Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Confession and A Promise

I have a confession to make.  As of late, I’ve been kind of terrible at this whole blogging thing.  Obviously, this isn’t a particularly compelling or surprising confession.  Just take a look at my post history and you’ll see that I haven’t felt the need to write something since February.  Oops.  But I just haven’t felt that jolt of inspiration, that insatiable need to put your thoughts on paper, or a canvas, or into 140 characters (I’m talking to you my dear Twitter inclined readers).  And if I haven’t felt it, that burst of creativity and passion, then why force it?  I’m not going to just spew insignificant shit out into the universe because I’ve been told that I should be predictable and consistent.  Because that’s what a good blogger does, right?  While that may work for some (and to them I say, "good on ya!"), that’s just not me.  And I’ve come to realize that that’s okay. 

So in light of this confession, I’m also going to offer up a promise.  I, Amy Arburn, promise to never write something disingenuous or fluffy or meaningless.  I can’t promise that I’m not going to write about something you may find silly. Like last week’s Grey’s Anatomy episode, or my most recent trip to Sephora, or One Direction (I’ll warn you.  It will happen at some point or another.)  But I can guarantee that if I put it here, it will be from the heart.  It will be something that really made me think or feel, laugh or cry, wince or grin.  That’s my promise.  Real stuff only.  No fluff allowed.

I don’t know when you’ll hear from me next.  Perhaps next week, or next month, or maybe even in a few hours?  I can’t be sure.  Because life is unpredictable and busy and jam packed with responsibilities and friendly engagements. If you’re lucky ;)

So, until we meet again then my loves.  In the meantime, keep living and loving and dreaming big Audrey sized dreams. Okay?  Okay.

P.S. That lovely image featured at the start of this post came from a session I recently did with Christian Kerr, a local and SUPER talented portrait photographer.  For more from my session and many others, click here.  You won't regret it!

Much love and thanks for reading.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

And This One's For You...

Roses are red, violets are blue, I've written a little love note for you...

If you, like me, don't happen to have a significant other in your life this Valentine's Day, it's okay.  This doesn't have to be depressing or irritating or serve as a reason for you to feel self-pity or loneliness.  Because newsflash, there are all kinds of love in this world.  Not just the in-love kind.  Chances are there is someone out there who loves you very dearly, even if it's not in that romance novel kind of way.  Maybe it's Mom. Or Dad. Or both. Or a little sister or brother. Or a big sister or brother.  Or your twin.  Or perhaps it's this really kick ass friend of yours who you can tell anything and everything.  Maybe it's a coworker, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a neighbor, a childhood playmate, an old college roommate.  Someone out there loves you.  It may be a different kind of love, but it's just as special. This I am sure of.

So for those of you who do have a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner...go give em a kiss. A big, slobbery, wet one.  And for those of you who don't, celebrate the other equally special kinds of love that surround you each and every day of your life.

Happy Valentine's Day Audreamers.  I love you.

P.S. Thought I'd share my favorite love song of all time.  Leave it to Elton.

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I Feel Full...

I feel full.  In every sense of the word.  Queso fundido with chorizo, blue corn dusted calamari with lemon-roasted jalapeño aioli, jumbo shrimp in a chipotle cream sauce, tres verdes rice, pork shank in a mole negro sauce, citrus glazed pork carnitas.  I’ve consumed not just one, or a few of these delightful treats.  Oh no.  I ate them all.  Like I said, I’m full.  And while my belly is swollen to a point where I think it may burst at any moment, I can safely say that I feel an even deeper sense of fulfillment in my heart.  This inexplicably delicious meal I speak of?  Well I’ve shared it with a United States Supreme Court Justice, one who I admire very much.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor was expected to arrive in town on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.  I had thought I would be meeting her days later, at an event we were hosting for work.  I thought I’d meet her in a professional setting. I’d get to shake her hand, have my photo taken with her, and have the opportunity to tell her how much I admire her.  I’d even be able to ask her to sign my copy of her book, “My Beloved World.”  This idea alone thrilled me. 

Princess and I with our copies of Justice Sotomayor's book, "My Beloved World"
But then, something borderline magical happened.  Justice Sotomayor arrived in town a day early and my boss, who was there to greet her as she arrived at the hotel, somehow managed to arrange a dinner with her.  Just him, my coworker Princess, me, and yes, Sonia.  No big deal. 

