Such a mixture of emotions. Hopeful, but anxious, too. Most of all, I’m thankful. That I have Eric, who finds little ways to comfort me. His hugs make everything better. Or that kiss when he senses I’ve had a stressful day. And Maki. Who cuddles with me and gives me licks when I need them the most. I’m thankful to be surrounded by friends and family that are so caring. It brings me so much joy to watch my nieces and nephew grow into such loving children. There’s a lot to be thankful for and it’s these times when I’m feeling overwhelmed that I need to remember all the wonderful things in my life.
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When I first started off as a photographer, I didn’t have much in the way of equipment. I had a camera and a lens. That was it. I’d pack everything up in a messenger bag or backpack and head off to whatever restaurant or engagement photo session I was doing. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed a real camera bag. I did some research and found one that I thought would work for me. It could fit a body, a couple of lenses, and my laptop. Seemed perfect. After a few months, though, the thing started to rip. Now, I’m partially to blame for this. I packed it with more than it could handle. I traveled with it and abused it in ways I shouldn’t have. But, for many reasons, that bag just wasn’t right for me. I needed something that was durable, but because I was doing a lot of location shoots, I wanted something that was stylish too.
ONA bags aren’t just good looking (which they are… most people have no idea it’s for camera equipment), but they comfortably fit everything one needs for a shoot. Over the last couple of months, I’ve taken the bag with me on countless projects and it has been a wonderful experience. Each compartment wraps snuggly around anything you put in… camera bodies, lenses, flashes. Unlike my other bag, which could only handle a body and a couple of lenses, the ONA Camps Bay camera bag I have handles 2 bodies (a 7D and 5D), 4 lenses (50mm, 17-40mm, 24-70mm, 100mm), a battery charger, a laptop and iPad, as well as all necessary cables. Yes, the bag got a little heavy, but I never felt like it couldn’t handle the weight.
I brought the bag with me on a shoot at Coppa. My friend (and local business owner) Abby was nice enough to come out in the cold to help with taking pictures. Without her, I think it would have been a challenge to capture the whole process. Thanks Abby!
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Until now, it hadn’t quite hit me that Eric and I had bought a house. There were a lot of questions that we’d been waiting answers on… like when exactly we’d be closing. Which then left a lot of other things open. Would we be able to refinish the floors before we moved in? Would we be able to paint rooms? And when the heck would we even be moving? But now a lot of these questions have been answered and we can officially get excited about the move. Currently, I’m not that stressed about the process. Yes, I know there’s a lot of work to be done. But we’re in a good place with packing and, for now, we’re basking in the joy of knowing that in just a little over a month, we will be home.
It’s hard to express how important this move is for us. We’ve been wanting to purchase a place for a long time. But, more importantly, we’ve wanted to live in a place where we felt comfortable. Living in South Boston has a lot of benefits, but it never felt like a place where Eric and I could be ourselves. We’re looking forward to becoming a part of our new town’s community; to embrace all it has to offer. And I think we both agree we’ll be welcome with open, loving arms.
Last week, we got our first container of Florida-grown strawberries in our farm share box and while maybe I should have just let them be, I was too excited. Roasting the berries doesn’t take a way from their flavor, but, instead, deepens it. Their tartness shines through the balsamic reduction. Including ice cream just brings the dessert together. And who ever passes up on a chance to eat ice cream? Not this guy.
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Eric and I are such homebodies. It’s definitely a seasonal thing for us and with all the snow and cold weather, there are few things that can motivate us to go out. For Valentine’s Day, we stayed in and plowed through the second season of House of Cards (yeah, we’re a part of the 2% that finished it in the first weekend) and chowed down on a massive platter of sushi.
This last week, however, was full of social engagements. A few months ago, we’d made plans with Eric’s brother and his wife to go out for an adults-only dinner. It’s been years since the four of us have gone out without the kiddos and, as much as we love the little ones, it was nice to have a night where we could have some uninterrupted conversations. Then there was dinner with friends at Alden and Harlow, a recent addition to the Cambridge restaurant scene… and, folks, if you make it out this way, you must try it. This is my kind of food, seasonal dishes made with local ingredients, creatively prepared and, yet, completely unpretentious. There was a roasted yam that blew my mind. Oh, and if you’re a meat eater, definitely get the Secret Burger (I couldn’t resist a small bite and I’m so glad I did because it was fantastic).
Now, this was an especially busy week for me. Six shoots, three of which happened on one day. But it was nice having social events to look forward to after all that work. Friday was particularly wonderful. I helped dear friends of ours cook for a dinner party. There was a ton of food: spicy peel and eat shrimp, guacamole with mango and avocado, Cornish game hens, and a wonderful pisco and pineapple cocktail that made for a very relaxing evening. My contribution was this coconut rice pudding. Even though we were completely stuffed after consuming multiple courses (the dinner lasted over four hours), the dessert was a wonderful and surprisingly refreshing way to end the night. I think the fresh mango puree and orange zest really brighten it up.
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I’m so glad I got over my hatred of mushrooms. Between you and me, I don’t think I really had an issue with their taste or, as I often complained, their spongy consistency. The real reason, I’ve come to accept, was because my sister loved them so much. Therefore, I had to hate them. Makes sense, right? The funny thing is that I ate everything as a kid. I never turned away food. Except, that is, if it contained mushrooms. I’m not sure when I decided how silly it was that I said I didn’t like them. I guess I started giving them a chance as a teenager, especially when I stopped eating meat. Their texture, the umami notes… all the things I missed from eating a steak… I found I could get all of that from mushrooms.
Sometimes the best dishes come when focusing on a single ingredient. I started with an assortment of fresh mushrooms and built off that. A bit of butter and red wine helped to build a flavorful and very satisfying sauce. The creamy polenta, rich and comforting. Nothing wrong with a little fat this time of year. We’ll get back to salads later. Right now, this is what we need.
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