Friday, August 19, 2016

📷 Happy World Photo Day! 📷

www.worldphotoday.com
I would be remiss if I did not do a post today because... drum roll please... it's World Photo Day! According to the website, World Photo Day was started in 2009 and celebrates the "passion for photography in our communities." Sounds good to me!

Here are a few ways they suggest you can participate today and every day:

SHARE YOUR WORLD: Show us what you see. Share your world in our World Photo Day gallery and add your perspective to our growing mosaic of images from around the globe.

GROW YOUR PASSION: Get active in developing your photography skills. Expand your knowledge and look for new techniques online or in classes or groups near you. Then pay it forward: create opportunities where you can pass on your knowledge and experience to others.

CONNECT YOUR COMMUNITY: Help your community celebrate photography where you are. Organize a photography walk, hold a photo exhibition, start a photography club. See how photography can flourish in community through mutual encouragement and sharing of ideas.

You can also submit a photo on their website to the 2016 gallery here: worldphotoday.com/gallery/upload

I chose this photo of Jenn taken last summer. A side plank at sunset in Boston, how perfect is that??


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to the Blog - a Restart

yesterday morning at Cohasset Harbor. Ahhh...

It's been quiet over here, hasn't it? I guess having a baby will do that to a blog sometimes. Now that things are settling down on the home front (getting the hang of parenting, baby settling into a quasi-routine, the dog back up and walking), I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like things to look like going forward. One thing I definitely would like to get back into on a regular basis is blogging.

I love the communities that develop with blogs and how people within those communities can turn to each other for advice and inspiration. I've been using blogs for years to learn more about so many different topics - photography, eating clean, parenting, etc - and I would love it if I could help others do the same. Going forward I hope to cover a variety of things including:

-fitness photography: what I'm doing in my work and also featuring other photographers
-FitMomTalks: readers are loving this series and I'm excited to keep it going!
-my own fitness goals: I'm restarting my own personal fitness regimen and I would love to use this blog to help stay accountable
-ETC: parenting challenges, what I'm learning alone the way, South Shore living, *travel*... all the other things going on in life!

So how does that sound? Will you join me? 


Monday, July 11, 2016

#FitMom Talks: Jessica Oar of Be PowerFULL

I am so excited to get back to these FitMomTalks! This week I'm featuring Jessica Oar who has some great advice for moms/business owners and the benefits of moderation -

Tell us a little about yourself and your business: Jessica Oar, owner/founder of Be PowerFULL. My mission is to help women to get fit, find their personal power and live FULL lives. I advocate against restrictive dieting and white-knuckling through intensive training programs. Instead, I inspire, educate and coach women who lead busy lives (lots of moms!) to find a sustainable healthy lifestyle where they love how they move and eat and get great results, too. I train locally out of my home gym in Norwell through group and private sessions, I work with clients all over the country through my one-on-one private coaching (customized meal planning and fitness) and I run my signature Fat-Loss Lifestyle online course/coaching group several times a year. It's all here: www.jessicaoar.com.

I am a mom of two boys! Benjamin, almost 4 and Nathan, almost 2 (at some point, you stop counting months!). They are boys through and through and are total sweethearts. I'm lucky to live this life as a mom boss so that I can spend more time with them than I was able to when I was a sales manager in corporate america.

How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
Oh, man, I loved maternity leave! Such a special time in my memory, with both children! With Ben, I was able to take in that awe of being a brand new mom and with Nate, because we had childcare for Ben, I was able to spend some great alone time with him to really get to know him. I was lucky to have 12 weeks of maternity leave after the birth of both boys. It wasn't until my youngest was one, actually, that I left my former career in media sales and launched my business. I'm so happy that I did, because I'm doing what I absolutely love. It fills me to the core and affords me the ability to spend more time with my family!

