Archive for the ‘goals’ Category

Have you heard about Mondo Beyondo? It’s all about dreaming big, really big, letting yourself say the big, wild, crazy dreams that are in your soul, the ones the gremlins shout the loudest at, the ones that scare the beejesus out of you because they are what you really want to pursue.

I  made a mondo beyondo list a while ago (pictured above), but I didn’t do anything with it. Because, well, it’s scary to announce your biggest, wildest dreams. But it’s not very Mondo or Beyondo if you don’t share them. If you don’t really release them out into the world. So, I finally feel ready to shout to the world, Hey world, these are my dreams. This is what I want in my life. I am going to make it happen, I’m ready! It seems like the right time to release these out into the universe. Especially since I have chosen Joy as my word of the year, and told the Universe in no uncertain terms on Dec. 31 that I intended to focus on creativity, fun and photography this year.

Here is my Mondo Beyondo list.

It reads:

I, Kelly Ann Shaw, do solemnly vow to make this come true.

Dear Universe,

I welcome your assistance and signs.

A photo show of my work in a gallery.

A successful photography business, both my portraits and my art photos

Time to really travel in Italy, Greece, Ireland, Spain

Publish a photo book of people I meet with their stories(this one surprised me a bit)

Have an awesome, life long love adventure with Brian

Publish several of my book stories

Not needing to work an office desk job because my photography and writing pays the bills

Support Brian emotionally as he grows his dreams

Run and finish a marathon

Get and stay in awesome shape

Spend time living on an island with B

Have a story published in a magazine with photos that I took

Pay off all our debt

Make enough to help my parents financially

The little details around the collage include:

Dream, hope, believe, Dream Big, reach for the stars, bloom, way to go, There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them.

Come on Universe, let’s get busy!


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Hellooooo out there!

‘Tis I, Flying Mermaid, finally returned from her great, mighty Mermaid adventure off on the other side of the ocean and eager to return to her bloggy home.

Ok, really, I’m not returning from anywhere, other than a very long blog hiatus, but I am very happy to be returning to blog land!

I last posted in July (hangs head with a bit of shame) but life has been a whirlwind since then!

There was work-land, which has been occupying my thoughts in a way that I didn’t want to share here (this is a public blog after all). But suffice it to say, my head has been bogged down by that a lot, and since I didn’t want to share my thoughts on it, I just didn’t share at all!

Then there was Sadie. We adopted a coon hound puppy in August…and our lives turned upside down and inside out. Suddenly we had no time to relax, to sit and do nothing, to read in peace, and anything that we normally did (including blogging) was out the window.

Sadie was not a good fit for us. We did everything possible for her, taking her for lots of walks, giving her play time and teaching her commands, and having less and less time to do anything for us, not associated with Sadie. Hounds require a lot of time, a lot of exercise, way more than we could provide.  And then there was Myra WonderPup. Myra, my sweet, happy, loves other dogs and people, that Myra — she disappeared entirely. She HATED Sadie. She was depressed. She was growling at Sadie all the time, and showing her teeth. We tried to make sure we were balancing play time and affection, and Myra got the short end of that stick. Every time we would try to cuddle with Myra, Sadie would jump in and Myra would get up and walk away. When we played with Myra, Sadie would jump in and take her toys and Myra would growl and walk away and not play anymore. Plus B works from home and Sadie made that very, very challenging for him.

We found a new home for Sadie, a wonderful, perfect for her in every way home, where she would have lots and lots of outside time, and kids to play with and a high-energy Jack Russell to play with, and an owner who would take her on truck rides and hunting trips. Perfect Sadie land!

I am not looking for “shame on you” or “you should have known what you were getting into” or “how could you do that?” This was a decision we felt was truly best for everyone involved, me, B, Myra, and Sadie.

And then I’ve also been growing Flying Mermaid Photography!

I’ve had my first professional shoots:




I entered the NC state fair photo exhibit with the picture below (my first ever photo contest/juried art show!)


I have a photo on display/for sale at a new yoga studio in Raleigh.

I am gearing up for my first wedding on Saturday, and for the bride, I’ve also done her bridal shower pictures



And her bachelorette party


I attended the wedding of another friend


B is starting up a videography business, partnered with Flying Mermaid Photography for some projects. We had our first joint project, a high school recruitment video for a high school football player.


And then there has been just regular life stuff, but Flying Mermaid Photography has definitely been taking up a chunk of time – time I am more than happy to be spending! Dream growing, doing what I love, what brings me passion, is so rewarding (even if it has made me busy!)

I will be back to regular blogging now, I look forward to connecting again!

love and mermaid splashes!

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Photography has become such a strong passion of mine. I love it. I love sharing how I view the world. And I want to start making photography more than just a passion. I want to grow a business. Put myself out there. Take the risk because to pursue something I love so much means pursuing joy as work, and I love that.

Before the wedding, I created a craigslist ad, looking for wedding dress models and kids for portraits. In exchange for them helping me to build my portfolio, I would give them a few free prints and a few photos for free.

I had my first portfolio session yesterday with a girl who is getting married in November and wanted pictures in her wedding dress. She brought her maid of honor, and they were great to work with. Fun. Open to being silly. Not self-conscious around the camera.

I am very very happy with the photos I got, these will be great to add to my portfolio. I spent today creating a new professional photography site, and I would like to introduce you to Flying Mermaid Photography I am very, very excited about it!!

And I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from my first ever bridal session. I had so much fun on this photo shoot.




She was very sassy in a great way



I asked them if they would mind getting silly. “It’s what we do!”



I bought a parasol from this great vintage store, and she was great with playing with it.


Love the sass.


My FAVORITE from the session


Love the boots with the dress


How fun is this??


Ahh, girlfriends


Nice detail

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I have been encountering a lot of magic moments, little moments of serendipity and joy and fun…and oh yeah, a moment that gave me a big AHA! moment, one that put me more firmly on a path that I didn’t fully accept that I was on but now realize that I have been on this path for a while now. Considering both B and I have been feeling burnt out and on overload with everything that has been going on, and the wedding now 23 days away, I am cherishing these little magic moments.

Today, I was at Whole Foods to pick up lunch (the easiest place for me to find lunch and where I always head if I didn’t bring lunch to work with me) and they had, are you ready, vegan chocolate mousse!!! Now this might not sound like a big deal, but when you are used to never having any of the dessert options and then you finally find something that you can eat, you start babbling like a loon to the checkout girl about how happy you are to have a dessert option.


Also while in the grocery store, I saw a mom shopping with her three young kids, one of whom was wearing a silver sparkly cape! I asked him if he was a superhero, he said yes, and when I asked what his power was, I think he said being a mascot (or masking?) and fighting. I told him I don’t normally get to meet superheroes while grocery shopping and it was very exciting for me!


B and I went out to Sunset Beach, NC, last weekend to see where we will be getting married (22 days tomorrow!) and where we will be staying the night before. Sunset Beach is gorgeous, and the water was warm enough to go swimming! I was a very happy mermaid. While we were strolling down the beach, my trusy camera over one shoulder, we passed a guy who looked familiar to me. “That looks just like Don, our wedding officiant,” I whispered to B. “I really think it is Don, let’s go see.”

We turn around, and go back to the gentleman sunning himself on the beach. “Excuse me, sir, are you Don Beach?” To our delight, it was him, and we got to meet his lovely wife as well, who will be our photographer. We found Don online and weren’t going to meet him until the ceremony, so I was very happy to have a serendipitous moment and meet him while strolling the beach. He had suggested Sunset Beach as the location, and I definitely have to agree that it will be the perfect location for us. 🙂


And the AHA! moment? I was asked to shoot the Administrative Professionals Day luncheon that my work was throwing. I was there, shooting away, when the guest speaker started talking. She was talking about excellence in action — where do you feel excellent? What do you feel most alive doing? What do you need to be doing that you aren’t? What are your gifts that need to be expressed?

I felt like she was talking directly to me. The more she talked, the more something became crystal clear in my mind — photography. Photography is what I love doing. It is a gift and talent and passion that I was never expecting to find, and yet it is so much a part of me, and it is definitely when I feel most alive and engaged and present. And on my way back to the office, I had an image of myself as a full-time photographer, and it was a surprisingly easy image to hold onto.

Since then, I have been doing a bunch of photoshoots for work for an internal directory we are creating, and it just keep reminding me how much I have doing it. I’ve also started to take steps toward this goal. I replied to several Craig’s List ads looking for a photographer (haven’t heard back, but I figure just reaching out and saying yes, I am a photographer, was a great first step). I found out that one of my favorite photographer/bloggers will be offering consulting sessions that can be done electronically, and I wrote to see about pricing.

I started shooting on a whim, and the more I played it, the more I loved it, and gradually it became more and more of a deep love. To say and realize that I want to do this full-time, and to start taking steps toward that, is hugely exciting!

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A life list

When I was in Louisville, KY, I found this awesome little book shop and one of the first things I saw was the fabulous journal section (I am a sucker for journals). And one of the first journals I saw in this great collection was Listography – Your life in lists. It gives you all these different lists to fill out, and it has fun quirky illustrations opposite the lists. I was almost swooning in the bookstore. Needless to say, I quickly bought it and spent all evening playing with lists in my new journal.

