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Deep in the Heart of ... Love, The Nelsons Project

2.24.2015


Growing up, I didn't live in the perfect home, with the perfect parents who had the most perfect marriage, with the perfect cars, the perfect jobs, the perfect suppers around the dinner table, or the perfect...well, life. In fact, I grew up in a broken household with a (wonderful, loving, hard-working) mother who wanted her marriage to work, so badly, and did everything it took. Trust me...I was there, even when I was that 8 year old crying, screaming and closing my eyes praying that the fighting  would all just stop. My Mother tried so hard to show my brother and I what a marriage should look like, and little did she know...I took note of it all. Every time she cried, fought for it, and dropped to her knees calling His name for help...I was there, watching. She thought she was disappointing us, but what she didn't realize is that she was teaching me everything that my heart beats for today. I witnessed things that no child should ever see, and events that will always echo somewhere deep in my heart. However, they will not be echoes of hurt, fear, or disappointment. That's not how this girl rolls! :) Thankfully, God worked wonders in my heart at the youngest of ages to show me that even though my parents didn't have the perfect marriage...He showed me how important marriage is, and the value of what marriage should be.



My Mom is one of my biggest heroes. She doesn't think that, even today. She thinks she's failed me because she's divorced, but truth is...Her heart is bigger than this earth, and I guess, somewhere in her pregnant belly 29 years ago, she was also gifting and growing another heart...mine. Even though the heart she grew for me is sensitive, stubborn in anxieties, and can get me hurt more often than not...it is probably my most favorite thing she could have given me. I treasure it, every single day and will until the last day it beats.

My Mother's parents, my Mamaw and Papaw, stepped up to play the father role after my Dad left. They loved me, supported me, and helped my Mother and I in more ways that I can ever express. When my Mom couldn't put food on the table, my Papaw would hand her a twenty dollar bill. When I couldn't meet that last $100 of sponsorship for those scholarship pageants I desperately wanted to be in, they would step up, and play that role of my father. When I had exciting news to share, I would run down to their house and tell them. They would smile and celebrate the straight A's, the blue ribbons, the trophies, and even praise me when I would get excited about the 30 doodle bugs I would dig up to show them. They wanted the best for their children, and their children's children. They helped in the smallest, most memorable ways. I don't know if they will ever truly know how much I noticed, or how much I'll truly be grateful for their unwavering love in my life. I was one of the lucky ones, I truly realize this. It's crazy how God works in your life when you're too young to truly know what's happening, but when it hits you, all you can do is look up, say Thank you, and try to live life by His example and doing the best you can with the cards that your dealt.



My mother is loving, sensitive, creative and wants everyone to be happy. Just like me. My Papaw loves photography, he's really goofy, has good handwriting, and he always loves to make people smile. Just like me. My Mamaw is also loving, and sensitive, however, so stubborn and particular...and has a hard time letting go of mementoes and things that remind her of the people in her life...just like me. The one thing we all have in common, besides genes? We all value marriage. Through and through. I can't think of three better, more influential people to have raised me by simply showing me the importance of having purpose at the roots of your heart.

All my life I have been a hopeless romantic, and dreamed of the day I'd meet the love of my life. I had high hopes for marriage, and even though that's hard to do in this world today...I never let that get to me. I prayed for it, from the age of 14 (weird, I know), and the Lord listened. He heard my heart and gifted me with the most incredible man to love for the rest of my life at the age of 20. I'll never be able to thank Him enough for giving me the only thing I've ever wanted the most in my life...and that's having a beautiful marriage. It's not perfect, and I would never expect it to be. I know I'm only 9 years of living life with him, and only 6 years into this crazy, beautiful marriage, but it's by far been my favorite years of this life I'm living. We have had our moments, and our fights just like every normal human being...Pshhh! I'm not here to sugarcoat anything but what's different for us, is that our hearts beat together as one, even on those bad days where we want to pull each other's hair out. The value we put into being husband and wife is the only thing that I can credit, and that's the Lord being at the center of it, no matter what.


