29 April 2011

wedding blog crawl

happy royal wedding day!  i'm participating in danielle's wedding blog crawl in honor of today's auspicious occasion.

one part of our wedding planning that i haven't written about yet is how much i have relied on etsy as part of our wedding.  there are so many wonderful wedding things to be purchased and bits of inspiration to be found.  i love the idea that we are supporting individuals and small-business owners and even more so, i love that so many pieces of our wedding puzzle are handmade.   here are the amazing items i have purchased from etsy thus far:
my very first wedding purchase! doilies and daisies did a custom listing for me.  mine were orange-and-white stripe background with hot pick outline and text.  and mine said "you're so fabulous...".  i was so excited to send these to my 'maids and i LOVED getting their sweet phone calls after they got them in the mail.

i haven't received this wedding dress label from michaelangela yet {i just ordered it}, but i am SO excited to get it!  mine will have my new monogram in it {sKg}, my first time wearing it, and our wedding date in the same colors pictured above.  her store has so many more adorable monogrammed items, it's going to be tough for me not to go overboard!

our pie topper! {we're having pies instead of wedding cake.} cardinals are the main iconography for our wedding. becky was sweet enough to make this little cardinal bride and groom for us and place them in a dogwood flower-embellished next.  i can't even tell you how cute it is! i literally squealed when i opened the package.  plus, becky included the sweetest note of congratulations. i love that!

keeping with the cardinal iconography, this amazing guestbook stand-in from your keepsake co.  it comes with green ink pads.  everyone stamps their thumbprint as a leaf on our tree and signs their name next to it.  i love that this is something we can hang on our walls and always be reminded our of wonderful friends and family.  i just need to remember to put some wet ones next to it so people can wipe their thumbs off!

my veil.  i knew from the get-go that i was not going to spend a fortune on my veil.  {that honor was reserved for my shoes.}  but it was still important to me to have something beautiful.  and it had to be cathedral length.  this gorgeous veil from cl costa designs fits the affordable bill.  i'm just ordered mine yesterday and can't wait until it arrives!

i am not a dangly earring girl.  i didn't want something that wasn't "me" for my wedding day, but i still wanted something that was special enough for a wedding.  these beauties from PenelliBelle are perfection.

calligraphy is really something i want to splurge on when the time comes. right now, my front-runners are {from top to bottom} eDanae, trial by cupcakes, and inkybug.  how am i ever going to choose?!  i'd love to hear your thoughts!

bon weekend, sweet readers!

27 April 2011

wedding wednesday

yikes, i didn't realize how long it had been since i posted!  we have entered the last quarter of our work year, and between being short staffed and our alumni reunion weekend just 15 days away, it is a perfect storm of pure chaos at our office.  add all of the wedding stuff on top {mine AND the 6 other wedding we're attending between now and ours} and i am a bit of a basketcase.  i took the day off last monday to go home and work on some assorted wedding details.  at the end of the day, all i could think about what how much stuff i have to do between now and october!

i did manage to book a florist with whom i am so excited to work.  i really wanted someone who would be a floral designer.  i knew that i didn't want to walk in to the meeting and have him say, "tell me what you want and that's what we'll do." my flower vocabulary is hopelessly limited.  i know what flowers i don't like, and i can name a few that i do like.  and i knew what color{s} i wanted and didn't want.  so i wanted someone to look at my inspiration pictures, understand the "theme" of the wedding, take my budget into account, and just run with it creatively.  i know that our florist is going to do just that and make everything so beautiful.

one other big thing to cross off the list: save-the-dates! as of this morning, they are all addressed.  i just need to stamp them and sweet talk my post office into hand-cancelling them for me.  the goal is for them to be on the way to everyone by friday.  i won't post pictures on here {yet} since several readers are also wedding guests AND since our fabulous stationer, ashley, is planning doing a sneak peek on her blog, but i will say that they are just fabulous.  i LOVE them.

we're going ring shopping this weekend, so maybe i can mark another thing off of the intimidatingly large to-do list in front of me!

that's all she wrote for now, folks.  sorry for the absence and boring post today.  i'm hoping to be back on my game with something a little more entertaining in the near future.

