Jessica & Matt's Rustic Wedding at The William Allen Farm in Pownal, Maine

Jess & Matt's wedding was one I have been patiently waiting to photograph for just over two years since I first met them both at Sam & Ryan's wedding way back in 2014. As soon as they set the date, a call was made to Sam to get my contact information and they quickly made me officially their photographer for their July 16th wedding. As Jess and I were reminiscing while she was getting ready, she brought up images that I had taken of the two of them at Sam & Ryan's wedding and I immediate said they would be making an appearance on my blog when I posted their sneak peek. Since I like to keep my promises...

Jessica & Matt attending Jessica & Matt at Samantha & Ryan's 2014 wedding at The Woodland's Club

Now, on to their wedding. Jess & Matt's wedding was held at The William Allen Farm in Pownal, Maine, which boasts expansive grounds, a lovely pond, air conditioned quarters to get ready in, and their timeless big red barn with a massive deck. Although this was my first wedding there, I have been driving by it for years now and, ever since Jess & Matt booked me, have been giddy declaring that I was going to shoot there every single time. I oh so love barn weddings!

Jess and her ladies spent their morning prepping in the bridal suite of the Farm. We were all VERY excited to have air conditioning as summer was blazing with a vengeance outside. Meanwhile, the barn was adorned with gorgeous flowers from Jess' parent's flower shop, Flowerland, as well as delicious looking cupcakes from Heavenly Delights Bakery as well as plenty of old lace and burlap. All of Jess' hard work with planning definitely paid off in spades as the entire estate was perfect.

Following a very personal ceremony next to the pond and their formal portraits, it was time to celebrate the newlyweds. Matt's brother roasted him like only a brother can during a toast that included an apple for Jess, who is a teacher, when he was referencing his brother's storied past in school. It definitely brought the house down! After the toasts, dinner, formal dances, and the cake was cut... Jess & Matt opted to take the party outside onto The William Allen Farm's huge deck! A mid-reception dance relocation was certainly a first, but it was gorgeous outside watching the sunset. It was so much fun!

Jess & Matt, thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to tell the story of your day. It was such an honor! And thank you to Sam & Ryan for playing matchmaker and helping connecting them with me. It was so awesome to see you both again!

Carly Lou at One!

This session. Oh, my heart!

My relationship with Trish & Rob goes back several years at this point when I first photographed them for their engagement session. Then their wedding at the Spurwink Church and Mariner's Banquet Center in Portland. And then they had Carly and called for me to visit them for her newborn portraits. And then a year flew by and it was time for her first birthday session. I know it's cliché, but really... where did the year go?

Seeing the family again for another session means more to me than I could ever put into words. Watching Carly walk around, smile, look deeply at the clouds and trees around her, her whispy hair being blown around.... she is becoming such an incredible little human! I also see nuances of her dad and his family in some of her spunky moments. Her mom is in there too with her sparkly eyes and big smile.

And this post would not be complete without mentioning my love for the big ol' cocoa puff with legs... Rocky. As soon as I saw him, he got so excited and started dragging Rob along to see me. Much like Rob & Trish, Rocky and I have been buds since their engagement session and seeing him again for each session makes me smile a bit more. And it makes him jump a bit more, too. I am such a sucker for dogs!

Carly, Trish, Rob... and Rocky... thank you so much for having me capture this milestone for your family! Carly is so amazing and very lucky to be a part of such and incredible family. Love you guys!

Katie & TJ's Engagement Session in the Old Port of Portland, Maine

Where has the past year gone?

That is pretty much my reaction when my couples' wedding days come a year after they first contacted me. For Katie & TJ, that is certainly the case. We spent a few weeks conversing over email before finally meeting face to face last August at SoMe Brewing Co. in York, Maine. Shortly thereafter, they made my day by telling me that Alan and I were their pick for their wedding photographers. Yipee!

