I’ve had a fixation with beach-themed bathrooms for over a decade now, and love using shells and beach-themed décor as fun accents to remind me of the ocean and the beach. When I moved to a new residence this past January, I decided to really have fun with the beach theme, and I took it to the extreme.
One of the features I have displayed in my bathroom is a collection of clear containers which hold sand and shells from different beaches I have visited. Included in this collection are sand and shell samples from Hawaii, Costa Rica, Bali, Thailand and the Maldives. Whenever I look at my collection, I am transported back to those magical destinations which captured my heart and spirit.
Whenever I feel like escaping to an island getaway, but I am stuck in Los Angeles, I’ll take a bubble bath while surrounded by my sand and shell collection, lit candles, and starfish lights. It’s a wonderful way for me to recharge and to surround myself with reminders of my favorite terrain. I also love the fact that I finally have a full bathtub in my bathroom after 20 years of having shower stalls. Whenever my schedule allows, I try to take a relaxing bath, which beats taking a quick shower any day.
If you’ve never balanced on a craggy boulder, while freezing your ass off and also managing to muster a facial expression which makes everyone believe that you are having the time of your life, then you have no idea what models often have to endure in order to get “the shot”.
Modeling often is hard work. Those of you who are snickering need to hear me out. Those elegant or sexy poses which you will often see models in are often incredibly uncomfortable, especially when there are boulders, creepy crawly things, nasty wind gusts, and weather extremes to negotiate as well. Outdoor locations can be teeming with insects, or they may have shards of broken glass everywhere which makes it quite treacherous for a model to strike a pose. Models often have to “cheat” a shoulder or limb, meaning that they have to turn a body part in a certain way to create an angle which looks right in the camera lens, but which feels completely unnatural and often sparks muscle cramps which linger for days after the shoot wraps. I still remember holding a pretzel pose for a full ten minutes while the photographer happily shot away (see blog image at top of this post), but because I put myself into a bit of a meditative state, I was able to hold the pose without much discomfort. Alas, as I have gotten older, my joints are far less forgiving, and I must take a brief break after several frames are shot.
Another major challenge which models constantly face is that they have to evoke certain moods and looks at the drop of a hat, even if they feel ill, tired, bloated, or otherwise uninspired to shoot. If a model can’t convince the photographer, and more importantly, the camera lens, that she is indeed the vision which is called for in a campaign, she can forget about lining up much work as time goes on.
Over the decades in which I have been modeling, I have learned so many tricks which increase efficiency and reduce the risk of injury while on the job. I know what essentials to pack in my bag, even if I end up not using them at all. When shooting on location, I always bring a large black robe, which I refer to as my changing robe, and which gets so much flak from the photographers because it makes me look like a transient when I wear it. If I have to put my bikini-clad ass on a felled tree stump which threatens to deposit some splinters into my flesh, I grab a small towel or scarf to protect my skin. I have also adopted the habit of wearing aqua shoes when on location so that my feet don’t get scorched by hot sand or torn up by rough terrain.
Believe me when I say that being a model isn’t just about standing in front of a camera and looking pretty. Good models WORK HARD, and they maintain a positive, cooperative attitude. Even when the ocean water is freezing cold, or the weather is so blazing hot that makeup is literally melting off, models who know how to be professional will honestly grin and bear it unless it is actually causing frank injury.
Vino Darius Calloway has outdone himself again, with new shoot locations for the Vino D. Utah Shootout for next June! I had the opportunity to shoot at these new locations last month, so I wanted to provide the models with some tips on how to prepare for them.
INFINITE TATTOO AND ART GALLERY:
This awesome location is in downtown Ogden, which is about an hour away from Park City. It’s a great place to shoot in if the weather doesn’t cooperate, and most of the shoot locations are inside the building. Infinite Tattoo and Art Gallery is a tattoo parlor, an art gallery, and a barber shop, and is filled with great furniture, art pieces, and outdoor murals. There is a lot of red and burgundy in this establishment, so colors which pop against red tones work best in this location. If Vino chooses this location, you will most likely leave the house late, perhaps around 3 pm, since you would be able to shoot until around 9 pm during the summer.
Moab was an amazing find, and though it is quite far from Park City, it is well worth the long drive. Moab is a four hour trek from Park City, situated in the southeast border of Utah, and is blessed with the warmest temperatures, making it a great shoot location if mother nature decides to fling some cold weather and wicked wind around Utah. Prepare to leave the house around noon. Once wrapped at this location, you ladies won’t return to the house until 1 am or later! Be sure to pack food for this long trip. Restroom facilities are VERY scarce in Moab, so be prepared to wrap a beach towel around you and find a bush to crouch behind to do your business. I always recommend carrying some tissue or a roll of toilet paper with you for those situations.
Moab has some beautiful spots to shoot in, with panoramic canyon views, but the silt is slippery, there are rocks, twigs and brambles everywhere, and broken glass also litters some spots. For these reasons, it is imperative that you wear rubber-soled shoes or aqua shoes while climbing around in those areas! Keep your eyes open for any broken glass, and hold on to sturdy branches while climbing up and down the embankments.
