Self Portrait Project

This self-portrait project is taking on a life of its own. It started out as a vehicle in which I could try out different techniques, lighting, and new locations , but it has evolved into a self discovery project Read more

50 Ways to be Happy...

With so much going on in the world, that I cannot control, my personal well being is important. We should all work on having as much happiness in our lives as possible. So I came up with this list Read more

What Scares You?

I have this journal that contains a year's worth of "fear" prompts. One of the prompts "list things that scare you" ...I had to think about this since there is a part of me that thinks I am fearless. Read more

My Bucket List...

In my recent observations of life, in particular some that have ended way to soon unfortunately- I started thinking about my bucket list. At 55 I'm on the other side, I feel fine, not sure what "middle age" is Read more

What I would tell a younger "ME"...

I keep seeing this you tube campaign encouraging people to make a video stating what they would tell a younger "self " so I started thinking what would I tell a younger "Me". 1. Explore- Be fearless. Get out of Read more

Self Portrait Project

Posted on by Gigi in self portrait Leave a comment
self portrait #9.5

self portrait #9.5

This self-portrait project is taking on a life of its own. It started out as a vehicle in which I could try out different techniques, lighting, and new locations , but it has evolved into a self discovery project in which I am getting to know myself really well. I know all the sides of this 50+5 year-old woman, I know that at certain angles I see the signs of a woman that has been around for a while…for the first time I have seriously considered a bit of filler or botox to perhaps address this situation. I know that my curvy body needs fitted garments or I can go instantly to frumpy real quick. I’ve learned that my natural hair is perfect for hiding my grey strands. I’ve learned that looking into to a lens can be intimidating- we all have a perception of what we want or think we look like, what is pleasing to us- and trust me when I upload and look real close you see all the good the bad and the downright ugly. I know how vulnerable we are since we are constantly bombarded with perfect images in the media that trust me, most are so altered you would be amazed. I know that phone selfies are not always our friend especially if you are not 16, I have had clients show me phone pics of themselves that they love and want something similar…basically diffused, distorted and blurry.

When I first started the project I felt like this narcissistic crazy lady, I did not want anybody to see me doing this, so I had to wait until I had alone time, if I were outside had to make sure the gardener was not around. There are lots of clicks to get the one or two that convey the story I am trying to tell. I have to plan my wardrobe, setting, makeup, hair and lighting, all natural light is not equal and artificial light that is another story, one that I plan to conquer soon. I love that this project is forcing me to grow as an artist, to take chances and try things.

I do the shoots weekly, and post them on Thursday to my social media and to a self portrait group I belong to, I have no chance to drop 5 pounds or go on a cleanse so I can look my “best”,  each week I capture who I am that moment, the fuller version of the 40 year old me. I am the picky critical client that I have to please. I have come to accept who I am today and not worry, I want to exist in photos for my family, there are so many periods in my life where I don’t exist. I have no pictures from 25 to 29, and only school pictures from my teen years, and a couple from my childhood. I know that is why I am obsessive about taking photos of my family and friends even if they get annoyed. After I do the 52 pics, I will be making a book for myself of this body of work.

I would recommend everyone try a few self portraits. It is easy to do just set your timer on your camera and get in position. If you don’t have a camera you can use your phone, just set it up on something so you can get the perspective that you want.

Here are a few more from my “wandering” #9 series. The inspiration was I wanted to be in a lush field with a big long flowy skirt on, I wanted morning light and of course my #bighairdon’tcare” hair. I was happy with my results, and am thinking about my next shoot…maybe something modern and stark total opposite of this one.

self

self

self #9

self #9

self portrait #9

self portrait #9

Happy Monday!

Xoxo,

Gigi


50 Ways to be Happy…

Posted on by Gigi in 50 ways Leave a comment

With so much going on in the world, that I cannot control, my personal well being is important. We should all work on having as much happiness in our lives as possible. So I came up with this list of things that make me happy, of course I have sad moments too, but for the most part I work hard at “happy”. I always try to find the good in a situation.

A couple of weeks ago my car stalled on me in Hollywood, my son and his friend were in the car, we were on the way downtown to have lunch and we were starving, it was one of those “missed breakfast kinda days”. It was also a really hot day, and I had just had my car serviced the day before, and paid a lot of money, so I could have instantly gotten “mad” and called the dealer and went off, but instead I just called Automobile club and just wandered around Santa Monica Blvd. for a moment until my car was towed, 2 hours later we were in a loaner car and went and had an early dinner at the beach and continued on with the rest of our day, making the most of the situation.

