2013 pumpkins!

Over the years, sharing the pumpkins Michael and I carve on the blog has become somewhat of a tradition. (For a walk down memory lane check out our pumpkins in 2012, 2011, and 2010!) It’s all Michael, really. I’m mostly there to keep him company and make fun fall-themed cocktails, while he creates jack-o-lantern masterpieces. The show stealer this year is definitely the moustached, monocle-wearing pumpkin, but I do love the veiny teeth in the crazy-eyed pumpkin! Of course, there’s the annual Orvis pumpkin that miraculously gets more adorable each year, even though we continue to use the exact same cookie cutter. And then there’s mine – the one with two teeth (there might have been a dental mishap on my part) and a horribly (hopefully cute?) crooked mouth.

Happy Halloween from our little family to yours!

Labrador Pumpkin

Mustache-Pumpkin

Crazy Eyes Pumpkin

Moustache-Pumpkin

Pumpkin Ideas

Orvis-and-Pumpkins

the sonoma coast.

It’s been far too long since my last blog post, friends! The summer season whirled right on by with its many adventures & good times, and suddenly fall was here. I adore this time of year, especially living in New England, but I can’t help but think that summer lasted all of a handful of days. That seems to be the trend, season after season and year after year, doesn’t it though?

Because I’ve all but stopped blogging this summer, I have plenty of photos to share in the coming weeks, but I wanted to get back in the blogging groove with just one image – a photo I took last week along the Sonoma coast. This moment in time was arguably one of the happiest moments of my entire life, and I’m fairly certain it ranks up there for Michael as well. We’d just driven an hour through wine country, watching the sunrise over the vineyards, already feeling very grateful our trip to the West Coast. When we parked and made our way down the hill toward the water, this is what we saw. Throughout our morning walk both of us were nearly moved to tears by this beautiful, serene setting. Long stretches of time passed in silence because we were simply in awe of our surroundings. Besides a handful of prancing deer – another indescribable beauty itself- we had the entire trail to ourselves that morning.

We’ve been so fortunate to travel many places together in the past few years, but this trip certainly raised the bar. Some of that can be attributed to the good wine we tasted, the memorable meals we shared, or maybe it was the fact that we didn’t have to run off and shoot a wedding the next day – we were in total vacation mode. But I do believe a lot of what made this trip stand out for us was our time here – amongst the deer, the bright rising sun, the golden grass, and a breathtaking coastline. An image and a moment I never hope to forget.

Sonoma Coast State Park

conservatory

I could spend hours in this sun-filled conservatory, my favorite room in my family’s new home in North Carolina. Isn’t it lovely? Lucky for me, we’re heading back to NC for another wedding soon and unlike last month’s whirlwind of a trip, I just might have a chance to relax with a good book right here at some point during this next visit.

I hope your week is off to a great start – happy Monday, everyone!

Conservatory

inspiration!

Many magazines make their way to our home each month – House & Garden, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, Martha Stewart Living, Bon Appetit, and more. (I guess our subscription to Runner’s World is a weak attempt to counteract some of the damage caused by all of the food publications we receive.) It can be a little difficult to make the time to read them all, but lately I’ve been beginning each work day going through a couple of magazines at a time. Doing so next to my computer allows me to bookmark a restaurant to try (this is largely how we build the ‘hopeful reservations list on Map & Menu), search a photographer’s portfolio, or find out a bit more about something I’ve just read. I’ve also gone back to tearing out whatever image I’m instantly struck by, something I haven’t done nearly enough since Pinterest became my go-to source for finding inspiration.

Beginning my day surrounded by so much striking imagery has proven to completely fire me up to tackle the day’s tasks, and further inspires me to want to create something, (anything, really) each day. It’s an absolutely refreshing & rejuvenating way to wake up the mind!

Magazines

Magazine Inspiration

Magazines as Inspiration

meet our foster pup!

Meet our foster pup, Micah! He’s a four month-old Husky/Australian Shepherd puppy from Virginia filled with an unbelievable amount of love and affection. This little guy has been living with us for the past ten days, accompanying us on walks throughout the day and beach trips whenever the tide is low. He’s absolutely smitten with his foster brother, Orvis, who has proven to be his greatest teacher.

For a year or two now I’ve been a fan of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue on Facebook, and approximately six times a week I would show Michael a photo of a sweet dog with an incredibly sad story in need of a foster or forever home. We began to donate money, but I still felt the need to do something a bit more tangible. Knowing that once wedding season begins and our free time will all but disappear, we decided to take advantage of our last month of downtime and apply to be a foster family.

