Friday, August 30, 2013

Hostess gifts

My bridal shower is tomorrow.  We've already received a few wedding gifts and honestly, every time I'm handed a gift I can't believe that I'm marrying my favorite person and people are buying me gifts for it.  It just seems crazy!

A close friend of my future mother-in-law is throwing the shower, which is beyond generous.  It's a lot of work to throw a party, especially a shower, I think.  I mean most, if not all, of the guests are people she's never met before.  I am so so grateful.  

I've been trying to come up with a sweet gift to bring her as the hostess.  
Here were a few of my ideas.

{stationary 1 / 2 / 3 | cheese knives | candle | homemade treats}

After our moves this summer, I've sort of been feeling like we have so much "stuff".  So I thought maybe it would be nice to get her something that she could use rather than something that would add to our growing collection of "things".

Last weekend while in Napa, I stopped at my favorite olive oil company (aptly named Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company) and picked up a large bottle of their amazing olive oil and their pomegranate balsamic vinegar {so delicious on salads especially with strawberries or peaches}.

A friend I used to work with, always wrapped her packages in fabric swatches.  It looked so pretty and so unique.  And with inspiration from this pin, I decided to wrap my gifts in pretty dishtowels from Anthropologie for an added gift.

I wrapped each bottle in a dish towel with raffia and then included a recipe for my favorite meyer lemon olive oil bread.

Hope she likes it!

Happy long weekend!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Roaring 20's

This is the year of weddings for me.  So many friends are getting engaged and getting married this year.  And I am loving it! The showers, the brunches, the bachelorettes, maybe even more than the weddings themselves.  It's so nice to have so much girl time.

This weekend we had a bachelorette party for my friend Jaliffa.  Her matron of honor, Erin, (and soon-to-be sister-in-law) planned this fabulous Roaring 20's party.

I'm not usually into costume parties. For some reason I just don't really like dressing up as something else. I've never really been a fan of Halloween.  

But Saturday night was so much fun! My "costume" was a black cocktail dress and heels so maybe that's why I was good with it.  It was so much fun to see everyone dressed up.

Erin had feathered headbands and strands of pearls at everyone's place-settings so those of us who had dressed a bit more 21st century still looked the part.  A few fake cigarette holders were floating around too.


P.S. You were missed, Lo!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dream Paris Elopement

I'm not going to lie.  I've had some serious thoughts about eloping.

When we got engaged, knowing me so well, a few friends and family asked if I had plans to elope. I made some promises to people that we would not, that I intended to keep.

Seeing these gorgeous photos and my dream elopement on style me pretty last week had me wishing we were eloping, especially back to one of my favorite cities: Paris.

But this weekend we met with the priest at the sweet little church we'll be married at.

We had a delicious brunch at French Blue Market in St. Helena, where the waiter asked if we were on our honeymoon, because we looked so in love :)

We drove through Napa and visited a few of the wineries we'll have private tastings at after the wedding.

{frank family vineyards}

{On the way we may have stopped at Bouchon for some delicious iced coffee and macarons.}

And when we arrived back home, a package had arrived with our invitations.  I'd seen the mock-ups online and held the paper samples in my hands, but seeing it all together was breathtaking.  They are so much better than I imagined.

After this weekend, I could not be more excited for the wedding we have planned.


paris elopement images via Style Me Pretty from One and Only Paris Photography

Monday, August 19, 2013

That's my best friend

Over the weekend we attended a wedding of a dear friend of mine.  The wedding was beautiful and heart-felt and so so sweet.  My friend's young daughters walked her down the aisle and "helped" marry mommy.  It was too sweet. I absolutely loved every minute of it.

{The best wedding program I've seen.}

A funny thing happened at the wedding.  My best friend was in the wedding party.  
We were chatting during the reception and she told me that one of the groomsmen had asked the bride about me.  I guess he wanted an introduction.  The bride told him that he was too late; that I was getting married in a month.  My best friend told me it made her happy and she wanted to lean in and say, "that's my best friend."

The funny thing is, earlier that evening at the ceremony as I watched all of the bridesmaids walk down the aisle, as soon I saw Amanda, (she looked absolutely radiant!), I smiled and proudly thought the same thing: "that's my best friend." 

{Darin & Amanda - married 10+ years and the first wedding I had the privilege of being a part of}

I got teary-eyed at that moment. Maybe it was because I was picturing Amanda standing next to me in just a few weeks, at my upcoming wedding, or maybe because it was through Amanda that I became such good friends with the bride who looked so beautiful and so extremely happy on her wedding day.  

Either way I am so incredibly thankful for this beautiful girl, inside and out, and being able to call her my best friend.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Panna Cotta {recipe}

The first time my mom and dad met Dan's parents they had us all over for a BBQ.  My mom brought panna cotta with salted caramel sauce and chocolate sables.

This is completely normal for my mom.  You ask her to bring dessert and where most people pick up cookies or a cake at the grocery store or local bakery, she makes some fabulous dessert that she claims took no time at all.

This time though she was telling the truth.  
I made it this last week and it was surprisingly easy and quick.

The first time I had panna cotta was my first visit to florence.  
Usually, it's served there with fresh berries or chocolate sauce.  And I loved the creaminess of it, but have always been nervous to make it.  So glad I tried it, but I almost wish I didn't know it had 2 cups of heavy cream in it but I learned from this great article that it's name actually means cooked cream.  I guess I should have known.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
adapted from Miette


 - 2 cups heavy cream
 - 1/3 cup sugar
 - 1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise
 - 1 tsp gelatin powder (about 1/2 package)
 - 1 cup plus 2 tbs buttermilk


Sprinkle gelatin powder evenly over 1/3 cup heavy cream and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

In saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining cream and sugar.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pot.  Whisk to combine.  Add vanilla bean pod and bring to a boil.

Remove vanilla bean pod from liquid {you can let this dry and put it in a airtight container of sugar for vanilla-sugar}.  Stir in the gelatin until dissolved.  Add buttermilk and continue whisking.

Remove from heat and strain the mixture into a large measuring cup.  Pour the mixture into small jars or whatever you would like to serve it.  {We used crystal champagne coupes.} Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours - the longer the better. This will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Top with:
 - fresh berries and honey - my favorite!
 - chocolate sauce
 - salted caramel sauce and a chocolate cookie

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