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Anniversary Trip | Chicago

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Travel. I think it should be the sixth love language. If it were, it would definitely be my number one. I love traveling. Even more than that, I love traveling to cool places with Will Scott.  
For our anniversary trip this year (we took it about a month early), Will and I decided to take a trip to Chicago. We have a few good friends that live there and thought it would be fun to visit them as well as explore a bit (well, a lot). 
I had been to Chicago a couple times before, but this was definitely the most fun and the most exploring I've ever done...and I am totally infatuated with this city. Granted, we were there in the summer and the weather was absolutely perfect, never being above 85 and sunny the entire time...but I'm kind of in love. 
Although I loved exploring downtown, going to the Art Institute, and doing all the "touristy" things, I would have to say my favorite part was wandering around Lincoln Park. The houses in that area are stinking gorgeous, and we felt like we had stepped into a movie. We even found this quaint little coffee shop squeezed among the houses and stopped for some espresso...perfection. 

Our trip was absolutely fabulous and made for some good quality time for Will and me. I'm so thankful for these days we had to spend together and the fun memories we made. 

Ahh...Chicago, you may have a little piece of our hearts. 

Shot with: Mamiya645
Film: Portra400
Scans: PhotoVision

The JBP Office | Before and After

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Several months ago I shared our Living Room before/after with you guys (and of course our living room has already changed since then due to my inability to keep things the same!). Today I am sharing the before/after of my office! 
When it came to my office, I wanted it to be a place that I would feel inspired when I was in it. Being a creative, my workspace needs to fuel that. When we first moved in I had just used the decor that I already had. Just recently I decided to completely revamp my office and make it something that I absolutely love. 
The room was an incredibly unappealing color of yellow when we first moved in. That was the very first thing to go (that and thoroughly cleaning the carpet).
I have my dad to credit for the awesomeness that is now my office. He planned out and built a built-in "L" shaped desk and amazing built-in shelves. I can't even tell you how appreciative I am of that man and his handy work. He helped make my space a dream come true. 
Wanting a fresh and clean look, the color scheme for my office is whites, grays, with splashes of natural brown and gold (of course!).
I am completely in love with this space that is now my office, and with a view of the backyard, I can make sure Rigby isn't getting into mischief! 

ENJOY!

Decor: 
Desk Chair: Joss and Main, Sheep Skin: IKEA, Leather Chair: Target, Side Table: Target, Floor Lamp: Target, Containers on Shelves: Container Store and Antique Shops, Frames: Target, Rug: West Elm, Filing Cabinet: CB2, Desk Lamp: Anthropologie

March Goals

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I think I remember saying that February was going to be a month of rest and relaxation. Why is it that every time I say that, the month ends up being one of the craziest yet? So many unexpected meetings, sessions, and other life things popped up during February. I feel like it was a whirlwind of a month. 
As I have sat down to think about my goals for this month, I want to be intentional about them. I want these goals to be things that inspire me to be better, push me to move forward, and challenge me to go above and beyond. Sometimes it's hard for me to set goals. I find myself wanting to only set goals that I know will happen so that I can complete them. Sharing goals that will be hard ones to accomplish is tough because there is a chance that they may not happen. 
BUT...sharing goals is what keeps me accountable to make them happen. So, with all that said, here are my monthly goals for March (simple ones and hard ones)!

  • Shoot 3 weddings. Wedding season started this past Saturday! I am preparing myself for a full 7 months of shooting weddings, and I'm super pumped about all the love stories that I get the opportunity to capture!
  • Stir my affections for things that are fulfilling. I can find myself in a downward spiral when I start to compare myself to others be it in life or in the photography world. It's something that is so easy to do but hard to get out of. This month I want to set my mind on things that will fulfill me: my identity in Christ, nature (which is where most of my inspiration comes from), and deep relationships with those around me.
  • Visit my brother in LA! I can't even tell you how excited I am to see Chris in LA at the end of March. I'm ready for sunshine, warm weather, good conversation, playing around with film, and just relaxing with my bro. 
  • Take time to focus on a personal project. As an artist and also a business owner, it is hard to separate the two sometimes. I can't even remember the last time I did some sort of fine art project or just something that I wanted to do just because. Those are the things that stir my creativity the most and yet I don't take the time to do them. This month I want to at least start planning and thinking and focusing my mind on one that I would like to do.
  • Start figuring out how to market myself for destination weddings. Y'all. This one totally freaks me out to just type. I don't even know where to start when it comes to destination weddings, as I have never done one before. I have such a huge heart for travel and adventure, and destination weddings have been on my heart recently as something I would love to try and pursue. It terrifies me yet gets me so. pumped. up.

What are your goals for March? I hope you all are planning a super fabulous month! 

