Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Caroline Portillo

Caroline is truly worthy of the description, “Interested and Interesting friend”. She exudes love and joy, has the rare gift of really listening, a genuine interest in what you have to say and a wonderful sense of irony. Whenever I leave Carolines’ company I feel uplifted and inspired.


Caroline is wife to Ely, mum to Jacob, and is expecting Portillo baby number 2. Caroline is currently the Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum.  Formerly Editor in Chief of SouthPark Magazine and Editor in Chief Carolina Bride Magazine and here’s her quarantine experience………….


Where are you right now?
Sitting on my couch in our living room. 

Who are you with?

My husband, Ely. He’s watching old clips from The Empire Strikes Back, and complaining about how all the new Star Wars movies pale in comparison. He’s been watching a lot of random movies since the shelter-in-place orders came down. I usually watch the first 45 minutes with him and then doze off. 

What are you reading?

The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr. It’s one of those iconic memoirs I can’t believe I haven’t read yet. It’s largely focused on a woman’s childhood growing up in Texas in the 1960s, in a highly dysfunctional home with lots of alcohol abuse and mental instability. But it’s not presented in a woe-is-me way. It’s riveting, and the writing is beautiful. I’m also reading Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam. She’s a mother of four and has studied time management for years. Figure it’ll be a good book for me to reset old habits whenever this is all over. 
What are you listening to? 
Lots of podcasts. Love “The Daily” by The New York Times – gives me the lowdown on the news and coronavirus pandemic without my having to be on Twitter all day. I also love “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” (lots of practical tips for being happier, healthier and more energized), and the “You’re Welcome” podcast with Hilary Rushford, the only Instagram influencer I really like. I just know that if I ever met Hilary in real life, we’d be great friends. I’m also new to the “Office Ladies” podcast and adore it. I’m one of the world’s biggest fans of NBC’s “The Office,” so a podcast hosted by Pam (actress Jenna Fischer) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) that’s all about insider secrets and behind-the-scenes stories is all kinds of perfect. 

What’s your daily exercise of choice?

Walking. These days I take one, sometimes two walks a day. I’m usually pushing my almost-2-year-old son, Jacob, in the stroller with me. The weather is so lovely right now. I’m also 23 weeks pregnant (baby girl on the way), so we’ve been extremely careful with my exposure. I haven’t been to a store, restaurant, or really anywhere in eight-ish weeks. These walks make for a great escape, even if they’re just in the neighborhood. 

What’s your favourite board game?
Do cards count? I am a killer Spades partner. It’s my favorite. 

What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

Admittedly, my husband does most of the cooking, and he’s really good at it. (Him: fall-off-the-bone short ribs and homemade cornbread. Me: tortellini and a kale salad). But I’m really good at following Blue Apron recipes! And I make a mean homemade pepperoni pizza with Trader Joes ingredients. 
Are you still able to work at all?Yes, it’s been crazy busy. I’m the director of marketing and communications at The Mint Museum, and when we decided to close our doors, my team worked to launch a Mint Museum from Home website, and populate it with lots of videos, at-home crafts, Q&As with sheltered-in-place artists from around the world, and more. Now we’re trying to build out plans for what the museum will look like when we re-open. 

What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?

I miss getting a cappuccino at my favorite coffee shop, Crema Espresso in Dilworth, and settling in for a couple of hours of work. Normally, most of my days are spent working out of our Mint Museum Uptown location. But a couple of days a week, when I need some solitude to plow through a to-do list, I post up at Crema Espresso for a little bit. It’s a gem of a spot and I miss it very much. 

Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with? 

Real-life answer: (1) My husband, Ely: good cook, hilarious, and adept at handling survival situations. (2) My son, Jacob. He’s a handful, but those chubby little legs and penchant for cuddles raise my serotonin levels. (3) My mom. She’s my best friend and a top-notch babysitter. 
Fantasy-world answer: Ely. Oprah. Harry Houdini. 

Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?
We pulled my son out of daycare around mid-March out of an abundance of caution, and I have been so amazed daily at how his brain has developed over the last couple of months. He’s started talking in sentences, parroting us (loves to tell me to “calm down” now), and is all about his ABCs. These two months with him—albeit extremely stressful at times and marked by many shed tears (mine)—have made me realize how much of my son’s incremental growth I was missing before all of this happened. It’s been special to be able to talk and laugh about these milestones with my husband throughout the day, and it’s made me realize how important logging sheer hours together is for being around for the small but beautiful things, like the way my son searches out “lello sow” (yellow dandelion flowers) for me along the sidewalk. 
Whenever we are back at the office and in our normal routine, I’ve resolved to be much better about making time for family time, even if it means leaving work a little earlier and signing back on again later after bedtime. I don’t want to miss these special moments. 

Have you taken up a new hobby? 

Not sure it counts as a hobby, but it’s a new routine. Every morning, when my son, Jacob, wakes up—usually around 7:15 a.m.—I get him out of his crib, change his diaper, and then help him carry a stack of books as big as he can manage into my room. Then, while my husband makes coffee, Jacob and I get under the covers, and I read him book after book before we go downstairs for breakfast. (He usually demands that we finish the full stack). It’s going to be hard to give up those cuddles when I have a commute and morning routine to consider. I need to find a way to make them still happen. 

What projects have you got coming up? 

The Mint has some really cool exhibitions coming up once we do re-open, so I’ll have lots on my plate for those. We’re also trying to plan out some virtual event series for folks who aren’t yet ready to return to gatherings. 
But on a personal note, the “project” I’m thinking about all the time is the little girl growing in my belly! My due date is Sept. 5. I’ve got some ideas swimming around for the nursery, but need to start getting it ready. 

What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?
I know it’s easy for me to talk positives when I haven’t had to face the ugliness of coronavirus myself, and neither has my immediate circle of friends and family. Thankfully, my husband and I are both still healthy and both still have jobs. I wouldn’t, however, say that this time of shelter-in-place restrictions and abounding fear has been a romantic time of simplicity—it’s been marked by tears, frustration and way too many nights spent falling asleep on the couch, work laptop in hand. 
So I hope to come away from this time with immense gratitude for all I have, as well as for all the little things and people I took for granted. The amazing teachers at my son’s daycare who scrub the table and floor after every time he eats. Bear hugs from my parents who live just 10 minutes away. (My dad’s a doctor in Charlotte, so we’ve had to stay away from my parents for what feels like forever.) Even just the everyday conversations I have with everyone from the beloved security guards at the museum to the baristas at my favorite coffee shops—I miss it all. And I know I’ll come away from all of this imbued with a new appreciation I didn’t have before. 


How will you celebrate once this is all over?
A cappuccino and a Hamster crepe (try it!) at Crema Espresso. And after I have this baby, a plate of sushi and a massive glass of sparkling rosé. 



Marvelous Mothers Day Gift Ideas


Give the Gift of Style to the Mom in your life by purchasing a styling session with stylist Whitley Adkins Hamlin. Choose from Whitley’s menu of services: Closet Edit, Personal Shopping and Styling, Outfit Coordination, Special Occasion Styling, and more to give a truly one of a kind gift that every Mom wants.  www.thequeencitystyle.com or contact Whitley at Whitley@thequeencitystyle.com 


An extraordinary portrait session for the extraordinary mother/wife in your life.
Session fee $100.00 (usually $300), we shoot at a location of your choice + you can purchase extra $’s to go towards the print order. Perfect for a fashion portrait session or with the whole family.
Purchase your E-Gift Card here. When a purchase is made I’ll be in touch and we’ll set up your session.

GOODNESS NEVER TASTED SO SWEET

 I’ve been taking my friend Stephanie Rickenbaker’s Sweet’s Syrup for several months and it works!

Sweet’s Syrup combines organic elderberries with raw local honey and spices specifically chosen for their individual properties plus great flavor.

The ingredient list is short, SWEET, and 100% pronounceable!


Find a store near you or buy online


Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Marysue Boyle

Sixth in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet Marysue Boyle.

I’m struggling not to overuse the adjectives to describe Marysue but one can simply not avoid it…….Mother of two and wife to the equally amazing Kevin. She’s indubitably one of the most stylish women in Charlotte, has a rich history in the fashion and branding industry, she’s one of the most welcoming, and giving people I have ever met and owns and runs the coolest event location in Charlotte, Beau Monde. One could say Marysue is like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.

Beau Monde Properties:

The Collectors Room & Circle M Farm

Instagram

 

Where are you right now?

Home, all the time. Working from home, parenting from home, day drinking from home.


Who are you with?

My husband and two children (4 and 2)


What are you reading?

Our State Magazine, Charlotte Business Journal, A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South by Amy Evans & Martha Hall Foose 


What are you listening to?

Rod Stewart Radio and James Taylor Radio on Pandora 


What’s your daily exercise of choice?

Squats, lunges, abs in increments of 10 any time and anywhere as well as racing my children


What’s your favourite board game?

With my littles - Shutes and Ladders

With adults - Scrabble 


What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

Ribs - slow in the crockpot, broiled before serving alongside Japanese rice and greens 


What is the last restaurant you ate in before lockdown?

Bardo


Are you still able to work at all?

Yes, currently my team is working to reschedule all events through June, we have properties, relationships, and events to manage


What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?

My Dentist! 


Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?

The three I’m currently with 


The last person you hugged? 

Our Art Director who recently moved to Winston Salem


Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?

Everyone in my house loves a routine - not sure this is much of a “lightbulb” but a good reminder that we all thrive on purpose and predictability


Have you taken up a new hobby?

Sidewalk chalk artistry…We are outside most of the day, thanks to Toy Mania, we’ve been stocked with buckets of chalk to create elaborate imaginary worlds in between rain spells, favorites include, Candyland, Jungle City, and Rescue City 


What projects have you got coming up?

We are working to rehab Circle M Farm, last year, we installed a large rose garden and will continue to build out around it with low growth, trees, and a lavender field


What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?

Be in the moment, not having anywhere to go besides outside to play is a great reminder to jump into what’s in front of you. Resets are a good thing, smaller can be better, and washing your hands never hurts  


How will you celebrate once this is all over?

Venture to ANY dine in restaurant and have a meal that we haven’t prepped, cooked, served, and cleared!

Travel 


Pie&Mash Wedding Films And Why

 Wedding Films that inspire awe, admiration, and wonder or overpriced rubbish? Check out our latest wedding film (below) and you decide… 

note: We shot alongside one of my most favourite people and longtime friend Mary Lou of All Bliss Photography, her work is sublime. To see her work is to know the lady behind it.

What is Pie&Mash?

Pie and mash is a traditional working-class food, originating in the East End of London. (just like me)  Pie, mash and eel shops have been in London since the 19th century, and are still common in East and South London and are my number one favorite food bar none.

Pie and Mash is also a film company offering a rather unique wedding film for the visually sophisticated, hard-working, smart, and well-mannered bride and groom.


Who is Pie&Mash?

Pie and Mash is a creative collaboration established 12 years ago as a fun and creative side project between myself and one of my very best friends, filmmaker Timm Young and has since grown into a thang.


Why Pie & Mash? 

It was always Timm’s and my vision to create visually compelling, emotively driven, unpretentious and most of all fun wedding films for discerning couples using a combination of state of the art film making kit and decidedly lo-fi, 1950s-70s old school, home movie Supe8 cameras and film, providing another very enjoyable creative outlet plus more money for us.


Are Pie&Mash on the Interwebs 

Yes, we have a website, you can also view our films right here too. 


What Packages Do You Offer? 

We have two modi operandi…..
If you’re a Richard Israel Photography client then the inimitable Timm will be your solo filmmaker, shooting both HD video and Super8 or exclusively HD Video, your choice. HD Video only, starting at $2,500, both Super8 & HD Video starting at $3,500.
If you’re not a Richard Israel Photograhy client then Timm and I will be shooting HD video and Super8 together, offering more comprehensive coverage. Starting at $5000. 


