Monday, April 20, 2015
With less than two weeks before the big day, there are favor bags to fill, pink lipsticks to purchase and the small matter of writing our vows. So I'm going to sign off for a bit – but don't worry, I'll be back soon with a snapshot or two to share! I can't wait to tell you all about the big day, but in the meantime, thank you for following along for all these years! xoxo
Friday, April 17, 2015
We picked our wedding cocktails in a taste test a few weekends ago, but I would add this tiki Champagne libation to the list in a heartbeat – there are few things I love more, after all, than pineapple, coconut and bubbly. And best of all, it's perfect for drinking morning, noon and night!
The Foaming Pineapple
4 oz white rum
3 tbsp coconut cream
8 oz chilled pineapple juice
3 dashes bitters
freshly ground nutmeg for garnish
Combine rum, coconut cream, pineapple and bitters in a blender; blend until well combined. Pour 3 oz into 4-6 coupes and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Notes: Elana of Stir & Strain, the clever creature behind this cocktail recipe, suggests using 5 pineapple juice cubes rather than well-chilled pineapple juice for a slightly thicker cocktail, but no matter which way you go, I can't imagine you'd be disappointed. I adore Barbancourt's white rhum (which is why we seem to be perpetually out of it at home), but you could safely use a number of white rums in this tropical cocktail. Cheers!
Image and Recipe from Stir & Strain.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
This week I'm loving how gracefully John shot down an errant +1, a glass of rosé at the end of a long day, and lots of lovely inspiration to carry me to the finish line on our big day! Tell me, what are you loving this week?
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
After a quiet lakeside proposal, Hana and Alec planned an intimate, personal celebration in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. The Vanlandingham Estate was the ideal location for their wedding, hosting not only the ceremony and the reception, but the couple's entire guest list for the weekend.
Hana wore J.Crew's silk chiffon "Heidi" gown with lace added at the sleeves and neckline. Nude patent leather sandals and simple studs completed her bridal look, and she carried a lush bouquet of ivory and blush roses by florist The Blossom Shop. Her bridesmaids wore blush silk chiffon gowns from ML Monique Lhuillier, and carried petite versions of Hana's romantic bouquet, while Alec and his groomsmen wore classic Brooks Brothers' tuxedos.
After a ceremony on the lush lawn of the Vanlandingham Estate, the newlyweds and their guests strolled to the tented reception on the grounds. The cool spring evening and the twinkling lights hung above were the perfect canvas for the couple's classic reception. After a spin on the dance floor (the couple hired a bluegrass band), a glass of Champagne and a slice of buttercream-frosted chocolate chip cake from Ella's Celestial Cakes was the sweetest imaginable end to this lovely Southern celebration.
Many, many thanks to Landon Jacob for sharing these stunning images with me. I'm partial to the portrait of Hana holding the magnolia, but I'm dying to know which details are your favorite!
Monday, April 13, 2015
With less than three weeks until our big day, I'm doing my best to remain calm and collected. Though there was a moment this week when I was doing my third cardio workout in as many days while whitening my teeth, and I suddenly thought, "So this is what it means to be a bride..."
Our best buddy's birthday was Friday, along with my Mama's, and after a very full but rewarding week at work, I dashed over to Cask to pick up an appropriate gift before heading to their apartment. John was already there, and we got to meet one of our best pal's best pals from back home over wine and cheese. After polishing off a few bottles, we strolled just down the street to Lers Ros for spicy Thai food and ice cold beers before settling in at one of Amsterdam's sidewalk tables for a few more drinks. Around midnight I basically scooped John up and took him home; his eyes were starting to close, and I realized we're only 20-somethings in age these days.
I was up early the next morning, but in no rush to leap out of bed to start making breakfast. I let John quietly nurse his hangover before we headed to our favorite grocery store with a thorough shopping list. We grabbed everything we needed for Saturday morning pancakes (along with the rest of the week) and strolled over to Hollow for his & hers caffeinated drinks before headed home to cook up some old-fashioned flapjacks. I'd insisted on a bottle of Grade B maple syrup, and drizzled over over pancakes with strawberries and bananas, we were in total breakfast heaven. After putting the house away and opening up all the windows wide, we both got down to work. I dashed out for a bit to check out an open house for a work event I'm planning, and before we knew it, it was time to put on our best for the ballet. I'd scored lovely seats for San Francisco Ballet's Shostakovich Trilogy choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, and at dinner at Papito with the ballet librarian before the show, we got the dish on the performance. It was an absolutely fabulous evening of dance, we ran into friends not once but twice during the intermissions, and best of all, we were home before 11!
We were up early the next morning and while John roasted potatoes and poached eggs for my favorite weekend breakfast, I checked email and a few other things off my list. After breakfast, we got into our usual routine – practice for John and a run in the afternoon, reading and writing for me with a midday break for some Ballet Beautiful. We braised chickpeas in a rosemary-tomato sauce, and covered them with a bit of burrata for supper, which we ate up on the roof with the last of a bottle of rosé. And if we hadn't had enough ballet already, that evening we cozied up with the Royal Ballet's production of Firebird and Les Noces for our second dose of Soviet composers. It may not have been everyone's perfect weekend, but it was certainly ours!
But tell me, what were you up to this weekend? Grabbing brunch at a new restaurant with your best pals, tackling a big DIY project or seeing a fabulous show, perhaps?
Friday, April 10, 2015
Charles H. Baker Jr, my favorite dilettante and day drunk, introduced the world to many fabulous cocktails (and if you recall the coconut-cachaça incident, a handful of stinkers). The Mexican Firing Squad Special is one you won't regret trying, though you may find it difficult to stop sampling it.
