Friday, February 27, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 3

Tuesday. How was Tuesday? Well, just as exciting as the first two days. Since this was my very first WPPI experience, most of my time was just spent absorbing everything, quite possibly through osmosis.

Tuesday morning, I somehow crawled out of bed, got ready, and looked mostly presentable for my photo shoot with Jeffrey Neal of JNP Studios. Jeff had put an announcement on the [b] school calling for anyone who was interested in doing a photo shoot. The first five to contact him would get some shooting time. Well, apparently I've got the trigger finger, and was the first to reply! I had a blast with Jeffrey, even bright and early after the [b] party!

Here's a little sneak peek Jeff sent to me:

JNP Studios Shoot

JNP Studios Shoot

JNP Studios Shoot

Afterwards, I volunteered to help at the Shootsac booth. Now I had only seen a Shootsac online until going to WPPI, where I had the full run down on the Shootsac and the brand new HipSlip. I met tons of photographers and answered their questions about the HipSlip. Who knew?! It also helped that I was standing right across from Keats Elliot the entire time, so in the event that I blanked on part of the spiel, I just had to listen to her, and I was covered.

Let me just say that while WPPI felt like going to school, it was ten times more fun and my day job just doesn't compare. While I had already heard Dane Sanders give his presentation "Photographer by Design" on his recent stop at the San Francisco PUG meeting, I wanted to see him present again. Dane is just the most genuine person who is truly interested in advancing the businesses of others. Well, Dane rocked it! He rocked it so hard that he was asked to give his talk again the next day! Dane also signed my copy of his book (I had forgotten to bring it with me in SF!).

Tuesday afternoon, my friend Elana had to take off. She had to return to reality. After a quick goodbye (I saw her later that weekend), I traipsed back up to the room to get some rest before the next party. While I'm definitely not the party animal anymore, I saw parties in Vegas as opportunities to meet new people. I've made so many "virtual" friends through the [b] school, OSP, Facebook, and Twitter, that it was great meeting these friends in person. Better!

Tuesday evening I ventured out to the Bellagio hotel for the Photo Lovecat Giveaway Gala. I hadn't had the chance to connect with anyone else who was headed that way, so I took a cab by myself. Actually not as bad as I thought. In the lobby I met two other photographers who looked a little lost, so I took a chance and asked if they were headed to the party. Yes! So we looked lost together until we found Caramel.

There I met Lara Casey, the FABULOUS Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings Magazine! I recently won second place in their Flippin for a Flip contest. It was great meeting her in person, finally!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Lara Casey

I met some cool Houston photographers including Akil Bennett and Joe Cogliandro. I also met Christine Tremoulet who I initially "met" through Twitter and connected over the awesome Justin Timberlake and Beyonce Single Ladies parody from SNL! If you haven't seen it, again, your life is incomplete. It STILL cracks me up!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Lara Casey, Christine Tremoulet

I met international photographer John Mateos Ong, all the way from the Philippines. We played "Rock, Paper, Scissors" aka Roshambo for one of the giveaways, and John ended up winning the prize! He went all the way! I ran into Ed and Monica Pingol from Vallejo, Bay Area represent!

Las Vegas - WPPI - Ed & Monica Pingol

I hung out with my San Diego Facebook and Twitter friends Melissa McClure, Jamie Lawler, and Charise Proctor. They are so fun! I ended up sharing a cab with them back to the MGM. However, they were staying at the Signature, and I was in the main hotel, so after we got out of the taxi, I had to hike back to the room. It wasn't that bad though!

Las Vegas - WPPI Melissa McClure & Jamie Lawler

Part 4 up next!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 2

Monday. Oh Monday.

I've come up with a couple of analogies for WPPI. #1, WPPI is like camp, with photographers as the campers, separated after a long season of shooting weddings, portraits, commercial, etc, and reunited during a week of nonstop fun. #2, the tradeshow is like the candy store, with some very, very, very expensive goodies.

Monday morning, I started out bright and early, dragging myself out of be at the early hour of 6:45, trying to get myself to look mostly presentable for David Jay and Ron Dawson's talk about video. I hustled out of the hotel room thinking I could stop by Starbucks for a "quick" bite and drink. Well, after the 1/3 mile trek through the casino, I quickly noticed that the line was like 5 miles long itself. So no coffee. Instead, pure adrenaline.

