Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona

I’ve wanted to create a more tailored site for my photography for a while now. It’s been a slow, frustrating business trying to get everything perfect – and to be totally honest, I’m not 100% happy with my efforts yet. But I’ve decided to go ahead and put it out there anyway – I don’t think we’re ever totally ready for new endeavors. This beloved space certainly wasn’t perfect upon its creation; in fact, it wasn’t meant to be! I love being able to come here and write whatever I want (hence the name).

Separating out the travel stories and photos will give me greater license to write whatever I want here while giving me a more “professional” space for something I’ve wanted to try for a while now (and will disclose in some future post). In the meantime, I plan on writing here as inspiration strikes and sharing (aka “reblogging”) posts from ptiphotography so no one misses out on the fun! (smile)

Whose Candle?

I don’t know that I’ve ever done a reblog, but since this topic really seems to be a theme for me today, it seemed an appropriate post to start. Kindness truly is the one thing that we can all give that’s absolutely free. It seems that less and less people remember that these days, but then perhaps we also forget to remind each other from time to time. So here’s my reminder – be kind. Pass it on. Smile.
And of course please check out my friend’s blog for more inspiration and some great make-you-smile stories! 🙂

Nuggets of Gold

via Daily Prompt: Candle

Dameon) To honor Brandon I light a candle and put it in his room. Then I sit there watching the light burn on.:

Candles really do brighten up the dark! Whose candle are you being today? Whose world are you helping to make a little brighter?

No, you can’t take away all the darkness, but you can shine through it. There is a dear friend who a while ago now, said something to me that I won’t forget. I had written about the dark times our family was going through. They wrote in response at how I will get to the end of the tunnel, and when I do they will be there holding the light. Touched my heart.

This came back to me, as I was talking with another friend this afternoon. They were saying how they really wish there was more that they could do for us right now. This person has done A LOT! To sum up that statement though, it meant, I wish I could…

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My Travel Style Evolution

Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I’m back just in time for this week’s themed prompt all about my travel style! Everyone certainly differs in the way they travel – from the first class to the backpacker budget – but we all have one thing in common – a love of travel!

family vacation, Gatlinburg Tennessee

Family vacay

Let me give you a little background on my travel style first. Growing up my family normally went somewhere out of state about once a year (almost always to a surrounding state). We always traveled by car, leaving at ungodly hours because my dad was too anxious about getting there to sleep. Bathroom breaks were few and far between, so you had to monitor fluid intake pretty closely (smile). Once we arrived at our destination, the next challenge (if we weren’t staying with family) was to find a hotel room. Now I’m not entirely sure if this was just the days before the internet or my parents didn’t believe in planning that far ahead, but I remember driving around for what seemed like forever comparing room rates before finally returning back to the “best deal.” To this day my dad still uses this method if someone doesn’t essentially force him into booking ahead.

The other interesting thing that was a part of the family traveling style was packing enough groceries to keep us all fed through the trip. We maybe ate out once or twice in a week long adventure. Looking back I see now that it was my parents’ way of trying to save money so we could do more/stay longer/etc., but at the time I just assumed that’s how everyone did it. I’m not sure we ever traveled with any set itinerary, but we usually went to a destination that didn’t necessarily need one – e.g., the beach, a park, etc. I can’t remember us ever taking a true road trip with stops along the way. It was always destination and home.

I share this background in order to give you a better idea of where some of my travel style quirks originated. In some ways I stay true to the family philosophies, but I also learned a great deal about what I did not want to continue in my own.

Ferry Caledonian MacBrayne

I Mix Up My Modes

Planes, trains, automobiles – boats, buses, bicycles – and a few other things I prefer not to think about (smile). I love to mix up my methods of transportation. Trains are by far my favorite way to travel, but I love to try out whatever happens to be popular in the place I’m in. I’ve tried out my fair share of contraptions over the years (with somewhat mixed results), and have certainly made some memories en route!

Growing up, cars were the primary method of moving around. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good road trip, but only if it’s a true road trip where I get to stop along the way and see cool stuff (smile). Unlike my family, I always want to stop and see the silly roadside attractions and/or photo ops along the way. On the flip side, much like my dad I tend to prefer an early start to my day and to avoid any unnecessary stops (they cut into fun time). I also always keep snacks on hand, just to keep everyone happy until meal time.

