Say Yes More.

Recently, I received the opportunity to expand my photography horizon to include an engagement party; as well as, an engagement photo-shoot. Both of which were for the same couple and best of all, it was for one of Chris’s sisters. Some may say that would be more pressure, “omg, it’s your boyfriends sister…yada yada yada), but I actually felt it to be more comforting in the fact that is was her and her fiance.

This year has certainly shown me that I find enjoyment in taking brand photos, so the details of the engagement party were certainly pleasing to the mind and eyes. As for the couple’s engagement shoot, it was quite a leap out of the comfort zone (if you’ve been on this 2017 journey with me, you already know that going outside the zone is the objective of the year.) I recommended Redington Long Pier because there is a balance of architecture of the pier, surrounding beach nature, and an all around great place to show love. We decided that we would meet just before sunset to get the lighting just right for the vision I had in mind. Being my first experience with this popular scenario, I chose to seek inspiration from other sources i.e. Pinterest and Instagram. We all had a wonderful time taking-in the beauty of this evening. The weather was warm but not too hot. The water was cool. The sky was showing off. And last but not least, we achieved some amazing shots showcasing their love for one another.

On my drive home, all I could think about was “I hope the photos come out as good as they looked on the camera display…what if they don’t like them…etc.” I took a deep breath and ended my self-doubting thoughts with a prayer just thanking the Lord for the opportunity and the courage to simply take the photos.

Please enjoy a sampling of my favorite photos from the engagement party followed by the couples photoshoot.  To view the full couple’s shoot album, please visit here.

 

One of Many.

Before you even think it, I will admit it…I didn’t stick to my one post per month goal. However, I did have this post typed out in the month of February, so we can go ahead and give me an “A for effort.”

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to travel. It’s one investment that betters you as a person, not only for your daily, routined sanity but more deeply for your soul, mental health, and gaining life experiences. I’ll be the first to throw it out there that money is a factor but that’s the perfect opportunity for us to start small. Explore your current state while saving spare change for a bigger trip. Incorporate long weekend trips as opposed to weeks at a time.

So with that being said, this past weekend Chris (aka the boyfriend, babe, etc.) and I took a weekend getaway to St. Augustine, Florida. As current Florida residents, we chose a place that gave us a feeling of being away but still commutable (3 hours) without losing “vacay” time and not too harsh on the wallet. Not that anyone needs a reason to travel, but this was a perfect spot for a Valentine weekend. Each state in the US of has a history of course, just like people do, but I’d rate Florida being one with an interesting story. Our main point of attraction was the Castillo de San Marcos fort. A remarkable structure that endured battle after battle, but continued to stand strong. Now this post isn’t going to be a history lesson, however I would certainly recommend visiting this historic landmark at least once in your life especially if you ever 1. live in Florida, 2. vacation in Florida, and 3. if you love learning. From there we explored the nearby town which is conveniently within walking distance of the fort. If you enjoy handmade gems, crafts, and such then this town would be a delight for you. Another hot spot we hit was the San Sebastian Winery which offered a free self-guided tour through the cellar and free wine tastings along the way. Who can say no to that? Not this wino.

Below you will find some of my favorite moments from our little visit to Saint Augustine. If it isn’t already, please add this town to your must-see list.

Their new addition.

My 2017 is off to a great start and I hope yours is too! I’m not much of a “resolutionist,” but I do believe in setting goals & chasing dreams. This year I am going to post AT LEAST once a month and push myself to get out of my comfort zone more. So with that being said, this past Sunday I had the privilege of taking photographs for two of my dear friend’s baby announcement. I haven’t taken on the challenge of this type of photography before, but have been eager to expand my photo horizons. I was more than happy to start with them. For starters, the weather conditions were a tad harsh for us. Don’t get me wrong, because I love cooler weather. Living in Florida seems like paradise, but when your thin skin experiences 40-degree weather with occasional gusts of winds near the water can make for some kind of feelings about being outside.

Alright, back to the main topic. I’ve known the momma-to-be, Ashley since we were about 13 years old. To be embarking on this journey alongside her is pretty exciting, considering I haven’t entered this chapter yet and it’ll be the closest scenario for me being an auntie thus far. The daddy-to-be, Jeff, actually has been around since our younger years too and attended the same high school as us. Although we weren’t all connected during that time, it is always fun to see how and where our paths cross later in life to end up at this moment. The two of them are beyond excited to be adding to their family. This baby is going to be one blessed child with humble, hard-working, and most of all, loving parents. I look forward to capturing more of this journey for them when the time comes to find out the gender. Below you’ll find some of my favorite moments announcing “baby Rogers.”

