I don’t. 200% effort = 80% Positive results

IMG_0412I get the comment often “I don’t know how you do it all!”  Well, let’s be totally honest – I don’t – at least not “all” and rarely do I get to the “most” level.  I am a mom of 2 beautiful boys ages almost 5 and a 6 year old.  They are just over 12 months apart.  Because they hear me say on a daily basis “I wish I were an octopus!” Jace now tells me at least once a day  “Mom, I wish you were an octopus” – and so the story goes.

I am a wife, a mother, a business owner, a woman in her 40’s dealing with things that all 40+ year olds have to deal with.  I have friends and family – and on a daily basis…. I CHOOSE MY BATTLES.  Although it is mostly a saying, every day I need to choose what I need to spend my energy and efforts on – and anything that requires work I label my battles.  Really it’s not because any one thing is bad, and I guess a more appropriate word would choosing my tasks… but with two ninja children around me BATTLES sounds much more exciting – doesn’t it?

~I work every day.  I say I take Mondays off… but honestly – I don’t.

~I love my children every day.  But honestly… sometimes they drive me up the wall (ok, every day at least once a day).

~My house is a series of piles – then I straighten up the piles and then they grow back.

~I am thankful for my Facebook friends, because with having little or no time to “live” outside my routine at this stage in my life. It allows me the “catch up” if only for a “like” or a quick message… at least we know we are thinking of each other.

~I DREAM HUGE.  While I wish to accomplish everything I set my mind to.  I don’t.  But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming because that is the part that is the most fun anyway.

~I’m about as imperfect as they come.  With life & family… most days I am a firefighter. I have to deal with the most pressing thing or the hottest “fire” on my list.

In my life.  200% effort means I get 80% positive results, and that’s still above a C average on the report card in my head – and that has to be good enough.

It’s an exhausting life.  It is a life filled with anxiety and stress.  It is a life filled with high-highs and low lows.

MOST IMPORTANTLY.  I never get bored, and I have an exciting and event-filled life.  So I claim a successful life.  Besides… when I fight to get my kids to bed at night, and I wake up in the morning to hugs and kisses – It it the best part of my day.  And so the cycle starts over every day going faster and faster.


Girls vs. Boys

ImageLet’s just say it’s official.  Girls are different than boys.  Now I know what you’re thinking – that is no new concept, but I’m telling you – no matter what the differences I thought there were before… yesterday was proof positive.

Understand that I have two boys, I grew up with two brothers… I KNOW BOYS.  If you’ve been following along at all the past year we have had a lot of tutu sessions through the studio and I’ve had many parents asking for a “boys” day.  So yesterday we had our first official boys day at the studio.  It was the most fun I think I’ve had at the new studio… and today… well, I AM EXHAUSTED!  I can tell you the decibel level is about 100 times more than on a tutu day when you get a bunch of boys pass through your doors.  Lets make it clear… boys ages about 18 months-9 years… about 15 boys within 6 hours.

I CAN’T WAIT TO DO THIS AGAIN!!!  So as much as I’m enjoying a quieter day with my ONE boy at home today, it was an absolute blast and I would highly recommend it if you have a boy or boys.  SO MUCH FUN and so much energy – and from what I’ve heard so far, the boys are talking about it still today and telling everyone about their studio “camp” day.Image

A message to new photographers.


To any new photographers out there. Please do not WORRY about the competition. It is way more important to create what you love, not what someone else loves. You will rise to the top much faster by being true to yourself and only comparing yourself to what you were yesterday – with your eyes continuing to look at how you can improve yourself tomorrow.

~Jeanine Thurston


A fun day of play at the studio.

JS_JTP_005Sometimes you need one of those creative days when you can just shoot what you want how you want to.  It helps when you have some amazing people to work with too.  Viqui Westenhaver from Skye Salon and Spa whipped up an amazing hair day for Jill Scott – who got to be model and MUA for the day.  Image

Thanks for the fun ladies and getting us all out of a “cleaning” day! lol

Photography forward project. Happy Camera Monsters 1.0


My mind was a jumble of thoughts on my way home from the studio one afternoon.  I had a million ideas in my head.  One of which was some art that our very own “Jenny” had posted about a friend of hers.  Now, she has told me over and over how talented her friend was… and sometimes it takes the right time and place for that to connect to you personally or professionally.

Back to the drive home…. I had one of those awh haaaa moments when if I didn’t tell someone I would bust so called Ms Jenny to bounce some things off of her – particularly about her friend Karen’s art.

So it begins the Photography forward project.

FEBRUARY 14TH, 2013… yes, we are starting this on Valentines Day.  10 custom created pieces of “domino art” will be dropped off at various locations in Denver & surrounding areas.  This each piece of art is called “Happy Camera Monster.”  Each piece of art is a little different, a very custom piece of art – and I have to say – they alone should make you smile.  They will all be numbered and will be attached to a card with exact details and information too.

In a nutshell.  On February 14th, 2013 I’ll post some hints to locations where they will be… or an un-suspecting person may just happen upon one.  If you’re watching our blog and facebook pages you may just get a jump on being the first to get to a location.


YOUR BONUS: If you are one that finds or is gifted one of our Happy Camera Monster dominos, call us at (720)566-9770 or e-mail jennyb@fototails.com and you will get a free 1 hour studio portrait session at our Denver, CO studio.  Catch is… to get the session you have to bring the domino to your portrait session so we can take one image with the domino.

