Man Crush Monday | Chris & Nina Kennedy

Nina’s everyday #ManCrush is her husband, Chris Kennedy.

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Tell us the story of how you met...

Well we told people we met at PF Changs in line for the bathroom and he caught me as I tripped and fell. We really met on Match.com. 

What was the first date like?

We met up at City Grill - it was Wednesday, February 3rd.  I got there first and as I was waiting for him to walk in, I suddenly panicked that I couldn't remember how tall he said he was in his Match profile… I wore heels. When he got there we hugged - it was fine (phew!). The place was packed and SO loud, and by some miracle we got two seats at the bar. We decided to order some appetizers and I made him choose. Naturally he chose two of the hardest things ever to eat on a date - lettuce wraps and I can't remember the other… but I just remember barely eating anything. I was totally nervous and luckily he's got the gift of the gab because he kept the conversation going the whole time. We decided to get a nightcap across the street which was the complete opposite atmosphere and super quiet. At this point the gift of my gab was in full effect and we talked and talked for another two hours. I just remember thinking that I didn't want the night to end.

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What makes him crush worthy?

He's just one of the most genuinely good people I have ever known. He's generous, caring, passionate, smart and handsome, and much like on our first date, I just never want the night to end when I'm with him.  

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When did you know you wanted to spend the rest of your life with this man?

I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him when we were sitting at his favorite restaurant, The Pour House, watching a ‘Cuse game with a bunch of his friends. For some reason I got this overwhelming feeling of just being safe and exactly where I'm supposed to be. 

Tell us about the proposal…

The day started much like any other. I went to work but was taking a half-day to situate something with my car. I had also made plans to get my nails done with my BFF - she was supposed to meet me at my old house that we were in the process of selling. As I was sitting at work in the morning, I decided that I wanted to meet at the new house before our nail appointment instead (obviously not realizing that all the meanwhile, Chris is at the new house executing his elaborate proposal). She quickly texted me back and super bluntly said NO and that she would just meet me at the nail place. In a total panic she called Chris to let him know what was up and he immediately called me to tell me that our entire neighborhood was being sprayed by the Orkin man for mosquitoes, and that we were to stay away for several hours. As annoyed as I was that I couldn't go home, I was super pumped about the Orkin man because I hate getting bit by mosquitoes! Anyways, my friend and I got our nails done, everything was great… I ran to Wegmans afterwards to get some taco stuff to make for dinner and as I pulled into the driveway, I decided to call my dad to catch up. I sat in the driveway for probably 20 minutes, not even realizing what Chris was going through inside waiting for me to open the door. Finally I walked up to the door - it was locked which was weird, and it had one sunflower in the handle. Also weird, but not totally unlike him… I just thought he was being cute. He got to the door and unlocked it, and as soon as I saw him I knew something was up. He was super nervous AND he had a sport coat on. He tried to say some things to me, all of which I cannot remember - and then he took my hand and walked me to our living room, which he had decked out in 150 sunflowers, each in their own individual vases. His plan had been to propose to me in an actual sunflower field, however it had rained so much that year that the crop had completely died and the sunflowers never grew. The rest of the moment was a blur - he got down on one knee, proposed to me in Farsi (which my dad had taught him beforehand) and I don't even remember if I actually said yes, but it was one of the best days of my life (even though the Orkin man didn't actually come). 

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Real Women of Rochester | Amanda Wattie

Amanda Wattie | Age: 40 | Somatic Sex Educator / Intimacy Relationship Mentor

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Q: Tell us about your journey through womanhood.

A: This human be-ing is something. Everyday, each moment here we are in this body. Whether or not we are present to that experience doesn’t matter, we are still here in repeating moments of be-ing. Over and over and over.  

When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to grow up, be on my own, somehow I thought that life would begin for me the moment I was on my own. And even more importantly, that I would do it better than my parents.  

Over the years, especially since the birth of my first daughter, (I have 3) I realized that I was no different than my parents, in their struggles, joys. It’s been a humbling process. 

Q: What would you say to another woman who may be going through something you've been through?

A: Lean in. Don’t run from the hard stuff. Be acutely present to it and breathe deeper. How does it feel in the body when you’re anxious? Stressed, angry, frustrated, rejected, tired to the bone?  

There is a whole world going on inside of us.This is not wallowing in it. This is dropping out of the mental chatter and instead listening to our body’s wisdom.  

