Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Shot on a Nikon F100, 50mm 1.4 lens at f/2.0 on Portra 400 Film .

Yesterday was rough, as in Grade A tear your heart out rough, as in I didn't sleep very well rough. I am struggling to rebuild trust. I find the building of trust extremely confusing. On one had, you have to have it. You have to. Even just a teeny tiny bit of it in order to continue on. On the other hand, it is so easily broken, you have to wonder where you draw the line. Do you allow the 'little' things that break trust to go by without completely falling to pieces? It seems at this stage in the game tiny, or huge, it is all the same and can so easily bring my world crashing down.

Yesterday this happened and a very deep line was drawn. It may seem like a really silly and insignificant thing which caused this line to be drawn, but to me, as I said, at this point nothing is small or silly or insignificant. My blood pressure rises just thinking about it. My heart pounds out of my chest and I begin to shake just thinking about it. This time, the breaking of trust came with an ultimatum. I have never given ultimatums, so having given one I am so deeply afraid.

There is a line now. A line that if crossed, it becomes a finish line.

All night long I thought about how I drew this line. I was so angry and hurt, and the only thing I was thinking at the moment was to hurt back. Words flew out of my mouth. I shook, my heart would not settle. For hours afterward my heart was still pounding. I sat in the car and said a silent prayer. "Please Father help me. I am not sure if this is right, or if I should have said what I said, but when is enough enough? I am not sure but please give me strength to make it through tonight. Please help my heart to settle because I honestly feel like I am going to die right here."

Peace. Immediate peace.

At least until I got home again...then the agony set in.

I don't want to be in the predicament I am in. I don't want to be living this hell that I am living through right now. I don't understand any of it. Not one single ounce of it, and yet I am just thrust into it, seemingly again and again and again, and you know what? I don't think I can take much more...which is why on hands and knees I dug that line so deeply yesterday. So, incredibly deep that if crossed, life as I know it, as my children know it, as my husband knows it, will never ever be the same. Ever.

I may be strong, but I am not that strong. I don't think my heart can take anymore, even if it is silly and little and insignificant. It is significant to me, and I guess I have to matter more than anyone right now. That sounds incredibly selfish, and it is, but so be it.


I need more of it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba and Service

A talk I gave last week just two weeks after moving into our new LDS Ward . I truly feel inspired to share it here, and no matter what your faith, religion, or lack thereof, the ability to serve and be served has far reaching effects and we all should make time for it in our daily lives, if anything, to make us better people and to make this world a happier place for all who live here. Happy weekend.

Shot on a Nikon F100 50mm 1.4 lens at f/16 on Portra 400 Film .

It is an honor to stand before you today and be the one to introduce my beautiful little family to you. There is nothing very unique or special about us, except for maybe our recent discovery and subsequent adoration for Yo Gabba Gabba. Okay, truthfully, Hubbs hates Yo Gabba Gabba, and I am not certain that Memms really, truly, hates it or likes it or if she is just pretending that she doesnt like it, but do know that Joth, Millz and I are pretty much in love with DJ Lance Rock. You are probably wondering what does Yo Gabba Gabba have to do with her talk? What? You dont know? Well, neither do I, I just needed something quirky to spark your interest in hearing my talk this morning, I think that might be something they teach you in public speaking, but I am not sure since I have never taken public speaking.

Hubbs was born in Sao Paulo Brazil, and spent the first 17 years of his life growing up and attending school there and in a small town just outside of the big city called Atibaia. He came to the United States to study English and attend university after graduating high school. Hubbs was able to master the English language and has studied at LDS Business College and Salt Lake Community College and later studied Accounting and Finance at the University of Utah. He is an eternal student who has 12 credit hours left, but now that he is almost done with school he is pretty sure he doesn
t want to work in accounting or finance. Go figure. He is now celebrating his 11th year with Discover Financial, and works part time as a Real Estate Consultant with HomeNet Real Estate. He is also a full time dad, and I think does his best work when doing that job. I am certain his children would agree.

I was born in Salt Lake City and spent and lived in many parts of the valley. I attended Cottonwood High School, and LDS Business College. I later studied photography at Salt Lake Community College. I am currently self-employed as a graphic designer and portrait photographer. I also work part time as co-owner of an inspirational jewelry and gift company, which targets shedding light on the difficulties of infertility and pregnancy loss as well as infant loss and a line of adoption gifts and apparel.

