Monday, November 12, 2007

The Upside of Talking to Strangers

If you were anywhere within 100 yards of me during the months of September and October you probably heard about the Pink Carpet Premiere. I haven't blogged about it because I wasn't sure how to keep it from becoming a novel. The nutshell is this:

I was sleeping soundly in my hotel room in Vegas, where I had gone for a photo workshop. My husband called at 5 am (8 am ET) reporting our son had... thrown up in carpool. In someone else's car. Ewww. He was fine (the child) but then I was wide awake and my roommate was not. So I brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and grabbed my laptop seeking refuge in the lobby Starbucks.

Next to me appeared another bleary eyed east-coaster, Linda, a documentary filmmaker. We started chatting. She told me about an independent film she had made chronicling her her sister-in-law's battle with breast cancer, "The Breast Cancer Diaries". Linda also happened to be an award-winning journalist (CNN, NBC). "Wow. What are you going to do with it?" I said. Linda replied that she was mulling how to screen it as a fundraiser in a few select cities across the country. What a great idea!

I came home and presented it to Becky Massey and the VCU Massey Cancer Center. They loved the film and its incredible message, and put put their mighty muscles behind it. I called 16 smart, wonderful women who happened to also be good friends and the committee was born. We worked hard, tapping into every resource we had to make the event a success. On October 12 we premiered the film, threw an after party, held a huge auction with incredible packages and netted over $85,000 for breast cancer research.

Oh....and during the auction my bid card shot in the air during the L.A. Girls' weekend package. That was a surprise for all of us. Especially me! But it feels pretty dern good when the money goes to breast cancer research! It's a win-win-win-win.

Jill and Kelly (above), my great friends who co-chaired and will join me on the L.A. trip, and the rest of the committee members, worked so hard, reached out to contacts, families, and businesses to get incredible food donated (from 10 of our favorite restaurants), secure auction items out the wazoo and put together some amazing flowers... they're the BEST!

We will forever be indebted to Easton Events for hearing my plea and DONATING their time to help plan our event. Thank you Lynn, Kennon and Dickie. You guys are awesome!

I will always be grateful my friend and fantastic photographer Julie Skarratt who flew down from NYC and donated her time to come shoot it (and for answering my email many years ago when I told her I loved her work and was thinking about getting into wedding photography). And we love The Martin Agency (you made me miss working there!!) for lending us two amazing art directors.

Mostly, I am so amazed by the strength and inspiration of beautiful Ann Murray Page who kicked breast cancer's ass and was willing to tell her very personal story, and Linda Pattillo who helped her tell it. We miss you girls!

Check it out: The Breast Cancer Diaries

Thursday, November 8, 2007


OK, a mass apology is due to everyone I have ever e-mailed. Ever. I was trying to be organized and efficient and did an 'auto-reply' message that I'd be out of town and holy went into action and sent it to everyone I have ever known. Luckily my buddy in Vancouver called and said " Hey, how are you?? Uh...please stop the madness...turn your computer off...I just got 18 emails from you and they keep coming". Sorry. Please ignore. But I have made contact with some old friends due to the error... that's a plus.

Following are a few Virginia Living items from this issue. One is a beautiful wedding I did with an adorable couple, Macon and Cole. They were so happy and easy-going, and didn't seem to notice it was 104 degrees outside.

The other spread is a piece we shot for Christmas, which was so odd to do when it was still warm and all, but we definitely got in the holiday spirit. Nothing like a roaring fire in the middle of September! The homeowners were so fun to work with and made it very easy, and the stylists were GREAT as always.

I am working on some really cool projects now (oh, the logistics...) and will post soon...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hot Oils

Late in August Tyler called and asked if I could shoot some infused oils for the Sept/Oct issue of Virginia Living. I confessed I had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded interesting. We decided to do it at my fancy studio (my house) so the talented chef, J Paul, could prep and sautee and infuse his heart out. It was so cool to see my kitchen being used... the way it was meant to be used. Fresh herbs and ingredients all over the counters, halibut, scallops, sea bass filling the fridge. The food was very, very good. It almost made me want to cook.

We liked the indirect, diffused light in my backyard so we carried my kitchen table outside, set up the scenes, and one by one shot the meals as they were prepared. However, it was the hottest day of the summer. I had to leave my equipment outside as the humidity from in to out would condense on each layer of glass in my camera, and we'd have to wait for it to clear otherwise. As I was shooting, the oils would start to 'melt' and become watery, so it was even trickier than shooting the ice cream on a hot day. And then there was standing on a ladder, shooting down at the spices while trying not to drip sweat on them. It was SO hot. But we got the shot!