Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Behind the Scenes Video of Natalie's Glamour Shoot

Did you watch Hailey Bartholomew & Sue Bryce on creativeLIVE last week?! I didn't lol

I heard they were fantastic — an inspiration for everyone who wants to explore into the world of video and filmmaking. That includes me of course! I can't wait to watch every minute of their workshop later this month. For now, I'm wading through thousands of photos, editing to my hearts delight and pleased to see improvement in the way I'm shooting! Yaiwoo!

I'm sure once I watch Hailey & Sue's workshop I'll learn a billion helpful hints that will revolutionise the way I work with video. And... I absolutely can't wait to find a videographer that can join my ever growing creative team! Then we'll be able to create some truly stunning cinematography.

Here's a wee behind the scenes video I threw together using clips from a photo shoot way back in December with Natalie... Geez it's taken me long enough to get this published lol Enjoy enjoy! :)

Oh, and to read a little bit more about Natalie's shoot, check out this other BLOG post I wrote earlier in the month...

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
Hair & Make-Up :: Hanna Mazur (
Dress :: Kimmi's Designs by Kim McCormick (
Hairpiece :: Serephine (
Behind the Scenes Photography :: Cheryl Ford Photography (
Photography Assistant :: Bethany Potter
Model :: Natalie Sherman
Music :: Beautiful Girl, Beautiful World (Instrumental) by Tyrone Wells via Song Freedom 

Monday, January 28, 2013

What is the Most Beautiful Stage of Your Life?

What is the most beautiful stage in a flower's life?

Dana and I had our feet propped up by Starbucks' toasty fireplace. Afternoon slipped away into darkness and we talked (for 4 1/2 hours!) about the worst hair style she's ever had, how to flirt successfully, and why we both LOVE Seattle. She also told me about a book that I can't wait to read...

Apparently, this book walks you through the life-cycle of a flower, as you try and figure out which stage of its life is the most beautiful.

The conclusion...every stage of the flowers' life is its most beautiful.

Don't waste the first part of your life waiting to enjoy beauty or waiting to feel beautiful.
Don't waste the second part of your life wishing you had enjoyed your beauty or thinking that your days of being beautiful have passed you by. Instead, find out how every stage of your life is uniquely beautiful and worth celebrating. 

Rachel is wearing a beautiful wedding gown from Blue Sky Bridal in Seattle.
Thank you to Hanna Mazur for the gorgeous hair & makeup.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chick Chat :: The Power of SHE

I didn't know what to expect. I was prepared to walk into the room and find ten women sitting around a fold-up table drinking tea from styrofoam cups. To my delight, when Cheryl and I walked into the Chick Chat 2013 Kick Off Soiree in the beautiful Alki Arts Gallery in downtown Seattle and we were greeted at the door with pretty business cards, notebooks, and pin badges. I snatched a cute Chick Chat branded cookie (baked by the equally well branded Lady Yum) and Cheryl picked up a glass of Girlie Girl Wine and we walked around awkwardly looking for a way to start a conversation with someone. 

Women were chatting away in their little groups, admiring artwork, having their handwriting analyized, trying on masks from A Masquerade & learning about trips to Nepal with Crooked Trails to visit girls who have been rehabilitated from sexual trafficking. Finally, we found a friendly face approaching us and we pounced. From that point onwards the night was wonderful. It was eye-opening for me to meet other business women in Seattle who share my passion for all things WOMAN — reassuring me that I'm not alone in this scary world of starting a business. And obviously, I was in heaven as I looked around the room at what must have been at least 100 faces —beautiful & just waiting to be photographed ;) 

Thank you Cheryl for being my date last night ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Afraid to Speak Up On Social Media :: Connecting with People

I went shopping with a stranger today. I was debating whether or not to buy a fancy glass bottle and this little voice came at me through the shelves from the other aisle. 

"Do you know anything about making fondu?" I laughed, peeked around the corner and smiled at the girl who was about my age, standing there holding fondu sticks in one hand and carefully lifting the top of a fondu pot with the other. 

We only talked about fondu for about a minute before our conversation meandered on to how many ugly things there were in this thrift shop and we contemplated how someone (on Pinterest) could make them look cool. We ended up walking around the thrift store together and finally at the check out, we looked at each other and said,

"It would really fun shopping with you. Have a great evening."

And that was that. I never knew her name. 

We got on so well that I did feel tempted to suggest we become friends and go for a coffee or exchange numbers or something. But in the end I decided we would just share this one friendly moment in time together and that would be enough. 

I left the shop feeling so happy. My silent safety bubble that I normally wear when I'm out in public, the one that keeps me so isolated from the hundreds of people around me, was deflated and I was reminded that connecting with other human beings is a beautiful thing. 
Most people I know are always avoiding this connection. This happens a lot online as well. You enjoy a blog post but you don't leave a comment. You "like" a Facebook post but you don't dare type words for all the world to see. And if the post is by someone famous, and there are already 200 comments, you're especially put off because you figure your comment will be lost in the masses or it's already been said by someone else. 