I found Studio B, which was luckily not all the way down the escalator, through the tunnel, and up the escalator, but merely a brisk walk past Starbucks. I checked my phone (aka my version of a watch) and noticed it was 8:02. Crap. I'm late. I crack open the door, phew, they haven't started. At first I take a seat towards the back of the room. But then I remembered some photographer somewhere online had suggested sitting towards the front of the room. So before the program started, I made my way through the labyrinth of chairs and plopped down.

Then I saw a very familiar back of a head. A "Star" couple, if you catch my drift. Yep, Jasmine Star and JD! Jasmine Star introduced DJ before the presentation began. I always enjoy listening to DJ ever since first seeing him at the Free to Succeed Tour last summer. He's sincere and honest and all around likeable guy. He talked about the benefits of using video in your marketing and leverage several really good points on how video can free up your time.

Ron Dawson presented practical tips for implementing video, qualities of a good promo video, suggesting and Vimeo for hosting, and using Facebook to do some free marketing for you! After the presentation, I went to meet Ron. I was honored to win a free Triple Scoop Music song from The Longest Day series. And if you don't know about F-Stop Beyond: The Experience, check it out now! Be inspired! He's recently relocated to Atlanta by way of the Silicon Valley and is launching his new business: Dare Dreamer Media, although you may just know him as the video guru extradordinaire!

Las Vegas - WPPI - Ron Dawson

After having a rushed brunch with my lovely friend Elana, (who was a major trooper, coming along for the Vegas ride), I hurried over to the Showit Suite up at the MGM Signature, which is another 5 mile hike. I ended up going up the wrong tower and looking totally confused. Luckily, I spotted some familiar WPPI badges and asked for directions. Finally finding the correct tower, Jason of the Showit Team, escorted me up to the correct suite.

It was so great meeting the Showit Team. I was able to see just how much they care about their customers' satisfaction as they do their product. They are constantly working on making it better, and it's by far the most intuitive and easiest website building program I've ever seen. And you can change it in just a few clicks. So awesome! We discussed the Showit Sites product, what we like, don't like, what we'd like to see, and it was so refreshing to see genuine interest in the customer's perspective. Thanks guys!

Las Vegas - WPPI - David Jay

JD is also a part of the Showit Team!
Las Vegas - WPPI - JD

Finally, I hit up the tradeshow. Talk about ginormous. Huge. Larger than life. The only trade show that I have been to is one for work...for Statistics. Not nearly as exciting as this Trade Show. This is the place to see and feel all the products you'd ever be interested in using. I don't think three days is enough to check everything out!

While on the tradeshow floor, Scarlett Lillian said "Hi!" to me, she beat me to the punch. Reason #1 to put a picture of yourself on the online forums and website and blogs and social media. Scarlett is a fabulous photographer out of Jacksonville, Florida. Look we match!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Scarlett Lillian

So when I said the Trade Show was huge, I wasn't kidding. It was held in TWO large ballrooms. TWO. I guess it's probably better that way in some respects. Imagine 8,000 to 10,000 people in one ballroom. Insanity. Two ballrooms gives a little more wiggle room. Well, while I was on the way to the other ballroom where the Canon and Nikon booths were, I ran into Jasmine* and I had to get a photo! With the prior night's swift run-in, I knew I couldn't leave Vegas without a little documentation!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Jasmine Star

For dinner, I met up with Araxi, Nicky of eight20, and Jen Berry at Sushi Roku at Caesar's. Later that night was the [b] party! And it was held at the Real World Las Vegas Suite at the Palms. I remember watching that season the Real World while in college, and I think that was the season where they really started to extra friendly with each other...if you know what I mean. Anyway, the party was a hit! Some [b] schoolers volunteered to take candid photos as well as work it in the Photobooth in one of the rooms. I met Jack Ratana, Chris & Allie Bartelski, Mike & Julie Colon, Cathy & David Bock, and many other [b] school friends! I snapped this pic of Becker with his crunk cup that Gene Higa bedazzled himself!
Las Vegas - WPPI - Becker & crunk cup

Last but not least, I got a quick shot with my San Francisco based photography heroes, Ann Hamilton, who specializes in fabulous dog portraits, and Gene Higa, who has has traveled the world shooting destination weddings.
Las Vegas - WPPI - Gene Higa & Ann Hamilton

I didn't stay out too late because I had a shoot with Jeffrey of JNP Studios the next morning!

