2017 has been one hell of a year! I couldn’t be more grateful for the growth, even through growing pains and the accomplishments, even though it was exhausting! This year was a year of hustle. Well to be honest, the last 10 years have been a non-stop hustle, but 2017 wins for the most travel, educational experiences and opportunities to grow my business. I’ve met some new forever friends and created a life I’m proud of! Check out some highlights of the year… in no specific order!
1. My Birthday Trip to Magnolia Market
This 30th birthday takes the cake! My best friend, Sari (since the 3rd grade), Mama + Aunties hopped on planes with me and drove another almost two hours to Waco, Texas! We explored the Silos, walked in circles in the garden and slowly shopped the market! We toasted dirty martinis and laughed the whole time! So grateful for these amazing ladies in my life! You can see more of our shenanigans and adventures, here!
2. Hearing MY VOICE on the Radio
YES! So this started when a friend posted about KRTY’S Wedding Wednesday! She shared to tune in for wedding song recommendations, so I shared as well! One of KRTY’S marketing girls saw my post on instagram and arranged to meet up with me to learn more about my business, the services I offer and if I was interested in promoting with KRTY! Well, I took the bait and had the opportunity to record my OWN voice for a quick commercial with Indiana Al! I’m a huge country fan and LOVED every minute of it! Even to this day I run into extended family and friends that mention that they heard me on the radio! SO FREAKIN’ COOL!
3. Photography Workshops
So I had to combine #3 with three of my favorite workshops of the year! As you know I’m obsessed with photography + business education, always striving to grow and learn more as I go! Meeting new life long friends and gaining boss lady confidence is just a side effect!
LaReverie at The White Sparrow
Talk about wedding venue dreams come true! I have been pinning this barn for years and have been dreaming of this venue for as long as I can remember! Once I saw that my sweet friend, Laylee and her friend Stephanie were joining forces to host a workshop at this location, I just HAD to go! #lareverieworkshop
Laura + Rachel Workshop
This mother – daughter duo has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years and I literally wanted to attend their workshop to know them personally and just be their real life friend! It’s one thing to be encouragers online, but to sip coffee out of the keurig made in their kitchen is worth the investment! I learned so much and left feeling even more empowered to know that we all have access to the same tools, it’s all about how we apply them and pour our hearts into our work. So grateful for the friendships that I still have with every attendee! #lauraandrachelworkshop
Justin + Mary – A Walk Through A Wedding
Luckily, Justin and Mary traveled to Monterey, Ca for this dream to come true! I expanded my portfolio and learned so much about tough lighting situations and mastering receptions! So grateful for the opportunity to learn from their iconic photography! Thanks for the shot, Laura!
4. Styled Pop Up Series
This is another one that got a sneaky two for the price of one! This year I hosted TWO Styled Pop Ups and they both took my breath away! Seriously, AMAZING!
Sweet Heart Vineyard Inspired Wedding | Kirigin Cellars
Beyond grateful for my friends Alison + Nick for modeling for me! We had such an incredible team of vendors and truly made this dream of offering a blend of styled shoots and education, like a bite sized workshop! Check out more from this gorgeous styled shoot, here!
Advanced Mini Pop Up | Suite Q of Monterey, Ca
This intimate and sweet styled shoot was hosted at Suite Q – a gorgeous photography studio on Cannery Row! My amazing Monterey photography friends opened up this year and their studio is to die for! We started in the studio and ended up on the Monterey shore! GORGEOUS! Check out a blog from one of my TALENTED attendees! Seriously, SO PROUD!
5. Mentoring with Natalie Franke
After coming off a couple years of workshops, conferences and watching my business grow it was quickly blooming! Which was GREAT, but also really scary. In all honesty I was drowing. I feared success and felt overwhelmed with scheduling, hustling and always saying, “YES!” Natalie Franke, founder of The Rising Tide Society and Head of Community of Honeybook was the girl I ran to! I’ve only personally met Natalie about three times, mostly in passing and hitch hiking as many conversations as I could with her! After our mentoring session I felt a combination of emotions that made me feel relieved + empowered. You know that lofty goal of creating a wedding venue, one day? Yea, Natalie made that retirement plan feel like a summer project, just a small stepping stone to even BIGGER dreams! This winter she kicked a brain tumor out and will be at work THIS week! I’m still baffled that she even knows my name and calls me friend 🙂
6. Celebrating Brother Making Journeyman
This year we celebrated my younger brother, Mike making the next step in the Carpenter’s Union. He is currently building Stanford University from the ground up…even 50 story underground parking garages! I couldn’t be prouder of his hard work ethics and turning his craft into his career. Love you, Brother!
7. Hope Taylor Retreat
Last year I had the opportunity to travel across the country to Fredericksburg, Virginia to attend Hope Taylor’s Workshop! Auntie’s even traveled with me to explore George Washington’s house and check out the White House for the first time! (I never got to experience that 8th grade trip!!) Okay, back to Hope! While I was there last year I learned tons and made some of my present day BEST photography lifers! Luckily, Hope came up with this genius idea to get us all back together and planned a retreat in Charleston! This was my first time to Charleston and to be in such a cute city with over a dozen professional photographers was a blogger’s dream! We bonded, shared our goals and really encouraged each other! I LOVE each and every one of these ladies!
8. Pop’s 80th Birthday
Did you know Poppie (my Mama’s dad) was a twin!? Yea! Each year we get together to celebrate their birthday’s over Labor Day Weekend and it’s seriously the BEST end cap to our summer every year! We get to spend a full weekend with our crazy cousins and enjoy every minute of it! We laugh, catch up and make memories! Don’t mind us… it was HOT and this picture was everyone’s meal ticket! None of “Auntie Lisa’s Baked Ziti” until the group photo is done! Guys, please don’t judge. Ugh. I love us SO MUCH! (Oh and like 1/3 of us was missing, too!)
