Natalie and Joe, @nattycontreraartistry and @joemaccreative

I cannot believe I never posted about my first photoshoot, now shot years ago. It’s been in my drafts all this time. I don’t know how that happened, but I want to release it despite the lateness because I fought through a lot of self-doubt to finally do some modeling. Plus Natalie and Joe are fantastic people and I’m so happy I met them. The cafe I used to work where I met Natalie isn’t even open anymore, but it’s nice to look back at all the connections I made and opportunities that came my way from just serving people coffee all day.

To stop myself from letting this drown in my drafts again, I’m not going to try to update and edit it. So it’s written in the present, when the present was like three years ago. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Sure I love coffee and making pretty latte art,
But my favorite thing about working at a cafe is meeting and connecting with all of the creative folks in town.

I don’t know what it is about coffee shops that draw in artists, but I’m certainly not complaining about the connection between the two.

 

My cafe has not only coffee but the added benefit of a full bar as well. So we even get the night owl, alcohol-inclined artists in addition to the caffeine-addicted creatives.

My shop brings all the art to the…counter…forgive me, I’m gonna stop.

One night when I was working behind the bar, two people met up with each other for drinks and some food in our upstairs loft seating. After their meal, they came downstairs to pay. The guy paid his half and left, and the girl stayed behind to use the restroom. When she came out, she gave me the disclaimer that she was not just on a Tinder date. She’s a makeup artist, and she was meeting with her photographer friend to plan some shoots.

She told me that I would make a good model, and asked if I had ever considered it. Sure I had, but I didn’t know where to start and it fell by the wayside as I developed other focuses. So we followed each other on Instagram, said she’d be in touch, and gave me a couple photographers to follow.

And in touch she was! Natalie planned a shoot with photographer, Joe Mac Creative, and jewelry designer, Honey Accessories.

We walked around South Street and found nice backdrops to shoot, and the photos came out great! I’m a hard critic on myself, but even I have to say it wasn’t half bad for my first photoshoot. Natalie made up my face beautifully, and she and Joe pieced together my look. They both gave great direction, which helped ease my nerves.

It was a blast shooting with such talented artists, and you should definitely check out their work. Natalie posts on her site regularly with beauty and skincare tips and reviews. Joe is always shooting somewhere, and has a beautiful couple portrait photo series that I love. Helena has some beautiful pieces in her Honey collection. Check them out!

 

 

Week Long Social Hiatus

Last week I took a break from social media.

I don’t know why I never have before. It was nice, and I wasn’t as tempted to check as much as I thought I would be. I didn’t miss anything noteworthy, either. A week isn’t a long time, but it was long enough for me to break my dependence on my phone.

This technology is crazy. I really enjoyed the purge. Yet when I opened one of my social apps up again, which I wasn’t even in a rush to do, all the anxieties and the urges to refresh and get new content that felt so distant during my time away came flooding back immediately.

I’ve put some barriers on my usage before.

Throughout high school, I had a strict policy that if it didn’t happen on my page, it didn’t happen. But I eventually gave into scrolling my timeline and news feed and whatever because I felt like I was being too self-centered.

I turned off all push notifications over a year ago. It was a huge help, but over time the addictive nature of my personality found some other way to obsess and constantly refresh the page when I opened my apps.

Aimless scrolling and obsessive refreshing. I hate it. It’s like checking the fridge every twenty minutes knowing damn-well there’s nothing in there you want. And the past week was the wake up call I needed to actively fight against this crap. I felt so much better not worrying about anything going on that wasn’t directly in front of me. I want to continue being more present in my own life. Y’all don’t need to know half the stuff I usually post about my life online. And I definitely don’t need to know who’s watching, liking, or commenting all the time when I do post content.

So I’ve decided to change three things.

1.) I’m leaving my phone across my room when I sleep so social media isn’t the first thing I engage with when I wake up.

2.) I’m not going to look at who’s viewed my stories on IG and Snapchat, or scroll through who liked my posts. I’ll only concern myself with comments and real engagement.

3.) I’m limiting myself to checking my notifications and scrolling a little bit three times a day for no longer than 30 minutes.

I’m not saying all of this to be profound or anything. I’m not doing anything new or noteworthy. But I think we could all use a sociality check. Sociality, get it? Cause it’s not IRL? Does that work for everyone, or should I stop? I don’t know, but we’re rocking with it for now. By that I mean we should all take a look at our relationship with this technology every so often. If your habits on social media aren’t making you happy, reevaluate how you use it. And there’s no cut and dry answer. A healthier relationship with my socials was taking better control of my time and not letting it run me. It’s difficult, because old habits die hard and I’ve been droning out looking at screens for I guess a decade now.

The psychological effects of this stuff are serious business. The developers of these advancements don’t use them or let their children use them. That’s scary. We’re just guinea pigs, and there’s nothing in the history of humanity that can help us anticipate what’s to come. And what has come so far has been children committing suicide and mental illness skyrocketing with new media-based diseases being coined every year. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know what’s being done or what could be done for the mass public to practice better habits around social technology. So until then, the responsibility rests with individuals. And this individual is trying, at the very least. This is a topic that really interests me. I went to and am going back to school for Emergent Media Studies and Production. If you’ve made changes in how you navigate the web and the socials, let me know and let’s exchange notes and stories.