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Charlene is a woman near and dear to my heart. A fellow entrepreneur and first-generation American, this vivacious and effervescent spirit glows from the inside out. Whether she’s out playing basketball at the park or volunteering at the local food pantry, Charlene’s an active part of both the American and Assyrian communities. But that’s not all that sets her apart.
In the fall of 2010 her world was shaken when her, then fiance, canceled their big day – suddenly and without warning – just three weeks shy of the occasion. Rather than succumbing to the shock of the breakup, Charlene turned her focus outwardly to help other women in similar situations.
“After not being able to find helpful resources online I decided to start an online network to help others who had a similar experience.” Launching “My Wedding Got Cancelled,” Charlene created a virtual community that connected current and ex-brides with one another’s stories and goods – providing both sides a chance to connect.
The website and network provide:
- Professional licensed marriage and family councilors to assist in break-up coping.
- A personal page for each person to share their story, make friends, and seek help.
- Each member with an option of opening their own online store where they can sell their unused wedding and engagement materials.
When looking to recruit models for my Pierogi Picnic shoots there’s one thing that always gets my attention: enthusiasm. Whether a passion for their work, life or just a general glee-fulness of spirit, the people you’ll find showing off my designs have a charisma that’s unique and all their own.
Diane Maxine is one such vivacious spirit. A talented musician, she plays the bass in our church’s worship team, which is how the two of us initially met. When she’s not bopping away and plucking her bass strings, Maxine loves to bake and watch the noshers faces light up after tasting her yummy creations.
What I enjoyed most about taking Maxine’s pictures was her easy-going attitude and big beautiful smile. Her last name actually means ‘happy’ – which is why you’ll see her always flashing her bright whites. With this kind of charm both inside and out – it’s no wonder she turned out so stunning in each shot.
I made a promise to myself years ago when first starting Pierogi Picnic: I would only use real men and women for photo shoots. What the heck does that mean? I was tired of seeing towering and emaciated, uber airbrushed images of people in ads and photos. So I decided I would change the name of the game – at least in my own little corner of the apparel universe. I vowed that I would only use everyday people in my pics. People who are beautiful inside and out, who don’t ‘pose’ professionally and who come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And I continue in that tradition today! Read the rest of this entry »
Whether it’s posting incredible finds on her blog, Wanderlustings, or creating effortlessly elegant and retro-inspired jewelry for her Etsy shop, Caitlin’s a force to be reckoned with! So how could I not invite her to pose for me in a Pierogi Picnic photo shoot?!
To get into her lovely brain further, I asked her what inspired her. Here’s Caitlin’s response:
“Possibly anything. But constants seem to be: being different, creative and driven people, cinematography, music designed to tell a story, architecture, anything experimental, Paul Pope, comic books in general, decades past, Klaus Nomi, playing pretend, Ray and Charles Eames, self-awareness and letting your imagination run wild.”
Beautiful inside and out – isn’t she?!
Katie is one special lady. Not only is she a kind-hearted, compassionate individual who works with special needs children, she’s also my younger brother’s fiance – earning her a special place in my heart. Driven and active, Katie is passionate about serving others and teaching. She believes this is God’s calling for her life and knows how instrumental she can be in making a positive impact in peoples’ lives.
When Katie’s not busy working with kids or spending time with loved ones, you can find her stalking Pinterest, planning her wedding or cuddling with her sister’s dog. Something many people don’t know about Katie is that she is driven to scrap booking during thunderstorms. All that thunder and lightning ignites her creativity and we’re happy to see its results!
While playing with the latest Mac gadget has it’s quirks, Chella’s real passion is photography. Having graduated from Columbia with a BFA in photography, Chella loves the creative license found in setting lights and creating scenes. And just in case her photography career doesn’t launch the way she hopes? Chella’s okay. Her backup plan? Joining a roller derby team or becoming a burlesque dancer.
In addition to her inner artist and techie, Chella is also an avid crafter who finds release in making things by hand. Currently she has been busting out her knitting skills making scarves while also baking cookies for her soon to be sugar-comatose boyfriend Eric. Her love of baking must be in her genes – she reflects fondly of her grandma’s “kifli” – a croissant-like bread stuffed with fresh feta cheese. Her ethnic roots, combined with her tech-savvy and pretty tough girl persona, make Chella a welcome addition to the Pierogi Picnic model lineup.
Welcome again Chella!