Wednesday, January 22, 2014

comparison is the thief of joy

Let's talk about something that's kind of messy… 


The internet makes this something that most of us struggle with DAILY. 

On instagram we see photos of perfectly spotless living rooms, complete with fluffed up couch cushions and a stylish array of magazines fanned out on the coffee table. We look at our own living rooms and see our husband's socks, the dog's toys, maybe last night's juice glass. 

On Facebook we see status updates about people getting engaged or finding out they're pregnant (trust me, when you're trying to get pregnant yourself, this is one of the toughest things). 

And if you're a blogger, chances are you read other blogs. You see all the cool things they've been working on lately; all the amazing weddings they're shooting or recipes they're posting. They attend conferences in really cool and exotic places while you're at home answering emails.  

"She has it all together." 

If you've never said that about someone you're following, then I'm jealous of your news feed. Truly. 

(love this print by sharonfarrington)

This quote was first introduced to me at the MTH conference last March. Comparison is the thief of joy… We talked about how constantly comparing yourself to others makes you less grateful for the things you have. 

Of course, that makes perfect sense. 

But what I really started to notice was how these constant, daily comparisons lead to an obsession with the appearance of perfection. NOT perfection…but the appearance of perfection. 

Truth time: we've all moved our husband's socks, the dog's toys, and last night's juice glass from the background of an instagram photo to make it look like we've got it all together and we too have a beautiful, spotless living room. 

(photo from satiregram)

The problem I started seeing is that I was focused on creating the appearance of perfection in a photo for my newsfeed, but I didn't really care about actually tidying those things up for me. 

Sure, I fluff my pillows before we have company over…and it actually makes me really happy when everything looks nice in the living room! So why don't I do that just for me?

So I started fluffing my pillows more. 

I started tidying up my desk as if I were about to take a really cute, styled instagram photo of my coffee cup with a caption that reads something like, "mondays in the office! #ilovemyjob." 

Suddenly my instagram feed became authentic. It looked like my real life. And in the process, I started feeling more and more removed from that drive to compare my life to others. 

Although, when it comes to business…it's still a struggle. 

Look at this box that popped up on my newsfeed about a month ago:

Read that small print… "track the progress of 5 or more pages you want to watch. You'll see how many likes they get so you can keep up."

So you can keep. up.

Pardon me, but since when am I in direct competition with other pages for likes? Haven't we all learned that 3 likes from people who TRULY love your work are more valuable than 150 likes from random people scattered around the globe? 

And I like that Facebook is suggesting to me who I should compete with…that's excellent. 

When I saw this box, I felt disgusted. I felt bad for the people who actually signed up to watch other people's pages. I felt bad for the business owners who worry about getting their numbers up so that they can "win." I felt bad that my page might have shown up in a similar box, suggesting to someone that they should be "watching me." 

Comparison is the thief of joy because of this kind of stuff. 

Worry less about how many followers you have. Worry LESS about likes and comments on instagram. Because I promise you, there's happiness waiting for you when you do. 

If you want a spotless living room, attack it for 10 minutes and fluff your pillows for no reason! Don't do it so that you can post a photo of it. Do it for you… 

And if you want to be working on something cool, reach out to people and start collaborating. Do it because you know it will fire you up, not because of all the potential beautiful photos you could share. Do it for you…

(photo from lara casey's profound blog post)

Just because comparison is everywhere, doesn't mean you need to feed into it. If there are people you're following on Facebook or instagram (or even blogs you're reading) who actually make you feel JEALOUS because of their seeming perfection…unfollow them. 

And if you cringe at the idea of no longer checking out the beautiful things in this particular person's life, it's probably a sign that you need to unfollow them. That's just my opinion, but like I said, in my experience I truly believe there's happiness waiting for you if you do. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

loving lately: GIRLS + skating-but-not-skating

Well, it's been about a decade since I've posted a collection of things I'm loving lately. My apologies… it seems I've been too busy napping and growing a human being to find new things to love.

