Wed. Dec 17, 2014 by Mary    Get Fired Up

Made to Last

There is something that happens when you buy an 1800s era home.....the projects are never ending.

Actually no, scratch that. There are THREE things that happen when you buy an 1800s era home:

1) The projects are never ending
2) There isn't a straight wall to be found in the whole thing, and
3) You wouldn't change it for the world.

We LOVE this house. Everything about it has character and style and history and legacy, and you KNOW that's speaking our language. It's everything we love and want to stand for ourselves in our own work! In CT, there tend to be two general types of homes; there are the old historic homes (with all the challenges & extra effort they bring) and then there are the new constructions, which can be gorgeous...we actually looked at a lot of them when we were looking to buy and there are so many pretty ones out there. But every time we walked into one it felt like something was just missing for what we love. And that something I think is the "what makes them different" factor. That is something that's really important to us. In our own work, the last thing we ever want to be is the exact same as everyone else. We always want to make sure we are never compared as a photographer is a photographer is a photographer, all lined up side by side. And we knew that's what we wanted for our home too.

And BOY did we get it!! There is nothing about this house that is the same as any other. And for us, that is both the greatest thing in the world....and also presents an ongoing, ever-growing list of challenges. The walls are curvy, there are all of these quirks in the floor plan we have to work around, the joists are in weird spots. And when you try to bring in modern amenities, with all of their standard measurements & placements, it takes a lot of improvising & shall we say "creative thinking" on the spot to make them work! :)

But again, as frustrating as that can be, I think that's what we also love so much & are so grateful for about this house every single day: absolutely nothing about it is cookie cutter or the same as everyone else! (even though sometimes that would definitely be the easier, faster way to go!)

We were talking to our contractor, who was in to take measurements for our next wave of renovations on the house, and he said something that really stuck out to me. He said he actually really loved it when things don't happen so super quick & easy in a home. He said he loved it when the homeowners have had to get their own hands dirty in helping to make it happen. Because he said it made them appreciate it more, it made them care more than if it was all just handed to them.

And I think it's like that with our businesses too. At some point or another, I think we all wish we could just snap our fingers and we would be "there" (wherever there is). We wish it could be easier. We wish it could be faster. We wish we could just follow the step by step instructions that were included in the box. We are ready to show the world the "after" to our before. We are ready for the highlight reel. We are tired of the behind the scenes.

But it's exactly those behind the scenes- It's the hard work and the getting your hands dirty and the having some skin in the's the problem solving and figuring out how to make it happen and the quick thinking on your feet- it's all of those things that are what make it YOURS. It's all of those things that you'll get to be SO proud of one day. It's all of those things that allow you to get out of the box and stop just following someone else's instructions. Because I promise you, if I just handed it all to you tomorrow... it wouldn't mean nearly as much. It would just be something you were willing to walk away from when the highlight reel was over.

But this. The building it with your own two hands, the learning a new craft as you go, the refusing to take short cuts.... now THAT is how you make something that's different from everyone else out there.

So today, I want you to give yourself permission to slow down. The enjoy the process. To see the work that you're doing on this dream as a privilege and a gift.

And whenever it gets hard just remind yourself....this right here is how you build something that was made to last.

Rock it out friends!

Mon. Dec 15, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

Our New Favorite Holiday Drink!!

When we were down in Virginia working on our new brand & website with the amazing Jennifer Olmstead, all of us were putting in a lot of long hours! And that kind of diligence and effort definitely requires some reward at the end! :) So at the end of Day 3 when the last to do had been check marked, we decided to raise a glass to celebrate! When Jen asked if we wanted to try her favorite new drink, I was honestly just expecting a glass of wine or something like that. But this girl is the QUEEN of hospitality, so I should have known better! She started breaking out cutting boards and spices and fresh rosemary. And that's when I knew we were in for something really good!

Enter: The Bourbon Bomber!!

I don't know about you, but when bourbon, nutmeg, apple cider and bitters all come together, it sounds pretty much like a holiday dream come true to me! And I can tell you that it was even better than it sounds.....they were delicious!! And I may have just had two! :) We know that a lot of you are heading to holiday parties this time of year or maybe even hosting one of your own, so we asked Jen if she could share the recipe so we could pass it along to all of you too. And in true Jen fashion, THIS is the gorgeous design she put together (did I mention she's amazing?!)

We hope you guys love it as much as we do! Cheers!

Amazing design by Tonic Site Shop, recipe from The Boys Club.

Mon. Dec 15, 2014 by Mary    J&M Mentoring Sessions

December J&M Mentoring Sessions

Happy Monday!

Last week, we finished up our last mentoring session of the year! We took two sessions in December: one of them- with the adorable Jamie Rae- was done over Skype because she is all the way out in Oregon and the other was last week while we were down in Virginia with the amazing Amanda Manupella! I just adore both of these girls and I am SO excited for all of the incredible things they have planned for their businesses in 2015! They both came to us totally ready to shake things up and come out swinging like never before next year, and after sitting down with both of them I have no doubts that that is exactly what they are going to do!

I am so grateful for these mentoring sessions and things like Skype and travel and this blog that have brought so many amazing hearts in our lives this past year! It is such a gift to be able to sit down with someone and hear them pour out their hearts for the big dreams they have for their businesses & their lives. To look them in the eye and know that they have what it takes to go do it. And then to sit down side by side, shoulder to shoulder with them and come up with a plan for getting there. I'm just SO thankful! This work doesn't feel like work at all....and that's when you know you're on to something you love!

Here are some of our favorites from the mini-headshots we did with Amanda! And if you are interested in mentoring with us for your business in 2015, we say why not make it a Christmas gift to yourself this year!! :) You can find all the info by clicking HERE.


Thu. Dec 11, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

J&M Behind the Scenes Recap 2014!!

Ooooh it is that time again! Another season has come & gone. We have closed down for the month of December. And that has been giving us some time to look back on this past year at all of the amazing engagements, weddings & shoots we got to be a part of, all of the wonderful places in the world this job of ours took us (Germany, Antigua, California, Colorado, just to name a few!), and all of the incredible people (heyyyyy J&M Brides!) we got to meet along the way.

It is also the time of year where we can look back at all the shenanigans we got up to behind the camera in making those shoots happen.

This is one of my favorite posts of the whole year because it gives me the chance to look back through the whole year and stand in wonder at every good thing that has happened (and remember Who every good thing come from) rather than it all just be a blur and then be on to the next thing! And it also gives me the chance to remember just how very lucky I am to do this all side by side & shoulder to shoulder with my very best friend and the cutest boy in the world.

So here it is, our 2014 Behind the Scenes Recap! Try not to be jealous of all our utter coolness, especially when you see that very last shot! :) (hint: it's the exact opposite of cool!) Since this post is so massive, we've broken it up into some very appropriately named categories, as you'll see below!

Cheers to an incredible year you guys!

**First up, we call this first section, "This is how we DO, New England Style!!"

There WILL be lobsters on my clothes, do not be concerned. I'm from Connecticut, not crazy.

Polka dots and plaid.

Navy & white is my jam.

Polka & pink. Real men wear pink! :)

Striped sweaters & puffers for those chillier months.

Next up is our "Anything to get the shot!" category. We'll wade right into the water, get down in the grass....

We'll shoot one handed while we share a bottle of wine with our couples...obviously!

We'll shoot in tight spaces....

We'll shoot in the rain....

Like, a LOT of rain!!

We'll shoot in high heels boots on the snow.

We'll actually get IN the fountain...

We'll wrap ourselves around this random post because that's where the angle needs to be.

We'll create makeshift backdrops...

And we'll get dangerously close to the cliffs (even when warned against it)!!

This next section is our "Profoto on the GO-GO" category!

Really on the go in NYC.

True story: this nearly turned into a Mary Poppins moment. Chim Chimeroo. But it's really good in case of rain.

And Profoto on the go to these awesome steps in Chicago!

Which leads me into our next section...."Oh the places you'll go"!! On location in the Garden of the Gods, CO.

The top of Foss Mountain in NH for sunset.

A catamaran in Antigua with one of my all time favorite J&M Brides, Lauren Wakefield!

The shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago. With a bird.

On our own personal sailboat for the day in Rockport, Maine.

And on an almost totally frozen Belle was beautiful!!

Next up is our "Justin looking dapper" category! Naturally!

One handed. Just how he rolls!

But he always makes time to groom the next generation of photographers!

Laid back J.Crew for those more casual days.

Suspenders and satchels for the win.

And when in doubt, add a sailboat and a puffer vest in Nantucket! Plus that adorable smile! :)

His trusty Fuji with the leather strap.

This brings me to our "Stuff that happens at weddings" category. Bridal party of 20? NO problem! Big groups totally think I'm funny! Totally.

Do that thing that makes your heart smile.

The Well Groomed Groom.

Breaking out the longer lenses.

Ride along on the party bus!


Group photos with our AMAZING J&M Couples, like these two- Rene & John, who were one of our absolute FAVORITES!!

Mazel, Mazel.

Light testing for epic room shots.

More light testing. And more polka dots!!

Photo booth fun! Even better if there are shark heads. Actually, there should always be shark heads.

Annnnnnnd then there's.......THIS. Which I'm pretty sure gets a category all it's own. :)

Happy Friday Friends!!

Thu. Dec 11, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

Christmas Fun w/ Friends in Richmond!!

While we were down in Virginia working on our brand & new website this past week, we were also able to spend a day in Richmond meeting up with some of our favorite people! We sent them an email to let them know that we were coming & we told them to show us how RVA does Christmas....and BOY did they deliver!!

We had dinner at the absolutely STUNNING Jefferson Hotel that was decked out to the nines for the holidays, complete with a huge christmas tree and giant gingerbread house. This hotel is gorgeous and the meal was pretty amazing too! But the best part of course was the company with Annamarie & Ryan Buddy & Jill , Katelyn & Michael and Matt & Carissa. We just LOVE all of these guys and getting a chance to have a night off of just pure fun with them was just what we needed!

After dinner we headed back to Katelyn & Michael's house for some games (hello Ellen's heads up game!), hot cocoa, and delicious square cookies :) where we got to meet up with Ali too! And of course maybe the best part of the whole night...getting to meet Matt & Carissa's new puppy!! Ahhhh SO cute!

In short, it was a magical night spent with some of the best people we know! Their friendship is such a huge gift!

Happy Thursday everyone!

**Photos stolen from everyone's various Instagrams & a couple from the Fuji....don't judge the quality!! :)

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