People have been asking me how life is now that I’ve slowed down. I sigh, look up to the heavens, and smile. It’s amazing really, it’s like this feeling of weightlessness (okay, not really, but you get the idea.) After running, running, running for six solid months, a slow down feels like heaven. This time is far from unfilled, it’s the time where I start to plan for 2015, (yes, my head is spinning too!) catch up on the ever fun accounting, plan out my travels, dream, update my portfolio, put together welcome gifts, catch up with clients, and breathe. Yes, that last part is so important. I often just stop, sit, and breathe… and boy does it feel better than ever. It’s still busy, just a different kind of busy, a kind of busy that allows me to park my bum on our couch and hang out in yoga pants all day while crossing things off of my non-existant to do list.
In case you are wondering, this is my assessment hat… it is from Banana Republic and I love it.
It’s like a million internet tabs are constantly open in my mind and I want to do a million things at once, napping is at the top of that list. One of the greatest lessons I have learned these past two years is the importance of assessing. Slowing down enough to take a step back, remove the emotion, and evaluate where you have been and where you want to go. It’s taking the time to give yourself honest feedback and look through the good, the bad, and the ugly of the season. It’s taking notes, setting goals, and reevaluating your business, your schedule, your life. This season flew by, honestly, pretty seamlessly. I felt like I had plans in mind and goals in sight and I just kept pushing through. I streamlined my workflow, got into routines of equipment prep, planned out wedding consultations, streamlined communication… I felt like a well oiled machine almost all of the time.
But I promised myself to write things down this season, to remember those days where I was so tired I didn’t want to move, to remind myself to check and double check all gear prior to leaving, to always map out all locations before the wedding day, to set expectations beginning at the consultations. You see, it’s easy to forget the tough stuff, the rough days when you finish a season and feel accomplished and thankful and blessed, but as a business owner, you owe it to yourself and to your process to really be honest about where your bottlenecks are and how you are going to overcome. This shouldn’t be a once a year examination, it should be a monthly, weekly, even daily thought process. The power of assessment will lead you in the direction of your dreams if you take it seriously. I dare you, sit down and write out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Play some Sarah McLachlan and write down your goals, chase those dreams, make a plan. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it… and this, I pinky promise.
More radical thoughts told by yours truly, don’t miss these here:
I am obsessed with Instagram. There is something so beautiful, visual, and personal about it. For photographers, it’s a chance to push the creativity envelope while catching what might be mundane moments of life. Why do I love it? It’s life. Sure, it’s the far more composed and beautiful parts of life, but it’s life and it’s pretty and it’s shared with others. Instagram has connected me with some of my favorite people and inspires me to see something pretty in the ordinary. It has allowed me to share snippets of my life, my home, my family and gives me an excuse to shoot everyday (even if it’s just on my iPhone.)
This past year has been all about sharing myself, not just my business. I wanted to break the mold of only showing clients images and unleash a little of the wildness of who I am. I want my clients to want me, to want to be a part of my crazy life, not people who just need a photographer. In opening those floodgates to my personal life, I have allowed people to see me (even the goofy side!) and determine if we might be a good fit! It allows me to be creative, to seek beauty, to practice shooting and to find the moments in everyday (even the days where I live in sweatpants on the couch.) Let’s be honest, in today’s visual world you can determine pretty quickly if you would be best friends with someone based off of a little Insta-scrolling! So, let’s be friends…. what do ya say? Follow me: @jennakutcher. Post your instagram account in the comments so I can follow you, too!
You’ve already got to meet the gorgeous Jessie of The Factory Girl but today I am super pumped to share the images that we created one rainy day in Dallas. The Factory Girl was founded in 2012 by Jessie, her brother Clay, and their friend, Sean Lowe. Sean became a household name when he first appeared on The Bachelorette and later became the most recent bachelor (soon to be wed to Catherine!) They founded their business on the principle of being unique and trust me, their shop has all things unique. Jessie has a keen eye for design and styling, she hand picks pieces that she loves and in turn, their shop has an eclectic yet incredible selection of all kinds of goodies. I had only wished I brought an empty suitcase along to fill it with scarves, accessories, shoes, purses, and furniture galore. Each and every piece is a conversation started from their one of a kind painter furniture to their hand crafted accessories.
When Jessie and I planned out my visit to Dallas, I wanted to spend some time shooting their amazing items. We had so much fun styling their stuff and shooting beautiful photos for them to use on their website, social media, and elsewhere. I paired together my favorite things and made different looks (all of which I wish I owned.) I am entirely obsessed with this company, the people behind it, and the things they sell. You should probably scroll down to see a promo code special for my readers! But first, enjoy each and every goodie this place has to offer. Dallas is already calling my name again, I can’t wait to go back (this time, I promise I’ll bring an empty suitcase to fill.)
