Women Worth Knowing

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Getting Old Gracefully--Or Not

Posted by Lane on June 14, 2011 at 3:37 PM Comments comments (4)

by Irene Ferris


Here’s the thing. When Lane asked me to write a little somethin’-somethin’ for her blog, I  was pretty excited.  I thought to myself, “What a great opportunity!  Lane’s blog is a great place to read about strong, self-confident, fabulous women and what makes them tick!”

 

So I started working on something that’s been weighing on my mind these past few years—getting older. I started with the theme about how fabulous getting older was and how it was only improving me, like a fine wine or an obscure, smelly cheese.

 

But the more I wrote, the more the inner me rebelled.  You see, I hate getting older.  I don’t like it one bit, and no matter how many times I say in the mirror, “Wine! Cheese! Classic cars!” it just doesn’t take.

 

Here’s the thing about getting older in our superficial society:  If you’re a woman, it sucks. We’ve all heardit:  Men get distinguished, women getold.  Men who marry much younger women are lucky bastards; Women who marry much younger men are predatory cradle robbers.  And it seems that if a woman isn’t willing to undergo painful and potentially disfiguring cosmetic procedures, or spend obscene amounts of money on anti-aging products, she should go hide away so that people don’t have to see the disgusting results of someone ‘letting themselves go’ a/k/a the natural process of aging.

 

Sure, there are a few women who buck this trend.  Hell, even I want to be the cream filling in a Helen Mirren/Susan Sarandon sandwich, but those are the outliers, not the norm.  

 

Now, this is not to say there aren’t some upsides to getting older.  I mean, the increased sex drive is nice. Very, very nice.  The learned ability to properly not ‘give a fuck’ about irrelevant drama is also great.  The grounding that age and experience give when dealing with challenges that would have been insurmountable twenty years ago is also pretty darn good.  (God, Isound like the Jewish activist in Life ofBrian, don’t I? “…but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?”)

 

So as I was working on this essay about how fabulous/not fabulous it is to get older, I started playing with one of the random whiskers that popped up on my chin and my mood grew even fouler.  Those started popping up around forty, FYI. Mark your calendar.  There’s nothing like sitting there, reaching up to touch your chin or upper lip in thought and you feel this hard, wiry hair that feels about an inch thick and a foot long.  And after you pluck it, nine more grow. Damned whisker hydras.    

 

Then my mother calls to tell me about how her new boyfriend is going to pay for her Botox and spider vein treatments, and how romantic was that?  (Hint: It’s not. He’s an ass.) And then it hit me.

 

I’m getting older.  I can’t do anything about that.  I refuse to have someone stick a needle in my face to get rid of a wrinkle.  I earned those wrinkles with laughter and tears (and irritation with my mother, but those specific wrinkles only show up when she’s around and I try to limit that exposure).  Those spider veins came from carrying my daughter sixteen years ago, and I wouldn’t trade even a millimeter of those veins for one moment without her.  The not-quite-so dewy skin is sun damaged from spending days in the park, walking on the beach, picnicking with my family or just enjoying life outdoors.

 

Yeah, I’m older but I’m still me.  And while I still haven’t reached a state of détente with my reproductive system, I can still look forward to my old nemesis, my uterus, running out of steam at some point in the (hopefully near )future.  And when my kid goes to college in two years, I can have all the sex I want, any time I want, anywhere I wantand I don’t have to worry about her freaking out about it. And when I retire I can learn how to weld.  Don’t ask me why but I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that.

 

 You know what?  Screw society.  Women are fucking fabulous at any age, and we should never forget it. 

 

Go forth and blind the world with your fabulosity, bitches! 


For more of Irene, read her honest, sometimes scathing, always entertaining LiveJournal: Crevette.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When Nothing Is Working--Not Even You

Posted by Lane on June 13, 2011 at 3:21 PM Comments comments (6)

by Elspeth Grafton

 

This blog was supposed to be about gratitude and patience. Sorry to disappoint, but it’s not. I am having a bad day – well, to be honest, it’s been a really shitty week – and I just can’t fake it. I read through the blog about gratitude and patience I wrote a couple of days ago before sending it intoto the site, and it all rang false – because this week it was. It is. I tried to fix it, and nothing worked. I tried rewriting it, and I felt everything I was saying was a lie.

 

If I had sent it out, it would have been a lie, because today that’s not my reality.

