California Dreamin’

One with the clouds, the journey to Cali begins.
I just had to get the obligatory picture of Sunset Boulevard.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame has some pretty great views if I say so myself.
Spent the day pretending to be Emma Stone on the set of La La Land.
“Dog of the water” waiting for some nice humans to throw him a snack.
Cute lil’ toesies.
Santa Monica has my whole heart.
Pretended I was Hannah Montana the whole walk down.
Good ole’ pier coaster.
Scoops, scoops, scoops!
Like I said, it has my heart.

This trip is definitely one for the books. California has everything: city, mountains, beach and just about everything else someone could want. It has a zest to it that’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been. I’m also very thankful for my good friend, Chloe, who now lives in L.A. and is all the more reason to go back and visit (possibly even move). The trip was full of good times, amazing food, perfect weather, puppies, and the breathtaking views you see above.

Cali, I hope to see you very, very soon. Till then, take good care of my heart and my sweet Chloe ❤


Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller


My Five Favorite (Chicago) Things

Chicago is my home away from home. Though I’m currently living in Florida, I do live in the city most of the year while going to school. I also grew up there so it’s definitely considered a home for me. Over the past two years, I’ve been lucky to live downtown and soak up all of the wonderful, zesty life the city has to offer. It’s one of those cities that makes anyone feel like they belong and has something for everyone. Below are some of my favorite things to do in good ol’ Chi-Town.

  1. Chillin’ by the lake DSCN1772There’s something magical about the lake. It’s the type of place where you can go and do literally nothing, but be completely content. The views, the atmosphere, the breeze… everything about it just puts your mind to rest. It comes in very handy around exam time when you’re stressed to the max and just need a moment away. Another thing that I love is that there’s always a mix of people. Whether they’re running, walking, biking, or just sitting breathing it all in, it reminds me that we’re all connected in this great big world in one way or another. It’s all around good for the soul.
  2. Soaking in the VIEWS!Processed with VSCO with c1 presetChicago is quite the picturesque city. Seriously, a picture of a trash can on a street corner can end up looking good. I’m constantly acting like a tourist and stopping every few seconds to take pictures. The fusion of the old architecture with the new gives the city even more character than it already has, and I just love it.  There’s so much history in Chicago and being surrounded by it is pretty remarkable. I encourage anyone reading to take a trip there. I promise you the city will not disappoint.
  3. Finding the deals and $teals IMG_3666Like pretty much all college students, this girl is on a budget. In the city, especially, things tends to be a lil more expensive than my liking. However, Chicago has plenty of places that can accommodate a cheap budget. When it comes to clothes, one of my favorites is Urban Outfitters Surplus. It’s pretty much an Urban Outfitters discount store with everything at sale prices. It’s the bomb. Another one, not unique to the city, is the good ol’ Salvation Army. When it comes to food, the delicious (and affordable) meal pictured above is found at the iconic Devil Dawgs. In a place where price tags can be a little steep, I love finding those places where my cherished dollar can go a long way and get me the good stuff.
  4. Finding the yummy ice cream shops! Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI’m an ice cream fanatic. It may be my favorite thing ever, and Chicago is full of the cutest little shops one can find. The ice cream above can be found at the lovely George’s on the Northside. Another favorite is the well-known Jeni’s in Wicker Park. I can go on and on about how delightful ice cream is, but that would possibly never end. So, moral of the story… Chicago knows what’s up when it comes to scrumptious sweets, and finding them is the best.
  5. Strolling down Michigan AvenueProcessed with VSCO with g3 preset

    Talk about a city oozing with life. Walking down Michigan Avenue is exhilarating in my book. There’s so much movement and it has a feeling about it that’s like no other. You’re surrounded by big buildings and you’d think that would make you feel so small, but it actually is a little reminder that you’re important; that you can do anything in this world, and do it with confidence. It’s also pretty great at night. The city is a little quieter and everything is lit up. It’s a sight to see and a feeling I hope to never forget.

    Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

Q&A: Judi Honiker Capturing Life’s Beautiful Moments Through Her Lens

Life is composed of so many creative elements that come together to create the colorful world we know and love. One of those elements that is near to my heart is photography. Recently I’ve been captivated by Chris de Bode’s work and the way he shares stories. It’s all about capturing a moment that holds immense beauty that you can then carry with you moving forward.

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Judi Honiker, a 64-year-old photographer located in Clearwater, Florida. While working as a Sales & Marketing Assistant, she absolutely loves taking photographs in her spare time that exemplify the beauty that surrounds each of us. Judi has a creative eye that transports you directly into her beautiful photographs, and I’m so happy I was able to chat with her about how she captures life’s lovely moments.

What inspired you to start taking photos? Tell me about your first introduction.

I actually never had a desire to take photos, but in 2001, I was laid off from an administrative assistant position.  After meeting with a career counselor at Worknet Pinellas, I was informed that they didn’t have any positions available in that field and suggested furthering my education doing something else.  I’m not sure why, but said, “I think I’d like to try Photography.”  So I enrolled in the Commercial Photography Program at PTEC (Pinellas Technical Education Center).

Was there a defining moment where you knew photography was going to be a major part of your life?

Probably when I was in my photography class. I was also in a writer’s group (PINAWOR: Pinellas Author’s & Writer’s Organization).  It was there where I discovered my love for poetry, primarily haiku.  I found merging the two together very satisfying.

What do you look for when trying to capture a moment?

I open myself up to all options of creativity; color, texture, lighting-all come into play during the process. Haiku Photography

What is your personal definition of photography?

It most definitely is capturing a moment that evokes emotion and many times creates a memory.  The image initially starts out with how it makes me feel, but when others have a reaction, well that’s just an added bonus.

Do you specialize in a certain type of photography or do you enjoy/practice all areas? (Landscape, portrait, fashion, etc.) 

Although, I have studied all genres of photography, I find landscape/nature photography most rewarding.

In your opinion, what makes a moment beautiful? Both on the camera and off the camera?

I would say for me what makes a beautiful moment is being fully present.  Sometimes as a photographer wanting to get that “best shot” one sacrifices spending time with others.  There has to be a fine line with being committed to the craft, but not being too involved as to ignore what is happening in the moment.  That being said, it may be a unique gift to share the special moments that you created.

Is there any simple thing/action that you always make sure to do in your everyday routine that makes you smile? Listen to music, draw, meditate, etc. 

Music is very important to me and a great part of my day.  Every morning before going to work, I walk for about 20 minutes & listen to Country Music.  Believe it or not, I never listened to Country Music until I started writing poetry and found it to be very poetic.  I like to use an example of a Wynnona Judd song, “Flies On The Butter (You Can’t Go Home Again”)  I just loved the imagery, “Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter.” I also listen to Christian Music (Joy FM) at work and in the car, which I find very calming.  When I ride my bike I go back to Country Music and I sometimes even borrow a word or two when writing haiku.  It really does inspire me!  That for me is when and where I feel most creative, riding my bike, being out in nature, listening to Country Music.  It’s the best!  It makes me smile.

Photo Credit: Taken myself