Planes and I still have a love/hate relationship. I’ve gradually grown into a semi-frequent flier now, but I was definitely a “nervous Nelly” in the beginning. I was mostly nervous about navigating airports, but once I figured out that all you have to do is follow the signs and be very, very patient, I learned to sit back, relax, and watch all the crazy, wonderful people go by. I still don’t like flying per se, but if it gets me there quicker then I’m all for it (smile).

Mammoth Hot Springs Cabin Yellowstone National Park

I Book Ahead

I am a Type A planner by nature – I can’t help it! But I have learned over the years to stick with loose plans instead of timed itineraries. Unlike my parents, I pretty much have to have a room booked before I arrive. I may change my mind when I see the place, but I like to know that worst case scenario there’s a destination to go towards when I arrive. I’m okay booking rooms from one place to the next, but I can’t remember a time I’ve ever had luck arriving and shopping around.

As for the types of accommodations, it depends on the trip. I’ve stayed in everything from a 5-star hotel to a sex hotel (wish I was kidding) and quite a few places in between (smile). My accommodations depend largely on my budget and the experience I’m looking for, but I will say this – I’ve rarely found myself finding true local culture at large resorts.

Dunchraigaig, Kilmartin, Scotland, UK

I Like To Know My Options (But Also To Leave Room For Surprises!)

I’m an active traveler. I want to stop and see the world’s largest ball of dental floss. If there’s a cathedral, church, or other religious building in town, lead me to it! I’m good for a lazy day on the beach here and there, but I can never sit still for very long. I’m definitely one of those people that need a vacation from their vacation! I do like to have an idea of what a place has to offer in terms of activities and sights, but I try not to plan exactly what to see and when. I do like to try to group activities in the same area on the same day for the sake of efficiency, but I’m rarely committed to doing anything at any time. My favorite parts of taking in the sights are the surprises I stumble upon along the way!


I Pack Light

Until just a few years ago, I was totally a chronic over-packer. I traveled like I was Paris Hilton and my trip budget always suffered for it in some way. Plus it’s really no fun to drag a 60 pound suitcase on/off water taxis in Venice. Just…yeah. But a few years ago my friend and I traveled to SE Asia and I discovered the fine art of backpacking. I’ve been sold ever since (smile)! I’m a huge proponent of packing clothes I can discard along the way to make room for new goodies, and I’m always looking for new tips and tricks to keep things lighter. A good, custom-fitted backpack is well worth the investment for any budget traveler. (It’s also the only way you can get a bag to an eco-lodge ½ mile off the road through a rainforest…just sayin’).

What’s your travel style??

Come join the fun with BonnieKaeleneSammy, and Van!!

Travel Tuesday

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge | Ab Aeterno

For this week’s black and white photo challenge, Cee has left the topic to our imaginations. I have to say, I found this both exciting and a little intimidating – so many options! Then it came to mind that I could include my new “hobby”…

You guys, I am becoming a “taphophile” – a so called “tombstone tourist.” I have to admit that I am slightly bemused about this new curiosity of mine. It does, admittedly, seem a bit morbid, but I’ve come to appreciate cemeteries as peaceful, sacred places. I like to soak in the calm while reading the headstones – what did this person inspire those they left behind to write about them in memoriam? Then I realized that there’s a whole back story to not only those precious words, but also to all of the symbols. The symbols evolve with society, and I generally find that the older markers are far more interesting than today’s modern versions. It’s all so interesting…

This has been a gradual curiosity, but when I look back through my travel photos, I can see that I’ve always been drawn to these places – the older the better. Perhaps it’s just a natural extension of a love of old churches, cathedrals, etc. I haven’t quite figured out my thoughts on this new thing of mine, but I’ve no doubt there’ll be a post about it in the future (smile). In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos (in no particular order). Enjoy!

Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Montgomery, Alabama, Cemetery

Montgomery, AL

Ireland, Cemetery, Celtic Crosses


Arlington Cemetery, headstones, black and white

Arlington Cemetery, VA


Come join the fun!!

Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge

Pondering March Madness

Disclaimer: This post is not about basketball. Sorry if I’ve led you astray!

Oh February, wherever did thou flee so swiftly? I know it’s the shortest month of the year, but I’m always surprised at the difference a couple of days makes. By now I’m either on my way to or already in Alabama to begin my visit with the family. As previously mentioned, my grandpa isn’t doing well, so I’m off to spend some quality time together (sad smile).

