Cottage Grove Minnesota wedding- Aaron and Olivia

Tucked away in gorgeous Cottage Grove, Minnesota is this fabulous 8,000 square foot wedding venue Historic John P. Furber Farm. The bridal suite alone is a dream for photographers with mirrors, bright open light, and in the autumn- gorgeous orange and yellow leaves everywhere. If you're lucky enough, someone will ride by on a horse and let you use it for photographs with the groomsmen, or at least that's what happened for this bride and groom! 

The rain held out enough for us to get outdoor photographs and then fell hard, but I loved hearing the rain as we celebrated Aaron and Olivia's big day with loved ones surrounding them. The happiest of tears all around for these two beautiful souls. I'm so glad I could be a part of their day, and see what I knew to be true- that these two are fiercely loved and supported by so many amazing people in the community. 

As I watched and captured their first look, I got to whisper to my assistant and friend Michelle how you can see the adoration they have for one another, and it's simply beautiful to see. So here's a few moments from the day, but if you want to see more, I'm going to include the link to view them ALL. Also, from that link you can purchase prints that come right to your door, which is great for you AND a great gift idea for the couple. 

October wedding floral arrangement
simple but beautiful way to show off wedding dress
John p furber wedding and events
rustic wedding decor ideas
historic orange and blue wedding ideas
cute before photo of girls in robes
bride looking out at groom in bridal suite
bridal portrait furber farms cottage grove
October wedding wedding colors
beautiful first look bride and groom
bride and groom- cottage grove Minnesota
enjoying the first look
groom on a horse on his wedding day
groomsmen helping out
groomsmen and horse
fun groomsmen photo
orange bridesmaid dresses


Link to view (and purchase prints from!)  click here---> Aaron and Olivia's big day! 

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

8 Things to do to reach your goals!

I was relieved after writing down the things I found important for reaching goals. why? because after I came up with my own list, I went searching of what others suggested and I was pleasantly surprised... most the other things I read matched up with what I'm saying. This isn't to say I have it all down, know all the answers, or even am always right. Definitely not. But I can tell you, I've read articles, books, watched online seminars and educators and have learned a little. I want to share what I've learned with you. In case you're starting your journey, this is a good place to start and without you having to do all the research I did, here's 8 helpful things to help reach your goals. 

1- Education. However this looks, it’s different for everyone. It could be a conference in your career field, online education and videos, books, seminars, sitting with expert in that field, oh and more books. Did you know the most successful people don’t stop learning just because they’re done with schooling? They get to be where they are with consistent education. This is such a broad subject, so if you want specific book suggestions, online education, seminars or more, I'd be more than glad to help you find something that fits what you're looking for! 

8 things to do to reach your goals

2- Get an advisor. I have to admit i haven’t started this process until two weeks ago. It felt like an expense i wasn’t ready for, but the more i read about it, the more i realize how important it is for me. It might be more of a mentor depending on your goals, but someone to check in with, keep you accountable and ultimately help you steer you towards your goals. They have more knowledge in that area, which is why they’re advising you. So they could help you jump start past a few steps and put you in connection with the right people!

3-  Get out there. Meet people. it’s hard, believe me i know. But no matter the goal, it’s always better with a community, the best way to get business is to meet the right people. Connections are some of the best ways to not have to do all the work yourself. (how did i find my advisor, whelp i went to a meet up and someone i trust suggested a great one in the area.) Some great tools to use are, Facebook events in your area, professional groups, luncheons, bumble app for friends, and the tough one... cold marketing. Research what businesses/people fit your brand or personality and reach out to them. Also don't forget to pick up local magazines and find people there, and if you do advertising with some, you get invited to more events!

4- Stop Making Excuses. We all have them. Instead, work diligently on overcoming those excuses. Be a person who takes small steps, can be patient, and wants to reach their goals instead of them just being just a or a far off dream that won’t become a reality. the only person that can change those dreams into reality.. is you. So no more excuses, because believe me, every single person has them.

5- Calendar and journal. yes this was in the previous post, but here's how to set it up!. i have two calendars, because mostly i’m crazy. i like my ICalendar but i like one i physically write in. Two definitely isn’t necessary but it’s what makes me happy so i do it. Use it to write in the events, and try setting up your computer calendar to set reminders, this is the easiest way so you don't have to add them in each month. repeat it in your calendar, and done! it'll remind you automatically. I use my computer calendar to remind me every month of things like pet meds/paying bills/and appts. weekly i even set an alert to remind me to take the garage out. i know that might seem mindless, but it wasn’t on my to do list until recently, so anything I don't have to think about what will do the thinking for me, helps clear my mind. i don't have to hold onto the “oh i have to remember to do that next week.” it’ll alert me and I can focus on the task at hand. It also starts to build your "5 tasks a day" if you remember reading that in the last post.  

