It’s no secret I’m a big country music fan.  It’s basically all we listen to around here with the exception of a little dance party music from time to time.  And Taylor Swift…because technically she’s not country anymore.  There are about five million reasons I love country music so much but most of all it’s because it really makes you feel something.  That’s why I love Kenny so much because when I listen to him I’m instantly relaxed.  Taken to a place where life is slower and problems float away.  It’s like for that little sliver of time I’m reminded of exactly what life should be.  And I stand firm that there isn’t a person on this planet that can’t relate to at least one Kenny Chesney song. (if you disagree…I promise I can find you one)

 

Anyways…the other day I was driving and one of Kacey Musgraves’ new songs came on the radio.  Her music is quirky and spunky and it’s hard to not be singing along by the end of the song.  I hadn’t heard this particular song before but by the chorus, I was obsessed.  I immediately downloaded it and then proceeded to listen to it about nine more times.  Because I liked the song…yes…but mostly because what she was saying could not be closer to the truth.  I wanted to tweet (OK, I don’t really tweet…but in that instant I considered picking it back up again) every line because this girl was preaching some serious life lessons.  Which lead me to today’s post…life lessons from Kacey Musgraves.

 

I’ve never gotten taller making someone else feel small, if you ain’t got nothing nice to say don’t say nothing at all.

Amen sister!  I think we all have been around those people who need you to know how great they are and they tend to do that by making you feel about two inches tall.  I’ve never understood that…why someone else’s success has anything to do with my own?  Can’t we all do great things?  I’ve found the people that tend to stay in my life are the ones that genuinely cheer on my successes…and vis-a-versa.  They say if women treated each other every day like they do when they are drunk in the women’s restroom…the world would be a happier place.  I couldn’t agree more.

 

The holiest of the holy even slip from time to time, we’ve all got dirty laundry hanging on the line.

I feel like this has been my mantra of 2015.  No one is perfect…so stop acting like it!  If we all just show a little more real…air a little more of our dirty laundry (because if you’re anything like me it’s sitting in piles on your bedroom floor)…we could all help each other feel just a little bit better about ourselves.  Who’s with me…

 

Mend your own fences and own your own crazy.

I think there are several ways to interpret this but I take it as mind your own business.  And be yourself…crazy and all.  It’s hard not to become fixated on other people’s lives because they are broadcasted all over social media…but it’s the times when I put my phone down and live in the moment that I am truly the happiest.

 

So I’ll just do me and honey you can just do you.

There’s only one you…so own it.  It’s exhausting trying to be someone else.  To fit into this mold that you have somehow convinced yourself you have to fit into.  It’s such a liberating feeling when you realize that you are enough.  And I promise you that you are.  Exactly as you are right this second…you. are. enough.

 

Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.

Full disclosure…I used to care A LOT about what other people thought about me.  And on some level I still do but not nearly the way I used to.  I used to be so obsessed with fitting into the wedding industry and trying to be so many things for other people that somewhere along the line I forgot to be myself.  Once I let all of that go…it was honestly like I could finally take a deep breath again.  Like I was free to just do my own thing and be me…without any expectations.  And ever since that moment…life really has been gravy.

 

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Man oh man…where to even start with these two.  If there is one thing I learned while photographing Ronak and Bijal…it’s that it is impossible for them to take a bad picture.  They are so incredibly sweet together and not to mention a drop dead gorgeous couple!  It was like I never stopped shooting because they never stopped being adorable.  The forecast was basically 185% chance of rain that day and yet the clouds parted and we even got a little bit of sun!  If that’s not wedding fate, I don’t know what is.  From start to finish…everything about Ronak and Bijal’s day was picture perfect.  But the best part of it all was witnessing just how much these two love each other.  And you can ask anyone who was in that room…it’s undeniable.

 

Ronak and Bijal…you guys are honestly something special and I am so thankful I got the chance to get to know you!  I know there will be many more fun times in our future and I can’t wait to see everything that is in store for both of you!  Love you guys!!!!!

