2018 sucked hard. There I said it. If you do the math, someone who suffers from chronic migraines must have a minimum of 192 migraine days a year. I really don’t like doing the math. But in 2018, I had two, intractable 3-month migraines on top of the minimum so I was DONE with 2018 when it had barely begun. I struggled physically, emotionally, spiritually & financially. And that’s a bit of an understatement. But this blog series, The Migraine Chronicles: Silver Linings, is about finding gratitude during (or resulting) from dark storm clouds. And today’s gratitude post is a BIG one! So big in fact it has to be broken into two parts. Buckle in folks. Let me tell you about the story of my dreams come true weekend.
Okay. I know it sounds corny, but hey who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of corn? Cornbread? Amazing! Last weekend I attended the 2nd (& possibly the last) retreat, aptly named California Retreat 2.0, by Ana Brandt, legendary maternity & newborn photographer. She travels the world photographing & educating photographers. She’s phenomenal.
I still can’t believe I met the Ana Brandt! And oh my gosh, I was so nervous in front of her. I felt like such a newbie in comparison to her 19 years as a photographer. She opened her studio to four (FOUR!) photographers for a 3-day hands-on retreat weekend. It truly was my dreams come true weekend!
The gorgeous mama models Ana provided for us were so kind but I wish I was less nervous! I’ve been following Ana online for years now & she’s just so talented, it’s a little intimidating. Not because of Ana. The very first day she walked in & gave me a hug. Despite labeling herself as “bossy” you can tell she has the heart of a servant & truly wants her students to succeed. I enjoyed every minute of it. In hindsight, I’m just laughing at myself.
How did you react when you met one of your idols? Or how do you think you would react? Did you loose your voice? Or talk too much?
How well would you decorate your house with Joanna Gaines? Or sing karaoke with Taylor Swift?
Think I’m exaggerating? Ana is a trend setter in the maternity & newborn market so if you’re not a photographer & haven’t heard her name, that’s okay. There’s a couple hundred thousand people around the world who have. She’s doing all right.
As inspiring as Ana is, she’s a mere human. And whatever you do, DON’T ASK HER IS SHE EVER SLEEPS. Shouty capitals required. Trust me. Despite her crazy work & travel schedule visible across social media, just don’t do it.
My first impression of Ana based on #mydreamscometrueweekend is that she has a dominant personality. She knows what she likes & what she doesn’t. If she asks for something then she’s ready for it now & don’t waste her time on details. Sound familiar, mom?
The newborns behaved so well & were adorable! And oh my gosh y’all, her studio! Now that was a dream studio. It would’ve been a dream come true just to visit Ana’s studio. (I wonder if photographer’s ever do that? Lol) There was so much room to move around & capture the newborns. I mean, you know how crazy I am for natural light photography that flatters our skin tones during the golden hour but it was pretty epic to move freely around a baby.
The connections you build with the other photographers are amazing. I’m not talking about business networking, although you have potential for that of course, but person-to-person interaction. Learning about another woman’s dreams, struggles or worse learning that someone’s child was diagnosed with a developmental disorder you can’t help but feel a connection to each incredible woman. I don’t believe in strangers. Yes, Ana, I’m that woman on a plane that introduces herself to the person next to me. Don’t worry Mrs. Brandt, something tells me you fly first class so there’s no chance you’ll run into me. But if you see me, tell Alex to run. 😉
Until Next Time,
Missed a silver lining? Catch up on the Migraine Chronicles now:
The Migraine Chronicles: Silver Linings
Week 1: A Soul on Fire
Week 2: Part I My Dreams Come True Weekend
Week 2: Part II The Happiest Place on Earth