summer magic

Summer hasn’t been my favorite season since I was a kid. I loved it then for the wildness, the freedom. Being outside all day, every day. I can conjure memories of laying on freshly cut, soft green grass and staring up into the sky looking for pictures in the Michigan clouds. I remember swinging over a ditch by a willow branch. I climbed that willow tree and tested my fear. I remember what the sunsets felt like. I was developing my sense of nostalgia watching the colors burn the horizon. I remember running through a sprinkler, being out on the lake as often as I possibly could, water slides, firecracker popsicles, toasted marshmallows, sparklers. How could I forget?

I have the blessing of experiencing all of this with my daughter now. I see the way strings of lights reflect magic in her eyes. She uses a cardboard box to sail over imaginary seas, walking planks and plundering pirate treasure. She drinks from a hose, belly laughs, twirls ‘til she’s dizzy, floats with a brightly colored tube on the bay. She looks for dancing, dappled light beams in the corners of our home. She lives for tales of Neverland and Peter Pan, spends all day reading on her bed, sings at the top of her lungs, jumps into oncoming ocean waves in nothing but her underwear, creating the fibers of her own childhood magic.

Brought to us by summer.


Show of hands, who here struggles with worthiness?

When Photo Native put out the call for instructors, and I found myself filling out the form, I seriously felt like it was a little cloud of inspiration over me. I was a human vessel for inspiration working through me, and I finally understood personally what Elizabeth Gilbert describes as Big Magic. It felt like these ideas were barely mine, my hands were operating from an unknown source of courage, urging me into this arena. I accepted.

I see the lineup for Photo Native (you guys, it’s a good one!) and the industry brilliance that will be represented there, and I find myself backing away into the shadows. I keep thinking…did they get the right girl? Are they sure they meant ME?! I understand now what imposter syndrome is! I have been working my tail off for the past 7+ years teaching myself this craft, refining it, trying and erring and trying again, learning from my mistakes, mastering many parts of it, earning recognition for it, and I still don’t feel worthy.

You know what? Enough of that. It’s not bragging to say I have worth. It’s not egotistical to love myself, to see something good in who I am and what I do. To celebrate what I have overcome, who I am despite what I’ve been through. I truly believe that I came to this planet for a purpose, and part of that purpose will be brought to life at Photo Native next year. It won’t be perfect, I can promise you that. But it will be real. What I have to share is going to come from a place of authenticity and humor and softheartedness.

I purchased my ticket to Photo Native when they did the surprise super early bird registration, before they announced any instructors, because I knew that this is the creative conference I wanted to go to. I didn’t know I was going to be teaching. All I knew was some of the photographers I admire most have taught at this conference in the past (see also: WENDY LAUREL), and I believe in their motto: You Belong. Before even being part of the Photo Native family, I felt that.

Here are the details for PN2020:

WHO/WHAT is Photo Native for?: “If you are looking for not only artistic inspiration, solutions to burnout, and reigniting your creative fire but also, just as importantly, new knowledge, strategies, and skills that will best serve you in business marketing and financial success, you're going to love Photo Native. Come learn how to up-level your business, be the creative powerhouse we know you are, and join an incredible community of artists for three days of inspiration and growth.”

WHERE: The Goodland hotel in Santa Barbara, California. (Cue all of the heart eyes you guys)

WHEN: February 17-19, 2020

HOW much?: “A Class Pass for Photo Native is $850 and includes two keynotes, both days of classes, four meals, the Native Party and Native Social, as well as access to video recordings of both days of classes to be made available after the event. There will also be social and network opportunities, snacks and beverages, and other fun perks. Native Shoots, Business Boost classes, and other add-ons will be available for purchase as well this fall. You must purchase a Class Pass in order to be eligible to reserve your spot at a Native Shoot/Native Dinner/Business Boost.

Your Class Pass includes access to networking opportunities and socials, attendance at your choice of classes offered, learning from our inspiring keynote speakers, meals, and the chance to shake your groove thing at what we promise will be the greatest party ever.  You’ll also have access via Facebook to recordings of both days of classes after the event so you can soak in every ounce of knowledge shared. You’ll make invaluable connections and gain the skills you need to increase your abilities and grow your business.”

LODGING: “We have a secured a special group rate of $179/night for Photo Native attendees at The Goodland, right where Photo Native is taking place. We’ve also had the Good Life fee (aka, resort fee) reduced from $25 to $15 a night.”

What am I teaching about? Gratitude practice in creativity and business. "Gratitude practice has become the heartbeat of my creative life. It is essential for revival (and creative, impassioned survival). I have noticed a dramatic difference in the days when I practice active gratitude or when I merely glaze over the beauty that’s right in front of me, engrossed in the hustle. What creates a full creative life? What allows us to see those connections, shapes, colors, light that translates so beautifully into photographs? Daily decisions that add up to positive contributions to ourselves, our families, our community, our art, our world. At the heart of this is the quiet beating heart of gratitude. We will be covering how to navigate blogging, social media, brand, client interaction, creating art, everything we do everyday through the rose colored glasses of gratitude. As we become more aware and train ourselves to notice, we become more cognitive, coherent people who contribute more and contribute better things to our art and the world.”

I would LOVE if you join me. YOU BELONG!


daring greatly

I’ve been reading Brene’ Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. It’s based off the part of Theodore Roosevelt’s talk Citizenship in a Republic given in 1910 where he said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [wo]man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if [s]he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” (Emphasis on [wo]man by me)

Let that sink in for a minute.

If you’re sitting in the bleachers criticizing those out in the arena working their tails off while you don’t even try, you have no right to.

If you aren’t out there doing and someone else is, even if they stumble or fail, they still earn the credit for trying.

If you aren’t striving valiantly, but you watch someone else put their heart out there in the open vulnerably and get their trash kicked while you critique, your words are not worthy of them.

To those putting themselves out there: keep doing you. Keep being you. Keep feeling. Continue being soft. Keep trying. Don’t give up. And definitely don’t listen to the idle naysayers who have no credibility. To achieve anything great, you have to fail. Get back up and try again! Strive valiantly. Be constantly engaged in a worthy cause, know enthusiasm, be devoted. If an invitation to the arena is extended to you, accept it. Put yourself out there. Grow. Never be labeled a “cold and timid soul”. The world needs warm, brave hearts. The world needs YOU.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

If you’ve wanted to learn from me in person, I have an amazing opportunity for you! As of today, it’s official that I will be teaching at Photo Native 2020 in Santa Barbara! I can’t even begin to verbalize what an honor, a dream come true this is for me. I would love if it you came, if I got to meet all of you, if you became part of this community with me. You Belong!

on progress

I have arrived.

Sometimes that egotistical little thought pops in my head. It’s far from the truth, but I’m also really proud of the work that I’m putting out there that’s so different from the work I was putting out there not long ago. I had a 10+10 board (10 of my favorite images that I’ve procured, next to 10 images that inspire me. Again, if you haven’t purchased the goodness that is Yan Palmer’s Teethkiss Workshop, you really should!) that was so completely far from what I wanted my work to look like, it felt hopeless. I’ve been in business for 7 years now, and for some reason I could never catch up. What I wanted my work to look like didn’t match what I was creating.

I switched to film last year, and as soon as I dove in, there was no going back! I’m procuring art that makes me feel, photographs that I love. My work is where I want it to be!

For now.

You know that old over-used saying that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey? I cringe at cliches as much as the next girl, but this one happens to be true. Our whole lives are about growth, learning, bettering. What’s good to me now may not resonate with me in the future. The art we create speaks differently to each of us at different points in our lives.

It’s frustrating sometimes. The evolution. Sometimes I just wish I could stay content, always be satisfied. And yet, once I outgrow this cocoon, what lies ahead is sure to be beautiful! I never want my work to grow stagnant. I always want to be true to what makes me feel, even if it requires a lot of work and learning and sometimes uncomfortable growth.