Two Thursdays ago, I giddily left my last class of the day, hoisted up several pre-packed bags from my dorm room, drove to DC, and hopped on my first solo plane ride ever. Destination? Breckenridge, Colorado.
A few months back, I decided to apply for a spot in the Own It Workshop hosted by Wyn Wiley, Abbey Moore, and Ellie Berry on a whim – nervous that I wouldn’t get admitted. But, when a bolded email popped up in my inbox congratulating me on my acceptance, that nervousness turned into jumping-up-and-down-alone-in-my-dorm-room excitement. At the time, the trip seemed SO far away. However, it slowly crept closer and closer until I found myself waltzing through the Denver airport, on my way to catch a shuttle to Breck.
I needed this workshop. Its focus was to encourage others to, well…own it. To OWN your uniqueness, story, and differences because you can serve your clients and the world in ways that nobody else can. Your story is different than anyone else’s and directly influences your art, ideas, and interactions. We all get caught up in the trends and what seems to be working for others. Thus, falling into the trap of associating success with the way someone runs their business or defines their style. Yes, of course there is some truth in this, as there are business techniques that are proven to work, but copying others step-by-step can also be preventing our growth and true potential. When everyone’s doing one thing, one way, and being successful at it, there’s a sense of shame and uncertainty that your different ideas or style is going to lead to your demise. However, the one thing that you get criticized and judged for at first can be the very thing that makes you most successful. And there’s proof all around. So thank you Own It Workshop (Wyn, Ellie, and Abbey) for encouraging a “you do you” attitude. It meant everything.
DOG SLEDDINGGG!! Kylee, a workshop attendee (and now friend!!), had shared on our private Facebook group that she was coming a day early to live out one of her bucket list dreams, and invited everyone else to tag along. Once I read that post, I immediately changed my flight so that I could join her dog sledding adventures…and so did 6 others! The night before, I arrived later than everyone else…as in 1:30 am. By the time I walked into the hotel, everyone was sleeping. I put on my pjs, washed up, and hopped into bed with a workshop attendee I had neveerrr met, haha, but it was all good!
The next day, we woke up at 6:45 am and awaited the dog sledding shuttle. Dog sledding was seriously such an amazing experience! We actually got to hop on the back of the sled and direct all by ourselves. The huskies were a lot smaller than I imagined, but pulled us a whole 7 miles up and down the mountain. While 5 of us were pulled on a snow mobile, two people would either be sitting on the sled or directing the huskies from behind. After a mile or so, we would all rotate positions so that everyone got a turn to mush and be pulled. After dog sledding, we explored Breck until it was time to drive to the cabin where everyone else was meeting up. We got to hear a wonderful talk by Ellie about owning it, and then got split into teams, and played salad bowl! So fun. Here are a few iPhone shots!
I woke up to a yummy breakfast and an educational session led until noon! Ellie finished a talk about failure, and then Wyn spoke about his approach to portraiture. I learned so much! Next we ate lunch and headed off to a styled engagement shoot + headhshots on the mountain! Lauren and Josh were so great to work with, and did an amazing job keeping their cool while tons of photogs constantly took pictures of them. Once we got back to the cabin, we had the night off to do whatever, which was great because everyone was so tired and wanted to edit!! As soon as we walked through the door, laptops and card readers were pulled out. A bunch of amazing photogs gathered in a circle editing and getting excited over their images?? Literal dream come true. That night we also had an impromptu dance party it the kitchen. A full 2 hours jammin to Missy Elliot and Yonce – bananas good. Soon we transitioned into another several hour game of salad bowl until the late, late hours. At the end of the night a few of us filed into the outdoor hot tub. By this point, I felt like I had known these people for weeks. Had it really only been a little over one day??
Last real day of Own It! My favorite day. After breakfast, Abbey gave an excellent talk about business followed by Ellie’s website info session. Next we split off into our “teams” aka small groups. My group (team Wyn) met downstairs and started talking, each snuggled under a blanket and spread out over the eclectic assemblage of couches. Our small group time was definitely one of my favorite few hours of the workshop, as we got to discuss and ask questions on a more personal level – really getting to know the people in our group better. Meanwhile, snow started hitting the ground hard outside, and a bunch of the workshop attendees ventured outside for more headshots and to play around in the pretty snow! Soon enough, a few sleds came out, and we ended up attaching them to the back of the car, while someone drove us up and down the icy streets. Sooooo fun.
My favorite, favorite part of the workshop was what followed. After settling back in the cabin, Wyn, Abbey, and Ellie asked us all to go downstairs for 10 minutes until they called us back up. When we reentered the living room, all the lights were turned off. The only light sources were from a bunch of tiny candles flickering in the middle of a table. In the background, slow music played, making the atmosphere so intimate and perfect. We sat in that circle for a few hours pouring out our hearts – discussing what we wanted to be remembered for and what our 10 year old self would high five us for today. There were lots of tears, laughs, and hugs, and it’s one of those infinite moments that’s going to stick with me for a longgg time.
We all woke up, enjoyed one last breakfast together, and sentimentally gave our hugs goodbye. What made it especially sad was the fact that we all lived so far away from each other. Coast to coast. But, its ok, now we all have a reason to travel and visit each other 🙂
Below are some images I took with my DSLR during the trip! Enjoy!!
This was our instructor! He taught us how to mush, and also pulled the 5 of us who weren’t riding/directing the sled at the time!
They look mean in the picture below, but they were the sweetest pups ever!!
Going up the lift, on our way to lunch!
Exploring downtown Breckenridge…
Breck reminded me of Whoville from the Grinch…all the architecture was so colorful and whimsical.
Ha, the infamous moose…with a bandana on its antlers from the first night, hahah.
The wonderful Wyn, Abbey, and Ellie!
Small groups <3
Can the views get any better?? Our location for the engagement shoot!
We were pretty excited to be there…
To see more of the engagement shoot, click HERE!
Love these girlllas.
Venturing out in the snow on our last full day after small groups!
Oh Kimberly…this wasn’t even posed.
And then the sleds came out…