Hubbs and I met at work twelve years ago. He had just returned home from serving his mission in Anaheim, California. I was a senior in high school, so yes, you can do the math and decipher that I was 18 when we met. Hubbs was 22 and I wanted NOTHING to do with the fellow. He was a returned missionary, and I was graduating from high school. I wanted to travel the world, finish school, and serve my own mission. Despite being very devout in my faith, if I am being 100% honest, marriage and motherhood were not anywhere near the top of my list of things to accomplish in the near future. However, Hubbs had different plans. His plans involved things like sitting by me every day at work, asking me out numerous times even after being shot down each previous time. Finally, one day on my last night working with Hubbs, I slipped him my phone number. I was feeling quite guilty for turning him down. I was pretty sure I was safe that he would never call me anyway. Surprisingly, he called a few days later and asked me out for the next evening. When I asked him what we would be doing (A girl has to plan her attire for such things) his response was, and I quote,
Uh, uh…” Followed by immense sweating and possible tears. The poor guy hadnt planned a date! He was SO eager for me to just say YES (He was sure I was going to say no again) that he had neglected to actually plan an evening on the off chance I would say yes. Well, he pulled a date out of his hat and in the next breath said, A birthday party! So that was it. I went with him to a birthday party where they were only speaking Portuguese. It was the- worst date of my life. At the end of the night he made sure to ask me out again for the following week, I decided I could give him one more chance, and it was on our second date I knew, with all of my soul that this man was to be my eternal companion. I can describe in perfect detail where I was sitting, how the air felt, everything, the moment I knew. I was scared out of my mind. However, I have since learned that my Heavenly Father loves me very much, and He doesnt prompt me in ways such as this if it isnt in my best interest. We were married 9 months later in the Salt Lake Temple and yes I was still 18.

Three years later we were blessed with our astounding little boy Joth who will turn 8 in a month and is making the courageously righteous decision to be baptized. I am so pleased with this tiny creature and his kindness and loving ways are a great example of Christ like love to anyone.

Our daughter Memms is almost six and has just started Kindergarten. She is a bright, cheerful, and helpful little girl. She is very funny, and she and her brother are the best of friends. They know how to always make us laugh, and one of their most endearing qualities is when they quote
my- favorite movies just to make me laugh. Especially lines from Napoleon Dynamite and 50 First Dates, or my favorite Disney movie UP.

Millz is our baby. She just turned two and is SO spunky. Spunky is a term people use to describe someone who is lively and vivacious. This definitely defines Millz. My favorite thing about her these days is her constant,
Hold you! which she says only 1.2 million times a day. When she isnt begging me to hold her, she is either talking about babies, drawing babies, asking to hold babies, playing doll babies or pretending to be a baby.

We are all very excited to be in your ward, to get to know each of you and we hope that you will all feel the same excitement we do in getting to know us as well.

I am so thankful to be able to speak to you a little today about service. One of my all time favorite scriptures can be found in Mosiah 2: 17- "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Time and time again we are taught this lesson. There truly are not many other ways that one can grow closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior than by serving and at certain times, allowing to be served.

President Spencer W. Kimball said,
I have learned that it is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but also we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves. In the midst of the miracle of serving there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves.

We live in a very selfish time. We are bombarded with so many different things and can often be consumed by the
I- need to _______. It can become seriously challenging and overwhelming. It is at these times I need a huge boost of spirit and one of the fastest ways to receive the spirit in your life is to forget the I- and see what you can do for someone else. This is called service and it is the swiftest high I can imagine one can ever possess in this life.

I am not very proud to admit this, but I used to be a very prideful and selfish person, I wasn
t horrible or mean, or prideful in an outward way, but I didnt like people to know I was struggling. I didnt like to share that I needed help, and if help was offered to me, I didnt like taking it. Nearly four years ago our family suffered some very difficult losses. We lost a baby when I was 17 weeks pregnant. We were not only battling with the heavy loss of losing our baby, but I was recovering from a near death experience and was very weak. Man, I had no idea what service was until those very dark and trying days. I didnt know what service was until complete strangers were sending us cards of sympathy. It wasnt until flowers and countless meals showed up on our doorstep and when women came to fold my laundry, and scrub my floors and to watch my two children and another son we were fostering at the time so I could rest. It wasnt until I recovered physically from these events that I realized how valuable service is and was to me. I realized at this time in my life more than ever before that allowing yourself to accept service, and giving others the chance to practice this divine art was just as important a lesson as giving service. I have never been more humbled or felt closer to my Father in Heaven or my Savior than I did during these times when angels passed through the walls of our home in the disguise of friends and strangers and women with mops and baby wipes and hugs and shoulders and tissues.

