I know it's early. I know it's Monday. I know that the market just started tanking and your 401K is probably exploding. I would love to share an cool quip about it all but I'm only 2/3 of the way through this giant cup of coffee so I'm not much help, either.
In the interest of us both having zero desire to do actual work for the next few minutes, I'm sharing with you some of my favorite shots from doing some product / stock / commercial photography over the past couple of days.
If you're looking to waste more time looking busy, here's a link to my art store: FINE ART AMERICA
and if you're in the advertising / media / commercial game, here's the link to my stock: GETTY iSTOCK
Both of which are constantly being updated.
If you are a company with product to photograph, hit my "about" tab, above, to send me a message on how I can do this for you, too.
Happy Monday, y'all!
You’re going to look at that tiny, precious, round face and you’re going to love that little bit of you with all that you have. I see you. I know that it’s not easy. I know that, right now, all that you wish for is a nap and a good shower.
Soon enough, that newborn cry will transition to a full-fledged wail or scream and you’ll wish for when they can talk so that they can tell you what’s wrong. You so badly want to fix it. Then, when they start talking, you’ll pray for a time when it won’t be just “no!”, or for their speech to not be coupled with a terroristic display in aisle 4 of the grocers.
You’ll want for them to be more self-sufficient. Wouldn’t it be great? They can make their own snack or get a ride home with a friend. That would be a big help. I know.
There will be prayers to get them driving safely and hopes to get them growing into mature adults that can have a life of their own - one where they can sustain themselves and your worry can be just a little bit less. Your life with them will be littered with hopes and dreams and these little wishes along the way.
My baby is leaving me - and, someday, yours will, too… which is why I’m writing this to you, dear mama.
I want you to know that you’ll have the same little wishes along the way that I had. It’s human. It’s natural.
However, while you wish for their growth, pray that you always remember the steps along the way. Make it a point to laugh - a lot. Those are the moments you’ll reflect on most. Take part in their everything - as much as you can. You’re going to be tired. That’s true.. but, you’ll get your chance for rest later on when they start to grow away from you and into themselves.
Instead of wishing they’ll grow, you’ll wish for remembering when they did. You’re going to wish that you could just go back and do something different. You’re going to pray you did some good along the way, for their sake. You’re going to cry.
So, sweet, new mama… with your tired eyes and disheveled hair - with the spit up on your shirt and the unrecognized hole in your jeans… Take a breath and don’t be so quick to wish away this time. It will pass swiftly enough on its own and the moment is what needs to be saved.
Wouldn't you know it? We've made it to Friday! That magical day that arrives bearing gifts of happiness and hope. I love you Friday.
Another great thing about it being Friday is that I have some Friday Finds to share. These are some tidbits of information I've got to share from my own world or stuff I found from other folks that is pretty cool.
Let's do this.
Well, that fabulous glide of a dude's blade can be yours for the low price of $6 per month. Yeah. It's true! I didn't believe it either. My husband's so convinced that he's trading those high priced blades and joining up, too. I'm sold. That's for sure.
You can check them out HERE
Here are some goodies I'm playing with right now:
My thought was a little different.
All of my menopause ladies - holla'! This one's for us.
Every day I deal with, at least, one dozen hot flashes. Hot flashes are jerks. Just FYI.
My young ladies - you don't know.. but you will. Don't worry. You'll get your turn.
For those of us in the midst of it - you may like this as much as I.
So - back to my hot flashes...
A good dozen per day and, contrary to popular belief, we're not just feeling a "little warm". These lovely lady life happenings come with nausea, dizziness, a racing heart, unbearable interior heat and - super bonus - sweat.
That bit-of-glisten that happens wreaks havoc on my folicles and the product staying power, as well. I can make a great blowout happen (on occasion) and then, five minutes later, be bummed because the glistening hot flash hydrated my scalp and made my hair fall. UGH.
Well, I figured that these beauties made to pull out extraneous junk from my 'do could also take some of that glisten and re-purpose the pop in my top.
I was right!
Oh happy day!
Just when I had completed a heated moment with myself (um, what?), I lifted my hair and gave some bursts of Batiste to my crown and then shook out the excess. It, not only, soaked up some moisture but also put some texture at the roots to give it that lift back.
If you can snag a travel size of this for your purse, you may find it to be something quite helpful in your life, too. Just be sure to hold the can at a distance - don't spray right onto the scalp - and don't put a whole bunch in there or you'll end up with some powder/sweat cake baking on your crown. Gross but true.
Just spritz and shake.
That's all of the Friday finds I have for you right now. Be sure to check in later for updates to the news feeds and stories on the web that you can enjoy.
Be safe. Be well.
According to my handy-dandy internet-based list of all sorts of random holidays, I see that it's World Photography Day! So - in honor of said day, I'm going to share some of my favorite images from my portfolio. These, in no particular order, have a part to it that I'm particularly fond of.
"Found on Elm Street"
As the title says, I found this Elm Street. Walking through my neighborhood, this lonely pink flower was in the midst of mud and construction. Perched atop it was a simple, white butterfly. It's one of those moments that you just happen upon and the organic nature of it (ha! Nature!) is really what makes me happy when I see it.
The Ballpark in Arlington
I love the ballpark. I know it's had many corporate names over the years but it will always be The Ballpark in Arlington to me. It's a beautiful structure and we had just endured weeks of raining and flooding so it was a rare glimpse into a greener north Texas. The expansive Texas sky blankets with the rolling clouds and it sets the mood of the whole photo.
While moments of temporary insanity may cause me to want to spend a lot of time in the country, ultimately - there's no place like home... My community of Deep Ellum is nestled just to the east side of downtown Dallas, Texas. It's an arts and entertainment district filled with shops and music venues and places to enjoy an evening out. I love our community and I often photograph around here.
Speaking of downtown Dallas: I am a sucker for a sunset and a pretty skyline.
Lightning over White Rock Lake - Dallas
This is one of my most favorite shots I've taken to date. I think it will continue to be a top favorite for years to come.
It took several weeks of attempts to get this photograph. During the monsoon-like spring that we had, I would venture out to the same location that looked out over White Rock Lake. If you look to the base of the far left bolt, those are the lights of downtown Dallas.
This night was a particularly electric one with a mass amount of lightning and thunder passing through the Metroplex. My husband and I drove over to the location after a dinner out and I promised to take only a few minutes. I went to the location with just my camera and tripod. It took a 25 second shutter and I grabbed this beauty. I was so pleased. I took a couple extra "safety shots" and started to pack up when the new round of rain arrived. I had hidden my camera under my shirt and cradled it like a football. As I was heading out of cover, the lightning had moved to right over me and was flashing so brightly that I freaked and started to run the truck where my husband was - only 12 feet away.
Unfortunately, all of that rain had left a very muddy ground below me and my foot slipped, my feet flew from under me and I landed - left shoulder first - into exposed tree roots. OUCH!
Sure enough - I broke my collar bone. Which goes to show you that I'll save the shot over my own body. Insanity.
True story - just a few weeks later, while photographing a show at The Bomb Factory, I was chatting with a guy from the Dallas Morning News who happened to capture this exact same bolt; but, his shot was from underneath it in downtown Dallas. We found that revelation to be quite funny to us. #PhotoNerds
I suppose that is all for today - easy peasy. The changing of the weather has me day dreaming about the upcoming boot season!
Over the years, he and I have had many conversations about the business because our industries are often similar in the things that we deal with. Not only that, but I’m surrounded by tattoo artists in his shop family and their sister shop.
All that to say: I have had many conversations with people about tattoos, tattoo artistry, the process and even lifestyle questions - so much so that I figured it was worthy of a blog post.
Here are some tips and some of the most common things I have answered or explained over the years - Maybe it answers your question, too. (all photos of tattoos are his work)
Have some ideas: There is a happy medium between the flash (the stuff usually on the walls of a shop or the stock items) and the full custom. Come in with some thoughts on things you like, symbols or pictures that inspire you and also be ready to talk about how that can be customized and drawn for you.
