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Friday, February 28, 2014

My Story/ The Blessing of Education and Community

Every so often, my camera acts as a key.
As the main photographer for my children's school magazine, my camera takes me inside the hallways of their school every few months to capture the many wonderful blessings that the children of Coventry Christian School experience.  It is the best!  I stroll from the preschool hallways, up through the lower and middle school classrooms, and even get to spend time with the high school students.  I witness exceptional teaching, fantastic fun, and beautiful lessons, both in and out of the classrooms.

But above all else, I catch glimpses into my own children's education.
It is one of the greatest joys, and fills me with tremendous pride and overwhelming love.

My children are so blessed to call CCS their school.
It is so much more than a school.  It is truly our community, a place where my children are nurtured, loved, and encouraged to be all God is calling them to be.

I am so grateful for this school.
And for the sneak peek I get each season.

It keeps me smiling!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Her Story: Hayley Tomaselli / Pottsgrove Senior Portraits

A bit overcast, with a slight breeze in the autumn air.  The perfect weather for the perfect senior portraits.  And what better senior to have on such a day than Hayley, who, like the weather, was subtle and breezy, but oh so beautiful.

Hayley is about to enter her final season at Pottstgrove HS.  May it be as beautiful and wonderful as she is.  

Congratulations to you, Hayley!
Keep smiling,

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Your Story/ Massage and Yoga with Liz

I love the idea of sharing tips and treats each Monday on the blog, and what better to share with you on a Monday than a friend who specializes in massage therapy and yoga.  I can almost feel myself relaxing already!

Meet Liz Ziherambere, owner of MedCare & Wellness Therapeutic Massage, here in Pottstown, PA.

I thought it'd be fun to do a little "Q & A" with Liz to learn about her business and what drives her:

Jen: What's the name of your business?
Liz: Medcare and Wellness therapeutic Massage, also know as Massage and Yoga.
J: How long have you been in business?
L: I have been in business for four years.
J: What led you to pursue massage therapy and yoga instruction?
L It's kind of funny, but I am basically here because all my other plans fell through. Prior to becoming a massage therapist I was in the process of opening a daycare. Things didn't go well with my business partner at the time. But, I maintained my goal of opening a business and there I began the journey of finding out what I really want to do with my life that will allow me to work a bit less so I could spend time with my kids, attend field trips and so on , Given my 12 years experience in the social work field, as well as a genocide survivor, I have come to embrace the art of touch. During my years as a clinical social worker I saw the impact of therapeutic touch and how it helped my clients deal with stress and navigate through their social challenges. On one particular Thursday while I had a client in for therapy, she shared with me that she was a massage therapist. We brain stormed a bit, and the following Monday I put my resignation letter in. I told my supervisor that I was going back to school.

J: Can you speak a little bit about the new found passion that you are pursuing?
L: My new found passion is working with women who are going through breast cancer treatment. I have a client who is going through breast cancer treatment, and while she was in her recent doctor's appointment she learned that among 6 of her friends who are going through the same treatment she is doing well and healing better than everyone. We started researching and found out that there are sturdies that support the benefit of massage. I grew a burning desire to help more women navigate better through this painful process. I really want to learn everything I can.

J: How might we ladies/moms benefit from yoga and or massage therapy?
L: I personally teach yoga to kids, mainly because, as a single mom I am always looking for ways to spend time with my kids, but also because, as a social worker I saw first hand how yoga benefits kids. I worked with children with behavior problem and noticed that these kids who supposedly are on heavy medication for attention disorder could hold a pose for a long time. Yoga definitely improved their concentration, focus and attention. Many kids I worked with were from foster parenting, and due to multiple moves, most of them did not participate in outside sports activities. Yoga definitely boosted their confidence and self-esteem. The number one benefit of massage therapy is that it increases circulation, everything in the body is meant to move around. A muscle cannot heal with inflammation, and so on there are many benefits of massage. For a complete list check out my website.
J: Where can we find you?
L: My office is located on 1143 E High St. Pottstown PA 19464. I provide an integrative therapeutic massage that is tailored to fit each individual. My hours of operation depends on my clients' schedules.
J: What are your passions in life?
L: I am passionate about my purpose in life. At this moment I am passionate about working with breast cancer patients. I am practically devoting all my resources toward reaching this objective, and I noticed that I have become more alert to related opportunities. My purposes and goals changes from time to time. but at the end of the day I am a mom and a woman of faith and that never changes. It only gets better.

Liz, thank you for spending time with me and for answering questions for us women and moms.  

And for you, my friends, Liz will be teaming up with me and a few other local business women to put together a fantastic event for you this spring.

And I will have more of these wonderful women "visiting" in the coming Mondays!

Stay tuned, because it's going to be AMAZING!

Keep smiling,

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Friday, February 21, 2014

My Story/ Whatcha Been Reading?

