#StemWallSkiPartyBarge | Personal Post

Wow.. It's been kind of quiet over here for the last few weeks. I'm having a hard time writing this time of year for some reason. Lack of ideas? Or the fact that I'm thoroughly enjoying some time off to unplug from the business (other then emails) and re-charge.

With that said I was on an Eastern Caribbean cruise last week and there was a couple that had gotten married in Miami before we had even left port. They were taking their portraits on the Lido deck and I adored watching them & made me SO excited for the 2015 season!

Back on track, Cait. I wanted to share a little bit of my vacation here with you all and kind of a shameless plug for Carnival Cruise Lines. I absolutely adore cruises. I feel they give you the best bang for your buck but also have great entertainment, fantastic food, and most importantly give you the opportunity to travel!

This cruise we (The fam bam and I) traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. Thomas - & Carnival's private island, Half Moon Cay.

San Juan was my personal favorite. The cobble stone streets, the bright colors, the beautiful architecture.. I adored it and would LOVE to go and spend a greater amount of time there. We visited the Gibraltar of the Caribbean which was pretty cool and I'm not much of a history buff. Most importantly it's home of the original Pina Colada.. Too bad I'm more of a daiquiri girl myself.
San Juan, Puerto Rico

St. Thomas wasn't exactly what I expected and I felt like House Hunters International glorified it a bit albeit it was beautiful. Don't get me wrong.. The views, water, and hillside is absolutely amazing. But the actual "town" of it wasn't something that I really loved. We opted to leave town and took a two hour island open bus tour which was amazing. Soaking up fresh air with some amazing views and a few scary drives past semi's (uhhh driving on the wrong side of the road is terrifying!) it was worth the money. I definitely preferred the "backside" of the mountain as it was less commercial and more home town feeling.
St. Thomas US Virgin Islands
Half Moon Cay is Carnival's private island and this was my second time visiting. I loved it just as much this time as the first. It's basically a lay on the beach, get sunburned, swim in the ocean kind of day which I was totally okay with. It was actually our first port of call and it was much needed! I kicked off a good sunburn and drank a couple cervezas.. What would possible be better? Since it's Carnival's island they have a yummy lunch spread for the day with grilled goods and tons of fresh fruit and freshly baked cookies. They have island tours, hikes, horseback riding and all sorts of other fun things! 

& most importantly the boats are AMAZING! They are seriously so beautiful and although I didn't take any pictures inside this go around (I've been on this ship before) it was just as beautiful as I remember. The staff and crew are so absolutely sweet wherever you go and are always more then helpful with anything. 

I also did something that was equally refreshing and didn't give me as much regret as I thought it would.. I left the big girl camera at home and shot with my iPhone 6+ all week. I was a little sad when we were on the bus tour at the top of the hill in St. Thomas and would have loved to blow up a print from San Juan but I also did something I don't normally do. I bought artwork. So instead of printing my own work I supported a home town local artist and helped her with her dream so I think in the long run it was worth it! 

So that was vacation! It was amazing and I loved spending time with my parents, brothers, and sister-in-law! Traveling with 8 was a little hard at times for me but it felt so good to be basically trapped with all of them on a no technology floating oasis! :) 

Healthy Dreams | Personal Post

Pour yourself a glass of wine because I'm keeping things real today. 

It isn't uncommon to find myself staring off into space daydreaming. Day dreaming about Caynay, the what if's, the things I want to accomplish, the comparison of how many weddings I need vs how many weddings I want. Then there are the dreams about publication, about speaking, about teaching. They are all ideas and dreams that swirl my head and most days they drive me forward. Most days they make me feel gitty with excitement. I get lost in those "what if's" far too often. Lost in the high that comes with building your own business and seeing it's successes.

But what about the days that they feel dark and heavy. The days that I am stuck in a rut that just doesn't seem to have a light at the end. I am a critical realist by nature. Constantly riding that high and then being slammed down to the ground with reality.

It's work. It's all work.
The front page of Google. Work.
Publications. Work.
Growing your foundation. Work.
Serving your clients. Work.
Maintaining relationships (both personal and business). Work.
Keeping your head above water. Work.
Grounding yourself. Work.

It's work that I enjoy but on some days it's an overwhelming reality that I just don't want to tackle. I don't want to work for the front page of Google, I don't want to submit my work to publications and I think a lot of it has to do with the cloud of possibilities and the possibility I'm most afraid of? Failure.