Most of the time I find this practice takes less than 5 minutes. Sometimes I experience it like blowing up a bubble til it bursts. Other times it’s like picking up the child who’s been crying all day and just needs a few minutes of our undivided attention. But that’s the point - we aren’t running away, but taking a minute to be with what is. 

Q: What surprised you most about your photography experience?

A: There are certain people who have the ability to be authentic right away. I felt that with Natalie and it really helped me to be myself 100%.

Q: How do you feel when you look at your favorite photo of yourself from your shoot?

A: Happy!

Q: What would you share with a woman who doesn't think she is beautiful enough to be photographed?

A: The nature of this question answers it all. Not “beautiful enough” is a thought, it’s a story. It’s not actually what’s true. Even if someone said, “You aren’t beautiful.”  Well, that’s just what they said, that’s what happened. Who cares? People say lots of things. And it doesn’t make it true. 

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Q: What are your thoughts on beauty?

A: If someone chose you over someone else, and you deemed them more beautiful than you, it’s meaning you added to what happened. Beauty is a construct, it’s an opinion.  

And we have the potential to rise above that, to be free. We are who we are. Just as a chair or a tree is what it is. Not seeking to be anything other than what it is. Perfect, whole, complete.  

Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?

A: Lately, I feel most beautiful when I am really present with others. It’s in those moments of being authentic, not on auto-pilot, that connect me deeply to them and myself. Like I don’t really need to be anything other than who I am, just present. And that feels like a beautiful thing.

Q: What do you love about being a woman?

A: I’m having a hard time answering this but I really want to! So let me try. I love being alive as a human and that doesn’t feel unique to me identifying as a woman. However there is something that I do love about being with other women, including my 3 daughters. Even though they are my children, there is a sisterhood we share. It’s beyond makeup and fashion advice. We’ve got a bond that sometimes has us laughing or crying on the kitchen floor, with love, so much love. We get each other in a way that I don’t know would be possible if I identified as a man. But it might be. 

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You can find information about Amanda and her work on her website at www.amandawattie.com 

"Broaden Your Borders" | Rochester Global Connections Visits NSP

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Earlier this year NSP was connected with a local organization, Rochester Global Connections, by our great friend and one of Rochester's biggest cheerleaders, Alyssa Belasco :) Rochester Global Connections is a nonprofit that promotes “international understanding and cultural exchange between our community and international students and visitors”. Alyssa called us after an overwhelmingly inspiring meeting she had with a delegation of women from all around the world hosted by RGC, with the resounding declaration, “You just have to meet them!” All of the women are creative entrepreneurs and business owners within their own home countries, from Algeria, Tanzania and Malaysia, just to name a few.

The ladies were on a journey throughout the States and came to Rochester through the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a program designed to build understanding between professionals from abroad and local communities during short-term exchanges. The delegation traveled and participated in workshops and site visits, as well as met with local specialists among many different careers. We were lucky enough to be included on that list!

Olori Ajayi | The Katie Wang Company (Founder, Chief Operations Officer) | Nigeria

Olori Ajayi | The Katie Wang Company (Founder, Chief Operations Officer) | Nigeria

Dr. Welyne Jeffrey Jehom | Anthropologist, Emporoh Plt. (Founder) | Malaysia

Dr. Welyne Jeffrey Jehom | Anthropologist, Emporoh Plt. (Founder) | Malaysia

Lynda Serir | Urban Music Artist, Business Owner | Algeria

Lynda Serir | Urban Music Artist, Business Owner | Algeria

The goal of the IVLP is "to provide firsthand knowledge about U.S. society, culture, and politics, while cultivating lasting relationships." There is no application process for the program - participants are nominated by the staff at the U.S. Embassies, and each delegation or project has a theme. Themes can be anything from Civic Education, to Energy Security to Environmental Protection. This particular project theme was Women and Entrepreneurship (so you know we're ALL about it). The ladies were accompanied by a liaison officer from the Philippines, Dr. Teresita Bernales.

As soon as these women walked through our doors, our studio was alive with conversations, hugs and instant friendships. We met Olori Ajayi, Foudner and Chief Operations Officer for the Katie Wang Company, an ethical apparel sourcing and production company in Nigeria. The brand focuses on transforming and empowering women through their choice in fashion and lifestyle. Olori has been nominated as one of the Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs in Nigeria! We were also introduced to Lynda Serir, an urban music artist and bakeshop owner from Algeria. She has released several albums and sings in Arabic, French and English. In total, there were six women in our studio, sharing their stories and their passion for connecting others through their work. It was so inspiring to be in the same room as women from different corners of the world, who are dreaming big and pushing boundaries. We felt like we had known them for years, instead of the 30 minutes they were able to take out of their busy schedule to spend in our studio!

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. | President of Bridges, Etc. | Philippines

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. | President of Bridges, Etc. | Philippines

Mariama Colley | Proprietress, Studio 441 | The Gambia

Mariama Colley | Proprietress, Studio 441 | The Gambia

Aysha Boma | Founder and Managing Director, Tembea Mara | Tanzania

Aysha Boma | Founder and Managing Director, Tembea Mara | Tanzania

“Broaden Your Borders” is RGC's slogan, and a sentiment we hold near and dear to our hearts here at NSP – keeping our hearts open to all the beautiful and unique people we meet on a daily basis, never limiting ourselves to fit into a certain mold, and always learning from our neighbors. These badass women continue to be an inspiration for us (we're all Facebook friends now!) as they travel the world and strive for success in their personal and professional lives. So, we encourage you to meet someone new this week, listen to their story, share yours, and maybe even start chasing that dream you've been putting off for a while.

Special thanks again to Alyssa Belasco for connecting us with the organization, and Josephine Perini, Director of International Visitor Programs at Rochester Global Connections, who hosted the delegation here in Rochester.

Real Women of Rochester | Jessica Lewis

Jessica Lewis | Age: 32 | Communications Specialist

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Q: Tell us about your journey through womanhood.

A: As a little girl I always admired beautiful, strong, smart women. I looked to those women as an inspiration for myself because I've always been driven, hardworking and goal-oriented, and aspired to be the best person I could be. As I grew and matured I knew how important it was for other girls to see someone who could be an example to them. I made it a priority to pay it forward to other young women coming behind me. I've always prided myself on living a life that could be an example for others. I want girls to know that you can love yourself, be confident, strong, and in charge of your life and make decisions that make you happy and feel fulfilled. Those principals have guided me on my journey to womanhood.

Q: What would you say to another woman who may be going through something you've been through?

A: My advice to another woman going through something I’ve been through is to always stay the course. I would encourage her to step out on faith, being unafraid to make mistakes. It is through mistakes that we develop our own path to self-discovery.  I would also say don’t let fear, doubt or anxiety get in your way. You are an over-comer and victory is an arm’s reach away. I would caution any woman against comparing themselves to others as each woman has her own journey.  And, lastly, in the face of adversity never comprise your integrity.

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Q: How do you feel when you look at your favorite photo of yourself from your shoot?

A: I feel awesome. It’s like I’m in awe.  

Q: What would you share with a woman who doesn't think she is beautiful enough to be photographed?

A: I would say “pish-tosh.” Every woman is beautiful. Beauty is not just what’s on the outside, although society has conditioned us to believe that. Beauty is what’s on the inside. Furthermore, we are each beautiful in our own way. We have to look beyond society’s standard of beauty and create our own. 

Q: What message would you like to share with other women?

A: Women have been constantly told how to look, act, dress and carry ourselves. Women are blazing trails as entrepreneurs, professionals, mothers, business owners, and often doing so simultaneously. While women wear many hats, and play many roles, our appearance can often be scrutinized. Recognizing who we are and the greatness within us affirms our ability to excel in our various endeavors and empowers us to persist.   

Q: What are your thoughts on beauty?

A: Beauty comes in many different forms. On the outside it’s represented by various hues, tones, shapes, sizes and color. On the inside it’s represented by joy, peace, love, confidence and positive self esteem.  

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Q: What are your hopes for the next generation of women? What advice would you give to them?

A: My advice to the next generation is to continue to blaze new trails and break barriers. I hope that each generation learns and grows from the last, and creates new standards for themselves that are empowering, encouraging and uplifting. 

Q: What would you say to your sixteen year old self?

A: I would tell myself to continue to follow your dreams and passion. Don’t be deterred by outside forces that have no bearing on you and avoid the guy that’s coming your way senior year.

Q: What's the most empowering experience you've had as a woman?

A: My most empowering experience as a woman is the launch of my public relations firm, LáLew Public Relations. My passion for public relations began in college. While an undergraduate student at Buffalo State College, I served as the president of an on-campus club called Black Active Minds which led student meetings around pressing issues such as race, equality and social justice. I often found myself engaging in meaningful conversations with peers and would promote club activities and publicize special events. Years later, those experiences coupled with my professional experiences would come full circle with the launch of my own public relations company.    

In March, LáLew PR turned two years old and I can proudly say that I am a successful entrepreneur, owning the fastest growing, Black-owned, woman-owned public relations firm in Rochester, New York. 

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Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?

A: I feel most beautiful on the outside when I feel good on the inside. 

Q: What do you love about being a woman?

A: I love the strength of being a woman.

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Man Crush Monday | Brad & Maggie Humberstone

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Tell us the story of how you met...

After moving to Rochester, I wanted a way to casually meet new people and explore my new town.  Being your typical millennial with a "What's the worst that could happen?" kind of attitude, I joined Tinder.  If all else failed, at least I would get a nice meal every now and then, right?

And then Brad happened.  The one who changed it all.  

We agreed to meet on a dark and and cold Tuesday night in October, at a tiny bar called Half Pint.  We sat on bar stools for hours, talking and laughing like we had been friends for years.  From the moment I met Brad, he made me feel like the most special person in the room.  Our first date was so easy and comfortable, I was hooked. 

Two and a half years later, Brad would take me back to Half Pint on a summer evening and ask me to marry him. 

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What was the first date like?

Our first official date was an afternoon of hiking through Letchworth State Park.  Everything about that day was perfect.  After our hike, we stopped for cider doughnuts and apple cider.  We took the long way home on back country roads and grabbed dinner at one of his favorite spots.  I went home thinking about what life could be like with this amazing man by my side.  

What makes him crush worthy?

Brad is such a special human.  Not only is he an amazing husband, he's an incredible friend, brother and son (and doggie-daddy).  His warmth, unconditional love, relentless positive-attitude and sense of humor make being his wife an absolute privilege.  Brad is the best man I've ever met and I consider myself a pretty lucky lady to have him as my daily crush.  

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What are you looking forward to most in your future together?

I am excited for the whole journey.  To watch Brad evolve and change and grow.  I can't wait to start a family and watch Brad transition into the role of being a new Dad.  I can't wait to see our how love evolves and changes and grows.  Brad has never loved me like I'm ordinary and it's made my life better in so many ways.  

Tell us about your wedding day

In October 2017, Brad and I married in front of our family and friends at the Woodcliff Hotel.  We were blessed with seriously the most beautiful sunset during our ceremony.  The clouds literally opened and a beam of light lit us up as we said our "I do's".  You can't make that stuff up!  

The whole day had "us" written all over it.  It was super romantic and full of love.  

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Anything else you'd like to share??

I was twenty minutes late to our first date.  He will never let me forget this and even managed working my tardiness into his proposal when he said, "although you were late to our first date, Maggie, you were right on time."

Ladies, find someone who sees the best in you and hold on to them forever.  

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Real Women of Rochester | Lisa Ostrander

 

Lisa Ostrander   |  Age: 50  |  Profession: Pharmaceutical sales specialist

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Q: Tell us about your journey through womanhood

A: How much space do I have (lol) - my journey through womanhood has evolved. As a young girl I had a very clear vision of my life and what I wanted it to be. I wanted children, a husband, and  a successful career. I was not always sure I would have any of that. I have been a late bloomer throughout my journey. I went back to school at 32, started my amazing career in pharmaceuticals at 33, was married at 40, and had my daughter at almost 41. Prior to going back to college I had doubt that I was ever going to accomplish much in my life. The truth is that I did not feel I had a clear identity of who I was anymore. It had been mixed up in the relationships I was in, and those had been my focus. However, I had a desire in my heart to accomplish as much as I could. I am not really sure where I found the courage to go through the obstacles it took for me to finish school and break into a very difficult industry - but I did, and I persevered. I refused to give up and every door that slammed in my face made me more determined to keep going. That time in my life showed me that I had one quality that would carry me through my life above all else: courage. 

Q: What would you say to another woman who may be going through something you've been through?

