Busy Bees Summer Camp

Eighteen for 2018

Diving in head first, friends...  So, here it is: 

My list of eighteen for 2018.

1.  Take more long walks.  In the woods, and otherwise.  Get up off my cushion and get moving!  I walked my neighborhood 3 mile loop 2 days ago and my shins are still screaming at me.  I guess I should be happy that's all that's aching!  Must make walking a priority, again.   

2.  Meditate everyday.  Find at minimum 5 - 10 minutes everyday to notice the breath, just be, listen inward.  

3.  Open an Etsy shop.  Whoops.  Scratch that!  I did!!  I opened an Etsy Shop!!!  Come see me!  :) This is sooo exciting!  I'm offering custom, hand-painted watercolor logo design, branding work!  Calligraphy, too!  Plus, vintage goodies + collectible items.  Shop often!  :)  

4.  Clean out the attic of the clutter!  I am so ashamed, friends.  If you saw my attic, you'd be appalled and probably rush to call the fire department to alert them of my mayhem.  Pack rat, am I.  Having the Etsy shop now will hopefully help to inspire me to clean house.  It's time.  

5.  Grow a sunflower patch - along with a wildflower, bee-thriving, butterfly-attracting, mower-detracting patch in our yard.  I am super stoked about this.  The hubby agreed to remove sod from about a 30' x 35' area (or maybe larger) in our backyard this spring and plant it!  Can't wait!  You know I'll be certain to keep you up-to-date on this progress, my friends.  :) 

6.  Photograph more high school seniors (wink, wink).  Hey, friends, that sunflower patch in late summer sure would be an ideal spot for some photos highlighting your senior!!  Just thought I'd throw that out there.  ;)  You in? 

7.  See a Broadway play.  I have never experienced one in my 48 young years.  Have you?  Do tell!  Either way, I'm ready to cross this off my bucket list.  

8.  Take the family to New York City for a weekend.  Hence, the above statement ^^ (ahem).  Family, are you in?!!  I know you are reading this.  

9.  Seek out wonder.  Let it nurture your inner child.  I do love her.  She's a gift.  Wonder is beautiful. 

10.  Remember that it's okay to say "no" to the things that do not sit well with your soul.  You won't be able to please everyone all of the time, but if you abide by your gut feelings, your truth, you may please the ones most worthy.  There.  I said it.  Out loud.  Feels good, too.     

11.  Detox.  Detox.  Detox.  Especially from social media on occasion.  As much as it has brought about such a positive force in my life, bringing me out of my cozy little shell and learning a great deal in the entire process, it also drains my energy.  Must restore a balance.  If you, my reader, have any tips I'd love to hear from you!  Do share how you find balance with all things social.  And if you are an introvert, such as myself, even better!  

12.  Speaking of introverts, I plan to read more books this year.  Any soulful novels worth mentioning?  Any good reads?  Do share!  My favorite books from 2017 were: Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird (on writing); Terry Tempest Williams'  When Women Were Birds (another great read on voice and writing); Linda Ly's The New Camp Cookbook (well, okay, it's a cookbook, but so much more!) and The Atlas of Beauty: women of the world in 500 portraits by photographer Mihaela Noroc (truly incredible lady).  There were more, but these were my top favorites.  Next up, Farley Mowat's Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa (thanks, Chelsea!).  :) 

13.  Lucky 13!  I just announced this week that we'll be running a 3rd year of Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls!  Hooray!  Once a Busy Bee, always a Busy Bee.  I love teaching art to the girls and watching their imaginations take flight.  It is an honor and a special treat to be able to host this day camp for another year!  It's a 4 week program set to begin July 23.  I'm excited for it!   

