Cynthia Viola Photography

Husband

We're Moving to St. Augustine, FLORIDA!

PersonalCynthia Viola8 Comments
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing
— Helen Keller
Cynthia and A.J. Viola

If you've been hanging around us recently or following our stories on Instagram or Facebook, you might have noticed we've been a little cryptic about some big adventures and life changes in the not-too-distant future. I'm not sure how exactly to say this, but, we're moving! To Florida! 

Woah. I know. So many questions.

Why Florida?

If you followed our family through the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, you know that he dealt a devastating blow to the family restaurant, Viola's Pasta and Seafood in St. Augustine. In the months that followed the whole family and surrounding community came together to get her back on her feet, but that plus the 20 years of general restauranting took it's toll on A.J.'s parents. The restaurant is their baby and they're not ready to give it up, but they need to take a step back, and A.J. volunteered to help them run Viola's to make sure the family business stays afloat and his parents can get the rest they deserve after years of building. 

What does that mean for BREW Coffee Bar?

You probably already know that A.J. co-owns BREW with Mike. They built it from scratch 3 years ago and have seen it become a thriving space in our community. A.J. will be leaving BREW, Mike and his wife Cindy will take it over entirely and they will run BREW with the help of its capable and awesome managers and employees. We're super sad to let it go, but don't see how A.J. can continue to run it while in Florida. It's been a grand adventure, but we both thrive in newness and change so we're glad to leave her in good hands and excited for the next new thing. 

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
— Joseph Campbell
NC Wedding Photography

What does this mean for Art and Photography?

Well, lots of things! Because my entire family is in North Carolina, I will be flying back to NC once every six weeks to visit.

It means the schedule will be a little crazy and I'll have to keep my clients informed anytime I plan to be here, but I thrive in chaos and honestly don't think it'll be that much different from how often I travel now. If you'd like to keep up with when I'll be in the area, you can follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook and turn on your notifications. 

If you'd like an email or text notification as well, let me know and I'll add you to a list. When I fly in, it will be to Charlotte and from there I will either drive to Raleigh, Boone or Lumberton as needed to visit and accept photo shoots. 

Just like it works now, if you're able to book me while I'm already here, there will be no travel fee. If you need me to travel on a specific date when I'm not already planning to be here, I'm more than willing, the travel will just now include a plane ticket (or two, if it's a wedding).

What about already booked portrait sessions and weddings?

I will honor every session already booked for the rest of the year by staying in Raleigh through December. There are just too many already on the schedule for it to make sense for me to move before then. A.J. will move at the end of July but he will fly back for the weddings he is already booked to shoot with me. We will both also fly back for the weddings we already have scheduled for 2018. 

What about your paintings?

I will be trying to sell all of my current paintings before I leave. They will be half price as I'd like to not have to transport them. If you're interested just let me know and you can come see what's available.  And as always you can get prints of any of the pieces and some photography at Society 6. 

How long will we be in Florida?

That is yet to be determined. Life is ever changing and we're willing to go where the winds blow us. It may be five or twenty, either way we'll keep you updated along the way.

I suppose this will begin the next chapter of the Book. Can't wait to see what the next page's story has to say! 

Cynthia and A.J. Viola
To dare - is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare - is to lose oneself
— Soren Kierkegaard

Commitment & Responsibility

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Surrendering is the free-falling backwards into the unknown and trusting that the universe will catch you.
— Jen Sincero

Over the past few weeks I've made some posts more on the personal side. Sharing a bit of mine and A.J.'s infertility story as well as a portion of the book I'm writing about my childhood and meeting my brothers for the first time as an adult. (Caroline also - persevered through her story in this space).

I expected people to respond with surprise and encouragement; what I didn't expect was the outpouring of words like bravery and courage. 

I'm sure a bit of it extends from being an ENFP personality type, but sharing any and every part of my story has always been an essential part of who I am. You'd be hard pressed to know me for more than an hour before hearing some snippet about my brothers. A.J. used to tease that I play poker with my cards faced outward and several friends insist that I'm approximately 100% of the time too trusting and a bit naive when I meet new people. I know they're just concerned I'm going to get hurt one day, and I'm sure I will...I have. 

From my point of view though, sharing our story is what helps us connect with other human beings. I don't do well when I keep information and secrets bottled up inside. They feel like a poison. Sharing them dilutes their power over me and opens others up to be healed from their own story. When we find commonality in our stories, we no longer have to feel alone. 

Cynthia Viola Photographer

Personally, my biggest fears stem from 2 little words: responsibility and commitment. If you can attach the word adventure to it; I'm fearless. (Bring on the parachutes, wet suits, open road and backpacks!!) If people are involved; I'm ecstatic. (Give me quiet one-on-one conversations, a stage to perform spoken word to an arena full of strangers or a brand new family I never knew existed!!) But responsibility and commitment? Makes my stomach flip over on top of itself. 

I was scared of getting married when I first met A.J. He actually broke up with me for a month when we first started dating because I wasn't ready for a "committed relationship." He wasn't interested in the dating game and I wasn't interested in marriage at 19 years old.

I'm scared of big purchases like a home. (What if we need a new roof or HVAC, what if a tree falls through it, what if the market collapses, what if we go bankrupt??)  

