Thursday, July 28, 2011

Like a Brick in your Pocket

A couple weeks ago I flew to New York to visit a few friends from college. The following moment has stuck with me since that trip...

As I got to the top of the escalator landing, I couldn't help but notice a small boy about 5 or 6 years old standing with who I can only presume were his mother and grandmother. His hair was sandy blond and he had on a light blue shirt and jean shorts. Yet his clothes weren't what caught my attention, but rather the large tears falling from his eyes.

His grandmother was kneeling on the floor next to him doing her best to console him. Sadly, she was failing. He continued to sob even harder the more she talked to him. I tried to make eye contact with him and give him my best "cheer up" smile but he wouldn't look in my direction.
My heart ached for this little boy. I have been in his position countless times. I remember choking up each and every time I have had to say goodbye to friends, my sister and of course how awful it was saying goodbye to my parents in airports. We have all had to say goodbye to someone special in the airport and in life. I believe that it is the hardest thing a person will endure in their lifetime. If you haven't experience either then consider yourself very fortunate.

Seeing that little boy cry, I was suddenly made aware of my own constant grief and sadness that I feel. For the most part, I do a really good job of pretending that everything is fine and my parents are still happily living overseas. My brain knows this is not true but my heart needs to think this in order to get through my days. This image with the little boy brought to my attention the fact that I'll always feel in my heart just like him. I will always have this sadness and pain deep within me. There's no escaping it. I'm not sure if it will ever go away. I don't even know if I want it to go away altogether.

Several months ago my sister forwarded me the following conversation from the movie, "Rabbit Hole". I think that these lines certainly explain to the outsider what it's like going through life after experiencing an intense loss.

From the 2010 film "Rabbit Hole":

Becca: Does it ever go away?
Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes

Becca: How?

Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into
something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket.
And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and -
there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful - not all the time. It's kinda...

[deep breath]

Nat: Not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it
around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...

Becca: Which is what?

Nat: Fine, actually.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Revelations in a Letter

A friend of mine was and I suppose will for some time be going through a difficult time in her relationship with a guy she was dating for awhile. She has finally come to a place where she knows it's not going to get any better and she has fallen out of love with the person he has sadly become. She read the following letter to me about a week ago and I felt it was so incredibly powerful and raw that I just had to share it on my blog. She did indeed give this letter to him.

Of course, with her permission, here is the letter:

"I miss you. I don't mean the "I am going out of town for the weekend" type miss you. I really miss you. I miss us. I miss the people we used to be. The people that I thought we were becoming. I miss my ace, my number one, my friend.

I can and I will admit that I fell in love with you. The type of wake up in the middle of the night just to smell your scent type of love.

But as time goes on as it always will and new days emerge as do revelations, time has brought us to this place, this moment. Not the most defining but a moment that I have always dreaded but can't push away any longer because it is consuming me and I can't breathe.

I have decided that those people we were, those two strangers who just so happened to hit it off, are not the people we are today and we will never be again. That's okay though. People evolve and adapt and relationships do the same.

I asked myself a thousand times "How can we make it like it used to be?" Oh, I know:
  • I can take us to Vegas for a "romantic" weekend
  • I can take him on dates to show him that he deserves it just because he is with me
  • I can turn my house into a strip club to show him that I am not the person his friends think I am, I am a fun person with a great attitude
  • I can give him my body because it has been his since he first touched my little girl (and I am not talking about a kid)
But wait, there are no we's...What is he doing to get us...somewhere, anywhere.

I appreciate the occasional lunch and movie. I love when we can have a conversation about nothing. Lay around and just be. I love that feeling of he misses me when I am out of town because he texts me so.

But I have evolved and I know that what we had is gone and all we have is right here, right now. There is no future for us and you never hint that there ever will be.

You told me that you didn't want to hurt me but I don't understand how you can't see the hurt all over me. The sadness, the anger that you caused but I am always apologizing for.

