Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"love the skin i'm in"

"i am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me.  and it has nothing to do with what i look like really, it is just that i gave myself the power to say that i am beautiful, and if i could do that, maybe there is hope for them too.  and the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be - because we are all what we choose." ~ margaret cho

love, love, love this photo...

i have said it before...ALL women are beautiful and deserve to see themselves as such.  i have said how i believe the "love the skin i'm in" photo shoot experience empowers women to see that beauty and uniqueness through the camera lens, and as a result FEEL beautiful. 

i could go on & on, but i'd rather share thoughts from lovely ladies who "love the skin they're in..." 
"being a confident woman in my own skin, i have always wanted to do professional vanity shots.  a fan of vintage photos, i chose to use my photo shoot to recreate old hollywood...i felt the vintage style imagery of black and white would be perfect for the glamorous images i wanted to portray.  most importantly, i wanted to celebrate my own physique, as well was express my own personality and imagination.  i can't say enough about amy's professionalism or her quaint, cozy studio.  she and her assistant did an amazing job making me feel completely natural & totally uninhibited.  we experimented with different poses & after each pose she would allow me to look at my art through the lens.  WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! i have always felt a sense of empowerment that comes from being a mom and giving birth to my children.  yet, at the moment i saw my artwork come alive in the lens, i felt a different type of empowerment as a woman.  my poses are sultry, seductive, yet classy & glamorous.  i ENCOURAGE every woman to do this at least one time in their life. amy welcomes your input & allows you to express yourself while still managing to put her professional, artistic talent to work.  ladies, be as sexy as you want.  go nude; wear your lingerie, robe or satin sheet.  whatever you choose, be CONFIDENT in who you are & in your own skin. i truly believe there is nothing more SEXY about a woman & to her partner than CONFIDENCE. LADIES LOVE YOURSELF, YOUR BODY, and what GOD has blessed you with. LOVE yourself first so SOMEONE ELSE CAN. with that said, STEP OUT OF THE BOX my PHENOMENAL WOMEN...BE BOLD! BE BEAUTIFUL!"
"ladies, i hope that you can let amy capture your inner beauty by having a 'love the skin i'm in' photo shoot with her.  i did to celebrate my 49th year - the year i found my inner beauty...i loved all my photos and still when i look at the photos, i can't believe that it's me.  WOW, she found me!  someone found a way to put in a photo the way i felt on the inside.  thanks amy!  you helped me find me." 
"i walked into the photo shoot with every intention of NOT taking photos because i felt my body was not what the world thinks of as sexy...but after so much encouragement on behalf of some of the girls that were at the pic party and the great photographer, i jumped right in and was actually the first lady to go! to my surprise, it was an awesome experience.  i started out nervous, but amy made me feel so comfortable - not only with her, but also with myself! i finally got so relaxed that by the time we finished, i felt like i was a plus size model! i was so pleased with my photo shoot, that i didn't mind amy using any of my photos as encouragement to others who may have felt like i did.  so i say all this to say...no matter the size or shape, I AM BEAUTIFUL inside and out! if you have any doubts, try a 'love the skin i'm in' shoot and i promise you will become a better you.  thank you amy!  you are the greatest!"

every woman i meet and every "love the skin i'm in" shoot really restores my belief that there is a wonderful sisterhood & collective strength that both liberates and unites all women - no matter our size, shape, age, experiences or otherwise...thank you ladies! 
peace & bliss, 


Monday, January 30, 2012

welcome to the world!

i just love a creative momma with a sense of humor!

i had the pleasure of getting to know julian a.k.a juelz, or as i like to call him, "baby j" even before he made his grand entrance during his momma's maternity shoot in december. what a joy to actually meet him in person today! there is something about a sweet newborn baby that renews your sense of hope in this crazy world...i know that there are great things in store for this little guy.  
welcome baby j!

on a personal note, i couldn't help but to be reminded that my baby boys are now 19 & 18 years old!  my how time flies...they grow up so fast so hold that baby tight in your arms while you can! i was also reminded of one of my all time favorite poems for my sons...if.
congratulations kaelyn & julian...he is definitely a keeper!!

