October Goals

a recap of my September Goals

1. Send at least one handwritten card/note each week this month. (Done x4! I adore the art of sending snail mail, and it’s a habit I’ve enjoyed getting into over the last few years.)
2. Plan, coordinate, AND enjoy Leslie’s sure-to-be beautiful and meaningful wedding! (Yes! And it was INCREDIBLE. More on this soon!!)
3. Send out my annual “Fall in DC” to do list, and begin having some autumn fun. (For sure. Lots more fun to come, too!)
4. Volunteer. (Yes! I’m volunteering with my church’s Holiday Show & Expo, which I’ll definitely be sharing more about soon – hooray!)
5. Expand my Etsy shop & continue practicing calligraphy. (Umm whoops. Where oh where did September go?!)
6. Enjoy a trip to Wrightsville Beach with friends. (Done! We had the best time sending out summer together.)
7. Be intentional about my time & balancing it well. (Pretty good – there is only so much time to get everything I want to do done.. but I feel like I managed my month (balancing so many different things) quite well)
octobergoals
 It’s hard to believe it’s October, one of my very favorite months of the year! September was a really good month with lots going on, including travel/vacations nearly every weekend. It was filled with lots of work, one incredible wedding, 5000+ miles on the road, lots of successes, time with dear friends, the start of Fall and all things apple & pumpkin, a brief reunion with my family, and plenty more goodness. October always feels like the start of the holiday season with so much coming up and so much to look forward to… the next three months may inevitably end up being a blur! But I definitely plan to stop as often as possible to savor all of the little (and big) moments of my life, including the changing leaves, the cooler weather, the family and friend I get to visit, the creative projects I’m working on, and everything in between.
October Goals
1. cross many items off of my Fall to-do list & thoroughly enjoy the season
2. calligraphy envelopes for a dear bride’s wedding
3. take a weekend trip to Ohio to visit my four fabulous grandparents
4. be content with where I am in life right now
5. finish reading the New Testament (!!)
6. volunteer on the creative team for my church’s Holiday Show & Expo
7. buy flowers for a friend or family member, just because
8. begin shopping for Christmas gifts
9. spray paint something
Did you make monthly goals? If so, I would love to hear what yours are, so feel free to share!

Emily Maynard’s Wedding

Goodness gracious, you’re in for a treat today! Emily Maynard, of Bachelorette fame, was married recently in a surprise wedding at her now-husband’s family farm in South Carolina. Guests, who thought they were coming to the farm for an engagement party, were surprised with the actual wedding for Emily and her beau Tyler. Can you even imagine?! The result was a stunning, soft, romantic wedding that is pretty jaw-dropping and all-around fabulous! As a longtime Bachelor/Bachelorette fan (yes, my guilty pleasure!), I was especially smitten with all of these breathtakingly beautiful images that Style Me Pretty shared from Corbin Gurkin Photography and even a wedding film from Heart Stone Films. Emily and her sweet daughter Ricki are from Charlotte, my hometown, and I love seeing so much awesome local talent used for this wedding day. Here’s a peek at some of my favorite images and details from the wedding day…

all images via Style Me Pretty from Corbin Gurkin Photography

 

European Wanderlust

Just a few pretty places in Europe I would love to visit! Traveling is one of my passions, though I must admit that I haven’t traveled outside of the US since living in Washington, DC after college. That simply must change soon! I studied abroad in Greece in college (more on that here), and that was probably the best experience of my life. I am working to prioritize traveling abroad into the coming years, as it’s so fun, fulfilling, and brings me so much sheer joy. All of those weddings seem to have gotten in the way since graduating from college, though that’s not a bad thing! As they say, you have three things in life: time, money, and energy. At most every stage of your life, you typically have two of the three, which make traveling abroad easy to do. When I was younger and in college, I had the time and the energy… but not so much money. And now I have the money and the energy, but the time is harder to come by. And someday, I’ll have the time and the money, but not the energy. But that doesn’t have to be true! I want to prioritize my money and my time and my energy so that I can embark upon these adventures, see more of the world and God’s creation, and expand my knowledge. I have such a thirst for traveling, and I’m hoping to really make those dreams happen.. soon!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? What would you do?

Paros, Greece

 

Paros, Greece

Lake Como, Italy.

Lake Como, Italy

london, england.London

Algarve Coast, PortugalAlgarve Coast, Portugal

The Blue Lagoon | IcelandThe Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Paris- La Crêperie

Paris

Bubble Baths

wooden bathtub tray

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Bubble baths seem to be a somewhat polarizing topic, as many people simply love them.. or never take them! I was talking about this over dinner the other day with a friend, and most people tend to have strong feelings either way about bubble baths. I, for one, love bubble baths. Love. I don’t have a proper bath tub here in my home in DC, but you can bet that I take one pretty much as soon as I walk through the door of my parents’ home when I visit them. They can certainly attest for my utter love of a bubble bath, and it doesn’t hurt that they have a spacious Jacuzzi tub, too. I try not to take one every night when I’m visiting home, since I promise I’m not in town for a bath.. but I definitely indulge in a few! I love turning on the surround sound music (especially at Christmas, of course), bringing a glass of wine with me, being sure there are plenty of scented bubbles, and enjoying a good book. There’s not much better, or more restorative, to me than a luxurious bubble bath. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t have the opportunity, yet, to take one daily… plus it makes them all the more a treat. It’s true, I adore a good bubble bath.

However, my mom hates baths… and several friends are also in the same camp. Astonishing. For a variety of reasons, they just don’t enjoy baths! For so many people I’ve talked to, they all seem to be squarely for or against taking bubble baths. I’d love to hear your thoughts.. how do you feel about a bubble bath? And, more importantly, why? If you love bubble baths, what makes it a perfect experience for you?

