December 21, 2009

365 Project: Day 66

My day (in no particular order):

I cut my tongue eating a cherry Blow Pop. My mouth filled with a surprising amount of blood. I took a picture.

I painted my nails. Isn't that such a strange thing that people do?

I filled my tank at a gas station I've never been to before. There was a motion activated speaker on the pump screaming an advertisement at me. There was a mute button on it. I pressed it twice. It didn't work.

I drank 5 cups of coffee far. I didn't eat anything until 4 o'clock.

I went to the bank and stood at the ATM freezing while a teller explained the function of a Debit card to someone for 15 minutes with complete disregard for the line forming behind them. The man didn't even withdraw any money.

I went to the library and checked out Edgar Cayce and Richard Avedon's biographies. I didn't check out any of the three books I actually went in there to get.

The man at a fast food drive through was rude to me when I ordered at the speaker. When I got to the window, he hit on me. I drove away. I may not go back.

I drove through the wrong exit in a parking garage downtown. Instead of making me back up, even though there was no one behind me, the attendant got out of the booth and manually lifted the gate for me.

I missed my exit on the freeway and had to take the long way around.

I spoke to a woman named Nancy on the phone three times. She was eating while she talked to me. It was gross.

Isn't it amazing how all these little tasks and moments add up to your day? These little moments are your life. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

December 20, 2009

365 Project: Day 65

Ah, love. *sigh* People toss the word love around like a ship on a stormy sea and I wear it casually around my neck like a shining silver beacon.

Love is difficult to define. There are as many different kinds of love as there are grains of sand on the shore. I would like to say that I am a hopeless romantic. But I'm not. I'd like to say I believe that in the end, love conquers all. But I don't. I'm just not that girl. I'm the girl who looks at a boy with a suspicious sideways glance. I like the idea of love, but I am its harshest critic. I am a cynic to the very core.

We owe so many great songs and poems to love. Perhaps even more so to the loss of love. Only love can inspire you and demolish you in the same moment. It is the most powerful, uncontrollable, and unpredictable of emotions.

Its an amazing thing. When you are in it, love consumes you. Its a glorious fog. It disorients you and you happily lose yourself in it. Through the eyes of love, the world becomes a place of perfection. The object of your desire, though human, is suddenly without flaw or fault. Even the strongest of people can be melted by the disarming smile of a lover. Something as simple as a kiss can send you soaring. There is nothing like the feeling of recognizing your ideal in another. You surrender, smitten.

When its taken away, we mourn the absence of love like no other emotion. You feel the loss from the inside out. Pain wells up from within, spilling out in each salty tear of despair leaving you an empty vessel. Drained. It breaks you and humbles you in a way that nothing else can. It injures you so deeply that you never fully heal. Where love once lived inside of you, there forever remains a wound, a scar, a reminder.

As time passes, somehow, we find ourselves with sudden amnesia. Forgetting how love once betrayed and destroyed us. We muster the courage to take a risk and we willingly and helplessly fall in love again and again. Carelessly, we place our delicate hearts in the hands of someone who can crush it one swift motion.  It is a brave soul who, full of hope, can give themselves to another without reservation or fear.

For me, it all boils down to this. I didn't buy this necklace because I believe in its message. I don't wear it with the hopes that I will someday fall helplessly under the powers of love. Read into it what you will. My reasons, like love, are complicated. I wear it because I doubt it. I wear it because I run from it. I wear it because I want to remember it. I wear it because I don't want to forget how much it can hurt. I wear it because I fear it. I wear it simply because love, in all its chaos, can be a beautiful thing.

Rock n Roll

Check out the awesome colors of this Rock n Roll fantasy.

December 19, 2009

365 Project: Day 64

There are so many theories about what happens to us after death. Some believe nothing, that death is the end of us. Some believe reincarnation. Some believe we go to heaven or hell. Really, who knows? If you've never died before, then I guess there's no way of knowing for sure.

I watched a movie a few days ago and the characters were talking about reincarnation. I thought about it for a while. The idea that you have many lives to live over time fascinates me. Imagine how many people you could be or how many different kinds of life you could have. The possibilities are endless.

The thing about reincarnation is that people are not aware of what happened in their previous lives. If you could know that you lived before and will live again, would you live this life differently? Henry Ford believed in reincarnation and he made a very interesting point.
He said, "It (reincarnation) seems a most reasonable philosophy and explains many things. No, I have no desire to know what, or who I was once; or what, or who, I shall be in the ages to come. This belief in immortality makes present living the more attractive. It gives you all the time there is."

If reincarnation is real, there is so much to wonder about. When is a soul born? How and why is a new soul created? Is there an ending point where the soul will no longer reincarnate? What happens to the soul then? How is it decided who or what you will reincarnate as? I have an endless list of questions that have no answers or explanations.
Jack London said, "I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums...All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me...Oh, incalculable times I again shall be born."
Some think its possible to be reincarnated as something other than a human. I've given this some thought and if I were to be reincarnated as something non-human, I think I'd like to be a bird. Not just any bird though, a migratory bird. Maybe a duck. A duck can walk if it choses, but it can also swim and fly. I love the water and wouldn't it be so amazing to fly? Ducks migrate south for the winter, so you get to travel and you avoid winter every year. You'd always have friends because ducks tend to stay in a flock. Plus, if you are a duck that lives in a park, people feed you all day. Then I thought, I'd rather not be an animal who has an entire hunting season dedicated to it. Duck Season would not be a pleasant time of year and I don't like the idea of being shot or eaten. So maybe a migratory bird, something similar to a duck, that no one wants to kill.

