Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cheerful


I must confess, weekends probably won't be very glamorous in the next few months (truly, are they ever?). I'm working on a big project and two unstructured days each week means lots of time to devote to my undertaking. But I promise to do my best to keep things interesting–I have tickets to the opera and an appointment at a local bridal shop to see my favorite dress next weekend !
 
On Friday night, I headed home and straight into the waiting arms of my guy–Indian food was on the way, a bottle of my favorite French apple cider was chilling and the foggy weather promised us a perfect evening. After a curried feast and a few episodes of Masters of Sex, we tumbled off to bed excited for one well-deserved long weekend.

We were up early on Saturday, and while I cleaned out my inbox, John was crafting a fabulous breakfast he delivered to me in bed. Avocado toast topped with a poached egg and some roasted fingerling potatoes proclaimed that the weekend had truly arrived, and we clinked our teacups before diving into a day full of favorite projects, with John at the guitar and me at my computer. When I'm engrossed in something, I can easily spend all day reading, writing and thinking, which is precisely what Saturday was devoted to–along with a bit of yoga and a light lunch. John ducked out that evening for supplies, and when he returned home, everything was ready for an impromptu date night. We sipped cocktails, noshed on pâté and cheeses, and let Bebel Gilberto provide the perfect soundtrack to our cozy evening.

Sunday started much the same way, though Gruyère omelettes were on the menu instead. I pulled out my notebooks, favorite sticky tabs and brightest highlighters while John worked through logistics for an upcoming trip to Buffalo, NY. He dashed out for an afternoon run while I met up with an old grad school pal to talk weddings over a glass of rosé at Outerlands, and soon we were ready for an early supper. We made a big trip to our favorite grocery store, then headed home to enjoy simple turkey, swiss and avocado sandwiches as the sun set. We curled up with Funny Face, one of my favorite films (which John had never seen) while a loaf of banana bread baked in the oven, and as we fell asleep, we remembered giddily that there was still one more "weekend" day left!

I had us up even earlier on Monday morning to keep us on our usual schedule. Banana bread and a cup of spiced tea made for a perfect breakfast, and while John practiced scales, I curled up with my laptop and the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. I spent the majority of the day with a book in my lap, but a bit of sunshine is good for the soul, and so I did get out a bit. That evening, we hosted a friend for dinner, and served a Spanish-inspired menu: Marcona almonds, olives and cheeses with Sherry and Campari cocktails to start, following by a spicy tortilla española and a big pile of greens. We washed it all down with a bottle of rosé–the perfect wine to toast the end of summer with.


Tell me, what were you up to this holiday weekend? Poolside cocktails, beach-side barbeques or perhaps attending a wedding or two? I want to hear all about it!
 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day


Enjoying one more quiet morning by the sea–hope you've all been having a beautiful weekend, and see you tomorrow!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Mid-Morning Fizz


Inspired by the classic Ramos Gin Fizz, this light, complex cocktail pairs beautifully with brunch dishes–and will have your weekend guests asking for the recipe!


Mid-Morning Fizz

1 3/4 oz gin
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 oz syrup
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
5 drops orange blossom water
1 egg white
soda water 

Combine gin, lemon juice, syrup, Chartreuse, orange blossom water and egg white in a shaker. Shake vigorously without ice for 10 seconds, then add ice and shake vigorously for an additional 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled Collins glass filled with ice, then top with soda and garnish with an orange wheel.

Notes: An unobtrusive gin, like Plymouth or St George's Botanivore, will bring together the other ingredients will aplomb. There are inexpensive bottles of Chartreuse to be found, but the good stuff is well worth the higher price tag, and is one of gin's best partners. Cheers!
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coles and Mark

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield
 Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Azalea cocktails at a classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Champagne at a classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

Classic Georgia wedding designed by Tara Guérard Soirée and captured by Liz Banfield

When Coles and Mark decided to tie the knot, the bride's parents' home was an irresistible location for their fabulous Southern fête. With the help of the event design and planning team at Tara Guérard Soirée, the couple's garden wedding, inspired by the colors of hydrangea blossoms on the lawn of the turn-of-the-century Georgian estate, was a smashing success! The Lettered Olive provided save the dates, along with programs, tags for favors and welcome bag goodies, and charming signs, but a classic calligraphy invitation from The Paper Lady set the stage for a picture perfect summer wedding.

