It’s that time of year where the end of year posts start coming out.  The goals and dreams…the wrap-ups and outtakes.  All the ways we can figure out to make sense of the last year and make all our wishes for the years ahead.  Every year I do the same posts and this year I am going to change things up.  I am going to be very intentional about what I write about in these next few weeks because this last year has been something so uncharted and the year ahead is full of so much more than I could have ever imagined.  And I want to think of just the right way to sum it all up.

 

But in the meantime…every year I watch my photo friends post ‘behind the scenes‘ blogs.  I love seeing how people shoot and what they’re wearing (there I said it).  I love to see the funny faces and weird situations we all get ourselves in.  And I’ve always wanted to do one of these posts for myself.  But here’s the truth…my first full year of weddings (where I would have had enough photos to do a full post)…I was going through chemo.  I wore a wig to weddings and looked ridiculous.  And then once the wig came off I wore scarves and then my hair slowly came back but the honest to God truth is…I hated the way I looked.  I knew it was temporary and stayed positive and reminded myself it was “just hair“…but I wanted mine back.  Bad.  So while I had funny pictures of me behind scenes in cute outfits…I never posted them because…well…I was embarrassed.  And while this may seem very superficial to a lot of people…it’s a big deal to me to be able to do a ‘behind the scenes’ post today.  One that I can smile at and see myself.  Sure it’s just hair…but when I look at these pictures I see me…instead of the person I was trying to get back to.  So enjoy some funny photos while I soak up this moment that has been a long time coming…

 

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I just love my couples…taking selfies while I pose the bridal party.  My kind of people.  ;)

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Thanks to Tami Paige and Sidne Hirsch for capturing all these moments!  They have no idea how happy they make me.  :)

Oh man…where to even start on this wedding.  There is truly nothing better than a wedding that is not only impeccable down to the last detail…but where the people involved are truly something special.  When I met Tricia and Trent I loved them immediately.  They make each other laugh in a way that only the person you love can do.  Being around them just makes everything seem brighter.  Watching them together is like looking at something that is so obvious…but at the same time so incredibly rare.  And not only are they amazing…but their family and friends are just as great.  The love that surrounded them on their wedding day was something special and I still feel so lucky that I got to be a part of it.

 

Tricia and Trent…thank you guys so much for making me such a special part of your day!  It was so perfect and I am beyond happy for you guys.  You have such wonderful people in your life and it’s so easy to see why you guys belong together.  I know you are going to have a life full of so much happiness and I’m so happy that I got to be there for the start of it.  Love you both!!!!!

 

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An ENORMOUS thank you to my amazing second shooter, Tami Paige, for rocking out this wedding with  me!

And a GIANT thank you to all the vendors that made this day happen:

Venue: Brookfield Zoo  |  Florist: Chicago Floral Events  |  DJ: Non-stop Entertainment  |  Cake: Lezza’s Bakery  |  Videographer: Lexoria Wedding Films  |  Hair/Makeup: Mario Tricoci

A few months ago I was in Indy on a random weekday and I picked Katharine up from Ballet.  I was, of course, ridiculously excited to see her little cuteness plie-ing all over the place.  When I showed up…there was only one little sliver of a window you could watch through because when the kids see their parents…they tend to lose it.  I mean they are two after all.  But being the rebel Aunt that I am…I snuck up to the window just to sneak a quick peek.  I saw adorable little girls dressed in pink leotards.  They were all high kicking in a line and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a little blonde…bunny hopping all by herself on the opposite side of the room.  It didn’t take long to realize it was Katharine…and after I died at how cute she looked…I gave her a silent fist bump for marching to the beat of her own drum.

 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was back in Indy for her first ballet recital.  While most kids had their parents there and maybe a grandparent of two…Katharine’s posse was rolling like 8 deep.  What can we say…this kid is loved.  The recital started and all the little girls marched in a line.  The teacher had them do little stretches and turns and lots of other adorable things.  And the recital hadn’t been going for 5 minutes before Katharine completely lost it.  I mean full on melt-down…the show will not go on…lost it.  And while I tried to hide my laughter from my obviously very upset niece….I once again gave her a little fist bump.  Because show business is hard business…and sometimes you just need to cry it out.

 

And yep you guessed it…a random story means another installment of random thoughts of the day!

 

  • We’re unsure about Katharine’s future in the ballet world…but one thing is for sure…she’s nothing if not her own person.
  • I started this gallon a day water challenge…and let me tell you, it’s life changing.  Who knew water was so great?!?!
  • Did you know almond milk is only good for 7 days after you open it?!?!  Even though the expiration date says you have like 3 months.  LIES!!!!!
  • I have not put up a Christmas tree…wrapped any presents…sent out any Christmas cards.  Let’s just put a giant, red FAIL stamp on my Christmas-ness this year.
  • BUT!  I do have Christmas cards which is a first for me…and they are quite adorable if I don’t say so myself.
  • I’ve started getting Chestnut Praline in my Starbucks and man…if that doesn’t taste like Christmas…I don’t know what does.
  • I’ve decided if I ever come back in another lifetime…I want to be a rock and roll violinist.
  • What did we do before Amazon Prime?  It’s like a procrastinator’s dream come true.
  • I had an epiphany that if everyone listened to Christmas music while they were driving…there would be a serious decline in road rage.
  • Ellen said that if you chop an onion with a piece of bread in your mouth…you won’t cry.  Well…last night I tried it and IT WORKS!!  It’s a culinary miracle.
  • And finally…if there’s one thing I have learned from my little peanut…it’s when in doubt, cry it out.