Fast forward to this past weekend after several rescheduled engagement session dates thanks to poor weather conditions. And, thankfully, Mother Nature kept the curve ball to herself this time and gave us awesome conditions for wandering around the Old Port in Portland, Maine, together while catching up on all of the awesome things they have planned for their wedding in the city later this month. I'd like to think that I had a hand in the weather working out since I opted to wear my big rain boots just in case of rain and wound up only needing them for my puddle hoping.

I think what stands out to me the most about Katie & TJ is simply their ability to make each other laugh and smile. A lot! Sometimes it was all I could do to keep my camera up while chuckling at their antics. Hearing about their secret plans for their wedding at the end of the month also made me even more excited for their big day (as if that was really possible in the first place).

Katie & TJ, we are so excited to see you both again in just a few short weeks! Enjoy every minute leading up to the big day. We'll see you soon!

Jessika & Eric's Destination Maine Wedding at Mooring Bed & Breakfast

When Jessika reached out to me back in March, she snatched up one of my last 2016 dates available for her intimate wedding with Eric at the gorgeous Mooring Bed & Breakfast in Georgetown, Maine. Like many of my couples, they were planning their wedding weekend from away. As Jessika shared her vision for their day, I knew that we were going to be a perfect match for each other. The past three months flew by and this past weekend, all of their planning came to life.

Jessika & Eric's wedding overlooking the ocean was filled with more personal touches than I could recount. From Eric's gift of a locket (yes, we all cried) to Jessika's borrowed blue sea star broach on her dress; their children standing by their side as they said their vows to their long time friend officiating the formalities; bridal portraits at the incredible Reid State Park and a reception filled with special touches. Every aspect of the day perfectly reflected Jessika & Eric and helped to tell the story of their long journey to that day.

Looking back, the time that will stay with me the longest will be what their dear friend shared as she was marrying them. Although Jessika & Eric have known each other for a long time, it took them until now to come together. In her speech, their friend equated their relationship to that of glass turning into sea glass. Glass itself is created for a multitude of purposes from windows to bottles and more. Some of that glass winds up broken and in the ocean where, after many years, it comes out as the frosted, highly sought after sea glass that many comb the beaches of Maine for every year. In order to get to that point, it had to be broken, tumbled, and tossed around a bit. It's path was not easy. Yet it is oh so worth it for the beauty we see on our shores. I dare say that it was the perfect metaphor for these two as they start this new chapter of their lives together.

Jessika & Eric, thank you so very much for trusting me capture the story of your wedding day. I am so very honored to have been able there with you both. Enjoy your family-moon with the Mouse!

Oscar & Jessica's Maine Wedding at Acadia National Park and Southwest Harbor

Looking back to last September, Jessica dropped me a message sharing that they were having an "intimate, rustic, and artsy gathering at a rental house by the ocean on Mount Desert Island, Maine." Hook, line and sinker... I was sold. Mount Desert Island is one of my favorite places in Maine and I have been visiting Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor every summer since I started dating my (now) husband over a decade ago. To say that I have been dying to photograph a wedding in a place that means so much to me would be a complete understatement. Add in their vision for an intimate, rustic, and artsy gathering? Where do I sign?

Like with many of my couples, my relationship with Jessica & Oscar since last September has been nurtured through the wonderful world of technology with a plethora of emails and a smattering of phone calls thrown in for fun. I have been looking forward to their wedding with my fingers crossed for great weather, flowers in bloom, and a slight ocean breeze. What I could not have prepared myself for is just how absolutely incredibly their venue would be. Walking through the front door, I was immediately taken with the expansive view of the bay with a field of lupine between me and the waters edge. When you think Mount Desert Island, you think of that view.

Surrounded by their closest family and friends who all traveled from afar to witness their union, Jessica & Oscar prepared for their wedding in opposite ends of the 1800s era home that was the setting for their weekend. With Jessica in her oh so perfect flowy, lace topped gown and Oscar in his suit vest, the two love bird that found each other thanks to a mistyped phone number and subsequent text message (how crazy is that?!?) met beneath a lovely old tree in the backyard for their first look. His jaw dropped, her cheeks blushed... their joy could be felt instantly. If this day was not meant to be, I don't know what is.

Together we went off for Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park, an area that has been integral to their relationship over the years. We visited Sand Beach and a quiet overlook together with the early season onlookers out in full force. I love it when couple chose such a meaningful location for their portraits together. The pink granite, windswept pine trees, and yellow sand of the beach proved to be the perfect backdrop for them as their smiles and love for each other radiated around them.

Shortly before the gathering started, a deer bound through the lupines, a sail boat swept through the bay, and the gulls squawked from above. Their ceremony was held beneath the arbor that they made with wood from their new home state of Vermont along with lilacs from the island. Jessica & Oscar's personal vows gave incite to just how special their relationship is and how fate really must have had a hand in their union.

The newlyweds and their guests celebrated long into the night with a feast of lobsters, mussels, a delicious looking lavender cream crepe cake, and signature drinks provided by Bar Harbor Catering Company. With Erik Klausmeyer playing the perfect mix of Cuban & Puerto Rican tunes honoring their roots along with the usual mix, the dance floor was buzzing. Meanwhile, outside the tent, lawn games were a big hit as we dodged rain dropped and watched the end of their wedding day come as the clouds filled the sky. It truly was a dream come true.

Jessica & Oscar, thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing me to capture your day. I am so very honored! I hope that the rest of your time in Acadia was relaxing and you enjoyed your brunch at Two Cats! xoxo

Christine & Dan's Maine Wedding at Foster's Clambake in York, Maine

It started much like many stories do these days. Met online. Laughter and smiles during the first meeting. Friendship grows.... oh wait, that's my story with Christine & Dan. But it's true! Like many of my couples, Christine & Dan found me online and reached out to me in August of 2015 as they were planning their destination wedding for here in Maine. With visions of a warm springtime wedding with their closest family & friends traveling from far and wide to celebrate their union, I knew that capturing their story would be the perfect fit for me.

Christine & Dan met while in the same Ph.D. program and spent several years as friends before making the jump into the dating title. Their shared love of knowledge, hiking, rock climbing, and the great outdoors made them the perfect match. Seeing them together just made that concept even more concrete. The way Christine was just glowing all day and beaming the biggest smile I think I've ever seen. Then Dan was like a giddy school boy just talking about Christine and marrying her. It was clear that this day, even with Mother Nature throwing a curve ball with less than perfect weather, was simply meant to be.

The couple and their friends and family readied for the day at the incredible Hidden Meadows Farm & Vineyard B&B, a luxurious rental home in Eliot, Maine. With immaculate grounds, detailed woodwork, and an expansive space, it was one of the most perfect places to spend their weekend away. It also made for the ideal canvas to hold Christine & Dan's first look and portraits along the fence line with the gardens surrounding them and the sounds of the waterfall and stream to break the silence.

With the details in place, we proceeded to Foster's Clambake & Catering in York. This quintessential Maine establishment complimented their vision of a destination wedding in Maine nicely. If only the weather had been better! Despite the heavy cloud cover and hints of precipitation, Christine & Dan were married in a very personal ceremony along the pond on the back lawn. There was laughter, lots of smiles, and a tangible amount of love filling the area. Foster's was also the host for their lobster bake reception featuring all of the details you would have expected: bowls of chowder, buckets of clams, bright red lobsters, shiny yellow corn, and blueberry cake to top it all off. With Christine & Dan's amazing choreographed dance starting the party and Dan's epic breakdancing moves, it really was an awesome way to celebrate their union.

I hope that you are enjoying your honeymoon, Christine & Dan! Thank you again for choosing me to capture the story of your day. It truly was an honor.

Here is a small sneak peek of what the newlyweds have to look forward to in their full gallery of images. It was certainly hard to pick my favorites!

Molly & Brandon's Spring Wedding at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, Maine

Oh my, what a perfect way to kick off my "busy season" with weddings! Molly & Brandon first reached out to me in March of 2015. well over a year in advance, with fingers crossed that I was still available. Lucky for them, and me, I was!

Fast forward through several months of phone calls, emails, and coffee dates... and we arrive at last weekend. The forecast was picture perfect leading up to the day of and Mother Nature did not disappoint. From the light and fluffy clouds, warmth of the sun on our skin, a slight breeze in the air, flowers in bloom, new leaves on the trees... when you think of springtime in Maine, you think of that day. It was perfect.

Molly & Brandon chose the Hilton Garden Inn Freeport Downtown as the setting for their day. It is unique in the hotel wedding scene in that they offer the picturesque park right next to their property as well as the Old Town Hall for your ceremony, accommodations on site (obviously), and their ballroom for your reception. Having everything for their day in one location certainly made for a very smooth timeline. Of course, Molly's attention to detail and their desire to have plenty of time to get ready meant that everything went off without a hitch and was timed.

When I think about their day, there are aspects that stand out to me the most. The most notable in my mind was watching Brandon & Molly interact with their parents. Their extremely strong family ties were very evident. From the way Brandon's parents looked at him as he was getting ready to how he embraced his mom during their formal portraits; from Molly being surrounded by her family as she ready for the ceremony to how she was embraced by her father during their formal dance together. It was so clear to me that family, and their faith, was of utmost importance to them and their relationship as they took this momentous step together.

Capturing the start to this chapter of their lives together was more of a honor than I could ever put into words. I know that their wedding day was just the next chapter in their incredible love story, which has so much more in store for these love birds.

While they are off enjoying their honeymoon, here is a sneak peek of what is in store for the new Mr. & Mrs. once they return. I hope that you love them as much as I do!

In a flash, four years rush by.

Four years ago at this moment, I had my new title for less than 80 minutes. I was filled with more emotions and adrenaline than potentially any other time in my life. I was surrounded by people that I barely knew, yet I had tunnel vision and their presence barely registered in my mind.

Four years ago, I became a mom.

The past few years have, to be honest, been filled with plenty of ups and downs. Oggling the less than ones as she learned to exist in the world. Enjoying the ones as mobility set in. Surviving the two. Getting to three and understanding what everyone had been saying about the terrible threes. Yet every down has been outweighed by the ups. Seeing her become her own unique self has been the greatest joy I have ever known. She is my mini me.

So, to my little bookworm, happiest of birthdays to you! I am looking forward to another year of adventures with you filled with lots of snuggle time reading tons of books together.

Love forever and ever,

Children Portraits Standish Maine

I learned from the best.

Here I am with my cup of warm coffee, still in my bathrobe, my hair a mess.

It is Mother's Day 2016. Despite my daughter still be three years old (for two more days), this is my fourth Mother's Day as a mom of a two legged little one. (Sorry, Digby, I'm not counting my years as a fur-mom.)

Four years ago this was my first day home as a mom. Since then, this day has always been a day of reflection over the past year of my life with a mini me. How much she has grown in the past year. How much growing I have done as I learn to be the best mom I can possibly be for her. What memories have we created since the last mother's day? What skills have I helped her learn in the past year?

It is also a day when I reflect upon my own mom and the other "moms" I've had over the years. I have been very fortunate to be influenced by so many strong women over the years.

To my own mom: Thank you for being there for me through thick and thin since I came crashing into your world and threw life as you knew it upside down. I know, by being the first, I helped you get your sea legs at this mom thing and were your little helper when Jen came along three years later. We have always been close, despite the distance between us, and I am very thankful for that. Thank you for being such an integral part of the past four years as I've learned to be a mom, too. Your presence for a day (plus) a week has meant the world to us all.

To my dear mother-in-law: It is hard to believe that I "stormed the castle" of your family over ten years ago now. I may not have started it off on the right foot (I'm pretty sure "You're a lot taller than I thought you'd be" was the first thing I said to you.). Yet, all these years later, we have developed quite the relationship surrounding our boys and, now, Bri. Thank you for raising Alan to be the man that I love so deeply and for helping to guide him through his childhood. I am very fortunate to have you to call my mom, too.

To my "Massachusetts Mommy", Mickey: I know the time flies by since we last saw each other. Yet there is not a day that goes by that I am not incredibly grateful for your love and support while I was at Northfield Mount Hermon. It is no secret that we have a special bond because of those years we spent together as you mentored me and gave me a place of refuge from the typical teenage drama. Thank you. From the very bottom of my heart.

As I embark on my fifth year with the title of "mother", thank you. The three of you helped me to be the best mom I can be for Bri. You have each influenced me greatly. I truly have learned from the best.

Our annual "Girls' Trip to New York City" self from April 2016 in front of the American Museum of Natural History

Our annual "Girls' Trip to New York City" self from April 2016 in front of the American Museum of Natural History

This feels like the clock just ticked back to 4 years ago.

This time four years ago. I was waddling around my hour waiting, anxiously, to have my daughter. Meanwhile, Danielle & Joe were preparing for their wedding on August 4th (the same date that Alan & I got married seven years earlier).

Flash forward.

Danielle reaches out to me as she was pacing, much like I was four years ago, awaiting their first child. Ever since then, I've been lingering by my phone looking for word that they had become parents at last. Last week, my phone buzzed. Danielle & Joe were officially parents!

This past weekend, I had the absolute blessing to meet their little one in their home and capturing the first chapter of their new life as a family of three (plus their pup, of course). She is already so very curious and checking out everything in the world around her. Lanky arms stretched out suddenly before retreating back to the comfort of her parents. Her eyes focusing on this odd little bump that seems so close and yet is so new (yes, her nose was quite an interesting site for a while no matter how hard it was to focus on). She already has her daddy wrapped tightly around her finger as was evident by his ability to sooth her during her crying fits. And Danielle... she has the glow of a new mother, so perfectly ready to bring her little lady up in this world. Danielle's smile whenever she looked at Joe holding her was infectious.

I am so completely honored when my couple's come back to me to continue their story after their wedding. Thank you, Danielle & Joe, for letting me meet your little lady. And for giving me my baby fix. She's so adorable!

10 day old baby girl newborn lifestyle portrait session in Maine

A Trip a Bit Off the Beaten Path

Sometimes you find inspiration in... weird... places.

For a long time, I've been admiring the work of urban explorers. They explore man-made which have often been left abandoned... surrendered back to the earth from which they came. Needless to say, the ones that I follow capture these mysterious places through often eerie images, otherwise known as urbex, that I just can't take my eyes off. I have longed to find my own way to do the same. Last year, I had an opportunity come up and I took the bait.

The entire series of images I captured is 19 frames. Some of them are more revealing than others. I have a personal connection to the people who lived here. Being in their space, the place they called home, after all of these years was haunting. I had flashes of what little I remember as I waited for each exposure to be made. It was as if the open shutter in my camera was giving me a window back in time. The personal effects left behind tell much about their lives. What is left is what was deemed of no value by those that still walk this earth.

I know. This whole post is a bit off topic. Yet I felt the desire to share. I think it is important to stretch our wings, go beyond our comfort zone, and test our bounds. As a photographer, experiments like this help me to improve my craft, try new techniques, and work on my own personal projects at the same time.

What are you inspired by? What do you do to push yourself?

This cutie spent the morning with the ladies

I know what you're thinking. "THANK GOODNESS IT'S FRIDAY!"

