If at first you don’t succeed, do what your mother told you . . .

The other day a friend asked for my advice and, as I was trying to help, I heard myself say, “Well, as my mom always says” . . . then, I quoted one of her many sayings.  This is when I realized that I not only have a great mom who’s kind, fun, and endlessly supportive, but she’s also darn smart.

Kristine blog 2 mom 2016When it comes to navigating life’s twists and turns, she always seems to know the right thing to do and the right thing to say.  This blog is to both celebrate my mom and share some of her gems with you . . . and I’ve included just a few below.  As you read through these, please think of your own mother and the words of wisdom she’s shared with you, and then please share with me!

 

Smart Quotes from my Mother Marilyn:

Kristine blog 2 1976“We Go By Improvement” . . . This means: don’t kill yourself trying to be perfect.  The goal here is to improve the situation.  For example: You wake up, stumble out of bed, look in the mirror and scream because you didn’t get you beauty sleep (the dark circles, and bags under your eyes prove it). Don’t crawl back to bed because you feel hideous, just be better, go by improvement.  Grab your under eye concealer, comb you hair, put on a bright color shirt . . . just improve the situation. I use this one all the time, as trying to be perfect is exhausting!  But, being better is not only doable, but also energizing.   You can always improve.

Kristine blog 2 mom 1983“Always Pray for the Truth” . . . When you’re confused, frustrated or unsure, look, ask and seek the truth.  You can’t fix a problem with speculations or assumptions.  When you have the truth, you can go forward. If you don’t have the facts, you’ll just make up a story and live in uncertainty.  The truth sometimes hurts, but it’s always a gift.

“Your Intuition is Your GPS” . . . Mom would say “I never worried about you, Kristine, because you follow your intuition, and your intuition is always right . . . so listen when it talks to you, it’s your GPS.” I follow this one to Kristine blog 2 mom 1989this day.  At times, I’ve gone into a room, turned around and left because it didn’t ‘feel right’ while, other times I’ve taken leaps of faith when a surprised opportunity came my way, just because it ‘felt right’. Intuition is God directing you, so don’t try another route.

 “Never apologize for being overdressed” . . . You go to a BBQ, and the dress code is casual. You show up in a pretty sundress with matching sandals, while the rest of the guests are wearing cut off shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Your ‘casual’ is just different than theirs, and that’s okay!  You never have to apologize for trying to feel, look or act your best.

Kristine blog 2 mom 2009 “We’ll Have None of That” . . . This is my mom’s way of saying: not acceptable. You don’t have to raise your voice, or discuss a situation to death.  If you don’t like something . . . just have none of it.  End the discussion.  Stand for what you believe, and don’t apologize for it.

 Thanks Mom your guidance, love and wisdom . . . you’re the best!

 

Please share your motherly wisdom with me  – I’d love to know the smart things your mother says!

Kristine blog 2 mom 2016

 

 

 

Get out of your comfort zone!

As many of you know I’m the newest host here at Evine.  Taking the job a year ago followed many months of uncertainty and a visa process so lengthy it probably deserves a blog of its own!  I finally moved here from London in January this year.  Arriving in Minnesota in the middle of winter might sound like the worst time of year, but I had done my research, got some good boots and a big coat. With the beautiful houses and the snow it was like landing in Christmas-land!

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When most people talk about stepping out of their comfort zone, they think about doing something extreme like bungee jumping or leaping out of a plane.  But those are short, sharp shocks that are over quickly.  Moving to a new country, everything you do is new. New, job, new home, new people.  Even the car I drive (and the side of the road!) and where I buy groceries have all changed, so it takes a while to come down back to earth because there’s nothing familiar to come home to.  Plus, as there are so many decisions on a daily basis there’s no time to procrastinate!  You have to seize every moment, a way we often talk about in terms of living our lives but rarely get the chance to.

