TWINS AND BIG HILLS

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TWINS AND BIG HILLS

Twins Basil, TWINS.  Jk, but seriously - any parent that gets two babes for the price of one is a god/saint/hero in my opinion.  How do they do it?  No one knows.  Adaptation, as with all things challenging in life, I suppose.

I never know what's going to transpire during an in home lifestyle session so I stay aware, open and observant, keeping my eyes peeled for those little sparks of familial bonding .  

In the best of situations, my families give me gobs to work with - they're openly playful, loving, and they more or less go with the flow. Going with the flow is key in general, but especially with dos two year old twin toddlers.

Hungry?  Sure.  Tantrums?  Bring it on.  Running down their favorite 'hill' in the backyard?  A resounding YES - after which I'll share my sentiment of remembering how giant things used to seem to me as a tot vs seeing them through grown up eyes, and get nostalgic about the photos I'm about to make because I can already picture the girls laughingly reminiscing about their cherished 'hill' 20 years down the road.

These seemingly nonsensical tidbits of life are the bread and butter of why I do what I do, and what tug at my heart with the most incessant fervor. 

With these two particular babes bursting with personality and their go-with-the-flow deeply caring and hands on parents, I couldn't have asked for better subjects.  

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What Heather had to say about her experience with me:

"

As I didn’t personally know Jen, I was afraid to invest the money only to have the pictures not turn out.  I’m a tough critic because I own my own store/brand and we have a critical eye for imagery.  This did not happen, instead, I was blown away by her talent and ability to capture our family in a way I didn’t even see myself.  I’m beyond happy with the results.

[I absolutely feel like the images and services I received were worth the investment!]  Price is such a hard thing for any artist to attribute to their work.  A person’s opinion on how much something should cost always varies.  I assure you, as someone who penny pinches because of having twins is a large expense in itself, once you see these pictures for the first time, you will value them with all your heart and feel confident that it was worth every single penny.  Jen has created an environment from the day of the shoot, to viewing the photos in her warm and welcoming studio, to hand delivering your images in a beautiful tote with a giant smile on her face made this experience single handedly one of the best I have ever had.

Jen really fought to have me pick pictures that I was in.  Most of the pictures I accumulated over the years has everyone in them, but me because I was usually the one taking the pictures.  Jen reminded me that I am a part of this family and that the girls will treasure having photos with me and them together and one on one.  She expressed the importance of those memories for my girls.  One expression comes to mind while we were viewing the images in her studio.  A picture of me looking at one of my girls Ryan came up and Jen gave a big warm sigh and said, “Man I wish I had a photo of my mom looking at me like that”.  Jen made me consider how the other members of my family would cherish these photos and made me consider their perspective too.  That alone made me change how I view myself in pics.  To get over any insecurities I have about how I look and view it from the stand point of how my family views us all together and the importance of all of us being present and represented in those memories.

[I 100% feel it was worth it to receive finished products vs just the digital files alone.] A tangible framed image represents the full circle.  How many times have you taken pics and they sat on your camera for years or posted to social media only to view them when plugged into technology (something I’m trying to do far less of).  Having a beautifully framed image hung in your home, in my case, an entire wall dedicated to our family, makes a house truly a home and the experience personal and intimate.  Every time I pass that wall, I’m reminded of everything that makes us a family and it makes my heart sing.  Moreover, nothing, and I mean, nothing can replace seeing the look on a loved one’s face when they open a wrapped picture of one of their daughters or grandchild.  The gratitude of the tangible image to display in their home is beyond anything you can give through digital.

"

 

Ready to book your fall family session?

Contact me here!

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

As you may remember, in March I ventured to SoCal.  I loved it so much that I'm set to head back at the end of September.  

While there earlier this year I met the lovely Erin Shedarowich (@erinmayshed) and her adorable family, and they invited me into their stunning home for a shoot.  Erin and Pat are the 'buy and remodel' type and are currently ambitiously putting their mark on the 3rd reno in just over a year.

If you follow Erin on social media then I'm sure that her daughter, the vivacious Indy May, has already proceeded to steal your heart.  In person, she's just as charming, gifting me an 'Indy May orig' neon drawing (titled 'To: Jen') as I walked through the door.  Here's a peek into life at the Shedarowich household. Xo

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I'll be touring the coast of Southern California September 22 - October 1.

Contact me here if you'd like to set up a shoot while I'm there!

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WOMAN

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WOMAN

I'm turning 31 next month and as an adage to one of the most transformative years of my life, I've scheduled a boudoir photo session, for myself.  

Numerous women come to me for nude photos of themselves to give to their partners and I'm always so humbled and honored to be chosen for the task, but being on the other side and facing a photoshoot of my own has my nerves tingling.

I think what I'm most excited for is to experience myself through someone else's eyes.  Whenever shooting my ladies, I observe observe observe, and then shoot.  I aim to spot the unique and subtle mannerisms that I find charming, a turn of the head, the resting of a hand, and memorialize that feeling into a photo.

To me, women are the most beautiful creatures on the planet, and helping them see themselves that way is the most satisfying part of what I do.

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What K.R. had to say about her boudoir experience with me:

"The photos are really amazing and even better than I imagined. It was actually kind of an interesting experience to look through them. My first reaction was to be critical, but as I kept going I couldn't help but appreciate the photos and find myself beautiful. Jen has managed to capture me in just the light I hope to see myself in. I cannot wait to give these to [my husband] on our wedding day. I hope very much for Jen to take pictures of us again in the future, maybe when we have our first child :).

You can't put a price on something that will be meaningful for years to come.  Jen is a professional and well worth the price.  I would absolutely encourage anybody to do this, just for themselves. Jen will be able to see in you things we forget sometimes."

When was the last time you invested in yourself?  

Boudoir photos are one of the best ways to learn to accept and love yourself just as you are, click here to setup your session with me!

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DEATH BY PHOTOGRAPH

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DEATH BY PHOTOGRAPH

'We've never had family photos done', she said.  And a small part of me died.

These two high-school sweethearts had recently purchased a new home (with the help of Jewel Maxfield at cityhomeCOLLECTIVE) and as a gift from Jewel had received an in-home session with me.

Never had family photos done.....I couldn't shake it.  It made this session feel monumental to me, like I was the first person to ever see inside the Queens quarters at Buckingham Palace.

Though the dining room was in shambles and the kitchen was next on the list to be gutted, I asked (forced) them to do photos in there for posterity's sake, already envisioning Thanksgiving 2040 and 'oh my god remember that awful wallpaper??' being laughed about together.

Is acute nostalgia a thing?  If so, I apparently suffer from it in a very real way.

Beyond happy to have provided this family with their first album full of images and framed prints for their wall.  Peek the finished product below. Xo

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What they had to say:

"My biggest fear was that [my husband] wouldn’t be comfortable and would not like the session. Or that the kids would cry and/or not want to participate. But Jen made us all so comfortable. None of my fears came true. Pete even said he had fun during the session! It’s incredible to go from worrying no one will open up to the level of comfort and ease Jen provided.

The images and services were certainly pricier than I expected. But they were worth every penny and then some. Every time I look at our prints and our image book, I’m struck by how well they captured that moment of time in our lives. I will forever be grateful for having these images. They are truly a family heirloom that will be treasured.

Pete said he was a bit shocked when he saw the price tag (even though I had warned him that prints would be expensive). He joked that he could be well on his way to an upgraded bike (his passion) in lieu of the photos. But as time has passed, he has become a huge advocate. He said the photos are the best money we’ve spent in a long time and constantly looks at our pictures and comments on how much he likes them.

I was having a bad hair day that day, and wasn’t feeling particularly beautiful. While there are a few photos were I cringe at minor things about the way I look, generally I really liked the way I looked. I especially liked the way I was captured looking at my children and my husband. It has given me a new appreciation for the way they see me. And, seeing all of us together in photos, made me incredibly proud of the fun-loving family we have built.

Pete was a bit self-conscious about some of this “wrinkles” at first, but now he has moved beyond that and just sees the love and happiness that occurred on that day, and that occurs on so many other days in our lives.

I wish we would have gotten family photos a LONG time ago. But, the quality of what we got this time helps make up for that. These images truly are treasures. They will be cherished for as long as I live and I hope my children will also cherish them."

 

The days are long but the years are short, when was the last time you had family photos taken?

 

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WE DON'T WANT TO RAISE A**HOLES

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WE DON'T WANT TO RAISE A**HOLES

I've always joked that if I ever had kids I'd be a tyrant of a mother.  I was raised on a strict diet of polite-ness, respectful-ness, and obedience, and tend to have the same rigid expectations for the kids around me in my life.  

About a month ago I headed to San Diego and bunked with my cousin Blake and his wife Lou who'd recently welcomed a baby girl into the world, growing their family to a party of four.  It had been over three years since I'd seen them last so I spent the next three days enjoying their company and getting to know them in their life right now.    

Since I'd been itching to shoot a family in true photojournalistic mode, I took full advantage of my 'house-guest' status and spent my first day there immersed in documenting the going-ons of a typical Friday.  By the end of the day, I was floored by the amount of patience, energy, and effort I witnessed in the form of parental guidance from Blake and Lou.

I once read an article on parenting that likened the first years of child rearing to building a house;  for the first four to five years you're in the trenches day in and day out, doing the dirty work and building a strong foundation, and while it doesn't look like much on the outside, it's the most important part of the structure that will allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.

Preach.

I'm no parent myself but I know that in order for anything like manners or discipline to stick it takes consistent, non-exciting effort, from both sides, day in and day out.  During my stay at the Irvin household I intimately observed the steely, relentless dedication these two have made to parenting - and the direct effects that dedication has already wielded.  When I remarked on how amazed I was by the little man Mason was turning into, they simply stated 'Well, when we had kids we just decided together that we didn't want to raise an asshole.'

And that, I would say, they have already achieved.

Not only is Mason an enchantingly bright kid in his own right - possessing a presence way beyond his 4 years (you know the kind I'm talking about), but his speech was effortlessly infused with pleases and thank you's (and 'sirs' for such authoritative figures as the dinner waiter), and changing activities wasn't a life or death situation.

I thoroughly enjoyed 'seeing' this family through my lens, and hope these photos do their slice of life justice.  Xo

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candid day in the life shot of young boy buckling himself in car san diego california
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day-in-the-life-family-photo-session-dad-brushing-sons-tongue-san-diego-california
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What they had to say about their experience with a Day in the Life session:

Lou - "My biggest fear was that there wouldn’t be anything to shoot. To me, my day is so boring and so basic. I see these beauty or lifestyle bloggers with glamorous lives, and all I was thinking was “she is going to be so bored.” Turns out mommin' is actually kind of fun from an outside view. It gave me a bit of a different perspective of my day to day to be seen through these pictures.  These photos will always remind me of the beauty of the day to day. It also documented a part of time for our family when we were growing and adjusting to a family of four."

Blake - "There are so many things going on at the same time that sometimes even great memorable experiences get lost. With these photos, its like having a thumb tack where I can look back and remember the time and what was going on. Also having photos with our whole family is very rare because one of us is usually taking the photos."

Interested in a Day in the Life session?

Contact me here.

 

 

Otherwise...

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SHOP LOCAL | FELLOW SHOP, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

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SHOP LOCAL | FELLOW SHOP, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

One day, a few months ago, in an effort to stymie an onsetting existential crisis, I decided to take a walk.  It was one of those rare, mid-winter nice days, and since I'd been meaning (by meaning, I mean procrastinating) to start working on another Shop Local post, I decided that it was as good a time as ever to stroll around the corner and pop into Fellow Shop.