I promised myself that we would do all we could in the future to,
“Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”

Going through trial refines us and better prepares us to serve others in the future. It gives us empathy and an awareness to reach out to touch the lives of those who are suffering and brings us closer to the Savior in a depth that couldnt be reached otherwise.

President Spencer W. Kimball also said in this same vein:
God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdomSo often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!

I love how President Kimball talks about service. It is so obvious that we need to be on a vigil as it were, seeking out what we can do each and every day to conquer those small and simple mundane acts of deliberate service. Brilliant!

I love preparing for a talk. For me, it is as if I get to have a weeklong conversation with Heavenly Father about the topic. He has shown me so many examples of service in the last week. Our family has recently gone through another amazingly painful trial. It has been very difficult channeling through, but I am amazed at the love my Father in Heaven has for us, and how often times through this trial it has been the hands of those around us who have helped to strengthen us. Sometimes it is very hard but one of the most recent examples of service came through an email just yesterday from an old friend which simply stated:
I have willing hands what would love to help in any way.

How beautiful is that statement? Look at your own hands. How willing are they to help lift up our brothers and our sisters? Are they ready to love one another and serve one another as our Savior would?

I want to share my simple testimony of service with you. There truly is no greater way to grow closer to our Father in Heaven and to His Son, than to serve his children, and when appropriate, to humble ourselves and allow ourselves to be served by those sent to do such a sacred work.

I have seen it borne witness in my life countless times. I have seen service bless my life both when I receive it, but more importantly when I give it. It is my prayer and my hope that each of us can make it a point to increase our level of service, to choose even one small, simple and perhaps mundane thing each day to do for someone else. Even the smallest things, like holding a door open, or even a simple smile can lighten the heaviest of hearts and bring the greatest joy to the giver and to the receiver. Like the words of one of my favorite Hymns, Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad? Made someone feel glad? If not I have failed indeed. It is my hope that we can each wake up and do something more each day to serve those in our lives.

Our Savior lives. He loves us. Our Father in Heaven is aware of each of us. Allow Him to express His love to you, by serving Him by serving others.

Let the Kids

I am SO excited to be featured on Let the kids today. This is my first -big- feature. Would you mind going and spreading a little love for me? I think it is kind of a big deal. Also, many thanks to Julie and her family for letting me capture such a magical time in their lives and for letting me share this feature as well.




Monday, September 12, 2011

A Mustard Skirt Upcycled into a Dress for Memms

Family photos are officially coming up around the corner. I wasn't sure that I even wanted them this year. I went back and forth, back and forth, and then the last few weeks I have felt a bit better about the idea of having them done, so I decided to start choosing some colors that I might like to wear. I am pretty much obsessed with mustard yellow right now. I bought the skirt below for myself a few weeks back and have really enjoyed the pop of color it has brought into my wardrobe. However, I didn't want to wear this skirt for our family photos because I found a super cute navy skirt for me and an adorable mustard colored belt to match my favorite heels. I then had this strong desire to find a mustard colored dress for Memms as I had found a cute little navy blue number for Millz on eBay. I dare you to try to find a mustard colored dress for a six year old. It is next to impossible unless you go to some specialty bridal store and pay out the nose. So, I had this thought, "What if I buy that same skirt and make a dress for Memms?"

As you can see the skirt was $19 from Walmart. They have this adorable new line of clothing at some of their stores called: Bella Bird. I bought the biggest sized skirt they had, which was XL. I wish oh wish they had a 2XL as it would have given me just a bit more extra fabric to make my sleeves a bit longer (You will see what I mean as the post continues.

I purchased some needles specifically for sewing tulle and satin. I also bought matching thread and a zipper. Please note: I did NOT use the zipper. I will be returning it to the store because I did not end up needing it. (Are you crazy? If I don't need to set a zipper I am NOT going to. This equals a level of difficulty that I can't even handle.) I was also going to research sleeves via google, but during my trip to Walmart to get the skirt, thread, needles, etc, I came across this super CHEAP pattern with a dress that the bodice was straight across and sleeves exactly as I had envisioned them. SO, I bought the pattern, only to see that the sleeves were basically a rectangle with slightly rounded ends. The pattern was only $2 so I feel it was worth it to have the photo to reference as well as the pattern to cut from. So, in essence, this dress cost me $25 plus 90 minutes of my time.