And, if you've been paying attention, you know that I celebrate the end of the work week with one of my furry friends. This time, my favorite little friend is none other than Jaclyn & Jake's furry kiddo. One of the awesome parts of having your wedding at The Barn at Flanagan Farm is having the farmhouse to get ready in with your friends and family. And furbabies! Jaclyn & Jake always have their pups by their side so it was a given that they be there as they tied the knot.

Don't you just want to go over there and given them a belly rub and head scratch?

Jacqueline's Unique Broach Bridal Bouquet

Last week I got the call the kind of call that I wait for. The sister of one of my past bride's is getting married! I absolutely love photographing weddings for the friends and family of my couples since it is like a family reunion for me. And (hint, hint!) it's an easy way to convince me to cancel my planned weekend off!

When I sat down to check my calendar, I was absolutely shocked to see that it has been almost 3 years since Jacqueline & Josh's wedding at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Ocean Gateway in Portland. Thinking back to that day, there are so many moments that flash through my mind. Jacqueline getting ready with her sisters & friends, the emotions that flooded through everyone at their ceremony, exploring the Old Port with their bridal party, and the love that filled the Ocean Gateway as they celebrated their union.

One details that stands out to me to this day is the fabulous broach bouquet that Jacqueline spent so long creating for her wedding day. Each broach was carefully selected to compliment the purple worn by her bridesmaids along with gold, pearls, yellow, and white accents. It was deceptively heavy and gave her more of an arm workout than you would think. After photographing well over 100 weddings, it remains the most unique bouquets that I have ever photographed and, as such, it is certainly one of my favorites.

My Guilty Pleasure

Over the past year, I have been focusing more on making healthy choice in my life. It's not been about getting skinny or looking better, but more about feeling better in my own skin and being able to keep up with my growing daughter.

Yet, like many, I have a guilty pleasure that I just can't stop enjoying.

Friends, I am addicted to buffalo sauce. The hotter, the spicier, the better. I put it on everything. Eggs, rice, vegetables, and, of course, my beloved boneless chicken fingers.

Last week I was battling this epic cold. I lost my voice. My ears were full. Coughing... check. I decided that a day of rest and recovery was in order. And guess what I made for breakfast? Yes, boneless buffalo chicken fingers. For breakfast.

I have a shelf in my pantry for all of the sauces I've collected trying to determine which one is my absolute favorite. If I'm traveling out of town, I always check out what options the area stores have to see if there are any I haven't tried. And Alan and I even have a shared list so we can rate each one that we try.

What is your guilty pleasure? Is there something you just can't live without even if it isn't the healthiest choice?

This seemed like a good idea at the time.

Bowser & Bruin. Oh, boys.

When my couples ask me if they can bring along their furry babies to their shoots, I always say yes. I love me some furry snuggles! For Cairsten & Jimmy, my response was no different. After building a relationship with them ever since Kelly & Ryan's wedding, I could not wait to meet their two pups, Bowser & Bruin.

We opted for Bug Light in South Portland for the views of the Portland's Old Port, the harbor, the lighthouse... the list is endless. It is a great area with lots of variety AND it's pup friendly!

Bowser & Bruin did not disappoint. They were super excited about everything. Wanted to meet everyone. Photos, what photos? We're here to PLAY! Meandering around the park with Mutt & Jeff in tow was an experiment in hilarity. When they weren't in the photo, we had them tied to a bench or I was holding their leashes to give Cairsten & Jimmy a break from the chaos. I'm sure they were both thinking "This seemed like a good idea at the time."

Yet, when it gets down to it, even with the chaos... the furry friends in our lives are an integral part of our lives. Yes, they bring chaos. But they also bring lots of kisses, laughs, and uninhibited love. And, as part of your family, it is worth the chaos for shots like this one.

I am still brought to laughs every time I see Cairsten & Jimmy post photos of their pups on Facebook. Thank you for hanging out with me boys and letting me tell your parent's love story. You are lucky boys to have such awesome people to call your own.


You can get there, but you might not get back up. #tbt

Sometimes I think back to certain moments in my photography career and I just have to laugh.

Today I was nursing my cup of coffee (while battling a nasty head cold) and my mind went back to Brenna & Rob's wedding at Frontier in Brunswick, Maine. Brenna & Rob are my kind of people. Even though they got married back in 2012, I remember their day as if it was yesterday. The weather that October day was a smidge chilly, but otherwise perfect. Fluffy white clouds graced the sky, the foliage was just about to turn along the Androscoggin River, and the light was absolutely perfect. After so much time planning together and photographing their engagement session during the winter prior, their wedding day was like a day spent with old friends (as is often the case for me).

Looking back through their images, there are so many back stories that flash through my mind. What led to each shot. Who was laughing at what. What song Cinnamon was playing.

And then there is that one shot that just makes me laugh.

To capture their portraits, we visited many locations around Brunswick thanks to a family friend's zippy car. One of the shots I wanted to get was with the Swinging Bridge and the river in the background. Now, ladies are often wearing gorgeous high heels and are used to the harder footing and sometimes they aren't the most comfortable. Guys get the short end of the stick. Their shoes often LOOK like they should be comfortable, but they aren't at all. And your instinct is that their shoes would be better for walking around, but they usually have absolutely no traction. At least the ladies have a heel to catch!

That leads me to the part that made me laugh. Brenna & Rob and I had built a very trusting relationship leading up to their day and they knew that I could capture the images they wanted. In order to get that shot with the Swinging Bridge and the river in the background, I needed to get them to a lower area along the water's edge. We gingerly made our way down the embankment. I helped to guide them into position. And then I needed to get back up the incline. Turns out my footwear wasn't all that conducive! Bounding up to the top like a mountain goat, I knew the shot would be worth it, but goodness was that going to be fun to get up!

And I was right. The shot was so worth it for me. The clouds and bridge were perfectly mirrored off the water, the foliage in the background... it was all perfect. The real laughs came after as we had to make our way back to the reception. I made my way back down to Brenna & Rob to help them back up. The combination of Brenna's gorgeous dress with high heels and Rob's slippery dress shoes made for quite the sight! Planning a route to the top was a feat all in of itself. Oh my did we laugh!

Brenna & Rob, thank you for trusting me to capture your story. And for all the laughs. ðŸ’•

Getting a Natural Sugar Fix

I often get asked if I was born in Maine or if I moved here. And my response is typically that I am a "New England Mutt" since I was indeed born in Maine (Kennebunkport to be exact!), but spent the majority of my formative years growing up in Tamworth, New Hampshire, before moving on to high school in western Massachusetts (NMH in the house!) and to Maine for my undergraduate degree (yay for USM!).

A few weeks ago, I went back to my old stomping grounds in New Hampshire to visit my family for New Hampshire's Maple Weekend (and to celebrate my mom's birthday). Growing up in such a rural area, the frost heaved dirt roads we ventured down to visit our favorite sugarhouse and creamery did not faze me at all. To get to Young Maple Ridge Sugarhouse in North Sandwich, New Hampshire, you have to head down a long dirt road for what feels like forever. Just about when you swear you must have missed it, you crest a hill and see the billowing steam from the roof of the sugarhouse. Get out of your car and you can smell the sap boiling already. The owner, Ida (who I went to school with longer ago than I care to think about!), and her family were there shaving ice to make syrup candy since mother nature did not cooperate with having snow around. My munchkin loved trying to get every last smidge off of the fork before digging in to her maple syrup covered vanilla ice cream. Like many of their visitors, we stood in front of their vast select of maple syrup bottle sizes, maple candy, maple cotton candy... the list goes on and on. My parents asked my daughter what size syrup we should get and the smart little lady obviously opted for the biggest bottle I've ever seen. It's like a growler of syrup. Her eyes lit up (perhaps from the size of the bottle or maybe just from her sugar high) and we made our way out.

The next stop was just a bit back down the way we came. The Sandwich Creamery in North Sandwich, New Hampshire, is a boutique creamery that sells ice cream and cheese the only way we know how out in the country. It's honor system all the way. Peering into the case to chose of flavors, it's hard not to just pick one of everything. I opted for their Mexican coffee, which was coffee based with cinnamon and chocolate covered espresso beans. I'm drooling just thinking about it! Sliding our money into the slot in the wall, we made out way back out into the cold with our sweet laden haul. A call to the cows and pigs and off we went. With her sugar coma wearing off, the kid snoozed in her carseat as we made our way back to my parent's house where I grew up.

Maple Weekend always marks the sign of Spring even if mother nature didn't really get the memo. What traditions do you have as we round the corner from winter to spring? I admit that these expeditions are much more fun with the kiddo in tow and it is certainly a flashback to go back to where I spent so much time of my life.

For the love of coffee and chocolate

After a busy weekend, there is one thing that I always reach for on Monday mornings. My coffee. For the toughest mornings, it has chocolate thrown in somehow.

There is something about the warm feel of my mug even when it is warm out. Taking a few moments to just sit down and breath in the warm steam rolling off my fresh cup of coffee is all I need to tackle the day head on. It's not even about the caffeine since I have sometimes opted for "unleaded" (as my dad calls it).

So, my friends, what do you do as part of your routine on Monday mornings? Are you a coffee drinker like me?

Furry Friend Fridays with Digby

It's Friday at long last. Sometimes it feels like it would never come. Yet here it is! I think the same can be said about Spring here in Maine at this point. We're just still waiting for it.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love our furry friends. What better way to wrap up the week than my showing them off? This week's furry friend is my own Mr. Digby. He's super scruffy right now and desperately needs a trip to the groomer. But he is my little old man. A terrier mix that we rescued from Arkansas when he was just a pup. Now he's just over eight years old and is regularly greeted with the hugs and kisses of our daughter (sometimes a bit too tight). He loves walks and hiking and gets really excited with his tongue hanging out and tail wagging tons about a mile into either. His tummy alarm goes off at 4PM every day even though he knows he won't get fed until after 5PM. And he loves being tucked in at night in his bed.

He is my Digby. My first "kid". I love my little old man.

When I Cried Taking a Couple's Wedding Portraits

It's common for me to reminisce about my past couples and families from over the years. But I thought that I would take a new spin on it.

Dearest Jeffrey & Jason.

They got married back in October of 2014. That alone is making me shake my head. It feels like just yesterday yet it has been almost 3 years.

I've told their story before, but, for those of you that aren't stalkers...

Jeffrey & Jason are related to another one of my favorite couples, Alicia & Derek. When Alicia & Derek were married at Clay Hill Farms, I was immediately drawn to Jeffrey & Jason. They were two peas in a pod. So obviously happy with each other... completely at home. I naturally gravitate towards such honestly happy couples.

As soon as I found out they were engaged, I came right out and said it. "Once you set a date, call me and I will be there (as long as I'm not booked)." I normally take on a very small group of weddings each year and rarely book over two per month. But sometimes I break my own rules.

Fast forward until October 12, 2014... a gorgeous, fall day... a delightful wedding weekend at one of Maine's treasured campgrounds... and plaid. Lots and lots of plaid.

Now for my confession.

When it came time for their formal portraits, I had to take a moment to compose myself as I broke down in tears. It's not unusual to gear teary eyed (those father/daughter dances have a way at pulling my heart strings after all). Yet this time I was downright crying. Crying... because (I'll be honest) my daughter will grow up in a state where everyone that wants to get married can do so. If any couple should be married, it is Jeffrey & Jason. Love like theirs is so true and deep. Being married to each other is the most formal way of recognizing that. And so I cried.

Thank you to Alicia & Derek and Jeffrey & Jason for letting me capture the story of their wedding days and be a part of your family's tale. I am so very honored to this day.