Kelly and Erickson

K&E36While I was in the process of packing my things to move from Lansing to Marysville several months ago, I received a text message from Kelly asking me to photograph her wedding. I was ecstatic. I met Kelly back in high school and always thought she was one of the coolest girls in town. Although, we lost touch when she moved away for school, I will always be fond of the memories we made back in the day. From beach days, to movie/game nights, to “camping” – it was always a good time. I’m incredibly happy that she found a man like Erickson who makes her smile so brightly and cares about her deeply. I love knowing that my friends are happy, and I’m excited to catch more evidence of their love and happiness on their big day!K&E29K&E20K&E3K&E7K&E13K&E16K&E1K&E28K&E25K&E30K&E32K&E34K&E31

Kayla and Kyle

One of my favorite things to catch on camera is love, and these two were full of it. Goofy, lighthearted, heart-warming love. The way that their eyes light up when they look at one another made me smile. You can rest assured that you have the kind of love that everyone else wants when it radiates and makes others light up as well.

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Derek and Michaela

Derek and Michaela are pretty cool cats. They’re from my hometown, they enjoy Pokemon Go, they let me borrow their dog when I was dog-less, and they let me take their picture. I love the happy looks I caught them giving one another, and the cute smirks after a sweet kiss. I love their love.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)!

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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!

My Little Life in Lansing

I have done many spontaneous things throughout my life that have worked out well for me most of the time, and I’m actually very proud of. Some examples are: parasailing, skydiving, taking off to California on a whim, taking a class and state exam to get a license for properties and 1560680_10152541185378026_5829916328391525143_ncasualties insurance (passed the exam the first time, I might add), changed my mind many times about what to go to school for (I even became a certified nurse aide), called in to work to take care of an injured baby bird (it lived to tell the tail), went on a camping trip with friends (I should say “camping”), calling up a friend to go ice skating in Detroit around the holidays, and many other things. With all of this being said, I think the thing I’m most proud of at the moment, is my move to Lansing.

Although many people protested my move, and I complained11150479_10152950366638026_4120775682121130209_n about it a lot shortly after moving here, I’m learning to love it; things are falling into place. I have a job that I love, I’m officially starting my photography business, I’m choosing to finally finish my bachelor’s degree, and I have a James by my side who protects, supports, and loves me. He and I have a lovely, quiet one bedroom apartment that feels like home, we’re raising a gecko and adopted a dog, both of us are working very hard toward our own goals, and in turn, our goals as a couple. I have the little family that I’ve always wanted. As much as I miss being close to everyone I love dearly, this move has grown me.

It was a difficult decision to make. Leaving everything behind scared me, but I decided to follow my gut and make the move. Throughout my past few months here I’ve learned patience is a wonderful virtue, even when you’re living with your best friend/amazing boyfriend. Discipline is a godsend, when your mom is no longer there to tell you to finish your homework instead of playing video games. Responsibilities literally cannot wait, otherwise you may have puppy accidents on your hands… or bed. I’ve learned to enjoy my alone time at whole new levels, and because of this I feel empowered. There are two lessons that I would deem the most important since I moved: the people who love you are always cheering you on from afar, even if you don’t speak with them everyday, and do what you know is best for you. Follow your gut, take the leap of faith, and be adventurous. Life has a funny way of working out eventually, and we all have the same finish line, so make the most of it. Decide what you want and go get it.

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