This last weekend I had the amazing experience posing for the super talented Justin Goode as he broke in his new Burke & James Grover 8×10 view camera. I was fortunate to meet Justin and his beautiful wife Synthia at our photo shoot exactly one year ago and I’ve been hooked on his work ever since. The photo shoot took place over the entire weekend and I’m proud to say what came out of it is something truly unique! Check it out!!! 🙂

Justin Goode

About a year ago, I was surfing the Craigslist photo ads here in Dallas and up came an ad for a free 8×10 view camera.  I quickly emailed the person and within 15 minutes I received a message back.  A gentlemen was moving out of town who had an old Burke & James Grover 8×10 that he had been meaning to restore & use but had never got around to it.   He asked me if I was into large format and stated that he really wanted this camera to go to the right home.  I enthusiastically conveyed to him that I was the right person and would eventually make my way up into the world of large format.

The Burke & James Grover is a utilitarian view camera that is meant to get the job done.  It doesn’t have some of the bells & whistles that current 8×10’s have…

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The House of Blues & 2012 Dallas Observer Music Awards!

The last few weeks have been a beautiful whirlwind of amazing experiences that I wanted to share with my blog family.  Last Saturday myself and 5 amazing musicians opened for Grammy Award winner and R&B singer Monica at the House of Blues Dallas. I still can’t believe how everything worked out and my biggest lesson to share is PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE!

Whether you’re an aspiring musician, chef, writer, etc put yourself out there because you never know who’s paying attention. Thanks to social media I attracted the attention of Ascential Events who produced the Monica show. Great night, great crowd…I can’t wait to do it again!

Sarah Sellers – House of Blues [New Music Sampler]

Check out some pics from the show and read the review HERE!

To top off the week I found out I was nominated for a Dallas Observer Music Award in the Best Female Vocalist category. Just to be nominated is such an amazing feeling, especially when my name is listed below one of my favorite artists, Sarah Jaffe.

So I’m asking you, my dear blog friends, to help me out and vote for me for this year’s awards! I’ll be bringing the band back together on November 10th to perform during the local showcase here in Dallas. If you’re in the area stay tuned for more details.

You can vote once a day up until the awards ceremony at the House of Blues Dallas on November 13th. You don’t have to fill out the entire ballot (but feel free to check out all of the amazing artist that are nominated), just scroll down to 30 and place your vote! Thank you guys so much for your amazing support!! The adventure is just beginning.

VOTE HERE!!!

House of Blues Photo Credits: Ascential Events & Jon Draper Productions for GoodBAMMSho

Don’t Make Excuses for Who You Are! Own Your Shine!!

I came across this blog post today from a follower on Twitter and it spoke to me so much that I had to share. I have always fought a level of insecurity my whole life when it came to my dreams, my looks, my craziness, my loudness…I could go on and on. I always get asked, “when are you going to stop going after your dreams and focus on your career”…”when is enough enough”….”ummmm that’s really hard to accomplish”…”what are you doing all of this for”.

For years I bought into all of this and really held myself back. Scared, insecure, and afraid to completely be myself and give-in to my dreams. I’m not 100% there yet, but I feel more complete then I ever have. After I started really going after my dreams doors started to open and a friend of mine said the truest statement I’ve ever heard,

“When you start doing what you’re suppose to do, the universe will align and things will start to happen in your favor”….or something like that. 😉

Don’t suppress who you are because you’re afraid people may not approve. Be you, do what you love and don’t let anyone take away your shine. No-one deserves that kind of power.

Thank you to all of my amazing followers, fans, readers and people in my life that truly get and support me. You make all of this hard work worthwhile!

A Little Inspiration for Your Monday Morning

A quick thought to ponder on this beautiful Monday morning! Thank you The Simply Luxurious Life for sharing!

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

–Edward Abbey

With summer winding down do you have any exciting last minute travels coming up?

Don’t forget to take the time to travel, see the world, or just to take a break on your favorite park bench to soak in the beauty around you! Have a wonderful week!

Scenes from an Advocare Diet

Oh the things Matt and I get ourselves into. It’s been quite the physical/health conscious/mental journey for us since we met nearly 10 years ago. When I was waiting tables in my early 20’s being “healthy” was the furthest thing on my mind. I’ve never been athletic or ever worried about the food I put in my body.

I fell into the typical college lifestyle of cheap beer and fast food. Since I was on my feet at the restaurant 40+ hours a week it didn’t really affect me until I got out of college and started my desk job. The no exercising, inhaling food like a dumpster routine resulted in a quick 30 pound gain and shock that I no longer could fit into my usual tank tops and jeans.

