Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I gave the blog some love!  Where has the time gone?  I’m sure everyone has been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see what’s coming next.   You are on the edge of your seat, right?  

A few weeks ago I travelled to Chicago to attend the Women On Fire Retreat at the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront.  I was so excited to attend the event and to sponsor a gift to all the attendees!  This is by far the best group I have ever belonged to (OK…I don’t belong to a lot of groups, but there’s NO WAY any could be better)!    

Hotel Floors - ©Melissa McClain

My 3-day weekend in Chicago was amazing.  I had a room full of amazing ladies (4 of us sharing a room, just like the old college Spring Break days) and we stayed up late into the night enjoying girl talk, eating deep dish pizza, and bonding like only women can.  

Chicago Deep Dish Delight


“When you really have the fire you don’t have to tell anybody”  ~Stedman Graham

During the Retreat I was surrounded by more than 60 inspiring , passionate, and compassionate “Women On Fire”.  Women of all ages who were there to join each other in living full lives, supporting dreams, inspiring each other, and creating bonds.  It was incredible!  The Retreat kicked off with a keynote address from Stedman Graham who will no longer be “Oprah’s man” in my mind.  I now know him as a quiet, yet powerful and energizing force whose words inspire and captivate a room and who wears his heart proudly on his sleeve.  Oh, and I also know him as “The Sted-man”, my new little nickname for him.  I hope he doesn’t mind…  

Surrounded by Debbie Phillips, Founder of Women on Fire and Stedman Graham


“I rely on my support system.  If I didn’t have this web of wonderment around me, if I didn’t have support and utilize support, I’d be nowhere.” ~Holly Getty – Style Consultant

 There were so many other guest speakers during the event who touched me and changed the way I think about life, dreams, and passion.  I learned about discovering and following your passion from the beautiful Laurie Forster.  Laurie is The Wine Coach and we were treated to a fabulous wine tasting during the Retreat!  I was touched and inspired by Kacy Cook’s passion for writing and her children’s book Nuts.  I got to know one of my weekend “roomies”, Jamie Eslinger, better and hear her amazing story of strength and survival.   I laughed and cried as Janette Barber closed the event on Saturday with the powerful story of her life and her determination.  Janette is the funniest person I know and her humor this weekend was full of beauty, inspirations, and lessons that I didn’t even realize I needed to learn.  She touched me deeply and I am so grateful for her.  Please visit her Max Mouth website and watch the videos.  You will laugh a little, cry a little, and be touched deeply by her passion to help some amazing kids.   

We were a gathering of softness and strength, all standing together and ready to bloom brightly in this world! Photo ©Melissa McClain

Special thanks to Debbie Phillips, the founder of Women On Fire, for creating such an amazing organization of women with like minds and, more importantly, like hearts.  In the words of Debbie, “I’ve found my peeps.”  Thank you fellow “women on fire” for a wonderful, connecting weekend and the amazing friendships that have begun or grown.  You INSPIRE me!    

Chicago Urban Color ©Melissa McClain

I am energized and my passion is re-ignited.  I am inspired even more to keep moving towards my dream!  Since returning, I’ve been hard at work.  I designed a new product line based on feedback from the melissaAnne Inspire Cards I created as a gift for Retreat attendees and I expect to get samples in a few weeks.   

This week I found a manufacturer to print and sew my first line of pillows!  I think it’s finally happening.  I am beyond excited and can’t wait to see the first melissaAnne Home Collection pillows with images from my Water Colors and Urban Colors photography printed on silk and linen!  I promise to update you in early June after I have pictures taken in a very special place.  Get ready for some COLOR!  


Moments of Inspiration 

Yes, there is still MORE inspiration to share. 

 I have a really fun morning routine that makes my morning subway commute a little more inspiring.  Included in that routine is a daily email from Inspire Me Today.  It always gets my day started in a positive and reflective way and it’s amazing how often the message feels like it was meant for me!  Check out the website and if you need a little daily inspiration, sign up for the emails.  


Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Special thanks to Richie Frieman and welcome to visitors who found my blog from my artist feature in Pens Eye View on Friday and Saturday.  Richie has big dreams and is determined to make them happen for himself and others!  Thanks Richie for supporting and inspiring so many!  

Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Together we can reach our dreams and make the world a better place.       

I believe in us.  I hope you do, too!      


Enjoy some COLOR!   


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I’ll bring the melissaAnne journey to you!      



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A few weeks ago, on one of the coldest weekends of the year, I grabbed my camera and headed over to the Brooklyn Flea.  I love flea markets!  Some of my favorite things have been found at the 7th Avenue Flea Market in Park Slope.  When I heard the Brooklyn Flea was being held in the old Williamsburgh Bank Building and that there would be vendors in the old vault and the teller windows, I had to check it out with my camera and see what I could find.     

Williamsburgh Bank Building - One Hanson Place

This is my favorite building in Brooklyn.  It dominates the “downtown” skyline in a humble and beautiful way.  The architecture is amazing and I dream of being at the very top looking out over Brooklyn and into Manhattan.  I should check my lottery ticket…..    

