Something to “Ponder”: Make-up, Missions, and Re-Missions

When sitting down with Asheville-native, Lauren Ponder Boggs, it’s hard to believe she’s a person who’s ever faced adversity.  She is fresh, happy, and optimistic.  Some “quality” sort of dances on her like a light she carries around, but completely on accident.  She seems she is unscathed, untouched, and estranged to the things most people blame their scars on …however, this is hardly the case. Lauren was a competitor from day one.   Before she reached the more tumultuous times in her life, childhood prepared her to become a fighter.  She grew up competing in pageants, dance competitions, and cheerleading competitions before moving on to the ultimate competition that landed her a modeling contract with Hawaiian Tropic.  She spent hours in the gym perfecting her talents, determined to blow her adversaries out of the water. Blood, sweat, and tears were minimal effort. Though, often in the limelight, she still had to work with every fiber that created her to be the cream of the crop.  When she explained to me how she knew she wasn’t meant to be average, she blushed a little, as humans are often taught to do for having the heart of a contender.  Though her humility is a breath of fresh air, it becomes clear why her successes were meant to be.  They readied her for the battle of her life. At 24 years old, when most post-college adults are realizing the world awaits them, Lauren’s revelation came in the form of a rare pediatric bone cancer, living as an unwelcomed mass in her chest.  Doctors explained how they’d never seen a case like hers before, and she would be receiving the most aggressive treatment available. From a medical stand-point, her case had a grim outlook.  The prognosis was frightening. Lauren knew her friends and family were in a state of terror, though they tried to remain calm for her.

Fighting with a friend

Fighting with a friend

“I don’t know if I was naïve, or in denial, but I never thought I wouldn’t beat [cancer].  I wasn’t worried,”  Lauren told me casually. I looked back at her, noticing her demeanor hadn’t changed an ounce when our conversation transitioned to her life-threatening illness.  She didn’t look away, didn’t cry, didn’t flinch.  She couldn’t wait to share her story.  She wanted her half-full glass to spill onto others.  And there is water pure and genuine in that cup.  Sitting there, I wondered if I, myself was capable of this level of hope and optimism. Like she knew she would, she beat the cancer, and it hasn’t dared to show it’s face in town again.  Troubles over, right? Without much calm before the next storm, Lauren, now a wife and mother of two is facing a financial crisis.  The bills are stacking up and there are innocent growing mouths to feed.  It’s a struggle to keep the power on, and to have enough gas in the car for a normal daily routine.  Something has to be done fast.  The economy is in the tank, no one is hiring, and the ones that are won’t make a dent in the situation.  Panic time was an hour ago; the storm is here. She has to jump into mud kicking for the second dare-to-be-great situation of her life. It’s been less than a year and a half.  Lauren is currently a Senior Sales Director, and next month will be crowned Executive Senior Sales Director…except the crown is a shiny new BMW.  Like a mother lioness, she looked out unto the savannah, her cubs behind her, and reclaimed her territory with a vengeance gifted to her by nature.  She doesn’t lick her wounds, she doesn’t show off her scars, and she doesn’t wear any medals of honor.  She shares her story. It is simply a story of a woman, a wife, a mother, and a business person who as she put in her own words, “comes from a place of yes.” Lauren would like to use this story to bless others, as she feels Mary Kay is her mission field.  A quarter of any sales she makes as a result of this story will be donated in the purchaser’s name to WNC Cancer Care. For more information on how to donate or to become a part of Mary Kay please contact Lauren Ponder Boggs at lrponder@yahoo.com or 828-785-9241.  She can’t wait to share in your mission!

Lauren and her gorgeous family

Lauren and her gorgeous family

 

Mary Kay face!

Mary Kay face!

Best Places in Asheville for Late Autumn Portraits

Fallen leaves, colorful streets, and beautiful views: Asheville in the late fall is a beautiful city for portraiture. From brilliantly-colored leafy woodlands to creatively-painted graffiti backgrounds, a photographer only has to step out her front door to find a good backdrop for a photo shoot. This year, as you dust off your camera for for solo photos, family portraits, Christmas cards, or just a fun afternoon with a camera, keep a few of the best locations around Asheville in mind.

UNC Asheville Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking for a nature setting, look no further than UNCA’s campus in North Asheville. The university’s botanical gardens offer a beautiful natural backdrop complete with fall colors and soft lighting filtering through the tree branches. On a warm day (because weather in Asheville can fluctuate from 20 to 60 degree days in the same week) the creek is a wonderful place for reflections.

Botans

The saturated fall colors of the leaves and dying foliage make for a very colorful background. With a wide open space to run around, you can create lively portraits playing in the leaves or skipping through the field.

Botanical Gardens

The garden’s gazebo is one of my personal favorite places for portraits. Hidden in the corner entrance, the gazebo only gets the last soft rays of sunshine, so it is a perfect location for softly-lit close-ups.

Wall Street, Downtown

Wall Street

After a day of window shopping and gorging in any one (or more!) of Asheville’s famously fantastic restaurants, Downtown is a great location for artsy portraits. Architectural ranging from the 1800s to now, statues both fun and iconic, streets lined with lights and leaves, and art at every turn create a perfect atmosphere for city portraiture. Wall Street’s green light poles, yellow leaves, and colorful building fronts pair well with a great leather jacket and a pretty smile.

Wall Street

Chicken Alley, Downtown

Chicken Alley

Chicken Alley is famous for the enormous painted chicken, and this unconventionally decorated backstreet provides a beautiful brick backdrop for photos. Commandeer a nice renter’s back porch and you can make portraits fit for any coffee-drinking city-goer.

Graffiti by the Hatchery Studios, River Arts District

River Arts District

The River Arts District is a great place for more than just buying artists’ work. The giant graffiti-ed wall and silo create an edgier setting. Looking for a place for band photos or artist portraits? Posing in front of Asheville’s underground muralists’ work is the perfect location.

River Arts District

Looking for a professional photographer to take your portraits? Check out ASE Photography by Adrian Etheridge: ASEphotography.pixpasites.com OR ASEartistry10@gmail.com

Looking for a model to try out these locations? Contact Erin Dalton: inspiringdalton@gmail.com