Adventure Personal

5 Day Yosemite Backpacking Trip


If we weren’t business coaches for creatives and if Jesse wasn’t a partner in Sherpa Metrics, then, I’m pretty sure Jesse would be a park ranger. No, really, this guy loves the wilderness. Planning for trips in the wilderness. And, therefore, going to REI any spare minute he has, to get all the wilderness things.


He spent hours researching the best spots to camp out in Yosemite. And, as we got to our single-family campsite each evening, I was like, “Whoa, babe! This little nook in the woods is perfect!” Nice and flat. Hunks of cut down trees, perfect for a table. All of his research paid off.


We planned our trip for the second week of October and I don’t think we could have gone at a more perfect time! YELLOW LEAVES. Need I say more? Okay, I will. It was gorgeous buuuut, early mornings were a tad chilly. But the sunny, 60-degree daytime weather made up for it. If you go during this time, make sure your sleeping bag is extra cozy. We both have Marmot mummy bags.





Day 1

Miles traveled: 413 miles, in the car (from North County San Diego)

Camped at: Backpacker’s Campground in Yosemite Valley (North Pines)


If you are backpacking (which requires a wilderness permit) you can camp in the backpackers campground, if you’re not backpacking and don’t have a permit, there are plenty of other campgrounds/places you can stay at. Make sure you plan ahead and make a reservation as they fill up super fast!


If you can’t get a reservation, there are a bunch of places just outside of Yosemite that might have more availability!


Day 2

Miles traveled: 14.35 miles, on our feet

Elevation gain: +4957′ -1721′

Camped at: Near Clouds Rest and John Muir Trail Junction


We got an early start and headed up the Mist Trail to see Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. Note to self: All those stairs on the Mist Trail are MUCH harder with 35 lbs on your back! We were planning on going to the top of Half Dome, but it would have been cutting it a little too close to sunset for my comfort level (going down those stairs in the dark seems like a recipe for disaster), so we turned around and went back to camp.


There’s a creek super close to the spot we camped, so my water boy (err, I mean, Jesse) was able to get us what we needed for dinner, refilling our CamelBaks, and soaking our tired feet in a bucket (highly recommended) before we crashed.




Day 3

Miles traveled: 8.82 miles, on our feet

Elevation gain: +3358′ -1379′

Camped at: Sunrise Lakes



We didn’t get started until about 10:30 because this day was supposed to be a “short” day, but that elevation gain really slowed us down! We didn’t get to the top of Clouds Rest until just after 3pm! The view from the top was unbelievable! Jesse says it’s 100 times better than Half Dome (which makes me feel a little better about not making it to the top the day before)! Since we were behind schedule, we really had to book it to make it to Sunrise Lakes by sunset, but we made it! Barely.


We camped at the western-most lake (there are three) in a perfect spot that was protected from the wind and had some great views.


Day 4

Miles traveled: 11.59 miles, on our feet

Elevation gain: +1126′ -4185′

Camped at: Little Yosemite Valley



Day 4 was a long, gruelling day as we made it back to the John Muir Trail to head back towards the Valley. Even though it was mostly downhill and the scenery was so pretty, it just seemed to go on and on. But all the meadows, creeks and panoramic views along the way helped us push through to our campsite in Little Yosemite Valley, just below Half Dome.



Day 5

Miles traveled: 6.26 miles, on our feet

Elevation gain: +679′ -2782′

Miles traveled: 88 miles, in the car via Highway 120/Tioga Road – Closed in winter

Camped at: Heidelberg Inn, June Lake



Our last night in the backcountry was a COOOLD one! It got down to 17°F so we woke up with frost on our tent and any water we left outside was frozen solid!


But we woke up, braved the cold and made the short trip down the last part of the John Muir Trail to see a different view of Nevada Falls (and let’s be honest, to not have to go down those stairs). We went straight to the car, took off our boots and immediately hobbled our way to grab some well-earned pizza in the Village!


After scarfing down a big old pizza, we too Highway 120 to June Lake to soak up more golden leaves, hot showers and a good night sleep in a cozy bed.



