Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I am so grateful to the people, my family, friends, amazing clients and supporters, for making 2011 so special, and I'm excited to see what 2012 holds for us! Here's to a wonderful New Year for you and your family filled with love, happiness and success! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

butternut squash bisque

The butternut bisque I mentioned a couple of posts back came out wonderfully! We had it with a homemade herb bread, it all tasted truly decadent and I recommend it, especially with the cold weather.


1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sage leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
Nutmeg and Cinnamon to serve


In a large pan over medium, sauté the celery, thyme, rosemary, and sage in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until the celery turns tender. Add the salt and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash and vegetable stock to the pan and bring the soup to simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, cover, and simmer the soup for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender.

Puree it all in a blender until it is completely smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and heat through. Serve with some nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkles on top and some bread for dipping!

merry everything and happy always

I don't think I could help but smile at that face when opening this holiday card! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

tonight's sunset

The sky tonight was filled with the most beautiful fiery colors and a giant rainbow stretched over the skyline. I could actually see the entire arch of the rainbow from the roof. It's sights like this that are truly awesome.

butternut squash

The star of the next recipe I'm trying is the butternut squash below. I had the most amazing butternut squash bisque while at a restaurant in the late fall and I'm hoping that I'm able to make taste just as good. It'll be a great cold weather food.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays

I hope that you have an amazing holiday filled with good food, great friends and lots of love!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


One of the best symbols of holiday romance.. It makes me smile!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Free Bridal Beauty E-Book

Liz is a talented and accomplished makeup artist working in Western New England that does makeup for weddings as well as commercial and editorial work. Her work is beautiful.

Liz has put together an e-book "The 15 Most Common Bridal Beauty Blunders: How to dodge disaster and dazzle on your wedding day!" which is definitely worth a read. Check out Makeup Artistry by Liz for a free copy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

a wilted flower

The last stage for my overly documented flowers. With some of the flowers wilting now and others about to bloom on the same stems I had to pull off the old to make room for the new.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

a different cranberry sauce

I felt like making some cranberry sauce this weekend as an easy snack.  A friend of mine a couple of holidays back hosted a great gathering of friends for an early Thanksgiving and she served a delicious cranberry sauce that included orange juice in lieu of water and some triple sec. Based on that I threw together the ingredients I could remember (without the alcohol) and added a couple spices.

12 oz bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
Throw in some Nutmeg and Cinnamon

I put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cooked them on medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced. Stir occasionally. Cranberries will start popping (don’t worry, that’s what you want them to do). And if you partially cover the pan like I did keep an eye out for the boiling up, which could've been really messy had I not noticed. Remove from heat and serve!

Monday, December 5, 2011

sunday brunch and shopping

What a great Sunday in DC! Jeff and I started the day with brunch at Belga Cafe. I had green eggs with spinach, belgian cheese and bacon. I was nervous about green eggs, and of course there were a couple of Dr. Seuss jokes, but the meal was amazing. I'd definitely go back again (though I'd remember to make reservations next time!). Jeff had banana waffles with whipped cream and chocolate, also amazing.

Next, we walked around the Eastern Market, checking out the fruits and vegetables and the nearby flea market. 

We had an errand to run in Georgetown and afterward we wandered around there a bit. I noticed Serendipity and wanted to check it out, can you believe Jeff doesn't know the movie? The hot chocolate was good, but actually (believe it or not) too chocolatey for me. The apple cobble though was just amazing. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

still blooming

These flowers are still opening up, blooming, and smelling amazing. I might be a little obsessed with how pretty they are!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

flowers.. just because

The apartment smells so wonderful right now. Jeff came home with some beautiful 'just because' flowers, which was super sweet. Of course, that meant I had to pull out a macro lens and take a couple shots!

Friday, November 25, 2011

food and family

I hope you had a wonderful holiday yesterday! I was able to visit three separate places (but only two meals.. I don't know if I could handle three Thanksgiving meals!). It was nice seeing so many people and catching up. I snapped a couple photos as I went along but mainly I was chatting and eating!

