Best of 2010

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!  Before I bring in 2011 I wanted to take a look back at the wonderful crazy year that was my 2010.  I started 2010 thinking it would be a relaxing year of settling into married life and my new life in New England.  Coming off of 2009, which consisted of a long distance relationship, an engagement, a wedding, moving, and starting my own photography/design business, I thought things couldn’t possibly get much crazier.  Well…I was kind of on track.  I did settle into New England and I adore married life, but the year was anything but chill.  It has been a year filled with amazing new opportunities, new and old friendships, travel and adventure.  It has been wild and I have racked up the frequent flyer miles, but I have loved every minute of it.  (Well, I might have been okay with a little less time in the air, but oh well.)

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Here is a list, in no particular order, of what made my 2010 so wonderful.

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My 2010 was packed with some amazing opportunities.  From fashion shoots to construction photography, wedding invitation designs to the cover of the Orvis Dog Book.  They have been across the board, but that is me.  Looking back at some of them gets me totally amped for 2011, with opportunities already in the mix, including a real website (finally), working with the newest hottest online magazine High Gloss and getting my own little studio space…bring on 2011!

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I jumped into my life in Boston head first and have not regretted a moment.  I have met amazing new, creative, entrepreneurial woman I am proud to call my friends.  I have reconnected with old high school friends who now live in Boston, and I have loved getting to know this amazing historic city.  Sometimes it takes a big change and unfamiliar ground to get you out of your comfort zone and challenge you.  Boston has done this for me.

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I am a traveler and explorer at heart.  Yes, traveling for work can get old and tiring and sometimes I feel it is all I can do to get home, do my laundry and pack up again, but deep down I thrive on that energy.  I love seeing new places and learning new things, but I also love visiting my favorite places over and over again (Can one every really get enough of Sea Island????)   I am especially lucky that I married a fellow adventurer.  He makes the best travel buddy and everything is just more fun with him.  Our 2010 travels consisted of visiting friends and family on the coast of Maine, mountains of Colorado, vineyards of Napa Valley, row houses of Washington, DC and the lush forests and coasts of North and South Carolina to name a few.  We also had some amazing getaways including SCUBA diving in the Netherland Antilles.  Travel fuels my creative soul and makes me feel more connected with the world.  I love it and feel so lucky to get to see the world.

 

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What can I saw about the world of blogging that many of you don’t already know.  It can be an amazing, amazing world.  I started my blog as a way to get myself working more…just getting out there, shooting photographs using a blog as a way to give me some accountability and to keep me working.  (Even if my mom and husband were the only ones checking in.)  What I didn’t expect were the relationships, and opportunities the world of blogs have brought me.  I have met some of the most talented, inspiring people from all over the world.  I have never been a part of a more supportive, creative community where everyone wants everyone to succeed.  It is really quite special and I am thankful for it everyday.

 

Jessica Sutton Graphic Design, Elements of Style, Beyond Boston Chic, Sea of Shoes, Atlantis Home, New Brahmin, Shopping the Closet, Stacy Style’s blog, Dunes & Duchess

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Of all the wonderful things in my life this year, my wonderful husband and marriage are at the top.  In fact I don’t think any other the above wonderful things would have been possible without him.  His love and support have encouraged me to do things I might never have had the courage.  My constant cheerleader and partner, he is amazing.

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A very happy New Year to everyone.  I cannot wait for 2011!

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Lingering Christmas

December 26, 2010

My husband and I had the most wonderful Christmas Day.  We slept in, built a fire and opened gifts over coffee and breakfast…all without leaving our robes until the afternoon.  With all our travel and work it was such a treat to spend the day with only each other.  We bundled up for an afternoon walk and I snapped some photos of our neighborhood in all it’s Christmas Day glory.  I know Christmas is over, and you are probably sick of seeing decorations, but I had to share the lovely quite of these lingering Christmas images.  I hope everyone had a wonderful, wonderful day.

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Decorated doorways in Beacon Hill

 

 

 

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We are now off to Pebble Beach and Carmel for wonderful little vacation with my family.  I am beyond excited to see the scenic 17-mile drive and beautiful Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2010

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas with friends, family and loved ones.  Merry Christmas.

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Sherry Meatballs

December 22, 2010

At my brothers Christmas party we pulled out an oldie but goody family recipe, sherry meatballs.  The recipe comes from my Grandmother Margie Meyer, the daughter of my Great Grandma Finnegan of Holiday Mashed Potatoes fame. Those Midwest Irish ladies love their super healthy recipes…what else is going to get you though a Cleveland winter?!?!?  I thought I would share the recipe seeing as my husband and I were in charge of making 130 of these yummy suckers for my brother’s Christmas party…from scratch.

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Original recipe written by my grandmother to my mother.

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I love the vintage label on this container of Morton salt.  Makes me feel like grandma was there.

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Brown

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Simmer

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The hubs, checking on the progress of his batch.

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Serve…in a chaffing dish as directed by grandma in her recipe.  I am not kidding.  I love it.

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It was a true, old fashion Christmas party with tons of food, drink, family and friends.  It was wonderful.

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Grandma Margie’s Sherry Meatball Recipe

Ingredients:

1 lb ground sirlion

1/4 cup milk (Substitute soy milk for lactose intolerance…we did this at the progressive dinner.)

1/2 cup bread crumbs (For a wheat free/gluten free option I toasted gluten free bread, cooled them and then grounded the bread up in a food processor.)

2 tablespoons of minced onion

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 sherry wine

1/2 of ketchup (Grandma wrote “catsup” on her recipe card…love it!)

1/4 teaspoon oregano

Steps:

1. Mix together 1lb. ground sirloin (I prefer lean, grass feed ground beef), 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 bread crumbs, 2 table spoons of minced onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and shape into 50 tiny balls (I typically only get 25-30 meatballs per pound.  Grandma must have had some depression era magic or I make mine way too big.  Either way they are still just as yummy.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saute pan or skilet.

3. Brown meatballs on all sides, drain, then return to pan.

4. Mix together 1/2 sherry wine, 1/2 ketchup, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, add salt to taste and pour over meatballs.

5. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Shaking pan occasionally to cook meatballs evenly.

6. “Serve in chafing dish” according to grandma :)

 

They are so delicious and perfect for an appetizer of buffet item.  They also freeze and reheat great, so make as many as your can and enjoy them for a while.  Let me know if you try the recipe and that you think.   Cheers!

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Picture Perfect

December 21, 2010

My good friend, salon owner and master blond colorist Jeffrey Lyle asked me to contribute a little holiday timed blog post about how to take the perfect holiday picture.  His salon writes a fun blog about everything from haircare and style to their own travels and adventures.  Pop over and check it out, and check out my post below.

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‘Tis the season for parties, and with those parties come the inevitable photographs.   Whether you are a socialite splashed across the pages of Town and Countryor a victim of a friend “tagging” you on Facebook, chances are those party snaps will be seen by more than just close friends.  Fortunately there are a few ways to master the camera and eliminate the chance of any double chins, crazy eyes, or Hunchback of Notre Dames…

Posture– I know, I know, it sounds cliché, but pulling your shoulders back can do wonders for your height.  Add a little quarter turn to your shoulders and you get a lovely curve that makes strap-less and bare shoulder dresses shine.  And unless you have a signature look that you know works, best leave the hunchback, prune face pose to the experts, i.e. Mary Kate or Ashley.

Photo: Sarah M. Winchester

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Creating a good jaw line– A bright camera flash is a jaw line’s worst enemy.  It flattens out your neck and jaw faster than you can say “cheese.”  To avoid this, make sure you lengthen your neck and extend your chin a bit out and down.   Then once again, give it that ¾ angle.  You will create a nice shadow for camera and eliminates any possibility of the dreaded double chin.

Photo: Sarah M. Winchester

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The “over the shoulder “ pose – Easier than it looks, this pose is perfect for the dinner party, night out with friends, or cocktail party.  Especially if you have on a dress with a killer back.  Simply cross your legs and glance over your shoulder to look at the camera (keeping in mind the posture and jaw line points).

Photo: Sarah M. Winchester

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The “crossed legs” – Also known as the pee-pee dance pose, crossing your legs while in a standing photograph, gives you a nice little “s” curve to the body, that is a whole lot more flattering than two locked knee legs standing there.  Take a cue from socialite and famous blonde Tinsley Mortimer…she practically invented the pose.  This also works while sitting.

Photo Credit From Left: Press Photos, Harpers Bazaar, and Sarah M. Winchester

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To smile or not to smile – This dilemma is entirely up to you.  All I can say is know thyself.  When I try to do that Tyra Banks smile or smirk, I end up looking really pissed off. On the other hand, some people can get that smoldering, sexy look with ease.

Photo: Sarah M. Winchester

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Eastern Market – DC

December 20, 2010

My husband and I spent a lovely weekend in Washington DC visiting my brother and sister-in-law.  They live on Capitol Hill right near Eastern Market and yesterday we spent the afternoon walking around.  It was chilly, but the sun was out, and we were bundled up.  Plus everyone was in that Christmas spirit.

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Even the fruit.

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Vintage finds.  My husband got a great pair of cowboy boots for $45!

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My sister-in-law in some super cute heart-shaped sunglasses.  I kind of regret not getting them.

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This booth cracked me up.  It looked like a bunch of old Christmas decorations just thrown on the table direct from Grandma’s attic.

1963 called.  It wants its ugly wreaths back.

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My brother and sister-in law threw a great party Saturday night to celebrate Christmas and get to see old friends.  We were thrilled to be a part of it.  Now I am in Atlanta to finish up a project and then back to Boston for Christmas.  I can’t believe it is 5 days away!  This elf needs to get busy.

View from Above

December 16, 2010

So I am smack dab in the middle of my busy season for work (trade shows, travel, etc.).  Which always fall around the holidays.  Over the years I have become accustom to it all, but it still makes an already crazy time of year even crazier.  I had wanted to photograph our Christmas decorations and Christmas tree, but instead I am here again.  Oh well. Hopefully I can come up for air in February.

 

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Boston, lovely and peaceful this morning.

At least I am racking up the frequent flyer miles.  Already plotting the next adventure.

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Christmas Progressive Dinner

December 13, 2010

A progressive dinner…what a great concept, especially for those of us with small city apartments and even smaller kitchens.  So this Saturday evening, some of my friends, my husband and I decided to hold a progressive dinner.  I felt so grown up!

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Appetizers and Cocktails

We hosted the appetizer/cocktail portion of the evening.  I made an antipasto platter and my grandmothers Swedish meatballs.  Yum!

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But as you can see, we really focused on the cocktail portion.  Our friend Emiley helped us out by bringing champagne and Chambord.  Put them together as a little champagne cocktail and you have one tasty drink!

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Main Course

Our friends Leigh and Jim hosted the main course.

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Their beautiful spread made my appetizer efforts look like amature hour.  Leigh had cranberry and orange infused water.

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Jim make salmon with a mustard/dill sauce, asparagus and risotto that were out of this world.

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Dessert

Nick and Leigh Anne were in charge of dessert.  Chocolate moose with homemade whipped cream and peppermint, strawberries and powdered sugar, homemade peppermint bark…and of course more beverages. :)  With a whole naughty and nice theme.  I love it!

Naughty

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Nice

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It was an amazing time with friends and I hope it becomes a annual tradition.

Goody goody gum drops

December 8, 2010

Last weekend was chock-full-of Christmas preparations.  We picked out our Christmas tree, pulled out the decorations and spent the afternoon with friends decorating gingerbread houses at a little bar/restaurant in Beacon Hill (75 Chestnut).  Between our spicy bloody marys and the candy overload, we had a fabulous time laughing and decorating, and it really put us in the Christmas spirit.  I know it sounds cheesy and sappy, but I LOVE Christmas!

The Gingerbread House!

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The aftermath…

Beautiful Bonaire

December 5, 2010

As I returned from Bonaire, unpacked, (then repacked for a quick business trip) and downloaded ALL my photos, I realized I didn’t have half as many photographs as I usually have from my travels.  I guess that is even more proof of my “really checking out” and getting away from it all.  Bonaire is not your typical Caribbean island.  It had no large hotels, not very many cruise ships stop there and many of the roads are little more than one-way dirt paths.  It is a SCUBA diving/windsurfing getaway; a little rustic and adventurous and completely wonderful.  We spent half our days exploring the island underwater and the other half driving around in a pick-up truck exploring the land.

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THE LIFE AQUATIC

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I was so excited to work on my underwater photography.  I bought a new housing for my point and shoot camera and rented a strobe for added light under water.  I did one dive to get the feel and play with the settings.  As I went for my second dive, horrors of all horrors…my brand new housing was leaking!!!!  There was water in with my camera and the device was shot.  I quickly pulled out my memory card in the hopes of saving what few photos I took.  I wish I had more chances to take photographs underwater, but thank God it wasn’t my SLR.  I might have had a heart attack…and note to all, Ikelite housing are crap now.  I had my old point and shoot housing from them for 4 years and not a single problem.  This one I had for two dives.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

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I was obsessed with the colors and patterns of the coral and sponges.

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Lac Bay

Gorgeous and enormous shallow bay perfect for windsurfing.

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The largest foo-foo cocktail I have ever seen…with the strangest garnish.  Our new friend Andrew, wasn’t too keen on his “new friend.”

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That’s more like it. :)

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Blissful in Bonaire

Now Christmas time!!!!

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