Do I Even Need An Introduction?

For this week’s installment of “Ask Away Friday” (#AAF), I am paired with Ilene from The Fierce Diva Guide to Life.

And if you don’t already know this about us, we’re “in-person friends.” I hesitate to use the term, “real life”, because all of you are very real, even if I haven’t met you. Yet. You lift me up when I’m down. You support my work. You comment thoughtfully on my blog. And you make me happy. I hope I do the same for you, and if not, I’ll get on that! With Ilene? I’ve seen her in person TWICE. So it’s safe to say that since there was a repeat of the first time, that it’s possible. You can become in-person friends with your blogging friends. True story. I’d like to believe I come across in person as I do on my blog, relatively, and she does too.

Only better. And more 3D and all of that. I took this picture! I’ve always wanted to post an #AAF photo that I took.

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And without further ado, since I have a plane to catch today, and I’ll let the questions/answers speak for themselves, below are my answers to her questions. You can see her answers to my questions HERE.

To see who else is participating or to learn how to join the fun, head over to visit Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County and/or Amber from The Bold Fab Mom. #AskAwayFriday is their beautiful and ever-growing creation!

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1. I am fortunate in that I’ve met several members of your family in person. I loved everyone, and I was quite taken by your mother, as you know. What is one piece of advice or lesson from Mom that you hold close?

Ah, this one is close to my heart. My mom is mellow, in that way that you can confess to her your deepest fears/confessions and she may even say, “So what?” It would be nicer than that, though. I’m just saying that she handles news well. If I told her I was gay, she probably wouldn’t bat an eye. And therein lies the best lesson she has ever taught me/us. It’s about skin color, sexual orientation and religion. Open hearts and open minds, people. I learned that if you do care about other people’s lifestyle, it says a lot of negative things about YOU, and not the people you mock/fear/hate. As a little kid, I learned so fast to embrace those of different skin colors and religions. I had gay family members and I would have chewed out anyone in their defense. I also come from a world in which we don’t..fixate on the amount of money other people have. I can’t..imagine caring? Only hearts matter.

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2. You and I can both get pretty intense with our blogging subject matter. When we got together on Christmas Eve, we both talked about this and how in real life, we’re both more light hearted than a reader may think at first glance. What is something about the real life Tamara versus the blogging Tamara that you think would surprise your readers?

People always seem surprised here when they learn how nervous I can get before jobs, and really over seemingly small things. And really, it’s even worse than you can imagine, sometimes. And other times, I’m really very calm in the face of crazy. There’s no rhyme or reason! Hmm..what else? Well I get really angry with slow drivers. And when I think someone I know is an..unsavory character, I don’t have the grace to tell them in a kind way. So that sometimes surprises people who think I’m all kind, all the time! (I do want to be) I didn’t have fun at my own wedding. I was too nervous. I really want a do-over one of these days.

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3. You’re a blogging veteran, yet you’ve noted that it wasn’t until last year that you found your blogging community. Has writing to a community changed your blogging voice or subject matter in any way?

I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t changed at all, but not as much as one would think. Of course we change the way we write when people are listening, and I’d hope in my case, it was growth. You still won’t find a sponsored post from me unless it’s a friend or relative, and unless it’s something I’m pretty darn passionate about. WeMontage, anyone? And through community, I’ve learned to cut down my posts a bit. When I read long and rambling blog posts, my eyes tend to glaze over. So I make sure my powerful thoughts are not consolidated, but are better organized. And from all of you, I’ve learned to add more photos in between paragraphs! I love breaking up words with images, when relevant. In fact, I’ll do it right…now…

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4. You’re a force in the blogging world. Gorgeous words, gorgeous photos, you have a great community behind you and you’re also a very loyal friend to all of us. What would you consider to be one of the downsides of blogging or something you sometimes don’t like about it?

Why, thank you!! I do love my readers, and each one? I’m one of their readers too. It goes both ways. So the biggest downfall that I see is when people aren’t gracious or..kind. I can get not wanting to connect. Maybe you’re a lone wolf blogger. Maybe you’re busy as anything. Maybe you’re serving the purpose you want to serve without having/needing too many blogging “friends.”. I totally get that. It’s not my way, but I get it. Stacey Loscalzo wrote a post HERE about how twitter etiquette is just like kindergarten etiquette (complete with milk and cookies), and I think it can be used for blogging too. And by all means, give credit where it’s due! If you take someone’s original idea, or just use an idea you saw on their blog, you link back to them!

