave it another shot. VSCO film pack 01 is our go-to for filters. It has a large array of classic filters that create a clean look. From there we tweak different presets to create the feel we’re going for and save it for future photo sets.
For collages and creating decks, Photoshop is our favorite. You can import product images from websites, remove the background, add text, etc. We mostly use it for gift guide and round-up posts, like this one.
Wordpress has been the platform of choice since the beginning for us. We set up a clean, minimal design with Brandi and her team at Alchemy + Aim and have felt really comfortable with the layout. We’re not too tech savvy when it comes to the backend stuff, like website maintenance, VPS hosting, etc… so having a great team you can count on is important.
SCHEDULING/ORGANIZATION + ADVICE?
Staying organized is something we all struggle with, in every field, at some point or another. There are some weeks where we have all of our blog posts planned out, just waiting to be published. Other posts are a bit more random and personal, with content written the morning of after some caffeine had kicked in. 😉 We brainstorm broad topic ideas on things we’d like to share for the month, such as fall fashion or a new playlist, but always leave room for lifestyle posts and day to day photos. Finding the right balance is something that we are constantly learning and adjusting as we go. In the end, write about and share what you love, be consistent, and be kind. We truly believe that hard work and not being afraid to learn from others are so important. We have been incredibly lucky to meet some truly amazing people through blogging. If you create content that you’re passionate about and proud of, good things will follow. Have fun with it!
Oh man, Seattle! You really took us by surprise. It’s not that we didn’t expect you to be great. We did! We just didn’t expect you to be that great. From the minute we landed at Sea-Tac Airport to our last minute shopping in Ballard, our trip was jam-packed with good times. The weather was perfect, with hints of fall everywhere. We hadn’t walked so much in a long time, and it felt sooooo good to be outside in the fresh air. The best part about this trip was being able to reconnect with our dear friends, Vincent and Cheyanne.Somehow, we always end up meeting with Vincent in random cities (Austin, San Francisco, and now Seattle) and we’re not complaining. It’s always unplanned, but we don’t mind a single bit as we find ourselves laughing nonstop when we’re all together. We were pretty happy to see our fellow Phoenician (now a PNW transplant) Cheyanne, as well. She moved just a few weeks ago, and is still learning the ins and outs of the city herself, so it was a treat to introduce the two and explore all the must-see places on our list.
COFFEE & DRINKS: Elm Coffee Roasters– We didn’t do our usual coffee shop crawl this trip as we tend to do while traveling. Seattle really kept us outdoors most of the time, but we made a few stops into Elm, and enjoyed a cortado and espresso tonic. Starbucks Reserve: Roastery & Tasting Room – It’s described as the “Willy Wonka of coffee” and definitely not the Starbucks you’re thinking of. Upscale décor, premium, limited time coffee blends, and really fun to watch the roasting process on a large scale. So glad we stopped by for a quick drink. Tavern Law– We were looking for a place to grab drinks after a tasty dinner at Oddfellows on our first night in town, and we ended up here. Our bartender, Link, was the nicest guy. We had some great drinks and deep conversations. Milstead & Co. – Our last stop before heading back to Phoenix. We walked here from Gas Works Park and enjoyed some caffeine before our flight.
FOOD: Cafe Flora – This place was just a few steps from our Airbnb. Came here for breakfast a couple times and left extremely full. Great portions, loved their roasted potatoes and eggs. Oddfellows Cafe & Bar – Hits the spot for just about everything you’d want to eat or drink. We came twice for dinner (it was that good) and drinks in our short visit. Wish we had time for a third. Try the “Ode to St. Anne”. Molly Moon’s Ice Cream – vegan ice cream with a bunch of locations scattered around Seattle. Our favorite was the honey lavender flavor. Homegrown – Stopped in to Melrose Market and got some sandwiches at Homegrown. The Chicken Pesto was the remedy to a growling belly. The London Plane – Super photogenic, delicious brunch, and lots of flowers. Loved the Pioneer Square area. Hello Robin – Dessert after dinner at Tallulah’s. Ice cream sammies are great! Tallulah’s – Loved the vibe here and the roasted chicken.
