Wednesday, February 29, 2012

L'amour Vrai:: Kristen and Philip

I'm thrilled to introduce you to Kristen and Philip! They were married on April 16, 2011, in Pittsburgh, Kristen's hometown.

Kristen and I met in New York through a mutual college friend. However, after her wedding, she and her husband relocated to Paris (amazing, I know)!

Their wedding pictures are stunning, so I hope you enjoy!

The wedding ceremony was held at Heinz Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh. The church dates back to the 1930s and houses the tallest stained glass windows in the United States.

Even with a few drops of rain, the bridal party looks fantastic! Coordinating umbrellas are the perfect accessory for this black tie affair.

The bride chose to wear an Amy Kuschel gown and a chapel length veil. Each bridesmaid chose her own black dress and gold shoes. Kristen loved how this added personality to the wedding day look!

The reception took place across the street from the church at the Carnegie Art Museum. 

When Kristen and Philip began planning their dream wedding, they had a clear vision of how it would come to live. Elegant, yet simple, with a vintage inspired theme throughout every detail. The groom, and groomsmen, even wore tuxedos with tails. A traditional choice of attire in England, where Philip is from.

I loved seeing Kristen and Philip's inspiration come to life! And, their first anniversary is quickly approaching, so the biggest congratulations to you both!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rifle Paper Co.

Even though this winter has been unseasonably warm, I'm really in the mood for Spring! So, for a little pop of color, I like to turn to Rifle Paper Co., one of my absolute favorite stationary lines.

These bright items are certainly on my Springtime wish list:

1. New York City Print, $40. I love maps and shots of city skylines. This whimsical illustration would be a great addition to any apartment.

2. Botanical Coaster Set, $18. Over the holidays, I used my Kate Spade New York Gold Confetti Coasters. They're always a hit at any gathering. These would be a colorful update for Springtime brunch.

3. Heirloom Recipe Card Box, $135. Organizing my recipes is a top priority for Spring cleaning this year. This beautiful box will be a pretty addition to our kitchen. And, the recipe cards are adorable!

4. Vintage Telephone Notepad, $8. I always carry a notepad to jot down thoughts and ideas when I'm on the go. You just can't get any cuter than this one.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegas Style

{Alice+Olivia Barret Sequins Blouse, Reiss Marli Storm Flap Biker Jacket, Rebecca Minkoff Black Clutch, DVF Tunis Button Dress, TAG Heuer Watch, J Brand Skinny Jeans, Theory Semra Printed Silk Chiffon Tank, Equipment Earl Shirt, Christian Louboutin Simple Pump, Timmy Woods Red Lips Clutch}

We're Vegas bound this weekend with two other couples and I couldn't be more excited!

The Mr. and I don't have too much planned because we think it's kind of fun to go on vacation care free. But, that certainly makes packing a little more difficult.

So, I've already started putting a few staples in my suitcase, which I think will be perfect pieces for whatever comes our way. I'm thinking I may have to add my cowboy boots, as well... We secured Garth Brooks tickets for Friday night!

This will be my first trip to Las Vegas, so if anyone has restaurant recommendations or other "must-see" suggestions, be sure to let me know!

Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Oscar Bingo

The 'Red Carpet' is only a few days away. And, if you're planning an Oscar's Party, I've got the perfect surprise for your guests: Oscar Bingo!

I mean, what's more fun than adding a little friendly competition to an award-filled night?

The templates were designed by this talented graphic designer. She's created 10 different bingo boards for this year's show. And, they all can be downloaded HERE.

There is even a cute Oscar's ballot to add to the fun. Find it HERE.

And the Oscar goes to... Good luck!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

It's finally the weekend... Happy Friday, lovelies!

I saw this sweet and savory recipe for fun take on cocktail party nibbles and I had to share. I think this may rival last week's White Chocolate Confetti Popcorn. I mean, isn't the combination of potato chips and chocolate at the heart of Momofuku Milk Bar's famous Compost Cookie? Ahem... Yes, it sure is! Enjoy and have a wonderfully relaxing long weekend!