February Goals + Winner of Giveaway

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January feels like such a whirlwind when I look back on it. We are already a month into the new year, and I can't even believe it! This year has been an exciting one thus far with some fun goal-setting and the launch of my new brand/business. 
Last month seemed so hectic and crazy and I didn't have a chance to share my goals with y'all, so I'm excited to be able to sit down and reflect on the things that I want to accomplish this month with J.Bird Photography and my personal life.

  • Rest and relaxation. With all the excitement that has taken place the past month, I feel like I haven't had the chance to really relax and allow myself to rest. One of my main goals this month is to find time for intentional rest--especially with wedding season just around the corner!
  • Have 2 sessions published on wedding blogs. Keep a lookout for the announcements about a couple of sessions being published! Including my first all-film styled session!
  • Shoot more film sessions. One of my goals for this whole year is to become a better film photographer. The only way to do that is by practice! My goal this month is to shoot on film on a regular basis whether it is an actual session or just something to get my creative juices flowing.
  • Finish up all January sessions, weddings, etc.
  • Build relationships. This is a goal that I believe I have written about before, but it is so important that I feel I need to remind myself again. We were meant to live in community, and my goal to have deep, meaningful relationships with other women so that we can encourage and challenge one another.
  • Run consistently. Will and I have been running with Rouge Running 3 mornings a week and it has completely changed how I feel. I have felt healthier than I have in a long time, and I don't want to get lazy and give that up! 

GIVEAWAY WINNER

On Friday, I announced that I would be giving away one session on film. WELL, today I am so thrilled to announce the winners of the giveaway! It was so unbelievably hard to decide who would win this giveaway. Everyone that entered had such amazing, inspiring, wonderful answers to the questions "what do you love most about your spouse, fiancé, loved one, family, etc.?". I definitely shed some tears while reading a few of your responses, and those of you that nominated others, I can't even get over how precious your entries were.
Although it was an incredibly tough decision, Will and I both read the responses separately and wrote down who we thought should win, and we had the exact same people down.

SO...without further ado, the winners of the portrait session on film are: 
SARAH AND SAM BEST!

Here are their absolutely adorable, sweet responses (they also posted 3 adorable photos on Instagram): 

From Sarah: 

One of my favorite things I love about my husband, Sam, is his servant heart. One of the ways that blesses me the most that I see him practically walk this out, is through humbling himself and asking for forgiveness when we've had a disagreement. He is always the first one to come and humbly repent for his actions. This as you can image immediately breaks down my walls of pride and causes me to forgive and follow his leading and own up to my own part of our conflict. Without this key act of humility on his part it would be very hard for us to resolve conflict and thus forgo a life-giving, holistic marriage. He is a picture of Jesus and what He has done for me. :)

Another fun more "light-hearted" thing I love about Sam is that he always manages to make me laugh when i'm oh so determined to be set in my frustration about something or when feeling overwhelmingly emotional that day for some reason. :-P His silliness keeps life simple and refreshes me daily!

From Sam: 

The newest (and I say "newest" because I am constantly seeing, getting stuck on & discovering new things about her) thing that has been blowing my mind in my relationship with my wife Sarah is her ability to love me in my most selfish of times. As I look back on this first year of marriage, I see several times my heart beat for itself and not for her or anyone else. And yet what I remember most about those moments is the love she chose to give me. Such an amazingly selfless thing for her to do over and over, and THAT discovery (blessing) is what I am currently stuck on!

Congratulations you two! I will be contacting you shortly so we can schedule this super fun session! 

Appreciation Boxes + Giveaway No. 3

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As I mentioned in my blog on Monday, there are so many people that I have to thank for being simply amazing and helping me get to where I am today--people that have supported me from the beginning of my business 5 years ago, and people who have just recently come along side me and encouraged me more than I deserve. Going into this launch I knew that I wanted to thank each and every one of them and make them feel appreciated. Afterall, none of this would be possible without them. My sweet husband initially had the idea to send each person a letter, and I ended up elaborating on that idea. I sent out what I have come to call "appreciation boxes." Inside each box was a letter explaining my transition, my new business cards, samples of my work, and a handwritten thank you note. My goal in sending these out was not to brag about how great my new brand was, but to hopefully make the people in my life feel valuable, loved, cherished. 

As much as I would have loved to send these out to each and every one of my clients and friends --because every single one has had a place in helping me get to where I am-- I think the post office would have had a heart attack and possibly never let me come in their doors again if I mailed out that many boxes. SO...I wanted to share the box with you today and say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me during my journey!


GIVEAWAY

After drawing names this morning, the winner of yesterday's super lovely print is Katie Bruner! I'll be contacting you to get your info so I can send you your goodies!\

Today's giveaway could possibly be one of my most favorite things ever. It's a pair of Moscow Mule mugs (complete with a Moscow Mule recipe!) from Anthropologie (no, the alcohol in the background of the picture is not included!). I am obviously kind of obsessed with copper since this is my second giveaway that is copper. 

