BY: Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman – “The Hustler”

2018 has been one for the books. Mostly not in a great way, to be honest. The challenges have been many, coming fast and quick, with little to no time to recover in between.  I’ve looked for the lessons, I believe all experiences teach, but it has not been easy.

Through it all, I found comfort in few. Facebook was its usual sea of complaints: ‘how could he/she?’, pointing fingers, ego-driven posts, and many times posts I feel were only adding to the negative because they reported nothing BUT the negative.

Yes, the world is a crazy place right now. Quite frankly, living off the grid never was more appealing. I am not a gloom and doom person but rather a ‘change it then’ person so…

If something doesn’t feel right? Don’t do it. If something makes you feel good? Do more of it. Put some positivity and light out there. That said, I’m a firm believer in you reap what you sow. So I’m about to sow something good and maybe you will be inspired to do the same.

How often do we tell people how much they have helped us? Like REALLY tell them specifically, ‘you talked me off that ledge, and you made a huge difference.’ Usually, it’s when there are big life events, good and bad, that we remember to thank people.  Or we regret not thanking people when it’s too late.

As my closing post at the Daily Feels, I want my final blog to be filled with gratitude for those that picked me up this past year, spiritually, physically, emotionally and literally. Gratitude. Something my good friend and founder of the Daily Feels practices every day… so let’s start off the celebration of friendship and family with her, shall we?:

Janis- ‘Dude.’  Our first conversation took place in the bathroom of Seton Hall University during a break from our news writing class. If memory serves me correct (it was college, people :)) your first interaction with me was something to the effect of “dude, you are such a great writer” (see, you were spreading that good even back then to a stranger!). What started off as a bathroom conversation grew into a decades-long friendship. And yes, it wasn’t all rosy but I will say this, it was always REAL. This past year you have been the support beam in my mental house. You were the first person I turned to when shit didn’t hit but went 100mph into the fan earlier this year, and you dropped everything that day to ensure I was ok, AND had sushi and sake with me that night. I will never forget that. Love you dude.

Viviana- ‘Ahhh, what can you do?’ That is your catchphrase and one that I often hear you say in my head when the times get tough. You are the person that I have side-splitting laughter with as we discuss having two girls each and our often ‘what happened to us?’ moments.  You know, pre-kids when we were ‘free.’ One minute we are throwing back shots of tequila under the Christmas tree, the next minute we are moms to more than our fur babies. Your smile lights up my world. Thank you.

Karen- ‘the survivor warrior’ who has lived through more than anyone should. Losing your brother at such a young age and then losing your husband TJ suddenly two years ago, I just shake my head at the universe at times for you. Through the hell of losing your husband, you somehow managed to morph into an even greater mom than you were prior for your two children. You are the most SELFLESS person I ever met. It’s never about YOU when we are together, it’s always about ME.  Thank you for being such an inspiration of strength in my life. I will always be there for you my friend, loving you always.

Nicole- my perspective check.  Almost every day of the year starts with our signature ‘Goooodddd morrrrniinng’ back and forth. My sister/cousin I know we both thank the good lord above for Voxer.  Thanks to that app, our relationship has deepened beyond words. You are my wise one. The even-keeled, non-judgmental, NEVER giving unsolicited advice, person. Your word is always gospel to me.  You are beyond family- you are my bestest friend. I love you.

Summer- my parter (still) in crime. You know you have a good one in your life when you start a business with her and then because you have to slow it down, you have to back out of the partnership, and there is ZERO animosity. No sordid stories to see here photography industry, keep it moving people. Summer, we are each other’s sounding board for all the crazy and good in our chosen profession. It is your opinion in photography I trust most, you are always pushing me out of my comfort zone and make me want to push the boundaries not only in photography but LIFE as well. You are my adventurous friend, who is up for anything. All while running a household of four kids and now a photography school on your own. Fucking rock star. Love you.

Tobi Kundid- my peaceful warrior. Sometimes when you confide in someone you never expected to, you get a gift of utmost relatability. For your studio, that has brought my love of yoga to a higher level, saved my back, and made me stronger, and for your friendship and candidness when I needed it most, I thank you and love you. The light in me not only recognizes but bows to the light in you.

Important people in your life? This holiday season, I urge you to consider to put GOOD out into the world. Leave the horror show for the news. Look in your own four walls and confines of your heart and just continue to praise people who deserve the praise.  Let them know they make a difference.

It will make you much happier, I promise.

Happy positive and grateful New Year all.


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Jennifer Tonetti Spellman is a street and documentary photographer in NY where she resides with her husband and two girls. She is a contributor to the female street photography collective, Women in Street and co-founder and teacher at Illuminate Classes, an online photography school.  When not shooting random people on the street or teaching people how to shoot said random people on the street, she is practicing yoga or listening to the Foo Fighters or 1970’s rock while juggling all that comes with being an entrepreneur/mom/wife.

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