Artist Profile: Tara Shupe

Two Octobers ago I had the exciting and unique opportunity to be a Blogshop intern in NYC, and one of the best parts was meeting and co-interning with Tara Shupe! We clicked instantly, with people asking us if we had known each other prior to the weekend workshop. The answer was no, but we worked hard and had a blast getting to know each other and the fun students of Blogshop.

At that time this blog wasn’t even an idea yet (what!), but Tara had a blog, Old Socks and we chatted about her photography (which I didn’t know at the time was so beautiful). She was living in Stamford, thinking of moving to NYC and was interested in taking fern crown selfies with me (aka my kind of gal). Today she is traveling around the world, expanding her photography business and settling back in the midwest. This is her story…

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You get to switch up your focus and subjects a lot — Etsy product shots, European travels, Free People outfit shoots (uh, basically dream jobs!)— what have been some of your favorite career highlights so far? It’s funny because I think I always think my highlights have yet to happen, but I also don’t check in with myself as often as I should and tell myself, “look how far you’ve come!” Some of my personal fav’s though were definitely working with Carissa from “Us the Duo” (photo below) and being styled by Free People, also her wearing one of my deer antler necklaces while she partied with Fergie! I think for a while I got caught up feeling “cool” as I worked on large photo sets, or retouched for Birchbox, Clarins and other well known brands…but although I was learning I found the most success in seeing my personal work grow. Like having my first successful Etsy Holiday, (at least in my mind) or pushing my personal work with every photoshoot.

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What inspired your recent world traveling? How has the experience shaped you or your photos? Big changes were happening in my life and after making the decision that NYC was coming to an end it wasn’t long before I was searching flights ANYWHERE! I had promised myself I would backpack Europe before:
  1. I got married
  2. Turned 30
  3. Left NY – simply bc of flight costs

I still have a few years left before 30, but I made the decision, bought a flight and had about six weeks to plan my month long journey! It was a pretty emotional/crazy last month as I sold almost everything I owned and said bye to people and a place I loved. I was with my best friend the first ten days and then completely alone for 11 days before meeting up with my cousin in Lisbon. Traveling with my camera is never boring, and I actually found I really loved traveling alone…there was something empowering about relying only on myself and at times laughing with myself.

Besides your art, what else do you like to fill your time with? Collin (my Fiance) and I love to travel, and we’ve always been long distance so I think it has really created this love for adventure and traveling between the two of us. I also love being outdoors, or working with my hands on misc. projects – these days crafting for the Etsy Shop.

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You’re originally from Missouri, studied in Iowa, lived in Connecticut and NYC, and now have settling back in Kansas City – have you found a difference between the Midwest and the East Coast as far as inspiration goes? They’re inspiring in so many different ways. The Midwest connects with my soul – I’m inspired by the quiet of nature. It recharges me when I’m not always able to be amongst the craziness. The East Coast however is a creative Mecca! It’s screaming at you everywhere you go and you’re constantly inspired at the talent you see. However, for me it could feel overwhelming, especially if I couldn’t find a balance. At times I think I found that balance, but I was desperate for that mental break to calm my creative mind.

Q4

How has your work progressed over the years — either aesthetically or content wise? Oh man…I love seeing progression in my work and the day I don’t I’ll be quite worried! I would say the biggest changes are in my editing styles. I’m not sure at first I was doing it consciously, but over time it’s molded into a style filled with dark/muted tones with a very intimate feel.

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How do you find a balance between your personal photography from the ones you make a career of? Do they tend to lead into each other, or do you like to keep them separate? I think I used to maybe feel that I needed to do that, but naturally they became one. I feel like you start to create what you’re drawn to and love anyway, so having two styles wouldn’t make sense unless you’re just experimenting. I like to have fun with different editing styles, and I’ve started playing around with Polaroids that I wouldn’t consider my “professional” work. I of course have hopes that some day somebody will be paying me for them! ;)Inspiration can spark from anywhere – memories, places, books, music – what do you like to use as tools to stay enlightened? I should try to be better at this, but my personal muse is my alone time. Sitting, meditating, coffee drinking and really getting in my own head. I like to step away from pinterest and so many common creative “outlets” that can make my ideas foggy with too many ideas and really focus on what I’m really trying to do. I also get inspired by listening or interacting with people that I look up to or admire and it really encourages me to keep following my dreams. Recently I helped contribute to an amazing heartfelt workshop, called Monarch and I left feeling ready to conquer the world!

