Today we have a very special red headed, cat crazy diva… who just happens to be my taller, curvier, red headed non-biological twin. And you also may remember Merl from when she visited me last June. Take it away miss sassafrass:

Ello loyal Tomorrow Never Knows readers! You obviously know who I am. …what’s that? You just started reading Emily’s blog recently and she doesn’t wax poetic about her American mental twin like she used to? FOR SHAME. Allow me to introduce myself, my full name is Merrillan but the only people who call me that are hometown kids and my father when he get’s another one of my parking tickets in the mail at home. To everyone else, I’m Merl the craziest of cat ladies, and I’m currently residing in the windiest of cities, Chicago IL. I design jewelry, sell vintage apparel & accessories, am in the process of finishing up a new website design that will house a new eco minded blog AND I also like to refer to myself as a photographer from time to time. It’s one of the many things Ms Em and I have in common; griping about lens costs, excitedly sharing new shop/portrait photos and lamenting about the price that our dearest hobby costs to become a business.

I think that just because you may not have the funds for high quality lighting and backdrops, doesn’t mean that you can’t improvise with what you have. When an old friend was visiting a few months ago, I conned her into posing for some artistic shots. Using two simple desk lamps, a silver photography reflector [though a thicker piece of particle board with some tin foil would’ve worked the same] I was able to mimic what a ‘professional’ with a full set of studio lights could achieve.

The same goes for recently shooting headshots for my sister, who’s attending theater school here in Chicago. Positioning her by the window and having her hold the reflector off camera [for a softer light, you can just use a thick piece of white paper to reflect the natural light. I say thicker so that the paper will stay taut and not be drooping all over the place] I could get soft, directional lighting. After we got the legit photos out of the way, I again, using my powers of persuasion, convinced her to pose for some ‘artsy’ shots using the overhead lights in my studio and hallway. Playing around with the white balance setting on my camera, I was able to achieve the ‘mood’ I was going for and could further enhance/tweak the hues in Lightroom and Photoshop in PP.

Moral of the story: just because you’re not a world class photographer with thousands of dollars of equipment at your disposal, doesn’t mean that you can’t ghetto rig a shooting situation to achieve the same settings. You can be like me, and share the jankity set up you duct taped together, or keep those dirty secrets to yourself and simply show off your amazing photos. I won’t tell.

Hope you’re having fun in Cali Emily! It’s 60 here in Chicago so you don’t get to use the “why would I leave snow for more snow!” excuse anymore.. but I’ll forgive you when I see you in June :).

peace, love and wet kitty kisses kids!



Hello! While I am enjoying the warm weather in California this week, I asked some swell ladies to guest blog for me. You may remember this lady from this post when she visited last summer.


Hey! I’m Jentine from My Edit.

I usually try to avoid too many iphone selfies but sometimes when I pass a mirror, I can’t resist. For shame.

I’m posting for Emily while she is on vacation, which is fitting because I just got back from vacation myself. Technically, I planned on getting quite a bit of work done while I was away but it didn’t work exactly like that. I went to Holland for two weeks to meet my new nephew and to hang out with lots of fam damily and friends. I was just there in August for a wedding, but that time it was so hectic and busy that I may have had more fun this time around… So much fun that for the first week, I thought I might not return to Canada. By the second week I missed my husband, cats and my closet and I decided to come home. I came home with a slightly overweight suitcase and plenty of good memories… Some highlights…

Watching perfect beach sunsets… In the winter. In Holland. Considering it rains so much there all the time, this may have been a little miracle.

Biking everywhere on whatever bike I could borrow…

Hanging out with my new buddy…

Making bad decisions… WARNING: not to be combined with the previous activity.

[Emily here, I don’t think this is a bad decision at all]

Picking out our next real estate investment. No big deal.

You’re invited over for tea and stroop waffels anytime… Especially you, Emily… safe travels and next time you have vacation, come visit me!