Monday, November 3, 2014

HEY AMERICANS GO VOTE TOMORROW OKAY?! Here's Why You Should.



Sometimes the spoken word says it better, don't you think? You can click through to the video on youtube to access helpful links and sources that I've posted to the youtube description.


The fact of the matter is this: Women are hugely under-represented at the polls in all US elections, but the disparity is particularly huge/crazy/ridiculous during the midterm elections.

There are many reasons for this, and I know with work, school, kids and other responsibilities, taking the time to research congressional candidates can seem overwhelming.

 Still, I beg you. Less than a century ago, WOMEN COULD NOT VOTE. Through the hard work, pain and alienation of brave women before us, we thankfully have that right and ability now. Let's honor them by exercising said constitutional right tomorrow.

 If you're having trouble making sense of it all, I'd love to help you sort things out. Leave a comment, send me an email or contact me through social media!


See you at the polls!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Easy + Cheap Halloween Costume Idea: Velma



I decided I wanted to be Velma for Halloween just a few weeks ago when I was watching Scooby Doo with my friend's kids. It fit right in my favorite category of Halloween costumes: Something cute but quirky and fun. Past halloween costumes include but are not limited to: Where's Waldo, Rainbow Brite, Mary Poppins, etc;.   I grew up watching Scooby Doo and ALWAYS related to Velma. I was never much of a Daphne.

What was the best thing about this costume? When all was said and done the outfit only cost me $8, one trip to the thrift store and a stop at walmart.




Materials:

Orange Turtleneck - Thrifted ($3)
Red Skirt - Already in my closet! It was originally from the Etsy Store Seven Blooms.
Orange Socks - Walmart ($3.87, in a pack with two other knee-highs)
Shoes - Already in my closet. Originally from Nasty Gal. 
Magnifying Glass - Walmart ($0.94) 
Glasses - These glasses are my regular prescription glasses and worked perfectly, but any cheap pair of fake glasses from a drugstore would work!

Total Cost: $7.81! 


Happy Halloween, everyone! What/who are you dressing up as? 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Hate FCKH8's "F-Bombs for Feminism" video, But Not Because of the Swearing.



Yesterday, for-profit t-shirt company FCKH8 released a video called "F Bombs for Feminism: Potty Mouthed Princesses use Bad Words for a Good Cause." [NSFW] featuring five young girls, dressed in all of their pretty pink princess finery, angrily declaring their outrage over male/female inequality and dropping some pretty grown-up words while they did so.

The words were carefully crafted to get your attention. Hearing an adorable six year old girl, dressed as a Disney character no less, dropping F-bombs as easily as a teenager from Jersey is purposefully shocking. The video was meant to attract attention and that it most certainly has: It has been shared on FB alone nearly 200,000 times since it's release yesterday.

I know that I am right in the target demographic for FCKH8's video, which was meant to appeal to young, "hip" feminists 18-35  (as well as shock and anger most conservatives, likely earning them thousands of  hate shares, which still help the video go viral) and I certainly don't hate the message these little girls are loudly sharing. Though the video is short, they mention some big and very important issues: Inequality, economic disparity, violence against women and sexual assault.



The problem is not so much with the message itself, but rather with the company who produced it. FCKH8 claims (and really wants us to believe) that the video was created to spread awareness about sexism and patriarchal realities, but the truth is that it's not a PSA we're watching -- It's an advertisement.  

Is it equality FCKH8 is looking to promote, or is it just their T-shirts?

I'll be honest when I say I have always found FCKH8 to be a problematic company. It's difficult for me to see them as anything more than a T-shirt shop wanting to profit as much as possible off of the LGBTQIA+ community (while also perpetuating stereotypes that are harmful to the very demographic they want to attract.) They've had a history of stealing art for their gear and have reacted poorly when accused of doing so. Their business ratings are extremely low and they're infamous for terrible customer service. [source]

I think I would feel very differently about this video if it were actually made by young girls who were angry about their place in this world, swear words or no swear words. If they had gotten together and figured out that they could spread a message they were passionate about by dropping f-bombs left and right in princess dresses, I would have applauded them for their media savvy and frighteningly amazing grasp on internet marketing. The truth is that sexism IS real and it IS a problem and I don't have any qualms with that message being spread around.



I do, however, have problems with exploiting children to make a buck.

