The Amber Show

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I Found Myself; I Was Under a Lot of Hair

If you follow me on Instagam, you saw the photo I posted of me about a year and a half ago on my birthday. My hair was absolutely perfect, and I was growing it out for my wedding. By the time the big updo happened it was so long that, straightened, it reached almost to my waist.

I’d never had hair even close to being this long before, and I was so excited about how pretty it was, both in the updo I wore to get married and in the rest of my life, but I was also super annoyed at how tangled it always got, because I’m way too lazy to comb my hair out every day. So really, it was only pretty if I spent a lot time detangling which I never did because I work from home, and I spent most of the time looking like I hadn’t seen a shower in ages.

Posting the photo inspired me, and I called to make an appointment for next week. They happened to have a spot today, so three hours later I was in the chair.

There was one tiny moment right at the beginning where I worried about regretting it. Having long hair was my dream when I was a little girl, and through careful use of products I had finally able to grow it long and healthy, without it breaking off into a frizzy mess for the first time. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t me. When she finished, I grinned in the mirror.

“There I am!”

It was fun to be a bride, it is better to be me.

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Good Enough?

We are thinking about beginning the process of becoming parents kind of soon.

All summer and all fall we’ve be doing stuff like our annual apple picking trip, or hanging out at the park with the dog, and going, “This would be so much cooler if we had someone else hanging out with us, too.” and I keep trying to convince myself it’s not the right time but I know that it probably won’t ever be quite right, and maybe now is actually a really great time?

I’m not sure where we’d stick one in this apartment – or even if the size of our apartment will disqualify us from adopting in the first place, which I’m sacred of – but New York City has a wonderful history of its inhabitants tucking babies into cozy corners and getting along just fine, and anyway, we won’t know anything different. The amount of space I don’t need to be happy continues to stun and thrill me as we nest into our 360 square feet of living space, and anyway, I’ve seen enough of life to know that you can just let some things work themselves out the way that they need to and it will be alright in the end, even if that means the baby has to sleep in the kitchen.

And since the world moves in mysterious ways, I’ll officially put it out there: you know of anyone pregnant who is looking to have their baby adopted by a completely secular, pro-vaccination, anti-circumcision, dog-having, silly song-singing, of course you’re going to college, books-in-every-corner family, you can put them in touch with us.

We are a lot of fun.

photo by Laura Pennace

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I Will Be Interesting, I Will Be Interesting

“You should blog about sitting in front of your computer willing yourself to be interesting. I believe you would make that interesting.”

This is what Gavin said to me two days ago, when I lamented that I signed up to write one blog post per day but am actually the most boring person ever right now. And the thing is, I actually think my life IS interesting, but only to me, at the moment. I mean, all I do is work, and I love it, but trying to make my Pinterest board into a valuable marketing tool isn’t exactly riveting.

Traditionally, this space, “the Amber Show”, has been about me and not what I do for a living, but now I am now one of those people – those gloriously happy and simultaneously stressed out people – for whom work and life blur completely, and business victories spark the same level of joy in me that personal ones do.

“I’m not a business man; I’m a business, man!”

Thanks, Jay-Z. I feel this way, too.

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The OK Cupid Profile that Landed Me a Husband

Never before seen outside of OKCupid, presented in all of its slightly awkward glory. Feel free to steal lines as you’d like. This shit works. (Good luck trying to top my username, though.)

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Username: CozySweater

Introduction

I am happy, warm, independent, gracious, fun, adventurous, sensual and curious. Also ferociously loyal.

Sometimes heels, usually Chucks. Sometimes pretty dresses, usually an old hoodie. My Liz Lemon streak is pretty strong, and my dance moves are done with enthusiastic abandon. My love of terrible jokes is unparallelled.

My purse always has band-aids and birthday candles, just in case, and I handwrite letters regularly. Second-hand bookstores draw me in every time, and I am excellent at checkers and kissing.

INFJ. GGG. IDGAF.

What I’m doing with my life

I’m a photographer. Love it.

