I know everyone says this… but, really… where did the time go? So many events, life changes, and special moments have unraveled themselves in 2017 I can’t help but say thank you. Thank you to one of the most challenging years my family has been through (emotionally & physically). From moving to carrying nugget #2, it has been a fete in itself that we have somehow come out ten times stronger. Looking back on this year has made me proud to be a mama, a wife, a business owner… and a badass woman in general… stay a bit and let me tell you why…
January did not start the way this mama wanted it to. I remember not being in a good state… I wasn’t pregnant then, but I felt like our lives were in such a state of limbo because we had left Charlotte to be closer to family, but Fort Lauderdale wasn’t necessarily where we wanted to be either. I didn’t even write down goals for 2017… hell, I didn’t even think of goals for 2017… I was just overloaded. However, I remember January setting the tone for how I wanted the rest of the year to go. I made better business decisions (I launched a new website, I hired an editor, I outsourced what I could to alleviate the workload…) and made better family decisions too. I wasn’t in a good frame of mind in the beginning of the month, but I ended it knowing where I wanted the remainder of the year to go.
I spent most of February prepping for what was going to be my busiest Spring Wedding Season yet! No one tells you as a small business owner just how hard it is to manage, run, operate, and execute all the facets that make your biz what it is. I’m grateful that I love the business & marketing side just as much as I love photographing weddings… but it doesn’t mean it’s not hard. I relaunched my Collections in February with the goal to make my business and the clients I serve exactly what I wanted it to be… and could not be more thrilled with the direction my company took. MY advice for any small business owner has been… there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to walk through it to get there. Make changes now to get to where you want to be.
I started my wedding season off with a bang in March… with the most fabulous couple, at one of my favorite venues, with the lovely Sarah Beth of Sarah Elizabeth Events. Just a few short years ago, it was hard to imagine that I would have the opportunity to work with so many amazing clients and wedding vendors… but I do, and I continue to love what I do despite how hard it is to run your own business (like really hard!). This wedding started my 2017 with so many good vibes for what I do behind the lens, I’m grateful to look back on what paved the way to a successful year in a career I started from scratch.
Venue: Duke Mansion | Planning: Sarah Elizabeth Events | Florals: New Creations Flower Co | Rentals: Party Reflections | Hair & Makeup: Cali Stott Artistry | Videographer: Crown Alley Films | Paper Olive Paper
In April we picked up camp and moved our lives to our beautiful new home in St. Petersburg, FL. I can honestly say that I love it here. The beach is 10 minutes aware, the bay is 5 minutes away, our closest friends are all within a 30-minute drive, my parents are just across the state in Lauderdale, and the weather… well… the weather is basically perfection! Not many people know this, but I never physically saw our home before we purchased it. My husband came to visit, and Facetimed me during a walkthrough… and I loved it…. so we made an offer that was obviously accepted.
There are so many things I want to do to our home still, but the amount of work I’ve done to it in less than a year was more so than the two years we spent at our home in Charlotte. It’s still a work in progress, and maybe on our home-anniversary, I’ll have it complete to do a full home tour, but for now, I’ll be here in my little dining room nook sipping on some tea enjoying the view.
We actually didn’t find out we were pregnant with nugget number two until June but based on our due date… May gets all the credit 😉 Honestly, we were planning on having another one, but not necessarily so close ;/ Needless to say, this little ninja in my belly is on his way in t-minus 4 weeks (hopefully a little earlier) and we are excited, but not as nervous as we once were with Brooks. I’ll be interested to see how much the dynamic changes when he arrives… I’m hoping it will be more manageable knowing what we know when Brooks got here… but who the fuck knows! Either way, we are excited to cuddle this little man. And as much as I love Brooks’ nursery, my task is to figure out how to get two little one’s in there…
Our fabulous nugget turned one in June! I still can’t believe how much he has grown in such a short amount of time… and I’, talking physically and mentally. I think one of the greatest gifts is watching him… like how many times is he going to stick the square cube in the round hole before he figures it out? 10? 20… oh 100 times? That makes sense 😉 He is so smart, and watching him grow makes me so proud. I feel like his first year was us figuring our way out together, now the more independent he becomes he wants to figure out his own way of doing things… which is perfectly fine by this mama. I’ve said this from the beginning… I’m not raising him to be mine the rest of his life… I’m raising him to be someone else’s. He is such a good kid… I’m thankful to have him part of our lives (early wakeup calls and all).
July was the month of me. I was in shape, carrying a baby (one on my all the time on my hip, and one in my belly), running 5 days a week, taking Brooks to swim lessons, and basically kicking ass at being the best form me I could be. I know I’m totally bragging, and I’m totally ok with that… because at this point in my life… I’m not the best form of me. Granted, being 8 months pregnant doesn’t help my situation, but I could be a lot better and thinking back on how much stuff I did for myself in July makes me crave that personal attention again. I’ll have this second nugget at the end of this month… hopefully… and then I can start to focus on myself more so than I have been… just like this past July.
