Written By Ashlee Erlinger & Katie Daly

Ahhhh the new year.
The new you
hit the gym
cut the carbs
work less
say “no” more
prioritize your well being + family
time is upon us.

It’s always an exciting time when there is hope for something better + gym memberships sky rocket.
The holiday decor is packed away, the final sprinkles of glitter + pine are swept away. When your glowing + holiday home suddenly feels minimal, more white, + perhaps filled with more toys.

Admittedly each year, I make a list of all the things I want to accomplish.
It’s usually entirely too big.
In years past, I made vision boards. Yes, before pinterest, where I cut out inspiration from magazines.
Can you believe that is how weddings were designed + planned before too???
Binders of sleeved magazine pages, home-made scrapbooks, collections of fabrics, ribbons, invitation samples, family momentos.
Oh how far we’ve come!

Anyways, back to these goals + vision boards.
Over the years my goals were centered around 3 things:
Health, Relationship, Business.
I’d have clippings of wedding gowns, tennis shoes, yoga models, a modern farm house with a blue dutch door. Everything I wanted + didn’t have (yet). Babies. Business women in bright colored heels perched on their desks ruling the world.

So much stress on what I don’t have + not being happy, fulfilled unless I accomplished said goals.
End of the year, when prepping taxes, I would think OMG, we owe that much?
It costs how much to move to that town, to build that house?
I haven’t gotten any healthier or lost any weight.

Inevitably, I make a list of what I accomplished that year.
What I am grateful for.
What my favorite highlights were, personal + business.

Obviously I don’t have wedding gown or babies or dutch doors in mind for this year.
I am focusing on three simple things that don’t cost, that I can do on the daily, that bring joy. That I know I can accomplish.

FUN: I am going to be present with my family. Have fun playing with my baby. Building blocks, reading books, singing songs, going for walks. The simple things right! And hopefully I can lure my hubs in to partaking in some of the above. In all fairness though, he loves playing with our baby + does so every night.

LOVE: remember all those years of I GOTTA LOSE WEIGHT? Now more than ever I SHOULD be focusing on this right? Especially since I am at my heaviest, with barely having lost any baby weight. BUT instead I am focusing on self love. Loving myself no matter where I am, what I look like, what size I am in. Making choices based on that love. It feels empowering just typing that out.

TRUST: Trust seems so hard sometimes, especially after this tough year. Trust that things will work out. Trust that the business comes. Trust that the right clients show up. Trust that we make it through all the challenges. Trust that even if I don’t know the answer or the way or the decision to make, that as long as I believe + stay in action, I will eventually figure that out. No matter what you call it: trust, spirituality, religion, this is something I am committing to in the new year.

Check out what some of the gals on our team are up to in 2021!

First off, we gotta brag about our Tara!! Her new photography business – Tara Ann Photography – is the genius behind the lens for our cover pic!

It has taken me quite a while to respond because I’ve been thinking long and hard about where I was a year ago vs. where I am today.
“Music Stores Survive the Pandemic” is an article that made the front page of the paper and pretty much sums up 2020 for me. I was able to pivot, navigate and thrive during the first part of the pandemic. I was able to save jobs and save two music stores from closing by taking all music lessons online, revamping our web presence, and working countless hours by taking over our website, sales, and shipping departments.
Things I’ve learned: it’s okay to cry, you are never truly in control, love your favorite people because you are never promised tomorrow, and you are probably stronger than you think you are.
With that being said, I’ve realized how much a photo can mean to a person so I started a photography business. It is my goal in 2021 to to build my photography business by helping other business with their web presence and to capture special moments for families.

Next up! Our Sam! She was the answer to our math prayers this year! We thank the universe for brining her to us every single day!

This year I resolve to be kinder to myself.
2020 has taught me that the world is completely unknown and we all need to go with the punches.
My favorite part was joining this team!!! ….. and going to French Polynesia.
I spent a LOT of 2020 taking care of Nat the Brat and I love the personality she’s been showing. I’m proud to say I have a lot to do with her having good manners and behaving. Even though it’s totally my fault she says “💩”.

