But Really Independent, Not Alone

This weekend I turn 29. To some women, they would be FREAKING OUT if single and alone at this age. But for me, I am stepping back to smell the tulips, dance to JT and not afraid to ask a table for one.

2018 has been a realization learning for myself of how happy I am loving who I am, being my own fan and being independent!

I grew up with the culture of setting a life plan; get an education, get married and have kids. I didn’t know anything else. I would say to myself, “I have bad timing with guys” when it didn’t work out. But when I look back now, it was a sign he wasn’t right and/or I wasn’t ready (thank you signs). The truth is, I didn’t fully appreciate myself. Also, I was still learning who I want to be and what I want to do in life (to be honest, I’m still figuring this out). Our ego can also damage us to not be accepting of who we really are – it can be the false self that leads us in to making excuses to put us down (I’m not as pretty, I’m not as funny, I’m not thin enough). Thank you the “You are a Badass” book for letting me kick my ego’s butt.

Now, I put myself in check of how truly powerful I am! What pushes me to do more and be happily independent is being my own die hard fan. I feel happy looking at myself and for instance, appreciating I got my ass up at 6:00am to conquer a workout class (not every day but when I can!).

I am truly independent and make all of my own choices, because it’s just me (and I like it for now). There are still so many practices I want to build on my self happiness, morning meditation being one. Working on being the best me, I now have no expectation in my life on when I’ll find love, no desire to waste time searching or to rush finding it. The awesome thing is, I already have so much love with family and friends in my life.

Affirmations of these thoughts are key in my everyday life practice because there will be those moments again where I watch Pretty Woman or Say Anything and get down not having my knight sweep me off my feet in a limo or on a lawn mower. BUT I’ll snap into gear – because there is only one of me and I’m pretty damn awesome. Someday, someone truly worthy will see it too.

Here’s to the time of my independent life! Mr. Someone is out there and we’ll meet eventually. Cheers!

Your single and independent gal,

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Oregon and Most of the Falls

Over Memorial Holiday weekend I took a trip to Oregon all by myself. It was exhilarating allowing time to reflect on my life and also to think what’s my next excursion? Sharing in detail my weekend stops if you plan to go – I did a lot of research and planning to pack in as much as I could into 4 days. I know the mountains are bigger in this world, but these were still pretty cool.

Day 1

First, the city of Portland. St. John’s Bridge was a beautiful landmark and small park to stroll around (mini version of the Golden Gate Bridge I assume but I’ve never seen it). Alberta street was a cozy neighborhood I saw depictions from the comedic sitcom “Portlandia” (i.e. co-op grocery store).  On Alberta I ate an awesome brunch at Tin Shed Garden Cafe; their buttermilk biscuit was mouth-watering. And I couldn’t resist dessert with specialty ice cream and homemade waffle cones at Love and Salt (where the biz started). After I walked over the Steel Bridge, photographed the iconic “Portland Oregon” sign, I checked off a stop into Powell’s library (largest book chain in the world). Dinner time I needed to enjoy craft beer and went to 10 Barrel brewery. I made sure to try the beers only able to get at the brewery to keep it fresh.

Day 2

It was time to lace up my hiking shoes. I drove east along the Colombia River where a lot of the trails are all off of the 84 highway. Some water falls spots weren’t a hike and more of a stroll up a path which was nice.

  • Multnomah Falls – the most iconic water falls in Oregon. I got here right at 8am to avoid people in my photos and to get a parking spot. The place was pretty busy even right when it opened!
  • Bridge of the Gods – If you are a “Wild” book or movie fan, you should remember this bridge on the PCT – walking across it at the end of the journey. It was a pretty scary moment for myself when I walked on foot across the grid-like steel and I saw directly below the river (where you could drop a cellphone if not careful) plus the winds were extreme! But after I made my prayer (had to) I’m so happy I did it. Note the sign “Bridge of the Gods” is on the Washington side so make sure you cross the border entirely when you go!
  • Dry Creek Falls – I wanted to make a longer trek on the PCT and saw this trail right off the bridge on the Oregon side. It took me deep into the woods and ended with a secluded water fall that was very peaceful.
  •  Before I headed to the next spot, I had to stop at Thunder Island Brewery – This was by far the best view I’ve experienced for a brewery! I could have stayed here much longer but I had to keep moving on..
  •  Latourell Falls – My favorite view on this trail was about half way through seeing the falls through the trees.
  • Bridal Veil Falls – This was my least favorite stop because the falls looked small compared to the others (I was getting picky). But, it was an easy hike – opposite of the others where you go down on the way there and up on the way back.

