My friend Julie is building a really amazing business - with the help of her whole family ;) The Purple Beet is a company built to make sure you have quick, easy and healthy food options ready to go at a moments notice. I am especially excited about her new smoothie subscription service that allows you to select your favorite smoothie flavors and have them delivered to your door. Keep them in the freezer until you are ready to go. I can’t wait to make this a part of my routine and you should definitely check it out. We’ll be working with Julie and her family again in the coming months and I can’t wait to share more!




Jacquelyn & Doug.  Oh where to start.  We truly adore these two.  From my first meeting with Jacquelyn and her parents, to photographing their engagement session in California, to the planning phone calls, and then of course their wedding - the entire process has been fun because these two are just wonderful.  We've had so many laughs with them.  It's not everyday that one of the bride's main requests is as follows: "Jacquelyn and her friends with their pizza friendship necklace.  This is a photo we take at each person's wedding and it's imperative to capture".  And then we joked about her use of the word imperative multiple times during the week leading up to the wedding.  Pizza-themed necklace aside, Jacquelyn and Doug placed a high priority on food and wine in their wedding plans.  It is a huge part of how their relationship has developed and grown, including where they have lived and their plans for the future.  Capturing that aspect of their wedding day was a real treat - literally.  The Boathouse did a fabulous job.  This day was full.  This day was full of love.  Full of food.  Full of wine.  Full of family.  Full of friends.  Full of the good stuff.

Bride Prep Location: Brys Estate // Groom Prep Location: Chateau Chantal // Church: St. Joseph Catholic Church // Venue: The Cathedral Barn // Coodination: Sunrise to Sunset // Hair: Linda Sabbagh // Makeup: OnSite Bridal // Floral Design: Sweetwater Floral // Rentals: 307 Events, Monstrey MacDonald // Catering: The Boathouse // Cake: Top Tier Cakery // Band: Blue Water Kings // Bride's attire: The Gown Shop, Modern Trousseau // Groom's attire: Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren // Videography: Us!  Stay Tuned! // Photography Assistance: The fabulous Lindsey Billings // Videography Assistance: The amazing Sawyer Harris.



One of the reasons I am so inspired by living in Northern Michigan is the sense of possibility.  There is a freedom here to make big dreams happen, to live the lifestyle you want.  Our friends Kalin and Matt have taken huge steps to do exactly that.  To build the life they want for themselves.  With no previous farming experience, but lots of research, support from each other and their community, love for Northern Michigan, and big dreams, they bought a beautiful piece of land just outside of downtown Petoskey.  This past Saturday they planted their first field of lavender with three different varieties and Sweetwater Lavender Farm was born.  Instead of hiding their dreams from the world, they turned this first day of planting into a Planting Party, inviting friends and neighbors to help out for as much, or as little time as they chose.  In return, they provided breakfast, lunch, beer, bubbly, and gift favors of lavender bath salts.  It was so amazing to see so many people come together to spend a day outdoors lending a hand to help two very deserving, awesome people.  At the beginning of the day Michael and I focused on shooting video and time lapse of the majority of the field being planted.  We will share that footage later, but below are some stills I took later in the evening as the light turned golden and Kalin and Matt were able to put the last few plants in the ground.  Afterwards, a number of close friends stuck around to hang out, play lawn games, and eat dinner by the campfire.  I'm so happy to call Kalin and Matt friends and I can't wait to watch all of this beautiful lavender grow over the years!  Cheers!


If you want to learn more about Sweetwater Lavender Farm, I would highly recommend following Kalin's blog and Facebook page.   Here is one of my absolute favorite posts.  And, Brides!  Kalin is an amazing floral designer!  Her studio for Stems & Sprigs, is also located on the property and she does amazing work.  


A year ago we started working with Paddle Hard Brewing, helping them create and refine a logo, produce a video for their Indiegogo fundraising campaign, and photograph the build out in progress.  Paddle Hard is officially open for business and has been featured on

Here is the link to the article!  Check it out and head on over to Paddle Hard Brewing for great eats and beer!  More photos from the finished space are in the works, so stay tuned.



I have spent my whole life around water, growing up on a lake in Northern Michigan and learning to scuba dive at age 13.  But until I moved to California, I had never seen the Pacific Ocean.  There is definitely something different about the Pacific in Northern California.  The cold water, and the dramatic way the land just kind of ends, dropping off into a huge expanse.  There are also interesting areas where the ocean meets the land, and merges with freshwater.  Tomales Bay is one of those places, and it happens to be a great place to farm oysters.  I could never get behind the whole raw oyster thing as a kid - even though my dad loved them - but as an adult living in the bay area and working at Fish. restaurant, it was only normal that I give them another shot.  Needless to say, by the time Mike and I moved back to Michigan I had developed a love of oysters - raw, barbecued, and fried - and I know they will be some of the first things on my plate during our next visit.

Before we left, I worked on a piece in Edible Marin & Wine Country with writer Maria Finn to tell the story of Hog Island Oyster Company and their efforts to raise awareness about water quality and ocean acidification.  The company is truly one to admire; family owned, with a huge fan base, and an expanding garden to supply the need for greens at their oyster bar in the SF ferry building and Napa restaurant.  For their 30th anniversary they released limited edition oyster shucking knives, t-shirts, and a special Hog Island Oyster Wine.  Continuing to do great things, John Finger and Terry Sawyer lead the way, aided by their children, wives, and good friends to build a business that celebrates a truly regional cuisine and advocates for sustainability and environmental stewardship.  Cheers to Hog Island - Live to Shuck, Shuck to Live.

To read Maria's article online, check out the link here.



At the end of March, Mike and I headed to Fayetteville, GA, right outside Atlanta, to visit my aunt and her family.  My parents drove down from Michigan - bringing numerous pounds of Kowalski kielbasa with them - and together we had a crazy weekend that I have dubbed Kielbasa Fest 2013.  A healthy amount of family and an unhealthy amount of food and alcohol.  Night One - beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and salad with an apple bread pudding concoction for dessert.  Night Two - kielbasa, kraut, and cheesy potatoes.  Day Three: homemade pierogi.  Ok and I can't forget Aunt Gloria's ambrosia salad... as she was making it, she claimed that she would be the only one eating it, but in reality everyone found themselves digging in after the drinking started.  We even filled a couple pierogi with it to create a bizarre dessert pierogi when we ran out of regular filling.  The majority of the weekend was spent outside on the back deck with music playing.

I shot one roll of Ilford HP5 Plus on my Pentax K1000 - unfortunately I ran out of film by the time we got to the pierogi-making, so I am hoping to recreate a bit of that for you this summer.  I don't know what it is, but I am loving shooting film.  I think shooting film is also rejuvenating my excitement for photographing family events, and all of the normal, everyday moments that sometimes you can take for granted.  There was even something serendipitous about picking up the film... as the woman behind the counter found my film she said, "oh, Mee-hall-eek, that's a Polish name!".

Image taken by Mike

Image taken by Mike

Images taken by my mom

Images taken by my mom