Lauren Lindley headshot

Musings on a New Year

I write this post every year, partially in an effort to hold myself accountable, but also partially to remind myself of how far I’ve come in every year.  The beginning of each year is always SO different than the end.  The start of 2016 is no different and I’m humbled to imagine where I’ll be and what I’ll be feeling at the end of it.

I loved 2015.  I loved every minute of it.  It was hard.  It was stressful.  I worked my ass off.  I photographed 40 weddings in 2015 and 36 portraits, which is pretty awesome.  I had the most amazing incredibly awesome clients.  I had clients who wanted to have a Dr. Who themed engagement session, and then later, a Magic the Gathering themed wedding.  I had destination engagement sessions in San Francisco, not once, but twice.  I went to Dallas, TX for engagement sessions, not once, but twice.  I photographed weddings in Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Grass Valley, and San Diego.  I photographed a wedding on top of a glacier in Alaska where we arrived by helicopter.  I went to a self designed photographer’s retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains outside of Gatlinburg, TN with some of the most talented and raddest photographers I’ve ever met, a few of whom I was able to refer out weddings this year.  I took a course in off camera lighting by Azul Ox Photography in Austin, TX.  I attended Foster Workshop in Joshua Tree with Ben Sasso and Katch Silva (who took that awesome headshot of me on the header).  I applied to and was accepted to participate in the 67th class of the Missouri Photo Workshop in Perryville, MO, which was one of the most intense, challenging, and humbling educational experiences I’ve ever been part of.  You can see my photo story here.

Fredricksburg Wedding Photographer

Aaron and Ellen at the Trois Estate near Fredricksburg, TX.

San Francisco Engagement Session

Kelley and Neal in San Francisco, CA.

Dr. Who Themed Engagement Session

Sara and Will’s Dr. Who themed engagement session in Sacramento, CA.

Nate and Jessie in Cordova, AK.

I worked so hard that I did not do some of the things this year that I intended: like make more time for myself, for me to ride my bike and exercise and play outside.  But this is the deal: I really like my job.  I really love my job.  I really love what I do and frankly, I would work just as much all over again and I will probably work just as much this year, if not harder.  Because my job lets me meet rad people and go super inspiring places.  I do something that I basically think kicks ass and for that I am very very very lucky.

I do have some standard goals that I try to hold myself to every year, that don’t get listed in my rotating cast of changing ones.  These include visiting a new foreign country every year, which was an epic FAIL in 2015.  That being said, I did go to Costa Rica twice this past year and I’m going to at least 3 new countries in 2016, so I will make up for it.  I try to get on mountain 60 days a year, but the snow continued to be awful last year so mostly I just trail ran and traveled.  I also try to visit a new ski resort each year, but that did not happen in the 2014-15 winter season.

Dallas Engagement Photos

Melanie and Michael in Dallas, TX.

Other than that, here’s how I fared on my goals for the 2015 year:

1.  Read 52 books in 2015.  Raging SUCCESS.  I managed to not only finish 52 books this past year, but with days to spare.  You can friend me over at Goodreads if you want to see what’s on the list and check out my favorites because hyperlinking to the 15 or so that I gave five stars seems like just too much.  Sorry.  Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to read every book that was every short listed or won The Man Booker Prize.  I figured, at the time, that it would probably take me about 10 years to get to where I was up-to-date and then only reading the new ones for each year, after which, I would start trying to read every book that was every short listed or won the National Book Award for Fiction, of course.  If I counted correctly (and math has never been my strong suit), there are 264 books on the current Man Booker Prize list that I am trying to read, 20 of which I covered in 2015 and 18 that I’ve read previously.

2.  Focus on my health attempt 2: exercise 4 days a week and return to swimming, at least two days a week.   Epic Fail.  I managed to do worse than the year before, only getting exercise in 157 days out of the year, a reduction from the 189 days I managed to get time in the year before.  I have an unofficial yearly running mark of 500 miles a year and I didn’t even make that.  I did manage to swim twice as much as last year, and for that I am happy, though I think most of that came in the last quarter of the year.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 3.23.41 PM

3.  Attend at least 2 photography conferences, one related to wedding/portrait work and one that is unrelated to weddings in order to further my perspective energize my creativity and motivation.  Raging success.  1 lighting workshop, 1 wedding workshop and 1 photojournalism workshop in the books.  I’m looking forward to 2016, where I’ll be heading to Portugal for the Fearless Photographers Workshop in Porto and Vancouver, Canada for the Canada Photo Convention!

4.  New York City Marathon for 2015!  Mostly success.  Michelle, my trusty marathon running partner got preggers and had to go and have a baby so we tabled this and I ran the California International Marathon this year instead.

5.  Devise a solid marketing plan to bring the number of destination weddings I shoot up to 25% of my total weddings.  Epic fail.  I’m not going to lie, I forgot about this one.  I actually don’t even think I need it anymore.  I have 25 weddings on the books already for 2016 and only 11 of them are in Tahoe.  I’m headed to San Francisco, Isla Mujeres, Wimberly, the expansive western edge of South Dakota, June Lake, Plymouth Wine Country (twice), and Colorado next year and I am already so excited for all of them!  This is due to some amazing clients, word of mouth referrals and utilizing Thumbtack to expand into markets that I’m not established in.

