Just a few travel tips:
* You’ll want to rent a car. Sicily is big and public transportation isn’t as good as the mainland.
* Make sure to stop in Syracusa. It’s a gorgeous old seaside town with crumbling but beautiful baroque buildings and countless little alleyways to explore. If you like fish you must, must eat at:
Apollonion Osteria da Carlo. This is the type of restaurant you always think you’ll find when you travel but usually don’t. It’s down a quiet alley, away from the tourist zone. There’s no set menu but 35 Euros you’ll get 6 delicious and innovative courses plus a bottle of wine. Go, eat, there! Hotel Algila in Syracuse is set in an old renovated mansion. Canopy beds, wrought iron balconies. sigh. Get a sea facing room. The service is fantastic.
* Don’t miss the resort town of Taoromina (pictures 9-12). Yes, it’s a bit touristy but there’s a reason for that! This is where Dolce and Gabbana vacation. Most of the tourists are Italians from the mainland. It’s seriously gorgeous. If you want a lounge chair at one of the little beach clubs make sure to reserve at least a day in advance. Italians don’t like to come to the beach early so they reserve spots the night before. At twilight take the cable car up to the village on top of the cliff. Lots of great restaurants and fun people watching. Hotel Panoramic has a rooftop pool and great views over the ocean.
* In Palermo don’t miss the Capuchin crypts. Creepy but fascinating.
* Try to pack what you need in carry-on. My luggage was lost and it took days to retrieve it. I had to hit the Italian version of Walmart for a few quick, cheap but not very stylish basics. Ironically the last time my luggage was lost (and never found) was on a trip through Italy. If I ever have to board an Alitalia flight again I will find a way to wear 15 outfits at once…just in case.
I was super excited when Geomyra Lewis asked me to take some headshots in the Oatlands gardens. How can you not love photographing someone with a 1000 watt smile?! She’s also a fabulous event planner so head over to her website for more information and samples of her work.
We had spent hours in the car and I wanted to catch the sunset. We got there just in time but it was overcast. Big storm clouds that were about to dump a foot of snow the next day were rolling in. It was cold, and blustery. Everyone else left, we waited awhile. Just before the sun set below the horizon it peaked out from a cloud, and lit up this tree. I like this picture better even than if I had seen the typical canyon sunset. Besides how often to you have the grand canyon all to yourselves?
As a treat for the New Year I have some really fun wedding photos to share. Kristen and Ryan certainly couldn’t have expected it to snow for their October wedding at Hillsborough vineyards. It hasn’t snowed in October in Northern Virginia since before the civil war. When the flakes started coming fast and furious though, Kristen and Ryan took it in stride. Kristen’s aunt was dispatched to Target for boots, shawls, and umbrellas. Pink wellies might not have been the wedding shoes she planned but they’re undeniably adorable anyway!!
Kristen and Ryan were totally freezing in these pictures. We all were. A behind the scene video would have been hilarious. I was really cold but trying not to think about it and working as fast as I could because poor Kristen had just a strapless lace dress under her coat. I love how the pictures came out though. It’s obvious how much fun they’re having together.
The weather outside might have been frightful but the party inside was quite delightful.– sorry couldn’t help myself!
This gang from New Orleans really knew how to let loose. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Photographer: Jennifer Chase
Second Shooter: Graeme Jennings
Venue: Hillsborough Vineyards
Catering and Cake: Karen Harper-Fuog
DJ: Ian Lade
Florist: Holly Heider Chapple flowers
Hair and Make-up: Carlos Day Spa
Invitations: The Dandelion Patch