Friday, September 30, 2011


Today's post is short and sweet.  If you are looking for the best view in the city, nothing beats the "Top of the Rock".  Standing on the 56th floor of Rockefeller Center, you will be able to take in AMAZING views of Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and so much more.   Don't get too close to the edge, it is a long way down!

Check out this picture of my husband Matt and I, taken on my iPhone at the "Top of the Rock" earlier this summer.  I can't get over the view!  HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


This past weekend I had the opportunity to photograph a beautiful and very unique couple, Kerry and Mike. While their wedding had many traditional aspects, Kerry and Mike took a few chances on their day, daring to be different.

When I first entered the reception space to photograph the details before the guest arrived, I noticed there was no wedding cake.  I assumed since Kerry and Mike had decided to forgo many traditional wedding activities, they might have chosen to go without a wedding cake as well.  Boy was I wrong.  As the guests were finishing dinner, not one, but twenty-five wedding cakes appeared, creatively displayed near the center of the room.  Talk about a statement!  Beside each hand decorated cake was a short description listing the cake flavor, icing flavor, and filling flavor.  There were at least four different combinations.

Once the bride and groom cut their cake, the remaining twenty-five cakes were distributed to the tables around the room.  Guests had the option to enjoy the wedding cake placed at their table, or visit neighboring tables to sample other delicious flavors.  Being a cake lover myself, I can't think of anything sweeter.

The best is yet to come.  This grand display was actually less expensive than a traditional wedding cake!  Talk about a deal.  You can find out more about these individual table masterpieces at Buttercooky Bakery, located in Floral Park, NY.  Not only are they super creative, their cakes are absolutely delicious!  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Second shooting.  It really can be such a valuable experience.  This weekend I had the pleasure of acting as Betsi Ewing's second shooter for Kerry and Mike's wedding at the Queens Country Farm Museum.  Betsi was absolutely AMAZING to work with.  Her calming demeanor and natural way of capturing the day as it unfolded served as a great example of how I always imagined a wedding photographer should approach the day.  As I reflect on the weekend, I want to talk about the top five things I learned as a second shooter.

1. As a second shooter, you are there to assist the main photographer. Period.  This can mean anything from gathering stray family members for portraits, to grabbing a glass of water for him/her when things heat up during the reception. You want to find opportunities to make their day run as smoothly as possible.

2.  Just because you are a second shooter, doesn't mean you have to become a mute on the wedding day.  If the photographer you are working for asks your opinion on shooting locations, detail shots, etc, GIVE IT!    Two heads are always better then one.  Together, you might come up with a totally unique idea that you might not have thought of separately.

3.  Push yourself to capture a completely different angle than the main shooter.  You are not there to stand over his/her shoulder and take the exact same shot twice.  Your time will be better spent thinking about how to shoot the same scene in an alternate, but equally beautiful way.  For example, if all the bridesmaids are in posing with the bride, it might be a good time to get a cool shot of the bouquets.

4.  Try to always be aware of the lens the main photographer has on their camera...and use a different one!  This goes back to finding a different way to capture the same shot.  The story created when both sets of photographers are put together will be much more interesting and will give the bride and groom a couple of different looks to choose from.

5.  Most importantly, you want to be a friend.  Weddings usually last anywhere from eight-ten hours and you want to spend that time with someone you like!  Having a friend you can talk and relate to will put you in a great mood, allowing you to capture the wedding day in a way that will put a huge smile on the bride and groom's face when they see their wedding photographs for the first time.

Betsi was wonderful to work with.  She was so kind and acted as a real friend throughout the day.

Thanks again for everything Betsi!  Your relaxed personality has a way of putting everyone at ease, making the day run effortlessly.  It is a quality that I hope to embody and bring to my future weddings.

Friday, September 23, 2011


It was spring, one of the first really nice spring days that year.  I took the train into the city for an early morning massage at Bliss Spa, one I had received from my ever so thoughtful husband Matt for my birthday.  After 90 minutes of complete heaven, I walked the 10 blocks to Bryant Park.  On the way I picked up a Crumbs cupcake for lunch (I know it is ridiculous but I have a MAJOR sweet tooth).  I meandered around the edge of the park until I found a perfect spot in the sun to read.  With my kindle in one hand and my cupcake in the other, I sat there for hours enjoying one of the most perfect days I can remember.  

