Fashion Photography

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In my never ending quest to get better at all things fashion, sewing, and blog related, I’ve gotten back to practicing modeling. If you remember my Photo-Oh-No post, you know it’s an uphill battle! I teamed with my friend Duke, at his 2K1 Photography studio for these shots. If you didn’t see my previous post on some of his work, check it out HERE.

These aren’t my designs, but I did style the looks, which was really fun. Modeling is definitely harder than I would have thought, but I think with practice I’ll be able to take really good shots of my work for this blog. I’ve got dresses I’ve made that I want to share with you that I’ve held back on because my only option is the old selfie-in-the-mirror trick. It gets old. I’d really love to hear from any models and photographers out there on handy tips you’ve picked up. The hardest part for me is to not clench my jaw. The pics from this session were a little expressionless because I was so focused on the posing.

As always, I’m gladly accepting the challenge to learn something new and become great at it. That’s what life is about to me-learning and growing as people in the areas we’ve been gifted with talent or interest in. After  all we have to be willing to be bad for a while in order to become good. As a perfectionist, there are a lot of areas in life I’ve kind of bowed out on because I was too embarassed to look bad. That’s why I never played any sports. Well, that and a total lack of hand-eye coordination and general athletic ability. But I’m finding that with age, I’m gaining confidence-confidence to try and succeed and even the confidence to fail. What is failure, after all, but a step on the road to success?

I wish I had the attitude I have now when I was a teenager, but I certainly won’t let getting a late start hold me back. Sometimes I look at the 8 or 9  years after design school “wasted” that I could have spent in fashion. I think it would have been so much better to pay my dues in the industry when I was younger and to already be established now. Then when I step back from my pity party and look objectively, I think of the many wonderful people, experiences, and achievements God has blessed me with in that time. And I KNOW His timing is perfect. And I know He’ll make a way, even if that way is something totally unexpected. I spend most of my time being a complete stress case about things I can’t control, but I’m learning how to relax and trust Him for my life. As if I could ever make a better plan for myself than He can!

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Looking Forward

random sketch of green eyes by oxcrushhed

Here’s to a New Year. . . with all the same problems, habits, and pitfalls of the previous ones! Why do we always expect something different? Why do we think we’ll be suddenly dosed with self discipline and transformed by sheer resolve? Why be transformed at all? Sure we need to always keep moving forward. Have a plan. Keep your vision in sight. But no need to masochistically list all of your chronic failures by arbitrarily stating how you’re going to change them. Especially as a seasonal event! (What a tradition, right?) The truth is, everyone’s exhausted by the end of the holidays. It’s the busiest time of year for a lot of people, yet we want to use those couple months to catapult ourselves into previously unattained success in not one, but many areas of our lives. I’m just gonna say it to help you out. This is crazy, people!

Who are you, really? To answer this accurately, you’ll probably need someone’s help. The reason I say that is because we are so critical of ourselves. Think of a few recurring themes on your usual New Year’s Resolutions lists. I’d be willing to bet a lot have to do with trying to fix something that’s not broken. Sometimes we punish ourselves for not hitting goals that are unrealistic or not needed in the first place. If your goals are unrealistic, figure out why. How can you break them into more manageable steps? Get creative about your goals and only attack them one (or maybe a few if you’re really type A) at a time.

It’s just stupid to have a list of 15 things we want to change about ourselves in the course of one year. We all know it’s not going to happen. We all know that leads to burn-out. Yet we all tend to bite off more than we can chew. Why? Human nature. We’re tenacious. We’re fighters. When the rough gets going, we…well, say we’re going to change. Problem is that lovable little nature inside us takes change kicking and screaming. So, whatever you set out to change next year (hopefully after a well-deserved recharge in January) make sure it’s something that’s worth changing. (If you meet that goal, will it add real value to your life? Or is the reason behind that resolution a personal insecurity that you really need to deal with? You may be killing yourself to lose weight for your husband when he loves your shape the way it is, for instance.)  Make sure you tackle one thing at a time and in small chunks. If you’ve made it this far in life without conquering the world, chances are, you’re not going to come January 1, 2015.

And lastly, make peace with who you are! Yeah, some of your “flaws” may drive you nuts, but they just may be the cutest little quirks about you! Instead of looking to the future full of hope for changing all the bad things about you, I encourage you to look at yourself a little less crtically. You’re not all the things about yourself that you think you should change. You’re not a to-do list. You’re a person. You treat others around you with love and respect and can embrace all parts of them. And I want you to  look at yourself with the same great scope of love and acceptance.

What is Beauty?

What is beauty? It is unique. It is individual. It’s your attractiveness to those around you, and most importantly, to the one you spend the rest of your life with.  That attraction may begin with just the physical glimpses, but as we all well know, that won’t sustain a relationship or a lasting feeling of self-worth. Do you feel beautiful? We all want to be beautiful and feel beautiful. That can be proven by the sheer amount of money spent on beauty and hair products each year. But can beauty come in a jar? Can beauty be tested and measured? I really don’t think it can- at least not without knowing who a person is inside. Personality is what makes beauty come alive- it energizes and animates beauty!

As a twenty-something in the world of photo-shopped models and Victoria’s Secret runway shows, it’s easy to forget about the true meaning of beauty. It’s easy to become superficial. And if I’ve become superficial, it’s impossible to be content with my appearance. I could sit here and name 20 or 30 things about my body, face, hair, and nails that I hate. It would be a stretch to name as many I love. But you know when I do feel beautiful? When I stop comparing myself to movie stars and models, and stop worrying if my husband really thinks my tummy’s too big and is just lying to me to be sweet. When I suck it up and remember that God made me-and the most beautiful part of me is my heart. When we’re comparing ourselves with others, we are using a ranking system in our minds. We all do it…I bet you can tell me who you think is prettier if I named two celebrities. And if I told you to think of 5 friends of yours, you’d be able to tell me where you think are on the rank of pretty. With a culture so geared toward pushing female sexuality and outward beauty, it becomes kind of automatic. We have tv shows, magazines, and web pages that all rank women’s beauty. (Just think about the “who wore it better” columns!)

When we subconciously rank ourselves alongside other women, we’re doing ourselves, the other women, and our Creator a real injustice. It’s not up to us to say who’s more beautiful. We don’t have the right to think we are more attractive or less attractive than anyone else. To think your more attractive is being conceited, obviously, but to think we’re less attractive is equally bad. And this is the side we tend to err on, I think. I’ve heard it said that supermodels have the worst self esteem. And I’m not sure if that’s true, but I bet there’s at least a grain of truth there. Why? Because they live in a world where they compete by their looks. Their beauty is ranked by others all the time. Sadly, the common populace is much the same way. Remember high school? It’s hard to shed old ways of thought, but I want to encourage you to let your beauty shine throughout the Holidays and beyond. Enjoy being who you are! That’s the part that won’t ever go away.

Finally, I realize not all of my readers share my faith, but this post reminds me of a very apt verse of the Bible that I try to remember when I find myself feeling ugly.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

It all comes down to who you’re trying to please? The perfectionistic side of yourself that wants to be perfectly put together at all times, (she can be pretty selfish and vain) or the part of you that wants to give to the world and take care of the ones you love and be a real light? Because those things make a woman truly beautiful. I always tell my daughters they are beautiful, but it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside and they have very beautiful hearts.  And yeah, some people may rank your beauty, but who cares? You’re your strongest critic. At the end of the day, I’d rather people say that I’m a beautiful person that that I’m just beautiful. And when that’s your focus, you’re more beautiful than you can imagine!

 

***What is beauty to you? Leave it in the comments section.***