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i didn’t expect this from young living…

As you may know, I started using Young Living essential oils in early 2014. After balking at the price and stalking their information for several months, I finally decided to order, because a) I had tried another brand’s version of Thieves oil blend, and it was not worth the savings, and b)


I never told my kids about Santa; America told them. The literal-to-a-fault part of me never wanted to tell them “lies.” I found myself giving in to the simplicity and ease of going along with the story, not wanting to ruin Santa for their cousins, or friends, or anyone else whose Christmases would

the picture i couldn’t take

8 years ago, today. Forever ago, and just a moment ago. On December 4th, 2006, I participated in a photography project that involved shooting a “Day in the Life” of…well, of my life. I set my camera timer and set about my everyday tasks, getting ready for work, cleaning the house,

how to be beautiful

I study women’s faces and bodies very carefully. It’s my job. It’s my job to show them the beautiful things about them through photography. So, I watch as their facial expressions change, and I can tell what the muscles are doing, and I know when there’s tension behind a

homemade or fair trade

Why feed the Christmas machine again, hustling and bustling and spending money you don’t have, and stressing about buying ALL OF THE THINGS? I have a better idea: homemade or fair trade. It didn’t used to be like this, you know. We give gifts (I think) to commemorate the story of the

one more day

I just looked over, and in my bed, my little daughter is softly snoring, and I focus on her eyelashes, and her freckles, and gratitude fills my heart. This was one more day that ended with her, safe and warm beside me. For one more day, I saw joy on my son’s face, and for one more day, I know

and now…i retreat to my cave in the forest.

No, really. I’m going to the forest, where i go every year, with just some female friends, and I sleep in “the Cave,” the one room in the cabin that faces nothing, that’s cold and dark and PERFECT. Everyone else awakens to the glistening colors dancing on the water through


Gratitude. It’s the thing to do this week. I can’t really fit mine into a facebook status update, but if you would like to know, there are a few things that have been really filling my heart. Sobriety. There was a time when I never dreamed I would get past the shame of needing it, to

a relatively bad day

I give a lot of thought to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, don’t you? We all do. (…I’m kidding. I have a degree in Psychology. I think about these types of things. I know you may not know what the heck I’m talking about.) Anyway, here it is. It lists out all of your needs, from

i may not be around much longer

…at least, I don’t assume I will be. And the same goes for you. I was talking with some friends about aging and ailing parents, and how hard some of the ailments can be, especially for partners. A friend said that you think and assume you will grow old together, and that person will be with

come on, jesus

Rage and Religion

clearing out the clutter

On clearing out the clutter. On it taking forever. On it encompassing all areas of life.

it’s the end of the world as we know it

…and I feel fine. (high five if you sang that part with me.) Life is hitting us a LOT of curve balls right now. We can handle it, mostly. In fact, we take the news of job losses, strokes, heart surgery, progressing alcoholism, black mold and breaking things, in stride. We do what we can do to

how to rescue a homeless dog

I have always tried to focus on volunteer opportunities that could actively involve my young children. We do meals on wheels together, and this week, we took in our first foster dog through Panda’s Pets in Minneapolis. Abby came to us on Monday evening, and she was mellow and sweet, and of

the “charge more, work less” myth

I sort of take back that business advice I gave you…

maybe it’s like a dirty cookbook

On finding beauty in broken things


I was fretting about my business, and then I came across this. I was frustrated, and then I delivered meals to couch-bound people. One of them was watching the 9/11 memorial program, and she told me about a hero who carried several people down 70 flights of stairs, but he didn’t make it. She

nigga nigga nigga nigga

Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga, I’m 100% nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga Nigga, I’m 200% nigga Not my words. Song lyrics. Before you read on, you should know that this post is full of expletives and words that I don’t use and can barely bring myself to type,

i’m going to photoshop your baby

Am I going to use Photoshop on your baby pictures? Definitely. And you’re going to like it.

don’t be a wedding photographer

….unless you know WHY. I have aspiring photographers who contact me for advice, because they’re thinking of getting into professional wedding photography. This is my advice. Why do you want to be a wedding photographer? Why weddings? I will confess, I was one of the many people who