If you come in and say “I don’t know - what do you think?”, be prepared for a witty or sarcastic answer. As good as they are, they don’t read minds so come with some input. You’re commissioning this artist - be a part of the process.
Please don’t ask them to reproduce the exact same custom tattoo done by another artist. I wouldn’t ask Rembrandt to reproduce Michelangelo or Picasso to paint an El Greco. If you need it exactly the same as the tattoo you found online then go to the original tattoo artist because that is their work and their style.
When it comes to trends, they know them. They’re more than aware of what’s hot because they’re doing them all of the time. If you’re coming in with the rib script, infinity, heart, anchor, feather, feather-to-birds or any other popular idea, they’ve done it and a lot of it. You’re not unique. If you want something truly you, put time and effort into making a custom piece (read above) to make it so. While they’re glad to do the hot trends - if that’s truly what you want - don’t be afraid to think outside of “The Miley” or “The Rhianna”.
Tattooing is very different than drawing on paper. The skin changes during the tattoo process. They will have to account for many things from your physical condition, your skin’s condition, swelling, bleeding, your skin tone, body type, placement, artistic integrity, value and more. They will know if that tattoo will look good on the spot you’re thinking of. Be open to that opinion.
Not only will you be asked to come back when you’re sober (they really don’t like having to kick people out for these shenanigans) but it’s not healthy to get tattooed while drunk. You’re more likely to bleed more, pass out or get sick - or just be a pain in the butt - if you’re drunk. Just don’t. A reputable artist won’t work with you in this condition.
Please leave your child / children at home
They may be the most precious, sweet, kind, patient child in the world but this is a different environment and your tattoo needs to be done well and without a lot of getting up and chasing of babies. Also, the medical barriers (as previously stated) are compromised by sticky fingers and would require an entire breakdown, sanitation and re-set. It’s time consuming and completely frustrating for everyone involved. By then, your skin has changed and is already swollen and a bevy of breaks would - honestly - make the rest hurt worse.
Quotes - I can’t quote. I get this one a lot, too.
I’ll get messages from people asking “How much do you think your husband would charge for ____?”
I’m not Yoko. I don’t manage his business. I wouldn’t quote for him anymore than he would try to quote my work for me. He’s got 20 years of happy clients for a reason. If you want to know the cost, have that conversation with the artist.
There are a lot of blogs and articles out there that are talking of etiquette or what to expect with tattoos as the craft grows in popularity so, I’m sure, you’ve read a lot of these, before but I felt it was worthy of a post, here, too.
I hope this helps you in your tattoo adventures!
Kari Lehtonen approved! LOL
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you don't see anywhere else!
Saturday shenanigans continued that evening to my neighborhood of Deep Ellum and to Three Links for the 45 show with The Assassins, Seis Pistols and Hello Lover.
This show was a real community show filled with many of my Deep Ellum family. The 45 story is a rough one but, ultimately, this show was an end result - a long-coming triumph of the will. It was truly heartwarming to be a part of it - from making the collages that ended up being the free CDs and posters to being able to photograph the event - I'm very honored by the chance to contribute in some way.
I rounded it all out on Sunday with some crafty work - some photo edits - some future writing plans; overall, it was crazy busy but a whole lot of fun. This grand adventure of life is quite enjoyable when we're living it.
PS - I need this kimono top in my life:
1. The product. So, unless you bought moisturizer but were hoping for cooking spray, this is pretty self explanatory.
2. The weight of the packaging and the first of many symbols I get asked about - the "weird looking e". That "e" means that it conforms to requirements of the European Union in size / weight. That says that it's approximately 30 ml and confirmed to be so. It's letting you know that you got what you paid for.
3. Ingredients - Always listed in order of most to least, the first ingredient is what piece has the largest percentage, decreasing as you read down the list.