I’ve always had a love affair with America.  When I was little I used to watch Moonlighting from my bed and imagine that New York was outside my curtains.  I first went to New York when I was twenty years old and, in 2005, worked on the BBC documentary series ‘Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music’ where we traveled the country interviewing some of the most influential names in soul music.  On my travels I’ve visited San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA, New York, New Orleans and Connecticut.  I’ve always found people in the US to be open, friendly and even an exchange with a stranger in a elevator can brighten my day.

Right place, right time..

Moving your whole life is a huge, but I had so many signs that this was the right place to be.  I’d lived in London for 10 years and always thought I would move after a decade but just hadn’t decided where yet.  Then my apartment building was sold and I’d be talking to my coach about moving to the States.  I was working in Dublin and walking down a street that could have been straight from Minnesota, thinking to myself that I always thought I would live in America one day and just weeks later I was approached by Evine!

In Minnesota, people are always curious when they hear me speak. “I love your accent”  is a daily thing, or “I could hear you talk all day” to which I say that can only be a good thing as I talk for a living and tell them they can watch me on Evine!  The question I get asked the most is, “What the biggest difference?” or “What do you miss the most?”  My advice to anyone going to live in a new country is to say your goodbyes to what and whoever you’re going to miss before you set foot on the plane, and look for connection rather than what’s different.

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When I first arrived I did miss being able to walk everywhere, as well as the architecture of London.  Unlike most Brits, I don’t crave PG or Tetley tea (British tea brands); I’m more of a Pukka girl when it comes to having a ‘cuppa’.  There aren’t any TV shows I can’t get online or live without.  In terms of fashion, I was sad to leave was my beloved Topshop.  I actually cried when I saw they’d come to Nordstrom’s – to see the familiar logo I’ve loved and worn for years in an unexpected place brought up unexpected emotions!

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There’s a French expression, ‘Vive la difference’ and ‘long live the difference’ is how I feel about living in America.  I love the four seasons that we have in Minnesota, I’m a water-baby (which you can read about in my last blog) so very well suited to lake-life.  I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of making new friends with the interests and person I am now.  I adore the weather here because, although Minnesotans refer to it as a short summer, three months is a cause for celebration and very different from our wet summers in the UK!

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Here’s my advice if you’re thinking about taking plunge and moving somewhere new:

Embrace the new

One of my mottos has always been ‘I’ll try anything twice’.  I hated sushi the first time, now I love it!  If you’re somewhere new you’re not the same ‘you’ so, be adventurous – you might surprise yourself!  When I came over last year, I went to the State Fair to sample the many foods on a stick and then drove to St Paul to hit up the yard sales.  A few months ago, I volunteered at the Minneapolis film festival; both to meet new people and so that I had to drive across Downtown in rush hour!  I often set myself ‘missions’ just to get myself up and out and about.

Laugh at yourself

Taking yourself too seriously can leave you feeling overwhelmed.  Another motto of mine is ‘Lighten up and let go’.  I like to try and laugh at situations and notice my negative self-talk.  Telling yourself, “I’m such an idiot” doesn’t serve you.  Try laughing at the situation rather than making it your fault.  We can’t all be comedians 24-7, but sometimes cracking up at a situation lightens the mood and gives you a new perspective.

Let yourself mess up

Things will go ‘wrong’ but, as a life coach, I’m a great believer that the only mistakes we make are the ones we don’t learn from.  Allowing yourself to fail allows you to grow.

*Pssst! I failed my written Minnesota driving test the first time and then spent two days revising the whole Minnesota drivers handbook!*

Make it your own

I’ve practiced yoga for 16 years and love to swim, dance and work out in the gym.

I bought my yoga mats with me and joined a studio the first week.  If your life is feeling all over the place, try and create your own routines to feel grounded and move your body to get those feel good endorphins.  I love the quote, ‘If Oprah has time to meditate you have time to meditate.’ (Even if I don’t always find time to meditate! 😉

Get out there!

Don’t stay in and wait for life to happen. Meetup.com is a great way to meet people with the same interests as you.  If you’re feeling you can’t go alone, post a message to say that you’re feeling nervous!  A lot of meetups wear wrist bands or something to make it easy for you to find the group. Go for it!

 

My Life Changing Trek

Kathy blog 2 15There are moments that you never forget, those moments that could be called ‘life changing’.  One of those times for me was my mission trip with Smile Network. This is a humanitarian organization that provides life-altering reconstructive surgeries and related healthcare services to impoverished children and adults in developing nations.  When you make a donation for a dollar, ten dollars, five hundred dollars or more, you are giving someone in need the priceless gift of dignity.  In fact, I learned that 45 minutes and $500.00 changes a life forever.

Kathy blog 2 4 So here is my story.  After a major health scare and recovery, I was feeling pretty lucky, blessed.  So I wanted to give back.  Turns out my good friend and college roommate, Dawn, felt the same way.  We went to a meeting to find out more about the organization and the work they were doing in Peru with many children from the Ketchwa tribe.  Wow!  Here is what we signed up for . . .

 

Kathy blog 2 21We were going to be gone from our families and the basic comforts of home for 17 days.  The first few days in Peru we acclimated to the elevation in the beautiful town of Cusco.  Beautiful people.  Then, it was off to the classic Inca Trail where we would be bonding with our surgical team by hiking together for five days and four nights.  We hiked about eight hours each day and summited at ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at around 13,000 feet above sea level.

 Kathy blog 2 9The Inca Trail is really three overlapping trails: Mollepata, Classic, and One Day.  Mollepata is the longest of the three routes, with the highest mountain pass, and intersects with the Classic route before crossing Warmiwañusqa (‘dead woman’).  Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra.  Settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins are located along the trail before ending at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain.

Kathy blog 2 12We trekked with moms, dads, teenagers, photographers, porters and even a Peruvian shaman, Roni.  There were lots of laughs, really bad camp food, twisted ankles, altitude sickness and NO BATHROOMS!  The trail tested our physical fitness, mental toughness, even our modesty.  But, man-oh-man, was it ever life changing.  I was truly present for every moment.  Nothing but the trail and your walking stick for days.  The scenery was breath Kathy blog 2 22taking, but the moment that we got to the Sun Gate – the end of the trail – Machu Picchu was beyond words.  We were exhausted, dirty, hungry and SOOOO awe inspired to see in person what we have only seen in pictures.  I mean when was the last time you did something for the very first time?   Machu Picchu is enormous!!!  We spent hours there soaking it all in and then it was off for showers and food! 

Kathy blog 2 13But after all that, the REAL adventure was about to start.  We were there for a medical mission and it was time to start the process, our higher purpose.

 Day 1 of the mission was where we started the screening process.  Some families had walked for days to just get the chance to see one of the mission doctors in hopes that their child’s face could be repaired and life changed.  There were hundreds that came in to be screened, and Kathy blog 2 14less than 75 that would get this life changing surgery.  I have to say, much of that day was heartbreaking, having to turn away families and knowing what they had gone through just to get there, much less what their lives were like back home.  Gut wrenching really.  The doctors are made up of volunteers from all over the world; pediatricians, plastic surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, all here ‘on vacation’ working 15 hour days to give the less fortunate in this world another chance.

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Days 2-4:  Surgeries began and recoveries continued.  Most of the families didn’t speak English or Spanish but rather a Ketchwa dialect that required translators to help them discuss the surgery and what to expect.  Mostly Kathy blog 2 3for me, it was telling moms that it was going to be okay by dishing out a lot of hugs and prayers.  It’s so surreal – a mother handing over their child and their trust to you while they really can’t begin to understand what is happening.  I became a ‘godmother’ to many of the babies that we were able to help.  I actually even got to assist in the surgeries, becoming sort of a ‘scrub nurse’, in what are not modern surgery centers, but more like M.A.S.H. units.  Pictures tell it best.  Truly, in 45 minutes, these doctors and nurses changed lives forever, mine too. 

This experience has changed the way I think about the world and my life . . . forever.

 Kathy blog 2 1

 

Who Rescued Who?