SHOPPING: Moorea Seal – Just a short walk north of Pike Place Market. We were lucky enough to meet Moorea on our visit. She owns and curates this beautiful shop and is such an inspiring woman. Check out her new book,52 Lists for Happiness. Trove Vintage – Curated vintage selection in the Ballard area. We first heard of it from our friends over at Local Wanderer, and we’re glad we took their advice and headed over there. We even scored a retro magazine rack for our (future) house. The Palm Room – Plants everywhere! We were mesmerized by the selection of greenery. Prism – Loved seeing our friends fromBridge & Burnwell represented in this shop in addition to so many other great west coast brands. Glasswing – One of our favorite shops in Seattle. A little bit of everything (with brands like Apolis, Bizu, Ace & Jig, etc.), and a clawfoot tub filled with Aesop goodies. Elliott Bay Book Company – Huge selection of books with two levels, loved the Little Oddfellows Café in the back. Would definitely be our place to unwind if we were locals. Totokaelo – A little pricey, but this place was minimal perfection with quite the shoe selection. Everyday Music – Conveniently located in Capitol Hill. Loved roaming around their large selection of vinyl, cds, and video. I’m sure if we lived in the area, we’d spend all day there. Nube– The perfect place to pick up a souvenir that screams Seattle without those cheesy airport vibes. Cards, bags, candles, and more US made goodies.
SIGHTSEEING: Gas Works Park – It was our last day in town and we couldn’t leave without checking out this park for ourselves. The park was built on an old coal gasification plant site. The weather was a perfect Seattle overcast, and we loved the views of the city from the grassy hills. The Fremont Troll– We finally got to meet The Fremont Troll! Dream come true. 😉 Kerry Park – Before arriving at Kerry Park, we walked over to Molly Moon’s to grab some ice cream to enjoy while watching the sun set over the city. There was a full moon and everyone gathered around with their cameras to capture the shot. This had to be one of our favorite moments from the trip. Volunteer Park Conservatory – We spent an afternoon here with our friend Vincent. The cactus room made us feel right at home. More photos to come! Pike Place Market – We didn’t know whether to put this place in “food”, “drinks”, “shopping”, or “sightseeing”. There is a bit of everything at Pike Place Market, and although it was packed with tourists (including us), it is definitely worth checking out everything going on there. Gold Creek Pond – We raced here before sunset for the incredible views with Vincent and Cheyanne. We were the only people around and it was perfect for a few photos together.
Big thanks to our friends Vincent and Cheyanne for being perfect tour guides, the best dinner dates, and for snapping a few photos of us. Looking forward to the next reunion! 😉
We never thought we’d be frequent flyers. We used to watch Up in the Air and think George Clooney made it look so cool, but we were the frantic ones showing up to the airport late, not being able to get our boots off, then getting on the plane and feeling restless. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Most of that has changed. We really picked up our travel game this past year. We’ve averaged about one trip per month and although we are definitely not as cool as Clooney, we are heading in the right direction. Showing up at the airport now feels very comfortable. We know exactly where to check in and about how much time we need to get through security and we usually find ourselves at the gate with a little bit of time to spare. (Who would have guessed it?!) We still get sweaty palms as we take off, but after that we sit back and enjoy the flight.
We have learned to embrace the time we have in the air, with a few tricks we picked up along the way to make flying much smoother, i.e. always carry on when possible, dress in layers, wear easy slip-on shoes, bring headphones to pass the time on the flight. We recently partnered with Delta on our trip to Seattle. It was our first flight in a few months and we soaked in the quiet three hour trip, with lots of cookies and movies. Usually we find ourselves using flights as time to catch up on emails, edit photos, etc., but this time around it was nice to unwind and take advantage of Delta’s New Free In-Flight Entertainment. It’s pretty cool that they’re now offering movies and TV episodes directly on your phones and laptops. We split our time between When Harry Met Sally and catching up on old Veep episodes.
