Happy 2017

~ Shadows dancing in that timeless rhythm we all know.

Shadows drowning in eternal damnation; the lover’s sin.

Over and over, then over again.

Throwing caution to the wind.

Trying not to lose ourselves in the end.~


A little late, I know. With taking care of the twins, school, work, doctors, and just life in general, it’s hard to find the time to update, but… such is this crazy, beautiful life I live. Anyhow, hope the holidays went amazingly for y’all. Best of wishes for the New Year!!

Lots of exciting changes and announcements on the horizon! Stay tuned!!   🙂





Sweet Sixteen, To You & Me.

While I’m sure most everyone else my age was out celebrating last night, I brought in the New Year with my nieces. That’s right. So, while everyone else was toasting away or watching the ball drop on TV or whatever it was they chose to do to celebrate the festival occasion, I was stuck playing mediator between a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old – as the 5-year-old insisted on talking to “SIRI” on the 12-year-old’s new iPhone that she just got for Christmas…whereas the 12-year-old felt the 20 minutes she’d already let said 5-year-old talk to “Siri” was long enough and therefore she should be able to have her phone back so she could resume playing her “super intense” (**her words, not mine**) “Clash of the Clans” game in peace. Umm, yeah. So, that’s how I rang in the New Year. Not exactly the most exciting NYE, I know…but definitely an interesting one. It’s never a dull moment with kids—especially this bunch—I will say that. While I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed playing mediator between a 12 and a 5-year-old at midnight in a fight over a phone…I can/will say that I preferred that to going out somewhere and celebrating. Crazy, right? I know how strange it must sound—like I’m some old recluse or something—but the truth of it is–that scene just isn’t me anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time.

There was a time when going out and celebrating occasions like New Year’s or Thanksgiving Eve with my friends was a given. When no one voiced a plan or invite…it was just expected. An unspoken arrangement of sorts. There were rarely any plans. Aside from choosing and agreeing on a place to pre-game, nothing was set in stone. We’d meet up, get nice and tipsy, and see where the night would lead us from there. The spontaneity was the best part of it, I think. I mean, really. Plans are predictable. Plans are stiff. Plans are boring. Who wants that?! Oh…to be 18 again. Or even 21. Just to be young again—hell to feel that young again. These days, those days seem like a lifetime ago. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went out with friends and had some pure, unadulterated, alcohol-infused fun. It’s been that long. But—sadly, yes there is a but in there—I can’t say as though I really miss it all that much. The camaraderie and company of friends, sure…sometimes. But the whole drinking to excess, making horrible/stupid decisions that I’ll likely regret come morning or at some eventual later point (because let’s face it, there’s always regrets), and waking up with a hangover that’ll make me rue the day I ever learned the word tequila or turned 21…yeah all that—not so much. Not to mention, with all the different meds I’m on for these wonderful (NOT!) PCS headaches of mine, I couldn’t go out for those drinks even if I had wanted to—unless I wanted to ring in the New Year’s in the Emergency Room…or worse. I don’t know. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up. Your priorities shift.

Or so I’ve heard… 😉

It’s funny because I think I’ve probably done more growing up in this year alone than I ever have…and yet I still don’t quite feel like an adult. Adult…the term alone just makes me shudder. It’s scary as hell…and confusing as fuck—pardon my language. It’s true. I mean, at what point do you really become an adult? I mean a real, full-fledged, card-carrying (if there were one just for it) adult?? Society would say it’s when you hit 18. Or 21. There’s a little leeway in there a bit. But that’s just an age. A technical formality, were it be. Age is just a number, after all. So what really defines the transition? Is it experience? Do you have to rack up so many moments before you can call yourself a bonafide “ADULT”—and if so, what kind? Are there certain kinds of required moments? Do you have to fall in love first—or have caused or to know heartbreak? Do you have to be challenged and fall and hit rock bottom first? Do you have to find career and/or personal success and/or know failure first? I was thumbing through this list on Buzzfeed the other day–about how you know when you’re an adult, or something along those lines–and it had this little line about “…when you start saying “Congratulations” to hearing about someone being pregnant instead of “oh, shit”…”–so, is that the transition point? Do you suddenly become an adult just because you’ve settled down and started a family? Does having a child suddenly make you an adult? I’m 28, so it seems like everyone around me these days is either getting married or pregnant or having their 2nd or even 3rd kid. And part of me wonders how much of that is because they’re truly actually ready for the responsibility…or if its because its what society expects at this point and time, you know?