6.  Shift and narrow my family portrait portfolio into family photojournalism.  Mostly success.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that most of my clients want both and so that’s what I’ve been extremely successful in providing this year.  I had some amazing clients that allowed me to photograph some great sessions that included both candid activities and posed photos and I’m extremely happy with the results of my portrait sessions this year!

Family Photos at Lake Tahoe

Bangerter Family at Fallen Leaf Lake, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Snider Family at Kings Beach State Park, Lake Tahoe.

My Goals for 2016:

1.  Read 52 books again.

2.  Focus on my health attempt #3:  Jesus woman, wake up earlier and make time for exercise already and swim why don’t you.  Get on your bike!  Run more!  Get it together!  

3.  Run my 6th marathon.  We’re already registered for the Portland Marathon on October 9, 2016!  Patented Lauren Lindley All Season Taper Plan is sure to be in effect!

4.  Build my editorial/stock photo portfolio.  Focused in outdoor/lifestyle/travel images.   This also requires time.  This may be a difficult one to get to.  

5.  Re-do my website and build a pricing guide for portraits.  I had the front homepage redesigned by the amazing Dan Keenan over at Hatchback Creative last year, and this year I’d like to focus on the rest of it.   I had a pricing guide created by the incredibly talented Julie Pizzo for my wedding business and now I’d like to do the same this year for my portrait business.

6.  Expand my reach into cities I desperately would love to photograph a wedding in: New Orleans is the top of this list!  I’d also love a Pacific Northwest wedding just for a change from the eternally bluebird CA and a Montana wedding!  Other cities I’d love to photograph in include Nashville, Boston, and Tucson.

Here’s looking forward to another incredible year and all the travels and excitement that it will bring!!

Nicole and Howard, Reno, NV.

Anytime Light

2015 Wedding Photography Workshops | California | Education

I am a huge proponent of continued education, no matter what your field of work is.  The most amazing part of my job is that the only person I’m in competition with is myself.  I know that I can always be better and one of my goals this year was to attend at least two photography workshops, one that was wedding focused and one that was not.  I’m excited that I’m certainly going to go above and beyond this goal by attending numerous 2015 wedding photography workshops.

Learning in Action at the Anytime Light Workshop in January. Photo by Josh Baker, AzulOx

This past January, I traveled to Austin, TX to attend the Anytime Light Workshop from Azul Ox Visuals.  Azul Ox’s team creates dramatically different images than I normally do: bold cinematic photography with exceptional use of OCF.  It’s extremely important to be able to modify light to your needs: I would never want to turn down a portrait session simply because their only available time slot was noon.  At this small, intensive, hands on workshop we learned how to photograph at high noon in the Texas Sun while mitigating strong overhead light with all the tools available at our disposal.  From there, we worked on interior head shot lighting, sunset lighting with speedlights for dramatic evening portraits and finally, portraits in the dark after nightfall.

Austin Portrait Photographer

Turning day into night with strobes: anytime light! Photo by Lauren Lindley.

I was so impressed by the entire experience, I’m bringing Anytime Light to Tahoe for an extended three day workshop.  This workshop will give hands on experience, provide portfolio building images, and extensive learning for the small batch of students in one of the most gorgeous locations California has to offer.

Anytime Light Lake Tahoe still has spots available.  I honestly cannot impress upon you how amazing this workshop was in reiterating, reinforcing, and reminding me of all the tools I have at my disposal during a wedding or portrait session.  If you attend Anytime Light Lake Tahoe, you’ll learn everything you need to know about OCF (off camera flash) including how your flash power and distance and camera decisions work together.  You’ll learn about all the light modifiers you have to choose from and why and when to use them.  You’ll learn what type of OCF to use.  Speedlight? Strobe?  During all of this, you’ll be able to build your portfolio using real models at styled shoots in one of the most gorgeous locations on the planet!  I can’t imaging a better way to experience an OCF Workshop this year.  In addition, model Jennifer Lynn Larson is going to do a session on communicating with models per my request because I actually found that communicating with professional models and my lack of knowledge on this topic hindered my ability to get the types of images I wanted at the workshop in January.

Whether you are new to wedding photography or an established professional, this 2015 OCF workshop will help reinforce the knowledge you need to have to create the best images possible for your clients, despite the light conditions you experience.

Sunset and Speedlights. Photo by Josh Baker, AzulOx

In February, I attended Imaging USA 2015 put on by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) in Nashville, TN.  I specifically needed to source out new vendors for my business at the massive photography expo offered at the event.  I was searching for a new high end fine art album maker and found exactly what I was looking for in Finao.  I struggled, however, with the rest of the conference, which I took very little away from.  Many teachers or speakers tried to cram the same amount of information that I learned in a hands on all day session at Anytime Light in Austin into a one hour presentation.  The massive lecture halls filled with hundreds walked away more confused than they entered.  I think huge conferences are great for certain things: networking and vendor sourcing specifically.  While I met some amazing photographers whom I still keep in touch with (shout out to Michael Faga and Jennifer Oates), I can’t say that I walked away with any specific educational knowledge at all, despite sitting in three days worth of one hour lectures.

This June, I’m looking forward to attending FOSTER 2015 led by Ben Sasso and Katch Silva.  FOSTER is a hands on workshop of education and discussion.  They will lead us in live shoots using natural light, posing, directing and then finally, leading discussions about the most important aspects of the wedding photography business including editing, workflow, social media, style and branding, client interaction and more.  It takes place in Joshua Tree and I’m ashamed to admit: I’ve never been there!

LGBT San Diego Wedding

Utilizing OCF for wedding photographers. Photo by Lauren Lindley, Lauren Lindley Photography.

What I’m most excited about this year, other than hosting my own wedding photography workshop here in Lake Tahoe, is that I was recently notified of my early acceptance into the prestigious and highly competitive Missouri Photo Workshop.  This year will be the 67th anniversary of the workshop, which moves to a different small town in Missouri every year documenting small town life.  For over six decades now, photographers from around the world have worked to visually tell the stories of the people and institutions that come together to make the community chosen for the year.  They are directed by David Rees and Jim Curley with the help of dozen talented faculty members and a team of University of Missouri students.  It will teach me the fundamentals of researching, shooting and editing while emphasizing ethical practices.  I am overwhelmed, honored and unbelievably ecstatic to be offered this experience!

San Antonio Wedding Photographer

Musings on a New Year

Quitting your very safe day job to pursue the unknown is frightening.  For weeks during the first quarter of 2014, I had extreme anxiety about the journey I was about to embark upon.

What if I fail?  What if I don’t make enough money?  What if I can’t pay my bills?  What if I’m not a good enough photographer?  

I won’t sit here and tell you that I still don’t think these things.  That, at least one night a month, I’m not up, awake in the dark, obsessing about whether or not I’ll be able to pay my bills six months out.  They say that you should have three years of savings when you quit your job to pursue your dreams.  I’m not sure who they are, but they say it all over the internet.  I did not listen.  They say that you should pay off all your debt before you leave your steady income and pursue your dreams.  I did not listen.  They say a lot of things.  In the end, I listened to me, not them, and so far, I’ve loved every minute of being self-employed as a full time professional photographer as opposed to a full time retail store manager with a side job as a professional photographer.

This is what I thought I’d have when I left my job in the Outdoor Retail Industry: infinite time to do all the things I hadn’t been able to do for three years, like ride my bike ALL THE TIME, go to the beach in the summer, exercise more.  I did not have time for any of these things.  One of my main goals for 2014 was to return to exercising more, specifically, five days a week.  This did not happen, but mostly because as a self employed person who works out of her home, I no longer felt the need to wake up at 6 AM to work out.  I do not regret this.  You know what’s awesome about being self employed?  No alarms and coffee and book reading in bed until you’re ready to get out.  That’s what.

Other things you do when you are self employed include, but are not limited to, working from your couch in your pajamas all day.  This is both wonderful and horrifying all at the same time.  My desire to go to happy hour every afternoon increased considerably with no adult interaction all day long.

I’ve had an extremely rewarding, unbelievably exhausting, but 100% amazing year.  I am still a bit shocked at how awesome it’s been.

What I did to in 2014 was hustle.  I worked hard.  I took a lot of photos.  I edited a lot of photos.  I gave it my best.  I’m positive that if I continue to aim to give my best to myself, my best to my relationship, my best to my clients, my best to my photography education to expand my skills and knowledge, and do my best to look for new and creative ways to see the photo opportunities in front of me, that nothing but the best can come of it.

One of the things I’m looking forward to most for this year is a informally designed and planned Destination Wedding Photographer Retreat with 29 other wedding photographers from around the country in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  A friend and fellow photog, Megan Saul, set it up and I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed and apprehensive about the trip; these folks are so amazingly talented, I feel undeserving to be included.  I have a list of things I’m hoping to learn from them and I currently feel as if  I have very little to bring to the table.  Regardless of my qualms and the fact that these photographer’s talents scare me shitless, I am overwhelmingly excited in anticipation.

I try to visit anew foreign country every year and that has been unsuccessful for the last two years.  I try to get on mountain 60 days a year, which has also been an epic fail the last two years, but come on, the snow in Tahoe has been terrible, if not non-existent!  I also try to visit a new ski resort each year and thanks to Dawn and Brandon in Boulder, Breckenridge was checked off the list in 2014.

 Here’s how my goals for 2014 stacked up and what I’m going to attempt in 2015.

My Goals for 2014

1.  Read 20 pages a day.  One of my wedding clients started a group on the FB to help keep her accountable for a promise to hike for 30 days straight.  It piqued my interest and I decided I would join in on her goal, but instead read 20 pages a day.  It’s was such an enjoyable experience, I turned it into a year long goal.  This was another added benefit of being self-employed.  When I was a child, I was a voracious reader, so much so that my fifth grade teacher wrote on my report card that I was no longer allowed to bring outside reading books to school because I was “reading too much.”  After mostly giving up reading for quite some time, I’m proud to say that I read 52 books this year!  My favorites were Beautiful Ruins (Jess Walter),  The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), Mr Peanut (Adam Ross), The Son (Philipp Meyer), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo), My Salinger Year (Joanna Rakoff), The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt), Jamrach’s Menagerie  (Carol Birch), and The Chronology of Water (Lidia Yuknavitch).

2.  Exercise 5 days a week.  I missed my goal by 71 days, or 1.3x per week.  189 days total out of 365.  Granted, I generally miss all of the two weeks of SXSW and this year it was actually three thanks to an additional trip to NOLA for Mardi Gras in the week before SXSW.

Athletic totals for 2014

3.  Stop interneting in bed in the morning and after 6 PM.  I actually forgot that I had made this a goal, probably about half way through the year.  That being said, since starting to read in bed in the morning with coffee, this is no longer a problem.

4.  Run another marathon.  The Chicago Marathon was absolutely amazing.  It was my fourth marathon and definitely my favorite so far thanks to having such great running and travel partners.  I’m so proud of Taylor, who I started babysitting for at the age of 12 when she was born.  She is now 22 and ran the marathon with me.  It was her first one, which is always the hardest!  We also raised $3,355 the Les Turner ALS Foundation, who we chose after finding out that a family member of a very close friend was diagnosed with ALS.

Ranchharrah Weddings

5.  24 weddings in 2014.   I had 37 weddings on the books this year, but four were canceled, which brought my total weddings shot to 33!

Mountain Biking in Fruita

6.  Go to Moab with the Purvis-Daniels clan.  This may have been the best trip ever.  Sadly, I have YET to even look at, much less think about, editing the photos from the Moab part of the trip.  I promise I’ll do that soon.

7.  Cook more.  Boy did I ever.  Another benefit of working from home: taking breaks to bake, roast, saute and serve.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

My Goals for 2015:

1.  Read 52 books in 2015.  That’s only two more books than I read last year and one book a week.  Caveat: no junk books to just to reach the goal!

2.  Focus on my health attempt 2: exercise 4 days a week and return to swimming, at least two days a week.  Let’s try this one again.  Instead of the lofty goal of 5 days a week, lets go with 4.  Now we have a puppy, so I unfortunately have to run him almost every day, which sometimes makes me more reluctant to get out and do other things.  I’ve been craving more pool time after not swimming for a year basically (I was a bit burnt out).

woman running in field

3.  Attend at least 2 photography conferences, one related to wedding/portrait work and one that is unrelated to weddings in order to further my perspective energize my creativity and motivation.

4.  New York City Marathon for 2015!  Much like the Chicago Marathon, in order to have a guaranteed entry we’ll raise money for the charity of our choice.  I’m hoping to best my personal fundraising from last year as well.  It’s a pretty awesome morale booster while running a marathon to think about the folks you raised money for.  ALS is such a horrible disease.  If their families can be supportive and help the victims of ALS for days on end, I can run for four fucking hours.

Destination Wedding Photographer

5.  Devise a solid marketing plan to bring the number of destination weddings I shoot up to 25% of my total weddings.  I have an amazing network of destination wedding photographers from which I can crowd-source ideas, help and feedback.   I aim to launch the marketing plan by the fourth quarter of 2015 so that I have enough time to get traction before the onslaught of engagements that occur over the holidays each year.

family documentary photojournalism

6.  Shift and narrow my family portrait portfolio into family photojournalism.  Let’s face it: your kids aren’t going to do that quirky thing they do at home when they are sitting on a beach trying to l0ok pretty in front of my camera.  It’s not that much fun for them and frankly, it’s not that much fun for me.  What I would so much rather do is show up at a normal day at your house and document your lives.  As they happen.  The moments between the mundane household chores or the chaos that happens when everyone comes home from school.  The routines you have that are intimate and maybe you don’t think about: reading to your kids before bed, setting the dinner table, helping with homework.  These are the photos I’d rather give people.

Musings on a New Year

I do athletics.

Some years, I do a lot of athletics.  The last two years, not so much.  I tried to make it a priority to exercise more last year, but let’s just face it: I was overworked and tired most of the year.  Somewhere in the last year I realized that maybe I should quit my job and just be a photographer.  And so I’m going to do that.  I worked REALLY hard last year at both my jobs to get to the position I’m in today and I’m pretty proud of myself.  If some exercising went by the wayside, well, that’s what this year is for.  Right?

Among other informal goals, I try to visit at least one foreign country a year (didn’t happen) and one new ski resort a year (did happen).

In Steamboat Springs for Music Fest with my bff Liana.

My goals for 2013 were as follows.  Here’s how I fared:

1.  Become more proficient at Photoshop.

Success.  Not a total I’m-a-Photoshop-wiz and I no longer scream and want to throw my computer when I’m trying to super-impose my face to Olivia Newton John’s, but better.  I took an online course through LTCC and while the first half of it went really well, things went a bit wayside in the 2nd half while I was shooting multiple weddings, running a marathon, vacationing, fighting with my old landlord, traveling for work and moving.  I’m glad all that is over and I still have the textbook which I plan on going back through and spending some loving quality time with.