You might be thinking that it would be better to avoid drinking any fluids, just so you can minimize your restroom breaks, but with the hot weather, you should hydrate throughout the day. Bring water with you to drink while traveling in the van. Every day that I was in Utah for the 2017 Shootout, I drank close to a gallon of water. My skin looked great as a result, and I didn’t have any issues with belly bloat.
It’s also a good idea to carry some extra water which you can use to rinse your feet and legs when at Moab, Salt Flats or Little Sahara.
Moab, Salt Flats, Little Sahara and the marina can get VERY windy. If you have long hair, I recommend shooting so that you are facing the oncoming wind. This way, you’ll avoid having your hair whip in your face and ruin the shots. I also recommend putting your hair in a very durable style, such as crimped waves which won’t unravel when the wind blows. Use a good setting spray to hold your hairstyle in place.
The sun’s rays can be brutal on location, so make sure you slather on sunblock, and use sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun. If you shoot without sunglasses, and you have difficulty with squinting while facing the sun, close your eyes and have the photographer count to three, then open your eyes for the shot.
After attending the Vino D. Utah Shootout event both last year and this year, I felt compelled to compile a survival guide for fellow models who intend on coming to future events. The Shootout is a stellar event, and everyone who attends has the potential to create amazing content which can either be used for portfolios or submissions to publications. However, there are hazards to shooting at the chosen locations, and if you aren’t prepared, your body can get pretty battered.
I paid attention to some key issues which arose last June while on location in Utah, and as a result, I was much better prepared for this year’s event. In an effort to pass some tips along, I have compiled a packing list, with explanations as to why most of these items should be considered essential for the Shootout. Some are pretty obvious, while others may seem strange before you read the explanation.
Sweatshirt or jacket (It can get COLD on location, and the evenings are also brisk.)
Beach towel (This can be used to wipe off sand and salt, and can be rigged up to change wardrobe.)
First aid kit (You can get scrapes, cuts, etc., while on location, so a small first aid kit is definitely good to have.)
Bug spray (There are insects at the ruins and at other locations, and they bite!)
Sunblock (The sun’s rays are BRUTAL on location.)
Sunglasses (Most days are sunny, so you will need shades. Also, the sand dunes are very dusty, so the sunglasses will protect your eyes from flying sand.)
Double-sided tape (This is great to have for those outfits which threaten to create a wardrobe malfunction when the wind whips up.)
Trash bags (These are great for throwing wardrobe in and carrying around while you shoot on the sand and salt.)
Water shoes (These are INDISPENSIBLE for walking on the hot sand of Little Sahara, the salt flats, and the broken glass-littered ruins. Trust me, for less than $10, you can get a pair and protect your feet, while also saving your better shoes from being completely destroyed by the elements.)
Safety pins (Have these in your travel bag in case a clothing item rips or a bra strap breaks.)
Knee pads (These are fantastic for that standard bikini model pose on your knees, especially on the Salt Flats. You can also cushion other body areas, such as your booty and your hips if you are lying on your side. I recommend getting WHITE since it will blend in better with the salt and sand.)
Body wash (Body wash tends to disappear in the house, so I advise packing extra, or a bar of soap, so you aren’t forced to take a shower with no soap!)
Muscle rub like Biofreeze, Tiger Balm or Icy Hot(Not a bad idea, especially considering the pretzel poses we are often asked to hold!)
Lotion (Choose an emollient lotion which really hydrates your skin.)
False lashes and lash adhesive (Pack extra sets…the windy conditions can literally rip the lashes off your lids!)
Scarves (Pick large, flowy scarves which can pick up the wind and make a nice shape behind you.)
Extra hold hairspray (The wind threatens to undo any hairstyle, so if you use hairspray, get the kind that is maximum hold.)
Hair styling tools (Blow dryer, flat iron, waver, curling wand)
Sharpie marker (This is for marking your food items so that no one else eats them!)
Battery charger for cell phone
Earbuds (If you want to listen to music in the van, or if you want to wind down at night and shut out extraneous noise, these are good to have.)
Earplugs (The house can be NOISY all hours of the night, so these are also a good idea to wear while you sleep.)
Eye mask for sleep (Since people fly in at all hours, you may be interrupted in the middle of the night by a new roomie, so an eye mask can ensure that your slumber is relatively undisturbed.)
Brimmed hat (This is for the brutal sun’s rays.)
Small scissors (Good to have if you have tags to remove, etc.)
Hydrocortisone (Bug bites and random rashes respond well to this.)
Advil or Tylenol (You never know if you might develop a headache, muscle ache, etc.)
Panty liners and tampons (You never know when Aunt Flow may make a sudden visit.)
Chapstick (The windy conditions really dry out your skin, including your lips.)
Lots of bikinis, lingerie, etc.
CHEAP shoes and boots (Ladies, please don’t take expensive shoes and boots with you to shoot in. The salt from the Salt Flats will DESTROY them. Pack cheaper options which won’t upset you when and if they get chewed up.)
Jewelry (Once again, cheaper options are better than expensive pieces you may lament the loss of. Bold pieces can look amazing on location. Hit places like Forever 21, H and M, Amazon, and the stripper stores for items.)
Body jewelry (This kind of embellishment looks so beautiful when juxtapositioned against the sand or salt flats. I’ve found nice pieces at Aldo, Forever 21, and H and M.)
Tote bag or backpack (A nice, rugged, water-resistant tote bag or backpack is great for carrying your wardrobe items with you on location. You can use the trash bags to carry a few items to a specific shooting spot once you are on location.)
Snack bars (I suggest packing a box or two of your favorite snack or protein bars. Food availability is quite unpredictable on location, en route and at the house. Be prepared!)
If you are flying on Southwest Airlines, take advantage of the two bag allowance and pack a LARGE suitcase with all wardrobe items, and a second medium to large suitcase with your essentials, regular clothing, and any overflow of wardrobe.
Despite the fact that my large sectional leather sofa has an incredibly comfortable chaise portion, I have coveted a plush, comfortable, stand-alone chaise lounge for many years. When I initially thought of getting one, my now ex-boyfriend nixed the idea, telling me that it would clutter up the living room, so I abandoned the idea.
Then at the end of last year, I decided to get rid of an old futon sleeper sofa which was in the seating area of my bedroom (I have a large bedroom). The futon mattress would constantly slip down on the frame, and since the futon served as the “doghouse” for my guy or me during arguments, there was so much bad energy associated with the piece of furniture that I sold it.
After the futon was sold, I decided to repurpose the seating area in my bedroom to accommodate a desk and bookcase, and also decided that a chaise lounge would be a terrific seating option for the area as well. I wanted something convertible, something which could flatten out and serve as a bed, so I chose a very modern design.
I lived with this piece of furniture for close to four months, and determined during that span of time that this chaise was quite possibly the most uncomfortable lounge chair I had ever encountered. And forget about sleeping on it. One night when I was having coughing fits, I decided to try out the chaise as a bed. The following morning, I awoke with the most horrific full back spasm! After that horrible night, I confined my use of the chaise to afternoon reading sessions, but even with the back propped up on the chaise, it still wasn’t very comfortable, so I returned it.
In its place, I purchased this chaise lounge:
Though this chaise cannot be converted into a bed like the previous chaise, it is incredibly comfortable, wonderful for afternoon reading, and fits in well with the surrounding furnishings.
My new chaise is plush, and the curvature accommodates the body’s natural lines beautifully. After accessorizing the nook with a dimmable reading lamp, I created a very cozy escape which is great for reading, relaxing, and napping.
I have yet to find a web designer who isn’t flaky. Over the last eight years, I have dealt with a number of so-called web designers, and every single one of them delivered their own brand of craziness which dissolved our business relationship and left me hanging. Seriously, they can’t ALL be like this, right?
There was the gal who wouldn’t load up information for months on end, but had no problem billing me when the yearly hosting renewal approached. Never mind that I asked her to complete the work which she had neglected to do, before I would sign up for another year. When she refused, I refused. Then she charged my credit card anyway, changed all my passwords to MY website, and told me I had to pay a cancellation fee on top of the yearly renewal, and that I would never get the passwords. So I fired her.
Then there was the exuberant guy who seemed so excited to revamp my website. He begged me to let him work on revamping it. He ended up dismantling my site, literally sat in front of my during a meeting at a coffeehouse and said, “Oh shit, this isn’t good”, then completely bailed on me and wouldn’t respond to voicemail messages or texts. Fired.
Then there was the guy who generously offered to set up a landing page for me. I was so happy with his work that I inquired about his services for my medical website. He gave me his rate, and I agreed to it. As a courtesy, I informed him of when I would get paid (payday was eight days away, and I was planning to send him payment in full at that time). He flipped out, said that I needed to pay him RIGHT NOW, then wrote me a four page essay on how his best friend had suddenly died, how much he hated life, and how he no longer felt that life was worth living. Fired.
The next guy did a bang up job of consolidating sites and using an eye-catching template, but then he sat on work which he promised to do, left things unfinished. I kept getting a different story as to why he was dragging his feet. it was always, “so sorry, I’ll get to it tomorrow.” Tomorrow would come, and nothing would be done. Then he pulled a bait and switch and said that if I wanted him to finish the work which he had promised to do for over a month, he said he would have to charge me extra. He actually got nasty about it. Fired.
The last web guy I dealt with promised to give me an outline of all the things he was planning to fix on one of my sites, and insisted that I wait to pay him. Days turned into weeks, and when I realized I might have to prompt him a bit, I sent him an email inquiring about the status of my website. I got a response in which he apologized and said he was overwhelmed and simply lacked the time to work on my site (so why the f&#% did he take on the assignment in the first place?). Technically he quit.
I am sick and tired of web designers. They do whatever they want with your site, and if you don’t like the way they have done it, they’ll argue with you about why their vision is so much better than what YOU want. They sit on work, and how dare you even ask them about the status of the work. Some will even hold your site hostage and prevent you from accessing what is rightfully yours.
I am back at the helm with my websites, with FULL CONTROL over them. If I want to add something, I know I can rely on myself to do it. I have experienced major learning curves to master all the different interfaces, platforms and mapping, and am damned proud of myself for figuring it out.