But lest I get off topic here, it’s time to check in on my February goals and set a few for March! (In case you’re curious, the original post on this can be found here.) Now, February first…

fortune cookie, chinese, fate

My favorite fortune so far 🙂

1. Continue to research educational/work-related opportunities – I’ve actually made some progress on this front. At the very least I now know what my options are and how much they cost. It comes down to 1) go abroad, 2) different continental location/employ, or 3) current location with new job description.

My current student loans and a few other bills pretty much prevent me from going footloose and fancy free, so anything involving money will have to take careful planning and patience. When I say this I’m mostly referring to studying abroad. It’s not impossible, but I will need to make some serious lifestyle changes.

In order to find a different job in a different location or to change my current job description with my company, I’ll need some type of further education. I’ve been researching options and am currently looking into various environmental certificate options. I think that would help either way. But before I do anything, I’m going to take an aptitude test and really evaluate my options. So I guess this one, at least the test part, is going to carry on into March (smile).

FitBit, health, pedometer

Broke 10,000 steps!! Yay!!

2. Lifestyle changes – get moving! – I’ve had the most luck by far with this goal! I received my trusty FitBit Force and haven’t looked back since (smile). I want to do a full FitBit review on here tomorrow, but suffice it to say that this little guy is an OCD girl’s best friend. It’s really been encouraging to set realistic mobility goals and to meet them on a daily basis. Who doesn’t love a daily win?? I think I’ll be making this one a habit (smile).

grandparents, Alabama

Me & the Grands

3. Be consciously grateful – for my family! – I’ve been trying to make more of an effort with my family. In fact, that’s what inspired all the great love stories this month (you can find them here, here, and here). It also landed me in Alabama for a full 17 days…I’m trying not to be bitter about that. I have to admit there were days where I didn’t do so well – whether they caught me at a bad time or I was just being lazy, I didn’t communicate nearly as much or as kindly as I would’ve liked. I’m going to try to correct this for my trip home so everyone can enjoy their time together without any hard feelings. I also bought a Grandparent’s Journal, which I intend to fill out with my sick grandpa and my grandma this trip. If it turns out well, I’ll have to get one for the other set as well (smile). Wish me luck!


So now for March…it’s going to be a bit difficult to accomplish much in the maddness (haha) of the month, but I’m going to try for some simple goals at least – no excuses!

1. Take an aptitude test – My friend recommended one that she had taken through work. I don’t know if it’s so much an aptitude test as a strengths finder (as it’s name implies), but either way it’ll be a fun and (hopefully) educational exercise.

2. Be present each day and appreciate the time with my family – This is going to be a hard trip, but I have to find a way around that in order to appreciate the here and now. Whatever is going to happen will happen; all I can do is enjoy each moment (and write down some cool memories – smile).

3. Find something satisfying in each day – and photograph it! – That’s right – just for March I want to photograph something I find satisfying each day. This’ll probably be the most difficult goal to accomplish, but I think it’ll be motivational. I also think it’ll help with the creativity a bit, as not all things are embodied in the physical necessarily. It’ll be interesting (smile). (Feel free to follow along on Instagram.)

cherry blossom, tree

Beautiful Spring 🙂

4. Just breath – and write – When I was young I loved making up stories and writing it all out. I loved prose and poems equally and I still enjoy reading some of my early efforts (smile). However, law school pretty much squashed the creativity into practicality, making it difficult to find the same joy I once did. This month I just want to give myself permission to write it all out without feeling silly or any pressure. Just for me. I’m going to need these last two goals for my sanity I think!

Well, there you have it. I’m off to march into March! (Okay, enough with the bad puns, I get it!) I hope you all had a wonderful February – welcome to the month of Spring!!

Do you have any particular goals for the month? Suggestions for aptitude tests? 

I’d love to hear all about ’em!



Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge | Man-Made Things

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge for this week is “man-made things.” Today’s entry is a bit of a hodge podge, but it shows what man is capable of making from his environment- from the small, to the grand, to the dazzling (smile)!

man-made, tools, black and white

Farming paraphernalia

man-made, Lake Powell, Dam, Arizona black and white

Lake Powell Dam, Arizona

mad-made, black and white, lights, Reno, Nevada

Bright lights in Reno


Check out other entries and join the fun here:

Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge