Nothing is a Coincidence

About a month ago, my roommate and I were reading a chapter out loud from Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? The chapter was titled “You Are Not An Accident”. The first paragraph struck a chord in my mind. It was like hearing something I’d always known was true, but never had it laid out in such a factual way. I included the full quote on here because I want you guys to read this:

Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!

Wow… right? When I was younger, I learned that He had a divine plan for my life, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually started to believe it. I guess I had just never taken it as literally as Rick explained it above.

How would your worldview change if you started living your life and believing that every single thing that happened to you was all a part of God’s plan? You’d no longer consider being in the right place at the right time just luck or a coincidence. Every person placed in your path would be valued differently. Every place you were lead and opportunity you were offered would be looked at from a different point of view. Hardships would still be hard, but you would be more focused on finding the silver lining and seeing the blessing behind it.

Here’s some advice I’m also trying to take myself. Start living your life as if every single thing that happens to you is meant to guide you along the right path. Know that the people you need in your life – and the people who need you – are perfectly placed along the way. This post idea was sparked by finally making the decision to hire an assistant, and meeting Olivia Brown who’s in the picture with me above (we call her little liv, haha – more details to come!). She has been such a blessing and I know that God has been planning this one for a while now! I know I’ve hired her to work and learn from me, but to be honest – I learn just as much from her.

I got to thinking about other perfectly timed events in my life. Like the passing of my grandpa right before I moved home from Utah to live with my grandma for a year. Or going through a heartbreak that finally forced me to make the move to Chicago. And moving in with a roommate that pushes me to stay on top of my faith and live every day as a woman of God.

The Bible says, “From one man he made every nation, … and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live”(Acts 17:26). God never does anything accidentally, He never makes mistakes.

 

 

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Swimwear Picks in My Cart Right Now

Bikini Top (xxs) | Bikini Bottoms (xxs) | Denim Shorts (24) | Hoops

Same suit I’m wearing above, but Stripe Pattern

Same suit I’m wearing above, but Aloha Pattern

Hi! I’m in the middle of swim suit shopping right now for summer and thought I’d show you some of the styles I’m loving right now and what’s in my cart. Some trends in the swim category I love right now are: high-waisted bottoms, one shoulder tops, polka dots, stripes, and waist ties.

Whenever I’m going to a pool party, the beach, or out on the boat with friends, I’m always scrambling to find a cute cover up to wear with it. So once you’ve nailed down the swimsuit – here are some of my favorite things to wear over top of it:

Hope you found some swim stuff you love! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

 

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How I Seek + Find Creativity for My Content

Floral Maxi Dress (wearing size 00 no alterations, with heels) | Neutral Wedges

I post a picture on my Instagram almost every single day of the year. That’s 365 pictures… and 9 times out of 10 there’s a specific plan, vision, and story behind each unique photoshoot that requires a lot of planning. Whether I’m advertising a product, capturing a moment with my friends, or styling an outfit – the story behind the picture is usually what fuels the direction of the shot. Coming up with unique idea for each image or campaign can be so challenging, and I’m always falling into creative ruts that force me to search for creativity in different places.

Here are some of the ways I seek and find inspiration to help guide me through this creative process:


 

1. Intentional inactivity

I have to be intentional about being inactive to give my brain the freedom it needs to think without distractions. My best ideas usually happen: in the shower, before bed, or when I’m driving!

2. Finding inspiration in color

Color has had such an influence on the idea and inspiration behind my photoshoots with Alicia. One thing we always try to do is to create very colorful and captivating images that tie in the outfit, setting, and all other elements in the photo.

3. Saving Instagram pictures into categories on the app

One of my favorite ways to save things that inspire me on Instagram is the ‘bookmark’ tool. It’s the icon on the far right of your Instagram profile that looks like a flag. Whenever I come across something that inspires me, I save the image into one of my ‘folders’. I currently have a Paris folder (for one day!), an NYC folder (t0 save shoot spots, restaurant ideas, etc), a destination bucket list folder, outfit inspiration folder, hair ideas to try folder. So. Many. Folders.

4. Getting outside and location scouting

Getting outside to look for photoshoot locations makes all the difference. Instead of just looking for cool Instagrammable spots on the internet/IG, I have to get out and look for places to shoot in person. You really don’t know how the setting/lighting is going to turn out on camera until you’re there. We drive around town and take pics of potential locations at certain times of day to plan the time, location, and outfit around them.

5. Quotes

I’ve always been obsessed with reading quotes. I could scroll for hours on Pinterest reading quotes + poetry that speak to me (esp. Lang Leav & Morgan Harper Nichols). I love when words are perfectly crafted into a sentence or two that carry so much insight. They help me make sense of certain things in life and give me so many ideas for topics to write about.

6. Ideas from you guys

The ideas you guys have asked me to write about and share on here have been some of my favorite topics. You inspire so much of what I create and post about! I’m so thankful for the people who take time out of their day to share their insight with me!

7. Exploring new places

This can be exploring a new neighborhood in your city, a new state, or even a foreign country. Getting outside of your ‘norm’ will broaden your horizons and open your mind up to new ideas, views, cultures, people, aesthetics, etc.  A mind stretched by new experiences can never go back to it’s old dimensions” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

8. Listening intently to others

THIS is huge. We’re all guilty of only partially tuning into what others have to say because we jump straight to formulating our own response or opinion. In order to be interesting, you must be interested! Which means really taking the time to listen, understand, and gather information from another person (or podcast). Don’t just listening to reply, listen to understand.

9. Bouncing ideas of off other people

All day long I bounce ideas off of people. My photographer, my assistant, my roommates, my mom, my grandma – anyone who’s opinion I value! This ties in with #8.

10. Understanding the aesthetic you’re attracted to 

We all in some way try to emulate the style of influential people we admire. We look to celebrities, public figures, artists, and bloggers for inspiration. Ask yourself what are the specific things you like about those people? How can you put your own spin on things? Take risks and be mindful of who you follow and who is influencing you.

11. Pinterest browsing

A no-brainer. Forever scanning through decor, outfits, recipes, quotes, photography, etc. to spark creative ideas!


My main piece of advice is to not get too frustrated with yourself when you feel like you’re stuck in a creative rut. It happens to everyone and is completely natural – I go through it all the time! Whenever you try too hard to make an idea happen that just isn’t flowing, you need to know when to learn, pivot, and redirect your efforts. So many times we’ve sought out a location or pursued a shoot idea that turned out to just NOT work. And other times I’ve stumbled upon an idea or location for a photograph that ended up being one of my favorites. You can’t force creativity but you can take steps to ignite the spark!

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