NYC + KC Resurrected

A few years ago, my best friend, Theresa, and I started a photography project. Inspired by the book/blog A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart, we decided to create a new photography project. For one year, each of us took an image of our lives in our respective cities, and then we shared them with each other. We called our project NYC + KC, as Theresa was living in Brooklyn, New York and I was based in Kansas City. The project wasn’t perfect, but as I’m learning in my daily life, those imperfections made it truly awesome. The images weren’t taken by professional photographers looking to create an art installation, just by two buddies wanting to share their lives with each other.


There is something magical about having friends who’ve known you since you were a child. I met Theresa when I was 8-years-old, in our third grade classroom. She has been there through everything, and for about 10 years of our lives, we saw each other on a daily basis. Our lives were so intertwined, sometimes it was difficult to tell where one started and another began. She knew by a look on my face if I’d had my heart broken by a boy or my self-esteem crushed by another kid in our class. She knew who I was before I became who I am today…in fact, she’s probably the one person in the world I can’t fake out. I can pretend with other people, but not with Theresa. Even now, she will read a harmless text that I think is nonchalant and be able to sense I need to talk. That’s just how it works.

But after 10 years of seeing each others face every, single day, we both moved away. We left our hometown, she to the east coast and me to college and then abroad. She studied abroad soon after, and before I knew it was happening, we weren’t face-to-face friends anymore. We had become “hour-long phone call friends” and “quick texts on the go friends.” And while I still knew her, I didn’t really understand what her life looked like anymore. I couldn’t tell you the names of her neighbors or her work colleagues. I didn’t know what she had for breakfast in the morning or how she liked her coffee. Our lives were no longer intertwined, instead, they progressed steadily along parallel lines.


NYC + KC really changed that for me. Every day when Theresa would post I photo, I’d feel a tiny bit closer to her. Mundane items like a vase on my windowsill became beautiful because I knew I’d be sharing it with her via my daily image. For the first time in years, I felt a little like I did back in high school, when my best friend knew everything about me, large and small. This daily act of sharing became a way for us to connect, and it was wonderful.


Late last year, Theresa texted me asking if I’d be interested in resurrecting the NYC + KC project. I admit, I was hesitant. This was not an easy project five years ago. It was hard. We were lugging our large DSLR cameras everywhere we went, and then editing and uploading images at night. But Theresa had a solution! She suggested we do the project through Instagram, the social media photo sharing site. Instead of our big cameras, we’d use our iPhones and then edit and directly upload to Instagram. It sounded perfect!


Our new NYC + KC project began on January 1st, 2015, and so far, the magic is definitely back. It took us a while to get back into the groove, but slowly we found our speed and now I’m loving this project more than ever! One change we’ve made is to give ourselves themes to photograph to each month. The themes are all focused on different ways to look at our daily lives in a more positive way. January’s theme was gratitude and February’s is love. I love seeing what in Theresa’s life is bringing her gratitude, and so far, love has been pretty amazing as well.

If you’re interested, we’d love for you to follow our fun on Instagram under the profile @nycpluskc. Maybe you even want to play along?! Take a photo of something/someone/someplace you love, and upload it to Instagram using the hashtags #nycpluskc and #love. Then make sure you hashtag the city where you’re living (for example, all of my photos are also hashtagged with #kc), so we can learn more about the city you call home! How cool would it be to have a whole host of images of love from all over the place?! So cool. Remember, this is not some photography contest where we are looking for the most slick image, just somewhere to share a little love. That’s what friendship is all about…sharing a little love and receiving some back in return.


Practice Makes Better (But Definitely Not Perfect)

I’m not a good goal setter. Everyone who knows me or has heard me talk about this topic knows I struggle to keep and set goals. As a former perfectionist, goals can be triggering for me. When I set a goal, and don’t achieve it, I can find myself in a shame spiral that’s difficult for me to climb out of. But I’m working on it. I’m slowly (SLOWLY) learning that goals don’t have to be big, scary, self-imposed checklists. They can be fun, they can change, they can be adaptable…who knew?

This year my best friend and I decided to resurrect our NYC + KC project from 2009. You guys remember that, right? If not, here’s a quick rundown (or you can just read this post here): Two friends, miles apart, post one photo every day depicting their lives. This time around we are doing the project on Instagram, and you can watch it all unfold at @nycpluskc. It’s pretty fun.

One random, unexpected issue with NYC + KC, however, has been it’s affect on my own personal Instagram account (@crazy_bananas). I don’t want to double post the same images every day, so I’ve found myself getting out my DSLR camera more and more, trying to capture the beautiful simplicity of life these days, and then posting those images on my personal Instagram. The response has been sort of overwhelming and very supportive, and I’ve been really excited to take photos again. This is a big deal, friends. For the past year or so, my love of photography was overshadowed by massive creative block, and there were times I wondered if I should just give it all up. But I’m finding the joy in photography again, and what a gift it is! Here are a few images from the past week, and I hope to keep posting these on Instagram daily throughout the year. Simple. Joyful. Life.

