Photo by www.rosewheat.com
Hi friends! My name is Laura Foote, and I am a natural light storyteller and college educator in Tampa, Florida! Higher education and photography have always gone hand in hand for me. I started my photography business as a junior in college and now, 6 ½ years later, I’ve completed my Master’s of Education and get to work with college students everyday while also running my business! I’m married to my high school sweetheart, J, who also has the artist/educator thing going on and we live in a 1950’s block home outside of downtown with our rescue pup. The best nights in my book include red wine, take out thai food, and a few good friends. In general, I’m really thankful for grace and community and the abundance of both in my life!
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I love this question because it’s so hard to do this well! In undergrad I studied marriage & family dynamics/therapy and a lot of what we talked about was self-care—taking care of yourself so that you could help others. I’ll be honest, this has always been a struggle for me! I have a strategic brain and a sensitive heart which combine to always have me thinking, questioning, wondering, and in general, feeling all the feels (ha!) I try to focus on getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night and blocking out “Wonka” days (where J and I act like the grandparents from Willy Wonka and lounge around the house) 2-3 times a month on the calendar. I’ve found that when one of these things isn’t happening, I suffer and so do my relationships!
What’s your favorite beauty secret?
I am obsessed with all things Lush (Europeans just get beauty, I think) and their toner spray is my favorite. Especially here in Florida where the humidity makes my skin feel constantly clogged or clammy, that spray is literally a breath of fresh air before bed!
What’s your favorite go-to outfit for a quick polished look?
This year I’m hooked on a dark jeans from JCrew and a classic pressed white oxford from Banana Republic, and my cognac leather Sam Edelman booties. Add a little red lip and bam, you can go to a casual girl’s brunch or a business meeting!
What’s your favorite quick-prep dinner for your family?
We made some significant dietary changes at the start of last year when I encountered a thyroid diagnosis, but I’ve honestly never eaten better and one of our favorite quick dinners came from this change! We lovingly call it “Mexibake” and I’ve made my sister (who lives in NYC and usually just eats pizza and noodles) and my brother (who lives in Chicago.. and also just eats pizza and noodles- ha!) make it this year and they are also hooked!
Grab a package of fresh, nitrate free ground turkey at the store. Then, snag a can of corn, salsa, black beans, and green pepper. Dice the pepper, drain the canned veggies and cook it all together with the turkey in a skillet with cumin and any other seasonings you like. 10 minutes later you’ll have 6 servings of yumminess that you can serve over brown rice, in tortillas or my favorite, fresh spinach! For extra yum, top with freshly sliced avocado and a squirt of fresh lime! Yessss.
Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow and why?
Oh my. This is hard. I think I’d have to say @ashleeproffitt. Her feed is straight up beautiful, but her heart is even prettier. Every time she posts I concurrently laugh, pray, and have all the heart eyes. And she’s a real life friend so that makes it even more fun to follow her squares. :)
What tradition or routine is important to you?
On a daily basis? I really love watching the news in the morning while I get ready and then listening to NPR on my way to work. Being an informed citizen is something I really value and this is a way to get my gears going early in the morning!
In terms of traditions, I love that J and I try to go somewhere every year for our anniversary that involves fall! We got married in October for this very reason and now that we live in Florida it is so fun to plan a fall adventure to get away from the heat. Our first year in Florida we went to NYC and this year we went to an Air BnB cabin in the mountains of Georgia! So fun!
What’s in your purse?
Ahem…. I should really go purse shopping because I pretty much carry my work shoulder bag or camera bag with me everywhere and that means I have a lot of…… helpful items (?!) with me at all times! Ha! But really, I can’t live without Pomegranate Burt’s Bees Chapstick, Orbit Gum, a bundle of assorted colored Sharpie pens, & extra bobby pins. Oh, I’m also notorious for having random coupons on me. I actually gave a set of Southwest Air drink passes to a coworker today for an upcoming trip and you’d have thought I paid for her vacation!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love reading blogs, perusing Instagram, and having dessert with other creatives. I am really just inspired by the giftings of other people so any chance to watch/learn from them spurs me on in my own endeavors!
How do you balance all of your work responsibilities along with your personal and home life? Any tips for our readers?
Having balanced a thriving business, full-time career and full-time graduate program for the last two years, I think I’ve finally got a bit of a handle on this! The big lesson has really just been to realign my identity and remember that I am more than my work/art/client reviews etc. Make a list of the things you love, the things you don’t, and the things you want to be a part of your life that aren’t currently. Wrestle with this list—cross things off, dream, e-mail it to a few friends/people you admire. Breaking it down and finding freedom in what your heart is being called to takes work and time to process so starting today and moving in phases might help if you’re Type-A like me. :)
What’s your favorite app (or other tool) for helping you do life?
Calendly has been a game changer for me! I started using it at the beginning of the year in order to help me get my life back from a scheduling perspective while also serving my clients better.
Essentially it’s a platform that can read your Outlook/Google Cal and then you can set-up custom links for different commitments. So, I can create portrait booking links, wedding consultation links etc. that my clients can easily access to book their sessions AND if something gets added to my calendar, the system automatically reads it so I don’t have to enter into the “Here are some dates, let me know what works……3 days later client picks date and it’s full” conversations.
Also, as a side note related to work/life balance, I love this app because it allowed J and I to sit down and block out our life before any dates went live for clients. Now I don’t have to worry about overbooking myself because when the calendly is full, it’s full!