Feature Friday: Capturing Beauty

“Tilt your head, you are gorgeous when you look at the camera like that!”

I laugh as my best friend cheers me on from behind the camera. It’s so ironic that she is a photographer; Audrey is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever known, and it’s funny that she found a passion to showcase others’ beauty. After doing two photoshoots with her I decided I had to take a picture or two of her every time we went out; after all, she should totally be in front of the camera too!

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Audrey is blessed to be outwardly beautiful, but it’s her heart I love most. She is one of my very best friends, and that has absolutely nothing to do with looks and everything to do with character. Audrey is someone who has been a fiercely loyal friend since I met her, and even though we both want to do similar things in the world, we support each other and push each other to be better, rather than choosing to compete. I can always count on her to make me laugh when I want to cry, and be a great friend even when she has a million other things going on.

I have so many different stories I could write about Audrey, but today I wanted to focus a little on her journey to DC and how she has handled being a grounded twentysomething.

Krista:
You moved to DC without having a set plan or a job lined up, but everything worked out. This is a great example of your faith in God providing for our needs. How did you feel when you made such a big step?

Audrey:
At the time I decided to move to Washington I was attending college in a really tiny, snowy college town. I’m from Las Vegas so even just the idea of being cold is so upsetting to me — I don’t do snow! I remember thinking, “I would absolutely love to get out of here, but don’t see how that’s a possibility right now.” The thought of a few semesters left in my little college town also seemed a little daunting to this solar-powered girl.

I can’t describe why, but I sincerely just felt so good about moving. I had no plan, so even though I felt direction-less I applied for three internships — one in Texas, one in California, and one in DC. It was November and I was somehow hoping to score a last-minute winter internship. I have always been a firm believer that in life, we get what we are willing to work for. I think a lot of the time we sit back and wait for signs in life or big things to happen when really God is saying, “What are you waiting for? If you want it, go for it!” He can’t guide us if we aren’t willing to take that first step in the dark.

I was in class one day and got a call from a man who was the owner of a pretty prestigious company I had applied to in Washington, DC. He didn’t hesitate to tell me how under qualified he felt like I was for the position, and needless to say it was pretty intimidating. Nevertheless, he agreed to meet with me in person and two weeks later I found myself driving across the country.  Needless to say, that door closed and the next six weeks I felt like I was totally in the dark, but I kept applying, networking, and most importantly, I never stopped praying. I am now working at a job that is so perfect for me at this time in my life and I am tremendously grateful the internship didn’t work out. It is amazing how when a door closes it is often a blessing in disguise, and I think God blesses us when we keep our faith even if we can’t see the bigger picture at the time.

K:
Are you still happy with your decision to move here?

A:
I am so happy! And I mean, I get “Krista time” so what is not to love about that?! I think happiness is something we create, not something we magically find. Although I would be happy anywhere, the way things fell into place once I got here has seriously been so inspired. Since moving back I have had people come into my life in such incredible ways that I couldn’t imagine life without.

K:
What is your favorite thing about the DC area?

A:
I am from Nevada so growing up if we wanted to go to another state it was often an all day road trip. I love that I can get in my car or catch a train and in just a couple of hours I can be somewhere else entirely. DC also has such a contagious energy about it that I love but it also transforms at night and is so peaceful. You can spend a lot of money and go to an elaborate show and dinner or spend absolutely nothing at all walking around the monuments or in a museum and still have such a rewarding experience. The history and diversity here never cease to amaze me.

K:
You are someone I really love because you’ve never let a relationship, a job, or a busy schedule get in the way of your friendships. Have you always been like that? What advice would you give to girls trying to juggle a busy life?

A:
For me, life is all about finding the balance. I think in this area especially, everyone is busy but some people wear it as a badge of honor and I am just so not that way. I try to give everyone the best of me throughout the day and put my best face forward but then there are times when I just need to unwind and be with girlfriends and unwind over Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake Factory over a good vent sesh 😉 Ya feel me?

K:
Umm, of course I do!

We haven’t ever really been single at the same time, but our interactions never change when either of us gets a boyfriend. Do you think there’s a reason for this? What makes you value “girl time” as well as quality time with your boyfriend?

A:
Growing up my family didn’t communicate a ton. I was raised with a single mom who worked so hard to make a living for my brothers and I, but she was spread thin so my girl friends became my closest confidants. I think a lot of girls lose their identity in their boyfriends. A lot of the time people see relationships as the whole cake instead of the icing on the cake of life. Having a relationship with someone you love and trust is a beautiful thing, but you are both still individuals. At the end of the day most people are likely to go through a couple of relationships before they end up with the person they will marry, and when those relationships end you shouldn’t be calling up your girl friends like, “Hey… Remember me?” I think it is totally healthy to spend some time apart in relationships — it keeps you both satisfied and allows you to miss each other instead of having to do everything together. I also have the most fiercely loyal, hilarious, and loving friends in my life that just seem to get me. Who wouldn’t want girl time with friends like that!?

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K:
Something I find really cool about our relationship is that we both want similar things in life, but build each other up and share successes, rather than competing. What advice would you give to others in remaining supportive of their friends, rather than competing with them?

A:
When I was in high school I was really insecure. I had this small mindset that I needed to prove myself, but the only person I wasn’t good enough for was myself. As I got older I realized that I was really self destructive and then embarked on a journey where I was trying to be more self-aware. Once I shifted that way of thinking I learned that I not only found joy in my own accomplishments but also the accomplishments of those around me. Someone else’s success doesn’t diminish your own and I wish more women understood that. I remember having froyo “girl time” dates with you all the way back to my first year in college and we always wanted the same things, but I was always so impressed with this about you as well! Having humble but accomplished women in my life makes me want to be better — not bitter — and I wasted a lot of years being the latter. I would tell girls that felt this way to learn to genuinely be comfortable in their own skin and then start vocalizing to others things you genuinely admire about them instead of trying to lead with your own accomplishments. I am so uncomfortable around women who constantly try to make themselves look better than others. None of my girl friends are this way. It’s a shallow and small way to live. If you are threatened by someone else, look inside yourself. What is it about them that you are intimidated by and what is really triggering these emotions of insecurity and jealousy in you? Be honest with yourself and then face that head on.

K:
As I mentioned in your introduction, I always think it’s funny doing photoshoots with you because you are clearly someone who cameras just adore! What got you interested in photography?

A:
Haha oh man, I don’t see it that way, I just genuinely love doing it! I have always wanted to photograph people’s love stories and when I was little I remember looking through bridal magazines and being at weddings thinking how that would be my dream job — to capture those beautiful moments. I still have a long way to go but luckily we live in an era where you can learn absolutely anything and thanks to YouTube it is a lot easier to get a head start in something you don’t know a lot about.

K:
What is your favorite thing about photography?

A:
It is so fun to live in the moment but then that moment is gone and photography is something that helps us remember some of life’s sweetest moments forever. I wanted to be able to create something people can hold on to — whether that is a candid moment of two people dancing or a picture someone can look at that makes them smile because they feel beautiful or see themselves in a new light. I love creating that!

K:
If you could choose anyone in the world to photograph who would it be, and why?

A:
My nephew because he is such a sassy little stud. He’s like Bieber and is a little high maintenance about his crazy paparazzi aunt these days! I am not the kind of person to get starstruck or anything like that, so that’s a tough one. I seriously can’t think of a single celebrity I would really want to photograph over one of my friends or family members, but that’s just my personality. A couple of months ago I was doing a woman’s hair and makeup who was a single mom and had never really been pampered like that before. Afterward she looked in the mirror and got teary eyed and couldn’t stop smiling. I seriously live for moments like that with hair/makeup/and photography where I can help someone feel beautiful and see what I already see in them. I don’t see being a girly girl as something shallow or worldly but rather as something I have a knack for that I can use to help others smile and I love that.

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This is one of many times Audrey did my hair and makeup for a little photoshoot. I am one spoiled girl!

If you’re interested in getting a photographer for something in the DMV, shoot me a message and I’ll connect you with Audrey!


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I’M MOVING!

In just a couple of weeks I will no longer be on this website. My dating life changed a loooong time ago, so I am finally taking the time to make some changes that reflect this and moving my site to KristaLauren.com (As I have mentioned before I would have done this a lot sooner, but I am technologically challenged and 10 times out of 10 prefer to write instead of work on my site). Make sure you sign up to receive emails for my posts, like my Facebook page, or bookmark my new site if you want to stay a part of my Single in The Suburbs family. 🙂

All About Army

Today is the 1 year “anniversary” of my first date with Robert. Going into it I had absolutely no expectations, as I wasn’t looking for a relationship and just wanted to date around. Despite shaking him off and realizing how unrealistic it would be to date someone who was leaving for a deployment in just a few months, he somehow worked his way into my heart and stayed. I wanted to do something special on my blog for the one year, and seeing Robert already wrote some about our first date, I decided to answer some questions about him.

Last week I interviewed Robert about what it was like dating me, so I figured it was only fair that I would answer the same questions about him! His friends and family might learn a thing or two about him, and now my lovely readers can get a further peek into this ‘ship.

This is the first time I have ever interviewed myself, so you’ll have to let me know how I did. 😉


Single In The Suburbs:
Tell us, what is it really like dating Robert?

Krista:
It’s been a lot of fun! He’s way goofy, which I absolutely love, but he also has a really sweet and caring side of him. Dating was a little intimidating at first because I worried about how people would react to the fact I am unintentionally incredibly high maintenance, as I have an autonomic nervous system disorder that requires a lot of care. I knew it would take a special person to be with me, but I also know my worth and that anyone right for me would be able to see that I have a good heart… I just didn’t realize I would snag a person as special as Robert. He has been attentive and loving in the ways I need, and might just know my love language even better than I do.

 

SITS:
In a sentence, what is the best thing about dating him?

Krista:
I’m not going to cheat like Robert did, but the best thing about dating him is that I’ve been able to learn that what I want in a guy isn’t at all unrealistic, and that selfless love is something that can be worked into a relationship.

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He’s also great at literally everything he does, which includes shooting a fake (or real I suppose) gun and winning carnival games!

 

SITS:
In a sentence, what is the worst thing about dating him? (Be honest!)

Krista:
Hmm, he’s a bit embarrassing to take out in public sometimes; he tends to spill stuff all over himself and sit on my Junior Mints in his truck (See photos below for proof).

Bonus sentence: This really sucks because I love Junior Mints, and he wasted about half a box on decorating his jeans.

 

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Before: chocolate and mint goo. After: water resembling something else…

SITS:
Have you noticed any interesting or annoying habits he has?

Krista:
He often sings Taylor Swift in a really silly voice, which is interesting and only annoying if I’m really into jamming at the moment. You can go crazy with Blank Space, Robert, but Wildest Dreams is sacred. Let’s keep it that way.


SITS:
How do you feel about Single In The Suburbs?

Krista:
I obviously love it! I’ve really enjoyed making a very small impact in the lives of others from writing this blog. I hope to keep growing my readership and sharing my experiences with y’all!

 

SITS:
On a related note, how do you feel being written about so often? You are clearly “Boston” and “Army.” writing about the same guy so often?

Krista:
Writing is my favorite way to share my emotions. When I’m in love with someone I absolutely love writing about them and expressing the way I feel on paper — or a computer screen if you want to be all modern and cool! You guys only see the drafts I feel are somewhat worth sharing. I am like Brad Paisley, as in, if I love someone I can go on and on and on. My blog posts only scrape the surface of my love life, but I do try to share the biggest ups and downs on here, as I think they do make for the most relatable content.

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I think I take way more sneak attack photos of Robert than he does of me… And I’m so glad I did! This is one of my favorite pictures of him. It was the last day I saw him before he left for the Middle East, and captures perfectly the way we felt leaving each other that day. I’ve never had another human’s smile make me feel so happy before.


SITS:
Tell us one of his deepest, darkest secrets.

Krista:
One thing I like about Robert is that he’s kind of an open book. When we first started dating I thought he was trying to impress me by liking a lot of the same things I did, but after getting to know him better I realized we just have a lot in common. I can think of a few secrets to share, but since I’m interviewing myself and he didn’t ask me this question, so I’m going to respect his privacy and plead the fifth.

 

SITS:
What is the most embarrassed you’ve been on a date with Robert?

Krista:
I can’t really think of anything in particular. Sometimes he is a little goofy and will pronounce things really incorrectly when ordering at a restaurant. For example, on our Valentine’s Day date we went to a really fancy French restaurant and neither of us knew how to pronounce anything on the menu. He happened to choose a really weird appetizer, and ordered it in his best “French accent,” which actually sounded more like a mix of an Italian and Bostonian — very fitting as he is both of those. The waitress didn’t understand and gave him a weird look, but I always think he’s funny when he’s trying to be embarrassing, so I don’t mind.

 

SITS:
How did you feel going into the first date? What about after it?

Krista:
Okay, so Robert gave us the lowdown on how we almost didn’t meet up after he canceled our first date… Since this happened and he clearly really wanted to go on a date with me still, (After all, he did message me a few times after we didn’t meet up — I just felt bad that he had blown it with me at that point!) I figured I didn’t have anything to lose going out with him.

We talked on the phone before we met, and I actually was kind of excited after our conversation. He was funny, charming, and a good conversationalist… My kind of triple threat!

When we met up a few days later I was pleasantly surprised how easy the date felt. We had a lot in common, and I instantly loved his sense of humor. Leaving the date I wasn’t really sure whether or not we’d see one another again, as he was leaving to go to training in Staunton (3+ hours away) soon, and would eventually be deployed, but he texted me later that night about what a nice time he had, and we haven’t stopped talking since.

SITS:
What is your favorite memory together?

Krista:
Oh gosh, I have so many… I loved the date I took Robert on to get hibachi for his “birthday,” I loved every date we ever went on that involved playing Super Smash Bros and ordering takeout, I loved going to coffee or to “watch the Patriots play” at the bar (Which involved mainly just us chatting away and ordering lots of good desserts), I loved being able to be a part of his deployment ceremony in Richmond, and I loved seeing him for 2 extra days before he left to go overseas. I really can’t choose just one; I just love spending time together.

 

SITS:
Tell us the most interesting “Robert story” you have heard since meeting him.

Krista:
This is kind of a weird one, but I really liked hearing about his time in ROTC. Robert has a million great stories, but I particularly like hearing about when he had to camp out for several days and found a berry bush in the woods near our alma matter. He says that they all took turns sleeping for short periods of time, and that when it was his turn to keep watch he would pick and eat handfuls of these berries. He didn’t know whether or not they were safe to eat, which in hindsight knowing the outcome (they were not poisonous and he is fine) this is hilarious, but it does make me worry about his judgment sometimes…


SITS:
Would you change anything about Robert? If so, what?

Krista:
Just his geographical location. 🙂

 

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I also sometimes sneak hand holding pictures, because they really give me fond memories of having a sweet closeness with someone. This was our last car ride together before Robert went overseas, and as lame as it sounds, I’m just really excited to have his hand in mine again soon.