101 Update

Happy Tuesday!  I can't believe how time is flying and we are already in mid- March.  The weather this winter has been so weird and crazy but I am ECSTATIC about this beautiful week we are going to have.  65+ all week?  Bring it on!

Hmmm so what's been going on with me, you ask?  Well, not too much... I started a new job last week and so far so good.  I actually like what I'm doing, I'm feeling useful, and I really like the people I work with.  I took a workshop with the amazing Doug Levy on Sunday that really got me motivated with photography again, and (not to be bragadocious) but I have been killing it at the gym and having so much fun!  I have now taken every single class my gym offers, weeded out the ones I don't like, and have a pretty good schedule of classes, mixed with my regular cardio and weight training... that will hopefully result in me shedding some major poundage and keeping it off.  Now I just have to cut out carbs forever... but that's a completely different story :)

I have been a horrible blogger this winter and I realized the other day how long it had been since I updated my 101 in 1001.  June 12, 2010, to be exact... that is the last time I updated my 101... which is SCARY, since that means time is winding down and I have a TON more things to do... eeeeeek!  I'm definitely feeling the pressure :)  I haven't completed nearly as many as I had planned to complete by now, but I'm one of those people that sometimes likes to shine in the 12th hour, so we'll see what happens haha.  For now, here is my most recent update!  As you know if you've read my other 101 posts, I'm only telling the stories here of what I've done since my last update... if you see a number that's crossed out but has no explanation, it's because I talked about it in a previous post and probably shared pictures of me completing that task.  You'll have to dig back through my archives (or just search 101 in my search tool lol) to find those stories, and to read exactly what the 101 in 1001 is all about.  Hope you enjoy these stories and photos too!


1. Learn how to play chess.

2. Go to a book signing.

3. Submit a photo or spread to a magazine.

This used to seem like such an insurmountable goal to me.  A year ago, in my business, I had no idea how to go about finding publications I wanted to submit to, or publications that would feature my kind of work.  I am happy to say that thanks to an amazing service for photographers and wedding vendors called Two Bright Lights, submitting weddings and shoots has become so easy that I do it all the time now.  I have been fortunate enough to have my work featured on some awesome wedding blogs, including Style Me Pretty, Vermont Vows and Inspire a Bride.  This spring, I will have a few photos published in the Vermont Vows spring issue!  This will be my first time in a magazine and I couldn't be more excited.  Vermont Vows is a wonderful publication and I was so happy they chose to use a few of my photos.  As soon as I get my issue, I will post a picture here!  For now, check it out... I was featured in my hometown newspaper :)

4. Cook a four course meal…without poisoning anyone eating it.

5. Take a Jasmine Star workshop.

6. Smoke a Cuban cigar… because deep down I am a 75 year old man.

7. Trace the Irish roots of my name and see if I have any relatives still living in Ireland.

8. Get a massage.  I have never had one before and I imagine they are very enjoyable.

So I don't have a fun picture for this one, since I feel like it might be awkward for me to bring a camera in to my massage, but dear lord.  I shouldn't have even put this on the list, because now that I've had one, I want to have them every week!  I went to East Heaven Hot Tubs in Northampton, and I have to say it was amazing.  I would definitely recommend that place for massage, and of course they have the hot tubs there too.  I had an hour long massage, and it was actually quite comical, not knowing what to expect.  She left me in the room to get undressed, and she comes back and I'm laying on top of the sheet, face down, in my underwear... she's like "Uh, sorry, I should have mentioned you're supposed to get UNDER the sheet."  Crickets.  Luckily we both had senses of humor :)  I will say the one thing I didn't initially like was the new age, earthy crunchy music they played there... but after about 30 minutes I was so relaxed it wasn't bothering me anymore at all.  Apparently country and hip hop doesn't lend to the relaxing mood of the massage :)  After my massage was done I went out to their foyer, which is gorgeous, and I sat on a couch by the fire and just RELAXED.  It was incredible.  All in all, a great experience and one I hope to have again real soon.  If you want to check out East Heaven and the services they offer, click here!

9. Start an antique camera collection for decoration.

10. Read the Bible.

11. Learn how to use a round brush.  I am seriously challenged when it comes to hand/ hair coordination, and I think it would really help my bouffant.

12. Stay at a bed and breakfast.

13. Go to a driving range with my Dad and try not to humiliate myself too much.

14. Leave 100% tip for a great server.

15. Write 10 “just because” letters to friends or family. (3/10)

16. Write a love letter.

Okay, I know you're asking... who the heck did she write a love letter to?!?!  I have to say, when I threw this one on the list, I really hoped it would be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  I want to meet someone who I like, who I can spend time with, and hopefully, someday, fall in love with.  It would be great if that had happened since the last 101 update, but alas it has not.  So who did I write the letter to?

Well, if we're friends on Facebook, it has been well established that I am a Pinterest addict.  If you're not on Pinterest, you should be, and you should follow me, since obviously I pin awesome things :)  I saw this wall hanging on Pinterest, that was a white frame with a white matte, and inside the matte was a love letter, presumably written from a husband to a wife.  It was typed in Courier font, which is not my favorite (yes, I have favorite fonts- I work in PhotoShop 4 hours a day, don't judge me!), but with this love letter concept it looked awesome.  And easy.  And I love me some easy Pinterest DIY projects, so...

I wrote the letter to my future boyfriend or husband.  No, not for him to actually have... that seems generic, imagine if I started dating someone and just handed him a letter I wrote years in advance?  Okay, maybe not generic as much as PSYCHOTIC... I wrote the letter to remind myself of WHAT I WANT.  I have dated some real gems this year... one in particular... and in every circumstance I have compromised what I wanted in order to make the other person happy.  Don't get me wrong, what I want isn't a lot... to be treated nicely and respected, for instance... but when you haven't found the one yet and someone is around that is at least paying attention, even if it's bad attention, it's hard to stick to your guns and remember that you are worth something more.  So I wrote this letter to remind myself that there are great guys out there, and they are worth holding out for.  And I framed and matted it.  And I'm not going to post it here because I don't want the world to see the cheesy stuff I wrote, but here is a link to where my inspiration came from:


17. Collect every Paul Simon album, cause the man is pretty much the bees knees.

18. Watch the sun set over the ocean, stay up all night talking, and watch the sun rise at another spot close by.  This might be tricky because it means that someone will have to put up with me for a solid 10 hours, but I’ll put it down anyways.

19. Bring flowers to the cemetery once a month for the length of the challenge. (4/33)

20. Volunteer photography services for at least 5 charities (3/5)

21. Register to vote (I know, I know…. I am a little tardy to the party, but better late than never right?)

22. Plant a garden of Gerber daisies.

23. Finish at least 3 scrapbooks for myself (0/3)

24. Update my resume and change the formatting so it looks bad-ass.  And by that I mean more professional.

25. Commission one piece of artwork from Mark Gallagher.

26. Read an entire newspaper from front to back.

27. Wash and clean the interior and exterior of my car.

28. Take a writing class.

29. Buy a GPS, so I can stop being the cool kid with the Mapquest directions strewn about my vehicle!

30. Go to a tarot card reader.

Last month I took a trip to Key West, and I knew it would be the perfect place to get this one done.  Key West is crawling with interesting, eccentric characters... this was my 3rd time there, but my 1st time being of legal drinking age, so I knew it would be the perfect chance to hear the future... and then drown my sorrows if the predictions were too pathetic.  So I started asking around on Duval Street... this was obviously an important choice, and I needed some recommendations.  I didn't want some 800 number hack, I wanted a seasoned professional (this whole rant is half sarcastic, if you couldn't tell...)... anyways, we met a couple of shop owners who suggested this guy on Duval who had a stand across from the Hard Rock Cafe.  We go, find the guy's normal stand, where he has articles about himself on display in cases... I mean this guy is no hack, he had the dreadlocks to prove it... and then we see a sign that reads...


Seriously?!?!  SERIOUSLY?!?!  My psychic went fishing.  For a month.  NO BIG DEAL.

So that night we're at Mallory Square for sunset (if you've been to Key West, you know what an amazing time sunset is at Mallory Square) and Sarah turns to me while we're walking around.  "Got a tarot card reader for you!"  And there he was, in all his cheesy glory...


(Notice how even the guy in the background is suspicious?  Then again, men wearing peach colored shirts makes me suspicious...)

Anyways, back to the point... as soon as I saw him, I KNEW.  This was what I needed.  See, here's the thing.  I don't believe in this stuff.  And until this experience, I was on the fence.  I have had some friends who have actually gone to psychics or tarot card readers and had crazy surreal experiences- like everything the person has said has come true.  But I wanted to maintain the notion that this stuff is completely fake.  Maybe if dreadlocks guy hadn't been off fishing, I would have had a different experience and started to become a believer.  But nope.  I had this guy.



(My personal favorite photo is bottom right... I mean could I have made it any more obvious that I was a doubter?  Photo credits to Sarah for capturing the action :) )

Anywho, he read my cards.  Told me I might get a boyfriend in May (I laughed on the outside).  Told me I will not be moving in the next year (I laughed on the inside... and then considered suicide).  Told me my father was headed for legal trouble (my dad currently spends his retired days playing golf in Fort Lauderdale.  Pretty sure he's going to be fine).  It was a huge waste of $20 but totally entertaining, so thank you to Ron for reading my cards!  Oh btw, he gave me his business card.  I should probably mention that the front simply says "The Magician."

'Nuff said.

31. Walk the entire Freedom Trail.

32. Write to my favorite singer, actor and author to tell them how they have inspired me. (0/3)

33. Go on a first date… and maybe that will lead to a second?

34. Learn how to bake muffins or cupcakes.  I’m a good baker, but basically anything in tins has eluded me up until now.

Oh SNAP!  Why did I think things in tins were so hard?  Let me just tell you that my fear of tins has been put to rest.  Two weeks ago was my niece's 6 month birthday (I mean, honestly, who celebrates 6 month birthdays... but if you saw how friggin adorable she is, you would understand... LOVE HER) and since it was a week I had off, being literally in between jobs at the time, I decided to go to town with my assigned duty: cupcakes.  And go to town I did.  I bought vanilla and chocolate cake mixes, vanilla and chocolate frostings, and then purchased every fun topping I could think of to put on these things.  It literally took 4 hours but it was so fun (not to mention delicious) and here is the result...



Next month we are doing a brunch with my cousin, my sister and their babies, and I can't wait to try my hand at making muffins... I am actually going to bake them from scratch from a few Pinterest recipes I want to try out... I'm sure you're all breathless with anticipation for that post ;-)  I will keep you updated on my slow but sure metamorphosis into a domestic goddess!

35. Have a girls night with my sister and stepsister and try to get to know them better.

36. Learn at least one really funny joke.  The last one I was able to retain was in 3rd grade, and isn’t really funny to twenty-somethings.  Or even 3rd graders, I’m sure.

37. Complete photo project of Southie.

38. Purchase small business insurance.

39. Celebrate one Festivus- complete with pole and the Airing of Grievances.

40. Create a mosaic mirror.

41. Make a funky necklace that I can actually wear.

42. Volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas at a local soup kitchen.

43. Complete 3 Better Photo online courses (0/3)

44. Take my mom out to dinner “just cause”.

45. Have my old sorority shirts made into a quilt.  I don’t chide myself into thinking I could ever sew something likes this myself, but just the simple task of getting them together and finally getting this done is enough for me.

I am so happy to say that I did this one :)  As most people know, I loved college.  It was absolutely the best time of my life and I made some of my best friends there.  I'm so grateful that I had the experience of going away to school and all the things that go with it, including joining a sorority.  I joined Gamma Phi Beta my first semester at Bridgewater State College (University now) and it was one of the best things I could have done.  Friendships were formed that will last forever, and I was able to have all kinds of new and different experiences and meet all kinds of different people, that I might never have had the opportunity to meet without GPB.  As a result, I ended up with about 100 t-shirts... from Greek events, sister events, concerts, you name it... I also ended up with t-shirts from my favorite bars, and of course, my favorite team, the Yankees :)  Sadly, I've outgrown most of these t-shirts or the edges got dingy and unwearable, so I decided to make a quilt out of it.  My sister had this done a few years back when she graduated as a Delta Gamma, and she gave me the name of the woman who did hers.  I gathered my t-shirts, made a diagram of how I wanted them laid out, I went to Joann's and picked out the fabric I wanted (I chose a somewhat neutral green color, since all the shirts were different colors), and voila!  About 2 months later, I had the most beautiful quilt I've ever seen, because it means something to me.  It represents a time in my life that I will cherish forever, and now I have a lasting memento of all those amazing memories.  Here are some shots of my quilt!


50. Save $5,000 before moving to Vermont.

51. Join a book club.

52. Have a bonfire and toast marshmallows over the old memories I don’t need anymore

53. Go white water rafting in Maine or Vermont.

54. Go skiing again.  I used to be really good, then I got cocky and went down a black diamond at about 100 miles an hour and broke my arm in 7 places, and I never went back.  Would really like to get over the fear and at least try a bunny hill or something.

55. Tell myself I am beautiful at least once a week… and BELIEVE IT.

56. Go to a comedy show and laugh out loud with my friends.  Jenn, I see Harrison Stebbins in our future:)

57. Try fifteen different kinds of martinis (7/15)

58. Work on New England photography project.

59. Drink Moonshine.  My relatives in Tennessee have already agreed to help me with this when I go down in July  :)

60. Add song lyrics to my tattoo.

This really made me realize how long it's been since I updated my 101!  It's been an entire year since I got the song lyrics done around my tattoo, and I was so happy to have it done.  I got the sun tattoo on my back when I was 20, and I definitely regret it... and it may sound weird to kind of compound something I regret now with something I could regret later, but I really wanted to add something meaningful to it.  I debated song lyrics for years... I couldn't decide which ones to get... and finally I chose Let It Be by The Beatles.  I was brought up on The Beatles, and this song especially has meaning to me.  So I picked my favorite verses and slapped those bad boys on my back (how redneck do I sound right now???)  I know tattoos aren't everyone's thing, so feel free to skip over the pics, but this was my last tattoo and I wanted it well documented.  I now officially have four... absolutely none can ever be seen unless I'm in my skivvies, so most people are always shocked when they find out I have them at all, but I'm happy to say I am done with being tattooed, forever!  Ali was along for the final hurrah:)



61. Have my contracts reviewed by a lawyer.

62. Pay a toll for a stranger.

63. Send a birthday card to 5 different people I have fallen out of touch with. (0/5)

64. Go to a clam or lobster bake.  Kind of sad that this would be like a life goal, but really I’ve never been and can’t imagine anything better in the summer than good seafood and beers with my friends on the ocean somewhere.

65. Make a Christmas tree ornament.  I own about 300 but have never attempted a homemade one.

66. Read 5 books that have won either the Pulitzer Prize or the Nobel Peace Prize. (1/5)

67. Photograph someone who has inspired me.

This one happened really by chance.  A friend of a friend friended me (ya following?) on Facebook, and one day she posted something about Matt Nathanson coming to Simmons for their spring concert.  This girl works in student life and had actually organized the first spring concert for Simmons, with Matt Nathanson as the performer.  My love for Matt is unparalleled... two of his songs were actually in the running for my tattoo... he is amazing and talented and funny and just (in my humble opinion) one of the BEST singer/ songwriters of our generation.  So anyways, this girl was looking for help with the concert... so I commented and said if she needed an extra set of hands I was around to help.  She came back with an even better offer- how would I like to photograph the concert?  UMMMM WHAT???  IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION???  So I went to Simmons.  And I photographed my musical hero.  And I blogged about it here. And I was never so happy photographing an event in my entire life.  Matt has been an inspiration to me for years, and to get the chance to photograph him doing his thing was incredible.  Thank you again Tia!  You can see the full blog post here.

68. See three musicals that I’ve never seen (aka I need to stop seeing Rent, Sound of Music and Phantom of the Opera REPEATEDLY every year) (2/3)

69. Go horseback riding.  I haven’t been since I was 11 and got the worst hay fever EVER.  I really need to get back in the saddle again…pun totally intended.

70. Go to the Von Trapp Family Lodge.  I have literally been to Vermont every summer since I was in the womb, and I have never been there.  It is a travesty.  Especially since I have this image of Christopher Plummer working as the concierge, and it just makes me want to go there even more.

Update:  Christopher Plummer DOES NOT work as the concierge at the Von Trapp Lodge.  And that was only the beginning of my disappointments there :)

(disclaimer: for those of you who don't know me well, that was a total joke, I promise I didn't think he actually worked there)

Okay, let's get to the story...

Last September I was invited to join the Vermont Wedding Parlor, which was/ is a huge deal to me.  Carrie and Eric Lane are the absolute best at what they do, and I was honored that they asked me to join their prestigious group of vendors.  Honestly, in my life, it was like winning an Oscar.  I was THAT EXCITED, and still am, although right now I'm not technically a vendor because I'm planning on leaving the country, so my membership is on hold... it's a long story :)  Anyways, in early December, Carrie and Eric threw a party at the Parlor for all their vendors to celebrate the Parlor's anniversary and of course, the holidays.  The party was originally supposed to be in November, and my friend Amanda couldn't go, which meant that I would need a place to stay (Amanda's family has a gorgeous house in Shelburne and she's been nice enough to let me stay there in the past)... since the Parlor is in Stowe, right down the road from the Von Trapp Family Lodge, I figured there was no time at all like the present to stay there!  So I booked a ridiculously expensive room that I couldn't possibly afford and I headed to Vermont :)


Let me just say that this was partly my fault.  If I had been thinking ahead, I would have saved the lodge stay for another time, since I would be at the Parlor party anyways and therefore unable to enjoy the lodge as much as I wanted.  But anyways, I got there, checked in super quick, and headed to the party.  I will say that in the maybe 20 minutes I was at the lodge before the party, I saw about 6 deer.  That, to me, is amazing, and part of the beauty of staying in Vermont.  Anyways, by the time I got back to the lodge, it was about 10:30, and the lodge restaurant and bar was closed.  So I put on my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and settled in to my bed to do some writing...


I wish I was exaggerating, because I can usually sleep on any type of bed and be fine, but these beds were terrible.  I don't know if people literally sleep on rocks in Austria, but I convinced myself they must, because I wanted the full authentic experience of the lodge.  And I'm not going to lie, it was kind of fun to come back from the party and find my bed turned down and a schedule of activities (and chocolates!) for the next day on my bed...


(my favorite thing is how they run a documentary called "The Real Maria" three times a day)

The next morning I had to be in Burlington at 11:00 for a meeting, so I set my alarm for 6:30, got up, and walked the grounds a little.  It had just snowed and so it was a really pretty and peaceful walk.  Not going to lie, I may have hummed a few bars of Edelweiss...


Anywho, by the time I was walking back, the cafe that served alcohol was open, and thanks to Vermont's open-close law, I was able to enjoy a Trapp lager at 7:00 a.m.!



All in all it was a good trip.  I definitely wish I had had more time to enjoy the lodge, but honestly I probably couldn't have afforded it anyways.  That was the other downside, besides the hard beds- everything was SO expensive.  I'm pretty sure I paid $17 for an egg for breakfast.  But if you were raised on Sound of Music like me, it is worth a visit for the experience.  I may have dropped $75 in the gift shop... on a key chain... no big deal.  Also, I tend to exaggerate sometimes...

71. Take 3 photography workshops or seminars. (2/3)

72. Make at least 5 new wedding albums to show clients. (3/5)

73. Spend a summer day antiquing, garage saling, and flea marketing for some cheap finds.  And yes, I just turned flea marketing into a verb.  Cause that’s how I roll.

75. Change old picture frames out with new pictures.  Sounds ridiculous, but I literally still have some picture frames filled with pictures from my high school prom.  It’s a problem.

76. Take a trip to the Harpoon brewery in Vermont.  I’ve been a “Friend of Harpoon” for four years and have yet to visit anywhere except the Boston brewery.  Some friend I am.

77. Watch every Anne of Green Gables movie.  You can stop judging me now.

78. Go swimming on New Year’s Day at the L Street Bath House.

79. Buy a Cape Cod bracelet.  I have always wanted one and think they’re gorgeous but have just never gotten around to getting one.  No time like the present!

80. Attend a photography exhibit.

81. Take iron for a week and then donate blood.

82. Find a photography mentor.

83. Bring in donuts/ coffee for co-workers, along with a note for each one telling them why I appreciate them.

84. Attend church every Sunday for a month.

85. Pop some champagne, light some candles, and take a bubble bath.  Alone.  Sexy, I know.

86. Go to a Cape Cod League baseball game.

87. Take Lola for a hike.

89. Go strawberry picking and make fresh strawberry shortcake (and by that I mean the dessert AND the drink…. yummmmm)

90. Take a “me” day and organize my life: get rid of stuff I don’t need, catch myself up on photo editing and archiving, catch up with all the people I wish I could talk to more, etc.  End the day feeling relaxed and rejuvenated that I was so productive.

91. Have a girls wine and cheese night at the Melting Pot.

Ahhh, The Melting Pot.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

I had gone to the Melting Pot about 4 years ago when I was living in Nashville.  I didn't even know what it was, and when we had dinner there, I was utterly unprepared for the feast, for the fondue, for everything.  I made a rookie error.  I filled myself up on the cheese course... which left little room for the main course and absolutely no room for the dessert course.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!  This was a mistake I would not be making again:)

Sunday night Molly, Melissa and I hit The Melting Pot for a little girl time and a LOT of food.  Since there were three of us and most of the menu is set for two people, our waiter kept asking us if we wanted it made for 3... We kept being all girly and acting proper, "Oh I don't know, can we really eat that much?  I'm not sure..." until Molly finally interjected.  "Ya know what?  Balls to the walls" (crudest thing I'll ever write on my blog lol).. and just like that, that was our new theme of the night :)  We ate EVERYTHING in sight, had yummy wine, and legit had the best waiter I've ever had in Boston.  If you ever go to The Melting Pot there, request Jared... we LOVED him and the feeling was so obviously mutual.  He kept coming back to the table to check on us at the EXACT right moments in our ridiculous stories we were telling, and by the end of the evening he was asking if he could sit down and have martinis with us.  I mean, it's only natural... who wouldn't want to have martinis with us?  Haha here are some pics :)



92. Go to Canal Street in NYC for a new knock-off bag.

93. Take at least 5 landscape photos that I am proud enough of to put on the wall.

94. Finish at least the “biographies” section of my book project.

95. Attend a film or book festival.

96. Use a Christmas-y picture I have taken myself for my Christmas cards.

97. E-mail one photographer per month to compliment their work and introduce myself. (4/33)

98. Participate in a day of drinking with friends, for no particular reason except that it’s Saturday and we’re happy to be alive!

99. Ride on a train.  I’ve never been on one before!

100. For every task I don’t complete, I will donate $20 to the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund.

101. For every task I do complete, I will save $10 for my trip to Europe.



That's all for now!  More posts to come soon, promise... XOXO.