Month: September 2016

Nature Walk

This week has been a rather long week. I got sick, still went to work all week (because I feel guilty whenever I call in), I had to order a new camera body (my D80 finally died after 8 long years. R.I.P. baby), I’ve been working on designing a logo, planning photo sessions, I had to finish up a ton of homework in order to be ready for my final exams that are coming up, I’ve been trying to plan and budget financially, all while mentally preparing myself for my next 12 credit hour semester to start. You could say that I’ve been a little overwhelmed.

neature4 neature3

In order to center myself throughout my whirlwind of a life, I’m the type of person who desperately needs alone time. I feel energized and relaxed after spending some time alone. So after I got out of work today, I made a mandatory date neature1with myself, my camera, and some good old fashioned nature. Photographing nature reminds me of how beautiful, and complicated, and yet simple life really is. After my walk today, I feel inspired and ready to be creative again.

neature2 neature6 neature5neature7

 

Who Really Rescued Who?

mona4 As I’ve mentioned to most people, I’m incredibly proud of the fact that James and I saved Mona’s life. To give a bit of background to the story, I had been looking for weeks for a dog that I wanted to adopt. I visited two separate shelters on several different days, I looked on Craigslist, and I found a website called Pet Finder that I checked daily. I’m really not sure why I felt so selective at the time, because I’m practically obsessing over dogs and puppies any other day of the week. I just wanted to be sure that I felt that best bud bond with the dog that I was going to bring into our home. There came a day when I thought I found the one. A beautiful red haired Australian Shepherd, three-year-old, already house-broken, already fixed, and all caught-up on his shots, but he had already been adopted when I inquired about him.

For some unknown reason, the woman I spoke to about him felt sorry that I had yet to really find the dog that I wanted to bond with and keep. She promised to help me find a dog that I could connect with. I thought this was a joke and continued my search after getting off of the phone. A few more weeks had gone by, and I received the call. She told me she found her — the perfect dog for me. While I was skeptical, I listened. She told me that she was an Australian Kelpie and Smooth Collie mix, medium size dog (so perfect for our apartment), had plenty of energy to be my running partner, but was about to be euthanized because her stay at another shelter was up, so she needed a home (at least a foster home) ASAP. The shelter she was located at was about an hour and a half from where we lived, so she even offered to send one of the volunteers to bring her to me that weekend.

mona3mona1mona6

The day came and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was, at the very least, going to be able to foster a dog for a couple of weeks. When the volunteer pulled up with Mona in the backseat, she seemed hesitant to want to even open the car door for me to see the dog. You see, what wasn’t disclosed to me on the phone beforehand was the fact that Mona was deemed aggressive and unadaptable at the shelter. Another thing that was not disclosed was her story. She was taken away from her previous owner for accusations of him beating her, starving her, and neglecting her. When the police showed up to take her away, she was sitting in a crate that was too small for her, covered in her own feces, on the porch, in the middle of winter. I began to tear up. I instantly knew the pain she had been through, because I had been in a terribly abusive and controlling relationship in the past. It left me with serious damage (emotionally and physically) and fear to trust too. I asked to see her, and the woman finally opened the door. When our eyes met, she started whining and crying to get out and see me. When I took her out of the cage, she couldn’t stop dancing in front of me. Her tail was wagging so violently, I thought it might actually fly off. The woman told me that she had never seen her act like that with someone before. In the shelter, she always cowered and growled at anyone who came near her. I gladly took the wildly excited puppy home with me.

mona5

After getting her home, we began to notice her trust issues. She freaked out any time someone tried to touch her back legs, and could never really sit still for long comfortably. She was also extremely defensive around other dogs, and most people. We put her in dog training in order to try and work through some of her issues with her, and then her ugly side came out. She lashed out at the dog trainer, and myself. She started growling and nipping at us, and her eyes became blood shot. It nearly destroyed me to see. I went home and cried, thinking that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep a dog that was so intensely scary in situations around people or dogs that she doesn’t know, but at the same time, I couldn’t give her to a shelter where her future was short and death was near. I saw how great she could be under calm circumstances. James calmed me down and told me not to make any irrational decisions that I may regret. I slept on it, and continued to talk it out. Eventually, we came to the decision that we were going to build from it. I was going to get her through her trust issues and not give up on her, just as no one gave up on me when I was most unlovable and destroyed. It has now been five incredibly busy, and intense months, that have continuously made me struggle in several ways, but I’ll tell you what: Mona is flourishing. She lets us touch and play with her back legs now, take her dog bone away to play, actually lays down to cuddle with me while I do homework, edit photos, or anything of the like, and the last two weeks in a row at dog training, she even cuddled with her new Pitbull friend, Peaches. Just knowing how far she has come since the day that I brought her home gives me strength and makes me feel confident that it’s possible for anyone to repair themselves from a damaging and scary past.

So to celebrate, we went on a little photo shoot the other day while we were on our walk. Seeing her look like a happy, playful puppy makes me feel overjoyed and extremely proud. I write all of this to brag about my amazing and beautiful dog, share awareness of domestic violence, and to encourage all of you to adopt from shelters (the Lansing Humane Society is nearby and I promise they have adorable faces that are hard to resist). Even dogs with an intimidating background deserve a second chance and a better life.

mona7

Be sure to like and follow my page on Facebook at: Jennifer Harvey Photography

Whitney

whitney25Whitney: Class of 2017

I’m not lying when I say that I was ecstatic when Whitney inquired about doing her senior photos with me. I may be her cousin’s girlfriend, but any photographer would be crazy not to be as excited as I was. She’s an absolutely gorgeous, strong, and independent young woman. Not to mention, she has stunning green eyes that will pierce right through you. She knew just how to pose in front of a camera, and made my job super easy. On top of all of that, she’s from Port Huron, MI and was willing to travel all the way to East Lansing to let me take her photos. I am honored.

While I don’t go out very much at all, because I’m kind of a hermit, we found some incredibly beautiful places on trails and also at Michigan State University. It’s refreshing to be photographing in a new and unfamiliar place. My passion for taking photos is beginning to overflow for the first time in a long time. I feel adventurous and ready to find even more beauty where I live now (especially since fall is here)!

whitney31 whitney28 whitney22

whitney18whitney32

whitney15whitney22whitney11

whitney36whitney34whitney7

My Attempts at Being Healthy

Hi, my name is Jen Harvey, and I have a confession: I love unhealthy food. While my diet is already super strict due to having Celiac Disease, I still managed to occasionally follow other strict diets as well, get in great shape, then treated myself to everything that I love for many, many meals in a row. I’m beginning to learn how I can still eat what I want, while making healthier choices. In other words, I’m learning to stuff everything in peppers, instead of pouring it all over a layer of potatoes. Two of my favorite trials so far were the Hot Wing Stuffed Peppers, and the Ultimate Nacho Stuffed Peppers.

Hot Wing Stuffed Peppers

What you will need:
6 Green Peppers
2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Hot Sauce
1 tsp of Garlic Powder
Blue Cheese
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Green Onions
Blue Cheese Dressing (optional)

For these peppers, I began by cooking 2 or 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water. While those were cooking, I prepared the peppers to be stuffed by cutting the tops off, scooping all of the seeds out, and placing them in a baking pan. (I cut up and saved the tops of the peppers to dip in hummus for snacking later). Once the chicken was COMPLETELY cooked through, I cut it up into bite-size pieces, placed all of it in a bowl, and mixed it with enough hot sauce to coat all of the chicken lightly. I then mixed in a teaspoon of garlic powder. Next, I stuffed the peppers with the hot wing chicken, sprinkled some blue cheese on the chicken, then some cheddar cheese, and last but not least, the green onions. I put them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes.

Ultimate Nacho Stuffed Peppers

What you will need:
6 Green Peppers
1 can of Refried Beans
1 lb of Ground Turkey
1 packet of Taco Seasoning
8 oz of Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Black Olives
JalapeƱo Peppers

I began this one by cooking the ground turkey in a frying pan, and adding the taco seasoning once it is almost fully cooked. While it was cooking, I prepared the peppers again to be stuffed. I stuffed it with a layer of ground turkey, refried beans, a dollop of sour cream, sprinkled cheddar cheese on top, and then a few black olives and jalapeno peppers. Cooked the peppers in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, because I was hangry and wanted to call it a day. These are just a couple of the ideas I had to make my meals healthier by stuffing them into peppers. I’d love to hear your ideas on what to use next, so feel free to leave a comment!