The Girl Who Takes Pictures of Everything

You going to take pictures of everything all night?

Yes I am and one day you will thank me for it. To remember the Christmas we could wear flip-flops or the last time Uncle Joe sang Ava Maria. Pictures allow us to remember the details of every human and event [that we want to] in our lives. One day these trivial details will have left our memory to be filled with more recent and perhaps more pleasant thoughts but we should never forget the people and times that developed us to become who we are.

Anyone who has met me will probably label me as one of those girls who loves taking pictures, and don’t get me wrong, I do. If you personally know me, it’s clear I like to capture every single moment — from what I eat, to what I wear and to where I go. Though I may say I do it to decorate my shelves with framed photos, sometimes post albums on Facebook or have options on which picture to post on Instagram, the real reason is my fear of forgetting or having those we have lost, be forgotten.

There will be a time, when places and people of my past will no longer be able to be visited but with photography we can always go back to an exact moment in time.

There are days you wish you could hold on to and with your camera, you can. I’m as interested in capturing our mundane routines as I am in capturing holidays and special events. Taking pictures helps you to hang on to those memories a little longer. There are images that can transport you to a different time and place. I love being able to express myself through my camera. I use it as an extension of myself to tell stories that people want to hear and remember.

I have this mentality that maybe if I just took as many pictures as I could of everything and everyone, I would somehow remember it all and those who have left this world would never be forgotten. I look on at the people that I love and laugh at the silly candid’s or yearn for the days I could hear my grandmother’s voice again. But all that is left are the documents that we hold on to.

I’ve realized that as our memory fades, photos become anchors to life events. I used photos to help fill in the blanks and to keep memories from evolving into happenings that didn’t really happen or spark details that may have been forgotten. I live my life through the lens of a camera because that is how I want to see the world I live in. Yes I need to have my camera, yes it will be in your face, if you don’t like it maybe you aren’t meant to be documented in my life.

In the distant, very distant, future when I become a mother, I want my children to know how I grew up and how lucky I was to have special people in my life. I want them to see how the relationships I had with these people helped me to become the person that I am or will be. The most important thing is to capture the moments that make us smile, make us laugh, make us happy.

My camera is a diary that captures everything from my bare feet in the sand to Wyatt sleeping on his bed to my mother decorating cupcakes as she laughs in the dining room. I take pictures because I love it and it’s that simple. Moments are fleeting, people come and go but worst of all time passes quickly before your eyes.

Photography should make you feel something, anything, whether it be good or bad. This past year I have documented anything that I wanted to with my Polaroid. Close to a hundred pictures I can physically hold and look back on. I go into 2016 with the same fun project to document my favorite people, events and places. This goes against all of the “live in the moment people” but this is how I live and relive the moments of my life.

 

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True Life: I am Pro Selfie

Why shouldn’t we take pictures of ourselves? Why shouldn’t we share with the world a picture we look good in? People who aren’t a fan of selfies are haters and in the immortal words of Taylor Swift they’re gonna hate hate hate hate hate! So let them and selfie on!

We belittle those who post pictures of themselves yet those same people complain that girls should “be more confident”. So to that I say, let them take pictures! I love when my friends post candid pictures even if they are “staged candids”, all my millenials know what I’m talking about. Pictures of you are the best because it shows a true smile and the quirky, flawless you.

I want to see my friends and what they look like in the here and now! I don’t get to see them everyday so this is a nice trend we started here! I don’t want to see a picture of mountains or a sunset because honestly I could probably see better ones off of Google images! I want to see your beautiful self and what you do throughout the day.

In lieu of a boring status update about your delicious dinner or the restaurant you’re at, share a photo of yourself staring lovingly at your ice cream sundae or sitting next to your best friend enjoying a martini from your favorite bar. This selfie communicates so much more than a status could: what you look like, your expression, who you’re with, where you are.

You look perfect, yes it’s staged but what pictures aren’t? So what you put a filter on everything and highlight your eyes? It’s still you! The selfie is breaking down the barriers of what it means to be beautiful. The media’s narrow definition of beauty is being challenged by people who don’t fit that mold. We’re constantly encountering images of people of all shapes, sizes, skin colors and gender identities — and they look amazing. They chose to post these images because they love themselves

So share your selfies because I want to see you and meet you! Tag them to Instagram at #TOGselfie! Comment below on what you think of the selfie generation! I can’t wait to hear!

Stay beautiful!

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You Are My Person

There are friends and then there are best friends. Being an only child my friends are always something so much more. They are family who know the ins and outs of my life; everything from where I keep the bottle opener to my biggest dreams & fears.

