Savannah Adventures || July 2016

Holy moly, where to start!? July was crazytown for me. I loaded up my little car and hiked my booty down to Savannah at 3 a.m. after a helacious hail storm for the first solo fine art show I've had since June of 2012. After running around like a mad woman on no sleep and pre-show jitters, I had a fantastic opening on July 22nd at the Butcher for Raðljóst - a solo exhibit showcasing some of the shots I'd gotten from my two adventures in Iceland earlier this year. The show runs until October if you're in the Savannah area and would like to check it out! 

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I was so dang excited that I barely took any photographs - no, seriously, there's like four and they're not very good - but I did have SO many wonderful people come out to see my work. It was such a great experience to see my photographs hanging and getting to talk about something I've been obsessing over for this whole year. 

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To say I'm surrounded by amazing people is kind of an understatement. I have the wonderful fortune to have open doors and warm beds in many places all over this good earth, but I always find myself returning to Georgia. Savannah particularly boasts some of the best southern hospitality around, and my friends down there are no exception. Seriously, major shoutout to everyone that came out to my show and gave me so much love and positive feedback (and ceramic mugs and flowers and knit cowls for my next trip back to Iceland, thanks Mitzi and Stephanie and Original Mary!). 

But I've gotta give extra big ups to Kurtis and Sarah, who not only put a roof over my head, but food in my belly (and at my art show!) and an unending supply shenanigans and creative inspiration. We celebrated like rock stars on Friday after the show opening (by drinking champagne on docks and jumping off the back pier)...

...and then we celebrated *with* rock stars on Saturday (by drinking champagne on stage with the Wu-Tang Clan and then chilling with Matt from Cage the Elephant).

In between and after all that celebration and fun, I got yet another front row to the magic that Kurtis and his amazing crew pull out of the kitchen on the daily over at Tybee Island Fish Camp.

Like fresh Fanny Bay oysters; fat and sweet and just the slightest bit of brine.

Orange wine. That's right, wikipedia that magic and learn a little somethin' somethin' about this vino that's equally as delicious and complex as it is gorgeous to look at.

Will is the mastermind behind the big, beautiful marble bar at Fish camp, and he whips up one hell of a Shandy - and all of the other delicious cocktails that...I can't seem to remember the name of, which makes them extra tasty, no? That gorgeous dish in the middle there is crudo with red snapper, smoked trout row, pomegranate, sliced strawberries and figs, and drizzle of EVO; light and cold and the perfect balance of sweet and savory. It doesn't look half bad, either.

A little rosé and the Santa Ana Smoky Lemon cocktail (which kind of tastes like a sexy adult version of Froot Loops).

Shrimp + Lobster Risotto, made with a hearty barley and absolutely worth a 700 miles drive for a warm dish of it.

And a fruit + roasted pistachio parfait and a Moscow Mule nightcap to finish off this tasty little blog. How cool are those dessert spoons?

Are you salivating yet? Good. Get your booty over to Fish Camp (but make sure you make a reservation!) and tell those crazy-amazing kids I say hello. -MEJ

november in savannah - pt. III of III

Whoa, where we were we with the Savannah adventure? How do you continue the joy from an extraordinary rehearsal dinner and a supremely enchanting wedding?! Sunday Funday, of course! But first, it was back to Forsyth to photograph Ashley and her handsome gents. How cute is her freckly little dude?!

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 Big, beautiful Forsyth is always fun to shoot at, but more so when it's not overrun with people. I'm going to take credit and pretend like I had something to do with the park being mostly empty for our shoot, but really it's all about positioning the background correctly to give the illusion....

FYI, it's not a real trip to Savannah if -someone- isn't doing a Forest Gump impression. Here's Tyler's, we're just missing our boxuhchoc-lets.

Tyler also imitated a mini-man meltdown and demanded his time on the swings. A great morning enjoying the (mostly) empty park...

...deserves Bluegrass Brunch! Off to Tybee Island to the Social Club meet up with my dear pals Kurtis and Sarah, and some seriously amazing food. This is one of my favorite places on the entire big ol' planet, and I promise if I ever find out you've gone to Tybee and NOT eaten there, I'll disown you.

