A “Happy” Filter

There’s something about this “Bokehful” filter that imbues “happiness”… I mean, it’s like jumping in a pool of happy, bright-light bubbles…  (Which pretty much sums up how I feel about life!)

I was wearing my volunteer hoodie in this picture and that’s yet another aspect of living that feels so incredibly joyous and “right.” Sometimes we find passions later in the journey. . .

On the tougher days it’s especially important to find our “happy” filters – whatever they may be – because life isn’t  always so peachy (and neither are we. I’m sure not all the time!)

Maybe it’s a cup of coffee, a love note, or a listening to the laugh of someone we love. Maybe it’s a call to an old friend, listening to your favorite song, or curling up in the arms of your best friend. Whatever those “happy” things are, keep them on tap for the rainy days.

If you find yourself in short supply? Take a quick picture and slap on a slew of glowing bubbles. If nothing else, it’s worth a smile to see yourself surrounded in so colorful an effervescence. It lifts the mood just looking at it! (“What if I’m frowning,” you say? All the better! The juxtaposition of a frown face with all that bubbling brilliance ups the humor quotient –  laughing at the gloom is half the battle. DON’T underestimate simple tricks and tools!)

A bad-day band-aid? Maybe. But when you smile your brain actually begins to produce more of our “happiness” chemicals (hint: dopamine and serotonin?) so seriously…what’s the harm in that?

Um… N A D A !

Pinterest and Personalities

I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon many, MANY moons ago – truly back in its infancy. In 2010 I was still in the Fashion Industry when making trend and mood boards was a key component of my work. (Yes…I LOVED it!) 🙂 I was a lucky lady, and couldn’t have been more in my element.

I was a devourer of all things visual… It didn’t necessarily matter if a photo in question was of an actual SHOE or not (ladies footwear being the branch in which I worked for well over a decade.) I could use everything from images with obvious connections (footwear, handbags, accessories etc) to things that were more abstract (makeup artistry, rain-drenched sidewalk bricks, a caramel apple…) It really didn’t matter, so long as the color, or vibe, or depth captured what I was intending to weave into a story… A story that would serve as the basis for the colors, materials, and styles we’d select for that season, essentially…

So for me, Pinterest was a GOLD mine. I wish it had been around sooner, but I was thrilled to work with it back then…in spite of bugs and growing pains. It was massively addictive for me as a Fashion Director, but also just a highly visual person. It proved (and still does) equally as addictive for hoards of the – primarily female, as you might surmise – population. 

I can’t say that I’m on the site quite as much these days, but I still pull images with reasonable frequency. Each time I do so, I find myself smiling because Pinterest is so much more than what a large majority of people see it as being – as in, a board for to-dos or must-haves. For me it is more of a drool-fest – at least as far as my overarching usage goes. I pin images that I want to wrap myself in somehow…if not entirely and ravenously imbibe. They’re delicious, in a word (and to reduce it to one is a painful exercise!)

But there are boards I have created that do include things I would buy, or might should some event arise… For example, my Pinups and Fabulousness board… There are a plethora of sassy images – the just-for-fun-and-isnspiration kind. But then there are the pencil dresses or obscenely luscious heels that I desperately want a reason to buy – so says the tiny sliver of typical-female that I possess (because it really is a lot tinier than the grossly-generalized stereotype.)

Anyway, the real fun in Pinterest is that it is – I believe – a full-on snapshot of a person’s personality – it’s a lot more colorful than a Facebook, and I daresay farther reaching into the depth of one’s character than an Instagram (remember, these are images we can easily pull from every nook and cranny of the global Interweb ether!) It also happens to allow for the multiple facets of our being – I’m several things in one Geminian bundle myself. . .

For example…it would take under a second to see that I am obsessed with 50s glam – but not the frillier, cheesecake pinup fashion, so much as the badassery of Bettie Page. I’m all about fitted, curve-hugging, sensual shapes and lines… I have a gothic sensibility overall, which is glaringly obvious, paired with a little bit of “show” (performer much of my life, after all!) I love long heels and edgy details (like Paciotti’s infamous dagger going down the back of these killer heels…)

So if you are ever wondering about a person…check to see if they have any Interest boards out there. You’ll be amazed what you can learn . . .

I’ll share more of my boards later (unless you feel like looking now…) because it’s far too much to consume at once. In fact, a single board might prove daunting to the mundane mind! For me, though, it’s like a pool I dive into as much as I can (knowing that I must proceed with caution, lest I be pulled into the seductive undertow of image pinning!)

Things Are…And Aren’t…What They Appear To Be

I posted these photos on Instagram because, as an athlete, I’m often around other people exercising, aiming for fitness or sport goals, or in a sports class. Our goals, our aesthetics, our abilities, and our priorities are all different and I make a HUGE point to remind people that comparison is never a helpful tactic. But when I say that, I don’t just mean comparison to other people – what they have or don’t have, how they look or don’t look. . .  – I also mean that we need to be gentle with ourselves

Our own mirrors, cameras, eyeballs (!). . .can tell very different stories simply based on angle and lighting. Hell, time of DAY can make a difference too – did you just have a huge glass of water? Have you eaten three meals already? Are you a woman dealing with cyclical change?

