photo credit henry + mac
we got our preview from the amazing photographers. you can see more here. xo
i have been soaking up all of your wonderful feedback and putting some wheels into motion. it was exactly what i was hoping to find out: what makes you stop in here, what you love, and what you could do without (or completely dislike as some cases may be! haha!).
i was not looking for love or people gushing about my minuscule space here, but thanks just the same for any love you sent my way. i don't think there can ever be enough love and good vibes out there. i put that out there because i care about your thoughts.
i do know that i have remained genuine and sincere here. maybe not using as many words (because i don't write as often) but with photographs. this teeny tiny visual of my life almost encompasses my life as a whole. it's an accurate representation of our lives, as anyone who knows us in real life would agree to.
and i love how you all wanted me to just do this for myself, and not think of others. but honestly, i don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to give to others. by giving, we also receive in ways we might have never expected. and having made real and lasting connections with some of you, that is a gift in itself.
mark and i have discussed all of this for months now. he loves my space here, although rarely visits. he says he already lives it and that is wonderful enough. but he too has seen the benefits of connections and new friends, all because of this space. he is known and loved by more people than he thought was possible, and feels very grateful and fortunate.
there will always be haters; people who want nothing more than to bring you down. for whatever reason, i don't know. i prefer to build people up. we're all in this life thing together you know. we are all different and lead different lives. we may take bits and pieces from someone else's and make it our own. we may use someone we look up to and find inspiring as a motivation for our own life. it's what makes the world go round. that's why i share here. if you are rooted in jealously and hate, you will breed it in your life. like getting stuck in a bottomless hole. if you are rooted in love, acceptance, and compassion, your life will reflect that. it's all a choice. i choose love.
it is indeed time to move on from this space, but only because this chapter has ended. as someone so eloquently put it "a chapter has ended, but not the whole book." and that's exactly what it is. this space will morph into a new space in the near future. a space that you can choose to visit, or decide it's not to your liking.
i am a photographer. i document the world through my camera lens. i am not vivian maier who chose to lock up her work behind an attic door. i choose to share, because that's what i feel life is all about. what i gathered from most of you was that you stop here for the images; the calmness. and that is exactly what i love to do.
so that's what i will do; create a peaceful space full of visual treats in all forms. a collective space for the three of us to share together, because i am not just bluebirdbaby anymore. i am one of three.
thank you for being here, and please continue to check back for what's next...xo
*i'm closing the comments to this post, but feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch!*
(photos from a very windy beach trip the day before our wedding)
oh, where to start? change. yup, there's been a lot. our wedding was wonderful and unbelievably perfect thanks to some talented friends of ours. full of so much love it almost made my heart burst. i kept it off this space because it felt almost sacred. like just for us. it wasn't intentional, just a choice i made unconciously, but for good reason i suppose.
i fully intended to shut this blog down after our big day. things are changing, life is moving forward in almost a fast forward motion and it's hard to keep up with all of the wonderfulness. i remain authentic and genuine in this space, but i suppose i have felt limited because, really...90% of our life is, well, for us. not for here, not for anyone but our family of three.
somehow, after many ups and downs and navigating through some pretty tough times, i have come out on top. i have cultivated the life i have always wanted. i am happy, content, grateful, fortunate, successful, and loved. i marvel at my life and a moment never goes by without being grateful for everything.
i started this space seven years ago. i am now 30 years old, not 23. you must all know that your 20's are a time of great growth. you set the foundation for the rest of your life in your 20's. a very small portion of my life's journey has been documented here; the ups and downs and shifts and changes. i have lost readers and gained others. and if anyone thinks that i should be the same person i was when i was 23, well...you are reading the wrong blog and getting to know the wrong person. i am all about growth. i live my life with courage and am not afraid to jump in and learn from it. when i am 40, i will be completely different from the 30 year old me. it's just how i roll; i'm only interested in evolving.
i am not bluebirdbaby anymore. i outgrew that long ago and knew it. this space has been a gift and has nurtured me, supported me, i've met many incredible people because of it, but i have never wanted to turn it into something insincere. i post pictures because i am a photographer. i post pictures because i love shooting and it's what i do. i write a little here and there because sometimes i have thoughts worth sharing. but my life is not full of struggle and heartache and bad days right now. and it's also not full of epiphanies and larger than life moments either. it's just normal. for the first time in my life i am just happy and content, and things are mellow and easy.
so that comes down to a pretty mundane space here. or what i think it has transformed into for anybody reading. i do this for YOU. not me anymore. i do it because i have had countless people write me thanking me, or saying i've even saved their lives. and that is an amazing thing that pushes me to keep going. but going towards what?
for a few months now i had full intentions of blogging about our wedding, with a big ol' goodbye and thank you for your support. i mean, one can only blog for so long...right?! so i told the little one, and her response? near tears with a "oh please don't mama! i LOVE bluebirdbaby!" hmmm...ok. rethink. reevaluate. what do i want? what do i need?
and then i thought of you all. what do you want? what do you need? i have a lot to give, i really do. but maybe it's not what you want. so then why would i be doing it in the first place?
i guess this is like giving YOU the power to decide which direction this space heads. quit it? change it? keep going as is (which seems just not what any of us need)?
i am not perfect, nor do i need my life to "appear" that way either (which was never my intention). i am not afraid of being different or stepping outside the box, or being that blogger that, well...just put it all out there for better or worse. i never presume to know what it's like to walk in somebody else's shoes, i do not judge, i live out of kindness and acceptance. that's me and how i've always been.
so what will it be? i'm letting go of everything. it's up to you.
10 random things:
how about you? will you play too?
we were very social yesterday, visiting new and old friends all day. we got back at a ridiculously late time (let's just say it was almost the next day) and collapsed into bed. mark likes to sleep late and i'm usually up early staring at the ceiling, listening to his breathing, and daydreaming about all the things i want to accomplish in a day.
today was one of those mornings. when we ventured downstairs to start coffee (for him) and tea (for me) we sat on the couch reading the new Selby book and making more plans for the house. we have many projects coming up...big projects. they are exciting and it's fun to dream up how we want things to look and actually make it happen.
then we ate a delicious breakfast of omelettes stuffed with fresh kale, mushroom sauteed in butter, homemade pesto, and feta cheese. afterwards we spent the better part of the morning hanging some new pieces on the walls. i was excited to print and hang my first photograph (one from NYC) and have it on our wall. the little one thinks it's pretty swell.
now he's working on wedding stuff while i work on editing. it's hard to believe the day is almost over...i've only crossed off three things out of my to-do list of 10.
the red came out great, by the way. almost like it's always been there...
what did your sunday morning look like?
i woke up yesterday with an intense need to cut my hair. i've wanted a pixie cut my whole life, but never had the courage. i called up my hairdresser (who was out due to surgery!) and got a slot with someone else, went in and chopped it all off. i love it. my hair darkens so much in the winter and she basically cut off my last highlights remaining from last summer. so it's darker, it's much shorter, and i LOVE it. it will bleach out a lot this summer which will be fun.
and all afternoon i got, "you look like mia farrow's twin!" and yea...i kinda do.
we're off to a place that is basically in canada for the next week on a shoot. i'll try to sneak in a post here and there! but i hope you all have a fabulous week!
well, i went. i'm back. and i survived.
i spoke at a big floral conference trying to teach 100 florists how to be their own photographers. trying to condense 6 week of lessons (my e-ecourse!) into an hour talk was challenging. but i did it. and i was nervous as heck, but had some amazing woman rescue me and give me a pep talk and took me out for a glass of wine, and i was ready to go. you must check out her website and if you are in the DC area and ever need a florist, she's your gal. instant friends we were. she's just that awesome and so invested and so caring...you won't be disappointed.
what can i say? i'm from maine. for the most part, we live our lives simply and our energies are a bit mellow, relaxed, and a bit like, "whatever." our biggest worry is shoveling and heating costs and wondering if our summer will last longer than two months. but NYC and that energy? holy shit! i thought i would go there never wanting to leave, but guess what? i LOVE maine. i love our home. i love all of it. it's really good to get out once in a while, but coming home is the best.
i left mark home to take care of the house and animals and i realized just how much i value his presence. sure, can i fly to NYC and navigate the city and sit at a bar and have dinner alone? yea, i can. but it is SO not the same without him. we are such a team! we have so much fun! everything i did i kept thinking i wanted to show him, but he wasn't there. so we're going to go back real soon with the little one.
so it was a valuable experience all around. i met new people, made new friends, met up with an awesome blog buddy and took photos together, saw new things, ate good food, drank far too much espresso, walked at least 80 blocks, sat in airports for too long, completely made a fool out of myself not realizing that to order a glass of wine at an airport you needed to use an ipad and figure out how to swipe your card (and i leave a tip for who exactly? the ipad?!), texted the little one FAR too many pictures of the city because i missed her so much, and spent much time texting mark about all the cool things i was seeing that i wish he was too...yea, that was NYC.
and here is my small visual experience. thanks to a blog pal, i was able to see some of the better sites of Chelsea...
i know most people may long for weekends, but i adore the weekdays. the somewhat predictable routine and how all of our activities fit so nicely into the time allotted. my work day must come to an end at a reasonable hour, instead of the long days and nights i am used to otherwise.
i like how homework is always after school with a snack, then it's time to practice violin. i like how there is creative play or art before dinner and one of them inevitably puts on either Thelonius Monk or Charles Mingus while i start cooking. she sets the table and helps light the candles and then we sit to eat, all together.
during cleanup, she usually dances and begs for more play time. but it's bath and bed. a couple of stories, snuggles, and then we fall asleep to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.
what do you prefer? weekdays or weekends?
Happy New Year everyone! More to come, but I just wanted to announce the winner of a spot in the Eyes Open E-course:
My goal for this year is...to make time for myself and for my inner artist. I recently started working full-time to pay for my son's college education (a blessing I am privileged to do...but it sure does put a damper on the "me" time :) I have always been a creative person...when I was four I wanted to "be an artist" when I grew up. I was quickly told that "artist's don't make any money...why don't you be a secretary?" So...I didn't pursue it...even though I knew deep down that it was the right thing to do...for me. So now here I am...mid life...not living my heart's desire. I have to tell you, it makes me SO HAPPY to read about your daughter's endeavors, and how you encourage them...and give her a place to be an artist. It is SO important...as you can see by what I did NOT do based on what was told to me at the age of four. It sticks with you...the positive and the negative. I believe your little girl will grow up to be her authentic self.
Anyway...there's my life story (Hi. Nice to meet you. lol)...and the reason I'd love to win this e-course...maybe it'll help me jump start my waning creativity...get me back to ME.
Congrats Michelle! Can't wait to have you a part of this course! I'll send you an e-mail!
i already have 2 pages in my journal full of goals for 2014. i'm excited to push forward in every area of my life, creating opportunities and manifesting even more of what we want our lives to be like. this is only the beginning; this house, this community, the work i'm doing now...our life is just starting and there is so much more to come.
it is exciting and so very motivating to think of it all, and know that it is all up to me to make it happen.
we wish you the most for 2014 and hope that all your dreams come true!
lately we have been quite busy. giant snowstorms, ice storms, nutcracker rehearsals, school holiday concerts, christmas shopping and wrapping and baking and crafting, trying to keep warm despite the 50 degree inside temps, work and modeling, running from one after school activity to the next...you know how it is. life. a busy life.
but with many things slowing down and others things speeding up, we are finding time to enjoy the holiday season without getting too overwhelmed. the shopping is officially done and we are now planning our christmas menu (lasagna wins!) and gearing up for time with family.
here are some other things happening lately:
what has been happening lately in your life? what are your holiday plans?!
with the little one at her papa's on the weekends, we take the time to catch up what we can't quite fit in during the school week. we typically choose somewhere to go and explore for a day, sometimes meeting clients too or joining friends for food and drinks.
this weekend we wandered around portland and brunswick. i dropped off a bunch of clothes at my favorite little resale shop and we proceeded to try the espresso at every coffee shop on the way to the water. we were a little bit energetic by the afternoon!
it was such a lovely day and felt so good to get out and about. being around other people really recharges me for a week of work ahead.
mark took a bunch of photos of me, and i of him. this is one of my all-time favorite outfits. the total outfit, from the shoes up cost me $38!
what's your favorite oufit?!
over the weekend i finally experienced my first day off in months. i had a full sunday (minus 2 hours of work!) to clean the house, stock it full of groceries, rearrange some furniture which felt so refreshing, set up the new living room furniture, and cook.
we lounged around in the morning, eating bacon and eggs and espresso in bed while reading. then read some more on the couch, planned our weekly menu and headed to town.
we tidied up the yard a bit more for winter and i started cooking. we were happy to welcome a dinner guest, so i made chicken with a caper, olive, tomato, and basil salsa along with delicata squash baked with a balsamic reduction. dessert was an apple cake topped with french vanilla ice cream and drizzled with maple syrup.
the evening ended around the new stove where we all got cozy and warm before heading to bed.
it was just enough to re-energize me for a full work week ahead.
what did you do this weekend?
we have settled into our school year rythym big time. which means that the little one is here a solid five nights and then with her father on the weekends. she's doing so well and loves the routine of it all, but it does mean our chance to do anything together is few and far between.
so a couple of fridays ago, she had a teacher workshop day and we had the whole day to ourselves. just the two of us. and boy...did we have fun. we lounged about in the morning and then took off for an afternoon of hiking. we went to a mountain i've been hiking every year since i was three. we brought a little picnic lunch to the top, stopped to play on the playground at the bottom, and just had so much fun together!
then i took her out shopping for new school clothes. she doesn't grow very quickly, and she's been wearing the same clothes for what seems like three years now! but she had a wee little growth spurt, which meant new pants were in order! we grabbed a chai latte and i let her lead the way. she has good taste, that one...
both of us were so very grateful for that time together, and it's a day that i will always remember. i can't wait for the next one!
i received an e-mail over the weekend from a sweet reader who asked if i would post about how i went from "point a to c", enduring hardships and remaining upbeat along the way. i thought about her request for a while before replying. i find that while i remain completely true and open here, i do shy away from certain things. i tend to consider where my readers are coming from; some may be struggling, some may be in the best time of their lives, some may be looking for a career shift or a life shift, some may be finding love and others may be losing it. it's a fine balance for me to consider all of these things when writing, and choosing what i will and will not share.
i've had a whole dialogue on the Facebook group for this space about this very post. so many people are waiting for it! so many people can't wait to read the thousands of words that follow, and all i can say is...thank you. thank you for being here and if these words can help just one person see things in a different light, then i've done my job.
there's a subtle line between seemingly "bragging" about your happiness and just being extremely grateful for it. and i think that's where i get tripped up in a post like this. my current life and my happiness have not come after an easy life, or just by luck. it has arrived because of faith, determination, hard work, hope, and above all, a constant choice to focus on the good.
everything in life is a choice. we choose to remain sad, angry, happy, lazy, productive, etc. sometimes external events or circumstances force us into any of these, but it is always solely our responsibility and choice in not only how we react, but what we choose to do going forward.
ten years ago i was lost. i didn't know who i was, what i wanted, where i wanted to go. i was fumbling around looking for anything to grab to just get me out of the misery i felt stuck in. i grabbed onto the wrong thing, or so i thought shortly thereafter. and i felt stuck. now, of course, i know there is no such thing as "the wrong thing." good and bad, right or wrong...everything happens for a reason (key #1 to letting go and moving forward in your life towards happiness). if i had chosen anything differently i would not be where i am today, and more importantly, i would not have the people i have in my life today.
so, feeling lost. that's where we were...i felt lost for years. no direction, no goals, no light at the end of the tunnel. i was losing myself IN myself. how is that even possible? i was most certainly depressed because of life circumstances, but i knew that would shift as soon as i got out of it. i started keeping a journal of things i wanted to manifest. (key #2 to letting go and moving forward in your life towards happiness.) i would write down all the things i wanted to happen from looking and feeling more beautiful, to being financially secure, to having a happy marriage, to finding my purpose in life. i wrote in it almost every night. just shifting my mindset into what i wanted to happen (which were all positive things) instead of focusing on my current situation which was miserable made a HUGE difference.
i started coming out of my shell of misery. it was a constant choice, it didn't just happen effortlessly. it's so much easier to stay unhappy or angry at a situation. it takes a lot more courage and strength to choose something else. i felt so weak, like i was nobody and nothing. i didn't think i had a chance at any of my dreams, even if i didn't yet know what they were.
now, mind you...i was born an extremely motivated person. i work hard, push myself, never give in or give up. i believe if something is not challenging, then it's not worth doing. i like to work, i like to push through hard things because i love to learn and acquire new skills. i am bright and focused and i know my capabilities. i was in the top ten of my class, even after being absent most of my senior year due to a hospitalization. i always tried harder, even when i thought i was doing my best. i'm a perfectionist (or was...now i'm a lot easier on myself), and always felt i was destined for more than what i had grown up with. not to say i wasn't well taken care of and had a loving family (however distorted the dynamics were!), but i was different. very different. i wanted different things.
so when you put a lot of that together, i suppose i would never have been the kind of person to hang out being miserable for long. i see obstacles as opportunities. hardships as ways to learn how to be a better person. and i'm always up for a challenge. it's just a matter of getting out of my way first.
i guess what finally did it was realizing that i had the choice to be happy. (key #3 to letting go and moving forward in your life towards happiness.) there i was lacking direction, feeling awful about myself, and i just decided i had enough. my life needed to change. i realized that the whole time i was manifesting ways to make what i had work, and really...what i had simply didn't fit. it wasn't what i needed or anyone else for that matter. the universe was pushing me forward. propelling me into a great unknown and i just decided to go along with it.
so i trusted the universe ((key #4 to letting go and moving forward in your life towards happiness). i became open to a whole world around me. i let go of the control i thought i needed and just let the universe guide me. i began listening, opening up myself to new experiences, and trusting that everything would work out. it kind of takes the heat off of oneself, you know? i started living in the mindset that there are no wrong choices, as long as you move forward with good intentions and love in your heart. and it is liberating to believe that, because you soon realize that life twists and turns and bumps along the way are all part of it, and necessary for us to grow and evolve.
so with all that metaphorical and spiritual talk down first, i guess i'll just tell you what that means in real life...
i remember the night everything just went BAM! i was sitting on the couch after a particularly sad day and suddenly my head felt like it became a balloon and just drifted off. after that, everything was light. i felt love for everything and everyone, including myself. i realized that i had to take care of myself and that meant making changes. and changes can be scary, but if you embrace them and move forward with nothing but faith that it will all work out, i believe it typically will if it's meant to be.
i have found myself in a very dysfunctional relationship, and although i was young, i knew even then that love should not be that way. learning those lessons of love and standing up for what i believed before i had any sense of self was a feat in itself.
i thought i found love again, and indeed i did love again, giving it my all only to find out that where i was going and what i wanted wasn't the same as the other person. and oh my...what an incredibly painful process that is. to love so much and then to realize that you're not what they wanted. and that's okay, but it still hurts. and i suppose they were not what i wanted or needed because of where i was headed too. but that hurt, big time. giving so much to something that in the end seemingly turns to dust. i thought i knew what i had and what was next, but actually i had no clue.
i remember facing the moment where it all came to an end. realizing i had just spent my last bit of money on renovating two rooms downstairs and knowing i had no where to go. the home i had made, the one i wanted my daughter to have fond memories of as an adult would be gone forever. i mourned that place before i had even left. but i had a choice: either break down and fall apart and fade away, or come back stronger. i chose the latter. because really...i also had a child i wanted to teach all of this to. i wanted her to see that even in the face of adversary and struggle, all you have to do is be creative, motivated, upbeat and positive, and work hard and good things will come.
i left a home i had loved. i left a love i thought i would be able to love forever. and i moved what little possessions i could and a 5 year old child into a two room studio with nothing but a toilet and a minuscule bathroom sink. i immediately sold everything i could (my beloved Bernina sewing machine, my best clothes, and anything of value) to get money for the security deposit and first month's rent. i later sold more things to pay for a plumber to put in an old sink so i could wash my dishes. i washed my hair in the sink and scrubbed down with a washcloth and i bathed my child in a galvanized tub that i filled by heating hot water on a 2-burner camp stove because the hot water only lasted for two minutes. i then would empty it out by hand, bucket by bucket.
i watched her intently, waiting for the sadness or the struggle. but she loved it. she loved our little space, she loved my upbeat attitude, and the morning we sat down for our breakfast by the window overlooking the river and she said, "Mama, do you remember when this was just an office? And now look! You made it a home!" that was it. that was all i needed. i showed her anything is possible. i knew we were exactly where we needed to be, and that little office space that i turned into a home became the home i will miss and cherish the most. a piece of my heart will always be there.
the person i had been holding back previously because i knew it wasn't what the person i was with wanted, was finally able to surface. my dreams, my hopes, my passions, my goals....all were at my fingertips. i had nothing. no money, nothing of value. i struggled with affording food and putting gas in the car. all of these transitions were during the winter, when a photographer in maine has little work. i had no income other than little things here and there, but i somehow made do.
all of this just motivated me more. jumping into the unknown was never scary for me. i somehow knew it was all going to work out. but i knew i didn't want to live like that long. i began taking the little dreams and goals i had started manifesting and turned them into BIG ones. i wanted to aim for the moon and nothing less. why not?!
but...there was just one problem. my car had just broken down and i was forced to buy another one. i had paid for half (and well, it was already cheap) but put the other half on a credit card, and if you know me, i despise debt. so i decided i had to get rid of that debt, so i could focus on what my life right in front of me required financially. so the eyes open e-course was born. so many people had been e-mailing me requesting information about my photography and what resources i knew of to teach them the same. and i never had an answer for that. so i decided to put together a course myself.
i contacted heather who was running a course to see if she'd be willing to help give me some information to get started. she was incredibly gracious and kind and walked me through much of her learning process. from there, i took another leap. i announced the course date, started taking sign ups, and then began the incredibly lengthly process of writing it all, all with a deadline and a bunch of students looming. but it was so motivating and i was so grateful for the positive response, so i enjoyed the process even after the 8 hour days of non-stop writing.
i made enough that first course to pay off my debt and put a little in savings. every course that ran, the money went into savings. during this time, mark came around. he and i were friends before, so we already knew each other. he became my cheerleader, rooting me on. the romance and love was an added bonus. such a different experience than anything i'd ever felt before. i was me. i knew my worth, i knew what i was capable of, i had confidence and direction. i was motivated and wouldn't let anyone stand in my way anymore. and he got that. he supported that. so i continued along, pretty intent and focused and what others would say completely driven, and i had this sweet guy who loved me and i loved him by my side rooting me on.
i started modeling to help pay the bills. i would model when the little one was at school and the money bought our food and paid my rent. i saved every penny i could and pretty soon had a shoebox filled with money from selling more things i no longer found i needed. i was still not even close to where i wanted to be, but i was happy and content with where i was in the process.
but that little space i had loved started to feel a little bit too small. its limitations were more pronounced now and i knew it wouldn't get us through the winter. i had no storage space, the line between toys and workspace was nonexistent, and as much as i loved it, i was ready to sleep without a 6 year old beside me. with rentals far out of my reach financially at the time, i started looking for small pieces of land. i was all set to build a one room cabin with a loft by hand. yup, by hand. i had it all worked out and i wasn't scared a bit. but while on a realtor's website looking at land, i came across the cutest and cheapest house i had ever seen. i got all excited and contacted the realtor. it was small; the perfect size for a single mother to take care of. i could do it, i knew i could.
i was desperate to move on and i felt this place was just the ticket. i went to see it in person and i fell in love. i could immediately pictures the little one and i there; garden, chickens, and all. i made an offer, without even knowing if i'd be approved by the bank. eventually, an offer was accepted. i went to the bank, made my plea. they went back and forth and then went for it. i was approved! but then i discovered the house needed a new septic system and i couldn't afford that too. i was crushed. for a moment i thought i may be stuck living in an office with no proper way to bathe forever.
but then mark grabbed me by the arm and said, "come on...there has to be more!" and so, i looked. i visited the dreariest, darkest, most in need of TLC houses i had ever seen. BUT...they were in my price range. all of them needed work. a lot of it.
then there was a church. a vacant church that had been turned to offices some time ago. a church on a busy, busy road that everyone drove by that had been for sale for years. mark said, "go look at it." so, i did. i walked into the first room and i turned to the realtor and said, "i'll take it." i didn't need to see anymore. it was home. my home.
but it was a commercial property. the bank wouldn't give me the loan. another bank turned me down. people told me it would be impossible; i had been a stay at home mother, slowly building a business with an unimpressive income to prove it. then someone told me of a small, local bank. i went. i sat down with my folder full of comparisons and tax returns and all the info i could get on the property. i was "buying into equity" i told them. she was upbeat and seemed hopeful.
but then i got an e-mail saying i was too much of a risk to loan the money to. i was crushed. me, a risk?! do they have any idea how responsible i am? how i have perfect credit and hate debt? how i always pay my bills on time? how hard i work? so instead of giving up, i wrote an e-mail back. a heartfelt one explaining what kind of a person i am, how i live my life, and how i would not be a risk at all.
i was shuffling between hopefulness and fear. and then the next morning i was out on a run. i had just climbed to the top of the biggest hill and i got a call. i stopped the music and answered, completely out of breath. it was the bank. "you're approved!" i jumped up and down, i cried, i laughed. i thanked the universe. i called mark and told him the good news. but then, they informed me that because it was listed as commercial, i needed to come up with 20% down.
well, i never once thought i could go to flat broke to coming up with 20% down to buy a church in 8 months. never. but i never questioned the fact that i couldn't either. so i counted all the money i had saved, sold some more things, put my car on craigslist (yup, the one i had just paid off. who needs a car anyway?!) and sold it, and within three weeks i had 20%. all of it. and some extra to put in a kitchen and bathroom, which we would obviously need.
now i am living my dream. i am confident, know that i am capable, i'm financially secure (although it's easy to let the fear of that changing suddenly in, but i choose to believe it will all be okay), i feel beautiful no matter what i "look" like, i am in a mutually supportive relationship and give and accept love, i live in an amazing home that i never thought i could be so lucky to own, i own a business and do what i love, and most importantly...i am happy. why? because i choose it.
sure, i have so called "bad" days where things are seemingly impossible, or the world seems to be crumbling around me, but i fight back. i always fight back. rallying is a necessity in this lifetime. at least for me, at any rate. and you know what may be funny, but what really always helps put things into perspective for me? the fact that this is it. this is our one shot at life. why spend it doing things that don't fulfill you, or with people who don't make you happy, or just plain being miserable? you should never let anyone else judge you for making choices to better your life because they are not living it. they are not you. YOU are the only one who knows what's the best for you.
i believe it is our obligation to live fully, to be happy, to understand that all kinds of obstacles can try to hold us back, but they are the things that make happiness possible in the first place.
so i suppose it's not about so called "obstacles" or "hardships" but about the way you look at them. we all want a happy life, and it's up to each of us to allow that to happen.
there is not a day that goes by that i don't think about how grateful for the life i have, and the journey of getting here. and it's not over. there will be more bumps along the way, more exciting adventures, more days that are harder than others, more chances to wake up each morning so thankful for what's around me. life is one big adventure that is meant to be enjoyed.
so go on...enjoy it. it's all we've got.
well, home life has pretty crazy lately. with school routines, activities and lessons, and my work we've all been just busy non-stop. a day off would be so nice right about now and i would absolutely adore sleeping past 6 a.m. just once!
but as busy as we are, we find little bits of time here and there to stop and enjoy a life that we strive to make as simple as possible. a cup of tea, sitting by the new stove, reading a book, admiring the way the cats nap all day, enjoying some yummy snacks and a glass of wine before dinner, playing card games after dessert, and trying to sit out in the hammock to soak up as much sun as possible. it may be just a few moments of something, but it's all we need to slow down, breathe deeply, and take a break from all that awaits us.
here's a little glimpse at the simplicity i love the most:
where do you find your simplicity amidst hectic days?
i've been on a major dealine for a shoot lately so pardon my adsence!
mark took me on a boston getaway for my birthday this year. it was a blast. we spent two days shopping, eating, drinking, laughing, walking all around, and just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. he treated me to some fabulous meals, bought me a pair of great boots, some new music, made me a painting (love it!), and so many other wonderful things. he treated me like a queen. i've never felt so loved before.
for those of you who may be visiting boston soon, these were some of our favorite stops:
mark took all these photos (other than the two of him!) this weekend. he's really loving my canon...
what did you do this past weekend? this next one we are planning on winterizing the house! i can't believe it's october already!
thank you thank you thank you for all of your amazingly sweet birthday wishes. you made me feel so very loved!
we had a wonderful weekend in boston. the weather couldn't have been better.
i have more photos, but i'm too wiped out to get them up here, or even write more. we had a busy full weekend, and tomorrow i have a big shoot that i've been prepping for. but here i am at 30. funny to think back to the vision i had of me at 30 when i was a kid. i definitely did not look like this!
but i just wanted to pop in here and say thank you. you guys are the best!
today is the last day i will be in my twenties.
i had this whole elegant post written about how crappy my twenties were, but how i've made it through stronger and happier than ever before, and then i deleted it.
you don't need me to write a book. and, quite frankly, all that stuff back then? doesn't really matter. what matters are my choices going forward.
i feel like i have arrived in myself. do you know that feeling? like i am who i am; i know longer am looking for who that is, or trying on different ways of being to see which one really fits. it's a marvelous feeling.
i accept myself, flaws and all. everything i've been through led me here, which is exactly where i want to be.
i'm thinking my thirties are going to be full of good things...big things. why? because i'm ready for it.
mark is taking me on a weekend getaway for my birthday! i'm sure i'll have pictures to share.
for now...goodbye 20's. hello 30's.
and happy weekend friends...xo
every single year there is a day or two in fall that we spend apple picking. this time, we decided not to wait until the weather got a little cooler and instead went the day the orchards opened for the season. the sun was out and we enjoyed the lingering warmth of summer as we picked.
the apples were plentiful and we picked over 20 pounds in a matter of minutes! we bought some apple cider in the orchard's store and then brought everything home to start making pies, applesauce, and our favorite baked apple pancake for breakfast.
the music was going, the windows wide open; she peeling apples and running in and out, he painting the porch, and i making soup for dinner, cupcakes for someone's birthday, applesauce, and biscuits. the smell of cooking, summer sun, and the fall breeze filled the air. i could hear giggles from her and periodically got kisses from him as he passed by in between coats of paint.
it was the perfect afternoon. the perfect welcoming of fall. i looked around me and realized, once again, how very grateful i am for everything.
someone i just met the other day asked me where i lived. i told them i lived in a church. they remarked, "oh, you must be rich." it struck me as such a funny thing to say. rich? ha. i laughed at them. laughed at the fact that just a little over a year ago i was wondering how to afford to put dinner on the table. i worked so hard to get here today; did so much in so little time. but rich? HA! right. so i did, i laughed at him. then i went home and thought about it. and i said, "damn it! i AM rich! i have happiness and strength and a good life and a good home and a happy daughter and a loving relationship. i'm so rich it's nuts. i'm rolling around in the richness of a happy life!" why i can't think more on my toes, i don't know.
but it's days just like this that make me realize indeed how fortunate i am. we laugh together and love together. she does her thing, i do mine, and he his. all with a smile and a whole lot of love. it doesn't get any better than that. i have a rich life, for sure. and i never take a single second of it for granted. ever.
and all this from an afternoon of apple picking. who would have thought?
what are you thankful for lately?!
(oh, and excuse the inbetweenness of my blog appearance. i'm revamping a bit....)
we woke up this morning to chilly toes and the smell of fall in the air. the apple tree out back is dropping its fruit, and the smell of decaying apples is filling the house with a sweet scent reminding me to make applesauce and pie.
we wait for the bus now every morning. today she said, "mama! i can see my breath, look!" we stood there in the early morning light, tea in hand and sweaters on, and felt both longing for what went all too quickly, and the cozy months ahead.
i bought a pellet stove yesterday to try to keep us warmer this winter. heating an old church is no easy task, and although it's well insulated, the 18 foot ceilings and 10 foot windows are not the most efficient for maine winters. the heating bill was as much as my mortgage monthly. so the pellet stove will help keep us all warm this winter and hopefully the indoor temperature above 55!
we went for what may be our last dip in the pond. i introduced her to the joy of skinny dipping and she was brave enough to go underwater without goggles for the first time. a neighborhood dog joined us and we played, giggled, splashed, and caught more minnows for an hour before heading back for dinner.
it's amazing to witness year after year how fast these seasons come and go. fall will be over in the blink of an eye and we will be getting out the snow shovels and winter boots.
but for now another cup of tea, a wool sweater and socks, and the smell of the apple tree outside is exactly where i am happy to be.
how about you?
the last week of summer vacation. can it really all be ending? it's so interesting to realize everything is going to shift in a matter of days. we spent the last week doing all kinds of wonderful things. beach trips, lake swims, picnics, gardening, lounging around home, school shopping (at the "big red ball store"), sushi date with my girl, ice cream (x3), and cookouts. we have just three days left until a new routine starts.
the little one is heading to a new school this year. one where she will rise early in the morning, get on the bus (the bus!), go to school, come home, settle in for a snack and homework and violin practice or ballet, then dinner, an evening walk, then bedtime. it will become quite a structured routine, one that i think will be incredibly beneficial for her.
she will be rooted here during the school week, then at her papa's on the weekends. we all snuggled in bed this morning before heading downstairs for a breakfast of banana pancakes. i suddenly realized that there won't be many days like this anymore. it will be all about the routine and rhythm of the school week. the special moments we share on the weekends will be few and far between. it's a little sad, but both mark and i are excited to see her settle in and go into her school year strong and grounded.
are your little one's heading to school for the first time? how are you handling the transition? we have a little anxiety over here, but mostly excitement.
i hope you are all enjoying your weekend! we are off for some adventures in hiking, picnics, boating, cocktail parties, and exploring! xo
well, we're off again. to CT this time. for a 3 day wedding weekend!