It is this absolutely charming little joint is self-described as a surf bungalow-meets-safari-plantation-setting...laid back and casual, surprisingly delectable food pairings, and was just named as one of Georgia's top ten best bars. There's always something fun going on here; about a year or so ago I was chucking eggs back and forth in the parking lot for egg toss and I've been to the hilariously amazing Disco Bingo. 

These folks were the same group that played at Jeanne and R's rehearsal dinner! So awesomely talented, and the moment I figure out who they are, I'll give you a link to their jams. Also from Jeanne and R's weekend of amazingness were Jill and Aaron who had beaten us out to the island and were mid-brunch munch.

First bites: fried chicken, biscuit, gravy, greens. And why not take the bite off last nights hangover quietly mumbling in my head with a blood orange sangria? And a scorpion topped mezcal mimosa cocktail? 

Aaron and Kurtis fed each other half the scorpion. Precious. Back to brunching out! Breakfast skillet with eggs, guac, sweet potatoes, beans, and salsa.

This...this magical creation is cola-baked ham stuffed in to french toast with a big ol' slab of melted cheese on top. Eat your heart out, monte cristo lovers. And then the shrimp and grits, ohhh, this dish makes my toes wiggle and my belly sing. Buttery, creamy, spicy and loaded with shrimp, exactly what the doc ordered for this Sunday afternoon.

Jill and Aaron had to fly home, so we said goodbye to those fine folks and scuttled over to Fish Camp, Kurtis' new joint that was just opening last time I was in town in June. Found a nice stack of Savannah Scouting Guides sitting just inside the door, always fun to see my photos on paper!

On to sippin' scotch and grabbing shots! I have an absolute field day getting to run around photographing here; I never get to do as much food photography as I'd like, but I always get my fill hanging with Kurtis and Sarah!

I've loved to cook for ages, loved to eat for even longer (duh.), I read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential when I was in high school, and it was this magical, gritty window in to a world I'd love to be a part of. I tried my hand at the long hours in a sweltering kitchen; it wasn't really my forte, but a love of all things kitchen creative has always stuck with me. 

I -might- have geeked out a little getting to be back in the kitchen watching Chris and Kurtis do their magic. 

Octopus and duck getting their sous-vide on.

Amazing to watch the ingredients on the left turn in to the masterpiece of color and flavor on the right.

A true experience and playground: mix, match, and experiment with textures, flavors, and visuals. Pecans, marinated shrooms, pomegranate, caviar, reconstituted basil seeds, roasted grapes to name a few of the elements...what a delicious adventure!

Next up, crab cakes with nori powder, pickled radishes, and cured meyer lemons (from Kurtis' own tree!). I love the subtle color kicks on this plate, especially the nori along the edge of the plate.

More vibrant colors! Duck breast, swiss chard, root veggies. Throw in duck fat cracklins and you've got a plate as bright and rich as autumn itself.

To finish things off, oysters + bacon + the lightest, crispiest baked topping imaginable and a cheesecake with Frangelico whipped cream and mint that was so decadent, my mother snarfed the entire plate down before I got more than a nibble in. 

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying full bellies and brainstorming new projects while running outside to snag more pictures. I love how cozy Fish Camp looks just after dusk!

My mom was ready to adopt Kurtis and bring him right home to Maryland by the the time we were ready to head back to the mainland. Thanks for such a perfect day, Sarah and Kurtis!

Off to a quiet little bonfire with Angel and Brian, my dear little cusses before heading back to our apartment; minutes closer to the end of this sublime weekend so well spent with good friends, good food, and great celebrations!

 Love to all of my Savannah friends who are always so hospitable, and apologies to anyone I missed on this trip down--I'll get you next time. See you soon! -M

november in savannah - pt. II of III

Welcome to part II! We left off with the most extraordinary rehearsal dinner just outside of downtown Savannah. I miiiiight have tromped around all night downtown, popping in to see friends (hi, Stephanie!) and hanging out with R's Oklahoma homies and Jeanne's family from Baton Rouge. I was a little bit fuzzy the next morning, but the supremely chilly air (read: freezing!) woke me up quickly. The amazing farmer's market was in full swing, and I bought a whole host of delicious tasty local goodies that I can't disclose because friends up here haven't received them yet. 

