Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Websites that I use to Explore Locally!

Are you a self-described foodie? Do you attend every music, food, or street festival that comes to your area? Or maybe you travel for different fairs, events, or other cool happenings that are taking place locally.

New Jersey has so much to offer. You can dip your feet in the Atlantic Ocean from any of the many Jersey Shore towns, to sipping wine from any of the vineyards throughout the state. Looking for a more urban scenery or how about some street art, then you have Jersey City and Hoboken to thank for that!

Growing up in New Jersey I couldn't wait to go on a vacation and visit another state, yet now I love exploring my backyard and I am thankful for these amazing websites that share all the happenings going on in New Jersey!

Jersey Bites, founded in 2007 serves as your one-stop-shop for restaurant reviews, grand openings, food events, and much more. Ever since finding them on Twitter I have been a weekly visitor to the site, especially the "Foodie Things To Do" a current listing if all Food & Wine events, festivals and competitions.

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Looking for a night out in Hoboken or a cool volunteer opportunity? Want to check out the newest restaurant in town, head over to Hoboken Girl Blog for all your in-the-know information! Anything and everything that is happening in Hudson County is covered and you are guaranteed to find something for everyone to enjoy! This site was another Twitter find and Jen is doing a wonderful job running this awesome site! You can find pet adoptions, real estate, and other great resources for the area so be sure to share with your friends if they know anyone moving to the Hoboken/Jersey City area.

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One blog, two blogs, or even ten blogs about the same area will always be different as the voice behind the website is different. Next up, Growing In Jersey City is sharing the stories of locals, the best places to eat, and what's happening throughout Hudson County. Read about Jenna, the editor and founder of GIJC here. She is also all over Instagram bringing to life the area through insta-stories! Taking a fitness class or trying a new restaurant, the team will bring all the information straight to you!


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Maybe you're a mom out there and looking for something to do with the kids or need some kid friendly ideas of where to travel locally and what to do. Sarah, from Finnegan and The Hughes was one of the first blogs I read religiously. She is a native to New Jersey and lives in Southern NJ with he husband, two kids, and adorable dog! Check her out on Facebook and Instagram.

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Now it is your turn? Do you have local websites for your state that you go to when you are ready for your next adventure? Share them in the comments! 

XoXo,
Tracy 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Travel Quote Roundup

With a desire to open my mind and soul, spark a feeling of wonder, and live my best life I often browse the Internet for some amazing travel quotes. Many can be found on this pinterest board! Whether your are ready to book the ticket, explore your local backyard, or hit the open road I am positive a great travel quote will inspire you to start somewhere!

Here are just a few of my favorite ones. I also tend to jot down many in my thousands of journals both travel and personal!

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I love to share stories from my travels both near and far. We can be sitting around the table for a meal, walking along the boardwalk or taking a break at work and I am always sharing with anyone who will listen!


My aunt is currently on her second passport, and is one of my biggest travel inspirations. Everywhere she takes a big trip and let me tell you, the stories she shares post trip are awe-inspiring and making you feel like you were experiencing the trip with her! I look forward to filling my passport over and over again!

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I follow travel bloggers. I read there adventures and add destinations to an on-growing list. I have a separate twitter just for travel. Friends, family, colleagues and strangers mention a destination and on the list it goes. The world is your oyster so you can choose where you next destination will be!

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Probably one of my top 5 traits. We all probably have a little of this in us. We should never bury it in fear of not being able to.

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For the many road trips I have taken I always make sure to take a scenic route at some point or another because you never know what you will find. A hole in the wall restaurant, a cute B&B, a beautiful park or just a hidden gem. They are all out there waiting for you to discover them. Turn off the GPS once in a while and just take the scenic route, you may just surprise yourself!


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I am going to leave you with my favorite quote of all time! It doesn't have to be around the world, as it can be in your own backyard. It doesn't have to cost a fortune, do it on a budget. Maybe you want to document it maybe you don't. This is your life to live so "once a year, go someplace you've never been before!"

Now it's your turn. Share your favorite travel quote with me! 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A shucking good time!

