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The Most Inspiring Stories in Utah

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

McKenzie Alvidrez

About 3 years ago I got a phone call from my aunt Sarah who lives in California. She had started her own balloon business & she was calling to tell me I needed to try my hand at balloon styling. She said something to the extent of “I think you should try this. I think you would like it, I think you’d be really good at it, & I think you should do it before it ‘hits’ Utah because we both know once it does it will blow up there”. At the time balloon businesses were already popping up all over other states like California, Texas, & some southern states. I knew my aunt was right- if I didn’t start now I wouldn’t be established in Utah by the time it got popular here. At the time I was a stay at home mom of two small kids, supporting my husband in his career- which required a lot, & we were living in an apartment that didn’t offer much space or natural light. Read more>>

Maddie & Marshall Job

It all started when Marshall got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. This was the moment we had talked about for years. We had dreamt together of what it would feel like to get engaged. I did the “basic” girlfriend thing where I would ask Marshall of all the different possible proposal scenarios he had thought of. I just could not wait to see what he would come up with. When it actually came down to our proposal day, he did better than I could have ever dreamed, literally. The idea for Pro Proposal Co. simply came as we reminisced on our engagement day. I could not get over how perfect Marshall nailed my proposal dreams. It was like my Pinterest board was copied and pasted into real life. We had never experienced a happiness like we did on that day. Read more>>

Jaclyn Bott

My story is a little different, probably than anyone else’s, because I didn’t set out to be a professional photographer. I actually went to school for microbiology and chemistry and was planning on getting my PhD in medical microbiology. So where did photography come in? Here’s the story: I was working as a microbiologist in a research lab when I had my first child, and life took a completely different direction than I was planning on. Once my little girl was born, I couldn’t continue working as much as I had been, so I took a step back from the lab. But, being someone who loves to learn and try new things, I found myself wanting to work on something, so I decided to pursue photography as a hobby. Read more>>

Becca Henrie

When my son was a baby, he was diagnosed with a rare food allergy called FPIES (Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome). He was later also diagnosed with MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome), which is a rare mast cell disorder where your body doesn’t regulate your mast cells and histamines properly so you can have chronic allergic reactions. Because of these health issues, he only had 6 safe foods until he was 2 years old and had to live off of a medical formula. It was heartbreaking for me as his mom to see him suffering and having to go to the hospital off and on. During that time, I picked up a camera to document his journey with food. I wanted to document every safe food he passed and how his special formula quite literally kept him alive during that time. Read more>>

Gabella

When I was about 10 years old my family and I went to the beautiful city of New York to visit my aunt. It wasn’t my first time but, the first time i could remember going. At the time my mom had brought with her a cute point and shoot kodak camera. She told me to hold it for her. I was kinda amazed at it, I asked her how it worked and she showed me. As we got picked up from the airport and were driving to our aunts out I unknowingly took a photo. When i looked back at it, my life really did shift. I was excited, I began to see everything around me in a different perspective. I fell in love with photography and New York too, of course. Read more>>

Gary Carter

Grew up the son of a police officer, and worked as a police officer myself . For several years I thought photography was interesting, but I dismissed the idea because I wasn’t sure what the point of me taking pictures was as nobody would ever see them. At the time it seemed like a silly idea to get into something that I couldn’t share. In 2016 I was diagnosed with stage three cancer. As I was getting ready to start the surgery, and radiation that was to follow I went on a trip to Yellowstone with my them wife. I had purchased a cheap DSLR camera for her for Christmas. Read more>>

Amberly Lambertsen

My husband and I have both lived in Davis County for most of our lives, including our entire marriage. A few years into marriage found ourselves in a bit of a date night rut and as I would scroll social media, I saw other couples eating out and doing activities that looked like a lot of fun, but always in other areas of the state. Rather than living with the FOMO for whatever every other county seemed to have to offer, I decided to research and find all of the fun things to do and delicious places to eat right where we live. I started Davis County Date Nights as a way to share those finds and help other couples keep their date nights fresh and fun, without feeling like they had to go far from home, while we were doing the same. Read more>>