I think about my grams and how when she was my age–at 28–she was already a wife and mother to 7 children. Seven! That just blows my mind. By those standards, I’m practically ancient. An old maid, so to speak. I can’t even imagine it. There’s a lot I’m unsure about, but of one thing I am certain–I’m not ready for all of that. Marriage. It’s a huge commitment, tying yourself to one person for the rest of your life…hypothetically. I’ve always been a little marriage-shy…maybe because I think about it too much and I’m too rational and logic tells me that there’s a chance–a good chance–that either him or I might wake up tomorrow or a month or year from now and decide we want different things in life. I don’t know. And the thought of throwing kids into that mix–these innocent little lives whose happiness and well-being that we’d be responsible for…well, that’s just a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I do. And I can handle the responsibility–hell, I basically raised my sister’s twins their first year…but right now…I don’t know. I feel like I still have a lot more growing up to do first. That is, maybe growing up isn’t the right term for it. I just feel like I have/need something more that I need first. The carpools and recitals and soccer games will all come later, in due time…if it’s meant to be. Carpe diem, right? If it happens, it happens.

I don’t have the answers. I just know that 2015 brought so much growth—both personal and professional—and perspective into my life. When I packed up my life and relocated down to Tennessee all the way back at the start of the year, I honestly didn’t have a clue where I’d end up a year from then. Where I’d be today, right here. I really didn’t. I put everything—and I mean everything—on the line. I left everything and everyone I’d ever known—without a doubt, THE scariest thing I’ve ever done—and took a chance on something—someone with not the greatest track record … myself. I left New York to find myself–to figure out who I was and whether or not I could stand on my own two feet without my family there to catch me when I fell. There were no guarantees. And it was terrifying and hard—you have no idea how much so—but it was also so very gratifying and rewarding. I’ve realized a strength in this past year that I never knew I had—would never have even guessed that I had—and I’m so grateful that I did. Some don’t understand…some may call me crazy for uprooting my whole life just like that—and it was a little crazy—but there’s no denying the success I’ve found. Or the peace. For 27 years, I feel like I was living my life in slow-motion. Like it was all just a dress rehearsal for now. For right now. Now I’m finally pressing play and living in normal pace…and it feels amazing. It feels exhilarating. I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next…and I love that about it.

I’m not a big believer in making New Years resolutions…but if I were to make one this year, it would be to continue that journey I began a year ago when I left out in that Jeep and crossed those state lines. The accident may have hindered things a bit…but it hasn’t stopped me. I’ve still got a bucket list of things to do, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to at least try to do them. We only have this one life and I’m going to live mine…the only way I know how: With open arms and at breakneck speed …

So here’s to an eventful, successful, beautiful Sweet Sixteen world!

Happy New Year Y’all!!


Merry Christmas (Twenty-Fifteen)

Merry Christmas y’all!!


Can we just pause for a moment here so I can lament on how absolutely surreal and crazy it is that it’s already December—correction, the end of December? It’s unreal. I don’t know where the time goes, I really don’t. Add to that, the fact that we’re quite literally on the very cusp of a brand new year—2016—well that just makes it all the more surreal. Seriously people…where did the year go…??


And to think that this time last year, I was in the midst of packing my things in preparation for my big move down to Nashville. I can’t believe an entire year has passed since then.