we're trying to enjoy the rest of summer. one week left before school starts. oh my.
we went to the beach today. the weather has shifted enough for chilly beach days, even though we go there to escape the sweltering heat at home. i get to the beach and seem annoyed by the chilly wind and the need to layer up. but it feels good.
we ate fish tacos under the patio lights tonight. fish that my brother in law caught 50 miles off the coast. it was delicious. we talked about our last week of freedom and all of the things we want to do.
what are you going to do with the little bit of summer we have left?
also, check out these amazing photos of our house warming party we held over the weekend. thank you susan! another photographer friend of ours took some amazing shots as well! (Rachael...can you link to them in the comments?)
happy weekend, friends. more soon...xo
remember all those chickens we got? well, one day i went out to the coop and discovered one chicken still inside. i approached her and she tried to get up, but just toppled over. i soon realized she no longer had use of her legs. her feet were completely curled up into balls, and her legs just didn't seem to be working all that well.
i brought her inside and she immediately calmed down after a bit of holding her. we made her little "chicken shoes" to help splint her feet and after a few days of wearing them, her toes straightened out. she hasn't regained the use of her legs yet, but she is now a fully inside chicken, completely content when everyone is around. she likes to sit on our laps, lay on our chests on the couch to fall asleep, and really loves eating peaches.
the second we leave the room, she is peeping loudly and frantically wondering where we went. so she now comes with us everywhere. she particularly enjoyed the shower this morning, and now she is curled up on her new "chicken bed" on the chair next to me napping while i work.
it's kind of like having a newborn, i won't lie. trying to get her to sleep amidst noise, never leaving her side, having to feed her and help her take sips of her water. we go out and i worry about her home alone, wondering if she's peeping and looking for us.
but we are enjoying her greatly. she's a special girl, and even though we have no idea what the future will bring, we are happy to have the chance to take care of her now. and i'm sure you'll be getting louise updates often!
and the other chickens all have names now. we had to write them down because there are just so many of them. we had fun picking out names! the little one's favorite: "Butterfly." she holds her everyday and seems to have a magic way with chickens.
we've been enjoying lots of greens from the garden. our favorite dish has been lentils with beets, chard, and onions from our garden. the little one loves picking "magic beans" and saving them to plant next year.
what is coming out of your garden now?
and any chicken experts out there?
added responsibilities, more bills and chores and things needing to get done, more jobs...big jobs that require serious time and effort and energy, and all the other things that make up life as an adult.
some days we head our separate ways, all three of us. for hours and hours we are apart. i hunker down and focus on my work, putting in 10, sometimes 12 hours a day. then there are the shoots that take up our whole weekend, leaving the summer whirling by with no way to catch up to it.
there is a shift in the air now. summer is threatening to come to an end and fall is just around the corner. we suddenly realize that even with our best intentions, we didn't do nearly as much as we set out to do.
we often get bogged down just by the sheer effort it takes to make a living in this world. how much time and energy it requires, often with not much to show for it. i am so blessed and fortunate to have this work. to be doing something i love. but i won't lie, it requires my effort every second of every day. and sometimes the night too.
sometimes i suddenly feel like something is out of balance. being a libra i'm more acutely aware of anything off kilter. an alarm goes off in my internal awareness. i suddenly come face to face with what is, and what is not, working. and i have to decide what i can do to get it back to a comfortable place.
that comfortable place for me is, well...nothing. just being. no deadlines, no responsibilities, no worries. i think we all need moments like this in our lives today.
m and i aim for this once a week. maybe it's an hour, or maybe it's a whole day. it depends on what we can squeeze out of our schedules. it generally requires laughing, creating, wine (or champagne is my preference because there's always something to celebrate), often dancing and more laughing, a walk or bike ride.
i worried that maybe "escaping" reality wasn't the healthiest way to find peace and serenity, but perhaps it's more about balance. balancing the pressures of everyday life and what is in our hearts. the lightness we all felt as children, where there was nothing better than racing bikes down a hill and laughing until our stomachs ached. i don't think we should ever lose that joy.
so we escape to the backyard, wine in hand. we paint and laugh. we ask questions. we check on the baby chicks and laugh at their silly ways. we watch cars go by while laying in the hammock together. we take each other's pictures to capture the beauty we see deep in our souls. we watch the clouds roll in and laugh as we get caught in a downpour, dancing in the rain. we grab the football and play toss because we are already soaking wet. we chase each other around the yard. we decide what we want to eat for dinner and make it together. we eat, talking and dreaming. the sun sets, the stars come out. i grab the picnic blanket and his arm and drag him outside. i put the blanket down and we lay next to each other pointing out our favorite stars. i count six shooting stars and ask the universe for one more. as i say it, a star falls. he tells me i'm magic. we lay there in the chilly night air, breathing in the smell of ocean and life, and say how grateful we are to be exactly where we are.
that is my peace. that is my joy.
what do you do to create balance in your life? what brings you the most peace and joy?
and i'm loving this right now...(boy, she reminds me of the little one!)
my mother came up to join us for a couple of days. the little one and i took her to one of our favorite trails in the woods for a long hike. we explored the woods, the streams, the shore, and all the fairy houses along the way. i was grateful for the sun and the chance to move my body.
i'm not sure many of you know that i am runner, or to what extent of a runner i have been. i recently found out that i need to slow up on my running. i have been running for almost 12 years now; often quite intensely. i have run through pain, battled frostbite from going out in too cold weather, driven my body fat so low that i was told i may never get pregnant again. my body has been telling me to take it easy, but i have not listened. i don't have any serious running injuries to report, but the wear and tear on my body has been slowly starting to appear. i've been told to slow down, cross-train, take it easy, and gain weight.
so that's what i'm doing. hiking, walking, running around the yard, dancing, swimming, gardening...all the activities of summer that are keeping my body healthy. it's funny to watch my body physically morph before my very own eyes. hard muscles have given way to softer places. i have hips now. my runner's thighs are starting to shrink up, and the skin that was pulled so taughtly across my face is plumper now. people are commenting on how healthy i look and using the word "beautiful" instead of commenting on my "fitness." it's a strange transition for me, but i am so open to it.
it's been a journey. the past two months i've run less than ever before. i am trying to be grateful for all the other ways i can move my body. he keeps telling me i've never looked better. but it's still hard to give up something i've loved for so long. i run because i love it, not because i want to look a certain way. it is one of the things in life that brings me the greatest joy. the sense of accomplishment and strength i have received from it has been a gift; one i hope to carry with me no matter what i'm doing.
for now, i'll get out in the woods and enjoy the fresh air, i'll swim in the pond, i'll paddleboard and kayak, and enjoy our evening walks under the stars. life is constantly shifting. nothing is forever.
wow. life is full. life is busy.
we have been doing so much lately. i have a hard drive full of photos from the past two weeks and literally no time to upload them. i'm hoping soon i'll be able to have a chance to sit down here and share some. some sweet moments were captured.
tomorrow we're off to another wedding, and the weekend after too. then we have a couple of weeks to just relax and enjoy summer before it passes us by. i've booked a camping trip for us and we spent yesterday getting things we needed to prepare. we're all so excited!
thank you for all your enthusiasm about the e-course giveaway! i'm announcing the winner on sunday evening, so there's still time to enter! and thank you so very much for warmly welcoming mark once again to this space. what a sweet guy, eh?
for now, here are some photos from an outting we had this past week. an evening at our favorite place to eat...
it's been close to three weeks since school was done for the summer. i was worried about my work suffering; my vision being delayed once again. i was not looking forward to the time mothering would demand from my already too intense work schedule. how could i possibly do it all? do i need to give up one for the other? i felt panicked and wondered how my work and income would suffer as a result of time away.
balancing motherhood and work is tough for anyone. i work essentially four jobs. it gets tricky. timing, intention, energy, hard work, direction...it's all part of a successful livelihood. and for someone who is solely responsible for all of it, adding a child into the mix can feel incredibly overwhelming. and when you have my personality, doubly so.
i do things 110%. everything. from loving, to parenting, to working. it's how i live life. having to balance two very important things can get tricky. two very important things that demand equal amounts of time and energy. it's been a fearful thought as my business grows. how to do it all.
and then m and i started talking about adding another. was i done? no. not at all. but how could i? how could we? it seemed too scary to add something else to the mix of already demanding things. and as we have talked and discussed and weighed options and i've shed tears and laughed and fought back fears and overcame even more, we settled into summer.
she's home. she's home and dancing and prancing and singing around the house. she's asking for snacks and drinks and outings and playtime and stories and pushes on the swing and ball games and visits to the pond. and i realized that i had just completely absolutely let go.
