On The Desire to Create Your Own Life

I have desired to create my life, outside of the norm, for years now. Working in the restaurant  gave me the construct to stay at home and write, submit articles to online magazines, create a profile and a tone for myself. It allowed me to be creative until it didn’t anymore; when I took on a role with more responsibility. 

That role has given me confidence in my vision. It has given me the maturity to follow my dreams, it has lit a fire in my soul to book as many events as possible. That job showed me that “drive”, “savvy”, “creative vision”, were already words in my vocabulary. This job has shown me that I can create a business, even when it is a little harder. While I have gotten better and better at that job, my wish to write, photograph, create, slowly dissipated. 

Many creatives might be able to understand this feeling; the hamster wheel, the maniac moments where a million ideas come to you, but the limitation in time to execute them all. To some, those who do not live in a world where you just want to make more beautiful, this might seem like it’s just an excuse. Trust me, sometimes it is. 

A few weeks ago, I was told that I am directionless. I’ve published stories I wrote on a whim, I designed t-shirts, I write on this blog with such a lack of consistency that I wonder if anyone will even read this, I love photography, interior design, and I love the event planning. Exhausting, right? 

For a moment, I believed this was right. I graduated college, and never established a full career for myself. Event planning has been the most consistent job I have had, and yet, I still want for more. For a moment, I allowed this thought to cloud my mind, until I realized one simple thing.

I’m not directionless, my direction is to create a beautiful world around me. My direction is to create, express, play around with ideas, and what’s even better is that I follow through with these creative dreams.

I published two children’s books not to “be famous” or “get rich”. I published them to show myself that I can do it. To motivate myself to sit down, write the story, edit the story, design the characters, live with the characters in my world. And, if you think Audrey won’t have a sequel the real story I wanted to write you’re crazy. Today, I live with two other characters; they’re older, going through life as a journey together, in parallel worlds that always connect. I can write their story confidently to because I wrote Audrey’s and Pete’s. 

I designed a t-shirt because it’s a great fucking saying and I might as well be the one to create it before Forever 21 steals my design. 

I write on this blog because writing is an outlet. Even more, I have loved being able to read back on some of my more special moments. The struggle with blogging for me is the line of personal I want to reach.The digital world has created a lot of ability to “share”, and as I get older, I continue to curate what I share. Privacy isn’t the worst thing. 

And, lastly, there’s photography. A few years ago I became a certified photographer. At work, I photograph the events, I stage photos for instagram content, when with my family, I try to capture moments. It’s the perfect way to share the way I see the world. In August, I received a recommendation to shoot a family. That shoot has led to three more family shoots. And, this time, I thought to myself “you obviously can photograph people in a unique way. Let’s do this the right way.” Which has led to my recent decision to enroll in a course titled “Business for Photography”. 

It’s not to say I’m leaving my job. It’s just to say that I am looking at my future. If I’m looking to create my world, photography is the best outlet to do so. It allows me to create, it allows me to stage, it allows me to be in event settings, and it allows me to live in the beautiful world I see. Enrolling in school allows me to learn the correct way, to build a business slowly, without the pressure to build the business quickly because we need the money. Enrolling in school excites me; my craving of knowledge fulfilled. 

So, to all the people who might feel directionless; you’re not. You’re off the beaten path and that’s entirely okay. Continue down your path until you feel fulfilled. 

A Typical Restaurant Week Experience

 It’s Restaurant Week season here, once again, and all those old familiar feelings are beginning to arise.For those unfamiliar, Restaurant Week is a concept created to encourage people to try different restaurants. At its’ inception, each restaurant paid the Restaurant Week company a certain amount of money to participate, created a $27.95 sample menu, all in the hopes that new people would come in, and even better, come back for full prices. 

The concept is beautiful; help introduce people to new places they otherwise might not have tried. Unfortunately, the concept and execution are in stark contrast. Deal hunters prey on Restaurant Week. Our usual clientele hides in fear as these new predators enter the market. And, boy do they throw you for doozies. While I could go on and on about this, instead, I’d like to introduce you to what it’s truly like. May I introduce… ::drumroll::

A Typical Conversation with a Restaurant Week Customer:

“Oh, the restaurant is VERY dark. I’m going to have a hard time seeing the menu. Oh my, is that a staircase? We are NOT going upstairs. Excuse me? Did you hear me? I MUST be seated downstairs.”

“Oh, the menu is very small. Is this all the options I have? Oh my, an up-charge for the steak? I once got a steak for $21 at Outback with a salad! I can’t believe their steak is $35. That’s just unreasonable.”

“Okay, are sodas included? What about coffee? Oh, it’s not? Okay then… I guess I’ll just take some lemon for my water. And, can we have more bread?”

“This bread is delicious. It looks like we’re going to need more butter. Can we get more butter? This just isn’t enough for two people.”

“alright, we’re ready to order now. I’ll have the tomatoes and mozzarell (*yes, i know that’s spelled incorrectly. However, every want to be italian on Long Island calls it “mozzarell”) and, I guess for my entree, oh, I don’t know… I’m in between the chicken and the risotto. Ya know what, I’ll go for the risotto.Yeah, that’s what I’ll get.” 

“Well, this first course was very good. Ya know what though, the portion was a little small. Oh, a “sample menu”, huh? So, you’re saying your regular menu portion is larger? Well, I mean, I guess if that’s how you want to be.”

