Category Archives: Lifestyle

Scotch in the Snow

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Valentine’s Day always falls in the middle of New York Fashion Week which means for the past 4 years we have been working non-stop and unable to have a proper romantic date.. that is until this year. Kevin surprised me last weekend by clearing my work schedule and whisking me away to Glenmere Mansion, originally built in 1911 as a home for Robert Goelet, for an “early” Valentine’s Day celebration.

We have recently been learning about the world of Scotch. I love the simplicity of a single pour drink if it’s at our studio in New York, or on a weekend getaway, so I don’t have to think about mixers and recipes. I’ll never forget the first time I tried Scotch- it was on our honeymoon on Safari in South Africa. We arose before the sun and had a quick breakfast before hoping in the jeeps- on the breakfast bar, oatmeal with a topping of scotch. What?! I mean.. this blows the “before noon” rule right out of the water. Come to find out, it was a delicious tradition and on those very cold sleepy mornings, just the right thing to warm you up ever so.

Fast forward a few years and we have been slowly learning and enjoying the lessons in scotch. We recently did an amazing flight taste tasting with our friends from The Glenlivet at Highlands, a Scottish experience gastro pub in the West Village. When Kevin was planning this romantic getaway he took inspiration from that evening and bought us a bottle of  The Glenlivet 15 which he knows I’d like because of its sweeter notes of almonds and spice. I love it’s distilled in French oak which makes it creamy and rich which I prefer, as a woman, to the other smokier varieties. The best part about gifting and receiving a beautiful scotch if you’re a man or woman is that you get to share it together, what each person individually smells and tastes and untimely make memories wrapped in the beautiful glow of golden honey.

So here we are, at the historic Glenmere Mansion, a place to cradle us away from the noise of the city and to spend the hours snuggled by the fire with the winter air breaking outside as we sip on scotch to keep us warm.

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“Last year I decided to educate myself about Scotch, something I knew very little about. When I went to the wine shop on our street I asked for some recommendations for where to start, and they suggested The Glenlivet 12 as a starter. Jamie and I both really enjoyed it, and knowing her palate I knew the 15 year would be a great next move.”

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Things I’ve learned about The Glenlivet:

The Glenlivet was the original Scotch, supporting an idea we believe in strongly, to be an original.

Why “The” Glenlivet?: The Glenlivet is known for its smooth and elegant whiskies. It was renowned and other distillers copied and took advantage of this fact including copying their name! George Smith’s (the founder) sons and heir went into a lengthy battle to secure the rights to be known as THE GLENLIVET to differentiate it from the copy cats.

All their spirits are created using a natural spring water from the same spring they founded the company with in 1824

This region of Scotch making is known for producing very smooth, easy and soft spirits.

On the rocks or straight up? It’s a personal preference but how they described it to me was that by drinking it room temperature you have a fuller, robust flavor. They likened it to a walk in the forest- the smell of the forest after a freshly fallen snow is more muted as opposed to its natural state, or after a warm rain (adding water).

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New Year’s Resolutions

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I‘m constantly reminded of time through my profession as a photographer by the IWC timepiece that now almost never leaves my wrist. I love the dance I have with the seconds of the day, capturing the present which instantly becomes the past and thinking about what is just a moment away in the future. Sometimes I look down at my wrist and watch the ticking second hand bouncing away on a subway commute or in bed when I can’t sleep at night.

Then a funny thing happened, I took off my watch for a couple of days and the time stopped ticking. Once I wound it up and was back on track I thought about the jarring nature of time stopping, something thanks to digital we never have to experience anymore. And I thought to myself, you have to be present in the moment and show up in life otherwise, time will just cease for you. I like that notion over the usual “time marches on” which always makes me the slightest bit sad.

In Savannah I took some time to look back on the year, process it, and then think forward to where we go from here in this new year of new adventures…

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

1. Start Running

2. Learn a skill unrelated to my career

3. Create more with my hands

4. Cook more

5. Purge the “stuff”

a friend taught me to ask yourself - “does it bring you joy?” if not, get rid of it

6. Take time to find inspiration outside my own world (or the internet).

7. Go to Japan

8. Stop checking email after 7pm

9. Give myself downtime (aka stop feeling guilty when not working)

10. Spend more time with the ones I love

 What are some of your personal resolutions? How do we constantly remind ourselves of these personal goals? 

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Old School Photography

Holiday_Card_2014_02 Much about being a creative is really understanding your voice and your vision, which isomething I have struggled with in the past while trying to find myself as an artist. With the passage of time and constant study, you start to see who you are, what you love and then… how the world truly looks to you. I will never be able to escape my tendency toward romance, beauty, simplicity, emotion and the classics.

So, I embrace it.

I can never ignore the soul fulfilling satisfaction of taking a photograph from concept, to composition, and then captured at just the right moment on film. That one shot, the quarter of a second pulled from time and eternalized into a physical object of study. This was the birth of photography for me, this was how you would take a picture and then agonize through your fear of mistakes in the waiting of development; a torturous process that I’m insanely in love with. In 2012 I decided that our studio holiday cards would be created in this fashion every year as a way for me to count the passage of time, to make something of an artifact for the people in my life, and to slow down from our crazy digitized lives back to where it all began for me as a photographer. I get to give the best I’ve got in this old school process; my vision, my thoughts, my mind, my passions, my skill and most of all, my time.

For this year’s studio holiday card I thought about the recurring visuals from 2014 and let my mind’s eye wash away in the strong currents of pictorial memories. What stood out to me? What did I learn about myself? What did I realize I loved? We traveled around and around the world to Bali, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Provence, Germany, England, the American South, and Peru (more on that next week!) and you’ve been with me each step of the way these 12 months.

As I reflected on the year the place I loved most was Paris. It keeps coming back to me, as if a part of my soul is there waiting. I love the classic nature of her perfectly white architecture. The endless amounts of art and inspiration. And of course, the light. I love the way the french look at beauty and the physical form. As an adult now in charge of my own body, destiny and confidence, I’ve found that I am now enamored with the beauty of the body, it’s evolution and ever changing shapes, the softness of skin and functionality that make us human. I thought about the beautiful sculptures of Paris that dot my endless walks, the thing I love to do most there. I thought about that day I spent in the Louvre with my father and all those breathtaking halls of beauty celebrating the female form. Then that was it. I wanted to bring all of those things into my world, in front of my lens, on an early winter evening at Ann Street Studio…

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Using a dark changing bag I loaded Ilford Delta 400 black and white film into my 4×5 sheet film holders. Below our intern Sarah Rocco captured behind the scenes shots photographing model Mitzi who I previously worked with at our studio and who I knew had the type of body I was going for.  Holiday_Card_2014_07 Holiday_Card_2014_11

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Happy Holidays

Holiday_Party_cover00 How lucky are we that we get to work with our best friends? My friendship with Kelly began 3 years ago on a shoot in Malibu where we shot all day, and dreamed all night. Fast forward to now, another year in our friendship. We shared a house in Amagansett, she threw me the best birthday party of all, we collaborated on shoots from CHANEL to golden goddesses, cool kids to Victoria Secret models. Before we each go home to our real families Kelly and I had a Holiday Party here at the studio for our little New York family, the ones that buy you a drink after a hard day or make you laugh when work is stressful or keep you inspired though all forms of collaboration… and the occasional selfie.

Of course we had to go big and by go big we mean we decked the entire party out in Ralph Lauren from the table tops to the shoes! …so it was basically my dream party. Zach, Kelly’s boyfriend (who just opened a new restaurant in Manhattan!) made the most beautiful dinner of Coq au Vin (recipe HERE!) while Kevin welcomed our guests with a Suburban cocktail (see his story & recipe below!).

Kelly took care of the table with a focus on personal touches, my favorite being the way she did the place settings by using a small silver frame and having me print photos that I have taken of us through the years (which was super easy using THIS), as a way to mark each person’s seat at the table. I loved this touch. I thought it really represented our friendship and collaboration and was an amazing way for everyone to re-tell the story behind the image.

While she sat the table I thought it would be fun to put the photo studio in use even for a dinner party! I threw up a gray seamless and put some warm gels over a couple of kino flo lights and had the camera ready to go to take portraits of each other, to remember this time in our lives together, and this holiday season. As the night progressed the portrait studio turned into a candid riot of laughter and dancing and all out friendship silliness. I cherish this night, these real moments of laugher and wine, photography and art- all the passions that brought us together in the first place.

So here’s to the holiday season. I hope you find some inspiration in our intimate Ralph Lauren inspired dinner party for your own this December and remember to be with the ones that you love….

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Kelly has a method to her table-setting-madness! See here entertaining tips here

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Above~ keeping it classic in a Ralph Lauren Collection Cashmere Chunky Knit Turtleneck (I order a size up to make it extra cozy), Collection Pencil Skirt and Suede Blamina Sandal

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