What an amazing year 2011 has been! This year has been filled to overflowing with blessings. I shot 15 amazing weddings and have developed some incredible memories and relationships along the way. In this post I am going to share 5 of my favorite "happenings" from 2011 in the order in which they occurred.
1. Prioritizing the Important
This year has been a year of shifting priorities and attempting to gain some balance in my life. At the beginning of the year I did some reflecting and set out to make exercise and spending time with God daily priorities. I haven't done a perfect job of it, but have definitely loved the balance and joy this shift has brought this year. I also made time for some fun hobbies that feed my soul -- gardening and crochet. Click below to read some posts about these changes I made this year. I'm still not the poster-child for balance, but am celebrating this step in the right direction!
As many of you know, I have two nephews with autism. So the fact that there is no known cause or cure for this epidemic that affects 1 in 110 children (an increase of 600% over the past two decades) is heart-wrenching to me. This year, my team walked for the 5th year in a row to raise money and awareness for autism. Our team was huge -- 82 strong -- and we raised over $6,500!!! Amazing! Click here to see more photos from this year's walk! And thanks again to all of you who donated and walked! Over $100,000 was raised and will go directly to fund a 1-year multi-treatment study for children and adults with autism. I can't wait to see what our efforts will accomplish!
5. Business Growth
This year was a year of tremendous business growth for Melissa Jill Photography. We brought on a full-time office manager, finished our new office space, brought on 3 new associate wedding photographers, developed new resources for photographers, started a senior portrait program, developed new websites and more! I'm SO thrilled, looking back at 2011, at how far we've come! Click below to read more about each area of growth!
2011 is coming to a close and I thought it would be fun to do a couple posts highlighting my favorites photos of the year. Next week I'll be sharing my favorite wedding photos of the year, but today I'm posting my favorite portraits. These include engagement photos, family portraits, newborn shoots and headshots.
The following 30 images (in the order they were taken) resulted from a quick pick on my part, based on how each photo made me feel. These are my personal favorites. But I'd love to know what you think! Leave a comment but more importantly make sure to vote for your faves by clicking on the star icon under the ones you like. To see the results of the vote, click on "portfolio" then "blog favorites" above.
I hope you all had a great Christmas! Mine included some amazing time worshipping God for the best gift ever, memories made with my family, and some much-needed quality down-time spent with my sofa. It was just perfect!
For some reason I have a hard time seeing past Christmas every year. It seems that everything after Thanksgiving builds towards Christmas and it's all I can do to focus on the next task at hand in preparation for it. So when it passes, I'm never prepared for it to be a new year so soon.
I propose that we add a little extra time in between Christmas and New Year. One week just doesn't seem like enough. I'll work on drafting up a petition so be on the look-out for that. Although one week is insufficient, it IS a great time to look back over 2011 and reflect.
Today I'm going to share my top 10 most commented-on blog posts from 2011. This is something fun I do every year and it's great because if you missed a popular post - this gives you a chance to get caught up!
It's always enlightening for me to look back on a year of blog posts and see what got you guys weighing in. This year's top posts include three weddings, a run-in with a former President, a new guilty pleasure, the start of a popular series for photographers, two posts in which I bare my soul, and new photos of me.
Ian and Katie first met playing little league baseball. They were seven. There must have been something about the way she dominated the outfield or how she looked covered in dirt after stealing home plate, because -- even in high school -- Ian had a crush on her. A secret crush. But after high school, as teenagers often do, they went their separate ways. Then one summer when college was done, Katie came back home -- and no one was happier to see her than Ian. What started as running buddies turned into a friendship, and from friendship came the kind of love that only grows with time and mutual adoration.
On the day before Ian's Basic Training graduation, he asked Katie to marry him, and she of course said yes.
If you ask Ian he will tell you - they are like peas and carrots - they just go together. (And selfishly he's pretty stoked that he gets to marry the girl he dreamed about in high school).
Ian and Katie were married on Monday -- which was the first day he was available due to military leave. Their day was full of laughter and close friends. We started with getting ready at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge. Katie carried a bouquet trimmed with her grandmother's locket:
There were toasts all around to start the day off right: