Photo Story // Urban Fusion

I haven't photographed a fashion shoot in a long time. I feel like that is a shameful thing to say as someone who is a fashion and lifestyle photographer. I'm sure many creative entrepreneurs know the feeling. You're too busy creating work for someone else that you neglect to make any of your own. My bff, Olivia Rodrigues, was feeling something similar so she came up with the idea for this shoot. She met designer Nathalia Jmag and right away was drawn to her clothing. She knew that she wanted to do this photo shoot in a place as vibrant as the clothing. Enter Troop, one of my favorite hangouts. The interior is old school hip-hop inspired. It was the perfect backdrop for this story. We took over the restaurant one Thursday morning (we even shot in the bathroom). It was a family affair as Olivia had her littlest sister, Ornella, model and had another little sister, Laurinda, on assistant styling duty. Simony Resende was on hair and makeup while my boyfriend was my lovely assistant. We're so excited that Scorpio Jin Magazine has published some of the photos online! Keep scrolling and check out more photos from the shoot!

What About Your Friends? // The Five People You Surround Yourself With

I talk a lot about vibrations and frequencies. Your vibration is the energy that you are putting out in the world. Your frequency is the level at which you are operating. You may have heard that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I want you to think about those five people. Do they all lift you up? Motivate you? Challenge you to strive for more? Light you up when you see a text from them? Or do they drag you down? Depress you? Trigger you by the mere mention of their name? Hate to break it to you but if there are people in your inner circle that are dimming your light, they have to go. 

That could mean creating space away from them. If you are already on the path of doing your thing, people who aren’t along for the ride will naturally fall by the wayside. Maybe you need to confront them and say “Hey, all this negativity you bring to me isn’t cool.” It could be the wake-up call that they need because they’re blinded by their own insecurities that they project on everyone else. Or, you could do a friend breakup. I remember my first friend breakup in college. We went to high school together and hung out all the time when we first started college. She was a nice girl but when she got negative, it went deep. There was a problem everybody and everything. It was toxic being around her and I told her that I couldn’t have that in my life. 

To go back to frequencies, let’s use Jen Sincero’s example of a radio. You want to listen to hip-hop but you’re tuned into cat country. Instead of complaining that it’s not Drake while continuing to listen to dudes sing about their trucks, how about you turn the dial and tune and find the rap music you’re looking for. Some people in your life want desperately to be part of your group, but they’re just not on the same frequency as you and that is ok. Doesn’t make them a bad person at all. The vibration they’re putting out does not align with yours and you’re better suited saving that space for someone you can actually vibe with.

I've noticed that people are hesitant to remove people from their lives, no matter how toxic they may be. I want those people to ask themselves what they would say to a dear friend or family member in that same situation. Most likely they would tell them to cut that person out and never look back. My dream is for us all to value ourselves as much as we value those we care about. Sometimes people are in your life for a season and some for a lifetime, but they're all here to teach you a lesson. Spend this one life we have been gifted on the people who truly bring you joy.

34 Things I've Learned Before I Turn 35

This Sunday, April 15th, I am turning 35 years old. My friend asked me how I felt about it the other day. I’ve been saying I’m almost 35 instead of saying 34 for the past four months. I think I’ve been ready for it to end for a while now. Looking back on my birthday last year to now, I feel like I’ve both grown as a person and haven't changed much at all. Birthdays are everyone’s personal New Years Day. It’s our chance to reflect on the past year and see how far we’ve come, what we can adjust, and honor and celebrate what has happened. Here are 34 things I’ve learned in my 34 years.

  1. It's ok to not be where you thought you would be at this age.
  2. The fun is in the process of aiming to be your best self.
  3. Everything happens for a reason, even the really shitty stuff. It led you here.
  4. Worrying is wishing for what you don’t want to happen.
  5. Always stand up for what is right. ALWAYS.
  6. Use your phone for what it’s for and have actual conversations with people.
  7. You will always feel better after listing off what you’re grateful for first thing in the morning.
  8. Say no, and say it often.
  9. Say yes, and say it often.
  10. Learn what actions will propel your forward. That will help you with numbers 8 and 9.
  11. Surround yourself with amazing people and kick out the toxic folks.
  12. Multitasking is a sham.
  13. Read more, even if it’s another business book because you can’t be bothered to read fiction.
  14. But an afternoon spent reading poetry is good for your soul too.
  15. You’re happier when you have good food in the fridge.
  16. Holding hands is something that brings your joy. People should hold hands more often.
  17. Ask for help. You don’t have to do it all alone.
  18. It’s ok to change your mind, from the little things to the big things. Nothing is written in stone.
  19. Slow mornings in bed with your love is a fantastic way to start the day.
  20. Looking at your phone in bed first thing is a trash way to start the day.
  21. Have more plants and don’t be too hard on your self if you kill them.
  22. Have someone else do your taxes. Seriously.
  23. Smile more. Especially if it makes you feel a little weird.
  24. Laugh more. Even when you’re the one getting roasted.
  25. Vulnerability is the strongest position you will ever be in.
  26. Your ideas are valuable. Share them with the world.
  27. Nights out are fun but there is nothing better than cooking at home with your partner.
  28. Have the glass of wine at lunch. You deserve it.
  29. Your mindset is everything. Make sure it’s set on the right frequency.
  30. Explore your options. It’s ok to quit something if it isn’t working for you.
  31. When you’re overwhelmed just do what you can. That’s enough.
  32. Take more polaroids and if you see a Photo Booth, you get in it.
  33. It’s ok to not have a plan, even when it’s deciding to relaunch your blog an hour before you do it.
  34. Even when things are hard, you’re still fucking awesome.

Photo by Mike Marchetti

+/- March 2017

I almost forgot to write this post! March was such a jam-packed month.

+ The fifth Lady Project Summit happened this month and between that, planning the VIP gifting suite the night before the summit, and The Lady Project Blog, I feel like that was all I thought of all of March. If you don't know I am the editor of the LP Blog and we had a month filled with content. The gifting suite was successful and everyone had an amazing time. I also moderated the blogger panel and hosted a workshop with Easy Entertaining owner Katie Roberts called Food As Art.

+ I’ve been working on expanding The Insta Edit even further. I’m really excited to see that venture grow. Our next workshop is April 23rd and we would love to have you there.

+ I didn’t get sick! I feel like every month I am talking about how I’m sick. Shoutout to my immune system for not playing myself this March.

+ I got invited to a really fun event at Tom’s Bao Bao with InDowncity. We got to try out potential flavors and then watched them make the baos. I really hope they add the steak and cheese ones to the menu. 

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Four Tips For Pinterest-Worthy Food Photos

Pinterest. This site can either inspire you or depress you. Right now it's making me want to give it all up and start over as a food photographer. Now I know that is not a real option for me because as much as I like to cook, the final result isn't very attractive. That doesn't stop me from drooling over food photos on Pinterest, not only because I'm always hungry but because I wish I took those photos! Here are four tips to become a Pinterest-worthy food photographer.

1. Natural Light

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Flash photography does not work with food (unless you're a pro who can mimic natural light). It's just a fact. Find a window. Set up a shooting station wherever you have the most natural light. It puts the food in its best light ;) Moving on...

2. Shoot From Above

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Most food photography you will see shot from above. You get to see everything without any weird shadows. So don't be afraid to stand up (or climb on a chair) to get the best shot, even if you're at a restaurant. Ignore the stares...

3. Shoot On A Dark Background

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I don't know what it is but food shot on a dark background just looks better. Be it a wooden, rustic table or some metal slab, it doesn't matter. Just find something dark and it makes the food pop (ugh, I can't believe I just said 'pop').

4. Make A Mess

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The blog What Katie Ate is a master of the messy food shot but it is so freaking beautiful. Maybe it says "Hey, I'm not perfect. You can make food this beautiful too." but in reality, your food won't be as lovely but you probably will make a fantastic mess.

If you look thoughout these photos, you'll see a combination of all these tips. I linked all the Pinterest pages which will have recipes for you in case you want to play chef/ food photographer. I will probably make none of these recipes and instead order some Dominos. Delivery can be pretty too!