Through divine intervention, I just happened to be scouring Google flights one Thursday night back in August, dreaming about Spring Break in a place I've wanted to visit for a long, long time. It was a dream, but I didn't know if it would become a reality until I had more funds to make it happen. Out of nowhere, the flight prices started dropping right before my eyes. I began to refresh the page ended up landing a roundtrip flight from ATL for under $400! I'm the type of person that just can't pass up an opportunity like that, so I jumped on it and trusted that the rest of the details would work themselves out later! And I'm so glad they did! When all was said and done, I spent about as much on the entire trip as I would have for what the flight alone normally would have costed. And out of all the places I've traveled, Hawaii ranks close to the top. I've never been to a more peaceful, unique place. If you ever get the chance to go, I hope you seize that opportunity too. Read on for all my recommendations from my time in Oahu!
Where to Stay
I strongly recommend staying either at an Airbnb, VRBO or similar rental property of that nature. With Honolulu being a very popular tourist destination really at all times of the year, hotels and resorts anywhere on the island are insanely priced! On top of that, you have to consider what type of transportation you'll be using. If you're planning to get a rental car, some places charge high fees to park on site each day. We lucked out and found a place about 15 minutes from Waikiki that included parking. It was in a quiet, safe neighborhood just on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of the main tourist area, so it was perfect! Since the island is fairly small, you can get to really anywhere within an hour of driving (give or take for traffic), but I preferred staying close to Waikiki where much of the tourist attractions were located and then ventured out from home base as we wanted to.
What to Drive
If you know me at all, you know my dream car is a black, 2-door Jeep Wrangler. So we thought what better car to drive in Hawaii than just that! Let me tell you, it was so worth it! And after all was said and done, it was only a small daily fee to upgrade to the Jeep from a basic economy sedan. Definitely do this if you get the chance! Just picture you in Hawaii, driving around the most beautiful sites with the top off. **Pro tip: parking in downtown Waikiki can be very tricky. We drove around for a couple hours looking for parking. Save yourself the trouble and go straight to the Honolulu Zoo. There is public parking that is much cheaper than any other lots/garages you'll find even though it might be a couple more minutes of a walk to the shops.
When to Go
Hawaii's climate really stays pretty mild year round. You can tell this is true because there are many open-air breezeways in a few of the important buildings in Oahu such as the airport and the state house. There really isn't a need for these buildings to be completely covered because the weather is so gorgeous!! That being said, obviously more tourists are likely to go during summer and winter breaks. Going in February-March is a great time because the climate is warm but not too hot, and the island is bustling but not too overcrowded.
How to Pack
I highly recommend packing light. Since the climate is warm, you can get away with packing lighter and less clothing. It rained a little bit while we were on the island, so you may want to bring a rain coat. However, when I say rain, it's more like a soft mist that comes for about 5 minutes while it's still sunny outside and then goes away. It's actually kind of refreshing, and as the locals would say, it's a blessing from the heavens. You really don't need the distraction of a laptop or any fancy beauty products. I brought my flat iron and my curling wand for my hair and never used it because the Hawaiian air did wonders! Plus, being able to carry on a bag and not have to pay extra or wait for a checked back with the risk of it getting lost is an added bonus!
Aloha! And Mahalo for reading!
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel abroad. My plans were to visit a friend who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland and explore from there. I love any chance I can get to travel, so having friends all across the world is a nice perk. Plus, while I've been many places, I've always wanted to see Ireland and England (specifically London), so I jumped on the $350 Norwegian Air ticket to Belfast and headed there! I spent a total of 11 full days over there exploring, and we ended up going all over the place very spontaneously which made it incredibly fun! So, instead of giving you a day-by-day synopsis of the trip, I'll include my recommendations for each city below along with some "fancy camera" pictures from my trip! It was so fun putting this blog post together and reliving my trip. And I can't wait for my next adventure! Can you guess where I'll be headed next?