Otherwise I’m trying new wines, making playlists, strolling through the city on beautiful nights, going to the park with my dogs, and drinking small-batch drafts in fun bars with good friends.

Putting new stamps in my passport is really fun for me, so I’m hoping to meet someone who loves to travel.

I’m really good at

Fixing socially awkward situations, identifying constellations, opening prosecco, catching sparrows trapped in apartments (you’d be amazed at how much this comes up), packing for two weeks in a carry-on, flipping pancakes, parallel parking, and puns.

The first things people usually notice about me

“She looks like a good hugger”. (I am.)

You might notice my rack as a close second. Not to be crass, but it’s pretty fucking spectacular.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

Books: My shelves are filled with well-written fiction, non-fiction books addressing human nature from interesting perspectives, and memoirs by smart people.

Movies: I love going to the movies! Small-town comedies, indie films, and dark comedies. At home, with popcorn and a blanket for cuddling under.

Music: My favorite Beatles album is Revolver. My music collection is huge; I’ll tell you more in person.

Food: NYC has tons of restaurants, and I’m excited to try everything at least twice. I grew up in Connecticut, which means I have a deep appreciation of diners and strong opinions about lobster rolls.

Magazines: Esquire. The New Yorker. I get weekend delivery of the New York Times and spend Sunday mornings in bed with ink all over my fingers.

Podcasts: This American Life, the Moth, Savage Lovecast and Risk!, which I forget not to listen to on the subway and turn into that crazy person sitting alone, laughing hysterically.

The six things I could never do without

My brilliant friends, art and learning, my dogs, the internet (and tabbed browsing), coffee, and something to read (that nerd in the bar with a book is me.)

And bonus: A cozy sweater (of course!) I am forever cold.

I spend a lot of time thinking about

“I know that the molecules in my body are traceable to phenomena in the cosmos. That makes me want to grab people on the street and say: Have you HEARD THIS?” -Neil deGrasse Tyson

I don’t believe in anything that doesn’t hold up to scientific testing (exception: Having someone who cares about you kiss a boo-boo. That totally works.) The magic of real things – friendship, love, whiskey and outer space – is more than enough for me. In other words, please don’t ask what my “sign” is. (I don’t know, and doesn’t matter.)

On a typical Friday night I am

Doubled over laughing with my amazing group of friends. Sometimes we’re hanging out at my house – I have a fire pit for making s’mores and a cozy living room set up for conversations – or at the usual place down the street.

I typically like dive bars that serve free popcorn with the draft beers, but every once in a while I want a drink at one of those dim cocktail bars with the fancy ice, “mixologists” in suspenders, and cocktails made with a stupid amount of care.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit

I can only watch The Walking Dead through my fingers.

You should message me if

You want the secret to an excellent OKCupid photo or the perfect high five.

You’re going to ask me out *right away*. Texting/emailing/flirting via email with strangers is SUPER WEIRD for me. Just ask me out in the first message (I’ll do the same, promise!) and we’ll get together and talk in person. Because this.

You are…

… fond of dogs (I have two older rescue mutts. They are amazingly friendly and sweet.)

… in possession of a current passport (seriously; “no passport” is my only flat-out deal breaker)

… showing your face in at least one of your profile photos. I’ll get to your torso in due time. (aww yeah.) (air hump.)

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Looking Back at My Goals for 2015

In January, I picked three big goals for year and wrote them on the back of my paper calendar.

1. Get at least two blog features

2. Sell wedding albums.

3. Book ten big weddings.

I managed to get two blog features, both in Simply Elope. You can see my feature on Colm and Marie who eloped to Central Park and read my five best eloping to New York City tips here, which got shared on Facebook 45 times. Not too shabby.

There were a LOT of albums sold. Because I can over-analyze anything to death, I realized pretty quickly that if I spent too much time researching every single option and every single album company available to wedding photographers I would get overwhelmed and stuck, so I just jumped into the album game for the first time this year and opted to figure everything out as it went along. It’s been messy and hectic, but at this point most of my elopement clients and virtually all of my big wedding clients are adding albums to their wedding packages. This makes me happy; it’s more money in my pocket, and it’s so fun to get them back from the printer and ship them off.

