Are you ready for this?  In 2010, I traveled to Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles (7 times), Minneapolis (3 times), Chicago, Atlanta (33 times), New York (4 times), Nashville (2 times), Las Vegas, Denver, Irvine, Pensacola (7 times), Indianapolis, Grand Cayman, Miami (thrice), Washington DC, Boston, Salt Lake City, West Palm Beach, St Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Maui, and I’m about to head to Vail with my family.  Phew!  I earned my SkyMiles this year.



In preparing this post, I read my 2009 Year in Review and almost fell out of my chair.  So much has changed.  But, what struck me the most is what I wrote as my goal for 2010:  My wish for 2010: to listen more –in the largest sense of the word– and to take ultimate care of myself –even when I don’t feel like it– so I can be my absolute best for others.  I wish to know Christ deeply this year and that His love would live in me and shine brightly.  I wish for a year of connection and giving as much of myself as humanly possible.  Inscribed in my wedding ring is a verse that I am adopting as my mantra for 2010: “I can do all things through Christ.” – Philippians 4:13 I started going to church again early this year and worked at developing a stronger relationship with God and, in turn, myself.   As the days passed this year – no matter how busy I got or what came my way – I started to find real lasting happiness.  Photo by Brett Arthur.



The year began with an unforgettable journey: The Making Things Happen tour.  It tour kicked off in Dallas and took us to Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago.



Dallas.  [photo :: poser]



Los Angeles [photo :: Jasmine *]



We met so many incredible new friends.  I will never forget those days.  They were also full of a lot of personal growth for me as I did the MTH work myself and faced a lot of fears.



Meanwhile, V2 (Volume 2) of Southern Weddings was continuing to circulate all over the globe.  Captured below in Maui by Anna Kim.



A highlight of the year was Katharine‘s engagement!  Three days after last Christmas 2009, her beau placed a ring on her finger that would soon after take us to New York to go dress shopping.  With an entourage of 13, we packed into Kleinfeld to search for The One.  I was really grateful to be a part of that day.  So special!



After our chilly NY jaunt, I headed for Hotlanta and Nashville to do the Making Things Happen intensive and have some fun in the Smilebooth at the Get Married magazine premier.



I think I was only back home in Chapel Hill for about 5 days before I had to head back to Atlanta to speak at The Simple Plan workshop.  This was my very first PowerPoint presentation (I went to school for music, theatre and design, ok!?) and the day I met some incredible friends.  Thank you Ben Vigil for this photograph below.



I made a last-minute pitstop in Nashville right after that which turned into quite the fiasco.  Let’s just say Jeremy Cowart and I had a hugemongous meeting with a potential client and losing my luggage on a 6 seater hopper plane in the snow caused me to buy a whole new Walmart wardrobe.  Ah, memories.  Sidenote:  this year, I have been incredibly inspired by this man. I’m so grateful for his friendship.



Amidst all of this travel and work, I was gearing up for WPPI and throwing the Airhorns and Lasers party with great friends.  Yes, we’re throwing the party again this year, but much much different.  Announcing: Airplanes and Blazers.



I really enjoyed speaking at Fred and Jory’s workshop on editorial work.



Loved seeing old friends and meeting new people, as always!  Jory Cordy and I below.



And I particularly loved speaking on a panel of editors at Garret Nudd’s workshop on how to get published.  It was at that moment that I saw a great need for more of this education.



After WPPI, I boarded a plane directly to Denver to do MTH there and then caught the first flight to Los Angeles to see my grandmother in the hospital.  That was a really tough time in my year.  I was exhausted from so much travel and WPPI and seeing grandma made me realize I needed to slow down.



I remember laying in her hospital bed with her, showing her all the family photos I had on my iPhone.  She said it was the first thing that made her happy in a long while.  Thankfully, she recovered and I started to make plans to cool my travel jets in 2011.  But, first… off to NY again and DC for MTH.



I visited my childhood home while I was in DC.  I’m sure many people feel this way, but it all seemed to much smaller!  I loved seeing my playhouse still intact in the backyard.



Back in the office in NC, we celebrated our Two Year Blogaversary and set out to plan V3 (Volume 3 of Southern Weddings).  Lots of brainstorming, a bajillion submissions and several big risks later, we set out with a very exciting plan.



I twittered… Who wants to shoot our next cover? After a overwhelming response, we decided to open this opportunity up.  I wrote this post asking for photographers and designers to submit proposals for our next cover.  Well, little did I know that my inbox (and mailbox … wow, y’all are creative!) would completely explode shortly after.  More on the cover in a bit.  The cover inspiration…



Y’all are going to think I’m nuts.  This year really was nuts! I got way overloaded and have since completely cut out a lot of work.  While speaking, traveling and making a magazine, we also had several large weddings on the books with my event planning company.  I said I’d give it up last year, but we couldn’t resist these wonderful families.



