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Square Earth Studio: Introducing Maryna Marston

I was terrified of my grandparent’s basement. It was cold and damp, and smelled like dirt. Nestled in the corner at the bottom of the stairs was a spooky closet. I dreaded being sent down there. Perhaps the thing that unnerved me most was the black and white portraits of my steely-eyed ancestors that hung on every wall. How could I be related to these people? My mother said we were lucky to have those pictures. I never understood. Photography has come a long way from the historical record of my family tree to the limitless art form we know today.

Created Woman would like to introduce you to one of Austin’s premier fashion photographers. Maryna Marston was born in Ukraine. Her mother introduced her to photography and used their bathroom as a darkroom. She experienced broad exposure to various art forms in her early education and enjoyed drawing, painting and sculpture. In those formative years she cultivated an excellent eye for framing and composition.

Maryna never considered photography a career option. Her family guided her toward a business degree. She graduated in 2005 with her Masters in International Business Management from Kyiv National Economic University. It wasn’t until she moved with her husband Justin to the US that she was free to pursue life as an artist. She was looking at the banking industry when Justin intervened and said “Maryna, you are one of the lucky people who can pick anything they want to do in life. What would you love to do? What are you passionate about?”

Maryna reflected on their days in London. Armed with her 3 megapixel Canon digital camera, she became the photo journalist for her family and friends. She never expected people to enjoy her photos as much as they did. She also remembered her experience with a London modeling agency, being treated like a beautiful girl with no brain. She swore if she ever went back to the fashion industry she would be on the other side of the lens. A designer friend introduced her to the work of fashion photography pioneer Richard Avedon and modern legend David LaChappelle. Finally the artist of her youth found expression.

She enrolled in photography classes and met business partner Marco Gutierrez. They challenged each other to new levels of creativity and have earned a collection of prestigious awards. Together they opened Square Earth Studio in June of 2012 specializing in fashion, editorial and product photography. Unlike those first photographers who wandered onto my great-great-grandparents farm, their goal is not to simply capture an image but to create art with each image they capture. Be watching for their work right here at Created Woman and in our digital version available at createdwoman.net.

Read about Square Earth Studio's co-owner, Marco Here

 

 

Lynn Marie Cherry has a heart to encourage women towards freedom and plant seeds of hope. She enjoys sharing insight from God’s word and the world around her. She has been married for almost 20 years to the same great guy, they have two amazing boys. You can read more at http://lynnmariecherry.blogspot.com/

 

Preparing the Way for Christmas

“Black Friday!” The Thanksgiving turkey had not even had time to digest when Black Friday kicked off the season preparing the way for Christmas.  Shoppers lined up for hours outside stores that held the key to the best bargain.  Nobody seemed to care if they got trampled on - - -after all, a bargain is worth fighting for! Also in preparation for Christmas, the tree went up, the presents from Black Friday were wrapped and put under it, and the traditional holiday baking began.  Just like Santa, people were making their list and checking it twice in preparation for the big day. My question to you is:  “Have you made absolutely sure that your list is complete in preparing the way for Christmas?” As food for thought, allow me to set up an imaginary scene with you.

It is Christmas Day and you and all your invited guests sit down to eat the meal that has been carefully planned and cooked in preparation for this day. Suddenly the doorbell rings.  You open the door and there stood someone you didn’t know.  “Who are you?” you ask.   “I’m Jesus, the one whose birthday you have been preparing to celebrate today.  Don’t you recognize me?”  You quickly look at your guest list, and his name is not on it.  Suddenly you realize that in all the frenzy of preparing the way for Christmas, the honorable guest, “the birthday man,” if you please, has not been invited.

“How could we have missed sending Him an invitation,” we all ask ourselves. “Why, I even went to several Christmas plays at different churches.  I sent out cards with the message of the season:  “Unto you this day is born in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  [Luke 2:11]    “How could I have possibly not given Him a special invitation to His own birthday celebration at my house?”

The answer is simple:  We can know The Story of Jesus’ Birth, but not have Jesus living within our hearts. May I let you in on a little secret:  It is never too late to add Jesus’ name to your guest list and invite Him into your heart as your Savior.

Merry Christmas.

I pray you will have “the honorable birthday guest ” in your heart this year.

Fall Fashion Report 2011

I live in Austin, Texas and it has gone on record that this has been the hottest summer since 1925 topping over 70 days in triple digits.  So needless to say, I am ready for the cool air of the fall!  The crisp breeze is always a welcome reminder to bundle up in one of my favorite coats while sipping piping, hot Chi Tea Latte from Starbucks.....mmmmm......I can taste it now.  Is it fall yet?  Good news ladies, in the stores it is fall and oh, how wonderful the clothes are!

Want more good new?  Your closet that's full of 2010 trends can still find life in 2011.  The names of the looks have changed a bit and maybe the styles have been a little tweaked - 2010 Men's Wear vs. 2011 Androgyny - but nonetheless, something old is something new this year!  So if you went crazy for the whole Mad Men craze last year you can still pull out those pumps and leopard prints and hit the town.

