Friday, March 22, 2013


It was no surprise to me that she loved the Temple of Dendur.  She walked along the pool of water staring at the reflections and I was having mild panic attacks that she would somehow fall in. 

Posting this week was sporadic because my baby girl is on spring break (!) and I've been spending every single free minute of my time with her.  I know she misses school (she told me) but it's been so nice to have full days with her.  We have had a really fun week with trips to both the Children's Museum of the Arts and The Metropolitan Museum of Art - not to mention a lot of down time at home coloring, reading books and building forts (we LOVE forts around here).  I can't believe I waited this long to take her to the Met not only because it's one of my favorite places in Manhattan but because my girl loves to look at and make art.  She's so curious and she loves colors, shapes, light and shadow.  She loves to look at everything from Jackson Pollack and Mary Cassatt to Pablo Picasso and Salvadore Dali.  She's also a bit obsessed with Degas' ballerinas (no surprise there).  I've been to the Met more times than I can count and to dozens of museums in New York and around the world but going with an insatiably curious two year old is an adventure unlike any other.  I highly recommend it. We spent most of our time looking at Egyptian Art (we sat in front of statutes of men with lion heads that she was completely mesmerized by), studying the Greek and Roman art (she loved the fountain and all the statues of children), and the paintings in the American Wing (she loved the dresses the women were wearing in the portraits).  All in all a very successful and most importantly, FUN visit.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and here are some great links from around the web.

Speaking of art, check out this classic art interpreted by a modern photographer- Photographer Eugenio Recuenco recreates Picasso's cubist period.  GORGEOUS.

Photographs of beautiful and forgotten places.

My sister-in-law tasked me with making a dessert and two veggie side dishes for Passover.  I am making these (for dessert or for appetizer if you're like me) after she told me about them and I cannot wait.  Hopefully I can control myself and not eat them all before getting to the Seder.  Also, these carrots and these brussel sprouts (not revolutionary but my favorite veggie side dish).

Speaking of food, I made these kale chips this week and they were seriously amazing.  So amazing that my daughter ate them and we had the entire bowl before daddy even got home to share them with us.  #sorryimnotsorry

The deadline for the World Cup of Photography is coming up and the contest is open to amateurs and pros!

A windproof umbrella...exactly what I need in downtown Manhattan.

I really, really, really need a vacation.  Like, really.  In the meantime I'm revisiting some instagrams from this trip that was just over a year ago now.  

I want to make these easter eggs this year.  (via Cupcakes and Cashmere)

Awesome larger than life self-portraits.

For the love of spring.

I'm a little bit obsessed with my new vintage photography Pinterest board.  And with Pinterest, in general (let's be honest).  Have you seen the new layout?  I like it!
The original hipsta and insta...the wet plate (app).

Do you need a photo degree to be a successful photographer?  You know where I stand on this one.

  Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Olivie Bee

Shot by Olivia Bee for Hermès.

I featured teenage photography sensation Olivia Bee almost exactly three years ago and since then her career has skyrocketed even further.  This year PDN named her one of 30 new and emerging photographers to watch.  In addition to her personal work, the New York-based Bee has shot assignments for the New York Times and VICE as well as campaigns for high-end fashion brand Hermès, Levi's and Nike.  Seriously impressive for a now-19-year-old who is self-taught and got her start sharing photos on Flickr.  I'm a huge fan. 


Visit Olivia Bee's website to see and learn more about this evocative photographer.

Via My Modern Met.

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Looking at lines

A few weeks ago we were out in the country and I was out shooting for myself for fun.  For the first time in a while I took a minute to stare out at the ocean to watch the natural lines of the water and the and way it flowed in and out of the shore.  I'm always so rushed and rarely have time to just sit there and take it all in.  I used to go to the beach to think and enjoy the quiet and being there this time I realized how much I miss those moments.  Back in the city that week I was in a rush to get somewhere when I stopped at a corner and looked up.  The lines of these buildings downtown made me think of the organic, fluid curves of the ocean.  I thought about how lucky I was that in less than 48 hours I had the chance to witness two such beautiful and opposing elements - one obviously natural and the other man made - and how they formed part of my world.  I'm into taking the time to recognize that lately and having that awareness has made me much happier.  You should try it.

