Thursday, July 2

From Where I Stand, inked fingers

July 4, 2015 Independence Day

What does "Inked Fingers" mean? A quick Google search will find that along with a photography company, there are images of people primarily from the Middle East, holding up their left index finger, covered in ink. In countries where citizenship documents are not required to vote, it helps prevent people from voting twice. Ultimately, it is a sign that their vote has been cast, their voice has been heard. 

I did not know any of this when I decided to name my company Inked Fingers (another quick google search can find the interview with Nick that does discuss my reasons), but it was a serendipitous moment as I now delve into Sahar's book Find Your Voice. So... 

This week a landmark decision was made in the Supreme Court and I've never felt so taken aback. Permit this quiet soul to explain.

I have GLBT friends and friend's family and if you know me, you know I 100% support them. That's not even a question. I support them in as much as I support my incredible family that goes to church on Sunday. I support them in as much as I support my incredible Jewish family that celebrate Shabbat. I support them in as much as I support my beautiful friends of Sikhism. 

I support all walks of life because I whole-heartedly believe we each are on our own path and no more do I want the government to demand that I believe something than do I want them to demand that I can not believe something. 
This is not the government's job.
From where I stand, I own a small business.
From where I stand, I own a small business because I enjoy making my own rules, setting my own income, making my own decisions based on what I believe to be true.

From where I stand, I support personal liberty.
From where I stand, I don't want ANYONE telling me what to do... as long as I am not harming myself or others.


That is the catch. This is the original purpose of our federal government, to protect us.
The government, the judicial branch of the office where Barak Obama currently sits is called the Commander-in-Chief because he is the leader of all branches of the military. (Another discussion, another day.) 


If the government feels the need to tell everyone what they can and can't drink, who can and can't marry, what movies we can and can't watch or worse...  what books I can't own.... 
what if one day I wake up and I live in a country where I can't be me?
I believe it's called the boiled frog.


I concur with Brandon Stanten "I've always thought people's stories are more interesting than people's opinions."

"How long have you been together?" she asked him. Her and I were going to get flowers for a gig. We patiently waited as the man pulled together a gorgeous arrangement.
"My partner and I have been together for over 20 years. I think we're finally going to get married" he smiled to himself, as he wrapped up a beautiful bouquet for us and then way undercharged us. His kindness cut to my heart. 

In a country where the divorce rate is currently over 50% anyway, and the sole reason marriage licenses were even granted by a government was to tell us who could marry who and to decide who was going to get benefits-- I don't want the government telling anyone anything related to our sex lives or religion or body. I don't want them telling me to do anything because that isn't their business. 

You can't legislate morality. (We must first all agree upon a Moral Code.) 

From where I stand, I want to work my freaking butt off to live the American dream.
From where I stand, I have relatives that rely on the government and they have disabilities and I'm so grateful that we, as a country, can provide for them. Although, if we truly lived in a community, (which rarely exists) then we wouldn't need the government to even do that.
From where I stand, I want to be able to pray to whatever tribe or Universe or God that I so choose, fly any flag, stand on my soap box and preach any message that my heart so desires.... as long as I am not bringing physical harm to anyone.

because THAT is a government of the people, by the people and FOR the people. 

At what point did we ever believe that our opinion, our walk of life, was greater, more important, more valid than our neighbors? 

We are each fighting our own battle. 

Freedom isn't anything the government can grant us. It is our unalienable right as a human being. To breathe, to think, to believe, to create. This is the freedom that I believe some died for, when they came to America. This is why countries dip their fingers in ink.... to have their voices, their wants, their needs, their STORIES heard.

How do we get back here? 

Martin Luther King said it best: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that... I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

I propose a challenge. We do not need to be legitimized by any man or any organization or any government because in the end, we, behind closed doors, will live our lives the very way we feel led to in our hearts. Any one that feels differently on this, speak freely. 


Hate doesn't drive out hate.... only love can do that. The next time you're tempted to rant on someone's facebook wall about an issue you don't agree with... I dare you to ask their story. I dare you to put yourself in their shoes for even a brief moment. 

