Posts with tag: "teens and tweens"


Hi!  I'm Jen.  Teacher to teen girls.  Dorm mom to teen girls.  Photographer to teen girls.  And Mom to my own teen girl.

My mission is to help moms everywhere learn how to connect with and empower their own teen daughters.

I'm so glad you've joined me here.  I've got lots of great stuff for you!




Are We There Yet? My Own Journey To Self Confidence
Are We There Yet?  My Own Journey To Self Confidence

 “You give yourself no credit!  You are self-sabotaging!” Her words, written there in her text, were like a smack to the back of the head, old school teacher style.  Wake up, woman! You’re self-sabotaging! I had been struggling with another moment of self-doubt, and she had called me on it.  I was a bit surprised, but then so thankful. Her honesty had woken me, not only to the moment, but to the journey. Self-confidence. The idea has been a stranger to me for as long as I can remember.  Despite growing up with two parents who poured love and support over me every single day, despite excelling in high school and college, both academically and athletically, despite having great friends, wonderful mentors, a loving and faithful husband, and 3 healthy and happy kids, this notion of self- confidence eludes me. Until recently, I hadn’t put much thought into this.  It was just who I was, and I figured I was never going to change.  But then I started noticing it in some of the girls in my dorm. I began seeing their self doubt.  And then I noticed it in some of my students- girls who were smart, capable, lovely young ladies. And then I began to look for it.  I began to see it in friends, in colleagues, in women who were beautiful, awe-inspiring, brilliant.   And then I saw it in ...

Five Books Every Daughter Mom Needs To Read
Are We There Yet?  My Own Journey To Self Confidence

 Every woman should have a “happy place”.   A place where she goes to take care of herself, to recharge her batter, to “fill her cup”. Do you have a “happy place”? Maybe yours is on your back deck, with a glass of wine, dipping your feet in the pool at sunset.  Or maybe it’s at the spa, getting a massage, releasing all the tension of the day, week, month. Maybe it’s a night out with your best friends, or a date with your husband, or a morning at the gym with your workout buddy. All those things sound divine to me!  Don’t they? But while they do sound lovely, none of these are my true “happy place”.  For me, it’s always been the same. My happy place is downstairs, in my favorite chair, early in the morning, before anyone else is up, with that first cup of coffee, and a good book.  Preferably during summer months, when things slow down a bit. When I can hear the sounds of chirping birds and watch the sun come up through the windows, the dog sleeping happily at my feet.  I love spending my summer mornings like this. Which is why I’m on the lookout for the dozen or so books that will accompany me in my happy place this summer. I’ve always been an avid reader, and so it makes sense that books are always a part of my summer ...

Three Confidence Builders You Have To Try Today
Are We There Yet?  My Own Journey To Self Confidence

 I seriously love my life! I spend my days in the classroom with the sweetest, most energetic 9th grade girls.  I spend my nights in a dormitory, chatting and studying and eating cake with my house girls.  On the weekends, I often grab my camera and capture portraits for local high school girls. And I get to live everyday as mom to the most special of all tween girls.  (We have two boys too- they’re ok… JK!) Seriously, some days are a struggle, but most days I just love the time I get to spend with all these amazing girls! Teen girls are exceptional.  They are bright, beautiful, full of energy and endless questions.  They are precious. But they are too often blind to all of this.  Clueless. Unaware of their beautiful smiles, their captivating hearts, their powerful skills.  Overwhelmed instead with insecurity and low self esteem. So what can we do?   We can build up their self esteem with these THREE SIMPLE CONFIDENCE BUILDERS.  1. SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHERThis one is so easy, and can be so fun!  Go grab coffee together, or lunch, or take a shopping trip.  No money? No problem! A simple walk is a great idea. Bring the dog- he’s the only one allowed to join you because he won’t interrupt.  Share time together sitting on her bed at night, or on your bed. ...

Why Senior High School Photographers Have It All Wrong
Are We There Yet?  My Own Journey To Self Confidence

 I think it’s important for me to preface this blog post with the acknowledgement that this is an opinion post. The views in this post might not be shared by all, and I apologize if my words offend or displease anyone.  That is not my intent.That said, I believe that the ideas discussed in this post are vital to our teenage daughters.  I write this for those girls.****************I’ve been a photographer for over a decade now, and I’ve specialized in working with high school seniors for almost all of that time.  In working to improve my craft, I have spent countless hours pouring over high school senior portraits, particularly the “custom senior portraits” that so many photographers offer these days. Times sure have changed since I was a high school senior. I am continually blown away by some of the amazing talent in the portrait world.  There are truly some amazing portrait photographers out there, and the high school senior genre is no exception.     But I’m also blown away by how many photographers are promoting the sultry, “cover girl” look.  Mature poses, seductive expressions, and not a smile to be found. It seems every photographer out there is promoting the idea that a successful senior portrait session is one where our teen girls are made to look like ...

Five Things Your Teen Girl Needs You To Know
Are We There Yet?  My Own Journey To Self Confidence

 Do you remember what it was like to be a new mom?  I remember a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. Whether it was our first baby or our third, I remember those first nights, exhausted but so scared.  What in the world was I doing? I had no idea how to be a mom! I remember wishing all the time that my babies came with some kind of manual! Well, fast forward a dozen or so years, and I am realizing that with bigger kids come bigger issues.  Bigger worries. Bigger questions. And still, there is no manual. Or is there? Recently, I had a wonderful portrait session with some of the sweetest teen girls, who happen to also be students of mine.  I even got some of their moms to join us for the afternoon. Part of the portrait project involved them sharing their advice with me.  I wanted to hear their voices, so that I could offer their thoughts to other moms out there who might be looking for some help. I thought MAYBE I could create a sort of “mini manual” for my moms.  I’ve decided to write these out in list and bullet form. Each listed statement has a few bullet points below it.  These are the words of the girls themselves. Rather than paraphrase what they said, I’d love to share their exact words with you. So here it is, FIVE Things Our Teen Daughters Would Love For Us To Know.  1. ...