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a stroll through rosendale, ny


I’m in the middle of trying to finish up a book I’m writing for photographers — 12 (oooor 13, 14, or 15 … we’ll see!) Reasons Your Photography Business is Failing. Despite it’s negative-sounding title, it’s actually a happy book about success! But as is usually the case with me, as I round the corner into the final stretch, I get stuck.

And when that happens … it’s time to mix things up a bit!!

I typically write from one of two places … my home office (which also doubles as my kitchen ; )), or Starbucks. But when I get to the brick-wall stage of a project, then it’s time to head somewhere new.

This time around, I opted to take a quick drive down to Rosendale.


Rosendale is situated in Dutchess County, New York in the very beautiful Hudson Valley. It reminds me a bit of New Paltz … a town just a few miles around the corner — though definitely less crowded (thank goodness). I think it can best be described as a little bit hippy … a little bit earthy … and a little bit forgotten. There are quite a few empty stores along the quaint little Main Street area, hence the “forgotten” part. Buuuut, those that are currently open are pretty awesome!


I walked around snapping photos until I happily ran into a funky vintage store with a fabulous collection of clothes and some really fun finds. The store’s name is Spoiled Doves and in it you’ll find all kinds of treasures … along with a couple of adorable furry friends.


Along the way, I happened across what is pretty much my current dream dwelling, a tiny little house.


And of course I would paint the door purple … and of course I would put sunflowers in the yard!


After a bit of wandering, it was time to actually sit down and work. Since that was the whole point of the trip! I wandered into The Big Cheese — which is pretty much my version of heaven on earth. It’s a vintage clothing store that sells cheese. Which is strange, of course. And yet … it’s not! I can’t tell you how happy I was to walk in to the yummiest smell, and then spend some time hunting through awesome vintage clothes, and then grab an AMAZING sandwich and sit down at a table and get to work.


I did NOT finish my book. In fact, I think I got a page done : ( Buut, it was a fun little trip and I’m not sorry I took it! : )

So, there you have it. A little peak at Rosendale. It’s definitely worth a trip if you’re ever in the Hudson Valley.

Now, I need your help. If you’re someone who regularly switches up where you go to work or read, where do you go? What spots work best for you? Coffee houses? Parks? I need some new spots!


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You can’t sell sameness.

“You can’t sell sameness.” – Coca-Cola marketing executive Sergio Zyman

It’s true that the photography industry is saturated today. But don’t let that discourage you. It doesn’t mean that success is impossible.

A saturated market is actually a sign that there’s a lot of opportunity!

These days, success doesn’t come to the person who sets up shop. Success comes to the person who stands out from the crowd. And the best way to be different than everyone else is to tap into … YOU.

Be true to your artistic vision. Never let the trends cause you to leave that vision. Be you. Slowly but surely, you will develop raging fans who will choose you despite the fact that they *could* choose someone else.


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want to firm up your chin and jawline? no exercise is needed!


The other day I was floating along Lake Damariscotta in a kayak (because I definitely float more than I paddle). I was wearing my favorite sunglasses — the ones that used to belong to my Aunt before she passed away. They mean a lot to me. So I snapped a picture and thought that I’d end up writing a blog post about why the glasses mean so much to me.

I changed my mind when I looked at the picture. Because suddenly, I was super excited!

When it comes to looking good in photos, angles matter. And frankly, the angle in the photo above has always been my absolute least favorite. But as I stared at the photo, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that my jawline has changed for the better. Ok, I still won’t call this my favorite angle of my face. But, why did it change? I’ve pinned many, many face toning exercise routines over the last few years …  but I still hadn’t tried them. (That sums up my relationship with Pinterest pretty well!)

As I floated on down the lake, I suddenly realized what had happened. About a month ago, I added oil pulling to my morning routine. When I first started, my jaws and facial muscles would tire out after a few moments. But now, I can easily go 15 to 20 minutes and not feel that same fatigue. I started with the oil pulling because I’ve read it can help you detox. Now, I have NO idea if I’ve lost a toxin or two this last month. But without a doubt, my chin has changed.

Soooo … if you’re looking to firm up your chin, give this a try! All you have to do is put about 2 TBS of the oil of your choice in your mouth (I like coconut oil) and swish it around. Ideally, you’ll want to build up to doing this for about 20 minutes first thing in the morning. You’ll feel the muscles in your face and chin working! When you’re done, spit it out, don’t swallow it.

And the HUGE bonus? I’m also pleased to say that my teeth are whiter than ever. And that’s also thanks to the oil pulling.

Want to learn more about oil pulling? Check out this post by The Wellness Mama.



p.s. Add coconut oil to your coffee for THE best morning coffee you’ve ever tasted!

p.p.s. And then I pretended that I was in Paris. Because, well, I always pretend I’m in Paris : ) …


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OK – so I had to say – you look fabulous darling. Absolutely fabulous. Keep doing what you’re doing because it is so working for you : )


Aw, thanks : ) You’re sweet : ) : )

Easy + Effective DIY Deodorant


This was SO ridiculously easy. It really does make me wonder why on earth I didn’t start making this stuff YEARS ago! Natural deodorant can be really pricey and quite frankly, I have yet to find one that I feel like works really well with my body chemistry. I’ve spent a lot of money purchasing different natural brands of deodorant over the years, but I finally decided to look up a recipe and make it myself. I’m so glad I did because this is the most effective natural deodorant I’ve ever tried (hehe, can you hear the pride in my voice? ; ))

By the way, if you’re like many of the folks out there who are slowly but surely switching from chemical to natural beauty products, definitely check out EWG Skin Deep’s Cosmetics Database. There you’ll be able to take a comprehensive look at the ingredients used in various cosmetic and beauty products. When I was initially switching over to more healthy options about 8 years ago, I was shocked to see that pretty much all of the products I was using on my body ranked SUPER high as carcinogens and completely toxic to the body. Most of the products I was using were by Revlon and I was dumbfounded to see just how many toxic ingredients I was putting on my body!

Anyway, back to the deodorant.

This deodorant has minimal ingredients … but is super effective.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil – antibacterial and moisturizing
  • 2 TBS baking soda – helps with moisture and odor
  • 1 TBS bentonite clay – helps with detoxing
  • 1 TBS vitamin E oil – moisturizing
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder – helps with moisture and odor
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil – um, it smells delightful!
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil – antibacterial … does WONDERS with odors
  • 1 TBS bees wax pellets – helps keep everything firmed up (well, as firm as natural deodorant gets!)

It’s a simple process:

The above-listed ingredients will render a full tube of deodorant … possibly two. I made a full tube and two smaller containers perfect for travel.

  • Bring a pan of water to a slight boil and then place a glass bowl in the water (or pull out and use your double boiler if you have one).
  • Place the coconut oil in the bowl and allow it to melt completely.
  • Stir in the bees wax pellets and continue to stir until blended.
  • Add essential oils and Vitamin E.
  • Turn off burner but leave the bowl in the hot water.
  • Add in the dry ingredients a little at a time and continue to stir the mixture so it doesn’t harden. The bees wax will immediately harden as it cools … so work quickly!
  • Once it’s all mixed, pour into an empty deodorant bottle (the one you see in the picture was a Tom’s of Maine deodorant that I finished off …even though it wasn’t really effective for my body chemistry). Or you could buy empty tubes here.

I’m not new to natural deodorant, so it didn’t surprise me that the consistency is a tad gritty. It also melts a bit as the temperature in my non-airconditioned apartment rises. When that happens, it goes on a little gloopy … which isn’t a problem as I just rub it in. I LOVE the lavender scent and I’m thrilled with this deodorant’s ability to keep me smelling great all day long.

What do you think? Would you try making your own deodorant? What scents would you choose?


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Top 60 Motivational Speakers in the World


A little while back, I decided to add three rituals to my daily life.

1. Listen to a motivational speech while I edit images for work.

2. Read a true-life story from someone who shares my faith every night before I go to bed.

3. Juice every day.

Those rituals cover the big areas of my life: my spiritual health, my physical health, and my livelihood. For a while there, these things had truly become rituals for me. But lately, as I’ve gotten really busy, I’ve let them slide. But that’s ok … I’m determined to get back on track.

So, my yearbook of true-life accounts is now back on my pillow. My juicer is getting dusted off. And I’m so excited to find this fabulous list of the 60 top motivational speakers in the world. This is one of those pages that is going on my bookmark bar for super quick reference.

I usually choose a speaker to listen to based on my mood. Tony Robbins pumps me up … Les Brown makes me feel like I can do anything … Brian Tracy helps me feel like slow and steady I can get there.

I’ve really only listened to the folks that are in the top 10 portion of this list. So I’m excited to pull up some talks by the other folks on the list and see how they might get me pumped up and ready to accomplish more goals!

Successful people are simply those with successful habits. – Brian Tracy


p.s. Only 3% of Americans regularly set goals.

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