The Bean Chicago

(A photograph of my most recent trip to the Bean at Cloud Gate. See my other photographs of this beauty here.)

When people ask me how I am enjoying living in Chicago, my immediate answer is: “I love it! Chicago is such a great city.” And after they inevitably ask me the typical winter weather questions I always end up coming back to the same conversation – something about Chicago just inspires me. Something about Chicago makes me want to become a better writer. Something about Chicago makes me want to take hundreds of photographs. Something about Chicago makes me want to be happier.

I have a fascination with understanding how I feel, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I want. And  I just recently realized through talking with friends and coworkers how much I love “self- help” books. I just recently realized how silly some people think the idea of reading about self exploration is. I just recently realized how much I don’t care what those people think.

I’m currently reading the popular book The Happiness Project and learning so much. I’m learning that I’m really good at some things such as always laughing and being able to see the bright side of things. But I’m also learning things that I can work on like not being afraid of failure and appreciating how challenge is beneficial. These past few months in Chicago have been a huge growing experience for me. I’m in a new city, meeting new people and I believe truly growing up. And I’m finding out how much fun it is.

How about you? Do you feel embarrassed to pick up a book from the “Self Help” section of the library or bookstore? Do you enjoy learning more about happiness?

if you’re lucky enough to enjoy learning more about yourself, you’re lucky enough



quote i havent been everywhere

I took this photo on my iPhone during a drive from Arizona back to San Diego (originally posted here). I was driving about 6 hours by myself and I remember looking out the window at the great open road and feeling fine. I didn’t mind the drive or the solitude. In fact I enjoyed it. Paired with such a great quote by Susan Santog, it has become one of my favorite photographs.

if you’re lucky enough to have found a quote to live by, you’re lucky enough


IMG_8687I have been to several zoos and seen so many different types of animals. However while in Australia I was fortunate enough to see animals that I had never seen in person, let alone in such beautifully natural habitats.

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We saw kangaroos! We were able to purchase a bag of feed and feed these fascinating creatures. As we were walking away, we ran into a mother and her baby. While the baby was too big to fit into the mother’s pouch, the baby made sure to stick her head in there when she was scared.

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At the Koala Conservation Centere on Phillip Island, we were able to see koalas up close. It was such a lucky time to be there as we were able to watch koala’s of all ages. We saw an old guy snoozing away, a young joey who just recently “moved out” and was living alone, and a baby still living on mom.


Tasmanian devils! I have no idea why they are called devils – these guys were adorable. They didn’t move much, other than to readjust their cuddle position. I wanted to jump right in and hug both of them.


Dingos. No babies were harmed.


Wombats! Who knew wombats were this cuddly and cute?


Blue tongued lizards.

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Don’t tell anybody with wings, but I’m not a big fan of birds. I will admit that it was interesting seeing birds that I don’t typically see at home. Well, interesting only from a distance.


The little penguin’s on Phillip Island. I wasn’t able to take photos while I was with these guys, but that’s a story for another day – so stay tuned. (Little Penguin image via.)


Platypus. Did you know the plural of platypus is platypus – because it is. According to my canoe tour guide, this change happened about 10 years ago, so keep spreading the word. (Platypus image via).

if you’re lucky enough to see the animals of Australia, you’re lucky enough


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I have started the process of going through my photos from my trip to Australia. I’ve only started and I’ve been back for a week now. But it is no easy feat. There was so much to see that naturally there was so much to photograph. While I was sorting through and finding photos to share here, I stumbled across a few that made me smile. My trusted camera and I, making several appearances together. I love that lady, I sure do. (Photo credit: my talented mother).

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if you’re lucky enough to have a camera that you love, you’re lucky enough


I don’t know exactly when it happened. I cannot remember when I became so enthralled with taking photos, with capturing everything before me, with developing a near obsession with snapping memories. But if I had to pick a moment when it began, when my love affair started, it must have been when I was traveling through Europe. I was surrounded by so many new and so many beautiful things that I was suddenly taking hundreds and hundreds of pictures.

And now I find it nearly impossible to go a few hours without taking a photo. To me, there is something so magical about seeing something that brings me joy and trying to the best of my ability to grab ahold of that piece of beauty and share it with everyone around me. I wouldn’t label myself as a photographer and I’m sure I could do a better job with actual training, but I have found photography to be such a gift. You weren’t where I was, but I want you to see everything wonderful that I saw.

What about you? Why do you take photographs?

if you’re lucky enough to be able to share your photos, you’re lucky enough