4. Instructions - These are helpful if you want to, actually, use the product correctly.
5. Where the product was made.
6. Who the product is made by.
7. The little open jar - this little symbol tells you that your product expires that many months (hence the usage of the letter "M") after opening.
8. This is one of the many symbols used around the world to denote a recyclable package.
9. The cautionary tale... this is the DON'T DO THIS part of the label. Be sure to pay attention to this for too many YouTube tragedies have happened when ignored.
10. This guy is pointing at a book because he wants you to read more (Facebook scrolling doesn't count) and he wants you to do so with the enclosed pamphlet or leaflet... should you require more information on the product.
Knowledge is power, folks. Use it wisely.
Truth is: the more ladies that I speak with.. my over 40 brethren... the more I am troubled that many are like me and they, too, feel drastically underrepresented in advertising and in the beauty business culture. In all actuality - in life, overall, we're often mocked or ignored.
If you look around the world of fashion or beauty - or do a search for beauty bloggers - you'll find that most of them are young and cater to young women. Makeup tutorials and haul reviews on YouTube are rich with the twenty-something who share another smokey eye or they talk through their mounds of products that, may be great for them, but that same smokey eye or matte lip will make me look sickly or like I'm just "another older woman who's trying too hard".
Check it out -
Not only are we ladies still alive and kicking and fully female after 40, we make up 62% of the over 40 population. Do you hear that beauty companies?
There are, reportedly, 78 MILLION of us over-40 ladies walking around. Even more importantly to you advertisers, we 78 million ladies influence over 80% of the purchasing power out there.
Think about it - much like in my own life, women over 40 have children who are older or grown and moving on. These women (like me) work a lot and provide a good amount of work outside and inside of the home. We make up the lion's share of volunteers and philanthropists. We are also rather vocal in increasingly diverse ways, using social media, political platforms and show business to be heard.
Many of us have been divorced and no longer have to answer to why we choose to spend our discretionary income the way that we do and - truth be told - we don't care to. We're categorically more sure in who we are and what we want. There's even scientific studies on that.
I know it to be true for me.
Without a doubt, I am a more whole, organic me at this age than I have ever been in years before. I tell my young lady friends that the eyes they see with at 40 are very different from the eyes they see with at 20. We've lived through some tough times and we've come out of all of it more confident and a lot less timid with our opinions than before.
So why are there so few of us representing beauty that works for us?
I mean - real beauty talk. Not just the anti-aging or "here's how you can look like you're 20" stuff - but the "hey, I'm 40 and it's totally okay. Here's a tip or product for us."
I believe that companies have a real fear of merging "beauty" with "over 40" without it being all about anti-aging. I'm here to tell you that it's okay and, even, welcomed.
Maybe they believe that we all want to be 20 and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Neither myself or any of my over 40 lady friends wish to be 20 again. We just want to know what works for us which is why I do what I can to be transparent with my routines or products I try and I won't skip around facts like how it fares with a bad hot flash day or crying through your youngest child moving out.
Are companies getting a little better? Absolutely.
We still have a ways to go, though.
We're all fully aware of our age. We're also fully aware of the changes that have happened and will happen.
No gimmicks. No need to come at us with "first, take these shots and do this surgery to get a younger face then we can talk on how to makeup said face."
We don't need to be patronized or condescended to.
Most of all, don't ignore us. The trends show that we won't let you.
“I'm not opposed to aging - even though society is kinder on men than women when it comes to getting old. How can I look at aging as the enemy? It happens whether I like it or not and no one is set apart from growing old; it comes to us all. Youth passes from everyone, so why deny it? I'm proud of my age. I'm proud that I've survived this planet for as long as I have, and should I end up withered, wrinkled and with a lifetime of great wisdom, I'll trade the few years of youth for the sophistication of a great mind...for however long it lasts.” - Donna Lynn Hope
Just months before, I was diagnosed with stage 2b, grade 3, Triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma. A rather angry beast, the tumor in my left breast had grown over just those few, short summer months in 2011. By the time I was diagnosed, it had reached 3 centimeters in size and I had often joked that the ultrasound had a view of it that resembled a seal wearing a hat. In actuality, the whole situation was far from funny.
