Day 2: Smiles...or...How to Find Joy On A Day That Pretty Much Blows.

When I woke up this morning with the intention of capturing smiles for today's assignment, I didn't think it would be so hard. My husband was grumpy, and didn't want to get out of bed, Liam was impatient, because he was *almost* crawling, but not enough. He was so fixated on the position of trying to get his knees under him--he barely acknowledged I was there. Then one thing after another started going down--one person cancelled a morning hang out, and then another, and then another. Three in one day. I felt so lame. SO. LAME. Then my Pot Roast shrank from being over a foot long (and so beautiful, barely any fat on it) to the size of a softball. I'm still trying to work out that mystery.  And then I saw local photography work that I totally hated myself for judging, but I totally judged. This photographer was being published, was doing stylized shoots with people I wanted to mingle with, and I couldn't see how. I became so FIXATED on the fact that all these people were part of this great big community, and I couldn't get a greeting in edgewise.

I began to fall into a cloud of self-doubt. Don't you hate that? I'm pretty confident in who I am, and I am unabashedly in love with life. I know I'm plus size, I know that I can come across as someone who can't take anything seriously, and I really hate confrontation. But I LOVE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVENESS. Clearly, since I just wrote a whole paragraph about *someone* who had threatened me in *someway*--but the point is, I know who I am--and I love myself. Every extra pound, extra pun, and extra insecurity. I still love who I am. But today, I really began to feel like I was maybe unworthy of being liked.

There was no light bulb moment. In fact, I really didn't notice how much my mood had lifted until I was uploading the images. But at some point through the day, I began to FIND joy, and it found ME.

Today's theme is SMILES, and rather than capturing a smile, I decided to capture things that had made me smile throughout the day. Turns out, a lot!

While scoping the place I'm doing mini-sessions tomorrow, I found this incredible MINI LIBRARY. F'reals, you guys, this person generously places books in this library, and people can borrow them, and even drop them off at other tiny libraries.  This made me smile because it reminded me that the majority of humanity--well, they're pretty awesome.

The sign reads "2 Ugly 4 Prostitution."  I mean, really, I couldn't stop laughing.

My incredible husband had me laughing all afternoon. He knows just how to shake me from my funk.

My baby Grump, Liam. He pretty much always smiles, but lately, when I put him in the car, or he's just looking at me, he squeezes his eyes super softly, as if to say "I love YOU more than ANYTHING." It seriously makes my heart ache with complete pride and joy.

Usually, we meet up with TJ's best friends and have fish tacos. Unfortunately, there seemed to be some digestive disagreements the week before--so to err on the side of caution, we went and had chicken chimichanga's at a little Mexican Bakery.

Whenever we drive anywhere, I'm constantly watching for ornamental fences, beuatiful graffiti, lush vines, and strangely colored walls. I found this ornate fence--and then we found this rad praying mantis inside--and apparently, it's been around forever. My husband used to drive around with his Mom and brother, and find the mantis whenever it was moved, and make noises when they saw it.

This genuinely creeped me out. Who puts a creepy, stalkerish skeleton of a Sabertooth Thing in the bushes of a parking lot. F'reals. But then the oddity of it won me over, so I had to get a shot.

This is the winged-liger-gargoyle that sits in front of our apartment complex. Personally, I like to think he's the "Fashion Crisis Liger," Because I think he looks like he's saying "Guuuuurl, you did NOT pair those leggings with THAT jean jacket, Uhn-UHNNN."

This is my official photo for SMILE: I found this tiny little BMW cruising, and then suddenly a Great Dane and a Smaller Dog emerged from the Sun Roof, jowls flapping in the wind, ears fluttering, nose snuffling all smells.  It seriously delighted me so much, I couldn't stop taking pictures...and then the owner saw me, and I'm pretty sure he was all creeped out and stuff.

So, there you have it. Joy is everywhere, and you can really change the whole tone and feel of a day, if you just step out your front door. <3

Have a great weekend, peeps!