 

Today I feel the pressure. Today, I feel the pressure so acutely, it’s hard to breathe. Today, you’re getting the raw goods, because that’s exactly how I’m feeling. Raw to the bone. There is an element of embarrassment to this blog, because I’m usually the strong, ever-positive force. Today I am neither – it’s something I’m hoping to regain by laying it bare. I’m human and I’m having a really human moment; well, more than ‘moment’ actually. The ‘have a good cry for an hour, then get on with it’ voice has been on repeat. The time-limit breakdown game I’ve been playing with myself for months hasn’t worked. My big-girl pants are nowhere to be found.

 

Someone dear to me whose opinion I value very highly, told me that in my last blog for WWK (The Great Job Search 2011) he felt I had sugar coated how bad things have gotten. :: nods :: Yep, I think I did. Things have been heinously bad, and it’s been the hardest, most stressful time I have gone through since the loss of a family member a few years ago. But again, it’s my nature to try to put positive spins on everything. So when I’m unable to get to the place of positivity (yes, that word again), I spiral down fast. And I’m spiraling. Hopefully getting it down on paper and out of my head will help stop that cycle.

 

I’ve heard over and over during the last few months, ‘you’re doing everything you can’, ‘there isn’t much more you could do’. With a go-getter personality like I’ve got, what do you do when your best efforts aren’t enough? What do you do when ALL options thus far have been shut down? What do you do when the universe ends up dumping more crap onto your shoulders? It’s heavy. It’s paralyzing.

 

Today I feel paralyzed into inaction. Hmmmm… That’s not quite accurate. More like I’m running at an all out sprint, but not gaining any ground. I’m tired. My spirit is getting tired. And with this cycle I’m in, it’s hard to be pro-active when you’re active enough just trying to keep your nose above water-level.

 

I don’t want a pity-party. Believe me, I know this weighted feeling will pass eventually. What I’m desperate for today is a little scrap of wood to cling onto until I can gather the strength to swim to the life raft. I’m willing to put in the effort; I just need a little breather. Unfortunately, the universe has had different ideas this week.

 

A dear friend (who happened to be on the receiving end of my bubble bursting) gave me three tasks to accomplish today. I need to clean out the car that has died twice this week (and had one unsuccessful albeit expensive trip to the mechanic), I need to go to yoga, and I need to blog about this shitty side of things. These are very, very basic things, but in my current frame of mind, I haven’t even been able to see above the next crest to get a basic list created in my head. It all has seemed too much.

 

I will complete these three tasks today. I know I will feel better at the end of it, even if it’s just for the inches forward I’ve moved today. See? Even the most positive person can have a crappy day and a crappy week. I’m hoping that tomorrow I will wake up and feel like I can conquer the world again. Sorry. Let me rephrase. Tomorrow I WILL feel like conquering the world. Tomorrow will be better. It usually is.

 

Next Blog: Hopefully it will be Gratitude and Patience (please, please universe!!)

Warm Soles with the Heat's Tears

Posted by Lane on June 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM Comments comments (0)



This design is now available in my Cafe Press store--for the basketball lover in your life.  Remember that 50% of all profits from The Outside Lane's store go directly toward our charitable outreach of the quarter.  This quarter, when you buy from The Outside Lane's store, you are buying socks for frail and needy elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Warm some soles with the tears of the Heat.


Mwahahahahah!

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Sarah

Posted by Lane on June 9, 2011 at 11:21 AM Comments comments (0)

I met Sarah in the summer of 2001, when we both worked for a small bank.  She was the graphic artist/marketing department/web designer, and the friendliest face in the place.  If I hadn't already thought she was awesome and wonderful, and hadn't already decided she was the kind of friend you keep forever, the events of September 11, 2001 would permanently ink her into my psyche.  We spent that day together, alternately huddled around a computer checking internet updates, and in the conference room watching news on the big screen.

 

We, along with a couple of coworkers, tried to go give blood on our lunch hour, but we were told it wasn't necessary, so we sat in a seafood place nibbling numbly at our food, watching the news as it unfolded.

 

BUT, I had already decided Sarah was awesome and wonderful, and the kind of friend you keep forever, so even though we haven't seen each other in person since Thor was an infant, we have stayed in touch via email, LiveJournal, and lately Facebook.  I've gotten to see Sarah's son growing up, watch her professional moves, and just been very pleased at having that window into her world at all.

