After living in Italy for almost two years, we figured it was probably time to learn to make pasta. In searching for the best pasta making classes for our upcoming trip to Florence, we found the LovexFood experience. The LovexFood experience is hosted by Luca and Lorenzo in their home in the Chianti Hills just outside of Florence. One of the most attractive aspects of this class for us was the fact that it was small group. With a max of ~10 people, we thought the hands-on experience could be right for us. And, it was!

We met Luca at the train station in Florence and hopped a train for about 15 minutes. Once we arrived, we met up with Lorenzo and they drove us to their beautiful home. We got started with the pasta making experience after quick introductions and a cafe. For this experience, they taught us to make ravioli with ricotta and pecorino in a sage butter sauce (my favorite) and cocoa tagliatelle with gorgonzola sauce (a fall pasta for special occasions). We also learned to make lavender panna cotta, which was amazing! Each class is different and Luca and Lorenzo are careful to accommodate for food allergies as well.

If you’re ever in Florence, I HIGHLY recommend you join this experience. Florence was cool, but hanging out with Luca and Lorenzo and learning how to cook was even better! Check out the photos below to see what we made and a peek into how we made it!

Pasta Making with LovexFood | Florence

The final products

Florence Italy-107.jpg
A stunning Tuscan setting and their pet chicken, Ginger.
Florence Italy-116.jpg
Panna cotta, the pet chickens, cocoa tagliatelle with gorgonzola sauce.
Florence Italy-108.jpg
Ravioli with ricotta and pecorino in a sage butter sauce.

The pasta making process

Florence Italy-81.jpg
We started with just a few simple ingredients.

Florence Italy-84.jpg
Everyone learned how to make the pasta dough and received personal guidance from Lorenzo.
Florence Italy-94.jpg
Luca supervised and provided us with tips as we all rolled our tagliatelle dough.
Lorenzo impressed us all as he rolled the ravioli dough.
Florence Italy-103.jpg
Lorenzo demonstrating for Jordan how to seal the ravioli.
Florence Italy-100.jpg
They told me I have “ravioli fingers.” Highest compliments.
Florence Italy-101.jpg
The ravioli before going into the water for boiling.
Florence Italy-102.jpg
Jordan finishing up his ravioli.
Florence Italy-96.jpg
Lorenzo demonstrating.
Florence Italy-89.jpg
Luca guiding me in my pasta rolling and more ravioli making.
Florence Italy-106.jpg
Jordan using the pasta guitar to create his tagilatelle.

I first met Stephanie, Will, and Hadley through a mini session giveaway (look how LITTLE Hadley was!) I have to say, that was the best thing I’ve ever given away because it’s led to a really great friendship and more sessions with this stunning family! Stephanie and Will are like-minded people and we always have so much fun when working together (or hanging out)! They also always show up looking like they stepped out from a magazine, so I obviously have no qualms with that.

For this session, the Clarks selected a park setting with a side of Sicilian gelato! Hadley was a big fan of both, but was especially fond of the gelato. She had so much fun, her mom reported she passed out shortly after getting in the car. I can’t say blame her!

Stephanie and Will, thanks so much for having me!! It’s ALWAYS a pleasure. I can’t wait for the next one 🙂

Clark Family | Holiday Park Session

Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-2.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-5.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-4.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-9.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-12.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-15.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-72.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-70.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-61.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-28.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-50.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-49.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-51.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-92.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-81.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-82.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-91.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-88.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-86.jpg
Clarks Holiday Sesh_Mandalyn Renee-95.jpg

It was apparent from the moment I met Ikisha and Eric during holiday minis that they are so in love. We visited a beautiful Sicilian agriturismo and explored the grounds together on a rainy, fall day. We were all unsure as to if the rain would hold off long enough, but we got lucky! Nevertheless, Ikisha and Eric were natural models and I didn’t even need to tell them what to do.  I really enjoyed capturing their love for one another and I can’t wait to do it again!  

Ikisha and Eric, thanks so much for having me! It truly was a pleasure!

Ikisha + Eric | Sicilian Holiday Minis

sicilian mini session photos.jpg
mini session sicily.jpg
sicilia photographer.jpg
family in sicily.jpg
sicilian holiday minis.jpg
photographer in sicily.jpg
sicilia family photography.jpg
sicily photographer_1.jpg
sicilia family photographer.jpg
sicily agritourismo.jpg
sicily mini session.jpg
sicily portraits.jpg
siciliy portrait photographer.jpg
siciliy photographer.jpg

I’ve dreamed of Scotland for so long, this past summer, I insisted we go. Note to self and others, don’t plan Scotland on a whim. It worked out and was lovely, but I can’t say it was cheap or that accommodation was easy to find. Be that as it may, we had a blast running around the city and countryside just trying to take it all in. Much like the Dolomites, Scotland was vast, expansive and simply breathtaking.

Our first stop on our 8-day trip was Edinburgh. Twenty-four hours there wasn’t nearly enough, but we also had plans to meet up with a friend. If visiting Edinburgh, I’d definitely allot at least two days (or more!) to see all the sights and take it all in.

Edinburgh Castle
The backside of Edinburgh Castle from down in the city.

Edinburgh In A Day | Scotland

Things to do

Edinburgh Castle – You’ll certainly see Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, as it dominates the skyline of the city from way up high on Castle Rock. It was quite pricy to enter (~£50), so if we had to do it all over again, I probably would have just enjoyed the view from the outside!

Edinburgh Gin Distillery – You’ll have to have a reservation for this one! We didn’t, but we did visit the gift shop to buy some spirts and other little knickknacks.

Edinburgh Castle in summer
Views around Edinburgh Castle

Arthur’s Seat/ Holyrood Park – Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano and is part of Holyrood Park. It was quite impressive to see such nature literally right next to the city. We walked here and wished we had more time to explore the area more before it got too dark.

The Royal Mile/Old Town – The Royal Mile is the Main Street of Old Town Edinburgh. It was quite busy, but lined with many great shops and near many of the great attractions!

View of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle
View of the city from Edinburg Castle

Victoria Street – If you like Harry Potter, there are quite a few attractions in Edinburgh and Victoria Street is one! This two level street is pretty cool just to look at, but also appeared as Diagon Alley!

Circus Lane – A picturesque and lovely street to walk down and snap a few photos

Circus Lane in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock, Flowers from Circus Lane, Circus Lane, Victoria Street


Forage and Chatter – We just casually walked in to this delicious restaurant for lunch without a reservation and got lucky! It’s a super cute little restaurant that serves local dishes, much of which is foraged.

The Perch – My friend, Natalia, recommend this restaurant and we met here for dinner. It was delicious (they had the mac and cheese) and I just had to try the Haggis

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh
The Royal Mile

There were so many other things to see and places to eat, but we didn’t have enough time to see it all or do it justice. Until next time, Edinburgh!

It’s been almost a year since I’ve visited this beach and now I’m really questioning why it’s been so long. When LaQueto told me her vision for family photos, I knew exactly where we could go!

LaQueto, Troy, and Addison are the sweetest little family! Addison loved playing in the sand, watching the airplanes fly overhead and THE WATER!! She was sooo into it, everyone took a little dip!

Take a peek at her adorable little giggle face and her doting parents below. LaQueto and Troy, thank you!!!! It was truly a pleasure to work with you all.

Houston Family | Whimsical Beach Family Session


I think it’s safe to say Jahlai had NO IDEA a Sicilian sunset proposal was coming for her when she arranged a couples photo session with me.

When Jahlai messaged me to set up a couples photoshoot, I was happy.  I LOVE photographing couples and I don’t get near enough of that here.  But when Paul messaged me later to ask if I would be willing to photograph an intimate sunset proposal, I was ecstatic!!! 

Jahlai and Paul are both in the military, but Jahlai is deployed to Sicily for a temporary amount of time.  Paul has been working for months to surprise her with the perfect ring and an unforgettable proposal when he came to visit.  It was honestly so perfect; I was tearing up the whole time!! 

