self-portrait tuesday?

project 52, week 20
Project 52, week 20.
No story this week, sorry. I haven't space in my brain to come up with something interesting. :/ But OHMYWORD I look like my mother.


in which I reminisce

I've been sorting through things, trying to get rid of junk and stuff I don't need. Masses of fabric are getting the boot, and I wish I had time to post them here to share with you all, but I don't. Anyway, the thing that stuck out to me was the disk I found full of photos from my sister's sixteenth birthday. I looked through them and first I was appalled at the image quality, then I laughed at the hair, and then I felt a sob that wanted to bubble up through my throat as I remembered that weekend, that was both golden and black.
Self portrait day will return, I promise. But for right now I'm going to remember.
When Porkchop turned 16 I was living and working in Oklahoma City. My big present that weekend was surprising her by flying home for the weekend. I seem to remember that she really was surprised; we'd been planning her birthday party for weeks and very elaborate invitations had been sent out. The theme was new york, so everyone was to wear black and we gave them all makeovers. Because don't you know: that's new york.

There was a trip to the Grands that weekend, and I don't know why I took my laptop along, but I assume it was to show grandma photos or footage or something from some trip. I don't know, but I love her expression here. Also please note that I'm told I look like her. And that makes me happy.

For some reason that weekend we acquired a tiara and proceeded to make the birthday girl wear it. All. Weekend. Long. We also made her scoot down the playplace slide while we were on bus visitation and I love this photo. She looks so happy. We were happy, right then. We were on visitation, hanging out, being silly, reunited as the Three Musketeers.

I don't remember the whole story on this one, I just know that we referred to Joy as Mrs. pacman for a while. So when we saw this we had to take a stupid picture.

I don't know why Fred is shirtless here, but LOOK HOW TINY HE IS. The rest of the photos from this bit are of us in our pajamas, running around acting like dorks, excited for life, glad to be together.

These two are from the actual party. There's plenty more blackmail running around where these two came from, but the significance of the second one is that she's actually eating. At the time that was kinda of a big deal, as I recall. Please note: all these photos are labeled "Fiona." We really called her that for a while.

This was taken on the actual day of her birthday. We had another dress and the crappy digital camera and we did a mini photoshoot. The white dress is one I picked up for super cheap at a store in ohio and it fit her so she had to wear it. (It's since been worn to at least two formals.) And the photo is lame, but she looks...so...happy. About ten minutes after I took this my dad came outside to tell us that my mom was moving out. And with that, although I think we knew it was coming, my world, at least, kind of crumbled. All I could think was "Really? You're leaving four of your five children, two of which are still being homeschooled by you, to go "take care" of the oldest child, the one who's lived on her own for years now?"
Now, years later, I know there was much more to it than that. But right then it felt like a slap in the face.

This was taken at my grandparents, and things were bad. The parentals were fighting, there was tension, we were looking at the end, I think we knew, and yet hoped we weren't. At least I was. This photo was so awkward; I wanted nothing less than to pose together, trying to smile, trying to pretend it was all ok. A couple days later I flew back to oklahoma city and started packing up my life, heading home to my family for good. A few weeks later I was home. Weeks after that my mom moved back in before she left for the last time.
There's no point to this post, not really. I just wanted to remember who we were, in the bad times and the good. And I love this last picture most of all, because no matter what, I always, always have my sisters. My parents? Heck. They come and go. Friends change. But my sisters are there. No matter what.


things that make me happy today

  • This morning I was cc'd on an email from one of my brides that included the line "The photographer Laura, who in another life would probably be my best friend (she is just that awesome)" and I kind of melted. I love my brides, yo. They rock.
  • I made one of these for le hubs this morning. It's cooling on the stove as I type, and I desperately want to go faceplant in it.
  • I'm currently loving this song so much. It makes me want to dance around in polka dots. Seriously. Just try listening without tapping your toes.
  • I'm currently reading this, and I'm really enjoying it. It's not a hard read at all, and I love the idea that everyone has their own Personal Legend.
  • currently watching Satisfaction, which is not family friendly by any stretch of the imagination. But it is rather intriguing, and I think the character development is fantastic.
So. What makes you happy today?