I'm so nosy!
I love comparing "Reading Lists" with my girlfriends!  I love hearing what new books are out there, what everyone is reading, what I just HAVE TO add to my "Must Read" list.

I thought it'd be fun then, to share with you what's currently on my night stand.  And yes, I am actually reading all of these right now!  I usually read one book at a time, but I couldn't resist any of these.

I love this book!  Sure, I might be a little biased, since both Sarah and Dimity are alums of my alma mater, Colgate University (go 'gate!).  But this book is wonderful.  As a mom just starting to get comfortable calling herself "a runner", this book has it all.  Training plans to help you finish or PR all kinds of races, great tips on nutrition, goal setting, and recovery, and some great stories to boot.  This book is a MUST for all of us BAMRs!  (Bad Ass Mother Runners)

I finally picked up this book almost a full year after my portrait business mentor, Joy Vertz, suggested it to me.  My one regret was that I waited that long.  John DiJulius uses his experience as a successful salon owner (understatement of the year) to teach us small business owners how to take extra special care of our clients from start to finish.  This book has me so excited.  I am implementing lots of tidbits from this book into my business workflow and cannot wait to love on my clients even more!

I don't even know how to describe this PDF book.  First, it's free!  Well, Kristen asks simply that you make a donation to an orphanage called Flying Kites, where Kristen lived and worked in 2013.  That's it.  Free 231 pages of gold.  Second, the book opens up with the most random and somewhat crass statement.  I was instantly laughing and automatically hooked.  This guide to doing your business your way has writing exercises, thought-provoking questions, and some great ideas.  Not to mention some HILARIOUS stories.  Kristen Kalp, I am DEFINITELY your peeps!

My monthly ticket to my happy place, I love this magazine.  Professional Photographers of America (PPA) had tremendous resources for photographers, no matter how big their studio, budget, or goals, but PP Magazine might be my favorite.  This magazine has everything from marketing tips to studio tours (drool!) to fantastic feature stories.  Scott knows that whenever this magazine arrives in our mail, he won't see me for a while.  Hands down my favorite favorite magazine EVER!

What about you?
Whatcha been reading?
What should my next read be (should I ever finish these)?
Share share!

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Their Story/ The Stephan Crew / Royersford Family Photography

How fun.

Those were the two words that kept floating in and out of my head the entire ride home.  It had rained a little.  It was kind of muggy.  The guys were a little late, having rushed there from a playoff baseball game (Tyler kicked butt in it).  And all I kept thinking were those two words.

How fun.

Photographing families is always fun for me, but every once in a while, I get a family that knows how to laugh and how to have fun together.  A family where the littlest one sees his oldest brother as his hero, where sisters are also friends.  A family where jokes are abundant, and so are hugs.  A family in love.

How fun.

Thanks for a great time, Stephan crew!

Can't wait until our next date!

Keep smiling,

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Your Story/ Better Your Mommytography

Show of hands, how many of you got a new camera for Christmas this year?


How many of you haven't even tried to use it yet because it's too complicated to try and figure out?

Not awesome.

Having a good DSLR is a blast!  You can throw that bad boy on "auto" and it will get you some decent shots.  It's almost foolproof.  But decent might not be enough for your kids.  After all, they are the cutest kids on the planet, right?  (I know mine are!)  

I thought it might be fun to offer you a few simple but effective tips on how to take better pictures of your kids- how to improve your Mommytography.  So I put together a FREE Guide for all my moms (and dads!) out there.

You can get a FREE download of this Guide just by subscribing to my JLP Monthly Newsletter, Coffee Talk, at the top of this blog.  

So grab your copy and pick up a few great tips and start using that camera today!
Oh and as for taking it to the next level and getting that camera off "auto"?  Read the Guide to find out about the workshop I'm offering too!

Keep smiling!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

My Story/ My Baby's Turning TEN!

"Please let me come with you!!"
After weeks on bed rest, I was desperate to get out, even if just for a ten minute trip to the supermarket to get pancake mix for our romantic Valentine's Day dinner of heart shaped pancakes.

"Sure", said Scott, as I waddled back to our bedroom to throw on the only shoes that still fit my swollen feet.  He was standing at the bedroom doorway chatting with me as I sat down to put on the shoes, when WHOOSH!  Water poured all over our bedroom floor.  We both looked at each other and laughed that panic-stricken laugh that says "Holy Shnikes!  This is happening!"

Long story short, 24 hours of labor later, our baby boy was born and we became Mommy and Daddy.  That was 10 years ago today (and tomorrow, which is his birthday).

This year it seems a little more sentimental to me.
My baby is hitting double digits.  He is starting to look so old to me, tall and thin, with features just like his daddy.  Yet, I can still see my baby in those big beautiful brown eyes, and in that tiny dimple when he smiles at me.  My heart melts every time he smiles at me.
My mother always told me that celebrating my kids' birthdays would always be even better than celebrating my own.  She was right.  I love remembering the moments leading up to their births, and sharing it with them.  Scotty still enjoys hearing the story of his birth.

I pray he always will.

I love you more every single day, Scotty boy.
I couldn't be more proud of you.

Keep smiling, my love,

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Their Story/ The Novotny's

It was as if my evening got a little sunnier.
The yellows, pinks, and bright oranges that Karlene, Steve and Ava were wearing cast a warm and sunny glow on the garden that evening.  Or maybe it was they themselves.

Anyone who knows them would probably go with the latter.
It was a simple session, but a wonderful one. 
Lots of smiles, lots of laughing, and lots of hugs.
I could tell as I photographed them that each of them saw themselves as the luckiest person on earth because of the other two.

It was wonderful to experience and capture such love.

This week we celebrate the loves of our lives, though I'm pretty certain these three celebrate each other daily.
Who do you love most in this world?
How might you show them this week?  Today?

Keep smiling,

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Your Story/ I've Got A Fabulous Secret For You

Oh this Monday's bringing you something EXTRA wonderful!
After all, this begins the week of Valentine's and all things lovely and luxurious, right?

So let me introduce you to my friend, Kelly, who is a consultant for Rodan + Fields, the same skin care specialist who gave us Proactiv!  Kelly works with skin care products that appeal to all of us moms.  Think anti-aging magic!  Think younger looking skin.  Think beauty, confidence, and luxury, right in Kelly's bag.

Kelly, a mom to two little girls herself, is extremely passionate about Rodan + Fields.  She is stopped all the time by friends and strangers, asking her the secret to her gorgeous skin!  And she wants to let all of us moms in on this secret.  So she's teaming up with Jen Lebo Photography this Valentine's Day!

Now I know that my readers are mostly moms, not the men who love them.  But I also know that personally, my husband MUCH PREFERS me to give him gift lists so he knows he's getting me what I want.  It makes us both happy!

They only have until TOMORROW!

The gift of gorgeous skin AND portraits with your loves to show off that beautiful skin!
What could be better?


Keep smiling,

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Friday, February 7, 2014

My Story/ Small Changes

"Just make it small."  She laughs every time I say it, but every time, that's all I can give her.
My hairstylist and friend, Rebecca, can not fully grasp the trauma I suffered, being a child of the 80's and 90's, on Long Island, in the days of big hair and big accents.  So she just chuckles and works her magic.

Wait a second.
Jen, you're sending us a blog post about your hair?

Well, yeah.  This is Friday right?  I gotta get personal right?
So yes, I'm sharing about the big hair chop I got this week, because it pretty much sums me up these days.

1. I bet you know how insane mornings can be as a mom.  Kids, workouts, drop offs, work.  Time is precious and if I could cut 20 minutes out of my morning (literally!), you bet I will.
2. I have a love/hate with change.  I bet we all do.  It scares me but not as much as regret does.  So something small like my hair (pun intended, Rebecca!) can give me confidence to make bigger changes.
3. Frumpy mom.  The term sits on my brain and lingers.  What better way to spruce up my frumpiness than with a fun new haircut?
4. It's just hair and it grows back.  I'm learning not to be afraid to take risks.

So that's my story this week.
What about you?
What fun changes are you thinking about?
What are you afraid of?
Share with me!

Oh and for the best hair stylist in town, call Rebecca!

Keep smiling,

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Their Story: Jen Lebo Friends & Family/ Pottstown Family Photography

Don't even try it.
Don't try to tell me you have the best friends ever.
Because you'd be wrong.
I do.
I have the best, most beautiful, fun, and loving friends ever.
And I like to show them off, so every fall and spring, I spend a day photographing them and their families.  

It's one of the highlights of my year.

Life is so wonderful with good friends.
Lucky for me, I've got the best.
(yeah, I'm betting you do too)

What makes your friends so amazing?
Have you told them recently?
Why not do so right here?
Comment below and tell us about them!

Keep smiling,

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Your Story/ What Makes you YOU?

Welcome to the first Monday blog post of 2014, where we focus on "Your Story"

How can there not be one photo?  Seriously?  All these photos of soccer games, and first days of school, the spring play and before church on Easter Sunday, and nothing?  Not one photo of me, of my interests, of what makes me Me?

Have you checked?
Are you noticing the same thing in your endless file folders of photos?

As we spend our days collecting the cherished memories that make up our families, let's not forget about us.  Photograph the personal passions of your life.  You don't hesitate to photograph those basketball games, so why not capture the 5K you're training for, or the new blanket you just knitted.  Big or small, think about what you enjoy doing, and catch a few photos, even if it's just with the phone.  You'll be so glad you did.  And so will your future grandkids I bet.
What are the passions in your life?  What makes you YOU?  Shoot them and share, either in the comments below or on my JLP Facebook page!  It'd be so fun to SEE what you love!

Keep smiling!

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