Ask anyone who knows me...if I see an old couple...I will stop whatever I'm doing and I will just stare. Most likely, there will be a clasp of hands in the middle of my chest, and a smile beaming on my face. If they are grouchy, it makes me smile even more...because that's real life and it's just plain awesome. :) One time, I was at the grocery store and an old man checking out had milk, Goobers, and a bouquet of flowers. I instantly wanted to cry and run over to him to ask him who he was buying them for... ;) I can't tell you how many times I will spot an old couple and just admire them...wishing that I could stop them, talk to them and ask them questions...ask them how far they have come, and hear their love story.

Graduating college, I was engaged, obsessed like many new brides planning the perfect day, and had every wedding magazine on my kitchen counter. I worked for a bridal magazine for a short time, then after my wedding, I thought, "Well that was fun! I should be a wedding planner!" And then that "dream" was quickly put away when I realized how many personality traits I lacked for that job (organized being one of them!) :) I have always been a picture taker, and passionate about sharing my life, my journey, and well, everything that came into my life. Then one day it hit me after photographing a senior session for my niece that was just for fun...that is where I found myself. Behind the lens...documenting happy moments for people in the most exciting times of their lives... And well, I guess it's self explanatory that weddings quickly became my concentration in my career. :)



All in all, marriage has always been at the root of my heart, and my life. It's more apparent to me as each day comes and goes. So how did #lovethenelsonsproject come about? (Besides this long winded back story I just gave you? ;)) I attended Making Things Happen in Chicago of 2012, and at the end of the conference, we were all asked to lay on the ground, on our backs with our eyes closed. Lara asked us this question, and went around the room.

"Where do you see yourself in 50 years? What does your most ideal picture of your life look like? If you could choose the end result in your life, reflecting everything that you've worked for and towards your whole life...what would that be? Picture it, describe it, what is it? "

People went around the room and shared their dreams and it was beautiful. However, my heart was pounding and I was getting anxious about having my answer. I didn't know how many babies I would have...I mean, I knew I wanted a family...and I didn't know how many grand babies I would be snuggling, or what kind of house I would have at the end of my life that everyone works their whole lives for...all I saw was this...and answered,

"All I know is that I want to be gray, old, wrinkled, in love, and hand in hand with Drew...walking down the sidewalk...That's all I want."



My heart answered, and from that day forward, everything I've worked for has been for that. I'll continue to work towards that goal. Fast forward to April of 2014...

I was photographing a dream wedding in Charleston, South Carolina with the sweetest clients in the world, and it was Drew and my first time ever visiting. We fell head over heels with that city from the moment we landed. We decided to stay one more day after the wedding to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary and spent the day at the beach and exploring. We splurged for the first time since we got married and got ourselves a red sports car to explore the town in. We headed down to the beach with the windows down (you might remember our trip from this video) :) and on our way back from the beach...I saw an old man and an old woman, walking hand in hand, down the sidewalk. He had on a red bow tie with crabs on it, and I felt a lump in my throat as my thoughts quickly took me back to that place on the floor in that conference room telling Lara and the room of ladies what I wanted at the end of my life. And as I came back to the present in that moment, my mouth started moving before I could even process what was happening and blurted, "STOP THE CAR! STOP THE CAR!" Drew looked at me like I was crazy, as I begged him to turn around so I could talk to that "precious old couple!" "What Shay? Really?" "YES, REALLY! Please!" He pulled the car around but we couldn't find a parking spot near the way they were walking, so I jumped out, and ran towards them waving my hands. The old man was opening the car door for his bride as I approached them, and I startled the living mess out of them.

I introduced myself and said, "I'm so sorry if this is weird, I just couldn't help but admire how precious you both were walking down the sidewalk just now...and I want that, with my husband. He's in the car down there, but he doesn't want to get towed off, so he stayed." We talked for 10-15 minutes and they told me their names, where they were from, how many grandchildren they had, and I took a photo on my iPhone. I got their e-mail address and told them I would send them their photo and left that conversation with the biggest smile, and tears in my eyes.

