Courtney Dellafiora »

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Oh, 2013

I will be honest, 2013 has been a challenging year. It has had several truly amazing moments and accomplishments, but it has definitely had some really difficult moments as well that definitely tried to conquer me. You never know what life is going to throw your way, but the important thing is to never let it beat you down. Trust me, I have my moments of feeling like a total failure and wanting to just give up on it all. I have had moments of being so betrayed and hurt, that I wondered if I would ever recover. And even though God gives me constant strength and peace to endure anything, the truth is… so much of my hurt is still there. I heal more every day, but it’s still there. There are some things in life I will NEVER understand. Like how you can love someone with ALL that you are, give them EVERYTHING and more, and they treat you like a rag doll… like I am so easy to just throw away or pick back up again. My value and worth has definitely been tested in every possible way. And it has been very hard to deal with. But no matter what, the truth is I will NEVER let anyone or anything tear me down or make me give up on life. I was given ONE life… and no matter what happens, I refuse to ever stop fighting for the best life I can possibly have.

On Friday, I posted a “flip gram” on Instagram of several highlights of 2013. Right after one of my absolute dearest and oldest friends Bethany texted me this:

“Just saw your flip gram. You know what’s amazing to me, NOBODY has the slightest clue what you’ve been through. They know you work hard to achieve your dreams, but seriously… the hardships you face? You just got out of a surgery and you’re counting your blessings. No one knows you had tears this morning, thankful for making it through. It’s amazing and admirable. I do wish people saw more of what I see though.”

She is right. I tend to keep the difficult things I go through private from the world. Only allowing my close circle of friends to know what is going on. I do this because I never want to seem like I am complaining or looking for sympathy from the world. No matter how hard my life is, I know someone else always has it worse, so I keep it to myself. But Bethany had a point, more of the world should know the trials I face. My life is far from perfect, but I do feel so truly blessed every single day. Because God chose to give me another day of life, and that is what truly matters to me.

When Bethany texted me that, I asked her if she wanted to share her perspective of a little of my life. She was awesome enough to share her very honest thoughts which I think will truly give you a little more insight and from someone who knows me really well inside and out.

Dear fellow Dellafiora followers:

Courtney just annoyed the crap out of me.

Courtney made one of those 2013 “flipagram”-whatever-highlight reels with snapshots of her bff’s, accomplishments, selfies, and travels — all in fifteen seconds while bumpin’ to Rihanna. This isn’t unusual. The girl is constantly updating social media. She’s always sharing awesome photos, whether they be sneak peeks from her latest and greatest set (like UH a Water for Elephants shoot? Ah-mazing), or even just random, everyday snapshots from her life. There’s that loyal dog of hers, a boudoir studio complete with custom made furniture and backdrops, that sassy Range Rover, makeup and fashion statements…ugh. The list just goes on and on! She even has to be the definition of wanderlust while bombarding our news feed with images of Incan ruins, Grecian palaces, tiger temples in Thailand, Italian architecture, English gardens, and California sunsets.

It’s ridiculous.

The girl is unicorns and rose-colored glasses.

Even the background wallpaper of her freaking cell phone is a landscape of fluffy pink trees that must have come from a fantasy dream sequence of a Japanese video game.

From any outside perspective, a natural response to the life of Ms. Dellafiora is probably “Geeze, must be nice”. Some might even think, “Lord, this girl never stops with the whole ‘Chase Your Dreams’ speech”. 

Or maybe I’m just over-thinking it and what’s really going on in your head is just, “OMG! That LIPSTICK!”

No matter what the opinion, either way you are here right now reading this because you’re either somewhat intrigued by the woman. You probably secretly hate her, or maybe you’re harboring a major girl crush while envying her designer glasses.

Let me tell you a little about my friend and continue with why she I also think she is irritating.

Our friendship started a little over fifteen years ago. Back then, we were both missionary kids in Peru. I looked up to her primarily because I was five years younger, and was at that awkward tween age where you’re still just trying to figure out how to use tweezers.

Over time, I’ve watched her photography go from good, to great, to phenomenal. I remember the day she decided to quit her day job and work 24/7 to build her career. Since then, she hasn’t stopped pursuing her dreams — just as she accurately she preaches it.

I know, I know…it’s not that uncommon. We all know someone ambitious who has worked hard to get what they want. But at least behind every success story there’s that series of unfortunate events to be elaborated upon, so that the rest of us can identify with it.

But no, all this girl does is tattoo “be inspired” and “live the dream” on her wrists while sharing stories about bringing out the beauty in others.

And yet…

She has endured hardship after hardship, while fighting to achieve her dreams. Never complaining in the process, of course, rather, only showing off the winnings, making it look easy to the rest of us!

She has given her heart to one person, just to watch it be punched, kicked, and beaten — over, and over, and over. Unconditional love has been Courtney’s motto and life force, despite years of pain, deception, and betrayal. She attributes it to God, and God alone when holding capacity for love even when she’s at her lowest.