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Do your photos tend to portray your general personal style? Or would you say you use it more as an outlet to express something you may ordinarily not? Absolutely! I think one thing I’m the most proud of is how my style happened naturally. Although it has evolved, I never had to stop and say…and now I want my photos to look like this! I’m drawn to nature and my friends even used to tease me about only wearing neutrals colors, but there’s something intimate about connecting with the earths color palette.

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Anyone in the art field knows that it’s not always the easiest path to make a living out of — how did you get the business end of things started for yourself? Do you ever partner up with other creative talents, or do you prefer to ride solo? Let’s just say I struggle! There are still SOO many things I have left to figure out. Taxes have become more complicated, but this last year I was lucky to have a lot of longer term freelance work – which can be good and bad. I suggest really understanding your needs, like if you’re going to need really good health insurance, keep that in mind. It seems like with every individual client I figure out something new, (sometimes the hard way) but as long as I’m learning how to do it better I’m okay with that. I use freshbooks for quick invoices and love square for a 3% fee you can brand beautiful invoices and clients can pay with ease. As for collaborating, I LOVE IT! I can be a HUGE introvert and it’s easy to get into the “I’ll do it myself” mindset, but it’s been on my projects I worked with other creatives that I found myself wanting even more to do my absolute best work. I felt like people invested in me and it’s always a great learning experience!

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Any photo or travel gear you’d be lost without? I don’t go on any job, trip or day adventure without one of my three lowepro bags (1, 2, 3), and since I’ve had a lot of bad Hard drive problems, this is my go to rugged HD. And then I always carry a journal.

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Go to late-night junk food? Stupid queso dip & chips, and always hot coffee

Night owl or morning bird? I’m the most productive in the mornings, but I’ve pulled more than my share of all nighters to finish some things!

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Photography can require a surprising amount of confidence and knowledge — any advice you’d give a budding photographer? With very situation I give myself a pep talk. I tell myself, “look you’ve never came out with zero images you’ve been proud of, so keep calm and get into your zen.” For some reason that has always helped, but being mainly self taught there have been moments I have felt very self conscious of the middle aged tech talk – yes I stereotyped it! This has happened to me on multiple occasions, every where from the camera store to shooting and I simply acknowledge my humility and go figure it out for myself. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing, but understand there are far more important things than just having top notch equipment, like composition, lighting and connecting with your subject.

I try to explore new things, like shooting a single scene in different apertures and look at it later and learn what I liked or didn’t like. Take a reflector even on a cloudy day, ask a friend to assist you so you can try something new – make it fun!

A big thank you to Tara for answering our questions! Make sure to also check out her work on her facebook & instagram!

 

 

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G&M’s 1st Birthday!

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Oh my word! It’s been a year?? It seems like just yesterday the two of us were eating burgers and brainstorming ideas for our little gal. We want to thank you all for stopping by day to day to see what we’re up to!

In honor of her big day, we made some birthday sweets — what else is new?

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Spice Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting
cupcakes adapted via, frosting adapted via

For the cupcakes:
yields 15

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

For the frosting:
(note – this recipe was not ideal for artsy piping, a little too runny!)

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream, depending on desired consistency
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

To make:

01. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with a centered rack. Line your muffin tin and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander.

02. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions milk and beating well after each addition.

03. Transfer batter by heaping tablespoonfuls to cups. Bake until golden brown at edges and a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating pans once. Let cakes cool in pans, 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

04. While cupcakes cool, make your frosting. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, zest, cinnamon, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spoon into a plastic baggie with a cut tip or a piping bag and get frosting!

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After our shoot, we ate a whole lot of snacks and sparkling cider with Reg’s roomies to continue the celebration- more on that later!

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Paper Source Backdrop // Candles, Gold Sprinkles & Cupcake Liners – Stop & Shop (I know, right? So cute!) // Cake Stand – Old, Marshalls

 

 

 

Copy Cat

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Hallelujah, it’s big chunky scarf season. Pretty much the greatest thing about a brisk day, is the fact that we can walk around with blankets draped around our necks. Cathy from Poor Little It Girl made this cozy look beyond adorable, with some metallic flats and tight black skinnies. We wish we could make the plaid-on-plaid work the way she did, but let’s be real, that’s no easy feat, so we went with a mossy solid pullover.

Plaid Scarf // Chunky Sweater // Grey Clutch // Black Jeans // Metallic Flats

Boozy Popsicles Anyone?

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Boozy Popsicles (aka Poptails) are all the rage this summer and we want to get on these asap. These’ll be the perfect 4th of July weekend treat!

{ Clockwise from top left  // Mixed-Berry Pinot Pops // Sparkling Fruit Izze & Cream Cocktail Popsicles // French 75 Popsicles // Mudslide Poptail }

// Mixed-Berry Pinot Pops

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bottle Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup raspberries
  • 2/3 cup blackberries

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, wine and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add berries, smashing some slightly with a wooden spoon and leaving some whole. Using a ladle, pour into popsicle molds (or just a paper cup!), making sure the berries are evenly distributed.

Note: If you’re using the paper-cup method, let the pops freeze for about an hour (until they’re slushy, but not totally frozen), then place the popsicle sticks in the center. Putting them in a partially frozen mixture will keep them stabilized. Don’t have popsicle sticks? Use spoons or plasticware. Done!

// Sparkling Fruit Izze & Cream Cocktail Popsicles

Ingredients:

Whisk together all ingredients in a large cup with a spout. Pour into pop molds. Let freeze undisturbed overnight. Carefully remove from molds & enjoy!

// French 75 Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. of champagne
  • 4 oz. of  gin
  • 4 oz. of simple syrup
  • 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together into a large measuring cup, then evenly distribute in your popsicle molds, leaving about 1/4 inch of room at the top. (You’ll have around 3 oz. left over after filling the molds.) After they’ve set for about an hour, put your sticks in. Allow to fully freeze then eat up!

// Mudslide Poptail

  • 18 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana, medium size (2oz)
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. Kahlua
  • 3 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 tablespoons grated chocolate

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Freeze for about 1 hour or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 5-7 seconds

Enjoy!  

 

100th Post!

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Today is our 100th post, and while that might not seem like much, we’re so proud! We’ve pushed ourselves and worked together to keep chuggin away day to day, and we’re not stopin’! We’re so happy that you all like to stop by from time to time!

In honor of our 100th post, we’re going to look back at our top 10 fav posts!

Spring Fever for Jean Jacketsgm_HappySpring_JeanJacketJean jackets are a serious part of our wardrobe in the spring, so it was an easy (& exciting) task finding inspiration on how to style them! Also – it was super fun making this graphic!

Sweetheart Blueberry Hand Piesgm_heartpieface copyThese ended up being the easiest, cutest and most delicious little treats! They also made for adorable instagram photos (don’t judge).

Artist Profile // Tyler VarsellGM_TylerVarsell_inventors_m_23_OKSIZE
It was such an honor to talk to Tyler Varsell and hear about how she creates these gorgeous pieces! Her work is amazing, and she is the sweetest!

Wild Outfit Pairinggm_wildoutfitpairingThis book stuck with me, and creating an outfit to match was surprisingly hard! It was satisfying when it was done, and now we’re getting excited for the movie!

Our Fashionable Mengm_MensFashion1We were so proud of our Hartford & Boston men for making it into a list of the most fashionable men! We couldn’t agree more!

Winter’s End Cocktailsgm_endofwintercocktailsCelebrate spring with some warming cocktails!

Gluten-Free Rosewater Cupcakesgm_glutenfree_41Some homemade gluten-free treats will hit that sweet tooth we all know you have!

Five Minute Date Makeupgm_beauty_7_In a time crunch for a going-out makeup look? This post has a super quick and easy makeup tutorial!

DIY Floral Wall Artwall-art-final-11If you have any small awkward wall spaces, make these wall decals with just four materials you already have at home!

Grape, Feta & Pear Salad salad_11Easy, hardy salad to satisfy that hunger!

About Us

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Hi friends! This might seem a little crazy, but we realized that we never really introduced ourselves! We started the blog on a random Sunday in November, and our about page hasn’t changed since that first write up…oops. We figured it was time to finally let you all know about who we are! The first step was getting a good picture of us together – we’ve been friends since 3rd grade, so I’m sure we have some good oldies, but with us being in different cities (Boston and Hartford, to be exact) we don’t have as many newer pictures of us together (without a cocktail in hand…). When we had our girls weekend a little while ago, we made a point to stop and grab a quick pic of us, and for once in our lives, we actually liked it! So – Reg is wearing the jean jacket, Christa is wearing the mauve army jacket, and together we’re Gardenias & Mint!

Our dealio:

Growing up in Canton, CT, we knew we’d be friends forever since the tender age of 8, when Regina approached Christa to let her know that her velvet shirt with a gigantic daisy on it was awesome. Thanks to the alphabetical order of our last names, we were locker buddies all throughout junior high and high school. About three years ago after college, Reg moved to Boston and Christa to Hartford. This past fall we decided that we wanted to collaborate on something fun and creative together, and we’re so happy we did!

Some fun things about us:

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Do you guys have any questions for us? We’d love to hear them! Leave us a comment or visit our about page and drop us a line!

xoxo, G&M