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Finding My Thin Places

I’ve been thinking recently about “thin places”, a concept described by New York Times writer Eric Weiner as “…locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.”

He also addresses the disappointment pilgrims have felt reaching a designated “holy space” and finding it is NOT thin after all for any number of reasons. I myself, as a secular person, don’t have a Mecca or Jerusalem to sojourn to, so – like all of the happiness I’ve gotten in 35 years – I’ve had to uncover them unexpectedly. It was nice to read this article (now five years old) for a bit of validation.

My thin places have been floating in the middle of the lake in a row boat with two friends, sprawled on a hot beach in the shade on the backside of a remote beach in Nicaragua, and this afternoon, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but not while looking at any of the art. My friend’s baby, passed to me to hold while she put her baby carrier onto her torso to go home, pressed his head to my cheek, and I was immediately and unexpectedly in a thin space for that moment of time. She laughed kindly at the sudden “spiritual awakening” brought on by her squirmy, drooling kiddo. It was there when I was picking blueberries at a Stu!’s parent’s house in Connecticut, and during the sunset off the coast of Barcelona in Mallorca, which I watched with my chin in the crook of Marley’s arm, and which my friend Amanda took a photo of, and which I am extremely grateful to have.

I’ve been to Paris three times, and it’s not there, at least for me, but it was fun watching other people experience it being thin. It was not in Dubai- fun but not thin – or in Bali, even though I expected it to be.

(In other news, I have a lot of blogging to catch up on.)

Where is thin for you? Have you been disappointed by expecting a place to be thin that wasn’t, or found a place that was unexpectedly? I’d love to hear.

 

 

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Regarding the Whole of 2016 and What’s Next

I’ve just taken a look at my Life List. There are so many things I’ve managed to accomplish that I haven’t gotten around to checking off here. I am happy.

My business has taken up a ton of my free time, and Blogging As A Thing has become something entirely different than it was in 2004 when I started, and these two things combined have meant that this place is going stale. It was also never my career; I found the thing to do for a living that literally moves me to tears (which is awkward when you’re standing on a dance floor holding a camera watching a newly married couple having their first dance and getting choked up behind it, but there is a moment at literally EVERY wedding I photograph where I think “I am so FUCKING LUCKY I get to record this for them”). I should start writing about it. And life. I don’t want to forget everything. I’ve also come so far; today marks thirteen years since I started my blog. That is… insane.

I still want to keep blogging, I just need to clear space for it, and in the past year, I haven’t. This is changing this summer.

I can’t wait.

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Cheap Pregnancy Tests are Way Better

This article in NY Mag talks about pregnancy pee strips, something I hadn’t heard about in pop news in a while. It’s a topic I became an accidental cognoscente of a few years ago when I started reading about fertility. I recognized the author’s reporting of holding peed-on strips under harsh light, and was amused to hear there are now apps that tweak your photo to show lines more clearly. The most shocking part of this was reading that the drugstore pregnancy tests are $22+ now. Friends, no. Buy the box of 25 cheap pregnancy tests on Amazon. They’re small, with no plastic casing, and work very early – so early, in fact that they detect an hCG (pregnancy hormone) level at about 25 mIU/ml. This is early enough to detect a chemical pregnancy.

You will have to decide for yourself if knowing you’ve had one is devastating or fascinating.

You can keep them in a drawer and pee on them as often as you’d like. I like keeping them for other people, too, and at fifty cents each, being generous is pretty easy. More than once, a friend has come over to request one of mine, along with a paper cup and use of my bathroom. (It probably helps that I  also always have both herbal tea and a full bar on hand.)

A friend of came home from work to a package of the them a few days after my recommendation, and immediately sent me a cell phone shot of her completed test for co-analysis, spilling the beans of what turned out to be her daughter before her husband got home.

Babies are expensive enough.

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IDGAF

Storytime: I got to yoga yesterday and realized at the front desk I’d forgotten my water bottle. They don’t sell them (to be eco friendly) but said I could raid the lost and found to borrow one.

“It’s okay,” I said, “I’ll just use this.”

I pointed to the now-empty paper coffee cup I had been sipping out of on the walk over.

The person behind the desk gave me a “Well…” I was about to say, “Oh it’s fine, I don’t like to drink that much water during class; I probably won’t even finish a full cup.” thinking she thought it would too little water to get through a class (I was going to a Bikram class). Her actual concern, however, was that it would look, to the other students, like I was sipping coffee during class.

I must have given her the most withering “are you fucking kidding me?” look ever before I caught my face and arranged it into something more gracious, because she backed down super fast. I forget sometimes that “worrying what strangers think” is a thing for some people. Everyone stop caring about this and just and live your life, please.

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A Letter from a New Friend

handwritten letter

In November, Marley and I landed in Kuala Lumpur, planning to take a short connecting flight to Chiang Mai to begin a trip to the Elephant Nature Park. We missed that connecting flight and couldn’t fly out until the next morning.

