Friday, July 30, 2010

Wedding "Tree" & "The Jump"

This photo gave me a good chuckle...

I mean, who really thought this would be a good idea?

"They were having trouble looking natural."


While we're talking about awkward wedding poses- what's with everyone these days taking posed  photos jumping in the air?

I hope I don't offend anyone who's been caught on camera mid-air in formal attire, but it's become so cliche!  I want to meet the first jumping couple and see how the copyright litigation is coming along. 

I'm sure they're all jumping for joy, which is to be expected at a wedding.  But I'm just not feeling this pose anymore. 

Unless, maybe, there are balloons or parasols involved.  That kind of reminds me of Marry Poppins, in a good way.  Nah... I'm not convinced.

What do you think of "The Jump" pose?

Feeling Green


Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Smiles for Thursday

A few things that have caught my eye this week...

A book Wreath

A Pretty Jar of Panamanian Coffee


And this poem, in light of our recent domesic frustrations:

God banish from your house
The fly, the roach, the mouse
That riots in the walls
Until the plaster falls;
Admonish from your door
The hypocrite and the liar;
No shy, soft, tigrish fear
Permit upon your stair,

Nor agents of your doubt.
God drive them whistling out.
Let nothing touched with evil,
Let nothing that can shrivel

Heart's tenderest frond, intrude
Upon your still, deep blood.

Against the drip of night
God keep all windows tight,

Protect your mirrors from
Surprise, delirium,

Admit no trailing wind
Into your shuttered mind
To plume the lake of sleep
With dreams. If you must weep
God give you tears, but leave
You secrecy to grieve,
And islands for your pride,
And love to nest in your side.

-Stanley Kunitz, Benediction


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Great Hair

Isn't this beautiful bride's hair wonderful? I want THAT hair on my wedding day! 

Get a good look at this one strap lace dress! 
I love how the lace falls from shoulder to elbow.
It is so gorgeous.

{Images courtesy of snippet & ink}


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

60 days!

On Sunday morning I realized it was July 25th. July 25th already

If it was already the 25th, that meant it was only two short months away from our wedding!

I have to admit, the realization made me shiver a bit when I thought of the loose ends that need tying up before our big day.  But, the thought of actually seeing the planning come to fruition and becoming husband and wife makes all the details worth it.  I can't believe we'll actually be married! WOW. That's a really big deal!

For now, I'll be dreaming of our wedding day...

Eating Vivace Coffee Ice Cream in my wedding gown.

Photos as pretty as these to capture each moment.

Seeing everyone's reaction to our caterer.

DANCE PARTY with my husband (omg!) and best friends.


Over the Weekend Recipe: Panzanella

I'm loving all the summery foods of late.  Stuff you can throw together because you had the ingredients lying around after the farmers market or because it's growing outside in the garden. 

This weekend I had a nice whole wheat baguette that had gone a bit crisp and the idea of a bread salad, or Panzenella, came to mind. 

Goodness, this is one tasty salad- and so filling, too.  When preparing ingredients, make sure everything is fresh.  Nothing dried, canned, or prepared with this recipe.

Summertime Panzanella


1 Whole Baguette, any kind you fancy
2 Large Tomatoes, heirlooms would be tastiest
1/2 Cup Fennel Bulb
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Cup Fresh Mozzarella (or half a ball)
5 Tablespoons Fresh Parmesan
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

For the dressing:
2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Seedy Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and chopping the bread into 1 inch cubes.  Toss the bread with a bit of olive oil and half of the Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Coating the bread in cheese and olive oil will give each piece a really nice flavor. 

Next, fix the dressing by adding the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, and vinegars together in the food processor and blending for a minute.  Toss in some salt and pepper, too.  Quick and easy. 

For the remaining ingredients, chop the tomatoes, then grate the fennel with a cheese grader and add the dressing to this mixture. By letting the tomatoes marinate a bit in the garlic dressing, they'll soak up a lot of really nice flavors.  Tear up the basil leaves and Mozzarella by hand into chunky pieces and set aside.

You can either let the tomatoes marinate for 30 minutes or so, or just go ahead and throw it all together if you're starving.  Remove the bread from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes, then add then bread to your bowl of ingredients.  Now, toss in the remaining Parmesan, Mozzarella, pine nuts and basil.  Give it a nice dose of fresh ground pepper and a little salt, and toss over and over until the bread starts to soak up all the juices and begins getting soft.  You can get it stand for 10 minutes  before serving or eat while it's still crunchy.  Whatever you like!

