5 things I've learned the first year of marriage

I could make this a really long post but in the spirit of wanting to keep it short - I’d love to pull focus on just a couple major things that I’ve learned in our first year of marriage. Side note, we looked back at our wedding footage and I made this 30 second recap of our wedding day - so fun!

1) PUT YOURSELF FIRST

How can you bring someone else happiness, until you’ve found your happy place? right? Happiness isn’t an end goal, but its like exercising and needs to be practiced continuously. We have ups and downs, but only you can control how you feel - don’t wait for your spouse to do it. Throughout marriage you’ll learn what triggers happiness and love for both of you too, and when your spouse is right on their intuition if there’s anything they can do - that’s a huge bonus - but should never be what you rely on. Rely on you 1st.

2) THE LOVE LANGUAGES THEORY - IT’S REAL

Coming off the 1st point, I learned how effective it is to figure out your spouse’s love language. Now, to be honest, I think we’re still figuring it out - and to be fair, it can change over time. Maybe a mini side-lesson is that you should never think you’ve got your partner all figured out either hah (and why would you want to because that’d be boring).

3) LOVE IS A DECISION, NOT A FEELING

I once read the words of Joyce Meyer, a very wise and Godly woman, who said: feelings are fickle, they come and go and are fleeting… love is often defined as a feeling but it’s rather a decision on how you want to treat someone. To me, it comes full circle with how: words hold power - words are how we declare our vows - vows are a layout of how you promise to treat someone within your union with them - your union is your decision to love… and that’s powerful.

4) NEW EXPERIENCES TO BOTH OF YOU ARE BONDING:

This is in our travels, the people we meet, and the things we do. Especially for scary or adrenaline filled moments, you’ll feel bonded. You’ll feel like 2 teenagers again! The moment that’s jumping out in my head right now what on our Tulum honeymoon - we zip lined at night, cool raindrops of a storm hitting us midair, finishing through a warming ring of fire before landing in cenote water.

5) DO YOUR ADULTING TOGETHER

Aside from love, feelings, and adventure - we must learn to ADULT together. I think this is so important it should really be #1 because money matters is the #1 cause of divorce these days! Adulting can be a downer, but it’s necessary to see your partnership like a business too. Buying a home, talking about money, deciding when to start a family (if you already both knew you wanted to “eventually”). For us, we wanted to buy and invest in a home along with getting married and it was ALL happening around the same time: we bought a condo in January 2018 and got married & honeymooned November 2017. Read my post on the mindset, budgeting and how we kept our intentions in place for a small wedding. Overall, we bought a starter-home so to stop throwing our money out in rent, and kept each other in the know for how much the wedding was costing. Now, we are on the horizon of purchasing a slightly larger place and renting out our current place. We talk money, business, and strategy often - because it’s ever changing and so important to keep eachother in the know… even down to the, “babe we’ve spent too much eating out this week, next week is going to be all mexican and ramen” haha.


Marriage is life’s biggest adventure! I feel lucky to have someone like Chris to spend it with. It’s fun to look back on this 1st year of being married and we still have so much to learn, discover and create on this journey. We invite you to come hang out with us over on instagram and let us see all your life lessons, and adventures too.

Hopefully you found this helpful! Let’s start a discussion in the comments below if you feel like anything was missing or could be added to this list ❤️


72 hours in Asheville: the Perfect Fall Weekend Getaway

our anniversary trip - full of cool weather, amazing food, history learnin, and scenic drives!

As a married bunch - Chris, myself and our 2 friends, Claudia and Anthony decided to take a double-date trip to the mountains of Asheville!! 🙌🏼  It was all of our 1st times there. We actually got the cutest AirBNB of a woodsy log cabin just outside of Asheville closer to the Blue Ridge Parkway! Being Floridians, we were gasping with awe at the color changing leaves and just how gorgeous they are! Solid plans weren’t locked into place but thats the type of travelers we are and as are our friends, which is perfect hah! Fun fact, Chris and I took our first trip as a couple with Claudia and Anthony back in 2012: a caribbean cruise to Jamaica, and that was our 1st travel video we made too (so old school and wow have we grown at our video making on Youtubing hah)!

