Lauren | Travel Photography (@navigatingnirvana) — Doing it all & loving it ✨
Mom, Wife, 9-5’r, Traveler 🥰
🏡 New England based
My real life is my #bestlife
👀 my stories 4 weekly trivia games & tips!
Mom, Wife, 9-5’r, Traveler 🥰
🏡 New England based
My real life is my #bestlife
👀 my stories 4 weekly trivia games & tips!
All jeans can be skinny jeans if you eat and drink enough 🍳 🥂 11/50: Massachusetts . . . My favorite thing about Massachusetts? Brunch with my girls. With Boston being a 45 minute drive from home, Its an easy weekend trip for me an my girls. @carlyl24 and I had brunch at Tatte in Boston, back in September, and it was incredible (scroll down my feed for more beantown pictures and for what we had that morning ). Where’s your favorite spot on the weekend to get brunch?
What’s your favorite travel 🧳 destination? 10/50: #illinois . . . #chicago is one of my favorite #traveldestination ‘s. The architecture , the food, the art. Definitely one of my favorite 🇺🇸 cities. I can admit that I haven’t #explored much of Illinois beyond Chicago. What about you? What’s one of your favorite travel destinations? . . . 5 #funfacts about #chitown 1. It has the only river that flows backwards. Flowing through downtown Chicago, the Chicago River has a fascinating history. Not only does this river run through various systems and canals, but it is also the only river in the world that flows backwards. 2. Nation’s largest collection of impressionist artwork 🖼 3. Chicago has More than 250 theaters, 225 music venues, 56 museums and 200 dance companies. 4. The world's first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Company, was built in Chicago in 1885. 5. Walt @disney was born in Chicago in 1901. He studied drawing at Chicago's McKinley High School and the Institute of Fine Arts.
“Creativity takes courage” - Henri Matisse 9/50: #washingtondc . . . Washington DC was definitely one of my top favorite trips we did in 2018. As political as this city is, it is also just as beautiful. My favorite part - all the museums. But especially the @hirshhorn . I love #art in every form. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to discover the local #artmuseums . Swipe left to see pictures of the kids goofing off with this art wall. 10 points if you can spot me in this picture! Where is your favorite museum? . . . 5 #funfacts about #dc : 1. Washington DC residents love their wine 🍷. They drink more wine per capita than any other us state. 2. All roads in the city lead to the capital building. 3. The Washington Redskins were founded in 1932, but did not move to DC until 1937. They were originally known as the Boston Braves, playing at Fenway Park from 1933-36. 4. The Friendship Archway over H St. and 7th St. in Chinatown was built in 1986 to celebrate the friendship between Washington and sister city, Beijing, China. 5. The Smithsonian Institution Museums boast a collection that includes nearly 138 million objects, works of art and specimens!
"Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane." @bradpaisley 8/50: #texas . . . This lyric has always reminded me of my daughter @taylermerrell . A little wild, restless, but happy as Sunshine. Notice the two different shoes?! Our kids are almost never wearing shoes when we are on a road trip. They get stuffed under seats, fall out of the truck in different states and “magically disappear“ when they need them the most. This lyric in turn also reminds me of Austin, Texas. So Sunny and a little electric, wild and beautiful. This is one of my top 3 cities to visit in the US. I felt like I was coming home when I visited #austin and my husband and I have talked seriously many times about making it our home. Art, Music, Food, and Fun. That’s how I would describe Austin, TX in four words. Check out my stories later for the Taco place in Austin that was so good it made me want to make #tacotuesdays a thing in our family. . . . 5 #funfacts about Austin: 1. Austin has the only nude beach in all of Texas. So if you like sunbathing without your suit... Hippie Hallow is the beach for you. 2. Austin is one of the sunniest cities in the United States. 300/365 days of the year are Sunny in Austin. 3. Famous actor Matthew McConaughey hails from Austin. So does Sandra Bullock – she runs the downtown restaurant, Bess Bistro. 4. Austin is the only city in the world known to still operate a system of Moonlight Towers, 165 ft. tall structures from the 19th century to light up the city at night. One of the towers was prominently featured in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused 5. With 200 live music venues and as many as 2,000 bands and performing artists, Austin is considered the Live Music Capital of the World.