When moving to Minnesota almost 9 years ago now, I knew I was moving to a whole new part of the country with no family here.  After settling into my new place, I felt like something was missing.  Although we had lost our beloved family puppy years before when my daughter went to college, I never thought I would own another dog.  Well, sure enough – as the story goes – I would have to think again about being dogless!

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One day in January, a snowstorm was brewing and I needed to beat the storm and gather supplies.  I thought I should head out to a big box store to stock up.  In my new city – in my new car and with my new GPS – I got lost, very lost and ended up about 40 minutes from home.  Turns out, they don’t always know where you’re going!  On the route to get home, I pulled up to a light and looked to my left to see the animal shelter.  What the heck? Right? It was snowing; I was going nowhere fast in the snow – so in I went.  Just to ‘look’ at the cute puppies!

Allison blog 2 1RIt was love at first sight.  Riley was a 4 year old mixed breed (of many things) but looked like golden + lab mix to me.  She sat in the back of her kennel, scared, skinny and looked tired.  As I read her ‘card’, she had been ‘dropped’ off at the night window with no information.

I asked to see her and, as they brought her out of the kennel, I knew she would never return.  She came home that day.  She has been the best friend and companion since the day I brought her home.  She is a quiet, gentle soul who has always been there.  When my mom was sick this past year, she never left her side. She’ll go anywhere with you.  She’ll walk right beside you in the rain or in the hot sun – she is always there!

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Writing this blog has allowed me to remember that day so clearly.  I am blessed to have turned left instead of right.  I guess you never know which is the right way or what you will find, only that – if you get a chance – follow your heart. Riley has given more than she has ever asked, a million times over.

Thank you for blessing us with your love every day, little Riley.

Allison blog 2 2R

Skincare 101, or “I bought it, now how do I use it?!”

Hosting beauty shows each week is so much fun!  I get to work with fantastic guests, learn about the latest trends in skincare and, of course, sample EVERYTHING!  The one question I hear from you week after week is: ‘how do I use all of this stuff, and in what order do I use it?’ So, I thought a good, basic overview would be a fun blog post and I hope you find it helpful.  Keep in mind: this is a basic overview as we carry so many great brands. For brand specific questions, you can go to our website and find that most brands have super informative tutorial videos.  If you don’t find answers there, either leave a comment below with your question or visit my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherHallEVINELive/, post your question and I’ll try to answer it for you.  Ready for Skincare 101??

Step 1: Cleansing

Heather blog 2 consultThis is critical to great skin.  Sleeping with our makeup on is one of the biggest mistakes we make, it REALLY ages us!  The skin rejuvenates while we sleep and, when its dirty and clogged, we slow or even stop this process.  I know we all get lazy at times but, as a general rule, we should all be going to bed with clean and hydrated skin.  Use a clean washcloth each time you cleanse and, if you own a cleansing brush, you get bonus points!  Alcohol-free cleansing wipes are okay every now and then, but shouldn’t be a substitute for thorough, old-fashioned cleansing.

Step 2: Exfoliating

Heather blog 2 Borghese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a done on an as needed basis, and everyone will be different.  I personally exfoliate three days a week, but you should test what works best for your skin. As we age, our cell turnover slows wayyyyy down (thanks, mother nature) and we need to start doing manually what our bodies once did naturally.  If you’re over 35, you should be exfoliating!  We offer tons of choices and I’m sure you can find one to work for you.

Step 3: Serums

Heather blog 2 immortalThis is usually the most concentrated and powerful anti-aging step we have!  If you’re looking for one area to splurge in, I’d say either serum or eye cream. Most brands we carry tell me their most advanced anti-aging ingredients are in the highest concentrations in the serums.  Some brands even offer eye serums!  As I layer skincare, I use the thinnest products first and then work my way up to my moisturizer. Serums go from the top of your forehead to the bottom of your neck. BONUS TIP – use leftovers on hands.

Step 4: Moisturizer

Heather blog 2 DimitriAlways apply your moisturizer with an upward sweeping motion. Gravity’s working hard enough to pull our skin down, so I’ll take any lift I can get!  Take time to massage your moisturizer in, and let serums absorb fully before taking this step. Massage is great for circulation and can make our daily skincare chore feel like a mini spa treatment.