I think I expected a giant to walk into the room.  In her judges’ attire, gavel in hand, with a horde of United States Marshalls flanking her on all sides.  But the moment I saw her, I felt a wave of relief wash over me.  She was warm and kind and genuine.  A woman who took pride in her accomplishments and in her position, but who was also very level headed, down to earth, and surprisingly approachable.  At one point during the meal, she insisted that we each have a bite of her mole.  “This is delicious!  You have to have a bite.”  And with that, she shoved her plate to the center of the table so that each of us could have a taste.  It wasn’t until my fork was halfway to my mouth that I realized, “I’ve just eaten off the plate of a United States Supreme Court Justice.”  She wasn’t wrong.  The mole was sensational.

Camarones Diego, my entree of choice, at Frida Bistro in Salt Lake City.  Yummmm.
At first, we spoke about things you would expect us to speak about.  Our positions at the association, our role in the community, the upcoming events she would be appearing at, and the logistics of our own event.

But then, we began to venture into more personal topics.  We spoke about our homes, about baseball, hobbies, and family members.  She seemed genuinely interested in getting to know us and asked my coworker and I about our respective graduate degrees and lives outside of work.  We cracked jokes.  We giggled. And at the end of the night, big warm hugs were exchanged. 

The four of us.  I know it's kinda blurry and there's a bit of a glare, but I choose to ignore it.  Because SONIA!!
I am fully aware that very few people are given the opportunity that I was given that night.  Not many can say they have met a United States Supreme Court Justice.  Fewer can say they have met one they admire.  Even fewer have shared a margarita with one.  All I can say is that I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for that moment in my life.  I am honored to have met such an amazing woman, one who has overcome so much, and has made her mark on history in the process.  I am honored to have had the opportunity to not just shake her hand, but to have had a conversation with her, to share bits of my life with her, and to have watched the giant of a person I had read about on the pages of a book spring to life into this very real and spectacular human being.  Major Audream come true.

Like I said, I feel full. 

Here are some photos we managed to get a few days later at the event.  

This is me doing my best not to cry as I watch the Justice write a personal message at the top corner of the title page.  For the record, I managed to keep it together until she left the room a few minutes later.

She met the whole fam!  Might be the greatest pic ever.

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sometimes, Even Gladiators Stumble...

I obsess.  Chronically.  When I fall for a television series, a restaurant, a lipstick, an artist, a band, a pair of shoes, an actor, a song, a character, or a real life human being…I fall hard and I fall fast. Last summer, it was Outlander.  I watched each episode a million times, I reread the first book, and I read everything there is to read about Sam Heughan and Catriona Balfe. And for a good chunk of the summer months, Jamie Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser’s beautiful face graced the lock screen on my iPhone. I’m not crazy.  I’m just passionate.  Or at least that’s how I like to think of it.

Anywho, Outlander’s mid-season finale came and went and I was forced to shelf the novel, along with the show, and come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t feel satiated once more until April of 2015 (I’m not happy Starz.  I’m really not happy).  So I sought out a new obsession.  Thank god for Netflix.  Before I knew it, I was throwing myself into the gut-wrenching, heart stopping, totally cheesy yet totally addicting television phenomenon that is Scandal.  And I couldn’t have been happier. It’s dramatic, it’s naughty, it’s politically charged, it’s over the top, and just freaking fantastic.  My watch-buddy (Mummy of course) and I cannot help but gasp at each startling revelation/confession/Olitz love scene.  It’s good people.  If you’re not watching, start.  Immediately.

So, why is this at all relevant? Why the hell am I talking your ear off about an ABC primetime drama?  For one, the newest season started last week and we will now see episodes consistently aired each Thursday for weeks to come.  Hallelujah!! But more importantly, beyond the angsty Olivia/Fitz love affair and beyond the juicy, dirty, scandalicious moments, we have a pretty dang fabulous heroine at the center of it all.

Olivia Pope, played marvelously by the beautiful Kerry Washington, is D.C.’s go-to woman.  She is well respected in the community, known for being the best at what she does.  She is ambitious, relentless, and will stop at nothing to deliver for her clients.  She is empathetic and generous and advocates for the people she loves. She is beautiful and, most notably, wicked smart.  She also has quite possibly the most beautiful collection of professional clothing I’ve ever seen – Prada Bags and Louboutins and Pastel colored topcoats.  Since watching the show, I’ve made small additions to my own closet in hopes of emulating her sophisticated look.  I call these my "Olivia Pope Coats."

Olivia is successful and professional and a force to be reckoned with.  And she looks damn good doing it (life goals!).  At first glance, Olivia Pope is kinda perfect.

