31.5.10

wrapped birthday briolette necklaces

I made two necklaces for two of my friends a few weeks ago. I think they turned out pretty well.

I was a little late with Ashley's (her birthday was the beginning of May) but my supplies didn't come until after her birthday. I wrapped a grey tinted swarovski briolette crystal in sterling silver wire and put it on a sterling silver chain.

For Alissa's, I wrapped a gold tinted swarovski crystal with 14 karat gold-filled wire and placed it on a gold filled chain.

I made Alissa's a long necklace and Ashley's a short necklace.
What do you think?

27.5.10

jcrack opens a wedding boutique

You have to have a key to open our mailbox and, although I have one, it has really become the FH's job to bring in the mail. He has been gone the last few days in Chicago and got back late Tuesday night. Well, imagine my excitement when Vogue and the J. Crew catalogue were sitting on the counter last night.

Halfway through the catalogue, they announced that just opened up their first wedding boutique! Yay! I completely would have hit this up if we didn't already have all of our dresses. I really would love to go for just party dresses though too but sadly the boutique will be all the way on Madison Ave in NYC. Come on J. Crew, you know Salisbury loves you! Oh there isn't the demographic for that? Well you know Georgetown LOVES you! Yes, I know you already have a store there with a few wedding items but we need a boutique for all our wedding and party dress needs!

And they also seem to be expanding into dresses that are long too. I NEED this dress:

I guess I just need something to wear it too. And normally I am not too big on those "separates" but I am really loving this skirt:
Silk chiffon Sophia skirt in pale lilac - $368

I really like the skirt in "orchid shadow." They are also selling veils now too (but they are hellishly expensive, especially considering I just ordered mine on Etsy for $20.)

Go here to view the link for the sneak peak inside the boutique! And you can see their fall lookbook!

26.5.10

sichuan stir-fried chicken with peanuts

When I went to Orlando last October, I picked up a few magazines to read on the plane. One of them was "healthy budget cooking" put out by "Cooking Light." The FH and I love Chinese food but we don't always like how greasy it is. We found a recipe for Sichuan Stir-Fried Chicken that we LOVE! We could eat it almost everyday.

I have made it a few times and have been wanting to put the recipe on here but I kept forgetting to take pictures. I almost forgot the last time I made it but I got a half-eaten picture of it. This picture does not give it justice to how yummy this is. See for yourself.

SICHUAN STIR-FRIED CHICKEN WITH PEANUTS
from "healthy budget cooking" (December 11, 2009)

makes 6 servings

Ingredients

Marinade:
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided

Sauce:
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 Tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or Worchestire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 Tablespoons minced green onions
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic

Remaining ingredients:
1 1/2 cups drained, sliced water chestnuts
1 cup (1/2-inch) sliced onion tops
3/4 cup unsalted , dry roasted peanuts
6 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

1. To prepare marinade, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill 20 minutes.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture; stir-fry 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from pan; set aside.
3. To prepare sauce, combine broth and next 6 ingredients (through 1 teaspoon sesame oil); stir well with a whisk. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil in pan. Add 2 Tablespoons onions, ginger, garlic, and chile paste; stir-fry 15 seconds. Add broth mixture; cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in chicken, water chestnuts, green onion tops, and peanuts; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

The FH and I don't really like the chestnuts so we leave them out. This recipe is pretty versatile. If I don't have one of the ingredients, I just leave it out. Enjoy!

25.5.10

low-carb ricotta crepes

Last month, I spent the night at my friend Ashley's house. She and her husband, Pat, made me delicious low-carb ricotta crepes for breakfast the next morning. Saturday morning, my friend, Alissa, and I made them for breakfast. I didn't use a sugar substitute in mine since I only had regular sugar and I put strawberries (with sugar) on top so I guess mine weren't as low-carb as Ashley's but both ways are very delicious. You can also add a 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cocoa powder to the filling.

