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Canon Camera Practice

Being the new kid on the block in Seattle, and not being super comfortable networking at luncheons and by other traditional methods, I have been thinking of ways to meet people and to spread the word about my business that would feel natural and organic.  I have always enjoyed photography, though I have never taken a class.  And I love street style photos by The Sartorialist and others.  So, why not try street style photography here in the Northwest? The style here is vastly different than what you see in Dallas, and I think it would be cool to try to capture it.  Seattle, as one of the fastest growing cities in America, is quickly becoming a melting pot of cultures and fashions.

I have bitten off more than I can chew, honestly.  Professional photographers make it look easy, and these days everyone with an iPhone thinks they are a pro. But there is no going back now.  I bought a nice starter camera by Canon and a 50mm prime lens that was recommended by two professionals.  Below are a few photos I have snapped recently in practice sessions.

I will definitely need your encouragement and a lot of courage to approach strangers on the street once I feel I can capture some decent photos.  Wish me luck!  Have a great weekend!

2016 – What’s New with You?

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I honestly have been avoiding the “New Year” topic for several weeks to give you an opportunity to recover from the barrage of “New Year New You” e-mails and product endorsements.  I find it very tiresome.  It is the same story each year.  What will I do differently this year?  What improvements will I make?  And more importantly, though cynically, how long can I keep these promises before abandoning them altogether?  We have the best of intentions.

I do not make New Year’s resolutions.  Rather, I like to take a personal inventory.  I like to look at how I improved (or did not improve) over the past year.  And then I like to look forward, both personally and professionally.  What are some things I would like to learn this year and what are the steps I can take to do that?  How can I positively impact the lives of others?  What do I love to do and how can I make time for those things?

Rather than making resolutions, just take a little time to plan for good things for yourself in the New Year.  What did you find yourself missing last year?  Maybe you wished for more time to yourself.  If so, sit down and plan a few outings for yourself or for yourself and a few friends.  If you do not plan it, it will not happen.  Maybe you would like to feel better.  If so, visit your doctor, a dietitian and a personal trainer who can give you a plan of action.  You get the idea.  Planning is the key.  With no plan, there is no change.

Do not sit there and wait for whatever life will throw at you.  And believe me, it will.  Make a few plans and steer the ship for yourself.  Of course your plans may sometimes be thwarted.  That’s life.  But if you do not have a plan to thwart, isn’t that worse?

Make a few new things happen this year.  Happy 2016, everyone!

My Date With Drew Barrymore

IMG_1825Okay, I am exaggerating about having an actual date with Drew Barrymore.  I wish I had.  I did, however, enjoy a lively Q&A with her, along with a few hundred other Drew fans, last Saturday evening at The Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle.  Drew is on a 10-city tour to promote her new book Wildflower, which is filled with personal stories (aka essays).  She is quick to note this book is not a memoir.  Drew said she felt “memoir” is too heavy a word for what she wanted to do with this book.  It is worth noting, Drew had no plans to write a book; however, she said these stories were begging her to be told.  Thus, she wrote these select stories over a span of several months, shutting herself in a room to concentrate.

I have long admired sweet Drew starting with her role as Gertie in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982) at the tender age of 6.  I do not know why I was initially drawn to her as a 10-year old myself.  I just was.  Now that I am an adult, I can say I like her spunk, her honesty and her authenticity.  What you see is what you get with Drew.  She isn’t contrived.  Throughout the interviews of her I have seen over the years, I find her to be kind, thoughtful, empathetic and sensitive.  On the other hand, she is also strong, determined, hard-working and self-effacing.  That is a dream set of personal characteristics if you ask me.

The moderator for the evening, writer/director Lynn Shelton, emerged for the Q&A in a short black dress and patterned tights, trailed by Drew in a long-sleeved black top and a long floral skirt (signature Drew style!).  Drew quickly made light of their polar-opposite outfits by hiking up her skirt to her knee and flicking her long, wavy hair over her shoulder.  Lynn asked Drew a handful of questions to which Drew followed with 10+ minutes of lively answer to each.  By the time it came to the audience questions, Drew agreed to do a speed round to get through all of them, truncating her usual long-winded answers by 75%.

Throughout the evening, Drew was a great sport, highly animated and very funny.  It could not have been a better way to spend a cold, rainy night in Seattle, and it certainly raised my love for Drew to a higher level (if that is possible).  Drew signed books after the Q&A, but the audience was asked not to take any photographs at the book signing.  Thus, I have no selfies with Drew to share with you.  It was a thrill to meet Drew as she signed my book, which basically entailed me smiling at her and her smiling sweetly back at me. I kind of blew my chance to make an impression.  Ha!  Thanks for a fabulous evening, Drew. xo

Fall 2015 – The Confident Woman

MenswearIf you were to look at a list of fall trends year over year, you would notice a lot of repetition: leather, fur, black, gray, red, tweed, belts, boots, smoky eyes, etcetera. To get to the heart of the season, you must look beyond the list. The wide array of designs which walk down the runways of Milan, London, New York and Paris magically come together each year to convey an overall mood. Fall 2015 is all about confidence.

The Fall 2015 woman blazes her own path and she calls her own shots. She wears what she loves, and she masterfully combines masculine with feminine in a way that makes sense and looks very relaxed and easy. She is not trying too hard. Rather, she is perfectly imperfect. The Fall 2015 woman is returning to a more sensible way of dressing, as well. We are seeing large tote bags to hold our stuff, a relaxed fit so we can eat lunch and not pop a seam, and chunky heels so we can stand comfortably for long stretches and not tip over in a strong gust of wind.

For the most part, the fall woman is covered up and she leaves much to the imagination, yet she remains extremely sexy. How is this possible? In short, sexy is all about attitude and presence. A confident woman is a sexy woman.

Several trends which are newer to this fall season (though they are not completely new) include long vests, stocking boots, chokers, flares, high waist and pastels. The Pantone 2015 color of the year is marsala, an earthy brown-red. Thus, it should come as no surprise that red is a standout (yet again) for fall from bright red to deep, dark tones. Red fits perfectly into the fall 2015 mood since it is without a doubt a color that conveys confidence and passion.

Style confidence is easy to achieve if you are willing to forget about the expectations of others. There are many who are more than eager to advise you on what to buy and where to invest most wisely for your fall wardrobe. Instead of listening to them, focus on what you want and focus on the woman you are. Greek philosopher and mathematician Thales is credited with saying, “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” I hope it will not be the hardest thing you have ever done, but it does take much effort.  Check in with yourself often and trust your gut regarding what is right for you and what is not. The more you trust yourself, the more skilled you will become in choosing pieces that speak to your heart and work for your life.

Have a great fall season, and call me if you need a confidence boost. I am here to help!

Two Ways of Considering Fall

Maple tree , Bennington , Vermont

Fall marks the beginning of many things we enjoy, football, cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, the start of our holidays, etcetera. Fall also ushers in shorter days, food temptations, cold and flu season and holiday stress. Are you a positive thinker or a negative thinker? In the midst of the fall season, do you see things that are dead and dying, or do you see the cycle of life whereby things can grow bigger and stronger in the spring?

You see, the fall “death” is necessary for our spring growth. We often find ourselves speeding up in the fall, but truly, fall is meant to be a time for slowing down, finding ways to rest so we have energy for what is ahead. Trees and plants that appear to be dying are simply going into rest mode. Spring growth and the blooming process requires a lot of energy. Rest is essential before growth. If you are like me, you are not resting enough. I find myself in the last quarter of each year speeding up to accomplish the tasks I had mapped out for the year. Guess what happens to me? I generally get sick in the last quarter of the year. This is my cue to stop and rest.

So, as you look down the road to what is coming in the final months of this year, carve out some days or just a few hours here and there for good old fashioned rest. Turn off your phone, and walk away from other electronic distracters like the TV and computer. Lying on your bed reading your news feed is not rest. True rest renews your mind, your strength and your health. A few examples: lying still and quiet in a bath, taking a nap, sitting outside in a quiet spot alone, practicing deep breathing in a dark closet, sleeping 7 – 8 hours per night, and so on. In short, if you do not rest, you cannot grow.

If you are frustrated by a lack of progress in an area of your life, resist the temptation to try harder to do better. Just rest. Take a step back so you can return to the task later with renewed strength and vigor. Happy Fall and Happy Resting!

FLOR to the Rescue

FLORsignFLOR popped upon my radar earlier this year when a friend on Facebook asked where to buy a quality rug at a good price.  Over and over the responses to her post were, “FLOR.”  When I looked into it, I discovered FLOR is a modular carpet tile system, which gives the customer the freedom to create a rug in whatever shape, size, color or style they desire.  I was intrigued, and I filed that little nugget of information away for later use.

Fast forward to summer. We are settled in a lovely craftsman-style home in West Seattle with beautiful hardwood floors throughout.  As you enter the front door of our home, you can see straight to the rear of our home to our family room which is just beyond our open kitchen.  This lengthy stretch of hardwood begged for a runner to not only add spice to our interior but also to protect the floor from foot traffic.

I went to FLOR’s website to investigate my options.  It is mind-blowing, actually.  I was stumped.  I decided to best place to start would be to order samples.  My lack of understanding must have showed having ordered a couple of squares for pet rugs.  Woops!

Thank goodness FLOR has design consultants to assist.  A consultant from the Seattle store e-mailed me shortly after the samples arrived to see if she could help me.  I immediately made an in-store appointment for a consultation.  She and I discussed the space, our aesthetic and our interior colors.  She guided me through my options, and she kept it simple.

By the end of our appointment, I had happily settled on a lovely multi-colored patchwork runner that covers the most highly trafficked stretch of our entry floor.  I love that I was able to incorporate many colors we have in our home.  The various textures and patterns I chose keep it from looking basic or boring.FLORWithPics

I installed it myself, and that part was much easier and quicker than I expected it to be.  I highly recommend FLOR.  When I walk in our home, it makes me smile.

If you live in Seattle, contact their store at 206.448.3365.  Ask for Kirsten.  Address: 2000 1st Avenue, Seattle, 98121.

Byrnie Utz Hats

NewHat (5)I cannot remember who told me about Byrnie Utz Hats, a wonderful family-owned hat shop located in the Financial District of downtown Seattle.  When I spotted it on a recent visit to downtown, I ducked in to see it for myself.  Though I do not wear hats often, I simply adore them and I fancy myself to be a regular hat wearer one day.  We’ll see!

Opened in 1934 by Byrnie Utz, this is Seattle’s oldest hat shop with an extensive inventory and a staff with unsurpassed knowledge on head gear.  I found the shop to be quaint, tidy, organized and well-stocked.  It looks much like it did when it was opened, which lends to its charm and appeal.  I believe there is something there for just about anyone looking for a hat, and the prices will not break the bank.  The many brands they stock include Borsalino, Makins and Stetson.NewHat (7)

As I browsed, I picked up a packable hat by Wallaroo made of lovely layers of navy and white polka dot fabric.  With a family trip around the corner, one that may include stops at a water park and the zoo, I simply could not resist it, especially given the added benefit of UPF 50+ and an interior adjustment for a perfect fit.  I love it.  What do you think?

If you’re looking for a hat or simply enjoy the idea of hats, pop into this wonderful store when you get a chance.  It will not disappoint, and I would be surprised if you did not walk away with a treasure for yourself.