Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wedding Jewlery

I ended up making my bridal jewelry, but that's not to say I didn't spend hours searching for the perfect items. I came very close to finding the perfect earrings at Jenerations. They didn't end up working with my dress, but I still covet them.

Fresh water pearl and swarovski crystal earrings ($53)

An the matching Lariat ($66)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Que Stein stationary, invitations... you name it!

I have been obsessed with paper from a young age. I vividly remember sitting on the playground in third grade (Mrs. Novak's class) trading sheets of note paper with my classmates. We collected single sheets of intricately designed paper and kept them in little shoe boxes.

My tastes have moved on to much more expensive paper (along with everything else!), and I adore Que Stein Company for notecards, thank yous, and gorgeous white heavy stock cards with matching envelopes for printing at home.

Choose from a myriad of colors for each design. I love the sophisticated Dinah Collection above.

Buy this: Lavana Shurtliff

A few years ago, I met Lavana Shurtliff and her partner at the Harrisburg arts and craft fair. I immediately fell in love with her handmade, glass blown jewelry and her delicate pearl necklaces. The colors just popped out at me. I bought a pair of fantastic pink earrings, which I now wear all the time and get a ton a TON of compliments on. My husband doesn't know I'm saving up for this necklace (cha-ching$$).

Monday, September 24, 2007

The filming has started!

Thanks to People's Star Tracks for this simply adorable photograph of the ladies on their first day on the Sex in the City movie set. I am loving Samantha in red!

Favors for the Candy Obsessed

I saw these great lollipops at Dylan's in NYC recently, and I couldn't help put think what a fun favor these would be at a wedding. A throwback to the days of our youth ... I, for one, remember begging for them at candy stores and state fairs.

Attach a little tag that reads: "Suckers for love" and stand the lollipops up in a low container of sand or grass. I think you can even order these in coordinating wedding colors!

Read This: Tender at the Bone

My mother recommended this last weekend, and I finished it in a matter of days. I couldn't put it down, and I can't wait to make some recipes from it!

Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
By Ruth Reichl

New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl shares lessons learned at the hands (and kitchen counters) of family members and friends throughout her life, from growing up with her taste-blind mother to the comfort of cream puffs while away at boarding school on "Mars" (Montreal seemed just as far away) to her most memorable meal, taken on a mountainside in Greece.
Her stories shine with the voices and recipes of those she has encountered on the way, such as her Aunt Birdie's maid and companion, Alice, who first taught Reichl both the power of cooking and how to make perfect apple dumplings; the family's mysterious patrician housekeeper, Mrs. Peavey, who always remembered to make extra pastry for the beef Wellington; Serafina, the college roommate with whom Reichl explored a time of protest and political and personal discovery; and, finally, cookbook author Marion Cunningham, who, after tales of her midlife struggles and transformation, gave Reichl the strength to overcome her own anxieties.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A few changes

Forgive the clutter today. I'm going to be working on a few aesthetic changes to the blog - the pink background was consistently making me think of pepto-bismol, in spite of my pink obsession. Now that the wedding is over (boo hoo hoo), I'm also trying to cut back (just a bit!) on the pink and brown obsession (before it takes over my entire life). So, thank you for your patience. Be patient with my technological ineptitude. More soon!

Recipe du jour: Artichoke, Spinach, Brie and Crab Dip

I'll post pictures once the mixture is completed. In the meantime, how delish does this look!?

Artichoke, Spinach, Brie and Crab Dip
(the world will be a better place...)
  • 1 medium leek (white part only)
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup drained canned artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 pound Brie
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Riesling or other medium-dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
    Accompaniment: toasted thin baguette slices

Preheat oven to 425°F and lightly oil an 11-inch gratin or other shallow baking dish (about 6-cup).

Trim and finely chop leek. In a large bowl of water wash leek well and lift from water into a large sieve to drain. Finely chop onion. Rinse and finely chop artichoke hearts. Squeeze dry and finely chop spinach. Discard rind from Brie and cut into 1/4-inch pieces.

In a heavy skillet cook leek, onion, and garlic in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden and stir in artichoke hearts and spinach. Add wine and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Add Brie, stirring until it just begins to melt. Remove skillet from heat and stir herbs into mixture.

Pick over crab meat. In a large bowl stir together crab meat, mustard, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste and stir in cheese mixture. Spread mixture evenly in baking dish and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.

Serve dip hot with toasts. Makes 6 to 8 hors d'oeuvre or first-course servings.

{Source: Gourmet, 1998)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Buy this: Three Potato Four

I was excited to see Three Potato Four included on the Hostess Blog this week! I'm completely in love with the CafeMug Trees (for $18) and a friend suggested placing a little chocolate chip cookie in the snack dish (over your cup of hot coffee) to make it perfectly melty before indulging. The mug says, "We love the four seasons in our forest..."

The site also sells Philly's own Nantaka Joy products, including these beautiful notebooks (for $12 each).
And, if I had the money and was the owner of the gorgeous studio that I blogged about below, I would invest in this coffee table: Handcrafted wood (pine) coffee table with glass-top and recessed vintage letterpress drawers for display (for $550).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Buy this...Shop Heidi

I'm all about organized living right now, decluttering and reducing my piles. This would be a perfect purchase for me, and for anyone else who collects and hoards wrapping paraphernalia. For $21.99 at Shop Heidi!

The spice of life

Garam masala is a blend of ground spices common in the Indian cuisine, whose literal meaning is 'hot (or warm) spice'. There are many variants: most traditional mixes use just cinnamon, roasted cumin, cloves, nutmeg (and/or mace) and green cardamom seed or black cardamom pods.

