Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ahh, the beach... I love California...

I love the beach. I mean, seriously, it's got to be one of the best parts about California. My favorite beach for just lounging around in sand is still Zuma Beach in Malibu, but I always love visiting Venice Beach (aka Dogtown), when I get the chance.

My sister and I headed down to Dogtown because of two reasons: 1) We both love the beach, and 2) We heard there was a really awesome Empanadas place down there and had a hinkerin'... ;o)

While there, I met this awesome artist names Kevin Morgan. He's not an artist in the traditional sense - he doesn't paint or scult for some gallery - but he is an artist in the purest sense of the word. He makes art because something in him moves him so much he can't help but create. I was lucky enough to chat with him and get the story behind his "Angel Stones".

He told me that they were in memorium for the 89 people that died right there on the boardwalk in Dogtown between 1977 and 2003 (he also said that over 30 have died since then). Let me point something out though before I go any further. No matter what they may look like, these stones aren't glued, wired, or posted with steel through the center - they are balanced. When I asked Kevin how he does this, he simply replied "Very carefully."

He also said that he holds a sort of memorial service for the people that have died (from drugs, assault, heart attack, etc.) right there around the stones every year. He's been setting them up since 2003. They get knocked down and they aren't always there to view, but he always comes back and sets them up again eventually.

It was so cool, and so moving, to get close to these things and know so much thought and beauty rested there. Kevin Morgan is the kind of artist I have always wanted to be. I want my work to mean something - to me even if it means nothing to anyone else. Kevin is inspiring. Hats off to you, my friend.

I also got a few other shots from Dogtown that I hoped would kind of encompass my experience there. The feel of that place is so different. I love it because the people there, though considered "taboo" in a lot of ways by a lot of people in the mainstream, are the nicest there are. They my "march to the beat of their own drum" but they are beautiful and uniquely cool. Anyway, I hope you enjoy a few of my shots from the lazy day. By the way, that's my cute sister in the super cute pink top and the uber cute teal purse. :o) Thanks for taking me, YaYa. Sorry for calling you that in public... ;-)


Friday, January 26, 2007

One of my "HEROES"...

With the popularity of the show "HEROES", I thought I'd mention a hero of mine. Meet Emily Johnston. I don't think she knows that I think of her as one of my heroes, but I do. ;o)

Emily was a roommate of mine in college for 2 years and taught me a lot about life. I am privileged to say she was one of my bridesmaids when I got married in Nov. '05. I've always been impressed and inspired by her since I first met her and the motivation hasn't ended. I got to hang out with her for a few hours last week and was so excited. I think I pretty much turn into a gelatinous mass around her sometimes, but I really was so excited to see her and hear about her life. She's fearless.

Let me tell you a little bit about this girl. She has spent a lot of time (A LOT) serving in India, Cambodia, Thailand, etc. (that's her in Guatemala on the right) in some of the scariest and saddest places on earth - in the death houses. I don't know if that's the official term, but it's where people with AIDS, typhus, tuberculosis, leprosy, etc. go to die. She volunteers to bring comfort to these people, regardless of the risk to her own body.

Her work overseas and in missions has always been impressive and motivational to me (my 10 day stint in Thailand, though nothing compared to her time there, was largely inspired by her), but not as much as her newest "mission".

Emily has relocated herself, on her own, to northern California to take a job at a university heading up their missions department. I like traveling, but the thought of moving 10 hours away from everyone I know for an indefinite period of time just plain scares me.

I was thinking about her a lot today and I just wanted to share my appreciation for her in a little more public forum (sorry Em). So here's to Em-J (I'm raising my coffee to you!)!

Miss you girl.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

All right. It's officially official.

I just tried out my Nike+ shoes with the iPod Nano sync chip. Pardon my 1990's lingo, but it's the bomb!!! I actually have SmartShoes. There are 2 computers in my shoes.

