Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gorgeous Sarasota wedding.

Sometimes my job requires me to do things, like, oh, research beautiful Sarasota weddings, and I am usually completely overwhelmed with the beauty of them by the time I'm done. Case in point: Alison and Ryan's stunning celebration, which was shot by Katie Lopez and coordinated by the lovely Sarah Tucker (who worked with us on this shoot). I mean, look at the details. So pretty. And how adorable are those two flower girls?

Just a little eye candy for your Thursday.

P.S. How to plan a Sarasota beach wedding.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Skincare: An update.

I mentioned in a recent post that, thanks to a series of fortunate events, I got my first facial from my wonderful aesthetician Renata last week, and aside from some kind of gross-but-apparently-natural (?!) peeling that took place afterward, thanks to a potion she put on my face that made my face feel like it was being repeatedly stung by bees, my skin has never felt better. In fact, it's has been in much better shape in general since I started seeing Renata, so I thought I'd share what's been working for me lately and some of her tips. (Real talk: I feel kind of superficial writing this post, but I also love talking about this stuff, we go.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

'Round here.

Inspired by Clair's lovely post (do you read her blog? You should) here's a quick list of things that have been going on in my life lately:

Exercising: A lot. I've really gotten back into the swing of things and I must say, it feels great. Recently it's been a combo of kickboxing (so much sweat!) and long beach walks.

Enjoying: Watching my lemon tree grow. If all goes well, I should have actual lemons soon. This is very exciting to me, not in the least because I'm normally a black thumb.

Reading: Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan. Not loving, exactly, but enjoying.

Craving: A trip—somewhere, anywhere! Have been feeling a little stir-crazy recently. Thankfully, I've got San Diego in August to look forward to, and I'm hoping there's opportunity for a mini-vacay in July somewhere, too.

Watching: Mad Men, mostly. And I think we're going to start Arrested Development, which I've never seen, this weekend, since ACS randomly has all the seasons on DVD but has never watched them, either. I know next to nothing about the show, but it's good, right?

Eating: This herb-roasted salmon from Ina Garten is delicious and easy (so delicious I accidentally ate half a pound of it the other day, in fact, instead of the quarter-pound I thought I was scarfing down. Oops). Definitely make it. I paired it with a super-simple arugula salad and it was the perfect post-work meal.

Feeling: Happy that summer is (basically) here. More beach walks, barbecues, swimming, sundresses, dips in the ocean and friend time, please.

What's been going on with you lately? How were your long weekends?

Photo: My own, from one of the aforementioned walks on Siesta Key Beach. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

What are you doing this (Memorial Day) weekend?

Happy Friday, friends—and happy first day of a long weekend! I don't have a lot of set plans for Memorial Day weekend, which is kind of nice after last week's craziness. I do have my heart set on sleeping in, of course, and also giving my apartment a good scrub-down (boring but needed). Oh, and a dip in the water—whether the ocean or a poolis a must, too, especially considering it's going to be 90 degrees today (ugh!). But other than that, I'm just going to see where the weekend leads me.

How about you? What are your plans?

And if you're in the mood for some reading, here are three great links:

Mindy Kaling and The Kiss Monitor.

Joy's birthday list makes me happy. I need to do one of these prior to the big 3-0 in August...

Julie Delpy Dreams of Being Joe Pesci. I love her; have I mentioned that I can't wait for Before Midnight?

I won't be posting Monday, so I'll see you back here next Tuesday. Have a great weekend! xoxo

Photo credit

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Before Midnight.

About a month ago, thanks to a recommendation by my lovely blog-friend Eileen, I binge-watched the movies Before Sunset and Before Sunrise one quiet Friday night. And you guys, I loved them.

In Before Sunrise, Jesse (played by Ethan Hawke) and Celine (played by Julie Delpy) meet on a Vienna-bound train and spend one unforgettable romantic night together. Nine years later, in Before Sunset, they reunite for a single, equally unforgettable afternoon in Paris. The movies—which are scripted—are written and directed in a way that feels totally improvised and off-the-cuff, and the chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is palpable; it's difficult—in my case, impossible—not to become totally invested in the characters and their will-they-or-won't-they relationship, fictional though they and it may be.

These are not your average romantic comedies.

So needless to say, even though I'm way late to the party, I'm so excited to see Before Midnight, the third film in the series (!), which hits select theaters this weekend. Although it won't make it to Sarasota until June 14 (bummer!), you can bet I'll be at the first showing I can get to.