Step 5: Eye Cream

Heather blog 2 all beauty 1If you can afford it, consider getting a cream specifically for the eye area. The skin around the eyes is more delicate, and requires more TLC, than the rest of our face. Apply eye cream in all areas of the eyes that your sunglasses would cover (I just learned this great tip recently from our of our fab guests!) This includes above the eyebrows, under eyes, along sides of eyes, and really work in the crows feet area. BONUS TIP: work extra product on forehead between brows to avoid the dreaded number 11s.

BONUS ROUND: Masks, peels, face oils, tools and supplements 

Heather blog 2 SonyaThis is where you take your skin to the next level!  Invest in your five basics first and, when you can, splurge on something from this category. Or let your friends and family know that, when holidays and birthdays roll around, this is a GREAT gift idea for you. We offer too may to go through, but please read all the reviews at Evine.com and watch for our great Day of Beauty sales.

Here is to glowing skin!!

Hugs, Heather

My Other Job

I’ve been a host for shopping networks for 33 years.  Periodically, I would take some time away from this business and take on other jobs.  One of my favorite positions was that of a Port Lecturer on various cruise ships.  Life on a cruise ship is definitely an exciting one!  You get to travel the world, eat all the food you want for free, meet a lot of fascinating people and have someone else make your bed and clean your room.  Oh, and I got paid for it!

Skip blog 2Me and the ship’s photographer Sean while on Holland America’s Westerdam

The job of Port Lecturer is similar to that of a show host. I would present live shopping talks to thousands of passengers and provide information about the various ports of call.  During our port visits (while the rest of the crew got free time), I’d walk through town and visit all the ‘recommended’ stores.  The store owners loved the port lecturers (most of the time) because we were responsible for advising our passengers where they should shop.  In return, we’d receive some nice rewards and gifts from the vendors.  My favorite was a pair of clean Columbian Emerald earrings that I gave to my wife.  My favorite ports were St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Key West.

If you do like to shop while on a cruise, I suggest that you only shop at the stores the Port Lecturer recommends.  These shops have been vetted by the cruise lines and are the ones that will guarantee your purchases.

Another responsibility of the Port Lecturer was to be a source of information about the ship upon which you were sailing.  Simple questions like “Where’s the Lido Deck?” or “What time does the casino open?” are common.  However, I enjoyed the questions that I didn’t know exactly how to answer.  The following are a few of the actual questions I’ve been asked by a passenger:

“Does the crew sleep on board?”

“What time is the midnight buffet?”

“Does this elevator take me to the front of the ship?”

“Does the ship generate its own electricity?”

“What do you do with the ice carvings after they melt?”

As we were pulling into Nassau, Bahamas, someone asked me if they would need to get a taxi to see the space ships.

And my favorite (I swear this was actually asked of me) . . . ”Can you do something about the rain?”

One day, I was taking a stroll on deck near one of the swimming pools.  It was very turbulent that day, with some high seas, so very few passengers were on deck.  I noticed an elderly women staring into the pool with a very inquisitive look.  Being the conscientious crew member that I was, I approached and asked if I could be of help.  She looked up at me and then back down at the water in the pool. She looked back up at me and asked, “Where does the swimming pool water come from?” I explained to her that, two decks below, there is a large pump that simply draws water directly from the ocean into the pool. She said, “Well, that explains it.” “Explains what?” I asked.  She then said, “No wonder it’s so rough!”

Happy Sailing!

Skip blog 2 pic 2Private Island Party for our passengers

 

Kimberly’s 48 hours in Vegas Survival Guide

Looking for a quick getaway that has all the makings of an Adult Disneyland? Then look no further than Viva Las Vegas.

My sister-in-law, Natasha, had never been to Vegas and since my friend, Bucky, was headlining in a show and colleagues were attending the JCK, it seemed like the perfect weekend to go for broke (no pun intended)!!  Girls Trip!!

