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Christmas and the Boys

I always try to sneak some shooting time with my nephews. Sometimes it happens just 5 minutes before we leave for my family's  Christmas Eve Party. Now that the Holi-daze have ended I am super pumped for 2015! So here a few to photos to jump start my blog for the year. Happy New Year Everyone! 

New Work: The Warriors

New Work:The Warriors

This past summer I began working on a new project which I have entitled, "The Warriors". A series which I am continuing to shoot using traditional film based cameras. As an artist I am taking a step back, thinking about the technical roots of art and photography. What makes one photographic image better or more beautiful? What make a photograph perfect, does exposure matter, does color correct matter. Is too much grain or an image that is backlit bad? Or perhaps an image a thrive on its own through its conceptual idea. As always my family has allowed me to photograph them.

Let me know what you think!


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Holiday Mini-Photo Sessions!

One of my favorite things about working for myself is that every day is different. One day I am Chicago working a wedding downtown the next day I'm up a rustic hill in New Hampshire setting up an engagement shoot. Now that I am home I can settle down for a little bit and what better time than to offer some Holiday Mini-Photo Sessions... minisession


So I guys I am just saying...Call Me!

Italy: Lost in Venice

The first time Brad and I came to Italy together was in January 2013, New Year's Day to be exact. So, the last time we had been to Venice was during the winter time. It was not the best to time visit Venice, to say the least. As you may know, Venice is an island that is slowing going to flood over time. Winter, being the rainy season in Italy, much of Venice was flooded. Not to mention we had the worst time finding a place to stay because most places were closed for this slow season. Ever since that first trip we decided we needed to return to Venice during the summer months. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="765,767,766,768,769,771,770,772,773,774"]

We decided to do things a little different for this trip. First, we booked a place to stay weeks in advanced. And second we booked our train tickets using Italo, the fast train!! Last time we took a 12 hr overnight train from Napoli, which we only remember as being the longest and scariest night of our lives. Unfortunately, the day we left Rome this time-around, we checked the weather forecast for the weekend and Venice was suppose to be rainy the entire time. So we were a little disappointed to say the least. Anyways we hopped on our train and headed for Venice. Let me just say this, Italo was worth every penny! At one point Brad looked over at the speed monitor and it read 200 km/hr. It was pretty fantastic to arrive  in less than 4 hrs. Along with that the employees were the most helpful and genuinely nice people I have met that work on trains in Italy. Before we even got on the train one worker, walked right up to us and asked us our train car number and pointed us to the correct waiting area. So by around 1pm we were in Venice. There of course was a massive down pour going on for the first two hours, but after that it was sunny and nice for the duration of the trip. We certainly lucked out!

I would not describe Brad and myself as typical tourists. Although we like to see all the touristy sights at least once, when we are traveling we want to go where the locals go and immerse ourselves in that environment. So, one of the best discoveries we have found is airbnb, which connects travelers with locals who rent out vacation apartments, homes, etc. I really think it is a cool site and is the best way to travel. This time around we stayed quite close to the center of Venice in a small (4) bedroom flat. We were so close to the street we could hear the sounds of locals at a bar right beneath our room. It was really cool to look out our window, down a long,winding pedal-stoned street. As soon as we arrived we had to ask out host his favorite spot for dinner. Without any hesitation he replied, "Al Portega". He gave us a basic area where this spot was and then it was up to us to find it.

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So that night we made our way to "Al Portega". We immediately became lost, if you have ever been to Venice you know exactly what I mean. All of Venice, is basically a maze. In fact the neighborhood that we stayed in was purposely built within a labyrinth for protection during wartimes. We had basically given up and all of a sudden I looked up read "Al Portega" and we were there. "Al Portega" is almost the definition of a hidden local gem, I am certain most tourists would not find themselves here. Someone once told Brad and I that the way to tell a good restaurant is whether their menu is written on a board with chalk. And we walked in and that is exactly where we found the menu. We actually almost got sent away because we asked for two seats and the host said they were all full. Then she ran out the door and found us since a table that was just leaving. I could go on describing our whole meal, but I will just mention one thing that was pretty cool and also funny. I had ordered this mixtures of fried seafood items, (which by the way was massive) then at some point in our meal an Italian man walked up to us and just stood there admiring the plate. Then he left. A few minutes later he came back and said, "I was thinking of ordering that same plate". So I of course had to offer him a taste. And so he took a taste of my meal. To me it was so funny and fascinating that would never have happened in Chicago. I would have to say this meal was the highlight of the weekend.

