Kourabiedes & Being Greek

Every Christmas going as far back as I can remember, my parents make kourabiedes. Kourabiedes are a delicious, buttery Greek cookie heavily dusted with powdered sugar. A successful kourabiede will melt in your mouth as soon as you take your first bite, a testament to both the amount of butter used in this recipe, as well as your patience in slowly combining your mixture. 

In typical Greek fashion, there are several variations to making kourabiedes. My family likes to put our own spin on this cookie each time we make it, usually by adding slivers of almonds or lemon zest to our dough. And while the recipe calls for freshly squeezed orange juice, most of the time my parents use brandy as a substitute. 

Everyone who knows me knows that I am super proud of my Greek heritage. While most of my family still lives in Greece and I make it a point to travel and stay there as much as I possibly can, most of my life has been spent largely exposed to American culture. Because of this, I often worry that I will not be able to fully pass down the traditions I grew up with to my own children. And if I can't properly pass down a love of Greece and the culture to my children, where will that leave theirs? This is why holding on to traditions, even simple ones like making this Christmas cookie, will always be important to me. 

College Reunion Weekend | West Palm Beach

This past weekend I was asked to photograph a college reunion weekend for a group of women who have been friends for more than twenty years. Their bungalow in West Palm Beach gave us a gorgeous outdoor setting to play with and the canopy bed served as an especially dreamy background.

Watching these eight women together made me think of my own bonds of friendship with the ladies in my life. Two women I've been best friends with since attending Missouri State University, and together we have shared seven years of roommate adventures, graduations, trips, jobs, moving, and marriages. Some I was fortunate to meet when I moved halfway across the country to work and attend graduate school at the University of Miami. Between studying and interning, my friends and I filled two years together with group dinners (sooo many tacos and margaritas), trips, beach days, dancing, and birthday celebrations. Although we all live apart now, I speak to my friends every day. When we do have the opportunity to see each other we fall back in to our comfortable flow without missing a beat. 

I believe the secret to maintaining successful friendships can be summed up in three C's: compassion, commitment, communication. Oh, and courage. It takes courage to trust others and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to form true bonds. I'm lucky that I've been able to develop friendships with strong, successful women who are compassionate, committed, communicative, and courageous. 

Cheers to the friends in these photographs, but especially to my own! I can't wait until we can say that we've been friends for over two decades.