2.  I thought I wanted to take on another photo project for the year.  Last year I started a project through a website where you took one shot a month based on the word they chose.  They lost me in August though when they started having a different word for every day.  That was too much.  I thought that perhaps I might want to take on a self-portrait a month project, but I think I’ll just end up over-extending myself.  Instead, I think I should focus my energy into committing to photo sessions at least once a month during the winter with Megs.  It will help both of us reach our mutual goals.

Success.  I’m not sure if we managed EVERY month, but we did have a pretty good run of photos from last year.  I would really like for it to snow so that we can go out and get some amazing photos THIS year.

3.  60 days on the mountain.

Um, no.  Most underwhelming winter ever.  Until this one.

Tahoe Backcountry, Tahoe Backcountry Skiing, Waterhouse, Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Telemark Skiing

4.   Pay off the credit card.  I am the WORST at this.  Most of the time, I feel like life is too short to be ridiculously responsible.  I do things like pay it off and then put a really awesome trip on there.  There will always be more money.  There will not always be fun trips with your friends.  But for real, I really want to pay it off.  Kinda.

EPIC fail.  Pretty sure I put more stuff on there.  Well, hell, there’s always money in the banana stand.

5.  Legitimately train for the marathon.  Perhaps run more than 30 miles in the six weeks leading up to it.

Ha!  Just this week, my marathon running partner wrote a very eloquent post about why she puts herself through the torment of running a marathon every year.  I didn’t actually realize it prior to reading it, but our feelings towards it are the same.  Although I totally improperly train or fail to train at all or just stop training or whatever throughout the course of my marathon training season when push comes to shove there’s this: I run marathons because at the end of the year if I have completely and totally failed in some partial or entire sense of my goals for the year, I always have the marathon.  And you know what, marathons are fucking hard.

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6.  Consistently: swim more, run more, ride my bike more.  Make sure that I schedule in time to exercise, time to work and time to learn and frankly, time to do nothing.  Time to veg on the couch is sometimes needed and I think the only days this year that I had literally nothing to do where the days that I was on vacation.

None of this happened.  At all.  At any time this year.  I’m just going to leave it at that.

7.  Read more non-photography books.

I actually did fairly well with this one.  That being said, it wasn’t quite as many as I would have liked but still a reasonable attempt and moderately successful.

8.  Photograph more music festivals.  Seriously!  Two of my most favorite loves: live music + photography.  So awesomely fun I wish I could do it full time.

This happened.  I photographed a LOT of music this year and it was rad.

Snowglobe Music Fest, Snowglobe, Tahoe South

My goals for 2014:

1.  Read 20 pages a day.  One of my wedding clients started a group on the FB to help keep her accountable for a promise to hike for 30 days straight.  It piqued my interest and I decided I would join in on her goal, but instead read 20 pages a day.  It’s been such an enjoyable experience, I think I’m going to keep it going all year long.  I haven’t missed a day yet.

2.  Exercise 5 days a week.  I have to start making time for myself a priority again, regardless of how many hours a week I am working.  I sleep better and my stress levels are lower if I just force myself out the door in a timely manner to sneak a little cardio in.

3.  Stop interneting in bed in the morning and after 6 PM.  I have a tendency to wake up and bring my coffee and laptop into my giant cozy amazing bed in my big dark wonderful bedroom.  This keeps me from wanting to get out of bed in the cold to go run or swim or ride my bike.  I need better work-life balance and keeping myself to this along with a commitment to exercise and a pledge to read every day is going to get me there.

4.  Run another marathon.  Because after all, I always have that.

5.  24 weddings in 2014.   My calendar is filling up fast – 11 dates are already taken!

6.  Go to Moab with the Purvis-Daniels clan.  For years I have been promising to tag along on this trip and this year I’m going to make it happen.  You can hold me to it friends!

7.  Cook more.  My boyfriend is the most supportive boyfriend in the world and all last summer while I worked 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, he would make me dinner.  It was an amazing relief in a summer that was super stressful.  I appreciate it, but I also don’t want to work that hard this year which means I get to spend more time in a place that I love: our kitchen.

Here’s to another awesome amazing super crazy insane fun filled adventurous year that only I know how to do.  2014, lets do this! 

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Musings on a New Year

Oh man, I totally failed on so many accounts this year (athletically) but a lot of that has to do with me taking those energies and putting them into so many other things.  I usually try to run 500 miles every year and I didn’t even get remotely close to that.  In fact, I hardly came close to serious mileage in any of my sports at all.

Workoutgraph2012

That being said, I’m not going to ream myself too badly for totally sucking at being disciplined enough to have very little free time and still get up every day at 6 am to workout.  Sometimes life doesn’t work like that and this is one of those years.  I feel like I held down five different jobs this year and it totally taxed me.  Regardless, I’m proud of my year.  It may not be my most athletic year, but it was one of my more successful years in terms of focus and learning.

