New Ms Fit Feature: Shana Novak

Shana Novak, still life photographer and founder of The Heirloomist

Shana Novak, still life photographer and founder of The Heirloomist

The concept of The Heirloomist is just so cool! And so is the photographer behind it.  I met Shana in college and was lucky enough to get to spend a semester with her in London our junior year. When I think back and remember her at that time, my memories of her are with a camera in hand, or around her neck. Always and at all times. It is so awesome to see how she has turned her life passion into her work, becoming a well known  still life photographer in New York City, and now the founder of this amazingly unique company, The Heirloomist. The concept behind The Heirloomist  is to give people the gift of turning cherished heirlooms into beautiful fine art.



Growing The Heirloomist into a meaningful and useful brand is front and center right now. I also have publishing and advertising commercial clients for my still life photography business that get my full attention, too. I wish I could clone myself.

Heirlooms into art

Heirlooms into art. Shana’s grandmothers silver table setting.


What exactly is The Heirloomist  – watch below:


I like that there is a focus on mind, body, soul instead of protein shakes and body mass building. Also, personally, my apartment in New York has a new gym on the rooftop…one of the treadmills has a direct view of the new World Trade Center–it’s such an inspiration to run at the sight of that.

My favorite thing is happening in fashion right now!! Athletic luxury. I have always loved wearing clothes that breathe, that move, are comfy… now I can find things that look put together and are technologically thought out. All the big brands are doing it and I hope it never goes away.

Family History into Fine Art

Family History into Fine Art



Photography is in my DNA–both of my mothers’ parents were photographers. My Grandmother started me loving the stories behind family objects… The Heirloomist was invented to be the vehicle to explore the stories visually.


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A Little Monday Inspiration – The She. Campaign

Nicole O'Neil

Nicole O’Neil

Nicole is the co-founder, photographer, she. strength.hope.empowerment. and owner and photographer at Nicole O’Neil Photography

We love finding inspiration everywhere and in all shapes and forms. Sometimes inspiration comes from quotes, or beautiful things, or in books, movies, or sometimes it’s the girl you’ve crossed paths with at your local coffee house for the past few years. In this story, it’s the latter. We have this great coffee house Zume’s in our neighborhood, it is an off day if Alisa and I don’t end up there at least once.

And the same goes for Nicole, an amazing local photographer. We have seen her and her photos at the coffee house for years.  So we were totally thrilled when we learned that Nicole was the co-founder of a new campaign/company that we have taken HUGE notice of called, She. We had no idea that Nicole was embarking on such a wonderful new project. However, looking back it is not surprising. Most of the time that we stop into Zume’s, it’s a whirlwind of rushing and wrangling the kids, so it’s rare we can stop to have an adult conversation with anyone. But I did take notice recently of how amazing Nicole looked. It seemed she was just sunnier and brighter. And now I know why. She was working on this new inspiring company, She. We are so thrilled to share with you what She. is all about:

What is keeping you busy right now? 

Getting She. up and running, fundraising, and setting up shoots and events. I’m also continuing to run my other photography business independent of She. and balancing some health issues. When not in work mode, which is rare these days, I am busy making sure I keep yo with spending time with family and friends.


What are you loving in fitness and fashion right now?

Fitness: I used to spend my time doing a lot of cardio but have switched to using free weights and strength training. I’ve found my body shape has drastically changed and I’m seeing amazing results with weight loss and muscle gain that I’ve never seen before. I am not able to do anything too strenuous due to some health issues but as soon as I can, I’m excited to try barre.

Fashion: I’m not really a fashionista, though I always make sure I look my best when I leave the house even if it’s coordinating workout clothes. I am a J.Crew/Banana Republic girl. I’m loving sheath dresses and wool mini shirttail skirts. I love using pops of color.  I used to wear dark colors as a way to hide myself and try to be “slimming,” but I embrace color now. I rarely leave home without my Sam Edelman boots (which I bought in both black and brown because I loved them so much), a long Buddha necklace, and a custom “hope” necklace I had made. I also love to relax and run errands in yoga pants with my Lululemon vinyasa scarf (my staple in the winter).

How do we keep in touch and learn more about you?

I’m everywhere. My email is, our She. email is

You can find me on Instagram as @nicoleoneilphotography and @shecampaign.

Twitter is @she_campaign

Facebook: Nicole O’Neil Photography and She.




More about me and she.

At 34 years old, I am the most comfortable and confident I’ve ever been. Growing up, I had major body image and self-esteem issues. I never thought I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I had weight issues on and off throughout the years. I thought I was “fat” in high school and really wasn’t and fluctuated in my twenties. It took until my late twenties to realize I needed to start to focus on myself and learn to love who I am. I needed to let go of past traumas and past beliefs about who I was and what I “should be.” I started on that journey. I also rediscovered my passion for photography and after some urging from others, I made a go of it. Well, it turned out to be successful and I realized it was exactly what I should be doing. But, I found myself still doubting my abilities as well as my physical self. As a cheerleading coach and photographer, I saw girls and women point out all of their flaws, refuse to get in photos, and just overall not love themselves. I knew that feeling all too well. I decided I wanted to do something. We shouldn’t feel this way. We should love every part of our bodies and our lives and feel the power to change the things we don’t like if it is in our best interest and health. I did a project where I took pictures of almost 100 females, displayed them online and at a speaking program. We had speakers share their personal stories of eating disorders, self-esteem and body image issues and drug addiction. I’ve since wanted to do more, but wasn’t able to before this point.


I had some setbacks over that time, after I was witness to the marathon bombings. I spent a year in a place where I felt so anxious and emotional, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to really be happy again or continue to have a successful business. My body image and self-esteem issues that had started to go away came back. I gained a lot of weight and felt bad about myself all around. Once I came out of it on the other side, I started to focus completely on ME, more than ever. I realized it was the only way to full happiness and would make me a better person, friend, family member, and business owner. And it has. I have never felt as confident, or more hopeful and excited for all life has to offer. I’m in the best shape of my life and feel healthy and strong. I feel healthy and happy in my heart, mind and soul and that radiates into my business and the rest of my life. I see so many possibilities now. It is freeing and beautiful and I want all women and girls to feel this way. As I said, for years, I’ve wanted to start a movement to try and ensure girls learn at an early age to love themselves. I want girls to feel confident. I want them to realize the negative words and actions of others are not a reflection on them. I want them to not feel pressured by what society thinks they should be. I want women to look at themselves and see how amazing they are. My friend Kiera and I had the same visions and passions and one day, we sat down and came up with She., an initiative to help empower girls and women to love and embrace themselves no matter what.  This is my dream finally coming true. My hope in this beautiful life is to make a difference and inspire, so that is what I intend to do. You can read a more detailed version of “My Story” on our blog (the very first post we added).