Can I get a diet coke? No ice, and a lime?”

“Oh, wow. Look at these steak knives. They have some weight to them. Excuse me, hon, can we get more bread when you get a chance? Oh, AND butter! Just bring two butters!” 

“Well, this risotto is just very creamy. Almost too creamy. This shrimp is delicious. This is just out of the world. I’m very glad you paid the extra $5 for the steak. That steak is the best steak I’ve ever had.”

“Are refills free? Oh, good- at least something is. Can I get a refill?” 

“Alright, what’s for dessert? Mhm, chocolate cake. Or cheesecake! This is just a very difficult decision. You know what, I’ll go with the cheesecake. Oh, wait, no. I’ll go for the chocolate cake!”

“This cake was very decadent. Can we get the check now?” 

“That was very good. You’re just going to have to roll me out of here. I am SO. Stuffed.”

 

Just imagine that conversation, over and over and over and over again. While I’m glad the restaurant is busy, man oh man, do I miss my normal clientele. 

Wish me luck this weekend. 

 

 

A Weekend in Montreal

A Few weeks ago, Mark and I looked at each other and realized we didn’t have anything planned for our anniversary. Initially, I was going to throw a giant house warming party because it felt like throwing a second wedding. After thinking about it for a while, planning it, telling everyone, I decided to cancel it.  If we’re being honest, it’s because the thought of things getting spilled on my perfect new sofa gave me anxiety. Something happens to you as you get older. I think it’s called being an adult. We decided we were going to go to Montreal. It’s a short drive from Long Island, it’s foreign, it’s creative, and, there’s just so much to do there. Even better, it’s not prone to hurricanes. 

We woke up early Saturday and began our drive up there. My favorite part of the drive was through the Adirondacks. Not to sound basic, however, the foliage was unbelievable. I gazed at the trees in awe; it’s incredible what nature can do when we allow it to. How natural vines grow  around the rocks, or the vividness of their leaves. I could have pulled over and just stared at the magnificent sight all day. Montreal (1 of 14)

We arrived in Montreal around 6:30, and, decided to grab a drink, some food and just relax while we plan our next day. The last time we were in Montreal we weren’t able to do “a lot” because we were primarily there to go to a concert. This time, I wanted to enjoy all the spots while also taking in more of the culture. 

A little fun fact; I have this habit of only bringing my 35mm lens when traveling. While I know I won’t be capturing some of the details I would with a telephoto lens, I find that you’re able to enjoy the smaller details of the city because you’re forced to see them. Plus, the perspective is most accurate to human vision, so it’s fun to capture “what I’m seeing”. I’m sure travel bloggers, and other photographers will disagree. To each their own, right?

Anyway, on Sunday we did everything! Here’s a run down of our day & how we planned it out to hit everything:

  1. We started our day at Fairmont Bagels. It’s this hole in the wall bagel shop where you can see the bakers hand roll each bagel. The bagels were dense, soft, and they just give a cream cheese packet that you can dip into. Would I say it was the “best” bagel I ever had. No, but, that’s because I’m from Long Island. However, I would say it’s the SECOND best bagel I ever had, and that’s high praise. 

fairmont

2. After Fairmont Bagels, we headed over to The Basilica. Church was in session in the early part of the morning, but, we knew starting over there was a great center point for the rest of our day. This is my second time at this basilica but it was only my first time going inside. Having been to the Sistine Chapel, I thought I had seen the most beautiful church in the world, but, I was wrong. I will never forget walking in and just whispering “wow” to myself. It is unlike anything I had ever seen. The detail on each wall, the hand painted patterns, the French gothic theme, the detail just for the sake of detail is overwhelming. I lit a candle inside, said a prayer for my family, and will forever cherish being able to see something so beautiful. Here’s the outside. Admittedly, my inside shots don’t do it justice.

Montreal (7 of 14)

3.Afterwards, we walked down to Old Port of Montreal. It was a cute little area and walking with the breeze was refreshing. I also loved seeing art just for the sake of art. If there’s one thing I want to take from this trip it’s that beauty for the sake of beauty, expression for the sake of expression, doing for the sake of doing, is a healthy lifestyle that allows you to live your most fulfilled life. Montreal gave me a breath of fresh air I didn’t know I needed. From old port we walked up to St. Paul Street.  St. Paul Street is a touristy as it can get, but, no one can deny its’ beauty. I love the cobblestone street and found humor in that their manhole covers were “Made in America.” A bonus perk; it’s where we met Jeff Coffin 3 years ago. 

4. We finished our day at the Botanical Gardens on the other side of town. It probably wasn’t the best time of year to see a lot of these flowers. However, one of our favorite parts was seeing the poisonous plant section. Apparently, there’s a US hay that causes hay fever. Of course, I touched it so wish me luck.

 Anyway, here are a few more pictures from our adventurous day. It truly made for the perfect weekend away. 

 

Montreal (8 of 14) Montreal (5 of 14) Montreal (3 of 14) Montreal (9 of 14) Montreal (11 of 14)

Montreal (13 of 14) Montreal (14 of 14)

 

Montreal (2 of 14)

(we saw this double rainbow while drive 100km an hour (aka, 63 mph). There wasn’t a spot to pull over so I did the best I can. I know it’s not “perfect”, but, to me, pulling over the border to this beautiful greeting was a sign of good fortune ahead. So, I’ll always cherish it.)