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a look back: favorites of 2013 | Manchester, NH Family Photographer

I know things have been quiet around here lately. I’ve been enjoying the holidays and time with my family. I was really hoping to get this posted by January 1st, but better late than never, right?! The whole month of December was a whirlwind, and January is shaping up to be quite similar with birthdays, weekend events, and that pesky thing called ‘work’.

When I was finally able to find a bit of free time to concentrate on this, I found myself smiling whilst looking back on all the wonderful images from 2013. I have some pretty amazing (and beautiful!) clients. Not only do I feel lucky to know these people but I also got to witness some pretty significant milestones — growing baby bumps; the “I’m so lucky” way  families look at each other in the middle of a fun family shoot; the love and excitement shared between parents-to-be; those precious, flaky, brand-new toes and fingers; that first taste into a first-ever birthday cake; that wobbly sea-legged toddler walk;… and even watching as a new little one enters the world and meets her mama and daddy for the very first time. I even got to meet some really awesome pets! With all of that said, THANK YOU to each and every one of my clients, for letting me share in and capture these once-in-a-lifetime, precious moments. Enjoy.



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better to give | DIY Vanilla Extract

So this blog post is a little different for me. In fact, this one has been on my list of things to blog about since this time last year. But I had a reason for waiting so long, I had to actually finish this little project before I could photograph it, and then I had to wait for the holiday season to come back around again so it would help all of you with your holiday lists :-). Well, look at me — actually remembering to post this (*pats self on back*).

Normally, I don’t have a huge amount of time for Pinterest projects, I have boards upon boards of stuff I want to do, in fact, I actually have a board named “Things I want to do”. I should probably rename it “Things I’ll probably never do”. Maybe someday I’ll have more free time… maybe?? In any case, this little project actually got completed because I happened to be on maternity leave so not only did I have a bit more ‘free’ time, but I also had less money in my pocket so a DIY holiday gift seemed like a great idea. I must give credit where credit is due since I did find this on Pinterest, it was by no means my original idea (sadly, I will never be this crafty all on my own). This was originally blogged by The Italian Dish.

So Homemade Vanilla Extract… who knew this would be so easy? Here is what you will need:

  • Glass bottles or jars with covers
  • Vanilla beans
  • Vodka
  • 6 weeks of patience


I originally pinned the idea because I really liked the little glass bottles and when they arrived at my home, I liked them even more. You can buy them here through the Specialty Bottle Company. I’ll need to do some more Pinterest stalking to figure out what other concoctions I can make in these cute little bottles.blog1

I cleaned and rinsed all of the bottles and caps. And then moved onto the ever so pleasant-smelling task of cutting the vanilla beans. I got these beans through Beanilla, though there are several places you can get them, especially online. They seemed to have the best price for the amount that I wanted. You’ll want to buy enough so that you have 3-4 beans per bottle. Cut a small slit down the middle of each bean so that brown pasty stuff inside is exposed. This task can get a little messy, but the amazing smell will make up for it.blog3

Once you have sliced the beans, insert 3-4 into each jar and then grab a handy dandy funnel… TRUST ME, you’ll want a funnel for this no matter how steady you think your hand is… I’ll tell you right now, you’ll waste a ton of vodka, make a huge mess, weep over the spilled alcohol, and then tell yourself you should’ve listened to me.blog5

I chose to use Smirnoff vodka, actually I think my husband chose it. I told him to get a decently priced bottle of vodka but nothing that was ‘burn your throat’ cheap. It was actually the perfect choice.blog4

Once you have filled all your bottles and placed the caps back on, they will look like this. Kinda creepy and pretty at the same time. And then you’ll wait and wait…. and wait…blog6After a few weeks, the vodka will begin to brown (which is good!) and after about 6 weeks, you can consider it strong enough to use. The best part about homemade vanilla extract?? When it gets low, just add more vodka! I kept 3 bottles and just keep refilling and rotating them (look at me pretending that I bake all the time, I really don’t!) Like The Italian Dish, I got my cute little labels from MyOwnLabels.com which has sort of been like discovering sliced bread — they have the cutest stuff. So there you have it, your own homemade vanilla extract. I threw these in with gifts for teachers, family, friends and neighbors. So, you have exactly 6 weeks until Christmas… better get started. Enjoy! 02_01_white(2)


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let there be light | Lee, NH Family Photographer

There are so many reasons why this was such a special session. First, let me start by saying that I donated this session to an auction several months ago. A wonderful person, Amy Harris, from our hometown was tragically killed in a car accident this past April, leaving behind her two young children and husband. In a huge show of support, a silent auction was planned in her honor and the community came together to raise funds for her family. It was an amazing event and I was more than happy to support such a cause.

The second reason why this was such a special session, one of my very dear friends from high school bought it! There are so many truly awesome things about this family, I wouldn’t even know where to begin, but you can read a little bit about their story from our last session here. And if you looked at the date of that last session (2 years ago!), you would know that this one was WAY overdue. I was so happy to see them and thrilled to be blessed with an amazing day.