Every time I look at this photo, I am reminded of this amazingly relaxing day in Bryant Park.  HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today I had the pleasure of second shooting with an amazing photographer, Marian Rubin!  Marian was one of 25 photographers selected to capture a 24-hour photo documentary called, "A Day in West Orange".  The goal of this documentary was to showcase the beauty and diversity in West Orange, NJ.  The best photos will be selected for an exhibition next March.

One of my favorite locations of the day was the Pleasantdale Chateau.  As soon as I walked on the grounds I knew this would be a perfect location for a wedding.  This Dutch inspired chateau is a rare find because it is grand and intimate, all at the same time.  Located just outside New York City, Pleasantdale Chateau is the perfect location if you desire a serene getaway that is exclusively yours for the day.   If you are a bride and still looking for a one-of-a-kind reception site, check out the Pleasantdale Chateau.  You and your guests will be treated like royalty and your day will be picture perfect.

Thanks again Marian for inviting me to second shoot with you today.  Your kindness and constant support is much appreciated.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011


One year ago today, my sweet baby girl Kylie was born!  My husband Matt and I started out her celebration with a can of gourmet cat food and a few rounds of the ever so famous happy birthday song, probably sung off tune. After Kylie's belly was full, we presented her with a birthday present.  It was a scratching post with a perch on top for her to sleep.  As you can see, she LOVED it!

Kylie getting ready to blow out her candle.  

Playing with her birthday present.  She is a wild one!

Kisses from my baby girl.

After a long day of play, Kylie curled up in her perch for a little cat nap.  Happy birthday sweetheart!

Friday, September 16, 2011


The Bow Bridge. To me, it is one of the most romantic places in all of New York.  It could be it’s graceful shape, or maybe the breathtaking views of the weeping willows.  More magical than the views are the lovers seen happily rowing their boats under the bridge, or whispering a sweet proposal on top of it. To be honest, I believe it is the way this bridge makes me feel that is so special.  Every time I come across it, a calm smile spreads across my face as I think, this is a place that has seen true love.    

The Bow Bridge makes a beautiful backdrop for engagement pictures. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Giving back.  There are some people that are constantly looking to help others.  To them, I am forever grateful.  Chris Holewski (with the constant support of his beautiful wife Nadine) is one of those people. 

A few weeks ago I attended a photography class led by Chris, free of charge.  Chris is a photographer, videographer, designer, and just an all around amazing artist.  On a Thursday evening, Chris took the time to share his gifts in a photography class offered through The Life Christian Church.  Since I am just starting my own business, this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  Through his presentation, Chris answered so many questions that were lingering in my mind on how to manage my manual settings.  After many hours of practice, I am feeling more confident than ever.  Thank you Chris for taking the time to educate others on how to capture the beauty of this world through photography.  It is truly appreciated by all. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Details, details, details.  I could shoot them all day, everyday.  As a recent bride, I know how much time and effort can go into every aspect of the wedding and I believe it is very important for a photographer to take the time to preserve these memories.  With limited time on a wedding day, how do you make sure you capture EVERYTHING?

First, you will want to obtain a copy of the wedding day timeline as early as possible.  Once you know the schedule, you can begin to plan your own.  I like to give myself at least 30 minutes while the bride is getting her hair and make-up done to shoot the dress, rings, shoes, garter, jewelry, gifts, invitations, hand written vows and anything else that might be special to the bride and groom.  

Second, it is a good idea to let your bride know before the wedding to gather any details that are important to her and have them grouped together in the bridal suite.  That way, you are sure not to leave anything out.  It is possible the bride will be too busy the day of her wedding to think about gathering everything beforehand.  If this is the case, enlist the help of one of the bridesmaids!

Lastly, make sure that you plan enough time to photograph the reception area BEFORE the guests arrive.  You will want to capture the overall look of the room, centerpieces, and place cards while the space is still untouched.  This can be tricky.  As reception spaces are usually completed only half an hour before the ceremony, you will want to utilize the time between the end of the ceremony and when the guests arrive.  You can have your second shooter gather the family for portraits while you grab the important shots of the reception site.  If there is no time, you can request your second shooter to go ahead and capture these details.   Either way, you will want to make sure you preserve these special memories. 

A favorite detail from my own wedding was our invitation.  Jordan Michael Thompson, a high school friend and incredible artist, actually painted the masterpiece you see below.  I sent him photos of the view from our reception site, along with the church where we would be married, and Jordan used his creativity to create a unique piece of art that truly represented the feel of our wedding on Lake Lure.   

Thank you Jordan!  You did an unbelievable job and I am so grateful for all the time you put into making every detail perfect.   

I love being able to display our wedding invitation as a piece of art in our new home. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It’s a Sunday.  One of those rare Sunday evenings that I actually don’t have anything I have to do.  On nights like this, I try to figure out ways to better my business and to better myself as a photographer.  Tonight I chose to learn a little something from one of my favorite role models, Jasmine Star.   

A month ago, I purchased Jasmine Star’s creativelive course as a way to learn how one of the top photographers in the world goes about capturing a wedding day.  If you don’t know Jasmine Star, you should.  She is amazingly talented, a women of God, and just so much fun!  When it comes to the secrets of her success, she is an open book, willing to help anyone who will listen.  I have learned so much through this 5-day course.  One thing that has stood out tonight is how to brand yourself in a way that completely reflects who you are.  I want people to hire me because they like me, exactly the way I am. I believe if this is true, my couples will trust me to do an amazing job capturing their wedding day.

So I started thinking, who am I? Well, basically I am a happy person, I don’t see that there is anything wrong with that! That's for all those "When Harry Met Sally" lovers out there.  I cheerlead my way through life, looking for the good in every situation and encouraging others around me to do the same.  I couldn’t go a day without chocolate; I just enjoy it too much!  My personality is slightly addictive, meaning if I get into something, I am all about it…100%.   Right now I am obsessed with s'mores ice cream.  I have probably gone through at least 74 cartons of it this summer, no lie.  Thank goodness for my husband I am obsessed with my daily workouts too.  I love me some reality TV!  Favorites now include Bachelor Pad and The Real Housewives of New York.  I know, I know, but hey, that’s just me.  I go into NYC every chance I get.  There is nothing like the energy that continually flows through the streets in this wonderful city.  Most importantly, I am a child of God.  I love my heavenly father with all of my heart and I am so thankful for the goodness and mercy he pours into my life daily. 

Now I just have to figure out a way to brand myself in a way that totally reflects who I am.  I guess I will keep watching.  Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 9, 2011


“City love” comes from Chicago!  The name is Portillo’s. This famous restaurant located in downtown Chicago is packed with plenty of delicious hot dogs, Italian beef, and a great atmosphere. Walking in, you are greeted with a long line of excited customers wrapped around the red and white checkered tables.  Even with the humongous line, things move quickly thanks to the many friendly staff members waiting to take your order on the back of a white paper bag in line.  

I checked out the menu and decided on the Chicago style hot dog topped with mustard, relish, freshly chopped onions, sliced ripe tomatoes, pickle, and sport peppers, all piled onto a perfectly steamed poppy seed bun.  Wow, talk about a mouthful!  For dessert, (because no meal is complete without it) I ordered the chocolate cake shake which was very rich, but oh so good.  If you are in Chicago, try it!  You will not be disappointed.

My husband trying hard to figure out the street parking in Chicago :)

Check out the massive line!
The Chicago style hot dog was delicious.  

I finished the meal with a sweet chocolate cake shake.  YUMMM!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Preparing.  Depending on the type of person you are, this word could make you feel a few different ways.  For some, it brings on a feeling of comfort, like snuggling under your softest, fuzzy blanket.  Preparing helps you relax and know that you are ready for whatever lies ahead.  For others, it produces feelings of anxiety.  The stress of setting aside a moment in your busy day to plan...who has the time?!  Whether you get warm fuzzies or knots in your stomach at the thought of planning, I believe that preparing for your engagement session will ensure that your photos are everything you want them to be and more.