The drive back to Portland was easy on the 84 and a pretty drive with green lush mountains on both sides. Back in Portland I walked up and down Mississippi street, another favorite neighborhood area. Over there was Ecliptic brewery with a nice outdoor patio area. I drove a couple minutes to Exo Novo which was my favorite Portland brewery out of the ones I visited. I really liked their beer, their branding (simple but stylistic) and their space. I made a last stop to Wayfinder which also had a cool patio but I had a weird experience with the staff and not a fan.

Day 3

  • VooDoo Donut – Just before 8am already had a short line but I had to get a crazy donut where this biz started.
  • Trillium Lake – I took the 26 scenic highway east for further sightseeing. Trillium lake had a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood where I drove right up to it. I strolled on the path surrounding the lake too. 
  • Tamanawas Falls – My final hike had the best path to its destination, hiking along the river rapids up to the falls. 
  • Thanks to the trail ambassador ladies I chatted up, they directed me to Mt. hood Winery – the one winery on the way to the small town of Hood River that has Mt. Hood in its view.
  • Hood River – This town was beautiful. When I go back for more hiking I’m staying in this town. The locals wake sailing along the river was so colorful. I made two stops at Full Sail Brewery and Ferment Brewery that just opened 3x weeks ago! Ferment now has the best view of the river to watch wake sailing. 
  • Back to Portland I checked off a couple more breweries; Widmer Brothers, Bridgeport for dinner (really good pizza) and Deschutes. 

Day 4

  • Coava Coffee – Loved this place, and great coffee.
  • Checked off a mural! “Everything is Everything” by Zach Yarrington on 508 SE Grand Ave.
  • The Daily Feast – Breakfast at this 60s-style diner. I was very sad when I heard the eggs benedict is only available on the weekend.. Still super cute.
  • Rose Garden – My flight was delayed so I got to walk around the free rose garden. I was surprised how big it was and everything blooming!

Thanks Oregon for an awesome weekend and the excitement to see more of the outdoors and hikes the world has to offer.

Unfortunately due to the recent fires, a lot of the trails were closed but I noted the hikes and more things to do for the next trip back.

  • Check out the neighborhood streets on Division, Hawthorne, Williams
  • Trip to Bend, Oregon for more lakes and breweries
  • Food Cart spot -Alder Street Food Cart: 639 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205 (11:30-3pm, 5-8pm)
  • Pok Pok – Thai restaurant
  • Brewery recommendations by people I met over the weekend – HUB, Hopworks, Breakside.

Further Hikes

  • Punch Bowl Falls
  • Oneonta Falls
  • Starvation Creek
  • Silver Falls – will see multiple falls along the hike
  • Abiqua Falls – need a 4x wheel drive vehicle
  • Shepherd’s Dail
  • Pup Creek Falls
  • Dog Mountain – about 6x hour hike overlooking the gorge from the top
  • Eagle Creek
  • Mirror Lake – longer hike to the top of a mountain to see Mt. Hood
  • Tom Dick & Harry

Texas Tipi Adventure

What was my highlight this past weekend? Swaying back and forth on a hammock, gazing at the stars and full moon about to go to sleep in a tipi.

I did not always love the outdoors. The mosquitos in Minnesota are way worse than you could imagine (and still are to this day) where I grew up. Yes, I was a water baby going to my family lake cabin up north every weekend but when that sun set, I’d be running inside. No more about my non-outdoor days.. back to the tipi.

When laying on the tipi, I really realized how happy the outdoors makes me. It was a wonderful camping weekend with great company (old and new friends). The limitless adventurer in me approved this past weekend’s adventures..