Panzanella, a tasty way to use all those summertime ingredients.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday in San Francisco

Good morning.  Here's a set for a Sunday in San Fran

I would take a morning stroll through the Legion of Honor and go for a long lunch at Greens.  Don't forget an afternoon pick-me-up at Blue Bottle

How nice would that be?


Friday, July 23, 2010

Pennsylvania, my latest crush

Hello and Happy Friday!  I'm really excited to share this post with you all.

This week I went on a bit of a spontaneous Pennsylvania road trip, tagging along with my travelling salesman fiance from account to account across the state.  I need no further convincing, I'm rather keen on this state. 

Things I love about PA: craft breweries, rolling green hills, luscious and seemingly never-ending corn fields, Amish horse-drawn wagons, art and culture in the cities, and the abundance of wide, open spaces. 

Let me share with you a few things that make me love Pennsylvania even more.


Lancaster Brewing Company.  How's this for a combination: Strawberry Wheat + Milk Stout = Chocolate Covered Strawberry Beer.  At Lancaster Brewing Company, when you order the beer sampler, this delectable combination is just one of over ten tasty brews you get to taste.  All the beer is brewed on premises and many of the bottled and canned beers are available in the small gift shop on site.  The Strawberry Wheat?  It's even more delicious than it sounds.

What could be more tasty in summer than Strawberry flavored beer?


Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I'm not sure which room I like more, the imported Japanese Tea Houses, the French Cloister dating back to the 1270's, or the Temple Hall from India dating to 1515. The Philadelphia Museum's greatest advantage is its sheer enormity. With 80,000 square feet of gallery space, it makes sense that entire rooms rooms are filled with life-size imported temples from across the globe. The latest rotating exhibits featuring Picasso and Renoir have been extensive and impressive.  The Contemporary Art and Impressionists wings are curious and significant.  And the architecture of the museum itself is beautifully classic and entirely striking.  The PMA is a must stop in Philly.

While no one from Philadelphia seems to do this, walking to the museum from downtown is a lovely and lengthy stroll down this tree and fountain lined drive.


Church Brew Works.  You're probably sensing a theme by now.  We like beer.  And Pittsburgh has got it, too.  At Church Brew, there's not only a unique craft brewery and a gourmet kitchen that makes a mean Pittsburgh Salad, but it's all inside a beautifully renovated Catholic church.  Have you ever been to a church that has two-story tall brass brewing containers at the altar?  Exactly.

At Church Brew Works, it's as good as it looks.


Friends near and far, if Pennsylvania is in your future, make sure these stops are part of your tour.  For now, have a happy weekend! Stay tuned on Sunday for another city-themed storyboard...xoxo.

The Best DIY Wedding Cake EVER!

I love my fiance!  This cake design he drew last night on Microsoft Paint is exactly why: 

Isn't this adorable?!

To match our record themed wedding invitations, Ryan designed our cake to have fondant records cascading across it's edges.  I found the original design inspiration at Brooklyn Bride and with his impressive imagination, he came up with this perfect modification.  I'm so proud!

The best part about our cake is that my mom is making it!  My mom, Jane, who is a stunningly talented self-taught baker, will be using Seattle's famous Macrina Bakery Tuxedo Cake recipe. 

How does this sound for breaking all stereotypes about wedding cake tasting horrible...

"A bittersweet chocolate cake moistened with brandy syrup and filled with alternating layers of ganache and white chocolate buttercream. Frosted with white chocolate cream cheese buttercream topped with chocolate curls."
I couldn't be more excited!  If you're coming to our room for dessert!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Martha, the Blogosphere, and our Wedding Invites

As if this post from Simplesong, or this one the ever popular bridal blog 100 Layer Cake was not enough to confirm the love for our record style wedding invitations, Martha herself gave the nod!  Our invites were recently featured in the June 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. 

Don't worry, I've got a copy saved. :)

Just had to share!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our stampmaker featured on Brooklyn Bride!

Check this out!  Our favorite French stampmaker was featured on the very popular wedding blog, Brooklyn Bride!  I'm so proud!

