I grew up a very independent child. I never read instruction manuals when putting things together (still don’t). I get great pleasure out of figuring things out for myself. I never got in a lick of trouble outside of an overdue library book, but I didn’t like being told what to do, when to eat, what to wear or how to do things at summer camp. I did like the abundant supply of arts and crafty things, ice cream socials, and singing hymns on Sunday morning in an outdoor “chapel” of trees, but I made a lot of excuses to try to come home.
Naturally, in retrospect, I am thankful that my parents weaned me off home and made me experience life a la bunkbed. I never ever thought I’d relish solitude, travel and adventure, but all my journeys as a young girl helped mold me into the Delta SkyMiles Queen I am now. Image below :: Paul Johnson
Life has felt a lot like summer camp lately. I’ve been going through a time of letting myself get schooled, restructured and stretched. Even in college when summer camp days were long over, I’d still spend all those hot days doing something productive. From structured summer programs to creative endeavors, summer has always been a time of learning and transformation for me. This summer, I am by myself a lot during the week. Ari has had a big board exam to study for and is now in DC for the next month doing a rotation at Walter Reed. Yes… a month. The last time Ari went away for an extended period of time, I started Southern Weddings. I get a little stir crazy when he is gone, so I’ve deemed this time “Camp Lara”. I’m planning activities for myself, getting in some pool time, taking field trips, and tackling the proverbial ropes course or two. There’s a lot going on.
I remember writing letters home to my Mom and Dad, telling them all that was happening during those steamy summer days. So today, my friends, a collection of random highlights from my steamy summer days at Camp Lara:
Thanks to a great conversation on the beach at Engage10, I collaborated on a little something with Jasmine Star and Calder Clark. Feel free to leave a question for me in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer.
You asked, I delivered. My first-ever live online intensive, Live with Lara, is on Tuesday, August 24 from 1 pm to 2pm EST. At this point, there are only a handful of seats left. If you’re a creative professional in the wedding industry and you want to take your brand to the next level and learn my top keys to getting published, get registered.
Katharine is getting married very soon. She has been detailing her wedding planning on the SW Blog and it is my favorite post every week. A few highlights: we took a trip to Kleinfeld so she could say yes to her dress… and guess who is doing her wedding flowers?!
I am [finally after much prodding and teeth pulling] creating a video that will give you a peek into my life, what goes on around here and some behind-the-scenes fun. I’ll be filming the rest of the summer and releasing it in early September. I won’t lie … I am n-e-r-v-o-u-s. The last clip I made was a little short with Rhys Coiro in college where I was a Bride of Frankenstein-esque robot and he brought me to life. Rhys was hilarious… so kind, and pretty much exactly like his character on Entourage (minus the crazy). He used to call me Lara Croft, and to this day that name makes me laugh. It also makes me feel a little spark of fearlessness when faced with stuff like this. Thanks for that, Rhys. Excited. Nervous. Diving in…
I’ve come to realize that the farther I stretch my creativity and do the things I fear, the happier I get. So, I did a photo shoot. I’m doing another one in 11 days to try to get me out of my comfort zone. Brett is awesome and makes me feel really relaxed. You can see the whole shoot on my Facebook.
Ari and I are spending a week here after the summer. I may never return.
I am honored and excited … and again, nervous… to be on Dane Sanders’ show Ask Dane this afternoon at 4pm PST. I really admire Dane and all he has done to help so many careers blossom. I’ve tuned in and been inspired many times and am pinching myself that he reached out to me about doing the show. Tune in just for the mere purpose of putting me at ease, friends! Seriously, live shows scare the crap out of me. Good thing Dane is such a great interviewer… I’m sure I’ll forget this nervousness as soon as we start. But, still pile on the pom poms. I need cheerleaders!
OK, music change. Personal note time. I’ll be very honest here… I’ve had a challenging couple of months dealing with a lot of anger. Yes, anger. Of the rage variety. This was a new emotion for me and, friends, it broke me down. I’d like to thank the following people and things for keeping me from hurling things at my computer and from smashing my new iPhone4 into a million pieces and punching holes in the walls (yeah, it was that bad): Ari for always giving me sage advice and for bringing me spicy tacos at midnight, my unbelievable friends for praying, my staff for being as good as family in their care and vehement support, the gym for letting me punch and kick the crap out of it instead of other things, whoever created the BigNotes app that has allowed me to journal through these feelings daily, AMEX for happily accepting my retail Target therapy, my church for loving Jesus and helping me see that I should forgive, and most of all… God. I have learned so much from experiencing these new feelings and working hard to get them out and let go. Through all of this anger and hurt, I’ve seen a lot of my own shadows. They aren’t pretty. I don’t like angry me. This experience helped me build better boundaries, and get clear, bold, and develop more understanding. It forced me to my knees and for that, I am grateful. A quote I love: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. – Plato
I had a major life turning point in this yesterday while listening to Tim Keller’s sermon on Patience. Ari and I listened to it on the way to Mount Vernon. I highly recommend downloading this. Tim’s short lesson made the words above very clear and changed my heart in fully understanding them.
Phew! OK, back to the energetic let’s do this! music…
My new It List of top images is up. Vote on your favorites.