I also try to visit one foreign country every year and this year I (sorta) visited two:  La Paz (Bolovia) and Puerto Rico (not exactly foreign, but not exactly US either.  I conclude that it counts for half of a foreign country).  In addition, I always try to visit one new ski resort a year.  Last year was such a slow snow year, I don’t think I even made it to a new one!  This year I’m already on the ball though.  I had to Steamboat Springs today and in March Buddy and I are headed on a mini-trip to Seattle so we’ll get to ski at Steven’s Pass.

My goals for 2012 were as follows. Here’s how I fared:

1. Re-train to swim in the Ironman (Vineman) Relay with Ellen and Al. Best my yardage from this year.

Event cancelled.  I was actually probably well on my way to that, but failed to best my yardage from the year before after I stopped swimming 5,000 yard workouts when I heard it was cancelled.

2. Run 3 half marathons in states I haven’t ticked off the list yet (woefully behind on this life goal to run a half Marathon in every state).

Almost: I managed to sneak 2 in this year. I did run 3 half marathons, but one was in California which is already a state I’ve checked off the list. Added this year: Louisiana and Texas. List of states I’ve run in addition to those: California, Oregon, Utah. Michelle and I are already planning on registering for the Marine Corps Marathon for next year, which will cover me on Virginia.

3. Become a better photographer. I’m taking a digital photography class this winter at the local community college. I plan to follow it up with a portrait class in the spring. I was thinking about doing a 365 project: 1 photo a day, 365 days but I think with everything else I have going on this year, that I’ll table that one for another year.

With the purchase of my camera in the fall of 2011, I threw almost every extra minute I had into learning how to use it, reading as many books as I could, self-teaching myself new skills, and taking classes at the local community college. I donated my photobooth to 11 different events. I photographed 2 weddings and shot a handful of portraits. I think I came a long way in one year. I’d call this goal met, but no where near completion. This will be a never ending learning process for sure.

4. 60 days on the mountain. I barely missed this in the 09-10 season at 58 and came in at 61 for the 2010-11 season. This year, I am out of town for about a week and a half in January and a week in March. With no snow yet and no snow in the forecast, this might be a difficult goal. I’m at 8 for the season leading into the new year, which means I need 12 days a month for the next four months and either 4 days in May or 4 extra days somewhere else. Do-able for sure, but I think some extra dawn patrols might have to be squeezed in to make it happen.

Epic fail. Only 27 days on the mountain for the 2011-12 season. With winter hella under way here in Tahoe, I should have no problem reaching my goal of 60 days this year.

5. Raise $1000 for Disabled Sports in the Ability Challenge.

Success: $1,890 raised for the Ability Challenge!

My goals for 2013:

1.  Become more proficient at Photoshop.

2.  I thought I wanted to take on another photo project for the year.  Last year I started a project through a website where you took one shot a month based on the word they chose.  They lost me in August though when they started having a different word for every day.  That was too much.  I thought that perhaps I might want to take on a self-portrait a month project, but I think I’ll just end up over-extending myself.  Instead, I think I should focus my energy into committing to photo sessions at least once a month during the winter with Megs.  It will help both of us reach our mutual goals.

3.  60 days on the mountain.

Tahoe Backcountry, Tahoe Backcountry Skiing, Waterhouse, Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Telemark Skiing

4.   Pay off the credit card.  I am the WORST at this.  Most of the time, I feel like life is too short to be ridiculously responsible.  I do things like pay it off and then put a really awesome trip on there.  There will always be more money.  There will not always be fun trips with your friends.  But for real, I really want to pay it off.  Kinda.

5.  Legitimately train for the marathon.  Perhaps run more than 30 miles in the six weeks leading up to it.

dsc8500.jpg

6.  Consistently: swim more, run more, ride my bike more.  Make sure that I schedule in time to exercise, time to work and time to learn and frankly, time to do nothing.  Time to veg on the couch is sometimes needed and I think the only days this year that I had literally nothing to do where the days that I was on vacation.

7.  Read more non-photography books.

8.  Photograph more music festivals.  Seriously!  Two of my most favorite loves: live music + photography.  So awesomely fun I wish I could do it full time.

Snowglobe Music Fest, Snowglobe, Tahoe South

Summer Insanity

I have a tendency to over work, over fun, over exercise, over extend myself in the summer. This summer is no different. In an effort to try to maintain somewhat of a healthy schedule, I hereby am committing myself to cooking at home and staying at home at least two nights of the week. This is actually going to be somewhat of a lofty goal for me.

Maybe I’ll read more.

I’ll definitely cook more.

Last night’s accomplishment: seared scallops with haricot verts

Recipe via Cooking Light.

After I ate this delicious dinner, I mowed through two bowls of cereal, two string cheeses, three glasses of wine and two episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

I also totally cheated last night and made my friends come over and have drinks with me. I’m fairly certain that defeats the purpose of Lauren Quiet Time.

