Thursday, December 30, 2010

amazing paper cuts

oh. my. word.

i LOVE these papercuts. what gorgeous works of art. they are from, and (of course) julene is British. her site is chock full of blow-me-away pieces (i could have posted a hundred more pictures) AND she has some available on etsy. i think the above two are my favorites though it's hard to choose. i'm storing this find for upcoming wedding gifts!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

home for the holidays

merry christmas, all! my sister and i are heading out today for chicago to see my family. i really can hardly wait - my nana and gampy are already at the house, my youngest sister is home from college, my mom has White Christmas ready to be watched, and my dad has promised fresh homemade cinnamon rolls (he makes the best ones!). they have lots of snow on the ground and i can't wait to go sledding (never too old, right?)!

i'm looking forward to watching modern family (we're obsessed) curled up in my parents' bed with my sisters and some quiet time of reflection and prayer in our reading room (my favorite room in the house). my aunts are also throwing me my first bridal shower while i'm home!

i always get pretty emotional during christmas. thinking about the love of God embodied in a child. being overwhelmed by how much i love and cherish my family. and, this year, missing m. it seems unnatural to part with my best friend for my favorite time of year, but i know we have every christmas from this time forward together. thank God for that.

i'll be posting randomly over the next week or so, so please say hi if you're also on the blogosphere! wishing you all a merry, merry christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

featured on united with love

i'm so excited to announce that some of our engagement pictures were featured on United With Love, a blog about weddings in the DC area! i've been shy to post these pictures but since they are already exposed to the greater web world, i thought i'd share them with you.

the post where our pictures appear is one in which our talented, amazing engagement photographer, eric kelley, and his wife, lora elaine (my makeup and hair stylist) share some tips about what to wear for engagement sessions! i'm incredibly flattered that they chose our photos to showcase their work. m and i have been so blessed to call eric and lora friends, and i just about fell over when they offered to take some photos of us around town. both of them are insanely talented and have gorgeous websites. i loved working with them because they are both laid back and made the shoot comfortable and fun, but above all, they are incredibly committed to their craft - which comes through in the photos.

ah, isn't m handsome in his suspenders? he was a great sport for the shoot. i can't wait to marry him!

i highly recommend eric and lora for your engagement or wedding photos! but book early - these two are in high demand! and check out United With Love. the post has some great advice for looking good on camera.

book page wreath

remember when i had mentioned that i'd been wanting to make the book wreath featured on the jones design company blog? well... i did it! check out jones design (it's amaaazing!) for full instructions. i have to say, my wreath turned out pretty differently from hers, but i still love it. she said it took her about two hours, but i have to warn you - mine definitely took longer (i think i watched 3 movies over the course of a week or so). and three whole books. and an entire pack of hot glue sticks i had just bought. but - so worth it, don't you think?

i made mine a bit fuller than hers by placing all of the folded book pages close together, overlapping the edges as i went around. i hung it in the hallway for now (please excuse my bad photography!) but i'm thinking it might make a cute decoration at the wedding (especially since m and i love reading together. it represents us well!).

Monday, December 20, 2010

christmas - it's almost here

i can hardly believe christmas is less than a week away. i still have one gift to buy and several to wrap. m and i will be going our separate ways for our last christmas as non-marrieds (crazy!), so i am headed off to chicago later this week and he to north carolina. it's amazing to think that next year, we will be each other's new family. i'm geting excited about starting new traditions with him. this year, we are celebrating together tomorrow with a christmas dinner and some gift opening (i can't wait to see him open his! wish i could tell you what it is).

then my sister and i fly to chicago where we will spend the next week with my mom's side of the family, playing with baby cousins and eating my mom's incredible cooking. we all go over to my aunt's house on christmas eve for a cookie decorating contest (my uncle, who owns this design firm in chicago, always wins.) then head out to church (where we always have a candlelit singing of o' holy night - my favorite). before bed, we all, including adults, get to open one gift from my nana and gampy, and it's always pajamas or slippers to wear to bed that night. (i love the below nightie from jcrew).

do y'all have any christmas traditions? they're my favorite and i would love to learn about yours!