This is not the first time FCKH8 has done something like this, either. Earlier this year they released a similar video in relation to the events in Ferguson, Missouri that also pledged to donate $5 per T-shirt to an unnamed organization.  This seems to be FCKH8's business model: Figure out what social issue people are very passionate about and then exploit that issue to make money. I can't be the only one who gets a bad taste in my mouth at this idea.

If you are interested in volunteering your time or money for women's empowerment and are looking for alternatives to FCKH8, you can use websites like Great Nonprofits or Charity Navigator to search for trustworthy grassroots organizations local to your area, as well as do a little background research on the organizations you choose so you know exactly where that money is going.

A carefully scripted advertisement that puts adult words into children's mouths in order to promote their shirts and make a killing is more exploitative than informative, and to me there's nothing feminist about that.





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spontaneous Madrid Trip Sneak Peak

Hi!

Those of you who follow me on instagram may already know that earlier this month, I made...well, just about the most spontaneous decision I've ever made. I bought a ticket on Thursday, packed my bag, and left at 6 AM on Friday for MADRID! This turned into a three week adventure through Spain and Germany. Having now returned from a huge trip that I hadn't really prepared for, I am drowning in work and trying to get back on my feet!

In the mean time, here's a sneak peak of beautiful Madrid:


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hot Summer Nights


| Dress: Cynthia Rowley | Belt: Target | Sweater: H&M | Shoes: Ralf Lauren |  

The temperatures have been skyrocketing lately, so much so that I've succumbed to the energy-suck that is the air conditioner. Maxi dresses have become my daily uniform. This particular maxi was worn on a Friday date night to Flat Bread Neapolitan Pizza and the movies.

It's baffling for me to think that only just months ago I was bundling up like a marshmallow just to go take out the trash. Don't you remember way back when, when time seemed to move so slowly, it was almost like things were standing still?

And now it's July. JULY! I'm afraid I'll blink and it will be Christmas. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bedroom Makeover

All items above from Urbanara. 

Recently, I've been dreaming of bedroom makeovers. You see, we moved in to our cute little apartment almost a year ago.  The rent is cheap, there are big windows, cute historical details, and hardwood floors (albeit the floors are pretty destroyed.)   And while I decorated our work space, hung up artwork in the living room and arranged the books on the bookshelf in that hard to achieve practical-but-also-artful way, I never did anything to the bedroom.

I suppose the motivation isn't nearly as great to invest time and money into a private space, since the only people that would really see it would be myself and my husband.

Well, I woke up the other day in our mess of a bedroom - still no headboard, no matching duvet covers, no headboard, no bedskirt, and not a stitch of decor on the walls and decided things had to change.  I want the bedroom of our place to be a place we can relax and feel good in. At the moment, I only feel stressed out by the mess created by lack of storage. 
So! The shopping begins. In addition to all of the bed essentials, I'm on the hunt for a rug, some beautiful new curtains, and a fabulous light fixture to hang above the bed.  I've already found some great options! I'm currently in love with the UK site Urbanara (which now ships worldwide!) and am also pulling lots of inspiration from my pinterest boards 

What are your thoughts on bedroom makeovers? Do you tackle them first or push them to the bottom of the priority list like I do?  Where do you find your inspiration? Where do you shop? Let's talk - I could use all the help I can get!



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Don't Americans Care About Soccer?



Most of you know that I have a German husband. Said German husband is, along with the rest of Germany/Europe/Earth, very much obsessed with Soccer.  With the start of the world cup he now spends every free moment he has checking the scores, and we exchange multiple texts a day regarding the outcome of various matches.

Just putting it out there: I am not a sports fan. I do enjoy watching soccer, but I have to credit that mostly to having spent 2.5+ years living in a country that LOVED watching soccer (In German, we call it Fussball) and went absolutely bananas during the world cup.  Before moving to Germany, I didn't care about soccer at all.

But why is that?

Why is it that in the USA, soccer is largely considered a sport for kids to play and eventually outgrow?  It doesn't really bother me that it's that way....I'm just genuinely curious.

Because everywhere else in the world, Soccer/futbol/fussball is a BIG deal. The world cup is the most watched sporting event in the history of the ever!  People should be into that, right? But, no.  I could easily list five cups way more important to Americans than the world cup: 

1. The Stanley Cup
2. Reese's peanut butter cups
3. 7/11 Big Gulp cups
4. Those red cups they hand out at frat parties
5. Cup o' noodles

So I guess I just what to throw the question out into the world: what is with America's apathy towards soccer? Why don't we care about it like every other country on earth does?

