March 20, 2019

2018 Personal Reflections

FILED IN: Personal

Another year come and gone. But I don’t want to move on without first looking back on all that was 2018 : the good, the bad, the excitement & the disappointment. It’s honestly kind of crazy to think back to this time last year. My life looked quite a bit different. I was still working my 8-5 job and trying to balance both photography and that job. I felt pulled strongly in both directions and didn’t feel like I could put my best self into either one. At work, I felt unmotivated and disinterested after the New Year. As hard as I tried to focus and be present, I knew that in a few months I was taking the leap and going out on my own to pursue my photography business. I was trying to prepare for that transition, while still having a solid 5 months of work ahead of me at my old job. I don’t recommend that. It’s tough to know where to use your brain power. As the end date approached a lot quicker than I ever anticipated, I started to get anxious and had minor freak-outs on the regular. I knew that this was the right move for me. I was well aware that this is what I needed to do. But that didn’t make it any easier. I loved my co-workers and the thought of working by myself totally freaked me out. I was ready to leave the job itself, but not the humans. The days kept passing by and it was eventually time for me to put in my notice. Y’all, I completely freaked myself out. I was so nervous to “quit”. I had never really quit anything before. And having to tell my boss (who is not a scary person)- was frightening to me. I went into the meeting and after I said the words, “I’m leaving” (and shed a few tears….)- the biggest weight was lifted off of me (especially when my boss reacted with kindness & encouragement). It was not easy to leave a place that had become so comfortable and that had been my first career job ever. I spent 3.5 years there. I got engaged and married when I was working there. I lost two grandparents in that time (and felt so supported). I made so many wonderful friends & genuinely miss them so much!


Officially Self-Employed

I officially became self-employed and a full-time business owner on May 17, 2018. (cue dancing music!) That morning I woke up to the most beautiful tree in our front yard in full bloom (this does not happen every day or even every year!). I decided to take that as a sign from God that this new season of life is awaiting me- and it’s time to BLOOM. Later that day, I helped out at an amazing women’s event (The Merry Hour) and as I was helping clean up afterwards I came across a little square card on the floor. I picked it up and opened it. Inside it said “Follow your dreams. They know the way.” and on the back it said “Keep being amazing! You can achieve your dreams!” I kept it and taped it to my computer as a reminder every single day that I’m on the right path. I took those two not-so-subtle signs that I had made the right decision and that no matter how many times my mind tries to tell me that I can’t do it or that I’m not good enough- that I am right where I need to be right now.

Trying New Things

2018 also was the year that Nick & I picked up a fun winter activity : skiing (who says you can’t learn how to ski when you’re 27?). Here’s my theory : if you’re going to live in a place that has 5-7 months of winter every single year, you MUST find something to make you enjoy it. Now when it snows I can get excited about it. I’m most definitely still a beginner and can hardly get down the blue hills without a yard sale, but I have LOTS of room for improvement and I plan on being able to get down a black diamond by the time I turn 30 (I literally just made that goal up… but I’m liking the sounds of it).

Nick also convinced me to pick up fishing this past summer. (I love having hobbies together!) He got his grandpa’s old fishing boat up and running and we were out on the water as often as we could be. The first time he took me out, the motor stopped working and he had to paddle us alllll the way back to shore (we can laugh now!). He even got me my own fishing pole and I caught my very first fish EVER (at least that I can remember) in August. And now I’m catching little baby fish left and right. Already looking forward to put-putting around the lake next summer with a glass of wine in one hand and my fishing pole in the other. And of course listening to some good tunes while we watch the sun go down over one of MN’s most beautiful landscapes.


3 Years of Marriage

We also celebrated THREE years of marriage this year (in August). It is actually so wild to think how fast time has gone. We met in 2010 and it feels like an eternity ago and yesterday all at the same time. It’s been a year full of laughter and joy and also a year full of tears and struggles. I’ve had a tough couple years transitioning from college to “adult” life. All of the communities I was apart of basically all of my life were no longer present in this new season. And that’s been a total struggle even still and can sometimes put a strain on our relationship. There were definitely other struggles over the course of the year. If you know Nick & I, you know that we are the definition of total opposites. Most days, it works in our favor and we truly balance one another out. But other days, it is not as easy. I see things one way and he sees them in another. Sometimes it makes communication more difficult because we communicate so differently. But we are learning more about each other all the time and are taking steps in the right direction. The days full of joy far outweigh those of pain. Nick is one of the kindest, most humble souls I know. His love is strong and gentle at the same time. He is quiet yet powerful. His words are kind and his laugh is unlike anything on this earth. We cannot go a single day without laughing. He finds the most ridiculous things funny, which in turn makes me laugh. He’s sneaky funny (and is also the king of super random one-liners). He is talented at so many things (yet will rarely admit it). He never tries to impress- he is who he is. And I love that about him. He is the best uncle and our nieces and nephew LOVE their Uncle Nicky time. Watching him interact with them makes me so excited to have a family of our own (No, I’m not pregnant). I truly think he was meant to be a dad (dad jokes and all). Amidst the days of struggle, Nick is often the one to apologize first, to come in for the forgiveness hug. And for that, I’m so so grateful. 2019 is going to be a good year for us!


