Strawberries & Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

A chocolate lover’s dream come true.  This rich & fudge brownie cake is stuffed with whole strawberries & cream & surrounded with a black cocoa frosting. 


Oh boy!  Have I got lots of news for you today.  First, let’s get all the important business mumbo jumbo out of the way.

My Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Black Sesame Crust was featured, alongside 16 other dreamy pies, in Buzzfeed’s article “17 Delicious Pies for People who Love Baking”.  You can find the link to this feature HERE.  Oh. . .and my Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Pie Surprise (remember that one?) got an honorable mention.  You can see the original posts for both of these beauties HERE and HERE.

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Second, Nín hao!  Zuì jìn hào ma?  Say what?

Monday is my first mandarin lesson.  And when I say mandarin I am not referring to the citrus fruit – I thought I needed to clarify given this is a food blog and all.

No. . .Monday will be my first foray into learning to speak mandarin.  Of all the languages there is to learn, never in a million, bazillion years would I have guessed that I would be learning this langauge. . .and STAT.  You see, last week, the Mr. was asked to set up a business in Shanghai. There is still a lot of things that need to be put into motion  (uuuh. . .work permits anyone?).  On top of that,  I have a lot of concerns about the Mother Hen’s health and whether or not she will be able to make the long trip over.  . . .One day at a time.  I’ll keep you guys posted on how this continues to play out over the coming weeks.

Strawberries & Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Next up. . .I have photos that just went up on exhibit in my very first gallery exhibition.  I received the news when I was sitting in a teeny tiny airport in Trelew, Argentina.  What?  You’ve never heard of it?  Me neither until I hooked up with a penguin research project in Patagonia. Interested?   Maybe we can chat more about this in a future post.   In the meantime, the project has just set up a Facebook page.  Whipeee!  Now I can spy on the penguin I named after the Mr. See HERE if you too are interested in keeping tabs on a couple thousand penguins living in a far off magical place.

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

So back to my artwork. . .I wasn’t going to originally submit for this exhibition.  Frankly, I didn’t feel my photos were good enough to be shown in a gallery.  But after much contemplation (and procrastination), I finally decided that the experience of going through a formal submission process and printing photos (if it got that far) would be invaluable.

Well,  let me tell you. . .printing for a gallery exhibition is NOTHING like printing out a couple of snaps for grandma at the local CVS.  It can be a very time consuming, frustrating and expensive endeavor.  And when you have no experience on said topic, the frustration and cost doubles. . .no triples.

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Then there is the whole paper selection process.  Ay Caramba!  Did you know that when you print “for reals” it’s more complicated than just checking the box for glossy or matte paper?  There are a head spinning number of fine art papers that you choose from.  And each and every one of these  papers has the power to lend uniquely different moods to your photos.  All fine and good. . .but when you don’t know what you’re doing, printing expensive print after expensive print, with a timeline looming, can be daunting to say the least.  To further add to the frustration, I found that some of my photos looked like perfection on certain papers where as other photos looked like crap on that very same paper.  Eeeeee!

So led the seemingly impossible treasure hunt to find a paper that complimented all the photos that would ultimately make their way to the gallery.

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

After much trial and error, something miraculous happened.  The heavens opened up, the angels started to sing and the perfect paper shone down into my life.

With a smile bigger than the state of Texas plastered across my face, I carefully examined these photos of dreams.  And there it was!    A big, ugly scratch running smack dab down the center of one of the photos.  Are you kidding me?   How much did I pay for these again?  Surely you have heard of this thing called quality control?

By now you might be thinking “Chillax.  Just reprint the photos, crazy lady.”  Good thinking. . . but remember that so called timeline?  And then there is this little problem of being able to identify said paper of perfection.  Because, you see, the printer failed to label the many different papers I had selected so I had no clue as to which paper I should be reprinting on.

There I was, cursing like a drunken sailor, reading the description for each paper and making my best attempt at guessing which perfectly matched the dream photo.

“Eureeka!  I think I have cracked the code!”,  I happily exclaimed.  And with that, I placed another order.