Last weekend I attended the Asbury Park Oysterfest! Fresh local seafood is my jam. Oyster, clams, mussels, you name it I will eat it! When you attend a food festival do you go in with a plan or do you wing it?

I go in with a plan, every time. After I enter, I always do a walk through before making a purchase as I find it can be very overwhelming depending on the size of the festival. Multiple booths selling the same food or drinks, so how can you decided one over the other? I usually tend to see how many people are at the booths before jumping on line.


First stop was to the Local 130 Seafood tent for oysters right here in Cape May, NJ. I first found them at the Red Bank Farmers Market a few weeks ago and have been super impressed with their fresh seafood, reasonable prices, and friendly employees!


Hello, I have never seen a cake like this before, which made for an interesting conversation with the lady behind the food truck. Check out The Chimney Cake Factory if you are interested in learning more.



Did someone say, stuffed clams? Or fried calamari? I spent much of my time here speaking with local around the booth all who raved about the stuffed clams. It was delicious, melt you in your mouth seafood that was beyond anything I have had at a local seafood festival.

And what better way to end the tour, then with local beer from New Jersey! Why hello, Asbury Park Blonde, I think you are officially my new favorite! Light and lager styled beer will always be my drink of choice and was perfect to end my time at the festival! Check out the Asbury Park Brewery!


Now it's your turn. What is your favorite food festival? How do you tour the grounds? 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, September 8, 2017

What I Always Travel With

Frequent flier miles used.

The odometer reading higher then usual numbers due to a random road-trip.

A small porthole window to look out when cruising in the middle of the ocean.



In everyone of the scenarios mentioned above I always travel with these four important things, that I can't imagine not having with me.

First up, disinfectant wipes are a life-saver. I clean the window area and the armrest on every plane I ride on. Eating on the go is sometimes messy and they always come in handy, especially when you least expect it!


Next up, my camera comes with me everywhere. Inspiration strikes in the most random of places. Photos are memories that you will cherish for the rest of you life.



Which brings me to my third item also pictured above. My travel journal is always in my carry on bag. Filled with stories from the actual travel such as crazy plane stories, like the one time a women got up literally as we landed to use the lavatory. If you were wondering she was escorted off the plane by a plain clothes federal agent. It holds cool spots I hope to visit again, information of my travels, and what excites me on each trip. I am on my 3rd travel journal!

And finally, I always carry my S'well bottle! This way you don't have to buy water in the airport or train station. I can refill after walking through security in the airport. Since it holds both hot and cold I have been able to also purchase coffee and have it poured in that. It may get heavy at times, but for budget friendly travel it works perfectly!

Disclaimer, this post is not sponsored, yet has some links of my favorite things. With that said there are a few affiliate links as it takes time and money to maintain a blog. Thank you in advance for your support!

What is something that you always travel with?

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday Favorites #46

Happy Friday, friends!

With Labor Day being last weekend and it being my last weekend in retail it was crazy, to say the least. I am happy to have a few days off this week before one more week of work. The stress of sending out applications is getting to me, yet I am remaining positive that everything happens for a reason and whatever comes next will be great!

I am taking these few days to get some ducks lined up and work on this little corner of the internet! I have big goals for this blog and my side hustle and only hope you will enjoy what you see next!

Whatever you are up to this weekend, enjoy it. Please say a little prayer for friends and family in South Florida and the islands as they are getting slammed by #HurricaneIrma. Stay safe all.

Riding into the weekend!
As Reese Witherspoon said, "Ambition isn't a dirty word." Check out her interview with Glamour here!

Funny enough, I don't like red wine, yet this crossbody is my new favorite and the color, is wine red.

As we grow older, sometimes our friendships change. Hallie & Jess are two inspirational, funny, creative bloggers and here they share how their friendship changed. I believe every college and young adult should read this.

Jet Lag, my most dreaded side affect when traveling internationally. Interesting scientific hacks to possibly beat it!