Becky and Scottie have a beautiful story.  Their wedding really made me think about my own marriage and pray for it to be stronger.  It was a perfect breezy beach day in Florida for their I Do’s and a gorgeous ballroom reception.



I spent a few days in Florida with my parents and even biked in a 30 mile race with my dad!  This man runs … or er… bikes circles around me.  I was so happy to share that experience with him.



From Florida to Indianapolis to speak at Eventology.  I was exciting to have Katharine and Emily join me for this.



I spoke on Building Your Team.  Being a “boss” is something I have had to work really really hard at.  I am very happy to say that this year I put a lot of my focus into integrity and changing my business structure to allow that.  The results continue to make us all very happy busy bees.  Above all other things in my business, I am most grateful for Katharine and Emily.  I could be shoveling snow for a living and be extremely happy if I had these two by my side.



It was great to speak along side such sharp women at Eventology: Sasha Souza, Katasha Butler, Terrica Skaggs and Harmony Walton.



Vacation!  Ari and I flew to Hawaii for his best friend’s wedding on Kona.  This trip was a turning point in our marriage.  Something about getting out of our environment and enjoying some sun and sand was just what we needed.



I spent 10 days in Hawaii and had some major travel problems on the way home.  So, Katharine and Emily had to run the show at our big editorial shoots with Jose Villa, who flew in just for us.  I made it back in time for the Fearrington shoot with Jose, Joel Serrato and the incredible Joy Thigpen.  I am so proud of KTW and EAA for making these shoots come to life!  The results in V3 are just awesome.



Ah yes, back to wedding season.  This is where our tightly-packed schedule started to worry me.  So, I went into overdrive.  I was the organization QUEEN, my friends.  I think I even had my Luna Bars in alphabetical flavor order.  We had our last two weddings – both gigantic – back to back.  First up, a stunning Indian wedding at Duke.  The whole office (and our beaus) came out to make Nameeta and Jacob’s wedding go off without a hitch!  Emily’s John is particularly good at chair ties.



And then, the next day, I went to the hospital.  This was a major life wakeup call.  Read all about it here.  I love this man…



The next week: Sara and Tyler’s southern soiree in Salisbury, NC.  I love these two more than I can express. Hi Sara!



These photos from Nancy Ray make my heart so happy.  Katharine and Kyle cut a rug and made us all fall in love all over again.  So sweet…



Two days later (yes, this is how fast my year has moved!), I boarded a plane for Engage10! :: Grand Cayman.  My roomies, Harmony and Jasmine, made this an unforgettable trip.



Engage was, as per usual, packed with so much great education, great friends and wonderful surprises!



A week later, I flew from NC to Florida again for a milestone in my family.  My dad had two children long before us: Kathy and Chris.  Over the years, they all lost touch.  I hadn’t seen Kathy since I was 8.  After 22 years, they all flew in for Father’s Day.  I think it was the happiest day of my dad’s life.  Paul and Mecheal Johnson were gracious enough to be there with us to capture these moments.  You can see the whole day here.



I found a new bff in my sister, Kathy, and a new spark in my dad’s smile.



We all had so much fun on the beach getting to know each other all over again!



Ari and I spent the fourth of July at the UNC Football stadium with friends.  The fireworks were awesome!  I started to love living in NC right around that time.  I don’t want to be there forever, but I’m grateful to be in such an exciting atmosphere right now.



A HUGE part of my growing happiness has been this lady right here.  Marissa Kloess does a lot for me, including encourage me through every step we take as a company.  I love you, M, and could not have weathered this year without you.



Rosalind with Two Bright Lights came to North Carolina and I was so honored to be asked to speak at her meeting.  It was a joy to meet these NC photo friends!



Summer in Chapel Hill was magical.  My Camp Lara post give you all the details.  The photograph below was taken at Duke Gardens by my dear friend, Brett Arthur, who just got married this year and wore our Sid Mashburn suit from V2!



I buckled down for six long weeks of magazine layout.  Yes, we lay this thing out ourselves.  I did not go to school for this.  I learned InDesign by playing around with it all till I figured it out – aka I learned the hard way.  More on my story with the magazine here.



Emily was an enormous help this year with layout!  We worked as a team to make this beauty come to life.  Emily below during a shoot and simultaneous filming.  Footage coming very soon!