It certainly had zero resemblance to humor lying on that floor.
I had just begun the second half of chemotherapy which came with a drug called Taxol. The first 2 months of chemotherapy delivered “The Red Devil” - known in the medical world as Adriamycin - a drug that is worthy of its nickname. Coupled with Cytoxan, that cocktail made up the main mix which was administered along with a whole host of other steroids, biological stimulators and more.
By this point in my care, I had not tasted a meal in two months because everything tasted like chemicals and metal. I had lost my hair and the ability to go up a flight of stairs without becoming completely winded and struggling. The layers of skin on my fingers and my feet was sloughing off so much that I could peel it. The shots used to combat the blood cell loss by the drugs made every inch of my body hurt to where a light touch had me in tears. My stomach - my heart - my kidneys - my lungs… everything was in the battle and they were all fighting their own piece of it.
I was tired of the pain. I was sick of feeling like my body was being ripped and torn and stabbed in every way. I was completely over the inexplicable and random bleeding from places without notice. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I knew that this was just the first step in what would be a process that would take the better part of a full year of my life.
Truth be told, I was dead long before cancer. Before cancer (BC), I was the consummate “workaholic”. A true “Type A” on a mission to outwork myself time and again. I slept with a blackberry by my head. I could take calls from a boss at 4:00 o’clock in the morning - and did. I let my constant drive keep me from a life of balance or even a life of enjoyment. “Letting go” was not in my vocabulary. I was an old dog with no interest in new tricks.
It was in the midst of pain, however, that I made a new promise to myself. I promised myself that if I lived through all of this… if I were to, legitimately, make it to the end and still be living, that I would live my life with a different set of eyes.
I vowed to live authentically, to love endlessly and openly and to always hold my soul in high esteem. Even if I had not passed away in treatment, I’d die someday and what I drove, what I wore or what my business card said my identity was would make no difference, then.
The great question I had to answer was: “What am I doing all of this fighting for?” and it was my answer to myself that pushes me to this day.
Why fight for life if we refuse to live it?
So, I shunned my corporate attire and I marched forth into an industry I’ve always loved from afar. I ask “why not?” a lot more often than I ask “why?” and I tell those that I love that I do feel as such - for there is a magic to the words when there’s a voice carrying them.
Every day that I wake I do my best to have no regrets when I sleep. I don’t apologize for my self care, even if it means saying “no” to someone else. I fight for my craft and I no longer conform to expectations other than my own and I encourage us all to do the same.
There’s a real beauty in all of this. A beauty that we can all understand.
As you wake for your own day and fight through your own life’s battles - through all of the pain - through all of the hurt… the ugliness and the awfulness… there is beauty to be seen. Ask yourself the same question I did: “What are you doing all of your fighting for?”
My mission is to not only see the beauty but to also share it. Whether it is art at a gallery or the beauty of humanity on the streets around me… it is there. It’s in the full face of a child and the paper-thin skin of a grandmother’s touch. It can be found in the flower and the weeds. It’s in a mid-cancer self portrait.
We have the power to power-down and go see the three dimensional world around us. We can touch the hand of a stranger and make a friend beyond the inflated highlight reel of Facebook. Let your ears ring from live music. Draw cartoons on the sidewalk with chalk. Sit on a patio and soak up the sounds around you. Grab a glass of wine with that long-lost friend. Forgive.
This new life that I have - this second chance - will surely be a short one so I am taking this opportunity to share this truth: our lives and the ability to live them is the most valuable thing we all have. As long as we’re breathing, we have the ability to do more than just hope. We can DO.
There’s beauty everywhere and my only prayer is that I get to live just long enough to see a lot of it. I want to soak it all up while I can and I hope to encourage others to do the same.
Well, that.. and maybe the ability to photograph a drive down Route 66.
Dallas-based, licensed beauty professional, Sony photographer / Photojournalist, visual artist, wife, mom, breast cancer survivor... tired.