So in case you are looking for a quick, easy and cheap getaway from the southeast US area, get an airbnb - 1st time? here’s a $40 credit , book a flight (we love Google flights) and I hope you’ll find some of this helpful! Our weekend panned out like this:

Friday PM:  arrived into the Asheville Airport.  Drive into downtown Asheville for dinner!  We ate at Red Ginger Dim Sum & Tapas and being that it was a SUPER chilly night (and rainy!) we headed straight back to the car and drove to our cabin to check in!

Saturday:  Morning time, we enjoyed the amenities of the cabin -  we made coffee, hung out in the living room, and then got our day started by visiting The Biltmore Estate.  We were there for a solid 5 hours between the Winery and the Estate.  Definitely get the audio tour if you are a history buff and like to learn the fun details rather than just marveling at the sky-high ceilings and grandeur!  After the Estate, we drove into Asheville again with the intention to just food hop!  Well, EVERYWHERE was packed with a wait by now 😅 We did manage to get some tacos at White Duck Taco Shop and then put our name down on the 1.5hr waitlist at Blue Dream Curry House as we walked the rest of the city!  When we sat down for our curry, it was game on!!  We were just cherishing the warm, spicy smelling atmosphere, and anticipating ALL the delicious food!

Sunday:  Today Chris and I split off from our friends to have some couple-time and we ventured up to THE Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.!  This industrial-mod yet rustic feeling brewery was nestled perfectly on a hill where the whole backyard of the brewery had an amphitheater on a stadium-like hill... with an organic garden area and big fire pit!  Chris and I were laughing that this looked like it was out of an Abercrombie ad - tons of flannel, folky pop music, fire pit chill out, and people with their dogs and families (I filmed some of this on my Instagram Story!).  We stayed here for lunch and a beer, then drove 30 minutes north to the Blue Ridge Parkway and made a few stops at the lookouts along the way (pics galore are below)!  By the time we exited the mountains, it was sunset and we got pizza at Pi-Squared to then bring to the cabin. 

The night was wrapped up with a campfire and chatting with our friends about the first year of marriage... and love languages, hah!  Chris and I jumped into the hot tub for a bit and then called it a night for our early flight back to Orlando the next day.

Overall, Asheville was the perfect 1.5hr flight away from Orlando.  Living in Florida, I always crave a nice mountain retreat and now that I know how close Asheville is - this VERY WELL might be my go-to mountain getaway (especially like I said before, the flights being only $100 roundtrip). 

We always tell each other that it’s be ideal to travel every quarter of the year.  With our 1 year anniversary next weekend, this was perfect timing to experience a new place together!

We didn’t do any video this trip, but check out our photo diary below ♥️

DAY 1: The Biltmore Estate

DAY 1: The Biltmore Estate

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WOW 😲 The only window that can make Chris (who’s 6’3”) look like a tiny human!

WOW 😲 The only window that can make Chris (who’s 6’3”) look like a tiny human!

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Sunday drive: the blue ridge parkway!

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I see also why they call these the Purple Mountains 😍

I see also why they call these the Purple Mountains 😍

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Camera Essentials When Traveling + Filming Tips

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When we got back from our group trip to Maui, I was so eager to start sharing some of my favorite pics on Instagram - but I just RECENTLY finished and shared our epic travel video!  Simply put, being there for 12 days, there was tons of footage to sift through when we just ran around the island with the cameras rolling nonstop hah!  We got LOTS of questions on the equipment we brought to capture Hawaii's epic scenery & film our Maui Travel Video so that's what led me to write this post.

 First of all, thank you everyone for the compliments on the Maui video!  Things like, "this looks like a commercial" are so uplifting.  Thank you!  Secondly,  I've been telling EVERYONE it's a bucket list essential to go to Maui! Simply breathtaking!  Now, to throw out some advice on camera essentials while traveling with just carry-ons.

