hello from our little apartment by the river

When I moved here, I was reeling from all of the transition a bit more than I wanted to admit. When conversations with friends were suddenly made via phone or long texts sent at stoplights (rather than walking 10 feet to the next house over, letting myself in the unlocked door, and helping myself to my friend Rachel’s groceries before she even returned from class), I started falling into a daze of nostalgia with way too much time to think. But I’ve learned that the best way to get excited about living in a new city is to explore as much as possible…

It didn’t take me long to realize that there was something really special about living right next to a river. When I was a kid, I would read book after book of historical fiction goodness where characters escaped through the forest next to their little wooden house and spent hours adventuring by the nearby river, or creek, or pond.  I used to pretend that I lived by a river too – but the only body of water that I could see on a daily basis was a man-made pond near our neighborhood, full of keep out signs about “electric shock” and “no fishing.”

Now that we live in a city right next to a river, I have realized the effect that this has on my mood. Sometimes, the river is peaceful, sunny, and a bit too bright to look at until sunset. Other days, I’m driving to work and the water is full of dark fog and haze. Other times, I’m running and the clouds are full of color, whispering over the water. Sometimes the water is choppy and stormy, completely mirroring my emotions. And then there’s the water at night: with city lights, the bridge, the ferris wheel. Riding bikes over the pedestrian side of the bridge after dark and seeing the whole city across the water. Sitting on the bench by the water and writing. Watching little sailboats glide across the blue on an early July morning. Seeing the water ice over in the winter. Visiting the hidden lighthouse and taking photos of rocks by the water.

Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Living by the river has reminded me to be patient, and to never give up the opportunity for a grand adventure. What is special about the place where you live? What makes your neighborhood, town, or city unique? I’ve lived in a variety of places and I can assure you, there is always something. ❤

some river photos:

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 10.21.10 PM.png

and videos too:





word of the year, 2017

[a few weeks ago] It was a week that wasn’t my favorite. I’m wording it that way because, in the grand scheme of the world, it wasn’t so bad. Still, I was feeling emotional and defeated, and wanted to run. The sky was bright and sunny when I drove to my favorite running path, left my car parked in a pile of leaves, and started out. I was so pumped. This was going to be the best hour of the whole awful week.

I had completely underestimated how cold it was. Suddenly, I was attempting to run against the wind, face stinging and lungs burning. We are very dramatic here, but it’s true. The winter sun had deceived me. It probably would have been a wise and totally valid choice to turn around and go run inside at the gym, or at least find some warmer gear (I was wearing pretty warm layers already, so I’m not advocating running in extreme conditions in an unhealthy way). But for some reason, I knew I needed to keep going. If I went back to my car, I would probably just drive home and wallow. So I kept running, walked a little, and then ran the rest of the way.

Sometimes, we race out the door in excitement or determination: “Yes, this is it! I’m ready!” And then we hit a wall of wind and it’s “Wait. This is definitely not what I signed up for. What if I made the wrong choice?” I’ve been learning that, most of the time, there isn’t a neon sign giving us another set of choices: “will you keep going, or give up? pick one.” It’s usually a slow, unintentional defeat that enters through distraction or doubt. We suddenly find ourselves deviating from our lane without even meaning to.  (Side note: this is in no way an argument against rest. I think rest is actually a super important element in not giving up [and could – probably will – write a whole other post on that], but intentional rest is different from avoiding a confrontation of circumstances, or brushing discomfort under the rug.)

I’ve heard about people declaring a “word of the year,” and never thought I’d actually do that. I love words and there are so many great ones, so shouldn’t they allll be words of the year?! But I realized that I do have a word for next year, because it’s been on my heart a whole lot recently. When I was running in the cold that day, it made me think about my attitude towards a lot of things in life. About running a long race in a short life.

There is a scripture that is read at lots of weddings, and perhaps has become cliche to many of us. But, as many times as I’ve heard it, I was still surprised to see my word there, nestled inside a very important statement: “…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveresLove never fails.”

My word for 2017 is: perseverance. What’s yours?


Climate Music Video // Behind the Scenes

We have so many awesome behind-the-scenes photos from filming the “Climate” music video, so I have to share them on the blog! Last summer, Franck and Caitlin e-mailed me and told me about their film company, Open Valve Studios. They said that they had discovered my EP on iTunes and would love to travel to DC (they live in LA) to film a music video! We spent a couple months planning over e-mail and Skype, and then filmed for three long days in early October.

The video shoot was one adventure full of mini-adventures. I decided to tell the stories through photos (here are some of my favorite photos, all by Marie from Open Valve Studios – unless otherwise noted). Click on the photos to read the captions and hear more of the story!

Happy Thanksgiving week! xoxo,


Books I’ve Read in 2016

… So you can probably tell that I don’t update this blog too often. But I’ve decided that whenever there is something that I want to say that won’t naturally fit in a social media post, I will write it here. (What else should I write about?!)

Last year, I wrote about some of the books that I had read and it was so fun to hear everyone’s responses and ideas for what to read next. So here is a list + mini-descriptions of some of the books I’ve read this year (there are others, but these are the best ones, in no particular order.)

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh- This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I felt like a kid again, reading something profound but not too complex, unable to put it down (although it is a book for adults). It was a story that felt so very real but painted beautifully. Also, a must read for anyone who loves flowers. Thank you to my friend Jessica for recommending this!

Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot – I am always coming across these awesome quotes from Elisabeth Elliot, so I decided that I should read one of her books, and this was the one at the library at the time. It’s an intense memoir of the difficult loss of her husband while on the mission field. Her perspective is incredibly honest.

Mary Oliver Poems – I won’t list out all of the books that I read because one day I literally checked out about 6 of her poetry collections (surprisingly none of them included the typical quotes that I always see from her everywhere), and they were all wonderful. So, if you’re looking for inspiring, modern, beautiful, nature-esque poems, find a Mary Oliver book. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the poems I did read:

What I want to know, please, is what is possible, and what is not. If it is not, then I am for it.” -The Garden, White Pine (yes, yes, and yes.)

the old gold song / of the almost finished year…” – Fall (because, I mean, what a cool way to talk about fall)

The violets, along the river, are opening their blue faces, like small dark lanterns.” – Yes! No!, White Pine

I’ve knelt there, and so have you, hanging onto what you love, to what is lovely. The lake’s shining sheets don’t make a ripple now, and the stars are going off to their blue sleep, but the words are in place – and the fish leaps, and leaps again from that black plush of poem, that breathless space…” -At the Lake, White Pine

“…What if the brook slid downhill just
past your bedroom window so you could listen
to its slow prayers as you fell asleep? What if
the stars began to shout their names, or to run
this way and that way above the clouds? What if
you painted a picture of a tree, and the leaves
began to rustle, and a bird cheerfully sang
from its painted branches? What if you suddenly saw
that the silver of water was brighter than the silver
of money? What if you finally saw
that the sunflowers, turning toward the sun all day
and every day — who knows how, but they do it — were
more precious, more meaningful than gold?” –
How Would You Live Then? 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, and Other Concerns + Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: So I was obviously way behind on this, but I finally read the Mindy Kaling book. Hilarious. And then we were visiting our friend Anne in Texas on the way to Oklahoma, and she had ‘Why Not Me?’ sitting on her bookshelf. Part of the magic of reading a book is remembering where you read it, why, and who recommended it to you. I think these stories are part of what makes reading and sharing books with friends special.

When Life Turns Upside Down, by Brannah Bibbs: this book was written by my friend Brannah who lives here in Alexandria. It’s a story all about growing up and figuring out life. She introduces the reader to instantly lovable characters that are very real, and you grow attached to their stories more and more in each chapter. It was so fun to read her debut novel, and I have no doubt we will be hearing more from her as an author in the future!

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf: My memory of reading this book revolves around a rainy, coffeeshop day while waiting for the bus from NYC to DC this past May (while/after filming the “Bells” lyric video – see, it all goes together!). I will be honest and say that I knew I needed to read this book because of the title (lighthouses and I are great friends) – but I also knew that it was going to be a very deep and thoughtful read that makes one think about life, which it was.

A Little Bit Wicked (Kristen Chenoweth autobiography): My friend Lauren and I were browsing the biography section of a used bookstore (ya know, per usual) when she mentioned that she had recently read a Kristen Chenoweth autobiography, and that it was really funny. She let me borrow the book and yes, she was right. I think it’s fun to read about the childhood/young adulthood of successful entertainers – and this one did not disappoint.

I’d love to hear your recommendations on what to read next!



p.s.- on the topic of books, check out the music video for my song “Storyteller”  filmed by Stephen Stonestreet!

Live Performance at Anthropologie

A Friday evening show at Anthropologie in Old Town Alexandria! Friends stopped by to listen to music and browse the fall collection. Shoppers wandered the storefront throughout the evening and enjoyed cupcakes, drinks, and music along the way. Others chose to visit for a date night. It was a great evening! Here are some photos from the event, all taken by Cam Dorinsky. I am wearing the Auralis Lace Top, the Pilcro Serif Mid-Rise Cords in “honey,” and the Monogramic Pendant Necklace, all by Anthropologie. Thank you so much to Anthro Alexandria for hosting me, and to all of you who were there! I love singing for you! Stay tuned for more show announcements soon.

“Storyteller” Video Coming Soon!

So there has been a lot going on lately! Two weeks ago, we filmed a video for my song “Storyteller.” I had been planning this video for a while, pinning pins to Pinterest boards and such, so to actually put those ideas into action was amazing!

I had the opportunity to work with Stephen Stonestreet, a super talented photographer/videographer/creative based in Charlottesville, VA. His sister, Lauren Stonestreet, is also an incredibly talented photographer, dancer, and musician, so she joined us on set!

The entire day was such a blessing. We all had to get up super early because we were traveling to a retreat center in the Shenandoah Valley. This place is a hidden gem, and the drive was incredible. At some point, I got off the highway and found myself driving through miles and miles of woods (which was slightly concerning because my wilderness skills are lacking, although I’m working on them, or probably should be…;p). The weather was springtime to the core, full of lime green leaves and colorful flowers. The sky was cloudy and overcast but there were still streams of sunlight cascading through the trees. All this to say, it was simply gorgeous and I can’t describe how much I needed that drive.

Before I got there, however, I stopped in Warrenton to work with my friend Kat Simpson on make-up. Kat and I knew each other when we were kids (we went to church and dance class together!), but it had been so long since we’d gotten to catch up! I found out that she works as a make-up artist with her company, Ruby Fox Artistry. It was such a blast to work with her and to get to catch up after such a long time! We couldn’t stop talking! Huge shout out to her for dealing with our crazy schedule and allowing me to arrive at her house suuuper early in the morning. If you live in the Northern VA area, be sure to check out her website for make-up for weddings, prom, etc!

After arriving at Shrine Mont, we spent the entire day filming and chasing the sun (there were random downpours throughout the afternoon, but nothing that stopped us from filming!). We filmed in lots of awesome spaces on the retreat center campus, and we ended by filming the last shots in the woods.

Stephen Stonestreet is incredibly skilled and passionate in his craft. Like, whoa. My mind was spinning the entire day, and we were all completely exhausted by the end of it! I don’t want to give away too much about the details of the video (which will be out in mid-June!), but here are just a few photos that I managed to get below! The last one was taken by Stephen Stonestreet in-between scenes. Thankful to have met two new friends, been introduced to a beautiful place in this beautiful state, laughed a lot (and actually cried too), and to have had the blessing to create some art.

UPDATE – the video is now on Youtube here:

EP Update

It’s been an amazing week full of long days and hard work, but we have a really solid start on a new EP that I already cannot wait to share with you!

Working with Chad Copelin and his team in Oklahoma is incredible. It’s so fascinating to team up with them as we mold my acoustic songs into full arrangements. Their style of composition is so in line with what I have dreamed and imagined, sometimes I think it couldn’t possibly be happening!

Some of the songs we chose are ones that I wrote a couple years ago, and others were written just a few months ago. The contrast between the songs and the stories that they tell are pretty emotional for me. I’ve teared up like twenty times.

It’s also been really cool to experience some of Oklahoma, since I have never been here before (or if I have, then it was just driving through, because I don’t remember). The sky is wide open for miles, and the sun is so bright. These small things, like the landscape, have really impacted my ability to relax and dive into the creativity of this project. This place has been a true creative haven.

Being in the studio is definitely one of my favorite parts about making music. After working temp jobs for the past year that were super monotonous (no offense to temp jobs, it’s good that they exist), it’s soooo refreshing to be working on something that I really, really love to do. The long days fly by and I hardly know where they went. I’m also filming a vlog to share with you soon, so be on the lookout next month! & here are some iPhone photos:

Ahhhh! That’s all for now. More soon!