QUOTE

This quote speaks to me, every time I pick up my camera and look through my lens, I know the history of all the images I have viewed, everything that has ever inspired me and influenced me is captured. Read more

Confirmation - Guaranteed Late check-In Really? Traveling while Black.

Last week my son and I traveled east to visit colleges, seems like only yesterday I was enrolling him in pre-school. I'm much more relaxed this time around, than I was with my daughter, the possibilities are varied and that Read more

Mother Daughter Connection

24 years ago today my daughter entered the world and my life has not been the same. I got married at 30 and Amani was born a year later, so my life as a couple was short lived. She went Read more

I'll never be a Size 2, Butt ...

I'll never be a size 2, Butt... Nor would I want too, "butt" I do want to be the best "me" , and this post 50 body is a full time job. I recently stepped up my program and I Read more

Gigi's Hair routine # 2

I've been wanting to do an update on my hair routine, ie. photo shoot, video etc., but for whatever reason that has not happened, so I decided to do a quick iphone diary of my current routine. First I have Read more

QUOTE

Posted on by Gigi in Quotes Leave a comment
Quote

Quote

This quote speaks to me, every time I pick up my camera and look through my lens, I know the history of all the images I have viewed, everything that has ever inspired me and influenced me is captured. This brain of mine has years and years of information stored, memories cataloged, and my own personal itunes library there as well.

Do your life experiences creep into your profession and influence your work?

Photographer Gigi

Photographer Gigi

Happy Wednesday!

Xoxo,

GIGI


Confirmation – Guaranteed Late check-In Really? Traveling while Black.

Posted on by Gigi in American Life, Travel 1 Comment

Last week my son and I traveled east to visit colleges, seems like only yesterday I was enrolling him in pre-school.

Reggie

Reggie

I’m much more relaxed this time around, than I was with my daughter, the possibilities are varied and that makes the process interesting – the unpredictability of it all.

Reggie and a classmate at Vassar College

Reggie and a classmate at Vassar College

When I graduated back in the dark ages, I applied to two schools, Long Beach State and University of California at Riverside, I did the applications myself, filled out the financial aid forms, signed up for the SAT, which I only took once and I don’t know if they had prep courses back then, but I was not in one of them.

Both my kids have this fixation with the east coast, so our journey started in Syracuse, seeing 2 schools a day, finishing in Rhode Island.  My trip was planned down to the minute, hotels, car rentals, restaurants etc., not that I’m a paranoid person, but I am aware of my “being” in  strange remote areas. I drove during the day and checked into our hotels before dark, something about those little backroads that was a little unsettling.

So this particular day we were driving from Clinton, NY to Saratoga Springs  about a 2 hour drive, I was incredibly tired, this college process, with the interviews, and tours can take a toll on you. We finally arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in Saratoga Springs, and I am greeted at the front desk, I do the typical routine present ID, credit card and my hotel confirmation number, only to be told that the hotel is completely SOLD OUT. Now remember I have been driving all day, I have to be at another school first thing in the morning, this is not what I wanted to hear.

All I got was an apology, a couple of gift cards and a reservation at another place in the town, but for some reason, something just did not “feel” right. I took my complimentary water and got in the car, when I saw a man getting out of a car with luggage, I watched as he entered the hotel, followed by yet another man also carrying luggage, I get out of my car and go back in the hotel and I observed both men getting rooms.

photo-31

“Do you need something?” the clerk says. She comes toward me, as if she does not want me to see the men getting their keys from her co-worker.

Before I knew it this is what came out of my mouth. “Did you not give me a room because I’m African-American? “What is going on here…” You said you were SOLD OUT!” I said shaking my head and taking pics with my phone.

“NO, NO , NO, you’re making me feel so baaaaad- I’m so sorry I lied.” she says. “I have to give the corporate guests the rooms first. That is what we are told to do.” she says nervously watching as I continue to take pictures.

