Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's Thanksgiving and I'm Thankful

So I actually started writing this post in October, but decided against posting it because it wasn't quite ready. Well, now it's ready.

I love Thanksgiving not only because my family gets together and partakes in amazing food, but because it's the time of the year to re-focus on what's important. I know this shouldn't just be a one-time-a-year reflection, but unfortunately, that's usually how the cookie crumbles. It should be a daily thing, and that's something I'm going to strive for here on out. Being thankful and grateful.

I'm incredibly thankful for a loving and supporting family. In an age where divorce is the norm and love is taken for granted, I feel so blessed and lucky to have such a great family. My parents are still as in love as they were when they started dating over 30 years ago, match-made, actually, and will be having a date night tomorrow. I am thankful for that. I'm really blessed to have a wonderful little sister who is like a chemistry genius and acing her classes down at Cal Poly SLO. I'm excited to have her back. We took some fun photos which I will post soon! I'm also so stoked to have extended family close by, with who we gather every week for what we call "Family Night". I usually block out my Fridays to hang with the family and love it. Time to unwind and reconnect...and EAT!

I'm also so grateful and so blessed to have a wonderfully awesome fiance, Centurion. Yes, that's his real name, just as unique as he is sweet. He definitely keeps me grounded and patiently listens to my rants and raves and general ramblings, and loves me all the same. He thinks it's cute when I say, "heeeeeyyyy" and thinks I'm funny when I pick up his vernacular. He pulls me back into a state of calm when I edge on the unreasonable, or more accurately, jump the threshold entirely. We're getting hitched in July, just about 7 1/2 months away! Thank you for being you and letting me be me. I love you, and next Thanksgiving we'll be spending it together!

I feel so incredibly lucky to have "fallen" into the loving arms of photography when I did this summer. David Jay and Jasmine Star were total catalysts of inspiration during their Free to Succeed Tour. I heard the call ringing in my ears and I decided that, "Yes! I'm going to do this" and to not look back. Like Jasmine said (I believe she quoted Tony Robbins?) there is no trying to sit on a chair, you're either sitting on a chair or not. So I'm not going to try this, I'm DOING it. And while I still consider myself in the shallows, all of this just feels so right. Thank you so much for the love that has been shown so far, my heart is with it. And thanks to all of my great friends who have been showcased here and have been supporting my endeavors all the way.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. For everything.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dianna & Little T: Family Shoot!

I met Dianna at work too. I basically considered Dianna the keeper of all knowledge when it came to publishing stuff. She seemed to know everyone, pretty much how to do anything, and smiled the entire way through it. She was always in good spirits and kept a steady supply of candy in her cube. As if she needed a reason for someone to come visit her...everyone showed up voluntarily to ask her a question...or just to chat. She too broke out of the publishing world about a year ago now, (man time flies!) and obliged when I asked her if she'd be interested in being my model.

Did I mention that she has the cutest son, EVER? He's so full of personality! Well, Dianna gave me fair warning. "He LOVES the camera," she said. And that he does. He was a natural and so adorable. When I slipped out of his sight line or walked slowly behind them, he kept asking, "Where's Catie?" I made sure to tell him that I was there and we all had a great time as the sun set.

As you can see, I'm shooting my way through everyone I work(ed) with, lol.

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T
Not sure what he was doing, but thought this was too cute.

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T
Serious face.

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T
My favorite of the afternoon.

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T

Dianna & Little T
And just because I love the flare...

Dianna & Little T
I'm so glad this one came out... it was almost completely dark.

Thanks Dianna and Little T! I had so much fun with you guys, playing rockets, lightsabers, and throwing rocks into the estuary.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Being a Lovecat

I first heard the term "lovecat" at David Jay's Free to Succeed Tour with Jasmine Star. At first I was a little confused, but then he explained that it was from a book, Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders. Being a lovecat involves reading and amassing usable knowledge in your field, networking, and showing "compassion" through sharing said knowledge with those contacts. Ultimately those that you help out may end up returning the favor. Paying it forward. I just finished reading the book a few weeks ago. And over the last couple of weeks, I've found myself being a lovecat.

I've been stocking up on business books - something I never ever pictured myself reading. But now that it's so applicable to my life, I feel like, How can I not? I've recommended Love is the Killer App and The Purple Cow by Seth Godin to my uncle who is an independent consultant. Who would have thought that I would recommend biz books? I certainly didn't!

Last weekend I was talking to my friend about the quintessential dilemma that I have found a lot of our friends have been facing lately: "What do I do with my life?" Do I go to grad school? Do I apply to law school? Do I travel? Do I find a "safe and secure" job? Do I move out of my parents house or do I move back home? I feel fortunate to know what I want to do, photographing people on one of the happiest days of their lives. Capturing those special moments and celebrating love. However, it's only been in the last three months that I've decided to actually go for it.

I began to describe to her something I learned at my work retreat. It was the high point of the two-day "respite". We had a guest speaker, Dave Ellis, author of Becoming a Master Student, educator, life coach, and philanthropist. He encouraged us to "think of the things you never thought," "say the things you've never said," and "do the things you've never done". He told us to take index cards, flip them vertically, and write one goal - whether it be totally attainable or incredibly wild. I loved this idea, and it was the one thing I walked away with, having come up with 150+ cards (not related to the day job!) So I told her, do it. Write out your goals. It may be the most concrete thing you can do to make your dreams come true. (Cheesy? Perhaps. True? Yes!) I'm all about writing out my goals now.

Then I told her about Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I'm currently reading this selection on recommendation from David Jay, so I couldn't fully comment. However, when she mentioned buzzwords such as "rat race" and "good job", it immediately made me think about the book. I had just read that section that talked about getting out of the rat race and having money work for you, instead of working for money. I told her that I just started reading it, but so far, so good. I know I don't want to get worked by an inanimate object. Like David Jay, I want FREEDOM! I hope that I can continue to spread knowledge as I gather it.

They don't say reading is fundamental for nothing. I've renewed my love for reading and can't get enough. I love going to the library now and checking things out. (I renewed my membership with the Alameda Country Library System after a 7-year absence!) I always thought my mom was a little crazy for trying to read three books at the same time. I thought, man, I won't remember who is who or who said what. And look at me now, I'm currently reading: Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad, re-reading Dane Sanders' Fast Track Photographer, AND listening to Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun on my commute. Phwew. That's a lot. But it rocks!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beth + Phil : Anytime

I met Beth at work. She sat in a cubicle tucked away on the other side of the conference room. I would hide out in her cube when I was avoiding productivity. Then she was promoted and had to move to the other building. That just meant I had to take a little stroll across the parking lot to chat. And chat we did. About work. About life. About silly people in the world. Sometimes I'd go to her office with the intention of staying maybe 5 minutes, and it would turn into 45. I worked with Beth up until last month; she was able to break out and shorten her commute. When I asked her if she and her husband would be my models she said, "Yes. I love it when people take pictures of me." If you know Beth, you know this is a good thing.

Beth and Phil hail from the other coast, the East Coast, Rhode Island to be exact. They moved to California as Phil is pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemistry. I already knew that they were a totally fun couple from hanging out a few times. I remember a particular game of Catchphrase where we were all in stitches. They rock! Beth and Phil complement each other in just the right way, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness...on their goat farm in Maine (one day!)

I was excited at the chance to capture them with my camera. Some of my favorites:







I don't remember exactly what they were doing, but I caught it! It was too funny.





Thanks Beth and Phil for coming to hang out! I had a great time and hope you like the results!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Master Class with Vivi Flindt

Back in the day, okay the 90's and early 00's, I danced with Ballet Petit, under the direction of Peggy Peabody. While I wasn't quite as hard core a ballerina as some of the other girls, I loved it. I love the graceful poses, the storytelling without words, and even dancing en pointe. Granted, the blisters and calluses aren't exactly a cup of tea, but amazing excited audiences is so fun. The rush of performing, the butterflies, the bright lights, and the post-performance dinners. Dancing. Is. Fun.

Well, even after moving to San Diego for college, moving back to the Bay Area, finding a full time job, getting engaged, AND pursuing photography as a full time replacement gig, I just couldn't stay away from the studio. I've been in 11 years of performances, The Nutcracker and Spring Concerts. I think that in the 18 years that I've had ties with Ballet Petit, I've only missed about 7 of over 75 performances of the Nutcracker. Not bad, huh? I still take the occasional class. In fact, I'm going to be performing in this year's production on Sunday, December 7 with some of the other alumni! It's the 30th Anniversary! Check out the info here.