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's my birthday and I'll eat cake if I want to.

First of all, social networking has totally revolutionized the birthday experience, if you put in your real birthday of course. I've never seen such an amazing outpouring of texts, tweets, and wall posts. Let me just take a second to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!

While I had to go to work today, thanks to the power of social networking, I was granted the afternoon off. How's that? Well, my manager's wife used to work at the same company and we are now friends on Facebook. She left me a wall post wishing me a "Happy Birthday" and hoping that I would have a great day and get to leave early. So I wrote her back, saying "Thanks!" and jokingly asked her to suggest to her other half of letting me leave early. I was totally kidding. Next thing I know, my wish is granted. Crazy, huh? What a great birthday gift from work!

In my usual fashion, I will be celebrating my birthday for not just one day or one week for that matter, but four weeks! Celebration number one was kicked off this past Friday with a little family gathering. We usually have "Family Night" where we get together every Friday and eat and chat and watch movies. Unfortunately half the family didn't make it due to illness. Never fear, we're going to have a re-do celebration this coming Friday! But my parents still bought me some Red Velvet Ice Cream Cake. If you don't know what Red Velvet cake is, your life is incomplete.

Don't mind me, I'm in my "Friday work-from-home-don't-have-to-look-cute" mode. Ha.
Fam night

Fam night

After (don't worry I finished it!):
Fam night

Saturday I had a fabulous dinner at Garcon in the Mission district of San Francisco. Truly French. But not stuffy as the moniker "French restaurant" suggests. Delicious food. If you are in the city and looking for a cozy French restaurant without any air of pretention, definitely hit up Garcon. We had a leisurely dinner and stayed until they were almost ready to kick us out...just kidding. You may have seen some of these faces on the blog before.

Birthday Dinner at Garcon

Birthday Dinner at Garcon

Birthday Dinner at Garcon

WPPI Recap resumes tomorrow! Thanks everyone for making my 26th birthday such a fun day!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

WPPI: The Experience Part 1

Oh man. I don't know that I've ever been this exhausted in my life. EVER. But it's the good kind of tired. My headed is totally swimming with information, vendor overload, and walking. A LOT of walking.

I think the coolest part of this experience has been meeting so many people. And the trippiest thing has been people recognizing me. ME. Like, "Who am I to get recognized?!" It's cool, but weird, but fun, but still tripping me out.

Sunday, Elana and I arrived at MGM and were ready to hang out Vegas style. We went to pick up my badge and it was like hiking three miles to the registration desk. We hit up the Margarita bar and indulged in $11 mango margaritas!

Las Vegas - WPPI

Las Vegas - WPPI

Then we tried to go to a party. A photographer party. In Vegas. What an experience.

We weren't sure how we were going to get there, so we got gussied up and went down to the taxi stand. On our way, we ran into Kenny Kim, who happened to be going to the same party with another group of people. I figured we might just share a couple of cabs, until Bob Davis swept through and led the pack towards a limo. An Expedition-size limo. So we followed. We figured the worse that could happen is that we'd be turned away. I had a game plan with the intention of saying I was with Kenny's group. Well, next thing we knew, we were boarding the limo. No way. True story.

Las Vegas - WPPI - the expedition limo!

We arrived at the GoBee Bag/Photography Mentor suite that was rented out in the Luxor and it was surreal. I remember thinking to myself, ready to pinch my arm, "Am I really here, doing this?" I am living out all the things that I thought I might do while in Vegas. There were a TON of people there. It reminded me of a college party. It was hot, sweaty, and loud. I recognized some faces as we tried to slither through the crowd towards the photobooth and danceroom.

While I would have liked to hang around for a little while longer, it was just too much. So instead, we headed down to the lobby to hang out with my UCSD homies, Daniel and Vaness Galang! Plus I met Jasmine Marie and her hubby, Adam.

Las Vegas - WPPI - Daniel & Vaness
Daniel and Vaness, cute as always!

