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

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

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

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

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

Be Careful What You Teach Them

Maddie was almost two years old. She had beautiful almond brown eyes and chubby cheeks that dimpled with every smile, giggle, and laugh. And every laugh sounded like bells ringing out in an angel’s chorus; a high-pitched tinkling that warmed your insides every time your ears were graced with the sound.

She was a joy to be around. The Terrible Two’s? Please. Maddie was much too wonderful of a child to ever enter a stage like that. She was our angel. Perfectly behaved, with maybe one or two instances where she may have had a bad day or a tummy ache and had been a little more fussy than usual.

She was big for her age—not to be confused with chubby—but tall with perfectly round and wrinkled knees that I wanted to nibble on. God, they were cute. Every feature of hers was rounded; her nose, her cheeks, her belly. Holding her was a bit of a chore, but after almost a year of living across the hall from my best friend and her family, I built up the necessary muscle to withstand a day’s worth of toting Maddie around.

This was a great age. She was learning fast and growing faster. Scooting around like a little choo-choo train, I never dared take my eyes off of her for even a moment. She was very smart; observant and well-behaved. While she may find trouble, all you need to say is “Madeline Renee, no…” and she’ll immediately stop before you need to scold any further.

“Maddie,” I sat on Eliza’s bright blue and orange sofa, babysitting while she was at class, “where’s your nose?” She grinned from ear to ear, her brown eyes sparkling like stars and eager to fulfill any wish I had. Lifting a tiny, pink finger, she touched the tip of her button nose.

“Yay!” I squealed with delight and clapped my hands together, impressed. She turned back around, plopping onto the beige carpet to watch more Baby Einstein. I joined her on the carpet and held her close to my body. Her miniature heart pounded against my chest and eventually our heartbeats matched one another’s, pounding in the same rhythm. I looked down at her and she was fighting to stay awake, her dark eyes getting heavier with every breath. I scooped her into my lap and sat up so that I could rock her back and forth. She shook her head from side to side and looked up at me, blinking fiercely.

“Cahyyeen,” That’s how she said my name, “no nap!”

“Ok,” I smiled at her, knowing she would be asleep in 15 minutes. “Then tell me, where are your ears?”

Her eyebrows arched like two tiny worms, perking up at the challenge. Sending me a tired smile, she lifted her hand and touched her left ear with her palm.

“Good girl!” I gave a hushed cheer. The air conditioning switched on and chills crawled down my spine like an army of ants. The goose bumps made the hairs on my arm stand at attention. I shivered and beneath my soft cotton tank top. “Now, where is your belly button?”

She giggled, lifting her shirt and tapping her tummy with the same hand she touched to her ears. “You?” She loved to look at my belly button; actually, she loved to look at my belly button ring. That sparkly curved piece of metal hypnotized her like no toy I had ever seen. I lifted my tank slightly, revealing a silver heart with a sparkling pink jewel in the center that rested within the crevice of my navel. Maddie giggled more, her nose crinkling and her eyes squinting. She threw her head back, the folds of her skin pinching my arm.

“Whas dat?”

“That’s my belly button ring.” She looked back at it, eyeing closely. She’d seen it a dozen times before, but she loved asking questions for the mere sake of asking them. She held a finger out to touch it. “Be gentle.” I learned early that if I didn’t specify, she would tug on it, thankfully never hard enough to yank it out.

Gingerly, her fingertip grazed the center of the heart and stared in awe. I knew that look; she was picturing herself with her own belly button ring. Sometimes to satisfy this urge, I would put a sparkly sticker over her navel and tell her it was even prettier than the one I had.

She pulled away again, giggling. “More! Hawder dis time!”

“Harder?” I thought for a moment…she already knew eyes, ears, nose, mouth, belly button, tummy, head, knees, arms, feet, toes….what’s left?


“Yes, babe?”

“Whot awe dose?”

She pointed at my nipples, erect thanks to the frigid air conditioning. I laughed to myself, uncomfortable with the situation. “Umm…well, those are called nipples.”

Immediately, Maddie lifted her shirt, showing me her own nipples. “Nipples!” She pointed proudly, waiting for my applause.

The twenty-one year old girl inside of me wanted to laugh and teach her other inappropriate parts of her anatomy; teach her how to moon someone and play the butt bongos like my brother taught me when I was four. But the responsible side of me refrained. She got it right though…those were her nipples. And at least she was using correct language and not saying, ‘Boobies,’ right? I supposed that this one circumstance was ok, as long as she didn’t learn any other or more graphic body parts. I made an executive decision and clapped my hands together, only not nearly as excitedly as the other times. “That’s right, Maddie!”

