It warms your hands on a cold winters day, it’s present when secrets are spilled and the must have at family gatherings, it’s what your friends offer when you enter their doorway, and something that smells delectable… Okay, if you have been following me you may have realized I am a coffee addict. My frequent posts about my morning and noon (and night) pick-me-ups found in this caffeine packed drink have led you to believe I need to enter a rehab facility, but I promise I have things under control here. I got to thinking what it is about coffee that makes me so happy… some of my earliest memories are being babysat by the cutest elderly couple as a child and drinking a “cup of coffee” which was actually a glass of milk with one tablespoon of coffee in it… I suppose you could say, I started young.
Coffee reminds me of so many lovely things: I giggle whenever I think about my mom and her coffee… she was always forgetting her re-heated cups in the microwave only to find them the next day. I remember brewing a pot whenever my grandparents came over and always trying to remember if they took cream or sugar. I think of coffees and luncheons after church when the huge coffee maker couldn’t keep up with the eager hands to be filled with cups… I think of college mornings studying at the tables of Starbucks and days reading in the corner booth with a latte. I think of date nights playing cribbage and sipping a latte while the game grew intense. I think of cold Seattle mornings and visiting the first ever Starbucks with new friends. I think of mornings spent on the porch with a cup of coffee in hand and a sunrise. I think of long car rides and pretty mugs and family and friends and glitter… okay, not really glitter but it sounded appropriate.
I’m pretty sure my part-time internship in college funded my Starbucks addiction, but that love for coffee didn’t leave when we moved to our little coffee-shop-less town. For me coffee isn’t just a beverage, it’s a chance to connect. It’s a way of slowing down life enough to enjoy the taste of something with each and every sip and making it last as long as you possibly can so that you have zero excuses to leave. Coffee dates mean sitting for hours disclosing life’s stories and getting lost in time while the waitress continues to warm up your cup and ensure it never gets empty. It’s meeting clients for the first time and hearing their love story as you sip a latte and sit in amazement. It’s meeting old friends to catch up on all that life has offered as of late. It’s the way you know the seasons are changing: pumpkin spice equals fall, peppermint mocha means winter… Coffee to me isn’t just a little boost in my step, it is about the friendships that revolve around it, the conversations had while sipping it, the love that is shared in those moments where you set down your phone, pick up your cup, and enjoy every last drop.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole “less is more” adage and I have to tell you, I totally believe it. I was going through some old Facebook messages to girlfriends the other day and I was reading about my life, through my words, at that point in time. It was when I was fresh out of college, living in a new city, working a new job, and planning a wedding. In societies terms, I was living the American dream. I counted my blessings but in reality my “American dream” looked a heck of a lot like: long nights at work, piles of paperwork, and stress. A life filled with more: more work, more money, more time, more things, more lists… In this message I was telling them about my long commute to work, my long hours, tough days, and life living on a few hours of sleep. I sounded burnt out – optimistic, but burnt out. I told them to soak up their remaining college days because at some point or another you will likely miss them and that the real world isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Boy, did I not see what was coming… not even in the least bit.
As my journey has unfolded and my life evolved in the past few years, I am beginning to realize that I am really an old soul – like a wrinkly 80 year old dying to break through my 25 year old brain and share her years of weathered wisdom with the world… Less is more. When I talk about my job one of the first things I tell people is that even if I won the lottery, I would still do it. To me, it isn’t about the money, the acknowledgements, the accolades… it’s about a more happy and full life. This business fuels my passion, energizes my creativity, allows me to put my eyes to use and my heart on the line. As I continue to build this business at a breakneck pace, I have really stopped to evaluate what my version of this American dream is. One thing I have focused in on is: less is more. In a culture that is constantly screaming for more, that can never get enough, and is never satisfied – I want to be the nonconformist. I don’t want more money, more clients, more work, more things… I want less. To simplify, to breath beyond the clutter, to live beyond the work.
I am not a photographer who is begging for more clients, I don’t want to attract every single bride, I don’t want to shoot 100 weddings a year and I don’t want to picture my life if I even attempted to do that. I don’t want to boast big numbers or be the human who is shooting every single day, I don’t want to spend my life chained to my computer editing session after session. In an effort to develop my business and to balance my life I have really been setting boundaries for myself and one of them is: less. I want to book less clients so that I can focus on them more. I want to have less weddings so that each wedding gets more attention, love, and care. I want to be able to balance fewer contracts, less schedules, and a smaller amount of editing so that I can send more packages, sit through more coffee dates, and take more naps. You see, in my efforts to specialize my business, to structure a boutique business model, I realized that booking less was indeed more for me and for my clients.
I know that I won’t be the perfect fit for every couple and to be honest, I am entirely okay with that! I have reached a point where I realize that life isn’t about attracting everyone, it’s about attracting the right people (in that quest, you may repel those who aren’t the right fit – and that is okay too!) I want my clients who work with me to feel comfortable enough to plan a double date filled with beer and pizza, who want to become my pen pal, and share recipes. I want less clients so that I can focus on each and every one more. In order to run the sort of business I want to, I need to limit the amount of weddings I capture, I need to carefully navigate the waters of wedding season and ensure that my wife duties are still a priority. (I’m still wondering how it is 2013 and there is no fold button on the drier…) I need to book less so I can go on dates with my husband more, so that I can spend a week at the cabin without guilt, so that I can travel the world and see new sights.
