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The end of 2015

I am up to my eyeballs trying to get our New Years party put together, and rapidly reaching the “shove everything in a closet” stage of the game. I’m looking at my guest list, the square footage of my apartment, the guest list again, and shaking my head.

It’s going to be… cozy.

Where do I start recapping this year? I got married. My business grew so much. I clicked deeper into myself and became more… me. We moved into a new apartment, and I’m still getting used to it. It is challenging and awesome to live in a tiny space. This blog got a much-needed update after getting neglected.

I learned hard lessons this year in business. There were a few times I messed up, or there was a thing or two I had to learn the hard way. Next year will be better. I have a hard time thinking about my mistakes sometimes. I think a lot of people tend to beat themselves up over “medium failures” – that is, failures that aren’t super huge, but aren’t tiny mistakes either – and I am trying to find the balance of acknowledging what I did wrong without overdoing it. I don’t want to dwell on them, but I don’t want to not stop and take a good look at them, either. My parents always took my lack of getting visibly upset over my mistakes as a sign of not caring, so if I messed up and simply apologised without appropriate supplication, I got in even MORE trouble, but if I did make a big deal out of something, I found myself overwhelmed. Oh the scars we have to deal with, even still.

2016 is going to be a time of building new foundations on scorched earth. We want a baby. I want to dig into my new home and new life. I think it’s going to be a good year.

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And that’s the end

And that’s it: 30 blog posts in 30 days. I will probably never do that again, but I remembered how fun it was to blog when I *actually* have something to say. The reality is that most of what I think about now revolves around business, which is pretty boring if you don’t care about camera lenses, focal points, or mounting a flash to a light stand.

I will be back in this space more often, though.

Thank you for reading.

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I’m So Stuffed

Happy Thanksgiving!

We went to Marely’s relatives this year, and I did the classic Thanksgiving mistake of skipping breakfast and then pigging out when dinner was finally served. Every year I know better than to do this, and every year, I do it anyway! It’s just one day, as they say in Weight Watchers, but still.

Remember when I posted this article on 50 ways to be happy and live life on your own terms? Since reading it, I’ve been forcing as close to 30 grams of protein down for breakfast every morning. I HATE EATING in the morning, but since I started doing that, it’s been a marked change for the better in the way I feel, and skipping today (and then eating way, way more sugar at dessert this one night than I usually eat in a week) has made me feel like poop. It’s official: I’m at an age where what I eat affects me dramatically. I came home with swollen ankles and a headache, and Marley had to rub my feet.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I’m mostly skipping any Black Friday shopping I can’t accomplish from my laptop, and then suiting up on Saturday for Small Business Saturday in Brooklyn. If you’re shopping tomorrow, be safe.

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Thanksgiving Eve

We only have one more year to watch the utter distain our President has for his annual pardoning of a turkey. I appreciate that he realizes how dumb it is, and I think that it’s sweet his daughters attend every year. If you want to read about WHY the President pardons a turkey every year, go here.

Have you seen #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies? I laughed so hard I pulled something.

Our assignment for tomorrow was a potato dish, so I made Todd Coleman’s potato gratin. We made it once before and then demolished it (I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a salt-cheese-butter tooth) so we vowed never again unless we were taking it somewhere.

I might whip up a batch of Jen’s mom’s pumpkin squares, which she used to make in high school, if I’m feeling ambitious tomorrow.

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Neko Atsume is my jam

I’m currently obsessed with Neko Atsume, a Tamagotchi-esque game that I downloaded on my iPhone. The game is meant to be sweet and gentle, and played only by occasionally checking in on it throughout the day for a few minutes at a time. The designer made it so children and adults can both enjoy it. It’s weird, but with the world the way it is – Trump saying racist things, the situation in Syria – having something so sweet to focus on is really comforting.

I texted Laura to see if she had heard of it, and she was like “Dude, I already have the expansion pack, and collected the rare cats.” I should have known!

If you want a low-key, super adorable thing to play, check it out!

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Oliver, In Photos

My friends Erica and Greg used to live here in Park Slope, and when they did, I did a series of portraits of their bassett hound, Oliver. I think it was 2011? I was so happy to be able to dig them out of my hard drive for them, and send them over again, when they announced via Facebook this weekend that he had died, a few days after his 14th birthday.

Greg wrote a very moving essay on Medium about their dog, that had me wiping tears off of my chin.

Friends, I am so sorry for your loss. He was a humdinger.


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Benjamin Hardy’s 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms

Gavin introduced me to Medium, and through it I have discovered so many quality articles and pieces of writing. This one in particular has me very inspired. It’s called 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms, written by Benjamin Hardy.

Some I already do: get 7+ hours of sleep each night, say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on (which I do without even a speck of guilt).

Some I would really like to do: read 1 book per week and drink 64–100 ounces of water per day (Seriously, why the fuck is this so difficult? I have clean running water in my house, an innovation that is relatively new to humanity and a luxury that is not even afforded to roughly 663 milling humans around the globe, and STILL I fail at this. I feel so ungrateful.)

And some I’m not doing ever, ever, ever, like give up caffeine (although I’ve needed to cut waaay back, since my body gets plenty of rest at night most nights, which is a good thing.) My best life involves coffee.

It reminded me a lot of what I want to be. Maybe you’ll find it inspiring, too.

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Scratches and Soap Scum

Until late last night, I hadn’t looked at Marley’s wedding ring that closely since I slipped it on his finger at our wedding ceremony some weeks ago. I was not quite ready to go to bed, and wanted to practice some wedding ring macro shots using the $20 video light I had all but forgotten was buried in my “not really in use” gear cabinet. (This is what wedding photographers do, because we are all a tiny bit insane.)

I was surprised to see it has dings on it already. When I usually photograph my client’s wedding rings they are, of course, smooth and perfect, but his has scratches and dents already, the beginnings of a lifetime that will likely completely warp the gold in little marks of a life well-lived and well-loved. I got so sentimental about those tiny marks! There’s also a bit of soap scum, because he took it off for me while he was washing the dishes. I set myself up next to him in the kitchen, and put the rings on our slate cheese board.

I’m going to clean up the final image for use in my portfolio, which I would do with any new ring my client asked me to photograph, but here at the Amber Show, I wanted to show you the genuine photo of the dents, and the soap scum. Mine is leaning on his.

wedding rings


P.S. If you’re wondering, we chose to special order our rings in undipped white gold (sometimes called “unplated white gold”) which renders a shade warmer than what you see called white gold, and a shade cooler and brighter than yellow gold. There isn’t a lot of information about this on the internet, so I’m spreading the good word.

P.P.S. His is from Greenwich Jewlers, and mine is a custom modification of an existing design by Oliva Ewing.

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How To Make Friends in Your 30’s

Someone on one of the Facebook groups I’m in asked a question: How do you make friends in your 30’s?

I have a lot of friends but I didn’t growing up because my parents homeschooled me through middle school, and by the time I was ready to go to high school I was pretty awkward. Now I’m… less so, although still a total quirk-ball, but I have a lot of friends anyhow. This was my answer:

Throw parties and invite people you want to get to know better. Be interesting. Show up to things that you get invited to, even if they’re inconvient. Bring wine. Comment on Facebook posts instead of just liking them. Ditto for Instagram. Remember birthdays and send notes instead of adding to the wall of Facebook posts. Better yet, take someone out for coffee, dessert, or a glass of wine for their birthday. Stick a candle in their cake when they aren’t looking. Be excellent to people. Give thoughtful advice, or shut up and give good hugs. Remember that everyone feels awkward a lot, and offer to be the person that makes it less awkward for them to get through the day. Usually this means agreeing that you won’t leave their side at a party [I fall flat on this sometimes, I’ll admit]. Remember that people rarely remember what you said, but the remember how you made them feel.

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