Friday, May 31, 2013

From the past to the future

With my son scheduled to arrive in about two months I've been thinking a lot about the men in my family who come before him.  In a family nearly full of women, including the newest generation with my two nieces and my daughter, I find myself daydreaming about my son and how we hope to raise him.  I have the same dreams and hopes and fears as when I was pregnant with Lucia but it's a little different because a boy is a completely new world to me.

My husband is a wonderful father who amazes me every day with his patience and the gentle way he loves and teaches our daughter.  When Lucia was first born I felt like I was meeting a new person in him that could only have blossomed by becoming a dad.  I watch them now and their incredible rhythm and chemistry and it makes me excited for what's to come when we add a son to our family.  I've said before that I often wonder about where Lucia's personality comes from.  There are parts of her, like her deep curiosity and inquisitiveness and need to be organized, that most definitely come from me, and her methodical approach to things and calm demeanor (with a small dose of hysterics and drama thanks to me) that absolutely come from her dad.  But what about those parts that are simply unexplained? 

My father recently gave me a beautiful wrist watch that belonged to my grandfather, Mario and an exquisite pocket watch that belonged to my great grand-father, Miguel Antonio.  Mario, who we all called Coco, passed away nearly 11 years ago about one month before my husband proposed to me.  I was 24 years old and he was my first grandparent who died and at that point it was only my second experience with the death of someone very close to me (the first being my great-grandmother who passed away during my senior year in college).  His death devastated me.  I feel so lucky that I knew him so well because my sister and I spent so much of our childhood and adolescence with my family in Argentina.   Since he passed away so many years ago my grandmother has filled in many blanks about him and his family and in this way I feel like I know his father, Miguel Antonio, as well.  I have all his old ID cards and some papers and I see my grandfather's and father's face in his and I wonder how much of them will live in my son.  Lucia knows all about Coco and her recent favorite bedtime story is one that I tell her about my own childhood when he taught me how to ride a bike and I fell and he carried me home.  At the end of the story she looks at me and says "And the next day you rode your bike again because Coco said you'll be okay, right Mommy?"  When she says that to me I melt in a puddle and I feel like my grandpa is here with me.  I've been staring at these beautiful watches, relics of the past filled with stories, wondering so much about the men who wore them. 

My hope is that I can pass on as many stories as I can to my children, as well as to create our own, to tell to future generations.  This is part of the reason why I'm always taking photos, making books and albums, and writing things down -- because this visual story telling is really our own personal history book.  It's very overwhelming to think that in a few decades the people who came before us could be easily forgotten if we don't work to keep them alive within ourselves.  If I can try to hold on to the past just enough to give it the respect it deserves and to guide me and my choices, I feel like I'm better prepared to look to the future and all of the exciting (and scary) things that I know are to come.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ciao, Chessa! on Etsy

Did you know that some of my photos are available as prints on Etsy?  There's a lot on there that I haven't shared here and I recently updated my shop just in time for summer.  Looking for a fun print to brighten up your walls?  Come by for a visit...

Ciao, Chessa! on Etsy

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Friday, May 24, 2013


It's hard to believe that this weekend is the official start to summer.  Memorial Day weekend is always such a fun timeout.  I don't know if there will be much sunning and BBQing over the next few days since the weather doesn't look too promising but I'm daydreaming about our summer in the city with short trips out to the suburbs and the little addition that will be joining us in a couple of months.  Here's to a great long weekend and many sunny days where ever you are and here are some great links from around the web this week.

Long live the constant moment.

3D latte art (yes, there is such a thing).

Cool scribbles.

Need ideas for what to wear to a wedding this summer?

Flickr is all shiny and new.

I won't be in the Hamptons this weekend (or summer) but these pop-up shops will.

A guide to pricing your work as a photographer.


I have a serious case of wanderlust and these photos of Cannes by Jamie Beck are not helping.

5 great film cameras on a tiny budget.

At 8 months pregnant I'm practically licking my monitor when I look at Smitten Kitchen.  Two of my favorite recipes on this blog are: essential raised waffles (hello, carboholic) and Japanese vegetable pancakes.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Urban Garden(s)

The flowers carefully and strategically planted all over Manhattan this year are outrageous.  It's like a celebration of life and color that is a true testament to the work that goes into caring for the beautification of our city.  That and also it's a great way to usher in the warm weather after a long and torturous winter.  Either way, I've been stopping on every block not only to admire all the blooms but to take photos (obviously). 


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Helping the people of Moore, Oklahoma

On May 20th, 2013, a 1.3-mile-wide tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma.  The photos of the devastation are simply heartbreaking.  The people of Oklahoma need our help.  Click here to see how you can help and see more evocative images from a local photographer over at Petapixel

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Friday, May 17, 2013


Sometimes you're walking down a crazy street in Manhattan and all you hear is honking and sirens but amid all the chaos is a tiny patch of pretty to brighten your moment. 

