Book a session with me and change the way you see yourself. I'm Jen Shannon and I'm a contemporary, fashion style, modern women's portraiture glamour photographer based in Jacksonville, FL. I'm going to take the most beautiful photographs you've ever seen of yourself. When was the last time you were photographed?
Yesterday, Colby and I took the dogs out to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park. We had decided we wanted to go to Cowles Bog trail and Mount Baldy. Let’s just say, we didn’t make it to either… We started out the day WAYYY too early for when I usually get up, especially for a Saturday. We got up at 4:45am with hopes to be out the door and on the road by 5:30. Around 5:30 we were pretty much ready but Bentley was being stubborn about his food so we ended up leaving about 20 minutes late. We packed up the car, got the dogs in tote, and were off. I had decided that I REALLY DID NOT want a fast food breakfast, but obviously we needed some energy, so we drove a little out of our way to the Walmart that I shop at for our groceries to pick up some food for breakfast. Then we headed off on our way to Indiana. Google Maps said it would take an hour and a half to get there, but it was only about an hour. We had mini plain bagels with cream cheese and bananas for breakfast. I also picked up some Quaker Oats breakfast bars to eat on the trail when we got hungry. I also picked up some water and one of those cheap foam coolers (which later leaked all over my kitchen floor) so we were set and ready…. Or so I thought. One thing was missing… Starbucks. That’s right. So we stopped at Starbucks where Colby got some coffee and I got my yummy black tea lemonade! So you could say we started the morning out right!
So… For the most part, Colby is usually who plans our trips. This time, I planned our trip, but when we got to the parking area for Cowles Bog, Colby found a map and misinterpreted where the trail actually started. Needless to say, we went way off in the wrong direction, though there was a clearly defined dirt trail… It was all good, though. I got some great pictures out of it! Anyway… So once we realized there was no more trail, we got our iPhones out and started trying to find our way with the GPS. We tracked back to the first fork in the road we saw, stopped to give the dogs some water, and then headed down the trail that we thought we should go down. Long story short, it, too, was the wrong trail, but I made it work. We made it to the beach and after all was said and done, we walked on a road back to the parking lot where we saw the sign for the actual Cowles Bog trail. Yeah… we suck.
So anyway, we didn’t see any dunes or anything cool like that, but we climbed up this one crazy incline (which probably was a dune, but not the beach dunes we were hoping for) that had the loosest sand ever and was incredible steep. My legs were like Jello. I had Riley lead the way. Thanks to his nature of pulling (that’s what Malamutes are bread for) he assisted in getting me up the hill, though he slipped a couple of times…
We got to the Dunes Beach and it was desolate. No one was there. It was pretty amazing. The fog was really bad, though the forecast said it would be sunny. It made for some pretty sweet pictures because the fog looked just like Lake Michigan. We let Jayda off of the leash and she had a blast. It’s hilarious. When she was younger and we lived in Florida I would take her to the beach and she’d bite at the waves as though they were a toy. She hasn’t been to Lake Michigan in over 3 years and I didn’t think she’d remember they were a toy, but I was wrong. She had a blast biting and pouncing on the waves! Riley enjoyed it on the leash and Bentley, well, he was scared of it. He watched from afar! haha!
Overall we had a great time! We’re planning to go back next weekend, only this time, we’re going to Mount Baldy. Maybe we will try Cowles Bog again but in reality, where the actual trail would have taken us wasn’t that far away from the beach we ended up at, and even though we couldn’t see very far because of the fog, I’m not sure it looked that much different…
After we came home, we washed the car, inside and out (it was well in need of it) and we bathed the dogs. We found a couple of ticks on Bentley. Then we took showers. When I was in the shower, I went to wash my back and felt a lump that I quickly freaked out and threw off of my back. Turned out that it was a tick too. I was so grossed out… I was completely covered almost all of the trip (except at the beach where I took my sweater off) so my theory is it was one of the ones I took off of Bentley and it was angry about it, so it found it’s way out of the napkin I had picked it off of Bentley with and it found it’s way to my back. Gross…
Here are the photos. I just love the fog. I was pretty disappointed at first because the sun wasn’t out, but the fog just looked amazing.
I’m FINALLY bringing you my 3rd video blog. Gosh, I am so terrible with it! I’m sorry but hopefully I can make up for it today! I had my agenda ready and just started talking… Anyway, there’s kind of a big announcement in there so watch for that and I’ll probably post on it later. Enjoy!
I was thinking today about how proud I am of myself for making the decision to exercise and keep with it. When it comes to exercise I get very excited for the first week or so and then I stop, but here I am 10 weeks into it and I’m still going strong. I’m consistently running 3-5 days a week and decided after last night that I had to blog about it. Last night I was laying it bed and noticed a muscle on my leg that I’ve NEVER seen before, even in my skinny days. It was faint, but it was there. I started poking at my legs and just loved how rock hard they’ve become, specifically in my calf and outer thigh area but this muscle was on the inner thigh! No way! That’s the hardest part to develop! Anyway, it got me thinking of how much I’ve hated exercise and running in the past. Now I love it. I can’t not do it. It’s become part of my daily routine. It feels so good to get on the treadmill. I feel strong and energized. Now, I haven’t been able to keep up with the pace of the C25K running program but I’m making great progress. I would have never thought that I could run at 4.8 mph for 15 minutes straight. My asthma has never tolerated it, my muscles have never tolerated it, and I’ve certainly never tolerated! I just can’t tell you how good I feel, how much energy I have, and how much I LOVE the result. It’s an all over work out too. My glutes have gotten really firm, my under arm muscles have tightened, my stomach muscles have gotten firm, etc. It really is a total body work out and I really love it. I can’t wait until it warms up and I can run outside. My asthma is induced by many things but exercise and cold weather are two of the primary ones, so I can’t run outside until it’s warmer (that’s why my parents moved to Florida when I was young) but as I’ve gotten older my asthma has gotten better with exercise. I still have to use my albuterol but it’s worth it.