I know this post doesn't really have any conclusion, but I definitely find it interesting! What's your take on the world cup and Soccer in general?







Monday, June 23, 2014

My Favorite Wedding/Portrait Camera Lenses






































I think most photographers would agree that, when it comes to equipment, using quality lenses is key. Having an amazing camera body is awesome, but in my opinion it's much better to shoot on a cheap camera with a great lens then a great camera with a cheap lens.   I shoot on canon cameras so I'll be listing canon lenses here, but if you're a Nikon shooter it's pretty easy to find the Nikon equivalents to the lenses listed below.

Want to upgrade from your kit lens? 

If you're a newer photographer looking to trade in your kit lens (18-55mm is standard,) my first recommendation would absolutely be the 50mm f/1.8.  


Known as the "thrifty fifty," this lens is, in my opinion, still the best value you can find on the market right now. It's made with plastic and inexpensive glass, but being able to go down to a 1.8 aperture (though I would stick to 2.2 and above if you want a really sharp focus) will give you the shallow depth of field - read: those fab "blurry" backgrounds - that make images look soft and romantic.

The low aperture also makes this lens ideal for low light situations.

Those looking for higher quality glass can upgrade to the 50mm f/1.4 for an extra few hundred dollars, though I'll be honest and say that I've experienced focusing issues with the 1.4 and actually prefer the 1.8.

Cost:  $110 on Amazon





What's the best "all around" lens for wedding and portrait photography? 



When someone tells me they're looking to invest in a lens that will be super versatile for them, I will always point them to the Canon 24-70 f 2.8. I say invest because this lens is not cheap. 

It's sharp, fast, and when you have your aperature opened between 2.8 - 4 you're going to get shallow depth of field for really romantic looking photos. This is the lens I use to photograph most ceremonies, because being able to go from 24mm (very wide angle) to 70mm (telephoto, close up portraits) means less moving around and disturbing the moment.

If versatility is more important to you than wide apertures, you might want to check out the Canon 24-105 f/4. This allows you an even longer zoom and is much cheaper than the 24-70.

Cost: $2,299 on Amazon.


What lenses do I use? 

Other than the 24-70, I have two prime lenses I switch off of frequently when shooting weddings and portraits. I LOVE the look of prime lenses (prime means the focal length is set and you can't zoom) and almost always prefer them to zooming lenses.

The 35mm f/1.4 is my go to lens during most portrait/engagement sessions. It's made with "L" glass (that means the good stuff.) The 35mm focal length, at least for me, is that perfect sweet spot where you can get amazing wide angle shots or move in for beautiful portraits with minimal distortion.

Shooting on a prime lens means you have to be your own zoom. You have to run back, forward and back again to get the different shots you want. If you want a portrait, you have to get right up in the subject's face. I LOVE that.  It lets me create a stronger connection with my clients which I think shows through in the pictures.

Those wanting a cheaper option would also be satisfied with the Canon 35mm f/2.

Cost: $1479 on Amazon. 





My new all-time-favorite lens for portraits is the 85mm f/1.8. This lens is SHARP, which means you can have your aperture wide open at f/1.8 or f/2 and still have a really sharp focus. Love that!  The photos I take with it are bright and contrast-y which means less editing in post.

The absolute best thing about this lens, however, is the PRICE!  It is cheap as far as lenses go and gives you an awesome bang for your buck.

Cost: $379 on Amazon


I hope this helps a few of you out with your hunt for lenses! I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about cameras, lenses and the like in the comments section.

What's your favorite lens? 


------

She Snaps is an ongoing series about photography and the business behind it. While most concepts can apply to both men and women photographers, this series is written with the female photographer/entrepreneur in mind. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weekend Travel Itinerary: Malta




When scanning a map in search of a place to visit, the tiny island of Malta can be easy to overlook. But despite its size – or lack thereof – the country is a cultural powerhouse bleached by centuries of Mediterranean sun that boasts 7,000 years of history, prehistoric ruins and tales of the Knights of St. John.  Only 19 miles long and 8 miles wide, the island can be explored in no time at all, though you’ll certainly wish you could stay for weeks on end.  If an extended trip doesn’t seem to be in the cards, you can still join the Maltese in the experiences they love best in one single weekend adventure.