Elizabeth Fullmer

Growing up I always loved photography. One Christmas I begged Santa Clause for a camera and ever since then, I have enjoyed studying photography and taking pictures. I started doing professional photography after the passing of my 6 year old daughter (2 years ago). She fought valiantly through brain cancer for 16 months. Pictures of Claire are the one item I cherish most of all. One thing I love about Photographs, is that it captures forever. Film remembers every little things, long after you have forgotten everything. Read more>>

MaKynsie Sweat

I’ve always dreamed of owning a business of some sort. Many people told me that, “at my age” it was a little far fetched, and to keep dreaming. My journey to business owner began at age 15 when I started modeling, and the rest kinda fell into place. I have always had a deep love and desire for all things fashion. When I was 4 years old, my mom took me to get new cowgirl boots. The store had the cutest brown boots with pink tops. I had my heart set on them! They were soft leather with stitching detail, and a pale pink. I had to have them! We left the store and my mom wanted to shop around a little more. Well, the next day I went to preschool and I told my preschool teacher about these boots, “We saw these pink boots Miss Beth, they were freaking adorable, I want them!”. What four year old cares about boots that much? Needless to say, we ended up getting the boots. Read more>>

Steeven Alvarez

I am a first generation American. My parents came from Guatemala to provide a better life for my siblings and I. My parents struggled and did their absolute best to give us the best life that they could. Like most of us know, there is no guide book to parenting, you kinda just learn as you go. That was my parents journey. They took all that they learned from moving into this new country and instilled it in us. We were taught that we had to go to school and get a good job and start a family and buy a home and that was “The American Dream”. As I grew up I always had a desire to want more. I was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and moved to Layton, Utah when I was 12 years old. It was definitely a culture shock. Read more>>

Melissa Tritinger

Imagine the scene–wide open spaces, grasses blowing softly in the wind, and a sky that is framed by beautiful mountains. The morning sun is beginning to rise, waking up a herd of wild mustangs gathered together to rest in their family bands. These horses have never been touched, never been inside a barn, and have only known the wild. They move in unison, grazing lazily for miles while mares nuzzle their babies, young stallions practice sparring, while older band stallions watch over their family to keep a vigilant eye out for any threat that may come. The threat could be a predator, a confident stallion looking to challenge another for his mares, and sometimes even humans. Read more>>

Janet Nicole Meyer

I am the mother of five children, all now grown and on their own. I am also the eldest child of six in my birth family. These familial roles have always felt very comfortable and natural to me gifting me the opportunity to nurture, teach and enjoy spending time with children. While I was in jr. high school, our family experienced a trauma that deeply affected myself and my younger siblings. After high school, I attended university and was greatly drawn to pursue a course of study to help and nurture children. I researched child psychology, social work and teaching. Heeding my instincts, I chose a path to graduate with degrees in elementary education and special education from Brigham Young University. Read more>>

Arlene Carroll

About 8 years ago, my daughter, Christina, gifted me a paint night with her for my birthday. I was a single mom and we developed a very close relationship as she grew up and she is now raising her own children. While I had considered myself pretty good at crafts, I had never tried painting and, like most people, thought I would be terrible at it. I searched through the options, found the easiest one possible and was surprised at how much I loved it! I was hooked and attended as many paint nights as I could fit into my schedule. When the opportunity arose to purchase a paint night business, I jumped on the chance and my daughter and I purchased the business in 2021. I had been retired for 9 years at that point, but the opportunity to invest in something so fun for me to do with my daughter was something I just could not pass up. Read more>>

Megan Yaeger

How I started my blog / social media “ The Life of Me Smile Magee “I’ve always struggled with my health. But at the age of 14 good old puberty Walked in hand in hand with a complete health spiral. With each year my health getting worse . I spent years trying to hide my illness ( no one wants to be the weird sick kid ) but I desperately wanted to reach out and find people in my situation. So around the age of 17, my childhood best friend convinced me to start a Facebook page where I could share my story with chronic illness. Read more>>

apichat paiboonpanupong

We just have moved from THAILAND only 8 month. New environment and new culture, anyway our family really enjoy Utah!!. My English is just fair ( some grammar or words maybe are not correct, sorry about that) Aroon is Thai word mean “Sunrise” And is also my Grandpa’s name, he always asked everyone who visited our house “Are you hungry?” Good food will be prepared for everyone to visiting, that’s the reason we’re running the restaurant business. We’re following grandpa’s footsteps of concern about everyone through good food. Read more>>