13 April 2011

menu wednesday and a sale on gwyneth

in lieu of posting a menu this week {since it's mainly reruns from past weeks}, i thought i'd post about a  recent aquisition that will {hopefully} be a new source of menu inspiration:

princess gwynnie's debut cookbook! i have been waiting for this release ever since i first caught wind of it and after elizabeth's glowing reviews of the leek and gruyere frittata and the vegan-friendly selections, i knew i had to get my paws on it.  and lo and behold, today one king's lane is selling SIGNED {!!} copies of my father's daughter for just $19! i had it in my basket and paid for quicker than you can say "gwyneth is my idol".  now i'm just counting down the days until it arrives and i can try all of the goodness inside.

while you're on the site purchasing your book, be sure to check out the get inspired interview with the high priestess of prep herself{witty and highly appropriate nickname courtesy of alice}, featuring entertaining tips and gorgie pictures.

shop to it, friends!

12 April 2011

say cheese!

{thanks to southern belle simple to alerting me to this glorious holiday.}

anyone who knows me knows that i am a cheese freak.  i will eat cheese in any of its many perfect forms, although i especially prefer the stinky variety.  i love the fairly recent trend of gussied up grilled cheese sandwiches, but i'm also not above a good old-fashioned kraft american "cheese" + white bread combo.  add some tomato basil soup and you've got yourself a happy gal!  here are some grilled cheese combo from out and about that have me dreaming of ooey gooey deliciousness:

the pioneer woman's favorite sandwich. i've made this and it is everything ree says it is and more!

a cup of jo shares my obsessive love for cheese.  she shared these two divine grilled cheese "recipes" and i'm just dying to try both. dijon mustard...who knew?!

oh martha, how i adore you.  martha stewart living ran an article on grown-up grilled cheeses in their october 2010 issue.  i think these all sound divine.

and i can't leave out my favorite fellow francophile, ina garten! her recipe for croque monsieur is so decadent.  and that's why we love it. i actually prefer a croque madame, but some people consider that to be guilding the lily.

and then there's the classic.  no words needed. 

are you hungry yet? i sure am!

11 April 2011

blissful weekend

this weekend was one of those weekends that was just so utterly perfect.  i'm forgoing menu monday today because i feel like i need to write about the weekend just so i can have a record of it.  besides, i have a sushi date with some of my gal pals this evening, so the menu can wait one day.

friday night my sweet friend {and bridesmaid} k and her man friend came over for dinner.  the boys watched tv and drank beer while k kept me company in the kitchen.  we had my version of ina's spring green risotto and the yummiest cheese plate to nibble on {nancy's hudson valley camembert, an insane aged quebec cheddar, spicy whole grain mustard, apricot preserves, and cracked wheat crackers}.  not to mention the 2 bottles of verdejo/sav blanc blend that k and i downed.  we had the best time just telling stories, watching our dogs play, and listening to jerry seinfeld stand-up.  it was a late night but so, so good to just relax and visit.

the pup all decked out in his uva gear

yes, bellair market is a gas station. and yes, they have the best sandwiches ever.

the winning goal

saturday morning we were up early to beat the bodo's crowd in charlottesville {blt on plain for the beau, egg and american on sesame for me, please and thank you}.  i managed to squeeze in a little shopping {i FINALLY bit the bullet and bought a mia...results pending} before we headed off to the uva v. unc men's lax game.  despite the cold, rainy, icky weather, we had a blast because of the hoos victory!  we grabbed lunch at bellair market {montpelier for me, farmington for the beau} and went to visit some friends.  what was supposed to be a "grab a beer, say hello, hit the road" visit quickly devolved into a "let's pretend we are still 20 years old and in college" visit.  the next thing i knew the beau was bonging a beer and we reserved a couch in a uva student's apartment to crash on.  off we went to the corner for a night of drinking and dancing like we didn't have a care in the world.  i paid for it all day yesterday but let me tell you, it was so. much. FUN. 

