Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Inspiration Wednesday: Christopher Niemann's Abstract City Blog

"I am always amazed at the diverse lot underneath the highchair of our toddler." - Christopher Niemann

If you follow Christopher Niemann's blog Abstract City on the New York Times site you already appreciate his humorous visualizations of city life.

Today's post, The Haunted Household, will strike a chord with anyone who wonders if there is some invisible force (or tiny monsters) derailing our attempts at keeping a passibly clean house.

Add kids to the mix - he has a toddler - and the identifying may border on paranoia that he's been peeking in my dishwasher (always full, either clean or dirty) or junk drawer (mystery batteries) while I'm out. Good thing he didn't look under the couch.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Family Portraits Saturday in the Park

Please share/tweet/print this photo to spread the word.

Happy Memorial Day! My family recently joined our local community park and Saturday is the annual Memorial Day Fair.

I'm volunteering to photograph families in the newly renovated park. There will be music and food and good weather. It's one of the only days that the park is open to non-members so stop by and enjoy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Fun: Morality in Babies?

Nicholas Nixon for The New York Times
All photographs taken at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale University.

OK, well I think sociology & science are fun anyway. I had a photo shoot in Long Island yesterday. Which meant a rare luxury - driving alone. Made more of a luxury by a really interesting show on WNYC's (our NPR) Leonard Lopate Show. He interviewed Yale professor Paul Bloom who wrote last week's New York Times magazine's cover story "The Moral Life of Babies."

Listen to the interview here:

I have noticed very strong moral reactions in the babies I've photographed, especially when they hear another baby cry. The empathy and worry is really heart-warming. It's incredible that these traits can be inborn as well as amplified through parenting. Once again I'm blown away how amazing babies are!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May goals (as in "may" get done...)

In like a lion

Well, looky here! It's already May. If you'd like to join our Monthly Meetup check-in, post your goals to Athena Dreams blog the first Monday of the month.

I truly enjoyed April - lots of family events, plenty of work and general running around. The weather was either pouring rain or gorgeous, so those sunny days meant we HAD to get outside and explore our neighborhood. My daughter is a pure joy to watch hoofing down the sidewalk, usually on the way to the park, a look of concentration easily broken by whatever (cat, dog, car, motorcycle, squirrel, baby, bike, truck, etc.) catches her fancy. Sometimes the walk there was longer than the time at the park. 

Work-wise, I did OK. Still doing my photo editing assignment for a travel publisher 30 hours a week, which is my main time commitment. Also did a family photo shoot and plan for more this month. Got some business planning done too, include new pricing (effective after 5/31) to reflect my market and budget research. Still feel like I could be hustling more, but when all of my childcare time is used for photo editing, the photography work has to come when I can make time.

A look back at April goals:
1. Finalize pricing changes (update site, facebook) - done, need to publish
2. Contact past clients (assemble email list, write email detailing new pricing/return client discount) - done
3. Photograph wine bar - nope, but tried to get in touch with owner - try harder this month
4. Pursue guest bloggers - nope
5. Enjoy the outdoors - done!

On to May:
1. Publish new pricing
2. Schedule 2 days of lower-price-point mini-sessions
3. Pursue guest bloggers
4. Research craft fairs (unfortunately cannot do the 2 where I could have shared a table) 
5. Plan a few summer adventures, both professionally & personally

The last one has me the most excited. I'd really love to book some out-of-town photo shoots for this summer and will talk with friends/contacts to find someone who'd like to host. Other than Boston and NJ, I've mainly shot in NYC. Friends in other cities - let me know if you'd like to set something up.

Awesome Mother's Day gift ideas

I'm a mom, but I also have a mom, a mom-in-law, and a nana who all deserve amazing Mother's Day gifts. Since the big day is coming up Sunday, why not surprise the moms in your life with one of these last minute creative gifts? No vacuums allowed!!!

New moms may feel less than gorgeous right now - lack of sleep, saggy bellies & drool-covered clothing will do that to the most confident woman. Why not give her a spa trip to help her get her mojo back. Bliss (a great NYC-launched spa chain) has a new Rookie Mom massage that sounds perfect. Make sure to include free babysitting (no, dads, watching your own child does not count as babysitting!) to ensure she'll really relax.

Photo: alexindigo

Instead of flowers - which are perfectly good gifts but tend to, you know, die - I think if the mom has a yard, buy her a tree for each of her children. We've given this gift for a baptism before, but there's something adorable about giving a new mom a tree as old as her baby and watching both grow. In NYC, I like Garden World in Flushing since they stock native organic plants in their locally-owned family business. 

A baby photo shoot with me! Purchase a gift card for a single session or a series of shoots and I will email it in time to print out and slip into her Mother's Day card. This one is extra-perfect for moms-to-be since they can have something reminding them of the baby on the way. I've sold these to grandparents and friends of some of the coolest kids around, so it only seems fair to give one to the moms that made them.

Other ideas you can plan last minute are gift certificates to local restaurants (babysitting included please), arranging for a house cleaner to deep clean mom's home, and of course chocolate. You know the women in your life best, so whatever you give her, your love and respect are sure to shine through. Hope everyone has a Happy Mother's Day!