Category: Life with J&M  |  View all recent posts

Fri. Aug 8, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

J&M Summer Bucket List Update

Happy Friday friends!

Can we just talk about how not only is it now August, but we're almost already 1/3 of the way through August at that! Whew! This summer sure has been flying by!

It makes me extra grateful that this year we decided to do our J&M Summer Bucket List to keep us accountable to actually having a summer for ourselves in the midst of busy season. It can be so tempting for photographers to just work, work, work their whole Summer & Fall away, and then we find ourselves in December wondering where the year went! This year we wanted to be more focused on making memories for us rather than just sitting behind a computer & I'm so glad we did!

Now that we're entering the home stretch of summer, we thought we should do an update on where we are on the list. So far, I'd say we're doing really good! We've gotten to do a TON of stuff, a lot of which we shared here on the blog like our trip to Maine, going to an O's game, sailing in Seattle, VooDoo Donuts in Portland, and our fun 4th of July. And then there were smaller adventures that didn't get a post of their own (but we posted over on Instagram), things like going to a speak easy while we were in Chicago, laying out on a blanket & reading books, going to our own beach by us, kayaking a bunch, and cooking while pretending we're gourmet! :)

Thus far, we've marked 15 official things off the list!! But there are still 22 more left! {Insert that bug eyed emoji guy right here! Eeee!}

The good news is that August is our most bucket list packed month yet with trips to Ocean City, Assateague Island, Nantucket, Buttonwood Farms and Rhode Island planned. So we already have it planned to mark off a bunch more of them. We may not end up getting to ALL of the things on the list and you know what...that's ok. Because just having the list & remembering to chase adventure was the prize in and of itself

But I sure do love marking off a you never know, we may just get to all of them yet!

Stay tuned!

*Go to Assateague Island & see the ponies
*Got to Ocean City, MD & eat blue crab
*Attend a clambake
*Go to a speakeasy & get a signature drink
*Go berry or peach picking
*Oysters at the Matunuck Oyster Bar & sit out on the deck
*drive around Charlestown & Misquamicut
*Movie or jazz on the green
*Project a movie in our backyard
*Go to a drive in
*Go to Voo Doo donuts in Portland
*Go sailing in Seattle
*Go wine tasting on Long Island (look for the Graysons :)
*Check out the Montauk lighthouse/ walk around Montauk
*Play bocce & badminton
*Go somewhere fun for the fireworks on the 4th
*Spend a day exploring Kennebunkport
*Lobster & popovers in Bar Harbor
*Brunch in Portland, ME
*Eat almond joy ice cream in Watch Hill
*Have dinner/drinks/go to an event at the Ocean House
*Go back to Nantucket
*Spend a few days on Martha's Vineyard
*Spend a few days on the beach in Stone Harbor or Ocean City, NJ
*Ride bikes at Hammonasset
*Kayak a few different fun places
*Grill out good food....act like we're gourmet! :)
*lay out on a blanket & read books
*spend a bunch of days at our own beach
*rent a house on a lake & take Cooper swimming
*Go to the Mystic aquarium
*Go see an O's game & walk around the Inner Harbor
*Justin to get a hot lather shave at the Quintessential Gentleman in B'more
*Go to lunch/dinner at the Golden Lamb Buttery farm
*Go to the Buttonwood sunflower fields in August
*Go to an amusement park
*Eat clam chowder on a rain day

**And a HUGE congrats to the winner of our "Wifey for Lifey" giveaway, Miss Erin Sennett!!! Just shoot us an email Erin & we'll get you all set up!

Fri. Aug 1, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

Our Germany Trip Part II: Vienna & Neuschwanstein Castle

Happy Friday!!

Today we have Part II of our Germany & Austria trip! After the tour ended, we said goodbye to Philipp, Jennifer & Conrad and rented a car to try out the adventure of driving ourselves around the German countryside. We decided to rent a zippy little BMW (because, when in Germany!) and I'm so glad we did because we needed something with some serious giddy up for driving on the Autobahn. And here we thought I-95 drivers went fast! :)

From Munich, we drove down to the very southern part of Germany to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. Now here's the crazy part about that! The summer after I finished college, I spent a year studying in England and traveling all around Europe. That year, I had a travel book of Europe with me that had this gorgeous castle on the cover & I always said it would be a DREAM to go there. But I never made it there during my study abroad. And I just never forgot about that always made me a little sad that I didn't make it happen to go see it. So when someone suggested we go see Neuschwanstein Castle while we were in Germany, I thought "oh cool, maybe it will be something like that castle on the book" ....but when we got there, it turned out it WAS that castle on the book. When we got back home, I dug through the boxes we have in the basement to find that old travel guide, and sure enough there it was! How crazy is that?!