BUT, here are a few things that made me happy this week:

1. GIRLS is back!
This show makes me laugh & cry, often in the same episode, and I am a huge Lena Dunham fan. Fave character though: Marnie. I sincerely hope you tuned in for episode 1&2 of season 3 because there were some priceless moments!  (photo source)

2. Tessa & Scott
Okay, so it may be time to admit that I have a strange love of figure skating. And yet I can't skate… It stems from watching it on TV as a kid with my parents (and I'm lucky to have grown up during some pretty amazing years for skating). Tessa & Scott have a reality show on the W network and it is fabulous television. All the more excited to see them in Sochi! (photo source)

3. Indigo Baby
That's my style. 100%. Yesterday while I waited for an engagement session to begin, I perused this entire section and fell in love with almost everything. If you haven't noticed, I'm in full-fledged baby-shopping mode!

And, as always, here's a tune I'm loving lately:

{a note about this song: celebrities in a music video? I'm sold.}

Happy Thursday!!! The weekend is near :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

baby shower invitations!

These invitations were a labour of love.

For some reason, it seems paper goods and design lights my heart on FIRE! When I spend an evening in Illustrator designing something like this, I often wonder about what would have happened if I went down this path instead of photography

But you can't become friends with your paper goods, so I am pleased with my choice :)

Anyway, I thought I'd share some images of the baby shower invitations that I sent out last week!! 

If you follow me on instagram, you may recognize these colours from the crib bedding I purchased on etsy! Finding this pattern really kicked my design heart into high gear and when, unfortunately, I couldn't find a hi-res copy of this pattern online, I decided to make it myself :)

Now I'm off to shoot a wintery engagement session in the 
market this afternoon. Yay! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

goodbye 2013, hello 2014 ♥ (a year in review post of sorts)

One of the things on my list of 101 in 1001 that I've been dying to tick off is:

#78: complete a year in review post for each year. 

2011, CHECK!
2012, CHECK!
2013, external hard drive crashes to the ground unexpectedly and all photos are lost. 

Yeah, that happened.  

I'm no stranger to hard drive issues…and ironically enough, last time it happened marked the very first item on my list that I checked off.

Lucky for me, I had just created another Blurb album meant to capture all of the travelling I did in 2013. I filled it to the brim with as many real and instagram photos as possible and happily hit COMPLETE ORDER! Minutes later = hard drive crash. 

So until I figure out what computer hospital I'll be visiting, please enjoy a flip through this album, as a year-in-review post of sorts :)

My year started with a bang -- two destination weddings in the Dominican Republic, back to back! I will never forget the 4 hour cab ride with my driver, Angel, where I thought I might die… (one day I will get around to telling this story…)

And the weekend we spent in Mont Tremblant with Ryan's work friends was just wonderful… so many beautiful things to photograph and so little time! We are hoping to go back again this March (although I will be SUPER pregnant so that will be interesting!).

Of course, Making Things Happen in Chapel Hill needed to make an appearance in the book. This trip changed my life, as if you couldn't tell from yesterday's New Year's post…!

Banff wasn't particularly written into my calendar, but sometimes best friend duty strikes when you least expect it.

Ooh, one of my favourites -- a week with our family in Punta Cana for Shaun & Sherry's destination wedding…SEND ME BACK! 

Vacationing with family is fun :)

Catamaran trips, drunken parents, little Nathan floating happily in the pool...

Next: off to Maine to meet my creative soulmate, Laura, and photograph her stunning DIY lighthouse wedding to Lee! 

This piece of the travel puzzle took up at least 4 spreads in the book because it was just too beautiful to cut short.

My favourite trip of the year: Mexico with my husband. Truth be told, we were there to shoot Louisa & Corey's destination wedding :) 

I ate gluten free for some reason (minus some soy sauce on sushi…), Beans and I hit the omelette bar HARD every morning, we played a ton of Bookworm on my iPad, and somehow I managed to read 4 books. Amazing, amazing week!

A few photos from our cottage weekends last Summer :) We are heading back there this weekend (YAY!) so maybe some snowy versions of these photos will appear in next year's book.

Finished the book off with 5 spreads of random instagram photos from the year… 

Notable mentions include the MTV trip to Toronto, baseball games with Beans' coworkers, collaborating with Sarah Walsh (a TON!), and last but not least…Christmas at home :)

The end!