I posted their photo and a quick version of the story to my instagram...you might remember this? :)



I got home, and wedding season started. I was busier last year than ever, and could barely keep my head above water. However, I had their photo saved to my phone (and still do) and for some reason didn't send the photo. I don't know why, or what excuse of "busy" or "I'll do it soon" I told myself, but I held back.

In November, I was coming down from wedding season and was coming back from the deer lease by myself. I love music, and very rarely (if ever) will you find me in my car without my music on. But after a quiet few days in the peace and quiet of the woods, my body rested, my mind rested, and my heart had a chance to wind down from the past year for the first time since Charleston. I turned off my radio for the three hour drive back, and had a three hour talk with the Lord. In that three hour conversation, my heart was revealed to me...in the weirdest moment, not one I would expect to have my 'A-HA' moment where your heart beats so fast and you cry because you finally feel like you are finding your path without your blinders on. He took my mask off, and asked me to be brave...so I listened.


I got home, called my friend Nycia, and she sat there and listened to me pour this crazy idea and mission out to her. She listened. She LISTENED for TWO hours. She supported me, she lended her ears, encouraged my doubts, and before I knew it, I was planning a shoot with my Mamaw and Papaw...the biggest inspiration of marriage I've ever had in my life. I couldn't think of a better marriage to start this project out with. I was the happiest I had been all year when I stopped that old couple walking down the road that day...I was the happiest when I saw that old man buying milk, goobers and a bouquet of flowers for his wife who could have been at home waiting for him, or at her gravesite. I'll never know their story now, but what I do know is that I'm ready to change that.



I e-mailed a group of my closet industry friends who I knew "got me" even before I could explain what I was doing fully. They believed in me, and they trusted me. I will never be able to thank them enough for taking the time to answer my e-mails, to donate their time by driving two hours to my grandparents house, and gifting their talents into the best thing I ever will try to accomplish. I was trying on dresses for my Mamaw, stuffing the top with pillows (to make sure there was room lol), I ran around town trying to find a yellow tie for my Papaw, and coordinated this thing with the most awesome disorganized skills in the world, but hey...guess what. It turned out. And it turned out beautifully.


If you're late to the game, you can see the live feature on Style Me Pretty here. But if you don't want to jump over, here's what I said:

"This is simply a reminder to the world from the lens of a granddaughter who adores her grandparents and the love they share. I want to put hope and the true meaning of marriage back into the beating hearts around the globe. We are living, breathing and experiencing a world of instant gratification and noncommittal tendencies. We are so wrapped up in seeing the “instant-polariod pictures”, and not the huge hand-painted masterpiece of marriage that takes time, patience, passion, attention to detail, and hard work. What happened to being together forever? Why does our world look down on marriage so much now? It breaks my heart and even though I am ONE person…I have felt called to somehow, someway make a change. Nobody is perfect, but LOVE…LOVE is why we are here. Love is real, it’s unique for everyone and it has the power to change our world if we let it.
Marriage should be forever. It’s finding that person you pick to love and yet, drive you crazy, day in and day out. It’s more than color schemes, gorgeous gowns, perfectly crafted tables capes, and the perfect shoes. It’s growing old, hand in hand, wrinkle after wrinkle. It’s taking two heartbeats and working together to make one. It’s letting love win, always, no matter what.
Whomever is reading this…This right here is my heart. This right here is the most important thing I have ever been a part of and put together. As you read this, I am over here behind the scenes pouring out blood, sweat and tears into this passion project. I’m calling it Love, The Nelsons Project. I’m ready to show lovers around the world that true love still exists. There are so many love stories that we don’t know of out there waiting to be shared. The hard ones, big ones, small ones, beautiful ones, and stories that can change our lives and the way we view marriage. This is my pledge and my mission to find these stories and to document them over the course of the next year.
I want to put together something truly special…so here it goes! My goal is to compile a book of old love stories and that’s where I am asking for your help. I will travel to these couples, sit down and listen to their stories, interview them, and will photograph them together. Do you know of someone who has a love story that is worth knowing about? One that is worth sharing with the world to inspire, and that will help instill the true value and purpose of marriage back into our lives? The sky is the limit here! If I can impact one…just ONE marriage, ONE woman or man who are seeking their forever…my mission in life will be fulfilled. Help me tell these stories. Please e-mail me at hello@lovethenelsons.com and put “LTN Project- Old Love” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!
There is so much more that I want to share here in this space, but please follow along my journey on instagram at @shalynnelson. Our hashtag will be #lovethenelsonsproject #oldlovebook
My grandparents have been married for 63 years. My Papaw planted a rose bush outside of their bedroom window when they built their house. He has always said, “Billie Wanda is the rose of my life…But it does have a few thorns here and there…”, which is the reason he’s holding a bushel of roses in some of the photos… :)
And to end this post, I’ll quote my Papaw…
“Walking through life together, but the trail’s getting short.”