Since Matt and I both put on the “love weight” we’ve gone back and forth between diet after diet, workout after workout. It hasn’t been until the last year or so that I’ve really started to grasp the concept of healthy living.

Now don’t get me wrong, food is my crutch, it’s one of my favorite pass times. But the older I get the more I realize the importance of living a consistent, healthy lifestyle (so I keep telling myself).

When I heard multiple people in the office talking about Advocare I immediately felt sorry for them. So sorry in fact that I told my husband how much it must suck to do a cleanse and I’m glad it’s them not us. Well, that was my first mistake. Matt loved the idea….so here we are. Three days after the 10 day Advocare Herbal Cleanse (no this isn’t an advertisement just a reflection) and shockingly…it’s not hell after all.

Partaking in a liquid cleanse that deprives you of all solid food is not my thing, sorry, I can’t just completely eliminate my favorite pastime. So I was thrilled to hear you actually get to eat on this cleanse, and it only lasts 10 days.

All the veggies and fruit you can eat became a bit daunting the first few days but now I can say I feel lighter, more energized and just healthier over all. The key now is keeping it off and turning this into a healthy lifestyle. Balance is key [inner pep-talk].

The Challenges

  • Giving up caffeine – C.O.F.F.E.E addict!!!!! Enough said
  • Giving up carbs [the good stuff] – I didn’t realize how addicted I was to things like tortillas, chips, pasta, etc until I had to give it up
  • Having a social life – we tried to pick a week where nothing was going on because nothing is worse then going out with your friends and eating salad and drinking water….boring!!
  • Fighting the mundane – grilled veggies, chicken and salad started to get old really fast…I definitely had to put my cooking skills to the test!
  • How do I cook without olive oil – this one took some getting use to. I love me some olive oil!
  • Fighting the sweet tooth – sometimes you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone…

The Solution

  • If you depend on caffeine in the mornings like I do, do yourself a favor and buy the Spark!! It saved me
  • Giving up carbs 100% I just can’t do. I actually fell in love with Quinoa during this cleanse. Mix in a healthy amount of complex carbs to satiate the craving
  • Just be a hermit for 10 days – seriously! It’s easier to succeed on this cleanse if you shop ahead, cook at home, and resist the urge to go out with your friends
  • Be creative and use the internet! The world wide web has a plethora of healthy cooking tips if you get stuck in a rut. Trade off between fish and chicken and experiment with different types of veggies
  • Non fat olive oil cooking spray!!! Oh and chicken broth!
  • Eat fruit – lots and lots of fruit! I’ve actually fallen in love with Kiwi now!!!

The Result – my husband lost 10 pounds, I lost 4. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but I feel so much cleaner, lighter and my taste buds are honestly craving fruit and veggies constantly now. If you train your body to eat healthy foods you start to crave them. I will definitely do this again in 90 days!

And yes…we did reward ourselves…

Oh Starbucks how I missed you!!!!

Have you tried Advocare? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.

 

If there was a poster child for yo-yo dieting it would be this girl! [Rant]

Food and I have had a very finicky relationship over the past decade. My college years don’t count. I think I pretty much lived off of boxed mac and cheese and pizza. Yet somehow I didn’t gain a pound. Fast forward (what feels like) a century later and my hips are in a constant battle with my mouth. Do it, don’t do it, do it….my mouth always wins. What can I say I love food, I’m OBSESSED with food. For anyone that interacts with me on a daily basis I apologize. I should test myself to see if I can go one day without rambling about what I ate for lunch or what I’m going to have for dinner. Yes, I’m that girl.

I’m getting to that age in my life where everything my mother said, and that I argued adamantly against, falls out of my mouth like a constant stream of word vomit.

MOM: “Watch what you eat!” ME: Whatever…

MOM: “It will catch up with you…” ME: Whatever….

“Girls aren’t suppose to eat like line backers…” (wait did she tell me that??) ME: But I’m hungry…

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rant about how skinny or not skinny I wish I was, this is a rant to myself, the constant yo-yo dieter. The food obsessed, neurotic cook that, to my horror, now shovels food in my mouth faster then my husband. Sigh!

So what’s a girl to do when a big bowl of savory goodness and a crisp glass of wine makes me happier then a brand new handbag or shiny pair of shoes?? Weight Watchers! Because no other diet has ever lasted in my household, and with the scale ticking up, up, up…I know I have to do something about it.