Lessons learned along the way

  • The pack I brought with me was the second one I’ve had. I was determined the first fit me just fine. Partly, because it wasn’t horrible. Partly, because I hate dealing with things that take time and patience to figure out (clips, straps, etc.). I fought Jesse on going back to REI (yet again) to get a pack that fit me better. But, in the end, he was right and I’m so glad I ended up with my Osprey.
  • We probably could have done the same mileage, but added an extra day. We went too far too fast, not thinking as much about the elevation gain as we should have. The miles/day was definitely doable; but an extra day would have eased a little pressure from feeling rushed to set up camp before the stars came out each night.
  • It takes a while to pack up your stuff each morning. You have to take the tent down, make breakfast, clean up and pack up your kitchenware and pretty much repack your pack before you head out for the day. A couple of the days we woke up around 6:30am but didn’t get going until 10am. Buuuut, some of that had to do with me wanting to stay cozy and warm in my sleeping bag until the sun came out to play. Regardless, we now know to figure in an extra hour or two of packing up and getting ready to go.


Favorite spots

  • Mist Trail
  • Fall colors on the way up to Nevada Falls
  • Clouds Rest
  • Forests and meadows between Clouds Rest and Sunrise Lakes
  • Sunrise Lakes
  • John Muir Trail from High Sierras back to Yosemite Valley


Did we bring a real camera?

Nope! We have plenty of gear, you know, being former wedding photographers (now I just shoot family lifestyle sessions) over at Limelife Photography 😉 But, we also knew we’d have plenty of gear on our backs and trekking poles in our hands, so taking out a bulky camera every 5 minutes didn’t seem appealing. Yes, it would have been nice for a couple epic shots. No, we don’t regret relying solely on our iPhones and GoPro.


So glad we brought…

  • Duct tape
    • We used it for our feet to prevent blisters so the shoe rubs on the tape instead of  your toes. We still got blisters, but they would have been way worse without the duct tape.
    • About halfway through the first day, we realized this would probably help with the pack rubbing on our hip bones, so we taped up our hips! Worked like a dream the rest of the trip.
  • Pro Bars – SO yummy! And so filling! Gave us tons of energy. We loved every kind we tried.
  • Bear canister – they won’t let you in without one.
  • Advil – We’ll bring more next time.
  • Spray sunscreen.
  • Coconut oil – Because I can’t leave home without it.
  • Garmin inReach Explorer Plus – Helped make sure we were going the right way and allowed us to let our families know we hadn’t been eaten by bears when our phones didn’t get service.
  • GoPro Hero 5.
  • Beef jerky – Duh. (Even though we brought too much!)
  • Tea + coffee – I thought this was going to be a luxury, but it turned into more of a necessity for those cold mornings.
  • Tortillas + packs of Justin’s peanut butter – easy + yummy combo.
  • Mountain House granola with milk + blueberries.
  • Backpacker’s Pantry pad thai.
  • Crocs – The week before our trip, I teased Jesse about wearing his Crocs. Being a San Diegan who always wear his flip flops, I told him he was turning into a middle-aged mountain man, wearing socks with these velcro sandals. Turns out, I, too am now a middle-aged mountain (wo)man who’s incredibly happy (and not embarrassed at all) to take off my hiking boots after an 8-hour hiking day and wear socks with my velcro sandals. Laugh all you want. Cros for the win.


Have you been to Yosemite?! What was your favorite part?! Been backpacking in the wilderness somewhere else? We’d love to hear where, as we’re always planning out our next trip!





My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs

In the last 8 years, Jesse and I have created two businesses. The whole point of this entrepreneur adventure, for us, is to share all we have with the world and hopefully by doing this, we’ve made someone’s life better. Oh, and we definitely dig mid-day bike rides and soaking up sunshine on the coast (which certainly has something to do with us living and loving this gig, too).

Since a quarter of my life has now been spent in entrepreneurship, and I’ve had approximately 97 meltdowns along the way, I figured I’d share with you what I do know. My lessons learned over the years. My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs…

Take it easy on yourself. No matter what you do or don’t do; no matter if you meet your expectations for yourself or not, give yourself some grace. We are our own worst enemies. Think of the respect, grace and understanding you offer your best friend when times are tough. Are you that kind to yourself? I know I’m not, a lot of the time, because perfectionism wiggles its way into my mind and I can be really hard on myself. But the more intentionally I work on grace, the less disappointed I am. I am happier, freer and actually more productive and successful.