LOW-CARB RICOTTA CREPES
makes 3 - 4 crepes

Ingredients

For the Filling:
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
dash ground cinnamon
1 g sugar substitute

For the Crepe:
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 g sugar substitute

1. Beat crepe mix and filling separately until creamy and well blended. (I used my food processor).
2. Spray a small skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Pour crepe mixture into the skillet and cook on medium heat until almost cooked through. Flip the crepe and cook a little bit more.
3. Fill the crepe with the filling and fold.

24.5.10

e-session sneak peak

Raye has posted a few pictures of our e-session on her blog. Go visit them here. Oh and don't forget to leave a comment there either - if she gets 25 comments on our e-session post, the FH and I get a free 16x20 print! Once I get the rest of the pictures, I will definitely post some more here.

Raye is so incredibly talented. She made two silly goobers look pretty good! I highly recommend her to anyone that needs a photographer. She is very chill and we had a lot of fun working with her. I can't wait to meet up with her again after Jamaica for the trash the dress session!

23.5.10

sunday thank you, for crafting

Alissa is one of my bridesmaids. I met Alissa in middle school but we became good friends our junior year of high school. Our relationship is very unique because not only did we experience some of high school together but we also went to college together. We really have become "adults" together.

Alissa and I used to organize craft nights in college. It was a time during the week take a break from schoolwork, de-stress, drink some wine, and be crafty. Friday night and last night we had our own craft night and painted the OOT bags for the wedding guests. I think they turned out great!! We only have a third of the bags to go.

Here are some pictures of us working on them. Sorry you will have to wait for pictures of the bags until later.
Peyton is such a good helper!

20.5.10

going on a picnic

Ever since I was little, I loved the idea of picnics. (Well, I suppose I loved anything involving food.) I loved the idea of a beautiful blanket spread over the grass or sand with oodles of transported food.

The problem in my "adult" life - I can never get anyone to go with me. The FH isn't really one for picnics. Basically, are conversations around picnics go like this:

Me: I want to go on a picnic in the park. Will you go with me?

FH: (Sigh) I guess.

Me: (Excitedly) Ok, I will get stuff ready.

FH: Why would you go through all that trouble? Why don't we just pick some stuff up?

What the FH doesn't seem to understand is that getting all the stuff together is half of the fun for me. But when I actually get him to go, I normally meet him halfway. And what ends up happening when we go to pick-up the food? He convinces me to eat there and sometimes we don't even end up at the park. And then he is confused as to why I have a sad look on my face. TAKE ME ON A PICNIC STUPID!!!! I really get overjoyed by the little things. Come on - give me an hour, a blanket, a basket, and some food.

I have friends visit a lot during the summer since I am close to a few beaches. We normally end up at Assateague, hoping to catch a glimpse of the wild horses. I always pack a light lunch for us - pasta salad, fruit, vegetables, etc but I would love to make it much prettier. I need picnic supplies!


1. The Basket

I don't really like the basket already filled with picnic supplies because they are really expensive and I would rather be able to a little more creative with what I put in there. I love this Avignon Picnic Basket from Crate and Barrel. I think the baskets that have the double flap are the best.

The only problem with this basket is that I would have no where to put it in our townhouse. I am seriously out of room! I guess I will have to wait for this basket until I am in a bigger place. I am really digging this Ascot Collapsible Empty Picnic Basket Cooler that I found at Picnic World. I love the apple green color.

And look how it collapses too!

It would be great for keeping the food cold at the beach and it wouldn't take up much room in the house!

2. Food and Drink

Bento boxes are my new obsession. I really want to get one to bring my lunch to work instead of all these different containers. (I also found that with the containers I have from home, I sometimes pack bigger portions than I need and eat it all while I am working since I am not paying attention. Have you heard of all those people that lost weight when they started using bentos for lunch?) But what is really great is that they have bigger bento boxes for easy transport for picnic food. I love the brightly colored three tier bento boxes from Plastica. So many pretty colors, it is hard to choose. But I guess if I am going to try and match it with my apple green basket, I would choose this one:


I am seriously going to get the two-tier one for my lunches. Maybe in the same colors in case I need extra picnic containers to match?

