30 November 2011

one month

One month ago yesterday, I married my beau.  And it has absolutely flown by!  In honor of our month-iversary, I thought I'd share a few pics from our wedding weekend.  We're still waiting on our professional pics, so these are just ones from assorted friends and family.  Enjoy!

Bridesmaids' Brunch:

Moi + Mimosa

My mama and I talking to high school bestie, A

Moi and one of my college besties

Getting Ready:

Diet Coke in hand, J.Crew shirt on.  Typical.


Vows! Please disregard what appears to be the blue alien lights in the background.



As my sister-in-law said, our faces are saying, "We really should've rethought the guest list."

It's my wedding and I'll double-fist if I want to.

This was at the "a little bit softer now..." part of Shout!.  Also, one of my favorite pics of us.

Yummy cherry pie! We have a whole one in our freezer for our one-year.

And this one is a sneak peek from our photographer.  I can't wait to see the rest!

29 November 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I'm playing along with Hopsy's DIY Holiday Gift Link Up today!  A few months ago, I pinned an idea I found on Pinterest {duh} to save as a Christmas gift idea:  homemade vanilla extract.  I just thought it was such a lovely idea.  Definitely something I would use and love to receive, and it's easy to pair it with a range of items to make it either an affordable hostess gift {maybe with a set of monogrammed spatulas} or a way to spoil the baker in your life {pair it with some Williams-Sonoma gold touch pans and/or a KitchenAid stand mixer!} 

So a few weeks ago, my mom and I got to work.  I don't have many pictures of the process, because I made these before I even knew about the link up.  For step by step pictures {that are MUCH better than anything I would've taken anyways!}, visit Bethany Actually's post.

Basically, you need 2-3 vanilla beans and a 1/2 cup of vodka for each bottle.  All you have to do is put the vanilla beans in the bottle, pour the vodka in, and screw the lid on.  Et voila! In a month, you have delicious homemade vanilla extract!

I saw on an episode of Barefoot Contessa that after the vanilla has steeped for well over the one month period, Ina will take one of the beans and squeeze out all the paste inside to use for ice cream or vanilla butter.  Ummm...YUM!

Here's a picture of what ours look like after one week:

It's been three weeks now.  I'm not posting a picture of after three weeks because I don't think it looks different enough to tell.

Now I've just got to come up with some cute labels for them.  Any of you gals who are way more creative than me want to come up with some?  Hint, hint.

I'm so excited to be giving these as gifts, but I will definitely be keeping one for myself!

Happy Baking!

28 November 2011

hopping on the bandwagon

I've read ad nauseum about the many bloggers who looooooove Ebates.  Don't ask me why I'm just now getting on board; I have no idea what took me so long!  Thanks to a tip from soon-to-be Mrs. Polka Dots and Protein Bars,  I hit the motherload when I signed up this morning.

For a grand total of $14, I got:

$25 to The French Hound, our current favorite brunch place. EVER.  These are pics from our inaugural trip.  Best Bloody Mary I have ever had in my life!

all pics courtesy of moi. 

$25 to The Goodstone Inn & Estate.  I'm hoping to parlay this into a weekend getaway.

pic courtesy of the goodstone website

Two $25 to Village Square Restaurant, by far our favorite place in our new town.

pic courtesy of beyond the yum

and $50 to La Nicoise Cafe, a totally kitsch and surprisingly authentic French restaurant in town.  The beau is obsessed with their homemade chocolate mousse. 

i couldn't find a pic of the restaurant, so i'll just let you drool over ina's chocolate orange mousse instead.

ALL of that for only $14!  And I get 30% cash back through Ebates, so when all is said and done, less than $10 for $150 of date nights.

Plus, I got a stocking stuffer for the beau at 20% off and 5% cash back.  I am loving this.

Again, what on earth took me so long?!  If you're not on Ebates, you need to join now!  Here's the link to my invite: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=mc0pEEzkPqF%2FbEZYXy%2B21w%3D%3D.

Happy shopping!

22 November 2011

no. just no.

stylish. you're doing it wrong.

18 November 2011

Can I be honest?