I've got quite the collection going…!

It's almost the weekend, friends! 
Hope you're having a lovely Thursday :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

best. year. yet.

I read an instagram post from Lara Casey that started with the words:

Something has shifted.

Immediately I felt like I resonated with that phrase. Something has shifted in me lately, and I believe it happened sometime during the haze that existed between December and January.

During that time, I was completely MIA. No emails, no blogging, not even one click on my camera. Not that it was entirely my decision though, because I fell into a pretty crappy sickness on Boxing Day and only now am I starting to feel like myself again. Being pregnant AND sick is not a fun combination…but as usual, it seems everything happens for a reason. 

Maybe I needed those three weeks of nothing but sleep and reading and alone time with my husband. Maybe I needed my life to shut down for this shift to take place. 

Before the break I felt intimidated by 2014. I thought of it as "the year of the unknown," largely due to the arrival of our little one in April.

I pictured myself drowning in carseat manuals, diaper bags, overflowing baskets of laundry. 2014 looked cluttered and confusing and scariest of all…it looked like a big question mark.

Saying goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014 was hard. I felt like I was trying to put it off as long as possible…that is, until I saw January SEVENTH on the calendar yesterday and realized I needed to get my act together. 

When I think back on how I spent the last year, I am reminded of things like:

Lessons in friendship.
Lessons in patience.
Searching for balance.

I was a distracted person, alienated by my own self-employment and seriously unfulfilled when it came to personal relationships. I thought I could control everything and was humbled by the process of trying to create a baby. I was hungry for changes to take place, yet so resistant to actually doing it.

And then March happened…and I started becoming the person I wanted to be.

I spent the year making small changes, day by day or month by month; building meaningful relationships, taking care of myself, filling up on the good stuff and getting rid of the bad, decluttering my mind/my home…you name it.

If there's one thing I know now, it's that a year is LONG. 

There is SO much time to make change and direct your days purposefully! And if you're thinking about your past year and wishing you had made some changes, I hope this simple concept will inspire your heart:

2014 really IS "the year of the unknown."

But in a great way.

It's a year that will (again) change my life completely. It's a year that will no doubt come with struggle, challenge, and frustration. It's a year that I will always remember. 

It's the year that brings us our little baby boy… 

The things that I want for my life are clearer than ever, and it's hitting me hard in the making-things-happen department. I feel ready to take this year ON.

2014: It will be the best year yet.

Calm (wherever I can get it). Less noise. Less social media distractions. 

Adventure. More meaningful conversations. More mugs of tea. More time spent reading. More time outside. More photos of US.

Passion. I want to feel like my insides are exploding with passion for my work. I am desperate to feel this way at least a handful of times this year, and being that it's off-season and the outside world is in a deep-freeze…the desire only gets stronger.

Clarity. This year is so important and apparently it flies by! I want my head to be clear so that I can fully appreciate the life and growth of our little baby boy. I want to document this year in a meaningful way…to have forever.

Lovely friends, I hope you've found your way to Lara's goal setting blog posts at some point this week! I encourage you to fill out this letter to yourself:

Following through on these steps was a CRUCIAL part of making changes in 2013, and I am very excited to work through it again this year. One part I'm clear on though, is my word for 2014.

Balance. Balance when it comes to the good stuff:

Being a wife.
Being a mom.
Being a friend.
Being a wedding photographer.

To me, balance means feeling like you're in the right place. That feeling of being pulled in a hundred directions…it gives me a headache just thinking about it. And it makes it very difficult to feel PRESENT.  

When I'm spending time being a wife and preparing lunches and dinners for my husband, I want to be present.

When I'm spending time being a mom and ogling my adorable little creation, I want to be present. 

When I'm photographing a beautiful couple in love on their wedding day, I want to be present.

And ultimately, when I'm truly PRESENT in these things, that's when I feel fired up. That's when I want to WRITE and SHARE and CREATE. That's when life comes together for me!

In the words of Rhi from Hey Gorgeous Events
2014, you're mine.