Galentine's Day Brunch

It's almost Galentine's Day! For those of you unfamiliar with the girly holiday, it's the day just before Valentine's Day where you celebrate your girlfriends, circa Leslie Knope. It's a holiday for appreciating your closest friends over tasty food and drinks. So I partnered with one of my closest friends, Diana from Unusually Lovely, to create a brunch we could make as beautiful as our friends that attended. Her blog will be filled with recipes about some of the treats we served (and how we made it so beautiful!)

I can only take credit for the cheese board (everyone knows it's one of my favorite things to make and eat) radish crostini, and a mushroom and leek frittata, whose secret ingredient is sour cream!

Additionally, we got to work with some amazing creatives! Kat of From Blossoms made gorgeous table arrangements to make the food look even more magical! The adorable pink plates and napkins are from Anthropologie, The gold flatware is from Target. The pastries sprinkled about are made locally in Fishtown at Cake Life! And of course we served my favorite, Whistle and Cuss coffee from Rival Bros. If you haven't had enough here, make sure to pop over to Diana's blog for more.

Winter Upstate

What better way to spend your week off than in the woods? Cooking, drinking whiskey, splitting firewood and playing board games was definitely the icing on the holiday season. We stayed in a lovely new Airbnb in West Shokan, NY that allowed us to lay around every evening by a gorgeous fireplace. 

 

We visited Foxfire Mountain House one night for drinks and dinner, and ate numerous large meals at the Phoenicia Diner. One morning I dragged everyone to go tubing at Hunter Mountain with gaggles of children, which was a hilarious alternative to skiing or snowboarding. Thursday graced us with a gorgeous snow storm that piled up all over the woods. We spent hours galavanting around the forest and stumbled upon waterfalls and quiet landscapes. It was the perfect trip to get in the mood for the long winter season upon us.

Montana, Wyoming & some buffalo.

One more trip. I went out to Big Sky, Montana to visit one of my best girlfriends that moved out there earlier this summer. Though a short trip, I was wildly impressed with the vastness of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I got to see some new animals (mainly buffalo and antelope), and even a cinnamon bear cub outside our bedroom window.

 

We made a short road trip through the National Parks, ending in Jackson Hole, WY one night, and at Chico - for some hot springs. Hope to be back for that baby bear one day.

Catskills, NY

Over Labor Day we spent another long weekend at our favorite house in the Catskills. This year we tried a new restaurant, Brushland Eating House, and were amazed by their schnitzel and green tomato gazpacho. I highly recommend (especially over Peeakmoose!). 

 

We climbed 3 mountains, saw 5 waterfalls, and spent a few days with some friends. Dillon and Sandi made fires every night, while Meg and I cooked elaborate dinners and warmed the first apple cider of the season.

 

As always, I hope to be back soon. I'll miss the cows until then.

Oh, and my friend, Ian, lent me his Hassleblad for the week, so all of the black & whites were shot with some old 120 film I found!

Palm Springs / Desert Trip

Two weeks ago, I saw the first sign of fall. Some yellowing leaves were falling across the street at the park as I was swimming. I had this realization that I needed to embrace the rest of the long days we have left. So I booked a trip to Palm Springs, somewhere I had never been before.

 

I stayed at the best little boutique resort in Palm Springs. So wonderful, I don't even want to tell you where it is! But I will; Sparrow's Lodge. It's a gem in a sea of party-centric hotels and mediocre food and service. Their staff, decor, kitchen and pool lounge are too perfect! Oh, and the beds!

 

On the second day of my stay, I started the day riding the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway up to the Mount San Jacinto State Park at the top. It's truly incredible to ride a rotating tram 8,500 ft. up and find over 50 miles of hiking trails among redwoods; just minutes after leaving a desert.

Later that evening I wandered to Joshua Tree National Park - which I'm sure you know all about. I went right at sunset to watch the stars come out. With the full moon coming up, there wasn't the sky full of stars I had hoped for. But the pink clouds, full moon and setting sun were enough.

 

If I'm being honest, food in Palm Springs isn't the best. I can't brag enough about Sparrow's Lodge and their kitchen, though. But I spent lunch at The Parker one day, going to Norma's. After hearing the hype, I figured it would be worth the $40 you'll spend on lunch. Can't say that it's true - though the grounds are incredibly kept!

Moorten Botanical Gardens is worth a stop though. A $5 admission gets your into a Cactarium and a walk around some amazing succulents and little lizard friends. They also have some handmade pottery for sale.

