Everyday Avenger

Life is About Creating Yourself…

Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

I’m all for celebrating who you are, exactly as you are. I think it is critical to be true to ourselves.

What I’ve learned over the past few years is that it is even more important to think about who you want to become.

I’ve never been much for planning or for setting goals. I’m not sure how that started, but I think a lot of that stems from several years in a relationship that was so tumultuous. I felt like I never knew if I was coming or going, so why bother plan if I was just going to be disappointed in those plans falling through? Why even bother.

It is easy to drift along in life like that. When you are in it, it actually doesn’t seem that bad. Looking back, I wish I had planned more. I wish I had more goals, set the bar higher for myself.

I’m working on that these days. I’m learning to dream, and to DREAM BIG. To think about how I want to create myself. Still true to me, but an even better version of me. Creating yourself doesn’t have to mean being a fake, being something you are not. Dr. Anil Shah, a cosmetic surgeon, says many of his patients come to him because they want total change, but he advises that “enhancement” is the better approach. People are already beautiful naturally. For me? It means creating the best life around myself possible, making plans and goals for the future – something I can work towards.

Still surgery is really common right now, more and more people is trying to improve themselves from the inside to the outside, so some people try plastic surgery to fix cosmetic imperfection and male surgery is more and more common.

For so many years I felt like I didn’t deserve good things. I’m just now learning to accept that I am enough. Creating myself is a big part of that.

Photograph taken at the Mom 2.0 Summit, overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Ritz Carlton at Laguna Niguel in California, May 3, 2013 with my Fuji X-E1.

Picture Time

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!

Houston & The Heights

Let’s Start At the Very Beginning…

I have this whole issue with writing blog posts, especially when they are part of a chronological timeline, that I just can not write them out of order. UGH! Drives me nuts. But that said, I need to get over it, because I have so much to share that if I wait then I will never write the current stuff because I’m waiting to catch up on the old stuff, and then we end up in a crazy infinite loop that is about as freaking annoying as this run on sentence. (Whew!)

Starting back at the beginning of the year, like clockwork as my studio lease was about to renew, my landlord told me that she wanted to sell the building. She had been telling me this since 2009, but this time we decided to actually try to go for it. After all, owning it was going to be less expensive then the rent she was charging me. So we applied for a loan from, and we got it! YAY! Until the bank man came by to look at the building and informed us that the building itself wouldn’t qualify for the loan, since it was a residential loan & the building was commercial. Sure, it had two bedrooms, a bathroom with a shower and a kitchen, but it was still commercial just because of the other buildings surrounding it.

Queue the PANIC.

So I started looking online at my favorite, beloved for houses that would fit what I was looking for, and I called my friend Danelle, the Heights realtor supah-STAR! Once I made a list, I did drive-bys of all the houses at night to see what they looked like. (You know me, I’m all gangsta, yo! *imagine my lame gangsta hand gestures here too, ok?*)

Driving north up Columbia in the Houston Heights to look at a house on the 1200 block, I drove by one right at the corner of Columbia & 9th that was for sale. It was ADORABLE. A grey bungalow, white columns and trim, a front porch with a SWING … I about died right there in my car at the stop sign looking at it. I was instantly smitten. I pulled over and grabbed a flier, and drove on to the house I was originally heading to see.

When I got home later, I looked up my special find online, I was asking myself; where do I find a loan? and then I came across pickaloan. The price was within the amount of the loan. The rooms were perfect and exactly what we wanted – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a newly remodeled kitchen, a screened in back porch, and instead of a side yard, a Bocce ball court! Minimal yard work. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Exactly what Mike & I wanted for our dream house in the Heights, we also want to start looking into the Lavita Outdoor Bar Settings to get a mini bar outside for the holidays and meetings.

But wait! I was supposed to be looking for a space to use for Hot Mama Boudoir! Not a house for us to move into!

Then the stars aligned and I discovered that the space that Adam Nyholt had told me he had available to rent in his building was perfect for what I needed for my studio space! Eee!!!

So with the studio situation solved, I went ahead on May 3rd and looked at the 7 houses still on my “potential perfect for us houses” with Danelle while Mike was out of town for work in New Orleans. I didn’t expect to find anything, I knew the hunt could take awhile. I was armed with my “must have” list though, including Mike’s requirements too – and when we walked into the Bungalow on 9th & Columbia? All bets were off. NONE of the other houses were as perfect. There was not a single item on the list that the house didn’t have.

Somewhat jokingly I sent Mike a text with a photo of the kitchen and said “here is your new kitchen!” and then another one of the front of the house telling him that we should buy it. He sent me a text back (still in his conference meetings) and told me to have Danelle send him the paperwork.

After weeks of paperwork flying back and forth, more paperwork, financial stuff, all the rest – we closed on the house on May 31st, 2011. 28 days after I first saw the inside of the house.

After three years of having my studio in the Heights but our house out in Lakewood Forest, I’m so happy to finally be living here in the neighborhood! I know it sounds totally cheesy, but it really is a dream come true! As Viula would say, we’re living the Heights life!

I can’t wait to share more of the tales of downsizing from 2960 sq ft to 1292 sq ft (6 weeks of adventure and discovery), or how much we LOVE living in the Heights, or more of the new house as we get it decorated, and all of the adventures we’ve been having! You know, now that we got this whole the very beginning part out of the way!

Now, if someone would just buy our other house – Lakewood Forest, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 2 car garage – brand new Tomball Memorial High School, excellent elementary, middle & junior high schools, super family friendly street! Near Vintage Park shopping center and the fantastic HEB there, close to 249. It is a wonderful house, but it was time for us to move into the city to be closer to all of our friends and the things we like to do now that Jason is out of high school. If you ask nicely, we can even talk about a good deal for you!

Getting Down to Business

Are You Really Breathing?

I was just reading one of the most recent posts on The Art of Non-Conformity, where Chris Guillebeau shares a super insightful quote. It made me stop and think.

“Listen—are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
—Mary Oliver

I don’t know about you, but so often I spend my days rushing from one task to the next to the point that I don’t take time to have a life. Earlier this week I decided I had to get more firm on the “no computer after 9pm” rule, and make myself knit at least an hour a day at a minimum. Sometimes, when you are the boss of you, it is just far too easy to forget that there is anything to your life other than your work. You’re so driven by your passion, the joy that made you launch your own business in the first place, and you were so high on the freedom of life and the fact that you’re the boss and you can dictate exactly what you do … that you forget to actually go and DO things.

My other quote of the day is this:

“The purpose of your life is not to serve your business – but the purpose of your business is to serve your life.”
—Michael Gerber

Hmm… I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

If you could do anything in the world today – any thing at all – what would it be? For all of us that are running our own businesses, didn’t we get into this so we could have the freedom to do exactly that? So, what is holding you back? When are you going to start making those plans? What are you missing out on today that you’ll truly regret tomorrow? What should you be doing today to make sure that you’re actually living the life you deserve?

Are you really breathing? Why not? What can you do to make that change and truly LIVE your life and let your business serve you? I look forward to hearing about what you think in the comments!