I'm telling you, this was some of the best money I've ever spent!  Lise, the stampmaker behind the Etsy shop lilimandrill, is a kind, helpful and generous artist who will work with you to perfect your stamp just to your tastes.  Be patient, though.  Since each stamp is hand drawn and carved, it takes some time.  Ours took a few weeks to be made and shipped, but Iceland's unhappy volcano earlier this year didn't exactly help speed the process either. 

Whether my friends and family like it or not, they'll be seeing our faces stamped on way too much in the coming months (and maybe even years!).  With a gem like this, how could you not stamp it all over the place?


Monday, July 19, 2010

I felt Artscape

Hello and Happy Monday.  The past weekend featured sweltering temperatures here in B-more, with 90+ degree heat for days on end.  Toss in a little humidity and an arts festival right smack in the thermal pocket that is downtown Baltimore and you've got yourself a reason to splurge on an overpriced bottle of cold water. 

Despite getting a strange sandal tan on my feet, I had a fabulous time at Baltimore's Artscape Festival, the countries largest free arts festival.  Artscape features artists, photographers, craftswomen/men, live music, art cars and even a socially minded ice cream vendor

The fest wouldn't have been complete without bumping into a few fabulous Etsy crafters.  And strangely enough, I noticed all my favorite shops were using felt as their medium.  I love how felt can be dressed up or down, how it can be worn as a lovely little brooch or used practically as a pot holder.  I've linked all the listings below to their Etsy shops, so if you see something you love, give them a holler and support these wonderful designers. 


For fun housewares with a tinge of geekery, I loved Philadelphia artist Sara Selepouchin's shop Girls Can Tell.  This unicorn felt coaster set melted my heart.  (Ryan's too, he bought this one and a robot coaster set).  We can't wait to show visitors our new treasures.

I'm thrilled to have this red unicorn gracing our table.

These flour sack tea towels are quite nice.

At Jenny Jen 42's shop, I loved her use of felt applique in a variety of sweet, whimsical bird designs.  Hailing from right here in Baltimore, Jennifer McBrien is a proud member of the Baltimore Etsy Street Team.
A cute bluebird eyeglass cozy.

A small Red Cardinal make-up bag.

Jen Menkhaus is a Baltimore designer who runs the shop The Littlest Bean.  Her site features a variety of felt brooches, pins, clips and the like. I think felt brooches could be the DIY bride's answer to overpriced boutonnieres.  Just saying...

These clips are such a gorgeous use of color!

This felt bubble neckclace is rather fun.

Thanks to all the artists, crafters, musicians and organizers that withstood the blistering heat and made Artscape 2010 a bright, colorful, and successful event. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday in Houston

Here are a few pieces for a daytime soiree at The Orange Show and a night on the town at Indika


Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekend Plans: Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast is such a treat.  Ryan and I are (far too) often out on a mid-week morning having breakfast somewhere in the city.  While I prefer the cheery atmosphere and Mexican inspired flavors of Golden West Cafe, my fiance prefers the quirk, kitsch and no frills breakfast choices at Paper Moon Diner (click on the link and get a feel for the utter weirdness that is Paper Moon).

The best thing about breakfast, though, is that you can create a delicious meal right at home, without too much trouble. 

Recently, I was inspired to stay in and cook at home thanks to this fabulous, fresh recipe found on NPR's website, Kitchen Window.

Eggs Baked with Spinach and Feta in Tomato Shell

"This is one of my favorite breakfasts. It is quick, healthy and delicious. If you slice through the middle, you will see the red of the tomato, green of the spinach and white and yellow from the egg all piled on top of one another. It is great for entertaining or even a multitasking morning: Finish getting ready as they bake away in the oven. The recipe is adapted from 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey (Times Books 1992). " -Eve Turow of NPR.

Here's the Recipe:

You'll Need:

4 large ripe tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium eggs
4 tablespoons feta cheese
1 pound spinach


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off tomato tops and set aside (may be used later as garnish). Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the tomato and scoop out insides, creating a tomato shell. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes upside down on a towel to dry and drain out any excess liquids.

In the meantime, steam or saute the spinach. To steam, fill a pan with a thin layer of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner, add the spinach and cover the pan until the spinach wilts. Drain out excess water once the spinach is cooked. Stand the tomatoes right side up in a pan, and place approximately 1/4 cup spinach into the bottom of each, pressing down to make room for other ingredients. Break an egg inside each tomato shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and feta cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let the yolks become too firm. Serve immediately.