I remained relatively active throughout both pregnancies with resistance training and yoga, however, I had an unexpected c-section with my first delivery which proved to be a very tough recovery for me both mentally and physically. I started walking when my son was 3-weeks old and gradually added in more when my body was able. It was probably about 4 months until I felt like myself again in the gym...it takes time, moms! With the birth of my second, I had healed and I was able to have a natural V-BAC, from which I bounced back much easier. What an incredible experience. However, I will say, nothing prepares you for life with two! Between sleeplessness, stress, a promotion at work and a lack of prioritizing self-care, I was the heaviest I'd ever been 6 months after Nate's. This is when I really did most of my work with leaning into a life of moderation. It was essential for me to get results for myself in a way that was shame-free and that I could maintain with all life's stressors.

How did your schedule/routine look different from before kids? 
I have always been an athlete and a fitness enthusiast, playing multiple sports in High School and college, and always looking for my next goal. The year before starting a family, I trained to become a triathlete and completed 5 sprint triathlons in my first (and only!) season. While I believe we can prioritize more time-intensive training like this into our life and make it work if it's that important to us, for me, the long bike rides, swims and runs proved to be virtually impossible with my schedule as a corporate career woman and mom. 
Rather than spend 4+ hours on my fitness each week, I learned to get efficient with my fitness. Since having children, I've fallen in love with metabolic resistance training which gets me the biggest bang for the buck and gets me back to my busy life in no time. I typically do 3 - 4 twenty minute workouts a week, with a mix of heavy and moderate weights. I've also recently fallen in love with power lifting and heavy strength training and plan to compete in a meet within the next year.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how? 
Actually, no. I've always used fitness as a way to clear my mind, deal with stress and focus on my health and mental balance. As a Mom, I turn to my fitness as a way to honor the woman that I am, aside from my role as a caregiver. Self-care is an essential part of my life and I believe every Mom should have it at the top of her list. The younger me, the one who dieted and trained like crazy on all-in restrict-then-binge plans, believed self-care was about discipline only. I now believe that self-care is a combination of discipline and self-compassion...learning when to push and when not to...balance. I don't eat well and workout to look a certain way anymore, I do it because it makes me feel empowered, at peace with myself and confident. My training make look different now than it did in my 20's but I'm actually in the best shape of my life now and I owe that to weigh-training.

Read more about that in one of my recent blogs: http://bit.ly/mamayoudeservemore

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom?
My new bosses (Ben and Nate!) don't always agree with my schedule, which means, on days that I don't have childcare, if naps don't happen, work doesn't happen. When you own a business, there's no clocking out, even on vacation. I've learned to block out time in the evenings or weekends to be sure the projects I care about move forward. I see this as a challenge and a blessing because I'm creating what I love and making a difference with people who need my help!

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your sons? 
We love to go on hikes and walks! The boys each have their own set of dumbbells so they'll often be doing squat presses or push-ups next to me as I train next to them in the playroom or our garage gym. I love that they see fitness all-day, every day and they know I value taking care of myself. I hope they grow up prioritizing self-care as well!

Thanks to Jess for sharing her story!

Twitter: @jessicaoar1

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

News! Where I've Been the Past Two Months

Wow, it's been a while since I posted here. I had every intention of scheduling posts in advanced, keeping everything up to date and then, well, life got in the way...
Baby Katherine arrived on Memorial Day (May 30) and it's been a whirlwind ever since. She's been a very good baby but I've learned that even the best babies are still crazy time consuming! Which I did not totally get until she arrived! In addition to baby showing up, I wound up needing an unplanned c-section which required more recovery time then I was prepared for. Oh and then the weekend she was born, Apollo tore his ACL and needed surgery which we scheduled the week after she was born (followed by 6 weeks of bed rest! For a dog!). So needless to say, we've had a lot going on over here.
yes, his cast has smiley faces on it.
Luckily, all the surgeries were successful and we're bouncing back (finally). I'm gearing up to start shooting again which I'm excited about. Summer is always a fun time to be outside making photos, right??
I hope your summer has been going well so far; let me know when you are ready to do some photo shooting! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Springtime in Cohasset

I'm still here! No baby yet so I'm just hanging out, getting ready, and taking photos. Spring has truly arrived in my neighborhood and while we haven't had a ton of perfect days, there have been a few and they've been amazing.