But it has. And it’s been one hell of a whirlwind of a year, that’s for sure. I’m not going to lie–I had my doubts about moving 900 miles away from literally everyone and everything I’d ever known and starting over in a brand new city completely on my own—I did. Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it. I’d given myself a few weeks—a month or two, tops—before I went running back to New York, tail between my legs, so to speak. I expected the glitter and excitement of being in a new place to wear off. And that I’d grow weary of city-life and having to sit in rush hour traffic for almost an hour just to get my daily caffeine fix (**because I’ve GOT to have my iced coffee and the DD on Fesslers Lane makes THE best iced coffee in town–and also happens to be the only 24 hour joint around for miles**). I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in or make any friends—the real, honest-to-goodness kind like some of the ones I’d left behind in New York. But more than anything, I was afraid of failing—that I’d be given this incredible opportunity—heck, that I’d worked like hell for and earned—to go to such a wonderful city and I’d just somehow screw it up like I’d done with most every other good thing in my life up to that point. That was my biggest fear. And if we’re being completely honest, sometimes it still is, just a little.


Suffice to say—AND THANKFULLY, I MIGHT ADD—all that worry (or most of anyhow) was for naught. I’d already fallen in love with the city when I’d previously visited in April to tour Watkins—it’s such a beautiful place, how could I not—but I think I fell in love all over again once I hit those city limit signs. As fate would have it, just as I hit the city, the song “Home” by Daughtry came on the radio—ohhh, I kid you not—and it was the best damn sign I could have been given right then. It couldn’t have been clearer in telling me that I’d made the right choice and that Nashville was right where I was supposed to be. As crazy as it sounds, it really did feel like I was home. And now here we are–here I am–a year later, and that feeling hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s only gotten stronger.


As guilty as I feel to admit it, I’ve never been happier. I’ve made friendships that I’m confident will last for years to come, and I’m beyond grateful for that. In a sense, they’ve become my sort-of stand-in family…and while they can’t replace my actual family, it helps knowing they’re there if need be. I met a sweet, kind, and probably the most understanding man to ever walk this earth–especially to put up with this distance the past few months with me here in NY and him back home in TN. I’m just beyond anxious to head back and be home–and moreover, to see everyone.


I’ve been given so many incredible opportunities that I never would have even imagined in New York. This whole Hollywood and movie-making business—never in a million years did I imagine being a part of that whole world. Heck, even if you’d told me last year that I’d be here…I probably would have laughed in your face. It’s just so…not ME. Or at least it wasn’t, I should say. I guess I have fate to thank for all of this—for putting myself and my friend Alan in the same 2-D class. After all, that’s how and where it all began—the two of us becoming fast friends, bonding over our shared dislike of the Professor-from-HELL and all but a few select classmates in the class. To recap from there, he’d written a screen-play and was planning to make his first film. Knowing I was a photographer, he asked me to take some BTS pics of the auditions. It was just for fun. Nothing special.


From that point to where it stands now…it’s all pretty much a blur. Now I have contacts and credits in the film industry that I never expected to have—and still can’t believe I have. I’ve been on an actual film set and have seen just what goes into the making of a film…and I now have the utmost respect for the actors and actresses out there that do it for a living. It’s not exactly an easy job, despite how it looks from the outside. And the days are long. I was the set photographer, so I was there for the whole of it—and there’s a lot of waiting. It takes a lot of patience. A LOT OF PATIENCE. What came most unexpected to me is how much I’ve actually liked what I’ve done. I didn’t think I would. I mean, granted, there’s some parts that I really don’t like. For instance—the diva-bitch actresses who think they’re–as my friend Alan would say, “The Meryl Streep(s) of Nashville”— and as such, are in desperate need of a hearty dose of “reality check”. There’s a lot of conniving and underhandedness, too…but I think you’ll find that with anything. For the most part, though, I’ve enjoyed the experience. Word on my freelancing is spreading and I’m getting offers for sessions and websites left and right—it’s all kind of crazy. A good crazy.