The bronze bell around Eliza’s front door jingled as she entered, three bags thrown over her bony shoulders.

“Mommy!” Maddie cooed, suddenly not tired at all.

“Hey Liza,” my gaze lifted to hers as Maddie broke free from my grasp, running to her mother. “Mommy!” She held her hand out, palm up waving. Clenching two little fists around her shirt, she lifted it to her chin revealing her chest. Then, pressing a finger into the skin around her sternum, she yelled, “Nipple!”

Liza dropped her bags to the floor and glared at me from over her eyebrows. “That’s going to come back to bite you in the A-S-S, Aunt Colleen.”

*             *             *

Fast forward two weeks and I was babysitting again. It was 7:00 pm and neither Liza’s fridge nor my fridge had anything worthwhile for dinner. I decided to take Maddie to one of our favorite cheap restaurants; a very popular fast food burrito restaurant that was always heavily populated with my fellow students. I pushed through the heavy glass doors with Maddie on my left hip. I balanced the weight by carrying my bag on the opposite arm. We could barely step through the door before joining the long line of patient customers. There were at least 11 people ahead of us with only two employees working at a slow pace to piece together the made to order burritos.

Sucking in a deep breath, I allowed it to escape from my parted lips in a sigh.

“Whot’s wong Aunt Cahyeen?”

“This might be a little wait, Maddie. Do you want the baby burrito or do you want to go to somewhere else?”


“Ok, burrito it is.”

“Aunt Cahyeen, where’s your nose?”

I smiled. The game had advanced in the past couple weeks. She would now ask me to point to things as well as me asking her.

I pointed at my nose. “Where are your lips, Maddie?” The couple in front of us in line started to take notice of our little game. They turned to look at Maddie, smiling, arms linked. The woman’s head tilted to the left, her ear grazing her boyfriend’s shoulder and she placed her hand over her heart suppressing a small sigh.

Maddie grazed her lips with her three middle fingers.

“Yay! Good girl! Ok, your turn…”

“Where awe your nipples, Aunt Cahyeen?”

The couples smiling faces turned confused very quickly as they tried to decipher if they had heard correctly.

My stomach turned and I could feel it twisting into a knot.


“Your nipples, Aunt Cahyeen! Point to your nipples!” Maddie’s voice grew louder, assuming that my not answering meant I hadn’t heard her.

She continued, “Nipples, where awe your nipples?”

At this point, half of the line and a few people sitting at tables eating were looking in our direction. Some were disgusted, but others found the situation humorous. I knew one thing was for sure…Maddie was not going to stop asking me where my nipples were until I pointed to them. Reluctantly, I lifted my left hand and attempted to discreetly point to my breast. My fingertip grazed the soft cotton of my shirt and Maddie shrieked with delight, clapping her hands together. The half of the restaurant that was amused at our display started clapping as well; cheering, which only made Maddie squeal louder.   While the more reserved patrons of the place stared disapprovingly.

Lesson Learned: No teaching children about any body part that you would be embarrassed about in public.

USS Compromise

Sean and I saw Star Trek. Why, you may ask, did I decide to pay $15 to see a movie based on a show I don’t even like? I have one word to answer that: Compromise. And it’s a bitch.

Back around Christmas, I got to choose a movie to see in the theatres. If you recall, there were several decent movies out in late 2008 (well, decent by my definition). There was Coraline and Gran Torino and Marley and Me (ok, maybe this won’t win any Oscars, but I loved the book)….but no. I chose the movie: Four Christmases. The most terribly, awful movie of ALL TIME.  It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t well written. In fact—it was seriously depressing. And as we left the theatre that evening, Sean leaned into me and made the simple statement: “You owe me.”

So I promised to see Star Trek.  The nerd mecca. A promise that I made thinking my scatter-brained boyfriend would have forgotten about by the time the movie came out in theatres. I was wrong. Sean has a supernatural memory when it comes to Star Trek—not so much when I tell him three times of my schedule—but Star Trek, that he’s got down to muscle memory.

