This is a super special post today! I’m getting to celebrate not one, but TWO of the most important women in my life on their birthdays!!!
Today is my momma’s birthday – and although I don’t get to spend it with her, I am sending her all of my love and I put in a good word with Dad to get her some good stuff! My mom is the most selfless, loving, caring and thoughtful person there is, (and the BEST grand-ma to our pups ever), and I truly don’t know what I would do without her. She’s such a light in this world and if I end up half the woman she is, then I’ll consider my work done. The time, energy and love she pours into everyone around her, her and my dad’s strength and desire to make their marriage work, even through hard times and even after many many years, is a true inspiration to Jeremy and I, and we feel SO lucky to have such positive role models in our lives as we grow in our marriage. Momma, I love you more than words can say and hope today is as AMAZING as you are…but I know that isn’t possible.
Another incredibly important woman in my life is of course, Jen!! She turns 30 tomorrow…wait, I have to type that in caps…THIRTY TOMORROW. (I can only make fun of her for this for a month, it’s my turn in April!). To put into words how much Jen’s friendship has meant to me is impossible. She is one of the truest, most caring people and friends I have ever ever had the honor of knowing, and she truly does make me a better person. A more thoughtful, patient, caring, person and someone who always reminds me to stop, breathe, look around and ENJOY life as it is, in this moment. If you’re lucky enough to have Jen in your life, you already know all of this, but make sure to stop by her Facebook tomorrow and leave her some love. She deserves to know how special she is, today and everyday. I love you Jen – thank you for all you have taught me, and for being such an amazing friend in my life. – Ashley
I just got home from our two week whirlwind United + WPPI adventure (Jen stayed to enjoy some more adventures for a couple of days), and to be quite honest, I’m pooped. I’ve never been so excited to get home and hug my doggies as I have been after this trip! I loved every minute of our time on the West Coast, and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, as I know that there are so many others who would have loved to have been able to go to either of these conferences! I’m a blessed and lucky gal, and I won’t forget that. But there’s something about photography conferences that can be emotionally draining – I have felt incredibly inspired, incredibly loved, humbled, motivated, excited, isolated, exhausted, energized and hopeful all within a span of a few days!!
I plan on writing a full recap of my experiences on the West Coast next week (and let Jen chime in on her experiences too), but today, inspired by my friends Mary + Katelyn to be more authentic in all that we do, I present to you, the havoc and chaos that is our bedroom after attempting to pack for two weeks and deciding to just leave everything where it was before we left. Clean sheets not on the bed, piles of “maybe” outfits that didn’t make the cut, and a very disgruntled Cooper who would like his floor space back. It’s easy to pretend that these conferences and trips are all rainbows and amazing-ness, and that we come home to a perfectly clean house and no worries left to deal with, but I think it’s important to share that as INCREDIBLE as these experiences are, there’s still a real life that we all are living, and to not get caught up in the recaps and instagrams, the feeling of “missing out”. Whether you attend any conferences this year, or whether you’re staying home, we’re all exactly where we are supposed to be. I’m off to tackle this disaster area! – A
(Okay afternoon for the East Coasters but I still say morning because I’m on the West Coast time!)
Jeremy and I first attended WPPI in 2010. I was unsure, terrified, worried, anxious, and basically felt really really UN-cool in Vegas. I didn’t know ANYONE, and spent my entire time camping outside of ballrooms to make sure I got into the classes I wanted to see. I was afraid to talk to people and definitely felt like I didn’t fit in. I was so thankful to have Jeremy and my friend Carly there with me, but I can still so vividly remember those feelings.
So, here we are in 2014, and this will be the FOURTH year Jeremy and I are head to WPPI. WPPI has been a great push for our businesses, and heck, we got MARRIED during WPPI in 2012, so it holds a pretty fond place in our hearts. But it also brought two of the most incredible people into our lives, Justin & Mary, and their friendship, guidance, and support has been indescribable to us over the past four years. I’ve told the story in the past of how, at that first WPPI, I heard the words that truly changed the course of my business and life forever. “It is not your lot in life to struggle”. Hearing Mary say those words, a gigantic weight was lifted from my heart, and I knew that I was ready to make this crazy dream of mine a reality. I am so very thankful to have had these two become two of our very best friends in this world, but beyond their friendship I just truly love and respect them for the great mentors, photographers, and PEOPLE that they are.
For the past couple of years, they’ve been hosting their “J&M Freshman Soiree”, bringing together awesome people who may be feeling a little lost in the craziness that is WPPI and Vegas. This year, it’s taking place on Sunday, March 2nd from 6-8pm in the MGM Grand (exact location to be emailed out to guests!). Usually, they do this event for free, but this year, they are changing it up a bit, and we are SO excited to help “co-host” this with them and the lovely Katelyn James (and her hubby Michael!). The tickets are limited to 50 people and cost $99 each.
Wait, $99 to hang out with us?! Of COURSE not. In true J&M fashion, they have something big….BIG…HUGEEEE planned to do with the amount raised off of the ticket sales, which they will announce during their platform talk Monday morning at 8:30am. It’s really, REALLY amazing friends. And, because they are awesome, anyone that purchases a ticket will ALSO get a copy of their e-book The Guide, which is usually $150, so it’s a steal at $99…and you’re contributing to something pretty dang awesome.
All this to say – HOP ON THIS. Grab your seats HERE, come have a drink with us, and get ready to not only find your place at WPPI, but to pay it forward – isn’t that what it’s all about?! Can’t WAIT to see you there! – Ashley