Out of hundreds of submissions and 15 finalists, we finally chose a cover. Layout madness continued…



Through much encouragement from Emily and Katharine and many others, I committed to finding a way to blog daily with shorter posts.  I was starting to be known for consistent mega-posts, like this one.  When I discovered the ease of Tumblr – that I could do it on the StairMaster – I was hooked!  I’ve been Tumbling on my personal Tumblr and the Making Things Happen Tumblr ever since.  It has been a challenge, at times, to put myself out there and commit to this, but so worth it in the end.  I’m grateful for the gift of writing.



I blocked off Blue Angel Weekend on my calendar almost a year prior.  Every July, the Blues fly right over my parent’s house for their air show.  It is quite the experience… especially when they make their low pass from behind you out of nowhere!  Ari came with me and we had a blast with my family on the beach.



Just two days later, Katharine, Emily and I drove to Wilmington, NC, for a fabulous shoot with Millie Holloman and crew.  This was so much fun!  Multiple sets created just for us, gorgeous styling, and the happiest team around, oh my!  I also had fun doing everyone’s makeup.  Office bonding to the max.  Many laughs were had.



KTW + EAA celebrated their one year anniversary working with me shortly after.  We reflected on a great year together and, as per usual, had some cupcakes… and candy for Katharine.



So, my husband is a radiology resident at UNC.  As a 3rd year, all radiology residents across the US have to attend a training month at Walter Reed in DC.  Coincidentally, this is also where my parents met.  So, Ari shipped off to DC for an entire month.  We survived 7 long months of deployment when he was in Iraq.  Somehow this was harder.



After intense layout days during the week, I decided to trek up there and visit him every weekend.  I grew up in DC and my parents even flew in one weekend for a big dinner with old friends.  It was a really special night for all of us!



Ari and I went to all the museums that month (including the butterfly house where a little friend below landed on my hat), Mount Vernon, Annapolis (loved it there!), a slew of fun restaurants, all the monuments and anything else you can think of that is touristy.  It was a wonderful summer, despite the distance.



At the end of August, right when Ari got back, we had our last week of magazine layout madness and I flew to Florida to deliver the files to the printer.  After such long hours and crazy work, it was a gift to sit and just watch the sunset with my parents when I got there.



I made the 5am drive to Panama City to start two days of color proofing and text edits.  This is a job for several, not for one.  I don’t know why I didn’t learn this the first times.  But, seeing the proofs was a great reward! My story of being a self-publisher.



I came back to NC for 24 very short hours then boarded a plane for Boston for Katharine’s big day!   I spent that night assembling all the centerpieces for the wedding and – in my magazine proofing delirium – made a few too many.  It all worked out in the end and looked beautiful, but I felt pretty silly about my over-eager centerpiece making.  Sidenote: Boston and the Harvard Club were a dream!  So beautiful.



And Katharine was so beautiful it was hard not to stare at her.  Seriously… Grace Kelly beautiful.  She and Kyle and their families made my heart sing.  The wedding was most definitely the best wedding I have ever been to.  I felt so blessed to witness it.



Ari and I had a ball on the dance floor and spending quality time together after our summer apart.  Thank you, Bryan Johnson, for these incredible photographs.



Days later, I headed to Salt Lake City to do the Making Things Happen intensive and speak at WedSmith.  I loved Salt Lake and met so many great friends there!



Tessa, Hilary, Harmony and I.  Thank you, Justin Hackworth, for these images!



The magazine pages had printed and they were just about to put the covers on when this happened.



I wrote my favorite Tumblr post this year.



The files were off to the printer, but that’s just where our work began.  Self-publishing is a beast.  We prepped pre-orders, dozens of blog posts, contributor mailings, thank you gifts and cards galore as we got ready to unleash V3 to the masses!



So, here’s something you don’t know.  These are the things I’m not supposed to blog, but I’m going to anyway.  My #1 goal with V3, besides great content, was perfect color.  I was really disappointed in some of the color in V2, so this was my mission.  I took those proofs out in the sunlight, proof light, fluorescent light, any light I could see them in to quadruple check everything.  The proofs I signed off on were perfect (cover at left).  Seriously, perfect.  I didn’t leave until they were.  If you wonder why I didn’t immediately tweet about how excited I was to get copies of V3 in the mail, it’s because of this….  The printed, bound covers were so off color.  To the normal eye, it’s unnoticeable unless you compare the two.  To me, it was what I imagine a bad hair dye job to be like: devastating.  Long story short, I panicked.  I called the printer.  Even though this was completely their error, there was no way to redo everything by our newsstand date.  I suddenly got very unexcited about V3.  This is why I didn’t blog this till now.  Again, an untrained I wouldn’t see it.  But, I sure did.  It killed me.  The one thing I wanted was perfect color.  That’s what I approved.  Thankfully, brides didn’t care one bit and the inside pages were divine…



Off to Engage!10 :: Breakers in Palm Beach with Emily to learn, connect and debut V3.



