30 June 2011

a very important question

if you were a bridesmaid, would you prefer a monogrammed pashmina?

or a monogrammed tote?

or neither {insert what you would prefer here}?

if you are one of my bridesmaids, resist the urge to read the comments posted here.

it's almost friday!

24 June 2011

trouble in paradise

sweet readers, i need your help.  the beau and i booked our honeymoon lodging a few months ago and have been so excited about it.  but this week as i began researching flights, it became clear that, logistically speaking, getting to said lodging is a nightmare and not a reality.  because our dates aren't flexible and our dates don't fall on the day of the week when there is a direct flight to the island, we end up with 13 hours of travel time each way.  that's the same amount of travel time to get to hawaii!

so it looks like we're going to have to cancel that trip {insert sad face} and start from scratch. and y'all?  i am OVERWHELMED.  our only requirements are that we go somewhere warm and somewhere neither one of us has been.  that eliminates mexico and the dominican republic.  everywhere else is fair game.  we're trying to decide between hawaii, jamaica, and the virgin islands, but we're not tied to any one of those.

so tell me, have you been to any of these places? all of them? where did you love {or where did you hate}? any great hotel recommendations? restaurants? things to do?  i need some guidance.  from reading your blogs, i know you all are quite the jet setters so put that life experience to good use and help a girl out!

23 June 2011

things i want right now

22 June 2011

wedding wednesday: beach wedding

in keeping with my {hopefully not too} distant dream of becoming a wedding planner, i started a board on pinterest {duh} for wedding inspiration outside of my own wedding.  when the beau and i were first engaged, i spent a nanosecond considering a wedding on maryland's eastern shore.  the beau is a bawlmer {that's baltimore to the uninitiated} boy born and bred.  his family has a house on the eastern shore and his sister lives there.  for a multitude of reasons, we decided against it, but i still harbor {ha! get it? harbor? beach? ok...yeah} major beach-wedding lust.  here's a little taste of what my beach wedding would look like:

almost makes me wish we had done a beach wedding after all!

21 June 2011

that's amore!

thanks for all of the fabulous travel suggestions and keep them coming! thanks to pink champagne, i will definitely be checking out the swoon-worthy cocktail culture  RISD exhibit featuring dior, chanel, and oscar de la renta!

since the beau is leaving for several weeks on the road, i made him a farewell meal that i knew he would love: homemade calzones.  suprisingly easy and soooo yummy.  he was tres impressed. i believe the exact words were, "i didn't know you could make these at home", like the secrets of calzones weren't available to amateurs.  he's a funny one.  anyhoo, these were inspired by a giada recipe.  here's my take:

sausage and spinach calzones
serves 2-4
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 oz. turkey sausage
red pepper flakes and italian seasoning, to taste
2 cups fresh baby spinach
8 oz. neufchatel cheese, softened
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 13-16 oz. ball pizza dough
1 egg, beaten
2 cups marinara sauce

preheat the oven to 450.

heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized, heavy skillet. add the sausage, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning and cook until crumbled and golden, about 5 minutes. add half of the spinach and cook until wilted. turn off the heat and let cool about 10 minutes. add the cream cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan, pepper and remaining spinach and stir to combine. set aside.

divide the dough into two equal portions.  dust the work surface with cornmeal and roll out each half into approximately 10-inch rounds.  tranfser the dough to a heavy baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. 

put the cheese mixture on 1 side of each of the dough rounds leaving a 1-inch border. using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. fold the unfilled side of the dough over the filling and using the tines of a fork, press the edges of the dough together to seal. brush the tops of the calzones with the egg wash and sprinkle with remaining parmesan. using a paring knife, cut a 1/2-inch wide slit in the top layer of the dough. bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. cut the calzones into slices and serve with warm marinara sauce.

i served this with romaine leaves and homemade caesar dressing. easy peasy!

20 June 2011

vacation recs

hammersmith farm, where jack + jackie were married*

happy monday! last week i booked my plane ticket and hotels for a quick 48-hour jaunt up to rhode island over 4th of july weekend.  the beau will already be there for work and we thought this would be a fun way to squeeze in a mini-vacay and a chance to see him while he's gone for several weeks.  i fly to providence saturday morning and have to entertain myself all day while the beau works.  we'll have dinner in the city that night, spend the night, and then head off to preppy mecca, a.k.a. newport, sunday morning.  we have all day sunday and monday morning in newport, and then it's straight back to the airport for me and back to work for him.  i'll be home in time to grill out and watch fireworks with my family.

so this is where you come in.  i need your tips! i've never been to providence or newport.  where should i eat? what are the must-sees? what are total tourist traps that must be avoided? what are total tourist traps that are still must-dos?  shopping destinations?

we're leaning towards doing this sunset cruise on sunday {you can have a lobster bake delivered to you to dine on board. yum!} and we're definitely going to hit up cold fusion for some gelato goodness.  i'd love to have some newport breakfast/brunch ideas and your recs on where to get THE best lobster roll.  any ideas on bar{s} we should head to on sunday night? activities other than mansion-stalking and shopping on sunday afternoon?

and what about providence?  there are a gazillion art galleries {thanks, RISD} and amazing restaurants {thanks johnson & wales} and i'm having major trouble narrowing my to-do list down.  what's your fave place to chow down there? best museums/galleries?

i can't wait, y'all!

