Hello, 24

March 3, 2019

Tomorrow I turn 24, and wow oh wow has 23 been the year of my life. So much happened while I was 23 and I’m so incredibly grateful for all of it. It taught me a lot, mostly about how much I’m capable of and how much God is always moving on our behalf. Really such an incredible year, I’m so humbled looking back on it.

A few (okay, a lot) of the highlights:

I celebrated one year as a full-time business owner

And on April 21, I’ll celebrate year two! But really, this was such a huge milestone for me – being able to go full-time within months of graduating college, and stay full-time ever since has been one of the biggest blessings. I wrote a post about the things I learned in my first year going full-time here.

We photographed our first destination wedding – in Norway.

Another huge milestone for me, being able to photograph my first destination wedding – in Norway of all places – and with my hubs alongside me, was the best trip ever. We had so much fun, got to really soak it in, and the wedding was stunning. I’ll never forget that trip. You can see a re-cap of our trip here.

On that note – I traveled, a lot

It’s ironic because last year I said I wanted to cut back on traveling and somehow I ended up going what felt like everywhere, ha. But it was a ton of fun, and I wouldn’t change it at all. I was able to visit Orlando, Cali, Colorado, and Vermont. We’re planning a few more trips this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to those as well.

We Saw Taylor Swift in Concert

*que all the fangirling*

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! That girl knows how to throw a concert and I will never miss another one of her tours ever again. SO GOOD. SO SO GOOD. (If you didn’t already know I’m a fan, now ya know – #noshame)

We moved to Bloomington, IN

We moved to Bloomington for Lyndon to begin grad school at IU, and it has been one of the best moves we’ve made so far (also only our second move, but you know). We’ve made some incredible friends here, been able to get connected with people in the community, and have enjoyed the parks and culture. There’s so much to do, and we’re making the most of it for sure.

We celebrated our first anniversary together

I’m still not sure if time went by fast or slow, it just was. And I think that’s because we’ve done our best to be present in each day, not to take it for granted. Marrying this guys has hands down been the easiest and best decision I have ever made in my entire life, and I stand by that. He has made life so fun, given me so much peace and joy. He’s definitely my favorite.

I started a podcast

Within the first month of moving to Bloomington, I began making plans to start a podcast. And in October, I launched the Heart to Heart Podcast. I didn’t really know what to expect from it, honestly, but whatever expectations I did have – it’s far exceeded them. This podcast has helped me connect one-on-one with so many incredible entrepreneurs that I look up to in the industry, and it’s given me an even more connected platform to share my ideas and the things I’ve learned. To connect with so many other entrepreneurs who are just getting started, or who have established themselves as professionals has been absolutely amazing.

Some of my favorite episodes to date:

Visited Colorado for the first time and learned to snowboard

I’d never been to Colorado before but had always been mesmerized by the photos I’d seen. And I’d never been to a legit ski slope to snowboard before either. We got the chance to go to Keystone, CO for Christmas where I learned to snowboard on the big-girl slopes and YOU GUYS, I’m hooked. I want to go back every single year. IT IS SO MUCH FUN!! And so gorgeous. Oh my word, it’s so beautiful there. The scenery is unstoppable. Definitely a highlight for me.

I hit 16 weddings for 2019

This was a huge milestone for me. Incredibly monumental. For those of you who don’t know, I don’t book any work on Saturday’s. That’s the day when I worship, do church, spend quality time with friends and family. It’s my day off, every week, all year long. So naturally, it puts me at a bit of a “disadvantage” when it comes to booking weddings. But, this year I hit 16 weddings and I am thrilled. Most of them are taking place in the Midwest, but we’ll also be going to Punta Cana (#yesplease) and Florida. I am so stoked.

I hosted two workshops

My first workshop took place last May, and the second just happened mid-February. Both of them left me feeling all of the feels, my emotions all over the place. The girls that came to each one filled my heart so that it was bursting and it has been so fun to keep up with them since.

My biz bestie Sam and I are going to be co-hosting a retreat for business owners in September and I’m just as excited for that one!! Especially because we’ll be doing it together, and we’re doing this one a liiiiitle differently than the last two. We’ll be announcing all of the official details in just a few days, so stay tuned!

I found my girl gang

There have been times when I’d thought I found my girl gang, but the older I’ve gotten the choosier I’ve become on who I surround myself with. These girls constantly inspire me, push me to be a better person, and encourage me. I cannot imagine life without them in it. (Not pictured is my bestie Em – you’ll see more of her this summer!)

Photo: Tori Hook

Learned my limits, where I need to set boundaries, and who my support system is

I also learned what my limits are. Up until the beginning of this year, I was able to handle a lot of things on my calendar. But this year I’ve had to take a hard look at what’s lighting me up the most and what I need to cut back on. My word for this year is Intentional: I want to be more intentional in my scheduling, in taking care of myself. I’ve started setting aside “me” days once a month to re-set from the rest of my schedule. I’m taking steps towards not booking anything on weekends, aside from weddings, so that I can spend quality time with my hubs. And I’m no longer offering complimentary engagement sessions because traveling for them was getting too complicated and draining me too much. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past couple of months alone, and while at times it’s been not-so-fun, it has been amazing to make these changes.

 I Created a Bible Study Guide on Ruth

Last year I made a point to start pursuing God more through books and studying the Bible more in-depth with concordances. It was so life-changing! At one point I began reading Ruth and realized that there was so much more to it than I’d learned before. So I began making notes, learning about the history and culture at the time, and then I put it all together in a study guide. If you’re looking for a way to grow your faith a bit, this is an awesome resource to start with! You can find it here.

Photo: Cassie Dunmeyer

Realized how much influence we all have and the choices we can make to use that influence

This was probably the most humbling moment of all for me. It’s taken place in just the past few weeks – seeing the value I’m bringing to people’s lives through my posts, workshops, and podcast. Hearing from other photographers about how I inspired them to start offering boudoir. It’s incredibly humbling and overwhelming to me. Because to me, it’s showing me first-hand how God is using me to reach other people and that is amazing.

One of the coolest things to happen though, was learning how a couple of women who I look up started seeing big moves in their careers when they were 23. That was the most motivating thing ever. Karlie Kloss, and Jenna Kutcher were both 23 when they began building their empires. And some of my closest girlfriends were making big moves this past year in their businesses at 23, too. My biz bestie Sam (@rootingforyousocial), and my gal pal Tori Hook. I mean, dang, girl power.

If ever I had a year, 23 was definitely it. But I like to think that it just set the stage for 24, because God & I are only just getting started.

Thank you guys so much for supporting me in this journey. And if you read all the way to the end, you’re the real rockstar.

24, I’m ready for you.

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