Has spring arrived where you live? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

#FitMom Talks: Julianna Curtis of The Energy Barre

New month, new FitMom! Get ready for this one - there's a lot of good info here... I've worked with Julianna Curtis a bunch of times now and loved each photo shoot we've done. From pre-baby, to "maternity fitness shoot," to post, this lady is killing it no matter what stage of life she's in. She's got a lot to say too so grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, settle in, and read on!

Tell us a little about yourself and your business: My name is Julianna Curtis, I've got a lot of spunk, a big heart, a lot of dreams and a long to do list. I respond to a lot of names such as Wife, J, and Queen...but my favorite name is Mama. I became a mom on March 25, 2015 when my husband and I welcomed our son Lennon Patrick to this world!
photos courtesy of Julianna Curtis
To be entirely honest, I wasn't sure I was meant to be a mom. Before the baby there was never a moment when my husband and I felt incomplete as a party of two, we had each other and our love was BIG. In the months waiting for our baby we shared "fear of the unknown" feelings and wondered how our party of two would function as a party of three. EVERYBODY told us that once the baby arrived we would wonder how we ever lived without him. Well, in many ways they were right. Our baby boy was made for us. He is our greatest love, our greatest adventure and our greatest blessing. Watching my hubby become a father has made my heart grow to a size I did not know was possible and I thank God for those two boys everyday. Just looking at my son's face fills me with so much pride, I truly could not imagine our life without him. 

But becoming a mama sure does change EVERYTHING! I wouldn't wish it away, I wouldn't change it if I could...I would simply ask the universe for more time in each day, so that I could spend adequate time playing with my son and teaching him to love life and take risks, being a wife and showing my husband how grateful I am to have him for myself and as my partner in parenting, being a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend, following my professional dreams and taking care of myself. Since I am sure that women have been wishing for more hours in a day since the beginning of time, I will just focus on doing the best I can and giving my all to this very full life, especially to the boy who changed it all, Lennon.

Before I became a mom, my life was still incredibly full! If you had asked me about myself and my life, I would have divulged a little bit more about the individual "me" and boasted about my cute hubby before telling you all about my passion and my calling: I am the proud owner of The Energy Barre, a fitness and lifestyle studio specializing in barre and matte style classes that promise to tighten, tone and strengthen, while restoring balance to the body. That key word - balance - is what makes our technique so unique, effective and addicting. Not only do our workouts deliver aesthetic results, but they also encourage reengineering to the internal workings of the body. We develop incredible tension through our lives daily activity...it feels good to have that released! Our clients, or EB Babes, come to class and work incredibly hard, yet when they leave they feel refreshed rather than drained...they make our instructors feel like miracle workers, but it's just a smart workout with passionate delivery! It still blows my mind when I say that my team is made up of over 30 women. 

When I first opened The Energy Barre, with three girls by my side, it was my goal to create a place where any woman, any shape, any size, any fitness level could come and get a great workout, feel challenged yet supported and leave feeling good about themselves. I attribute the studios ability to stay true to this goal to The Energy Barre Girls. Our team is irreplaceable because each girl has made my mission their own. It's really rewarding and humbling to watch these girls in action. I can also thank these girls for my nickname, "the queen." Let the record show: I shamelessly dubbed myself The Queen of EB, but when you've got such a loyal group of girls working to build a dream that was once just your own, how could you not feel like a Queen?

Currently I own and operate three locations: EB Beverly, EB Medford and EB Stoneham. I have big goals to continue to grow! In The Energy Barre's three short years, I have learned that my passion for fitness falls within a greater passion: connecting with and supporting women. I am lucky to have found a career that supports my desire to love, that challenges me to be a better person and inspires me to do more. My professional life will be dedicated to encouraging women to admire their own greatness and to nurture the greatness of others. I want to see women love themselves so truly that any jealousy of another could be turned into true admiration: imagine how much more energy we would have to give to things that matter!? I am not quite sure where this road will take me, but I know it will be a trip worth taking. I can promise additional Energy Barre locations in the future....I also hope to build an online presence in some capacity, and to turn my newly launched, amateur blog "the diary of a queen" into a powerful resource for women. If you can dream it, you can do it...right?