If you're not familiar with this, it's the coolest little device. Check out Nikeplus.com for info and to check out what this bad boy does! I felt like the hippest cat in the gym (a very important feeling, I'm sure...) even though I probably looked like a total nerd. No problem. I'm used to that. :o) And the best part is I ran almost twice as hard as I usually do on the treadmill thanks to my kickin' tunes and this little guy that kept me motivated, informed on how I was doing, and moving. Great shoes. Great invention.

Sooooo cool.


Monday, January 15, 2007

This book rocks my world. :o)

This book is the newest in a collection I am amassing. It is so amazing too! It's called Citizen Marketers and I hope will be one more step in the simplification of my marketing scheme I mentioned before. If you're into marketing or small business (or, frankly, big business too), this is such an great tool. The authors are right on the money and have several very convincing examples as well.

Check it out!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cool tools

So one of the things I'm super excited about since setting it up is my online galleries. Before going with Printroom (which rocks), I was uploading my own galleries one file at a time (I know, I know, I'm lame). Now, I have software provided by Printroom (free) and can FTP my files and synchronize to the website easier than pie.

I love pie.

Part of my mission since starting this business is to keep things simple - simple for me and simple for my clients. Printroom is just one way of doing that. I hope to continue to simplify many of the different aspects of my business as well. I hope to upgrade and improve my main website, and simplify my marketing strategy.

I think it brings up a kind of important skill for me. I think it's time to simplify a lot of things. Like the decor of my home office. This Monday, I think I'll scale down my ambitious interior designing... ;-)


Thursday, January 11, 2007

So cool! Thanks to whoever nominated me!

So I open up my mail today and see that I've received an interesting letter from the Cambridge "Who's Who" people.

When I read their letter, I was excited to learn that they would like to include me in their "Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women" Honors Edition. They'll be including biographies of the country's most accomplished women. What an honor to be stuck in with that group!

Anyway, I don't know who nominated me, but thanks. :o) I think even Kipper is proud.


It's just around the corner.

My first wedding of the year is just around the corner on February 3rd. I'm so excited to get back into that scene - I've missed it since last November.

It causes me to reflect on what my goals for this Wedding Season are. I am including a new service this year and am excited to make it a part of all my wedding packages. Thanks to the genius of David Jay, and Open Source Photo, I am including the Show It Fast slideshows at my weddings. There's almost nothing cooler than the Bride and Groom getting to see their own photos at their own wedding reception from that day! I can't wait to include this at every wedding I shoot.

I hope to pay it forward a little bit more this time around. I hope to take more 2nd Shooters along with me. Afterall, the kindness of the lovely and talented Jessica Verma (she shot my wedding too) has much to do with my present success. If she hadn't taken me on as a second shooter when I was new to the business, I wouldn't have gained nearly the experience that I have.

All in all, I'm anxious and relieved to start up the 2007 Wedding Season. I think it's going to be a good year.


I love my job.

Sometimes, I'm reminded just how much I love my job. Today I did a shoot with a friend who is performing her Junior Recital at APU on March 21 (at 8:00pm - sorry I got this wrong the first time around, Mishka).

As I spent time convincing her to lay down in the middle of active train tracks (actually, she was pretty game and it didn't take too much convincing), it started to dawn on me. I have the best job in the world.

The more time I've spent pursuing photography, the more I've realized that there is nothing better than getting to play for a living. I don't have to work every again. I just get to play. My work, though I take it very seriously, is so much fun, that I rarely think of it as work.

Is there anything cooler? I hope that you take some time out to think on what you really love in life. Life is worth taking seriously, obviously I believe that. But at the same time, life is so worth taking seriously, it's worth pursuing what you love as well. I know that saying to "follow your dreams" is really cliche, but, in a way, I mean it. One day I finally talked myself into following my heart and pursuing my passion. And I haven't looked back.

This time of the year is a great time to reflect. For the first time ever, I did NOT make a New Year's Resolution. This year, I'm just going to take life as it comes - I'll make "resolutions" along the way.

So if I can encourage you to do anything, it would be to simplify your life enough to figure out what your passion is. Even if it's for one day. And pursue it. With everything you have.

Thanks for stopping by the blog, by the way. It's just my little corner of the world. :0) Or, as the French might have it, Brienne-le-Chateau.