 Why So Bloody Expensive? 

We asked Kodak Motion Picture Film Division and our Processing/Tele Cine Transfer Lab the same question. 


 We’ve Spoken To Other Videographers Who said they can Fake The Super8 Look. 

Pleather and Fine Italian Leather.


 Ok, We’re Interested, What Shall We Do Now? 

I highly recommend having 1 or 6 fine adult beverages, sit in a comfy chair, and watch at least 2 of our films from beginning to end. You can either make a spontaneous drunk purchase right there and then or email, call or text to have a nice chat and we’ll talk you through the whole process. (highly recommended option) 


Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Whitley Hamlin

Fifth in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet my friend Whitley Hamlin.

What can I say about one of my very best friends Whitley, a woman of many facets, she’s a single mum of 2 energetic boys, stylist to the hard-working, smart and well-mannered people of Charlotte, a magazine fashion contributor, a creative director, and producer. She can drive a tractor, run a 10k all before lunch, and pull wardrobe for an editorial fashion shoot in the afternoon. Whitley is truly worthy of the adjective amazing.

Whitley’s Instagram  

Whitley’s Facebook

Where are you right now?

At my desk in my dressing room emailing you!


Who are you with?

Cutie Pie, (the dog), is next to me on her hind legs smelling the smells out the window listening to the children playing and laughing the birds chirping.  My boys are being homeschooled by my boyfriend, Jay, today at his house, so or else the sounds might be a little different :).


What are you reading?

Seriously?  What is reading?  Ugh I miss reading every morning and evening on the subway to and from work while living in NYC.  Nothing at the moment, but my Bible is always on my bedside table atop my collection of latest home design, fashion magazines, and local publications I enjoy.  (SouthPark at the top of that stack, of course!)


What are you listening to?

Whatever my boys play when they grab my phone to change the music I thought I was going to be listening to. 


What’s your daily exercise of choice?

Duh!  Running!  But during quarantine, I have enjoyed running even more trails and mountain biking with my kids.  Jay and I have been driving as far as Roanoke, Va to hit a new set of trails.  Also walking the dog more, which makes her much happier too. I am LOVING all this outdoors time.


What’s your favourite board game?

Ooooohhh… my Mom just gave us a whole bunch of board games.  We have been mainly playing a lot of cards and the kids are really into dominoes. But if you have to have a board game, it’s still Candy Land!


What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

During Quaratine?  I’ve cooked a few dishes I really love.  One is an almond encrusted tilapia served over cheesey stone-ground grits with a side of baked asparagus. The other, pan-seared peppercorn tuna topped off with an artichoke, capers and cherry tomato relish served alongside olive spiked cous cous is also quite yummy!  And as our dear friend Pam Stowe reminds, when you cook during cocktail hour, the proper term for a prepared meal is now drooked!


Are you still able to work at all?

Yes, but clearly since the majority of the population has no reason to get dressed up beyond blue jeans and a t-shirt, my definition of work as a stylist has changed dramatically.  Magazine photo shoots have moved from me styling to producing and coordinating stories that involve the subjects using their fancy new i-phones to supply their own photography!  Unsurprisingly, I have managed to create plenty of projects for myself which makes me a little annoyed with myself but helps me feel productive! 


What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?

Gosh, I’m thinking, but I’m not sure. Honestly, I feel like I’ve gained so much.


Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?

This is not an easy answer.  In no particular order God, Jesus, My Grandmother who was/is my style icon and greatest influence for my work. My two boys, Hank and Worth, boyfriend, Jay.  My friends. My family.  Can we have like a revolving door cocktail party situation so there are only 3 people at a time and 6 feet apart for safety purposes?  Oh, and you take pictures of all the fun.


Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?

Yes!  I have SO much for which I am grateful!  This has been the most ever-present feeling from the beginning. 


Have you taken up a new hobby?