I was not excited about owning a dog. (Who's going to walk it, who's going to feed it, what if it gets loose, how will we travel, what if it doesn't get along well with others, how will we host guests, what if guests are allergic??)

Mention the word baby and I start to hyperventilate.

We all have stories that have led us to our current fears and insecurities, we also have stories that lead us to our greatest joys. I don't know what it is that makes you feel weak, insecure, shameful or unworthy, but I guarantee you there is another human being in the world who has experienced nearly the exact same trauma. That should not diminish your trauma but help you find commonality with another soul and find strength to move forward.

I always want to offer a space, both physically and online to share stories and do life together. If you need help just getting some thoughts out of your head, I'm always willing to be a listening ear. I love people and find so much joy and strength in their stories. Don't hesitate to call, write or drop in. Love you guys. 

 

The fam

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I can’t believe I never noticed my heart before - until I noticed you
— Mute Math

If it weren't for A.J. this blog wouldn't be here. In fact, I wouldn't be here.

I've always fancied myself an adventurer who is willing to try anything new, show me the mountain and I'll climb it, the plane I'll jump out of it (or fly it), the road less traveled and I'm already half way down it. 

But apparently I have an irrational fear of all things new technology. (I still haven't tried the Pokemon Game or Instagram Videos...or whatever they're called). Raised by two people who swear the internet is evil, who don't own a computer or a mobile phone, who don't even like talking on a landline, I was a little behind the curve when I met A.J. I swear I'd still have a little flip Razr if A.J. hadn't forced it out of my hands years ago. He's constantly baffled at my ability to use "thingy" and "whatchamacallit" and "you know" to describe the really complicated things like the internet. :)

When it comes to the world of technology I am utterly dependent upon him. But I'm ok with that. I hear we're supposed to focus on our strengths and find other people to fill in our weaknesses anyway. 

That's just one of my witty husband's many talents. He also happens to be a phenomenal public speaker, entrepreneur, photographer, ultimate frisbee player, hilarious comeback wiz, wedding officiant, latte art master, life comedian, and of course dad to our pup Letty and the very best husband who ever lived. 

I figured today would be a good day to introduce him to you, as it is our 11 year anniversary. ELEVEN. It seems like we began one life in undergrad and found our way into a different one along the way. Every bump in the road has made us stronger and every detour given us a new skill set. He is far more than I could have ever hoped for and I think it's safe to say my love for him now is 11 times stronger than it was in 2005. He's just one of those people who make you want to be a better person.

Letty girl is pup number four for us. (had to leave the other three in the mountains) We've only had her for about a month but she's already family and matches our outgoing personalities perfectly. She's partial to coconut oil, belly rubs and wants to destroy every evil squirrel in existence. 

I couldn't do life without A.J. and wouldn't want to do it without Letty girl. They both make me stronger. Happy 11th babe. 

 

CAMstellation Raleigh 2016

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The artist never entirely knows — We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark
— Agnes de Mille
"Leap Into Fear" | 24"x36" | Mixed Media

"Leap Into Fear" | 24"x36" | Mixed Media

As an artist and a business owner, I've had to make some difficult decisions. Probably the least of which is forcing myself to dress like a "professional" when I'd rather wear jeans and a tee shirt every where I go. I tried to take the stance of #theartistwearswhatshewants (favorite hashtag ever, thank you Amaris) for years but I suppose being an adult is more important... Alas, bring on the heels, and feel free to tease me like my brother Daniel who says I look like a little kid playing dress up. #jerkface #notreallyloveyou ;)

More importantly, as much as I love being a creative, it can cause dilemmas when you enjoy creating in many different mediums. I've been painting for as long as I can remember, I enjoy writing poetry and performing spoken word, I've written a memoir that I'm scared to death to publish, I dabbled in all forms of music for years and of course there's photography - my ultimate love. 

Taken via iPhone pano at the artist's reception for  CAMstellation . 

Taken via iPhone pano at the artist's reception for CAMstellation

So how do you choose? I'm not sure how it works for everyone else but I suppose ultimately my love of people has won out for me. All the forms I listed entail a bit of isolation during practice/building/editing/creating/considering/dreaming...even performing, but the only one that really allows consistent interaction with people, is photography. If I'm isolated for too long I get cray...just ask A.J. I need people and love being a part of their lives. 

ALLLL that to say, I still dabble in the other arts from time to time. Currently this piece is up at CAM Raleigh with their exhibit celebrating the creatives in the community. (come to either August's or September's First Friday to see it!) 

Taken via iPhone pano at  Creative Mornings RDU ...amazing group, you should totally check it out. 

Taken via iPhone pano at Creative Mornings RDU...amazing group, you should totally check it out. 

It's titled "Leap Into Fear" because when I painted it, A.J. was talking about launching a second location of his coffee bar (among other crazy family things going on at the time). The first shop was probably the hardest thing we've ever survived as a couple, I wasn't sure we could survive a second. After a total breakdown I just threw all the emotions on the canvas and decided to let go. We love each other enough to believe in the other's dreams and we've built enough trust to know we'll both do our best to work through the muck. 

Six months after opening, we couldn't be better. In my experience, the wings don't form until after you jump. I suppose it's more exciting that way anyway. I believe this leap has prepared us for the next, whatever that may be. What's the scariest leap you've ever taken?