Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas, and the Year in Review


So, it's almost Christmas, and it looks like we all survived.
I have a tiny bit more shopping to do {the day before Christmas Eve....I know} because I thought I was done, and then remembered stocking stuffers {fml} and still have to get all the stuff for dinner tomorrow night, but other than that, I'm trying to just relax and enjoy it. I didn't stab anyone at Wal-Mart or the mall, so lets call this holiday season a win, ok?

All kinds of exciting things have happened lately, though.
I've been booked like crazy with photo shoots, Bill, Jackson and I went to Flagstaff last weekend,  I shot a wedding on a Wednesday in a Z Tejas, which may never ever happen again, and on Sunday, I met Bill's mom.
I know. 
Holy. Shit. You Guys.
She was super sweet, and reminded me a little of my people from Long Island. She didn't cuss as much as they do, and she was a lot less flashy {let's sum it up with her not being Italian} but she had a similar sense of humor, and the slightest hint of an accent. Hugging her goodbye made me miss my Nana so much.
I was nervous as a cat in a sack, but her and Jorge {Bills bonus dad} were so nice. We had coffee and pancakes, and I saw pictures of a wee little Bill, who looked quite a bit like Jackson. Also, he had a pencil mustache and beginners mullet in high school, so if I get arrested in the near future, you know it's because I broke into his mom's house to steal that picture, have it printed on an Afghan, and gave it to everyone I know for Christmas.
Still, can't believe that finally happened.

Normally I do a year in review on New Years Eve, but my posting here has been inconsistent at best, so while I'm sitting here doing it, we may as well get that out of the way for safe measure. 

In January, my dad was living with me, I was working at Walton, and Bill and I went to Tucson. That was also the month that we broke up for the last time. I set a bunch of goals for 2013, most of which I did not accomplish, because I am a disorganized asshole. Also, my life has a way of "bunching up on me" as my Nana used to say, and that shit just isn't gonna change.
By February, things with my dad and I were becoming tense, and I knew he'd have to move out soon. My goal for the month was to spend more time with Lainie, which I did, and it was awesome. We also adopted our cat Wednesday, and I waxed emo about break ups and other shit.
In March I bought a new car, cut my hair, and tried to make my house a home.
April was No Spend Month, AKA the biggest fucking disaster in goal setting history. 
May was supposed to be "Do Something Special For Someone Special" because I set those goals before Bill and I broke up, and I was going to take him to Vegas for his birthday, but then we broke up and I was all "EMOTIONS" and he was all "LOGIC" and nothing worked out, so I ended up just buying Jack a kitten and calling it good.
This was also the month that I got a restraining order on my dad. 
May was hard.
June's goal was to write every day, which I didn't. Things at work were starting to hit the wall, with my boss moving the other girl on our team, who had long since been the focus of all of his bullshit, to a different department, and hiring his best friend's nanny to replace her. Looking back, that was the beginning of the end of my time at Walton.
July's goal was to go to the beach. We didn't make it, but we spent every free minute at the pool, or in the sprinklers. We hung out with friends, we barbecued, we rested. July was good.
In August I was supposed to start my book. I did, but I didn't finish it. I don't want to write about my childhood, but every time I pick up a pen, it's what comes out. I fight it, but I need it, and until I can reconcile those two things, I will forever be too close to the situation to write the truth about it.
Septembers goal was to send letters and packages to close friends. Real mail. Tangible things.
Instead, I made some very final decisions about Walton, my career, our future. I started getting serious about booking photo shoots and weddings, making a website, and buying better gear. 
Shit started happening.
By October things were all but over at Walton. My boss accused me of stealing his expense reimbursement check, the nanny he'd hired into our department was reporting back every single thing I said about anything, ever. She was spying on me and he was encouraging it. I cried every day. I vowed to be out of there by January.
On November 1st, the decision was made for me, and we parted ways. 
I sobbed on the way home. 
I bought some Crown and drank and ranted and felt betrayed.
The next day, I picked my ass up and went to Bill's house and he told me nicely to get my shit together.
He said it was ok to be scared and it was ok to be mad, but I was a photographer, and that was my path, and this was just an opportunity that came sooner than I'd planned for.
We went to see a movie, and as we sat in the theater watching previews, his words sunk in: I was a business owner. We smiled at each other and I was excited.
Now it's the end of December. Two months into doing this full time. I've paid my bills, fed my kids, and I think we're going to be ok.

It's amazing what can happen in a year.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


adam scott
I've never been accused of being a patient person.
I want to know everything. What's going to happen, how it's going to go, whether it will really be ok, or not.
And I want to know right. now.
But at the same time I love surprises....
I've also never been accused of being easy to understand.
I digress.
It's almost the end of the year.
This year has brought so many things.
Some good, some horrible, some scary, and some amazing. I find myself feeling oddly nervous about 2014. I don't know why. I know that a new year really bears no actual significance over the one prior. Time is an ever moving loop, after all. It's just another day, right after the one before it, and before the one after it. Your life has no comprehension of the fact that a new year has started, a therefor most likely won't change on it's own because of that.
Still, I worry.
I feel stress about January and February, because I have little booked for those months right now. 
I feel anxious about relationships, both friendships and relationships of the intimate variety.
I feel like things are, or will soon be, at turning points in both areas, and I don't know which way anything will go, or what will happen, or how it will all turn out, and I'm nervous.
 I find my brow furrowed without realizing it more and more these days.
When I was younger my mom would see me doing that, and always told me if I kept thinking so hard I was going to break something.
But there is a new year coming, and nothing now is the way it was at this time 12 months ago, so as inaccurate as it probably is, I have this feeling in the way bottom of myself, that says the year ahead will almost be like living a completely different life.
Like I said, I could be wrong.

I just feel like everything is about to change.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oh, Hey December, When Did You Happen?

Happy December.

Hi there.
Somehow it is December.
I don't really know how this happened, but it did, and no Christmas is 21 days away and I have bought one gift.
We did get our tree up last night though.
I assembled it, added extra lights, the kids decorated it, I had wine.
Team effort, you guys.

Things have been sort of crazy cakes up in here lately.
Thanksgiving week is almost entirely a blur of work, turkey, people in my house, and minor catastrophe.
The day before Thanksgiving, I agreed to go to Sedona to do a family portrait session for some people who were coming into town from Texas. I decided to take the kids, because they'd never been there.
My photo shoot was at 3, and we left at 7 in the morning.

Needless to say, after an entire day in the car/a new town with two little kids, plus photographing 13 people for an hour, by the time we got home at 8 that night, I was ready to basically just pass out.
I did, which meant that nobody took the turkey out of the fridge to let it finish thawing out, which meant I awoke to 20 pounds of almost completely frozen turkey.
And I had people coming over, but didn't know when.
And I couldn't find my bra-like, anywhere.
Annnnnnnd then Lainie locked my keys in my car.
It was pretty much amazing.

Friends showed up though, with booze and suggestions, and we figured it out.
The turkey got cooked and nobody got sick, the keys were freed from the car without paying for a locksmith, and I eventually found my bra.

And then I went ahead and worked for the next four days straight instead of taking at least Friday off, because fuck weekends!

Did I mention I more or less slept all day yesterday?
Because I did, after I took the kids to school.
Not even sorry. Felt SO good.

Next weekend I have nothing booked so far, and it looks like I might be in San Diego, at least for 24 hours, and I'm kind of super ready for that.
November was a month of pure insanity, it feels like, trying to get this business going.
Looking back it was like I had tunnel vision, and all I could see was booking enough work to do this full time, pay our bills, make it through the holidays, don't die, etc.
I'm still in super-focused-sarah mode, but I'm trying to also see what's around me this month too.
Because it is December.
Christmas is almost here.
And we are doing OK.

I'm grateful.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Time and a lot of other words


It's late, and I cannot sleep.
Seems that is the main theme of when this poor blog gets updated anymore.
I like being up late, though. Or occasionally, very early-so long as I was able to sleep excessively before hand, and woke up entirely on my own.
The house is quiet, and from the kitchen, I can hear both the kids breathing in their sleep.
The cats curl up around my ankles, and this time of year, when I can feel cold air lingering around the windows, but the inside of the house is warm, everything is wonderfully cozy.
Speaking of this time of year, it is now 8 days until Thanksgiving. Oops, sorry, 7 days.
It doesn't feel real to me this year.
Last year, I was so in the spirit, I probably drove everyone around me insane.
I longed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when they were even the slightest bit near, I threw myself head long into them and refused to emerge until sometime in January.
This year, it feels as though all these things are still months off, and I have plenty of time, and instead of feeling sad about that, I feel relieved. Actually when I realize how close it all really is, that is when I feel sadder.
No. That's not right. Not sad.
Indifferent, I suppose.
This year has been amazing and it has been hard.
It has been full of change, and pain, and growth, and surprise, and love, and magic, and disappointment, and adventure.
Still, it feels unfinished.
It feels like for there to be less than two months left of it must be impossible.
In all the flurry of everything this year was-for better or worse-the time itself flew right by.
I learn more and more that time is not something we live inside of, something sturdy, something reliable that we can measure and count on.
It is something every shifting, ever changing. Speeding up when you are happy and sated. Slowing unbearably down when you are struggling. Flying and blurring all together when you're not paying any attention at all.
Time is something we set on the table for a moment while we look some place else, get distracted, get busy, occupy ourselves, and when we look back it is never where we left it.
It has jumped so far forward, and moved everything around in such immeasurable ways, that we can't help but feel a cold sense of loss...for what, we aren't entirely sure. Whatever we could have done with that time, had we known in advance of it's volatile nature?

The year is coming to an end, but another one is right behind it. Blocks of time constantly attached at the ends, so as to create a ribbon of our lives that can be waved, fluttered, or twisted in the wind.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Feminism, and why I hate that word

Coco Chanel

Feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

This is something I've never really written about here...or anywhere.
The word itself, along with it's meaning, either literal or inferred, can be polarizing.
I myself have struggled for years over whether or not I like to be identified as a feminist, or a not-feminist.
To say I am not a feminist, feels like I'm saying that all women should promptly be impregnated and robbed of their shoes.
To say I am one, makes me fear that people will see me one of those buzz cut zealots who glare at men that open the door for them, and look down on stay at home mothers.
I know both fears are wrong in their own way.
I know those zealots exist, but really, they're more just mean, hiding behind the name feminist.
And I know that not 100% identifying with a belief doesn't make you 100% against it.
Still, I struggle.

Kate from Motley Mama wrote about how it's hard to call herself a Christian because of all the negativity that some churches have brought on themselves by being judgmental, hypocritical, mean.
How it makes young people cringe to see people do awful things, and call it religion, and then still stand up and say "yes, I am a Christian, no I am not like that". 

Mainly, I think, because nobody hears the last part, the "I'm not like that" part.

