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Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal my mom!

I hadn't planned on another Royal Wedding blog post but my mother just now decided to inform me that she has thank-you letter from Princess Diana's Lady-in-waiting. To which I was shocked and wondered why I have never seen this letter or knew about it! I love the simple Buckingham Palace stationary, such a lovely design of a letterhead!
My mother made a cross-stitch for Prince William when he was born with his name, date of birth and a pale blue border that she designed complete with a crown on top. It was matted and framed and sent on to Princess Di. I wish she had taken a photo!

The letter reads:
From Miss Anne Beckwith-Smith
Sept. 6,1982

Dear Mrs. Henry,
The Princess of Wales has asked me to thank you for your kind letter and good wishes.
Her Royal Highness is most grateful to you for sending a present to commemorate the birth of Prince William and greatly appreciates the trouble you have taken to make the most attractive little picture. The Princess sends you her sincere thanks and her best wishes.

Yours sincerely,
Anne Beckwith-Smith

Recipe for Friday!

I recently met up with my friend Morgan Neese at Bahama Breeze to discuss her wedding invitations, which will be so fun to design and very elegant with her vintage theme and grey, pink and white color palette! I enjoyed catching up with her and absolutely LOVE Bahama Breeze. It makes me want to be in the Caribbean so so bad! I spotted a specialty on the lunch menu called Pan-Seared Salmon Pasta and decided later to do my best to recreate it. I also had it with Pineapple-Orange juice like the one I enjoyed in the photo above! Here's my version of the recipe, as healthy as possible!

Passion Fruit Salmon Pasta
Whole Wheat penne (I made the whole box since I was making if for two and for leftovers)
Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1.5 c Fresh Spinach, chopped
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Salmon fillets

Marinate the salmon lightly with lemon juice and soy sauce, bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut into strips when cooked.
Boil penne in salted water. In a separate pan, bring equal amounts of worcestershire sauce and water to a boil and add mushrooms. Let the mushrooms boil for about five minutes then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks. Drain both the mushrooms and pasta and add in spinach, basil and salmon. Toss with the cream sauce and enjoy!

Passion fruit cream sauce
I really had to improvise here! I wanted the sauce to be as healthy as possible and still have a good creamy consistency. You really have to play around with this! I had to adjust these amounts according to taste, but once you get it the way you like it, it's tasty!
1.5-2 c Goat Cheese
1/2 container of Plain, non-fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 c Tropical fruit juice (I used Ceres brand and made sure passion fruit was in the juice)

Melt goat cheese and stir in Greek Yogurt. Add in the fruit juice to thin out the sauce, but enough to have the flavor! Add more goat cheese to thicken if needed.

Pineapple-Orange Juice
Equal parts orange and pineapple juices
Pour over lots of ice so it's nice and cold! Add a slice of pineapple to enjoy after!

Enjoy and Happy Weekend to all. Congrats, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!
It's also World Wish Day for Make A Wish! Find a way to get involved, it's a blessing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royal Look

Image from Ceci New York website.

I'm not even sure how to wrap my head around planning for a royal wedding, with so many dignitaries invited. I could only guess, however, that Preston Bailey, wedding guru and designer of extremely extravagant and beautiful weddings and events, could get the job done. His website is such design eye candy teeming with florals and lighting and decadence of every little detail. Ceci New York, an equally ornate designer of lush invitations that seems to be a gift in itself to receive in the mail, would be the perfect partner to Mr. Bailey's opulence. In my opinion, these two would design a stellar wedding fit for any royal. Ceci Johnson highlights a style each week, this week's appropriately is Royal Fever. She even created a false invitation for William and Kate's wedding, pictured above. The lovely design coupled with one of these looks from Preston Bailey Design would sure to be a handsome fit for the royal festivities.
Enjoy the wedding tomorrow!

Images from Preston Bailey Design website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tea Time: Earl Grey

Feel free to download and save! It's a little royal tea happy for you today!

Earl Grey is my favorite of all teas (with the exception of Moroccan mint tea). So in continuation of Royal Wedding Week, today's focus is on tea, particularly Earl Grey. Every time I have a cup, I just feel British. My friend Alison once introduced me to the "London Fog" at Starbucks (now called Earl Grey tea latte...boring name!) and I was in tea heaven. I make it a very simple way at home: Brew Earl Grey, fill a little over half the cup with it, then add vanilla soy milk the rest of the way and stir. Perhaps add a bit of honey for extra sweetness. The flavoring of bergamot and citrus is good any time of day.

I am waiting for an occasion to try these delicious looking Whimsy & Spice Earl Grey Sandwich cookies.

The Earl Grey & Honey Lollipop is a much healthier grown-up option of a lollipop.

Loose leaf tea seems fresher to me, and the bag is so pretty! Earl Grey Loose Leaf Tea.

Tea for One sets are so adorable. I love the decadence of this set from English Tea Store.

Scalding hot mugs are no fun to handle. This little Love Mug Cozy will keep your hands toasty, and best of all, it's labeled Earl Grey!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Something Blue, Princess-to-be-Style

Imagine you were a princess, much like Cinderella since she had a fine fascination with shoes. If I were her, I would have gone back and gotten the shoe when it fell off...clearly they didn't look like these Samira Strass Christian Louboutin's. You're welcome. Photo from Christian Louboutin website.

With all the hype surrounding the royal wedding, I'm taking complete advantage of it this week and having royal-inspired posts. Today's items are amazing designs inspired by Kate Middleton. There is no doubt her style is oh-so-British and I love that she is a new, elegant fashion icon already. This post is based around her engagement ring, once Princess Diana's, and the deep royal color of the sapphire. I love sapphires and secretly wish my birthday was in September to have that birthstone but I'm still ok with my December blue. These picks are certainly fit for a princess' budget, but as long as we are dreaming, let's go all out with it shall we?

Swarovski's Hot Montana Collar necklace shimmers just enough to be a classy princess item. Photo from Swarovski website.

Kate has made hats and fascinators all the rage again. This Duffy Peacock Headpiece by portobello on Etsy is a bit more toned-down and smaller but does the trick to add that extra oomph to your locks since we simply can't wear a tiara everyday. Photo from Etsy.

Another perfect headpiece to replace a tiara and still be princess-worthy is this Navy Blue Crystal Rhinestone & Marcasite Stone Beaded Hair Comb by IslandGirlDesigns, also on Etsy. Photo from Etsy.

This Halston Heritage dress is a slightly more elegant version than Kate's Issa dress at her engagement announcement, but just as classy and perfectly wrapped in the stunning sapphire shade. Photo from The Outnet.

On her tours of the United Kingdom, Kate has had an adorable collection of outerwear to display. However, this 3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Flower & Stud-embellished coat is a great update for a modern princess. Photo from Net-a-Porter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jesus, Jelly Beans & Earth

It's a bit odd that Good Friday, Earth Day and Jelly Bean Day are all wrapped into one this year. No, none are related...I guess Good Friday and Earth Day could be correlated but Jelly Bean Day, not so much.
First off, if you are in the Nashville area, I strongly encourage a visit to Cross Point Community Church. There are several campuses and several worship times to choose from. Sadly, I won't be here to enjoy it since I'll be spending time with family and reflecting on the true meaning of Easter with them. The Easter egg symbolizes new life for Christians during this time. We are dyeing eggs tonight so a fun post will be up soon after on the results of our eggs! Read more about the history of Easter eggs.
Today also happens to be Earth Day. I went by Starbucks this morning, where they are giving away free coffee (and tea I believe) if you have a reusable mug. I have been trying to make more of an effort to use my reusable mugs and if I don't, to recycle my paper cups. Throughout the day I also use a Water Bobble which has a filter so you can fill up your bottle with tap water as many times as you want while not contributing to plastic bottle waste. I recently left it behind on my way to work and couldn't stand not having it with me throughout the day! The colors are so fun as well. Filters need to be changed every two months, so you can go through the rainbow of colors in a year if you want (mine is currently red)!

Image from website

I've made a much bigger effort this year to recycle as well. I bought some cheap trash cans from Target and covered them with wrapping paper and labeled each lid with glass, plastic and paper. The bins are cute and little and are about to undergo a makeover since my cat enjoys playing with the labeled tops, thus I end up with a bin labeled P PER. What?
Martha Stewart has some cute DIY recycling bin ideas as well, like this one.

Image from Martha Stewart website

Lastly (and yes, least) it is Jelly Bean Day! Perfect timing for this time of year as well since jelly beans grace Easter baskets frequently. I'm pretty sure my mom has a bowl of Starburst jelly beans somewhere in the kitchen. Visit Jelly Belly for some jelly bean fun today, particularly the jelly bean art.

Happy Belated Birthday, Queen Mum. Image from Jelly Belly website.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Easter Menu

Easter is usually a big to-do with my family, particularly my grandmother. She has a huge spread of delicious food on a very colorful table decorated with odds and ends collected over the years. You'll notice the menu says 'Grandaddy's Ham' because it can only be cooked and carved by him! My boyfriend shot a turkey on our last trip home so we are going to try to deep fry it (I say we, but it won't be me) and enjoy him for the holiday. Of course we always dye eggs, a tradition my grandmother and I have long had and enjoy now with my three younger cousins. Our entire family participates in an Easter egg scavenger hunt in my grandparents' basement, where we get a plastic egg with a clue and have to find where our little gift is located. It's very entertaining trying to decipher handwriting and figuring out who has what item.
I offered to make little menus and place cards (even though we always sit in the same spot, it's still cute) for the table for Sunday. I've given my grandmother a sneak peek but now I wanted to share with you so you have time to make some as well! Above is the menu card and below are our place cards. I chose a color scheme of orange, turquoise and purple this year. It's so fresh and colorful!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rain, Rain, I'll Be Fashionable Today!

Rainy Day by majalin on Etsy

It's rainy and gloomy. Again.
So despite the rain and gloom, we're going to look cute in it. Just embrace it and go with it. And with all the cute rain boots out there and colorful umbrellas, rain jackets, rain you-name it, you have every opportunity to forego the baseball cap and sweatshirt because it's another dreary day. Be the sunshine you crave to see! Smile when the sky is gray!

The totes Clear Bubble Umbrella with Primary Dots will keep you protected from the crazy windy rain that attacks from all around

Anthropologie's Singing-In-The-Showers Slicker is adorable and reminiscent of a picnic blanket. You know, if it weren't raining of course and you were having a picnic!

Vivienne Westwood would most certainly combat the wet ground in these beautiful boots. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania + Ankle Boot.

This bag is one of my favorites on Etsy and most likely will be my summer beach bag. It would be perfect for now when you have all the stuff you normally tote around and want to keep it protected agains the elements. A cute beach bag is perfect for rainy days as long as it's like this one and doesn't automatically remind you of a Caribbean island.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Apple-Berry Salsa pics!

My friend Morgan made the Apple Berry Salsa and Cinnamon Chips Recipe posted last week and sent me a very colorful picture! I love her red glass bowl. She made and served it for her friends Sunday as a dessert after having a taco ring (sounds tasty!) and chips and dip. The salsa has another follower! If you've made this or are planning on making it, send me a photo! Check out Morgan's Get Up and Stand blog as well.

Adore Home: Welcome to Adore Home's blog

Photo from the Adore Home Magazine blog

Adore Home Magazine out of Australia is amazing. It's always so fresh and full of color. The Aussies really know how to embrace bold colors! They have just started a new blog and after seeing the simple and beautiful "In the Navy" post, I had to take a second to direct you there. This blog promises fabulous success and a lot of eye candy. Click on over and enjoy the color.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Fluff

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski, from the Sweet Paul blog

Sweet Paul Magazine is one of the most unique web mags out there that I have seen. There is always such a creative twist on original concepts and easy how-tos on a great deal of the stuff you see in the magazine. I really want to take a day and try some of the recipes that look uniquely delicious. You must check it out!
With Easter week upon us, many folks will be grabbing up Easter egg dying kits and creating adorably fluffy chicks, bunnies or whatever else there is that exudes spring and can be fluffified (it's a new word, just go with it). I spotted this adorable little bird on Sweet Paul's Blog and wanted to share the cuteness with you. If you get time this week to make him and some brothers and sisters for him, they would be the perfect Easter table decor added with some wildflowers and sticks. The how-to is on the Sweet Paul Blog. Have fun!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cindy's Apple Berry Salsa & Cinnamon Chips!

I have been obsessed with this recipe since my aunt made it years ago. It is so fresh and juicy and perfect for spring and summer when the strawberries are better. Since I've been on the Tone It Up diet plan, I've been more conscience about eating clean and natural foods. So I had to alter her recipe a bit to be within the lines of my diet plan. So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Dice and combine the following:
2 Granny Smith Apples
2 Kiwis
1 Pint of Strawberries
1 Small Orange, 1 tsp zest and 2 tbsp juice
2 tbsp packed brown sugar (I used Truvia)
2 tbsp Apple Jelly (I used Agave Nectar)

Serve with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Moisten a tortilla (I chose whole wheat) with water or melted butter (I chose water)
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (I did only cinnamon)
Bake at 325 degrees until crispy


Monday, April 11, 2011

Be Cute at the Store!

Grocery shopping is so much easier when you first get organized about it. I am on the Tone It Up diet plan to get bikini-ready and enjoy planning out my recipes for the week with this shopping list I created. I just print one when I need it, fill it out, shop, then recycle the paper in my recycling bin. It makes section-shopping of the store much easier and quicker. Feel free to save the above image I created and use it for yourself! If you would like a custom-made shopping list in your own color scheme, contact me!
I love to take my own bags to the grocery store because it not only is environmentally friendly, which we all need to be even more, but it also helps you stay organized. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's get designer thumbs up for their cute reusable bags. Why would you not want to carry something fun like that full of yummy groceries? There are so many reusable bags out there now in so many different price ranges, however, I recently ran across the Baggu bags in the rainbow of colors. I might have to go through my old bags and replace them with these.

To keep reusable bags and other odds and ends from being strewn across my vehicle, I keep everything corralled in the adorable VERY design-worthy Scout Bins. There are a myriad of different sizes, types and colors to choose from (and they have new designs!) and the best part is, the collapse when you aren't storing anything.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Design by God

Talk about design! Look at the amazing stripes these rows of tulips create. Color all goes back to nature, a God-created color wheel. If this isn't proof, I don't know what is. I came across this on Poppytalk Handmade which referenced back to Lemmemakeit. This is absolutely gorgeous. I would love to sit in this field with a nice fruity beverage and just look around. Ah Holland, I now have wanderlust and floral jealousy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Make A Wish Come True

Make-A-Wish Foundation

A day after my beloved sorority's birthday, I am delighted to share with you the fabulous philanthropy I was introduced to through my days as an active Chi Omega. The Make A Wish Foundation is such an extraordinary philanthropic organization to be a part of. You get to live out a little bit of a fairy tale by acting as wish granter and making a child's wish come true. I was recently a part of my first wish as a volunteer with the Middle Tennessee Chapter, where we granted a sweet boy's wish to go to Hawaii to the Pro Bowl. The delight of his family before they left was enough to make the hours of planning completely worth it. I am currently waiting to grant a new wish to a new little boy who wants to go to Disney World, the land where wishes always come true! I'm so excited for him and love this organization so much. I encourage you to become a volunteer near you or give to the organization online through a monetary donation. April 29 is World Wish Day, so find a way to get involved!
If you know a child between the ages of 2-18 who has a life-threatening illness, they are eligible for a wish.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jillian Harris' skin smoothie

With crazy hot and cold weather, my skin has been back and and forth from dry to normal. So I have been able to combat that with a few products and a fabulous smoothie. I saw on Jillian Harris' Twitter page the other day a recipe for a smoothie that rejuvenates skin, based off of a smoothie she gets at the juice bar from Whole Foods. Her instructions were to drink the smoothie for three days straight and see how your complexion looks. I did that...except I saw results in two! So I cannot take credit for this fabulous drink, but I will share with you the recipe. Please thank the lovely Jillian Harris for the goodness. Her recipe is up on her Facebook page. Aside from being a masterful concoction-brewing cook (as evidenced by her recipes she shares via Twitter, Facebook and her website), you might know her as the Bachelorette two seasons ago. She has a beautiful aesthetic and is one of my design inspirations. Take a look at her portfolio on her website. She makes design look so easy and cohesive. She now is one of the designers behind Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. You would do good to check her out! You won't be sorry.

Jillian Harris' Complexion Smoothie:
1 cup of berries (I have only ever used blackberries and blueberries and I get them fresh)
1 1/4 cups of Bolthouse carrot juice
1 banana, sliced
Pinch of frozen spinach (it acts as the ice cube when frozen, I break off a tiny chunk)

Blend together on high in a blender and enjoy!

Other skin must-haves that I love lately are: grapeseed oil to use as a moisturizer at night. A little goes a long way too! Aquaphor is also great for a lip ointment at night as well. I'm currently looking for a good new scrub, but Biore's line is smooth and exfoliating at the same time.

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