Oh hi guys!  It’s been a while.  If you follow along over on Instagram/Facebook you’ve seen a little behind the scenes (and lots of pretty photos) but it’s been a while since I’ve hopped on here.  And while I’d like to say it was a well thought out and purposefully planned hiatus…that would be a lie.  The truth is…my life has gone through a lot of changes lately and I didn’t feel like I was in a place to really share about them.  I have always tried so hard to be 100% authentic with you but sometimes there are just things you have to work through on your own before you are ready to share them with the world.

 

I remember back when I had cancer (SIX YEARS AGO…holy moly) I felt like I needed to go through it and get to the other side before I was ready to talk about it to the internet.  And my life this last year has been no different.  I had to get through it on my own first.  And as always…this blog exists to hopefully inspire the next person in some small way so I feel like sharing my story as it unfolds (or in this case has unfolded) will hopefully do just that.

 

Earlier this year, I got divorced.  We’d been struggling for some time and in order for us to both live a happier life this was the right call.  It’s incredibly hard to imagine your life one way and all the sudden have it take a complete 180.  And it’s even harder to then take those steps toward a new life you know deep down you want.  And ultimately need.  For me…I was and always have been an incredibly happy person.  If you ever ran into me at a party or in the grocery store…you would say I was happy.  I’ve always felt that a day spent unhappy was a day wasted.  And while I was going through each day generally “happy” on the outside…deep down I was miserable.  I felt like there was this whole life out there that I was missing out on and something inside of me just needed to get out.

 

It’s funny how life works because since I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make…I’ve felt this overwhelming sense of peace.  And freedom.  I’ve started trying so many new things (I weld now…and rollerblade! Just wait for those posts – coming soon!) and experiencing more of life than I ever have before.  I wake up happy and fall asleep even happier and it’s not because I’m not married anymore or anything like that.  It’s because for the first time in a long time I am living life solely for me.  Which is incredibly exhilarating.

 

I don’t want you to think this was something that I came to lightly.  It was a very long, hard road to get here.  There were lots of tears and overwhelming anxiety.  Like ‘lose 12 pounds in a week‘ anxiety.  There was therapy and so many ‘try-agains’ that I lost count.  It was a very, very, very hard thing to go through and divorce is and never will be something I take lightly.  And as unexpected as it may be….it’s now part of my story.

 

Change can be really scary.  Terrifying actually.  But sometimes it’s just something that is necessary.  And at the end of the day I think it can be really beautiful.  A lot is different in my life now.  Goose is no longer here (which still hurts so much).  I am taking care of a house on my own.  Life got a whole lot more expensive.  I’m a Wakefield again.  But each and every day I get out of bed and am committed to living the best of my life for the rest of my life (love a good rhyme).  And I can sit here now and tell you that I am truly and honestly, so happy.

 

And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I feel like blogging again.  And sharing with you guys about the dumb in-betweens in my life (which will definitely be looking a little different than you may remember).  I have no idea what the future looks like or what’s next for me but I know I’m excited for it.  And I can’t wait to take you guys along for the ride.  🙂

 

  • Christy Tyler - July 9, 2018 - 10:11 am

    So glad you’re sharing your heart here again. So glad you’re happy. So glad you’re being open because that also helps with healing and moving forward! <3ReplyCancel

  • Kasey Wakefield - July 9, 2018 - 10:21 am

    It isn’t easy to put your feelings out there for the world to see and dare to see your life differently. As usual, I am inspired by your bravery and optimism. So proud of you Lala and grateful my girls have such a strong influence in their life (and I’m not just referring to the welding strength 😉ReplyCancel

  • Sharon McCarter Herndon - July 10, 2018 - 6:25 pm

    You are such an inspiration Lauren ❤️ It’s so refreshing to see your amazing outlook on your situation. Divorce is hard..but not living your best life is even harder. I applaud your strength and bravery! Sending you love and comfort ReplyCancel

 

Anyone who lives in Chicago knows the winters aren’t exactly the highlight of the year.  Typically they’re so cold the idea of being outside is treacherous.  And there are several weeks in a row of grey and gloom.  Basically, they’re awful.  But when I met up with Caitlin and Jason for their family session, Chicago gave us a perfectly sunny day.  It might have been a tad cold but the sun was shining and it made for such a great session.  It’s not often in the winter that I get to get outside and photograph adorable families…so this was a nice little treat.  I did Caitlin and Jason’s engagement session several years ago so getting a chance to document them as a family of three is, as you know, my favorite.  Enough from me…here’s a little look at all their cuteness.  🙂

 

  • Caitlin Gondek - February 13, 2018 - 9:33 am

    Aww …
    Love these soo much.
    Thank you for capturing the love and smiles once again!ReplyCancel

 

There’s something so intimate and special about December weddings.  Maybe it’s the chill in the air or the dim lighting that creeps earlier and earlier into the evening but I just love them.  The warm and cozy feeling of it all.  And Cari and Alex’s wedding did not disappoint.  They promised forever to each other literally surrounded by their family and friends.  Who stood around them in a tight circle pouring all their love into this new life they are starting.  You could feel the happiness in the air.  From the Hora to the non-stop dance party it was an unforgettable night.  And I, for one, felt so lucky to be a part of it all.

 

Cari and Alex…I still standby that you guys are the most laid back wedding couple I’ve ever worked with!  I am so grateful I got to meet you guys and be a part of your special day.  I wish you guys nothing but happiness!  P.S. Thanks for braving the outdoors with me.  I think it was worth it.  🙂 xo

 

 

I really don’t even know where to start with these two.  They are two of the sweetest, kindest, most in love people I have ever met.  From Jen and I’s “first date” at The Cake Bake shop to sharing a bottle of wine on their amazing deck after their engagement session.  Every time I’m around them it just makes me feel good.  Not to mention Jen and I are birthday twins which automatically means we’re meant to be.  😉  But in all seriousness, getting to know Jen and Mike and witnessing their love first hand…it is truly special.  There were very few dry eyes as they became husband and wife (present company included) and as they danced the night away every person in that room knew…without a doubt…they were exactly where they were meant to be.

 

Jen and Mike…I just love you both so much.  You are seriously my kind of people and we WILL be double dating soon.  Thank you so much for including me in your day.  It is one I will never forget.  Love you both!!!!! xoxoxo

 

 

A HUGE thank you to my second shooter, Anya, for all her help.  I couldn’t have done it without her!!

And another HUMUNGOUS thank you to Lindsey from Ooh La La Events for making the day run so smoothly.  Always a dream to work with her! <3 

And to all the vendors that made this day happen:

DJ:  DJ Jason Fritz with Pro-Sound Entertainment  |  Cake: Classic Cakes |  Hair:  Julia Broaddus-Coffman  |  Makeup: Sarah Jenkins  |  Linens: LGI Linens

 

It was pouring, a shade of gray outside that might as well have been night time and there was no end in sight.  I was sure going into the day that our session was 100% going to have to be rescheduled.  As the day went on it started to get a little lighter but it was still pretty iffy outside.  I messaged Susan and asked what she wanted to do and and we decided to just go for it.  I put all the positive, stop raining vibes out into the world and headed out to Holcomb Gardens to meet them.  I kid you not, five minutes into my drive the skies turned blue and the clouds parted and the most beautiful fall light started to peek through.  It turned out to be the most gorgeous evening and I had an absolute blast with Susan and Jon.  It’s like Mother Nature just knew.  🙂

So now…I’m anxiously counting down the days until December 9th!  Enough from me…internet, meet Susan and Jon.

 

lis