Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

Create a Community not a Competition

I have a business consulting client who sells chainsaw parts on ebay Chainsaw Farm. After one week of working together he sent me a text saying: “Check this out. Another seller told this guy to contact me for parts.” And in the text he attached the message so I would believe it.

My response:  “That’s great!” Remember you have a community not a competition.”

Because of his honest business practices and great customer service he has earned a reputation good enough for other sellers in his field to recommend him to their clients.

Isn’t that the ultimate goal in any business?  

I mean it doesn’t get much better than that!

So Be Yourself and remember you have no competition because there is no other YOU on the planet.  Create a community with other business owners and great customer service with your clients and you will succeed.



Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday – Book Review

Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein

Miracles Now

I told you I had a great new book for you.

If you feel stressed, rushed, on the go, and just an overall sense of uneasiness about life this is a great place to start.

Gabby has given us 108 Tools for Stress Free, Peaceful Living.

The very first tool is all about happiness.  Happiness is a choice you make.  We often fail to realize that we do have the choice to be happy or unhappy.  We were born with free will which makes this life altering decision our own.  We also have the choice to take any given situation and turn it around into a positive one.

In the many other tools to follow she discusses peace, meditation, money, forgiveness, judgement, and truth and how to create new habits and behaviors in order to feel this happiness she’s talking about.

It’s not easy with all of the negativity, complaining, criticism, and sarcasm we face day in and day out to stay happy, positive, peaceful, and present.  But if you’d like to give it a shot then this is a great place to start.

“True Abundance is an Inside Job.”  Gabby Bernstein; Miracles Now.

Have a Thoughtful Thursday!


Wisdom Wednesday

Be a Teacher

Wisdom Wednesday – Be a Teacher


Hello Everyone!

I took the entire month of April off  from blogging for education, mental health, and personal growth.  I have missed you all so much and hope you all are doing well!

I took some amazing classes last month in photography (check out some of my latest work here at Karrie’s Photography), art, business, health and well being and personal growth.  This is super exciting for me because now it means I have so much more to share with my students and all of you!

While I was doing all of this in depth learning, I was also teaching.  I have been loving my time with my photography students and have added business mentoring as well. Check out this new addition over at the SHOP.  I will be adding a Small Business Saturday blog to share some popular tips I’ve been using with my business clients.

At the very end of one of my classes I read the quote above.  I thought it was so inspiring because we are always learning but sometimes we don’t even realize it.  You do not need a fancy degree to learn, you can just go out into the world, visit a museum, travel to a new place, walk the park or beach, pick up a book, pick up a pen (or keyboard), and even teach it!  Just because we become a teacher of something does not mean we stop learning or have learned it all.  In contrast it means we are learning the subject we are teaching with even more depth and understanding.

So this is my hope for all of you.  No matter what age you are or what journey in life you are on, continue learning what you are curious about.

Then go out and teach it. 

As always here is one more quote for you:

“A great teacher teaches so that their not needed anymore.”  Heidi Hope

I also spent time reading some amazing new books I can’t wait to share with you so catch me tomorrow for Thoughtful Thursday.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!


Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday – Book Review

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne



This is an amazing book YOU will LOVE!!

Yesterday we talked about being thoughtful and using our thoughts to create our lives.

Well The Secret is the Law of Attraction.

“Desire, ask, believe, receive.” Stella Terrill Mann

What you think about you will attract. Just like our quote yesterday. Your thoughts turn into your words, behavior, habits, and future. For good or bad what you are thinking becomes your reality.

“Most of us attract by default. We just think that we don’t have any control over it.  Our thoughts and feelings are on autopilot, and so everything is brought to us by default” Bob Doyle.

What are you thinking about?  What are you attracting?

Think about it (LOL Literally).

Over the next week try to pay more attention to your daily life. Keep a journal if you can. Write down what you are thinking about the most and if anything you are thinking about is taking place?  Then practice turning your thoughts into positive ones.  Write in your journal a few positive goals for yourself.  Start small.  Give it some time and see if they come true.

I know you are on the path to attracting amazing things into your life.

Have a Thoughtful Thursday


Wisdom Wednesday

Be Thoughtful

Wisdom Wednesday

Be Thoughtful

Thoughtful: Absorbed in or involving thought.