I normally try to keep things nice and upbeat here because, well, I like reading nice and upbeat things so I like to think my readers do too.  But today, I need to go a little Eeyore on you.  Feel free to immediately move on to more worthwhile pastimes {i.e. mindlessly pinning and tweeting, my two new favorite time-suckers}.

I am not particularly happy right now.  And I should be.  I married my best friend 3 weeks ago.  He's my favorite.  We are both gainfully employed and make a comfortable living.  We have an adorable dog who worships us {when he's not busy eating brownies out of the trash and sending us to the doggie ER}.  We have our health and our family.  Life is good, right?

Except we really do not like our new city.  We are very lonely here.  He doesn't have any guy friends and I don't have any girlfriends.  I know, I know...the old "just put yourselves out there" routine.  Except there are very few young people here.  And even fewer young people who we share anything in common with.  And it sucks.  We adore one another and spending time together, but honestly, I need someone to go squeal their way through "Breaking Dawn" with.  He needs someone to play squash and hoops with.  I need a shopping buddy.  He needs a college-basketball-watching buddy. 

Also, the city itself is....blech.  I was super-excited when we moved here about the close proximity to D.C.  Surely moving somewhere an hour away from our nation's bustling, stylish capital would mean moving somewhere somewhat bustling and stylish by proxy.  Nope.  Despite my access to shiny new things like 3 Targets, 4 Chick-fil-a's, and multiple Starbucks and Sonics, we have actually moved somewhere significantly less bustling and stylish than Small Town, VA.  We have taken to referring to our new city as "fake nice" or "strip-mall fancy".  You know the type...those restaurants with tons of fake plants and twinkle lights and plastic "street lamps" to make you feel like you're in Italy or France when really you're next to a KMart.  That's our city.

I love blogging and all of the people I have "met" through it, but recently, it's been putting me down in the dumps.  Because I read all these posts of people going to charming dinner parties and planning Christmas get-togethers and hanging out with their equally fun-and-fabulous friends and I'm jealous.  I want that.  A life that I am living online.  Ugh, that is so lame sauce! But so very true right now.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatoes. I feel terribly silly complaining about this, especially right now in the season of Thanksgiving. I am grateful for all of the positive, wonderful things I have in my life, and I know there are many.  I don't want to be so preoccupied with the life I don't have that I don't enjoy the one I have.  I know I need to focus on making the best of things; we're most likely going to be here for awhile.  So I've got to work at it.  Right now, though, I just needed to vent.

Thanks for listening, all two of you who slogged through my self-indulgent whiny pants musings.

I'm looking forward to a visit from my parents this weekend {putting them to work with sorting and organizing weddings presents!}, a sushi date with my husband {squeeee! so not tired of saying that yet.} tonight, and getting this sweater for 75% off on Sunday.

Happy Friday, sweet readers!

17 November 2011


it's orange. it's brass. it's shiny.
that is all.

10 November 2011


During one of my pinterest marathons {which are becoming more frequent, BTW}, I discovered the darling shop Joules, a British lifestyle brand started by a father of two in Leicestershire.  Think a cheekier version of Boden.  And just like Boden, they offer USA shipping and pricing!  Here are the items that automatically went into my basket:

Those are little flying ducks! 

so cute and cheery.  it make take the place of my sought-after toggle coat.

And the piece de resistance.  This will be on its way to me as soon as possible.  I've got a real thing going for all things pheasant right now.  Don't ask me why.

And apparently they are famous for their wellies.  It's not hard to see why!

ZOMG. So adorable, I want it all!

Have you ever purchased anything from Joules?  I'd love to hear some firsthand feedback on quality and customer service!

08 November 2011

Pretty Posting

I'm so thrilled to be guest posting over at I Pick Pretty today.  I'm sure you're all followers of Melissa's witty and fabulous blog anyways, so click on over and read as I try to fill her beautiful shoes for a day!  If the above picture doesn't entice you, then I haven't a clue why you're reading this blog...

07 November 2011

crazy little thing called lunch

Yes, I acknowledge that this may be the worst blog post title in history.  But I'm on day three of some heavy duty cough syrup, so I'm excused.