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Friday, January 27, 2012

tears of a clown...part two

"what soap is for the body, tears are for the soul"
the other day,  a tearful client asked me during a counseling session, "how do you do it?  how do you do this job and NOT cry?"

so i explained that i do cry.  in fact, i cry a lot.  
i just try not to cry when i'm "working" - i respect my clients so much so, i would not want to take away from their experience because i truly believe in the healing properties of their tears.  
furthermore, i am a private "cryer"...always have been.  i like to cry alone - of course there are times when i can't help it & i cry no matter who is around, but i prefer to cry late at night when my kids are sleeping, or alone in my car so i can fully engage the process...full body sobbing & wailing if needed.  
i cry when i'm sad and when others are sad.  i cry when i'm happy and when others are happy.  i cry when i'm frustrated.  i cry when i'm angry or upset.  i cry when i feel resolution.  i cry for people i know and love.  i cry for strangers.  i cry when i hear a song.  i cry when i watch t.v., a movie, or even a good you tube video.  i cry when i read a book.  i cry when i receive a card.  i cry at a kind gesture.  i cry when i laugh.  i cry when my heart breaks and when my heart heals.  i cry when everything is beyond my control. i cry about birth and i cry about death.  
i cry.  i cry a lot.  
i go through phases in which i don't cry as much or as often - however, this week has been a bit overwhelming & the tears have been flowing.  
according to some, i am "twice blessed" - the fact that i can cry easily and naturally means that i am #1 wonderfully human and #2 well connected to my emotions.  
dr. william frey, a biochemist  director of the dry eye and tear research center in minneapolis, minn. believes "one reason people might feel better after crying could be because they are removing, in their tears, chemicals that build up during emotional stress" and his research indicates that "tears...rid the body of various toxins and wastes" - emotional based tears contain high levels of cortisal - the "stress" hormone.  dr. margaret crepeau, ph.d, professor of nursing at marquette university, believes "laughter and tears are two inherently natural medicines.  we can reduce duress, let out negative feelings, and recharge.  they truly are the body's own best resources."
so, why does crying get such a bad rap?  those who cry are sometimes labeled "cry babies," or "weak." there is even more stigma negatively attached if you are of the male gender...and that friends, makes me want to cry.

it is time for a change. 

crying is a gift.  tears are a conduit for healing, a reminder that we are much more alike than we are different, and a means of self expression.  no shame in that at all...so go on and have yourself a "good cry" - you'll feel better.

peace & bliss,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

woo hoo...rock n' roll!

so excited...the wedding i photographed last fall has been featured on one of the coolest blogs for unique and creative brides to be rock n roll bride!  this wedding planning site has been described as a "mecca for gorgeous photography and inspiring real weddings." sweet!

i am especially excited for the bride - melissa - all her creativity and hard work validated!  she is incredibly sensible - eco friendly & loving all things vintage - with meticulous attention to detail...evident in each diy project lovingly crafted for the couples' big day.

anyway...go on and check out melissa and robbie's featured wedding here!

some of you may be planning your wedding, while others may be twiddling your thumbs because the wedding is over and you are not quite sure what to do with all the extra time on your hands...maybe you should look into submitting your wedding story?  just sayin'...

either way, you won't be disappointed visiting rock n roll bride - enjoy.

peace & bliss,

Monday, January 23, 2012

tears of a clown...

"to see what is in front of one's nose is a constant struggle."
~george orwell

"ain't too much much sadder than the tears of a clown when there's no one around..."
~smokey robinson & the miracles

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1 photog + 3 seniors + snow = awesomeness

"the future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow.  be careful how you tread it, for every step will show."

what fun we had last saturday doing a winter photo shoot for 2012 bliss graduates!

so much fun...but so, so COLD!  we were amazed at the number of kind people along the way who stopped to make sure that we were ok or to see if we needed help...thank you good samaritans! thinking about doing some more winter photo shoots this weekend...stay tuned!

peace & bliss,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

make a mess...

"perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up.  but clutter and mess show us that life is being lived.  clutter is wonderfully fertile ground - you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip...perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. what people somehow (inadvertently, i'm sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here..." adapted from bird by bird by anne lamott

live a little...
peace & bliss, 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

where are you mister bluebird?

whoa is me...i am sick today. 
however, not feeling well really puts life into perspective for all the days that i feel simply normal.
normal is good - normal is great.  
so, in this meantime, i will visualize & imagine feeling normal again...

"mister bluebird on my shoulder, it's the truth, it's actual, ev'rything is satisfactual...
zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, wonderful feeling, wonderful day..." ~ ray gilbert, 1945

Monday, January 16, 2012

"...keep moving forward"

as we all enjoy or day off of work or out of school, i am noticing how facebook and social media is inundated with popular quotes and photos from the late & great dr. martin luther king, jr.  i hope everyone - both young and old - appreciates the history and the worth of this monday.

when i was thinking about what to do for the blog today, i remembered a photo i took in downtown indianapolis during and engagement session.  anyone who has ever hung out with me when i have my camera knows that i may stop mid sentence or mid stride to stop and take a picture of something that catches my eye...and this caught my eye - martin luther king, jr.'s portrait framed by the bright blue sky.

"if you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward." ~martin luther king, jr.

ironically, to date there are 730+ cities that have streets named after king.  the irony lies in this metaphor - a street, highway, or byway gifted with his namesake, traveled by so many - some moving forward honoring his legacy...while others remain stuck - even when moving forward at 55mph.

wishing you safe travels...
peace & bliss,

Thursday, January 12, 2012


"someday, somewhere - anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life." ~pablo neruda

i am becoming my own very favorite person & i like it!
how about you?
peace & bliss, 

like the art in this photo?  get your own here!! prints by artist & designer, melissa baswell williams

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

new year...new you?

or perhaps not a new you but a better you?

new year's resolutions are notorious for starting off with a bang and ending a short time later with just a little fizzle...

i struggle myself with "committing" to take time for myself - to eat better, exercise more, get enough sleep, etc., etc,....and to be honest there are times when i feel like a down right hypocrite for not practicing what i preach.  why is it so hard?  especially when that something that takes so little time and makes me feel so good?  UGH!

what i have discovered is that i do much better when i attempt to commit alongside others...accountability partners if you will.  i have found one of the best people to hold you accountable to yourself and to health is kokomo's own, missy sutton.  missy is a ISSA certified personal trainer, TRX trainer, zumba, zumba gold, zumba toning, and cardio kickboxing instructor.  she recently opened her own fitness studio & you can check her out here!

i am all about what missy stands for...women owned business owners, women supporting and encouraging one another (but don't be misunderstood - she has several men as clients and operates her business with her partner in life, hubby, ted!), empowerment, loving yourself, loving and nurturing your body.  i was thrilled to photograph some of her classes and her new studio...

i was even more excited to photograph one of my best friends for missy because she is one of her committed and successful clients. alison has been my friend since way back - like middle school and we were lucky enough to go to college and graduate school together. now, the two of us are living happily ever after as clinical social workers!  she is stunning, beautiful, and strong...inside & out. love ya girl!

so, i guess the moral of the story is get a friend or two, check out missy's fitness OR check it out on your own and meet new friends, or accountability partners as i like to call them.  it is worth the investment...YOU are worth the investment.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

do you believe in magic?

i do!

what fun we had traveling to the magic capital of the world...colon, michigan to photograph my dear friend's daughter's wedding!  i enjoyed photographing this wedding with my mentor and "second momma," lynne and my daughter, deztanie, future photog! the wedding took place on october 15 and the venue was a cozy craftsman styled resort nestled along side sturgeon lake, the retreat at miller's landing.  the couple's engagement photos were taken a week before the wedding in downtown indianapolis...and after spending the day with erin and todd, i couldn't help but believe in the magic of love.

love, love, love the sense of humor these two share!

the wedding celebrations began early that morning - the "boys" gathered for a huge breakfast at a diner in downtown colon while the girls were primped and pampered at a local salon...in between photographs, we were able to take in a bit of colon's magical attractions too.

erin & todd not only share a love for each other, but also for the chicago bears - evident in the blue and orange chosen for the wedding colors...

the groom shared the significance of this coin...the bride's father gave it to him before the wedding and explained that it was the coin he had in his pocket the day he married her mother.  and yes, we were all choked up by this story...

this is one happy groom...literally jumping for joy!

this was not only the joining of two hearts...but rather seven - the kids were as much a part of this ceremony as the bride and groom with a sand ceremony and gifting of family necklaces from the parents. so touching...

lynne's awesome photos...the couple had us cracking up - all day long the two would tell each other, "you're so sexy - no, YOU'RE so sexy..." love 'em!

erin & todd kicked off the reception's dance party with a dance serenade to michael jackson's "the way you make me feel" - so much fun!

wishing this happy couple & family many, many more years of magic...congratulations again!

Monday, January 2, 2012

happy new year...

umphrey's mcghee nye show at the pageant in st. louis

darnit - i was supposed to finish my first blog on monday - the first monday of the new year & i failed.  it is 12:17 a.m. on tuesday.  oh well.  i am going to do this anyway!!

"it's not that some people have the willpower and some don't.  
it's that some people are ready to change and others are not." 
~ james gordon

i will be the first to admit i am not perfect...not by any means.  i am a bit disorganized - have lots of good intentions and not so good follow through at times.  i am chronically late ( that is improving... ) - i flip out sometimes about the most insignificant things.  i am going to work on being a better me overall...and blog regularly. 

i am going utilize my crazy, busy, disorganized life as a medium for positive personal development...approach my challenges as opportunities - 2012 looks to be a good year...but i need to play catch up and highlight some of the best of 2011 too.  

peace & bliss,