MULTITASKING MINDSET: THINK MINIMAL, DIVERSE & LIGHT

Camera gear is NOT cheap, and we didn't acquire all that we have on one shopping spree.  It can also get bulky & heavy!  Be super selective on items that can serve multiple scenarios on your trip and keep it minimal.  I can't stress this enough!  The less you bring, the less you have to worry about getting damaged while lugging your life around.  Also, don't forget that your iPhone has amazing camera capabilities as well, like high frame rates for slow motion, color correcting, and some built in stabilization.

I see it like this: with minimal camera gear, I've learned that this pushes your creativity even more!  

Okay - lets get into the essentials...


1. MIRRORLESS CAMERA | mine:  Sony a6000 & his: a6500

Sony is leading the industry with some of the best mirrorless cameras, and the a6000 is still serving me strong since it came out a few years ago.  Nothing beats the mirrorless cameras because the camera body is so much smaller in comparison to most traditional DSLRs, but even if you have a larger DSLR don't sweat it.  Just be mindful with the follow selections of a lens to go with it.  Smaller means lighter & less space taken up in your carry-on.  We all know those are a hot commodity when planning and packing for trips!

2. ONE CAMERA LENS | mine:  F/1.8 35mm Prime & his:  F4 18-105mm

This is the lens that gives me a blurry background and offers that cinematic footage!  Being an f/1.8,  it works great from super low-light conditions in the middle of remote areas to broad daylight on a Florida beach!  It's not the lens if you want to be filming "selfie style/vlogging" as with an arms-length away it'll likely crop out part of your face.  While Chris' can do more wide angle shots + zoomed shots, the trade off is that his lens won't work in low light situations as well due to the higher F-stop.  So you'll see, its up to your personal preference and shooting style!

3. WATERPROOF ACTION CAMERA | our choice:  GoPro Hero 6

I think that 90% of our footage while in Maui was from the GoPro, and for a good reason:  hiking, cliffdiving, underwater shots while surfing and free diving. This is a durable little guy! This model is already waterproof so that saves us the need for buying the waterproof housing like in past models!  Huge plus!  It films in up to 210 frames per second, so you'll need a fast micro SD with lots of storage (like this one) to ensure you don't run out of space.

4. PORTABLE TRIPOD | my choice: Joby Gorillapod

This is one of my favorite travel essential accessories, and truly - I'm the only one that used it, not so much Chris hah!  Its sturdy enough to hold my mirrorless camera and not tip over, while having super strong tripod legs that bend so you can wrap it around bars, handrails, and so on!  I also hold all 3 of the legs together like a selfie-stick when wanting to talk to the camera.  The Gorillapod legs have strong magnets too - so perfect for wrapping onto handle bars or a random streetlight pole!

5. DRONE | his choice: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Chris loves flying his drone!  While he has a professional model, it still isn't very portable and there are much more portable options - especially if you don't need to be producing higher HD 4k footage.  If this is your first drone, we highly recommend the super portable options of the DJI Spark or the DJI Mavic.  Both are under $1000.

 

We also bring our MacBooks  + external hard drives for taking the evenings while winding down to then dump and sort our footage from the day.


+ ADVENTURE TRAVEL FILMING TIPS

Once you get to know your equipment you can more or less dial in your settings to quickly jump back and forth.  This takes some preplanning because you don't want to be in the middle of the action and miss a shot - more importantly, distracted looking at your camera on the side of a dangerous cliff.  Always practice safety!  (friendly reminder plug hah!)

When running around, try your best at holding the camera still - and also stopping to do a few pans & tilts ensures you got some usable footage.  I can't even tell ya how much footage we have that doesn't see the light of day!  Another trick, take your GoPro for example and press the back of it on your chin while walking.  It's not perfect, but it works!  Your anatomy is built so that your head is a natural stabilizer.

