We were sitting around the table and the New Year was upon us.  It’s always amazing how fast that happens.  I asked everyone what their word for 2017 would be.  If they could sum up their year in one word, a word that described how they wanted to feel and be and what they wanted to accomplish…what would that be?  As everyone went around and said theirs I knew eventually it was going to be my turn.  I didn’t think that through before asking the question because I really struggled to come up with an answer.  On one hand I want it to be so many things, way more than fit inside one little word.  And on the other hand I have no idea what I want.  Sometimes when I think about the future it’s very muddled so how do I pigeon hole that into one word?  But I thought on it.  I let my insides struggle with itself and finally landed on one word that I want not just for 2017, but for my life.

 

Peace.

 

And I don’t mean in a dramatic way like world peace or anything like that (although that would be pretty damn nice right about now)…but peace inside myself.  2016 was a challenging year.  It was full of so many amazing things but there was a lot of struggle.  Both internally and externally.  I was forced to face a lot of things about myself that I would have been much happier just leaving untouched.  I started going to therapy (judge away but there isn’t a human being on this planet that can’t benefit from a little shrink time).  I had some bad days and some really great ones.  But what last year taught me the most was what was possible.  What I’m capable of.  I scratched the surface of what real, honest peace feels like and I want so much more of it.  To let go of the worry and angst and that tight feeling in my chest that makes me feel like someone in cutting off my air supply.  I always just told myself that it was part of the whole ‘owning your own business‘ thing.  But it doesn’t have to be.  And while I’m not even close to an expert I’m pretty sure life can be pretty amazing, no matter what, if you make room for it.

 

As I sat down to write this post (which for some reason I dread every year), I started to get that feeling.  Like 2016 was just this big blur and 2017 feels very out of focus so how in the hell do I set intentions for it?  But then I remembered that word.  Peace.  What will bring me peace in 2017?  So here it goes…

 

  • Continue to work on myself.  It may sound selfish but 2017 is going to be about me. Front and center and unapologetic about it.  (With the exception of my nieces.  They will always be #1).
  • Be the best wife I can be.  I feel like I’m learning a lot about what that means and it’s quite a bit different than what me 5 years ago thought it meant.  Marriage is a life long learning process and it isn’t pure bliss every single day.  But the days that aren’t make the days that are so worth it.
  • Push my boundaries as a photographer.  I’ve been doing this a long time now and I don’t want to get complacent.  I want every wedding and shoot to be a new chance to be better.
  • Shoot for me.  It’s hard to want to do something personal when you’re so busy “working”…but I don’t want to lose that spark that makes me love doing this in the first place.
  • Feel financially stable.  This might be a pipe dream because I don’t think any entrepreneur ever feels stable.  But I want to at least try.
  • Tavel.  Since we bought a house last year travel was put on the back burner and I miss it.  A lot.
  • Be authentic.  Because there is way too much fake out there.
  • Shoot all my 2017 weddings like a boss. (insert bicep emoji)
  • Continue to grow my life in Indy.  Moving here was the best decision we’ve ever made but it’s been hard.  Starting over in an old yet new city.  Making new friends.  We’ve come a long way in a year but I want that to continue.
  • Get out of my comfort zone.  I’m a scaredy cat.  Confrontation.  Asking for what I want.  Basically doing anything that doesn’t make me completely comfortable, I hate it.  But I’m a big girl now and I have to get over it.
  • Secure funding for Healing Heels.  This is so foreign to me and is going to be hard but it’s going to happen.
  • Continue to grow Healing Heels.  This is my baby and while it’s a slow process, it’s one I am so incredibly passionate about.
  • Go to at least one conference/class/etc.
  • Start on my quest of learning how to build things.  Just wait…you guys are going to be so impressed.
  • Our house.  It’s so easy to fall into the trap of everything that needs to be done but in reality it’s pretty perfect just the way it is.  I need to remember that more often.  But for real we need a fence, stat.  Goose is hell bent on escaping.
  • Be grateful.  Even on the worst days I have so much more than I could ever need.
  • Be the best aunt I can be.  I love those little girls with everything I have and now that they are 5 minutes away I don’t ever want to take my time with them for granted.
  • Stay healthy.  2017 is when I hit my 5  year cancer-versary (which is huge and much anticipated).  I’ll be throwing a party.  I also want to get and stay physically healthy (I’ve been getting injured a lot – getting old sucks).
  • Dream big.  A little part of me sometimes forgets to do that.  I go into survival mode instead of thriving mode.
  • Live life in abundance.  This kind of ties with above.  I tend to think about everything in scarcity.  Like I need to book more weddings.  Or I need to make more money.  Or I don’t have enough of this or that.  But if I look at life and business with abundance, it really does change the game.  (This doesn’t mean I want more, it means that I need to focus on having enough).
  • Let go.  Of anything that does not bring me peace.

