Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The AC Wonder Award: Bringing Joy with Graffiti

In 2016 I decided to acknowledge the good deeds of others' which have filled me with admiration, amazement or awe with an award I call the AC Wonder Award.  With all the negativity that floods the news I feel it is important that we seek out good news lest we become disheartened with society. This week I found a story of a graffiti artist and a city parks manager who have brought joy to their community.
 





Msn.com recently shared an article by John Boyd of the Houston Chronicle about a graffiti artist that has touched the heart of the residents of Keller Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The artist began painting beautiful portraits of animals in a tunnel under a city bridge.  
I applaud the unknown artist for not only their talent but for the appropriateness of their choice to paint beautiful life like portraits of animals in this location. I say this because the name of the bridge is the Bear Creek Parkway bridge, what better place for a lovely doe to be scampering across the walls. I imagine it is this combination that has led to the Parks Department and the city's acceptance of the artwork to the point that Parks Manager Gary Davis said they will not paint over the graffiti and actually issued an offer to the artist to paint a mural in the tunnel. Check out Keller Parks Department's Facebook Post to see the beautiful doe.






Friday, January 27, 2017

The AC Menagerie Bulletin

Welcome to the January 27th addition of

 The AC Menagerie Bulletin

The AC Menagerie Bulletin is a digital newspaper highlighting brief accounts of happenings around the Zoo (our home) and on blogs by myself (Nita Davis). Sit back, relax and enjoy while you catch up with the Davis family.




Life News 
It is a good thing that my life motto is 'You can't change the wind, so adjust your sails!', because that is exactly what I have been trying to do for the last three months. My sea is still a bit on the turbulent side but my sails are in a better place, so I should be able to focus better. While I haven't been blogging, I have been tucking tid-bits into my blog folder so here's a bit of the fun stuff from the last few months.

Holiday News 
I decided to dress up as Cleopatra to go to a Halloween Party only to discover that I missed the party as it was on the Friday before Halloween and not on Halloween. ????? I was very disappointed as it took me a week to make all the accessories for the costume and was really looking forward to a fun night.

Sissy was certainly in the festive spirit and made these cute little reindeer ears and tail to wear to school.
We went to my oldest son's place for thanksgiving dinner. After dinner we put up their Christmas tree.


Sports News


On the last nice day of Fall I took Bubba to the soccer field at his school so he could have a bit of fun with one of his friends.

Educational News

At the beginning of the month Sissy's 7th Grade Social Studies Class was divided into groups of four and given a big assignment. Each group had to pick a country for which they were to put together a report and presentation. It was very similar to a science fair presentation, with a project board and if possible physical examples for various categories. Of course it covered all the typical topics; culture, government ... et cetera. The group divide the topic's up and Sissy, who LOVES anything Japanese, got her two favorite topics; culture and food.  At first she wanted to wear the Kimono I made her five years ago, but I convinced her that it was both too small and more an American version rather than a traditional Kimono. I suggested that since she was already planning on making a Gothic Steam-punk dress she just make it a Gothic Lolita Steam-punk dress and that is what we did. She planned the design and made the skirt. Because the top and vest were beyond her sewing skill level I helped her make them. She also took some Pocky and Ramune. All in all their project and presentation turned out very well.


Travel News


The only traveling I have done recently was my trip to La Mars Iowa to watch my oldest granddaughter's High School Marching band preform. Shortly afterward I did this post about it for Sunday In My City. Here is the last half of their performance which was entitled 'Moving to Mars'.
video


Portrait Photography News

Work has been slow but I have been keeping busy. I have been taking advantage of the slow season to continue my photography education by taking a few photography classes and by giving my Portrait Photography website a much needed revamp.  Here's what the homepage looks like, what do you think? I realize nearly every other professional portrait photographers website has a white background, but the artist in me insists I be original and remain true to myself.

