My 3+ things:
1. My free spirit
2. My love for nature
3. My determination
4. My eyes
5. My collar bone
I met Cristina at a craft fair in my new hometown of Borrego Springs. A dreamy yellow racerback and several aromatic candles, all made by her, caught my eye. Among these items were designer leather bags, soaps, and scarves, all hand made. She mentioned she was an entrepreneur who started out to create a website for her merchandise and ended up collaborating with other women small business owners. That was the start of desertloversandco.com which she now runs and from where she promotes not just herself, but a collective of extremely talented and creative ladies. Cristina is relentless in her efforts to ensure that everyone in the group grows, gets more exposure and becomes ultimately more successful.
The image I've used here I entitled The Ocotillo Maiden. Ocotillos are magnificent shrubs that grow in the desert. They consist of long punk-like tresses that stretch toward the heavens and are lined with sharp needles, which when moist, exhibit a coat of delicate green leaves. Assertive yet gentle, strong yet soft, tiny yet powerful, always looking up, always reaching are characteristics I gleaned from Cristina during our shoot. This image, in my opinion, captures the essence of those qualities extremely well.
Cristina loves the desert and spends a lot of time hiking in it. She's made it her purpose to learn as much as she can about the plants and animals she encounters, and tends to them often with an obvious love for the land she seems to have inherited from her Cherokee lineage, particularly from her grandmother.
It amazed me to see how comfortable Cristina seemed as she maneuvered her way around the spiny desert floor, whether in hiking pants or in a silk skirt. She seemed totally at home in her surroundings, just one more assertive, strong, powerful being among many.