wednesday wonderfulness

No apparent theme this week. I probably shouldn't be posting this because I should be editing or sleeping, but how else am I supposed to keep track of awesomeness? I apologize in advance if my posts get a little wedding-centric. For one, that's the industry I work in. For two, MY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED. So I'm maybe a little bit obsessed right now.
I think that's all for now. Hopefully soon to come: a random update on my life as it's been lately. (short answer: insane. Long answer: ridiculous/crazy/awesome/busy/chaotic/INSANE.)


self-portrait sunday

project 52, week 19

I'm a makeup girl. I went through this phase when I was about 14 when I refused to wear it because it "took too much time." (I also wore plaid shirts and pulled my waist-length hair back ALL THE TIME, but that's another story.) But once I started, I haven't gone back.
Growing up in a houseful of girls, my dad didn't want us all running around looking like floozies, so there was one simple rule: we could wear as much makeup as we wanted, as long as he couldn't tell we had it on. Being a guy, it took A LOT before he noticed, but that rule kept me from many of the blue-eyeshadow-related mishaps that befall so many teens. (I had plenty of plaid shirts to make up for it.) Anyway, after I started wearing makeup I swiftly learned to apply it in a very subtle manner, and although I wear it a little more dramatically now, I've not stopped wearing it since. Not only do I not go out in public without makeup, I usually wear it around the house. So now it's my mask, my armor, my defense against the world.
But sometimes, when it's the day after shooting a wedding, and I'm kicking around my apartment, tackling laundry and grocery shopping and the cleaning that gets ignored during the week, it somehow feels right to have a clean-scrubbed face.
But this is the closest I'm getting to posting makeup-free photos. For now.


self-portrait sunday: IT'S BACK, YO

project 52, week 18

You have to understand: in the world where I grew up, "feminist" was an insult. Women were to be keepers at home, raising children, canning food, etc. It was expected that I wouldn't go to college, but would instead live at home until I got married, at which point I would begin to produce grandchildren. (This idea lasted until I was about 20, and, with no husband in sight at that advanced age, my dad concluded I'd better get some education or he'd be stuck with the care and feeding of me FOREVER.)
If this sounds quaint, archaic, and even charming: it was. Sort of. I spent much of my teen years convinced I'd been born into the wrong era, based, of course, on the clothes. I'm not designed to wear most of what was popular in the nineties and aughties. The New Look, on the other hand, pretty much works for me. Fifties clothing? It *fits* me. Paging through old fashion magazines filled me with longing to be back in that era, when men were men, women were ladies, and people wore hats.
Since I was raised with kind of fifties mentality for gender roles, it doesn't surprise me that I chose that era. (It was a toss-up between that and WWII, but all that rationing? Eh.) Phyllis Schlafly, with her tireless campaigning against the Equal Rights Amendment (because I mean really: why should women want to get the same pay as men when doing the same work??) was considered a heroine, and her monthly newsletters were duly read and digested.
But despite all that, I was taught to think for myself, to reason out ideas, to question authority, and above all: if I worked hard enough I could achieve anything I wanted to. So somehow, at some point, and I'm not even sure how, I turned into a feminist, firmly convinced that it's my responsibility to use my brain to the best of its ability, in or out of the home. I've become ever so grateful that because of the work of others, I have the choice of staying home and having babies, working outside the home, running my own business. I can vote. I can own property. These are not small matters.
And what does all this have to do with clothes? Well, I've changed my mind. Don't get me wrong: I still love my vintage (the dress in the picture is from the fifties, and I've had it for a good 8 years. LOVE.), but I also now look at the pictures from that era with a different eye. Everyone looked the same. Yes, they all looked beautiful, but almost inevitably, everyone wore the same style of dress, similar hats, the same suit. And today? Today if I want to go out in a fifties dress with sixties glasses, eighties earrings, and new shoes, I can. Yes, people will think I look funny, but no sillier than the guy with his pants falling off.
I guess what it comes down to is: I have choices now. I wouldn't trade my time in history for anything.