Kolbie Bartholomew

For over 20 years, I maintained a stable job climbing the corporate ladder to support my family and personal growth. Working hard paycheck to faithful paycheck, I was supporting my present but not creating the future I wanted. So in January, I finally resigned from the safety of my position to pursue my artistic career full time. I grew up at the foot of Mount Timpanogos, seventh of eight siblings in my big Orem family with dreams as small as my town was. Through every joy and sorrow, I watch the way it changes and yet always stays the same. Like we all do as we grow through the seasons of life. I’ve taken pictures since it was a tiny pinhole in an oatmeal canister, the smell of chemicals under a red light. Read more>>

Erik Butters

I am a veteran of the United States Air Force and have an have an extensive background in finance. In January of 2018 I decided it was time to make a career change. Finance was just an endless churning of numbers with no true tangible results. When goals were met, it was off to the next month, quarter and so on. I was seeking a job that had a clear beginning and end and that would make a difference in people lives. My military background taught me to be clean and organized. It was a good fit with me personally. I immediately decided on creating a cleaning company, but not just any cleaning company. I wanted to create a unique company that offered cleaning services however the true mission is about people. Read more>>

Maheswari Umapathy

I am Maheswari, owner of Kavyas Boutique which specializes in Indian ethnic wear. “Your roots one step closer” – that’s our mission. Back in 2019, I was shopping for a saree in the US for a special occasion. There wasn’t a lot of variety, and the ones I found were not of good quality. Ultimately, I did end up purchasing a saree, but it wasn’t a very satisfying experience. The Millennials who grew up seeing their mothers and grandmothers in sarees day in and day out and who have some knowledge about sarees weren’t getting the quality they deserve. I was afraid that Generation Alpha who only occasionally use Indian ethnic wear would completely forget their cultural roots if good quality Indian ethnic wear isn’t easily available to them. Read more>>

Amy Hackamack

I started my blog when I was going to school pursuing a degree in exercise science at BYU back in 2013. I enjoyed writing and felt that blogging was a great way to share my knowledge and hopefully help people along the way. I graduated and got a job as a content writer for a local fitness company and learned a ton about online marketing and social media. I loved learning about digital marketing and how I could improve as a writer and content creator. During this time I also got certified as a nutritionist and began investing more and more into my own blog and personal brand. Read more>>

Christina Ausley

I’ve been a food, travel, and lifestyle writer for around six years now. I’ve written professionally for magazines and newspapers in cities like London, Seattle, and Portland. Now, I’m exploring Utah for the years to come! I live in Salt Lake City and plan to stay here for quite some time—I absolutely love this state! As I mentioned, I worked for food/travel publications for years. I now work in software full-time, but still wanted to keep my passion covering the hospitality industry around. When I moved to Utah, I was incredibly inspired by the growing food and hospitality scene and really wanted to both encourage myself to explore this scene, and also encourage others to explore our state. Thus, Salt Lake City Secrets was born so I could begin a journey through the food and travel scene within Utah, and invite others with the same passions along for the ride! Read more>>

Kim McAffee

My story begins with what I believed at the time to be a rare and unusual scenario, looking around today divorce is common. My parents divorced when I was a young girl. I remember sitting there hearing the news watching it all play out in front of me. Tears, questions, confusion and pain is all I saw. As a result, this is where my journey begins, navigating life at the age of 14. Moving from the only home and neighborhood I knew in Rose Park, my mother moved me to Ogden, Utah after a custody battle. Attending schools I hardly recall, loss of appetite and so many emotions, I was doomed to understand all the madness. Eventually my father took full custody of my three siblings and me. Read more>>

