The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

How to Dress for Work September 9, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:49 pm
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A few months ago, I was faced with a very frustrating phone call. The temp agency I’d been working with had discussed a few potential improvements I could make on my job. One of them had to deal with my attire. As I’ve always had a difficult time accepting my appearance, this came as a rather difficult piece of information to swallow.

I’ll admit: I cried. The day after I received the phone call, I didn’t speak to a single person in my office unless spoken to. I stayed in my cubicle and wallowed in my anger.

I knew I couldn’t act like that for very long if I wanted to keep my job, so I decided to take some action. I recruited my friend Egan to perform a “What Not To Wear” intervention on my closet. It was one of the hardest, most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t recommend having anyone but the closest of friends help you with this. I know I came very near punching her once or twice with some of the insults she threw at my closet. (The episode of “My Boys” a couple weeks ago is a perfect example when Kenny tried to organize P.J.’s closet.)

Since then, I’ve been looking for “work appropriate” clothing. I bought myself a few shirts that should be better, and I’m making sure not to wear things after they start looking a little raggedy. I started wearing make-up (and have since declined in my usage due to my tendency to be a little later getting around in the morning than I’d like).  I take time, however, to look at my hair. If I don’t have time to dry it and straighten it, it gets thrown into a bun with chopsticks. I’d prefer those over a ponytail any day.

Shortly after this intervention, however, I went with Ashley and Michelle to have our photos taken. Ashley and I were getting ready together since I was staying at her house. We were trying to go through some clothes and decide what she was going to wear, and in the middle of it, I had an epiphany.

People have told me many times that I look great when I go to Indiana or to friends’ houses, but to have this fall on my lap confused me. The one major difference, I realized, is cameras. When I visit friends with new babies or who take many photos (which are most of my friends), I expect to have my photo taken, so I make sure I look nicer. I don’t want to be remembered as “Auntie Erin, the scrub”, do I?

No. So as Ashley and I concluded, every day you should dress as if you’re going to have your photo taken.

Go to work expecting a photographer to show up and use you as a model for cubicle furniture or a printer advertisement. Visit your friend expecting to see yourself in scrapbooks down the line. Always be on guard for that camera.


Epiphanie Bags & Why I Love ‘Em March 31, 2010

Filed under: Photography,Photos — Erin Joy @ 12:41 pm
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Normally I don’t post twice in one week, but the chance at winning one of these bags at or a Canon 5D Mark II made it worth it. The airline coupon wouldn’t be bad either. Maybe then I’d get to see some more of Europe! 🙂 Anyways, here’s why I want to win one of these bags:

Let’s just say that I think these bags are genius. I bought a giant brown purse from Maurice’s about a year ago so that I could carry my camera in the same bag as my wallet, but it’s obnoxious, and there’s hardly any protection for my camera in there. (Just imagine: it’s in the same pocket as my keys!)

So, when I found the Epiphanie bags site, I fell in love. Not only are they big enough to hold both my camera and my purse items, but it also looks more like a purse than a camera bag. How great is that? Every other camera bag I’ve found is so blah and looks like a guy should carry it.

Now I really want one … but it’s being put on my “wants” list rather than my “needs” list until I can figure out where I’m getting the money to pay for it.

So, here are the photos I’m deciding between for the red bag contest. I need votes to decide which one I want to post for the contest:


What do you think?

Oh, and have you seen all the beautiful new products & contest for pro photographers on I want to win stuff from them too.


Whatever happened to December?? December 17, 2009

Filed under: Journaling,Life in General,Photos — michellehuegel @ 10:37 pm
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If you’ve been avidly following my December journaling adventures (hah!), you may have noticed that they suddenly ceased. Well, there’s a reason for that. But I’m not telling. I will, however, provide you with the missing Day 5. 🙂

Dec. 5th

Practicing for the church Christmas musical today helped restore a little of my elusive Christmas spirit. Although “practice” may not be the right word for Josh, Cai, and I did: entered the stage when told, sat on a bench, and accepted gifts from the four wise men and women (didn’t know there were four, huh? Guess you’ll have to come see Bertrand Bible Church’s Christmas play on December 13 to hear the story!). Then we exited stage right. I think. No, it was our left, so stage left. Right? Good thing I’m not an actor, that always confused me. Cai had a blast crawling up and down the stage risers when he wasn’t sitting (not) quietly on my lap, and I think the whole musical will turn out great. Tim Blake always does an awesome job of writing and directing!

After practice and a quick emergency stop at Wal-mart to find a shirt to wear for family pictures later, I checked out Brandywine High school’s Christmas bazaar. Actually they called it a holiday bazaar, but that’s a personal pet peeve of mine. Although I didn’t find any Christmas gifts, I did connect with a couple area writers who are forming a Niles-area writer’s club! What perfect timing! God truly works in mysterious ways—I’m so glad I followed His prompting to go scope out the bazaar!

Due to my serendipitous meeting, we barely squeaked into our appointment at Picture People, which was absolutely swamped. Everybody and their mother-in-law came for family Christmas pictures today! Cai didn’t cooperate all that well—he either raced away the minute we posed him or wailed. I’m very impressed with our photographer, who still managed to capture some adorable shots. She has a very quick trigger finger.

And speaking of mothers-in-law, we met up with her and my sister-in-law after the photo shoot, and she helped with the monumental task of choosing just a couple of pictures from all the amazing ones. I dread that part. I just want them all! We had a great visit with them and Josh’s grandma that evening. Cai sure enjoyed all the attention! I wonder if he’s getting spoiled. When he doesn’t get his way, he screams and growls. Which, of course, everyone finds hilarious and laughs at him, which doesn’t really reinforce the “no.” Oh well. We’ve got time. Did I mention it’s his first Christmas? Nothing better for Christmas spirit than watching a child experience Christmas lights, trees, ornaments, Santa, Christmas cookies, and presents for the first time! I’m loving it!


Calloused Knees December 15, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 11:09 pm
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When I first started taking photos, I never thought of it as a physically taxing job. But it is.

I am always on my knees talking to children. I’m always on my knees eying them through my viewfinder. I’m always lifting blocks, dragging and rolling backgrounds, or jumping up and down to get kids attention. It’s insane.

As one lady said to me the other night, after attempting half a session with her four children, “You must go home every night exhausted from this job.”

It’s true, I do. But I love seeing the kids in their cute outfits, and catching those occasional quirky smiles between moments of hysteria makes every moment worth it.

Having worked in the photo studio for a couple months now, I have begun to have pretty calloused knees. I was warned toward the start that I’d deal with the knees of my pants being worn out, but I never imagined my actual knees would begin to be worn. Maybe I should have invested in a pair of knee pads to put under my pants.

Growing up, I always heard about how people who had calloused knees from praying so much. I just thought it was an expression, not something that could actually happen to a person’s body.

I feel a bit ashamed that I’ve never realized it until now, when I’m being paid to be on my knees all day. As with any callouses, your knees are rough, and they catch on material that rubs up against them — in this case, your pants. And no matter how much lotion you scrub on them, your hands end up ten times softer than your knees.

That makes me wonder: how often do Christians really physically exert themselves in prayer? Sure, we’ll get down on our knees if we’re paid or if it’s something fun to do like play with children, but we’re pretty quick to curl up nice and comfortably in prayer. Even churches that do kneel on a regular basis have kneeling pads so as not to cause callouses on the knees of their parishioners.

But even with those kneeling pads gone, everyone knows that a decent workout isn’t going to impact you if you’re only doing it on the weekends. What about every day of the week? Is prayer really driving us to our knees in focus, or has it become a passing thought? Should prayer have more of a physical impact on our lives?


Spy Cameras August 11, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 4:33 pm
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Sometimes, I wish that the cool gadgets in spy movies were real. And who’s to tell me that some of the things aren’t already in existence. The one that particularly comes to mind, however, is a microscopic camera. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have a high resolution, microscopic camera with a remote clicker or even no clicker at all.

I know that it makes me sound extra creepy, but there are just some places that it would look tacky to lift up a camera lens to my face. For example, I rode on the back of my dad’s Harley Davidson to visit my grandma shortly before I left for camp. Looking into the back of my dad’s sleek black helmet, I couldn’t help but enjoy the reflection. It was incredible to see the road panning out behind me on both sides while still smiling back at myself. Yes, I know, that sounds so conceited, but it was cool to see my face framed by the road and scenery flying by.

Sometimes I wish the same thing when I’m driving. It’s pretty distracting to whip out my camera while I’m navigating mountainous curves and still staying on the road. Trust me, I’ve tried. Attempting to take pictures while driving is worse than texting while driving. And we all know how that’s frowned upon. Even Time Magazine said so:

That’s why spy cameras that could take photos of what I see would a great tool for me to own. I would love to be able to share certain sights with people even though I don’t have time or convenience to whip out my Canon. I would love to be able to capture a smile that only I have seen, one that I see regularly in my mind, but that I worry I will forget so easily someday.

Something like this spy camera in a pen would be awesome, but that still requires me to have to whip it out and take the picture, not to mention the size of the photos is small. I want something that doesn’t really require the use of my hands, and I get high-resolution photos from it, too. Plus, I don’t want people to know I have it.

I know, I ask for a lot in a camera, but so many of the best photos are candids, and I would rather not break the already brief moment for those fleeting shots, especially while driving.

So, what gadget from movies do you wish you could have in real life? What cool tool would make your life either simpler or just plain more exciting?