Season - My Word for 2018

2018 Family Headshots-101.jpg

It’s 2019 and my word of the year is Pursue. And that scares me a bit, because my 2018 word of the year ended up meaning a lot more than I intended when the year started out with confetti poppers and fresh powersheets goals. Now that 2018 is in the past, I wanted to share all of that with you.

I chose the word 'Season’ for 2018 for a couple of reasons. I wanted to say yes to the things that were right for us right now and give myself permission to change as soon as something stopped working for us. I wanted to think short term and focus on one step at a time instead of putting pressure on myself to think long term. As a mom to a 1 year old, I’d figured out that Darcy’s schedule would change every 3-4 months and all of a sudden what had been working for us would stop working. We’d have to throw our entire routine out the window and piece by piece, create a new schedule that would work for us in this new season. Type A Caitlin likes a good routine, so I chose the word Season to encourage me to embrace these changes and be flexible until we found a new rhythm.

Those are the seasons that I expected for 2018. But we experienced some BIG unexpected seasons throughout the year.

Ryan’s job - Ryan moved to work for another business under the same company umbrella early in the year. Then in the summer, his roll changed again. And in December, he accepted a job with another company in the business intelligence field. None of these changes were expected, and each was an exciting new opportunity.

Our house - We always knew the little yellow house wasn’t our forever home, but we weren’t growing out of it yet. At first we just wanted to finish up our projects and figure out what we’d be looking for in our next house. Then we started looking at houses, and we were surprised that what we were looking for was actually in our price range. So we decided to put our little yellow house on the market. And it sold immediately. It was so clear that God wanted us to move. But as we shared last year, every step after that one was very unclear. The house BUYING process was really hard and filled with a lot of second-guessing and back tracking. God gave us winter before the spring in a very real way. There were so many moments that one of us wanted to walk away from the short sale. It often felt like the wrong decision, and we had no idea if we’d ever receive an answer. Finally unlocking the door to our new home was a moment of such relief and joy.

Throughout 2018, we were continually shifting from one season to another in our home, in our work, with Darcy, and with the actual seasons. We grew and adjusted, and at the end of the year, we were so grateful for each of those seasons and where they brought us. So when God put the word Pursue on my heart for this year, I really wanted to pick something else. Pursue sounds so active… so exhausting…. But I am also excited to see how much GROWTH will come from a word like Pursue. Let’s do this, 2019!

2016 Goals: Second Quarter

It's hard to believe that half of the year is already over! In January, I shared four goals for the year and then at the end of March, I shared what I accomplished in the first quarter. And now it's time for quarter #2!

Build Our Team
Announced Ryan as a more visible part of the CGP team 
Photographed numerous engagement sessions and the first four weddings of the year

Shine Bright
Joined a new networking group
Had another session with our business mentors
Updated the website

Choose Adventure
Got pregnant! (Technically this happened in the first quarter, but I didn't put it on the last list because it was still a secret.)
Had our anniversary session
Went on an early babymoon to Charleston

Live Well
Started our CSA basket weekly pickup and the veggie overload!
Got back to the gym as soon as morning sickness was gone
Booked our newborn photographer

I didn't do as good of a job this quarter keeping track of my quarter-long to do list and the things I accomplished, so I'm sure I missed a bunch of things!

2016 Goals: First Quarter

In January, I shared my four goals for the year and promised I'd be back at the end of the first quarter to share what I'd accomplished.

Build Our Team
Hired an editor
Photographed the Crystal Clear Event with Ryan
Read three business books - Tribes, Take the Stairs, & Quitter
Booked four 2016 weddings (And I only have room for 2 more!)

Shine Bright
Launched the behind the scenes video
Finished and ordered the CGP wedding guide (I'll be sharing this soon!)
Ordered new notecards and packaging
Introduced branding photography
Started and scheduled two new blog series

Choose Adventure
Tried out a new restaurant (We're not the most adventurous eaters.)
Planned our anniversary session
Adopted a cat (Not something originally on my goals list, but we're so happy we did it!)
(I know these things might not sound that adventurous, but tax season is the time of year we scale back the most and spend most of our time at home, so I think we did a pretty good job.)

Live Well
Refinanced our house
Read 10 books and listened to 6 audio books - a mix of novels and biographies
Started making homemade bread again

On the to do list this week... making my goals list for April to June!


Goals for 2016

I love goal setting. A little too much, actually. Last year, I had 17 personal and business goals. And while I did accomplish quite a few of those things, the goals list and goal tracking itself was a pretty miserable failure. It turns out that I just can't keep track of that many goals! My two words for the year, Rooted (business) and Simplicity (personal), were probably more of the reason I was able to accomplish so much during the year, because I almost never even looked over my goals list.

 And that is why this year I only have 4 goals. Each goal (two business, two personal) says something about the feeling that I want for the year and encompasses a lot of specific things that I want to accomplish. 

So in spite of the fact that I haven't been able to blog my goals and progress consistently over the past two years, I'm trying again! This year I'll be posting once a quarter and sharing some of the things I accomplished for each goal over the last three months.