My mother has been singing its praises for some time now, but last night I discovered for myself why she is addicted. I added a smidgen to some homemade chili right before serving it to the husband, and it took my dish to an entirely new dimension!

Here is the recipe for the spicy concoction, should you want to make it at home with ingredients already in your cabinet!

  • 4 tbsps coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
  • 1 ½ tsps dry ginger
  • ¾ tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)
  • ¾ tsp cloves
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
  • ¾ tsp crushed bay leaves

Dry-cleaning that dress

I, for one, plan on wearing it on my one-year anniversary, eating frozen cake and drinking champagne; but I'd love for the sweat stains and leaves to be pulled out of it before I wear it again! For that, I'm relying on Wed Clean, an easy as pie service which dry cleans and preserves your beauty. For as little as $130 you can have your dress immaculate and ready to wear again/sell. Just place the dress in the box they have provided, send back to the company, and shortly you'll receive your gown back in mint condition.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Amy Butler

This post was originally going to gush over Amy Butler's fabulous products - purses, notebooks, stationary, etc. - until I discovered her Web site and the photos of her workshop.

I promise you, her Web site is WORTH a nice chunk of your Friday time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My dorky confession

So, I'm still kind of new to the blog world, and I get very excited when someone "famous" comments on or views my blog. So, with that said, I'm sending a public shout out today to a few blogs!
  • Liene at Blue Orchid Designs {Quite simply, I think we would be great friends if we met. Oh, I flatter myself, but in all sincerity, her blog is fabulous, well written, unique and a great daily read.}
  • Natalie Moser Photography {She looks like such fun and her pictures are colorful and abso-freekin-lutely beautiful!}
  • And a belated shout-out to Perfect Bound {I've started spending WAY too much money on magazines as a result of this blog :) }

Tasting Club

{Source: Crate and Barrel.}

Some may call them "Supper Clubs", we've chosen to call ours the "Tasting Club"... Inspired by a book we received for our wedding, along with some fabulous gifts and insanely talented friends, MW and I have decided to start a monthly food club. Each month we'll meet at a different club member's house for an evening of amazing food and drink. Couples will rotate between preparing the following items for the get-togethers: Appetizers, specialty drinks, entrees, desserts. The host each month will choose the theme!

This month we're going with a Harvest theme, and MW and I are playing host. I'll begin exploring recipes tonight (and will surely become quickly engrossed). In the meantime, I'm fantasizing about food presentation and decorations!
{Source: Quadrato serving dishes.}

{Source: Pottery Barn Springwood mingling plate.}

{Source: Plum Party}

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Inspirations for fall...

It's dreary and rainy in Philly today, and I can't help but think about fires in the fireplace, butternut squash soup, pulling the sweaters out of storage, and wedding inspirations for fall. Here are a few that I've recently uncovered:

{Sources: Natalie Moser; Rania Catering; The Knot; Lindsay Hale Photography; Jcrew}

I love all of JCrew's new dresses and can't wait to have the excuse to buy one (or two). I'm also loving the use of raffia, for wrapping presents, favors, tying napkins, decorating votives.

Buy this: New Ipod!

Goodbye pink. Hello Sea Green! I think I'm in love:

Monday, September 10, 2007

New discovery...

Every once in a while I stumble upon a blog that I know will quickly become a daily obsession. Today's discovery: Blushing Apples. And my favorite photo from the site right now (after only a few scrolls through):

Pocket post

My obsession du jour: dresses with pockets.

Love it or hate it? Me? Well, I ADORE them!

{Source: Rachel Pally}

{Source: JCrew}

{Source: Banana Republic}

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wedding resources

I'm not feeling too creative today, so I thought I would remind myself -and others- of some great wedding resources. The Internet proved invaluable when planning my own wedding, and I was able to find a number of fabulous deals (like our votive Mosaic candles purchased at the Pier One outlet for just over $1 a piece!). So, here are a few for all you planning ladies (and gents) to look at:
  • Uniquity Invitations {Save on printing! Buy pre-designed invitations and print them yourselves at home. Choose from fun and funky styles, or pay a little extra to have a special design created just for you!}
  • Cudge candles and accessories {We purchased our long-burning votives from Cudge. They were perfect for a five + hour reception, came promptly, and were the cheapest we could find!}
  • While I did most of my paper shopping at Paper Source, I found a couple of great deals at California Paper Goods, as well. {Their selection is great, shipping was speedy, and I wasn't at all disappointed. If you're looking to buy card stock of colors in bulk, this is your place!}
  • Toby & Max jewelry {For me, a personal - or personalized - gift, outside of Tiffany, is a great way to say "thank you". Toby and Max creations are simple and unique, and I found just the right saying to fit each friend.}
  • For flowers, check out LaniElizabeth. {This site proved to be my largest resource for floral inspirations. I found every type of flower I was looking for and was able to send the pics directly to my florist, who crafted similar versions just for me!}

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Jessica Claire Photography

I LOVE the new craze of photographer blogs. I could sit for hours perusing photos.

Today I discovered Jessica Claire. What a jet setter! Her pictures are simply amazing and the locations she photographs are quite exotic.

I was inspired by one wedding which was all yellow and black. I've seen a few brides go this color route and it's so striking! Check out the pics below, and also make sure you visit her blog when you need a distraction.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gray is the new black...

I was blessed last night with an invitation to be in a best friend's wedding. Would you believe that in spite of my obsession, I've never truly been a bridesmaid? I'm thrilled at the opportunity, and the wheels are already spinning. I know that the friends involved in my wedding made it the amazing experience that it was.

Over drinks and a multitude of cheeses and snacks last night, we started talking about the color gray. I think it will be a lovely selection, combined with deep reds and burnt oranges for an upstate NY fall wedding.