Yes, it's rare, but hell I am so proud to see FOUR AMERICAN WOMEN in the Seminfinals of the US OPEN!!!! As a tennis player for many years, and a spectator to the Open this excites me so much! I would love to see a Keys/Stephens final! No matter the outcome all four should be proud of themselves!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving for what is making you smile this week! 

Disclaimer, this post is not sponsored, yet has some links of my favorite things. With that said there are a few affiliate links as it takes time and money to maintain a blog. Thank you for your support!

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Coffee Catch-Up!

Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe it is already September, 1st? I am not sure where the summer went but overall it had some pretty great highs and a few lows. Today, let's catch up on the summer 2017!


When street art meets coffee I am a pretty happy person! St Kilda Coffee, a cute cafe, cellar level in NYC is new hidden gem. With a few tables, some bar stools and two benches outside you can grab a coffee and chat or hit the streets in Midtown.

Even when I created my summer bucket list, I knew there would be a few things I may not get done, but I am pretty disappointed in myself as I didn't check off many of the items. Fall, I am not going to mess with you and check off every item on my list!

A highlight of summer, was watching a friend from college marry the love of her life in Ogunquit, Maine! I spent all of 48 hours including travel in Maine. I ate the delicious lobster, put my feet in the Atlantic Ocean and saw a pretty lighthouse! Have you ever been to Maine? What trips did you take this summer? 

This summer the world faced some pretty events with Manchester and the most recent of Hurricane Harvey, leaving many with heavy hearts. I had a relaxing four-day weekend only to end it by watching the Manchester Tribute by Ariana Grande. Say what you want about the pop star, but that night she was a force, a light, and a true role model for millions!

Speaking of Hurricane Harvey, there are so many places out there excepting donations. Many bloggers have taken to their websites to share resources. Consider making a donation today and know that no donation is too small. We need to rally together. If each person donated $1-$5 dollars that would make a rather large impact. Read here, here or here.

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Travel, whether international or domestic, quick or extended is wonderful and I hope that everyone has the chance to travel. I was blessed this summer visiting Maine, Upstate New York, Spain, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Next week I am hoping to spend some time in Philadelphia! Here is Madrid and Barcelona!

I am currently about two weeks away from my job ending, which completely blindsided me, but was probably a push I needed as well. It's still hard to talk about, and something that I am working on. I am not sure what is next, but I do know I love this little space of the Internet and I plan to continue with this on the side! New York City, I am coming for you!

My summer has also been filled with plenty of eating, because as a self-proclaimed foodie I love trying new restaurants, testing out cocktails and spending time with loved ones, especially when food is involved! Read about that here, here, here, and here! What was one of your favorite dishes from this summer?

Tell me, what did you do this summer? Let connect on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

XoXo,
Tracy 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sweet vs Savory

If you ask me "Sweet vs Savory," sweet will win every time. Last night I attend my first Yelp event in Red Bank, New Jersey, as part of the Central Jersey group. The group was hosted at Waxing in the City, and we were treated to complimentary eye brow waxing and choice of chair massage or reiki. Thanks to Binta my eyebrows looked great and I really enjoyed my 10 minute chair massage, from A Kneaded Vacation Therapeutic Massage, followed by a glass of wine. If you are looking for great service I would highly recommend checking them out in Red Bank!

Check out this cool photo from the photo booth provided from The Main Event. I thoroughly enjoyed sipping wine and munching on mini cupcakes from the Cupcake Magician. It was so nice to connect with new people and #treatmyself at the same time.




After the event some of us headed a few doors down to Whipped. Having heard such amazing reviews I knew I was in for a treat. You can smell the deliciousness from the street, and as you walk in you are greeted by even more sensational smells. The staff was super friendly and the menu, well that is just so overwhelming.

My friend and I decided to share one sweet crepe and one savory. S'mores, please all day every day. How can you go wrong with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate? The filling was so creamy and the crepe was the perfect size for two.



As for the savory one we decided to go with the Bistro Salad, filled with roasted red beets, goat cheese, walnuts, arugula and balsamic drizzle. I never had a beet before, but  I will say I would eat it again paired with goat cheese and walnuts. My only wish was there would have been more goat cheese, and I am sure had I asked they would have added some.