When I talked with Jahlai about preparing an outfit, she told me she already had it planned.  She knew they were going to wear their colors, black and gold, and dress formally.  She even brought along the cutest picnic setup!  The look of shock on her face when she turned around to see Paul down on one knee was priceless.  He even surprised her with sweet a little gift after the proposal.  Scroll down through to photos to see what he got for her!!!

Jahlai and Paul, thank you sooooo much for having me.  Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life together!!! 

Jahlai + Paul | Sicilian Sunset Proposal

The Warm Up

Ergus Engagement-1.jpg
Ergus Engagement-2.jpg
Ergus Engagement-6.jpg
Ergus Engagement-9.jpg
Ergus Engagement-8.jpg
Ergus Engagement-28.jpg
Ergus Engagement-25.jpg
Ergus Engagement-32.jpg
Ergus Engagement-16.jpg
Ergus Engagement-26.jpg
Ergus Engagement-31.jpg

The Proposal

I distracted Jahlai by pretending to photograph her alone and sent Paul to wait with my husband. Jahlai was very cooperative, even when I said “Don’t move! I’m going to get some shots of you from behind,” as I ran out of the way. Then I told her to turn around and there was Paul down on one knee!! I think it’s safe to say Jahlai was in utter shock!

Ergus Engagement-37.jpg
Ergus Engagement-66.jpg
Ergus Engagement-41.jpg
Ergus Engagement-42.jpg
Ergus Engagement-45.jpg
Ergus Engagement-47.jpg
Ergus Engagement-51.jpg
Ergus Engagement-71.jpg
Ergus Engagement-53.jpg
Ergus Engagement-72.jpg
Ergus Engagement-55.jpg
Ergus Engagement-70.jpg
Ergus Engagement-62.jpg

Engagement Photos

We moved to our next location to let reality set in and snap a few engagement photos. Paul presented Jahlai with a sweet little surprise gift and we had a few a laughs before we called it a night.

Ergus Engagement-77.jpg
Ergus Engagement-80.jpg
Ergus Engagement-83.jpg
Ergus Engagement-85.jpg
Ergus Engagement-87.jpg
Ergus Engagement-88.jpg
Ergus Engagement-92.jpg
Ergus Engagement-93.jpg
Ergus Engagement-95.jpg
Ergus Engagement-96.jpg
Ergus Engagement-103.jpg
Ergus Engagement-101.jpg
Ergus Engagement-109.jpg
Ergus Engagement-106.jpg
Ergus Engagement-124.jpg
Ergus Engagement-120.jpg
Ergus Engagement-133.jpg

Congratulations again Paul and Jahlai!!

When Amber contacted me about a family session, she knew exactly where they wanted to have their photos taken – a rocky beach.  And luckily, I had just the place in mind!  As Ryan remarked during the session, this place looks like the Amalfi Coast of Sicily.  I had never thought about it that way before, but he was right!!

We met just an hour or so before sunset and had a great time hopping around on the rocks together.  The boys showed me their best superhero poses and each one got to pick where they wanted to take a photo with their family.  I can truly say, the Albano family has such a great sense of humor and knows how to have fun!!

Amber and Ryan, I hope you guys love the photos! We had such a great time with you and the babes 🙂

Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-149.jpg

Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-151.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-164.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-161.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-138.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-139.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-115.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-105.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-148.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-114.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-135.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-159.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-134.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-144.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-128.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-118.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-101.jpg
Albano Family Session_MRPhotography-100.jpg

When my friend Rachel invited me to join her on a group hike on Mt. Etna, I jumped at the chance. You probably already know how obsessed I am with that majestic volcano if you have followed along with my blog or Facebook at any point. She’s (Mt. Etna) very active and thus I am in awe of her on a daily basis.

The Hike: Cassone – Monte Pomiciaro

For our day trip, we met early in the morning and drove to Zafferana Etna for a breakfast pit stop. After grabbing a pastry, we continued up to the parking area and began our assent.

Etna Hike-14.jpg

It was one of the few times I’ve hiked without my Apple Watch, so unfortunately, I don’t have firm details about the length and distance of the trail. In total, it took us two hours to ascend, take in the view from the top for awhile, and then descend. The hike up is probably somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. The trial is ~1 mile long (I’d guess) and has a relatively steep incline with one one tiny little scramble. Two kids (7-10ish) joined and had a great time as well!

