I had been tossing and turning beneath the snuggly comfort of my toasty warm covers for two endless hours in the middle of a winter night trying to figure out why I was so uncharacteristically restless. It wasn’t because my beloved had been sawing logs beside me like a woolly mammoth with a head cold. It wasn’t because I was stressed over how I was probably setting my kids up for a lifetime of failure because I let them watch back-to-back-to-back episodes of Dora the Explorer and eat their dinner in front of the television twice that week (gasp!). Then, in one of those cheesy made-for-tv moments, I surprised even myself when I suddenly sat bolt upright in bed (who does that?!). A calmness I’ll never forget wrapped itself around my shoulders and I breathed a sigh of relief, then said out loud to Brian, “I have to do something tomorrow.” He didn’t hear me. It didn’t matter. I knew.

I submitted my SOAR! application video two weeks later.

Thirty-six blog posts, seven video blogs, one hundred twenty-six images, ninety-seven slices of cheese pizza, forty-five glasses of wine (not all in a row) and nearly 365 days later, I am utterly and blissfully exhausted (yep, a whole lot of pizza and a glass of wine gets many a blog post written, my friends).

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Wicked Business

Except for the cute little munchkins, the yellow brick road scares the ruby slippers off me. First, you’ve got the danger of flying monkeys and wild animals dressed up like lions and tigers and bears (go ahead and say it…oh my) lurking about. Then you have the whole problem of footwear-obsessed witches to deal with. Plus, the talking trees freak me out. No thanks. I’ll just hang out here with the munchkins and wait for that whole vindictive witch-problem to blow over.

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Woof Woof

I’m no expert on the theory of natural selection, but I’m guessing even Charles Darwin would agree with me that somewhere along the line we humans got genetically mixed up with puppies. Anyone who has had small children knows exactly what I’m talking about here: cute and cuddly one minute, peeing all over the kitchen floor the next. Darwin himself was a prolific contributor to the gene pool having had ten puppies kids. You know it crossed his mind once or twice while he was watching his rugrats chase their tails, then collapse into a deep, paw-twitching, REM stage of sleep. Clearly, parenting exhausted him so much that he left out a few chapters in his On the Origin of Species.

Actually, it crosses my mind every time I do a shoot with wee ones. They look at you with those big, puppy dog eyes; a little cautious at first, but willing to approach for a sniff. It also helps when you dangle lollipops in their direction (or steak-flavored lollipops if they are really carnivorous kids).


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Done is Beautiful

This one is for all you perfectionists out there because sometimes, done is beautiful.

And don’t miss the outtakes. Apparently, the camera operator (who I happen to be married to) thinks I carve pumpkins like I’m in a horror film.



Cheap Cheap

There are some things you don’t ever want to go cheap on. Getting a Groupon for cosmetic surgery or hair replacement probably falls in the “you get what you pay for” category.  Or imagine the buyer’s remorse you’d wake up with the morning after visiting a dyslexic tattoo artist who can’t draw anything more than stick figures and happy faces. And one thing I’ll never ever go cheap on is a mattress – I think a compelling sociological case study could made for the devastating impact of cheap mattresses on marital stability.

After speaking with Roxanne Benton of Pixel2Canvas last week, I’m adding one more thing to my list of Things to Never Cheap Out On: Canvas.

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Kissing Frogs

It’s been awhile since I kissed a frog, so my memory could be a little sketchy here. The last one I kissed turned out to be a 6’3” guy of Swedish decent wearing cargo pants and a Phillies hat. He was holding a sparkly ring, so I figured that must be a good sign. I’m fairly certain that most of us (except a lucky few), have to kiss a few frogs before we find the winning amphibian. When you lay a big smooch on the right one though, you can’t help but hop off into the sunset as quickly as possible…in search of a photographer.

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I Get Knocked Down

I should have seen it coming. That was the first thought that went through my head as I was lying on the sparring mat. My second thought was that I should Google “cracked rib” if I made it home alive. And my third thought went something like, “I’m too old for this (insert expletive here),” which is laughable now considering I was only 27 years old.

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The Office Pool

Most every office has some kind of event where there is harmless gambling involved; maybe it’s taking bets on when a co-worker will have the baby. Or how long until the boss gives in and gets caught chain-smoking out behind the dumpster. And there’s nothing quite like the NCAA March Madness brackets to reveal a colleague’s true colors. In my case, I’m fairly certain the good people over at Fastline Media take bets on how long it will take Ali Anderson to make decisions about her website.

It’s not that I’m a commitment-phobe. It’s just that creating a brand for yourself out of thin air with a looming deadline is a little bit like shopping at Target during rush hour. Sure, you have your list in hand. You know what it is you need: super-mega-ultra rolls of paper towels, industrial-sized packages of toilet paper and enough trail mix and shower curtains to last through a nuclear winter.

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