June Q+A

Hey friends,

Today I am answering some of the questions that were recently submitted to me on Instagram. I'm going to be doing these monthly or bimonthly (depending on the kind and amount of questions I receive).  Please send me your questions either in the comments or via email for next month.  Ask me about life, yoga, health, wellness, beach life, photography, or anything else!  

Here we go...

Q: What kind of dogs do you have?

A: Izzy is a black lab, and Lola is a standard poodle.  Izzy is 10, Lola 8, and we adopted them both! :)  They're super sweet girls.  

Q: How long have you lived at the beach?

A: Just about two years!  Time flies.

Q: How long have you been doing yoga?

A: 10 solid years and counting of serious practice. Teaching since 2015.

Q: I'm coming to Destin/Santa Rosa Beach soon.  What should we do?

A: Welcome! I spent three days here, and then decided to move. I recommend soaking in the natural beauty here.  Check out some of the state parks - they're stunning!!  Take a walk in some of the little beach towns.  Grayton Beach, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach are some of my favorite for a walk.  

I get asked where to eat ALL the time.  Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to ask on this because I have yet to try out so much... Anyhow, if you want something healthy, I love Formula Fresh in Destin Commons and Raw + Juicy in Seaside.  For the Health of It in Blue Mountain Beach has a great juice + smoothie bar.  I love their green juices, and the owners are so kind.  While in Blue Mtn, the Creamery has fantastic ice cream, and La Lobos Bakery has great cinnamon rolls.  The Black Bear Bread Company in Grayton Beach is AMAZING + again, love the owners.  I can't pick a favorite there because it is all so delicious.  Just get everything.  I'm a big fan of Chiringo's in Grayton Beach as well.  Their margaritas are fresh and tasty... i feel a bit sassy after just one.  For sushi, Shan Kishi in Miramar Beach is great.  Brozinni Pizza in Seagrove is yummy, and truthfully, I love the pizza at Whole Foods in Destin as well.  Now I want you to tell me where I should try next!

For beach rentals, my friends at Jongle Beach are awesome.  Rachel + Glenn go above and beyond.  

Q: What do you love to eat?

A: What I love to eat and what actually eat are somewhat different.  I love to eat everything.  I don't like how everything makes me feel.  I feel my best eating light, organic, and real foods that give me a ton of energy on most days.  I have a gigantic smoothie late morning.  My son loves smoothies, but they have to be pink.  I'm all about dragon fruit lately.  I also plan on featuring more of that on the blog/Instagram soon, too.  Would you like that?  I also eat a ton of avocados.  I love fish, and fruit.  I like eating rice with my dinner, and eat a lot of veggie burritos.  I eat simply most days.  My son is extremely picky, and would live on pizza and hot dogs.  It takes me a lot of willpower to not live on those things with him.  Again, I come back to how food makes me feel.  Oh, and I do indulge frequently.  I like to have something sweet several times a week.  

Q: How did you manage to grow on Instagram?

A: Some people grow SO fast it's insane.  I've grown slower, and feel like I have a super engaged community because of it.  The trick is to post great visual content, meaningful captions, and socialize.  Talk to your followers, like and follow people, and be real. If you're just trying to grow and don't really care about the people it becomes obvious.  I am still figuring it all out to be honest!  Sometimes my growth seems to explode, at other times, I lose more people than I gain.

Q: What kind of camera do you use?  Your photos are awesome!

A: Thank you.  I shoot with a Nikon D750, which is a fantastic full frame camera.  With that said, the camera is just like a paintbrush (an expensive one)... it is the tool.  Don't trick yourself into thinking that you need crazy expensive gear to express yourself and capture beautiful photos.  My first camera was a Nikon D5300, and it was great!  I used the 35mm 1.8F lens on it (which costs less that $200 brand new), and got some amazing photos. 

Q: What type of filter do you use to get a vintage effect to photos?

A: My style has definitely evolved over the last 6 months.  Some people love it, and others don't.  I edit my own photos in Lightroom, and I have used and created different presets depending on what I am shooting. With that said, some tips to get that look: 1) Add grain into your image; 2) pull up the blacks in the tone curve to get that crushed black look, and pull down the whites to get a more vintage vibe; 3) desaturate a bit; 4) add in some blues or greens into the shadows (in split tones).  I wouldn't call my style vintage, but it does have some film elements to it.

Q: How do you take some of your best shots?

A: "Best shots" is very subjective.  Some of my favorite shots get the least amount of likes... But, for my most liked shots here you go: If I am in the photo, I have used a tripod 99.9% of the time.  It takes practice, patience, and a whole lot of outtakes.  I set my camera up, put it in manual mode, and find something to focus on.  Then I place myself in the focus spot.  Sometimes this is really tricky to do.  I come back to my camera, and check the photos to make sure what I want is in focus.  Frequently I don't get it right on the first attempt.  My most liked shots also tend to be wide angle photos.  I love shooting with my 24mm lens.

Q: I want to live a more authentic, creative driven lifestyle, but I'm only 18.  What tips do you have for making the next step in leaving the average lifestyle behind?

A: I love this question.  I think it is amazing to be 18, and contemplating this kind of stuff.  I for one was not even thinking about any of this at 18.  The thing is, I think experience, finding your purpose and passion, as well as creating a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is everything.  I would recommend school, travel, talking to people, trying things out of your comfort zone, and just connecting with things that you really love to do.  Hone in on what your unique skills are, and whatever it is that makes you excited to get out of bed each day.  Don't listen to naysayers, but also don't shut out wise people who have lived a long life and have advice.  Let go of labels.  Focus less on leaving an average life behind, and more on just what you love to do.  Don't be afraid to take chances, experiment, and make some mistakes along the way.  Put a ton of emphasis on loving yourself unconditionally and prioritizing your health and happiness.  I wish I had done that at a younger age!  Because I think if you prioritize your wellbeing things will fall into place easier.  Eat well, exercise, manage stress, and be gentle with yourself.  Always remember that if you're willing to put in the work and make sacrifices, anything is possible.  

Q: My husband and I are moving to Santa Rosa Beach with our infant this winter.  How did you move with a young child? Any tips on minimizing our stuff, and living a simple beach life in a small space with an infant? Your story has inspired ours.

A: First of all, how exciting!!!!!  We moved during my son's first year.  We live in 600ish square feet.  Babies really don't need much.  Our son never had a nursery or anything... not that there is anything wrong with a beautiful nursery.  It's just not our jam.  Think about what you really need.  What do you really use?  Pull out the essentials, and then box up the rest.  Live that way for a bit, and if you don't miss any of it then donate those boxes. If you realize you need something first take it out.  It's amazing how little we really need.  Don't put pressure on yourself, and realize that downsizing stirs up a lot of emotions.  I really struggled with family heirlooms that were passed onto me.  Expect to donate/sell your stuff in cycles.  It is a process. Start now, and then do it again in the fall, and again before you move.  Congrats on freeing yourself from STUFF.  Let us know how it goes!

Q: Where do you want to travel?

A: Everywhere!  Right now I have a list of a few US cities to go to soon. I also love Florida, and want to visit more springs and spend time in the southern part of the state.  I also would like to get to Hawaii + California soon.  I'm thinking about the Bahamas next winter.  I really want to get to Australia as well as Bali when my son is a bit older.  I kind of want to go everywhere to be honest!  Where do you want to travel right now?

Q: Where do you see yourself in a year from now?

A: I see myself surrounded by love.