After a tough summer I prayed and prayed for a break. A sign of some sort that everything was going to be okay! I needed to travel, to explore and to make time for myself. Well after one of my monthly Tuesdays Together meet ups, my sweet friend Susan offered a once in a life time opportunity! She asked if I would like to join her in Hawaii to capture behind the scenes photos for her expanding hair + make up team! As long as I covered my flight and I mean, I have to pay for food at home anyway!! I was IN! I bought my ticket and joined her and her assistant in freakin, HAWAII for a week! We explored Honolulu beaches and a handful of wedding venues… Seriously! It was like a tropical workcation, the kind I see in the movies! Oh and to top it off I even had the opportunity to meet up with Vanessa, another Monterey photographer bestie and shot a GORGEOUS styled shoot!
10. Miranda Lambert in South Dakota
If you’ve been following along with my story for awhile, you know I throw “bestie” around like confetti… Well the Sagittarius in me only truly has three lifers (best friends), one for each stage of my life. Unfortunately, all three live far, FAR away! LA, Arizona, and South Dakota… Meet South Dakota! My best friend Siara lives with her sweet family on a farm and I just adore her. We talk almost every day on the phone and she’s one of the few humans that knows me better than myself. This year while I was wracking up my frequent flyer miles I thought it would be a genius idea to visit Siara! She picked up tickets to Miranda Lambert and I drank for THREE that night! Yes… she was preggers with her sweet baby girl! We lost our voices from singing (screaming) every song and Tin Man really, really hit home.
11. Starting My Newsletter
Have you signed up for my weekly emails?! Well, I started a weekly encouragement email offering updates, recent weddings, Monday laughs and small business education. I wasn’t lying when I said I would sort of only email once a week! Some months I’m really on top of things and others fall off the wheel barrel. Is that even a saying? Well, this year I am making a commitment to try harder! Look out for upcoming events and adventures coming straight into your inbox! Wanna join the tribe?? Click Here… YEA HERE!
So this highlight kind of slipped into it’s own category… it could be considered a workshop. But it’s much more than that! United is basically church camp for photographers, just minus chapel… sort of! It’s the one conference that brings in the biggest industry leaders, peers and dreamers from all over! Put on by Show.it (the brains behind my website!) it’s a once a year event that I never miss! If you’re looking for a jump start to your business, affirmations of encouragement and just need to be surrounded by small business owners that get you… come next year! You won’t for a second regret it! Fingers crossed I get to lead a styled shoot or speak next year! Here’s a snap of just our #risingtidesociety group! There were over 300 photographers at United!
13. My Birthday Boudoir Shoot
This was Lucky 13 for me this year! I wanted to treat myself… a gift for only me this year. To be honest, turning 30 was tough for me this year. I wasn’t ready to leave my 20’s. I’m still building, still hustling and nothing was what I planned. I guess that makes turning 30 perfect timing. I’m not ready, but it’s time. Time to enjoy this next chapter and learn to love my reality.
14. Raising $2,000 for Dominic Colindres with A Sisters of Racers Calendar
I remember exactly where I was when I got the news. Brother texted me that a family friend in the flattrack community went down and was paralyzed from the waist down. In moments like that I know the drill, there really isn’t anything we can do besides pray and send good vibes. But I had to do something. So I had this project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile! I rallied the girls and we created a fundraiser calendar! Full of classy, but a bit bad assy sisters with sweet Harleys and bikes! Thank you to the many families that helped make this a reality and to every single one of you that donated! So many families donated without receiving calendars, some donated above and beyond and they went like hot cakes at the San Jose Indoors!
15. Camping at Coyote
On a rare occasion I had a weekend off in August and was thrilled that my sweet friends Alison + Nick (the ones from the recent Pop Up!!) invited me to join for a quick weekend camping trip! I loved every minute of our adventures! We kayaked, roasted marshmallows, talked all night while looking up at the stars and hiked while the boys looked for sheds. It felt so good to be surrounded by friends that never made me feel like I wanted to grab my phone… unless for a quick pic! 🙂
16. Christmas Card High Jack
So here’s the deal, I’m a real jerk to my Mama. No really! I never ever make time for our nice Christmas Card pictures!! We usually end up taking a Thanksgiving photo and hope that it will work for the card that year! The problem with that is that Brother is usually wearing a hat, I’m usually wearing my moccasin slippers or THIS happens!
So this year… we surprised Mama!
P.S. I’m still an ass because I didn’t order enough Christmas Cards and not everyone on Mama’s list got one this year… if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Yeah WTF, Qui? Where’s mine!” It’s because I need to order more!!! They’ll be coming soon!!! I’m the worst.
17. Weddings of 2017!
Okay, so I saved the BEST for last… This year has been such an incredible year with the most amazing couples! I’ve prayed for these couples to enter my life and it makes my heart explode knowing that I get to be a part of their legacy! Technically I shot more than 17 weddings, some as a second shooter! But officially 17 in 2017… CRAZY! If you haven’t already yet… take a scroll through my Best of 2017!
Looking over this year I can’t help but laugh… No really! Only a fraction, about seven of these highlights are personal! I don’t say that because it’s hard to share personal things, but mostly because everything about my daily life, my thoughts and my motives stem from my passion. My passion is photography and I am beyond blessed to weave my business into my life!
Which has me thinking that it’s time to find some new hobbies for 2018! I need to carve more time for myself to think, make margin in my days to relax and create experiences just because! Thank you all for such a memorable year… Look out 2018!!! I’m comin for ya!
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