While we were just chatting in the hallway, out strolls Jasmine Star and hubby JD. And she recognizes me by name, says "Hi, Catie!" and gives ME a hug! Holy moly. I'm Star Struck. Cliche? Sure. Do I mind? Heck no! It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling as she's one of my biggest photography inspirations. Definitely check out her blog, it'll change your life.

After parting ways with Daniel and Vaness and Jasmine and Adam, Elana and I ventured back to the MGM. We decided to walk. It wasn't that cold or that far, especially by Vegas standards. What a fun night!

Las Vegas - WPPI

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You, too, can survive without the Internet.

For the last five days I have been Internet-deprived. And I'm here to say that I survived! It's so funny to think about what life would be like without the Internet, now that the world is dependent on it for business, communication, and LIFE. I didn't think I could imagine it until I fully experienced it.

I've been hanging out in the desert since Sunday, also know as Las Vegas for the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International convention (WPPI), without my good friend, the Internet. Now you may be asking, "Wasn't there internet at the hotel?" My response would be, "Why, yes, there was, but I'm also thrifty to the core and $15 for internet was not worth my hard-earned pennies." And while there was a FREE Wifi Lounge in the Trade Show sponsored by The Bui Brothers and FastTrack Photographer, I hardly had a spare moment to kick back in those incredibly comfy looking LoveSacs. Alas, I soldiered on.

My once chance encounter with the Internet was through an iPhone, which only further solidified the argument of why I should get one. Tuesday morning I had a photo shoot scheduled with Jeffrey Neal of JNP Studios from Orange County. I realized that I had not jotted down his phone number. It was trapped in my email, and checking email requires an Internet connection of some sort.

What did I do?

The MacGuyver in me took over. I had met for coffee with the lovely Kim of It's Just Kim Photography as well as her sister in law Shawna of StyleBerry Home and Emily Griffith of One Lime Photo from Minnesota. We were chatting away, and then it occurred to me that I could just borrow someone's iPhone to check my email. I had exhausted other options of trying to use Elana's LG Dare and calling Cent (all the way in Dallas) to check my email. Yeah, well I couldn't even remember Jeffrey's studio name. Ha! So then, in an act of mild desperation, I asked Emily to borrow her iPhone. She so kindly agreed, and I'm seriously indebted!

Then I also realized that this has been my LONGEST hiatus from Facebook. Yeah, I come from that generation of needing (almost obsessively) to check on what's new. It's kind of crazy. And as I sit here at the McCarran Airport, I'm holding out. I'm going to wait until I get back to the Bay Area. This is taking some serious self control people!

Well, I'm pooped. I'm tapped out. But I'm bursting with inspiration and great ideas for my business! A full recap on my week in Vegas for WPPI is coming up. Be on the look out for a fun night shoot and some familiar faces of the photography industry!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

In about 12 hours I will be headed out to Sin City! I'm hoping that I can keep my spending in check (I'm pretty thrifty so that shouldn't be a problem) and catch myself before drooling over products. What am I talking about? WPPI! Wedding and Portrait Photographers International - THE convention for photographers.

I'm so excited that everything worked out in such a way that I could get the time off and have the funds to go! I'm so stoked to meet all the cool photographers I've had the pleasure of "meeting" and friending online through blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Oh the power of the internet and Web 2.0! I'm looking forward to the speakers and no doubt the parties!

Hopefully, if my internet connection is steady, I will be blogging my experience. I know there will be a FREE wifi lounge courtesy of Dane Sanders' Fast Track Photographer, WPPI, and the Bui Brothers, over at booth #1375!

Ok. It is really 2:11am. I need to get some sleep!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mini [b] school get together!

He hails all the way from Japan. He won a spot in Scarlett Lillian's Nighttime PhotoShoot. He's all over the [b] school. Yeah, I think you might know who I'm talking about...

Last night I received a cryptic phone call with a number that started with a "+" sign. Now I remember from my time in France that international phone calls come in with the plus sign. I was driving at the time, so I couldn't pick up the phone. My phone rang again, and I asked my mom to answer it. We were driving back from super yummy cake tasting, by the way. It seemed as though it was hard to hear. I'm sure the person on the other side was probably confused that the lady saying "WHO?" and "WHAT?" and "B SCHOOL?"

Well I knew it was someone from the [b] school, but who?

