food play.

Between being a full-time Registered Nurse and doing a few awesome photography gigs on the weekends, I’ve been pretty busy. Definitely a blessing, even though it feels like there is not enough hours in the day to get everything I’d like done…

It was nice to take a breather and peruse Colfax Avenue. I love how this street is so “gritty,” yet can be full of funk, style and charm. Here is a little FOOD PLAY on a Saturday afternoon. Totally refreshing.

This is Cafe Max: LOVE! This place has a welcoming, “comforting” feel to it. The barista is awesome. You can run into him on the weekends. The smoked salmon on brioche bread was completely satisfying, along with the coffee and little, tasty pickles. I don’t know how they prepare their coffee, but it’s the best coffee I’ve had in awhile.  I’ve wandered into a few other coffee shops around town and, really, Cafe Max can brew a mean cup of Joe.   They play great music, too, in my opinion. 😉 Check them out!  Click here for a more eloquent perspective on this place.  Honestly, I couldn’t describe it better than her…

Untitled-1

cafe max

Advertisements

Kyle + Jodi.

Kyle and Jodi have been together for about 9 years.  They met in high school and haven’t let go of each other ever since!

Two amazing families joined together to celebrate their nuptials in the town of Sterling, Colorado.

As a nurse, I’ve cared for patients who have been with their significant other for nearly 50 years or beyond.  A lot of them met their sweethearts in high school, and their love stories involved their share of “ups” and “downs,” like experiencing separation when the men had to serve overseas in World War II.  In spite of the hardships (and fears) surrounding that war, the couples I’ve met were able to reunite, one way or another, and create families, finish school, etc.  In a way, their love stories remind me of Kyle and Jodi’s, minus the World War II ordeal…  If you’ve seen Kyle and Jodi together, you know that they’ve got a solid connection and it’s so cool that is all began in high school.  Looking forward to seeing these two continue growing together!

Oh, and if there is one thing for certain, these two can throw one heck of a shindig!

Here are some portraits from this delightful, sunny day.

kyle + jodi4

kyle+jodi 3

vagabond voyager of the soul.

Whew!  Remember when I mentioned quitting that job and seeking something new—something more fulfilling and meaningful (to me)?  Well, the last few months have been enlightening and…quite nice.

This new job has been nothing short of amazing.  It was a godsend, really.  I feel absolutely liberated to no longer be working in a hospital setting.  Now, listen…  I am NOT minimizing the work or research that is done within hospitals.  This is just my personal experience.  Of course, I got exactly what I wanted when I passed the exams for that hospital job: I learned a ton during my time there.  However, I found that even though I was learning a great deal, I felt no fulfillment within my heart.  Honestly, it didn’t feel right and it rocked my soul for a short period.

I didn’t like my job, so I quit.   I have enough insight to realize that life is too short to be wasting time doing something you don’t enjoy.

I applied for a few jobs, but from previous experiences, I didn’t think I’d hear from anyone soon. That’s when faith kicks in and you just have to allow the Divine to take care of things.

I had no plan, except that I was going to California.  2 lovebirds purchased a plane ticket for me to fly out for their wedding.  (Their wedding can be seen here. Beautiful couple, eh?)  It was a saving grace.  It truly was…

Right before I left for California, I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer from a small, grass-roots organization whose primary focus is the patient and their family members.  I feel so honored to be a part of this team, let alone receive a job offer in this economy.  The vision of this organization is so strong and, even though it isn’t an easy job and there are disagreements here/there, the people are unified in their purpose to serve others–it doesn’t matter if the person is undocumented and living in the United States, lives underneath a bridge or lives in their home with a ton of furry friends.  If they need help, we do our best to serve them.  I’m so glad God made a place for me here.

