Goodbye 2018. Hello New Year.
heartbreak, growth and another year around the sun.
2018 started off with an anxiety attack.
True story. I was at a friend’s house for a New Years Eve party. Spent most of my time that evening in the bathroom, hiding. There were probably over 200 people at this party. I was the only single person. It’s pretty hard always being the 38 year old with no date. On a day to day basis, I’m good with being solo. When confronted with 100 couples, not so much.
Fast forward 13 days. I had a fairly normal day. Pregnancy session in the morning with an old friend. Edited the images and sent them their gallery. Around 1:30/2:00-ish I saw a friend’s facebook post about their brother (who lives in hawaii) receiving a text about a nuclear attack. AN INSANE WAVE OF ENERGY RAN THROUGH ME. I figured it was just fear from that chilling facebook post, but now I know better. At 4:31 I missed a call and had a voice mail from my best friend’s mom. I called her back. I knew someone was gone.
It was Adam. My person. My best friend.
Suicide fucking sucks.
January 13th is the worst. This year has been the worst.
I can’t talk about 2018 and not talk about losing my best friend to suicide.
A shoutout to the beautiful friends who called, texted, sent meaningful gifts and checked in on me week after week. The first five months of this year were so fucking hard.
In April, Adam’s best friend, Sean died from leukemia. In the months that Sean was in the hospital, we became fairly close. When we lost Adam, I tried hard to be there for Sean. The whole situation was so sad. My heart is still broken over all of this. Especially for Karen, Adam’s mom.
In October I lost a special person from my past to cancer. RIP Beverly.
If all of my friends could stop dying, that would be great. I’m feeling a bit salty, universe.
As traumatic and heartbreaking as this year has been, it’s also had some little victories!
Some new travel adventures, incredible new friendships and a whole lot of personal growth.
Grief is a different experience for everyone. For me, I needed change. The only change I could make with immediate gratification was my hair... and of course, me being a creature of habit it’s now back in a pony tail with zero style as per usual.
It took me 39 years and a major loss in my life for me to get my first tattoo. I’ve wanted tattoos since I was 18, but never had a reason I guess. I’m hoping this is my last tribute tattoo. (Still sorry, mom!) Adam’s ashes are in the ink. He is always with me.
For my 39th birthday I raised money for TWLOHA in honor of Adam. Thank you to everyone who donated.
“It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.” -Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
This year I said goodbye to my photography business, Steph Lynn Photo. For months I was inundated with emails, texts and phone calls about a new photographer with the same name who appeared out of nowhere. After many long conversations with lawyers and other business owners, I decided to rebrand my business.
Starting a new business takes a lot of time, hard work and costs SO MUCH MONEY. It’s also emotionally draining and scary AF to start over. But here we are. My new business is in the process of being Trademarked and I have a solid brand that I can someday sell because it’s not my name.
Tiny House Photo is an affirmation to get me to my next chapter.
Even with all of the unnecessary drama, growing pains and figuring out where to go with my new brand, I had some amazing wedding adventures in 2018. I am so grateful for every love story, every client and every opportunity I’ve been gifted with.
THANK YOU for filling my soul.
THANK YOU for trusting me with your special day.
THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
I appreciate each and every one of you.
I stopped taking traditional family sessions in 2018.
I adore all of my family clients, and i swear…. “it’s not you, it’s me”.
Photojournalism is how I started my photography career, so it’s only natural I’m going back to my roots. Documentary photography is the only way I know how to be honest and tell a story. Continuing to do sessions that don’t fulfill me would be a disservice to my clients and myself. I’ve gone back and forth wondering if I’m making the wrong decision turning down work when I need the money, but I can’t do it if my heart is not in it. So I’m continuing on my path of authenticity and only taking Documentary Family sessions that fill my soul and give my work purpose.
I’m honestly grateful this year was slow during this transition. I needed time and space to heal. I needed to figure out what to do with my business as I mourned the loss of Steph Lynn Photo. I’m grateful I was able to work with Clovermint (best vegan joint in South Florida!) during the Summer and Fall while things got super slow with photography and the rebranding process.
Weddings Documented: thirteen
Engagement Sessions: ten
Weddings as a Second: sixteen
Branding Sessions: eleven
Documentary Family Sessions: four
Regular Sessions: six
Education: Susan Stripling Wedding School - Album workshop - SEPC - Creative Live - Two Mann Metanoia - SEO academy
Travels: Tampa / Naples / Islamorada / Seattle / Alaska / Ft Myers / Asheville / Atlanta / Sarasota
“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” – Carew Papritz
Seattle and Alaska were never on my travel bucket list, but I had the opportunity to go, so I did. I’m not a cruise person, but I’m a travel person so I still enjoyed it.
Here’s the blog post for my Alaskan adventure!
In November I got to take a road trip to Atlanta and then Asheville.
I forgot how much I love Asheville.
Also, I puffy heart road trips so much.
And fall. And mountains.
A HUGE THANK YOU to my parents who bailed me out more than once this year. Running a business is expensive AF and I definitely didn’t make what I needed to pay the bills. My mom treated me with the Alaska trip, Broadway in Fort Lauderdale tickets (yay Hamilton!), two new cameras, the Two Mann wedding photography workshop I attended and so much more.
Thank you mom and dad. I am forever grateful.
My parents have taken up bicycle riding in the last few years. Probably inspired by Adam’s involvement in the cycling community.
My dad came to me with an idea to recreate the photo of Adam and I on our bikes.
These two portraits hang side by side in my childhood home. ❤
“I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.”
-Barbara Brown Taylor
The good stuff from 2018
Spending another year with my Mr Miyagi
SEPC in Tampa / spending time with Lela in St Pete
Got my first tattoo (Thank you Bianca!)
My monthly massage with Trisha This woman saved my life this year. My back was a mess.
Hanging with my favorite Aunt & Cousin in Seattle / Alaska!
Experiencing an amazing energy session with a healer (energy transfusion please!)
Working at my favorite vegan cafe! (Clovermint) So grateful for Ann & Shane!
Making friends in the Photography Community (thanks for having my back this year!)
Nannying on Fridays and getting to watch Caylee grow up before my eyes
Learned a lot about myself and found the lessons in every situation
My expanding collection of crystals that keep me sane and happy
Attending the Two Mann workshop (my wedding photographer superheroes)
Road trip with Marissa to Georgia for Thanksgiving
My vegan birthday cake (llama themed of course) (thank you Bunniecakes)
Planted a tiny garden that grew like crazy
Was hired to document a Drake concert in Atlanta
Experiencing fall in the mountains
Finishing 25+ books (mostly audio, but still!) (and a whole other blog post about the books!)
My friends for listening, supporting and holding space for me during the dark days
Surviving this dumpster fire of a year
My 2019 Goals
I’m not interested in failed resolutions. So goal setting it is. Here is what I’d love to accomplish in this new year.
Book 25 weddings for 2019 (I need to book 18 more to accomplish this!)
Book 1 Documentary Family Experience a month
Travel: Colorado, Costa Rica, Vermont (Already booked: NY/NJ, Portland)
Continue my audio book adventures “reading” a book every few weeks
Eat on the healthier side / exercise more often
Become DEBT FREE !! !!! !!!!
Buy the tiny house of my dreams / move to somewhere with mountains and 4 seasons!
Save money for retirement
Continue my authentic path. Adventure more. Introvert Less. Love life.
Find my person. Love them fearlessly. Plant roots together.
So hello, new year.
You will be better than 2018…
Because you have to be.
I need to find a way to make these dreams, these goals of mine come true.
I need to know that all this hustle, all of this heartache will be worth it in the end.
Everything I’m doing now is for him.
Because he believed in me.
He was my biggest fan.
He wanted me to chase my dreams.
So thank you, Adam, for inspiring me and making me a better human and giving me purpose.
I only wish you were here to see it all come true.