For as long as I can remember, I’ve been inspired by the rich enduring paintings crafted during the Golden Era of the Renaissance. The significant art created during this period has had a great influence on the portraits I longed to create. These paintings drew in the viewer with stark contrast of colors on rich textures and bold fabrics. The use of light adds drama and intensity while the story is told using symbols and subtle gestures, implying innocence or passion, virtue or grace.
With this body of work, I use light, texture, and contrast to create the familiar look of these paintings. I utilize new world techniques to complete each canvas I hopes of reflecting the same beauty and timeless touch achieved by the master painters throughout history.
Vintage Sale, Makers Market & Plants for Sale
It’s Summer… the middle of June and we’ve been cleaning up around here. No only is our new website hopping with new fun ventures but we have joined forces with Beautycounter to advocate for Cleaner ingredients in our beauty products.
This Saturday June 7th from 9am- noon we’ll be setting up a Maker’s Market featuring unique handmade jewelry and other gorgeous accessories. Randomness from my studio, things that have collected over the years…
I have a few camera bags, mis-treated light stands, curtains, photography books and a few other items that might be of interest to another photographer
Our mini tribe will be selling plants that they hand-picked and planted themselves.
We are located on the corner of 79th and Metcalf just two blocks from the Farmers Market.
The BEST news?! All of the proceeds will go our children’s education funding! Seriously!
What is Clean Beauty?
Jeopardy was a big deal with my grandparents. We sat together with them anxiously watching, ready to pounce on ANY attempt to answer before my grandfather. He was rarely stumped and I was always looking for an opportunity to prove I was as smart as my brother. Then came the day that Alex Trebek asked, ‘This organ is the largest and protects the human body on a grandeur scale than any other…’
In an instant I was up and shouting, ‘SKIN, it’s the skin!! The skin is the largest organ on our bodies!’
My brother smiled incredulously at me; ‘Way to go sis!’
I am hoping on day Alex Trebek points to the category ‘CLEAN BEAUTY’ with a line of questioning about toxic chemicals. The truth is there is a great need for more awareness about what we are exposing ourselves to with products we use daily. The US only bans 11 ingredients from beauty products,while the EU bans a staggering number of more than 1,400.
Why is this a big deal?
We must look at the larger picture here. Our bodies have the ability to remove toxic things; however over time the cumulative effects of the build-up of toxins can affect how we regulate hormones and other normal functions. You find Endocrine disruptors in a variety of beauty products from body wash to the Aveeno lotion I once used regularly. (Now I use coconut oil for everything!)
Women are particularly vulnerable to substances that interfere with hormone production especially during phases of reproductive development, pregnancy and adolescence. Without using toxin-free products on our children and instilling knowledge in them about toxic additives, our daughters will be using products that may one day interfere with her ability to have a child of her own.
Our Children Deserve Better; We ALL deserve better
Did you know that the average teenage girl is using more than 13 products on her body each and every day (deodorant, perfume, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, face lotion, eye lotion, foundation, powder lipstick, eye shadow, blush, concealer…) ?!
But chances are that in this day and age, she isn’t reading the label and makes her choices from advertising and friend’s recommendations. She’s studying for her next final and the list of ‘toxic things to avoid’ aren’t on her radar. We need to teach ALL women to avoid products that will impair their hormones especially our daughters.
‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.’ – Maya Angelou
Let’s do better together. It won’t happen overnight.
You must be patient and forgive yourself on a daily basis but I am on a journey to a toxic free life, will you join me?
This assortment of chemicals added to our personal use products can contribute to premature aging as well as a variety of health problems.
I’ve chosen Beauty Counter Products for myself and my daughter and I’m joining the movement for clean and safe products. Beauty Counter Corporation is lobbying congress to update their law about ingredients in our products. There has not been a major piece of legislation to regulate ingredients in personal care and beauty products since 1938. Think of all the things our scientists have learned since 1938!
In conclusion, making informed decisions through education is the key for us, our friends and our children.
“I just want you well again…’ (originally posted 5/19/2010 Lyme Life)
I whisper these words to my then husband who was tossing & turning in his sleep. Before the words leave my lips, I feel a strong wave of uncertainty wash over me. I want to bury myself in his arms & pretend this life we’re living isn’t real. But it IS real, this is happening to us.
I’ve been stuck in this nightmare for almost three years and I feel as though I’ve been fighting all my young life. I am exhausted, beyond belief, but I keep pushing myself forward… or perhaps life keeps pushing me…
While you have all anxiously waited on an update, I spend day after day hoping the next will be better. Perhaps tomorrow I can write something positive? While anxious for that day to come, another one passes with no change in his condition. Some days I awaken to find things are unbelievably much worse.
It’s been hard to relive the experiences of the last several months but I feel a duty to share the horrors of Lyme disease and the dangers that exist with treatment. I believe it’s imperative to bring light to the tragedy that Lyme disease has created throughout our communities and the travesty created by the medical community who refuses to agree on the existence & treatment of late stage Lyme disease. I assure you that an afternoon caring for someone with chronic Lyme would convince anyone otherwise!
I almost lost him in April when we once again rushed to the ER with another complication. His fever spiked upward of 104 … Delusional with intermittent chills, sweats ravaged his body.
By the time we arrived at the hospital April 20th, he’d gone septic. Sepsis is a deadly condition which steals thousands of lives every year. Staff, Strepp & Yeast were all found growing in his bloodstream, the result of an infected chest port that had been placed under his skin 2 weeks prior.
Undeniably one of the worst things that could happen. A blood infection is always a possible risk when undergoing long term treatment with a PICC line. While aware of the dangers that come with having a central line & long-term antibiotic treatment, we have no choice. IV treatment as it is the only viable solution for eradicating late stage Lyme disease. Killing Lyme bacterium is a toxic process; each bacterium leaves behind a trail of toxic waste. Toxins build up in cells, tissues & joints causing painful inflammation & locked joints. This reaction, known as a herxheimer reaction, leaves patients substantially more ill during treatment. Miraculously we made it through… and on our 4th anniversary I laid by his side thinking about our uncertain future, alone, as he slept.
When a Pet Dies, how should you tell your child?
(originally posted October 28th 20016)
The clock said 8:01. I insisted Emmaline hurry as we rushed through the front door. The cat slipped out as I turned to key the lock. I told myself there wasn’t enough time to catch the cat and get to school on time. A decision I regretted almost instantly.
As I turned the corner back to the house, my neighbor rang my phone: ‘Hiya, Uhm.. I think your cat was hit by a car sweetie?’
“Is he ok?!‘ She remains silent on the line as I turn the van down the street. My neighbor is standing in the the road standing over a white pile of fluff. I could barely look… I touched his side, feeling his soft fur for the last time. The life was already gone from his body.
This was no longer my daughter’s sweet cat. Simon- Rainbow-dash-sparkles-cupcake the great, was no more.
My grief was instantaneous, seeing him like that. Only moments ago he sat in my lap purring, desperate for some love before we headed off to school. Now all of that was a memory.
Simon was her Christmas kitten. He was so laid back, she put him in her backpack and took him around the house. One of her daily joys was locking the dog and cat together in the crate and reading to them. He was just a cat but he was a happy part of daily life. He had a loud, infectious purr and his fur was softer than cotton. We laughed at him when he begged for food or when Pete the dog usurped him for some love.
Death is a part of life.
The day Simon died, Emmaline was a few months shy of her sixth birthday. I wanted to find the right way to break the news to her at age and I was certain I didn’t want to lie to her about it.
I did some online research and talked to friends to help me find the solution right for my situation. I don’t make it a point to lie to my daughter in an attempt to protect her from life. However each situation is different and some are more delicate than others. It can be difficult providing a balance between innocence and growth. I wanted her to find her own closure for the situation and for that to happen, she needed to know the truth.
“Don’t feel as though you have to give them a lot of information,” says McNamee. “Tell them what happened, then see what comes from them, such as their feelings and ideas about how to handle the death.” *2
Involve your children in the grieving process
I waited 24 hours before telling my daughter about the death of the cat. Gaining control of my own emotions was required before calmly sitting down and telling her the unfortunate news.
‘ I have some sad news’ I began, ‘Simon was hit by a car and killed yesterday.”
She interrupted, ‘I want to see him and where it happened.’
I already thought about how I would proceed if she asked to see him. I deemed that too grotesque and something I still couldn’t get out of my head. So instead, I took her to the spot where the blood splatter was fading on the road.
She took my hand and squeezed as I told her, ‘He didn’t see the car. He died immediately because the car was just too big and powerful for his little body. But we are going to celebrate his life in a little while and bury his body in the backyard. In the meantime, why don’t you draw some pictures for Simon.’
“Children need a process of saying goodbye,” says McNamee, and “you can help them do this in a variety of ways. Have them draw pictures of your pet. Share funny stories. Plant a tree in the backyard in honor of the pet. Put the pet’s ashes and pictures on the fireplace mantle. These kinds of tangible steps may be more helpful to your child than talking alone. “*2
We held a small funeral in the backyard
Later that day Emmaline and a few neighborhood kids gathered in the backyard to say goodbye to Simon. Emmaline placed a drawing of Simon she made that afternoon along with a clipping of her hair. She picked flowers in the yard and sang a song to celebrate her little cat and the short happy life he lived.
It’s best to know your enemy before beginning the battle. This is certainly true of Lyme Disease! And with Lyme Disease quickly becoming the fastest growing epidemic, it’s more important than ever to teach your children prevention.
‘Knowing is half the battle.’
Do you remember this old G.I. Joe adage?? It played over and over and OVER in my head the first time my then-husband was hospitalized. We had no idea the underlying problem was Lyme disease.
If I could just discover the cause. If I JUST KNEW what it was then I could fight back.
That would only be half of the battle. I fought for discovery, then I fought for treatment. I was in for the fight of my life in order to save his.
By teaching prevention & EARLY detection, we can prevent this epidemic from crippling our children. Here is what you need to know.
–>>> Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, gross little blood suckers. However, then need to be attached for a while to transmit the disease. But the situation should always be monitored and taken seriously. Early detection, a round or two of antibiotics and you are scott-free!! Waiting too long to address the problem will allow the parasites to take hold. These are living organisms, don’t give them the chance to reproduce!
What about when I find a tick and it is attached?
How do we achieve Artistic Newborn Portraits?
Newborn portraits, they look easy, right? The baby just sleeps. The photographer puts them in a basket, or props their tiny head on their hands and the magic just happens, right?
Well that’s not exactly what we do here. Actually newborns can’t support their heads by themselves. So those images are actually a product of Photoshop!
Rather than rely on PhotoShop to create something post-produced, I prefer to shoot what is right in front of me. Using light, texture and a limited color palette, I can create a unique still life every time I work with a newborn without finding any need for elaborate props. (Although, a few personal items can add a fun personal element!)
To be honest, I wasn’t always great with newborns! One of my early newborn sessions was when I myself was just 8 weeks pregnant. The baby cried the entire time I was there. I hung around for FOUR hours in a futile effort to provide assistance.
I didn’t know what to do!?
I felt worthless and I didn’t know how to help. As it turned out, the baby was suffering from acid re-flux but at the time, none of us knew.
I didn’t have the skills to calm a baby or comfortably maneuver them into something photo worthy. Initially, I didn’t think I was cut out for this particular vein of photography; yet motherhood was just around the corner to teach me the lessons I needed.
It’s taken a lot of patience and patience. A lot of patience. After the birth of my own child, spending day in and day out with a newborn, gave me the understanding needed to handle newborn babies. Now I work with newborns on a regular basis and my images reflect the vision of a mother instead of whomever I was before.
I enjoy snuggling these precious babies and capturing the perfect moments of their newness. These days I have an arsenal of time tested tricks that help me capture these fleeting days with your newborn baby!
Lying back on the chair I held my right wrist tightly, attempting to relax as the tattoo artist traced the precise lines of silhouetted birds onto my pale, sensitive skin.
As his needle buzzed, I allowed myself to come to terms with my new identity; single mom, divorcee, ex-wife. This was the first moment in a long while where I felt control over my own future. In that moment, I accepted my new path.
