summer travels: north carolina

you know how i promised to cover my d.c. travels next? me too, then i got too nostalgic looking back at the moments captured while i was with my bestie, sophie, in north carolina and, well, here we are. sophie moved to highpoint, north carolina about two and a half years ago, and will soon be moving to london, england. like, what?! she is living the dream (and i am living the dream vicariously through her). my time with her, though short, was nothing short of wonderful. we had some much needed friend-time-- you know when you stay up until 3 a.m. multiple nights in a row talking, laughing, and crying (and many combinations of the three), you have one heck of a friendship.

enjoy a few iphone snaps (whoops, did not whip out the camera once) from my time in the most beautiful state with the most beautiful friend...

left to right, top to bottom:

one. // taken after almost missing my connecting flight (and doing the ugly cry in the charlotte airport). yes, i am "that girl".
two. // my read for the trip. an adventurous book for the adventurous heart.
three. // reunited and it feels so gooooooood. (80+ selfies taken soon after)
four. // my face as i touched down in greensboro. (i love using words such as "touched down". just call me a jet setter.)

one. // spent the next day smoothie making and smoothie breaking. (seriously, we broke the blender.)
two. // 'smoothie bowls with a lovely soul.' this was definitely an inside joke. there was definitely voices to go with it. if anyone who did not know us was around, they would definitely think we are in. sane.
three. // soph gave me these adorb cat socks. the way to my heart, people, the way to my heart.
four. // smiles & sleeping in until 11 a.m. 

one. // best thing about visiting a friend with style is getting to borrow said friends' clothes. 
two. // downtown greensboro-- the cutest street art.
three. // a restaurant solely devoted to crepes? what more could a girl ask for?
four. // from our day in chapel hill. we visited UNC with some friends (hi joe! hi henderson!) and it was the best day. it was also really hot, but we won't get into that (sweat. lots & lots of sweat.).

one. // soph & the great green wall.
two. // me & the great green wall. (thanks boys for the photos!)

as i was thinking about this summer, i wished i would have blogged and written more. yet, i realized that i was too busy living life than blogging it. and i am completely okay with that. with this trip being no exception to the adventures taken and memories made this summer, i am beyond thankful & excited as for what is in store. 

and a big hug goes out to sophie for just being the friend she is. virtual hugs for the win! only good things ahead for you sister friend, even when it means an ocean apart.

yours truly,


thoughts on: social media

this week, i have taken a little break from social media. i try to do this every so often to get refreshed and focus on things outside of a five-inch piece of glass. when i reflected on the last time i fasted from social media, all i could remember is how bad i wanted to tweet about how well it was going. ironic, right? let's just say that i did not fully get the point of why i needed a break. this time, however, i made a goal to not just refrain from using social media, but be present in what was right in front of my eyes-- to not feel the need to look down at my phone as conversation started going stale and to not take a photo of every event of the day (did you know you can still have brunch and not instagram it?!). 

i remember reading a cynical, better-than-you phrase a few weeks ago that said "you are not all that you post to be". after a slight humph, i thought to myself of course i'm not all that i post to be, i'm more. yet, and more notably-- we are all more than what we put on the internet. i think we have this misconception that how we are perceived on social media is an accurate assumption of ourselves. why? because, that is exactly what we think of others. oh, they are always hanging out with friends and eating healthy food AND have a close relationship with their parents (you know what i am talking about, teens-- those three-paragraph long instagram captions to your parent who does not have an instagram on mother's/father's day), or wow, why do they always look so cute? how do they have enough money for a $6 cup of coffee everyday? how do they balance work, family, and fun so well?, or whatever you may think when a follower posts. we are so quick to assume that what we post, and what others' post, is all we are.

