Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maroon 5, Hollywood Bowl, 10,000 Fans, and Heather!

Ok. That's it. Next chance I get to go to a show with my friend Heather, I'm going!! :)  Do you know who that is in the picture? Yes, that is Adam Levine and that beautiful young lady is my friend Heather.

In order to fully understand the sheer awesomeness of this picture, you need to know a little bit of the history behind it.

Feb 8, 2002, my friend Heather, myself, and several of our friends went to a Maroon 5 / Michelle Branch  show at the Roxy in Hollywood.  We had never heard Maroon 5 before but we had heard of them. They used to be called Kara's Flowers.

We were surprised to find our favorite band Hanson there with us in the audience at that little show too! Needless to say, it was a very fun show. We were all so impressed with what we heard when Maroon 5 played that night.  They had such a different sound, Adam's voice was unique, the songs were super catchy, and we loved it.  From then on, we were fans; Heather especially. From that night on she went to every Maroon 5 show she could possibly get to.

She's been to 100+ shows now.  I know, sounds a little crazy right? She's not crazy. She's awesome! She just loves their music and when they do a show in the area or within driving distance, she just goes. That's just how it is with Heather!  She loves these guys and they love her, so she supports them!

I only went to the first 13-14 Maroon 5 shows with her (the photos I'm showing here are from a couple of those shows). I know, ONLY 13 or 14. *wink*

Then I got out of that concert scene for a while and I ended up in South Dakota where there are no concerts.... okay, we have festivals. Not the same! I can't even imagine seeing Maroon 5 with more than 300 people at the show.  They have gotten so popular that now their concert tickets are over $100.  When we went to their shows before they were $13-$20.  I'm happy for their success as a band but bummed that there won't be small shows w/ them like that again!

Check out this amazing video from the Hollywood Bowl show on July 25, 2011! The part I'm showing you is at about 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the video. (Beware, there is some language in this video).

Isn't that SO SWEET? He brought her up in front of 10,000 people and proudly proclaimed her as their number one fan :) Have you ever seen a band do that for a fan before? I haven't.

At this point, I think M5 should just put her on a special guest list for every show. Free admission, always.

Wouldn't that be nice, Heather? ;-)

Yeah, that's me with long blonde hair.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Photography & The Pain of Public Criticism

Ever since I was about 12 years old I have loved photography.  I had a couple $5-$10 cameras between 12 and 17 and I loved them even though they took terrible pictures.  When I was 17 I finally saved up enough money to buy an *awesome* 35mm camera.  It was (and still is) a great camera. It was at the time digital photography was taking off though.  I did as much photography as I could afford with the 35mm, then at 19 I was given a used digital camera! It wasn't the greatest but it was still exciting to enter the digital world! I loved it!

Once I entered college I began taking several classes in photo editing (Photoshop classes) and graphic design, and I dabbled in photography basics a little, but it wasn't until 2007 when we bought our Nikon D40 that I really decided to study photography.

Nikon D40 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor LensI decided it would be good for me to get some solid education on the subject so I enrolled in an at-home study program and after 2 years I earned a Diploma in Photography.

Over the past 4 years I have been studying, learning, and practicing. I have taken tens of thousands of photos. I've done several practice sessions - Engagements, High School Seniors, and I've been asked to be a second photographer at a couple weddings.  I have had at least 100 people compliment my photography and most of them have gone on to tell me I should start a business.

I always thought I'd like to start a business someday but wasn't sure when. I knew that I needed to feel confident enough with my photos to do it.  I needed my photos to be of a certain quality before I felt comfortable enough to charge people for them.  I know there are thousands of others that just start and they learn as they go, but I'm not a "learn as you go" kind of person.  I am a person that needs to be confident in my knowledge on a subject *before* I go out and work for pay.  This is why you go to school, so you can learn enough about a subject to be able to go out and do it and be successful at it. I wanted to make sure that I was well prepared to go out and start charging people for my photos.
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR

Recently I was blessed with enough money to finally be able to purchase this beautiful lens!  After making this purchase, I did a couple photo shoots (one of them paid) and through this I felt confident enough with my photos to go out and try and get some good experience, and to begin charging for my time, my work, and for my photos.  I decided that since I am new at charging money for my photos I would just do a basic minimum charge of $50 for the session and give a photo CD with the images to the customers.   I re-named my photography to Shaina Photography, created a new logo/watermark, I began looking into getting a business license and looking for a good design for a new website, and I created a new facebook page for my photography.

So here we go, I finally step out and take the very first baby steps into a photography business (just as MILLIONS of others have done before me) and do you know what happens?

TWO days later a pathetic anonymous local photographer (and former reader of Shaina's Deals) decides to write a full blown ESSAY on how terrible, shameful, and disgraceful my photography is.

Seriously.  TWO days later!!

It was a long drawn out post of every reason why my photography gives photographers all over the city a bad rep.  They said my photography was crap and I should not be charging even $50 for it.  Out of all that was said in the post, that was the nicest thing.  It was truly unbelieveable.

Thankfully, it was just posted on Craigslist and we were able to get rid of it easily by flagging it as spam, but honestly the words that were said in that post hurt me probably more than anything has ever hurt me (short of my Mom passing away of course).

I cried for hours.  I haven't done that in years.  It was like everything I've worked so hard at for the past 4 years was belittled to nothing but "crap."

My heart, my ambition, and all of my motivation to continue in photography was crushed.  Seriously, my dream of someday being GOOD at this was absolutely squashed.

I have had a lot of friends and family encourage me to keep going today and I've been told to not take it personally, but honestly it was such a personal attack that I don't really know how to just brush it off.  The worst part was that the things that were said were absolute lies and the person knew absolutely nothing about what they were talking about.  But since it was a public display, other people were reading it and getting a horrible first  impression of me.

They made claims and accusations in this post that no photographer (I don't care WHO you are or how successful you may be) should *ever* say to another photographer.   Even if I was the most successful photographer in the world, I would never in a million years say the things this person said.

It was that hurtful.

I know I am not going to give up.  Every artist first begins as an amateur. But right now I definitely feel like I've been shot down. I'm hurt and it is really *really* difficult to get back up.

I have some sessions coming up soon - the first is on Sunday morning before church. I just hope I can gather up enough strength to get through this week and do a fantastic job on the session on Sunday.

Have any of you experienced something like this?  How on earth can you choose to ignore such a personal attack?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mary Kay End of the Year Party!

It's the end of the year! Wait... no, it isn't. It isn't the end of the calendar year but it IS the end of the Mary Kay year! Along with the end of the year comes the end of the year party. If I had known how much fun it is to be a MK consultant I would have joined years ago! ;)

Tonight we went over to my director's house and enjoyed some food and good times with friends! Zoe got to meet a bunch of new friends and also play with one of her best friends - Heidi! Zoe also got her first introduction to pinatas tonight! She quickly learned that they are filled with candy (and Mary Kay samples of course!). She decided she really likes pinatas ;)

Sunday is the Star Consultants Party. There are 5 or 6 of us I think... we are being treated to.. ahem... a SPRAY TAN! Yep. None of us have ever had this done before so it will be interesting I'm sure!! :) I'm excited though!


Geo - Zoe's Best Buddy

Chicks in the CityThis is Geo. He is Zoe's best imaginary friend. She brings him with her everywhere. He is always with her. He is a tiny little boy, probably about 5 inches tall.

Geo isn't entirely imaginary. He's a character on a show called Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr. She LOVES this show! It is her favorite show. She watches it at least once a day.

The other night, she came up to me and said "Mommy! Mommy!" I replied, "What is it?" She whispered to me one little word, "Geo." Then she proceeded to giggle incessantly.  :)

Just saying the name Geo makes her blush. She loves this little guy! It is SO CUTE!

I just had to share this with you guys.  I think it's so cute. I wish they sold Geo plush dolls. I'm sure she'd carry that with her everywhere.  So far all they have is the show on DVD.  Maybe by Christmas time they'll have a plush doll? *crosses fingers*

Later this week we are going to attempt to make these:

It is a Geo sandwich... haha.  I have a feeling she is going to want to play with it more than eat it though!


It's SUMMERTIME! Zoe - 3 Years and 4 Months!

Zoe has been enjoying her chalk, play doh, bikes, scooter, swings, and bubbles quite a bit this summer. In the photo above you can see her FIRST TIME writing her name perfectly on her own!  I'm tellin' ya, that girl is a genius! :o)

Blue Hands! :) 
These were taken a couple weeks ago.  The past week has been TOO HOT to go outside. We managed to go for a walk today for about 30 minutes but... man.. we were sweatin'!  Hopefully the heat dies down a little in the coming weeks.

This Saturday I'm going to the Mom's Day on the Farm again! I went last year and had a ton of fun (despite the smells), and I'm looking forward to going again. This time with my mother-in-law Jenny!

My blog is now called Shaina's Deals.  I've had a crazy time trying to get people switched over to the new name on Facebook and Twitter but it is definitely worth it.   I hope. ;-)

Ok it is 1am... I need to be sleeping.  GOOOODNIGHT!


P.S.  Zoe's favorite song right now... "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.  Of course! ;)

Finding Joy in the Winter Months

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