14.  Speaking of summertime, I'd love to plan for and photograph more families - At the beach!!  I'll be offering summertime, sunset beach sessions (oy, say that ten times fast!) just for families!  My dear friend Jen has agreed to host me for weekend stays in New Jersey - so I'll be within a half hour drive from any and all of the Jersey shore points!  (Thanks, Jenny!).  I'm imagining relaxed, sun-kissed family time, beachside, pastel colors in the sky, wind gently playing with hair, the surf against the shore, exploring for sand crabs and sand castles and big, beautiful smiles!!  Who's in?  Send me a note once you book your beach stay for this summer - or if you already have and we'll start our plan of action!  :)  

15.  I have a personal project I've decided to take on and work towards this year titled, "The Year of the Girl."  My aim, intent is to connect with as many young girls as I possibly can, photograph and interview them, and then share them with the world!  Okay, on my blog. ;)  The world, too!  So, either check back often or get yourself subscribed to my blog to see all the girls I will be highlighting with this project.  My goal for this project is two-fold:  #1, seek out girls making a difference in the community, doing what they love, picking their brains for wisdom that only they have, and then #2, share them with you.  It's a human interest project which seeks to empower young girls, their voices, their desires/dreams for the future, their unique qualities in order to offer other girls (and women alike) role models, inspiration, motivation, strength.  My first shoot is this weekend and I can't wait to share with you all!  #YearoftheGirl #HereWeCome

16.  Collaborate with other artists, professionals, and photographers.  If you want to collaborate in some way, shape or form, please do reach out.  I'm all ears!!  

17.  Maintain an open, hopeful heart and mind.  Stay curious.  Keep the creative juices flowing in all things.  

18.  Looking back at my list, Seventeen for 2017, so many wondrous, amazing things happened for me and my little family - this gives me such hope for this year.  A year does make all the difference and in the looking back allows us to see the proof of it.  I'm looking ahead now, full steam, ready for 2018 and all the glorious blessings that are already at work.  Do share some of your list, your wishes, goals for the year ahead.  You know I always love to hear from you!  Your comments brighten my day!  Keep shining your light out there, my friends.  Thank you for stopping by!!  Onward!!  

Hello, June!

The sun came out to play on this beautiful June day!  We've been having a cool, rainy spring around these parts, so seeing our glorious star shining for us was a welcome sign that - maybe, just maybe - summer's on its way!  And we are ready for it!!  There's so many terrific things on the horizon for us this warm-weather season and I'm excited for it all!  I'm also relishing the last few days of school while I still have some quiet time to myself, because that's about to do a 180° on me!!  I'm going to try with all my might to get over here and keep up my blogging momentum throughout the summer; it's a goal I'm setting for myself.  

For now, summer portrait sessions have officially hit an all time high and I'm super excited for each and every one (I'm looking at you families, a childcare center, high school seniors, and a precious newborn baby photo session).  Sweetness!  I also have my 2nd year of Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls beginning the end of June which runs for 5 nonconsecutive weeks throughout the summer.  The girls are all bubbling with anticipation for our fun, art-filled days together!  I cannot wait to get started with them!  But, I still have those lists to check off and supplies to order...  It's all coming together nicely.  

Anyhow, for now, we welcome the summer season, warmer weather, longer days, and prepare to close another successful school year.  Life's been good and I'm grateful for it all... 

The pool water warmed up today to 68°F!!!  The girls didn't mind one bit their blue, shivering lips and hot baths after pool time - they're just so happy to be swimming again!!!  :) 

I am "trying before buying" a 16-35mm Zeiss lens this weekend for a family session.  Of course, I was eager to run it through some tests to see how she handles.  I was pleased with the results!  I'm thinking... yea, this lens is going on my "wish list," and I'm looking forward to using it with some fast action hero kiddos, coming up!!!  

This lens also has macro style capabilities -- Wow, Yay!!  I had loads of fun testing it out today!  I posted more images on my Flickr page.  If you get a chance, do stop by:  I <3 Flickr!  

