“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

Besides my family, my biggest “WHY” in photographing women is to give them a safe space to celebrate, to strip down, to feel empowered and to reconnect with themselves. They have an opportunity to see themselves through the eyes of everyone around them by what I am able to capture through my lens.

This rings true when I had the honor of working with this stunning mother of two boys, Jennifer, another amazing woman who stepped up to be a part of my 30-Women-Over-30 portrait series in which I am showcasing real every day women in their glory.

Jennifer is an 80’s baby born October 5th, making her a Libra. A Libra born on October 5th is perhaps most well-known for their thoughtfulness and always seems to be helping others and displays great patience in doing so. I felt this in every moment I spent with Jen during her experience with us- she had such a kind spirit about her and so incredibly patient and down to earth!

Jen is a phenominal single-mom living in Brewster, New York with her 2 young boys, ages 8 and 5. They are her life and keep her incredibly busy in between her job as an insurance company manager. Although her dream job was to be a teacher or nurse, she fell into this field out of college and she hasn’t left since.

Her spare time is filled with whatever her boys have going on and it’s pretty rare that she gets a lot of free time to herself (so this makes us EXTRA elated that she chose to join us for a day to really take a breath and pamper herself).

IF Jen DID get more spare time, you would find her spending time near the water. It brings so much peace to her (and I can absolutely relate to this!) She is on the hunt for her ideal way to relax and is currently trying to get back into reading each night which allows her to escape for a while! If she’s in the mood for a netflix binge, you’ll catch her watching the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - because she can relate in a way to the main character!

Jen’s favorite drink of choice is coffee, and her all time favorite meal is… coffee?! Girl - she’s my spirit animal.

Jennifer’s favorite quote is by the great and powerful Oprah Winfrey: “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

Jen has had an incredible journey over the past few years both emotionally and physically. She lived at an unhealthy weight for quite sometime, and when she went through two major life changing events (the loss of her father and her divorce) she realized there are things she can’t control and things she CAN. That was when she decided she needed to take care of herself. Jen took the step to have gastric sleeve surgery in 2017 and admits that this procedure has changed her life. She is now able to do things with her boys (run and chase after them) that she wasn’t able to before - and let me tell you (as a mom too) this is what life is all about- our children are EVERYTHING to us and to be there for them without limitation is SUCCESS.

“When my boys hugged me and got excited because they were able to wrap their arms completely around my waist is a day I knew I am getting better.”

Jen admits that it's hard to see herself the way she is now because she still has the image of herself 130lbs heavier in her head. She takes pictures often to show herself how far she’s come. It’s a journey for her but she’s growing every day through it and let me tell you, this woman is breathtaking.

I asked Jen what message she wishes she could tell her 13 year old self about body image and self-love.

“Do not let anyones view or opinions of you dictate how you feel about yourself.”

I wish someone could have told me that at 13 too. To this day I can still remember the kids at school making fun of my eyebrows and facial hair. I’ve never stopped tweezing since! It’s amazing how negative words hold so much skin in our lives.

HMUA: Makeup by CG