The little stretch of Broadway from 300 East to State Street is probably the quaintest in all of Salt Lake, stocked with locally owned shops and eclectic goods, and as I shuffled into Fellow Shop on that fateful sunny day, I immediately fell in love with the shops clean and crisp aesthetic of white washed walls, greenery, and overall spacious feel.

FELLOW SHOP

271 E Broadway, Salt Lake City, Ut

Fellow Shop is owned by Hannah Montgomery, a striking, quiet, force of a woman who, at 26, is already living out her childhood dream.  "When I was a kid I always played shop, I'd set my room up as a store and make my mom come and shop so I could ring her up, so it's kind of always been something I've wanted to do!"

After paying her dues and working the obligatory retail management jobs, an opportunity presented itself to open her own small shop across the hall from her friend Heather (owner of Uintah Standard) in the Victorian building on the corner of 700 East and 600 South.

Needless to say, she seized the opportunity with vigor saying, "From the day that Heather and I talked about it to the day that Fellow Shop opened was two months.  I just hustled, said 'bye!' to my current job, contacted a few people who's stuff I'd been wanting to carry in my dream shop and made it happen."

And so, Fellow Shop got it's start in a little 12x12 room.  After 6 months both Heather and Hannah started to get antsy, feeling the need to move on from their starter location due to lack of walk-in traffic.  As a teenager, Hannah dreamt of her ideal shop being on Broadway so naturally, that was the first place she looked.  When she found out that Heather was also looking to plant roots on Broadway and a space simultaneously presented itself, the two took it as a serendipitous sign and decided to co-op.

The two H's kept shop together for a year with the mutual understanding that they would eventually part ways should a neighboring space open up.  When it did (a lot sooner than expected) they found themselves at the familiar crossroad of 'We're not ready!' and 'But how long until another space opens up?!'.  On par with the f*ck it attitude often needed as an entrepreneur, they both took a leap of faith (damn leaps of faith) and Hannah became solo owner of her dream shop, on her dream street.

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Hannah opened her doors in November after an 'apocalyptic' week of 24 hour work days full of painting, renovating, and setting up shop, and hasn't looked back since.  When her friend came by to visit in the final hours before officially opening for business, she was grateful for the reminder that she was actually 'doing it':  

"I think we just get so caught up in the midst of things like 'whatever I've just gotta get this sh*t open' and my friend was just like 'stop for a second and take a look around - you built this!  Two years ago you were admiring shops in San Francisco that looked like this and now you made your own' and I thought 'you're so right!!'  It's just interesting how it's so obvious but we don't take time to appreciate it."

Being your own boss is a shiny, double edged sword (to which I can fully relate) and though Hannah laughs that she has since developed minor anxiety and insomnia, she knows she can never go back to working for someone else.

On being her own boss, Hannah stated "Self-motivation is definitely something I struggle with, but there's nothing quite like being the one calling the shots and having complete creative freedom."

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What items can be found at Fellow Shop?  An incredible selection of 'zines' (which I've never seen before in Salt Lake), women's clothing, and handmade goods sourced from artists both local and abroad, ranging from decorative to practical.  

Hannah's zine affair began largely by visiting little shops in the Mission in San Francisco where she fell in love with them noting, "Books are obviously made by a publisher and that's really cool and stuff but what I love about zines is just the handmade quality of them - like somebody actually sits there and staples them and puts them together by hand.  It's almost like the print equivalent of a punk band in your mom's garage, and I just love it, people taking things into their own hands like that."

Having lost myself in zine world for over an hour on my first visit to the shop I can personally attest to the fact that her zine collection ain't no joke and that their range from philosophical to practical, cheeky and comforting are unendingly interesting.  If one should visit Fellow Shop for no other reason than to peruse the zine collection, one would not be disappointed.

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mast-chocolate-bars-at-fellow-shop-downtown-slc

For the future, Hannah plans to stay put and hopes to solidify the community of the three block stack of shops east and west of her by making it a little 'eco-system', saying, "I'd love to integrate more of a community aspect to the shop and host more workshops and events that bring people together - I'd like to make it more of a multi-functional space."

The first collaborative workshop that the block has put together, called Hold Space, takes place on the last Wednesday of every month and is an opportunity to 'take a break from your work week, be with other humans, and create'.  

Tickets for the workshop on March 29th and more info can be found here.

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hannah-montgomery-founder-and-owner-of-fellow-shop-on-broadway-downtown-salt-lake-utah

Hannah Montgomery, 26, owner of Fellow Shop

As someone who's deeply passionate about the city I live in, it's always heartening to find other business owners that feel the same way.  Go stop in and say hello to Hannah and hopefully we'll see you at the next Hold Space workshop!

XXO,

Jen  

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BATMAN AND BREAST IMPLANTS

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BATMAN AND BREAST IMPLANTS

This post originally started out with 'nothing is better than when a client invites me into their home for a second time to capture their growth'........and then I read it, and wanted to barf.  The thing is, there really IS nothing better than a return client, but somehow, with this family, those words fell flat and the meaning became lost in translation.

So I'm just going to give it to you straight.  These guys have been through hell these past two months; illnesses, a breast removed (and replaced) due to cancer, and yesterday morning I learned of the passing of their beloved cat. ?!??!  When it rains it pours??

Lately I've been thinking a lot about our inner and outer worlds and how they relate.  For example, say I'm having a hell-ish day and there's a storm brewing inside, when someone asks how I am do I say I'm fine?  Bear the burden myself?  Tell the truth?  Put the storm on them?

I think oftentimes we hold in the crazy (talking for myself here) because we don't want to seem a certain way, but if I've learned anything from the great teachers at Pixar and the geniuses behind Inside Out, it's that the only way out is through, and the only way through, is to invite others in.