Today I read a blog by a young girl-younger than me-who is married, popular, pretty, and religious.
I won't go as far as to mention her religion, because it doesn't matter. She is of the Christian faith, and which branch of that is irrelevant.
She wrote about equality between the sexes, and how much it confuses her that some women still fight for equality, not just in the home, but in the gospel.
She stated that women fighting to be equal in the priesthood confuses her, because she doesn't need that kind of power and responsibility right now....effectively saying if she doesn't need it, why should any other woman?
I am not religious, I am spiritual, so I won't go too close to the ministry equality subject, but I was raised Catholic, so I will say this: I grew up with smart, intelligent, amazing women. Women who were strong, passionate in their faith, and unimaginably articulate. Women are not allowed to be priests in the Catholic church. I knew several who wanted desperately to be able to lead, to speak, to teach, the same way a priest does. They were offered other roles, other jobs, lesser positions, and told to be "grateful to still have the chance to serve". It was sad and unfortunate that no one got to benefit from their wisdom and their passion the same way they would have if they had the chance to lead a church. 

Moving on....

I don't know that I would call myself a feminist, but articles like this make me so mad, and then, so unbelievably sad.
Especially when it comes from young girls. Popular girls. Girls that littler girls look up to. Girls who will someday soon be raising the next generation of girls.
I don't believe that all women should be out there working full time, right along side the men, doing the dirty work men do, and never have to learn how to cook or clean, or mend a shirt. I'm saying the ones that want to should be able to.
I don't believe either that every woman should be shackled to the kitchen sink and forced to raise babies and make meals and darn socks. I'm saying that the ones who want to, should be able to.
See where I'm going with this?
I believe that as a society we should be past the point of what someone should or shouldn't do, based on their gender. We should be beyond the black and white of man do this, woman do that, rawr rawr rawr.

A man that works full time to provide for his family, should not be more highly praised than the woman who is staying home, raising his children, running his life, and cooking his meals so he can go out and work, knowing everything else is taken care of.
On the same hand, a woman who works full time should neither be praised nor judged, if she's doing the bread winning while her husband stays home to take care of the kids.
Because where does that leave the other families?
The families where both parents work? Should one of them still be let off the hook with housework and child rearing, and held in higher regard because of their gender?
And what about the families with one parent, where one person is doing all of those things, while the other parent has escaped responsibility altogether?
If the woman is left behind, is it ok to say that's preferable because women are supposed to be the caretakers and nurturers?
Or if the man is left with the kids, is it alright to scorn the woman who left them more severely because a WOMAN walked out on her kids, and what kind of monster could do that, but had she been a man, it would've just been another sad story?

I believe that your gender has little to do with your amount of responsibility in a family.
Your gender does not make you a better parent/provider/meal maker or cleaner.
You do not have a "higher calling" to care for your home than your husband does, simply because you have a vagina.

This school of thinking comes from the same idea that girls wear pink and boys wear blue, and everything has a neat box to go into.


Let's all forget our genitalia for a minute, take some accountability in our own homes and families, and play to our strengths.

A woman is no more right to stay home than a man.
A man is no more well suited to bring home the bacon than a woman.

A family is a group of people who love each other, and they all have equal responsibility in making it work.

So do what you do best, and don't think that the kitchen is your highest calling, just because you were given an extra X chromosome.

You can do anything
Be anything
Achieve anything

Regardless of your gender.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lainie's 10th Birthday

Today Lainie turned 10.
I'm still wrapping my head around that, to be honest.
Not just that she is 10, but that I have a 10 year old.
It's a little crazy. I remember being 10 pretty clearly still. Which means Lainie is remembering everything that's happening now. Or most of it, anyway.
I hate how cliche it is to say that time flies, because it's so unbearably true.
It goes so fast, it's like there is an invisible hand somewhere, constantly pressing fast forward, but you can't feel it. You can't feel it until a moment is gone.
Until it's all over.
When Lainie was a baby, I remember thinking I would never get through her first year.
Her first year was so, so hard for me.
The lack of sleep, the sore, leaky boobs, the diapers, the crying, the impossibility of getting us into a routine, and all the while my postpartum hormones duking it out with my 16 year old girl hormones.
I didn't think it would ever end.
But then, it did. And once it did, I looked back and couldn't understand where the days went.
That year was the beginning of a constant sense of speed.
The years are flying by, and every time I think "this phase of her life/attitude/stubbornness is going to last forever and I will not survive it" I remember that first year, how hard it was, but how much I missed it when it was over, and how upset I was that it had gone so terribly fast.

I took the kids out this evening to my favorite shooting location in the valley, and did a little photo shoot just for Lainie. 
Of course I had to include Jack a little bit, lest he grow up to be that guy from the move Se7en, because didn't pay enough attention to him {seriously, these are the fears you have when you two kids, and no idea what you're doing}.
Lainie is growing up so fast, and into such a pretty young lady.
Every time I hit the shutter button and looked at the image on the LCD, my heart caught in my throat, and I felt a weird/sad mixture of "oh my God, how beautiful" and "NOOOOOOO!"

It's hard to explain, but if you have kids, I think you know.

The passing of time is such a happy, miserable thing.

Happy Birthday, Tiny.
You are loved, more than you will ever understand.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Friday Diary: Yes it's short, but Teddy Roosevelt is riding a moose, so there's that.

true story bro

Happy Friday, loves!
I bet you thought that now that I don't work a "real" job anymore, that the Friday Diary would go away.
Can't stop, won't stop.

Today is going to be stupid busy though, so it will be brief today.
Lainie's birthday is Monday, but her birthday dinner is tonight, so I have a bajillion errands to do to get ready for it, because I am a procrastinator/asshole. 
I have to buy all of the white candles, find little cauldrons somewhere for ice cream, figure out what to even make for dinner, clean all the things, decorate, find a wizard hat, get Wednesday to wear a tiny witch hat, and not punch anybody.
Did I mention I also have a consultation with a potential client at noon and have to pick the kids up from school by 2:30?

Bring it, Friday.