 

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  • Kim - December 18, 2014 - 11:39 am

    I literally laughed out loud at these pictures of Katharine. My little girl is about the same age and these moments are just priceless. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

I sat at lunch trying to remember the correct etiquette for eating soup.  The restaurant was much fancier than ones I normally go to so I, of course, wanted to seem equally as fancy.  I remembered some movie I had watched one time where they talked about how to eat soup…so I reenacted it as best I could.  But I don’t think I had anyone fooled.  My friend, Tami, sat across from me and we soaked up our fancy lunch…and in true Tami and Lauren fashion we talked about life.  And not the surface kind of talk…the real talk that makes you think and go below all the BS you normally put out to the world.  The kind of talk that leaves you peaceful but excited…confident but so ready for the unknown…and incredibly grateful for not only a life that is limitless but friends that never let you forget it.

 

At one point Tami asked me…what does success look like for you next year?  And here’s the thing…most of the time that question is answered with how many weddings someone hopes to book or how much money they hope to make.  Some sort of concrete answer that can be counted and measured and give the false ideal that there’s some imaginary equation for happiness.  But when Tami asked me that question, I knew it had nothing to do with numbers.  It had everything to do with dreams and balance and a perspective on life that truly let’s you live it to the fullest.  I thought for a second because I wanted to be as truthful as possible…and here’s what I said…

 

I want freedom.  I want to feel stable but not because I have a certain number of weddings booked…or a certain amount of money in the bank…because I am in control of what I do have.  I don’t want to feel like anything or anyone is holding me down…that the decisions I make will be for me and my family and friends and clients…and not for the opinions of people that aren’t actually in my life.  I want to break the mold that somewhere along the line I created for myself.  And trust that the true beauty of life lies in our individual stories.  I want to stop talking about my dreams and actually go do them.  I want to be sitting in this chair one year from now and look at how far I’ve come.  And not because of anything I have or did…but because of who I am…what I’ve learned….and all the places I still have left to go.

 

Success is scary.  Because it’s so easy to lose.  You want to book 30 weddings and only book 25…you’ve failed.  You want to have $10k in the bank but only have $5k…you’ve failed.  But what if you didn’t book those 5 weddings because something bigger is waiting for you.  Because that time was meant to be filled with something great.  Or what if you only have $5k in the bank because you spent the other $5k on an amazing trip that you’ll never forget.  And what if…instead of measuring success by a number…we do it by a feeling.  Because you can always make more money…but you’ll never get back a year of your life you spent worrying about the wrong things.  Instead of enjoying all the right ones.

 

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When I was little…it felt like such a magical weekend.  We would show up at my Grandma’s house and make cookies until we literally couldn’t stand anymore.  I’d follow my cousin, Shannon, around and do everything I could to be just like her.  We’d mix and knead and stir and roll and press until there were more cookies than any of us could ever eat.  Every surface would be covered with sugary goodness and there were always more in the oven.  My grandma would wake up at 6am to get started and the rest of us would follow soon after.  My grandpa would sit in the living room…whistling as he cut out round circles of wax paper to put in the cookie tins.  And then every once in a while he would sneak into the kitchen to be the “taste tester.”  We would eventually call it a night and settle into our sugar comas.  The guys would play poker and grandma would smoke us all at 3 to 13.  And to this day…that weekend will always remind me of so many happy memories.

 

I’m not sure when we stopped doing cookie bake weekend…but somewhere along the line, life got in the way.  The kids grew up and grandma’s house got smaller.  People moved farther away and everyone got busy…and those little cookies just weren’t as important any more.  Until last weekend.  Last weekend marked the next generation of cookie bake.  Where my mom is the grandma now and we have a new little one to help cut out the sugar cookies.  Where friends came together as family and we spent an entire day reliving those memories that were always so special.  There were a few people that were definitely missed…and I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same way about a day full of making cookies that I would inevitably eat and regret…but as soon as the day started I knew it would be just like when I was a kid.  Except this time I understand the way my grandma must have felt.  Bringing everyone together under one roof…watching the excitement on our faces as the cookies came out of the oven.  The same excitement that was all over Katharine’s face every time she cut out a cookie.  And as the day wound down and the wine came out…I felt that same magic as I did as a kid.  Except this time it was because I was surrounded with so many people I love…paving a new way for so many more memories to come.

 

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