How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
Thanks to my team, I was able to pretty much unplug without concern for our entire hospital stay (Lennon spent some time in the special care unit). Once we were home, I was eager to reconnect with the behind the scenes work, and babies nap quite a bit... so I plugged back in and being involved made me feel human! Lennon's ten days in the hospital forced me to truly sit still, rest and recover. 

Immediately upon settling into life at home with I baby I committed to moving my body every day. I did not dive into rigorous exercise by any means, but my body craved movement and I made that happen daily, while honoring my physical limitations. I returned to teaching on May 4th, about five weeks after giving birth. Taking an extended break from teaching was something that I COULD have done, because our team is so supportive, but it was not something that I wanted to do. I taught my last class on the day my water broke and once Lennon was home from the hospital and I looked forward to my body giving me the green light to get into the studio again. I remember hearing songs on the drive to and from the hospital and making notes because I could not wait to use them in classes. Many moms dread the return to work because it means five extended days away from their new baby. I cannot imagine how that must feel. I was fortunate to be able to look forward to my return to work, knowing that it only meant a couple of hours away from my son.

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby? Oh gosh! It was different in so many ways! Different from what it was before, and different from what I planned for it to be!

Professionally: Pre-baby I was teaching 14-15 classes each week...when I made my return in May I took it slowly, starting with 3 classes per week and gradually building from there. I took it slow, worked my schedule to manage extra long summer weekends at the lake and I limited the amount of days I had to be anywhere before 11am. As I took on more I quickly developed a bottomless well of respect and admiration for the moms who do it all so gracefully, and then of course for those (like me) who make it all happen, just not so gracefully. Those early months of motherhood taught me how to be happy about showing up without looking perfect, because to get out of the house on time has always been hard for me, nevermind with a baby! I look back on those dark circle, breast milk stained, disheveled days with pride... I can say I've been there with a smile (and maybe a couple of tears). 

Now, almost a year into motherhood, I teach 10 classes per week and I don't really plan to commit to many more regularly scheduled classes. I add on special classes and pop up offerings to fill my desire to teach more, and that has been working great! This schedule allows me to feel balanced, like I am home with my family and at the studio with my favorite ladies JUST enough! I will always wish I had more time for both...but like I said I'm just going to focus on giving all that I can with what I've got!

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how? 
Personally: My own fitness routine was DRASTICALLY different than I had anticipated! To be 100% honest, from the outset, pregnancy gave me a great amount of anxiety because I am a fitness professional. I use my body to do my job, and through years of work I had developed a body that I was comfortable in and proud of, and having that change was terrifying. I had strong expectations of myself and I was scared to meet my new mom body....but what I didn't know was what the expectations would be of my clients, and what they would think of my new mom body. I think that is a fear that everyone in this industry has at some point, and it can be hard to put to words. Once I had accepted that this change was going to happen, I coped by promising myself a celebrity-style comeback. I anticipated vigorous workouts, a clean diet and a daily commitment to studio time for ME! 

Well, Lennon had other plans, and thank God for that! Instead of focusing on my transformation, I committed to taking my time, being kind to myself, and moving my body everyday so that I could be the best mom, the best wife, the best boss babe, and the best me on any given day. This commitment in itself was enough of a challenge so again, thank goodness I was able to let go of that celebrity-style comeback! Still, I was constantly faced by challenges. Owning a fitness studio, I thought it would be easy to sneak a class in everyday, but there isn't always a sitter, there is always work to do, and some days I did not want to leave my son's side. So, in honoring the commitment that I had made to myself, I began to develop tricks and methods of motivation to achieve active movement everyday without seriously dropping the ball in the other aspects of my life. 

