The sun was setting behind us and the clouds were turning that orangish-pink color.  It looked like a painting as they drifted over the top of Soldier Field.  The crowd was full of excited anticipation…the hustle and chatter filling the air around us.  I had an ice cold beer in my hand and my cowboy boots up on the seat in front of me.  The air screamed a perfect summer night and I just wanted to take it all in.  The sounds.  The view.  The feeling of the warm air on my skin.  I leaned back in my chair and you put your arm around me…just like I knew you would.  And I smiled because it’s nights like these that make us who we are.


The crowd roared around us and country music floated off into the night.  I rotated between a sip of beer and my signature dance moves.  Belting every word at the top of my lungs.  You danced behind me and every so often I’d look over my shoulder and sneak a smile.  Usually around the same time when you’d sneak a grab at my back side.  Every song we sang just a little louder and the night got a little better.  When the slow songs came on you would put your arms around me.  Kissing me on my cheek and squeezing just a little tighter.  It’s in those moments that I want to freeze time.  That I want to remember exactly the way your hands feel underneath mine.  The perfect combination of safe and strong.  I want to freeze the feeling of us being completely and utterly us.  Dancing like no one is watching.  Singing like no one can hear us.  And living life, unapologetically.



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  • Christy Tyler - September 2, 2014 - 8:46 am

    Perfection. And now I must find a concert for James & I to attend! hahaReplyCancel

1. Well…the obvious one.  TGIF.

TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today
2. Summer Fridays.  Gary gets off at 2pm which means…so do I.  Fingers crossed it thunderstorms which will make for some glorious afternoon napping.
TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today
  3. I saw this on Pinterest this morning and it made me chuckle out loud.  Why is pizza so good?
TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today

4. One cup of coffee down…and another one is in my very near future.  I really don’t want to ever imagine a life without coffee.


5. Friday nights mean the number of Netflix episodes we could potentially watch are endless.  Oh the possibilities…

TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today
  6. I laid in bed this morning and went through my entire Instagram account and hashtagged every picture of Katharine and I with #katharineandlala.  We are so legit now that we have our own hashtag.

TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today

7. Gary accidently spilled Papa John’s garlic butter sauce on Goose’s head.  He smells so ridiculous…which doesn’t necessarily make me love today but it really makes me laugh and that’s kind of the same thing.


8. Google Chrome just completely closed mid-blog post.  Auto-save is my new spirit animal.


9. One week from today we go to Scituate!  Our favorite place with our favorite people!  Let the countdown begin!

TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today


10. Pumpkin Spice is back . And that is a reason to love every day.

TGIF, Friday, Chicago wedding photographer, 10 reasons to love today

I sat on the couch crying.  Literally crying.  Tears were streaming down my face and I couldn’t breathe.  I was trying to explain to Gary the text conversation I was having with my best friends and the words couldn’t even come out of my mouth I was laughing so hard.  I finally just fell over and buried my face in the pillow to let it absorb my giggles…as if that would help.  But the laughter didn’t subside.


Let me back up…


My best friends and I group text basically all day, every day.  For the most part we all live in different places so something about it makes it feel like we’re still together.  We always talk about publishing a book of our text conversations (which seriously needs to happen)…because they are pretty ridiculous sometimes.  And last night was no different.


Stefanie had recently met a new guy and he has been a topic of our conversation a lot lately.  Who doesn’t love blossoming love?  She’s going to be seeing him in a few weeks so she enlisted our help to assist in finding the perfect outfit.  We texted back and forth pictures of dresses and rompers and finally landed on shoes.  We discussed which shoes would be appropriate for September even if it was warm out.  We weighed boots vs. heels…and finally landed on wedges.  Stef was concerned about certain shoes making her look short and asked us to send pictures of possible shoes with low vamps.  Sara and I just brushed it off because wtf is a vamp?  So we start blowing up the conversation with shoe picture after shoe picture of the cutest wedges you ever did see…accompanied by Sara’s amazing commentary.  Stef would respond to each one with “cuuuuute”…”saaaaaassssy”…”oooooh“…and finally summed it all up with “those are some really high vamps.”  Now this is the part of the story where it gets a little “you had to be there“…but bare with me.


Sara and I immediately sent confused face emoticons because apparently this vamp business is a real thing.  And for those of you who are like Sara and I and have no idea what a vamp is…let me enlighten you.


Vamp or vamps may refer to:

  • Vamp, short for Vampire
  • The upper part of a shoe
  • Vamp, synonym for femme fatale
  • A volunteer firefighter


As soon as we realized Stefanie was completely serious about wanting a shoe with a low vamp we all lost it.  Misspelling every word because we were typing so fast and laughing hysterically at the same time.  We couldn’t decide what was funnier…the fact that Stefanie knows what a vamp is in the first place or that she is basing her shoe buying decision completely on it.  Either way…we all died laughing.  Immediately followed by picture texts of the tears running down our faces followed by texts about how much we love each other.  Because while this story is probably completely uninteresting to most of you…I can’t stop laughing as I sit here typing this.  Not because of high vamps or low vamps…but because of three girls that literally complete every single part of me.  Three girls that let me be completely myself…that get me on a level that most people don’t even know exists…and who have the ability to make me cry on the couch even though they are hundreds of miles away.


Stef, Sara and Sid…love you guys more than life itself.  I hope when we’re 80 we’re still sending selfies of the tears streaming down our wrinkly faces as we live off the insane profit from our New York Times Best seller….Girls who Text.  Life without you guys would just be plain boring and I am so thankful every day that I have best friends like you.  Love you!!!!