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

1½ cups chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, dark is your choice)
1 (15.25 ounce bag) bag ridge-cut potato chips

1. Place chocolate chips in a heat resistant bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. (Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl)
2. Completely melt chocolate until smooth and begin dipping the chips, about ½ way.
3. Shake off any excess chocolate and place chips onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
4. Allow chocolate covered chips to dry completely before serving.
5. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*Recipe and image via spoon fork bacon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Honeymoon:: Ravello, Italy

I hope all of you had a love-filled Valentine's Day! My husband and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at home, complete with champagne and chocolate dessert. He surprised me with beautiful long-stem roses and a gorgeous Ippolita necklace, which I can't wait to wear! We also spent the evening looking through the latest compilation of our wedding pictures. Our photographer put together a keepsake photo journal filled with our favorite shots... It's such a great way to relive the most wonderful day of our lives!

While I have shared some of our wedding photographs on Ella Modern, I realized haven't posted any pictures from our AMAZING honeymoon! We spent more than two weeks relaxing in London, Florence and the Amalfi Coast. The trip was unbelievable and unforgettable!

So, over the next month, I'll share our favorite highlights from the trip. If any of you are considering an Amalfi Coast vacation, be sure to send me a note for a full list of recommendations. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Ravello, the Amalfi Coast's most peaceful and charming town, has an air of sophistication, glamour, elegance. The town is situated high in the cliffs and offers breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Salerno.

We stayed at the luxurious Palazzo Sasso, a five-star hotel converted from a 12th-century palazzo. The views from almost every point on the property were mesmerizing! Here, we savored a true taste of Italian cuisine, as the hotel is home to a two-Michelin star rated restaurant, one of the best in the Amalfi Coast.

We were lucky to be in Ravello during the annual music festival. The renowned Ravello Concert Society was hosting a performance in an outdoor, castle-like setting, just a few minutes from the Palazzo Sasso. We decided to have a quick cocktail and antipasto before our night out.

Ravello is situated high, high up in the cliffs. Sitting by the pool, in the manicured garden, was the most relaxing way to spend the morning.

And, if the afternoon, we would venture to our private beach club down on the water. Trust me when I say, it was extremely hard to leave!

Beautiful gardens, lush greenery and family-owned vineyards fill Ravello's landscape. The colors of the flowers against the cliffs and pastel buildings were simply stunning. I found myself in awe as I explored the quaint town.

We enjoyed one last lunch on the patio before having to leave this magical place... Ciao, Ravello!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Harper's BAZAAR Chain Bow Necklace

One trend I haven't fully embraced (but know for sure isn't going away) is the embellished Peter Pan collar. It's been spotted on the runway for a few seasons now and continues to be a coveted design element of top designers.

I've decided I should slowly ease into this look, so when I spotted this necklace online at Harper's BAZAAR, I knew it would be the perfect style transition!

Last week's DIY Charm Necklace tutorial was so popular, I know you'll love this one too! The detailed instructions for the DIY Harper's BAZAAR Chain Bow Necklace can be found HERE. Have fun!

*Images via Who What Wear and Harpers BAZAAR

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hail To Kale

My absolute favorite lunch staple is the 'kale salad' from Juice Generation! And, I've now perfected how to make this recipe at home, whew!

I've been on the kale bandwagon for at least the past year and I continue to love this green veggie more and more everyday! I know that sounds funny, but it's makes me quite happy.

This nutritional powerhouse meal tastes delish and is extremely easy to make!

And, the best thing about sturdy kale, you can toss the dressing on in the morning and it won't be soggy by lunch time, like ordinary mixed greens.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do!

Kale Salad
2 cups of kale, finely chopped
1/2 an avocado, diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of black pepper
1 carrot, grated or finely sliced
1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
1/3 cup of raisins (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl, combine kale, carrots, sunflower seeds and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the kale combination according to taste. Carefully incorporate avocado into the salad.

Yields: 2 Servings

Sunday, February 12, 2012

White Chocolate Confetti Popcorn... For The Grammy's

Watching the Grammy Awards is one of my favorite TV nights of the year! Granted, I don't watch much TV,  but still. The red carpet, the dresses, the interviews, I'm obsessed! And, having worked with some of the artists makes it even more exciting... 'Yay, Taylor Swift'!

So, with that said, you know what I'll be doing tonight.

My husband and his father have been traveling all week on business, so this evening, my Mother-In-Law and I have planned a fun night filled with dinner downtown, followed by the Grammy's and a good bottle of wine.

For the later portion, I've decided to bring a festive dessert/snack for us to enjoy. It's actually a recipe I've been wanting to try for a while: White Chocolate Confetti Popcorn!

I originally saw this recipe on The Glitter Guide, but, have adjusted it a bit according to my taste. The result, sweet and salty, pretty deliciousness!

White Chocolate Confetti Popcorn
1 block white chocolate, 6-8oz., chopped
8-10 cups air popped popcorn (not buttered)
1/4 cup confetti sprinkles

Add about 1-inch of water to a double boiler (or a saucepan with a metal bowl nestled atop). Note: be sure your bowl is completely dry. Heat over medium-low, watching the chocolate the entire time. White chocolate has a lower melting point, so it can seize easily. When chocolate is melted, stir until smooth.

In a few batches, pour chocolate over popcorn, mixing gently to coat each kernel lightly.

Evenly spread popcorn onto a baking sheet and add confetti sprinkles. Let popcorn sit for 3-4 hours (or until dry). Beware, this is extremely addictive. Have a fun night!

Friday, February 10, 2012

For Your Man...

Like it or not, Valentine's Day is right around the corner!

Personally, I find this Hallmark Holiday comparable to New Year's Eve: expensive with high expectations.

But, it is an excuse to make an ordinary day a little extra-special... And, encourages us to show loved ones how important they are in our lives.

I love gift-giving, especially when I find something with a unique twist. So, when it comes to the man in your life, I promise you can't go wrong with these 'I Love You' suggestions:

1. Tumi Ballistic Snap Case for iPad 2, $95. He's already throwing his iPad in his Tumi briefcase. Give him the matching protective accessory.

2. Valerie Confections Scotch Truffles and Liquid Caramels, $32. Infused with Macallan Single Malt Scotch and paired with liquid caramels, these bon bons are a decadent indulgence.

3. Dinner for two at a steakhouse OR making a romantic main course at home, such as Grilled Lamb Chops.

4. Material 6 Wood iPhone Backs, $90. If you're looking for a way to add a bit of wooden warmth to the back of your iPhone, these are the only way to go. Available in a variety of finishes, they come complete with a tiny screwdriver that lets you go from glass to sturdy wood in less than a minute.

5. Kings County Distillery, $20. Kings County Distillery is NYC's first legal distillery since Prohibition. Available in Moonshine, Bourbon and Whiskey.

6. john varvatos Artisan, $80. john varvatos Artisan embodies craftsmanship while exuding a modern edge. The fragrance reinvents the "splash" feeling by blending state-of-the-art, abstract notes with classic citrus and herbal tones for a contemporary twist on the traditional cologne.

7. Shafer 2007 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, $225. Splurge on a great bottle of wine! This is one of our all-time favorites!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Inspiration:: Lavender and Lace

The palest shade of lavender...

Hanging delicates to dry...

Sipping on lavender lemonade...

And, biting into a sweet French macaron is divine...

Because it's time to mix a little winter with spring: Lavender Hot Chocolate...

Sun umbrellas are pretty, especially in lace...

Dining al fresco in a pretty field...