Also, I have a wedding tomorrow, and a photo shoot Sunday morning. Early. And far away. 
Who wants to drive me in exchange for coffee, and my sparkling early-morning personality? Eh? Any takers? 

Yeah, didn't think so.

Unfortunately, I think that's all for today, because I'm out of coffee and it's time to take the kids to school. 
I promise to come back Monday with lots of pictures from the party, if I survive this weekend.

Happy Friday, my darlings.

Keep it in your pants.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Working from Home: The good, the bad, and the yoga pants

Since Friday of last week, I've been working from home, full time on my photography business trying to get it off the ground.
A friend texted me yesterday, to sarcastically say "I bet you're super jealous of me, going to my office job right now. I know you miss the office life sooooo much!"
My first instinct was to gag, and say "Yeah, no. Not at all" but then I remembered that today was supposed to be Pot Luck day, and I did kind of miss it.
Not my desk...or the dress code....or my boss.....or the politics, or environment, or work load, or type of work, or hours or.....anything really but the pot lucks. But hey, I can say I sort of missed something about it!

Working from home is good.
For me, it is so so good.
It's where I thrive, and where I belong.
It's my happy place.
But I have started to discover over the past week, that there are some pros and cons.....
And so, I present you:

The good
The bad
And the yoga pants.

I feel like that basically sums it up.

Really, I love what I'm doing. 
I wouldn't trade it for the world. 
The only thing I can honestly say I miss is the co-workers that I liked, and there were a couple that I really did like a lot.
Chris, and Hector, Todd and Jenny were some of my favorites.

But I'll take Wednesday and Keiko and my fancy slippers any day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Make that money, Watch it Burn

Counting Stars -One Republic lyrics

It happened on a Friday afternoon.
The day had been good so far. I'd gotten a stuffed black bear from a girlfriend at work. I'd successfully tossed a Skittle into someone's mouth and had them catch it for the first time in my life. I had a nice lunch with Chris, and Hector, and Todd - my friends from the legal department at work.
And it was Friday - JEANS Friday, no less.
What isn't good about that?

Around 4 o'clock though, everything changed.

I won't go into all the gory details here and now, but suffice it to say that I am a full-time photographer as of Friday at 4:30 p.m. 
It was earlier than I'd planned, and I'm nervous, and scared, but really excited also.

If I'm being completely honest, not going to my old job this morning was quite literally one of the best feelings ever.
I feel free.
I feel better.
I feel the fist in my chest that has been lodged there from stress and anxiety and a constant feeling of failure for the past two years, loosen and release, and it's good.
I feel like I can be honest, for the first time in a long time. I can say what I want.

I think what I want to say is this:
For the past two years, I have worked at a financial company in Scottsdale called Walton.
I never wrote the company name here before, because if they ever found my blog and didn't like what they read I could've lost my job. Now that that isn't an issue....
I was a department coordinator in Business Development, and I quickly found out after being hired, that I worked for the most difficult person in the office.
I had unknowingly taken the one and only position at this company that didn't get even one single internal applicant when it became available. I had unknowingly taken a position that they had tried for nearly a year to fill, and were unsuccessful because no applicant wanted to work for my new boss.
I tried, for two years, to do my best and make it not only work, but thrive.
I tried, at first at least, to climb and succeed and do well there.
After a while though, I started just trying to survive. To make it from Monday to Friday, and keep my head down, do a good job.
I was good at my job, but I wasn't happy with it, however the steady paycheck and good benefits kept me from feeling like it was OK to say that I didn't want to do that forever.
That I wanted out.
That I was never going to be happy there.
I am not a person who was meant to wear a pantsuit.
I am not someone who thrives in meetings, or feels at home in a conference room.
Nothing against those who are. I tried to be one of you. I'm just not.
And there were, of course, other reasons why I was so unhappy.
There was the abuse, the condescension, the open and unmasked gender discrimination. There were the meetings with my boss that I walked out of crying, the nights I scrambled to find someone to pick my kids up for me so I could stay late and finish something he was supposed to do himself, only to be berated and left without thanks anyway.
That was the past two years.

Now that it's over, I can just barely stifle my excitement with the slightest tinge of fear or worry.
I know it's a chance, and I know it's a risk, but I also know that it's worth it.
I know that no paycheck is worth your dignity, your happiness, or your right to respect as a human being.

So, to make a long story....still pretty long....I am now and {hopefully} always will be a full time wedding and family photographer.
All of this is thanks in no small part, to the best friends who have pushed and encouraged and supported me from the very first photo shoot I did, without ceasing and without mercy.
It's also, obviously, in thanks to the brides and families who have allowed me to be present for some of the most important memories of their lives.
Each and every one of them has changed me, pushed me, enlightened and blessed me. Every time I'm booked for a job, it feels like the very first time.
Every time I leave a photo shoot or a wedding, my heart is full.

Thank all of you.


Don't have any idea what I'm talking about? View my photography work here.
Like my photography, but aren't in need just yet? I make other stuff, too.
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Also, shameless plug, if you are getting married and in need of a photographer, don't let geography stop us from working together! Now that I'm doing this fulltime, traveling for weddings is significantly easier and more doable. Contact me and let's chat.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Letter To My Children: On Adulting

Taco night.

Lainie and Jackson.
You are both so cute, and still so little.
Almost 10 and half way through 5, you both have the wildest ideas of what being a grown up is like.
You talk about it like it will be the best thing ever, like you'll be large and in charge, like you'll have it all figured out and all the best come backs for bullies and great shoes and no one can tell you that you've had enough ice cream.
This is all true, sort of, but it's true in the way "It's a free country, I can do what I want" is true.
There's downsides, consequences, and bad days.
There are responsibilities and chores and something you're forgetting every time you leave the house.
No one really prepared me for all this when I was your ages....or ever, really, so I would like to impart some knowledge that I wish had been given to me at some point:
There will be days, once you're an adult, where you feel like an absolute fucking fraud.
Like you're wearing your mother's heels and pearls, playing dress up.
You won't feel like an adult yet, but you'll be standing in front of all kinds of grown up shit that people think you're capable of handling.
You'll think to yourself on those days "How did this happen? When did people decide I was a grown up? Whose fucking mistake it this?!"
You will feel it when you take NyQuil later than you should and sleep through you're alarm, waking up only when your boss calls to find out where the fuck you are.
You will feel it when you run out of gas, even though the little gas light had been on for days, and you just kept saying "I'll stop for gas after this errand" and then after said errand, thinking "fuck it, I'll do it later, I'm exhausted."
You'll feel it the first time you send your kid to school with a Lunchable because remembering to buy bread just doesn't seem to be something your brain has the capacity to do right now.
You will feel it when you have more pizza boxes and wine bottles in the trash than vegetable containers {don't do that}.
There will be hard days.
Really hard days.
There will even be weeks or sometimes months, where the hours in the day and the shit you need to do, and the amount of people counting on you just don't balance out.
You'll think "I can't do this. My life is a mess. I'm a mess. I am failing. I'm a shitty adult."
The truth is, you might be a shitty adult and your life might be a mess, but more than likely you're really not, or if you are, it's temporary.
You'll struggle sometimes, but the important thing is to keep trying.
Keep trying to keep your shit together, and eat more vegetables.
Remember, every time you fail you most likely did not invent that mistake. Someone else likely made it before you, and {hopefully} fucked it up even worse than you did.
But for the days when nothing goes right, and you feel like the absolute worst version of yourself, remember that a clean pair of underpants and a snack covered in cheese can do wonders for your outlook.

Keep going.
Keep failing.
Keep trying.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A lot of thoughts and little sense


Hi there.
It's almost 2 am and I am awake because I took a sudden and unplanned exhaustion-nap earlier and didnt wake up til 6 pm.
Work should be fun tomorrow.
This weekend was busy and crazy and fun and hard, all at once, and now I'm sore and have no voice, and for dinner I think I ate all of the Chinese food there ever was.
I shot two weddings in two days, you guys.
I literally can't believe that.
My shoulders are killing me from lifting my heavy as hell camera for so many hours in a row, and my thigh muscles want to kill me, and talking at a volume higher than a whisper makes me sound like a 13 year old boy in the violent throws of puberty, but I'm really happy.
I love what I'm doing. 
I know all weddings won't be beautiful, not all brides will be lovely, not all people will be awesome to work with, but right now I'm trying to take it all in, and enjoy it.
On Friday, one of my co-workers that I did family photos for came to my desk to tell me how amazing him and his wife thought my pictures were. How happy they felt, and he even went as far as to start pulling his favorites up on Facebook and going into detail about how he felt when he first saw them.
My heart was full.
This is an awesome job.
Later when I heard him in the Sales pit showing everyone my pictures online, the ooh's and aw's and kind words were too much. I walked away with tears in my eyes.
I'm lucky.

This blog feels like it's in a middle place right now. 
I stopped writing as regularly, and I know my readership has gone way down. 
I've always said I write here for me, and that's true, but losing the little family of readers has made it harder to come back here and keep writing.
Also, sharing the personal and more intimate details of myself and my life has gotten harder lately too.
I don't really know why.
I guess maybe because I feel like I'm living a lot of different lives right now, and anything I write honestly will contradict itself.
I'm struggling with a deep level of unhappiness and frustration with my day-job, and also relishing the joy and success of my photography business, but also feeling frustrated that it's still too little to stand on it's own income wise yet, so I'm stuck doing both at once. One thing that makes me feel like a failure, and another thing that feels like a dream.
It's confusing.
Also in the world of intimate and personal relationships, I can't seem to make heads or tails of things.
There's a person I want to be with, but the logistics and also the dynamics of the relationship itself make me wonder if it's even possible for that relationship to ever be a real thing.
A thing that can walk on two feet, step out into the light and world and go forward.
A thing that can turn into a future, a life, a family, a forever.
There's a lot of impatience and frustration wrapped up in there too, between the uncertainty of the future and my desire for things to all fall into place right now.
Maybe a lot of what's contradictory right now is my own issue.
Maybe if I were better at letting things go and seeing what happens, I'd be happier.
Maybe if I'd been born in Harlem instead of California, I'd have that hip hop career I've always daydreamed about. 
Who knows.
There's a lot of maybes.
I'm trying to just keep moving, keep thuggin', and keep my eye on the prize.
A job I love.
A life that makes sense.
Clean kitchen floors.
Someone to drink wine on the couch with, and talk to when I get home from work.

We all want things.

P.S. If you want to see some of the photos from this weekend's weddings, they're on the blog on my business website, 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Friday Diary: It's Thursday and I'm getting deep

Hi Everyone.
It's Wednesday, I know, but I am photographing two weddings this weekend, one Friday and one Saturday, which means I will not be able to write you a diary on Friday. Instead I'll be running around Cave Creek taking pictures of a bride and trying not to stress-vomit.
I'm a little nervous.
Anyway, let's do this.
This week was...alright.
I had a cold in the beginning of the week, and I think I pulled some sort of muscle, running less than half a block. I feel like that sentence is the answer to "How do you know when you're old and grossly out of shape?"
But we all survived and that's what matters.
The highlight was probably Saturday when I was surprised with this sweet ass coffee mug from Bill out of nowhere, and it was quite literally one of the most exciting moments of my life....which says absolutely nothing about my life. The little buttons and sliders on it are moveable, and I basically can let other photographers know exactly who they're dealing with, in a very smug and subtle way.

