A stylish, puppy-filled Christmas tree farm engagement

 
 

Stephanie & Ivin love a few things: each other, a good bottle of champagne, skiing, traveling (especially to Chicago, or anywhere warm), cheering on their Boston sports teams, ramen date nights, and above all, their adorable Boxer pup, Django.

Ivin popped the question this October, so the two celebrated their recent engagement winter in true New England style: at the adorable Greenwood Tree Farm in Billerica. They went home with a perfect tree to decorate, AND hot cider & doughnuts.

CONGRATS Steph & Ivin on this amazing chapter!!!

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A music inspired winter wedding at 1620 Winery in Plymouth, MA

A music inspired winter wedding at 1620 Winery in Plymouth, MA

Puppies. Milk bar. Wine barrels. Happy tears. An epic married singing duet. BROOKE AND DARREN ARE MARRIED!

Recipe: Lena’s Life-Changing Cookies

 
 
 
One time Lena gave me 7 of these cookies while we were out to lunch and I ate them under the table in the restaurant in under a minute and I don’t know if that says more about me or her bomb-ass cookies.
— Rachael M

There was once a time when I thought I would make Toll House cookies from the grocery store FOREVER.

I didn’t know diddly squat about baking. And when I rolled up my sleeves to make my first cookies from scratch… I forgot to grease the baking sheet and they were a hot, burnt mess that fused to the pan. RIP to that pan. Apparently you shouldn’t use the random baking soda that deodorizes your fridge for your batter either. Hey, I’m no Christina Tosi yet, so bear with me here.

As a newly married man, it’s important to keep your wife happy.
Nothing makes my wife happier than when I whisper those three magic words...
”Lena’s homemade cookies.”
— Jerad D
 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups salted butter (4 sticks)

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 3 cups brown sugar, packed

  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3 1/2 cups flour

  • 2 cups oats

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

  • 1 cup chocolate chunks

  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 cup mini M&M’s

  • 1-2 crushed handfuls of Trader Joes peanut putter filled pretzels, salted

 
 

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes ~6 dozen cookies (yeah, you’re gonna want that many)

1) Mix room temperature butter and sugar (2-3 minutes with hand mixer)

2) Add eggs and vanilla (beat for 1 minute)

3) Combine flour, baking soda, and oats in separate bowl

4) Add dry to wet, mixing one cup at a time until all mixed

5) Add extras, mix again

6) Use a cookie scoop to dole out onto a greased sheet pan

7) Bake at 350 degrees for ~10 minutes (every oven is different so just watch them ok)

 
 

TIPS

  • Don’t forget to grease the flippin’ pan! Or use parchment paper!

  • Dough is best baked when refrigerated, so after making the batter, either put the whole bowl in the fridge to scoop later, or scoop them all out onto a sheet pan immediately and chill those babies for minimum 1 hour, best 12-24 hours

  • I like to bake in bulk, so I save one batch for now and the rest for later in labeled freezer bags. Then, when I’m feeling like a delicious homemade cookie ASAP, I can pop them straight from the freezer into the oven WHAT A LIFE HACK FOLKS

  • If you use unsalted butter, add 2 tsp salt to the batter. If you use salted butter, don’t add extra salt #thanksjayme

  • Feel free to get creative with the toppings. Add your own mix-ins, do less of some and more of another, etc. I honestly forget SOMETHING every time I make these, so don’t worry, they’ll survive a little experimentation

  • The best way to store extra cookies its in a tupperware container with a piece of BREAD. Yes I said bread! White bread, wheat bread, bulkie roll, whatever. The cookies retain moisture from the bread and are even softer the day after you bake them. Replace the bread every 1-2 days as it gets hard. This is my all time favorite bake hack for sure!

They are like little discs of crack.
I ate 10 of them at once.
— Dan S.
 
 
They are fucking bomb dot com.
— Jules L.
 
 

Italian Holiday in Rome + The Amalfi Coast 2018

 
Italy-Positano-Rome-Amalfi-Coast-Lena-Mirisola-9.JPG
 

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…

Was truly the theme of the whole trip. We came. We saw. We ate.

In Rome, we stayed in a super chic, glass floored Airbnb called the Rasella Loft by the Trevi Fountain in Rome for 3 days and at an Airbnb owned by the sweetest couple called Casa Perla in Positano on the Amalfi Coast for 4 days.

One of the highlights of the trip was biking through Rome with Giulia - she was the best guide (and owns a female bike co-op!) and knew all the best spots for food around Rome.

Of course, followed by our ravioli & meatball making class by Vatican City. Serena taught us how to make the most delicious food, and we got to eat it all with a glass of wine at the end!

The Amalfi Coast is famous for its seafood, views, and lemons - two of which we greatly enjoyed. Limoncello, fresh fruit from the market, giant lemons, lemon granitas, and heaping amounts of pasta and pizza from Ristorante C'era Una Volta.

We spent every single day in Positano on the beach - not at the main Spaggia, but at Fornillo beach, which wasn’t crowded and touristy. We climbed 50 flights of stairs to get to the beach and 50 flights back up. PHEW.

Scroll through our photos to get to the food + activity recommendations at the bottom!

 
 

food highlights of ROME:

Roscioli for pastries and prosciutto, grab some from their deli next door to bakery (by Campo di Fiori)

Pasta at Ai Tre Scalini - Cavour 313 - La Casetta a Monti (all in the same neighborhood)

Pizza at Dar Poeta (sit down) OR Antico Forno del Ghetto - in the Jewish section. It looks like a deli, but there’s pizza everywhere. Get the potato one and classic cheese, you order, then pay at the other counter, then grab your pizza. You’d think it’s old stale pizza but it literally changed my life. 

Gelato at Origini Gelato or Blue Ice Gelato (they have kiwi flavor!!!)

Pasticceria Panificio Panella Roma for pastries, also there’s one in the Jewish corner by the Synagogue - Pasticceria Boccione it’s GREAT

Great tiramisu at POMPI by Vatican City

Best cannoli of my MF life (hazelnut) at I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza (by Campo di Fiori)

ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS OF ROME:

Trevi Fountain (go early in the AM)

Coliseum (go early in the AM)

Roman Forum

Palazzo della Sapienza

Spanish Steps

Piazza Navona (great for a drink)

Pantheon

Villa Borghese for sunset

Campo di Fiore market

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A chic Boston City Hall + Public Garden elopement

A chic Boston City Hall + Public Garden elopement

This chic Boston City Hall wedding is one for the books - Carol Ann & Greg hit Faneuil Hall, the Custom House Tower, rode the T, and ended at the Boston Public Garden. This surprise elopement was nothing short of perfection!

An autumn Lake Winnipesaukee wedding at Church Landing in Meredith, NH

An autumn Lake Winnipesaukee wedding at Church Landing in Meredith, NH

Kristen and Zach tied the knot at Church Landing on Lake Winnipesaukee - and even hopped in her dad's Thunderbird, the very car that he drove baby Kristen back from the hospital in. Did I mention there was a RAINBOW too?! Don’t miss this wedding on the blog!

A cosmopolitan, Turkish wedding at The State Room in Boston, MA

A cosmopolitan, Turkish wedding at The State Room in Boston, MA

This chic, downtown Boston wedding combined Turkish and American traditions for the most ROYALLY EPIC day! Don’t miss the rich Turkish decor, sweeping skyline views from The State Room, an adorable pink taxi, and a BELLY DANCER!

The elusive WORK LIFE BALANCE!

The elusive WORK LIFE BALANCE!

Photographers: do you find yourself scared to take a vacation? Answering emails when you should be sleeping? Skipping out on social events to edit? Learn my fool-proof method to a killer WORK LIFE BALANCE. I get asked about this all the time. I've found a system that really works, allowing me to work when I want to while dedicating enough time for rest and fun. If you're working hard but not playing hard enough, it's time to tune into the Boss Lady Diaries newsletter and read all about it tomorrow!

9 Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Photographer

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A cozy, fall Birch Wood Vineyards wedding in Derry, NH

A cozy, fall Birch Wood Vineyards wedding in Derry, NH

Jax and Roo said I do! These best friends turned bashert (soulmates!) have been together six years, and today was the day they made it official... with cider donuts and a giant popcorn machine, of course. Rain couldn't stop their joy on this fabulous fall day at Birch Wood Vineyards!

An autumn wedding at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

An autumn wedding at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA

There’s nothing like a fall wedding at Willowdale Estate - PLUS, don’t miss Sadie the adorable flower dog, an ice cream sundae bar, 3 kinds of wedding cake (including funfetti) and homemade baklava baked by her mama!

A luxurious, autumn inspired Cape Cod wedding at Wequassett Resort

A luxurious, autumn inspired Cape Cod wedding at Wequassett Resort

This pumpkin spice Cape Cod wedding was complete with an oceanfront ceremony, flower girl grandmas, spiced rum cider, pumpkin candles, and fresh donuts - their reception literally SMELLED like all the best parts of fall! And for this party animal, Drake-loving couple and all their wild friends and family, they turned Wequassett Resort into the hottest nightclub around.

A garden wedding on Martha's Vineyard at the Beach Plum Inn

A garden wedding on Martha's Vineyard at the Beach Plum Inn

A sunflower garden first look, a joyful seaside ceremony, a vintage VW bus photo booth, a romantic tree swing, rainbow macarons, a dance floor under the stars, and late night apple fritters from Back Door Donuts… yeah, Ana and Adam threw the perfect end of summer bash on the Vineyard.

A Bloom Meadows wedding in the Berkshires, MA

A Bloom Meadows wedding in the Berkshires, MA

Ice cream, home-grown hops, custom Converse, puppy love, and the rainiest day the Berkshire Mountains could offer: don’t miss Cass and Chris’s modern barn wedding at Bloom Meadows!

A chic museum wedding at the ICA in Boston, MA

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A quintessential Boston anniversary session

Boston is a very sentimental place… especially for Kate & Emmanuel. This is where their life, their home, and their love story lies. 

I had the honor of photographing Kate and E for their first anniversary - lucky in love, married goofballs who jive to classical music (how they met in college - flute and clarinet players!), E’s homemade margaritas, and late night trips to Target.

They hit all their favorite places - Beacon Hill (where they love taking walks) and the Esplanade (where they picnic and listen to live music). Show these cuties some love!