December 30, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action!

Yesterday, I had my first commercial shoot for my new advertising agency, and I had an absolute blast! My agency flew me to their studio in Atlanta, and we shot 10 commercials in 2 hours, which was way more than they thought I would get through. (I worked my rear off and had an easy time with lines, thanks to the teleprompter!) My agency gave me the royal treatment all day, and everyone at the studio was great to work with. I was especially happy that I had a hair and makeup tech follow me around all day, so my day was as stress-free as possible. On the way back to the airport that afternoon, my agent said he was thrilled with the work I had done and thinks I will get clients right off the bat. I flew home that evening and was glad to have had such a successful day.

The next step in the process is for the editors to create commercials from the footage we shot. We shot the commercials in front of a green screen so the editors can insert various rolling footage behind me. Once the commercials are complete, the agency will shop the commercials around to their clients. If a client wants to use one of my commercials, they will edit the commercial to include the agency's company logo and contact information and release it to the television station/s on which the client wants the commercial to air. (To answer one person's question: The agency's clients are scattered around the country, so there is no chance of two clients in the same location airing my commercials against each other.)

If a client uses my likeness (commercial or billboard ad) during a particular month, they will have to pay me a royalty fee. So if several clients use my material during a particular month, I will have the chance of making some great money on work I have already done!

Keep your fingers crossed that my commercials will be used and that the clients see a jump in sales...that will mean even more rewards.

Stay tuned - my agency is writing a commercial for me in which I will sing!

2010 is already looking good...

December 27, 2009

Christmas in Georgia

This Christmas season marked our second in Georgia, and it was a very low key one at that. Christmas Eve was spent relaxing and watching Christmas movies and eating too much. Jason made an incredible veal roast, a first for us.

On Christmas Day, we opened our presents late in the morning, sipped peppermint mocha coffee, watched Christmas movies all day, and played with our new toys, including our new iPod Nanos that Jason bought us. Later, we roasted the perfect duck with all the fixin's for dinner and relaxed with some gin and tonics. In short, we had an amazing time, and are looking forward to more down time this week.

'Twas the night before Christmas...

...not a creature was stirring, not even a Doodle...

...or a Chunkers or a Twerp...

What did Santa bring me?

Jason and his new Craftsman power drill

A new lens!

MacKenzie opening her present

Santa brought each dog a new Christmas kitty toy

Decorating Christmas cookies

Christmas nap time

We enjoyed the perfect Christmas - we hope you did the same!
Jen, Jason, MacKenzie, Dash and Lucie

December 24, 2009

Christmas Came Early

Well, I've known this for a few days, but I'm just getting around to blogging about it now. I received a letter from the Hallmark Institute of Photography - my dream school - congratulating me on my acceptance! I am one of about 200 students who have been accepted into the class of 2011, and I'm really in disbelief!

And if I wasn't in disbelief already, I read the other enclosed info...the updated tuition and fee info. WOWZERS! Not including a place to sleep and food to eat, the tuition for the 10-month intensive program is $48,900 and the various fees are $8,500. Add in some rent if I had 3 roommates and some money for ramen soup, and the end cost is right around $60,000.

While that seems like a lot (who am I kidding, that IS a lot), I'm going to concentrate on the excitement that I was actually accepted into the school, and then see how much financial aid and loans I am eligible for. I am also taking donations. I apologize, but they are not tax deductible at this time. :)

So there is my news... I'm one step closer to reaching my goal of becoming the best photographer I can be AND supporting myself comfortably while doing so...and this makes me very, very happy.

December 22, 2009

A Winter Sunset on Jekyll

On Saturday, my Nature Photography class had its makeup field trip to the south end of Jekyll Island. Although only my instructor, Gerri, and I showed up, we decided to go ahead with the trip. And I am so glad we did because the evening sky certainly gave quite a performance! Here are a few of my favorite shots. Enjoy!

Gerri taking a photo

My favorite:

December 15, 2009


I found this scanned photograph of me at age 3. This photograph carries several thoughts with it. It was taken during a time when life was careless and the most important things were Sunkist fruit roll-ups, Minute Maid orange juice bars, homemade Kool-Aid popsicles, mud pies, painting the house with water and large paint brushes, fishing, my dog, Babe, cul-de-sac block parties, and seeing how long I could stay outside to play during the long, humid days of summer in Ohio before I had to come in for bath time.

Do you ever wish you could go back to a time like that...even just for a moment or two?

Jenny, age 3

December 14, 2009

Hallmark Institute of Photography

I had my phone interview with Brooke, an admissions rep from the Hallmark Institute of Photography in MA. I spent an hour on the phone discussing my passion for photography and allowing Brooke the opportunity to get to know me and what makes me tick. It was her job to decide if I had the right personality, determination and talent to not only survive Hallmark's very prestigious, 10-month intensive training program, but thrive.