i often times get compliments from friends and followers that i "have such a cute instagram" or the even more 'hip' compliment, "you're instagram is so aesthetically pleasing". while flattering, i dislike being recognized for something so minute and unimportant in the long run. when someone says that to me, all that comes to mind is how i will tell my children someday how "cool" i was for posting photos on the internet and multiple people 'liked' them (or clicked a button on their device). i can only imagine the smirks and chuckles as they mumble yeah right under their breath. do not get me wrong, i love social media. i really do. yet, as for me, i use social media (mainly instagram) as a creative outlet-- i try to make my photos artistic, somewhat decent quality, and have a creative caption (you're such a try-hard, cate). i do this not because i want likes and comments, but because i truly enjoy it. yes, i really do love finding a creative way to capture what i am doing. yes, i really do love editing a photograph of mine for way too long than i am willing to admit. and yes, i love to write and love to express just a little of who i am through captions and tweets. note i said "a little" of who i am-- because i am (and you are) more than what i (you) post. i bet you did not know from my social media that in this past week alone i have cleaned out and given away over half of the contents in my closet. or that i frequently walk around the container store by myself (i do not think i should be admitting this one). or that i have an extensive candle collection because i cannot bear to throw away beautiful candle holders after they are out of use. and no matter how authentic i try to be, social media can never capture the true joy i get when i have "real talk" conversations with a friend. it can never speak the thousands of words and emotions i feel about a current event. most of all, it can never tell you how much growth and peace i have gained through trust in Christ. the list goes on. all this to say-- social media cannot tell our whole story. yet, i believe there is beauty in the mystery and the unsaid. it opens the door for curiosity and conversation outside the realm of likes, shares, and comments. 

though social media does not tell the whole story, it can be used effectively and positively. for instance, how cool is it that we can connect with any and everyone? whether that is a friend from high school you haven't seen in 10+ years or someone from another country that shares in your love of [fill in the blank here], the possibilities are endless. sometimes i just think about that, and i'm like DANG, i love living in the 21st century. another one of my favorite aspects of social media is that when meeting people in person or catching up with an old friend, you do not have to go into your whole life spiel (your family, your job, what you do for fun). instead, you can dive into deeper topics since you have the basics covered (or maybe that is just an introvert's comfort). lastly, social media can be used as a marketing space. stores and brands that post quality content frequently draw me in. for example, ban.do has excellent social media handles. fun, colorful, inviting posts on not just items for sale, but behind-the-scenes action around their studio. they even have a social media coordinator whose job is solely to focus on how to market their brand on the internet (talk about dream job!). 

yet, despite the positive effects of social media, i have realized that every time you log onto facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. your focus directs to yourself*. whether comparing what you are doing to your friends or deciding how to make your life attractive and "post-worthy", this can be such a dangerous cycle. the thing is this: we only post what we think others want to see: perfection. when in reality, all we really want to see is that someone else can relate to our situation, whether good or bad. as we log onto our social media accounts, we are faced with images of smiling faces and beautifully written accounts of good news: high test grades, job promotions, vacations, and [insert that annoying person on facebook who brags about his or her child 24/7]. we scroll aimlessly and automatically think that everyone is doing just fine, actually better than fine-- they are at the beach with their perfect family who all gets along while still having the most relaxing time. right?! or is that just what social media tells you? it once again displays only one aspect of the story. we are not shown the messy, un-photo worthy details of life-- the fights between families, the lonely friday nights, or the multiple failed attempts to get one's math grade up (the 'one' i am referring to is me my entire high school career). not that those details and life events should consume every post, but we need to remember that everyone is dealing with something-- whether now or later, small or large. what parades our eyes on the internet is not always the complete truth

as my week of social media-lessness comes to a close, i have learned a few things:

one // i have connected with people more this week even without social media updates.
two // i have found myself forgetting to photograph what is happening. (that, i think, is when you know you are truly enjoying yourself.)
three // i have indulged in activities that i love when i have extra time instead of staring at my phone. (i have written four long letter to friends, finished a book, journaled multiple times, as well as many artistic pursuits. woo to the hoo!)
four // i have been less "self-focused". (*revert to previous rant on how selfish humans are, myself included)
five // i have been way more productive. though this is a given, it reminds me how much of a time-sucker that the internet can be.
six//  people are not waiting hand and foot for an update on your life. i know, it's hard to believe, people. as much as you think that your posts are needed for the internet to stay alive, they aren't. life still goes on without you. let's stay humble, folks.

i hope this post reminds you that you are, in fact, more than what you post, and that sometimes it is healthy to step back from social media for a short time. yet, do not feel pressured to go off the grid for a month or even a week (but more power to you if you do!), but maybe just for an evening or on a rainy day. 

let's consider this: what would change about our lives and the lives of those around us if we unplugged and were truly present?

yours truly,


summer travels: philly

hello, hello, hello.
 let me start off with this: this summer has been one for the books. not even in just a figurative way-- like, i will seriously have a chapter dedicated to the summer of 2015 in my memoir (coming soon to a store near you... in 15+ years). i have had the opportunity to travel quite a few places-- north carolina, d.c., philadelphia, as well as a few day trips here and there. thought i would share with you the story of each of my travels through the photographs that were taken there. though photos can speak a thousand words, they do not tell all of the story. behind each perfect composition and beautifully-edited capture you see on people's social media, there is always more to it. we must remember that. 

as for now, photos will do. here's a little play by play of my time in philadelphia. 

left to right, top to bottom:

i. // neighborhood plants and new shoes.
ii. // steps of cute homes (colorful doors make my heart oh so happy)
iii. // flower petals adorning the streets
iv. // cute philly homes in the neighborhood where we stayed

i. // hershey park! (p.s. i rode my first roller coaster. didn't pee or cry. success.)
ii. // beautiful bridge along the schuylkill river.
iii. // my new vans making another appearance (not pictured: the huge blisters that i had from the smart decision to wear new shoes on a trip. this is where my mom would say "at least you're pretty".)
iv. // some of the youth group hanging out at the park at night.

i. // philly streets in the rain (fun cate fact: big city + rain-- my two favorite things)
ii. // philadelphia museum of art. i may or may not have followed this lady around for a while because i was obsessed with her dress.
iii. // van gogh's sunflowers! ah, what a dream.
iv. // found this cute lil' kitty hanging in a cute lil' bookstore. 

i. // reading terminal market. i had the best burger here (restaurant called 'hunger burger') and not to mention how adorable their space was (subway tile *heart eyes*).
ii. // more park hanging and soccer playing. (no, friends, i did not show my skills this time. had to hold back. couldn't have others feel embarrassed this time around.)

(photos that did not make the cut but equally important: multiple selfies taken, even more photos of my feet [sorry, instagram followers-- you got those], liberty bell & independence hall photos [yay, america!], a photo of some children with tails [oh, the people you see at amusement parks], as well as a multitude of photos at the airport [think: 25 people. 3 flight delays. 3 cancellations. 2 days later, we were all home. see, told you photos do not tell the entire story.])


my time in philly was due to a mission trip with my church youth group. while there, we worked with a local church planter and his family by assisting him in making relationships with the people in the area. from taking surveys about the community to handing out water bottles, what we did was out of the ordinary for the people in the neighborhood. i have learned that with unfamiliarity comes two choices: to reject or to question. we got rejected multiple times, yet we also had the chance to be questioned about why we are doing what we are doing. due to the curiosity of people, we were able to share the reason behind a mundane water bottle and simple questionnaire: Jesus. our love for Christ should compel us to share. (note i said share, not force.) by opening with a mere action of love, we were able to talk about what truly matters.

so very thankful for my time in philadelphia. a city so unknown to me, yet Jesus is working and moving in the lives of his people who he knows and loves fully. now, that is something to shout about! also, crazy grateful for my youth group-- from card-playing to roller coaster riding to late night talks, we grew together and separately.

thanks for reading, whoever you are. stay tuned for my next travel post focusing on one of my favorite cities ever-- washington d.c.!

yours truly,