Can you believe this is winter in Sicily? It’s true! The orange groves are one of Sicily’s most loved features. They bring such vibrancy and color to the “winter” months. They are also quite a tasty treat. So, it was no surprise when Britton told me she wanted family portraits taken in one.
If there is one word I could use to describe this family and these photos, it would be FUN! We really enjoyed checking out all of the different varieties of oranges and even watching dad juggle them!! There was even an incredible view of Mt. Etna in the background!! How could you better encapsulate Sicily in one photo? I’m not really sure it’s possible!
Christmas markets are one of my favorite experiences in Europe. Since Sicily is so warm year around, it makes getting into the holiday spirit a bit difficult. So, I found the perfect flight that left after work on Friday and returned on a Sunday evening. We jetted off to Frankfurt with the intention of meeting up with and old friend and taking the train down to Strasbourg, France for some Christmas market fun. Turns out France had a major transportation strike that weekend. So, instead of renting a car (totally do-able if that’s what you wanted to do), we decided to check out the markets in the Römerberg part of Frankfurt instead. I’m so glad we did because it was one of our favorite markets thus far. Last year, we visited the markets in Berlin and Budapest and we loved those too! The atmosphere in Frankfurt was just perfect for the holidays and we had a wonderful weekend hanging out with Max and drinking Glühwein!
Living in Sicily means LOT OF LEMONS! Growing up in Virginia, I was used to the summer season as the main time of the year for growing plants. In Sicily, it’s fall and winter, and that is just so strange to me. I have to say, I really do love it though. Instead of everything looking all brown and dead, winter is colorful, the grass is green, and it’s clearly a season of growth.
Our lemon tree really took off this year, so I wanted to capture some images of Chalupa and Birdee out in our tiny little yard. Dad joined in for a few because Birdee was very curious as to what was happening outside of the fence. See some of my other shoots from around our neighborhood here and here.
We had some incredibly thick fog one evening. So, of course, I dragged the gang out for a little bit of fog portrait play. These are a few of my favorites from walking around our neighborhood.
I’ve been starting to document our life at home more often. The main reason I ever picked up a camera was because I wanted better photos to keep of our family. I’ve photographed some family things, but mostly travel and photos for others. I decided to take my camera on one of our casual walks around our neighborhood with the puppies. Here are some of my favorite images from this day.
We had the pleasure of visiting Florence to celebrate Jordan’s 30th birthday over Veteran’s Day weekend this past month. His requests for the trip were to stay at a Tuscan villa and to enjoy the local wine and food. So, of course, we did both. We had also originally planned a day trip to Siena, but failed to make it due to all the fun we had. The weekend consisted of a stay at an incredibly ornate Tuscan villa, a Florence food tour, sightseeing with new friends, and a pasta making class with LovexFood in the Chianti Hills outside of the city. We tend to prefer vacations outside of the city, but I have to say, we LOVED Florence!
We splurged a little for Jordan’s birthday weekend and booked a room at the incredibly luxe Villa Cora. The grounds were stunning and the rooms had real paintings, each with their own lighting! The views from the top balcony (which never closed) were breathtaking with the changing autumn leaves. The villa was just a bit south of the city, but they have a free shuttle that will take you in for free. We also walked back and forth a couple of times, and it was approximately at 30 minute walk (depending where you are, of course). Totally worth it!
I can’t believe we lived in Italy for two years and had not yet learned to make pasta! LovexFood just outside of Florence remedied that for us and it was THE BEST experience. I have an entire blog dedicated to this class here. If you’re ever in Florence, I highly recommend booking this experience. If you can book it on your first day (as opposed to your last, like we did), Luca and Lorenzo also provide you with recommendations for food and activities in the city. Don’t think twice about this one!
I’ve said it before – we aren’t tour group people! I’m always a bit skeptical to sign up for tours when we visit cities, but I have yet to be disappointed by a small group food tour. The Taste Florence food tour is no exception! Alessandro, the host, is incredibly knowledgeable and takes you to smaller shops that you wouldn’t normally visit on your own. A butcher, a bakery, a chocolatier, a wine shop, and the local vendors at the food market, were a few of my favorite stops. Alessandro teaches you about the Florentine life as much as he does about the food you’re eating. It felt a bit like I was hanging out with Anthony Bourdain, but with a bit of a different sense of humor. We really enjoyed this tour as well, and Alessandro also provides food and wine recommendations for every desire.
We aren’t huge fans of museums, but we HAD to visit the David while here, and I’d recommend you do too! It was even bigger than I imagined. We also made a point to stroll around to see many of the more famous sights, including Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
One of the most famous dishes in Florence is the Florentine steak. So, we had to have one! I was also a huge fan of the cheese and sage pasta.
Our favorite restaurant locations included:
Coquinarius – for pasta
Casalinda – for the Bistecca (Florentine steak)
Mercato Centrale – for fresh food and a variety of food (check top level for a restaurant -type food hall).
Enoteca Alessi – for wine
All in all, we had so much unexpected fun in Florence, I wouldn’t be surprised if we visited again one day!
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!
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 🙂
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!
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.