the e-mails piled up (hundreds by the day). the clients had to wait a few more hours or even a day until i could respond thoughtfully. the editing got piled up for nighttime after she's gone to bed, when i'd really like to be curled up in m's arms half asleep myself. but i sit down and do it. because it's what i have to do. and i am always so grateful for it.
and we have our rhythm. our relaxed, anything goes summer rhthym. and as i make her yet another snack during the day, or pick up more toys, or read another story, i realize just how much i love it all. this is my life. this is what counts. this is what is meaningful. this is my chance. and i've always known that, i've just never figured out what to do with the rest of it. because you see...i'm not just a mother. i'm an artist, a photographer, a lover, and a friend on top of it. and sometimes it's hard to balance all of them. or feel like by devoting your time to one, doesn't take away from another.
m has said that artists lead seemingly selfish lives. because we need to make hard choices to do what we love and be ourselves. our work reflects our love, energy, skills, and desires. our work is who we are. the many other aspects of our lives we strive to fit seamlessly into it all. joining all the things we love into one great being.
and that being ebbs and flows, rises and falls together. as a whole. the little one is my soul, my love. my work is my soul, my love. m is my soul, my love. there is no way to separate them. i inhale and exhale them all together. it is only now that i can see the path to holding it all together.
it is easy. i let go.
i savor the moments like they are my last. whether i am running through a field of buttercups with my little one, editing photos from the beautiful wedding i just shot, or laying on the hammock in the arms of m. there is no feeling like i should be somewhere else or doing something else. i try hard not to worry about the work waiting for me, or think about when i might get to it. i simply am grateful for what i have now.
so i say to life...bring it on. i am open. i am so excited about what's next. my future. our future. and all it entails and holds. it will always require thought and time and energy and work and intention, but most of all, it will include love and happiness.
and for that, i am incredibly grateful. and i realize that i can handle all of it. because it's exactly what i would choose.
we seem to do a lot in a week. and yet not everything we want (or have) to do!
here are some things we have done:
the little one played her fiddle for the customers of the fried seafood shack next door. she made $2 that night. (we both dropped $1 in, although she said it didn't count.) by the way, have you seen her recital video here? she totally rocked it!
we worked in the garden. a lot. we made a trellis for the peas and beans, planted more carrots and beets and got the beds ready for the tomatoes coming next.
i made an apple pancake for them. mark devoured it (it's one of his favorite!). i've been making nut granola (paleo!) for me and eating it every morning for breakfast. it's hard to believe it, but i officially overdosed on fried eggs!
she practiced her compositions on the piano one afternoon while mama cleaned.
she ate rolled up turkey slices while walking through the house and climbing on everything like a monkey. i'm still finding pieces of it...
we played more games of kickball.
we spruced up the front of our house with some more potted plants and two new shrubs our neighbor gave us as a housewarming gift. next up, painting the exterior. colors have already been picked out and we're getting ready to paint!
and lastly, we ended the day with some before bedtime skateboarding and games of hide and seek.
what have you been doing lately?
as a business owner, i am frantically wondering how on earth i can continue my more than full-time job during the busiest season. will i find the balance i need to maintain both? i suppose i have no choice. the delicate balance of all parents.
what are your summer plans? how do you maintain that balance?
mark and i were going through the journal we keep together the other night and went way back to our list of goals for 2013. we were pleasantly surprised to find that we've accomplished a good many of them, with only the biggest, and most time consuming ones remaining. it's not unlike us to plow through a list of to-do's. it's really what we do best.
but there are the ones that couldn't really be written down. intentions that have been in my heart and my mind for months, if not years now. visions of where i want my life to head, what i would like to accomplish, personal evolving that i work on daily to be a better human being, and all the dreams and hopes i have for myself and my loved ones.
as i approach my 30th birthday, i've taken a lot of time to really reflect on the past and also look ahead to my future. it's funny how life can suddenly seem like it's just flying right by, not waiting for you to catch up and certainly not slowing down when you find yourself stumbling to get back on board. my life feels compressed suddenly...like there are far too many goals i hope to make a reality, way too many things i need to do; all the while realizing that running a business, being a mother and partner, taking care of a house, and trying to take care of myself really just fill up every single second of my existence. and there's not much left for all that other stuff.
and then i sit back and realize that all the other stuff i want to devote more time to just keeps piling up, and i keep putting it aside. and then i look at that stuff piled up in a dark corner of my mental existence and it starts to overwhelm me. then i get stressed about it just sitting there. and then i feel inadequate, or like i'm just not doing a good enough job.
but it's at that point, where i feel like i'm just absolutely going to give up because i will "never" get to it all, that i let it go. i let it go and the negative energy disappears. the to-do's and hopes and dreams and goals just turn into a type of motivating energy. and then guess what? they start to happen. things just begin moving. they come to me instead of me having to seek them out.
it's a funny thing to witness. and it's very reassuring and i am always ever so grateful for it all. i guess sometimes "making it happen" requires our complete surrender. surrendering to our needs, and instead just relying on faith that things will come our way when they are meant to.
what do you think? what has your experience been so far with the "make it happen" challenge? i'm so interested in hearing your thoughts!
this weekend was so special. we celebrate my sister's birthday and mother's day at the same time every year and have a simple gathering full of good food, wine, and music.
this year we hosted and it was just so much fun!
we started the weekend with going next door (yes...next door!) to a fabulous greenhouse and got a bunch of annuals to plant in pots for gifts.
on sunday morning i awoke to a choice of either breakfast in bed, or breakfast upon return from a run. so i chose to run! i ran 6 miles in the pouring rain and returned to my two loves waiting at the door with a towel to dry me off. they had the table all set with a fabulous breakfast (bacon, eggs, and kale) with espresso AND some champagne (wow!). they had the most fabulous gifts for me (how did i get so lucky?!) and both told me i was the best mother ever. aw!
we celebrated all day and into the night...mostly just celebrating being together, because as mark says..."it's what we do best!"
how was your mother's day?
our lives have been very full lately. full of this and that, good and bad, easy and hard, fun and work, laughs and tears...all things that remind us that we are human. life is a mix of everything, because it's, well...life. and really, who would want it any other way?
we're so very busy at the moment, and finding a time to just breathe and relax can be challenging. tonight we're working in the studio before a very long day tomorrow (the little one has her first opening at a gallery!) and looking forward to a rainy weekend that may just slow us down a bit.
i captured these images from around the house earlier in the week. somehow just looking at them makes me slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.
what are you up to this weekend, friends?
what a busy weekend!
this is what our saturday looked like... (sunday to follow!)
he leaves me love notes. and i always put a note in his lunch. everyday.
gherkin enjoys the sun. these poor cats are now indoor cats and they are struggling...
baked apple pancake. i bake so much for them and i adore it so. recipe here.
and espresso for us.
creative play in the morning.
she loved it. she really requested "pie" upon waking. so this is what i gave her. she approved.
and he can't be more grateful for my baking. he's always so excited when something comes out of the oven!
what did your saturday look like? xoxo
i had so much fun receiving your questions! i love to think and formulate answers, so i've been thinking about each and every one of your fabulous questions for the last couple of weeks. i've had a great time with it!
here we go...
How did you get into photography, what inspired you and how did you learn?
My parents gave me my first Polaroid camera when I was three. We were having our annual vacation in Camden, Maine. I remember my mother shoving the camera in my hands, proclaiming that they had no pictures of the two of them in any albums. She now tells me she always knew I'd get a good shot, even back then. I never cut off anyone's heads and always had it level!
I was incredibly inspired by my mother's vintage Life magazines. I fell in love with the work of Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange. They inspired me to capture emotion in a photograph.
I took a B&W film course in high school. They offered the first one my senior year, and you had to be top of the class to get in because there were so many people interested. I think there were twelve of us total. I loved it. Had my camera on me at all times. Never stopped after that.
I would love to hear more about how you make your living--is it mostly the photography work, or do you do other work as well?
I make my living through photography. I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing something I love everyday. The actual shooting time is so minimal compared to editing, client convos and organizing, bookkeeping, and social media. It's a constant, daily job requiring so many hours a day. But the most important part is the energy and intention I have to put into it. Even when I am trying to take a day "off" (which rarely happens!), I notice a shift in the energy. So it's a lot of emotional, mental, and physical work on my end that I do all on my own.
A day doesn't go by where I'm not thankful for what I do. I NEVER take it for granted. I was able to buy my home because of what I do and the energy and work I have put into my business. It's a tremendous feeling!
I also help Mark paint houses in the summer (we trade labor! he's now one of my second shooters!), model for artists and photographers, and teach my online courses!
Being self-employed is scary at times...especially here in Maine when the winter is long and slow. It requires tons of effort and you really can never put your work aside. It must be in the forefront always.