 

 

So there you have it.  2017 in a nutshell.  While these are my hopes for the year, part of me loves that fact that it’s unknown.  That in a year I’ll look back on this and laugh because I didn’t even have a clue of what the year was really going to bring.  But I’m open to the ride and am excited for the clarity and (hopefully) peace and drive a new year brings.  Here’s to owning 2017 and making it whatever you want it to be!

 

Sometimes when I am culling a wedding I stumble across a picture of myself and literally start laughing out loud.  Most of the time I have no idea why in the world I would make such a weird face.  Or why I feel the need to literally push my stomach out as far as it goes when I take pictures.  It’s really a problem.  But the thing I notice most is my smile.  I am always smiling.  Behind the camera.  In front of it.  Shooting weddings is tough…but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and I love looking back at the year behind the scenes because it’s even more proof that I’m right where I need to be.  So enjoy some laughs at my expense…don’t worry, I’m laughing too.

 

This was hands down the hottest wedding of the  year.  But the couple that sweats together…stays together.  Thank god I wore black!

Do not fall down the stairs.  Do not fall in fountain.  Thoughts of the day.

All the feels.

When your couple decides to stop at a college party and do keg stands…so amazing.

I swear my hair typically looks great when I leave the house.  It doesn’t last long…

Where’s Lauren?

Hey Lauren…stop being so emotionally attached to your couples that you listen to what they’re saying instead of taking pictures.  It was only a second…I promise.  😉

My attempt to take control.  I’d say it works 50% of the time.  🙂

I’m sure this conversation was really deep and important.

Couple love.

Thumbs up to an amazing year!

 

I can’t tell you how nice it was to already be home for the holidays.  No traveling.  No getting our Christmas shopping done days early because we had to hit the road.  No packing.  We even had some downtime on Christmas Eve!  Like time to do nothing.  It was a strange, bizarre amount of amazingness.  I loved everything about Christmas this year.  From our Italian themed Christmas Eve dinner to seeing the excitement of Christmas through Katharine and Emmy’s eyes.  To a slow, laid back Christmas morning (yes, we slept at my parent’s house.  Yes, I’m 31).  All in all it was a great one and I feel even luckier than ever as we head into 2017.

 

Katharine was a sheep in the nativity play and let me tell you…she was the star.  She made her own choreography to Away in a Manger and stole the show.  It was priceless.

These girls.  They are just the best.

I found this gold bottle of Kasey’s favorite wine.  I thought I had really hit the jackpot.  Come to find out they sell it everywhere and it wasn’t really that exciting at all.  Womp wooooomp….

I got Ray Bans!  Now that I’m officially in my 30’s I think I can be trusted with nice sunglasses.  Famous last words…

My family’s attempt at looking candid.  #nailedit

Dad bonding with Ranger.

After the kids went to bed we heard Ranger barking in the other room.  When we went to check on him and there was a 6-foot inflatable unicorn sitting on the deck.  I guess Santa is real after all…  Meet Snowflake.