 

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This girl…where do I even start.  Sara is more than my friend…she is my sister.  In the scheme of things I haven’t known Sara that long…but in the last few years she has become one of the most important people in my life.  Between wedding planning together and discovering what marriage really means side by side…she has become the person who can honestly get me though anything.  She is one of the strongest people I know and proves it every single day.  When she loves you…she really loves you.  And if someone tries to hurt someone she loves…you better look out.  Her marriage is something I look up to.  The way she loves Brandon and the way they get through everything…together.  They are an unbeatable team and watching them build a life together is so inspiring.  Sara is the type of person that you can sit and talk to for days because she listens…and I mean really listens.  She is funny and witty (Sara I would have said that without reading below, lol)…thoughtful and has a laugh that will make any bad day disappear.  Every time I visit the Moody’s I leave feeling a million times better than when I got there.  Because that’s Sara.  She fills you up and lifts you higher and in a world where so much is against you…she is always on your side.  I could write about 18 more paragraphs but just know that Sara is a person you want to know…and hopefully this post will give you a little insight into just how amazing she really is.  (I love you doughnut!)

 

________________

SARA MOODY

 

I am incredibly sensitive.  If you haven’t seen me cry we must not know each other very well.  Happy tears, sad tears.  They are all just waiting to come out at any given moment.  I wear my heart on my sleeve for sure.  Pisces problems.

As sensitive as I am, I have come to (try) to not really care what people think.  I spent way too much time doing that and it just confuses your brain – you forget who you are.  If you don’t like me, well that’s a shame.  For you.

I’m an over-analyzer.  That tiny comment you made to me years ago, I still think about it.  That time I said the wrong thing, I still regret it.

I’m a pretty good judge of phony.  Much better now than I used to be.

I moved away from Chicago and it was, and sometimes still is, terrifying.

I change my mind, a lot.  I was between two wedding gowns and switched them an hour after buying one.

I went through some very unhappy times in my life.  When people say they love seeing how happy I am now, instead of feeling good it makes me so sad for the time I wasted being miserable.

I am absolutely obsessed with eyebrows.  Sometimes I see a picture and instead of commenting on the obvious, like a girlfriends new puppy in the photo, I’m like, “Wow, her eyebrows look fantastic!”  I don’t know that this is necessarily a bad trait, but it’s weird.

It’s hard for me to take compliments.  I wish I was more gracious about receiving them.

I hate surprises.  They make me uncomfortable.

I wish I didn’t delete every picture of myself that I don’t like (which is most of them).  I have two best friends that are photographers who I make life very hard for.  😁

I am always hot.

I get scatterbrained and hate that it makes me seem flaky.

I love my smile but don’t love my teeth, if that makes sense.

I had braces in high school but insisted on clear.  My mom told me years later that my Grandma had paid the extra cost, and it broke my heart.  I was so selfish.  Braces are ugly silver or clear.  Sorry Gram.

Nothing makes me feel pride more than when my brothers think something I said was funny.  They are both hysterical so it’s a big compliment.  It doesn’t happen often.  😑

I’m jealous of people’s natural abilities.  Each of my siblings is incredibly artistic, it must have skipped me.  I often feel inadequate not having a talent.

My dad died when I was young.  It was a tragic, horrible situation and instead of getting easier each year it gets harder because he is missing more of my life.

My life would make an EXCELLENT lifetime movie.

I block out things in my memory that are painful.  I used to think this was a problem, then I realized it doesn’t benefit me to think about those things.  I read something that said, “You don’t always have to forgive and forget, sometimes it’s OK to just forget and move on.

I pride myself on having a very good vocabulary, but resort to the F-word to myself 100 times a day.

I can read a book in a day.  Sometimes I wish I could drag them out but I can’t.

My mom always thought I would be a newscaster.  I have never wanted to be a newscaster.  I think it’s the suits, she was always offering to buy me a suit.

I’m embarrassingly bad at math. I ‘m talking “grown woman using her fingers to count” bad.  I make up for it by using big words.

I’m critical of others.  I always want to interject a better way to do something.  In my mind, my way is always right.

I’m bossy.

I roll my eyes too much.

When I argue, I yell.  It’s hard to get my point across because I get so mad.  Irish temper maybe.

Being a mom is all I’ve really ever wanted to be.  I have had three heartbreaking miscarriages, but I will not give up.  I hate that it’s this secret thing no one talks about.

I used to bottle things up and have learned to ask for help when I need it.  Recently, a friend of a friend opened up a whole new world of support for me.  Family and friends are amazing, and try to be helpful – but sometimes it’s only other women who are facing the same battles trying to conceive that can help.  They know what to say, they know what not to say.  So thank you Christy T.