I was so so nervous to let V3 out.  But, the feedback was INCREDIBLE.  We are all – despite our now unsecret cover woes – SO proud of this issue.  It really holds our hearts and embodies our mission to inspire authentic, approachable, meaningful wedding inspiration.  I love our cover from Joey + Jessica!



At Engage!, I spoke on a panel of the best editors in weddings on one of my favorite topics: how to get published.



Rebecca and Kathryn never cease to amaze with every Engage! experience.  This was my fifth Engage! conference and definitely the best yet.



With my dear friend Randy Fenoli and Anthony Luscia of Martha Stewart Weddings.



Emily working the pink carpet with Todd Fiscus, Randy, Jeff from The Breakers and I.



A highlight of my year has been my mom finally diving into her passion again.  It took almost a decade of coercing for us to get her to leap, but my mom now has a regular food column with the paper and teaches French cooking.  I have never seen her so happy!  I got to experience one of her classes the other night and it was a dream come true!  Go mom!



Needless to say, my dad is super happy to see her following her passion, too.  He also likes the added taste-tester benefits.



Next up, my first ever Bridal Market experience in NY with Marissa and Fred Egan!



It was, to say the least, a whirlwind!  SO many familiar faces, oodles of gorgeous gowns and lots of running from show to show.  Pictured below with my friends Sylvia Weinstock and Harmony Walton.



The best part was reconnecting with great friends.  Photo below from Britt Chudleigh.



Aaaaand…. going to the Martha Stewart market party, complete with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Martha offices from Darcy Miller.  Amazing!



The Knot gala at the NY Public Library was spectacular!  Read all of the market goodness here: Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and Eight. Phew!



Days later, Ari and I flew to St Lucia for a big vacation.  What started as the honeymoon we never had turned into the adventure of a lifetime.



It was there that we really reconnected with what brought us together in the first place: our passion for giving.



We experienced so many magical sights.  Pictured below in front of the Pitons.  So beautiful!



Best of all, we met a life-long friend, Chantal Antoine, and weathered a hurricane together.  It was life-changing.  Read my husband’s blog for all the details.



Thanks to Hurricane Tomas, I did not think I’d make it back for the MTH Tour.  I seriously panicked, but God made a way.  Just three days later, I miraculously (four countries and three trips through customs in one day!) made it to Houston to meet MTH alum Gina Zeidler and Emily Ley for what ended up being the best two weeks of my life.



We saddled up in Houston…



Felt the fear and did it anyway in Phoenix…



Emily Ley and I launched Making Brands Happen somewhere in between.



Woke up to this in San Fran…



And met Ari in Los Angeles (he’s from Encino)…



Highlight #1 of the Los Angeles stop was getting to see my siter, Kathy and her husband John.  Ari, Kathy, John and I had a great dinner in Brentwood and I left with a very full heart.  P.S. If you ever go to Bloomingdales in Century City, ask for Kathy Suto.  She runs the place.  Literally.



Highlight #2:  spending the weekend with Em, Gina, Ari and Grandma Bunny.



This video, created by Gina, says it all:

Grandma Bunny from lara casey on Vimeo.

Monday night, we caught a plane to Maui to meet Fred and Jory for MTH.



We shared two incredible days at the Four Seasons Maui with 32 amazing new friends.  It was AWESOME!  [in the true sense of the word]



Best of all, I left with a strong bond of friendship with Emily and Gina. Spending time with Emily and “Bman” (her beautiful baby that is due in February) also gave me a bit of baby fever.



Appropriately, Thanksgiving was the next week.  I headed home to Gulf Breeze, FL, to spend time with my parents.  Ari was on 24 hour call, but he still managed to inspire us and make us so grateful for our lives through his writing.  It was the best Thanksgiving ever.  My goal that day was to get to know my parents as people, not as my parents.  God blessed that day.  We enjoyed a wonderful meal together and…. my favorite!!!! … turned on the Christmas music and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Best.  Movie.  Ever.