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

The photos arrived and I could feel the butterflies in my tummy as I excitedly tore open the package, dreaming about all the” ooohs” and “ahhhhs” my photos would be receiving at the gallery.  Wait a minute. . .this is the paper that I hated.  Grr. . .apparently my matching skills left something to be desired.

So in the end, time dictated that I abandon my artistic vision and go with whatever I had that looked good for both photos.  There were other issues that popped up. . .which I won’t get into here but I am happy to report that my photos are at least in the gallery.  This whole experience has ignited an interest in printing out more of my photos and further learning the ins and outs associated with this process. . .and maybe. . .just maybe submitting for another gallery show. After all. . .I have a massive amount of wildlife photos from my years spent living in Africa that are just begging for a show.

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

Strawberries and Cream Brownie Cake

To celebrate a month full of accomplishments, as harrowing as the journey might have been, I baked these pint sized Strawberries & Cream Brownie Cakes.

Flour Bakery (see the link to the bakery HERE if you ever find yourself in the Boston area), one of my favorite bakeries in the Boston area, has the most amazing brownies known to mankind. They are so moist and fudgy and sinfully good.   As a matter of fact, the first time I had one I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  So it was a no brainer that I use this brownie as the base for the cakes. To give the inside a light airiness, I stuffed the cake with full strawberries softened in a sweet bath of lemon, sugar and vanilla and surrounded them with a light and fluffy mascarpone cream.  Given my slight addiction to my Black Cocoa Buttercream frosting, I slathered it all over the outside of this cake.

The end result – a rich & chocolatey cake with a creamy, dreamy inside.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • This recipe will make 3-4 four inch cakes.  Since it’s only the Mr. and myself, I decided to assemble 2 full cakes.  For the remaining brownie rounds,  I simply spooned the cream filling on the brownies and chopped some of the macerated strawberries and sprinkled them on top.
  • If you aren’t in the mood to assemble a cake (hey, we can’t be in the mood all of the time),  you could bake the brownies in a 9 x 13 pan, spread the cream on top and finish it off with diced strawberries.  In this case, you might want to double the strawberry recipe.
  • Given the base is made with brownies, it’s heavier (but insanely rich) than traditional cakes.  If you want to lighten it up a little, you might consider forgoing the Black Cocoa Buttercream (as divine as it is. . .it also can be heavy) and frosting the entire cake with the cream.  In this case, I would also double the amount made.
  • Since this is made with whole berries, it is best consumed the day the cake is assembled.  No worries though, the components can be prepared the day before.

Here’s to a fruitful month.

XOXO-

Lynn

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Print
Strawberries & Cream Brownie Cake
A chocolate lover's dream come true. This rich & fudge brownie cake is stuffed with whole strawberries & cream & surrounded with a black cocoa frosting.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
BUILDING BLOCKS
For the Brownie Layers
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5.5 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup + 2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
For the Strawberries:
  • 2 cups strawberries, (about 13 medium sized strawberries)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cream Filling:
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Black Cocoa Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp black cocoa
  • 1-3 tbsp heavy whipping cream (as needed)
THE COURSE
For the Brownie Layers:
  1. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven & preheat to 325° F.


  2. Butter & flour 4 inch cake pans. I also recommend adding a buttered & floured parchment paper round on the bottom of the pan to make cake removal as easy as possible.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda, & salt together in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine the chocolates in a medium sized bowl & melt them until they are completely smooth (see notes)

  5. As chocolate is melting, melt the butter in a separate pan.
  6. Whisk the melted butter into the chocolates until they are well combined. Set aside & allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
  7. Beat the eggs on low with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  8. Slowly add the sugar in & continue to beat until the mixture becomes frothy & thickens.
  9. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate.
  10. Gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate and egg mixture until combined. Take care not to overmix.
  11. The mix will be thick so you may need to spoon in into the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to smooth the tops.
  12. Bake 25 - 30 minutes. Note: I baked mine until a toothpick inserted into the center came out clean so they had a more cake-like texture. Next time I will remove them from the oven a bit earlier as I prefer my brownies to be fudgey. Adjust time based on your preference.
  13. Repeat (if you are using 4 inch pans and only have a few of these on hand) until all the batter is used.
  14. Allow the brownie layers to cool completely before assembling into the cake.