6- set some down time. yes i try to fill time with working towards my dreams, but you know what is equally important? being happy and being present in the now. I don't always get my to-do list done, and it's more than okay. that's truly why there are lists, so I don't necessarily HAVE to do them everyday, they're broken up enough so I can work in time for surprise social events. people are more important, and i will only regret the time i didn’t spend with loved ones. There’s a time and place to say no, but don’t forget to spend time with the people that matter most. 

7- exercise. it doesn’t have to be 2 hours in the gym, or even AT the gym. i clear so much in my mind with a simple walk with my dogs, it’s unbelievable. And the best thing is you can do it with loved ones. Walk your pets, take a walk with your significant other, or your kids. Even a walk makes me feel healthier and gives me some energy.

how to reach your goals

8-Be specific and develop a plan. No goals will be accomplished until you revisit your goals and write specifically what you want.It needs to be clear so you know some steps to take in the right direction. and no, maybe you don't know how exactly you'll get there all the time, but as you take the baby steps you do have planned, you'll find the other steps along the way. For example. one of my short term goals for this year is to have 5 photo sessions a month. it's a HIGH goal in a new location so I'm pushing myself. But if I said I want 60 sessions this year but don't do my part to get to that many sessions, my goal won't happen. I have to educate myself in both the new location, people, and online presence. I have to be organized and track what progress I'm making for instance, when I get clients, how did they find me. I go back and check broken link/inaccurate information etc. I also am getting my name out there, and not making excuses. Goals without a plan will fail. so set yourself up for success with specific goals, and things you can do daily/weekly/monthly to get those goals! 

I'm here guys. You may have a business, fitness and health, personal, or family goal. If you want to talk through some things specifically for your goals, I'd love to talk to you. I still have a lot to learn, but I have found some great resources along the way, and if you're feeling stuck or maybe need just a little help, I'm here to help in any way that I can. If you missed the blog on how to start getting organized, 7 steps to start writing your goals and lists, click here.


Keep Shining

Shanna Star


7 steps to start your goal writing and lists

Sat down with my coffee. and no i’m not really a “coffee drinker” i have about 1 per week. but still. it sounded like a good way to open up sitting down with a cup of coffee, let’s talk finances and goals.. there. that sounded like an adult. Though i have to admit, even at 30, i don’t feel like one. Except the times when i put on my old lady robe and slippers, get my errands done, and want to sleep by 7:30 pm after reading about investing. #whoami. 

7 steps to start writing your goals and lists

i have fallen in love with setting goals for years now, but more recently specific goals for money. because let’s admit it, “progress and nothing happens unless a goal is established. otherwise we wander through life. sit and think about businesses, they have to ask themselves where do they want to be in 10-15 years and then gauge their efforts accordingly. so, you start your ultimate goals by making your next task, regardless how unimportant it seems in the right direction. It’s not one big jump into success, it’s one step at a time.” (quote from The magic of thinking big) 

i’m going to be redundant in some of these posts. i cannot stress enough to 1- write down your goals. 2- lists people. lists. i have done extensive reading about how to set yourself up for success, so to save YOU some time finding that out .. just do it. we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year. 5 things a day is what i find i can do. 3 if work went extra long. (or if you want to make excuses about not enough time, there you can start with 3.) Even if you only do 5 things a day for the weekdays that’s doing 1300 things a year. yup. adds up. Don’t get me wrong some of the things i do aren’t strictly for my dreams but they are things that are in the direction of what i want for my future. For instance the gym can be one of the 5. maybe walking your pup, bettering your household in some way, when you see you only have to do 3-5 things the tasks don’t seem so overwhelming. i know personally if i feel like i have too much to do, i end up doing nothing. so i make a weeks worth of 5 things a day, splitting it up and accomplishing the small things, because i promise it adds up. You also might say "I can do way more than 5 a day." and you're absolutely RIGHT! I have a few days once in a while where I'm a cleaning and errand and getting done with stuff machine! but those aren't daily. i can get 15 things done on the right day, but if those only come around once in a while or you feel stressed doing it, then break it up. you'll still get more done with a few tasks every day. And as John C Maxwell says “You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily."

Here’s a personal example over the last few months. I have taken a few hours each day to work on my website, my SEO (search engine optimization) my social media platforms and way people find me. (yelp, linkedin, Facebook etc.) each day seemed like i wasn’t getting anywhere but my goal was to raise both the number of viewers to my website AND see more inquiries coming in. (see setting an attainable goal helped me understand WHY the task was important.) from November to March i’ve been up 400 viewers a month. i also have improved the number of clients contacting me which means the small time i’m spending on my website is paying off big time. i’m getting seen in more states and even countries, and more people are connecting and want to reach out. it’s a slow process, but it’s an important one to have a full time business here in Florida. All that to say, okay great Shanna, you love to tell us to basically write down ever little thing, but where can I start?