My parents still live in the house where I grew up.  We used to have this old street sign up at the top of the hill that was sort of falling apart and got replaced at some point along the way.  For Christmas, my mom took the wood form that old sign and made ornaments.  <3

Christmas morning!

So…when we bought our house it had been flipped.  Which we’ve sort of figured out along the way meant the flippers cut corners where they could (nothing major, thankfully).  One of the corners they cut was in the appliance department.  Since we’ve moved in, we haven’t had shelves on our refrigerator door.  So allllllll those condiments you see had to fit on the shelves and I never realized just how much space those little door shelves added.  I refused to buy the shelves out of principle because they were so expensive but my mom got them for Gary and I for Christmas and it might be the best gift I’ve ever gotten!  I am so happy every time I open the fridge.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving…

I hope your Christmas was a great one!  Until next year..

 

Gary and I have always traveled.  A lot.  That has always been on of our top priorities as a couple.  Sure…we could drive nicer cars or move into a bigger house but we wanted to go on vacations.  And we did.  When I look back through this blog I see so many fun times and adventures we’ve been on and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  But somewhere over the last year our priorities started to shift a little.

 

Last year, we were so incredibly fortunate to spend three weeks in Maui.  Which was the trip of a lifetime.  While we were there we started daydreaming about what it would be like to move back to Indy.  What life would look like and more importantly, feel like.  I swear Maui heard us talking because we weren’t home two weeks and Gary got a job offer in Indy.  Which freaked us both out but once we had some time to really digest it we realized more than anything were incredibly excited.  Giddy almost.

 

Now here we are.  One year from that epic Maui trip.  Nine months since making the big move down to Indy that completely changed our lives.  And I think it’s safe to say our life has done a total 180.  This year has been so many things for us, but one thing that has had to go on the back-burner is travel.  Between the move and Gary starting a new job…not to mention buying our first house (and the a/c breaking, and paving our driveway…the list goes on and on)…travel hasn’t really been in the budget.

 

But for me and my mental health…a break is necessary.  I need these times now and then to shut off and give my brain a break.  Especially after this year when I’ve been going full throttle in every possible direction.  So while we may not be basking on the beaches of Maui (or headed back to Antigua which is happening soon because I need go back.  NEED to!), I am taking this week to vacate.  To sleep in (it’s amazing what an extra hour does for you), recharge, take a little me-time and get ready for the crazy year ahead.

 

If I had to describe 2016 in one world it would be ‘roller-coaster’.  We’ve had so many ups and downs and changes and amazing things and horrible things.  So I’m taking this next week to process it all and really focus on what I want for 2017.  What I want this next year to look like and feel like and start making that happen.

 

Until then…you can find me right here.  Coffee in one hand…some overdue reading in the other.  Doing my best to unwind (even though I’m pretty sure it’s really not in my DNA).  Hanging out with my main squeeze while working on all the big dreaming ahead…so stay tuned…

 

 

When Kristy said the words ‘Christmas Tree Farm‘ my eyes lit up.  I mean it’s December and they will be getting married near an Apple Orchard next June so it seemed fitting.  But little did she know this has always been on my photo bucket list.  There’s something so cozy and romantic about rolling hills of Christmas trees.  Or just Christmas in general I suppose.  But what we didn’t know when we decided on this amazing plan was just how perfectly it would all play out.  The day before our session Indy got a GORGEOUS snowfall.  I’m talking big, slow-falling flakes that stuck to every little branch on every little tree.  It coated the whole city and transformed it into a literal winter wonderland.  THEN…on the day of our session we not only lucked out with the most gorgeous winter sunset but we literally had the whole Christmas Tree Farm to ourselves.  Apparently no one buys trees two weeks before Christmas.  Basically what I am saying is that magic happened and all the pieces came together so perfectly for a truly deserving couple.  Kristy and Nick are seriously the sweetest and I am more excited than ever for their wedding next June!