Archive: December 2012  |  View all recent posts

Mon. Dec 31, 2012 by Mary    The Latest

Announcing: The What's Next Locations & FAQ's (Part I)

Good morning friends & Happy New Year's Eve!

I know this is the time of year when we all get really serious about how we're going to make next year better than this one was. Whether this year was a real struggle for you & you're determined to make drastic changes in 2013 to create a better life, or you made a lot of big things happen this year and you're just looking to kick it up a notch next hope is that every wish, dream, hope, whisper of a chance, and big HAIRY audacious goal you set for yourself comes true!

And if you're looking for a little kick in the pants to help make that happen, that's exactly the work we'll be doing on The What's Next Tour. This morning I posed this on Facebook:

It's New Year's Eve. Tomorrow is 2013. If you're ready to make this the year you actually DO something about those really big dreams, if you're ready to punch fear in the face and say this is what I want for my life, if you don't want to look back at the end of 2013 and see yet another year gone by without you moving forward....then do this for yourself. This is the time. Join us at The What's Next Tour ( ), where we will all get a good healthy shove out of our comfort zone, get serious about what it is we want, and create a clear next action plan for getting there. Would LOVE to have you join us!

As we've been talking about What's Next, some frequently asked questions have come up. So we thought we'd take a chance to answer them for everybody, as well as announce our locations for each of the 10 cities we'll be coming to! Since that's a lot of info, we decided to break it up into two parts. So we'll announce the first 5 today, and the next 5 later in the week. Here we go!

The Charlotte Location: The Fillmore

Ann: Do you have to be a wedding photographer to attend or does it apply to portrait photographers as well?
Both mine & Justin's class definitely apply to both! Although we'll be giving some examples based in our experience of having a wedding photography business, either class really applies to both types of photographers. If you're ready to kick up either your goals & business OR your understanding of lighting in 2013, What's Next is for you!

The Nashville Location: Events on 3rd

Tom: Are there discounts for couples?
There aren't specific discounts for couples, but the good news is that if you have a discount code you can apply it to BOTH of your tickets!!

The Dallas Location: The Nuvo Room

Sarah: Are there any discount codes we should know about?
Definitely! There are actually several codes floating around out that you can use right now is "mytime" that will get you $50 off your full day seat! But you should definitely check out our sponsors like PASS, The Music Bed, Undfind & Adorama for some extra special codes that they have! :)

The Indianapolis Location: The Mavris

Erin: Do you have to be a photographer to attend What's Next?
For my class, not at all!! My portion of the day is for ANY creative small business owner who is ready to set crazy BIG goals in 2013...and then blow those out of the water! It's for anyone who wants to have a new fighting plan for marketing in the world we're in right now. And it's for anyone who tired of settling for average in this thing that used to be their dream! If you're not a photographer, you probably don't want to sign up for Justin's lighting class :) But I'm sure he'd make you feel right at home if you do!

The Kansas City Location: The Vox Theater

Joey (my BFF): by bus you mean TOUR bus, like Taylor Swift style? Are you going to learn to play the guitar too?
We ARE taking the PASS/Showit tour bus on the tour, mostly because it means that we can travel through the night and only be on the road for 3 weeks instead of 6. That's the main reason. But also let's be many times in life do you get the chance to go live on your own tour bus for three weeks?? Total bucket list item & definitely a story for the grandkids. So when the opportunity came up thanks to the awesome folks at Showit & PASS...we were down for the adventure!

Here's to living crazy big, grandkid-telling worthy adventures in 2013! We hope that you'll join us!

Fri. Dec 28, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Three Simple Rules in Life...

Yesterday my dad sent me this.

When I opened up my inbox and found it sitting there I nearly burst into tears. Insta-tears. Julia Roberts ugly cry tears.

Because it was exactly. what. I. needed. to. hear.

And my guess was...some of you might need to hear it too. So here it is, just in case.

And since I think every Friday is better with a contest, let's have a little one shall we?? Tell me one thing that you are going to 1) go after, 2) ask for or 3) take a step toward in 2013. Just one. And one lucky winner is going to receive $25 in Starbucks goodness. And...GO!!

Thu. Dec 27, 2012 by Mary    Spread the Love

On Years That Just Go By...

It was somewhere around the middle of November 2011, when I laid on the floor with my face buried in an old sweatshirt and cried angry, salty, stinging, bitter tears.

They ran down my face without apology, and with each crashing drop I felt the weight on my shoulders growing heavier.

I was stuck. I was frustrated. I was furious at myself for not doing more...and being more...and having more to show for the year behind me that was so quickly fading away.

I was tired. Tired of watching somebody else chase every one of my dreams. Tired of watching other people do what I wanted to do, and do it better. They were out there getting it done. Making each and every one of their dreams happen, like some golden to-do list that they were just marching their way through like an invading army . And I was on the floor crying into an old sweatshirt.

I felt the impending downward spiral of the ugly, ugly comparison monster coming on, and in that moment I just let go and let it wash over me in waves. I told myself a flurry of lies about how that would never be me. I listed out all the things I would never be able to do, so what was the point in even bothering at all. And I rocked the idea of just giving up altogether back and forth, as my sobs faded away into quiet tears.

It was a not very pretty moment in my life.

I felt jealous....and angry at myself for being jealous. I felt lost...and angry at myself for being lost. I felt like a failure....and I was angry at myself for failing.

But somewhere in the smoldering ashes of just giving up altogether, a spark started to take root.

It was somewhere on that hardwood floor with my face buried in an old sweatshirt that I started to realized two things: 1) I didn't want to give up. Not really. Because I never ever ever wanted to be the person who just gave up without giving it one more try and 2) it wasn't really that I was jealous of what other people was just that them going out and chasing after their dreams was shining a big, bright, glaring spotlight on the fact that I wasn't chasing mine.

And that right there was what really needed to change.

I had been stuck in this quicksand mire of just maintaining. A mountain of email and editing and doubt mixed in with fear. And I was so busy spinning myself in circles that I hadn't moved forward at all. And there was one thing right then that I knew for certain: I didn't want to find myself at the end of 2012 realizing that yet another year had gone by and I was no closer to actually DOING something about those really big dreams that I had been dreaming. That another year had gone by, and I still hadn't managed to pick myself up off the floor.

And so, we went to work. And we set about to make 2012 a game changer for us.

And I can tell you now with just a few days left to go....that it has been. In the past 12 months we have gotten to go places and do things that never in my WILDEST dreams did I imagine would be checked off this year. Just a few of my favorites have been teaching a workshop in Australia, writing The Guide, doing a shoot with a hot air balloon, giving away a trip to Disney to a deserving military family at our talk at WPPI, having our anniversary pictures taken by Jose (Freakin!!) Villa, speaking at the What If Conference, speaking at a women's Christian Conference at Pursuit 31, and getting a whole chapter in the new Style Me Pretty book (more on that to come!).

But here's the thing, it's not really about us. Or what we've checked off of our list.

It's about you and your list.

This is a post for any of you who are finding yourself on the proverbial (or maybe literal) hardwood floor with your face buried in an old sweatshirt. It's for any of you who feel like you're too busy spinning in circles to move yourself forward. It's for anyone out there who is feeling like you're looking back on 2012 and you don't feel one step closer to chasing the really big dreams than you were this time last year.

And it's for ALL of you who never want to feel this way again.

In January, Justin & I will be hitting the road in the Showit Tour Bus (along with a crew made of some of our closest friends) to go to 10 cities for the What's Next Tour with one goal in mind: to help you sucker punch fear in the face. To make 2013 the year that's looked back on as the game changer for you all. The year when you picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and decided to never give up without one more try. The year when you refused to stay within the safe comforts of average, when you chose to do the hard work that matters, and you got your hands dirty in the name of chasing a dream.

If you are ready to get up off that floor, we're here to help you. If you're ready to admit that "someday" isn't a day you'll ever find on the calendar, we're here to help you make it happen. If you are tired of standing on the sidelines watching someone else chase every BIG dream you ever had, if you are tired of playing small, I will fight side by side with you as you carve out a next action plan. And then cheer like crazy when it actually happens.

Because here's the thing, I don't think the world needs more dreamers.

I think the world needs more dreamers who are actually getting it done.

We would be honored to have you join us.

***And as an extra push to do this for yourself, when you grab your seat today using the code "mytime" that will get you $50 off your ticket to both sessions!! You can grab your seats HERE!!

Wed. Dec 26, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Year in Review: Behind the Scenes '12

Ahhhh it's that time of year.

The time when we look back on the year we've just completed to celebrate the small (and not so small) victories along the way... and learn from the mistakes. To look back before we can move forward. To remember the adventure, and not be sad that it's over....but smile because it happened. And, let's be honest, to look back and see what we actually look like when we're shooting and say....


Join us won't you, in a look back at all the antics we got up to in 2012!

Putting my head cheerleader skills to use. Ready... O-KAY!!

Marantz. JUSTIN Marantz. Shoot to thrill.

Wait, you have pockets?? I don't have pockets!!

Peek a BOO!!

By Jove, I think you've got it!!

6 out 7 bridal party members think I'm funny

And we're walking, we're walking.

The entirety of our shooting style captured in one shot: me with the 50mm shooting vertically & J on the 85mm going horizontal.

Bang, bang!

I'm wallllllking.....with my cammmmera. Cause I loooove it. And the hills are alive with music.

That time we shot an Indian wedding on a day that was so hot we thought we were actually IN India. Mmmmm sweaty pony tail.

Thank goodness we get seasons!!

Am I in your shot if I gooooooo....HERE?!

How bout here??

Get high....

Get low, low, low, low

Then there was that time when Julia & I got stick IN the hora. That is the look of pure terror if I've ever seen it!

Giant oversized champagne bottles & the Raven in the photo booth? Check and check.

We still have one more wedding this weekend before we close out the year, and I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that the raven makes a reappearance. But wherever you are in your season, I hope you'll take a few minutes to look back & lift a glass from a giant oversized bottle of champagne that it happened. And we are all the better for it.

Cheers to an incredible 2012 & the hope for an even better 2013!

Mon. Dec 24, 2012 by Mary    Life with J&M

Merry Christmas from J&M!!

Good morning & Happy Christmas Eve you guys!!

I am sure that you are all getting ready to hunker down and enjoy the next few days with family. I hope that you have visions of christmas cookies and Elf marathons running through your heads (because let's be honest, that's WAY better than sugar plums!) I hope that you have warm socks on your feet and cozy blankets to cuddle up with. I hope that you will unplug and be present. Hug extra tight. Laugh extra hard. And take lots of pictures so you can always remember.

I hope you will make jokes referencing National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (little full, lotta sap). And cry your eyes out at the end of It's a Wonderful Life (no? is that just me?)

And on top of it all, I hope that you will know all that you have meant to us this year. I want to take a second to thank every last one of you from the bottom of my heart for reading along and sharing this life with us. Because what you are to us is not just another digit in the site meter or a reader in the RSS feed. I want you to know that I consider each and everyone of you a friend, even if it's just a friend I haven't met yet! :) And I want you to know that you being here every day... matters. And I can't thank you enough for taking the time out of your day, to make ours better. Having you along for the ride has made all the difference. And I'm thankful for each and every one of you.

And speaking of being thankful, I couldn't end this post without giving a shout out to each and everyone of our couples, past & present. Without even realizing it, you literally make this life possible. When you hired us, you weren't just booking yourself a were becoming honorary board members in the pursuit of these dreams. Every morning when I wake up, I remind myself that none of this would be possible without each and every one of you, and to not take a second of that for granted.. So thank you, thank you for believing in us, and for including us in your lives. I am fully convinced that we have the best couples on the PLANET!! If I could, I would send each of you a friendship bracelet.....but since I'm just awful at weaving, we thought these would have to do!

Hopefully these have all arrived by now, but if you're a client and you haven't gotten a package from us yet CLOSE YOUR EYES! :)

We've been doing client gifts for about 5 years now, and every year we always try to include some of our favorite things. So this year, our new 2013 couples got one of our favorite blankets: this light blue furry one from Restoration Hardware with a tag that says "tis the season to be cozy." Because it is, it really is.

And all of our 2012 couples got the following kit with these Anthropologie letter mugs in their initials (we thought this was appropriate since we often just go by "J&M"), some Starbucks hot cocoa (of course!) and a Crate & Barrel Christmas frame ornament with a 2012 tag on it. And the sticker above says "tis the season to be Married" with the M from our logo.

Check out that Justin & Mary packing tape! We're so fancy! :) LOL, you can get yours at

And while we're showing off Christmas gifts, I thought I'd go ahead and give you a peak at how we wrapped our own gifts this only took me two FULL days! First up, our teal & silver tree:

And then the presents. I'm a gold star level type A personality, so of course they all had to match. This years theme was red & white & silver, with accents of ornament! :)

Don't open til December 25th!

Merry Christmas you guys! I hope every wish comes true!

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