How do you start goal writing and lists? 

1- BUY THE CUTEST JOURNAL EVER AND CALENDAR. one you love (or had, since this is about saving money, and I seem to get journals as gifts!)  it'll help you organize all those appts, to do's, and even random thoughts. Which clears your mind for spending quality time with loved ones and not feeling you have to remember every detail. it's down on paper, it's out of your mind. 

how to start writing your goals and lists

2- START WITH SHORT TERM GOALS. Mine are both personal and for business, for each year, and i review them as the year goes. for example: read 10 books a year, amount of money saved, volunteer 12x, 12x a year meet ups or, blog 80x a year, travel out of country, make x amount of money, powerlifting competition. 

3- LONG TERM GOALS. i revisit these mostly to add to them, they don't need to be revisited more than twice a year. These are 5+ years goals. for example: write a book, own my home, x amount of money in savings, x amount of money in an IRA, making X amount per year, own a mustang again in 5 years, etc.

4- PUT YOUR GOALS IN A PLACE YOU CAN SEE DAILY. mine are always in the front of my current journal or my yearly calendar. i see them everyday, and get to ask myself if what i’m doing is making steps towards my goals and bettering myself. i also have a third list of things accomplished already, like how many books I've read, meet ups I've done for my business etc.

5- DAILY GOALS AND HABITS. i stated above that daily tasks help accomplish goals. so make a weekly list, since from experience it helps me break up the tasks and it gets all of those “to do’s” out of my brain so i don’t feel cluttered and i can focus on more important things. i start with Sunday and end Saturday and write down no more than 5 things to accomplish that day. and don’t get too concerned with how small the tasks are. The important thing is you're organizing all those to-dos and doing things to better your future. 

6- TRACK PROGRESS. as you work in both "needing to be done" tasks and "things that are for your goals", review your progress. whether it’s fitness and you take photos to see muscle gain, how far in your books you should be for the year, or make sure your savings is getting money being added every month, you’ll see things start changing. 1300 things a year will surely give you progress if it’s the right 1300 things. 

7- FEEL GOOD. yup. that’s what happens when you set goals, and work towards them. i promise you’ll feel more organized, actually BE more organized and have a clear idea of what little things you can do daily to get towards your goals. 

GREAT. Maybe you feel that you have a good grasp on organizing your days, weeks, months, and year for goal writing! But you're not sure what things you can do to reach your goals. In the next blog I will be writing steps and and what to do to REACH your goals! Attainable and success-proven ways to take the next steps. 

if you don't want to miss a blog, follow Davista Photography through the social links below and also sign up for the monthly newsletter! it'll have a recap of everything on the blog, so you know if you've missed one, without scrolling through pages! sign up here! 


Keep Shining

Shanna Star


beauty photographs white sand beach- Sam

This woman. Strong with one of the best hearts When i think about her, i think of her fabulous bold laugh, determination, and her ability to be vulnerable. I can’t count how many times she visited me and we would laugh together and it soon turned into tears and i mean that in the most beautiful way. We didn’t get nearly enough time together when i lived there, but i still treasure each conversation we had. 

I was able to photograph her in this amazing yellow dress that fit her perfectly and loved this time as we’d stop photographing to dance and make ridiculous comments. 

Here’s a few of my favorites from her yellow dress in white sands beauty portrait session :) and a short 1 minute behind the scenes clip! 

white sand beach boudoir in dress
boudoir can be more than lingerie silhouette
gorgeous woman in yellow dress on white sands
beauty and boudoir photographer
close up at white sands
white sand beaches Destin photographer
Panama City beach photographer


Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Destin fitness and boudoir photos on the beach with Elena

Boudoir in the ocean.

I had the opportunity to work with Elena (one of the two davista photography brand ambassadors!)  not only on the Destin Beach, but IN the water. The Florida ocean and sunset couldn't have been more perfect for her session, although I have to learn to stop wearing jeans to sessions now, as I always get in the water and this time I wore white jeans. real smart.  We'll be working together a couple more times coming up, as she'll be doing her first bikini competition this Spring! you can follow her on Instagram, I'll leave her link below. 

 love getting in the water boudoir portraits! 

love getting in the water boudoir portraits! 

bikini photos on the beach in Destin Florida
destin florida portrait photographer on the beach
beautiful bikini portraits on the beach in Destin Florida
destin Florida spring break and boudoir photographer
destin Florida beach photographer davista photography
rosemary beach boudoir and women's portraits
30a fitness and boudoir photographer
beach portraits at sunset 85mm
gorgeous model on the Florida beach poses
yoga poses on the beach in Destin Florida
Panama city beach photographer
Panama City beach fitness and boudoir photographer

Follow Elena!- elenaleigh_fit

Keep Shining

Shanna Star