Belfast, Northern Ireland
There's something pretty special about Belfast. It's a city (and country) rich with history, and a unique, troubled past. An amazing city for sure and easy to overlook, so if you ever have a chance to visit, you really should add it to your list! Here are some of my favorites from a few of the days I spent exploring this charming city. Head to the Ulster Museum first to get educated on just what Northern Ireland has gone through in the very recent history. And make a stop at the beautiful Botanic Gardens on your way out.
Many don't know that the Titanic actually was built in and set sail from Belfast. There is an amazing museum that you must visit if you're in town. City Centre and the Mall are both fun places to go. The Mall has an amazing 360 degree view at the top of the glass dome. and there are plenty of cute coffee shops along the way. St. George's market is a great place for some locally crafted goods and food. Also, make a stop at Maggie Mays for breakfast or lunch and head to Five Points for snacks and drinks accompanied by live Irish music in a very authentic atmosphere in the evening. For the more adventurous types, there are plenty of outdoor excursions like hiking Cave Hill or visiting the Belfast castle. Be sure to stop at the local Tesco (grocery store) before you head up for a £3 meal deal to take with you! I ate a lot of these!!
Probably my favorite part of Northern Ireland, though was exploring the North Coast for a day. Buying a rambler (bus) all-day ticket lets you get to places like Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge easily and quickly. You could easily spend more than a day exploring along the north coast, but it's an amazing experience even if you have only one day to hop around.
We got to spend three full days in London after we bought spur of the moment tickets aboard RyanAir for $30 a pop. Best. Decision. Ever. I have been dreaming of going to London for a while, and it was all that I imagined and more! Truly one of my favorite cities in the world, and I got just enough of a taste for it in three days and can't wait to go back!
If you only have a couple of days in London, the best way to see the most things is...you guessed it...those very touristy double-decker tour buses!! It was actually really fun riding around London on top of one of those, and it really wasn't a bad price for the time it saved us from walking around. Plus, having a live guide on the bus really makes it interesting and fun! We basically just rode the bus around both days to get an overview and then stopped where we wanted to explore more. Also, our ticket came with a river cruise as well! So that really was a great value! Here were some of the highlights.
Definitely do the London Eye. It's a little pricey, but it's a once in a lifetime experience you shouldn't miss if you can help it. Hyde Park was beautiful! And we got fish and chips at a restaurant in the park for lunch. Big Ben was under construction, so that was a big bummer! But we got to attend Evensong at Westminister Abbey which is a really cool experience, AND you don't have to pay admission. Visiting the outside of Buckingham Palace and watching the changing of the guard was fun, but I liked the night before when we walked down the road toward the Buckingham Palace and witnessed none other than PRINCE WILLIAM himself riding down the street in his Range Rover and within a couple steps from me. I had a serious fan girl moment, and it was totally unexpected!! But one of my favorite parts of London by far was the London Dungeons. Definitely an experience like none other. You go through the Dungeons as actors recreate parts of London's not-so-nice history for you, and it was an experience I'll never forget!
The Irish Coast
For the last leg of my trip, we flew from London to Dublin to meet up with a couple other friends who had arrived a couple days prior. We spent the rest of the trip in our little rental car, driving along the southern Irish coast, hopping from Airbnb to Airbnb, and it was just the best!
Some of my favorite sites included the iconic Cliffs of Moher, Killary Fjord, Connemara National Park- The Diamond Hill Hike, Dunamase Castle, and Kylemore Abbey. One of my favorite memories of this leg of trip, though, was when we headed to Dog's Bay a beautiful white sand beach in Ireland of all places! The water was crystal clear and the sand was pure white. You could have easily mistaken your location to be a Caribbean island, which seemed so crazy to me! But as soon as we all jumped in, we realized we definitely weren't somewhere tropical with the 40 degree water. It was freezing!!! But honestly one of my favorite memories of the whole trip!
We ended our last night in Galway at an authentic Irish pub/restaurant called The Quays. It was the BEST time! The band was amazing!! They played a mix of Irish traditional music and American music with an Irish twist, so we knew a lot of the songs, but it was really a unique experience! Even just wandering around Galway was a highlight and definitely my favorite city in Ireland! A great end to an even better trip! Bonus points if you sing Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl in the car as you drive around! Good times!