Niki Pearson

I was working as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and headed into my 16th year when Covid hit. This changed the industry and the world but also created opportunities where there may have not been none before. We were offered early retirement and with no plan and a leap of faith I took it. I was 37 and one chapter was ending I had no idea where I was headed but I promised to give myself til the beginning of the following year to find out. In December of 2020 My mother called me asking had I ever heard about the children party buses in Atlanta and thought I should get into it and how it would be a good fit for me. She had a friend who mentored women on how to start their very own mobile party bus for girls and wanted us to talk. Read more>>

Brianna Thaxton

Hello! I’m Brianna Thaxton. I’m a pyrographer. I burn wood and get to smell the wonderful smell that comes with it (just don’t bake brownies at the same time, the combined smells are awful)! The study of art has been a lifelong pursuit. I was well acquainted with graphite as a child and practiced on a daily basis. Horses, unicorns, birds and fan art portraits make up most of my early portfolio. I quickly understood the rules of proportions and shading. Color was never an interest to me until Jr High and High School, but once I introduced it into my work I couldn’t leave it out again. Both my parents had the creative bug and encouraged me to experiment and to never stop drawing. Music became important to me in grade school when my dad gave me a drum kit for my birthday. Read more>>

Char Watson

In my career, I’ve always been in the healthcare space because I’ve been intentional about whom I wanted to work alongside (the providers and team) and ultimately serve (the patients.) About 12 years ago I moved from a pediatric medical office to private dental practice; The transition was initially temporary as I couldn’t find an open position in any medical practice when we moved from Ogden to Logan. I quickly enjoyed the operations of a dental practice and advanced my position fairly quickly. In 2012 we moved to Brigham City for another job offer my husband had accepted and I luckily found a dental practice down the road that was hiring! I was hired as the Account Manager but quickly moved to the Office Manager within 6 months because of the effectiveness I had with the practice’s needs. Read more>>

Emeline Humphries

Dad always took at least two family portraits every year. They didn’t even have to be professional or special, they just had to happen. They were a natural part of growing up, and photography became a natural interest that waxed steadily over time. “I want to see more of YOU!” my mom would say when I would email pictures while on trips. Reluctantly, I started getting in front of the camera. Before I realized (sometime in college?) that I’m actually pretty okay at photography, I became very much interested in self portraits. It’s awkward asking people, often strangers, to take their picture because you like their face, so why not use yourself as a subject first? My mom was onto something. Read more>>

Kelly Colvin

My first baby was born by cesarean and was very sick and had to be life-flighted to Primary Children’s where he spent time in the NICU. It was a rough beginning for him and me. I was totally unprepared for birth, breastfeeding, and caring for a baby. Three years later I gave birth to another son. This time it was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). During my labor, I had numerous unnecessary interventions that lead to an emergent delivery of my son that included him needing to be resuscitated. I remember feeling like I had to really fight for that VBAC, but when my son was born instead of feeling elated, I felt traumatized and broken. I decided that I was done having children, however whenever I voiced this, there was a little part of me that knew it wasn’t true— Read more>>

Necia Emery

About me: Born in Utah and raised in good ol’ Park City. I’ve always had a deep love for wildlife, the mountains, and my girls – Luni & Roo! When/How Luni & Roo was born: This small business started five years ago as a little hobby up at our cabin in Mt Aire, Utah… My girls are my everything. Just ask my husband how psycho I get. They’re spoiled beyond belief and get away with anything. They’d get new toys, beds, treats, and collars weekly. I remember coming home many times and Roosters collar somehow magically came off and she’d completely shred them for a good pastime (those & all my favorite rugs). How could I blame that face? I didn’t. One day I came home to a shredded little gem (collar) and decide it couldn’t be that hard to fix. Read more>>