Well, I did purchase PhotoShop; something I’ve always wanted to learn, but then I started creating all these projects for myself, so I haven’t gotten there yet. My patio garden is ready for cocktails with guests!


What projects have you got coming up?

We’ll see.  The big one I’ve been working on for the last week is Fashion Forward, which is a coalition to support and preserve the retail fashion industry in Charlotte, NC.  The group is comprised of local stores, designers, and stylists uniting “together for the greater good” supporting one another and giving back to those with an even greater need.


What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?

Too many to list.  


How will you celebrate once this is all over?

I feel like I’ve been celebrating family and loved ones this entire time.  I mean, I have a Zoom gathering with my childhood best friends since elementary school every other week!  We only see each other as a group once a summer at the beach.  Now we see each other twice a month!  But seriously, health aside, I think there will be lots of us wishing we could go back to the slower-paced, closer-knit days of quarantine.


Thanks so much for having me, and let’s celebrate with some photo shooting fun! :)  You’re the best.


One For the Guys - The Joy of Shaving Like Your Grandpa

Four years ago I was on my way to the drugstore to purchase yet another pack of super-duper 5 blade razor cartridges while listening to The Art of Manliness podcast, lo and behold the subject was double edge razor shaving. I immediately did my research and purchased the items listed below, all of which I use exclusively and can highly recommend. 

 The benefits: 

After your initial investment, the cost is next to nothing.

One box of 100 blades will last well over a year. 

Shaving soap 3-6 months. I rotate through 3 different soaps just to change things up a little.

The razor, a lifetime. 

You get a closer shave with little to no razor burn. 

The process, oh the process, it’s both relaxing and cathartic. 


Here’s a great tutorial.

Shaving products I personally use and recommend; 

Razor

Brush

Blades

Pre Shave

Soap 1

Soap 2

Soap 3

Aftershave 1 

Aftershave 2


There are loads of great shaving YouTube channels, Friendship Shaving is my favourite, if you need help or advice drop me a line from my contact page. Have fun!


  


Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Joe Payne

Fourth in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet my mate Joe Payne. 

What can I say about Joe, a fellow Brit, and a brilliant photographer.
Joe has a beautiful wife and 2 wonderful daughters, makes a lovely cup of tea, he’s not a bad cook, and he turned me on to the wonders of vinegar and a (cheeky) knob of butter on my beans and toast and the Wurzel’s.
We share a common obsession with photography, Harry Enfield, Derek & Clive, and of course Bob Mortimer’s Train Guy

Thanks, M8!

Joe’s website

Instagram

Facebook 

Where are you right now? 

I’m sitting in my home studio, in front of my Mac. The window is open and I’m listening to the birdsong as I write this. 

Who are you with? 

My lovely wife, Cristel, is working at the desk opposite and my two girls are downstairs doing schoolwork.

What are you reading? 

The Second Half by Man Utd legend Roy Keane & Roddy Doyle. I hated Keane as a player, but he definitely has the gift of the gab and some great stories to tell from a very colourful career.

What are you listening to? 

I just spent the morning watching and listening to Lanny Mann of Two Mann fame as he did an online demo of his post-processing in Photoshop. Most enlightening. Now I’m listening to the birdies outside. 

What’s your daily exercise of choice?

I mix up a bit of strength training at home with cycling and running on the local greenways. 

What’s your favourite board game? 

Has to be Monopoly, right? English version of course!

What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

 I’m pretty good in the kitchen. I like making Thai curries, chilli con carne, Spanish omelettes, etc. I also do a pretty decent beer battered cod and chips. You came over once for a traditional English Sunday roast lamb with mint sauce and sherry trifle for dessert. I seem to remember it was pretty good!

Are you still able to work at all? 

I’ve just finished up the editing of a wedding and put an order in for an album for another client yesterday. I’ve also been working on the education side through the online workshop with Two Mann, which has been interesting. I’ve also been watching some of the stuff Parker Pfister did on the PPA website’s education section. Some great free content in there for members. 

