So I did this thing this past year. And I wrote about it on the blog and my close friends knew about it, but I realized that just not that many people read this blog. Therefore, a lot of people didn't realize I was doing it.
This thing is that I didn't buy any new clothing all year. I went shopping for the first time yesterday and posted about it on Instagram. And I guess that is where people read what I write.
Trav and I went to Costa Rica in October to celebrate our fifth anniversary. It was such a great trip, but made so much better by the fact that my friends Laura and Nate live there and we got to visit with them!
I don't shoot many weddings. Hardly any actually. And I especially don't photograph them by myself. There are very few exceptions to my "no weddings alone" rule. The lone exception is if I really, really like you. And there were quite a few people I really, really liked this year who asked me to photograph their weddings.
On September 24th, I will have been married for five whole years. I think this is sort-of hilarious as I feel like an 18-year-old most days. I remember my first day of high school and my 10th birthday party and my first college soccer game the same way I remember my wedding day: I was young. I was equal parts confident and nervous. And I was about to make some mistakes.
I was driving last night with my windows down and the music up, a little wind in my hair and I had the most vivid flashback.
It was my senior year of high school. I was driving down Lincoln Highway in my mom's Subaru that somehow became mine, caramel frappucino in hand. The windows were down and I was blasting some Jack Johnson and singing along, probably off-key.
Social media takes a lot of heat. People think it’s making the youths dumber. And it might be. But it also keeps the information flowing. It keeps us connected, even if that connection is tenuous. I think there is a lot of humanity in social media, should we choose to look at it that way.
So. We're in that weird week between Christmas and New Year's where we have to work a little bit but not in a truly constructive way. We are still eating leftovers and casually attending the gym because we all have until January 1 to gain our winter layer. And we start thinking, "Oh. Should I do something next year? Make a change? Commit? Other people seem to be blogging about it an awful lot."
Guys, it has been a year.I told myself (and many friends) at the beginning of 2015, this would be the YEAR OF YES, at least as far as my business was concerned. (I know that Shonda Rhimes has since stolen my catchphrase, but that just means I was on the right track.)
And I said yes. To just about everything that came my way:
Sometime around the year I turned 15, my parents realized that they didn't need to give all five of us kids Christmas presents anymore. For my whole life, they took all of us on a giant road trip to our house in Florida each year at Christmas and paid for meals, movies, and just general amazingness. So around 15, we all started getting $25 to Starbucks. And on Christmas morning, instead of sitting around opening gifts, we would all walk the 1.5 miles to Starbucks and use our fresh gift cards to buy some frappucinos. It was glorious.
Road trips are kind-of a tenet of my family. From 1990 until 2005, all 7 of us would pile into our conversion van at the beginning of Christmas break and drive to Florida. Straight through, the trip can be as short as 16 hours. But realistically, it takes more than 20.
We had traditions. My mom would put the back seat down and make a huge bed that four of us could sleep on at a time.
Yesterday was my One Year Anniversary with CrossFit. I distinctly remember the day I signed up. I went shopping for jeans last October. And my normal size just didn't fit anymore. But I refused to spend money on on a pair that were a bigger size. So left the store, drove home, and emailed my local gym to start classes.
I went in for the test workout. I couldn't do 1 pullup. I couldn't do the 20 pushups without taking a break. I was EXHAUSTED after a very short workout. But I wanted to keep going. So I went back two days later. And then two days after that, and so on. I was sore for weeks. But I noticed small changes that kept pushing me back there.
The winter season has officially started, therefore it's time for me to start my round of annual illnesses. I kicked it off with a bang, ushering in last week's first snow with a hearty stomach bug.
My dad tells me that if I just ate better and exercised, I wouldn't get sick as much. But I have made significant changes to my diet and my lifestyle over the past year and I'm not really expecting this winter to be much different. Some may call that pessimism, I call it being around too many children. Anyway ... what I know about the stomach bug:
Sometimes I hate the term small business because it's just SO vague. A small business could have employees, and offer retirement plans to said employees. A small business could make a million dollars a year, or sometimes less than $10,000.
I used the term teeny not to belittle myself, but to be a bit more realistic about what I'm doing over here. We're less than two years in and I've only paid myself once, so let's not get ahead of ourselves with all this small business talk.