::inspiring me::

Loving the "In Their Garden" editorial in the latest issue of Small Magazine. There's so much beautiful stuff there, though. Flip through the whole thing.


wedding centerpiece inspiration

First off: I'm back, yo! Internets are now connected at our house, and I am LOVING this. Haven't gotten any work done for the past day and a half because I'm getting caught up on my RSS feeds.
Ok, in other news. So I'm sure I've mentioned it, but my sister is getting married in just a couple of months, and I've convinced her to delegate the reception decoration to Porkchop and me. Right now in between debating what exactly we're going to do for the invitations, we're trying to decide what to do for centerpieces. I've pulled all the following off Martha Stewart Weddings, specifically this slideshow. The reception is going to be at this very cool old colonial style hotel, with lots of natural light, so we want something simple. I'm currently loving all these. Sure we won't end up with any of them, but it's a start.

I'm also loving these tutorials. Tissue flowers, paper magnolias, crepe flowers.
Consider yourselves warned: MUCH WEDDING TALK for the next few weeks.


my favorite things, music edition

For some reason the other day I started thinking about the movie High Fidelity which led me in turn to top five lists which landed me on the subject of personal top five favorite albums of all time. I'm not claiming these are the best music ever written, or even close to it. These are just the albums that I can listen to over and over and lose myself in every single time. I think a lot of it is because they have good memories attached to them, but maybe also because some of them are just good albums. Ok. Two of them. Two are ok and one is just crap. BUT AWESOME CRAP. :D
  • The Beautiful Letdown (Switchfoot)
    This is the first album where Switchfoot made it big, but that wasn't a big deal to me at the time; this was one of the albums we first purchased when we were breaking away from our "all classical all the time" rules, and at the time I think "Gone" was my favorite song. Now I can still listen to it over and over again: the guitar leads, the strong melodies, and above all, the lyrics. I haven't really kept up with Switchfoot since then, and I've yet to see them in concert (I've heard they're really good), but all it takes is the introductory chords of "Dare you to move" and I'm gone, transported to a place all my own.
    Current favorite lyrics "I want to see miracles, see the world change/Wrestled the angel, for more than a name/For more than a feeling/For more than a cause/Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with you"
  • The Sign (Ace of Base)
    Yes, this is crap. But I love it so! You've no idea. The first time I listened to it I was still firmly controlled by my parents' "no rock music" rules, and the thrill of listening to such forbidden music while speeding madly along with my (considered rebellious and heathenish) older sister in her little red BMW, well, that was living. We would WAVE OUT THE SUN ROOF, YO. And we looked QUITE sexy in our shapeless jumpers. Ok, I'll stop with the sarcasm now. That first time around it was actually popular, and I felt very hip to actually have a cultural reference I could make. And then my older sister moved out and I reformed my rebellious ways and I was once again consumed with following the rules that would make me godly. I'd almost forgotten it until a few years later, when we'd dropped a bunch of the rules that we'd grown up with and I was actually DATING. A BOY. THAT I MAY HAVE KISSED. I know. Le scandale! Anyway, I was hanging out with him/his incredibly cool family one day and someone flipped on this CD, and we were all dancing and laughing around the kitchen. I couldn't dance then, still can't dance, but they were trying to show me, and now hearing snippets of this album fill me with this sense of possibility: like if I just try hard enough I can jump over the moon.
    Favorite lyrics: "Voulez-vous danser avec moi/Voulez-vous dancer avec moi se soir"
  • Genius Loves Company (Ray Charles)
    This is the first CD that I ever bought from Starbucks, and I don't even remember why I did. I just know that I purchased it, loved it, and listened to it non-stop for the next few months. I still love it, and I don't get tired of any of the songs. But the one that makes my heart melt every single time is "Here we go again" with Norah Jones. It's ridiculous, really, because the song is about a man treating his woman badly. But it's just so beautiful and can't help getting my voice stuck in my throat.
    Favorite lyrics: "Fever when you touch me/fever when you hold me tight"
  • The Last Kiss (soundtrack)
    Fact: this movie is kind of depressing and lame: it's Zach Braff running around being a douche by cheating on his pregnant girlfriend and expecting us to sympathize. But the soundtrack? Oh, it's lovely. I've the albums that a lot of these songs came from, and none of them are as perfect as the rise and fall of this album. Hearing it transports me back to Ohio, to missing my sisters, to the rejection and criticism I faced there, and to drowning myself in "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap, letting her electronic harmonies sweep over me, washing away thoughts of others and their expectations and my failure to live up to them.
    Favorite lyrics: "Spin around again and rub my eyes/this can't be happening"
  • The Joshua Tree (U2)
    I don't even know when I first heard parts of this album; it's so woven through my consciousness that I can't peel it away. "Where the Streets have no Name" is one of my all-time favorite songs, filling me as it does with the longing for another place. Lately, though, I'm loving "Running to Stand Still." But it doesn't matter which song it is: the songs consume me, drawing me in, the ache in Bono's voice echoing my certainty that I was not meant for this time and place.
So. That's my maudlin and very personal rambling. What are your top five favorite albums of all time?



So all the work I put into shooting my first fashion editorial has paid off; the online magazine in which it is being featured is now up! Check it out here, and make sure you look at the back cover; that's my favorite image of all. And yes, almost all that clothing came from my closet.


self portrait MONday

project 52, week 17

There are days when I wake up and wish I lived in a time when it was still possible to discover new lands, sail across new seas, see things that have never been seen by a human before. But we can't, not any more. So instead I create new worlds inside my head, and try to put them in front of my camera. I try to see old and ordinary worlds in new ways. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But it's always fun to try.


in which we attempt to eat our own body weight two or three times a day

I don't know if I've mentioned it here on the blog, but the last of the sisters is getting married this fall. I'm tremendously happy for her, not least because it means a chance to do all sorts of delightfully wedding-y things that haven't been done with the last two sisters because, well, because. So we decided to have one last girly weekend together and create shenanigans.
Sunday afternoon we drove up to NYC, where we planned to spend two nights and just do whatever the heck we felt like doing. Well, I say we drove. We drove to Princeton Junction and took the train in. I hatehate driving in the city, and also hate paying for parking, so I just avoid it like the plague. Anyway, this post is quite possibly going to get very long, so I'm just warning you now: look away if you're hungry. We ate. A lot.
Sunday night after we got in and cleaned up we went to Ali Baba's for dinner. Instead of ordering entrees though, we just got a bunch of apps and shared them. Um, yum. There was this insanely good preparation of leeks in olive oil that I really need to figure out.

So. Funny story. It's been a while since I've gotten to hang out with the two sisters without males around, and I forget how disruptive it is, apparently. We all just look so much alike, and we all have GIANT COW EYES, so it's just eyecatching. It doesn't help either that we normally wear dresses and look exceptionally feminine. So we're at dinner at this restaurant, sitting on the roof, enjoying this perfect evening (did I mention that the weather was just gorgeous? In the eighties. Lovely!) and we are the only unattached females in the place; everyone else was Turkish families. Which is a good sign if you're looking for delicious foods, but was quite hilarious when six or seven different males waited on us throughout the course of the evening. So when we went to leave, Porkchop had reapplied lipstick, and she used a corner of the paper covering the table to blot it. Jjoyful, feeling puckish, ripped off the paper and stuck it in with our check. As we're walking out, one of the waiters comes scuttling up to us, waving the scrap of paper. "Who is this intended for????" She pointed at one guy at random, and we quickly exited the building. Good times, indeed.
After that we headed over to Kyotofu for dessert; they have THE BEST BROWNIES IN THE WORLD. I am not lying. I have a serious addiction problem with these things. As does Porkchop. And then because we are lame we were asleep in our delightfully comfy bed by like 11. I KNOW. We fail. Also we are all old nerds.


Monday morning we stopped at Manhattan Espresso for breakfast; it was right across from our hotel, and they had delicious croissants and crepes. Also their americanos were perfect, and that is how I measure a coffee shop. :D
We then spent the morning wandering about the city, gradually making our way toward Union Square. Yes, we walked a LOT. We had every intention of eating everything in sight, so we figured exercise wouldn't kill us. Besides, we stopped whenever we saw something interesting. I'll spare you all the boring side trips, but we did stop at a fantastic hat shop, and I completely want to try to rock a bowler now. There was also a couple of churches in there somewhere.

We got hungryish as we were passing Bryant Park, so we stopped to grab a sandwich from the 'wichcraft kiosk there. We're all avid followers of Top Chef, so it was kinda fun to try the flavors dreamed up by Tom Collichio.

The tuna sandwich we split was ok; we loved the preserved lemons and capers. We did not love the bread: it was just so crusty you couldn't bite through it.

Next stop was the New York Public Library. Ok, now here's where it gets kind of embarrassing. See, we are all major MAJOR nerds. We love books. Love them. Even more than we love shoes. Seriously. I would wear practical shoes for the rest of my life before I'd stop reading. So anyway, we stopped at the main branch of the library for a bit, because I knew that les sisters would enjoy the architecture, as well seeing the original Winnie the Pooh doll that is on display in the Children's Department. We were all raised on the poetry of AA Milne and can still recite much of it, so that was fun. But here's the embarrassing part: we then sat down in the children's department and read for about 15 minutes. Because we were surrounded by books: we couldn't NOT. ::waves nerd flag::

Significance of this photo: when she was about five, Porkchop went through a phase where she only answered to Genevieve. Which is the dog from the Madeline books. I KNOW. But I still love her.


This was outside a church we walked past; it's a visual representation of the prayers of the church. Yellow is for an american killed, blue is for an iraqi killed, and green is for the prayers. I think. Will check on that. It was beautiful, though.
Ok, so then we met up with a good friend of mine who is also my food enabler; whenever I go to the city he takes me to new places to try ethnic foods I would never know to order without him. Well, this time we got to go to Momofuko Noodle Bar, which is a place I've wanted to try for a while, but there's never been time. (Also he claims their pork buns are overrated.)

Well, I don't know about overrated. I liked them. I did think some of their noodles were a little salty, but I wasn't complaining. Loved the space and service.
He then took us to a Vietnamese dessert place, and I'm sorry but I have no idea what the name of it was. My favorite was the vietnamese coffee ice cream, but there were some really interesting desserts.

This was the avocado parfait; it was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

This was a deconstructed cheesecake. Which was awesome.

This is getting really long, so I'll try to shorten it. Further food highlights included drinks at the Blue Bar (total old man place, excellent drinks, all dark and clubby, no bros. Fantastic).

There was also some pho at two am. We were staving, K?

Tuesday before we left we were detirmined to have some really good gelato, so I looked it up on Serious Eats, and they suggested Borne Confections. Good call. We tried the chocolate hazelnut, the strawberry, and the limoncello. All were delicious.

There was also a final stop at Argosy Books, for just a couple of minutes. I think we could get lost in that place.

Stuff I didn't get pictures of:
::shoe shopping. We found Joy's wedding shoes! (We think. But they are fantastic, trust me on this one.) I also bought a pair of shoes that will show up in pictures soon, I'm sure. Leopard print wedges. Le sisters claim they're trashy; I love them too much to care.
::Soba noodles for lunch before we left on Tuesday. Delicious, and not badly priced for that area.
::The slow, almost reverent round of applause we received from a group of construction workers as we walked by. That was a first for all of us.
::Karaoke. A first for Porkchop; she always claimed she'd only do it if she were in a city where she didn't know anyone AND with us girls. Both conditions fulfilled, she did it, and now, well, there's a video on her phone of me singing Kary Perry. Oh. Goodness.
:: Macarons from La Masion du Chocolat. Delicious, and we ate them before I remembered to take a picture.
::Browsing at the Strand. Porkchop and I both ended up buying old textbooks because, well, they looked interesting. NERD ALERT.
I've posted all the photos that I'm sharing here; there are a few I didn't post, mainly of architectural details that I enjoyed. So having made it to the end of this VERY long and wordy post, I'll relapse into silence and get some work done.