Vendor Tour: 111 Maine

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I recently visited 111 Maine as they were ramping up for wedding season. The catering company is named after its old address, when it also doubled as a restaurant. Since then, owner Jennifer Banis has focused her attentions on weddings, moving the company closer to home in Topsham, Maine. I was lucky enough to sample their dishes at a wedding last fall. It was truly delicious.

There is always something exciting about the start of wedding season. I was there opening day of the kitchen, as Jennifer and her crew began prepping for weddings. They took stock of the kitchen, and gave little cheers when the delivery trucks arrived, both curious to meet the new drivers and sample the wares. Jennifer (a mother of four, including twins born in January!) was, of course, working on little sleep, but you couldn't tell by her energy and enthusiasm.

Jennifer has been in business evolving her company since 2005 and is quite obviously passionate about her craft. I loved hearing her talk about the menus for that weekend. When the boxes of ingredients arrived, Jennifer picked through each one to make sure it was the freshest. She and her team kept the work lighthearted as well. One of their favorite past times, I learned, was to set aside interestingly shaped vegetables, like the "carrot legs" I was lucky enough to document. Once they found a few, they used them to create quirky characters.

It was so great to see the behind-the-scenes, Jennifer! Wishing you all the best in the upcoming season.

sweet baby T

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I get all sorts of emotional when I speak of this very special family. My friend since grade school and his lovely wife recently adopted a very lucky little fella and I had the good fortune of documenting one of their mornings together as they settle in at home. These three have fallen into a beautiful rhythm and no doubt are equally smitten with their little guy as he is of them. Happy heartfelt congrats to all! xo

Patrick Dempsey in our photo booth

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You aren't seeing things. That's Patrick Dempsey, aka McDreamy, in our photo booth!! 

Well, to be fair, it's his cardboard stand-in lovingly referred to as Flatrick (Flat Patrick), at the recent kick-off event for his Dempsey Challenge bike ride taking place in Lewiston and Auburn this October to benefit the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. Hilarious. Loving the enthusiasm from all ages for this kind-hearted local celeb.

Interested in having the photo booth at your event or wedding? Let us know!

adventures in climbing

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Just over a year ago, I fell hard.  I fell hard in love.  With rock climbing.

As the years press on, I have made choices more and more based on doing something because it makes me happy.  I say I had my quarter-life crisis when I moved back to Maine from Long Beach, California after working in the marketing and PR world for a number of years and decided to change careers to become a photographer.  Despite the obvious lifestyle and financial change that come with that artistic territory, that choice has made me very happy.

I used to work in Production at the photo agency Aurora Photos.  It was started by some National Geographic photographers and focuses on outdoor adventure photography.  This is where my curiosity peaked about sports like climbing, skiing, and surfing.  I worked with the images that renowned photographers -- like Jose Azel, Corey Rich, Ben Moon, and Jimmy Chin, just to name a few -- submitted to the agency and was in awe of the extreme sports being captured.  I knew what ropes climbing looked like and often thought those folks were crazy, but I was in awe of bouldering.  The more images I saw of the sport, the more I wanted to do it.

A few years passed without me acting upon my curiosity, but for some reason that urge resurfaced a year ago.  I was bored at my regular gym and walked into my local Maine Rock Gym and said, "Hi, I'd like to do that," pointing to the bouldering area.  I had followed through on my word, making the choice to do something I said I would, and ultimately found happiness in the sport of bouldering.  I had dug out some old climbing shoes that a friend had passed along to me and off I went.  It wasn't pretty, folks.  Still isn't to this day at times.  But after one session, despite my flailing and fears, I was hooked.  I eventually added ropes climbing to the mix, and finally got outside to do both bouldering and lead climbing.  Recent acquisitions are a cushy new crash pad for bouldering (they sure do look smaller as you get higher) and a shiny set of C4 cams for mixed/trad climbing.  Maybe a little cart before the horse there, but I've got to start somewhere.

This last year has been pretty freakin' cool.  The Maine Rock Gym community is great.  I've been lucky enough to meet some amazing climbers that are sure to be lifelong friends.  I competed in three of the Dark Horse bouldering competitions and actually made the podium.  I took some falls lead climbing and still have the bruises.  I realized I don't really like heights (well, I think I learned that on the Knife Edge at Mt. Katahdin last year), but I reaffirmed it this year.  My solution is to suck it up and keep climbing with the least amount of whining.  I have experienced mental blocks and plateaus in my bouldering.  I have learned to overcome some of them.  My brother says I now have "man hands" and for me not to touch him with them.  I climb to clear my mind and balance my soul.  Like surfing, it is one of the few sports where you can actually be in the moment, which is an amazing feeling (I learned to surf this year, too, but it took a backseat with my addiction to climbing).  I'm a bit of a late bloomer, having never climbed until now at the age of 32, but I love that I have plenty of years ahead of me to keep learning about this sport, about this obsession.  I now have a new subject to document with photography.  Again, I have a long way to go, but I'll get there and have fun doing it.  I am happy.
 

Vendor tour: The Barn at Flanagan Farm

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I have heard many a bride ooh and ahh over the Barn at Flanagan Farm these past few months and have been looking forward to seeing the new venue. Gail Landry, who owns the Barn on Walnut Hill, purchased the new property in Buxton, Maine. I am a big fan of the local food scene, so when I found out that she and her daughter, Alex, were hosting a series of farm-to-table dinners there this spring, I was eager to check it out.

The dinner series kicked off in March with chef Masa Miyake. Although a different Maine chef is featured each month, the principle is the same: to create a delicious multiple-course meal using as many fresh local ingredients as possible. A portion of the proceeds from each dinner benefits the Maine Farmland Trust.

I was fortunate to document May's event, featuring the talented husband-and-wife team Ravin Nakjaroen and Paula Palakawong from Long Grain, a Thai restaurant in Camden. I arrived early to photograph the kitchen prep and table set up. At 6p, guests began trickling in. They were free to mingle and wander the property while sipping wine and local beer. The evening was beautiful and sunlight streamed through the open barn door. After enjoying their aperitifs, guests were welcomed to the table. Alex gave a short welcome and the five course meal commenced.

The schedule of upcoming dinners can be found here. In addition, the Barn at Flanagan Farm will be hosting many weddings. It is typically booked a year in advance. During the high season (May through October) the barn and house are rented together for 4 nights, Wednesday through Sunday. The wonderful mother-and-daughter team, Gail and Alex, co-manage the weddings. If you're curious, you can find out more information about renting the barn on their website.

We look forward to photographing a wedding here this summer!



participating vendors
photography: Megan, emilie inc. photography • table design: Maine Seasons Eventsflowers: Judy Bourgeois, Flora Faunafood: Long Grain, Camden • beer: Oxbowwine: Old Port Wine and Cigaraprons: South Street Linen
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