After a whilrwind tour across the US with Gina and Em and a wonderful Thanksgiving, I headed back to NC for a few weeks to get down to business.  When you find clarity in your life, you have no choice but to act on that clarity.  I gutted our house, got a new office, wrote 77 goals and smashed about 80% of them so far, donated half of my clothes, resolved some intense old conflicts, signed up to teach Sunday School, committed myself to friendship and – among many other things – put together new Ikea furniture.  This was a true testament to the growth of our marriage.  We actually had FUN putting together Ikea furniture!



And… the big SW news!  Amidst server crashes and lots of late night prep, we launched the NEW iloveswmag.com!  The evolution of the Southern Weddings blog is pretty remarkable.  I love love love our new site and am so proud of Emily and Katharine for working so hard on it.  It makes me so happy!



December 16th, I met Gina and Em in Pensacola where we picked up Marissa and our new bff Natalie Norton for a weekend in Watercolor, Florida, with great friends.



It was an amazing time of deepening our friendships, celebrating 2010 and preparing for the new year.



It’s Christmas Eve and I am so grateful for where this year has taken us as a company and as people.  Photo below of my whole team on Santa’s lap:  Whitney, me, Sierra, Santa, Nicole, Emily and Katharine.  Ho ho ho y’all!  Want to know what we’re up to for Christmas?  Read all the details here.



This is my Christmas suit.  OK, it’s really a box of fabric with arm and foot holes.  It also has my name on it (thanks, Dad, for this rad gift!).  I wear it every Christmas Day and, since we’ll be in the airport tomorrow, I am tempted to wear it through airport secturity.  My husband may disown me when he sees me in Atlanta.  What do you think?  To Christmas suit or not to Christmas suit?



The best parts of my 2010 were not captured in photographs and, as much as I packed into this post, this is just the half of it.  There were so many remarkable little moments with Ari, big prayers, leaps of faith, tears and laughter… this year was so full.  Emily Ley gave me the best gift this year from Paloma’s Nest that sums up our friendship and adventures perfectly:



The biggest highlight of 2010 is the very reason I even got to do all of this above in the first place: marriage.  Marriage rocks. I’ll be celebrating my five year wedding anniversary in March, and I’ve never been more in love. Forget what you hear in the news – it is possible to grow in marriage and love each other more than when you first met.  I’m living it.  It was not at all easy to get here, but the work of marriage has been the best work I’ve ever done.  2010 Highlight = husband. [photo below :: Gina Zeidler]



In 2011, I’ll start the year traveling for a week on the MTH Tour and will be at WPPI in February, Engage! in June and some small things here and there.  I have purposely made no travel plans otherwise.  I’m ready to focus in and dedicate my life to my family, my team, my church and my friends.  I have no idea what God has in store for me this year, but I secretly hope I lose my Delta Platinum status.



I will tell you that I plan to write a small book and teach Sunday school.  I want to sing more and get in the best shape of my life by our five year wedding anniversary on March 18th.  I want to make our brand solid and to really make our company growth take wing.  I’m ready to get down to business in my office instead of out of it.   I’ve titled 2011 as my year to serve and give it all.  I don’t expect this to be easy, but truly nothing great ever is.  And Drumroll…   God willing, Ari and I are going to try to have a baby at some point in the next couple years. This is very scary to even type, but exciting to think about Ari and I growing in our love for each other. (cue happy dance from Katharine!)



I turn 31 two days after Christmas.  I can’t wait to be on the slopes with my family in Vail in 24 hours to celebrate a miraculous year and the miracle of Christmas that made all of this possible.  30 was the year I reconnected, shed my skin, learned to forgive, let go and felt a lot of fear and did it anyway.  I’m open.  I’m as ready as I can be.  I want the same thing as last year, but now it has a whole new meaning:  to listen more –in the largest sense of the word– and to take ultimate care of myself so I can be my absolute best for others.  I wish to know Christ deeply this year and that His love would live in me and shine brightly.  I wish for a year of connection and giving as much of myself as humanly possible.  Inscribed in my wedding ring is a verse that I am adopting as my mantra: “I can do all things through Christ.” – Philippians 4:13 Thank you, friends, for taking this journey with me and for encouraging me through so many challenges. I am so grateful.