Now I’m feeling disgusted and sick to my stomach, I’m not sure if it was a racist thing or what considering the 3 men checking in were all white, so I go from sad to mad and I tell her I’m not leaving. So she then says, “I’m going to call my manager and see what she can do…”

Moments later she comes back. “We have a one bedroom suite we can give you.” she says. “And free dinner, drinks, breakfast and anything else you want.”

I take my key and go to the room and ask myself “why?”.

Why does everything have to be so difficult? I just wanted to check into my room like all the other guests. I’m paying the same $200 plus dollars, I’m not in a set aside hotel room program. Maybe it was not “race”, but I’m willing to bet if I were a blond mom traveling with her son, I would not have been turned away. I would have been upgraded to that one bedroom suite, no questions asked…

Happy Tuesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

Gigi

Gigi

 

 


Mother Daughter Connection

Posted on by Gigi in Family Leave a comment
Gigi's Daughter

24 year-old Amani

24 years ago today my daughter entered the world and my life has not been the same. I got married at 30 and Amani was born a year later, so my life as a couple was short lived.

young african-american family

young mother Gigi

She went every where with us, which I know contributed to her independent spirit and the need to constantly explore. At the age of 6 weeks we took her to Hong Kong, against the advice of our pediatrician, when I think back on that time I don’t know what we were thinking.

I made sure Amani did all the things that I could only dream about – dance classes, acting, boarding school, traveling to Australia by herself at the age of 12, exposure to all the things that I thought would enrich her life. I wanted her to be this young woman who would be fearless and willing to conquer the world.

Amani

Amani

Currently living in Brooklyn, working and taking care of herself for the most part, it is nice to sit back and watch the process, to see her and observe subtle similarities of myself – like the way she tilts her head when looking in the mirror.

Amani

Amani

As time goes by I can’t help but to think about the next phase of parenting, will she marry, have children, where will she settle down, and  although I pushed for this independence  will it back fire in the future when perhaps I would want to live close to my children.

Gigi and Amani in Rome

Gigi and Amani in Rome

For now I will be happy that both my kids still want to go on “family” vacations and as of this date, Amani has not missed one, we are connected. I will appreciate  the “texts” that I get just because, and the occasional tag on instagram, and of course the rare phone call.

It is scary and exciting to see our family dynamic shift, especially with my son looking at colleges in the northeast, and Amani applying to med schools all over and Reggie and I starting the discussion of what retirement looks like for us…as I have said before I will embrace each day and savor it…

Happy Monday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

"The Manhattan"

“The Manhattan”

 

 


I’ll never be a Size 2, Butt …

Posted on by Gigi in Well-Being 1 Comment

I’ll never be a size 2, Butt…

Nor would I want too, “butt” I do want to be the best “me” , and this post 50 body is a full time job. I recently stepped up my program and I am really eating clean, I am determined to drop 10 pounds, which would put me at my “market” weight, the one on my drivers license. I think menopause tries to play a cruel trick  on a women’s body by attempting to take away our waist and making everything a little plumper. It’s like my Mimi kitty, once she got spayed her little figure changed as well getting thick in the middle, and nothing else changed, same food, same routine.

My Babies...

My Babies…diva Mimi in the front

menopause

menopause

For me I noticed rather real or imagined that after my birthday, I gained a few pounds- granted I did go on vacation, had a little more wine than my usual, a few more desserts etc. and now I am paying for it…

So moving forward, the key is to recognize, acknowledge and put a plan into action and do the work! So this is what I’m going to do:

I don’t like the term “diet”, I like to think of it as my “lifestyle” since this is what I should be doing all the time. Eating natural food  in its natural state, drinking lots of water, juicing, and portion control- even to much of a good thing can backfire.

Bump up the workouts- cardio, cardio and more cardio, I’m digging the dance workouts, strength training and of course finish it off with some yoga or pilates.

I’m also wearing a fitbit device , which I am loving, it will definitely keep you honest. I had to get used to wearing a rubber “thing”, but I just mix it in with a few bracelets. Tori Burch has designed a fitbit bracelet, that I may have to splurge  on when it comes out.

gigi's fitbit

gigi’s fitbit

Tori Burch Fitbit

Tori Burch Fitbit

It is recommended that you get in 10,000 steps in everyday, so I will be working on that as well.

