Flying Together, In Particular

This morning, I contemplated flight.

I was only contemplating the average airplane variety at first. As I drank my first cup of coffee, I checked ticket information and layover times, tucked my passport in the carry-on, checked the weather forecast over the ocean on Friday and considered the likelihood of a mechanical failure on a Boeing 737 during a period of Mercury in retrograde.

“What a lame time to leave the country,” I thought as I managed to conjure up a healthy amount of guilt as I considered all the reasons the business would struggle in my absence.  “If all of Hot Tomato lived inside a snow globe, I pondered…the whole studio, all the clients and files, bank records, garter bets and all the crew members too…If we were all in there together, it’s like someone picked it up and shook it for a whole month!”

{In this snow globe scenario, we’re all just kind of spinning around in there grabbing arm-fulls of hot tomato glitter and trying to organize it into tidy piles.} The truth is, we are a family that is rapidly growing, training, moving, changing, and recovering. Present and accounted for, we’re just a little disoriented.

Flight Cont.AMR_1789-21

If I’m really going to examine a concept, I enjoy Googling the root word and getting a clear definition.

flight: noun

  1. the action or process of flying through the air.
  2. a group of creatures or objects flying together, in particular.

With the above glitter globe reference, you can begin to see how my contemplation was taking shape.

I re-filled my coffee mug and took the necessary steps to ready myself for a day I knew would be filled with laughter and champagne, dazzling outfits, encouraging words and easy, authentic talent.

“IT’S SHOOT DAY!!” I see come up on our group chat from Jocelyn as I’m gathering up the last of my things to head out the door. “She’s cute for a morning person,” I smile.  She’s cheering from the sidelines today as she rocks her dreamy nine to five at the helm of The Betsey Mills Club. Today was actually deemed Vintage Hot Tomato because it was Andi shooting and Jesse assisting like the olden days of 2012 ;) But, it also highlighted for me just how much more glitter was in the globe these days.

~The Plan~

Shoot day will be Saturday. Tonya’s on hair and makeup, Jessica is Concierge to the clients, Jocelyn assists, Andi shoots and Jesse prepares far in advance of her travels, carefully making lists and packing things in a thoughtful order.

**glitter globe shake**

Woops, that’s Easter weekend!- Tonya and Jessica will both be out of town with family. BUT we decide we could make Monday work! Jesse would assist for Jocelyn, who would be at The Betsey and Jessica can cover for Tonya who is still out of town Monday. Jess would be home early enough on Sunday to wash the studio laundry, bring it in early and set up for client hair and make-up! Woohoo!

**glitter globe shake**

An evil bunny tried to take over the good Easter bunny’s job Sunday morning. But THEN….Unicorn Jessica swept in to save the day and dove in front of the Easter Bunny to save him to ensure all the kids got their Easter baskets!!! -a fictional dramatization by Courtney Smith

The real story is, Jess slipped in her pj’s moving the car and broke her arm. On Easter morning. In Cleveland. …SO, Jocelyn delivered the studio laundry to Andi to be washed and drove to Selby to pick up Jess and take her home to rest. MEANWHILE, Tonya is coordinating Abigail (whom she has been training in the art of Hot Tomato make-up) to cover the day in a pinch (her first solo day).

Abigail was able to cover with less that 12 hours notice and did AWESOME! Jocelyn was still cheerful in the morning after delivering dirty laundry and broken unicorns, I got to assist with client care and shooting (which I adored), Andi arrived with clean laundry and photographed masterfully. Clients were happy, crew felt loved and cared for, plans are being formulated to cover my absence and Jess’s recuperation and just. like. that. #tidyglitterpiles

Really, just when you think all hell is breaking loose, doesn’t that seem to be the precise moment that that everyone’s best selves come bursting out in little super hero capes? I hope you’re lucky enough to keep company with such folks but if you are in need of an infusion, join us.  

I always liked “Birds of a feather flock together” but I think  ” a group of creatures or objects flying together, in particular” might suit us better!

Thank you to my crew for doing just that! I love you all to bits.

