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I love coffee. Sometimes people try to switch my coffee to decaf when I’m not looking. I can always tell the difference. I also like Pringles, but only the reduced fat kind because they crunch better when you bite into them and they don’t leave grease on your fingers. I’m…

About Me
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As part of our quest to support women’s issues, Katana Photography is excited to announce our first ever Celebrating Survival contest!
Having any kind of cancer is frightening and confusing. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Katana Photography is welcoming all survivors from all forms of cancer to participate…

Weekly Photo
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When I was looking to buy my wedding invitations (back in April), I found a lot of designers on Etsy. After narrowing it down to a couple different designs/companies, I contacted both for their pricing list. One was pretty significantly more expensive–almost $2 per invitation more. Which I think all…

Weekly Style
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When talking to people about photography, I hear one phrase over and over again: Kids and dogs are the hardest subjects to photograph.
I, personally, don’t have this problem with my clients…kids and dogs are among my favorite things to photograph. Maybe it’s because I like to have any excuse…

Weekly Puppies
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Last week, Sean and I had our morning coffee on the balcony and watched as the Enterprise shuttle was pulled down the Hudson on a tug boat. It’s on its way to the Intrepid and I can’t wait to see it up close at the museum!

Weekly Coffee

The Birthday Without Hysterical Crying

Yesterday was Sean’s 28th birthday. Do you know how hard it is to arrange 28 candles on a sugar-free cupcake? Yeah, neither do I. Because I gave up.

It was a fun day yesterday…and not only because I love it when other people get older. It makes me feel younger…leave me be, my self-esteem needs this. It was fun mostly because Sean did not have a complete nervous breakdown as I did on my birthday. But just you wait, mister–your 30th will be a bad day, I’m sure.

We began the day opening gifts at his favorite diner for breakfast. Then we headed uptown and joined the raffle to get $20 Ave Q tickets. We didn’t win. But luckily, they had a deal going for $30 tickets. So we got those and saw the hilarious show that I intend to one day be in. After we bought our tickets we had over an hour before the show started, so we walked around uptown and eventually came upon Rockefeller Center, up where we used to live before moving to the awful part of Brooklyn that shall not be named. Nostalgia set in and we stood at the railing holding our cups of coffee, watching tourists and families ice skate below us. I turned to Sean, a content smile on my face and said: This reminds me of Serendipity.

Him: You mean the John Cusack movie?

I nodded.

Him: The horrible, cheesy Cusack movie about destiny and fate?

Me: Er….yeah?

And right about now is where Sean would usually tell me how much my taste in movies sucks and drag me away from the scene so to avoid promoting any further terrible film choices. But today, on this 28th birthday, he simply shook his head and smiled.

Him: Yeah, I guess it is similar to a scene or two.

And then he took one glove out of his pocket and tossed it in my direction.

(it only makes sense if you’ve seen the movie)

Early Morning Musings

Every morning I set my alarm for 6:00AM because I need to leave for work by 7:53AM (timed to the minute based on train schedules) and I demand at least 20 minutes to hit snooze. I realize that this habit would drive most people crazy and it could be one of the reasons Sean’s hair is turning gray. Another reason? A dog who eats her own poop.

I can’t explain this compulsion to hit the snooze button multiple times—not even to myself. Because, when I hear Luna whining or Red throwing up in the middle of the night I can immediately be awake and alert. But for some reason, when my alarm goes off, my body unwillingly attempts to negotiate with it. I once hit the snooze for over an hour and a half. I am not proud of myself.

I have also become so accustomed to my little alarm that I’ve had since freshman year in college, that I wake up…not at the actual alarm…but at the clicking noise it makes when it’s turning on. Therefore, before the alarm has even gone off, I’m already with my arm in full extension hitting snooze. It’s my little way of saying, “You know what, alarm? SHUT THE HELL UP.”

And when I first got my Sprint Treo phone, I tried to use it instead of the alarm. I thought it would be a great way of condensing my stuff. Only, in order to snooze that stupid phone you have to be awake enough to hit the button on the touch screen. There is no slamming my hand against the top. I have to open my eyes, search for the button and with my fingernail try to hit it in the exact spot so that it triggers the mechanism in the machine. And after figuring all this out, it’s a little difficult to fall back asleep. That’s a good thing, right? But I missed those delicious 6-minute naps each morning. Is there any feeling as good as knowing that you don’t have to get up RIGHT THAT SECOND? No. No, there is not.