 

Time to Recap.

I know I know, I went missing after only posting a few blogs mid-year. You’ll have an understanding as to why as I explain my recap of how 2016 has been. Now I’m not exactly a business woman, but the experiences of this year for me literally happened in accordance to the four quarters. Whether you like to journal, blog, or even podcast, I think it’s really great to reflect on your experiences. So here we go…oh 2016, what a year you have been.

Quarter One: This year couldn’t have started any better with me experiencing genuine, true happiness. I was inspired, spontaneous, and felt feelings I never have before. It actually kind of started the day before the New Year. I was a support system to others. Explored new parts of town. My photography vision was at a peak. And I didn’t even mind going to work. It was a time where all the puzzle pieces completed the long awaited picture. Sounds like a dream, right? Those first few months were my reality.

Quarter Two: We all know when things are going well and we reach the top of the hill, what has to happen next…and it did. Down the hill I went. You know how I mentioned I had feelings I never felt before? Well, round two of that came into play. My heart was shattered. It was one of those moments where nothing made sense. How did everything feel so right, yet it couldn’t continue on. I wanted to go into my black hole of never dating again…which I did and the guard up went back up. So with that being said, all the other positives slowly diminished. I didn’t really go anywhere. I tried to savor any inspiration I could find but that faded as Spring turned into Summer months.  Thank the Lord for His comforting hands, my family, and best friends. Their effort to make me feel better is forever appreciated. To top off this Q2 sundae with a cherry, I started to feel overworked and underpaid (I know everyone does, but this is about me for once lol) and ended up on a new career search.

Quarter Three: Which leads to the disappearance from my blog. I spent countless amount of time searching for a new job, which if you’ve ever done, it becomes exhausting in addition to your current employment. After a couple solid months, I was able to land not one but two potential positions in two of the leading healthcare organizations in Florida. This is where the saying “follow your intuition” should’ve gone into effect and you’ll see why. I got better vibes from the first offer than the second one but ended up choosing the second position due to a more appealing schedule. I would work four 10-hour days and be off for three, which would mean a three day weekend every weekend. Who would say no to that? Not this gal. In the midst of the job transition, I decided that since it’s been over a few months of staying out of the dating world, I would get online (cause you know meeting people in real life is non-existent anymore and yes even at church) and see what’s going on out there. I signed up and within an hour I wanted to delete my account, but that’s not allowed to happen without being active on it for 24 hours. So I said fine, I’ll give it 3 days, max! The following day I started a conversation with a handsome fellow which transpired to who I now call my boyfriend. July wasn’t too shabby or so it seemed up until I began my new job. In the beginning, it was alright. We all know we have to have patience when adjusting to new places. I was thankful and enjoying the three days off from working those longer days. I was even able to go to Boston with my best friend for a wedding in late August for a weekend. Another week went by and I began to feel like I was in a jail cell (not that I know what that’s like, but we all have an idea). I didn’t ‘click’ with anyone, nor did I really get a chance to interact with co-workers, who were all at least 20 years older. The atmosphere was hostile and was just not meant for me. My depression gene started to seep into my soul and after experiencing it late 2014/early 2015, I refuse to let it fully take over again. I gave myself almost 2 months to adjust and then it was time. I never went back. From the moment I made that decision, a weight instantly was lifted. I was prepared for a temporary unemployment period and really wanted to give myself a chance to breathe. I had been working since I was 16 and only took a couple vacations the past 12 years. Now was my time. After about 3 weeks and a handful of interviews under my belt, I again had two opportunities before me.

