St. Jude Runs | Mason City to Peoria 2019

The Mason City team did it again! They raised $136,000 for the kids of St. Jude during the 2019 fundraising campaign for this year’s run. We started out at Illini Central High School and left the parking lot promptly at 5:45am. The team runs down the main stretch of Mason City with the first stop being at the cemetery at the other edge of town. We always place flowers at our team captain Jessie’s grave and say a few words and quick prayer. Jessie was a St. Jude patient who lost her battle with cancer in 2010. Jessie’s mom Nancy and brother Zach coordinate the run, and let me tell you, it is a huge undertaking! The Mason City run has become a well-oiled machine and this year’s run went so smoothly. Can’t wait for next year!

#jessiesteam #10yearsandrunning #mcstjuderun

Friday Fives | My Five Lenses

1) Nikon 50mm f1.4 prime — I probably use this lens most, and it’s the lens I took with me on vacation to Disney. It’s on my camera I’d say about 60% of a wedding day. It’s a great versatile lens that has that soft bokeh I love, it gets me close enough to the action for portraits, but I can also back up and get wider if needed (in most cases).


2) Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 zoom — This wider angle lens comes in more handy for my business and commercial shoots — real estate, fitting into tight spaces, food, overhead flatlays, landscapes, etc.


3) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 II zoom — This lens is my go-to for sports, wedding ceremonies, and sometimes portraits! I also have a teleconverter that I use on it for football that doubles my zoom (but I lose a few stops of light too so I can only use it outside when it’s bright and sunny).


4) Sigma 85mm f1.4 prime — This lens is a sweet portrait lens, but works best outside or in larger indoor spaces when I have room to get further away from my subject. The wide aperture gives me that beautiful bokeh and shallow depth of field that many photographers aim for, plus the compression of using a tighter crop. I love me some compression!! ;)


5) Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro — I use my macro lens for ring shots, and sometimes closeups of food. There is a rare instance when I’ll use it for other things and if say I have it on my camera for some ring photos and I need to snap a quick portrait or candid, it will still do the job. And even though it stops down to 2.8, typically I shoot rings at a higher aperture around 4-5.6 so that you can see the full depth of the diamond or gemstone. Since it’s macro, you still get that bokeh-y closeup feel, but closing down the aperture still gives me the depth I want.


So that’s it! I’ve had these lenses now for several years and am pretty happy with my arsenal. I don’t plan to change it unless I end up adding another lens or two for a tax write-off or just frivolity. :D If I were to add other lenses, my next choice would be a 35mm (maybe the Sigma art version?) and then possibly upgrade my 60mm macro to the Nikon 105mm (or an off-brand equivalent). With as little as I use the macro though, I don’t really see the need at this point!

Do you have any questions about any of the lenses or terminology I talked about in this post? Feel free to comment below to ask! I’m happy to answer questions about my equipment. Thanks for reading!

Why I chose Honeybook as my CRM

why I chose Honeybook as my CRM

Honeybook has made a huge impact on my business over the past couple of years! I had not previously used a customer relationship management tool, but had gone through all the “normal” channels — hard copies, scanned copies, pdfs, built-in forms on my website, etc. I always struggled with the problem of having a signed contract, but not having a way to connect it with invoicing directly as a retainer or deposit.

Enter Honeybook. I researched the platform for a while, and loved the idea of having everything in one place — securely — for my clients to inquire with me, book, and pay. There’s more to it than that too that I didn’t originally know about — task keepers, questionnaires, brochures, standalone invoices, calendars, a mobile app, and so much more.


Here’s what I love most though — the time I have gotten back. It used to take me an hour to compile all the paperwork and send to a couple when they book a wedding. Now I can send everything within 5 minutes, and have it booked and done. No longer am I having to make copies and figure up payment dates, and send separate invoices. It’s all there and (mostly) automatic.

honeybook project files list

So what’s the one thing that sets Honeybook apart from other CRMs? Full account setup. A little louder for the people in the back — FULL ACCOUNT SETUP! That means you send your contracts, questionnaires and brochures to the Honeybook Concierge, and they do all the initial legwork for you!! I think so many people avoid switching platforms for signing up in the first place because the idea of setting everything up is daunting, which makes HB a no-brainer. AND, if you are already set up on another platform, Honeybook will transfer your existing projects for you so you don’t have the dreaded time lapse and can carry on as normal without interruption.

package collection options to auto-populate in Honeybook

I really enjoy having all communication in one place too — if a client replies to me, I can reply through Honeybook (using the “activity” tab), or I can simply reply directly through my Gmail account, and Honeybook keeps everything together in one thread no matter how I reply. This makes is a cinch to go back and check emails from clients. And how does that initial activity thread get started? Usually it’s through the contact page on my website where I’ve installed Honeybook’s code.

payment schedules with auto-pay in Honeybook

Still unsure? That’s ok! Honeybook has a 60-day money back guarantee and no credit card required to do a trial. They also offer new member trainings, and there are people like me all over the country who are Honeybook Educators and happy to answer your questions. I’ve also offered in-person training meetings in the past, and would happy to do that again in the future with enough interest. To me, Honeybook is definitely worth the investment and has solved a lot of headaches for me. I hope that you’ll find it useful and will feel the same way! <3

Honeybook makes client questionnaires easy and fast

Photos of me in this post by my friend Kristin Darling! This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my business!