best of 2010

I've been terribly irregular about blogging, I know. I feel awful. But I don't want to forget some of the best bits of this year, so here, in no particular order, are some of the highlights of my year.


favorite moments: visiting new york with one of my good friends, my sisters, and a fellow photographer. taking two "just for fun" trips with my husband: one to new york and one to key west. My sister got married. I spoke at Ignite Sussex. I made a silly tape where I pretended to be Flo the Insurance Lady. I rediscovered the joy of film, shot a bunch of weddings, and did a photoshoot that I personally think is some of my best work ever. I had a fashion editorial published in an online magazine. I led a photo workshop and watched a bunch of people get excited about photography. I did my first boudoir shoot. We got a dog. I got another tattoo. I took self-portraits every week for...a long while. I read more than 50 book, I heard She & Him in concert.



Wow. Just typing that was good for my soul. I had forgotten some of it, and felt the year was kind of a waste. Now...I can't wait for 2011!

goals for 2011

And yet again I'm sharing my goals with you guys, just because it seems like I get more done that way. Seriously: I would lose these if I wrote them in my journal, but since I have them publicly posted, somehow it keeps them at the forefront of my mind. Anyway, without further ado, here's the list: the good, the bad, the serious, and the silly.
  • do four band photoshoots. Yeah....about that. Didn't even do one.
  • do four editorial/fashion shoots Um. See above.
  • shoot eight weddings
  • take a pilates class I started doing a prenatal yoga DVD. Does that count?
  • acquire my first pair of louboutins Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHA.
  • learn to play golf Ok seriously now? I went to the driving range, borrowed clubs...and found out I was pregnant. Which killed my motivation.
  • do project 365 doing it here.
  • join the chamber of commerce? (get better at networking, for sure)
  • move into a bigger place Nope.
  • blog here at least twice a week Nope.
  • blog professionally at least once a week Nope.
  • develop and maintain some sort of schedule I have one! It's called getting up at 4:00 five days a week. WOOOOO!
  • take a class on lighting
  • walk a 3day for the cure Nope. Didn't have time to complete the fundraising.
  • lead a local help-portrait event Well...I started to. And had to drop out because of the combination of being pregnant/working 60+ hours a week.
  • find a way to volunteer regularly
  • sort and winnow my fabric and yarn collections In process! 01/30
  • cook dinner at least once a week
  • eliminate fast food from my life So far this year I've not had any...and I'm unintentionally losing weight. YES. 01/30
  • read at least 50 books
  • read War and Peace
  • final put together the marketing piece I've been planning for 2 years
  • get 0 tattoos!
  • take off one day a week Oh those silly goals of mine.


project 52, week 35

project 52, week 36

I am not a fan of snow. I used to like it in moderation, but that was before I moved to Ohio. Now I hate it with the passion I reserve for ugly shoes.
See, I grew up on the Eastern Shore, where we would get one snow a year if we were lucky. Winters were high thirties or the low forties, gray, and rainy. Scarves were a fashion accessory, and gloves were forgettable. Winter, in short, was a couple of months that we endured while we waited for tourist season to return.
And then I met Ohio.
But let me explain.
J and I got married in November, and on that weekend, out here, it was in the sixties. I ran around in my dress all day without a sweater and was just fine. We then went on a cruise for our honeymoon, and were back in Ohio just about in time for Thanksgiving. He and his brothers have this WRETCHED tradition in which they go shopping on Black Friday, and I'll never forget that morning. I was still in the stage of being a newlywed in which I would try to accommodate his crazy ideas, so I got up at the CRACK OF DAWN to go out and see the madding crowds. As I stepped out of the car, onto the thin sheet of ice that coated the parking lot, it was 11 degrees. ELEVEN DEGREES. Without counting windchill. I stood there, shivering, the wind slicing swiftly through my wool coat that had, until that point, been perfectly sufficient for my purposes. I stuffed my bare hands deep into my coat pockets and thought "If this is winter in Ohio, I'm going to die."
We bought a pair of gloves that day.
We've since left the shivery wasteland that is the midwest, and seem to have dragged the snowy weather with us. However, two winters out there have left me quite capable of surviving near-arctic temperatures. My vintage coat collection includes several fur/fur trimmed pieces that I wear without remorse, and I've learned that you can pretty much live in a leather jacket as long as you have a good scarf and gloves.
But I still hate snow.