You are beautiful right this moment State 7: #california . . . Isn’t my stepdaughter @tashamonicalong beautiful? She’s one of my favorite people to photograph. Did you notice that there are very few pictures of me in my feed? I’ve considered myself to be a #photographer , and not an #model or subject of a photograph. Recently, someone said to me that they’d love to see more of me in my photos. I get this. You all want to know who I am. You want to feel a connection to me. I want you to too! So why don’t I take more photos of myself? It comes down to one thing..100% fear. I’m not a size 2 IG model. I’m a real normal wife, mom, friend. I’m not 22, I’m 34. I live with a human growth hormone disorder that makes it very hard for me to lose weight or develop muscle tone and because this hasn’t always been true for me, it makes me self conscious. I want to be much more #bodypositive ! I want to have the confidence to step in front of the camera! I’m working on it. We are all beautiful in our own unique , organic and authentic ways. I want to celebrate that here because I truly believe it. Tell me something your self conscious about? Let’s overcome our fears together!
Be A Little Boulder! If happiness is the goal, and it should be, then adventures should be top priority! 👣 🌿 ⛰ Caption by: @diariesofatravelista 6/50 : #utah . . . Utah! With 5 #nationalparks parks within it’s boarders it’s an #outdoorenthusiast ‘s dream. I was able to make it to Bryce, Capitol Reef, Zion and Arches but will definitely have to return to explore Canyonlands and more of the other beautiful #stateparks and monuments in Utah’s vast natural #landscapes Hiking in Zion was a dream come true for me, and was by far my favorite park in Utah. Did you know that Before it was a national park, Zion was a national monument and it’s name wasn’t Zion?! It was called Mukuntuweap National Monument. Today, Zion preserves 229 Square Miles of red rock landscape that’s so stunning it looks surrealI. I love to hike and with so many places to explore in Utah, it was hard to not want to spend weeks adventuring here. Growing up on the east coast, red rocks were something I only saw in my ever expanding collection of @natgeo ‘s. So when I saw the various tones of reds and oranges here I was blown away. The US continues to blow my mind. Every state has its own landscape, culture, food scene, and personality. I love exploring my country. Do you spend time exploring your own country?
🧘♀️⛰ 🏖 🌮 Describe your perfect day in emoji’s (comment below) 5/50: #newmexico . . . New Mexico had way more to offer than I expected. We made it to #albuquerque , #whitesandsnationalmonument , #carlsbadcaverns and drove through some incredibly diverse landscapes. I honestly had very little interest in New Mexico outside of checking it off my #bucketlist , but now am looking forward to going back this year for their Hot Air Balloon festival and exploring some more. Can you see @whitesandsnps in the distance? It was 1pm when we arrived and an extremely sunny & warm day which made it very hard to get decent clear pictures, but we had a blast sledding down the white sands.
All I ever wanted was to dream another #sunset with you 🌅🤝 . . . 4/50: #arizona . . . Who’s your travel partner? Tag them below. Mine is my husband @willmerrell_ and his favorite state is Arizona. I can’t blame him. We have had such a blast exploring this state. So far my favorite state for Hiking 🥾. I know, I know... I live in N.H. where beautiful Mountain View’s are everywhere. But so far my favorite views are the wide open desert 🌵 views in Arizona. Horseshoe Canyon, The Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon ... just to name a few. The #deserts 🏜 are magical colorful masterpieces. A state full of so many different landscapes and a perfect warm dry climate. I definitely need to spend more time in this state. Is there somewhere you are dying to go back to?
Vermont, naturally 🍁🍂 3/50: #vermont . . . What is your favorite #season ? I love the #fall . And no one does fall like Vermont. Picturesque towns, Cozy B&B’s, and the best Fall foliage in the states. The trees light up with a variety of yellows, oranges and reds. Vermont has easily become one of my favorites for this reason alone. With the second smallest population in the states don’t expect big city life in Vermont. It’s a gorgeous rural community of beautiful New England towns with incredible landscapes and loads of charm. The farmers markets are some of the best I’ve been to with organic fresh veggies, cheese, and raw milk. Some of the best farm to table organic restaurants in the states are in Vermont, and who can talk about Vermont without mentioning #maplesyrup ? You’ve never tried real maple syrup until you’ve tried organic Vermont maple syrup. The sugar maple isn’t Vermont’s state tree without reason. Maple products are a huge deal here. From Syrup to candy you can find just about anything made with maple. If you want the best of the best, check out the annual maple festival in St. Albans and get a look at the year’s maple ambassadors.
Live wild, flower child 🌼🌸🌼 2/50: #newhampshire . . . Where are you from? Home. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of the beautiful state of New Hampshire. This is where I have lived for the past 21 years. This beautiful state is an Outdoor #adventurers dream. The mountains are always calling and beautiful any time of year. When I’m not traveling you can usually find me hiking the waterfall trail in the white mountains or roaming around the streets of historic city of Portsmouth shopping, or off roading on four wheelers in the north country. I’m not sure this state will remain my forever home as I’m to much of a #gypsy , but it is definitely a home I have come to appreciate for it’s landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty. #50statesin50pictures
So many of my smiles begin with you 😃 1/50: #maine . . . Have you been to Maine? One of my favorite states in the #unitedstates Coastline, Mountains, Lakelife, Wildlife. You can find just about everything in Maine. This shot was taken at one of my favorite places to getaway for a long weekend...#mooseheadlake . I spent a long weekend here with my husband @willmerrell_ this summer and it was one of the best trips we had all year. Rustic Vintage 70’s Cabin, kayaking, looking for moose (which we found, but I couldn’t get my camera out in time), friendly people, and bonfires at night under the stars looking out onto the lake. Some of the best memories I have are exploring in Maine, so I just had to start my #50statesin50pictures series off here. Coming to the blog this weekend... Top 5 Places to Explore in Maine. #relaunch is coming, stay tuned!
"Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about." Marilyn Monroe 1956 💋 . . . Although we were sad to leave Florida, we 😃 as we left. We had such an amazing time exploring the keys and living in the sunshine for a bit. But life moves on and #newadventures are waiting. It’s about to get a little snowier on my feed. Time for some white inspiration. Do you like the snow? What’s your favorite #activity to do in the #winter ? Bye to the keys for now, but we will be back!
What is your favorite dessert? 🧁🥧 . . . KEY LIME PIE is my favorite. Growing up in #florida , my dad would take me and my brother to the beach or fishing on the weekends. What else do you do in Florida on a #weekend ? At the end of the day we’d stop for dinner. Maybe it was because it was my Dad’s favorite, I’m a total daddy’s girl, or I guess it could be the #taste ... but I’ve always loved Key Lime Pie. You can’t get a good #keylimepie in New England. You just can’t, no one makes it right. So knowing we were going to be in Key West , where key lime pie was invented, the kids and I decided on a challenge. We would buy one piece of key lime pie from all of the popular places to get it, try them all, and decide who had the best key lime pie in Key West. Well after three places we gave up... we were all just way to full after dinner @margaritaville and eating three pieces of pie. But we did decide the top one out of the three. Which one do you think it was? 1. @margaritavillerestaurants 2. @kermitskeylime 3. @keylimepieco Check out my #stories today to find out!
