08 Jun

One Quick Take

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

20150608-MMB13809AN000528-R1-033

Ilford 3200, Canon EOS3, theFINDlab, freelensed.

I’ve been experimenting with freelensing on film lately. 95% of my shots taken using this method go straight into the trash, but then there are another 4% that are cool and interesting and close enough that I want to see what else I can do. And then there are the winners, of which there was one on this roll, but it was from second shooting a wedding and I’m not allowed to share my images until at least six weeks after the event. So you get this topsy-turvy shot of T2 instead as I muse about this hobby of mine.

Also topsy-turvy is our house and our life. I like change, but I also like organization/order, so now that the house is halfway unpacked I’m feeling pretty good overall. Next we’ll be in Europe and I’ll be feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time. Then a month devoted to coding because I’ll either be accepted to Hackbright, or prepping myself for a third attempt at getting in. Past that I don’t know much about what life is going to look like. We’ll live in this great rental house with a giant oak tree shading the front yard, T1 will start kindergarten, and we’ll keep on really liking each other. I’m a bit anxious to know more things about what the future holds, but otherwise I’m feeling grateful and happy.

(Film from my birthday party comes back on Friday! That’s another thing I’m feeling happy about. Really, really, REALLY happy.)

03 Jun

One Quick Take

Posted by Jenna, Under Personal

Pentax 645, Portra 800, theFINDlab

Next week is his last at the preschool we’ve loved so much. The preschool that saved my sanity by helping me navigate through years 2-4 of parenting, a stage of development that felt like it was never going to end. But it has ended, and suddenly our four-year-old who would meltdown at the drop of a hat has transformed into a five-year-old who tells stories and asks for hugs and regularly surprises with his conscientiousness and desire to fill people’s buckets.

We haven’t talked yet about how he isn’t going to be going to the same school as his best friend anymore. We’re packing up the house right now, and where we live next won’t be that much farther from his best friend’s house in driving distance, but these two have an incredibly deep bond that won’t ever be the same after they start into different school systems for kindergarten. T1 has never napped well at school, and last week he shared that it’s because he’s worried he will be too groggy to get a seat next to his best friend when they get up from their mats and move to snack time. So he rests on his mat for two full hours, forcing himself to stay away for what comes next. That’s love right there.

 

25 May

Celebrating 30 on the 30th

Posted by Jenna, Under Adventures

I’ve spent the last few months obsessing over this coming weekend with an enthusiasm that can only be matched by the way I felt while planning my wedding. I forgot how much I love drifting off to sleep while daydreaming about an upcoming big event, and the satisfaction found in making spreadsheets and lists, watching my vision come to life. That Husband isn’t into dates the way I am, and lobbied hard to wait a few years to celebrate my entrance into my thirties. I wore him down, and this weekend I’ll be putting on the ritz with some of my favorite women and their dates in celebration of my 30th birthday. The women will step into long gowns, the men will patiently shrug into dressy-ish button-downs, and we’ll all meet at a beach in Carmel for dinner and a bonfire. I wanted to create an event unlike anything I’d ever seen or experienced, and that is certainly what this has become! In addition to some of our friends here, we have guests flying in from Washington, Illinois, and Texas!

Image credits: food, hot chocolate, jewelry

Ami of Elizabeth Ann Designs is on the guest list, and also saved me by agreeing to act as a co-planner. Once she came into the picture my DIY Picnic on the Beach with Fancy Dresses turned into something much grander, a styled event with vendors and catering and a theme! Now it’s Dinner and Bonfire on the Beach with a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean flair.

Majesta Patterson is documenting the event, so there will be plenty of pictures to share. We’re hoping to have the event published somewhere. I’ll have my camera too, because what better gift to give myself on that day than the freedom to shoot as much film as my little heart desires?

07 May

30 Life Highlights

Posted by Jenna, Under Personal

I like using my birthday as a chance to reflect on my life. My 26th and 27th years must have been particularly good, if the Amazingly Awesome lists I put together are any indication. For my 30th I’m thinking less about how AMAZING everything is and more about the remarkable experiences and states-of-being that pushed me to where I am today.

This post started out as a fun little trip down memory lane, but after I finished the list I noticed some patterns that reveal what’s most important to me, and where I should be focusing the majority of my time and effort. I was surprised to see that work came to my mind. I hold no fondness for the uniforms, or the long days on my feet,  or the hot-hot heat as I drove tractor through the cherries. It’s the relationships formed with my coworkers and the satisfaction found in being assigned tasks and accomplishing them that I enjoyed so much. This is one of the primary reasons why I want to get a job working for someone else within the next year.

