Archive for August, 2012

Dive In

August 29

When I first started my business years ago, someone once told me to pick one mountain and climb it. I struggled. I loved shooting weddings and I loved shooting families but they really are very different markets. I didn’t want to give up one or the other. I worried what others would think of me and whether or not I would be able to build a successful business shooting both. I made the decision early on to climb both mountains and it has been one of my greatest decisions yet under CSP.

Truthfully, photographing weddings and families both set my heart on fire so why should I give either of them up? One of my greatest blessings each day is waking up with my business every morning and slipping into bed at night knowing that I am 100% responsible for where it is today. There have been failures, lessons, successes, baby steps/huge leaps of faith to rejoice in and be thankful for and there are many more of each to come. What I’m most proud of is that I’ve paved my own way. I’ve made decisions for me.

Sometimes we lose sight of our ownership of our lives. This is your life. You make the decisions. You call the shots, you determine your fate and that is incredibly powerful. Let all of the amazing opportunity around you ignite your happiness.

Get out there.

Brick by Brick: Building Your Strength

August 27

It’s that time of year. If you had asked me last January when I ran my second marathon if I’d start training for my 3rd Disney marathon come September, I would have likely laughed and dismissed the idea. When Beth and I ran the Disney marathon this past January (her 3rd marathon and my 2nd), we thought we’d want to wait a few years to run another. We needed a break. As magical and wonderful as it is to run 26.2 miles through the happiest place on earth, you can’t escape the sheer intensity of running a marathon. Everything about marathons is intense – the training, the time commitment, the toll/s on your body, the physical and mental rewards. After running my second marathon in January and getting my dose of extreme fitness filled, I thought I’d be “good for a while”.

Then June happened. Running in the heat is hard enough and has a way of making this already slow runner feel totally beat and out of shape. I started to miss being able to get outside and run 6 miles without feeling like death by the end of the run. I missed the accountability of marathon training. Training for past marathons in many ways was like having another best friend in my life. We’d hang out several times a week and I’d leave feeling happier and more confident in myself. I missed pushing myself out of my comfort zone (only to grow leaps and bounds!) each week.

So without much coaxing or arm twisting on either end, Beth and I decided to register for the Disney 2013 marathon. I’ve never been more excited to train for a marathon with my sister than I am for this one. Beth’s fianc√© is being deployed in early September for 9 months and this training will be such a blessing for us while he is away. I look forward to being there for my sister during this time in her life and vice versa. There is always so much personal growth when you train for something as extreme as a marathon and I’m sure this time will be no different.

Now begins our training. Gulp!¬†I’ve decided to one up my training this year by adding in 2 visits with a personal trainer each week leading up to the marathon in January. I’ve only had 2 sessions with him thus far and they have been incredibly eye opening. Hello weak arms!¬†: ) Brick by brick, long runs, short runs and many sessions with my trainer over the coming months- I look forward to building my strength and endurance. My ultimate goal is to run the marathon in under 5 hours. A few thoughts to help see this goal come to fruition (and great life reminders to boot):

Stop caring what others think of you. Just stop. ¬†If I thought for one second about how ridiculous I look doing burpees in front of my trainer, I’d never go. WHO CARES! What matters is that I’m showing I’m committed to being better.

Be specific with your goals. Without goals, it will take you a lot longer to get where you’re going. ¬†Be specific. Write our your goals and hold yourself accountable.

You are not Person A or Person B- you are YOU! (And that’s the way it should be!) Don’t compare yourself. Compete with yourself.

Be patient. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This one is especially hard for me at times. I’m a mover. I’m a shaker. I’m a doer. I like results. Practice patience and trust in the process. Even the parts that feel slow and quiet…

Take pride in where you are. You are what you think Рbe kind with your thoughts and encourage yourself the way you would a best friend.

Spots Filling QUICKLY! Book Your Family Photos Now

August 17

Friendly reminder to book your fall family photos soon! Fall is around the corner which means you’ll need your pretty Xmas card pics very soon. My schedule is filling quickly. If you’re thinkin’ about having new family photos taken – please email me and I’ll convince you to come out and have some fun with me ūüėČ You’ll never regret having family photos taken. Ever. Can’t wait to have photos like these of my family someday.

Don’t wait. Email me now to schedule before I fill up! caitlin@caitlin-sullivan.com

Your gal who is already planning where she’ll put her Christmas tree this year,

Caitlin

Giveaway Winner: My Grateful Heart

August 14

What started as a simple giveaway morphed into an AWESOME and HEART WARMING exercise. Last week, I announced a small giveaway I’d be hosting and to enter, all I asked was for people to comment and tell me what they’re grateful for. I kid you not, the response brought tears to my eyes. Thank you all so much for opening your hearts and sharing the love. Life can be tough, mundane, challenging – a jumble of sorts. As a result, we oftentimes lose sight of what matters most. We become immune to our greatest¬†blessings. Each day they wake up with us. It’s up to us to recognize them.