Turns out sometimes, goals create themselves for you. But it’s your responsibility to hold on for the ride!

Tater Nap4

First Guitar Lesson


Serious Teddy

Tate Christmas Lights

The 2014 Holiday Season

The holidays were a whirlwind this year, I am a bit amazed they are already over! But at the same time, it feels like we’ve been celebrating forever. We were packed to the brim with activities and family until about December 29th, and since then I’ve been cocooned in my PJs refusing to leave my house except for food and to wear out the kids at the gym. Though I tried to keep the holiday as low key as I could, you could say it ended up a little hectic. I’m learning our whole family doesn’t operate as well under prolonged excitement, and maybe resistance is futile during the holidays, but I think next year I’m going to try and dial it down even more.

Surprising to no one, my favorite moments were definitely the quiet ones with my little family. Of course I loved spending time with our good friends and extended family, seeing their smiling faces is always a highlight, but the times that stick out to me are the simple ones. Watching movies on our couch pull out bed on New Years Eve, opening gifts on Christmas morning, sleeping in with no alarm to wake us, making dinner for my family and laying around reading all the books we received. Those are the moments I cherish and hold on to as we head in to this New Year.

Tomorrow (and the next day) my kids go back to school, and it will be much needed return to routine. While everyone has enjoyed our break, we are ready for schedules and predictable daily expectations. The kids have missed their friends and their activities, and while I sometimes complain about our busy, little life, I know we all thrive on it. We like our lives to be full to the brim, sometimes overflowing, just as much as we like taking two-week breaks from it all. I suppose that’s how it works. The breaks wouldn’t feel like breaks without something to take a break from. And, I have to say, it’s pretty wonderful to be excited for what awaits in the real world when your break is through. That’s how I know, for now, we’re doing it right.



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New Year’s Newborn Special!

newborn new years special

Happy New Year, friends! I’m so pumped about the new year, new stuff, new job, new life, and on and on and on. To celebrate, I figured what’s better than a new baby for the new year? I’m offering $50 off any newborn lifestyle photoshoot booked in January. The shoot must take place before September 1, 2015. If you’re interested or just want some more information, please contact me at

Thanks for all the love and support! Let’s do this, 2015!

Fake It Until You Make It

This weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend my niece’s annual holiday dance show. An hour or so before, my sister texted me to ask if I could take some photos during the performance. Now, a normal person would say, “Sure!” then move on with their lives. I (not a normal person, obviously) commenced total freak out mode.

You see, even with my years working as a photographer, I still don’t really believe I’m the real deal. I have this dumb little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough and that no one in their right mind would ever believe I’m actually good at this gig. Unfortunately, these self-sabotaging thoughts don’t only appear during photography projects, but in every aspect of my life. Rarely do I have any clue what I’m doing, whether I’m parenting, writing, taking photos, baking cookies or designing. Every now and then a subject or task comes up that I feel super-confident about taking on, but for the most part, I’m just trying new things and waiting for one of them to stick.

But that’s part of why things DO stick now and then, at least in my creative life. I’m learning the only way I’m ever going to get any better is to keep trying, even (or maybe especially) when I’m uncomfortable. That’s the only way to grow and learn. In the last month, I’ve been doing a lot of things that are uncomfortable for me, a lot that makes me feel like an actor playing a part.

Enter stage left, a “writer.”

The more people I meet, especially successful ones, the more I’m finding out no one really knows what they are doing. Sure, people have experience, and that makes certain types of work a bit easier for them than others, but in the end, we are all just weirdos wandering around trying to figure it all out. I’ve sat in meetings with CEOs who come off as cool, smart and quick, only to find out later they were faking it just as much as I was. The biggest difference? They didn’t let their fear stop them.

A big change for me in the past year is moving forward through the scary stuff. This means when you’re asked to take photos inside a dark auditorium of dancers whirling quickly around the stage, you say yes. You don’t obsess over your camera being too low quality or your lens not being right or your meager knowledge of stage shooting. Instead you walk in with your head held high, faking all the confidence you can muster. You let go of the pressure, and remember all you can do is your best. You do a few internet searches on tips for stage shooting. And then you take a deep breath, and do your work.




Did the photos turn out perfectly? Nope. There are lots of things technically wrong with them. And sure, someone else with more experience probably could have done a better job. But that’s no the point. The point is if I would’ve said no or let the fear overwhelm me, there would be no photos at all! I was there, I could take the photos. So I did, to the best of my ability. And even though they’re not perfect, I think they are pretty beautiful.

For now, I’m gonna keep faking it. Maybe some day I’ll “make it” and maybe I won’t, but I know if I give up, I’ll never get anywhere. I’d rather be a faker whose trying, than the real deal on the sidelines.

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