Will you see Before Midnight? Did you love the first two films, as well?

P.S. I think Before Sunset is my favorite of these films, but I might be swayed if I watch Before Sunrise again.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flying houses.

Can we please talk about French artist Laurent Chehere's completely fantastic, totally whimsical "Flying Houses" series? I love it so much.

Just some pretty for your Wednesday. You know, in case you needed some.

Via Design Conundrum

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The prettiest Orlando craftsman home.

I don't live in the Orlando area anymore but I have to say—traffic and attractions aside—I appreciate the city a lot more now that I'm older, and I love that it's home to a lot of cool young creatives who are doing interesting things, like Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. (whose headquarters is actually in my hometown of Winter Park) and Lauren Bradshaw of Walnut Animal Society, whose beautiful home is featured in the images above. Lauren is actually moving to Los Angeles, but her craftsman-style home, which she and her husband renovated after they bought it, is so charming that I wanted to share the images here. Homes with lots of character: Yes, please.

In other news, as you know, I've been hemming and hawing over decorating my own house for, oh, the four years I've lived with it (well, minus the first year, when I was just so happy to get a pretty coat of paint up over the hideous matte red that was there when I moved in), but—if all goes according to plan—I'm going to be moving to a bigger place sometime next year. So here's what I want to know from you: Do you apply the same rules to your house that you do to clothes—i.e., work with what you've got now, not what you might have a year from now? Or is it better to wait and not invest in something you don't think you're going to stay in much longer? Thinking about how little in life is actually guaranteed, I'm inclined to go with the former, but I'm curious to know your thoughts, too.

P.S. One of my other all-time favorite home tours: Rebekka Seale. (Those bees!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy Monday.

Well, that weekend didn't go exactly as expected. The restful few days that I had looked forward to were totally turned on their head thanks to some family craziness, so I'm mentally pressing the "reset" button this morning and looking forward to a calmer week. In the meantime, here is a flower for you—looking at this photo just makes you feel calmer, doesn't it?

Image by i.Anton

Friday, May 17, 2013

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends—it's the weekend, yay! How were your weeks? Mine was good. In fact, it ended up being a week of little treats: I made that chai coconut ice cream on Monday, which aside from tasting awesome was a fun project; on Wednesday I bought the brightest pink peonies I could find and splurged on some Maldon sea salt (which is amazing, something I never thought I'd say about salt); and yesterday, I got my first facial in an attempt to take better care of my skin and it was fabulous. (My aesthetician is wonderful, by the way; if you're in Sarasota and need someone great, let me know.)

I'm becoming a big believer in occasionally rewarding yourself with little things like flowers or candles or—sometimes—with bigger splurges like a facial or a new piece of clothing or even a trip somewhere. In the past I usually did this with food—a candy bar here, a scoop of ice cream there—but I'm quickly learning that that's not the best thing to do. So candles, flowers and facials (!) it is. Here's to being gentle with ourselves.

No links today--just a wish that you all have a wonderful weekend! See you back here on Monday. xoxo

Photo: J.Crew

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I'm not sure I've ever talked about my love of butterflies on this blog before, but I have a lot of it. It began when I was a little girl—somehow, a butterfly fluttered into our screened-in porch, and I managed to catch it and was transfixed by it for a very long time. We have pictures from that day—of the little insect perched on my three-year-old hand—and while I'm pretty sure the poor thing didn't make it (chubby toddler fingers and delicate wings are not the best combination), I was a butterfly lover from that moment on. I've just always thought they're beautiful.

That love really didn't resurface in any significant way, aside from general appreciation, until college, when I fell in love with one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories—"The Artist of the Beautiful"—and chose to write my senior thesis on it. The story is about a young artist, a watchmaker, who sets out to create a mechanical butterfly and bring it to life for the woman he's in love with. It's a touching story—here's the full version, if you'd like to read it—and I had no problem filling up 20 pages with my thoughts and theories about it and its relationship to art and nature and science and beauty.

After that I didn't think about butterflies and their symbolism for a long time—until two years ago, in fact, when my wonderful grandmother passed away. Funerals are never easy, of course, but as we all tearfully took our seats at the cemetery, I looked up to see a huge monarch butterfly hovering near the gravesite. That butterfly stayed exactly where it was for the whole burial service, fervently flapping its wings, almost like it was reassuring us that although we were so sad, there was still some beauty—some deeper meaning—to be found that day.

I think my grandmother would have liked that.