Mexican Firing Squad Special
2 oz tequila
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz grenadine
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Notes: We use reposado tequila in all our at-home recipes, but a blanco tequila would be lovely here as well. Do your best to find high-quality grenadine, and if all there is is Rose's, try a pomegranate syrup instead. Cheers!
Thursday, April 9, 2015
All stripes and modern calligraphy, Yes Ma'am's classic suite is paper I can totally get behind. Other things I'm loving this week include the last weeks of wedding planning, big summer salads and glasses of rosé at dinner, and these lovely celebrations! Tell me, what are you loving this week?
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
I can't resist a classic, and Heather & Robert's Chapel Hill celebration was precisely that. But lest you think this wedding was all tradition and timelessness, I love the healthy doses of modern thrown in, too – the studded pumps the bride wore and the Magpie Paper Works font featured on the Bella Figura letterpressed invitations are proof positive that a classic wedding can still feel fresh and contemporary.
The bride wore a stunning Carolina Herrera gown, and wisely kept the rest of her look simple with a low chignon, drop pearl earrings and a pair of studded Valentino kitten heels. A structured bouquet of white peonies, hydrangeas and calla lilies by Watered Garden Florist was a perfectly appointed final touch. Heather's attendants wore long black gowns of their choosing paired with white and pink peonies posies, while Robert and his groomsmen looked dapper in black tie.
After exchanging their wedding vows in a traditional ceremony at the University Presbyterian Church, the newlyweds and their guests headed to their reception, a tented backyard fête at a private residence in Chapel Hill. Watered Garden had installed a spectacular magnolia wreath chandeliers above the classic black & white tile dance floor, and after dinner, the Sleeping Booty Band got everyone cutting a rug. A slice of buttercream-frosted cake from Cinda's Creative Cakes and a glass of Champagne was the perfect sweet ending to a classic celebration.
If it were me, I'd probably frame every gorgeous image Graham Terhune captured – but tell me, what's your favorite detail or photograph from this Southern fête?
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Flock to ballet-inspired details like these fabulous feathered sandals!
What do you think – too whimsical, or perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime day?
Monday, April 6, 2015
On Friday afternoon, I took off a little early and met John downtown to check some to-dos off our wedding list. I wasn't sure he'd make it past the first stop at Sur La Table, but John kept up in a big way, and by 6 o'clock, we'd managed to accomplish everything on the agenda! Strolling back to the car, I tugged John down an alleyway for a celebratory cocktail at The Cavalier before we headed back to our own neighborhood for our favorite Friday night ritual – Indian food! We sampled the goat cheese naan and devoured our favorite curries, and tumbled into bed earlier than we had all week. It felt glorious to curl up with a documentary and spend not one moment thinking about tomorrow's agenda.
On Saturday, John and I woke up early and he bounded out of bed for a run. We threw our clothes on to be the first in line at Hollow for coffee, chai and empanadas, and spent the morning browsing their sister store, Dandy, for gifts. Then I dropped John off at home and spent the next few hours working away from one of my favorite, sun-filled spots. I returned home to find John ready for a nap, and I was happy to curl up next to him with my laptop. After his repose, we both spent some time practicing our French (come to think of it, we should really be practicing our Spanish...) before deciding on dinner. We made a run to the grocery store, and while there, John was inspired to bake a coconut cake to bring with us to Easter dinner. We served rosemary-tomato braised chickpeas over toasted French bread with burrata before getting down to the business of baking. Nearly three hours and one spat later, covered in butter and shredded coconut, we had a beautiful petite coconut cake perfectly suited to its little white cake stand. After the challenges the evening had presented, we decided to curl up and watch other people, namely Anthony Bourdain, eat food cooked in professional kitchens.
John let me sleep in on Sunday morning and surprised me with breakfast in bed delivered on his & hers trays. After poached eggs over avocado toast and roasted potatoes, we both got to our projects for the day – John at the guitar, me at my laptop. That afternoon after our workouts, we got cleaned up, put on our Easter best (vintage Lilly Pulitzer and cashmere cable knit for me, blue seersucker for John) and headed downtown to our friend's home for a beautiful meal. One of our best bud's been in Europe since the new year, and seeing him again after so many months was simply wonderful. There were bottles of rosé, Sauvignon blanc, and samplings of beautiful eau de vies from our favorite distilleries, but nothing beat the laughter around the table. We came home that night feeling so thankful for our community, and there's no better way to end a weekend than that.
Tell me, what were you up to this weekend? Were you celebrating with family and friends, perhaps, or taking advantage of the warming weather to spend time outdoors?
Friday, April 3, 2015
Rhubarb season is upon us–I've seen it popping up on grocery store shelves and in strawberry treats more and more over the last few weeks. I can't imagine better time to combine rhubarb with a bit of bubbly for a truly lovely spring cocktail, perfect for a celebratory brunch this weekend!
1 - 2 oz rhubarb syrup
1 sprig mint
In a saucepan, combine 4 stalks of roughly copped rhubarb with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is slightly broken down. Once syrupy, remove from heat and add mint sprig. Let sit for 1 minute, then strain and cool. Add 1 to 2 oz rhubarb syrup to taste to a Champagne flute, then top with sparkling wine.
Notes: This rhubarb-mint syrup would also be lovely with club soda or as a sweetener in a springtime margarita. Cheers!
Thursday, April 2, 2015
This week I'm planning my wedding activity outfits (we're hosting a welcome party the day before and a birthday barbecue the day after!), crossing item after item off my to-do list, and discovering that the last few weeks of planning are the most intense, but also feel the easiest! Tell me, what are you loving this week?