A Girl Named Leney



Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods, and a connectedness to nature.


these words remind me of the ways in which i want to be like you, trees of the woods.
that is what i wish to be.
like you, with my feet in the dirt and my arms open-handed towards the sky.
for, like you, i too come from dirt. 
like you, i was made with a makers hands.
hands that fashioned my spirit and soul to intrinsically love being exactly here.
here, in-between and next-to your rough skin and the before-during-after of you undressing and redressing your arms and torsos with the garments of leaves and moss— according to the season.
here, amidst the light-to-dark dappling of the shade of your embrace.
here, where i am reminded of that beginning point of my creation and how i came to be.
here, that my solitude brings with it feelings of release, ease, tranquility and comfort rather than ones of loneliness, restriction, fear and isolation.
i love how being here in the depth and wildness of you brings me that gift.
of grounding in myself.
of connection.

images shot in 35mm film in Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest on the way to Bagby Hot Springs.


my actions, inimical to the well being and survival of my heart. 
but my mind, my mind


tells me to forge on, ignoring the rhythmic warnings of my heart.
which is, what always gets me into trouble.
ignoring my heart and the morse code of warning it beats out to me, messages meant for my mind. 
but my mind, my mind, 
is stalwart to its mission. 
it knows best.
for its very nature is to know things after all.
(so it tells me)
heart will catch up
it says.
it says a lot of things, my mind.
and my heart, my heart


out the center and bone of the thing that it, and sometimes i, knows is the truth.
which is that it’s the one that really knows.
it knows more than my mind.
and, really, what i should do, is listen to it, rather than my mind, more often.

A Passing Scene

he was towheaded, face abloom with freckles that i could see even through my windshield as i pulled onto the street. he was crawling up out of the ditch to the head of a little miniature play car he was driving around the yard.

he couldn't have been more than five. 

as he turned towards the sound of my car, eyes alert and inquisitive, he waved. 
rotating his open palm from the wrist, fingers straight and insistent in their communicated greeting. the learned and carefully practiced wave of adolescence. 
the suddenness of his reaction to greet me was more instantaneous than i expected. it was almost as if there was a familiarity in his turning toward me, as if he knew me and had been expecting my arrival.

as soon as i passed him tears welled up in my eyes.
i was shocked by my sudden reaction. i glanced at myself in the rear view mirror almost as if needing to confirm visually what i felt physically.
and i ached.
i ached for the innocence and beauty of a child playing outside happily by himself. 
i ached for wanting a child of my own to bring up in just that way.
i ached for the remembrance and days past of my own childhood that had been spent in a similar fashion
i ached for the trusting and intent gaze that had met mine and how pure and innocent it seemed. untainted, as of yet, by the worlds evils and disappointments and heartaches.  

i have replayed this passing scene over and over and over in my mind.
wondering why it moves me to the depth that it does. 
indeed, i have tears in my eyes even now as i think about that little boys face.
the above reasons are a partial explanation. 
but there is something more that i am unable to put my finger on and which i am coming to realize i do not need to know and understand. 

it is enough, for now, remembering that i hold this kind of ocean within me. 

A Different Life

A post shared by Leney (@agirlnamedleney) on

i posted this on Instagram a few weeks ago, but i wanted to share it here on the blog too. so if you’ve already read this post, feel free to scroll on! but i wanted a chance to reach some of you who maybe don't follow me on Instagram but do here. because, i have to tell you, sharing this has led to some of the best conversation and thought provoking dialogue with so many unexpected people. 
i am so continually appreciative of the authentic and genuine people who i get to meet and interact and talk with on the internet (and in real life!). it's why i write what i write and share what i share. to foster more meaningful and mindful connections with people. 
so cheers to all of you for making that possible. 

i lead a different life than most. 
i say this not from a place of thinking how i live is better, or the right way, but wanting to be open and authentic in my voice and so people understand my heart and the passions and ideals within it.

i've had my business for 8 years. 
i never went to college.
i started my photography/Etsy business out of high school and have been doing it ever since. it's evolved into other things over time and i've definitely had seasons of various part time jobs to make ends meet but i am so proud of the fact that in most seasons i can support myself solely with my art and working for myself. that has always been a priority for me and an ambition that was encouraged and instilled in me by my parents. 
what's more than that though is that i strive to live on purpose. 
with intention. 
with choice. 
and that looks a little bit odd and counterculture sometimes. something that i often thrive in, as i like a little TOO much being different than everyone else, but something that i also struggle with as it has isolated me from others at times.