You guys have inspired me to dig deep and share some gratitude today.

I’m thankful for all of the times I’ve been told no – every no was only a yes in disguise to something greater and better.

I’m thankful for friends near and far who remind me daily that I’m never alone.

I’m incredibly grateful for my health and the fact that I can run. I may not be fast but running makes me feel so strong and empowered to be the best woman I can possibly be. Thank you, God, for waking me up each morning and letting me walk and RUN after my dreams.

Forever grateful to do what I love as a means of supporting myself.

God’s timing. While it’s hard to understand and embrace at times, I trust it’s right for me.

The opportunity to grow.

Butterflies in my tummy from someone special.

I’m grateful for parents who remind me every single day that love is a choice we make. And oh, is it one worth choosing ALWAYS!

My sister, Elizabeth (who I lovingly call B), who is in so many ways my soulmate in life.

My brothers, Dave + Colin, who always give me reason to make light and FUN of a situation.

I’m thankful for my adorable nephew, Noah, who reminds me every day that there is magic to be seen.

Grateful for my drive and ambition.

Twix, hugs, high fives (and high 1’s with my nephew!), yummy margaritas (nice one, Erin J!), fall weather, cuddling, kisses on the forehead, peppermint mochas, scarves, not settling, Pazzo man, emoticons, happy mail, thoughtfulness, yellow and orange, mini marathons, baby steps and leaps of faith, ¬†traveling, texts from my parents, Christmas (FOR SURE), white lights, I Love You’s, laughing too loud, those moments before you fall asleep, spontaneity, a good stretch, to name a few others..

When I pulled a name at random out of a hat to determine a winner, I was so happy  to see this name in my hands. Her entry LITERALLY stopped me dead in my tracks:

“This week I am grateful for God’s timing… regardless of what I think is meant to happen or that I wish at the time to occur, I am always amazed and in awe of His overarching plan. I have been waiting for my license to go through because there were three jobs available that I wanted. The jobs were available three days prior to my license being confirmed but then on the day my license went through, all three jobs were filled. At the time I was disappointed, but then this week I found out my mom has a brain tumor. Since I wasn’t able to take on of those positions, I will now be able to be with my mom for the appointments, surgery, and recovery process. I have complete faith that this was God’s plan. How amazing that He would make it so I could give back to my mom by being there for her in the same way she has been there for me my entire life. God is good. Oh, and thankful that the tumor is benign.”

Congrats, Jessie! I am so excited to see you in the fall!

Thanks so much to everyone for participating. As always, we have so much to be grateful for…

 

Happy Birthday to My Brand: One Special Giveaway

August 9

A year ago yesterday, I launched my new brand. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. I stand before you, 118 posts deep, with so much love and appreciation for coming back to visit. You’ve all helped play a part in seeing my dreams come to fruition. Thank you from the deepest parts of my heart!

I try my best to live each day with optimism and gratitude. I sincerely hope that translates in my work and in sharing my life here on this blog. We always have so much to be grateful for. In that same spirit and to help celebrate 365 days of chasin’ my dreams, I’m hosting a giveaway!

Here’s what’s up for grabs: A lifestyle shoot – engagement or family. You can enter to win for yourself or for someone else. Please keep in mind this shoot must take place this fall in Indianapolis.

How to enter:¬†¬†Leave a comment below telling us what you’re grateful for this week and why.

It’s as simple as that. Voting ends Monday, 8/13 at midnight EST. A winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, 8/14.

I appreciate you guys. Yes, I sure do!!

Maureen + Matt

August 8

Oh happy day! I’m wearing a green dress today and you already know that means I’m feelin’ lucky and extra happy. This may be in part because of my time spent prepping this blog today. So excited to share these sweet people with you!

Friends – please meet Maureen + Matt. ¬†If you’ve been following CSP since it’s first few years, or better yet if you’ve been following my blog and used to irish dance with me, then there’s a good chance you’ll know or at least recognize Maureen. ¬†Maureen was my sister’s best friend growing up. She went to St. Thomas and was in Beth’s grade. She grew up just a few blocks north of the Sully’s. Between irish dancing with her for years, going to the same grade school and pretty much growing up with her – there are more memories than I could even begin to count with Maureen.

