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An exclusive behind-the-scenes look into Milwaukee’s hidden gem of a studio + event lounge.

Okay, so it’s confession time. About a year and a half ago, I was checking the mail when I noticed a sign just outside our main lobby that read, “Northern Lights Photography Studio + Events”. How cool!! A new photography studio–and in the exact building I live in–of all places!!

The studio is located right next to Screaming Tuna, so to get there from the outside, you just go in though the main lobby and up the stairs, and down the hall. (The hallway walls are reserved for photographers who would like to display their own work!)

I’ve heard and seen great things coming out of this studio on their Instagram, but decided to reach out to see what the space was all about for myself. David Bernacchi, the studio’s booking agent followed up with me the very same day (on a Saturday), and we had a tour set up that very next week.

As David put it, this place feels like a spaceship. With its wireless remote controlled lights, backdrops, and window shades, the state-of-the-art ceiling drop lights and cyclorama walls instantly make this studio a modern photographer’s dream. Even the bathroom is aesthetically gorgeous, encompassing dual-rainfall shower heads.

I was particularly in love with the amazing make up room!! The vanity sets have color temperature adjustable LED lighting. There’s even a clothing steamer and curling & straightening iron holders. They really thought of everything!

Not to mention, a fully furnished kitchen and lounge, surrounded by a gorgeous view of the Milwaukee River make Northern Lights Photo Studio perfect for wedding shoots and all kinds of events.

Robert Popp, the studio owner is an all around awesome guy and studio host. He really goes the extra mile to help photographers feel comfortable in the space and is happy to suggest light set ups for some fantastic results. I loved watching Bob work with Bryan in our test photo shoot last week. I couldn’t believe how many shots we got in such a short amount of time:

Click here for some fun behind-the-scenes out-takes from this shoot!

The part that I think photographers will love the most is how quickly everything can be set up. Simply push the drop lights from the ceiling to where you want them, pull them up or down, and press a button on the remote to select from an array of backdrops, (or use the always freshly painted white Cyclorama wall) and you’re ready to go!

Want to test it out for yourself? Come join us on Thursday, May 2nd any time from 6:00-9:00PM at the Northern Lights Photo Studio Open House & Networking Event. This free event will be an awesome night of test shoots, networking, and collaboration with complimentary refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. You can reserve your free tickets HERE, and check out the Facebook Event HERE.

Can’t wait till then? Book the studio and save 15% off your total booking session when you use promo code: CYNFLUENCE

Never underestimate what you can do in just ONE YEAR…

It was New Year’s Eve of 2017 when Bryan and I went to Turner Hall to celebrate the welcoming of 2018. I was so excited to be there, and the band that was playing (GGOOLLDD) was tearing up the stage. Margaret Butler, the band’s lead singer, was confidently commanding the attention of the packed venue, dressed in the most glamorous black and gold cascading romper.

I turned and looked at Bryan.

“I wanna do THAT.”

It had been two years since I graduated with my B.A. in classical voice, and almost two years that I had been singing as a professional operatic chorus soprano in Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera Company. Don’t get me wrong–I had so many fantastic experiences as a chorister thus far. But the more difficult thing to admit to myself was that it all seemed to pale in comparison to the energy and wonder of what was pouring out from the stage that was covered in glitter.

Exactly one year later…NYE 2018🤘

2018 was a year of letting go of old expectations and allowing myself to freely gravitate towards whatever the hell it was that made my heart happy. I had just completed my first full year of being a talent agency director of an international modeling agency along with my co-agent-in-crime, Krystle Burgos. We were already set up to make headway after implementing many changes throughout the past year, and we took hold of every golden opportunity that came our way. We had the honor of teaming up with Sara Axness and the Miss Wisconsin United States Pageant to be included as panel judges, and crowned the past year’s state title holders. Agency life is no easy task, but the hustle of managing so many different things makes every day fresh, and watching our talent succeed and chase their dreams is beyond rewarding!!

Despite all the craziness, I managed to find time to release my first original single on Apple Music & all major streaming platforms. I performed in multiple shows with my Down 2 Dance family and even sang opera behind hip hop beats at a fashion show wearing blue lipstick.

#defyconvention

Through all of this, Bryan has been my absolute rock.  I never thought I would find someone who is not only able to keep up with me, but someone who shares my passion for self development and love of new experiences. He instills a confidence in me that inspires me to take on each new challenge fearlessly, and gives me the room to figure out how the hell I’m going to go about figuring them out. We dance together, we do photo shoots together (Yup, he’s my #1 photographer and he knows it) we live and laugh together, and when we’re watching animal documentaries on Netflix, we narrate all commentary of the animals together.

With all of the changes that have occurred in my life over the last 3 years, not once has Bryan ever doubted me or questioned my ability. I’ve learned that real, authentic love is the act of continuous mutual building. It thrives in honesty and the pursuit of growth and acceptance. It is the transparent friendship of two souls who constantly seek to understand one another without judgement.

What are my goals for 2019? Ah, to be honest I only have a few concrete ones. My real objective is to continue to creatively Defy Convention, and be open to new challenges and experiences. In a world constantly pushing me to squeeze into a box, I want to continue to challenge myself to pave my own way of thinking and thriving, even if nobody else understands it. We all may have our own definitions of “success” but quite frankly, I’m only concerned with my own definition of the word.

To peace, health, and authentically meaningful fulfillment,

HAPPY FREAKING NEW YEAR⭐️

How do YOU plan to #defyconvention this year?

Life is short but your nails don’t have to be. (Unless you’re a musician…then you get a pass.) Anyway, my point is that while you are alive, you should do your part to help make the world suck slightly less.🤓

Here are some fresh ways you can creatively increase your vibe and the vibes around you:

1. LIT TALKING

Let me introduce you to the concept of LIT TALKING. You may have guessed that it is precisely the opposite of sh*t talking.

LIT Talking  refers to the concept of talking mad GOOD about someone behind their back. For example:

“OMG DID YOU SEE WHAT SHE WAS WEARING??…It was completely AWESOME, UNIQUE AND BOLD.”

Feel free to choose from a list of other encouraging power adjectives:

  • Original
  • Vibrant
  • Confident
  • Empowering
  • Innovative
  • Creative
  • Stylish
  • Neo-Vintage
  • Inspiring
  • Refreshing
  • Powerful
  • Unapologetic

Instead of choosing to be shallow and judgmental, you can always choose to be compassionate and kind. I promise that you will feel proud of your newfound ability to outwardly express higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence.

2. Complimenting the skills of your barista’s latte art

I have a beautiful leaf design in my Stone Creek Boston Latte, and my day is slightly better now after discovering my car got towed.

THANKS, LUKE!! YOU DA REAL MVP!!!

It’s funny how often we take the little things for granted without even realizing it. Pay attention to the small details, appreciate them, and acknowledge them.

Grab this gray cashmere blanket scarf for $30💋(Click photo for details)

3. Being well tempered around government employees

Even after 10+ years in customer service (started working at McDonald’s at age 14, then Costco cashiering, then eyewear sales) my hat still goes off to our friends at the DMV, or more recently for me, the Milwaukee tow lot. Nobody likes going to these places, so the employees are so used to dealing with disgruntled people who are angry before they walk in the door. You will brighten up their whole day by simply being the happy person in a sea of impatient, borderline delinquents.😅

4. Letting people merge on the interstate

Or just all around not driving like an a**hole. You’re already late. You might as well call the person, tell them you’re going to be 20 minutes late, and proceed to turn up the music and car jam as you sit idly in traffic. Ya can’t change it, so find the best way to embrace it.  Plus, the surrounding vehicles may be entertained by your car dance moves.

Additional tip: I don’t block intersections, and I share the road with other drivers because I don’t suck. 

5. Smiling at people as you walk passed them

Especially if you are walking past another stylish lady. Even if it’s just a small, friendly closed lip smile, it is so refreshing to exchange positive energy and basic human acknowledgment with other people of the world. Extra points for giving a compliment! One of my favorite Jim Carey quotes is, “The effect you have on other people is the most valuable currency you have to offer.” This couldn’t be more true. 🙌 Here’s a reminder to choose compassion and empathy over judgment and jealousy.

Do you have another tip for being unconventionally kind? Drop it in the comments section below! Read next, 5 Secrets to Staying Positive.

ALSO: Use #littalking on Instagram (and tag me in the photo!!) for a shoutout on my story! Feel free to describe in the caption a way you have recently embraced #unconventionalkindness.❤️

⭐️Cynthia

Have you ever thought how cool it would be to step out on the runway, learn that instrument, or start that YouTube Channel?  I am convinced every single person has at least one thing that they have interest of pursuing, but something always seems to get in the way of actually doing it…

I’m totally guilty of making excuses for reasons I haven’t tried something I’ve always wanted to. Some of my favorite excuses are:

  • “I don’t have time/I’m busy”
  • “I don’t have X amount of money”
  • “I don’t live in a bigger city”
  • “I don’t look like ____”

We can rattle off any excuse we want, BUT at the end of the day…all of these excuses all stem from one root source:

F E A R .