CHILDREN’S TREE HOUSE BONUS:  If you choose to purchase any prints from your session, with your first online print order we will donate $10 to Children’s Treehouse Foundation of Denver.  To learn more about Children’s Treehouse Foundation please click here to find out what an amazing organization they are in helping families dealing with cancer.

THE PAY IT FORWARD BONUS.  At your portrait session we will take one image of you with the Happy Monster Art that you have.  Now… after your session, we will put that piece of art on a new card for you to pass along to anyone you know for them to use for a free portrait session.  The catch?  It always has to be someone new, you can’t use a Happy Camera Monster more than once yourself – but you can pass it to whomever you see or know that would love a portrait session for them or their families.


Over the coming year we will be keeping track of our Happy Camera Monster dominos and are hoping that they make their way all around the Denver area or maybe even to people just visiting.

As you can see our Happy Camera Monster Art is currently in progress with the very talented hands of Karen Windness!  I can not WAIT until they are all complete with their cards, and I’m even more excited to start dropping them off at locations in a few weeks.

Every time we get one of our Happy Camera Monsters pass through the studio we will share a photo and blog post too!



Three Cheese Sweet Potato Jalapeno Poppers

2IMG_4501Jalapeños seem to taste good in just about anything.  It’s the little bit of hot that can make a ho-hum dish or snack just explode with flavor.   And well… cheese just makes anything taste good in my opinion.  Poppers are just an amazing snack for game days or a side dish to a main meal.  Now… add sweet potato to this… and I am in LOVE.

2 Large sweet potatoes peeled, cut into thirds – boiled and mashed lightly with a fork (keep them a little chunky)

8 Jalapeños cut in half from stem to tip

1 tsp. black pepper, fresh ground

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

4 oz of Mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup of crumbled Queso Fresco

1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cut jalapeños in half from stem to tip and gut them with a grapefruit spoon.  Place them on a cookie sheet.

Mix mashed sweet potatoes with black pepper, garlic salt and Mascarpone cheese.

Fill jalapeño halves with the sweet potato mixture.

Take broken off chunks of Queso Fresco cheese and push into each jalapeño and then sprinkle the tops with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Pop them in a 400 degree oven for approximately 7-10 minutes. or until the cheddar cheese is melted and slightly golden.

If you have some guests that want a little extra pop of “HOT” then take one Serrano pepper and cut into thin slices and place one fresh piece on the top of each popper!


Children’s Treehouse Foundation

We will be working closely with Children’s Treehouse Foundation in the coming months.  I wanted to take a minute to tell you a little about their foundation.  Please feel free to visit their website for more information as well at Childrenstreehousefdn.org

The Children’s Treehouse Foundation’s psychosocial intervention programming is unique because of its special focus and delivery system.
It’s About The Children
It’s a given. Cancer affects the entire family. Yet in too many situations, the undeniable psychosocial impact on the children whose parent has cancer goes unattended.This may lead to ongoing stress and anxiety for the children, evolving into maladaptive behavior throughout life. Our mission is to redress this critical oversight.
Parents In a Crisis
Many parents dealing with cancer acknowledge they don’t know how to talk to their children about their cancer. This breakdown in communication not only heightens the stress and fears of the children, but also isolates them and precludes them from being an active member of the family. We are committed to help fill this need.
Enhancing Hospital Services
Hospitals are clearly the haven in treating the parent with cancer. Yet even as they know the parent’s treatment proceeds best when their concerns of their children are diminished, far too few provide adequate emotional support for the children involved. Our emotional, group-support programming for children bridges this gap.
Training the Facilitators
Enlightened, trained, professional facilitators at cancer centers are the keys to assuaging the fears and anxieties of children whose parents have cancer. Clearly, social workers, nurses, clergy, life center specialists, or others, when armed with new insights into the children’s psyche, and provided with the proper tools, are uniquely qualified to help the children in their new unsettled environment.
Closing the Caring Loop
Finally, they all come together: Fearful children, anxious parents, a healing facility, and caring, thoughtful professionals. And almost like magic, the children learn how to cope with their feelings, parents become aware of richly improved family communications, and facilitators know, in their heart of hearts, that the trauma and travails of the family are measurably reduced. We’ve closed the caring loop.
Our Role, and Benefits
  • Professional Training: The Children’s Treehouse Foundation provides cancer centers and hospitals with professional training to enable them to launch support programs for the children whose parents have cancer so they are better able to cope in that unsettling, frightening, and stressful environment. 

    They receive training and program manuals, a power point presentation, a DVD, and children’s activity material developed by the Foundation’s CLIMB (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) program, funded in part by the Avon Foundation.

  • Family Support: By providing group-support programming, the family burden of dealing with cancer, and the inevitable stress, is significantly reduced. Parents need support and help in communicating with their children.
    They tell us: 
    • “I don’t want to alarm my children, but I don’t know want to lie to them either. How much should I tell them?”
    • “I think my child understands, but I don’t know. He never says anything to me about my cancer.”
    • “What should I answer when my daughter asks, ‘Are you going to die?’
  • Children need support because they tend to 
    • imagine the worst
    • experience intense feelings of shock, disbelief, denial, fear and anxiety
    • mistakenly believe they caused their parent’s illness
    • act out their feelings, displaying behavioral problems

    Here’s what children tell us during the CLIMB support program: 
    “I really don’t feel like playing.” 
    “I wish this NEVER happened.” 
    “It feels like it’s your fault.” 
    “I want to BEAT SOMEONE UP!” 
    “I’m afraid of going to an orphanage.” 
    “You don’t feel safe.” 
    “You feel like you want to help a lot.”