A little more me

   So with this new direction and all, I thought I should give an insight as to who I am apart from the person behind the camera. Therefore, let’s get the obvious part out of the way, I own a photography business. And I love it.

   I am 17 years old, a senior in high school, and a college student since my sophomore year of high school. I have spent plenty of long nights and early mornings at McDonald’s where I have worked since June of 2011. I will complain and complain about it all day long, but the truth is I have made lifelong friendships there and I wouldn’t trade the laughs we have for anything.

I drive a cream colored Volkswagen convertible. I love it to pieces, but it is actually falling to pieces. Literally, it seems like every day I find something new that is broken or in the process of breaking. So I will continue to be in denial and just love it, since that’s all I can do. 

My [recently new] favorite color is red due to the boldness of it. I am the proud owner of a Bichon Frise, which I am convinced is mixed with a poodle since her hair is impossible to keep groomed. She is old, but has her sparks. She will start whining for me the minute I turn the corner on the block. Really now? There’s no love like that. 

Speaking of love, I live with my mom and my younger brother, and I have been the girlfriend of an amazing man for almost 2 years now. Who said you can’t meet your soul mate in high school? ‘Cause I am pretty sure we will prove them wrong. 

My mom is the only person who has been there for me my entire life and no matter how many disagreements we come across, I know I will always go back to her when I need to and that she will be there. As for my brother, he won’t say it, but he thinks I am pretty cool. Yeah, probably not. As we get older, though, I think we are connecting more in certain areas. 

If you are still reading this, you are awesome. I really just want to journal my life growing up and getting out into this amazing, yet scary, world and anyone who wants to follow can follow. After all, it only happens once, and I want to remember everything. And I feel like it is easy to forget that stage of life because I am sure it happens so quickly, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. I spend my days feeling like I am rocking back and forth waiting for my 18th birthday to just be here already. So maybe you forgot the growing up era, or maybe you are growing up, either way, I hope you are enjoying life to its’ fullest as I plan to do and share with you! (P.S. I totally did not intend to rhyme that, but I love when it happens.)

Here’s a little uplifting, eye candy after sitting through this boring bit of information I call my life.Image

 

New path?

I have decided to change the direction of this blog. Instead of being based off of my photography, I am going to touch base with my love for writing. I mean what better time to write about life than the time period of “growing up”? Everything in life is constantly changing and I am figuring out who I am. However, that being said, photography is a huge part of my life and I can’t promise that pictures won’t show up. But who doesn’t like pictures, right? I hope you guys like the new style! 

Thanks, and don’t forget to smile! 

Mariah

It’s a funny thing…

Life…that is. I find it funny because it’s different for everyone, but really all the same.
We are given parents to teach us right from wrong. We share our problems with others with hope of feedback. We hang pictures of models in the hopes of being skinny, pretty, or tan. We look to elders who have gone through certain experiences. We ask advice of our peers. We learn from one another.
But do we stop and think that parents teach what they have come to know as wrong and right? That those “others” had slightly, in the tiniest way, different views? That those models are plastered in make-up and Photoshopped? Or that the times have simply changed from when the elders had their experiences? Maybe our peers didn’t get it right either? So why then do we look to others for our answers? And how are we suppose to be our own person, unique, or just ourselves if we are basing our decisions on others’ experiences? We can’t.
That’s what is funny to me. We live in a world where we are told to be true to ourselves, yet most of the time we are put down for it. We live in a world where you are supposed to follow the guidelines of put parents, elders, or authorities because they have been through it, yet we are encouraged to adventure out and do something new.
It may not mean much, my opinion that is, but it seems as though, learning the “hard lesson” the “hard way” is the best way. Yes, it could have been prevented had you listened to someone else (and you may want to kick yourself for not) but what would that have taught you? Nothing. It will be easier to make the mistake in the future because you didn’t truly learn it. You didn’t learn the importance of it. Life is just that, though, full of mistakes, by every single person, even the ones giving advice.
As for the models, plaster your face with make-up, but you can’t Photoshop your body, and the make-up will wash off. And you will really quickly learn the lesson of being “fake”, my dear.
I encourage every single one of you to go out and be you! Don’t be what the people around you want you to be. Don’t be what society wants you to be. But be unique and true to yourself. And that challenging decision weighing on you, stop looking to other people for the answer. There is no wrong answer if it is what you want. It may be easier said than done, I know, but you can try. It might be a mistake one day, but hey, you will have learned from it. And even more so, grown into a person who speaks of personal experiences and honestly knows what is best for themselves. Everyone is different and there is not a set formula for life. I mean, what fun would that be?
Thanks guys, and don’t forget to smile! Just be YOU!
Mariah

Last minute V-day gift

Valentine’s day is two days away guys! I LOVE Valentine’s day. But, if you are like me, and you hate to just buy things off a shelf to give as gifts, and you still don’t have anything for your sweetheart, I have just the thing for you!

“52 Reasons why I love you”

What you need:

  • Marker (Preferably a Sharpie)
  • Deck of cards (old or new works!)
  • Picture and tape (optional)

I did this last year, and while at first I thought to myself I can’t do this, I actually enjoyed it a lot. As you can see, this is very cheap. But the value of it is so much more than anything you could ever buy off of a shelf!

Here’s what you do:

  • Make a list of 52 things you love about your other half. This is the part you might think to be difficult at first. I mean, yes there is probably a very long list of things you love about them, but thinking about it all at once might seem a little too overwhelming. So basically, just start anywhere, and trust me, you will surprised at how much stuff starts pouring through your head. *Warning: Your typing might not be able to keep up with your brain.*
  • Make sure you have all 52 cards!
  • If you want, you can take a small photo and tape it to either the front or back (or both) of the deck box, to personalize it, and even write “52 Reasons Why I Love You” on it.
  • Now use that Sharpie to write each of those 52 things you love and couldn’t live without onto the 52 cards. 1 loved thing=1 card. Simple, right? But it is guaranteed to put a smile on that face! On both ends🙂

Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of this project, because I wasn’t documenting how I did everything a year ago.😦

But since it is so easy, I trust that you won’t need pictures to help show you the way.

I also want to stress that this project is not limited to just those with significant other’s. This could be a very cute and unique gift from a child to a parent, or even vice versa. Or maybe even a best friend. A good idea is to use things that might be inside jokes, or even just the tiny things that the other person does that they might not even know they are doing! Get creative with it, but most of all, have fun!

And of course, don’t forget to smile!🙂

Mariah

Running ragged…

Ever feel like you are spreading yourself too thin? I am sure we all have at times. Maybe some more than others. But whew. I don’t think people give teenagers enough credit.

I mean, I am young. And I feel like I should be carefree. They say high school years are the best years of your life. I sure do hope this really isn’t as good as it gets. Let me tell you, I am not living 100% carefree! But boy do I wish I was.

For those of you who don’t know me, take this as an introduction. I am 17 years old, a senior in high school. I am an editor on the school newspaper staff, and take one AP class. Those two classes are the only two classes I have at my high school. I am dual enrolled at the community college here, and have been since my sophomore year. I have a job, the same job I have had since June of 2011. I work too much. I volunteer at two different elementary schools, at least once a week. I started my own photography business last year, but decided this is the year for it. Way more time consuming than I thought. My favorite part of all that…I get to all of those places in my Volkswagen Beetle.

I am not one to talk about myself much, but I felt like I should share. For those who think teenagers have nothing to be stressed about, because we are young and most of the time, don’t have bills to pay. While this may be true, believe it or not, finding yourself and figuring out the rest of your life is a huge weight to have on your shoulders. And the weird part is, it happens so fast! Being someone who thought my life was figured out, I quickly learned that can change. I found a new direction for myself, and I gotta admit, I am kind of excited. Well, more like, a lot. So I just have to keep telling myself that this hard work will pay off one day, just like I have been since I took on the role of being an academic and busy student.

I saw a quote today by Liz Taylor that said, “Pour yourself a drink. Put on some lipstick. And pull yourself together.” Easy enough right? I think I am going to tape that on my mirror. A fairly good reminder, don’t ya think?

There really was no point to this post, in all honesty. I wanted to write, so I just started, and this is what happened. But it portrays how I feel right now, after being at work all day and knowing I get to get up and spend my entire day doing the exact same thing. I know I am not the only one who has ever felt like that, but I leave you with this. As you have heard plenty of other times, life is too short to not have fun, or just love it! So if you find yourself feeling like you are running ragged, which is bound to happen, finds a spark in it. Find the positive thing. Find the goal; what you are working towards. Find that inspiration again. You got there somehow, and there is a reason you are there. Sometimes it is important to just remember that reason. It just might bring back a whole new excitement. Plus, some lipstick can’t hurt (it is kinda a confidence booster).

Thanks guys, and don’t forget to smile!

Mariah

Week Three

Yes, the third week of January was a week ago. Yes, I am just now posting this.

Yes, I am not happy with it. But my goal is to take a picture a day. Not blog once a week. So, I haven’t broken anything…yet!

Here are pictures from week three of the 365 challenge!Jan.14

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Can I just say I am in love with the city of Ybor?

Jan.15

 

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I love these colors together! And I love this area above my new vanity complete with Marilyn Monroe quotes!

Jan.16

 

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While driving through Tampa on a gorgeous day, I decided to stop and eat lunch at a cute hot dog place. Now, I am not a hot dog fan. However, it was the best hot dog I have ever had! And I must say, it was nice to sit there, eat, read, and not have anywhere to be!

Jan.17

 

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My mom claims that I make fantastic hot chocolate.

Jan.18

 

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This is my absolutely amazing boyfriend. I could really go on and on about him. But  I will save the mushiness and just say that he is my everything! And a pretty good model.

Jan.19

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Cooper is getting way too big way too fast! How is he supposed to be a lap dog, if he doesn’t fit in our laps?

Jan.20

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I love her sincere smile!

 

The storm comes before the rainbow

I have started noticing that the days I have my photography class, tend to start out as great days. No one likes those days where you wake up and can just feel that it is going to be a bad day. Well, as we all know, a good day can turn to bad in an instant. Sometimes there is a really good reason as to why, and sometimes you find that you are asking yourself why?

Well, that was my day. I had one of those, shades on, windows down, cruising through my favorite area in my VW Beetle. Unfortunately, my convertible top is broken, so I guess you could say that was one thing that irked me today, just not enough to ruin my day.

After the store, I stopped into a cute hot dog diner that was suggested to me. I took in my book and decided to just enjoy myself. It felt so great to know that I had no where to be! And I must say, I am not a hot dog person, but that was the best hot dog of my life!

Jan.16

Finally, the highlight of my day. On my way home, I spotted an adorable little place on the side of the road. I simply could not resist stopping to take pictures, I would have been crazy to, right?

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So here of some pictures of the mini nature shoot I spontaneously did today, and loved!

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That last one there is my absolute favorite.

Then irk number three happened. I was asked to come into work. Which is okay, since it is more hours, but work was really the last place I wanted to be. Especially considering all I wanted to do was come home and have fun with editing these pictures!

Right before work, my whole great mood totally turned. And I think it had to do with the glance I took at my to-do list. Too overwhelming.

However, I have decided I am not going focus my day on the negatives. After all, someone always has it worse. And my could have been much worse. Nothing terrible happened, and it was pretty descent. I got a lot out of today. The main thing: tomorrow is a new day, every day is what you make it, and you are only going to get out it what you put into it.

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed, so to say, doesn’t have to turn into your whole day. Only we can choose to either focus on the negative things that happen throughout the day or find the positives that come out of them. (Ha, photography pun. Funny, right? Oh late night, unplanned humor.) It rains before the rainbow. And bad things happen so that better things can too! I hope you guys take all of this into consideration throughout your next not-so-great day and decide to smile through it!

Thanks guys!

Mariah

Week Two!

Hey guys!

So we are two weeks into twenty thirteen! It is kinda crazy. I hope you are all going strong with your new years resolutions still, whatever they may be! New years resolutions are like goals in my opinion and I believe goal setters are the successful ones in life! There really is no better feeling than setting a goal and achieving it. So you wanna see how one of my goals is coming? As most of you may know, I am participating in the 365 photo challenge, but my goal is to strengthen my photography by taking a picture a day of my life, nature, or any exciting things that happen during my day! Here’s week two!

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Jan. 7

This week I started my final semester of dual enrollment at HCC, my first class in Ybor, and the first class that is actually for something I enjoy: photography, of course! While there, I ran into a friend who modeled for me. And I fell in love with the class just on day one!

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Jan. 8

I started my second new years resolution on Tuesday: start running consistently. I was pretty amazed at how out of shape I am. So I am going to change that! I rewarded myself with a smoothie (yes, the one with the whip cream is mine. It all balances out, right?) Unfortunately, three days into my new routine, I got shin splints in both legs. So I started again after a couple days, and now I am taking it a lot slower than I would like, but I still haven’t given up! Which is kinda surprising for me. I guess I am just really determined. I mean there really is no better time to change it than now!

