Archive for 'personal'

March 03, 2015


I’ve always considered myself a cold weather kind of girl. I grew up in syracuse and spent over a decade living in colorado – snow is what I know and usually means skiing, cozy fires, and hot chocolate. this year, however, the winter weather on the eastern shore has been anything but pleasant.. at least for me. maybe it’s because I’m getting older ~ or, in addition to the snow, there have been brutally cold temps.. regardless, I’m over it. but! there is one thing this photographer loves when the world is blanketed in white and that’s a photo shoot. fortunately, my dear friend lexie is always up for an impromptu session and after last week’s snow fall we had a great afternoon together here in town. as much as I love her and love these photos, I think we are both ready for some beach sessions and getting our toes in some sand.. xoxo

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November 19, 2014

1 I am biased.. let me just start off with that. I mean obviously, as you scroll through this post, you will see that this is an exceptionally adorable family. but what’s awesome, is that they are my family. growing up, I considered my cousins caitlin and taylor little kids that I was supposed to be nice to at family functions, they were pretty cute and sweet – but because I was a generation behind them, older, and lived out of state, I would pat them on the head and wish them well until the next holiday. fast forward until 2005 and my relationship with caitlin began to grow into a friendship (I will elaborate on our relationship in caitlin’s grey t-shirt project post :) ) and then she met her soon-to-be husband jamie. soon I found myself photographing my ‘little’ cousin’s wedding and was so proud of the woman she had become. around this time, her brother taylor and I started to become closer – he’s so smart, funny, and just an all around lovely human being. he has come to hold a very special place in my heart.. I see a little of grandfather and a lot my mother in him.  I was so grateful that they were becoming a bigger part of my life as my immediate family was growing smaller and I don’t know what I would have done without them. then cait called to tell me that she and jamie were expecting.. it didn’t seem possible, really. I know it sounds funny but even after all of her personal and professional accomplishments, she was still a teenager in my head. but once their son gray arrived, I knew that she had found her deepest happiness and joy. I am so happy that I was able to capture this little snapshot of time in the evolution of our family and I love you all so very much xoxo 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

July 28, 2014


the first time I met the lovely nefret was 10… count em, 10 YEARS ago when she served as a flower girl at her uncle tim and aunt jenni’s wedding. in the years since, jenni has become one of my closest friends and I have photographed this whole big and beautiful family many times. but when jenni contacted me a couple of months ago, she had a plan.. and it was a secret. nefret’s mom, beth, had a birthday coming up and jenni thought it would be really cool to have a session just for nef – a little hair, a little makeup and a lot of fun! she has grown into one of the kindest and most beautiful girls I’ve ever known and I loved every second of this session. I have been itching to blog this but because of the surprise factor I knew I had to wait… fortunately beth celebrated her birthday at the beach this past weekend and was given prints from this session as a gift – and I was given the thumbs up to post. thank you nefret for such a fun morning and HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH!! xoxo

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the first time I worked with laura and derek was during their e-session almost 3 years ago and within minutes into the session I had already fallen a little in love with them. couples who make each other laugh.. and I mean really laugh.. until the tears are practically running down their cheeks… these are my favorite kind of couples. this is laura and derek – plus they are thoughtful, spontaneous, playful, lovely and clearly madly in love. since that day they have gotten married and laura has become a valued addition to the GPA team! they have also gotten a dog (their beloved cooper) and recently they have purchased a new home.. #burblivin’ as they like to call it. for awhile now, laura and I have been talking about doing a post-wedding shoot (aka trash the dress, rock the frock, etc.) but with busy schedules and changing lives we just hadn’t gotten around to it. but with the upcoming move, laura wanted to donate her wedding dress before they took up residence in their new house… so a plan was hatched. all of us were getting together on assateague island for our annual studio shoot so the timing was perfect for laura and derek to meet me before that began. it’s clear that time has only made them more solid and formed a wonderful partnership.. as usual, their love and laughter was a joy to photograph. derek was a trooper and helped us ladies out during our studio session later that evening and even built us a bonfire – ever the eagle scout. I love you both so much and am so grateful that you have grown from clients into cherished friends and members of the studio family. thank you for asking me to capture more moments of your beautiful story together xoxo