yesterday the weather was absolutely perfect.  i spend some QT with my gal pals at friend l's bridal shower and then cuddled up on the couch with the beau and the pup, windows open to better hear the chirping birds, for some masters time.  and what a masters it was!  a hard-fought back 9 and an exciting finish.  attending the masters together is on our couple bucket list.  here's hoping for next year.  we wrapped up the weekend with a LOST season 1, disc 1 marathon.  the beau has never seen an episode and i am a LOST freak, so i'm hoping he'll get just as hooked as i am.  to be continued...

i hope you each had a lovely spring weekend filled with as much fun as mine! best wishes for the week ahead!

08 April 2011

friday thoughts

i've been feeling quite nostalgic lately.  i think it has to do with all of the wedding stuff.  it's starting to sink in that this is all real.  that i have actually picked out my wedding dress and my bridesmaids' dress and picked out stationery and that it's not all pretend.  it's actually happening.  getting married seems like the final blow to youth.  don't get me wrong, i know we're both still very young and i don't mean "final blow" in a bad way.  i am beyond excited to start this next chapter of my life with the beau by my side.  but marriage is "oh wow, it's not just me anymore!"  it just seems so grown-up to me.  so for whatever the reason, i've been thinking a lot recently about what my 15-year old self would think of me now.

i am, by far, my toughest critic.  i've always been that way.  i didn't make straight A's because my parents told me to {although they appreciated it}, i made straight A's because A's were the best and i wouldn't accept anything less.  i refused to consider colleges that weren't ranked in the top 5 of something because, well, if it wasn't in the top 5, why would i go?  {i realize now this was totally flawed thinking, but hey, i was 17 and it all worked out OK.}  i just have unreasonably high expectations of myself.  so in some ways i think, eesh.  15-year old self would NOT be impressed.  i am not a crazy-successful corporate attorney living it up in the big city.  i do not have a closet filled with prada dresses and jimmy choos.  i do not have a perfectly decorated home or a designer dog to tote around in my designer bags.  i don't jet off on exotic vacations at the drop of a hat.  my life would be an epic FAIL according to my 15-year old self.

but the good news is that my 15-year old self had no earthly idea what i would want 10 years down the road.  and i have to think, if that 15-year old had been a little wordlier, she'd be pretty darn happy with where things stand today.  i have a fabulous job that allows me to travel and eat yummy dinners in cities all up and down the east coast and meet interesting people every day.  i live in the cutest little town where i can walk to the farmer's market, wine shop, and chic little restaurants and shops from my house.  i live in a great house with a big kitchen, hardwood floors, and lots of natural light.  it isn't much to look out right now {mainly because i cannot seem to get my butt in gear when it comes to decorating}, but it's home.  and my roommates? they're the best.  an adorable rescue mutt with a heart of gold who is constantly told by random strangers how handsome he is.  and a really hot guy who makes me laugh and treats me like a queen and doesn't care that i'm not perfect.  i get to marry him.

i hope my 15-year old self would be proud, but more importantly, my current self is proud.  because even on nights like last night when i prepare a delicious gourmet meal and then drop the beautiful salmon filet directly on the floor as soon as it comes out of the oven {FAIL}, i'm still doing pretty good.

06 April 2011

THE {other} dress: update

well, folks, we found it.  THE bridesmaids' dress.  after 2 months of searching and approximately 3 trillion e-mails, we have a winner!

it meets all of my requirements {blue, not strapless, less than $200}. i LOVE its simplicity.  i never worry about the customer service at nordstrom, and i know it's easy for my girls to purchase.  done and done.  several of the girls' dresses have already arrived and one of my girls has promised to bring the dress with her when she's home for easter so we can have a little bridesmaid fashion show.

as for shoes and accessories, i'm largely leaving that up to each maid.  for shoes, i told everyone gold, strappy heels of some sort.  i figure a lot of people already have something that meets that description from college formals, and for those who don't, you can easily find a pair in any price range.  i'm not really dictating anything for jewelry.  since i really wanted everyone in the same dress, i think having everyone express her own personal style through jewelry and shoes {within reason} will be fun.

i can't tell you what a relief it is to cross this off of my little to-do list.  right now, the last big hurdle to cross is booking a florist and i have meetings set up here in a few weeks, so hopefully that will be taken care of before too long.  we are less than 7 months away, people!