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(Sharing is caring. Um..I just needed an excuse to use this photo. Not sure I even have one, but hey!)

5. “You have No Power Here” is my favorite post of yours and probably one of my favorite blog posts ever written by anyone. I mean, I can quote pieces of it by heart. (readers, if you have never read this post before by Tamara, stop what you are doing and click here to check out the brilliance that I am talking about). Do you recall what was going on in your life when you wrote it that propelled you wanting to share this message?

YES! Big time. It was a few days after Des’ first birthday and to celebrate, we made cupcakes and visited the hospital he was born at. We saw the doctor who had rushed him by ambulance to another hospital’s NICU. And gave him a cupcake. (obviously, what else can you do?) Two days later, I visited a NICU reunion at the other hospital he spent a week at. I saw the doctor who was assigned to his hospital bed. That doctor was kind and happy to see him all healthy and handsome and awesome. It was also a few weeks before Scarlet’s fourth birthday and that’s how old I was when my father suddenly passed. A few weeks before four. So my mind was all a-spin, but you know what? I handled it. I managed it. I grew from it. Sometimes..the past is the power under you and not over you, as I said then, and you so kindly quoted me. And I love the way you love my post this much.

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6. It’s no secret that I felt kindred to you pretty quickly. Not to get all “new agey,” but when this phenomenon happens with people, I often ponder things like deja vu or past lives. Do you believe our souls are reincarnated or do you think it’s a one and done for us?

Hmm..that’s a toughie. I do ponder those things. I ponder most things. I think if I were hard-pressed to answer, I’d say that I think it’s a one and done. I think maybe I’d rather believe that because I like being who I am.

7. Time travel comes up a lot on your blog! If you could go back to one day of your life and either get to relive it or do it over, but in a way that would have no subsequent effect on your future, what day would you go back to and why?

Another toughie! There have been many joyous, magical and downright wonderful moments and days in my life. No doubt. Oh god. Meeting Cassidy. Meeting him again after two years of a broken heart. At an airport during a bomb scare, no less! People..really. Read my story. Anyway. Then there have been travels, and birth. And wow. However..I guess I’d have to say that I’d want to go back to 1984 or so. I’d love to spend a whole day with my father, from an adult perspective. I think I’d understand so much more about myself if I could have had that chance. And you say it would have no effect on my future, but I’d still try to warn him about his unexpected heart disease. I’d do it in vain, I’m sure, but I would do it.

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8. I know that eyelashes are what motivated you to get into photography. What motivates you to stay in it?

Ah, making my mark on the world, and mainly – my family. The happiness I see on people’s faces when I do a good job. The cycle of new knowledge and then using that new knowledge and then enjoying the heck out of that new knowledge. Finally finding a way to physically show everyone how I see the world. I wouldn’t ever want to lose that.

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9. You’re off to Disney World tomorrow! Tell me. Do you have a fantasy camera shot that you’ve though about trying to capture?

Not really, no! I haven’t given it a lot of thought except to say that my travel tip is that I’m just taking one lens. My favorite lens. I just don’t want to be swapping lenses during the fun, or worrying about them in my luggage. I’m sure many pro photographers would NOT recommend that, but I do most of my favorite work with my favorite lens. I suppose I’d like to photograph the looks on Scarlet’s face most. And the magic. And it’s a low light lens so inter-ride shots would be magical!

10. Where do you see yourself a year from right now? What’s that “best possible version” of the future that you’re envisioning?

Less anxious and more successful. Bravely successful. Successfully brave. So much of the work that comes to me is more about luck (and I’d hope, skill) than it is about me doing things I don’t feel comfortable doing – namely, sales. So I guess even when I know I deserve a job and I know I deserve a good paycheck for it, I still am so hard on myself. I still think that I have to do something drastic to get to where I’m going. I’m probably wrong, but maybe only half wrong. And I’d like more insight into the books I want to write. Oh, and I may even be published in another book by then! You just never know..but..SPOILERS.

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  1. I am surprised that you didn’t enjoy your wedding day, because there is a photo of you in a carriage and you look positively joyous! But I get it – wedding days are big and stressful and well.. .. I don’t know, I didn’t have one.

    I know this year will be big for you, I can feel it in mah bones!

    (Also, really REALLY good questions, Ilene!)

    1. I did have snippets of real fun, and the photographer was fantastic. I bow to him! He knew how to catch me in good lights (literally and figuratively) and he did find the joy. It was there to find. I was just..sick with nerves.

