Reverse Bucket List – Reflecting on 31 Years of Accomplishments
1) I am a successful and hardworking entrepreneur!
Started my own photography business, and I am “crushing it”- I definitely do not say that out loud enough. From the ground up, I built a six-figure business in less than 3 years. Today, Studio 29 Photography has been in business for over 7 years, and I still enjoy waking up and going to work every single day and bringing happiness to so many people. What started as a passion led me to express my creative self, meet my husband, and have the life I have today.
Because of Studio 29 Photography, Caleb and I are able to travel around the world, meet and work with incredible people and give an amazing life to our two doggies & two cats. I am truly thankful I never gave up, even when the universe was throwing me constant curveballs, and I am thankful to all who have believed and supported me since Day 1. Special thanks to my Incredible/Outstanding/Loving/Hardworking parents, who instilled determination, drive, and dedication to anything and everything I do.
2) I have had & have amazing doggies!
Over my lifetime, I have loved and cared for so many amazing dogs. The first is Hauzy—a Yellow Labrador Retriever named after my Grandpa.
My second Leo. A handsome Chow Chow German Shepherd mix who loved me more than anyone in this world and had the fluffiest ears. We could never go anywhere without someone exclaiming how truly beautiful of a dog he was.
My third, Kenzo. Kenzo is an old soul, American Akita. He is as handsome as he is stubborn, but honestly, he is the biggest sweetheart I’ve ever met.
And, my newest addition, sweet Vik. Named after my favorite city in Iceland, my Plush Coated German Shepherd is my fluffy shadow. Caleb and I traveled to Kentucky to pick up this little boy, and he has stolen my heart since day one.
3) I have fallen in love with Iceland over and over!
I’ve traveled to Iceland – not once, not twice, but THREE times! Iceland was a country I have always wanted to visit ever since I watched Mighty Ducks 2. Caleb and I went to Iceland for our honeymoon in August 2016, again in May 2017 for pleasure before wedding season really got insane, and then again in July 2017 to photograph an elopement.
4) I am married.
I honestly never thought I would get married, but here I am, one year and counting, as Mrs. Lenhof. Caleb and I got married in my favorite place in the world, Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia, on July 29, 2016.
5) I am an 1888 homeowner.
I’ve always loved Victorian homes. I’m also a huge fan of modern-Scandinavian interiors. Caleb and I purchased a newly remodeled Victorian in April of 2016; it is everything I ever dreamed of. We have been making small improvements since we moved in: fenced-in yard, tile in the sunporch/mudroom, built a garage, and have been slowly furnishing each room.
6) I am putting my college degree to use!
I went to school for Journalism & Graphic Design, and I can happily say I use my journalism degree because I am frequently writing creatively for my blogs. I also am using my Graphic Design degree because not only did I design the Studio 29 logo, marketing materials, and website, but I also have done design work for other companies. Most recently, the biggest project I did was the logo design for Dimoda Pizza in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When we walked into the restaurant for the first time, I was in complete AWE. Everything I designed transferred over beautifully on their signage, menus, attire, pint glasses, and even an entry rug! I am so proud of all my hard work!
7) I have been published many times.
It’s incredible how quickly my work spread to others, and It’s honestly an unexplainable feeling to see your work being displayed somewhere other than my own computer. Martha Stewart Weddings and Green Wedding Shoes are the most exciting outlets to showcase my work. These two publications, for me, are the highest pedal stools for wedding photography. I had a heavy dream of seeing my work on their website/magazines, and when it came to life, I was speechless.
8) I have my own warehouse photography studio space!
I’ve always dedicated an area wherever I lived specifically for photography, but just a few weeks ago, I signed a lease on the prettiest studio space ever! 1000sq feet of matte white walls, glossy black floors, and huge windows covering the North and East facing walls. Caleb and I are still purchasing the furniture and decor for the studio space, but stay tuned, I will do a Studio Space Reveal blog entry in the near future. When I signed the lease on my space I felt so much excitement and all the “I’ve Made It€ feels.
9) I am a teacher.
I’ve taken many online courses and read so many books about growing a business, marketing, and efficient workflow for digital photography, but honestly, the best way to learn is through experience and billions of hours of practice. Since I have photographed over 200 weddings, I can proudly say I have had my fair share of practice and experiences. This past Spring, my friend Autumn and I started a photography school called: Girls Gone Transparent. We held three events, and they were all wildly successful.
I am so happy to teach others about something I am so passionate about and even more thankful to all those who are happy to learn from us. Along with the GGT events, I have had the opportunity to mentor several photographers. I am proud of myself for being strong enough to stand in front of others and share my story as a forever-growing photographer.
As an introvert, standing in front of a group of students is not the easiest task, but I did it; I will continue to do it each time I get better and better. Next year, I will be speaking at the Rad Photographer’s retreat about social media presence, marketing, and getting your work published.
10) I have grown mentally.
Over the past few years, I really tried to tackle pieces of my personality that I thought could use some improvement. Self-confidence, being less anxious around groups of people & new situations, traveling solo, not sweating the small stuff, and accepting that although I can’t control people’s actions, I can control how it affects me.
I’ve worked hard to strip my life of negativity and those who pull me down instead of push me up. I’m still working on my life-work balance, but I still struggle immensely because when I am stressed, the best cure is to take photos, which means taking on more sessions, which means more time away from home, family, and friends. Obviously, self-improvement takes time, and I am dedicating myself to making small changes every day to continue this process.
11) I am still an ice hockey goalie.
I’ve been playing since I was a teenager and still love it! I started playing Ice Hockey when I moved to Wisconsin from Maryland when I was 13. I play in a men’s league in Cedarburg and love every second of it!
12) I met one of my favorite musicians.
Caleb and I have seen Spoon in concert twice, and both shows were incredible! For the first show, we were in the 4th row! After the show, when we were retrieving our bicycles to ride home, we saw the tour bus pull up. Seconds later, the entire band walked out of the venue, and I got a photo taken with my idol Brett Daniel, and he even signed my bicycle helmet! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!