Traveling Punta Cana

What would the Winter season be without an escape to a tropical paradise? Although I love living in New York City, this time of year can really drag me down. My boyfriend convinced me to book a tropical vacation months ago and I’m so glad we did. Punta Cana you really did not disappoint!

I had never been to the Dominican Republic before but many of my friends that I work with originally have family from the island. I had gotten an amazing recommendation for the all-inclusive resort Excellence Punta Cana and could not have been happier. Thank you to all of the staff that made our time there so great! The rooms felt brand new, the beach and pool were clean, the food was great and quite literally endless. On top of all of that the prices were extremely reasonable (almost shockingly so). I can’t wait to plan my next trip back!

As far as excursions go, we couldn’t wait to head out for some sailing and snorkeling. The company Happy Fish took us out on a catamaran boat sailing for around 2 hours. We then jumped in and got to do some great snorkeling and swimming. I could not recommend this excursion enough either. Overall the whole experience was about 4 hours.

There’s no doubt that getting to some warmer weather in the middle of Winter really helps lift my spirits. As we try to push on through the next few months of winter, I can attempt to hold onto my tan and dream about sunshine and paradise.

Upper East Side Photography

We have been so lucky to have such warm weekends on our hands. Though I’m headed out for a tropical vacation soon (so I won’t be around to post!) I was able to spend some time exploring and shooting in the Upper East Side.

This city has always been my favorite due to it’s accessibility. You hop on the train for a cheap rate and it can take you to a whole new neighborhood you have yet to visit. The Upper East Side has always been the neighborhood that I work in so I have hit or miss feelings about it. I think New Yorkers agree: you don’t spend free time in the neighborhood you work in. Just brings back too many memories. There are also so many other amazing places in this city to spend your free time. Of course there are exceptions to this rule as always. (My friends that live there of course!)

These are a set of some pictures I shot while wandering the Upper East Side!

Ways to Improve Your Photography in 2018

With the passing of a new year comes new goals and new aspirations. Though I haven’t upgraded the tech aspect of my camera, photography improvement is not just about the camera. Here is my list of ways I want to improve my shooting in 2018.

Find a New Subject

Though your style may focus on one medium in particular breaking out from that mold is the best way to build new skills. If you are constantly shooting outdoors, take the train into the city for the day and have at it. Breaking out of your comfort zone is a sure-fire way to photography improvement.

Start a Portfolio

A portfolio can be a motivating project in that it gives you an end goal. Starting to curate your best work or focus a portfolio on a certain medium can not only boost your confidence but also spark new ideas and creativity.

Experiment with Night Shooting

Night shooting is one of those topics that some people will tell you to never attempt. Some of the best photography I have seen has been shot around dusk. Take your camera for a spin at sundown and see what happens! Again, breaking out of your comfort zone is the best way to improve.

Ask for Help

One of my favorite things to do is to take my bestie (who isn’t a photographer) with me on my days of shooting. She not only helps spark my inspiration but she provides honest advice about what she likes and what she doesn’t. I took her as my travel partner to Mykonos, Greece and was especially excited about the pictures I snapped there.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Keep working, take your camera everywhere, and shoot, shoot, shoot. Most of the stuff you may take could be junk, but in there when you find the few gems it is going to be such a reward.

How I Found My Inner Voice

When I first started blogging almost officially a year ago, I was nervous about the possibility of people actually looking at my work. I had read and seen so many great blogs I couldn’t imagine trying to jump in. But like all things in life, the way it turned out was nothing like I imagined! This is the story of my inner voice.

Over this first year I really started to learn a lot about myself, and about the work I bring to the table. Photography can be daunting when you are first starting out. You don’t have the best camera on the market or the most expensive lenses. But as an art form, all photographers have something else that doesn’t involve equipment. Style helps put your ideas and inspiration to your own test. Style makes your work unique and your own.

I knew I wanted to do something different with my blog once I came back from my trip to New Orleans. I wouldn’t stand a chance between these lifestyle and fashion bloggers with their own professional photographers and whole team of support behind them. But I did know I could bring something special to the table.

That is when I decided that I wanted to be photoshop free and really develop my own style as down-to-earth and raw. This blog isn’t the story of competition, it’s the real story of the places I go and the things that I see. I am to capture life’s little beautiful moments. Having a style driving me and goals to aspire to are really helping set the tone for 2018. I want to make even greater strides this year

Here are just a few tips to help you develop your own personal style this 2018.

 

What do you want your readers to know?

All bloggers have an end game. The message that you want to get across is also the message you want your work to speak. Some people want to help manage money, document fashion, showcase a certain portfolio of work. Once you have determined you’re final end goal your set up for success.

Incorporate your personal taste.

People like to read work that is passionate, honest, and true-to-self. If you want to make your site full of bright pink lettering and images, go for it! If you think using a very minimal site to house your photos is the way to go, all for it. Find what works for you!

Determine your dislikes.

Self-examination can be the true key to just starting. You know what you want to do with your space, but what you don’t want to do can be just as revealing. This helps keep truthfulness to your work and helps take the stress out of competition.

Make mistakes.

This may be the most important lesson of all. No one is going to get it right the first time. Finding personal style is an ongoing journey that can take time. If something doesn’t work for you, change and change again. Sometimes the hardest failures are the best way to learn.

Christmas in the West Village

I knew on a recent day off that the West Village was the perfect place to explore for some low-key Christmas magic. This holiday season there is a lot to celebrate, and I can’t help but feeling each Christmas gets more special. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

What I Learned in my First Year of Blogging

2017 was a big year for me. I started into a new career that I love, I finally purchased my first camera, and I started this blog! I took my camera to New Orleans, San Francisco, Naples and Greece. I dragged it through subways, parks, over bridges and onto the beach. Overall I can definitely say this year taught me a lot. Here are some of the best things I learned from my first year of blogging.

