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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

30 Ways to Get You Through the Rest of this Winter | Part 2

  My best friend always laughs at the similarities between her husband and yours truly. Most people get a "blah" sort of feeling when the sun isn't around... but she says she watches some people (raises hand) just seem to droop on dreary days. She calls us "solar-powered people" and I just love that description. SO for those of us who are more solar-powered than others, here are the next ten tips in this quick series on battling the Winter Blues.     11. Plan a trip. Maybe you don't have the time or budget for a big sunny cruise down south, but taking some time on a dreary day to plan a vacation (big or small) gives you a huge mood boost. Some people say that PLANNING a vacay can actually bring just as much if not MORE satisfaction and good vibes than the trip itself. I don't know about that, but hey, I'll buy into just about anything at this point ;-) It's a super good idea to break up your routine... especially at the end of Winter when you're

30 Ways to Get You Through the Rest of this Winter | Part 1

Today I'm going to give you the first ten (of 30) tips and tricks I've learned to battle seasonal depression. You certainly don't have to have actual Seasonal Affective Disorder to experience the Winter Blues. February is that odd month for me... and I know many agree. It's short, it's full of exciting/busy activities, but it also just DRAGS on and on and on because we can see the light of Spring at the end of the tunnel but we just aren't. quite. there. yet. So if you're feeling the winter blues a bit, here are some ideas I've found to help me power through.      1. Spend 15 minutes looking at photos from an event that made you really happy. In her book The Happiness Project {affiliate link here, I highly recommend} Gretchen Rubin writes "Studies show that recalling happy times helps boost happiness in the present. When people reminisce, they focus on positive memories, with the result that recalling the past amplifies the positive and minimizes the

My Earliest Memory

Look guys! I drew you a picture! I wanted to literally illustrate today's story ;-) Let's rewind to Kindergarten with Jess. (circa what? 1992?) I'm approximately 5 and 1/2 years old and I'm about to form my earliest childhood memory... and it's equal parts humiliating and empowering. Ready? So even at a young age, I fancied myself QUITE the artist. We are assigned to the art easel station in groups of four. I can remember how each easel was set up, kind of in a square, so we were all painting together but we couldn't really see each other's work. Teacher says "Paint a Christmas tree!" and I'm all like "oh girl I am going to CRUSH this."  Problem is, I can't remember the shape I need to start with. I know there's a shape. I'm positive it's not a circle. But that's where my confidence ends. Is it a square or a triangle? Definitely a square. Or is it? Hmmmmm... Enter the inner dialog of a little girl who already knows there is a school rule about "no cheating"

Birthday (and Holiday) Presence

This past week has been a whirlwind of fun fall festivities and Elsa's 7th birthday. I always have a tough time at family outings and events being torn between my photographer-self and my mom-self. Specifically, to take a picture or to enjoy a moment?  As a photographer, I place very high value on a photograph to preserve a memory... not just for my clients but for myself. I want so desperately to remember every little moment and I have this fear that if I don't take a picture I WILL FORGET... but then I have known for a long time that if I always have the camera in front of my face, I miss something else that I can't ever get back: being present in the moment with my family. I still take a lot of pictures, trust me.  But sometimes when I am out with my girls or we're home celebrating an event, I remember this moment I had with them once when we were traveling in Germany... If you travel with small children, then you know what it means to be tired of bathroom

How a “Watch” Strengthened My Resolve to be Present… Plus a Giveaway for You

Look what I found! It looks like a watch, it feels like a watch, but it's NOT a watch. It's a reminder to slow down.     And a very important reminder it is... This "watch" is great! You don't have to worry about batteries, daylight savings, time zones, or alarms. It really helps me remember to worry less. period. It may not minimize or eliminate all time-related worry, but it does remind you that sometimes, the best answer to the question "what time is it?" is "now."       I found the company on instagram (@stealtimeback) and I fell in love with their product and their message. You can browse their website here to find out more about the "now" movement, check out their shop full of cool bracelets, and read their awesome blog... full of inspiration and gentle reminders to enjoy this beautiful life that we have a tendency to FLY through at frantic pace. Consider these products as a great little gift for

Flipping the Coin

Baby Abigail, my most recent client, was practically born with eyes wide open. It reminded me of a story I've heard a lot throughout my life... and the lessons I've pondered as I think of it... My parents love to tell the story of my first moments of life. After a grueling labor and delivery, my Mom was finally able to recover and my Dad was handed his first child, a healthy baby girl. And he says I just stared at him. Literally. Moments after birth, my eyes were wide open, almost expectant. Kind of like little Abigail here ;-)   He likes to say it was my first "what's next?" look.  My whole life, apparently from moment one, I have had a pretty crazy big appetite for the next thing. I have an obnoxious amount of energy and I love to get a lot of fun, exciting things on my plate. I want to do it all! I hate saying no! But I have had to learn to stop constantly asking "what's next" because I was in danger of missing out on what's NOW. (And also