stand tall.

Every day we wake up with a new day, a new to start over to write our own. Each day the sun rises and so do we. We wake up to an awesome day that awaits us. Each day we are blessed with a new seed to grow into a beautiful new tree.

We can have it all just with a new mindset. A new mindset that our “tree” has new leaves fresh and crisp ready for that new day. Our trees are all different in there own ways, constructed vein by vein in each leaf, branch by branch down to the trunk to support and hold up everything. Our tree is special. It’s leaves may shed, to leave us with something bare but that’s just it— they shed for something greater. Day by day we are graced with new. New ideas, new support, new growth. We may run into trouble or doubt but one thing remains: each new leaf to make our tree is beautiful. A tree doesn’t doubt how to grow it just does. Our path and growth is planned for us and we just need to do. Just do what’s best for us in order for us to grow. To grow into something magnificent and detailed in our own unique ways.

This isn’t my typical blog post but I felt inspired by J Lo’s new movie, Second Act and the words just flowed in because we all can have that chance to have a second act. We are not always in control but we can nourish our tree to grow and guide it into something amazing.

If you’re reading this, your tree is special too. You are detailed and wonderfully made. You are developing new beautiful leaves and strong branches to add in supporting the greatest thing: you. You’re tree shouldn’t doubt its ability to be something stronger, something outstanding. It just does. So tomorrow just be. Be you. Be your own kind of beautiful and let your tree stand tall.

Xo,

Kai

a letter to an angel.

To an angel in heaven:

I miss you; so many people miss you and your infectious smile.  We miss your laugh and the light that you brought to any room even when you did not know it.  The thing I miss most is the way you had with people to encourage them and what they love to do.  You helped others to turn their passions into more than just projects.

Angel in heaven, your presence was out of this world.

There are so many things I would love to tell you about and wish you were here to see, but I realized you have the best seat in the house: heaven.  I know I cannot physically have those conversations with you like our conversations about art and spirituality, but you still hear me– you listen to the ones that you are no longer with.

April 6th, 2018. One of the best days of my healing after losing you.  The coolest thing?  I photographed the whole event to preserve these happy moments forever and look how happy people are; in honor of you.

One of the things I love most about my job is showing people the way they do not see themselves.  The way they should see themselves.  Angel in heaven, you had that gift too; but with your words, your smile, your laugh.

Thank you for that.  Thank you for the kind words and lasting conversations that will forever play on repeat over and over.

Love,
The ones who loved you

hello 2018.

a letter to my future self:

2017 was a rough year to sum it up into a sentence.  With any roller coaster ride of a year you have ups and downs and lessons that were learned.  Over these 365 days these are the 23 things I have learned and the things I will carry with me into the new year.

  1.  Stop pretending to be someone you are not or someone that someone else makes you out to be.  You don’t have to impress anyone, but you.  If someone’s expectations are different, let them be different.  Be you — through and through.
  2. Keep your feet grounded.  Not literally, but hold onto the concept that the ground is a support for the times that are shakey.
  3. Breathe.  Go outside, take a walk and breathe.  Appreciate the blue sky and the air around you.
  4. Remind yourself that life is beautiful even in what seems like a disaster.
  5. Be a genuine human.
  6. Tell the people you love you love them and mean it.
  7. Do something that scares you.
  8. Push through the pain; in the end the pain will fade, you will heal and be okay.
  9. Day dream and set goals for those dreams.
  10. Hold on to hope.  You might not feel like it is there, but it is.  Trust me.
  11. Dance in the street with strangers or friends because life is short.
  12. Be the light in the darkest places.
  13. Do one thing a day that makes you happy.
  14. It’s not your responsibility to fix anyone.
  15. Try your best. Always.
  16. Remember tomorrow is always a new start and a fresh new day.
  17. Learn something new.
  18. You are alright. (In the words of my bestie, “you got this”. And P.S. you do.)
  19. Life is hard, but you are stronger than the hard times.
  20. Turn your music up and blast your speakers.  Let the music take over and be free.
  21. You are an awesome human (who cares if your weird or what other people think).
  22. Meditate daily.  Even if it is for five minutes.  Take a minute for yourself.
  23. Let it go. Whatever it is, let it go and let God.