We’re looking forward to a few more trips in the upcoming months, before the rush of the holidays. We’re dreaming of colorful leaves and possibly some snow. We’ll see where the road, or sky, takes us.
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Thank you to Delta for partnering on this post. As always all opinions and thoughts are our own.
We’ve been home from Tucson for about 24 hours and soon will be boarding a flight to Seattle, for a mix of work of leisure. We have been wanting to visit the city for so many years now, and are so excited to finally be taking a trip. It was a little last minute and unexpected, but sometimes that’s the best way to travel. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling my prone-to-planning self.) We will be shooting some fun content, along with seeing some friends while we’re there. It’s amazing how blogging and photography has brought us close to so many kind and talented people, that we might have otherwise never met. We’re looking forward to catching up with those we’ve missed and exploring the city.
Any Seattle recommendations? Food, shops, sightseeing? Please share them with us!
We’ll be sharing bits and pieces of the trip on Instagram while we’re away, if you’d like to follow along. Also, poll time…IG stories or Snapchat? Now that some time has passed with the IG update, what’s everyone feeling?
Last fall we took a road trip to Nashville and along the way we discovered so many amazing companies, one of them being Nisolo. We fell in love with their bright minimal showroom and couldn’t help but leave with a few pairs of boots and oxfords in tow. We were visiting right around the time of the release of their Lockwood boot, and we were instantly hooked. (You also might have seen their Ecuador sandal pop up in our feed quite often…when we love a brand, we clearly go all in. 😉 ) They’ve become one of those companies that we’re always checking in on and seeing what new arrivals pop up in their shop. Their style is classic yet effortless, which is really important to us when investing in quality pieces that will last for years to come.
They recently launched their new travel collection, which we’re pretty excited about. As fall draws closer we’re beginning to plan a few trips. This weekend we’re heading south for a little staycation in Tucson (we were just there on Monday for a fun shoot in the mountains and the weather was pretty heavenly; hello 30 degree temperature difference!), and we’re looking forward to putting these beauties to good use. The collection currently consists of four pieces: the Durango Dopp Kit (perfect for toiletries and all those odds & ends), the Veracruz Pouch (such a great size for cosmetics, or even as a clutch with your phone and planner), the Cordoba backpack (the prettiest backpack for any adventure), and the Leon Weekender (this fits it all!). Take a peek below at we packed for our weekend getaway with the new collection.
Follow along on snapchat and Instagram this weekend to see what we’re up to in Tucson. 🙂
Happy Friday everyone!Aviate PHX hat | Lack of Color hat | Striped tank and necklace c/o Moorea Seal | Urban Outfitters jeans
Next month my little sister (who’s not so little anymore) will be graduating from cosmetology school. That in itself blows our minds, because when Rob and I started dating, she was only eight years old and we were celebrating her birthday at Adventureland. Crazzzzy, but anyway… We recently had a conversation that got us thinking about our paths in life…school, work, goals…all the big stuff you think about or are forced to think about when you reach a new chapter or stage in your life. There’s so much stress and worry around living and your lifestyle. Like many middle class suburban families, our parents instilled in us at an early age a certain check list of sorts: go to school, get your degree, get a good paying job, get married, buy a house, have children… You can kind of see where we’re going with this. For some people, that works and for others, it doesn’t. My mother has shared stories with me about how she wanted nothing more than to become a wife and a mother when she was growing up. Having a family was very important to her and something that has been very fulfilling and given her a sense of pride. Some people just know what they want, where they want to live, what career path they want to go down and others, don’t….and that’s okay.