apart from societal placement, there are a lot of things about my life that are at odds with what the norm is:
i live within or below my means.
i've never had debt.
i've never owned a TV.
i've had my computer since 2009.
i don't have internet where i live.
i can count on one hand how many phones i've ever had. 
i've never used dating apps.
if i can walk/bike there in 30 mins i will forgo driving.
i've always driven used cars.
i live alone.
i rent or borrow instead of buy and i don't buy "extra" or "just in case".
i don't buy or use disposables i.e. ziplock bags/plastic wrap/paper towels/napkins.
i carry canvas bags with me in order to refuse paper/plastic ones.
i live without AC and with limited heat.
98% of my clothing is thrifted/vintage/handmade/secondhand.
i repair, recycle or make do without before purchasing something new.
i don't own or use a lot of standard American appliances like an iron or a coffee maker or even a microwave a lot of the time.
i compost.
i recycle.
i try to produce as little trash/waste in all areas of my life.
i buy local or secondhand as often as i can and try to limit purchases to only things i truly need or that will add significant value to my life.
i eat as seasonally, organically, locally and farm-to-table as i can afford and don't buy processed or many packaged foods.
i use all-natural beauty and health products, many of which i make.
being in nature is a priority for me.
i don't belong to a gym, i exercise outside or with things in my home.
i belong to 3 libraries and have read over 17 books already this year.
i introduce myself to people i don't know and i meet eyes, shake hands and repeat names. 
i try to be a good listener and ask questions i would want to be asked.
i try to see people who are used to going unseen and ask peoples names who are used to being nameless.
i recognize love as a choice and try to love others in the unconditional way i have been so loved.

some of these practices have been a part of my life for years, and some more recently.
i am striving for a more simple and mindful life.
to many my interpretation of that seems radical.
to others it's not radical enough.
neither matters though as my convictions and ideals are not based on the opinions of men. 
many would look at this list and see it as a list of unnecessary deprivation. but to me it's a list of abundance that allows me to live the lifestyle i want to live and have the freedom that i have.
i also wanted to share all of this because i've often been asked how it is that i can afford to travel so much or to buy more "expensive" handmade things. and it's because i have different priorities than what most Americans are societally told is normal and standard to have. much of the time i do without so that i can live in other ways that are more important to me. and because i buy so little, when i do it's quality that will last me a lifetime (or nearer to it than the $19.99 shirt i can get at Target).

and so, again, i share all of this not from a high horse or with the conviction that how i live is better than how you live, but with a heart of wanting to challenge you to examine your life and priorities. do you want to get out of debt? then you are going to have to do without something for a while. do you want to travel more? sell something you own to afford the plane ticket.
i just want us to be awake to the fact that our lives are ours. most of us have the ability to change the things we want changed. it's often just a matter of first recognizing and then living out what we say our priorities are.

if something in what i shared resonated with you, please do not hesitate to reach out! i would love to continue to foster the discussion of what living differently looks like for you. 
i can be reached on Instagram through direct messages or via email!

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I Have Enough Time I Have Enough Space

i wrote the post below one week ago, and meant to post it then but didn't have internet again until now. 
i am home now, from the below mentioned travels, and i find myself even more in need of the mantra at the bottom of this post than i was this time a week ago.

two weeks of concentrated travels and time spent with people and new experiences was a lot for me. i loved and reveled in every second of it, but now, settling back home i'm experiencing one hell of a come-down and withdrawal in a weirdly backwards and unexpected way. 
as someone who is used to and thrives in being alone more often than not, i've been disoriented by my lack of desire for it after this trip. however there's so much i have to process and understand from both New Orleans and Atlanta that i'm only able to do by myself. a lot of wonderful things happened while i was away, especially in the way of eye opening conversations with people. there were a LOT of those. perhaps my feeling of overwhelm with that aspect especially is due in part to me being such a words person, but i also think there was some heightened level of importance in many of the things discussed with both new and old friends these last few weeks. a sense of some sort of pivotal turning point that i just don't fully grasp or see yet.

i've felt very scattered and stressed and confused by my lack of being able to sort through all of that truth be told. especially amidst needing to get work done after being gone for so long. 
not sure what the balance looks like, or what the solution is either, but trusting that there is enough time and space for me to figure it out. 

this is somewhat counter to the things i normally share on here, but for some reason i felt the need to share it nonetheless.
perhaps this too is part of the processing.

