A Review of 2017
Another year is upon us so as we dive into the grind of 2018, I want to reflect on 2017 and all that it was for this little business and life of mine! In all honesty, 2017 was a bit too busy but it was oh so good. 2017 came with some serious growth and opportunity to learn along the way... This post isn't to focus on any of the negative but it is all about what DID happen and what set my soul on fire as a wife, mama and business owner. I've never felt more ready to tackle another year and to be the best version of myself possible... more on that later.
Comparing my #2016bestnine to 2017 is further validation on just how much I truly have grown as a photographer. I have found my style and am proud of how far I've come in just over two years since deciding I want to be a photographer. Sometimes when we feel stuck as artists it is important to remember where we started. 2017 was so special and I'm going to run through every month and what I considered my highlight of that month! This is going to be a long one so pour a cup of coffee and enjoy this post and everything that made 2017 so special for me!
For fun I also put my #2016bestnine below so you can really see the growth that happened this past year!
January is usually pretty quiet but this time last year I was all over the place, including a road trip up to Seattle to document my brother and his fiance (at the time) at UW for their engagement session! They wanted pictures at The University of Washington campus and it was perfect. Connor and Nat had also just gotten their puppy Luna so of course she was the star of the show, haha! This is one of my FAVORITE pictures of the year.
I love February for so many reasons but mainly because miss Riley's birthday on the 7th! In 2017 she turned two and we had a small birthday party celebration in our house with Mimosas for the adults and apple juice for the kiddos! With her third birthday right around the corner, I'm currently planning her party in my studio and it's going to be so sweet.
Another highlight of February was when Connor and Natalie came down to visit us in South Bend. We had a wonderful weekend feeding cows and exploring the Ranch together! Shaun and I LOVE visitors and hope to have more people down here in this new year!
March was a very busy and fun month! I kicked it off by flying to California to spend some time with my parents! They wanted some updated pictures of their vacation home so they flew me down to hang for a few days. This trip is special because it was my first time out to Joshua Tree. I had a photo shoot out there and had my parents come along with me... it was so great and I even snuck in some portraits of the two of them at sunset! I'm dreaming of my next opportunity for pictures in the desert!
When I got home from California it was time to head to Leavenworth, Washington for Benj Haish's Cascade Workshop! While the whole driving piece of that experience was terrible (if you know me I HATE winter driving)... the workshop was the inspiration and boost I needed to rock 2017. I believe in education and it's one of my goals to attend a workshop every year to keep me inspired and learn new things from others in the industry! Benj is a boss and I've loved having him in my corner cheering me on since we met last March!
April was one for the books! My sister's boyfriend at the time (now Husband!) invited me to Las Vegas to surprise my sister for her 30th birthday and a little something more... a proposal! Of course I documented the whole weekend and it was amazing! I could write a novel on that entire weekend but I'll let the video below do *most* of the talking! It all began with the trip down to Vegas... a little miscommunication put me on the same flight with Cait and Nick. I went undercover all the way down (crossing their path several times without being seen!) It was hilarious. You may not know this about me but I'm a total crime TV/mystery addict. So when I had the opportunity to go undercover I took the role seriously, ha! Caitrin literally walked by me a few times and when it was said and done she remembers thinking that one girl resembled me based on the way she walked! Well, she was right! It was me! Basically the first day we were there was a rolling surprise ALL DAY. First with her friend Darcy and myself then all her other friends who made the trip down to celebrate. It was so special to be part of this weekend I will NEVER ever forget it. Ultimately, Nick got down on one knee and of course my sister said YES! More on them when we get to July!
Honestly, May was quiet! Nothing really sticks out to me that much except a lot of sprinkler days in the backyard! I also turned 29 but there wasn't anything to memorable around it this past year. I loved this picture of Riley running through the sprinkler Daddy set up for her! She couldn't get enough of it! It's nice to reflect on the days that WERE spent at home because there weren't enough of them in 2017!