To transport you homemade sun tea or lemonade, why not use some old juice bottles? Or you can get some of those cute swingtop bottles from Specialty Bottle like this one:
It is funny, my style seems to be a bit more rustic when I am picking out things for my home (we just went registry shopping) but when it comes to my picnic style, I like my things bright and cheery! I love this plastic Sorrento Melamine Dinner Plates from Crate and Barrel, definitely in the green or blue:
And these Acrylic Stacking Double Old-Fashioned Glasses, also from Crate and Barrel:
And of course, not all food is finger food. Why not pick up some of these bamboo utensils from Crate and Barrel:
3. Linens

Of course any old blanket will work. You are pretty lucky if you have one of those waterproof ones. Or if you are going to the beach, why not one of those big square towels? But in trying to be environmentally friendly, try using fabric napkins (notice we don't have any need for plastic baggies and such with all the tools we have above).

Make sure any trash you generate you throw away! Have fun!

18.5.10

diy pearl earrings

So while planning my e-session outfits, I realized I wanted to wear pearl earrings with one of them. And then I realized that even though I had a couple different pairs, I didn't own a pair of simple stud pearls. I didn't exactly have the money to spend on a pair but that didn't stop me from owning a nice pair.

DIY PEARL EARRINGS

Materials
Jewelry Cement (with a fine tip)
Pair of Half Drilled Pearls (I used 6mm)
Pair of Earring Stud Cups with Peg (same size as Pearls)
Piece of Styrofoam

Squeeze a a generous amount of cement on the peg of the ear stud cup. Insert the fine tip of the cement tube into the pearl and squeeze some of the cement inside the pearl. Insert the peg of of the stud cup into the pearl earring. Make sure the pearl is attached, firmly. Stick the back of the stud into the styrofoam to dry. Follow these steps for the other earring and let them dry for at least 48 hours.

Now you have a beautiful pair of pearls!

I used saltwater pearls but freshwater or glass pearls are much less expensive. You can always create earrings this way with other types of beads. I probably made these earrings for under $15 (I forget how much I spent on supplies) while a normal pair of saltwater pearl earrings of this grade would be at least double, probably triple, this.

17.5.10

enza's organic salon

There is an organic salon in Salisbury? Why, yes there is! And a lovely one too!

You can find Enza's in downtown Salisbury on West Main Street. I stumbled across this place during the March Third Friday event downtown and I am so happy I did. I scheduled a haircut with Megan for the following week. I can tell you, as a person with curly hair, it is hard to find someone that can cut curly hair well. Megan did a GREAT job! She brought a lot of bounce back to my curls. I was so happy I immediately scheduled a hair style and make-up application for my engagement pictures.

A couple weeks ago, I got a European Facial with their esthetician, Emily. Not only did my skin feel and look great but it was so relaxing that I fell asleep while she was working on me. Not half asleep - I was ASLEEP! I hope I didn't snore.

Megan did my hair and make-up for our e-session. She did a fabulous job on my hair - it was exactly what I was looking for. We started off taking pictures at the FH's grandfather's house on the water and it was VERY WINDY! My hair held up very well but also blew around naturally (none of the stuck-in-place-with-hairspray look). My make-up looked good too and it didn't even feel like I was wearing any - it was so light! And she said it would stay on very well and it did. (Even after sweating because the FH and I had chase after our dog when she got away during the first part of the e-session.)

And what makes this place even better? All of their products are 100% organic. There will be no putting harsh chemicals in your hair or on your face.

This place isn't super huge so it is much more personal. Everyone there is very nice and I would highly recommend it!

They are also a part of Matter of Trust. Check out the video on their website here. If that doesn't make you want to get your haircut, I don't know what will!

You can also search them on Facebook!

13.5.10

so excited for our e-session!!

Saturday, we are having our e-session with Gillete Portrait Arts. I am so excited!! I am sure the FH could care less. Haha.

We originally were going to do three outfits but the FH and I decided that may be annoying so we are only doing two. We are starting out at the FH's grandfather's house and taking some pictures with our Peyton. Then we are going to change and go to downtown Salisbury. Raye said that there are some cool alleys and storefronts to take pictures in front of.