The next day we took a long walk and basically got lost. We had all the intentions of going to the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, but as we kept getting lost and we ran out of time. Taking a gondola ride did cross our minds, but it really is not worth the cost of 100 euros to be in a long line of gondola riders. I am sure if we had been tourists in Venice 20 or 30 years ago, it might have been much different. But we did take the public boat transportation, which is really the fastest way to get around the city. It was like seeing the city from inside out, going past the old Venetian buildings and passing by the famous Rialto Bridge.  However, by far the most fascinating time I  had was walking along the small, dark street and getting lost. I cannot count how many times we took a street that ended at the dead end of the river.

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The third day was our last day in Venice. We had a mid-afternoon train ride back to Rome, so our plan was just to walk up, grab an espresso and head toward the train. Our thought was although it was morning still, we were going to get lost again, so we better leave enough time to make back to the train station. However, our wonderful host prepared us a surprise breakfast of two broiches, espresso, fruit cups and toast ( a typical Italian breakfast). We were a bit in awe by this gesture and it gave our weekend a blissful end.  After breakfast we made our way back to the train station, got lost again and went home to Rome.

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- E


Italy : Hello Old Friend

Once again, Brad and I are back in Italy. We had talked about returning for months. With my temporary art teaching job ending in June, we thought what better time to make this jump. However with my wedding photography bookings we could only manage a two month stay. So, here we are in Italy again. It is quite refreshing and much more easy going this time around. One of our main reasons for staying such a long time is that we are still trying to learn Italian. The only way to become better Italian speakers is to be in Italy. I am really excited to be here! First of all, Brad and I have never been in Italy during the summer months, so it has been cool to see the different scenes; the seaside of Ostia, outdoor music concerts, riverside venues and festivals. As always, Brad and I are enjoying our days taking a ritual walk throughout the city. In addition, I am taking advantage of some new photography projects which include a 35mm film and Fujifilm Instax series. I hope to share more in the following weeks. Ciao, for now.


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Wedding: Sarah and Dan- Union League Club Wedding

I have been dying to share this Union League Club Wedding for about a month. Having shot this right before leaving for Italy, I haven't had access to posting for a few weeks. Sarah and Dan's wedding was simply elegant, in a location that was founded upon history and tradition at the Union League Club. The love between these two is simply sweet, adorable and quirky! [gallery type="rectangular" ids="706,721,712,723,719,708,713,722,734,733,707,727,717,709,710,711,714,716,715,720,718,729,732,731,730"]

A New Adventure

As luck would have it, I got my first art  teaching gig! How I managed to pull this all off is amazing to me. First of all, I was interviewed via Skype. Pretty crazy, but I guess I made a nice impression. The only problem was the fact I was still in Florida and the job was back in Chicago. So I jumped on a plane and headed back to Illinois...leaving Brad in Florida. He would have left with me, but he had just set up an acting opportunity in Florida. I figured he would drive home solo or drive back with his parents. Fortunately they had some miles to spare and sent me ticket to fly back and then drove home with Brad. So I went BACK to Florida.We hung out for a few more days in Florida, soaked in the sun. Then headed out of Florida.  It actually was a nice ride back. I really prefer driving as oppose to flying. There was pretty bad storm leaving Florida, but besides that we enjoyed this one last trip before I got back to working. We even stopped by the Coco Cola Museum in Atlanta and visited our friend in Louisville, KY. A week later I started my first job as an Art Teacher, teaching Photography, Digital Imaging and Art 1. Although the job is only temporary and ends in mid-June, I am happy to get my foot in the door. The first week was hard, adjusting to the early morning drives and being at work full-time. My normal morning rituals have had to be altered. The little things like enjoying a nice warm cup of coffee are always on-the-go now. I have to prep myself the night before so that I can wake up and be ready to face the day at 6 am. The students and faculty have been very warm and welcoming. So far it has been an adventure and I am excited for the future.