There are two ways I’ve learned to use boundaries to my advantage. The first is probably the most obvious: establish boundaries for work/life balance. Shut the office door at night. Put fun, social, personal things on the calendar first each week, so you don’t run yourself into the ground. Create office hours. STICK TO THE OFFICE HOURS.

The second way is this: Guard your heart. Not everyone is going to understand, be interested in or possibly even support your ideas and decisions in entrepreneurship. That’s okay. Keep those relationships about something else. Don’t pour out your heart about your business dreams to these people if you know their response will disappoint you. There are so many people who DO get it (umm, hello, we’re right HERE!!!).

The fastest way to get to where you want to be is by having a strategy. This comes in all shapes and sizes, for all sorts of things like networking, how you spend your time working on your business and in your business, social media advertising, marketing . . . you name it, you need to have a strategy for it!

Ask yourself: What is my purpose? What can I do with this partnership, Instagram post or conference I’m going to that will better my business and take me to the next level? How can I make this a win-win situation for everyone involved? If strategy isn’t your strength (yet), write one of these questions on a Post-it and put it on your computer as a reminder to guide your business in that direction.

Those who make it to the top of the mountain have had plenty of crummy days in the valley. But the reason they “made it”? Persistence. You will doubt your dreams. You will want to give up, for good. Don’t do that! Instead, cry it out. Do some yoga. Just breathe, and maybe get yourself a brownie, too. And then, tweak your plan and try again. Repeat after me:

“Fear, pride, comparison, naysayers, self-doubt and failure will not stop me from living to my fullest potential.”

Use those challenges and setbacks to grow and position yourself as a leader whose ways are tried and true.

Gratitude is a cure-all. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy and experience true joy. And it’s the absolute BEST way to start your day. Even in the crappiest of situations, there’s something to be grateful for. Nothing is too little to go unnoticed either! Wake up each day and set the tone for all that’s to come. Make it a new habit to inject gratitude into your day.

Soon, this new habit will shape your new sunshiny perspective. This is HUGE when you’re a business owner because there will always be ups and downs. The more successful you become, the more potential there is for complicated challenges. Gratitude is one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to a solid mindset.

No matter what situation I’m in or challenge I’m facing, one of these words is usually the answer. Try them out. Let me know what words have taught you the most and help you be and do everything you’ve dreamed up for your business!


I’m So Over Instagram


Don’t get me wrong; it’s my favorite social media platform. We normally rave about it. We even have a course teaching you how to use Instagram + Facebook ads. We know how powerful a tool it is to build relationships + make money. Buuuuut…

It’s causing people we know + love unneeded stress.
It’s stealing time from other profit-producing activities.
It’s making people feel like they’re not good enough or cool enough (including me, at times!)

Instagram is all the rage right now. We totally get it! It can help you do incredible things in your business. But I wanted to check in with you and ask you a few things I ask myself every now and then…

  1. Is the time you’re spending on Instagram taking away from other important parts of your business?
  2. Are you taking all this community and encouragement OFFLINE (partnerships, coffee dates, sending referrals to these new Insta-friends)?
  3. Do you feel life So-and-So’s success is making you jealous?
  4. Are you connecting with people on Insta that make sense for YOU and YOUR business to connect with?
  5. Are you missing out on real life relationships because you’re on Instagram or looking for an Insta-worthy moment?

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in exciting movements + #hashtags. I just wanted to shoot it to you straight today…

Remember who you are, what your strengths are and why you started this business in the first place. Use Instagram to connect, encourage and be real with your people. Just don’t let it steal your confidence, joy + too many hours of your life! Create a content plan and posting schedule. Get in and get out and get on with sharing your beauty + creativity with the rest of the world!

Go get ’em (on + offline)!


7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Breeze Through Setbacks


We all do it. No matter how far we’ve come or how successful we are, we all do it every now and then. We FREAK OUT!!! PANIC!!! We feel like life is over because of a setback or failure that feels like a dagger through the heart. The intensity of how much we feel these setbacks is valid, considering the amount of effort and soul we pour into our work and businesses.

But I’m here to tell you that failing is fabulous! Because guess what, you’re likely in this place because you put yourself out there, tried something new and got outside of your comfort zone and that, no matter what the outcome, deserves something so much greater than what we have the tendency to reward ourselves with. And even though you feel like throwing in the towel, you have an opportunity to take this setback and turn the bus around!

So, when you’re in freak out mode because something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and you’re panicking about the state of your business and the state of your perseverance, here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can breeze through setbacks and get back to your go-getting, confident, money-making self in no time.

1. Get it all out.
I’m a firm believer in purging yourself of all limiting beliefs, negativity, self-doubt, fear, disappointment, frustrations, etc. as soon as possible. Vent. Cry. Be upset. But give yourself a time limit for all of this, because you have some really important steps to take next. Whatever you do, don’t stop here.

2. Focus on what you already have.
This is a great time for gratitude. Think about how far you have already come! Think about all the people who have worked with you and raved about you, your products or services. Go ahead, read all your incredible reviews. Also, take inventory of your current clients’ satisfaction level. Is there anything you can do to improve their experience? Go do that.

3. Shift your mindset.
A big part of why that setback sent you reeling is likely because you haven’t been strengthening your mindset enough as you should be. Have you been sticking to your morning routine? Check out The Miracle Morning. Page through Think & Grow Rich. Get off social media for a few days; no need to compare yourself to others in this fragile state. Instead, work on getting your confidence back ASAP.

4. Create a game plan.
Think back to what got you through your last setback. What worked for you? Do those things! What didn’t? Don’t do those things! If you’ve veered from your strengths, get back to them! Do what you’re good at and confident in to gain traction and momentum.

5. Add value for others.
It’s so easy to be self-absorbed when things aren’t going our way. When all you can think about is how you wish you could just catch a break, go be that break for someone else. Get outside of yourself and see what you can do to help someone else succeed. I promise this will make you feel better AND by providing value for others, down the road, they will provide value for you.

6. Seek advice from the wise.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. A lot of times, the answer to your problem is simple and just requires you to do a little tweaking. Get advice from your coach, mentor or other successful entrepreneurs in your life. Learn from their challenges, setbacks, and failures. Model after their perseverance and strategies.

7. Trust in the process.
You’ve likely been here before. I have. I have been in that place numerous times over my 7 years as an entrepreneur, and you know what, it always works itself out. So, trust in the process. Know that you will have another chance to accomplish what you hoped to do the first time around. Use this setback to make version 2.0 that much better! And then, get back to work.

You got this!


We Are Strikingly Different



We are very different from a lot of those around us. Those climbing 9-5 ladders. Those working on house projects one weekend after the next. There are people in our life doing these things. And we love them so. We are just strikingly different.
Our goals are rooted in freedom, creativity, travel and living out passion and skills we’ve been given. We are working toward working from a hammock in Costa Rica, and someday (hopefully not for a very long time!) dying empty, with all of our ideas and efforts left to better the world.

The contrast in lifestyle is apparent. And as a whole, it makes a lovely picture. But it’s so important to find community on our side of the fence. So, the distinct line continues to portray beauty, not hardship. Take some time this week to build your creative entrepreneur community. Schedule a coffee/work date with someone you know or someone you’d like to get to know. Take time to encourage and genuinely compliment those you bump into on social media. Freely and enthusiastically give out high-fives to other creatives, who are hustling but may be feeling stuck or too much like a #solopreneur.

We’ve all been there. We’ve felt isolated and like we don’t quite fit in with those on the other side of the fence. We don’t. We are #gutsygogetters. But that’s why fulfilling our purpose is so important. Being who we’re meant to be makes for a perfectly beautiful and balanced picture.

So remember, you are strikingly different. And that’s a good thing.


The Early Years of Entrepreneurship

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It was one of the happiest days of our life. Jesse called me from the car to say he was on his way home from his day job for the last time.

Part-time jobs. Full-time jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Security? Hmm, that’s debatable.

Three years prior, in early 2009, we blindly started a photography business. We had passion. We had some talent. A lot more passion. And we had other jobs. Part-time jobs. Full-time jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Security? Hmm, that’s debatable. But we had consistent paychecks for a while. At the end of 2010, we decided that I’d go full time Limelife Photography and Jesse would keep his full-time job so we’d have good insurance and security. We would shoot together, but I was to manage the business and clients we had and attempt to get a lot more. This was a step in the right direction. There was a little bit of relief and a ridiculous amount of hard work to come for both of us. We sacrificed in different ways to grow our business and simultaneously keep our marriage on the right track. The early years of entrepreneurship were rough.