She’s Lucky She’s Cute

The sun was shining as I exited the subway at the Spring Street stop. It was about 5pm and despite the fact that it was October, it was still very warm. I slid my cardigan off of my shoulders and slipped it into my purse as I headed to pick up Maddie from where Eliza works.

I had just left the hair dresser’s and my locks were sleek and straight, resting in glossy perfection upon my shoulders. I had even managed to throw a little lip gloss and mascara on as well before leaving the apartment. I know I have mentioned this before, but apparently, when you get used to working at home, your idea of dressing up becomes putting on pants that aren’t pajamas and having brushed your teeth that morning.

So, naturally, when Maddie saw me, she made a point to look me up and down, her eyes wide.  “Aunt Colleen! You look like a princess!”

From a six year old, this is the highest of compliments.

“Thanks, Bear,” we’ve called Maddie ‘Bear’ for as long as I can remember. To my knowledge it has no meaning. “You ready to get going?”

She nodded with a grin spreading from one ear to the other.

Usually when I babysit Maddie we go back to her apartment in Astoria and watch movies and eat junk food until Eliza comes home. Last time it consisted of pizza, poptarts, marshmallows, and wads of gum. But I think Liza is catching on to our unhealthy slumber parties. This time she claimed that since she wasn’t going to be at the party long that we should just hang out in SoHo until the it was over.

I grabbed Maddie’s hand and as we made our way to the front door, the clouds parted and with one single thunder clap, water came pouring from the sky.

“You didn’t bring an umbrella, did you?” Liza asked already knowing the answer. Shaking her head, she handed me a pink umbrella with the Jonas Brothers’ photos plastered all over it and little hearts above each photo.

“You can’t be serious,” I asked, looking back and forth from the umbrella to my friend.

“It’s the only one that I know doesn’t belong to any of my employees,” she said shrugging. It’s either this umbrella or enjoy a fully clothed shower.

Maddie already had her High School Musical umbrella open and ready to brave the storm.

I sighed. “Oh, alright. Gimme the damn thing.” And I stepped out into the rain looking like a 25 year old Nickelodeon fan.

I really didn’t know how to keep a six year old entertained for three and a half hours in SoHo at night. If it were during the day, there would be parks we could play in. But not at night when it was dark. The only thing I could think of was the Scholastic store. It was educational, but not boring. It has a playground type of area. Other kids. And if worse came to worse, I could always just sit there and read books with her until it was time to grab dinner. However, I forgot a key point when hanging out with a six year old kid….kids love toys. And they know that stores tend to sell such toys. And when they don’t get to have a toy they want, they tend to throw fits. Now, Maddie is an insanely well-behaved kid. Honestly, sometimes it’s like Eliza gave birth to a little Victorian doll. She’s so well-behaved usually that I tend to forget she’s still a typical 1st grader. And when we entered the store, she filled her arms with as many games and stuffed animals and books as she could and plopped them all down at my feet. One by one she held them in my face.

“Can I have this, Aunt Colleen? I’ve always, always wanted one!”

“No, Bear, let’s just read some of these books for now.”

“What about this Aunt Colleen? Can I have this? I’ve ALWAYS wanted one.”

“Oh, really? You’ve been yearning for a Klutz instruction manual on how to create felt flowers?”

“Uh-huh,” she said nodding eagerly.

“For how long have you been wanting this?”

“ForEVER! Ever since I was BORN!” She stared at me and I stared back, obviously not buying this little performance. She knew she was losing the battle. Sniffing dramatically, she scrunched her face mustering up some crocodile tears. “But mommy would never buy it for me.” ::sniff, sniff::

“Oh, Maddie,” I rolled my eyes, “ You poor, poor thing. You’ve been deprived of a felt flower kit for six whole years because your mom, the evil witch, refused to get it for you? How did you ever survive?” I grabbed her around the belly, tickling her with my fingertips. She squirmed against me and I pulled her into a hug.

She tried to whine, “No, for real…she wouldn’t buy it for me…” but soon her whining turned into laughter and giggles and she wiggled her fingers into my armpits to tickle me back.

Our tickle fight subsided and she sat calmly in my lap…something she hasn’t done in over a year. I rocked her and nuzzled my face into her neck. “I love ya, kid.”

“I love you, too.”

“Tell you what…if you’re really good tonight and put away all the books and toys after we’ve played, you can choose something that’s $5 or under. Ok?”

