Friday, June 29, 2012

spicy linguine with clams

Last night we had the best seafood pasta I have ever had. My mother-in-law used Giada de Laurentis' Spicy Linguine with Clams recipe and it was good enough to make me wish I lived on the beach all year long. Here are the ingredients with our adaptations:

  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large or 4 small shallots, sliced (The store was out of shallots so we improvised with a white onion)
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning, plus 2 teaspoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (recommended: Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 littleneck clams, cleaned (For the 6 of us, we cooked 36 clams)
  • 12 mussels, cleaned (We didn't add mussels, but I'd love to try this in the future!)

You can find the full recipe here. Even without fresh clams, the spicy linguine should be a summer staple. I can't wait to try this out again back home for our friends!


// Photo from My Life in Food //

Thursday, June 28, 2012

the perfect sandal

Even though June is on it's way out, I am still on the hunt for a comfortable and chic summer sandal that can translate from work to play (and won't break the bank). Here are some of my favorite options:

The Adrienne Vittandini Lark Wedge Sandal looks likes a great option for jeans, skirts and shorts. I love the shade of leather, but the center threading might be a little too casual for a fancy summer dress. It's hard to beat the $69.95 price tag though!

If money weren't an object, the Taryn by Taryn Rose Dee Wedge Sandal would be a no-brainer. The distressed leather and slingback strap are perfect and probably completely worth $119.95. I really like the height, but I'm not sure if I would want my foot so covered.

The Born Rhys Wedge offers a sweet compromise between my first two choices - the reasonable price of $79.95 with a gorgeous leather design and slingback strap. The heel might be a little too much for everyday in the office, but this wedge is awesome.

Alas, I think I have found my favorite. The Levity Carly Wedge Sandal has it all - a simple heel, great shade of leather, flattering straps and lovely ankle strap. And did I mention it's only $54.95?! Done and done.

What shoes do you live in for the summer?

// Top photo via wit + delight. All shoe photos from DSW and on my wishlist //

Friday, June 22, 2012

have a relaxing weekend

What a week. Went to a sales seminar on Monday with two of my co-workers and had an incredible time learning from one of the best catering salesman in the industry. Tuesday night Liz took Taylor and I out to dinner at Brett's (our wedding caterer) and Wednesday we went to Taqueria del Sol for my favorite enchilada and margarita. This morning I had breakfast with my weet friend Alexandra (her bridal shower is tomorrow!) and tonight I am visiting one of the most special places on the planet.

Taylor and I leave for the beach this Sunday and we could not be more thrilled for this long awaited vacation! I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend and enjoys the link lovin' :)

A gift for someone who can laugh at themselves...

Finally a blog both Taylor and I can enjoy!

Gorgeous industrial lighting 

Colorful engagement

A knit sweater over a summer dress

Great ideas for an outdoor movie night

Tons of summer recipes to try!

How am I only just discovering SF Girl By Bay?!

This book is on my must-reads list

A lovely bridal shower color palette


// Photo via the style files //

Thursday, June 21, 2012

house update : guest room

This might be the room I'm most proud of because it's allowed me to incorporate so many more details and pieces I love, but that don't work in our bedroom.

We painted the room Silver Tinsel by Behr's Premium Ultra Plus and I know what you're thinking - silver?! It's actually the most pleasant shade of gray I've ever seen and creates a wonderful neutral palette for the room (of course that's just my opinion ha).

This picture above is a little too dark, but hopefully you get the gist. Shannen and her husband gave us their old Ikea bed frame (similar one here) in exchange for some babysitting and Liz let us have her old Ikea mattress. I stacked vintage suitcases as one night stand (topped with a personalized tissue holder below) and made-over an old electric spool for the other stand (pictures coming soon).

