Kyle and Mackenzie: Outer Banks Engagement

Kyle is a friend of mine who is also a TFA teacher in ENC. When I found out he got engaged around Christmas, my first thought was “I HOPE he asks me to do his engagement pictures!” And sure enough, he called me a few weeks later, and I was thrilled! Not only because Kyle is both handsome and hilarious and I was sure he and his new fiance would be fun to photograph, but also because he said they wanted to shoot on the Outer Banks! I had only been to Kill Devil Hills for a teacher conference last year, and it rained the whole weekend so we didn’t get to see much. So, having lived in NC for a year and a half and never having explored the beauty of the Outer Banks, I was so excited to take some photos there!

A couple weekends ago we did just that. North Carolina has been unseasonably cold this year, and it was even colder by the ocean. While I was bundled up in a sweatshirt and Northface with my hood up, Kyle and Mackenzie braved the cold in their outfits like absolute pros! It was all worth it though, because they couldn’t have picked a more beautiful location. I felt like I was taking promo shots for a new Nicholas Sparks movie. This is the kind of North Carolina I moved here for!!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots! (And after a full day of shooting, it was very hard to choose!)


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Did I forget to mention how awesome Mackenzie is? I was so happy I got to meet her!

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They were just workin’ it in front of this lighthouse!

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I just love how adoringly Kyle looks at Mackenzie in this shot below!

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Nicholas Sparks, if you need inspiration for your next book, I’ll just leave this righttttt here.

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Thank you, iPhone 4s for your panorama feature.

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Thanks for a great day, Mackenzie and Kyle! I had so much fun with both of you!


California 2012

In June, I went to California to visit my best friend from last summer’s TFA Institute. It was my first time ever traveling west of Arkansas, so first time on the West Coast and seeing/stepping in the Pacific Ocean! (It was also my first time being on a plane for more than an hour and a half – this trip was 5 hours – and yet surprisingly I didn’t have a panic attack at the airport before boarding like I usually do haha.) The scenery was absolutely beautiful there. We drove about 4-5 hours down Highway 1 from San Jose to San Luis Obispo, with breathtaking views of the Pacific the whole way. San Luis Obispo was what I always imagined would be the quintessential coastal California town with cute little shops in the downtown, beaches, organic food, and great outdoor activities. I think I’ll always be an East Coast girl at heart, but I’d definitely love to go back and see more of the West Coast!

I wasn’t focusing so much on stills during this trip, because for the first time I was focusing on video (low-tech with the iPhone). I took short video clips documenting whatever we were doing and recently finished making it into a short, 3 1/2 min movie. I’m not going to post it here, but check it out on my Facebook if we’re friends. Most of the photos here were taken with the iPhone too, some Instagram.

Emily owns a horse named Scribbles. I’m riding him in the Instagram photo below!

Driving down Highway 1.

First time in the Pacific Ocean!

Sweet potato waffles…SO GOOD

Playing around on the sand dunes in SLO

The California version of sledding. Just as hard to walk back up a hill of sand as it is snow!

Gorgeous view from the top of the sand dunes

Path to the beach. Still can’t get over that it was the Pacific, not Atlantic haha

Hiking Bishop’s Peak!

Yummy cafe after hiking…I couldn’t help myself and got waffles again 🙂

Like I said, I was more focused on video than stills this trip, so check my facebook to see my first trip to Cali in video form!

23rd Birthday

Keeping up with my new year’s resolution, I made sure to document my 23rd birthday (while my roommates made fun of me relentlessly). I had a really great birthday, starting with 2 of my first graders coming into my room in the morning and singing to me. It was so cute that they remembered when it was and thought to come sing to me! Some of my other first grade classes found out it was my birthday so I got a lot of hugs and singing in the halls, too. Thanks everyone for the cards, calls, texts and facebook posts! And thanks to all my roommates for all the fun things in the photos 🙂

I opened the fridge when I got home from school and found a birthday card and Sam Adams!

Check + birthday! Thanks roomies!

2011 in Photos

I thought I’d start this year’s wrap-up with a quote from last year’s final post: “My biggest goal for 2011? Make it to North Carolina. I’ve been saying it for years, and this is my year to finally get there.” (To view last year’s post, click here.)

Joining Teach for America and being placed in North Carolina wasn’t my original plan to reach this goal, but either way, I’m happy to have accomplished my biggest goal of 2011!

Big things in 2011:

• Deciding to apply for TFA on my 22nd birthday, and being accepted in April
• Syracuse graduation ceremony
• Spending the summer in Mississippi. This was my first extended period of time somewhere other than the Northeast, and it was an important experience to see how people live in another part of the country. I made some wonderful friends, learned a lot about teaching and myself, and it was also my first time being in a time zone other than EST, which was cool!
• Having my placement changed to K-4 Art. I wouldn’t have changed my placement of U.S. History over the summer for the world. My CMA, CMA group, and students were such an integral part of how much I learned as a teacher, and surviving/loving Institute. But for me, being switched to art solidified that joining TFA and moving to ENC was the right thing.
• Getting my first place in North Carolina. Great roommates, in-ground pool, close to Wal-Mart. Not too shabby.

Even though I love teaching, my biggest goal of 2012 is to stop neglecting my photography. I think I did a great job keeping up with it at Institute, both documenting my experience and taking portraits, but I’ve hardly taken any photos in North Carolina. That’s going to change in 2012. I want to take more photos of my students, what I’m doing for fun, and get my name out there for portraits and weddings.