We are part of that group of people that didn’t know. We graduated from college with our degrees in psychology and quickly got jobs working in education. It was something that was familiar to us with family in the field. It was convenient, and we really loved working with children, but we both knew we wanted something different. At the time, we just didn’t know how to get there or exactly what it was we were yearning for creatively, but we felt it.
As my sister is approaching her graduation and is feeling pressured with the famous question of “what’s next?”, I became so frustrated with the idea that we should just know and once we know what we want to do, that it’s the only path we should be headed down. I remember hating big extended family dinners around the time of my high school and college graduations, where everyone sat around asking what my big plans were. In our late twenties we’re still learning every single day. Learning how to cook new things, fix something around the apartment (although, having a maintenance team is pretty nice), how to improve our credit score, wash a new fabric, mortgage options, the list goes on…
It sometimes feels like we’re being tricked into thinking everyone else around us has it all figured out. We assume people just know “these things” and we’re expected to just know about x, y, and z. The older we get, the more we’re realizing it’s not true. I remember reading blogs and looking around at the people close to me thinking, “How are they doing it?” Everyone questions things and everyone has horribly messy days. You may change majors, not understand how to fill out a new tax form, want to change jobs, have forgotten to turn the crock-pot on and had to run out to pick up food, (we can seriously keep the examples coming way too easily 😉 ) and that’s okay. We’re learning that once you have one thing figured out, there will most likely be a new hurdle to jump through waiting for you around the corner. When that happens just call a friend and know there’s been so many people out there who have been uncertain about some of the very same things before.
To be honest, most of our saved links this week were from Zillow and Trulia (we’re getting closer, guys!), but in between the house hunting there were a few others that caught our eye. Here’s a few things from around the web we loved this week…
1 – Thinking about taking a trip to the southwest? These little field guide books are some of our favorites for traveling.
2 – Emma’s living room update on A Beautiful Mess has the perfect mix of neutrals with a pop of color.
We’ve been talking a lot lately about house hunting, as it’s pretty much the only thing on our minds these days. We figured it was time to get a little more real about the process and where it all started. So here we go…
Our first apartment in AZ, where we lived for two years.
When we first moved to Phoenix, three years ago, we lived in an apartment in a part of town that we didn’t really love. It was a very nice, quiet, suburban area which was great for running errands and going for walks at the local park. There was everything we needed right there, a minute or two away, but there wasn’t much culture or many interesting places to check out. We had to typically drive anywhere from 15-45 minutes to go to the places we have come to enjoy so much. The first two years here were tough as we were transitioning from our New York lifestyles, to our new jobs, and our new neighborhood. It definitely wasn’t easy and at times we really second guessed ourselves. We had moments in the first eight months where we really thought we might have made a mistake. Back in NY we weren’t living in the city…we were in the suburbs, which we didn’t love. We considered moving to the city or Brooklyn (where many of our friends were moving to), but after a lot of back and forth we decided we needed something completely different…and what’s more different than the desert? Even though we (accidentally) found ourselves going from a NY suburb to an AZ suburb (more on that another time), there were a lot of changes that were difficult to get used to in the beginning. It was a total culture shock, not a single thing was familiar, but we quickly reminded ourselves that’s what we originally wanted. That unsure feeling slowly went away as we started to find places we loved and people who felt like friends we’ve had forever. It kind of all came at once. It rushed over us and one day we just knew we didn’t want to live anywhere else. Phoenix was the place.
Apartment #2: Our little casita!
In July of 2015, we moved in to the first place that really felt like home. We were in our ideal neighborhood. It was a casita-style apartment with no one above us or below us, and we were only attached to our neighbor by a brick wall that ran along our dining room and living room. It was great. The complex was built back in the 60’s; it had character and great light and we’ve come to learn that it’s not always easy to find those qualities in an apartment. We really enjoyed our space, but not the issues that came with it. As one could imagine, an older apartment doesn’t always feel so charming when you have water leaking from your ceilings and maintenance pretty much living with you from 9-5. Despite how much we loved the apartment and how much time we put into making it feel like our own, the issues really took a toll on us. We work from home and need a space that feels creative and most of all clean, and for two months we just didn’t have that… there was dry wall falling from the ceiling some days and during the last few weeks we were there, pots were constantly on the floor full of leaking water. With just six weeks left in our lease, we decided to leave. It was tough, because 1) we had already created so many wonderful memories there in such a short time and 2) it all happened way too quickly. We had some travel plans coming up, so we felt like we just had to make a decision fast.
We found a brand new apartment complex which was pretty appealing…we knew the likelihood of water and ceiling issues would be a lot less, and we would still be in the part of town that we loved spending our time in, so we figured we’d give it a try. So here we are… three months later… and this brand new, cookie cutter, not so bright apartment is not exactly the place we hoped it would be. It’s clean and safe and we’re super thankful to be here, but it doesn’t feel like it’s ours and well…that’s probably because it’s not.
How awesome are these advertisements from the 40s and 50s? (via Pinterest)
That’s when we really started talking about houses. We’ll be honest. We never saw ourselves owning a house. We like to travel and never saw ourselves with a huge family, so we always thought apartment living was the way we were going to live. It’s great to have a maintenance team on call if anything goes wrong, we have a fitness center, and a pool. It all sounds great, but at the end of the day it doesn’t belong to us and we’re starting to understand all the fuss about being a home owner. We know nothing is going to be perfect, and hey, what fun would that be? But at the end of the day we would feel so much better knowing that the money we’re putting towards where we live, will be for a place that we will own and can create memories in for years to come. So… we’ve been looking… A LOT! We started looking many months ago, when we had some family in town. Mostly out of curiosity and let’s face it, it’s fun showing out-of-towners different neighborhoods and discovering new areas for yourself, too. We are on the hunt for a charming, historic home here in Phoenix. We have seen some beauties out there, but apparently so has everyone else, because they are going quick! We mentioned it a bit on instagram. We’ve missed out on a few already, but we are staying vigilant and waiting for the right one to come along. We would love something from the 1930s to 1950s with little touches from those decades.
We’re excited, a little nervous, and hoping to find something before the holidays roll around, but the beauty is there’s no urgency, like in the past. We can really take our time and enjoy the process, no matter how nutty it may make us at times. It’s pretty crazy how life works…how you end up in places and walks of life you never thought you would, but this journey has been so incredible so far! So, here’s to the next part of our lives. We’re so happy to be able to share and document it here. Stay tuned!
We spent Sunday morning cleaning and organizing. We’ve been getting better with giving away items we no longer need or use and only purchasing and holding on to classic pieces. Guy or gal, young or old, a classic leather tote is a staple in anyone’s closet. A quality bag that will stand the test of time, as well as hold all of your coffee shop essentials or carry-on items is one worth investing in. Below are a few favorites.
01 – Baggu: It’s hard to resist anything from Baggu. All their items are so classic and minimal, with their buttery soft leather.
02 – Cuyana: Comes in short and tall options, with a zip closure inside. I recently discovered this brand and love their “fewer, better” philosophy. Definitely check them out.
03 – Madewell: I’ve had this one for about two years now in the camel color. It’s held up nicely on many trips and the leather is aging really beautifully.
04 – LiveFashionable: This has to be one of our favorite brands. They’re based out of Nashville and all their items are named after the women they work with, focusing on charity in developing countries.
05 – BP: Love the monochromatic color scheme on this one, plus it’s faux leather and super affordable.
06 – Urban Outfitters: This is another great vegan leather option, at a lower price point. The long shoulder strap is a great bonus too.
07 – Pine + Boon: I like the punched dot design on this one. It gives this classic shape a little something extra.
08 – Madewell: Similar to option three, but this one has a zip closure, which is a nice little addition.
We are Robert and Christina: husband and wife, photo takers, adventurers and best friends. We like to laugh too hard, dance all night, and explore together. Here is a little glimpse into our lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.