…we were hand in hand, strolling Via Orefici toward Piazza del Duomo in Milan. My gelato fragola came with a tiny spoon and was nearly gone. Justin was attacking his pistachio and tiramisu double scoop in concentric circles, gradually making his way to the hand wrapped cone.

The pedestrian street was packed with people scurrying home from work, but there was no scurry to our step. We talked of our days  in Florence and this unexpected extra day in Milan.

We recalled dinners at Trattoria Guido’s with the house wine, dim light, and conversation unmarred by beeping phones or distraction. We marveled at art that, although seen in textbooks and prints time and again, struck a physical blow to witness in the flesh. A flash rainstorm that left a double rainbow over the Arno for the briefest of moments. The sound of monks in Gregorian chant.

As the indigo sky deepened, we listened to the lilt of l’italiano and whir of espresso machines competing with the passing cable car. We inhaled pungent porcini mushrooms and garlic and earthy red wine. With the cool February air against our cheeks and the creaminess of our gelato fresh on our tongues, we said our temporary arrivederci to lovely Italia, knowing we’d see her again.






{I’ll be back on Friday with a few more images from our whirlwind trip and some thoughts on personal travel and photography!}

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  • aliFebruary 19, 2014 - 1:19 am

    I love that last photo of you and Justin! Can’t wait to catch upzReplyCancel

Hello, lovelies!

I will be out of the office until February 12th!


I will be:

-Taking in the stunning art & architecture of Florence

-Tasting every possible bit of Italian scrumptiousness that comes my way

-Holding the hand of that cutie pie I married and having one uninterrupted conversation after another

-Focusing on each moment as it comes and soaking in the here and now without distraction

-Writing in cafes in the early mornings over strong Italian coffee

-Photographing the famous Tuscan light

-Going with ebb and flow of each day as it moves, and stepping into that movement with my full attention


I will NOT be:

-Checking email

-Turning on my phone

-Taking my computer

-Looking for wifi



Please forgive my disconnect and know that I will give you my full attention upon my return!! Have a wonderful week and I look forward to sharing our Italian getaway with you when we come back to reality!


{Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest, Hungary}

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Did you know that today is World Cancer Day? It’s a day dedicated to “debunking the myths” associated with cancer and cancer care and there are a ton of informative articles, links, and resources on the World Cancer Day website…take a moment today to take a look and to pause for a moment and reflect on the impact, direct or indirect, that cancer has had on your life.

My own life came into crashing contact with cancer when I was 22 years old. I was diagnosed with uteran cancer and suddenly had to face not only my own very real mortality, but also figure out how to navigate a system that basically said, “If you are uninsured, then we can’t help you.” I was terrified on levels that had previously been unfathomable to me and was utterly overwhelmed by how to figure out how to survive. As I’ve mentioned before, a series of events unfolded culminating in an amazing anonymous individual paying out of pocket for the care that I required then as well as every bit I’ve needed since, including a later diagnosis of ovarian cancer and all of the scans and secondary issues that follow treatment. This person saved my life. More than once. Saved me not because I was famous or smart or athletic or special in any way, but simply because I was a human life and needed help and he or she had the ability to provide it.

That is a truly magnificent thing.

A truly magnificent thing that I am more deeply grateful for on a daily basis than I will ever have the words to fully articulate. And I feel a debt in that gratitude that I will never be able to fully assuage, a debt to “pay it forward” in whatever way I can, big or small. A debt to not only share what I am with others, but also to bring a small bit of meaning to this life that someone so generously gave back to me.

Since I began this business back in 2008, I’ve donated a percentage of every session and wedding to CancerCare {if you didn’t realize that, you can read a little more about it here!}. It’s been so exciting over the years to watch the grand total of donated dollars reach from the hundreds to the thousands and awesome to see how many of you have taken it one step further and matched my donation!

Last year I decided to take Cuppa’s role in giving to a new level. I had a small dream that we could reach a few more people, touch a few more lives, by actively engaging in some tangible enterprise and thus the inaugural 2013 Team Cuppa for the Dempsey Challenge was born {read more about it here!}. Not only did we have a BLAST at the event (check out more of the photos and details here!), but our team raised more than $5000!!

That bears repeating. More than $5000!! A seriously impressive first go!!

So we’re back. We’re going to do it again and maybe even see if we can outdo last year’s success!

I’ve just created the 2014 Team Cuppa and you can visit our team page here if you’d like to join or donate!

A few things to keep in mind:

(1) You don’t have to attend the event to join the team! You can join as a “virtual participant” and support our efforts from afar!

(2) Cuppa clients: I will match you DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR in product credit for every dollar that you raise. Want a $3000 wedding album? Start hounding everyone you know to donate to this amazing cancer center that provides resources, education, and integrative medicine absolutely free to anyone affected by cancer in any way…hound them in to donating $3000 and you not only get that album, but you’ll have contributed to supporting the Center as well as brought awareness to the needs being fulfilled by it. Win-win!!

(3) Cuppa clients: in order for the above to happen, you must actually JOIN the team and raise the money. I will look at how much you actually raised and apply that credit to your account. If you’d prefer to simply donate to the team, we will DEFINITELY appreciate it, but it won’t be matched with credit. Part of what you are being rewarded for is helping spread the awareness to a larger community and helping to involve as much of that community as possible in the effort!

(4) If you have committed to another charity or cause that has meaning to you and have focused your fundraising efforts there, I am more than happy to discuss extending the product credit match to your efforts there. Reach out and let me know what you are doing!

For more information on the phenomenal Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, visit their website here!


Thank you all so much for enabling this small dream of mine to become such a powerful reality. You are an incredible group of people. Now head on over and join the team!!!





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