I haven't blogged in so long.

Correction, I haven't blogged HERE in so long.

I've been writing on my new website, as well as literally writing 10 million blog posts for other companies during my summer internship. But this little space? It's fallen to the wayside

(along with my motivation to finish college, be healthy and eat anything other than ice cream.)

It's always so refreshing to come back to this space though. I've grown up on this little blog. Nearly 10 years of trials, joys, and teenage confusion are stored safely in these pages. While I imagine that the frequency of posts here will only continue to decrease, the value of these memories will never change.

This summer, I stumbled into copy-writing. I didn't even know what it was 2 months ago, and yet today I finished my first round of freelancing work. People have asked me how I learned to write. "You're a biology major!" (no I'm actually speech pathology now, but thanks.) "You've never done marketing?!"


But I've written over 798 posts on this little blog called The Garden of Happiness. And though I never thought it would, it really counts for something.

God uses twisting paths and winding words to shape us. When I started this blog so many years ago, I never dreamed that it would be the pathway to so much joy. I had no idea that God would use my blog as a way for me to develop the skills and talents He has given me.

For so many years I agonized over what my giftings were. I thought God had forgotten about me. Every day felt like Christmas morning...except I always had black coal in my stocking.

Now, I realize that I was just ignoring what was already there. While I was searching so desperately to figure out what it was He wanted me to do...I was already doing it. I just didn't know it yet.

If you're in a season of feeling like life makes no sense....well that's all of life so get used to it. But more than just getting used to it, embrace it. Hug it like you would an old friend, welcome in the uncertainty and offer it something to drink.

And then sit back and watch what God's plan begin to unfold.


Talking to strangers isn't always socially acceptable. But sometimes you offer to go to church with a total stranger and that stranger ends up becoming your best friend.

Try this one at home, kids! (In the safest way possible, please and thanks.)

A mutual friend introduced us at a crappy country concert (so, a country concert?) the Saturday before school began. Standing in line waiting for wild boar tacos, Mallory mentioned that she didn't have anyone to go to church with. Despite the fact that I had just met her five minutes ago, didn't want to go to the church she was talking about, and already had plans to go with someone else, I offered to go with her. 

 The next morning I got into the car with a stranger but came home with one of the truest friends I've ever known.

I love how God works.

Coming to Texas was like starting from scratch. I didn't have a friend come with me, or even a friend-of-a-friend to latch onto for the initial immersion period. I literally didn't know a single soul. Many prayers were said over me for the Lord to bring someone into my life and though I prayed for that too, I set my expectations very low. I expected it to be painful and awful and lonely and hard.

And it was! But I didn't have to go through all of it alone. 

Because before school even started, God answered that prayer and gave me Mal.

From day one Mal has encouraged me, challenged me, laughed with me (also at me), not judged me for how much salt I put on my food and fully embraced my weird gum addiction. We've been to concerts, coffee shops, and Chipolte countless times together. She's heard my story, listens when I'm stressed and NEVER makes fun of me for taking 1720900 photos of everything I see.

Someone recently told me that they admired our friendship because they saw how well we love one another. And although I know I definitely miss the mark a lot, the friendship Mallory and I have is so special because it is so real. We've prayed together, cried together, been stressed together. Sometimes we've been angry, upset and hurt. But at the end of the day, we know that God is using our friendship to strengthen us, encourage one another and show people the love of Christ. 

Mallory has taught me that friendship isn't only about what you give and get. Friendship is about living out the love of Christ and giving God all the glory along the way.

Our friendship has taught me so much. First of all, I now know a lot about true Texas Tacos (Torchys forever!!) And secondly, through Mallory's example, I am learning what it's like to truly love someone as Christ does. I'm not perfect by any means, and I make a lot of mistakes but wow. Some days I can't get over how blessed I am to have a pal like Mal in my life.

And by some days, I mean every single day.

I sneeze, you sneeze!

Driving three hours to go to a museum about a food you don't even like may seem extra to you...but that was just another Tuesday for me.

I was sitting in English Class in October when Regan texted me in all caps with an extensive amount of exclamation points, telling me that the famous Museum of Ice Cream was coming to Miami over winter break. And since caps and exclamation marks are literally my love language, I was 100% on board. Also the entire museum is pink. Even if I was allergic to Ice Cream, I'd probably still go.

Regan and I actually both had the flu when the much anticipated day came, but that didn't stop us from having an amazing time and also taking eighteen thousand photos (Give or take. I'm bad at math.)

Hopefully this semester in English,  I'll get a text from her saying the Museum of Cake is coming to town! Because if there's one thing I love more than exclamation marks, pink and all caps conversations, it's probably a big slice of cake. 

Even though it was more of an "I sneeze, you sneeze" situation, our time at the Museum of Ice Cream was filled with sugar, tissues, and a whole lot of sprinkles. 


I was having a particularly rough day last semester. I was late to class, completely spaced on an assignment, lost my student ID in the depths of my backpack twice and also had a splitting headache to make everything more enjoyable. Somehow I ended up at the post office to check my mail, and I received an unexpected card from a sweet friend. And even though it was one of the cutest cards ever, the note inside was infinitely more special.

"Keep on creating beauty." She said. "The way you see the world is one of a kind. Keep sharing that view with us."

Creativity and college courses don't go hand in hand, especially when you're a biology major. A week will go by and the only photos in my camera roll are ones of textbooks and whiteboards. My real camera rarely see's the light of day. It's been hard to let that part go.

Her card was more than a note and a cute graphic. It encouraged me that even though I'm busy, even though for now most of my time is dedicated to understanding chromalveolates and electrophoresis,
I am still creating beauty. I am capable of continuing to create more. I have the ability to take an ugly hard life and find the good and share that.

I'm documenting my creative journey in 2017 for days like that. For days when the flashcards seem endless and the concepts unbearable to comprehend. I want to remind myself that there's more to life than biology and there's more to me than grades, assignments and GPA stress dreams.

This is my creative journey. This is how I've created beauty. This is my story.

Snap and Flutter Modeling // Sydney Marie Photography
My insta friend Sydney reached out to me and asked if I would model for a styled shoot. My first thought was "Why me?" and my second was "What if she's actually a 39-year-old man who lives in his parent's basement?!" Though the answer to the first question is still a mystery, I'm happy to report that she wasn't a he and that she, Syd, is actually so so cute and so talented. (I mean, clearly, she's talented because she made me look good!)

The first images I took on my own at a wedding at my internship were scary. I was sneaking around the room, trying to not be noticed. It was so fun though because there was no pressure. I could shoot whatever I wanted. And even though these are the only 3 photos I was able to get, I love them so much. I never imagined I'd shoot a wedding, much less intern with such amazing photographers.

The only reason I'm includng this is because my favorite local photographer,  who is kind of a big deal took, this photo. And even though I wasn't at the wedding, the sign I lettered for the bride was! And Katie took a picture of it! So she basically loves me and want's to be my best friend and I'm 100% okay with that.

It's always interesting to see which photos are my best 9 at the end of the year. (Best being decided by number of likes and engagement...obviously if I were picking the best ones would be all dessert but alas.) I think it's funny that a.)the top nine all have me in it and b.)all my different haircuts and colors over the year hahaha.

In 2017 I shot two weddings on my own. And while it wasn't quite as glamorous as I had envisioned as a child (I forgot to factor in the sweat, running around and yelling at people that is unfortunately involved) it definitely fulfilled a childhood dream and for that I am grateful! It pushed me and challenged me and I wouldn't change a thing. Except maybe not forget my deodorant. 

Moment, an online iPhone accessory shop and creative company, featured me in their top 50 influencers for 2017. I got to send in my favorite pictures, blab a little bit about how much I love color and basically, it was my dream come true. There was even a typo in the copy they wrote for me in the magazine printing, which obviously was a sign that this was meant to be because Typos are my native tongue.

Snap and Flutter Workshop 2017 from Dustin Seltzer(Seltzer Films) on Vimeo.
Without a doubt, this was my favorite day of 2017. Probably because my hair and makeup was done professionally. Nothing makes you feel like you can conquer the world quite like a pair of properly applied false lashes. This workshop was MUCH different than the first one I did. For starters, there were 15 photographers taking photos of me at once which was slightly intimidating. It was also at least 10 thousand degrees outside, so that made it interesting. It was seriously so fun to be surrounded by so many passionate, creative people who care about the little details as much as you do.


When they cancel school for the day at 8:20... but you're already in your 8am class.
 Even though I did live in Montana for a couple years, we never had the luxury of snow days because our school was um, in our house haha. So you can imagine how excited I was when the forecast predicted sheets of sleet and snow. The entire walk to class in sleeting hail I was praying that a.) I wouldn't slip and b.) that school would be cancelled for the day. And Jesus was listening! I wish he maybe would have anticipated the prayers so I could have stayed in bed all together but either way, we got my wish. A snow day! No school!

Honestly, I've seen better snow and if I'm REALLY being honest, I wouldn't have minded going to class anyway. But hey, now I can say that I've officially had my first snow day. And when I'm 80 years old, I'll be sure and exaggerate the details and say that I was walking uphill to class both ways through deep drifts of snow and my grandkids will no doubt be very impressed.

Or at least, they'd better pretend to be :)

(Mal and Haley were great sports in the snow. They were my first friends here and I'm happy we got to dance in the snow....i mean slip on ice, together!)