Owning Oneself, Priestesses, and Bloom Kombucha: #thingsiminlovewith

Things I'm in love with right now.

Book I'm Devouring:

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This is the story of King Arthur told from the perspective of all the women of his life. It's so full of power and magic and delicious details about Druid life and the way of the Priestess. It's also amazing commentary on religions/beliefs. I disappear from this world while reading it. Yum.

Album that Stokes the Fire Within:

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A Tribe Called Red by A Tribe Called Red. They're an electronic DJ collective from Canada known for their mix of hip-hop, reggae, dubstep and First Nations (the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle) musical traditions.

Go-To Person Lately for All Things Stars and Planets:

Chani Nicholas She's so intelligent, insightful, and oftentimes provides a good giggle with her Facebook posts about planetary activities.

Making the Belly Happy:

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GT's Spring flavor: Bloom. It's so fresh and not too sweet with a hint of floral. (I swear I don't sell for them. It's just THAT yummy.) ;) Get you some!

Inspiration for Owning Who You Are:

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This session I did with the oh-so-awesome Racheal was a little study/reflection on masculine vs. feminine stereotypes and how much the lines blur when it comes to being gender fluid. Empowering stuff. So fun to photograph.

 

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Are You Swinging Into 2018 With Me?

Or are you kinda slothin' into the new year? ;)
Regardless, I hope you find yourselves settled since the holidays and not beating yourself up too much for not following through on some of your resolutions or goals. Stick with pats on the back for what you ARE doing.

Happy Stuff
I moved into this year feeling light, free, and clear for the first time since 2014. And I had to give myself a pat on the back and toot my own horn because I nailed last year! Despite all the ups and downs and confusing stuff that entrepreneurship entails, not one of you were disappointed in our time together. You gave me so much praise and love and appreciation that I was floored. Happy you = happy me. 

The Growth
My eye for shots improved. The way I receive and communicate with you all has improved. Not going to lie, even if you never noticed, I used to get a bit clammed up and awkward when initially in anyone's presence! Light banter and small talk scare the crap outta me. Lol! I finally warmed up to all of your kiddos in a way that allowed them to really warm up to me! I've developed a greater deal of patience. And my biggest shift is developing an even deeper interest in, compassion and kindness for all of you and people in general! This helps sessions and networking run so much more smoothly. As always, I was the only person in my own way to accomplishing some of these personal milestones in my business, and I finally got out of my own way. 

This year feels big, guys. I have a lot of ideas and creations brewing: 

  1. More creative personal projects with whomever wants to tell a story!

  2. Collaborations with a few local businesses for events and mini sessions.

  3. More gifts! Shhh...don't tell.

  4. Publishing my poetry book (with videos of me reading some of those poems added to the site!

  5. Possibly adding some of my nature prints to a local art show.

  6. Creating a creative prompt card deck for anyone out there who feels the need for creative inspiration.

  7. Day in the Life series (to show more people's lives off!)

I could go on, but I don't want to give away everything! Needless to say, this is a year of creation and I look forward to you being a part of it. My biggest intention is Trust (in myself, in others, and the way life unfolds with or without my involvement). My personal intentions are Cleansed. Nourished. Radiant. Honest. Mystical. :)

Thank you to everyone involved in the success of 2017. Here's a slideshow recapping last year's work. My heart is full. You're all so beautiful.

2017 katy daixon photography Year In Review

Let's cheer each other on! What are your 2018 intentions/goals?!

Things I Did (or didn't do!) To Uplift Me (personally and in business) This Year

This year, I practiced these five intentions: Gratefulness. Feeling luminous. Trust. Vitality. Gracefulness.

Now, the winter solstice is upon us, and I inevitably spend the time, from that point through the end of December, reflecting on the past year and how I got here still in one piece and still practicing those five intentions I set for myself.

The goal is always happiness, right? But there are always dips, so I'm amazed when I do these reflections and find that there were things I kept doing (or not doing!) amidst both the highs and the lows to keep me sane and as healthy as possible. I'm curious if anything resonates with you!

1. Took B-School with Marie Forleo and continued implementing into my business a majority of the strategies I learned. These strategies helped me during times when burnout was imminent (fall portrait season September-November!). And they helped turn everything from strictly marketing to getting to know my worth and my tribe. So much more rewarding!

2. Said, "No." This one was rough and challenging, but creating boundaries with friends and family was incredibly important to maintaining a relationship with myself. And I needed a better relationship with myself this year after all the loss I experienced last year.

3. Watched Friends. This is my go-to show to zone out and laugh when I need something light and fluffy. :) Works like a charm.

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4. Hired an assistant! Most of you likely know at this point that I hired the beautiful Nicole to assist me with administrative and marketing things two days a week. Life saver. The growth of this business magnified intensely after she joined me. Grateful. 

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5. Light yoga daily. Stretching my body is integral to not only my physical self but my mental and spiritual self, too. I don't do anything rigorous or lengthy. I usually spend about 10-20min on my mat. Resets and uplifts me every time.

6. Journaled. Every morning. Usually for up to an hour. I understand journaling isn't always for the faint of heart, but if you need to dig in and get to know yourself...this is the #1 tactic. Hands down. Don't know where to start, REACH OUT TO ME! I love writing and want more people writing! <3

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7. Listened religiously to Tremors by Sohn and the soundtrack to Stranger Things.

8. Drank Water. Water. Water. Cuz...water. If you've ever met me in person, you've likely seen my mason jar water baby. ;) And you've likely asked jokingly if it's moonshine. Nope. Elixir of life is what it is.

9. Put my phone on Do Not Disturb and power saving mode. Every night when I head to bed, the phone is out of my hands and away from my face so I can let go of other people's thoughts before falling asleep.

10. Stopped eating so much sugar. Hello. I'm Katy, and I'm a sugar addict. This isn't a joke. It's the truth. And it had to stop. My gut needs healing and healing doesn't happen with sugar. The clarity I feel after a few days without is tremendous. 

11. Walked. Whether to the lake, through the woods, or around my block, I got out for fresh air and natural light. Holy mood boost.

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12. Expressed gratitude and appreciation. For loved ones. For coffee. For my cats. For the sun. For the rain. For my illnesses (once I stopped being crabby about being sick) making me see that I required rest and stillness. For nourishing food. For my home. For candles. For clients. For creativity. For expression. For love. For growing pains. For darkness. For myself.

Right now, with the challenges we face socially and politically, gratitude is my saving grace. And with that, I want to express my overflowing gratitude for you: your love and support, your kindness, and your creativity. You keep this well-oiled machine running and so so worth it.

Have amazing holidays. See you in 2018!

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What did (or didn't!) you do to uplift yourself this past year?

5 Ways That We Hide

Last week Thursday, two friends and I attended a presentation in Madison, WI about beauty called Dream Big: You Are Beautiful and It's Time for You to Believe It. First of all, the woman who did the presentation, Kyira Hauer, totally fucking rocked it. She is the founder of #ReclaimBeauty and an advocate of embracing ones authenticity. After telling her amazing story, she dug into the five ways that we hide our true selves. And they took me back because some of these five things were unexpected.

5 Ways of Hiding

  • Over-perfecting: trying to maintain a specific order; rigidity; not starting things until everything is perfect.
  • Over-spending: trying to keep up with the "extras" you need to keep up appearances. 
  • Over-analyzing: worrying too much about outcomes you have no control over the what-ifs
  • Over-caring: caring too much about what others think or how you fit in
  • Over-comparing: building yourself up or tearing yourself down based on subjective experience of others

I've definitely found myself hiding behind a number of these, but the biggest one is over-perfecting. Sometimes, I won't start things until conditions are right or I won't finish things until everything is up to my expectations. Sometimes, I'll adjust a piece of furniture in my house because it's askew! I can drive myself crazy with my rigidities and have even found myself blocking intimacy in times of deep rigidity and not wanting to break from my order of things. 

So, how can we see/show ourselves and see each other more?

Maybe it starts with acknowledging how we hide, and then we dig our way out of hiding by being vulnerable. That's what I did in today's video.

Okay. Talk to me.

Did one of those ways of hiding hit you? How do you hide? And how do you (or do you want to) dig your way out of hiding? Share with me in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

 

JOIN OUR TRIBE to continue having these conversations. We have lots to discuss and share!

What Does Getting Your Story Told Entail?

In this recent post by Nicole, someone asked: "What does getting your story told entail?" 

Which is an amazing question because I realized I've never fully shared with you all why I love Creative Story Projects and why you should too.

When Nicole and I attended the lovely Lacey Reichwald's Social Media Strategy Masterclass a few weeks ago, Lacey got everyone in the room brainstorming what the core values of our businesses are. We decided that katy daixon photography values love, creative expression, and deep connection, the three things that drive my Creative Story Projects.

Think The Body Project or Helane's Sound Goddess Project or Erin's Pregnancy Project or the one I'm currently working on with a woman journeying through life after bariatric surgery. And that's just the beginning. There are so many more in the vault. I'm even kicking around the idea of a Day In The Life series. Shhh...don't tell that I spilled the beans on that one...

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The goal of Creative Story Projects (and what I love and want you to love about these) is not only for you and me to creatively express ourselves together, but for us to share your story with others who may have gone or may be going through the same thing. It fosters deeper connections. It allows us to support one another. It allows us to be seen and heard. In a society so rich with hustling and grinding all day to show success, we forget that there are other things that matter and show success! 

In short, it means a great deal to me when you entrust me with your journeys, struggles, and triumphs. And I know for a fact that it means the world to others to know they're not alone and that we're all human with lives chock full of lows and highs.

Here's a nugget of my story from The Body Project. It feels dated now. I'm in such a different place than that Katy was and I even look different, but the end goal is still the same which is why I share it with you. Some day soon, I'll share an updated version of my journey. 

Here's to being vulnerable and continuing to connect! It's challenging and so so so precious and illuminating, and we're all about the light over here and love and creative expression and deep connections. 

Want to share your story? I want to tell it. Let's chat.

Spunky Kiddos = Playful Photos

The Schucht family has been with me since the very beginning of katy daixon photography, and I am filled with tremendous gratitude that they've stuck by me through all my shifting, growing, and changing, both in the business itself and in my craft. Documenting their growing family since their engagement photos way back when is such an honor, and I love each and every session's unique spirit.

Their kiddos are now 2 and 4, and boy are they feisty, spunky, and filled with so much love for each other. Elyse loves to watch big brother Griffen to see what he's up to and if she should do the same things he's doing. The challenge of capturing people's essences is fun for me, and these two make it even more of a spontaneous capture! I would have to say that their spirits were certainly caught on camera, and I couldn't stop smiling (or laughing!) while looking through their photos to grab some teasers.

Enjoy! 

All the love and affection. <3

Playground fun in their superhero costumes!

Lacey and Brad, much love to you guys! Thanks, again, and I look forward to years of capturing your family.

 

Want to capture the spunk of your family? Let's chat!

I Have A New Nephew!

Nothing fills me with more joy than when people I love grow their family. I was giddy with excitement waiting for little Malcolm's arrival so we could tackle some adorable newborn portraits. I anticipated trying my hand at some of the stereotypical poses you see small babies in, like resting their head on their hands. 

All was peaceful when I showed up at my brother and sister-in-law's house. My sister was nursing and Malcolm's big sister Elena was playing quietly in her room. My brother took me into their room where I decided, "Let's just start casual!" These are always my favorite moments: mom breast feeding baby while dad and sister are chillin' with mom. Best. Ever.

From that point forward, we attempted all the usual cute newborn portraits while big sister played with toys near the baby and the baby (who decided he wanted to be awake for the whole session) peed during his nudie shot (not the first time in my career!). It was all classic family life and while some photographers might be frustrated with things not going "smoothly," I decided we'd swaddle that little dude and get different cute shots! Like Malcolm making pucker lips like his dad when he kissed him! 

I love you, Roy and Jess! So happy for you guys! <3

 

Have a new addition (puppies or kittens included!) to your family that you want cutie patootie pics of? Let's chat!

Little Maggie's 1yr Portrait Session Adventure

Guys, I have to tell you, I have stalked Emily's Instagram page watching Maggie blossom from a teeny tiny newborn that I photographed a year ago into the beautiful one year old she is now.

Maggie about a month and a half old: November 2016.

Maggie about a month and a half old: November 2016.

I kept my fingers crossed hoping Emily would ask me to do her one year portraits. Lol! I just needed to capture her preciousness, especially those eyes!

Our one hour session was quite the adventure, as they often are with kiddos who've just learned to walk. :) Maggie ran the shoot and I happily tagged along. ;) Come with us as we journey about Edgewater Park in Williams Bay! Brace yourselves for cute.

Got an adventurous one year old you want to capture in action? Let's chat!

Cudzewicz Maternity Portraits

There is something so special about documenting a baby's life before they're in this world. When Kristin wrote me to tell me she was pregnant and wanted to plan on maternity and newborn portraits, I did a mini happy dance in my living room. It's my favorite to be with a couple pre and post baby. Especially when the location is the Milwaukee Art Museum! Kristin prepped me for their day by running dress and accessory ideas by me (another favorite thing of mine!). I love the outfit she chose because she was so happy and confident in it. Win!

Larry and Kristin are so chill about the idea of soon being a trio that their session was relaxed and gentle despite them saying, "We're not very good at this...LOL!" as I made them walk and talk to capture those delicious candids. They were of course good at it! Because they love each other and their soon-to-be baby girl. <3

Can't wait to meet baby girl!

 

Want to document your belly bump? Let's chat!

Sam + Aaron

Sam and Aaron are the kind of couple you lean on. Their strength as a duo is evident by the way they so humbly and calmly stand together and exchange so much thought through gaze and not words. Their strength was further proven by the fantastically hilarious yet tear-jerking Best Man and Maid of Honor speeches that were filled with so much gratitude and respect for them.

The hubby and I traveled to southwest Ohio to photograph Sam and Aaron's wedding, making it an excuse for a longer roadtrip leading up to the solar eclipse. That energy was already potent, but then throw this freaking awesome wedding in the mix and we had ourselves electricity. I don't think I've ever seen so many people on one dance floor so quickly after dinner. Nor have I seen anyone's grandma love dancing more than some of the kiddos! The family and friends of these two cuties know how to laugh hard, love hard, and party hard.

Sam and Aaron, we cannot thank you enough for such an amazing night. Now devour the deliciousness of your wedding teasers. I hope they bring you joy today.

I hope you have a beautiful two week anniversary tomorrow, Mr. and Mrs. Ward! <3

Emily + Zac

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing Emily and Zac's wedding at the always beautiful Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Delavan, WI and their reception at Evergreen Country Club in Elkhorn, WI. They are one of the sweetest couples I know who shine brighter in one another's presence. While we caught some amazing laughs with their wedding party, some of my favorite moments were when it was just us (along with their awesome wedding assistant, pictured laughing below) capturing their love (and laughter) under the evening sun. 

Happy two weeks, Emily and Zac! Congrats, again!

Unbecoming

My head is spinning. It has been spinning for two weeks. Buzzing might actually be a more accurate description. Spinning suggests confusion, overwhelm, dizziness from fatigue. Buzzing is energy, powerful transformative energy, aligning with the whole of me. I've read that body buzzes signal a connection to your truth or Spirit or Source or your God, whatever works for your beliefs. True or not? Don't care. It sits right with me! 

This entire year, primarily this summer, I was pushing myself (hard, as I always fucking do) to move my business in a different direction. I started resenting most of my photography work and yearned for something "more spiritual" or "more healing" or "more significant." I frantically sought out people, places, and things that aligned with the vision of what and who I wanted to be. And I constantly ran into disappointment. This was too expensive. That was too far away. Those people are too far ahead of me or too established. Too this and too that. My brain was exhausted and my spirit was seriously crushed. How will I ever become what I want if I can't get there to those people, places, and things? 

And then I surrendered. I said, Screw this. I'm tired and I have work to do. Unfinished business to finish. Without realizing it, I let go. I let go of the idea that I would be so inspirational Oprah would notice me. I let go of the belief that spiritual, healing work is another type of work and not the work I currently do. I let go of the self-criticism and belief that where I am right now isn't good enough or true enough. I let go of the fear of being the me I am right now. I paid attention to my surroundings. I accidentally typed surrendings just now. New word? Surrendering in your surroundings becomes your surrendings? Anyway, I paid attention to my surroundings, to my people, to my work (my established work!), and to myself. Hello, Self. I've missed you. 

And you know what happened? The buzzing. I saw a fucking door open so wide you'd think the heat from the other side would hit me hard enough to make me realize it was warm and cozy and full of life in there.

Buzzing. Because dialogues began between me and women interested in sharing their stories.

Buzzing. Because my name was being hashtagged on Instagram by a girl embracing her body for the first time.

Buzzing. Because grad students are writing papers about me and my photography.

Buzzing. Because I realized I don't need to become a life coach or a yoga instructor or an essential oils guru or a holistic doctor or a nutritionist. The world has enough of those. I am Katy the photographer and writer, carving my own path with my own kind of personal and social healing developing along the way.

Buzzing. Because I remembered that what makes you feel on fire and lit up is exactly where you need to be.

Buzzing. Because Glennon Doyle Melton's Love Warrior (Buy it. I'm not kidding.) made me feel more tender, more honest, more forgiving, more loving, more understanding, more compassionate, and more aware that trying too hard to become is trying to escape yourself. She suggests unbecoming. I like this. My first step to unbecoming is to remind myself that life and ones footprint take hard work and a whole lotta love for yourself, your place in the world, and your tribe while you do it. And if my footprint is really just a fingerprint or a traceless print because I was wearing leather gloves the entire time, fine, because I know that I lived and lived well, through the rising, falling, and the clambering about.

How will you unbecome?