*Recipe borrowed from NPR's Kitchen Window


Think about all the delicious variations this recipe could yield! Chevre goat cheese or even a nice Brie instead of Feta?  Sauteed sweet peppers and broccoli instead of spinach? You could even substitute the tomato shell for a sweet pepper and do a breakfast stuffed pepper, adding cheese, veggies and an egg to the inside of a small green pepper. 

Weekend Plans? Breakfast in Bed, my friends.  I hope your weekend is restful, cheery and just wonderful.  Enjoy some sunshine!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Protein! Grains! Quinoa!

I can't stop eating Quinoa!  I've made it for lunch three times in just four days.  I had to restrain myself yesterday from eating it yet again and opted instead for my Indian food leftovers.

Maybe I'm in need of a serious dose of protein? Who knows...  Either way, it's treating me right and I can't seem to get enough.  It's so crunchy, filling, and can be the foundation for tasty vegan meal!

I did a little research and found this nice photo. What a lovely stalk it grows on.

"The Mother Cereal"
Quinoa was a staple food in the ancient Inca culture

I've been preparing it simple: drizzled with a little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Today, I added garlic and cayenne to the mix, making a dressing to pour over it once it's just off the stove.

Lots of people cook it in chicken or veggie stock instead of water, which sounds like a great idea.  I'm all out of bouillon, but once my pantry is restocked you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be trying that out.  Happy lunching!

P.S. This recipe looks amazing!

Yellow, oh my!

Aren't these earrings fabulous!?

After I saw the Tiffany Diamond in New York City, I've had a new found affinity for yellow diamonds (as well as lovely little stones that sell for much cheaper).

You can find them at Emma Stine.

P.S. Martha just did a great spread on yellow engagement rings, it's worth a peek!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How to Search Etsy without Pulling Your Hair Out

By now you've probably noticed I spend a fair bit of time on Etsy.  If you've been there, you probably know that navigating through the thousands- even millions- of items on the site can be a bit daunting. 

If you're new to Etsy, searching via the search box on the top right of the site can often lead you to thousands of "related" items.  But many of these "related" items are related only because the seller (or crafter) tagged them with a similar material or theme.  Crafters have the option when posting their products to use an endless amount of "tag" words that sometimes just clutter the airwaves of goodie hunters such as ourselves.

Here are a few tried and true tips for finding thar perfect perfect on Etsy.

1. Register. Fast, easy, painless.  I promise.  You need to register with Etsy because I can guarantee that once you begin browsing you'll find something you love.  But more importantly, step 3 (and a very important step, I must say) requires you to be logged in.  So take one minute.  Register.

2. Start browsing at the Treasury.  Etsy treasuries are a series of hand picked items that real people have curated.  They're often chosen by theme or style, i.e. vintage wedding for late summer, or by color, i.e. bright, bold, red.  Treasuries are posted on the Etsy home page everyday and change almost every hour.  Some of Etsy's finest ends up on these curated lists, so take note.

3. Favorites. Once you've started peeking around, notice that at right hand side of the page you'll find a tab that says "Favorites" and a heart icon that says "add item to Favorites".  Click it.  Click the heart for every item you see that you like.  Why? Because once you start accumulating favorites, Etsy will recommend shops to you based on what you like. Your favorites (and the recommended sellers page) can be accessed at the top left of the page once you are signed in. And, when your best friends' birthday rolls around, you'll have an entire page of great gift ideas.  Trust me on this.

4. Newsletters. I'm signed up for Etsy Finds and I love it.  Every day I get to see a fabulous, hand picked showcase of items from over twenty different online shops.  It's like stepping into a virtual boutique in every email.  If you can't read every newsletter every day- don't sweat it.  It's worth taking a quick peek, clicking on a few items, and adding them to your favorites and calling it good.  Remember: the more items in your favorites, the more shops will be recommended to you with items related to your tastes. 

Keep in mind that Etsy is more like browsing the museum gift shop or an art gallery and less like an online store where you can type a few simple words in the search field and quickly narrow out items by size, color and style.  Etsy is a special place where highly talented and creative artists sell their goods, but it's also a place where anyone can sell anything, so long as it's handmade.  A little patience and the will to find that perfect something, and you're on your way. Happy Hunting!

*The earrings feautured on today's post can be found at Epheriell and Faded Roses.