 

She's a great lady.  She's a great friend.  She's a wonderful human being.

 

Meet Sarah.

 

 

Name: Sarah Touchon

Age Range: Freshly 30!

Preferred Job Title: Retouch Artist/Graphic Designer

Industry: Portrait Photography

Who are you?  I'm an off-beat little work in progress. A creative single mom, who now has TWO loves of her life (my One and my Son), and all together happy lady!

 

How has photo retouching changed your ideas about beauty, or has it?  Photoshop is a helluvah drug. It can enhance and perfect, but it can also greatly distort the truth as well. These women in catalogs and magazines DO NOT look that way fresh out of the camera! The print pieces we judge ourselves against have been nudged and tweaked to market an appealing product- the celebrity, bag, shoe, whathaveyou. We, as a collective, "know" that, but it's easily forgotten. Expert lighting and posing, proper fitting clothes and a skilled makeup hand can do AMAZING things!

 

You know the love glow you see your significant other or children in? That's my goal for your prints. I want you to see yourself in the best light possible. Literally hundreds of faces come through my desk every year to be freshened up to have their portrait hanging on the living room wall for the next decade. Most of these faces I never interact with, I just do a little color correction, check for renegade strays, remove that big zit on the otherwise great skin and move on. I have not had a single face in 4 years that didn't look better with a little minor tweaking. Admittedly, the first thing I zone in on in an image of myself are my circles- 5 seconds later they are gone ... and THEN I post it. What can I say?

 

Sarah's Before

Sarah's After

 

We all have little insecurities. Some of us more than others, and sometimes with zero rationality to anyone but ourselves. It has been my experience since working here, that the thinnest, most beautiful girls in my eyes, have the lowest self-image. When reviewing their images, it's a battery of "UGH! Look at my chins! My arms look HUGE! Can you erase that fat roll?" Me, "What roll??? You mean your shirt??" "NO! THAT! That huge lump right at my waist band! Disgusting." Granted, not every teenage girl that walks through here crucifies themselves, it just seems that the size 8+ crowd fawns over their images while the smaller crowd nit picks. Sometimes we can't see the over all beauty because we focus on that one square inch.

 

Some of Sarah's retouch work, from no enhancement, through skin correction, light enhancement, and heavy enhancement.

 

The flip side of this nano-focus is when an acned, shy-looking person comes across my desk. At first I sigh, I know I'm going to be here a while- but nobody has acne forever, so let's get rid of these and see what happens. When I zoom back out and reexamine, wow. This girl has AMAZING blue eyes, this guy's dimples are SO cute! Really, everyone has at least one great feature. Sometimes it's just not the first thing that gets noticed about them.

 

I realize this makes me come across a bit superficial, but I'm being honest. Prior to this career, I HATED being in pictures, I zeroed in on my double chin or crooked smile, doing that hyper critical thing women do when they aren't confident with themselves. For me, working in this industry has changed my own self image for the better. I am RIGHT in the middle of the road with my body, skin, and hair, and really, I'm beautiful. EVERYONE has something awesome about them, it's all in how you see things.

 

Tell us about a moment in time that was as close to perfect as possible:  The scene that has always stood out to me as a favorite memory of mine is Christmas, late 80s, at my grandparents. Before my parent's divorced, my grandmother passed away of cancer and we all grew up and drifted apart. My cousins came in from out of town and we had a big slumber party in the den on air mattresses. We woke up in the morning to the smell of eggs and bacon in the kitchen, all smooshed together (because that's how air mattresses roll). We were all together and blissfully unaware of what would transpire over the next 10 years.

 

If you could impart one pearl of wisdom into every mind, and have it understood completely, what would that be?  "This-will-work-for-now" will last far, far longer than intended if you let it. And while it can be easier to cope, than to take the leap of faith to make changes, things won't change on their own. Stop. Settling. Like Alice, I often give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.

Describe your family:  We were a close-knit group til high school, then spent most of my twenties quiet and tense. We're growing closer, and less tolerant of drama, with time. So now when we feel things aren't going well, we speak our minds ... which in turn leads to drama. But at least we get over it these days.

 

What does the first hour of your day look like?  I cut the alarm close so I can't be lazy. I'm showered and made up, my son and I are both out the door within 45 minutes of getting up. Then I sit in traffic for an hour listening to Russ Martin.