Diana of Unusually Lovely

My lovely friend, Diana, runs an awesome blog, Unusually Lovely. She makes the best baked goods, and some of the most interesting cocktail recipes I've seen! We took a few portraits for her blog in front of the new Electric Street mural in South Philly. Everything about her is full of color, smiles and cute outfits, so it was a perfect fit for her style.

 

Camping @ World's End State Park

My guy's birthday is today! So I took him surprise (kind of, everyone is bad at secrets) camping to World's End State Park, up in Forksville, PA. We spent the whole time eating cheeseburgers, foraging mushrooms and sorrel, watching the boys do dangerous things, and being so happy to be away from Philadelphia. I don't think I'll ever forget our english muffin breakfast sandwiches from Saturday morning.

 

For a state park in Pennsylvania, it was a really amazing spot. Thankfully we had some of the better campgrounds, but if you're planning a trip, don't book any in Loop A! Thanks to everyone that joined us in tent city!

 

night boudoir.

Did some exciting things with my photo bud, Michael. We had kind of a crazy shoot, since our subject's entire life was stollen out of my car 10 minutes into the shoot. This includes all her clothes, shoes, jewels and phone. Being a magnificent soul, she wanted to keep shooting so we could have something positive come out of this shitty event. Here is the aftermath:

 

PS, people actually copulate in Penn Treaty Park after dark.

iceland

Dillon at Seljalandsfoss in South Iceland.

Dillon at Seljalandsfoss in South Iceland.

Uhhhhh. I don't have much else than that.

 

Iceland is exactly what everyone says, and then a million things no one tells you. There really are waterfalls every step of your travels, but it's harder to see the Northern Lights than you hoped. Hot dogs really are the traditional road snack food, but you probably aren't ready for the magnitude at which the country exists. It's a country of endless nature and confusing weather; making your heart full of bliss and race with a bit of fear at the same time.

Our trip started in the South of Iceland in Eyrarbakki, a small fishing town. Our cottage was right on the Atlantic and the wind whipped at 40mph every day. It rained, it snowed and then suddenly a golden sun beam came out briefly and warmed the air.

This quaint town was our gateway to the Southwest of the country; exploring waterfalls, open farm land and the best tomato farm you've ever seen.

 

We then moved on to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula for two days of rocky cliffs, eating on the coast and black metal churches (but really, why do all the churches look like heathens built them? Into it.) 

 

I'll leave the rest of the trip for after the photos, since that's why you're here, anyway.

The one thing I'll really push is that the Westfjords are way more beautiful than anything else in the country. If you have time, the right car, and the right season: do it. it's not for the faint of heart, and certainly requires a skilled driver and a sense of adventure. But after we left our third stop of the trip, everything else seemed less incredible. I didn't mean for it to take away from Akureyri and the North, but we spent two days without seeing more than two people. We'd drive for three hours without seeing another car, in the most beautiful, untouched landscape I can imagine. No photo will do that place justice, I swear.

 

After a day in the North that was lackluster (Dimmuborgir was disappointing), the Myvtan Nature Baths were an amazingly empty alternative to going to the Blue Lagoon (and much cheaper!). Think about stopping at those on your trip. A geothermal pool of some kind is definitely worth the money, though. Seljavallalaug is equally amazing in a different way (but not commercialized at all).

 

Our last night was spent eating hot dogs and drinking very expensive cocktails in Reykjavik. It's a really neat city, for sure. Just don't forget about the rest of the country - it's better than any city you'll see.

 

Thanks to my friend Michael for letting me steal his camera to shoot some instant film. And a super big thanks to Jessie, Deanna and Dillon for letting me fall asleep early and still see so much of the country. Oh, and any cool photos of me were taken by Dillon.

Barcelona

I always knew I would fall in love with Barcelona. Work sent me for a week to a city I have dreamed about going to for years. It was just as magical as I had hoped. The city is gorgeous and clean and feels social. Everywhere you look there are restaurants with open doors and conversations spilling out. I accompanied a trip of students studying gastronomy and avant-garde cooking in Spain, so eating our way through the region of ham and wine wasn't a difficult feat (except for some emotional food experiences at Uma).

 

My first few nights I stayed at the Hotel Pulitzer, right above the Gothic Quarter, before moving into Barceloneta, where the students and I stayed in a dorm along the beach. I took a day trip to Monserrat, hiked up a mountain that looked down at the wine region, and ate as much cheese as I could. The last night of our stay was a big soccer match against Madrid. Though soccer is something I don't much care about - I felt compelled to watched the game with locals in a smoke-filled bar (just so I could tell my dad). Hoping to be back in this city some day. Until then, I'll keep dreaming about ham.

Sam Whiteout

Sam is a very old friend who is currently a social media influencer, social justice crusader and a huge crush in the men's fashion world. Him and I met when we were seven in theater camp (sorry to spill the beans, Sam) and have been friends through every step of our lives! Once we decided on a more casual look (though Sam still looks pretty A+), I thought Graffiti Pier, only a few minutes from my house, would be an awesome background for this superstar. Even though Sam isn't living in Philly anymore, it still meant a lot to both of us to shoot in a city we have spent a lot of time in together (though we were usually hitting up Restaurant Week).

NOLA in March

Spanish moss, the smell of beer (and piss?) and café au lait: a long weekend well spent with my father in New Orleans. I decided to take each of my parents on trips for Christmas so I could enjoy some one-on-one time creating memories. NOLA was the perfect destination for my father and I who love food, music and watching drunk people do silly things. We stayed in a great Airbnb in Esplanade Ridge, a quiet residential neighborhoods with a few cafes and bars.

 

The evening before we left we spent in the swamps of Lafitte, LA. It was one of the highlights of the trip, as the alligators had finally emerged from hibernation - we must have seen dozens! My two restaurant recommendations are Sylvain for brunch and Kingfish for cocktails (and food of all kinds!). I hope to make it back some day to eat more po' boys and beignets.

Winter in Brighton

I love the beach in winter. Hot summer days are made for cool swims, but the crowds in New Jersey leave me wishing I was at a secluded lake house instead. The deadness, deafness, of the winter beach is so serene and calming; reaffirming the silence of the season. And it means shooting in lingerie is totally acceptable. Seagulls stalked us, smelling the potato knish we had in our pockets, and a cold winter mist came down during this shoot at Brighton Beach.

Theories and Techniques workshop

On Sunday, a good friend and one of the best photographers I know, Michael, of Ash Imagery, held a workshop at Love Me Do's studio with his talented colleague Kiera. It was an instant film workshop. Yes, you're thinking Polaroid, Land Cameras and Fujifilm; something you all thought died, right?

The two of them came with so much knowledge to share with the small group of us, and we listened closely, eagerly waiting to dig into the pile of cameras. I'm not much of a learner - I do things over and over again until I develop a flow or figure out my own way without reading the directions. That's how I cook, shoot and certainly how I imagined this workshop would go. Me picking up something new and hitting buttons until I figured it out, wasting a ton of film in the process.

But after a few hours of carefully reviewing each film type and how each camera works and even how they fire a shutter (because it's not all that easy with the Mamiya RZ67). But after 8 hours of being around Michael and Kiera, I finally learned something new again. And then to feel the cameras and feel the film coming out of them - I could see myself doing things both correctly, and incorrectly in an instant. But it's a different instant than digital. For most of us, we all know digital so well now that the second our highlights look the slightest bit brighter than we'd like, our fingers do exactly what they're supposed to and change that shit.

This was slow, thoughtful and calming. Digital for me means rushing through every image to get to the next, following movement; constantly changing aperture, Kelvin, lenses. This day (though a whirlwind), caused me to slow down and take my time, even more so than with 35mm. Most things I do are in a rush. I like to think of it as efficiency - but we'll call it what it is.

 

Thank you so much to our teachers for forcing me to slow down, meter before each frame (WHO DOES THAT), and enabling me to begin learning a new craft. I'm sharing a few images from the day - keeping in mind this was my first time picking up either (Polaroid 195 and the RZ67, with Polaroid backing) of these cameras.

 



Scenes from a lonely Los Angeles

I spent four days in L.A. for work. The Adobe MAX conference was amazing - filled with thousands of creatives from all over the world who like to nerd-out on Adobe's programs. There were quasi-celebrities, in true L.A. fashion and sessions by really career-driven folks hailing from the Bay Area.

Besides taking photos of eerily empty landscapes, I spent most of my time drinking Old Fashions, contemplating what to do with my life, and avoiding awkward conversations about camera gear.

Here's to introversion. 

Hall & Oates open The Fillmore

Yes, I found it weird after paying $100 for tickets that people in suits had their cars parked under I-95 in the far ends of Fishtown. But stepping inside The Fillmore for the first time was a whirlwind. Bars everywhere you look, and even though they don't have Bulleit, their liquor selection isn't half bad.

Hall & Oates performed just predictably. Not a ton of energy, but sounded solid and smiled enough. The lighting and sound were both flawless, so there wasn't much that could go wrong. Mayor Nutter even introduced the Philly-formed band onto the stage for the opening night "ceremony."

I'm not sure if the area neighboring Sugar House will really want a beautiful new concert venue, but it was pretty nice to photograph.