Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Finish Line: A Documentary Play About the 2013 Boston Marathon

In the spirit of all those crazy runners out there in the winter temps training for the Boston Marathon, a new show is debuting in Boston at the Shubert Theater. Now that I am in the midst of my 4th year documenting marathon runners, I thought it was definitely worth mentioning.

The show is called Finish Line: A Documentary Play About the 2013 Boston MarathonThe creators of the show interviewed roughly 100 people who were affected by the marathon bombings, and the show uses the real words of interviewees. This concept sounds so appealing to me since it is apparently not all about the bombings themselves but rather how, in the aftermath of that day, Boston came together as a community to heal and grow stronger.

The best part? $3 from every ticket sold is going to the Martin Richards Foundation. How perfect is that?

This show is premiering tonight and will run through March 26th. Let me know if you see it! I'm not sure I will make it myself but I'd love to hear what people think of it.

265 Tremont
Boston, MA

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Trying Out a @CreativeLive Class

Model Credit: Vanessa Delegas
Note: I received the product mentioned in this post for free from CreativeLive. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

Like many photographers, I’ve been spending this winter doing all kinds of administrative projects; updating the website, working on a marketing plan, and exploring continuing education options. In a creative profession, you really have to continue learning in order to grow, keep your work fresh, and not become bored with repeated techniques.

When I was approached by CreativeLive to try out one of the online classes they offer in exchange for sharing the experience here and on social media [note: this post does contain affiliate links], I jumped at the chance. I had heard good things about CL but had never purchased a class before. CreativeLive has over 1500 that cover a variety of topics - business, marketing, audio/video, art/craft/design, and, of course, photography. I spent ages pouring over their class offerings trying to decide which one to take (there were so many photographers I recognized!). I finally settled on one called “SkillSet: Best of Lighting.”

I chose this class because although I do consider myself to be proficient in lighting, there’s always more to learn and I am curious to see how other photographers work. This class features several photographers whose work I admire (Sue Bryce, Joey L, and Joel Grimes to name a few). It’s a collection of highlights from some of their other classes on CreativeLive and I thought it would be a good intro to what CL offers. These photographers have been in the business for so many years and I’m really looking forward to picking up tips and tricks from them.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try too, why don’t you take the class with me?? Once you purchase the class, it’s yours to keep and you can watch at your own pace, checking out each segment when you can or binge watching the whole thing. Need another incentive? Here’s a 20% off code for your first CL class (either this one or whichever one looks interesting to you!):  ISHARE20

Let me know if you’re in (or if you’re trying something else). Happy learning!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Smash the Scale and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Even though she is still very small, now that I have a daughter I am already thinking ahead to some of the challenges she may face and how I can help her handle them. One challenge in particular I thought of is dealing with body image issues. I want her to always feel loved, supported, and confident but I know somewhere along the way, most women (and men too, of course) go through periods of extreme self-loathing.

With this in mind, when my awesome bootcamp instructor, Kate, told me that Feb 26 - March 4 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and that she had an idea for a project, I knew I wanted to be involved. She told me that on social media people have been posting photos of "scale smashing" which was started by body image blogger The Militant Baker a few years ago. People literally smash their scales (often with empowering words written on them) as a way to "to redefine their worth and beauty by letting go of those perfect numbers that weigh them down," according to the Southern Smash website. Kate wanted to smash a scale of her own and so I wanted to photograph it.

We met in her driveway with her enthusiastic kiddos watching, and she hit it, threw it, and left it in pieces. She said it was emotional at times but ultimately a fun and satisfying experience.

