Celebrating Mothers

Yesterday, we celebrated Mother's Day.  We took time out of our busy lives to have brunch or give gifts or send flowers or make dinner for the women that take care of us on a daily basis.

It just got me thinking how profound a job being a mother is.  It's an incredible responsibility to be a caregiver.... life giver... love giver.... 365 days a year... from the moment that child is conceived.  

I am extremely lucky to have a mother who is my source of strength... my morals... my root.  It is because of her I love the way that I do... I take care of people the way that I do.... I see the world the way that I do.  I am grateful.... so truly grateful.

I tell my mom whenever I see her that, "she's the prettiest girl in the world."  I believe that.  And I think it's so important that she hears it.  My wish for my mom is that she receives love and appreciation... and grasps what a phenomenal woman she is.   And so, I tell her.  

Women sometimes don't hear that from their kids... or spouses.  Sometimes in the mess of life, we forget to say these important validating statements.  I hear it everyday from women in my life.  And I always think, "What a shame."  It's not that their loved ones don't feel it.  They probably do.  But... sometimes we don't take the time.

Tell your mom she's beautiful.  Tell her how much you appreciate her and why.  Tell her she's not only an incredible mom... but a kick-ass woman who's overcome her own struggles and has had triumphs that have nothing to do with you!  Tell her... because she should hear it.... everyday.... not just on Mother's Day.   

Spreading the love!

To all the Mother's in my life... thank you for doing a beautiful job.

This photo is recently taken of my friend, Danielle, who will soon be a mom to her third daughter!  She's stunning! 

Easter Sunday - Finding Peace

My mom always pointed out that it usually rains on Good Friday.  But, not this year. This year... it was a bright, cool, peaceful spring day where I found myself drawn to Argyle Lake in Babylon.  

I spent the afternoon looking at the world around me.  I took the time to really see it. To absorb what was going on.  As I exchanged glances and smiles with people... I recognized a peace in them that I was feeling in myself that moment.  

We had all been drawn there on Good Friday afternoon.  Me, searching for time sitting underneath my Cherry Blossom Trees.  Fathers and sons fishing together.  An old man sitting on a bench in the bright sun, with his eyes closed.  A woman chasing her 3 year old granddaughter around.  People walking their dogs.  Children watching the ducks and playing on swings.  A father and daughter spending time together in their special place.  Birds chirping, wind blowing.  Peace.

I became extremely thankful for that moment and I realized... God was all around me. In the connection of the loved ones... in the solitude of those sitting on a bench or walking their pups. And I sat there smiling and watching people take that moment to slow down in their busy lives. 

And then... a live enactment of stations of the cross came around Argyle Lake, right passed where I was sitting.  And I thought..."How interesting.  I chose not to go to church... but church came to me."  

We all need to slow down sometimes.  Life's troubles can be overwhelming.  I propose this on Easter Sunday... Get off your phones and look around.   Be present with the ones you love. Look at the beauty of this world. It's in the laughter of children.  It's in the hug from your best friend.  It's in the wind in the trees. It's in the kiss from your spouse.  It's in the kindness of strangers.  

I thank God... the Universe... for these things.... and hope you take the time to really see them and have a grateful moment for yourselves today.  

God Bless... and Happy Easter!


Heart of the Warrior - Published!

This month has been so rewarding! A few weeks ago, I walked into Zwanger Pesiri Radiology to find my photograph gracing the cover of the premiere issue of Long Island Image Magazine (Zwanger Pesiri's new Lifestyle Magazine.) The article inside is a beautiful representation of my project, featuring Deanna Lilimpakis, and her beautiful little girl. I am deeply honored that this work is in a place where people are sitting, waiting to get tested, scared, unsure about what the future holds. I can only hope that the photos and stories of these Warriors will give others hope & immense strength.... and put them in a healthy headspace. Because, if these glorious women can come out the other side thriving... anyone can. To my Warriors... you inspire me every single day. <3
Front Page Image:
Hair & Makeup by Jillian Kristine O'Brien
Inside Image (Rose in Pink):
Makeup by Sia Kosmakis
Hair by Emily Rose Attridge


What do you do for yourself?

As women... we spend a lot of time taking care of others.  Sometimes it's our friends... our lovers... children... parents.  We work to juggle our jobs and relationships ...and try to make it all seem easy.  Wonder Woman!

But what do you do for you?  How do you cope with the stress of life?  How do you stop the little things from turning into big things?

I pose this question because I realized lately... I haven't done some of the things that used to bring me great joy and help me work through my struggles and make sense of things.  

This week I started singing again.  I sang at my old a capella gig.... Christmas songs that make me smile.  I heard my voice again...and it was therapeutic and refreshing and made me happy.

And I started writing again.  It was one poem.... but after years of not expressing myself in this way... it felt good to reflect what I was feeling and see it in front of me.   

"If I get it down on paper, it's no longer inside of me."

-Breathe by Anna Nalick  

It's not selfish.  We need to take care of ourselves before we can be healthy people and take care of others. Maybe you haven't thought about it for a bit. Maybe you practice it everyday... 

I invite you to comment below...

What do you do for yourself?  




Wedding Day.  Pinned curls.  Lace.  Veil. Something new.  White. Rings.  Pearls. Diamonds.  Something borrowed. High Heels. Airbrush. Love songs. Centerpieces. Something blue.  Bouquets.  Baby's breath. Soft. Pure. Perfect.   The Dress....  The Dress...... Oh, The Dress!

A Dress that awesome should never be worn just once!  (I capitalize "Dress" in this sentence... because we should all honor and praise it....and hold it in the highest regard!)

One of my favorite things to do is re-purpose!  Doing a very different photo shoot, without your mom and bridesmaids... without the stress of having to get to the cocktail hour.  Just the bride (or bride and groom), me and a camera.

Let me paint a picture!

ROCK THE DRESS SHOOT.  Runway hair... Big and FIERCE!  Dramatic makeup!  Model! Boots!   Rockin' necklace!  Bracelets for days!  Your favorite bad-ass rock song playing! Edgy! Fun! Relaxed! Showing your color shine through all that white!  


MESS THE DRESS SHOOT.  Let's face it.... your daughter probably won't wear your dress in 30 years.  Jump in the ocean!  Be an artist... play around in paint!  Roll around on the beach!  Have a food fight with your husband!  Skies the limit!  

This time... September, October, November - post-wedding, is the perfect time for one of these shoots!  It can be whatever you want! I'd be thrilled to brainstorm great ideas that will reflect you!  

SOOOO MUCH FUN!  Get back in that dress before you box it up!  Don't you want to feel great wearing it, just one more time!  

I said it once... I'll say it again.  A dress that awesome should never be worn just once!


Save Your Memories... Print Your Photos!

We are children of a digital age.  Amazing things come with that fact.  If you are thinking about an old friend, you can text them in one second to say, "I love and miss you," and bring a smile to their face.  If you are thousands of miles away and you need to see your mom... you can Skype or Facetime and feel like you are in the same room... even if it's just to show her the dress you are wearing.  If you need to know who played that role in The Breakfast Club.... Siri is moments away.

As far as photography goes, the editing software is incredible.  Whether you're taking photos with your phone or a high end DSLR... you get to use filters and enhance... and pick and choose which you like and want to post on Instagram and Facebook or wherever else!  

But where do they go... these memories?  We share them on social media... and they live on our computers and phones.  And yes... we can show our friends instant moments from our lives, seconds after the moment transpires.  

But will we be able to share them with our grandkids?  Not if they aren't printed, we won't!  I'm writing this blog today because I'm guilty of the same thing... not printing my photos on a regular basis.  There's something so special about sitting around a dining room table with my mom, dad and brother, looking through albums... yes ALBUMS of photos of my grandparents and my family growing up over the years.  It's extraordinary to take out a box of photos and hold a piece of paper that my grandmother held in her hand. 

It's not the same sitting around a computer.  It's just not.  And technology fails...computers crash...all too often... and then what?  All those moments, gone!  It's a heartbreaking thought.  

So, today I urge you... to go through your phone.  Go through your computer.  Back up your photo files in more than one place.  Export them to Shutterfly or Blurb or Simple Prints or Artisan State.   Make prints. Frame some.  Make books of your photos.  Save your memories in a place that you can share them easily, not just in a text message, but around a dining room table in twenty years.  

This photo is from the App, Photofunia.  It's a collage of a few photos of the wonderful weddings we went to this summer.  I'm going to print them right now!

Heart of the Warrior... a growing project!

In January, I put up an exhibition called, Heart of the Warrior: Portraits of Women Who Share in the Fight Against Breast Cancer.  About a month ago, I got a call from the Governor's office asking me about the project and wanting to help me potentially move forward with it.  I was invited to the launch of Governor Cuomo's, "Get Screened.  No Excuses." Campaign.  It was awesome to be there surrounded in people who support this cause.  The photo below is from that day.  It is Governor Cuomo, and Sandra Lee getting ready to go sign a bill to make it more accessible for people to get screened.

After six months that I have been away from this project, I am both humbled and excited to move forward.  

I have been asked to present the Heart of the Warrior Exhibition at the Long Island Beauty Ball on September 26th at Crest Hollow Country Club.  This is a huge event!  Their goal is to raise $250,000 this year!  For information on how to purchase tickets, visit: www.longislandbeautyball.com

As far as moving forward in other capacities... I'm not sure exactly what that will be yet.  Maybe another shoot?  Maybe a publication of this work?  I feel like this will likely be an ongoing project... as Breast Cancer is an ongoing problem.  And there are always more women to inspire and celebrate.


The Beginning...

It is wedding season!   My Love and I will be going to our fourth wedding in 4 months tonight. And another in a few weeks.  The weddings we have been to are all people that are so important to us.  It inspires me to see so much love around.

I had the honor of officiating the wedding of my best friend, Katie and her new husband, Josh a few weeks ago.  As she read a letter from him... and got into her stunning dress, I thought about how amazing this time in our lives is.  Full of possibility and life and adventures we can foresee... and some we can't even imagine.  Their wedding was truly spectacular... full of sincerity, and elegance and peppered with truly personal touches from start to finish.  It really represented this glorious couple perfectly.

It's so interesting ...  all the wedding planning... picking out flowers and dresses and shoes and favors.  Having been in theatre my entire life... I understand the production of a wedding... the details are important to create this beautiful picture.  

But, the more exciting thing... sometimes scary because of the variables, is planning a life together.   My advice to brides... don't forget that at the end of the day... it doesn't matter if the cake didn't come out perfectly ... or if the flowers wilted by the end of the night.  You just married the person that will stand by you through all the bad cakes and wilted flowers.... and hopefully will buy you fresh ones when you need it!  

"It has always been you... you. ... You that pulled me from the longest sleep and kissed my tired eyelids awake." -Tyler Knott Gregson

I dedicate my first blog to my beautiful friend Katie, and her handsome new husband, Josh.  A stunning couple that is destined for s stunning life together.  

And to all getting married this summer... enjoy this time in your life.

Remember to live in the moment.