This week kicked my butt. I think I’m down three pounds from last week, but it wasn’t at all fun like it was losing weight walking through Disney. I only ever lose weight when I’m being tried a lot. When I’m trying a lot. When life is hurting a bit, but only in that stretching, growing way. It’s character building for me, I tell myself, to have difficult photo jobs and a dentist appointment all in the same week. This means arranging childcare and running back and forth. This means waking up to take Scarlet to preschool, babysit for a friend, take Des to yet another friend’s house for her to babysit, watch him cry while I leave, have a dentist appointment and I’m always nervous about those, then get Scarlet, and then get to work. Who has time to eat?
So I’m happy to end this week with something comfortable, yet exciting. Familiar, yet with so much more to learn. And that is Ask Away Friday (#AAF) with a blogger friend I’ve met in real life – Michelle of A Dish of Daily Life!
Michelle is a fellow blogger/photographer/Mother of All Meltdowns co-author, and she lives in New England too!
To see who else is participating or to learn how to join the fun, head over to visit hosts: Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. #AskAwayFriday is their beautiful and ever-growing creation! And contact me if you want to swap some time!
Don’t forget to read Michelle’s answers to my questions HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:
1. I know you are a super taster, which I had never heard of before you mentioned it. What else besides cilantro (which I am addicted to) can you not eat?
Well there are similarities, but no two super tasters are alike, or at least identical. Although my mom and I are close! (fraternal super tasters?) Basically, all tastes are very complex and strong for us, but we take what we will from that. Sometimes that’s a good thing! For me, I have trouble with spicy foods but I find there are two categories of spicy foods – the ones that burn my mouth and throat (not bad) and the ones that mess with my sinuses and make me cough (very bad). However that could also be a sinus/allergy issue. I can’t stand onions, which is probably just a “me” thing but the super taster aspect of it is that you can’t hide them from me! I will find even the smallest speck with my super tasting sleuth skills! Oh, and strong cheeses? Gross! I love cheese but not ones that smell and taste like..well..I won’t get into that. Lastly, I can’t really drink alcohol. It tastes like medicine to me! I can only manage wine coolers and other mild drinks, and a little goes a LOOOONG WAY. I’m buzzed (below).
2. What is your favorite thing to make for dinner? Would you be willing to share the recipe?
I was going to cheat and ask Cassidy because he’s a much better (and more interested) cook than I am, but then I thought I should answer. Often, the four of us eat different meals at different times. I’m not proud, but it’s the way it is right now. And the one thing everyone will eat is scrambled eggs, and I take those VERY seriously. They can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. And you have to do them right. So it’s not exactly fast, but I posted a video of how I like them. “A little more sexy,” Gordon says.
3. Since you asked me about Jodi Picoult and she is one of both of our favorite authors, I’m asking you as well. Which book is your favorite and why?
Probably “The Tenth Circle” just because I read it while I was getting back together with Cassidy and sometimes when you read something during a particularly good time, it stays with you. His brother gave it to me for Christmas, actually!
4. I think this is becoming my signature question because I always ask this, but what characteristics of yours (good and bad) do you see in your kids?
I like this, because I see so much of Cassidy in them, so it’s nice to just focus on me too. After all, we built this family together!
Scarlet.. Scarlet has big dreams, big imagination and a general excitement at life. She loves animals and she experiences frolicking joy. She really, really thinks farts are funny. She doesn’t do it very much, but she talks about it a LOT. I get that.
Des. He is cautious and sensitive. He’s careful and gentle. He’s one and I could give him my camera and he’d hold it steadily. If I give him a bowl of food, he’ll place it on the table and eat without spilling any or throwing the bowl. He is very dreamy and gets very excited about..everything, but mostly food. He experiences frolicking joy too. Sometimes, we’re three of a kind!