I hope everyone gets to experience what it is like to find “their person”. It’s amazing feeling whether days or weeks go by that they are always there for you, in good times and in bad. Spanning all over the U.S. no matter the time of day if you send a “you up?” message, you’ll get an immediate message. Nothing compares to a best friend, a person you can always be yourself around and never have to worry if they won’t like who you really are. No matter what you do or say they have your back and will defend you to the end because they always want the best for you.

A good friend lets you borrow her top but a best friend lets you borrow her toothbrush.

A good friend will cancel plans if something more important comes up but a best friend will stay true to your plans no matter what or invite you along because you’ve been to dozens of family events anyway what’s one more.

A good friend comes over ready to party! Your best friend is helping you scrub the floors because your house is a disaster and she knows how important a clean toilet is to you. Or she is the one refilling your wine as your vacuuming up the dog hair with curlers in your hair.

A good friend knows your general family and possibly a bit into the crazy dynamic of your life but a best friend can name all of your siblings middle names and all of the dogs you have ever had and where the name “Pudgy” came from.

A good friend makes plans and you have a good night out. A best friend alters and adjusts to make for ample fun.

A best friend has been through all the significant other drama and never left your side and you equally have her back. Plus she will never judge because “we don’t judge in this car”.

Good friends know people you don’t like but best friends share in the same hatred of your cousin’s ex girlfriends sister because when you were in the 3rd grade she pushed you on the playground and you still haven’t gotten over it.

Your best friend knows some weird shit about you that others totally shouldn’t. They also can tell you that you obviously sing the boy parts better and she always nails those high notes… kinda…

Good friends find out about bad nights after they happen while your best friend is the one sitting on the bathroom floor pouring the shots and offering true and honest advice.

Jealousy isn’t a thing between you and your best. You want to see them excel so you can brag about them to everyone! You never EVER think “why did she get that” or “why not me?” because you love them and they are a part of who you are.

A good friend and you will laugh until you cry but a best friend is the one who will be there to hold you when you can’t stop crying. And when they can’t physically be there they stay up with you as long as you need.

Good friends might talk about you behind your back but best friends see nothing to talk about. Typically when you gossip it’s because you see something wrong or annoying but you best friend can pretty much expect what your response or reaction will be. Plus you can have those difficult conversations while offering your opinion because your relationship helps grow each other.

Lastly my go to move. Not only am I a story repeater but I am a terrible story teller. So good friends will stop you if they have heard the story before but your best friend will let the rant go on. You best will know (when you leave out major details) exactly what you are saying, good friends just look on in a state of confusion.

Good friends can turn into best friends if you let them.  I feel like as we get older the more judgmental we become. Remember to be open and let more people into your life. Best friends aren’t always made when you are 5 years old some people are meant to come into your life much later. Life has a funny way of working out. Each person is put into our life for a reason. From riding our bikes to DQ to meeting up for a drink after a stressful day at work, friends make your life so much more than most can imagine. They are your number one fan and biggest supporter.

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Hey Four Eyes!

When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher read from big, oversized books and we’d each stand up, one at a time, and read a sentence. One day, I stood up, looked at the page, and realized I couldn’t read a word; it was all a blur.

I mean this wasn’t shocker. It’s not like my family is a bunch of sharp shooters and I’m over here. To be honest I’m surprised my genetics took me this far.

Next thing I remember, I was sitting in an ophthalmologists’ office picking out a pair of glasses. Glasses? I imagined kids would call me “four eyes” (they didn’t). I imagined being picked on, being called ugly (I wasn’t). So I picked out the roundest pair I could find and chose confetti as the color- let your imagination run wild.

But you know what did happen? I COULD SEE! It took some adjusting and some resisting on my end but overall the ability to see outweighed my inability to read the chalkboard.

All that to say, I’ve been wearing glasses for a long, long time. I type this rocking a negative 4.5 in my right and a whopping negatie 6.25 in my left. I’ve had pairs I’ve loved, pairs I’ve hated, and pairs that have been run over, rolled over, and snapped. When kids couldn’t remember my name, I was “the girl in glasses” by default. It’s my thing.

So, as the woman in glasses, allow me to shed some light on ordinary and consistent problems us bad-sighted folk deal with:

1. When your glasses break, your empty wallet flashes before your eyes.

It’s not just an ordinary accessory. Either you drop hundreds of dollars on new frames and lenses immediately, rock some Urkel tape, or go through the Warby Parker try-on period and stay blind for a solid week.