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There are lots of great and affordable airlines traveling to LV this time of year – so while the temperatures are rising, take advantage of the low $$ for travel.  Pack a carry-on only; don’t waste a minute of your time at baggage claim and heaven forbid your luggage gets lost.  It’s a quick trip: 2 tops, 1 bottom, a bathing suit & cover up, 2 dresses, 1 pair of heels and a pair of flip flops . . . that’s all you need!!

Once you arrive, be prepared to wait in line for a taxi. This line appears to be never ending, depending upon the time Kimberly blog 2 taxi line insert& day of arrival, but it moves quicker then Space Mountain and there’s some pretty good people watching along the way.

Once you get to your hotel, you may also encounter a long line to check in. Understand, Vegas truly never sleeps, so people are checking in & out at all hours of the day.  Join the Total Rewards program online so you have a member number, as most casinos have a special check-in line & tons of discount for members . . . and it’s free to join.  And always smile, be courteous and ask for an upgrade.  I found that being kind (that and a discreet tip to the person checking you in) will pay off handsomely in the long run. You’re not in your room for most of the day, but a higher floor, better view and executive lounge privileges can sure make your stay that much sweeter.

Kimberly blog 2 shopping 3Shopping in Vegas is just insane! It’s the best of NYC, LA, London, Paris and your favorite mall all wrapped up on one long strip.  From the highest end boutiques to the most convenient of touristy shops – you could literally arrive there empty handed and go home with an entirely new wardrobe!!Kimberly blog 2 shopping 1

If you love to eat like me, you’ll be in a gastronomical paradise!! From the mom & pop diners to your favorite celebrity chefs, there are a gazillion Kimberly food 3opportunities to tantalize your taste buds.  Enjoy breakfast in Rome, lunch in Paris and dinner in NYC . . . it’s a culinary feast of the senses.  Don’t have a reservation?  No prob!  Be flexible, go on an off hour, be willing to sit at the bar, smile . . . and don’t forget to tip the guy or gal that squeezes you in without much of a wait!!

Kimberly blog 2 food 1Entertainment abounds in Vegas, from the biggest headliners, to musical Kimberly blog 2 MJ2reviews, cabarets, comedy and everything in between.  If you’re worried about seeing that one big showstopper, then perhaps book in advance.  But I found walking up to the ticket counter was just as easy, you see the actual venue & there are no overpriced service charges from a third party!  Kimberly blog 2 BrittneyPerhaps the best secret is that house seats are ‘on hold’ until the day of the show for special guests of the headliners, etc.  If you’re at the right place at the right time, a coveted seat may be yours!!!

Want to feel inspired? The various hotels are all incredibly different and feature one-of-a-kind architecture and design features that are truly museum quality.  Be sure to allow some time to just wander from one place to the next to the next . . .

Kimberly blog 2 poolsideFinally . . . it’s totally hothothot in Vegas and you must stay hydrated!!  Carry h2o with you at all times and wear sunscreen.  If hanging out by the pool, rent a covered cabana or lounge chairs that offer you shade and protection.  While they can be $100-200 for the day, with food/beverage minimums . . . it’s completely worth it for you to have a place to hang your hat, take a little nap if you stayed out too late the night before and just enjoy the wild and wacky pool scene.  When it’s 114 degrees outside, getting burned and blistered can happen quicker then you think and ruin the rest of your trip!

Yep, you really can do Vegas in 48 hours and survive!!  And, if you happen to get caught up on one or more of these steps, just remember:

What happens in Vegas . . . well, you know the rest!

Kimberly blog 2 Opening Vegas shot

Love to see YOUR Vegas vacation pix too!!

Cheers xx

Photography tips

I’ve recently have fielded a number of questions from friends and viewers about my photography, so thought I’d make that the topic for this blog.  I’ll also give you a bit of my background and, more importantly, some basic tips that can help almost anyone take better pictures almost immediately.