None of that “new year, new me” stuff.  We are still the same people we might just have new scars or beauty marks in this new year, but we have a fresh start for new memories (good or bad) and those memories are what you make it. Cheers to a new year!

xo,

kai

thankful.

At the beginning of this month, I decided to cleanse myself from social media. I’ll be honest I didn’t succeed however I looked at myself that week and realized a few things.

Tuesday was the first day of the cleanse. The continual question that kept repeating through my head, “why did I decide to do this again?” You know when you decide to not eat sugar or junk food and your like ooh if I just have a little bit I’ll be fine but then you instantly regret eating that bad food because you went back on what you promised? Yeah. Me too. In all honesty I stayed away from Facebook and Instagram which was easy.. it was sneaky little Snapchat that snuck up on me. I wanted to take that ridiculous selfie or post something like a trendy picture of what I was doing in that moment. I wanted to check it to see my notifications- who snapped me?! Guess what, I had no notifications and that little bit of sugar was just a waste.
Instead of wasting good time on social media I went to Barnes and Noble for something to redirect my time for me. As hard as it was, I found a book and two guided journals to redirect my thoughts. I had better conversations away from my phone and had more genuine conversations even if it was just a text to someone I hadn’t caught up with in a while.

While it was easy to say no to all of the social media, doing it was a lot harder. Again I didn’t get through the week but I realized what I wanted to cleanse myself from and it was not living my life for what is on social media. Not comparing my life to someone else’s. To have fun because life is short and not be bothered on did I get enough “likes” on what I documented as fun. I recently read an article about being addicted to people. I realized I was addicted to making myself happy with people who weren’t going to do that. I was the only person who could change how I look at life. One of my favorite parts to the article was, “There is a beauty, when you rise from the ashes of self-destruction. It’s only then you have the potential to be someone you never thought you could be.”

After that week I looked at myself differently and started valuing the little things that I forgot to value. I started looking at old pictures and reliving memories that I thought I could never look at ever again. I wouldn’t look at or appreciate the memories before, but now I’ve started too. I would see pictures in the house and think about the negatives about myself- I was destroying what I loved most about myself but not any more. I am so grateful for what I have. Life is too short to not live it and be thankful for what you’ve got; to enjoy the ride on life’s rollercoaster or merry-go-round rather than wanting to give up and get off.

This past Sunday I hosted Friendsgiving and I celebrated time with friends even though it was stressful to pull off. I thought about what I was thankful leading up to this event and even prior to Friendsgiving. I’m thankful for all of it. The highs. The lows. The blessings. The lessons. The setbacks. The comebacks. The love. The hate. Everything. Yesterday I celebrated more than Friendsgiving- I celebrated a crazy year coming to an end with a new me: one that is a stronger version of myself, an awesome guy by my side and awesome friends. Thankful doesn’t even cut it.

As I write this, sitting on my bathroom floor listening to Fantasy by MS MR I think about about all of the things I am thankful for. Think about what you are thankful for. Everything around you is a blessing. Family, friends, the green grass, the blue sky and the air we breath. Don’t get off life’s roller coaster or merry-go-round. Enjoy the ride.

 

xo,

kai

it’s fall y’all.

Three words: it’s fall y’all.


It’s finally cooling down in Phoenix and if you live in Arizona and it is October, you know that means: PUMPKINS, CANDLES, FUZZY SOCKS AND WARM COFFEE.

I’m not even going to be salty about this double post in one day because I wanted to share my fall inspo ideas.  A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling a little down and needed to bring some comfort into my house and make it a home.  The Dollar Store opened its automatic doors and led me to a fall paradise of $1 finds.  I felt like my mom and I were going a little crazy with all of the goodies, but when I checked out I had only had $20 worth of fall finds in my cart.  I repeat: only $20!!  Excited and high on deals as I was we rushed home to spread out our fab finds.  We had previously bought everything to make wreaths so that is what I was set out to do.  Little did I know when I got home I did not know that I had a lot more than just “little” things.