Dirty Thirties HANDLED

“Stella, I’m 37. What a completely lame age to be.” I said out loud to my golden retriever this morning as I slurped shrimp-flavored ramen for breakfast at 11:15am.

I stayed up really late last night migrating images from my personal Instagram with the business name to a business Instagram with the business name per the instruction of my cousin slash best friend slash marketing consultant, Rachel Hyde. She thinks my personal life is too tied up in the business and it’s difficult for first-time clients to navigate the social media platforms. She’s right.

So, to completely defy all reason, I have decided to use this particular platform to … tell a completely hypothetical story about something that could happen to anyone (it’s totally about me.)

A stand-out, sure fire way to tell that you’re plummeting into the depths of mid-life crisis is looking in the mirror to find that the head of hair that frames your face is grey. NOT the natural kind that you get from living a pure and decent life but a grey that started out grey but was covered up with brown followed by a more striking black, stripped down to a ginger color, tortured into an ashish blond, covered in royal purple, faded to a yellowish lavender, bleached of all remaining dignity and strength, tapped, foiled and woven into a frenzy, coaxed back into a periwinkle color and finally DYED grey for the low, low price of roughly $1,300. THAT is when you re-evaluate your beauty standards. And your life.

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The Invisible Woman

It’s only a matter of time. I actually fear it.

The day that I walk into a room and no one takes notice.

I am a woman who doesn’t mind being looked at. I wear my emotions, ideals, convictions and intentions on my tattooed sleeves…and statement necklaces, ripped jeans, scarves, dangly earrings, big hats and high heeled boots.

People notice me and I like that. But maybe one day I will disappear…

It’s probably me.

It’s possible that I will tire of coming up with new and interesting ways to decorate myself. Maybe the age in my face will prevent me from wanting to draw attention to it with make-up. Perhaps my body will take such a rapid nose dive that the confident woman I am today will turn into an insecure hermit in one week’s time.

Fade /fād/ verb- the process of becoming less bright

The thought of losing color and brightness actually terrifies me. Picturing my closet full of bold colors and loud prints slowly being replaced with plain, pastel cotton knits that sag from my neck and waistband in exactly the same way they do on the plastic hangers makes me shudder.

Faded hair, faded skin, faded clothes…But why? Are we actually ashamed of what our bodies are anatomically designed to do in the second half of our lives? Is it a cultural leftover? One that  states that once a woman is past childbearing age, she should just blow away useless on a breeze? Here’s my personal favorite. We often stand in judgement of other women. Then, we are totally shocked when that same language rings in our own ears. “She’s dressing too young.” “She’s trying too hard.” “Her poor husband must be so embarrassed!”

No No No No NO!8982068ecd30085eb2667e723f1ee8e3

I will NOT quietly fade away. In FACT, THIS image is hanging beside my closet! I WILL wear animal print and chartreuse hats and leggings and ….I’ll have 107 wigs and sunglasses in odd shapes and I’ll walk around town with a whole pineapple just because. My shoes will be magnificent too. Maybe I’ll wear Chucks with an old wedding gown. I’m OLD! No one is going to say anything and even if they do, it will be something like “Wow, look at that amazing ol broad!” #oldladygoals

Black Label Sessions

We don’t have to get old to feel faded. There are lot’s of women that feel invisible for a million different reasons. Andi and I went to work to create a top-shelf session, brilliant with color designed to “reclaim, replenish and reignite…” Meet The Black Label Session.

Think about those words for a moment.

Reclaim- Has a part of you started to fade away? Your style or unique identity? We have you covered. Personal shopping with a master stylist is something we offer and Parlor chats are always on the house if talking it out with a friend is what you need.
Replenish- Are you so busy being in service to others that you continually let your own needs fall off the priority list? At Hot Tomato, self care is number one. We are a group of women that will show you how to prioritize yourself in 100 different ways!
Reignite- Passion. How much of that are you swimming in lately? Let’s get that spark glowing red again! Have you recently become inspired to political activism? Dying to finally write that novel? Ready to climb to the top of the corporate ladder? Longing for regular, red-hot romps with your lover? Let us help light your fire.

join us.