Well, that's not the point. The point is not about YOU and your fabulous comment. In fact, all you have to do is type "This is great! Thanks for sharing." It doesn't have to be poetry, people. The point is that you reach outside of your comfort zone and you connect with other human beings, even if they're thousands of miles away sitting behind a computer. This is how the world is communicating now. This is how we interact. 

If someone said something inspiring to you and you walked away without saying anything or heaven forbid if you simply looked them in the eye and said "LIKE" and then walked away, we would think you were very odd indeed. So rather than just consuming all the data and retreating like a hungry hermit, I highly recommend that we all start engaging. Leave comments & talk to people online that are, FYI...real people who would love to hear from you. Burst out of your private bubble and connect with them! It's a beautiful thing ;)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Decorating the Glamour Studio :: Living in the Land of Pretty Things

Happy Monday! 
This weekend we've been power pushing the final touches on the studio decorations — painting windows, doors, frames, chairs etc... Everything is going white! 

I've been crawling around underneath the house, trying not to bump my head into fibreglass or eat spiderwebs, searching for funky furniture long abandoned by my parents.

For Christmas, my wonderful grandma gave me gorgeous silk hangers for my wardrobe — it was a happy girly moment as I carefully slipped each piece of clothing onto my also new garment rack. :D

I've hopped out to thrift shops twice this week returning both time with arms full of bargained bounty: hot pink silk flowers, miniature glass jars (practically useless but SO CUTE, I couldn't resist), extension cords, hat boxes, a cute stool for posing and a golden tissue box. :D I'm officially in the land of pretty things.

Oh and I basically stole about 20 paint palettes from the hardware store - no intention of buying paint, just wanted to take home the pretty colours. So now I'm going to go all DIY on the world and make a colourful calendar inspired by Pinterest ;) 

Have a wonderful day finding things that make you happy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Take Lucky Breaths

"If you want to know what if feels like to be lucky, take a breath."

I heard that quote in yoga class last weekend and since then, I've been pausing mid-email, mid-edit, and mid-brushstroke (we're painting the studio!) for a nice long inhale. Now, suddenly it's Friday and after taking in all this extra air (and paint fumes ;) lol and reflecting on the wonderfulness in my life, I've rediscovered a buzz of motivation for passions that fell dormant a year ago.

My purse is stuffed with letters I've written to friends. 
My fingers hurt after hours of practicing guitar.
My muscles ache from my escapades at the gym.
Yesterday, I baked cookies for the first time in like eons and somewhere along the line I even composed a pretty wee poem.

To feel happier, enjoy extra energy, and rediscover long-lost willpower.... breath gratefully! *Oh, and (my) studies have shown that for best results, follow each lucky breath with a 2 minute dancing session around the house.

What passions have you let slip to the wayside? What's your favourite way to motivate yourself? Leave a comment below!

PS: This week I also filed my first round of US business taxes! It was SO MUCH SIMPLER than I'd expected. My business is actually off to a well-organised start = relief and big smiles :D Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Behind the Scenes of Natalie's Glamour Photo Shoot

I start taking pictures right from the beginning of the shoot. We commence with the "Before" which for some reason I always find to be the most difficult shot of the day. I always have to take at least 5...sometimes even 10 — I should really be embarrassed by this. 

It's nothing to do with the beautiful woman standing in front of me. She's perfect, just staring at me like "Come on woman, it can't be that hard — we're not even doing anything fancy yet." It's all me, early in the morning...perhaps a little nervous, perhaps a little groggy, fiddling with my camera settings and trying to figure what the light is like on this brand new day. By the end of 2013, I promise the world that I will be able to capture the Before shot in 3 frames of less. Ultimate goal...."hole in one"!

Once the before shot is checked off the list, I hide behind my couch and snap a couple more atmospheric pictures. The make-up brushes are busy flourishing around so it's a great time for me to get creative with my invisible ninja photojournalistic moves.

When we take breaks, I'm shooting. When we're changing outfits, I'm shooting (nothing that would make you blush, of course ;P). When my make-up artist (usually the fabulous Hanna Mazur) runs in front of the lens to adjust lip gloss and hairpieces, I'm shooting. So naturally, I end up with hundreds of behind the scenes images....festering away in the depths of my external harddrive...abandoned and forgotten forever and ever. Sounds tragic and it really is. 

So, hit with a wave of inspiration this week, I've dived into the archives and I'm piecing together collage boards of my phoot shoots. I've started with Natalie's shoot where I actually had the wonderful Cheryl Ford Photography capturing my behind the scenes moments for me! So, finally, putting all these images to good use and really enjoying the opportunity to relive these mornings spent with inspiring women in my new studio.

