Posts tagged Winston Salem
Celebrating Jennifer

Her face may be familiar to you, as she has graced our blog and social media several times. If you're just now meeting her, she's one of the sweetest, most compassionate women. Jen is gracious and graceful and I always love photographing her. This time around, she wanted to do something different, something that let her branch out, something creative, something that excited her. 

She sent me oodles of images for inspiration, mainly featuring a parachute dress. Whilst I don't have a parachute dress in my collection, I knew I could create a dress for her. We sent styles back and forth to each other and then got down to selecting a location. Now, being frank, I was a bit apprehensive about photographing at the Arts Park in downtown Winston-Salem. I'm definitely a bare-feet in the grass, fields of flowers and waterfalls kind of lady! However, if Jennifer was willing to push herself, I was willing to be right there with her. 

The final bit of inspiration was a story Jennifer sent me. I asked her to send me a story or a feeling she wanted to have captured with these images. This is her story.

"Once there was a girl who was a dreamer, a lover of life with a big open heart. She believed so much in the good in others and had hope for a fairy tale life for herself. Unfortunately, she tended to let the wrong people into her life and she often got left behind holding the pieces of her heart. These pieces were all that were left for her to start over and she did it again and again, opening her heart and being shattered once more. Yet, she remained strong, and kept building her strength, because she knew God had a beautiful plan for her. Her parachute represents the perseverance that has kept her going all these years and her realization that nothing is going to stop her from believing because she always has always been filled with hope and had her own back."

This is what we created to celebrate her strength and her journey, her love and her resilience. Jen has titled this series "Becoming Fearless" and I couldn't love the name any more than I do because it's perfect for her!

Creative Portraits in Downtown WInston-Salem, NC | Arts Park, WSNC | Fearless | Inspired portraits | Images with a story | Lulu dress | Flowing white dress | city art installations | Winston-Salem Photographer | North Carolina Photographer | Winston Salem Photographer | Jasper & Fern | www.jasperandfern.com
Creative Portraits in Downtown WInston-Salem, NC | Arts Park, WSNC | Fearless | Inspired portraits | Images with a story | Lulu dress | Flowing white dress | city art installations | Winston-Salem Photographer | North Carolina Photographer | Winston Salem Photographer | Jasper & Fern | www.jasperandfern.com
Creative Portraits in Downtown WInston-Salem, NC | Arts Park, WSNC | Fearless | Inspired portraits | Images with a story | Lulu dress | Flowing white dress | city art installations | Winston-Salem Photographer | North Carolina Photographer | Winston Salem Photographer | Jasper & Fern | www.jasperandfern.com | Girls in white dresses
Feel Good
Feel Good Session | SAD | Seasonal Affective Disorder | Winter Blues | Jasper and Fern | Winston Salem, NC | Mental Health | Self Care | Winter Blues | How to care for yourself | Depression | Migraine | Circulation issues | elderly winter care | Self care ritual

What does it mean to you to "feel good?" Does that mean being full of energy, having a full stomach, not getting sick, experiencing happiness over cemented in place, avoiding migraines, having warm hands and feet? For many of us, feeling good during the winter months means defeating the dull dark days, lethargy, tendency to over eat, not having ice substitute for our hands and feet and keeping up our energy. This winter will be no different and we want to help you be victorious over the downfalls of the cold season and feel good.

If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or increased depression, circulation issues, dehydration and a drop in energy during the winter, or you just want to give yourself a little extra self care, relax and refresh yourself with a Feel Good Session. 


Your Feel Good Session includes :
- Compressive touch and Swaddling Session with one of our massage therapists to help move blood and lymph throughout your body, manage pain and relieve stress and worry
- Deep conditioning treatment to keep your hair happy and healthy
- Bright Light Therapy
- Immune and Mood boosting Essential Oil application
- Self Care Goodie Bag
($125)

Book a Commitment Package and receive one Feel Good Session a month so your self care will last the entirety of Winter. Commitment Packages are $400 (Save $100).


This is a truly great way to care for yourself and help alleviate pain this winter. Thank you for committing to care for yourself!

 

 

Uprooted

It was dark outside. The type of dark that hangs over you, not the peaceful dark that lulls you to sleep with a chorus of crickets. It was a darkness that seeped through the windows, a silence. I lay staring at the ceiling. My brain was white noise; my thoughts were there but I wasn't really participating with them. It had been a painful day.