So, without further ado, let's Fall into Fashion Together!

2011 Looks:

Mod 

2011 Mod trend is really 2010's Mad Men look.  It's the sexiness of the 60's that can only come from classic sophistication.  The look is so hot that even the fall TV line has picked up on the trend featuring shows like Pam Am about the famous flight attendance that were popular in the 60's.  So just watch, take notes and go shopping!

 The Romantic

With flowy, soft dresses and skirts, this elegant ease is reminiscent of last year's bohemian.  Stylist Rachel Zoe is one of the many style icons that flaunts this look the best.  Comfy, beautiful and romantic all in one!

 The Romantic trend can be created by long flowy skirts as well as  midi skirts as seen in the Mod look or long maxi skirts.  Put on a t-shirt and make it a casual, romantic day.

The Androgyny

For the girl who likes to stay on trend but doesn't want all the frills!  It's last year's Men's Wear look and it's hear to stay for another season.  Grab your man's tie, put on your favorite blazer and hit the door!

 

2011 Trends:

Plaid 

Plaid has exploded onto everything from clothes to accessories and it's a flash back to the 1990's movie "Clueless."  So those of you who have had to hide your inner Cher for over a decade, pull her back out again and have a blast!

Cher in the 1990's flick, "Clueless"

Saturated Hues

These brights debut in fall 2010 and they haven't lost their luster!   The trend known as Color Blocking are full of brights and find life amidst the falls usual neutral colors.

Prints in saturated hues are also a big hit this year.

Black & White

For those of us that like our classic black,  this year's black and white is the new classic.  The trend is popping up in every look and you can never go wrong with the basics!  Yes, white in a fall color but stick to the rule of no white shoes.

 

2011 Textures:

Lace

We can't have a fashion list without the biggest fashion icon of 2011, Princess Kate!  She sports the lace trend in a classic silhouette that has become her staple look.  Lace is tricky and can look tattered if not worn right.  Take cues from icons like Kate and incorporate it into your Classic or Romantic looks.

Tweed

Tweed is also a classic and can be worn from scarves, blazers to purses like this classic Chanel purse.

 

2011 Coats:

Floor Length & Ponchos

As confessed in my blog "Changing with the Seasons" I am a coat-aholic so these fresh take on coats must find their way to my closet!

 

Shoes

Chunky Heal

Last year these chunky heals started to peak around the corner and for the fall this more practical heal has found their home in every type of shoe.  This trend will definitely keep you looking fashion forward while keeping your balance!

 Lace Ups

Fresh off the runway, this look has already popped up on the red carpet.  Boots, booties and wedges rock the style in every shade.

Katie Holmes at the VMA's wearing lace up booties

 

The great thing about every new season is that you don't always have to pay top dollar to look like a million bucks!  So many designers have designed amazing lines for the main-stream customer without compromising the quality.  So to stay on trend and on budget this fall, look for Designer collections in the stores you shop and strut the runway in your best fall wadrobe!

Jason Wu, Fall 2011

Affordable Designers

Banana Republic - Mad Men collection

Kohls - Vera Wang, Jennifer Lopez, Lauren Conrad

Target - Isaac Mizrahi, Missoni

QVC - Rachel Zoe

Sears - Kardashian Sisters

For more trends on fall colors, see blog "Top Color Trends from Summer to Fall"

Created Woman's Fall Fashion Issue is packed full of Fashion articles and a whole lot more!  See our Article Release Page for what's coming up!

Enjoy 2011 Fall Fashion and becoming the woman you were created to be both inside and out!

List othe blogs coming

My Style Icons

  Each woman has her own "style". Whether we like it or not, the way we dress and carry ourselves shows the world part of who we are and how we see ourselves. We pick up our own style from our mother's and grandmother's, our best friends, our co-workers, something we saw in a magazine or on a walk, where we live. Each of these little pieces adds up and creates our "style".

Growing up I was pretty much a "jock" so I sported lots of t-shirts and adidas basketball shorts (I did wear dresses for "special" events like Mother's Day and Easter :)...as I've grown so has my sense of style (and I LOVE dresses!). Here are a few of my style icons I've collected over the years and what each of them brings to the table - no matter what season or trend is in:

Audry Hepburn - we'll start with the big guns. Audrey had a timeless beauty that was evident no matter the year.

  • Pearls
  • Black Ballet Flats
  • The original "Little Black Dress"
  • Bold Sunglasses
  • Great, strong eyebrows
  • Compassion for the poor, sick, and orphans

Jennifer Aniston - classic with a bit of "laid-back California girl".

  • Tailored Jeans
  • Crisp White Button-down Top
  • Fitted Blazer
  • Simple Jewelry
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Always Smiling

Gwyneth Paltrow - incorporates trendy with classic, and is always lady-like.

  • Boots
  • Leggings
  • Military Jacket
  • Classic Trench
  • Striped boat-neck tee
  • Gladiator Sandals
  • Dedicated wife and mother, who loves to cook for her family   

Who are your style icons?

Spicy Black Bean Dip

As the sunshine shows up again this spring, so are  backyard barbecues . A great hostess is always looking for  yummy appetizers and sides for her guests as they wait for the entree to come off the grill. This black bean dip is the perfect third in a trio with garden salsa and guacamole. All the ingredients are economical and make it a great choice for a gathering in your own home or to carry with you to a potluck. Ingredients

3c.  cooked black beans

1/4t. oregano

2 canned chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce)

11/2 c. chopped onion

1T. balsamic vinegar

1/3 c. chopped cilantro

Blend beans (with liquid), chipotle peppers and balsamic vinegar in the blender and blend until smooth. Add chopped onion and cilantro.

The smokey flavor of chipotle makes this dish fabulous  with chips or raw vegetables. If you like,  use it as a sandwich spread or on your favorite wrap.

If you're concerned about calories, fat grams or carbs, it's also a healthy alternative to a sour cream or mayo based dip.

Dress to Impress on V-day

Getting ready for V-Day? I am! I just love the occasion to get all dressed up and go out. But the most important question here is, "what the heck am I going to wear"?!? Whether you have a hot date planned or going to the Bobby Bones Singles Mingle event, you need something fabulous! There are ALOT of different options in dresses, so whatever style you are this year I am sure these ideas will help you get you started!  The Belmont Flirt – For this look, the color options are endless. Just stick to solid colors and think short and flow-y.

  

                                   Express                                     White House and Black Market                                    Express

 

Sexy at Sullivan’s – This fitted style will always get you noticed! Don’t be afraid to show some skin for your honey! I am sure he would appreciate it ;)

     

                                  Express                                                         Express                                                        BEBE

 

South Congress Cutie - This style is great if you just want to say “I really like you”. It’s not too dramatic or daring and just the right amount of skin exposure.

 

                                            Zara                                                                     Banana Republic                                              Forever 21

 

The Driskill Diva – Fancy-smancy! Show him that momma still has it going on! I can’t think of a better color then black or any dark color to accomplish this look.

      

                                 Nordstrom                                                              Gap                                                   White House and Black Market

Spectacular Shopping on Small Business Saturday!!

I love the USA!! There’s a shopping day for everyone. With another Black Friday behind us, I was on board with Small Business Saturday and the idea of supporting locally owned businesses. The Austin Independent Business Alliance made the statement that if all people in the Austin area would shop local one day , $14,000,000 could be pumped into the local economy. Providing a place to shop are Nick and Cyndy Flores, Round Rock, Texas ,the proud parents of Ché Bella, a four day old gift shop  on Ranch Road 620. They carry gifts, accessories and apparel (some really cute t-shirts).  Their vision is to give something unique to the community by providing easy access to beautiful gifts, with an emphasis on items  crafted by local artists. A candle collection named after Henry David Thoreau and Jane Austen wowed the literature lover in me. Whimsical ID carriers  embellished with beads and minuscule pom poms are perfect for tweens or gorgeous g-moms,  and my very favorite were special occasion feather-covered purses!(exclusive in Texas to Ché Bella) !

The Flores are planning a wine-tasting, a book signing and invite the public to visit them

and see items exclusive to Che Bella!

16238N. RM 620,Suite E

Austin, Texas 78717

512-671-4438

For more information email: cyndy_flores@sbcglobal.net

Black Friday Fever

Ah yes ladies, it's that time of year again. Each year, no matter where I spend Thanksgiving, I end up in the same place on Black Friday. The mall. I will take any mall, in any city, at any time. Dare me. In fact, that's kind of the point. While listening to all of the Black Friday mumbo jumbo in days leading up to the "busiest shopping day of the year", I heard so many interviews with women saying they loved Black Friday for the sport. I thought, "Wow, women really are crazy." Until I got to the mall at 7:30 this morning and thought "Hm, finding a parking spot was so easy... I'm going to get so much good stuff before anyone else!". In that moment I found myself a victim of the bloodsport. Just another crazed woman at the mall.
The Tradition
I must say it should come as no surprise that I love the game of beating other shoppers to great deals. I have been shopping Black Friday sales since before I can remember. I've been a tag along since before I even enjoyed shopping. Now that was a while ago. Those were the days, before the internet leaked the sales and people paid others off to hold their spot in line. Just good, clean, fighting over Tickle Me Elmo's. Though I have to admit I am glad we have evolved in some ways.
For instance, yesterday while at work I browsed Ideeli.com, one of my favorite discount websites. They had "Black Friday" deals all week, including $50 cashmere and closeout prices on Calvin Klein accessories. After drooling over those deals I hopped over to Cybermonday.com, which was equally as awesome. Coupons galore and all the scoop on the weekend sales.
It's true-- I have given in to the internet leaks and the coupon codes, but its time you do too! If you missed out on the Black Friday deals because you wanted to "avoid the crowds," get some Christmas (or personal) shopping done with the rest of your weekend. Tomorrow has been declared "Small Business Saturday" and of course Monday is "Cyber Monday." So put yourself out there, you still have time to beat someone to a deal they didn't even know about!