With all that being said I’m going to try something new. Tomorrow I’m going to pick up one of those Nike+ sensors which is supposed to work seamlessly with my iPhone and the C25K and GW28K apps which will show all sorts of great info. Anyway, I can’t wait to try it out and see what it says.
I have been very open about my weight struggles and exercising because I want to inspire someone else. I hope that someday when I make it to my goal I can say, “I did it and so can you!!!” Now I leave you with a photo of my running shoes on what I’ve nicknamed “t-mill” or “dreadmill.”
As I was explaining in my previous post, every photographer needs a break. A break from the editing, the emails, the computer, etc… Saturday was my big “break” so to speak. It was fabulous to say the least! It was THE perfect day. Not “a” perfect day, but “THE” perfect day. So Saturday came, we woke up at 6:30. Actually, I should say I woke up at 6:30. Colby had a hard time getting started. A few threats later, he was up and at ’em :) We had planned on only bringing Jayda, but the other two dogs saw her leash and got super duper excited and I felt bad knowing I’d have to leave them both behind… So I caved and we brought all three dogs. Colby hated it, but the dogs slept like babies after we got home. It was great. So we were out the door much later than we wanted to be, but it was ok. We stopped at good old BK for a quick drive through breakfast (of course nothing healthy was eaten there). When you’re on a mini vacation, nothing healthy gets eaten, there’s lots of lounging, sleeping, and doing nothing. We arrived at Starved Rock shortly before 9am. I was so excited that the sun was out, but of course, as soon as we got there, the sun decided to go away… and it was overcast for almost all of the rest of the day. Stupid weather people got it wrong… yet again!
It was a gorgeous hike! Nothing like hiking through the mountains or anything, but gorgeous for the flat lands of Illinois :) The fall colors were beautiful. I only wish the sun had been out to brighten everything up for longer. So we hiked for a little over 4 hours. I have to say… Bentley did SOOO good. He is less than a foot tall, has the tiniest little legs, but walked the WHOLE thing except for the last part of the stairs (I wanted to carry him because he was slowing down). I am so proud that my little man hiked the whole way, little legs and all. He actually led the pack. It was so cute to watch him lead us because he knew exactly where we were going. It was awesome.
On our way back we stopped at yummy Arby’s, again, more fast food, for lunch and ate in the car. That was a mess but yummy nonetheless. We came home and offloaded my pictures off of my cards and went straight to bed for a great nap! We slept until 7-ish or so and then decided it was movie night. Colby picked up some little McDonald’s snacks, again, yes, fast food… I am totally starving myself for a week now… He picked up ‘I Love You, Man’ from the $1 rental machine and it was time for snacks and a movie. We decided to watch The Office first though, to watch Pam and Jim get married, of course, then it was movie time. Before the movie I spiced some apple juice into apple cider, we curled up on the couch, watched the movie, then it was bed time. It was a great staycation! Totally needed it.
So, this is totally cool. Since Colby and I are cool enough to have iPhones, of course our iPhones have to do something for us in every facet of life. He has this really cool app called MotionX-GPS that uses GPS to track your hike. It gives you all sorts of really cool info. Here is a detailed map of our exact hike/trail and the stats regarding our info.
Oct 10, 2009 8:57 am
73′ 13″ per mile
41º 18′ 36″ N
88º 57′ 59″ W
41º 18′ 36″ N
88º 57′ 59″ W
Here are some of the great fall colors and textures of the surroundings.
My babies are so good! They were all sitting and waiting while Daddy was tying his shoes. My little guy on the left was waiting for mommy to get her gear situated.
Here’s my little guy at the end of the trip when I stopped to take off my hoodie, situate my gear back into my Tamarac bag and wrap him up in my scarf to head to the car :)
Last one before we get to the “good stuff.” The picture on the left is Colby with the pooches while I was setting up my tripod to take a picture of one of the waterfalls. It really puts it into perspective. I know it isn’t huge like other landmarks but in Illinois, this is pretty special :) haha!
Now for the good stuff. Enjoy!
Jen Shannon Photography, Chicago Lifestyle Photographer
Ok, so long story short, I got my new iPhone today. I upgraded from the first generation iPhone. I had it for two years when they released the very first ever iPhone. I loved the iPhone. I’ve been an Apple fan for a long time and always said if they ever came out with a phone, I would buy it, so I did. The 3GS is MUCH faster than the first generation, it takes video, has an amazing camera with area touch focus, voice control and GPS :) Needless to say, I’m a happy Apple Client and the iPhone, no matter which model, is fabulously fierce!
I couldn't decide on a picture for here, so I went with this. I'm silly, LOVE to play in makeup, I own 109 shades of nail polish (seriously, I counted them), and pretty much love all things that are girly. I love my little family; my husband, two girls, and two pups. I've kept this journal for years now and it has documented this crazy journey of mine. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the reads. -Jen