I had no idea what these guys were dealing with during our time together (and none of us knew what was to come) but the minute I found out about the cancer, my first thought was 'Why didn't she share the news sooner??'.

Life get's rough, and sometimes it's downright treacherous, but we don't have to do it alone.  We can choose to invite others in to help keep our boat afloat and we don't always have to be so damn heroic.

Round two with these guys was just as fun and somehow this little guy aged 3 years over the past 12 months, and turned into batman.

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black-and-white-photograph-of-family-cat-holladay-utah

RIP Samuel Bean

 

I'm curious, what do you wish you had photos of?

PHOTO WISH LIST
Check all that apply.

 

If you're interested in a spring session at home, contact me here and let's chat! 

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THE MOST EPIC FAMILY CELEBRATION

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THE MOST EPIC FAMILY CELEBRATION

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have a major soft spot for large, extended families.  My mother comes from a family of 8 so I grew up with holidays, birthdays and many a random days filled with cousins upon cousins, and aunts and uncles dancing, playing and laughing ourselves to tears.  Because a wicked sharp sense of humor is our dominant family trait, good times were/are always had. 

This past Labor Day, a client I had worked with several times previously (thanks Martha + Tyler!) reached out to me to see if I would be interested in taking on a gig documenting their annual family get together, affectionately dubbed, Legacy Days.  

Tyler went on to paint a picture of what 'Legacy Days' was, and even though it was out of my usual scope of work (remember how I like to break out of my boxes I put myself in) I was more than pumped to take on the challenge and bear witness to this family tradition.

Labor Day rolled around and I headed up to the family ranch in Heber, Ut.  Now, Heber is beautiful in its own right and reminds me a lot of the sleepy country town I grew up in (Morgan), but when I turned onto the Dickman family ranch and made my way down the willow-tree-lined-lane, I was greeted with acres upon acres of intricate landscaping,  3 lakes (that I could see), and more animal sculptures and real live animals than I could count.  I was floored.

This wasn't some slopped together backyard bbq either, this was a legitimate EVENT complete with commercial grade signs bearing the 'Legacy Days 2016' logo, a 'ho-down' on Day 1 with a professional dj/line dance announcer, and a full-on rodeo (and parade) documented by a videographer and drone specialist on Day 2.

I thoroughly enjoyed shooting in full 'fly-on-the-wall' documentary mode (and would love to do more of it), and kept wishing my family celebrated family time like this.

Grab a cup of tea, get cozy, and enjoy!  This ain't no quickie post.

 

DAY 1

  'Legacy' Celebration  |  Ho-Down 

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'LEGACY' CELEBRATION

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candid-black-and-white-documentary-photography-at-extended-family-gathering-in-heber-utah
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legacy-days-family-gathering-heber-utah-documentary-photographer
candid-black-and-white-photograph-of-young-boys-running-in-heber-utah
candid-black-and-white-photo-of-girl-and-farm-animals-in-heber-utah

HO-DOWN

family-learning-how-to-line-dance-at-family-gathering-heber-utah
candid-black-and-white-photograph-of-family-at-ho-down-heber-utah
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candid-shot-of-line-dancing-at-family-gathering-heber-utah
line-dancing-at-family-party-in-heber-utah
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candid-capture-of-girl-line-dancing-at-family-gathering-labor-day-heber-ut
artistic-photo-of-grandfather-at-family-gathering-in-heber-ut
man-line-dancing-at-legacy-days-rodeo-heber-utah
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candid-and-natural-shot-of-grandma-and-granddaughter-dancing-at-labor-day-family-celebration-in-heber-ut
candid-photograph-of-family-dancing-at-ho-down-heber-ut
couple-dancing-at-family-ho-down-in-heber-utah

 

DAY 2

Float Decorating   |   Parade   |   Rodeo

 

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ranch-hands-at-legacy-ranch-in-heber-ut
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documentary-photo-of-float-at-legacy-ranch-in-heber-utah
red-team-on-float-at-legacy-days-in-heber-ut
baby-girl-dressed-in-cowgirl-bib-for-legacy-days-heber-ut
man-directing-the-crowd-at-legacy-ranch-heber-utah
steer-in-field-at-legacy-ranch-2016-in-heber-ut

PARADE

Blue team! (had to do at lease one color photo of the teams) 

Blue team! (had to do at lease one color photo of the teams) 

Red team!

Red team!

candid-shot-of-red-team-parading-to-rodeo-at-legacy-days-2016-heber-ut
blue-team-fording-river-parading-to-rodeo-at-legacy-days-2016-heber-utah
blue-team-legacy-days-heber-utah

RODEO

Yes, this is their own private rodeo arena.

Yes, this is their own private rodeo arena.

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documentary-shot-of-lady-at-legacy-days-2016-heber-utah
documentary-photograph-of-dad-and-daughter-at-legacy-days-heber-ut
grandstand-at-legacy-days-rodeo-arena-2016-heber-utah
candid-photo-of-woman-laughing-heber-utah

BUSTIN' MUTTON RIDES

Objective: stay on sheep the longest

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Little cousin pep talk. <3

Little cousin pep talk. <3

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documentary-photograph-of-father-and-son-legacy-days-heber-utah
documentary-photograph-of-girl-in-grandstand-heber-utah

BLAZIN' SADDLES

Objective: fastest one around the barrels

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candid-photograph-of-woman-horseback-riding-at-legacy-ranch-heber-utah
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portrait-of-grandpa-officiating-barrel-racing-heber-utah
action-shot-of-man-riding-horse-heber-utah

MILK THE TEETS

Objective: collect most milk from goat

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racing-to-milk-the-goat-at-legacy-days-heber-ut
candid-shot-of-boy-celebrating-win-at-legacy-days-heber-ut

BANDANA ROUNDUP

Objective: collect all the bandanas off of sheep

sheep-at-rodeo-arena-legacy-ranch-heber-utah
documentary-photography-at-family-gathering-labor-day-2016-park-city-utah
extended-family-chasing-sheep-at-legacy-days-labor-day-celebration-park-city-ut
sheep-at-legacy-days-labor-day-family-gathering-park-city-ut
candid-documentary-photography-of-man-tackling-sheep-at-family-labor-day-celebration-park-city-ut
action-shot-of-man-tackling-sheep-at-bandana-roundup-legacy-days-heber-utah
bandana-roundup-at-legacy-days-rodeo-heber-ut

LUNCH BREAK

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red-team-legacy-days-rodeo-parade-heber-ut
storytelling-photograph-of-kids-playing-on-tire-swing-in-heber-ut
black-and-white-portrait-of-boy-on-tire-swing-in-heber-utah
man-and-boy-feeding-miniature-farm-animals-in-heber-utah
boy-feeding-sitting-pig-at-legacy-ranch-in-heber-utah
black-and-white-portrait-of-boy-riding-miniature-pony-at-legacy-ranch-heber-utah
black-and-white-documentary-photograph-of-little-girl-riding-miniature-horse-in-heber-utah

If you or anyone you know has an upcoming family gathering needing documentation, I'd love to be considered!  

Contact me here and let's chat. Xo

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LET'S TALK ABOUT SELF-LOVE

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LET'S TALK ABOUT SELF-LOVE

This past December, my mother, sisters and I volunteered for Ballet West and assisted with the Sugar Plum Parties that took place on stage after the matinee performances of The Nutcracker.  The party was a fun way for kids and the young at heart to come on stage and see how the other half lives and included refreshments, a magician, a science table, and a photo-op with the dancers which we (obvi) took part of on more than one occasion..

Sugar Plum Photo.jpg

I was assigned to help with the photo portion, and over the course of the 5 different days I volunteered, I began to notice something; I noticed that the majority of adults faced with the prospect of getting their photo taken became flustered and uncomfortable.  Some of them flat out refused, some only acquiesced for their childs sake, and the rest made it verbally clear how much they 'hated' getting their photo taken by mumbling and groaning all the way up to the set.

As I observed this I became deeply saddened by how commonplace self-deprecation has become in our society, but the most disturbing aspect of this behavior was the message it was sending to the kids; the message that it's 'normal' to criticize yourself, to beat yourself up about the way you look, and to essentially 'hate' yourself.  If children are the future, what kind of future are we building with this message?

I was never officially taught how to love or accept myself and grew up with the belief that self-love was egotistical and vain.  And though my mother made it very clear to my sisters and I at a very young age that we were responsible for our own happiness, it's taken me 30 years of living and learning on this earth to fully understand and embody that concept.

2016 was a year of self-discovery for me, a year of digging deep (truth be told way deeper than I ever really wanted to go but only light can drive out the darkness am I right??) in order to find out for myself what it really means to be happy, and how to enjoy life fully.  And what that digging brought me to was the realization that I didn’t love myself, and I realized that if I didn’t have love for who I was and fully embrace and accept every mistake and glorious success I’ve ever experienced in life - then I would never be happy because I would always be searching for things outside of myself to 'show me love’ and ‘make me happy'.

In realizing this I made the connection that getting your photograph taken is an act of self-love; it is you, accepting yourself just as you are and loving every beauty and perceived 'flaw' wholly and deeply.  

It is this and this alone that has brought about a deep desire to help change the cultural perception of self-love from something seemingly shameful, to something that we COLLECTIVELY embrace, support and encourage.

As you may remember, I started a 'Shop Local' blog series last year, with Flight Boutique, in Park City, as my first feature.  I've since gotten to know and love the ladies that run the shop and in discussing my recent personal discoveries with them we made the connection that mindful shopping, as a means of personal expression, is an act of self-care. 

And so I've teamed up with Flight Boutique to offer free portraits next Saturday, February 4th at our pre-Valentines Day soiree.  Come and treat yourself to something nice, bring a loved one, and get your photo taken!

Wherever you are today, I hope you are enjoying your life.  

XXO,

Jen

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A BLACK AND WHITE LOVERS TAKE ON COLOR

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A BLACK AND WHITE LOVERS TAKE ON COLOR

As you may have noticed, I'm partial to black and white processing.  I think the pull comes from the complete raw-ness: no muss, no fuss, no distractions.  Just the light and the shadow, equally at play, allowing the emotion to take front and center.  And because emotion is why I do what I do, I find that the two go nicely hand in hand.

I have also noticed though, that as soon as I try to 'define' myself in some way, I immediately feel the need to break that definition, and this theme has been/is extremely prevalent in my life in more ways than one.  For example, I am a Cancer sun and a Sagittarius moon, meaning I am both extrovert and introvert - I crave the comforts of home yet crave being around others.  I experience moments where I yearn to be told what to do yet can't stand it when my choice is taken away.

Needless to say, finding balance seems to be the overall arcing lesson I'm set to learn in this life, and I'm happy to say that some of my seemingly extreme behaviors have mercifully begun to fall by the wayside.  

With that being said, when the opportunity comes along, I enjoy the challenge of 'conquering' something new, of breaking out of my self-imposed definition, of growing and evolving.  Though processing photos in color is not something I've completely foresworn, it's not often that I do almost an entire session that way.  Until now!

Jenn is such a kind soul, and her and her brood braved the bug swarms and sweat with me out at Antelope Island this past fall.  I believe I survived with only 6 bug bites, but so enjoyed stomping around this weird alien island in Salt Lakes' midst with them.  Xo

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Here's what Jenn had to say about her experience with me: 

"

I think my biggest fear with hiring you or really any photographer was, is the timing right?  Is this the best time of year, will they turn out, and also pricing was a factor. In the end it was all well worth the money, time, etc.......

My favorite part of working with you was simply your vision, I knew I wanted to hire you based on your photography style however, if you would have told me those pics were going to turn out how they did,  I would never have never thought they would, the island was beautiful but it was hot, dirty, and had lots of bugs but you would never know it from the pictures.

I think the price I paid was worth it in gold, those photo's are so beautifully and artistically done that although it was more then I planned on spending I will always be so happy I did, the packaging had me swooning, I absolutely think the complete package was breathtaking and I could not have hoped for anything more.

"

 

If I've learned anything, it's that life is always now, contact me here, and let's chat about your session!

 

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FRIENDS HELP FRIENDS GET GREAT PHOTOS

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FRIENDS HELP FRIENDS GET GREAT PHOTOS

You know those people in your life that are always recommending things to you?  The ones whose conversations are usually full of 'oh my god you have to read this book I just read' and 'I just tried the most amazing bath salt!'?  I am one of those people.

I didn't go to business school, and embrace the fact that I have the most room for growth where my 'marketing' skills are concerned, but, I do know the power of word-of-mouth, and being on the receiving end of referrals since starting my business has been crazy cool.

Like most small businesses, mine runs on almost 100% word-of-mouth referrals and the knowledge that someone loved my work enough to recommend my business to their friends is enough to bring me to my knees with gratitude.  I consider it the ultimate compliment.

So when Liz contacted me for an in home shoot and told me she was referred by her friend Brooke, I already knew I loved her.  Birds of a feather flock together, am I right?

Liz and Robbie had recently welcomed a baby girl into the world, and we scheduled the session in Robbie's childhood home on Walker Lane.  Walking in to the light filled home and meeting the Radcliffe's for the first time had me feeling like I was entering a quiet bubble of love, the kind that seems to be palpably present whenever new life is around.

With little Charlie's effortless modeling skills, the newness of miss Taylor Jude and the overall zen-ness that Liz exudes (and Robbie soaking alllll of it up), I can't say I've shot a more relaxing session since.  Anyone who knows these guys knows the feeling I'm talking about, and I left their session feeling warm and happy.

(This session was shot in October of 2015 - I'm doing my best to catch up on blogging!)

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WHY BEING 'GREEN' CAN'T JUST BE TRENDY ANY MORE

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WHY BEING 'GREEN' CAN'T JUST BE TRENDY ANY MORE

Sooooo hey.  Who's glad last week is over?!  I most certainly am.  For me it was full of too many emotions and a lot of avoiding Facebook.  I spent Wednesday in a state of total shock, which slowly transitioned into grief, then to fear, and finally, to peace (because settling into and dwelling in fear wasn't going to help anyone).

On November 1st I came across Leonardo DiCaprio's film 'Before the Flood' and beyond it moving me to tears, it educated me on matters in climate change that I had yet to understand.  I've been a long time advocate of 'living green', and watching the video only hardened my resolve to live the most mindful life I possibly can.  

I am extremely passionate about the earth I live on and I fully believe that we are at a critical point in our society where 'living green' can no longer be just a trendy catch-phrase.  It must become the words we embody on a daily basis.  

When I started my business in 2014, being eco-conscious was one of the founding pillars that my business was built upon.  If I was going to be a contributing member of society then I was going to make damn sure that everything I put out into the world, from prints to marketing materials, packaging and products, was sustainably sourced and friendly to our earth.

So how did I find peace when our elected president doesn't 'believe' in climate change?  By remembering that real change begins with a look in the mirror, and by exercising my power of choice.

I am hyper-aware of where my money goes on a daily basis because I know that consistently voting with my dollar everyday is the biggest power I (and all of us) possess, and by finding businesses to work with that were committed to being green foot first, I could ensure that my business was not adding to the problem.

Here's how: 

First, my products.  I wanted to offer collections of images and also a few ways for my clients to showcase their photos in their homes. 

For the wall.  The first thing I found to offer to those clients that love the more traditional look of a framed and matted photograph, were these beautiful and simplistic frames made from genuine FSC certified wood.  The frame comes complete with acid free mats and real glass ensuring the complete protection of the photo it houses!

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For my more modern clients looking for a sleek yet bold statement piece, I found the incredibly cool and completely green option of mounting a photo to a slab of bamboo.  

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Now let's talk about how awesome bamboo is for a moment:  because bamboo is a grass that possesses anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, it is pesticide and fertilizer free (unlike cotton), doesn't need to be re-planted to grow (unlike trees), has a tensile strength that is stronger than steel (what?!), and grows like a weed (think 39 inches in 24 hours).  

All of these incredible contributing factors make bamboo one of the most sustainable fibers on planet earth.

To answer your current thought-stream, yes, one day I will live in a bamboo house, wear bamboo clothes, drive a bamboo motorcycle, and eat only bamboo. ;)

But in all seriousness, if you are looking for ways to live more green, doing some research and transitioning to as many bamboo based products as possible is an awesome and easy place to start!

For the keepsake.  Now because of the way that I tend to shoot (collecting in-between detail moments to add to the overall arc of your story), collections of images are my end goal, and I wanted to offer both a 'contained' and 'free-flowing' option for my clients to choose from.  This led to offering image boxes.....   

8x10 Image Box

8x10 Image Box

20 mounted 8x10 prints in the Image Box allow the versatility to 'free-flow' your story around your home.

20 mounted 8x10 prints in the Image Box allow the versatility to 'free-flow' your story around your home.

......and my personal favorite, albums.  I tend to favor albums because of their 'story-telling' nature, like you just happened upon a miniature time capsule that offers a privileged peak into a families life.   

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How are albums and image boxes green?  Because these photos are your legacy they will never end up in a landfill.  These collections of images will be passed down from generation to generation, making them the most valuable and cherished items you'll ever own.

And finally, the holy grail of my eco-conscious business pillar - the packaging.  Thankfully I didn't have to sacrifice style for functionality, and the company I found to use for my packaging is run on 100% hydro-electricity (meaning zero emissions), and the product is made using 100% recycled materials including 30% post-consumer waste.

I embody the phrase 'reusable not disposable' in my personal life (in the most hardcore way possible (it slightly annoys my mother)), so it's only natural for my business life to be ruled by the same.  My goal behind delivering prints in boxes is to provide clients with a safe place to store their photos when they're finished displaying the print.

A few other 'green-bits': my website is hosted by Xmission which is powered by 100% renewable energy, and all of my paper materials are made from 100% recycled materials and are themselves, 100% recyclable.  Pretty cool huh?  

What this all really comes down to is a fiery passion for the community I live in and the planet I call home.  Hopefully this information will inspire you to become more mindful in your everyday life!  At the end of the day, I aim to do everything in my power to be part of the solution.

What can you do today to become a part of the solution?

XXO,

Jen   

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THE MOMENT I KNEW MY JOB MATTERED

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THE MOMENT I KNEW MY JOB MATTERED

I got my first dog when I was 4 years old.  My parents had just cemented our roots and built their dream home on a 3 acre stretch of land in Morgan, and were ready to add a furry member to the family.   

I have vivid memories of going to pick our puppy; how I searched all of their sweet little faces looking for the one that was going to join our family.  I remember spotting this tiny little nugget tucked away in the corner, quiet, and not begging for attention like the other pups.  She was mostly black with a strip of brown around her neck, and I knew she was the one.  She had stolen my heart.

I named her Katie (which I'm told was my favorite name at the time) and looking back it cracks me up that I gave her a human name.  It caused a lot of confusion when my actual friends named Katie came over to play - I remember one time the dog trying to get on the table that my friend happened to be sitting on and my dad yelling 'Katie get down!!!'.   Needless to say my friend was traumatized but we all laughed about it later.

Katie was a part of our lives for the next 11 years.  She grew into the most beautiful German Shepherd you ever did see with honey golden eyes and a tongue that just wanted to lick you to death.  She was incredibly smart, protective, and always wanted to be where the action was.  My dad used to joke that she thought she was a human because when we took her to puppy school, she would hide under the chairs and try to be by the people instead of going out to play with the other dogs.

As she got older she went blind, and slowly started to lose mobility in her hips due to a genetic disease, common to German Shepherds, called hip dysplasia.  It was heartbreaking, and when she could no longer walk, we knew it was time to put her down.  That day will forever be seared in my memory; walking to the back of our field with my family where our neighbor had dug us a hole with his tractor, choking out our goodbyes, watching silent tears fall down my dad's face, and burying her in the ground.  

I was 15 at the time and it was my first experience witnessing a complete life cycle of a living being.  Looking back, I went through all the stages of grief; heartbreak, anger, confusion.  And I often wondered to myself what the point of having a dog was in the first place if it was only going to die.  I couldn't understand why you'd willingly set yourself up for pain like that.

As with all things and the help of time, I eventually got to a place of understanding, and realized that the whole 'point' was in the experience.  In the pure joy of having a furry warm being to play with, to cuddle, and to love.

When a client of mine redeemed her gift card that her husband had given her for Mother's Day (the gift of photos scores major brownie points gents, just saying) she wanted to do a shoot with her kids and her pup Orvis who had recently had surgery and wasn't expected to live much longer.

The shoot was a dream and I was so glad to have met Orvis.  One week later, I learned that Orvis had passed away.

When I went back to her house for the purchasing session two weeks later and played a slideshow for her of our session with Orvis, there wasn't a dry eye in sight.  I couldn't help but think of the timing of it all and how happy I was that I could preserve these memories for her and her kids.

Wherever you are you were very much loved Orvis (and Katie)!  And for those of you with pets, I urge you to go give them a big squeeze right now. XO 

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If you're looking for meaningful and authentic photos of this season of your life, go ahead and contact me here and we'll chat about it!

Alternatively, drop your email below to get these blog posts right to your inbox along with exclusive updates and specials.  No spam.  Cross my heart. :)

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THE FIERY BABE

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THE FIERY BABE

I'm what you would call an extroverted introvert.  I love being social - but only for short periods of time.  I live mostly in my head and need solo time to process, recoup, and feel 'whole' after long periods of time spent in others' company.

But sometimes, I get to be around people with immensely calming energy like Jen and Landon.  The quietness of their voices and the calmness of their demeanor was ever present in the way they handled their rambunctious toddler, and I was left to observe the ways in which their loving family dynamic unfolded.    

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It's always a privilege to be in the presence of love. XO

 

Want to book your own session like this?

Contact me here!

 

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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH YOURS TRULY

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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH YOURS TRULY

You're worried your home isn't 'Pinterest-y' enough.

You fear your kids won't 'behave'.

You don't think you and your family do anything 'interesting'.

You fear your husband will be grumpy and uncooperative.

You don't think you photograph well.

And on.

And on.

And on.

 

Can I let you in on a little secret?  That's the beauty of it all.

 

I hear these hesitations loud and I hear them often.  And though I could spend hours telling you that you've nothing to worry about; that your you-ness is the magic that will make your photos extraordinarily unique, I decided to show you.  Watch the video below for a behind the scenes look at how an in-home shoot with three rambunctious kiddos (and a camera shy husband) actually goes. 

 

 

If you enjoyed this video please share it with your friends! 

Much love. Xo

 

 

Ready to book your family session? 

Contact me here

 

 

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THE FRESHEST

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THE FRESHEST

Somehow, it's this little nugget's 1 year birthday on Saturday; he's the first babe I've ever felt connected to and the one that made me feel like a real first time aunt.  It has been awe-inspiring to watch my bf Jess blossom as a mother.

We took these photos when Leo was 7 days fresh and I can't believe he was ever so tiny.  Xo

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CELEBRATING LIKE IT'S 1986

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CELEBRATING LIKE IT'S 1986

You. Guys.  I'M 30!!!!  Aghhhh! 

This past weekend was my 30th birthday (insert wide-eyed emoji) and my extremely giving and incredible sisters planned a surprise bash for me at Bear Lake.  Glamping (think queen size bed, armoire's and a rustic shower), swimming in the jewel colored turquoise water, playing Harry Potter Clue and dancing in 80s attire (yes, I'm 30 going on 12) filled the weekend along with campfires, cocktails, and great conversation.  

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The older I get, the more I realize how important relationships are; to be able to have completely open and honest conversation with another human being replenishes my soul in ways I can't put into words.  

When I think of the group of friends I've amassed over the years I am humbled to my core.

I've been waiting to turn 30 for a long time, and I feel that more than anything, this is my year to get out of my own way, step out of my comfort zone, and thrive.  

Though 2016 has been a year of radical change for me (to the point that I feel as though I've been experiencing culture shock in my own life), I do know this:

Good things fall apart so better things can come together.

 

And I plan to ride that wave and embrace the change.

To 30, and the next 30.

XXO,

Jen  

 

 

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SHOP LOCAL | FLIGHT BOUTIQUE PARK CITY UTAH

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SHOP LOCAL | FLIGHT BOUTIQUE PARK CITY UTAH

When it comes to milestones, I am an extremely late bloomer.  Think first kiss at 15, first boyfriend at 19, and first time taking an interest in my place in the world, well, within the last couple of years.  And up until then it had never occurred to me that I held in my own two hands a small yet mighty tool for change.

I came across an article near the end of last year titled 'Vote With Your Dollar'.  This isn't a new or earth-shattering notion by any means, but for me it was the light switch to my lightbulb - my 'duh!' moment after which my lifestyle would radically change. 

I became obsessed with educating myself on the economy, my community, and the importance of shopping local.  'Be the change you want to see in the world' is for me about as overwhelming a notion as they come, but knowing that I could essentially vote with my dollar meant I HAD a say and I COULD make a difference in my own small way.

And so, the birth of 'Shop Local'; my newest blog series featuring local shops from around the Salt Lake Valley and Park City.  Whether you already 'vote' for them or are being freshly introduced, my hope is that by getting to know the who and why behind the face of some of SLC's greatest shops, you'll think twice before 'voting' for a corporation because when you shop local you vote on the future of your community.  Xo

FLIGHT BOUTIQUE

545 Main Street, Park City, Utah

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Nestled in the center of picturesque Main Street in Park City, Utah is the cozy self-proclaimed 'mom and pop' shop of Flight Boutique.  Upon entering, with it's classic tunes and artful displays you immediately feel as though you've just walked in to your rich best friends closet; there is plenty to peruse without feeling overwhelmed.  You suddenly find yourself humming along (seriously folks) while thumbing through a thoughtfully curated selection of fashion forward womens clothing.

Owned by Blair Isleib and Kristen Doyon, the (literal) fairytale of how Flight Boutique came to be is sickeningly idyllic.  Both native to Park City, Blaire and Kristen navigated grade school side by side as best friends; a bond that continued into college-hood where they bunked together before parting ways to pursue careers in fashion on each coast.

After collectively getting their fill of big city living and missing the comforts of home, they decided to fill a niche they felt had long been missing in their hometown of Park City and got on the path to opening their own clothing shop.  Starting small with trunk shows in various salons and venues they eventually planted roots on Main Street in 2009 and have been sitting pretty in their current location since August 2013.

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With the slew of people Main Street generally attracts, their clientele ranges from 20s and flirty to 70s and hip - and they have price points to match.  "Our style has been described to us as a little more East Coast than West Coast, but it's mostly a blend of both our personal styles and pushing the limits on whats available in Utah", says Blaire.  "I think a lot of people assume that we're expensive just because of our location but we have price points to accommodate everyones budget!", notes Kristen. 

What they really want you to know?  They care.  While other corporations tend to remain faceless, most days you'll find these ladies on site at their 'mom and mom' (get it) store manning the register, answering questions and helping your aunt decide if she can pull off that off-the-shoulder dress she's trying on in the dressing room. 

From L to R: Blaire + Kristen

From L to R: Blaire + Kristen

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I have the utmost respect for these women and with their hopes of expanding in the future you'd be hard pressed to find two people who pull off 'working mom' so effortlessly.  So go pop in and say hello!  They'd be thrilled to meet you.  Go 'vote' for the hard working women in your community - and if you missed out on all the holiday sales, mention this blog post and you'll receive 15% off your entire purchase.  Boom.

XXO,

Jen

 

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INTIMATE IN HOME MATERNITY PHOTOS SUGARHOUSE UT | ERIC + JEWEL

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INTIMATE IN HOME MATERNITY PHOTOS SUGARHOUSE UT | ERIC + JEWEL

As soon as I walked in the door he offered my an ice cold beer, but being 'on the job' I graciously declined and settled in with a glass of iced tea instead.  Twenty minutes later, we were just old friends catching up.  

Witnessing first time parents 'nesting' holds a special place in my heart.  The excitement, the nerves, the sheer 'expectancy' all wrapped up in one little room with bated breath.

Eric and Jewel moved shortly after the birth of their first and knowing that Scout will have these photos to look back on when she's older is a sweet, sweet feeling.     

 

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A SURVEY

I am continually striving to ensure that I'm serving my clients in the best way that I possibly can, but sometimes, my mind locks the bars and I can't get out of my own head.

So I'm here to ask for some genuine intel into your mind.  Want to give it to me?  Click below to access my quick 15 question survey and know that you're helping a friend in need. XO  

 
 
 
 

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