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.

What’s In Your Head?

In fact, this title has double meaning.

finish the sentence friday

My beloved Finish the Sentence Friday has changed, but it has only gotten better. In fact, I’ll let Kristi explain it:

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The details:


**Week one each month will be a standard Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, where we give you a prompt, and you write to the sentence as exactly or as loosely as you’d like to.

Week two each month will be a Listicle. Write a list based on the prompt we give you.

Week three each month will be a stream of consciousness. Write for five minutes, and share it. Kenya used to participate in this prompt and I’ve been in writing groups with Jena (THEY ARE AMAZING) that do it for 10 minutes. There’s much to be said about the free-write. You often find something you weren’t prepared to “talk about.” Free therapy, anybody?

Week four each month will be a photo share Friday, where you share a photo and the story behind it.

For the few months that have a fifth Friday in them, we’ll do a “Throwback Friday” post, where you can link an old post that needs some new love.**

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And so, I slept (vacationed) through week two, which would have been awesome, but I’m here for week three – stream of consciousness. And the theme this week is winter. Anything winter. Will I stick to theme? Will I leap into weird directions?

finish the sentence friday

Let us begin:

We all need more therapy-like things in the winter, don’t we? I do like free therapy, in fact. I pay a lot for un-free therapy but she seems to think I have the tools to fly on my own for awhile. I always say I’m learning to fly, which is a Tom Petty song in my top five songs of all time. And I came here to talk about concerts. My first concert was a Tori Amos concert at Madison Square Garden. It wasn’t at the big stage, though. It was a quiet theater. Maybe called the Garden Theater? Maybe I’m making that up. I had visceral reactions to that concert, and really, all of them. Like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Bruce Hornsby. Tori played “Winter.” Know that song? Go listen to it. You won’t regret it. It’s probably in my top 15. Or 25.

I came here to talk about Dolores O’Riordan. I was just thinking the other day about writing my Cranberries concert story in my blog. I found out a few days later she had passed away. That was on my list. I never got to see her live. I always thought she’d be here. Never made it to see her, and never made it to Tom Petty either. I’m running out of time but I type so fast. I had tickets to a Cranberries/Collective Soul concert. I used to call my first car, Helga the Magic Lesbian, because I had seen that cartoon short on late night HBO. Just run with that one, ok? I was in college and it wasn’t winter. It was summer. I was delivering pizza and my dad kept warning me to get an oil change and I never listened. I had four tickets to the concert.

I gathered three close friends, put on a cool blue hippie top and sleek jeans, and we headed to our concert. About halfway there, on route 287, we heard a loud bang. I pulled my car over and it started smoking. We all ran away thinking it might blow up. This was before cell phones and we were four young, college-aged women on our way (or not on our way) to see the Cranberries! My friend Nammi (or maybe it was Melissa?) jumped the fence to use a pay phone at some office buildings, and tore her shirt. People kept driving by and beeping at us or catcalling us, but not actually helping? What a sight! Finally, AAA came and it was like in Adventures in Babysitting. The driver had a hook or a claw. And a weird sense of humor as well.

We squeezed all four of us in the front seat with him, because there was no back! We thought we might die, but it was a great opportunity to get the giggles too. I never got to the concert, and I never drove that car again. It makes a great story, though. I called my work that night to talk to my sister and I told the manager and short-order cook my story. They wanted to make me feel better so they sang, “Zombie” (badly) to me, and I laughed. “What’s in your head? What’s in your heeeeeaaaaad?” Zombie.” I’m sad she died. I had just been thinking about her. I’ll conjure her voice. I know how it lives.

It’s been five minutes. Let us end here:

What’s in your head?

5 Ways to Have a New Year Home Refresh

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I partnered with MONI Smart Security on this post, but all opinions are my own.

AD We are so excited to share all of the aspects of our home that make us feel safe and secure, and to show how easy it can be to do so. It's the new year and time for a brand new home refresh. Here are 5 ways to refresh, all within your reach!

One of the most exciting parts about the new year has been our home renovations.

We’ve had a lot of delays and we’re nowhere near done, but somehow only days before New Year’s Eve, we had a new bedroom to sleep in, and a brand new bathroom to enjoy – only seconds before our house guests were due to arrive for five days! Now that the rooms are usable, the fun part begins. I’m talking paint colors, DIY projects, reading nooks, revamps, and of course – home security. Just changing two rooms has caused us to rethink the rest of the house too. It was time!

home refresh

We live in the middle of four acres of New England woods. When we bought our house several years ago, the locksmith suggested we needed security for our home – especially with a toddler and a baby on the way – but we weren’t ready for that step yet. Luckily we weren’t, because we hadn’t yet imagined the way technology would make it easier than ever for us to have a safe and secure home. Now we’re working on a smart home, piece by piece, and we’ve had the best luck with MONI Smart Security. That’s why I’m so excited to share my 5 ways we’re doing a home refresh for the new year.

It will indeed be a happy new year with these 5 ways:

home refresh

1 – Create a passion space. I say passion because that can vary. For example, in my sister’s house, she’d create a fitness space. Here, it’s all about creating a reading space. It’s a place to dream and be quiet and better yourself. I always creating a room for quiet, too, whether in this space or another one in your home. You can find a small table or nightstand, pillows, candles, books, etc. In our house, we’re doing that with our bedroom since it’s going to be quite big.

2 – Have fun with one accent shade. We have bold taste in our house, but we keep the boldness to the numerous photographs and pieces of art on the wall. It’s such fun to narrow it down to using just one shade of an accent color. In our case, it’s a dark blue. You can find it all over the house, and even on the front door. We have one dark blue wall in our bedroom and bathroom, as well as the hallway leading to the master suite. And we have dark blue linens! We love it.

For a bonus tip, splurge on new linens and towels – and find them in that accent shade!

(That mannequin is going to hold a costume my husband made. It isn’t as random as it looks!)

3 – Rearrange your accessories and art. Every now and then we need a revamp, don’t we? We’ve had the same photo gallery up for ages, and I keep saying to our guests, “Those photos are so old!” I’m a photographer so we need to switch it up with new family photos! We also move small shelves, bookends, pillows, and rugs every now and then just to see how it will look.

4 – Let there be lots of light! I love light personally, and depend on it for my mood and for my photography. That’s why it’s cost-effective to buy a fun new light fixture or bed lamp, or to work on new shades/curtains/blinds. Feel that freshness!

5 – Explore the amazingness of MONI Smart Security professional monitoring. Now that we’re making such important home updates, it’s time to stop putting off what should be #1 on your to-do list. Not to mention it’s so easy to protect your family with MONI professional monitoring. This monitoring experience is different from any other home monitoring experience.

How so? It’s because MONI delivers unmatched speed and personalization in home security through the integration of the latest smart technology with their award-winning monitoring capabilities. My family feels safer with MONI, because we are safer with MONI. MONI has 24/7 monitoring capabilities that has allowed them to be trusted advisors and providers for nearly 25 years. As a result, their over 1 million customers (like us!) feel more secure every day.

home refresh

They have also responded to customers – as illustrated through high customer satisfaction rankings. MONI knows people want options in home and life security, and this is one of many reasons they offer a variety of equipment that includes the latest smart home technology and setup options. There’s everything from activate yourself options (like the Nest Secure system) to professional activation. On a personal note, the activation could not have been easier! There’s always a friendly team of professionals to help monitor your home 24/7. The setup and enrollment process took only minutes. The sense of security?

That’s sticking around for a lifetime.

I love MONI’s commitment to the future of a connected home. I also love that with using MONI, the burden is off of me to check my notifications and contact authorities myself. That is all taken care of by MONI. Such a feeling of security.

What would you do for a home refresh in the new year?

AD We are so excited to share all of the aspects of our home that make us feel safe and secure, and to show how easy it can be to do so. It's the new year and time for a brand new home refresh. Here are 5 ways to refresh, all within your reach!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of MONI Smart Security.