      Thanks for your good wishes for my year!

  2. I learn more about you every time you write. You didn’t enjoy your wedding day?! The pictures you have shown us are so beautiful you would never know. Mine was crazy…beyond crazy. It was like a frat party. Seriously. I am going to have to write about it. We were so young we didn’t know better. I’m not sure if we knew better though, we would have changed anything. Have fun in Disney!!

    1. I hope you do write about it and I am laughing a bit at your description. (sorry!)
      As I told Alison, I did have a lot of snippets of joy and fun and the photographer was relentless and fantastic, as all wedding photographers should be.

    1. Thanks! That’s always been one of my favorites of her.
      And I plan to have so much fun…no one in my house can sleep right now. We’re all going a little batty.

    1. Yes, she totally blasted me with them! In a good way.
      And I have always had a weakness for that photo of Scarlet because I feel like it says so much about her.

  3. I REALLY HOPE you get to re-do your wedding one day, so you’re not too scared/worried!!!!! But of course you’re going to be a BALL OF NERVES!! You’re taking a serious step in your life – if I were to ever get married, I might faint, LOL! Where would you want to get re-married?!?! 🙂

    1. haha! So true. Why don’t more people faint at their weddings? Seriously. I guess when you really need to hold it together, you do. I was seriously ill from nerves for a week before the day but during the ceremony, I felt great.

      I’d like to get re-married at the same place – a mountain top resort in nowhere, Vermont. And this time, I’d like a moose to walk into the ceremony and give his blessing. How much do you think that costs to get?

    1. Thank you!! I’m channeling you and your travel spirit. I’m going to ride that plane so nonchalantly because..well..I’ll be thinking of you during that time. (and it will help with my nerves)

  4. Such amazing answers to these wonderful questions! I love learning more about you. I have read half of your story with Cassidy, but I still have to get back to the last half! 🙂 That pic of Scarlet is so precious! I hope that you have an amazing and warm time at Disney! I can’t wait to hear all about your fun! Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Stacey! I love that Ask Away Friday has brought us to know each other more and more.
      Disney’s weather forecast doesn’t even look that great, but you know what? It’s five degrees here so it can’t be as bad as home!!

  5. I ADORE you BOTH!!!! I am NOT in the LEAST bit surprised at how awesome Ilene’s questions were!!! I was GLUED to my laptop reading your answers… because the questions were that good!

    Those pictures? Sigh..

    You are such a gift. Everything about you screams TALENT.

    I get the crazy ways of anxiety. You know that! I love how you always seem to trigger such raw and genuine beauty… seeing the both of you together is like seeing two SUPER STARS on stage… close up… front row center!

    You have no idea how far you will go…. and I do. Take deep breaths and GO!!

    1. Aw, rock stars for a day! I’ll take it!
      And those deep breaths – amazing how well they work. And I’m grounded by as many great things, as I am floating away on an anxious wave by many things.
      I do hope..everything you say about me is true, or will be one day. You do make me feel a lot of great things.

  6. AW! You guys might have part 2! I hope Des will be in it this time. I’m thinking there’s no way he won’t be after all he’s done in the past year and a half. Hehe. Can’t wait to see what happens at Disney World. You guys are going to have a blast. Your mom is like the type of mom I want to be…I want my kids to feel the same way you do about her when they talk about me as adults for sure. Even if you do think something about what someone has decided about his or her life is right or wrong, it doesn’t mean that you have to be angry with them or mean to them because of what he or she decided. I’m sure your mom taught you all right from wrong, and at the end of the day, she is still your mom. Such a cool thing 🙂 Ok so I feel like I have so much to catch up on about you. Sigh. The Cassidy story and now all of these amazing posts? One of these days! It seems like every time I’m doing my rounds at night I am on the verge of wanting to bury myself in my sheets because I still have night sickness! Have fun on your trip!

    1. hah! Maybe Des will be a ring bearer. I can just see him start down the aisle and then veer sharp left into a field. Like a gutter ball in a bowling alley.
      That’s Des.
      And these posts are all before I “knew” you and I don’t expect everyone to have read them! That’s why every now and then I try to bring back a post from before I actually had people reading this thing. It’s fun to do that.
      Hope you’re feeling better at night soon!

