All photos: James Atkins Photography
I really, really hate having my picture taken, especially if I’m solo..and if I’m sober- forget it. Now, if I’m out with the girls after a few adult beverages- I have no issue if someone goes into Terry Richardson mode and snaps away.
James gets this about me…so we set up a shoot where I’d feel as non-awkward as possible.
That meant a 3am wake up call. YES THREE AM.
We wanted to catch the natural sunrise light down at North Avenue Beach, which happens around 4:30am…so that meant I needed to rise and attempt to shine at the insane early hour. I’m lucky I didn’t burn off my hair while trying to create beachy waves while half asleep.
James showed up right on time and we made our way down to the nearly deserted beach just as the sky went from dark to watercolor. I grabbed a ton of random pieces from my closet and he brought along a watermelon…sounds bizarre but it actually made for some of my favorite photos.
Since people were spilling out of the bars as we headed to the beach, I didn’t feel THAT bad about relaxing with an adult cocktail to loosen up for the skin-baring shots.
Let me explain why I wanted to do a shoot that is borderline “WTF”. See, someday I’ll be trying to remember what it was like to not hate my body and I’ll want to show people proof that I woke up and did crazy early yoga. So trust me, in no way do I think I’m a model or super sexy….I just think embracing who you are is empowering.
As the 600+ shots started coming thru to my email, I wanted to cry- he really knows what he’s doing.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Thinking about doing a photo shoot? Hire this man.
Saturday’s SELF Magazine event was wild.
The rain held off, my friends came and did almost EVERY single class and the park was packed.
Lexi, Gable, Policy, Me and E Smith attempting a jump shot. Lex’s Mom was in town from Denver and not only did she take this shot, but she was working out all day along side the ladies like a champ!
I had 0 plans to do the workouts and didn’t even wear a sports bra- but the workouts looked like so much fun that I jumped in and sampled lots of classes. Let me tell you- jumping jacks in a push up are a real blast.
Katie Cassidy was not only doing all the workouts, but of course she looked amazing after. Damn celebs always keep it so tight. Plus- she was really nice and open to shoot some fun stuff with us.
Celebs are robots who always look perfect, and I’m cool with dat.
The girls from Skirt PR not only got the event TONS of press beforehand, but they were on point during as well. A great PR team can make or break the experience…and they were on their game from the moment I arrived until they put me into my Uber to go home.
And of course the entire staff at SELF keep me well prepped and made my job easy…and we had some laughs too. Hail to the V!
Six hours of pep, workouts and talking can really drain a person- who knew right? So after I literally sat on my couch for an hour and zoned out in silence.
But that’s the meaning of a great day of work, right? You gave it so much that silence is enough.
Next weekend come hang with me and Katie Cassidy (from Arrow!) and workout with SELF Magazine in Chicago.
This is a fantastic networking event if your looking to get into health and fitness, plus it’s a ton of fun and an actual workout.
Plus, there’s tons of free stuff and it’s only $20 bucks to get in- no excuses!
See you there?
A few months ago, I was contacted by a Today Show producer about doing a segment on Chicago nightlife with E! and Today Show Correspondent Jason Kennedy. Then the weather freaked out and the Today crew’s Chicago show got nixed, along with the segment.
This Wednesday they’re coming back to Chicago and Saturday, Jason and I got to shoot our piece.
I tried to pick a variety of places that showed off the different aspects of what we do here in Chicago, and I hope people feel like I rep’ed our city well.
Jason is HILARIOUS. He’s truly one of the funniest and most witty people I’ve ever worked with. We shot from 2:30-11:00pm and he kept me laughing the entire time. Not only that, but he’s professional, humble and kind. He fed the limo driver, always helped the crew carry their gear and was extremely gracious with fans. Plus he’s super down to earth…I got VERY lucky to work with someone so inspiring.
Our crew and producer Josh were also fantastic, and we had some moments that I wish people could see; like when our camera guy was standing out of the sunroof of their SUV shooting our limo on a packed Lincoln Ave.
Our crew after wrapping at Studio Paris
I also conquered my fear of sober (ish) karaoke for the shoot (truth be told I did a shot before singing TWO duets). I HATE singing but Jason made it less painful as he pumped up the crowd.
I can’t wait to see how Josh turns 9 hours into about 3 mins…and I hope you’ll tune in with me on Wednesday!
Yes, I realize people in NYC and LA got to screen The Great Gatsby before we did…but it still was exciting to go to the big Chicago screening on Monday night thanks to Margaret O’Connor.
The invite said to dress in 20′s garb- which I wasn’t sure if people would actually do. I mean…2 hours and 23 mins in a dress?? But for fear of missing out, I jumped in and Pintrested some Gatsby hair and makeup for the occasion.
I watched a few videos on how to finger wave and basically laughed- it looks major complicated. So instead I broke out that trusty waving iron and used that and a regular curling iron and a ton of bobby pins to complete the look.
Let’s just say, my co workers had a blast laughing at me as I attempted to pin up my long hair into a short bob. It took more than a few tries and some help- but I was pretty happy with the results.
Kept the makeup simple with black liner, lashes and red lips.
The film was on lockdown- we had to turn our phones off completely and got a strict lecture from a pirating security. Chaz Ebert and Bill Zwecker gave a touching intro to the film and Roger, and then it was time to put on the 3D glasses.
Jay Z’s music added so much to this film for me, he scored it so well. And to be honest- I wouldn’t change a thing. I left feeling like I got everything I wanted and more and I wasn’t bored or restless for one moment.
If anything- we left craving dirty martinis!