The sun loved the moon so much that he died every night just to let her breath 🌞🌚✨ . . . #sunrise or #sunset ? Which do you prefer? I’ve always been a sunset girl. There is something so beautifully calming about the setting sun. Something about it just puts my entire body at ease and whisks away the joys of even troubles of the day. I am, though, learning to love starting the day with a gorgeous sunrise. I’ve found that I’m happier that way, more full of hope and less scattered or rushed. This year I’ve decided to make it a goal to see both the sunset and the sunrise everyday, no matter where I am or what I’m doing in the world. To stop and live in the moment and enjoy them. Be fully present. I’ll be recording them for a personal project starting Monday, through the rest of the year. Turn on story notifications to see my daily sunrises and sunsets. Hoping they bring you a small amount of Joy, just like they do me.
Take time to coast ⛵️ . . . Something I’m not good at .... decompressing. I have an incredibly busy life. I work a full time job. I have a full time family. I also do this.. #contentcreation , which in itself is a full time job. There just isn’t enough time in the day. I often forget to take care of myself, because I am always so busy taking care of everyone else. Well, it’s not very #healthy . Not taking time to decompress leads to heart attacks, strokes, depression, sleep deprivation, and headaches. Please make time to decompress. I can speak from recent experience when I say it will catch up with you if you don’t. Here are some of my favorite ways to decompress: 1. Take a walk Outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a big hike (though I love doing that), just long enough to let your mind slow down a bit. 2. Exercise: one of the best ways to let shit go is to run it off. One of the best ways for me to decompress is to work it off. 3. Take a day off. Not just from work, but from everything. Turn your phone off. Unplug. Skip the Social Media for the day. No work. No cleaning. Just do nothing. 4. Read. Throw yourself into a good book and think about someone else’s life for a while. Something that captures your attention and takes your mind off what’s going on. 5. Take a nap. One of my favorite things to do, and something I don’t do enough. Just a 30 minute reset and your relaxed and rejuvenated. How do you decompress? Comment below
to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice ✨ @elizabeth_gilbert_writer Eat, Pray, Love . . . How do you afford to #travel ? I’ve fallen in love, with travel. The travel bug has bitten me, and there’s no getting over it until I’ve seen it all. I have friends and family members that ask me all the time - how do you afford to do all of this? I just do. I make it my priority, and I do it. Sometimes we sleep in cheap hotels, sometimes at cabins in campsites while we are traveling to save money. We drive more than we fly. Instead of buying that couch you bought last week, or those ridiculously expensive shoes, I book a trip instead. I live minimally so that I can afford life maximally. I am not a 1%’r, I am not personally wealthy, I do not have and excess of money and no one is paying for all this for me... I just prioritize experiencing life in new ways and seeing new and incredible places as much as I can. It’s easy to live cheaply at home when your excited for your next destination. . . . PS friends.... this shot was taken underneath the seven mile bridge. I had to climb down the side of the bridge and underneath to get this, which I’m not entirely sure is legal. Try this at your own risk - there was a moment when I slipped and I was sure both myself & my camera were going into the sea. But no risk, no reward right? Location: #sevenmilebridge@visitflorida Photography : @navigatingnirvana
It’s all about palm trees 🌴 and 80 degrees! . . . What’s the temperature where you’re at right now? I’m the original #floridagirl . I was raised in Gainesville and grew up beach hopping with my dad and brother on the weekends. Coming to the keys for me is like coming home. Palm trees, Sunshine and sand are just a few of the things that make me genuinely happy. If I had to pick my favorite place on earth, right now, I would probably say the keys. Makes you wonder how I ended up in #newengland huh? Well that’s a story for another time... wishing you a happy sunny Saturday ☀️ . . . Location: @visitflorida Photography : @navigatingnirvana Subject: #palmtree
Vision is everything 👁💡 . . . Do you have a vision? A goal for your life? A purpose for what you do? I’ve been working on my “vision statement” as part of my 2019 goals and I have to admit I’m struggling with it. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, and yes I’m 34. I have no idea what purpose my life or work has that could have a greater impact on the world. I want to know! So I’m working on it. Life is a work in progress. We are constantly changing our dreams and goals and visions. So don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t know yet.... but do work on it. What’s just one goal you have for 2019 that you think might lead to something more significant for you?