Checked off my to-do list “glamping” in a tipi. My roommate (and planner of the weekend) found them on AirBnB in the small town New Braunfels, Texas. I need to sleep in more tipis, put it on your list.

I was able to tackle another river tubing excursion down the Guadalupe River. One of those summer activities many Texans do; roping up to your friends and relaxing over some beers while floating. My best tip learned was to wear water shoes; those rocks are not fun barefoot (very adult).

The man-made Lake Canyon was a hidden gem (to me at least). I did not expect the views when we drove up. We had to trek down a rocky steep path but once we got there, the blue warm water crashing against the shoreline rocks was amazing.


Also, did you know how many natural swimming holes there are in Austin? We were able to visit one on our way back, Hamilton Pool. This cave-life swimming hole was breathtaking. A .25 mile trek into luscious cool water. I’m glad I did my deep swimming right away before I saw all of the giant catfish swimming on the shore line – they were not afraid of people either. I need to go back to Austin and tackle more of those swimming holes.

Experiencing new adventures with friends makes relationships stronger. It’s also rewarding to learn a lot from my new friends over caravanning deep conversations about religion, kids, family and the future. Now it’s time for me to experience new adventures in a way I’ve never done before, a trip for the weekend solo! You’ll see…follow me on Instagram @connectedwithtrina

Positive Vibes from the People in Your Life

Our thoughts are one of the most powerful tools we have to drive the way we think and the way to new opportunities for ourself. It’s our thoughts that create realities in our life.

“You are a Bad Ass” has helped me put myself in check with a lot of things (more about this book later). One of them being; bringing positive vibes to our thoughts is about having people in our life who see limitless possibilities of reality and act on big ideas. Or in a more simple matter, surround yourself with people that inspire you to do better. When I was home recently and spent time with my family, I realized how thankful I am to have such inspiring family members in my life. We were cruising on a Pontoon through the Alexandria Chain of Lakes hearing each other’s latest successes; Alli (Sister-in-law) is going back to school to get her MBA, while being a new mom (8-month young baby girl), building their first family house and a full-time teacher. Tricia (Sister) grows her career in real estate via @Triciajoonthego (2 years changing careers previously a Graphic Designer) while also being a new mom (10-month young baby boy) and building their first family house too! Just to name a few of their inspiring actions taking in life.

We don’t see each other often living across the U.S. – myself in TX, sister and parents in MN, and brother in SC – but when we do, we talk about our dreams, goals, next steps in life. It’s really amazing to have a family be such supporters of my life and my desires to do as much as I can (currently striving to master my photography company while I have a full time advertising career).

Recap: “Your brain is your bitch.” So fill it with positive thoughts and opportunities. And be surrounded by people in your life who do the same.

Love my Minnesota life and inspiring family #MNfam4life

Say hello to my personal brand, Connected with Trina

What is a personal brand? Why is it important?

Companies build themselves around core values and a mission that they use to gauge success. We are most successful when we too have a similar structure in our personal life! It allows us to promote what we stand for. Also, it solidifies your online presence – what pulls up when you google your name?

Connected with Trina allows me to focus on what I want to achieve in order to be the most successful I can be. I live this life to make connections, whether those connections are with people, through advertising, photography or the outdoors (to name a few).

You’ll see on this improved site and through my social platforms just how my experiences are connected with me!

Here’s to being you. Time to get #connectedwithtrina

Ryder Jonah, a Five O Seven Photo Brand Advocate

I typically visit Minnesota, my home town, twice a year. However, now that my first nephew was born on September 20 my trips to Minnesota may be more often than I think! My Sister, Tricia Jo Leanger, is an amazing new Mommy to Ryder Jonah.  I ventured to Minnesota last weekend to meet him for the first time at 7x weeks old. He is a handsome, healthy little boy. Our first day together babysitting I had to bring out my lens for some photo time just him and I! This is why I had to introduce to everyone Ryder, as he will be an often brand advocate and model for Five O Seven Photo.