 What do you think, are you ready to smash that scale? I am!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

#FitMom Talks: Jennifer Phelan of @JPPilates

Need an insight into life as a popular fitness instructor and mom of two young kiddos? You're in luck because my latest Fit Mom Talk is with my old friend (and the first fitness model I ever photographed!) Jennifer Phelan. Jenn has learned a lot since becoming a mom and she is more than happy to share her experiences in hopes of helping other expecting and new moms. She's always impressed me as a fitness expert and now as a super mom too:

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jennifer Phelan and I am the founder of JPPilates, a brand that centers around training, motivating and influencing clients through my group Pilates classes in Boston, private instruction and social media. And I'm also a Mom to two little boys! I have a three-year-old named Grayson and a four-month-old named Max. Oh and I can't forget my 6 year old crazy Siberian Husky dog Noelle.
photo credit: April K Photography
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
With my first son Grayson I took a solid four months off from teaching and also from exercising. Grayson was a terrible sleeper. At night he work up every 1-2 hours. The sleep deprivation took a real toll on me and as much as I wanted to get back into the swing of teaching and working out, I simply couldn't. Caring for my child took every ounce of energy I had. I'd say around six months was when I really found my stride but it wasn't until he was one that I truly lost all of the baby weigh and had a full teaching schedule again.

The second time around has been much different. I think already having a toddler running around left me not much time to 'recover.' By the time Max was two months old I was itching to get back to teaching. Not that I don't love being home all the time with my boys but the escape from whining, crying, nagging and needing was much needed. My students and places of employment (North End Yoga and Equinox) looked like a shinning beacon of escape. In no way does teaching feel like work.

Even now people seem surprised that I returned back to teaching so soon after giving birth. I get a lot of questions asking why I didn't take a longer maternity leave and enjoy it. To set the record straight I'm not really teaching that much. Currently I only have 5 group classes on my schedule. The rest of time I'm home with my kids. I LOVE that I'm able to do both. Is it easy? No way! But I've learned to be flexible, go with the flow and keep myself open to what comes my way. I can't get too set in my ways about scheduling because things with kids are always changing!

My workouts this time around have been slow going. I'm being much kinder to myself as I strive to lose the last ten pounds and work to get fitter. I'm not as worried because I know that I did this once before and I know I can do it again. And even though I may not have my Nike Trainer, Fitness Instructor body back just yet, I try to remind myself that I am actually strong and my body is doing different yet amazing things. I breastfeed my baby. I carry around a 19lb infant every day. I wear him on my body in an Ergo carrier. I push a stroller up and down the hills of Charlestown with a 30lb toddler, baby, car seat and often groceries. That alone is an amazing yet non conventional workout. I know that in time I will have hours to myself to train and take classes but right now there's no place I'd rather be than with my family... well most days :)

How did your routine look different from before baby?
Before kids I taught 35+ hours a week between private clients and classes. I had tons of time to take group fitness classes all over Boston and I could be super relaxed about when I choose to workout. Often I'd make game day decisions on what time I wanted to exercise and what I was going to do.

Now my life is very scripted and planned. I have to coordinate with my husband if I want to take a week night class. He has to come home from work a little early in order for me to leave and make a 7:15pm class. That means that he walks in the door and I tag out- leaving him with dinner, bath time and bedtime duties for both kids. Plus he has to take the dog out and make dinner for us. That's a lot just so I can exercise. I often feel guilty when I choose to leave during the week. Luckily he's an amazing man and he reminds me that it's important I do these things for me. It's in the best interest of our entire family that I'm healthy and feel my best. I'm a much better wife and mom when I workout.

Right now with such a young baby I'm still trying to figure out my workout plan. I tend to do mat Pilates at home during the day whenever I can fit it in. I'm making it to classes probably twice a week and in classes I teach I'm down on the ground with my students working out with them. As my youngest gets older I know this will shift and I will be able to create a different routine with each month that passes.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Prior to kids I cared about the number on the scale a lot. Now I don't even weigh myself. I honestly don't care. I'm sure it will be a different story once I'm done breastfeeding but for now the number isn't really a goal.

Before I used to compare myself to what other instructors were doing; how many classes they taught and what companies they worked with. I can honestly say that my love for teaching has actually grown since becoming a mom. It's taken on a whole new meaning to me. I adore the time I get to spend with my students and while I still stay on top of what other people are doing, I don't find the need to compare as much. My life is just different now.