  7. Tamara and Ilene together….my heart explodes from happiness!! SQUEE!! First of all your mom sounds amazing. And I love that photo with you and your dad. Oh, he was *so* handsome! I’m sad you didn’t have more fun at your own wedding because of anxiety. You looked so beautiful and I love your wedding photos! Darn it! Have a WONDERFUL time at Disney!!! –Lisa

    1. Thank you! I’m not really a mustache fan, but hey, it was the 80’s. Legend has it that women swooned over him left and right. Funny to hear about your father, but I guess it’s not a bad ting to hear either.
      I think I’ll throw a wedding do-over and I’ll invite all of my blogging friends. Doesn’t that sound good?

  8. Not that I didn’t enjoy my wedding day, but just too much all at once and I never said this online or on my blog, but I was crying the day after, because it all went by so quickly (hope you don’t think I sound crazy on this admission). Kevin thought I was crazy, but I said to him, “I planned a wedding for two years, now what do we do?” He told me that we go on our honeymoon and have the party of our lives! We did just that, but our wedding day was totally special, but just wish I would have taken the time to smell the roses, if that makes sense, because it seriously went by way too quickly and was so pulled in so many different directions, especially the reception where I had to be the hostess with the mostess! But seriously, it was a wonderful day and wouldn’t change much just that I could slow it down and actually savor the day. Enjoy Disney and seriously cannot wait to hear all about it 🙂

    1. I like Kevin’s attitude! Cassidy is similar! Unfortunately, my brain/heart don’t work that way. Oh, if only!!
      I’ll be thinking about you at Disney! I’ll bring you back something Sofia, and something sunny and warm. (the sun?)

  9. What wonderful lessons your mom taught you! I hope I am able to impart a little wisdom like that in between all the “don’t lick that!” and “put that knife down!” I’m going to going Brittnei thought’s from above… I has so much reading to do! We’ve talked about the story behind You Have No Power Here a little bit, but I really need to read your love story! I feel like mine is kinda boring, but I imagine it’s all the in telling, right? Have a WONDERFUL time at Disney!

    1. haha! In my house it’s, “Stop eating from the garbage! Don’t put your hands in your own poop!”
      And thank you. I don’t expect anyone to read back to my archives, but I do like to reference my own personal favorites every now and then.
      And no love story is boring! If it can happen in this crazy world, it’s miraculous.

  10. I’ve already said it once but I feel like this is Christmas all over again! (used a diff term but of course I can’t remember it…argh) I LOVE this AAF! I had no clue you were so anxious your wedding day, you poor thing… photos are gorge as always!

    Have a complete blast at Disney & I wanna see photo of S & the Frozen girls if y’all see ’em! (If you are taking photo requests…bahahaha- sorry)

    1. I remember seeing photos of your wedding, not long after I “met” you and thinking, “It looks like fun! Why is everyone more normal than I am about weddings??” True story.
      I heard there’s a long wait to see those Frozen girls, but I plan to be ruthless and cut the line!!! (not really)

  11. I love it when my favorite ladies get together! Tamera I love hearing more about you and hope one day we can meet too! You have such a big heart and that’s why your community has grown…b/c you are just you…which is wonderful!

    1. I would love that, Natalie! I bet our day will come. And thank you – I really do care so much about all of this. I hope it’s evident.
      You’re wonderful!

  12. Yay! Such a great Ask Away Friday! The questions Ilene asked you were worded in a way that I felt like I was reading a celeb interview! I understand what you mean about less anxious and more brave. It takes a lot to put yourself out there (online or not). There’s always that feeling of self doubt that creeps in and takes over! Why do we always short change our self worth?? Anyway, I really hope you have an amazing trip with your family! I think we’re all waiting for you to come back and tell us all about it and see the pictures!!

    1. She sounded like a great journalist, didn’t she?
      Self doubt. It’s the worst. It’s like a darkness and sometimes, I just can’t seem to fight it. Not even a little.
      I really hope I take great photos for all of you to see!!

  13. Love seeing you and Ilene together, Tamara! And I want to meet your mom now, in addition to you and your whole family. Maybe on our moose excursion? I hope you have a wonderful, magical trip to Disney!

    1. My mom has never been to Maine! Can you believe that? In fact, last summer we were going to do it together but life got in the way and we just went to Hanover, NH to meet up with friends. And that concluded our short trip. Some day!

  14. I am such a dork. I read your post the minute it published at midnight and then again this morning over coffee and again right now. And I’m not even done reading it because there is so much here.

