Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts

Let it Snow!

Finally a real Winter!  This is the best one in years...

We're loving the snow (and snow days-  yay for being married to a teacher! )  It feels like it did when we were kids...  The pine boughs are touching the ground (and our cars) the snow is so heavy:  (This pic was taken before it had finished but you get the idea)

Our backyard is a "fairy land" :

We had fun making "Frosty" but he didn't make it through the most recent snowstorm: 

Christian loves his daddy:

Justin's been hanging inside:

And we've all been spending lots of time in front of the wood-burning stove.  (So glad we kept it!!)...  Even little miss Ashby:


A Crazy Lady on Halloween

So it's around 5 am and I've been up not being able to sleep for a couple of hours--- not sure if it's the pregnancy, the cold, or the fact that sometimes I just can't shut my brain off. But anyway, here I am up & thinking about all that needs to be done realizing it just can't happen!

I finally gave up pretending I was going to go back to sleep and started some work but I had to drop a quick post in to say I won't be able to post my kitchen today. I'm sorry & don't mean to dangle a good "before & after," I just simply can't get it all done. I had so many plans for this Halloween too!! I'm returning the fabric I bought for Christian's Max (from Where the Wild Things Are) and he's now going as a store-bought "honey bear"- as he says. The package said "honey bear" on it and I guess one of us read it out loud and now he's not just a "bear" anymore.) I've bitten off more than I can chew lately and have decided that some things just won't get done. hahah like this: (Southern Living)

I also wanted to do the ghost ring that so many of you gave me ideas on.. but when I saw the price on the styrofoam balls ($13 each!!!) I gave up on that... We have one spooky ghost now in my woods and I will post photos of our Halloween party prep later today or tomrorow. (If we can get it all done..) We also hung a very scary man/ scarecrow guy in a tree back in our woods and he looks really life-like so I'm hoping the cops don't show up to investigate. (And that my mommy friends don't get too weirded out.)

I'll be back as soon as I can to post Halloween party pics. It's going to be one of those days where we will be simply giving up at some point because there's no possible way to get all that I have planned done in time. ah vell!! I will have a nice cold rootbeer to celebrate my favorite holiday:

THAT I can handle ;)

The Beauty of Pesto

I know I mostly write about design-related things, but this is also a place where I collect inspiration about the simple & beautiful things in life. The little things that make us happy... And not very much makes me much happier than good food. One of my favorite things to do in the late Summer & Fall is to make pesto. (image above from We had SO MUCH basil this year. (I pretty much managed to kill or seriously distress everything else we planted besides the basil.)

It's grown as tall as Christian! I took these photos about a month ago with full intentions of posting them sooner, so you'll notice that things look a bit warmer & greener than they are these days. My little assistant was wonderful and I'd highly recommend one for basil-picking:

He even came with his own bucket! Along with good food, I love spending time outside with my family. Christian & I had so much fun checking out all the final flowers in the yard as we snapped up our basil:

My "weeds" have ended up being some of my favorite flowers, like the Rose of Sharon that pops up everywhere. (And I can't kill them- yay!!! I'm honestly so terrible with plants that even my mint doesn't look so hot.)

And will this honeysuckle never stop?!!! We still have some blooms even in October! (Not that I'm complaining :)

We caught a shot of this little butterfly (or pretty moth? I'm no biologist.) on some sedum...

And these purple flowers just popped up (requiring no love) and made me really happy:

Ok, so back to the basil...

Once it was all collected in the bucket...

... And we had mounds of it...

We cut & washed it in my Grandma's collander. I pulled the chair up to the sink for Christian and he was just so excited to help.

And I broke out the blender:

Here's my Basic Ingredient List in case you don't already have one:

-Olive Oil--> and I'm not picky about very many things but olive oil is one of them... I used to be "Lauren Maestranzi" remember? ;) We always use Filippo Berio ( & love it when you can get it in the big can) and I'd say it's the most authentic "gorcery store" olive oil you can get. If they don't have it, then go with Bertoli. (and I don't go extra virgin with my pesto either.)

-Fresh Basil

-Pine Nuts

-Shredded Parmesan Cheese

-Fresh Minced Garlic (lots!)

-Salt & Pepper

-Italian Parsley

Yummy add-ons:

-Lemon juice




(I haven't listed any amounts on here because I just usually eye it. You can make it thicker by using less oil and more pesto & cheese or you can stretch it with extra oil. It's totally up to you. (I usually use just enough olive oil to get my blender to blend.) Anyway, then just blend it all up and remember at the end to salt to taste. Now put it on something yummy like pasta (loving tri-color in my pesto lately) and/or grilled chicken or even spread it on some french bread with some shredded parm melted on top in the oven.

I usually make it in huge batches and separate it out into smaller batches to freeze for easy stress-free meals later on. (Now that's simple beauty ;) (image from

I think we all know that in reality, not every meal can be lovingly prepared and/ or planned and homemade -at least not in my reality- but it really is nice to squeeze in these special meals where you have fun with your family preparing them. Some music, a nice glass of wine, or letting little ones help and make messes... I love it when meal prep can be fun: it's one of those things that needs to happen almost every night so why not make the best out of it? Even eating can be simple happy & beautiful.



So It's Been 4 Years...

Dave and I were married 4 years ago today in Georgetown. It POURED rain like you wouldn't believe - a huge drought ended that weekend- and we had such a blast. (pic below of some of my childhood friends)

We got engaged at the ripe old age of 22 (him 23). We must have scared our families half to death! It was one of those things where we'd already been together a couple of years but I was only a year out of college... We knew we wanted to get married "someday" but were so young and "the age" for getting married is more like at least 26 now... But one day we were just talking and we thought "Why can't we?" "What's stopping us besides what people might think?" We knew we wanted to and knew that moving in with roommates for another couple of years & living "the life" just wasn't what we wanted anymore. So, in April, we started planning a wedding for October. It was a short engagement and I don't think I could have stood for it to be any longer. Wedding planning CONSUMES you even when you try not to let it. All of those phone calls, plans, etc. Here are my beautiful best friends & cousins (the bridesmaids) below. They all chose their own styles of dress by the same designer... something I really recommend because they were all able to pick what they felt most comfortable in:

I found them all unique vintage necklaces that reminded me of them & they wore them on the day of the wedding. Anyway, I thought I'd share with you today a bunch of wedding photos taken by our photographer, Mark Bettinger of Rodney Bailey photography. We chose photographers who shoot in in the photojournalistic style because, it's strange, but I'm REALLY uncomfortable in photos where I know the photographer is taking a pic and I need to stand there and "smile." I love all the details they captured. Below, Dave at the church, waiting:

And me waiting at my grandparents house:

The morning started fairly early as all the bridesmaids came to my mom's house to do hair & make-up. (A lot had slept over.) Wedding's these days are pretty much productions and ours, I have to admit, was too. As crazy as it was though, I remember just being so happy that it was finally "the big day" and looking out at the rain just gushing down from the sky and thinking I'd always sort of known it would rain on my wedding day & how it didn't matter a bit. (I really love a good rainstorm & I was actually fine with it but had lots of outdoor pics planned- oh well! :) Then my mom & I and my cousin Jen (my maid of honor) went over to grandparents' house where I grew up to get ready ^ take some pics. (My mom & I lived there with my grandparents for 6 years.) Here's my mom helping me get ready:
I didn't try on my wedding dress before I ordered it because the designer, Saison Blanche , is couture and doesn't do samples of most of their dresses. But, I saw a picture of it online & knew it would be perfect. I didn't try on any dresses before getting it. It was big a splurge (I'm SO not a couture girl in real life unfortunately ;) and have my mom to thank for the dress... I was crazy over the Swarovski crystals all over the bodice & cap sleeves & wanted my wedding to be a sort of mix of whites, metallics, & have a conservatory-feel with a little vintage bling... (I've realized it's similar to the scheme of my home.)
And Dave at the church with my little cousin, Christopher:
I'm going to let these pics speak for themselves.:

... okay, and I love to see the expression on the groom's face when he first sees the bride:

I remember it so well... it was like I had tunnel vision and just saw him at the end of that long aisle & everything else was a blur...

Sealing the deal ;) (below)

The wedding ring:

Mr. and Mrs.Liesss!!! (up until this point I was Lauren Maestranzi ;)

Hugging him alone after the ceremony (haha sort of- the photographer was there) felt so good...

We actually had the reception in Georgetown University's cafeteria. NICE cafeteria!! I fell for it because of the view right on the Potomac River and of course the chandeliers:

I loved all the hydrangea and gardenia and of course all the light in the room:

ok, this one needs explaining... THE LAMB CHOPS: mm mm mm

We had moss balls & topiaries everywhere... And very small floating gardenia centerpieces because the food was served family-style and there wouldn't be much room:
In my family (the Italian side), it's tradition to stand on the chairs & sing "That's Amore!" My dad started that one a LONG time ago...
We just had so much fun & the time flew by!!! At weddings you're so busy saying hello to everybody that you really have to make a conscious effort to get some QT in with your new spouse. I'd been to enough weddings to see how important it was to just relax, realize things won't work out exactly the way you'd planned & who really cares, and to focus on what really matters: your spouse & your marriage.

I didn't really care much about the cake (I'm more of a cookie girl) but it actually was SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!! (even a year and a half later- when we actually remembered to eat the top of it!)
My sweetie with the umbrella (below). (We'd had plans to go to the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks and take pics but coudn't because of the rain.) Sometimes things just turn out very differently from the way you'd planned, but have a way of working out, making even better memories than the ones you'd planned:

So, I know how personal (and possibly boring!!) this post was but just had to share. Thanks for enduring ;) Weddings nowadays end up as these huge events with lots of "ta-da-ing" that I hear older generations complain about... But I do have to say how much I loved and enjoyed mine and how incredibly thankful I am to my family for giving it to us. In the end it's all about marring the right person and I know I did that right.

Happy anniversary Dav - if you're reading this- I love you!!!
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