The Jancics :: Family, Personal

I take my family’s photos pretty much every year. My mom sends out an insane amount of Christmas cards and that’s a good time to get a recent photo out to everyone, along with Christmas wishes and sometimes a family letter. This past year was no different…except this is the first year I’ve opted out of them. Typically I run back and forth from the camera so I can be in on the shoot as well, but this year we decided it would just be the family that is still at home. It was actually pretty nice just to hang out behind the camera for once. Also, if you know anything about my family, you know that we love our guns. Collecting them, shooting them…my dad and youngest brother especially. So it seemed pretty natural to include some in the family shoot this year. I’m horribly late in posting these because…well…I guess blogging is something I need to improve on. But better late than never!:)

Shenanigans happen every. single. year.
…but from those shenanigans came one of my favorite pictures of the entire shoot, so I guess I can’t complain. Much. 😉

The combination of the guns and the serious faces made for some pretty great things.
This was one of the pictures we settled on for the Christmas card. Combined with the phrase “Joy & Peace”. I was amused.
John and Tim, each holding one of their “babies”.
I may be prejudiced, but I have the cutest parents.
We had to get some of just the girls with their guns.
The End!

Alon & Josie :: Engaged

I first met Josie through my husband during our dating years. I would travel the long nine hours from Charlotte, North Carolina to Starkville, Mississippi (where he was attending college) to spend the weekend with him. Josie attended the same church as Blake and was part of his circle of (really awesome!) friends. We quickly hit it off and kept in touch even after Blake graduated college; now anytime we’re back in that area of Mississippi we can count on Josie to meet up with us at City Bagel for an amazing breakfast and good conversation. Needless to say we were excited to hear of her engagement to Alon and were happy to meet him a couple of months back. And when Josie contacted and said they’d be in our “neck of the woods” over their spring break and wanted me take some of their engagement photos, I was delighted! Since they were with us for the whole weekend we drove up to Cade’s Cove and made an afternoon of it. It was supposed to be cloudy all day Saturday but thankfully the sun peeked through at random moments and the rain held off until Sunday.

One thing I quickly realized: Alon and Josie LOVE to laugh together. It really is the cutest thing.
You can tell Josie really does think a lot of Alon. 😉
We were setting up some of these shots fairly close to the road. Cade’s Cove was fairly bursting with the normal amount of people driving through taking in the beauty of the park. Josie and Alon got a lot of comments from passersby…you could tell everyone thought they were the cutest.:)

The sky was pretty colorless the day of the shoot; luckily the blue of the mountains always looks amazing.

This. This is the real Alon and Josie. <3
So good.
Josie & Alon, we’re so excited for you! All the best as you prepare for your big day and begin your life together!

Eve Lewis - 31 March, 2014 - 7:46 pm

Great job, Manda! Some really cute pics!
Thanks for capturing them!

Aliya :: Senior

I had been chatting off and on with Aliya and her mom about a senior session for a week or so, when she texted me on Saturday morning about setting up a date. It just so happened that I was free that very afternoon and thankfully so was Aliya! It was supposed to be a cloudy, albeit warmish November day…but about an hour before we were scheduled to start the clouds rolled back and we ended up with beautiful sun the entire time. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed shooting them!

We still have a few hints of fall around Maryville…of course we made good use of them.
One thing that challenges me with a downtown as small as Maryville is finding “new” locations to shoot, since I try not to use the same locations over and over. I was pretty happy to come across this empty parking garage!
Aliya loves to read, so we walked to the library and grabbed a few shots inside.
An ivy-covered wall in a parking lot?! Yes please.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but somehow I’ve been blessed to photograph girls with the most amazing eyes.:)
We moved on to the park / greenway…I had to laugh while editing the photo below on the left…I think the background almost looks a little fake! I love color!
Love this next one.
We decided to play around in the leaves a little…I was pretty happy with the results!

All the best, Aliya, as you finish out your Senior year!

Flourless Chocolate Cake :: Personal | Food

This past Sunday, Blake (my husband) left me in the afternoon to go mountain biking. Since I was alone and left to my own devices, I naturally decided to fill my time baking. I’ve had my eye on a flourless chocolate cake recipe (via Pinterest of course!) for the longest time and it just so happened that the last time I was at the store I grabbed the ingredients that I needed for such a venture.

Oh. My. Gosh. You guys.


This cake is delicious. If I had to try to describe it, I would choose words like “cheesecake-y and fudge-like and OMG CHOCOLATE”. Since the cake doesn’t take flour (making it gluten-free for those of you that care about such things!), you’re not going to get a “normal” cake-like texture, so if that’s what you’re looking for this isn’t your recipe. But if you love chocolate -especially the dark kind- and delicious richness, this cake is made for you. I know I’ll be revisiting the recipe again in the near future. The original recipe (link above) suggests Kahlua whipped cream as a topping. There is a recipe for stabilized (done by adding gelatin) whipped cream there, but I just whipped up some heavy cream and added a splash of Kahlua I had on hand, and it held up great. I don’t know what it would do in the fridge overnight, but I prefer to whip my cream “fresh” anyhow.

Let me know if you try it!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
(source here)
Serves: 12-16


  • ½ cup prepared strong coffee (decaf is fine)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 18 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • kettle of boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 300F, with rack on lower middle position. Pour boiling water into a large baking pan, and place pan in oven on lowest rack.
  2. Line a 8½ inch springform pan with parchment on bottom. Grease and flour (I use cocoa – it keeps white spots from forming on the outside of the cake and keeps the cake truly “flourless”!) the parchment and sides of springform pan. Wrap the exterior of pan with heavy duty foil.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the prepared coffee and sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.
  4. In a heavy pan on lowest heat, stir the bittersweet chocolate chunks until just small bits of chocolate remain unmelted. Turn heat off, remove pan from heat, and continue stirring to finish the melting until chocolate is completely smooth.
  5. Transfer melted chocolate into bowl. Using a mixer, slowly beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Gently beat in the hot coffee/sugar mixture.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until fully combined. Scrape the bowl and ensure that all batter is fully smooth and incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes on lower middle rack. The center should be wet-looking, with edges looking done and puffy. The cake will set as it cools, so don’t worry about the jiggly center.
  8. Let cake cool to room temp in springform pan, and then cover/chill overnight in fridge. To unmold, run a thin plastic knife carefully between cake and pan all around the edges. Unlock springform, and it should release cake easily. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
  9. Optional: Serve cake with homemade whipped cream with a splash of Kahlua mixed in. So good!


Hannah :: Senior

Hannah and I met the last day of fall break. It was cloudy but thankfully we weren’t hindered by any rain. We tried out a few “new” shooting  locations around Maryville and included some fall leaves! Hannah and her mom were up for trying pretty much anything which is always great for me! Hannah has been accepted into UT already – – Congratulations Hannah! All the best as you finish out high school and move on to college life!

When we started the shoot it felt like we were standing on the corner in full-on Maryville rush hour traffic.
Hannah did great though…and smiled as if noone was watching!:)
Like I mentioned before, I was pretty happy to see hints of fall during the shoot. It feels like the colors are SO slow in coming this year!
Love the colors in these next two!
I was pretty excited to try these windows out.
The eyes! Gorgeous!
It was around this point in the shoot that I noticed something: Hannah is not a big fan of nature. It’s okay…some girls just aren’t.
Thankfully we found a way to get her close without actually allowing it touch her too much! 😉
Love the branches in the next two.
Hannah, regardless of your feelings, you look pretty good in nature. 😀

Coming in a day or two: a recipe for flourless chocolate cake that I made on Sunday…it’ll make you die a little inside.