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May 05, 2014

on any given day, new orleans is a pretty magical place. I’ve been there 4 times and every time I go, I fall a little more in love with this unique and beautiful city. but going there for the this year’s annual jazz and heritage festival (aka jazz fest) was one of the more spontaneous things I’ve done lately. late one night this past january, I stumbled across a link that led me to the line up video of this year’s musicians and each artist seemed more amazing than the next. on a whim, I texted one of my best friends kerry with a simple question… jazz fest? within minutes we had contacted heather, another one of our best friends and former roommate when we all lived in boulder, and a plan was hatched. bippity, boppity, boop – hotels were reserved and flights were booked. as it turns out, it was probably the best idea that we’ve ever collectively had in the 20 years that we’ve been friends. as we reunited over the first day and a half, not only were we thrilled to all be together, but we were ready to hit the streets of the crescent city where we strolled… marveling in the cuisine, the architecture and the energy that seemed to change.. just a little, from street to street. then there was jazz fest…. I have been incredibly lucky in the last year and have had the opportunity to go to several music festivals – all awesome and so much fun! but there is something about jazz fest, the way that the culture of a city as diverse as new orleans is woven throughout the music, art and food that makes it pretty spectacular. I was able to see some of my longtime favorites like keb mo, john hiatt, branford marsalis and public enemy as well as see performances by artists I had never seen but definitely loved. john popper from blues traveler made a surprise appearance which had the three of us screaming like 12 year old girls. as we spent our 5 days, that went by way too quickly, we would often start our sentences with ‘okay, so next time…’ and I don’t think any of us will be surprised if we get that middle-of-night-text next winter…. jazz fest? hell yes!!!


  • in september we decided that a trip was in order. our choice? paris
  • we consulted friends, clients and travel blogs and got to planning
  • we arrived at our apartment in the third arrondissement and set out for the essentials… french coffee
  • we spent late nights journaling while listening to music and the city sounds 4 stories below
  • we butchered some language and was corrected by snarky cab drivers
  • we lived on our balcony
  • we tossed out some of our previous plans to just wander the streets and soak everything in
  • we stumbled upon paris fashion week
  • we met a waiter named vincent who became our new best friend
  • we sampled every kind of pastry, bread and crepe we could find. literally.. everything – diets be damned!
  • we drank more coffee
  • our friend nancy flew in from germany to join us
  • we visited museums and saw works both big and small that we had only studied and loved from afar
  • we became surprisingly comfortable speaking the language as the days passed
  • we fell in love with the eiffel tower.. she is so magnificent in person
  • we spent rainy days in our apartment relaxing, talking and shooting
  • we walked countless flights of stairs – they are everywhere – usually spiral, always steep and seemingly endless
  • we got a lesson in proper absinthe etiquette
  • we missed our flight home.. not on purpose. really
  • we arrived home knowing that we had experienced something truly special and life changing. what we saw, the things we learned about our craft, ourselves, our creative passions, our friendship, the conversations we had, the lightbulb moments that came out of thin air, the beauty that was felt by all senses, the inspiration that will translate into our work and the reality that we were able to do all of this together is something that we will always have. always. paris moved us both in such beautiful and unexpected ways and we will be forever grateful
February 13, 2014

when my mother decided to move from upstate new york back to her home on the eastern shore, her first order of business was to invite all of our friends down. the kickoff shindig she threw was for my friends, who were all basically her ‘kids’ and she couldn’t wait to welcome them to her new home. in customary cornelia fashion, she had their cocktail of choice ready for everyone as they arrived throughout the day, including for my best friend heidi and her then-boyfriend randy. he poured himself a frothy ale while heidi asked for water – to explain why this was odd is to give you a long history of the parties that my mother and I hosted, which I won’t bother you with now – but let’s just say that a water request was unusual. as I looked at heidi, her eyes welled up as her hand went to her stomach and she said ‘I wanted to tell you in person.’ immediately knowing what this meant, I raced across the room and couldn’t let her go as I kept saying ‘oh my god’ and she would say ‘I know’.. ‘oh my god!’ ‘I know!’ ‘OH MY GOD!!’ ‘I KNOW!!’ as the tears flowed. heidi was my first friend to have a child so as her best friend, this was unfamiliar territory. hers was the first maternity session I ever photographed, the first time I ever listened with interest to birthing plans, the first baby gifts I ever sought out, and the first time I knew, really knew, that we were growing up. I was at work in baltimore when I got the call from randy that heidi had gone into labor and got to new york shortly after their daughter, whom they had named skylar, was born. I had no experience with babies.. zero, zilch, none. I was terrified that I would break her but I held her regardless and fear fell away as I was overwhelmed with a whole new love for this little, amazing, breathtaking person. as she grew up, I was ‘aunt’ raye and my role in sky’s life was that of her mother’s best friend – I was loved, for sure.. but still an adult, which meant that at times (ie: the early teenage years) I was, by default, not to be trusted with more than fun facts. then several years ago, something amazing happened.. she started talking, really talking to me. we talked about family and creative passions (she’s a crazy talented musician!). we talked about our fears and our dreams. we talked about accomplishments that we were proud of and things we wish we had never, ever done. we talked about boys, obviously…. and soon, when I would have a phone call with heidi, half of it was spent talking to sky and when we would all visit each other, sky and I would carve out a little time just for us. I know this.. if I ever did have a child of my own, I would want them to have a kind heart, a smart and wicked sense of humor, compassion, a quiet strength, sensitivity, a love for life and adventure, curiosity and a gentle nature. fortunately.. I already have all of that and so much more in my girl, my heart.

January 31, 2014

patty silverman is the mother of my best friend leslie and I as explained in leslie’s grey t-shirt post, I have a very long and lovely history with this amazing woman. when my parents and I first moved to fayetteville, a small village outside of syracuse, patty took notice of us right away as we were moving into our new house. our street was very small and she only lived 7 houses away – plus she saw me and guessed correctly that I was close to leslie’s age (in fact, we are only 10 days apart). immediately, patty and my mom began planning play dates and were determined that we would be best friends. initially, les and I weren’t playing along.. either with our mother’s plans or with each other. we despised each other..until… they didn’t force us to spend time together and then that’s all we wanted. because both of my parents worked in downtown syracuse and patty was an art teacher who worked out of home, I always went to the silverman’s house after school until my parents got home. if I was sick and had to miss school, it was patty who made me chicken soup and took care of me. during afternoons after school, leslie, her sister shelley and I would often be in the art room or playing in the back yard as patty made us a snack or helped us with whatever little homework we may have had. but we all knew that there was a sacred hour – an hour that was for patty and not to be messed with – and that was when donahue was on. it was understood that we would be quiet (as quiet as 3 little girls could be) and let her have her 60 minutes of blissful peace and phil. it’s funny how you remember the smallest and seemingly silliest things.. and how they become can become so important and life changing. one afternoon my dad stopped by their house and said that he wanted to take me out for ice cream, which I guess wasn’t too unusual but I don’t have any recollection of it happening before that day. after we each got a cone, he told me that he was leaving – he was a salesman, he left all the time. he told me that he would still see me all of the time.. well of course he would. he told me that nothing would change between the two of us… why would it? he was going on a business trip. right? so after about a 20 minute drive, he dropped me back off at the silverman’s. I walked in smack dab in the middle of donahue and patty turned to me to ask how ice cream was – I don’t remember what I said, all I remember is that she stood up, walked across the room and turned off the television and turned to look at me with tears in her eyes. I knew then, at that moment, that something really big and something pretty bad had just happened and I just stood there, frozen, as she wrapped me up in her arms. after my parent’s divorce, my mother and I would move and leslie and I would go to different schools. I would get older and be able to make my own chicken soup when I was home sick, but my love for patty never lessened. once leslie and I moved out to boulder, patty and her husband dick would come out to visit and it was like having my parents there – I’ve never been afraid to tell her anything.. ever. I always knew that she was there, even at a distance – keeping her eye on me and her heart with me. when my mom got diagnosed, les called to tell her mom and patty called me immediately. she was one of the few people that I let my guard down with during this time.. voicing my fears about my mother’s cancer, my confusion and my rage. at the end of our conversation she said ‘I’m always here.. I am your jewish mother after all.’ and the title has stuck since. something in that small statement brought me such sudden peace due to it’s accuracy. because she is.. I don’t know a life without her. in leslie she created my beautiful, talented and amazing best friend. she’s a survivor who has faced cancer head on several times and has won. she is my soft place to fall and has been since the day we met next to a moving van in upstate new york. I love you and am grateful for you.. more than words can ever say.

January 06, 2014

as I sit at my desk on this rainy and dreary day, I can’t help but long for the day when I first spent time with these two.. it was 82 degrees, it was sunny + bright and it was in jamaica for our friend susan’s wedding. I had been friends with courtney for years before that trip and this morning I was trying to recall the exact moment we met, but I couldn’t. it’s just like she’s always been in my life since I’ve been in snow hill and we’ve always been friends.. which is kinda cool. I do know that she and I became small business owners here in snow hill just about the same time when I opened the palette and she started the courtney brooke salon – as fellow women entrepreneurs, we have always been a mutual sounding board, bounced ideas off of each other and been there for each other through the highs of starting something new and the lows that owning a business inevitably brings. creatively she is amazing and has been my go-to for many editorial and specialty shoots where we’ve been known to sometimes have a little too much fun. I always knew that she had a sister but I didn’t meet andrea until jamaica.. and even after meeting her, I didn’t put two and two together that she was courtney’s sister until the day after I got there… for which I blame the tropics. but once andrea and I got to know each other it was like courtney.. like she had always been there and that I had loved and trusted her forever – which is really rare for me, which is why I love them both so. shortly after meeting andrea, she opened her own salon in annapolis and named it prim. because I am on that side of the bridge so much, I would often stop by and check out the progress.. see her dream taking shape. having been there myself I knew how excited she was but also the nerves, uncertainty and borderline terror that comes with taking such a leap. of course, she needn’t have worried as prim was voted best new salon of 2013 – boom! I obviously knew that they were going to be a part of the grey t-shirt project and I knew that I wanted to photograph them together but you try getting the schedules of 3 very busy women to match up.. it’s not easy. I love you both so much and am so grateful to have you both in my life – you’ve been there for me through so much, both personally+professionally and never, ever, ever fail to make me smile xoxo

  • we traveled to las vegas with some of our favorite ladies
  • we triumphantly won… and then embarrassingly lost on sex in the city slot machines (who knew they made a high roller version??)
  • we were treated to a lot of eye candy thanks to sin city’s notorious past, told through neon
  • we had a much needed day of peace, serenity and zen in the middle of the desert
  • we got some of the most exciting studio news… ever (cue our ‘happy’ dance)
  • we photographed weddings in rehoboth, OC, saint mikes, columbia, dewey beach and 2 in DC
  • we worked with some of our favorite families and friends
  • we had several rock star sightings
  • we traveled to NYC for the third time this year… something we could get very used to!
  • we spent some quality time with martha stewart
  • we spent our annual fall day in the lovely vessey orchard
  • we celebrated a year since hurricane sandy with the studio of our dreams
  • kris got married… sort of
  • we each spent halloween in our own special way