Coles chose an elegant lace Anna Maier A-line gown and a simple chapel-length veil; a diamond tennis bracelet, simple studs and a low chignon were perfect accessories for her wedding day. Bridesmaids wore blue chiffon gowns with a single ruffled strap by Amsale and carried diminutive versions of Coles' white rose and peony bouquet. Mark and his groomsmen made a bold statement in white dinner jackets and classic black bow ties.

The Augusta Symphony Orchestra played Bach and Handel as five hundred guests gathered to witness Coles and Mark exchange their vows. After the ceremony, the family's silver service was used to present hors d'oeuvres and Azalea cocktails in honor of the nearby Augusta National Golf Course, and hanging candles led guests to dinner and dancing, where Carolina quail, shrimp and grits, beef tenderloin, crab cakes, grilled lamb chops and pan seared sea scallops by Aberdeen Catery were served. The newlyweds cut a rug with the Atlanta Party Band before cutting into their six-tier cake by Jim Smeal, featuring dozens of delicate handmade sugar flowers. As the night grew long, hot pretzels and fresh donuts were served, and thanks to Tara Guérard Soirée, it was a night no one is soon to forget!


Of course, there's no chance of forgetting the loveliness captured by Liz Banfield; many thanks to her and the team at Tara Guérard Soirée for sharing these gorgeous images! Tell me, what's your favorite photo or detail from this Southern celebration?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vibrant


The perfect "something blue", don't you think?


Image by Jen Philips Photography, satin "Salsa" peep toe by Badgley Mischka.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hand-Tied


What a weekend! I'm still on Cloud 9, but I suppose that all heavenly things must come to an end, and at least I get to relive it by sharing our activities with all of you!

Friday was actually a very challenging day, professionally and personally for both of us, and so when some coworkers suggested grabbing a stiff drink after our company-wide Friday meeting, I couldn't say no. We sipped bourbon-based cocktails at Hard Water, and John came to meet us after a long last day at the distillery; he's decided to leave in order to pursuit guitar full-time, an endeavor I could not be more excited (or proud) of! We headed home exhausted and not a little drained, but there are few things that late-night Indian food can't fix, or at least improve. By the time we tumbled into bed with an episode of Frasier, things were looking up.

We set an early alarm on Saturday morning, because John had quite the day planned. While he prepped for a tiki-themed extravaganza at our apartment that evening, he sent me and two of my best girlfriends off to Indian Springs in Calistoga for massages and a blissful afternoon by their mineral pools. He even packed us each a sweet picnic, and as I reclined on a chaise reading my latest book, I felt like the luckiest girl on Earth. We got home before any of the other guests arrived, and after pulling out coconut bras, grass skirts and plenty of hot pink, we were ready for our first round of piña coladas! Laura had curated a fabulous tiki-inspired playlist, and each new visitor was greeted with a lei and a coconut cup. There was a pupu platter full of fried goodies, my favorite avocado-cucumber rolls and and perfectly kitschy coconut cake from Miette, but the lot of us singing "Mele Kalikimaka" with ukelele accompaniment (it helps to have a lot of musical friends) was definitely a high point of the evening. After everyone had had their fill of rum and sugar, John and I quickly cleaned house and blissfully crawled into bed. 