My interest started young, when dad allowed his five-year old to shoot with his nice SLR camera.  Potential foolishness aside, that initial exploration led to my shooting my first portrait in the back yard (parents) and the interest grew from there.  For the record, I took good care of the camera.  A small machine you could carry around capable of capturing moments in time; genuine emotion.  That’s a remarkable achievement.  So much so that, in the 19th century, a photographer would travel with a covered wagon’s worth of hardware and silvered glass plate just to attempt the experience.

And so the interest grew into a passion and fascination that continues to to this moment.  Coming up with a photographic challenge and then figuring out ways to make it happen for myself has been a great pursuit.  For example, can you can illustrate the passage of time within a single frame, but without using very long exposure? The answer led to a technique I termed Light Compression®, an example of which you can see here, and of course there are others along with a more in depth explanation on my website, www.templeimagery.com/lightcompression.  Here’s an example of one of the finished works.

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So, on to how to get better results when you take a picture. These are easy to do and, for the most part, require no special training or gear.  They will work with your phone or a dedicated camera.

The first thing I’d like to share is that there is no wrong way to get a great picture.  Sure, try out these ideas, but never think that you have to always do anything.  Since almost all of you are now shooting digital (no film or associated costs) enjoy the freedom to shoot and experiment. You may well find it’s fun 🙂

  • The tic-tac-toe grid.  Picture a ‘tic-tac-toe’ grid over the viewfinder of whatever device you’re using to photograph.  Some devices even have the ability to show this grid across your viewfinder as an option (check your manual) but imagining it works just fine.  The trick is to move a major point of interest from the center of the frame, where most people place it by default, and instead move it more towards one of the four intersections of the grid. Experiment with this a bit, and you’ll likely find that your pictures suddenly become a bit more visually interesting.
  • Slightly underexpose your photos.  Again, check your manuals for this one, but if you slightly adjust your default exposure towards the minus side of things you’ll find that the colors and details may look less washed out. A simple move, but it really works.
  • Phone user; don’t forget horizontal.  Many phone pics are shot vertically for the simple reason that we hold our phones in that position when using them.  Rotating it to the horizontal position may open up some great quick composition options.  This is especially true when shooting video, btw.
  • Camera users; don’t forget vertical.  The previous tip works more for phones, with the opposite is true for cameras.  Most always we hold the camera in the horizontal position; sometimes rotating it to the vertical will open up a quick new creative idea.
  • Many of today’s devices have plugins built in and/or available online which process/effect the images you’ve taken. Try them; it only takes a moment or two and you can potentially get some quick fun results.  Check these out. Did this simple quick phone shot during a recent shoot of war birds for Temple Imagery.  The other four are the exact same shot, but run through the free filters on my phone.  Each took only as long as choosing what filter I wanted.

Tim blog 2 underexposedTim blog 2 bubblesTim blog 2 sparklers

 

 

 

Tim blog 2 bluprintTim blog 2 normal

 

 

 

 

Obviously feel free to deviate from any or all of these but, if you use them as a starting point, you’ll find your picture taking ability will overall improve, and quickly.

If you’d like to follow more of what I do please join me via Instagram or Facebook via templeimagery.  There’s also a free newsletter that you can sign up for via my website.  Do hope you will find these tips handy, and wish you a great summer with some wonderful pics to remember it by.

The Journey Home

Long ago and far away I left home and never looked back. I was young and the world seemed to be my oyster.  Of all the places in the world to get a TV job – my life plan involved me going to Alaska!  I wanted adventure and, boy, did I get it.  From the land of moose and bear I went to Eugene, Oregon.  I have to admit that was one of my favorite places ever!  Something about the people in Oregon really resonated with me and I enjoyed 5 blissful years as the 10pm anchor there!  But alas, my journey was not done and then I headed to Iowa, then Alabama, and now I’m finally back to my home state of Minnesota.

I won’t say it was easy adjusting after all those years to being back home again. I was so used to being independent and on my own, and yet I was back reconnecting with all those friends I had left so long ago!

Now that I’ve been here at Evine (a true blessing) for almost a year, I’m really starting to love living back in Minnesota.  As I was growing up, I was luckily surrounded by a huge group of Pakistani “aunties” and “uncles” who were truly like family to me.