My favorite trick is the three or thirty commitment, which you can read about in my blog here. But what I would really like to say here is how much my view of fitness has changed. I believe that my relationship with my body and with exercise has been very healthy and balanced for a long time...I have always loved french fries and ice cream and I have always loved running and pushing my limits physically...so I struck a balance pretty naturally. But something has shifted in this year as a mom...I still make a daily commitment to move, I love to see my body change shape and develop strength, but I am kinder to myself and although my body is different than it used to be, I have never felt better.
What is the biggest challenge you've found in running a business and being a mom? The biggest challenge I have faced is striking a balance. On the weeks that I feel like I am crushing it professionally I usually miss a few more bed times, have piles of dirty laundry and a screen full of unopened text messages. On the weeks that I feel that I have given my family and home all of the attention that it deserves I've got unanswered emails and a lengthy boss babe to-do list. But it flows. I am at least getting better at acknowledging when one side is slipping and making an effort to tip the scale back before one has totally dropped. Knowing myself, I will never truly overcome this challenge...but I will become a master manager of my own life and find the best balance...maybe by the time Lennon is TWO!

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son? I just love to involve him! When it's just him and I, it's a thirty minute workout, and I feel like he enjoys it as much as I do: he cheers me on and I make him laugh! Some days he is in the high chair with some Cheerios while I run on the treadmill and sing to him. Some days he is my big 25 pound weight of resistance. Some days my movements are dictated by where he has crawled to and what toys he is playing with. We have fun. He smiles, I sweat, we're both better for it!


Thanks so much to Julianna for sharing her story! 

More info on Julianna and the Energy Barre:

locations: 5 Central Square, Stoneham, MA 02180
181 Elliott Street, Beverly, MA 01915
269 Middlesex Avenue, Medford, MA 02155

Twitter: @TheEnergyBarre
instagram: @the_energy_barre
Facebook: facebook.com/theenergybarre

To read more of my #FitMomTalks, click here!

Monday, April 18, 2016

#BostonMarathon Runner Story: Lauren Delaney for Massachusetts Fallen Heroes

I only photographed one Boston Marathon runner this year so I thought it was fitting to post her story today, Marathon Monday! Meet Lauren, who I met up with at Forge Pond Park in Hanover, MA. Lauren is running with the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes team and has already raised over $25,000 this year. Amazing!
Name: Lauren Delaney
Location: Hanover, MA
Occupation: Campaign Management Manager 
Number of Marathons Run (including 2016): 5
Boston Marathons Run (including 2016): 4
Why I Run: In general I run to stay in shape and to run for a purpose. I run for charities because it combines my passion for giving back and philanthropy with health and fitness. This year I am running to raise money for Massachusetts Fallen Heroes in memory of my "cousin-in-law," LCpl William J. Donovan, Jr. U.S.M.C. Will was a two time Purple Heart recipient who served in Afghanistan in 2011. He died in a tragic motorcycle accident in September.  I wanted to carry on his legacy by running in his memory and raising money for an organization that meant so much to him and now our family. Through this, I am also hoping to raise more awareness about MFH and the amazing work they do!


Nice job Lauren and good luck today!!!
To read more Boston Marathon runners' stories, visit my website: www.luciewickerphotography.com/bostonmarathon

Friday, April 15, 2016

#BostonMarathon Runner Story: Will DiTullio for the Bill Belichick Foundation

When I first started photographing Boston Marathon runners, Will DiTullio was one of the first people who volunteered to share his story. Will had been a mile short of finishing the 2013 marathon when the bombs went off at the finish line where his family was waiting for him (and fortunately were not hurt). He's been running every year since and this year he is one of six runners raising money for the Bill Belichick Foundation.
Knowing Will is an avid sports fan, I thought this was really cool but it turns out there's more meaning to why he's so eager to run for this team. In 2009, Will's mom passed away from complications of Type I Diabetes. His father (also a huge Pats fan) was so grief stricken that Will decided to send an email to Bill Belichick asking him if he'd reach out to his dad as a way to try to cheer him up. And he did! He wrote a letter expressing his condolences and thanking him for his support as a fan which meant a lot to Will and his family. So this year Will is running for his foundation and he's raised over $11,000 so far. How awesome is that?!
Check out this CBS news feature on Will's story and donate to his fundraising efforts here: www.crowdrise.com/billbelichickboston2016/fundraiser/willd