March 19th, 2018

oh friends this week has been something else. 
i've been on the road for a week now and i'm so in love with the natural beauty and raw humanity i've encountered in my travels so far. 

this season of life has been such a unique one for me. unlike anything i've ever experienced before.
i've been living in a somewhat transcendental and almost even nomadic state these days in the sense that my regular routines, and being in a familiar place consistently, hasn't been all that much a part of my day to day over the last six months or so. in fact, consistency has been a foreign concept in a lot of ways for quite some time now.
however, because some level of consistency is a thing that is needed for my well being, i've had to find it in new and unexpected ways and in places i would't have noticed it before. which seems to be the theme of this season of my life: finding things in unexpected places.

so much of that is due to perspective, a topic on which i will have to go more in depth with at a later time, but in regards to an every-day way of being it's changed so much of my attitude and mentality in regards to my circumstances. 
what you focus on becomes your reality, to a certain extent.
if i focus on the negativity and sadness of a place, whether it's emotional or physical, it's hard to really be able to look outside of that and recognize the good things amidst the bad.
to see the beauty that is potentially even more prominent than the ugliness, but that is just more subtle in it's way of speaking.
often you just have to quiet yourself enough to hear it, to see it, to feel it. 

goodness, hadn't really intended to write all of that, i started this post with the intention of communicating a different thought but i suppose they're connected... 

anyway, with all of that, this season of being on the road, on the go, and just on, has been an adjustment. i am more inclined to being a creature of solitude and calm spaces and slowness. that's where i most consistently try to place myself and what much of the past few years of my life have consisted of.
not to say that i don't thrive in environments of vibrancy and people and newness--i very much can, but the more consistent narrative of choice for me is the opposite. 

however much of that has been turned upside down lately. i haven't been in the same place for more than a week since this past fall, and that was hard for me at first. it still is if i'm being honest. i was so used to being in my quiet, plant filled and artistically curated space. now Blue Moon and i have been driving all over the countryside and my home more often than not is a space other than my own.
i've had to learn how to make 'home' more of a state of mind rather than a physical place as well as finding the comfort of home in people and their spaces they share with me. 

which is another idea i want to explore in writing later as well: what it is to make a home more so within myself than in a physical place. (what are your thoughts on that?)

but, all of that aside, i'm sitting here in a coffee shop in Atlanta and having such a wonderful conversation with the barista Kyala (something i thought perhaps i was at my capacity for after all of the intense and wonderful and deep conversations i've already had over this past week), and she said this thing that i really needed to hear. a mantra of sorts.

"i have enough time, i have enough space."

and sitting here, feeling all of the things, and reveling in this heightened state of awareness and experiencing more than i am used to in my day-to-day, and feeling on the verge of slipping behind with processing and understanding it all, i am going to hold onto that. 

Artists In Film | Anna of Experimental Vintage in Portland Oregon

for quite some time now i've been holding this idea of doing film photo essays on various artists i love and admire and sharing them here on the journal. 

film is a format of photography that i increasingly fall in love with as the years go by.
indeed, i often prefer it over its digital counterpart. while i shoot digitally for work most of the time, there is a mystical, etherial and nostalgic way about film that just can't ever quite be replicated with digital images. 
for these reasons, as well as the often imperfect and one-time-shot aspects of the medium, i have come to treasure my film photos in a way i'm not sure i'll ever feel about any other kind of photo.

yesterday i re-shared this post of photos from Anna's home in Portland Oregon, but it wasn't until recently that i developed the remaining rolls from this trip. so in addition to her lovely home, here you can see some vignettes from her studio space as well. 

