Shades of Red

20 Apr

I almost always wear black and yet my favourite colour is all of them. I even have a rainbow collection- photos of rainbows both in the sky and in unlikely places from refracted light. This was a good one…😉
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There are a lot of things that interest me- serial killers, psychology, orcas, autism, sea monsters and the apocalypse to name a few. I never really thought about it until I started this blog (that often happens actually) but another thing is colour. It’s interesting how colours have such different associations according to culture. Orange, for example. Throughout most of Asia it’s a sacred colour associated with harmony- it’s the colour of Buddhist robes and many Hindu holy men (sadhu) wear saffron. In the Western world, it’s fun and frivolity.
A golden oldie from a shoot with Gothic Image, with ropework by Esinem.
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Did you ever hear about the Baker-Miller Pink experiment? Some scientists (and prison wardens) in the 60s and 70s swore that painting prison walls a particular shade of pink reduced violence dramatically. It’s had mixed results since and exactly how it is supposed to work has not been made particularly clear, but it’s an interesting theory either way.
Calm down, guys!😛 (photo by Josefine Jonsson, bodysuit by Pandora Deluxe)
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The thing most people agree on is that the person wearing red is always the most eyecatching. Most people assume it’s because red is the colour of blood and danger signs or because (apparently) it’s the second most popular favourite colour (blue is first) but actually red things seem closer to the eye than other colours. It is simply harder to ignore!  It was also the first colour used in art- both body decoration and cave paintings.
I’m currently obsessed with Sons of Anarchy* and though I cannot find the damn clip or even a photo, there was a big wedding scene in which the background was dominated by a lady wearing a red outfit. I don’t think the character had a single line but you couldn’t not notice her.

So continuing the red theme, I have a couple of shoots to show you! They were polar opposites in almost every way (except for the fact I had great fun during both.)
A couple of weeks ago, I worked with photographer GSTim in a stunning stately home in the countryside near Oxford, alongside several other models and photographers (especially fun for me as I rarely get to meet my fellow models!) Tim and I had discussed outfits prior to the shoot and decided on a selection of Renaissance dresses- something I had never modelled before! It took a few pairs of extra hands to get me into them, and then I was bouncing around among the Spring flowers outside.😀
While I could never have worn this kind of outfit every day, I had to respect the practicality of the bodice. My phone, the photoshoot timetable and two cereal bars fit down there nicely!
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(We’ll pretend those aeroplane trails are just oddly shaped clouds… or I’m a time traveller.😛 )
As I began this set, I passed one of the other models on her way to a different location in the grounds. She’s also known for having a classical look and so I jokingly greeted her in Mediaeval English. To my delight, the photographer she was with responded in kind- it turns out he does historical re-enactment!😀 I love moments like this at work.

The photoshoot lasted a full day so I have more outfits from this shoot to show you another time, though some behind-the-scenes goofing off is included at the bottom of the post!

Last Autumn, photographer and musician Neil Priddey sent me a message. His band HFM were releasing an album called Talisman, which would feature a song called Scarlet Woman. Would I be interested in modelling for the album’s artwork?
I gave a variation of HELL YEEEES and at the crack of dawn, jumped into a van for a trip outside of Manchester, chasing the sunrise. I brought a very long, flowing piece of red material that can be fashioned into a hundred different dresses… unlike my stitched-to-the-last-detail historical dress above!
In the wet dewy grass, we set up our shots, watched intently by a young stag I named James. As we were fighting the quickly-changing light and the volume of dog walkers, this was a very short but very fun photoshoot and we spent breakfast sharing life stories and eating hash browns. It’s a new experience to see myself on an album cover and if you like rock and metal music, please go and like their facebook page!😀

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I’m staying close to home at the beginning of next month (unusual for me!) and so if you’d like to book a photoshoot with me, get in contact. I’m available to shoot in Milton Keynes (I know some fantastic locations and studios), as far North as Birmingham and as far South as London. Send me a message through my website with any enquiries.