Here are the ways to enter! 

1. Comment on this post!
2. Like my Facebook Page, share this blog post to your timeline, and #launchgiveaway
3. Follow me on Instagram, post a photo of today's giveaway, tag @jessicacscott and #launchgiveaway
4. Follow me on Twitter, retweet today's blog post, and #launchgiveaway

New Collateral + Giveaway No. 2

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Yesterday was such a dream come true. Never in my life did I expect to get so much love and support on the day of my launch. There was definitely a happy dance or two followed by some tears of joy and thankfulness yesterday. I feel so blessed by all my wonderful friends and family that took the time to send me words of encouragement, and the sweet girlfriends that surprised me with a celebratory lunch! I could not have asked for a better day.

Today, I am so thrilled to share my new business collateral with you guys. For those of you who know me, you know that I am absolutely obsessed with paper products (ummm...what girl isn't?), so this part of the re-brand was probably my favorite. Putting together physical material that will be in the hands of sweet couples is such a fun thing. One of my main goals with my photography businesses is to make my couples feel loved, cherished, and appreciated. When they receive things in the mail (be it prints, USBs, little surprises, etc.), I want them to know that I put thought and time into each and every detail. Having collateral that reflects that goal was key to me. All that said, here is the new collateral! Yay paper products!!


GIVEAWAY

I drew names this morning, and the winner of yesterday's giveaway is Michelle Winkler!! I'll be sending the sweet smelling candle your way soon, sweet girl!!! 

Today's giveaway is a lovely 8x10 print from Oh My Deer -- one of my all-time favorite print shops. The quote on this print by Vincent Van Gough is such a great reflection of how I believe we should all try and live life. Just a reminder, here are all the ways you can enter to win this lovely print!

1. Comment on this post!
2. Like my Facebook Page, share this blog post to your timeline, and #launchgiveaway
3. Follow me on Instagram, post a photo of today's giveaway, tag @jessicacscott and #launchgiveaway
4. Follow me on Twitter, retweet today's blog post, and #launchgiveaway

Introducing the New J.Bird Photography (and a giveaway!)

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I can't even believe it. I have already pinched myself about 50 times today wondering if this is just a dream. I have been thinking about and anticipating this day for almost a year now, and I couldn't be more excited about it finally being here! 
Today, my friends, is the launch date for my new wedding photography business J.Bird Photography as well as my new brand over at Jessica Christine Photography (you obviously already have found this out if you are here!). Saying that (rather, typing it), seems so surreal. So many emotions come rushing in as I think about all the hard work that has gone into this transformation. One thing is for sure, I could not have done this without some very special people. 

First and foremost, I couldn't have done this without Jesus. The way that He has provided over the last 5 years to get me to this point absolutely blows my mind. There have been so many times where I have wondered whether or not I should continue and He has never ceased to be faithful in bringing wonderful, amazing people and clients my way. None of this would have happened if He wasn't by my side.

My husband, Will, has been so patient through this whole process. Between the long nights of working, talking his ear off about rebranding about a trillion times, and the amount of times I have destroyed the house by stringing my rebranding stuff everywhere...the crazy man has stood by me. I don't think I would have survived this without his constant encouragement, support, love and care. Thanks for being the best hubby ever, Will. 

My parents have never ceased to believe in me. I have never felt anything but support and love come from them when it comes to my dream of being a photographer. The blessing they have been in my life is one that I too often take for granted. They have always encouraged my creativity instead of trying to steer me in other directions, and that is something I will always cherish. Their support means the world, and there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am without them.

Michelle, Jen, Shay, Christine, Meredith and Maddy...y'all. How have I been blessed by such sweet, encouraging friendships? The Lord blows my mind when it comes to the people He chooses to put in my path. When I have needed it most, He has brought me some of the sweetest, most caring individuals out there. These  girls are some of them. They have listened to me vent and put me in my place when I needed it. I am so thankful for their advice, love, support, encouragement, and the way they have challenged me to be a better version of myself. Love them to death

Jessica Beltran of Design House of Moira did an absolutely stunning, beautiful, wonderful, fantastic job with the logos and background. And yes people, they are hand drawn. I can't even get over the talent of that sweet girl! I don't think I gave her much to work with by saying that I wanted "little to no color and super simple", but she nailed. it. Organic and natural is exactly what I wanted and she did a spectacular job. Jessica helped my dream and vision come to life, and I can't thank her enough.

Clayton Stringer of Stringer Productions. What a gem he is. He and I spent a good 4 days filming my new promo video, and he worked so hard getting everything perfect. He had so many great ideas along the way and was so patient during our first meeting when I said "uhhh...I don't know what I want." Hah! Such a true talent, this guy. I can't even express my gratitude for this wonderful little video he has created for me. If you haven't already checked it out under the "Jessica" tab, you can find it below!