I’m hoping to find the time this year to do a “Best of 2013” blog post with some of my favorites from the year — you can be certain that this handsome fella will be in it. blog2

OK, I know…. another ridiculously long post…. one of my resolutions for next year will be to cut back (…maybe). blog3 blog4 blog5 blog6(5) blog6At the risk of sounding corny (haha – pun totally intended!), one of my favorite things about this session and this family, is that you can really see the love between them. The hugs, the kisses, the looks — all real.blog7 blog8 blog9 blog10 blog11(5) blog11 blog12See what I mean by looks?… SO obvious that they are totally in love. blog13 blog14 blog15 blog16C Family, you are just.plain.awesome. XOXO. blog17


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you are my sunshine | Lee, NH Family Photographer

Everyone comfy? Settle in… this is a doozy. I admit it, I totally overshoot — at almost every.single.session. However, it almost guarantees that I’ll get at least one frame of each pose with ALL eyes open, no weird faces (or at worse, it’s a quick head swap!), good angles, etc. So once I cull out all of the shots that just don’t work for me, then I’m back to a reasonably sized gallery. Well, sometimes I get a session where almost EVERY shot is just, well, awesome and it becomes a huge task to cut back. This little family had such a great session, and the kids were so good — they were striking poses like it was nobody’s business! It was such fun. And oh Coppal House Farm, how I love thee — from your sloping hills, to your sun drenched trees, to your corn field which is just the best backdrop ever. If you are in NH, go there! Without further ado…

blog1 blog2

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Watch out mama, she’s a beauty. blog3

And this guy… SUCH a ham…  blog4 blog5 blog6

Are you kidding me??? This is ALL him… no instruction on posing going on here! blog7 blog8 blog9 blog10

Any chance to throw leaves in the air? Do it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mama has her hands full quite literally, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mind 🙂 What a beautiful family. blog12 blog13 blog14 blog15 blog16(5)

I loved these two and this whole session (I still can’t get over his poses – ha!)  Thank you for an awesome session.blog16 blog17

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autumn light | Auburn, NH Family Photographer

 If you have scheduled a session with me and I offer an evening time slot, PUH-LEASE take it. Why??? Because you get light like this….


This session had actually been rescheduled two times before we got to this GLORIOUS autumn evening. Mother Nature rained on our parade the first time, and then we had a slight wardrobe malfunction the second time (i.e. baby girl’s outfit went missing!). Third time’s a charm, right??? YEP.blog2What could I possibly say about this family that I haven’t already? I’ve photographed them several times, been there for many milestones (see here and here!), but most importantly, they are great friends of ours. They are witty, funny, happy and just make you feel good to be around. Mom has also been a HUGE help to me the past few months by assisting with several of my shoots. She’s got a way with kids and makes my job easier so I can focus on my camera and getting the shots I want, while she gets the smiles and giggles out of my adorable subjects, and she’s been a helpful pair of second hands during newborn shoots too.blog3

The autumn light on this particular evening was just.plain.perfect.blog4blog5 blog6

Look at these handsome boys. Gah. Mom will probably tear up seeing these… I’m not exactly sure when they grew up so much, but as they say, ‘in the blink of an eye’ this can happen.blog7

S is such a ham. I am in love with these shots of him. For a funny look back at two years ago, check this out.blog8blog9

I hope this ends up as a huge canvas on their wall or displayed in an Organic Bloom frame somewhere in their home. This will be filed into my ‘all time favorites’ folder for sure.blog10blog11blog12

We really wanted to come up with some creative ideas for the three kids, and what better way than to have the boys act like thugs?? 🙂 In all seriousness, they LOVE their little sister, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will look out for her for the rest of their lives. If you mess with her, you mess with them 🙂 blog13blog14You might be thinking, ‘wow, there’s not a lot of individual shots of that beautiful baby’. Well, you would think that from this post, but check out her 6 month session here. If you follow my work, you know she had her own shoot prior to this, so we made sure the boys got a little face time at this session (though I did sneak in some of her like the one below, but really, can you blame me?? )blog15blog16 blog17blog18blog19

C Family, you guys totally rocked this shoot from the outfits, to the poses, to the fun we had. Hope you enjoyed your sneak peeks. xoxoblog20

A little Rebecca Cote Photography PSA…

I’ve had several requests lately, so if you’re looking at these photos and thinking, ‘aw, I want fall photos done too!’ unfortunately, my schedule is full (and has been for a while) for the remainder of 2013.  I cringe every time I turn someone away, but sadly, there are just not enough hours in the day, week, or year for me to fit everyone in. My family is my number one priority which is why I take only a limited amount of sessions per month, in addition to fact that this is not my full-time job. For those that have asked that I just ‘squeeze’ them in, please know that the work I put into a session goes WAY beyond the time it takes for the actual shoot, in fact the shooting time is the shortest part of the process. The hours I spend editing, blogging, prepping final galleries and fulfilling orders are the majority of my work and that is where my schedule becomes extremely tight. In addition, every.single.session is important to me, and I want to make sure I give you the best images and attention that I can, taking more sessions than I know I can handle could potentially impact the consideration and attention I like giving to all of my images and clients.  In the meantime, I really do appreciate those people that continue to follow my work even if I haven’t been able to get you on calendar, and I expect that there will be some changes for Rebecca Cote Photography in 2014, so stay tuned!

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