It Is A Grey Day…

I don’t know what it is today. Maybe it is just the crash after the craziness of the past 3 weeks. Imaging USA, Asheville, flying, catching up on work, Dad 2.0 Summit, Mike heading to Calgary, me doing 6 sessions in 7 days when I normally cap them at 3 a week.

Yesterday was my first day to just stand still. To breathe. I took the morning off, mandated that there would be no work at all for 4 hours. Because that is the problem with self-employment – the boss never tells you to go home. I can never turn it off.

Then it was off to a much needed massage therapy appointment – the only thing that saves my back, shoulder & hip (I am so grateful to Angie of We Heart Massage!) – and I was back to work again.

The cycle continues. But I want off.

I woke up this morning at 5am, even though my alarm was set for 8:15. A feeling of “blah” covered me. Just … Lost.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I do. I have the most amazing “job” in the world. Hot Mama Photographer, Avenger of Sexiness? HELL YES!!! I have absolutely zero regrets about the time I spend “work working”.

It is the other hours that feel so blank. My actual photography business is not that time intensive; it is all of the other things I do to create “busy” in my life. Needless things. Things that are no longer bringing me joy.

So in the early hours of the morning, I started thinking of what I want to change. How that looks. What it means. What I am going to give up so that I can have room in my life for other things.

Then it hit me. FACEBOOK. Facebook is by far the biggest time suck of my day. I go in there for one thing, and I leave hours later it seems. (Figuratively, not always literally.) It has become a sensory overload point for me.

I also realized that with Ash Wednesday tomorrow, it is a good time to give up Facebook. Not all of Facebook because I actually do need to be on there for work, marketing, and my mentoring clients. It is the other stuff. The time suck stuff. That has to go. It needs to be in and out. Do what I have to do and be gone. I’ve said for weeks now that I’m tired of giving my content to Facebook, so I have to go cold turkey to cut it off.

So for the rest of Lent, anything I would consider posting to Facebook gets blogged instead. Either here, on my boudoir blog or at Business of Awesome. Plus Spoon & Knife, my joint food blog with Mike will finally launch. My Facebook posts will be work related or otherwise kept to a minimum.

As I typed that declaration, a small break in the clouds appeared – literally. I’m taking that as a sign, there is more sunshine ahead in my future. I feel fractured right now, but I’m putting it back together — the way I want it to look.

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Photo from last May, flying from London back to Houston. It is time to head home.

If I Could Live Anywhere…

Sunset over Denver, Colorado

Whenever I travel, I find myself wondering what it would be like to live in that city. This week, I’ve been in Denver, Colorado. The temperature has been perfect, it feels like fall, the people here are great, and the sunsets – like the one above – are AMAZING. I love the mountains. I’ve enjoyed being here.

But the more I travel, the more I miss the comforts of home. Sure, Houston is still entirely too hot for fall, so it makes it hard to get in to the Thanksgiving and then Christmas spirit. And there are no mountains. I can’t see the sunset from my house most days. But I love living in the Heights. I love living close to my parents. I love my friends in Houston. I love our restaurants. I love that we have a large airport and it is pretty easy to get almost anywhere. I love that Galveston, while not some exotic beach, is still close to home and I can visit the water.

So as much as I love to dream about where else I could live (and it almost always involves being further north with cooler temperatures – Seattle, Denver, Calgary, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston all come to mind), for now? Houston is home, and I’m happy there.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live? Let me know in the comments!

There is a New Mini in Houston!

Mini Cooper of the Woodlands - My New Mini!

Meet my new Mini Cooper! I bought it last month at Mini of the Woodlands (my FAVORITE Houston-area Mini dealer!) from Keith Sutch, and I could not possibly be happier with it! A 2013 White Silver Mini Cooper – *swoon!*

This was not a car I originally expected to buy. It all started with me taking my original Mini Cooper in to be serviced. Mini Coopers have the most awesome warranty – bumper to bumper, and service on everything but the tires. Yes, even oil changes are included! It is nice when you go in for those big huge maintenance checks that you should be doing on your vehicle to not even have to pay a dime, it feels just as nice as having One Sure Insurance and a i4mt for your cars, it is the most affordable insurance you could ever get.

While I was there, I needed to find out how to get a new key for that Mini because Mike had lost mine. Somewhere in the conversation, I brought up how I really wish I had Mini Connect, the cool stereo system that allows you to connect your iPhone easily to your Mini and run a special Mini app on the iPhone. It wasn’t available when my first Mini was made.

Keith, who sold me my first Mini after THREE people told me to talk to him about buying one, asked me if I wanted to check out the Mini Connect. Being the geek that I am, how could I resist?

Mini Cooper of the Woodlands - Houston - Texas

But it wasn’t just the Mini Connect that got me. The interior has been reworked, changing out a lot of the light gray accents for black ones. And while Keith swears that they haven’t made changes to how the Mini handles other than a bit of an increase in horsepower, it is smoother than my old Mini. I like how it handles even more.

