Summer Favorites

I can’t believe I am JUST now getting around to blogging our trip out west this past summer! We went out to California because my husband was speaking at a camp there, as well as one in Washington. In between the two camps, we drove from Redding, CA to Los Angeles to Spokane Washington to Seattle. We put over 3,000 miles on our rental car (whoops) and got see such a huge part of the west coast. We stumbled upon some amazing little towns, beaches & restaurants. So, I figured I would share some of my favorite places we went this past summer (west coast & beyond) for any of y’all who might be taking a little road trip soon!

Favorite Coffee Shops:

Narrative Coffee in Everett, WA. This is one of our favorite coffee shops of all time. SO dang good and if you’re ever near Seattle, you have to stop in.

States Coffee in Martinez, CA. Cute little coffee shop in a tiny little town outside of San Francisco.

Bandit Coffee in St Petersburg, FL. They had this kombucha on tap that was probably one of my favorites I've ever had (and Ive had a TON because I’m addicted to kombucha!)

Theory Collaborative in Redding, CA. I didn’t take any photos in this coffee shop, but we went as soon as we got to Redding & it was the best first stop! It is run by people at Bethel Church and is a wonderful place, with some great food too!

Black Crow Coffee in St. Petersburg, FL. I absolutely LOVE this coffee shop. Its so eclectic and has about 102 plants inside, a ton of cool art work, and antique decorations that make it so cozy and fun.

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Favorite desserts: 

Life Ring at Oyster Rock in Calabash, NC. I am not kidding, this is one of THE best desserts i’ve ever had. Its a glazed doughnut topped with candied bacon & coffee ice cream. Gosh, just thinking about it makes my mouth water. SO good!

Salt & Straw in Portland, OR. What a crazy ice cream shop. They have some of the weirdest flavors and sound like they wouldn’t be good, but surprisingly are. We got honey lavender, coffee & chocolate, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper & salted caramel with caramel ribbons. Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

Whidbey Pie Cafe in Whidbey Island, WA. This is the cutest pie shop right on the water. Whidbey Island is right off Seattle, very close to Canada. Its a HUGE island that is unbelievably beautiful, plus it has amazing pie. So win-win.

Kollar Chocolates in Yountville, CA. This is a little wine town, literally in the middle of major vineyards right outside of Napa. This is where the famous French Laundry restaurant is, as well as the Bouchon Bakery. Their chocolates look fake & inedible. Truly artwork, but they also taste amazing.

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Favorite restaurants:

Yack on 5 near Redding, CA.  One of our friend’s suggested this place to us as we were heading Spokane. Its in the middle of nowhere California, right off the highway. From the outside, it looks unimpressive. But probably one of the best burgers Ive ever had was there. PLUS they have these sticky bun things that will change your life.

Solstice Wood Fire Pizza in Hood River, WA. We drove over to Hood River one afternoon to grab lunch and we were SO glad someone recommend this place to us. We got to sit outside, look at the river across the road, and eat some dang good pizza. Can’t get much better than that.

Casita Taquiera in St Petersburg ,FL. Yum yum yum. This place is GOOD, fast, and affordable. Such a cute little Mexican spot in St Pete.

Flying Goat in Spokane, WA. A girl who used to live in Spokane said this was her favorite pizza place ever. So naturally, we went. It was so good that we ordered one pizza and then after eating it, ordered another one. So, I’d definitely recommend it!

Karma Juice Bar in St Petersburg, FL. Im glad I don’t live in St Pete, because I would go here everyday and have no money. Tons of healthy food options, amazing smoothie bowls, and a really cool atmosphere.

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Favorite Things to do:

Steelhead Ranch Alpaca Farm in WA

Driving through Columbia River Gorge 

Riding-bikes through St Petersburg  

House boating on Lake Shasta

White water rafting in Ocoee, TN

Driving through HWY 1 in Cali

Pismo Beach

Litha Springs Inn in Ashland, OR

Ferry boat to Whidbey Island in WA 

Multnomuh Falls outside of Portland, OR

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Abbey + David//Wedding

Abbey & David got married on a blazing hot July afternoon, but boy was it a GORGEOUS wedding. These two met in middle school and have been in each other's lives ever since. They are some of the most grateful, laid back, & caring people. I went to school with Abbey's sister - in - law, so I was already familiar with their family before the wedding. But getting to spend time with all of them during the months leading up to the wedding was super special. I love going into wedding days already having a friendship with the couple & their family. Their wedding was so dang FUN and Abbey is hands down the best dancer of any bride I've ever photographed ;) Here are a few of my favorite moments from their wedding day!

Bridal Gown: David's Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal

Hair & Makeup: Madison Carpenter (makeup) & Erin Williams (hair)

DJ: David Graham

Florist: Brandon Smith

Caterer: Jennifer Jenkins (Aramark)

Baker: Melba Honney

Videographer: Randy Branch Media 

Stationary: Shana Wanco

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Jordan Leigh + Josiah//Wedding

Where do I even begin with these two? I have known Jordan Leigh & Josiah pretty much my entire life. They are like brothers & sisters to me. Being a part of their wedding felt like being at huge family reunion, all of our close childhood friends, gathered around to celebrate their marriage. 

They have been dating for YEARS, and here is an old throw back picture I took at Josiah's high school graduation party of their 2013 young love. Its been beautiful to not only watch these two become husband & wife, but to see how their relationship has grown over the years and how they have individually become the most caring, Godly, hard working & creative human beings.

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Jordan Leigh's mom wrote me such an encouraging letter, thanking me for photographing their wedding. She said, 'You clearly have a God given talent & calling, and its a joy to see you use it. You bring glory to His name & He provides for you through it. What a lovely way to dance with your Creator! The photos are lovely. Whenever I look at them, I get to experience the wedding more fully because you caught things I didn't see!" THIS is why I love what I do. I get to be a part of people's lives, stories, & special moments. I get to give them a gift they can relive over & over. And my heart & passion, above giving people images they will treasure forever, is to make much of my Creator. To glorify Him. To point people to Him. I feel like such a failure at this daily, but by His grace, I'm thankful He uses weak, inadequate people like me to glorify Him. YOU can as well. You don't have to be a missionary or work at a church to make an impact for the Lord. Do it wherever you are, at whatever you do. The Bible says, "Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.

Jordan Leigh & Josiah, you'll always be so special to me! Thank you for years of friendship & for many more to come (since we live so close to each other again!!) 

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