Last year Estelle and I took a break from talking about books to reflect on a few other aspects of our lives. We wrote each other a few questions and probed to find out more and get a little personal. We loved the challenge so we’re repeating the non-bookish Q&A this year. I’m up first and I’m so excited and anxious about what Estelle has asked me!
Here we go!
M, when are you not going to have a big year? (ha!) Baby E, moving, your continued relationship with your foster daughter… if I were a fairy godmother, I would grant you a month off in a tropical place, but seriously — how do you do it and what’s your biggest takeaway from all of these changes? (P.S. I’m so proud of you!)
I honestly don’t even really know. This year has been a major whirlwind, and just reading your question makes me tear up thinking about all the things we’e been through. A few weeks ago I visited a friend in the hospital who had just had a baby; it really hit me how at ease and calm she was. I was so, so not that person. My hormones were out of whack and I had a c-section I didn’t want and IÂ was preparing for our foster daughter’s final court date and reunificaiton. Needless to say, I had three therapists do “consultations” on me while I was there to make sure I was emotionally stable. I had great talks with them, they understood the chaos of my life, and I really was okay. Or I became okay. I think looking back on the last year, I see how much I’ve grown and changed and developed a greater sense of what’s important or not. I’ve definitely learned to speak up for myself a lot more this year (though I admit I have a long way to go) and have had some difficult conversations that verged on confrontational, but needed to be had.
2014 gave me greater perspective and has really, really taught me to value my time and prioritizing things. I guess it’s also taught me to expect the unexpected. I never thought I would have the relationship that I do with our foster daughter and her family after she went home full time. Never. But here we are. We see her every other weekend, and that is such a joy. (And a lot of hard work, too.)
This questions relates a lot to your piece about cornering off friendships, and one of your “resolutions” from last year. (I only use quotes because you don’t like to make big resolutions!) You wanted to invite more people into your life, and welcome them into your home. Do you feel good about your progress on this?
My resolution to be more open was still a really, really big struggle for me. I got anxious and overwhelmed and felt like there just wasn’t a place for everyone. Our new home [that we moved into in August] isn’t really that much bigger, but the space is utilized a LOT differently and since we’ve been here, we’ve had constant visitors. I feel so much more relaxed and at ease here. I really wish I had been able to envision myself in our last home before we moved into it and saw that the layout wouldn’t work the way I hoped it would. But you know, we didn’t have kid(s) then and that’s made a huge difference in howÂ we live and function in our home. I think this will continue to be a challenge for me, though, because I also get anxious if my home is a little cluttered or we have toys that need to be put away. The people who love us likely will be able to overlook those things. Or at least understand our chaotic lives to not care.
When life feels crazy and overwhelming, what is the one thing that helps you find a little peace?
A good cry? That sounds silly, but I’m a crier. I also need to really take time for myself. A few timesÂ I have asked Dustyn for the evening off after Everett has gone to bed and I ranÂ errands by myself or spentÂ quiet time alone reading. I need time to let my mind wander and be introspective. I’m typically an extrovert so I know when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I need to back away a little bit and spend less time on other people and things and a little bit on myself.
Let’s talk about your professional life for a second. What’s one of the most memorable shoots you had this year?
Gosh. I don’t think there’s been one that’s been more amazing than the others, but it’s been a year-long progression of me making huge leaps in deciding exactly how I want to shoot. Because of Everett I’ve shot more than I ever have — I constantly have had my camera trained on her because I don’t want to miss anything. That’s been a really big breakthrough for me as a photographer to realize that maybe there are other moms out there who want their family photographed as they are — organically, honestly, realistically — without high expectations of that everyone-smiling-at-the-camera photograph. I have moments where Everett is crying, tears running down her cheeks and snot plastered under her nose. She was teething and that day sucked. But that imageÂ means something to me. From the wedding photography standpoint, one accomplishment I’m very proud of and was so honored to be asked was that I got published on June Bug Weddings for the first time!
Who is one celebrity you are so over? One that you surprisingly fell in love with this year?
I’m so over: Kim Kardashian. I mean, really?Â Does this need an explanation?
I fell in love with: Jamie King (of Hart of Dixie) — I am kind of obsessed with her Instagram. She seems so down to earth and she’s BFFs with Taylor Swift.
What’s a fashion or makeup trend you picked up this year that you hope stays around through 2015?
Disclaimer: I don’t think these are things that happenedÂ just this year. Maybe it’s just taken me a while to hop on the bandwagon. I started wearing brighter pops of lipstick more consistently. (To the point that Dustyn will compliment my bare, natural lips and say, “I really like that color on you.” He’sÂ so not a fan of lipstick and refuses to kiss me if I’m wearing it.) I became a fan of translucent powders from Nars and TarteÂ because it just evens out my complexion and hidesÂ all of my pores. I became a fan of the bootie with rolled/cuffed jeans; that’s something newer for me, and I’m really loving that this fall. (Though I only have one pair of booties.)
Lastly, what is one thing you want to do for yourself next year? Just you.
I struggle to answer this question; do I answer from a tactile perspective and think of something I want to buy myself? Or some way to have quiet time? (I’d really, really appreciate a massage. My back is in knots from the sheer number of shoots I’ve had lately and the countless hours spent editing.) Next year I turn 30, and the truth is, I would just like to spend a little more time taking care of myself. I’ve done a whole lot of taking care of other people this year and I need to do things that allow me to beÂ me and not just Everett’s mom or Dustyn’s wife or a photographer. I don’t want to lose my identity.
(For fun, your favorite instagram shot from 2014.)
I kind of cheated a little bit because I took this with my “real” camera and then Instagrammed it. But it’s a standout because it was this beautiful, peaceful moment after I finished photographing a session. The fog was rolling in at sunset and it made the city look so surreal and picturesque. (For those of you who’d like it, my Instagram name is @magan.)
And that, friends, is a wrap. Stay tuned for Estelle’s non-bookish Q&A!