She nodded. “Ok,” Then, holding the Klutz book in my face she asked, “Is this $5?”

“I doubt it, but let me see. Just to be sure.” I flipped the book over. I nearly choked on my own spit. $35? That’s criminal! “Nope. Definitely not $5, kiddo. And even if I wasn’t unemployed, I still wouldn’t pay that price.”

After the Scholastic store, we wandered around in the rain trying to find a compromise for dinner.  The only place Maddie said she could “stomach eating” was La Brasserie (where meals average about $25 a pop. Ha.). That was the only choice as far as Maddie was concerned.

“You better date some rich men then, lady.”

“Of course I will.”

Of course. As the thought entered my head, my ugly Jo Bros umbrella flipped inside out causing a tear in the plastic. The rain leaked through onto my freshly blow-dried hair.  The rain was pouring down so hard by now that even a fully functional umbrella wasn’t of much use to either of us. Both of our lower halves were soaked and my top half wasn’t much better off. I ducked into a little Thai restaurant, yanking Maddie with me.

“Here we go,” I said. “La Brasserie.”

Maddie looked around, skeptical. “But the entrance was over there,” she said pointing down the block.

“This is another entrance.” Her eyes narrowed at me so I continued. “You like Thai food, right?”

She thought for a second, not wanting to answer. She knew it was a trap. “Yes…” she hesitated.

“Well, here we are. At La Brasserie where they specialize in Thai food.” Before she could protest, I sat us down at a table. We ordered Pad Thai to split and Maddie grew excited about it.

“I just loooove Pad Thai. It’s my favorite food ever. Seriously. Like, for real. I love it. I always want to order it, but mommy won’t let me …” and on and on she babbled.

The waiter came by dropping a square plate down between us full of deliciously sweet noodles, chicken, tofu, sprouts, etc.

Maddie’s nose scrunched. “What’s this?”

“Uh…it’s Pad Thai.”

“Oh. I don’t think I like Pad Thai.”

And in that moment, it took all my strength not to hurl a broken Jonas Brothers umbrella at my six-year-old niece’s head.

I am Colleen Katana. This is My Website.

I am Colleen Katana. This is My Website.

I love coffee. Sometimes people try to switch my coffee to decaf when I’m not looking. I can always tell the difference. I also like Pringles, but only the reduced fat kind because they crunch better when you bite into them and they don’t leave grease on your fingers. I’m an actress sometimes, a producer rarely, a photographer most of the time, and a friend always. But on a serious level, and yes I can be serious, I am a work in progress. I believe if you wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night the same person, you might as well have stayed in bed. Life will kick you in the balls—but I kick back harder. I am a dreamer. I am a romantic. I am pragmatic. I am contradictory. I love my family despite their quirks. I trust my friends, though their flawed. And I embrace every battle despite the scars they leave. Although it’s been proven that caffeine is addictive, stunts your growth, and is bad for your teeth, I like it. Because somewhere, deep down, past my Ralph Lauren polo shirts, there lies a rebel. And that bad girl needs her drug.

Heat Seekers

Heat Seekers

Luna and Red seek heat even on the hottest days in the summer. When we first moved into this apartment, we had no heat. In December. In New York. To save ourselves from a frigid winter, we bought a stand up space heater. The dogs flocked to it and constantly slept directly in front of it.

And Sean sent me this image while I was at work one cold winter morning last year. It made me literally say “Awww…” out loud.

Jack’s Stir Brewed Coffee

Jacks Stir Brewed Coffee

I stumbled upon Jack’s Stir Brewed Coffee while wandering around the west village the other day. Everyone within this coffee shop seemed to know each other. As I stood in line, customers and employees waved, hugged, and spoke about their past week. And like all good coffee shops, it was manned by an attractive-looking man with less than attractive facial hair. I stood out immediately as being a “newbie” (as the barista called me) and when he learned my name, he made sure to repeat it back to me several times within the conversation.

“You seem to be good at maintaining customer relationships,” I stated as he poured my cup of coffee.

Smiling, he looked back at me over his shoulder. “That’s the point, isn’t it, Colleen?”

“I suppose. So long as the quality of your product is also good.” I smirked back at him.

“Well, you be the judge of that,” he slid the mug of coffee into my hands and winked. “Be sure to come back and see me.”

