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Words to Live By Wednesday: Happy 100th Birthday Dots!

Today would have been my great grandma Dots’ 100th Birthday! I couldn’t think of a better Words to Live By Wednesday image and quote that would be more fitting today than this one. I am so happy to honor Dots today on my blog. She was a beautiful, intelligent, hardworking and determined woman who has helped shaped me into the woman I am today.

Growing up our family always joked with Dots about what she would do for her 100th Birthday.  It was a milestone our family had planned on her reaching. Dot’s lived to the ripe old age of 97. She lived every day of her life to her fullest and if she had made it to today, she would have been celebrating life with a Vodka Martini in hand. I know she’s smiling down on us all today and dancing free up in heaven. I am so blessed to have had her in my life and am so happy to celebrate her big milestone. Join me today by raising a Vodka Martini to the sky and cheers-ing to Dots! Happy Birthday to the most wonderful lady I know!

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Erin Maney - May 15, 2013 - 6:33 pm

Cheers! Beautiful picture, beautiful lady!

Colleen Quigley Brown - May 16, 2013 - 1:29 am

Well said, she was truly a special lady! Love and miss you Dot!

Marlene Bartlett - May 16, 2013 - 4:50 pm

She was a lot of energy packaged in a smaller body. So many fond memories, Dot.

Boston Strong

I was at the Boston Marathon this year with my fiancé, future sister in law and friends. We spent the morning loving life and rooting for the racers as they crossed the finish line. We were a little more than one block away from where the second bomb went off.

Divine intervention occurred at around 11:30 a.m. when my future sister in law passed out from standing in one place for too long. We left the race to take her to the hospital to be evaluated and were fortunately no longer in the area when the horrific blasts occurred.

We were in the hospital when the first 6 victims arrived for treatment. We saw first hand how well prepared the hospital workers were for a disaster and how professionally and calmly they sprung into action. Watching the video of first responders, spectators and victims all come together in immediate action after the blasts, reminds me of the good that exists in people. I am so proud to call myself a Bostonian. We will come back stronger from this tragedy.

All of my friends were out of the area at the time of the blasts and I am fortunate to not personally know anyone who was injured or killed in the blasts.  I cannot imagine the pain that these families are going through and send all of my love and well wishes their way.

Being so close to this incident reminds me to treat each day as if it were my last. Love deeply, live fully, and tell your family just how much you love them every single day. In an effort to help the victims of the Boston Bombings, I am donating 26.2% of all of the proceeds from my portrait sessions during the month of May to the One Fund. Book a session today to capture beautiful moments with you, your friends and your family and help a great cause at the same time! We are:



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Boston Spring Mini Sessions!


Here are the details:

-      2 dates to choose from:

- 30 Minute Portrait Sessions on Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

- 30 Minute Portrait Sessions on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

-       2 locations to choose from:

  • Along the Charles River
  • In the Boston Public Gardens

-      Session fee includes 1 high resolution digital file for sharing online with unlimited printing rights.

Additional options available for separate purchase:

Package 1: $125 (choose up to 2  additional images)

  • (1)- 8×10, (2) 5×7
  • Includes the digital high resolution files of each image printed

Package 2: $250 (choose up to 4 additional images)

  • (1) 11×14, (2) 8×10, (4) 5×7
  • Includes the digital high resolution files of each image printed

Package 3: $300 (up to 10 images)

  • DVD of 10 fully edited high and low resolution digital  .jpeg images from the session.
  • Includes release for unlimited printing rights and a set of 4×6 gift prints of the 10 images.


The Fine Print:

The entire session fee is due at the time of booking to reserve your spot and is non-refundable.

Session times are first come, first served.

In the event of poor weather, a rain date of Sunday, May 5th has been reserved for Sunday sessions and Thursday, May 2nd for Wednesday sessions.

Receive 10% off your print or digital package if you pay for it at the time of booking.

“Like” us on Facebook and receive an additional 10% off of your session fee!

Refer a friend who also books a mini session on April 28th or May 1st, and you will both receive a $25.00 print/product credit. Make sure to let me know who referred you!

Book your session today by emailing me at: kieraslyephotography@gmail.com or call me at 617.433.SLYE (7593). Make sure to let me know which location and time you prefer. Time slots will fill up fast. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

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How to Pick a Florist and Wedding Flowers

This weekend I met up with my talented and beautiful Floral Designer, Alycia Joyal of Beacon Hill FloralsI know that Frank and I aren’t getting married for another year, but this weekend was the perfect time to escape from the cold and get a little taste of Spring as we literally “smelled the roses” that were in bloom at The Boston Flower Exchange. It was also the perfect time to see what kind of flowers will be fresh and in bloom next year when we get married.

Alycia taught me so much about the many varieties of flowers that are available in Spring. She totally impressed me with her knowledge of all of the different names of the flowers and had great tips for what would go well together. I was surprised to learn about how much math is involved in floral design! This is probably yet another reason why I need to rely upon an expert for my wedding day flowers!