But what makes Olivia Pope really special is the fact that she isn’t perfect at all. She’s made some pretty terrible decisions quite frankly.  - At this point, I feel the need to say the following: SPOILER ALERT -  She has had a long-lasting and very serious affair with the President of the United States.  Who happens to be married.  With children.  So his marriage wasn’t all rainbows and bunny rabbits (more like thunderstorms and disease infested rodents), but an affair is an affair, right?  She thwarted the democratic process and rigged a Presidential election. She tampers with evidence, condones torture in certain circumstances, and her pool of clients could be considered a rather immoral lot.  She has a less than ideal relationship with her father.  And she tends to shamelessly manipulate her loyal gladiators all in an effort to get exactly what she wants.

I think I’ve made it perfectly clear that Olivia Pope is not perfect.  Far from it.  She isn’t some glowing goddess free of flaws and imperfections.  She’s a person, just like the rest of us.  She has many admirable and lovable qualities.  But she has made mistakes, she’s taken wrong turns, she’s lost her way.  Olivia Pope, I think, is such a beautifully realistic female character, one that doesn’t project this unattainable level of perfection.  Sure, her average day is a bit more outrageous and glamorous than ours.  Yes, her hair is always impeccably styled and her wardrobe may be a bit more extensive.  But I think we can all identify with her in the sense that she doesn't actually have all her shit together as appearances may suggest.  She is not all good or all bad.  Real people are far more complicated than that, and Olivia is certainly a representation of that complexity.  Even gladiators stumble matter how gorgeous the suit.  What a breath of fresh air.

Hope everyone has enjoyed their Sunday.  Special thanks to my girl Katie Tingey for snapping these photos and for being just an all around awesome friend/human.  And to all you Gladiators out there, grab your popcorn and a giant glass of wine.  It’s Scandal Season!   

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Downton for a Day

Something short and sweet and extra posh for you all today.  This last week, I was lucky enough to be a part of a Downton Abbey themed shoot.  When asked, I jumped at the opportunity.  Just google "Downton Abbey costumes" and you'll understand why.  #vintageglamourmuch.  And, ya know, that whole lover-of-all-things-British thing may have come into play here as well.  The way I saw it, it was a pretty legitimate excuse to speak with an accent for hours on end.  Not that I need one.

As if being all fancy for a day wasn't fabulous enough, I was able to collaborate with some really amazing people.  April Benincosa started us off with some killer hair and makeup.  Watching her create those Old Hollywood style waves in my hair was really something special.  Thank you, April.  

The Grand America served as a truly gracious host, giving us a set that really drove home that elaborate English country estate feel to the shoot. Thanks to the hotel and its friendly staff!

La Fête Floral and Events was kind enough to provide us with some unique bouquets fit for a queen.  And Gossamer Vintage sent some unbelievably breathtaking vintage gowns that I was thrilled to wear and play around in for a few hours. Thanks to both of them!

Most of all, I'd like to thank D'Arcy Benincosa, who is such a vibrant soul and a deeply gifted photographer and artist.  Thank you for making it all happen and for asking me to be a part of it.  

Days like these remind me of how fortunate I am to be able to work with such talented and creative individuals.  It's inspiring.  And to top it all off, I get to take home these stunning photographs that will last a lifetime.  I'm a lucky girl.

Note: Because D'Arcy is super cool and awesome, she shoots film.  The photos included above were taken on our iPhones so we could share some shots with you all right away.  So stay tuned for more images once that film gets developed!

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Haters Gonna Hate, I'm Just Gonna Shake

I'm going to admit something that I'm not particularly proud of - I used to be one of those people that really intensely disliked Taylor Swift.  She always seemed a tad self-involved and vengeful and just kind of annoying.  The cherry on top of this ice-cold hater sundae: she allegedly dated A LOT of really attractive, super talented, and undeniably desirable men.  One of whom I have been in a very serious imaginary relationship with for quite some time now (Those of you who know me won't have any trouble determining who that is).  All in all, it was just irritating and yes, I felt a little jealous.  Which is really incredibly hard to admit.

But recently, I've had a bit of a change of heart.  October 2014 marked the release of Taylor's newest album, 1989.  And I found myself singing along to her latest hits despite my greatest efforts not to.  Swiftie or not, she's one talented chick, and her new pop style album is absolutely wicked.  So, I did a little research.  Watched interviews, read stories, etc.   

