The Suitcase
Of My Heart

I should have bought this journal when I saw it. I just love this quote!

They should tell you when you’re born: have a suitcase heart, be ready to travel.
- Gabrielle Zevin

Someone should have told me this when I was born. I could have used the wise warning. I love that you can interpret this quote both literally and figuratively. And it can be applied to so many seasons of my life. When I first moved to California, I was desperate. I don’t recall thinking about leaving my family. All I could think about was being closer to Vitaliy and beginning our own family. It didn’t feel permanent. It felt like a temporary fix. We needed to get married and we needed to help take care of Vitaliy’s sister Leska. We’d worry about the future later, all we could think about was the moment. I should probably learn from my past and live more like that today. Stop worrying about the future.

But now that we’ve lived there for more than 8 years, it’s beginning to feel more permanent which is hard on the heart. I miss my family. I need a bigger suitcase heart. I can only imagine how much more difficult it will be once Vitaliy and I start having children. But as hard as it can be, I also can’t deny this love for adventure in my heart. One that my husband helped cultivate. I have a new found love for travel. And I’m surprised to say, I have a crush on California.

I’m thrilled that our work not only allows us to travel, but it’s also a reason for travel. I’m currently sitting in my dear friends home overlooking a phenomenal view of Washington, D.C. We are photographing Elias and Yuris’ wedding nearby on Saturday. I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love. I’m so grateful that our work is giving us the chance to explore new places. But even more so, I’m ecstatic that our work has brought us to the city of our dear friends Francis and Joanna. It was actually their referral that brought us here. So a big thank you to them!

I love to travel, but I also love to be at home. I long for adventure, but I also like to play it safe. In joy and in sorrow, the suitcase of my heart continues to grow. It’s packed with those I love, those that are near and especially the ones who are far.

Have a suitcase heart

Saying No In Order To Say Yes


At the Making Things Happen conference last October, a lot of things changed inside.

Those changes have continued to develop in our hearts and we’re slowly but surely trying to make them happen in our lives. But implementing change takes time. Change is never easy. And it very rarely comes quickly. One of the best lessons I learned at the conference is that saying “no” just means you get to say “yes” to what matters most.

I’ve been a little MIA lately, but for wonderful reasons. Here are a few of the things that have received a resounding YES in my book! From top to bottom, from left to right.

  1. Good meals. We’ve finally implemented a monthly budget and though eating out happens less, good meals and good food is always a priority for us.
  2. Clients. The wedding season has officially begun. We had a sweet engagement session last week and a wedding in DC later this week. We’ve gotten together with past clients. And I’m most excited about the back end work we’re doing in our business in order to give our clients an even better experience.
  3. Creativity. Running a business can be very hard. There’s so much more to it than just taking photos. It’s so easy to let the business side of things become all consuming. Vitaliy and I have been carving out time to continue investing in our creative muscle.
  4. Marriage. I love this guy! Vitaliy and I are constantly trying to find ways to invest in our marriage. We’re both currently seeing a counselor which has done wonders for us both personally and as a couple. I’m also reading a wonderful book called Intimacy Ignited. I’m only a few chapters in, but I would highly recommend it so far.
  5. Coffee. Life should never be too busy that you don’t have time to go grab a good cup of coffee with someone or to simply enjoy by yourself. I only started drinking coffee this past year, but it has quickly become one of my favorite indulgences. I normally drink it black thanks to my husband who’s a purist, but I recently tried the famous Mint Mojito Iced Coffee from Philz. It was everything I was told it would be!
  6. Time with friends. Vitaliy and I have been working hard to downsize our calendar commitments so that we can either enjoy a night at home or a spontaneous dinner party with friends. It’s been one of the hardest and best changes we’ve been working on!
  7. Family friends. It can be very hard not living close to your family. It requires your friends to become like family. Oddly still, even some of our closest friends live a few hours away. Time spent with them and their little ones is always cherished.
  8. Vitaliy and I have now been living in the San Francisco bay area for over 8 years. We’ve only recently started making a sincere effort to explore and get to know this beautiful place we now feel is home. It’s been fun getting to know it better.
  9. Thank you notes. If you have not read the book One Thousand Gifts, you must do it as soon as possible. I’m now enjoying the 1000 Gifts devotional which has had an even stronger impact on me and I’ve officially started my own list of 1000 gifts. Each morning I wake to write down my previous days blessings. I’m also trying to learn to be thankful for both the good and the bad. So right now, I’m digging deep to find the good out of this pinched nerve in my neck. I am slowly seeing it change me. Vitaliy has joined me and started his own list too.

There’s a little peek into our life as of late. Join us on Instagram for more frequent peeks!

The Ultimate
‘Date’ Night Smoothie

A couple weeks ago, I shared about missing New York City and how we fixed the problem by bringing New York to us.

You can read the full details here, but basically we watched the movie Manhattan and tried to recreate a smoothie we discovered in Brooklyn at a cute little cafe called Siggy’s. I’m not sure if we were ever able to match their recipe exactly, but we are definitely enjoying our version. I thought I’d share the ingredients with you today in case you’re in need of a new smoothie recipe. I have a serious sweet tooth, but have been trying to find natural sources of sweetness to fulfill my cravings. This smoothie always satisfies! Hope you enjoy! We even gave it a new name. And it’s enough to serve two people, of course!

The Ultimate “Date” Night Smoothie

- 6 dates (pit removed)
– 2 bananas
– 1.5 cups of almond milk
– 1/4 cup of almond butter

Tips: Feel free to play around with the proportions. We do it a little different each time depending on our mood and which flavors we want to stand out most that night. Also, I’d say the key is to not blend it up entirely smooth. You want to run into little tiny pieces of date with each drink. They’re like finding little pieces of candy in your smoothie.

If you try it out, let me know what you think! And if you’ve got a simple, healthy smoothie recipe to share, please leave it in the comments. We’re always looking for new ones to try! I’ve got a mango here I’m wanting to do something with, but not sure what to pair it with. Any suggestions?

Styling by the wonderful StyleSmaller.

Ingredients: banana, almond butter, dates and almond milk"Date" Night Smoothie recipe combined in a blenderGirl laughing and drinking a smoothieIngredients for the Ultimate "Date" Night Smoothie