I've been thinking a lot, this week and lately overall, about the future.
Where I want to be, and also who I want to be there with.
What's important to me, and what's really just shit I always thought was supposed to be important.
For instance, I know I don't want any more kids of my own. Step kids? Awesome. Growing another human in my lady oven? Not gonna happen. I also know I want to get married at some point. I've been on the fence about this for a long time, going back and forth over whether or not it was super important to me, but I've realized over the last year that it is, and that's OK.
More short term, I've been thinking a lot about my financial future. My career. Where I work, what I do, and where we'll live, even.
It's exciting and it's scary and I'm impatient but I'm happy.
So I guess this is a period of being in flux for us, my little family, and I'm trying to adapt to that, while also moving forward, and it's both really fun, and hard.

Maybe that was a little deeper than you thought things would get in a Friday Diary. but then again it is Thursday afterall.
But if you're still feeling vulnerable and overly soaked in emotion, here's a gratuitous picture of Ryan Gosling without a shirt to make you feel better:
its like youre photoshopped
You're welcome.

Happy Friday {on Thursday}.
Keep it in your pants.

P.S.: Hi Carole with an E, Love Sarah with an H. :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Friday Diary: Yes, I'm already talking about Christmas

national lampoons christmas vacation I can hear him saying it my head, with his huge big eyes

Hi There.
Happy Friday.

I am trying really hard to make casual small talk first, and to act like this is just any old rambly Friday Diary, and not just jump right into CHRISTMAS, but I'm failing at it, so lets get this over with.
I know, we all hate the girl who is already talking about Christmas and it's not even Halloween, but you're going to have to deal with it, because last night it smelled like winter outside, and now I have the Christmas fevers.

I love giving gifts. Seriously, love it.
But I have awful anxiety about it at the same time.
I obsess and plan for months, trying to figure out the absolute perfect gift, only to think I have come up with it, feel quite smug and proud of myself, purchase it, wrap it, and then instantly regret it, as well as every other gift choice I've ever made in my life.
I become convinced it's shitty and stupid, and they won't "get it" or won't like it, or it will sit in their cupboard collecting dust for an entire year while they pretend they loved it {side-eye: that tablet I got for Bill last year}.

I pester people for weeks, even months, about what they want for Christmas, and get so full of rage that I want to suffocate them with smiling santa wrapping paper when they shrug and say "I don't know" or do the coy little "you don't have to get me anything" bullshit. You know now that I am obviously going to get you something either way, so hows about you give me some idea of something you might like, and make this easier on both of us? That way I don't have a breakdown in Target, and you don't get a singing Bass fish for your wall.
Everybody wins.
The caveat here is that the super infuriating charming thing about me, is that I never admit to what I want either.
I feel shy and self conscious asking for gifts.
I feel like anything I really want is either too small and stupid {read: some bacon and 5 dollar wine} or way too ridiculously huge {read: Paris sounds fun}.
I don't want to be the girl who asks for a keychain, even if I really needed a fucking keychain, and I don't want to be the girl that expects you to blow whole paychecks on her either.
So I blush, sweat, get really nervous and awkward, and feel like the girl who used to live in a junkyard and now goes to school in Scottsdale and doesn't know how to act around people who always wear shoes in public.

That's a true story...but for another day.

So what do you do about Christmas gift giving?
Do you ask for things, or do you squirrel away little hints through out the year, and then bust out like the most amazing gift ever that no one ever saw coming?
Are you a great gift giver, or are you the person in every family who is always giving women Walmart lotions, and men subscriptions to Fishing Monthly?
Tell me your secrets, tell me your strategy.
Tell me what the fuck you want for Christmas.

Also, if someone were to beg me for a few ideas as to what to get me this year, none of the stuff below would piss me off, were I to receive it by some crazy random happen stance. 

Bottom Left: Hi my name is mark men's shirt {shut up, they're comfortable and majestic as fuck}
Bottom Right: Canon 85 mm f/1.8 lens

Monday, October 14, 2013


A lot of you know the back story on my dysfunctional relationship with my dysfunctional father.
For those of you who don't, I'll sum it up: he's a not very nice, manipulative and controlling person, who lashes out during periods of intense paranoia, delirium, and misguided rage. He has a deep seeded hatred for himself, which projects on all living things that do anything other than cater to him.

This is only a mild exaggeration.

Anyway, in my time on this Earth, I've learned that I have a divine tendency to attract what I project.
This means that for years, when I was his wounded and dejected care-taker, I attracted people who were similar to him, and just as much in need of someone to-without question-do anything for them, and when they fell short {which was inevitable}they should expect nothing less than absolute vengeance and vindictive hatred from the person they had so exhaustively taken care of for so long.

One of the hardest qualities to deal with in people like this, is that their own lack of self-love or self-pride, or whatever it is that is so completely void in them, creates an inability for them to ever be proud or happy or selflessly supportive of another person.
If you try something new, they will mock you.
If you innovate, they will criticize you.
If you grow, they will beat you down.
If you move, they will block you.
If you are brave, they will scare you.

They are not the people to come to with your new idea, your project you've worked tirelessly on for months, your inspiration, your dreams.
They will laugh at it, squeezing it out of shape and then holding it up to the light to point out its imperfections.

It's hard to separate their own fear and self loathing from yourself.
It's hard to step back, and not personalize that.
It's hard to remember it's themselves they're talking to, not you.

And it's hard, but it's important-so. fucking. important.-to remember that you're the one stepping forward, out into the light to test new ground, to grow new wings, to make some shit happen.
They're scared of going with you, and they're scared of you leaving them behind.
You're a leader.
They're cowards.

And lions do not lose sleep, over the opinions of sheep. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don't Quit Your Day Dream

Let me say a couple things that will blow your mind right now...
Halloween is in 22 days...
Lainie turns 10 years old in 32 days...
Christmas is in 77 Sleeps...
This year is over in less than 3 months.
Did you complete all your goals?
Did you follow through with your resolutions?
Did you make the most of it?
Another year came and went, and we all got to be here for one more.
We're all planning to be here for another after this.
So what did you do with it?
What will you do with the next one?
Are you enjoying it?
Are you happy?
If not, what the fuck are you waiting for?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Weekend

{I'm on a ridiculous Adam Scott binge lately. Someone stop me. Except don't. Ever.}

This weekend I...

Took a picture of Lainie wearing a turkey hat that made her look like a demon.

Did an engagement shoot with a super crazy adorable couple, and then got my cheese on at The Living Room. {Also, as long as I live, I will never achieve the level of cool punk rocker badass that this guy pulls off}.

Ate donuts, a cheeseburger, AND pizza in 48 hours.

Did zero laundry, dishes, or chores.

Slept until 10 this morning.

Watched Grey's Anatomy, Parks and Rec, and New Girl all in one afternoon.

Did a phone consultation with a possible new client {cross your fingers}.

Let myself be lazy and indulgent, and made some great big huge plans for the future.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Friday Diary: Hustle Hard

paul rudd and adam scott, photographed for black book magazine by dan monick
{this picture has nothing at all to do with Friday. It's just that it's Friday and I think we should all look at hot guys more often. You're welcome.}
It's FRIDAY everyone!
I don't know about y'all but this week flew right by for me. I kept thinking it was a day behind, every single day this week.
Right now, it's Friday and I'm wearing jeans and I still keep thinking it's Thursday.
Our week was good, and filled with food, which you've probably seen if you follow my Instagram.
I think the last 6 pictures have all been foods, and it's starting to look pretty sad.
I'll have to post some pictures of my cats or something soon to remind people I'm still really cool, and do things other than eat. Like hang out with cats in my pajama pants. Alone. On a Friday night.
On second thought I should just stop Instagramming.
This weekend is going to be busy, which is becoming a more regular thing these days.
I'm both happy and anxious about that, because on the one hand, it means I'm getting business, but on the other, it means that as long as I am working full time, I won't have a day off for basically ever.
It's a mixed blessing, but I'm the happiest I've been in a long time right now, so I won't complain.
{speaking of business, I re-designed my website and you should go look at it}
On Saturday mornings, Lainie and I like to sneak away and go to Starbucks, just the two of us, if I can find someone to hang out with Jackson.
She usually gets a coffee-free Frappucino, but this weekend I think I'm going to introduce her to the amazingness of that which is PUMPKING EVERYTHING.
I'll post pictures.
Also, it's been a while since I've posted any of my favorite shit from Pinterest, so here.
Inspirational Quotations
I love this picture so much, I want to hang it in every room of my house and then put it on a t-shirt.
My "friend" Camdon {the word friend is used loosely here, because a true friend would never crush my dreams this way} said that the word hustle doesn't mean what I think it means in this picture.
So I said that he's not nearly thug enough to make those kinds of wild accusations, and then I burned his house down.
Well, I didn't actually, because he's in Ohio and I don't have the attention span required to drive that far, but I thought about it.
He's lucky I'm even still speaking to him.
I've only had one cup of coffee, so I'm afraid this might be all you get from me right now.
Maybe I'll come back later and WRITE ALL THE THINGS when I'm more awake.
If not, I'll see you Monday, have a great weekend, and don't get pregnant.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Throw Back Tuesday: 2009

These pictures were from 2009, sometime in the Spring. 
Jackson wasn't even one year old yet. Lainie was the same age Jack is now. 
We lived in the Willo district in downtown Phoenix.
I had just met Bill.
Jackson's dad had just moved to Minnesota.
It was a weird time.
But on this particular day, the kids were playing on the floor, scattering toys everywhere, making a huge mess, and I was sitting on the couch snapping pictures of them, and laughing at Jackson trying to eat a banana the wrong way.

It was a good day. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hi It's Late and I'm Blogging Again


It's a couple minutes after midnight right now, and it's Sunday, which means I have work tomorrow, which means I should be fucking sleeping.
But I'm not.
I'm editing pictures {which could wait} and scheduling blog posts {not urgent} and eating Oreos {priorities}.
Also I napped today for like 30 minutes, which apparently means I won't need a night's sleep until roughly the time I am supposed to get up this morning.
This is the adult version of your kid falling asleep for literally 30 seconds on the way home from Target, and then deciding to 'power through' nap time and stay up until having a horrible, ugly, exhaustion crash around dinner time.

Anyway, I really don't have much to say other than Hi it's late and I'm blogging again.
Feel proud of me, won't you?

Also, we are literally one day away from it being October.
This is crazy cakes, if you ask me.
Once we hit September/October, the year is basically fucking over.
It just flies by in a confusing, candy and gift giving filled blur, punctuated by moments of getting shitfaced on Egg Nogg and wearing ugly sweaters.
But is it too soon to start talking about Christmas?
I'll hold off.