I started taking photos of babies when I lived in California with my little roommate Jacob Wayne Burgess, son of Dina Burgess. Ryder is my second baby and now I can say I can proudly add baby photography to my wide array of specialties! The first shoot consisted of a photo backdrop by the coziest items around the house. I propped him in his Boppy Lounger Pillow with a soft blanket to accent as the background. And there you have it! Enjoy the cozy photos of Ryder.

Stakeouts are the Best – The MN Proposal

You remember those iconic movies where they experience stakeouts and it looks like so much fun? (Horrible Bosses 1)

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This past weekend I experienced my first stakeout with Five O Seven Photo to capture an engagement proposal! One of my best friend’s boyfriend reached out to me and said, “You have to make it out to Minnesota this weekend, I am proposing to Calley and I want you to take photos of it happening.” Let me caveat here that I live in Dallas and booked a 48-hour stay in Minnesota 2 nights before! Next thing I knew I was flying off to Minnesota. Now the one thing you must know is how on-point and detailed her boyfriend, Andrew, was when we discussed the plan of action for the proposal and the shoot.

Alright here’s whats going down! Once I pull the boat up in front of the pavilion, to your right side looking out at the lake, I’m going to kill the engine and then within a matter of 20 seconds I’ll propose to her. I have a good idea how to do it so just be ready. I’ll text you when we’re close.

This incredible girl had no idea it was coming! She thought they were going fishing. If only she knew her best friend flew in and was up in a pavilion at the Noerenberg Gardens staked out and captured the whole proposal.

This is a huge trend right now of capturing the proposal. A different approach we took for this shoot was that I never revealed myself to them after she said, “Yes!” – throughout the entire on the lake proposal she did not know I was there. This allowed for some real expressions (granted I needed a killer zoom on my Canon 60D, 100-400mm) that can’t be posed for. The downfall to this proposal approach is when you are in this situation you can’t maneuver their body positioning or stance (especially in my situation when they were out in the water). You truly get what you can in the moment and that’s what is the thrill of it! Priceless memories and moments they will have forever. (Plus a trendy on-site proposal shoot to come!)

To keep the story going, the groom-to-be is sharing with Five O Seven Photography audience why this proposal took place on Lake Minnetonka near the Noerenberg Gardens.

The Noerenberg Gardens is a place Calley brought me to on our second date as a surprise and on that date is when I knew that something was different about her and that she was a girl worth pursuing. So I figured what better place to propose than in front of those gardens on the boat. The lake is a special place for both Calley and I and fishing is something we both enjoy and do a lot together so the whole set up was a natural choice.

I didn’t want this to be an average proposal, I really wanted to knock her socks off so I figured what better way to do so then to surprise her with her friends and family… I put together a surprise party back at Calley’s house to show her how much I care about her and her family… and to fly one of her best friends out.

Brrr it’s cold outside! Maternity Shoot in the Winter

Shooting in different states, seasons and locations I need to be prepared and ready for any weather conditions. Multiple photo shoots in the Minnesota winters I was able to learn some best practices tips to carry along in shoots when needed. Recently I shot a maternity session (bonus, with a pup) in a white snow forest where I learned more new tips about weather outdoor shooting.

The shoot was taken at Kaplan’s Woods in a small town of Owatonna (my hometown to be exact), south of Minneapolis, with my great friends Jennifer and Tony. They make look familiar to you as I have done their engagement and wedding photos too! Back in the day Jennifer and I used to be on the Owatonna High School cheerleading squad (Go Huskies!). One of my key tips when shooting outdoors in cold weather is to keep the shoot periods quick with multiple breaks, that way the couple doesn’t ever get too cold and can stay comfortable (no one wears a big coat anymore in the snow, doesn’t look as pretty!). This also helps to keep the pink nose and cheeks to a minimum.

With the puppy at this photo session I took out a blanket to lay on the ground in order for her to sit (no one wants their bare bum on snow!) and also brought doggy treats! The new tip when shooting with dogs is to have the couple hold treats in their hands in order for the dog to pay attention and look where needed.

So a couple of my shooting tips there for you! The smallest things can make a shoot go a long way. Enough said, here they are!