So we obviously had an amazing time driving up and first seeing it on the hillside, then having lunch at the base of the mountain, and then going by horse-drawn carriage up to the top of it. They call this the "fairytale castle" and supposedly the castle at Disney World is based on it....I think you can see why! It was incredible! SO beautiful!

From there we made the what probably should have been a 6 hour, but we got there in 4 thanks to the Autobahn, drive to Vienna. One of our favorite things to do while traveling abroad is to watch the type sites for the city we're going to, to look for crazy good deals on nice hotels that we wouldn't otherwise want to spend the money to stay at! We found a pretty amazing one that allowed us to stay at the Ritz Carlton for what a normal hotel would be & it also included this sweet gourmet breakfast every morning! That is one of my favorite travel tips to tell people to do! You have to be willing to not know exactly where you're going to stay until the day before, but it just makes it that much sweeter when it turns out to be something like the Ritz! :)

I have to say, we absolutely fell in love with Vienna! I think it just might be the most underrated city in Europe! We joked that it was like Germany, Italy & France all had a baby and named it Vienna! It was clean & efficient like Germany, it had the architecture & beauty of Italy, and it had all of the amazing cafes & people watching of France. We LOVED it! We walked around to all the major landmarks like Hofburg Palace, Schonbrunn Palace (in Vienna, it was all about the palaces!), the City Hall, the Opera House, and all the cathedrals. We sat in cafes & sipped cafe melanges. We climbed to the very top of this HUGE church on stairs held up by nothing more than one inch scaffolding bars....which at the top about 100 feet up started SWAYING. And we survived. But maybe my FAVORITE part of Vienna was seeing the Austrian National Library. It is this insanely beautiful library with the rolling ladders and secret doorways. And the whole ceiling is painted with the prettiest frescoes I've ever seen so the whole room just lights up in color. The whole time we were there, I just kept thinking "is this REAL?!"

And that's pretty much a good way to sum up how we felt on this whole part of the trip! We couldn't believe we were lucky enough for it to be real!

Enjoy! And Happy Friday!

Wed. Jul 30, 2014 by Justin    Life with J&M

Our Germany Trip Part I: Heidelberg & Stuttgart

Happy Wednesday!

We have been home for the past 12 or so days straight (which is pretty strange for us!) and we will actually be mostly home for the next two weeks as well. And that has been awesome because it's given us a chance to get caught up on those projects we have been pushing off, like finally getting around to making a book of our travels in Germany & Austria this past March.

It's been so fun going back through the pictures & we thought we would share some with you guys as well! We're breaking it up into two parts so it isn't too overwhelming & this part covers our time in Heidelberg & Stuttgart. Over these couple of days we got to walk through castles, roam down cobblestone city streets, sip warm beverages in cafes, eat some of the most amazing Italian food I've ever had (funny enough), visit the Porsche flagship store & museum and....roam through more castles!! You do a LOT of castle roaming in Europe! And I LOVED it! One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to meet up with a long time blog reader, Rici, who came to our Stuttgart stop on the tour and stayed to hang out with us the next day! We had spaghetti ice cream together (don't worry it just looks like spaghetti!), visited a castle (of course!), and got the sweetest card from her! I think it's SO amazing that the internet is this crazy thing that brings us all together & that we can make friends over the years that we finally get to meet in real life thousands of miles from home. It just makes me so so grateful for this blog & all of the amazing people it has brought into our lives because of it.

Speaking of amazing people coming into our lives, we are also super grateful that we had Philipp (who organized the tour) and Jennifer & Conrad from Jennifer Hejna Photography along to adventure with us & show us around. Most of these pictures are from Jennifer & we are SO thankful that she was there to capture so many amazing memories & moments for us! We LOVE you guys!

Looking back through all of these pictures is getting me so excited because we are currently in the process of planning our NEXT European adventure for October! We're heading to a wedding in England & while we're there we're also going to try to hit up some combination of Paris, Scotland and/or Ireland!! So I'm just saying....if there is anyone out there who has been dreaming of doing an engagement, elopement or anniversary shoot in any of those place....we're going to be there the last week of October! I'm just sayin!! We should definitely make that happen! :) :) Wheee!!

Enjoy Part I!

How adorable are Jennifer & Conrad??

Philipp, Conrad & Jennifer hiking up to the castle!

Me & Rici!!

Mon. Jul 21, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

J&M Summer Bucket List: Seattle & Portland

Our J&M Summer Bucket List adventures continued out west with our trips to Seattle & Portland! Specifically, we had on the list: go sailing in Seattle & get VooDoo Donuts in Portland. But we were able to do SO much more! We kicked off the trip by hopping right off a plane and on to a sailboat to cruise around the harbor with our new amazing friends Ike & Tash (and baby Wisdom!). And what a way it was to be welcomed out to Seattle! We had perfect weather, golden light, Mt. Rainier off in the distance, and a warm salt air breeze. It was amazing!

But besides that, we also got to grab brunch at Skillet with our recent J&M Couple Michelle & Matt, walk around the Public Market, stop off at the original Starbucks (of course!), go check out a lavender field with fellow photographer & friend Laura Marchbanks, grab dinner with our past J&M Couple Malika & Arjun (who also modeled for both of our workshops!), grab brunch (brunch is my love language!) with designer extraordinaire Jeffrey Shipley, and ride a ferry boat over to Bainbridge Island (while channeling my inner Meredith Grey) with the wonderful Candice Hackett.

From there we hopped in a car & drove down to Portland, where we kicked off that part of the trip right with an adventure to VooDoo Donuts. I had the maple bacon one and it was INCREDIBLE! Most of our time in Portland was taken up with the World Domination Summit, but we did get to drive past Powell's Books and eat dinner (complete with one amazing view from the 30th floor Portland City Grill) with our favorites Karen & Isaac Stott!

Whew! It was definitely a whirlwind, but I am so SO grateful for every minute of it! Here are a few of our favorite shots from the trip!

Happy Monday y'all!

Thu. Jul 10, 2014 by Mary    Life with J&M

The Hydrangea Chronicles

My favorite flower is the blue hydrangea.

Sure, the pink peony rings in a close second. And I will always have a special affection for the, well, lilac colored lilac. And standing in fields of lavender last summer is a moment I never want to forget.

But the simple fact is, the blue hydrangea has always been first in my heart.

We had blue hydrangeas at our engagement party. I had hydrangeas in my wedding bouquet. I think they are, simply put, the prettiest of all the flowers.

Four years ago when we bought our house, there were those who, shall we say, thought we had lost our fool minds. And, for a second there, they could have almost been right. Having been built in the 1880s, it was nearly 130 years old. It was run down. It had mold in it. Oh, and the ceiling and the walls were falling in from the 20 feet of water it had been under when a pipe burst on the third floor. And the only way they caught it was when they saw water pouring out of the second floor window.

Yea. It was not the obvious decision to say the least.

And yet.

And yet, from the second I walked through the front door, moldy air and all....I knew it was ours.

I can't explain it. I just get these gut feelings on things. And at this point in my life, I have just learned to run with them. No really, run with them. Full on sprint, lungs burning, legs on fire, side stitches RUN with them. Because they have always led me to the best things in my life. It was a gut feeling that said I should put off going to law school for a year, and I ended up studying in London and having one of the best year of my life instead. It was a gut feeling that said I should get in my car & go meet up with a brown eyed boy at a coffee shop, and I ended up marrying him. :)

And it was a gut feeling when I walked through the front door of this big old white colonial and side stepped a huge chunk of ceiling, that told me we should put in an offer on a certifiable disaster area (did I mention that the same people who cleaned up Katrina were the ones we had to bring in to make our house actually livable? yea, amazing.) And... it ended up becoming the beautiful place we now get to call home.

The day that we closed on the house, we weren't able to go inside because they were still making it, y'know, breathable. So we did what any new homeowners would do....we started working on the yard! The front of the house had been completely overgrown with these huge weeds every time we had gone to visit, so we set about doing the work of cutting them back. Machete in the jungle style, we hacked it all back. And guess what. When that all fell away to reveal what was behind, what did we find hiding that we never knew was there?

Two beautiful, big, blue hydrangea bushes that just keep getting prettier every year.

Which we keep right there front & center as a reminder to always trust our gut. To be brave. To be willing to take the long way around and do the work. To start with what we have and build from there.

No matter who might think we're crazy. No matter who can't see what we see. No matter how messy things might look in the beginning.

For there are far, far more beautiful things just on the other side. If you'll just have the courage to step through that door.

Rock it out friends!

*Yea. You could say we were happy.

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