New York, I love you.

The Big Apple.

Empire City.

Concrete jungle.

The city that never sleeps.


New York City is something else—and if you never go, you’ll never know. Alicia Keys and Jay Z have it down pat… it’s inspiring, loud and “there ain’t never a curfew.” And for those reasons (and many more) it’s one of my favorite places on this planet.

Lucky for me, I got to spend a lot of time out there as a teenager visiting my dad who had a contract job at JFK Airport. With each trip, I got to know the city better… I could navigate the trains, the subways and the streets all by myself. By the time I graduated high school, I’d spent time there during all four seasons, and I loved them all the same.

My husband just so happens to have a soft spot (a pretty big one, I might add) for New York too, and we’ve been fortunate to make three trips out there together: the first was our honeymoon in September 2014, the second was to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2016 and we spent this past Memorial Day weekend out there.

Our recent trip was—as expected—relaxing and exhausting all at once. We walked miles and miles, long blocks and short blocks; we took the subway to Queens, Brooklyn, Downtown and everywhere in between; we basked in the sun, we got a little damp in the rain, we sweated and we shivered. In between all the getting to and from places, we sipped good coffee, indulged in tasty donuts, drank good beer and had excellent dinners (and desserts).

But—and I know this might shock some of you—the highlight for me came Monday afternoon when we got to photograph planes out at JFK DESPITE having flown into and out of LaGuardia (thank you Scott!). While my new hometown airport (O’Hare) is incredibly diverse in airlines and aircraft, and it’s technically a larger airport than Kennedy, I was completely taken aback by all the things I saw at JFK that I had never seen before.

While I’m obviously partial to Boeing planes, out at JFK I saw THREE Airbus A380s depart: Korean Air, Asiana and Etihad (my first time seeing the Abu Dhabi-based carrier). If you love aviation and flying, don’t even try to tell me that you’re not in some way, shape or form impressed by this whale-of-a-plane. How the serious heck does it fly!? It’s simply remarkable. I even saw another two of the double-decker supers come in: Air France and a second Etihad plane (this one in the special “Year of Zayed” livery—how cool!).

I saw Boeing planes too (of course). I caught a lot of 777s, all departing: Aeroflot to Moscow, Air India to New Delhi and Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong. Just before leaving the airport, I caught an ANA 777 floating in too.

And I can’t leave out the sleek, curvy, sexy, flexy Dreamliner: I caught Xiamen Air headed to Fuzhou and Aeromexico headed to Mexico City. Boy, I’d give anything to fly on that plane.

And, while it’s not Boeing, I did catch one aircraft departing that holds a particularly special place in my heart and an even more special place in my mom’s heart: the Air Serbia A330 heading to Belgrade. I snapped several photos to send to her, in honor of her heritage.

That afternoon, I also had the pleasure of meeting several plane spotters with whom I’ve connected on Instagram… some JFK-based, others from out of town like me. And even though, on average, I’m twice the age of them, it’s really special to meet up with others who share that passion. We’re one big family.

It certainly was a treat to spend a few days out east, and I’m already looking forward to the next time we’re able to make it out to that concrete jungle. But for now, I’m focused on the near future… see ya soon, New Orleans.

This is me.

I am brave, I am bruised,
I am who I’m meant to be — this is me.

Once again, watching “The Voice” inspired me to write because Kyla Jade just knocked it out of the park with “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

That song carries a lot of weight and sort of speaks to me. I mean, all in all, I’ve lived an amazingly fortunate and happy life. However, we all have to deal with not-so-easy stuff from time to time, whether we bring it on ourselves, or it’s just in the cards we’ve been dealt.

This blog is supposed to be about planes, so I’m not going to ramble about any of the so-called “struggles” I’ve had in my nearly 31 years on Earth, but I will say this much: sometimes following your heart isn’t easy.

I followed my plane-shaped heart to Chicago nearly six months ago. I knew it was the right thing to do to pursue my passion for aviation, but it sure was hard leaving my husband back in Minnesota. I’m lucky enough to have a job that keeps my heart overly full, but spending my nights and weekends without my other half has caused many a tearful night.

I’m so over-the-moon to say that, despite having two more semesters left at the University of Minnesota, my husband Scott will be moving down here for the summer this Saturday. I felt like I’ve waited so, so long for this… words can’t describe the sheer joy I’m feeling.

And, to add to the excitement, today I received an invitation to my dear friend Branden’s wedding. Branden is one of many people I’ve connected with through our mutual love of planes, but one of only very few I’ve been fortunate enough to actually meet in person. Scott and I are delighted to be able to be there to watch he and his awesome wife-to-be Cortney tie the knot this July.

It might sound too simple to be true, but no matter how “perfect” life may seem… there will always be *something* working against you. In my case, I found my dream job in a city that I’m madly in love with, but sustaining a long-distance relationship hasn’t exactly been “easy.”

What I’ve learned, is that you always have to be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel (Scott and I WILL reunite) and find joy in little every day bursts of sunshine (a wedding invitation from a new friend, a good laugh at work, late night snuggles with feline friends, you get the idea…).

I am brave, I am bruised,
I am who I’m meant to be — this is me.