Sean has shown me a few episodes from The Next Generation and I’ll admit it…a few were even fairly decent. (I like the one with Famke Jansen).  I even like a few of the Voyager episodes (I KNOW, I know, it’s the “worst” Star Trek Series).  But the thing I hate about most versions of Star Trek (TNG included) is that very few of the characters have distinct personalities. They all speak with the same tone and the same inflection and then there’s the low humming noise of the ship they’re on…..and all that white noise simply puts me to sleep. In fact, I usually request Star Trek to help lull me into a sleep at night. But in Voyager, there are a lot of different characters. There’s a strong woman captain (who admittedly isn’t always the best actress), and the charming doctor hologram dude, the ridiculously sweet Nelix and the super sexed up 7….there are tons of different character dynamics to relate to and keep me interested.

So, despite Voyager, I was somewhat dreading going to this movie, knowing how dull the other seasons of the show were. I dragged my feet the whole way to the theatre, taking a few shots of jager to help get me through the night.  Sean started reminding me of all the things that I DO like about Star Trek to help me “shut the hell up” as he so gently told me:
1) The movie has some hot eye candy.
2) It’s gotten great reviews, including a recommendation from Derrick, (Dustin Nguyen’s kick ass inker).
3) No previous knowledge of the plot is needed to understand the movie. (IE – You do not need to be a total geek to follow the plot)

I thought about these things a moment, all the while picturing the new Capt Kirk…naked.  After clearing my throat, I said:“Well, I do like the holoport.”

And you would have thought Sean’s head might explode. “HoloDECK, Colleen! It’s a holodeck, not holoPORT! How many times do I have to tell you? It’s a deck of holograms where the Star Fleet goes to act out earth-like scenes. Not a place to park your boat!”

Whoa. Geeks get really picky over the semantics of their shows. It’s a good thing I didn’t say this in the theatre…there may have been some sort of geek uprising which would have involved pasting pointy ears on me and exiling me to some snowy unknown land. (If you understand this reference, you are totally a trekkie)

“Ok, fine. Holodeck. Sheesh. I guess I would have known that if I LIVED AT HOME AND PLAYED LIVE ACTION ROLE PLAYING IN MY FREE TIME.” I crossed my arms over my chest and sighed dramatically.

He looked at me and spoke quietly. “Besides, the holodeck wasn’t yet created in this timeline.”

Now it was my turn to explode. “You mean to tell me that my favorite part of the show is not even in the movie?” I threw my hands up in exasperation.

“You didn’t even know what it was called! You thought it was a holoport.”

“Holodeck, holoport….they’re practically the same. Deck, port…boats come in to each.”

Sean just stared at me, blinking. “Boats dock in a deck? How is that even an argument?”

“It’s not.”

In actuality, the movie was pretty good…even without a woman captain and without 7 of 9’s tits, and the holodeck.  But don’t take my word for it because…I’m a doctor, damnit, not a movie critic!



Red enjoys fishing. Whenever we pull up to Sean’s parent’s lake house, the first thing he does is dive into Lake Winnepesaukee head first looking for fish. He’s never actually caught one, but the dog seriously becomes obsessed. So, today while hanging out in our neighbor’s apartment, Red noticed their fish swimming around in the pitcher. And that was it for Red…he literally did not move from this position unless the fish swam to the other side of the pitcher. Then Red would run to the other side, following it, trying to stay nose to nose. I think we should feed Red sushi…see how he likes it.



A couple weeks ago, the weather FINALLY started getting better. Sean and I took Red for a walk in Prospect Park and came upon this lake with a ton of geese. And as badly as Red wanted to run toward the birds at full force, we made him resist.

Marc Barnhill Performance at Red Horse

Marc Barnhill Performance at Red Horse

As I mentioned, I’m crazy busy with this new job, but I thought I’d try to throw in a few updates. And on Saturday night, I was at the Red Horse Cafe photographing Marc Barnhill and the Sorely Missed. They were great and I had an awesome time meeting everyone!


For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be a little more absent than normal. But overall, it’s a good thing! I just got a new job and I am officially the new events and marketing coordinator for the Red Horse Cafe in Park Slope. This position essentially means that I’ll be curating the gallery space in the coffee shop as well as booking the weekly performers and musicians. I’m also trying to institute some other events, so any suggestions you all may have, feel free to send it along! Likewise, any local talent who is interested in performing or exhibiting art should email me.

So, anyway, this combined with a few photography projects I had taken on prior to knowing I got the job has made me a crazy, busy person. Unfortunately, this leaves very little time to update my website. But once I get more into the swing of things, I’ll return with a vengeance. I know you will all be waiting on the edge of your seats…