Wednesday, March 30, 2016

how to make a punch bowl ice ring

a few weekends ago we threw a party to celebrate the addition of three letters to the end of stephen's name: CPA. I served beer and wine and my legendary sangria. initially, I had planned to put the sangria in one of those cute drink dispensers but my mom warned that all the fruit in the sangria would jam the spout of the dispenser. my mom suggested serving the sangria in a punch bowl instead, with a ladle so that people could also scoop out fruit into their cup.

given that our party was an all-day affair, I planned to try out a punch bowl ice ring for the first time. I didn't want regular ice to melt the sangria down and I've always wanted to try an ice ring. making an ice ring requires minimal effort for maximum results - all you need is a bundt pan and your choice of fruit, and a couple of hours to make it all come to together in the freezer.

Monday, March 28, 2016

alys beach

on our beach trip last weekend, the weather was literally quite terrible. when it wasn't raining, there was no sun to be found amongst the rolling gray sky. luckily for stephen, march madness was in full force so he was quite content. I was perfectly fine snuggled up on the couch in full relaxation mode... in between glances at my newly acquired engagement ring!

we woke up early on friday morning and since it wasn't raining, we decided to take advantage of the day and bike to alys beach for a stop at charlie's donut truck. come to find out, our bike tires all needed air so we decided to hoof it the 3.5 miles there. all in the name of donuts.

Friday, March 25, 2016

fashion friday: ravishing raincoats

it happened to rain on our beach trip last week so I curled up with the april issue of good housekeeping and a screwdriver, because #vacation. while I always read southern living, I don't always read good housekeeping. this month's issue was a good read and I'm thinking I may need to scoop up a subscription... one thing that really caught my eye in a have-to-have sort of way was a gorgeous floral raincoat.

after a little research, I'm now full blown obsessed with joules line of beyond beautiful raincoats. the prints and patterns are too cute to resist and the pricing is spot on, with coats ranging from $74.95 to $229.95. I love the pink dalmatian print. with raincoats this adorable, bring on the rain!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

meatless monday: southwestern stuffed peppers

ok, I know you're thinking that I've lost it, posting a meatless monday on a wednesday. I just couldn't wait to share our engagement so meatless monday had to shift to meatless wednesday this week! :)

stuffed peppers have been popular for a while now, and while they are definitely eye catching and beautiful, I have historically not really been a fan of peppers. once, on a korean air flight, I was starving and gave in to some red pepper and cream cheese appetizer and didn't hate it. recently, on my trip to croatia, I was flooded with amazing vegetarian options at the hotels. croatia was just short of a vegetarian's dream. 

as it came time for the lunch buffet on one of our training days, I felt for my familiar granola bar in my bag - my plan B in case of meat-only meal options. I'm used to losing weight on international trips and I don't hate it. croatia was totally different. as I scoped out the lunch line, I was surprised to find cold veggie pasta salads in jars, tomato and mozzarella cups, cheesy pastas, and cute little yellow stuffed peppers. how great is it to be adventurous when you didn't have to cook the meal yourself right?! I added a stuffed pepper to my plate with little investment. 

I'm sure you can tell the moral of my story by now, given that I decided to cook stuffed peppers at home. these cute little stuffed yellow peppers were packed with flavor and were totally filling. not to mention, this was my first time cooking with quinoa. what can I say, sometimes I'm a late adopter.

Monday, March 21, 2016

big news... we're engaged!

last weekend, we headed down to 30a for some R&R after stephen's crazy february busy season and two year CPA mission. if you read regularly, you know that he just passed his CPA and we've been celebrating lately with family and friends.

and now, there's even more reason to celebrate!

Friday, March 18, 2016

fashion friday: geometric cut-out sandals

a few weeks ago, I bought the most fabulous black tiered romper from anthropologie - it has clean lines and great structure. I was dying to wear this romper, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit and a pair of nude geometric cut-out sandals felt like just the thing. texture is one of my favorite elements of apparel. if you look in my closet, you'll see what I'm talking about - most of my pieces have textured fabrics or embellishments like lace or fringe. I just think it makes basics look that much more exciting.

I've been wearing these classic black patent jimmy choo espadrille wedges for literally 5 years now and while they still look great, I'm ready for something different this spring. after lots of searching, I decided on these nude antonio melani braided lace up wedges. I tossed these on with my tiered romper and some funky jade stone hoops for stephen's CPA party last weekend and it was simplistic perfection.

there are a lot of geometric and cut-out options this spring, here are a few of my favorites... what are your must-haves this spring? I can't wait to wear these at the beach this weekend to officially ring in the start of spring on sunday!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

CPA celebration

after two long years of working full time in public accounting (aka way more than 40-hour work weeks), studying, and test taking - stephen passed all four parts of the CPA just a few weeks ago! if that doesn't call for a celebration, I don't know what does. let's just say I'd been planning this soiree for months before he actually passed. while he was studying, I was picking out invitations online. I was willing him to pass mentally in the only way I knew how... frivolous party planning with complete neglect to reality. 

I wanted this party to be casual and fun on top of everything, I wanted it to feel equal parts huge sigh of relief and popping bottles. in my mind, this occasion called for BBQ, booze, and backyard games.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

weekly reading, volume 4

happy weekend! this past week flew by, like they all do. 

we had such a good time celebrating stephen's CPA accomplishment yesterday with family and friends - I can't wait to share photos this week!

one word: burrata. I can't remember the first time I tried burrata but I've been on a kick lately. we had burrata at nino's on our valentine's date and I've had it at carabba's twice now. FYI burrata means buttered in italian, so you know it's good. of course, I did some research and made sure carabba's burrata is vegetarian. phew. I really want to recreate this at home, chop up some tomatoes and basil with a drizzle of balsamic and voila!

Friday, March 11, 2016

fashion friday: black and white spring dresses

I have always been a sucker for black and white and to this day, 70% of what I wear is black. it's easy, chic, and perfect for any season or any country for that matter. a few weeks ago I went to my parent's house and stumbled upon my junior prom dress - it was a floor length black strapless gown with a white border on the top of the bust (jessica mclintock for those of you who were equally obsessed). I actually tried it on and I swear to you, I could totally break it out and wear it to a formal event now - over 10 years later. this is the beauty of black and white.

this spring season offers an array of black and white frocks with my name written all over them, at varying price points too. while it would be hard to pick just one, I would definitely go with the alice + olivia split peplum. hover over the links for more information - which one would you choose??

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

spring table picks

we're just a few days away from the first day of spring and easter is early this year, just around the corner at the end of the month. for those of you who don't know, I am obsessed with seasonal china patterns. pulling together my favorite china picks for thanksgiving and christmas was fun, but picking spring china was better. the colors and the whimsical prints and the sweet accessories like napkins and teapots, it's just too much. stephen is lucky we live in an apartment with minimal kitchen storage because not only do I need spring china, I need a blue pattern, a pink pattern, and a mint pattern. it would be impossible to pick just one.

even though I can't hoard a ton of china yet, I did recreate these sweet birds' nests with spotted blue and beige eggs last week. I got home and was so excited to set them out on my table. within minutes, the eggs and the nests were all over the apartment as cat toys. every morning, I wake up to these eggs strewn all over. same goes for every day after work. I just keep collecting them and putting them back in their place on the table, I will win this war. 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

this year, we're doing easter at the beach so it's not like I actually need any of these pieces. one day I'll host easter just for the excuse to buy up all this sweetness. 

what are you doing for easter this year? do you have travel plans or are you hosting an easter celebration? 

Monday, March 7, 2016

top 5 croatian souvenirs

one of my favorite things about traveling is bringing back souvenirs and gifts for others. in fact, my top 10 parisian souvenirs and top 10 cuban souvenirs are two of my most popular blog posts ever - no doubt, due to pinterest. people like to buy things and I'm here to help! croatia was no different, although I was really pressed for time since this was a work trip. I did some research ahead of my trip which definitely helped make the best use of my minimal shopping time.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

weekly reading, volume 3

happy weekend, everyone!

starting off on a serious note... you may already know that I am passionate about children's literacy in low income elementary schools, but you may not know that more than 85% of african-american male fourth-graders in the U.S. are not proficient in reading (according to the 2013 U.S. department of education nation's report card). this is exactly why I volunteer with everybody wins! atlanta. I'm loving this article about barbershop books, a community-based reading program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops for 4 to 8 year-old boys.

on a much lighter note, my march southern living finally arrived! lots of yummy recipes I want to try, including this asparagus, spring onion, and feta quiche and praline bread pudding.

Friday, March 4, 2016

hand-lettering class with all she wrote notes

a few months ago, I saw swoozies post on instagram about a hand-lettering class hosted by all she wrote notes. I had a legitimate FOMO-induced moment. I needed to take hand-lettering classes too! but how, when, where? as with most of my other 'initiatives', I wanted to take action immediately! so you can imagine how lucky I felt when weeks later, I saw another post on an upcoming class again at swoozie's buckhead! I signed up on the spot.

first of all, maghon (below) is the entrepreneur behind all she wrote notes and she is just adorable. maghon is full of life and so passionate. you know when you're listening to a speaker and obviously feel a connection because you're nodding, smiling, laughing in reaction like a dope and the person next to you isn't. that was totally me. HAHA I didn't care. maghon is full of light with a visible aura. love it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

experimenting with shutter speed

I am halfway through my four-week photo 1 lessons and I am so excited because this week, I nailed the homework assignment! our first week's homework assignment was fairly easy: take the same photo using different white balance settings. sadly, I didn't complete it. something in me kept waiting for "a better photo opp" and it just never came. so this week, I was determined to ace the assignment.

during our second class, we learned about exposure and shutter speed. our assignment was to take the same photo of a moving object twice, once using a short exposure (below, left) and once again using a long exposure (below, right). over the weekend, I headed out to sope creek in east cobb to find some moving water to photograph. I even turned it into a workout and walked four miles in order to complete the task. sope creek has beautiful sights for hiking and even has historical paper mill ruins on the grounds. if you're local to atlanta, check it out!