 

The last hour?  Dinner, bath, 3 books read to and with the boy, and really, by the time I have a silent moment, I usually pass out! Crazy (wonderful) life!

 

What makes you feel successful?  My mind operates in a very Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon sort of way, which makes me appear random and scattered (and I am). But I am also a really good problem solver and use this idea-bouncing to come up with out-of-the-box solutions when faced with a problem. I consider myself successful when I use things outside of their common purpose to reach a goal.

 

What brings you joy?  Little things like bright colors, quirky details, great meals, and the glow on my son's face when he is proud of himself! THAT is priceless!

 

What women do you admire?  I really admire the take-it-or-leave it attitude some women have. The ones that put their own spin on everything they do, damn the consequences or the looks of disapproval from the masses. Risk takers, male or female are my idea of sexiness. I have a major Girl Crush on Tina Fey! She's smart and witty, and can laugh at herself. Her brains, humor and beauty trifecta make her a strong female role model.

 

What do you like best about your closest friend?  My three closest friends each bring something unique to the table, but all share a common realistic expectation of our communication. No one gets bent out of shape if we go months with little more than a few texts. I LOVE that we just pick right back up where we left off with no awkward re-acclimation. We're no less friends because we don't talk regularly.

 

What do you like best about yourself?  My best feature I think is my hair. I love that I can sport many different colors and cuts and still feel like Me. My best attribute is my sense of humor. I really enjoy a good gut-busting laugh fest!

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  The saying "Nice guys finish last" probably does hold true. I have this theory that it's not that women are attracted to men that are assholes for the sake of it, but for their confidence and non-chalant attitude. Confidence DOES go a long way! But listen, we will come around. You keep doing what you are doing, and your One will find you. Maybe not on YOUR timeline, but on the right one.

 

How do you overcome adversity?  My attack is find as many different ways of accomplishing the task at hand and just keep truckin along. I think a LOT, but I try not to lay down and wallow- it makes nothing better. Most of the hot water I've been in I only noticed was so deep once I looked back on it. "How in the WORLD did I make it through that??!" (that also makes me feel successful, come to think of it!)

 

How do you want to be remembered?  One in a million, not one OF a million.

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Posted by Lane on June 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM Comments comments (0)

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Women Worth Knowing: Meet Tiffany

Posted by Lane on June 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM Comments comments (0)

Last week you met Erin Shepard of Lone Star Pin-Up.  It seemed only fitting that you meet Tiffany Hill this week.  Tiffany, who was equally as fabulous and gracious with her lightning fast response to our WWK Q&A, is a seamstress who specializes in vintage clothing reproduction--and don't for a second think I am not eyeballing her work with my own future Betty Draper dresses in mind.

 

I am posting some pictures of her work in the Q&A that follows, but you should Like her on Facebook, where you can see a whole other gallery of her work, and where she posts Freebies when they are available.  Also, check out her website Sew She Said for information about having your own vintage styles custom made.

 

One of the reasons I wanted to focus on Tiffany was the diversity in the sizing of her work.  When you flip through her gallery, you'll see a great range of women--all of them wearing outfits that FIT and look fabulous on them.  In a world where designers fuss and fume over having to work outside of a sample size, I think it is very important to support clothiers who craft to the woman, not to the sublimated ideal.  And, I love her rompers.  Any excuse to post pictures of adorable rompers!

 

Friends, Meet Tiffany.

 

Name: Tiffany Hill

Age Range: 30

Preferred Job Title: Seamstress of all things fabulous ;)

Industry: Vintage Clothing Reproduction

 

 

Who are you?  I am a seamstress who loves vintage dresses, my specialty is remaking dresses from photos. I adore tailor made clothing, and beautiful fabrics.

I have a website at www.sewshesaid.com that displays some of my work.

 

You are a designer and seamstress, so you work with a lot of different body types. What would you tell a little girl about beauty and body image?  I really do believe that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The thing that looks best on anyone is being confident and being an indivdual, even if nobody else seems to "get it". Little girls be yourself and all the pretty things you can imagine!

 

 

What has been your favorite creation?  I just made this black and yellow prom dress that was insane! There was reversible trains, spinal ruffles, skirt pinching, very involved. The colors were awesome! The young woman who I made it for was truly her own person, very artistic and I had not meet a teenager quite like her. It was an awesome experience, I hope to meet many more like her.