So here is my list:

1. Chose to be happy. 2. laugh out loud. 3. Eat Green- ie. as many green veggies as possible 4. Smile.

5. Daily gratitude.

6. Forgive and forgive. 7. Look for the good instead of the bad. 8. Shut down negativity 9. Do something daily that makes you happy 10. Exercise. 11. Practice yoga 12. Quit complaining. 13. Have friends you can talk to about  anything. 14. Celebrate often

15. Indulge in small pleasures 16. Spontaneous fun. 17. Seek our pleasant experiences. 18. Take up a hobby or revisit an old one. 19. Random acts of kindness. 20. Prepare food for someone 21. Surround yourself with beauty. 22. Meditate. 23. Spend time outside. 24. SLOW DOWN 25. Do what you can, there is always tomorrow. 26. Do “You” 27. Explore new places.

28. Smell something…roses, perfume, candles etc..29. Pet a kitten or a puppy. 30. Tell someone you love them. 31. Read

32. Inspire others 33. Watch the sunset 34. follow your passion 35. Say “no”, its okay. 36. Be romantic. 37. Dream big.

38. Avoid drama. 39. Look on the bright side. 40. Continue to learn. 41. Write. 42. Get enough sleep.

43. Stay hydrated.

44. Love yourself. 45. Face your fears. 46. So something magical. 47. Set an intention everyday.

48. Treat yourself. 49.Love and be loved and never give up on love. 50. Feed your spiritual soul.

What makes you happy? This list came off the top of my head so please add some that I may have missed.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Friday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

self portrait #9.5

self portrait #9.5

 


What Scares You?

Posted on by Gigi in My Life, Well-Being Leave a comment

I have this journal that contains a year’s worth of “fear” prompts. One of the prompts “list things that scare you” …I had to think about this since there is a part of me that thinks I am fearless. So after digging deep inside, this is my “scared to death – bone chilling” list.

scared of heights...

scared of heights…

1. Fear of heights. This one is twofold, there is something about looking over the edge that really frightens me, but I can ski and I’m not afraid of those edges. I’m afraid of flying in small planes, and the one time I did I was in Costa Rica and I had a panic attack and had to use the bathroom, of course this plane was so small there was no bathroom so the pilot just landed in a field so I could go…talk about SCARED…

needles

needles

2. All things medical. Yes. I know I am married to a doctor, but I am scared of needles, blood tests, hospitals, exams etc. and my worst medical fear is the big “C”.  Almost all of my family has been attacked by cancer, so I can’t help but to think about being diagnosed myself.

false teeth

false teeth

3. I’m scared of losing my teeth…so regardless of number 2, I am at the dentist twice a year, never ever missing an appointment. I think this fear came from seeing older relatives removing their teeth and putting them in a glass of water, and I remember being really afraid, wondering what happened to their teeth, but knowing I could not ask.

scorpions

scorpions

4. Scorpions- a few years ago one was in my bed! I almost had a heart attack. Yes. Creepy crawlers freak me out. I remember when we traveled to Costa Rica I thought it would be nice to stay at a Eco resort- WRONG it was full of all kinds of exotic insects…all over the place.

5. Snakes, no explanation needed. I have had run ins in my neighborhood with snakes on a few occasions.

6. Not “aging” per se, but looking really old- and not in a graceful way. So I’m trying to balance what works and hopefully recognizing what does not. And unless I get over fear number 2, I may not be able to take advantage of the modern anti-aging treatments.

7. Losing my husband and /or my children. Recently I have witnessed close friends and family experiencing this loss and I don’t know how you ever work through the grief.

What scares you? I’m curious.

Happy Tuesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

 


My Bucket List…

Posted on by Gigi in Aging, Inspiration, Life Style 4 Comments

In my recent observations of life, in particular some that have ended way to soon unfortunately- I started thinking about my bucket list. At 55 I’m on the other side, I feel fine, not sure what “middle age” is supposed to feel like, but I’m embracing every day. I for the most part do the right “things”,  but I am learning there is no rhyme or reason to these horrific diseases, there are no guarantees.

Here is what I came up with, in no particular order:

1. Travel to Brazil, Cuba, Bali, Turkey, Mauritius, New Zealand, Montreux jazz just to name a few destinations on my list.

Kauai

Kauai

2. Become a really really good photographer.

Gigi

Gigi

3. Write a book. (does not have to be a bestseller or anything)

4. Have a grandchild or two.

5. Get in incredible shape. (For me it is more difficult at this age-body parts want to relocate and shift…)

Gigi @ the beach

Gigi @ the beach

6. Start a non-profit. I want to make a difference, for women and/or animals- cats in particular.

What’s on your bucket list?

Happy Tuesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi


What I would tell a younger “ME”…

Posted on by Gigi in My Life 1 Comment

I keep seeing this you tube campaign encouraging people to make a video stating what they would tell a younger “self ” so I started thinking what would I tell a younger “Me”.

24 year old GIGI

24 year old GIGI

1. Explore- Be fearless. Get out of your comfort zone.

2. Be Happy- You’re young-take advantage of it while you can!

3. Be You – Don’t try to be something that you are not. btw trust me it does not work.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others. ie. there is always someone richer, skinnier, younger, taller, shorter etc.

5. Follow your passion- so you don’t have to finally do it when you are 50 plus.

6. It’s normal for your heart to be broken, so it can get stronger and bigger, so when the right one comes along you will be able to handle all the “right” love.

7. Take risks- you can afford to while you are young.

8. Travel. This is the time while you have no real responsibility ie. kids…

9. Nurture friendships and let go of the one-sided ones- cause they are not going to change…remember friends are the family members you choose, so be wise.

10. Trust.

11. Forgive.

12. Save money.

13. Develop a vegan-veggie lifestyle and exercise daily.

14. Be authentic

15. Read everything.

16. Work on goals and don’t get distracted…ie. “putting college on the back burner and then look up and years have gone by”

17. Have mentors you trust and admire. Surround yourself with friends of different ages, you can learn a lot…

18. Be the best version of you at all times.

19. Embrace and love yourself- love your body – love your hair- love everything about yourself, even what you perceive to be flaws.

20. Accept your family for who they are…

and lastly…

21. Have faith in God – believe in some higher power.

What would you tell a younger “you”? Please share…

Happy Friday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

self portrait #3

self portrait #3


My Mantra…

Posted on by Gigi in Quotes Leave a comment
Be Happy

Be Happy

This is how I strive to live every day. At 55 I am reminded almost daily of how short life really is and that it takes way to much energy to be angry. Of course I have my moments, but when I do I quickly regroup and question myself “Is this really necessary?”.  I find that sometimes you have to be a little selfish, because well meaning friends will share their anger with you on various matters, you want to listen and perhaps give advice, but when the friend wants to constantly share negativity over and over it can become a bit much.

I’m pretty simple and can find happiness is the smallest things, like waking up early and hearing the faint sound of birds chirping, or noticing the way the light comes through a window in the afternoon. I’m happiest when I am able to help someone, especially someone who is not expecting anything. I love hearing success stories and good news.

Embracing where I am in this life and not worrying about what I should be doing or what others feel I should be doing. Loving this complicated aging process and accepting the good the bad and the ugly. And lastly being so thankful for everyday I wake up, and my family is fine, and I know where I am and what time it is, never taking anything for granted.

Happy Tuesday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

Mimi & moi

Mimi & moi


I need some tea and honey…

Posted on by Gigi in My Life Leave a comment

156233_4693056730398_33342782_n

First on foremost…I’ve missed coming here and sharing my thoughts and such. Life is zooming by and I have been caught up on a merry go round that won’t let me off. A little bit of what has been going on the past five weeks, 3 friends departed the planet, 3 friends who were in my age bracket. I know that one day we will all depart this earth, but are you ever ready death? BTW I hate F—ing Cancer.

A few weeks ago I met a new friend, her name is Hanifa. Back story I’m part of Face Forward, an organization that provides medical services for women who have been victims of domestic violence, we provide pro bono surgery to women and children who have been disfigured as a result of domestic violence. Our latest patient Hanifa is from Uganda she is an acid attack survivor. She has such a positive outlook and an incredible spirit considering the ordeal she has been thorough. Check out this video about her journey and mission.

I also went on my annual girls ski trip. We spent a week in Aspen and had a ball. I am finally a strong intermediate skier! We had a blast and I can’t wait until next year.

Aspen Trip 2015

Aspen Trip 2015

My self portrait project is going really well, each week I take a picture of myself with my “real” camera, ie. staging the lighting, scene and mood. I am learning so much about myself doing this project, I am forced to really look at myself inside and outside.

self portrait #1

self portrait #1

self portrait #2

self portrait #2

self portrait #3

self portrait #3

self portrait #4

self portrait #4

self portrait #5

self portrait #5

self portrait #6

self portrait #6

 

Oh speaking of photography I attended a lighting seminar is Las Vegas. I am determined to learn my craft! There is so much I want to know, nonstop learning.

My son has been home for spring break so I have been doing my uber driving duties, he is planning on getting his license before he goes back to school, keeping my fingers crossed.

And lastly I did the swim leg in a relay triathlon. No, I have not been training per se, but it was short and sweet and I was happy to do an event, did not realize how much I missed doing them. So I am looking for another one to sign up for.

So now that you have the highlights of my last 5 weeks- How are you? Do you feel overwhelmed? How to you balance when your merry go round is spinning out of control? Please share…

I’m going to make my tea and honey…

Xoxo,

Gigi


5 Things I No Longer believe About Aging.

Posted on by Gigi in Aging Leave a comment

5 Things I no longer believe about aging.

1. Menopause is this horrific situation.

I’m fortunate in that I am still waiting for that hot flash, but if or when I get one I ‘ll just have a collection of fabulous little fans. Yes, menopause is the official marker that there are no more babies coming out of this body and that too is okay. Middle age is whatever you want it to be, I know some 50 plus ladies that could give the 20 plus girls a run for the money. It is all a mind set and how you take care of your self physically and mentally. I don’t know what I was expecting, I come from a family where no one talks about the “change” so I did not know what was going to happen if anything.

2. Don’t wear your hair to long.

Well after my Fresh & Fabulous event…I’m a believer in whatever makes you feel good. No, I’m not going to get a waist length weave or anything but if I’m wanting a “look” for an event or something, why not? Life is short.

Gigi

Gigi

 

3. Accept a “middle age” body.

Hell no!!! Yes it is a lot more work to keep things from shifting, but I am going out fighting. I enjoy having a waist line and want to keep one even if it means a little more time or a lot more time in the gym. Watching my diet and eating “clean” are a way of life. This does not mean never indulging, for me it is choices, skipping desert for a nice glass of champagne etc.. My body may not be what it was when I was in my 20’s, but I’m constantly working on being the best 50 plus body.

24 year old GIGI

24 year old GIGI

4. Fillers and Botox are for “Beverly Hills Housewives”.

As I continue to mature, I’m doing my homework and staying on top on the latest in skin care and anti aging solutions. No, I don’t want to look ridiculous or anything, but I know there will be a time sooner than later where I’m going to explore some options. Some days I look in the mirror and give myself a nod of approval, and other days I look and I see an older lady who looks like me. Yes I drink gallons of water, use lots of lotions and potions, but the aging process skips no one and for me it is not wanting to look “younger” I just want to look good for my age.

5. Don’t wear bikinis, minis or shorts if you are over 50.

I used to read this a lot in those articles about dressing for your age, but there are exceptions. If your legs are fabulous why not? It is that simple, wear what makes you happy and feel good about yourself. If you can walk in 4 inch heels rock those too, I do. Why should women of a certain age be banished to one piece bathing suits? Break the rules.

legs

legs

What is your philosophy on aging? I loved to hear…

Happy Thursday,

Gigi

Logo_1698


Quote

Posted on by Gigi in Quotes Leave a comment
quote

quote

I connected with this quote. It is easy to focus on yesterday and the day before, especially if it is something negative, I have been guilty of this on many occasions. Does it really help? No. If anything those feelings come up to the surface again and put a damper on the current day. Each day is opportunity to embrace something new, go forward and keep it moving. Spending time on yesterday takes away from new experiences and memories you could be creating. Of course it is okay to share something the key is to know when to let it go. I’m still learning this…

On another note I read about something that uber is doing today in Los Angeles…puppy bowl. Sponsored by Animal Planet  every year around the same time as the Super Bowl, Uber and Animal Planet coordinated to provide the puppies, most which are available for adoption from local animal shelters. Between the hours of 11 and 3 you can order a uber to come to your office and bring puppies for you and your staff to play with for 15 minutes. The cost is 30.00 which goes to the local animal shelters. If I had an office in LA I know what I would be doing this afternoon…

Happy Wednesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

photo-133


“How to be a good friend”

Posted on by Gigi in friendship 1 Comment
Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay is the selection we read in my book club. It is a collection of essays covering politics, pop culture and feminism. These essays were the basis of a lot of interesting discussion at our meeting. Of all the essays the  following one got the most dialogue. Women are complex in their relationships with one another, this essay could be the “rules” for women friendships. Let me know your thoughts.  I especially love #1, 1B, 5 , 5A, 11 & 12.

How To Be Friends With Another Woman

by Roxane Gay

1. Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to SLOW women down.

1A. This is not to say women aren’t bitches or toxic or competitive sometimes but rather to say that these are not defining characteristics of female friendship, especially as you get older.

1B. If you find that you are feeling bitchy, toxic, or competitive toward the women who are supposed to be your closest friends, look at why and figure out how to fix it and/or find someone who can help you fix it.

2. A lot of ink is given over to mythologizing female friendships as curious, fragile relationships that are always intensely fraught. Stop reading writing that encourages this mythology.

3. If you are the kind of woman who says, “I’m mostly friends with guys,” and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman as if being a woman is a bad thing, see Item 1B. It’s okay if most of your friends are guys, but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul-search a little.

3A. If you feel like it’s hard to be friends with women, consider that maybe women aren’t the problem. Maybe it’s just you.

3B. I used to be this kind of woman. I’m sorry to judge.

4. Sometimes, your friends will date people you cannot stand. You can either be honest about your feelings or you can lie. There are good reasons for both. Sometimes you will be the person dating someone your friends cannot stand. If your man or woman is a scrub, just own it so you and your friends can talk about more interesting things. My go-to explanation is “I am dating an asshole because I’m lazy.” You are welcome to borrow it.

5. Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful, it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy.

5A. If you’re having a rough go of it and a friend is having the best year ever and you need to think some dark thoughts about that, do it alone, with your therapist, or in your diary so that when you actually see your friend, you can avoid the myth discussed in Item 1.

5B. If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. It’s okay for women to do it too.

5C. Don’t tear other women down, because even if they’re not your friends, they are women and this is just as important. This is not to say you cannot criticize other women, but understand the difference between criticizing constructively and tearing down cruelly.

5D. Everybody gossips, so if you are going to gossip about your friends, at least make it fun and interesting. As a corollary, never say “I never lie” or “I never gossip” because you are lying.

5E. Love your friends’ kids even if you don’t want or like children. Just do it.

6. Tell your friends the hard truths they need to hear. They might get pissed about it, but it’s probably for their own good. Once, my best friend told me to get my love life together and demanded an action plan, and it was irritating but also useful.

6A. Don’t be totally rude about truth telling, and consider how much truth is actually needed to get the job done. Finesse goes a long way.

6B. These conversations are more fun when preceded by an emphatic “GIRL.”

7. Surround yourself with women you can get sloppy drunk with who won’t draw stupid things on your face if you pass out, and who will help you puke if you over celebrate, and who will also tell you if you get sloppy drunk too much or behave badly when you are sloppy drunk.

8. Don’t flirt, have sex, or engage in emotional affairs with your friends’ significant others. This shouldn’t need to be said, but it needs to be said. That significant other is an asshole, and you don’t want to be involved with an asshole who’s used goods. If you want to be with an asshole, get a fresh asshole of your very own. They are abundant.

9. Don’t let your friends buy ugly outfits or accessories you don’t want to look at when you hang out. This is just common sense.

10. When something is wrong and you need to talk to your friends and they ask you how you are, don’t say “Fine.” They know you’re lying and it irritates them and a lot of time is wasted with the back-and-forth of “Are you sure?” and “Yes?” and “Really?” and “I AM FINE.” Tell your lady friends the truth so you can talk it out and either sulk companionably or move on to other topics.

11. If four people are dining, split the check evenly four ways. We are adults now. We don’t need to add up what each person had anymore. If you’re high rolling, just treat everyone and rotate who treats. If you’re still in the broke stage, do what you have to do.

12. If a friend sends a crazy e-mail needing reassurance about love, life, family, or work, respond accordingly and in a timely manner even if it is just to say, “GIRL, I hear you.” If a friend sends you like thirty crazy e-mails needing reassurance about the same damn shit, be patient because one day that’s going to be you tearing up Gmail with your drama.

13. My mother’s favorite saying is “Qui se ressemble s’assemble.” Whenever she didn’t approve of who I was spending time with, she’d say this ominously. It means, essentially, you are whom you surround yourself with.

Excerpted from “Bad Feminist: Essays,” by Roxane Gay. With permission from HarperCollinsPublishers.

Happy Tuesday,

XOXO,

Gigi

my straight hair sans the clip ons

my straight hair sans the clip ons


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