SO WHY THE SPLIT? 

I decided to split my business about a year ago in hopes of making it easier for brides and couples to find what they are looking for. Brides are busy enough as it is, so I didn't want them to have to sift through lifestyle sessions before they came across my weddings. Keeping things separate will also help me stay organized and in turn allow me to spend more time on the things that matter most.

I encourage you to explore the site to learn more about me and my style. You can also find out why I chose the name J.Bird under the Jessica section!


GIVEAWAY!

To help in celebrating this super exciting and wonderful time, I have put together 5 giveaways for this week! I will be posting one each day, starting with today and ending with Friday.

HOW TO ENTER: 

There are the 4 ways you can enter! You can do one, two, three or all of these, but remember that the more ways you enter, the more entries you will receive! 
 

1. Comment on this post!
2. Like my Facebook Page, share this blog post to your timeline, and #launchgiveaway
3. Follow me on Instagram, post a photo of today's giveaway, tag @jessicacscott and #launchgiveaway
4. Follow me on Twitter, retweet today's blog post, and #launchgiveaway


The first giveaway of the week is a Capri Blue (Volcano scent) candle from Anthropologie. Basically it smells just like walking into an Anthro store (AKA: a little slice of heaven). OH and let's please talk about the amazing copper jar that it's in. I'm not gonna lie, I almost wanted to keep this for myself!

Let the entering begin! I will announce the winner in tomorrow's blog post!

December Goals

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It is currently 80 degrees outside. How in the world is it December right now?! I am refusing to put away my boots and long sleeves in hopes of forcing the weather to get colder. This is unacceptable!

On a less frustrating note, November was a pretty great, yet slightly stressful month! I am so happy that the month ended with spending time with friends and family and doing absolutely nothing but eating a ton of turkey and sleeping. It was a time that both the hubs and I really needed. Going into December I have an excited yet anxious heart. December is full of celebrating birthdays (both mine and Will's and a couple of our close friends), the birth of our beautiful Savior, Jesus, and a year that is coming to an end. It also means getting one step closer to launching my new brand, new style, and whole separate business (read this blog post if you have no idea what I'm talking about!). If I am completely honest with myself, I am a little nervous (mixed with excitement of course!). Taking such a huge step of faith can be so scary, y'all! All in all, December is bound to be a wonderful month full of changes, challenges and beautiful celebrations. Bring it on, December!

November Goals

Continue building portfolio for new lifestyle approach
Start shooting more with my film camera
Get Christmas cards sent out
Blog before/after pics of house
Celebrate Thanksgiving with Will’s parents
Find a Christmas tree and decorate for Christmas
Shoot one wedding
Start getting rebranding ready to launch in January
Shoot a styled session

Have a “creative day” twice a month
Truly invest in my relationships

December Goals

Celebrate the wonderful, miraculous birth of our perfect Savior, JESUS! 
Shoot 4 sessions in Nashville. Tomorrow I leave for Nashville and will be doing 4 sessions for my new lifestyle approach! I am so excited to be capturing and doing what I am passionate about yet humbled that I get to photograph such amazing, beautiful people!
Celebrate my 24th birthday and Will's 27th birthday.
Create a routine schedule for n
ext year so I can  make time for what matters most. There is nothing I dislike more than realizing that I have spent my day on my business and neglected the people that I love. I am determined to make time for the things that matter the most in the years to come.
Prepare for the launch of my new brand and new business in January!
Shoot a styled session. 
Unfortunately, my styled session planned for November was rescheduled due to the awful weather we were having a couple of weeks ago. SO...I will be praying for absolutely ZERO rain on December 16th!
Relax! Just hanging out and doing nothing with family is a huge part of what this December is about. This year has been a nutso one, and next year will be even more so. I am so looking forward to spending quality time with the ones I love.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have set some super fabulous goals for December!

Happy Birthday, Chris!

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Today, my friends, is my older brother's 25th birthday! Although it's a huge bummer that I can't be with him on his day (him living in LA and all), I wanted to embarrass him a little and write a blog in honor of this wonderful day in history.

25 years. It's crazy to think that 15 years ago we were probably having a full on wrestling battle over the last honey bun in the freezer (yes, that really happened). So glad that our relationship (and maturity levels!) have progressed since then. Chris has definitely become a brother that I have no trouble being proud of. He never ceases to amaze me with his latest architectural adventure/project, and my mind is constantly blown by the things he can create. What this kid has accomplished in his 25 years is amazing to me. Even more than that, I am grateful for the relationship that Chris and I have and the kind, caring person that he is. There are many situations in my life that I probably wouldn't have made it through without him. I feel blessed that I can not only call Chris my brother, but one of my very very best friends.

Chris, here is to you and 25 years! I hope your day is absolutely wonderful. A celebration is a must when you come home for Christmas! Love you, bro!

Home Before/After | Living Room

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As some of you may know, Will and I bought a house this past May. Even though our closing date was at the end of May, we didn't actually move into the house until the end of June so we could do some work to the house. And boy was it work! I am so thrilled to finally share before/after photos of our home (as I have promised the last 3 months in my monthly goals!). Today I will be featuring our living room! So our living room started out with yellow --yes...YELLOW-- popcorn ceiling. Obviously this was one of the first things that had to go. After scouring over Pinterest for days, I finally found a tutorial for planking popcorn ceiling with pine planks. Thanks to the handy work of my dad and husband, they managed to figure out how this would be done and mastered what I think is the most perfect pine planked ceiling on the planet. I am obsessed with how clean it makes the space look! On top of planking the ceiling and painting it white, we also had to paint every wall (as you will see in the before photos, there were 4 different colors in the living room alone) and all of the baseboards. It's not even funny how much I hated paint by the end of this renovation! After all the painting was done, the fun part came. I had already picked out a couch, rug, and coffee table from West Elm, and we already had most of the other furniture. We decided to use an old dresser of Will's for our "mini bar" in the living room. I spray painted the drawer handles gold for a little face lift. Above the mini bar, I have started a wall gallery. I bought a bunch of cheap frames, spray painted them gold, and filled them with either original work or some prints from Hammerpress (one of my favorite spots for fun prints!). We also knew that we really wanted some small leather chairs, but couldn't seem to find any at a price we could afford until we found some absolutely perfect ones on Overstock. We love the retro look of them, and they have a jute back which I think adds some cool texture. Once we had all the furniture, it was all about accessories. A lot of the ones in our living room came from HomeGoods, Uncommon Objects, and other antique stores. There are even a couple of things from Goodwill (gasp!). Will also chopped some wood to put below our TV which could be one of my favorite elements! The last big thing was the living room light. It started out as a modern fan with a ginormous, rectangular light cover on it. After no luck in finding a smaller light cover that fit, we decided to just replace the whole thing. I found a super cool light at West Elm (can you tell we love that place?!), and upon receiving it, I gasped because it looked so massive! I was a little nervous while putting it up thinking that it was going to be annoyingly large...BUT...once we got it up, I fell in love! I think it completes our living room rather nicely!

I'm so happy to have a place to enjoy each others' company and cuddle on the couch!

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November Goals

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Although December is my most favorite month, November is definitely a very close second. To me, November screams "warmth" even though it's when the cool weather really starts kicking in here in Austin. November means driving to Lindale for Thanksgiving with Will's family; it means Christmas tree hunting and spending a whole day decorating our house. November is a month of looking at the past year and thinking about all the many things we have to be thankful for. It is a simply wonderful month. October went by in a flash. I feel like there wasn't enough time in each day to get things done. Such a busy, busy month October was. I am ready for a more relaxing November.

October Goals

Start building my portfolio for my new lifestyle approach. Blog before/after pics of our house. Get a session published on a wedding blog. Second shoot three weddings. Shoot my first senior session of the season! Brainstorm and coordinate another styled session. Have a “creative day” twice a month. Truly invest in my relationships.

November Goals

Continue building portfolio for new lifestyle approach.Start shooting more with my film camera. I got a new film camera last week and I am so incredibly excited about this new adventure! Film is so inspiring and I can't wait to dig in! Get Christmas cards sent out. We are getting our photos taken this upcoming week! Can't wait to design and send out Christmas cards! Blog before/after pics of house. I promise these are coming soon! They will definitely come before we put Christmas decorations up! Celebrate Thanksgiving with Will's parents. I absolutely adore Will's parents. Being able to go hang out with them for a few days during Thanksgiving is like a retreat for Will and me. We absolutely love it! Get a session published on a wedding blog. Still waiting to find out the publish date! Find a Christmas tree and decorate for Christmas! This will be the 3rd annual Scott Family Christmas Tree Hunt (you can see last year's here). Every year we go chop down a tree in Elgin and bring it home. It is definitely one of my most favorite times of the year. Shoot one wedding. Start getting rebranding ready to launch in January. I am so excited to share my new look and new approach to lifestyle sessions with y'all! Shoot a styled session! Words can't describe my excitement for the styled session I have coming up toward the end of November. I can't wait to share! Have a "creative day" twice a month. I really need to get better at this. Last month it was so tough to get a couple of days in where I just did something completely creative whether it was a house project or painting or anything. This needs to be a priority. Truly invest in my relationships. This one will stay on my monthly goals because this is something that I should be doing on a regular basis.

November is going to be a super fun, busy month! What are some of your November goals?

