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Jingling Bells

This week, I turn the big 3-5!
Whoa, I think.
Just like every other birthday, I think back to all the well-meaning people who tell me that it all goes by too fast. And every time I hear or think that, I realize the well-meaning words are true. So true. Who would think I’ve been out of high school for 17 years? Or think I’ve been out of college for 13? It does go by sooo fast.
It’s easy to wonder what if about the past … what if I would’ve stayed on and modeled full-time and made that my life’s pursuit? What if I would’ve chosen to work with my engineering degree and our house was built on double salary, not one? What if … All that brings is a higher level of achievement and fame, a fatter bank account, and faster cars.
Just about the time I start to feel overwhelmed with past what-ifs , coupled with vanishing youth and all the things society says we must do to preserve that youth (Botox, hair dye, etc.), I take a deep breath and begin to focus on the things that each day in my life has generously brought.
These are the pieces of life I treasure, for sure: baby steps and belly giggles, tickle torture and bedtime kisses, boisterous nightly family dinners and snuggling by the fire, handprint gifts and school-written letters, gathering shells along the beach and candlelight dinners in Paris.
What blessings these 35 years have brought!
And then I remember the spontaneous fun yesterday morning waiting for the bus, singing goofy renditions of Jingle Bells with the boys, jingling the bells on our Boxer’s collar while the snow flew in swirls outside.
True, the saying that Life is what we make it. The faster cars and bigger paychecks and fame and youth all fades. For me, that’s not the stuff that matters much. I’ll take Jingle Bells anyday …
With humble gratitude, I look forward to the next 35 and the thrill of catching the blessings as they fly by.
Here’s to making every day a great one.

-Jennifer
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On Modeling and the Gap

Yesterday, I received in the mail the recent Frontgate catalog, a beautiful collection of high-end home things. Funny thing, though, I’ve done some modeling for them recently, which, given the turns my life has taken, is amusing in and of itself. Anyhow, several of the shots inside this particular catalog have a version of me there, including a new shot featuring a gorgeous set of cashmere loungewear.
Being me, it’s laughable to see the gap between what I experienced that day on set and what comes across in the photograph. And so, I have to share some of those things and hope you’ll join me in a laugh …
Picture this:
Walking up to the location, which happened to be a home belonging to a real-life family in historic Glendale, the four-legged kind of family member greeted me at the front steps—a 200 pound Newfoundland dog. He was super-friendly and wanted to play, of course. I smiled and asked him to sit, like I would’ve done with my own (much smaller) Boxer. Instead, this gargantuan Newfoundland confused “sit” with a two-pawed “shake”, and pounded his (wet and muddy) paws onto my chest. Lucky for me, the photographer happened to grab the dog’s collar at just about the time I should’ve fallen backward, and allowed me an escape inside.
Getting hair and makeup done while sitting on a preschool-sized Barbie chair in the girls’ play room …
Going back for hair changes about twenty times, all based on the modern-day ability for the office execs to see real-time photos, and give their feedback, interestingly, all the time, on any and every photo …
Delaying shooting for the cashmere slippers to arrive …
And constantly having to stretch my mouth to be more serious during the shots—it’s very difficult to keep a straight face through the Newfoundland pounding the door just beside the set, the photographer’s jokes, the constant feedback (and criticisms) of the execs calling the shots from their desks 10 miles away, and the unending adjustments to the cashmere pajamas and dusting of my face with powder.
But, all said, the shoots for FG are always top-notch, and the folks are always professional, and the cashmere is always amazing. It’s great to keep my feet wet in the industry, and a humbling privilege to be asked to do it.
These experiences are relevant for me, as a writer, because my first novels are written and loosely based on my personal modeling experiences in New York City and Paris with Elite Modeling Agency, which I might add were a LONG time ago. The fascination with modeling lies, I think, in the gap between what is seen and what really goes on. Great fiction for me is most powerful and engaging when exploring that gap between perceived reality and actual reality. So, tapping into those modeling experiences has been and will continue to be a rich ground for growing novels.
I love to hear comments and connect over the ether … Back to writing novel #2.

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the View through my lens

I’ve struggled for a long time, wondering if I could write a blog. Should I? Would I? But today, I am attempting to answer the question.
Yes.
So, here I am, writing my first post.
Writing and the business of words is astounding to me, as much as it is a love. For to write something is to simply compose an idea—whether it is a greeting card of 8 words, a note of 80 words, an essay of 800 words, or a novel of 80,000 words—out of the elementary 26 characters of the alphabet. And in the same way that those characters can be ordered into mish-mash, they also can be arranged into ideas that may change the world.
I find tremendous joy in working to arrange these simple letters into something meaningful. And the icing to the process is when the reader finds joy as well.
I look forward to sharing the process of writing with you in this blog, and to the privilege of sharing the View through my lens.I’ll see you again here soon.