When I was younger, if I wasn't at school or playing sports, I was traipsing around the woods until the sun went down, sometimes even after the sun was long gone. I'm pretty sure I spent most of my adolescence in the woods. The woods were my solace, my resting place. I would memorize the mushrooms along the paths I took and watch their lifespan from birth to completion. I knew where and when to find the family of deer that frequented the area I visited. I knew which patch of wheat held the most privacy to lay and watch their stalks sway and talk in the wind. I also knew which wheat patches to avoid when the geese began their nesting. I knew which trees were most comfortable to accompany me for my homework, or my favorite tree from whose limbs I could dangle my feet just over the surface of the rippling water and the one that had the most comfortable limbs for napping. I felt at peace in the woods; understood and safe even in the darkness of twilight. I knew which path I wanted to take based on the day, the weather and the sunlight. I memorized each turn, each step I needed to take to get where I was going or to go back home. I knew exactly where every divot, root and hole existed along my path and the trees were my guide.

As I lay staring at the ceiling, the darkness hovering, I placed my thoughts in the limbs of those trees. I replayed the sunset and worked on sending myself to sleep. *pop* *POP* Two deep bursts alerted my ears accompanied by a few slow, deep cracking noises. Then, *crack* .... and flurry of snapping and crackling that seemed to increase in pitch as smaller and smaller branches of the tree snapped in succession. Finally, amongst the highest pitch, a muffled thud as the tree met the earth. The silence broke.

I'd heard the sound of trees falling many times before, as both the homes I'd known were surrounded by woods. I'd walked past, climbed over and through the map of broken limbs of newly fallen trees on many occasions. Occasionally, a tree would fall across one of my usual paths. This was nothing new but I anticipated finding the tree that had fallen. When I came home from school the next day, I set out to do just that.

I began out on my typical route and then headed in the direction I believed to have heard the tree fall. As I walked, sweating from the hot summer day, I thought about how odd it was that a tree should fall with no wind. It must have been an old tree, relenting to it's age and rot, finally giving in. It didn't take me long to come across the tree. I stopped in my tracks.

There it was. My beautiful tree; it's deeply riveted bark splayed with splashes of colorful moss and beautifully textured lichen. It's strong thick trunk now lay across the ground, limbs crippled and shattered, fresh sap oozing from its wounds. The dampness of fresh dirt met my nostrils, so strong I could taste it in my mouth. My tree had been uprooted. It's roots mangled, snarled and broken as it had tried desperately to remain where it had been planted - a place that it's seed had once found as welcoming and nurturing now rejected it. I was angry and hurt. Out of all the trees, why did it have to be this one? I sat down amongst the broken limbs, fresh dirt and sap and cried. I felt like I'd lost a friend, like someone important to me had been ripped away without my permission and I could never change it; things would never go back to being the same. That day the forest and I shared a similarity that I did not yet understand. Our landscapes had both changed.

Fifteen years have passed and I haven't thought about that tree in a very long time. I've moved, gone to college, gotten married, started my own business and, in between the peaks, I've experienced loss, death, betrayal; I've experienced pain and I've caused it. I've been an active participant in this whole "life" experience. Then, today, almost out of the blue I thought about my tree. 

Last week I attended a class on "Native Ferns of North Carolina." I partially went because "Fern" is part of my business name and I was geeking about it but, I mainly went because I wanted to learn how to better care for my ferns and keep them healthy and luscious. I've been learning more about ferns, digging into their care, their growth, the different types of ferns, sporing patterns, personalities and this was a great opportunity to be a bit more hands on.

The speaker was a jovial woman who is passionate about plants and conservation. She made the rather scientific terminology sound appealing and relatable and, as she spoke, I kept having these moments of parallel. "Ferns are pioneers in disturbed habitats," she said. My brain went into max absorption mode as she continued, "fern seeds seek bare earth, such as where a tree has been uprooted." My mind flooded as she began to talk about how ferns are hearty and adaptive, that they hybridize in order to survive and can exist in a variety of habitats, from rainforests to deserts; that fern seeds need fungi and "gross" dirt to nourish their growth and can often be found growing amongst other decaying plants. There it was, plain as day, these fern patterns reflected in our human journeys. 