Other 2018 things to note:

+Visiting home for the 10 year reunion of our state bball championship team and seeing some of my old teammates (which always makes me v. happy!). On this trip home I also went down memory lane and pulled out allllll the old photos. It truly never gets old.

+Attending my first Merry Hour event and meeting a lot of really inspiring women who I have kept in my life ever since.

+Experiencing the Super Bowl (not attending the actual game) in Minneapolis. And ziplining over the Mississippi (brrr!).

+ Seeing Trevor Hall at the Varsity. (he is GOLD, friends)

+A girls weekend with some of my old college friends.

+Visiting some of our very best friends in Bismarck for a weekend. I don’t think we stopped laughing the entire time we were there. Also explored a salt cave for the first time.

+Watching my dad get inducted into the MN Coaches Hall of Fame (so well-deserved).

+Meeting my new little brother, Buddy (wooooof!).

+Watching two of my very best friends become moms for the first time (one in february and the other in may).

+Surprising my mom for mother’s day (there were tears!).

+Adventuring around Utah’s national parks with Nicholas. Going to places I’ve never been is one of my favorite things & this was no exception. Also had In-N-Out for the first time aaaaand went to Vegas for the first time on this trip. (eventually blogging this trip, but for now- here was a small part of our adventure)

+Exploring western North Dakota (Medora) for the first time with some really wonderful friends. There are memories from this adventure that legit still make us laugh. Added bonus we started off the weekend by the boys winning big at blackjack.

+Getting home from Medora and flying straight to Florida to road trip back up to MN with one of my best friends (since we were 5!). Being that she lives in Florida, I never get that much quality one-on-one time with her, so those few days were SO beyond cherished. Our friendship continues to grow even after almost 25 years.

+Shooting 18 beautiful weddings and having the amazing opportunity to tell the stories of so many incredible souls. I still cannot believe that this is my JOB. The craziness of the summer/fall made the months go by incredibly fast, but I truly enjoyed my 2018 summer more than I have in so many years!!

+Spent a TON of time with Gus-man and gave him the honor of “co-worker of the year.”

+Spending a lake weekend with each of our families (the Haugens and the Smarts!). Family time is truly a gift and we were blessed with lots of it over the summer. We love watching our nieces and nephew grow into little tiny humans with hilarious, adorable, weird, SMART personalities (seriously these kiddos have brains!).

+Closing out summer with a weekend of kayaking and T. Swift.

+Fall was a blur with weddings and shoots and editing and just trying to stay afloat in photog land.

+Celebrating allllll the holidays with our families. We are so grateful to have two families that could not love us more. We continue to try and split holidays equally and get lots of quality time in with each. And do our best not to drive each other too crazy… 🙂

+Ringing in the New Year in one of MN’s most beautiful places : Grand Marais. We were invited along to a ski trip in Lutsen with one of my best friends (and made some new friends!) and although day one was a bit rocky (just a few tumbles), day two was a success. Lots of memories made!

My Year’s Word

2018 word : BRAVE — step outside my comfort zone more often, be bold and take risks.

2019 word : BLOOM — focus on growth in all aspects of my life and let go of everything that has held me back from the fullest, truest expression of myself.

If you’ve made it this far, I am impressed. Thank you for reflecting with me. This was truly more for me. Taking the time to sit down and actually think about what happened over the last year (the good and the not-so-good) is so important. And now– I can focus on the year ahead. Thinking about doing another little “journal entry” about what is ahead and things to look forward to in 2019. Thanks, friends! And cheers to another year!



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I am a Minneapolis, Minnesota wedding, family & portrait photographer, kindness spreader and storyteller for laid-back, free-spirited souls who are looking for an adventure— no matter how big or small. Browse my site to learn more. I can’t wait to meet you!