And it gives me an excuse to splurge and get a manicure and pedicure. What a lovely Friday evening it will be!
Peyton is always ready for her close-up

12.5.10

wedding shoes

I got my wedding shoes in the mail yesterday! They are even prettier than they looked online. I cannot tell you how hard it is to find bright blue evening shoes of some sort for under $100. Online the blue looked a little different and I wasn't crazy about it but it was the best thing I could find. I figured I could always return them.

I took them out of the box yesterday and the color is completely different but I love them! They are kind of like a bright teal. They are very similar to the oasis color of some of my bridesmaids dresses. And they Of course, I can't post a picture because I don't want the FH to see them. (Although I think he kind of saw them because I have them in all their wrapping on the dining room table. Oh well.) Instead I will let you enjoy pictures of other brides with their "something blue."

Kimberlee Miller



Seitz Photography

11.5.10

it's nothing a little dry cleaning won't fix

I found out late last night that I won the free Trash the Dress session from Gillette Portrait Arts!! I was browsing their blog in April and saw the contest. You had to email Raye with your idea of the perfect of a trash the dress session.

Naturally, with my obsession with fall and trees, I told her I would climb trees in my wedding dress and she can help me tear my dress apart if she wants. I used to love playing in the woods as a a kid and this just seemed like it would be so much FUN!! Luckily, we get back from our Jamaican weddingmoon at the end of October - the perfect time to prance around the woods.

I love those fall photo shoots in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and W. You know the ones. Where the models are traipsing around the woods in ridiculously fluffy ball gowns. And then they stop to rest in that forest green velvet chair that just happened to be there. Obsessed! (This is basically the idea I had in my head for the "old" wedding. Remember my colors of chocolate brown, cream, and olive green?)

My dress is kind of summery so I think I will have to "autumnize" it. Maybe a faux fur bolero, a crazy ton of draping pearls, and some cute fall pumps?? I guess I have some time to figure it out.

Here are some pictures from a TTD Raye has done before:



Aren't they beautiful? And here is some "woodsy" TTD inspiration:

Rosc Photography


Nathaniel Edmunds Photography


Jacobus Photography

Choco Studio

Natasha Marshalsea Photography

I am definitely going to have to climb a tree. What does your ideal trash the dress session look like?

10.5.10

lovin me some goop

picture from GOOP's "Get" section

I can't really remember how I found it, but I am officially obsessed with Gwyneth Paltrow's website Goop. It is basically a collection of weekly newsletters from Gwyneth where she shares her recipes, travel notes, and advice.

Of course, my favorite is the "Make" section with sooo many yummy but healthy recipes. Her website also has a "Go," "Get," "Do," "Be," and "See" section. I seriously spent all my free time this weekend reading through past newsletters.

So I am thinking, since Oprah is leaving her show in 2011, we need someone else to tell America what to do. (That statement is half kidding, half not.) After obsessing over this website, I think Mrs. Paltrow would be perfect for the job. What do you think?

PS I know I have been MIA lately. I am really sorry. I have been super duper busy and when I haven't been I am have been too tired for my brain to work. So instead of just rambling on here (since I never do that) I decided to take little break. I still love you though...

4.5.10

bicycle finds on etsy

Ever since I was younger, I have been a little obsessed with photos and drawings of bicycles. It probably stems from the fact that I never learned to ride a bike as a child. My college friends taught me when I was 21 on a cute blue cruiser bike.

I am especially obsessed photos of bicycles in french cities. One of my favorite photos I ever took was of a bike outside a French bookstore. Too bad it was on my Euro phone and I have since misplaced it.

I love typing random words into the search button on etsy and seeing what comes up. Look at all these cool bicycle finds:

This shirt is from darkcycleclothing.

This beautiful watercolor painting is from WatercolorByMuren.

I am pretty sure I need a set of these cards from letterpress.

How cool is this vintage decorative bike from Brockway Betty?