One of my best gal pals sat by my side, holding my hand and snapping photos. She softly asked me if it hurt.
‘Haha! Not really…’ I laughed shaking my head.
‘You know, he broke my heart. Nothing really hurts… but I’ll say this does burn like hell…’ I grimaced as the needle pinched into a softer spot on my wrist.
My tattoo wasn’t a decision made lightly.
Up until this point, I have survived 37 years without any desire for a tattoo. Permanently altering your body is a BIG decision and one that requires sufficient consideration. My daughter looks to me as her example. I am now and will forever be her mother and this fact weighs heavily on every decision I make. It was important she understand the many things that were considered before finalizing such a big decision.
As a ‘tattoo virgin’ I had questions. When and where was I getting this done?! After all, I didn’t want a ‘prison’ tattoo and I expected cleanliness & professionalism. But most importantly, WHAT exactly was I going to permanently ink on my body??
My Tattoo Considerations
- I would use one of my own photographs.
- The number 3 is significant. Three birds would represent my journey: the struggle to find the truth, the strength to move forward and the love for my daughter which ultimately set me free.
- I asked friends about tattoo parlors & did the”ole” google search. I asked friends, read reviews and ultimately decided Exhile Tattoo 2 would be the place; they received good reviews about their cleanliness and professionalism. I booked my appointment with Bob Rodriguez, a recommended artist working there.
- April 1st was the day. It marked the first day of my new life. In the weeks prior, I gave into my emotions, consciously mourning my lost future while preparing for the new one.
The photograph I selected was taken last Christmas. My (soon to be ex) husband moved out in November just shy of the holiday season. In an effort to distract my daughter (and myself), I filled our holidays with activities and friends. We spent Christmas with a few of my dearest girlfriends and their children and as the kids chased each other and ran circles in the front yard, I looked upon the changing winter sky. The faithful flocks of geese squawked noisily overhead as they continued along their annual journey South.
There is something beautiful about the journey.
This year brought about fundamental changes in my life. Epic changes for which I didn’t prepare. But I’ve lived through enough to understand that life will surprise us all with change. How we respond to it, well that’s the true test.
Change can destroy you or it can make you stronger. He was my greatest weakness but that’s now in the past.
I am closing a chapter: a decade spent dedicating my life energy to someone else. I learned many truths about myself and I’ve been broken down, changing to the core. This mark, my tattoo, is an outward symbol of an internal change; a visual reminder that I am indeed different.
This became a catalyst for continuing changes. I’ve had to step back, evaluate and decide how I would become stronger through this instead of allowing my emotions to prevail.
My evolution from artist to advocate has begun. My brand is a reminder for truth, taking control of life, creating a better world. It does not remind me of what was lost but rather what I have gained.
Where are you on your journey?
The best marriage can be described as ‘good ole-fashioned’ team work.
I am already in my pajamas, curled up on my knees with my laptop lying open in front of me. Only moments ago, I returned from another long wedding day and I find my mind wandering through the days events. A smile remains fixed on my face as I remain lost in thought.
My Saturday night ‘after the wedding‘ ritual of verifying cards and charging batteries will keep me awake until the wee hours. As my mind races back through the day, I slowly begin to recognize the aches and pains attributed to my ten hour wedding workout. I pop a few advil, grab a bowl of Epsom salt water to soak my aching fingers and despite the aches I pick up my camera and begin verifying files.
Per usual, the day was chocked full of amazing moments & opportunities to create beautiful portraits. Memories still fresh and dancing through my head as they appear on my screen. My brain is in hyper drive, flooding with thoughts, emotions & my own critical analysis of what I could have done better.
My laptop lies open in front of me, the blinking cursor begs me to begin.
I desperately want to find the words to describe what I just captured with my camera. To somehow express, in words, what is feels like for me to play a part in that.
Of course, my words, can never do justice.
So I bang out a few vanilla statements about Katie & Garrett… several words instantly come to mind: ‘generous, kind, adorable, loving families, CREATIVE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE who MAKE A GREAT TEAM.’
That’s when I realize it…
The one I’m desperately trying to describe. It’s the sensation I have after a wedding such as this one. It’s the one when you become a part of something larger than yourself. Sure, I am just the photographer but I watched the beginning on this union. The beginning of a great team that will do great things together.