2. Choosing the right frames requires at least a full day of indecision.

The decisions! Sometimes we like the “look” of a frame, but it doesn’t suit our face shape. Or, we worry that it’s too trendy. Or, too flashy. Or, too boring.

These things are going to be on our face, and I don’t know a single person who can pick out frames without a mild mental struggle and a few selfie texts to friends.

3. Eye exams are comparable to Medieval torture.

“Which one is clearer: number 1 *click* number 2 *click* or are they about the same?”
Ummm, the first one? No, definitely the second. Wait, can you go back again? Maybe they’re the same? And no, I would NOT like you to puff air into my eyes.

Unfortunately, a prerequisite to getting new lenses are these uncomfortable appointments, reminding us we’re slightly blinder each year.

4. And you can’t see sh*t when you’re swimming, either.

Let’s just say I spent my childhood summers as “Marco.

5. Rain storms leave you with blurry vision.

Bummer about your hair getting wet, but I can’t see right now.

6. Going into someone’s warm house when it’s cold outside …

Your glasses WILL fog up.

7. Drinking a hot cup of tea or coffee …

Your glasses will ALWAYS fog up.

8. Be prepared to lose your frames to infants who’ve hit their “grabbing” milestone.

No baby can resist grabbing these puppies straight off my face as I gently wrestle it out of their fiercely tight fists

9. Showering and shaving is done by memory.

We basically learn to shave by feel, not sight. And is this shampoo or conditioner? *squints at the bottle*

10. You’re too familiar with the unsettling feeling of people asking to try on your glasses.

Then you’re momentarily blind as they say, “Oh my gosh; you’re blind!” Yes, yes I am. Now stop stretching my frames.

11. You reach for your glasses in the morning and discover they’re missing.

Assume the position of crouching down and patting the rug. A minute of panic always comes over you when you think you slept on them for 8 hours. See #1.

12. We fit into three stereotypes: nerdy geek, sexy librarian, and well-read/smart.

I fit into the fourth- person who can’t see and just needs glasses to view the world around us.

13. Everyone has an opinion when you’re wearing your contacts or glasses.

I’ve actually had several people tell me I look better in glasses, which is a strange compliment because they’re essentially saying I look better when plastic is partially covering my face.

14. You instinctively go to adjust your glasses mid-conversation

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15. People who wear glasses strictly for fashion annoy you.

You don’t know the struggle and for that, we shun you. I literally can’t see if I don’t turn my hear. Hence I am blind if I look down/up/left/right.

Truthful Marriage Vows We All Want to Say

I know what you’re thinking. Why do marriage vows matter?

Here’s why. Vows are promises. But not just any promises. Vows are markers that guide your marriage. So, while I’m not against writing vows Casanova would applaud, I am against vows that are more romantic and emotional than practical and honest.

In a culture that idolizes romantic love, we don’t need any more Shakespearean vows. We need vows that will shape and impact marriages. They remind us to keep holding on or they raise red flags to aspects of a relationship that need some attention. But marriage vows tend to be lofty, idealistic promises dripping in romance or generic, one-size-fits-all covenants that leave no room for nuance or reality. They often don’t reflect the real promises needed in a healthy partnership, which are different for each couple.

“I promise never to expect a 50/50 marriage.”

“I vow to always listen and to not talk over you — especially when I know you’re right.”

“I promise to speak to you and about with kindness and compassion.”

“I pledge to give you an acceptable answer whenever you ask ‘where should we go eat?’ instead of saying, ‘I don’t know, where do you want to go eat?’”

“I promise to be there for you, to encourage your dreams, to help you become the man/ husband/ father you are destined to be.”

“I will always tell you when something doesn’t look good on you.”

“I solemnly swear to order my own fries if I want them, and not ask for a small bite of your fries after saying I don’t like fries, then help myself to roughly half of them.”

“I vow to never get tired of grabbing your butt and poking you and nagging you every single day we’re together, until the end of time.”

“I promise to embrace all the parts of you – including your flaws, your snoring, your farts, your gross habits, and your strange fashion taste- including the FF Little League cut-off.”

“I promise to be a safe space for your secrets and vulnerabilities.”

I pledge to share control of the television even when your taste in entertainment sucks.”

“I promise to always poop with the door shut.”

“I promise to never complain about our marriage, in general, or you, in particular, to others.”

“I sincerely promise to trust you and respect your boundaries – and not to transform into a monster when I get all cRaZy.”

“I pledge to be as fair as possible in terms of the household duties.”

“I promise to never make you do something that should be done with my girlfriends. Except my birthday celebrations- it’s now become our thing!”