in praise of christmas cheer

project 52, week 34
project 52, week 35

So here's the thing: I love christmas. Ridiculously much. Growing up we were never ever taught to believe in santa claus, and certain siblings who shall not be named took great (and unseemly) delight in being the child who corrected the misinformation of all the other little children in Sunday School.
But we definitely believed in Christmas. My sisters and I loved decorating and pulling out cherished ornaments year after year, despite our despair over how our tree never looked as beautiful and matched as the trees we saw in pictures. In fact, the first Christmas after our mom left, we spent the entire grocery budget for one week on ornaments that ALL MATCHED and our tree that year coordinated from head to toe. It was glorious. (Yes, I am now one of those people who not only has a completely matched tree, but also coordinates all my wrapping paper to match my decorations.)
There were years, however, when the celebration thereof was a little touch and go. I mean, there were always presents, no matter how simple, But some years the parental units decided that having a Christmas tree was unChristian, seeing as the use of such originated with a pagan holiday. The first year they did this we rummaged around and found a strange-looking fake tree that someone had given us. It was kinda missing the top, but we MacGuyvered together something that looked rather tree-ish, and all was well. The next year? They once again decided we were not having a tree. So. Being the resourceful children that we were, we appropriated a house plant. And not just any house plant: the Norfolk Pine.
This particular plant was prickly, as tall as I, heavy, and generally a blot on the face of mankind. We hated it. So we decorated it.
Strings of lights around each of the two layers of branches, ornaments hanging from the tip of each branch. It out Charlie-browned the Charlie Brown special. Seriously. It was the most sad, pathetic tree you've ever seen in your entire life. But we happily piled presents beneath it and when guests came over and looked confused as to what that abomination in our living room was, we cheerily explained, "Mom and dad wouldn't let us get a tree this year, so we created one!"
Shortly after removing the ornaments from the Evil Plant after New Years, it died for some reason. I'm sure the burned spots from the Christmas lights had *nothing* to do with it. I, for one, was already trying to plan where we would get an umbrella skeleton to decorate for the next year.
However, for some reason, my parents always made sure we had a live tree after that.


self-portrait project

project 52, week 33

project 52, week 33
Fact: I do not often go on vacation. Further fact: when I do, I am the MOST BORING PERSON IN THE WORLD. My idea of a good time is peace, quiet, and a giant stack of books.
So this week I'm with my husband in Key West, (sort of) celebrating our fifth anniversary. In fact, we're vacationing together for the first time in 4 years. It's lovely. Even more lovely? I managed to get caught up on work before we left. And that would be, according to my husband, the first time in two years, maybe? I mean, I have work to do when I return, but I'm not dodging emails at the moment. Or feeling guilty. I have one album to design, a couple of edits to apply, and...that's all.
Um, wow. I don't even know what to say. Except that it's worth the lack of sleep in the previous weeks.


self-portrait, world aids day

project 52, week 32
be inspi(red)

When I grew up, in a very conservative church, AIDS was considered "God's judgment" on people for sin. I'm ashamed to say that at the time, I didn't know any better. I went along with it. I even, perhaps, believed it.
And then I grew up. And I learned that in Africa, wives are infected with HIV because they sleep with their husbands, that babies are born with compromised immune systems because their (innocent) mom has it. Suddenly, AIDS awareness is something I'm very interested in. And while I know that many people consider things like Project (RED) to be a waste of money, since they sell over-priced items and claim its for a good cause. But this is what I know: it costs twenty cents a day to pay for the medication to keep one person alive. Twenty. Cents. That means that for every four holiday drinks Starbucks sells today, one more day of life is purchased.
You can give people life. How often do you get that chance?