What I discovered was this - I deeply relate to Taylor Swift in many ways.  She's just turned 25.  I've just turned 24.  We're both in a place where we value our independence. It seems that each of us feels deeply committed to ourselves and to our own well-being and personal growth.  Dating is not a number one priority.  Instead, we’re enjoying new friends and old.  We're also ready and willing to go to bat for things that are important to us.  Taylor boldly defends her work and eloquently dismisses accusations that her music is whiny or overdramatic as sexist and untrue.  “No one says that about Ed Sheeran.  No one says that about Bruno Mars.  They are all writing songs about their exes and their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises a red flag there.” Well said, girlfriend.  And on a smaller note, we both enjoy a warm and gooey batch of cookies and a good red lipstick.  I could get down with that.

An Instagram of mine from approximately 31 weeks ago.  My love of cookies is not a new thing.  Good ole' chocolate chip.

An Instagram of Taylor's from approximately 14 weeks ago.  Her love of cookies, also not new.
Chai sugar cookies with eggnog icing.  Ummm...yum. Major points for creativity here.

Me rocking that "red lip, classic" thing that she likes...

Taylor Swift is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  No one is perfect.  Taylor Swift has certainly made mistakes.  She’s said some things and done some things that perhaps weren't really all that smart.  But for goodness sakes, who hasn't in their younger years?  The difference between her and the rest of us is that Taylor had to make those mistakes with the whole world watching.  And oftentimes, she isn't given the luxury of moving forward from them as those of us not living in the public eye can.  That stupid thing you said to your ex?  Well it just withers away with the passing time.  For Taylor?  It’s forever recorded in the annals of YouTube history.  That time you tripped and fell and it was like, super embarrassing?  Try doing it on stage in front of thousands of people.  That guy you broke up with years ago?  He’s just a part of the past.  For Taylor?  There’s a new gossipy headline to read every morning.  I know if I were under that amount of scrutiny, I’d lose my sanity and promptly crawl into a hole somewhere. 

But here’s what really changed my perspective.  In a recent interview she did with Rolling Stone (you can find it here), T-Swift said this about her band of outrageously beautiful, successful, driven and talented female bffs.  "It's like this blazing bonfire.  You can either be afraid of it because it's so powerful and strong, or you can go stand near it, because it's fun and it makes you brighter."  That triple scoop hater sundae I mentioned earlier?  Reading this made it melt away in seconds.  What a show of strength, I thought.  Instead of feeling intimidated or threatened by these equally beautiful and gifted women, she gravitates toward them, in search of only friendship.  She does not feel that their achievements or talents belittle her own.  Instead, they lift her up and inspire her.  I really appreciated this side of her that I’d never seen.  Perhaps it wasn’t there before.  Or maybe I just wasn’t looking for it.  I can’t really give you an answer on that one, but I do know that I’m glad I found it.

I don't know Taylor and I most likely will never know her.  I do not dislike her.  I also do not idolize her.  But I do respect her a great deal.  I admire her bravery and her confidence.  I admire her for the way she handles her uber celebrity status and her overwhelmingly unprivate lifestyle.  It can't be easy.  But her fire, it just keeps on blazing.  So instead of shying away from it, I'm gonna walk my ass over to it and sit the fuck down for a little while.  And while I'm there, I'll enjoy the warmth, soak in all the light, and let those raging flames make my own fire burn that much brighter.

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always… 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Year In Review

A lot happened this year.

I finished my graduate program and received my Masters Degree.  

Got my first big girl job with a salary and benefits and real responsibilities.  I visited Washington D.C. for the very first time.  Saw the capitol building, met the Senate majority leader, went to brunch with an old friend (Hi Leah!), toured countless museums, and walked till I thought my feet would fall off. 

I saw Wicked for the second time…and it was awesome.  Magical even ;)  I began a really intense fitness regimen with my Daddy.  I worked with some truly gifted photographers, stylists, and hair and makeup artists.  

I walked in my first runway show.  

I spent another year at home with my family.  We’re closer than ever and I feel grateful for the three of them every day of my life. I spent time with old friends...

And new...

I started this blog...

2014, you were really great.  I’ll look back on you fondly. But I can’t help but feel excited by the idea of a brand new year full of possibilities.  I don’t know what’s in store.  And for the first time in my life, that doesn’t scare me. I’m ready for the unknown.  I’m ready for twists and turns and ups and downs.  I am ready to stop just ogling those Audreams.  I’m ready to go live them.  Are you…?

Happy New Year Audreamers!  Here’s to 2015! 

Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…