Etna Hike-9.jpg
Etna Hike-11.jpg
In the very center, you can see the only remaining trees from an old forest that has now been covered with lava.

Along the way, we found this chestnut and it’s shell. I never knew chestnuts grew in this sea urchin type ball, but indeed they do!

Etna Hike-4.jpg
Chestnuts and their shell

Once we reached the top, the views were absolutely stunning!! A HUGE lava field lies between the view point and the summit.

Etna Hike-15.jpg
View from the top
Etna Hike-16.jpg
Zoomed in

You can get a clear view of the summit and see the activity of the side craters as well!

Etna Hike-25.jpg
Mt. Etna summit
Etna Hike-31.jpg
From the viewpoint
Etna Hike-20.jpg
Etna Hike-29.jpg
With my friend, Rachel, and the monument at the top.

Le 5 Botti Ristorante – Pizzeria

After the hike, we drove down to Le 5 Botti Ristorante Pizzeria, where we enjoyed a delicious Sicilian lunch before heading back home.

Etna Hike-54.jpg
Etna Hike-41.jpg
Etna Hike-42.jpg
Etna Hike-45.jpg
Etna Hike-50.jpg

All in all, it was a great little day trip and I would highly recommend both the hike and restaurant if you’re looking for a little adventure and amazing food!

It’s possible the Gilmores are the best dressed family I have ever had the pleasure of working with! As soon as I stepped out of my car, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite sessions, because they looked like they just stepped out of a magazine. Talk about a photographer’s dream!

Not only did this family have impeccable style, but they were also so sweet and incredibly kind. Erica and Richard shared lots of laughs (especially towards the end), which made our time together even more special. We had a lot of fun exploring the rocky Sicilian coast while hanging out with baby Ezra. Is he not the most handsome baby you have ever seen?!

Once baby Ezra was tired, mom and dad continued with the shoot until we literally ran out of light. I really hope this isn’t the last time I’ll have the honor of working with this family!! Erica and Richard, thank you so much for choosing me to capture your beautiful family!!

Gilmore Family | Whimsical Sicilian Castle Session

Occasionally, I write a bittersweet post. If you haven’t already guessed, this is one of them. The thing about living the military lifestyle is that a lot of people come in and out of your life. When you meet really great people, you get excited for the friendship. But, you know that your time together is only temporary.

When we moved to Sicily, we had our sponsors (turned friends) select our house for us so we could move right in upon arrival. The home they picked for us just so happened to be right next door to the DeMauros. We got lucky. The very next day, these people were on our doorstep with dinner. We were so thankful, as we had not had a hot meal in a few days and didn’t have a car to go out and get one ourselves.

Over the year and a half that we have lived here, the DeMauros have fed us more times than I can count. We have babysat their children (yes, you read that right. I was in charge of a child and it survived). And we have taken a day trip or two. We’ve hung out at birthday parties and had some serious discussions about life. It’s honestly been a comfort to know that they were right next door, as we know we can count on them in any time of need. They have been not only great neighbors, but also great friends.

We are incredibly sad that the DeMauros’ time in Sicily will be up soon. I am so thankful that they were able to make time for one last photo session before heading back to the States.

Amanda and Adam, we will miss you guys and your beautiful babies. I will certainly miss Atti yelling, “Hey, Madalyn!! Watch this!” And, “See you later, crocodile!” And, Alba’s sweet hugs and rebel child style. Thanks for everything you’ve done for us. We love you!

DeMauro Family | Sicilian Fiat Family Session

DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-103.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-100.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-108.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-85.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-89.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-98.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-65.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-32.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-49.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-47.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-50.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-54.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-57.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-70.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-58.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-75.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-79.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-31.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-80.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-111.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-115.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-120.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-27.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-95.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-8.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-7.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-17.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-10.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-25.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-22.jpg
DeMauros Fiat Family Session_Mandalyn Renee-44.jpg

Let's get social

%d bloggers like this: