Weather Heat Advisory: 105

Thirty minutes filling balloons for 5 minutes of explosive fun and wet relief.


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Upstaging: Atlanta Fashion Walk Summer edition

Once was not enough, I told myself as I registered Chi for the summer runway show.  Surely if we register early, my girl will be selected for a stunning gown or eccentric couture – that’s what the intern told us back in December.  But when she picked up her two outfits, we discovered a grandeur promenade was not to be.

In true Chi fashion, however, there was nothing but positivity. She makes every situation monumental. And she illuminates the stage with devoted energy.

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Georgia Aquarium

Late nights at the aquarium mean intimate crowd free exploration.
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So very worth it.

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Disappeared, returned. Mommy fail for the records

Last night, my son disappeared. And I had no idea he’d even left the house.  In and out of flu-induced sleep, I lay on my bed as the youngest blasted Masha and the Bear from my phone.

Ya had just been in to talk to me — at least it seemed like only minutes had passed.  “Some guy threw rocks at Jojo and me. And he tried to take my scooter. He said it was broken and he’d fix it. I said no. I told the lady at the center.”  He inquired about dinner, having too much knowledge of the pantry contents to not to have already searched out what he wanted. Taking my fries as a temporary fix, he bounced down the stairs and the television clicked on.  I never heard it click off.

My phone rang. A Florida number. No one I know lives there. It went to voicemail. The noise, however, broke my sleep.  Chi comes in next, body shaking in uncontrolled tremors , tears streaming down her face. She babbled on incoherently.  I comprehend few key words: front door unlocked, he’s not here, can’t find him.

I’m disheveled,  barely understanding what’s going on. A search. The many adults – most barely home from work – are canvassing the neighborhood. My child is no where to be found. The friend he was with is no where to be found.

I go outside. On the porch I realize I can’t go looking. Ri is asleep. No one is here to watch her. I linger, feeling equal parts embarrassment and foreboding. Should I panic like Chi? Do I call someone? Who?

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I still don’t know how I’ve lost my son. Where could he be? Why are his shoes in the foyer? Isn’t it raining? I thought he was eating French fries in the kitchen…

And then, a shirtless, shoeless Ya walks up breathy and unconcerned. He’s oblivious to the commotion. Chi hugs him, even more emotionally charged as she kisses his face, hugs his confused frame.  A man in his work clothes, drags up behind, handing over the scooter and nodding toward where he found it abandoned.  The neighborhood girls rattle off where they’d looked before nonchalant Ya walked up on them and inquired about Jojo and the scooter.  The lady climbs into her car, satisfied all is as normal as can be, “Well, he’s here. Thankfully. I’ll let the others know.”  She asks the questions expected, “Are you hurt? Did the guy with the rocks touch you? Is all okay?”  He answers, “No, no, yes.”

I survey my son. “When did you go back out? Where are your clothes? Where were you? Do you know how dangerous it is to be outside when no one knows where you are? You actually thought you should confront the kid throwing rocks?”  I left no space for answers.

From JoJo’s sister, I hear the “guy” with special interest in the scooter and a hand with rocks is a sixth grader. He picks on people often. He lives nearby.  He likes to taunt, tease and take. I file the information away, as Jojo walks up with one shoe on and no shirt.

I’m drained. My head is throbbing.  I’m barely following the scenario I’ve been thrust into. We walk into the house, locking the door.

“Please don’t ever leave the house without telling me where you are going and who with.” He nods.

Pool party? Yes, please

It’s been about two years since we’ve had our passes for the neighborhood pool. And since the kick off of each season includes food and music, we decided that we’d wait no longer to test the waters. w IMG0062w IMG0300w IMG0101w IMG0315w IMG0097bww IMG0077w IMG0252w IMG0142w IMG0100

Setting up the shoot

It dawned on me that I rarely – if ever – have shown the preparations for my planned and plotted concept shoots.

In my head, I get this picture of what I’d like to accomplish – of how my finished editorial will look. And then I spend countless hours searching for inexpensive wardrobe pieces and props. I think about how I can craft things, adapt things, borrow things to make my project into something real.

I tend to stay away from other photographers’ work, as I never want inspiration to appear as copying. And though I know concepts have been done (and done, again), I don’t want to emulate another artist’s style. I want to create my own.

So this “graffiti shoot” has been months in the works. It started with an instagram shot – the guy in it was surrounded in street art. Colorful, ecclectic. It reminded me of the NY Train Art coffee table book I’d had as a kid. I just knew I had to shoot in that spot.
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I spent a lot of time on AliExpress, a hit-or-miss website collaborative of
Chinese-based wholesalers who offer their goods for pennies on the dollar. That is, if they actually deliver the items.

For Rico, Ya, and Chi, I chose harem pants – the ones tantamount to Hammer pants of yesteryear. Splatter paint in neon? Why, yes. And basic black for the teen. For my youngest man, I found some eccentric bibbed pants with contrast pockets – perfect for stashing in. Jay proved a little more difficult. He’d shot up a size and it seems that 10 is just not a size anyone readily stocks online (for cheap). So, I went classic baggy jeans and over-sized neon tee.

For baby girl, I wanted something quirky – bubble shorts and suspenders. I found something on my go-to site, but decided to have a custom creation made especially for her.

I had to accessorize: chunky chains, headphones (a modern touch), and for the girls, bright sneakers and boots.

Now, I’ve shot the five over two days in B’more and I can’t show a single image online… the collection is up for publication consideration and until I get ::ahem:: rejected or, better, printed, I can’t even sneak a peek to anyone. AGONY.

Let’s just say the results are amazing. You’ll have to trust me.

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