Design Find: Indoor Garden Picnic in Dublin, Ireland

posted on: February 28, 2013

On the rooftop of a little-known art space in Dublin, Ireland, lives a fantastic faux-outdoor space for the young at heart to play and be creative no matter how rainy or damp the weather is outside.  I'm looking forward to a return trip to Ireland next week, and I definitely plan to bring the "big camera" this time!  Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the space pictured below, which leads to my travel photo tip: always take pictures of building signage so you don't forget where you found such awesomeness!  Anyone from Dublin able to help me out with what this space is called?
Rooftop Garden & Play Area - yes please!

I recently rediscovered the name of this space: "The Ark!"

Health Coach Headshot - Dawn Oulton

posted on: February 27, 2013

Just before Dawn was ready to launch her new website Healthful Horizons - Health Coaching, she contacted me about creating a headshot for her online presence that conveyed her friendly and optimistic nature, along with her casual and understanding approach to nutritional and lifestyle coaching.  She decided that she wanted a couple different environmental backgrounds to choose from, and we discovered that were able to create some beautiful images, and only steps away from her front door!   She has a great newsletter with health and lifestyle tips, which you can sign up for on her website: www.healthfulhorizons.com.  Likewise, if you're interested in a headshot session with me, just click the contact link to get in touch!

Health Coach Headshot - Dawn

Health Coach Headshot - Dawn Oulton

Arise - Film on Women Creating Environmental Awareness

posted on: February 25, 2013

"We can vision a different reality.  
Once we can vision it within us, we can live it.  
When we live it, then we can radiate it to others." 
- Aida Shibli

Click play on the embedded video below to view the trailer for Arise.  If you're able- come to the screening at the Lowell National Historic Park Visitor Center at 7pm on Tuesday, February 26th- I hope to see you there!


If you'd like to see all of the films that are part of this environmental awareness series, visit the Land, Air, and Water Eco-Film Series Website, sponsored by the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust.

Travel Log: Best Soup of My Life

posted on: February 23, 2013

We were in the Rheingau region in Germany, known for Riesling wines, and stopped in at at the gorgeous Schloss Vollrads estate & vineyard that has been making wine for 800 years.  After a bit of wine tasting, we decided to stay for lunch as well.  Germany's heavy meat offerings from the night before were leaving me craving something light and simple for lunch.  A soup and salad were the perfect fit.

The mushroom soup arrives to my table looking lovely but not more special than other soups I've had in my life.  I fold my napkin in my lap and place the first spoonful in my mouth.  Then it hits me- the most intense and beautiful flavors that have ever rolled over my tongue.  Wow.  I had no idea that mushroom soup could be so amazing.  Each simple ingredient had a depth and richness that I don't think I've ever experience in a soup before.  I've been to some amazing restaurants in my life, but no other soup has just blown me away like this one.  This is one food photo I'm glad to have so that I can remember the richness of flavors and creamy texture that were unlike anything I'd had before.  Mmmmmm... this weekend is Winterfest in Lowell, which has an awesome local soup competition!  I'm always looking for something that will make me want to lick the bottom of the bowl again. ;-)

Best Mushroom Soup Ever


Lenox Hotel Boston Wedding - Elyse & Justin

posted on: February 22, 2013

Winter weddings are so special and rare- a chance to celebrate with friends and family when most people simply hustle home to huddle under a blanket.  The sparkle of snow crystals dusting everything, the starry night unencumbered by the leaves of trees, and the feeling of people hugging a little tighter and holding hands a bit more to keep warm.  Even though Elyse & Justin were married in November with fall leaves still holding onto the trees, their wedding reminds me of the cozy elegance of winter with acrylic chairs resembling the sheen of ice, crystals sparkling like icicles from silver branches, long sleeves, lace layers, white bow tie, and Hershey kisses like Valentine chocolates.  They had lots of unique little touches, like their dog Remi as their ring bearer, a sugar bar to represent their love of candy, a specialty cranberry cocktail, and some very unique life size planter-pot characters.  There were some priceless moments during the toasts when Elyse's family pulled out some embarrassing moments from her past, and a heart warming end to their evening with everyone crowding the dance floor around them.  Press play on the video below to see a slideshow preview of their wedding day (note: music will play- adjust your speakers to your preference.)