If you could be reincarnated as anything, what would you want to be and why?

Tickled Pink

As far as rose bushes go, I think this one is my favorite. Its older than I am. This rose bush and I have a history together. I grew up admiring the beauty of its blooms. My grandmother would clip them off and remove all the thorns for me. She'd even wrap the stems in a wet paper towel for me to take them home.

All the sweetness of these roses is now available in my Tickled Pink print.

December 18, 2009

365 Project: Day 63

Everything is starting to line up, one thing after another. Like ducks in a row. Everything seems to be falling into place just as it should be.  

I had a conversation today about realizing and accepting that you are exactly where you're supposed to be at this moment in your life. Its a hard thing to come to terms with, especially when you thought you'd be somewhere else by now. There is ultimately a reason why you are where you are, and not where you think you should be. 

The past few months have been full of some major lessons for me. Its such a strange, but satisfying, feeling to realize that you are changing and growing as a person. I feel like I'm becoming who I was always meant to be. Its sort of like I've been living in the dark, endlessly searching for a switch and all of a sudden the light has come on. Like a moth to the flame, I'm drawn to it, powerless to resist its glow.

I'm slowly learning to let go and to stop trying to control every little thing. That is really hard for me. Every day it becomes more obvious that I have no control over anything. Life is just taking me along for the ride. What is supposed to happen, will happen no matter how much I try to force it or resist it.

Don't get me wrong, I am still working very hard, I am stressed out, and I am definitely exhausted. But I wouldn't be doing all of this if I didn't love every second of it. It seems like all of these amazing people keep coming into my life and these great opportunities keep presenting themselves. There is a beautiful momentum happening and I'm finally giving in and letting myself get swept away.

December 17, 2009

365 Project: Day 62

I'm a never say "no" sort of person. I will take on any project if I have 5 minutes to spare. I like to keep busy. I figure I'll sleep when I'm dead. Lately I've been feeling a little empty though. Life has a way of eating away at you one piece at a time. Something is missing. I work so hard and I'm coming to realize that I'm working really hard for the benefit of myself. My life has been full of blessings and I am so grateful for every one of them. But there are so many people in the world who aren't as fortunate as I am. There are a lot of people who need help. I want to start volunteering. I want to participate in an activity that is for the benefit of someone else. I have been thinking about this for a while now, but I saw something today that confirmed it for me.

I stopped by the grocery store on my way home tonight to pick up sugar for my morning coffee. While I was there, a man was being arrested for theft. He was handcuffed like a criminal, walked through the store and loaded into a Police car for stealing $6 worth of food. This man stole only what he needed to eat tonight: two cans of chili and a block of cheese. As he was being handcuffed in the back of the store, our eyes met for a split second. I didn't look away. I looked him in the eye and smiled at him. There was something inside of me that wanted to let him know that I wasn't looking down on him in his time of need and desperation. I wanted to let him know that I understood. I wanted to give him a little dignity. There was something about that moment that just killed me. He looked so sad and ashamed. He was hungry and had nothing. There I stood in the aisle holding a case of Dr. Pepper and a bag of sugar. I would have happily bought him groceries for the night had I only been there 10 minutes earlier and known how desperate he was. It broke my heart.

There is no reason that anyone should have to go hungry. No one should be so desperate for food that they're forced to steal. Food is a basic necessity and should be available to everyone.

Like I have said before, I believe everything happens for a reason. There is a reason why I saw that man when I did. There is a reason why our paths crossed in the way that they did. I don't know who he was. I don't know what sequence of events brought him to that point in his life. What I do know, is that moment, when our eyes met, changed my life forever.

New Portraits!

Did you guys forget that I took pictures of people other than myself? Well, I do! I am available to photograph families, children, pets, musicians, bands, and live performances!

Check out these images from my session with Shanna Hebert Ferro. She is an entrepreneur, singer, wife, mother and most importantly...she's my cousin!

Shanna owns a company called The Candle Cottage in Nederland, TX and has been in business for over 10 years. Their candles are all handmade and smell so good you could eat them! She started her company in a little building behind her house and soon after opened her first store. After outgrowing that location, they recently built a new store that is full of all sorts of goodies. She also just launched her new website so take a peek!

I'm so proud of her and all she has accomplished. Love you Shanna!

December 16, 2009

365 Project: Day 61

Last night I had drinks with people I have known for at least 10 years. Conversations are different between people who know each other on that level. There's no need for small talk about the weather. You talk about things that matter and you care what they think. You can be really honest. I value the moments when you can have those sorts of conversations.

Amongst other things, we talked about regrets. I have no regrets. When I look back at the mistakes and bad decisions I've made, I am nothing but grateful for every one of them. Sure there are things I wish I hadn't done. But all of those things I wish I didn't do have made me the person I am today. And I like who I am. So how can I justify regretting those mistakes? When I think back on every stupid thing I've done, I just have to sigh, shake my head and laugh at myself because I know I would do it all over again in a second.