To kick-start the new year, I’m giving away 9 of my favorite business books…



What was your highlight of 2010? Leave a comment here and three random winners will split the biz book loot.  Happy New Year y’all!

xo

Show Comments (48)
  1. Shannon Grant

    My first year in business – the whole thing was a
    highlight! I feel so blessed to be able to take photos and own my
    own company. Feeling inspired to do one of these posts! Thank you
    for sharing… you’re so inspiring and seem so rad! I love reading
    your blog :)

  2. aileen

    ok, i’m running around too crazy to read this fully like i
    want to. it’s marked for me to go back to late tonight in a break
    from wrapping. i just wanted to say i love it already! :) and i
    love you! thank YOU for everything. xoxo have a very merry
    Christmas with your family. my highlight of 2010 was finding myself
    and finding my faith and truly working it. everything will fall
    into place from that. but, Jesus, He’s the highlight. hugs.
    A

  3. Jenni Bailey

    I spent most of 2010 working toward a very specific goal.
    It was what I invested in, what I went to Atlanta for MTH2010 to
    work on, what kept me up at night. So this is going to sound weird
    but…the true highlight of 2010 was the moment when I stepped back
    and decided to let it go a little. I finally listened to the voice
    in my head that had been very politely suggesting a different
    direction for me. I finally saw the sense in that. It was at once a
    tiny moment and a huge one. 2011 is going to be an awesome year. I
    am fully embracing the blessings in my life. I am finding my voice
    creatively. I can NOT wait to get started!!

  4. rachaelmarie

    officially starting by business by becoming official
    :)

  5. Damaris Mia

    One of my highlights for 2010 is surprising my family with
    my brother who is in the Army (video here:
    http://www.vimeo.com/10665080). It was truly a touching moment, one
    I don’t think anyone who was present will ever forget.

  6. Melissa Abeyta

    Hands down my highlight was MTH in LA…it was such a life
    changing moment! And besides the entry. I am so inspired by you,
    Lara. Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday!!

  7. Emily Ley

    Lara Casey, I LOVE YOU! This is absolutely beautiful…
    what a phenomenal year you’ve had. You have grown so much and
    inspired so many people through your journey, your walk and your
    willingness to share your beautiful heart – myself included. I
    can’t WAIT to see what 2011 holds for you!! xoxoxox Emily

  8. Loren P.

    Wow, wow, wow Lara! What am amazing post!! 2010 was a tough
    year, but hands down my highlight came towards the end with MTH2010
    Maui. I keep my LBB (little black book) close at hand to push,
    remind and inspire me. I thank you for that.

  9. Eve Harrison

    Your post had me in tears, especially the baby part. I am thrilled that you will be imbarking on this journey soon. Thank you for being you, so open and honest. A light in my life, in this industry and in God’s eyes. You are an incredible human being and make me want to be and live so much better. You have inspired me more then you will ever know. Thank you for giving us so much this year. I am wishing the best for you always.

  10. Abbie

    What a jam-packed amazing year you’ve had! It’s inspiring to hear you tell of your growth this past year. Although I had to put some of my goals and dreams on hold, the surprising early birth of my son was the highlight of my year. Being told that I was having my baby THAT day, seven weeks early, rocked my world… but it also showed me how strong I was, how my love I had for my husband and how much faith I could hold in my heart. Now that he is three months old, I am excited to get back to work and getting back to “making things happen”. It’s time to revisit my early writings in my MTH journal!

  11. Heather Vreeland

    Oh girl, I am tired just reading all through that.. I can
    only imagine how you feel! Kuddos to you for having big goals and
    “making them happen.” I find myself feeling quite proud of you,
    though we know each other simply via the internet it seems, because
    I know first hand just how hard it is to self-publish a magazine.
    And just look at everything else you do! whew! Merry Christmas and
    lots of luck to you in 2011! PS – my highlight of 2010 was
    definitely my first time trip to Engage!10.. discovered lots of
    things about my biz and set new, big exciting goals. ;-)

  12. Joy Lengyel

    What a year you’ve had, Lara! Feeling very grateful to have had you as part of one of my BIG 2010 highlights – finally making the huge leap to follow my passion! THANK YOU for all you do, and Happy Holidays!

  13. Marni Gold

    Bar none my favorite part of 2010 was having my son
    Benjamin. I thank you for your candor in this post and wish you and
    Ari the best in 2011 and luck in your new adventures ;)

  14. Mariana Herrera Mosli

    Lara, Wow. This is one seriously loaded post!! Loaded with
    success, determination, love, & HARD WORK! You are such an
    inspiration & I know I am not the only one that feels this
    way. I truly look up to you, in many ways! As you are aware, this
    was my first year in business and I have learned so much! I have
    failed, succeeded, and keep looking forward for what the Lord has
    in store! I thank you for sharing this and can’t help but feeling
    VERY grateful for having the opportunity to meet you this year! I
    look forward to seeing you very soon!! Praying for you, God bless
    you & your husband very much, I’m sure 2011 will be full of
    exciting surprises!! Love you!! xoxo! Mariana P.S. I would love to
    start the year with some awesome business books, I LOVE reading!
    ;)

  15. Heather G

    Miss Lara – so proud to know you! I can’t wait to see what
    2011 has in store for you, Ari, SW & your family. :)
    Hmm…2011 was filled with surprises….I took a leap of faith with
    a few goals, and I am proud to say they are coming to fruition! F
    ace the fear – do it anyways! Merry Christmas Lara! Best, Heather
    G.

