"There's no beauty without poignancy and there's no poignancy without the feeling that it's going, men, names, books, houses--bound for dust--mortal--" - F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful & Damned)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Farewell 2014

Happy new year! Although late, I’m wishing you all good things in 2015. Honestly, the last few weeks of 2014 were hard for me. But I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on the past year, which, like all years, at times was scary, wonderful, sad, and beautiful.

Highlights of 2014
I celebrated New Year’s Eve with Christmas crackers and kazoos.
I faced my greatest fear.
I saw the 
field of poppies in the Tower of London's moat by nightfall. 
I shared one of the best meals of my life at Bodeguita Casablanca in Sevilla with my husband and two dear friends. 
I risked my life driving in the Grand Canary islands to see four shooting stars at Teide National Park.
I had a cozy dinner in the deep, dark woods of Germany that ended with homemade apricot doughnuts.
My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary with a quiet dinner at home, a bottle of red wine, and good conversation.
I went tubing in West Virginia for my birthday, drifting along looking up at the sky.
I received an award at work.
We finally got an apartment with a separate bedroom!
I discovered the deliciousness of dark beer.
I saw Amy Schumer at the Comedy Cellar in New York City.
I hosted a baby shower for a my lovely, funny friend Betsy.
My husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day in Pittsburgh by eating pierogis, going out dancing, and watching snow fall softly from our hotel room window.
And, my husband and I went house hunting (unsuccessfully) for the first time.

Looking back and focusing on all that was the good, from the dinners with friends around our new table to my sister moving nearby to the new babies and marriages, it was a remarkable year. Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. 

Photos from upsplash.com

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A few favorites

Houses in Ares, Spain
With my traveling and the holidays, it's been too quiet around here! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. We went to my parents' house, drank wine, cooked steaks in the fireplace, and watched Maleficent and Frozen before going to bed early. We put up outdoor lights and took our Christmas card picture by the pine trees.

Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip and some links from around the web, and I'll be back to share more soon!

We love this eggnog recipe with two changes: we beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form before folding it into the other ingredients and we add 1/2 a cup of brandy instead of the bourbon. Delicious!

Our holiday card template winner this year--get 40% off tinyprints' holiday cards right now with the code Cyber40!

The comfy, festive flannel shirt I've been living in the past few weeks.

Slow-cooker chicken enchilada soup so delicious and easy you'll add it to your dinner repertoire.

To get in the holiday spirit, some ideas for a Christmas movie marathon with something for everyone: Love ActuallyHome AloneDie Hard (yes, it's an action movie, but it takes place on Christmas Eve!), The Holiday, and It's a Wonderful Life

Phone booths in London 
Palm Trees in Seville, Spain

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh, October!

Oh, October! 
Last weekend we went to a chilly, beautiful barn wedding. (An impromptu 
Outlander affair, we wrapped ourselves in plaid blankets to stay warm!) Sitting on haystacks, sipping red wine and watching the sun go down behind the mountains. 

This month, we’ve been understaffed at work. I ran my phone through the wash and spilled hot coffee all over myself.  Now I have a cold. 

This weekend, we’re staying close to home, making bolognese and Dijon chicken, switching our summer and fall clothes, and waking up to see the sun rise. My goal is to organize one closet, cabinet, or area each night this week, to get a good start on fall cleaning. Hope you're having a lovely, cozy weekend, and here are some links from around the web: 

-Macy's is offering a Free Clinique Gift with a $27 purchase. The "nudes option" with a shadow duo in neutral territory and angel red lipstick is spot on for fall. 

-H&M's Velvet Cushion Covers are a plush, comfy home update for the holiday season ($9.95). 

-I've made roasted vegetables twice already this fall, based on this recipe (I skip the butternut squash, because it's a pain to chop, and sprinkle chili powder over the veggies.) 

-Monogrammed glasses are a well-suited gift for a bride and groom who like to entertain ($44.99)

-As someone who is always wrapped in a blanket during the winter,  a Faribault Blanket is definitely on my wishlist ($101.50)

Monday, September 15, 2014

A few favorites

Hi! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I went to the library, rode a miniature train with my nephew, had a Cuban feast with dulce de leche cake at a belated birthday dinner, and went for a solitary, tranquil walk in the rain. It was a relaxing couple of days, before a busy week at work. Here are a few links from around the web, if you’d like to explore: 

If you love wedding cake, this recipe with this buttercream frosting is delicious! 

I want to live in this cardigan for the next six months.

I picked up Domino's Decorating book at the library, and it is a fantastic resource for ideas and inspiration.

For all the other Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman fans out there!

Yummy slow-cooker brisket French dip sandwiches--prep on Sunday evening for a comforting Monday dinner.  

woodsy or spicy colongne would be perfect for cooler fall weather.  

Yummy homemade cheese and fig savouries, perfect for serving with sparkling wine during the holiday season! 

Top photo from upsplash.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DIY Wedding Anniversary Journal

To celebrate our first anniversary we grilled steak on our roof, which we ate with red wine from our Croatian honeymoon. Thin, white clouds streamed across the blue September sky. Since the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, I bought a $4.99 gold and blue notebook at Home Goods and we started a Wedding Anniversary Journal. Here is the content's layout, if you’d like to see: 

Our First Year
1) Places we Visited:
2) Movies/Shows we watched:
3) How we celebrated:
            New Year’s Eve-
            Valentine’s Day-
            My husband’s birthday-
            My birthday-
4) Unforgettable moments:
5) Biggest accomplishments:
6) Dreams for the future:

It was fun to reminisce about all of the good times we’ve had and it will be a wonderful reference in the future. 

For more about our wedding, here is our 
ceremonyways to save money on your weddingmy wedding dressour welcome bagsour program templateour wedding day, and our cake toppers and cork bar sign

Hope you are having a lovely week!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day, Goals & Fall Favorites

I hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend! We ate grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, drank beer on the jet dock while fireworks exploded, and lit sparklers in the fire to celebrate my birthday; had homemade raspberry and lemon cream pie ice cream and went antique shopping; floated down the Antietam river and were accosted by dragon flies; and fought over homemade pancakes and oven-baked bacon at breakfast. It was a busy, merry holiday.

With another birthday celebrated, I’ve been thinking about goals. Right now, I'm trying to:1) Workout four times a week (including with light weights). 2) Drink more water at work. 3) Take a multivitamin daily. 4) Wear sunscreen on my face and neck daily. (This product is helping!) 5) Make more time for creative projects (photography, sewing, writing, etc.) 6) Have weekly meal plans to save money and eat healthier. There, now that I've written my goals I can't forget about them! 

With Labor Day over, here are a few of my fall favorites: Stovetop PotpourriH&M Metal Antler CandlesticksCotton Fisherman Sweater (sized up with skinny jeans, and boots), Easy Apple Crisp (my Nana's recipe), Plaid Button-Down Shirtand this Cotton Cable Throw, which looks cozy! Wishing you a wonderful week, as always!

Top photo from Upsplash.com by Tim Mossholder

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette

Although I’m looking forward to crackling fires and tart cranberries, if I’m lucky I’ll spend one more afternoon floating down the river and one more evening on my parents’ porch swing with an icy drink. I hope you have more time for chasing fire flies, watching Dirty Dancing, or making a galette with a rich, shortbready crust, perfect for summer's last gold and ruby tinged nectarines.

(For a similar recipe, try an apple crostata.)

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette
Adapted from Nectarine and Raspberry Galette, Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's FarmersServes 8
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
-About ¼ cup ice water
-1½ pounds (5 to 6) nectarines, halved, pitted, and sliced lengthwise
½ pint (about 1 cup) blueberries
3 tablespoons white sugar + additional for sprinkling over crust

-Parchment paper
-Rolling pin

To make:
1. Combine flour and salt in a food processor or with a whisk. Add half the butter and pulse in processor (or use a pastry blender) until fat is evenly distributed and coated with flour. Add the remaining butter and pulse a few times until coated with flour. (The butter should be in pea-sized pieces.)
2. Drizzle in the ice water while mixing with a fork, adding water just until mixture begins to come together.
3. Gently form the dough into a disk, kneading softly if needed. Handle the dough as little as possible. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least two hours or up to 1 day.
4. When you are ready to make the galette, preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle position.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit until it has softened slightly, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Unwrap the dough and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper at least 16 inches square. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a 12 to 15-inch circle. If the dough is sticking, lift the parchment paper and lightly flour the dough.
6. Remove the top sheet of parchment and transfer the dough, still on the bottom sheet of parchment, to a rimless baking sheet. 
7. Working at least 2 inches from the edge of the dough (this is important!), place the nectarine slices in concentric rings. Scatter the blueberries evenly over the nectarines. Sprinkle the fruit with the 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
8. Using a palette knife or spatula to help you, lift the dough off the parchment and gently fold the edge of the dough over the fruit to make a wide, rough-edged rim, making sure there are no cracks in the dough. Sprinkle the crust with additional sugar. With scissors, cut off the exposed parchment paper. (It’s okay if a little paper is exposed.)
9. Bake the galette until the crust is golden and the nectarines are juicy, about 50 minutes. Slide the galette onto a rack and cool slightly. Cut galette on a cutting board and serve warm. 
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