  Bookmark and Share

Friday, March 15, 2013


The waves at my favorite beach in East Hampton.  This print is in my Etsy shop.
My toddler has spring break for the next two weeks - it is sweet and funny and sad at the same time.  When did I become the parent of a child who has "spring break?"  I have so many fun things planned for us while she's out of school.  Several trips to the Children's Museum of the Arts, a trip to the Met, having fun at home, and lots and lots of cuddle time.  We're going to the Hamptons this weekend to get her vacation started right.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and here are some cool links from around the web this week.

I was featured on Beauty Bender this week talking about my beauty routines and favorite products! It was fun to talk about my other favorite thing...make-up!

Photographer Gabriele Galimberti went around the world photographing kids with their favorite toys (love this).

A sea of cameras at the unveiling of Pope Francis.

Did you catch the 35% discount on all 8x8 photobooks from Adorama for my readers? 

Disney princesses after ever after

Beautiful photos about finding yourself.

Photographing love.

Minimalist architecture posters (cool).

Living with less (via Cup of Jo).

Six awesome Instagramers and their pictures of NYC.

Would you work for free?

Meet the lowline in NYC (via The Daily Muse).  Cool!

This pregnancy has me craving quiche every single day.  I wish someone would make me this one.

  Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Instagram Photo Book and an Adorama Discount

"Remember this day, mommy?" asks my curious toddler as she flips through the pages of her beautiful new picture book.

One of the promises that I made after I had my daughter (among the many) was that I would no longer let my personal photos collect proverbial dust in the vortex that is my archiving system.  Vacation photos, holiday photos, family photos...if they weren't for clients or as part of a photography project, once I started shooting digital I would rarely make prints.  Everything changes when you have kids and for me that included not just how I make memories but what I do with them once I've recorded them.  To this day my family goes through old albums and I love when my dad posts old photos on Facebook...especially when I've never seen them before.  Making prints of memories is important!

So I solved the problem of my personal photos taken with my dslr because I started to make books and prints for gallery walls but what about my iPhone?  I have over 11,000 pictures on it! (#issues #hoarder)  I've made prints of those before too but I wanted to make a special book just for Lucia.

While most kids play games and watch shows on the iPad my girl likes to go through the camera roll and scroll through old photos - "remember this day, mommy?" is one of her many catch phrases.  So I teamed up with my friends at Adorama to make an 8x8 photo book of some of our favorite family memories as recorded by my iPhone and processed on Instagram.

The book

The hardest part for me was selecting the pictures (no surprise).  The book itself was so simple to make because the program online is very straightforward and you have full control over the style and design.  There are many different templates to choose from for every size book available and in fact for someone like me who is terribly indecisive there are almost too many templates.  I narrowed it down to five and then just went with my favorite.  After selecting your images and loading them up to the website (a process that is very fast depending on your internet connectivity) you just drag and drop them into the space in your blank book and save as you go.  Ta-da!  I even cheated a bit and was able to drag a few photos into blank spaces that weren't meant for images and I was able to play with the size a bit to make photos larger than the space allowed them to be.  You can select photos from a number of different sources including Picasa, Flickr, your Adoramapix account and your computer.

I've been working with Adorama for personal and professional projects for years so it was no surprise to me that the quality of the book is top notch.  The pages are printed on real photographic silver-halide paper with a lustre finish so the colors are bright and saturated with great flesh tones.  For photography junkies like me this is a huge deal.  They use real archival quality photo paper so it's fade-resistant and you even have several paper choices.  I also really like how thick and sturdy the pages are.  Another really important feature for me when I made this book was that the HD glossy paper is fingerprint resistant!  Hello?  Amazing!  I usually prefer matte paper for my prints but I was making this book specifically for my toddler to thumb through, carry with her, and put her hands all over it so this feature was a major draw for me. 

Here's what I did: so simple...