Many of the things I wrote down only made the list because of the people I was with. I need to make it more of a priority in my life to put time and effort into those connections. And travel too, travel needs to always be a priority in our budget and lives.

Quite a few of the experiences reveal nostalgia for the way I grew up. We had the opportunity to provide that same life for our children, but we turned it down in favor of a life that will keep us away from my hometown in the thick of the hustle and bustle. There will always be a part of me that romances the pastoral, and I’m glad my parents still live there so the kids can continue to have those experiences in the summer. The suburbs are very bland (San Francisco city proper has my heart though!).

Thinking about my own childhood of course means I’m going to think about the childhood I’m giving to my kids and what I want them to remember. I have zero memories of my mom sitting on the floor playing with me. What I do remember is the stuff that I now realize would have taken hours and days to prep for. Going boating at Mardon, spending a week at the county fair, the trips we took, the pool we had in our backyard which my parents rarely swam in but probably spent a lot of time maintaining. I’m going to be guilt-free about saying “I’m busy right now, go play” in our daily life, but take more time to go to the beach or San Francisco or  Lake Tahoe or a road trip along the coast.

You know I didn’t make the list at all? Stuff. No mention of any of the toys I got as a kid, or the items I saved up for when I was independent, or talk about how well appointed the furnishings are in our home. Less stuff more experiences has been something we’ve been working toward over the last year, but assembling this list has made me want to double down and make it our new religion. We are moving to Redwood City this summer, and I’m going to use it as a test to see how much we can simplify and downgrade. Our home won’t be Pinterest-worthy, but we will get to know our neighbors.

When I’m 40 I’d like to make another list detailing the highlights from now until then. I want it to be filled with experiences over stuff, food, adventures we squeezed into our daily life, trips to places far and near, and stories about the ways I strengthened my connections with the people who matter most to me. I think I have enough information now to see what’s going to bring me the most joy.

30 Things I Loved About the Last 30 Years

(in no particular order)

1. Growing up on a farm

Here I am, somewhere around five years old, sitting on a horse in my front yard. Behind me is a ditch where we would swim. I’m smiling in the direction of the single-wide trailer where we lived until I was eight years old. It was a life full of simple things, and I never knew how poor we were. I’m very lucky to have parents who worked so hard to give me a great childhood. My kids will never know a Christmas where we spend Christmas Eve with dad’s side of the family watching rodeo clips, wake up the next morning and open presents before eating waffles, and then head over to the dairy to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family. They’ll have other things, new traditions and experiences but I’ll always miss what we had.

30 of my Life Highlights

2. Pretending to be a model in Rome

I’m far better behind the camera than I am in front of it, but my  mom worked it and we came away with some once-in-a-lifetime shots. Marching in front of the crowd at Trevi Fountain and getting up the courage to act like there weren’t hundreds of eyes on me was exhilarating. Maybe I’ll make my sister do the same thing in Greece this June.

30 of my Life Highlights

 

3. First sunset in Hawaii

The entire trip was extraordinary, but the portion that makes me happiest to look back on is from our first night, right after we got checked into our hotel. My sister and I decided we were going to race the sunset to the beach, and we ran around frantically trying to get everyone into suits before the sun disappeared completely. We speed walked the block to the beach and were treated to the best sunset of the trip. As good as the sunset was, the part that makes my chest feel a bit constricted with happiness was holding T1 in my arms in the ocean as he said over and over “This is the best ever!” and threw his head back in some of the purest joy I’ve ever seen on his face. I want more moments like that with him, 1000x over.

 

30 of my Life Highlights Read more →

29 Apr

Jenna Cole is Headed to Greece

Posted by Jenna, Under Adventures

Ocean waves breaking

This June my sister is helping me ferry the kids over to Poland to see their grandparents, and while the littles play with Babcia and Dziadek the Asenkin sisters are going to road trip and ferry across Greece! I still can’t believe this is really happening.

The theme of this trip is “Quality time with bff sister while taking as many pictures as possible” and as much as my sister likes to act as my model, I think there would be time for me to direct someone else in front of my lens as well. It’s a long shot, but if you know someone in Greece between June 17-27 2015 would you mind connecting us? Family, couple, individual, or adorable ya-ya. When it comes to film I want to work with anything or anyone. We’re planning to rent a car and road trip from Athens to Thessaloniki (along with some island hopping) so we’re flexible on the location.

And of course, if you’ve been to Greece and have any suggestions/tips, I would love to hear them! We’re slowly piecing together an itinerary that looks something like Crete –> Santorini –> Athens –> Meteora –> Thessaloniki but haven’t booked anything yet so we’re still gathering ideas.

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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