Where HAS she BEEN?

Hello my Pretties! It’s been a long while since my last post way back in May. (MAY?!?!)  Let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of months.

This happened

baby sister's Sr. Prom!

baby sister’s Sr. Prom!

Which was quickly followed by this

Baby Sister Graduated High School

Baby Sister Graduates High School

And this

(one of) My Best Friend's Wedding

(one of) My Best Friend’s Wedding

And this

Engagement pictures! (more on this in a later post!)

Engagement pictures! (more on this in a later post!) photo credit http://www.lbfoto.com/

which lead to this

Bridal Shower Tea Party!

Bridal Shower Tea Party! (more on this in a later post!)

and this

Bachelorette weekend in the country

Bachelorette weekend in the country (more on this in a later post!)

oh and then this happened

We don got married ya'll!

We don got married ya’ll! (photo credit http://www.lbphoto.com) (WAY more on this in many posts coming soon!)

Which obviously led to this

Vancouver Island Honeymoon!!!!

Vancouver Island Honeymoon!!!! (more on this in a later post!)

and some of this

tea, cookies, and kayaking in Vancouver Island

tea, cookies, and kayaking in Vancouver Island (more on this in a later post!)

oh and a lot of this

sleeping. lots and lots of post wedding sleeping.

sleeping. lots and lots of post wedding sleeping. (complete with the glow of a roaring fake fire)

phew.

With all that stated I’m happy to announce I’m officially decompressed, recharged, and ready to get this blog a-rolling again. Look forward to LOTS of new projects, recipes, and general merriment. New year, new (married) me. Thank you all for holding tight during my long sabbatical. We’re back, and prettier than ever.

Rustic Tart in a Rustic Cabin

A goal of mine while away on our weekend in the woods was to bake. Non-stop baking weekend to be specific. Unfortunately, sleeping in was secret priorty number one, and being lazy together was goal #2. I did manage to get a few things in the oven including this very simple (minor-ly labor intensive) rustic plum pie.

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Recipe thanks to Love and Cupcakes. The most laborious part was cutting and placing all the slices of plums. Frankly, if that’s the biggest thing to whine about this is truly an easy peasy dessert that looks stunning and tastes just as beautiful. Second hardest part is waiting for it to bake.

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A Little Feat

“If you’ll be my dixie chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee lamb, and we can walk together down in dixieland.” Originally written by Little Feat, and rediscovered through Dave Matthews and his sneaky live recordings.

Bored one night and falling deeper in love with this Spring inspired quote I decided to try my hand at a little illustration/calligraphy work. For the most part I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

 

A Little Cabin in the Woods for Lucky Number 8

I met the man of my dreams March 1st, 2005. Which means March 1st, 2013 was time to celebrate our 8 (EIGHT!!) year anniversary. Every year we plan a get away to escape our hectic lives, his fire pager, preferably hide somewhere with no cell service and just be us. We’ve done everything from an extended weekend trip to Montreal, to a quick 1 day overnight in Mystic, Connecticut.

mystic aquarium

Hanging out with the Beluga Whale at Mystic Aquarium circa 2010

This year we were hurting for a magical weekend get away. And this year, for the first time ever, the future hubs did all the planning. I told him all I wanted was a quite place away from the world where I could bake all weekend. And my Pretty People, did he deliver.

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We escaped to the Catskills in the great state of New York to the most perfect little cabin in the woods one has ever seen. He even pulled some strings with Mother Nature and had a constant gentle snow fall all day. It was like living in the happiest little snow globe for the weekend. The cabin was originally built in the 1950’s, and recently lovingly restored. The owner, a contractor, didn’t overlook a single detail.

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The little square windows in the bathroom were by far my favorite

The cabin is brand new, spotless, and design wise it was perfect. Being a designer myself I appreciated every hand selected antique detail he added back into the cabin to fill the old/new cabin with some nostalgic charm.

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little-cabin-flowers

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We definitely relaxed and recharged (much needed to gear up for wedding planning). I also baked some yummy treats so stay tuned for some easy and delicious recipes!

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Wedding Venue: Arrowhead Park.Monroe, NY

Arrowhead Park is a country estate built at the turn of the 20th century by Julia Cooper and Schuyler Schieffelin. It depicts classic Arts and Craft period details and sits on the banks of a semi private lake.

Photo by Arrowhead Park

This venue hit a lot of points on our check list. The main house can be rented out for the weekend with enough room for most wedding parties. The owner can provide full breakfasts for an additional fee and if desired the rehearsal dinner can be held on the main floor of the house. The Arts and Crafts details were stunning and the bedrooms have been restored with care and beauty. (**note the venue was off season when we did the walk through, please excuse any mess/construction equipment/etc**)

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Some rooms are the old servant quarters, they aren’t as grand, they aren’t as large, and they share a common bath BUT the price reflects their short comings and if it means your closest most important people get to be there with you all weekend it’s not a bad set up at all in my opinion.

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Arrowhead is only 15 minutes from Woodbury Commons (a top notch outlet mall that many New York City-ers flock to on weekends) It’s close to the “Big City” for anyone who happens to be visiting and wants a break from the concrete jungle. Expect roughly a 1 hour drive depending on traffic.

There is a separate building where one’s reception can be held. It’s design hearkens back to the film “Dirty Dancing”. It’s simple, rustic, has a stage for a band if desired and can be set up the day before, always nice if you’re DIYing your big day.

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Ceremony sites include a cove right on the lake. Very magical and apparently has perfect lighting in the afternoon/evening hours. It was even stunning in the fog and mist of the day. Just imagine all those trees firey with Fall colors. mmm.

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Another ceremony location is the garden area. It’s right next to the reception building and features tiered gardens which creates a more formal/grand location to exchange vows.

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*picture taken post Nor’easter. Please excuse fallen trees.

The park is opened during the summer months offering row boat rentals, lake swimming, and picnic areas. A fee of $10 per person is all you need to spend to let the stress of the city melt away on the shores of the lake.

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For more information please check out Arrowhead Park’s website. The woman we met with was very accommodating and willing to work with most any group.

What’s Your Numbah, Sugah?

03.01.05 the date that I like to think changed my life forever. It was that date 8 years ago that I met my soul mate and never looked back. We still to this day wish each other “happy anniversary” the first of every month. It has turned into more of a game so many months later who can wish it first and on what media device. (I usually win on all accounts)

03.01.05 are our numbers. Period. Even when we (finally) get married I’m sure we’ll still do something special on the first of March. These numbers were my semi inspiration for a project I’d been dying to do. As seen in a previous post I recovered my blue college apartment pillows to match our red cabinet. Love them. The fabric however was rather summery and just doesn’t work year round.

graphic-diy-pillow

Graphic and typography items are popping up everywhere; numbers, letters, quotes. I decided to take our most treasured numbers and create graphic pillows for the living room. The process was easy. Find a font you love, I used the font “Elephant” (should be standard on most PC’s) I really liked the vintage feel of this font; the serifs, the almost hand typed feel if you could call it that.

graphic-number-pillow

Once a font is selected increase the font size, a lot. I think my letters were done at a 60 or 70 point. Print them out, tape or rubber cement the print down to a thicker piece of paper, and cut them out to form a stencil. If you have a steady enough hand I recommend tracing the number/letters with pencil and painting within the pencil lines. You could also use the stencil as a true stencil but I found the paint tends to sneak underneath creating less than graphic crisp lines.

diy-graphic-pillows

I used cheap yet thick and sturdy fabric from Ikea, $3.99 for half a yard and typical craft paint $2 in a charcoal gray. You could use a fabric medium if you chose to but I found the paint spread and held just fine, even after washing. I used a graphic red striped fabric (also Ikea) for the reverse side to play with the red accents throughout the room and the vintage graphic feel of the pillow. I used the same pocket hemmed technique illustrated in the previous pillow post, an easy way to create removable pillow covers.

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I really love how they came out and adore that they reflect something so meaningful to us in such a subtle, stylish way.

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PS Happy Anniversary Babe! 8 years (AAAHHHHH!!) Time really flies when you’re having the time of your life. Looking forward to many more adventures together. Love you!

The Happiest Day of Our Lives…?

Hello Pretty People! I have the deepest apologies to all of you for totally flaking on my blog for the last few months. As I believe (most) of you know Future Hubs proposed way back in August, 2010. We always intended to have a long engagement (so we’re right on track) with a goal of an Autumn 2013 wedding.

marry-me

Needless to say I’ve spent the last 2 year stalking wedding blogs, drooling over pictures and fictitiously planning the ideal day for the two of us. Flash forward to December 2012 when we realized 2013 was knocking at the door reminding us we had 10 months until “W” day.

Late December and January turned into a frantic search for venues, dragging my groom as well as good friends all over the greater Hudson Valley area in search of “The One”. I can now calmly and happily say we’ve found it. (Right when we were ready to give up hope and elope, funny how that works.)

More details to come on that as most of our family doesn’t even know. To any family reading this we are still waiting on a final date and once that happens we will let you all know.

I plan to make a few posts about the venues we’ve seen for those brides in the NY/NJ/CT area who, like me, don’t want the typical catering hall, dinner/dancing wedding. I’ve found a handful of places after what could potentially be hundreds of hours of research that are comparable to all the Oregon/California/Washington weddings us East Coasters drool over.

Wedding Blog Summer Camp Wedding

Photos by Jessica Velarde

woodsy mountain wedding

Photos by Logan Cole

Early apologies to anyone who could care less about wedding anything. This has unfortunately been my life for the last 2 and a half months and really living in a diverse area as greater NYC it shouldn’t have been this hard. I truly hope my reviews help any bride stuck in the same boat I was. Plus, bonus, most sites I visited are county and state parks so it won’t be all wedding banter. so if you like the great outdoors and Mama Nature yay!

For a Snowy (Blizzardy) Day

As most of the United States knows by now the North East just got clobbered with a large amount of snow. 6″ to 30″+  depending on location. My little part of the world received roughly 14″. The best part of snow and being snowed in is

1. playing in the snow

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and 2. Hot Cocoa.

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I happened upon this rather scrumptious (and very easy) recipe for white hot chocolate cupcakes from Betty Crocker. Claiming I “loosely followed” this recipe is an understatement, I substituted Super Moist Milk Chocolate cake for the specified White Cake.

The frosting created it’s own headache. I was not that successful in melting the white chocolate. Creating a lumpy half melted mess however, I was very successful with. To fix the problem I added dark chocolate and 100% cocoa chocolate. Adding the additional darker chocolates helped to smooth everything out and created a delicious not too sweet frosting.

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Lastly the roasted marshmallows were a bit of a pain to remove from the pan. Consider yourselves warned. Perhaps placing them on tin foil or another bendable surface will help to remove them a bit better.

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Finally if you didn’t just get dumped on with crazy awesome amounts of snow this recipe would be perfect as a post Valentines Day dinner chocolatey treat.

What I Bought on my Summer Vacation

As mentioned in a previous post, we ventured to the center of New York State for a family reunion. On our way home through back country roads, we happened upon a little antique shop on a corner, a corner that held my ‘chair destiny’. Wrapped around the building was a multitude of dining chairs on display. Big ones, wood ones, ladder backs, 50’s vintage, and 2 mid century modern beauties. As my head craned and almost detached, eagle eyes locked on my dreams quickly moving out of view I shrieked at my future hubs, “aahhh! Stop! Reverse! U-turn! Chairs. Dream chairs. Please U turn. About face! HUURRRYYY!” I think I straight up stopped forming sentences mid way through my spazz out. A U-turn he did make and chair destiny we did fufill.

Oh yes. And it gets better. We checked them out, 1 leg looked a little wobbly (and by wobbly I mean basically detached), the wood finish was flaking, and the seat fabric wasn’t my dream BUT the lines were perfect and exactly what I’ve been looking for for almost 2 years. I’m sure I looked extra lovingly into Mr. Fabulous’s eyes with that “I absolutely can’t live without these” look and he agreed, they were pretty snazzy. ***upon proof reading Future Hubs would like the record to state that “pretty snazzy” was not in his vocabulary that day*** As we carried them around the corner to chat with the owner, I prepared my haggling brain. “So how much are we willing to spend? I’m thinking like $20 a chair tops.” Mr. Fabulous didn’t totally agree as one was breaking, he was thinking $15 and $10 for the slightly damaged one. I heard where he was coming from but still after searching forever for chairs this fabulous I was set on $40 for the pair max.

We found the owner, told him we were interested in the chairs and asked for a price. He shifted his stance and said “oh I dunno, $10 for the pair?”
….

(pause for dramatic effect)….

….

“SOLD! I’ll grab my cash!”

I don’t know how I didn’t kiss this man. Dream chairs for $5 a piece. I kid you not the exact chairs in New York City would easily have been $20-25 each. Got to love being in the country.

I will confess the chair leg fell off as we were loading it into the car but I didn’t care. A little wood glue and all would be fine. Needless to say these beauties are my next little project and I can not wait. A play by play on the rehab is soon to come. Basic goal is fix the leg, sand down, re-stain, recover the seats, and enjoy.

Did any of you find a must have house item this summer? Freak out on your significant other over chairs of destiny? Let me know! I love hearing your stories.

Paris Day Dreaming

What does a 27 year old do without power for 8 days? Oh that’s right, she pretends she’s 90 (or living in the Colonial era) and makes embroideries. Lots of embroideries.

This little beauty surprisingly took up most of my week. I blame the intricacies of all that steel work. I’ve had Paris on the brain ever since visiting the beautiful city last month. (More on that 3 country whirl wind trip soon, promise!)

I decided to hang her over the sink; a happy day dream to escape my dish pan hand hell. (Damn you apartment sans dishwasher!)

I found the frame at Joann’s Fabrics. $3.99. I painted the once black frame robin’s egg blue to make it cheery and kitchen matchy. My favorite part of the frame is the subtle details  which reflect the details in the tower itself.

Probably one of the best things to come from 8 days without power or heat. You have to agree Paris really is always a good idea. (Even when your travel buddy has a horrible cold and Belgium goes on strike. More trip details to come!)