Closing a Door: The End of a Business

A few months ago my husband and I decided that we were going to take a break from our photography business through the end of this year.  A few months would give us the time to reconsider our business, get a little breather from it, and reevaluate come the new year.  It is not even December yet and we have decided that we are now officially closing our business.

The thing is, we decided to take this "break" at the peak of our busiest family photography season.  It was quite painful to repeatedly tell some of our faithful clients that we would be unable to take their holiday photos this year.  I had my response down to memory but it was still hard each time. 

But while this decision was made at one of the most inconvenient of times, it forced me to really face whether or not I still wanted to do this.  Saying no did not leave me with regret or sadness.  Instead I felt a sense of freedom from a burden that was weighing on me.

As a creative person who has spent the last six years pursuing creative work as a business, it is interesting to evaluate passion, skill, and creative expression.  While I may have been challenged to become a better photographer, I never felt like professional photography was a true passion of mine.

I love taking pictures.  I love capturing my home and life in photos.  But capturing others in photos wasn't quite the same.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed many aspects of the business but never enough to endure the long haul.  The hours of editing.  Oh, the hours of editing. 

I think as a creative it is important to really understand passion.  Just because you are good at something doesn't mean it was what you were created to do.  Sure, there are seasons where you just have to work.  But if you have the freedom to choose, for the sake of preventing burn out, I think it is important to evaluate what makes you really tick.

For me, I love blogging.  It is one of few things that I have committed to for the long haul.  I suppose a huge aspect of blogging is that I can come and go whenever I want.  But you could also say that about our photography business. 

But when I sit down to really think about blogging, I ask myself what is it that I love about it so much.  The writing.  The sharing.  Having a place to share my heart for those who want to receive it.  Sure I love decorating my home and hosting parties.  But without the words, I am not sure I would have stuck around this place so long.  People are leaving their blogs for Instagram.  And I just can't.  My words need a typed out place. 

It is interesting to think that my passion could be more focused around communication.  Yet it is presented in the form of design.  It is a weaving of creativity and heart to make this space so unique.  Photography is a huge part of blogging for me yet it doesn't even make it to the top of my passion list.  Instead it is a tool that is used to communicate. 

It is hard when you offer your art out into the world.  If you are not one hundred percent sure of yourself, it is challenging to accept the criticism that comes with putting yourself out there.  For me, photography was so personal.  I found myself more upset about the business and the awkward place it put me in with others. 

And yet with blogging, people have said more nasty things to me online then I have ever heard in person.  And somehow it is in being sure of myself in this online space that I can handle it.  It didn't matter what people thought because this is what I was supposed to be doing.

While one door closes, the door of blogging continues to swing wide open.  When one art becomes a burden, the reminder of my true passions shine through.  I will always be grateful for this season of photography.  I have fond memories of sweet weddings, adorable babies, and sharing such a fun business with my husband.  But I also choose to be grateful for the frustrations, stresses, and countless hours of editing.  Because those are the things that really helped me see what my true passions were.

Sometimes we have to take criticism and difficult times to help us really see the person we are supposed to be.  If you are going through a season of this, take heart.  You are being molded into the person you are truly meant to be.

Sophisticated Zoo Animal Backyard Baby Shower

This fall I helped host a backyard baby shower for one of my dear friends.  My friend currently lives out of state and so though she visits often, she never gets to attend any of our parties.  Being able to throw her a shower in my home was a true gift to be able to shower her through my creative gifts and passions.  It was a very lovely and fun afternoon with friends and family blessing a special momma and her baby.

The theme of the shower was what I am choosing to call sophisticated zoo animals.  Sweet little stuffed animals were the background to this gender neutral baby shower.

We used a lot of the decorations I used for my birthday party this year making set up easy and mindless on my part!  I brought out my wing back chair to serve as a gift opening throne for the mom to be!

Of course there was plenty of coffee!

And a friend made this sweet zoo animal cake!

I made my sister in law's famous pasta salad.

The other girls brought chicken salad sandwiches and a yummy salad.

Paired with an iced coffee - it was a simple yet super delicious spread!

The ladies stayed and chatted into the night.  It was a such a sweet and lovely time.

Cannot wait to meet that little baby!  So grateful to celebrate this milestone moment with my dear friend and her kind community of family.

What's In My Bag: Travel First Aid Kit

I put together a little travel first aid kit for the last vacation we went on.  After learning that when traveling outside the country, it could be hard to find certain familiar medications.  You cannot necessarily plan for everything, but I also no longer have the perception of - I'll just buy it there if I need it.  I prefer to be better prepared so time is spent enjoying a new city instead of searching the city for a pharmacy.

In my first aid kit I include Emergen-C (for the first sign of sickness), Monistat Chafing Relief Gel, Band-Aid Friction Block, and Vaseline (for inner thighs, on the feet, and anywhere I need some rubbing relief).  I also include Abreva for cold sores, bandaids, pain relief pills, and cold and flu medication.

I would say all three of the following rubbing relief products are helpful.  I purchased all three to try them out.  I use Vaseline the most in the summer when my legs get really sweaty and the Monistat the most when traveling (a soft and comfortable powder gel).  As for feet protection, I now swear by Darn Tough Socks.  No more need for layering my feet with creams and bandaids!

I fit it all into a small travel size bag (I love these ones from Travelon).  When going through the airport, between our first aid kit and toiletries bag, we are able to fill all our liquids into two small bags - one each for Brent and I when going through security.

This last photo is not first aid related, but I did find small hair spray bottles that I like.  Once one was empty I used it to fill with texturizer spray.  They do sell travel size spray bottles but I find that the quality is pretty cheap.  Using these hair spray bottles ensures a much better overall spray.

The more we travel, the more streamlined my packing has become.  With enough trips under my belt I am now confident in what I need when away from home that saves me both time and money!

Entryway and Bedroom Updates

While I was tidying the house and photographing our new dining and living room setup I thought I would take the opportunity to photograph our entryway and bedroom.  As I was taking photos I realized that I have yet to share about our entryway in years. 

It is just a simple setup but one I love so much that it has remained fairly the same for a couple of years now.  Because the hallway is so narrow, I keep the decor minimal with just a few hooks and frames.

Our master bedroom is also a room that stays mostly the same.  Due to the size of the space and our furniture, I can only change it up so much.  Plus I love the airy feel of the mostly white room.

I occasionally switch out the decorative pillow when I am in the mood for something different.  The simple change keeps the room interesting without changing much.  I also purchased a cheap new alarm clock for my husband's side of the bed so that when he came home after a day of me photographing the room, his alarm clock is no longer hidden under a pillowcase!  The $5 photogenic alarm clock was a good blogging investment!

As a home blogger it is almost impossible to share about every little change I make around the house.  And often times by the time I actually blog about something I am changing something up again.  But it is still fun to share that sometimes it's good to leave things as they are while there are other seasons where changing something up can make day to day life more enjoyable or easier.  Either way, I love to change things but I also like to make those changes with what I already have.  It is a fine balance of letting my creative juices flow while finding contentment in the home that I have. 

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