That said, here is what I know about running a small/teeny/functioning business:
I've loved to read for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty sure I started doing it because I always wanted to be as cool as my sister Katie, and she read all the time. But there was also Book IT!, the reading program where I got a personal pizza from Pizza Hut for every five books I read. That was a big motivator, for sure.
Either way, I read like a crazy person when I was little. My favorites were all The Boxcar Children books, which kept me busy for 143 books. And then the Sweet Valley which were another hundred. I eventually graduated to big kid books and I will now basically read everything that is recommended to me. I do have an annoying habit of needing to finish terrible books. I don't know why I do this. Can someone help me break it?
I too often answer the question, "How are you?" with a simple word: "Busy." But I recently realized that my busyness, much like my joy, is a choice. The fall is by far my busiest season as a photographer. I'm swamped with emails and editing and end of the year business stuff. I obsess over finances so I'm checking my spreadsheets and doing math based on hypothetical sessions and honestly? I just waste a ton of time during this season. And it makes me feel crabby and busy. But I'm just so sick of using it as an excuse.
This is an extra special #WIKAWednesday because it's also an announcement. I would like to welcome my new nephew, Mr. Everett Jay Beam into the world!! He was born yesterday morning at 11:00 and he is just the sweetest little elf I ever saw. I can't wait to squeeze him when I'm home at Thanksgiving! (Congrats Matt and Becca!)
Today marks one week since Bernadette the bernedoodle joined our family. She's taught me so much already, as well as affirmed some things I already knew about myself. Like the fact that I'm impatient. Or that I can be a wee bit obsessive and controlling. And that I hate cleaning.
Tomorrow is my fourth wedding anniversary. When I think about all of our experiences: trips, moves, jobs, fights, etc., I feel like we've been married for ten years. And then I look at photos from that day and it feels like it was only a month ago.
We're not going to be together this year as I am spending this week in Pennsylvania, but I'm thinking about him lots and feeling very grateful for our four years together. Even from afar, I know some things about anniversaries:
If there is one thing I feel like I might be an expert in, it's binge-watching TV shows. I've been doing it since before online streaming existed. Hello? Box sets? My family and I used to watch five episodes a day every time a new season of 24 came out on DVD. During those weeks we would yell, "Do it—NOW!" when we needed someone to pass the salt or "We're running out of time!" when someone else was doing the dishes. Oh Jack Bauer how I miss you.
Anyway, it's an art really, and there are some basic things you should know:
I take it back. This is 75% self-promotion and 25% a reminder to past clients. Guys! Remember those little discount cards you got last year? You should use them. You got my digits ... give me a call to book your discounted session!
So, if there is anything I know well, it's myself. But you guys don't want to read 7 things exclusively about me. But maybe you want to know what it's like to hire me? Here's what I know:
One of my favorite things in life is to talk about being Mennonite. I like it because people don't really understand it and because they always have the funniest questions about it. I also love it because it's this entire culture that exists and so few people really know about. It's a little sub-world and I feel like to have been a part of it growing up. So, what I know about Mennonites:
We've owned a home for a little over two years. I really don't know that much about homeownership because, let's be honest, if I were single, I would still be sharing a studio apartment in center city Philadelphia (it was much more posh than it sounds). I know that money disappears from our bank account on the first of every month and that there seems to be a lot more chores these days. And also ...
I just finished my fourth 21 day superhero challenge. No sugar, no grains, no alcohol (read: no fun). Basically, paleo-ish because you can still have beans and butter. So if you see me in the next 48 hours, don't forget to tell me how good I look.
I love doing these challenges because they feel a little bit like hitting the reset button on my life. I get organized and focused when I do them. I also get less social because who wants to go to happy hour when they can't get a drink? Less happy hour = more work time. My body also just gets really tired after a few months of free-for-all eating, and I love getting back to the basics.
I fly quite a bit. Probably just slightly more than the average person, and a lot less than someone who travels for work. I usually just miss the 25 flight mark that Southwest has as their first tier of benefits. I didn't used to fly so much, but moving to Colorado changed all that.
In my 10 round trips per year, I've recognized some things that are true of every flight I take: