Fri. Oct 24, 2014 by Mary    The Latest

If You Find This Letter

Ahhhhh I am SOO proud of my dear friend Hannah Brencher who just finished her first BOOK!! If you have ever met Hannah or heard her speak or read anything she's written pretty much EVER, then you know what an incredible, inspiring fire cracker she is! I've watched her go through this book writing process for the past year and I can tell you that she has poured her whole heart & soul into this book. I know it is going to be a game changer for SO many people out there!

The book will be out next March but it is now available for pre-order on Amazon (it's currently #1 in the Inspiration category!) And it turns out that the pre-order sales are a BIG deal in determining how the book does....they show booksellers & publishers just how many people are interested in reading an author and how the distribution goes from there. So if you are looking for a new incredible book to rock your world say somewhere around this time next March, I would SO appreciate it if you would consider heading over and placing your pre-order: If You Find This Letter: One Girl's Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers

I know you won't regret it!
Happy Friday!

Thu. Oct 23, 2014 by Mary    Weddings

Sorrento, Maine Wedding: Jenny & Mike

We absolutely LOVE shooting on the gorgeous rocky coast of Maine!! The light, the beaches, the dramatic is a New England dream!! And Jenny & Mike's stunning day in Sorrento is the perfect example of that! All day there were threats of rain, but it all held off until it got dark, so we were able to shoot all along the coast with the most amazing light dipping in just below these incredible gray clouds! Add to that some of the cutest flower girls ever and mini lobster rolls as far as the eye could see, and we were in heaven! Enjoy!

Wed. Oct 22, 2014 by Mary    Portraits

Anniversary Shoot: Louise & Aaron

We have really been loving all of the anniversary shoots we've been getting to do lately & even more so when the couple goes all out and does something really iconic & elegant! This sweet couple came all the way from England to do their one year anniversary photos with us in NYC (how amazing is that?!!!) and as soon as I saw Louise's one shoulder lace gown, I knew this was going to be one for the record books! Add to that Aaron looking sharp & so classic in a black tie tux and the perfect backdrop provided by New York herself, and this shoot was the stuff our little photographers' dreams are made of!! Enjoy!

Mon. Oct 20, 2014 by Mary    J&M Workshops

Walk Through a Wedding: Veritas Winery

Last month we got to teach our Walk Through a Wedding Workshop down in Virginia at the absolutely gorgeous Veritas Winery and let me tell you, I could shoot there ALL the time! Not only was it absolutely stunning, but the staff there went above & beyond to make sure that our whole group had an incredible time....right down to the amazing lunch they made for us complete with chocolate truffles!

Add to that, that we got to work with the creative genius that IS Amanda Veronee and we were pretty much in heaven! This girl is an absolute ARTIST with flowers and she totally took our "peaches & mint" theme and brought it to life in ways we could have never imagined! I mean, just wait until you see the archway she made! It was an honor just to get to photograph her work, as well as all of the other amazing creatives she brought into the mix for invitations, vintage furniture, and one of the prettiest cakes we've EVER seen!

Finally, this Virginia group of attendees was one of the BEST (kindest, hardest working, most excited & willing to learn) groups we've ever had! Their amazing energy kept us going strong all the way up to the end of this twelve hour day & we are better for having met all of them!

We have just TWO Walk Through a Wedding workshops left in 2014 and they are both taking place next month! Our New Haven, CT one will be taking place on November 5th at our home and our Charleston, SC one will be on November 12th. We have just a couple of spots (I think like three total!) left, so if you've been meaning to sign up for a Walk Through this is your LAST chance to do it this year & start next year swinging! We would LOVE to have you join us!


Venue: Veritas Winery
Styled Shoot Coordination/Florals: Amanda Veronee {Anthomanic}
Cake Designer: Maliha Creations
Invitation Suite: Meant To Be Calligraphy
Vintage Furniture: Paisley & Jade
Gowns/Formalwear: Bella Rosa of Charlottesville
Our adorable couple: Lindsay & Zach
Photography: Justin & Mary

Mon. Oct 20, 2014 by Mary    Pancake Sessions

10 Ways To Keep Your Balance as a Business Owner

I think there is this thing that happens when you own your own business and become your own boss.

You go into it because you can set your own schedule and work from home and never get out of your yoga pants if you want to! Put your sensible corporate black heels on the top shelf of your's Uggs all the way for you, baby! :)

And in SO many ways, working for yourself is one of the greatest, most satisfying, exciting things you can ever do. Justin & I are SO grateful that we get to work together and travel together and build things together and go on this adventure together every single day.

But owning your own business can also take its toll. Spending too many days in a row in yoga pants can take its toll. Having work hours that blur into one another and countless hours at a computer- your desk covered with empty coffee mugs and Lara bar wrappers- can take. its. toll.

Not having a regular grocery routine. Not spending our Saturdays like normal people do. Not having a regular pay check that gets deposited every Friday like clockwork.

And the fact is, somewhere around your fourth day in a row in yoga pants and your 117th episode of the Law & Order SVU marathon you've been putting on while you catch up on can start to feel not so human anymore.

And that's the catch 22. We started this business because we want freedom and adventure and to break the rules of normalcy. And all of that is amazing.

But somewhere in there, I think at our most basic human level, we crave some structure & routine & to feel normal too.

We've been learning this slowly but surely, and over time we've figured out a few things that we can do every day to give us back some of that normalcy but still allow us to be the great adventurers we want to be too! Here are a few of our favorite ones, in no particular order.

1. Make your bed every day. It sounds silly and small, I know. But a few things happen when you start out the day this way. First, you feel like you've accomplished something right off the bat. And that productivity is's a small win that spurs you on to get even more stuff done. Second, it brings order to the room. And that order is calming. Which is a great way to head into the day. And finally, I just find that I sleep better at night when I'm crawling into a bed that has been made rather than a tangle of sheets and pillows. And that sets me up for a good day the following day.

2. Clear the clutter. Speaking of order creating calm, if I ever find myself feeling anxious & distracted, 9 times out of 10 it's because our work area/house is a mess. And it's a mess because we're actually here 24 hours a day, unlike people who go off to a day job. If I will just take 30-45 minutes to go through the house & do a quick straighten up before I try to tackle any work, then suddenly I feel like a) I've accomplished another thing and b) we are people who actually have it together and now I can accomplish anything. Even better: try doing this quick clean at night before you eat dinner/take off for the night. It will make dinner more relaxing & you can wake up to a clean house/work space rather than having this on your list first thing.

3. Have a morning routine One that doesn't involve email! Before I ever delve into email or the work of the day, I like to start my mornings for me. I wake up around 7am and put coffee on (this in itself is such a relaxing ritual for me with grinding the beans & prepping the coffee maker). I cozy up with a blanket, sip my coffee, do a little bible reading, put on some good music, and start my day slow. When you start the day in email, you start the day with a million people pulling you in every direction before you've even had the chance to wake up. And that sense of being spread too thin carries throughout the day. Starting the day for yourself, fills up the tank so you can be more for other people. This morning routine is a relatively new change for me & I can tell you that it's making a TON of difference!

4. Write your "Win the Day" list the night before. The "Win the Day" list is something I've been using for years now that is basically the 3-5 things you want to accomplish in a day (as opposed to a super long to do list that no one ever finishes). And even if nothing else gets done, if you can finish those three to five things, then you can call that day a win. But something that I've been realizing as I do this, is that if I will sit down and write out tomorrow's list the night before it does two things: 1) first I know exactly what I need to work on when I sit down at my desk the next morning and 2) it helps to calm my brain as I should be turning off for the night. Writing it down gets it out of my head!

5. Take breaks throughout the day. Go on a walk with your dog, drink your afternoon coffee in quiet rather than on the go, sit somewhere and close your eyes and breathe. Study after study after STUDY has shown that regular breaks throughout the day make you so much more productive. And it helps you to feel like you're not chained to your computer.

6. Shower & get ready. When we were at the Pursuit 31 Conference this year, I had a bit of an a-ha moment: I was getting up & getting showered AND getting ready every day. And I felt a million times better. When I work from home on the other hand, I'm (usually) showering but then I'm skipping the getting ready part because I'm just going to be working from home. So why put in the effort? And that has meant a LOT of days in yoga pants and buns on top of my head. And I realized that even though that sounds amazing, it was actually taking a toll on me. I just started to feel blah all the time and that's how I was approaching every day. When we ran out to grab lunch or run to the bank, that's how I was approaching other people too. When I shower & actually get ready, I feel better and more productive. And then I act that way too.

7. Download. On a very regular basis, sit down and write out everything that's swirling around your brain. Keep it somewhere safe like a notebook dedicated to just this. This way your brain will know that it's somewhere safe and it won't try to keep track of everything, which keeps it constantly racing.

8. Have designated days Have set days when you do your grocery shopping & run errands. Have set days when you do all of your meetings. Have days when you sit home & edit uninterrupted. This will foster focus in your life. And help eliminate those days where you feel like you just ran one place to another and never really got anything done.

9. Keep a notebook with you I pretty much always have a notebook with me in my purse. It never fails that as we're going somewhere or running to pick up something or grabbing lunch, suddenly my brain starts spinning with a hundred things I need to do. Having the notebook means I can write it down & then forget about it for the time being rather than trying to remember it all.

10. Shut down for the night. We like to have a couple of rituals, if you will, to signal to our brains that we're shutting down for the night. I'll shut my office door or Justin will turn out the light in his, I'll light candles, I'll turn on music for us to cook to, we'll have a plan for what movie we're going to watch that night or where we're going to go. Having that ritual & that reward to look forward to makes us work harder when we should be to get everything done & then it helps our brains to shut down for the night and actually feel rested when it's time to turn off.

We hope this helps if even in some small way!! Here's to chasing the adventure...AND feeling like you have a life!

** So tell us, which one of these 10 are YOU going to try this week?? Here's to finding the balance!

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