Do you know what sucks worse then being on Weight Watchers, the fact that my husband gets DOUBLE the amount of points then I do. When I’m coming home from work craving nothing but a pre-dinner snack and dreading the evening workout, I’m faced with a joyful husband stating, “Wow I have 25 points left for dinner.” Tonight I had 4!!! FOUR points left for dinner. Yes I know that Spinach Salad with bacon and goat cheese at lunch didn’t help, and that tasty happy hour beverage (light beverage x2) wasn’t that light. It doesn’t matter…a girl craves what a girl craves.

And here I am. In my fourth cycle, within the last 5 years, of the famed diet. Now I just need to keep JHud’s gorgeous self as a motivator and learn how to eat like a girl. This isn’t an anti-weight watchers rant, just simply me complaining into the void that I can no longer eat my weight in food like I could when I was a youthful college student. No more late night pizza runs, no more Taco Bueno for lunch then nachos for dinner, and no more eating the same portions as a grown ass man. I will still indulge every once in a while to keep my sanity, but I’ll stick to this until that last pound is finally shed and I’m back to my goal weight.

Thanks for listening! Now where are those girl scout cookies…

2011 – A Few of My Favorite Things

When I was little time moved with me. If I wanted the day to go by fast it went by fast and if I wanted it to last for eternity it kindly obliged. But the older I get the more time is working against me. Always testing my patience, testing my ability to find myself in a sea of constant change, and forcing me to balance the dreams of a young girl with the responsibilities of a young adult. So as time no longer gives me the tender care it once did as a child I’m learning to race with it and find a place for myself amongst the crazy world that surrounds me.

Here’s to you 2011 for being one of the best years of my life. By feeding my dreams and testing me as a person I’ve learned so much…and it’s only just begun.

Happy New Year!!!

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New Year’s Resolutions are for Suckers…So Here are Mine!

Instead of making the usual resolution of eating better and getting in shape I’m going to just assume that will become a part of my life and set some real goals. So as I sit here eating my Dominos pizza dipped in ranch (don’t hate they really have made a comeback) I’m making plans to make 2012 the best year ever.

Goal #1: BLOG MORE!!!

For all of my thousands of readers out there (a girl can dream right??) I have some good news for you…you’re about to hear a lot more from me. I LOVE to blog but unfortunately the daily grind and fact that I feel the need to do everything keeps me from finding the time to blog everyday. That is about to change. Excuses are for quitters and well…if 2012 is the last year on earth I’m going to make it the most fantastic year ever!!! 😉

Goal #2: Finish my EP!!!

2011 kicked off to an amazing start with my singing career with American Idol and it has pushed me beyond belief. But…(cue the violins) the busyness of life has kept me from accomplishing my music goals. So in the new year I want to focus more on my songwriting and finally finish my EP. I’m working with some amazing people that are pushing me in the right direction, but nobody is going to get it done but ME!!

Goal #3: Decorate my house!

Ummmmkay so this is totally embarrassing but we’re all family here so I will admit that I’ve been in my house for almost 4 years now and I have 3 bedrooms that are completely undecorated. Shame Shame!

Excuse me I need to get another piece of pizza…

Okay I’m back. So decorating takes time and money, and so does cooking and singing. The challenge will be to learn how to manage my time and resources so I’m not completely neglecting my home. Thanks to Pinterest (TOTALLY OBSESSED! PLUG: Check out my Boards HERE) I’m starting a collection of ideas to help me along the way.

I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me but as long as I can limit my time on Tumblr (Another Plug: Click HERE) and Pinterest I think I can get some stuff done. Damn you technology, I love you but you are seriously making me scatterbrained.

So here I am, speaking out into the internet void in hopes that I actually keep a resolution…I mean goal…for once in my life. I think I can do it!

What are you’re resolutions this year?? Let me know in the comments below! Love love! ❤

American Idol – Season 10

Alright I PROMISE a food post very soon!! Once I can pull myself up from all the recent Idol madness I will post some new recipes. In the meantime I thought I would post some pics and video from the New Orleans’ episode of American Idol. Needless to say, the experience has been beyond amazing! Thanks again to everyone’s unbelievable support and kind words. Keep watching. Hollywood here I come!!!

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Thank you!!!!!

I can’t believe all of the amazing comments and views I’ve been getting since my audition aired on American Idol!!! You all are so amazing and it feels so good to know I have your support. I’ve been terrible about posting lately…obviously because of my busy schedule!! 🙂 So I will try my best to post more and keep everyone updated on what’s going on with me!!

In the meantime check out some of my other music sites!!! Let me know if there’s anything you want me to sing on YouTube…or any restaurants you think I should try!! I can’t wait to hear more from you guys. Lots and lots of love!!!

Check out my YouTube and Tumblr sites!!  ♥ ♥

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