Sometimes people say very kind things, but they say them in a way as if to put themselves down… That makes me crazy. We all have room for improvement, but we also all have a lot to be proud of. When we see images of people in “perfect” shape it’s easy to be hard on ourselves – because I’ve grown up in sports (which I consider a great thing!) I also have the side effect of always wanting to achieve. To – absolutely – my own detriment sometimes!

What we ourselves (a highly visual species) post on social media generally portrays the happy, the fun, the good, the ideal “stuff”…but not as much the rough patches, the blemishes, the mistakes. As with everything, we all have our own reasons for that…and tons OF them. For some of us, we look to one another for inspiration and motivation. We also like to share funny and personal tidbits along the way – we are connected to friends, after all. But it’s important not to forget the human element, and that there is more to what we see.

Lately, I’ve gone easier – I was down and out with a cold, I’ve been struggling with a back problem…it’s just been harder to push myself to the limit. BUT…I’m doing okay. I’m healthy and have a LOT to be thankful for (I’m serious, I could write a monster gratitude list off the cuff.)

Being off my game doesn’t mean I’m suddenly a horrible person or I’m not still doing a good job! I make little jabs at myself (NOT nice and NOT a good habit, ps – I work on that every day) but I’m never going back to depriving myself. Fortunately when I was doing that, I didn’t think I looked well at all, and it was not the result of wanting to change my figure. Still, that unhealthy propensity is there and it takes daily reminders sometimes that my own EYES can deceive me…just like yours and everyone else’s can. 

Social media definitely doesn’t help that case so I think showing that appearances are easy to alter is a positive thing. It’s okay to post the good and happy and pulled-together…but just don’t forget that everyone has imperfections. Lighting and angles also play a big part – both for good and for not-so-good. We aren’t getting professionally airbrushed like celebrities in Vogue (well, maybe some are!) but there’s still room for focal shifts!

 

 

V Day

I don’t do Valentine’s Day.  I think the only time I sent Valentines out was when I was in lower school (so that’s third grade and below), frankly under duress. There was candy involved, though, so I would generally get what remained – nice incentive at that age!

I just don’t think anyone should feel obligated to do something nice, let alone nice AND sappy, just because the calendar says so – therein lies my distaste for what it’s become.

Funnily enough, though, a Facebook memory popped up of this (incredibly rare form!) photo.  It was taken many moons ago, rather in defiance of the 14th, and very much with a mocking tone.  

I do have a lot of friends in pin-up and vintage automotive photography so it was equally a (positive, in this case, however) nod to them.

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I guess we all have skeletons, right?  With red heart-shaped glasses and red lipstick, in my case!

Random Panther

RANDOM BLOG PANTHER!

Why?

Because black panthers are the most spectacular creatures on the planet, hello (and I not-so-secretly am jealous I’m not one myself!) 😉 

I mean…just L O O K!

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Nature is astounding.

PS…did you ever see that Geico panther ad?  🙂

THANKFUL

I don’t really do shoutouts or updates regarding my personal status – I feel like if you know me, you know what (and who) is important.  But sometimes it feels good to be as loud as you can be for the Universe, because the conversations we have internally very much reflect beyond ourselves. . .

As one year comes to a close, and another opens, I always make time for a little ritual – one in which I write down those things for which I am immensely thankful, for the things I wish to release and no longer serve me, and for all that I am hoping for.  

When we envision the good as if it has already happened, miracles WILL unfold – I’ve seen it happen in my own Life in ways I cannot begin to verbally describe.  But magic?  Oh yes…and THEN some.

So even though I try to make it clear every day…I just wanted to say…

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In more ways than language has words to express, I am thankful for his spirit and his heart, above all things.  Let that be known for eternity in this realm and the next. . .

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Happy holidays to all, and blessed be.

 

 

Hollywood Ladies Baring All For Pirelli

Word of a new Pirelli project came my way recently, and I love that for it, these “elite” ladies are being photographed au natural.  Yes, part of me knows that they probably had facials, and undoubtedly have their own selection of skincare and preventative aging measures (in general, but also in preparation!) BUT. . . I still appreciate that they are being photographed withOUT the layers of makeup they usually are seen wearing.  Refreshing.

Why would I bother mentioning it, especially given that I don’t follow celebrity media?  Because a lot of ladies look up to the “stars.”  Young ones, in particular… The faces in the spotlight matter – right or wrong (whatever your opinion) – to many.  So it’s great to see them taking it all off to encourage people to love the skin they are in – no one should have to hide, and it is OKAY to be bare-faced.

newbeauty.com

newbeauty.com

Per photographer Peter Lindbergh and New Beauty:

“I wanted to use the 2017 calendar to convey a different kind of beauty,” said Lindbergh at a press launch in Paris. “Since it’s based on consumption, the present system offers a single kind of beauty, which is essentially one of youth and perfection, since its objective is to get people to consume. But this idea of beauty has nothing to do with the real world or with women. Through the Pirelli Calendar I’ve tried to convey a different message, which is that beauty is far more than what advertising offers us today. My aim was therefore to portray women in a different way: and I did this by calling in actresses who’ve played an important role in my life, getting as close as possible to them to take my photos.”

While I wish this kind of encouragement was more prevalent, I am thankful for any of it at all – it’s important, in a world of false pretense and facades (grazie, social media!) that people realize a pretty face often has a lot more going on to make it APPEAR that way.  Let’s remember that we are human beings – we have dynamic wrinkles because we are alive and laughing!  Our skin sometimes has little spots because we see the sun from time to time.  We aren’t plastic, and flawless…and there’s nothing wrong with that.  We don’t have to live up to “perfect” (someone else’s term and standard, probably!) all the time…or even, how about this…? EVER.

Thank you, Pirelli, for the calendar…and for supporting “us” as we are.

Pirelli Instagram photo

Pirelli Instagram photo

L O V E, Captured

It’s fair to say that I’ve seen a lot of wedding photography in the last few months – I’ve poured through hundreds upon hundreds of images, looking for inspirational compositions, colors, poses…you name it (thank you, Pinterest, the visual tool of the modern era!)

But my husband and I don’t much care for contrived… We want to have fun, and have the freedom be ourselves in all that we do – for wedding photography, maintaining an environment in which we could avoid affectation, unnatural manipulations, and overdone postures was incredibly important.  You don’t want to be conscious of being photographed, for one thing, never mind feeling like posed plastic.

We had the good fortune to work with Christian Oth Studio and I have to say, not only were the two key players I came down to PHENOMENAL, but so too were the assistant photographers, videographers and coordinators they chose.  Doubtless everyone on board is well above par – the plethora of imagery was quite spectacular on the site, and I’m not sure I had much hesitation when choosing a vendor.  

The blessing, though, was that each person on our crew was so incredibly well-suited – the laughter was contagious, and I found myself mindfully thankful – and loving – every minute of it. 

While I have to wait the regular grace period of two months or so (Merry Christmas!) for the rest of the lot…I was sent three “teaser images.”  I nearly fell over, (joyful) tears in my eye, when I saw what were more than just photos…  I feel like they not only captured what was physically before them, but the true love and joy of the moment(s). 

Pascal Memishian & Eric Brody

Christian Oth Studio, Andrew Kelly

The stress of wedding planning is very real – it isn’t just the hundreds of files I’ve amassed (documents, spreadsheets, worksheets, contacts, images), nor the hundreds of e-mails.  The coordination, the attention to details (ALL of them), the scheduling… There is so much going on for only a few hours of celebration.  It sounds like planning would be fun, doesn’t it?!  Unfortunately, not much of it was… BUT…

When I saw – and felt – the joy from my family…and when I took one look at him (his energy I could feel across the room)…?  His smile nearly bowled me over.  Every ounce and minute spent desperately trying to design and arrange THE perfect event, cake, setting, flowers, music, photography, guest lists, timing…was worth a split second of his smile.

I have tears in my eyes as I write, feeling a sense of gratitude greater than what my heart can bear almost… To see the people you love at their most joyful and relaxed is a gift worth planning for a lifetime.

I’d not have changed a thing because…

Because it was perfect.

And Oth?  They captured the “perfect”…

And then some.

Pascal Memishian & Eric Brody

Christian Oth Studio, Andrew Kelly

Pascal Memishian & Eric Brody

Christian Oth Studio, Andrew Kelly

My special thanks to Andrew Kelly, Anna Davis, Zachary Hilty, Reuban, Dexter, and Nina.

Selfie Silliness

I wonder if there is a term for taking a group selfie.  I hate the word “selfie” to be completely honest, but I suppose it’s just the way of the world these days.  I’m not actually sure what you’d call what my friends and I take, but they’re maybe more on par with “sillies.”  Can we add that to the dictionary too?  It’s so much more positive sounding (and definitely less narcissistic!)  

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Blooper Reel

My friends and I are always laughing, even when we are working our buns off at the gym.  Maybe that’s what’s so funny – we are all panting, huffing, and puffing, but still pushing through as if we have more steam….which sometimes we don’t.  When we tucker out, one of us might chime in with “EXCUSE ME?!”...as in “and just what the hell do you think YOU are doing stopping?!”  Inevitably whichever one of us is being scolded will offer up an “oh really?!  I am working my ass off!  You want to come over here!?”

Therein lies a whole other layer of humor – one of us is a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, with multiple high ranks in MMA and fighting Arts.  One of us is a 3rd Degree in Taekwondo.  I’m a 2nd Degree in Taekwondo and Hapkido, and working on Ninjutsu and JiuJitsu…and there are a bunch more folks studying ground fighting and boxing. So if we really did go at it (which we won’t, of course) it would be incredibly entertaining.  

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Maybe not *quite* as cool as watching Holly Holm take Rhonda down (sorry, I’m NOT sorry, she needed to be checked!) or as Nate choking out Mr. McGreggor… But it would gather a crowd! 

As I’ve said so many times, physical activity isn’t always easy, even when your passion is very much tied to it.  Having fun while you are at it, and engaging with people who have similar goals, upbeat attitudes, and the ability to push you when you need to kick in the rump…it can make all the difference in you keeping it up.