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Here’s How I Think You Should Celebrate Earth Day

If you're looking outside today and wondering how you should celebrate Earth Day have I got a suggestion for YOU! Show some love to the Corning Street Tree Project!  Start by heading to corningtrees.com     If you think some of the photography or the subjects of said photos (or the writing of the posts!) look familiar it's because I am one of the co-founders. And together with some of my best friends (and siblings!) we have started this project in Corning that we'd love you to get involved with!     The biggest things we need right now are donations and for folks to spread the word! You can donate now by clicking on this link to the Community Foundation's donate page.  Click on the "Choose a fund" dropdown menu and find us under "C" for Corning Street Tree Project Fund.  And please check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and tell ALL your Corning friends to do the same. Thanks so much! Happy Earth

Name Change for Me, Pronunciation Hint for You

Introducing: Same business, same woman... different last name.     I've never had a last name that was easy to pronounce at first glance. So as I make the official transition back to my maiden name, I thought I'd give a little intro and pronunciation hint. It's Rawleigh... rhymes with jolly.     Or like, the capital of North Carolina, but with a "w" (which is way too much to tell people.) So jolly works. And it matches who I am and what my photography is all about... bringing smiles to faces. Spreading beauty and cheer and humor and hope and goofiness wherever I

Lucky Bamboo

I don't have much to say about the Luck 'O the Irish, but let me tell you about this Lucky Bamboo plant that is gracing my desk these days. (It's lucky and it's green, so this ALMOST counts as a St. Patrick's Day post)     COME ON! It's so freaking cool I can hardly stand it.     It was love at first sight at Wegmans and I ended up buying it a few weeks later when I saw that she was one of only two of her sisters left. I just couldn't resist the cool juxtaposition between the curving lines of the stalks and the straight lovely leafy canopy that shoots up from them.     No clue how the Bamboo Wizards do this sort of thing, but I'm digging it. I'm also really on board with the fact that I apparently can't kill it because it doesn't need a lot of sun (which my home office doesn't have) and it also doesn't need a lot of water (like... once every two weeks. Maybe. Even I can handle that!) So with the snow

“It’s the Most [Difficult] Time… of the Year…”

Christmas became a hard season for me five years ago. Maybe even earlier, I can't quite put my finger on it. And since it's a painful situation to begin with, putting my finger on it only seems to make it worse anyways. So I'm backing off with the finger pointing. I have neither the energy or the courage to truly bare my soul to you and explain my grief, so I will summarize: divorce is nasty business. The death of my marriage has introduced me to concepts of grief that I thought were only experienced by those who have lost a loved one to actual death. But something did die. My marriage.     And Christmas is a grief-anniversary. Because the traditions surrounding Christmas are usually about family togetherness and our family is not... together. And some of the Christmas seasons have been harder than others, but each time I try to trick myself into thinking I'm "there." I'm "back..." I'm ready to do all the cool-mom things I used to do. I'm ready to

Reality with Jess | Sometimes $h!t Happens

Sometimes you have to just force yourself to sit and snuggle under your quilt and drink your coffee and read your book, because you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself, and that's how you stay sane sometimes. Sometimes you are only home from Italy for two days before you get a new job at a place you love that you found out had an opening while you were still in the airport. Sometimes you have to leave a training shift at said new job and rush to the ER to meet your parents and your broken-wristed-baby. Sometimes little girls that are so bold and confident and amazing on the monkey bars fall and break their wrist. Sometimes you spend sleepless nights in the hospital and at home, giving round the clock meds and hugs and "I'm so sorry baby" words of comfort. Sometimes you haven't even had a chance to finish sorting through your trip pictures, let alone start editing them. Or you still have bits of luggage to unpack. Or outstanding client work to

Creativity… Better Done than Done Perfect

I had a student say she had a former photography teacher tell the class that "Every photo should be a work of art." and she asked me if I think that's true. And I said that's complete garbage.  I mean, what a creativity-crushing statement to give a new photographer! I sincerely hope this teacher was joking, or just trying to push for everyone's best, but if they were serious, shame on them. "Better done than done perfect" has always been a favorite life motto for me. It suits me because I gulp life down in pretty big chunks so I don't really have time to devote absolute perfection in any one area. So I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. {affiliate link} She is a huge cheerleader for creative souls to just get their dang work out there and then get back to creating more! If you feel like you have even one creative bone in your body (which really, all of us do!) then I highly recommend this book. As a teacher, and

3 Places I Find Girl-Power Inspiration

In this all-girl household, I am ALL about empowering women. All women… Myself… And these mini-women!     One thing I love about being a girl-Mommy is that I am not allowed to be lazy on personal growth in the girl-power department.  I mean, sure, I'm technically allowed to do whatever the heckity-heck I want. But I don't roll that way. So even on days when I might want to be self-deprecating towards MYSELF, I find those hateful vibes get choked out a little faster because I am very rarely without these two monkeys watching my every move. I am glad that I don't have the luxury to give up. I'm glad that I feel the pressure... that there are two very adorable reasons not to give in to those awful messages. I'm glad that they will think of their Momma as strong as hell, and their biggest cheerleader. They'll probably even roll their eyes about it, because I'll probably overdo it... it's just my way ;-) Anyways when I’m feeling low on the

Yoga Journey | Slow Down and Be Okay

In a lot of ways, I feel like I've taken some serious steps back in my yoga journey. But in the interest of full disclosure, I've taken even more staggering steps back in my personal life. The transition to single parenthood took a lot out of me. Kind of knocked me on my butt for about 18 months to be honest. The end of a marriage is a sad sad thing. I'm no longer depressed and I'm starting to get my sparkle back, but there are still a lot of really hard days.     So it's no wonder my body has suffered as well. I am less bendy than I was three years ago. Less limber. Less strong. WAY less strong. I am tight in ways I used to be flexible. I am tense where I need to breathe. My mind is racing when it needs to meditate. Lessons on the mat, as I have always found in my 5 years practicing yoga, are also essential lessons for my life.     Lately I have had to embrace almost a complete slowing down in my yoga practice. I am

Walking Towards the End of School

I'm really proud of my ladies for how hard they've worked this school year. But I'm happy for them that it's almost time for PLAY! School is almost over y'all! It's crazy.     What's even crazier is that we finally just started walking to school again. It feels like it's been six months.     I guess it has actually been that long. We had the kind of NY winter that lasts until April this year, something I haven't experienced in almost a decade since living abroad. (And yes, I sort of count Mississippi as "abroad", especially where the weather is concerned.) It's not just that it was cold and rainy and sometimes snowing on and off in March and April, it's also that I was just out of habit. I'm still a firm believer in the German phrase "no bad weather only bad clothing." But it does take a little too much effort (for me) to brave certain types of NY winter weather (with kids.) Even on a nice day, we have to get out the door at

My Outdoorsy-Sister, My Nature-Muse

My younger sister is a third of the way done with her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. And I miss her face off.      It's weird... she lives in Rochester so you would think I would see her all the time. But she's a bada$$ ICU/trauma nurse who works night shifts and weekends and I'm a single Mom with school-age kiddos. So I don't hang out with her as much as I would like. But there was something about her leaving for this six month (0r so) adventure of hiking most of the East Coast that feels so much more difficult than her living an hour and a half away. I know I can still text her and I know she's called me pretty regularly for really great chats. And I know I will see her at least once mid-adventure.     I also know she's having the time of her life... I know she's learning a ton about herself through this experience... but the fact that she isn't here is so strange and so hard. And then the empathetic heart of mine is dying