  16. Angie Gallagher

    Wow Lara! What a year and what a full life! You are such a
    blessing to everyone you touch. Me included. I am so thankful to
    have met you this year and the many blessings MTH has given me. To
    finally give myself permission to take care of me. That was big and
    thank you! XOXOX Angie

  17. Stacey Halphen

    Lara, thank you for sharing your amazing year! You totally
    rocked 2010, and I know you will have an even more amazing 2011. I
    am so proud to already see the change in your confidence from a
    little over a week ago in Watercolor, FL. Btw, you have a beautiful
    voice that should be shared with the world. Love ya!

  18. Amy Worthington

    This year was a big one for me, taking on many unrealized
    dreams….but after reading your blog post I’ve realized I can
    still do so much more and take on many more challenges! Highlights
    from my year include training for and completing my first half
    marathon, graduating from BYU-Idaho, and successful organization,
    direction, and execution of a two and half week camp for inner-city
    youth in Chicago. You can read about it all here, here and here.
    http://stillframesofmymind.blogspot.com/2010/06/operation-complete-half-marathon.html
    http://stillframesofmymind.blogspot.com/2010/07/done.html
    http://stillframesofmymind.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-08-16T23:39:00-06:00&max-results=10
    Thanks for the inspiration Laura….thanks to your example I’m
    determined to get things in order this next year and take on some
    goals and challenges that I never thought possible. Conquer my
    fears and begin to really make things happen.

  19. Crystal

    You have blessed so many others through your passions
    & love of life. I am grateful for your personal insights
    and looking forward to hear about the great things you will do in
    2011.

  20. Lauren

    Phew, wow it was SUCH an incredible year for you, but I am SO excited for what 2011 holds for you! :) I love you!

  21. Pam Parker

    Lara,
    Thank you for something that I’m sure you didn’t even know you said in your post.

    I’ve been a wedding planner for over 15 years. I’m a mother of two wonderful grown men and the grandmother of two precious little people.

    So many of the people in our industry are their 30’s or younger and there are times that I think “if only I were younger.I am often jealous of the energy and ability to work non stop with almost no sleep. Reading your post about your exciting but hectic year I realized that I am so grateful for one of the blessings of being older and more experienced. BALANCE.

    BALANCE in my personal life and in my business life. Thank you for reminding me that I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Very often when I read one of your posts I feel there’s a hidden message in there for me.

    Be kind to yourself, enjoy your journey!!

  22. Christy Eriksson

    The amazing gift of my son! I would have never guessed helping out at an after school program would lead my to my 2 1/2 son. Who is amazing and has shown me how to love on a whole new level.

  23. Marissa Kloess

    Ms. Lara Casey I love you and your big open heart so much! You ARE going to knock it out of the park in 2011! God has such amazing things planned for your future! xoxo

  24. Sarah C.

    There are so many highlights from 2010! The biggest
    highlight was sharing this whole year with the love of my life. I
    received horrible news earlier this year and he was right by me the
    whole time! God truly has been good to me. Another highlight was
    starting the wedding planning process for my own wedding!!! I’m
    getting married June 5, 2011 and can’t wait!! Oh and just one more
    highlight, I received my certificate in event planning. I’m hoping
    to really grow more in this venture in 2011!

  25. S and O

    Great pictures!
    It looks like a fun year :D
    Xoxo
    Sarah

  26. Briana

    My highlight of 2010 was attending MTH2010 San Francisco and having my reset button pushed. Having the blessing of Emily, Gina, and you, Lara, in my life have given me hope that I never thought I’d find again. You constantly inspire me, and I know that 2011 will incredible for you. Who knows, maybe we’ll be bun-carrying buddies soon?

  27. Christine meintjes

    I married my high school sweetheart Iaan! It was the best day of my life!

  28. Raquel Mideau

    One of the biggest highlights of 2010 for me was attending the MTH Intensive in Watercolor, FL. I made connections with amazing people that I’m sure will last a lifetime, and have never felt so determined and encouraged.