After looking at workshops, training programs and colleges around the country, Hallmark was the only program I felt would give me the complete skills I need to become the best photographer I can be and run a successful photography business. They teach you everything - from different genres of photography (wedding, portrait, advertising, nature, aerial, medical) to post-production work to learning how to start and manage a business. Check it out for yourself - Every week, I receive another email regarding what the students are learning that week, and it is absolutely insane how amazing their opportunities are.

At the end of the interview, Brooke said she really liked me and thought I had what it took to succeed at Hallmark, and would be referring me and my profile to the dean for review. After I submit more paperwork to Brooke this week, I should hear something next week.

So realistically, do I expect to get accepted to the school? They only accept 200-250 students a year, so it is also relatively difficult to get into the program. However, I thought it was worth a shot to see if they thought I had what it took to be a Hallmark student. And if I do get accepted, do I think I'll be going to the school? Unless a small financial miracle came down from the heavens, probably not. (Guess I should start buying lottery tickets now.) If it's meant to be, it will be. Brooke asked me if I didn't get accepted into Hallmark, would I still pursue photography, and I answered immediately with a "yes." I may have to do all the research and work on my own instead of at a fancy-schmancy institute, but one way or the other, I'm ready to work hard and turn my love of photography into a successful business.

Do you think they sell lottery tickets at this time of night?

December 11, 2009

Adelaide: The Revival

In October and November, I had the honor of playing the comedic leading lady named Adelaide in The Island Players' production of Guys and Dolls. Adelaide and her Hot Box girls were ditzy singer/dancer night club entertainers who spoke in high pitch New Yorker accents. We made sure our voices were ear-piercing, to say the least.

We were asked to perform at The Island Players' Christmas concert and revive our characters in a rendition of "Santa Baby." Ginny revamped our Guys and Dolls costumes and scarecrows to fit the holiday theme. We were an absolute hit! [I also sang Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" but it wasn't nearly as fun as singing my with girls.]

Mary Jo, Me, Angie, Darlene & Ginny
Posing the Guys and Dolls music director, John Harper

Jason and Adelaide

December 3, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...well, as much as it can look like Christmas in Georgia, anyway.

This year, we decorated the the house earlier than we have ever done so. Since I had the Friday after Thanksgiving off, and I didn't go home to Ohio for the first time ever, I decided to spend my day taking down the Fall decor (didn't I just put that up?!) and readying the house for Christmas. Without putting up the tree, I spent 6 hours decorating and cleaning!

Friday night, we assembled the tree and put the lights on. Me + Christmas lights = way too much stress. I have an OCD complex that I can usually keep at bay, but something about stringing Christmas lights on the tree brings out the worst in me. Jason usually leaves that to me for a time when he's not home. This year, I requested we do the lights together...but only after I had had a few glasses of wine first. It went way faster than it did last year (last year, it took 2 days...don't ask). After stringing up the first set of lights, which covered half the tree, I went to add another strand when I realized that the prongs didn't fit into the new strand...or any other strand we had. So we completely started over with another strand of lights...after more wine, of course. A few minor bickerings and one bottle of wine later, the lights were done and looked good.

We were too tired to decorate the tree, so we did that Saturday night. Lucie, our foster pup, enjoyed licking some of the ornaments hanging low on the tree. After the initial amusement, she left it along. Not too shabby for a 3-month-old pup! We watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the original Grinch on DVD while decorating...our annual tradition. (We love Rudolph because it's sexist and not very politically correct these days. Oh, and we always sing all the songs aloud.)

The finished product turned out beautifully, and we're enjoying evenings lit only by the tree light and a strand of pre-lit garland around the kitchen window. We also have this fabulous oil burner we use from Bath and Body Works with various Christmas scents to get us into the holiday spirit.

Now all we need is some snow! can dream.

Jason decorating the tree

How I decorate the tree

Time out for puppy playtime!

What is this yummy-looking green thing?

*slurp* Mmm...

So tempting...

Dreaming of a white Christmas

MacKenzie and me posing by the tree

The tree and mantle decorated for Christmas

Christmas love

Mission Accomplished!

I am very happy to announce that Lucie, our foster pup, has already found a loving forever home with my friend, Val, and her family in Ohio! Val and I were friends in high school through show choir, and I sang in both her and her sister's weddings. Val and husband, Pete, have 2 young boys, one of which has been begging for a dog for some time now.

Val had seen my photos of Lucie on my Facebook page and fell in love with her when she viewed a photo of me holding Lucie by my Christmas tree.

Lucie will be traveling to her new home in Ohio shortly after Christmas. While I fell in love with her, I am so excited she has found the perfect forever home with a good friend, and I am very excited that I will be able to watch her grow up! Lucie's adoption feels like Christmas came early

If you are interested in adding a furry friend to you family this holiday season, consider adoption instead of buying at a pet store or online. Check out my friends at Glynn County Animal Services at or check out a shelter near you on You will not only find your perfect family addition, you will also be saving a life.

Jen and Lucie with her first Christmas tree