“I promise to be your partner in parenthood — to back you up in your parenting decisions rather than secretly allowing our kids to do whatever you told them not to do.”

“I vow to always make time for you and to initiate us time with you, no matter how stressful and busy life becomes.”

“I promise to be clear with my needs and expectations, and not make it difficult for you to guess what’s on my mind.”

“I vow to thrill you each day – to amaze and astonish you – did I mention all the magic tricks I am learning.”

I promise to also acknowledge your necessities and respond to them in the best way I can – including your late night pizza cravings.”

“I solemnly swear to be your best friend and your greatest fan, to walk beside you through thick and thin, and to support and encourage your dreams.”

“I promise to always recognize what’s beautiful about you (and about us), especially in the midst of dark days.”

“I will always be there to decide when your brain can’t make anymore decisions after a long day- including what kind of Blizzard you want from DQ.”

“I promise to believe the best is yet to come, regardless of how good or bad things are today.”

“I will always turn on the air conditioning if you are hot and I am freezing.”

“I pledge to defend you to others, even if I don’t agree, because that’s what partners are for.”

“I vow to give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to our finances.” (DUH)

“I solemnly swear not to keep a scorecard of our wrongdoings.”

“I pledge to put your happiness before my own.”

“I promise not to care if you grow skinny or fat or old. Even if your hair is falling out, your skin is going flabby, and your waist is gaining a few inches, I’ll forever remember who we are, and love and cherish the person you are and you will be.”

Floral Kimono

I have to admit I’m laughing to myself as I write this because I always think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when I hear the word kimono (which isn’t that often obviously…). But the scene is basically the father saying “the root of any word is Greek!”. So a little bratty girl challenges him with the word Kimono and well I won’t spoil it on you but it’s a must watch!

So ANYWAY!

How to wear a kimono: A kimono is such a versatile piece to have in your wardrobe for the spring and summer. You can wear it over your bathing suit at the beach or pool and then change it up and wear it out to dinner with a pair of heels and jeans or over a dress!

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|| Forever 21 || Lucky Brand || Pink Blush || Target || Buckle ||
|| Forever 21 || Belk || Lulu’s || Etsy || Anthropologie ||

Thoughts on the kimono? Comment below I’d love to hear!

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If You’re Pale and You Know It- Put on Sunscreen

Fake tanning (no matter the level) is way too dramatic

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People coming back from vaca and using your arm as a tan comparison. You basically act as the heart girls put on their hips at the tanning salon. You are welcome tan friends!

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The word pasty takes a small part of your soul

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Bronzers are too dark so you use a slightly darker concealer to contour

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Blushing is just something you can’t control

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Your body at this point in your life is probably made up of equal parts water and sunscreen.

(Although that doesn't mean you don't also need UVA protection. Also, dermatologists note that, when you go above SPF 50 , the increase in UVB protection is minimal.)

 

Things that are flesh-toned are usually a few shades… off.

Note, from personal experience: Orange zebra is NOT a cute look.

 

Platinum blonde is my Go To all year round- though it probably shouldn’t because I look like a Cullen

Winter is horrible because you are more pale than usual

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When you are sick no one notices because it’s impossible to become more pale

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You get the question of “Are you sick?” or “Did you get enough sleep?”

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Ladies, We Can All Relate

That sudden urge to pee right after you paint your nails. WHY?!

When you have the worst itch ever on your eye, so you rub the hell out of it and it feels so good! Only to remember you put eyeliner on today and you look like you took a left hook to the face.

Ruining something first time you wear/use it.

THIS:
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When your right winged eyeliner does not come close to matching your left.

You give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get ready so you’re not late, but you still end up being 30 minutes late.

Lip-gloss and wind.

Burning yourself with your flat iron on your neck and people think its a weird hickey for the next two weeks.

Your hair always looks so good when you leave the salon and even the next morning- it’s the first time you are left to fend for our own is when it goes to shit.

You impulse buy a lot and then realize that you don’t need it. So you just end up contemplating is it worth it to return or should you just keep it.

Deciding where to eat is more complex than designing a time machine.

As soon as you tell the waiter/waitress what you want to eat, you think in your head how you regret not ordering something else. You dwell on this your entire time at the restaurant. You can’t get over it.

Your S/O’s meal is ALWAYS better than yours. Its actually scientific fact as this point.

Letting your friends borrow something and it gets returned to you in worse condition, and they’re response is, “I swear it was already like that.”

When you think you don’t need a cart and you end up doing an award winning balancing act with all 47 items you “didn’t think you needed”.

When you go for a natural look yet people still ask if you’re feeling alright? Or if you have a summer cold?

Watching a movie you’ve already seen with someone that hasn’t seen it. You narrate the whole time. “OMG watch this part. Do you get it? Make sure you pay attention here…” We are so annoying to watch movies with.

We say we don’t care about Valentine’s Day, but we will start the biggest fight if we don’t get chocolate on Valentine’s Day.

When you dress for the weather but the weather doesn’t care you wore your new suede booties. So off you run in the rain- barefoot and cold.

The whole, “I’m Fine” thing. We say we are fine, but deep down we want to beat you over the head with a broomstick.

We love to ask for advice but then do the complete opposite of that.

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I Want All the Dogs

Ever go out somewhere and there is a dog and you do your best to make him love you the most? Whether that means ignoring other people, standing in front of March Madness because you don’t want to disrupted the sleeping beauty or completely secluding yourself from the group to another floor in the house- you’ll do anything to hang with the little monster! Most recently, I was visiting with friends at their home for a little St. Patrick’s Day celebration. As we were parking I noticed some paw prints in the snow (like a psycho or FBI Agent) and I realized our friend was bringing over his brand new lab puppy! Night. Made.

Suddenly, I was on full alert. A dog! There is a puppy inside! “Be cool, Ellen,” I thought. “Don’t let them know just how excited you are.”

I do this thing where I talk to my dog like he can answer the questions I’m asking him. It’s weird and most people don’t get to experience this wonderful bond we share, until now. So as I hurried downstairs missing the last step, I turned the corner and began to fire off questions to the little ball of furry love.

“Well hello Mister!”

“What is your name?”

“How old are you?”

“Where are your toys??”

My little man is a 100lb Great Pyrenees so we haven’t been able to hold him since he was about 10 weeks old. So up into my arms his little unwilling muppet body went and I would have held him until my arms fell off if he wasn’t so unhappy being squeezed to death.

To make a long story short: I got so wrapped up in the dog that no one else got the chance to pet him. I bogarted that dog. Smelling him. Kissing him. Grabbing his little feet. I could not get enough. I was like an addict.

Sometimes I’ll be with someone and they’ll start nonchalantly showing me pictures of their dog on their phone. I will internally seem calm. Little do they know I’m thrumming with the excitement of a thousand-person drum line. They’ll scroll through about ten photos or so, mesmerized and then shake their head, snap out of it and apologize to me. TO ME. “Sorry! Haha! You don’t need to see all those pictures of dogs that look exactly the same.”

Yes.
Yes. I do.

I need to see all the pictures of all the dogs.I need to see him playing with a ball or cuddling on the sofa. I need to see him wrestling with you on the floor. I need to see him before AND after he got groomed. Most importantly I need to see them sleeping.

There have been many times where I have altered my destined course to cross paths with this four legged wonders. I like to know their names and their breed. I’m somewhat of an expert on dog breeds- I chalk up all of my knowledge to my “Puppy in my Pocket” collection.Which was quite extensive and impressive. My best friend growing up was a dog mostly because I was an only child and couldn’t handle other human beings.It wasn’t until my mom and I came up with a deal- she gets remarried- I get a puppy brother. Because we all know I would have joined the circus if she brought another human into the world.

Well enters Pat- my stepdad not the dog- and we get Max the very rambunctious Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. He did anything but listen- he chewed flooring, ate loves of bread and dug holes so far deep we could have buried bodies in them. Well Pat and I decided one day that Max needed a dog sister and we got Bailey- the Harry Houdini of dogs. So to my poor mother’s surprise she was now the mommy of 2 very large dogs. The rest is history!

For an addict like me, the summer is prime time. Suddenly, the way ladies bare their knees in sundresses and dudes flex their muscles in colorful tanks — the dogs are out on parade. Every person I pass on the street seems to be walking the cutest dog I have ever seen. Each one is fluffier and sweeter than the last. I want to touch them, but it’s not appropriate so I settle for secretly gawking at them from a few feet away.

I try to get my dog fix in any way I can, but it’s not easy to do it without blowing up my spot. Addicts have to be sort of stealth in order to avoid interventions and public concern. I’d be mortified if someone was like, “Um, did you just take a picture of my dog?” Because I can’t explain that there are AT LEAST 10 people off the top of my head who would love to see your wonderful puppy- most people just don’t get it. I’d rather be caught sexting.

So…I love dogs. If you have a dog, I would like to see it and/or meet it Email me a picture at theoxfordguide@gmail.com I’d love to see them!

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