Finding Vivian Maier Review

finding vivian maier review via besotted blog

I did it!  I watched my FIRST documentary since my daughter was born (2.5 years ago), yes, it has been that long. This must be what it feels like for an athlete to make a comeback. I need to watch a movie next, it’s on my goals list (open to suggestions). I was actually going to watch another one that was suggested by Michelle, but it wasn’t available on Netflix, but when this popped up I knew that I wanted to watch it, we have written about Ms. Maier a few times and I find her story endlessly fascinating. The concise version– Vivian was a nanny and an avid street photographer who not only shot  extensively but did the very odd thing of never developing her film. One day a young man bought her storage locker of film, developed it, showcased it on his blog and Vivian became viral. The most interesting thing of the documentary to me was that the young man that discovered the undeveloped film rolls, his story is equally as fascinating. It’s just really thought provoking and if you love photography, a good treasure hunt and/or a feel good story, I think you’d enjoy this doc!


Finding Vivian Maier trailer

Vivian Maier posts here + here

Doc featuring a Camera Obscura ( Michelle’s doc recommendation)

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and the fastest way to clean + digitize your lettering and line art –Lettering Rx | Paper to pixel and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Bloom where you are planted…

bloom where you are planted via besotted blog

I thought I’d pop in and give you a quick update and perhaps a little pep talk on this whole ‘focus’ journey, if you too are in the same boat and wondering if change is possible. Firstly, it’s been f’in! hard (and you know I don’t like to swear!)  I have successfully trimmed a bunch of ‘fat’. It seems I had more interests that I pursued in some form (even if it was just research), more than I would ever know what to do with–ever. An example would be hair bows; they are inordinately expensive for something that your toddler will inevitably pull out of their hair and lose within minutes. I decided one day I’d make my own, I researched for hours, got my supplies and then got down to business. I made 2. I lost hours of my life, literally hours that I can’t retrieve ever again. I now am asking myself before I try something, if the effort to pursue something is worth my time (for me time is money, especially with such a shortage of it). It would have in essence been a lot more cost effective for me to order a few sets of bows than waste those hours. Lesson learned.  I decided that since I have limited time, if I did pursue a hobby (that seems laughable), but if I did, it would need to enhance my life both personally and professionally, since I can’t afford for those to be too separate and honestly I don’t need them to be too disparate. I asked myself what I would regret in 10 years if I didn’t do it and didn’t try to master (and that is a goal of mine to obtain mastery) and it was shockingly, hold on to your seats, not lettering. I loved it and enjoyed myself immensely discovering and exploring technique, but I have no desire to be a lettering artist professionally and the more I practiced I got farther away from the wonky hand I like. I will now admire from afar, as I actually have been doing for quite some time now, but being able to let that go feels very freeing. When I asked myself what I would regret the most if I didn’t do it, it would be documenting my life and it’s ‘wild imaginings’ (as Michelle put it) via photography and writing. I was on cloud 9 when Michelle and I wrote our novel, I felt like I was on creative steroids, it’s one of my most proudest personal achievements. I want to make more time in my life to write, not for the pursuit of anything but for the sheer pleasure it gives me. If I am making toddler hair bows, or whatever shiny thing I see that day I can’t spend time getting better at something that would truly enhance my life. These are all very huge lessons for me! The photography, I am a little embarrassed to say this, I wasn’t shooting, because I was bemoaning what I didn’t have and what I thought I needed to make the shots that I was envisioning. I was seeing all this great work and I wanted my images to look like that but I have a totally different environment and instead of embracing it, exploring it and experimenting with it, I was avoiding it. Completely. I decided to just shoot and see what happened. You know what? It’s not like what I had wanted, it’s polar opposite in fact, but it’s not half bad, just different, and I am enjoying the process and starting to feel like maybe, just maybe I could make it something. Michelle, that sage woman said, ‘bloom where you are planted.’ I guess I never really realized what that meant until now.

The business part we are discussing, dissecting, dreaming, etc. we are getting closer and closer to something that feels more authentic to us, makes sense and has lots of room for growth. We are really trying to cut out whatever doesn’t make sense and does not enhance where we are trying to go. We discovered so much about ourselves in such a short period of time. Not all of it has been great, but Michelle and I are eternal optimists and if we get knocked down, even if we knock ourselves down, we are pretty darn good about brushing off our hands and getting back up again. We shall continue to keep you posted!

What about you?  I know a lot of you have felt like you are in the same situation with multiple interests and not a ton of real success. Have you started to take action as well?  Anything working out for you? Feeling worse than before you started focusing? I can raise my hand on that one…


This is for everyone that is multi-passionate that wants to stay that way!

This book keeps on getting recommended as a life changer, I have a request in at the library for it

I am taking this class, a photo journalistic approach to photographing family

If you are an Austin Kleon fan you’ll love this interview

Around here…

henri matisse quote via besotted blog

It’s been a while since we did a little round up of random things we are doing, liking etc. so how about right now? Sounds good to me!

Michelle sent me the above quote and I loved it! Even though Mssr. Matisse felt this way it did not stop him from his passion of painting!

I am really loving this drugstore mascara. You can either wear it natural or bring on the glam and I haven’t had trouble with racoon eyes-Win!

I haven’t had any success with adding new summer frocks to my closet, but a couple ladies I follow have suggested these great finds 1 | 2 | 3. I am super tempted to order the Amazon dress, I would never consider Amazon for clothes, have you?

A few of you suggested some books to help focus and I thought I would share them here 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

A client of ours read the focus post and said that meditation helped her hone in on her dream and sent me this link.

I have been taking an Instagram class, it’s not a social media outlet I feel I really understand and certainly not one I truly considered for our business. Did you know that if you find an account you like and start going through their feed and liking a bunch of photos that may be considered weird and stalkerish?  Me neither!  I have done it on many an occasion.

We have a boatload of unclaimed prizes from our brush lettering week, if you played please check to see if you won. We will give those winners until Friday, July 22, 2016 to claim prizes and if they don’t we will give it to ONE winner!


Being successful with multiple passions

Jen ck jacobs via besotted blog

Last week I felt like I opened up a veritable personal Pandora’s box with the admitting of my non-focused ways (post 1 + 2) and my current struggle to see what that would look like if I did (I am not having an easy go of this focus thing). I really do believe your focus and end goals from said focus can be based on what you deem a success and that’s something you will need to sit down with yourself and write down, it does look different for everyone (for me that now includes a financial number that never factored into my former goals or focus, I was happy before just getting by on my endeavors). I thought we could feature a Creative today that has had a ton of success and notoriety for her work and that work and passion (and person) seems to be constantly evolving. Jen Ck Jacobs, formerly Jen Altman (she has since re-married and added 3 more children to the mix-6 kids AND a new business?). I first came across her when she wrote a Mommy blog, she then became a jewelry designer, a graphic designer, then she picked up a Polaroid and well the rest is history, she became a huge internet success, has published multiple books as both an author and photographer the list goes on and on. She recently launched Robert + Gene, vintage turquoise and curated collections, which I am confident will prove to be another one of Jen’s big successes. This is from her ‘About page:

Over the years, Jen has sailed the seas as a salty Sailor of the US Navy, designed her own line of jewelry, penned books, photographed food and lifestyle for some of the most notable titles on the newsstands and in 2012, fulfilled a lifetime dream with CISTHENE.

Since, I have followed Jen from her seedling stages, I can tell you that she didn’t just snap her fingers and become this great creative force, her photos in the beginning were just sweet snapshots any mom would take, there were no glimpses there of what she would become, but she obviously focused, practiced, shared and honed her craft, this with 3 babes underfoot?! I am sharing about Jen because if you do have multiple interests and passions I think you can figure a way to combine them, make it cohesive and make it a success (that is what Michelle and I are trying to do!). Jen now has the design prowess from trying on the graphic design hat, and of course her passion + talent for photography that she has merged with her love of vintage jewelry, that combination has resulted in her new shop as it did with her former shop (gorgeous images!).  I might also add that she is able to leverage her love of writing with the store descriptions, and use her obvious eye for curating and styling. Will this business make her millions?  I don’t know if that’s even her goal, that’s why I mentioned that you need to write down what your goal is with your focus, because it may be like mine was before to just make enough money with my creative business to pay my bills and have a little left over to buy some of the things I would like, like a class or shoes. I honestly used to be thrilled that I could make any money from doing something I loved from something that I made. If you have the support from a spouse/partner or from family that may be fine for you to (and for a time it was very fulfilling for me). Michelle and I know that we want to take the shipping equation off of the table, it’s not feasible for me with my curious toddler and lack of space and something Michelle has always been emphatic about not doing. I wanted to share Jen’s story, because I think it’s okay to re-invent yourself, multiple times, as many times as you seem fit to in this lifetime until you find the you that fits. Or maybe this is who you are and that’s fine too. You can go from a sweet mama, to a tatoo’d bad ass and it can still be you and authentic, look at Jen. Of course you don’t have to do either of those things. I love that Oscar Wilde quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” That should make it easier for you to figure that bit out of who you are;)

My sincerest hope is that this motivated you in some way, it has for me, because it made me really evaluate during this phase of trying to find the convergence of our multiple (and varied) interests and see if that could be made into one entity that we call focus and if Jen is an example it seems it can happen! It may take a little more time to figure it out and of course some interests will need to be just that interests and not commerce, but I am feeling a bit more optimistic today than I was yesterday…And you?  Have you met anyone that has had multiple interests that they were able to parlay into one successful venture? Have you done it? Do you think this is a cop out to focusing? Would really love to hear your thoughts on this! Wishing Jen super success on her new endeavor with Roberts + Gene!

P.S. Thank you everyone that has added to the conversation, has emailed links and book suggestions. I will be adding those links to a post so others can have access to them and in hopes that it helps another fellow Creative!


Thought it would be inspiring to share some links to Jen’s evolution, it is a study in perseverance and creative harnessing:

Early sweet images 1 | 2 | 3 that have evolved into these magnificent ones: 1 |2 | 3 | (Michelle and I are big proponents of just shooting to get better at your photography, we have taught classes with this as the main take away and have seen people that went from zero to 90 very quickly! It can work for many mediums! Again there’s that focus popping up!)

In the kitchen with Jen Altman

Jen on Momfilter

Gorgeous new bride

Jen Ck Jacobs portfolio

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and the fastest way to clean + digitize your lettering and line art –Lettering Rx | Paper to pixel and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Focusing when you have multiple interests…

Getting focused via besotted blog ii

We were happy to see that our focus post started a dialogue and it is one we hope we can continue. So, where were we? Focus…and how I don’t do it and how my friends and associates that have focused, have achieved wild success. I on the other hand feel like I’m alternatively in a constant state of duress because I am trying to make ends meet or elation because I discovered something shiny and new, that sounds a bit manic, but it’s how I feel at this season in my life. Guess what? I am going to take the plunge and try my hand at focusing! I’ll give it a go, a solid with all my heart go and see where it leads me. Michelle and I have been having hours of heart-to hearts after that post launched discussing focus and what that would look like. Are we even the type of individuals that are capable of focusing? For me personally, I had to sit down and decide what I needed to take off my very full plate in order to achieve said focus (btw, I don’t know what it is I will be focusing on–yet), all I know at this point is that I need to cut the fat, remove the clutter so I can start seeing the proverbial forest through the trees. The first most logical thing for me to remove from my plate (and one of the hardest) is that I would need to close down Besotted Brand my stationery shop. This has been on my mind for a while, it’s not something I cared to admit to myself that the pleasure from it was not there anymore and that the logistics of it (shipping, sourcing, etc.) were not feasible with a toddler and my limited time. I think the logistics part put a huge damper on the passion part. Yes, I have entertained the idea of selling it, it was very successful (for a business I couldn’t devote all my time to, when I launched I had a serious  7-7 job and then we moved cross country and then I got pregnant…) it was featured in two books that list it as a resource and two huge magazines, so if you would like to step into the Besotted Brand captain shoes and take it the next level shoot me an email. For now though, it is closed. I will be selling off all the samples, inks, embossing powders, papers and the like just so I can make room in my small office/closet or as Michelle has dubbed it my ‘cloffice’. I put a lot of my heart into that project, but times have changed for me and it’s just not feasible. Michelle and I after careful consideration will also be shuttering our branding/creative studio, we have done some AMAZING projects, but we think we need to put our considerable energies elsewhere. We are in the percolation stages of how and what this new focus will look like.

This is my first step to getting to focus, well, I guess the first step, like any good ‘recovery’ program is to admit I have a problem. I am Tristan and I don’t focus. Or won’t focus? I do know that my first focus will be on business (is that oxymoronic, since first implies there’s more than one thing to focus on?, hmmm?). I feel like I could scale back on my varied interests/hobbies. That bit of me I am going to see if I can wrangle in. Our good friend Sanae recently did a giveaway on her blog of Maybelle’s Modern Calligraphy kit that she bought, because she admitted to herself that because of her current obligations it was a ‘pipe dream to take on another hobby’. Honestly, I was surprised because those kind of mature, rational thoughts never cross my mind, but I am going to try!  I want to be successful in the way that I define success and part of that definition for me does include being financially secure, not so I can go on shopping spree’s mind you but because I want to be a responsible parent/wife, good example to my daughter, be able to do things that would become great experiences and memories. I happen to think this is all possible, it’s the optimist in me I suppose. I am also realistic and know that this can not be possible if I am trying to do 150 things at once. I have had a lot of little successes and created some truly amazing projects that I am proud of, but what if I had picked one of these projects and focused on it? Would I be sharing my multi-millionaire story with you right now? Perhaps! True story–when I went to my the future partners for my fragrance I created (yes, I created a fragrance in another lifetime), the initial meeting to become said partners my pitch concluded something like this-“and then I want this brand to have a hotel…” I wish you could have seen the faces on these businessmen. I had one fragrance, they were interested in that fragrance, not becoming hotelier’s. They were single-minded and focused, they have ended up multi-millionaire’s. I am not even close. The moral of my story I suppose is it’s great to look at the big picture, but I think (and I don’t know yet) but I think if you focused on one thing and garnered some success from that then you can build out but you need a strong and solid foundation. Also, not to turn every interest and hobby into commerce. I am learning. This is a to be continued, but I am all ears if anyone else has found a way to focus and garnered success, if you are struggling with this or if you too are planning on doing anything about it, if so what?  I was so happy to read that Michelle and I weren’t alone in this struggle!


These are just a couple links I found the other day that are food for thought…

Should you combine your many passions or choose one?

How to focus when you have many interests?

TedTalk: Why some of us don’t have one true calling? I haven’t watched yet but over 2m people have and I plan on it too.

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and the fastest way to clean + digitize your lettering and line art –Lettering Rx | Paper to pixel and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.