Stop by and tell me what you think

Two of my favorite recent portrait session were the Fashion Make-over I posted about here, and one of this darling newborn.



Comics 
How do you like my new assistant?

Weekly Quote:

Success is not just for the chosen few but for the few who choose!

The Blog Review

On Artistic Composition this week:

- Wonders & Wishes:
Have you heard about the Taco Shop owner who is spreading warmth this winter? She is this weeks wonder.


- How to Stop Feeling Old: A Makeover Plus...? 
If you are a woman and over 40 it is highly possible you are starting to feel old. In this post I share the story of a woman in her mid 50's who was feeling very old and how a philosophy and fashion makeover changed all that.


 On Nita's Photography this week:

- Temptations: My contributions to Jame's Weekend Reflection and Sky watch Friday.

- WW: Late Start: Winter kindly provided me with a fun Wordless Wednesday montage.

- Fall Rewind: Showcasing the beauty of nature and joy of youth


Now that you have a tiny clue what I've been up to, what have you been up to? I would love to here about it so, drop me a note in the comment section.


Grasp Each Moment
Reach for the Moon
and don't forget to
Have a Fabulous Weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wonders N Wishes

There are so many wonderful things about Wednesday!
My short list:
  • It is Hump Day! That wonderful middle of the week, half way to the weekend, let's celebrate making it over life's hump day!
  • It is Wordless Wednesday! Whether you celebrate by seeking quiet solitude or by sharing image only posts, there's a sense of wonder in the wordless approach. Click here for my contributions to the sound of silence.
  • It is 'not so' Wordless Wednesday over at Curious as a Cathy. Absolutely perfect for the chatter box in me. Of course I will be sharing this post there. :D
  • It is Wish Day! That is right, the day designated by Claudya @ Unknown Mami's as the day to put a voice to our wishes. You will find my wish below. 
  • It is Wonders N Wishes Day! The day I am designating to share a 'Wonder' as well as a wish.
  • I was born on a Wednesday. Yep, I just threw that out there.  :)
 


This week's wonder
While looking for this weeks wonder I was doubly rewarded. Not only has Emilia Flores gone beyond the expected to fulfill a need in her community but the restaurant owner has brought a bit of warmth to this South Dakotan. Flores, the owner of The Taco Shop in Dallas put a coat rack out in front of her shop with a sign above it that says,
While reading the news article I got a warm fuzzy feeling and all of a sudden I was transported back to the mid 1960's. All the way back to California and my Nana's kitchen. A place filled with warmth, love and the soothing smell of fresh homemade tortillas. Thank you Emilia Flores.


Today I'm calling on the universe to grant the following wishes.

- Today is one of those day's that I wish there were more of me. One to blog, one to clean, one to run errands ... blah, blah, blah....LOL

- I'm also wishing and hoping that the universe sends a bit of monetary help my way.

- My last wish for this day is that all of you have a fantastic week!

As Claudya at Unknown Mami's says go ahead and wish, be it simple or big, when we give a voice to our wishes it helps us realize those wishes. So what are you wishing for? I would love to know, just put your wish in the comment section and I will gladly lend my wishing powers to your wish. Please join me in visiting Unknown Mami's Wish Wednesday so that we can lend our wishing powers to her and those she is wishing for.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How To Stop Feeling Old: A Makover Plus ????

At the beginning of January I got a phone call from my friend Cathy. She was calling to say she was in town and would be here for a few weeks. We met a little over 13 years ago and saw each other for a few days each month back then. But, in the last nine years we had only seen each other once for a brief half hour when her and her husband were passing through the city I lived in. Cathy and her husband live in another state and drive truck so it is seldom we get to actually spend time together, although we have kept in touch over the years. In recent years, Cathy has been feeling very old and unattractive. I totally understand where she is coming from. I too felt that very same way for many years. As a matter of fact I felt that way about myself when we first met and I was only in my early 40's.