One of the lists is “Things you’d like to do before you die.” While this list will continue to grow, I thought I would share what is on the list so far. In no particular order:

1. See AC/DC in concert

2. Drink tea in the Mountains of Nepal.

3. Learn to sail.

4. Spend time living on a boat.

5. Learn to surf (and actually the illustration on the opposite page is this!)

6. Private

7. Visit a Zen monastery in Japan.

8. See the Great Wall of China.

9. Knit a complete scarf.

10. Try riverboarding.

11. Go white water rafting.

12. Visit Egypt and see the Great Pyramids

13. Become vegan for at least six months.

14. Watch the sunset in Hawaii.

15. Skydive.

16. Dive the Great Barrier Reef.

17. Get tattoos

18. Have a  photography show/exhibit

19. Go to a spa for a full day of pampering

20. Publish a number of my books.

21. Go on a safari in Africa

22. Learn to swing dance.

23. Experience natural hot springs.

24. Build a Marilyn Monroe photo collection

25. Watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s

26. Learn to Irish stepdance

27. Find out more of Auntie El’s life story.

28. Be an extra in a film.

29. Visit Yosemite and go rock climbing

30. Go hiking/camping/kayaking for a week

31. Shoot a wedding for a friend

32. Open up a cafe/bookstore

33. Read the Catcher in the Rye

34. Learn to speak Italian

35. Jump off a rock cliff in Greece

36. Go to all the major amusement parks in the U.S.

37. Run through a field of wildflowers in the mountains a la Sound of Music

38. Kiss B under a waterfall

39. Watch the birth of an animal

40. Go to the Eifel Tower with B

41. Run a marathon

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As of tomorrow, I have 21 days until my life is changing in a big way, when B moves down to North Carolina to be with me (swoon! Grin!).

And coincidentally, I have also read and heard that it only takes 21 consecutive days of doing something to  make it a habit.

So, I am going to use this time to establish a new habit for myself, one that will help keep me healthy, and will help me relieve some of the stress and tension that has been constants in my life for a while (see Every Now and Then I fall apart post). And it is a habit that will also have carry-over benefits for when B is here — gets me in the habit of getting up and going instead of wasting half the day lounging around, for example.

Starting tomorrow, I am going to get up and do some kind of exercise every morning, pretty much as soon as I get up. Running, walking with the pup and strength training, roller blading, trail running (those two mostly on weekends). I tend to be fairly active, but not consistently. And often I plan on running or something at night, and either I work late or I’m tired and hungry, and I end up not doing it. This way, it’s done, every single day, and when I get home at night, I don’t have to try to fit in exercising.

During the work week, this will mean getting up before 6 and lacing up my running shoes or throwing on some walking shoes to take the pup for a good long walk. In case it isn’t clear from this, I am not naturally a morning person. I usually get up with the WonderPup to let her out and give her breakfast, and will usually stumble back to bed until forced to get up and start getting ready for work. And on weekends, it can literally take me half the day to get up and exercise, because I will sleep later, have coffee, read blogs, play with the pup, and then it is noon and I still haven’t exercised yet. I still plan on sleeping in on weekends, but under the 21 day challenge, I will do my exercising first thing.

I’m sure I will have mornings where I don’t want to get up that early to exercise, but I’m hoping that with the challenge, I will motivate myself, as well as reminding myself that once it becomes habitual, it’s easy.

This isn’t about losing weight — despite how loudly the insecure girl in the mirror might try to convince me otherwise, I know I’m at a healthy (slender) weight. I just love exercising, feel better when I do it mentally and physically, and I just need to really make time for it.

So wish me luck! I’m excited to make exercising a daily thing, no excuses.

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Come in, come in, don’t be shy. Come, sit in my cafe. Rest. Relax. Enjoy good food.

Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free food that is yummy and will make you happy. Have other allergies? Let me know, we can work out something. No one should feel like they can’t enjoy good food in a cafe. Don’t have food allergies? Don’t worry, this is all stuff that has been tested on people who don’t have to eat this way but still really enjoy these recipes.

Here you will find comfy chairs, bean bags, pillows, blankets. Stay a while.

You will find an eclectic mix of music. Some independent stuff. Some off-the-mainstream stuff. And some Van Morrison, of course. And when my love and I start dancing around the cafe, feel free to join in with  us.

On the walls, you will see some of our photos, photos from travels, photos from daily adventures, and photos of some of our customers. We want to know your stories. You will find snippets of life stories from our customers scattered around. After all, I am a reporter at heart, and I want to get to know you.

You will find cool quotes in unusual places — walls, maybe on chairs, tables, who knows! Add your own!

Come join us, won’t you?

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