This part of the world was truly amazing, and it was also so nice going somewhere we spoke the same language. But they all had super cool accents! If you ever get the chance to venture to either Ireland or the UK, I highly recommend it!
The Big Apple! I've been here multiple times before ever since I was little, but this time was different. This time I visited a friend for a few days who works in Times Square, and since it was during the week, I had a good bit of time to bounce around the city by myself! Being a girl from a smaller town in South Carolina, I was a little intimidated by the thought of walking around big, bad New York City all by my lonesome. And yes, I'm 23 years old and very well-traveled, but I still get a little nervous especially in such a big city! But I'm here to tell you, I made it! And it was totally not intimdating at all. In fact, it was invigorating. Having no one with you, really opens up all your senses to the world around you because you aren't relying on someone else to lead you around. This helped me experience NYC in a whole new way that I never had before. Everything is so vibrant and fast-paced. Immediately stepping out of the train station and into the city, I was hit with a rush of city life, and the vibe was phenomenal and invigorating. Don't get me wrong, I love my little city and would not be interested in moving to NYC full time, but it was so fun to visit, and, in case you're planning a trip up there soon, I thought I'd condense it into a blog post for you to enjoy! So, here's how I spent my days with a few tricks of the trade mixed in along with pictures from my trip!
Enjoy this video with some highlights from my short but sweet trip to the Big Apple! And if you're headed there soon, I hope it's an amazing trip!
Maine, you were so good to us! As much travel as I do, I rarely find a place I'd want to stay for more than a couple weeks, but, gosh, Camden, Maine was one of those places I could stay for a while! Christa and I joked about how we'd like to retire here, but there is not joke about it. Just a couple of days in Camden stole my heart, and I was hooked! Here's a little about my trip and why Camden, ME should be next on your list of places to travel to!
Christa asked me to shoot a wedding with her in this little town, so I was thrilled to tag along! The bride and groom put us up in the fabulous bed & breakfast where the wedding dinner would take place. Since it was an intimate gathering, this place was perfect and just screamed Gilmore Girls. The Hartstone Inn & Hideaway was honestly the real life version of Lorelai's Stars Hollow Inn! It was incredible. Breakfast each morning was unreal, and each day from 3-5 pm, they served homemade cookies in the parlor. It was a yummy, beautiful dream, and it didn't even matter that every other guest there was a couple on their anniversary trip except for me and Christa! :)
After taking a walk around the cozy downtown, we found out about a local lavender farm and had to make a trip! Glendarragh Lavender Farm was so beautiful and the best kept secret. Not many people were there, so it made it extra fun to explore. The drive was beautiful as well! And we stopped by Hazel's Takeout for a classic lobster roll (you have to try this!!!) on the way to our next stop, the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. Fun fact: Rockland, ME is the neighboring city of Camden and where the movie The Proposal was filmed!
Probably my favorite thing about the entire trip was the sailing excursion we went on. There was a sailboat race in the Camden Harbor the weekend we were there! They had some fun events going on like fireworks and a sea animal touch pool next to the harbor where we got to hold crabs and starfish. But getting to sail was the best! We were able to ride on the Schooner Lazy Jack II for a couple hours. The captain (who also built the ship!!) said that the day we decided to go was the only clear blue day they'd had in weeks! Plus, we got to see porpoises in the water along with some other wildlife. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. Make sure to bring sunglasses!
Mount Battie was an incredible view and a must-see stop in Camden, ME. We ended our time here atop this mountain before moving on to the Nubble Lighthouse located south of Camden in York, ME. Sea Dog Brewing Co. is also a great stop in Camden for some eats before hitting the road!