How's your summer shaping up?  What's new and coming up on your horizon?  Anything that has you in a sing-song mood?  Do your kids attend a summer camp?  Any vacation plans?  As always, I'd love to hear from you, my friends.  And whatever your summer plans may be, I hope they are super charged with fun, yet safe and filled with beauty!  :)   

Five for Friday

February has been anything but quiet around here.  This winter has been a buzz of activity, although, not as much in the physical sense as in business growth, personal projects and plans being made for the coming months ahead.  So many Amazingly Fun, Soul-Nourishing things are in the works as I stir my brewing wand over my calendar's cauldron!  But I would be remiss if I left out all the simple wonders of life's happenings lately, too.  The mundane, in my experience, is not completely mundane.  And if we look close enough, examine all the ways our lives are richly experienced and connected, take pause and realize the bountiful goodness we may at times take for granted, we will feel the undercurrent of gratitude, welling up within us.  I, for one, find that my blessings multiply when I take notice, or pause, and remember to believe in that tiny spark of a flame within that burns steadily.

So... onto my five for Friday.  Okay, well there's more than five frames total, but ... who's counting?!  I've been taking part in a personal Color Lover's project along with other photographers on Instagram.  The idea is to share an image each day with the particular color theme, focusing on daily colors throughout February. Monday – purple; Tuesday - yellow;  Wednesday - blue;  Thursday - red;  Friday - green;  Sat - pink;  Sun - orange.

The project is hosted by British filmmaker/photographer, Xanthe Berkeley and American photographer/writer, Andrea Jenkins.  I admire both of these talented, inspiring ladies.  And one can always use some color therapy during these cold, winter days of February.  Please join us if you are up for the fun too, and be sure to tag your IG images: #colorcolourlovers  There's so many wonderful images being shared!  Do check them out! 

I have been working hard behind the scenes on this year's Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls.  We had such a fun success last summer with the girls!  I get the feeling this coming year is going to be even better!  The interest being expressed in our camp and the response has been absolutely wonderful!!  Summer with my Busy Bees is something I count as treasured days that leave my cup overflowing.   

My family and I helped celebrate my Mom-in-love's 87th birthday!  The girls made a (gluten-free)dark chocolate cake with chocolate icing to honor the occasion.  It was moist and scrumptious!!  We ordered in Chinese, a favorite for everyone.  We ate and laughed and after dinner Alanna put on a solo violin concert for all of us.  It was a special evening together honoring a most special lady.  We love you, Grandmom!

Speaking of special ladies, a Christmas gift from my own mother, a potted Amaryllis, a bulbous wonder has grown and grown and now blooms!  More flowers, amiright?!  Thanks, Mom!  We are all enjoying the beauty of this gorgeous plant.  It's so pretty, I had to take it outside to get a few pictures of it in the snow, before the winds kicked in and turned the snow crunchy, bitter cold.     

There's an artist's retreat called SQUAM on Lake Squam in Holderness, NH that I have wanted to attend for years now.  The timing was never quite right or there always seemed to be something in my way preventing me from attending.  When I noticed that this year will be their final, I looked into registering with more determination.  Alas, they were full/sold out.  I wrote and asked to be placed on the waiting list, on the off chance that someone might cancel and a spot would open.  This past week I got the *sparkle* email, with the fabulous news that indeed a spot did open!!  I went for it!!  (thanks wonderfully supportive husband-of-mine, for agreeing to be dad-on-duty for 4 full days - giving me this amazing gift of community, connection with artists from around the world.)  Happy dancing was in full swing around here this week!  The image above is from my visit to Embden Pond in Maine, and reminds me of the loons calling, the water lapping against the shoreline, and the absolutely beautiful sunrises/sunsets to come this September!!!  Peace, Love & Squam!  

Thanks, friends, for taking time out of your day to stop by and view and read and hear about my life.  Please, do tell, what's new with you?  Did you get a happy email this week?  Are there any blooms happening in your surroundings?  Are you busily planning for good things to come?  I'd love to hear from you!  Be well.  Hold that tiny spark brightly.