So, I did not drink warm coffee.. but I did add pumpkins, put on my fuzzy socks and lit a fall candle while watching Gossip Girl (P.S. I’ve seen this show like a thousand times and I still have a crush on Nate and Chuck and if I ever ran into them in real life I’d totally fan girl over them).  It is crazy how going to the Dollar Store or moving things around can make a house feel more like home.  That coffee table? Made from wood pallets I found with a white pumpkin candle and little glittery pumpkins added to it.  The wreath on my front door?  My mom and I had a wreath making party and all of the flowers on it are from no other than: THE DOLLAR STORE.  Yep.  You can thank me later, send me your fall decorations and crown me fall princess or just call me Joanna Gains because let’s be honest my house is straight out of a Fixer Upper episode and I ain’t even mad about it.

Head to the Dollar Store or Home Goods or wherever and put some fall decorations up (and light a fall candle too) because it will make you happy.  Isn’t that all that counts anyways?

“Psychology says the person who tries to keep everyone else happy often ends up feeling the loneliest”.  So remember darling, fall in love with yourself (and fall things) first. Comment with your fall decorations and other fall ideas!

xo,

kai

family isn’t always blood.

“Family isn’t always blood.  It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs.  The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile & who love you no matter what.”


 

 

 

So I’ve kinda been MIA because I have been editing multiple sessions of pictures including this family session last week and it was a success!  I still have a lot of editing to do with the pictures… but I could not wait to share some of the pictures and the story behind some of them.

The people in these photos have been in my life for 20+ years.  The first is a picture of two beautiful women I am so grateful to call family, to call an aunt and to call a sister.  The second is the shoes of a strong woman and mom and her son that doesn’t go anywhere without those boots.  The third is one of my favorites of my mom and her best friend (someone I am lucky to call my aunt) these two women I look up to in so many ways and look to both of them for strength and faith.  The last is my soul sister and I (God made us and our mothers friends because they couldn’t handle us as sisters, even though we’ve always been a dynamic duo); she someone I admire and would not have been able to go through so many ups and downs without her by my side.

I could say so much about all the photos I took that day, but the only thing that is important is the people in theses photos.  These people may not be my true blood related family, but rather my family bonded by love and there for each other when we truly needed it.  Short, but sweet post and mostly appreciating the people that have a special place in my heart!

I am so happy I was able to capture that love on camera even if I twisted my knee and have to go to the doctor for it!  Don’t underestimate your photographer either.

xo,

kai

do it for you. 

“Do things for yourself; in thirty years nobody is going to remember your choices except you.”

Over the last two weeks, I have really struggled with self-love and doing things for only me. It’s hard to put yourself first when you’re always putting others first when the truth is loving yourself should be the priority over all the other things. In the words of Sheryl Crow, “if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad”.. so do it.. make yourself happy.

Life is too short to not do what makes you happy. If anything I’ve learned over the last year that has been reiterated these past few weeks in finding myself, it is to do what is best for you and everything else will fall into place. If you don’t do what’s best for you first how can you do what is best for anyone else? From now on, I’m doing just that while blasting and singing “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow.

Things I’ve done (that you should try too) that’s made me the happiest I’ve been in a while:

  1. Had a dance party in my car on Friday to get out of my head. (If you were one of the chosen ones to see my Snapchats, consider yourself lucky).
  2. Had spontaneous nights with friends that included crying and laughing
  3. Ate ice cream for dinner
  4. Ate breakfast for lunch
  5. Bought myself new clothes because why not?!
  6. Dressed up for brunch in something I wouldn’t normally wear
  7. Had brunch with old friends
  8. Took selfies and posted them because again: Why. Not.
  9. Woke up and reminded myself that the life I live is beautiful.
  10. Appreciated myself and then the people around me (side note I really need to listen to my own advice).

On my bad days I remind myself of these things because it’s the wins that outway the losses.

xo,

kai

Where have I been?!

Hello my roses,

I have been away for a little bit gathering my thoughts and taking a break from a little bit of everything.  P.S. I also went on a much-needed vacation.  Rather than stick to my 30 days of blogging challenge, which let’s be honest, I haven’t been very good at; but I am going to try from here on out to blog once a week.  Not only to serve as a creative outlet, but I want to share my creativity and passions with my readers.