A: I have had a lot of experiences that have molded me into who I am today. I sometimes feel I could really write a book! For anyone going through any difficulties whether it is self-doubt or a career move and or cancer, which I was diagnosed with last May, the single best thing that helped me was having someone who would listen. We all go through seasons in life where we hit rough patches and speaking to someone who will simply be there to listen allows you to sort out your thoughts and be able to dig within yourself for the answers. And while it's helpful to have a listening crew, ultimately the momentum and action to create change has to come from within ourselves. 

Q: What surprised you most about your photography experience?

A: How comfortable I was. I felt confident and relaxed. Natalie did an amazing job of putting me at ease. 

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Q: How do you feel when you look at your favorite photo of yourself from your shoot?

A: Proud. Not because of my appearance, but because the image captured who I am today. It captured my true essence and that is what I wanted to portray.

Q: What would you share with a woman who doesn't think she is beautiful enough to be photographed?

A: First, this question makes me sad. I see many women struggle with self-esteem and it’s not an easy society we live in with so much emphasis on appearance which is a real thing, but I would share with women my favorite quote which is to "walk in faith and not fear". Beauty has such a spectrum . I teach my daughter that when she is around people to pretend everyone has a spacesuit on ...if you could not see their appearance- would that person still mean the same to you and would you want them in your life. Our exterior is only here while we are here. Our soul and the legacy we leave behind is what will shine on, and we all have something to share. 

Q: What message would you like to share with other women?

A: It is never to late to chase your dreams and impact others lives. Do not let others discourage you from achieving what you desire, and have the courage to follow through. Also surround yourself with like minded people who will elevate you. 

Q: What are your thoughts on beauty?

A: This is a tough question. I am the only daughter in my family and as a young girl growing up, my father put a lot of emphasis on my appearance. As an adult looking back now and as a mom I know he did not do it to be harmful and that he was proud of me - but a lot of that commentary really stayed in my brain for a long time. For many years I felt that the value I brought was based on my appearance, and so I worked really hard at looking good. It was not until I was much older and began to get recognized for my achievements in my career that I was able to separate myself from that thought process . I do still work hard at taking care of myself and the truth is that there will always be that young teenage girl inside me remembering those comments, however the difference is that my appearance does not define me. It is just one part of the big puzzle that makes me who I have become .

Q: What are your hopes for the next generation of women? What advice would you give to them?

A: To have courage. To not allow fear to hold you back from following the journey that was meant for you. Leap in, and take a chance - when you do amazing things will happen. I know this to be true because they happened to me!

Q: What would you say to your sixteen year old self?

A: I would tell my 16 year old self that your gonna have a rough journey and you will be tested in many different ways, and just when you think you may not be able to overcome a challenge you have to dig deeper - because you will overcome it. Don’t let fear stop you. It is going to hard and you will want to give up but don’t do it, and most importantly remember to live in the moment. 

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Q: What empowering message would you like to share with young women today?

A: Be prepared for every opportunity that comes your way and go for it. It was brought to you for a reason and you never know where it will take you. 

Q: What's the biggest hurdle you've overcome career-wise as a woman?

A: If I am being transparent it would be appearance. Unfortunately we still live in a society that judges you very quickly on how you look and so I have had to show both men and women that I deserve to be where I am. 

Q: What's the most empowering experience you've had as a woman?

A: My most empowering experience has been speaking at the Angelo del Toro Hispanic youth leadership program in Albany. I was able to share with this amazing group of future leaders the importance of melanoma education. Being of Hispanic descent I always felt that I was "safe" - that melanoma would not occur in me, but it did and I'm lucky to be alive. Having these future leaders resonate with my journey and understand that they should advocate for their own health was so important to me. Cancers from melanoma have increased over the last 30 years and it all starts with education. When you are aware then you are prepared! One person dies every hour of every day from melanoma and Hispanics and African Americans typically get staged higher when diagnosed because they have missed the signs. I am absolutely moved to action to continue to help educate and continue to spread the message of awareness. Don't forget- it all starts with a skin check!

Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?

A: I feel the most beautiful on a Saturday morning with a great cup of Spanish coffee and reading the newspaper . 

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Q: What do you love about being a woman?

A: I love the possibilities that are still out there for women to make an impact in our community and in the lives of others. 

Lenhert-Maxwell Wedding

It's always an honor and a pleasure to photograph my wedding couples - it's what I do. I've structured my entire life around it, and devoted the last ten years of my life to doing so. But to photograph the wedding of someone who is near and dear to you? Someone who actually shoots other people's weddings with you day in and day out? Honor doesn't really cover it. Witnessing Anna Lenhert and Braden Maxwell marry each other was one of the highlights of my professional career. Being able to provide Anna (literally the most self-less person I have EVER met) with the care, support, love and photographs that she bestows upon others every other Saturday of her life was absolutely thrilling. And if you've ever met Anna, you might think "wow, no one could possibly be as nice as Anna" -- and you would be correct. Unless of course, you've met Braden.  These two are truly a match made in heaven, they bring countless smiles to the faces of those around them, and we here at NSP could not be happier to see what life has in store for these two! And also of course to play with their gorgeous images :D XOXO Love you two!!! <3

Nelson-Brown Wedding - Same Day Slideshow

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Sasha & Antoine are two of the most generous, lovely, kind-hearted and compassionate people I've ever met. The two are both in the medical field - always helping others. It was no surprise that their family and friend's rose to the occasion to help, love and celebrate these two all day! 40 of Sasha's family members came from as far as Ghana and Barbados - Antoine had family in from Texas and all over the country. The Strathallan Hotel in Rochester NY was the gathering spot for the entire world to honor this relationship -- oh -- and to have a raging party to boot ;) Enjoy this slideshow that we made and displayed at their reception :)

Siciliano-Esposito Wedding - Same Day Slideshow

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Erica and Steve had the wedding day people dream and plan for. Erica “the planner” had every moment calculated down to the last detail, but no one could have predictedall the perfect spontaneous moments and spectacular weather that occurred on October 15th, 2016. I’m so happy and honored that I got to be a witness to this day. I have no doubt that #sterica will only grow stronger with each passing year. I can’t wait to watch what happens next.  - Whitney

LaMonica-Pluta Same Day Slideshow

Anyone lucky enough to be present at Ashley & Andrew's picturesque wedding at Linehan Nazareth Chapel and Oak Hill Country Club this weekend knows just how in love (and loved!) these two are. Enjoy this Same Day Slideshow below that we produced and displayed at their reception!

Man Crush Monday | Doug Gaudieri

Having the opportunity to feature Doug Gaudieri in our Man Crush Monday post is an incredible treat. Doug is the kind of man #mcm was invented for. A dedicated husband, loving father, and compassionate business man (owner of Rapid Print & Marketing), Doug puts his all into everything he does. I'm honored to be the preserver of some of his cherished memories. When I was picking out photos for this post, I was moved by how many shoots he and his family have done with me over the years. I am lucky to be his photographer, and also to call him my friend. But enough from me... let's hear the real story from his incredible wife - Danell...

"Doug and I met as young college students at Geneseo and were instantly smitten. The timing wasn’t right for a relationship and though I had a care-free and adventuresome spirit while Doug was focused and ready to take on the world with his fierce entrepreneur drive - there was no denying our strong connection. His clever wit and handsome smile won me over. Not long after graduating, Doug moved to Alabama while I lived in Syracuse. Our friendship continued to grow but I knew the only way to know for sure if this was THE guy was to make a move.

My defining moment - an offer from Doug to visit him in Alabama and road trip to New Orleans to see Pearl Jam in concert. After that trip, I packed up my car and moved down to be with him. There were so many unknowns at the time but somehow we always found each other. Proof of that – I was separated from Doug at the Pearl Jam concert and found myself on the ground in the mosh pit surrounded by crazed fans. Out of nowhere I felt a hand reach down and pull me up. That seems to be a theme in our marriage of 18 years. When one is down the other pulls ‘em up. It’s a balance we have that carries us through the daily challenges of juggling three kids, jobs, and everything in between.

Doug has many endearing qualities. He's always lending an ear to a friend or family member going through a difficult time. He’s encouraging and advises without judgement. He’s kind, patient, empathetic, and has such a generous heart. He continues to have a positive attitude even in the most challenging of times - and there are plenty with teenagers! He’s my soft-spot to land after a difficult day -my calming force.

I am grateful for the example he sets to our children through his dedication to work, family, and his faith. He continuously puts others first and encourages everyone to reach their best potential. I’m one of the lucky ones as he makes me want to do better and be better each day. Married for 18 years and together for 20 is no easy feat. The best life lesson that has kept our bond strong is to simply accept the other’s flaws and love that person for who they are. Doug loves unconditionally and is always there to lift me up when I'm down.