I thought and thought. Someone from Canada? No. Someone from France? Nope. Someone from Australia? Nah.

Then it clicked. It was Riz! Riz Crescini, "the guy from Japan"! So I called back the number that called me, little did I know that I was calling direct to Japan. But Riz, being the super considerate guy that he is offered to call me back with his lower rate service. (Thanks Riz!) Who knows what a 35 second call to Japan on a cell phone will cost, hahaha.

Well tonight I had a delightful dinner with Riz and his sister at a nice little Malaysian restaurant, Langkawi, in San Mateo. Riz is in the area visiting his sister and family before jet setting to Vegas! It was great chatting, speaking in "photog", and of course eating! I love Roti Prata with curry sauce! And I had some yummy Mango Chicken. Let me just say, that for someone who flew in this morning from Japan, Riz showed no signs of jet lag (at least not yet!).

Riz, it was a pleasure meeting you and your sister. I'm bummed we didn't get a photo together, but I sure we can fix that when we get to VEGAS! If you're going to Vegas, you can find Riz at the Neon Graveyard, Scarlett Lillian's Nighttime Photoshoot, and the [b] party!

Sunday kicks off the largest wedding and portrait photographer convention, also known as WPPI! I'm going to WPPI and I'm so darn excited, I don't think I can contain it. Just under three days until I'm there! If you are going too, I'd love to meet up! You can follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook. See you in the City that Never Sleeps (that just might be me...)

And since I don't have a picture with Riz, check out his awesome entry into Scarlett Lillian's contest:
Scarlett in Vegas

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Boot Camp for the Business

If you've been following my blog the past few weeks, you may have seen that I took a 4-week Boot Camp style fitness class. It seriously kicks your butt into shape!

Well, in the midst of all that, I spent the last weekend in January getting my booty kicked in another way. I also attended a Boot Camp for my business: Liana Lehman's Photo Biz Boot Camp. Wow! Let me tell you, her intensive course is quite the eye-opener for anyone thinking of starting a small business. It is not for the faint of heart. I learned so much over the few days we had together that my head was literally spinning at the end of it. I highly recommend Liana's Boot Camp! It's really great to see where you are and where you want to be.

While attending Boot Camp, I had the pleasure of meeting seven other awesome photographers in the Bay Area and Sacramento areas. It's so awesome to meet local folks and to make new photographer friends! At the end of the grueling crash course in business, finance, accounting, marketing, branding and merchandising, we had a little photo shoot.

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Jennifer of the Memory Journalists. Jennifer runs her own IT firm in addition to running her photography business in the Sacramento area.

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Dawn of Alba Fiore. Dawn is a photographer rocking it out of the Sacramento area.

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Tiffany of Adeline and Grace Photography. Tiffany was our awesome hostess who made sure we remembered to eat! She has a lovely studio in Benicia where she meets with clients and shoots her intimates.

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Terra of Terra Tabbytosavit Photography. Terra is a photographer from the peninsula, finding out that she can do what she loves for a living!

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Susanna Frohman is just getting into the business after some fantastic adventures as a photojournalist.

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Dia of Dia Rao Photography. Dia is based in San Francisco, but also does destination weddings in Santa Barbara and beyond.

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Our fearless leader and awesome instructor, Liana Lehman. I hope you have a fabulous wedding and honeymoon!

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
Laura of Laura Meyer Photography. Laura flew all the way from Chicago to spend a few days with us! If you're in the Chicago area and looking for a photographer, definitely look her up!

Photo Biz Boot Camp Photoshoot
And here's one of me that I totally fell in love with. I'm not 100% sure who took this, so ladies, if this is yours, please do claim it! Love the flare!

It was a tiring couple of days - no doubt - but totally worth the time and effort. I feel like I can apply some of the principles I learned to other parts of my life too! If there's one thing that I learned that's important, it's to make goals and put them somewhere where you can review them, OFTEN. Writing goals and never doing anything about them is just a theoretical to-do list. Making a to-do list with deadlines and reasons are goals...

Make your goals and chase 'em!

If you're interested in kicking your business into shape or getting great guidance before starting your business, definitely check out Liana Lehman's workshop here:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thank you family, friends, and blogosphere!

