Hey, It’s me!

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Hi! It’s been a minute since I have shown up here. Like fifty zillion minutes ticking away. But I’m back and I want to do better.  I want to be here more. Things have been happening lately. I finally saved up enough for a new camera! Remember how my old one got stolen in Italy? I borrowed my publisher’s camera for a while (so thankful to her) but it just wasn’t as good as my old one and my old one just wasn’t that good either. I’ve had my eye on a Canon Mack 5 forever (that costs an arm and a leg) because that’s what all the pros use but ended up getting a 6D instead upon advice from Toby. What can I say? Ex’s who are still friends do come in handy sometimes!

So guess what? It rocks! It is so so so so so so much better than my old camera. It focuses like lightening. It’s larger format so I can take pictures of a whole room without backing up into a corner. It’s easy to use. There are all kinds of cheater buttons that tell you what setting to use. This is handy for me because numbers (ie: f-stops and apertures always give me spinny ball brain fog). I just love it. Now I just need to book a bunch of photography gigs to make it pay for itself! If you are looking for photography, look me up! I don’t really have a photography website and it’s not like I’m going to be calling myself a full time photographer but you know I love it and I can always use more work.

What else is new? Well, I just got back from Alt Summit in Palm Springs.

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How was it? It was good but it was hard for me.  I forced myself to go by myself and that was terrifying. I really needed a buddy to side-kick me through social situations. I get really nervous walking into a room and striking up conversations with people I don’t know. It’s silly but I always think they won’t want to talk to me and that I’m making a fool out of myself. I can do it and once I get started I’m really good at getting people talking (journalism background pays off) but the walking up to people is the hard part. I felt like I was back in middle school all over again, agonizing that my best friend was sick and I was too shy to make new friends.

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I did see Joanna Gaines speak. That was pretty cool. I love seeing famous people who are just regular people. She was so humble and real. Her baby was in the front row and she talked about him often. It was really cute and fun.

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But yeah, there were 2,000 women there. TWO THOUSAND! So you can see why I had some trouble with social anxiety. The wonderful thing is that everyone seems to also have social anxiety and everyone was struggling. When I did get up the guts to find someone to talk to, they were usually really really nice and wanted to help things be less awkward as soon as possible. I don’t know if that’s because it was mostly women or if creatives are just nice people or if I’m just cooler than I think I am and people really do want to talk to me.

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First day I kinda cried in my room a little. You know how it is. But then the second day, Isabel, (my boss from alpha mom) showed up and she is the best side-kick buddy ever. Things got a lot easier when she was around. Though I didn’t attach myself like a starfish and parasite my way through the rest of the week. I forced myself to do my own things, only checking in with her randomly.

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I think the highlights for me were of course the pretty hotel. It’s a lot prettier outside than inside. I think they recently changed all the lightbulbs to florescent bulbs in the rooms and it was super depressing inside. I walked across the street and bought myself a candle to counteract the depressing-ness of my room. I loved having a hotel room by myself but I also wished it could be a little less like Motel 6 painted bright colors. I also bought myself a plastic bowl, cheerios, bananas and milk. They had a mini-fridge in the room so I saved myself bucket loads of cash by eating breakfast (and sometimes dinner) of cheerios in my room. Sad, I know but I am trying my hardest to be frugal these days. I thought I was pretty clever sitting there watching Netflix on my laptop while I sat in my pajamas on my bed with my candle flickering on the nightstand near by. It was very rotic (romantic without the man).

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Another highlight was seeing Garance Doré. I LOVE her. I have been a fan for ages but seeing her in person and hearing about her struggles with depression sealed my devotion and love for her forever. She really hit on a subject that had been bothering me the whole conference. These days it’s so hard to make it in the popularity numbers game of social media. It’s really hard to be in a room with 2000 women who all have followings of 20K or more. I love being around creative women like me but the competition is overwhelming. It’s crushing at times. I just can’t even try anymore. She talked about how she doesn’t go to fashion week anymore but prefers to go on 20-person retreats and that resonated with me. I can’t do ALT Summit again. I learned a ton and it wasn’t a waste of money at all but it brought up all my old fears and insecurities and I think I am just too old for that sh*t. I just need to make my art and not worry about what anyone else is doing. That’s aways what has been successful for me in the past. Why do I keep forgetting that?

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Then after the summit Isabel and I went on a mad trek to find Desert X. Spoiler: We didn’t find it. I almost got my car stuck in the sand instead and it was quite thrilling to have adrenaline pumping through my veins as I maneuvered my way out of a sand pit. But we did it! We walked for a mile or so and saw nothing. Just an old abandoned washing machine, a disgusting dirty bed with dog poop on it and a homeless camp. We turned around and went back. But not defeated! It was fun! I love spending time with Isabel. And really, spending time with a good friend is better than getting that perfect picture for instagram that everyone else has already taken.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want to go back and find Desert X. It seems amazing and I really want to take pictures of it. BUT…

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I feel quite fine settling with this photo as well. I heart my new camera!

 

(Do you guys need links? Desert X.. Alt Summit, Garance Doré…? If so I can go back and put them in. I just liked flying under that radar since I didn’t have all good things to say.) done!

P and B go to Vegas

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I’ve ranted about how much I hate Vegas a billion times here on this blog. Sometimes I notice how big the sky above Vegas is and I think, I could live here. I love the desert. It kind of reminds me of my childhood in The Sticks. But then some thick-headed frat boy yells his drunk head off, or some big-boobed dancer with perfect legs showing all the way up, reminds me of how imperfect my body is or I see someone talking to themselves with missing teeth as they sit in the gutter, drunk at 9 in the morning… and I turn away, repelled. Vegas makes me sad.

I get bored too easily here. I don’t love gambling and I don’t have a ton of money to shop all day. I can only drink so much and I miss being creative.

I don’t know how I matched up so perfectly with someone like Payam who loves Vegas so much. He’s a night owl. I’m a morning person.  I want to go take pictures of some cacti and shrubbery at five morning when the sun turns everything pink.  He wants to sleep.  He wants to stay up all night sipping whiskey and gambling. I want to sleep.

But I get it. Sort of. The excitement of winning money, the bright lights, the pounding music, the clinking of ice cubes in glasses, the good-natured banter between players at the blackjack table… It is a really fun interesting intersection of so many different kinds of people all finding a common ground sharing their vices. There is something to that.

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Payam humors me and I humor him. He does everything he can to help me have a good time in Vegas. He lets’s me pick the hotel, he lets me shop, he lets me explore….And sometimes I do have a good time.  I can throw back a tequila shot or four. I just have to be careful I don’t go down any self-loathing paths to the pits of despair when I wake up too early in the morning and I’m stuck all by myself in a strange land. I spend so many hours alone because I am a cursed morning person.

I’ve been doing it for ages. You’d think I’d have a million routines and morning rituals to stave off the loneliness (and I do!) but sometimes I let myself sink into the luxury of sadness anyway.  I miss Bug. Thanksgiving without her is always really hard.

The whole reason I met Payam five years ago is because I was lonely during Thanksgiving break. Bug was with her dad (like she is this week) and I was faced with a week to myself with nothing to do but Netflix and work.

So I hopped on a free dating app. I just wanted to find someone to talk to. I wanted a walking partner or someone to take me to the movies. Payam doesn’t really do either but I’m so glad I found him. My whole world has changed since I met him–in a good way. You all know that. Everyone loves a love story.

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So here we are in Vegas on Thanksgiving celebrating five years together.  We aren’t married yet but we have plans!

I brought my new red party boots to Vegas to help me have a good time. (I need every advantage I can get.) I LOVE these boots. I put them on and I immediately feel fifty percent more fun. They give me two inches of height and they scream, “I am not a boring frumpy mom who is missing her kid! I am fun, dammit!” Payam loves them too.

We went out to dinner at a steak house and I had the *Thanksgiving Special* that was probably better tasting than any feast I’ve ever been part of but you know… it was missing all the people. We had few drinks and then crashed. I don’t even remember what we did. Vegas is a ghost town on Thanksgiving. It was fun to wish all the hard-working staff a happy thanksgiving and hope that they were getting paid triple time.

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The next day we explored. I love taking pictures of graffiti and really cool old typography in Vegas. I just wish I had some beautiful daughters with me to take pictures of. I get really sick of taking pictures of myself.

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As I said, Payam humors me.

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Explore, explore, explore… it’s not pretty cacti in morning light but I can’t say it’s boring.

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These are all really quick shots snapped as we walked down Fremont street.

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We didn’t even really get to be foodies and try all the crazy amazing restaurants because we had our steak house thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast and they filled us up all day! I guess that’s a good thing. I didn’t mention it but our hotel (The Hard Rock) upgraded us to a two room suite with TWO bathrooms so we were perfectly content to stay in our room and have leftovers for breakfast. Nothing like eating cold dinner for breakfast out of takeout boxes in your hotel room that is big enough to host a 45th birthday bash. But again, we were missing all the people.

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That night Payam bought us tickets to a Burlesque show. I’ve always wanted to see one.  Unfortunately it started at 10pm, which is like midnight to me. I made it through though. It was very entertaining and I have a deep appreciation for the athletic abilities of those dancers. They are very beautiful and very talented and they shouldn’t be ashamed of any of it. Too bad I seem to be ashamed of my body all the time. But I have to tell myself, I was once that hot. I still have a lot to offer even if I don’t have perfect legs and a flat stomach anymore. I just didn’t really know what to do with myself, sitting there in the audience. Lots of women were hooting and hollering. I just felt awkward.

Don’t worry. I am not fishing for compliments. I’m just sharing parts of myself that you might not know were there. I take pictures of Payam and I smiling and having a good time but it’s not the whole story.

I am very very very thankful for him and I do love these trips with him.

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I love the long talks. I love how he helps me push through missing Bug. He catches me spying on her with my phone, watching her stories of bouncing cousins vying for her attention and tells me to put my phone away. Be present. Be here. Have a Bloody Mary for breakfast!

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And now it’s time to drive back home. Home sweet home.