Of course being thoughtful also means showing consideration for the needs of other people.  But for today we are considering the first definition.

Be Thoughtful

Did you realize that you cannot do anything in life without thinking of it first?

You have to be mindful of your thoughts because your thoughts become your reality.  What you think about day in and day out is what you actually create in and around your life.

If you are thinking negative thoughts the world you have created for yourself will be negative. If you are thinking positive thoughts you are creating a positive world.  The Truth is that since we are made in God’s image we are all creators. Artists of our own lives.  Creators of our own world.  Who’s in your world?  What’s in your world?  How do you feel?  Where do you go? Where do you live? What do you believe?  We have all created each and every scenario we are involved in by our thoughts.

Below are a few more quotes from you by Wallace D. Wattles:

“There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the inter spaces of the universe.”

“A thought, in this substance, produces the thing that is imaged by the thought.”

“Man can form things in his thought, and, by impressing his thought upon formless substance, can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.”

This week try to be mindful of your thoughts.  Try focusing on positive thoughts more often. Health, happiness, joy, peace, kindness, compassion, & love.  Be thoughtful, mindful, and present and see what you can create in your own life.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!



Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Camera Gear – Week 4 – Gadgets

I’ve been having the MOST fun with my photography students!! Last week we photographed this darling little baby boy.  Check out the full photography blog here Karrie’s Photography.


If you haven’t signed up for your photography mentoring you can do so at the Shop.

This week’s Tips & Tricks topic is Camera Gear.  What to bring on location.  

In addition to your camera body, lenses, and off camera flash, photography gadgets you may need would be; batteries, camera cards, meters, umbrellas, lighting stands, reflectors, flash diffusers, lens filters, lens hoods, straps & bags.

As you know by now I like to keep things simple.  I bring two camera bodies, three lenses, one off camera speedlight, extra batteries, extra camera cards, and my bags and props.

I highly recommend that you get a camera bag on wheels. I personally travel to parks, beaches, farms, homes, and urban areas for my photography sessions.  I actually have all of my camera gear in my favorite camera bag from the Canon Gear link below and then put that bag inside a bag on wheels.  It has been so convenient since I added those wheels!

As far as fancy gadgets I don’t personally bring very many.  I do not like lens filters.  I’d rather have control over my filters in Photoshop.  I do not use a meter because I eyeball the natural light and adjust my camera often and accordingly.  I do have a lens hood on all of my lenses.  I also have a couple duffusers for my flash when I need it.  I will bring a couple white boards if I’m not wearing white.

Some cool links:

Red Tag Camera

Canon Gear

Hold Fast Gear

Flash Diffusers

I hope this helps with your photographic journey.  Remember to be yourself.  This is a short blog today because being me means I don’t carry a lot of gear.  But that doesn’t mean you won’t!  Keep being you and build your art and business around your own preferences and comfort zone.

Have a Terrific Tuesday!




Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday Book Review

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron

download (1)

This week I talked about being yourself.  If you are having trouble being yourself or finding yourself or your creativity or artistic vision this is a great book to turn to.  It’s a twelve week program that will help you uncover your creative side.

Without realizing it our childhood experiences and upbringings have created the person we are today. For good or bad.  Hopefully for good.  However, there are a lot of negative things we hear and experience as children that shape the way we think and feel today as adults.  True or false we have spent years conditioning ourselves to believe these things.

FALSE.  As difficult as it may seem to face, more often than not most of those things are false.

This book has engaging exercises and assignments at the end of each chapter to help you uncover which memories you have living inside you are true and which are false.  Which you should let go of and which you should cherish.

What does my past have to do with creativity?

EVERYTHING.  Creativity and art is reflected by the creator and artist. Who they really are. What they feel.  What they see.  What they love.  What they don’t love.  What they believe to be true or false in their own world.

Until you uncover those things about yourself, you may find it challenging to create anything.  You may have a burning desire to create something but do not know how or what.

This was a challenging class for me personally because I do not remember some of the things she asks us to uncover in the assignments.  However, I did my best and I can say it was tremendously helpful and has motivated and encouraged me to be a better artist and be true to myself and my own creative side.