I have such good intentions and such poor follow through.  A simple card or gift that I mean to send and don’t guilts me for months.  I am trying so hard to let people know how much I appreciate them.

I have a lot of pet peeves.  Some are very petty.  One is when people don’t return their cart in parking lots.  What kind of emergency situation are you in that you can’t put it back?

I have a high strung mind.  It’s just always moving too fast and it’s hard for me to calm my thoughts.  One thing that helps:

I love baking, it makes me happy.  I like that everything has to be measured just so.  No grey area.  Which I realize makes me sound like a perfectionist and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  That leads me to tell you….

I am messy.  Clothes, everywhere.  It annoys my husband, and I am scared one day he is really going to follow through on his threat to bring it all to Goodwill.  The procrastinator in me says I’ll clean it up “tomorrow“.

I have realized I am a bit of an introvert.  I don’t know if I didn’t used to be or just didn’t know it.  There are plenty of times and plenty of people I am an extrovert with – like family…but I’m not as comfortable in large social situations as I used to be.

I will talk your head off.  I just get so excited and I tell every detail in a story.  I must be exhausting to talk to.

I spent many years just beating myself up, being insecure and in unhealthy situations and relationships that drained me of the happy person I was.  I made a conscious decision to try to be more positive.  So, on that note, I’ll tell you some things I really like about myself!

I like my laugh.  It’s loud and ridiculous but it feels so good.

I love my eye color.  I am the only one who got green eyes in my family.

I have chosen amazing friends.  The ones I’ve had for 20 years and the ones I’ve had for 10.  They are irreplaceable.  I have the friends who you can go two months without talking and you pick up right where you left off.

I know more about pop culture than most people.  Although I probably shouldn’t brag about that.

I think I have a good marriage.  I am proud of the relationship I have and the family we are building.

I apply mascara with the precision of a heart surgeon.

I can be funny.  Humor is very important to me.  I have a lot of respect for funny, successful women.  I feel proud when someone tells me I’m witty.

I like my family.  And I don’t tell them enough.  My mom is strong and stoic.  My sister is caring and kind.  My older brother is the best dad and so so funny.  My younger brother is funnier than all of us put together, and he has the biggest heart.  My sister-in-law is determined and driven.  And my soon to be sister-in-law is sweet and generous.  And they are all far away from me and I miss them.

I love my niece and nephews.  When my oldest nephew started to talk, I told my sister in law that “Sara” might be hard to say.  I said that “P‘s and T’s are easier for kids” and suggested that he call me “Pretty.”  He is now 8 and they all still call me Pretty.  Mail is even addressed to Pretty. Sometimes they forget my real name is Sara.  I think it’s hilarious but am also terrified that one day they will say…who decided you’re Pretty?!

 

You can’t go back in time and change the past.  I would love to tell Sara in her 20’s to be more confident, be more assertive, to appreciate her family more, and to be pickier about who she dates.  But that Sara lead to this one, and I finally like this one.  She’s come a long way.

 

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  • Anjelic - May 20, 2015 - 9:39 am

    Lauren, I look forward to your posts all the time and these #wcw installments are beautifully honest. Sara, can we be friends because you are a rad lady! :) Love these!ReplyCancel

Three years ago I shot a wedding and like the awesome business owner I am…I didn’t collect their final payment ahead of time.  I was still getting it together back then and I didn’t want to bother them on their wedding day about money so I just decided I would deal with it after the fact.  The next day I shot them a quick note letting them know I never received their check and they immediately responded so apologetically that they had sent it weeks ago and had no idea.  I, of course, felt awful but they resent the check and all was right in the world.  Last week…as in 2015…an envelope came in the mail from this family.  I was so excited because I love them and when I opened the envelope there was a check inside.  I was very confused as to why they were paying me, seeing as their wedding was three years ago…then I noticed the date on the check.  2012.  Still confused as to why they sent my a three year old check I flipped the envelope over and noticed the postmark.  Also 2012.  There it was…that lost check finally arriving to my mailbox three years later.  Solid work postal service…solid work.

 

And you guessed it…random story = random thoughts of the day!