For the Strawberries:
  1. Rinse & cut the leafs off the strawberries.
  2. In a medium, non-reactive bowl combine the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice & vanilla extract.
  3. Toss to thoroughly coat.
  4. Allow the berries to sit & soften up at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the Cream Filling:
  1. Combine heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, & sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment & beat until thickened (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add vanilla & mix until combined.
  3. Refrigerate covered until ready to use. Note: Cream filling can be prepared up to 2 days prior to use.
For the Black Cocoa Frosting:
  1. Place the butter into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium until the butter is light & fluffy.
  3. Sift together the confectioners sugar & black cocoa.
  4. With mixer on low, slowly add in confectioners sugar black cocoa mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. If needed, mix in whipping cream, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.

To Assemble the Cake:
  1. Use a knife to level the tops of the brownies.
  2. Place a couple of spoonfuls of the cream on top of the brownie.
  3. Place whole macerated strawberries on top & fill in any gaps between the strawberries with cream. Note: I placed one of my cakes in the refrigerator until the cream thickened up a bit, then I added more cream to fill in any remaining gaps. I did not do this with my first cake (the sliced cake in the photos). . .so use your judgement on which is best under your circumstances.
  4. Place the second cake layer on top & frost the entire cake. If you are frosting with the Black Cocoa frosting, I recommend that you dab thick layers of frosting onto the cream & then carefully spread the frosting out. This will help minimize the amount of cream that gets mixed into the frosting.
  5. I topped my cakes with strawberries & a handful of chopped pistachios.

Recipe Notes

Note: From double broilers, to microwaving, to using a hair dryer, there are many ways to do this. See this, this, and this for tips on melting chocolate.

Brownie Recipe from Flour Bakery

Strawberries & Cream Brownie Cake - A chocolate lover's dream come true. This rich & fudge brownie cake is stuffed with whole strawberries & cream & surrounded with a black cocoa frosting. Perfect for Valentines Day or any other day you want to treat yourself to a decadent treat. Click for RECIPE.

35 thoughts on “Strawberries & Cream Brownie Cake

  • February 22, 2016 at 12:14 pm
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    How cool to have your photos featured in a gallery! Good job, Lynn! And lots of luck to you while you learn Mandarin. I’m sure you’ll master it in no time. This brownie cake is stunning! I love the strawberries and cream center!

    Reply
    • February 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm
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      Thanks Jen. Let’s hope I can master mandarin enough to get by. I feel like it is going to be a bit tough. . .but only time will tell.

      Reply
  • February 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm
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    Congrats on having your recipes and photos featured! How fun.

    This looks like a gorgeous dessert, can’t wait to try it.

    Reply
    • February 23, 2016 at 7:57 am
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      Why thank you. It was definitely quite the experience printing out photos that were gallery worthy. I always see printing classes offered at the photography schools. . .now I know what they are needed. I’ll definitely be signing up next time.

      Reply
  • February 23, 2016 at 1:25 pm
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    Your Brownie Cake looks incredible! i love all the layers and your photography and styling are amazing! I’m so excited that it’s strawberry season soon, I can’t wait to try this cake!

    Reply
    • February 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm
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      Awe shucks Jillian. You really know how to make a girl blush. I with you on strawberry season. While it is pretty easy to get strawberries right now. . .they generally are quite as red & juicy as during strawberry season. I was lucky enough to find these organic beauties at my local store.

      Reply
  • February 23, 2016 at 5:12 pm
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    Beautiful cake! And congratulations on learning mandarin and the gallery exhibit! Love the surprise layer of cream and strawberries inside the cake too 😀

    Reply
    • February 25, 2016 at 5:46 pm
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      Many thanks Lorraine. I’m currently struggling my way through mandarin (speaking & writing!). Fingers crossed that with time it will get easier. . .and I’m sure once we re-locate to Shanghai the learning curve will be accelerated.

