Monday, February 29, 2016

Tuscan Dreams

After almost three years to the day we will be returning to Italy, this time for our honeymoon! While we have sincerely loved every region of Italy that we've visited, Tuscany has a very special place in our hearts. During our five days in the countryside we said countless times how romantic it was, and how perfect it would be for a honeymoon. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Grace Oda's Splash

Around this time every year I start to get an itch for the sun. If you're one of the lucky ones heading on a tropical vacation {such as my friend Sara who heads to the Maldives in a few days}, I'm envious! But for those of you who, like me, are going to be landlocked for the foreseeable future, photographer Grace Oda's collection of partially submerged ocean shots is almost as good as the real thing. I particularly love the photos shot during that magical time before sunset. After a day in the heat, nothing feels better than jumping into the crystal clear sea, glistening with the golden glow of late afternoon, and floating on your back while staring up at the sky. Pure serenity.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Built-In Bookshelves

Can a home have too many built-in bookshelves? When you're a collector like me, the answer is absolutely not! Although our Victorian cottage has loads of character, since the day we moved in I've dreamt of having built-ins installed in our living and dining rooms.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Amsterdam Travel Guide

We recently spent three days in Amsterdam, and although the weather was gloomy and I was recovering from a terrible stomach virus that I caught on our last night in Paris, we had the most amazing time and are already dreaming about when we will be able to return. For those of you who haven't been or are planning a trip {I'm envious!} I've pulled together some of my recommendations for where to stay, what to see, and of course - what to eat!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Favorite Food Blog

As I mentioned previously, I have been a vegetarian for the past 13 months, and until recently was stuck in a bit of a food rut. I made the decision to cut out all meat abruptly and didn't spend much time really figuring out my next step. That compounded with being overwhelmed with a new job, decorating a new house, and planning a destination wedding resulted in my diet last year being pretty redundant. I ate a lot of salads, meatless chicken patties, canned tuna, and a lot of quinoa {ok, and a decent amount of pasta too}.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Honeymoon Style: Santorini

Although our honeymoon is still six and a half months away {I'm not counting or anything...} it's never too early to start shopping! No matter how diligent I am in preparing for a trip, I always seem to come to the realization about half way through the vacation that I packed way too much. Because we will be staying in three different destinations on our honeymoon it's especially important to me that I bring pieces that can multitask to ensure that unpacking and repacking my suitcase is a breeze. After all, the last thing I'm going to want to do is spend an hour in our room trying to squeeze everything back into my suitcase.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dreams in HD Photography

Happy Friday! I don't know about you - but this week has felt like it has dragged on, and on, and on. This weekend we're planning on taking full advantage of the spring-like weather by heading to our favorite town of Nashville, IN for an afternoon of sunshine, antiquing, and brewery hopping.

In other news, I recently opened up a print shop on Etsy! Dreams in HD Photography features images from my travels. I fell in love with traveling on my first trip abroad nearly ten years ago - visiting my sister in Germany. Since then it has become a full-fledged addiction, and I never leave without my camera. Seeing the world through my viewfinder allows me to notice the little things...the way the light reflects off a gold dome, the tiny drops of dew on freshly cut roses, a couple strolling hand-in-hand in the Tuileries. Because those seemingly insignificant moments really are what life's all about, don't you think?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

For the Little Ones

Is it just me, or is shopping for babies infinitely more fun than shopping for yourself? I'm pretty sure that the smaller things get the more exponentially adorable they become. While right now the only little one we could dream of having in our lives is Yoda, we're at the age where we start transitioning from wedding showers to baby showers - and I for one absolutely love having an excuse to shop for little ones.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wedding Dress Shopping

The only aspect of wedding planning I was truly nervous about was dress shopping. I am very particular and indecisive, so I just knew that finding "the dress" wouldn't be as easy as it was for most. Plus, I don't enjoy being the center of attention so getting on a pedestal and twirling around while everyone ooooh'ed and aaaaah'ed over me was really just not something that appealed to me. While I expected the experience to be challenging - I had no idea that it would take me ten stores, about 100 dresses, and four states before I found my perfect dress. However my persistence paid off - the moment I stepped into my dress I had "the feeling" that everyone talked about (and quite honestly I never thought I would feel) - that dizzying, butterflies in my stomach, overwhelmed with emotion feeling which instantly told me at long last I had found my dress.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's Complicated Set Design

On Valentine's Day this year Ryan and I decided to forgo the traditional night out for a cozy day of snuggling in our PJ's, walking Yoda in the snow, watching movies by the fire, and dinner at home. After a breakfast of homemade pumpkin scones we curled up on the couch to watch one of my favorite romantic comedies - It's Complicated. I first saw the movie with my mom while staying at The Greenbrier, and I must have watched it at least 10 times since. 

While I love everything about the movie, for me what pushes it over the top is Meryl Streep's beyond perfect Santa Barbara ranch. Much of the film is centered around her open kitchen which features rustic open shelving, a stunning marble island, and a view of her gorgeous courtyard. The entire house is tastefully decorated and strikes the perfect balance of California casual meets Belgian chic, creating a home that is stylish and comfortable with just as many lovely spaces to curl up with a book outside as there are in. And if her home wasn't gorgeous enough, just take a look at her Dean and Deluca inspired bakery. Talk about a dream life!