This is what’s in my pantry. Random, but people ask me that all the time. Technically, I am still a certified personal trainer. I’ve kept it up for my own personal knowledge in the gym. OK, OK … I also like the thought that I could still run any guy into the ground with no weights, no jumping around, no running required. Go ahead, accept the challenge.
I’ve fallen in love with this blog from my new friend in Australia. It’s my favorite blog to check every day.
We did a fun shoot with Millie Holloman a couple of weeks ago to create a plethora of promo shots for our new site and the print edition. Millie and team pulled out all the stops for a full day of non-stop action in Wilmington. There were at least a dozen sets, all hands on deck, and some gorgeoustastic details from Jennifer at Salt Harbor Designs. iPhone pics above. Millie’s shots will blow your mind.
Want to know where I am at all times? That sounds creepy. Well, here you go.
Things I say all the time to other people and should be said publicly all the time, too: Emily is 7 years my junior, yet she is 100 x more emotionally mature than most women twice my age. Calm under pressure, driven, and always stepping up our collective company game. From the beginning, she has gone after what she wants with heart and grace. Her integrity blows me away. And she has been doing layout like a boss!
Katharine‘s instincts and sense of justice comfort me like no other. When I have an issue, Katharine has an answer. In T-ball, I would have picked her first. OK, she probably would have been the one doing the picking. Among the many things she does to keep us laughing (“that’s what she said” is a staple) she always reminds me that “we know a really good lawyer.” Indeed we do. But, even better is the powerhouse trio we have in the office. I’m a very lucky girl to spend my days with these two.
Okey-dokey… here goes nothin’….
I’d like to have kids soon. [Cue call from my mother/grandmother/Dad/brother/sister/aunt/friends and Mom again.] No really, this shouldn’t be alarming. I’m 30. I think part of this stir crazy feeling I have lately is God telling me it’s time to use that energy for something bigger than me, a magazine and any business venture I can dream of. Only God knows when the time is really right – if ever – so, don’t expect me to be found in Babies-R-Us anytime soon, friends. “I’d like to have kids soon” means I’m ready for whatever God has in store. Preferably in the next 5 years. Ari and I used to be terrified to talk about it. Now we can have an only mildly awkward convo about it. It usually results in me saying I want to adopt first and he says we should have one of our own while I’m still young and my body can bounce back. He knows me too well. Working out keeps me calm, keeps me feeling strong and taking deep breaths. Obviously a baby would be worth time off the Stairmaster, though. OK… getting ahead of myself. I’d like kids someday. There. I said it. Image above of my whole family on Father’s Day :: Paul Johnson
I bought new glasses. Ari and I bought clothes at Macy’s. We ate dinner at 4pm. All in one day. I’m getting old. OK, he is, too. We had a good laugh at our oldness during our early-bird dinner.
As per my last post, the Making Things Happen tour is ON! Most cities are half-full already and the people joining us so far are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I’ve invited Gina Zeidler to join Emily Ley and I for the journey to document our whole experience. Gina and Emily are First Class alums and two of my favorite women. I’m excited to travel the country with them. San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Houston and Maui are about to get fired up in a BIG WAY! Register here. Yes, there is still time to get in on the scholarship opportunity (ends August 16th) and lock in a payment plan (email Marissa).
Speaking of Marissa…. I’d like to formally introduce my sidekick (I cannot stomach “assistant” for some reason), Marissa Kloess. She keeps a lot of things running around here. I love her. She makes my life better.
We’re gearing up for Volume 3, which arrives on newsstands all over the US on October 5. The issue is looking gorgeous and, I will admit, we have too much great content this time. Not a bad problem to have. If I could, I’d make this issue 1000 pages fat. Very exciting: cover images for V3 have all come in and we’ve made a unanimous decision on our pick! Out of 16 stunning shoots done all over the country, we saw some of the best work I’ve ever seen. I cannot wait to share all of it in print and in some very exciting extended online features on our new site! So. Much. Wedding. Goodness. It’s hard to get me really excited about weddings and shoots, but trust me… prepare for your jaw to drop. We won’t be announcing the cover choice till it hits newsstands, so the only way you’ll get a sneak peek is if you steal my iPhone. It’s my wallpaper. OK, don’t steal my iPhone. And if you want to get in on the action, email Katharine Technically, the deadline to be a part of V3 was Sunday night, but I’m the boss, so I’ll give you another day. : ) You will thank me for being a part of our biggest and best issue yet!
I just got done surprising the MTH2010 Nashville class on Skype during their 6 month reunion. It was so fun to see them and I felt so blessed listening to all they’ve accomplished in these 6 months. Much love, my friends! Keep inspiring and encouraging each other! xo
I’ll leave you with this quote that won’t leave me.
That’s right… no post is complete without a fun giveaway! The fine folks at Fuji have given me another FujiFilm Instax Mini to give away! Ready… set… leave a comment telling me what (a favorite phrase or thing) or who (that one person who encourages you the most) inspires you most to get out of your comfort zone. One random commenter gets this fun little camera for more summer fun!
Signing off from Camp Lara.
P.S. Thank you, Christopher Confero, for this.
P.S.S. Camp care package requests: Luna Bars (of course), one of these so I can be in DC every night, and love notes. That was my favorite thing to get from mom and dad. Leave me a love note below and you’ll be entered in the Instax giveaway too.