Truthfully, being part of a great team feeds the soul. And after a day like this, I know these amazing couple will remain in my life.
That’s the best part but also something that drives my own critisism. I want perfection, not for myself, but for this perfect team. For the beautiful children that will one day bless their families. I am capturing memories for them. Showing them the beauty, love and perfection I see.
Sure, we all have trials and troubles throughout the years but finding your team mate is the first part of the challenge. Katie & Garrett have chosen wisely and I am honored to be part of the team!
A great team makes the best marriage.
Working together to pull off a great wedding cerebration is just the beginning. But it’s easy for anyone to see the giant hearts belonging to this couple.
Some days are better than others.
That’s where I think I must start when I describe the feelings I had when reflecting on Katie & Garrett’s.
Cheers to Katie & Garrett! May you have THE best marriage that endures all things, because gosh, darn you are the nicest, most adorable team
Want to know more about the details from this wedding in downtown Kansas City? Here are some details about the Kansas City wedding professionals who made the best marriage happen.
Wedding Ceremony & Reception were held at The Baltimore Club located in downtown Kansas City.
Bouquets & Floral Design were hand crafted by Craig Sole Designs.
Wedding Cake: Rebekah Cake Artist
Makeup: Katie with Mink Artistry
Entertainment DJ: DJ Fernando
Photography Team: Adrienne Maples PhotoStudios
Starting Kindergarten: Tips for parent and child
‘I’m ready momma… it’s time to wake up!’
My five year old giggles as she mushes my face with sloppy morning kisses, “I love you, love you, LOVE you!!” she exclaims as she jumps out of bed and runs to put on her clothes.
She’d picked out her outfit the night before and she was already dressed before I manage to reach the kitchen.
I am not a morning person. But her excitement lifts my morning fog.
‘This is going to be soooo good!’ she says as she grabs her kitty-cat backpack and pulls my hand towards the door.
“Come on momma, your wasting time!’
We arrive at school and walk her into her kindergarten classroom. It’s buzzing with children, while parents snap photos of their kiddos and others attempt hiding tears from their children. I choke back a few proud tears myself, as we watch our joyous girl giggle as she finds her desk. She smiles proudly as she takes her seat & puts on her name tag.
She is ready for this day even if we are not.
Starting kindergarten is bittersweet. Some parents achieve a new found freedom at this stage while others find they are now confined within the parameters of the school day. To be quite honest, I can’t quite tell if I am coming or going and I already miss our mornings together.
Survival Tips for Starting Kindergarten:
- Preschool. Any amount of preschool will help prepare your child to feel comfortable in a class room environment. Even summer camp before kindergarten can make a big difference. This also helps parents develop coping skills and understanding of what to expect once school officially starts.
- Positive Affirmations. Speaking positive affirmations daily will remind you both that you are ready for this change. Praise them for exhibiting positive, independent behaviors
Practice. practice, practice! We play school around here.. a lot. But we also practice how we handle situations when someone is mean to you. My daughter thinks this is fun and it helps her develop confidence to speak up for herself and resolve her own situations without tears. We take turns being the ‘mean’ kid and ‘nice’ kid.
- Mean kid: ‘You aren’t my friend, I don’t want you playing over here.’
- Response: ‘That’s ok, I have plenty of friends. Besides I’m the boss of me and you are the boss of you.‘
Play dates. Lots of them. This helps your child transition from spending all of their playtime with you to playing independently with other kids.
- Parent Tip: Try to let them resolve differences on their own. When you hear your child arguing with another child, don’t be so quick to fix the problem for them. Give them some time to settle it on their own before inserting yourself into the situation.
- Rip it off like a band aid! The first day is usually harder for parents than the kids. When you drop off, quickly say your goodbyes. And say something positive about your child, ‘Go get ’em tiger! You’ve got this!’
- No crying in front of the kid. Hold back the tears until you leave. You want to leave on a positive note and your tears will confuse your child. They can’t comprehend the complex emotions that make this sad for us; so be certain they see you leave happy and confident that they can do this on their own!