Monday, February 15, 2016

La Banane, St. Barth

It happens every year like clockwork - about halfway through February I start dreaming about going on a tropical escape. Since we are saving our vacation time for our destination wedding and honeymoon this summer, it looks like the closest I'm going to get to palm trees is my computer screen, and thanks to the vibrant, modern-island decor of Villa Banane in St. Barths, I can almost feel the Vitamin D!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Our Valentine's Day Dinner Plan

While most years Ryan and I have looked at Valentine's Day as another opportunity to get dressed up and spend a night on the town, ever since moving into our new house we have slowly started transitioning into total homebodies. Maybe it's the fact that it's been so cold outside and our fireplaces, cozy blankets, and cuddly pup make our home feel that much more cozy, but to be honest, there's nowhere we would rather be than our little yellow cottage!

So this year for Valentine's Day we will be staying in, opening a bottle of wine from our last trip to Italy, and making dinner together. Thanks to my vegetarian diet plus the fact that our wedding is just a little more than six months away, we have been eating very, very healthy. We decided to ignore the wedding diet for the evening and instead have indulgent night of comfort food. As an afternoon snack we're going to have butternut squash, mushroom and fontina nachos with crispy sage. For dinner, a simple salmon filet roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, John Legend's famous macaroni and cheese, and roasted carrots and onions with fennel and mint. And last but not least, homemade chocolate cupcakes with sea salt buttercream. A cozy night at home with Ryan, Yoda, and some delicious food? I can't imagine anything better!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gallery Wall Inspiration

Ah the ubiquitous gallery wall. While certainly nothing new in the interior design scene, I will always love a gallery wall as I think it's the perfect opportunity to allow guests to learn more about you as a person. Plus, while I most certainly can appreciate a minimalist philosophy when it comes to many aspects of my life {I'm in the middle of reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it is literally blowing my mind}, I will always be in the "more is more" camp when it comes to decor. I just love a home that feels lived in and that every corner you look at has a new story to tell about it's owner.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Our Honeymoon Plans Part III: Santorini

Last but not least, for the final stop of our honeymoon we will be spending five days on the magical island of Santorini {a destination that has been on the top of my bucket list for many, many years}. After researching the options I decided that Oia, with it's chic ambiance and postcard views, would be the perfect town for us, and thanks to my travel buddy Sara's recommendation we will be staying at the Katikies Hotel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"The Intern" Set Design

Ryan and I don't see a lot of movies in the theater, so whenever we travel abroad I use the flight as an opportunity to catch up on my new releases. While watching The Martian, I started getting distracted by the movie the passenger in front of me was watching, and though I tried to stay focused on my screen I just couldn't seem to look away. I finally realized why I was so captivated - the movie had one of the more gorgeous set designs that I had ever seen! When I got home I looked the movie up and quickly realized why I loved it so much. Of course, it was because "The Intern" was directed by none other than Nancy Meyers {the woman can do no wrong!}

Friday, February 5, 2016

Our Honeymoon Plans Part II: Lake Como

Though we have spent several weeks in Italy, we have never been able to make it far enough north to visit Lake Como. The pristine lake has long been a favorite European holiday destination and has been featured in films such as Casino Royal, advertising campaigns, novels, and regularly by the media {thanks in part to George Clooney owning a famous villa there}. Over the years I have daydreamed about visiting {as evidenced by this blog post}, and in the back of my mind I kept telling myself to wait, and maybe, just maybe, we could go for our honeymoon. I'm absolutely thrilled to say we will be doing just that, and will be spending three days on Italy's most beautiful lake.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Seven Desserts Perfect for Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day being less than two weeks away, it's time you start making your plans. Whether you plan on spending it with your special someone, your gal pals, or simply relaxing at home with your favorite furry friend, there's no excuse not to indulge in a few decadent sweet treats. Last year Ryan planned a romantic date night where we visited all of my favorite spots in the city, but this year I'm leaning towards a quiet evening at home by the fire {and of course, some chocolate and wine}. What are your plans this Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our Honeymoon Plans Part I: Tuscany

While none of the wedding planning decisions have been easy for me {I have a very specific vision yet am also quite indecisive - a challenging combination}, choosing our honeymoon destination has been virtually a nine-month long debate. We bounced around staying in over-the-water bungalows in Bora Bora, going on a safari, relaxing in Hawaii, exploring Portugal, and even adventuring in Patagonia {which, I quickly found out, does not exactly have honeymoon weather in September}. However, from the get-go we just haven't been able to get Europe out of our minds, and the two destinations that we kept coming back to were Santorini and Lake Como {both on the very top of my bucket list}.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pantone's Colors of the Year for the Home

Chesterfield Sectional {Denim} || Watercolor Flora Wallpaper || Whale-Tail Measuring Cups || Happiness Planner || Rose Lip Polish || Kim Salmela Hicks Stool || Velvet Pillow || Bergère || Roll Arm Storage Bench || Milk Glass Mixing Bowl Set || Floral Settee

This year at my office we had a pool running to see which color Pantone would pick as their color of the year. My colleagues picked colors from jade to raspberry, but no one anticipated that they would choose not one but two colors! And I have to say - I absolutely love their choices. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Travel :: Paris, France

Ryan and I spent a few days in Paris over the holiday season, and it was pure magic. It was my fourth time to the City of Light and every time I return I seem to fall more and more in love with the city. We stayed at the beautiful Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal and, having already been to most of the popular tourist destinations on other trips, we didn't feel pressured to try to fit everything into our four days.