And from that moment on, butterflies, to me, became a symbol, a reminder, of my grandmother. It was like it had all come full circle. And I know part of this is because now I look for them more, but I swear I've seen more monarch butterflies in the past two years than I ever have before. They never fail to make me smile; when I see one, I like to think my grandmother's checking in on me.

The reason I bring all this up—the reason butterflies have been on my mind—is because over Mother's Day weekend, a monarch butterfly zipped around my parents' front yard for almost two straight days. It was amazing. At one point, I went outside to watch it and it fluttered so close to me that I almost could have reached out and touched it (I didn't; I've come a long way since I was three). Despite years of Catholic school and Sunday Mass, I'm not a religious person, but I do like the thought that something, some higher power or maybe someone we love who's passed on, is watching over us.

Butterflies—with all their fragile beauty—remind me of that.

Photo credit

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Beautiful Mess: The photo app.

Well, consider me obsessed: Elsie and Emma, the girls behind A Beautiful Mess, have released a photo app that is chock-full of whimsical borders, fonts, doodles and backgrounds. I downloaded it last night and my little pink heart went pitter-patter the whole time I played with it. Silly? Maybe. Fun and girly? Absolutely.

P.S. In addition to cat photos, ACS is now going to be receiving a lot of doodle-filled photos via text message. I'm sorry, ACS. (But not really.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Baked! (kinda): Chai coconut ice cream.

Awhile back, I mentioned that these Baked! posts were going to take more of a healthy, clean-eating bent—i.e., last week's almond butter cookies, which are gluten- and dairy-free. I want to talk more about the why behind that decision in a few weeks, but first I want to share with you this recipe for chai coconut ice cream.

Ice cream is probably my biggest weakness when it comes to dessert: I try not to keep it in the house because if I do, chances are you'll find me standing in front of the freezer at midnight, spoon hovering over the carton. And yet, here in Florida, it's practically summer already: We've got highs in the mid-80s, we're wearing shorts, we're thinking about beach barbecues and dips in the Gulf. It's hard to deprive yourself of anything that instantly cools you off, and come on, ice cream is the ultimate hot-weather treat. So needless to say, I'm glad I've found this healthy recipe.

OK, fine: Ice cream can't really ever be considered healthy, but this version does come close: It's full of spices and it's sugar-free, dairy-free, and egg-free (thank you, coconut milk and honey). I found the recipe over on Cookie + Kate, which is a wonderful blog—you should definitely check it out if you haven't already—and it couldn't be simpler: black tea and spices (ginger, cardamom, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla) are combined with coconut milk and honey, cooled and then put through an ice cream maker. Here's the recipe; the result is what you see above. It's creamy and delightfully spicy and just as good straight out of the ice cream maker (soft serve!) as it is if it's been frozen overnight. Yum. I have a feeling this is going to become a go-to very, very quickly.

Photo by Cookie + Kate

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jenny Vorwaller.

Totally loving the work of Seattle-based artist Jenny Vorwaller. I need more art in my house, and would love to hang one of her prints on my wall (the third one above—Surround—is my favorite). See more of her work here; shop here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What are you doing this weekend? ( + Happy Mother's Day!)

Happy Friday and happy Mother's Day weekend, friends! What are your plans for the next few days? I'm heading to Orlando to hang out with my mom—she's requested these cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Sunday, and we're also going to see The Great Gatsby and maybe go to our favorite consignment shop. I feel like a cupcake is in order, too. (Wink.)

Tell me your plans—and whatever they are, I hope your weekends are filled with love. Oh, and if you're in the mood for some reading, three fun links:

"The Best of Hidden Florida" makes me want to go explore my state. (And if you're in Sarasota, you must, must go to Star Fish Company Market, included on the list.)

Jennifer Lawrence photobombs Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Ball. This has made the rounds, but I think it's hilarious. Love J.Law. (If you haven't seen Silver Linings Playbook yet, do it. It's out on DVD now.)

"I tried Gwyneth Paltrow's diet and got a rash on my face." This is hilarious; I love the tone in which it's written. Oh, Gwyneth.

See you back here on Monday! xo

Photo by Sarah Tucker; peonies finally arrived at my Whole Foods this week and I couldn't be happier. Prettiest flower.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Young Frankk.

So, last weekend I took a step towards my "wear more jewelry" goal and got a big red statement necklace (courtesy of my wonderful mother. Thanks, Mom). You guys, I love it. It's so bright and it goes perfectly with everything from my favorite navy-and-white striped shirt to my favorite all-around shirt, which features red-handled tennis rackets (no, I do not play tennis; yes, I get asked that question whenever I wear this shirt).