My style back when I met Cathy
Back when we were able to see each other often I prescribed to the crazy philosophy that once a woman reaches a certain age (mid 30's) she needs to take on a more mature style. Oh boy! What a load of crap! I actually followed that philosophy into my late 40's. I'm sure you have heard the philosophy; 1) Women in their mid 30's shouldn't buy clothing from fashion stores that cater to teen's and twenty-somethings, and for heaven's sake avoid the Junior section in department stores like the plague, those clothing styles are for teenagers and young women in their twenties. Instead they should buy clothing for mature woman from the misses & women's sections of the department store or from a store that caters to the mature style. 2) A mature woman should keep her hair short or no longer than shoulder length with lots of short layers. And oh don't forget if a mature woman wants to dye her hair it should only be a shade or two darker or lighter than her natural color. Or worse yet, she shouldn't dye her hair at all because then she is not accepting who she is. Thankfully nine years ago, around my 48th birthday, I woke up! 

Out went all the stuffy mature styled clothing. I let my hair grow long and cut it in a style that I feel compliments my facial features, and gives me back that youthful feeling. I went straight to the store and bought a vibrant auburn hair dye. Then I started buying most of my clothing from the junior section of the department store, or from some of my favorite trendy fashion shops; Rue 21, Vanity and Charlotte Russe just to name a few. If you are on a tight budget like I am you will appreciate their clearance racks!

Now back to Cathy. The first day of her recent visit my new style wasn't all that evident as I invited her over and I was, as my youngest daughter calls it, dressed in my lazy around home grunge look. A pair of baggy lounge pants, and a comfy sweat-shirt with no make up and my hair a bit on the wild side. We had a wonderful visit, catching up on everything that was going on in each others lives. I showed her some of my recent portrait work and talked about my belief that every woman age 18 to 100 should have a glamour or boudoir portrait session every few years. Cathy was very skeptical of that idea. She thought it was great for younger women that were beautiful and didn't have a face full of wrinkles and creepy old skin. Plus what if they didn't have a significant other what was the point to have those types of portraits. And even if they did have a significant other she was sure that their significant other would not care to see boudoir portraits with wrinkles and creepy skin. I told her that I believe they should do them for themselves, because when done properly the portraits and the portrait session is a great way to boost their self esteem and show them that they are beautiful.  We then moved on to other topics and made arrangements to go out the next afternoon. 

When she showed up I was all ready to go out of the house. I wasn't dressed fancy, I had on a cute top with a pair of skinny jeans and boots, a few accessories and a fashion coat. And of course my hair and makeup were done. Cathy took one look at me and said "You look so cute!, I wish I could dress like that, but I don't have a reason to." I was like "Woa, wait a minute, you do have a reason." she quickly responded saying something to the effect that she couldn't dress like that in the semi-truck and that is where she is most of the time. Plus she said she was too old to dress that way as it would look silly, She is 55 so it would look like she was trying to be a 20 year old or something. I stopped her right there. 

Cathy before gastric bypass
I asked if she liked the style, and her reply was absolutely yes. Then she went on to tell me that she had always wanted to dress like I was dressed at that moment. But in her younger years she was too overweight to fit into any of the cute clothes. Then after she had gastric bypass and lost a ton of weight the creepy skin and the fact she was in the truck all the time meant she couldn't wear those styles and that she really had no reason to dress like I was dressed. My response was to say before I was convinced by others that I needed to dress mature I dressed like I was at that very moment all the time, even when riding along with my husband in the semi.

I immediately told her that she had the best reason in the world to dress up, that reason was because it would make her feel good about herself. Over the past few years I had noticed how down on herself she had gotten, and if I could play a part in lifting her spirits and view of herself I was going to do it. I then followed it up by revealing to her that I was older than she is by a whole two years. So if she didn't think I looked silly why would she look silly. Then I had a great idea. I told her I had the coming weekend clear and if she was game I would absolutely love to do a makeover on her. Although she was surprised at the suggestion she loved the idea and said "YES!". We were heading out to the local thrift stores because she wanted to pick up an electric skillet so she could cook in her hotel room, so we decided to get a head start on the make over and look to see what clothing we might find. Before we left the house she said if we were going to do a make over she should get her hair cut and asked if we knew a good hair dresser. Well, my oldest daughter blurted out "have mom cut your hair, she's the only one I trust". I am by no means a hair dresser, but I became the family hair dresser many years ago, and must do a fair job as they keep coming back, and I even cut my own hair. So Cathy turned to me and said will you do mine? I want to keep the length but need layers or something so it has body. I agreed and off we went on our shopping spree. I told her if she wanted to do a portrait session on Saturday after we had finished the make-over I could make her a special offer but it was entirely up to her, either way we were doing the make-over. I don't think I have ever seen someone as excited as she was at that moment.  She had remembered my philosophy and said she was excited to give it a try and see if I was right. 

That next day she began documenting the make-over by taking these before selfies.


Over the next few days we had a couple of pointer sessions. First I took her into my walk-in closet to show her that not every piece of clothing had to be super feminine or fancy. I picked out a couple of outfits that I knew contained items she would never think she was able to wear because of her (as she calls it) creepy skin. Like a pair of pleather leggings, and a fancy sleeveless top. At first she was reluctant to put them on but she did and was very surprised that the leggings looked really good on her. Then after she put the blouse on and said oh no, this won't work just look at my arms. I smiled and said it will be okay because you are going to add this, as I handed her a cute little cover. She added the cover and was floored by how she looked. The outfit was stunning on her and the glow it put on her face dropped a good five years from her looks. We hadn't talked about accessories, hair and makeup or why one should own camisoles in every shade imaginable. Those pointer sessions came later.  

After all the pointer sessions it was time to find her an outfit that would embrace her new style, not mine but her very own. A style that she was developing using the pointers I had given her combined with my one rule about fashion for women over 35. A rule that will stop a woman from feeling old. That rule is; You have to be true to who you are, if you like a style, and it looks good on you (to look good it must fit your proportions properly) without making you look and feel older than you are and you feel good in it then it doesn't matter if it is a 20 something fashion or a mature fashion because it is YOUR fashion! I do however recommend avoiding too much paisley or large floral prints as they tend to scream old on most women over 40.

Then my oldest daughter and I took her to the mall to pick out a few outfits. She made it easier than it might have been when we asked what she had in mind. Her reply was "I am in your hands, I love everything the two of you wear so lets find some clothes." She did say she definitely wanted some skinny jeggins because although she thought she couldn't wear them she had tried on a pair of mine and loved the way they fit. After a very successful shopping trip, in which we got her to try on a green blouse that she wound up loving and buying even though she had never worn green before thinking it wasn't a good color for her. It looks amazing on her and is the top she decided to wear for the casual portion of her photo session. 

Although the makeover wouldn't be official until Saturday we had a great jump start on it. I asked her to come over Friday evening for me to do her hair, that way Saturday would be more of the finalization of the make over with make up and then portraits. We had told another one of our friends about the make over and she asked if we wanted her to come over to do make up as she has been learning how to do make up for portrait photography. Cathy and I were both happy to have Jill on board.

Saturday morning Jill took Cathy to get her nails done. Which I thought was a fantastic idea, because lets face it, beautiful nails make a woman feel special. And Cathy is most definitely special.






New clothes, a fresh new hair style and lovely nails, all that was left was make-up and of course to document her transformation with gorgeous portraits.  Cathy and Jill arrived mid day. Jill has done make up for a few other clients of mine but this was to be her first time working with a client over 50. So I went over the difference in application techniques and suggested colors to use and to avoid, as certain styles and colors will make one look older especially through the camera lens and under the studio lights. 

 Now for the sneak peek of Cathy's Make Over Portraits!