Perhaps my favorite memory of Maureen (who we lovingly call Mo), and I share this story shamelessly with you all, ¬†took place years ago when I was young and in grade school. I think I was maybe in 3rd or 4th grade and a huge snow storm hit Indy. We were out of school for a WEEK! ¬†Hallelujah! Party! Best thing everrrr! ¬†We celebrated this surprise holiday by planting our behinds in front of the television with our trusty N64 and hangin’ with none other than our friends from Super Mario Kart. We logged in hours and we ate tons of Papa Johns while doing so. We lived like kings, I tell ya! It was amazing. And while Maureen, Beth and I still reminisce and joke about those days today – my heart really does swell in the most thankful and nostalgic way. The truth is, I can’t really remember a time from my youth when I didn’t at least have a small idea of what Mo was up to. As we grow older and our friendship dances apart from one another, one thing remains the same and that is that Mo will always have a special place in my heart.

When I heard news of Mo being engaged, I was so happy and excited for her. Mo moved to Chicago years ago but I was still able to keep up with her life thanks in large part to my sister. I met with her and her sweet fianc√©, Matt, a few months ago to chat with them about their wedding. Next thing you know I’m all, “Oh and I’ll totally drive up to CHI for your engagement photos! We should go to a Cubs game!” ¬†Fortunately for me, they agreed it was a fun idea and before I left to vacation with my family in the Outer Banks, we picked a game in late July to take em’. Beth drove up to CHI with me ¬†(we may or may not have listened to BSB’s The One on that road trip!) and that first night with Mo and Matt was spent drinking wine and watching the Olympics. I have a good feeling I’ll look back on that night in the winter when it’s chilly outside and I’ll smile so big.

M&M- So much love and excitement! YAY! Thanks so much for being such wonderful hosts and spending time with Beth and I. I’m so thankful Beth was able to join and see first hand how happy you guys are together. We love you and can’t for for your big day in April. Won’t be long!

So many bear hugs,

Caity : )

We started photos at Matt’s apartment. This photo feels so much like Chicago to me – it makes me happy, yes it does!

That shot on the left is right about when the happy Caitlin squeaks came out.

Mo – can I have your long flowy locks and sparkly blue eyes? Please and thank you.

That there is Mo’s engagement ring in a lime because, why not? : )

Quick outfit change and off to Wrigley field we go.

Mo and Matt took us to a rooftop bar right next to Wrigley – so fun!

Love!

When you take photos at a place as crowded as Wrigley Field – you’re almost asking for other people to be in the shot. I embraced this early on and while there are people we don’t know in this shot, I so love the moment.

Keep your pretty eyes on my blog tomorrow. Happy evening, loves!

Lessons from Jules

August 6


Happy Monday, sweet friends! So happy to have you here with me to start off the week. I am coming off an amazing weekend and lots of new and happy memories. I told myself last night as I crawled into bed that I’d let myself sleep in as late as I needed to this AM (a definite perk to being self employed!) and if the amount of sleep I got last night correlates in any way to how much fun I’ve had over the past few days – and I do believe it does – then I’ve had perhaps too much fun. But hey, I say that’s a good thing!

I’ve been completely captivated by these images today. As I’ve been staring at these gems over the past few hours while pulling together this post, I’ve felt playful and young at heart. I love photographing kids so much. Kids are on their own agenda – this just so happens to be what some people love or strongly dislike about them. As a photographer, I love it.¬†Sure, ¬†kids will behave long enough for me to take their photo but past that – their ability to be themselves¬†is undeniable. They don’t care which color best compliments their complexion or which side photographs best. They don’t care if they’re sweaty, dirty or imperfect in any way. All they care about is being in every millisecond of every moment. In this way, I think there is much to learn from a joyful child like Jules.

Recently I photographed sweet Jules. She had an unbridled joy about her. She was precious, goofy and uninhibited. (She even invited me to her 4th birthday party!)

Jules made lots of faces and without me asking her to do so. ¬†She’d do this, “Uh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh” ¬†where she’d shake her finger back and forth and then follow that up with a monkey face of sorts. Her ability to make light of this situation and enjoy herself came naturally.

We (her kind parents and I) would laugh with her and that infectious smile of hers would just BEAM! In many cases, photographing a child becomes a game of What Will Make This Child Happiest? ¬†I’ve got to figure out what makes em’ laugh and I better figure it out quickly. In Jules’ case, she was just happy to be goofy and playful with us.

As we grow up, we tend to lose that carefree spirit thanks in large part to more rules, more responsibilities, more reasons to think twice about the way we act. Would it be odd to walk down the street and everyone is exchanging goofy faces? Oh, most definitely. Though, I think I could find one or two of my adult friends who might find that fun! ; ) Sure, there are these rules and responsibilities we are subjected to as adults but it truly is a shame for them to ever deter us from what is most important.

Life is about enjoying ourselves and having fun. Everything positive that happens in your life is proof of this. Everything negative is simply a distraction – not a verdict.

We are as joyful as we make up our minds to be.  Jules reminded me of this.

<Sidenote: Dear Jesus, please let my future daughter have long, flowy locks like Jules’. End Sidenote>

It’s hard to remember sometimes. Even in a job that I absolutely LOVE, I have days where I’m feeling totally uninspired and down. That’s usually when I’ve got to do something to change it up: go for a run, put up a new desktop image, watch a new show, send a nice email, comment on a friend’s blog, buy a donut with sprinkles (maybe the best one..), take a walk, try a new nail polish color or cuddle with Pazzo.

Luckily, one cupcake at a time, we can break and refocus. Today isn’t about tallying up all your distractions and allowing them to dictate your mood. Today is about letting yourself have fun despite those distractions.

Wishing you all so much FUN this week! Some days are harder than others. I hear ya! But sometimes all it takes is a pit stop at the local bakery to switch things up! ūüėČ

Lots of love and happiness….. Keep life fun. XO

Tara + Kyle

August 3

The weekend! Ahhh, we’ve made it. So excited to share this sweet couple with you to kick off my weekend…

I met Tara a few months ago now. I love meeting brides for the first time. I love hearing about the details, the colors, the family, the stories – being the most exciting time in a bride’s life, I’m always excited and happy to be all ears. Tara told me about her Kyle and how he proposed. She blushed as she brought up a picture of him on her phone for me to see. What struck me most about Tara when we first met was how easy it was to chat with her about just about anything. And I love that.

A few weeks ago, I finally met Kyle when the three of us got together to take these engagement photos. The golden sunshine danced around us as we wandered around downtown Indianapolis. I love this city and I love to be a photographer in this city. Tara and Kyle more than compliment one another. They are marrying at Woodstock Country Club in September and I’m so looking forward to their big day.

T&K – ¬†Thanks for spending the evening wandering with me and allowing me the chance to do what I love. I’m blessed by your friendship and know your future together is so bright. I can’t wait to be with you two on your big day! See you so soon ; )

Hugs,

Caitlin

Let’s just start things off with a bang, shall we? I so love this shot.

Oh sweet Tara – you’re simply gorgeous.

One of the BEST things in life is a surprise hug from behind. Am I right?!? They just make life so much sweeter!

This light? I wish I could bottle it up ¬†and save it for rainy days! It’s so magical.

There is absolutely no doubt that Tara will be stunning as a bride in September.

Happy weekend!!! Have fun and make sure to hand out plenty of hugs from behind. : )

xo, C

FRIENDS, Keanu Reeves & Bananas

August 2

Thursdays are the greatest day of the week! I LOVE them. So much. You’re right past the middle of the week but not quite to the weekend. My grade school and high school years took place in the height of the FRIENDS craze – I remember looking forward to Thursdays during the school week because not only was the weekend within reach, Friends was on. I still do a happy dance when the Holiday Armadillo episode is on. The “Which FRIENDS character is Your Favorite?” conversation has been visited more than once with fellow FRIENDS fans (each time providing scenes to further illustrate your choice), but Ross is assuredly my favorite character on the show. Nothing beats his physical comedy. That scene where he and Rachel are trying to move that couch down the stairs as Ross screams, “Pivoooot!” – the. best.

In light of this share, here are a few other (useless but nonetheless fun) things you might not know about me.

In the second grade, our class put on a Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs skit in our school play. I played Sneezy. I had one job which was to fake sneeze and follow up with, “Sorrrrrry! Aaaaallergies!”

Mama G says I would have been named Daniel if I were a boy.

If and when I find a song that I love, I will play it over and over. And over.

I’ve been known to put up my Christmas tree shortly after Halloween (I’m one of those…) I just can’t wait to get those sparkly decorations up!

I love falling asleep to movies and while recently I’ve been falling asleep to the Olympics, one of my favorites to snooze away with is Oceans 11.

I’m terrible at bowling. I bowl granny style. I’ve also never been duck pin bowling. That will change tonight. Hope I don’t embarrass anyone. Can you even granny style duck pin bowl?! ; )

One of my most favorite Sully family vacations ever was when we took a train ride out to the Grand Canyon when I was just a young girl. Beth and I shared a room on the rain and would get SO EXCITED when the train went through tunnels in the mountains. Such happy memories.

My middle name is O’Connor. That was my grandmother’s (mom’s side) maiden name.

I super wish I was a professional hip hop dancer sometimes.

Mat Kearney’s Count On Me is my favorite running jam this week. Thanks, B!

Bananas and I – we’re trying to be friends. We’re getting better.

I had the most gigantic crush on Keanu Reeves circa Speed which, while we’re at it, I still think that movie is awesome.

More dance parties. Always more dance parties.

Also, I shot at Wrigley Field on Monday. It was fun! : ) can’t wait to share more from that engagement session!