We arrived with 15 minutes before closing, however the staff didn't seem to mind, as customer filled in way after closing time. Whether you go for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert there is something for everyone. Just make sure you go on an empty stomach with a full appetite.

Do you like crepes? If so, what is your favorite?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ways to Support Hurricane Harvey Victims

Unless you are living under a rock, you have watched the news and heard of the devastation that has hit Houston and the surrounding area from Hurricane Harvey. According to, Patrick Blood, a National Weather Service Meteorologist, this is the worst flood Houston has ever experienced. What will be the new normal for Houston? What is going to happen to the city? There are so many unanswered questions, yet so much we can do as outsiders. We have the ability to give back, make a difference, and show support.

Photo Source

Here are ways for those across the country to give back. Share this with your friends and family. Let's send our love and thoughts to help fellow citizens recover from this horrible devastation. A few funds will do along way.

The Texas Diaper Bank, based out of San Antonio, is putting together relief kits for families with very small children who need clean diapers. For some organizations they have to choose between bringing food or diapers to affected areas. The Texas Diaper Bank fills the need and allows other organizations to bring necessary items.

Global Giving, a site I recently read about, is a fundraising platform that has put together a campaign to support local nonprofits and community organizations. "All donations to this fund will exclusively support relief and recovery efforts from this storm." Donate here. I personally made a donation earlier today.

Personally, I am not a pet owner, yet know many people who own dogs, cats, and other animals. Animals just like humans deserve a home, even after the storm. The SPCA of Texas is taking in many hundreds of animals uprooted from their homes. Whether you can donate to defray the cost or even foster an animal until united with their owners you are making a huge difference.

Trusted World needs money and supplies. You can donate here or see what can be dropped off in Dallas here.

You can also support any of the following, which I highly recommend:




Do your part today and make a difference in the lives affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Where to Eat: Marina Grille Review

The Jersey Shore is home to amazing restaurants from Seafood to Mexican and everything in between. With price ranges from super cheap to expensive there is an option for everyone!

If I could eat seafood and sushi everyday for the rest of my life, I would have no problem. When a friend recommended we try Marina Grille, in Belmar I was sold. Let's just say on the weekend, the normal wait time for outside seating is 2 hours and inside is at least 1.5 hours. The good thing, is they have three, yes you read that correctly, 3 different bars! One on the inside, a tiki one outside and another smaller bar on the opposite side of the restaurant. Grab a drink and sit by the fire pit!

For two people, arriving at 6:45pm on a Saturday night in the summer, they estimated a 1.5 hour wait time for first available. I put my name down, met my friend and headed towards the tiki bar, as it was the least crowded of the three.

With views like the one below, waiting for a table wasn't bad at all.



We landed up running into a friend, who mentioned the fire pit. As this was my first time here I didn't know they had one. We grabbed our drinks and headed downstairs to the fire pit. I had to pour my beer from a bottle into a plastic cup and I was ready to go! My only wish, there was a S'mores bar, lol. The foodie in me is always looking for something sweet! Overall it was so much fun and kept us warm, as the night got colder.



Around 8:30 I decided to check with the hostess how much longer we had before being seated. The line to check was longer then the line at the bar. At first, I was shocked, how could they not find our name? As organized as the hostess was the inside host stand didn't seem to know what was happening. A manager happened to walk over and after speaking with him, we were seated rather quickly at an outside table. They apologized and the rest of the evening was wonderful. I can understand the confusion and it was great that they were prepared!

Seafood, being one of my favorite foods, I decided to get a dual seafood dish! I ordered the Crab Stuffed Salmon. My friend went with the Flounder Sandwich which looked delicious. Our hostess gave his opinion on our options and I love asking the staff for their favorite entrees, since they are in the know about what is hot and not!