I took some time after our tour of The Boston Flower Exchange to interview Alycia for my blog. I figured her knowledge of the floral industry would be great for my readers! Check out my interview below and learn some great tips for picking a florist and your wedding flowers!

Q- Why did you choose to be a floral designer?

A- My love of weddings is what initially drew me to the industry.  As my mother’s “plus one” to so many of her clients’ weddings growing up, I think I had attended easily over a dozen weddings by time I was a teenager.  I also loved playing in the yard and garden as a child and looked forward to the Boston Flower Show every spring, so enrolling at the Cass School of Floral Design seemed like a great opportunity.

Q- What is your favorite part of floral design?

A- While there’s nothing I really don’t enjoy (other than wilted hydrangea- they can be fussy) I’d say my favorite part is experiencing that “ah ha!” moment when I discover a perfect balance between the color, texture and scale of the flowers I’ve chose to arrange.   A lot of trial and error goes into floral design but nothing beats capturing that perfect harmony and finished product.

Q- When should brides contact the florist?

A- I’d say once they have established a color scheme or have chosen the color of their bridesmaid dresses.  Ideally I love to take my brides to the flower market a year out from their wedding day so they can see exactly what kinds of seasonal flowers will be available to them.

Q- What should a client look for when picking a florist?

A- Aside from obvious factors such as affordability and availability, I think it’s important to decide just how involved you’d like to be in the process.  While florist shops generally offer that initial consultation to discuss your wedding flowers, I have found that designers are more likely to cultivate a relationship with their client and provide more “hand-holding” through the process- sometimes offering up to several consultations to develop that ultimate vision.

Q- What is the best way for a client to prepare for meeting with their florist?

A- Try to collect color swatches, sources of inspiration and certainly any photos of arrangements/bouquets or flowers that have struck their fancy.  Using Pinterest is a great tool for collecting and sharing your inspirations. You did a great job “pinning” inspirational florals on your Pinterest board!

Q- How should a bride prepare a budget for wedding flowers?

A- Traditionally most brides designate 10-15% of their overall wedding budget towards their wedding florals. Of course many factors including the type of flowers she would like to use and whether they are in season versus a special order can cause the price to dip or climb. A lot depends on the time of year too. A bride getting married in February who wants roses in her wedding is going to have to pay almost triple the price.  Ultimately one’s floral budget is a very personal decision and therefore varies so much from bride to bride.

A special thank you goes out to Alycia for all of her help. If you are interested in learning more about Alycia and her business, Beacon Hill Florals, check out her new Facebook page and  website. She is currently booking weddings for this year and also is happy to arrange florals for your special events and parties!



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Discovering Glamour Photography

This weekend, my mom, baby sister, and best friend from childhood all came up to Boston to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It was the perfect time for me to practice new poses and discover what “glamour photography” is all about. I learned that glamour photography is about finding inner beauty.  It is about pampering and taking time for you even if it is just for a few hours. It is learning to feel beautiful within your own skin.

My mom, sister, and friend all have stories that make up who they are as people. I loved capturing their stories from their souls played out through their eyes as they looked into the lens of my camera. There was a vulnerability and a true beauty that emanated from each of these women as I photographed them that reminded me of why my job as a photographer is so important.

Take a look at the transformations of these beautiful ladies in my life:

Enjoy a few more of my favorite images from the day.

After this session it became clear how special it is to take time to pamper yourself and have a beautiful image captured of you at this time in your life (whatever time that may be) to save for generations to come. Contact me today to learn more about glamour photography sessions for you and your friends. It is the PERFECT Mother’s Day gift.



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julie gary - March 23, 2013 - 8:11 pm

The accepted term for people who don’t like having their picture taken is “Camera Shy”. Over the years my “shyness” has escalated to” severe camera phobia.

Seriously, I’ve allowed myself to be photographed maybe 20 times in the last 2 decades.

The pictures that do exist typically capture only my fearful face (as I hide behind everyone), my hand covering my face or a blur of my backside running away.

I have to admit that I haven’t felt beautiful in years and would definitely classify myself as un-photogenic; so when Kiera asked me to pose for her to refine her headshot techniques I really had to step out of my comfort zone.

I’m so fortunate I did.

She was fearless in her kind critique of ways to get the perfect shot and confidently guided me on how to look at the camera (this eliminated my thickening neck), shift my weight, where to put my hands and other great tips for minimizing my waist and accentuating body parts that usually look like blobs!

Kiera’s energy, encouragement and ease behind the camera made my phobia vanish and it was easy to do as she directed. I actually started to have fun and in the end walked away with pictures that I would proudly share or post anywhere.

Thank you Kiera for the thoughtful ways you coached me and for taking the time and energy to make me comfortable and feel beautiful again.

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