I know I have written this quote before, but I love it and I believe it and I live by it. Its on the bulletin board above my computer and I read it every day just in case I forget.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." --Unknown

I have lived purposefully, impulsively, honestly, whole heartedly and I have seized opportunities and I have given life everything I have so far.  The best part is, the journey has only begun. I am young. There is still so much time to make so many more bad decisions and I can't wait.

The Road Not Taken

How would your life have been different if you had only taken the other road? I wonder often where I would be now if I had made some different choices in my life. But I've come to realize, ultimately, even though there were some bumps, rough spots, and even places where the road was washed out,  I'm glad I made all the choices I did. I'm happy with where the road I chose has led me.

This picture reminds me of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. I feel like this is the road less traveled, I have taken it, and it has made all the difference. This print is now available in my Etsy shop.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood.
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

December 15, 2009

The Breeze

Don't you love the sound of wind chimes on a warm breeze?

I remember standing in my Grandparents' yard and listening to the sound of an approaching breeze. The soft roar of the leaves rustling in the tree tops. The branches gently swaying, passing the wind from tree to tree. As it drifted closer, feeling the first puff of air brush across my cheek and fly past me, twisting through my hair. Then came the delicate sound of wind chimes. The calm of that moment has been captured and in "The Breeze". This print is now available in my Etsy shop.

365 Project: Day 60

I have made it 60 days into this project. I can't believe it. Thats approximately 2 months! So, in celebration of that, I thought I'd create 2 pictures of 2 of me.

My friends are incredibly important to me. I'm extremely picky about who I really let into my life. I make friends easily, but I let very few people close to me. One of my closest and oldest friends is coming to visit from New York today! I'm really excited. We became friends in middle school when we were paired up to write movie reviews for the school newspaper. The two of us were the wittiest and most sarcastic 13 year olds you'd ever meet. Even now I'll go back and read our movie reviews and laugh.

We stayed close all through high school and even though we went our separate ways in college, we never lost touch. Even now, we'll go months without seeing each other or sometimes without even talking, but when we find time to get together again, we pick up right where we left off.

She is one of the very few people in my life who:

A) Just gets it. She always has. Whatever it is I'm thinking or doing or going through in my life, she gets it. Even when she doesn't, she at least tries to understand.

B) She is someone I trust without hesitation. I can tell her absolutely anything and not have to worry about being judged. With her, I can just vent.

C) I can always expect an honest response. I appreciate it when a person can be blunt with me and give me their real opinion with complete disregard for my feelings. Only a real friend will do that.

There are millions of other things that I love about her, but those three things, as simple as they may be, are very hard to find in another person. I value those things about our friendship. We've been through a lot together over the last 13+ years. There have been a lot of really good times and a lot of really bad ones. Only she can understand where I've been during the hard times, because she was there with me. No one else can ever understand the things that have bound us together. Our friendship has stood the test of time and distance. She will always be a part of my life. I consider her to be more than a friend, I consider her family.

December 14, 2009

365 Project: Day 59

In case you didn't already know, today is Nostradamus' birthday. During his life he wrote and published thousands of prophecies. Some of which have supposedly come true. Most of them having to do with death, disaster, know, all the pleasant stuff. He must have been a delightful person to talk to. I can't imagine living life "knowing" that all of these horrible things are going to happen. But, whether you believe them or not, his predictions are really interesting and thought provoking.

Nostradamus was very careful when publishing his prophecies. He was afraid of being labeled a magician, so during the day he acted as a devout Catholic and in private he studied pagan methods. His predictions are purposefully cryptic because he was trying to avoid persecution from the Spanish Inquisition. He wrote in quatrains (4 line poems). He included symbolism and metaphors, and even rearranged or left out letters in names. Although his quatrains were primarily written in French, he mixed in a little Italian, Latin, and Greek, just to throw everyone off.  Mmmm, that sounds delicious!

Nostradomus also made predictions about the end of the world. Reading them got me thinking about all this attention suddenly being paid to 2012, no thanks to John Cusack and ridiculous amounts of CGI. I haven't seen the movie, and I don't know if I believe the world is ending in 2012, or ever for that matter. Why do people assume the world has to end at all? Its been around a long time, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

I saw a special about this on TV last month. It was about Nostradamus, the Bible, the Mayan Calendar and the different interpretations of what it all means. It was interesting, but what I thought was most interesting was the part about all the people out there who are trying to prepare for this event. Its like the whole Y2K thing all over again, and we all know how that turned out.

Right now there are people spending millions of dollars on underground condos complete with sun simulation lamps, indoor food growing systems, and all the luxuries of a five star hotel. Really? What makes them so sure that simply being underground is going to protect them from the end of the world? If the world does end, why would you want to survive? Everyone and everything you know and love will be gone. Is that a life you want? Plus, if everything turns out to be just fine, how are you going to unload what is now just a really dark and expensive piece of underground real estate? No one's going to buy that.

I can't live my life being afraid of events that were predicted by people hundreds of years ago, which may or may not even happen. Who's to say that the guy chiseling the Mayan Calendar into a huge rock didn't just get tired and give up? Its not like anyone he knew was going to be around to use that calendar in 2012. Its all up to interpretation, but you see what I mean. 

