Creativity Tell All // Chelsea White of Maderas Golf Club

Chelsea is such a beautiful soul. I met her years ago at a wedding she was coordinating. She is grace under pressure. One of the coolest experiences we've had together is when Alex hired me to photograph their proposal at the Marine Room in La Jolla. I fell in love with both of them in that moment. I know she will bring that joy as a wedding specialist at Maderas Golf Club

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

You would think that planning weddings and events every day would mean that I would avoid doing it in my free time, but the complete opposite is true. I love planning dinner parties and summer BBQs at my house. The satisfaction I feel when I see all my friends and family enjoying the food and details that my husband and I put together for one of our get-togethers is all it takes to remind me why I love what I do. That’s why I strive to make sure all my clients get to see that reaction from their guests on their special day.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I am absolutely a creature of habit. My alarm goes off at 6:30 every morning. My mastiff Oden comes over for his morning snuggles, i.e. slobber kisses, and then I roll out of bed to have my morning java with my husband (this part is key; no matter what the agenda for the day, I always crave a warm cup of coffee to start it off).

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Do it! It’s so rewarding and beautiful! The details are crucial. I think after awhile some people in this industry find that weddings can be a little repetitive. When you’ve seen one blush themed colored ballroom, you’ve seen them all. But here’s the thing - it’s our jobs to be detectives and find out the little details that make each of our couples unique. It’s those details that are going to cut through the chaos of the day and make it unforgettable.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

I went to college to learn the art of advertising. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t until after moving back home and waitressing to support myself that I was forced to really evaluate what would make me happy in a career. One day I was at home thinking about the things in life that I really enjoy; entertaining friends and family, making and enjoying great food, meeting new people and pretty things like flowers, art, love, etc. Then I had this epiphany; like a full blown, stop you in your tracks moment. I wanted to be a wedding planner.

What season inspires you most?

My knee jerk reaction is to say Spring, but if I really think about it, Autumn is my favorite. I spent the majority of childhood in Wisconsin where the change in season from summer to fall was truly magical. There is something so refreshing about crisp air, leaves crunching under your boots and a hot cup of coffee (all the greatest things involve coffee.)

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?

I can’t think of any one particular moment off the top of my head, though I do recall that when I first started out, I thought it was always better to have an answer to everything, even if it wasn’t 100% true. I’m pretty sure a few mothers of the bride and grooms had their corsages on the wrong wrist for quite a while.

I’ve learned that there is no shame in saying, “You know what, I’m not sure the correct answer for that, but let me find out for you.”

What is the best advice you have been given?

Be yourself and don’t be afraid to say no.

What is your dream project?

I’d love to create a successful blog that people actually want to read, or write a novel. I’ve always loved to write. If I’m honest with myself, it’s probably the way I communicate best. The tricky part is figuring out what to write about that you think people would be interested in. Or maybe the hard part is just deciding not to care if anyone isn’t. I’m working on it.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

I have the most spastic collection of Pandora stations ever! My mood and energy always reflect in my music choices, so it’s not unusual to hear Norah Jones if you walk by my office in the morning, “Country Love Songs” if you walk by in the afternoon and “Today’s Top Hits” if I’m about to head out for a wedding. You know it’s a really good day, though, when I’m blasting the Justin Timberlake Radio.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?

Gardening and finishing the puzzle that I started last weekend. Life can be hectic, so I relish the moments where I can zone out, but still get something accomplished.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

I’d take off a year and plan an around-the-world excursion with my husband! I have this sometimes overwhelming urge to travel and I’d love to have the opportunity to let go of adult responsibilities for a bit and just get a taste of what the world has to offer.

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Palm Springs Photo Festival : Julie Blackmon

“[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”"

Julie Blackmon is one of the mad ones.  She's kind and brilliant.  I love how her mind can create such layered stories.  I've admired her for so long and it was a dream come true to take a workshop from her.   I had wanted to take Julie's class last year and we couldn't quite fit it in the schedule.  So finally at long last I was sitting in the courtyard of the Korakia with a handful of other artists and Julie.  

Julie is a fine art portrait artist and I would say her work can best be described as a satirical look at domestic life in the midwest.  She draws inspiration from so many painters and places it was so nice to get to be in her brain and see how she creates her magic.  I hope some of her magic rubs off on me and adds a new ingredient to my creative vision.  Isn't that what we are all really looking for?  I know I'm always looking to add color, movement, a new sense of time and space to my work.  She's really inspired by 17th Century Dutch and Flemish paintings of domestic life.  My photographic journey has always been fueled by paintings as well, mostly Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and the Bay Area Figurative Movement. I think our shared love of paintings is one of the things that makes her work so compelling to me.  As a teacher she's laid back and cool and really open to sharing her process with us.  She has a beautiful color palette and a certain optimism that I'm drawn to. If you are thinking of taking a workshop I would highly suggest Julie's.  The class also came with the added bonus of meeting some really cool photographers.  The critiques were a lot of fun, I loved seeing everyone's work.  I left wanting to shoot every single day and not wanting to do any adulting - only fun.  If I'm honest it took me a few days to find my balance again ha ha.

 Here are a few of my impressions of Julie Blackmon's class Day 1 at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.

xoxo Suzanne

4 Things // Hey Hey Summer

Hey hey summer, goodbye June gloom =)

Dreaming of: Body surfing with Maryanne. I want the thrill of the waves washing over me bringing summer into my body and mind. - Suzanne

Photographing: My first homecoming. Mike has photographed a few, but this was my first time capturing someone get off a plane and come home to their family. It was so thrilling to  hang out with Katie and her 2 and 4 year old daughters waiting for their dad to finally come home. What a joyous moment. I felt so lucky to get to share it with them. - Suzanne

A corporate event at Estancia. Sometimes an event can be as grand as a wedding and it was fun to apply my wedding skills to a weekday event at one of my favorite places. - Mike

Hiking: I finally got one of those toddler backpacks to take Gaidin hiking just in time for his third birthday. Adventure is ahead for us. - Mike

Watching: John Lovell on YouTube. He's an interesting guy who links health, fitness, self defense and morals all in one. 

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Creativity Tell All // Amanda Thorne

Amanda Thorne owns the amazing Thorne Artistry, a mobile, creative styling company based here in San Diego. I love Amanda. She's kind and such a boss. I share office space with her in Mission Hills and it's always inspiring to see her work. 

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?
It sounds hokey, but I find inspiration every day. Just taking a walk or driving home from work, I'll notice a cool tree or how the rain has made everything in San Diego look like Ireland. I'll think to myself, "Wow! I really need to find a bright yellow dress to shoot on that hillside. Some berry tones would be cool to tie in, maybe by doing a bold lip or some fun flowers!" That's how my mind usually works; a mile a minute with ideas that I'd like to explore and visions that I want to create. It can be overwhelming sometimes. I get anxious if I can't get them all out!

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?
I romanticize everything including my coffee in the morning. It's definitely a ritual in a sense that I use the same mug and have everything set up the night before so it's ready for me in the morning. It's a must that I wake up to make my coffee before I get to my emails. I honestly can't work and feel complete without having some good music and really strong coffee from my favorite mug that I bought (for someone else - whoops!) in Sayulita, Mexico.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?
Prepare to do a lot of grunt work in the beginning and some thankless jobs to gain the experience that is so crucial. I'm a believer that whatever you want to do in life you do by jumping in head-first and learning on the job and gaining as much knowledge as you can. Shadow someone that you respect, ask a ton of questions, do a lot of research, think about what makes you stand out, and network as much as possible! Show up everywhere and meet as many people as you can. This one can be daunting, but it is so valuable. I always gain some insight or make an important connection by showing up and just saying hello. I let people know that I'm here and interested in not only what I'm working on, but what they're working on!

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?
Subconsciously, yes, but practically no. I've been doing styling since I was five years old; making clothes for my dolls, doing my friends hair and makeup at ballet, and even cutting hair in college when my friends had no money. While I was in college, I even tapped into styling work to pay for school, but I was pretty focused on my degree (radio, tv and film). I ended up becoming a radio DJ for over 10 years before the light bulb went off that I needed to go back to my true passion that was there from the start! Sometimes I'm so laser-focused that I miss the obvious signs that are there all along. I'm so thankful that my husband finally pointed out the obvious and pushed me to start my business.

What season inspires you most?
Summer, always. I'm happier when the sun is out and that generates my creative juices.

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?
Everything about when I was starting out was embarrassing. No one knew that I had this other life and styling background so I was basically starting with nothing and had to prove myself on every level imaginable. People that knew me from radio thought I was crazy for getting out of the business, and creatives in my new industry wondered how in the world I ended up in their world, and if I had any right to be there. There were a lot of doubters and even some haters. Luckily, those people actually drove me to be better and gave me the motivation to step up my game. I'm always pushing myself and trying to improve and that's a big bonus when you're jumping into the unknown. There are sharks in any profession. It's how you handle them that matters. Don't get me wrong, I definitely had my share of days that I curled up into a ball crying and thought I made a huge mistake. Thank God, the important people who do love and support me always talked me off the ledge and got my head straight again. 

What is the best advice you have been given?
Turn others negatives into your positive. I might have made that up just now, but I like it and I think it resonates.

What is your dream project?
Working on a photo shoot in another country - Paris or Africa pop into my head. I'm already dreaming up the crazy dress that I would create and the avant-garde hair and makeup that I would do. Oh man, how fun would that be!?

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?
I love New Politics 'Harlem' and anything from Grouplove and Vampire Weekend. For my mellow days, anything from Royksopp, Sigur Ros and Bon Iver.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?
I'm always obsessed with vintage shopping, road trips, and bad late night TV.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?
I would go back to Europe and take my entire family to visit all of the friends that I met when I lived in Australia. I'd retrace some of the adventures that I've already had and add as many new ones as possible. I'd also plan on seeing a lot of live music in the nordic countries (I love electronica!) and taking part in the Summer Solstice in Sweden.

Lots of love,
Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers