The Amber Show

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Random Thursday Thoughts

I completely forgot about about Daylight Savings Time – the bane of my existence – and told three clients scheduled for this week that “four pm will be gorgeous light.” No. No it won’t. By four pm it is dark; by four thirty it is pitch. Can we just stay in DST all year, please? It will be lots less depressing for everyone. I can’t work like this.

They’ve all been rescheduled.

These new pumps are part of my wardrobe. I don’t need them because I go from bare feet at home, to Chucks when I’m out, to my “shootin’ boots” when I’m running around town with clients taking photos. But they’re beautiful.

My pilates instructor chided me for not eating a hearty breakfast, but the thought of doing more than peeling a banana before noon makes me tired and queasy, so I have no idea what to do. We did stay in a bed and breakfast last year and flopping at a table and having chopped fruit and muffins presented to me with eggs and coffee was kind of heavenly. Conclusion: I need a butler to live my best life.

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Kukur Tihar in Brooklyn

If I had known a few weeks ago how much celebrating Kuku Tihar would mean to us, I would have planned for it way, way in advance. As it was, we spent a few months with it on our calendar, and realized we were really excited about it the day before. We bought holi powders from Amazon that arrived in time, but we had to wake up really, really early to celebrate and decorate the dog. Next year, we’re taking the day off.

Kukur Tihar is a festival that is part of Diwali in Nepal. Although no one celebrates here, we couldn’t resist the photo shoot opportunity, and Leeloo loved being loved and snugged on. She also got a LOT of treats, and made everyone we encountered on her afternoon walk smile.

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The Buddy, part 2

It’s ringing, and there’s this flash of hope that no one will answer, but of course, someone does. I explain that I’m very sorry, I’ve found their dog, and unfortunately he’s passed away.

“I knew this would happen one day,” she says. “He’s a runner. I tried everything; our electric fence was new and it still wasn’t working. But yeah, I knew; the police called me this morning. Are you at the police station?”

Apparently he had been dead for hours, and the police called her that morning to let her know. She was under the impression they were taking him and she would be able to go get his body later night, but they either hadn’t done it yet or weren’t planning to after all, and she was heart broken to hear he was still laying where he died. While I was on the phone, she tried to figure out what to do.

“Maybe my neighbor can take me,” she mused. “I can’t imagine going to get him myself.” I advised her to not, and tried to tell her, gently, that he was tough to look at.

She then kept me on the phone while she told me her buddy’s entire life story, while I “mmm-hmmd” and made sympathetic sounds and shrugged at Marley who likely saw the rest of his life stretching out before him in that moment, a series of running late and making detours for hurt things that need me. I think she concluded that she’d get someone to go with her, and I agreed she had made a good decision. I don’t remember her name, but I’ll think about her a lot for a really long time.

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The Buddy, part 1

So we’re driving home from our wedding having been married less than 24 hours and I see a dog laying on the side of the highway, dead, only my brain doesn’t register it as “dog” or “pet”; it’s the word “buddy” first, slamming into the back of my forehead and lighting it up. Someone has lost their buddy. We drive by, and half a mile down the road I realize I am, of course, going to turn around, because all I can think about is someone with a tear-stained face hanging up lost dog posters. Everyone else on I-87 is driving by thinking everyone else is going to do something, because this is the way people are unless you make an effort to not be that way, which I try to do.

So I turn around, going through a toll, and then back through that toll on the other side, and then back through a third toll that we’ve just gone through, knowing I will have to go through another toll again, and being so thankful that I married someone who wouldn’t grumble about a wasted twenty dollars when someones peace is at stake. We pull up to the buddy, and I take a few breaths before getting out of the car.

He is a beagle, and his ear is flipped back over his name tag with the phone number, which means we’ll have to move it. In the time it takes me to screw up the courage, Marley has found a piece of road debris and flipped it over. I dial.

to be continued.

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blah blah blah career NaBloPoMo

My Human Lightstand

My friend Laura laughs every time I complain about wanting my photography to be more “crispity”.

“What does that even mean?” she asks.

I was finally able to put into words that I want to make those sharp, crisp editorial-looking portraits that you see in Vanity Fair for my clients, but I want to do it while still maintaining an organic sense of place and posing that is why a lot of people hire me in the first place. This is where I am creatively, and it is so exciting to be “somewhere creatively” (I am so cool!) but also kind of frustrating because I’m not “there” yet.

I do know, though, that it has a lot to do with proper lighting, and I’m trying to make it work with what I have before I move on to the more expensive stuff. This morning “what I had” was Marley, who I asked to stand off to the side and hold an off camera flash, like a human light stand. I’d never done this before, and it’s not totally perfect, but it’s a really solid good start (my clients this morning met on the subway, and they wanted to take their engagement photos underground, which would normally strike fear into the heart of a photographer, but I was super excited.)

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Amuse my Bouche

And here we are, at the most difficult part of keeping up with NaBloPoMo: remembering to blog on the weekend. It’s 12:51am on Sunday 8 November, and I haven’t written for the 7th yet, but since I’m still awake, and it’s still Saturday in California, I’m going to count it as not missed. Okay? Okay.


We went to the most amazing meal tonight. Adam and Cecily gave us a gift card to the Union Square Hospitality Group of restaurants, and I left it up to Marley to surprise me with where and how we would use it. He chose tonight, a random date where we weren’t celebrating anything except ourselves, and we went to the Modern for a 9pm reservation.

The service was wonderful, the food was wonderful, too. They sent out an amuse bouche compliments of the chef, of pumpkin and sweet potato soup. The presentation was lovely; they served it with the spices, sauce and sweet potatoes in the bowl already, and then poured the plain soup over them after it was set in front of us. Then the waiter then opened this tiny copper pot and gently spooned a tablespoon of hazelnut foam on top. It felt special, almost like a ritual, and I was so inspired with this reminder to present things well to my clients, and make them feel special and appreciated. I know this is dorky, but it was actually really moving.

The best part of the night was when they offered a special that had “dehydrated grapes” to which I responded “So, raisins?” and then Marley and I started giggling inappropriately, and then we couldn’t stop because we were overtired and there were gin cocktails while we were waiting to be seated.

The rest of the food was amazing; Marley sprang for the addition of truffles shaved on his gnocchi, I tried a new fish called turbot that I loved, we spit two desserts, and then they rolled over a cart loaded down with truffles, and were were invited to pick whatever we wanted, and we did the whole thing overlooking the garden of the MoMA. I felt fancy.

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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.)


Username: CozySweater


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.


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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