About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com, as well as Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead/QA Reader with Sway, and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.

Meet Diana: Why My Daughter Watched the Emmy’s With Me

Thank you Dove for sponsoring this post. How do you define #RealBeauty?

Meet Diana: the 3rd film from Real Beauty Productions shows how one woman's inner confidence helps overcome challenges and regain belief in #RealBeauty #ad

The lights were dimmed, the food and drinks were placed out, and the kids raced around in their pajamas.

It was NOT going to be an early night. All weekend long I stressed to the kids that I was going to be having a few close female friends over to watch the Emmy Awards and we were going to watch it in a way we’ve never watched it before. We were going to thoroughly celebrate all of the strong and influential women in the TV industry. I had Scarlet by my side.

I’ve never had a life event drastically alter my appearance, except for pregnancy and childbirth, but I’ve always been sensitive to aging. I remember fearing it when I was only 21! I can recall two events that changed me. First, I was with an older woman looking at a photo of herself from her 20’s or 30’s. She said, and I quote, “Gosh, I was SO beautiful. Inside and out. I wish I had known it then.” As a photographer, I take photographs in order to preserve moments, emotions, and experiences in time. It’s the same reason I’m a writer, but with photos, you look back at them and you feel SO MUCH.

It’s indescribable. I don’t want to look back in regret. I don’t want to lose my confidence, but my bigger fear is that I’ll never gain it to begin with. And all I can say to that, as the mother of a daughter and son, is: “Not on my watch.”

The other story was when I was with my sister at a convenience store in New Jersey and a man said to me, “Your smile reaches your eyes. Never lose that.” So all of my old fears – of laugh lines and grey hair – are less overwhelming these days. Perhaps I’ll embrace it all – like the badges of courage and honor it is – to receive this gorgeous, irrerversible gift of aging.

Back to the party, I invited a certain group of women, for sure. I have many varied and scattered female friends in this world, but there’s nothing like those wingwomen who will laugh, cry, and play cards with you. Scarlet settled comfortably next to me on the couch and we dished and watched for hours. It was nothing short of bliss. I chose women who build each other up, rather than tearing each other down. There was no criticism as the night unfolded. We may have discussed an actor or presenter’s dress, but we mostly discussed talent, writing, speech-making, and grace. A whole lot of grace.

Women sometimes experience unanticipated changes to their appearance throughout their lives, and Real Beauty Productions’s third film “Meet Diana” shows how one woman’s inner confidence helps her to overcome life’s challenges. It helps her to regain belief in her #ReallBeauty. Dove partnered with Shonda Rhimes and put the power of storytelling in the hands of real women – to help expand the definition of beauty for women and girls. It’s time to see more stories like these because an overwhelmingly 7 in 10 women and girls cannot relate to depictions seen across film, TV and media today.

You can “Meet Diana” with this video and find out how you can make a difference in a girl’s self-esteem at Dove.com/RealBeauty. We sat together on Television’s biggest night, while Shonda and Dove honored the real women in front of and behind the camera to celebrate the strides the industry has made to change the way women are seen on screen.

Dove believes that all women can be a positive inspiration for the next generation. By modeling their own beauty with confidence, girls feel they have a positive role model and are less likely to let anxiety about their looks hold them back.

72% of girls around the world feel a tremendous pressure to be beautiful, and they cite entertainment and media as a source of this pressure. The Dove Self-Esteem Project was created to ensure that the next generation develops a positive relationship with the way they look. This helps girls develop the confidence they need to reach their full potential. Over the past decade, the project has provided more than 20M young people around the world with body confidence and self-esteem education. Dove is the largest provider of self-esteem education in the world. The new goal is to help 20M more by 2020.

Meet Diana: the 3rd film from Real Beauty Productions shows how one woman's inner confidence helps overcome challenges and regain belief in #RealBeauty #ad

Then, there’s Diana Wright. As a mother of two girls, an athlete, and a teacher, Diana was used to living up to her namesake – Wonder Woman. She strived to reclaim confidence in her appearance after losing her leg in a car accident. When it came to her recovery, Diana reached goal after goal – learning not only how to walk again, but how to run. She did this through her passion and strength. Diana is a mother and mentor – and taps into that same passion and drive to ensure that the girls in her life develop positive body confidence and self-esteem. She’s an inspiring example of the power of all women to help the next generation develop confidence in their #RealBeauty.

Now, for 60 years, Dove has listened to and cared about women. They launched Real Beauty Productions with Shonda Rhimes to shift the power of storytelling from Hollywood to real women. With a 100% female crew, Shonda and Dove continue to celebrate inclusive, diverse and real beauty in front and behind the camera.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

So, did you watch the Emmy’s?

I’ll Still Always Love You

This post is a one-photo post – the rarest of the rare. An albino giraffe. One photo. And I took awhile to pick it out:

love you

Sometimes I think about the books that used to make me sob into my pillow at night.

Just a mere thought. “Where the Red Fern Grows” hit me so hard that when my teacher, Miss Kennedy, put on the movie version in class, I bolted out of my seat and out of the classroom and out of the hallway, just so I wouldn’t have to hear a second of it. If we’re being honest, she must have thought I had diarrhea or something. I would NEVER run out of a classroom without permission, or at least a hall pass! There were also several Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley books that did it too.

I swear I only learned how to walk so that I could reach for books. I only learned how to talk so that I could ask for books. When I’m eating a meal with other people, I cross my legs in my chair and busy my hands because otherwise they’ll be reaching for books. I know how to rest (sort of) and I know how to relax (in odd ways) and I know how to dwell and I know how to STAY, but when I want to escape, I have one thing on my mind – and that’s books. (or magazines, Hallmark movies, and a good hug and kiss, but that’s a story for another day) Reading makes me escape. Dream. Imagine. Weep. Laugh. FEEL.

Alive.

In high school, I used to sleep at my friend Rachel’s house with my other friend, Jessi. Jessi and I have been friends since 4th grade and still remain close to this day. Rachel had a children’s book called “I’ll Always Love You” by Hans Wilhelm tucked into her bookshelf. It’s a book about a little boy who gets a puppy and they grow up together. The dog gets older and older and eventually dies. The little boy is sad but he had said, “I’ll always love you” to his dog every night of the dog’s life.

Rachel and Jessi found me huddled in the corner of Rachel’s bedroom sobbing one night because I had found the book and read it. And I mean full on convulsing. It became a thing that every time we went to Rachel’s house, we’d both read the book to make ourselves cry. We were masochists, apparently. I forgot about that book after Rachel and I drifted apart.

In fact, I might never have remembered it until…

I was having a particularly bad day with our elderly Husky, Stormy. We had spent the morning doing errands and then I drove Cassidy to work downtown and got myself a delicious egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Back at home, Stormy had the nerve to steal half of the sandwich right in front of me. I was so mad and while I was shouting and trying to get her to go outside, she ate the other half. In front of me. I was fuming. And I couldn’t believe the nerve. I went to work and I was muttering about it and balling my hands into fists. People probably thought I was insane. Oh, wait! This was The Haight in San Francisco. Never mind. I fit right in looking crazy. Anyway, I should have gotten over it fast but I didn’t for hours.

It wasn’t until I got home and found a package in the mail slot. I pulled out a book that had a post-it note that said, “Open Me” and had a drawn on smiley face on the cover. It was the book, “I’ll Always Love You.” I read maybe one page of it and burst into tears and hugged Stormy repeatedly. The book was sent by Jessi and it was truly a gift in every sense of the word. I got over that egg sandwich episode very fast. I’ll never get over the feeling, though. I don’t know that I’d want to either.

I miss that crazy old, egg sandwich-stealing lady. Mostly, I miss Cassidy with her. I’ll always love you.

I’m linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday or #FTSF. This week’s topic is “Reading makes me…” And there’s time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

What would you say?