Category Archives: inspirational

Hip Things

Meet Lynn and Ava. Hip, cool, retro and just darn nice people. I had the pleasure of shooting their portraits the other day and wanted to share a few. Hopefully you can tell how much fun I had, becauseI was smiling just as much as they were!

 

Whatever your thing is, make sure you are having fun and doing what you love. Life is too short to be doing things you don’t want to do.

 

All Images ©2012 Ken Wallace Films LLC / La Belle Tu Portrait Studio

www.labelletu.com

 

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Momma, I miss my daddy …Version 2

I am sharing this post from my sister, who lost her husband recently and is in the process of healing.

Momma, I miss my daddy …Version 2.

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New Things

I’ve been a bit absent on my blog lately and I apologize for being gone so long. There are lots of new things going on in my life and it just seems like the days race by! One of those new things is that I have started a photography business called La Belle Tu (The Beautiful You). For me, this is the natural evolution of finding my thing. Taking beautiful pictures is something that energizes and inspires me. FindYourThing has always been driven by my photography and this summer the opportunity came up to take the next step and make photography a very serious part of my life.

La Belle Tu is a portrait studio with the mission to take beautiful pictures of real women. Not models or actresses, but everyday women from 8 to 80 who want to experience what it is like to take some time out for themselves and spend an afternoon looking and feeling glamourous.

To accomplish this we converted our garage into a small studio that has a dedicated make-up and hair room, a private changing room and natural light studio with multiple backdrops for shooting.

The result was a fantastic small studio–a perfect environment for shooting portraits just steps from my back door! From idea to completion the entire project took just a few weeks. It is amazing to discover what you can accomplish in a short time with a little planning and a lot of hard work.

To see more photos and find out about La Belle Tu please have a look at our website and drop us a line. And of course if you find yourself in Los Angeles schedule a shoot!

     

Ken Wallace

www.labelletu.com

www.facebook.com/labelletu

www.twitter.com/labelletu

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Beautiful Things

On Saturday morning the parents of the Pasadena Waldorf School braved the brisk California 70 degree morning air and gathered under partially cloudy skies  to witness the 8th Grade class graduation ceremony.

All Waldorf events start with food. It is tradition that for the graduation, the 7th grade class provides the reception, and we were greeted with a wonderful spread of homemade scones, finger sandwiches, hot coffee and tea.

A PWS graduation is unlike the typical middle school ceremony. The classes are small (21 kids are in the 8th grade class) and so there is time to spend reflecting on the individual children and what the event means as they transition into being young adults. The families are recognized, thoughtful and funny speeches are made and songs are sung.

Waldorf events are big on ritual and symbolism. Flowers are taken and given, songs are sung and poems recited. Watching my daughter sitting there with her class it was hard not to tear up and get all mushy.

PWS students are an amazing group of kids. They are confident, artistic and ready to take on the world. The education produces creative thinkers who have a sense of their humanity and place in the world.

This year will see the beginning of the Pasadena Waldorf High School. Our daughter will be in the first class–a class of less than 15 kids. They will be the pioneers, shaping the school for future classes.

Our daughter gave us a rose and a card with the following note inside:

“Dear Mon and Dad, I am so grateful for all the work and dedication you have put in for me to receive this education. Each of you have put so much time into making all this possible. Without Waldorf, I believe that I would be a completely different person than I am now. Thank you for everything. Love, Paige.”

Continuing her Waldorf education into high school was totally her decision to make, and I think it took courage. In a class of 500 you can blend in, find a little group of friends and feel safe.

In a class of 15 kids there is no place to hide.

The years are racing by at the speed of light and it is all we can do to hang on, love one another, and savor the moments we have together.

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Things we ask of our Neighbors

We live in a small suburban community in Southern California. There are no walls surrounding our vast 1700 square foot estate to protect us from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. People walk the sidewalks in the evenings with their kids and pets, and neighbors routinely visit just to say hello. One of our neighbors is a lovely lady who has become our children’s adopted grandmother, since their actual grandparents live out of state. She is a sweet and generous woman who lives alone, but has become a part of our family. We regularly share holidays and homemade meals with her, which is delightful because she is an amazing cook!

I’ve been looking for willing subjects to photograph, since I’ve recently acquired some strobes and a small bit of other portrait gear. She seemed like the perfect victim volunteer. She thought the idea sounded fun (she obviously had never posed for an amateur photographer), so we set a date for the weekend to take some shots.

