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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

Local Events | Fifth Annual Failure Summit

Last month, I attended the Failure Summit put on by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. When I first read the event description I laughed out loud, so I knew it would be a great way to spend an afternoon.  Being a small business owner is a really scary, risky thing. There are many days I think about how much easier it would be if I just got a more traditional job. But then the part of my creative soul that loves this business so hard knows I would not be as happy doing anything else.      It can feel really awful sometimes knowing that I'm not really sure how this wonderful experiment called "small business" is going to work out.  And it feels like I'm going the wrong way most days. I was hoping this Failure Summit would remind me that experiments (and even failures) are some of the only ways we can learn and grow and innovate. And I felt like the five brave souls that got up to speak that day were speaking right

Pining for My Favorite Summer Spot

I have been daydreaming all week about this moment from last summer... my first time trying stand up paddle boarding.  The sun was shining on Mirror Lake and it was my first time viewing the town of Lake Placid from the water. I had bruised my sternum the week prior in an unfortunate hiking fight with a large piece of a granite boulder in Acadia National Park. So I wasn't able to mess around and try my hand at yoga balance postures like my siblings were doing. Besides laughing at their antics, the main memories from that evening are quite moments like in this picture... where I was just sitting down for a rest, enjoying the water and the warmth of the sun.      I've had a heart full of miss for Lake Placid this week. I want to go camping and feel my lungs burn as I haul my tush up a mountain. I want to get dirty and breathe fresh air and try stand up paddle boarding again. What about you? Sick of this crazy March weather, yet? What's

On Favorite Photographs and Future Possibilities

I've had this quote from Imogen Cunningham in my head lately. Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow. And especially this week, since I'm getting ready for a trip to Montreal with my siblings. My creative mind is full of daydreams of which lenses to bring, what types of street photography I want to take, what cool buildings I'll see... not to mention the fun of one last family trip before my sister leaves for the Appalachian Trail (!!!) I can feel the creative energy (that sometimes gets cooped up in the Winter!) just itching for some artistic challenges and new sights. This trip is going to be just the thing. I used to think that I was just indecisive... the fact that I can't say I have a favorite photograph. But if I'm hearing Imogen right, I'm just always on the artistic hunt for my next favorite! ;-) I wish you a wonderful day full of possibilities!      Anyone ever been to Montreal? I'd love to hear from you

30 Ways to Think Outside the SAD Box this Winter | Part Three

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but I feel like we're all a little more armed and dangerous to make the last few months of this winter less of a bummer.  Which is good, because all the ice-slush-snow-freezing-rain we've gotten this weekend in Upstate NY is KILLING ME. Without further ado, here are the last ten tips to kick seasonal depression's booty...     21. Brew a hot cup of your favorite tea. Just putting your tea kettle on the stove can improve your mood. The cozy feeling of a warm beverage in your hands is one of the many ways to warm yourself up. Inside and out! Plus you get a bonus boost from feeling virtuous for treating yourself to the antioxidants and other nutritious goodness you get from most teas. I'm looking at you green ;-) 22. Spend $10 on something you don't really need. New makeup, nail polish, hair accessory, scarf, jewelry, etc. Anything that makes you smile. Even if you already own 30 scarves. or more. Not that I