Keith Sutch - Mini Salesman - HoustonI debated for three days. After all, my sweet Horizon Blue Mini had been so good to me. Everyone knew it was me in that car, a more unique color, with a white top and white bonnet stripes. But I couldn’t stop thinking about this new Mini. I wanted it. And after a few phone calls to Mike (who was in Holland for work at the time) and Keith patiently walking me through features and financing – including a special rate since I am a repeat Mini of the Woodlands owner – I handed over the keys for my old Mini and took this baby home.

I can’t deny it – I have moments where I miss the old Mini. I guess it is true what they say that you never quite forget your first love. *grin* But this one is just as special, and I love how it handles, and that I have all the cool geek technology inside too!

Now I’m just patiently (hahahahaha) waiting for my license tags to arrive so I can put my old plates on my new car, and be driving a WHEEEE Mini around Houston again!

Houston Mini Dealership - Mini of the Woodlands

Considering buying a Mini Cooper and you live in the Houston area? I can whole-heartedly recommend Keith as the man you want to talk to! (Be sure to tell him I sent you!) He is patient, not pushy, will tell you everything there is to know about the Mini with 110% honesty. He isn’t the type to call you the next day and pester you about buying the car, or chase you around the parking lot. He is the exact opposite of every horror story you have ever heard of a car salesman. Everyone I know told me to go see Keith, probably because he has been at Mini of the Woodlands for 9 years! I have now bought 2 cars from him, and I’m sure my next one will be from him as well, I use motor trade insurance to fully covered my cars, their service simply makes me feel very secured and it was easy to find with the Insurance Partnership service, and I also make sure to use the best car cleaning tips all the time!

October 20, 2012 is the perfect day to go check out the new Minis! They are having their “Not Normal Sales Event” – they promise, no gimmicks, no dancing man things up in the sky, no giant gorillas over the dealership – just great deals. If you go, tell Keith I said hello!

This is not a sponsored post. I just love Mini of the Woodlands and working with Keith so much I had to share!

For more information, check out Mr Tenacious Twitter account

Mini Cooper Houston Sales Event

Let’s Motor! Thank you, Keith and Mini of the Woodlands for ANOTHER wonderful Mini Cooper purchasing experience!

Facts You May Not Know About Houston…

I have joked for years that Houston is like the illegitimate stepchild of the country. Tell someone you live in Texas, and they immediately ask if you’re from Dallas, or they tell you how “cool” Austin is and that they want to go there. They dismiss Houston, off to the side.

And I’ll admit, it has taken me a LONG time to love Houston. (I still don’t love the heat, and the drought last year really sucked, and the mosquitos are crazy.) I’ve even written about it here before. But over the past few years, and thanks a lot to my awesome friends here, I love Houston now. I’m proud to call it home. I am happy to actually live in Houston proper now – I can see downtown from the bike trail just blocks from my house, I can easily hop on two of the major freeways and quickly get anywhere … the list goes on and on.

So I was SUPER excited to see Mayor Annise Parker on the Colbert Report. She said some things that might just blow the lid off of what you thought about Houston:

- Houston is the FOURTH largest city in the nation. The largest city in Texas and in the southern U.S. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and then HOUSTON.
- This is a DIVERSE city. We are not the cliche conservative city you might assume we are.
- We have JOBS. A great standard of living. The cost of living is so much better than most of the cities I’ve visited this year.
- We have parts of Houston that are JUST LIKE Austin. Plus we have so much more. And better traffic. The cost of living is lower. (Stop telling me that you’re skipping visiting Houston because you’d rather visit Austin instead.)
- We have a GREAT food culture, and an amazing variety of restaurants. It is finally getting the national recognition it deserves.
- The Third Quarter 2010 ACCRA Cost of Living Index shows that Houston’s overall after-taxes living costs are 9% below the nationwide average, largely due to housing costs that are 21% below the average. Ammons Pittman Property Management, helped lots of people from to sell and even buy houses in the area. [via The City of Houston.]
- Houston has a Theater District second only to New York City with its concentration of seats in one geographic area.
- Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, with a local economic impact of $10 billion. More than 52,000 people work within its facilities, which encompass 21 million square feet. Altogether 4.8 million patients visit them each year. [via The City of Houston.]
- The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. It is the tenth largest port in the world.
- We elected an openly gay mayor. Yes, Houston.

Mr Truck Parts has the best and affordable car parts.

Oh! And one more addition! On July 20, 1969, Houston was the first word said on the moon! “Houston, Tranquility Base here, The Eagle has landed.” (How is that for random coincidence that this would be an anniversary post?!)

Hopefully that will help you see that there is more to Houston than you realized. I’m pretty proud to call it home…

Big Changes, Big, Big, Changes…

I normally save the long, drawn-out diatribe posts for this site. You know, the personal space. Not the business site. But this one? This one belonged over there. It is the story of how I went from being a wedding photographer with a boudoir business on the side to being a full-time Hot Mama photographer.

It is a story I’ve been ready to tell for awhile, but I just didn’t know where I should begin.

Then I saw this post on Creative Thursday, with this video:

And after that, I just wrote.

If you want to read all about my journey to being a boudoir photographer, you can read all about it here. Enjoy!