* The Shed gets a Christmas tree

I have made the effort to squeeze a little Christmas tree into The Shed the past couple years.  The Shed for those of you who don't know is my humble 285 square foot living space that I call home on Peaks Island.  I rent from two fabulous landlords, Skip and Andy, and we're just steps from the water. 

This year I decided to put my tree outside on my deck (which is also a killer new addition to my place this summer) and don it with white lights.  While I love the smell of a tree and the festive mood it puts me in for the holiday season, decorating it with childhood ornaments, and yelling at the cats to not drink the tree water or eat the pine needles, my outdoor choice was a good one. Three perks.... more available precious space inside The Shed, less maintenance / cat managing for me, and more tree admiring for folks getting off the boat.  You'll have to look hard though, it's quite small.

My fellow climber friend Jen and I excitedly went together to Skillins in Falmouth to get our trees this year.  However, we had the most anti-climactic, non-festive tree acquiring experience.  We were in and out with both trees in probably a record-breaking time of 6 minutes and 37 seconds.  So fast we didn't know what hit us until we got in her turck, had a laugh, and vowed to cut our own trees next year at her uncle's tree farm, provided the trees are ready.  We did each get a couple Skillins bucks though.

I should have known when I hauled the tree with one hand up Welch Street getting off the boat, that it was a small one.  I laughed when I stood her upright on my new large deck at how tiny she looked.  Clearly I'm still not used to so much space.  I plopped her in my large pot that housed my tomatoes this summer, but as I suspected the soil was not enough to hold her up and within a few days and a puff of wind, she was sideways and the plug for the lights pulled out of the outlet timer as a result of the fall. 

I proceeded to do what I knew I should have done from the start.  I dug out out my actual tree stand, loaded it with rocks, and installed a matrix of twine from tree to deck railing to ensure she'll last through the season.  I think mission accomplished... so far so good.

Despite all this, I have found it is still nice to have my Christmas tree outside and once some snow falls (pretty please!) she'll look even more festive!  (P.S. A winter shed-o-que / sled-o-que will be in order once we get a dumping of the white stuff!)  

So Islanders, get those binoculars out and look for the other tree down front the next time you get off the boat!  I'll try to get a larger one next year!  'Tis the season!

* Singles: Ice-O-Mat

Isn't she pretty?  (I couldn't even pick just one photo!).  I recently bought a vintage Ice-O-Mat at Goodwill in Mill Creek for $4.99.  The retro design, typography (more the name, than the type as I looked closer), and pea green color caught my eye an aisle away.  I immediately gravitated towards it, figured out what the heck it was, administered a mold and smell check, and made sure the steel blades were still sharp.  I cradled the top-heavy little lady in my arm like an infant around the store before check-out.  Can't wait to christen this puppy and make my favorite go-to cocktail of simply vodka on the rocks.  Here come the holidays!



* Singles: Homemade Lasagna

I was looking for a meal that would last me the week.  I like to cook in the beginning so I can reheat meals for the upcoming days.  I do not do well or make wise choices when I come home hungry, so I need to prepare ahead of time if I can.  Hannigan's Market on Peaks Island is only open until 8pm, so there is no running out for last minute things as I typically get home after that.  

I pretty much followed the recipe on the Trader Joe's box of lasagna noodles.  I rummaged in my freezer for other items and added a package of frozen spinach and meatballs to each layer.  I topped with fresh mozzarella slices and tomatoes, Maine Sea Salt, and  fresh cracked Stonewall Kitchen Pepper (as always!).  Feel free to contact me, if you want more specifics.  I even impressed myself.  Remember, cooking is a relatively new thing for me, so it's probably the second lasagna attempted in my life.  It was delicious!  Good comfort food.  Try baking your own! 


* emilie inc.: Engagement Session of Nicole + Sean, Old Port + Eastern Prom, Portland, Maine

I have known Sean for years, starting as co-workers back in the day at Pierce Promotions & Event Management.  He's been a friend that I didn't realize until now how long we've been friends for.  And by friends, I mean I've been able to witness him don a female cheerleader uniform around Portland.  Don't judge, folks, it was Halloween.  Despite this, he is an extremely talented graphic designer, web designer, animator, etc., the list goes on.  Hire him.

Enter Nicole.  She was friends with my friend Beth (Talbot) Geary who married another friend John at Laudholm Farm this past June.  Nic ended up a co-worker at Pierce with Sean, Beth, and myself and the rest is history.  She has become one of my best lady friends and graced emilie inc. with her amazing ol' "traffic ninja," multi-tasking, business, and marketing skills, serving as our Studio Manager before Megan Swann took over.  I loved the opportunity to work with Nic in a different capacity and industry.

This was also quite fortunate for Sean.  Having Nic work at a wedding photography company has made his own wedding planning a snap, no doubt.  I'm sure he was jealous that she had her wedding inspiration folder quietly tucked away at the studio.  He'd never admit it, but he had his own secret wedding inspiration folder hidden in his snowboard boot in the basement.  Don't lie, Sean.  Cat is out of the bag.

I cherish my history and friendships with each of them, and I love the moments I now share with them as they have grown together.  Marathon movie days at their house with Jan Mee Chinese food are some of my favorite memories.  I have progressed immensely with my crab rangoon sharing, and I have been able to provide valuable customer feedback on the various couches they've owned over the years through my lounging on them for movies or crashing on them after returning late from shooting a wedding and not making it back home to Peaks Island.

Nic and I were psyched she secured our Steve Phillips as her wedding photographer for the big day next June.  So Megan helped me with the fitting wedding present of me shooting their engagement session.  We sneaked one in this November on a gorgeous sunny Saturday, just as the chilly air rolled in for the season.  Nic and I knew our session had to start with a whiskey shot for Sean to loosen him up in front of the camera.  No whiskey was shot, but they enjoyed a couple beers while I snapped around them upstairs at RiRa.  Sean was definitely expelling some of his goofiness.  He is a total ham, as Nic says.  And I noticed it helped Nic get some nervous giggles out of her system.  In all my years of knowing her, I've never seen her just giggle for two hours.  Aw, such cute lovebirds.

We headed to the State Pier and Whale Wall next door to get some outside shots that highlighted Portland, before we hit the water's edge on the Eastern Prom.  I had a blast photographing my two friends who have decided to make such a huge commitment to each other.  Totally warms my heart and I loved that I was able to capture just a little bit of that for them.  To witness them together is honestly just perfect. Nic and Sean are two peas in a pod.  They balance each other, ground each other, and clearly love each other without question.  Honestly, I was a little nervous photographing such good friends.  The entire time I was shooting, I was trying to stay focused on making photos they would love for years to come and that fit their personality as a couple, but also to not get side tracked by this same fact.  I feared the images would lack emotional and visual depth, if I got distracted by my knowing them so well, that I wouldn't be able to see beyond "just two friends in front of my lens."  In the end, I feel I was able to overcome that and actually knowing them allowed me to be a little more frank with them -- ahem, mostly with Sean and telling him to stop making his eyebrow faces, which before this day, are the only types of snapshots I have of Sean.  Those crazy eyebrows.  In all of them.

Nic and Sean, I hope I have succeeded in providing some non-crazy eyebrow shots for you and captured a few moments you'll want to hang on your wall.  Thanks for allowing me to do this for you.  I am beyond happy for you both and cannot wait for the wedding!

The original post of Sean and Nicole's Engagement Session can also be viewed on the emilie inc. blog.  I couldn't resist -- I just had to include the entire write up here, too, because they're my peeps!

* emilie inc.: Wedding of Alli + Joel at Laudholm Farm in Wells, Maine

I have never seen two people more in love than Alli and Joel.  Factor in their wedding day and I was witness to a perfect union on a perfect October day.  They are so much in love they are creating their own last name that celebrates both of their families.  Combining her surname Shapiro and his Jukosky, they will become The Jukiros....

Please visit the emilie inc. blog to read and view more from Alli and Joel's beautiful, unique fall wedding!

* emilie inc.: Wedding of Leah + Mike at On The Marsh in Kennebunk, Maine

I had the pleasure of being a second photographer at Leah and Mike's laid back wedding at On The Marsh, a great venue local to her family's beach house down the road.  It was quite possibly the foggiest fog I have ever photographed in, but I am actually a fan of this type of weather... the mood it can create, the way it can filter light, soften colors and shapes in the distance, and punch up more vivid foregrounds.  Over 10 years in the making, Leah and Mike began their married life with a sweet ceremony and celebration that I was thrilled to be a part of and help document.  As lead photographer Steve said, thanks for making me feel like being part of the family, Leah and Mike!

Please visit the emilie inc. blog to view and read more about Leah and Mike's wedding day.


* emilie inc.: Wedding of Elissa + Ishtvan at Phillips Exeter and Abenaqui Country Club in NH

It was years ago that Elissa, who was working as a successful television reporter interviewed Emilie, and kept emilie inc. photography in the back of her mind, knowing someday we would photograph her wedding.  I feel lucky that I was the one to be able to do so.  I was able to hang with Elissa at her parents' home as she prepped for the big day.  I was able to witness her father placing a white balloon at all the neighbor's houses on the street.  His concern for these balloons was adorable, and I wondered if my own father would be doing the same, busying himself with tasks, so he could avoid the inevitable of admitting that one of his little girls was getting married.  Mike's prolonging of this moment was apparent when he whipped himself up the stairs in the foyer, passing by a beautiful Elissa, clad in her stunning dress, stating he couldn't fully comment on how beautiful she looked until she had her veil on.  "It doesn't count, until you have the veil on," Mike rationalized.  Elissa's sister Diana was dutiful, making sure she fully understood how to fluff the dress train, and her bridesmaids Bryn and Meegan making sure they understood the complicated bustle.  Betty, Elissa's mom, provided singing and dancing, making a plea for all of us to "save a horse, ride a cowboy."  She continued this mission later during the reception when the Big & Rich song came on and she promptly do-si-do'd with Ishtvan.....

Please visit the emilie inc. blog to read and view more from Elissa and Ishtvan's wedding day.