Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It was Christmas morning.  Melissa and Justin's first Christmas morning spent together as a couple.  They both had already celebrated the holiday with their families and were looking forward to a quiet Christmas, just the two of them.  As their two beautiful labs lounged around on the couches, Melissa and Justin exchanged gifts.  Melissa saved the biggest for last.  As she tore into her final present, Melissa realized that the inside of the package was filled to the brim with tissue paper.  At the bottom, she found one tiny jewelry box.  When she looked up, Justin was on one knee under the twinkling lights of the tree.  Justin told Melissa she was his best friend and ask her to spend forever with him.  As Melissa slipped on her ring, she said yes.  

One year later, Melissa and Justin were married on a beautiful beach in Islamorada, FL in front of their family and friends.  As the sun set over their perfect day, Melissa and Justin couldn't help but look forward to their future... one filled with lots of laughter, and endless amounts of love.

Melissa started out the day by getting her hair and make-up professionally done.  
Melissa, your dress was STUNNING!  

Melissa is a girl after my own heart... she had two pairs of shoes.  She wore this pair down the aisle as her "something blue." 
Thank you to Penny from "A Bead Above" for designing Melissa's beautiful necklace.  It tied together all the details of her day perfectly!

Melissa and Justin opted to do a first look.  Seeing each other before the ceremony allowed plenty of time to take beautiful pictures of the couple and their wedding party.   

Justin's look says it all...Melissa, you are breathtaking.  
Besides Justin, Melissa's dogs are some of her best friends.  

The ceremony took place at the Southern Division Estate in Islamorada, Florida.  

Melissa's father walked her down the aisle.   
"Tying the Knot"  

Melissa added so many cute personal touches.  I love love love these handmade Bride and Groom signs.

As the guests walked in, they were greeted with Melissa and Justin's engagement photos.
Guests were encouraged to write well wishes to the bride and groom on a large slab of Magnolia wood. Later, the bride and groom will use it to make a bench.  
This might be the most creative guest book idea EVER!
Sandals gave guests a chance to kick off their heels for a night of dancing in the sand.
When it came time for toasts, the bride and groom raised a glass with their signature key lime margaritas.   

Melissa and Justin set up a cookie and milk bar for guests to enjoy as a late night snack.  

Thanks to Smoke and Spice Catering for providing the never ending stream of delicious food throughout the night.  

Bob's Buns provided this delicious key lime creation. 

Melissa and Justin, thank you for choosing Stay Forever Photography to capture your day.  Melissa De Jong and I had a blast documenting all of your beautiful details.   It was a pleasure getting to know you and I wish you both all the happiness in the world.

Monday, November 28, 2011


As a senior preparing to graduate, Danielle has the whole world in front of her.  She is smart, beautiful, and has the constant support of her loving family and boyfriend of three years, Ethan.  As Danielle is preparing for the future, we decided to take the time to document where she is right now; young, happy and in love.  Danielle, it was truly a pleasure photographing your senior portraits last Saturday.  There is a lot more to come, but for now, enjoy your sneak peek!

Danielle brought her boyfriend of three years along, Ethan.  I love photographing couples in love and Danielle and Ethan were no exception.
We started the morning off with a beautiful Tennessee sunrise.
Danielle, you are absolutely breathtaking.

I was SO obsessed with this leaf covered location, found in a small nook of the woods in Warriors Path State Park.

Check back soon for more pictures of Danielle and her beautiful family!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Smells of rich espresso and sweet creamy gelato fill the air as the door swings open to one of the largest italian market places in New York, Eataly. Located on 23rd and 5th, this is the ultimate destination for food lovers to taste, savor and purchase authentic italian food.  Filled with fresh meats, cheeses, fish, homemade pastas, baked goods, and coffee, this place aims to please.  Next time you are in the area, take a trip to Eataly.  You will LOVE it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Traditions are a beautiful thing, especially around the holidays.  They give you something to look forward to each year.  In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, my husband Matt and I started discussing our holiday plans. Since I knew we were going to spend Christmas with his family this year, I told him I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with mine.  "But Amy, Tennessee is 9 hours away! That's 12 hours with traffic!  You really want to be in the car on the most traveled day of the year?" I had expected this type of response and I had my comeback ready.  "Yes Matt, Thanksgiving is a very important holiday for my family.  Everyone comes over, we have our turkey and ham, we play pool and watch football, we share what we are thankful for and then we pile our dessert plate high with chocolate cake and ..."  Matt stopped me right there.  "Whoa whoa whoa, cake?  No, on Thanksgiving, you eat pie."  I thought back to the entire table dedicated to pies at his Thanksgiving last year and shrugged, "We eat cake."

It took a few more minutes of convincing, but eventually Matt agreed to make the drive down to Tennessee for Thanksgiving.  As a thank you, I baked him a Toll House Cookie Pie, his favorite.  My family loved it, but more importantly, they were excited to share in one of Matt's Thanksgiving traditions.  As the years go by, I hope Matt and I can merge our traditions together, creating a unique holiday experience that is all our own.

Dying to try the Toll House Cookie Pie?  Follow this easy recipe! Ingredients: 2 eggs, ½ cup all purpose flour, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 cup (2 sticks) melted and slightly cooled, One 6oz package choc. chips, 1 cup chopped pecans, Pie crust.  Instructions: Preheat oven to 325.  Melt the butter separately on the stove or microwave and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, Add flour, sugar and brown sugar, mix until well blended. Blend in butter, mix really well, (it takes a few minutes to get it all blended really good).  Stir in the choc. chips and nuts. Pour into the pie crust and bake until it’s “set”.  (About 1 hour)  Enjoy!!