A Mother's Day Success

This Mother's Day, my husband and I had both sets of parents over along with a surprise visit from one of my sisters. The husband and I curated a 'paleo-forward' brunch menu so our family could experience what we often eat. Behold our menu below (courtesy of Nom Nom Paleo cookbook) as well as a few photos of our spread! 

 

-Bacon aioli-topped deviled eggs (all paleo filling)

-Pistachio apple endive salad (w/ paleo honey mustard dressing)

-Chinese egg foo young w/ chicken, spinach (egg patty)

-Spicy tuna cakes (made with sweet potatoes as binding agent) 

-Cinnamon apple scones (w/ almond flour and honey) 

-Greek yogurt with vanilla granola, chia seeds, fresh fruit (non-paleo) 

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Manolo Matrimony

One of my favorite wedding shoes is the Manolo Blahnik "Swan" pump. Disclaimer: they are not yet in my closet. From my stance, this is an updated answer to the famed "Carrie" SATC shoe - but with an increased embellished whimsical, swirling vine appliqué feel. 

 

I completed a sketch this week of this beauty in magenta. Hope you like it! What's your favorite wedding shoe?  

Manolo Blahnik Swan Satin Pump

Manolo Blahnik Swan Satin Pump

Happiest Place on Earth

Over this past holiday season, my husband and I visited Walt Disney World in Orlando. We had both gone as children a few times with our families, still hold those happy memories, and wanted to share this magical experience together. With no kids in tow, we explored the parks, venturing to whichever rides caught our eye and savored some fantastic bites throughout our wandering.

While our master plan was cut short due to my other half's back pains as well as a brief bout of the flu (PSA to little AND big humans: cover your mouth, please), please see some highlights, top picks from our travels below.

When in Rome...
When in Rome...
A majestic sphere. 

A majestic sphere. 

Incredible meal at Jiko at Animal Kingdom. 

Incredible meal at Jiko at Animal Kingdom. 

A glowing, humble abode. 

A glowing, humble abode. 

Yes, that's my very own glass slipper accompanying dessert at California Grill! My hubby made me cry with this sweet surprise. 

Yes, that's my very own glass slipper accompanying dessert at California Grill! My hubby made me cry with this sweet surprise. 

Breathtaking views of all the magic atop California Grill at the Contemporary resort. 

Breathtaking views of all the magic atop California Grill at the Contemporary resort. 

I bid you adieu... until we meet again.

I bid you adieu... until we meet again.

Grammy Love

I've learned that one of my "happy places" is sitting down with a glass of wine, enjoying a scented candle, lounging in sweatpants and drawing. I've always loved crafts, creating and art, and am trying to push myself to infuse it more in my present life.

 

Of late, I've loved watching award shows, seeing the haute looks, custom gowns and enchanting ensembles grace the red carpet and stage and sketching my favorites. 

 

This was no different with the Grammys last weekend. Like her or hate her, Taylor Swift stunned on the red carpet with a teal Elie Saab number. Let me know what you think! 

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Gratitude

Tis the time of year for reflection, for appreciation of the hours spent with family and friends and this day is no different. As I sit along a warm beach, with salty air grazing through my hair, I am thankful. 

 

Thankful for for another year of health, safe travels, a love whom I don't like to be a day without, dedicated parents, authentic siblings, a warm home, the freedom to travel and explore, an innate passion to continually create and uncover beauty, a job with upcoming challenges and friends whom are dear.  

 

While this may be negative, I am realistic that this wholeness may change, that sickness may approach, that life's bumps may elevate and this moment a year, two, ten from now may feel different or even sad.  

 

For now, I am grateful.  

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A Travel Tote

For an upcoming trip out of the country and then to Disney World (yes, I'm under the age of 40 and do not have children), I searched for the perfect light, non-bulky hands free purse to fit my explorer needs. I briefly thought of a style-forward fanny pack which my husband quickly dismissed. So when this little number entered my life, he was much relieved.

 

This Loeffler Randall fold clutch purse with a removable strap was the perfect fit. The natural and dark leather with lizard dot printed leather and a snap closure made for a fashionable, yet functional accessory. Excited to take it on my explorations of beach towns and rendezvous with princesses. 

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World's Best Wedding Video

Wedding videos should capture the celebration highlights and the story of the treasured love. Now, I may be biased as this couple are dear friends of ours, but this is HANDS DOWN the best wedding video I've ever seen. (Yes, it's better than my own.) The composition is impeccable, the shots artistic, the music is perfectly paired with the content, and truly embodies the emotion felt throughout this southern wedding weekend. And it didn't hurt that the Charleston-based crew were a pleasure to be around. Please enjoy. 