I’ll do a proper blogpost about this at a later date but I am also available to book as a writer. I have copywriting experience and know that many people hate writing bios and descriptions of their work, whatever form that work takes. I can save you a lot of time and word-juggling by writing you a full introduction to your work and website, your portfolio or facebook page. I’ve written forewords, brochures, product descriptions and many, many articles.
Please get in touch with enquiries and to see a portfolio of my work.

I’m off to bed as somehow it became 1am.😛 Goodnight everyone!

ROSWELL xxx

p.s. The house had several very friendly dogs and other furry friends. These two decided they’d model too but couldn’t get the hang of looking into the camera!
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* Oh Opie, I’m so sorry.😦 Otto, I am awed and horrified.

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SONS OF ANARCHY: Ryan Hurst in SONS OF ANARCHY airing Tuesday, September 7 at 10 PM e/p on FX. CR: Frank Ockenfels / FX.

Projections and the ‘moment’ myth.

29 Mar

Belated happy Easter/Ostara, everyone! I just treated myself to some weeny ‘egglets’ from Hotel Chocolat. And a new book about a serial killer. Hope you all had a lovely time watching… um… Watership Down. (SERIOUSLY, Channel 5??!)*

Moving swiftly away from dead Easter bunnies; have any of you seen this project? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TyPfYMDK8 If you can’t watch it right now, it’s a man being introduced to six photographers. Separately they are each told a different (false) thing about him: he’s an ex-prisoner, a self-made millionaire, he’s saved a life, he’s a commercial fisherman, a psychic, a former alcoholic. They’re then told to capture the essence of his story in one photo. Of course, each is completely different and you (or certainly I) could tell from many of the photos what the photographer believed. The photographs have illustrated their trains of thought, not a deep truth about their subject.

A common complaint I hear among professional models is hearing a photographer say “don’t pose- I want to capture the real you“. The second anybody at all knows they are being photographed, they pose- even unconsciously; a stiffening of the shoulder, pulling in of the stomach, relaxing of a squint. It is not possible to tell your subject not to pose- especially a model- for those of us who have been modelling for years it is a part of who we are.  Certainly for most of us, our modelling name/image is not a character we play for the camera that gets removed with our make-up at the end of a shoot. The pictures below capture different sides of my personality… but you couldn’t have caught both sides at once!
L- Jade Stacy Maria. R-Titus Powell

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It isn’t possible to capture a person’s entire essence in a photo even if one moment, one raw emotion, one perfect capture of the way you see them is there. The fact is, we are all multi-faceted but one of those sides is always hidden from us; the way others see us.

On the rare occasion a ‘moment’ is captured in a photograph, it is usually the model alone who sees it. Even when we look at our own faces from the outside, it is our own feelings we recognise- and the significance of the shots may well be lost on the outsider.
The shot below (which many of you will recognise) gives me the shivers. Unless you know why, you are probably more likely to see an amateur model in a particularly half-assed pose with no light in her eyes.
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That is why even though a picture may paint a thousand words, those words are often needed. When you know the story from the subjects point of view, you can more easily experience the picture as they do.
I’ve been following the story of a fellow model: Helen Stephens. Helen has epilepsy and has just shaved her head for charity! (Please click this link to hear more about her fundraising and consider supporting her.) Before she did this, she documented moments in her life with epilepsy in order to dispel some of the misconceptions about the condition. The results are fascinating and well worth taking a look at.
The thing is, in order to really experience each picture the way Helen does, you need to read her very eloquent words! A couple of shots in particular show her wearing/doing what I see as a standard dreamy ‘art nude model’ expression/pose (in fact, the expression is similar to a picture of me below). In actual fact, she’s been captured having a seizure!! Yes, you can have ‘blanks’ where you zone out instead of the thrashing fits people associate with epilepsy. (Something new I learned from Helen.) For her, these images evoke strong emotions but the viewer may never know the significance of what they are seeing unless they literally read more into it.

So… pictures! I was experimenting with light and projections with photographer “Symagery“, as well as shooting a few art nudes. When we settled on the perfect pose, it was interesting to see how the mood of the picture changed depending on the images that covered me! I still think they’d make great music album covers!:)

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I’ve just returned from my biannual South Coast tour- if you didn’t catch me this time, I’ll be back in August.
I spent Easter Weekend itself with one of my best friends and as I’ve just learned to make vegan chocolates I got busy in the kitchen and made these. Salted cashew and marzipan, and pistachio and coconut.😀
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Every single time I see this particular friend, we plan to visit a castle. Every single time our plans get rained off and we end up hanging out with tea, the cat and a ridiculous debate of some kind. This time, it was Batman vs Superman. Better candidates for Batman included Tom Hardy, Karl Urban (who is not Luke Evans. Who knew they weren’t the same person?! Oh right, everyone but me…), the cat, and my mum. Though I am looking at my fire extinguisher at the moment and thinking perhaps it should have made the list…
If you want to wet your pants laughing and don’t care about spoilers, this Guardian reviewer is my new hero.😉

I’m taking my mum for a belated Mothers Day outing tomorrow so am going to eat my chocolate and read my hopefully creepy book in bed now, so have a good week. More writerly burbling coming soon…

ROSWELL xxx

* I think I speak for most of the public when I say that Watership Down is one of the most horrible films ever, BUT… come on, everybody knows it’s notorious for being traumatising so to the legions of parents complaining; read the bloody film description next time! I’m actually finding it hysterical that the TV people thought it was a good idea to show that over Easter! Next up: Nickelodeon’s primetime airing of “When The Wind Blows”.😛

What a Wonderful World

14 Mar

Being me, a title like this could have been posted with about 35% sarcasm but not today. Absolutely nothing groundbreaking has happened but I’m just in a wonderfully good mood. I came back from a really fantastic mini-tour to find my fake wisteria had arrived so I could finish my Zen garden, I also had a graze box AND a new book (Talking Heads) in my pigeonhole. The ducks are sitting on the roof of the pub again (which just looks bloody hilarious) and I have at last named the swans. Frank and Claire.😛 Oh, and raspberries were half-price today.
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So I made my zen garden, ate raspberries and fed my current addiction, Sons of Anarchy, which is the best non sci-fi thing I’ve seen barring Breaking Bad. (House of Cards is on a par). Disclaimer: I’m about to start season 3. No spoilers please, or I’ll go berserk.😛
I’ll be the first person to admit I really don’t mind totally unfeminist films like James Bond and Death Race on occasion. In my opinion, not every film or TV show has to provide a teaching moment BUT… when something is done well or breaks the mould, it stands out to me and I fall slightly in love with the show/film’s creators. I’m not going to give an in-depth feminist critique after so many recent ‘serious’ blogs but I just want to mention how much I love what I’ve seen so far. While the traditional role of women in the show is either groupie/prostitute (so far, consensually) or ‘old lady’ (wife/serious partner) there IS an honour code of respect. For example, a douchebag gets punched in the face for hitting his girlfriend. (Neither are known to the gang- it was a chance encounter).
My favourite character is the matriarch Gemma, and the way the show dealt with two instances of rape in two seasons was brilliant. (And bloody.) I’ll leave the feminist soapboxing about rape as a plot device for another time (I’m in favour) but here we are: two rapes, one involving a central character and one involving someone we barely know. Both times, the rape is seen as completely unacceptable, revenge is imperative and while we don’t know the final fate of one perpetrator, the best case scenario is that he’s singing soprano with the local choir.
And the soundtrack ROCKS! It has two of my favourite songs on it. Repeat button + air guitar = the neighbours may hate me…
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Oh, THAT was the other awesome thing- I bought my ticket for Wasteland Weekend! I’m now working on a couple of costumes (any photographers who want to shoot Mad Max style awesomeness, send me a message and book your shoot) and deciding what I want to see while I’m out in California. I might as well stay for a few extra days, right?
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The make-up selfies are from yesterday’s shoot with Jimmy Deas. So many changes, so many headdresses (by Pixified Bootique).:)

Now, I have a week of writing before a shoot in a beautiful boudoir followed by a fully-booked South Coast tour and an Easter visit with one of my favourite ladies.❤ Which reminds me, I think I may treat myself to some teeny Hotel Chocolat eggs this year! I actually learned how to make vegan chocolate myself at the Womens’ Day celebration so I will also be trying my hand at egg-shaped truffles too!