Growing up in an itty bitty town where everyone knows your ins and outs I grew up with the fear of judgement. With the fear of what if I screw up? What if I make a mistake? & sure enough I did make my fair share of mistakes. With those mistakes the one piece I worried about most? What will everyone think of me.. My dad worked real hard when I was growing up to teach me not to care about what others think. To ride my own wave and power through because I am strong woman.. I wish it would have worked because frankly I care way too much about what others think. 

But you just have to wake up and push through. So I'm pushing through the fear. Setting aside the concern for judgement. Pushing away the thoughts of failure. I'll accomplish those dreams some day. I know I will. I'll power through all and get to the top of where I want to be. But for now I'm just going to keep dreaming. Building that core foundation because no successful business has a weak backbone.

Now What? | Personal Post

Since June my life has been eating, living, breathing weddings & serving my clients. This summer has been a dream come true and I've been so unbelievably fortunate to have the most amazing clients.

I photographed a stunning wedding in Rockford this weekend and now I have a break till December 31st which is my last wedding of the year.. Ahhh! What in the world am I going to blog about?! What am I going to do with my weekends and the free time?! I'm a little nervous actually. I feel like waking up on a Saturday with nothing to do will be hard for me (for the first few weeks) as it won't be necessary to wake up early, or charge a million batteries, format memory cards, shave my legs (Yepp. Not happening), gather addresses, phone numbers, edit.. EDIT... What am I going to do without editing through this time off?!

Well I have a lot I want to accomplish this winter and the list keeps growing. I'm hoping to get some of these things knocked out during my off time!

I was hoping to have Marissa & Joe's wedding up today but I woke up yesterday morning with a horrible cold/flu maybe? You know the body aches, took a 3 hour nap, and still exhausted type? Fun. Plus they are in Jamaica right now so I don't think they'll mind :)

So I figured with an open day & nothing to talk about I'd list some of my goals that I'm hoping to reach/accomplish this off season.

      1. Reach 20 weddings. Shooting 4 in 2013 - 14 in 2014 - I'm really not wanting to get myself in too deep too quick. So 20 is the goal! Almost there :) 
      2. Business cards? Mine are already out dated.. Womp womp wompp 
      3. Toying the idea of new packaging. Really sitting the fence on this right now. Wanting something more original/classy/creative but not sure what. Bleh. 
      4. Album design - Scares the poop out of me for some reason but need to do it.
      5. Send gear in for cleaning/repairs/routine maintenance. I know, I know Dad. Get it done :)
      6. Bridal welcome packet?
      7. Formulate blog ideas.
      8. Work on networking within Caynay Brides | Figure out what I want to do with it. 
      9. Continuing working on website. 
      10. Taxes/appointment with CPA. 
      11. INVEST. 
      12. Clean out MacBook/restore. 
      13. Update client files/Create address information database. 
      14. Get my 2015 brides prepped and pumped to be MARRIED! 
      15. Toy the idea of a attending a workshop... Eep. Maybe. 
      16. Caynay tag line. I have what I want the foundation to be.. Now just to spin it into something classy/clever. 
Oofta.. By the looks of this it isn't going to be an off season at all. I've got a lot of work ahead of me but I am thrilled to have some time off to work on the back bone/foundation of Caynay! 

She's Here! | Personal Post

I am a techie & a amongst the loyal Apple clan. I remember when the first iPhone commercial aired. I was in the T.V. room at my parents house and yelled at my mom to come quick! It was one of the first times the iPhone commercial had ran and I was over the moon. A couple of years later Verizon had picked up the iPhone and I have been running with one ever since.

It makes sense to have an iPhone.. I've got a handful of Apple products and they just play so nicely together.

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 and 6+ I could not WAIT to get my hands on one. I was up for a new phone and my 5 was going crazy (still think there was a little man sitting behind a desk making them act up because I know I wasn't alone!).

I walked my happy butt to the mall on release day and took a peak and had decided on the Gold 6+ in 64GB.

It arrived the other day in it's angel singing box of glory & I am in love.

Yes that is snow on my deck on Halloween! This snow bunny was pretty excited to see the dusting this morning!!

It is a little tricky using while laying in bed as I've smacked myself in the face a couple of times with it.. First world problems.