Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 travel in review

I kicked off 2016 with a very cool work trip to croatia and then basically never stopped traveling after february. in 2016, we traveled to florida a lot, where we got engaged and continued to plan our wedding. I also got to travel to dallas, texas a few times to capture my good friend's engagement photos and later for her wedding. [side note, if you live in atlanta and need engagement photos, let's chat! I love taking engagement photos!]

we rounded out the year with an amazing trip to california for a wine-filled weekend and then to key west, for our annual holiday trip. what a beautiful year it was and 2017 is shaping up to be pretty awesome as well. I'm happy to say that we finally decided on and booked our 2017 honeymoon, drumroll........ the big island of hawaii!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

a bright and budget-friendly christmas tablescape

this year's christmas day tablescape was inspired by these gorgeous milk glass vases that I found at goodwill a few weeks ago. usually, I spend the better part of a day buying and arranging flowers but this year, I decided to use only bright, red roses to contrast against the pure white of the vases. 

my parents have such a bountiful selection of evergreen trees and red berries in their yard, so my sister and I went "foraging" on christmas morning and I honestly loved it. I wish that I could forage at our house, but we don't have the landscaping like they do haha! I was really pleased with how one bouquet of $14.99 roses and a bunch of backyard clippings could create such a beautiful table.

Monday, December 26, 2016

casey's greek salad

I haven't done a meatless monday post in quite some time, mostly because we have not really been cooking anything worth sharing. we've been keeping it really basic lately - salmon, broccoli, etc. recently, a few ladies in my neighborhood had a holiday get together and the host asked me to bring a salad. I am all about making and eating salads, but I definitely was a bit stuck trying to decide on a salad that was "pretty" enough to bring to the party.

my friend casey makes her greek salad all the time, in fact, her husband requests it almost on a weekly basis. her greek salad is full of vibrant color and juicy ingredients, which made it a perfect choice for my holiday party. luckily she shared the recipe with me and I get to share it with you!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

merry christmas to all

warm wishes from our home to yours! xx lauren

Friday, December 23, 2016

little palm island

every december for the past couple of years, we have traveled to key west, florida to visit family on stephen's side. we look forward to the trip every year because it's great to get away, see family, and the weather is usually amazingly warm. the key west vibe is so laid back and makes for a great no-cares-given vacation. this year was extra special because we visited on stephen's dad's birthday and we took a day trip out to little palm island for lunch to celebrate.

it only takes a 30 minute car ride plus a 15 minute ferry ride to get to little palm from key west. definitely not terrible since the island views and accommodations are worth it! it reminded me of latitude's, which is closer to key west and also requires a boat ride, but little palm island is larger and there's more to see. as soon as I stepped off the boat, I felt like I was on gilligan's island and did not want to be found.

Monday, December 19, 2016

blueberry pancakes from scratch

a couple of weeks ago, my boss came to work with leftover blueberry pancakes for lunch. cue the brown bag envy. I couldn't remember the last time I made pancakes from scratch. sure, I'd whipped up some pancakes using a mix or bisquick, but they definitely didn't have fresh bluberries in them. 

so I searched for the tastiest blueberry pancake recipe and started our saturday morning out just right with fresh coffee and blueberry pancakes. I love the warm softness of the bluberries bursting inside of the pancakes, all smothered with sweet syrup on top. this recipe has a great texture and isn't too sweet. if you like sweeter batter, you could double the sugar since it only calls for two tablespoons.

Friday, December 16, 2016

paso robles wine trip day three // grey wolf, halter ranch, brecon

if you know me, you may know that I am notorious for never checking the weather. after many years of traveling near and far, my theory for travel wardrobe consists of lots of black layers so I can manage in all types of weather. unfortunately, we were surprised to hear from our B&B guests that our last day in paso robles had 100% chance of rain! luckily, I brought a hat so I threw it on and we made the best of it.

we decided to make the best of it, of course, by starting day three with some wine (start here if you're just joining the recap). we had a ticket for a complimentary tasting at grey wolf cellars so we started there first. it turns out that grey wolf cellars is absolutely the most adorable place in paso robles and you absolutely have to go there if you visit paso.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

what I read in november

when both my mom and coworker told me that the goldfinch was their favorite book, I knew I had to read it. when I happened to finish a 400-page over the course of one day on a business trip (didn't think that would happen), I found myself with a plane ride home ahead of me without reading material. I stopped in the airport bookstore and found one copy of the goldfinch which was priced outrageously, but hey, I had no other options. so I bought it. the goldfinch was definitely a feat of a book, and was worth it. of course, linking up with steph and jana for show us your books.

the goldfinch by donna tartt
theo decker, a 13-year-old new yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. abandoned by his father, theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. bewildered by his strange new home on park avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws theo into the underworld of art.
as an adult, theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. he is alienated and in love--and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. the goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. { review}

my take: A
for me, the goldfinch was a steady love. we started as friends and built a strong foundation for a lifetime of appreciation rather than a quick and passionate fling with some of the more popular books I've read lately, and likely won't remember. the story is endearing and interesting. it's the story of life, loss, love, fate, and what happens in between. the voice of the book shifts at the end and I really liked that part, in fact, I read the last page a couple of times. the message was both ironic and noble and I'm really in the mood to go to the art museum now!

now that I finished this almost-800 page book (the longest I've read in quite some time, maybe ever?!) - I don't know what to start next. I have a pile of books to choose from, mostly from recommendations from this link up... small great things, I let you go, sweetbitter... decisions, decisions. looking forward to reading all of your recommendations this month and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 9, 2016

paso robles wine trip day two // justin and kiamie

we started day 2 of our wine trip with a big breakfast from carolyn and roland, the owners at our B&B. carolyn served spinach and leek quiche, sausage (tomatoes for me), scones, and baked apples with a brown betty crisp. it was all delicious, but the baked apples were above and beyond. luckily, carolyn gave me her recipe. we all talked about our plans for the day and carolyn and roland gave us some suggestions for wineries and dinner. we made a reservation at paso terra, an italian seafood restaurant on the square, for dinner later. then we embarked on our day!

we started at justin, because it's the furthest away and it was also recently voted best winery of the year in 2015. after driving about 25 minutes out, we stumbled upon justin. we were pretty confused because the tasting room was closed and there was an event sign near the gate. I was already getting mad about driving so far to find justin closed for a private event, but as it turned out - the event was their annual holiday party and was open to the public!

Monday, December 5, 2016

holiday home tour 2016

we always wait to put up our christmas decor, but this year was an exception. maybe it's the fact that we're living in our first home and it's our first full size tree, but we were ready to start decorating the day before thanksgiving and so we did.

I found our tree on and was very happy with how it turned out. I visited home depot and costco and preferred the tree that we ordered online, and it was a great price. a couple of months ago, the holiday pottery barn catalogs started arriving and I couldn't help myself. there was a spread with a faux fur theme and I knew I wanted to create that furry, soft, neutral holiday look in my home.

Friday, December 2, 2016

paso robles wine trip day one // tablas creek and whalebone

after spending my first day in california at beautiful terranea resort, I was ready to set out for our final weekend destination of paso robles. paso robles is short for el paso de robles 'the pass of the oaks' and is located in san luis obispo county. the city is known for its hot springs, its abundance of wineries, production of olive oil, and almond orchards. it took me quite some time to learn the correct pronunciation, but now I've got it down for sure - paaso de ro-bless. pronounce paso as you would 'el paso, texas' and you'll get it straight!

since it's a four hour drive from palos verdes to paso robles, we started around 10am in order to hit santa barbara for lunch around 12:30. we got a recommendation to eat at brophy brother's on the dock in santa barbara, and that's what we did...