Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude

Oh my wonderful, wonderful blog followers. How I miss you. Life has been a swirl of craziness and my free time has been pretty nonexistent. Not in a bad way though, it's been filled with moving to a new place, photography jobs, lots of family gatherings, baking up a storm, babysitting...but as always, thank you for stopping by and I am grateful for all my readers! ♥ That being said, here is the rest of my 30 days of Gratitude!

::Day 13::
I am grateful for the gift of photography. It has truly made my life better!

::Day 13::
I am grateful for new places to explore! For little weekend getaways to recharge.

::Day 14::
I am grateful for gum. Stupid I know, but I love my gum, you won't find me without a pack! It helps me concentrate.

::Day 15::
I am grateful for new friends!

::Day 16::
I am grateful for the beach. Can't say it enough.

::Day 17::
I am grateful for companionship.

::Day 18::
I am grateful for my new Polaroid camera! So fun to play with and I have always wanted one :)

::Day 19::
I am grateful for all the encouragement I receive from everyone...friends, family, strangers, even the perfect saying.

::Day 20::
I am grateful for those moments of inexplicable beauty.

::Day 21::
I am grateful for our upcoming Christmas vacation in Idaho! I need a break and I love it up there.

::Day 22::

I am grateful for a plate of hot, homemade cookies! Mmmm

::Day 23::
I am grateful that 3 of my 4 grandparents are still around. I feel very very lucky!

::Day 24::

I am grateful for family gatherings. I love my family, I love Brent's family and a day centered around family, food, and being Thankful? Yes please!

::Day 25::
I am grateful for leftovers. Nothing like a good Thanksgiving leftover sandwich!

::Day 26::
I am grateful for other friends who share my passion for photography!

::Day 27::
I am grateful for Fall. My favorite season is almost gone but not quite!

::Day 28::
I am grateful for days of acting like a kid!

::Day 29:: 
I am grateful for knowing I can follow my dreams.

::Day 30::
I am grateful for life's wonderful everyday moments.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend Camp Shutter Sisters, a gathering of 70+ women all bonded by a passion for photography. Most had formed previous relationships through the website of Shutter Sisters, and participation in online photography classes led by the talented Tracey Clark...and were now finally meeting in person for a photography inspired extravaganza. Women from different corners of the world, from every part of the US, Canada, England, and beyond, everyone of different ages, with different hairstyles, accents, camera gear all united in one place. To say it felt surreal is an understatement!
Spanning over 3 days, it was hard to believe I wasn't dreaming. Starting with recognizing familiar faces and names of women who I had formed special online friendships with over the past few years. Moving on to admiring the homey little details so carefully placed around us from candles to blankets to vintage cameras, homemade banners and signs, welcome gifts and surprises. And every moment during those 3 days there was a story to be shared, a conversation to be had, a new friend to meet, a camera technique to learn, a bond of sisterhood to be formed. 

It sounds a little cheesy but being the youngest camper in attendance, I felt like a baby bird being nudged from the nest. I often need a little encouragement and this experience, these women, were just the push I needed. The level of acceptance and encouragement I felt was through the roof with everyone making me feel like the sky is the limit for both my photography and my life. You see, although I feel very mature for my age given my life experiences, I often lack a certain confidence. After too many occurrences of being stopped dead in my tracks when I am on a roll due to some type of health complication, I often face a bit of trepidation to step outside my comfort zone. But since I have been home I feel something changed within me...for good.
After being dragged home against my will, I wrote down every last detail that I never want to forget, as well as all the dreams and ideas that were sparked. It has taken me this long to share my experiences because every time I tried, nothing I said or wrote seemed to accurately depict the feeling of sisterhood we all shared. The feeling of lifelong friendships being formed. The feeling that we were all meant to be there at that time. The feeling that we were all a part of something bigger than us. The feeling that anything was possible, that we could go out and follow our dreams and give ourselves permission to do so. The feeling that we could wish for anything, and leave behind our fears. It was like we were in a little bubble of love and support, filled with women all so different yet so the same. 
That being said, let me give you a little glimpse into those few days...

Lindsey and I made the best of the 7 hour drive, filled with camp excitement, life stories, and photography talk.
We finally arrived at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove... "A Refuge by the Sea."

We were welcomed in style with a beautiful care package...
...and with fun, colorful decorations.
We roamed the grounds in the early mornings...
...and explored late at night.
We had late night visitors...
...and beautiful early morning light.
Warm cups, full plates, and plenty of treats were enjoyed in the upscale camp style 'mess hall'.
We were surrounded by inspirational words and sayings...
...and heard wonderful quotes and poems.
We printed our photos and inspired each other...
...and acted silly and shared laughs together.
With rustic lodging, campfires and s'mores, sure did have that cozy camp vibe.
We explored the beach...
...even with the heavy fog.

We played with the enchanting Lens Baby...
and admired it's dreamy feel.

We took workshops with the masters about light, self portraits, polaroids, editing software...
 ...finding your niche, iphoneography, composition, macro, & more.
 I could fill an entire post just with photos of my new friends!
Can't wait for next year!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude Day 12

Today I am thankful for opportunities, for people taking a chance on me, and for having faith in me. I recently began assisting an established & talented wedding photographer and I am having so much fun with it and have already learned so much! It is challenging and rewarding and I feel blessed to have been given this opportunity.

Simple Pleasures Saturday #8

What simple little things are bringing you joy today & over the weekend? For me...
  • Sleeping until 8
  • Shopping alone
  • Having extra birthday money to spend
  • Making whopper milkshakes with my cousin
  • Baby smiles
  • Eating hot chili while listening to the rain
  • S'more martini
I hope you are having a glorious weekend! xo

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude: Playing Catch Up

A week's worth of Gratitude...
(in no particular order of course)

::Day 5::
I am grateful for my Dad.
My wonderful, talented, warmhearted Dad.
I am grateful for having a father who loves me unconditionally
and who I know would do anything for me.
I am grateful for the bond we share.

::Day 6::
I am grateful for my pets, past & present. This is Bonnie ♥
I am grateful for their unconditional love, and for holding
a special place in my heart.

 ::Day 7::
 I am grateful for coffee & tea. I vacillate between the two, and even though caffeine unfortunately has barely any effect on me, I love the routine of waking up and starting the morning with a hot cup o' something. Mmm yum yum!

::Day 8::
I am grateful for blue jeans. I live in my jeans, and can't imagine not being able to wear them as much as I do...good thing I 
1. work from home, and 
2. can wear almost anything with camera in hand

::Day 9::
 I am so so incredibly grateful that I survived cancer and thankful for how much it has shaped the woman I am today.

::Day 10::
I am grateful for art. I cannot imagine life without it...without creating it, without looking at it... My mom is an artist, now I am an artist, in 2 totally different ways. I am grateful for the artistic genes my mama passed down my way through the gene pool.

 ::Day 11::
I am grateful for this guy. The most kindhearted boyfriend ever.
I am grateful for the support he provides.
I am grateful for having a better half who sticks by me when times are at the absolute worst.
I am grateful for the laughs, the love, and the growth.
And on 11/11/11 I wish for a lifetime of happiness with him.
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