Thursday, December 30, 2010


A quick post from Hamtramck Michigan where we're visiting my in-laws until tomorrow when we'll return to our Windy City.  There is something so engaging about Detroit.  It's insane to see an industrialized city in utter shambles.  It seems as though for each neighborhood street with 20 houses only 5 are inhabited, the others abandoned, burned or in complete dismay.  To think this was such a booming city at one time and now it looks like a post apocalyptic city from one of those movies where people have to fight off cannibal gangs to survive and try to find other non cannibals living on earth.  Seriously.  I know there is hope for this city and that a lot of young artists are taking advantage of the incredibly cheap foreclosure deals (I saw a news clip of a couple that bought a house here for ONE DOLLAR, needless to say it needed a lot of work- but ONE DOLLAR.) and buying houses, making community farms and artist work spaces.  People are taking advantage of getting land for cheap or free and are creating urban farms and gardens to live more sustainable lives and make all of this abandoned space useful.  I love this idea and am really excited to see what's new each time we come to visit.  I hope that when it's warmer I can come and take some photos of the city because you really have to see it to believe it.

New Years is just around the corner!  I've rarely done something to celebrate and can't imagine this year will be any different.  Does anybody have a New Years tradition my husband and I can borrow?  I feel inspired by these two wonderful year end recaps Lingered Upon and DailyPic-Isabelle, and plan on putting one together tomorrow or Friday.

In the meantime here are some goals for myself for 2011:

- make the books I talked about here for friends.
- work on a project for my etsy shop.
- develop film at least once a month.
- make and frame prints for our apartment.
- take more photographs of people (I can be so shy about this).
- go on a jaunt to France.
- dive into the world of pack film.
- purchase a Hasselblad (fingers crossed!).
- go out and explore little Chicago's little nooks more.
- be more patient.
- archive one years worth of negatives by scanning them (oh boy.)

What goals are you setting for yourself?  Did you achieve any goals you set for 2010?

Thursday, December 23, 2010



Thank you all for your warm responses to my previous post.  I really appreciate the time people take for complete strangers.  Life can be so beautiful. Thank you for the reminder!

It's too early for me to think in complete thoughts so please accept a post in list format.

- I am loving this idea and photographer. I need to physically print more of my photos out.  
- Today I hope to develop a few rolls of b&w that I've shot in the past few weeks.  I hope to do this more consistently in the new year.
- Did you realize it's going to be the year of the RABBIT in 2011?  I'll just take that as my year. Please and thank you.
- Dropped my cards and calendars off at a brick and mortar store in Wicker Park last night! I'm going to go back in a few days to take pictures of the display and will of course post that here.  I am so excited! I never thought my cards would be in stores.
- Christmas isn't really just a few days away is it?  Still doesn't feel like it.
- Is it incredibly dorky that I get really excited about ordering things in the thousands from Uline? (it is isn't it?)
- Yesterday I received the owire I've been waiting for. Book making here I come!
- Today I hope to take pictures to accompany the tutorial I mentioned a few posts ago.  The tutorial will also be made into a book.  I might be book crazy for the next few months. 

I hope everyone is having a lovely time of the year spent with friends, family or whatever it is that you find cozy.  


Sunday, December 19, 2010


Today my little niece Sumaia made a kissing sound that my brother used to make. The sound alarmed me- I could see my brothers lips pursing to send us kisses, I could hear the noise he would make and I could see his smile.  I fought back tears because my Mom was behind me and I didn't want to fall apart in front of her. Our memories are so powerful.  I was so happy to hear that little noise and to have that memory.  A little Christmas joy.  A real gift.

This innocent little gesture reminded me how short life is and how we shouldn't take a minute of it for granted.  That got me thinking about what I do with photography which is a great passion of mine.  It reminded me not ever stop doing what my heart leads me to do which is a nice reminder when I start to think how'd I'd love to make my living doing photography in one way or another.  I start to consider different avenues of photography that will permit me to make money and photograph at the same time albeit not my ideal kind of photography or format.  Isn't life too short to sell myself short?  Shouldn't I just passionately and unabashedly create what is somewhere within me regardless of whether it will grant me success, status or monetary gain?  Yes, clearly I should.  The artists I admire the most put so much emphasis on doing what your heart desires and putting aside trends and what may be commercially viable.  That makes me think, aren't the artist that get recognition the ones doing something different? - not imitating what's already been done or what is popular at the moment?

My heart says shoot polaroids like they weren't barely in stock.  Make books because you want to and forget whether they will be accepted by many or anyone at all, make them because you can't not make them.

I want to live life to the fullest. To be thankful.  To be thoughtful.  I want to breathe in life every day.  To smile and brush those little things off my shoulder.  I have such high hopes for 2011.

My brothers name is Charlee Adiexen Norman.  I haven't written that in more than six years because it's easier to say "my brother" than to breathe his name.  And I've been afraid to write this in a public place because I'm not looking for sympathy and I don't know if this is too intimate but he was and continues to be such an inspiration to me that I think he needs the recognition as an important person in my life that he deserves.  My brother, Charlee passed away six years ago and his life and death have affected my every day life.  His love is the purest and most selfless that I've ever known and I miss him every day.  My every wish is that I could see him again for ten minutes.  To feel his hands, to see his smile and to hear his voice just once more.  I want to live more freely this year like he did.  I don't want to take anything or anyone for granted any more and I encourage you to tell someone you love them.  Not to put off that picture you wanted to take or that song you wanted to write. Do it and do it with everything you have and remind me to do the same.