Before even entering the building, I had an idea of what was to come.  Amazing architecture, ornate accents, angles, and textures!    

Williamsburgh Bank Building - One Hanson Place Entrance

 When you walk into the building you are welcomed by beautiful arched ceilings, dramatic windows, and tiles shaped into shining stars that seem to twinkle above.    


Williamsburg Bank Building Starry "Sky"

Starry "Sky"

Dramatic Windows

 I decided to start my tour downstairs, anticipating the mysteries behind the old bank vault doors.    

Vault Door - Thick!

I couldn’t believe how thick the vault door was!  The shapes and textures were also very exciting.    

Inside the Vault Door

And, these gears and mechanics inside the vault door.  Very interesting!!    

Williamsburg Bank Building - Brooklyn Flea    

Back on the main floor, even the doors provide elements of excitement and beauty.    

Williamsburg Bank Building - Brooklyn Flea    


Inside the main floor archways, molding, and lighting come together for some beautiful images.   





After touring the main floor, I headed upstairs to a loft area for a better view of the ceiling.     


 The view did not disappoint!  The loft had its own unique elements with large windows, lighting, and angles.


Archways and Molding

The Loft

The old Williamsburgh Bank Building nor the Brooklyn Flea disappointed on this day.  Tucked back in the loft under the beautiful chandeliers I found special creations that I just couldn’t leave behind!  I can’t tell you what I bought, gifts for friends who haven’t received them yet, but they are very special and unique gifts that I can’t wait to share! 

The Brooklyn Flea will happen every weekend in the landmark former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, at the corner of Flatbush Ave.  The Flea is open every Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm, through March 27/28.

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I have been working on a blog post about a recent adventure and I’m really excited to share it with you. I planned on coming home tonight and posting it but I’m compelled to share something else with you today. I have bad days. I have days when I don’t feel whole. Days when my passion just isn’t there and the day seems endless. Days when I daydream about big changes and drastic moves. Do you have those days? I had one today and from it I had an amazing experience of relationship and rediscovery of self.

I am so lucky to have a new relationship with a wonderful, supportive woman at work. She’s going through some tough stuff and I’m honored that she trusts me and feels she can talk to me. I am glad I am there and I want to support her. A few days ago I asked her what I could do to help her. She initially didn’t know and we ended our discussion. A few minutes later she came back and said “I need to take a walk. Every day. I need some fresh air and change of perspective. I need a push to make that happen.” I felt so elated and useful and applauded her for saying what she needed. We decided on a daily time and I immediately set it up on my calendar with a reminder so I wouldn’t forget. I am there to support her!

We’ve walked twice now. Today, in the midst of my own struggles I showed up like clockwork, determined to hold up my end of the bargain and be there for her regardless of what was going on within me. I could return to “my stuff” after the walk. So we walked and a funny thing happened. The walk and my colleague supported me! It was just a 4 block walk. But a new direction out of the building and a spontaneous turn of the corner on a never before traveled street revealed a few exhilarating photo opportunities! With my iPhone in hand I used the camera to return to the spirit of me that I love, that I feel so empowered by.

Madison Square Light

A Guiding Star

Bridge To A Dream

"Take My Hand" -Andrea Hylen

Each photo calmed me, soothed me and led to laughter and dances (literally) on the sidewalks of Manhattan. We shared something today and learned that the relationship developing is mutually supportive and empowering.  It started with a simple question and a simple answer.

“What can I do?”
“I need to take a walk.”

Is there someone in your life who needs to hear a simple question?  Don’t let the moment pass.  You might get just as much from the answer as they do!

I returned to this street alone after work with my camera in hand. I hadn’t completely rid myself of “the day” and knew I needed a little more time with my camera and the visions I still had in my head. Dusk had arrived and the lights were coming on. It was still the same street and the same photo ideas, but they were different now.  There was am emerging glow, and I felt a glow growing stronger in me too.

Suspended Beneath the Glow

Suspended Beneath the Glow

Shining Star

A Shining Star

I was in my place. I was where I am happiest. I was with my camera. It is amazing to me that just holding it in my hand creates a shift inside me. I carried it in my hand all the way to subway. Feeling the way it fit my hand and focusing on the changes I felt in my emotions and in my body. I didn’t want to put it away, I wanted it to guide me home.

A Shining Star

My Guiding Light

I am so thankful for this gift I have been given and my new appreciation of what it means to me. My camera is my change agent. It’s my second language. It’s the thing that takes away all the bad, all the fear, and all the uncertainty and replaces it with happiness and purpose.

I learned a lesson today about helping others (and helping yourself), relationships, friendships, the power of a passion, and how a simple “walk” can be so much more. You know…..it was just “one of those days.”

We all have our “camera”. It may be a furry puppy or a nuzzling cat. Maybe it’s the written word, yours or someone elses.

Tell me, what’s your “camera”?

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