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The Undeniable Recap of 2015

Geez! 2015 was an insane year for Rosie and me. I spent over a month on the road this year, and Rosie and I had an unofficial competition to see who could run up the highest medical bill (too bad I can’t claim her as a dependent on my taxes).

Per blogging tradition, I’ve had the joy of looking back over the last 12 months and have compiled a list of the top events from my year.

Visiting the Seattle Troll

Visiting the Seattle Troll

1. The Undeniable Tour. I did a two-week sponsored road trip from San Diego to Seattle, staying mostly at hostels, and speaking to lawyers and law students about how to improve their careers with social media. The Undeniable Tour was an incredible trip – I met so many amazing people, saw so many incredible things, and I got to see a few friends in the mix too. I’m glad I did it – but I’ll probably never do something like this again. Planning the tour was a full-time job by itself. Hat tip to Jason Zook and his course How to Get Sponsorship for Anything that helped me make this all happen.

Love this Dog

Love this Dog

2. Rosie Became a Pirate. My sweet basset hound was diagnosed with glaucoma this year. We had to remove her right eye, and it will only be a matter of time before she goes completely blind. She has been such a trooper with the surgery and taking eye drops every day that cause tunnel vision. Her medical situation changed my life now that she’s on three medications. My daily schedule revolves around her. And with her eventual blindness, I’m more cognizant about making her life awesome. We spent a long weekend at Long Beach visiting the dog beach and dog-friendly restaurants.

3. I Joined Venjuris. At the beginning of 2015, I became Of Counsel at Venjuris – a business and IP boutique law firm. It’s probably the best career move I could have made. By combining forces, I get to take on more complex and litigation cases, and now it’s easier for my clients to get help with their patent needs. I love the people I work with and it’s definitely taken my skills as a lawyer to the next level.

4. Modeling. Starting this summer, I got to do a bit of modeling this year – portrait work, underwater work, milk bath, and bodyscaping. Modeling lets me be expressive in a whole new way, and the resulting photos are amazing. There are some exceptionally talented photographers in Phoenix. As a bonus, one of the photos – a compilation of 13 images of me – is the new postcard for Carter Law Firm.

5. Medical Mystery/Heart Problems. 2014 ended with a medical mystery for me – night sweats, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pain. Three cardiologists, two ultrasounds, and a transesophageal echocardiogram later, they determined I have a hole in my heart – a defect from birth – but this wasn’t the cause of my medical problems. My doctor ran every blood test he could think of and everything came back “normal.” Our best guess is I’m prone to severe costochondritis and anxiety.

6. Seeing Friends. The Undeniable Recap usually lists the top five events from the year, but I want to add a bonus event. It’s not really an event but one of the benefits of traveling so much this year – I got to see so many friends that don’t live near me. That was probably the best part of this year; almost everywhere I went, there were familiar faces. If I had to name my favorite moment from 2015, it would be hugging my former voice coach Richard Weidlich in New York.

With Sheila Dee in London and my Signature Sickle Foot, Photo by Evo Terra

With Sheila Dee in London and my Signature Sickle Foot, Photo by Evo Terra

Firsts in 2015
DNF race
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (with Propofol)
Making Cornbread
Stay in a Hostel
Ride on BART
Skinny Jeans
Couchsurfing
Episcleritis
Sticking Gum on a Wall
Scone with Clotted Cream
Solo International Trip – to London
Sitting Second Chair
Sights: Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Times Square, Central Park, “Free” Stamp Sculpture, Fork in the Road, LucasFilms, Ballard Locks, Seattle Troll
Events: Content Marketing World, Periscope Community Summit, Ungagged, Dad 2.0 Summit

Meeting R2D2 at LucasFilms

Meeting R2D2 at LucasFilms – Still with my Sickle Foot

Celebrity Sightings
R2D2
Anderson Cooper
Michael McDonald
John Cleese
Scott Sigler
Colin Wright

In Memoriam
Leonard Nimoy
Joseph Cherapan
Sandy Askland
Atticus VanSlyke
Trixie Ortmeyer

Day 56/90 – Underwater Photo Shoot

Day 56 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I did an underwater photo shoot!

One of Sara Santiago's underwater test shots from a few days ago - gorgeous! (Photo by Redline Designs Photography)

One of Sara Santiago’s underwater test shots from a few days ago – gorgeous! (Photo by Redline Designs Photography)

My friend and fellow model Sara organized a kick-ass photo event today. There were 5-6 photographers and 6-7 models. We had 3 set ups at a house – an indoor backdrop to do bodyscaping and silhouette work and then we dropped a drape across the middle of the pool to do underwater photography on both sides! It was so much fun!

I loved seeing how each photographer worked with models and all the models’ ideas for photos – especially under water. We had big billowy dresses, swirls of loose fabric, bathing suits, and nude work going on. I had as much fun watching as modeling.

Silhouette Image from my last Photo Shoot (Photo by S-A Studios)

Silhouette Image from my last Photo Shoot (Photo by S-A Studios)

Underwater work was really interesting. You have a lot more freedom of movement but you also have to fight the body’s natural buoyancy and you have to think about things like air bubbles. Some of the photographers had plastic cases around their cameras to keep them dry but it also made it challenging to determine what they were seeing and capturing.

I also did some bodyscaping and silhouette work with three different photographers. I can’t wait to see all the images for all the different photographers and models – so much beauty and diversity.

I’m really enjoying modeling and I hope I get the chance to do more. I find myself spending more time looking at others’ work for ideas for new poses. If I were a professional model, I would do yoga almost every day because having core strength and flexibility makes it so much easier to create beautiful shapes with your body. Every time you see a beautiful model, even when the pose looks natural, I bet he/she is standing or sitting in a way that no normal person would in their everyday life. There’s a lot of leaning and arching involved in creating the best shapes your body can make.

In case you missed it: Day 55 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Running with Gary Vaynerchuk!

Day 35/90 – Bodyscaping Photography

Day 35 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to do a photoshoot with Ben Stadler-Ammon, including some bodyscaping work.

I have friends who are amazing photographers. They’ve shot amazing photos of me over the years at Ignite Phoenix and doing flash mobs with Improv AZ. At the last Ignite Phoenix event, Ben asked if I’d be interested in doing a photo shoot with him. I jumped at the chance.

One of the types of photo work Ben does is called bodyscaping. It’s a type of photography that is usually in black and white that focuses on shapes made with lighting and the curves of the body. (Yes, since this type of art focuses on the body, the photographer needs to see your body; therefore, most bodyscaping is done in the nude. And in case you were wondering, when you’re working with a professional photographer – like Ben – there’s nothing sexual about the shoot. It’s just about taking beautiful photos.) When done well, the resulting photos are absolutely gorgeous. Ben does an excellent job of capturing your best angles and making your eyes sparkle. We met for a shoot a few weeks ago and it was so much fun – and the photos were beautiful. Here’s my favorite one from that shoot:

Gorgeous Photo by Ben Stadler-Ammon, June 13, 2015

Gorgeous Photo by Ben Stadler-Ammon, June 13, 2015

We did another shoot today. What made this one special was my friend and fellow model Sara Santiago was there to do some modeling and also learn about taking these types of photos to better understand how to take a good photo. It gave me a chance to learn about what makes a good photo and I got to take some shots with her so I got to see another artist’s perspective. Working with her was different because since this was her first time shooting, setting up shots took longer, which presented me with the challenge of holding still longer.

Here’s something no one tells you about modeling – the most beautiful pictures involve contorting your body into poses that no normal person would use in their daily life. There’s a lot of twisting, back arching, and leaning in ways that no one does naturally. It’s funny at the time and the pictures that come from it are fantastic.

Ben did some “organic” photos of me today too – just me being me. I can’t wait to see the results.

In case you missed it: Day 34 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I finally hung my wall art.