August was a busy month for this family! Brooks and I started the month out in Fort Lauderdale for the week to visit my family. I’m so grateful they love spending time with him… cause this mama needs a break now and then, and he has their undivided attention! After Lauderdale, Brooks and I met Aunt Susan in Disney World for a couple days… which was so freaking hot, but so worth it. As most of you know… I love Disney World… like love it… even when it’s 100 degrees out and no breeze… give me a Mickey Mouse Ear Ice Cream and I am still one happy lady. Later in August we dropped the nugget off and headed to Middleburg, VA for one my good friend’s wedding at the gorgeous Goodstone Inn. It was a fabulous wedding with our closest of friends, and although I love being a wedding photographer… it was a nice change of pace to be a guest for once. (and can we talk about how hot my hubby looks in these pics???)
Lastly, I launched my new website in August. I made the decision to switch from Squarespace to a WordPress platform for my business, and could not be more happy with the outcome. I also opted to use a Tonic Site Shop for the design. Granted, it comes with a price, but well worth the investment. I think that’s where I’m at with my business… it’s an investment. The clients I have now look at my service as an investment to their wedding day, and any feature or vendor I add to my business is an investment to me. In my prior life, when I was just starting out, I would take any client willing to pay my… and I would try to do every part of my business myself… neither an investment. I’m proud of how far my biz has come, and love to see it grow to what I interpret as growth and success.
September marked our official announcement of nugget #2! Like I mentioned before… this was not necessarily planned… but I remember being so happy when I found out. Being pregnant is hard work (especially the last month), and even having/raising a baby is just as hard… or even harder… but knowing what is on the other side is just so worth it. I cannot wait to meet this little guy, but I’m even more excited for Brooks to meet him. He;s going to love on this nugget so much, which makes me so unbelievably happy.
September also marked my 20 weeks with nugget number two in my belly. Brooks and I got up one morning and took a couple photos with my tripod… totally unplanned and I just loved how the turned out. Brooks had no idea what was happening in my bell, and still doesn’t if we’re being honest… but it’s sweet to think of me holding my two boys together… because I know exactly what is happing and what’s to come. (Click HERE to view the full blog post)
We wrapped up September with our first Fall wedding of the year at Morning Glory Farms, It’s crazy how a short break from what you do can get you so excited to do it again. I loved everything about this simple chic wedding… and my bride was nothing short of stunning…
Lots of shit went down in October… let’s start with me turning 33… holy crap… I’m officially old, and so thankful for it. I can say with 100% confidence… your thirties rock! And as I continue to get older, I know more and more what’s important to me and the life Chris and I are building together.
A majority of my weddings in the Spring were in Charlotte since we lived there just a year ago. I transitioned my entire business in 2017 to Florida and I’m thankful for each and every bride who trusted me to capture their day despite the fact I wasn’t local when the booked my services. This oh-so-sweet wedding at The Ritz Carlton was featured on Bridal Musings & Haele & Tyler’s wedding at The Birchwood kick-started my Floridian Fall, and I absolutely loved everything about this sweet wedding and this perfect couple…
We ended the month as a family at Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Party… which was an absolute blast. This was my first time, at this party… as well as Chris and Brooks… and we will definitely be going back every single year, cause it was that awesome!
November was wedding & engagement overload… like all across the state of Florida…
The beautiful Bonnet House Wedding in Fort Lauderdale, FL…
This fabulous San Destin Wedding of one of my sorority sisters…
We hosted Thanksgiving as well… which was really effing hard… like, so hard! I decided as my first Thanksgiving hosting, I would make everything from scratch… SUCH…A…ROOKIE.. MISTAKE. I literally cooked the entire day, and maybe sat for 20 minutes…. oh, and did I mention I was 7months pregnant? Yeah, such a rookie. However, I will say… the food was delicious… like all of it was perfect! For example, I’m not a fan of stuffing, and I found a recipe that was the hit of the entire meal (Click HERE to view the best Sausage Stuffing Ever!!). I also might have gone a little overboard with my Thanksgiving Tablescape, but I’m ok with it cause it was really really really pretty.
December was a whirlwind of a month. Chris and traveled to Key West where I shot a career all-time favorite wedding. Lauren & Josh married at the famous Southernmost Inn Hotel, and it was stunning. It was my last wedding of 2017, and hands down one of my favorite.
Chris and I also made the decision to celebrate Christmas in our own home this year as opposed to traveling (Click HERE to check out my Holiday Home Tour).
Although I missed being with my family Christmas morning, it was so fun to get our house ready and see buddy’s face as he came down the stairs that morning. Granted, we probably went a little overboard with presents for the little one (like we could have just gotten him the little fish game and he would’ve been fine) but I’m glad he had so much fun unwrapping everything. This was our last Christmas as a family of three, and it could not have been any better.
And there you have it… my life, in a nutshell, this past year 🙂 I can’t wait for 2018… but I’m very thankful to 2017 for putting us in position to enjoy what’s to come.