My story?
I believe in personal freedom. My husband and I both worked for Fortune 500 companies before we began our companies. We enjoy the freedom of a schedule that we both make. We haven't paid to advertise for either of our companies since 2008. We are built solely on referrals and our generous clients that keep returning. Having lived this lifestyle, we can tell you from personal experience over the last 7+ years, the road of a entrepreneur isn't paved. We must be gluttons for punishment then, because the unpredictable and wild ride is intoxicating: it is OUR path and we hold the reigns.


I believe in love. I was raised Christian until I was in middle school and my parents threw out everything relating to Jesus and Christian holidays and denied that the very Jesus they taught me in a song, who loved ME, didn't exist. In college I gravitated towards Buddhism. After I left the house they went on to officially convert to orthodoxy and I lived confused for a very long time. Now? After hundreds of stories and feeling the heart beat of humanity I believe there is only ONE answer to religion and that path is easily paved and that is love. 

This is my story. We are each on our own paths. 

freedom: to let every man, walk as he so chooses, on the path that he feels he might live his life to the best of his ability

peace: to remove our own small-minded "we are the only ones that are right and the rest of the world is wrong"
This is my story of inked fingers.
"Every moment we are writing the story of our lives....."

(I post this with the hopes of encouraging discussion. I would love to hear YOUR story and your voice.) 

Thursday, June 25

InkedFingers + Marina Quinete | Hello Wardrobe Stylist!

Hello!

As we're filling up our calendar with portrait sessions I wanted to let you know we've officially added a wardrobe stylist to the mix! Everyone meet Marina Quinete. This is different than the Millie+Mox, kid's clothes partnership we had last year. (The lead buyer there, Fernanda is how we discovered Marina! Those talented Lovelies are sisters!) 

(Here she is on-location in Bastrop during our last editorial!)

We're taking it up a notch this year! Marina can actually come to your house to either help you and yours piece together your existing outfits for the shoot, or she can even meet you, learn your style and go shopping with/for you! If you're going to invest in portraits, allow us to help you take the headache out of figuring out what to wear! She has packages based on your needs.

A bit about Marina, she's been based in NYC the last year, working for the likes of incredible musicians and publications such as Vogue, traveling to Milan and abroad. Her and her sister Fernanda even had their own clothing line! We're so grateful to now have them here in ATX! Marina's a sweet incredibly talented Lovely and we're honored to bring her on board! (And she has the most amazing accent. She's from Brazil. :)

Let us know you'd like to connect to Marina for your shoot and we'll get you two in touch! 
This year is sure to be a fabulous one yet.

xo, car

PS: Don't forget we're still running the Polaroid promotion! If you book a session with us in the month of June (can be for a future date in 2015) you're eligible to win a Fujifilm Instax Wide and 50 "polaroid" prints! Considering we don't book usually more than 8-12 sessions a season, you're chances are fairly high at winning...

Ciao ciao.

Friday, June 19

The strangest gift of all.

If you asked me who Haruki Murakami was two weeks ago, I would have given you a silly grin and a curious stare, because I didn't know. His name was familiar, but that was the extent of it.

Then, one day a few weeks ago, a package arrived in the mail with no note and no return address and a book was enclosed by Murakami, the book "What I talk about when I talk about running" and being one who loves a great mystery, I was intrigued and delighted that such a mystery had befallen me.

Now, just a few chapters remaining and never in my life have I read a voice that is my own. His troubles, his thoughts, his triumphs (aside from his yearly marathons) all speak to the very core of who I am. It is as if the Universe itself bestowed this gift upon me.

To the kind soul that perceived they knew me well enough to introduce Murakami's works into my world, I don't feel as much a strange bird and, curious to read more of his works, wonder if my voice isn't so distant after all...

For this, and so much more I am
eternally grateful...