Of course, there’s the not so great misfortune that’s come with this year as well. The little hiccup in June with the accident and the damn concussion that has really done a number on me, in more ways than one. It’s unreal how your whole life can change in a split-second…and it did exactly that. It’s like someone pressed the pause button on my life that day and it’s only just recently begun playing again. I don’t have my life back, not completely. I’m trying to get back to it, slowly. It’s hard when you’re still trying to wade through the pain of a pounding headache day in and day out. I have all these damn meds—seriously, there are 6 different pills—that I’m supposed to be taking every day. They’re supposed to help with the headaches. They barely even touch the surface most of the time. And I hate taking them because they make me really loopy—you know, that whole out-of-body, noodles for limbs—kind of feeling. That’s no fun on its own, let alone when you’ve got a splitting headache to boot. So I’m trying to work through the pain. It’s a process. And it sucks. But really, what else can I do…


All in all, I’ve come so far this year…further than I thought I’d be. And a great year it’s been. Headache and stressors aside, I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings…


And on that note…a little Happy Holidays from the two–and my absolute favorite–(little) leading men in my life… (**You’ll have to excuse the Jake cranky-face–the little guy was in no mood for pictures or presents…but even sporting a pout, he’s still a little cutie pie!**)



(**Oh, and did I mention, these little cuties just celebrated a birthday a couple of weeks ago…TWO already! How is that even possible? It feels like it was just yesterday when it was just the three of us all day, everyday…when my nerves were shot from weeks of sleep training and episodes of Dinosaur Train and Daniel Tiger on repeat (*I still know the theme songs to both by heart btw*)…and every smile or smallest feat was cause for an impromptu photo-shoot. Now my Twinnies are turning into little men and I just want to scoop them up and never let them go and just make them stop growing. 😦 **)



Halloween Two-Oh-One-Five.

So the little ones had a dry-run Halloween party/parade thing at Avie’s school tonight…

When oh when did they grow up–they’re getting so big!! How do I make it stop??!! 😦

<3 Avie J (*Doc McStuffins*)
Avie J. (*Doc McStuffins*)
Emmie (*Bumblebee*)
Emmie (*Bumblebee*)
Angelina (*Butterfly*)
Angelina (*Butterfly*)
Lena w/ her Daddy.
Lena w/ her Daddy.
Ty Bear (*Iron Man*)
Ty Bear (*Iron Man*)
"...make me fly, Dad..."
“…make me fly, Dad…”
Ty (*Iron Man*)
Ty (*Iron Man*)
Ty & his Dad
Ty & his Dad

**Halloween Dry Run 2015*

Happy Birthday ‘Merica.

So yesterday was my first (of hopefully many) 4th of July celebration here in Nashville. Honestly–I think I’m still a little shell-shocked–but in a good/giddy-like sort of way–about just being here…let alone all the opportunities I’ve been given. I  can’t believe I’ve been here for seven months now. It just seems so surreal…all of it. I keep thinking someone is going to pinch me and I’m going to wake up and all of this will have just been a dream. It’s crazy. Still, I have to admit, these past seven months have been the best seven months of my life. Truly. It’s hard to find just one adjective to describe my experience here so far, but I think I’ll go with a combination of AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, WONDERFUL…to start. It’s pretty amazing–and ironic-considering that I walked into this move seven months ago with no expectations. It probably doesn’t say much for the faith and confidence I have in myself, but I really didn’t think it’d stick, me moving down here. It wasn’t so much about the move itself that I had doubted…I knew I’d follow through with it. If for no other reason than to prove everyone wrong. It’s probably so wrong of me to say, but I just wanted (and needed) that selfish satisfaction of knowing that I’d surprised the hell out of everyone. I mean, I’ve done some pretty crazy things over the years…but this–this was in a level all its own. This was major. Even so, I never thought I’d truly see it through…that I’d stay. I didn’t think I’d make it. In fact, I would have bet money on it. That I’d give up and go running back to New York and my family before the semester had even finished. I never in a million years expected this–that I’d love it like I do. And I do. I love it here. I love this beautiful, amazing city and the beautiful people in it. It’s everything I’d secretly harbored hope that it’d be…and so much more. It’s hard to explain, but somehow being here just makes me feel good about myself, my life…my future. I feel like ME, you know? Like I finally be the person that I’ve always to be…the person that I’m MEANT to be. Without all the pretense and the issues and baggage. Being here is like coming up for a breath of fresh air (and yes, I stole that from Grey’s–but it’s a good analogy) after being submerged for such a long time. I feel free–freer that I’ve ever felt. Maybe it’s the distance, maybe it’s the people–I don’t know–but it feels good. It feels really, really good.