I hope you find this book helpful on your next artistic endeavor.

Have a Thoughtful Thursday!


Wisdom Wednesday

Be Yourself

Wisdom Wednesday 

Be Yourself!


Yesterday I told you my story about deciding to shoot 75% with natural light and why.  It was one of the first steps I took towards being ME in my business.  I hope it encouraged you to see that you do not have to compete with anybody but yourself.  If you want to be better just be a better YOU.

Here’s another story for you.

I LOVE cookies and icecream.  

I mean LOVE.  Don’t get me wrong I’m a total chemical free whole foods guru, so although they are organic gluten free cookies and natural icecream I still LOVE my cookies and icecream.  So naturally what do my boys love?  Cookies and icecream.  Since my youngest was a baby I have been a huge fan of  The Feingold Diet.  A chemical free way of living that believes children should not be deprived of all sugar because sugar is actually a natural product.

Well, A few years ago I had this brilliant plan to eliminate sugar from my house.  I thought my children and I ate way too much sugar and should go “OFF” sugar.  As always my kitchen was filled with fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks and scrumptious meals, just no cookies and icecream.  No sugar of anykind.  Yet every single one of my three boys came home and after scouring the kitchen, cupboards, pantry, and frig said:

“Mom there’s nothing to eat.”

“Mom why isn’t there anything to eat?”

“Mom, are you going to the store?  There’s no food in the house.”

Seriously!  Of course there was food in the house!  There was all kinds of food in the house. However, there were NO:

Cookies & Icecream

A common staple during every shopping trip I made and always in the house and listed under the Knowles Family Food Pyramid as a healthy food, are cookies and icecream.  I’m a baker at heart.  If I don’t buy cookies I bake them.  All three boys could bake a batch of cookies on their own by twelve years old.  A favorite family hobby is frequenting the local icecream shops and bakeries wherever we may be.  It’s a passion of ours.  For good or bad we love cookies and icecream.

When I decided to break from being ME, complete and utter chaos broke out.  It wasn’t me. It wasn’t them.  It wasn’t US.  We like cookies and icecream.  We are not going to die tomorrow by eating cookies and icecream.  We love fruits and vegetables but our thing is cookies and icecream.

That day has gone down in history as the day mom made us go sugar free for 24 hours. Actually it wasn’t even 24 hours because I went to the store the next day to fill up on cookies and icecream.  Even close family members that know us have laughed about it.

So what I am trying to say here is that if you are not YOU, the real YOU, Chaos is about to irrupt somewhere at some point and you will know it and feel that things are all WRONG!

So why chance it?  Read this quote above and try and truly understand that you really are the only YOU on the planet.  Nobody is like you and nobody ever will be like you.  Embrace You.  Love You.  Be You!

A few more quotes for you:

“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.” Brenda Ueland.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist and will be lost.”  Martha Graham.

I hope this little story encourages you to look inside, see who you are, and…

Be Yourself.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!




Tips & Tricks Tuesday

Photography Tips & Tricks Tuesday

It’s Tips & Tricks Tuesday!!  YEAH!!!

Camera Equipment – Week 3 – Lighting

Although all cameras will come up with a pop up flash you will want to purchase an off camera flash as well. I recommend starting with a simple inexpensive speedlight and just as with lenses increase your collection from there.  As usual I stick with Canon or Nikon for the most part however there are other popular brands out there.

To be honest though I do not use flash a lot at all so I’m not going to pretend I am an off-camera lighting guru and go into a lot about it here. I keep my speedlight on automatic and have it there for emergencies during a portrait session such as super cloudy days or in shady areas.  I also use it for wedding receptions and some churches but even then I can do without it if I want. I just posted a wedding where I liked the dark moody romantic dancing photos without the flash better than the bright flashlit ones.  Check it out here Wedding Photography.  I do not know anything about studio lighting either.  I probably use natural light 75% of the time and flash 25%. Why??

The sun is free and easy. I love free and easy. 

For a long time I was trying to be good at a bunch of things instead of focusing on one thing, getting really good at it, and moving on.

