Monday, January 12, 2015

It's Not Me, It's YOU

Design: / photo credit: via href="">photopin href="">cc
It's been a long time coming, but today I finally cut ties from several folks that had no place in my life.

I had held back on this decision for years under the guise of professionalism.  Simply put, I wanted to be the bigger person.

But...It was time.

Seeing photos, tweets and Facebook updates that have bordered on bullying at best, or shared embellished lies at worst, have become negative distractions that I can't afford to waste more time with.

I have beyond proven that I am the bigger, and better, person. I don't need, nor want to, go there.

So with the click of a button and a few swipes of a mouse, I unfollowed, unfriended, deleted and blocked people that have no room in my life. Social media and otherwise.

Then I had a glass of wine. Went shopping. Came back home to only ask myself: Why did I wait so long?!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Musings at the Start of 2015

I started off 2014 with a new ankle that can (now) fit into riding boots and will hold me up to walk an hour without pain. 

After much tugging and pushing, I finally went back to school ... And although news for me, it was the "about darn time you show off your creative juices," remarks that I received from my long-time friends and colleagues when I mentioned my new "Media Arts" degree choice - instead of marketing - that confirmed I was doing the right thing.

I retired from PR but didn't stay too far away - I just learned not to work with certain flashy as they may seem. 

I picked up photography, directed two documentaries, received an award for founding #LLBLOG/#LBNC15, wrote my first treatment and got a head start on my novel. 

I also organized my fourth Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference and started planning the Fifth Annual #LBNC15 Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference...which I hope you will join me at!

I found a new endocrinologist  that has been patiently dealing with my million and one health issues - a few of which some of you know of. The great news? I grew back some of my hair and my weight has been at the high end of 16 - the smallest I've been in two years. 

I lost both the only woman that loved me unconditionally and pushed my creative talent, and an uncle that found it perfectly OK to accompany me two hours to find that perfect imported fish for dinner. 

I realized that at the end of the day, my family is my family - and everyone else's, well, isn't. 

I lost touch with some folks, reconnected with others and met new like-minded people of all ages in school, through social media and outside activities (yes, I had time for a life in 2014!) that I'm proud to call my friends. 

I learned first hand that marriage teeter totters on the edge of insanity and bliss, but I have yet to learn how keep this relationship, probably the most important one that I will have with another human being, consistent. 

2014, in a nutshell, was EXHAUSTING

I was pulled in different directions - some completely by my doing, others, well, life...and although I don't believe in resolutions and I haven't created a vision board in years, I have started this year a few weeks back when I realized that at the end of the day MY Life is about ME

So...2015 has been aptly named #meyear

I started #meyear with my commitment to the Artist Way practice thanks to the insistence of a dear friend...and with that, I feel that I have kicked off a new chapter in this book called life.


As many others do on the eve of a new year, I can also say that 2015 is going to rock, going to be big, or some other yah-something adjective to make me feel positive and upbeat, but at the same time be completely unrealistic to what life throws my way.

The truth is, 2015 it's going to be great in some ways, sucky in others...and I'm ok with that.  Life has taught me that it's absolutely impossible to be happy and blissful all.of.the.time. But that it's very likely that good will happy right next to bad.

People are going to suck while others are going to be my biggest cheerleaders. Some will be there through thick and thin while others will come around only when the time is right. 

Although I might forget it at the time, the reality is this: you can't avoid people that aren't on your camp...the best, and probably most mature reaction, is to learn how to live and function in any situation, around anyone and just #livebeautifully regardless of that one moment, person or situation.

We just can't avoid bad.all.of.the.time...But I think we can learn to grow and learn from it.

So with that new found view on life
 I've finally embraced that I will ALWAYS be a work in progress...and I'm going to be just fine.

Better than fine...

During #meyear I plan on #livingbeautifully.  

photo credit: mijori via photopin cc

Friday, December 19, 2014

From Hobbyist to Budding Photography Pro

I wasn't planning on staying at SMC another semester, but due to paperwork errors, well, here I am.

When I found I had to take another semester at SMC, most classes were filled. So I did what most students do in times like this: First panic, then sign-up for any class I could find open. One of these classes was a total crapshoot: Photography.

Actually, it was suggested by my dear friend and Blogger Ashley, "you could always use photography skills for your blog."

So I signed up for that class with an iPhone, Canon prosumer camera, and 35mm Olympus travel camera stashed away. When I say that I was completely UNPREPARED for this class, I am not exaggerating by no means.

The first day in the class, some folks showed-up with cameras and lenses I had never even heard of. Models, brands, prices and features rolled off my classmates tongues like Chinese to my ears. By the end of the class I was told I needed a camera. I real camera. A DSLR...and handed a scary syllabus and overwhelming list of cameras that were appropriate to complete the class assignments.

I stayed behind to talk to my professor after that first class, and gave her an overview of what I planned to shoot outside of school: "Beauty products, food tastings, vacations and random family photos."

The professor explained that cameras on the high-end were better suited for students that wanted to take a professional route, while a hobbyist, like myself, is better suited for a starter camera.  I settled on researching four mid-range models, two Canon (a brand I was familiar with) and two Nikons (the "dark-side of photography brands" as a fellow blogger told me).

I started with online researching on all the models I originally expected to choose from, then added a couple more as I expanded my research. I also stopped by several photography shops and my mainstay, Bestbuy, to "play" with the cameras and ask questions.

After a few days of research, various store visits, the day before my second class, I walked into Bestbuy with a solid choice: The Nikon D3300, and immediately connected with what would become a major part of my life for the next four months.
An overview of some of the photos I took this semester
Each week during the semester I was assigned various exercises and had to submit my work to be graded by my professor and also reviewed by my peers. Surprisingly, each week a photo or two of five selected by my professor received rave reviews by my peers.

As the weeks went on, I learned to love photography more and more; and started to see things differently. Within three weeks I purchased a new lens. Less than a month later, I added a few other accessories. By the end of the semester I accumulated filters, a remote control, tripod, bounce, gray card, and many other tools that have helped me take these photos.

My required class assignments have turned into a passion that has been fueled, like with most artists, with the feedback and praise of others. So much so, that I was invited to continue at the schools photography program!

Last night I submitted my first portfolio and today I proclaimed that I will be working not just in media, blogging and writing, but that photography will fuel my creativity in 2015 and beyond.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Forgive Me

I had plans, but life got in the way.

Not only did school and work play a tizzy on my schedule, then health and family deaths really broke my spirit.

This week I was planning on focusing on finals and then update ya'll with a few last minute gift ideas, Holiday celebration activities, things-to-do and what not - but then I got a call...

Another death...someone near and dear. Someone special. Someone that I have many memories about. Someone that flew to be with me when my dad left us.

Someone that I loved.

As much as I want to be poised and put together, the little energy I have left is spent on the simple motion of being up and awake.

So right now, as much as I hate to do this, I need to be away and focus on what I can immediately deal with.

I hope you can forgive me and come back when I'm in a better place.

With much love,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The 20s in my 80 20 Life

A couple of days ago a friend asked me about a mutual contact that we had both lost touch with. "Shelly (name changed) was a bit odd," my friend added.

While I wanted to agree on her personality assessment of Shelly, I don't think it was entirely her doing that weaned our relationship. Mostly, as I told my friend, we were in her 20%.

Let me explain...

The 80 20 rule, or Pareto's Concept, is something that I was unfamiliar with until another friend brought it up when I was sharing my frustration over Bertha (name changed) that, try as I may, she just.doesn'

In very basic terms, my friend told me, that for every ten people you meet or come across, two of those people won't mesh  or like you, while eight of those people will. I imagine that both my friend and I were the two out of the ten for Shelly, and Bertha was in my 20.

My friend asked me about the moment I figured out that I didn't want to be part of Shelly's life. To be honest, there wasn't a pivotal "let's-end-this-right-here-right-now" moment with Shelly. Maybe because I know what it's like to have days where your hormones take the best of you, or there are day's were stuff just gets in the way, that I am quicker to just vent about someone, than cut them off completely.

The same went for Shelly.

Sure, she said a few annoying things, but rather than avoiding her completely, I figured that in the small world that L.A. is, we would eventually run into each other, or at worse, end-up working together.

So I did what most people in my situation would do, I scheduled a Skype call.
When Shelly logged into the call, she was late and possibly hadn't changed in days. Even remotely, Shelly couldn't look straight into the camera and her eyes, instead, darted from her keyboard, to an invisible something on either side of her screen. 
I wanted to see her face as she told me about her business, her professional background, and ways that we could potentially collaborate. I was, as I usually am in situations like this, very open minded.  
When it was my turn to share, I told her about "the type of clients I work with," I then listed my client roster, which, at that time was quite enviable. From Macy's, to Time Warner Cable, to Disney, and a few others, I was, my company was, doing well. 
"The type of collaborations that work for my clients include," I I way to open up the opportunities for her as she had told me earlier in the conversation that she was interested in transitioning from a small business consultant, to a freelancer focused on corporate clients. This was, at least on paper, a possible opportunity for us both to work together. 
"I am open to training you and guiding you as you work with our clients..." I then mentioned the NDA's that were required by my clients, to the admin paperwork we had to submit on a weekly basis, and all the procedures that were required to work with clients of this level. 
"I work with small and local businesses...and we don't do any of that." She stated matter-of-factly, looking straight at me through the screen before she...rolled her eyes, then said "I don't think we can work together."
That was the moment, I told my friend, that I knew we wouldn't mesh. Not because we ran our business differently, but because she didn't have an open mind and wasn't interested in learning why corporate clients worked differently from the moms-and-pops she was used to working with.

From that moment, err, that Skype call, our social media shares about work had less and less in common. Her circle of folks, her 80%, was my 20%.

We, coincidently haven't run into each-other since that interaction - or haven't in years. She was not willing to learn, and I, being the hard head that I am, was unwilling to let a faux pas go unnoticed.

Eventually, we were each others 20%...and that was, and is, OK.


A year, or two, has passed since Shelly and I have seen each-other or connected on social media. Truth be told, I quickly forgot about her until my friend brought her up recently.

But when she did bring her up, I thought about Bertha and the other Bertha's of the world, that easily make a 20% judgement with no other reason other than, well, nothing.

While Shelly, a card carrying member of my 20%, has a reason. She didn't hide behind the fact that our professional differences were the reason I would be in her 20%...and for that, although we might not mesh, I respect her.

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