In an era where everyone is grasping for more, more, more, I am here to proclaim that I’m not falling for it. That I will not fall prey to the glorification of busy, that I want to glorify honest and true living. I want to change the idea that your value is equivalent to the amount of things you do, that you are only worth a number. I don’t want to look back on my life and see a montage of long days spent editing, working, and stress – I want to see me embracing life and building meaningful relationships, going on midday walks, and taking days off every once and awhile. Your hours weren’t made to be filled with long commutes, tired days, and nights yearning for something more…. I was once there and my own words told that story. Looking back and reading that message was a powerful reminder of how far I have come at discovering my own American dream… I am here to write a better story for myself, a story of living. I am here to tell you: less is truly more, my friends.
Here it is, the final post of my gorgeous time with Ellie and David in sunny Florida – (well, sunny after the flash floods cleared up…) and boy, these are some of my favorite images ever. Ellie and David got married in a whirlwind wedding- planned in a whopping two weeks. Ellie moved down to Florida for David where he had enlisted in the United States Navy. On the beach, the two of them said their vows in private and promised to spend forever laughing together. This session was the first time they had ever hired a professional photographer to capture them. We decided to head back to the park after a quick outfit change and a latte and I am so so glad we did. These images tell their story, share their laughs, and capture their seriously (and ridiculously good looking) love. Nothing beats pretty mossy trees and a couple who can’t help but laugh when they hug each other. Telling stories through images is a blessing and an honor and to be able to give these two photos that capture how truly awesome they are was a gift.
Leave some love in the form of Florida sunshine and warm comments!
I shared a little peek into our short lived house hunting adventures on the blog but I figured it was time to share the outcome of the hunt… After a full day viewing five new homes, we went home in love with one. We kept talking about it, thinking of the options, choosing finishes, and getting excited… well, it sold. It sold the next day, right out of our grasp and it was enough to make us realize that maybe we weren’t ready to keep the hunting experience going if it was going to end like this. We halted our house expedition and took a little time off to really decide what we felt was right for where we are at in our lives…
We talked a lot about our jobs, about this community, about our families, about our future and realized that no matter what, we won’t be forever stuck. We have already lived here for two years and have built our lives, marriage , and business in this little farm town. We have friends, we know people, we have community, and we didn’t really expect to have that here. A few weeks of forgetting about the house hunting left us a little more refreshed and ready to potentially continue when we felt the time was right. A message appeared in Drew’s inbox from our realtor that said, “I just walked through your future home, I wanted to put up a sign on the porch that said your name… it’s yours.” I thought it was a hoax, an attempt to get us back in hunting mode and to go see more homes. He was serious…
We drove up the street and me being the calculated risk taker I am was filled with apprehension. As we walked on the beautiful hard wood floors, saw the vaulted ceiling, the gorgeous countertops, and all of the windows – I was in awe. This was what we had envisioned, this is our wish list in the form of a home. Enough space for a dedicated office with a full closet to house my gear, a beautiful view to watch sunsets without neighbors nearby, a cute little porch perfect for a bench and some landscaping… Oh, our heads were spinning but we were still “just looking.” We exchanged glances from across the room, both holding tight to our pact to not get over excited. We talking about where we would position the couch and how we would use each room….
In the weeks that followed my sweet dad drove the six hour trek to come look with us. We wanted an experts opinion and someone to ask the questions that we would likely forget as new homeowners. My dad inspected the foundation, the wiring, the workmanship and knew it was a gem of a home. Not even 3 years old, it was hard to find a fault in it! As we went through the daunting process of writing an offer, determining price, and figuring out if this was “it.” It all happened quickly, I found myself driving the extra mile to drive past it. Each time falling a little more in love with the idea of us having our lives there.
The boxes are starting to get packed and numerous trips to Goodwill have happened in our attempts to declutter. We are picking out paint colors and dreaming up decor. It is finally becoming a reality that soon, we will have our first space of our own. As we continue with the fun, our fingers are staying crossed! I am so thankful for the support and excitement over this big move for us. We are planting temporary roots in our tiny town and are happy to have more space for the pups to run, an office with a door that will close at the end of the day, and walls of possibility for us to finally make something feel like ours.
Instagram has quickly become my favorite iPhone app and lately I have been challenging myself to post daily. Not only does it help me capture life, it helps me to create art everyday – even through the little lens of my iPhone. I love scrolling through a feed of visual goodness, fun meals, crappy snowstorms, and of course #pupsofinstragram… my personal favorites. Lately I have been hunkering down, blogging, and mentally preparing for life when wedding season strikes. From seeking inspiration through books to stopping and smelling the roses (or daisies, thank you Tami!) I capture little glimpses of life as a self employed lady who loves working on the couch and pretending that she lives a glamorous life.
Get over to instagram and follow my life – worst comes worst, you will see oodles of cute photos of Chloe + Tucker. Here is the recent month of my life: eater at home, Sunday’s with Drew, stacks of books, birthday parties, and lots of running. Share your Instagram account in the comments section so I can follow your life through photos. Now, get scrolling through the imagery of my life.
Ps. Let me explain the abundance of Jimmy John’s posts, no we are not sponsors – we are addicted. Ever since Drew and I were in college, we would get a delicious sub on Sunday afternoons after church. This tradition has followed us into married life and is something we look forward to on Sundays. If you have never had JJ’s, you must grab a sandwich – they are freaky fast.
I am a hopeless romantic who thrives on capturing people in love. I am a wife to my beloved and a devoted puppy mom. I am a wedding blogger, a fashion fanatic, and a woman who seeks adventure. I’m just a Midwest gal who loves the north woods and dreads the freezing winters.
I am in this to tell stories.
Love stories, about couples just like you.