1.  Visited and chose the perfect book size

Once I decided that I wanted to use my Instagram photos (since she loves them so much) I realized that the 8x8 format was perfect for the square-cropped pictures.   Since I'm terrible at editing to make a concise collection I went with a 26-page book.  Not too many, not too few.  I felt like it was the perfect number of images to keep my toddler's attention and just enough to capture the feeling of the general "theme" I decided to go with. 

2.  Chose my images

With so many pictures to choose from I had a very difficult task ahead of me so I just went with favorite images of the last year or so that were strictly of our family. A NYC-themed book of Instagrams is up next but I wanted to make this one for her first.


The books are already reasonably priced and  from now until June 1st Adorama is offering Ciao, Chessa! readers a 35% discount on all 8x8 photo books with the discount: pxcontessa


So get to it and make those books of your most important memories!  You won't regret it.  If you have any questions or need some tips, let me know!

The front cover gave me the option of choosing four photos.  I opted to leave the title off the front and put it only on the spine.  You can choose from several different fonts and sizes.

The back cover.  I loved that I was able to have one large photo on the back to balance out the four photos I chose for the front.

She's looking at one of my favorite family "portraits" - we were in an elevator when I snapped our picture in the mirrored ceiling.  The reflection of the flash was from my phone, not from this photo.

This is her focus face. She was looking at a photo of her and her cousin from last summer.  Her cousin is sitting in the front seat of this little automatic car my parents have for them at their house.  She looked at me very seriously and said that this summer her cousin will ride in the back of the car and she will drive it.  Okay.


  Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making art with your kids

Our art supply box is over-flowing with paint, play doh, crayons, glitter and pizazz....lots of pizazz!  There's nothing that we won't make into art and watching my big girl have the best time, get into her zone, create something and most importantly, make an enormous mess, is amazing.  She's discovering something new every day and I am too. 

Living in the city we love to explore and go to museums and galleries all the time, and of course walking down the street in Manhattan is like an art education itself.  Still, sometimes the best thing to do is just sit back, give a toddler a marker and a piece of paper and let her go at it.  We've also been known to take random things around the house and "make stuff" with it.  A few months ago we made a little city out of a cardboard box and some old blocks that we were going to give away and I took some wrapping paper from a gift and cut it into shapes to make into a collage.  Fun for days!  Don't even get me started on the face masks we've made out of twine and paper plates. It's like a party every day!  I love showing her how every day, "boring" things can be new.  Also, I just really love watching her and taking her picture.  Isn't it obvious?

Do you love making art with your kids?  I'm always looking for new materials and recently rediscovered Flubber.  Do you remember that stuff?  My sister reminded me that we used to pay a quarter for it out of the toy machine at the supermarket when we were little and it brought back a million memories.

By the way, if you're in New York or coming for a visit with your kids any time soon you should definitely check out the Children's Museum of the Arts in Soho.  It's such a cool space and they have wonderful walk-in classes.  I went to a workshop there with my sister last week and one of the biggest things I took away was that it's best to just sit back and let kids do what they do.  Try not to ask them "what are you making?" (I'm SO guilty of this because I'm just too curious to know what's happening in her head!) and start with one or two materials and then gradually give them more supplies one by one - paint, glitter, glue, model magic, stickers, tape, tissue paper...

Also, check out this great guest post by artist and photographer Damian Franco, 5 Ways to Teach Our Children About Art.  I go back and read it whenever I need a little inspiration (which is pretty often).

The look on her face today when we mixed colors and she saw that red and blue make purple and yellow and blue make green (her recent favorite) was priceless!

Using all of her might to squeeze that glue.

Shredded tissue paper provides entertainment for hours...or at least 15 minutes straight which is an eternity for a two-year-old.

  Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Instagram Weekend

Last weekend proved the saying that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb...except that today it's freezing and windy and very, very windy.  We'll have to see how the rest of the month goes but I'm optimistic because what started a snowy, freezing mess ended in sunshine, a longer day and a spring breeze that put everyone in a great mood.  Here are some photos via Instagram.

There's hope for spring.

A trip to the Hamptons is not complete without a visit to the Children's Museum.

In a few months this vineyard will look very different.

We drove home over the Brooklyn Bridge and I was feeling very lucky that I didn't drop my phone out the window...I had to try though!

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Bookmark and Share