I’m alive, I swear! Admittedly, it has been a REALLY long time since my last blog post. People connected with me on a personal level know how things have been going, but I have left my fans in the dark. For that, I apologize.
2014 was a rough year, I’m not going to sugar coat that. In April, I started chemotherapy and had 6 rounds of FCR chemo, finally ending in August right after the school year started. Chemo was not easy, but the Neulasta shots that I had to get each round were probably the worst thing I have ever had to physically go through. I functioned for those 6 months, but barely. I wish I could say that after the chemo was over things magically went back to “normal”…whatever that is but it didn’t. The chemo side effects continued and while most have waned, some are still here many months later. But, the good news is that as of December, I am officially in remission after an almost 7 year journey with cancer!
Thank you God!
Soon after people found out that I was cancer-free, I started getting the question of when I was going to open my photography business back up. While I would chop off my right-hand to snuggle babies again (well, not really since I would need it to photograph the sweet, little ones), unfortunately my answer is…I have no clue. Right now, my camera and I are not friends. While the neuropathy caused by the chemo has decreased, it still bothers me enough that holding my camera is not possible. Those that know me well, know how much this kills me. What once was a passion, is now merely a frustration.
With photography out for now though, I had to do something to occupy my hands and brain. I’m running again, training for a 10k in August but that only occupies my mind. So, I started a new venture, I am going to be designing and selling custom-made apparel and home decor. I’ve been working on some personal projects and some custom orders for friends, while in the meantime I am getting my Etsy store set up.
2013 was a year of ups and downs. I was blessed to be able to meet, friend and photograph 6 amazing families before having to wave the white flag of surrender and stop taking on clients. That rocked me to the core, more than words can express. Photography is my passion and has been my passion since I was 6 years old and having to give that up in the way I wanted to pursue was harsh. But that is life right? God has a plan and I am just not privy to it yet.
I’m not sure exactly what 2014 will bring. I do know that I am starting chemotherapy in a couple of months with the hope that it will put me into remission so I can live a “normal” life again. In the meantime, I plan to put a few things up in my Esty shop when the creative bug bites me and I’d like to learn how to knit. I think it might be a good hobby to take up to keep my hands and brain focused on something else during those long days of treatment. And what else, who knows. One never knows what I’ll get myself into. So, stay tuned…
Now that everything is pretty much wrapped up on the business end, I can finally get to my backlog of session blog posts. Better late than never, right?
Susie was one of the very first people I met when we moved to Las Vegas almost 3 years ago and I was absolutely thrilled when I heard that she was expecting. It was an honor to be able to be a tiny part of this amazing journey with them!
I made this announcement to my clients previously, but wanted to make sure they all got a chance to read it first before announcing publicly.
It is with a very heavy heart and a request for forgiveness, that I must announce that I will be closing the portrait side of my business (I will continue charity work, design and random freelance projects).
A little over a year ago, I made the decision to follow my heart and passion to reopen my photography business here in Las Vegas despite my cancer diagnosis. I spent most of the time since, doing all the prep work to run my business ethically and with the customer service level that I would expect. Earlier this year, I officially opened for business and had an overwhelming response. I truly appreciate all those that have supported me in this journey. Apparently though, my body is unable to handle the stress and demands of my business while still maintaining the ability to be a mother and wife. I spoke with my oncologist’s office this week and due to the symptoms my body is showing and the lengths I am having to go to put on a happy face and function, they want me to stop working immediately. This recommendation/decision has caused me an immense amount of grief and anger as photography has been my lifelong passion and I feel like cancer gets to win. For now.
Volunteering and giving back has been a huge part of my life since I was little. It started with my Mom and serving in a soup kitchen when I was about 7. So, when the opportunity to give back can work hand in hand with my passion, sign me up!
In 2011 I heard about an organization called Help-Portrait. This organization hosts a worldwide event on the same day to not “take” someone’s portrait, but instead “give” it. I was unable to participate in 2011 due to scheduling conflicts, so I jumped on the chance to volunteer in 2012.
The event here in Las Vegas is held at the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center. We had the opportunity to photograph homeless youth, some that have never been told they are beautiful or even matter. There were professional make-up artists and hair stylists on hand to help provide a rock star experience.
The premise behind the event was to bless these youth, but in turn, we were the ones blessed. It was such an amazing experience to get to hear their stories and see how even out of all the “bad” that had happened in their lives, they have the perseverance to rise above it. I can’t wait until next year!
Here is the link to the video from the 2012 event if you are interested in watching it!
And if the day wasn’t awesome enough, I got to shoot alongside two dear friends and fabulous assistant (my dear hubby of almost 14 years)!
Babies are my weak spot. Sweet, cuddly, itty bitty babies. So, when I was asked to shoot a newborn session even though I am not *technically* open yet, I said yes!
Miss Lilly came into my studio at 11 days old and is absolutely perfect. Even though she only gave in to sleep for about 15 minutes, she was such a trooper. Mommy and Daddy were too, even when Miss Lilly decided to have an explosion on Mommy during the family poses. Watching J & J interact with Lilly, I can tell they are going to be fabulous parents and Lilly is never going to doubt their love for her.