making things happen :: chapel hill photographer

It's now been 10 days since I attended the Making Things Happen Intensive in Chapel Hill, and honestly, I've been putting off writing this blog post for over a week because I just don't know how to put into words my feelings about this experience.

The past couple of years have been a wonderful journey, full of struggles and triumphs as I quit my full-time job as a Marketing Director to pursue my dreams of being a wedding photographer. It's been one of the most terrifying and most exciting adventures of my life. There's no way I could have predicted where I would be right now, what I would have learned, and the wonderful people I would meet along the way. I'm so glad I didn't know two years ago what today would hold for me, but I realize that now has to be about making conscious decisions about my business and my life.

And 10 days ago, I nervously walked into a room with Lara, Gina, and Emily and 29 other amazingly brave women and voice wavering and hands trembling, I put it all out there. I opened myself up in a way like I never have, gave up my ability to hide from what I know needs to happen, and made lots of AMAZING new friends who keep each other accountable and encourage one another to be the best version of ourselves.

Making Things Happen is difficult to put in a box... it's all about opening yourself up to who you are meant to be and challenging yourself to take control of your life and let go at the same time. It's about clearing the distractions and the clutter and creating the life you've always imagined. It's about realizing there's no good reason your dreams have to remain dreams. It's about REALLY making your priorities priorities and forgetting the rest. And it's an experience that's truly changed my life... I wake up and put my feet on the floor excited for each day. I no longer just go through the motions; I try to live each day with purpose. I remind myself of what really matters and place my focus on those people. I breathe a little easier at night when I go to bed knowing that I've set myself up for success the next day. And I fail. Alot. But the good news is I have the next day to start all over. Progress, not perfection.

2012 MTH - Glessner Photography_000.jpg

Lara, Gina, and Emily are such amazing people to share their hearts and their precious time away from their husbands and babies with attendees across the country, but their work is life-changing. No really... no dramatics here... it really does change lives. I love you ladies from the bottom of my heart, and I know you will continue to do amazing things!

For anyone reading this who's ready to have your world rocked, I encourage you to check out the Making Things Happen blog, take The Challenge, and/or sign up to attend one of the October intensives in Chicago, Austin, Phoenix, Atlanta or Los Angeles. What are you waiting for?!

Update 8/5/2014: Check out Lara's new book, Make It Happen, now available on Amazon.

out with the old, in with the new :: greensboro wedding photographer

You know how sometimes, you have those days or weeks or even months that you feel like no matter how hard you work or how much you cross off your to-do list, you're still not accomplishing enough. Your wheels keep turning and you have so many great ideas, but the must-do list just grows longer and longer and longer. It's the epitomy of a funk... it stifles your creativity and kills your confidence. I proudly raise my hand that this was my past two weeks (okay, let's be honest, more like two months... learning to come clean about the struggles is a gradual process, y'all).

But then, this week happened. And it was just the recharge and reassurance I needed to crawl out of that funk and regain the energy to start molding my business into what I dream of for myself. Like last weekend's spring cleaning extravaganza, I needed to go out with the old and in with the new in every aspect of my life.

On Monday, I started step 1 of Southern Weddings editor-in-chief Lara Casey's The Challenge. I came across this blog post I think about a year ago, just quicky scanning over it, and have been putting off actually taking action ever since. But after watching webinar #1 in the Making Brands Happen series, I decided it was high time I started and boy, has it shaped me up in just 4 days. I'm already feeling less stressed, more organized, and on my way to making things happen NOW.

"A year from now you'll wish you had started today"

I hope that all of you reading this now will join me in taking The Challenge. I promise it will change your life.

On Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to hang out with an INCREDIBLE group of local photographers. And in the spirit of keepin' it real, I'm admitting that about an hour before leaving for the meetup at Natty Greene's, I wanted to come up with some lame excuse like "I lost my car keys" or "i'm not feeling to well" or "my dog ate my homework" (... that one still works right?). The fear and intimidation was creeping in making me feel like maybe I woudn't fit in or maybe this type of thing just wasn't for me or maybe everyone else already knows each other and they don't have room for more friends (I know... it's irrational). But being that I did help make arrangements for the gathering, I forced myself to go, and you know what, it was ALOT of FUN. I made some great new friends and am so grateful I didn't choose the safe route and stay home watching Netflix :)

And then, when I thought my week couldn't improve, I got an email that I got from one of my college professors. I received an email from her several days ago requesting information about what I've been doing since I've graduated so that they could share it in a student profile post on the Black School of Business Facebook page. I followed up with her this week, almost embarrassed that I wasn't well on my journey to the top of the corporate ladder or finishing up my Master's like some of my fellow alumni or even like I thought I would be doing by now. I told her that I was following my passion for wedding photography, with my husband and dog in tow, and had begun a successful business. And instead of receiving the expected standard email letting me know that was great and they would be posting it in a few days, she took the time to look at my website, forwarded it on to her daughter, and then replied to me with the most amazingly kind comments from the both of them.

And it's not that I NEED the affirmation, but it sure does feel nice to be reassured by someone other than your Momma that you're not, in fact, just spinning your wheels.

And since every post is better when there's a photo in it, here's one of my sweet Monty...


A huge thank you to Lara Casey and the MTH crew, Dr. Pinto, and all of the Greensboro photographers that I met this week! You're all AWESOME!

the friday five - blog love :: greensboro wedding photographer

*Note: If you follow us on Facebook, you know that this post was supposed to be up last Friday. In the midst of our travels to Charleston, I completely forgot about it. Sorry if you were holding your breath just waiting for the chance to read this post!*

If you're looking for a great way to spend your afternoon after your morning motivation has worn-off and weekend mode has fully kicked in with no hope of you getting a single ounce of work done, I have it for you right here.

There are very few blogs that I actually read religiously, but the ones that I do subscribe to are worth every minute. Here's this week's Friday Five - my top five favorite blogs:

1. Jasmine Star - Let me just tell you, this girl is AMAZING. Jasmine is a California-based wedding photographer, blogger, and all around branding guru, but her blog is not just for fellow photographers or brides. She is an incredibly talented and inspiring writer with words that everyone will enjoy. And she takes gorgeous photos too!

2. The Pioneer Woman - I LOVE this woman, and I want her life. Cowboy, ranch and all. Her blog covers everything from homeschooling to photography to life on the ranch, but let's be real here: the part I'm all about is the food. Every recipe that I've ever made from this woman's blog (or cookbook - thanks to my friend Bridget) is INCREDIBLE. A couple of my all-time favorites are the sherried tomato soup and the blueberry chicken salad, but seriously, you can't go wrong with any recipe here. Disclaimer: if you're looking for healthy or low-fat, this blog is not for you.

3. Style Me Pretty - You just can't deny that this blog is fantastic. It is filled with inspiration for just about any kind of wedding you could possibly imagine. If you're a bride-to-be who has not yet discovered the joys of this blog, I highly suggest you go there NOW.

4. Lara Casey - This lovely lady is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings magazine, as well as the founder of the Making Things Happen movement. Focusing on wedding vendors, but inspiring to all, her blog is all about marketing, branding, and sound business advice, and consider yourself warned, it will light a fire under your rear. Also be sure to check out Making Things Happen on Tumblr.

5. Gray Photography - You've heard me say it before, but I am absolutely obsessed with these photographers. Zach and Jody are just all around great people and have inspired me through their blog to do so much more with photography than I ever could have imagined. This one is a must-read for photographers, aspiring or established, big or small.

There you have it, folks. Now tell me, what are some of your favorite blogs?

Go forth, conquer, and enjoy your weekend, too!