Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Reminder

The day sister met brother and said "Wow, Mommy.  I can't believe he was inside your belly."  Me neither, kiddo.

My memories are made up of big days like the day I met my husband and quieter moments like remembering the way the breeze feels on my face when I visit my favorite beach.  These moments large and small are inked like a tattoo on my heart and in the last few years I've been on a mission to record them with my camera with the feeling that I just want to hold on to them forever#Hoarder

Four months ago my family and I welcomed a new member into our tiny clan.  The months, weeks and days leading up to his arrival were very intense and sometimes stressful.  We've had so much happen both good and not great in the last year.  I really wanted to enjoy my pregnancy but mostly I found that the days seemed to go more and more quickly and while I desperately wanted to, I struggled to live in the moment.  I realized that I was missing those small things that I cherish that together make up the biggest experiences in life.  The brief hiatus that I had planned from writing and sharing on this space turned out to be a much-needed, long-term break to reconnect with myself, spend time with my growing family,  and to focus in on my goals for the new year.  Doesn't everyone need that once in a while?

The summer flew by and I was on fast forward to fall, my favorite season and the time when I find myself reflecting more than any other throughout the year.  When the warmth of summer ends, ushering in the cooler days and nights forecasting what is to come in winter, I always feel a rebirth.  For me, fall is so full of promise.  The trees explode in a technicolor show and with each leaf that slowly falls to the ground I'm reminded that time passes too quickly not to enjoy every moment. I think that's what has been happening to me.  Fall with all its promise turns to winter and the beginning of a new year with hope for a fresh start.  Some times you can be so busy and consumed with life that you get lost in it all and somehow forget to really live it.  I am thankful for so much this year but especially for that reminder.

Do you ever feel that you need a time out to reconnect?  I can't be the only one.

There is always time for cuddles in mom and dad's bed.  This is my second favorite photo of my kids together.  My first favorite is up top.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Going Somewhere

Classic New York from the Mandarin Oriental uptown. 
You know that feeling that you get when you know that you're going some place but you're not sure where?  I've got a variation of that.   The last few months have been about growth and change.  This year has completely thrown me and my family for a loop.  Professionally there has been a lot going on with some exciting shows and contests and sales but I certainly haven't been creating the new work that I'm yearning to create.  The second half of the year is going to be about that creation and there have been a lot of ideas percolating - I think I've got my little son to thank for that.  Feeling him growing and (constantly) moving has been such a joy and I'm eager to get back out there and make more art.  My daughter has also been an enormous source of inspiration as I've been watching her change so much and really evolve into this incredible person.  Her sense of adventure and fearlessness both frightens and excites me.  There is nothing this little girl won't try (except maybe a banana and a strawberry - seriously, what kid doesn't like bananas and strawberries?)

I'm always thinking about ways that I can teach her new things and we're constantly learning together but the most remarkable thing has been learning from my child.  She has taught me more about who I am and who I want to be in three years than I ever thought possible.  And now with another on the way I feel like this curve has gone off the chart. 

There hasn't been time for much else aside from work and taking care of my family in the last few weeks so the blog has of course slowed down.  I really do love this space so much and it's helped me to grow as a person and artist and introduced me to so many incredible people so I'm hoping to be able to get back to it more regularly soon.  In the meantime, I'm spending the next few quiet weeks before the baby arrives with my little family, taking long walks around the city and enjoying the summer (which has been pretty amazing so far). 

While I'm away you can always check my archives.  Here are a few of my favorite posts from the last few months.  Also, if you'd like, you can vote for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Photography Mom blogs where I am nominated for the 3rd year in a row!  Thanks for your support and see you soon!

How to stop complaining
Making art with your kids
I record memories
Ideas for what to do with your photos
Pinhole Press storybook
An afternoon at Eataly
From the past to the future
My favorite photography apps for iPhone part II
5 tips for capturing emotion in your photos
Orly Genger at Madison Square Park
3 easy tips for shooting architecture
An instagram photo book 
Happy birthdays 
Are there too many images? 
Inspiration from my favorite photographers
How to improve your photography
Statue watching

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's a Giveaway!

Last week I hit two big social media milestones - more than 1000 followers on Facebook and more than 2000 followers on Twitter.  I'm so grateful to everyone who I connect with via social media so as a BIG thank you I'm offering a reader/follower the chance to win a free 8x12 open edition print of your choice from my Etsy shop!

There are a few ways to win:

1.  Visit my Etsy shop and  leave a comment on this post to let me know which print you'd choose
2.  Tweet the giveaway @ciaochessa with a link back to this post
3.  Share the giveaway on Facebook

Be sure to let me know you've shared it in a separate comment below!

The giveaway is open to people in the U.S.A. and I'll choose a winner next week!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy birthdays

How I see her in my dreams.
Today my baby is three years old and life is a bit of a whirlwind.  Days, weeks and months pass by in what seems like an instant and before we know it another year has come and gone and I'm left wondering where the time went.  Soon we'll be welcoming a little boy into our family and my first baby who made me a mother when I never thought it was possible will be a big sister.  Another milestone in her life that will forever be ingrained in my heart and in my mind.  Sometimes I catch her staring at me the way I'm certain she so often feels my eyes on her and she smiles so knowingly and genuinely I feel like she can read what my heart is feeling.  She says "I love you, mommy" and it's like my heart might explode.  I stare at her in wild wonder unable to wrap my head around the fact that she was once inside my belly growing and kicking me incessantly like her brother who never seems to stop moving.  In a few years he will be as big as she is and she will continue to grow to be whoever she is to become.  Her curiosity, sense of adventure, fearlessness (that kind of freaks me out) thoughtful and kind manner, and even her stubbornness motivate me and inspire me every day.  Happy birthday, sweet girl.  We love you so.

When she turned two.
When she turned one.

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Friday, June 21, 2013


So many goodies.  Lucia was most excited about the glitter and the lip balm.  Definitely my kid.
Today is the first official day of summer and the afternoon could not be more beautiful here in New York City.  Yesterday I spent the day at Alt Summit and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.  I connected with so many cool and interesting people and finished the day feeling so inspired.  When you spend the day listening to the likes of Grace Bonney and Garance Dore you cannot helo but walk away feeling ready to do more.  I've shared some of my favorite quotes from the day below.  Our plans for the next few days include the Swedish Midsummer Festival tonight, time with family, and a trip to the Smorgasburg and carousel in Brooklyn.  Throw in a little early birthday celebration for my girl who turns three (!!) on Monday and I think we have the makings of a perfect summer weekend.

Garance and me (with fuzzy, pregnant summer hair apparently.)

Cupcakes at the after-party that I still regret not eating.


 "Urgency is addictive. Urgent doesn't equal important." Alpha Mom

"You're defined by the things you do as much as you are by the things you don't."  Garance Dore

"Branch out but stay on the same tree."  Garance Dore

"Always be learning.  Always be streamlining.  Always be teaching."  Grace Bonney

"There is vital importance in sharing beauty and stories." Valentine Freeman

"Try Rejection Therapy.  Keep asking for things until hearing "no" is no longer scary." Grace Bonney

"Change isn't about abandoning old ways-it's about embracing new ones..think of your business as a continual evolution."  Grace Bonney

"Be completely and unapologetically yourself online."  John Jannuzzi

"I always remind myself 'it's just cookies.'"  Kathleen King of Tate's Bake Shop

"Take the emotion out of your decision process.  Not the passion but the emotion."  Kathleen King

 "You don't control what you're given but you control what you've got."  Stephanie Housely

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