The response has been nothing short of incredible, mind blowing, inspiring, and has left me speechless more times that I can count. Reading the comments on that blog post made me ugly cry (lol, I KNOW, I told you I am sensitive) but it was the best feeling knowing that people were accepting of my idea. That feeling of someone saying, "I'm proud of you" when you give everything you have into something. It was like that feeling but times 29829031092. :) I feel like it's been God's way of saying, "Keep going Shalyn, even though you're scared and don't know what the heck you're doing, or how crazy this experience is going to be...Keep going. Don't let money, or those things that hold people back keep you from doing this. People care. People need this. Marriages need this. The generations coming up need this. KEEP GOING. Don't. Give. Up."

So I am. I'm going to keep going. If you have texted me, messaged me, e-mailed me, liked anything related to this project, told someone about this project, commented, shared my mission on social media...I mean, ANYTHING...I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Each one of those things have meant more to me than I can possibly express...and in every way, big or small, has pushed me when I start to get scared and anxious that this project is bigger than what I'm capable of doing. I've followed God my entire life, but like anybody, I've failed him so many times. However, he's been building my core, my strength, and has pumped so much courage into my heart over the course of my life. It's time I stop climbing and sliding down the rocks. It's time I keep climbing, and not let go. This time it feels different...it feels right, and most of all, it feels like home.



If you have a love story to share, please e-mail me at hello@lovethenelsons.com. I'll be in touch as soon as I can.

Dress: The Ivy Retreat
Hair and Make-Up: Makenzi Laine
Florals: Bristol Lane Florals
Developing: Photovision Prints


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2015 Yearly and February Goals

2.03.2015



Before you read this post, I request that you watch this video first. 

Did you watch it? 

Good. Because there are a lot of GOALS in this post and you're gonna need that song to get you through this! HAHA. I'm kidding. Kinda.

Alright, now that you're going up, on a Tuesday with me, let's get to it!

In case you missed my post yesterday, you can read how I spent my January here or scroll down to the next post.

These were Drew and My 2014 Goals 

1. Stress less = less busy. Simplify our lives, commitments and schedules.
2. Mentally prepare and get comfortable with the idea of Baby Nelson's in 2015 or 2016.
3. Vacation - Just the two of us.
4. More fun. More spontaneity. More adventure. More dates.
5. Meet Steph and Neal.
6. Figure out our housing situation. To build or buy? Save. Save. Save.
7. Count Our Blessings, Daily.

