Let me introduce myself. And the book of my city.

ImageI should be going for a run at this moment, but it’s raining and 60 degrees outside. Less than ideal. And 60 degrees is just plain COLD. (The former New Yorker in me is laughing with sarcastic rage.) So here I am. Starting a Blog-thing. I’ve been poked and prodded and threatened with a branding iron by friends and relatives for some time now to document my ridiculously normal weird funny life. They apparently like to laugh and cry and share in the way I view the world around me. Viewing my world conveniently involves photographs, and this happens to be something else I need to “get out there”, according to friends and fam. So I’ll be killing two birds with one avocado, and putting BOTH out to the masses. Holy Hell. This is huge.

Other than one course during Summer Camp, and constantly self teaching, I’m not necessarily the *best* photographer. But I’ve been told I have “an eye” for it – and thanks to my Grandmother, that’s probably true. The sweet curse of being a photog: I’m always and forever and ever setting up a shot in my head. I look at a weird bug. I look at the clouds. I look at the way the leaves flip over on the trees before a big storm. I see a bucket in an alley. I see a dilapidated building – and it’s gorgeous. I see a sunset and a ballpark and a baby at his first ball game. Every single thing I see every single day has potential. In some ways, I love this. I see things that a lot of people in our world today just don’t take the time to LOOK at EXPERIENCE. In some ways, I find it annoying. I ALWAYS want to snap a picture. Sometimes I have to work on finding the happy medium between always taking pictures, and remembering images by being IN the moment.  Josh, my love, in most situations appreciates the latter.

“I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it.” -Unknown

So anyway, by the way, enough of the chatter – HI! I’m Tanya! I have a love, his name is Josh! We have a Yellow Lab and a Merle Haggard. We have a house sortof down by the river. (Channeling Chris Farley.) We live in Richmond, Virginia. RVA. The Capital. The place the Civil War went to pieces. Note to all of you out there who have traveled I-95 and made an assumption about my city: It looks like shit from the road. I know. I’ve made that mistake. I judged the book by its cover. When Josh told me he had a job offer, and it meant we would be moving from Wilmington, NC to Richmond, VA I was open-minded, but seriously reluctant. We wanted to get out of the beach town. (I know, I know. Dumb. I’ll blog on that later.) But I was thinking Charlotte, NC or maybe something closer to my family and friends in New York. We came here to check out the city and look at apartments. Still trying to be open-minded, still cried a million times inside, still judging the cover. But I knew I would follow Josh anywhere. So we both said “Let’s do it”, found an apartment in Shockoe Bottom (downtown Richmond) and left North Carolina behind. Fast Forward 3 years. I.AM.IN.LOVE. Like seriously. In the past, this city has been known for its crime, rather than its beauty. Does anyone remember when New York City was NOT a place you would go to hang out? I do. Richmond is like that. We’ve recently been dubbed a “Foodie Town”. We have The James River and multiple trails for walking, hiking and mountain biking surrounding it. Right smack dab in the middle of the city. Outside Magazine awarded Richmond with the Gold Medal – Best River City in America. You can literally walk just a few blocks from your suit and tie office to catch a river rapid. We have MCV and VCU teaching hospitals. We are on the cutting edge of Cancer Research. And Dude, VCU Rams Men’s Basketball?!?! We had JUST moved here when they BLEW THE TOP off of March Madness. Coach Shaka Smart is a class act, and the entire city will shed a tear cry like a baby if he ever accepts an offer on the proverbial dinner table. With the exception of February “the month we all want to go INSANE”, Richmond never ever ever has a lack of things to do throughout the week. Festivals galore on the weekends. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just pick one. We get all four seasons, with mild winters. (woohoo!) Have you seen us from I-95 during Christmas? If you haven’t, you should. It’s like a picture. Christmas lights outline each building, to bring it to one huge twinkling display of Holiday spirit. Hardywood Park Brewery has widdled its way into our hearts. Great beer, awesome people and really fun, laid back events. AND they’re family and dog friendly. As a person on the verge of that stage of life, it’s really heartwarming to see young parents with kids running around and strollers and swaddles – sipping on brews and taking a much needed “time out”. Richmond is also CENTRAL. We go to Washington DC for Nationals games. We go to the mountains. WINERIES-a-plenty are a short drive away in ANY direction. I thought I was lucky, coming from The Finger Lakes wine region in New York. I still am. Lucky to have BOTH regions to sample and love and respect. Our Double A Affiliate baseball team (San Fran), The Flying Squirrels have brought in record crowds for games and we love them! The job market in Richmond is actually growing, and according to Forbes, we are one of 10 “up and coming” cities for entrepreneurs. All of this, and great friends to share it all with. I guess you can say I’ve read the book. The cover is greatly mis-understood.


One night while watching tv, during a moment when I was probably being less than fun to be around, Josh walks into the livingroom. He drops a tiny stone on the couch, says to me “Hey, you dropped your personality.” and walks away. I laughed, then laughed again and again while it re-played in my head. Life as a living and dying whole is too damn serious, people. If I took THAT seriously, I wouldn’t make it through my days without being offended by every little stone in my path – and Josh and I certainly wouldn’t be together. Actually, I probably wouldn’t be with anyone. I hope while you read my Blogs that you enjoy them. And that you have an opinion. And that you laugh at the stones. Because they’re just stones, people. As long as you don’t throw them. Cause that hurts.




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