Friday, January 11, 2013

101 Things in 1001 Days! :: Goal Setting in 2013

Generally, New Years Resolutions are STUPID (but not this year)! 

When I was 12, I thought they were great. But year after year I watched myself fail.
Then, it occurred to me that New Years isn't a magically unicorn that has the power to overcome my bad habits. So I gave up on them.

But here's 2013 and BING BANG BOSH, my friends and I are all googly-eyed and enthused about goals! We're like a wee cyclone of optimistic ambition.

101 Things in 1001 Days
Set & Accomplish 101 Goals in 1001 Days (2.75 years). 
This website organises it all for you!
Thanks Cheryl Ford for recommending this fun project!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What Do You Desire?

"all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage
to let your heart stare fear in the eye
and sing to it a steadfast song of passion
make it tremble in your wake 
as you soar into your newfound freedom
dancing with the daring 
leading yourself to lands unimaginable
overcoming the pulling doubt of discouraged others
with every positive breath you breath
moving closer each moment 
to the dream that makes you itch
your love calling you from beneath your skin
most worthy of your life
and you will be the happiness others seek
more real than their realism
an inextinguishable rarity 
glowing in the ashes of a defeated world."

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Job's A Game :: A Lesson from the Gym

Huffing and puffing, I was in the middle of a long line of gym bunnies. All of us wiggling our way to tight bums and a great BMI on the Elliptical trainers. Ten feet in front of us stood a lonely row of Treadmills. Not one person walking of the calories. 

I considered unplugging myself from the machine to walk down the line of people and ask them one by one...."Why the Elliptical?" but I chickened out. 

So instead, I retreated to Google on my iPhone. "Elliptical vs. Treadmill" After extensive handheld research, I concluded there really isn't much difference. Pros & cons, blah blah blah. My theory is simple....

People get bored. The Treadmill is boring because we walk all the time. 
People like different. 
Exercising is hard enough already. 
First challenge is getting to the gym.
Not giving up after five minutes is the next obstacle.
Then we start to remember all the stuff we have to do that day and we itch to get back to it.
Then the muscle ache & the pain in the chest.
The comes the boredom. 

I choose the Elliptical because it's more fun. I mean you can even go backwards on that thing!

Fun is essential to success.
If you're bored. If it's too hard. If it's Monday. If you're struggling and you've tried everything and nothing's working. 
Here's the magical solution you've been looking for... 

{Watch it — even if you've seen it a million times. It will make you smile. :D}

Friday, January 4, 2013

What do you think about a "Things I Love About Me" Jar?

Swing by the studio this week & I'm going to tackle you through the door, shove a pen in your fingers, and point with uncontrollable enthusiasm to a big empty glass jar! It's the "Things I LOVE About Me" jar! My awesome friend Bethany and I came up with this wonderful invention last week while sipping tea and eating Chips Ahoy at midnight in her Seattle apartment. 

Here's the idea... 
1) Woman walks into my studio & sits down to get her hair done. She notices our special jar, sitting there eagerly waiting to be fed positivity & she decides to play our little game.
2) Woman thinks about what she loves most about herself / her body. 
3) She jots her decision down onto a little piece of note paper. Maybe she signs her name & #?
4) She practices origami for the sake of anonymity & drops the paper into the jar.
5) Repeat. 
6) Six Months / 1 Year Later = Overflowing Jar — Chamonix Randomly Draws Out One of the Notes & that Lucky Lady Wins a Photo Shoot that revolves around & celebrates whatever feature she wrote down. 

Example: She loves her shoulders so we get her a GORGEOUS off-the-shoulder ball gown and photograph her in poses that really emphasise & show off those sexy shoulders!

What do you think? 
Like / Unlike?
Would you drop your favourite feature into the jar?
Would you want to win that photo shoot?
We need feedback.

Leave your comments below! :D

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Chilean Beauty :: Macarena

"Every billboard is plastered with tall skinny white blondes. You never see a Chilean woman up there. It's particularly offensive because these supermodels represent the "Imperialistic North" — the countries that invaded South America and disregarded the Chilean culture and all of the beauty it holds. Chilean women never get to look up and see the Chilean version of beauty that they themselves possess." -Sophie

My best friend Sophie is married to Johnny — a very very sexy man from Chile. This past month a lovely woman named Macarena (yes, like the dance) — who just so happens to be dating Johnny's best friend from Chile ;) — was a guest in their home here in Seattle. Sophie invited me over for a photo shoot and it wasn't until a week later that she explained to me the significance of using photography to celebrate Macarena's beauty as a Chilean woman.
Thank you Sophie for introducing me to Macarena & thank you Macarena for trusting me to take your portrait. It was so much fun spending an afternoon with you & I hope one day I get to visit you in Chile, taste more of your famous vegan baking, & photograph all of your Latina friends with flowers in their hair! :D

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

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