Venues & Catering: The Lenox Hotel
Portrait Location: Boston Public Library
Photography: Anne Ruthmann Photography 
Florals & Crystals: ilex Flowers
DJ: Mike Amado
Dress & Alterations: L'elite Boutiqe Boston
Cake: The Icing On The Cake
Donations instead of favors, made to: MSPCA and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

WANTED: CSS Blogger Designer Extraordinaire

posted on: February 21, 2013

I loved working with Madeline to create the current blogger design I have, but because she's not on the market anymore, I'm looking out for a new CSS-coding, design-loving, blog-building extraordinaire to help me create a new cleaner layout and design.

Here's the dig- everyone I've talked to so far wants me to ditch blogger for wordpress and I don't want to.  Look, I get that Wordpress is easier for you to design, but it also seems to have more problems than blogger.  I have YEARS of yummy SEO goodness built into this here blogger blog, I understand the back-end, it's super fast loading because it's hosted on Google servers, and gosh darnit- people like it- as in, they've already bookmarked and RSS subscribed the crap out of this blog and I'd really hate to loose the lovely audience I've built only to start from scratch again.  Now, I MAY consider switching to Wordpress for my regular portfolio website... but I really need someone who doesn't run screaming from the thought of customizing a blogger blog.

This is my S.O.S. to the world... well, S.O.B.... but not that kind of S.O.B.... anyway...

Perhaps YOU aren't a CSS blogger genius, but you KNOW someone who is?  I'm reaching out to you because you're smart, resourceful, savvy- and I know you get me and what I'm about.  Please share this with a blogger customizing extraordinaire so I will no longer be tempted to make a Harlem Shake video to attract attention to myself...

Author Headshot - Dr. Marta Sinclair

posted on: February 20, 2013

Marta Sinclair - Author Headshot

While I was living in Australia, I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Marta Sinclair, who was finishing a research book on women's intuition and needed an updated headshot for her author image.  We talked about the nature of the book and what she wanted her author image to convey to readers.  Ultimately, it was decided that there was a need for a slightly serious image (below) as well as a more friendly and casual image (above).  Originally we had scheduled to shoot outside, but just before the shoot a very windy storm started moving in, and we ended up shooting at her home- luckily, I'm able to adapt to just about any condition thrown at me.  What I really love about photographing authors is learning more about their work.  We had several interesting conversations around the findings in the book, as well as a multimedia project her husband was working on.  If you'd like to learn more about Marta's writings, check out her books available on Amazon:

Handbook of Intuition Research - Edited by Marta Sinclair

Women's Intuition - Fiction Book Series - by Marta Sinclair


Marta Sinclair - Author Headshot

Not Holding Back - Gratitude Journal #11

posted on: February 18, 2013

The woman sitting next to me in the pew had so much joy in her heart that laughter easily bubbled up out of her body whenever a phrase fancied her.  When deep words were spoken, she gave an audible amen.  When the singing got going, she was swaying like a summer wind.  I wanted to be her- not really to express as she was expressing- but to FEEL as she was feeling.  Somewhere in my attempt to become so calm and peaceful, my emotions leveled out.  I no longer feel intense anxiety or pain but I also don't seem to feel intense joy or pleasure much either.  I thought having this much control over the emotional self was such a great thing, until I remembered how beautiful it was to be in the presence of someone expressing so much joy.  She made me smile and I felt the freedom of her joy.

Soaking in some Vitamin D while I wait. Finding opportunity and happiness in the face of difficulty.