Saturday, December 18, 2010


My lips are so incredibly chapped.  Nothing seems to make them better.  I can only lather so much Aquaphor on my lips! Does anyone have a cure for me? Please.

Things continue to be busy.  Even though I know Christmas is just days away it still doesn't feel quite like it yet.  I'm hoping I'll wake up and it'll hit me because I want to be excited but it's just not happening this year.  I do love having Christmas lights up, seeing pretty wrapped presents, enjoying Christmas treats but then things like the obligation of buying gifts (something I think should be done out of the overflow of your heart not because it's demanded by a holiday), Christmas commercialism, the frenzied look on peoples faces when you venture out to stores- these things put such a distaste in my mouth for the holiday.  At least everything looks pretty or cute and tacky right?

Lately I've been excited about:

- snow flakes
- a tutorial I'm working
- developing two rolls of film
- shooting more 35mm film (gotta be conservative with whats left of my 600)
- Dove Winter Care bar soap
- ideas for new projects for my etsy shop (40% off my entire shop until Sunday! with code- xoblog)
- the prospect of ringing in the new year with my best friend!
- all the lovely new blogs I've been reading
- writing more

What's been making you feel warm and fuzzy inside?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


When my husband and I got home from tour last month I quickly and excitedly developed some film and scanned it in and the pictures have just sat in my computer for almost a month now. Boo. This is why I am better suited to take instant photographs- no editing required! At any rate- take a peek at my Flickr account for some New York memories.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Our little tree

Blog! I've been so wonderfully busy lately with my shop (and the huge sale I'm having! - head over and get 40% your entire purchase with this code "xoblog").  I love love love putting together little packages, making sure the calendars, cards and prints look great and thinking about how exciting it is to receive mail.  I do not love the actual post office experience however the APC machine is a modern miracle in my opinion.  They should have those next to Redbox.

I have been thrilled with the prospects of winter projects lately.  I bought a binding machine for a special project I am working on for my shop but I am also excited to make all kinds of little books with my machine! I just can't wait to start.  So far my favorite ideas are to make a book of my all time favorite cell phone pictures (both received and taken), a book of polaroids (of course) and I really want to make a few story books for my little nieces.  Do you have any other book ideas for me?

This past weekend I sold at my first two craft fairs ever.  It went great.  It was really fun to see people's reactions to my goods, especially the older folks who could fondly remember using Polaroid films and cameras.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that something that brings me so much joy to create can bring equal joy to another person!  Additionally a shop is going to sell my cards! I never even considered having the courage to approach a brick and mortar store and asking them to carry my cards but in this case they asked me and I am happily going to deliver in just a few days.  I'll post some pictures and a link when I do! I am so excited.

What is exciting you these days? The snow and hot cocoa?  All the festive lights?  The prospect of Christmas treats?


Sunday, December 12, 2010


Happy holidays! I'm going to make a real post tomorrow (promise) but in the meantime head on over to the shoppe and pick up a 2011 Polaroid Calendar for that photo lover in your life at 40% off!  Just use coupon code- xoblog !

I hope everyone is having peaceful days during this uber busy time of the year.


Monday, December 6, 2010


pretty pretty peonies

The day of my last post I had one of those days where extremes of delight and heartbreak were had.  It was snowy and beautiful outside. I was reminded of how wonderful and exciting life is and reminded of the things that aren't beautiful and exciting about life at the same time.  It was one of those weird days.  I came home to these super pretty peonies!! Isn't it incredible what something natural and pretty can do to your spirit?! I am always surprised at how mysterious the world is. I love it. And my husband for surprising me with perfect timing.

I'm feeling a little under the weather today. I feel that yearly cold coming and I have to admit I'm a total baby when it comes to being sick.  I don't like taking medicine so I just have to tough it out with tea and enough orange juice to make me jaundice.  Although I feel achy and lousy I know that I could be so much worse and have been thinking about the things that I am thankful for (I know I missed the boat for this post during Thanksgiving time) so in no particular order I present to you a few things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:

- family
- friends (near and far)
- for my husband- Christopher who always supports my ambitions and crazy pursuits
- my mom who is an incredible lady and always an inspiration to me (she deserves her own post)
- little bunnies because they are just TOO cute (especially ours)
- peonies-carnations-and wild flowers because they always bring a smile to my face
- photography because it fills me so and keeps memories alive
- the love of something greater than all the beautiful things that exist or that I could conceive
- Coca Cola classic for being so tasty (although it is my total weakness and vice)
- little things like my scanner scanning polaroids without newton rings all of a sudden(!!), having a cornerstore right next door to our building, the way snow decorates naked trees, how B&H is so super fast delivering items to me and finding blogs and photos online that make your heart swell.

What are you thankful for these days?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


First Snow

Feeling somber, even though it is a beautiful snow wonderland outside.  It's so easy for me to spiral when I feel sad.  Luckily it is usually a short lived emotion/feeling/whatever you would call it.  Sometimes life is so  heavy and real I feel that I can barely breath. I can't understand. I can't change things.  It's just this joy/mystery/weight/ and it's so real.

Feeling helpless to something is such a horrible feeling.  Remembering how each day is not promised is the sobering thought that usually helps me get out of this funk.  There's little time to drown in sorrows because tomorrow isn't promised.  I know.  Let's keep breathing, keep trying, keep living.

I love you World even though sometimes you can be so grey and bleak.  You mask hope, You make situations a complete mystery, You weigh my heart to the ground.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


bodega coffees....

I really love this blog.  It is beautiful, honest and sometimes french!

What's one of your new favorite blogs? I'm always looking for new ones to follow.