Mari in Nolita

Hi friends! So, I'm super behind on my blogging. Clearly. It's March, and I did this photo shoot in the beginning of December. Whoops! 

Winter is almost behind us (please, God, please). So I figured I'd better catch up on my blogging while I'm still in the slow season. Can't wait for warmth and sunshine and long days so I can be outside behind my camera more!

OK, so back to New York in December, which feels like eons ago. I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours with the fabulous Mari Andrew, who I met in college. Mari and I met up in the cutest little NYC neighborhood, Nolita. We had a glass of wine and caught up since it had been forever since we'd seen each other last, and she shared some of her wisdom with me.

Usually when I share photos on my blog I don't write a whole lot to go along with it, but writing is something I love and something I would like to get back to. I had this idea to do a "women who inspire" series, combining photos with writing, and I thought: what better way to start than with someone who is following her dreams in a creative field and someone who truly inspires me.

If you know Mari, or even if you're an Instagram fan from afar, you know that she is a gem. You may have stumbled across Mari's endearing illustration work on Instagram (@bymariandrew) or maybe you've come across one of the many articles written about her on Buzzfeed, Bored Panda, Business Insider, Bustle, etc. etc. (Why do these all start with B?!) If not, check her out, and follow her Instagram. She's awesome. 

A couple of years ago, Mari found herself dealing with the loss of her father, a difficult breakup, and to top it off -- cancer. A writer by nature, Mari found herself needing something else to help her process her grief. Mari puts it this way, "writing can be so intense, but doodling was fun and light and silly. I decided to put that happiness on the calendar and do one doodle a day."

I've been following Mari's work from the beginning, and it's been so fun to watch her illustrations gain traction and basically go viral. I asked Mari what her "holy shit" moment was, and she said it was when she hit 5,000 followers on Instagram. Now she's got 375,000 (!) followers and, in reading some of the many comments on her posts, it's clear her fans adore her and really connect with her work. 

Mari and I talked a lot about being a woman in a creative field and what it's like to be vulnerable by sharing yourself through your work. Over our glasses of hurriedly-drunk wine (the day was late and light was fading. Photos had to get done, but first - wine. Obviously.) we talked about how frustrating it is that we could get the most lovely praise and kind affirmations from so many people, but then that one disappointed client or Instagram troll can make all of that feel so small. That one comment or email or social media interaction can tower over the good, completely overshadowing it. It can really crush you.

I know I struggle with that. I made the comment that maybe I need thicker skin. And Mari said, "no, I feel like I need my 'thin skin' in order to do what I do. I am a sensitive person." And Mari's work really does radiate that beautiful vulnerability. I think that is why so many people identify with her work. It's why I do. There is a tenderness to it, and it is vulnerable in that it reveals so much about the kind of person Mari is, and the life she leads. She speaks truth through her art. And that is refreshing. There is nothing false or forced about Mari or her work. I love that. 

When asked who inspires her, Mari says the community of illustrators on Instagram. "It's the nicest community of people, and they're so encouraging." Mari is also inspired by "anyone who works really hard. I try to find people who work really hard and I try to emulate them."

And it is hard work, what Mari does; what any creative does. The hard work has paid off for Mari, and I am so excited for her, because she's currently working on a book that combines her illustrations and her first love: writing. Mari says, "I never wanted to be famous or necessarily publish a book. I just wanted to write." 

I asked Mari to give some advice to young women starting out in writing or art, wondering where to to go, and how to get there. (And selfishly I was asking just as much for myself!)

Two things you should know:

1) There's no substitution for hard work. "I got rejected 9,000 times. It feels like 9,000 times. It was four years of rejection. Do the work."

2) "Keep writing. Keep creating. It's an act of self-care. Put the love and the passion first."

When I asked Mari what keeps her going in the face of rejection, she said, "I would rather die than not be a writer." 

I'm so grateful for Mari and others like her that share something of themselves and make this world ever so beautiful. Thank you, Mari, for sharing your story and your truth with me over a glass of wine. And for wandering around Nolita with me. Slightly tipsy, maybe... But it made for some pretty fun photos. ;)

And without further adieu, here is the beautiful Mari Andrew. 


Casali Family

Bringing it full-freakin'-circle (Lorelai, anyone? Gilmore Girls a Year in the Life? Sorry, just got done binge watching and it's on my mind). Anyway... my sister and her fam were the first family I ever did photos for. So it was fun to do photos again almost a year and a half later, with my beautiful grown-up nieces (and their new puppy!) OK, so they're only 5 and 3, but they're growing up too fast! 

We took photos on Thanksgiving morning at Sheep Pasture in Easton. Such a great location, with that big barn door, and lots of land to wander around on. It was perfect. 

Here are some of my favorites.


Albert Family

Helloooooo! I feel like I've been editing photos foreeeeeever. Now I'm finally crawling out of my photo editing cave to share some with y'all. (Can I say y'all even though I'm really a New Englander? I choose to believe yes. Yes, I can. ) Yay!

Anyway, I got to go back to Colt State Park which is so beautiful in the fall, you guys! My friends Kate and Nathan wanted me to take one-year photos of their adorable son Foster. And when I say adorable, I mean, a-freaking-dorable. You'll see. This little man is so cute, and it was so fun to capture the many faces of Foster. We spent about half the shoot focusing on Foster, and then family photos for the other half. 

I think these will make for some pretty cute Christmas cards.

Also, tangent -- Christmas!! I'm so excited. This meme is my life right now. Who's with me?

OK, back to the Alberts. Here are some of my favs.

Kefor Family

Last Sunday, it was a dreary, dark, rainy, cold day. I was a little worried because I had photos scheduled for the afternoon, and cold, dreary weather isn't exactly ideal for little ones. Also, I was going for that late afternoon dreamy lighting and I was worried that the dark clouds would take over my shoot. 

Well, sometimes the dreary days actually make for great photo shoots. The rain held off, the clouds weren't too dark, and it actually warmed up a little bit. We had a great time walking (and running) around the beautiful Queset House in Easton. This ended up being a great location which I definitely will keep in mind for future shoots. 

These little ones were so sweet and fun to photograph. Such a gorgeous family!

There's still time for holiday card photos. Contact me to set yours up soon!


Gardell Family

Two weekends ago I drove up to Mass and had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful family of four in their backyard. Ford is just a couple of months old, and his big brother Asher is four. They were so much fun to photograph. And so stinking cute!

I am lamenting the transition from fall into winter because the light and the colors are just so beautiful. But I was glad that I had this opportunity for another gorgeous fall shoot with this cute family. Here are a few of my favorites. 

LaPorte Family

Last weekend I photographed a very old family friend and her beautiful family. Laurie grew up on the same street, and was the same age as my oldest sister. Since both of my older sisters spent a lot of time playing at Laurie's house, I, as any good younger sister should, followed them. Probably much to their dismay. :)

I hadn't seen Laurie in years, so it was so fun to see her and meet her husband Tom, and their two little guys. I loved the energy these boys had. They had a lot of fun running all over the park, and I had fun chasing them, taking photos of the fun they had, and sweet moments like when the boys found a caterpillar, and gave it kisses! *heart melt*

We met at the Governor's Estate Park in Easton, MA (my hometown!) on a gorgeous fall day. I'm in love with these fall colors. 


Hope & Main Lobster Boil

Last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph a very cool event at a very cool local nonprofit. I might be biased because my husband works there, but even before he started with the organization this Spring, we were both big fans of Hope & Main. It is such an important part of our community. Here's a little background info, from H&M's website:

Hope & Main is Rhode Island’s first culinary business incubator. We help local entrepreneurs jump-start early-stage food companies and food related businesses by providing low cost, low risk access to shared-use commercial kitchens and other industry-specific technical resources. Our goal is to help grow the local food economy by creating a community of support for food entrepreneurs and cultivating an environment where emerging culinary startups can test, create, scale and thrive.

Check them out! In addition to offering kitchen space and resources for startup businesses, H&M is always offering different classes (I took sushi-making with my husband -- so fun!) and events open to the public.

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Golden Hour Love

If you schedule photos with me, you will find that my favorite time for photos is about an hour before sunset. Why? Because of the following photos. I am obsessed with the "golden hour" as they call it. And I was not let down on this gorgeous night at Colt State Park in Bristol. Sunset was at 7:15 and we got to the park at 6:15 with plenty of time for photos. The lighting was amazing, the clouds were amazing, and the sunset was perfect. Insert heart-eye emoji here. 

Annetta and Ross wanted photos as a family of three with their sweet son Asher before their next little one arrives. We had fun roaming around Colt State Park, which apparently was photo shoot central that night because we saw three other sessions taking place while we were there. It is the perfect spot for family photos, senior photos, engagement, portraits... This was my first time doing a shoot here and it will definitely be at the top of my recommendations for clients in the future. I <3 Rhode Island. 


You guys! I am so excited about my first senior photo sesh. Full disclosure, I was nervous about these photos because I've only ever photographed kids, families, and couples. Totally different dynamic when it's just one person. I wasn't sure how it would go. Turns out, I really enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun, and I loved being able to just focus on one person. 

I also live in a pretty amazing town with gorgeous old buildings for backdrops. And, I happened to have a beautiful subject. Rebecca is a natural beauty and it really comes out in these photos. Isn't she gorgeous? 


The Sturdys

I met Alicia and Andrew in college, but didn't really get to know them until years later when I was in grad school with Andrew, and we all lived in the same apartment building. I have great memories of one Easter dinner at the Sturdys' apartment, cooking together, eating a great meal with friends, and of course laughing, a lot. As we do. Fast forward a few years, and all of us ended up out of Chicago, and on the East Coast. Now, sadly, the Sturdys have moved back to the Midwest. We miss them! Thankfully, their East Coast ties are strong, and they return in the summer to visit lil' Warren, Rhode Island, where we live. 

The Sturdys came to visit RI recently, and I was so happy to take their photos that a small miracle happened: I woke up before dawn in order to capture the gorgeous lighting of sunrise over Mt. Hope Bay in Touisset Point. 

So pretty, although I couldn't believe how fast that sun shot up and the beautiful dawn light quickly turned to bright orange, hot on our faces, squinty-eye light. 

Andrew and Alicia's sweet little girl Stella was not exactly pleased about being awoken from her slumber to have a camera pointed at her. But we got some nice photos nonetheless. 

So good to see you, Sturdys! Thanks for being my models.