Because love is the closest thing we have to magic

Apr 16, 2019

3 tips to Succeed

Beliefs dictate action.

Last Friday, I took a last-minute job photographing a healthcare convention and left in tears.

No, not tears of boredom.

But tears of joy and inspiration. Just like my last minute trip to the Dominican Republic with Pack Retreats, the universe had put me in the right place once again.
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Vinh Giang speak. And while totally captivating and entertaining, this message seemed like it was meant specifically for me. It was like something in the movie where the rest of the room fades away. It just happened to be what I needed to hear at that particular moment. 
Vinh said in order to jump as high as you can go you need three things. 

1. Perspective. If you can only see a challenge or a problem from one perspective, it is easy to become blind. The more perspective you have, the more opportunities you are able to seize. And to gain more perspective you should collaborate with people you never thought to collaborate with before. People outside of your industry with different perspectives.

2. Influence. This one was huge for me. Vinh said you are a direct reflection of the top five people you spend time with. Influence is a powerful thing you should surround yourself with people that you aspire to be more like. If you want to be a speaker, you should spend time with brilliant speakers. Spending time with the right people opens your mind to new possibilities.

3. Beliefs. Step 1 to accomplishing literally anything is to believe that it is possible. Only by believing to your core that something is possible will you begin. And only after taking step 1, will step 2, 3, 4 become apparent, easy and even fun.
So if beliefs dictate action, where do your beliefs come from? What do you believe to be possible for you? Who are you spending time with and are they supporting the belief you have in yourself? 
I will do the most impossible things. You can too. You just have to believe. Who’s ready to take step 1?

If this message spoke to you the way it spoke to me, I urge you to check Vinh Giang out at his website here or find him on youtube here.

You can find the link to this speech on youtube here. Make sure you watch all three parts. It moved me to tears and really changed my perspective. Thanks for being the inspirational voice when I needed it, Vinh. You’re currently number 1 in my top 5.

Because love is the closest thing we have to magic

“You are magic. Don’t ever apologize for the fire in you.”

This one goes out to all the dream chasers. The courageous, forging their own path, heart followers. The daring to be different, I can have more believers. The 2 am, coffee in hand, quietly, still chugging along-ers.

I know the struggle is real. REAL HARD. But it is also so worth it.

There will be people that tell you that you can’t do it. They might tell you that you are being childish, flighty, unrealistic. But I am here to tell you that they are WRONG. They say you’re a dreamer like it’s a bad thing. They might tell you that you live with your head in the clouds.

They don’t see you. But I do.

I see you get up every morning and try again, even when yesterday didn’t feel like a win. I see you working two jobs, or tucking your kids in and then getting back to work in the makeshift dining room/office. I see you working, going to school, staying up all night at your computer because after work you had dinner to prepare and bedtime stories to read. I see you smile when people ask about your “real job”, and when they call your life’s work a hobby. I see you. Working hard, working your butt off for this dream that you are making a reality.

You have created something from nothing.

And THAT is something to be proud of. Despite the naysayers, the critics and even that scared little voice inside you, your heart roared louder. You looked fear, the odds, the expected, and even the norm, straight in the eyes, and said, “This is something I have to do.” Pursuing your dreams is not for the faint of heart. It takes a strength that they cannot begin to comprehend. But don’t let THEIR fears stop you.

You, my friend, are FEARLESS. You are courageous, fierce and strong. A life of mediocrity would never be enough to feed your soul. For within you rages a wildfire. And this passion that burns within you will not easily be put out. Your passion burns brighter than your fears, and because of that you know that you could never settle for a conventional life. Because of that you will achieve greatness others dare not dream of.

Today you might feel like a delicate candle, flickering in the wind of their doubt. And maybe even your own doubt. Don’t lose hope. That tiny flame can ignite and set the whole world on fire. YOU can set YOUR whole world on fire. I believe in you. Lets pour some gasoline on this dream and chase after it like it is the very air we breathe. Like this is your one shot, your one chance, your one life to live. Make it worth it.

Keep chasing, keep following, keep believing. And don’t ever stop chugging.


Because love is the closest thing we have to magic

Hurricane Wedding | Clearwater Wedding Photographer

It was the day before the hurricane, and all through the bay, every creature was stirring, Irma was on her way.

But seriously, as Hurricane Irma was approaching, so was Charles and Tiffany’s wedding. We were basically glued to the weather channel and had downloaded 3 new weather apps just trying to stay updated on when it was supposed to hit. We were hoping against all odd that the wedding wouldn’t have to be canceled. Find out later this week if crossing every finger, wishing at 11:11, and searching for lucky pennies did the trick!

In the meantime, check out these two love birds and don’t forget to check back later. This is a story you won’t want to miss!

Because love is the closest thing we have to magic

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

I almost can’t believe it is October already! Seriously, where has this year gone? But, believe it or not, it is officially fall. We are even feeling a little bit of it here in Florida. The mornings and nights are a little cooler and the breeze is lovely. Don’t even get me started on that gorgeous golden light which has me even more excited that wedding season is in full force. Before we know it, the holiday season will be upon us too. (yay!)

October is also my birthday month. Between that and knowing we are quickly approaching my favorite time of year, has made me pensive. It has made me want to slow down a little. My little guy turns 10 in November. I want to keep him little for a while longer. Since I can’t, I am feeling the need to be more present, to enjoy the little things that mean everything.

 “October is about trees revealing colors they’ve hidden all year. People have an October as well.” JM Storm

With my favorite time of year (also the busiest) fast approaching, I am going to make a conscious effort to slow down and spend more facetime with the people that matter the most. I am all about being vulnerable and wearing my heart on my sleeve. But even I can become guilty of not putting myself out there enough, not revealing enough of my colors in order to seem stronger, or more successful, or like my life is pinterest perfect.

This October, my birthday month, is going to be about more dinners with neighbors, more adventures with friends, more snuggles while reading Harry Potter with my favorite guy. These are the things that matter. And I refuse to use busy as an excuse.

I came across this list of fall must do’s and we will be checking off as many as we can. S’mores are definitely happening at our house tonight, because yum.

What is on your Fall Bucket List? I need to make sure we don’t miss ANYTHING!

Because love is the closest thing we have to magic

Why you should consider a first look.

As I’ve said before, your wedding day is going to feel like a whirlwind. But even though you are expecting it, you won’t fully understand what this means until the DJ announces last call, the lights come up, and you’re left standing in the middle of the dance floor wondering where the night went.

If you find yourself asking, “Should I do a first look?” or even, “What is a first look?” This post is for you!

A FIRST LOOK is where the groom is set up in a nice, quiet location before the ceremony. The brides walks up behind him and taps him on the shoulder while the photographer captures their reactions and those first moments together on your wedding day. A first look is something you and your fiancé should discuss to determine if it is right for you. This is your wedding. Not your mother’s, not your grandma’s, and certainly not mine. So I would NEVER try to push a couple into having a first look, but I do think it is important to have all the information before deciding what is right for you.

After photographing hundreds of weddings, I know how important it is to see your fiancé’s reaction when he first sees you in your wedding dress. Even the most calm, collected groom will get nervous on his wedding day. The tension has been building since he started getting ready and how he is standing in front of 60-300 of his closest friends and family. He can’t help but think of them all watching him, waiting for his reaction, even as he sees you. And when you first see him, from the end of an often very long aisle, you won’t be able to talk, hug or kiss. You have to wait until the end of the ceremony for that. Even after the ceremony, it can be difficult to have a moment alone together as all of your guest rush over excited to see you.

Now picture this:

You’ve just finished getting ready. Your groom has spent the morning with his closest buddies. Hanging out, having a drink, maybe half watching a game on tv as they got dressed. He hasn’t had the chance to even think about getting nervous yet. Meanwhile, we’ve found a gorgeous, quiet area outside your venue and set him up with his back facing your entrance. And then we tell him his beautiful bride is just behind him. Here she comes. We’ve stepped back to give you your space and it is just the two of you. You walk up behind him, tap him on the shoulder and he just loses it. He wraps you up in the biggest embrace and kisses you. You both cry together and you’ve completely forgotten we’re even there. You twirl a couple times and ask what he thinks of the dress and you kiss again. He can tell you how beautiful you look and you can say how much you love him. For as long as you like, because there’s no rush. No guests waiting. No coordinator telling us dinner is waiting. He isn’t worried about everyone watching, or his friends teasing him later. You can truly be lost in this magical moment.

You will have more time together, alone!

And now, the nerves are gone. The anxiety is gone. Because you get to spend the rest of the day with the person that makes you feel the most calm. Eventually, you look around, blinking as if you were in a daze. You remember you were being photographed, but the smiles on your faces cannot be contained. After this, we move on to the portraits of the two of you. This means you get even more time together! Which equals more photos! More time to cuddle, more time to kiss, more time to soak it all in. This is the way you’ve been waiting for, planning, dreaming of. This is your time to be together, alone. 

And then we bring out your families and friends. We are able to move quickly through your family photos, because everyone is already gathered. They are all waiting for the ceremony to begin. After the family photos are done, we move on to your bridal party. Photos of you, your groom and your closest friends celebrating your wedding day. There will be plenty of time for you to have some fun with them! Finishing all of the photos BEFORE the ceremony means you will be able to actually join your cocktail hour, enjoy the tasty treats you picked out, and spend more time with your guests. Or you can use that time to be alone with your new spouse and really take in the whole day.

Once upon a time I was married. On my own wedding day, the first time I was alone with my husband or even in a room with less than 10 people, was when we got in the car to leave. To me, that is heart breaking. This is the day you’ve been dreaming of since long before he ever popped the question. This is the day you marry your best friend. Wouldn’t it be lovely to spend as much time together as possible? If you choose to see each other before the ceremony, you gain so much extra time together to share even more laughs, exchange even more kisses, and make even more memories.

Your day will feel longer and MORE relaxed, because you weren’t feeling rushed.

You are investing a lot into your wedding photography. Doing a first look gives you a lot more time to get all the photos and capture all the moments you want. A First look allows the day to feel more relaxed instead of rushed for the ceremony and then rushing through the portraits to get to the reception because you have hungry guests waiting.

There is ONE thing I will try to convince you to do on your wedding day. Whether you opt to do a first look or stand by tradition, find time to slow down, to be alone, to take in everything that is happening and the monumental importance of the day. Pause for a moment when you reach the end of the aisle to squeal “We did it!”, steal a few minutes to be alone before cocktail hour ends or slip away from the reception to take it all in. This is your day. Make the most of it.

Alexis and Justin make me swoon.

If you’re still worried that a first look will ruin your groom’s reaction when they open the double doors and he sees your at the end of the aisle, moments away from becoming his wife, I want to introduce you to Justin and Alexis. Justin is one of the sweetest grooms I have ever had the pleasure of working with. And honestly, their pictures need no words, because his reaction both  during the first look and watching Alexis walk down the aisle is honest and heartwarming, and really quite beautiful.



But seriously, look at that face! Have you ever seen anything more touching!

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