Are you ready to give yourself permission to reclaim, replenish and reignite with a Black Label Session? There are so many ways to make that happen. Please take a moment to select the session options that suit you best on this Contact Form and a crew member will be in touch right away.

Come as You Are

What if you could come just to the studio for your session… as you are?amr_3200_bw-5

Sleep in that day. After a long shower, the kind where you just stand there in no particular hurry and let the water just run all over you. Drain the hot water tank until you are in a thick cloud of rolling steam! When you push the curtain to the side, stroll out like a super-star emerging from the fog at a rock concert. Cover your body in your favorite body cream or baby soft powder. Leisurely dress in your soft cotton tank, over-sized sweater and favorite faded jeans. Welcome your curves to spill and remain soft and pliable. Pile a love-worn scarf loosely around your neck and shoulders and slip on leather loafers.amr_3295_hh-9

Go out and start your car well before you intend to leave so it’s too warm when you head out and you have to crack the window as you start down the road. (My favorite scenario is when the heat in the car is unbearably blasting and I open the sun roof when it’s snowing!) Your favorite mug in hand, the one that molds to your hands and warms your heart, you breathe it in deep and turn on music. Drive like a tourist. Notice the interesting architecture and natural landscape of the neighborhood you usually speed through.amr_3196_bw-4

When you arrive in our space, you’ll smell coffee and hear laughter. Your time with us will follow the natural path of self care that you’ve already started.

Your session is just that, yours. You. Not always a dressed up, cinched in and painted version. Rather, soft, natural, relaxed and unfettered. I know this kind of session speaks more to me where I am at this moment in my life. Maybe it speaks to you as well.

I’d love to here your thoughts. Begin Here <3

Fierce Mama Love

 

Can they ALL be my favorite session? For serious. Look at these.rfp_7288-2

This Mama knows how to rock a bump, now. Week 38 didn’t exactly look the same on me if memory serves. “Fierce” isn’t just a sexy buzz word I’m putting in here either, I’ve seen this mama bear with her THREE other littles! (You read that right) The love, the snuggles, the..ahem..”shaping of character” that is the hardest and best gift we can give our children…this Mama has it all!

She’s brilliantly funny, drop dead gorgeous and happens to be married to a lifetime friend of our photographer in training (yeah, you read that right too). Training.

Jocelyn: “A boudoir maternity shoot..this will be a first!”

My jaw flopped to the floor when these proofs were placed in my hand. STUN.NING. Just pure magic! I mean, here we have a great photographer that adores what she does, photographing a super sweet and hilarious friend who is blissfully expecting an already flipping ADORED baby girl! Mama is also super hot and had a brilliant hair and makeup team and was photographed in the most kickin studio in Marietta…maybe even the WORLD!

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So yeah, you could say I was pleased with the results ;)

ALSO, guess who’s birthday is TODAY? That’s right! Happy Birthday, Kennedy Sue <3

You got one fierce Mama, sweetheart!!

It’s a Fashion Takeover!

Psst! Hey, you.  Yea, you! Did you hear the latest dish with what’s going on at The Hot Tomato Studio this month?  Ohhhh girlfriend, let me tell you. Have you ever wanted to have your very own personal wardrobe stylist but never thought you could afford something like that? Or HECK, like there would ever be someone like that here in the Mid-Ohio Valley?  Well do we have a treat for you! There IS a personal wardrobe stylist in the area.

This month The Hot Tomato Studio is going to have yours truly, Courtney Smith of Ran.dom.o.si.ty 7.4.0 here teaching you how to purposefully layer your clothing so you can feel like a fashionista and look like a pro.  I’ve taken over the Hot Tomato blog today just so I can deliver this message straight to your inbox! You’ll have the chance to practice what I teach you and be able to ask me anything you want to know about perfecting your style.

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As if it couldn’t get any better, you’ll get to enjoy a social hour where we lavish you with drinks and snacks so you can get to know me, the stylist better and tour the space if you’ve never been there before.  We’ll share laughs and maybe even have a little dance party! Who knows what could happen when you get a group of women in one space together.

During the second half of the workshop you’ll learn how to mix patterns.  Let’s face it, that is a whole art form all on its own and I’m going to give you the best tips and tricks so you’ll possess the “know-how” when it comes to spicing up your style.

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I want to make sure you get as much as you can out of this workshop, so if you want to bring a piece of clothing that you’ve had a hard time figuring out how to wear or what to pair it with, BRING IT!  I’m here to teach you how to feel confident in the clothing that you wear.

We’re booking in advance and this workshop is $30.00 per person.  The workshop is on Saturday, January 28th from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.  There are only 10 spots available and we’re already starting to fill up.  Click on this link to sign up.  You can pay with PayPal or send a check to reserve your spot (private message me on the facebook link for my mailing address).  There will be no refunds available but you can transfer your ticket to someone else or wait for the next workshop and it will save your spot for next time.    If you don’t already follow me on social media, I’m on facebook and instagram as randomosity740.  Don’t have social media?  I also have a website where you can learn more about me at www.randomosity740.com.  Hope to see you there and bring your friends!  Can’t wait to meet you :)

~Courtney Smith~

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The Book of Love

A little black book will have a BIG impact.

Hot Tomato loves to tell a story with images. Flip through this fiery selection and see if you can guess the plot twist!

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Fill out our Contact Form and we will get you booked right away.

Hot Tomato Holiday Special!

Hot Tomato has a pretty kickin special for all of you! You and a friend- You need this!

Here are the details!

$599- gift it or split it (Big O Session for each of you)

Three outfits each.

$200 gift product credit from us to each of you!

Plus, we will gift $50 to your favorite charity <3

Several dates available to have gifts in time for Valentines Day.

Click here to book your boudoir or pin-up session now.

You and Me, Sister!

Sometimes it’s tough to justify booking a day to pamper yourself. “Oohh, look at me, I went and got all sexified and had a luxurious day to myself!” *Your friends hate you already. Not really. But sorta ;)

HOWEVER, you totally want that for your friends, right? BUT, it’s kinda weird to be like “Here, you go and do this fabulous thing and look all gorgeous and I’ll be over here super happy for you.” Yeah, your heart was in the right place but…Awkward!

Wouldn’t it be swell if you both got to do something glamorous AND and do a little good in your community? Read on. We have a solution!

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The Guide to Getting Over It and Booking Your Hot Tomato Portrait Session

We totally get it! For some women it is hard to take the leap to do a Hot Tomato Session. Most women feel nervous, don’t have a clue what to wear or are concerned about spending the money. Here is a definitive guide to getting over it and getting your session on the books!

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I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO POSE! – Neither did most of our other clients. No one walks in the door a pro – we coach you the entire way through your session from your face all the way down to your toes. 

I AM NOT PHOTOGENIC –Our photographers have spent hours studying peoples faces, learning about lighting and shooting other women who said they were not photogenic. You are in good hands. We guarantee you will love your portraits. 

I WOULD BE TOO NERVOUS – Girlllllllll! Most women are nervous before their session. If you are so inclined we will serve you a lovely beverage – then we will plop you down in hair and make-up in the very capable hands of only the best make-up artists in the area. These gals are super sweet and have a tendency to really put women at ease. For those of you that are super nervous – your jitters will be no match for AWESOME ROBERTS – our photographer has a super power – instant relaxation. I am not kidding. Her dad was that guy who could pick up a crying baby and it would instantly stop – she inherited a mutated gene and her calming ability works on nervous/half naked women. 

I CANNOT DO MY HAIR OR MAKE-UP TO SAVE MY LIFE – We only work with the areas best hair and make-up artists. They know all the ins and outs so you don’t have too. Rosacea? No problem. Acne or scaring – they have you covered. They can do a super natural look or transform you into a glam version of you. You know, you, only with smokey eyes and dramatic lashes!

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I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR OR NO CLUE WHAT TO WEAR – We start talking about what to wear right away! At your consultation. you can try on items in our wardrobe to supplement yours. We help you get the perfect fit and perfect look. We even offer personal shopping. That’s right – too busy to shop? We have you covered!

I AM NOT REALLY A LINGERIE GAL – That is ok! There are a lot of  different directions you can go! Maybe you don’t want boudoir -maybe you just want some great portraits celebrating you! Or maybe you look adorable in boy shorts and a tank top? Maybe your favorite t-shirt, your glasses and some knee socks. Maybe bare feet, favorite dress and loads of fresh flowers! You don’t have to get half nekkid or wear clothes that don’t feel authentic to have an amazing portrait session.

MY IDEA OF SEXY IS A LITTLE OFF THE WALLYeah, mine too! Read this. Also – we love that about you! If you can tell us a little bit what titillates you we can make a session happen. Is sleeping in your lovers hoodie what really does it for you? Maybe you feel sexiest in your riding clothes. Maybe your idea of sexy is dark and quiet or your sweetie really loves your knees!  Tell us a bit about it – we will create a portrait experience that will make you and your honey weak in the knees!

“I love that these women helped me to embrace what I am, and did not try to make me into what others may think that I “should” be. Nerdiness, stretch marks, insecurities, playfulness, sexiness, intelligence… I see all of me in my Hot Tomato photos, and I love her.” -FB

I AM PRETTY MODEST, I LOVE THE IDEA OF BEING PAMPERED AND HAVING A PORTRAIT SESSION CELEBRATING ME DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING LIKE THAT? We definitely do. We call it our “Pamper Session”. Imagine you, your best dress or three and an afternoon of pampering and being catered to. Champagne, the areas best hair and make-up artists, expert posing and tons of laughs! This is the perfect session to book with a best friend, mom, sister or all of the above! Your portraits make the perfect heirloom, gift or memento of that time you totally took amazing care of your self and scheduled a Hot Tomato Portrait Session. 

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I AM SINGLE OR DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO GIFT PORTRAITS TO: I am going to tell you a secret – women often book with us because they want to give their sweetie a thoughtful gift – those very same women will tell you that their portrait session ended up being more of a gift to themselves. True story. You deserve this. 

I AM REALLY PRIVATE AND DON’T WANT ANYONE TO KNOW I AM BEING PHOTOGRAPHED BY HOT TOMATO OR SEE MY PHOTOS – What happens at the studio, stays at the studio. We are really protective of our clients privacy. We don’t reveal who we have worked with unless we have permission. We NEVER share your images with anyone. Ever. Our building is discreet and there are other businesses in there that you COULD be visiting. No one has to know unless you tell them.

I NEED TO LOSE (INSERT RANDOM NUMBER HERE) POUNDS – We firmly believe that sexy has nothing to with a number on the scale. We photograph women of all shapes and sizes. We are trained to accentuate the parts of your body you love and to minimize the parts of your body you have yet to embrace. That being said, if you aren’t ready, you aren’t ready. But if you can’t love yourself at the weight you are at now, you won’t love yourself when you weigh less. 

“The girls at Hot Tomato made me feel absolutely gorgeous when I was at a very low spot in my life. They pointed out so many positive things about my body when I was stuck focusing on the things I didn’t like about myself. They accepted every inch of me and made me feel amazing!! Every one of them has a heart of gold—and a passion for what they do.” -JM

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I AM NOT SURE I CAN SWING THE COST: We totally get it – and we know our sessions seem expensive – but trust us – our clients think they are priceless. We want every single woman on the planet to be able to celebrate themselves with a Hot Tomato Portrait Session so we have a payment plan that seriously can fit any budget. We go over this at your consultation – but basically it works like a lay away and there is no finance charge. Once your session is paid off – you get your products. 

We’ve answered all your questions. Your next step?  Fill out the form below. There is no obligation, no pressure, just information and probably a new group of friends. Even if you aren’t ready to book your shoot today, we would love to get to know you. Fill out this form