Anyways, during my little trip to California, my cousin and I made a little desert trek to Salvation Mountain.  It’s absolutely funky and the story behind it is full of love and passion.  Some may think it’s nuts, BUT this gentleman followed his heart—his dream and vision—and completed something that was seemingly impossible: he moved to the middle of the desert and built a very large mountain out of hay and mud!  Then, he painted it.  He lived there for quite awhile and, throughout the years, people would bring him paint for the mountain.  His motive: he loves God and he loves people.  He lived in nature, made art and embraced loving people.  A very fine existence, if you ask me, and great purpose for this immense piece of art.

Being surrounded by all those bright colors felt utterly whimsical.

(Johnny is my cousin and suffered through the lens of my camera! Ha.  He took that photo of me, 8th one down.  Thank you, Johnny.)

soCAL

Love in So.Cal.

IMG_4171Sunshine. Ocean. Love.

Good ol’ therapy for the soul!

I’m really glad these two invited me to California for their nuptials. It was a special day for them and, I must say, I have a special spot in my heart for the groom and his buddies: they display friendship and loyalty at its finest! They come from a small town in Colorado where everyone knows…well, everyone.  These guys met when they were were kids and have remained close friends ever since.   That’s a special thing.

Ryan and Mandy’s sweet invitation gave me the “nudge” I needed to listen to my gut and follow my heart. For that, I am so grateful.  Thanks, Ryan and Mandy!

I wish you much love and kindness, as you embark upon this new journey together! ryan and mandy1ryan and mandy2ryan and mandy3ryan and mandy4ryan and mandy5ryan and mandy6

hiatus, followed by a desert expedition.

I haven’t posted anything for awhile.  I’ve been so unsettled.

I’ve had quite the introspective ordeal during the last 2 months:  the urge to follow my heart and stay true to myself, or to keep doing what I was doing for the sake of “security” and the approval of others. It may not seem like a big deal, but I was feeling overwhelmingly stuck and the best way for me to get “unstuck,” was to do what seemed impossible and incredibly crazy.  This involved leaving a nice job in a great hospital and taking a leap of faith.

I’ve never been a good liar, so I chose to stay true to myself….  Despite what the critics had to say (or may say).  As the Middle Finger Project says, it’s okay to be “unapologetically” different and to trust yourself.

There is great adventure brewing inside of me and this is my moment to answer its call–not tomorrow, not next year.

I’ve packed a bag and I’m headed to California to spend some camera-time with 2 lovebirds, then off to the desert, I go!

That’s right…  National Geographic better look out!  Julie is going to the desert.  I figured this would be a rare instance in my life and I’d better seize the opportunity–NOW.   Fortunately, I have a supportive significant other, who believes in my potential to create meaningful things and to simply do good in this world.  His love (along with that of God and my sisters…and many others) gives me courage.

Here are some things I’ve been dabbling with during the last couple months–engagements and senior proms.  I love the enthusiasm of youth!  I thank everyone for giving me their time and allowing me to document their smiles, friendships, love and amazing beauty (inside and out).  I have loved every ounce of it.  I can’t thank you enough…

kyle and jodi 3

Sterling High School Prom 2013

GW {BEFORE} Prom 2013

oh, babe. we’re alright.

Don’t worry sweet baby!

Don’t you ever worry bout a thing

Put your worries on the shelf

learn to love yourself, don’t be your own worst enemy.

-Alabama Shakes

i’m digging this change of scenery!

we moved from the foothills to the city.

the diversity has been a breath of fresh air to my soul.

(although, I do miss the open areas and small-town-feel along the foothills.)

i like wandering into “the unknown” with justin.

it’s fun.

i’ve been doing some soul-searching regarding my career and life’s direction, lately.

i quietly celebrate my small successes, then constantly wonder (and/or have nightmares) about things that can be improved upon… then, try to be better and either end up feeling like an idiot or a champ.

ah! the human psyche.  it’s humorous.

the other day, i picked up my camera and trotted around the neighborhood with justin.

Untitled-1aIMG_2128

Untitled-1c

IMG_2138

Untitled-1b