Recipe | Apple, Sausage, & Onion Pizza

pizza

 

The other evening, I had the overwhelming urge to cook. That might sound like a silly urge to have, but it’s true! With so many back to back to back weekends of traveling and then endless weeknight plans and activities (all of them fun!), I realized that I hadn’t actually cooked a full meal in about a month. And that’s sad! I love to cook and be in the kitchen, but, as trite as it may sound, I just hadn’t had the time lately. I can’t complain about all of the exciting weekend travels and the fun weeknights after work, but I was missing time in the kitchen and time to just be. After a little thought, as I rarely ever cancel plans, I kindly asked my friend if I could take a rain check on Monday night’s happy hour plans. Then I headed home – straight after work! what a novel idea! – to run to the grocery store (since I hadn’t been in way too long), go for a beautiful evening run, and settle into the kitchen for a Fall-inspired meal, made from (mostly) scratch. My September issue of Southern Living had a few dog-eared recipes, and that was just the inspiration I needed to settle on a little dinner menu.

Southern Living’s apple flatbread served as my main inspiration for a pizza/flatbread main dish, but I tweaked it to make it perfect for me – and for leftovers for lunches at work throughout the week. Trader Joe’s frozen naan is often an ideal solution (with four frozen naan), as it serves as the perfect base and is already portioned out. A ricotta base and topping of caramelized onions, sliced apples, and chicken and apple sausage were the perfect accompaniments, and the flavors melded together seamlessly. I also had been craving arugula lately, which is typically one of my least favorite salad greens. I think my mind has been changed, though, after enjoying a simple arugula & shaved parmesan cheese side salad with a delicious homemade vinaigrette I improvised (which is not hard to do, promise!). I topped off my chicken-apple-sausage and apple and caramelized onion pizza and arugula salad with a crisp white wine from Greece that my sweet sister gave me. It was the perfect evening to be in the kitchen, prepare my ingredients, let time pass by slowly, and savor a fantastic meal on a beautiful early Fall evening.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, as it was simply marvelous, quite inexpensive, and seriously easy to make. Enjoy!

Apple, Chicken Sausage, & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Ingredients:

four pieces of naan

1 package of chicken and apple sausage, sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 apples, thinly sliced

1 lemon

1 container of ricotta

salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, to taste

Directions:

Thinly slice up the red onion, and caramelize it on the stove. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Juice one lemon, and add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to ricotta cheese, stir. Lightly brown sliced chicken and apple sausage in a separate pan from onions. Thinly slice up apples. Bake naan (plain with no toppings yet) in 400 degree oven for two minutes. Once onions and sausage are cooked, begin assembling your pizza. Top each naan with about two dollops of the ricotta mixture, and spread evenly. Then add your caramelized onion, chicken and apple sausage, and apple slices evenly to each pizza. Once assembled, bake for two minutes and then broil for one minute. Yum!

Fall To Do List 2014

fall to do

 

  • annual all-things-pumpkin-and-apple day
  • go apple picking
  • visit a pumpkin patch or two
  • host a chili & cornbread dinner party
  • attend the infamous Mount Vernon Fall Wine & Sunset Tour
  • go to an Oktoberfest
  • Taste of DC
  • visit a winery and a cidery
  • go hiking at Great Falls
  • make “thankful” treats for friends for Thanksgiving
  • bake an apple or pumpkin recipe from Southern Living
  • see the fall foliage from the mountains
  • visit Charlottesville for a fall-filled weekend

Fall is, for sure, one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love summertime and all of the activities that accompany it, but there’s something to be said about all the autumn offers. The beginning of each new season brings plenty of excitement and anticipation, and I must admit that I’m very much looking forward to what this Fall will bring. It’s my sixth (what?!) Fall in Washington, DC, and I’ve found plenty of gems each season. I could have an endless to-do list for each season, but there’s only so much time to accomplish everything I want to. So here are some of my tried and true activities and adventures to thoroughly celebrate the season.. and a few new goodies to enjoy, too! Traditions are such a meaningful part of my life, and even though all of these traditions are with my friends (or, affectionately, my “DC family”), they’re still incredibly special to me. I love having an annual all-things-pumpkin-and-apple day tradition with my dearest friends… and it’s so cool to see the new additions to the outing every year (and the losses with those who have moved away, unfortunately!) and to embrace this season of our lives.

What are you most looking forward to about Fall? Do you have any favorite traditions? I would love to hear… I’m always looking to add new things to my seasonal to-do lists!

PS: last year’s Fall to-do list!

 

Wedding | Mellow Yellow

Growing up, yellow was my favorite color (my mom’s, too!), and I used to say that in my future wedding, my bridesmaids would wear yellow dresses. While I don’t think that will quite be the case (whenever that time comes), I still have a deep affinity for yellow. It’s the color of happiness & joy & cheerfulness, all qualities I admire greatly and try to emulate daily. Yellow exudes warmth and is, of course, the color of sunshine. I love seeing yellow incorporated into wedding designs, and seeing it just makes me smile. Here are some favorite yellow inspiration images from some beautiful weddings…inspiration | outdoor Wedding with yellow flowering trees | via: style me pretty

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sparkly gorgeous gown

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honey wedding favors | photo by This Love of Yours | 100 Layer Cake

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meyer lemon macarons - top view

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Plus, how delectable do those meyer lemon macarons look? I’m also more than a little smitten with the blooms featured here & the loose styling and colors incorporated!