 

 

 

You have a lovely, niche business. What advice do you have for women who want to work for themselves?  Believe in yourself and in whatever it is you do, and never take a day off. Really. Work hard and then work harder, you will always see good results.

 

If you could impart one pearl of wisdom into every mind, and have it understood completely, what would that be?  Ask for what you want,whatever it is, and work hard once you get it.

 

 

Describe your family:  I'm married to a Mr. Joshua Hill who is really wonderful (I love you pookie), A one year old daughter Lily (we call her Lily bird), four year old son Gavin (we call him Gavin Newts), and a nine your old Daughter Marisol who is quite the designer herself ;) We also have two dogs, and lots of Koi fish.

 

What does the first hour of your day look like?  Coffee, breakfast, kiddos get dressed.

I line up my projects a week before hand and follow that strictly to keep up, no matter what. I prepare and start working on garment orders by 8:00 every single day.

 

The last hour?  Thinking about what work needs to be done tomorrow lol!

 

 

What makes you feel successful?  I always love it when a client comes to try on a dress and jumps up and down doing the little excited girlie clap! I know she is in love when she does this, and it always makes me smile. I feel like "Yes! She's happy!"

 

What brings you joy? My family aaaaand fabric shopping!

 

What women do you admire?  Actually, one woman comes to mind, and she is gonna kill me for saying this lol. This woman is so very talented, and is truly a supporter of other female entrepreneurs. She has really made an impact on me and my business, Mrs Erin Shephard owner of Lone Star Pin-up. She works so very hard not only in the studio but outside constantly promoting and coming up with the most awesome set ideas.

 

What do you like best about yourself?  The ability to create pieces that women love.

 

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  Be awesome to her and when YOU think your being awesome, try even harder :) Diamonds and pretty dresses don't hurt either!

 

How do you overcome adversity?  Do whatever it is I have to. Nothing good is ever easy.

 

How do you want to be remembered?  I want to be remembered as someone who was down to earth, funny, and someone who truley loved her work. Pretty much all around awesome :) just kidding lol.

 

The Great Job Search

Posted by Lane on June 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM Comments comments (0)

by Elspeth Grafton

At the beginning of 2011, I was unconcerned about work. It’s a season that’s normally slow. When movies started pulling out of Vancouver in late February/early March, my spidie-senses started going off. Not only was I not getting hired for independent feature films, but also low budget movies of the week. There was stiff competition for the features, and although I might be good at my job, I can’t compete with someone with 15 years more experience! I can imagine that I didn’t get any calls for the movies of the week because, with my experience, I was seen as ‘too expensive’ or ‘over qualified’. Nothing I can do about other people’s impressions, but I do wish they’d let me decide what wage I’m willing to work at instead of assuming I’ll cost too much.

 

My first reaction to this lack of interest was to crunch numbers. Sure, we earn a good living when we’re working in film, but it’s by no means steady employment. Even if you’re working on a series for 9-10 months out of the year, there is always the threat of cancellation or that the show won’t be renewed. Uncertainty is the name of the game. You can either handle it or you don’t last in the industry. Your employment status can change with a phone call at 9pm or a text message at 6am. Not everyone is cut out for that. It requires a certain amount of faith… okay, a LOT of faith. My faith was waning and reality was setting in.

 

So I applied for EI (Employment Insurance) and the weeks passed. I applied for any show I could, both big budget and low budget. It didn’t matter. I wanted to work.

 

When job prospects really started looking bleak in April, I started begrudgingly rethinking my battle plan. Perhaps this was the year when being an uber-budgeter and keeping the faith that ‘something would come along’ was not going to be enough. And what the hell was I going to do if that was the case?

 

Thus began the Great Job Search 2011.

 

I looked at lateral moves within the industry. Not too many prospects for a script supervisor. But I tried. I really did. And people I reached out to were very helpful – truly. Generous, even. I emailed everyone I could think of. But no dice, not even a nibble for work. I had friends forward their friends email addresses. I was a networking fool. I even cold-called :: shudder ::.

 

Zero. Zip.

 

I took all the advice I was given to heart. I followed up all threads and suggestions for work. I investigated all avenues to the best of my ability. Through all of this I was still feeling relatively positive – I was doing something, and being pro-active in my future. I held onto the smallest things, like the fact these contacts liked me enough to answer my questions - to talk with me – share knowledge.

 

When production lists dwindled from what traditionally at this time of year should be 7-8 pages of shows down to 2, I knew the booming summer I was desperately hoping for was not going to come to pass. Looking for work and trying to expand within the industry only really works when there IS an industry to work in.

 

So again, I regrouped. I sought the advice of my trusted friends. Bless their hearts; they listened. They let me pick their brains. They bought me coffee. There were points where my friends and family really kept me afloat. I thought, and I thought. I looked at my friends who had jobs I thought were interesting – or aspects of their job that I thought could fit with my skills and personality. I quizzed and questioned. I examined what I really did want in a job, ignoring the voice in my head continuously yelling, “You want to be a script supervisor!”. It was hard to ignore.

Elspeth being a Script Supervisor

I investigated short-term school programs. I even met with a ‘career strategist’, hoping to have someone with some expertise help me translate my film resume into real-world terms; help me take my unique skill set and experience and transition it into a real-world job. I love my friends and family but I needed some unbiased encouragement and help!

 

And what question did the ‘career strategist’ open our first meeting with? “So, what’s your dream job?” I all but growled at her, and tried to cut her some slack. I’m not an easy client. I’m not cookie-cutter. I’m not a recovering drug addict, an immigrant, I don’t live on the Lower East Side, I’m not francophone, English is my first language, I’m not First Nations… I could go on. If I were any of the aforementioned things, there would be plenty of services available to me – and she would have directed me accordingly. I’m a 40 year-old Caucasian woman. I’m smart. Granted, I’m under-educated, but that you can work around. She didn’t quite know what to do when I told her I’d been working in my dream job for a decade – successfully.

 

I ended up leaving her office with only one thing listed on my action plan – taking a three-week career prep course. It was infuriating. I didn’t need to learn how to self-evaluate. I didn’t need to learn how to network, and I certainly didn’t need to learn how to use the internet. I wanted to know about job trends in the province! But in the end I went to the information session – strictly because I said I would. And it was two hours of my life I couldn’t get back.

 

Again, and again, I leaned on my fantastic friends, all the while sending film resumes and networking amongst my work contacts. I found a school program that was interesting to me (encouraging!). Oh. There’s a year and a half wait list… at every college south of Quesnel offering it (discouraging). I found a similar program at a University on the Island – with no wait list (encouraging!!). It was affordable and only 8 months long (*so* encouraged at this point). Oh. I need a pre-requisite course first (deflate). Oh. It started last week… (deflated).

 

Each time I battled back to find another option. With each ‘outside the box’ option I found or gave myself; concessions made in my mind in order to work in a non-film job, all the time ignoring the voice in my head screaming about my ‘real job’, I got more and more discouraged. It was harder and harder to stay positive – and it was an uncomfortable feeling for someone like me – I would imagine it would be for anyone, actually.

 

I plastered a smile on my face when I felt like sobbing. I got out of the house, even if it was just to my local coffee shop, so I wouldn’t crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. I did yoga. I got a real world resume together on my own, told the ‘career strategist’ to stuff it (okay, that part was only in my head, but I really REALLY wanted to), and I tried to be easier on myself without letting myself completely off the hook. And I continuously sent out resumes. Anywhere.

 

I find myself now, applying for jobs that I know will drive me mad in the long-term (insert ‘I want to be a script supervisor’ voice here) hoping it will soothe my short term anxiety. I’m trying to keep it all as positive as possible. I really am. I’m at a loss as to what else to do or try, so positivity can’t hurt! Yes. In my world, positivity is a word.

 

Most days, I’m successful. I do allow myself wallow pity parties when it seems far too much uncertainty to bear, but usually these parties have a time limit. Voice starts saying, “You have 2 hours to have a good cry, then you need to put on your big-girl pants and get back to it.” For me, that works.

 

I’d be curious to know how others are making it through – I’m certainly not the only one who is affected so. I make sure I do something on the looking-for-work front every day. I allow myself flexibility and adjustments. This might not work for me next week, but it does right now – and now is really all I have control over.

 

Right now, I’m feeling good. But I’m writing, so this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

 

Is it strange that I’m glad the voice in my head hasn’t abandoned me yet? I will be a script superior again. Film hasn’t completely forsaken me yet – just turned it’s back for a while.