We were able to complete all but number 3. BUT we did travel a bunch and made some really awesome memories! :)

Personal Goals from 2014

Learn Film
Host The Glow Workshop again
Cook and Prepare more meals for Drew ( Betty Crocker hates me )  Still need to work on this, though.
Gain more confidence/Stop apologizing for who I am  Some months were better than others.
Guest speak at a conference/Inspire/Teach/Help the growth of others
Limit the amount of weddings I photograph/More selective  Will be doing this again and applying what I learned this year.
Travel to a place I've never been - We went to NYC and Charleston (both places we had never been before!)
Take more photos of MY life - FAILED. BIG TIME. Does my iPhone count?
Own a bike with a basket - BEST DAY EVER
Try something new  I tried calligraphy, and other fun things throughout the year!
Be BRAVE.
See my work published in a magazine (DREAM BIG! WHY NOT!?) -  I had a photo of mine featured in Southern Weddings! :)
Less complaining & Less Wanting - I am blessed! I have all I need.
Trust my gut instinct. It hasn't failed me yet but I've failed to listen to it, way too many times
Stop holding back in fear of what other's will think/ BE FREE - I was up and down with this.
Finally make the Vegas trip happen with my blog girls we've been talking about for two years

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2014, you weren't too shabby my friend! There were ups and downs, just like any year…but you were different. A good different and a pivotal year for me. I felt you change doubts in my heart, in big, big ways…and you helped me get outside of my comfort zone. I learned A LOT about friendships and this business, you helped me test new waters, gifted me with a bible study with amazing women and budding friendships…you opened my eyes and helped me see the value of my work, my time, and my profession more than ever before. God was bold in my life and lead me to have deep conversations with Him that I won't ever forget. He helped me navigate through those deep dark woods and swim through troubled waters which helped reveal the core of my heart. He showed me how you want me to use my gifts and how I should serve others well. The unknown place of "success?"at the end of the road that I've been thinking I've been traveling towards like every person in life…was the wrong path. I didn't realize it until that day in November when you and I had that hard three hour conversation full of tears, worry, anxiety and frustration that turned into an understanding of meaning, love, faith, hope and purpose. I'm jumping in to this new year using everything He has taught me and letting him guide EVERYTHING I do, rather than letting Him guide most of my steps…It's all Him now. I'm all in, with more understanding of why He choses our paths and steps…so with one foot in front of the other, here we go, with all the faith, hope and trust you've instilled in me.

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2015 Yearly Goals with Drew

1. Take a trip, just the two of us to Lake Louise.
2. Establish and Build Savings Account by 30%
3. Plan our forever home
4. Finish remaining renovations left in our home (Master Bath, Yard/Landscaping, Countertops in kitchen)
5. Start a "Nelson" book club between the two of us.

My Personal Yearly Goals

1. Go all in with #lovethenelsonsproject and not look back.
2. Photograph a wedding in Europe
3. Have a full shoot of mine in PRINT
4. Finally get a business website up
5. Floss Every Day

It's now officially LOVE MONTH!!! Bring on all the puffy hearts, chocolates, teddy bears, and cheesy cards! This month has shaped up to be extremely exciting and FULL of fun!

February Goals

1. Announce My Passion Project…I have butterflies in my stomach just typing that.

2. Get published in a magazine … My very first film session is going in Magnolia Rouge and I can't breathe. Basically.

3. Travel to Memphis for a girls weekend.

4. Share some fun features with you guys that I will get to be a part of this month

5. Photograph The School of Styling Workshop

6. Photograph Three Engagement Sessions

7. Photograph One Bridal Session

8. Visit my friend LEAH in Houston when she comes visit from Michigan

9. Host Steph and Neal here in Austin (Can't wait!!!)

10. Attend the She Inspires Experience that my dear friend Nycia is hosting! YOU SHOULD COME!

11. Go on a fun Valentine's Day adventure with my sexy husband

12. HOLD MY BABY HEDGEHOGS FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!

13. Buckle my seatbelt and proceed with the #lovethenelsonsproject adventure

14. Limit myself to one diet Dr. Pepper a day

15. Drink MORE water

16. Start Pilates Classes, again to get myself in shape so I can have energy again!

17. Start THIS program with my friend Brittany

18. Take a hip hop dance class and shake my tail feather like a boss!

19. Finish Season 2 of New Girl with Drew

20. Pay it Forward, every single week.



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A January Well Spent.

