THAT I can handle ;)
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 greenbabyguide.com) We had SO MUCH basil this year. (I pretty much managed to kill or seriously distress everything else we planted besides the basil.)
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:
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.)
-Shredded Parmesan Cheese
-Fresh Minced Garlic (lots!)
-Salt & Pepper
(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 icookpasta.com)
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.
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:
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:
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: