Sunday, January 30, 2011

Paige (1 year) DFW children's photographer

I often say the best part of this job is documenting children as they grow. Little Paige was on my most memorable newborn sessions because she was so cooperative and we didn't have one biological incident. She is growing into the sweetest little girl. My daughter is getting older and Paige makes me miss those rolls that are so adorable and squishy! She has got a serious amount of cuteness going on!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Melissa's Story

This is my friend, Melissa, of Preserved Photography.

My name is Melissa.

I am 31 and I still have acne.

When I am a passenger in a car, I have panic attacks. I overreact a lot.

Though I am a mother, I have never given birth to a child. I have very few close friends, intentionally. I am terrified of losing my mother.

I am hilarious (just trust me, it's true). I am talented. I am happy. I am proud.

I am confident.

In third grade, I received my first label. Despite the fact that I was average weight and average height, I was "the fat girl". I never even questioned this new label, I just assumed it was true and I began doing everything in my power to try & change something about myself that wasn't even a problem. It probably won't surprise you to learn that after a few years of this, I actually did develop a weight problem. One that I will probably spend the rest of my life struggling with. I could be bitter about that - I could point the finger at those girls who called me names, pushed me down, and made my life sheer torture at times. I could do all that, but I don't. You know why? Because they were 8 years old. They were kids, just like I was at the time. Now, they are women. Some of whom, coincidentally, have also developed a weight problem. Some of whom I am now very close friends with. Some of whom may even be featured in this series someday.

While I'm putting myself on blast like this, I'll share with you a few of my other big labels in life. Probably the biggest one is "judgmental". If I had a nickel for every time I've been called judgmental, I would probably have at least $5, which may not sound like a lot but if you do the math, that's 100 times. Being referred to 100 times in a negative manner is kind of the pits. Except for this... after the 4th or 5th time someone called me that word, I started to think about what it really meant. Judgmental. To judge someone. Truthfully? It's accurate. I am judgmental. It's a perceived flaw of mine. And I'm ok with that because being judgmental is a defense mechanism for me - it keeps me from getting hurt by other people. Doesn't make it right, necessarily, but it's true. So call me judgmental, I'll wear that label.

Another heavy-hitter in my life is "sarcastic". This one's kind of tricky because it can be interpreted as either a positive or a negative. Generally, I assume people are confusing the word "sarcastic" with the word "cynical" - either way, it probably fits me. I'm kind of a loudmouth with a negative life view and I'm definitely quick-witted. So yea, sarcastic/cynical, whichever you prefer - I'll wear that one, too.

I'm assuming by now (if you haven't fallen asleep) that you kind of get the point... I get labeled. I'm betting you do, too. In fact, I'll give you eleventy billion dollars if you've never ever been labeled by someone (and if you can prove it while simultaneously waiting on me to find eleventy billion dollars). These labels - these words - are hurtful, they are mean and spiteful... and, most importantly, they are usually truthful. Which brings me to the reason why I wanted to be involved in Cultivating Confidence to begin with....

In the coming posts for this project, I hope to introduce you to a few people in my life who I feel can help cultivate confidence in others. I even hope to bring in a few people who need to have some confidence cultivated in themselves and I *hope* that this project can help them with that. The truth is that you ARE your labels. You are your insecurities, your faults, your shortcomings - you are all of this. But that isn't ALL you are. Every single one of us has faults. We all have things that other people see in us as undesireable traits and you know what I say? Learn what yours are. Listen to the people in your life and let them stamp you with those labels... and then? Then, YOU get to decide if those labels are negative or not. You are the one who gets to look at yourself and make the decision about whether or not you're ok with being labeled as too heavy, too nice, too whatever. At the end of the day, you may decide that you are actually ok with being these things and if you are, then BE them. And be the best at them that you can be... be confident about whatever it is that you decide is ok for YOU and when you do that, you'll find that you're happier with yourself - which is all that really matters.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sutton (5 days old) DFW newborn photographer

This was an awesome session for me. Sutton's big brother was one of my first clients. I was so excited to meet Sutton. I also got to try some poses that were a little out of the box for me. I was so lucky that dad was willing to do some shots with her. I love the way they turned out. I also had the help of my friend, Meredith. It was nice to have another set of hands with newborns. You can never be too careful. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek, mom. Good luck choosing a favorite!

First these are my two favorites with dad!

I love this one because his tattoo is the family crest.

I also got mom to hold her!

We used her Mimi's jewelry and shoes for the next one. I love that we could use some of her things!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I heart faces-Winter Wonderland

This week's theme is Winter Wonderland. I was so fortunate that it just snowed recently. This is the reaction my daughter had to the snow. I love that I captured it! Be sure to check out the other wonderful entries!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I love balloons! DFW childrens photographer

I generally just try to capture her, but for her birthday I decided I wanted to add balloons. It was fun for both of us!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I heart faces "smile"

I wish I could bottle up her smile and sell it. It makes you warm inside and makes you smile with her. I am so blessed to be her mommy.

Be sure to click on the link below and see the other amazing entries.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-my new blog segment

A few months ago my daughter came home very upset and told me that she was not beautiful. She is in preschool and I thought to myself-- “do self-esteem issues start this early?” We always tell her she is so beautiful, that she does a great job and that we are proud of her. It took me back to when I was younger and had the same issues. My parents built me up every day, but I didn’t believe I was beautiful. I was short and skinny. I got picked on a lot. I think my quick wit developed from being picked on when I was younger.

Growing up, I hung around popular people, but was not popular myself. I think that is almost harder than being completely unnoticed. I played all kinds of sports, but didn’t really excel at anything. I always wanted to be better but lacked the discipline to try to be the best. I could absolutely relate to my daughter’s issue.

After the discussion with my daughter, I decided that I was going to do something positive for her and every person who may have issues with self esteem. I decided to recruit people I know to talk about their confidence issues and provide a positive message. I sent out a message on Facebook and put my friends on notice. I told them I was going to take their picture and have them help me. One of my friends who responded is out of state, but wanted to be a part of it. I am starting this in conjunction with my friend, Melissa Campbell, of Preserved Photography in Bentonville, Arkansas.

For those of you who don’t like unsolicited advice, take it with a grain of salt. We are all unique, but we can learn from others if we choose. You may not be able to relate to every person we feature on the blog, but it may help you understand others better. We hope that we can bring a positive message about confidence and self-esteem. Please share this with your friends, their teens or anyone you know who likes a good read. This is going to be a wonderful journey for us all.

I hope to make this a bi-weekly post. It will show up every other Friday, until I can talk everyone I know into spilling their insecurities with you!

My story

I, like most women, can rattle off many things about myself that make me insecure. I wear a size 10 in shoes, which means I should be much taller than I am. I am a petite 5’4”, which means you can tell I have big feet! I used to have an overbite-a really bad overbite. I have a little bit of a lazy eye on one side. When I get tired you can really tell. The natural shape of my eyebrows is a triangle, kind of like Raggedy Ann. I am so thankful for tweezers! I was always jealous of my friends with a tiny waist. I have the “tomboy” figure which means I have no waist. I am officially almost half and half with white and black hair. I could keep going, but you get the point!

You might think after all that self loathing that I don’t have any self esteem, but I do. I would tell you that braces have made me love my smile now. I love that people who really know me associate me with being happy and always smiling. I may not be over all of my insecurities, but I am happy with the person I have become. Many of my successes in life were a result of other monumental failures. This has led me to adopt my favorite saying “it is what it is.” There are times that you can’t change what has happened but if you keep moving forward you may not want to look back.

My best advice is to surround yourself with people who are your real friends. You need friends who will tell you the truth, but who don't bring you down. You need friends who will encourage you and challenge you to be better. At times there will be people who will say bad things about you. It is hard to see at the time, but it can be from their own insecurities. Make sure your "friends" aren't doing that to you. It can be difficult to make new friends but it can be much better for your self-esteem in the long run.