The photo gallery above includes some of Taylor's favorite pictures of Yankee's players which I thought was a fair compromise instead of a baseball themed room :)

The desk might look puny under those windows, but I love how the dark wood matched the floors. And it gets so much more use than when it was in the laundry room at the old house. I haven't told many people this, but I actually keep all my clothing in this room. Besides the fact that the closet is waaay bigger, I like having my space to get away to and get ready (especially before dates :)

Our little Chief sleeps in his crate in the guest room for now and it's nice to have a room where he can keep to himself. We've had a few guest so far, including my sister this week, and I love being able to offer them their own room. All I need are guest toothbrushes :)

// Also: before pictures and inspiration //

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

wedding wednesday

My original plan for today's post was delayed last night, so instead, I thought I would share some recent wedding inspiration via my Pinterest board "the wed." My favorite weddings are the ones that seem so effortless - not forced or pretending to be something it's not.

Ceremony - I've never been to a wedding where the children (or guests) were just allowed to sit in the aisle and I LOVE it - why should the best seat in the house be empty?

Dining - A menu card doesn't have to be printed or formal or stuffy. I love how simple (and cheap!) this paper bag menu is, while still being visually interesting. Of course the striped linen napkin is a wonderful touch too.

Decor - Outdoor seating at a reception can be hit-or-miss in my opinion. Like would you really put a chesterfield outside? Probably not. But some homemade wood couches? Yes please! They fit so naturally in the setting, but could also easily translate into home decor. When brides go the DIY route, they should really consider pieces that will work in their future home after the big day.

Dancing - Everyone  on the dance floor isn't just a sign that the drinks are strong or the band is good - there's a tone of comfort and feeling of freedom among the guests that I truly believe is set and expressed by the bride & groom.

What wedding ideas are you loving on Pinterest these days?


P.S. My other boards you might enjoy: fashion, home design, and DIY.

// Photo sources: 1. via A well traveled woman, 2. via OnceWed, 3. via the style files, 4. via Strikes Our Fancy //

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

house update : kitchen

Our kitchen is still very much a work in progress (my goal is to have it painted by the end of the summer), but I'm content with where it is at for now. My first design goals were/are:
  • paint the walls yellow or pink or something else
  • paint a chalkboard wall
  • install open shelving
  • organize utensils
  • have some plants or herbs displayed

If we weren't renters I would love to paint the cabinets too, although I think a light blue will work better with the wood than the yellowish/cream/blah on the walls now. I plan on removing the shelf above the stove and will install either a hanging dish rack or peg board above to utilize the wall and storage.

Two or three wood shelves will go above the coffee pot to the right. I found some planks in our garage that will work - just need to find the right stain and distress them!

The space is tight, but functional and I wouldn't trade a thing for that sink window over looking the backyard. Even though no more than 3 people can ideally work in here at a time, I just love our little kitchen. And the dishwasher. I love my dishwasher :)

// Also: before pictures //

Monday, June 18, 2012

some days

Some days this little pup just annoys the tar out of me (like when he thinks my shoe is a chew toy...when it's on my foot), but other days he can do no wrong. Those eyes. I love having a little, loyal best friend around when I'm home alone.

That is all :)

house update : dining room

When it comes to the dining room, I want to keep it simple and easy so that entertaining is never too stressful (besides the cooking part). My initial goals for the room were:
  • use the space more than just when we had company
  • swap wood chairs for something modern
  • paint the walls gray
  • add a rug
  • purchase or make a bar cart

As you can see, we are very much still in the beginning stages of decorating. However, since we don't have room in our kitchen for a table, we eat here everyday! I love that our farmhouse table is getting lots of love and it's the perfect spot to watch Chief in the yard while we dine. After the living room was painted gray, we started to really like the yellow and now we are pretty set on keeping it- it's cheery, don't you think?

I still need to purchase a striped rug (or make one out of smaller rugs!) as well as 2 large frames to hang Scottish tea towels on the wall to the left. The future bar cart will come in handy to store the mason jars when guests come over, too.

More to come tomorrow!

// Also: before pictures and inspiration //

Friday, June 15, 2012

have a fun weekend

What are your weekend plans? Taylor and I are looking forward to a Saturday filled with garage sales, walks with Chief, and maybe even some yard work :) My family is coming into town on Sunday to celebrate my sister, Elizabeth's, 30th birthday and Father's Day! Liz is staying with us for the week while attending ESP Camp (our friend Laura is the executive director). Hope your weekend is extra fun and enjoy some long-awaited link lovin'!

A lovely blog from a lovely lady (who happens to be my co-worker :)

Aviator sunglasses- a must for summer.

Totally awesome (and easy) DIY table runner

I looove this sneak peek- especially the kitchen. Also on D*S, an alternative to bar carts.

Open shelving inspiration for the kitchen

A dog blog :)

I could relate to Brittany's blogging feelings and I'm so glad she's back

Emily was a gorgeous bride! Can't wait to see more!

// Top photo via A well traveled woman //

house update : living room

Not including the past couple days, my blogging consistency had been pretty weak. Between work and setting up the house, my creative juices have been somewhat zapped, but I am ready to get back to sharing about life and things I love!

To make up for the blogging lull, let's go on a new house tour, shall we?! Today I will be sharing the details of our sweet living room. In case you don't remember the initial ideas, my main goals were:
  • light gray walls
  • textured rug
  • leather couch
  • re-do our wicker chairs
  • fill fireplace with wood
  • add industrial lighting

Things are looking pretty good so far! We love the light gray color even though it looks slightly different depending on the time of day (it's Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Mineral in case you're wondering). We got a killer deal on the couch from Craigslist and it is super comfortable (with a pullout bed no less!). The wicker chairs were a labor of love - stripping the paint was impossible so I had to give up my natural wood idea. Instead, I gave them a coat of semi-gloss black spray paint and covered the cushions with a natural fabric. The black looks pretty sick though, no?

I even have a little seating area for my morning quiet times. We got the green leather recliner from the same Craigslist seller and she actually just let us take it! I mean who can give up a free chair??

With a few more finishing touches (like this rug that I LOVE), the room will be complete! I am also adding a few more items to my wish list, like a long wood bench with plants to go under those gorgeous windows. What do you think?

P.S. Be sure to check back next week to see the rest of the house!

// Also: my first house tour, the new house first look, living room inspiration, and more ideas //

Thursday, June 14, 2012


As I shared yesterday, Morgan + Candice were engaged last month and a couple weeks ago Candice brought over a sweet gift...

Candice made cute personalized boxes to ask her friends to be a bridesmaid. Each was filled with a general note to all the girls, a specific card to the maid (or matron!), details of the big day and information on attire. Candice is such a creative person and if this is just the beginning, I can't even imagine what she has in store for her big day.

Morgan is like a little brother to me and Candice has become one of my very best friends over the past year so it is an incredible honor to be a part of their wedding. My hope and prayer is to be as helpful and generous as possible over these next few months to make all the planning easier.

The date is set, venue booked, and photographer locked down. These two know how to throw a party and I can't wait to see everything come together on October 14th!


// Also: Jenna and Erin's will you be my bridesmaid cards //

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

wedding wednesday

Last month Taylor and I hosted a surprise engagement party at our house. Morgan and Candice are some of our very best friends and it was such an honor to help plan their epic party. To say the night was magical (and FUN) would be an understatement.

It was a serious team effort in planning, decorating, and cooking but everything came together perfectly. With inspiration from Pinterest and decor borrowed from work we pulled off a great night that I think everyone enjoyed.

The goal for the night was to give Candice + Morgan the best party (besides their wedding ;) to celebrate their fun relationship. We tried to incorporate lots of vintage touches that Candice would like too. Of course a chalkboard menu & wine bottles with flowers are a must.

Our friend Jenn customized their own corn hole set and Alexandra helped make the beverage station perfect. One of my favorite moments was when the couple arrived and Candice hugged her future mother-in-law, Lin.

 Although this moment was pretty precious too and pretty much sums up how crazy in love they are. Sigh.

And it would not have been a proper celebration for these two without a wild dance party to end the night. Thank you Jed for your amazing DJ skills!

Told you it was magical :) Check back tomorrow for a sweet surprise from the lovely bride-to-be herself.


P.S. Let's not forget the gorgeous ring she received...Morgan used his grandmother's stone for this breathtaking design. Now THAT is a rock!

// Photos courtesy of Morgan Beaty, Sarah Fick, Jordan Beaman & Alisha Townshend //
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