Can't wait to share more travel posts about the cool adventures I had this summer. Putting together one for NYC and also Ireland next, so stay tuned!! :)
I thought Spring Break 2017 could very well be my last. So, when I decided to end up at law school this year, I looked at these Spring Breaks as bonus time!! I want to make the most of these breaks and travel as much as I can because once I start working full time, vacation time might be hard to come by. The only problem is...money. Ya feel me? I am trying to be better about being on a budget. I'm not terrible with money, but when I have it, I like to treat myself. Nothing extravagant, maybe a new dress here or a nice dinner out there, but stuff starts adding up. And I think I'm not the only one who has looked at the their credit card bill one month and was like, "Whoa, when and how and why did I spend all that??" But this isn't a Dave Ramsey blog, and you didn't come here to listen to me talking about money management. But here's my point! I strongly believe that if I spend money on something, I want it to be travel. Because travel is an investment. Travel enriches my life and adds to my worldview and perspective. It's the only thing I think that is guaranteed to make you richer the more you spend on it. If you think about the material things you spend on, while clothes and food are necessary, do you really need to eat out every day or buy that cute top when you have 10+ ones similar to it? No! (And I have to preach this to myself. LOL :)) But all that to say, travel is affordable. Once I decided I wanted to go to Disney, I watched my spending habits more and was way stricter on myself. I didn't do the monthly clothes binge at Old Navy. I didn't let myself run wild through Target, and I tried to have a competition with myself to see how much free food I could get and how long I could make my groceries last. And it was kind of fun! That's what happens when you have a bigger goal in mind. And for me, that goal was DISNEY. I was going to make it here for Spring Break!!
The second part of watching my wallet was making sure every part of my actual trip was as cost-effective as possible. That meant plan, plan, plan. Here are my best tips for the planning stage of your Disney trip to make it as wallet-friendly as I did:
Magic Kingdom!! Park hours: 9 am- 11 pm. We arrived at the park almost as soon as it opened and made the mad dash to high priority rides before the lines got too long. The first two hours at the park are key. Get there early and ride high priority rides that are close in proximity to one another to knock them out early in the day. We set our Fast Passes between 11-2, the busiest time and longest lines for rides. We chose Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Enchanted Tales with Belle for our fast pass choices. So, here's the method, after reading several travel blogs:
You can't go wrong with Magic Kingdom, and I think any trip to Disney can't be complete without a trip to this park. It truly is unlike another more magical world!!
Some of my favorite Magic Kingdom highlights were:
Universal!! Islands of Adventure park hours: 9 am- 8 pm. Universal Studios park hours: 9 am- 9 pm. Same deal with Disney. Get there as close as possible to the park opening for sure! Since we had a park-to-park pass, we decided to start off at Universal Studios for the first half of the day (which ended up being pretty empty, and we was able to get through lines super quick!), move to Islands of Adventure after ride on the Hogwarts Express around 2 pm and then back to Universal Studios for that last hour after Islands closed. Here are some general tips:
All things considered, I think I loved the overall feel of Disney World. But in terms of thrilling rides and more adult-catered content, Universal was definitely amazing! I'm so glad I got to spend a day here!
Some of my favorite Universal highlights were:
EPCOT!! Park hours: 9 am- 9 pm. This was one I most anticipated and had very high expectations for, and it surely did not disappoint. Being someone with a love for travel, I really enjoy the idea of the World Showcase. Sampling food and culture from countries around the world in a such a small space is so exciting and one of the few things I actually remember from going to Disney World as a little kid, so I knew I definitely wanted to make this a priority to visit. We kept with the same method for Fast Passes, choosing them in the middle of the day for Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, and Frozen Forever After. We didn't do so well this time with Fast Passes. We ended up knocking out Spaceship Earth right off the bat and then going to try Mission: Space at a low wait time. Fast Pass was helpful however, for Frozen Ever After since it's a new ride with a perpetually long wait. Here are my best tips for Epcot:
Epcot is truly a one-of-a-kind place, and it was a highlight for this trip. I honestly would love it if I lived in Orlando because I would visit Epcot and the countries every day. No joke. It's a park that just doesn't get old.
Some of my favorite Epcot highlights were:
Animal Kingdom! Park hours: 8 am- 10 pm. This is the only park we didn't get to as soon as it opened. It might have been the exhaustion setting in or the fact that we weren't actually sure if we would go to Animal Kingdom (we were also considering Universal's Volcano Bay), but we arrived leisurely around 10 am, and it turned out to still be plenty of time to get in everything we wanted! That being said, we had no fast passes in place in advance but were able to get one for the Kilimanjaro Safaris and one for the Na'vi River Journey on the fly which was amazing because it's one of the newest rides along with Flight of Passage in the new Pandora world with the longest wait times. Here are some general tips for Animal Kingdom:
I was on the fence about Animal Kingdom. I don't remember it being my favorite Disney park as a kid, but almost every Uber driver we had recommended it. In the end, I'm super glad we went here instead of Volcano Bay on our last day although I would like to try that at some point.
Some of my favorite Animal Kingdom highlights were:
I hope this post was helpful for you! I sure did love reminiscing and writing it. Of course, there was so much more we could have seen and so much more I wanted to do like spending more time at Universal, checking out Volcano Bay, and chilling in Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk, but that just means I'll have an excuse to go back. ;) If you're planning a trip to Orlando soon, I'd love to hear about it!! Contact me using the page on my site or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can't wait to hear about it all!
I've been really excited about this post! I finally have all the photos I took in Iceland with my professional camera edited and ready for you to see! This was such a great graduation gift, and a place I had been dreaming about visiting for a long while. It finally became a reality, and I'm still in shock that it actually happened. Read on for what we did, some cool pics, and a lil video that I put together at the end. Enjoy!
We were set to leave on an 8 pm direct flight. We made it all the way up the coast of Canada, and they had to turn the plane around to land the plane in Boston due to unexplained technical difficulties! It was a little scary at the time, but it turned into an overnight at a five-star hotel and $120 in food vouchers in Boston, and an unplanned day trip!
Day trip to Boston!! We took the train into the city and walked around, went to a fresh market, and sat in the park before using up our food vouchers at the hotel restaurant! Then, we hopped on another 8 pm flight bound for Iceland. This time without a hitch!
Arrived in Iceland 6:30 am their time but 1:30 am our internal clock time. Needless to say, we were TIRED! What better way to fight off the jet lag than a nice dip in the premier local hot spring, The Blue Lagoon? We headed there first, and it was absolutely amazing! We spent the rest of the day settling into our condo, taking a look around the city and grabbing a bite to eat at Rok before going to the top of Hallgrimskirkja for a spectacular view of Reykjavik. We slept well that night!
I spent the morning at the National Museum of Iceland learning all about the island's history and culture before grabbing a bite to eat at the University of Iceland cafeteria and taking a peek in their gift shop. It was a very cool campus! Then, we headed out for an afternoon adventure! We drove to Geysir (also a clothing brand in Iceland) and saw an active one called "Strokkur" (Icelandic for "churn") erupt before our eyes. Next, we headed to the most breathtaking (and very cold :)) place. It was a waterfall maybe even more majestic than Niagara Falls called Gullfoss which is Icelandic for "Golden Falls". The pictures don't do it justice. After that we head back to the Geysir Hotel for dinner!
This was arguably my favorite day! We saw so much as we traveled the Ring Road to all the iconic sites along the Golden Circle. We started out at Seljalandsfoss waterfall. So pretty! And we enjoyed donuts and coffee/tea at a little pop up stand by the falls. Next, we stopped at a little building on the side of the road that was showing informational videos on Iceland's active volcano, Eyjafjallajokull. This baby erupted back in 2010, and you might remember it from a few scenes in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Sounds nerdy, but man, it was a very cool video and so interesting how it affected all of Iceland and could happen again at any moment. Along the way we stopped to see wild Icelandic ponies, and everywhere I turned there were these adorable sheep and little lamb that I wanted to take home with me (just wait till you see). They were too cute!
Next, we stopped at probably my favorite spot in all of Iceland. Skogafoss is hard to beat, especially since you can take stairs to climb what otherwise would have been a treacherous hike to the top of the falls. You get a phenomenal view of the scenery, and it's unlike any other place I've visited.