June! Oh my goodness, June was SO good, It kicked off with a trip to San Jose Del Cabo for my first destination wedding! The bride and groom are friends of my brother and so I also got to hang with him and Natalie! For all the details on this wedding you can read the blog post right here! It. Was. Epic. One of the best parts of this whole experience was getting to know my friend Kelsey who flew down with me as my second shooter. We met at Seatac for the first time the morning we flew down and clicked instantly! She's one of my good friends in the community and I'm so grateful our paths crossed because she's truly the best.
June was also super exciting because it's when I got the keys to my new studio here in our town of South Bend, Washington! It took a few weeks for the owner to get his stuff out of the space and once that was done I hired a local company to paint it white. 8 gallons of primer and 8 gallons of paint later... I got my dream white space! The studio has been a work in progress but it's now filled and super cozy! I even have a bathroom in the corner you see photographed below!
I also wrapped up the month with my first one day workshop in beautiful Seabrook, Washington! You can read ALL about that right here! I wanted to host a one day workshop to help me gear up for my big workshop the following month. It was amazing and I loved connecting with the photographers who came to the coast to learn and dream big with me! It was the perfect event to break into the world of workshops and in-person education because in 2017, all of that was brand new to me!
July was probably the most insane month of the entire year! It was incredible because I hosted my first BIG workshop! I had the incredible honor of hosting 16 photographers from across the country in our little town. Rewind just a little bit because I wanted to share a photo that just MELTS my heart. Shaun's Aunt and Grandma reupholstered a couch that was left for the dump in my studio. It was the style of couch I've been envisioning for my photography for so long and it was FREE! All I had to do was purchase the fabric and these ladies took it from there turning it into something truly special. This couch has been used countless times this year since this photo was taken! I'm so grateful for these women in my life! I married a keeper and it has been such a bonus that his family is incredible, too.
So the workshop happened and it exceeded all my expectations for my first big event. I could talk forever on here about the experience but here's a summary of both the educational portion of my workshop and the gorgeous styled shoot on the ranch. And yes, plans for my 2018 workshop are in full swing! The Rose Ranch Workshop will be an annual event and it's something I hope to continue to grow over the years.
Part One: Dream Chasers Workshop Education
Part Two: Dream Chasers Styled Shoot on Rose Ranch
To wrap up July the family and I traveled to Wenatchee to watch my sister and Nick tie the knot! It was a beautiful celebration and I'm so happy I got to be there to capture it all with my camera. They said their vows on a rock overlooking Leavenworth and it couldn't have been more perfect. You can view the full post here for ALL the pictures and more about their special day!
August was another packed month of activities! Riley got to have her cousin Lily come stay with us for a few days which was an adventure! Having two toddlers was definitely an experience in itself but it was so fun! They were either fighting or hugging and I laughed a LOT. My sister had just had her fourth baby (my niece Grace) so I offered to give her a little break from her busy two year old Lils!
Next up we packed our bags for Leavenworth (again!) to celebrate Connor and Natalie's wedding at Sleeping Lady Resort! It was magical and yes, I took their pictures, too! I told you 2017 was a FULL year! Our arrangement for their wedding was that once dinner was served my camera would go in the bag and my second shooter Kelsey (whom you met from the month of June) would take over. It was the perfect balance of getting to be behind the scenes with the wedding party but also to enjoy the event! We wrapped up the night skinny dipping in the Icicle River... it was a good night and the pictures... well, you better check those out because those were pretty spectacular, too!
To end the month, Riley and I took a spontaneous trip to my cabin to have a little R&R after a really busy stretch of workshops, weddings and family celebrations. I went without a plan and ended up staying about a week! Shaun joined us over the weekend before we had to head home. It was perfect. Riley loves the cabin. It was so special to watch her explore and unplug! We played in the "forest" (the paths around our cabin), on the beach and cozied up at night next to the fire. As I sit here and write this out I'm already scheming our next getaway to do this again because it was the perfect time away and just what I needed to recharge for all my upcoming fall weddings!
September was full of many highs and a few serious lows. This post isn't to dwell on the things that were difficult this past year but rather I wanted to touch on it and simply say that when hard things come our way and we're faced with challenges that it's so important to keep your head up and hold it high. Instead of breaking down and giving up, I opted to use the tough moments of 2017 to make me a better photographer and human being. I've learned some valuable lessons this year that have set me up with clear eyes and a full heart for the future and where I'm going from here.
One of the BEST things that came from September was my trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee to photograph one of my SWEETEST couples from 2017, Abby and Kyle! You can view their wedding right here! It was HOT and so HUMID, but it was incredible! The thing I loved the most (besides the wedding) was the city of Chattanooga... the food, the vibe, and the people. Everyone was so nice. One of the other highlights of this trip was experiencing my first ESCAPE room. Have you ever been to an escape room? Well, you should try it because they are SO FUN! My sister, her Husband and I escaped prison and it was such a fun experience!
This photo below is one of my highlights of October. My friend Nicole Conner photographed the three of us on our way out of town after being in Wenatchee for my sister's reception (yes, they got married in July but had the big dinner/party in October!)
Anyway, we are IN LOVE with our photos and I actually just sent a bunch of them off for printing! They should be here next week and I'm so anxious to fill some frames around the house! Thank you, Nicole! We will cherish these photos forever.
To read my blog post from this session with Nicole, click here!
November was blissful, especially since it involved a trip to Palm Desert, California with my girl, my mom, and our family friend Julie. I'll never forget this trip and how much fun I had. Riley hated it so much as you can see from the photo below! This was the perfect escape after a crazy busy season. I'm already scheming my next November trip to my parent's vacation house!
Oh, December... I love you! December was WONDERFUL. December was the month I decided to take my health into my own hands. I've been on what I'm calling #myfighttofeelbetter and as of today I am 40 days in and feeling amazing. For 40 days straight I have made exercise a priority, cleaned up my act in the kitchen and stopped drinking any alcohol (since Thanksgiving!) It's crazy how quickly my life has changed since making the conscious choice to put my health first. I was the QUEEN of excuses before now on why I couldn't workout but I'm so proud of this commitment and how I've carved out time every single day. I will never forget how whiney Riley was during my first few workouts... she wanted my attention and would whimper on the couch wondering what the heck I was doing. Now she cheers for me as asks, "Mama that hard to do?" "Yes, baby! It's hard to do but Mama feels good!" She jumps in for some of the moves but usually just self entertains while I workout. It's become a very important piece of our routine and she always asks me when we are going to go workout with our friends. It doesn't get much better than that.
There have been a few ladies in our community who have kept me accountable and I'm beyond grateful to each of them because I don't know if I could have stuck it out this long without their support. We show up for each other and cheer each other on and it's so motivating. My friend took this picture of me on our first week of starting all this... I was pushing the stroller up a hill and honestly thought I might pass out or throw up when we hit the top. I wanted to cry and beat myself up on how out of shape I was but instead I went home and started a journal to help me stay inspired to not give up. I'm anxious to push that stroller up this hill again and see if it feels different because I'll never forget how hard that was for me that day.
New Years Eve was spent with my Husband and his family in my studio! We played Pictionary and Gestures and had a BLAST ringing in the New Year together! I've decided that game nights need to be a regular thing in my space because it was seriously so much fun.
There are definitely parts of 2017 I want to forget about but putting together this post made me reflect on how much GOOD came from the year and all the memories that were made. In my heart I know that 2017 was too busy and I'm here in the New Year with new boundaries and new intentions to work smarter and spend more time with my loved ones. I still have a busy year ahead but it's going to look a little different now and I'm taking everything that was learned in 2017 to fuel me in the most positive way possible.
Thank you for being here with me and I hope you loved this post as much as I loved putting it together!