wednesday wonderfulness, no, I'm not dead

But I will be soon if I don't watch it. Not really; I'm exaggerating. But I've definitely bitten off more than I can chew with the whole "Help-Portrait event the day before we leave on vacation" thing. Oh! Self portrait this week WILL happen; I've just not made time for it yet. I will! So without further ado, a couple of weeks worth of awesomeness.
Ok, enough lollygagging, I've got to get back to work!


in which I am apologetic

Dear lovelies:
I am sorry. My blog hasn't been this neglected, in, well, weeks I suppose. Even now I keep trying to pull myself away from the computer to spend time with le husband, and I keep thinking of just one more thing that needs to happen tonight. Projects right now include:
  • first ever boudoir shoot happened on Saturday. Um, luscious. I wish I could share the images, and maybe a few, eventually. For now, trust me on this one: fantastico.
  • I'm trying to coordinate a Help-Portrait event in our area on December 4. Which happens to be the day before we drive down to Key West for a week. Lots of details, and I've really no idea what I'm doing.
  • Headed to Ohio this week for Thanksgiving. Yay for time with J's family! We actually are celebrating again on Sunday when we get back with MY family, and have I mentioned that they are all fantastic cooks? Which bodes well for swimsuit-wearing, let me tell you.
  • Actually taking vacation in about two weeks. WooOOOoooo! This is kinda a big deal, because for J and I to take off time from work and NOT spend it with family, um, never happens. The overnight trip to NYC this year? That was the last time it happened. And the last time we spent multiple nights away from home just relaxing? Three years ago. Oh yes. (Thankfully my camera has improved since then. And my skills behind it.)
  • Oh! If you don't follow me on facebook or twitter you won't have seen this: the photographer posted some pictures from my sister's wedding and they're AMAZING. Lovelove. I really need to do a post about all the awesome that went into that shindig, but let me just say: the most expensive part of her outfit were the perfect shoes. And no, they didn't come that color. Dye, baby.
  • Coming tomorrow on my photography blog: a photo shoot for attack cat band that I am SUPER excited about and can finally share. YES.
Erg. I'm sorry this is so disjointed, my dears. Hopefully things will fall into place this week. Or, you know, not. It's all good.


self-portrait day

week 31

project 52, week 31
Yesterday I was a slacker. I photographed a church service in the morning, went to lunch with friends, and proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon just spending time with my husband. I read, he watched some show. We snuggled with our respective pets, and I didn't sit down at my desk until the sun was long gone and the house was getting chilly.
This may seem like a small thing, but for me it's a big deal. A day of free time, hours without commitments, and I'm not working? This feels wrong somehow. Even when I'm caught up on work that has to be done, there's always about 5 more projects that I need to do, skills I need to master. And yet...sometimes it's more important to spend time with those you love.
I'm trying to find the balance. So far, it's not going so well.



Today I had four hours in the car by myself so I got to think a lot, and I worked on some ideas and goals for next year. The thing that keeps coming back to me: "ten years from now am I going to think I've slacked? Am I going to wish I'd worked harder? Am I doing all I can?"
And then on the other hand I rolled around all the crazy dreams I have, and thought about taking the leap to make them happen, and I was scared.
I haven't decided anything yet, for the record. I'm not content, however, with maintaining the status quo. And then tonight I read this blog post, and it resonated. Particularly this bit:

On the other hand, if you know in your belly that doing all of these things will change the world (or even how the world sees you), then it is money well spent. Moreover, if all you care about is incremental change (read: incremental growth), almost by definition you will miss the forest for the trees.


in case you need a little bit of color in your day

I'm uploading this at a fairly large size so you can use it for whatever you want. Taken yesterday afternoon in Easton, as I wandered around with Mr. Man. I love ginko trees.


getting started on the Christmas shopping

I ran across Untamed Menagerie while looking for something else on Etsy, and OHMYWORD. Love. I saved this to post today, because I most certainly did some Christmas shopping there, and I wanted the items to disappear from the shop. But seriously: just one of those gorgeous necklaces will add the perfect touch to any outfit. I've listed some of my favorites below, but they really have tons of gorgeous stuff. Check them out. (All images property of Untamed Menagerie.)