The salmon was cooked perfectly with a nice size of crab meat stuffed in the middle. I could have gone for a tiny bit bigger piece of salmon, but overall the dish was fresh and delicious. I substituted the mashed potatoes for french fries and dipped them in the sauce! After we paid the bill we said our good-byes and I hit the road. A live-band was just about to go on, and if I hadn't worked two back to back long shifts I would have stayed a while, but was exhausted. Another time, I will be back!

Our meal arrived rather quickly, to my shock as it was still super crowded at 9pm. The friendly staff, the funny bartenders, and the quick thinking managers make this restaurant a place I will visit again!

With ample bars, plenty of seating, and the views you can't go wrong. If you visit the Jersey Shore anytime soon, be sure to check out Marina Grille!

What is your favorite seafood dish? 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Favorites #45

Happy Friday, friends!

Next week is September. How is that even possible? I am/will be going through both personal and professional changes over the next few months. To be honest, I am nervous and excited at the same time.

As I mentioned last weekend we attended a wedding in PA, at Monterre Vineyards. The venue was gorgeous and very cute and romantic. I am working this weekend!


This rechargeable scalloped clutch was perfect for the wedding. It held everything from my phone to socks, lip-gloss and even the card!



Did you know restaurants are becoming more Instagrammable? Share you instagram handle!

Turning 30 this past April really has opened my eyes, changed my perception of "life timeline" and this article written so eloquently by Danielle is a perfect reflection. It's OK things didn't work out as planned.

I lose sunglasses, therefore I never treat myself to expensive ones. These $12 sunnies are my all-time favorite and live in the center console of my car!

I can attest that one to five minutes of stillness can change your life. Everyone needs to try some of these one-minute meditation practice from Gabby Bernstein!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving or what is making you smile this week!

Disclaimer, this post is not sponsored, yet has some links of my favorite things. With that said there are a few affiliate links as it takes time and money and maintain a blog. Thank you for you support!

XoXo,
Tracy

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Top 10 Trips in 30 Years

For as long as I can remember travel has played a huge role in my life. I recently turned 30 and decided I want to take a trip down memory lane about all my travel, and my top 10 favorite trips/moments. 

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash
My father, a photographer always had the camera out on our trips and I have 100% followed in his footsteps always carrying my camera with me to capture those special moments. As for travel journals those started in college, during New England road-trips. 

10- San Francisco


Two trips in a 14 month period. One full of solo exploring. One spent with the family for a wedding and marathon. I am not sure what moment it was when I fell in love with the Bay area, but I was stopped in my tracks right before this photo and thought, you are lucky to be experiencing this. Don't take it for granted. 

9- Chicago


Chicago, was my first ever work trip. I was meeting up with two other colleagues and none of us had ever been. We worked hard and played just as hard. Deep dish pizza, shopping on Magnificent Mile, and taking photos at the Bean. I took a solo walk the night before we were leaving and I couldn't believe at that moment this was my life. At 22 life looked so different then today; however I wouldn't change it because I have grown so much. 

8- Syracuse


After what became an 8 hour road trip to visit my friend at Syracuse, the only thing I wanted was food. Somehow we landed up on a Carousel. How does one go to Cuse and land up at a carousel. That's the point. No plans make for an adventure. 

7- Disney World 


One of my girlfriends from early childhood joined me at the beginning of my work trip to Orlando. We decided to visit Universal Studios, especially for Harry Potter World. We walked aimlessly for hours, laughing, drinking butter beer, and just having fun! Make sure you are both on the same page when traveling with friends. 

6- Boston


Four freshman at Johnson & Wales University, in Providence, RI hit the streets of Boston for the night. The view from our hotel room made the weekend! We ate, explored, and got into some non serious trouble. Jumping on beds, streaking through the hotel hallway, and running through Boston Commons are just some of the wonderful memories from the weekend. *I DID NOT streak*

5- Martha's Vineyard


My family spent many summers on Martha's Vineyard. From Oak Bluffs to Menemsha there are so many memories. I miss my mom everyday but I am so happy to have this photo as the memories flood back. She was my best friend, my role model and I hope to one day be half as strong as the woman she was. Bill & Hillary Clinton were our neighbors at this house. 