October Goals

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October...one of the most wonderful months in my opinion. It's when I can start bringing out the fall scented candles, start looking up Thanksgiving and Christmas decor on Pinterest, and dream about the cooler weather that is hopefully right around the corner. I absolutely love this time of year. As I am sitting back and reflecting on September, I can't really believe that it is already over. It has been a crazy-exciting month full of adventures, firsts, and a lot of getting out of my comfort zone. I really had no idea what to expect going into September between filming my bio video, planning a styled session for the first time (the photo above is a sneak peek from the session!!), and kickstarting the rebranding. BUT...the last month was wonderful. I am so thankful for the challenges that I faced because they made me stronger in my craft and as a person, and I am thankful for the easier days so I could have a little bit of rest. I can't wait to see what the wonderful month of October has in store!

Completed September Goals

  • Have my bio video made
  • Get moving on rebranding
  • Complete Rigby’s puppy training
  • Finish editing August weddings/sessions
  • Photograph one wedding
  • Start building my portfolio for my new lifestyle approach
  • Blog before/after pics of our house
  • Start brainstorming a styled session

October Goals

  • Start building my portfolio for my new lifestyleapproach. I have made a few contacts and will hopefully start doing some sessions this month!
  • Blog before/after pics of our house.
  • Get a session published on a wedding blog. I have a session that has already been accepted, just waiting to hear when the publish date is!
  • Second shoot three weddings. I can't tell y'all how much I love second shooting weddings. Especially when it is for super sweet photographer friends!
  • Shoot my first senior session of the season! It is no secret that I adore senior sessions. I am so pumped that the fall is finally here and it's senior session season. I have some of the best clients ever this year, and I can't wait to photograph these beauties!
  • Brainstorm and coordinate another styled session.
  • Have a "creative day" twice a month. I know that some of you are probably thinking "but your job is a creative job!" and yes, that is definitely true at times, but after sitting at a computer for days on end, I can start to feel my creativity slowly leave me. I want to set aside two days a month where all I do is be creative. Whether that is photograph something that really spikes my creativity or do house projects, or paint, or just be crafty. I have found that I need days like this to keep me fresh.
  •  Truly invest in my relationships. I feel like sometimes I take the relationships that I have for granted. My goal this month is to truly invest, spend time with and get to know the people that I consider my friends.

What are some of your goals for October?

Anniversary Trip | Nashville

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As I mentioned in my post about Hilary+Kenny, Will and I went to Nashville at the end of August (one week after our 2 year anniversary!) It was such a breath of fresh air to hang out with two of our dearest friends and have nothing on the agenda. We spent a lot of our first day sipping homemade sangria on their back porch...I could have stayed there forever.The week that we were in Nash also happened to be Hilary's birthday week which meant lots of fun and celebration the whole time we were there. We even went to an ice cream place called Jeni's twice (we are a little bit obsessed with ice cream). One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to a light exhibition that was held in a botanical gardens. Not only were the lights absolutely beautiful, but as we walked through the gardens, there was a live bluegrass band playing that we stopped and listened to. With the fireflies flying all around, I felt like I was in a romantic movie. It could not have been more perfect! Sweet time with sweet friends is just what Will and I needed before we started an incredibly busy time of year. I am so thankful for Hilary+Kenny and their hospitality and love. I'm thankful for good conversations, relaxing afternoons, homemade sangria, and realness. So so thankful for this perfect vacation!

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Meet Our Best Friends | Hilary+Kenny

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I have mentioned Hilary+Kenny multiple times on my blog, but today I am excited to introduce a blog that is all about them.At the end of August, Will and I had the opportunity to go visit these two in Nashville (I will be blogging more about the trip in a later post). It was such a refreshing time for us not only because it was strictly a "no work allowed" vacation, but also because we got to spend time with two of the people that mean the most to us. Kenny and Will have been friends since 5th grade, and Hilary and I became like sisters the second we met. We have been so blessed by the honest, real friendship of these two lovely people. I am so proud of how they have grown in the 2.5 years they have been married and the amazing things they are accomplishing. All that said...of course while we were in Nashville I had to take some photos of these two lovebirds. And before you even say it...yes, we do have the hottest best friends ever!

Happy Tuesday!

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September Goals

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August went by way too fast. I am pretty sure that just yesterday I was sitting down to write my August goals. This past month has kind of been a nutty one. Will's parents came into town, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary, we visited our best friends in Nashville, we started puppy training, and I announced a big change in my business that will be coming soon (if you missed that post, make sure you read it here)! Will also started a new job that you can read about on his website here. I am so proud of the way that Will is following his dreams and being obedient to what the Lord has clearly called him to do! All in all, August was a jam-packed, super fun and exciting month.

September is going to hold some fantastic things. It is the start of a new season (my favorite...fall!) which means cooler weather (fingers crossed!) and pumpkin scented candles. It is also going to be exciting as I embark on this new adventure that I will be on business-wise. All of this change definitely makes me a little jittery, but this kind of change is good change...and I am welcoming it with open arms. September...here I come!

Completed August Goals

  • Celebrate our 2 year anniversary
  • Complete our house projects
  • Host Will’s parents
  • Get my bio video made
  • Take Rigby to training class
  • Shoot one wedding
  • Complete all my edits for July weddings/sessions
  • Visit our friends in Nashville
  • Start preparing new marketing materials

September Goals

  • Have my bio video made. This is starting tomorrow! Clayton of Stringer Productions will be filming my bio video for the next 3 days and I couldn't be more excited!!
  • Get moving on rebranding. I finally made the decision to hire someone to do my rebranding instead of trying to do it myself. After changing my mind a trillion times (not an exaggeration) about what I wanted, I decided to put it in someone else's hands. That all starts this month!
  • Complete Rigby's puppy training. We started puppy training at the end of August and will finish at the end of September!
  • Finish editing August weddings/sessions
  • Photograph one wedding
  • Start building my portfolio for my new lifestyle approach. I talked about this in my previous post about the big change that I am making in my lifestyle photography. This month I am hoping to get a move on rebuilding my portfolio and start photographing what I am passionate about!
  • Blog before/after pics of our house. I have been getting quite a few questions about when I am going to post pics of our new house. They are coming soon! We are finally getting all of the finishing touches done on the house, I just need to take the pics!
  • Start brainstorming a styled session. Oh goodness guys. For some reason this one scares me! I love styled sessions, but it is always so hard for me to get started on them! Trying to be intentional about setting aside time to really brainstorm about what I want.

September is going to be a fabulous month! What are you looking forward to in September?

Passion

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As I mentioned several months ago, I have been in the process of splitting my photography into two separate businesses. JCP will be the lifestyle side, and J.Bird Photography will be for the wedding side of things and all that includes (engagements, bridals, weddings). If I am completely honest with myself, I kind of jumped head first into everything without even stopping to think about what I am really passionate about. The past 4 years I have done everything from newborns and families to events and weddings, and they have all had different styles whether it be portraiture or a more photo-journalistic style. I have been stretched in about a thousand directions, taking every client that comes my way, and I have kind of lost the passion that I had in the beginning. Being completely tired of feeling this, last weekend I sat down and really thought long and hard about what my passion is. I came up with this simple sentence:

I am passionate about capturing people in their element, doing what they love with the people they love.

What exactly does that mean? It means that I love being able to photograph people where they are most comfortable, capturing the details of their every day life or a special event. I love watching the interactions between friends and family as they laugh and mingle. I want to photograph someone doing what they are most passionate about whether it be cooking, entertaining, going on picnics, farming, getting married (!!) or simply having dinner with their family and reading bedtime stories. I long to be able to capture the details of someone's life or event and have shots that make a fluid story when viewed.

The past week I have talked to numerous people about this vision, from my hubby and my family to our good friends and some of my fellow photographer friends. I was a little nervous about how people would react to this change, but was pleasantly surprised by the extremely positive feedback I got on my idea. It was confirmation that this is what I am supposed to be doing.

So what does this mean for sessions in the future?

I'm so glad you asked! The lifestyle side is going to be just that...lifestyle. Senior sessions will stay the way they are (because I absolutely adore doing those), but most other sessions are no longer going to be posing in a place that isn't significant to the client. I want to capture the beauty and essence of the life that people actually live whether it be a family, individual, or group of friends. Because of this, most sessions will either take place in the home of my client, or the environment that pertains to the session. One of the biggest changes being made is I am going to be a lot more selective about the family sessions that I take, and I will also no longer be doing newborn sessions. Events, weddings, engagements, and bridals will be as they have been. Especially since weddings/events are already more of the "photo-journalistic" style.

When does this all start?

That is a great question. For sessions, all of my family sessions for the fall will be as they have been in the past. However, I will not be doing a Christmas special this year since I am going to be focusing a lot of my time on rebuilding my portfolio. Because I am finally starting to discover who I am (took me long enough, right?) and what my passion/style is, the rebranding has been pushed back a little bit. I don't have a definitive answer when it comes to the exact date my sites will be completely up and launched, but I have some exciting things in the works and I will keep the updates coming! I want to make sure that the brand I am choosing is something that I am 100% confident in and reflects who I am as well as my new style.

This is definitely all a little (or maybe  a lot!) scary for me. I feel like I am almost starting over when it comes to my portfolio, and the rebranding process can be so terrifying. However, I know that this is what the Lord has been calling me to do, so I want to be obedient (and I am excited to do so!). I am so pumped about what the future holds and the people that I am going to get to capture. I am excited to tell stories with the talents I have been given and truly be passionate about my work.