We fell hard for this guy. Really hard. This might be because Michael and I are simply obsessed with dogs, but we think that it largely speaks to the kind of dog Micah is – loyal, loving, playful, so happy, etc. Through fostering Micah we’ve learned so much about ourselves, like the fact that we become attached to dogs way too quickly. I’m dreading the day Micah leaves our house, knowing that I’ll cry like I’ve never cried before, but also knowing that Micah will have hopefully found his forever home. Micah has undoubtedly changed our lives, and we know from firsthand experience that he’ll bring someone, some couple, or some family an unbelievable amount of joy.

If you know of anyone looking to adopt a dog, please forward these photos to them. For anyone who’s interested in adopting Micah, go ahead and fill out the adoption application so that when he’s officially adoptable, you’re all set! Since he’s a cute, well-adjusted, snuggly puppy, we honestly don’t think he’ll last long once he’s listed. Feel free to contact me with any questions about this little guy. Since we’ve decided not to adopt him ourselves, it is our number one priority to find him the best possible family!

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue Photos

Big Fluffy Dog Foster

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue Foster Dog

Big Fluffy Dog Foster Pup

Micah the foster pup

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue Foster

goodbye may street house!

There was a time, when I was about 19 years old, that I had lived in more houses than I’d had years to my name. It wasn’t because my family moved from town to town too often – by that time in my life, I’d only lived in three or four different areas. The reason for the constant shuffling of houses was because of my family’s gift for fixing up older homes and bringing them back to life. They might deny it, but I think the excitement of the renovation and design process has become a bit of an addiction. There was the gorgeous plantation home on the coast of NC that they saved from absolute ruin while I was in school, and then the most recent four homes (in the last five years) that they completely transformed in their tiny town of Southern Pines, NC.

It’s always a treat visiting them in these unique homes, and in turn, having them visit us ¬†and help with various house projects. (The studio, the pergola/patio, and the upstairs bathroom all exist because of their handiwork!)

Over the weekend they began their latest endeavor, and I am beside myself with excitement to see the finished product! Of course, this also means saying goodbye to a house that’s hosted us during various holidays and family visits during the last couple of years. Even though I’ve never spent more than a handful of days at a time in their most recent house, I still have many fond memories of our visits there. The walnut-topped island in the kitchen will always hold a special place in my heart, as will (what I consider to be) the world’s most adorable chicken coop (complete with its own pergola). I took the following photos during a visit this past November – they’re peeks at some of my favorite parts of a home I’ll actually never have the chance to visit again, but one I’ll remember always.

Pergola

Michelle-Peele-NC

Michelle-Peele-House

Clawfoot

Michelle-Peele-Home

Michelle-Peele

Chicken-Coop

Garage

work lately!

I’ve been terrible at blogging this year so far, but I’m hoping to use next week to get back on track. I’m excited to share some recent press mentions, and there are two weddings from 2012 I haven’t even blogged about yet! I’m looking forward to using the snowstorm to catch up on my accounting and brainstorm some Map & Menu features with Michael. We have also been working on a little site redesign for me, featuring many of the images below. Hopefully there will be much more on that to come soon!

New England friends, stay safe throughout this weekend’s storm! Have a great weekend everyone!

2012 adventures!

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this post. 2012 was a lot of things to me – it was amazing, challenging, exhausting, inspiring – the list goes on. I managed to learn more about myself this year than I ever thought possible. Photography opened up so many doors to me this year and led me to some of the most incredible places. As usual, my ventures down south – North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia – were an absolute delight. I also had the chance to shoot on Cape Cod (twice!), in Vermont (twice!), and in Newport, Rhode Island (twice!) all for the very first time this year. I drove myself down to West Virginia for the first time (listening to John Denver’s Country Road no less than 32 times on my trip) and hopped on a plane to France the day after I got back. It goes without saying that our trip to France was the highlight of our year. Experiencing Paris for the first time with Michael was a dream, and words simply cannot describe my love for Provence. We met some of the most fascinating people during our 2012 travels and, true to form, had some of the most unforgettable dining experiences.

2013 is shaping up to be a bit calmer than last year (I’ll be staying a little closer to home), and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about the change of pace. Knowing Michael & I though, we’re bound to partake in various adventures throughout the year, and I look forward to sharing them with you in the coming year.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who made this year so memorable. I’ll be back next week to share my very favorite photos of 2012 with you all.

Palmetto Bluff

Palmetto-Bluff

Seattle-Public-Market

Chebeague-Island

Crescent-Beach

Paris

Luxembourg-Gardens

Jardin du Luxembourg

Sacre-Coeur

Olive Tree

Roussillon

Provence

Sunset

Asheville

Stowe

Highline