Our college days are a lifetime away, but that adventuresome spark hasn’t left either of us. Doug continues to inspire me to seek out adventures despite our hectic family schedule. Always reminding me of the importance to take time for myself and each other. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an evening walk together, Doug makes me a priority. I feel just as adored today as the day we married.

His wit still has me laughing like a young school girl and his curiosity to always be learning something new inspires me. And though we’ve both grown and evolved, we have grown closer and are excited about our future. Doug is my best friend and my love. I love the life we have and continue to build together. Our journey of many more adventures awaits! Pearl Jam said it best…can’t find a betterman!"- Danell Gaudieri

Katie Carey | Rochester Ceramicist

Katie Carey (katiecareyceramics.com)

Katie Carey (katiecareyceramics.com)

A note from Natalie: Katie is one of those incredible humans that once you meet, you just want to be around all the time. Her laugh is infectious and her outlook on life always unique, interesting and entertaining. Her contemporary ceramic work is very much like Katie herself - a bright spot in your day. Check out her website to see her modern, well-designed and at times hilarious work for your home and life.

Photos by: Natalie Sinisgalli

Photos by: Natalie Sinisgalli

And now! Enjoy this interview with the artist herself, courtesy of our intern Hannah McCarthy.

Natalie and I pulled into an industrial part of the city full of brick buildings with uniform windows lining each sturdy wall. Katie Carey, a local ceramist and good friend of Natalie and Whitney's, came outside to lead us up to her studio. The spacious room with plenty of gorgeous sunshine poured in between the dusty, sun-faded window panes. In preparation for my interview with Katie, I perused her website, a beautifully curated collection of her ceramic works. From mugs to “adult chia pets,” as Katie so accurately deemed them, Katie has brought her business motto to fruition: her pieces are well crafted, functional, and made to enhance the home experience.
In the back of her studio sat all of her equipment while pieces of her work lined one of the walls. With a setup this professional, you’d think this career part of her lifelong plan, but it was quite the opposite: “After I graduated from college, a friend and I wanted to do something before our new professional lives. We decided to go live on a farm through WOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). This farm had artist studios for pottery, weaving, and woodworking. I was introduced to pottery there. I completely fell in love. I loved the little pottery shards that were around, the different glazes and the way you use your hands. It’s been addicting.”
      Several years later, Katie’s hands are still covered in clay. Her passion got her started, but her dedication and stubbornness have kept her going: “It’s kind of a difficult skill to get at first but I was really determined. It’s interesting to see the progress - In past jobs, I couldn’t really measure my progress. Output was more mental and their were no permanent objects. With ceramics, I have a progression from when I started years ago and it’s captured forever in time. I can see so clearly that I’m getting better at something or that I learned something. It memorializes a piece of time.”
      Opening her own studio was a huge leap of faith for Katie, but her journey to get to that point was what prepared her: “ This has been the first year that I’ve had my own space and equipment. In the past, I've done residencies where I was part of a group so I had their support. You have to be a little crazy and say, “I’m just gonna make it work.”
      What’s next for Katie on this incredible journey? "Ideally I'd like to be more integrated into a community, whether it be through teaching, outreach programs, or administration.  I think being in the studio alone for a lot of hours is not sustainable for me. It's glamorous in theory but artists' solitude is not something I strive for. "Maybe I’ll become a soul singer," she teased with a laugh.
This interview was conducted by our new Marketing/Communications intern, Hannah McCarthy, a rising sophomore at Elon University in North Carolina.

Leah & Sean - Bridal Session Video

 

For the first of many fun new things we have to share, I thought I would start with this gorgeous video that was just made for Leah & Sean's Post-Wedding Session.

I'm fairly certain that Lean and Sean keep doing shoots with us just so they can try and top their last shoot with us.  And just when I think they can't possibly improve on perfection (anyone remember the couch-in-the-field engagement session?), they somehow do.  From the props to the wardrobe, the stylistic elements that they carefully choose always result in visually stunning images.  Leah decided she wanted to incorporate a rowboat and luggage into their bridal session to symbolize the journey they are embarking on together, so we headed up to Webster Beach Park and sent them out in Lake Ontario.  Luckily the tide prevented them from drifting too far from my lens :)  While their ethereal images aren't quite ready for sharing yet (there will be a blog post, soon!)  we did create this short film from their shoot. Enjoy! 

ciao -Natalie