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Anyways, I had two little shoots in the morning, the first was with Brian, a bud I met in the SCAD ceramics department who's still studying away (go, go finals week!).

He was a total champ despite the chilly temperatures! Cheers, darlin.

Things warmed up a little bit by the time Kasey came around for her shoot. She's graduating from Valdosta State in December (woo, congratulations!). 

The sun was all bright and shiny in time to rush home and get all dolled up for the day. Y'all, I don't generally wear much makeup at all when it comes to shooting weddings, nor do I paint my fingernails (three different colors), or wear floor-length gowns, or get to wear shoes that are cute (as opposed to comfortable). *extremely girly geek-out moment*  

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Feeling well polished, we hiked the whopping five blocks from our place to St. John's Cathedral. I hadn't been inside since I first visited Savannah in my Girl Scout days (which equates to middle school).

Confession: every single wedding I've ever shot, I've cried at, even if it's just a little. I'm an empathetic and pretty sensitive person by nature, but when I'm shooting, it helps going through the process step-by-step to not lose it and turn in to a bawling baby. I see all the little moments, like watching bridesmaids react to seeing their lady all dressed and made-up, or seeing a father and daughter exchange tearful and happy smiles before heading down the aisle, and they're all wonderful but they're also spaced out and easy to handle. Seeing my beautiful friend walk through the doors of St. John's on her papa's arm, wearing the most supremely elegant dress that fit her so well (not just in the tailoring) and beaming a positively radiant smile looking up the aisle at her future husband got me. I giggled and burst in to tears, and almost forgot to snag a picture of this perfect moment.

And for the first time in my life, I sat (and stood, and kneeled appropriately) through a full catholic wedding, received communion, and did nothing but appreciate the moments as they passed. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I was so happy to bear witness to it all.

How fantastic is Jeanne's mama's dress?!

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It's traditional during Catholic ceremony to place a bouquet of roses at the feet of Mary; there was a small alcove just to the right of the alter where this happened at St. John's. I can't get enough of the robin's egg ceilings with their gold detailing.

Time to hop on a trolley and head to the Ships of the Sea museum in Downtown to party down! Also, lovin' up on this subtle greenery. It smelled wonderful and fit the soft colors of the wedding.

I shot a wedding at the museum back before I'd graduated from school, but WOW, was it transformed. This was the garden bar area:

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Center and right are my dear friends (patroness of the arts) Bobbi and Clinton (one of the geniuses behind ArtRise), both that I met working with Jeanne at DeSoto gallery, and on the left is Clinton's roommate and my new friend Jared!

My friend's Bevin and Siobhan of Paprika Southern (S. was my other gallery mom from DeSoto!) - they were in the wedding party! All the bridesmaids had intricately braided hair with flowers interlaced in their locks. Anywho! Back to the reception: the pergola area was turned in to a mini-gallery with hors d'oeuvre to order.f

So, I'm from Maryland, so naturally I'm a stickler about crab cakes. This was one of the most magical fried crustacean cakes ever; the mango chutney and capers in the tartar sauce were such a nice touch. Kudos, Susan Mason Catering!

These are my new buds Anna and Aaron; former SCAD kiddies now living in Philly, and both very talented artists. 

All of the hanging art was by a local Savannah artist named Olivia Beaumont. Her paintings feature wonderfully whimsical animal portraiture. 

This rustic and romantic cake was so beautiful (and delicious, woo for carrot cake!). 

Woohoo, the Mr. and Mrs.!!

On to dinner! 

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And after dinner, we dance! Delightful jazzy string group with a Sinatra-style singer to keep our feet moving. 

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I spent the rest of the evening in the great company and got to run around Savannah in a full-length gown (woo!) But wow, what a sublime day! So well planned (major props to Curly Willow Designs and a tip of the hat to French Knot for a superb job) and full of sweet details to surprise and delight all the guests, food and drink to please every palate, and all full of love. I'm so excited to see the real photographs from this gig, apparently there's some film work (!) done by Katherine Holly Everett, be sure to keep her on your radar! Congratulations, R + Jeanne, a spectacular wedding for spectacular folks!

Hang tight for part III - a day spent on Tybee letting my inner food photographer run wild. Cheers! -MJ