*image via here

15 June 2011

wedding wednesday: the mothers

thus far, i have no hesitations in saying that THE hardest part of wedding planning was helping my mom pick out her mother-of-the-bride {MOB} outfit.  to start, my mom is not a shopper.  she is what LPC refers to as a sturdy gal.  she knows exactly what she wants and exactly what she does not want.  she knew that she did not want a full-length gown.  ours is an afternoon wedding with an outdoor reception and she feels strongly that full-lenghth is reserved for black-tie, evening events.  but she also knew that she did not want sleeveless.  she feels strongly that women of a certain {her} age should not be exposing arms, especially at a fall daytime wedding. she also does not do beads, sparkles, ruffles, or anything resembling embellishment.  so with all of this in mind, we went shopping.

my mom wanted to make a weekend out of it, so she booked us a hotel for two night and off we went to richmond.  we had a nice relaxing dinner friday night with lots of wine and then an early bedtime so we could be out the door early saturday morning.  we left the hotel at approximately 8:30am.  we didn't return until 8pm.  yep, a full 12 hour extravaganza.  she rejected everything she tried on.  too cheaply made.  uncomfortable fabric.  not the right color.  didn't like the neckline.  didn't like the hemline.  the jacket didn't fit properly.  and on and on.  in her defense, there wasn't a lot of pretty.  have you looked at the formalwear available for women over 50 lately?  other than designer ready-to-wear {which was not an option for my frugal mother}, there is just a whole lot of ugly out there.

after going to literally every other department store in the richmond area and striking out {with a few j.crew, williams-sonoma, and louis vuitton pit stops in between for good measure}, we ended up at saks.  where my mom found a dress she loved.  at which point i wanted to collapse in a mix of tears and laughter because...wait for it...i sent my mother a link to this VERY SAME DRESS three weeks earlier.  oh, how many fruitless hours of trying on hideous dresses could've been spared by just ordering online.

one hiccup: she loves the dress, but the store we were at didn't have the right size/color combo she needed.  but the lovely saleslady called the saks customer service line and located the last dress in that size/color combo is all of saks-land for my mom and put her on the line.  the dress arrived a few weeks ago and my mom loves it. victory!  so here's what we've got for her:

i have a sneaky feeling those shoes aren't going to happen.  that heel is about an inch higher than anything she's ever worn.  but maybe she'll do me proud and rock them.  we shall see.

i've heard horror stories about mothers-of-the-groom showing up in white.  fortunately, i've seen my future MIL's ensemble and it is a lovely blush champagne color and age-appropriate.

do you have any harrowing tales of mother wedding ensembles? i'd love to hear!

14 June 2011

blushing blogger

i'm just plain embarassed about how long it's been since my last post.  {for those keeping track, the last date would be april 29.  and that was a scheduled post.  so it's been awhile.}  life has been a whirlwind of late.  the beau is seriously entertaining changing jobs, so there is the looming possibility of a move {for us} and job change {for both of us}.  i don't do well with the unknown, so this hasn't exactly been easy on me.  things at my current job have gone from busy to chaotic.  up until yesterday, we were short staffed by three colleagues.  we're down to only one, but i've inherited the lion's share of that one's workload, which is super fun.  and wedding planning is slowly taking over my life.  that part is not a complaint, i'm loving every second of it, but it's time-consuming nonetheless.

also, i discovered pinterest.  which has basically taken over my life.  i. am. OBSESSED.  i could {and have} spend hours just browsing all of the dreamy inspiration to be found.  recipes, interior design, clothes, shoes, accessories, wedding pretties...there's a great big world of lovely out there! here's my wedding board: http://pinterest.com/gesshoo/the-best-day-ever/.  are you on pinterest?  you shoud be.  i have a few invites to give out.  if you'd like one, just leave me a message with your e-mail. 

my quest to get back to fighting form {a.k.a. the weight i was when the beau and i met in january 2010} continues.  for those keeping score i had gained about 15 or so pounds in the first 8 months of our relationship.  i've lost close to 10 of those and expect to have the other five off in the next month.  and i would be lying if i said i wasn't trying to maybe shave off another 5 before my first wedding dress fitting at the end of august.  just saying.

speaking of wedding, hope on over to our stationer's blog for a sneak peek of our save-the-dates! i wish i could show you more, but ashley has submitted these for publication and since i, too, am hopeful that we will have our wedding published, i don't want to ruin anything by posting too much.  suffice it to say, they are so unbelievably gorgeous and i am on pins and needles waiting for the invitation suite to arrive {we just placed the order last week}.  i have had so much fun working with ashley and can't wait to work with her on the finishing touches for the wedding day.

and because i don't believe in posts without pictures, here is one of our engagement photos, courtesy of our fabulous photographer. we had these done a month ago yesterday and couldn't be happier with them.

i'll be back tomorrow with another installment of wedding wednesdays. happy tuesday!