How often it is that we find ourselves uprooted, painfully removing portions of our life which no longer fit. Sometimes we realize what's bogging us down and impeding our growth and sometimes we don't. They can be habits, people, places, emotions, memories, experiences. Whether we decide to remove these hinderances or whether they are removed for us, once they are gone, the soil of our lives is ready for new growth. In our growth, we may make decisions that don't make sense to anyone but ourselves, like a tree falling without wind or age. We may walk away from people, friendships or jobs which will instigate people to view us differently. Most importantly, we will begin to view ourselves differently. Just like the roots and branches of my tree, this removal can be painful and disrupting but it's part of expanding and becoming the stronger, better versions of ourselves.

I skipped an important part of the story about my tree. You see, my relationship with that tree didn't end when I found it broken. I spent time with it as it decomposed, breaking down into the soil and giving room for life. I watched birds carry it's leaves and small twigs to make their nests. I watched mushrooms and fungus take root and thrive, weaving themselves through the deep rivets of the bark creating beautiful patterns and homes for little bugs and creatures. I even watched as a tiny forest of ferns made a home in the fresh, open earth where my tree's roots used to live. Until the day I uprooted and moved from that house, I watched the tree that had once supported me, held me safe as I slept, given me a new perspective to see beauty, and been my confidante transform from it's pain and become breathtakingly beautiful in a way I could never have seen if it hadn't have fallen first.

We have the strength to adapt to our situations and surroundings, to survive and fight to live. We can create growth in our landscapes - whether they are deserts or forests. We can take a dark, gross situation - all covered in fungi and death - and cultivate flourishing beauty. Whether we made the decision for removal or not, we have the opportunity to create new growth, sustain our surroundings and create something that is beautiful. This growth is painful but it will be peaceful as we begin to recognize our true potential - our most beautiful selves.

10 Ways to Keep Those Winter Blues Away
SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder | Self care tips | how-to self care ritual | winter blues | winston-salem, NC | Christmas Gifts | Holiday Stress | Holiday Plans | keeping moms sane

*shivers* Cold winds are blowing and the temperature is dropping steadily here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It's a Southerner's worst nightmare (aside from a shortage of flakey, buttery biscuits.) We watch in sadness as our colorful fall foliage is floating down en-mass to the ground beneath the trees and our mornings are greeted with darkness and frost. For some of us, the sadness becomes an actual condition, most commonly know as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

SAD affects us all in different ways - all 10,000,000 (yes, MILLION) of us Americans who suffer from it. We can struggle against our internal will to hibernate, which, without proper sleep and hibernation we can certainly gain similar attributes to a bear - overeating, lethargy, oversleeping, an angry or grumpy demeanor. Likewise, we can lose our appetite, lose our energy, feel physically burdened and weighted down, experienced heightened anxiety and stress and even struggle with suicidal thoughts in some cases.

So, in order to help yourself (and not be a bear and devour your family during the holidays!), you kind of need to know what causes Seasonal Affective Disorder. We researched to try and find the best explanation so that we could, in turn, help you. Psychology.com breaks the "WHY" down the best :

"One theory is that it is related to the amount of melatonin in the body, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. Darkness increases the body's production of melatonin, which regulates sleep. As the winter days get shorter and darker, melatonin production in the body increases and people tend to feel sleepier and more lethargic. Another theory is that people with SAD may have trouble regulating their levels of serotonin, which is a major neurotransmitter involved in mood. Finally, research has suggested that people with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D, which is believed to play a role in serotonin activity. Vitamin D insufficiency may be associated with clinically significant depression symptoms."

 All in all, SAD is not a good place to exist, nor is it healthy. We know what it's like to feel miserable and we wouldn't wish misery on anyone. As such, we've compiled a "how-to" list of sorts to help you with your SADness.

10 Ways to Keep Those Winter Blues Away

  • Bright Light Therapy
  • Increasing Circulation through massage or skin brushing
  • Mood and Immune boosting essential oils
  • Plan enjoyable, mood boosting activities
  • Drinking water
  • Committing yourself to a simple self-care routine
  • Surround yourself with green or vibrant plants
  • Talk to someone (even if it's just a short phone call to say "hi")
  • Wear warm fun socks
  • Plan physical activities