If you are socially networked to me, you may have noticed that all last week I was campaigning through emails, Facebook notes, and Twitter updates. I entered the Southern Weddings Magazine "Flipping for a Flip" contest. I was one of the finalists! You can see my photo in the blog spread here. Well, folks, the results are in...

I'm pretty sure that the winning margin was REALLY slim. How would I know? Well, leading up until the final push, I took the time to count votes. Yes, I was that girl. A little obsessive-compulsive? Perhaps, but you know what? I got second place through my grass roots campaigning efforts. And while I won't lie and say that I'm not a little disappointed I didn't win the Flip, I'm still super excited that I won anything at all! Thanks to the land of Web 2.0, it was really easy! I don't think I've ever campaigned that hard. Not when I ran for Treasurer in 7th grade (and lost) or for Student Body President in 8th grade (and won!). What can I say, I wanted to win! And I did!

And I truly, madly, deeply have to thank all of you in the Web 2.0 World for your votes and support! I couldn't have done it without you all. And thanks for bearing with me throughout my little campaign! Most of all, I have to thank my super awesome sister, Stephanie, for rallying some friends, going to the library at Cal Poly and voting on all the open computers. You rock! As a BIG thanks to her, I'm sharing my prize of $25 iTunes card with her. I mean, she does DESERVE it for her efforts!

It's crazy to me that I could gather support from total strangers and online friends who I have yet to meet! (Although I will be meeting a lot of you soon! Yay WPPI!) It just shows me that the world isn't that huge as we are all intertwined thanks to this little thing called the Internet.

OOOH Announcement: I now am hosting my own blog! I know, it still looks the same, but it has a new home with my very own domain name: The website is brewing! Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I suck at running.

So I just completed a 4-week Boot Camp with the fabulous ladies at Alavie Fitness. Let me just say they kicked my booty! They don't call it "Boot Camp" for nothing.

Four weeks ago, I signed myself up for a 6:30am class. When I arrived for my first day of class, it was dark. And cold. And dark. I thought to myself, "What the heck have I gotten myself into?" My butt got kicked. Seriously. Totally. Ubiquitously. I sweat, a lot. At the end of the workout my head was steaming, literally. But it was worth it. I felt energized. It's counter-intuitive...but go with it.

Basically, I'm just glad I survived all four weeks. We did a ton of drills, little hurdles, circuits, weights, and...RUNNING. I suck at running. I have and I'm pretty sure I always will. Ok, so I think I suck a little less now, but still. Running will never be something I do for fun. I'm so glad I didn't pass out while running! Because I totally felt like I was going to. Serious props to all you runners out there. I bow down to your talent in running. I blame it on my short legs. Long torso + short legs = not built for running. Alright, enough excuses. We did a fit test at the beginning and I had to run the mile, like in high school. After four weeks, I improved my time by 1:10! I was just wishing for like 10 seconds, so I was stoked with 1 minute and 10 seconds!

What's kind of sad is that today was my last day and the workout felt harder than all the other days! But I'm thinking that it was probably due to the fact that I've been having a gnarly allergy flair up due to the change in weather and early blooming season. Seriously, these sinus headaches and post-nasal drip action are super annoying.

However, I do feel like my endurance has improved. I can do REAL push ups now! I thought that I couldn't (well I think that's because I was just lazy), but when you are surrounded by other women - some at the same level as me, some older in age, some at an amazing fitness level - I feel like I'm pushed by the little voice in my head that keeps saying, "Don't let that old lady show you up!" Oh, did I mention that the little voice is super competitive? Again, I bow down to all the ladies in my class who kicked my butt consistently over the last four weeks, running in much better form than I. But I can do real push ups, improved the plank, and I realized that I can run.

Probably the most humbling experience during the past four weeks has been the realization that I CAN run. I don't love it. I'm not good at it. But I have the ability to do so. I'm thankful that I can run, I'm in good health, surrounded by family and friends, blessed to have a wonderful fiance, and the perspective to acknowledge those gifts. I'm forever grateful.

So to anyone who's wondering...YES, I definitely recommend doing a boot camp. YES, it's hard, but you'd be amazed at how much you can accomplish. YES, I am sore (still currently am). YES, I really woke up at 5am 3 days a week for a 6:30am workout. YES, I would do it again.

I probably will as the wedding approaches t-minus 3 months. That means April.