So, where is this fear coming from?? And, the bigger question: How can we stop it from getting in the way?

1. The Past

Most of us have vivid memories of the moments when we’ve failed in the past. I personally have just a couple myself:

So, I’ve clearly failed at PLENTY of things.😅And, the reason why I’m super open about them and don’t care is because they bare no relevance on my current life. Now, this isn’t to say that some of these failures didn’t completely break me when they actually occurred, but I’ve since learned that the cycle of failing, learning, and beginning again with more information were NECESSARY in guiding me into the direction of fruition. Funny thing is, many of these same failures you see listed above graduated and went on to become successes. 💪

No matter how much failure can define a moment in time, they can never define YOU as a complete person.

Ya hear that, exploding cupcakes?🌋

The Present

We live in a very judgmental world. I’ve heard so many of our agency talent and students talk about how AFRAID they are about putting themselves out there because of fear of judgment from their peers. And trust me, this isn’t something that necessarily goes away with age or experience. People are mean, and even meaner when they can hide behind a keyboard and a screen. Two things you should realize about mean people and judgmental people:

#1. They have more fear and insecurity than those who put themselves (or their work) out there.

#2. People who exude negative energy possess it within themselves, which makes them unhappy. (Probably because of #1.)

Fear of judgment actually goes away the moment you realize that your opinion of YOURSELF matters more than the ones judging you. It goes away when you realize that you are creating something, and they are not. The fear of judgment stays away when you make the conscious decision to decide that the only rubric you need to adhere to is one that YOU write, based on your OWN values, perceptions, and goals.

The Future

It’s like there’s a pattern here or something. Hear me out.🧐

The future, by definition, IS  uncertainty. While we can set ourselves up for success, we can not choreograph every micro detail of our future. We don’t know how every action we make is going to play out, and so fear comes from the unknown. Now think of it this way…

Because we DON’T KNOW in full detail what will happen, we are NOT GUARANTEED or ENTITLED TO ANYTHING…

Not even TOMORROW.

It’s not about making fear ‘go away’. It’s about ‘keeping it at bay’, and realizing you have a limited amount of time on this earth to determine whether or not you will control your fears and conquer, or allow your fears to control you and never step forward.

💄Now go put your lipstick on and go do ALL THE THINGS.

Hey you, what have YOU failed at? What did it teach you? And, how are you BETTER now because of it? I’d love to hear your story!

Also, comment a🌋 on my last post on Instagram, and I’ll be sure to follow you back🙃

There is ONE accessory that fashion designers local, national, & international have agreed ALWAYS  flatters every body type and size… Modern and non gender-exclusive, everyone of all and ages and backgrounds can rock this look for some added VAMP.

When it comes to the modeling industry, or simply just wanting to look GREAT, there is one specific element that can tie the whole look together, or make the entire style look subpar. 

Without it, the look is nowhere near as vibrant or as stately as it could be. I HIGHLY recommend everyone go out and find this while it is still available…

THE ONE SINGLE ACCESSORY YOU NEED TO OWN NOW IS:

 

Confidence.

🙃

Okay, you probably want to slap me now, and I get it. But SERIOUSLY THOUGH…. Confidence is THE one single thing you NEED in order to own ANY style. Think about it. Look at your favorite celebrities, musicians, or fashion icons. They often wear some of the most vibrant styles…and they do not walk around timidly with their head down.

Unapologetically rockin my mom’s prom dress from ’85💙

However, being confident is not only for celebrities. To be confident, you don’t have to be perfect, rich, gorgeous, or act like you have all the answers… In fact, nobody wants you to be perfect. Because…what even IS perfect? If you are striving to be someone else’s idea of “perfect”, you are not being yourself. We want you to be yourself so that you can embrace confidence freely, and exactly as you are. Plus, we want to capture it all on camera…

When it comes to fashion, the only way to WEAR confidence is by doing so UNAPOLOGETICALLY.  The unison of fashion and confidence is STYLE.  Remember that you have a powerful tool in your closet that requires no ironing or folding. And, can be worn in all seasons. Take your look up 10 notches by always wearing  CONFIDENCE as your main accessory.💄

Want more direct tips on how you can manifest more confidence over night? Check out: “Four Ways to Become More Confident OVERNIGHT”.