wednesday wonderfulness

This is going to be short; I'm scrambling to get caught up on stuff this week. Also: I got to talk to the husband today for the first time since Friday! He'll be home soon! Yay!
Ok, that was longer than I thought. Mwah to all! Not much more happening this week, I think. I'm going to be busy celebrating my 5-year anniversary. (I KNOW! craziness, I say.)


self-portrait, again

project 52, week30

project 52, week 30 (Also: OH YES I JUST DID A SHADOW PHOTO. SO SUE ME.)
People tend to think I'm an extrovert, because I'm friendly and like to talk to people. But really, deep inside, I'm an introvert. I can only handle so many people before I want to crawl in a hole and take a nap.
So some days, the thought of getting a bunch of friends together and going to Punkin Chunkin and "having fun" just makes me tired. So on days like that I take my camera and myself and spend an hour being anonymous, hidden behind the lens.
And that reminds me why I don't do it more. For me, photography is about connection. The anonymity of hiding yields me nothing worth showing to anyone.
I need to remember that.


wednesday wonderfulness

Some fun, some DIY, some pretty. Have fun, lovelies! I'm in NYC tomorrow and friday for a photo expo. And then on Saturday, the last wedding of the year! So ready to be caught up, yo.
And that's probably enough to keep you going for a while...


to my sister on the day of her marriage

Or, what my toast would be if I could actually think instead of bawling like a baby.

I don't remember the day you were born. To me, you've always been there. I can't remember a day when you weren't a part of my life, my sidekick, the voice of reason when I was being silly, the giver of ideas when I was boring. I DO remember, though, that I learned to read before you did, and there would be times when you wanted to play and I refused. I was lost in a world with ann of green gables or the little house on the prairie, Eventually you learned to read and we would both retreat to our corners, lost in our books. Even now, 25 years later, when we see each other one of the first questions is "what have you read lately?" Normally for you it's something serious, grown up, about economics. For me? Not so much.

pageant barbie and vdoprincess

There was this one time, years ago, when you convinced me that if I put milk in a jar and shook it really hard it would taste like a milkshake. You lied. It tastes like foamy milk. And that is disgusting. There was another time when you ALMOST had me convinced that you were older and I was younger. Almost. I didn't quite fall for it, though. I didn't want to the younger one, so I was going to resist.

Little known fact: you are FREAKISHLY stubborn. Every fight or battle of wills that I can recall from when we were kids ends with you winning. One time we were fighting over who had to put away the wagon, and I was tired of giving in to you, so I flat out refused. That danged wagon sat in the driveway for THREE DAYS. I think one of the parents ended up putting it away?


Remember when we pretended that we were poor people? Our little pretend house was on the hillside next to the trash pile, and we used clamshells for our dishes. I don't know why we decided "playing poor" was a fun thing--don't most people pretend to be rich? But we did that, too. With our dressup clothes. Our LEGENDARY dressup collection. I blame mom for the fact that we're now all clotheshorses: we seriously had the best dress up collection of anyone in our ENTIRE homeschool co-op. As well as an entire shed in which to keep them. And when we weren't playing dressup with ourselves, we were using the skinniest of our baby dolls (no, barbies weren't allowed) and pieces of fabric draped and pinned and creating fashion shows like that. Fact: an actual baby dress can be folded and converted into quite an impressive empire-waist, off the shoulder gown for a smaller doll. I have no idea why I remember that, but I do.

And then we got older, and we put aside the dressup clothes. Well, sort of. I guess we just got less extravagant. We started playing "dress up and pretend this family is perfect, this life is perfect, this is what is expected of us." We were good at that, too. We didn't know it wasn't normal. Remember that conversation we had, in Oklahoma City, where one of us broached the thought: "Maybe it's not normal to spend your entire childhood worried that your mom is going to leave, knowing its a very real possibility. Maybe that's had a part in shaping who we are." We honestly, genuinely, had never considered that before.

It was less than a couple of years after that when we had the conversation that's written on my brain in which we both swore: "I would rather be single forever, then hurt anyone else that much." We were serious. All we saw out of marriage was great, great pain. And there were no rewards that we could see.

In the past couple of years we've watched guys come and go, we've seen the dating disasters (bridge jumping, anyone?), and I've heard you ask, in all sincerity: "what if I'm broken? What if I just can't love?" I promised you that you're not, that you're fine, that it's not you, it's them.

Throughout all of this you've remained of the most focused, motivated people I know. Despite the fact that no one encouraged you to, because "women didn't need it" you got your undergrad, earned your CFP, and start grad school next spring, all while working full-time running your own business. I am continually in awe of that.

I think that if there were one verse that, in my mind, encapsulates you, it's that one from Psalms: "Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? ...He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not...he that doeth these things shall never be moved." You've taken on incredible challenges that you didn't have to, and the stuck with them, because you're a woman of your word. Or maybe because you're stubborn. (see above.)

So it is not a small thing that you stood in front of us yesterday, pledging your life to this man, this James, this wookie. He knows you, your neuroses, your foibles, and your strengths, and he still loves you. Perhaps more incredibly, he knows your sisters and yet still loves you. Above all, he's convinced you that it's worth taking a chance on being hurt. Again. That much. For that, I salute him.
::my sister is married::
I love you, my dear.


project 52, week 28

project 52, week 28

I have my grandma's personality, they say. Because I'm always happy and smiley. I have my dad's eyes. I walk like my mom. But my laugh? My laugh is all my own.


in which I share my terrible taste in music

I'll freely admit to having the worst possible taste in music. There was a time when I actively sought out new and interesting artists, sharing finds with the alacrity of a zealot. Now, however, indie music has a place on my priority list somewhere above exercise and below dishwashing. So my already dubious preferences have received a healthy influx of the radio, and things are EVEN WORSE. With that exceptionally alluring intro, how could you not want, therefore, to know what it is I'm currently playing on an endless loop with my iPod? I'll be honest: much of it is rather techno-tinged, and quite upbeat. I need stuff that keeps me awake right now. And these songs make me bounce in my chair without tempting me to attempt singing along. So. Click on the top image if you want to download a copy of my current ear-candy, and let me know what you think.


wednesday wonderfulness, I'm too tired to think

Guys, right now I'm so tired that I just don't care how behind I am. I need to KEEP WORKING, but I can't seem to make myself do it. I was in exactly this place at this time last year, and I know that if I just keep going I'll get through it, but who knows how far behind I'll be by the time I manage it.
Anyway, here's what I have. Not a ton, will have to do.


in which I obsess over garland

I've started my Christmas shopping already (no, 95% handmade is NOT HAPPENING this year) and I'm trying to do a lot of it on Etsy. I keep running across amazing garland-inspired pieces that I look at and think "I could so make that." And even if I don't, fabric garland? Just so HAPPY! I'm wondering if I have time to integrate some into the decor for my sister's wedding this weekend.... STOP. STEP AWAY FROM THE SCISSORS. Ok. I'm alright now. :D
How sweet are these cards? I think they would just make fantastic little "just because" cards, too. (Without the front message, of course.) Also from AllieRuth: letterpressed handkerchiefs. I KNOW. My brain just exploded from the adorable, too.

Aiiie! This is the garland that started my obsession. I love the idea of using fabric--with finished edges--instead of paper, because it will last forEVah, and you can wash, iron, and generally love on it for years. Also from SparklePower: alphabet posters. I want. Now. Please.

I love the pale monochrome fluffiness of this garland. I think it would add a great layer of texture to any party setup. Also from HankandHunt: cupcake flags! Love. Pretty without being twee.

All images belong to the etsy shop owners. Please click on the images to go to the original listing. And do it: all three of these shops are adorable and deserve their own posts.


sometimes pop music just makes monday bettter

So this morning I'm pretty much looping the album that this song is from. It's the perfect mindless background to get a lot of work done.


self-portrait sunday

project 52, week 27

project 52, week 27
I don't have a story this week; my weekend has been too crazy. Wedding season is almost over, you guys! My sister is getting married less than a week from today (woo!) and then one more wedding and then...done. Until it all starts up again in the spring.

For now, you can see the circles under my eyes, we now know what I'll look like in 20 years. But it comes down to the same thing that always matters for me: LOOK AT THAT LIGHT.



wednesday wonderfulness

I should really count up how many volumes of this I've done! I know it's been a bunch, and for me, anyway, it's a sort of bookmarking feature. When I need to find something I know I loved, I can search my archives, and it usually turns up. So...yeah. I pretty much keep this blog for my own sake. So I can remember.
And that's all for now.



According to safari, these are my top twelve sites. I should be embarrassed by some of them, I think.
L-R from top: facebook, apple, twitter, scrabble help, mail, guilty pleasure, here, blogger, weather, collages, white house, two bright lights.

What are your top sites by amount of time actually spent, not what we THINK we spend?


beauty out of trash

I spent this weekend in a car, I swear. Left Friday morning at 7, got into Canton Ohio by 3, spent the evening with family/sourcing props for a photo shoot. Saturday morning we drove up to Cleveland, arriving by 8:30, spent the day shooting with the always-fantastic Attack Cat, headed back to Canton for a family birthday. Sunday we left by 6 am to make it back to the east coast in time for a family shoot. If you do the math, that's 16 hours of driving to spend 39 hours with family. Of that, a bunch more was spent in the car, but that's a whole different story.
ANYWAY. I'm not trying to make you feel sorry for me. (I'm firing the person in charge of scheduling soon, I promise.) I just want to explain a) why I was in Ohio b) why it was kinda a big deal for me to stop my car just to take a picture.
See, I'm always driving by these beautiful sights and I think "man, that's incredible. I wish I had my camera...oh wait! I do! But so-and-so is waiting for me..." Or my to-do list is epic, or I'm just TIRED. And so I let slip another perfect moment.
Saturday morning, as I was driving down the street in Cleveland, already 15 minutes later than I wanted to be, and we passed a huge parking lot enclosed by a very boring fence. But then we came to a section of fence that was...flowering. Normally I would say "Oh cool!" and keep driving. But I knew I didn't HAVE to be there for a little while longer, so I turned the car around and drove back.
When we got close to the scene of trees and earth that was woven into the fence, I was shocked and thrilled to discover it was all created out of trash. Plastic bags, cans, soda bottles, and leftover twist ties had been pressed into service to create a scene of color and life. So there I stood, the early morning sun streaming through blooms made out of refuse, snapping, trying to capture the incredible serendipity of that moment. Light. Crisp air. Trash. Redemption. Seeing things I'd never have noticed if I hadn't just stopped.
It crashed over me, and all I could do was click the lens and be grateful.


self-portrait sunday

project 52, week 26

project 52, week 26
(I'm halfway done! Can you believe it?)
There are some moments you know are momentous as they happen, and so you record them on your brain, remembering what you were wearing, how you wore your hair. There are others that are only important in retrospect, so you're lucky if you can pinpoint them at all.
I remember, back when I was just starting out in this photography thing, reading an article about how to build your business, and one of the points it made was the importance of referring to yourself as a photographer. If you don't take yourself seriously, the article said, no one else will. So I had business cards printed up with "Laura Dye, Photographer" on them. (They're the same ones I still use.) And tentatively, awkwardly, quaking on the inside, I began to introduce myself as a photographer.
"What do you do?"
"I'm a photographer."
It seems small, but it was a big deal, to me anyway.
The thing I don't remember is, in my mind, much more important: the day I first thought of myself as a photographer. I don't know when or how it happened, but somehow it did. I slipped from being someone who takes pretty pictures, an imposter with a shiny electronic toy to being, in my own mind, a photographer. I know my camera blindfolded, I can tell you how to properly expose a sunset AND a person, I know how to make you look like you jump like mike.
I don't know everything--not yet. I'm working on it, and it's a longlong way away. In fact, I now realize just how far away I am from where I want to be.
But I'm a photographer. Everything else? That's just gravy.


wednesday wonderfulness

First off, happy birthday to my sister, the lovely Porkchop! And after that...some good stuff!
Anyway, enjoy, lovelies! Another crazy week ahead, so posting will continue to be spotty.


over-the-knee boots for beginners

So yeah, I broke down and bought over the knee boots. And I love them. But they're a little tricky to wear without looking like a slut. So...it finally got cool enough here to bust out the layers, and I attempted to get them broken in. Fact: over the knee boots are WARM. And I love them.
black angora DKNY hat: thrifted
black tee: target
black Paper Denim and Cloth faux leather jacket: marshall's
dark wash "jeggings": Marshalls
black Guess boots: Shoes.com

Yep. I'm busting out the black again. :D


self portrait day

week 25

project 52, week 25
Everyone has at least one irrational fear, and many much more rational ones. My silly one is the fear that one day I'll become one of those stories you read about in the newspaper where their skin has grown into the couch. It's outlandish, I know, but every time I eat too much or exercise too little I think "I'm that much closer to being the 400 pound woman!"
My other fear is much more rational, although people think I'm being melodramatic. I'm afraid that one day I'll go crazy. You see, mental illness runs in my family. And most of the time I can just avoid thinking about it, but sometimes it forces itself to the forefront of my mind, and I realize what I can become.
I've told my husband that if I start slipping he's to drag me to the doctor and get me checked out.
For my part, I keep myself in check. I've seen the downward spiral of depression, seen the days spent in hiding, wanting to die, failing to eat. So my refusal to wear sweatpants, my insistence on makeup at all times? Those are my defenses, my way of making sure I'm still alive, I still care, I'm still in touch with reality. I'm afraid, deathly afraid, that to "let myself go" will pull the pins out, and my life will come screeching, sliding, crashing down around me.
And don't think I'm exaggerating. You've only got to face down a crazy person once, only had to have dishes thrown at you or clean up shaven hair once to know you don't want to be that. Ever. And you'll do whatever it takes not to become it.


wednesday wonderfulness

Some fun, some DIY, some pretty. Have fun, lovelies! I'm in NYC tomorrow and friday for a photo expo. And then on Saturday, the last wedding of the year! So ready to be caught up, yo.
And that's probably enough to keep you going for a while...


wednesday wonderfulness

Hmm. Seeing lots of style this week.
Ok, I'm peacing out. Trying to finish up some stuff before I head to Frederick MD to shoot a wedding this weekend.


self-portrait sunday

project 52, week 24

project 52, week 24
I'm going to cheat this week, and use a photo I didn't take myself. (This despite the fact that I'm sitting here in fake eyelashes and therefore really should drag out the camera.)
I don't dance. Ever. Unless I'm alone in my house with the music turned up. Every time I've attempted something to that effect bad things have happened usually involving awkward photos.
On the other hand, I have THE COOLEST JOB in the world. I take pictures of people on the happiest day of their lives. And in the process, I meet some really rad brides, grooms, bridesmaids, and parents. Yesterday's wedding was insanely chill, and so when, at the end of the night, the bridesmaids pulled me onto the floor and wanted me to dance with them, well, I did. Yep, I looked like a tard. We all did. And I loved every minute.
And when in 25 years I'm hobbled from wearing too many heels, when I'm old and responsible, I hope this is what I remember: dancing with abandon, and loving my life.


currently obsessing over: over-the-knee boots

I really want a new pair of boots, so I've been poking around online. And I'm currently loving some over the knee styles. I know they can be over the top, but I'm thinking with some jeggings tucked in and a tunic-style top, it would be awesome. I also love the idea of putting them demurely under a pencil skirt.

What do you all think? (As always, click images for information.)


self-portrait sunday

project 52, week 23

project 52, week 23
I have no hand-eye coordination. None at all. People think I'm exaggerating, and then they try to teach me to play volleyball/softball/basketball/any other kind of sport. (One summer the whole church tried to teach me to play softball. Nope, it didn't work.)
I spent many long hours as a teen trying to redeem myself, but it didn't work. Not a bit. I can't play the piano, I can't play any instrument, really.
But one thing I can do: I can bake. Pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecake, bread...I love it all. The stirring and measuring and leveling and fixing calms me, and the smells? Oh, the smells. Baking is for me an act of sharing, a sign of esteem, a reaching out. When I share baked goods, it's silly, but I feel like I'm sharing a little bit of myself. If I'm trying to make a friend, I bake them cookies. If I want to comfort someone, I bring them pie. If I want to make someone fall in love with me, I feed them cheesecake. (Kidding, I promise.)
And because of all this baking, my hands are covered in scars. My nails are short and stubby, and there is usually a burn or cut somewhere.
But despite all that, I don't mind my hands. For those scars are signs that my hands have loved and served. And what better way is there to live?


this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which growshigher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

There are only two things in this world that I know for sure:
One. Always take a sweater, because you can take it off if you have it, but you can't put it on if you don't.
Two. No matter what I do or say, no matter wether I fail or succeed, my sisters will always ALWAYS have my back.

Here's the thing. You know how you have those friends who you claim that if you had to hide a body they're the one I'd call? Well, I'd call Sarah. Not Joy, not at first. She would get a little worked up. But if I called Sarah she'd say "ok. Here's how we dissect it." And then we'd figure out how exactly to tell Joy, and once we got her into the picture, she'd help us figure out a cover story.

On the other hand, if I have to make a GIANT PRESENTATION or rewrite a resume, I call Joy. She's amazing at that stuff. Also at thinking of 47 other uses for [any random object you can think of]. (Fact: at one point we were trying to come up with a list of 100 uses for empty frappucino bottles. We were up to 67 before I lost it.)

And I call either of them when I'm sad and discouraged and generally can no longer face the world. They'll make me laugh or kick my butt into gear, whichever is required, actually. True story: when J and I moved back to the East Coast from Ohio, and I kind of wanted to get into photography but was overwhelmed/had no idea where to start, they sat me down and brainstormed for about an hour about how to start building my name. We came up with 10 things, and I did six of them. Three years and literally hundreds of thousands of photos later, I know that I wouldn't have thought of one of those without those two.

joie de vivre

They then proceeded to ask me regularly what I'd done that day, what pictures I'd taken, what shoots I'd planned. They posed for me, did makeup for me, shared their wardrobes, cheered when good things happened, and stormed about angrily when bad things did. Once, for about four months, we were at odds. I physically couldn't eat for days at a time. I'd get hungry, and then I'd remember: "oh, yeah. My sisters think I'm epically wrong and I don't agree" and my appetite would disappear.

more bunny!

We've always been partners in crime. We might not know whattheheck we're doing, but by golly, we're doing it together. Bus visitation, serving as camp counselors, wearing long skirts, talking the parents out of long skirts, watching unapproved movies on the sly, reinventing cullottes, walking ALL OVER CHICAGO, sneaking out of hq with pants hidden under skirts, learning how to highlight hair, learning how to apply makeup, learning how to talk to boys, learning how to buy jeans. Whatever we did, we did together. We failed together, we succeeded together, we cried together, and we cheered together.

About a month ago Joy moved two hours away, and now it's ridiculously hard to keep everyone updated on life, so we've resorted to long, newsy emails, recent editions of which include such ideas as crazyface, figgy compote, huzzah, and the phrase "guts in the face! It just doesn't get any better!"

This is why I love my sisters. I whine to them about the SHEER TIME CONSUMINGNESS of personal grooming and they assure me that as lovely as it sounds to be a hippie, give up showers, and wear patchouli to cover the smell, they will stage an intervention if required, and that it is not a Wise Life Choice. And then they turn around and discuss the recent primary election without a pause.

That poem I shared at the beginning? To me, it is my sisters. So when I started thinking about my next tattoo, that's what stuck in my head. They are the wonder that hold the stars apart for me. So on one side I have Leo (Joy) and on the other I have Libra (Sarah) the tattoo begins over my heart on my back.

I carry them with me. I carry them in my heart.


in which I play with film

I've been given access to a film camera, and I'm oh-so-slowly relearning how to shoot it.