I Ain’t Settlin’

I was fired from the job I held for over five years on Valentine’s Day this year.  The date of my termination should give an indication of the type of people that I worked for, let’s leave it at that. This post isn’t going to be a sad, mopey, “boo hoo, I lost my job,” kind of post though. Getting canned was the best thing to happen to me in quite a while.

I work very hard in certain aspects of my life: doing whatever I can for friends and family, growing my own business, loving my husband, caring for my home, and just overall trying not to be a douche. I’m also a strong believer, or at least I thought I was, in making things count and not wasting time. Well, I got very complacent at my 9-5. I had a paycheck that paid my bills and I wasn’t working long hours or doing hard labor, so I stuck it out.

I stuck it out when I was moved to a department I really didn’t have an interest working in. I stuck it out when I was switched from being a salaried employee to an hourly employee because that made more sense to them than making my coworker an salaried employee. I stuck it out when I was given a hideous blue polo shirt to wear as a uniform. Really, one word says it all, “stuck.”

Anyway, I promised this wasn’t going to be a “cry me a river” post and it isn’t. Being fired made me find something else, and fast. I have a new position, and almost two months in, it is fantastic. The work I’m doing is challenging and interesting. The people I work with are kind, respectful, and welcoming. There is very little monitoring or micromanaging. Oh, and I actually get up in the morning and take time on my appearance which makes me feel great all day. I am excited to go to work every day. I honestly didn’t realize how much of a difference it can make to get out of mediocrity. I’m more relaxed, I don’t carry work issues into my house, and just in general life is better.

When I told my husband that I had lost my job I made the comment that “fate intervened because it was obvious that I wasn’t going to do anything myself.” Well, thank you fate. If I have learned anything from this experience it’s that just because something isn’t awful it doesn’t mean there aren’t options out there that are better. Settling for less than what you deserve gives you exactly that.

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Things are About to Get Personal

For the most part this blog has been pretty void of personal opinion and thoughts. Sure, I’ve shared small bits of my life but it’s all been pretty centered on what I’ve done not what I feel. This was a very conscious development; something that I did so if someone I knew were to come across this part of the blogoverse they may not recognize the author.

Well, I’ve realized lately that I need a place for me. Somewhere that I can release pent up frustrations and emotions, and in a way interactively communicate with myself. I am done with keeping this blog as a (fairly unused) clipboard on which to check off and collect accomplishments. Sure, those things will still be here, hopefully more of them. I realize that this blog has been pretty neglected and I think it’s because I have zero emotional attachment to it.

So, this blog is going to morph into something a little different and it might actually find it’s voice.

Well consider it my own personal version of this:  



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Out with 2011, and in with 2012

To say that I failed at blogging the last half of 2011 would be a complete understatement. That is obvious one of my yearly goals I didn’t make. Fortunately, really most of my tasks did get completed, even if I was wasn’t talking about them here.  I really felt like 2011 was an amazing year, so instead of taking away from this year’s major accomplishments (like starting a business) and focusing on what might not have got done (still need to do a wedding scrapbook) I’d rather just focus on moving forward.

To touch on something quickly though, one of the disappointments, really the only major disappointment, is that I did the same thing in 2011 that I did in 2010. I was within 5 or so pounds of my goal weight and then I gained it all back. This cycle is horrible and I am really going to try to break it in 2012.

Talking about 2012, there is a little different format this year. Instead of 100 things in 365 days, many of them not that challenging or things I intended on doing anyway, I decided to do a 30 When I’m 30 in honor of the big birthday I have coming up in May.

So, here is this year’s list:

30 When I’m 30
1. Lose 30 Pounds and keep it off
2. Go on a roadtrip for at least 3 days with at least 10 stops
3. Do 30 things to pamper myself
4. Write at least 30 blog posts
5. Hold a full conversation completely in Spanish for at least 30 minutes with zero difficulty
6. No fast food for 30 days
7. Go on 30 dates with hubby
8. Have 30 days in a row where home is “mom-sneak-attack-visit-ready”
9. Visit 30 places in the Twin Cities I had never been before
10. Commit 3 random acts of kindness
11. Travel to Spain
12. Watch 30 movies I have never seen before
13. Make 30 new business contacts, keep track using business cards
14. Get in front of the camera to celebrate what 30 looks like
15. Save $50 30 times
16. Call family (Mom and/or Gamma) at least 30 times
17. Volunteer 30 times
18. Try out 30 new recipes
19. Complete 30 Pinterest projects of any level of difficulty
20. Invite at least 30 people to celebrate an awesome 30th birthday party
21. Do at least 30 shoots
22. In December, print an album/book of 30 amazing photos I’ve taken throughout the year
23. Apply for 30 job opportunities, well really, apply until I have a new job
24. Donate $30 for every un-met goal
25. Complete a 365 Project
26. Commit to 30 days of “clean” eating and healthy water consumption
27. Make an appointment about adoption/TTC possibilities
28. Send 30 handwritten letters
29. Find 30 different ways to show hubby that he’s loved
30. Read 30 books

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10 Things on Thursday – Advice

The 10 Best Pieces of Advice I’ve ever been given, by some of the smartest people I know:

  • It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes you if you don’t like yourself. It’s a sad place to be when you please everyone but yourself. ~ My Mama
  • You’ll be surprised how lucky you’ll start to be from putting in a little effort. ~ my 12th grade English teacher
  • A little bit of gentleness can go a long way. ~My Grandpa
  • Always wash off canned goods before you consume them. You don’t know where they’ve been.  ~ my 4th Grade teacher
  • Put your family first, always. These are the people that will be there through the end regardless of anything else. ~ My Grandma
  • Don’t focus so much on one thing that you miss everything else going on. ~ My Best Friend
  • The little things do matter. Sometimes more than the big things. ~ My Husband
  • Confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear. ~ Cosmo
  • Lay still and be silent every now and then. ~ My Dog
  • Always have lipstick/lipgloss on you. It’s the quickest way to look put together. ~ My Mother-In- Law
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#37 – Get at least 10 of my good friends together for a ragin’ 29th birthday party

This year I turned 29. Well, it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out what birthday I’m staring down now. That’s why it was so important to me that I made this one special. So I got a group of my friends together and we had some drinks, a little bit of food, and went out that night to celebrate.

A collage of photos from the photo wall I put up:

Other photos from the night:

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10 Things on Thursday

Okay, I am seriously stumped for ideas on things to blog about. Yes, I’m doing my challenge, but do you really want to hear me describe planting an herb garden in complete detail??? So, in an effort to give myself something to talk about I have decided to start a 10 Things on Thursday post. Each week will be a different category and then I’ll list 10 things to go under it.

This weeks Category: Photography Resources

  1. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson – Seriously, everyone should read this book when they first start shooting. It breaks down the exposure triangle  and makes things really easy to understand. It also includes some great photos.
  2. Digital Photography School – Website full of great tutorials and tips. Geared toward any skill level.
  3. Depth of Field Calculator – Great for learning how aperture, distance, and focal length all come together to determine your DOF. Really fun to play with and see how small changes can sometimes make a big difference.
  4. Online Photography Communities – I honestly have learned so much just by interacting with other photographers. My favorite forum is a more private community called Broken Lenses but there are more public sites I’d recommend like I Love Photography, Clickinmoms, and Rock The Shot.
  5. Google – Okay,  know this isn’t really a photography resource but I use it so often I need to put it out there. Any photography question I have I can usually find an answer for,  there are so many great tutorials (written and video), and  I can also search for certain images when I need ideas. Heck, I use Google Maps sometimes to help me scout locations.
  6. Pinterest – Wow, talk about a world of inspiration. This is also great place to keep all my ideas and tutorials organized. For example, if I’m doing a senior shoot I now have quick access to all of my favorites for reference.
  7. Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 3 Book – If you want to learn how to properly edit photos in Lightroom 3 there is no better book out there. I’m not completely through yet, but what I’ve learned has been super helpful.
  8. The Online Photographer (TOP) – Like the Digital Photography School this site is full of great tutorials and tips.
  9. KenRockwell.com – I’m not going to lie and say that I agree with everything he posts. What I will say is that he has put a lot of time and thought into co an incredibly comprehensive set of reviews and some great tutorials.
  10.  CoffeeShop Blog – Some of the best actions you can get for free, they are fantanstic. Plus some nice inspiration and an occasional tutorial
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My Cameraversary (Part 3)

This is part 3 of three blog posts dedicated to my photography journey over the past year.
Part one can be found here. And part two can be found here.

After a couple of group shoots using studio lights, at the beginning of January I asked a person who would later become a mentor of mine if he would help me with a studio model shoot

and then I was ready for some studio shoots all on my own

I had a really cool headshot session

we even had some fun every now and then

and I also learned some lighting tricks
then,  just like in the fall when I started to get more comfortable shooting in natural light and it became necessary to move indoors, in April the sun came back out (kind of) and it was time to leave the studio

my first session back outdoors was also my first session with an Operation Love family, I am so happy to be a part of that organization

a week later I did my first paid “commercial” shoot for a custom bike company

where I was able to use my new speedlite, the SB-900 (what a beast)
The month, along with my first year with my camera, ended with a trip to Mexico that included a wedding and an engagement session to capture

So there it is, a year of photos. It’s been a blast and I can’t wait to see where I go from here. I’m thinking I may do a comparison post in the near future pitting my old work up against my new work.

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