And on that note–FREEDOM–I celebrated in true #Nashie spirit. I braved the pouring rain and a crowd in excess of 300,000 people and went downtown for the fireworks. It was absolutely crazy down there, but it was completely worth it. I managed to get close enough to the stage set up on Broadway to see Martina McBride perform a few songs–which I’ve got to give the lady big props for because she literally had to perform in the POURING RAIN– and had a great view of the fireworks show. Which was fantastic, I might add. Not that I’m at all surprised–it was slated to be the largest fireworks display in the whole nation–topping even that of NYC’s. It was an incredible show–and most definitely worth getting soaked and being crammed into one street with that huge of a crowd. Even worth the shoe that I lost somewhere on Broadway–in my defense, it was pouring rain, there was a puddle, and well…I don’t know how to walk–and the hour or so it took just to get out of downtown. Definitely, definitely worth it. I’m so glad I went. So grateful to be here in this amazing city for one of the biggest holiday celebrations of the year.


Despite the pouring rain on my lens, I managed to get some–what I think are pretty awesome–pics. (**See Below**)


Happy Belated Birthday America!!



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**My Personal Favorite Of The Bunch**


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And some live video from the show…

(** P.S. Sorry for the shakiness…I’m a photographer, not a videographer. 🙂 **)







Well, all the stockings are stuffed and hung up, all the presents are wrapped and piled under the tree, and the kiddies are all fast asleep (though unlikely about sugar plums, I’m sure). So now for some ME time…a rarity for me on Christmas Eve. This is one of the first times in as long as I can remember that I haven’t spent Christmas Eve running around trying to get everything bought and wrapping into the wee hours. Yes, I’m one of those last-minute shoppers. Guilty as charged. It’s not that I forget or can’t do it…I just really, really dislike shopping. Especially Christmas shopping. I know, I know–a woman who hates to shop–oh the blasphemy!! Haha. Sorry, but it’s true. I don’t mind it if I have an idea of what I’m getting or something specific to buy, but just going and shopping for the hell of it–yeah, no that’s not my thing. Firstly, ever since that situation years back, I hate the crowds and I can’t sand to be around a lot of people at the same time. I get all claustrophobic and anxious and my anxiety level goes through the roof and start feeling panicked. Secondly, I hate the lines–yeah, I’m not patient at all. No offense, but some people are absolutely bat-shit crazy when it comes to shopping. I mean Black Friday shopping one thing–but some people are like that no matter what the occasion. I must say I do find it a little humorous when people go all ape-sh*t over sales though. Most of them completely oblivious to the fact that what the store is actually doing is inflating the price, then dropping it back down to the original (or thereabouts) price…therefore not “saving” the customer much at all, if anything. It’s a ploy to make it appear that it does, but it’s not. So in that respect…yes, it’s a little funny, or it is to me at least.

Anywho….whatever shall I do with my free time… hmm, what to do. Me thinks I’ll do a little more “fine-pointing” on the details on my upcoming move. Yep. I’m leaving. For real this time. I’ve already decided and I’m not changing my mind this time. I’m doing it on my own, so there’s no hiccups to hold the move off or people changing their minds. And no one gets to have a say this time either. I don’t want anyone’s opinion or input. Nothing. Nada, Zilch. Nothing. That’s what’s been at the root of all this…me listening to what everyone else wants and to hell with myself and what I want. Well, not anymore. Now I’m doing things for myself and to hell with the rest of them.

