home away from home

The other week, a new friend asked what's my favorite subject to shoot. I paused for a moment and decided that at this given time, I most enjoy capturing people in their everyday element, and I find great pleasure documenting the spaces in which they experience their day-to-day. 

I retreated to Charlottesville for the July 4th weekend with a couple of friends, and we called this charming Airbnb house our home away from home. Our host mentioned in her profile that she's a touring musician, so I asked about it while touching base before the stay. She kindly offered to leave us a CD! It was awe-inspiring to pop the album into the kitchen player and hear songs travel through the very rooms that house the people and instruments and stories responsible for bringing the sounds to life.

I hope to see David Wax Museum live one day.

ahn family

A collection of images from a day trip to Richmond to hang out with these lovely folks for a family portrait session at Maymont.

moments in minneapolis

My childhood friend Gloria flies out to Minneapolis weekly for work. We reconnected recently and she invited me to visit, so I did. It was a semi-solo trip because I explored the city by myself while Gloria was at the office, and we met to spend the evenings together.

The plan for the week was to not have a plan. And the hope was to sink into the rhythm of a few unhurried, unstructured days. 

I didn't take a ton of photographs, but I'm glad I captured these moments in Minneapolis. The latte made sweeter with lavender and honey. The farm-to-table meal savored while journaling. The brioche cake devoured a bit too quickly. The Mississippi River. The exploratory walks all around town. The view from the sky-deck of what was once the world's largest flour mill.

This was probably the first time traveling during which I didn't feel compelled to document every single thing I did or saw or ate. I willed myself to be present and pay attention to my surroundings and experiences. I created space to think in solitude. I stepped out of my comfort zone and chatted with locals. I deeply enjoyed sharing adventures with an old friend. I learned. And I think that's exactly what my spirit needed. 

stand with me // dc instameet

Here's a little video that documents DC's instameet to celebrate National Freedom Day and the premiere of #standwithme, a documentary film that tells the story of a 9-year-old girl named Vivienne who dreams that a lemonade stand can free 500 children in slavery.

In Vivienne's words, "Big things have small beginnings." Though the reason we met is heavy, taking a walking tour of the city with creatives who care about social justice is hopeful and beautiful.

Please learn more about the #standwithme movement here.

[Humming House: "Forever Is Better With You"]

keep austin weird // part three

Steph and I couldn't figure out how people in local establishments often knew to ask where we're from...until my roommate, who's a Texan, enlightened us. She said the head-to-toe black likely gave us away as Northerners. Interesting, huh? Discovering and seeking to understand cultural differences is one of my favorite parts about travel. 

When a trip comes to an end though, I always hope that the spirit of travel will carry over into the day-to-day. The unbridled enthusiasm, the thirst for adventure, the willingness to go out of the way to do something simply because it's fun. The very necessary rest and restoration. The pace that's slow enough to search for and find beauty. 

The final two days of Austin are chronicled here. May we all keep the lovely place weird.

keep austin weird // part two

There are some trips in which I choose to go with the flow and some trips--like this one--in which I plan very deliberately. The latter typically happens when I'm traveling with someone who enjoys food as deeply as I do, which was surely the case with Steph. 

I collected a number of Austin guides from friends who know the city well prior to the visit, and we culled through each list on the plane to decide what to tackle. Steph and I always do "halfsies" when dining together so that we can maximize what our taste buds get to experience. Documented here is our second full day in Austin. :)

Highlights? I had the best breakfast sandwich of my life at Hillside Farmacy, and I inhaled a salty oats cookie the size of my head at Walton's in honor of Sandra Bullock, one of my favorite actresses. (It's her shop!)

keep austin weird // part one

During the first full week of the new year, I visited Austin with my sister friend, Steph. (We're friends from college, but act like sisters.) We agreed that travel is invaluable as it invites us to pay attention to ourselves and those around us in a way that's a bit different than usual. We notice. We question. We learn. We step out of our boxes--our comfort zones--because in unfamiliar territory, it's partially inevitable and partially easier. 

It's okay to do things like eat a pint of Blue Bell ice cream with a fork in the grocery store cafe in the wee hours of the night. Or to run five miles around the town lake as a local would. Or to purchase a Stevie Wonder record from a vintage shop. Or to make new friends and share conversation and laughter together in complete comfort. 

Austin was really good for my spirit and soul, and I'm excited to share glimpses of the trip with you!

blast into the past

Katherine approached me with a fun idea, and I was very happy to help make it a reality. She had found a bunch of childhood photographs at her mom's house and decided to surprise her mom with modern-day reenactments. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the blast into the past. 


2013 was messy, difficult, joyful, awesome, heartbreaking, exhausting, liberating, and quite beautiful. I laughed a lot, cried a lot, and experienced both the good and bad deeply.