So without further ado… this weeks blog: why you need to take a vacation and get off the screen you live on.

Last weekend at this time, we were coming back from a bike ride from the beach (one of our 10+ mile bike rides).  Sunday at the beach was a cloudy day but a great day, at that and I was exhausted.  The previous days consisted of eating too much, laughing until I cried with family and soaking myself in aloe because of a bad sunburn.  Monday was our last day and we again road bikes and ate way too much.

With spending so much time on a bike, you one: have to pay attention to where you are going especially when the Boardwalk is crazy busy and two: you have a lot of time to look at what’s around you and clear your head.  While on vacation, I practiced just that.  I wasn’t on my phone every second and I was forced to appreciate the scenery around me.

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I mean how could you not appreciate the scenery with views like this?!  I guess what I am saying is get off that screen and go make memories of watching the sunset until its dark, go on a walk until your feet feel like they are going to fall off, eat food with the people you love until your stomach almost bursts and thank God for the people around you because that is all that matters.

 

“life is a journey, so enjoy the ride” 🚲

xo,

kai

30 days of blogging: favorite food

Day #6: favorite food


I have to be honest, I am not doing so well with this whole 30 consecutive days of blogging, but I am doing my best!  I will get through 30 posts, until then I’m still on day 6.

I have been a little busy and that is why I have not blogged.  The last few weeks I have been trying to get a passport, working, finalizing everything to start my masters and trying to do things that make me happy and allow me to relax!  Grief has a sneaky way of creeping up on you to create anxiety, feeling sad and everything in between so you have to find things that work for you to not push away the grief but ways to manage and heal through it and that’s exactly what I do when I bake and take photos.  Side note, I got my passport so I can go abroad!  I will be here waiting for it to come in the mail in the meantime because the passport agent would not accept my Prime Membership 2 day shipping so I will have to be patient for a few weeks!  I love food and I love capturing food with my camera, I think I love food photography a little more than taking portraits of people. While I’d love to just hop on a plane and try a bunch of different foods and take pictures of the excellent food, that is not going to happen tomorrow so, for now, I’ll take pictures of the things I bake.

I love baking but more importantly, I LOVE baking and eating cupcakes.  Rather than sit at home just watching Bachelor in Paradise (BIP) all night or falling asleep at 7 PM, I baked in between Carly and Evan’s wedding and the actual BIP episodes.  Tonight, I made a gluten-free vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream.  Baking gluten-free is difficult to get that same taste as non-gluten free things because it is missing that key ingredient of the protein: gluten.  Although, I live that GF lifestyle, I do splurge and eat some non-gluten free things every once in a while (a girl’s gotta eat, okay?).  These cupcakes tonight though, were on point with taste and how they looked!  (I wish I could eat cupcakes all day and not be at risk for diabetes or other health issues, I guess I can dream, right?)  But it also helps when you have a great camera!  I recently got a new Canon camera and honestly, my new baby does a great job at capturing everything especially these little beauties.

 

I use a Canon EOS Rebel T6 for all of my work and I literally took these pictures, connected to wi-fi and downloaded these pictures to upload them to my Instagram and blog!  How cool is that?!  Enjoy swooning over these pictures!

xo,

kai

30 day blogging challenge: my guilty pleasure

Day #4: My Guilty Pleasure


I feel really bad I didn’t stick with my challenge and blog yesterday.  So today is like 2 posts in one!

First, in my last post, I said Sunday I would not complain and took that challenge!  Honestly, when I thought about the day, I did not complain.  Having that in the back of my head and to wake up feeling refreshed as well as positive really made a difference in my day.

Now for today’s answer to what is my guilty pleasure?  Hair and makeup videos.  Yes, hair and makeup videos are one of my favorite things to watch.  You know those videos on Facebook that pop up and are like a minute long and show all of these hair transformations with cuts and colors and have really good dance music?  No? OMG just watch this video.  (To be honest, I just got distracted watching this and had to refocus).  Anyways, I LOVE these videos and if it involves makeup, I’m right there too!  For some reason (maybe it’s my love for beauty products) watching these videos just makes me zone out and stop thinking about everything else.  Sometimes I even watch them when I’m trying to relax or go to sleep.  It is so memorizing what some people can do to not only their hair but also makeup.

I know this was a short post, but I honestly think this is pretty self-explanatory and you should just watch the videos LOL (Plus it’s my day off and I honestly tried to talk myself out of doing this… but I promise I won’t tomorrow!)

30 days of blogging: meaning of my business name

Day #2: Meaning of My Business Name


 

About 2 years ago, my mom and I were into (still are) flipping furniture– like resurfacing and making something old look new.  I originally had an idea to create a pop-up shop to sell vintage finds that we re-done.  Not that, doing that didn’t work out, I just decided to put my passions somewhere else, but I kept the name for my business I had decided on.  At the same time, a good friend had asked me to take some of her Senior pictures for college… and BAM!  Just like that, my passion bloomed into a business.

The reason I decided to name my business Modern Roses was that 1. my favorite flower is a rose and 2. my middle name is Rose.  I wanted something new and fresh that represented me ( I was also inspired by Madonna’s book: The English Roses to be honest.  If you haven’t read this children’s book, then you’re missing out.).

From that point on, Modern Roses Design and Photography has grown into something beautiful.  I have done a lot of portraits for my friends an family and design for small businesses, to bigger corporations.  Even though I am going a different route with my dreams with perusing my masters in psychology, my art will always have a special place in my heart.

If you are just dying to see some of my portraits (which I don’t blame you) head over to my Instagram.

Capture

xo,

kai

 

30 day blog challenge starts now.

In order to connect and write worthy posts, I am going to do a series of 30 days of blog posts.  P.S. I got this off Pinterest so I want to thank Pinterest for my inspirations for the next 30 days. Get ready to bloom into my life.


Today is #1.  Seventeen Facts About Me

  1. I am an only child
  2. I recently graduated and am now starting graduate school to study psychology (wait, is that two? oh well)
  3. My family are my biggest fans
  4. I am a photographer
  5. I work in sales
  6. I have a cat that stays at my parents’ house (or her castle because she thinks she’s a queen)
  7. I bought a house at 21.
  8. My life path number is 11. (If you don’t know what life path numbers are add your birthday up and Google it.  I’m sure you’ll learn something about yourself)
  9. I’ve gone through all of life’s stressors and lost more people than I would have imagined at the end of 2016 and through this year
  10. I love pizza and ice cream
  11. I am gluten free
  12. I am slightly obsessed with Gossip Girl and Greys Anatomy. I have watched both series more times than I’d like to admit
  13. My favorite bible verse is Romans 12:12
  14. I have a thing for numbers (if you couldn’t tell by fact #11)
  15. I am passionate about giving back and helping veterans
  16. I bake cupcakes
  17. I started this blog to have an outlet and display my creative work

Boom. Done.  Fin.

xo,

kai

 

welcome to my secret garden

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a little about me.

I am a 23-year-old trying to figure out my place in the world.  Oh also I am a recent college grad and I am going back to school for my masters.  My family says I am an overachiever and I would have to agree with them; but when I know something is right for me, I am passionate about whatever is thrown my way.

Rewind to 2009, where I had blonde chunks peeking through parts of my hair and took graphic design to have an excuse to be with my friends in class in order to feel like I fit in. I learned the basics and quickly fell head over heels with being behind the camera and photoshop. Mind you, I wasn’t very good and had a lot to learn, but I soon learned to prove myself and others.

Fast forward to 2014 where I challenged myself in college to experience more than just business classes. I expanded my portfolio and learned art is just that: art. It is whatever you make of it. Photography and graphic design has shown me: be who you want because there is only one you (so what, if other people don’t like that). Two years later, I graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and started Modern Roses.  I am continually challenged with working with an array of clients and projects.  I have never been happier to explore and have a creative outlet.

What do I love most? Being a part of my clients’ memories, hearing their stories and capturing & reflecting through my camera and art how my clients may not see themselves.

So welcome to my secret garden where the flowers are colored with life, love and a little bit of everything in between. 

xo,

kai