For instance I am not a scientist my any means, let’s face it. People have gifts in different ways and science and math are not mine. I am an artist at heart. I love to bake, cook, craft, photograph, quilt, draw, and paint. I find beauty in nature and colors and people and animals. So when my uncle, an amazing photographer and mentor, talks about flash and photographic lighting my brain literally stops working.

Photography is as much a science as an art.

My work with a flash is beautiful don’t get me wrong. My uncle describes it as a “happy accident” which is completely true!! Somehow my artistic view that particular day on that particular subject just makes sense and works without too much thought about science, that’s my happy accident!! However, lighting is the most crucial element of photography. You need either the sun, the moon, or artificial light that’s just a fact! So I’m constantly learning. I read everything I can get my hands on about photography, take classes, read blogs, follow amazing photographers, go to the library, watch YouTube tutorials everything you can think of including reading the entire manual of any camera I buy! While it’s true I grew up learning about art and photography from family members, was well educated in CT, took art and photography classes in high school, developed film in a darkroom, and took business classes in college, you can never stop learning! You can never know everything! And when it comes to something that is half scientific, probably more than half, I know practically nothing!!

So I realized I had to stop driving myself crazy! I had to be myself.

I may not be knowledgeable in the field of science but I certainly know where to find the sun and the moon! Although these two celestial bodies are constantly in motion you can and must use them to manipulate your photography. I decided to focus on natural light photography for now (although I always have a mounted flash with me and use it if necessary). The thing is there are so many factors in any form of art that you can be good at, you just may not be good at all of them at the same time. I’m good with people. I’m good at capturing an emotion at a specific time. I’m good at close-ups. I’m good with babies and toddlers. I’m good at making people feel relaxed in front of the camera. So making all of these things work around the sun is way easier for me than having to fuss over lighting and flashes at this moment in my life. I don’t want my work to be a happy accident. I want to know what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. So I’ve had the most fun learning about backlighting, how to use open shade, sunny 16 settings, shooting wide open, and the golden hour.

The Golden Hour is a great time for natural light photography.

This is the time period shortly after sunrise and before sunset. Sunrise may be a difficult time to get clients to get up and meet you but it can be ideal for soft lighting and manipulating cool colors and tones. Sunset is much more ideal because your clients will be much happier to meet you after dinner in the Summer and before dinner in the Fall and Winter. Basically when the sun is near the horizon, the intensity of direct sunlight is reduced and more shadows are produced creating softer lighting. Your subject will not be squinting and you will not have sun highlights on their faces.

You may want to invest in some reflectors as a way to bounce light in difficult situations.

I personally just wear white.  

YUP.  I wear white on every session I go to.  I use myself as a big reflector.  I have also used plain old white project boards.  Their a couple dollars and I can grab them and easily set them up if I’m not wearing white.

In conclusion, while you DO need to light your subject in one way or another, don’t run out and spend loads of money on expensive lighting equipment just yet.  Invest in a simple inexpensive off camera flash and practice using the sun when you can.

Most Importantly; whatever new endevor you are on or educational adventure you are taking; BE YOU!

I hope these lighting tips helped you!

Have a Terrific Tuesday





Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday Book Review

Do The Work By Steven Pressfield


So yesterday we talked about starting before your ready.  This book, Do The Work, is the sequel to last weeks book The War of Art.  If you have read the War of Art and have now learned how to overcome the resistance that is stopping you from beginning, you are now ready to begin!

So where can we start if were starting before were ready?  Remember our seven habits of highly effective people? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Begin with the end in mind.  In Do the Work Pressfield refers to this as working back to front.  He says:

“End first, then beginning and middle.  That’s your startup, that’s your plan for competing in a triathlon, that’s your ballet.”

Some problems you will need to overcome:  Thoughts and chatter. Self Judgment. Hitting the Wall. Fear. Panic. Attitude.

“Our job is not to control our idea; our job is to figure out what our idea is and wants to be and then bring it in to being.”

What will keep you going?  LOVE

“The opposite of fear is love-love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.”

Finally he helps us get to the END and complete our project.

“Finishing is the critical part of any project.  If we can’t finish, all our work is for nothing.”

I hope this book helps you to BEGIN.

Have a Thoughtful Thursday.