 We started with the casual natural look.




Next came a Grease inspired glamour naughty girl theme.



And we finished up the night with a few nostalgic formal shots. This beautiful dress has very sentimental meaning for Cathy and she looks awesome and vibrant.
 

Cathy's husband had no clue what we were doing. Oh he knew we had gone clothes shopping and that I was going to cut Cathy's hair. Sneaky gal that she is, she even told him Friday night that the split ends and poor cut she had gotten a while back made it impossible to keep the length and that I had to cut her hair 'pixie short'. Then she told him she was going to "help me" with a photo session I had on Saturday but he had no idea about the make over or that she was the client for the photo session. When he got into town on Sunday he was so surprised and from what she tells me it was a great type of surprised. They are both so happy with her new look. Her husband was so pleased he even called me to thank me for helping Cathy feel good about herself again, and to tell me he loves her new style. As for Cathy, she is very happy with her new look and now understands exactly what I meant when I said the best way to stop feeling old is to get rid of the idea that you have to conform to what other people say is appropriate clothing and hairstyles for women of a certain age. She is also looking forward to her husband's reaction when he sees this post, because this post is how he will find out about the portraits. 

A Happy Early Valentine's from Cathy to her Superman! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wonders N Wishes

 I thought since I have been doing an awful lot of wishing and wondering, that today would be the perfect day to try and get back to one of my favorite activities, blogging.  

One of the biggest wonders of life is that it is as Shakespeare said both a tragedy and a comedy. My life is immune to neither, and I would have it no other way. Well actually I could do without the tragedies, although I reluctantly admit they do have their purpose. It is just very difficult during them to appreciate that purpose. As stupid as this may sound, I wish I could say that my recent absence was due to some tragedy, but thankfully it wasn't. At least not in the sense of a true tragedy. It has been more of a case of my train of thought being sidelined by the combined urgent need to earn a living and that needs effect on my cataplexy.

There are so many wonderful things about Wednesday!
My short list:
  • It is Hump Day! That wonderful middle of the week, half way to the weekend, let's celebrate making it over life's hump day!
  • It is Wordless Wednesday! Whether you celebrate by seeking quiet solitude or by sharing image only posts, there's a sense of wonder in the wordless approach. Click here for my contributions to the sound of silence.
  • It is 'not so' Wordless Wednesday over at Curious as a Cathy. Absolutely perfect for the chatter box in me. Of course I will be sharing this post there. :D
  • It is Wish Day! That is right, the day designated by Claudya @ Unknown Mami's as the day to put a voice to our wishes. You will find my wish below. 
  • It is Wonders N Wishes Day! The day I am designating to share a 'Wonder' as well as a wish.
  • I was born on a Wednesday. Yep, I just threw that out there.  :)
 


This week's wonder
I really do wonder how intelligent people can be so blinded by snake oil salesmen as to believe them even when their statements are proven false. Could it be that they allow their desperation for the promise of a cure to their one 'Problem' to overshadow their ability to reason and see the other very possible dangers they are trading for that one grandiose promise?

I will try for a positive wonder next week.



Today I'm calling on the universe to grant the following wishes.

- My first wish is that I can better balance my illness so that I can do both the things I enjoy and earn a living at the same time.

- Second, I am extending a wish that America and the world are not negatively affected by the new Presidency of the United States, and that it will be successful in a positive way. I have major doubts, but I must wish it well for to do otherwise would be to turn my back on my country.


- My last wish is that all have a safe, happy and prosperous 2017!

As Claudya at Unknown Mami's says go ahead and wish, be it simple or big, when we give a voice to our wishes it helps us realize those wishes. So what are you wishing for? I would love to know, just put your wish in the comment section and I will gladly lend my wishing powers to your wish. Please join me in visiting Unknown Mami's Wish Wednesday so that we can lend our wishing powers to her and those she is wishing for.