    I will say that I am not at all surprised to hear your comments about your mom. She has such a calming energy. I was smiling when you talked about how she taught you only hearts matter – last week, at the breakfast table I had a similar discussion with my 6, 8, and 9 yr old about marriage equality and why we would NEVER belong to a religious institution that did not support same sex couples or was narrow minded about ANY issues regarding race.

    And that photo of you and your dad? Oh, how I wish I could send you back to him for a day. And not selfish of you at all to try to warn him about heart disease. I think if I could go back, it would be to be with my stepfather and I’d want to give him the same warning.

    1. Perfect breakfast table conversation!
      I had so much fun doing this. So glad I asked and you accepted. It’s nice to feel this way for another day, especially a nerve-wracking day because I really don’t like to travel very much!
      Adventure awaits us all. I will wave out of my plane window when we go over NC today.

  15. Maybe in a few years you can renew your vows and relax more? I love your wedding pictures though!

    Enjoy your trip. As I’ve said many times, I cannot wait to see the pictures! Have a Dole Whip for me.

    1. I think we will. I hope we will!
      I still remember reading your wonderful recap of your Disney trip and thinking, “I hope that happens for me someday.” And it DID, a lot sooner than expected!

  16. I know you will capture the magic that is brimming over in Disney, because you capture it in so many less magical places. I loved reading posts from you and Ilene today – I kinda picture you as soul sisters in my head.

    Oh – and just curious- what’s your favorite lens?

    1. That means so much. And most places are a bit less magical! Not all places.
      We are totally soul sisters!
      And my favorite lens is my 50mm 1.4. I’ve tried so many more expensive ones to no avail. Many people cheat and get the 50mm 1.8. If possible, don’t do it! It’s not nearly as good.

  17. I’m looking forward to reading about your family vacation to Disney World. We are also, going in a couple of months to Disney World with a 5 year old and a 2 year old. You guys have such a nice looking garden. I love that you want to be Bravely Successful…I need to tell myself that I can be bravely successful too 🙂

    1. Nice, Sonya! My kids are 1.5 and 4.5 so its not very different.
      Funny that I was just posting on your blog about my garden and I forgot I have a photo of it here.
      I’ll let you know how the trip is!

  18. I feel the same way about your mom that Ilene does. I’ve never met another soul like her, in the best kind of way.

    It is so fun to do real life and online life with you, mostly because the growth I’ve seen in you in both of your worlds is staggering.

    I hope you have so much fun at Disney. I can’t wait to hear all about it. xo

    1. Yes, my mom is something else entirely. For sure! There should be books written about her. Maybe I will.
      And thank you – hurts but it also feels so good. I guess if that makes sense.

  19. I can definitely tell you are ‘in person’ friends and have a connection with Ilene. I want to meet her and you even more so after reading your exchange here. I think it is so amazing how you explained your need to be a photographer. To allow everyone else to see the world as you do…such a gift, talent and honor. I love how your photos always seem to capture more than just the look of a moment but the feeling as well.

    Disney!?!?! Yay! I wish you the most fun..we are planning our trip for this year too and i think I may be more excited than my Kiddies if that’s possible… LOL

    1. So excited.
      And I am SO excited. I do feel like a giddy little kid.
      Thank you for what you said – I’m sure we’d love to meet you too! Maybe at a bloggy type thing. And we can talk photography, writing, Disney and more!

  20. Oh man it sucks when you’re THAT nervous… I get that way too and it sucks!! You should definitely have an anniversary wedding party and do ti all over again. Were there too many people? Sometimes that does it. Have fun in Disney and can’t wait to see the photos you take 🙂 Talk to you soon Tamara! -Iva

    1. You know, there were a lot of people. And I was stressed about just everything. It wasn’t at a great point in my life. I didn’t shine at all. I was just…ugh. Plain. Subdued. Boring.
      And thanks! Have a great weekend!!

  21. You have made your mark here Tamara! This blog is amazing and you are a very loyal blog friend. “Blogging etiquette” is foreign to many. I choose not to associate with those people. You and Ilene are like writing geniuses to me. I knew yours questions for each other would be loaded. Now I need to go see what you asked her. Hope you’re enjoying the trip.

    1. I think I learned a lot of blogging etiquette from you, and I will be forever grateful. It’s changed me a lot. You’re a superstar!
      Thank you, and enjoy your fun weekend!!

  22. Great questions, Ilene.

    Tamara, that photo of you laughing on your wedding day is the thing I remember most about my first visit to your blog. I remember thinking you were big-time anyway, and that photo said more to me than you know.

    One more day with dad – I used to dream of that. I’d do anything to grant that to us both. Even if we had to share a booth in a diner somewhere, the four of us. My dad used to get a lot of attention, too. He was a good-looking dude who could cook. And yes, had a mustache.

    1. That’s why I loved our photographer. That laughing bride photo is the real thing. I was really happy during that moment, and really all through the ceremony. I didn’t have a lot of fun at the reception, and that’s supposed to be the fun part!
      Sharing a diner booth would be priceless, but please no Waffle House!!!
      Mustaches. They must mean something.

  23. Those are all such awesome questions, and I am so jealous that I am too far away to hop in a car and come meet you for some cookies and play time with the kiddos. I am SO excited about your Disney World trip, and I will tell you one of Addy’s favorite things when we went this summer was over in Hollywood Studios and it was down the main street and then on the right…to the right of the big hat! It’s the “backlot” looking area and Scarlet and Des can meet Jake and see all of their favorite people in a puppet show. Including SOPHIA!! So excited for you, can’t wait to hear all about it!

    1. We are definitely planning Hollywood Studios – woohoo! I usually get pretty nervous to travel, and I don’t doubt that it will hit me at some point later today, but I’m honestly just so excited to escape winter and experience something new. It is so time for that.
      Wish you could come!!

      1. Here os another thing…pick the rides you want to do and make sure you get the fast passes!! The Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios is so cute, and it reminds me of the Buzz LightYear ride in Magic Kingdom. You are going to have SOOO much fun! Don;t be nervous about flying, I have friends who are pilots….you have a better chance of winning the 600 million dollar powerball than something happening on the plane 🙂

        1. Aw, that helps! I just like control so a plane ride is the ultimate handing over of control. And in some ways, that’s good! It means that I just have to show up. I don’t have to do all of the hard work.

  24. I loved reading this. Loved reading the questions as they came from Ilene, and truly enjoyed the answers. I was really too stressed to enjoy my reception on my wedding as well. Oh, I thought of so many things I wanted to say as I was reading this post, and now I am completely stumped. I do say that it impresses me how you respond to every comment and visit all of your bloggy friends. That is dedication! I don’t know how you do it! I loved looking deeper into your soul, and I LOVE your mothers lessons on open mindedness. Trying to teach that to my kids too!

    1. Responding is one of the more fun things. I do truly love this! And I do love reading other blogs. The bulk of time goes into writing and editing mine. Whew. I go through them 17 times!
      Anyway, it brought me to all of you and that’s priceless!

  25. That picture of Scarlet at the window. My mommy heart is SWOONING. Swooning I tell you.

    Really insightful questions and answers! I was super nervous at my rehearsal dinner and wedding too. Everyone talks about it as the best day of your life, and it was awesome. But it wasn’t a relaxed-and-enjoyable-carefree-fun experience for me. Afterwards we drove to Atlanta and went through the Hardees drive-thru for french fries and sodas, still in our wedding clothes. THAT was fun.

    I also was really interested to hear your stance on sponsored posts. As someone new to blogging, it’s really easy to start blog hopping and wanting to connect with brands and so on and so forth. I think all of these things are great, but I’m also learning (or trying to learn) to sort through what makes sense for me, what my real mission is, etc.

    Awesome stuff! Happy Friday!

    1. I don’t even know if it’s a stance so much as…a time waster for me particularly. I need to focus on making money and I don’t know that it pays a lot? Also I got those skinny cow chocolates to review and they have TBHQ in them! Which is a known terrible chemical. I just can’t. (although sure, they tasted good!)
      Anyway, other people do it well and successfully!!
      The Hardees drive-through story made me smile.

  26. Hooray for the beautiful pairing of you and Ilene!

    When I first started reading your blog I read THE WHOLE THING! (Love story included) I just could not get enough of this beautiful girl who was not only courageous enough to say just how she feels, but does it so eloquently. Add to that the amazing photos of her perfectly adorable children and, as you may know already, all I wanted to do is sit and rock your babies while drinking warm drinks and eating cookies with all of you.

    Luis and I didn’t have a wedding because of the stress factor. We had families from different continents and all I wanted was to get married. I didn’t want to make a million decisions for everyone else to like/not like. He’s so wonderfully agreeable to what makes me happy that he suggested we go back to the place where it all started. That’s exactly what we did. We got married by a justice of the peace, just the two of us. I shopped for days looking for a dress and couldn’t find anything I liked even a little bit. So we wore the same thing we wore when we met.

    I’m surprised you feel uncomfortable with sales! You are so convincingly passionate about things I would think sales would come easily to you. Maybe you have the same issue so many people have: feeling guilty about asking for the money. You really shouldn’t. People are going to spend their money with you or with someone else. It’s not like they are going to plant it and grow a giant money tree if they don’t give it to you. You are offering them the opportunity to have possibly the best photo of themselves they have ever had. Do you realize the value of this!? If I could? I would fly you here and have you take photos of me and everyone I love. I would ask you to stay a week or two this summer and shoot away. And it would be priceless! Tam? Don’t you know it?

    You do everything with so much conviction it’s always so pure. It’s impossible to miss it. You are golden.

    1. Can I just take this whole comment and turn it into a blog post? Either way, I’m printing it out so I can read it again and again and again.
      One day. Let’s do it. The photography thing. And you’re right. People are looking to hiring someone and I am someone. I am capable. There are a lot of talented photographers around here and everywhere. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be hired.

  27. I try not to miss any of your posts but every once in a while one slips by me unfortunately. 🙁 I’m happy that this one didn’t. Those were some amazing questions and even more amazing answers. I’m sorry you didn’t have fun at your wedding and I can certainly see a do-over in your future, with you as beautiful as ever and Cassidy and the kids getting to play a part in it. Your mom sounds like the kind of mom that everyone should have. It’s all about your heart and not what you have and you have one of the most beautiful heart of anyone I know. Have more much fun at Disney and I can’t wait to see your photos.

  28. Oh – I love this (I always love your Friday posts!!)!!
    And, when you are ready for a do-over, just say the word and I have a perfect venue you can use – for free of course!!! And the party would be spectacular and fun without any nerves!!
    Have a super time at Disney!!

  29. “I learned that if you do care about other people’s lifestyle, it says a lot of negative things about YOU, and not the people you mock/fear/hate.” Those words are so powerful, Tamara. I had to quote you on Facebook, even! Oh, I can’t wait to hear all about your trip. And Ilene’s photo: as I’ve said before: just *perfect*.

    1. Found it! Don’t know if it’s your personal page or Facebook page because my computer is all screwy with gmail and Facebook, but thank you so much!

  30. I love your response to how you felt when you wrote “You Have No Power Here.” Because we have the loss of a parent in common, I feel so connected to things like that.
    The photography you chose for this is also some of your VERY BEST. Amazing.
    Good luck getting to the Magic Kingdom. It truly is the happiest place on earth 🙂

    1. Thank you! We’re here..but not at the Magic Kingdom yet. 66 degrees and sunny. Climbing to 70. Whoa!
      And I so know that you get those things.

  31. I think Ilene’s questions are the best I’ve ever read in an #AskAwayFriday session. I think it’s because you guys know each other and have met and seen each other in action. Given that shot of you waving majestically in the carriage on your wedding day, I would never have thought that you didn’t enjoy the day. But hey, I get it. As always, the pics of the kids steal my heart. Here’s to a wonderful trip and great photos and blog posts coming out of it!

    1. If she doesn’t see this, I’ll pass along your high compliments! It was such a fun post and a nice last one to have to write before my trip to Florida.
      That photo of me in the carriage? Totally genuine. I LOVED the ceremony. It was the nerves before and after that got me.

  32. You can do whatever you want!

    You certainly should be hired. I’m calculating now, for when I have grandchildren some day, how much I would have to save to bring you here to photograph them. By then you will be way more expensive, too.

    If you could see your value you would never feel awkward about selling yourself again.

  33. I love that you two are paired together! Oh, I felt the same way on my wedding day. Not that I didn’t enjoy it but I didn’t. I was too worried about everything going off without a hitch and if everything was going according to plan and if everyone was having fun. Meanwhile, everyone was drunk so of course they were having fun! PS that photo of Scarlet and the window and the eyelashes? ohmygoodnessgorgeous!!!

    1. haha! Yes, people were having that kind of fun at ours too. The stories are still spilling out, years later.
      I love that photo of Scarlet too, so thank you! Was excited to share it again.

  34. Great questions and answers! I love Scarlet’s photo on number 8. And although some may be surprised that you did not enjoy your wedding, I think I can relate because I didn’t enjoy mine either. Hehe. It was very emotional. And.. different. I would want to enjoy my wedding in the future with the same man if time allows.
    A bomb scare would scare the hell out of me and it’s common in my country.