Congrats Will and good luck on Monday!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#FitMom Talks: Kerri Thomas of Orangetheory Fitness

It's the beginning of the month and I have another awesome FitMom to share with you (to see more from this series, click here)! And now - meet Kerri!
Tell us a little about yourself and your business: 
My name is Kerri Thomas and I am the Regional Fitness Director and Trainer for Orangetheory Fitness. My husband and I are working on starting a stroller run club in the greater Boston area starting this May! More information to follow. Nevin is our son and he will be 7 months on April 20.
photo courtesy of Kerri Thomas
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
I took 12 weeks off for my leave, starting 1 week before I delivered. I stopped training classes 2 weeks before my due date and worked out up to the day before I delivered.

I had a quick and relatively easy delivery so I started going for 2+ mile walks the day after we came home from the hospital, and then started with shorter body weight circuits at home around 4 weeks postpartum. At 6 weeks I tried to do a box jump (not smart) and nearly face planted as my hips were still separated and the pain I felt was a big eye opener that slowly getting back into things was needed even for me.

Also, I was a pretty avid runner before, and that was the only thing that was too uncomfortable for me to do while I was pregnant. I had awful ligament pains in my lower abdominal area, so it's been TOUGH running again after almost a year!

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?Well... My schedule was jam packed with working out before Nevin! Work and working out were basically my top two priorities as I was about to start training for a marathon the week I found out I was pregnant. 
Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Absolutely! Your whole life and priorities shift or change after you have a baby, or at least mine did. I'm a HUGE goals person, and the goals I had before Nevin were more personal when it came to my health and fitness. Now, my fitness and health goals take on a whole new meaning as I want to be a role model for my son, not just a "fit mom". A very important goal of mine working in fitness is to inspire every person I meet to be the strongest and healthiest version of themselves, my son will be one of those people!

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working and being a mom?When you love what you do, your "work/life balance" doesn't seem to be an issue, right? This was me! I was always working and didn't really think about it twice. Now, time management is something I am working on a lot. When I'm at work I'm working more efficiently and I'm minimizing the amount of work I do on my days off, other than when Nevin is sleeping. So, most of my emails go out after 9PM :) I still work full-time, with some days being at 2+ locations or some weeks working some part of every day, but I feel as though I am home much more and when I am home it's quality time.

The real challenge I found when going back to work is not so much my work/mom balance, but the work/working out or going out/mom balance. When I was on maternity leave, I didn't feel guilty and craved getting out to get a workout done or go out with friends. Now working, I have a hard time being away from Nevin for personal time as I'm already away for work. It's something I'm sure all working parents face, and have started to put a schedule together that has helped me figure this out and not miss his face too much!

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son (either one-on-one or as a family)?In the fall, Mike and I used to go for longer walks with Nevin and then stop at the HS track or a big hill to do a workout with Nevin typically sleeping. The winter has been tough to incorporate Nevin into our workout routines but we've taught him some great pushup and sit-up to stand exercises! But what's been really great as the weather is getting warmer and Nevin has now developed strong enough head and body control, is we are starting to jog with him in the stroller (if you are a runner you need a BOB stroller). We are excited to get some hikes done as a family this spring!

To follow Kerri on her adventures in fitness and motherhood, check her out on instagram at @kjfitchick. Thanks for chatting with me, Kerri! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

#Instagram Round-up: February 2016

Ok so I know it's halfway through March but here's my Instagram round-up for February! February brought some snowy, cold days but not nearly as many as last year (whew!). I also posted some warm and sunny throwback photos and even my big announcement. :)

How was your February and what do you have on tap for March?