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gavin | minnesota high school senior session

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I met Gavin a few weeks ago at the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club. He enjoys trap and skeet shooting making this the perfect location for his high school senior session.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

We made our way around the grounds, making the most of the beautiful afternoon AND on-site “props.”

© Tina Vega Photography

Here are several more of my favorites from our time together:

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Have a great senior year, Gavin!

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rachel | minnesota high school senior photographer

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I met Rachel for her high school senior session earlier this month. It was a beautiful day and she was a natural in front of the camera.

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We talked about life surrounding the pandemic and her hopes for senior year.

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Here’s a peek at several more of my favorites from our time together:

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Thanks again for the fun evening, Rachel. Have a wonderful senior year!

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strong girl 2021 | a nourishing escape for mind, body & soul (plans a & b)

© Tina Vega Photography

The inspiration for this girl-themed retreat came from a sweatshirt featuring Proverbs 31:25:

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

It was November 2019 and I had NO CLUE what the future had in store (little did we know at Dreamer Girl 2020, the world was about to turn on its head):

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Covid-19 has left many feeling anxious and depleted, operating out of survival mode. Strong Girl 2021 is your time to refocus, refill, and reconnect. Needless to say, gathering has also been impacted in unprecedented ways. Due to the evolving nature of Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions, I have come up with a 2-part plan for retreat weekends taking place through the next year:

    1. Plan A. If infection numbers are holding steady 45 days in advance of the retreat we will move forward with the group retreat at our usual location (clear face shields will be provided and disposable plates, cups & utensils will be used throughout the weekend). If you are sick you will be asked to stay home. If you are unable to attend due to illness & I am able to fill the spot, a full refund will be issued. If I am unable to fill the spot, you may participate virtually (this option includes a doorstep delivery of related project supplies, treats & gifts).
    2. Plan B. If the numbers are surging or social gatherings are discouraged, we will move forward with a full-on virtual gathering. Each attendee will receive doorstep delivery of items related to our weekend including project supplies, treats & gifts. A daily itinerary with unboxing instructions will be included. There will be a virtual check-in each morning and we will gather as a full group each evening to craft together via Zoom. (I will assign times during the day for smaller table groupings to gather via Zoom to help foster connections.)

Details for the weekend are below:

WHEN: Friday, February 12-Sunday, February 14, 2021 (Presidents’ Day weekend)

WHERE: The Trails Retreat (St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin)

COST: $200; SUPERSIZE IT by adding Thursday, 2/11 for only $25 more [full payment is due by 11/1/2020]

Plan A includes all meals with the exception of one item you will be asked to bring and share (an online signup will be posted weeks in advance of the retreat). There will also be a hot beverage bar and snacks. Plan B includes one full family meal along with snacks/beverages for the weekend.

There will a crafting breakout (which includes supplies) and both plans include the opportunity to earn tokens & shop via the girl-themed store! Plan B will also contain bribes (meant to ensure family cooperation) and other items to make your crafting space special. Both plans will hold familiar traditions in addition to a few added surprises. If you have any questions let me know, otherwise I hope to see you in February! [This retreat is currently FULL; if you would like to be added to the waiting list, send me a note and I will let you know if a spot opens up.]

Lori Johnson - July 15, 2020 - 9:05 am

I would love to come to your winter scrapbook weekend… did you have openings?

Tina - July 15, 2020 - 11:05 am

I send you a note about it, Lori!

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2020 winter weekend crafting retreat – plan a & plan b

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I have been hosting this annual retreat for more than 15 years. It has become somewhat of a holiday tradition – making gifts, listening to Christmas music, enjoying egg nog chai lattes & setting aside time to reflect on what matters most about the season.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has impacted gathering in unprecedented ways; it has made planning for group events extremely difficult due to the ever-changing nature of the virus and distancing guidelines. That being said, I have come up with a 2-part plan for retreat weekends taking place through 2021:

  1. Plan A. If state infection numbers are holding steady 45 days in advance of the retreat we will move forward with the group retreat at our usual location (clear face shields will be provided and disposable plates, cups & utensils will be used throughout the weekend). If you are sick you will be asked to stay home. If you are unable to attend due to illness & I am able to fill the spot, a full refund will be issued. If I am unable to fill the spot, you may participate virtually (this option includes a doorstep delivery of related project supplies, treats & gifts).
  2. Plan B. If the numbers are surging or social gatherings are discouraged, we will move forward with a full-on virtual gathering. Each attendee will receive doorstep delivery of items related to our weekend including project supplies, treats & gifts. Your family will also receive a meal to share in place of our usual holiday dinner. A daily itinerary with unboxing instructions will be included. There will be a virtual check-in each morning and we will gather as a group each evening to craft together via Zoom.

Details for the weekend are below:

WHEN: Friday, December 4-Sunday, December 6, 2020

WHERE: North Branch, MN

COST: $200; or SUPERSIZE IT by adding Thursday, 12/3 for $25 more [full payment is due 9/1/2020]

Plan A includes all meals with the exception of one item you will be asked to bring and share (an online signup will be posted weeks in advance of the retreat). There will also be a hot beverage bar and snacks. Plan B includes one full family meal along with snacks/beverages for the weekend.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

There will crafting breakouts (Plan B includes all supplies) and both plans include PRESENTS!!! Plan B will also contain bribes (meant to ensure family cooperation) and other items to help make your workspace magical.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Both plans will feature familiar traditions along with a few unexpected twists. I hope to see you this December!! [This retreat is currently FULL; if you would like to be added to the waiting list, let me know.]

Cindy Johnson - June 25, 2020 - 9:13 pm

I would love to be out on waiting list.

Tina - June 26, 2020 - 1:58 pm

You are first on the list, Cindy – if a spot opens up I’ll let you know!

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adapt to change | strong girl series

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As I mentioned in the introduction to this series last week, I made a list of qualities & characteristics I believe capture the essence of what it means to be a Strong Girl. Each represents an important skill to be honed or acquired. Today I am going to focus on resiliency which is the ability to adapt to change. Resilience allows us to withstand adversity and bounce back despite downturns in life. It gives people the strength needed to process and overcome hardships, making it a core Strong Girl characteristic.

Those lacking resilience become easily overwhelmed, turning to unhealthy ways of coping during times of great stress (acting out, unbalanced sleeping or eating habits, dwelling on grief, denying reality).

So how do we adapt to change, loss, and adversity? The key is working through emotional pain and suffering; this can be done a number of ways:

  1. Cultivate gratitude, even if this means lowering the bar. Take time each day to recognize what went right in the midst of everything going wrong.
  2. Be compassionate and kind – we are all struggling. There is loss everywhere – jobs, homes, financial security, and lives. Do not lose your humanity as well. (Loss of one’s humanity occurs when love & respect for fellow humans turn to hate & contempt for whole groups.)
  3. Choose to face and accept reality. Instead of clinging to “what was” it is important to accept “what is.” Once we can accept what is taking place we can come up with a plan to get on with the business of living.
  4. Pursue everyday life with purpose. I am a gatherer-of-people by nature, it is what I do for work and in ministry. While COVID-19 has changed the way I act, it does not change my purpose. This means pursuing ideas for creative connection – working up a Plan B for my business and letting some very good things go. If you are struggling to find everyday purpose right now, take some time to think about the things that matter most. What are you good at? Brainstorm. Think of unconventional ways of pursuing meaning and purpose that don’t require breaking the law. Reach out to people virtually. Write letters. Make treats and drop them off at your neighbor’s front door.
  5. Don’t allow bitterness and blame to take root. This will only hurt you in the long run. Keep close tabs on your own words and actions; how might they be perceived by others? Focus more on your own behavior than the behavior of those around you.
  6. The way you reframe situations in your head defines you. Most people possess a negativity bias, focusing more on negative experiences than positive. Changing this tendency requires a shift in attitude. How might something good eventually come from this situation? What have I gained through this experience? What have I learned? How might this change me for the better? Reframe your thoughts to look at the brighter side.

To thrive in times of uncertainty, we need to learn to roll with changes taking place. Remind yourself that this too will eventually pass. In the meantime, focus on living well today!

Jodie - May 7, 2020 - 3:19 pm

Hi Tina, thank you for your ‘Strong Girl’ post. I was journaling earlier today about the Strong Girl qualities & characteristics you had listed. After reading thru what you listed, a light bulb went on – I could see a lot of those qualities in me… stirring within me to see myself as a ‘strong girl’. I don’t think I’ve ever really said to myself ‘Jodie, you’re a strong girl.’ I’ve had others say to me, “Jodie, you’re a strong woman”, agreeing with them, but not really seeing it totally as they don’t know all of what I struggle/battle with in my mind. I guess I tend to focus on the negativity of the struggle which keeps me from not totally recognizing I am a ‘strong girl’. I don’t like change – resist it at first. I eventually accept that it’s there and find away to adapt – resilient. It’s the journey of the struggle, bringing me thru the ‘change’, helping me to adapt that says, ‘strong girl’.

Tina - May 12, 2020 - 10:00 am

Thanks for sharing your insights, Jodie. I think it’s human nature to resist (what happened in the garden w/Adam & Eve, perfect example). I remind myself of that when I feel that urge to push back against change which helps me to lean in. Asking myself, “How can I roll with this instead of trying to stop it?” brings much peace. We are all on a learning & leaning. Thanks again.

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