With Ballet Petit, I've also had the amazing opportunity of performing at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland with the Oakland Ballet in their production of the Nutcracker, back under the direction of Ronn Guidi. Some of the other girls have been accepted to summer programs at American Ballet Theatre (NYC), Joffrey Ballet (Chicago), San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, and the Kirov Ballet (Russia), among others.

A select few students have had the amazing chance to spend the summer in Denmark, dancing with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen. Two weeks ago, Ballet Petit had the pleasure of hosting Vivi Flindt of the Royal Danish Ballet. She is recognized as a world expert of the Bournonville technique, the number ONE ballet system out of the top FIVE. How exciting is that? She was also named as a national living treasure of Denmark for her work. She is in California staging the ballet The Toreador for Ballet San Jose, which I'm going to go see on Sunday!

So when presented with the opportunity to photograph and document Vivi Flindt's Master Class, how could I pass it up?! A true once in a lifetime experience. It was such an honor to meet her, a Danish living legend, and Bournonville expert! It was so fun to watch her teach class at the school where I used to dance. Then I found out that when she returns to Denmark she will be presenting the photos to the Board of the Royal Danish Theatre. How awesome is that?!

The fabulous Vivi Flindt


This one is my favorite.





Thanks to Miss Peggy and Vivi for this amazing opportunity.

Be sure to check out Ballet San Jose's The Toreador and Ballet Petit's 30th Anniversary production of The Nutcracker.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I've been Tagged!

So, because Just Kim tagged the me, and I'm all about playing along, here I go.

  • Link to the person who tagged me 
  • Mention the rules
  • Reveal seven quirky and/or weird facts about yourself
  • Tag seven other bloggers by linking to them
  • Go to each of their blogs and leave a message letting them know they’ve been tagged!
Catie like you’ve never seen before:
  • The wrong year is printed on my birth certificate. Therefore, I have an amendment correcting it.
  • I hate it when people pronounce the word NUCLEAR as "new-queue-ler"
  • I learned to read and write in French before English.
  • I enjoy celebrity gossip magazines.
  • I have two dachshunds, Frieda and Walter the Farting Dog.
  • Pinocchio freaks me out because it reminds me of Chucky (which also freaks me out)
  • I have never seen A Christmas Story (even when they play it for 24 hours on Christmas day)
Now, I tag:
 Lydia, JessicaMichele, Alyssa, Laura, and Camille Elise.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christina + David = Married!

Sorry to keep my loyal readers waiting! The day job has been keeping me down! But fear not, here is the post. I'm so excited to say that I blew through editing this one in about 4 hours, I love Lightroom!

It was super foggy and overcast all day in Sausalito. The sky was gray. But it did not rain! The wedding was on a yacht that sailed around the San Francisco Bay, which, if you think about it is a great way to keep a captive audience...unless they want to swim back to shore! Christina is the younger sister of one of my bridesmaids, Liz. When Liz found out that I was starting my own business, she asked if I would shoot Christina and David's wedding. Needless to say, I happily accepted. Christina and David are loads of fun! I wish them all the best as they start their lives together!


The 105mm f/2.8 is like buttah for detail shots!


The ring bearer was too cute for words!




First Dance.

Father-Daughter Dance.

Mother of the Groom. She was tearin' it up on the dance floor!




All the best to you two! Thanks Liz for asking me to share in their big day! And thanks to Maile, tag team partner shooting.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ever been stuck?

I was thinking about writer's block this morning. My friend, Cathlin, who just celebrated her 27th birthday received little note cards with whimsy patters meant to help with writer's block. That got me to thinking about being stuck. Stuck in traffic. Stuck in the rain. Stuck in a hole like Winnie the Pooh. I've been stuck. Literally.

I've been trapped in a bathroom twice in my life. Yes, trapped. Stuck. Unable to get out.

The first time what when I was about three years old. I was in my grandparents' home in San Diego, on a Christmas visit with my parents. I guess I had become accustomed to going potty by myself (I was a quick learner), and so I did. While most of the details are pretty foggy, given that that was about twenty years ago, my parents never let me forget the resounding chorus that I belted at the top of my lungs, "LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT!" I suppose it was a faulty door handle or a jammed lock. Clearly I did get out, but even though I was only three years old, the fear of being trapped in a bathroom for life, coursed through my veins.

The second time I was trapped in a bathroom was when I was studying abroad in France. I was a regular October day, and I was between classes. The first floor restrooms were all occupied so I ventured to the second floor. Score! It was vacant. So I went in and locked the door behind me. I went about my business and was ready to exit. Well, problem #1: the door was stuck. In fact, the lock was stuck. At first I thought, "Let me just jiggle the handle and the lock". No such luck.

I looked around the slightly-larger-than-a-phonebooth bathroom and noticed that there was no window. There was no other espace. I considered banging on the door and yelling, but then I remembered that there was another door in the area where the sinks were. There was a layer of insulation. Great. Then, someone tried to open the door. I thought about yelling through the wood door, but then I wondered, what would I say? In French, no less. So I stayed silent and hoped the person would go away.

So there I was stuck in a bathroom in France. I realized problem #2: how was I going to get out? I remembered I had my cell phone on me. Yes! I tried calling some of my American friends, with whom I could relay the message that I was trapped in a bathroom. No luck. Everyone must have been in class. Then I remembered I had the phone number for the director's office in my phone. Score! I formulated what I was going to say. I kept thinking and thinking about how to say "stuck". It finally popped into my head "coince", pronounced "qwin-say" (best I could conjure). I could have of course said "trapped" which would have been easier, but I tend to go the difficult route. I called Christine, the program coordinator, and explained my plight. She immediately jumped on the phone to explain to a handyman of where to find me and to let me out. She called me back to let me know. Within another 20 minutes, I was able to breathe fresh air again. I thanked the custodian profusely and thanked him for granting me my freedom.

After that, I have ALWAYS checked that bathroom doors/stalls/etc. unlocked easily before proceeding. So remember, proceed with caution.

So there's a little story to spice up your Monday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday, and what a greater birthday gift than President-Elect Barack Obama! My mom is such an inspiration to me. She's a full-time obstetrics nurse (ie. helps catch the babies), full-time Master's in Nursing Education student (she teaches future nurses), and a fantastic mom, wife, sister, and daughter. I don't know how she does it all, but I'm pretty sure that after she finishes her Master's degree, she'll pursue a Ph.D.

Everyday, I see where I get my charms and quirks, like my need to match. She was talking about her need to match her scrub tops and scrub pants, and I was like, "Oh that's where I get it from." I have a need to match my earrings to my outfit - I don't care much about shoes or purses - but earrings are a must!

Love you Mom, happy birthday!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out and Vote!

I think this election will have one of the highest (if not the highest) voter turnout in history. Be part of history! Make history! Regardless of where you stand on issues, exercise your right to vote, make it count! I VOTED!

I love this photo from Bakerella - btw, Cake Pops are totally delish! And easy to make!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Elizabeth + Andrew = 1 year!

Last weekend, while we still had some beautiful, dry California weather, I had the pleasure of photographing my supercool co-worker, Elizabeth and her husband Andrew. I met Elizabeth in March 2007 when she started working at the same company as me. We immediately hit it off when Ashley (another awesome co-worker) and I invited her to lunch. She said that she was a "Burrito-holic" and I knew she had to be good people.

Over the short course of the last 18 months, Elizabeth and I have become more than just colleagues - we're friends. She's had a couple of get togethers are her house and she's been a brilliant source of ideas and advice for my upcoming wedding. As she started working with me about 7 months before her wedding, I saw her go through the ups and downs of dress fittings, rehearsal dinners, and favors. As soon as my fiance and I had registered for some gifts, Elizabeth was the first to jump online to check out what we chose.

When I asked Elizabeth if she'd be up to a photo session to help build my portfolio, she gave me a resounding, "Yes!" I was super stoked to shoot this awesome couple, who kept me laughing throughout the session. The couple of hours that we spent together flew by, and we had a great time. I got some great shots of them:

Elizabeth + Andrew
This was my favorite shot. Love the light!

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew
I asked Elizabeth to give me her ANTM pose! (America's Next Top Model, if you're wondering)

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew

Elizabeth + Andrew

It was so fun!

Elizabeth showed her parents the results, and now I may get to do a whole family session! Woo hoo!