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Jan. 9

I spent all day wondering what my “photo of the day” was going to be only to come home and find this guy in my neighbor’s yard! Just chillin’. I literally dropped the mail on the ground and changed lenses on my camera faster than anyone probably ever has, I don’t really know why, now that I look back. Was I afraid he was going to fly away? He stayed there for literally hours! And once I started getting closer and closer for pictures, I swear he knew, because he was posing! Absolutely amazing!❤

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Jan. 10

So I took what used to be my scrap-booking table and covered the top in red and gold glitter (Before and after pictures later). I put the black sheet under the table to collect the glitter so it didn’t get on the floor. It was a great plan, right?

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Jan. 11

Friday night I went to Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor with my lovely boyfriend and awesome friends for a drag queen show. Being someone who doesn’t really go out much, I was kinda skeptical as to how the night was going to turn out. But let me say, it was amazing! I had so much fun and the night was full of laughter. We saw some pretty interesting things, and my city-hating boyfriend admitted to having a good time, even though he had his pecks squeezed by a drag queen.🙂

It’s all about the unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime memories!

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Jan.12

Saturday my friend and I went to Winter Jam. I always go, but this year TobyMac was performing and I haven’t seen him since I was younger. It was kind of like an old childhood memory for me. I was so excited! And as his performance, as always, never fails to be entertaining and inspiring! we had a blast. And I am sure that the very boring youth group we were sitting in the middle of had a wonderful conversation about the two white girls who tried to act ghetto Sunday morning in Sunday school. You know that saying “dance like no one is watching”? That’s exactly what we did!

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Jan.13

Sunday night my mom cooked a Japanese dinner and we ate outside by the bonfire. It was so yummy! After dinner I started my third new years resolution, or goal so to say: to read and own every book Nicholas Sparks has wrote. I started with the book Safe Haven since the movie is coming out soon. I am loving it so far! But my boyfriend says I am going to become emotional all the time with unrealistic expectations of how our relationship should be. As if I don’t already. Psh.😉

Well, this was week two. Still going strong. And enjoying every shot! Most importantly, I am learning that some moments only come once and how important to enjoy every single one.

Have a great week guys! Stay strong! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mariah

Room makeover update!

I know a lot of you are anxious to see my room progression. I am too, after all! This is a reminder of when it looked like before. This picture was taken after some of my old furniture was already taken out, but it gives you a good idea as to how drastic the new change is!

Keep in mind, the room is not 100% done and probably won’t be for a while, but here is a sneak peak at my new big red desk (that I love!!!) and one of the new wall colors!
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Eating Chinese (my all time favorite food) and blogging! And as always, having too much fun with my camera and editing!
Stay tuned for my updates please!
Have a wonderful rest of your day!

Thanks so much!
Mariah

Week one of 365

I have had so much fun with my first week of the 365 challenge!! I can’t wait to share them! Enjoy!🙂

Jan. 1, 2013

January 1st: This is my lovely boyfriend’s gorgeous sister! She had no idea this picture was being taken, which means this picture is not at all posed and 100% candid! My favorite kind of photography for this reason.

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January 2nd: This little guy blew my mind while I was on my way to work. He managed to stay on my rear-view mirror the entire drive! So amazing to think about how tiny he is and how hard that must have been when it seems like a gush a wind could have blown him over, but it didn’t!

Jan.3

January 3rd: We decided to give my room a makeover for the new year, and update it to fit my personality and love of art. I can’t wait to get it all together and move everything back in, but it was so weird to see my room only concrete! I will keep you guys posted on my room progress!

Jan.4

January 4th: This little black lab puppy [After the name battle between Cooper and Bentley, Cooper won😦 ] joined our family a few days before Christmas and has brought many smiles with him! However, he has had a hard time fitting in with our dogs due to their jealousy issues. It was so sweet to see these two lying on the same bed!

Jan.5

January 5th: Every time I found a good shot of a clover, Cooper thought he would help. Unfortunately, his idea of helping was eating and destroying, as he does that with everything he finds that fits into his mouth!

Jan.6

January 6th: This was my mom’s fortune, so she brought it to me with the news that the floors in my “new” room were done!

Well, there you have it, week one! I hope you guys start to look forward to this as much as I do!

Thanks so much!

Mariah