*Images via 1. citified 2. peerless desire 3. 4. tartletteblog 5,6. {this is glamorous} 7,8 Dreamy Whites 9. Style Me Pretty

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lauren and Steve:: Our Sea Island Wedding

Today, I'm thrilled to share some exquisite pictures from a friend's recent wedding in Sea Island, Georgia!

Lauren and Steve married on October 8, 2011, at The Cloister Hotel, a stunning resort located on a gorgeous, private coastline on Sea Island. What the couple loved most about this beautiful venue: The wonderful Southern charm.

Lauren and Steve met in college, years ago. I just love their story, but let's leave it to the bride to tell!

How we met...
It was on Miami of Ohio's campus in August of 2002. The weekend before classes began, I, a freshman, wandered into a party at Steve's fraternity. After a few minutes of chatting, he showed me a newspaper clipping of his highschool baseball glory days. I mispronounced his last name and we were immediate friends. 

A fun fact you might not know...
We ate lunch together every Wednesday in college.

How long it took us to finally start dating...
6 years.

Number of people who made bets that we were either secretly dating in college or would eventually date...
You tell us, we know you're out there!

The proposal...
March 12, 2010. Minneapolis, MN.

A new twist to our story...
Steve commuted to the wedding from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as he's been assigned there for a year by the Army. This made our nuptials EXTRA thrilling, since we hadn't seen eachother for months.

Lauren and Steve: October 8, 2011

Lauren and Steve exchanged their vows in a quaint chapel filled with their closest family and friends. Even more special, Lauren's Aunt presided over the union and infused the sermon with memorable stories of the couple's journey together. Lauren was a graceful and confident bride walking down the aisle. As the couple reflects back on their day, this was the most memorable moment.

Lauren wore a stunning Monique Lhuillier gown. The simplicity of the design was classic and sophisticated. Yet, the silver embellishments along the neckline added a touch of glamour for such a big day!

At the celebration, family and friends were greeted with a signature cocktail: The Bootleg. A drink with strong ties back to Minnesota, the bride's home state. Adorable stir flags were personalized for each guest, indicating the seating arrangement for dinner. This was one of my favorite details!

At the end of the night, Lauren and Steve snuck into The Cloister's vintage ice cream parlor for a few fun photos! I absolutely love retro-feel of this shot. It's such a playful contrast to the rest of the collection.

*Images via La Dolce Vita Studio. Highly recommended by Lauren and Steve!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Simply Charming:: DIY Necklace

I love making my own jewelry and tend to always be on the lookout for pretty charms and beads. So, today's DIY project is a simple charm necklace. The end result is a personalized, delicate accessory that looks great layered with other pieces.

I have a vintage, gold crest charm engraved with the letter 'E' that I've wanted to incorporate into a necklace for a long time. That's what I'm going to use, but feel free to select any charm or bead of your choice! Have fun!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine's Day Vanilla Sugar

Cupcakes and frosted cut-out cookies suit any celebratory occasion and tend to always be the first treat I reach for on a dessert plate... Partially because they're so pretty! I especially love the ones with colored sugar sprinkled on top.

Today, I found a recipe for Vanilla Sugar and have already prepared some for my upcoming Valentine's Day baking! It's so easy to make and will be the perfect decorative, but delicious, addition to any pastry. I'm excited to experiment with different flavors too, like lavender, rose and orange.

This would also make a cute gift!

*Images via Somewhere Splendid

Friday, February 3, 2012

Superbowl 'Beer' Cocktails

Every year, I get really excited for the Superbowl! But, have to laugh at myself... Why? I don't like football. I rarely drink beer. And, can certainly go without the heaping plates of chicken wings, pigs in a blanket and many other greasy staples this event entails!

With that said, I'm still looking foward to the big game... And, the commercials! So, I've decided, this Sunday, I'm going to put a fancy spin on America's Superbowl drink of choice: Beer.

Check out these fun variations to add a little something extra to your game-day pint of ale!