Quarter Four: So you’re probably thinking how I was, here we go again. Another chance at deciding which position to choose. Make the right decision, Samantha. Well, I took the position that felt home-like when I went in for my interview and honestly, I needed income to start flowing again. There is actually more in-depth details to this story but I’ll spare you, after two months the second position was still being considered (long on-boarding process) until the time came for me to make the final choice. After careful consideration and tons of support from my family, closest friends, boyfriend, and even both employers, I chose to stay where I had started. And that is when I took a look back a quarter 3 and finally understood why it happened the way it did. So I could end up right here. Happy in my work life again. I’m in a new & creative field, surrounded by a great team, wearing what I choose, and whole-heartedly being myself. To add to the positivity going on, this quarter consisted of two enjoyable trips. The first was in October to Gatlinburg, Tennessee with the best friend and her family. Note: I will forever be a mountain lover. And the second was going to Texas for the first time with my family for Christmas. And to confirm, a lot of things are bigger in Texas. Although I’m always desiring snow fall…I am grateful to have gotten out of Florida a few times this year.

So with all of that being said, to conclude 2016, I have experienced a wide range of emotions. From one of the happiest starts to a year, to heartbreak, a career roller coaster, and finally ending the year with a content heart. If you’ve come to know me, you’ve gathered that my life motto is “Nothing is Random.” What we go through, the things we experience, the places we see/end up leads us to exactly who we are and where we’re meant to be. This moment is what is important. Don’t think of the “what-ifs.” If it’s for you, it will come around. Embrace the chaos and remind yourself that it’s all temporary. Everything is temporary. Like I mentioned in the beginning, taking notes of what you go through is a great way to see how you have changed, gained wisdom, and ultimately grown. 2016 may have kicked my butt a good portion of the year, but I wouldn’t change it because that’s how God intended it to be and I trust him. I have no idea what is to come in 2017, but I know I can always find the light.

God bless, You are Loved, and Happy New Year, y’all!

Do your dream.

I really wish our minds had little typewriters that would somehow have wifi or print out the thoughts we have, because I could easily have most of my posts done in the shower. That’s just a little taste of my randomness you’ll learn to love along the way.

At 27 years of age, and honestly every year prior to this for the past 9 years, I’ve struggled with the so-called “big” question of “what am I suppose to do with my life.” The question itself has put me into dark places repeatedly over that time frame to where I didn’t even want to exist anymore and begged God to just put me out of my misery. I know, I know, that may seem dramatic to some of you, but depression and anxiety (both of which run in my family) thrive on getting the best of someone’s soul. We basically become a victim and have to go to battle. I’d throw in a Game of Thrones pun but I’m 1 of 5 Americans that hasn’t been exposed to the show…yet! Thankfully, I haven’t seen the black cloud since February 2015. But don’t think I survived that easily, the “big” question still peeks its scrawny head around to say hey what’s up, cause sometimes I feel like I still don’t have the answer and I have one thing to say to that, it’s A OK.

Although I feel pretty content in life at this moment minus a few details; I think we get so caught up on standards that are shown all over social media, billboards, and television that we feel we must meet…what do they call that, oh yeah the “social norms.” *Insert eye roll emoji* It’s the pressures of by this age you should be married (that’s a post or two in itself), or when will you have kids, or your job title isn’t followed by CEO or M.D. that tend to make it easy for us to get wrapped up in what we should do or be; instead of what our hearts truly long for and the happiness we’d like to achieve. Now don’t get me wrong, if your dream is to be a head honcho and you won’t stop until you’re making six figures or more then by all means chase what you hunger. I’m just stating that it really shouldn’t matter what anyone thinks about your life because it is YOUR life. I want you to pursue what makes you smile, what makes you proud, what makes your time on Earth worth it. And that also goes along the lines of be with who makes you feel like you won the lottery or who sees life the way you do so you can conquer any and all of it together. You (and I) do not have to justify the way we feel when we do or don’t want to do something. Now I’m not saying quit your day job to chase what you desire (unless you have savings or a great support system), but to make time for a passion or hobby you enjoy. This way it will be fulfilling in the sense of accomplishing what you like to do, not the strain of “should” be doing. Of course if you are one of the 10 people who are born with the “I know what I want to be when I grow up” and actually become it, then that’s great too and I’m glad for you! I admire people with vision and ambition. I have found that making time for my love of photography, adventures, and now utilizing my brain to write for my blog has made me very happy, focused, and less stressed about life as a whole. I’ll touch base on my slow transition to living minimally which will revisit the purpose of this entry and give you more insight of living a deliberate life.

Ultimately, we all have a purpose or else we wouldn’t exist. Yes, it can be difficult to pinpoint where that purpose lies, but it will be revealed. In the meantime, try to find a balance between making enough to live a stable life but also a life fully lived.