In no particular order, here are my favorite moments of 2017!
1. Punta Cana
Early on John and I decided that we wanted to experience life together rather than buy each other things. We knew that in 2017 we wanted and needed to RELAX in the warmth and worry about absolutely nothing! Which is how we came to the conclusion that an all-inclusive beach resort was the way to go. With the help of Patricia Tempest Travel Consultant we booked our 4 night stay at the brand new Now Onyx Punta Cana resort for February. For five days, we lived slow. We slept in, made our way to breakfast in our bathing suits and then walked directly to the beach. Just when we were settled and comfortable our first round of fruity frozen drinks were brought directly to us. (hey it’s vacation and it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!) We spent the rest of the morning lounging in the sun, occasionally playing whatever game the entertainment team was putting together. Once we were feeling hungry we would break from the beach to either hit up the beach side grill or the buffet before making our way to the pool to continue the sun bathing and frozen drinks. There were usually some naps required after such a rough and strenuous morning! Once we lost our day light we took that as a signal that it was time for dinner. At night we found ourselves walking the resort, checking out the show or entertainment for the evening, or making friends at the bar. And this was our life on repeat for 5 days. We left all of the worries and stresses of the past year behind us and slowed down. This is by far my new favorite tradition, intentional time together. We already have our 2018 trip planned and we can’t wait to head to CHARLESTON in March!
2. Bought a house
This is probably my number one of the year! If anyone has experienced buying a house, you’re familiar with the process. The ups and downs and all of the emotions that go with it. We started our house search in March of 2017. We saw over 20 houses in person throughout our search and put offers in on 3 homes that we lost out on in the process. You try so hard to stay positive and open minded, to not get your hopes up before you know for sure but when you find a home you can’t help but think of what your life might look like and all the possibilities it will bring!
While touring another house (that I wasn’t convinced was for us) I looked for any new listings on my phone for the millionth time that day that may have come up in the short amount of time we spent inside. To my pleasant surprise, there was a new listing in an area we knew we loved. Since it was JUST listed, there were no pictures but we immediately called and were able to see it within the hour. John had to go back to work so I was on my own. The second I walked through the door I was jumping up and down. I could see from the front door directly through to the kitchen and back door! (Along our search John was demo man and always suggesting knocking down walls so finding a house that required zero demolition made it even better!)
We toured the rest of the house and I was convinced that we needed to put in an offer ASAP. With less than 10% battery left on my phone I scrambled to take pictures and videos and convince John that he needed to get there as soon as he could, which wasn’t until after work at that point. It is so obvious now, after all is done, that this house was made for us. We put in an offer that night and they accepted by 9am the following morning. They canceled 17 scheduled showings the next day because the sellers wanted to move fast, and we couldn’t be more thankful! We settled on July 14, 2017 and we’re loving every moment of homeownership.
3. Virtual assistant
This year I also took on a new roll in business. When I saw that one of the sweetest photographers was looking for an assistant and was open to the possibility of them working virtually, I immediately knew I had to apply! I met Amanda years ago at the second round of the Creative at Heart conference. Fast forward to 2016, when my family was vacationing in the Outer Banks, I convinced John to take pictures with me and I knew Amanda had to be the one to capture them! So when Amanda was posting about growing her team in 2017, I already knew I loved her and the heart she has for business and I couldn’t wait to help. Luckily she felt the same way and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of her amazing team!
4. Published in The Knot
I don’t know if this moment will ever feel real. My first in print feature happened in November when Mr. and Mrs. Sanuth’s Reading Terminal Market wedding was featured in The Knot! Their wedding day was featured over 3 pages and highlighted all of the unique elements of their wedding day. If seeing a wedding featured in a magazine wasn’t enough, this was actually the first time I ever purchased and looked through the magazine in its entirety and was pleasantly surprised. Not only was their wedding featured, but one of their portraits was chosen to be the display image in the table of contents for the Real Wedding section. While flipping through, I also noticed that past vendors and venues had used my images in their advertisements too!! I wrote this down as a goal of mine years ago and to see it come to life was beyond my wildest dreams.
5. AJ Workshop
Every year I make it a priority to invest in learning and education. It is always such an eye opening experience and I walk away speechless every time. In February of 2017 I flew out to Arizona on my own to attend the Amy and Jordon Workshop. I had the opportunity to learn from two of the best in the industry with only a handful of other creatives making it such an intimate experience.
I always have the intentions of blogging about these experiences, but I take away so much from them that my brain always feels like it is on information overload. I begin implementing new ideas and techniques little by little as it feels natural for my business. This year, my biggest take away from the AJ Workshop was learning how to use the Expodisc (more on this later). This has transformed the consistency of my work and has dramatically cut down on my post processing time. We also had the dreamiest styled shoot that ended with an adventure into the desert and gosh it would be such a treat to go back and photograph a real wedding in the desert some day!!
6. Travel – Arizona, Florida, Punta Cana
Being both a full time teacher and photographer can really limit my chances to travel! I know what you’re thinking, teachers have summers off! For the last 4 years I have always taught summer school too. So when there are long weekends in our school calendar you better believe I am taking advantage of that time to get away and explore. In 2017 I started off by flying to Scottsdale Arizona in January for the AJ workshop. John and I traveled to Punta Cana in February and then in November we traveled to Florida over Thanksgiving! There were a few local beach trips thrown in throughout the summer too. My list of locations to explore is never ending!
7. Added two associate photographers to the team!
This is such a big step for my business and it’s one I have not yet properly introduced (that’s coming soon too, I promise!) For all weddings moving forward, couples now have the opportunity to book with our associate photographers, Krista and Nicole! These two ladies have been irreplaceable in my business over the last few years, alongside me on many wedding days and I am so beyond thrilled to add them to the team. I have had to turn away far too many weddings over the years due to already being booked or being out of budget and now more couples will have the opportunity to have the LHP experience!