Instead of only influencing young people to be fit and healthy I have a new crowd I've grown to love working with - New Moms! I want new moms to know that we are all in it together. That it's not easy but you can live a healthy active lifestyle. If I can do, so can you. I'm no different. And we can do it together. Prior to kids I wouldn't have had the first idea of how to connect with these women but I must say, it's been an honor getting to do so.

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom?
Ah, there are just so many challenges. Lack of time and energy are a few to start. Some days it feels like I can do it all. Usually those are the days I drink two pots (yes, pots) of coffee. And other days I fall into bed with anxiety questioning why I'm even trying to work because motherhood is obviously a full time job and beyond. Overall my biggest challenge is remaining patient with the process. I have so many projects I want to jump up and do. So many ideas. But I have to accept that right now I can't do it all. Usually when I'm snuggling with my boys, in the quiet moments, are the times that I find peace with where I'm at. It's a work in progress, every single day.

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your sons (either one-on-one or as a family)?Since we have a large, active dog we do lots of family walks around the city. Grayson is a toddler expert on his Micro Mini Scooter and often times it's a workout for us all to just keep up with him. I love practicing yoga and Pilates with Grayson. When he was two, we took about 10 months of toddler yoga together. It was hands down the best class I've ever taken him to. We take a lot of the techniques from classes (focusing on breathe, slowing down, mindfulness, and of course the poses) and apply them together at home. He's working on his Pilates Hundreds and Roll-Ups too but still needs some help on his core strength :) 

I also love adding Max into my workouts! We do everything from push ups, planks and ab work together. I get right down on the mat with him. Both boys when they were little are the inspiration for the Mom and Baby classes I teach. It's so fun to be able to create with them and share with other Boston and Charlestown Moms!

Thanks to Jenn for sharing her story! 
You will always inspire me and so many others as well :)

Instagram: @JPPilates1
Twitter: @JPPilates

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here!

Monday, February 13, 2017

New Yoga Studio Review: YogaWorks Chestnut Hill

I'm a big fan of yoga but I especially love it in the winter. Stretching in a warm studio, feeling that burn, and the strong sense of zen left after a quality class is especially appreciated this time of year. With a new YogaWorks location opening at Chestnut Hill, I was invited to their opening weekend to try out a class. I picked a Vinyasa Flow class taught by Alissa Portet.
The new space is located downstairs in a large building and it feels cozy and welcoming when you walk in. The class was packed for a cold Superbowl Sunday but I grabbed a spot and they didn't run out of mats or props. Alissa led a nice, energizing flow and I found her cues particularly specific and helpful. Muscles I didn't even realize I had were burning in no time.
After the class I checked out some awesome vendors they had in the lobby in celebration of opening weekend including a Juice Press, Dosha Bar, and Health Ade - the best kombucha I've ever tried. 

With the classes and workshops being offered in addition to the friendly staff and knowledgable teachers, I think this studio will be a welcome addition to the Chestnut Hill area. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Have you tried any cool new studios lately? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

#BostonMarathon Runner Story: Colleen Courtney for the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation

It's back! I've started photographing runners once again for my Why I Run: Boston Marathon Photo Project and today I'm starting with Colleen. I met up with Colleen at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir on a very chilly day (Superbowl Sunday, how fitting!) to take some photos and talk about how she teamed up to run for the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation.

Name: Colleen Courtney
Location: Melrose, MA
Occupation: Manager, Boston University Student Employment Services

Number of Marathons Run (including 2017): 2
Boston Marathons Run (including 2017): 1
Why I Run: I love the commitment it takes to train and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. After my collegiate soccer career ended, I felt there was something missing in my routine which is when I discovered running. The void I felt was from a lack of being challenged both physically and mentally. Running feeds my competitive drive, keeps me goal oriented and helps me maintain motivation on a daily basis.

This year I am running the Boston Marathon on behalf of Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. This organization inspires students through sports, education and fitness. I'm passionate about this organization because of my own experiences playing youth sports. Athletic involvement since a young age taught me so many qualities that I apply in my everyday life- discipline, consistency, motivation, teamwork, effort, patience and many more.

