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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

Choices.

Marriage is a weird thing, right? The idea of choosing one person for the rest of your life. One person to eat with, sleep with, share income and space with, someone who will no doubt eat the last of the cereal and then put the empty box back in the cabinet, someone you’ll share closet space with and give up some of your favorite items because they’re too girlie for him–someone you’ll eventually create little half-you/half-him persons with. It’s a pretty colossal decision.

I don’t believe in soul mates, personally. The idea that out of 7-billion+ people on this Earth that there is one person and one person only without whom you wouldn’t be complete. I dunno, maybe it’s a little cynical, but it just sounds a bit like bull to me. There are lots of people I’ve connected with in my life. I’ve felt love, I’ve felt loss with more than one person.

Calling your partner your soul mate feels like a cop-out. This story that you wouldn’t have had to do anything and the fates would have still brought you two together. Relationships take effort. They’re not work necessarily, but it’s not always easy. In my mind, I think it’s more romantic–more meaningful to say to a person that out of all the relationships I’ve had or could have, yours is the one I want to be in forever. You are the person I choose out of all the men I’ve known, met and loved.

For those who haven’t heard yet: He proposed. I said yes.

Sean, I choose you.

Choices.

Choices.

Choices.

What’s In A (Last) Name?

I was chatting with my friend, Missy, the other day about last names. And I mentioned how I don’t think I will be changing my last name when I marry. Missy’s traditional (but not at all judgmental) and brought up an interesting question–one I hadn’t necessarily thought about in the past. Am I ok with not having the same last name as my children?

I think I am ok with this…though, who’s to say that my children won’t also have my last name? It doesn’t matter to me one way or another if a woman keeps her last name, hyphenates, or takes her husband’s. It’s a personal choice and I don’t judge anyone for the choice they make! If I had a crappy last name, I would ABSOLUTELY take my hub’s instead of being Ms. CrappyLastName for the rest of my life. And I understand that some women like the tradition; some like that it unifies them as a family. All are valid points.

But let’s face it–my name kicks some serious ass. Katana. KATANA. KUH-TAH-NAH. Like the sword. Like the motorcycle. It’s like being Mr. Incredible…that’s right–I’m comparing myself to a Disney Superhero! Not to mention, that my name is my business.

Every now and then when I mention my future name plans to people, I get a weird, disapproving look. “Oh,” they sneer, “you must be one of those feminists. You think it’s for your “career” don’tchya?”

This is usually the point in the conversation when I put on my faux southern accent and say, “Wayell, shucks! Ah never thought of it much beefore…but Ah suppose Ah am a feminist, afterall! You know…fer not wantin’ to change my entire business structure based on a tradition that Ah personally don’t believe in all that much. Thanks fer enlightenin’ me.”

So, my question to readers out there–did you take your husband’s last name? Why or why not?

Christmas, Carolina Style (Dec, 2006)

I turned into the small suburban strip mall.  I had one day left to find the perfect gifts for my family.  Why didn’t I shop sooner? I live in New York City for Christ’s sake!  I pushed the thought from my mind.  That wasn’t going to help anything now.

My tires squealed in pain as I skidded into a parking space. Talbots.  I’m sure I can find something for my mom and sister here.  I got out of the car, slinging my purse over my shoulder and slammed the door.  To my left was Talbots. To my right was Starbucks.  It couldn’t hurt to grab a coffee first.  I picked up my pace, excited to get my usual Christmas coffee: a grande gingerbread white mocha latte.  It was pure, creamy heaven and my mouth watered at the thought of it.

I placed my order with the barrista and waited while they brewed the espresso. On the shelf in front of me were travel coffee mugs…a perfect gift for my brother, another caffeine addict.  I grabbed two, one that was brown with a matte silver thermos and one that was pink leather with brown trim…for myself of course.  I tucked one under my arm as I grabbed the turquoise mug for a closer look.  Hm, blue or pink?  Blue…or…pink.  Good question. As I stood thinking, my phone vibrated in my purse. “Oh, shit,” I said aloud.  “Um…” I set the turquoise much back on the shelf and the pink one slipped from under my arm, landing on the floor with a loud clatter.  “Shit!” I whispered to myself.  The phone continued buzzing as I bent down to retrieve the fallen mug. “Um, hold on a sec!” I knew the caller couldn’t hear me.  Stuffing my slender hand deep into my purse, I grabbed my phone, accidentally hitting the speaker button.                                                                                                                                                                       “Ms. Katana? This is Dr. Sanji’s office calling from East Side Gynecology…”

“Oh God. Hold on a moment!” I yelled into the speakerphone as I dropped the second travel mug.  The Starbucks employees looked my direction obviously annoyed and a couple of the customers sipping coffee also looked up, staring.

“I’m calling with the results of your pap smear…”  Her voice was surprisingly clear for talking over speakerphone.

“Wait!” I shrieked, my face growing hot.

“…everything looks clear. No chlamydia, no HPV, no syphilis. We’ll see you in about a year for your next appointment.”

I sighed.  “Ok,” I gave in, “see you in a year.” I added then hung up.  The fallen mug still rested at my feet and when I bent down to retrieve it, I heard my name from an excited voice I immediately recognized.  I glanced up and saw the face I knew would be standing there.