Back to the point, if you're up late, like me, and looking for something to do while you eat all of the cookies, I would suggest this video, with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake {who is always hilarious} on the fantastic stupidity that is hashtags:

Or, if you're not up on your Pop Culture and don't have any fucking idea what's happening in this video {Hi Nana} then how about a little music?
Honestly, when I first heard the song in the video below, I hated it.
I thought she was trying to be like M.I.A., who I also hate, or some weird kind of Nikki Minaj/Lana Del Rey blend, and it upset me. I refused to listen to the song all the way through.
Alas, I eventually caved because I'm a goddamn push over, and the song if amazing. If you haven't listened to her ENTIRE album yet, go do that now. Bravado and Tennis Courts are the bestests.

Now go to bed, goddamn it, it's fucking late. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Friday Diary: Better late than never, and it's still technically Friday, so just pipe the fuck down.

This is sooo me..

Hi, it's 11:14 at night, which makes this post very late, but technically still on Friday, SO IT COUNTS.
How are you all?

This week was a mix of very exciting, and very stressful all at the same time, so I am happy, and also tired, and please bring me chips.
So many big things are happening right now!
I got a new camera!
I got a new lens for my new camera!
It's under 90 degrees in Phoenix right now, which means it's Fall and I put Pumpkin spice in my coffee today!
Season 10 of Grey's Anatomy premiered! 
Also, I am shooting a wedding for the very. first. time. tomorrow.
And a newborn shoot on Sunday.
Like a super new newborn.
Born on Friday, newborn.
Oh my God, you guys. So many things.

The stressful side of things?
I got a new camera because my camera {which was a gift, and I loved it more than anything else I've ever owned ever} broke on Monday. 
That was stressful.
Lainie was completely ape-shit this week. I think we're in full on pre-teen girl phase, and it sucks hard. She growls, she throws things, she called me an asshole.
Yep. You heard {read?} that right.
That was stressful. I cried. There is not a carbohydrate left in this house that I didn't eat.
Also, I ran out of sugar for my coffee like two days ago and keep forgetting to buy more, and I get the whole "first world problem" thing, but that doesn't make it less of a problem, ok you guys?

I'm trying to just focus on the positive things {Fall! Pumpkins! Photography!} and not let the lack of sugar and being called an asshole by my daughter get to me.
This weekend will be busy, and exciting, and busy.
I'm unbelievably nervous about this wedding tomorrow - hence why I'm writing a blog post at 11 pm instead of sleeping - but I'm super stoked, and I feel, deep down, past all the anxiety sweat and nerves, really ready.
I was made to do this, and I am so ready to take the next step.
Still, pray for me that I dont vomit on the bride, trip over anything important, or say fuck loud enough for anyone to hear me.

If you need me tomorrow before the wedding, I'll be driving around industrial neighborhoods in Phoenix looking for Junkyards to do an engagement photo shoot in next weekend.
I live kind of a weird life, I'm aware.

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, y'all. 
Don't puke on any brides or new babies.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our Weekend in Pictures

Normally my pre-scheduled posts go up around midnight.
I don't know why I pick this hour.
I guess I feel like night owls and morning birds alike will get to read the blog at whatever chosen point they like to.
Late at night while you're having some wine and listening to a little Ray? It's up.
First thing in the morning while you're sipping coffee? Go for it, I hooked you up even though your morning person nature confuses and frightens me

But this is not a scheduled post.
I am actually up, right now at 12:26 a.m. writing this. 
Jackson had to come home early from school with strep, and he slept all afternoon. So now, he sleeps for about 30 minutes at a time when the sickness wears him out, and then he's up again for another 30 minutes, and demands I hang out with him.
So, here I am.

Saturday, I did a wedding photography consultation with the adorable couple in the picture above. They met at a dance lesson at Denim and Diamonds, and are getting married 1 day after the 1 year anniversary of their engagement.
So cute.

After that, I got to take this little girl out for burgers and fries and strawberry shakes.
We worked on her Junior Achievement project, and she schooled me on Harry Potter trivia.
Love her.

Sunday morning I hung out with this dude. My nephew Theron.
He has the cutest smile, and the most adorable little feet, and I could just eat him up I love him so much.

And Sunday evening, I did a photo shoot with Aria, and her parents Ashley and Sam.
It was an absolutely beautiful day, in the low 80's which is HUGE for Phoenix, so everyone and their mama was at the park, but we still managed to get some nice, relaxed and intimate pictures.
And omg those cheeks.

And last but not least, I got this awesome bottle of wine as a gift from Sam and Ashley.
I have a pretty kick ass job.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Friday Diary: Inappropriate work attire, meeting my idol, and how Miley Cyrus ruined my blog

Today isn't jeans day at work, so I decided to still be a little casual. Reppin' the Hi My Name Is Mark and some wrinkly ass pants at work today.
{don't worry, I wore a cardigan over the shirt. I'm not that badass.}
So, it's Friday everybody!
We all made it!
We're gonna be alright.
This week was crazy busy.
Work, kids, small business. Holy wow.
I'm ready for some wine and girl time, which makes it a good thing that Lucia and Ryder are coming over tonight.
Lucia, if you're reading this, bring wine.
Yesterday, I had the honor of taking my favorite wedding photographer in the valley to lunch at The Herb Box. You can read more about that here, but basically, long story short: SQUEE!
It was awesome.
Something I learned this week: posting a video of Miley Cyrus swinging nakies on a wrecking ball is very polarizing.
I got some texts and emails saying "I love that song! Go Miley!" and then I got some that were all "How DARE YOU MAKE ME WATCH THIS SMUT?! You have a daughter, you should know better!"
Lesson learned. I will always probably offend everyone.
Pretty ok with that.
Anyhow, that's our week, that's our world.
This weekend will be busy with a wedding photography consultation, a family photo shoot, and lots of work on my website.
Hopefully somewhere in there somebody will save me with a bottle of Crown and good company.
Accepting applicants for that now.
Happy Friday, lovers.
Keep it in your pants.