Imagine spending all day looking at the face of a criminal, a missing child, or a murder victim -- all day, every day of the working week. That's what you'd do as a forensic artist for the Miami-Dade Police Department. Like Samantha Steinberg, you'd study the faces of the dead, and those who might have made them so, in order to come up with a sketch of what they look like. For example a victim or witness will sit with the forensic artist and "choose facial features that remind him or her of the subject. The artist will then draw the features," explains Steinberg. An aging portrait, on the other hand, starts with a "photograph of the fugitive or missing child and any information ... that would assist the artist in determining the rate of aging needed to complete the drawing." Finally, if "all other attempts at identifying the human remains have met with negative results," she will do facial reconstructions from "both fleshy and skeletal remains. I never know what my day will bring, and although it is very rewarding, it can also be very stressful and emotionally taxing."
The best ways she's found to decompress from stress and chill out in Miami:
Out of the home: "On the weekends I usually spend a day boating. We head out to the Stiltsville sandbar and drop anchor. There is nothing like being in the middle of the ocean with good music and a great crowd of people. Ideally I like to take a good book with me to the beach and just tune the world out while I work on my tan."
And for culinary pleasures: "Brunch with my sister and her husband at Arnie and Richie's and eat bagels and greasy potato pancakes. Mmmmm, yummy!... Another way I chill out is by meeting up with friends at the Purdy Lounge to chat over a couple of drinks. It is a really laid-back atmosphere with good music and comfy couches.
"A little over a year ago I splurged and bought a convertible. I figured if you are commuting for more than an hour every day it should be in style. I still get a little rush of energy when I put the top down and crank the music up after a long day at work."
In the home: "I take a bubble bath daily. It does not matter if it is for 5 or 25 minutes -- just being able to sit back and relax without any distractions is priceless.
"Sleep is very important to me. I recently invested in black-out' curtains, but unfortunately I have hit the snooze button so many times it is about time to invest in a new alarm clock."
On top of all that: "Although I was saddened when Jamal Mashburn was traded, I still enjoy going to Heat games and cheering with the rest of the fans. I admit that more often than not the games are stressful, but that is the price you pay for being a sports fan."
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