5. I love the pictures you share of your home. What is your favorite thing that you love living where you do…it could be your house or even the town that you live in.
hmm…my favorite. What an awesome question because it’s so hard to narrow it down. This is a one-of-a-kind place – Northampton, MA. It’s all parts country, city and college town. I can live in the woods, but be in the heart of downtown in four miles. If I go left out of my driveway, it’s waiting for 20 minutes to be seated at a hot brunch location. If I turn right, it’s probably not waiting but maybe waiting to be seated at an old timey sugar shack. The emphasis my town has on education, equal rights and good, local, organic REAL food – it’s unmatched. And the parades are pretty fantastic, I must say.
6. I asked my last partner for 3 random facts about herself and the answers were fun, so I’m asking you too! Spill the beans.
1. My favorite foods are potatoes, cheeseburgers, pickles, all of the desserts in the world, popcorn, and fresh fruit and vegetables – just picked. But not all together. Except for the first three!
2. I have a recurring dream about finding wads and wads of cash. If you ever want to make me happy or give me some sort of reward or gift, just hand me wads of cash in creative ways. I really have this dream a lot and I hate waking up from it to discover one dollar in my wallet. And that one dollar is on a good day!
3. When I was pregnant with Scarlet five years ago, I hadn’t had fast food in at least five years before that, but I wanted it a lot. Everyone talked me out of it..for the most part. One day I went to the Burger King drive-thru and ordered large fries. I felt so deliciously bad, sitting all alone in my car buying something I’d never admit to anyone. (until now) Well after one bite, I realized why I don’t eat fast food and tossed them all in the garbage. So I suppose I have mostly retained my clean record, with just a slip-up here and there. (Wendy’s french fries did happen ONCE during her pregnancy.)
7. You are the most amazing blog commenter ever. It seems like everywhere I go, you have already been there. You’re like a blog ninja. What is your secret?!
I AM a ninja. When I care. Honestly my heart is just so big for this blogging world that I can’t cut down on blogging friends! Never! I will often comment in time chunks between doing other work – my own blog, photography, kid-wrangling. I often will do it after the kids are in bed and I’ll catch up on weekends. That said, and for fear of sounding petty, I don’t do as much as it seems. If someone doesn’t ever visit me back, I’ll stop. If I’m still interested in what they have to say, I’ll read their posts but I won’t comment or share. Petty, right?! And if someone posts five times a week, I probably won’t comment five times a week. And if they’re posting something so completely out of my realm, I’ll skip that day. I read fast. I write fast. I have a lot of help with my kids. And I care. That’s it right there. NOTHING stops me when I care. I’m a force of blogging commenting nature.
8. What is your favorite quote, and why does it “speak” to you? If you’re like me (and I have a feeling you are) and have a zillion quotes that speak to you, pick one.
Well I don’t think he was talking about photography, but it fits: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” –Wayne Gretzky
9. One thing I struggle with in photography is posed pictures and I never take them, although there are times when I would like one. Can you give us a few tips on how to take a great portrait shot?
Posed portraits are a bit more difficult to me than the candid kids one I’ve grown to love and get paid for.
I often will tell clients before a shoot that I do both. Some posed, many candid. There’s a whole mental process I go through before a shoot and during it, and I’ve learned that I am relying about 90% on instinct and feel. So listen to your heart – that’s my #1 tip. When you pose, try EVERY angle and every facial expression. Talk them through it with (gentle) authority. Don’t just take the photos when they expect you to, of course. Keep shooting in those magical in-betweens in which your subject may relax or look away or laugh. They’ll do that certain something that makes them so beautifully..them. Definitely alter your perspective. Instead of having them move, you move. Oh, and don’t “amputate” (cut out of the shot) their limbs and joints! Always focus on the eyes. Don’t center your subjects. And don’t do “up the nose” shots! Shoot from above or at least at their level.
10. If you weren’t a photographer and a blogger, what do you think you’d be doing in life?
Well I hope by now, even without photography and writing, I’d have discovered that many things don’t work for me. Most things. So I would hope to be a small to medium business owner – working to the bone, but on my terms. And trust me – I’m a pretty strict boss of myself. I’d love to own a coffeeshop on wheels. And I’d deliver fancy coffee and cookies to people’s homes.