When she has a hundred reasons and excuses not to do something, she stays to committed to the tasks she’s set out to do. I’ve never seen her flake out on anything, or anybody.

And what reaaaaaallllly ticks me off, and what urged this whole rant in the first place, is that the girl is so full of positive FLUFF while reminiscing of her “AWESOME” year, that she can’t even tell you that she uploaded the freaking thing just ONE HOUR after getting out of surgery for a bad growth on her cervix. Only minutes before, she was in tears over the gratitude of being alive, and then she goes on to post this girl-power salute to an amazing 2013.

While the rest of us are requesting prayer for the common-cold, this girl is going straight from the hospital back to work to make dreams happen and make the most out of her life, despite the trials that are thrown in her face.

Success doesn’t get dropped in your lap. You have to work for it. I’ve learned this from my friend and hope you do, too. Where we see mudslides and tornadoes, she sees rainbows and dewdrops. And a unicorn.

It’s freaking annoying.

And inspiring.
And praise-worthy.
And beautiful.
And bold.

To Courtney: Thank you for being an example of perseverance and hope through trying times. However, please be more open with us (the #1 fans) about your life so that we don’t feel like we suck for not being  just like your super fairy-princess alter-ego.

Best Friends Forever!


I love you Bethany!!! Thank you for loving me, being the best friend a girl could ever want, and for showing me it’s okay to be more open about the hardships I face in life. I don’t know what I would do without your constant support, prayer, love and TRUE friendship.

Like I said earlier, even though 2013 has been challenging, it’s also been freaking amazing. I bought my dream car and my dream house all in 2013. I am SO excited about starting a whole new life in a brand new home… with fresh and new memories. The best part is it is all mine mine mine!!!! I made it happen, on my own… because I choose a life of beauty, no matter what ugly things are thrown my way. No one is stopping this girl from living the dream. Ever.

If you have had a difficult year as well, I encourage you to let it all go today. Tomorrow is a brand new year and a brand new start. You can do it. If I could tell you to do ONE thing, it’s to LOVE YOURSELF. And never ever stop.

  • KinaDecember 31, 2013 - 10:26 am

    Hey lovely, you just keep doing your thing. I’m amazed at you for keeping your positive spirit… I also know that in life, that positivity is not in vain. Sending love your way and as always, you are an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • JennieDecember 31, 2013 - 11:08 am

    The statement, one’s work is a true reflection of oneself was never more true for me reading this today. Not only is your work amazingly beautiful but so are you. Thank you for sharing your story, motivation, and beauty! And keep on Rockin! Happy 2014!ReplyCancel

  • KristinDecember 31, 2013 - 11:53 am

    Never give anyone the key to your happiness. You alone own that. Remember the verse “She knew she was worth far more than rubies” and live it. The person who deserves to stand in your light will come along. Until then shine your beautiful light.ReplyCancel

  • DaphaniDecember 31, 2013 - 11:56 am

    Beautiful! I needed those words of encouragement.ReplyCancel

  • StaceyDecember 31, 2013 - 12:21 pm

    You are amazing and so inspiring. Sometimes we have to “fake it till we make it” and keep focusing on the better things or the ugly things in life will get us down. Just remember that you are human and you, too, are allowed to fail sometimes. It’s inevitable. Because out of failure comes even more success and dreams and desire to work harder.

    Chin up, buttercup – you got this and 2014 is going to be even more amazing for you. <3ReplyCancel

  • Troy GottDecember 31, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    So happy for you Courtney, we are for you. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • AnneJanuary 1, 2014 - 7:40 am

    Dear Courtney, even though I haven’t taken time to leave some comments or write a mail or tweet with you in a while, I am constantly following your journey. You inspire me, you make me want to be a better person, a better photographer and a better woman. I am grateful that I stumbled upon your website/ blog some time in 2010 and it’s amazing to see what you have been accomplished since then, it’s truly inpsiring. I am sorry, that you faced hardships, but I am glad that you are strong enough that you don’t break. You are one truly inspiring woman and I hope, that one day our paths will cross in real life, even knowing that’s kind of a long shot ;-)

    Thank you!

  • Alicia TangJanuary 1, 2014 - 1:50 pm

    Thank you Beth and Courtney. I really needed to hear some of that also. God bless both of you:)ReplyCancel

  • andreaJanuary 1, 2014 - 5:58 pm

    confession: I was totally waiting for this post… so I read your past new year’s posts…. wow.. you’re so insanely inspirational and have come so far… thank you for sharing your life with us.. you’re simply amazing!! best to you in 2014.. can’t wait to see where this new year takes you!! ps. loved Bethany’s perspective!! she too, is amazing and I’m so blessed to have met her!! xoxo, andreaReplyCancel

  • Lacy DagerathJanuary 8, 2014 - 6:53 pm

    Ohh Courtney… I am blessed to know you personally… You are a lll KIIIIINDS of ways… What a bright, vibrant, sweet spirited, determined, bold, Godly, incredible woman you are! *hugs*ReplyCancel

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