My goal with this self-assigned project was three-fold: 1) take some photos of my friend that wouldn’t embarrass her or myself, 2) learn a bit about running a shoot and working with models, and 3) figure out how to work the darn strobes and radio transmitters.

Helping me was a very capable none-year old, my son. He was given the task of holding a reflector, which, based on the volume of complaining must have been the heaviest reflector in the world. Good help is hard to find, especially at the rates I pay.

My model was an amateur photographer’s dream–patient and interested. Never once did she call her agent or need to be coaxed from her trailer.

We spent about two hours shooting in several spots around her home and garden, laughing as we tried different silly things, and ultimately capturing a few images that I think represent the kind spirit and good humor of this very special person in our lives.

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Things that Rise – Part 1

A few years ago I had an extended amount of time off work, which would have been lovely had I actually wanted an extended period of unemployment. I like to keep busy. After about 3 weeks at home I begin to loose my mind and I start looking for things to keep me entertained. Since I am a naturally curious person the objects of my focus can be rather random.

This particular time it was bread.

Our bread machine had died and it occurred to me that it might actually be possible to make bread without a big plastic machine. My wife was skeptical. I was fairly sure it could be done, and if something can be done at all my theory is that it can be done by me given a decent set of instructions and enough practice.

I didn’t grow up with good bread. Bread was something to spread peanut butter and jelly on. At its best it could be used to contain a slice of lunch meat, cheese and artificial mayonnaise. My life view on bread changed dramatically after our trips to Europe.

Bread in France and Italy is an art form. Gluten free does not exist. Lines form at 7am to buy the best bread. At the bakery (boulangerie) in our village of Bedoin you have to sign up on a list the day before to be guaranteed a baguette the next morning.

I wanted to bake bread that people will line up for.

My initial research indicated that great bread is baked in a wood-fired bread oven, not a plastic machine. I bought plans to build one.

When I priced out the plans and estimated the construction time I calculated that I could build this oven for about $5,000 and that it would take the rest of my life to complete. Unless my wife killed me before I was done.

So I did some more research, which is when I found a critical piece of information:

Your home oven can be used to bake really good bread for the cost of a pizza stone and a water spray bottle! Wow, that’s SO much easier!

The next critical component to bread is the hungry little critter that makes it rise. Yeast. Sure, you can get little packets of super-fast-rising-instant-dry-yeast, but I don’t think the French bakers get their yeast that way. And I wanted to make crusty chewy bread that wouldn’t go stale after a day. I needed…

A sourdough starter.

There are processes to grow yeast au natural, but I was too much of a beginner and way too impatient to delve into that black magic. Instead, I found a local bakery that made yummy sourdough bread and asked if they would give me some starter (sure, I bought some bread before hitting them up for a freebie).

Did you know you have to feed sourdough starter every other day at least? Sourdough starter is a living organism and you feed it flour and water to keep it alive.

It was like having another child!

…. coming next, the continuing adventures of the unemployed baker.

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Learning Things

The original idea behind this blog was to inspire and help people find their passion. Sometimes I get sidetracked. I feel like I’ve been circling a little too broadly around the core concept: Find Your Thing.

In many ways this blog violates the blogospheric rule of specificity (a short rest was needed after writing that sentence). And honestly, I don’t have much interest in narrow focus. Sometimes I feel like writing about bees, or cooking, or Italy, or even my dog.

My Welsh Terrier

My hope is that passion is contagious. I had a little help from WordPress this weekend when my post Things That Grow made the Freshly Pressed page. Thank you to all of my new followers who took the time to read, comment and like and follow my ramblings. I am truly humbled and amazed.

Don’t hate me when you realize that I am making this all up as I go! I’m just learning.

But learning is good. Learning is perhaps the one most significant element of Finding Your Thing. There are scientific studies that tell us that constant learning is good for the brain. It fights off mental disease, aging, hair loss and decreases you chances of alien abduction.

I have no idea what studies these are, but I’ve heard about them. Google It.

This blog is our three-day-a-week brain-cell workout. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Like after we’ve had a few too many glasses of wine and don’t feel like going to the gym the next morning.

And with that as a premise it is my hope to not only inspire you to find your thing, but also to get you excited about learning. We will laugh, succeed and fail together (though not in that exact order).

I’ll try to keep focused, though I can’t promise I won’t digress and start thinking about muddy rain boots.

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