A big way I actually found out about some beautiful places in Iceland that I wanted to visit was from watching a Justin Bieber music video of his song "I'll Show You." Don't judge me! I'm not a huge fan, but the video is amazing (minus the scenes of Bieber in his boxers lol). Dyrholaey was one of the places we wouldn't have known to visit if it hadn't shown up on that video as Justin sat on the cliffs. Sadly, our car didn't have four-wheel drive, so we could not make it up the terrain to visit that exact spot or see the lighthouse, but we found another spot to enjoy the view closer to sea level. This was by far the COLDEST part of the trip!! Since Vik, Iceland was closeby, we made a quick stop there to walk on the black sand beaches and enjoy the small-town charm (and beautiful church!) before heading on.
The final two spots were to visit a glacier and the iconic plane wreckage of a DC 3 American Navy plan that crash landed in the middle of Icelandic nowhere (seriously) in 1973. It was a very cool sight to see after the 45 minute walk to get there one way. We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, but it was worth it!
Look at this awesome house build into the side of the mountain!
Before hopping on the plane back to America, we stopped at a local geothermal spa for a relaxing soak. It was a such a great trip! I took quite a few videos while we were traveling and tried my hand at a little bit of video editing. This was a first for me but ended up being so fun! Not planning on adding video to any of my wedding packages soon, though. ;)
Happy Wednesday, friends!
I got to fulfill one of my all-time dreams last week, and I still can't get over it. I have been saving, working hard, and dreaming big about the day I could attend a full photography workshop with one of my favorite photographers, and my dream finally became a reality!! (PSA: don't give up on your dreams!) Not only did I get to attend a workshop, but I got to attend a Katelyn James Workshop!!! The only downside was going back to my regular 9-5 job was a little sad after an amazing two days packed full of content and fun activities where Katelyn made us feel like we could conquer the world. She was seriously such an inspiration and so real with us. I think the fact that stuck out to me the most was that she started exactly where I did...running her business while she was in college. And she continued to teach herself mostly just by trial and error. She would admit to us many times, "I'm not the best at this." or "I'm definitely still learning in this area." And it helped me realize there is always room to grow no matter what stage of your business you're in. What an encouragement to see one of the leading photographers in the industry being so transparent with us! It's something I needed to hear and a big part of why I walked away with a refreshed perspective of my business. By the end of the workshop, I felt that I had not only learned a ton of valuable information, but I had also gained a new friend. Katelyn's spirit is so genuine. It's no wonder she is doing so well in this industry...it's all because of the way she serves her clients and strives to be a real part of their lives!! She encouraged us to seek our "why" for our business, and brought us all to tears as she closed out the two days with a heart-to-heart in her living room about focusing on what truly matters. I can't thank Katelyn and her family enough for hosting us in their brand new home, cooking delicious meals for us, and just spending time getting to know us. It's an experience I'll never forget, and if you ever get the chance to go, DO IT! You won't regret it! Enjoy some behind-the-scenes from the workshop and be on the lookout for a full post with all the pretty styled shoot images coming soon!
I got to road trip up to Virginia with my friend Christi who is also a photographer! Check out Kingsbridge Photography to see her amazing work. This girl has been killing it (especially on Instagram) ever since we got back from the workshop!!
Confession: I might have "fan-girled" a tiny bit when we pulled into Katelyn's driveway. I mean, just look at her house? It was so stunning inside and out, and Katelyn, Michael, and Evy greeting us on the first day at their front door was priceless.
The Alsops kept us WELL FED, and for a girl who likes to eat (and often) this is no easy task. I did not go a minute being hungry in this household. Katelyn's super sweet sister (Emily) and mom (Mrs. James :)) cooked amazing meals for us morning, noon, and night, and every so often we would be sitting in Katelyn's living room learning a module, and Emily would pop in with a SNACK TRAY filled with delicious goodies. I thought it was heaven!!
Of course I had to get sweet Bokeh Boy in some pics! The poor little guy was probably so tired of portraits by the end of it all!