I was ready to get started. Now, let me tell you something about me and my sewing style. You know Moosh in Indy? Well, I was lucky to know Casey before there was a Moosh and a Vivi and before there was ever word of Indy. She and I met at Beehive Clothing where they sew all of the temple clothing, and where my religion sews their garments. I am sure you have heard of garments, if not, feel free to read that link a little more in depth. There is nothing to fancy about them, but they have to be sewn, and I was a seamstress there for a few years. A place Casey lovingly refers to as, "The Celestial Sweatshop." If you know nothing about line sewing, basically one person sews one operation then sends the articles of clothing down the line and the next person does the next step. Needles are unheard of, and you sew as fast as humanly possible because you work on piece rate. I became a mad sewer, and a good sewer, but also a lazy one and I lack sufficient patience to be a perfect sewer. It works for me, it may not work for you. Which is why I see I am missing a few steps in my photo tutorial. Forgive me?

Now, down to business. See all the layers of this skirt? I decided (which isn't pictured) to try the skirt on Memms and pin it about 1/2" away from her body leaving the existing zipper as a side enclosure under her arm, with the excess fabric ready to be cut off. So, after pinning the excess 1/2" from her other side (side opposite the zipper) I made the brave jump to cut off the excess. (This is the portion I used to make the sleeves.) I didn't have much left over, which is why I wish there had been a 2XL skirt so I would have had a bit more sleeve material to work with. Also, I should mention Memms is about a 6/7 in little girls so this skirt worked perfectly for her size.

Here is the skirt after I cut off the excess. You can see on the left the original tag, which was in the middle of the skirt, and the original side zipper that I kept on the side which will now go just under Memms' armpit. Are you with me? We are looking at the inside where the tag is and the lining.

I then put right sides together and sewed her up.

Here you can see the new side seam. I sewed the lining and then the outer shell. This fabric frays a lot, and since I don't have a serger I left a wider seam allowance and then zig zag stitched on the outside of the seam to help keep it all together.

Next, I cut out the sleeves. I used the size 7 sleeve pattern. This is where I wish I had lengthened the sleeves a few more inches because: 1: I wasn't thinking, I went cut happy, but 2: I would not have had enough fabric to cut them longer anyway, so it is what it is at this point. I cut the sleeves, then unpicked the tulle and removed it from the base fabric.

The other thing I wished I had bought was stabilizer. I only had some very thick stabilizer on hand, and hindsight I would have ran back to the store to get a thinner version. The thicker worked, but is quite stiff for this thin material. I decided to use stabilizer since the sleeve material was SO thin, I was worried about fraying, and since I don't have a serger, I wanted a little more stability. Would I use it again? Probably not. I would forgo it. Anyway, again, I learned a lot.

In the top photo you can see where I ironed the stabilizer to the backside of the sleeve, and in the bottom photo you can see where I put right sides together and sewed along the seam, again using the zig zag stitch outside my straight stitch.

This is where I regretted my mother of all thicknesses stabilizer. It was a beast to turn inside out, however, I made it and then pressed the sleeve flat leaving the seam right on the edge. In this photo the seam is on the left hand side.

Instead of machine gathering the sleeve, I just hand pleated the sleeve in three pleats and then pinned it, careful to lay it out next to the dress shell so that the pleats went in opposite directions and that the sleeves were facing the right way for when they went on the dress. In this case, the seam of the sleeve faces Memms' neck once it is sewed on, so that the outside of the sleeve is a little bit flared out creating more of a 'sleeve' like shoulder.

Remember how I said I am not a patient sewer? Add having to tutorialize putting the sleeves on, and well, you don't get those photos. Basically to add the sleeves, I tried the dress on Memms again, then eyeballed about where the sleeves needed to hit in the front and in the back. I then pinned them in place with safety pins. Then, I unpicked the seams that were the top of the skirt just enough so that I could slide the sleeve ends in and sew a straight line across so that they looked smooth and as if the 'dress' was bought that way.

SO neat huh?

The dress wasn't laying superbly flat so I got out a little more stabilizer and sewed a piece across the front so it lays a lot more flat now. I think this happened because the sleeves were so heavy and bulky it was pulling the fabric too much. Also, this is where I would have made the sleeves a little longer so that it gave a little more in this area. These photos were taken before I added the stabilizer line across the top and it indeed lays a lot flatter than these photos show.