As I’m sure most longtime readers will know, I’m on Zivity and I have been shockingly bad at updating you with news about my sets! Sorry about that. If you prefer to view one set at a time (which you can do for just $3), you should know I have mermaid sets, pin-up, crazy make-up, 80s, lingerie and more. My profile is here and today’s happy blog features a photoshoot from a weekend I loved! (Dominatrix, in Holland). There are loooads more pictures from this set on Zivity so go and have a look- non members can still see the sets by paying a couple of dollars.
The photographer is fellow model Maja Stina, who you should also check out. We got all inspired by night time Amsterdam, lol!
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And for a day in which I’m feeling 10 feet tall, have a couple of bonus pics from our other shoot- in which I look 10 feet tall! I’m wearing Yummy Gummy latex

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You will be pleased to know I did not fall in the bath despite my legendary clumsiness (today’s ridiculous injury: burning myself on a butternut squash.)

Going to turn off the internet for tonight and investigate the hot chocolate situation…

ROSWELL xxx

p.s. All together now: I SEE TREEEEES OF GREEEEN! RED ROSES TOOOOOO…

Rebellious Woman

8 Mar

NEWSFLASH! I’ve updated my SALE page with latex and some really gorgeous one-off pretty things.❤

Wow. Last week’s post got a MONTH’S viewings in just one day. I’ve had so many supportive comments and messages that I felt quite overwhelmed (in a good way).
Obviously, this blog is mostly a lifestyle and art/modelling blog but before I move on to other subjects, I just want to address a few of the recurring questions I received:

1) Vasectomies are not as easy as you said.
I’ve heard mixed experiences about vasectomies. It varies wildly depending on other factors like home country and age but in general, it is easier for a man to be sterilised than a woman.

3) Why not pay for it?
Several reasons but here are my two main ones: I’m not in a financial position to do so, most importantly. Secondly, when IVF is available on the NHS* then sterilisation should be too. It comes back to the same thing: if the choice to have children is funded (including the medical procedures that come with pregnancy and birth) then the choice not to should be equally valid- especially when in my case there are extra reasons to support this choice.

*4) IVF is not funded for everyone.
I mentioned in my last post that doctors warn obese women about the risks associated with pregnancy. I was referring to a pregnancy without medical assistance- however, a couple of women struggling to obtain IVF mailed to say that funding for IVF has its restrictions too, which is very true.
A very wise commenter responded perfectly: we are fighting the same battle against a system that is not giving us the results we would like. Just because we want different results to each other, does not mean we should be fighting amongst ourselves.❤

5) I’m being selfish as this is not a life threatening procedure.
Neither are the many, many NHS-funded cosmetic procedures carried out every day. I agree that things like mental health are under funded and that funds are distributed unfairly but for the purposes of my blog, I was talking about sterilisation. Other issues are for other posts.

6) But it’s PERMANENT! So is having a child.

I will just repeat that the vast majority of responses on all the platforms this blog was posted on were positive, so thankyou for that. So far, no news from the hospital so lets move on for now.

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The above quote has been attributed to many, many people but it was historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich who said it, in an article about Purital funeral services!

Today was International Womens’ Day and I spent it tasting organic chocolate, painting a mural and listening to a fascinating talk about foraging and herbalism at a new yoga studio near me! I’m a slave to herbal tea and swear by nettle for healthy hair. Oh, and lots and lots of water (to drink).
One of the activities we could do was write on a post-it note something that made us proud to be women. Initially, I couldn’t think of a damn thing. Not that being a woman is something I don’t like, just that few things I do are made extra interesting by the fact that I am a woman. Then I came home (with the blank post-it) and did a quiz I found. It told me that I had done eight illegal things today- for example, I wore trousers in public, which would get me 40 lashes in Yemen (I think). In some countries, a women is counted as half a witness in court. HALF a witness.
If you’d like to take the test, it’s here:
http://matchinternational.org/how-many-laws-did-you-break-today/
So I’m proud to be a woman because I am fighting for change and speaking up for my fellow women who are not yet allowed a voice- and I’m proud to see others doing the same.
Yay! I hate blank post-it notes.😛

I’ve been reading about awesome women today. As most of my heroes are in books and films, I particularly liked this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-35717247
Yes, fiction is fiction, but some elements are reflections of reality and seeing the multiple female heroes in recent films and books does make me happy. As a writer myself, I try and write characters that I would want to read about and that I would have liked growing up. Maybe someday you’ll be able to have a read…😉

And things could not be more fitting- I’ve been featured in Femme Rebelle magazine! The photos are by the awesome Gary Clutterbuck and the outfit is by Lady Allura’s latex. I did the hair and make-up.
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RAAAH!😛

As I’m a sleepy lady now and need to find a new series to start (finished House of Cards in 1.5 days), I will sign off this this pretty song with a lovely video.❤
https://youtu.be/5GBT37_yyzY

ROSWELL xxx

p.s. A non-spoiler childfree House of Cards moment I saw today. As I knew I would be posting this blog tonight, it was just too perfect!😛
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The blonde woman is Claire and…
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Give me Hope.

29 Feb

I had an interesting blog written out yesterday, all about how people and their bodies evolve. I’m going to post it below but I had some frustrating and upsetting news today that I’d like to tell you about.

First, here is a picture by PWP images.
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Many of you know that I am childfree and should I want to become a mother, I will adopt. Since last year, I have been actively pursuing sterilisation. That is because the usual methods of contraception are not suitable for me due to family medical history. Believe me, I have researched all of my options and sterilisation is, for me, the way to go. As The Authorities are reluctant to sterilise any woman under 30, I have made sure every time I visit the doctor for anything at all, they put it on record that my mind has not changed.
Last year when I made the usual request, the doctor gasped “but WHY don’t you want CHILDREN??” This was followed by “what if your partner wants them?” I hope I don’t need to explain how offensive this is.
I demanded to be referred to the hospital and a different doctor did so. Two months later, I had my hospital appointment, successfully convinced the team there that I was of sound mind and had done my research, so the hospital approved me.

I just had the letter back. Funding denied.😥

I honestly thought I’d finally convinced them, but it seems that a decade of consistency and valid medical reasons (not to mention environmental reasons) are still not enough to convince doctors that I can make this decision. This has devastated me.
If I had been unsuccessfully trying to GET pregnant for the past ten years, doctors would be falling over themselves to help me. In a world that is vastly overpopulated, if I can be trusted at age 28 to choose to have a child, I should be trusted to choose NOT to.

Now, at the time I opened the letter, I happened to be listening to Eddy Grant (Gimme Hope Jo’Anna) and remembered that my country does not have apartheid. I’m not at risk of FGM. I am not starving. If I am pregnant by a rapist, I am not forced by law to keep the baby. I told myself off and tried to write off my fury and frustration as “white girl problems”, but the thing is, I don’t think I should.
Yes, other women suffer horrendous indignities and torture, are denied basic contraception, denied abortion- the Marie Stopes website even has a special section for Irish women- but just because England is better developed than some countries, this does not negate the fact that The Authorities still consider women incapable of making certain choices. I have very publically supported the idea that women worldwide should have the rights to their own bodies. This includes my own country too!

Doctors may remind women that their pregnancy is risky (obesity-related for example) but these women are not denied their choice to become pregnant. As I have said, there are medical reasons why sterilisation is best for me yet every time I explain, doctors still try to push unsafe hormonal options on me. When will I be considered old enough to know my own mind and body? 30? 40? 50?
28 is a perfectly respectable age to decide to have children; no doctor would remind a 28 year old pregnant woman that having children is permanent- that they are just too young to make such a decision. So why is my choice any less valid? Yes, it’s permanent, I am aware of that. I was aware when I asked for a referral, I was aware in the hospital, and I am aware now. Yet every time I have returned to the doctors, I am still asked if I know that sterilisation is permanent!

Of course, I’ll fight this. Of course I’ll appeal. But let me address questions I’ve been asked a few times:
Is it expensive? Can’t you go private?
It’s around £1500 in England but yes, I can go private. However, this is a matter of principle. I shouldn’t have to pay for the correct medical treatment for me, just because doctors won’t grant me the same respect they do women who make a more culturally acceptable choice.

But being childfree is unusual…
Not really. Around 20% of women over 40 are childfree. They aren’t all infertile and wishing for a miracle! I’m sure that if it wasn’t such a long-winded frustrating procedure, more women would apply for sterilisation. (There are certain notable other situations that work the same way- the path ahead being frustrating, painful, possibly traumatic, so most women don’t choose to take it…) *raises eyebrow* Why is it that the law is so geared against women?
I should mention here that men are generally not asked about the wishes of hypothetical future partners or told they are too young to have a vasectomy.

What if you sued the hospital?
What if I got pregnant or had children, regretted it and tried to sue the hospital for not sterilising me when I asked!? Give me any form and I’ll sign it- I take responsibility for my decision.

This is me banging my head against the wall. Photo by PWP images.
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I think I’ve said all I can for now. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer and if you are a childfree woman (or man) who has struggled to get doctors to accept this, please feel free to tell your story in the comments. It’s time we came out of the woodwork! Like this! (photos by Ghost Light)
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On to some really nice stuff…😉

I was thinking yesterday about the way people think about life and personal development. We tend to see things in a straight line pointing ‘onwards and upwards’ but from what I’ve seen, we go through the same growth spurts as we do in puberty, only internally and for the rest of our lives (hopefully). I certainly hope I’m still a work-in-progress! At age 14, I was pro-life and just four years before that- before I realised I also liked the ladies- I was pretty homophobic too! It took moving away and meeting people to change what I thought I knew.

The past year has felt like a huge growth spurt. One of my personal mottos is “never leave an experience empty-handed” and there are some things both good and bad that I’m sure I’ll look back on and think “yes, that moment changed my life”.
Even on the superficial levels, I’m always discovering new things about myself- who knew I liked tales about real-life gangsters? Who knew I’d start doing gladness meditations? Who knew I’d end up so willing to get my hands dirty? Right now I’m covered in coal dust from doing my fire and I have been unfathomably gross after certain photoshoots. I think my ‘ick’ tolerance level rose after I started doing so much work on my boat. Paint, goopy varnish, boatyard dust etc.
Even my body is changing. Not drastically and no surgery so worry not, but I am becoming more muscular. I love my action hero women and as my basic shape is quite comic-book (big thighs, hips and bust, small waist) I’m working on emphasising it!
Even while I do that, other friends of mine are doing the opposite! One of my favourite people, model and performer Elegy Ellem has been famous not only for her talent, tattoos and unique look, but for her boobs. And she’s just made a drastic change. Even if you don’t care about miss Ellem’s boobs (and she prefers it if you don’t), watch this video becase she’s a wise and beautiful goofball and her smile will make you smile too!😛
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9NhJWTfzu8

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I’m going to go and watch Terminator 2 in a sec, because it rocks and a cinnamon cream latte is calling my name but let me just share a series of photos by PWP images. To me, they perfectly illustrate my feelings about evolving and us all being works-in-progress. Sometimes we don’t leave our ‘past selves’ behind. Sometimes we don’t emerge from a situation in a glorious phoenix blaze. Sometimes we’re just moving and that movement is beautiful in itself.

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ROSWELL xxx

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