 

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PRINTABLE PDF TO KEEP ALONGSIDE WHEN YOU'RE PACKING FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP

 

If you found this information helpful toward preparing to create your own travel video, please let us know in the comments!  We love your feedback!  

What are some of your essentials when traveling?  What would you add or take away from this list, and where in life do you like to practice minimalism?

 

xox, Rachel

 

Maui Group Trip! 12 Days in Nature

Our Summer Maui, Hawaii trip was nothing less than breathtaking! From the West Maui mountains to the East Maui waterfalls on the Road to Hana, this place was absolute paradise!  Best part about it all?  Traveling with a bunch of close friends!  We all got amazing $350 roundtrip airfare (only one layover too!)  and split the cost of AirBnBs while taking advantage of their $40 off refer a friend, and it was all with the purpose to go to another friend's wedding at Black Rock beach!

We were there for 12 days, and I've gotta say - I think we experienced the majority of Maui's landscape!  Within the 1st 3 days, we already explored the West Maui North Shore highway and then lapped the entire island by doing the Road to Hana!  Its true, starting from the North part of Road to Hana - you'll find some of the most breathtaking stops once you get to the East side (like the Black Sand Beaches)  and down into the South Side where the Seven Sacred Pools and Pipiwei Forest are!  By the time we got to the South side it was extremely dark out!  We drove within feet of a big black cow on the edge of the road just eating a plant, and didn't see it until passing!  While the Road to Hana is known for its lush waterfalls and greenery, the Southside is like the surface of Mars - rocky terrain, red sand and rocks, and sharp looking peaks of cliffs.  With as much land as we covered, I think we got our workout in and I only had to do my travel-friendly workout routine once hah!

The following are some group photos we took throughout + a couple other shots I liked.  Our travel video is at the end, and I hope it gives you lots of travel inspiration do check off a bucket list trip too with close friends!

Nepalele area along West Maui's north shore - you'll see in our video (below) there was an awesome blowhole that soaked us with water!  It felt amazing from hiking all afternoon, I've gotta say!

Nepalele area along West Maui's north shore - you'll see in our video (below) there was an awesome blowhole that soaked us with water!  It felt amazing from hiking all afternoon, I've gotta say!

Honolua Bay!  That morning the boys got a head start to go look at monster waves coming in here!

Honolua Bay!  That morning the boys got a head start to go look at monster waves coming in here!

One of the 1st waterfalls we saw on Road to Hana.  Check out how small we are to this vast cliff of water!  The crashing of it was so loud, it was hard to chat with the girls without screaming haha!

One of the 1st waterfalls we saw on Road to Hana.  Check out how small we are to this vast cliff of water!  The crashing of it was so loud, it was hard to chat with the girls without screaming haha!

This photo makes this waterfall looks so tiny but I looked up that this was about a 270ft waterfall!  You'll see its height in the video below!

This photo makes this waterfall looks so tiny but I looked up that this was about a 270ft waterfall!  You'll see its height in the video below!

At the 10,000ft elevation summit of Haleakala, this observatory was kinda eerie!  Sorta reminded me of Hawkins from Stranger Things hah!

At the 10,000ft elevation summit of Haleakala, this observatory was kinda eerie!  Sorta reminded me of Hawkins from Stranger Things hah!

A blurry one but I loved the other-worldly Stranger Things vibe of this photo and how it ALSO feels like I'm a just kid again exploring someplace at night!

A blurry one but I loved the other-worldly Stranger Things vibe of this photo and how it ALSO feels like I'm a just kid again exploring someplace at night!

Enjoy the video below!  I know that we'll treasure these home movie memories forever and I hope it spread some travel inspiration for you as well!

If this got you ready to plan a bucket list group trip with your close friends too, comment below + let me know where you think some other group trip locales are!

xoxo,

Rachel 

How to Keep an Intentional Wedding Vision | Our Small Miami Wedding

Our beach wedding was nothing but simplistic & minimal - yet everything we've always wanted.  I'm now such a supporter of small, humble weddings.  After our vision was fogged by societal norms and what we've been taught a wedding should look like - we minimized it, gained clarity on caring more for the people who'd be present vs. the materialism, and then wanted to have an adventure

Our full wedding weekend + our week-long adventure honeymoon in beautiful Tulum, Mexico felt like an endless celebration and was all under $8,000.  I hope my following insight on consuming minimally + spending minimally while still having a special day inspires you with a mindset on keeping your intentions true for your special day as well...

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Once we got engaged, we were bombarded with loads of questions, wedding inspiration, decisions (you engaged or married couples know what I'm talking about).  It all comes from a place of love and intent to help, however can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Chris and I only had a vision to get married by the sea (because we started dating by going surfing together & being outdoors).  Snowballing off that, I thought it'd be cool to get married by the Atlantic when we got engaged by the Pacific (cheesy! I know hah).  Then the snowball started to build as I hopped on Pinterest & went to my first bridal expo:  you'll suddenly feel like you need a light up dance floor & a VERY specific shade of blue for the decor, and that color needs to be consistent on the invitations, and to find the PERFECT venue, and so on...  its intense.  


REGROUNDING WITH THE MEANINGFUL

"Focus on people, not things."
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It took me 6 months of planning to then drop it all - get back to our roots - and look at what was REALLY important:

#1  We wanted to elope to "keep it small" yet also wished for our closest friends & family (the ones that have seen our relationship from day 1 and have been wanting to see us get married for so long) to be there.  This meant sadly telling some friends & family they couldn't come - but we promised them lots of photo and video of the day

#2 Both mine and Chris' fathers' health was in a weak state.  My dad needed to be close to certain machines & doctors, and Chris' father was in recovery -- so that remote, beautiful landscape away from the city was out of the question.  Having them there with the rest of our immediate family & close friends was priority #1

#3  We had plans to travel & buy a home -- so we kept the budget small too, reminding ourselves "this is just 1 day".  The grandeur of a wedding day will NEVER DEFINE a lifelong love spanning many days and years to come.  We also wanted to put more of the budget toward our Tulum Mexico honeymoon adventures!

So we started fresh with those 3 "musts" + our top "wants" (which were good photo/video and good food) and put it all together in 3 months.  If it weren't for Hurricane Irma's destruction to South Florida, mixing up our location plans - the planning might have been a little less intense those 3 months, but it all worked out:  we had a morning ceremony on the beach (that Chris and I 1st visited when I introduced him to my favorite places back home), then lots of picture taking with everyone, followed by brunch and lots of Photo Booth fun, then a little afternoon siesta, and then an afterparty outing in downtown Brickell.  It was a long day, but so worth it!

There were some moments leading up to the day that it felt like I was racing time, however it all worked out and I was probably overanalyzing haha - but I guess no matter how big or small your wedding is, that will happen to some extent.


A TAKEAWAY FROM THIS? ...

I once read

 if you want to impress your guests, go for it: purchase the expensive gown, decor, and have that light up dance floor, and so on.  But if you want to make an impression on your guests, show and inspire them of what love really is:  Love isn't tangible like decor, cake, and attire - its the connection between 2 people that people can observe, learn from, be touched, and inspired to live and love their loved ones like that too.  

As 2 people have their love on display in a larger wedding setting, I've felt that many times extravagant decor distracts more than serves the purpose of the party (in my experience).  But of course, the beauty is still there and absolutely gorgeous in just a completely different way than small weddings.

Would you or did you have a small wedding too?  What was your biggest take away from it?  and,  would you like a more detailed vlog on the rundown of planning this to learn from?  If so, leave your Questions below and I'll do a Q&A follow up :)

 

 

Our Tulum Aventure Honeymoon | 5 Days Low Expense Travel

Our Tulum Aventure Honeymoon | 5 Days Low Expense Travel

From beaches and Mayan ruins, to adventure parks and making friends from 2 other countries, our honeymoon in Tulum was a perfect mix of Mexican culture and adventure!