I need to get away from here. Away from THEM. I just can’t take it anymore. I’m so miserable here and people are cruel. And by people–for the most part–I mean my family. Things aren’t going so well lately…again. In fact, things have pretty much gone to hell in recent weeks…more so than usual. Which is saying a lot. My grams and I are at war with one another right now and we’re not on speaking terms at the moment. She and I got into big time last week. I had my niece’s concert to go to one night and planned to drive to my sister’s right after it was over for the arrival of the twins. As I was packing my things, I learned that one of my journals was missing. Naturally, I flipped out. I know it’s my brother who took it because he’s one of the only ones who would stoop that low and do something like that. After all, he’s done it before. I was pissed and refused to go anywhere until my grams made him give it back. But she wouldn’t do a damn thing. She just told me that I was being selfish and to pull it together. Oh how I lost it after she said that. “Pull it together”–she really said that. That’s when I let her have it. I mean hell, doesn’t she know that all I’ve been doing  is “pulling it together.” all these years. Since the rape, I’ve done nothing but suck it up. I had to.  I couldn’t tell her or anyone else, for that matter, about the rape or the abortion I’d had. I was too ashamed and scared to say anything. I wouldn’t have been able to face her I don’t think if I had. I’ve kept the secret from her all these years. It wasn’t until the other night that I actually told her–and that was out of pure fury, more than anything else. She insinuated like I was overreacting and that it was just a stupid notebook. So much for what she knows. It’s a hell of a lot more than that, damn it. It’s so, so much more. It’s hundreds of pages of my heart and soul. It’s all of me, all that I have. Which is one of the main reasons why I want it back. Every minute that it’s in my brother’s hands, it has the ability to inflict and release a whole lot of HELL. Just like it did the last time when he stole my journal, read it, and spent every chance he could throwing all my secrets and regrets in my face. The rape, too. That the biggest blow. He used that night to beat me down. He even took it to a further vindictive level going so far as to embellish on my attack by calling me a whore and accusing me of having sex with half a dozen guys at that party, which is NOT true. My grams is always telling me to ignore him, but how the hell am I supposed to do that when he’s using that night–and that HELL–against me? I know they’re just words, but words hurt. God, they hurt so damn much. I wish I could say that they don’t, but they do. I wish it were that easy to just ignore him, but it’s not that easy. At all.

She can accuse me of overreacting, but I’m not. It’s called self-preservation. I need that journal before he starts gathering up everything he needs to use for his verbal attack arsenal. There’s too much in that journal that he could find to use against me. And he’ll do it the first chance he gets.  I know it. Which is why I’m so damn scared. God-knows what he will tell everyone. I  don’t want the world knowing my business or getting in the way of my life. The last thing I need is for the words I wrote and the secrets to get out, especially in this small town. Everyone knows too much about everyone as it is.  I don’t feel like giving them any more ammunition, and I won’t–not if I have anything to say about it.

I hate him. I really do. He used to be my brother, but he’s turned into someone else entirely. He’s a monster and vindictive son-of-a-bitch, he really is. My grams can say what she wants, but I know exactly what he’s capable of…and the damage he can cause. So while it might not mean anything to her, it DOES mean something to me. And knowing that–she still sided and defended him. So I told her I was done with her. Done with all her bullshit and her assumptions and accusations and her just plain bitching. So done. She thinks she knows everything. She thinks she knows me. Well…she doesn’t. She doesn’t know a damn thing about me or who I am. And she hasn’t for a long time. The longer I stay, the worse it’ll get. So I have to leave. Call it running away, call it impulsive, call it reckless…call if anything you want. I call it self-preservation…

Anyhow, enough with the negative…Merry Christmas y’all!!! 🙂



Memorial Day of Thanks…

Happy Memorial Day!

Just wanted to give a thank you to all the military and service members who have served and/or who are serving right now…and all the brave souls that lost their lives fighting to defend our country, both here on the home-front and overseas. Your selfless sacrifice, extraordinary courage in the face of evil, unshakeable loyalty, and patriotism is not — and will never be — forgotten. I thank you…and our country thanks you. You put your lives on the line every day…for millions of complete strangers, families not your own. Families like mine…


Grateful Always,

PS…A little extra…

**And some candid shots of my family’s annual Memorial Day cookout**

— AVIE, mine —
“Cousin Besties”




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