My Bucket List

So, another blogger has started a blog completely based on “Bucket Lists,” which got me thinking: while I haven’t really ever made written list of things that are must dos, I have always had a sort of a mental checklist going. There’s a million and one places I would jump at the opportunity to go to and a million more things, festivals and events I would like to see, but there is definitely a number of them that if I missed, I would be rather upset in the afterlife over. So, in no particular order, my ever growing Bucket List includes:

1. Holi Festival
2. Tomatina Festival
3. AIDS Lifecycle Ride
4. Chamonix
5. See someone amazing at the Hollywood Bowl
6. Carnival in Brazil
7. Sweden and related, 8. a night in the Ice Hotel
9. Run a half marathon in every state
10. Big Mountain: heli trip in AK
11. Italy. All of it. Multiple times.
12. Attend FIFA World Cup
13. Machu Picchu
14. Ski Chile
15. Turkey, especially Cappadocia.
16. Attend the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships
17. Australia
18. Never miss a year of Austin City Limits Music Festival
19. Eat creole fare and brass band dance my way through Louisiana with Cycle Zydeco and then hit up Jazz Fest.
20. Galapagos.
21. Prague and Eastern Europe.
22. Follow the Tour de France.
23. Visit a foreign country every year.

Musings on a New Year

So many amazing things happened this year. It’s really fascinating how much writing this blog makes me appreciate how insanely awesome my life is: I live in one of the most picturesque outdoor communities in the world, I have a job that I love with co-workers who are fantastic and inspiring, I’m surrounded by the greatest friends, both near and far, I get to travel ALL THE TIME, I have the flexibility to be spontaneous and adventurous and the best part, I finally bought something (camera) I’ve been dreaming of for years.

While I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because I feel like they do people very little good, I do like to challenge myself. I like to sign up for goal events every year, I like to be healthy, I like to laugh every day, I like to find new things to learn, I like to exercise.

My goals for last year were to set new heights in swim yardage as I trained for the Ironman Relay I was swimming in (in May we ended up moving our entry to 2012) and to run 500 miles. I realized this week that I was 5 miles away from hitting that goal so I took Andy out for a five mile run this morning. Success on both accounts.

I am clearly still so far off from competing with the uber-trained athlete that I was in 2009 it’s comical. Where did I get all that energy??

My goals for 2012 are as follows and they are somewhat lofty:
1. Re-train to swim in the Ironman (Vineman) Relay with Ellen and Al. Best my yardage from this year.
2. Run 3 half marathons in states I haven’t ticked off the list yet (woefully behind on this life goal to run a half Marathon in every state).
3. Become a better photographer. I’m taking a digital photography class this winter at the local community college. I plan to follow it up with a portrait class in the spring. I was thinking about doing a 365 project: 1 photo a day, 365 days but I think with everything else I have going on this year, that I’ll table that one for another year.
4. 60 days on the mountain. I barely missed this in the 09-10 season at 58 and came in at 61 for the 2010-11 season. This year, I am out of town for about a week and a half in January and a week in March. With no snow yet and no snow in the forecast, this might be a difficult goal. I’m at 8 for the season leading into the new year, which means I need 12 days a month for the next four months and either 4 days in May or 4 extra days somewhere else. Do-able for sure, but I think some extra dawn patrols might have to be squeezed in to make it happen.
5. Raise $1000 for Disabled Sports in the Ability Challenge.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your 2011 was as incredible as mine!

Austin

My trip to Austin was wonderful, as always, though I managed to spend about $1,000 more than I made last month in between trips for weddings and trips for concerts and bike parts (necessity!), so now I’m supposed to be on uber-money-lockdown and not buy dinner out or take any more trips anytime soon. Instead, Erik and Ellen convinced me that I need this book so that I can be like them, sans chickens.

After Erik taunted me with his homemade focaccia, which was wonderfully accompanied by good company (Ellen, Blaine, Michelle and Erik), as well as perfectly seared lamb chops with a pistachio mint pesto, I decided to buy the book at Bookpeople while I was in Austin. This, in turn and spurred by a desire and fury to make bread NOW NOW NOW, led to further purchases on Amazon.com like pizza stones ($36), 6-quart containers ($17), a bread dough whisk ($10) and a 2 lb bag of yeast ($11). I’m now $100 deep in a quest to make bread in a month where I intended to spend less money, not more. But maybe I’ll spend less money on bread, which will even out? Even more ridiculous is that we’re going into summer and I usually don’t like to turn my oven on. I think I’ll turn it on for bread in five minutes a day though. Or perhaps there’s a chapter on grilling it…

We had an amazing crawfish boil on Sunday while I was there and all my favorite people came. With three professional photographers there I didn’t feel the need to take photos of my own. The photos on this post are all property of Merrick Ales, who takes amazing photos. You can check out his gallery and work at his website. You can see all the event photos through these links: Merrick’s, Greg’s, and Erik’s.

The wedding I was home for was beautiful and at some point I’m sure I’ll have a link for those photos. I wish boyfriend could have joined me as it was VERY Texas: girls in cowboy boots, country music, and BBQ for dinner. Loved it!

I’m amazed at how quickly I turn back into a runner when I’m in Austin. There is nothing like the warm weather, sunshine and throngs of fit people on the Austin Hike and Bike Trail to motivate you. I spent almost every day running in Austin, including participating in the Schlotsky’s Bun Run 5K. The Bun Run was always one of my favorite Austin events because they encourage you to bring your four legged pal with you and even have a timed canine division. Sierra came in 2nd among the dogs once!

Now, while I was standing in the start corral, despite the fact that the last time I ran was a 5k for Keenan Harrison a few weeks ago, I came up with a ridiculous arbitrary goal to run the race in less than 24 minutes. Why? Because I’m competitive with myself for absolutely no reason. I haven’t been running. At all. Seriously. What was I thinking? (I’ll tell you what I was thinking – I was boastfully thinking that I live at altitude and have been swimming so much that I could knock out 3.1 miles in 24 minutes at sea level).

Turns out I can. I came across the finish line at 24:03 and spent 24 agonizing hours refreshing the results page to determine if I should be angry at myself for not making my goal or not. Final chip time was 23:54 which was fast enough to place me at 8th in my age group. I’m happy with that.

In other sports-related-non-Austin-trip news, last year my friend Al convinced our friend Ellen and myself that we needed to create an ultra-awesome totally unstoppable Ironman triathlon relay with Al as the cyclist, Ellen as the runner, and myself as the swimmer. If you don’t know what an Ironman is it consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon (26.2 miles). She convinced us to sign up despite the fact that she has had 3 knee surgeries in a year and a half and my insistence that I didn’t think it was wise to train for an event of this nature so close to her last surgery. I was SO insistent that this was the case that I told her from the beginning that I had an understudy in waiting for her. I, in effect, had zero confidence that this would happen.

Turns out, I was right. Unfortunately, the fact that I have an understudy ready in the wings is moot as Ellen is apparently not ready either. Despite my lack of confidence that we would be able to participate in the event, I for some reason took training very seriously. So seriously that when I injured my rotator cuff, I spent three months swimming nothing but backstroke which was absolutely AWFUL. Thus, may this be a testament to how seriously I take training when I have a goal: I just spent 5 months swimming more yardage per week (20,000 yards a week!) than I have since I was a lifeguard and swim coach back in Austin. I’m pretty deflated that I spent all this time in the pool when I could have been doing other things, but that’s okay, because now my shoulders are once again so big that none of my shirts fit. This, in turn, causes a phenomenon I like to call “small head complex” in which I look at myself in a mirror and think that my head is too small for my body. I’m serious. Stop laughing, it’s not funny.

I’m probably going to keep swimming, but not quite as much. Maybe two 5,000 yard workouts a week and one 4,000 yard workout. I kind of liked doing the 5,000 yard workouts – they leave you ravenously hungry and with a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Regardless, the change of plans will free me up to train for a new goal because I like to have goals. I had, in my mind, shelved training for a marathon again until next year but now I’m free to do so this summer. I need to run a marathon because the last time I attempted one it was an epic FAIL and I’m not so happy about that.

This is now an ridiculously long post so I’m going to end it now. Hopefully I’ll have lots of bread, CSA box and bike related posts coming soon, just in time for summer which is apparently not coming to Tahoe today – we woke up to snow.

>Things I want to do before I die

>My list of things to do before I die. In no particular order and simply because I felt like making a list. Jason makes lists all the time in his blogs. I want to be like Jason.

1. Complete an Ironman Triathalon, preferably in Kona.
2. Run a half marathon in every state.
3. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef before we ruin our oceans.
4. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but not southern California because that’s simply too much desert and I don’t carry water.
5. Climb in Yosemite
6. See a whale up close
7. Go to the Tour de France
8. Visit Fabric
9. Backpack through Europe
10. Learn to fly fish
11. Do a century ride
12. Ski in Switzerland, just for because I want to say I did. It’s got nice alliteration.
13. Learn Spanish fluently (again) and not forget it
14. Climb in Thailand
15. Go ice climbing
16. Complete a Ride for the Roses
17. Drink wine in Tuscany
18. Learn to row (skull)
19. Kayak the Mexican Penninsula
20. Go to Glade, Global Gathering or some other music festival of epic proportions in another country
21. Learn some French
22. Live in NYC for a year
23. See Lava (I dunno, I think it would be cool).
24. Climb 5.12
25. Own a wine cellar
26. Try surfing
27. Swim a sub-minute 100 Free (I’m close. Last time trial was 1:02 and some change)
28. Visit everywhere I can in the world, but most specifically:
* Europe (see ..9)
* Patagonia
* Tokyo/Japan
* Glacier National Park before it melts
* most of South America
* Alaska
* Australia and New Zealand
* Somewhere in South Africa
* Novia Scotia
* Grand Canyon

These things used to be on my list, but I’ve completed them:
* Move out of Texas
* Snowboard
* Visit New York City
* Run the 8 mile Turkey Trot
* Visit Moab
* Potrero
* Sky dive

On-going goals with no specific conclusion include:
* to read as many books as possible
* to listen to as much music as possible
* to drink as many new beers as possible
* to watch as many movies as possible
* to dance and laugh… always