I realize I'm being very sarcastic about this and I don't mean to make fun of the people who believe in it. I'm not going to say that its impossible, nothing is impossible. But, I'm not going to waste the next, and possibly the last, 3 years of my life worrying about something I have no control over. If the world is going to end, let it end and I'll be happy to go down with the ship. All I know is on December 22, 2012 I will not be cowering in my basement waiting for the world to collapse on top of me. I'm having a party, and you are all invited. 

Happy Birthday Nostradamus! 

Johnny Appleseed Sets!

Apple Blossoms are so soft and dreamy. They remind me of walking barefoot in the grass on a warm Spring day and the sound of busy little bees buzzing around the blossoms. You can bring their sweetness into your home with my new Johnny Appleseed Sets!

These images are now available in my Etsy shop as a Big Set and a Mini Set.

December 13, 2009

365 Project: Day 58

Music. I can't live without it. I feel it in every part of me. The right song can give me chills and butterflies. Just hearing it can lift my spirit or move me to tears. My body will sway to a melody or I'll nod my head to a beat without even realizing it. I blast the stereo in my car and sing along to the the radio at the top of my lungs. Some songs can only be listened to with your eyes closed. You can feel them at the very core of your being. If you let it, music can change your life.

As a kid, when there was housework to be done, my family cranked up the stereo. In our living room we had one of those big, silver, rectangular stereos that had all the metal knobs and dials. On each side were two wood framed speakers stacked on top of each other (4 total). They were taller than I was. We would turn up the radio and the whole place would fill with music while we were cleaning. That was also the 80s, you know, when MTV still played music. My mom loved the Georgia Satellites song "Keep Your Hands to Yourself". Every time the music video came on we'd turn up the TV and dance around in the living room. I even remember the video. The band was in the back of a truck driving down the road with their crazy long hair blowing in the wind.

At the Texas State Fair, amongst all the rides and commotion, there was always a live band playing. I have a distinct memory of standing outside in the dirt, the smells of greasy food and cotton candy and listing to a band, feeling my heart pounding and whole body vibrating to the rhythm of the bass line. I have so many more memories of music in my life. Obviously, even as a kid, it made an impression on me.

Now, I don't leave the house without my iPod. It stays tucked perfectly into a pocket on the back of my wallet. You never know when you'll need it. When I lived in Boston I walked or took the train everywhere, so my headphones were practically implanted in my head. I always loved watching the city buzz around me to the soundtrack of my choice. Since I work at home now, I have music playing all day. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is start up my Mac and turn on iTunes. Throughout the day it shuffles through the 3,856 songs in my current collection.

Going to see a live band perform, no matter who they are, is one of my favorite things to do. It can be someone in a coffee house, or a huge show with hundreds of people, it doesn't matter. I feed off of that energy. Watching a musician perform can make you experience a song in a completely different way. You can see the passion and the intensity in which they meant the song to be heard when they wrote it. Its in their faces, their body language, and the energy that they project on the audience. When someone is performing it demands my attention in a way that nothing else does. The whole world could fall apart around me and as long as the band kept playing, I wouldn't even notice.

Many of my closest friends in life have been musicians. I, unfortunately, have no musical talent of my own. I played the violin and the flute as a little girl, but believe me, I was no prodigy. Being surrounded with talented, creative musicians has enriched my life in ways I can't describe. My friends are inspiring. Its the reason why I love live music photography so much. To be able to go to a show and stand right up front with my camera is my idea of heaven. It combines the two greatest loves in my life.  Being on tour with a band or musician that I believe in would be my dream job. I've been shooting for a few musicians lately, promo images, CD covers, etc. That's where my heart is and I want to do a lot more of that sort of work. Its my way of being a part of the music the only way I know how.

December 12, 2009

365 Project: Day 57

A woman's hair really has a lot of significance to her. You don't realize how much of your personal security lies in your hair until you decide to cut it all off. My entire life I've gotten compliments on my hair. The unusual color, the texture, the thickness. I've even had complete strangers come up and touch my hair without even asking, which is really strange to me. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror today and it struck me how long my hair has gotten and I also noticed how pleased I was because of that.

I've almost always kept my hair long. There have been a few times in my life that I decided to cut it short. The first time I was 4 or 5. My mother had a very short haircut and I wanted my hair to look like hers. When I came home to show my dad, he told me I looked like a boy. But I don't remember that particularly bothering me. Then, when I was 12 or 13, I had my hair cut short to look like a picture I had seen in a magazine. Once I saw myself in the mirror I was devastated. Although I wear my hair straight, it is naturally curly. I hadn't taken this into account when choosing this particular look and I cried for days. My mother even took me to have my hair straightened to see if that would help. It didn't. When I started high school I had an A-line haircut. It was completely shaved in the back and underneath. My sister used to help me shave my head with the dog's clippers. It sounds terrible the way I'm describing it, but everyone seemed to really like it and I did too.

All of the times I have cut my hair in the past, were simply because I wanted a change. I think when I chopped my hair off a few years ago, it was for a different reason. I was at a point in my life where I was trying to figure a lot of things out. I was completely lost and I felt out of control. I didn't know what to do with myself. I needed to take control of something in my life. My hair had to go. I walked into the salon and told the woman I wanted it cut just above my shoulders. I left pleased. But it wasn't enough. Two weeks later I went back and had her take the rest of it off. All of my hair was about 2 inches long. Now, I was even more pleased. Looking back, I see that it wasn't about a haircut, it was about rebellion, control, disguise, change, independence, and becoming someone else.

When I was in Texas just recently my grandmother was looking at me. She told me she was glad that my hair was growing long again. Her exact words were, "You just didn't look like Sara with your hair short like that." She's not the only person to tell me this. By changing my looks so drastically, I had become unrecognizable to the people who knew me best. They knew something was off. I think subconsciously that's why I did it. I was at a point in my life where I didn't know who I was. Even I didn't recognize myself. So I changed my looks to match the way I was feeling inside. It was like I had to clear the slate and start over from the beginning.

I kept my hair short for a couple of years after that. I wasn't ready to let go of that control. Over the past year or so, I've finally started to let my hair grow back. It was over this last year that I could feel a change in myself. I was growing stronger. I was figuring out what I wanted from my life and how to accomplish those goals. A woman typically cuts her hair about every 6 weeks. Now, my hair has not been cut in 7 months. I can't bring myself to cut it. Its almost like the longer it grows, the more I change back into the person I lost. I was so pleased when I noticed my hair in the mirror because with every day that goes by, I'm slowly starting to recognize the person looking back at me.

Just a note-books: Seaside Series

I wasn't planning to make these available in my shop for a little while, but seeing as the other set sold out in about an hour, I figured I might as well go ahead!
The Seaside Series is now available!

These little notebooks are the perfect size to toss in your purse or even carry in your pocket.

They have a matte card stock cover featuring an image that wraps around and are saddle stitched. Each one contains 20 sheets of bright white unlined paper perfect for sketches and doodles, notes, grocery lists, that special someone's phone number or just about anything else that you might want to jot down. The best part is each one is handmade by me!

They come in bundles of three that will arrive all tied up with a ribbon. These Just a Note - books would also make the perfect stocking stuffers!

December 11, 2009

365 Project: Day 56

Today is my parents' 28th wedding anniversary. I think that is amazing. There aren't too many people I know who's parents are still together. I feel so blessed to have them both.

They were high school sweethearts and dated several years before they were married. Mom and dad went to separate high schools in two different towns. They were introduced when my mother's best friend, Marie, and my dad's best friend, Michael, started dating. The first time they were supposed to meet, Michael and Marie tried to set them up on a blind date at little pizza place. My dad didn't show up. His mother made homemade pizza for dinner that night and he decided he'd rather eat at home instead. He'll never live that one down.

When they finally did meet, things went much smoother. They were hanging out with friends and when my dad was leaving he told my mother goodbye and gave her two little kisses on the cheek. She swears to this day, when he kissed her she heard bells.

They were engaged when my mom was still in high school. (My dad is a year older.) The wedding was called off three times before they finally decided to go through with it. I'm so glad they finally got it together otherwise, where would I be?

My mom and dad are both amazing parents. I've always thought so, even when I was a completely disgruntled teenager and thought they were both wrong about everything and couldn't possibly relate to what I was going through. No matter what, I always respected them. They have both given me a lot of advice and taught me so many important lessons. They have always been endlessly supportive of me and everything that I do. They are the reason I'm the person that I am today. I am so grateful for them.

I love my family. When we are together I always have such a blast. We are so lucky to have each other. Family is the most important thing to me and I would do absolutely anything for them. Thanks to Marie and Michael for getting the ball rolling!

Mom and dad, Happy Anniversary, I love you both.

Just a note - books!

Check out the new Just a Note - books from Sara Norris Photography! If you're like me, I make lists and notes to myself all day long, but I can NEVER find a piece of paper when I need it. I end up jotting things down either on my hand or on scrap papers that just get lost. Not anymore.

These little notebooks are the perfect size to toss in your purse or even carry in your pocket.

They have a matte card stock cover featuring an image that wraps around and are saddle stitched. Each one contains 20 sheets of bright white unlined paper perfect for sketches and doodles, notes, grocery lists, that special someone's phone number or just about anything else that you might want to jot down. The best part is each one is handmade by me!

They come in bundles of three that will arrive all tied up with a ribbon. These Just a Note - books would also make the perfect stocking stuffers!

December 10, 2009

365 Project: Day 55

Do you ever feel like the "universe" is trying to tell you something? I don't believe in coincidence. I don't believe that anything in this world happens accidentally. Everything happens for a reason. There is a lesson to be learned from every experience. I think its up to you to recognize those moments and grow from them. 

Every moment in your life, every person you meet, every choice you make is significant. Life is a series of cause and effect. One thing leads to another like a line of dominos toppling, each one causing the other to fall. Its simple logic to assume that if you make a choice, a series of events will follow. If you were to choose differently, a completely different sequence of things will happen. Its not just the effects of your choice that are important, the choice itself, no matter how simple it may seem, is a crossroads and whichever way you decide to go will determine what comes next in your life.

A series of events happened to me this week that made me think that I have an important lesson to learn. 

The post I wrote for Day 54 was supposed to be for Day 53 and everything got all screwed up. I even planned ahead and did the writing the night before. I was going to get up early to take my picture on the cliff to go along with it. When I woke up the next morning, the weather was terrible. I hadn't gotten any sleep. The screen on my cell phone had an error message so my alarm didn't go off and I didn't get up early enough to take the picture. I had to come up with another topic for Day 53.

I thought about it all day and decided to write about opportunity and doors opening, etc. I saved my previous writing to use for Day 54 and hoped the weather would be nice so I could take my picture to go along with it.

After I finished the replacement writing for Day 53, I was at my desk checking my email. There was a forwarded email from my grandmother. The subject line read "One of Life's Miracles". It was a story about a woman and a homeless man and how their lives had become intertwined. He had helped her years earlier when she was poor, hungry and about to be evicted, and now that he was homeless and she was in a better position, she came back to help him. At the end of the story the lesson to be learned was: 
"When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go. Only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly! God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor. If you believe, send it. If you don't believe, delete it. God closes doors no man can open; God opens doors no man can close. If you need God to open some doors for you...send this on."
Even though it was one of those stupid forwarded emails that get passed around the internet, I couldn't believe what I was reading. If you read Days 53 and 54, I wrote almost exactly the words from that email. I wrote about opening and closing doors and standing on the edge of a cliff, flying or falling and being brave enough to let go and know that something is there to catch you. I read the email again...and then again.

This series of events is the definition of a "coincidence" that was days in the making. My thoughts and my writing, the weather and my cell phone interfering with my picture, someone forwarding that email to my grandmother, who then forwarded it to me, and me opening it at that precise moment when those were the topics that I was questioning in my life. I believe it all happened for a reason. I feel like I'm supposed to be learning something from all this. Self doubt is my greatest enemy. I believe this was all telling me to stop worrying and hesitating so much. If I just let myself go everything will be fine. It was telling me that I have the strength to move forward, I just have to believe in myself and stop holding back. I can't explain it any better than that. 

Is that destiny? Is it fate? Is it a coincidence? It can't be, I don't believe in coincidence. Or is it simply "One of Life's Miracles"?

December 9, 2009

365 Project: Day 54

A cliff is a scary place to be. Get too close, even to just take a quick peek over the edge and the ground beneath you could crumble away, you could lose your balance, you could fall. Lately I've felt like I am on the verge of something bigger than myself. Some greater purpose. I don't know what it is, but I feel it so strongly.

I am constantly pushing myself toward personal growth and self discovery. What is my purpose? What am I truly capable of? My desire to know what is beyond my own boundaries consumes me.  Again and again I reach the very limits of my comfort zone and I slowly inch closer and closer to the brink. I get close, but I hesitate to take that final step into the unknown. My instinct is to hold back, clinging tightly to security.

John Burroughs said, "Leap, and the net will appear." I've learned this lesson time and time again. I've been lucky that every chance I've taken, though I was hesitant, once I gathered the courage to make that leap, I have found nothing but support. Somehow, there has always been a net to catch me.

So here I stand. Teetering on the verge of what comes next. Like a baby bird leaving the nest for the first time, I have to find the courage to take the plunge. I have to trust that I won't fall, because somewhere inside I know I can fly.

December 8, 2009

365 Project: Day 53

As the saying goes, "When one door closes, another one opens." I don't like this saying. I understand that its meant to be encouraging, but it always sucks when a door closes in your face. Even if another opportunity eventually comes along, who is happy about losing their job, their security, a relationship, a chance at something better, etc? No one likes to be disappointed. I tend to dwell on the closed door for a while.

But then they also say "Opportunity knocks." So, wait, I'm confused. Which side of the door am I on again? Am I waiting for doors to open or am I waiting for opportunity to knock on my door?

Either way, all I know is there are opportunities all around us. You just have to either find them or create your own. I'm not going to waste any more of my time waiting around for a door to open or for the gentle rapping of opportunity coming to find me. I don't have the patience for that. Life is way too short. Instead, I'm going to do it my own way and break down as many doors as it takes to find the life I want.

December 7, 2009

365 Project: Day 52

Do you ever feel like you just want to get in the car and drive off into the sunset? Music blaring, windows down, winding whipping through your hair...I get this itch all the time. I'm a flight risk for sure. In the past 8 years I have moved 9 times, lived in 8 different cities, in 3 different states, on both coasts, and lived in 11 different apartments/houses.

When I find a place I like, instead of vacationing for a week or two, I tend to just move there for a little while.  I love all the places I've lived and I feel like I'm a more well rounded person for having moved around so much at a young age.  By living this way I've been able to really experience the different places I've lived, I've met some great people and I've learned more hard lessons than I ever thought possible.

The only place I've lived more than once is Albuquerque. The first time around I only lived here 3 months. I showed up with my camera, a suitcase and my laptop. I never even unpacked my bag. I lived out of that suitcase for the entire 3 months.

Every time I move I purge things. I don't like to own a lot of things that I don't need. Belongings are just a burden to me. They just make it harder to pick up and go when the mood strikes. I make sure that I don't own more than will fit in my car. I love my car. I've had it almost 10 years and it has moved with me several times. The only place it didn't take me was to Boston. I loved taking the train and I didn't need it there.

When I say goodbye to a place and all the friends I made there, I also say goodbye to desks, lamps, couches, bookshelves, etc. It always amazes me that I can pack my entire life into a Toyota. But thats how I like it. I don't own anything that I don't need or that doesn't have some significant meaning to me. When I move, all my furniture is usually sold on Craigslist and everything I don't need is either thrown away, recycled, or donated.

Now that I'm back in Albuquerque, I plan to stay for a little while. I'm happy here. I have a ton of old friends here and a lot of new ones who I adore. Plus, my family is only 3 hours away. I haven't lived within driving distance of my family in at least 4 years. There are tons of places I still want to live and even though I still have that impulse to find somewhere new, its nice to be in Albuquerque for now. This time I even unpacked.

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December 6, 2009

365 Project: Day 51

Didn't the holidays seem so much more exciting when you were a kid? Now Christmas just seems like another day in the year. I find myself asking for gifts that I actually need, as opposed to some frivolous thing that I'd like to have. Where's the fun in that?

When I was really little, my mom took me to see Santa at the mall. When he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him I wanted an ice cream cone. Wasn't I cute? Christmas morning I woke up to find that along with my other presents, Santa had brought me an ice cream cone complete with vanilla Bluebell ice cream. (For those of you who don't know, Bluebell is only the BEST ice cream ever and its pretty much only sold in Texas.) There is a picture of me sitting in my PJs enjoying my treat. Life was just so much simpler back then.

I resent being an adult. I don't like it at all. When you're little, you can't wait to grow up. But I don't remember anyone ever telling me that I'd have to get my car registered, fill out standardized forms, pay bills EVERY month, have insurance, credit cards, a job, mortgages, taxes...there is a lot of paperwork that goes along with being an adult. Not to mention just taking care of yourself on a daily basis. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, taking out the trash, etc. These were all the things that my parents took care of. Now that I'm an adult, I find it all to be quite the inconvenience.

I miss the simplicity of my life as a child. You'd get milk and cookies, a nap in the afternoon, you can reside in your imagination and dream all day, someone makes all your meals and drives you around...its the life. If you get sick, your mom takes your temperature with the utmost concern and then brings you soup. You're upset or you hurt yourself, someone was always there to hold you and comfort you until you felt better. I still want someone to do that for me. If you're mad, you can throw a complete tantrum, in public none-the-less, and people may be annoyed, but no one says a thing. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to do that as an adult. You can do the craziest things as a kid and people just laugh, but if you did the same things as an adult, you'd probably be institutionalized.

Sometimes I still want to drink soda out of a swirly straw. I want to run through the sprinklers. I want to do cartwheels in the grass. I want to blow bubbles in my chocolate milk. I want to color. I want someone to cut the crust off my PB&J. I want to trust people without hesitation just because they seem nice. I want to play my favorite song and dance like no one is watching. I want to completely let go. I want to believe that anything is possible if you say pretty please. I want to laugh until my stomach hurts for no good reason. But as an adult, things just don't seem as funny anymore.


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December 5, 2009

365 Project: Day 50

I woke up this morning to the sounds of a car being towed in front of my house. 7:30 am is not a time of day I see very often. But I figured, hey, I'm up, I might as well get this show on the road. 

I stayed in my PJs, but I brushed my teeth, made a pot of coffee and a piece of toast with grape jelly, put Imogen Heap on my iTunes, and cracked open my journal. I snuggled back in bed, drank my coffee and wrote in my journal for a couple of hours. I don't know where the time went. Once I start journaling I tend to lose track of time. It was nice to stay in bed for a little while and enjoy my morning. I don't get to do that very often.

 I am the epitome of a workaholic and I don't give myself a lot of down time. I start working almost the second I wake up and I don't stop until my head hits the pillow at night. I love what I do. It doesn't feel like work to me. I just feel busy for 12-15 hours a day. Sometimes I'm frustrated and exhausted and burnt out and sometimes I complain, but I still get up the next morning, excited to start all over again. It makes me happy to know that I'm not only doing what I love, but I am building a business and a future for myself. How lucky can a girl get?

The 9-5 life was never for me. I would work my butt off for someone else 8 hours a day with nothing more to show for it than a bad mood and paycheck. Which, don't get me wrong, a consistent paycheck was great, but I was miserable. Money has never equalled happiness for me. I have been working so hard lately and I feel like all this time I'm putting in is finally starting to pay off. I am making progress. People are not only starting to recognize my images, but they are actually buying them. I feel so grateful and blessed. Little by little, my dream is coming true. 

Only 2 More Days!

My sale ends tomorrow!

The holidays are right around the corner so don't miss out on these great deals. My mini print sets will make perfect stocking stuffers for the art lover in your life.

December 4, 2009

365 Project: Day 49

Over the past couple of weeks I have somehow ended up in quite a few conversations about marriage. I'm 26. I'm at an age where many of my friends and a peers are not only married, but are having kids, buying houses and all those other things that people do as adults.

People ask me all the time when I plan to get married. I always answer "Never". I think it surprises some people. They all chuckle of course, not knowing if I'm really kidding or not. Quite honestly, married life is of no interest to me. I can't even commit to getting a pet or a houseplant.

I know people who are involved in all sorts of marriages. Some are happy, some are just beginning, but some are merely convenient, some are struggling, some have grown apart, some are together for the sake of the kids, some are loveless, and some are ending in divorce.

I used to assist for a wedding photographer. At every wedding we went to, while everyone was smiling and crying and wishing the couple well, I always secretly wondered if the marriage was going to last. That just tells you where my head is. There were a few that I'm sure were doomed from the get go.

Once, I saw a bride completely hyperventilate just before the ceremony. She calmed herself down and still said "I do" with a smile on her face half an hour later. The groom was none the wiser. I think having a panic attack might be a sign that you are making a HUGE mistake. Apparently she didn't think so.

When I think of marriage my mind always goes back to those traditional roles. The husband being the bread winner and the wife staying home cooking, cleaning and raising the kiddos. Basically my worst nightmare. My mom said when she was standing at the alter and heard the preacher say "...honor and obey..." it all of a sudden dawned on her what she was committing herself to. Luckily that all worked out and my parents, who were high school sweethearts, will be married 28 years this month.

Who knows, I'm still young, maybe one day I'll feel differently about the whole thing and decide that not only do I want to be married, but I want an entire litter of children. But as of right now, it isn't looking good.

December 3, 2009

365 Project: Day 48

I don't like the Winter. Its my least favorite season. During these cold months I am in a constant state of discomfort and discontent. First I'm too cold, so I put on more clothes, I turn up the heat. Then I'm too hot. So I have to put up my hair, take off the extra socks I put on. Then I'm chilled again. I am forever in search of that happy medium.

I don't like sweaters. You put them on because its freezing outside, but how long are you actually outside? Once you reach your destination and you're back inside, you're burning up and regret ever putting that sweater on the in first place. I wore a black turtle neck today and I regretted every second of it. Its like it was choking me. I couldn't breathe. I kept pulling on it and tugging at it to give myself a few seconds of relief, but it persisted to strangle me all day. During the Winter I am never content. Never comfortable.

There have been times in my life that felt like a perpetual Winter and like I was wearing a turtle neck every single day of it. I was in a constant state of dissatisfaction and frustration. I felt like I was working and working and working to obtain a certain kind of life that I wanted, but I was getting nowhere. I was pulling and tugging, and no matter what I did, I still felt strangled and restrained. I was doing everything except what I knew I needed to be doing. I wasn't taking pictures anymore. I wasn't writing. I wasn't myself. I was falling apart.

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who is known for creating the "hierarchy of human needs". He even created a pyramid to demonstrate the levels of human need that lead to self-actualization. The dictionary defines self-actualization as the realization of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone. I find his whole theory to be fascinating and particularly applicable to my life.

Abraham Maslow said, "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be."

Its hard for me to explain in words this nagging feeling, urge, compulsion that comes from inside of me, driving me to create. I think Maslow describes it so simply and so accurately "What one can be, one must be." By not fulfilling my potential and holding back all these things inside me, I had created my own personal Winter. I was miserable.

Maslow also said, "If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

If I weren't able to take another picture ever again, or write another word, I would become a shell of a person. I would be lost. That's how much it means to me and my well being. Photography and writing are not just things I do because I enjoy them. I create art because I have to. I need to. Its in me. Its my passion. Its my purpose. Its what I'm good at. Its the way I see the world. Frame by frame. Its who I am.

Just as the seasons change, I'm sure I will one day endure another personal Winter. But as long as I can keep creating, I know I will make it through and I will be "at peace" with myself again.

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December 2, 2009

365 Project: Day 47

I'm exhausted. I had to lay down and close my eyes for a second. I needed to rest, even if I had to take my picture while doing so. November was a tough month full of travel, events, and loss. Now that I'm finally home, I have spent every second parked in front of my computer working away. But I'm making progress and getting a little closer to catching up. As of right now I am up to date on my 365 Project. That's one thing I can mark off my to do list.

I think this is the first picture I have taken wearing my glasses. Yes, I wear glasses. Not every day. My eye sight really isn't that bad. Although I should probably wear them more often than I do. I only wear them when my eyes feel tired from staring at the computer all day, to read something far away, or to drive at night. But I like them. I feel like they make me look more studious.

The world definitely looks much more clear through them. Everything seems so crisp and well defined. Even colors seem brighter. My vision completely changes just by putting on my glasses. I wish they made glasses that could make you see other things more clearly. Like, choices, or plans, goals, paths, the next step, or people's intentions. I would wear those glasses every day for sure.

December 1, 2009

365 Project: Day 46

I collect vintage cameras. I have 14 in my collection right now. I'm picky about which ones I collect. I try to only collect cameras that still work. Right now, to my knowledge, I only have one camera that doesn't work.

I'm holding my Grandparents' Anscoflex II in the picture. It works. My Grandmother told me a long time ago that they had two old cameras that I could have, if she could ever find them. Well, while we were there going through my Grandfather's things, we found them.

The other camera she gave me is a Brownie Target Six-20. It works too. These are now the two most special cameras in my collection. Just knowing that many of my family pictures were taken with these cameras make them like treasures to me. I am so excited to have these. It means a lot that she would want to give them to me.