This little video project of mine reminded me to choose gratitude daily. Gratitude for the amazing people whose paths have crossed with mine, for the memorable and mundane moments shared, for the lessons learned and relearned together. Gratitude for each opportunity to travel, for songs that stir the soul, for daily bread. Gratitude for rest, for solitude, for calm. Gratitude for brokenness, for grace, for growth.

I look back on the past year as a whole and I smile. I smile and I march forward armed with this (hope) to-do list: live unhurried, savor Jesus, make love my aim.

Happy New Year, dear friends!

pastries and parfaits

I'll be honest, when my birthday rolls around each year, I often feel more anxiety than excitement. It's easy to fall into the comparison trap at these annual life mile markers and to think about where I'm "supposed to be" and how I'm not quite there yet. But I'm starting to realize that I'm probably never going to get to where I'm "supposed to be" because there's no such concrete thing.

I am where I am, and what's most important isn't how I stack up to others or where I stand on the spectrum of expectations, but how fully I'm living and whether I'm walking in love.

So this year, I traded in birthday blues for gratitude in the form of a gathering to celebrate close friends who've supported me and stayed with me through the good and bad. We enjoyed each other's company over pastries and parfaits, and it made my heart happy to have my people all in one place.

The beautiful photographs below are by a dear, talented friend who captured and shared these sweet moments because she said I'd probably be running around and wouldn't have the chance to document. (She was correct! And I am immensely thankful.)

little lights benefit

Here's a highlight video I put together for an awesome local organization called Little Lights. This captures moments from their annual benefit event that supports the inner-city community of Southeast Washington.

My favorite part of the evening? Getting to see the sweet girl I tutor sing in the choir. She was such a star. :)

a run and a reunion

This past weekend was a special one. I spent it in Richmond where I ran my first half-marathon and reunited with a couple of my college roommates. Though I was physically exhausted from the race, I was reminded that humans are awesome and my support system is strong. And in many ways, that's really fulfilling.

Before parting ways on Sunday, we slept in and then made our way to breakfast at Lamplighter, a delightful cafe that I actually visited twice during my stay. The space is conducive to both the solitary coffee shop camper and the bunch of old friends chatting and chewing the day away. Trust me, I wore both hats!

slowing down and seeking restoration

On Friday morning I awoke sans alarm, packed a few belongings into my weekender, and road-tripped to Philadelphia. Desperate for rest, I decided to be intentional about giving myself time to recharge in solitude because only then am I best able to be full and present and loving around others. So I enjoyed a quiet brunch at a Cafe La Maude, strolled around town stopping to visit a number of local businesses, and finally curled up with a book and a latte in One Shot's cozy space. Being mindful about slowing down and seeking restoration was just what I needed.

The remainder of the trip was spent in the presence of good company, music, and meals. The most memorable parts included seeing The Head and the Heart at Union Transfer and soaking in the afternoon sun at Terrain. I didn't end up snapping too many photos throughout the weekend, but I couldn't help but be a bit shutter happy at Terrain. How could you not in such a magical place? 

meeting halfway

Christy and I lived together in a house--that we referred to as Montage Cottage--during my fourth year of college. The doors to both our rooms opened out into the kitchen, where we often gathered to catch up, sit comfortably in silence (to study), and chitter chatter about our wildest hopes and dreams. 

We have a bit more space separating us now--Christy resides in Philly--but we thought it'd still be fun to meet halfway, so we marked our calendars with a Baltimore trip. Neither of us anticipated how timely and necessary the retreat would be. The day was spent brunching at Woodberry Kitchen and camping out at Artifact Coffee, where we caught up, sat comfortably in silence (to journal), and chitter chattered about our wildest hopes and dreams. 

I am grateful for lasting friendships. You know, the kind in which you pick up right where you left off like no time has passed regardless of how long it's been since you last saw one another. And the kind in which each individual realizes how maintaining relationships requires a lot of intention and effort, but decides that it's really worth it.  

district flea

I was born and raised in the area and have learned that DC doesn't disappoint those with a spirit of wonder and adventure. It's so easy to find something new to do and interesting to explore. I just can't help but fall deeper and deeper in love with this place with more time.

Saturdays seem like they were made to be spent at the market, so that's how a dear friend and I passed our morning at District Flea, a collaboration between local vendors and the folks behind Brooklyn Flea. We meandered around--camera in hand--and appreciated the details of the antiques, chatted with a bunch of vendors, and paused on multiple occasions to share small bites* at communal picnic tables.

*Please do me (and yourself) a favor: check out Ravioli Revolution.  I thank them on behalf of the District for relocating from New York because their ravioli? They're like pieces of heaven bursting in your mouth. And the team is so down-to-earth and friendly to boot!

hello friends!

Earlier this year, I decided that it was time to take Mustard Tights branding a bit more seriously. So, over the past few months, I sketched logo designs on a notepad, brought my favorite one to life, ordered a custom stamp, and finally finished putting together my new website. 

Thanks so much for visiting and for taking a peek around! I look forward to sharing life and images with you.