Spring and Summer Flower Guide

18 Jul

I’m a bit of a flower child. Not in the hippie sense (although my fiance would disagree…) but in the way that I can’t go by a Trader Joe’s or flower market without stopping to pick up a few stems – or 20. Can’t. Resist. Blooms. SO naturally, I obsess over flowers at weddings. Bouquets, centerpieces and beyond. Love, love, love them. I realized that many of my brides are looking to learn more about the types of flowers available during their wedding season, so I wanted to help them out with a little tutorial. I teamed up with Katie over at Sweet Annie Floral Design and we put a little guide together. I learned quite a bit from Katie that day, and I hope you’re able to learn a thing or two as well! Stay tuned for the fall flower guide – coming in the next few months!

Pinks

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Dark Hues

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Poppies!

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Yellows and Oranges

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A Peek at Sarah and Tyler’s Engagement Session :: Great Brook Farm

24 Jun

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She’s from Texas. He’s from Massachusetts. And together, they’re a bit country. I absolutely loved doing this engagement shoot at Great Brook Farm – the sun was just so much much to work with and incorporate into the shots. They were sure to wear their boots, and they most certainly rocked them in every photo. These two are just so natural together, and it’s so clear how much they love and adore each other. I can’t wait for their winter wedding in December – until then, let’s enjoy these sunny summer days!

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LIVE :: HAPPIER THAN A SEAGULL WITH A FRENCH FRY

7 May

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I’m busy, busy, busy editing photos, packing for our new home and wedding planning but I couldn’t be more excited for the journey ahead! When times get a tad stressful, my fiancé always says, “Don’t look at the hill ahead, just look down at your feet, keep them moving and enjoy each step.”

Pomegranate-Thyme Grapefruit Italian Soda

19 Apr

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I love nothing more in the summertime than to sip on something bubbly, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic. As of late I’ve been having a number of rendezvous with Italian soda. It’s. Just. So Good. One Sunday morning I had a hankering for some Italian soda but wanted to add a few things in the mix. I muddled a bit of thyme at the bottom of a glass, added Grapefruit-Flavored Italian Soda from Trader Joe’s, and sprinkled in some pomegranate seeds. MMMMMM. This drink had me at hello. The thyme and grapefruit blend nicely and the pomegranate seeds make this a bit of a meal in a glass. You could even freeze the pomegranate seeds and use them as ice cubes, if you wanted.

I enjoyed this bevy with a good book and had quite the perfect Sunday. Happy sipping!

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Should I Do a First Look? My Thoughts

16 Apr

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The “first look” has become a very popular trend in the wedding industry over the last few years. Seven out of the last ten of my wedding couples have preferred a “first look” before the ceremony. People absolutely love it! But before I dive into this more, for those scratching their heads, a “first look” takes place prior to the ceremony and is a time for the bride and groom to see each other before they walk down the aisle. Now, there are many reasons why couples jump aboard the “first look” train. For some, it’s a way for them to get out their nerves, tears (sobs), laughter, etc. before they are standing in front of a hundred or so of their closest friends or family. For others, it’s more of a logistical thing: a “first look” means the bride and groom won’t miss out on their cocktail hour, or any part of their wedding.

When I meet with brides and grooms and they ask if they *should* do a “first look” I always objectively provide the pros and cons. I don’t EVER want to make that decision for them because I think it’s a personal choice.

The reality is, yes, if you do a “first look” you WILL have more time to do photos before the ceremony and you’ll likely get to enjoy your entire cocktail hour. You’ll also be able to create a very intimate moment between you and your significant other – and I absolutely LOVE some of the reactions I see. That said, I would caution you to really make this moment real – don’t fake a reaction or make a more animated gesture than usual. It should be natural!

On the flip side, the tradition of “he’s seeing you for the first time when you walk down the aisle” is no longer an option. For me, as I’m thinking about my future wedding, I’m opting to keep it traditional, because there’s a tiny bit of yesteryear left in this girl. But for all of the contemporary brides out there, who really don’t care about this, then the “first look” is right for you.

Sure, I know that keeping it traditional will mean I need to be smart and work with my photographer on a very strict wedding agenda and portrait lineup, but I think the payoff – that moment when he sees me and I see him – will truly be priceless.

DIY Bridesmaid “Ask” Gifts

28 Feb

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Weddings are on my mind right now, not only because I have a bunch of lovely weddings coming up this summer, but also because I’m planning my own wedding alongside my amazing fiancé, Eric. Because I have weddings booked through the summer and fall, I had to schedule my own wedding for 2015. But hey, no harm in waiting. That means there’s a lot more time to plan, create pretty details and of course, enjoy the oh-so fun days of being engaged!

Eric and I picked our venue and date pretty easily, but perhaps the hardest initial step was deciding on how to ask my bridesmaids to be in my wedding. I know, that sounds silly, but 6 of the 8 bridesmaids live out of state, and I wanted to send something that was simple yet special. When I saw these tiny potted plants at Trader Joe’s, I knew these were perfect.

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To make these a bit more personal, I created little flags with my invitation. These were pieced together using wooden sticks, white circular cut-outs and black duck tape. Because the plants and flowers have a lot of color, I wanted to keep these neutral. They were super easy to make and I think they look great packaged together!

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After I added my date and my signature, these were ready to go. My bridesmaids loved them and now they have a little reminder of what’s to come in May 2015!

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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Engagement Photos

25 Feb

You’re engaged…yay! It’s such an exciting time, so first and foremost you should enjoy it. Don’t rush into the planning and simply enjoy the fun festivities that come with this awesome time of your life. When you’re ready to crack open those wedding magazines and start planning, one of the things that will be on your list is doing an engagement shoot with your photographer. I believe wholeheartedly in doing an engagement shoot before your big day, which is one of the reasons why I’m currently offering complimentary engagement photos. First, it’s a great opportunity for the photographer to get to know you and your fiancé, and for you to get to know your photographer. Secondly, it gives you a “practice” round and allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera. Sure, you may have some nerves, but after the first 15 minutes of us shooting together you’ll be craving more camera time.

As you’re planning your engagement shoot, there are a few things to keep in mind that make these photos as “you” and as timeless as possible. Here are five important things to keep in mind.

A Location That’s Personal (and Pretty!)

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I always ask my couples if there is anywhere that has special meaning for them. Usually the answer is “yes” and we incorporate that place into our engagement session. The couple above would always come to Wingaersheek Beach for family outings, walks with their dog or to enjoy a good beach day. I recently did an engagement shoot at Frog Pond in the Boston Common because of one couple’s passion for hockey. I also held an engagement session at Bentley University where one of my couples met. The location alone made them feel instantly comfortable and we certainly had a ball venturing around campus and recalling the good ol’ days.

Makeup and Hair is a Must

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It’s important for you to feel comfortable in front of the camera, and ladies, we all know the best way to do that is by getting a blow out and putting on some makeup. You may opt to do your makeup and hair trial the day of your engagement shoot. This will give you the opportunity to see how it looks in photos. You can also head to the local DryBar to get your hair done. It’s quick, easy and so affordable.

Perhaps the most important thing is to keep your hair and makeup as natural as possible. You still want to look like yourself in the photos!

Your Colors Should Complement, Not Match

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When it comes to clothing for your engagement shoot, keep it simple. Pick a palette, and make sure those colors are incorporated into your outfits. This will visually bring you together in the photos. Keep in mind that too much of the same color is a bad thing, and will be too overwhelming in photos.

Also, keep the setting in mind when selecting your colors and the overall feel of your photos. If your going to the beach, keep it casual and comfortable while providing a splash of color. If your going to be in the woods, think about incorporating deeper hues, such as plum, burgundy, etc.

Bring the Props (and Pets!)

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And make sure they define your personalities. Some couples want to use their photos as save the dates, so they bring a prop showcasing their date. Others simply want to highlight what they love. Hey, and if it’s bourbon, there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. My point is, make it about you. If you love sunflowers, pick some up with include in various poses. If you want to do a picnic in the woods, give it a go and tote along a blanket, hamper, vino, cheese…whatever you love.

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And don’t forget about the pets! I love it when couples incorporate their animals. Their pets are a part of their family so it makes sense to have them be along for the ride.

Think about the Season

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In my opinion, this is a personal preference. Some couples want to take their engagement photos during the same season as their future wedding for the sake of consistency, while others want to mix it up so they have two sets of photos with two totally different feels. It’s up to you! That said, each season does bring its joys and difficulties. For example, the summer is of course gorgeous, however sometimes the temps can get hot, calling for the reapplication of makeup, blotting papers, etc. And the winter…I LOVE winter photo shoots, especially snowscapes because there is nothing like the beauty of that white canvas. That said, it’s cold. Terribly cold. So you need to be okay with wearing a coat, scarf and gloves instead of pretty spring dress.

The last, and most important part of your engagement shoot, is to have FUN. It’s a time to celebrate, enjoy time with your fiancé, and really kick off the journey to the aisle. Cheers!

Live :: The Best Gift for a Coffee Lover

13 Feb

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On Christmas my brother and sister-in-law surprised me with the best gift ever – this Nespresso beauty. I can now froth to my heart’s content and fill my cup with as much foam as I want.

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Simply poor in your choice of milk – almond milk is just as good as your standard non-fat milk. Turn this puppy on and press the black start button. Press briefly if you want heated milk, and press the button for 2 seconds if you want chilled milk. I’m excited to use this in the summer to create delicious iced coffees. Can’t wait. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my hot lattes with layer of magical froth and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
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Eat :: Gluten-Free Thyme-Cheddar Biscuits

12 Feb

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I haven’t written much about food lately, which is such a crying shame because preparing and enjoying food is a big passion of mine. Part of the reason why I’ve neglected this category is of a recently discovered gluten intolerance. AH yes, I’m now a part of the GF troops. At first I refused to believe that this pancake-sandwich-pizza obsessed woman couldn’t eat gluten. I was in denial. But the fact is it makes me sick. So sick. And in order to live a happy, healthy, functioning life I needed to make a sacrifice. So I did. I begrudgingly started shifting my eating habits, learning about what I could and could not eat. While going through this process, I also learned that I actually had a few friends who were doing this GF thing, too. I wasn’t alone. One of my friends, who has a kick @$$ food blog helped me realize that you can actually make – and enjoy – many of the same foods while swapping out a few ingredients. Sure, you had to be more aware about what you were putting in your body, but at the end of the day, if you want to make pizza, you can make a GF version. If you want to enjoy pancakes, those are doable – and delicious! – too. One brand I discovered that really makes it easier to create these GF meals is Bob’s Red Mill. I had a craving for biscuits and saw their baking mix. I had a LOT of fresh thyme that has been begging to be used, and thought and herb-infused biscuit would be delicious for breakfast. I repurposed one of the recipes on the back of the packaging to help guide this creation and I think they turned out great.

You can eat these as-is, or you can put a mildly sweet jam on top like apricot to create a nice balance of savory and sweet. Or if you love egg sandwiches like I do, put one fried egg with a bit of sriracha aioli for an AMAZING breakfast. Enjoy!

Ingredients
– 24 ounces of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 cup salted butter, chopped up into cubes
– 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
– 2 cups of water
– 1 cup cheddar cheese (or you can also choose Monterey Jack or other variations)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With a wooden spoon, combine the Biscuit Mix, salt, sugar, butter, and thyme. The mixture will be crumbly, but then add water until combined. Next add in the cheese (and if you’re like me, more than what’s called for). When mixed in, create 6 large balls of dough – bigger than a golf ball but smaller than a lacrosse ball. And if these sizes mean nothing to you, just guess! With a wet spatula) or your hands), press down the balls of dough until they’re about 1-inch thick . If you’d like, sprinkle a bit of cheese on top then bake in the oven for 15 minutes. You want them to have a touch of golden brown on top, but want them to not be overdone in the middle.

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Sarah & Scott :: Fall Engagement Shoot at Copley Plaza

7 Feb

After another winter blast, I’m dreaming of warmer times. Anticipating spring, excited about summer (yay, weddings!) and even yearning for fall again. Fall engagement shots in Massachusetts are just AWESOME. You can’t beat the leaves, the temperature is just right (a tad crisp, but not too chilly), and let’s be real – it’s the season for Pumpkin Spice Lattes and apple picking.

Last fall I had a really great time walking around Copley Plaza and the Boston Common with Sarah and Scott. At one point, Scott lost his sunglasses in one of the Boston Common ponds so he had to jump in after. Thankfully, he was wearing boat shoes (a true New Englander). Looking forward to their wedding in September!

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