Charlotte-Year One

My poor, weary clients walked towards my studio with their just new baby in the carrier. Time for Charlotte’s newborn photo shoot! I said, “I have an idea. Will you try something with me?” They didn’t question. My best clients don’t question; they know they will get

no thanks, i’d like a hot poker in my eye

I have to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of popup windows that appear on almost every internet site I visit these days. (Grrr. popups.) They say, “Sign up here to receive our emails, blah blah” (Grrr. email lists.) I just wanted to read the article, or check out those shoes. Ok? Get

cooking with young living essential oils

Before I begin, I must tell you NOT to ingest essential oils unless you know they are safe for consumption. Essential oils are highly, HIGHLY concentrated plant extracts, and are generally only for topical use, or diffused for aromatherapy. Young Living is one of the only sources of oils pure

dishwater buddha

Who has time for mindfulness? Not I, says the entrepreneurial mom, with the homeworklaundryyardworkexercisemealplanningbillpayingbusinessrunningpicturetaking that needs to happen in the next couple of hours. What is mindfulness, you ask? Well, it’s the state of being completely aware and in

pigpen meets tasmanian devil

…that’s me. I am a tornado. Too many ideas, always moving forward, multitasking to the point of just making giant messes and not completing any of it, leaving a wake of clutter and dust and glitter behind me. Glutter. (I am a creative tornado.) I have hired a professional to help me clear the

lemonade stand

My kids often ask if they can have a lemonade stand, and I usually (almost always) say no. I say no, because I want to save them from disappointment if no one stops by. I am worried that someone will buy from them, and not like their product.  I’m afraid their feelings will be hurt. When my

i have lazy.

You read that right. I have lazy. When I was learning American Sign Language (ASL,) if you felt lazy, the literal sign translation would be, “I HAVE lazy.” I think a lot of languages do that; they separate the feeling from the person. It’s probably important. Here’s

i finally made a portrait brochure

Whether you book a portrait session with me, or with another photographer, this information will help you with what to wear, what to tell the kids, what NOT to tell the kids, what happens when the baby starts screaming, and more.


I have a theory, and it’s going to make some people angry. It’s been nudging me, in my mind, for a while now, ever since the states started passing laws (or trying to) that allowed anyone, including police, and lifesaving rescue teams to deny help to LGBT people, if they felt like it.

why i’m not banning bossy

I’m Jen, and I’m bossy. Do you have a problem with that? Because I don’t. There is now a campaign to “Ban Bossy,”  (the word,) so that girls won’t catch flack for showing leadership skills. The word “bossy” has negative connotations (which come from


It’s Wednesday, and I’m taking the day off. I’m taking the day off, because my husband got the day off. I just got the kids off to school, and he is still sleeping. I want to either: go back to bed too, clean my house, or get some work done. We have crazy schedules. He has been

zucchini noodles with ham and pesto

See, I told you I’d post recipes on the new blog. My method of cooking is basically, “What’s in the fridge, and can be made into something edible in less than 20 minutes?” Tonight, it was: a zucchini, diced ham, pesto, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan. It took about 3 minutes

this is what baby photo sessions really look like

Q: What’s the difference between these two photos? A: 2 seconds. Yes, folks. There you have it, the method behind the magic. Do not be alarmed! Your baby is going to scream during her/his newborn photo shoot, and it is totally normal. The trick (for the photographer) is to be ready at the

these are the people i struggle to love

I mentioned at the beginning of the year that every day I resolve to do certain things, and one of those things is to love. It’s easy to love the lovable, but loving the mean-spirited takes work. It feels nearly impossible. I came across these three articles in less than a week. Each of

identity crisis

Over the past year, (at least!) I’ve had blog posts swirling around & writing themselves in my mind. I have also had a blog space online, dedicated to my photography business, which has been severely neglected. What’s the problem? Why couldn’t I keep that blog current? Well,

real women

I see a lot of bodies in my line of work. Here’s what I can tell you about real women… Real women have curves. Real women are rail thin, with protruding hip bones. Real women have breasts that succumb to gravity and make the journey from “near the clavicle” to “near