Blackbird Fly

Have you ever created something, whether it was something you wrote, drew, painted, anything... and you just never felt like it was complete? Like it was missing something? I have been holding onto this shoot for just over a year now, because of that feeling. I felt as though it was somehow incomplete. And I think I've come to realize that I felt this way because this shoot was close to my soul, unlike so many other simple blog shoots that I do to just promote a product. This shoot meant something to me.

I had been feeling inspired to do a concept like this for quite some time, but never put it into action because I was afraid that the result wouldn't live up to the expectation in my mind. It wasn't until some other creatives encouraged me, that I finally had the guts to just go for it. I considered having someone else model the concept, but an artistic friend of mine encouraged me to do it myself since the concept and purpose was so important to me. The reason why I keep saying it was so special is because this shoot was the turning point for me. It was when I decided to not be afraid to let my weird creative side out, when I finally began to push myself to think outside of the box, and to let myself be led by passion and an artistic soul. I was over the idea that I had to stick to this particular "fashion blogger" look. The whole point of my blog was to stay away from that! Hence the name! To do what I wanted to do.

Not only is this shoot special to me because of the meaning behind it, but also because of the work that was put into it! My sister helped bring the vision to life by making the headpiece for me, and as for the outfit, I had the hardest time trying to figure out what to wear, until several days before the shoot, I had a dream about what the outfit should look like. We cut out a black caged looking slip from one of the layers of an old dress, and then attached the long black fabric to it to make a bustle and train. I actually really love that the skirt looked like a cage to represent the bird being in a cage. The second dress I wore was a blue mermaid shaped dress that I spray painted black to give it an eerie look. Making the clothing for the shoot was part of the fun, it made it feel all the more creative and accomplishing.

I chose to bring two photographers, with two very different styles of shooting and editing onto this shoot. I wanted to see how each of them interpreted it. I love how someone can be shooting the same exact thing as someone else, but it looks totally different because of how their creative eye sees it. The 3rd and 4th picture you'll see as you scroll down, were both taken at the same exact time. Kelsey had a vision to shoot dead on through the fabric, and while she did that, Nick saw an opportune shot from a different perspective. Both shots, same moment, same setting, same everything, but yet so different. Interpretation is one of the many beautiful things about artistry.

So after holding onto this for months and months, I decided it's finally time to release it. This is where I began to spread my wings, and let my creative side take flight. Blackbird fly.

Photos x Nick Ostlund & Kelsey Marie Photo

Makeup x Edipel Ramsdell

Polite Till I Bite

Awhile back, I was in desperate need of a creative outlet. I had been so busy styling other people's concepts, family shoots, blog shoots etc. that I needed to do something for myself. Don't get me wrong, I love doing all of those things! But if you're a creative, you get me when I say that you need to do something for yourself every now and then.

I hadn't created something of my own in quite some time, I had so many ideas in my head I felt like my brain was going to explode if I didn't find a way to express myself. I ended up texting my girl Kelsey, and she felt like it was prime time to do something just for fun as well. I went over to her cute little house and we just started experimenting, brainstorming ideas, and having fun. The end result of the shoot was totally different than what we had initially planned. Honestly though, its the photos you don't plan, that end up being your absolute favorites.

My original idea was to base the concept off of the shirt, "Polite Till I Bite" which fun fact about me, I have always been a biter, ever since I was little, I would get frustrated or over excited and bite my sister. So my MOM actually saw this shirt when we were shopping in Cali and thought it was funny and told me I should get it. Anyway, I wanted to incorporate fruit and just a really chill and retro vibe. Hence the ~grainy~ editing style.

After we chilled in the kitchen and I stuck my butt all over their counters, we decided to go reaaaal retro with Kelsey's pink tub! Like whaaaaat? How perfect is that!? I will do just about anything for a cool shot, so I got all wet (while trying to keep my makeup intact) and express ourselves we did!

If you're a creative, make sure you make time to create things for yourself. It's easy to get caught up in the working part of your art, but don't forget what made you fall in love with doing it in the first place. Take the time to create for yourself, however that may look. It is so soothing to the soul. 

Photos x Kelsey Marie Photo

Makeup x Edipel Ramsdell & Amanda Lampert

Heart Of Stone

" I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."

- Ezekiel 11:19-20

When Luba, the photographer and master mind behind this concept, came to me and told me her inspiration for this shoot she wanted to use me for, I fell in love with it immediately. She shared this verse from Ezekiel with me and told me, “What I really want to encapsulate is the emotion of giving yourself up into holy waters and letting the Spirit change our stone hearts.”

As you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see that it starts out dark. We began shooting in the woods to relay the idea of being lost in the darkness; trapped and unable to find hope. As the story moves to the water, you can see the dark flowers I hold in the water are in the shape of a heart to represent the heart of stone. But as I slowly let that heart break, and I release it, the water begins to turn white representing the restoration of purity and God’s grace. White flowers begin to appear, and the dark flowers are slowly filtered out. At the end of it all, with everything turning from dark to light, the heart of stone is no longer existent, God has taken it and replaced it with a heart of flesh as depicted in the photos by the soft and pure look of them.

Life is often times like this. We feel lost and hopeless, trapped and can’t seem to find the light. We harbor bitterness, anger, jealousy and so many other ugly things that turn our hearts to stone. You then find yourself going through life with a heavy heart, and running away from any situation that makes you feel like you have to be vulnerable. In my own life, there was a time where I would cry out to God, asking Him to heal my hurting and broken heart, yet I never felt like He heard me. I finally broke down to one of my closest friends, and asked her why God wasn’t healing my heart, she told me it was because I wasn’t being vulnerable with God. In that moment I realized that I was asking God to heal something that I wouldn’t even entrust him with. I hadn’t handed it over to him. I was holding onto my heart of stone by telling myself that I was okay, telling myself not to cry because if I did, that means I care, and I didn't want to care. But how can you allow yourself to even heal if you aren’t acknowledging that you’re hurting in the first place? I had to make a choice to be vulnerable with God, and once I did, the healing began. I learned that its okay to cry; sometimes you need to just get it out and let yourself feel all of those emotions. I began thanking God in advance for the healing and restoration that was to come, knowing that someday I would be so thankful in seeing His faithfulness. I am on the other side of all of this now, and looking back, this photo shoot was so perfectly timed because I was truly beginning to live with a heart of flesh as well as walking in obedience to God’s will. This photo shoot perfectly captured the process that I had been going through. The best part is that Luba had no idea about any of this either, isn’t it amazing how God works? So, thank you Luba for asking me to be a part of this project, it holds so much meaning for me just as it does for you.

Speaking of being vulnerable, sharing this story is also me being vulnerable. It’s hard, but it’s also so freeing. If you’re holding onto a heart of stone, living heavy and hopeless, choose to release it to God and find that healing that your soul needs. He will take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. A heart that is like the heart of Jesus, full of compassion, grace, mercy, love… because thats ultimately what we should be after, isn’t it? A Christ like heart…

Photos x Luba Kochubey Portraits

Makeup x Ashley Mendez