what struck me most about first meeting Anna, and spending time in both her studio and home, was the seamlessness of her spaces. both conveyed her lifestyle, values, goals and taste in an interchangable and genuine way. she has since become a dear friend and has remained a huge inspiration to me in this way. for my various art forms and work are indeed my life as well, and as such i want my life to speak of that, in whatever outlet or avenue people encounter it.
not in an artificial "branding" or for "asthetics" purposes kind of way, but rather as an intentional and authentic thread that speaks to how much we artists truly do live, breathe, and believe in the art we put into the world.  
which is namely the inspiration for this series. 
showing artists in the spaces in which they not only make their art, but live it. 

i hope to feature more artists soon, from past studio visits as well as future ones from my many planned travels this year!
but to start of the introduction of this series, please enjoy the beautiful Anna of Experimental Vintage.

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Portland Oregon | Anna's House In Film

this is, admittedly somewhat of a small re-post as i did share some of these photos in A Small Collection of Photos That Make Me Happy around this time last year. however, i recently developed some more film, and among the images were a few more of Anna's beautiful home that i really wanted to share (besides, it's been a year, so most of you probably haven't even seen these). so i am compiling and re-sharing them all again here, along with the somewhat repeated adage of how happy it makes me to scroll through these photos. 

film is truly, increasingly, becoming my favorite format in the way of image capturing.
although i do use my iPhone to take photos on a daily basis, as well as my big digital DSLR camera for the majority of my work related shoots, and cannot deny the ease and convenience and indeed my own kind of love for both of these formats of taking photos, film will always stand alone as a special, nostalgic and one-of-a-kind way of documentation for me. 

hoping to share more film photos in the coming months as i start to sort through and develop various rolls that i've let sit for far too long.
i will in fact be sharing some super dreamy film photos of Anna's studio space for her business Experimental Vintage tomorrow, so check back for those!

oh, and those beautiful flowers on the table? see more photos of where those came from in my post An Oregon Urban Flower Farm In Film. Yep. Melody has a mini flower farm in her yard and it's amazing.

if you'd like to see more of my film posts you can check out the tag here.

and now, please enjoy Anna's beautiful home and be sure to follow her instagram.

leaving here a small collection of imperfect photos, taken with expired film, that make me happy.
perhaps exactly because of their imperfection. 
and perhaps also because of:
walls with faces.
a counter with late-night-suburban-foraged apples.
a dog that follows the yellow brick road and her ornery friend, a crossed eyed cat.
glasses of red wine.
brown booted friends treading on perfectly worn rugs.
music and candles and lights-left-on for those going away and coming back. 
saturated mornings.
and a kindred spirit found in an ethereal soul who i often wish didn't live on the exact opposite coast from my coast.  
shot with kodak gold 200 and Kodak gold 400 35mm film in Portland Oregon

For One Who Is Exhausted, a Blessing

the following words are by John O' Donohue from this article which quotes a piece from his book: To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.
i came across them at the beginning of the year while listening to Krista Tippett's podcast On Being and they've stuck with me ever since. 

there is both a soothing and invigorating quality about these words. i have yet to read any of O' Donohue's books, but i can assure you that several are now on my book list.
i wanted to share this here in case it could speak similarly to any of you. i can recount so many seasons in which i felt exactly like this. indeed, have just been released from such a season. so i hope, if any of you are burdened and weary in such a way, these words bring you some encouragement and motivation to keep moving forward.

if you find them meaningful and choose to share them as well, please be sure to credit the author. as an artist myself, i believe that is is so very important to credit and source the art of those we admire properly.
especially in this easily shareable/tweetable/copy-and-paste society we reside in.

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

Slow Living | Travel Essentials

i have been on the go a lot over the past few months, and though i've been a traveler for years, i feel like i am just now getting to a point where i have the whole packing just-what-i-need thing down! 
so today i wanted to share a little bit about how i implement my slow living mindset into what i pack when i'm traveling. starting with some of my toiletries, because i noticed that's where i have the most opportunity for setting the tone of my trip and implementing a healthy and intentional mindset.

• for starters, i am a minimalist when it comes to products.
i don't wear a lot of makeup, or use a lot of things on my face, because over the years, i've realized that my skin is much happier with less on it and less done to it. not to say i won't get glammed up every so often because, hello, being a girl is fun, but for the most part i stick with a few basic essentials. especially when traveling, and my face and body are already battling with the grit and grime and lack of rest that traveling can entail. 