My back is against a wall and my screams are falling on deaf ears and a heart that belongs to another. There is no compromise. There is no life line. So I ask myself what is it that I am fighting for. The answer is the two strangers who happened to meet each other and hit it off but they no longer exist in this reality. The people I hoped they would be together for as long as they needed to be, wanted to be.

But here we are, right here right now, living in the present with no future holding on to what was and just now accepting what it is. The love I have for you was something I hadn't felt in a long time. There have been others but none I let my guard down for. I was ready for you, I was waiting for you.

I love you and I have to let go. I can't keep fighting for you when you aren't fighting for me. I wanted you with everything inside of me but I am a person in this relationship and I have grown enough to know I need more and I want more and I have to stop settling for less than.

This letter didn't come easy and my heart is breaking with every word. I am so weak when it comes to you but I am strong in faith to know that when you are going through hell you keep going because it will get better.

This is goodbye for now and who knows it may turn into a see you later. My feelings for you can't handle being friends. I am not there nor do I know when I will be."

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Craigslist Now!

Not that everything on Craigslist is official and legit but my photo shoot services are now up there! It's an exciting step forward in this new venture for me as an art director and my team working together! Here's the link to the post so you can see for yourself:
Yes, I'm a dork and just took a picture of the Craigslist post online! : )

I am also happy to announce that today we got our first three clients lined up for shoots later this summer! I literally did a happy dance this afternoon! : ) Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beyonce Video

I shared this link on Facebook already yesterday but I love it so much and think it demonstrates just how incredibly talented Beyonce is so I'm going to go ahead and share it on here as well. Enjoy and respect the greatness that she is!! Her voice is amazing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pin-Ups For Vets Teaser Pics

Here's a fun slideshow of some teaser pics from the 2012 Pin-Ups for Vets Calendar shoot last week:

Pin-Ups for Vets Calendar Shoot

Something very exciting is about to take off in my life.

Awhile ago I made a list of things that I've been able to do since I moved to Los Angeles, well, another one must be added to that list. Never ever would I have thought that I would be on a photo shoot in LA. Even more surprising, I never imagined that I would be playing such a key role during one.

Last year at around this same time my friend and roommate Gina asked me to accompany her to Lake Arrowhead, CA to help her shoot the 2011 Pin-Ups for Vets Calendar and I gladly accepted. Well, this year her offer came again and I of course jumped at the chance to work with her, her amazing photographer and talented makeup/hair stylist. This year we proved to be the dream team to work with. Of course I say this with no biases at all. : )

So, perhaps you are wondering what exactly do I do on these photo shoots?

Well, first I help the photographer look for outlets for all the lighting equipment and then we set all of it up. In the process, I’ve learned about the different lighting techniques and how to operate it all. Next, I determine where exactly at the location Gina should pose and specifically what positions she should get into. Then I examine what props we have for that location and how they would work into it. Sometimes I’ll even have to build a prop and make sure that it looks good for the camera. I’ve created a picnic scene, arranged fruit in a grocery store, moved people out of a shot, applied whip cream to waffles, moved flags to their proper position and many more things. I also make sure there is nothing obstructing each picture, I’ve moved plants, traffic cones, barriers at museums and even a dog once. I like to have several pose ideas in my head before Gina even gets there.

Once she arrives on set, I get her into position. Then I begin calling out posture and facial expression instructions like “stand tall,” suck it in,” “chest out,” "put your foot there", “turn this way and move your hand,” and much more. You wouldn’t think these instructions were all that important but the littlest thing like the lift of a finger can really make or break a shot. Since we are so comfortable with one another, this rapid exchange of direction cues works very well for us. I even will occasionally fix her bra and make sure her cleavage is looking it’s best. I’ll straighten her dress, remove lint, arrange her hair and more. I also feel like it’s my job to keep Gina calm and entertained throughout the shoot. For instance in this last shoot, we were using an ice cream sundae that was melting and dripping down her hand so I quickly thought on my feet and licked the ice cream dish to stop the dripping so we could resume shooting. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to get the best shot. : ) I can say for certain that our photo shoots are always the perfect balance of fun and professional.

