The short of it:
Favorite item in home: I don’t think I have one favorite item. I think it would be a collection of items. The artwork I’ve collected over the years from friends and artwork that’s been gifted to me. Having said that, I do love my bed. There’s nothing better than cozying in at night or on a cold day. Cozy blankets and pillows…I can’t get enough of them. Oh, and my ridiculously large collection of lip balms. I can’t live without those.
What I am reading: I’m one of those people that have several books on the go at once. I have four at the moment I go back and forth between depending on my mood. The first is What if This is Heaven by Anita Moorjani, who I’m totally obsessed with at the moment. I’ve listened to each and every one of her interviews online. She had a fascinating near death experience that’s been backed up by science and facts. If you’re interested in that, look her up. She has a great TED talk, and another book called Dying to be Me. The second book is Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. I’ve been an avid runner almost my whole life, from probably age ten, and a couple years ago when training for a marathon trail run I injured my knee and haven’t been able to run like I’d like since. I’m hoping this book helps. Thank you for loaning it to me Amy! The third is Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King and the fourth is The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein.
What I am listening to: Right this second, as I’m answering these questions, I’m listening to The Dixie Chicks album, Fly. My favorite band is most certainly Pearl Jam though. Eddie Vedder has the most amazing, skin tingling voice out there. I literally get goose bumps listening to some of their songs, and their lyrics are definitely powerful. I do want to plug Head and the Heart. They’re a very close second to my favorite band of all time. I will listen to almost any eighties music. I can’t get enough of it, much to the chagrin of both my husband and son. I will eventually convert them. One last one, Blondie….loooooooove Blondie. Okay, I could go on indefinitely with this question. I love music!
Best food in town: I think Mexican food is my favorite so I’m going to have to say Don Pedro’s. They make everything from scratch and authentically. So good! Of course the Firefly is wonderful as well. I love their commitment to organic, good for you ingredients. The fact that they grow a lot of their own food is a huge plus in my book. My most frequented establishment, hands down would be Joe Sipper’s. Not only is it a wonderful coffee house, Kevin the owner is a great guy, and I like to support good people. Another is Cruiser’s. I love french fries and the french fry portions are huge! The kid’s meals are served in adorable cardboard cars too, which my son loves. Oh, oh, oh, and Larson’s Landing out at Lake Sara! Sitting on the waterfront and the outdoor atmosphere reminds me of where I used to live. I can’t seem to answer any of these questions with a single answer. Sorry.
Favorite thing about Effingham: The fact that my family and friends live in the Effingham area is definitely my favorite thing about Effingham. It’s why my husband and I moved back here with our son. It’s a great place to raise a child and you don’t need to make a million dollars a year to enjoy a good life here. Small town living is my kind of living.
Tell us a little more about yourself: Hmmmmm, this is definitely the hardest question. What do I want people to know about me? Maybe that I’m a quiet, introverted, observant person, which sometimes comes across as me being unapproachable, or so I’m told anyway. That’s a false perception of me though.
The long of it:
Do your thing.
That’s what Tytia (tie-shuh) says when I ask for advice on anything. Do your thing. You can do it. That’s refreshing to hear and beyond encouraging when contemplating making a jump into anything new. And you always know she’s going to tell the truth. That’s what makes her a great friend and supporter. As she says, she seems unapproachable, but once you do approach her you’ll see her kind, quirky, honest, beautiful self. And if you can make her laugh you will be handsomely rewarded with one of a handful of different, fantastic laughs. All of these things are what come through in her photos and as you can see, her home. I mean, just look at this. Definitely one-of-a-kind.
Tytia is a fine art photographer and she takes commissioned portraits and commercial photographs. If you're into collecting art (especially local art) or you just love how she captures the beauty of our area and families in our area, then be sure to check out both her fine art and commissioned work websites. She does sell her work. And it is a wonderful gift to have her take your family photos. Pictures that will be treasured forever. Sounds cheesy but it's true.
I’ll try to make this short because a great way to get to know her is through her Tytia Habing Photography Facebook page. So many wonderful things there - funny posts (the creepier the better), serious posts (yes, political) and most importantly beautiful picture posts about her life in rural Illinois. She’s doing her own thing and she’s doing it very well.
So how did she end up in our community? She grew up here on her family’s farm in Watson, IL, went to college (twice) and then moved to the Cayman Islands. For sixteen years Tytia lived and worked there as a bartender at Rackam’s Pub and a manager and horticulturist at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. On the island is where she met and married her husband, Trevor Arsenault, who was restaurant server at the time. Trevor is from Prince Edward Island, Canada the birthplace of author of the Anne of Green Gables series, L.M. Montgomery. (Ask him all about that. He loves it when you ask a million questions about it. Just as much as he loves it when you say, “you betcha,” “eh?” or “a-boot” in your terrible Canadian accent.) They lived on the island for ten years together, had Tharin and then decided to move to the States - back to Watson, IL where Tytia grew up.
And since 2011 from this farmland is where she has been honing her photography and entrepreneurial skills. With the encouragement of her husband, she chose to take the plunge and be a full-time photographer which affords her the time to spend outside where she captures life lived hand-in-hand with nature and life lived by a young boy in the Midwest. You can feel the dirt, the birds’ wings, feel the breeze, see into the distance. That kinda stuff.
My little family and hers have been friends since we both happened to move back to Effingham in 2011 after having lived abroad. We spend quite a bit of time together, Trevor as drinking/rugby watching companion to my husband, Tharin as buddy to my kids and Tytia as support group member of our two-person work-from-home mom’s club.
Being her friend allows me a glimpse into how she works and how she lives. She does her thing, that’s for sure. She’s hyper-focused, consistent, patient and most importantly passionate about her fine art and portraiture photography. In the photography world her doing her thing has awarded her MANY accolades. Read this page from her website and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. CNN, folks. CNN. And Ashley Longshore follows her on Instagram. The dirty account. (@ashleylongshoreart, not for sensitive viewers). Yeah, it’s like that.
Without her nudging and encouragement, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog series right now. It’s amazing what a little voice saying you can do it will lead you to achieve. Clearly the voice within her is very strong.
//Next issue: Salina and Roy Vahling