To give you a little idea of the kind of family sessions I am wanting to do, check out the session I did last year with Donna+Evans.

I would love to know any thoughts/questions that may come up about this change! Feel free to either comment them below or shoot me an email (can be found in "contact")!

August Goals

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I cannot believe that August is already here! It feels like just yesterday I was saying "I can't believe it's already summer!" and now summer is close to coming to an end. This past month I have been thinking a lot about goals and setting them for myself, and this month I have decided to set some! To me, goal setting isn't about looking at all the cool things I get to do and pat myself on the back, but being thankful and grateful for the things that God is allowing me to do. There are too many days and months that I forget to remember that, and my life can feel so empty at the end of those days. I want to cherish and appreciate the life that I have been given. So...with that said, it is monthly goal time! August is looking to be an exciting month!

  • Celebrate our 2 year anniversary! On August 13th Will and I will be married for 2 years! Can't believe these 2 years have flown by so fast!
  • Complete our house projects. At least get the ones done that we have planned for right now. I know that there will be lots more in the future!
  • Host Will's parents. Will's parents are coming this weekend to see the house and hang out! It will be so great to see them and also to have someone stay in out home for the first time!
  • Get my bio video made.Stringer Productions is doing my bio video for my new websites (this is the reason my sites are launching a little later than planned), and we have our first brainstorming meeting next week! We will hopefully start filming it at the end of the month!
  • Take Rigby to training class. Our little puppy is doing great so far, but some training definitely would not hurt. Hopefully we will start him in the next week or two.
  • Shoot one wedding. I am so pumped for Leah+Luke's wedding on the 10th! Can't wait to photograph their big day!
  • Complete all my edits for July weddings/sessions.
  • Visit our friends in Nashville! cannot wait to go visit our best friends in Nash towards the end of the month. I am already counting down the days!
  • Start preparing new marketing materials. I am excited to start creating the new business cards and other fun things for the new JCP as well as the soon-to-come, J.Bird Photography!

Hope you are having a wonderful start to August! What are your August plans?

Los Angeles Part 2

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I don't think I can rave enough about how much fun I had while in LA (if you missed my last two posts on my LA trip, you can find them here and here)! Our first full day started with an amazing hike in Malibu where I completely fell in love with California nature. Even though everything was a little crunchy and dry, it found it absolutely gorgeous...and I kept saying "I want to do a session here!". With beautiful ocean views (minus all the haze!) and lovely nature all around, this girl was a happy camper.For 4th of July, we walked up to the Griffith Observatory and got to watch the fireworks while above the entire city. It was absolutely magical (except for the few times that my fear of heights got the better of me). We could see fireworks shooting off for what seemed like miles upon miles upon miles. Breathtaking. Although we went to several art museums and exhibitions, one of my most favorite places that we went was The Getty. Although it is a museum, we mainly went just to look at its incredible architecture. What an absolutely stunning building it was. With its clean lines, amazing views, beautiful garden...I am pretty sure I could live there. One of the last things we did was go to see the Endeavour space shuttle. Chris had witnessed it being driven through LA to get to the science center a several months ago (you can watch a time-lapse video of it here. I still can't believe they didn't destroy some houses), and it was cool to see it up close and personal. After the science center, we headed to Diddy Riese which is only the best ice cream sandwich joint I have ever gone to...ever (we may or may not have gone their twice while in LA). You can pick whatever cookie you like for each side and any ice cream for the middle. For a girl who loves both cookies and ice cream...and especially both of them together, I was in heaven.

With all of the amazing places we went and delicious food we ate, I told Will that I would happily live in LA (if the traffic vanished). Being able to experience the culture was so much fun. I would go back in a heartbeat!

Friday Favorites | Community

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I know I have totally been MIA on the blog for the past couple of weeks, but I am finally back and ready to share this week's Friday Favorites! Memorial Day weekend was awesome. Will and my best friends came to visit family in Texas, and their last stop was Austin. We were absolutely out-of-our-minds excited to see them since it had been over a year -- way too long! What is cool about Kenny and Hilary (Nash friends) is that they are also good friends with the rest of our awesome community. I feel so very blessed to have the community that I do. I feel like it is a community that I married into. Will had these friends for a while before we met, and when he and I started dating, it was as if I was just one of the group. And I couldn't ask for anyone better.

We had a fun Sunday evening at Home Slice Pizza on South Congress to celebrate our friendship with Elise and Brady who will be moving to Dallas soon (we are still trying to plan a sabotage!!), and Monday we spent practically our whole day getting sunburned, fishing, rope swinging, and relaxing at Lost Creek. Before Kenny and Hilary left on Tuesday, we stopped at Hilary's two favorite places...Taco Shack and Sno Beach. I am looking forward to the day when we can have the best breakfast tacos and sno cones together on a regular basis.

Love these friends!