• second of all, i try very hard to use natural and organic things on, and in, my body as much as possible. i actually made most of what you see here (which i might share recipes for if there's enough interest!) but if i didn't it was made by someone else with natural ingredients (see full list of items below). it's hard to be 100% about this all of the time of course, as with anything, and i give myself grace because honestly *what you do every day matters more than what you do every so often*. so i try to remember that and when i use l'oréal shampoo at an air bnb, i don't give myself a hard time about it (mostly because i pretty much never pack shampoo because i'm lazy/would rather have the space in my bag for extra books that i always over estimate i'll have the time to read). 

• third of all, i love bringing only what i need when i travel and eliminating excess. this does not come naturally for me, i have to work at it. i am a life long chronic over packer but being on the go so much in recent years has taught me the importance of traveling light so i am working on being better at it! it's definitely become easier with practice. 

• and finally, i love reusing things and being able to eliminate waste. you will notice that most of my products are stored in what are, yes indeed, a small glass ketchup jar, jam jars and repurposed essential oils bottles! i used to use tiny travel sized toiletries bought specifically for traveling but i always felt a little off and i realized it was because i didn't have the things that i was used to and part of my daily routine. so now i bring them, but only just what i need instead of the whole container. 

pictured here:

-a vintage leather shaving case that i keep my makeup in (makeup brushes wrapped in a clean bandana each trip)

-lotion i get from the bulk section at Ellwood Thompson's (though i want to start making my own! anyone have a favorite lotion recipe they want to share?)

-travel clothing spray i made for wrinkled clothes

-jojoba oil for a face moisturizer

-refreshing lavender hair spray i made

-witch hazel i use as a toner or makeup remover (i like this brand)

-coconut oil (which has many uses...)

-dry shampoo i made

-mouthwash i made

-an Olo fragrance made primarily from all natural ingredients. this one is Lightening Paw (which i love mostly because the description of it includes "free spirited" and as The Traveling Photographer you know i'm all about that)

-ZuZu Luxe all natural mascara (RVA people you can get it at Ellwood Thompson's). i tried to make my own mascara once. it did not go well. you have to pick your DIY battles. i love this one though and it's honestly my favorite mascara i've ever used and stays on even when crying watching This Is Us.

-vitamin E oil because it's good for your face/highlighting those cheekbones. i have even been using it on my eyelids lately in lieu of eye shadow (i like this brand)

-a wooden comb. wooden combs have all kinds of benefits for the hair as i wrote here. this one was made by my Father aka Tumblehome

-lavender essential oil. i'll usually travel with at least one essential oil because you can use it for basically everything and just smelling it calms me.

-face wash i made

-a bandana. usually what i use to wrap my toothbrush but also has many other uses! i am a bandana junkie. i'm never without one.

-Schmidt's deodorant. i'd been battling the whole natural deodorant thing for a while. it's so hard to find one that works and DIYing this was also a fail for me, but i love this one! thanks to my friend Maddie, @lostandfoundhome, who recommended it.

-a Radius toothbrush that is made from recycled materials and the handle is reusable so you just have to replace the heads! i love the bamboo ones that are out there more, but this one is a little more cost effective and potentially has less packaging waste involved since i can't find the bamboo ones anywhere near me and i prefer finding things in local stores vs. ordering online. mine is made from paper but they also have ones from recycled wood and money.

there you have it!
just a few of my favorite essentials.

how do you implement a slow living mindset when you travel?
do you have any all natural beauty recipes you'd like to share?
i would love to hear your thoughts! comment below, send me an email, or message me on instagram!
these kinds of conversations are my favorite.

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Iceland | Halldóra + Hobie

meet Halldóra and Hobie. the sweetest and kindest spirits in the most beautiful landscape.
they gave me such a wonderful experience and introduction to Iceland, i loved seeing the country through their eyes and their stories.
and speaking of stories, i'll leave you with this:
a California boy falling in love with an Icelandic girl from across oceans? talk about a love story. 
you can actually learn more about their story on their website because Hobie and Halldora are also photographers!
their work in Iceland is just as you would imagine it to be in such a striking country.

but for now, enjoy a few of my favorite images from a wintery afternoon with them.

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