Category Archives: Uncategorized

just another day.

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sunflower.Some of the best photographs happen to pop into my life when I least expect it.

I usually turn on 193rd Street from Wolf Road to head towards home, but I missed the street (probably on my cellphone!) and ended up turning on 194th. It’s not a beautiful corner, basically an overgrown empty lot on the corner, but a few spots of color caught my eye.

The sunflowers growing there were beautiful, but it wasn’t the right time of day to shoot them. It’s all about the light! I promised myself to check it out over the next day or two to see how the sunflower looked at different times of the day.

After about three stops and some weird looks from passers-by, I hit the jackpot during a late evening stop. The sky was warm, almost a shade of orange and turned this flower on, as if by a switch.

It’s always nice to get a heavy dose of beautiful on a regular day.

I really think God gets a kick out of doing that to me.

 

see this photo at: http://www.mokenamessenger.com/mokena-gram-1 in the Mokena Messenger every week!

the walgreen’s lady.

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Nancy Wesolowski is Mokena's "Walgreen's Lady."

Nancy Wesolowski is Mokena’s “Walgreen’s Lady.”

Nancy Wesolowski is Mokena’s “Walgreen’s Lady.”[/caption]The New Lenox resident said she may live in that town, but Mokena feels like home.

“I remember when we opened that first day,” Wesolowski said. “A man came through the door, threw open his arms and said, ‘Welcome to Mokena.’ That’s why I love it here.”

She has worked at the cosmetics counter during her entire tenure. You may know her as the little lady with the big smile, an outgoing personality and an envelope filled with coupons behind the counter that she readily shares with her customers.

Wesolowski will be retiring on September 9 after 25 years with Walgreen’s. She previously worked at the original New Lenox Walgreen’s in the liquor department.

She can’t go many places in town without being recognized. People will see her outside her job, point and say, “There’s the Walgreen’s Lady!”

But Wesolowski doesn’t mind.

“I love being ‘The Walgreen’s Lady!'”

having a Blast.

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Memorial Day Weekend couldn’t have been better for a softball tournament at Main Park.

The weather was just about perfect. The games were thrilling. The level of enthusiasm contagious.

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My daughters played softball for many years before they found other ways to occupy my time. LOL.

We did one year of travel, which was a huge time and money commitment. I can certainly appreciate the dedication of each and every family at the fields that weekend, with a special nod to the Mokena Blast parents who spent countless hours launching a three-day tournament with great success. Thirty-eight teams played 91 games. Amazing!

From the sounds coming from every corner of Main Park, everyone seemed to be having their own kind of blast. For a few days I photographed and reminisced about how despite all the hours I spent watching softball instead of doing something else, it was definitely worth it.

My older daughter is almost 15 and thinking about college. I wouldn’t trade those warm (and sometimes freezing) days and nights at the ball field for anything.

Happy summer everyone!

 

I <3 mokena.

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Inspired by my foray into teaching the history of photography I was inspired in two different ways.

I joined Instagram. (jeanlachat)

I was able to start a photo column at the Mokena Messenger. It’s a wonderfully local paper in our town, edited by the fabulous Will O’Brien. The Messenger arrives free in my mailbox every week. I shoot freelance for them. I write occasionally. I read it cover-to-cover every week because I love knowing what’s going on in my town.

Will wrote a wonderful story on my studio opening in March. I literally cried when I read it.

You can read some of it online here: http://www.mokenamessenger.com/capturing-moment

When I pitched the idea of a locally-grown photo column, he said yes!

And so the photo debuted last week in the Messenger.

http://www.mokenamessenger.com/mokena-gram

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And I checked this morning on the website and saw that it was number one on the most viewed list!

 

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I couldn’t be more excited. I did have some regular photo features waaayyy back at the Sun-Times but it was short-lived because of a shrinking news hole and an unsupportive editor. I always loved the concept though, and I am pleased that 15 years later, I can again use my photography to explore, inform and entertain on a regular basis.

Please keep checking back. It hits the website on Wednesdays and the mailboxes in Mokena on Thursdays. I have another cool image coming your way this week. And with all my Mokena friends’ help, I will be able to show what makes living in this little town so wonderful.

feeling just a little bit closer to God.

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feeling just a little bit closer to God.

 

Communion weekends hold a special place in my heart.

My camera just loves photographing the little brides of Jesus. And even though I no longer go to Catholic church, watching the Communicants in their dresses and suits, solemnly lining up two by two, with hands clasped in reverent prayer reminds me of growing up Catholic on Chicago’s South Side. Of rosaries and little white purses. Of parties with potato salad and old aunts. Of not really knowing what commitment to Jesus you just made, but that it was very, very grown up. And very, very important.

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I had the good fortune of meeting and photographing Tori a couple weeks ago. I made it to the service and then photographed her outside of church and during their family party. She was an awesome subject to photograph. Mature beyond her years, but just silly enough to enjoy being the guest of honor that day. When the wind swirled around the courtyard, lifting her veil and dress higher than was proper, Tori took it all in stride. We caught some great images in between the gusty breeze and this lovely young lady will have photographs that I hope she will love for her entire lifetime.

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The family party was warm and welcoming; the kind where you are able to talk and hang around with a group of strangers, and still feel very much at home. I found out that Megan, Tori’s mom, had lost her own mom just a few short years ago. She had personalized candles around the banquet room that had a photo of her mom and dad holding baby Tori on them. We had a chance to chat for a few minutes, and Megan was certain that her mom was positively beaming down on the family that day.Image

Just before I left, Megan carefully removed the veil from Tori’s head so she could have more freedom to jump around and enjoy her cousins and friends at the party. It looked very much like weddings I have photographed and I said to Megan, “Just think, the next time you will need to do this is at her wedding!” Megan laughed, nodded her head and agreed.

And before we knew it, Tori was off and running.

new beginnings.

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I made a leap of faith this past month.

My friend Kim McAuliffe owns An English Garden florist in Mokena.

It’s in a fabulous old house on Front Street, the main street in our “downtown.” She advertised that she was renting out her upstairs, and knowing her reputation for crazy goodness and knowing everyone in town, it was a fairly easy decision to make.

So in three weeks time, I got interviewed for an amazing story by Will O’Brien of the Mokena Messenger. I spent a lot of time at IKEA, moved my stuff in, and held a grand opening party. It was a wonderful day, filled with old and new friends.

Rick, Becky and Jess were instrumental in helping me getting set up. I don’t know what I would do without them. My husband is the best. Seriously.

Now that the flurry of moving in activity is past, it’s time to make some long-range plans for the studio space. It’s adorable. Cozy and welcoming. You should come visit!

I will be expanding to regular hours and studio sessions that were a bit challenging while working out of my house. There’s terrific natural light in my new place, and I’ll be honing perfection in the two rooms where I can photograph.

the mysterious red ticket.

the mysterious red ticket.

These mysterious red tickets were included in the grand opening goodie bags. It was  a last-minute idea to intrigue those who made it out to celebrate with me. Does it make anyone wonder what you get?

You’ll have to book a session before April 19th to find out. But it’s cool little “extra” for my new studio customers. I know you’ll love it. And if you tell a friend and they mention “red ticket” when they book, I will share it with them too.

I will keep writing here to tell you about the hours and specials that I will be regularly offering in my new studio.

Thanks for taking the leap of faith with me. I surely appreciate the soft landing in the arms of my friends.

detours.

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I worked for a real estate photography company for two years.

The job came with some challenges. It didn’t pay very well and the agents, at times, could be a bit challenging.

But overall, I worked hard at it.

I learned a whole lot for the realtors that took the time to teach me.

And I developed a skill I didn’t previously have.

I also filled my calendar (and sometimes overfilled it) at a time that I needed to do that.

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I decided that it was time to move on and away from the demands of working for someone else. If I have learned anything two years post-Sun-Times, it’s that I like my autonomy. My ability to deal directly with those for whom I photograph. That it is better being on my own.

I am launching a real estate facet of my business. I hope to continue to meet real estate professionals who truly care about great photos of their properties. Who really believe that a great photo will sell a property, all on its own.

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I look forward to co-collaborating with the best in the business.

So, if this is you… call me and let’s talk.

708.263.7269

You’ll be so glad you did!

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when the kids grow up.

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I meet a lot of amazing people through my photography.

I’m saying that because it is absolutely true.

Families, babies, kids, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins, best friends, dogs.

I can arrive to an (almost) stranger’s house with my camera and leave with new lifelong friends. People that I would choose to be around, even if I wasn’t there to photograph them.

Sometimes, though, the best part of my business is re-connecting with friends from a lifetime ago. People I may have met 10 or 20 years ago. Or that I grew up with.  That I went to high school with.

It’s the most amazing thing about my business when I get to photograph my neighbor from Homan Avenue, Angela LaMantia’s kids. The Houtsma family, whose family of girls babysat me and my sisters growing up.  The kids of my friends, who are now graduating from high school or getting married. I love that I am able to re-connect with a lot of the people who have actually helped in making me the person I am today through my photography.

One of those wonderful opportunities occurred this past summer when I was able to meet up with the Simon family to photograph their daughter Lauran for her senior portraits. Her younger sister Abby was able to jump in a few photos as well.

I vacationed with the Simons more than five years at a magical place in Berrien Springs, MI called Pennellwood Resort. The same families vacationed together the same week every year, and we became really good friends really quickly.

I met Tia and Lou and became fast friends in 2003 at Pennellwood, all because I saw Lou drinking out of an O’Malley’s Monday Night Mug Club mug. The familiar 20 oz. plastic mug couldn’t have come from anywhere but my very favorite bar of all-time in Champaign, IL. I struck up a conversation with them, found out Lou also graduated from U of I, and used to hang out at O’Malley’s.

See how this works?

The fast friendship led to me shouting “I-L-L” to Lou, and him responding, “I-N-I” every single time we passed by each other that summer, and for four subsequent summers at Pennellwood.

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Lou, Lauran, Abby & Tia at Pennellwood Resort, circa 2006.

Tia caught up with me on Facebook a few years ago, and we have stayed connected in the digital world.

Lauran is graduating from Glenbard West this spring, and Tia graciously invited me to photograph her beautiful daughters. I was honored, and truly touched that they reached out to me for this important part of their family’s history.

And we had a blast.

We met at a park near their home. Lou was there with Tia and the girls, and the first thing we said to each other was “I-L-L!” “I-N-I!”

The girls are grown up and beautiful. And not just on the outside. Lauran and Abby are truly beautiful from the inside.

The photographs were so easy!

Gone were the little ponytails perched on top of their heads, that Tia used to put in their hair every summer. We called them “toodleheads” at Pennellwood. My daughters had them, too.

I spent a couple of hours with this beautiful, grown-up young lady. We ran around, and laughed and had a grand time.

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Abby, left, and Lauran, August 2013.

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They were so appreciative when they saw the images, but I really had to thank them.

Re-connecting with them for this wonderful occasion was the best thing I could have asked for that month.

And I have the photographs to prove it.

Hey Lou, I-L-L!

verse-ing in 2014

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living life to it's fullest.

living fearlessly.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

I received a great suggestion from a Youversion app email to find a verse in the Bible to live by this new year, and commit to a devotional. To make God’s Word a priority. One of my resolutions is to lean more on the grace and love of God in order to live more fearlessly.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

I like this verse for a couple reasons.

First, it starts with the word “And.” I write like that. I like that a sentence starts with “And.”

It uses “them” instead of “him.” I like the non-gender specificity of the text. (insert smiley here.) It’s all of us.

It makes a promise that if I live a life of love, then God dwells in me. It doesn’t mean everyone else needs to live a life of love, but I do. Personal responsibility is always good. And besides, you can’t control everyone else. You can control yourself. Sometimes.

God is love. Simple and amazing.

Really, what is there not to love about this particular verse?

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

It’s not an easy thing to love everyone.

Especially when hurt and sadness and disappointment and anger get in the way.

But the promise is there. Love not just others, but everyone, and God will shine from your heart outward.

And that is some powerful stuff.

Welcome 2014.

Find your verse at https://www.bible.com/

2013 and out.

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2013

The end of yet another year, and I am still wondering where the time went.

My personal life had its share of joy and sorrow this year. I lost my mom, Felicia Lachat, to brain cancer on August 2nd after a yearlong battle. She was fighter up till her peaceful end. I miss her every single day, and treasure the photographs I have of her with me, and with my daughters. Family photographs are so important!

I celebrated in 2013 as well. My older daughter graduated from eighth grade. My bonus daughter graduated from high school, and I celebrated my first anniversary with my fabulous husband, Rick Mahoney. He has been my rock through all of the ups and downs this year, and I am so blessed to have him to walk alongside me.

Through my photography, I have met friends and families. I have celebrated birthdays, engagements, graduations, weddings and the joys of togetherness.

Enjoy some of these images… one from every month of 2013, plus one.

Here’s to many more celebrations in 2014!

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January 2013 – Sammy D’s first birthday with mom and dad, Maria and Gary DesPaltro, Full of energy and curiosity, we spent most of the session chasing him around the house!

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February 2012 – The Bearint Family:  Tim, Bev and baby John. Winter fun in beautiful Mokena with this terrific family, who is expecting a new addition this month! I can’t wait!

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March 2013 – The annual Lincoln-Way North High School Fashion Show in Frankfort. Student athletes bring tears to the eyes of their moms as they walk the runway! Love the spirit of this show!

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April 2013– Tom Kelly and his bride-to-be, Mary, celebrate their wedding shower at The Odyssey in Tinley Park.

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May 2013 – The most beautiful Maggie P. celebrates her First Holy Communion. She made every photograph sing.

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June 2013 – My cousin Tim Lachat marries his bride, Nadine Messih on Mackinac Island, MI., where time stands still.

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July 2013 – Another summer wedding as Julie and Brad Knechtges tie the knot in Indiana in the lovely setting of Meyers Castle in Dyer, IN.

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August 2013– Megan Warren surprises her parents for their wedding anniversary with a portrait with her sisters and brother.

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September 2013 – Mokena Montessori allows me the privilege of photographing their students every year, and this year we had some fun with balloons for Picture Day!

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October 2013– The Cuculich family managed to get EVERYONE together for an extended family photo. I was able to get some great shots in between laughing at the boys, Tom, Don and Dave. Four generations in one photograph is an amazing experience!

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November 2013 – The annual photo fundraiser for the Mokena Educational Foundation was blessed with an amazing day of fall color and sunshine late in the year. I photographed more than 20 families in two days, and enjoyed every single second! Love that it’s for such a great cause, right here in my town.

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December 2013 – “Silentish Night,” dubbed the new twins, Ben and Ella’s mom Barb Gordon. The brother and sister arrived in late June, and I am so thrilled to have twins to photograph!

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Bonus 2013 – The Mokena Junior Griffins Homecoming football action is non-stop, and the families are amazing.

I could literally fill 10 blogs with all the stories of the wonderful people I have met this year through my photography, Friends, old and new, have supported my business and have become part of the incredible story of my life.

Thank you, one and all. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014 for each of you!