“Ian!  Hi.” I was frazzled.  Brushing my hair from my face, I stuck out my hand to shake Ian’s as he leaned in for a hug.  I felt the cotton of his pants and flesh below the material. I didn’t want to know what part of his anatomy I just grabbed.  “Sorry,” I said quickly then leaned in for a quick, awkward hug.

“How are you?” He smiled wide, not noticing the uncomfortable moment.  Or not acknowledging it.  I’m not sure which.

“Hey, Colleen,” Jenna stood right beside him.  Coach Cunt.  And she was fat.  Ok, ok she was pregnant.  But still.  It was oddly satisfying to see her with a huge belly.  She continued talking despite my tight smile, “You look exactly the same!  I would recognize you anywhere!”  It was one of those compliments that you knew wasn’t really a compliment.  It was condescending and said in such a way that all you could respond with was ‘thank you.’  But I refused.  I knew I didn’t look the same.  Similar? Yes.  The same? No.                                                                                                                                                                          “Really?” I smiled, giving it back to her, “I was about to say the opposite to you!  Especially, you know.” I drew a circle with my hands around my abdomen, being sure to draw the circle much larger than she actually was.

She returned my smile.  But behind it, irritation surfaced. I wasn’t lying; not saying anything meaner than she said to me.  She didn’t look the same.  Her hair was graying and wrinkles framed her eyes and mouth. That’s what you get for marrying a woman 16 years older than you.

“You look great,” I added.  And actually, I had to admit that for being pregnant, she did look pretty good.  It was the type of pregnancy that looked like she had stuffed a basketball under her shirt.  But nothing else looked any different.  Her legs were fit, her arms were toned, and she didn’t have any swelling in her face or ankles.

I looked back over at Ian. He, however, looked different in a good way.  More filled out, now with a goatee, but his cheeks, those chipmunk cheeks of his, never thinned out.  Oddly, I felt nothing for him.  A bit of nostalgia, but that was the extent of it.  “Congratulations, you two,” And I actually meant this. My hatred was entirely gone and I felt a tug at my guts.  I only wished I could have told the man I had been dating how much I actually cared for him. But I also knew how scared he was of commitment and pressuring a relationship on someone who wasn’t ready was a surefire way to lose that person.

I hugged both Ian and Jenna one last time. “Have a great Christmas.”  I left Starbucks, grabbing my gingerbread white mocha latte and sadly headed toward Talbots, cursing myself for having even stopped into Starbucks in the first place. This whole scenario could have been avoided if I could just kick this coffee habit.

BubbleGum Barbie Bridesmaid

BubbleGum Barbie Bridesmaid
MY THOUGHTS ON BEING A BRIDESMAID
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Occurred: Throughout the past five years of my life

I look like “Bubblegum Barbie Bridesmaid.” For the sixth time in five years I will be, not just a bridesmaid, but maid of honor in a friend/sister’s/cousin’s wedding. I will wear a two-piece cotton candy colored gown, that grazes the carpet as I walk down the center of the church. The odor and pollen of the lilies and roses which I hold between my recently pampered hands, will demolish the natural dam my nose had created, allowing snot to flow like water from a faucet. Lucky for me, being the seasoned professional that I am, I know to hide not one, but two tissues neatly folded in the ribbon that binds the evil-mucus-making bouquet together. There is one tissue for my runny nose and watery eyes, and one for me to hand the bride as she cries tears of happiness while reciting vows which ultimately seal her fate as a second-class citizen.

Like Alice when she falls through the looking glass, the bride spirals through a whirlwind of decisions. For the next year, life revolves around her. She is the center of the universe and I am her side-kick, her little white rabbit in charge of keeping time, recording details, and staying organized.

But this fairy tale wedding that she strives for and that we spend 12 months attempting to achieve is never even comparable to Cinderella’s. In the end, in every one of my experiences, the bride is left disappointed. Something goes wrong; the linens are the wrong color, the seating chart is rearranged, or red wine spills on the wedding dress. At some point of the night, the bride will trade in her tears of joy for tears of disappointment that her day did not go as planned. And I, true to form, will be there to offer a shoulder to cry on. That is Bubblegum Barbie Bridesmaid’s job.

I’ve spent the past three weddings pretending that I agree with this institution of marriage. Giving speeches about two little words that hold such a large concept: soul mate. This belief that someone, somewhere possesses the key to unlock your heart. All you need to do is find each other. Despite the numerous toasts I have given that indulge this belief, I myself, find it a bit asinine. The idea that I am limited to only having one great love in my lifetime is ridiculous.

Men are a pair of sexy leather heels. They entice you while on the shelf, looking pristine and beautiful. The leather is stiff, a little rough around the edges. As you’re writing out the check you convince yourself that you can break them in; you will be the one to wear-down that stubborn leather. But at the end of the day, your calves are cramped, your arches ache, and there are two new blisters on each foot that will soon be calluses. You give up, and sell the shoes that seemed so perfect only weeks ago to the vintage store on the corner. Another woman comes along and sees your shoes. She tries them on and they’re a perfect fit. They don’t hurt because she already has calluses formed in the right spots.

I’ve always sworn to myself that I will never say, “You’re the only one in this world meant for me.” I don’t believe you are. Let’s face it, if I never meet you, chances are I would meet someone else and have a different kind of love. Not better, not worse, just different. After all, doesn’t it mean more to say “I choose you?”