Enjoy 15% off your entire online purchase through next Sunday using code: THANKFUL // Visit The Factory Girl: here
What’s on my wish list? I have been lusting over these six things for awhile now:
Styled shoots are something I always look forward to. They are a chance to collaborate with top local vendors and do something new, something people haven’t seen before, something you’ve been dying to try. I have a goal of shooting two per year, so when Cherry Blossom Events reached out about collaborating, I was psyched. These ladies are amazingly talented, super fun, and top notch when it comes to wedding planning and event styling. This shoot was a dream, Cherry Blossom Events did a superb job of coordinating a vision and collaborating with the vendors.
Here was their vision: This styled shoot was inspired by the deep autumn tones that are especially apparent towards the change of fall to early winter. There is something very dark yet romantic and beautiful about that time of year. We wanted the table décor and accent pieces to have a masculine style – keeping things simple yet layered in leather and metal and glass accents. The contrast of the Bride’s fair skin and dark lipstick against the white snow backdrop – proved to be beautiful, dark, romantic – exactly what the recipe called for! We loved the outcome and different take on a fall/winter weddings.What a pleasure to team up with such talent and be able to create art for them, such an honor. Make sure you check out all of the talented vendors behind this shoot, listed at the end of this post.
Last Thanksgiving your mom had a few glasses of wine and checked her email when she saw a photo of you with a date that you would be euthanized. I know it sounds harsh, but that was your reality. If no one could claim you, you were next. It was a year ago that I picked you up in the parking lot, you were scared and tired and all sorts of confused. You laid in my lap as I drove you home thinking we would only encounter one another for a little bit of time. I had convinced your dad that we were far too blessed and we needed to help someone in need, that someone was you. You hid under the table when you met him and snuggled in between us in bed your first night. We were so proud to watch you let Chloe rule the house and you followed her around until your figured it all out. We fell in love with your little spunky spirit on day one and I wrote this blog post to share your cuteness with the world.
I remember when I took you into the vet because you had scratched open your incision and I found out that you were blind in one eye and had a bum knee. I cried the entire way home, the vet said she was surprised you still had that little eye for the abuse you had received was so harsh that it was unusable. I wondered how a human could possibly hurt a 9lb dog. That day I held you extra tight and cried for the life you lived before you had arrived in our arms. Your dad and I went back and forth talking about if we could actually go through with only fostering you. We had fallen in love with you and the way you and Chloe played all day long. We weren’t sure we could ever find another you and so we decided that you were ours and we were yours.
This last year hasn’t been easy, in fact, you’ve been a little stinker at times. You have frustrated us and have struck a nerve more than once… the way you love to tinkle to let us know that this is your territory means we have baby gates in our home, some times you growl at your sister, there have been a few nights when you sit by our bed and cry and cry and then hide under the bed, and let’s not forget about the ankle biting… we thought that was a saying until we saw you in action. But truth be told, you have come so far. I wanted you to be mine because I knew I could work with you, I knew I could love you every single day when we worked together, I knew that you were mine and I would love you. It took awhile for us to adjust to being a family of four, it wasn’t an easy transition and it was a lot of trial and error.
Last night as we laid in bed we talked about how much you are loved and how far you have come. You sighed as you slept in our arms and we kissed your little head. We can walk you without a leash now because you listen to us so well, you love hanging out in your crate and we leave the door open so you can use your bed when you get sleepy, you have learned to sit and shake now, instead of showing big dogs that you are tough, you jump into our laps and pretend not to see them, and those tinkle spots? Yeah, they are improving. The truth is, we knew you couldn’t recover overnight and to be honest, we weren’t sure what this journey would look like and we weren’t fully prepared for the healing process you needed to go through. But we knew we had something to offer, a warm home and two people who love you unconditionally (not to mention a scruffy sister, also a rescue from Kentucky!)
It’s your one year adoption-versary and we want you to know that we love you more than words, Tucker Jim. You are ours and we are forever yours, we will work with you, kiss you, cuddle you, and let you run as much as that wobbly knee will allow. My favorite moments are those when you lay asleep in your dad’s arms or jump at the door when we get home until we kiss you. You spend your days in my lap as I work, making sure your spot never gets cold. You have blessed our lives more than we have blessed yours and have shown us a dose of parenting that we never saw coming. I am so thankful that I had a few glasses of wine last Thanksgiving and saved your life. We love you and you have completed our little family, as you continue to learn and love and kiss us, our hearts keep growing. Happiest of birthdays to my little man, Bubba. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so darn worth it.
Check out the amazing k9 Rescue who saved our Chloe and who rescued Tucker.
I am a hopeless romantic who lives for telling love stories. I am addicted to hot lattes, yoga pants, and macaroni and cheese. 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 wants to travel the world.
I am in this to tell stories.
Love stories, about couples just like you.