Browsing Tag


Wednesday by Leah: Did I do that?

A few days before BabyRoX was born, Mark and I went to pick up some baby items we needed. It was during this shopping trip that I discovered the NoseFrida. It’s basically a straw/tube thing that parents can use to suck snot out of their kid’s nose.

Image courtesy of

“Gross!!,” we jointly exclaimed. We would never suck snot out of our kid’s nose! Who does that?

Haha. Think again, naive almost-parents. Think again.

Except I never purchased a NoseFrida… I got one of those blue bulb syringes, and it seemed to do the trick on tiny BabyRoX. But then he started crawling. And since his nose was usually pretty close to the ground, he got dirt and stuff in it, which mixed with mucous and made these super sticky and SUPER stubborn boogers. Nothing would get these boogers out! His nostrils are very tiny, so even my pinky finger can’t fit in there. Wet wipes didn’t work either. Nor did saline drops. And no way was I going to put a Qtip near my wiggly, grabby lil guy’s face. It would probably end up lodged in an ear or eye or nasal cavity. So… I sucked. Yup. Gross, I know. But I put my mouth over that little nostril with the stubborn boogers and sucked them right out.

And that is only one of a number of yucky things I have done since becoming a mother. I’ve thrown a sheet over pee in the bed and slept
on it. For more than one night. I regularly eat soggy, sucked-on pieces of food that BabyRoX discards. And don’t get me started on the poop. Ohhh, the poop.

What? I poop, ok?

Anyhow… I might be investing in a NoseFrida. My birthday is on Saturday, if anyone needs gift ideas…. =)

retro | intro -spective | by +Elaine

I’ve have lots of names. lainie, e, shorty, laine brain, nain. and now I’m +elaine. and I like it.

getting an updated portfolio together had me sifting through all my intern shoots. and reviewing what I had in my portfolio before. hard to believe there was even a time in my photography life before my leahandmark internship. it’s amazing to see where I was with my skills and knowledge and experience then. and where I am now.

before, I was hired for the occasional gig, but mostly I just showed up everywhere with my camera. parties, the pool, backyard concerts, school events, playdates, parks. but now my work is filled with babies and children and couples and drag queens. product shoots of granola and books and headbands and dresses and shoes and bread and houses. people new to the country, or on stage speaking or rocking out, or getting married, or breaking boards. models crouched in trunks and strutting on runways and posing in rotted out buses and old trains. so much cooler.

I look back on my “before the internship” work and my “during” work, and now that I’m in the “after” phase, I can’t wait to see what what my portfolio will be filled with next.

with a new role as a + at comes a new blog location. no longer in the intern section, mark told +krista, +mishaun and me to (re)introduce ourselves. coming up with 200 pictures to whittle down to 20 for our portfolios, posting a blog and showcasing our work… all of this reminds me of the incredulity I felt the first night as an intern when mark told us we had to have 20 images and a blog up by that monday morning. 20 IMAGES! it seemed a ridiculous amount and there was no way I had that many images that were good enough. and just like then, once I got a grip and settled down to work, I find I have more than enough pictures I’m happy to use to fill my portfolio and to post on the blog as I introduce myself. again.

so hi, I’m + elaine, and I’m happy you’re here. now let’s get shooting.

Wednesday by Leah: Sleep!

– Posted by Leah

If you are a sleep-deprived parent, please don’t read this blog post!

Everyone else – I am happy to report that I’m getting a decent amount of sleep! Which is probably the biggest surprise of this parenting adventure for me. I didn’t expect to be getting as much sleep as I do, but Jonah is a super easy baby – he wakes up generally once or twice to nurse for 5 minutes and then falls back to sleep. He’s been doing that for the past 3 weeks. Before then, he was still nursing every two hours, and peeing and pooping about as often. But as he’s grown, he’s started going longer between feedings in the evening and he also doesn’t pee or poop quite so often. Which means more sleep for both of us!

Before Jonah came, I thought we’d use the Arm’s Reach co-sleeper from the get-go. It’s set up right next to our bed, so Jonah can be close by. But then Jonah arrived and he was so tiny and precious, and nursing so often, that he ended up just sleeping on my chest. Even the co-sleeper was too far away – when I would put him in it, I couldn’t sleep. I would just watch him and make sure he was breathing. On my chest, I knew he was breathing because I could feel him. I would prop myself up with pillows, and could nurse him easily throughout the night. And that’s how we slept at first. No, it is NOT the recommended way to sleep. But even the slightest movement from him would wake me up, so I wasn’t worried about his safety – if anything, I felt like he was more safe with me than lying in a bassinet, because I could keep him warm and make sure he was breathing.

Now that he’s sleeping for longer stretches, he sleeps beside me. Still not in the co-sleeper, but I think sometime between 3 and 6 months we’ll transition him over there, and then between 6 and 12 months we’ll transition him to his room. What’s worked great for me and Mark is for me to sleep on my own for a few hours in the earlier part of the evening, while Mark hangs out with Jonah. Then I wake up for a snack (breastfeeding makes me more hungry than pregnancy did!!!), and I take Jonah while Mark’s goes to sleep. Jonah nurses and then we both fall asleep…then he wakes up 4 hours later and nurses again, and falls right back to sleep, and Mark usually gets a full stretch of sleep – 6 to 8 hours.

And that’s what works for us. Which is really the point of this post, other than me being really excited that Mark and I are both getting sleep, period! This is not how I pictured the whole sleep thing working out, but it most definitely is working out for us. This is not what the parenting books say to do, this is not what our pediatrician recommends, but it’s what works for us. And while I understand the concerns about co-sleeping, intuitively this feels right for us, for our family. And practically, it’s allowing us all to get a good night’s sleep. So that’s what we’re doing.

Going Home | +Jo

::Photo and text by +Jo::

I’ve mentioned before I only go home once a year. It also says on my bio page that my parents are two of my closest friends. So why do I travel to Arkansas one time out of the 365 days of a year?





The habit started while I was at SCAD. The first year I attended I traveled every break but I wore myself out and never had any down time between the quarters. Plus, it cost a lot for me to go back and forth as much as I would have liked. I became complacent to the idea I would go home only for the holidays. There have been a couple exceptions to this concept. One was the death of my Uncle James. The other was to help my family patch up old problems.

Yeah, I just put that out there.

Family is always a complicated subject – for anyone – and mine is no exception. We have our problems and we’ve fought through a lot together. All of us and some of us. Some days I want to give up on my family. Some days I cry because I feel I ran away from them all when I was needed the most. Some days I want to call up members to check up on them. Some days I want to rip them a new one. But all the days in the year are saved up for the one trip home.

And durning the travel time I remember why I love my family so much. And why I go home once a year. I need the space to understand them. I need the time to cherish the slim moments I have with them. I ran away to art school following a dream and willing myself not to live the same life as so many do back home.

There are many things my family doesn’t understand about me. I didn’t leave to join the military {like the others}. I left for art. Opposite agendas. I do not want children. I don’t particularly want to get married unless it is an equal opportunity event. I love to “play pretend” on stage and screen. I love to paint. I love to photograph. I love to create. So why don’t I do that back home where I would be closer to everyone? Why can’t I create there? Because I would be too close and too distracted. I would be more involved in mending broken ties. I would be in the middle of family drama that will always be there. I would become caught up in a different life style than what I want to lead.

This probably sounds terribly harsh… and it is not intended that way.

– I think I finally caught up on rest. Family can really wear you out. 😀 #life
Lee Ann -  Imagine living near us!!!!
Jo - Believe me – I understand. I have to build up for an entire year. Lol!
Lee Ann - A lump dose of family. Like ripping off a bandaid. I totally get it. 😉

My family is something very precious and dear to me. Though they fight, bicker, hold grudges and don’t speak – I love them all for these characteristics. For their eccentricities. For their merits and faults, equally. I would not be -me- if I did not have each and every one of my family members in my life. I would not have the life I do if it wasn’t for every conscious, unconscious, spiteful, and loving actions to me and one another. I wish everyone got along better. I wish I could help them all patch things up. But life isn’t as easy as that. Everyone has their reasons for behaving the way to do. There are things I do not know nor understand that has lead each individual to be the person they have become. I stay away because at the end of any day I want to keep the naive notions I had when I was twelve that everyone loved everyone for exactly who they are. That blood is thicker than water. Family always comes first.

We have a new member in our family. I did not mention in my last post – but LeeAnn is my cousin. So baby Joelle is my little cousin and will grow within a loving home with so many people that care for her. There are no doubts about that. I spent so much time with LeeAnn and Nick while I was in Arkansas with the three photoshoots I did with them. Yet, I still made my rounds and saw 90% of the people I wanted to see. Even a couple that might not want to see me – I still saw and gave loving hugs.

I had a lovely dinners with family, friends, Eric and my parents. I shared early holiday presents. I did plenty of shopping with my mom and fired guns with my father. We decorated for Christmas time and shared a lot of hot coco. I showed Eric off to the family who had never met him and took a nap almost every day. {The people who are close to me understand ‘nap’ is a rare thing to hear our of me.}  Eric taught my father how to cook traditional Tai Cuisine and my father made us his infamous spagetti when we first arrived in town at 1:00am. My two cats {who traveled with us} didn’t want to leave by the end of our stay. I took photos, but not nearly enough. I was busy seeing the people I only see once a year.

Art stops for my family.

{ <3 <3 }



Welcome to the World

Welcome, little Ziya.  You were born on the afternoon of December 5, and being there to greet you as you made your grand appearance was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life.  Your mother is a warrior woman – she danced, bounced, and breathed her way through 11.5 hours of labor without any pain medication, and she gave birth to you a lot faster than the nurses or midwife expected her to!  Your father was there with her every step of the way and they are so thrilled that you are finally here out in the world with all of us.

Your name means Splendor, Light, Glow, and you are indeed a glowing light.  You are beautiful, with the softest dark brown hair I’ve ever felt, and a cute little nose that scrunches up when you are curious or hungry.  More than anything, you are very, very loved by so many people.  We’ll have lots of adventures in the years to come, so get some rest, drink some milk, and let your sweet light shine.