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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

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 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

Happy St. Martin’s Day

Today in Germany, villages of children will celebrate St. Martin's Day with a parade of lanterns. I got to see the celebration once through the eyes of my daughters. And the memories of the night have always stuck with me... I think of it when the leaves have mostly fallen and the nights get longer. St. Martin's Day chases away the dreariness of long cold nights with thoughts of cheer and warmth and generosity. St. Martin is a famous Christian saint.  He was a bishop known for his charity and good heart.   Every November, the children in the German villages celebrate the day he was buried. The legend is that when St. Martin was a soldier, he was out on a cold winter's night and saw a poor man with no cloak. Martin took his sword and cut his own cloak in two so he could give the freezing man something to wear.  This scene is re-enacted each year (the bigger kids in the kindergarten did a short play) and it is the act that St. Martin is famous for. So in

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