Guest Blog: 10 Tips to Master Your Senior Year, Olivia Louise, a Class of 2016 Tahoma High School Alumni {Tacoma Senior Portrait Photographer, Tacoma, WA}

10 Tips to Master Your Senior Year

By Olivia Louise

In honour of the school year starting (if it hasn't already) I decided to give you "10 Tips to Senior Year."  So I took it upon myself to chat with a few of my lovely friends and here is what we collectively came up together;

1. Go to every event possible: During my Sophomore/Junior year I hardly attended any events that weren't required. I tried to get out of every assembly possible and wasn't a fan of being spirited. But when Senior year hit that all changed. I went to every football game, home or away, and went to as many lacrosse games, soccer games, and basketball games as I could. Assemblies weren't as bad because I chose to have a better attitude about it, yes they were just about the same every time but it was the only time our entire school and class were together at once. Don't miss out on games, plays, assemblies, etc. just because you feel "too cool". The attitude you put in, is what you get out.

2. Do your work: I was/am a big time procrastinator. Unfortunately, I have become one of those people who writes better at 11:30 at night and only a limited about of time. 10/10 would not recommend becoming that person.  I have gotten slightly better, but when you get homework, do it then and there. Waiting until the last minute will just give you unnecessary stress that you don't need. Not to mention, the quicker you get it done the more free time you have to binge watch Criminal Minds or Game of Thrones like I do (;

3. Focus on YOUR future: Take time to figure out what you want to do after high school. Whether it be taking a gap year, going straight into the workforce, or getting secondary education, make sure it is what YOU want to do and that YOU are happy/comfortable with your decision. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing and do what is best for you. Senior year is the year you get to focus on who you will become and preparing yourself for your future.

4. Participate in Spirit Days: You are NEVER too cool to dress up in school/class colours, or to wear all neon, or whatever it may be. I rarely dressed up in all of the spirit days because I wasn't at school as long as everyone else (thank goodness for only having two classes a day), but when I did dress up for them I tried my hardest to go all out. It's 10x more fun with friends if you coordinate and they make for cute pictures!   

5. Take loads of pictures: I can't stress this point enough. I used to not be a big fan of taking pictures with friends because I was too embarrassed to ask (who knows why), but senior year came and I have never taken so many photos in my entire life. I have an entire wall in my room that is covered in pictures of me and my friends and it makes my heart warm every time I look at it. Although people change, memories don't and pictures capture that memory forever, so in the future you can tell your kids about your high schools days (;

6. Don't be afraid to let go: People will walk in and out of your life. Some stay for longer than others and that is okay. Senior year will really change your perspective on friendships and although it hurts to loose connections you may have had for years, some people are only meant to be apart of your life for a season or two. This is more likely to take place after you graduate but it's good to prepare yourself now rather than later. Friends go off to college and you loose touch but that's okay. Root for them and wish them nothing but success and happiness. 

7. Time flies: I'm sure this isn't the first time you'e heard this and it definitely won't be the last. You never actually believe anyone until it happens to you. Cherish every moment you have with friends and family. Take a step back when you're all together (holidays, BBQ's, get-togethers, etc.) and just watch the way everyone smiles and laughs and how their eyes light up when they talk about something they love or find deep interest in. It's a cool thing to witness.

8. Let your parents be obnoxious: This is especially true if you are the oldest child and they are going through this journey for the first time. They have no idea what to expect and are just as nervous and excited as you are. Their little boy or girl has grown up and is about to take on the world, they're going to be emotional. My mom wanted to take a thousand pictures over the littlest things because they were my "lasts" and it drove me insane. But remember to have patience with them, let them in on your plans in life and let them help you. 

9. Don't worry if ____ doesn't like you back: As someone who has never had a boyfriend I felt like it was part of the high school experience to have that boy for all of high school. Clearly I watched way too many movies and Troy Bolton set my expectations extremely high. No boy is going to break out in a full choreographed dance and sing beautifully (and if he does then wow, you found a gem). Don't worry about trying to find your "one true love" because after you graduate are you ever going to see each other? Probably not. Spend time building friendships and investing in yourself, making sure you are happy being by yourself. Learn to love yourself with or without a significant other. 

10. Have fun!: You are in your final year of high school! Take a break from doing homework on the weekend and spend it doing something fun. Go be adventurous and create stories and memories that you will actually remember when you're 20 years in the future. You aren't going to remember the thesis for one of your English papers, but you will remember that one time you ran around a city you barely knew, taking pictures with friends for a scavenger hunt, while it rained harder than you have ever seen. Maintain your grades but don't let it consume you. Say yes to invites instead of saying no. It's your last year of school and what you put in is what you will get out.  

Olivia is a recent high school grad, Ike and Tash Street Team Alumni headed to Central Washington University to study fashion.  She is also author of an incredible fashion blog titled Olivia Louise.  To follow her or keep in touch check her out at the following places online:

Instagram | Facebook |  Blog | Twitter | Lookbook

Sunday Dinner with the Street Team {Tacoma Senior Portrait Photographer, Tacoma, WA}

Since God blessed us with this house, I knew I wanted it filled to the brim, with laughter and conversation, and planning and goal setting. Last December, one of our neighbors talked about opening up his house once a week to his friends.  He would throw food on the grill and everyone would commit to bring drinks and sides.   He said they did it until their kids were grown and left the house, and still to this day, come together every Sunday night in summer.

I had sat on that idea all year long, wanting to incorporate into my own life.  Summers are busy for us because we are wedding photographers, but like for so many wedding photographers, winter brings a little less hustle.

Ike and I have a very active street team.  Sometimes its hard to connect from event to event, so, a couple weeks ago, I introduces this "Sunday Dinner" series to them, but instead of a grill in sides, they would bring a plate (potluck style) and we would do a study hall.

Every Sunday night, from 6-9p no matter what is happening, this would be our time to come together and connect.

It isn't mandatory but a time for us to just check in with one another, a safe place, accountability.

Our first Sunday dinner was an incredible success.  I had current street team members and alumni come and we worked on everything from college applications, to personal statements, to Seattle Fashion Week to accounting homework.

We are in the process of selecting another street team and last week decided to open our "Sunday Dinner" up to every girl who applied so that we could do a "meet and greet."   It was AMAZING to see 67 girls show up to our front door that night.

What started as Sunday Dinner, very quickly, turned into a house party AND WE LOVED IT!  Dancing to Justin Bieber, red solo cups, tasty food, and fellowship.  So many of the girls kept telling me they were getting texts asking "Where the party was?"

About an hour in we sat down and we talked.  We connected.  We shared our hearts, our hopes and our dreams and we built so many genuine connections and relationships.

When it was all over, I was so fed.  So moved and so grateful for what took place.

Young people are needed.  They are precious.  They carry innovations, purpose, our future in their hands.  They deserve a voice.  They deserve an opportunity.   They deserve passionate adults who believe in them, want to sow into them and will help them realize their greatness.

I sat in a room full of young girls with dreams bigger than theirselves.  They carry great vision to change their world and to leave it a better place.  I felt motivated, inspired and moved to do something, not just in words, but in action to support them in catapulting forward. 

Even though these girls were JUST applicants, I knew it couldn't stop there.

After so much prayer and agonizing over the non-reality of a 94 member street team, we decided that the best way to move forward was opening up our Sunday Dinner's the first Sunday of every month, to every single girl who had applied to be on the street team to join our current street team and our alumni for food, fun and fellowship.

We are so thankful for this house.  This house filled to the brim with estrogen, and laughter and fun and every single girl who finds their way here, that she will feel welcomed, loved and supported.

I want this time to be intentional, uplifting and life giving.

I got a text from our accountant volunteering yesterday to sponsor a Sunday dinner and I was so overwhelmed and my heart started bursting!

There are so many people who may not be called to serve girls but who can support us and what we are trying to do in our community, so if that's you, and you can offer tutoring, or any other resource, or food that might help us serve these girls better - we have our hands open and would love to collaborate with you!

Please send us an email to info@ikeandtash.com or comment below so that we can reach out to you!

And thank you to all of the people who have commented and texted and offered encouragement and support - We are honored to be able use our business to have this kind of impact on the girls in our community!

And some images from the girls below! 

Fun behind the scenes photos provided by all of these amazing girls!

The Varsovia's {Seattle Pier, Seattle Family Portrait Photographer, Seattle, WA}

This family is so special to us. One of our favorite families in life.

Junko and Ivan  have been shooting with us every single year since we started! They have consistently invested and sowed into our business not only financially, but with so much prayer and vision.

Junko consistently speaks life into us and prays increase over everything we touch! 

It is truly such an honor to be their family photographer, but more than that, to have them as friends to help remind us of God's faithfulness and hand on our lives and our business over the years!

Ivan and Junko, and now Enzo, thank you for being faithful clients and friends!

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The Connor's {Tacoma Family Portrait Photographer, Tacoma, WA}

we love the Connors. three years we have had the honor of taking their family pictures.

watching these beautiful children grow before our eyes has been so fun.

Nicole is a photographer in Wenatchee, she is so talented and it's always amazing when someone like her chooses us.

You can check out Nicole's work here

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