It’s Hard Work

Blogging can be really hard work. You have to take the time to gather content, sit down to write, work through all of the pictures you take. It definitely hasn’t been easy but has been so rewarding.

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

Though my blog always has been and always will be mostly for myself, getting readers to actually look through your stuff is much harder than it seems. I think this is also an area that even the most experienced bloggers struggle with. Hopefully 2018 will hold even more venues to get my blog out to viewers!

Website Building is so Rewarding

Building the actual website for me has been the most fun. Though I don’t know ANYTHING about coding or tech (thanks WordPress!) finally seeing the finished product as something tangible and on the internet is so cool.

You’ll Discover a New You

A couple months into my blogging I realized that the initial vision I had for the space changed. I started taking out any edits or photoshopping from my pictures; I actively chose to keep them all raw. Finding that inner voice and style in my photography has been the best part of starting this blog.

Set Realistic Goals

One of the fastest way to reach new milestones with something as daunting as your own personal online website is by goal setting. At the same time, developing voice and audience takes time. Don’t beat yourself up over unrealistic expectations.

Only Publish Passionate Content

This is the most important piece of advice! It doesn’t matter what the topic is, if you are passionate about something then it will shine through in your work. People want to engage with content that has passion behind it.

First Snow in New York City

I know, I know, you guys have missed me. The good news is I’m almost free of my studying and free of Christmas shopping responsibilities! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are ready for a few more months of cold. Winter in New York City can be brutal, but is saved by one thing … SNOW.

The recent snow (which I’m surprised happened so early) reminded me of some gorgeous pictures I shot last year of a snowy East Village I wanted to share for you all. The best part about New York City in the snow is how the whole atmosphere seems to slow down. No racing traffic, no angry pedestrians, parks full of people. Last year my friends and I braved the cold of Central Park amid a huge snow storm for some amazing pictures. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

 

Exploring San Francisco

Being able to escape New York once in awhile is definitely a treat, and a city like San Francisco is the perfect place to do so. Besides that fact that walking can be difficult (I see you hills), this city has everything. Here are some of my favorite places I explored while on a short weekend there.

Mission Thrift

Seated right in the heart of the Mission District this thrift store has a ton of character and definitely was worth seeing. The Mission is also home to the Everlane Lab and a Reformation storefront.

Tartine

This bakery has probably the best croissant I’ve ever eaten. This legendary spot is well known for having decadent cakes and eclair’s also so make a trip here! Tartine Manufactory is the bakery’s restaurant and is relatively nearby the bakery but I didn’t make it there.

Mission Dolores Park

Peaceful, sunny and full of people even on a weekday. This park was the perfect way to end a day of non-stop walking.

Mr. Holmes Bakery

Well-known for their cruffin I had to make a spot here to pick up a few pastries for my family to try. I throughly enjoyed the cruffin. They also come out with a special flavor each day; you never know what you might get!

Jane on Fillmore

I heard so many things about this place before arriving. Jane has an awesome menu and an inviting atmosphere for a perfect lunch. It can get crowded but waiting for a table is so worth it!

Haight-Ashbury Streets

The birthplace of the hippie movement still has a ton of spunk. Lined with trendy thrift stores, record shops and cafes. I loved exploring here with my family. It’s also nearby some awesome parks.

Painted Ladies

What San Francisco trip would be complete without a trip to the iconic Full House setting? The painted ladies are truly awesome but be prepared for the walk up-hill to get to them!

Cliff House

Sure, it may be a huge tourist destination but Cliff House is a really a must-see in my opinion. The views are incredible and is definitely unlike anything we ever get in NYC. Make sure to take a jacket because the winds and fog can get chilly. Catch the sunset here and a few drinks.

Overall my short trip 3-day trip to San Francisco was definitely sweet. This city is large with a ton of things to see so make sure to come hungry and ready for exploring!

Northern California and Wine Country

When glancing at the last time I posted on this blog, I feel ashamed! Over a month ago?! Time definitely gets away from me at moments.

It has been a busy fall for me. The heat has been distracting since it still felt like early September for most of October, so maybe I’ve almost forgotten what season we are in. Work is ramping up as I am studying for a new certification which will not only make me more knowledgable but hopefully springboard me into the next big opportunity.

Luckily I was able to get away and visit my brother who is currently a California resident for the semester somewhere near Sacramento! We got to explore San Francisco, Sonoma County (wine country) and some of Northern California.

I definitely would recommend the places we went to for wine tasting: Kendall-Jackson, Clos du Bois, and Francis Coppola winery. Kendall-Jackson had beautiful gardens and a gorgeous tasting room. Francis Coppola even had an outdoor pool and bar with an inside museum (he’s a really famous movie producer).

Northern California is beautiful and it’s so sad to know that so many people were hurt and lost their homes in the fires. As we drove we could see scorched hills and burned trees. Employees at the wineries spoke of stories of losing their homes, or their neighbors homes. There are many ways you can still help the victims, now that the fires are contained (but still burning). Visit this page to learn how you can help!

Traveling Greece: Athens Photo Essay

Despite the mixed reviews we had from others, Athens was a nice surprise at the end of our Greek vacation. The Old City which is where the Acropolis sits directly in the middle of is full of beautiful white washed houses with terra-cotta plated roofs. Graffiti lines the streets in the most beautiful arrays of color. Cafes and tavernas dot the streets and keep it loud enough to not feel empty.

The National Gardens are a nice shady respite from the blaring heat of the sun of this city. The neighborhood of Monastiraki which lies close by has tons of restaurants, and a huge outdoor market.

Here is a sprinkle of some of my favorite photos from Athens. Hope you enjoy!