2.02.2015

 Photo of Me by Jen Dillender

Let's pretend I'm letting out a huge breath of air right where this sentence starts and ends.

I have started to write about ten new posts over the past month here. I'll begin writing, erase, and close out. Then I'll repeat this process over and over again. I don't know if it's because I've been away from this space for so long that it leaves me feeling itchy and awkward when trying to figure out where or how I'm going to pick up my slack.  It's like there is this massive black hole lingering over this blog that I have failed to close up because there is too much that's gone on for so long that I feel overwhelmed to even go back and address the places I've grown and moved on from already. I'll be the first to admit that I've been hard on myself. With anything and everything I do. This whole "inconsistent" thing I've been rockin' hasn't been on purpose, and to be honest, it's driving me balls to the wall crazy. 

I got back from a trip to NYC with Drew on January 2nd, and when we got home, we kept true to our new year resolution meeting tradition where we huddle together at our kitchen table and write out our personal yearly goals, as well as our yearly goals we will work on together as a couple. However, I never posted them here that next day. I mean, I could have. I planned on it. I had no reason not to do it. But I didn't. The pressure to join in along with the rest of this community like I do every year was knocking at my door…but I never answered. I just stared at that door and let it knock.  It then occurred to me after a lot of thinking and seeing others post their resolutions and goals that I wasn't ready for 2015. But why? 

It's because I was still coming down from an incredible, yet extremely exhausting 2014. I felt pressure to feel like I should be joining in on all the "This is my year! Let's rock this 2015! I'm making things happen TODAY!" attitudes that come in a huge tsunami wave every January 1st. But instead, I sat on my couch staring at the ceiling fan to see how many blades I could count with my eye balls one by one before they couldn't keep up anymore and the fan became a blur again. I was tired. Just hands down, exhausted from head to toe. The productive switch in my brain was off. I sat in the center of a house that needed to be addressed, clutter hidden in every closet, and an unorganized mind. I know it was the Lord reminding me that I was feeling "off" for a reason and that it was time that I listened. I decided to stop being stubborn, and CHOSE to slow down so I could maybe, really, really listen to my thoughts without anxiety feeding them for once. 

Around that time, something I've always wanted and something I've worked towards happened. In the three years of wedding photography I have been blessed with...I sat there for the first time, EVER, not having a single wedding to edit, or a single client waiting for their photos. I had been riding on that anxiety every single day for THREE YEARS straight, and when I got to that day where I marked the big "X" in the box that said "POST OFFICE DELIVERED" for my last client of 2014…I simply didn't know what to do with myself. It was a foreign feeling…freedom from the never-ending guilt and pressure I put on shoulders day after day. I finally, for the FIRST TIME, could relax a little, and sleep a little tighter…and it was freaking WEIRD let me tell ya! It took me a week to really realize THIS was the time that I could finally work on all those behind the scenes things in my business that I needed to address, BADLY. I imagined this massive dance party where confetti would come from my ceiling and Beyonce' would pop out to give me a high five and dance with me all over my house when that day came. Sadly, my imagination gets the best of me (always) lol but it was a huge weight that lifted off of me. It oddly enough left me feeling restless, fidgety, confused and even more anxious about addressing all the "behind the scenes" to dos that have been on the back burner for so long. You know...Those IMPORTANT things that help run a successful, SMOOTH business…yes. THAT! The time was finally heeeeeah! It was time to get an improved system in place.