The table was so nicely set and I think that salad may qualify as one of the most beautiful I've ever seen! I actually made the bread below it and it seemed to go over well. 

We're pretty low key at my house, especially given it was only the four of us this Thanksgiving. While we had dessert, Jeff and I went though the many black friday fliers to see what was in store. I can't believe how many stores were open at midnight!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving! We're up early to start off our fully scheduled day with lots of warmth, food and, of course, family.

(I love the way the frost sparkles in the morning!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving prep

My mom and I were doing some prep work today for our meal tomorrow. It'll be a busy Thanksgiving with Jeff and I making multiple stops so we wanted to get as much ready as possible.

engagement rings

Lately, many of the blogs I follow have been posting photos and links to some beautiful and unique engagement rings, like this post on Lovely. I'm just amazed at the artistry and beauty of some of these bands. These are a couple of my favorites so far:
Anna Sheffield
Hon Ngai

Are there any awesome rings you've seen around on a friend, online or in stores lately?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

apple place settings and a wedding tree

My amazing friend, Ashley, was married to a wonderful man, Dave, on October 1, 2011. It was such an honor to be asked to be a part of their day as a bridesmaid. I was able to help with planning for the wedding. (and of course for the bachelorette party!)

I'm a bit late putting up photos, but I wanted to share these cool name settings that Ash had for her Fall wedding. She grew up next to apple orchards and embraced the fall staple as a clever part of her day.

First, baskets of apples were picked locally. Then we sorted through them to find the best of the bunch. After cleaning each of them up, a stick was stabbed into each apple. (You had to be super careful with that part.)

Then a leaf, one with each guest's name and their table, was glued to the stick of each apple. The tables were named after types of apples, 'Gala', 'Pink Lady', etc. And once guests had found their place they could take their apples to the 'Dipping Station' where you could choose a candy or caramel coating! Once the apple was dipped, there was a plastic wrapping provided to save the treat for later.

I loved this idea! It was interactive and a a great way to incorporate the name settings into the fall theme, even better that the apples were local and super fresh! 

Another way Fall was incorporated was through their guestbook and wedding tree to Ashley and Dave, my wedding gifts to the couple. To give them everything they wanted with a 'guestbook', I designed to pieces for them, a guestbook of their engagement photos as well as 'wedding tree' acrylic painting.

A wedding tree is a guestbook alternative that can be nice if you're looking for an item to display as art in your home after your wedding. I painted a large square canvas to match the colors of their home with a leafless tree in the center, their initials painted within a heart as carvings in the tree. Guests were able to write out a personal message in their guestbook saying everything they wanted to the couple, all of their love and advice for the future. 

Then, guests added their finger prints to the painted canvas with one of the Fall themed colors of ink we set out and signed their name under their 'leaf'. Below is a photo of the canvas before the reception with just the bridesmaid's prints added onto it. 

What are some of your favorite creative wedding details? Have you had or seen great original guestbooks?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Raffle Winners!

Congratulations to my two raffle winners, Katie Osowiecki and Kaitlyn Hanlon! You've both won free Engagement Sessions with a print credit!

Monday, November 14, 2011

happy halloween

We're a little late with our Halloween fun this year due to the storm but it was still nice to see a few trick or treaters! You can understand a couple of those trick or treaters being just a bit scared to walk up to our door, imagine a scary halloweeny type groaning from the figure below as you walk up our steps.

Yesterday's Bridal Expo!

I had such an amazing time meeting all of the soon to be brides and grooms and their friends and families! I also love meeting and talking to all of the other wonderful vendors that were at the expo.

A HUGE Thank You to all the people who helped me put this together.. my patient and amazing family and boyfriend who've helped me with planning, setting it all up and then the quick breakdown, my talented Uncle who constructed a beautiful wall that was easy to work with and CJC Events for putting on the show and answering all of my questions! Here's my booth all set up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Western New England Bridal Show

Tomorrow is the Western New England Bridal Show at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield MA. I can't tell you how excited I am to be showing at a booth this year! If you're attending, I'd love it if you're able to stop by my booth to say Hi!

I'll have some updates and photos of the event (and some of the prep work that has gone into getting ready) for you later this week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

my amazing uncle

My Uncle is an an amazing carpenter. You offer him a problem and he has a knack for figuring out a great solution. My problem was a professional, portable (aka an easily dismantled and not insanely heavy) wall. I am absolutely thrilled with what he was able to build! I can't thank him enough.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

big apple pancake

While the guys were still out shoveling the snow from the big storm and we were warming up, my mom and I made a couple of 'Big Apple Pancakes'. It was was pretty easy, as long as you don't over cook it by 15 minutes because you misread the recipe!

Big Apple Pancake

Ingredients: 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 large sweet apple (peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges), 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 4 eggs, 3 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp salt, confectioners' sugar

Preheat: 450 F

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, then transfer 1 Tbsp to a blender. Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning once, until they start to soften (3 to 5 minutes). Arrange apple wedges around the edges of the skillet. Meanwhile, mix milk, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt with butter in the blender until batter is smooth. Pour over apples and transfer skillet to oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until pancake is puffed and golden. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

damages from the October snow

Here are a couple more photos of some of the damages we passed today. Sadly these aren't even the worst of it.

Snow Storm in October

The snow storm on Saturday evening was record breaking and terrible. The trees couldn't support the weight of the wet snow and leaves and there isn't a street that I've been on today that doesn't have obvious damage along it. I feel fortunate that we have kept power. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and warm.

These are a couple of photos I took on Sunday morning. It was good to see the sun out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

more of Toronto

Here are a couple more photos from my Toronto visit. Next time I definitely would like to check out the Royal Ontario Museum. The building itself was an interesting mix of modern edgy (no pun intended) design and the old classic stone building. Had I looked into the museum times beforehand I would've probably gone here first. The first set of photos below art from outside the Royal Ontario Museum, the others are buildings from the campus behind it.

a great Toronto cafe

After the shoe museum, I was look for some time to catch up on my emails and work on my laptop (not to mention rest my feet from having the carry the extra weight of that laptop!). I wandered into L’Espresso Bar Mercurio and I'm glad I did! Initally I was only going to get some tea but seeing their menu and the fresh and delicious sounding options I got lunch there as well! I enjoyed an incredible green tea (I'm not positive which one specifically that they offer) and then had their beet salad. It was a simple salad combination, containing arugola, beets, pear and shaved asiago cheese with a citrus oil dressing, but it was fantastic. I wish there was a place like this near me now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum is dedicated to shoes, their design and their history, located in Toronto. I was skeptical about this one actually, since I'm not overly into fashion and I, compared to some women, am pretty low key about my shoes. But this was a fun stop. There was a floor with an exhibit highlighting more artistic shoe sculptures and designs as well as how shoes have appeared in artwork. Then there was a section dedicated to the American (and Canadian?) Indian's footwear. Across from that were shoes and accessories from the flapper era, this was easily my favorite set of footwear displayed. The bottom floors were a more general history along with rows of celebrity shoes.

A neat detail was added to the stairs connecting the floors. They included holes in the stairs so that people beneath the stairs could eye people's shoes!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Port Hope in Canada

I loved this stop while we were up north! We stayed at a great bed and breakfast that had the perfect mix of home comfort and modern hotel, plus the breakfast was delicious. If you're ever in the area you should definitely stay at Hill and Dale Manor.

We, once again, got into the town pretty late and just went straight to sleep. The next day we explored some of the local shops and found a couple of great pieces. If I can find the name of the shops I'll definitely post them for you here!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

traveling in Canada

I recently got back from traveling in Canada with Jeff. We started in Montreal and then made our way to Toronto (stopping in a great little town in between called Port Hope). We weren't in Montreal long, coming in pretty late to the hotel and grabbing dinner at a great restaurant that I've unfortunately forgotten the name of. The next day I was able to check out the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and wander around a little, checking out a couple churches and seeing a bit of the city, before we were on our way to Port Hope.