Friday

4 p.m. A VISIT TO VALETTA

The best place to begin your trip is in Malta’s capital. Easily walkable, Valetta is the perfect place to soak up the history (and the sunshine) that Malta has to offer.  The buildings lining cobblestoned streets feature vibrantly colored balconies above, while cafes, restaurants and shops serve locals and tourists alike at street level. Take in views of the harbor at the Upper Barrakka Gardens as the sun sets – it’s not to be missed.
8 p.m. A MODERN MEAL
Guze Bistro in the heart of Valetta takes traditional Maltese food and offers it a modern twist. It doesn’t lack in ambiance either – the restaurant resides in a 400-year-old building built by the Knight’s of St. John.
If you’re looking for a traditional experience, try Fenek; pan fried rabbit served in a garlic white wine sauce.

Saturday




9 a.m.  SEE MALTA FROM THE SEA
First and foremost Malta is an island, and like other islands it is best viewed from the sea. Set off on a full day cruise with Hera Cruises for an experience both adventurous and incredibly relaxing. Around noon you’ll anchor for lunch in The Blue Lagoon, which boasts crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling. Jump from the rocks (or your ship!) straight into the sea, but be prepared – the water remains brisk, even on the hottest of summer days.
7 p.m. FRESH LOCAL FISH
Your ship will dock in Sliema, making it easy to catch a ferry back over to Valetta for a dinner of fresh locally caught fish at Palazzo Preca, a restaurant owned by two sisters that is renowned for its seafood offerings, from swordfish to octopus to giant prawns.

Sunday


11 a.m. HEAD TO THE BEACH

After a leisurely breakfast, take some more time to soak up Malta’s infinite sun. Among the country’s best sandy beaches are Mellieha Bay and Golden Bay. While these beaches are certainly no surfer’s paradise, the still waters offer supreme conditions for swimming and snorkeling, a flawless way to spend a warm late morning.

3 p.m.  SNACK AS THE MALTESE DO


If you’re hungry, stop in Rabat for one of Malta’s most traditional and beloved snacks: The Pastizzi.  This puff pastry stuffed with a mixture of ricotta or pureed peas is flaky and brittle, the crumbs shedding all over your palms and sleeves with even the slightest of movements.  Pastizzi’s are sold in shop after shop for only a few cents a piece, though the absolute best can be found at the Crystal Palace Bar, tucked away on Triq San Pawl (Street Saint Paul) in Rabat. You’ll probably find a few old men lounging outside, pastizzi in one hand and cigarette in the other.  If you’re feeling brave, wash down your pastizzi with a bottle of Kinnie Soda, a local beverege, though admittedly this bitter orange drink flavored with herbs is not for everyone.





4 p.m. EXPLORE AN ANCIENT CITY
Unlike Valetta, whose boulevards and streets form a perfect and practical grid, the walled city of Mdina is a mass of twisting roads and alleyways that all intertwine, no rhyme or reason to be found.  Allow yourself to get lost for an hour or two. Climb one of the city walls for a panoramic view of the island – all the way out to the coast – that is nothing like you’ve ever seen.
8 p.m.  MEDINA IN MDINA
The best way to finish out your perfect trip to Malta is with a perfect meal, and Medina Restaurant is arguably one of the island’s best. On a warm night you can dine out in the stone courtyard under swaying palm trees and you’ll feel like you’re in another world.  



I based this weekend itinerary off of my own experience in Malta. I hope some of you find it helpful! If you have any other suggestions for things to see, do or eat, or advice for those hoping to travel to Malta, please share below in the comments! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

SHE SNAPS: Photographers - Be Nice to Other Photographers


Even I can’t deny it: There is an undeniable appeal associated with being a photographer.  Getting to be creative for work, setting your own hours, not having to submit to the 9 to 5 grind. It IS appealing. It’s not without its challenges, and you end up spending way more time in front of a computer screen than actually out there doing what you love, but even then it still seems…glamorous. Exciting, somehow. Like I said before, I really can’t deny it; I am a photographer and half of the reasons I decided to be one I just listed above.

I’m also definitely not the only one hopping on this camera-wielding bandwagon. It is the age of the professional photographer.  You see photo websites and blogs popping up in all directions, everywhere you look. Here in Utah, for instance, the number of female photographers advertising themselves as wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographers is staggering and still increasing steadily. I’m not here to complain: After all, I'm one of them! 

