I met Carletta many, many moons ago on a blogging platform that, to my knowledge, no longer exists, and over the years, we've cultivated a really genuine bond. You know that you've officially let your guard down with a person you've met online when you finally give them your telephone number and mailing address so that you can become a standing member on their list of people they send Christmas cards to. We met in person last year when I had to travel to DC for work, and it was honestly one of the highlights of that summer.
If you happen to follow Carletta on social media, then you might have picked up on her charm, intelligence, wit, her love for her cat, Shiro, and her mastery of extreme shade (yeah, I said it). You may have also noticed her love for photography - a hobby that has turned into a full blown lifestyle for her.
Carletta took a few minutes out of her day to chat with me about her new job, marriage, and food.
BE: Who is Carletta?
CG: I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a God-mom, an aunt. A nurturer who loves to laugh. A self-admitted sugar addict and a pop culture connoisseur.
BE: I'm really proud of you for pursuing your passion and actually turning it into a career. When did you realize you could make a living as a photographer?
CG: Did I realize this yet? LOL! In all seriousness, not until late last year did I really start to say to myself, "I can make this happen; it's GOING to happen for me."
BE: Your enthusiasm for photographing clients is inspiring. What do you love most about your job? What are some of the challenges of being your own boss?
CG: I love being around people. I love to make people laugh and I love getting those moments when my clients think that no one else is watching, but my camera is pointed right at them. The biggest challenge is being disciplined. When I have down time and I'm not shooting, I have to take care of the business side of things and constantly be working toward my next gigs.
BE: Let's talk self-care. What are some of the things you do to de-stress?
CG: I journal, and for a while was keeping a daily gratitude list. I try to read because it's calming, and I spend time in the company of people who center me.
BE: You are a damn good cook - not that I've ever tasted your food before, but I'm pretty good at making assumptions. What is your favorite dish to cook? Care to share a recipe?
CG: THANK YOU! My favorite dish to cook is probably my husband's favorite - chicken with israeli couscous, and spinach and feta (here is the recipe). I'm definitely one of "those" cooks though, so I don't flour the chicken, I season it with the things we love (lemon pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, poultry seasoning), and I use chicken thighs. Also, I almost always double the recipe so there are leftovers. SO good.
BE: What do you love about yourself?
CG: I love that I really do care about people, and I try to do unto others. I also think I have a big heart and when I love, I'm all in, 100%. I also really like my smile. :D
BE: You've been married for a really long time. What do you think the key is to maintaining a long-lasting partnership?
CG: Saying what you mean, what you need, and what you want. I ALWAYS say I never try to make my husband guess what I'm thinking or feeling. Also, marriages are NEVER perfect, and so you have to be able to ride the wave of good and bad; it takes a certain elasticity in order to go the distance.
BE: What do you love most about being a woman?
CG: EVERYTHING. What would this world be without us? We are honestly the glue that holds everything together!
BE: Do you have a favorite quote?
CG: "All you need in this world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other." - August Wilson