Friday, December 17, 2010

cashmere coat

as i was scouring etsy for some last-minute christmas gifts, i came across this gorgeous coat. i love winter white coats, and this one is all cashmere and silk satin. love the high collar and the bow waist. it only makes sense that the shop is in england.

gifts for baby be

my family has decided to try something new this year with gifts. my mom drew names and matched everyone up in my extended family, so we are buying for just one person. i must have done something really sweet because i got paired with my little, less than a year old, baby cousin Bennett. she's precious and cuddly and everything a sweet little girl should be. i've had the best time finding cute things for her. isn't the little hat above adorable? an etsy find for only $20! click on the images for their source!

these soft toys are perfect for cuddling.

these painted, wooden animals are amazing - the company makes almost every animal imaginable!

and a few stylish accessories to keep baby warm! let me know if you have other suggestions!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


we got our first snow of the season today! it's been snowing since 7:00 this morning, so there's now a soft layer of white on all the streets and trees. it's beautiful outside and so quiet. the whole town seems to be moving slower.

it puts me in the mood to sled or build a snowman or go skiing. unfortunately it's already getting dark and i've been working all day... hopefully it'll stick around for the weekend!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

kris kringle

christmas. i love it. a time for family gatherings and cuddles by warm fires. mistletoe, holly, and the singing of carols. baking dozens of cookies from recipes you never touch the rest of the year and subsequently overeating. i even love the crowds of people on the hunt for the perfect gift. i love all the salvation army volunteers ringing their bells and the general sense of generosity and good will that people extend to one another. i love that even the dmv (where i spent one morning this week) decked their halls with evergreen. i love that the teller smiled broadly and wished me a merry christmas even after i took almost 10 minutes to find my ID in my overstuffed wallet.

& yet, even with the twinkle of lights and jolly dispositions, it's still somehow easy to forget that christmas is just so merry because of the birth of Christ.

i'm thankful that my parents were always keenly aware of the ever-encroaching commercialism of christmas and so brought my sisters and i up knowing that the birth of Jesus and the fulfillment of God's promise were the reasons we celebrated. i knew that come christmas morning i would get to open presents exactly because they represented the gifts brought by the magi. so, i think, i was given a pretty theologically grounded view of christmas.

m and i were talking about christmas traditions last week. we grew up with many similar experiences and were growing giddy just thinking about how we would one day get to watch our kids experience christmas (ok, maybe it was just me with the giddiness).

that is, until we got to santa claus. i grew up believing in santa. m did not.

we argued. i pouted. he made valid points. i made silly points. he made a sensible argument. i made a sad pouty face.

i like all the imagination and feeling of possibility that come with santa and the flying reindeer but i see m's point that you can still experience the wonder and excitement of christmas by focusing on Christ himself. and though i didn't grow up thinking my parents had lied to me, i could imagine a child being scarred by the realization that what his parents said was true (that santa is real) was actually false. maybe that's taking it a bit far, but as i enter my marriage, i've had a new desire to examine my choices, assumptions and expectations.

did all of you grow up with santa? do you expect to raise your kids the same way?

m just sent me this article that gives a great perspective on santa. i love it. you should read it. this is the kind of tension i believe in - celebrating the imaginative while still keeping christmas sacred.

and the article sheds light on santa claus himself - the real guy! he truly was what is (mostly) embodied in the jolly, rosy-cheeked claus we see today. an orphan himself, claus, in his adulthood, spent his time helping children in need.

ok, santa. i think i'm ok with you.

Monday, December 13, 2010


gadabout's stationary is adorable. her cartoons are the epitome of chic. she'll even draw you in your favorite outfit if you'd like. so cute.

thanks, katie!

Friday, December 10, 2010

happy weekend!

cool & calm... that's what i'm hoping for this weekend. don't you just want to fall into that bed?

i must admit, the day has completely gotten away from me. the week, actually. m and i are headed to his parents' this weekend in charlotte! i'm really looking forward to some quiet with my man and sharing some good conversation with my soon-to-be in-laws!

for now, here are some fun links from around the web:

ampersandity has done it again and stolen my heart this christmas season.

yet another freckled beauty decked out in red lipstick.

m gave me this beautiful book last year that also supports women in need.

the top 10 of everything 2010.

an awesome christmas playlist.

stay warm, loves!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


my sister, audrey, and i love adele. her voice has this beautifully deep feminine quality to it. her new album comes out in february and i can't wait. this new song is killer.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

bridesmaid dress

i've begun my bridesmaid dress search. though a bit pricey, i though the above etsy find was pretty cute. can't wait to find perfect dresses for each of my unique maids.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

chronicle books giveaway!

i love books. so when i discovered the chronicle books giveaway via mary, i had to enter. chronicle books invited bloggers to make a wish list of books up to $500 that they'd like to 'haul' away for the 'haul-idays' (har har). AND if i'm chosen, one of you lucky readers will win all the books too! to enter, simply leave a comment on this post!

here's my list (including all of the above!):

1. Humanity i love photography books, especially those that feature real people in real life.

2. Top Chef: Cookbook i'm no cook (though i'm improving!) but my family and i love to watch Top Chef (i think my mom could take any of 'em!). this would make a nice gift for her.