In the beau's and my shiny new legally merged household, I'm in charge of the moolah.  The beau is, um, not great with money.  Not that I'm a pro {see: all past posts on credit card debt}, but both of my parents are accountant, so I grew up in a household that loved a good budget.  And due to said upbringing, I actually really enjoy the world of household finance.  No, seriously.  I do.

One of the areas of concern for me is how much we're spending on weekday lunches.  I am all for spending money on meals out, but I generally prefer those to be of either the gourmet date-night or the Chick-fil-a Friday lunch splurge varieties.  We're eating out for lunch right now at least twice a week and it's got to stop.

Here's the problem {and here's where you come in, sweet readers!}:

I have no idea what to make for lunch.

I am all for grocery shopping and saving money and eating lunch at home.  I love sandwiches and soups and salads.  But I got nothing.  I seem stumped to come up with anything outside of the chicken/ham/turkey + cheese and assorted condiments realm.  I've searched high and low {read: Pinterest} for ideas, but most of what I find is geared towards the lunchbox-to-school toting crowd.

What are y'all eating for lunch?  Really, I'd love to know.  Any great, go-to quick salads?  Delicious and easy but not boring sandwiches or wraps?  Or something totally non-lunch traditional yet fabulous?

Do share!

04 November 2011

friday randoms

*I am searching for the perfect sqaush soup recipe. We had a roasted squash soup as a first course at my bridesmaids' luncheon and I've been obsessing over it ever since.  Sadly, it is NOT Ina's recipe.  Too sweet and too much curry.  This one was just sqaush and chicken stock and cream...I think.  Does anyone have a wonderful recipe they care to share?

*Have you all seen Dear Lillie?  I found this adorable blog/shop through Pinterest and am now obsessed with their darling holiday pillows.  Cute, right?  And SO reasonably priced!

*The beau and I are off to the sparkly land of upstate NY this weekend.  Syracuse, to be exact.  Anyone out there in blogland have any recommendations on what to do to entertain myself there tomorrow?  Anyone close by and want to be my tour guide?  Then it's off to Charm City for some shopping with my mother-in-law.  This could be interesting...

*I'm thinking of buying this vest.  I know it's a little girl's vest, but an XXL would totally fit me, and honestly, it's the only fur vest I've seen this season that is exactly what I'm looking for and not over $200.  Thoughts?

*After months of conscientious eating, all I can think about anymore is FOOD.  Currently occupying most of my brain real estate are these blueberry cinnamon rolls from Beantown Baker and this Thanksgiving panini from Williams-Sonoma.  Note to self:  getting married is not an excuse to get fat....is it?

*I am most certainly NOT a Mariah Carey fan {minus every song she sang in the 90s.  Those were pure gold.}, but I'm kind of obsessed with what I can see of her twins' nursery in these pics.  Those caramel gingham + floral custom crib draperies?  SWOON.  Where can I find more pictures?  Help!

One week ago today I was picking up one of my sweet bridesmaids from the airport and kicking off our wonderful wedding weekend.  Time flies when you're having fun!  Happy Friday!

03 November 2011

new bird on the block

In my effort to stalk bloggers who are cooler than me grow my blog, I have finally given in to peer pressure at joined twitter.  Might I entice you to follow me?  If only to help me figure this whole thing out.  I took to Pinterest like a fish to water {no, this is most certainly NOT a shameless plus to have you join me over at Pinterest as well}, but I'm taking to twitter more like a fish to...some situation that fish don't do well in.  So please follow me and make me feel special and allow me to learn from all of your masterful tweets.  I'm begging you.

On a separate and much less desperate note, sweet Tina from The Enchanted Home awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award a few weeks ago.  If you're not reading Tina's blog, you must hop over there immediately.  Tina is building my our her dream home and sharing all of the juicy, behind-the-scenes details with her readers.  Think French chateau, de Gournay wallpaper, marble EVERYWHERE, and Ralph Lauren fabrics.  Be still my heart!

In accepting this award, I'm supposed to list 7 things about myself and pass it on to 15 other bloggers.

1.  I don't have much of a sweet tooth at all, but I recently discovered pretzel M&M's and I am OBSESSED.  I think it's the salty/sweet thing.  Have you tried these?  They are SO good.

2.  We have officially entered my favorite time of year.  The time period between Halloween and New Year's is the best.  As much as I adore Christmas, I refuse to listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, decorate, or drink any peppermint Starbucks drinks until after Thanksgiving.  Christmas needs to chill out with trying to butt Halloween and Thanksgiving out of the way too soon.

3.  I won my first marriage victory this week.  The beau has awful taste in clothes {sorry, honey, it's true!} and I have been making fun of his jeans for ages.  They are poofy and one step away from acidwashed.  I call them A.C. Slater jeans.  This week, I managed to get him two non-awful pairs of jeans, one pair of khakis, and a V-neck merino sweater.  Granted, I had to pay for them.  But still...baby steps.

4.  I scored a pair of snakeskin Gap ballet CityFlats this week for less than 5 dollars.  I am now on a mission to fill my closet with more.  They are SO comfortable and look so much chicer and more expensive than they are.

5.  My ultimate dream is to have a sprawling, slightly delapidated farm in the English countryside where I have sheep and chickens and horses and nothing to do but eat scones and clotted cream, wear Barbour and Hunters, and giggle with my BFF, the Duchess of Cambridge.

courtesy of orangette
6. My sister and I accidentally developed the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe using half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose flour and for the life of me, I can't remember how we made them.  I think it's a version of Orangette's recipe, but I'm not sure.  It's killing me.

7.  I've just started a blog design with Marina at Penny Lane Designs and I couldn't be more excited.  My blog design has never really come close to accurately reflecting my aesthetic and I can't wait to see what loveliness Marina creates.  Stay tuned!

Instead of tagging 15 other bloggers {I'm just too lazy}, I'd love to see anyone list 7 random things.  I always think it's so fascinating to read what you come up with.  Have fun with it.  Thanks, Tina!

02 November 2011


It's official: I'm a Mrs.!  And unlike another certain newlywed, I feel confident our marriage will make it past the 72 day mark.

We had almost 20 guests who were unable to make it at the last minute because of the freak Nor'easter that hit the East Coast on Friday.  Our entire bridal party {groom included} was an hour late to the rehearsal because of a 4-car pile-up in Friday traffic 2 miles from the church.  The entertainment company didn't give our DJ the timeline so he had to wing it.  Our cocktail hour table and bars had to be moved under the tent and we had to bring in two ginormous propane heats to keep guests warm.  I ended up wearing my Hunters instead of my Louboutins for 99% of the day because it was so darn muddy.  Four days later, I still have no voice from talking and laughing non-stop for 3 days.

I wouldn't change a thing.  It was perfect.  We DID eat at our own wedding {not much, but the honey BBQ meatballs were totally worth it!}.  We danced.  We drank {the signature cocktail? Best. Decision. EVER.} We celebrated into the wee hours of the morning and started all over again a few hours later.  Most importantly, we declared our love in front of our friends and family and committed our lives to each other.  Now the real fun begins.

Here's a sneak peek of our pictures: http://www.cramerphoto.com/2011/charlottesville-wedding-photography/sarah-mike-married/.  I can't wait to see the rest!

A HUGE thank you to all of the fabulous bloggers who guest posted while I was away:
Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips
Melissa of I Pick Pretty
Kate of Nautical By Nature
Angela of Sweet Tea Diaries
Trish of Pink Preppy Lilly Lover

Thanks in advance for understanding that it make take me a few days to get back into my blog groove.  I'm looking forward to catching up on all your wonderful adventures that I've missed over the past week and a half!

01 November 2011

Honeymoon Bliss

Hello to all the Belle on Heels readers!

Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips here to welcome Sarah home as a MRS! The wedding bells have rung and a new life has begun!

Though the honeymoon will be happening later this year, the romance of being newlyweds will be in full swing! So, bring on the pretty lingerie, bubble baths, candlelight and champagne for two.

You'll be basking in the sun before you know it!! Best wishes to you both as you begin your life together!!!

images: inspired design tumblr