Instead of focusing on goals, I took the month of January to NOT add to my list. I simply wanted to focus on simplifying my list…for once in my life. My weekends were booked with birthday celebrations, family trips, friends came to visit, personal things, and some quality time with my husband that I see less than 1/3 a year. I used this time to paint my office walls from gray to white. I reorganized my office…twice. I cleaned out my inbox, sorted client folders, tied up loose ends, I breathed more, I sat in silence more than ever, I answered e-mails, I updated my pricing and updated my PDF, I started researching new e-mail servers to help with the junk mail problem I have had all year, I traveled home to visit my family just because I finally could, I was able to be there for a family member in need, I worked on my website, I selected a new album company, I cleaned out my boxes in my closet full of receipts, I went to the eye Dr. that I've been needing to do for a long time, and I made an appointment to get my cameras cleaned. I got SO MUCH DONE that had been weighing on my shoulders for SO long. And because I'll keep it real, I STILL haven't got it all done. However, I am sitting here today feeling rested, motivated, and refocused more so than EVER…and in a much better place than I was on January 1st. My business from the inside out looks brighter and happier than ever, and so is my heart! This month may have flown by and felt like two weeks instead of four... but I'm so very thankful for every minute of it. 

2015 has already shaped up to be an exciting, scary, and wild adventure. God knew what He was doing when He told me to slow my roll this month and I am so thankful I listened. He's been moving mountains in my life lately and can't thank Him enough for the grace he has shown me. Now that February is here…I'll be the first to admit that I have sweaty palms. This month will put the big mark on a HUGE personal goal/passion that I'm so freaking nervous to share with all of you. But I'm letting Him lead the way every single day!

February is going to be FUN y'all! I'll be back here tomorrow to share my goals. I'm excited!!! :) 


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December Goals

12.04.2014





I am really proud of myself. Don't laugh. To most, this is not a big accomplishment, much less, any accomplishment. But I am one chapter away from finishing a book and that is the BEST feeling ever for this gal. Eye rolling is allowed. I know. But, it's either a hobby or it's not. I've never been much of a leisurely reader. I mean, not to bragggg, but I WAS in accelerated reading back in the first grade (bahahaha, so lame) ;) and I can read really fast. Drew doesn't understand it, but we will both be reading an article on my phone, and I'll scroll down to the next paragraph and he is always like, "WAIT! HOLD UP! I'm not done! HOW DID YOU ALREADY READ ALL THAT!?" It's either that or he's a slow reader, and I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. :) But, for some reason I've never really made the time to read, at least for fun anyway. A friend recommended "Not That Kind of Girl" by Lena Dunham to me when I told her I was wanting to read more for a million reasons I won't list out and bore you with here. I was hesitant at first, but I started to see it pop up in my instagram feed more and more, so I thought, "WHY NOT!?"

It's been a fun read, and a pleasant way to end my busy days. Even though I'm so different than this woman, her honesty, her wit and her thought process cracks me up. But I can still relate to her in a lot of ways. For one, I appreciate how random yet sweet, and deep her thoughts are, which is really similar to the way my brain works. Underneath her wit, her heart is somehow effortlessly hidden but also pouring out of these pages. Her book is blunt, and a little LOT-ttle on the vulgar side, but it is real as real gets and I found myself laughing out loud a few times. We'd be friends. I know it. And I'd be cool with that... because well, everyone needs this friend in their life...the kind that's "Not That Kind of Girl." Book title is on point chy'all.

Last night, while reading her hilarity before bed like a BOSS, I came across this paragraph and it really stuck with me. I re-read it and immediately bent the corner at the top of the page:

"And I decided then that I will never be jealous. I will never be vengeful. I won't be threatened by the old or by the new. I'll open wide like a daisy every morning. I will make my work."