We did have an early morning interruption better known as a 6.1 earthquake; we were dazed and perfectly fine, but surprised to wake up later and discover that parts of California had sustained so much damage. After an unexpectedly bumpy beginning, Sunday was simply beautiful–we made our favorite breakfast and watched an episode or two of Fraiser while John applied aloe vera to my pink skin before doing a deep clean of the apartment–because after all, rum and pineapple juice aren't exactly natural cleaning agents. Then we settled in with our respective projects for a peaceful and productive Sunday. Amid a flurry of highlighter underlining and Post-It tabbing, John memorized a new piece and I recovered my temporarily misplaced mobile phone. We took a late afternoon trip to the grocery store for supplies and wound up having a deep conversation about the future, short and long term, before indulging in a little exercise before supper. The warm weather and clear skies made pesto an irresistible choice, and we enjoyed our bowls up on the roof as our wonderful weekend drew to a close.


Tell me, what were you up to this weekend? Did you explore a new place, indulge in some "back to school" shopping or spend time with your dearest pals? I want to hear all about it!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Ginger Mint Margarita


A bit of ginger and a hint of mint infuse a classic margarita with a little kick–just what you need for a lazy summer weekend!


Ginger Mint Margarita

1 oz tequila
1/2 oz orange liqueur
1/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
2 1/4" thick slices of peeled ginger
mint leaves
ginger beer

In a shaker, gently muddle ginger slices and mint with tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. Add ice and shake briefly. Pour into a highball glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a freshly slapped sprig of mint.  


Notes: While Martha's recipe calls for silver tequila, I'd be happy using a gently aged reposado in this summer sipper. Feel free to use whatever orange liqueur, including Cointreau, curacao or Grand Marnier, you have on hand, but definitely find a spicy ginger beer to play up the gentle heat of this margarita. Cheers!




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Romantic


This week I'm loving long birthday dinners at cozy French bistros (and a bottle of Champagne to wash them down with), loads of lovely flowers from sweet friends and a whole lot of classic celebrations! Tell me, what are you loving this week? 


This elegant autumn in New York fête captured by Trent Bailey and featured on Snippet & Ink has me eagerly awaiting the first crunch of fall leaves.

Fewer venues are more classic than a country club, and this black-tie wedding captured by Emilia Jane Photography will have you pulling out your best evening dress.

This wine country wedding by Carli Statsky Photography and featured on Utterly Engaged has what you what–namely Vera Wang, The Carneros Inn and the perfect marriage of rustic and elegant elements.


Image by Byron Loves Fawn, bouquet by Manning Florist.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Julie and Brian





























 





When your groom's family has a beautiful estate in Rutherford, why would you tie the knot anyplace else? The couple was inspired by Gosford Park, Downton Abbey and fabulous high society fêtes, and worked with the team at Lyndsey Hamilton Events to create a scene straight from their favorite British novels. Ivory and brown invitations with a woodland theme from Sugar Paper set the tone for this elegant late-summer affair.

Julie wore a statuesque Vera Wang gown and embellished Valentino sandals, and carried a classic bouquet of white roses with sage and dusty miller by Sharla Flock Designs. Julie's attendants wore spectacular printed gowns, while Brian and his groomsmen wore classic black tie.

After exchanging their vows and Cartier bands before double doors flanked by magnolia leaf garlands, the newlyweds and their guests headed to the lawn for Champagne by the pool. Dinner was served in the bosque, where antique books, taxidermied woodland creatures and white arrangements in silver vessels by Sharla Flock Designs decorated the long tables and lanterns hung from sycamore trees. Vintage Parisian postcards served as place cards, and the bride's French heritage inspired the Paula LeDuc menu, from oysters served with Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé to a fabulous croquembouche just like the one served at the bride's parents' wedding. After dinner, dancing and a quick change for the bride into an Alexander Wang cocktail dress, guests gathered around fire pits for a nightcap before heading home with English breakfast tea from LAMILL, treats from Bouchon Bakery and memories of one spectacular evening captured by the team at Docuvitae!


Tell me, what's your favorite detail of this fabulous fête? I'm partial to all those gorgeous magnolia leaves and beautiful white blooms!
09 10