04 April 2011

menu monday

we had a very decadent weekend food-wise in preparation for today's start of vegan before dinnertime.  friday night we had date night at the tapas restaurant a block away from our house.  so, so yummy! hoisin-glazed pork cheese, bolognese with fresh rosemary linguine, ginger sage creme brulee, homemade bread, a spanish cheese plate, mushroom risotto, and chickpea homefries with romesco sauce.  and several glasses of verdejo, a new favorite. saturday i went shopping with some gal pals and we hit up chick-fil-a for lunch and then the beau and i gorged on kelly's beef enchiladas for dinner.  yesterday we took advantage of the gorgeous spring weather and took a little sunroof-open road trip for breakfast {at cracker barrel. so white trash. so delicious.} my after-dinner treat was the first chocolate soft-serve + rainbow sprinkles in a waffle cone of the year. needless to say, we were more than ready to start our healthy living today!

i'll be posting later this week on how our first week of semi-veganism goes, but until then, here's what we're eating for dinner this week.  note that you won't see a whole lot of changes in menu monday because that's our one meal where anything goes {and the only reason the beau agreed to this whole thing}.

monday: leftovers for me.  the beau is playing basketball with some pals, so he's on his own.

tuesday: since last friday ended up being date night, i'm recycling that night's menu of black bean burgers and sweet potato fries.

wednesday: road trip! the beau has an away game, so one of the other coaches' wives and i are carpooling.  he's eating with the team, we'll be eating on the road.

thursday: the pioneer woman's cajun chicken pasta.  i've had this in my must-try file for quite some time, and i think this will be the week i bite the bullet and just do it.

friday: friend k is in town so she and her beau are coming over for dinner! tres excited.  we'll be having my version of spring risotto, a combo of ina and giada, and this super decadent and yummy cake.

saturday:  TBD.  the beau and i may be taking a day trip to paradise, in which case it will be either crozet pizza or duner's for dinner.

sunday: i have never made a "proper" sunday dinner, so i'm going to attempt one of ina's famous roast chickens, with asparagus and roasted potatoes on the side.

bon appetit and happy monday!

01 April 2011

fit train friday

well, folks, starting monday there are going to be some drastic changes in the belle and beau household.  we are going vegan...until dinnertime, that is.  i've written on here for awhile now about my attempts to get healthier and more in shape, not just for the wedding, but for life.  i've always been a skinny girl and by all measures, i still am.  but i'm not healthy, or at least not nearly as healthy as i should be. 

what i haven't written about as much is how much the beau wants to do the same.  as a college athlete, he was used to eating anything and everything he wanted {and in very large amounts} with it having zero effect on his weight.  but since he is nowhere near as active as he was in college, those eating habits have caught up.  i mentioned to him today over lunch that i was considering adopting mark bittman's vegan before dinnertime approach and he said he would like to join me.  i am shocked that he wants to do this, but thrilled at the prospect of having a partner to help keep me accountable and encourage me. 

we're not following any strict rules and realize that the first week or so will probably be the toughest, as we adjust our eating patterns and our pantries to this new lifestyle.  trust me when i say neither one of us will be going full-fledged vegan or even vegetarian.  he loves bacon way too much {i would wager second only to me} and well, there's no way in hell i could ever be convinced to give us cheese.  but we do recognize {or at least i do} that this way of eating is not only better of us, but better for the planet.  win-win situation.

i would love {and really need} to have any suggestions, recipes, etc. that you have, sweet readers.  i don't really know where to start, so i really need some ideas for some yummy, filling vegan breakfasts and lunches that can me made rather quickly. help me, please!

happy weekend, darlings!