The Shave is complete! Read about the experience and check out the video from WRAL TV.Read More
Read about why I’m planning to shave my head on Aug 21st!Read More
Yeah, you know...that time? You don't remember? Oh - that's because my mind was still blown that I was shooting in London!. Earlier this week, I had a two day shoot for SiriusDecisions, which has previously invited me to shoot in San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville and soon-to-be Austin. At the end of the shoot, I tacked on an extra day to enjoy London with my hubby. A dear friend recommended Dukes Bar for their insane classic martini and it did not disappoint.
A little back story is that Dave and I love a good martini. We have attempted more vodka and gin tastings than we can count with the goal of perfecting the martini. And then there was Dukes.
They start with frozen martini glasses. And frozen vodka. Then there is the absolutely beautiful cart they present in front of you. And the rest is, well...the picture tells the story. Prepare for your mouth to water:
As I have settled into Raleigh over the last four months, I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to slow down life. My fear in moving cross-country in search of a more simple existence was that we create our own hamster wheels on which to run. We are 100% responsible for our own speed, so why would I change as a person just by changing geography?
It turns out, in my one-woman-perfectly-scientific-experiment, geography does indeed play a significant factor. My conclusion? There are simply more hours in the day in North Carolina. Okay, that may not be the scientific answer, but the pace of life would have you question it. Yes, we still work, groceries still have to be purchased and school supplies procured, but I'm not rushed. I have time to take the kids to the pool, or come home after school and just play. The culture isn't one of laziness, but it is one that appreciates the simplicity of enjoying where you are in the moment. I (typically!) don't feel like I'm doing one activity just to rush to the next and that is unbelievably refreshing.
Could this mindset be transferred to San Francisco? Absolutely. But I don't think San Francisco envies this behavior, the same way Raleigh doesn't seem to envy the busy city life. They are exclusively wonderful in their own environments with neither being better or worse.
As I edited the photo at the top of this page, I was reminded how much my artistic expression has expanded since moving here simply by giving myself the space to explore, to notice, and to experiment without feeling rushed or guilty that I should be doing something else. I'm not writing this to talk anyone into moving to Raleigh nor to suggest everyone else is going about life all wrong if your pace is faster than my own. I'm simply reflecting on how my life has become richer by slowing down and noticing what I desire for this chapter of life. I hope it inspires you to explore something you've been putting off, whether it be taking a class, playing a sport, building a fort with your kids or surprising your spouse with a spontaneous act of adoration.
And now...my zen must come to a pause as I battle the school pick-up line. Some things, as it turns out, are the same from coast-to-coast. :)
Seven years ago (pre-kids), Dave and I loved taking the bus around the city on Friday nights. We would pack a greyhound roadie, hoodies and a camera, then take the bus from our Marina apartment through the city to a dive bar in another 'hood. We have a giant magnetic chalkboard that has been a staple in our various apartments for the last ten years, and we'd print our street photos in various sizes and pin them up by a magnet to the chalkboard. When friends came over, they were welcome to take photos home with them. It felt good to share the images we created and it also forced us to produce more images to replace the ever-changing art landscape of this chalkboard.
Fast-forward seven years when it costs $100 to have a babysitter for four or five hours out on the town and we simply haven't invested in this type of night since becoming parents. We've wanted to...we've talked about it...but it just seemed so frivolous to spend that kind of money on a night of doing "nothing".
Last night we found ourselves having a babysitter but no plans. With just a month left in SF until we move to Raleigh, we each brought our cameras with us, packed a roadie and our hoodies, and off we went.
The results? Ummm, rusty. At best.
You'd think that since I shoot for a living, I'd easily swoop into this freedom of shooting anything and everything my eyes see, without regard to what a client may want to see. And yet, I found myself frozen. I was full of self-doubts of what would make an interesting photo, hesitating to click the shutter for fear of not creating anything amazing.
What I learned from last night is: it's time to get weird. It's time to start shooting for the fun of shooting and not for the known outcome. You see with families, it's a known outcome. Toddlers, throw your best tantrums: I got this. Newborns, just try not to fall asleep: I'm clever with a swaddle wrap. I can tell a family's story and bring out their very best each and every time. That is the difference between an amateur and a pro. An amateur can get a great shot or two on any given day, but a pro MUST produce that same result regardless of the day.
Yet here I found myself with a night of freedom in San Francisco and realized I am an amateur once again.
More to follow, but I am EXCITED to explore this side of my creativity more. To shoot for the fun of it and to shoot for ME.
Out of 125 shots taken, the four keepers from last night:
Ahhh, busy season. For a family photographer, that is the time between September and November (and even December) when families want to capture back-to-school photos, Fall photos and of course - holiday card photos! Over the last six years of juggling mommyhood + my photography business, this three-month span has kicked my butt each time. Each year, I have ended in tears (ummm, remember the hotel incident of 2014??). And each year, I look at the business as a whole and get a better game plan for the next year. For this year, I am happy to report that I/we have been preparing for months. The team and I have been planning strategies, adjusting the workflow to be the most efficient, and finding small ways for me to delegate some of the tasks necessary to running the business. This included my one month sabbatical in July when I took the kids to the east coast to visit family, and didn't even pack my camera. I knew I would need that time to recharge, so taking a break from being behind the lens was just what the doctor (or in this case, my husband and BBP teammates) ordered. The next item to tackle was time management. My therapist (Nova Goldberg...woman extraordinaire who saves my sanity each week by helping me to balance and re-balance my life...everyone should know Nova or have a Nova in their lives) is great about pushing me to ask for what I need from my family and also to keep me in check with what is feasible to accomplish in a finite amount of time. For example, I love picking up my kids from school each day at 3:00. They are happy, we go on an adventure, I give them a treat and, in general, I get to be "fun mommy". BUT - that means my work day has to end by 2:45pm which really only gives me a 6 hour work day. And 6 hours simply isn't enough to run my full-time business. So Nova takes away the sugar-coating and tells me to buck up and accept that I can't be the afterschool mom for these short three months. As she pointed out a year ago to me, my options are:
- "You can work part-time and have part time care.
- You can work full-time and have full-time care.
- What you may not do is work full-time and have part-time care. You tried that and you landed yourself in a puddle of tears with a depleted system where you couldn't be there for anyone, including your kids."
And she is right. I, like many working parents, want to be in all places at all times. I want to be the classroom volunteer and the afternoon playdate host and the "fun mommy"...but I also respect that this business is part of me. It is something that identifies who I am and helps me grow into who I want to be.
Almost a year ago, I stopped working weekends. Almost 10 months into this change, I have to say it has been a game-changer for me. I have my life back. For this Fall, the biggest adjustment is that I have pre-scheduled three "workcations" for Sept, Oct and Nov. This is where I check into a hotel (I am currently writing this from Hotel Nikko in downtown SF...just 2.4 miles from my apartment...but a world away from my little bugaboos that require a lot more attention than I can offer at this moment.), and edit my heart out. By being away from home and the studio, I am given the creative space needed to recharge, relax, and get...things...done!
I am sharing this post because I know I'm not alone in feeling like the juggling act can be overwhelming at times. I am sharing this because, once I asked for what I needed to "fill my bucket", I was able to become refreshed and move forward with becoming my best self once again. I am sharing this so that other parents can have the idea that the "impossible" (checking into a hotel...in my own city...WHAT?!) can be possible if you look at it creatively and ask for help.
So let's raise a glass to becoming our best selves, one day at a time. And when I finish my shoots on November 13th (yes, I extended it...I'm a softie that way!), I look forward to delivering my final images for 2015 and providing the best captured memories of each and every one of your families. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me this gift of letting me into your lives. Delivering galleries (and videos!) to my clients and receiving their reactions is the reason I do what I do. Your kids keep me fresh, keep me creative, and keep me striving to be better.
Sending love from the Nikko,
As our AppleTV images were rotating through the other night, I realized it's been several months since I've taken photos of the kids. We had a free morning so we headed to Crissy Field to enjoy the grass, the beach, and the overcast (i.e. perfect!) day. Here are a few of my bugaboos:
Yes, Lily is my very own babygirl... She turns 6 months next week and I just want to eat her up! I am of course completely unbiased, but she is such an easy baby that I can't help but boast as to how adorable, smiley, happy, wonderful she is. Every chubby inch of her!
My hubby and I met when we were 19 years old at the beginning of our freshman year at Boston College. Yep, 19. I'm now 34 and still so completely head-over-heels in love with my hubby it makes my heart sing! Although I love being with Dave alone (we have a standing Saturday date-night that I look forward to all week), I also adore seeing him as a Dad. We have never been present-people. Or rather I should say we have never been purchased present people. When we were in college, we would make each other things for Christmas and take each other places for our birthdays. In fact, the first "big" trip I took Dave on was to none other than San Francisco! I think we were 20 years old when we flew here from Boston...I remember being a nervous wreck to ask his parents if we could go together (and I'm sure they giggled at my nerves).
Anyways, I mention this because for Father's Day this year I decided to collaborate with our 2.5 year old son, Cal, to make something special for Daddy Dave. Enjoy!