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They say that if you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life.  I love photography.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I spend an unreasonable part of my day thinking about photography.  At the beginning of the summer, I started thinking about whether it would be possible to join a studio and maintain my approach to portraiture.  One day, I met Teresa for a totally unrelated lunch and, in the course of conversation, I mentioned my search for the unicorn.  I wanted to find a place where I could specialize in fine art newborn and child photography as part of a bigger, supportive studio (hmm, sound familiar?).  And just a few weeks later, we started planning our partnership.  After months of having to keep it under wraps, I was so excited to announce that I was joining the My Friend Teresa Studios team.

And what a great time to join!  It seems serendipitous that I’m joining as they celebrate ten years in business.  It has been so much fun working with Teresa, Justin, and the rest of the gang.  They’ve made me feel like such a part of their studio family, and, if I may say, none of it has felt like work.  It has, however, come to my attention that you, dear readers, may not know much about me.  So, I thought I’d come up with the top ten things you should know about Aurora.

Ten Things About Aurora

1. I homeschool two fabulous kids

I feel like this might be the most important thing about my non-photography-related life right now.  And not because I’m crazy enough to have taken it upon myself to educate my two amazingly awesome children, but because it takes up the majority of my non-working time. In fact, it was one of the main reasons I decided that I wanted to partner with a studio.  I really enjoy all things homeschool – there’s nothing quite like watching my kids grow and learn right in front of my eyes.  Ok, ok, I could do without feeling like I’m constantly chauffeuring my kids from time to time, but otherwise, homeschooling is pretty awesome.

2. I’ve traveled a lot and lived in several different countries

Not only have I traveled quite a bit, I’ve lived in both France and Australia, and taken extended trips (let’s define extended to more than 3 weeks) to Italy and Georgia (the country).  I have a master’s degree in International Relations, and did work in a related field for a little while.  I think my favorite part of traveling abroad is meeting friends and getting to know people and places.  While I enjoy all the big famous sites and general tourism – I’d really rather get to know the unknown nooks and crannies of a place.

3. I photograph insects – for real!

When I was first working as a photographer, I thought I should create a business called ‘Babies and Bugs’, but I decided that that might not be as appealing to parents.  But I spend some of my downtime finding and photographing insects during the spring and summer.  I actually created an insect-sized outdoor studio to photograph insects and have even won an award or two based, in part, on my insect photography!

4. I adore horses and all things equestrian

You don’t want to get me started geeking out on anything horse-related unless you want to hear me go on for hours and hours and then go home and cry because I don’t have a horse to ride at the moment.  I started riding when I was ten, chose my college based on their equestrian programs, worked at barns during my summer breaks and throughout grad school, and competed in various disciplines with more or less success.  I dream of a family farm someday.  Someday… (stares off into the distance).

5. I make a lot of my own props

My mom is an incredible craftswoman.  She can sew anything, makes beautiful beaded tapestries, beads jewelry, and knits and crochets (we get the most comfortable, warmest hand knit socks at the holidays every year, so if you come to the studio and see me wearing some amazing socks, there’s a good chance they’re hers).  I still can’t figure out the sewing machine.  I’m pretty sure it hates me.  I can knit and crochet, do paper crafts, and make gorgeous (if I may say so myself) flower crowns.  I’m a big fan of anything that requires nimble fingers and hot glue, and I make quite a few newborn props myself, including, at one point, a giant sunflower.  Basically, when you come to us, if you have special requests, you’re going to get something one-of-a-kind!

6. I teach other photographers

I’m one of those weird people who enjoys public speaking.  I also love to teach people what I love.  I don’t know if I’ve made it clear, but I really love photography.  So, a few years ago, I decided to work on my Master of Photography and my Photographic Craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America.  The Photographic Craftsman is all about teaching excellence and giving back to the photographic community, while the Master of Photography is all about creativity and photographic skill.  I teach other photographers about newborn photography and macro photography, and I also teach non-professionals how to use their camera!  Interested in our classes?  I’d love to see you here!I

7. I love to bake and cook, and can’t say no to a cookie (well, most cookies)

Honestly, I love everything food.  In another life I’d be a traveling newborn photographer food critic chef competitive equestrian. You can ask Teresa. Finding a good restaurant is one of my first priorities pretty much all the time. But really, if you want an Aurora for life, give her a cookie.  Chocolate chip is clearly the best cookie.  But any cookies will do, so long as they aren’t peanut butter (see #10).

8. I’m originally from Tucson, Arizona

I was born and raised in the Old Pueblo.  There are a whole lot of things I miss about Tucson – cactus, the sky islands (think mountains that appear like they’re floating in clouds), hiking trails with incredible vistas, and galloping on horseback through the washes (think rivers, but only with seasonal water in them).  When I was in high school, I headed to Massachusetts for college and had to get a whole new set of clothing because my mom had to explain that skiing once a year in Colorado did not actually provide me with an adequate winter wardrobe.  Fun fact: I grew up in the house where I came home from the hospital and my parents lived there until they moved… down the street from me in Cary!

9. I watch entirely too much TV

The other day on Facebook, I posted about my latest obsession, The Witcher, and asked for recommendations on what to watch (Also, if you like fantasy and could look at Henry Cavill being brooding for eight hours, I highly recommend The Witcher).  I had already watched an embarrassing amount of the recommendations.  Like, really embarrassing.  I’m really looking forward to new seasons of Roswell, New Mexico and Outlander; and my current guilty pleasures are The Righteous Gemstones and the really cheesy-with-terrible-acting Spinning Out (I’m embarrassed to admit that).

10. I hate peanut butter passionately

Remember how I said I love all things foodie?  Well, maybe not all things.  Much to my mother’s dismay, I have always hated peanut butter.  Passionately.  Like, I can’t stand the smell of it if someone opens a jar in the same room I am.  I’m not a fan of peanuts in general.  I do like peanut sauce (and basically all Thai food, peanuts and all) and Butterfingers (because I’m fairly certain that nothing in it ever actually resembled a peanut).  So, bring me all non-peanut-based cookies, please!

So, there you are, you’ve now learned the ten absolutely most important things about me.  I cannot wait to meet you and your family and create something amazing.  And of course, bring the cookies!