Anyway, now I want to buy all the jewelry, and these pretty pieces from Young Frankk are calling my name. I first discovered Young Frankk via Pennyweight Goods, and I'm so glad I did: The pieces are really lovely, the kind you'd wear every day. Consider both of the bracelets above added to my birthday wishlist.

Are you guys big jewelry wearers or could you go without it?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shannon Kirsten calligraphy.

Shannon Kirsten (who, in addition to being a local artist, did my bestie Kate's amazing bridal shower invitations) is now offering calligraphy  services in her Etsy shop. Shannon has the best handwriting, and I can't wait for an excuse to have her make placecards or the like for my next big bash. So pretty! (The white on black is my favorite.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baked! Almond butter cookies with sea salt.

I know some people hate Gwyneth Paltrow with an intense burning passion, but I am firmly in the Love Her camp (even when I'm rolling my eyes at some of the things she says). In fact, I'm even more firmly in the Love Her camp after seeing Iron Man 3 this weekend, because it was great.

But I digress.

A few weeks ago, when I read about the release of GP's cookbook, It's All Good, I was intrigued. After reading as much of the "Look Inside!" portion of the book as was available on Amazon and getting a decent feel for what all the recipes would be like thanks to the goop newsletter, I bit the bullet and bought it. And you know what? I'm can totally get behind the book's philosophy (clean, healthy eating; no gluten or refined sugar), and the recipes are legitimately tasty. I've tried the millet "falafel" and while I had some issues with the falafel staying together (I'll share the recipe once I've figured out how to make that part of it work), they were delicious. Same with these almond butter cookies, which have zero sugar in them—just almond butter, pure vanilla extract, maple syrup, gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup) and flaky sea salt. You don't even have to turn on the mixer, if you don't want to. I didn't.

Here's the recipe, if you'd like to try them yourself. They are seriously super-easy; plus, I actually ended up halving the recipe because I didn't have enough maple syrup and they still turned out great. One tip: Do not forego the sprinkle of coarse salt on top. It really puts these over the edge.

P.S. My favorite almond butter. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday, friends! Did you have good weekends? Mine was great: I drove up to my parents' house on Saturday afternoon, hung out with them that evening, and then spent Sunday running around with ACS--we went to the Orlando Museum of Art, saw Iron Man 3 (which was great—I love Robert Downey Jr. so much) and then went out to a great dinner before I had to head back to Sarasota. Plus, the weather was gorgeous—I don't know what we did to deserve 75-degree temperatures and zero humidity at the beginning of May, but I will take it. We didn't do any Cinco de Mayo or Kentucky Derby celebrating, but that was just fine—the perfectness of everything else made up for it.

What were you guys up to over the last few days? What do your weeks look like? Hope you're all having good Mondays so far. xoxo

Photo: Baby oranges in my parents' newly re-landscaped back yard, which is causing me some major Yard Envy, both for the oranges and the expanse of green. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! How were your weeks? After last week's seven days of celebrations, this week was spent readjusting to my normal routine and thinking about what's coming up next (travel plans and the like) and the goals I have for myself as we move into summer (more on those soon). And as far as this weekend goes, I'm taking a little trip to Central Florida on Saturday, but other than that there's nothing on the docket and I couldn't be happier. How about you? What are you up to?

If you're in the mood for some reading this weekend, here are three fun links:

This story—about a couple who got married after walking by each other for years on the street in New York City—is fantastic; a total heartwarmer. I loved it. (The whole Urban Gardener series is wonderful, in fact.)

Google's NYC offices have secret rooms (!) hidden behind bookcase doors that swing open (!!). As someone who grew up reading tons of Nancy Drew, this information makes me so happy.

I admit it: I'm a crazy cat lady. So I loved reading about this new book, and I particularly loved this quote: "You can never know your cat. In fact, you can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that's OK, love is better."

Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here Monday. xoxo

Photo: Oscar and Zadie, my two fluffsters. I couldn't make a crazy cat lady reference without including a photo of them. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

White Faux Taxidermy.

Let me be clear: Taxidermy is not my thing. Like, at all. It kind of freaks me out. But these resin deer heads from White Faux Taxidermy, which come in a variety of colorful, sparkly options, are so cool, and I have to say: I wouldn't mind having one in my house (that green and silver one is particularly awesome). What about you: yay or nay?