What have I learned as a stylist? The things that appear simple are usually not. A beauty that seems effortless is an end result that does not betray the work involved to reach it. Whether I am styling a photoshoot, a look, a room or an event, my goal is produce something beautiful but also magical. And like magic, it’s what you don’t see that elicits the elation of the moment.

For the 2013 issue of Montana Bride, I knew I wanted my pug Brutus in the book because 1. he is so cute and 2. I love him more than you can imagine and 3. I love him more than you can imagine and he is so cute! I also love…love…love bow ties. So as is my right as a stylist and publisher, I unilaterally made the decision that I would combine these 2 great loves for one fabulous photograph…Brutus in a bow tie! "How cute is this going to be?" I asked the team. Everyone nodded their heads and rolled their eyes when they thought I was not looking. But I was onto something, I knew it. Now to just find a beautiful silk bow tie that would fit the neck of Brutus. Yes, pugs have necks albeit they are sort of morphed between body and head. One thing led to another and soon there were fabric samples spread across the table, measurements being taken of the pug’s non-neck, a consult with a seamstress and giggles galore from all of us. And then a week later, it arrived…the shantung silk custom bow tie in pastel pinks and greens. I was giddy! Calls were placed, cameras secured, a model lined up, organic dog treats purchased! And then finally…the day! Brutus arrived early, well I brought him early because I just could not wait anymore. We dressed the model in the wedding dress, the photographer moved the couch into the best light and set up the shot, and I readied Brutus for his big day. "See how easy this is", I said. The model took her place, Brutus hopped up beside her because in his mind he is not pug, but a king and should never sit on anything but furniture. The photographer knelt behind the camera, we stood behind waving snacks and making noises and funny faces. We shot and shot and shot. That one might work, try it this way, wave from over there. We were close but just not quite where I had envisioned it. Maybe a break. The model went to check her make-up, the others wandered off and Brutus, glad to finally have the couch to himself stretched out. "Shoot it" I said! I stood over the photographers shoulder and made the little noices I tend to make whenever Brutus is around…. and then there it was! The magic! Of course we shot more because after all, we did have a pug in a custom made silk bow tie. The model came back, and Brutus sensing the burden of the perfect shot was off his shoulders (yes they have shoulders too!), performed wonderfully. And so there you have it, the story of the simple shot of Brutus the pug in a bow tie. And with it why I love my job. In the end, it’s always worth it. When it all comes together in the delight of that moment when the magic happens.
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