Creating foregrounds during our styled shoot with Katelyn on Day #1! :)
Just a sneak peek of styled shoot images to come! How gorgeous is this setup?? And it was all staged right in Katelyn's living area in her home!
We got sweet little Evy in a picture too! She was all smiles and giggles the entire time. So sweet!
Look at how cute Christi is getting her new headshots! And how adorable is this little box of goodies Katelyn gifted us on the first day. Filled that notebook up so quick!!
Just a little sneak of our amazing models for the styled shoot. OOH, friends I cannot wait to show you the rest of the images from the styled shoot!! Check back soon for the full post!
Spring Break was about a week ago, and it was such a refreshing break that I definitely needed. It couldn't have come at a more perfect time, and I am so thankful for the rest and a little dose of adventure that we got. The week started out lazy, catching up with friends over good food in my hometown, but halfway through the week, I teamed up with a good friend from high school to take a mini trip to one of my favorite cities- Charleston, SC! It ended up being a little too chilly (and windy!!!) to actually swim, but the weather was perfect for everything that we ended up doing. We kind of planned as we went, and everything ended up turning out really great. Find you a travel buddy that is as flexible and easy-going as Annalise! Keep reading for the outline of what we ended up doing and some tips for your next trip to Charleston.
P.S. If you ever want to do a session in Charleston, hit me up!!! I would love to go back and do portraits here.
Our trip was Wednesday- Friday which I highly recommend because we were able to avoid the weekend crowd. Getting down to Charleston was a breeze, but we did run into a little unexpected traffic on the way back from Charleston, so be sure to plan accordingly. We also tried to save as much money as we could by bringing a cooler of lunch food (deli meat, bread, cheese, etc.) and snacks/bottled water. So, even though Charleston can be expensive, you can still be smart with your money! Here's how we ended up spending our days:
I just can't believe that it's already been a week since we took off for one of my favorite cities in the world! It was an incredible trip, and I've never done anything like it in such a short amount of time before. I teamed up with a couple of my good friends, and we set off to see as much of D.C. that we could in four days. And when I say we got to visit a lot, I mean we really got to see A LOT. And the cherry on top of an already incredible week was being able to attend my very first photography conference. Justin and Mary present: The Event was such a phenomenal way to begin this new year in my business. On Tuesday I got to learn from some of my favorite photographers in the industry with 12 mini-sessions led by industry leaders like Mary Marantz, Katelyn James, Abby Grace, Hope Taylor, and Jenna Kutcher! I was overwhelmed with all the new information, and I cannot wait to share it with you in the coming months as I use it to shape my business and the future of Nichole Lauren Photography!
Thinking about taking a few days to spend in the city? Here's how we spent our four days hitting the highlights (pictures are in no particular order):
So when mom suggested we take a daytrip up to Gatlinburg, I was all in. Going back, as an adult, to the city I loved as a kid was definitely an interesting experience. I realized that Gatlinburg and I were different but also the very much the same. It was like Gatlinburg had grown up with me, and we were old friends meeting after a time apart. Downtown is filled with gourmet stores, beautiful displays, and franchises now. There are still a few scattered mom and pop shops, but most of those sell non-unique t-shirts and mugs. However, I was pleased to find that the abundance of candy stores were still in existence.
The weekend was quick, but it was just the perfect getaway after Thanksgiving. We ventured up into the space needle the first night to catch a glimpse of the city, and this one street was mainly it. So cute and quaint, right!
The second day, we took my little sister to the Aquarium. It as her first time going to one, and just watching her fascination with all the exhibits was so precious. I was happy to have snapped this shot at one of my favorite tanks with the jellies. These little guys changed colors and were absolutely gorgeous, but probably my favorite view by far on this trip was the drive up. We took the scenic route through Maggie Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains. It was breathtaking!! Happy weekend, friends!!
I love travel and adventure. I love seeing things from new perspectives. I love to find good food in exciting places. And I love making moments last for as long as possible.
Follow along for behind-the-scenes on Instagram!