Anyway, it looks adorable on her and she LOVES it. She can't wait to wear it to school and to church and is dying that I won't let her wear it until after family photos. (I am so so mean aren't I?)

Here it is finished. Thank you Walgreen's for cutting my negatives once again and making my color look whack. (Blergh.) I was just too excited to share these with you, I sent Hubbs to Walgreen's after I finished so I could share them with you before they got lost in the shuffle of life.

The funnest $25 I have spent in a long time. I can't wait for family photos, they will mean just a little bit more this year than they ever have before.

All shot on a Nikon F100, 50mm 1.4 lens at 1.4 on Fuji Superia 800 Film . Processed at Walgreen's (not their finest scanning job. Blech.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beautiful words that touched my soul.

Shot on a Nikon F100, 50mm 1.4 at f/2.8 on Kodak Portra 400 Film

I woke up this morning feeling heavy. I made the choice not to get online the entire holiday weekend. This weekend was just for me, for my kids, for my husband. No outside noises or secret competitions. This was for us. We did not do anything grand or spectacular. Hubbs and I spent Saturday at a couples retreat. It was so nice to be with him, alone, together, getting to know one another again. Sunday was just like any other, and Labor Day was no different. Nothing spectacular, just quiet, thoughtful, togetherness.

I woke up this morning to all of the 'noise' again. Literally hundreds of emails to sift through, 50+ Facebook notifications, work. The stress was just so heavy. When this happens I cry. I feel the weight too much to carry and this is the time that I long for my life to be as it was. I miss my very best friend in the entire world. I miss the relationship I had with my husband where I could just run and cry on his shoulder and heave heavy sobs and ugly cries of pain to him because it all just seems too much to handle at this very moment in time. So, today, I cried alone. I sobbed over the dishes as I loaded them into the dishwasher. I cried into my baby's shoulder as she wanted me to, "Hold you, hold you, hold you!" I cried and I tried not to let my kids see.

This? Well, I will get through this. I always do. It will just take a day, and some deep breathes and life will carry on as it always does. The house will be messy tomorrow, I will have more work to do, I will still be trying with all of my being to find my best friend again, to break down every and all walls that need to be broken to be with him again. That journey will begin anew, but for now, I wallow. I cry. I hurt. I am pained. I am sad. I am feeling greatly alone, so alone that I was brought to my knees begging my Heavenly Father to "Please take this pain away from me for just this moment." You know, I have a great relationship with that guy. Almost immediately the thought came, "Go read that post going around on Facebook." To which I responded, "Of all the things going on right at this moment, the last thing I have time for is Facebook." Again the prompting, "Go and read." And I did. I read, and I cried, and felt a reprieve.

I encourage you to go and read as well: We Must See Past What it Seems...

Probably one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read in my life. This is what I needed. I needed it today, yesterday and tomorrow. I needed a sign around my neck that says, "I know you are hurting with everything you have going on in your life, and that it is hard. I am hurting too. Let's be gentle to one another. You are not alone, I am not alone, it will be easier if we can do this together." It would probably say a lot of other things as well and I would end up needing a wheelbarrow to carry the sign around because it would turn into a novel longer than Anna Karenina.

I feel stronger. I feel like I can now make it through the day and accomplish just a bit more than I thought I could when I woke up. I have already. I am not alone on this walk of sorrows, this thing we call life. I am being guided on my journey. I am being accompanied by so many people wearing similar signs and sorrows. Together we will find the joy. That is my hope anyway. From where I stand at the moment it seems so hard to believe and trust, yet I am taking the leap of faith in knowing that it is there.

Until then,
"Be gentle with me. I am doing my best."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wright Family

All shot on a Contax 645, 80mm 2.0 at f/2.8, on Kodak Portra 400 Film

I love photographing families. Especially my own. I felt so lucky when my aunt asked me to photograph hers just before her second son left for college and before he leaves for his LDS mission in a few months, and they won't see him for two years.

I adore photographing the real side of people, the stuff you want to remember. I love the laughter, the closed eyes. I love to capture the essence and vibrant life that encompasses the word family. It is so much more than looking pretty for the camera.

If you would like me to capture your family in a similar way, I would love to meet you. Drop me a line: kimorlandini@gmail.com

View the entire session and order prints here.