    Lara – You are a very special woman and I sincerely appreciate your transparency as you share your life stories. I’m not sure you realize how much of an inspiration you are to me, but I am truly blessed to know you and wish you (and Ari) all the best as you wrap up this phenomenal year and prepare to begin a new one. Cheers! Raquel

  29. Carrie Pratt

    Wow, what an inspirational post to read. You make it all look so easy!

    I’d say learning to slow down and embracing my challenges were my highlights of my year. Bring on 2011!

  30. Ellen

    Wow! I’m exhausted just reading it… I hope your 2011 brings even more fulfillment. And a baby!

    Looking forward to talking to you in a couple weeks.

    Happy birthday a day late!

    Ellen

  31. Feuza

    WPPI was a big one from me, it pumped me to believe in myself and connect with so many amazing people, another hightligh was flying down to TN to shoot two weddings with Shannon Kelley, a beautiful friendship has grown and she is a great mentor…

  32. Jaime Lyn

    The highlight of my year was getting MARRIED to the love of my life. He is everything I am not and everything I want to be. I feel like I can do anything with him around! :)

  33. Jenae

    Loved it Laura! What an incredible year! So thankful that
    you go for it every day! I loved meeting you and all the other
    girls at MTH Houston and I’m so ready for 2011! Keep rockin the
    world!

  34. Dana E

    The highlight of 2010 for me was stepping out on faith and quitting my very lucrative corporate job and starting my photography business full-time! It’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve had so many AMAZING blessings! I look forward to 2011 being even greater!!! xoxo

  35. Amber Moon

    Let’s just say – the tears fell out of my eyes at “2010 Highlight – My husband.” I love you sweet friend, you really make a lot of hearts happen along your amazing path. Grateful for you. Josh is my highlight as well… I love that man.

    xxoo
    Amber

  36. Kristy

    Giving birth to my second son, Neo. Totally takes the cake!

  37. Happy New Year’s Eve! « Southern Weddings Magazine

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  39. Katie

    Self-awareness–and acting on it. Not only calling myself out when I’m unhealthily being my own worst critic, but taking steps to grant myself the grace I freely give others. Letting my husband take the reins and give me the what-for when I’m pushing myself too hard. Choosing my battles at work, delegating to help others grow into their strengths, and stopping to celebrate successes in business. Resting to feel God’s embrace and hear His nudging. Taking the last two weeks off to rest and prepare for a beautiful 2011!
    Lara, thanks for your transparency and inspiration. You’re a light every day!

  40. Tiffany Kay

    Focus! I turned 30 this year, and for the first time in my life I feel like I have direction and a goal. I love photography. I have been blessed with 35 photo shoots up and down the East Coast in less than a year of business! I find such reassurance in sites like yours which remind me that I’m not the first, nor the last, to have taken a chance at going after my dreams (all with fear staring you in the face). Thank you for that!

  41. Charity

    My highlight was reading your blog! Just kidding….really though, the highlight for me has been realizing how far I’ve come and also how far I have to go. I graduated with my BS in Accounting this year and that was probably the biggest highlight this year! My family and friends were all there to celebrate with me and I realized how much I am truly blessed with. I have so much that I want to give away! I feel like I’m starting 2011 with so much to do and to give. I truly want to give myself away to others and to become what God has planned for me this coming year!

  42. mindy peterson

    WOWZERS!!!!! i am exhausted just reading your post…… what a spectacular year!! hope to meet you at WPPI this year…. we will of course be at airplanes and blazers! it was truly amazing reading about your journeys this past year….. and i’m here to tell you that whenever God does bless you two with children, that will be the most INCREDIBLE journey yet!! very excited for you to embark on that adventure! :) cheers!

  43. april walker

    lara i’m just now reading this post, but just had to say how blessed, encouraged, & inspired I am by your words & what God is doing through your life. thank you for being so transparent in sharing your story & i pray that God uses you in big ways in 2011! i also love to hear, as a single woman who longs to be married, that the type of love God has given you with Ari still exists :) praying for you in 2011 and that the Lord will make His provision most clear in 2011 just as He drew you in in 2010. thanks for listening to that small voice, facing your fears, and doing them anyways. God has truly used you to inspire so many! blessings – april

  44. emily scott

    I had no idea what God had in store for me when I spoke with you on the phone last September. I am amazed to look back on that, and even more so, to call you a friend.
    xoxo.

  45. Kristin Nicole

    My highlight was getting my business off the ground and seeing how much my husband supports me through my dreams. It has also been amazing to see the stories of people like you in the wedding industry that made it, it gives me inspiration that I am on the right path and l can do it too!

  46. 2011: LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PLAY SMALL « Lara Casey

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