Filtering by Tag: Chicago

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!

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"]

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!


Hills, hills and more hills...

[gallery type="square" ids="233"] In Chicago for the most part, Brad and I would always try and get around the city by bike. There were times, when cars or the bus/train were necessary and we both had cars too. However, for us it both an economical and logistical way to get from place to place in a big city. So, when planning for our stay in Rome, we really wanted to buy our own bikes.

Then we arrived in Rome. Pretty much every Italian in Rome warned us that it was not a good idea! We almost went with their advice. However, a few nights later while walking around our neighborhood a huge crowd of bicyclist passed us, it was a Critical Mass event. I never thought anything like this would be going on in Rome. I was very shocked and excited! The next day, we went ahead and began our search to buy some bikes. Of course we were not about to invest much money in these purchases. However finding used bikes came across kind of tricky. We thought we would just run into some bike shops walking around. But that did not happen. So we went online and looked up some shops in the area and began making our way to these places. Most of these trips, led us to expensive bike shops or shops that no longer existed. Finally, after about a week we found some bike shops. It was actually kind of funny, Brad had looked up a bike shop and we made our way to the location. As we arrived to the location in an area in Rome known as "Portuense", we discovered not only one shop, but there were about 10-20 bike shops right next to each other along this street. It was kind of crazy to see all these business, right next to one another, selling the exact same things. To say the least, we were a bit overwhelmed which shop to enter.

For the most part, each business was selling new bikes, but most of them were selling used ones too. We tried out a few bikes at a few places along this street of businesses. Finally we found some bikes that seemed to be in the best working condition. To be honest, I was not confident that these bikes were going to work out, but we went ahead and bought them anyways. So for 100 euros we bought 2 bikes.

The phrase...Rome was built on 7 very much true. The hills in Rome are so crazy! Thinking back upon Chicago, I always feared the hill on the Damen Ave. Bridge, near Fullerton/Elston/Damen. That hill is nothing in comparison to the hills in Rome. Now that we have been in Rome for about 1 month, I am finally getting used to riding up these hills. I keep thinking to myself that this is a great exercise!

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I really did not notice when we were purchasing our bikes, but Brad's bike is quite the beater, even compared to mine. In fact, two days after we got our bikes he got a flat tire. In the last month, he has had to replace both tires, both pedals and his seat post. It has been quite laughable. I kept thinking to myself, "knock-on-wood, my bike is not going to fall apart, my bike is not going to fall apart". Finally, one of my pedals fell off! HA! HA! However, we really have not regretted this decision yet.

We have met quite few Romans that are in utter shock when we tell them how we get around by bicycle in Rome. Of any other city, Rome is apparently the hilliest. In addition to the hills, people have warned as about how fast and reckless drivers are in Rome. However, in retrospect Brad and I have discovered that is not actually the case. Although, cars may appear to be driving fast, they seem to be quite cautious in terms of watching that they stop for pedestrians,especially those in cross-walks and slowing down at intersections. Back in Chicago, I feel no body stops for anyone. And if you try and cross a street, most cars will not stop or even slow down. Here that is just not the case, I actually feel safer riding my back in Rome than in Chicago. For us, it has been a great way to go from place to place and to really learn the city and its surrounding neighborhoods. So far now, we are still having fun biking around, up and down Rome.


Yes, we are still awake...

The first 24 hours of traveling from the U.S. to Europe is always kind of brutal. We left Chicago at about 3:30pm and landed in Rome at 11:30 am the next day or 3:30 am in Chicago time. Going home is always a little easier because we are going back in time not forward. It is always hit or miss for me, whether I will fall asleep during the 8 hour or more flight. This time I did not. We were pretty exhausted by the time we arrived, but we still had an hour bus ride to Rome. Getting around was fairly simply for us because we had just been in Rome 8 or so months ago. We knew how to hop on metro once we arrived at Termini, one of the central train stations in Rome. Everything seemed to go like a breeze. From there we took the metro to Piramide/Ostiense, our new neighborhood and found our new apartment, just a 5 minute walk from the train. We met our new roommates, our landlord and then we went to go see our new school and figure out our schedule. Looking back, I am certain we were walking zombies that day. Luckily our day was so busy we didn't even have time to think about being tired. I gotta tell you, we really got lucky regarding our roommates they are awesome!! After we got back to our new place or new roommate gave us a tour of the neighborhood, took us shopping at the local supermarket and came back home and cooked us dinner. In the middle of dinner it finally hit me, I need to sleep!  It was about 10:00pm, we finally crashed into bed and fell asleep immediately. Given, at that the time it was 2:00pm in Chicago time, that meant we had been awake for about 30 hours. I slept for 14 hours that night... [gallery type="square" ids="201,192,191"]

Ciao Roma! We are back...

It is kind of crazy, but Brad and I were in Italy less than a year ago. But, here we are back in Rome! Back in May our landlord in Chicago was pushing us to resign our lease. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking to myself, "do we really want to stay here another year?". At the same time, Brad and I really did not want to go looking for a new apartment to rent in Chicago. We were happy with our place, it had a nice backyard and was relatively cheap. But I had this thought...what if we moved out of Chicago? What would life be like, where should we go? We began by thinking about places we'd like to check out...we even travelled to Austin,TX and New Orleans,LA. In the end, we really loved those cities, but discovered they really did not offer us a much different life than Chicago and they just were not urban enough cities in general.  August hit us and we both thought, " what should we do? Where should we go?". Then, I said, "What about Italy?". Italy seemed to offer us so much more!! If we lived in Rome, we would have the big, urban city life that we loved. We could also continue studying the Italian language, but it a better way because we would be completely surrounded by the language. So, here we are! Of course, every day is a little hard not having my parents, sisters and nephews around. Besides that,  so far it has been a very cool and exciting adventure. Using our italian every day, discovering our place in a different city and making new friends!

CentroBrad & Me