It's a small town. We hung out in the same social circle. Everyone knows everyone else here. I always admired his artistic talents and really connected with his eye for beauty. But I never would have believed I would share a love with him. It's been really interesting having a blossoming romance with someone you kinda "knew." I feel like we have an advantage of sorts. We got to see each other as we were as people, before we were mates. It gives you an entirely different prospective!
What's your favorite food?
This is a hard one! I LOVE food! Does butter count? Or bacon? Or mayonnaise?! Those are my favorites and three things I couldn't live without!
What does your exercise routine look like? It sounds like you run a lot?
Yes, I run. I wouldn't say a lot, but many would say it's frequent HIGH-INTENSITY running! I run 5-6 days a week. My longest run is 7 miles, shortest is 3.4. I do speed work, weight lifting, and am now looking into Crossfit (thanks to a blog reader!). I build muscle very quickly and I really enjoy working out. I feel like it evens out my whole day. It makes me confident, strong, and happy! Recently the little one and Mark both started running with me. They go at their own pace, but it's nice to get out together!
Those are a few of my recent favorites. I don't have the time to visit many websites a day, so I keep my inspirational list minimal. For magazines we receive TONS of fashion and art publications. Mark really loves mail! So we get everything from Vogue and Vanity Fair (my fav) to The Sun and Bomb Magazine.
For my own style, I pretty much develop it myself. It obviously must come from somewhere, but I have VERY particular tastes. I have to find something I really love to buy it, and it could mean it's a $5 shirt at a thrift shop or a $100 shirt at some boutique. I don't buy much and when I do buy something, it's something I REALLY want or would walk away completely mad at myself for not buying.
I tend to have a hippie-tom-boy-with-an-edge style. I am super petite which sometimes makes buying clothes hard. It's hard to find pants small enough. I think the most elegant outfit can be jeans and the perfect tee, paired with jewelry and some kick ass boots. I love roaming about the house in an oversized cashmere sweater and nothing else. When I go out, you can either find me in rolled up skinny jeans and a plaid button down and leather jacket, or a completely gorgeous slim fitting black dress. I like variety. I like the chance to dress up. And I adore how clothes can transform a person.
How do you guys manage to make creativity such an important part of your lives? By the time my kids are in bed, I am too pooped to even think straight!
Ha! Well, Mark and I are complete night owls. I've been battling an awful flu/cold bug for the last two weeks, so I am now understanding what it's like to collapse into bed around 10 p.m.! Otherwise, we put the little one to bed and stay up until midnight working in the studio. We have a lot of energy and are highly motivated creatively, so we typically get really pumped up to work at night. On the weekends, we are all either in the studio making something or outside painting, or going to galleries, or a combination of them all!
This has been so much fun! Thank you for the wonderful questions!! Happy Thursday! xoxo
do you remember that article i talked about writing? well, i finally received my copy in the mail while we were away and i was absolutely blown away by the whole presentation. the photos they chose work beautifully together and i couldn't be happier!
i talk all about why i do this...why i am still here after over 6 years of blogging. and the reason? YOU! i owe so much to you all for being here, for supporting me on this crazy journey, and for your wonderful kindness. so this article is all about you!
the publication is Somerset Life, and although the recent issue i am in is not yet available, it will be soon right here!
so, thank you all for continuing to be here and offering your support and kind words. you have no idea just how much it permeates my life and keeps me smiling!
did you know i have been a professional photographer shooting with not-so-professional equipment? for years i told myself that it's not what you're shooting with, it's who's behind the camera. which is oh so true.
but i consistently found myself bumping up against some obstacles because of my equipment. what it couldn't do, being stuck in a hard, frustrating place while at a job. but i did what i could and made it work. i valued myself and knew what i was worth, even after continually being questioned by wedding guests that had cameras better than my own. but it was all good. i stood tall and delivered more than i thought capable each and every time.
but when i thought about going into this season, i suddenly panicked. i'm at a place where this is my life; this is what i do and how i make ends meet. and i want to take it further and do more and more. mark kept telling me i needed equipment that could do the job. i kept putting it off. could i use the same equipment that i've been using for the last three years? no. not really. i needed a push. i needed to take that leap.
i researched, read reviews, almost clicked the "purchase now" button many times. and almost two years has passed since i first starting thinking about upgrading. but i did it last week. my new camera arrived in the mail. it's crazy to me. i was too afraid to touch it.
mark will tell you that i'm absolutely scared of debt. i work hard to make it all disappear as soon as it happens. he'll also tell you i'm the last person i'll buy something for. everyone else in the house will have new socks, and i'll still be walking around freezing in my ones filled with holes. i'll make sure everyone else has proper running attire, but i'll be out there freezing in what i've owned for 10 years. but nevertheless, this purchase has been huge. and scary. and it's not over yet. being a professional, i need another one. a back up. with two more lenses. i'm really trying not to think about it. too scary.
i'm just getting over my fear of somehow ruining my new camera before the season starts, so i took a few photos the other day. it's a full-frame, a different lens (i miss my 30mm!), and a CANON. so it's all new to me. buttons are different, the look and feel is different. it's like starting all over and learning from scratch! even the light meter is backwards...
so these are the first images i took with it. tonight i have to master the video capabilities because we fly out to DC on friday to shoot a promo video for a band and music venue on saturday. i've got mics and lights and a new camera to deal with. so i'll be practicing like crazy this week.
in the meantime, i'm selling my Nikon gear. some of it is already sold but here's what i have left:
If you're interested, e-mail me at: email@example.com
i feel like the real erin has been a little absent lately. you know...the one who checks in and writes what's in her heart. that one.
and really, i've been meaning to, but life is moving by at such a fast pace that i haven't even had a chance to catch up. photos, recaps, simple words, and quirky little bits are all i've been able to really put together. and i've been enjoying them, but sometimes you just need something really genuine.
a couple of nights ago i was laying in bed thinking about where i am, where i've been, how i got here and what's next. making it happen is always in my mind. there's a lot i need to make happen this year. working hard to make ends meet, being prepared for the unexpected, continuing my own personal work, following my heart, manifesting the life we strive to live...it's continuous effort and work and requires mindfulness daily. but it's something that makes life worth living. it's the reason i am excited to get out of bed in the morning, full steam ahead.
i'm a hard worker. seriously hard. i'm the last one to give up. i push through my work like it's nobody's business. i'm always looking for more, a way to do things better, a way to become stronger, wiser, and more capable. a way to be a better individual, lover, mother, friend, sister, daughter. because i believe if we ever settle for what is now, we never will find out what comes next. and what comes next is usually better. there is always something to learn, so bring it on. growth is essential to happiness.
i tend to play things safe. something that i feel has held me back. i dream big, but when it comes to taking risks, i tend to think in my libra-ish ways and sometimes end up talking myself out of it. but then there's him. he ever so gently nudges me into the unknown, with full faith and encouragement. like i am capable of anything. so i leap. i release my firm grasp and just go, into the unknown. the scary. that hazy gap between what we know and what we'd like to know, where we find out just what it takes to get there. and his hand is there for me to hold if i need it, but you know what? i dig my heels into the ground, wipe the sweat from my brow, and say thanks, but no thanks. i can do it myself. because that way i will learn.
he tells me i'm stubborn, but in a good way. i am. for better or worse, it's usually what pushes me ahead even when i think i should have given up long ago.
but you know what? if i had given up throughout my life, i would not be here. and here is pretty darn good.
despite all the leaping, i'm more grounded than i've ever been in my entire life. i'm me. plain and simple. and he's there, always, with a smile on his face and an, "i told you you could do it."
and he's right. i can.
a couple of days ago my iPhone all of a sudden kind of started to, um...not work so well. the culprit? the hundreds (okay, maybe thousands) of videos and photos stored on there.
so today i was exporting them all to an organized little folder on my computer and i realized just how much of our daily lives i captured. i rarely post my iPhone photos here, but there are really so many i just love!
so i've decided to start recapping the month with a little collage of what we did! here's february:
what did you do in february? happy weekend friends!
well, many of you have wondered if i've already gotten married because of my new name popping up here and there. no...i assure you, you would be informed of that event and there would be many images and likely videos of it too. our big day is september 28th of this year (because many of you are asking that too!). we are planning and dreaming and budgeting and thinking of ways to make it all so unique, and well...us.
but with the day approaching yet still far away, i found myself needing to choose a permanent domain for my new portfolio site, and my checks ran out, and i was out of business cards altogether. and so i just went ahead and did it.
here i am. erin little. yup...suits me. that's what everyone says at least. i think so too. feels good. perfect timing for being in a new place, with a new life, and everything just opening up to me.
and to celebrate my new name, i introduce to you my new personal portfolio site. i've been compiling images for a while now. it's shot with 99% film! i'm very proud of that. it's nice to have a place to showcase that work which otherwise doesn't really have a venue.
so go take a peek here! i'd love to know what you think!