Lauren “Pumpkin Spice” came back to us in 2018 + we couldn’t be more overjoyed! She’s a short + sweet + to the point kind of gal + that is a huge reason why we love her + she is such a major major asset to our team + on wedding weekends!!

2021 Goal = make pickles and refine my own recipe!
2020 reflection = slow down every once in awhile

Oh Jenny! She is a powerhouse of a mama, friend + businesswoman. Her giggle is contagious (for real this girl keeps us all smiling on tough wedding weekends) + her strength is inspiring!

2020 taught me about TRUE love and faith. If there was ever a time in my life to learn the meaning of things that surrounded me, it was this year!! I grew in such a way I never thought possible. As far as the future – or even within the next new year – I hope to take what I have learned and grow from it. As far as what I am proud of…I am proud of my daughters!!!! I am proud of their strength! They have been so strong and showed much courage to rescue ME! For that, I couldn’t be more proud of knowing what great beautiful strong knowledgeable and independent women they will grow up to be.

Patrice is glamorous, exciting + all around a magical person to be around! She loves weddings + SSD so much that she drives in from Kansas City for wedding weekends!! + we cannot find words to explain how joyous that makes our hearts!!

2020 – I realized I need to do more for myself, self care is really needed. Doing for others brings me joy. But it’s not always reciprocated and it weighed on me this year. So neglecting me can’t happen anymore. Resolutions are not my thing but in 2021 I just desire to be #Better

Our Rachel “Ray of Sunshine” had a bittersweet 2020, but she still managed to send virtual hugs to everyone who needed one! + that is a big reason why we love her so much! Her love for love, her fur babies + for others is inspiring! #AddictedtoLove

I don’t really do resolutions as I get more upset and bent out of shape if I don’t stick with them, but I do want to make sure to take Millie to as many outdoor things as I possibly can next year!
I’d like to take her on hiking trails, lots of dog parks, swimming, etc. so that her (and I) can stay active and get fresh air while exploring what’s around us!
I also want to get back to my creative roots as this year my job has drained me of my creativity so I haven’t had much left to use on my own for fun projects!
2020 Memories!
Seren crossed the rainbow bridge after years of kisses + happiness together.
Bringing home Tucker even though it was only for a short time.
Bringing home Millie!
Getting my two best friends married!


2020 taught me an attitude of gratitude!
Cody + I continued dancing through life together – from sea to shining sea! Our year started on the East Coast when Cody was appointed to Warrant Officer of the Marine Corps.
We had a mini “layover” in the Midwest from Illinois(where the incredible Kristina Cipolla captured some of our memories!) to Minnesota + then trekked on over to the sunny West Coast to start our newest adventure with our fur babies!
– I am forever grateful for the 6 weeks I got to move home with my parents during the Illinois lockdown in April. Honestly, my proudest achievement of the year was cleaning up their library! It took over 52 hours! #humblebrag
– I am forever grateful for my Foofy + my Fizz. They keep me on a schedule + out of trouble (mostly because I am chasing them around the apartment to keep THEM out of trouble!)
– I am forever grateful for SSD + for Ashlee. I cannot put into words everything that she has done for me in recent years, but this year takes the cake! Getting to work remotely while overlooking sunny California is literally living the dream!
– Most of all, I am forever grateful for my husband + his dedication to us + to our marriage (as long as I keep my glitter bombs away from his uniforms!!)
2021 promises more changes, more growth + more adventures to Starbucks with my fur babies! Y’all know I take my cat + my dog to Starbucks everyday, but I’m resolving to “buy” Starbucks from myself. Like, if I want my Venti Iced Coffee with 2 pumps of white mocha, light ice + no classic syrup tomorrow, I’m going to take 45 minutes to myself today. Whether it’s on a run, a virtual ballet or yoga class, or just reading on my balcony with no phone, no emails + no social media! (I also want to run 500 miles this year but I’m thinking my old body isn’t too into that one LOL) Maybe I’ll just stick to chasing all 365 sunsets!

Regardless –

Cheers to 2021!

Bring on the confetti + hopefully more group hugs!


Kristina Cipolla Photography