So why prepare?  There are so many good reasons.  Number one, these photos will probably be the first professional photos you take with your fiancĂ©.  You want to show all of your family and friends (and friends of friends on Facebook) how happy you are in a way that totally represents YOU as a couple.  While you know all the quirky details of your relationship, your photographer may just be getting to know you.  Help them capture your personality and passions by telling them a little more about yourself before the shoot.  Do you love playing tennis together? Going on long bike rides? Do you like to paint?  Whatever it is, mention it to your photographers before your engagement session so they can suggest a cool location or props to showcase what you both love.   

This brings me to my second point.  How can you prepare for your engagement shoot?  Start by checking out other couples' engagement photos.  In other words, STALK!  Just kidding.  But you do want to search for ideas.  Potential locations, props, and cute outfits are all good things to look for.   More importantly, is the overall feel of the photograph.  Is the lighting soft and romantic, or does it have a more dramatic look?  When you see a picture you like, shoot it over to your photographer so they can get an idea of your style.

Which brings me to my last suggestion...VISUALS!  There is no better way to communicate to your photographer than to show them.  Print out or email your favorite looks to your photographer so they know exactly what you’re going for.  This will help them capture your unique love effectively, giving you that warm fuzzy feeling every time you look at your engagement photos.       

Check out the AWESOME page of inspiration Ali and Nathan put together before their NYC engagement session.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, September 2, 2011


So I realize this is my third “city love” post in a row on a restaurant; I promise they will not all be about food!  This week I am going to take you to my favorite spot for cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia’s…my mouth just waters when I think of these delicious sugary treats.  Walking in, it is impossible not to smile as the aroma of fresh baked cakes of all flavors fills the air.  You will have a choice of two lines, one for cupcakes, and one for everything else (coffee, pastries, banana pudding etc).  I go to the cupcake line first, since it is usually the longest.  There are many flavors to choose from like red velvet, s'mores, and snickerdoodle, but my favorite is the vanilla-vanilla.  Vanilla cake with vanilla icing, super simple but definitely the best flavor!  The icing is so sweet and sugary; it literally melts in your mouth.  YUMMM!

Something they are definitely not as well known for, but should be, is their banana pudding.  With a consistency like cake batter, this banana pudding is richer and fluffier than any I have ever had before.  (You heard right, fluffier).  Try it, I guarantee you will be surprised at how much you love it. 

There are four locations in the city, but my favorite is on 6th and 49th. It is so close to the theater district and makes a great snack after a Broadway play.  Plus, the lines are never as long here.  Check out a few photos from my last visit!

The Rockefeller Center Magnolia Bakery, on 49th street and 6th avenue.
My FAVORITES!  The banana pudding, red velvet cupcake, and vanilla-vanilla cupcake.

Of course, Magnolia's is best enjoyed with friends!  HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


They met in college, on a blind date.  Richard was getting ready for a party held by his fraternity when last minute, his date backed out.  It was a good thing too; otherwise he might have never met Janice.  Playing matchmaker, Richard’s roommate suggested “Why don’t you take my sister to the party?”  Richard agreed it was a good idea, and so the date was set.

As you can guess, Richard and Janice hit it off right away. They dated for a year and two months and were married soon after college graduation in Canton, CT.  It was an intimate wedding.  Richard’s father even officiated the ceremony.  Many years later, Richard and Janice are still together and just as in love, if not more than they were on their wedding day.

This week I had the pleasure of spending time with Matt’s grandparents, and now mine, Richard and Janice!  These two just have a way of making me smile.   They are kind, incredibly generous, and are constantly looking for ways to care for others.  They have been together for over 60 years and they still always kiss each other goodnight.  

Here are a few of my favorites from this week, taken at their lake house in New Hampshire.  

What a beautiful SMILE!

Thank you both for opening up your home to us this week, we had a wonderful (and very relaxing) vacation!