 

Coming up: Blog III – Finding Gratitude and Peace (when it’s all going to shit)

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Erin

Posted by Lane on June 1, 2011 at 4:14 PM Comments comments (5)

My friend Sarah posted a link on Facebook, pointing to Lone Star Pin-Up, a photography studio located in Killeen, Texas.  I spent a good half hour oogling the website before getting so excited I couldn't pay attention to the photo gallery any longer, and had to contact owner/photographer/model Erin Shephard to see if she would come visit us at WWK. 

 

Erin responded almost immediately, and was so gracious and sweet I wanted to drive to Killeen to meet her in person.  Alas, I could not.  Instead, I will introduce all of you to her, and tell you that if you are into vintage, like feeling beautiful, live in Texas (or have the means of getting here) you should definitely visit her studio for a one-of-a-kind experience.  I am saving my pennies (and doing crunches) to make an appointment.

 

Meet Erin.

 

 

Name: Erin Shephard

Age Range: 26

Preferred Job Title: Owner/Photographer at Lone Star Pin-up

Industry: Photogaphy

 

Who are you? I am a pin-up photograher, photo retoucher, graphic designer, stage performer, sometimes model, wife and "mother" to two Great Danes.

Tell us how you struck upon the idea for Lone Star Pin-Up: I worked as a professional and freelance graphic deisgner and photo retoucher for several years before I decided I wanted to make a change. I have always loved the glamour and beauty of vintage pin-up paintings and portraits of women from the 40's and 50's. I wanted to try my hand at photography, and this is the only genre that interested me. The opportunity for creativity is endless!

 

What do you love most about your job? I love making women feel beautiful and more confident about themselves. I have gotten to know some amazing people since I started this business, from clients to fellow business women, and I hope to get the chance to meet many more.

 

What do you look for in a setting for your photography? I mostly shoot in my studio. With the help of others, I create themed sets, like a giant moon, retro living room, jungle, USO show and many more, just to keep it exciting and interesting. We occasionally shoot at special locations like a motorcycle shop or boutique hotel. Any location has to have a retro look and be able to inspire both model and photographer.

What advice do you have for women building their own businesses, like you did? Find something you love and build a business around it. I started Lone Star Pin-up as a creative outlet for myself and never imaged it would grow into something this big. It's easy to go to work everyday when you love what you do!

Describe your family: I am blessed to have an amazing family. My parents have always supported and looked out for me my entire life. You couldn't ask for a better set! My husband has been amazing through the entire Lone Star journey and continutes to help whenever need it. As a theatre directer, we share a love for the arts and often combine resources to help each other out. Chloe and Rowley, our Great Danes, are equally as supportive as long as treats are involved.

What does the first hour of your day look like? It usually involves walking the dogs, having some breakfast, then retouching client photos.

The last hour? Usually spent retouching photos or watching movies with my husband.

What makes you feel successful? The little things make me feel successful. Like when people have heard of Lone Star Pin-up or recognize me in public. Or when I see people using their pin-up photos as profile pics on social networking websites.

What brings you joy? I love when women tell me they feel more beautiful and self confident because of their shoot.

What women do you admire? I admire creative women in my industry for their innovative ideas, unique photos and high quality work. Some of my favorite photographers include Viva Van Story and Celeste Giuliano.

What do you like best about your closest friend? I have a few very close friends, and I am eterally grateful for their friendship. They are genuine, supportive and always there when you need them.

 

What do you like best about yourself? I like that I have an easy-going personality and get along with most people. Life's too short to waste your time arguing and being catty.

 

What advice would you give boys about girls? Tell them they are the most beautiful creature you have ever seen. And better yet, mean it!

 

How do you overcome adversity? I let the bad things roll off my back and focus on the good.

How do you want to be remembered? I hope people remember me as kind and genuine. And also hot! ;oD

 

Underwear Deployed!

Posted by Lane on May 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

I dropped off our donation to the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center on Friday, interrupting the entire staff's lunch.  God bless them.  What a hard job!  I mean that.  The people who work with victims have a very hard job.  The contact they make can make the difference between who remains a victim, and who becomes a survivor. 

 

In my own circumstance, because I chose not to tell anyone but a couple of close friends, I robbed myself of the opportunity to heal properly.  It's a bit like choosing not to have a wound stitched and just letting it heal under a bandage.  Yes, it heals, but it takes longer, doesn't function as well during the process, and sure looks ugly compared to a properly groomed wound.

 

I became a survivor because I am stubborn and because my attitude was, "I'll be damned if he gets anything else of me!"  And because I came to an early realization that bad things happen to decent people all the time--it's nothing personal.  It's just a little thing called life.  You take what happens to you, and you use it to build your world.  You can choose to build walls or make art.  It's all up to you what you do with your materials.  (The nice thing is that even if you choose to build walls, everything is temporal and subject to change--you can redecorate any time you like.)

 

I will tell you, though, I was like a 13 year old boy at a school dance, when I walked into the Crisis Center.  I could barely make eye contact with the ladies there.  I just kind of mumbled at them about how it was our privilege to share our donation with them, and made a bad joke, then shuffled out backwards and hot-footed it to my car before I could start crying.  --Not because I am a victim of rape, or even because I have survived and thrived in spite of it, but because I appreciate these people so much.  And because I am a crier, as you all know.

 

So here's the deal:  When we are ready to take our donation of Socks to Warm Souls to the Senior Source, someone else has to come with me.  Otherwise, we'll never have picture of our charitable outreach because I'll be too busy running off to cry to take pictures.

 

It is our privilege to help these groups.  We don't need to build a better mousetrap and start our own specific outreach.  There are hundreds of local charities who are doing amazing things, and it is an honor to be able to be part of their work through our quarterly drives.  I hope you agree!

 

 

Passion vs. Reality

Posted by Lane on May 27, 2011 at 10:56 AM Comments comments (0)

by Elspeth Grafton

 

Working in the film industry sounds glamorous. I’m sorry to break it to you but it isn’t. Not really. Sure there are stars, sure there are some glorious costumes and sets. But it is work – quite often out in the elements for a minimum of twelve hours a day – often longer. Back in the day I worked a 26-hour day; but I digress.

 

If ever there was an industry that embraced me, a job tailor made for me – it is being a Script Supervisor in the film industry. Continuity utilizes all my organizational skills, my anal-retentiveness, my ability to think outside the box, work effectively with others (even when I’m telling them things they don’t want to hear), and challenges my creativity in a way nothing else has. There have been days, sitting on set, where I have been beaming ear to ear thinking to myself, ‘They are paying me to be here? Seriously?!’

 

Elspeth doing the Scripty Thing.

 

I will admit freely that I am one of the lucky women out there who found a career that is also my passion, and I’ve been successful at it for the last decade. I count my blessings every time I walk onto a film set, script binder slung over my shoulder and stopwatch around my neck that I feel a sense of belonging. I am truly doing what I’m meant to be. As I said – blessings!

 

It was a big shock earlier this year when I realized that the trials and tribulations of the economy were finally affecting the film industry in Vancouver and that my dream job, my passion, couldn’t support me. It wasn’t because I suck at my job and no one would hire me – just the opposite. Shows that were booked to film in Vancouver (and that I was booked to do) were all of a sudden shooting only in Louisiana, or New Mexico, but not releasing studio space so other productions could come into our fair city to film. Our Canadian dollar shot above par with the US dollar. We had a big kafuffle with our federal government resulting in a federal election that, in conjunction with value of our dollar, put American producers on alert. (Just so you know, I’m no international economist, these are just my thoughts based on the trends I’ve seen over the 10 years.)

 

On set at one of her IMDB listed films. 

Fans of the franchise will know exactly where she is.

 

Unfortunately, I am someone who tends to judge my own success and worthiness in the world by my job title and show I’m working on. Hey, don’t judge – some women judge themselves based on their daughter winning a beauty contest, or son winning a football game; some by being a wife. I have no kids or husband, but I do have an IMDB page! It makes me beam with pride! It has been a long process to ‘let go’ of my passion. It’s not in my nature to lose faith - I’m normally the woman turned to, to bolster and encourage – and I’m tenacious as hell! But reality has set in. Having faith won’t pay my rent or my car insurance. Tenacity won’t buy groceries. I can only imagine this is what someone feels like when they realize they will never get that NBA contract, but have to turn their passion for basketball into a weekend hobby.

 

Having to let go of what I worked so hard to attain even temporarily brings tears to my eyes. I’m no quitter, but I recognize when I’m beaten. Now I have to redefine who I am – no only for the ‘real world’ job market, but in my own mind. It’s daunting and terrifying; but if the film industry has taught me anything, I’m up for the challenge. That I am holding onto.

 

Coming up: Part II – The Great Job Search 2011


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