Patricia Brinkerhoff

I am a mom of three outstanding kids ages 18, 21, and 23. I am happily married and my story begins like this. It all started when I was 21 years old. My neighbor gave me a camera for my birthday and I started taking pictures and have never stopped! I have lived in Cedar City for almost 25 years. I am originally from Chile in South America. In Chile I had many opportunities to take pictures of beautiful landscapes. I have taken pictures in many different fields. About five years ago I was working for a real estate agency doing office work. One of realtors knew that I was a family photographer and asked me to take his family photo. After seeing my work, he insisted that I try real estate photography. Read more>>

Blaire Ostler

One does not simply waking up in the morning and decide to write a book entitle Queer Mormon Theology. It has been a journey, and one that started before I even knew it began. As a ninth generation Mormon, I joke that if there is such a thing as Mormon DNA I have it. As a queer person, I joke that if there is such a things queer DNA I have that too. These two identities were and are inseparable parts of myself that have taken years to reconcile. Ove the majority of my life I was told that I could be Mormon or I could be queer. One or the other, but certainly not both. It was a story, among others, that nearly took my life. in my youth I thought I was alone in my experiences and struggles, but the more I grew, researched, studied, and spoke out, the more I realized there were not just hundreds, but thousands of people like me. Read more>>

Aleah Jones

I have always loved photography, even from a young age! When I was 12, my aunt married a professional photographer and I was hooked. I followed her around everywhere and she taught me little bits and pieces of how to take pictures and how to use her camera. Eventually she helped me pick out a camera of my own to buy and that’s when Aleah Jones Photography was born! My freshman year of high school I started doing sessions for other people, but my business didn’t really take off until I started using presets and put more effort into it. During the pandemic, I was able to make my business into everything I wanted it to be! Read more>>

Tyler Hales

hen I started dental school at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California, we immediately got out our dental tools and began working on the basic skills of dentistry. The academic aspect of dental school was fine, but the real excitement came every time I held those tools in my hands. I loved getting to work with my hands. I felt like an artist as I etched and carved into teeth. I was engrossed with esthetic principles and used every opportunity to apply the concepts in my limited practice as a student. I just couldn’t wait to graduate from dental school where I could fully immerse myself in cosmetic dentistry and start changing people’s lives through creating confident smiles. Right out of dental school I worked as an associate in a fast-paced, high volume medicaid office in Colorado. Read more>>

Dylan Cobern

I really can’t quite remember the first time I got on a bike. I’ve been surrounded by bikes and have been riding for as long as I can physically remember. I’m sure I started off riding just a random “kid’s” bike my parents had got me to learn how to ride on. Growing up in Hawaii, we had a local motocross track that would be open on the weekends, also when I was off of school and so I’d always hear and see these guys just riding down the road to the track. The sounds, smells, and flashiness of the bikes completely enticed me as a kid and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was punk rock. Read more>>

Vanessa Holt

When I was eight years old, I was told that we all have a different perspective of the world, that statement has always stuck with me especially since I’ve never been the greatest at being able to explain what’s on my mind. That’s where photography had come into play, I’ve always been fascinated with this form of art, the idea of one click of a button can capture a moment and hold it forever is what stood out most. Music has also always had a major impact on my life. When I get asked where my happy place is, my response has continuously been concerting venues, never a specific one just any of all types. I love going to shows because being able to hear the songs live, seeing the artist perform their songs for fans and singing along, and being in a room full of people who have the same love for an artist like you to really bond together is so beautiful in its own way. Read more>>

Carlee Robinson

Our team consists of two people, partners in business and life. Britt Shepherd & Carlee Robinson. We met in 2020, with two children each, which makes us a blended family of 6! Both working full-time jobs, Carlee working a part-time job as well; while Britt worked 60 + hours a week. Obviously, that was a lot of work for both of us and not much time at home. I, (Carlee) quit my full-time job and began searching for the best opportunity for our family to be able to spend more time at home while being able to include them in our business adventure. They are the best helpers and get so much joy. The other major key was our community. After the pandemic and everyone having to keep their distance, we wanted to make sure that we were going to be involved in getting people together. We want to be a part of our community. We want to be exciting, we want to get out and live life to the fullest and we want our community to do the same. Read more>>

2 Comments

  1. Hatin

    March 31, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations for post! Nice article 🙂

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