A Bachelorette Dinner Soiree

For a friend's bachelorette weekend, I was honored to host a 'welcome' dinner for friends and family in town. While I could have cooked and baked, I opted for an easier alternative. Having heard of Kitchensurfing in Chicago, an online marketplace where you can hire local chefs to come to your home and cook, I thought I'd give it a try. I emailed one of the Kitchensurfing managers and within hours, I was given chef options to choose from, all carrying glowing reviews. I landed on Chef Kristin and we quickly got to work on the menu development, and, after a handful of exchanges, we landed on "hearty appetizers" in addition to an extensive cheese plate curated by yours truly and a little crudite.

Check out the menu (that I designed/doodled) as well as some of the spread.

To ensure everyone kept in good spirits, I curated a selection of wine pairings and handmade tags to accompany each of the bottles, highlighting their characteristics with a tag hanging by twine. 

I set out on the decor to be romantic, yet rustic and elegant with shades of pink throughout - among the bride's favorite. I purchased antique hydrangeas, pink roses, baby's breath for floral arrangement accents and paired that with burlap textures, antique candleholders, mason jars and even painted canvas "W & V" letters in the evening's color tone throughout my kitchen and living room. 

As a takeaway, guests filled out a custom scrapbook to write, doodle or sketch their favorite shared memory with the bride. Stickers, markers, scrapbook items and more made a perfect page.  

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Have any of you thrown a bachelorette dinner? 

Music City NAUptials - Part 2, The Wedding

The country love was felt all around at our friend's Nashville wedding. For the ceremony and reception, we ventured about 45 minutes outside Nashville to the charming Front Porch Farms also home to Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's engagement party. The rustic, charming details made for a perfect country-chic wedding set against the 32-acre sprawling estate which boasts a barn, main house, pool, and a potbelly pig aptly named Bobby-Q.

Check out some of my photos:



Escort cards hanging in an antique frame.

Darling sitting area.

The bride and her country-chic dressed groom and their first kiss as Mr. and Mrs.



Bobby-Q the potbelly pig frolicking with the flower girls. 
Love this... all guests wrote well-wishes to the newlyweds on a guitar. 

When there's a pool, a bride and groom must jump in! 

A sparkler send-off.

Music City NAUptials - Part 1

Nahville, a.k.a. "'Music City" was the summer wedding destination for our two city friends and my was it a rocking time. My husband and I arrived a day early and did a little grubbing and exploring. Armed with numerous restaurant suggestions, we jumped right to it. Below are photos and details of our Nosh-ville journey, Part 2 of the Nashville wedding details to follow.

First stop was reknown Arnold's Country Kitchen in "The Gulch" area; a cafeteria-style haunt boasting classic southern comfort food (think pork BBQ, roast beef, chicken livers), collard greens, corn bread, mac n' cheese, banana pudding, pies, and sweet tea. Yup, I think I ate it all. Tourists, beware, this stop is only open Monday - Friday 6:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. And you know a spot is solid when it can demand these hours and turn away weekend visitors. 


After exploring "The District" downtown Nashville, perusing cowboy hats and boots (who knew cowboy boots cost $500?!), the evening started with a stop to cheers the bride and groom at Legends Corner on Broadway while enjoying some live music.

We then ventured to the Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel, a historic five-star hotel with impressive classic and decor and easy going elegance.



The restaurant, downstairs from the hotel offers a southern-influenced sustainable menu all with local ingredients. The Executed Chef is aptly titled "Farmer" as well, growing vegetables five miles down the road.

The next morning, we ventured to the renown Pancake Pantry, a classic a Nashville tradition since 1961. After a waiting in a line around the corner (quite common), we dug in to the must-order pancakes, in our case, sweet potato pancakes with real sweet potato in the batter topped with cinnamon cream syrup. 



After the wedding (Part 2 coming), we needed one last - but needed - stop before returning home. I had visited McCradys in charming South Carolina and had one of my favorite meals and Husk Nashville is part of the same award-winning Neighborhood restaurant group. What a stop it was. I still dream about the biscuits and gravy. 




Check out the Nashville wedding details up next. 

California Love - Part 2

After our California tourist stint and grubbing (see earlier post, California Love - Part 1), we headed to Agoura Hills, where the wedding festivities took place. This is "the valley" and while the July Cali tempatures rose, the heat was especially felt here. Naturally, a quick dip in the hotel pool cooled us off a bit before the rehearsal dinner under a clear sky and filled with Kansas Jayhawk love (the couples' and majority of the wedding party's bad guests' alma mater).

The wedding was set at a winery boasting a Napa-esque feel, dripping trees, tall hills surrounding the ceremony and was complete with a charming barn. The Triunfo Creek Vineyards was a tucked away gem with many custom touches by the bride and groom. See some of my photos below, enjoy.

A sunny ceremony underneath a billowing tree.

Darling seating tags hung across a vintage farm door.
 

Game time! Oversized Jenga with custom pieces for guests. 


Low florals and country-chic decor.
 

A classic country-style southern meal complete with corn bread and mac-n-cheese.

Refreshing custom lemonade cocktail in fitting mason jar and burlap napkins. 

Dinner station clarity on a chalkboard within a gilded frame. 
 

A fitting wedding cake to coincide with the decor. 

A relaxing takeaway for the new couple.

Time to pop! 

A sweet delivery... ice cream truck!

Magical evening setting. 



California Love - Part 1

Last month, my husband and I traveled to Los Angeles where we attended a wedding of one of his good college buddies. We made it a bit of a small trip, flying in a day early to explore Santa Monica and drive around Los Angeles as my husband hadn't visited in years.

It was an incredible weekend filled with sun, friends, food and celebrations. While I'd love to cram the activities and wedding details into one, I'll spare you, hence Part 1 (our Los Angeles tourist stops) and Part 2 (the wedding)

First stop was Cecconi's West Hollywood, which came recommended by a friend. The plush blue seating against dark wood, the open air seating, and, perhaps my favorite, the sprawling marble bar, all were a welcomed backdrop to the impeccable people-watching that took center stage. The obligatory hand-crafted cocktails differed from like venues with their own vintage glasses providing that extra flair.


The next morning, we enjoyed a rooftop brunch at the Roof atop Hotel Wilshire boasting some spectacular views of the sprawling city and a faint, foggy view of the famed Hollywood sign. 


Next stop was a stroll along the Santa Monica pier (yes, quite touristy), but apropos given the celebration of our country's independence and celebrating... 


After afternoon shopping and exploring, we headed to the groom's childhood home for a classic BBQ hosted by his parents. Perhaps my favorite part of the evening (in between continuing college stories shared well into the evening), was the mother-of-the-groom's incredible backyard garden bursting with blossoming roses galore. 


And so our food journey continued the next day with yet another recommended brunch locale the next day at Eveleigh on Sunset in West Hollywood. This trendy, yet casual and charming spot felt nearly anti-LA with it's rustic decor, shabby-chic French open-air feel. The brunch farm-to-table menu, french press coffee and fresh ingredients made a perfect start to the day.




After brunch, we drove up to Agoura Hills, the location of the wedding, with a needed stop at the Getty Museum for a little afternoon enlightenment. The views and inspiring creativity flowed atop the mountain views.



Finally, we made a trip to Malibu to cruise along the coast, soak in a some rays and admire the surfer community. Unfortunately, while enjoying the surfing waves, my husband's sunglasses found their resting place. RIP Mr. Oakley.


All in all, a fabulous lineup of sunny activities separate from the wedding celebrations. Can't wait to share details of this Cali love winey soiree... coming up soon.

Romantic South Carolina Weddings

USA Today recently compiled a list of the most romantic wedding destinations in South Carolina, and to my pleasant surprise, an upcoming friend's wedding locale made the cut. I knew the scenery at Palmetto Bluff was beautiful, and cannot wait to head there in November where my husband will be performing the ceremony at the charming chapel.


Here's a snippet from the article: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort - tucked into a curve of the May River, 40 minutes outside of Hilton Head, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a luxurious retreat set in the heart of the lowcountry where you and your guests can kayak with dolphins; ride horseback; hike; and indulge in massages and facials in a spa overlooking a quiet lagoon. Dreamy settings for weddings — inside an old-fashioned clapboard chapel, on a formal lawn with plantation ruins as your backdrop, under a canopy of moss-draped oaks — set an unabashedly romantic vibe that's only matched by a visually stunning landscape of ancient maritime forests and tidal creeks.  montagehotels.com/palmettobluff

Check out some photos of our friends' engagement shoot at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina:





Photo credit: Virgil Bunao, Charleston