What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most? 

Just being able to pop to the supermarket without all the paranoia and wringing of hands. 

Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with? I’m pretty happy with the three that I have with my wife and two girls. But if I had to choose three others, it’d have to be Jesus Christ, the Dalai Lama and a translator. 

Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started? 

Yes, I changed one in the bathroom just the other day. Seriously, though, I guess the ability to look at my business and life in general from 30,000 feet and put things into perspective. When all is said and done, what is really important? I keep coming back to just being a good husband and dad. The rest is just icing on the cake. 

Have you taken up a new hobby? 

Funnily enough, I haven’t really had the time still. Maybe now I’m all caught up.

What projects have you got coming up? 

Working on updating my wife’s website and doing some bits and pieces on mine too. It’s our shop window so I like to keep things shipshape and Bristol fashion as much as possible. 

What are the biggest positives we can take from all this? 

To never take things for granted like being with friends and family again. Being able to hug our loved ones. Being able to go outside and just do what we want, when we want. This is an historic time we should try and learn from. 

How will you celebrate once this is all over?

 I was planning a trip home to England in July. I’m not sure that’s going to happen, but I’d like to get back as soon as possible. I was looking forward to showing my girls where their dad is from, taking them around London and going down to Dartmoor. Maybe we’ll have to wait for that, but getting out and about with them would be great. Maybe a trip to Charlotte to sample your Sunday roast?



Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Cathy Martin

Third in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet my friend Cathy Martin

Cathy is a wife, mother of two, and Editor in Chief of SouthPark Magazine.
We often take a just a passing glance at a magazine’s masthead without giving it a second thought, moving on to enjoy the magazine’s fascinating stories and lush photography. Stop to consider what Cathy actually does, she creates the editorial boards, oversees all editorial content, editing, writing, and always on non-stop tight deadlines while always remaining sensitive, calm, collected, and thoughtful. 

Cathy is indeed worthy to be described as a rock star.

Where are you right now?

At my makeshift office, my dining room table. My husband was gunning for it, but I won, and he has to work in one of the kids’ rooms.

Who are you with?

Immediately, it’s just me and my dog, Leo, a springer spaniel. But the whole family is home.

What are you reading?

Mostly magazines, I can’t get enough. I keep trying to get into a new book, but every time I pick up a novel I just can’t engage. Reality is so much more interesting these days, I guess.

What are you listening to?

A little late to this but Billie Eilish. It started as a curiosity but now I’m intrigued. And it’s oddly soothing.

What’s your daily exercise of choice?

I walk, twice a day if possible. Plus, I got on my bike for the first time in a couple of years, that was fun! I’ll be doing more of that. Yoga once or twice a week.

What’s your favourite board game?

I love all board games, but unfortunately my family does not.

What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

I don’t cook!

Are you still able to work at all?

Better than ever, for the most part.

What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?

Coffee and lunch meetings around town with friends, writers and others to gather story ideas.

Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?

Pass.

Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?

Still waiting.

Have you taken up a new hobby?

No, but I’ve planted pots of flowers for the first time in years and I’ve been watering them daily and watching them grow. There’s also a family of birds nesting underneath my mailbox and it’s fascinating to watch them. So, gardening and bird-watching — I’m officially ancient.

What projects have you got coming up?

Well, I’ve realized I want to paint every single room in my house. Otherwise just trying to come up with brilliant new ideas for the magazine.

What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?

Cherish the people close to you, and slowing down every once in a while can be a good thing. It’s restorative in a way, a reset.

How will you celebrate once this is all over?

Trying all the great new restaurants I’ve been meaning to get to! Plus returning to the usual spots. There are so many, and they need our support more than ever. Also, I can’t WAIT to get to the beach.


Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Brit Drozda

Second, in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet my friend Brit Drozda. Brit is a devoted wife and mother, a trained chef and super talented singer/songwriter, Brit is, in fact, a rock star on all counts and I’m proud to call her friend. Check out her music and all things Brit here.

Brit’s Instagram

Brit’s Facebook

Who are you with?

My husband Zack and dogs Daisy and Myrtle.  My kids are here too but asleep- Liam and Price.


What are you reading?

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver


What are you listening to? 

A lot of Bruce Springsteen and George Ezra


What’s your daily exercise of choice?

Running, Hilliard Studio Method or Melissa Wood Health- barre and pilates 


What’s your favourite board game?

Stratego


What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

An apple pie from scratch, Thai chicken salad with fresh mint


Are you still able to work at all?

A little bit, I’m able to play music from home and stream shows. I’ve started a fundraiser (#charlottemusicchallenge) to help out local live music venues that are unable to host shows at this time.  I had to cancel a show in March because of COVID-19.  Gofundme.com/charlottemusicchallenge. I will also be on WFAE’s Songversasions with Joni Deustch to play a show and talk about music. 


What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?

Being able to hug friends.



Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?

The three that I already am quarantined with :-) My kids, Liam and Price and husband Zack. 

And maybe Sheryl Crow, Elvis and Sia :-) I’d love to write songs with them.



Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?

I’ve learned how much I appreciate being able to get outdoors. I have also been overwhelmed by realizing how much health and being able to spend time with family are two incredible blessings that I often overlook in the the chaos of normal routines.  I’ve also felt the power of being able to create music and feel moved to help people escape from these times by playing a song for them.

The arts are unbelievably important to help people get through trying times.  I’ve learned how much a book or music, or being able to dance amidst all of this has made life better.  



Have you taken up a new hobby?

Teaching young children-JK.  God bless teachers.  This has been more of a challenge than a hobby.



What projects have you got coming up?

I’m releasing a new single, Seashells and Stories on May 8th.  Windy O Connor did the cover art.  I recorded it in NY with Grammy Award winning Producer Scott Jacoby.



What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?

We, as human beings, are collectively making our way through a trying time.  There is so much outreach taking place and leaning on one another from a distance that I feel like we will come out on the other side, stronger and more understanding of one another.  


How will you celebrate once this is all over?

I will go out to dinner in a restaurant with friends, play a concert at a beloved music venue, and go visit relatives that I can’t see in person right now. 





Meet My Interesting and Interested Friend - Rodger Azadganian


First, in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet my mate Rodger Azadganian.


Rodger is owner of 8 The Salon, Charlotte’s premier hair salon, he’s also the owner of ÄZ a luxury hair care line. Both are the best of the best.
He has brilliant taste in music, art, and fine cigars. He’s a philosopher and has fantastic style.  We’re working on a book project and have gone on several trips together all of which have been both fun and enlightening. 

He’s been known to order one of everything on the menu. 

He’ll somehow manage to get a table at a fully booked restaurant then ask for a better table. 

He’s one of the few people who can wind me up good, not an easy feat….. 






How Is Quarantine For You……….


Where are you right now?

At the beach in SC


Who are you with?

My wife and kids


What are you reading?

This email 


What are you listening to?

Yacht rock imagining I’m isolated on a boat 


What’s your daily exercise of choice?

Army crawls to the mailbox 


What’s your favourite board game?

The game of life COVID-19 edition 


What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?

I haven’t 


Are you still able to work at all?

Yes, on my tan 


What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?

Richard Israel


Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?

Keith Richards, Larry David, Jack Black



Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?

What did people wipe their asses with before?


Have you taken up a new hobby?

Reconnaissance mission for toilet paper


What projects have you got coming up?

Finishing our book


What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?

Knowing people are finally washing their hands after using the restroom


How will you celebrate once this is all over?

Quarantine myself at work




Intimate Weddings & Elopements. The New Normal?

For some time the concept of the micro wedding has been trending and the interest in having a “fast-food” style of celebration has certainly increased during these uncertain times. However, for the discerning bride and groom, I would suggest considering a more nuanced approach…….


Over the last several years I’ve been shooting an ever-increasing number of intimate weddings (40 guests or less) and quite a few elopements (12 guests or less) all of which have been an absolute joy for all involved, (including me).  

What could be lovelier than spending your big day with an intimate group consisting of the ones you love the most? Think about the perfect cocktail and dinner party.

Location choice could be as diverse as a weekend in Paris, under a Charleston plantation’s mossy oak tree, a  historical church campground, an Airbnb or someone’s backyard, you’re only limited by what you can imagine.


For an intimate wedding, consider having a personal chef, a boutique caterer, a killer food truck or a family member cook a pig, for libations a vintage mobile bar is hard to beat. Take your elopement guests to a fabulous restaurant. 

Whatever direction you decide to go, make it fabulous! 

check out more intimate weddings and elopements here


A Story of the Perfect Imperfect Wedding

A Story of the Perfectly Imperfect Wedding



On the morning of October 3rd, 2015 setup began for a beautiful Kiawah Island wedding—a year in the making, the perfect wedding, the wedding our bride Molly had dreamt of since she was a little girl.

October 3rd was also the date of an extratropical storm that triggered high precipitation, causing catastrophic historic flash flooding across South Carolina.

I was preparing to make the trip down to Charleston to create a Super8 wedding video, a nostalgic film style popularized in the 1960s. When I left Charlotte, it was raining pretty hard and by the time I neared Charleston, it was a torrential and constant gully washer. Shortly after arriving in Charleston, I received a call from Margaret, the wedding planner. “The wedding’s been called off due to flooding,” she explained. Disappointed, I turned around and headed back to Charlotte. But just before getting into the city, another call came through. “We’re going to have another shot at the wedding on Sunday. There’s a three-hour window during low tide when we can pull it off. It’s up to you. If you don’t feel comfortable, we fully understand”. 

The thought of potentially putting myself into a very dangerous situation to shoot a Super8 film sounded wonderful.

At this point, the bride and groom had a choice to make. They knew their dream wedding, the most important day of their lives, wasn’t going to happen as planned. Most couples would’ve had a meltdown—the year of planning, the money put in, everything was washed away. Simply stepping out from under cover for just a few seconds left you soaked to the skin. 

But Molly and Paul decided to embrace the day, focusing on the most important element of their wedding, saying their vows and celebrating with those they loved most. Of course, there were sacrifices—there was no fancy dinner for guests (kudos to the incredible Kiawah staff who put together huge bowls of salads and soup with ingredients purchased from Piggly Wiggly). But then, some things worked out as planned—like the band braving the storm to play. Everyone had an incredible time, the best of times, perhaps because of, rather than despite of, their perfectly imperfect day. 

Enjoy Molly & Paul’s wedding day as seen through the lens of my vintage Super8 camera. 



Kudos to:

Kiawah Island

WED






sloan & mike - Charlotte Wedding

I must admit to getting very attached to Sloan and Mike, we just seemed to click {pun intended} It poured with rain pretty much the entire day and they didn’t give a toss, they did what all couples should be doing, celebrating their wedding day with the ones they love and having a bloody amazing time doing it. My hope as always is that you’ll not only see what their wedding looked like but what it felt like to be there too….. 

venue: LaCa Projects

flowers: Bookout Blooms

hair and Make up: Meghann Cenci Baugh





Wedding Day Large Format Portraits

There is something unique and magical about a large format portraits on wedding day , the combination of an antique lens and film makes for a portrait that suggests another era but that’s not the only thing that makes it special. The medium in itself makes it impossible for spontaneity, because of the razor thin depth of field the subjects cannot move even a hairs breadth.

The people are placed, focus is made, shutter locked, film holder goes in, dark slide out, finger on the shutter release, now the magic begins, I’m not looking though a viewfinder, I’m engaging my subject, they’re looking at me,  I’m looking at them, one word from me, the right word, thwack, shutter tripped, voila, an honest and pure portrait made.

See more of art wedding portraits here


Tech specs:

Late 1950’s Graphlex Speed Graphic 4×5

Plaubel Anticomar 2.9/150 mm Lens, circa 1930’s

Ilford HP-5 film





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