 

  • I think the post office has a punctuality problem.  I mean I can deal with a little delay but THREE YEARS!!!  Come on.
  • I had this weird craving for a bologna sandwich the other day.  Like the kind you’d eat as a kid…wonder bread and all.  Then the whole ‘your body is a temple‘ Lauren put the smack down on that but really…how much worse can bologna be for you than like…tequila.  This is happening.
  • I’ve been dealing so much with China and things I don’t understand that my brain literally has to take naps and my new ability to zone the $&@$ out is quite impressive.  It’s borderline comatose.  Gary loves it.
  • I think I eat more tomatoes than is socially acceptable.  Anyone know if this is secretly killing me?  Like most things I love.
  • Although…I did read that bacon is actually good for you.  Something about nitrates or whatever.  I’m sure there is no truth to it but I am choosing to worship that article like gospel.
  • My best friend, Stefanie, is moving back to Chicago.  I’m 90% excited and 10% terrified that there’s just not enough wine in Chicagoland.
  • Am I the only person who thought the entire last season of Mad Men was dumb.  I love Don Draper like the rest of them but man…booooooooring.
  • There are still Christmas ornaments sitting on my desk…because I’m too lazy to bring the whole bin up from the garage to put them away.  There’s a good chance they’ll still be there next Christmas.
  • I bought a card to send to a friend…I have a wager with myself on the likelihood of that card making into the mail.  My money is on no way jose.
  • I fish-tailed my hair the other day.  The amount of excitement I experience over hair related things is cosmic.
  • There was a spider on my office ceiling yesterday.  It is now gone.  Cue panic and explosion of said office.
  • I have this obsession with work out tank tops that say funny things.  Drop it like a squat.  Strong is the new skinny.  Burpees…the struggle is real.  Etc.  I.  want.  them.  all………
  • Speaking of which…I have to go work out.  To be followed immediately by a delicious bologna sandwich.:) Later Gators…

 

Here’s a little peek of the amazing anniversary session I did yesterday with Gen from Fifteen: Fifty-one Photography and her husband, Steve.  Ten years never looked so good.

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I had something every night last week.  Meetings.  Dinners.  Fun times with friends.  There was so much happening that there weren’t enough hours in the day to fit it all in (if only there could be two of me).  Thursday night I got home from dinner and collapsed on the couch next to Gary.  It was late…and I still had to pack for the weekend but I just wanted to spend a few minutes with my hubs.  I felt like I hadn’t seen him all week and even though my mind knew just how much I had to do, it just didn’t matter in that moment.  We talked and caught up on our days and we finally called it a night way later than we should have.

 

At 5:30am my alarm went off and I was up again.  I had to hit the road by 6am because Katharine and I were spending the day together.  At 10am on the nose I pulled in the driveway and I could hear through the window…Lala’s here!  Lala’s here!  And just like always…my heart melted.  We had Katharine and Lala’s day of adventure and I ended the night sitting on the deck drinking champagne with my family.  I once again stayed up way too late and was woken up in the very early morning by a little voice saying…Surprise…it’s time to get up!  So I spent a few hours snuggling my nieces before I once again hit the road for a wedding I was shooting in Kentucky.  I got to Kentucky in time to have a nice, leisurely lunch with two of my favorites and then scurried off to shoot a truly epic wedding.  There’s really nothing better than visiting the Moody’s and we spent the rest of the night sitting on their deck…playing head’s up and laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe.  Finally…at about 2:30am we called it a night…not because we wanted to but because the adult in us knew we should.

 

The next day I packed back up and set out for the loooooong drive home.  After two Starbucks stops, an entire podcast and five hours on the road…I made it home.  I gave Gary a kiss and almost immediately collapsed on the couch in a comatose sleep for an undetermined amount of hours.  When I woke up I felt like I had been sleeping for decades but I wouldn’t change a thing because as long and exhausting as my week had been…it was incredibly worth it.  It reminded me of something I read once:

 

Make a list of the things that make you happy.

Make a list of the things you do every day.

Compare lists.

Adjust accordingly.

 

I would repeat this week 50 times if it meant getting to spend time with so many of the people I love and doing the things that honestly make me happy to my core.  The driving and lack of sleep and incredible busyness are a small price to pay to get to play helicopter with my niece and stay up too late with my best friend.  It’s worth it to just be there.  To talk and laugh and catch up and drink too much and eat too much and be reminded of just what’s really important in life.  As I sit here now I am tired.  Like really tired.  But I am so happy knowing it’s because my life is so incredibly full.

 

So if you need my I’ll be power-napping…because when I wake up it’s time to do it all over again.

 

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