Then it hit me- a flood of tears.  I could barely keep from holding it together.  A big part of me wanted to slip out the back door, but I stayed.  I stayed and cried while everyone around me finished singing.  I didn't know if I was crying out of sadness, out of happiness, or for some completely unknown reason- I just let it all out and didn't hold back.  I was definitely FEELING an emotional intensity of some kind- even if I didn't understand what it was or why I was feeling it.  I just let the feeling move through me and come out as it needed to- no suppression.

As a photographer who specializes in capturing emotional moments, I really rely on people not holding back their feelings.  I need them to feel deeply and to express those feelings it in a way that I can capture and preserve.  The woman in the pew next to me reminded me of how important it is, when we feel something deeply, to allow our bodies to express that emotion.  Especially when it's joy and happiness, but also when it's hurt or sadness.  We need not judge ourselves for the way we feel- we can simply feel and let that feeling move through us.

{If you appreciated this post, please join me in my journey to have a greater positive impact on the world by writing your own gratitude journal and sharing it or a link to it in the comments below. I would love to read your moments of gratitude and share them with others!}

Kisses Sweeter than Candy

posted on: February 16, 2013

I ducked behind the floral arrangement dripping with crystals as Justin turned around to see Elyse for the first time on their wedding day.  He had the biggest smile I'd seen all morning, and the kiss that followed was so sweet you can almost taste the powdered sugar...
Boston Lenox Hotel Wedding

Travel Log: Vlatadon Monestary in Thessaloniki, Greece

posted on: February 15, 2013

The Vlatadon Monestary in Thessaloniki is a quiet space at the top of the mount, overlooking the city and sea.  It has a unique combination of ancient and renaissance architecture with some interestingly crafted surprises like this field stone mosaic, and the two hand painted glazed plates set into the wall.
Stone wall design & hand painted glazed plate wall decoration
The view stretching over the city... Room with a view ... and out to the sea... A heavenly view

Love Street - Where quarrels end in kisses

posted on: February 13, 2013

Where quarrels end in kisses
Captured in Brisbane, Australia

Make Money Now by Sharing Things You Already Have - Green Idea

posted on: February 11, 2013

There is a huge movement underfoot around making money by sharing your stuff- earning green while being green!  While EBay and Craigslist were the originators of selling things online, the last few years have launched a whole new set of services that are more streamlined and appealing to specific audiences, while also making it easier to crowd-source use and sharing of existing gently used assets already available in your community.  See which of these services would work for you:

SkillShare - Teaching Others Things You Already Know
Have you mastered an art or skill that others often want to learn from you?  Why not create your own learning classroom online to help others out, while also bringing in some extra cash for your time and talent? 


Neighborgoods - Borrow What You Need and Share What You Rarely Use
Instead of buying that thing you really need right now, how about just borrowing it instead?  In most cases, you can "make money" by simply saving money and not charging big items to credit cards.


RelayRides - Share and Rent Cars With Neighbors
In major cities, where people don't even own a car to begin with, there's ZipCar sharing and rental service.  However, if you're in a suburb or remote location, there may not even be a car rental location nearby (I should tell you about my experience in South Dakota).  Maybe you have an extra car that you aren't using, but don't want to sell for those "just in case moments," and it could be earning you some extra cash.  Maybe you just need to "borrow" a car for a few hours but don't want to put your friends out- if so, this may be just the right thing for you.


Poshmark - Share, Buy, and Sell Your Clothing & Accessories
Rather than sending your worn-it-only once, or totally-last-season items to a local consignment shop or Plato's Closet, you can quickly and easily take a photo with your phone and list the closet items you're ready to part with for some extra cash.  Once you find a few people who share your size, it's like being able to raid your friend's closet and knowing that what you're seeing is going to fit and flatter your figure.

AirBnB - Rent Your Extra Rooms, Condos, and Homes
I've already shared how AirBnb made it easy for me to find a place to live in Australia, and if I had an extra room I could rent out, I'd totally list my own space because the people I've met through this service have all been great.  Some people use AirBnb to cover their entire rent and even earn extra cash by simply renting out their apartment while they travel.


Care.com - Earn by Caring for Others
Maybe you don't have anything to offer except your time, and you love helping and caring for others.  Rather than posting to local coffee shop boards, you can share your desire to help others by signing up with Care.com.  If you're looking for a last minute babysitter, weekend dogsitter, or elderly help, you'll be able to find people nearby who can help you out.  A few holidays ago we needed to find a home for our dog to live for two weeks because she wasn't doing well with a regular kennel situation- we were able to find someone on Care.com who cared for her for two weeks and for half the cost of a regular kennel.

Swap.com - Trade for videos, books, games, toys, and movies you want
 Similar to Neighborgoods, but at a national level for smaller items and items you may never want to have returned.  You can list your own, or through the valet service, have Swap.com professionally photograph and list your items for you.
Have you tried any of these services?  Do you know of any others that are great for making the most of what you already have?  Let me know in the comments!

Recycle Your Wedding Flowers - Green Ideas

posted on: February 7, 2013

Red Pink Fuscia Rose Orchid Wedding Centerpiece

A couple years ago I met a local florist, Belle Feuille Floral Design, who recycles the big beautiful floral arrangements left over from events like weddings, funerals, and church services, turning them into floral gifts for hospice, hospital, and cancer patients.  What a beautiful way to spread the love and make an investment in gorgeous flowers go even further!  A quick search on the web reveals that she's not the only florist who utilizes a team of volunteers to help spread the love- so as you're meeting with florists for your wedding day- ask if they will recycle the flowers or if they know of a local program that will pick up your flowers after the event for donation.  If your florist doesn't offer a program like this, ask your family members if they know of a retirement home or hospital that accepts floral donations, and if members of your family would be willing to help deliver the flowers after the wedding.

sarahjosh7.jpg

There is always more below the surface

posted on: February 6, 2013

Great Barrier Reef Snorkling
Captured at the Great Barrier Reef off of Cairns, Australia

February Desktop - Foggy Winter Day

posted on: February 5, 2013


Foggy_Winter_Landscape-04
This year, Lowell has experienced dramatic and quick shifts in weather, creating a blanket of fresh snow one day only to be followed by an unseasonably warm day in which it all melts away. The result this week was a rare event that lasted no longer than 12 hours in which the sky was white with thick fog while the ground was white with fallen snow. It was the perfect day to create some new desktop images, while taking in this unique natural occurrence.  Click on any image to download a copy for your desktop.

Driving Through Fog 



Distant Evergreens in Fog 
"Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. 'Light! Give me light!' was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour." - Helen Keller


Angel Among the Fog

Small Business Mentoring

posted on: February 4, 2013

Whenever possible, I enjoy helping other small business owners in any way that I can.  This weekend I participated again in the annual Thirst Relief Mentor Auction fundraiser, which brings together established photographers willing to donate their time to help others in exchange for a mentee's donation to help provide clean water to developing areas.
Photography Mentoring for Clean Water Charity

I'm always excited to meet the person I'm working with, because I know that, like me, they have a huge heart for giving.  However, because it is an auction, there are always people who end up not winning a mentor.  Luckily there's a ton of great information out there that they can access for free if they know where to look (rather than wherever paid search engine results try to send them), which is why I created PhotoLovecat several years ago.

PhotoLovecat has become one of the regular ways I "Pay it Forward" in my business life- by freely sharing solutions to problems I've already solved in my business, so that people who can't afford one-on-one mentoring and business workshops, can still have rich information right at their fingertips.  In today's world, I feel like there's so much high quality information readily available that the only reason to pay for information is when you want one-on-one help from another person or you want the experience of being in an environment with other people who are learning the same things you are and holding you accountable to yourself.  If that's not in the cards for you right now, than please help yourself to all of the free information that's already available!

A sampling of some articles that may help you in your small business:

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