All of this takes about an hour to be completed: set up, shoot and breakdown. We’ve done this enough that it’s become automatic for our team. We know our specific duties on set and oftentimes carry them out with little communication. Once the camera stops clicking and Gina is satisfied that we’ve got the “money shot” as we call it, I help the photographer take down his equipment.

We usually shoot about 70 frames just to get that one perfect moment captured, ultimately freezing that moment in time. This is what it all comes down to. I strive to create harmony with all the elements in the picture; the props, her costume, her body language, her facial expression and the location. All of these must be in-sync with each other in order to produce the kind of quality photo we want. We want to create a memorable photo that remains in people’s heads long after the initial viewing.

Now who is responsible for doing all that? Well, have you ever looked at a photo spread in a magazine and wondered how it all came together? No? Well, if you have, the title of this individual in charge of all of that is the Art Director. An art director’s job is to create the visual concept of the photo. They are trying to evoke an emotional response/connection from the viewer. It’s important that the art director understands what the viewers are looking for and what will connect them to the picture and why it will do so. Essentially, there’s quite a bit of psychology thrown into it.

Growing up I’ve always been interested in interior design. I think that I’m good at moving things around and creating a new and interesting look. I also have always enjoyed taking pictures with friends. Perhaps, it’s the combination of these two things that has brought about this new interest in art directing.

What started as a simple friend helping a friend look her best for her pictures has turned into so much more. I now want to be an art director and work with other people on their photo shoots. The photographer, the makeup/hair stylist and I have decided to continue working together. So if you or anyone you know is interested in getting pictures taken here in LA, please contact me. We certainly are a one-stop-shop service. We’ll take head shots, band pictures, beauty and commercial photos, gifts for loved ones, maternity pictures, special events and so much more.

Please contact me at my new work email address: I am so excited to get this new venture started!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Project Smile-June

How is it already JULY?! Geesh!! I was just getting the hang of June!

Well, like always, the challenge is to find something to smile about every single day of the month. Thanks to Kristi for keeping this going at Live and Love...out Loud.

Here are my smiles for June:

1st- There's nothing like grabbing brunch with a friend to catch up on everything going on in our lives!
2nd- Getting to my destination just in the nick of time!
3rd- A Friday night with nothing planned. : )
4th- Super busy day spent with such wonderful people.
5th- Enjoyed a simple cheese burger with someone new in my life that makes me smile.
6th- My nephew turns 2!!
7th- Babysitting my nephew always puts a smile on my face.
8th- Wine date with my sister.
9th- Back to red hair.
10th- Long work followed by a free night!
11th- Nothing better then a mid-day Saturday nap.
12th- Accomplished so much today!
13th- Jamming out to old school Lionel Richie in my car with an old college friend.
14th- Being able to handle an on the spot impromptu phone interview.
15th- Networked with interesting music business people tonight.
16th- After a long day at work, I still had energy to work out-Go me!
17th- Finally met one of my Bf's good friends.
18th- Didn't do anything all day and didn't feel bad about it.
19th- Cheers for taking control and handling my own plumbing issue! Yay! Thanks to the internet!
20th- My Invisalign treatment is done!!
21st- A successful Pin-Ups For Vets 2012 Calendar shoot!
22nd- Heard exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.
23rd- 3 solid and productive hours spent working at a coffee shop followed by a great workout!
24th- Reconnecting with old friends.
25th- Sleeping in late rocks!
26th- Celebrated my sister's birthday on a Duffy boat!
27th- Quick and easy workday.
28th- A productive day shooting my roommate's pin-up calendar.
29th- Sleeping with the windows open at night.
30th- I met a friend's 6 week old baby and I met my BF's mom! : )

Can you think of 30 things that made you smile this month? It's really easy and I urge you to do this on your own.