While we were not related by birth, these were the very same people that pretty much raised me.  I remember getting decked out in Pakistani traditional clothing and heading over to one of their homes almost every single weekend.  The parents would laugh and joke, and all of us kids would huddle together having a blast!

Now many of those “kids” are married with kids of their own!  One of those kids that I grew up with got married this past weekend in Chicago, and it was so nice that I did not have to miss another wedding from not living home. The entire Chughtai family packed into one car and off we went, and I must say that it was a total blast!

Pakistani weddings are usually multiple days long and this was no exception.  We danced, we ate, we sang and most of all we just bonded.  In the middle of one of the festivities, I remember thinking about how happy I was to be there and how glad I was to have made the decision to move back home.  What’s been surprising is how, even though I missed out on many memories with the Pakistani community here, it still feels like I just picked up right where I left it 13 years ago. I just fit right back in and that feeling is an amazing one!  I would never trade the adventures I had jetting across the country as a News Anchor but I wouldn’t trade being home now for anything!

Here are a few pictures from the lovely wedding in Chicago!  Congrats to the happy couple!

Natasha blog 2 Happy couple

 

Congrats to the happy couple! I remember when this kid was born . . . !

 

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My sister and I on the first day of the wedding

 

Natasha blog 2 familyMy family on Day two of the wedding

Five years of wedded bliss!

Woo hoo!  We made it!  Five years of wedded bliss.  I’m happy to announce that Tim and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary since my last blog post. Last post, I promised to follow up with our dinner in white experience this year around and, as luck would have it, we were able to celebrate our anniversary on the night of the dinner in white.  It was dreamy.Fatima blog 2 1C

In case you missed it, ‘dinner in white’ is a tradition that started in Paris years ago where it resembles a flash mob but as a fancy picnic.  You’re given a date and time in advance, and the location is announced half an hour before the dinner starts.  You pack up everything you need, from tables and chairs, to food, and any decorations, and head to the location where everyone gathers for a beautiful summer picnic.

Fatima blog 2 loading upThis is the not so glamorous part, hauling all of your supplies to the location. We decided to at least have fun with it by taking a goofy selfie!

This year, it was even more impromptu because there were reports of thunder storms the night of the dinner, so the organizers announced on Facebook at noon the same day that it would be moved to the following day.

Fatima blog 2 sparklersAs luck would have it, we had absolutely no plans the next night, which happened to be our five year anniversary.  How perfect!  On the downside, however, two of the members of our group could not make it because they had a previous engagement.  The remaining four of us were game, and we decided to go through with the dinner.  This year, the location was announced to be at a pedestrian bridge spanning the Mississippi River, overlooking the Minneapolis skyline.

Fatima blog 2 grilled salmonOne of the key factors is preparing a delicious dinner menu.  Tim and I decided to go out on a limb and do something fancy.  We grilled salmon on cedar planks at home, packed it up, and carefully brought it to the picnic location. We also had a delicious potato salad, cherries, and beautiful desserts that our friends picked up at a local gourmet bakery.  A refreshing, sparkling ice tea beverage was also served in . . . what else, an antique silver teapot.  Go big, or go home!

The weather was lovely, the company was fantastic, and the food was delicious . . . what else do you need?  Oh, wait!  Wardrobe!!

So, last post, I mentioned our group wanted to try to go for a theme.  We were thinking a little punk, circus theme. I’m not even really sure what that means . . . ha ha . . . but I did my best to be a little edgy with some exaggerated ruffles, a deeper shade of lipstick, and a feather and lace headpiece.  I found the top on eBay, the feather at Michael’s craft store, and I cut up an old lace blouse for the headpiece.Fatima blog 2 wardrobe

Overall, the event was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary and spend time with close friends.  Several hundred people showed up and we all lit sparklers and dined into the night.  A live band even showed up to serenade the diners . . . it was truly a memorable night.Fatima blog 2 sparklers 2