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Skipping Chiberia

I actually love winter. Snow always makes me incredibly nostalgic of my childhood. My sisters and I would spend hours as kids building snow forts and running around in our sleds. I remember coming back inside and my mother would always have cocoa waiting for us. Our faces would be snow burnt and red, but it felt good. This winter Brad and I were around for quite a few snow days, but we seemingly missed a huge chunk of everyone's misery. We had the opportunity to head down to Florida. I had the intention of staying down there for a week or two, get a little bit of sunshine to help endure the rest of winter, However, a week turned into a couple weeks which turned into a month, then all of a sudden we were in Florida for 6 weeks. I have to admit, I enjoyed every moment of our stay. Brad and I both looked into possibly staying there longer. We were able to get on our bikes almost every day, riding to the market, bookstore or out for a bite. And the ocean was amazing, we often found ourselves laying out on the beach reading a book. We even found an Italian speaking group. Brad also starting going to Open Mics down in Florida too. He actually got a few gigs and made a fair amount of money. At one of the Open Mics he made friends with older Irishman,Bill  which turned out to be really cool. First, he was offered to play a show with him one weekend. Then he played St. Patrick's Day with him. Before leaving Florida we made plans to meet Bill in Ireland when we head back to Italy in the summer. (yes! we finally have made plans to return to Rome!!) Aside from the amazing weather, I was happy to be in Florida to see my cousins, Natalie, JC and Alexander. In the past when they come to Chicago, we really only have had the chance to see them for a few hours as the are always on-the-go, visiting with friends and family. So, it was really great to see them. Alexander was adorable. He just turned 2 years old in December and is quite the little chatter-box. He reminded me so much of Myles as his age, very imaginative and incredibly charismatic. I was little sad to leave at the end of our stay because we really only get to see them a few times a year.

I was a little bummed that no one from my family was able to make it down to Florida. I had invited my sisters, cousins, aunt, mom and dad. But the notice was so short, nobody could make plans. So, Brad and I had decided we would drive up to New Hampshire and spend some time with my parents. We had planned to leave around March 25th, we figured winter would be ending soon and it would be safe for spring to start. Our plans kind of got swept away, when I got a job offer. So, I had to head home to Chicago...

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Missing You...

I have been thinking about my family a lot lately and I just want to say I miss you all: Mom, Dad, Jennifer, Nate, Sarah, Annie, Myles, Arlo and Leo too! As we approach Thanksgiving Week, I am feeling more and more anxious to be home for the holidays. The past 2 months have been incredible, but I will still miss celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. This will be the second time I have been away for my family for Thanksgiving. The last time was back in 2007 when I was in college studying abroad in Italy. The hardest part about being away from Chicago is not seeing my sisters and my nephews everyday. I miss my parents of course too, but now that they have been living in New Hampshire for a couple of years now, I am used to not seeing them everyday. Luckily, we have FaceTime so I talk to them at least twice a week. It's kind of funny because we barely have things to talk about since we FaceTime so much. I have been talking with my parents the last couple of days. The just got back to Chicago to spend the week with my sister and nephews for Thanksgiving. It is kind of strange, but it actually has made me excited to see them home (in Chicago) for the week. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="373,375,376,372,371,370,369,368,367,366,365,364,363,362,361,360,359,358,357,356,355,354,353,352,351,350,349,348,347,346,345,344,343,342,374"]

The hardest person to leave was my nephew, Myles. We are pretty much best friends and I could tell that he really knew and understood that I was going to be gone for a very long time. I did not think he would want to talk with me on FaceTime because in the past whenever we would video chat with my parents he would be angry and would run away and hide. However, after I had been gone about 2 or 3 weeks from Chicago, he started to talk to me. Now he and I will talk for sometimes 20 minutes at a time, which has really made me happy. One of the ways I began dealing with being home-sick is by drawing. I do have formal training in drawing, however I have really never done much drawing seriously on my own. Then one day I decided to participate in the weekly online drawing contest, Mythical Beast Wars (My sister, Sarah's former co-worker is the organizer...and I think she collaborating with him on this too). Basically, every week there is a new contest that features a different Mythical Beast. (Be the way, you should check out It has been around for years and in the past I would occasionally submit drawings. However, I decided now would be a great time to start drawing every week. In ways, it my way of staying connected to Chicago and helped me to cope with being away, now I have begun to enjoy drawing for this contest every week. One day I was telling Myles about the contest and the next thing I knew, Myles started his own weekly drawing contest, " Mixed Beasts Drawing Wars". So, now I am drawing at least two drawings a week. It really has been fun for me and I am starting to notice some improvements in my drawing skills too!

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There is another person I keep thinking about ever since I arrived in Italy, my grandmother, Grandma Janie. She was such an awesome and amazing person that continues to make me laugh. When I told her that I was going back to Italy she said, "Italy?...bring a gun!". Just a month before I left for Italy, she passed away. It felt very sudden when she got sick this past summer. However, I believe she never wanted anybody to fuss over her and may have been much more sick than she appeared over the last several years. I am so grateful that I was able to spend the last short months of her life with her and my family, especially my Aunt Annie and my cousins Grace and Frannie. Before she died she told my mom, "I want to be cremented and then for everyone to get together for a BBQ!". A lot of people in our family did not agree with her choice, but when we gathered that day in her yard. I have to say it felt so right, I really felt her presence, I almost forgot that she wasn't just upstairs in her bedroom watching her favorite show, "The Sopranos".  Below are some photos from her BBQ. Until now, I have not been quite ready to share the photos, but as I look back on it, I am happy that I did.[gallery type="rectangular" ids="301,302,303,304,305,306,308,310,311,312,313,314,316,317,318,319,320,321,322,323,324,325,326,327,328,329,330,331,332,333,334,335,336,337,338"]

As I prepared to leave for Italy, it was very hard for me to leave my family. I still, am not sure if I made the right decision to leave so soon, but in my heart I know I needed to take the risk. I still am in disbelief that she is gone and I continue to think about Grandma Janie every day.

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In a way, I feel missing is just a part of life. We will always miss a person wherever they may be. So, even though I am missing all my family and friends back home in Chicago (and New Hampshire), I will be home soon!


Eating and Cooking in Italy.

I have always loved cooking, growing up my mom always had my sisters and myself helping out in the kitchen. Lately my sisters and I have taken over, especially now that my parents are out living in New Hampshire. One of my favorites things to do is cooking and hanging out with my sister and I all together. I wish I could be cooking up a storm with them right now! However, I have to say Brad and I have really hit the jack-pot. Not only are we surrounded by the most amazing food, here in Italy, our roommate is an amazing cook. And he has taken upon himself to teach us how to cook–Italian Style. Both Brad and I did a fare amount of Italian cooking when we lived in Chicago, however it is quite different learning some tips and recipes from him. [gallery type="square" ids="245,240,244,239,241,242"]

He has given us tips on making pesto, pasta sauce, potatoes, the list goes on. Recently he taught has a typical Roman dish, fried eggplants. Brad mentioned it was his favorite meal so far. So, we decided to try it.

Check out the short video below:


And here is the recipe:


1-2 Eggplants


1-2 Eggs

Bread Crumbs


1-2 cups of Oil


1.) Heat oven to 300 degrees

2.) Slice ( into circles) 1-2 Eggplants. Place eggplants on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and cook for 10 minutes.

3.) While the eggplants are baking: Heat oil in a large pot or Wok (med-low heat), prepare (3) small bowls, one with a cup of flour, one with a 1-2 whisked eggs and one with breadcrumbs.

4.) After 10 minutes, take the eggplants out of the oven. Let cool for 2 minutes.

5.) Take one piece of eggplant. Place into your flour bowl, cover with flour and shake off an excess flour.

6.) Next place your piece of eggplant into your egg bowl. Cover both sides with your egg batter.

7.) Next place your piece of eggplant into your breadcrumb bowl. Cover both sides with breadcrumbs.

8.) Place your piece of eggplant into your oil heated oil. After 1-2 minutes, turn your eggplant over. Then cook the other side for an additional minutes.

9.) Last place your eggplant piece on a plate lined with a paper towel.

10.) Repeat steps 5-9 for each piece of eggplants.

11.) Enjoy!

Of course this is not the most healthy meal. I would not eat this every day. However, it really is hard to feel guilty about eating fried food when we are biking up and down hills everyday.

Tip: If you have any extra eggplants and want to make a quite meal the next day. Brad and I chopped up our leftovers and covered them in a pasta sauce to make a quick and easy eggplant parmesian for lunch the next day.

Brad and I are both excited to learn more recipes and tips from our roommate and I am hoping to post more about food soon!