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Every so often when I get tired of our weekly dinner rotations, I try out new recipes.  I’ve got a food board on Pinterest where I keep all my “sure I’ll try this one days“…sort of like my virtual recipe box.  And whenever I get bored with my cooking I find something that looks delicious and somewhat easy…and I go for it.  Last night was one of those nights.  I was going to the store to get groceries for the week and nothing sounded good.  Well…actually a lot sounded good…but nothing that wouldn’t end up attached to my hips.  It’s sort of an inside joke in our house that whenever I try a new recipe there is always a large chance we will end up ordering pizza.  I mean…sorry ONE time I attempted to make “skinny fettuccine alfredo” and it ended in tears.  Obviously it was one of those days.  But anyways…


I’m at the store attempting to buy all the ingredients for Almond Crusted Thyme and Sage Chicken.  I’m walking up and down the aisles looking for fresh Thyme and sea salt and almond meal.  Our grocery store is kind of new so I am still not sure where everything is.  And if you ask me…they have it laid out all wrong.  I mean it just doesn’t follow the natural progression of grocery shopping.  Shouldn’t the “meals” be by the flour which should be by the cake mixes and stuff??!?  Seems like common sense to me.  But anyways…I finally find myself in the random “meal” aisle.  Flax meal…coconut meal…who knew these things existed??  Finally I spotted almond meal and did I little happy cha-cha at my success.  Then I froze when I saw the the price tag…THIRTEEN DOLLARS!!!!  Thirteen dollars for  a tiny bag of ground up almonds??  Pfffft.  I can grind up some almonds for a lot cheaper than that.  That’s why they invented food processors…duh.  Ready to stick it to the man…I marched off to buy more reasonably prices groceries.  As I made my rounds and marked everything off my list…I meandered toward the checkout.  As I passed the “meals” once again…I quickly threw the almond meal in my cart.  Because let’s be honest….who has time to grind up almonds.  The Man – 1.  Lauren – 0.


In other random news…


  • I’m considering going into the almond meal business.  Have you heard it costs THIRTEEN DOLLARS!
  • My Almond Crusted Thyme Sage Chicken was delicious.  No take-out and no tears…that’s what we call a success around here.
  • Last night, it was a little before 9pm and I was actually giddy about the thought of going to bed…purely because it meant I got to wake up and drink coffee.  A thought I have more often than I care to admit.
  • Speaking of coffee…I went to Starbucks yesterday to get my first Pumpkin Spice of the season and Starbucks LIED!  I left completely defeated.  (Chicago peeps…if you know of a Starbucks that DOES have Pumpkin Spice…please tell me and I will go there immediately).
  • I cleaned my office yesterday…and my pile of ‘things that do not belong in this office’ literally takes up over half of the office itself.
  • I had a good 20 minute conversation with my best friends last night about hair spray.  And that right there is exactly why they are my best friends.
  • I told Gary I think my wrist is broken.  He did not agree.
  • Gary and I had a date day on Sunday and accidentally got drunk at Whole Foods.  Ok fine…it wasn’t an accident.
  • I had to order a new birth certificate because my mom lost mine (mom, if I’m adopted you can tell me) and when it came my name was spelled wrong.  Something fishy is going on here…
  • While working on our big project…I find myself using business words in every day life to try and sound cool.  “Gary…what are the margins on that asparagus.”  It’s not working.
  • And in conclusion…I will be making almond meal everything from now until my investment runs out.  So if you’re interested in almond meal chocolate chip cookies…I’m your girl.



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We sat in the car as the miles zipped by us.  I ate Cheez-its one by one as we talked about life and everything that comes along with it.  The good…the bad…the ugly.  We’d just come off 13 hours of shooting and had a 3 hour drive ahead of us.  I squirmed in my seat to try to find a position that made my back hurt a little less….but nothing worked.  So I just gave in a decided to drive just a little faster.  One thing I love about Tami is no matter how tired I am…our conversations always keep me awake.  They always make me think and afterwards…they always make me so thankful that I have her in my life.


And Saturday was no different.  I’m not sure how long we had been on the road when Tami and I had reached a lull in our conversation.  After being “on” for so many hours sometimes it’s nice to just turn it off.  But then she asked me something that really made me think.  She said…“If you were completely settled, and money didn’t matter…what would you do with your life?”  The same question I had asked her on the trip down.  I thought about it.  I let the silence stir up all the thoughts in my head.  I continued eating Cheez-its as if they would give me the cosmic answer I was looking for….but after a few minutes one answer was abundantly clear.


This.  This is what I would be doing.  I would shoot 13 hour weddings for couples that I absolutely love because their story deserves it.  And I would be thankful for every second of it.  I would continue to document love stories because I whole-heartedly believe it’s what I’m meant to be doing.  I mean let’s be honest…we all know I love love.  I would continue to push myself toward all the things that scare me…and break every rule that I’ve ever set for myself.  I would inspire people in as many ways as possible…and help change lives for the better.  I would make my ‘super secret project‘ into something spectacular.  And I would travel the world with my favorite person while doing all of the above.


Because money can only get you so far.  Money can pay for the perfect house but it can’t buy the home that’s inside of it.  Money can buy a lot of pretty things…but it can’t buy a happy life.  Happiness will never come form chasing a paycheck.  But if you chase what you love…what you deep down know you are meant to be doing…that is when you’ll be truly rich.


A little peek at Saturday’s wedding…a day I am so incredibly thankful I go to be a part of.

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