Thursday, June 18

Taking a break at Lake Dillon





Almost two years ago Johnny and I made a decision.
Inspired by the likes of Dave Ramsey and friends who shared success stories of living the life they dreamed, we decided we would choose experiences over things

In short, we ate out less, made more meals and coffee at home, bought less new clothes, decided to drive our older cars that we finally paid off instead of getting two more car payments...

we tried to live by the mantra:
everything we need, we've already been given.




A wise man once said "When you're in a discussion with someone who might say something that is different than what you believe, say 'I agree. I agree' and then go and live your own life."
For the most part, Johnny and I are private people, but I share this road we're on because maybe you are where we are and you just need a little bit of inspiration or motivation yourself.

As you can read in the last post here, all roads we've traveled thus far have lead us here.
It's wild. The more clutter we'd attempt to get rid of, the more clutter I realized we owned.
The quieter I tried to make my life, the more I realized just how filled with noise it was. 

I think that was my spirit, my heart acknowledging just where I wanted to be.
We're always arriving, my friend. If only I could remember this.




In the last post I talked about the book, The Compound Effect, which although I just discovered it in the last few weeks, it effectively explained for the last year what we had been trying to accomplish:
minimizing our life, creating routines, immediately implementing small incremental changes that would have a big impact on our lives in the long run.










While we make this trip to Colorado to visit family every year anyway, we rarely take the time to visit the mountains. This lake is the very lake where Johnny proposed circa 2006. We haven't been back since pregnant with Emiliana, so this was a special trip indeed...

I was tempted to bring home *something* with me, a token, a momento of this trip, then in my heart, I was reminded...









If the very fiber of who we are is the culmination of every one of our experiences, every place we have visited, every kind word spoken to us, every soul whom we've encountered ...
If we are energy and energy is neither created nor destroyed, merely transferred from one living being to the next...
Then let us live our lives knowing we shall not accumulate masses of trinkets and treasures, rather experiences full of lessons and worth.... 

let us, like little children, live free. 



Monday, June 15

Palacios Youth Initiative Benefits from State Farm's Grant

This post is sponsored by State Farm. All opinions are my own. 


“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead. 

We drove down to the Texas Coast for a day to visit the incredible Palacios Youth Initiative and we were greeted by Brandi, a beautiful, enterprising mother of 3-- one of State Farm's award recipients last year for the Neighborhood Assist ProgramWith the funds, she reached out to a broad mix of leaders in Palacios who in turn all came together to improve buildings and create programs aiding the local youth to develop lifetime skills (improving reading through hands-on learning and mentoring, etc.). How does she do it all? Three kids and full time effort to better the community around you. You're a superwoman, Brandi! It's evident your enthusiasm and dedication daily makes a difference in the lives of these youth! 







Just how far can $25,000 go? State Farm’s grant program, in the fourth year, encourages their fans to identify special leaders/organizations in local communities that are making a difference. To date, State Farm has awarded $3 million dollars to 120 communities across North America! The top 40 contest winners of this year’s grant will be announced June 16. Palacios Youth Initiative is a lovely example of just how Brandi, one hard-working selfless woman, can impact thousands with the aid of a thoughtful committed organization.

Thursday, May 21

But what does it even mean? | Learning to live with less.

First things first: I'm dedicating this to Giana, because without her encouragement, I wouldn't have even been willing to dig deep into what was bugging me the last few months. For that, I'll always be eternally grateful.... 


Before the layer of colored sticky notes littered my desk
Before I hit snooze a dozen times on my alarm to call a client
Before I worried about if I had the right hashtags and if anyone would even really find this blog
Before I had to triple check my calendar(s) every morning to make sure I wasn't missing a client meeting or shoot
Before I had 50 new unread emails in my inbox
Before talking calendars and gps' and ads blaring at gas stations (as I quietly pump gas)

Before any of this...
there existed a quietude
in this heart of mine.

At least that's what I tell myself.

But it's simply not true. Long before dings and tweets and facetime chats I was still a thinker and thoughts filled my mind that provided noise 24-7. Only now, the noise is that much louder. Now, in addition to all of the internal garbage I wade through, (man is that tough in and of itself!) I drown in the obscenity of all the noise in this world and I feel probably similar to my intestines after eating a twinkee.... absolutely nauseous from the overload.

Many times when I get in the car I'll go on auto-pilot and turn on the radio or spotify then 10 seconds later turn it off... because even music is NOISE and I don't want any of it. I just crave peace. Quiet

If you're sitting somewhere right now and you have the opportunity, just notice the sounds around you. Notice your breath. Notice the way the chair feels under you, your feet on the floor. Do you remember the last time you were outside under the night sky staring at a million stars or standing on the edge of a canyon that made you feel so small... or walking in the woods and the sun catches your eye just so and the only thing you can hear is the crunch of leaves beneath your feet...
This is the kind of quiet I'm talking about... the soul-finding kind of quiet.

I was trying to understand what magnified this over-loaded feeling (having a 2 yr old that destroys a room in 30 seconds?!), because when I'm honest with myself, I feel like a boiled frog. One day, I woke up and realized that little changes over time brought me here, with a messy office I can't keep clean, etc etc.

It was the very week I began reading Caroline Joy's blog: Unfancy, ironically as the Universe would have it, the very week she decided to stop blogging! Man the Universe is funny. I saw how much freedom Caroline had, in thought, in wardrobe (oh my gosh my closet was out of control!) and most importantly how all of those little decisions helped her create an entire lifestyle of freedom. The more I read her words, the heavier the anchor on my soul. 

I couldn't keep on.

So this is where I'm at. It sounds so dark and depressing doesn't it? Man it sure feels that way at times, but I'm not a cynic. On the contrary, I firmly believe we humans are capable of changing and morphing into something better and more beautiful and that is where I stand. I stand with this weight on my shoulders and I've drawn a line in the sand and everything I despise about where I am now is behind me. Ahead is the present enigma: HOW can I get from point A (where I am now) to point B (freedom, of THINGS, of SCHEDULE, of NEGATIVE THOUGHTS, of BUZZING ALARMS, of NEVER FEELING like I can get ahead).

I love saying "on the cusp"... of anything! Because I believe life itself is a journey. We can never possibly fully arrive and as scary as that sounds, it's also really freeing. Here we are, and we'll always be here, with intention and purpose and endless endless possibilities. I love possibilities.

I've bought probably $100 worth of books over the last two weeks. I'm not even joking. It was that or go to the shrink and lately I've felt more compelled to read other people's stories of success than just wallow in my own (not so) misery. SO here's a list of just a few of the books I bought that had me arrive at some really interesting conclusions.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing 
WOW is this book phenomenal. It tells me exactly what I have been searching for: declutter the world around me (ie: THROW SHIT AWAY) haha and suddenly your entire life is full of clarity. The main reason people have problems with keeping things clean is because they just keep reorganizing their things instead of getting rid of what's not essential! A brilliant basic concept. After doing this in my closet and kitchen alone, I'm beginning to see this book is as valuable as a genie in a bottle. I don't know at what point I started not being able to throw things away but after filling trash bags and selling things on ebay and craigslist just in the last week... I'm pumped to tackle my office and the garage! (I'm not even joking!!)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
I need to sit down and finish this because it's so freaking empowering! As I explained in the last blog post, I'm what some call an ambivert. Yep, a real word, meaning half introverted half extroverted. However! My introverted moments needed explaining and justifying because, as this book poignantly points out, there is a lot of shame and misunderstanding in quiet, in recharging on one's own time, in not always being the funny loud one. But there is absolutely no shame to be had and in fact, knowing who you are is so empowering! It's accepting who you are that makes you that much more able to live up to your potential. No more closet-introvert here. (How can I command a large group of people with quietude and not even get angry because things aren't working out as planned? Introversion, people. It has it's up sides. :)

Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide
I read about this book on @livefreemiranda's blog and it's another life changer. Reading this gave me the design tips and style to understand WHY I hated my home. I don't hate my home, per se, just my lack of ability to do anything with it. The truth is we've lived in this house for the last year and I haven't been able to decorate, put up curtains or even hang a single picture! Not joking! She has so many practical solutions, affordable solutions for small spaces and for using what you have. I love that. I'm forever indebted to Miranda for posting about it! Thanks M!

Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy
Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home
These two books are pretty self-explanatory based on the titles and I'd probably just be thankful to check these out from the library, but they're good starter books. They got me thinking "How can I slow down, get rid of things and change my thought/behavior patterns??"

The Compound Effect
I had to save the best for last. I dug through Caroline's blog and this was the book that inspired her to begin changing her life. I seriously did not even finish the first chapter and sat down that next morning at 4am and wrote the outline for a book that's been on my heart for years. Then, gave the un-finished book, The Compound Effect, away to a dear friend. So I need to buy another copy. Just buy it. You won't regret it, I promise. The premise is that you must change your behavior, even one behavior pattern that will affect you years down the road. Well, that's easy, I thought. That's what's so appealing about it. It really is easy to find peace...


Anyway, after not finishing a single one of the books but having "ah-HA!" moments with every single one, I've arrived at this conclusion:

Simplify, Carli,
simplify
smplfy

I've found if I wake up in the morning and the very first thing, instead of answering emails, instead of replying to a new inquiry, instead of walking into my office and making sure I have a designated to-do list, if I do something that ENERGIZES me (read poetry, make tea or a perfectly brewed french press and sit outside and listen to the birds, tear out magazine pages from the Anthro catalog that I'll use to write my bffs), if I do THOSE things, then the rest of the day somehow magically seems a bit more bearable. If I do yoga, if I read the strips of paper that fill my gratitude jar, if I meditate, close my eyes and sit on the cool concrete and just be... even for a few seconds before my mind starts wandering back to what I have left to do on that desk...

Here is the truth: owning your own business is hard f--in work. Doing something, one thing toward leading a more simplified life is better than nothing. I'm learning self-care is essential. I'm learning to delegate (through our amazing office manager Jessica, from Gal Friday!!) and I'm learning that even though I'm sitting at a messy desk in a messy office that hasn't yet been organized.... I'm learning to be quiet, that quietude first starts in me....

cheers to that

x
c

Thursday, May 14

Wildflowers at Wild Onion Ranch | Kate & Frank's Wedding

Between the dresses and the florals and the venue, I can't wait to share these! Kate kept mentioning "I want this to look very Anthropologie-ish" and I couldn't use a better word to describe her details! I really loved the white/cream/lacey bridesmaid dresses. A nice change of pace!

What a beautiful beautiful bride you are, Kate! Fabulous details! Beautiful light!
Thanks for making us a part of your day!


Coordination: Swoop Events 
Bride's Dress: BHLDN
Hair: Path Salon, Jean Barton


























Tuesday, May 12

How to Be Alone

Somewhere along this journey of becoming a wife then mom and business owner and picture taker... I forgot why I began this blog. If I only post photos, where is the beauty in that? I hide from words because they are so near and dear to my heart. I hide from words because, in as much as they come easily to me, I fear I am exposing too much.

I can't tell you how much I survive on inspiring others. You might go as far as to say it is selfish of me to make people happy.... because I get so very much fulfillment from it! It is as much a part of my DNA to believe with every fiber of my being the glass is half-full.

In terms of Myers-Briggs, I always test half down the enfj/infj spectrum. (In relationship to the Chinese, my birthday says I am a pig. :) What does half e/half i even mean? I'm half introverted, half extroverted, to the core. Half teacher/ half counselor. So I have my extroverted moments, when I have a camera in my hand, when I have a purpose, but I always crave deep conversation one-on-one and find it challenging to make small talk in large groups when we can really get down to the nitty gritty of life, talk about courage and great books, a recipe that makes my toes curl or how I wish I really could dance.

This is for you.

Let's be honest. Even in a relationship there are moments of alone-ness. We must learn to be whole in who we are, before we can ever expect someone else to love us. We must learn to love ourselves.

So here is to alone.
The beauty in lonely.

"Lonely is a feeling that breathes easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it..."

xo, always