Other resolutions:
• Decorate my house more through DIY projects
• Teach my kids more technical drawing skills and steer away from craft-based projects
• Spend more time exploring North Carolina
• Donate blood regularly

Ok, ok. For those of you solely interested in the photos, here they are. I’d be interested to hear in the comments if anyone had a favorite photo that I did not include.

First week in the Mississippi Delta. Getting on the bus at 5:55 was rough that first week, but the sunrises were beautiful. I’m sure I made great first impressions snapping photos while everyone tried to sleep.

Mr. Steve, best bus driver ever. It didn’t hurt that he drove the only air conditioned bus.

Weldon Elementary Football Game

I’ve really been missing weddings lately. Wondering why I decided to move to North Carolina to teach art at an elementary school in the middle of nowhere instead of going straight into photography. But then I went to my kids’ football game this morning, and they were all so excited to see me there. If you’ve never seen 8 year olds play tackle football, it’s probably the cutest thing ever. I still miss weddings, but photographing the game today was really fun, and I’m realizing that I have the opportunity to practice different kinds of photography here, and I just need to start taking advantage of it.

Here are a few of my shots from the game. This is really only the second time I’ve tried sports photography, and I don’t have the best lenses for it, but I like a few of them. Hopefully I’ll get better as the season goes on. Final score: WES – 20, Halifax Academy – 8








The last days of Institute

These are just some random photos from the last 2 weeks of Institute. A lot of the photos I took during this time were of my students and my friends teaching, and unfortunately I’m not allowed to put those online (but if you’d like to see portraits of my students you can come ask me).

Delta Institute definitely had its ups and downs, but overall it was probably the best summer of my life in terms of how much I grew as a person and a teacher, and the amazing friendships I made. I’ve also had the opportunity to experience completely different places and people than I’m used to, and take some cool photos along the way.

(The photos in this post are no where near my best work but just show some of the stuff I’ve been doing in Mississippi.)


This is a barge floating down the Mississippi. We went to the levee to swim one weekend.

Chillin on a dirt road

Just some donkeys blocking our way.

We passed a sunflower field on the way home from the levee.

The sky outside the dining hall one day.

From inside Catfish Baby restaurant

There is a great amount of stray dogs in Mississippi. Someone found this puppy outside of our school all alone and a CMA decided to adopt her. Her name is Friday.

On the first day of Institute every corps member is assigned to a group with a CMA (Corps Member Advisor). I got the best CMA group and CMA I ever could have hoped for. This is from CMA appreciation day when we bought our CMA, Cliff, a bunch of presents.

Cliff is the #1 CMA!

His shirt said “Let me just drop everything to work on your problems.” Which he did all the time.

My beautiful friends at our CMA group dinner.

I didn’t take this photo, but this is my CMA group. I wish they were all in ENC with me!

May freedom forever fly

4th of July weekend in the Mississippi Delta

If you haven’t seen enough sunrise photos

There was an awesome 80s cover band at the Pickled Okra.

TFA/Delta State put on a great 4th of July party for us with BBQ and fireworks.



Week 2 in the Delta

Bananagrams on a Saturday night

My view on the way to school each day. I’ve never been somewhere so flat where it looks like the clouds are so close to the ground.

Our bus ran out of gas on the way to school this week. Just another day at Institute.

longest bus ride = longest naps

The sunsets here are unreal. This is the view from where we were working on lesson plans in the student union.

We took a 2 min break to watch it on the balcony.

Cliff, my CMA, being animated as always. “Dang, Mr. Archey your eyes so BIG!”

We had a “teacher stare” contest at our school on Friday.

My CMA group cheering on our rep. in the teacher stare contest.

Just some bunnies we saw chillin on the side of the road.

On our quest to the Mississippi River, we stopped at an alligator pond.

The TFA Album, soon to be exclusively sold at Walmart.

We found the Mississippi River!

Early mornings and late nights in the Mississippi Delta

Teach For America Institute Week 1

2010 wrap-up

I’ve seen a couple other photographers doing a year-in-review post, and I thought it was a great idea. So many big things have happened this past year, including so many changes.

In 2010 I:

  • started this blog! My blog will be 1-year old this New Year’s Day. In January 2010, my blog had 30 views. Since then, I have had 268 views in one day, and the highest monthly views was 2,335 in October. 9,140 views overall! My final photo story on Tom got the most views in one day.
  • turned 21! Probably my most fun birthday with great friends!
  • took 3 photo classes: Fashion Photography, Studio II, and Photojournalism, and learned so much from all of them.
  • worked for Joseph Prezioso and with Heidi Vail, and learned more from both of them than I could have in any class. And we had so much fun (especially on 3 wedding weekends)!
  • started doing a lot of photography work on my own with senior portraits, gaining valuable experience.
  • graduated from Syracuse University. I can’t believe I won’t be returning to ‘cuse in January as a student (just for the Nova game!), but I’m so excited for even more changes in 2011!

My biggest goal for 2011? Make it to North Carolina. I’ve been saying it for years, and this is my year to finally get there.

Here are some of my favorite photos from 2010. A lot of them were used in my senior portfolio to graduate from Newhouse.

I still have a couple shoots from 2010 that aren’t completely edited yet, so look out for those soon! Thanks for a great year everyone!