Resigned, we checked into the Sama-Sama Hotel next to the airport. I immediately threw on my swimsuit and headed to the pool, where I met an older Australian woman traveling by herself. We had the most wonderful conversation, and after baths, we had wine and appetizers in the hotel lounge together, exchanged mailing addresses, and then parted ways the next morning, to go off to different parts of the world.

She sent me a letter, which arrived last week when I was in Mexico.

Isn’t this the loveliest?

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2016 In Review; 2017 New Years Resolutions

We… didn’t quite get around to getting a baby this year.

Other than that, I had two New Years resolutions for 2016:

Travel more, and watch more TV. I know watching less tv seems like the more likely resolution, but I found myself more often than not idly browsing the internet instead of intentionally sitting down to enjoy a TV show with Marley, so we did it this year, and it was great.

I also traveled more in 2016 than in all my other years combined. I saw amazing things, ate amazing things, and met fabulous people.

This year, I’m resolved to go out in NYC more, and try new restaurants and bars, etc.

The trick to keeping your New Years resolutions is to make them fun.

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I’m Still Here

I’m slowly making the divide between my business and personal life more defined. I began accepting friends on Facebook from other wedding vendors – a space previously used to just goof off – and my Instagram account got more professional, with only small, curated glimpses into my personal life. (I also unfollowed a ton of people – please don’t be offended. I just can’t keep up.)

I refused to share my own wedding photos publicly and requested guests keep their phones away for the day except to take photos of themselves, a move that inspired an Associated Press story. I showed one on Facebook for our first anniversary.

I’ve really fallen in love with running a business and having a personal life that’s more… er… “personal”. My parties have turned less “bring all your friends” and more “my friends only”. It’s why I haven’t written in this space too much, either. I don’t need to process everything out loud any more, and if I’m being encouraging, I want it to be for business reasons. I’ve been journaling privately, but I’m still here from time to time, I just don’t think in the same capacity I was.

It makes sense: I started this blog at age 22, and that was 12 years ago. To say “a lot has changed since then” is an understatement. I like myself more, and life is better than ever, although more wrinkled. Seriously, I have one wrinkle! It’s a small, horizontal crease in my forehead now that wasn’t there least year WHAT THE FUCK?

Anyway, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and I still cut up on Twitter, too.

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I’m With Her

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s speech was one that made my heart swell with pride.

“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”

It’s here, in case you missed it and want to see the whole thing.

I don’t align with any major political party, however, today, I’m pleased to say that I am wholeheartedly behind Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States.

Do you need to register to vote? Go here.

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Life Hack: Multiple Emails

I have four email addresses:

One for business and personal use. I was going to have two, one business, one personal, but Gavin talked me out of it, and I’m really glad he did. There is, at this point, so much overlap in my business and personal lives as other photographers and wedding vendors have become friends (the wedding industry is full of really wonderful people) that it would have gotten hard to manage.

One connected to this blog. It’s where your lovely comments go when you leave them on my blog posts, which you can FINALLY DO NOW, after months of not being able to. Leave me your comments! I’ve missed them.

One for shopping. Whenever I sign up to get promotional emails from companies, they go there, as well as all of my receipts. It’s heaven to not have to pick through them to get to emails from clients.

One for “bacn“, which is a word we should use way more often. It’s mostly newsletters I really want to read from smart people, but not while I’m in the middle of my work day, and I open it a few times per week and read them all at once over coffee.

I’m writing this, because every time someone mentions inbox overload and I tell them my solution, they literally have never thought about it. It allows me to not have to compromise on what to sign up to read and what stores I to allow to email me.

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Why I Like Donald Trump on Facebook

I read “Number the Stars” in 4th grade. It a fiction book set in Copenhagen in the early 1940s. The story is of a 10 year old girl whose family hides her friend Ellen, a Jewish girl, from the Nazis, by pretending she and Ellen are sisters. Concerned that Nazis might rise to power again, I promised myself way back then that if they ever did, I would help fight them.

It didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t be Jews, but Syrian refugees running from ISIS, but the promise still stands.

I follow Donald Trump on Facebook by “liking” his page. It has been a controversial move when my friends click that stupid “See who likes Donald Trump” link. Some have “called me out” to explain myself, and I’ve gotten “unfriended” by others who didn’t care enough to ask, which is fine.

His page is full of people who subscribe to his ideas, and I get a first-hand look at the posts of his followers. Never in history have we been able to peer into the conversations of others who believe differently without filters, and the fear of “others” (especially when those others are Muslim) is really strong. Sadly, I can now see exactly how Nazis came into power after a few decades of living my life not being able to understand it, and it’s brutal to read, but it feels important to read, too. The world needs good people to stay awake.

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