Maybe it’s just me, but often when I start “selling” there’s the “does this make me a slimeball?” question feeling, but in the case of upselling my clients on albums, I genuinely, sincerely believe that everyone should have one, so I’m able to sell them easily.  It feels only amazing and good to look a client in the eye and say, “This is a good price on a great product that I believe you should have. Your grandchildren will thank you. In fact, look how much I love my own grandma’s wedding album.”

Yes to wedding albums.

And finally, I booked eleven big wedding this year so NAILED IT. My goal for 2016 is fifteen, which feels impossible, but which my entire life’s experience tells me is not. I have two officially on the books right now, so thirteen more to go. Tell your friends.

 

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My Stripper Pole

Happy November. This year, for the first time in a long time, I’m doing NaBloPoMo.

I haven’t been blogging that much here. For one, business has been my main focus, but really, the wind went out of my blogging sails for a while these past few years. Getting divorced meant there was so much I didn’t want to talk about, because you can’t talk about it without sounding bitter or angry, and then falling in love is so highly personal that talking about it seems gossipy and cheap. The past three years have been a whirlwind, and I’m still unpacking them and wrapping my head around them, and looking down at my wedding ring and going, “Holy shit. I am really fucking happy.” But it’s not the happy like frosting all sugar and air and singing at the top of your lungs wasted on cheap vodka; it’s happy like a great sweater on a cool day and really expensive pinot noir.

I’ve been so buttoned up, too, but I’m going to start stripping here this month.

It’s probably going to get awkward.

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Tiny Moments From This Weekend That I Don’t Want to Forget

Alexandra and Luis singing and playing guitar around the campfire the night before. They learned a bunch of new songs and sang them, and it was magic.

Johanna gave me back the poem I read at her wedding, at our rehearsal dinner.

Waking up with Marley in matching Batman tee shirts on the morning of our wedding, having breakfast with our closest friends, and then going back to bed and having a nap for a few hours. Getting ready together, and hanging out together the morning of our wedding, made it more relaxed. Seeing him at our first look, and at the end of the aisle, still felt incredibly special.

Putting on my amazing dress. It took three friends to get me all in and situated inside the really expensive bra that I had a seamstress sew into the bodice. We kicked Marley out of the Inn’s main hallway, and I put my dress on there with some furniture rearranged specifically for that purpose. Sophia stood in the doorway to make sure the staff didn’t barge through, and I took the opportunity to twirl around naked before submitting myself to a round of “stuffing” and arranging.

My grandmother’s face when she first saw me all dressed. She immediately started crying, which made me immediately start crying. I was so thankful she was there. I’ve glossed over a bit about how brutally my estranged mother treated her when she found out my grandmother planned to attend, but it was NOT an easy time for her. Add to that the fact that my grandmother is a solid octogenarian and is not only alive but alive and well, and I felt so incredibly blessed to have her with me.

Peeing, backwards on the toilet facing the tank, while Katie held the one million layers of my dress up, and then helping me put my sweaty underpants back on which makes us officially bonded for life. We laughed SO HARD!

Gavin cracking jokes as I stood clutching his arm, ready to walk down the aisle to Marley. I knew the choice to have a friend walk me down the aisle might have raised an eyebrow, but after all these years he feels like a brother, and the world has taught me, over and over, that family is what you make it. It was the most authentic choice for me, as was our spontaneous fist bump at the end of the aisle. I love him.

Getting showered with a ton of rose petals as we came back down the aisle. We ripped the heads off of nearly 200 roses to have friends fling them on us, and the shower was nearly overwhelming and magical! I secretly always pray that my clients will have some sort of confetti, because it makes everything so magical. The venue said no to confetti (I don’t blame them!), so roses it was, which looked so beautiful. We’ve just gotten the photo back of this moment, and it is the most amazing photo of myself that I’ve ever seen.

Leading the conga line. I fucking LOVE conga lines. I looped it around so that I could get a look at everyone trailing behind me.

Tracy’s sweet blessings for our marriage. Another dear friend, she officiated wonderfully, and it was fantastic. She has one of the most genuine hearts, and I was so thankful.

Dancing with Marley, and sneaking peeks over his shoulder at my new ring!

The entire weekend, someone – anyone – would be standing to the side of me, and I would stretch my arm out, and they would automatically dip down and drape it across their shoulders and I would snug them against my rib cage.

We’re keeping the images not public for now. I’m folding into myself in my old age. I’m protective of my family and my house, of myself. I don’t need Facebook likes as much as I need to hold precious things to myself.

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Lately, late July

I feel most like myself in the summer. Without worrying about where the cold will find its way under my clothes, I’m much more relaxed. Everyone else thinks its too hot, but I feel so peaceful in late July. We’ve been taking Leeloo to Prospect Park in the evenings to run around, and can see shooting stars and moving satellites pretty easily.

We are settling into our new apartment… I think. Kind of. Things are put away, but we are at such a crossroads in our lives that putting together a home for the future feels futile. What is the future? Are we meant to stay here in Brooklyn, in New York, or…? Even what we need now is less clear. My life has consistently moved in patterns of settled in and not. I’ve learned to take the settled parts with a grain of salt, like how in the summer of 2013 I was single and living in my amazing apartment that was finally, perfectly decorated and arranged for one, and then I met someone and fell in love, and he moved in with me in the late spring of 2014, meaning I was “settled” in that formation for about 10 months before things had to move around again.

Right now it’s what we need, but it’s messy because we haven’t figured out where everything goes, and we are living in the spaces between piles of things and curtains that have to be hung up.

We mailed off wedding invitations. I was delighted to realize I had to look up the proper addressing to both a Reverend and his wife, and to married lesbians sharing the same last name (Should you also need this information, it is “The Reverend and Mrs.” and “Mrs. and Mrs.” respectively, but the latter only if the women in question are comfortable with being Mrs., not Ms.)

I’m so excited to get married.

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In Which I Run a 5k

I ran a 5k on Saturday. My problem is that I lived my teenage years in a house where “No!” was the operative word (usually “because Jesus wouldn’t like it” was the reason for not being allowed to do anything fun). Now that I’m an adult, I’m trying to say yes to everything, including things, like running, that I have no business doing. It was for a good cause, and I don’t have that thing inside of me that worries about failing or looking stupid (which is a blessing and a curse) so I said yes, and then did fuck all to train for it.

I’m human. Humans run. How hard can this be? It’s only five kilometers. Training? Like, I don’t have the time, man.

Right.

So I ran cold turkey. Ish. And then I slowed down, and then I walked, and then I tried to jog more and my body was like, “Can you not?”

Laura was the one who invited me to join her. She finished, and then found me back on the track and talked me into jogging for my big finish. Out of 430 participants, I came in 417. NOT LAST! I crossed the finish line and immediately burst into tears and kind of snotted on Laura a bit in the process. Sorry, Laura. It was your fault for believing in me.

We got metals, and afterward, we had brunch and wore them proudly all throughout. I spent the next few days unable to walk well, but it is so cool to say I (mostly) ran a 5k. I *might* do another one.

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How Emily Margolin Helped Me Find a Home

It has been my motto for years, and it’s been even more true feeling since becoming a business owner: I do business with people, not companies. When we were apartment hunting, I was worried about finding a New York City real estate agent that I trusted, that was thoughtful and smart, and that realized that I am looking for a HOME not just piece of real estate for my portfolio.

Enter Emily Margolin.

She is bright and happy which made her fun to work with, and she was honest about the properties we looked at even when that meant we were walking away from something that would have given her a good commission. I trusted her completely. New York City real estate feels shady quite often, but this was not the case here. When we finally found our apartment she was genuinely happy for us, and I completely adore her! We talked about how our businesses dealt with great big life moments, and how we both feel it is an honor to do the work we do. I’m basically throwing my hands in the air right now hollering, “This! Thiiiis!”

We went straight from the closing to a a bar for champagne, and I took this photo of her.

Thank you, Emily, for helping us find our wonderful little home in Brooklyn, and for your excellence.

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