Thu. Jan 8, 2015 by Mary    Stuff we Love

Stuff We Love: The Apple Health App

Justin loves to track things.

He's the one who is in charge of all of our spreadsheets, our year end reports, our mileage tracking. If it has rows, columns, and a color coded header then he's IN!

He just loves seeing things happen.

So it came as no surprise to me that he would become totally obsessed with the new Apple Health app on his phone as soon as he started using it. Basically, you keep your phone in your pocket and the app can track how many steps you take in a day, how many miles you walk, and how many flights of stairs you do.

Well, we had been averaging somewhere around 7,000 steps in a day (10-12k on days we go to the gym). But we've been taking it with us to Universal & Disney the past few days and yesterday we hit over 30,000 steps. In ONE day!! The day before had been over 21,000 and the day before that was over 23,000! So we've basically walked over 75,000 steps in the past three days! Craziness! Guess that's just proof that we're having the BEST time!!

And that's something we BOTH love seeing happen!! :)

Have any of you guys tried out the health app yet?


Wed. Jan 7, 2015 by Mary    The Latest

Featured: The "I Have a Life" Podcast

I think it's so perfect that we're posting this while we're taking a few days off to soak in the new year & making some time just for us. I think our friend Nathan would be proud.

Nathan Holritz is the founder of Photographer's Edit (if one of your goals for 2015 was to let go of your editing, definitely check them out), and he is also the genius behind the "I Have a Life" podcast. This is a series of interviews with photographers & other creatives who are finding ways to streamline & systemize their businesses so that they....actually have a life!

We were so honored & excited when Nathan asked us to do one of the podcasts! In this episode, we not only talk about building a successful business & what has worked for us (plus our best advice for new photographers just getting started to get past that "sophomore slump" when things slow down)....we also get pretty deep into what makes our marriage work and what makes it what it is. We're definitely aware of how very lucky we are in our marriage and to have found the kind of love that we have. It's something that we are so grateful to God for everyday. And as you can imagine, it's something that we want to always work to strengthen & keep that way (our motto: never stop dating!!)....especially since we work together 24 hours a day! Nathan had some really great, in depth questions on what exactly we do to keep our relationship strong after seven years of marriage (and who knows how many hours of working together!) It was such a great interview....Nathan is so good at really getting to the heart of the matter! And I just love the conversation that came out of it!

If you have some time, we would love it if you would give it a listen! You can find the full podcast by going HERE!

Cheers from Disney!

Tue. Jan 6, 2015 by Mary    The Latest

Named 1 of BrandSmash's Top 100 Wedding Photographers!

Well this is fun!

Yesterday we were pretty off the grid as we are taking some time off for a little mini-getaway for just the two of us (hanging out with Harry Potter & Dr. Seuss at Universal Islands of Adventure). So this morning we woke up to a bunch of messages (including one from Justin's brother) asking if we had seen the news. Well no, we hadn't!

It turns out, yesterday we were given the amazing honor of being named as BrandSmash's Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the country! Holy moly! :) This list is INCREDIBLE, filled with people that we have looked up to since we were first getting started. These are people who are truly at the top of their craft and the best of the best (Top Gun style), so to be on a list with them feels kind of crazy! We are just SO grateful!

Mike Allebach, the founder of BrandSmash wrote, "Id like to recognize some of the best wedding photographers in the country for their dedication to the craft. To be a successful wedding photographer you must be not only an artist but a savvy marketer and an entrepreneur rolled up into one. To formulate this list I asked some of the smartest people I knew to nominate the photographers who impressed them the most." And this list was the result.

It was also so awesome to see our friendsMelissa Jill & Trevor Dayley on the list!! Congrats guys!!

Here's to amazing surprises to kick off the year!!

Sat. Jan 3, 2015 by Mary    Life with J&M

14 Highlights of 2014

Well, we certainly have started off 2015 with a bang! We didn't waste any time and actually hopped on a flight around 4pm on January 1st to fly to Florida to shoot our first wedding of the year. And boy oh boy was it amazing!! We actually won't be able to blog this one for a while (or maybe ever) as we have an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) on it....but you'll just have to take my word that it was INCREDIBLE! And such a cool way to kick off our year. Like I said to Justin at the end of the night, if this is any indication on how our year is going to go then I say BRING ON 2015!! :)

But before we get too far into this year, I think it's good to look back on the year we're just finishing up and remember how far we've come and all of the great things that happened. The truth is, last year wasn't a super easy year for us. It definitely wasn't a bad year and there were actually so many incredibly GOOD things that happened. But there were tough things too. Times that we felt stuck. Times that we felt like we were hitting brick walls. Times when other photographers got really brave in forums on Facebook that they thought we would never see. :) There were times that we felt stretched....and times that we felt stretched too thin. There were waiting times. And working too hard times. And times when we stopped taking care of ourselves the way we should.

In short, there are times when I catch myself thinking "whew, am I glad that's over with!" But the truth is, to think that is to do a big disservice to all the amazing things that happened last year. And it's also the truth that there will never be a year that's either all good or all bad. It's always going to be this beautiful, messy mix of the two. That's life. That's what makes it interesting. And the really cool part, is that we get to choose. We get to choose which part we remember. Which part we focus on And for me, I think I want to remember both. Because the tough times make those good times all the sweeter. And they remind us what we've come through. I've been doing a bible study with my friend Jane Johnson, and we just read this quote: "Two women sat behind prison bars, one saw mud the other saw stars."

Today, I think I choose to glance at the mud.....but gaze at the stars.

So in pursuit of that, here are 14 shining highlights of our 2014 that I never want to forget.

One. On January 3rd, we came out swinging and launched twin wedding blogs The Black Tie Bride &The Well Groomed Groom. And let me tell you, these blogs have taken off in ways we NEVER expected. So much so that we are actually going to be dedicating a MUCH bigger chunk of our time to them this year, which is just crazy to think about. We never expected that would happen so fast or even at all! And we just feel so grateful for that & all the amazing people who have shared weddings with us!

Two. In March we got to speak at WPPI for our sixth time and this one was extra special because we got to meet the incredibleKelly Lemon & Miss Vivienne Harr who started the "Make a Stand" Foundation where she started selling lemonade at a corner stand to end child slavery. How COOL is this kid?? It was a total highlight of my year being able to surprise her on stage with this check to help her reach her goal. To quote Viv, "Whoa, BIG check, little person!" :) :)

Three. Right after WPPI, we hopped a flight to Germany where we spent four weeks traveling the country and teaching photographers at four different stops. And afterwards, we hopped over to Vienna for a few days. Honestly sometimes I really can't believe this is real life. For a girl who barely traveled outside of the tri-state area growing up, this is truly living the DREAM!

Four. While we were in Germany, we got to go see THIS castle that I had been dreaming of visiting for over a decade since I saw it on the cover of a Europe travel book when I was in school. It was every bit as magical as it looks!

Five. We got featured not once but twice on Martha Stewart Weddings! It was enough to make me want to break out an apron and bake something! :) Whatever would make Martha proud!

Six. In April we flew to Antigua to shoot Lauren & Gary's gorgeous wedding and we absolutely fell in love with the place! Take me back to those blue, blue waters!

Seven. My annual birthday trip (Mary's Preppy Bday) to Nantucket! And our annual sail on the Endeavor with Captain Jim! For this trip we all rented a house together with a hot tub and an awesome grill area. And when I look at this picture I am just so grateful for these faces & so many amazing friends who have come into our lives!

Eight. Our J&M Summer Bucket List and hitting up all of our favorite places in New England with Cooper the Wonder Pup. Like this particular day when we had just had the best ice cream EVER in Kennebunkport, ME. Cooper was one happy pup!

Nine. Getting to head BACK to Nantucket in August to put on our Walk Through a Wedding workshop! Our trips to Virginia & Charleston for workshops also fall under this category!

Ten. Finally getting some decorating projects done around the house like our meeting room update and our navy compass wall!

Eleven. Our trip out West to Seattle and Portland. In particular we loved hitting up the lavender fields and taking a sail around Seattle!

Twelve Getting to do our year long video series with Profoto. This was truly a DREAM come true for us!! I can't really even describe how much this meant to us, but here was this company that we had looked up to for YEARS and to get to represent them for an entire year was just pinch me moment after pinch me moment! We just got to put together another video with them in December and it should be launching sometime this month, and I can't WAIT to share this one with you guys! We're so excited with how it turned out!

Thirteen. The Black Tie Bride shoot we did in NYC! This blue dress. Central Park. Our gorgeous model Liane. Need I say more??

Fourteen. And of course, no highlights list would be complete without Halloween and our totally epic (if I do say so myself!) Bill & Ted group costume! PARTY ON DUDES!!

Whew, that was fun! And you know what, just putting this list together had me smiling so big and SO grateful for all the good last year really did hold for us. And it just has me all the more excited for what's to come!

Here's to the mud AND the stars friends! I hope the first only points you second!

Fri. Jan 2, 2015 by Mary    Life with J&M

My Word for 2015

The other day I was sitting with a friend and she asked me a tough question. She said, "What is the feeling that you want 2015 to stand for? Not a goal, not an achievement, but something that can't be described other than just a general way you want to feel throughout the year?" Tough order, right?

In true Mary fashion, I threw out a few options....things that were really just goals and gold stars that I thought could masquerade as a general vibe. We'll call them feelings with an overachiever complex. But my friend called me out on it every. single. time. "Tell me what you want to FEEL Mary, not just another thing you can do."

I marinated on that a second. Chewed on my bottom lip, as I tapped freshly red painted nails in a drum beat across my right cheek.

And that's when it hit me. Rooted. In 2015, I want to feel rooted. I had started with grounded, but that didn't seem enough somehow. Grounded implies merely standing firm on something....but I wanted to dig in. To be anchored. To create permanence. To say, this thing that I'm doing, these things that I believe in, my place in this goes way beyond the surface. It plugs in to something deeper. And it draws its strength from that.

In 2015, I want to feel rooted. I want to be rooted in our home, in our marriage, in our work, in what we do for others, and most of all my faith. I want to dig in and stand a little taller because I know who I am. I want to grow deeper in our friendships, deeper in our financial goals so we can give radically, and deeper in the way we serve others. I want our clients to feel so loved and taken care of. And we want to help other photographers change their businesses and really their lives from being able to do what they love with more success than they ever have before. I don't want to build our platform because it has followers, instead I want to build a platform that is worth following. Because it helps people. We want to love audaciously. Give abundantly. And dream bigger than we ever have before.

And for me, all of that goes back to this word rooted.

So tell me, what do YOU want your 2015 to feel like? What is your word?

Bring it on 2015!

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