2016 Goals:

Build Our Team

Last year, my business efforts were all about being ROOTED and building a solid foundation. And this year, it's time to build on that foundation. CGP is growing this year into a team effort! I will be sharing much more on this in the next few months, but I'm excited to announce that Ryan will be taking on more with CGP and we'll be adding an editor to our team as well!

Shine Bright

I never want my clients to feel like they're getting ordinary wedding photos. Instead, I want to serve my clients well and give them an amazing wedding experience! I want my business to be like a little lighthouse to the couples that would be the best fit for me, so I can give them the wedding photos they will treasure for the rest of their lives!

Choose Adventure

Ryan and I are homebodies at heart! We love to travel and explore on vacation, but we're not very good at exploring the rest of the year! This goal is all about trying new things and finding adventure and new experiences here in Hampton Roads and wherever else we go this year!

Live Well

I want to take care of my health, my home, and my creative heart this year. Every year I try to take new and additional steps towards a healthier lifestyle. I've learned that biting off one small thing at a time leads to permanent life change for me, and I know that at the end of the year, I'll be able to look back and see good growth in this area! Ryan and I also want to keep our schedule (and lives) balanced through what is shaping up to be my busiest wedding season yet. We have a handful of projects for our home on the list, and I also want to make more time for reading, something I haven't done much over the last few years.

What about you? Do you prefer a long list of goals, a short list, or a theme word?

My 2016 Wedding Wish List

I love making goals and daydreaming about the future. Ryan and I have been doing that a lot lately. It's been amazing to see how many goals and wish list items I've been able to cross off this year! (A session in the snow, attending a 2nd photography workshop and a photography conference, planning a styled shoot that matches my style perfectly, a Norfolk Botanical Gardens wedding, a Portsmouth Women's Club wedding, and a Williamsburg Winery wedding coming up!) My business has grown so much over the past few years, and we can't wait to see what 2016 brings! Here's my wedding wish list for next year:

- Photograph a proposal

- Photograph a maternity session for a past CGP bride

- A wedding with modern geometric stationary and decor

- A Hayley Paige dress

- A wedding with vintage furniture rentals from Paisley & Jade

- A garden wedding with ranunculus

- A bride with a mantilla veil

- A black tie engagement session at CNU or downtown Norfolk

- A wedding outside of Hampton Roads. A Charlottesville winery wedding? A wedding at Big Spring Farm in Lexington? Another wedding at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond? The Inn at Warner Hall in Gloucester? They all sound perfect to me!

And there are a few Hampton Roads wedding venues I'd love to work at next year: 

- The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk

- A Renaissance Court ceremony and tented reception at the Norfolk Botanical Garden

- The Water Table in Rudee Inlet with a ceremony on the lawn

- A reception at MOCA in their beautiful atrium


So needless to say... if you're a bride wanting one or more of the things on this list and you're getting married next year... I would LOVE to hear from you! Please email me here!

*Gorgeous florals above by Amanda Veronee from the AJ Workshop at Paisley and Jade. I'll be blogging this gorgeous shoot next week!

2015 Business Goals: Updated & Refreshed

I chose the word Rooted to focus on this year, because I wanted to grow strong and healthy roots in CGP. I knew it would be a slow and purposeful process. But like most people in the month of January, I bit off a bit more than I could chew.

I made 11 goals for the year. In January that didn't seem like too much. Each goal was important to me and was something I wanted to work on throughout the year. But I am not very good at big picture thinking. I'm a detail oriented person, so making yearly and even monthly goals isn't good enough for me. I need those goals to be broken into weekly tasks that I can work on.

And adding 11 weekly tasks to my already full to do list seemed a bit unmanageable. So after taking another look at my goals for 2015, I've decided to cut them down from 11 to 4. Each of my original goals is encapsulated in one of my 4 new goals.

To Balance Life & Work – I want to cut down on social media distractions and stop checking email outside of work hours. I want to take time out of my work day to spend with God, go to the gym, and break for lunch. I want to have 1 or 2 meaningful conversations with a friend every week. I want to take 1 day off per week. I want to make my office hours the most efficient I possibly can.

To Grow with Purpose – I want to make meaningful connections with others in the industry that will benefit both our businesses and our personal lives. I want to book more clients from referrals than SEO. I want hit 750 Facebook followers and 500 Instagram followers. I want to be featured on 3 new wedding blogs. I want to pray about my business and trust God to build it in His timing.

To Invest – I want to invest in my business through equipment purchases, a 2 day photography workshop, and software updates.

To Learn to Celebrate – I want to teach myself how to celebrate. To dwell on what I’ve accomplished. To praise the Lord for His goodness and wisdom in my business. To be grateful even for small growth!


These goals might seem less specific, but I think it will be easier to focus on them every week. Now I can look at my schedule each week and say, "How is my balance? How am I growing with purpose this week? How am I investing? How am I celebrating?"

I think with this more detailed focus, I'll be able to look back at the end of the year and see a lot of growth in my business! I'm excited to see what happens!