November has been a productive month. Almost a blur really. I'm working away over here like a monkey with really bad hair and I've been little more quiet on social media than usual (friends keep pointing this out to me so I thought I'd address it).  It's not because I don't want to post, but I have been trying to get ISH DONE SON! I'm tired. My inbox is messy and full, by the beautiful Grace of our Lord. My flame is flickering and burning fast as it always does at the end of the year, but I will say my heart is so full and oddly, really, really content right now.  It's all good yaknowwhatimeanvern. I have a sticky note near my computer that says: "Clear List = Clear head & heart!" I'm so ready to be in this place. It's so close I can feel it. That light at the end of the tunnel I was looking for last month is finally peeking it's sexy self in. *Whistle noise goes here* :) However, this whole drinking caffeine like it's water, eating the scraps in my pantry because going to the grocery store takes too much time right now, which then ends with me staring at an empty fridge that's decorated with an empty pickle jar and leftovers from two weeks ago, and then I get those thoughts on a daily basis such as, "Did I brush my teeth today?" which is quickly then followed up with hand to mouth, exhaling, and then heading downstairs to find the toothpaste. I DID take the trash out this week, but I'd be lying if I told you I've brought the trashcan back to the side of the house. Yep. Still on the street. (Sorry neighbors, I'll make sure I do that today mk!) I know I'm not the only photographer in this boat. It's real a pretty scene over here I tell ya! ;)

We finished out our wedding season and had a really great Thanksgiving with our families. I'm excited to mark things off the list and to see it get smaller and smaller, rather than mark one off, add three. Repeat. December is being devoted to knocking things out one at a time, tying up the loose ends and then will come up for some air so I can enjoy the holidays! :) THAT AND MAKE A CRAP TON OF COOKIES AND EAT THEM ALL WITH NO REGRETS!  That's what I'm talkin' bout Willis!

Drew has been traveling and working A LOT this month, so I'm missing him like crazy. Add that scenario with deer season and yeah... it's safe to say, it's been stressfully quiet around here. But the bright side is that he's a baller shot caller and the hardest worker I know. I'm so proud of him.  I am trying to think of something sweet to do for him to thank him for all he does for his little family of 4! He's just my hero. I am so ready for him to come home. I'm gonna snuggle that boy so hard!

Alrighty then.

Let's do this.


November Goals

Finish Editing EVERYTHING  in my editing que... Fingers crossed!  - Getting closer! 

Photograph 5 sessions

Photograph our last 2 weddings of 2014

Go on a HOT date with Drew - It was a small date, but it was great! 

Declutter Home - Clean out CLOSET

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Family / WORK FREE

New Pricing Guide - It's done and ready to werk it! 

Blog More Sessions/Work/Weddings - Ehhh. I blogged one session. That's pretty good for me these days. Haha.

Make First Step Toward a HUGE Passion Project of Mine - Y'ALL. My heart.

Tidy Up My Home/Office

Decorate for Christmas - Sadly, we haven't finished. So I'm crossing half of it off. 


December Goals 

Completely finish all my editing - and send all sessions off to my amazing clients - The end is near! Whoohoo!

Get a couples massage with Drew because I'm the best boss ever, duh.

Treat myself to a manicure and pedicure because I deserve it. :) #treatyoself

Get inbox to zero - have a clean slate before Christmas

Complete all watercolor orders

Take a two week vacation to relax, rejuvenate, rest, and prep for 2015 ... Y'all. I need this so bad. I can't even begin to tell ya!

Send out Prep Packets I made to 2015 clients

Take a dream day with Drew to go over 2015 goals

Finalize album company for 2015

Bake cookies because...cookies.

Christmas date with my hot pants

Christmas Party with my photographer love bugs who have become the best of friends

Do something random... :)

Celebrate New Years Eve in New YORK CITYYYYYYY! I CAN'T WAIT!

Blog my 2015 favorites since I only have blogged ONE wedding this past year...WOW. I need to really work on this.

Order personal prints for my home

Finish all Christmas shopping before December 15th

Go look at Christmas lights

Continue working on my passion project - Step 2!

Pay it forward in a big way

Eat more cookies.

Watch the VS Fashion Show and NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT MY THIGHS or BUM DIMPLES. I've worked hard for those. ;)



Playlist?

Right heahhhh.



Merry Christmas Muffin Heads! I love you, a lot, a lot.