Guess what?! Bluebirdbaby is on Facebook! This is a great place to ask questions and find out even more happenings, and likely some photos that didn't make it on the blog...go "like" it now! See you there!
a weekend for us (without the little one) really is just one big blur.
we work in the studio. we talk and plan. we indulge in some champagne while painting.
we go to bed at crazy hours and wake up later than we ever expect to. we take turns each morning going downstairs to start the coffee and tea, and on sundays bacon too. then, while one of us dozes, the other one brings up the feast. we eat in bed, deciding just exactly how we want to spend the day.
sunday we munched on bacon and sipped coffee while starting to plan our wedding. we started a new journal of all the ideas. we set the date, found the photographers, i have my dress, now it's all the fun little details.
we take care of odds and ends around the house. laundry day, the big food shop and meal planning for the week. we take lots of photos, each of us. usually of one another and the little things we are doing.
sometimes we get so caught up with a project that we forget to eat and finally begin making dinner at an hour i'd rather not admit.
and then, in the blink of an eye, the weekend is past us. monday morning comes with the unmistakable and dreaded sound of the alarm, where we are jolted into reality once more. the long work week starts, where we spend far too much time apart just counting down the minutes until we will be together again.
what are your weekends like?
weekday mornings are somehow pretty leisurely. with him going off to work and the little one going off to school, we still manage to lounge in bed a bit, make breakfast, slowly sip coffee, and talk about the day ahead.
then i make lunches, say my goodbyes, go for a run, come back and settle in for a day of work.
this is my morning in pictures...
first cup, with them. he makes coffee, i make breakfast. she runs around the house doing all sorts of 6 year oldish things.
i love sitting at the table and seeing the light streaming in. sometimes i linger after they are gone and take it all in. as a photographer, light is incredibly beautiful to me and i appreciate it so much.
i say goodbye. hugs and kisses. and then more again. they leave. now it's time for my run. 3 or 6 miles today? depends on the cold.
back to shower. my second cup comes upstairs with me while i get ready for the day.
i'm so low on clothes. i got rid of so many when i lived in the studio because of space. i need some really good basics. what are your favorite clothing companies? you'll find me in jeans and a v-neck. pretty much everyday.
breakfast, finally. sometimes i end up eating it around 11. i went paleo a couple of weeks back (i was having major stomach issues that landed me in the hospital a few times in the past couple of months and giving up grains and sugars cured it!) and have never felt better. i eat tons of fat and protein and greens at every meal. this is my favorite breakfast now: eggs, avocado, and hot sauce.
and then work. all day. i love it.
what do your mornings look like? do a similar post on your blog and share the link here in the comments section!
i'm so happy so many of you are joining the 2013 challenge to "make it happen"!! YAY! i can't wait to share this journey with you!
it's been almost 6 whole years since i first started this space. it's pretty much looked the same since then. i've wanted to give it a little "face lift" for a while now, and finally got around to it today. how do you like the changes?
this space here is very important to me. i want it to continue to be beneficial for both me and YOU! so tell me, what would you like to see here this year? product reviews? my old outfit posts back? more about something else?
leave a comment here and let me know your thoughts, or you can go to the new "contact" page and send me an e-mail directly!
enjoy the new look!
we rang in the new year with our first official party at the new place. it was mellow and just what we were hoping for.
good friends, good food, good drinks, good music.
we followed it with an annual brunch in town, a long walk, then back home to snuggle in and read while m painted the door.
the snow is piled high outside and it officially feels like winter, although we are already itching for spring and garden plans.
now we're up in the studio. he's working on his latest painting, i'm editing photos. we'll open another bottle of champagne in a bit, sit down at the table and write our plans for the new year. we have many. hopes, dreams, goals...lots of things to manifest. we'll make a big poster of it all for above each of our work desks.
this year has been one of the hardest and one of the best in my entire life. i lost a love that was so dear to me, i lost a home, i gained a love, i gained a home. it's been a wild ride. it took me from a home i so lovingly created to a two room studio with no shower or bathtub (that's right...that galvanized tub was more than just for kicks), a make-shift kitchen with hot water that lasted only 4 minutes at a time, a hot plate and toaster oven, a mini fridge that couldn't even fit a full sized bottle of orange juice. i sold many valuable possessions, some for the money and some just because i had no room for them. i learned the difference between what is important and what really doesn't matter. and the things that are important are few. they are the ones you love. possessions mean nothing.
i found the man i will now marry and a love blossomed in that crazy little place on the river. i showed the little one that in the face of adversary, if you work hard enough and push through the things that could get you down, you can do anything. i started with nothing at the beginning of this year. no money, no home. i worked so hard. she would always say, "Mama, do you remember when this was just an office? And now look...you made it a home."
m is constantly in awe of how i could go from nothing to this. he is always telling me that what i did verged on impossible. i mean, really...how did i do this? how did i go from nothing to buying a church all by myself? but that's what 2012 has been for me. full of hard work that has paid off. in every area of my life.
i'm sad to see it go, but i'm excited for this coming year. the hard work is somewhat behind us. we've arrived. now the fun work begins.
happy new year, my friends! xoxo
a cold, wintry evening.
we have a rhythm now. warm food, candlelight, singing and playing, dancing.
the evenings are my favorite.
tonight he and i are in the studio. he finished a painting, now he's working on another. i'm designing new cards and working on a new site.
then i'll sit down and work on my painting and varnish another i just finished.
we are sipping on wine and later, much later, we'll go downstairs and reheat some leftover soup i made last night and sit at the table and chat about our day.
we're feeling thankful for everything we have and everything we have to look forward to.
how is your evening?
i haven't quite figured out just how to do it all. but i always try. there are many roles to play...mother, lover, friend, employee, business owner, housekeeper, artist, and the list goes on...
for some reason i keep thinking life will eventually slow down and all of the things i've been wanting to do will finally be possible. but the one thing i keep realizing is that the older i get, the faster time goes, and the more stuff accumulates on my plate.
and now, here i am with a man with the same dreams and hopes and visions by my side, and we look at each other at end of the day and laugh at our completely crazy, full, nutty and nevertheless wonderful life. and we wonder how we are ever going to get to it; the life we are craving to live.
but then, perhaps this is it. perhaps this is an entire accumulation of everything we want, hope for, and need. and perhaps it's just all spread out into bits and pieces so that we can do it all and more.
tonight we will dream and hope, figuring out how to squeeze just a little bit more in while still remembering to breathe through all that we already have.
i guess that's life. and well, we are pretty lucky, indeed.
it's not often that we don't have more things to do in a day than time allows.
but the little one and i have been battling two separate intestinal infections, and now i seem to have a pretty intense ulcer (any advice?!), so with two of us not feeling so great, we've been hanging around home and doing a little bit of nothing.
i've been baking a lot these days, even though our kitchen does not have running water yet, or even a stove for that matter. but i've mastered the art of baking in a toaster oven and cooking on a hot plate from our old place, so it's not much of a challange. there have been breads and pies and cookies and muffins.
the little one has been adding so many leaves to our gratitude tree. our lives are full of things to be thankful for. top of her list? cats and horses. mine? a home.
mark has been making a countertop for the kitchen, the sink will be hooked up monday, and i bought a new stove. i haven't had a real kitchen in 10 months. i'm really looking forward to it!
we strung up some christmas lights outside too. we found ourselves humming along to holiday tunes while breaking out the decorations. i think it's safe to say we are all very excited for this holiday season.
tonight we are upstairs organizing the studio. i'm anxious for mark to start painting again and i am working on the e-course which has two weeks left.
well, i guess after writing this it doesn't seem like we're doing nothing at all. but not having committments and places to go always seems like a bit of a break.
hope you are enjoying your weekend too! xoxo
I had the honor and pleasure of doing a shoot for Maine Mag last fall. Sophie Nelson (assistant editor and also author of the featured article) and I headed way out into the Maine woods last November to hunt. Yup. Hunt. It was quite the experience and we had a blast!
I was so excited to see one of my photos on the cover, as well as my contributor bio and all the photos they chose for the story. So exciting! I really enjoyed this type of work and hope to do much more of it in the future!
Happy Monday, friends! xo
this is it. our new home. i closed this morning. i did it! i can't believe it.
i'm so so happy. a little shell-shocked, but in an amazed-oh-my-goodness-i-just-bought-a-church kinda way.
i'm heading over there with the little one after i pick her up from school. m and i are going to paint now and all this weekend.
so much to look forward to. life is good.