Somewhere between DC and Frederick there is a mix of suburbia and flat land that gives way to a “mountain”. Albeit tiny in the grand scheme of mountains, Despite it’s size on any given day Sugarloaf Mountain is teeming with hikers and has enough of a view to warrant a quiet pause when you reach its peak.

I am partial to this little hill. Many hiking trips as a child, rock climbing experiences, dates as a teenager and now numerous family trips with my own kids, make it a special place to me. So it should come as no surprise that I absolutely love when couples have the same affection for Sugarloaf that I do.

Michele and Stephen love Sugarloaf so much that they will be getting married at the Mansion here next fall. They wanted to incorporate some of the scenery that they might not be able to include on their wedding day so we took our time exploring some of our favorite parts around the base. These two were so fun to spend my afternoon with. They laughed easy, enjoyed each other’s company and made me even more excited for their big day next fall. Congratulations on your engagement Michele and Stephen. Can’t wait to see you all on our mountain again.

Ridgely’s Delight is a tiny neighborhood in the shadows of Camden Yards. It is where Jamie and Taylor call home and where I was lucky to spend a Sunday morning with them. Jamie and Taylor have a love for the city, the tiny houses, coffee and shoes. Actually, Taylor (he’s the groom) is the one with quite the shoe collection. Therefore it was the perfect morning to visit where they were engaged and for Taylor to put on the perfect pair of shoes to match his beloved Orioles. I will admit, I am a sucker for romantic photos (who would guess) but I absolutely love the later photos of these two in their element truly enjoying relaxing and enjoying each other. That is what it is all about after all. Thanks for spending the morning with me Jamie and Taylor. I will be back for coffee soon.

…You are really something this year. Your leaves. The unseasonably warm weather. Enough cool days to make us pull out our favorite sweaters. The endless dahlias. I couldn’t love you more right now.

I can’t wait to share more from Anna and Andrew’s wedding. It was everything I love about this season (minus a few PSLs). I hope you all enjoy the last weekend of blazing leaves and stunning colors before winters grey rolls on in. Cheers friends.

This time of year the word busy is on everyone’s tongue. The mad dash from Halloween to Christmas is a breathless battle. According to Mirriam Webster the synonyms for legacy are gift, inheritance and heritage. Take a minute and let that soak in.

When I settle down and take the time to think of what my legacy is for my children I imagine I would not describe it as busy. I want them to inherit joy and patience. I want to gift them kindness and tenacity and a desire to slow down. I want them to know that the small moments are the big ones. That legacy lies in in taking the time for what matters. It is sometimes in holidays and it is sometimes on normal days when you take fresh clothes and put them on cranky babies because being together for an afternoon and remembering who you were as a family trumps any “busy” to-do list.

Brittany and her sweet little family took the time to meet me on a gorgeous, yet totally normal weekday afternoon. We laughed about her daughters feistiness, how her little bitty just wanted to chomp on grass and how we had to juggle babes to capture a photo of just her and her hubby. It was fun and it was most certainly worth it.

So many memories and opportunities to leave a legacy are rooted in the months ahead of us. In fact, there are opportunities for you today. Slow down and take it in. Think of the legacy you would like to leave and what you will give to those you love most. And even if you feel too busy, take a moment for photos like these. Thank you Brittany for sharing your family with me.

Halloween is by far one of my favorite holidays. My first choice is July 4th (hey…it is warm and who doesn’t love warm). But Halloween…it is a very close second. For me, it is not the pumpkins or witches or goblins, but the traditions that make it the most magical. It is a whole lot of friends, family and neighbors spending time together with fewer expectations. There are no presents to wrap, nowhere to drive to, no elaborate dinner to be had. You pick costumes, paint pumpkins, trick or treat, watch scary movies and enjoy those around you. I love watching the little bitty ones come to our door in their Halloween best and making sure to scare the big ones who should probably be home. In reality, they are probably looking for the same Halloween magic like I am. And really the magic is what it is all about. A few years ago I had a little Stormtrooper that came to my door and I thought I would post it as a reminder to all…May you have a safe and happy and certainly magical Halloween.

A few years ago, Sean and I hopped in the car for a last minute candy run. It was early in the day and we still had massive amounts of decorating to do before Halloween night. We, meaning mostly my husband, always go all out for Halloween. We have large tombstones dotting the front yard, a fog machine that makes everything difficult to see, giant sprawling cob webs and equally large spiders. We dress up, start a fire and then we, and again…I mean mostly Sean dare kids to come up onto our front porch. Of course we go easy on the bitty ones, but we really go all out mostly for the parents and the high schooler that dares not dress up.

Upon our return home, we saw a Stormtrooper going door to door with his trick-or-treat bag. It was around 4PM at this point and definitely pushing the “early” trick-or-treating hour. He seemed about 7 and he slowly walked from door to door while his mom parked in the car on the street. Sean and I looked at each other and thought, “This kid is really being greedy.”

As we drove further down the street we realized hardly anyone was opening the door, leaving the child to hang his helmet clad head and move on to the next house. We grabbed our bags out of the car and headed up to our porch watching the little Stormtrooper out of the corner of our eyes.
As we were getting the last load out of the car, suddenly, the mother drove up to our house and asked if we had candy. I fumbled with my words as I looked down at the large amounts under my arms… “Yes”. “Could you please give some to my son? I have to work and have nobody to take him trick-or-treating so I am trying to make his Halloween,” I felt the frog in my throat grow; I had judged so quickly and I had been so wrong.
We had a few doors before the Stormtrooper arrived at our door. Sean tore up our porch steps, through open the door and immediately started digging through the Halloween boxes for his costume. I grabbed the phone and told our neighbors next door the situation.
By the time the Stormtrooper knocked on our door we were in full Halloween mode, complete with masks and a giant bowl of candy for him to choose from. Being polite, he only took one piece, but we made sure he didn’t leave our house with a light load.
As we peered out our window to see him greet our neighbors, we could see he already had more excitement in his little step. As a very happy Stormtrooper hopped into the passenger side of her car, the mom told us over and over again how grateful she was. And as they rode off, I wanted to tell her how grateful I was.
Tonight children will come to your door from all walks of life. Some will be in costume, some will not. Some will seem greedy, some will be afraid to take a single piece. Your job tonight is to open your door and to be on the look out for the one who is a Stormtrooper just looking for some Halloween magic.
Happy Halloween all. xoxo