But what I’ve noticed is the environment among photographers seems very hostile. There is a rivalry among us – particularly among the female photographers I meet – that goes beyond friendly competition. For a while I thought it was just me being silly, feeling threatened and insecure by the other more established photographers in the area, but after a while I realized it wasn’t all in my head. It's actually true. Photographers can be mean!


I get it. We want to be successful. We don’t like the idea of competitors charging less for their work and taking all of our business away. I still find myself growing very irritated when I hear local photogs – at some of the workshops and gatherings I attend – speaking so poorly of other photographers. It is easy to bash those who charge too little, who over-edit their images, who don’t seem to really know what their doing yet. 

And then I realized I was doing it too. I receive emails frequently from people asking advice on starting up a photography business and so many times I’ve felt disinclined to help them or answer their questions for fear of being copied. I felt threatened by simple questions because I thought my business would suffer. 

Here is my wake up call to myself:  I was being stupid.

Helping others figure out how to do what they love is not going to hurt my business. If anything, I think it will help! How could forming genuine friendships with other people who love what I love really hurt? Would having a community of photographers who lifted each other up, asked each other for advice, recommended each other’s services when they themselves weren’t available, etc;, really be that bad?

It sounds pretty dang awesome to me! 

Photographers: BE NICE TO OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS. There will always be people who know more than you and people who know less than you. There will be people who charge small fortunes and people who don’t charge hardly anything at all. Does it really matter? We all started somewhere and we’re all doing what we love.


If you are a photographer, local or not, I would really like to be friends with you! Please leave a comment here introducing yourself and feel free to include links to your websites, social media accounts, etc;. I will check out every single one and would love to stay in touch.  

If you feel like following me on my photography adventures, you can find my info here:

Instagram: @Darylschmidt

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fitness Goals and Other Fallacies




My whole life I've had a very interesting relationship with running. Growing up I hated it - I was convinced there was something wrong with me that prevented me from being able to run. I considered having to run a mile at school - a SINGLE mile - to be physical torture. I would walk the entire thing and finish last in the class, even all the way through high school.

It was right after high school when I decided that I was being ridiculous and decided I would try to run a 5k. Most people are looking at this and probably going "a 5k? ANYONE can jog for three miles. It's not that hard," but for me I honestly think I could compare my goal with something like summiting Everest after having lost a leg to frostbite and losing my oxygen tank. Or something.

But regardless, I trained for over two months. When I started I was only able to run for a few minutes, but when I finished I ran my 5k in under 27 minutes flat. Whoo!

Anyway, I ended up continuing to train and got close to being able to run a 10k race. Then some combination of moving/school/work/stress/other lame excuses happened and I stopped running all together.

I just stopped!

Then a few years ago I essentially started over. I trained for months, made it to about a 10k and....you guessed it...stopped.

This has repeated SEVERAL times, and my bucket list goal of running a marathon seems so out of reach!

I felt like this was an appropriate post to write today because I'm about six weeks in to consistently running again, probably about four or five more weeks away from being able to do a 10k. I DON'T want to quit this time. I want to hold myself accountable!

I won't totally suck and give up again like I have 5+ times before in the past. I will complete a half marathon this year. I will. I WILL.

What are some of your fitness goals? How do you stay motivated? Do you use any training programs or apps? Let's talk fitness!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Favorite Foodie Destinations in San Francisco

Let it be said here and now: San Francisco is a foodie paradise. I would wager that there are so many restaurants here that every single SF resident could go out to eat all at once and still be able to find a table.  A city this on top of its gastronomic game has far too many excellent eats to even begin to list, so consider the following a foodie’s quick and dirty guide to eating well in the City by the Bay. 



Destination #1: The Ferry Building


One of the oldest standing structures in San Francisco, The Ferry Building was completely remodeled in 2003 and restored to its former glory.  It now serves as a marketplace housing award winning small eateries and dozens of stands selling artisanal meats, cheeses, and fresh seasonal produce. A farmer’s market is held outside the Ferry Building every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  

Destination #2:  Tartine



Lovers of baked goods, rejoice! Co-owners Liz Pruett and Chad Robertson have won the James Beard award for outstanding pastry chef – that alone should speak for itself!  Breads, pastries, hot-pressed sandwiches…this French-style bakery has it all. Make a stop here in between seeing the sights for a croissant so flaky it will shatter with every bite. Don’t worry about the mess, we understand.

Destination #3:  NOPA



This ingredient driven, farm-to-table restaurant could easily fall into the category of pretentious and over-priced hipster hangouts, but while it does feature the industrial rustic décor and organic menu that suspender-clad citizens of SF tend to crave, the prices are affordable and the service is excellent. NOPA is also open for brunch on the weekends but be sure to call ahead for reservations.

Destination #4:  Food Trucks



It can’t really be said where the phenomena that is gourmet mobile street food originated from, but it can be said that San Francisco is bringing that food truck fad to an entire new level.  While standard street eats like burgers and tacos can still be found in excess, you’ll see that your options now extend to gourmet pizzas, Moroccan tagines, curries galore and yes, even sushi.  Some of my favorites are Brass Knuckles,  Bacon Bacon and Kung Fu Tacos. Sites such as Off the Grid and Frisky food trucks allow you to track your favorites and find food truck marketplaces day by day.


Destination #5:  Flour + Water


I love this place for many reasons, but the main reason is that you can find an authentic italian experience here that is simple and modern.  Their specialty is fresh, homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas and for good reason. At first glance one may not notice anything particularly special about the place; the small interior can seat only 50 guests and the décor seems very simple. However on closer inspection one will see that, just like the menu and dishes themselves, the unassuming décor is dotted with really thoughtful, beautiful details. All in all this place feels like home to me. 


This isn't my first San Francisco foodie list, and that's because you can't really throw a rock in San Francisco without hitting an award-winning or noteworthy restaurant.  It's a city I could come back to time and time again for the food alone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Look at This Cool Stuff


Cool Stuff // Week 1


For Nerds Like Me:

  • Artist creates pixelated classic paintings using legos // I don't know how he ever thought to do this, but I'm really impressed. Naturally, lego saw this and is turning it into a national campaign! And why wouldn't they?
  • This witty infographic will tell you whether or not you're reading a gothic novel.  // According to this, I haven't read a gothic novel since high school.
  • Watching Game of Thrones this week, I became immediately obsessed with this dress that Sansa wore in her last scene. // Costume design for television and movies has always fascinated me, because I like to see how costumes change as characters evolve. After an episode in which we begin to understand that Sansa is a lot smarter than she looks or act, I'm happy to see that her pretty-little-nice-girl dresses have been retired to her closet.
  • Speaking of Game of Thrones, the Viper and the Mountain are still totally buddies on instagram. // As a side note, this show is teaching me that I should just never love anything.
  • If you're looking for an incredibly nerdy but pretty awesome medieval fantasy series to read, I HAVE FOUND IT.  // I'll have finished the second book by the end of the week. Third book come out soon? The books are VERY good at world building and have fleshed out characters I'm growing to love.  They're easier reads than GoT, probably meant for a bit younger audience, and definitely more family friendly. #nerdlifeforeva 

Wedding Photography Madness: 

Just Some Good Life Stuff: 


Pretty Things I Like: 

  • A Well Travelled Woman // A pretty Tumblr with travel photos and quotes and other nice things I like.
  • Lingered Upon //  Alice Gao is a photographer I really admire and her blog is always filled with effortless, minimalist gorgeousness.
  • This Swimsuit. // Just kill me with the pretty.
  • These shoes. And these ones. And these ones. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

What Does Success Mean To You?

Purchase this print from Ryan Scheffield on Etsy. 



Success. It's a pesky little word, isn't it? 

Since taking the leap towards self-employment just a few weeks ago, I've been pondering the concept of success quite a bit. The flexibility that comes with working for oneself if astounding, but the responsibility can be daunting. If you don't make it happen you're not going to get paid, and all those bills that show up at the end of the month will get harder and harder to stomach. 

Things are going well enough with the photography business right now that I was confident enough to leave the 9 to 5 life. I'm grateful for that, but definitely still terrified of an uncertain future.  So many questions are always rippling through my head as I go through my day. 

Will I fail?

What am I doing wrong?

What do I need to do to join the ranks of the accomplished folk?  

I begin thinking about the successful people I want to emulate - Amazing photographers and accomplished bloggers who seem to have this "success" thing down. And I ask myself, time and time again, how do I become like them?

Maya Angelou said that "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." I think those words are beautiful, inspiring and incredibly articulate....but as I sit here I feel like shouting "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY?! What about the GLORY? The FAME? The PRESTIGE?!?" 

I would be a liar who was faking humility (and we all know those are the worst kind of liars) if I said I truly wasn't interested in any of those things. I mean, If we're going to be completely honest with ourselves, as freelancers there are definitely certain "milestones" that we want to reach which we would equate to "success," right?  I, for one, would like to be booked out way in advance, to become an "authority" in my field, to fly all over the world for this and that, etc;, etc;, etc;,  

But even if I accomplish those things, then what? Will there be a moment when I wake up and think to myself "OH I DID IT! I'M A BIG SUCCESS!" and then proceed to purchase party hats and confetti and pizza to celebrate?  Probably not. My guess is even those I look up to the most are still working towards whatever they want in life.  They haven't "made it," because no one ever "makes it." Success is a constant journey of ups and downs and there is no destination. 

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Maya Angelou is right. It's okay to want all of the glamorous things that go along with your idea of success, whether that's turning your business into a household name, becoming a household name yourself, or even just being able to afford a big fancy household of your own. If all of that was taken off the table, though, do you love who you are and what you're doing?

From now on I'll ask myself that question every day.

What does success mean to you? How would you define it in your own life? 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Escape to the Mountains


Steven and I escaped to Jackson, Wyoming for Memorial Day weekend. It was less than a five hour drive from Salt Lake City and made for a great long weekend adventure.  While we do travel pretty often, trips for us are often hurried work trips that often have us coming home feeling more tired than we did when we left.

This trip, thank goodness, was not like that.


Oh hey whattup mountain goat. Take your time, we're good here.

We went on three different day hikes, drove around in search of wildlife and spent a day white-water rafting.



 Yep, that's snow. While I do think visiting Jackson Hole in the early season is great for avoiding crowds, a lot of our hikes involved....um, cold feet. It was warm outside but the snow in the mountains is slow to melt, apparently.



It sounds so cliche to say so nowadays, but "unplugging" every now and again REALLY IS good for the soul. After getting back from a particularly crazy hike (more on that later,)  Steven looked at me and said "That was so fun! I don't think I've had fun like that in a long time!" and this is coming from my video game obsessed husband who spends most every weekend glued to a computer screen.

I'm beginning to realize how much I still need to see of my own country. I always dream about flying all over the world, but our own backyard is pretty damn gorgeous, isn't it?

Happy travels!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New York: Japanese Karaoke in Midtown




You'll have to excuse my lack of good photos for this post. I normally hate to post anything without good images to supplement, but this story I'm about to tell was one of those unique, bizarre, memorable experiences I really wanted to write about.

This past March I was in New York for work. That may sound a little glamorous, but I promise you it really wasn't. We were working long (hard) hours, sometimes up to sixteen hours a day. and by the time we were done it was too dark and too cold to go see anything.

One night some coworkers-turned-friends were out to dinner, and as we were wrapping up someone suggested we went out to Karaoke. In my head, "going out to Karaoke," means going to some dive bar with a karaoke machine and lots of bar-goers either laughing or side-eyeing you as you make a fool of yourself on stage. Though that's not typically my idea of a bumpin-good-time, I decided I should go along anyway, if only for the sake of actually DOING something on this trip to New York City besides work.

Anyway, what we discovered when arriving was not some local PBR-hovel with a microphone setup...it was a traditional Japanese karaoke house.  Each party that arrives is assigned their own private room, like the one you see in that photo above. There's a telephone on the wall in which you can call the front and have food and drinks brought to you. Mounted on one wall is a flat-screen TV that was playing clips of anime when we walked in.

At first....our whole group was kind of baffled. We didn't know what to do exactly and wondered if it would even be fun to sing without anybody else there to watch (and laugh) at us.  Thankfully and hilariously enough, it turned out to be a million times more fun than I ever would have predicted.

Because you're just alone with your friends, any social anxiety you would feel when getting up to sing in front of strangers completely evaporates. We were crazy. There was dancing, jumping, sing-screaming (there comes a point when your karaoke is just going to sound ridiculous no matter what, so why try?) and so much laughter that my abs were sore.



I wish I had more to show than this low-quality video (shot vertically on an iPhone, of course) from early on in the night. I REALLY wish we had video/photos from later....but I suppose we'll just have the memories.


WHERE TO GO: 

Karaoke Duet 35 (We were at this one.) 
53 W 35th St. 
2nd Floor 
New York, NY 10001

Karaoke Duet 48 
304 E 48th St
New YorkNY 10017

Karaoke Duet 53
900 8th Ave 
New York, NY 10019 


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