    1. Yes. Emotional. Too much so. Just seeing aging relatives brought back so much for me. I felt..old. And nervous beyond..eating for three days! Terrible…
      This bomb scare was nothing, but I know how serious they are.

  35. I agree that it is important to connect with your readers and of course read their blogs too! You are an inspiration in the blogosphere. Even though I am a veteran blogger (over six years) I haven’t found my community yet. In fact I’ve been contemplating giving up, I know you read my post “How Blogging Has Changed Over the Past 6 Years,” so you know where I am coming from. But after reading this I am inspired and I feel reassured to keep going. Thank you!

    I hope you have a magical time at Disney!

    1. Cascia, it took me a long while! And I’m sure it will change. I’m still finding new bloggers to connect with – you’re a recent addition to my blog tribe!
      I really take to heart what you said about me in the blogosphere. Thank you so much.

  36. I don’t know why but when I was reading your post where Monica started catering but she was too afraid to ask to be paid and the person who was supposed to pay her kept ignoring her. Phoebe came in and demanded payment then Monica started quietly passing out her card and reminding them where all the good food came from. For some reason when I read your answers about being nervous even though you are wonderfully skilled I thought of you as a Monica. Are you a Monica?

    1. I am TOTALLY Monica! I’ve been shorted and didn’t say a thing. And I’ve done a lot for free, and I’m talking non-charity stuff. For charity, that’s differfent. For people who can’t afford a photographer..well..don’t hire one!

  37. This is so beautiful! I am new to blogging and new to your site. I love it and love these questions and answers and PHOTOS! I would love to participate in something like this but I know I am probably too new to this.
    Either way – I love what you do and feel we share a lot of the same interests. I look forward to following your blog! Cheers.

    1. Thank you! I followed you on Bloglovin too – so we’re connected.
      I don’t think you can be too new for this! Just grab a partner or be put on the mailing list from one of the hosts mentioned above and you’re IN!

  38. Have fun in Disney! Even though things are crazy here right now, I still hope we might have a chance to get together. I’ve been trying to keep the weather warm for you, but it hasn’t really been cooperating. But! At least it’s not snow!

    1. Let me know! Around until Friday. Wish we were closer to you so it wouldn’t be an ordeal to get together. Sigh!
      Loving the weather. It was warm and sunny yesterday and today!

  39. Another fun AAF! Totally agree with #4…you are a wonderful friend; thoughtful, kind and incredibly supportive. I hope you and your family have an amazing time at Disney World…I’m fairly certain Scarlet will be over the moon with excitement!

  40. I was nervous during my wedding as well, I was moving to USA 2 weeks after my marriage which made me even more nervous. The pic of you and scarlet and the last pic of Scarlet are wonderful ! Hope you have a wonderful trip and enjoy the warmth of Florida.

  41. What a great combo!! Love reading your answers and learning little tidbits like these! Hope you are all having a fabulous time at Disney!

  42. I have yet to meet anyone in the blogging world and really wish I would one day. I haven’t gone to conferences and thus far haven’t met a flurry of locals near me. One day! Have a great vacation Tamara!

  43. I loved reading Ilene’s questions, and of course your answers. (Those are going to be some tough questions to follow!) It sounds like you two have had such a magical connection, it makes me so happy for you both!

  44. You will be wildly successful beyond even your dreams, my beautiful and lovely friend. Yes, only hearts matter. And OMG the window photo. It might be my favorite yet. And have a great time in sunny FL. I can’t wait to hear about your amazing adventures and see your photos!!!

  45. Whenever we finally meet, I am booking an appointment with you! Someday we will need to swap for #AAF although I have no idea what to ask you…I am always so blown away by your words/photos. That window photo is AMAZING!

  46. your mom sounds like an amazing woman! that’s exactly how i want my kids to be raised: to respect all cultures, religions, all types of people. diversity is good.

  47. Eyelashes? Really? I am in to feet. Baby feet and eyelashes would be a close second. Shawn thinks I’m creepy that I have so many chubby baby feet photos.
    My inner voice is barfed on my blog but the me that you may perceive it to be is different too. Well, in some ways. I’m not very outgoing at all and quite shy. I’d say I’m anxious but I think we can all gather that is a part of my “crazy”
    That stache is strong.
    I agree with you on the community. That’s a huge part of what blogging is about. I read some blogs where the author never comes and visit. It makes me feel like poop but I still love reading their words and will still read them.
    This is your year to take off and shine woman. Go! xox

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