We are headed to the beach this weekend for what will be our last getaway before baby number two arrives in a couple of months.  We had the most fantastic time out in the Hamptons last year and this summer will be very different since we're staying in the city but no less wonderful with all of the changes that are coming.  I haven't always done well with uncertainty but as I've gotten older I've been able to embrace it more.  The things that scared me in the past ultimately led to the greatest experiences so these days I'm focusing on that rather than the fear and worry that inevitably accompanies change.  Sometimes it's just not worth all the anxiety in the first place.  I hope you have a lovely weekend and here are some great links from around the web.

With my boy coming so soon I had to enter this sweet giveaway.  A baby in a bowtie?  Cuteness overload.

New Yorkers, ever the exhibitionists that we are, are (rightfully, in my opinion) upset over these photos taken of their windows from across the street.

I adore this series that photographer Jaime Moore did of her five year old daughter as inspiring women in history.

The drawings on these foam cups are awesome.

Obsessed with gold details for your home?  (The pig bookends kill me the most)

Would you have an unplugged wedding?

Vertigo-inducing images and footage from the top of the new World Trade Center.

Something I desperately need help with: how to edit your online photography portfolio.  Here's mine.

I LOVE crystal chandeliers (I get it from my mother who has way too many in her house).

5 foods that are high in fat and good for you.  I for one will never say no to an avocado...especially at nearly 30 weeks pregnant and especially with A LOT of balsamic vinegar and a dash of sea salt.

Celebrities humorously re-imagined as classic paintings.  I think Katy Perry is my favorite.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Orly Genger at Madison Square Park

I'm a new contributing lifestyle editor over at one of my favorite blogs - Glamamom.  My first post, shared yesterday, covers the INCREDIBLE art installation by Orly Genger in Madison Square Park.  The project, titled simply Red, Yellow and Blue, features 1.4 million feet of layered, painted, and knotted rope – enough to span the length of Manhattan nearly 20 times!  Head over there to see more of my photos and learn more about the exhibit.

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Oh, Karolina

I don't often share fashion editorials but I'm a little bit obsessed with these chic and timeless photos of Czech model Karolina Kurkova (a personal favorite).  They were shot for Vogue Germany by Giampaolo Sgura and styled by Claudia Englmann.  I'm always inspired by evocative images that can transport you to a different time and place.

See more here.

Via Honestly WTF and Fashion Gone Rogue.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A round-up on shooting portraits

My kid, the storyteller, post-nap.
The photography-related topic I receive emails about most is shooting portraits.  While I don't think that there's a formula for taking photos of people I can honestly say that the most important element I personally want to capture is emotion.  This is my goal with every picture I take but especially when my subject is a person - be it a stranger or my own child.  If you can evoke a feeling (and you'll know it when you see it) and show the essence of a person then I think you've got yourself a successful portrait.

Here's a little round-up of tutorials I've done in the past that can help on the topic.

How to take better portraits
Tips for taking pictures of kids
Five tips for taking pictures of babies
Photographing people in public
Faceless portraits

And wondering how you can hone your skills and capture that emotion?  Check out five tips for capturing emotion in your photographs.

Do you have any tips?  I'd love to hear.  And feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Instagram Weekend

Me, the bump and my sweet butterfly on Mother's Day.

This weekend I celebrated my last Mother's Day as a mom to one.  We had a busy weekend that included dinner with friends, playdates, and my niece's 5th (!) birthday party at one of my favorite places for kids in NYC.  But my favorite moments were spent with my little family when we took our girl to see Pinkalicious at the Culture Project downtown (I saw a very different kind of play there years ago and it's a great space).  I didn't want any gifts this year for Mother's Day and instead of a fancy brunch we had the best morning ever taking our almost three-year-old (!!) to this fun show for kids.  We read this story at least three times a day (along with a few other favorites) and she was transfixed by the stage, the actors, the dancing and singing and she even participated and let me know what was going to come next.  As long as I live I will never forget the look on her face - I caught myself staring at her rather than watching the stage.  If you're in the area and have a boy or girl who loves these books this is a must-see.  I'm looking forward to a mellow but hopefully productive week.  In the meantime, here's a glimpse of our weekend via Instagram.

The blooms around the city are more beautiful than ever this year.

It rained like crazy on Friday and Saturday afternoon we had what seemed like a tornado in Manhattan. 

The ball pit at the Children's Museum of the Arts.

The fun mirrors at the Children's Museum of the Arts.

The tallest building in the hemisphere.

An enormous mess that took 45 seconds to make and 45 minutes to clean up.

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