Jesse would come home from a 15-hour day and I’d greet him with an attempt at dinner and a day’s worth of “This is what happened at Limelife…” I had to tell him everything! He was my business partner. My hubby. I needed to bounce ideas off my other creative half. I needed his opinion. I needed his okay on decisions & projects. And he needed me to shut up. He had just spent 12 hours in an ER cleaning up all sorts of nastiness, CPR-ing for long stretches and assisting in stabilizing organs and other important body parts. And he was going back again tomorrow. He was in need of downtime and Limelife was in need of momentum.

And we hung on tight to that “security.” To the “stability.” We clung to that job just in case.

We did this for almost two more years. Eventually, Jesse’s job went from full time to part time. And we hung on tight to that “security.” To the “stability.” We clung to that job just in case. Every couple weeks we’d have a hard conversation about how to make it work better. How to maximize our working time together and our days off. We read business books, dreamed of the future and talked about someday when we could afford to make it all happen.

After a lot of prayer and hashing out worst case scenarios, we came to this conclusion: We’ll never know if we don’t try it. And if we don’t try it now, who’s to say we ever will?

My heart was pumping super fast. He’d be home in 30 minutes. I scrambled around the office, the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom hunting for the book and quote I knew existed somewhere in our 1,000 square-foot world. I flipped pages and pages and pages. And then I found it. I took a bright orange Sharpe from my pretty collection and wrote it neatly, excitedly. And then, next to all sorts of congratulations signs I made for him, I clipped this one up on an Ikea gallery wire. Right next to his desk. His new full-time workspace.

We jumped. We got unstuck. We decided to act on our dream. Act on our LIFE. We left luke warm and went for bold. Went for guts. Went for risk and ruckus. And now, we’re alive and kicking and running with momentum. Sometimes it’s scary. But it’s the life for us. It’s hard work and it’s freedom. It’s creativity. It’s big ideas. It’s being together. It’s running wild. It’s adventure. It’s not for everyone. But it IS for a lot more people that know it yet. And we’re determined to spread the word. Share our experiences and realities and ridiculous moments to give those peeps a kick in the pants and lots of love along the way.

When Jesse walked in the door that day, there was no need for me to try to fill him in on what I’d been up to with the business. Instead, we stood in the office and hugged and cried and smiled and thanked God for that moment. For everything He’d done up till that point and everything that was about to happen. And then he sat at his desk and read a piece of crinkled printer paper. Thank you, Woodrow Wilson, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with great vision, and with finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”



Nontraditional Roles for Entrepreneurs

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My husband does the dishes 90% of the time. No, really, he does. And there are some days when he gets groceries, cooks and probably feels like a 1950’s housewife. But it works for us. Or, maybe it’s just me…he looks mighty fine in an apron. But seriously, those days when he’s manning the grill and the washing machine, I’m usually somewhere deep in a jungle of my own thoughts and productivity. I’m singing loud and working fast.

Our work/home roles are not very traditional. We like it that way. Running a business and a life takes BALANCE. We share all sorts of responsibilities. We have very specific and different job titles and duties for work. But, the rest of our life has a lot of blurred lines, depending on who has a deadline, if either of us is not feeling the best or just what we’re in the mood for that day. That may not work for everyone. Some entrepreneur couples we know have systems for every aspect of their life and it works wonders for them. Having structure with a side of flexibility works best for us.

When you work from home and have to manage your business and house/family simultaneously, it’s important to play to your strengths as much as possible. For example, I’m a morning person. This means that 90% of the time, I’m the one juicing kale and cucumbers at 7:30am; I’m the one emptying the dishwasher and switching the laundry by 8am; I’m the one who gets a couple hours of my most productive work in before my husband shuffles into the office, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He’s the one holding down the work HQs in the late afternoon; and he’s the one loading the dishwasher at 9pm.

It works out really well that one of us is a morning person and one a night person. We get to feel taken care of when it’s the other person’s go time. This means I also have to respect his strengths and weaknesses and not expect a brilliant performance at an 8:30am marketing meeting. And he knows he can’t spring business talk much past 6pm, otherwise my brain gets cooking all over again and I can’t sleep.

This is just us. It took a while to figure it all out. There are times when we hit some friction and need to figure out just a little bit more to make it better. But the bottom line is that it works. Not just because, but partly, because my husband does the dishes 80% of the time 😉