I loved the neighborhood feel to this place. It’s an absolute ideal place to read the Sunday Times. I adore all the little quirks linked to this charming, small facility—the posters, the pictures, even the random cow features. And the product measured up to the friendliness—the coffee was well brewed and smooth, unlike many other coffee shops whose brew has bitterness and bite to it. This is apparently directly linked to the method of brewing they use which is not the typical drip brew, but a technique called “stir-brewed.” With this method, the coffee grounds are stirred while brewing creating a smoother more even blend. I also highly recommend the homemade Oreo cookie. It’s heaven in cookie form.

Prom-tastic

Prom-tastic

This was my senior prom dress. I absolutely LOVE this dress. I felt like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day all rolled into one that night. I’ve kept it in my closet and sworn to myself I’ll re-wear it if I ever have another formal event to attend. The best part? I bought it for $30 at Dillards Department Store. My father would be so proud.

Prom-tastic

Makeshift Dryer

Makeshift Dryer

Back when I didn’t have a dryer, I used to let my clothes line dry…tied from my dresser to my wall. I took the photo to commemorate my bachelor lifestyle. I’ll call this art.

Kismet

The music was pounding and so was my head. The alcohol flowing through my veins helped me ignore the pain throbbing against my temple. Setting the glass of red wine back onto the stained tablecloth, I headed toward the dance floor, pulling on the bra part of my strapless bridesmaid gown.

I passed a group of people I had met the night before at the rehearsal dinner and could hear them talking. One girl named Yaz wore a hideously loud dress with large hot pink and yellow Hawaiian flowers plastered around the entirety of it. It was almost as obnoxious as she was. She had dark olive skin and black hair down to her curvy waist. And I’m being quite generous by using the word “curvy.” Many other words come to mind, but I’ll keep this politically correct.

She threw her head back flipping her long hair into my face. I spat it out. It tasted like hairspray.

“This was a nice wedding. Exactly how I’d want mine to be but, you know, without all that religious stuff.” Her nose was high in the air.

Missy nodded uncomfortably, trying to smile. She straightened out her crisp, white wedding gown and said meekly, “Well, uh…I’m religious. So, it’s not exactly silly to me.”

“Well compared to the Muslim religion it is. I just don’t get all of your traditions.
I mean, today really sucked for me, ya know?” she continued, “I just had to wait around while Mattie here took pictures and did all those groomsman things.” She grabbed the lanky groomsman around the waist and pulled him into her. “And I just know he missed me, too.”

Yeah, I thought, like a fratboy misses syphilis.

Hearing Bon Jovi being blared, I ran over to rescue Missy. “C’mon!” I yelled, “It’s our song!” I grabbed her hand and started pulling her to the dance floor, away from Yaz’s passive aggressive insults.

I rolled my eyes, shaking my head as my hips swayed to the music. “Oh my God,” she could barely hear me over the music, “Can you believe her?”

Missy nodded. “I know. It’s like this at every event. She just hates not being the center of attention.”

“Well, so do I. But I think I can take a backseat when it’s someone’s WEDDING day!” I spoke sarcastically and mockingly threw my short hair over my right shoulder in a “diva” like manner.

Just then Yaz entered the dance floor, dragging her boyfriend behind her with her left hand. With the right, she carried a glass of red wine. She walked unsteadily in platform based 4-inch heels. I could tell she was the type who wore heels a lot to impress people, but didn’t actually know how to walk in them. You know the type I’m talking about…they walk toe-to-heel while wearing them instead of heel-to-toe. As she got to the center, she turned to face her boyfriend and lost her balance falling ass first to the floor. With her legs above her head, her dress slipped up around her unmentionables and not only did I get a clear glimpse of her ass crack, but also of her thigh cellulite. It felt like everything was happening in slow motion when she looked up just as the red wine from her drink came splashing down into her face.

Missy ran over out of obligation and I followed closely behind. So to get a good photograph of the moment. She cursed as she stood. “Fuck!” she spat angrily, “Fuck this fucking dance floor to Hell!” She pushed her boyfriend aside and stormed off leaving the rest of us standing there stunned. And me, standing there smiling.

Missy turned to me, eyes wide. “Uh, what do I do now?”

I shrugged. “Dance?”

“Don’t I have to go say something to her?”

“Yeah, I guess that would be the polite thing to do,” I nodded. Missy turned to walk away. “Hey Missy…” I said before she got to far away.

She turned back around to face me. “Yeah?”

“Do Muslims believe in Kismet?”

“I don’t know. Why?”

“Because I think Yaz just met my good friend, Karma. And yes—Karma can be a bitch.”