4- South Florida


I have lived in Boca Raton & Coral Springs. I have visited Miami, West Palm Beach, Stuart, and the Florida Keys. South Florida is home base for our extended family. We have cruised from Fort Lauderdale with 20+ family members. When you can live where you vacation you are very lucky or some would say blessed. I am a pool girl over the beach everyday. What about you? 

3- Las Vegas


From work trips to bachelorette parties I had visited Las Vegas 7 times in 2 years. I don't gamble, so for me it was all about the hotels, shopping and dining. I stayed in everything from Circus Circus to the Cosmopolitan. Sin City can suck you in, only if you let it. You can have fun without losing money and drinking the night away. Watch a show, have a nice dinner, explore the hotels and all the different exteriors they offer. Favorite hotel is the Wynn and favorite dinner was Julian Serrano inside Aria! 

2- Israel 


When 40 strangers meet at Newark International Airport for an 11 day trip to Israel you never know what will happen. Two strangers will meet and marry. 5 of us will go one to become great friends. We will attend weddings, see each other when visiting the states we all live in. This trip was all about Israel, but really it's also about the friendships made. I have a 32 page travel journal, a broken camera, a black & blue bruise, and so many other memories! 

1- Barcelona


For my 30th birthday, the main reason for this post, I was given a 10 day European trip to Spain by my aunt. She is more like a mother figure since the passing of my mom. She has always accompanied our family our trips when we were younger. Her love for travel has rubbed off on me. This was a trip of a lifetime. Seeing the town through locals, through her eyes, it was special. 

I look forward to many more trips in the next 60 years. I look forward to the photos, the memories, and the people I meet along the way. Travel and learn like a local! 

So what would you say has been your favorite trip ever? Can you name just one? 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites #44

Happy Friday, friends!

This week was a mix of work, spending time on the farm, creating an editorial calendar for this little corner of the internet and spending time with family. I, like many, am disgusted with what is going on here in the United States but will not stop spreading love and light. As an individual I can do my part in making a difference everyday by spreading love. I hope you will as well.

This weekend I will be attending a wedding in Pennsylvania! Unfortunately I will only be going to the wedding, no time to explore. Wedding on a vineyard equals plenty of wine!

LOVE 

It's no secret that I love ice cream. I use to want to drive the local ice cream truck and eat all the ice cream. I loved the Klondike Bar. What about you? 

Working out "isn't" for me, I have said over and over again. Yet I incorporated two of these routines to my day and I already am noticing a difference. Do you have a favorite exercise? 

You are given vacation time. You should always take it. See how forced vacation is really good for employees! When or where is your next vacation?

My summer drink of choice! What has been your summer drink?

Check out Amanda's newly updated website and hire her as your next adventure coach! Who is one one of your favorite bloggers? 

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile? 

XoXo,
Tracy

Monday, August 14, 2017

Farm animals and some outdoor photography

I've made so many to-do lists over the past few weeks. Checking off the items one by one ( OK so I added items already completed just to check them off, sue me). As the day went on I found myself lacking inspiration. The creative drive just wasn't there and I was feeling like I needed to change my scenery. I got in my car with absolutely no plan and just drove. I found myself driving to a local park, Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel, NJ. The farm sits on Holmdel Park, a 566 acre site. The park offers hiking trails, tennis courts, two playgrounds and so much more all year round!

Entrance 

Once I parked my car I put in my headphones, blasted some Backstreet Boys and just started to walk. My camera, a Canon Rebel xTi came out and I am so glad I brought it. There is something about being outdoors that inspires me, motivates me, and excites me while breathing in the fresh air! Too often we sit behind our computer, hours on end letting the days pass us by.

Here are some of my favorite shots from today. Professional photographer I am not, but behind the lens I can show off my own creativity. I get the shots I want. The ones that excite me, and maybe you, but if they don't that's OK because they are for me!


















The colors, the animals, and being outdoors was exactly what my soul needed today to recharge.

What do you do to recharge? 

XoXo,
Tracy