I also run in memory of my Dad who was my biggest fan and taught me the meaning of discipline, strength and consistency in running and in life. 

Thanks to Colleen for sharing her story and good luck with training!
To learn more and help Colleen's fundraising effors, visit her page here:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Free Fitness - #SharetheLove at @HealthworksFit

It's not just a New Year's resolution... it's just time. My baby is now 8 months old and I finally feel ready to commit to a serious fitness routine like I had before she was born. Luckily, I received an email from Healthworks about an event they're offering featuring a week of FREE fitness classes! How perfect is that?? They were kind enough to let me share the info here on the blog in case anyone reading would like to partake as well:

Starting on Feb 8th through the 14th, Healthworks is having its annual Share the Love event which includes a full week of special programming like themed classes and giveaways to share the love of fitness with the Boston community. Each Healthworks location has different offerings which you can learn more about through the Eventbrite links below:

Back Bay:

Coolidge Corner:

Chestnut Hill:


Let me know if you plan on attending, maybe I will see you there!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Kick It By Eliza and the #KickItCrew

I met Eliza a few years ago when she was a recent college graduate with some big fitness dreams. Fast forward to today and she is one of Boston's biggest fitness entrepreneurs, founder of a "fempire," and her very own fitness brand. I've photographed her a few times since I first met her but last summer I had a chance to photograph one of her classes which consisted of the instructors certified to teach her signature class. 

We did the shoot at Zone 3 where they held pop-up classes and it was an awesome space to work in. Her crew was enthusiastic and full of life, it was a pleasure to work with them.

Thanks to Eliza and her crew for a great shoot! 

Are you a studio looking for photos of your classes? Let me know!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Women in Fitness" Art Show at Be Well Studios

For the rest of January and the entire month of February this year, I have a photography show up at Be Well Studios in Scituate. Be Well is an awesome fitness and wellness space right on Scituate Harbor and they host local artists on a regular basis. I was thrilled when they asked me to be the first artist on display for 2017.

If you happen to be on the South Shore, swing by and check it out!
3 Mill Wharf Plaza
Scituate, MA 02066

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#FitMomTalks: Tina Haupert of Carrots 'n' Cake

I recently did a shoot with my blogger buddy, Tina, and I wanted to post her awesome #FitMomTalk today! I paired up with Tina about a year ago to take photos (and now video) of her on a regular basis for her popular fitness/lifestyle blog, Carrots 'n' Cake, and also her latest business venture, Designed to Fit Nutrition which provides custom meal plans. Tina has a two-year-old son, Quinn, and is definitely a fit mom inspiration.  I am so happy to share what she had to say:
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
For work, maybe a day or two, which I totally regret. Looking back, I wish I had taken several weeks away from work. For working out, I was back at it just a few weeks later with walking and light workouts in my driveway. By 5 weeks, I was back at CrossFit and running just a short while later.

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?

Before a baby, I felt like I had all the time in the world to work and exercise. Now, life is a lot more scheduled, which means I can't dillydally with my time anymore. If I have a free hour to work or workout, I am doing exactly that-- no watching TV or playing on Facebook!
Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Absolutely! I used to want to hit certain numbers at the gym and look a certain way, which, of course, was directly tied to my fitness routine. Now, I just want to enjoy my workouts and have a good time. Exercise is so much more about being happy and healthy nowadays!

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom?

Time. Balance. Mom guilt. Some days, I feel like I am top of the world doing it all, but a lot of the time (maybe too much of the time), I feel like I am failing at everything. Of course, I wouldn't give it up for the world-- working from home and spending time with my little guy is the absolute best-- but it's still tough sometimes. I feel like I am pulled in a million directions.
What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son (either one-on-one or as a family)?We love being active as a family, especially when the weather is nice. Some of our favorite activities: Stroller running, family walks and hikes, and partner workouts in our basement.

Thanks Tina!