      Reply
  • February 23, 2016 at 9:47 pm
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    Congrats on your Buzzfeed and art gallery feature! It does not come as a surprise…you create beautiful pieces of work. Your upcoming Shanghai adventure sounds so exciting! The brownie cake is adorable. I love the strawberry and cream filling inside all that chocolate brownie cake goodness!

    Reply
    • February 25, 2016 at 5:49 pm
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      Thanks Thao. This first show has given me a needed spark to continue to explore getting my artwork in more galleries. . .and perhaps even develop my fine art photography.

      The move to Shanghai should be an interesting one. The Mr. is VERY excited about the challenge. . .and I am excited about traveling to nearby countries (yeah Mongolia. . .hurray India. . .Whippee! Vietnam etc.).

      Reply
  • February 24, 2016 at 1:53 am
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    Wow, this cake looks beautiful and delicious, thanks for your recipe, I want to try this!

    Reply
    • February 25, 2016 at 5:51 pm
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      Ahhhh June! I need all the luck I can get with this whole mandarin thing. I struggled through my first class. . .but have been practicing my butt off in the hopes that I will do better next time. 😉

      Reply
  • February 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm
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    Omg girl I am SO excited for you and your gallery exhibition! Also possibly moving to Shanghai? What?? Didn’t you guys just move?? I would love to see your animal photos- do you have a link? I’m an aspiring painter and am hopeful that a gallery show will be in my future… I might have to harass you for tips… Good luck with all the changes and the latest adventures! Love following your story 🙂

    Reply
    • February 25, 2016 at 5:57 pm
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      Oh yeah. . .we just moved back to the city (after a disastrous move to the suburbs for reasons I think you might be well aware of). . .and before that a big international move from Nairobi. So yeah. . .I am the moving queen.

      I am in the process of updating my blog and will be adding a portfolio component to it. You can be sure that there will be lots of photos from Africa up there (and probably Shanghai and other Asian countries after the move). As far as tips. . .I am far from being an expert. . .but would be more than happy to help out wherever I can. What do you usually paint? My hubby’s mother is also a painter and she has had some of her work up on display (some works painted from my photos). My recommendation is that you put a website up with your work on it.

      Reply
      • February 25, 2016 at 7:23 pm
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        Yeah I definitely need to get on that. I mostly paint with oils and do portaits/figurative work. My next project!! 🙂 Can’t wait to see your portfolio when it’s up!

        Reply
  • February 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm
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    Lynn, your life sounds so full of excitement! Congrats on the gallery exhibition! Yay! And wow, possibly a move to Shanghai?? My son, Casey goes to University of Michigan and has taken Mandarin all through high school and now in college! He will be heading possibly to Shanghai next spring for a study abroad semester! Your travels are similar to my boys because my other son studied abroad in Buenos Aires and took a “trip of his lifetime” to Patagonia! The photos were stunning and he had so much fun!! Now, these brownie cakes…gorgeous! I LOVE that strawberry cream filling. And I can’t wait to try that black cocoa frosting. Looks decadently delish!! Have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • February 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm
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      Ha! Ha! Thanks Mary Ann. I try to make sure that I always have a bit of spice going on in my life (beyond the kitchen). How awesome that Casey is fluent in mandarin. I had my first class this week. . .and it is HARD. I was just practicing writing the characters and couldn’t finish it all in one sitting. . .they are so complicated.

      Patagonia is a really special place. Did you manage to go visit while he was there? I definitely plan on going back myself. All you need now is a family member to study over in Africa (where I lived before moving to Boston) and we will practically be twins. 😉

      Reply
  • February 25, 2016 at 7:16 pm
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    Well now that is a dreamy inside! Brownies are my go-to when I need to whip up a sweet treat quickly and this brownie cake looks so lovely. Strawberries and cream and chocolate are all meant for each other. Good luck with your gallery exhibition – exciting times ahead!

    Reply
    • February 26, 2016 at 6:09 pm
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      Isn’t it though, Krys? Many thanks for the best wishes for the exhibition. Fingers crossed this will be the first of many.

      Reply
  • February 29, 2016 at 11:37 am
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    Congrats on all your accomplishments Lynn! I’m sure the pictures turned out great! And so many exciting news! Moving to Shanghai? I’ll follow the story! These cakes are too pretty to eat! Love!

    Reply
    • February 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm
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      Many thanks Mira. It was quite stressful going through the printing experience. . .so I am glad it is finally over. That said, I would like to print out some of my photos from Africa to continue to get experience printing on fine art paper. . .in the hopes that next time I will be a pro.

      Reply
  • February 29, 2016 at 4:23 pm
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    This recipe is giving me a serious brownie craving. Congrats on all the accomplishments!! It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to something. I was recently featured in a Buzzfeed roundup too (for the first time), and it’s such a good feeling!!

    Reply
    • March 2, 2016 at 8:42 am
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      Congrats on your Buzzfeed feature. It always feels good when someone else recognizes your work and finds it exceptional enough to share broadly. Glad I could stimulate the brownie craving within you…you know what they say. . .a brownie a day keeps the doctor away. 😉

      Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 3:26 pm
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    Congrats on the your accomplishments! Do you have a picture of THE picture for the gallery show? 🙂 Shanghai sounds like an absolutely incredible move! Talk about some seriously inspirational food! Have fun with learning Mandarin and ‘ma’ (I hear that one is a doozy) 😛

    Reply
    • March 2, 2016 at 8:47 am
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      You know. . .I didn’t take a photo of the photos. . .but I do have the digital files given they were digital images.

      Shanghai should be an exciting adventure. The Mr. leaves in two weeks; however, I will be staying behind to play nurse to the Mother Hen. We won’t officially move until the work permit is issued. . .and who knows when this will happen. . .they are saying 6 months. The Mr. and I likely will rotate who comes to visit every month (me to Shanghai, him to the U.S.). As for mandarin lessons. Oye! I struggled through day one. . .praying that it gets easier. It is hard enough to learn the language and keep all the tones straight…but then the characters!!!! Very intimidating to say the least.

      Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 5:13 pm
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    How wonderful that your prints are on display! Must be an incredible feeling. Sounds like a lot of change with your move and worries about Mother Hen! I hope all goes well with her. In other news… this brownie cake looks incredible!!

    Reply
    • March 2, 2016 at 8:53 am
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      It has definitely inspired me to print out more of my photos and to venture into this world of fine art photography. . .now to find the time.

      There have been so many trials and tribulations with the Mother Hen. We stopped her last round of chemo because it was killing her appetite and was wasting away to nothing. She goes back in to the oncologist tomorrow for more bloodwork. If her kidney values are within an acceptable range. . .we will start a new type of chemotherapy. Sadly her nodules continue to grow. But despite all of this her spirits are high and she continues to want to be a fundamental part of our family. . .so onward we move. . .always with hope in the horizon. Many thanks for your concern, Amanda. It means a lot.

      Reply
  • March 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm
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    Whew! So much exciting stuff going on! That is so fun that you are going to Shanghai. My hubs travels there for business sometimes so I am hoping to tag along for a visit sometime. And congrats on your gallery show! So cool, despite the headache of printing. You will be a printing pro before you know it. But I am IN LOVE with this cake! Brownies and cake vie for the spot of most favorite dessert in my book, so this is the perfect combo – and so pretty too!

    Reply
  • April 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm
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    Wow!!! So many great news, Lynn. Congratulations on EVERY GREAT THING that has happened in your life. I have never reached China, only HK on business, which was a long time ago; though I have a feeling that you & your adventurous-self will fit in to the new environment just splendidly. As for the first show in the gallery, WOW WOW WOW. Congratulations a million times, my friend. That’s such a great news. I can’t be happier for you. 🙂

    Reply
    • April 11, 2016 at 9:25 am
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      Thanks Pang. I also found out that one of my images was published in Artscape, a New England art magazine. I was pretty excited about that too as it gives me validation as a budding photographer. Still lots to learn. . .so practice, practice, practice.

      Reply
    • April 11, 2016 at 9:21 am
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      Definitely a lot going on. . .I also found out that one of my photos was published in a New England art magazine. I was pretty excited about that. . .as it gives me validation that my photos are good enough (sigh. . .photographer problems).

      Reply

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