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! 

b9e02061-bd57-42f8-ac97-39 copy.JPG

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. 

mary ella jourdak, washington dc, wedding photography, travel wedding photography, destination wedding photography, bridal portraits, maryland, northern virginia, photographer, newborn photography, wedding photographer, cherry blossoms, tidal basin, bridal, bluejacket dc wedding, district chophouse dc, chinatown dc, courthouse wedding, destination wedding photography, mary ella jourdak, mexico wedding photographer, cancun wedding photographer, riu resort photographer, beach wedding photographer, beach wedding photography, mexico beach wedding photography, playa del carmen photographer, playa del carmen photography, international wedding photographer, international wedding photography, fort mchenry, baltimore photographer, inner harbor photographer, canton photographer, sparrow's point baltimore, oregon ridge park, french's point, maine, maine weddings, travel photographer, harrington on the bay, chesapeake bay weddings, chesapeake bay photographer, chesapeake beach wedding photographer, military wedding photographer, military wedding photography, marine wedding, us military wedding photographer, military discount, teacher discount, police discount, educator discount photography, tybee island, savannah georgia photographer, fish camp restaurant, tybee island social club, savannah photographer fort lauderdale photographer lauderdale yacht club photographer elopement photographer destination wedding photographer lgbtq photographer gay wedding photographer gay friendly photographer, alexandria photographer, northern virginia photographer, old town alexandria photographer, old town alexandria wedding, ocean city wedding photographer, boardwalk, ocean city md, ocmd, tybee island fish camp, chef kurtis schumm

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?!

mary ella jourdak photography eastern shore photographer eastern shore photography wedding photographer wedding photography stevensville photographer chester photographer kent island photographer wedding bridal photographer bridal photography gay wedding photographer maryland gay wedding photographer dc infant photographer infant photography newborn photographer newborn photography easton photographer queen anne's county photographer centerville photographer chestertown wedding photographer baltimore wedding photographer maryland senior portrait photographer annapolis engagement photographer family photographer family photography maryland fashion photography catalog photography clothing photographer headshot photographer evergreen baltimore mary our savior cathedral 

 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

hellllllo, summer!

I'm fairly certain it's safe to say that summer is here. No more cranking the heat back on at night--it's time for boating, barbecue, and the beach! I kicked things off early last week with a trip to Assateague Island, cooking lots of tasty foods, and starting a deliciously challenging 108 day Ultimate Yogi program. It's tough, but I already feel like a champion! I've decided that besides improved health and strength being goals in this journey, I'll be exploring and pushing myself to create more. 

Alongside this picture + art upload, I'm also posting this to share one of the most refreshing drinks I've ever cooked up--cranberry mint lemonade. Enjoy the pictures, and I hope you'll whip up my guilt-free concoction to enjoy out in the sunshine.

beautiful day on the beach || ocean city, maryland

crescent moon setting on cox creek || chester, maryland

these are all...

...within a stones throw...

...of my house!

I was originally just setting a goal to doodle for about 15 minutes every day, but I've decided to slow down to working on one piece over the course of two days as well as learning + incorporating sanskrit words. This first one is पूरक, which is the inhaling portion of alternate nostril pranayama breathing.

Ohhh, that Vitamin D feels so good! Cannot get enough sunshine lately...

I cannot wait for these babies to be ready! I've got an amazing recipe for stuffed figs that y'all will love.

So, dear reader, you'll recall the guilt free bit about my lemonade, yes? The reason why this lemonade is such a low calorie/sugar drink is because it uses stevia extract as it's sweetener, rather than sugar or another substitute. Never heard of stevia? You're not alone, so lemme throw some quick info at you:

Stevia is a plant in the sunflower family that is grown in the subtropical regions of North + South America. It's been used for centuries by our buddies to the South, both for it's medicinal properties and as a sweetener. Stevia not only about 300 times sweeter than sugar and generally has less than one gram of carbs per serving, it has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels. Recent studies have even shown stevia to promote insulin sensitivity and production--how cool is that?!

this is liquid stevia, but you can also get it in a powdered form!

But Mary! That sounds amazing, and therefore too good to be true. What's the downside? The only one I'm aware of is that Stevia can have an aftertaste, but generally when it's diluted and paired with other flavors, it's impossible to notice. There are also tons of recipes available for baking! I highly suggest giving it a whirl, just make sure you're getting real stevia extract (there are a fair few sweeteners out on the market that are made from stevia, but that aren't the real deal). 

Anyways, as promised, this is a very quick + easy recipe, so y'all are going to get a lot more on the photo end than the written one. On to the lemonade! 

cranberry mint lemonade

  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 ounces of unsweetened cranberry concentrate
  • Two sprigs of mint
  • Liquid or powdered stevia extract
  • Ice, as needed
  • one quart container

Wash and muddle half of your mint leaves. Place them in your quart container. Detach the leaves from the other spring 

Cut your citrus in half, and then cut a slice for garnish. Juice citrus fruit in to a bowl and pour in to container (or in to your quart container if the opening is large enough).

Add two ounces of cranberry juice (roughly the equivalent of two shots) as well as 10-20 drops of stevia to the container. I'd suggest starting low, mixing up your drink and tasting before you over-sweeten.

Fill container halfway with ice, then all the way with water. Shake or stir (depending on whether or not you want to make a bad James Bond joke...). Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes in order for the mint flavor to intensify a little.

Pour in to a glass, garnish with your sliced citrus, and enjoy the refreshingly tangy chill this drink brings. Cheers!

Oh. And here's my p.s. for the entry: have an epic mullet! Why? Because it's Friday and because I have to go to work with this fool every day. Have a great weekend everyone!