Of course we all have a little bit of vanity, yes I want to look nice in my clothes and without them too, but more importantly so many health issues are attributed to excess weight, even 10 pounds can make a difference especially on your joints.

So friends, what sort of things to you do to keep on track– do you find it difficult to stay in shape as those birthdays come and go? Share your techniques on keeping it together.

gigi

gigi

Happy Friday,

Xoxo, GIGI


Gigi’s Hair routine # 2

Posted on by Gigi in Beauty, Hair Leave a comment

I’ve been wanting to do an update on my hair routine, ie. photo shoot, video etc., but for whatever reason that has not happened, so I decided to do a quick iphone diary of my current routine.

this hair is a mess-

this hair is a mess-

First I have to admit, between vacation, the beach, pool, and sun my hair is in need for some TLC- it is like a tumbleweed, so dry. I keep wetting it, which rejuvenates it enough to be presentable without starting from scratch. This is my “poof”  first thing in the morning, normally I wet it, add some oil and smooth the fly aways and make this work again for another day…but enough is enough.

really bad...

really bad…

See, I’m letting you see the real funky get down dirty “me”-these tresses are not falling down at my shoulders anytime soon. This hair needs to be done! So I don’t have a lot of time, I have an appointment in the city, so lets get this party started.

shampoo and detangle

shampoo and detangle

Jump in the shower and shampoo with my “No Poo” 2x and detangle with lots of Tresseme conditioner. Today I’m going to deep condition with Bask Y.A.M conditioner , I should sit under the dryer, but I’m pressed for time today, so I will put a plastic cap on and do a few things around the house.

post wash

post wash

Y.A.M. conditioner by Bask

Y.A.M. conditioner by Bask

Rinse out the conditioner and “style” with these products:

love this product

love this product

I put a generous amount of this on my soaking wet hair in the shower. I then separate into 3 sections, one in the back and two in the front using big clips.

big clips

big clips

Today I am styling with these items. I change up a lot, just because I’m always searching for the mother lode product.

current cocktail

current cocktail

I start at the nape of my neck and quickly add products with my fingers, a little one condition, followed by  Heaven in hair and a smidgen of b-leave in gel, I quickly apply in sections and then do the same to the front, separating my hair where I want it to fall in the front, ie. side part, enter part etc.

product applied

product applied

Next step is the hardest–don’t touch it anymore, I have to let it dry, if I am in a rush I use the diffuser, but I prefer for it to air dry. So I will leave it like this and go about my business. Once I get dressed I will use my special towel around my shoulders so my outfit does not get wet.

ready for the day

ready for the day

So I was out and about for about 4 hours, not completely dry the back it is still damp/wet and I am looking like a pilgrim. Not good.

Pilgrim hair

Pilgrim hair

I’m going out tonight and cannot do the “pilgrim” look, so I will use the diffuser to encourage some volume. I really don’t like “first day” hair and I usually time my wash day a couple a days ahead of an event. Considering I did a rush job, it is okay and will work for tonight.

finished "do"

finished “do”

Finished "do"

Finished “do

Happy Thursday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

 

 

 


Who Are You?

Posted on by Gigi in Aging, Well-Being 8 Comments

Browsing the net I came across this article about “Describe yourself in 5 words.” I thought long and hard and these are the words I came up with: WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, WIFE, MAMA & EVOLVING .

Gigi

Gigi

It was difficult to narrow my list down to only 5 words, I like to think of myself as this complex individual, and it would certainly take more than 5 words to describe moi. I realized that throughout my life these words would have changed numerous times. Growth and change are a part of life, it is what keeps us interesting. I thought about what others see me as compared to who I see…the public image versus the private one- or are they the same…well I think you all know I am an open book, I share everything, I’m very transparent almost to a fault.

In my 20’s it was SINGLE, EXPLORER, BOHO, DREAMER, ENTREPRENEUR. Moving on to my 30’s it was MARRIED, MOTHER, VOLUNTEER, CONFORMIST, QUESTIONING.

Gigi @ 25

Gigi @ 25

Nov 18 1996

Nov 18 1996

Late 30’s early 40’s PHYSICAL, KINKY-CURLY, DESIGNER, TRAVELER, STUDENT Mid-40’s another shift, FOLLOWER, VEGAN, FOCUSED, WIFE, MOTHER.

Reinvent

Reinvent

Gigi's Graduation 2006

Gigi’s Graduation 2006

Gigi & Ele

Gigi & Ele

Late 40’s PERI-MENOPAUSE, SKIER, WIFE, MOTHER, DISCOVERER.

How would you describe yourself in 5 words? I’d love to know…

Happy Wednesday,

XOXO,

GIGI


I left my Heart…(san francisco travel diary)

Posted on by Gigi in Travel Leave a comment

After spending the summer of my 10th year in San Francisco with my great aunt Sally and uncle Henry, I fell in love with the bay area. The steep hills, crisp sea air, cable cars, shopping, dining, and the international feel of this charming little city, stole my heart.

cable car

cable car

Last weekend we celebrated my in-laws 90th birthday. We stayed in San Francisco at Hotel Palomar and had a blast, didn’t even feel the 6.0 earthquake. My mother was traveling with us and even she liked the hotel, and she is not easy to please. This was my second time staying here and I will definitely be coming back. Short list of why I liked Hotel Palomar: the animal print robes coffee tea service and wine tasting in the lobby-complimentary the funky restaurant “Dirty Habit” free wifi interesting room decor i-pod player yoga mat right in the middle of the shopping district underground parking not to expensive-

Hotel Palomar

Hotel Palomar

The lobby

The lobby

We also had 2 fabulous meals…I’m paying for it now between Kauai and San Francisco I am on my “training” diet, but it was worth it! We had a really delicious lunch at A16 an Italian spot that was fab. Everything was so fresh and they were very accommodating with taking the meat out of certain dishes, which is always nice.Sunday we had dinner at Dosa, really good modern indian food–I had a watermelon salad that was incredible.

Dosa

Dosa

We shopped for school stuff for Reggie, and walked all over downtown, stopping off in the park to catch some music.

Here are some pics from the weekend- enjoy! Xoxo, Gigi

The cutest 90 year-old couple I know...

The cutest 90 year-old couple I know…

My mom and sister-n-law Paula

My mom and sister-n-law Paula

Gigi and sister-n-laws

Gigi and sister-n-laws

Amani & Reggie

Amani & Reggie

The cousins

The cousins

10635949_10204403392943373_806217517539283424_n

bay bridge

bay bridge

Gigi & Hubby

Gigi & Hubby

Amani & Daddy

Amani & Daddy

Mr. and Mrs.RS

Mr. and Mrs.RS


Labor Day

Posted on by Gigi in Holiday 1 Comment
Labor Day

Labor Day

Growing up, Labor Day always signified going back to school and the archaic “fashion” rule of the end of wearing “white”, both are now passe, with schools starting as early as August and “white” is a year around basic in California.

Labor day white

Labor day white

An extra long weekend before the fall season begins, a time to catch a few more moments to relax. My son is back at school, starting his last year of high school, so we are empty nesters once again. End of summer, beginning of fall, a time for me to plan a strong ending to a rocky year. It’s going to be busy, with my son submitting college applications, the normal holiday stuff, and a few photography projects I have in the works. I will HAVE to be incredibly organized!

Gigi @ the beach

Gigi @ the beach

What my intentions are for fall:

1. Refresh my workouts–I’m been digging barre classes, and really wanting to focus on workouts that are fun and get results. I know at my age I need to step it up, and constantly change in order to shock my body. I will keep you posted on what is working.

barre class

barre class

2. Taking a film class at UCLA, I have always been intrigued by moving images and would like to explore a little.

3. Replant my veggie garden for fall and winter.

4. A few home projects…maybe get a few window treatments and some new linens for my bed.

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

5. Fine tune my diet–there is always room for improvement.

6. Work on my photography craft- always seeking beautiful light and backdrops to capture my clients, and making time to create images that make me smile.

6. Lastly, continue to work on minimizing what no longer serves me.

What are your intentions for the FAll?

A quote I stumbled on that really sums it up…

GET RID OF THE TRASH TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE TREASURES: LET THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TAKE CENTER STAGE.

Peter Walsh’

Happy Labor Day Monday,

Xoxo

Gigi

 

 


Is Marriage Forever?

Posted on by Gigi in Weddings 2 Comments

A month ago we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, definitely a milestone for us. This past weekend my in-laws celebrated their 90th birthdays and 71 years of marriage.

Mom & Dad Sampson 90 years young...

Mom & Dad Sampson
90 years young…

When my mother-n-law was my age they had already be married 36 years! We’re at an age where we are now going to weddings of our friends children, while at the same time many long term marriages are dissolving.

Kyndall & James

Kyndall & James

lovely couple

lovely couple (our friend’s daughter)

My in-laws got married when they were 19, when I think about my early relationships I know I would have had a least 1 maybe 2 divorces under my belt by now. Being a late bloomer, I had no clue what I even wanted in a relationship or partner, but somehow I knew that some of the choices I had made were wrong on so many different levels. At 30 I was certainly not the 20 something year old going in a million different directions, being the “pleaser” in one sided relationships. I had gained the confidence to know I was a “prize” and did not have to settle, just because…

Doing the math I don’t think we will be around to celebrate 70 years, but I will embrace each day like it is our last.

Gigi & Reggie

Gigi & Reggie 25 years anniversary

I was in awe of my in-laws and their lasting love–something that is becoming so rare. Check out this short clip of my father-n-law’s tribute to his wife.

Marriage like any other relationships take work, you have to be an active participant and make things happen. You and your partner have to be willing to change and grow and continue to accept one another, be honest, and most of all be willing to forgive. Any one who has been married a long time has experienced “rough patches”, but the key is being able smooth them out. You have to understand who this person is you married…and not try and transform them to who you didn’t marry. You have to know what is worth fighting about and when to just “shut up”.

For example I LOVE to TRAVEL, if I were to wait on my husband to plan a trip we would not go anywhere, but since I know that I make sure I am proactive and plan things. I did not marry the person who is going to surprise me and whisk me away to an exotic location, and that is okay.

Patera Elephant Farm

Patera Elephant Farm

I also know that some marriages end. Some are impossible, just BIG mistakes. I came from a broken family and now that I am an adult, I see clearly why my parents could have never stayed married–sad but true. I am grateful that my mom was able to relocate with 4 kids to California and start a new life.

My mother and father early 1960's

My mother and father early 1960’s

Every marriage is different and each one has a different formula to keep it going. My humble advice is to always work on “self” being the best “you”, stay “market” ready, be interesting and continue to grow, be in tune with your partner, keep it “sexy”, know that it is okay if you give more sometimes and lastly always make time for each other.

Have a wonderful weekend, we will be heading to Temecula for a wedding (daughter of one of our dear friends).

XOXO,

Gigi

 


What does real strength look like?

Posted on by Gigi in Well-Being Leave a comment
Gigi & Mom

Gigi & Mom

Today my mom is having surgery. I’m amazed at her incredible strength, she has endured 12 weeks of chemo, watched her daughter battle cancer, lost her only son to cancer, another daughter diagnosed a month ago, her ex-husband died of cancer and numerous friends over the years have battled this horrific disease. There is no rhyme or reason why my 83-year-old mom would “get it”…

This past weekend my mom went with my family to San Francisco, we went all over the city, lots of walking, you would never know by her attitude that she had all this “mess” hanging over her. She was a trooper. I’m so glad we had this time together.

I don’t have the answer to this disease, once again like a broken record–Live each day like there is no tomorrow! Don’t waste time being angry, Forgive and love…and do the best you can taking care of your body–exercise, eat well, and take care of the mental “you”.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness

Happy Wednesday,

XOXO,

Gigi


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