3. Handmade Hellos i've mentioned before that i love letters, and this book features eunice of Hello!Lucky - love!

4. Allure for a fellow fashionista, my roomy, elise.

5. Garden Anywhere m likes to garden but i'm afraid we won't have much of a yard next year.

6. Paper and Craft this just looks fun.

7. Deep Dark Chocolate for maddy, my pastry chef friend (and the baker for our wedding!).

8. Apartment Therapy Presents i'm addicted to apartment therapy, aren't you? for my aunt carol, the interior designer.

9. The Power of the Invisible Sun my sister, kirby, would love this philanthropy turned art book.

10. Fast, Fresh, & Green lots of veggie recipes. perfect for my farmer friend (now at, ahem, harvard) connie.

11. Little Book of Letterpress for maureen, one of my (many) creative friends.

12. The Life & Love of Trees i've seen this book over at o' suz's for months. it's so gorgeous.

13. This is For You i love paper cut-outs and this book is chock-full. my artist sister audrey would love it.

14. Curiosities a book dedicated to vintage adornments? yes please.

15. Flour for le, who also loves to bake.

16. Polaroid Notes for kate, a great photographer.

17. Creative, Inc. could use this for sure!

18. All for Love i think a fellow avid reader, erin, would enjoy this anthology.

19. Mastering the Grill i think of a dad and brother-in-law who might enjoy this.

and that brings us close to $500! leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win! and if you're a blogger and you make one, let me know so i can comment! you can find the contest here.

his + hers

i'm somewhat new to blogging, but i've really enjoyed the camaraderie i've discovered with many other bloggers. it's been wonderful to see how other women are impacting their worlds (however big or small). alli, of hooray design, is one of those women. alli challenged all of us bloggers to participate in a fun little feature: his and hers.

so here's a little his and hers from my life:

when it comes to exercise, m loves his bike and i love my yoga mat. (yes, that really is a pic of m, courtesy of my phone). while i haven't tested my coordination on a bike trip with him, i think i owe it to m since last night he was sweet and did yoga with me... and since he's letting me post his picture on this blog. i'm sorry, i have to say i think he's incredibly handsome in his helmet.

Friday, December 3, 2010

happy weekend!

happy weekend! this weekend, i'm officially kicking off christmas. i'll be going to the AQ christmas party this evening followed by a christmas concert that m bought us tickets for! tomorrow i hope to make christmas cookies (maybe i'll try these) with some dear friends and then head to a gift exchange party. in the midst of the hubbub, i hope to make this wreath (out of book pages!).

do you have any fun holiday plans?

here are a few fun links from around the web:

just discovered this stress-free, down-to-earth site for all you brides-to-be. her guest post here is great reading.

hilarious gift guide for an ornery little brother.

loving sequins this season.

obsessed with this song. and check out this cute baby dancing to it.

cutest pregnant woman ever. complete with red lipstick.

wouldn't you love an indoor swing?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

blush romantic

now that i have my dress, i feel like the wedding finally has a solidified feel. a bit vintage, a bit romantic, a bit laid-back. the above inspiration board encompasses many of the elements i hope to incorporate - washed out colors, cabbage roses, lamb's ear, antique apothecary bottles & mason jars, poms, linen. i swoon just thinking of it!

i can't wait to start the diy projects (and excited to share them with you all here!), hunt for blush pink bridesmaid dresses (i'm staying away from the matchy-matchy look so each dress will be unique!), and help m pick out a snazzy suit!

ideas? i'd love to hear them!


it's beginning to feel a lot like winter around here! the news is saying it will be cold like this at least through next week, so i think we can safely say autumn has left us. have you broken out your scarves and mittens yet?

the cold puts me in the mood for lounging by the fire, reading a good novel, and watching the twinkle of christmas lights. if only we had a working fireplace in our old charlottesville home. maybe i'll convince m that our place next year needs one.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

missing friends

last night, i did something i normally don't like to do. i ate mexican food. i know, i know - mexican is the best thing ever. but... i'm sorry. i fail to see the appeal. beans, rice, cheese, ground beef, maybe some salsa. and then, and maybe i'm alone in this one, after a few hours your stomach begins to throw a tantrum like a child on the floor of the candy aisle. not my fave. but last night, i ate mexican.

i ate mexican because of friendship.

one of my very best friends, beth, was in town for a single night from africa, and she loves mexican. so to charlottesville's continental divide we went. and it was so good. not the food. but the friendship.

beth is one of those rare people whose convictions infuse her life with a consuming passion. she is inspiring to be around because she lives exactly according to what she believes to be true. which is why she gave up everything to seek a life of service in zambia. beth is part of a team called Special Hope. their mission is to address and alleviate the inequities which orphans with disabilities face. in africa (and often in most parts of the world), these children have no voice and are often forgotten, mistreated, and misunderstood. beth is going to change that.

i miss my friend dearly. i will probably never get to call her up for an impromptu coffee date or bike over to her house to watch gilmore girls on repeat. she won't be standing next to me as i say 'i do' or when the rest of the bridesmaids and i celebrate on the dancefloor. and the normal things that sustain friendships - hugs, laughs, shared prayers - may be rare occurrences as an ocean will separate us for the foreseeable future. but i am so thankful to call a woman like her friend at all. and to know that she is exactly where she needs to be. that's worth a thousand mexican meals.

if you are not familiar with Special Hope, please check out their website and consider supporting their cause!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

william & kate

i'm not a huge follower of prince william or any other celebrity (would you call him that?) for that matter, but i found this interview very transparent and refreshing. did you know kate's dress (the one by issa which she wore during this interview) sold out just hours after the engagement was announced in london?

100 layer cake

the wait is over! if you're a bride-to-be, and you've been following 100 Layer Cake's blog, falling in love with the photos of their real weddings and unique diy ideas, then you have to check out their new website - it's awesome.

one of the most useful resources on the site is the marketplace in which brides and grooms can post requests and vendors can bid on them. genius!

Monday, November 29, 2010

success: the dress!

dear friends! please excuse the lack of blogging this past week. i had the most relaxing time at home in chicago with my family. i have to take a moment here and say i LOVE going home. wherever home happens to be - chicago, virginia, chicago again - my mom knows how to make any house feel comfortable and familiar. home will always be where my family is. we had the best time this week going about our annual traditions (stay tuned for an upcoming post!), reading by the fire, playing silly board games, watching Father of the Bride (yes, my dad and i cried - we love that movie!), AND wedding dress shopping!

and, sweet readers, i found THE one!

to be honest, i was pretty nervous about the whole experience. i love fashion and wanted something romantic and different from most of the gowns i'd seen in all the bridal magazines - but i still wanted to look and feel like a bride. that and a pretty strict budget had me worried that i might have trouble finding a dress in just one week's time (the length of time i was home with my mom and sisters).

so with head held high and armed with my notebook of every inspiring photo, fabric swatch, magazine cut-out, wedding detail or whimsy that caught my eye, i braved my first appointment... and, it went incredibly well! the bridal consultants were cheery, my mom, sisters, and aunt were wonderfully supportive, and it was just plain fun to play dress up for an hour!

a couple pieces of advice for all you sister brides-to-be (hi ladies!) -
1. take photos of what you like (and perhaps, what you dislike) with you. this proved extremely helpful for me as i met with each consultant in an overwhelming sea of satin, tulle, and lace. knowing what i liked help cut down on wasted time trying on bedazzled ballgowns.

2. then stick to your guns! if you know you don't want a mermaid gown, let the consultant know (and then tell her again, nicely, when she brings you three mermaids she just thought you'd adore).

3. bring only the few, the trusted, the smiling. as much as i wanted all my bridesmaids to participate in dress shopping, i really loved sharing the experience with just a few women from my family - my mom, my sisters, and my aunt. i purposefully wanted to go with them because i knew they'd make our time special. i brought my mom because, well, she is my mom and i couldn't imagine trying on a wedding dress without her and because i trust her ability to tell me the truth in the most loving way (whether good or bad!). my sister Kirby because she is a protector of me - not only from others but also from myself. i knew if i started to freak out or feel ugly, she'd be the one to encourage me. my sister Audrey because she is hilarious and brings a necessary lightness to things. my aunt Carol because she has impeccable taste. seriously, the woman has incredible style.

4. take photos. at one point, i had one sister snapping away on my phone and another on the camera. at the time i thought it was overkill, but a few days later when i couldn't remember if the dress i thought i loved had buttons in the back, they were a great help!

5. play! but don't be afraid to make a decision. dressing up should be fun - so twirl, try on a veil, and enjoy feeling beautiful. but, and i wish i didn't have to say this, you must know that the gown shopping must come to an end. it must. or you risk walking down the aisle in spanx and heels. let yourself choose and then never look back. i was so glad to only have one week to find a dress, especially after witnessing the complete meltdown of a bride in the room next to me who had been trying on gowns for over 6 months. the poor girl could not make a decision and was tearfully calling anyone who would listen to ask if she should go with the birdcage or elbow-length veil. she'd tried over 100 dresses. no girl needs to put herself through that kind of agony.

standing in front of the mirror in my dress, i could imagine walking down the aisle to this wonderful man i am so blessed to be marrying. i needed nothing more to convince me it was the one. now, if only june weren't so far away!

unfortunately, because m checks this little blog of mine from time to time, i cannot post a photo of the dress i chose. i will have to reveal it post the big day!

click on images for source

Thursday, November 18, 2010


in honor of the premier of Harry Potter 7 (which i may be attending tonight at midnight... fully decked out as a house elf), i had to post these striking photos of emma watson. can you believe this beauty couldn't cut her hair for 9 years?! i think i would have gone pixie-short too once given my freedom. emma graces the covers of both the december issues of vogue uk and marie claire. isn't the short hair fabulous?

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