Friday, July 29, 2011

Things I'm Thankful For Friday

Happy Friday! Cocktail hour is right around the corner, but first I've got a special story for you'all. My first job after college was working in the school's development office. Part of the "perks" that came with the job was free tuition. Amazing, right? Only problem was the school's graduate programs were in engineering or education, and neither would have helped me reach my goal of becoming a famous magazine editor. But there was one education teacher, Brother Ray, who a lot of my friends studied with during undergrad. I heard about his class all the time and even got to know him a little while I was working in the college's admissions office. So with not much else to do the first fall after I graduated, I signed up for his course on counseling. From the first moment, when Brother Ray asked us why we wanted to be counselors, I knew I was a fish out of water, but I enjoyed the class discussions and was grateful that we didn't have too much homework. What I really loved about the class was that Brother Ray began it each week by asking us to share something we were thankful for. I've tried to continue that practice on my own. When I'm getting ready in the morning or showering at night I try to make a list of the awesome things in my life.
That's why I'm reserving every Friday for a recap on all the glorious things that happened during the week that make me smile. Here goes:

Style Me Pretty Massachusetts
Full disclosure: Born and raised in this great state, but still can't spell it! Ok, any other New England-ers excited about this launch?

The geniuses at Style Me Pretty have also launched SMP Illinois, SMP Georgia, SMP Canada and SMP Australia. Will SMP Connecticut be next? Need an editor?

BHLDN Fall Preview via 100 Layer Cake
Anthropologie (my favorite visual merchandiser on the this planet) is going full steam ahead with their wedding collection, BHLDN. I wish, I wish, I had enough dough to splurge on one of the new fancy dresses they showed Wednesday night. Here's the report from 100 Layer Cake.

Lace Cake on The Knotty Bride

I just can't get over this cake. I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it myself!

Much thanks to the Knotty Bride for sharing the too-pretty-to-eat confection. And another huge thanks for this week's Bachelorette recap. Please keep 'em coming!

Does anyone else make a little (or long) list about the good stuff in their lives? Do you include wedding-inspiration on that list like I do? Just to be clear, I've got an amazing family and friends that I'm thankful for every single hour, every single day.

Tell me what you're thankful for and what's inspiring you this week. GO:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Help Me Make Photo Selections!!!

Event Planners,

I need your help! I'm selecting photos for my wedding album and I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. I saw several examples of albums when I first met with our photographer and I've seen a few of my friend's, but I don't remember what images they selected. Do I include one of every bridesmaid walking down the aisle? Or the wedding party's entrance at the reception? What about our parents entrance?
I also need some advice on how many images from each part of the day to select. Right now I've got a heavy selection of getting ready and ceremony shots, and one or two reception images. What's a healthy ratio from each category?

How do I pick just one?

I'm begging for your advice! Brides and wives, what have you done? Photographers and event planners, what do you think looks the best?

Here's a look at some of my wedding photos from Cynthia Brown.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Newlywed Weekend

We've been married for almost three months now and just this past weekend was the first time we really slowed down and enjoyed being newlyweds. We've been rushing around, working late nights and traveling on the weekends so I was really excited we finally had an opportunity to spend the whole weekend alone together. It's not that we don't have enough time together—we have plenty—but I was looking forward to having the whole weekend to just focus on us. You see, once we have kids these routines will change. Everything will change! While I'm excited to think about growing our family, I also want to take advantage of the time we have together right now. I wanted to make this weekend special—one that we'll look back on fondly when we start spending our weekends rushing from baseball practice to dance lessons and then back. I also wanted to savor some of the stuff we started to enjoy as a couple. A few years ago an ideal Friday night would be changing into "club" clothes and headed out to the bar for (several) rounds of drinks and dancing...

Libby and Keith circa 2008

...Now our ideal Friday night is changing into comfy clothes, ordering dinner and drinking wine on the couch while we catch up on our DVR. So we ended this work week with a very appropriate comedy, Horrible Bosses. Here's my review: We're both huge fans of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and were drawn to the movie to see Charlie Day. He was great, but Jennifer Aniston stole the show! Go see it.

On Saturday morning I woke up really early to make a special breakfast for my new husband. Red velvet pancakes with fresh whip cream and a mimosa! It was such a treat to eat cake for breakfast, and the fizzy cocktail made the meal seem that much more special. Since becoming a wife, I've been really enjoying cooking more elaborate meals and have had so much fun using all the new kitchen tools I received at my shower. Before Keith, breakfast was never that big of a production—a bagel and coffee at the most. Now, I love having someone to cook for. I'm also a big fan of making small matter big occasions. I think it's important to always have something to look forward to and I was looking forward to that breakfast all week.

We spent the rest of the day taking care of things around the house—Keith worked on a side project, while I slipped out for a manicure. Then we hit the road for an early dinner at the Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton, CT. They have this lovely french brasserie that was decorated with vintage french posters that I love and almost everything on the menu was sourced locally. I savored every sip of my fancy pink cocktail and devoured every bite of the peach salad with home made ricotta and pork belly appitizers we shared.

After dinner we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over all the houses in the neighborhood. Now that buying a home is in our near future, it's exciting to drive through town and imagine ourselves living there. Then we made our way to the Ivoryton Playhouse to see The Producers. It was a cozy little theater and I laughed at myself when I realized I was more used to seeing shows on Broadway. That's what the big city will do to you: spoil you with fancy productions and skew your perspective on real estate! I'm so glad to have lived in New York City and been exposed to all that amazing culture, but now I'm ready to spread out in a larger, quieter home.

I loved these elephant planters!

As newlyweds, we're in this in-between state of life. We're past out mid-twenties where we partied all the time and our family of two hasn't started growing yet. It felt great to take advantage of the time we had and I didn't feel guilty about it for one second. In fact, I'm looking forward to the next weekend we share together and am fully intent to enjoy this period while it lasts!

Tell me, newlyweds. How do you enjoy this "between" time? What did you do last weekend with your significant other?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pucker Up! A Lemon-Themed Bridal Shower & Easy Cookie Recipe

I’ve spent the last several months working on a surprise shower for one of my best college girlfriends, Alyson. Her favorite drink is lemonade, so that’s where the inspiration all began. Now, I can’t take credit for all of the lovely work done for this beautiful day. (Hats off to rest of the bridal party!) But I am responsible for helping to keep the party secret and organizing the oh-so-delicious dessert table.

Recognize those cake stands?
They’re the same ones I used in my wedding.
We’re really getting our money’s worth from these!

The lemon-themed dessert station featured Easy Lemon Cookies, Lemon Supreme cake and green tea cupcakes with lemon frosting. The yellow treats looked so pretty and lemon ended up being a perfect flavor choice on a hot afternoon.

More pretty details included sliced lemons arranged in mason jars and little dishes filled with sour Lemon Head candy. The maid of honor found vintage milk jugs and pitchers for the flower arrangements, which featured happy looking gerbera daisies in bright pink, purple and yellow.

After all the planning and designing and baking, it was so exciting to surprise the bride. She really had no idea what we had planned for her that afternoon and nothing will top the look on her face when she walked in. Well, maybe the happy, beautiful face we’ll see on her wedding day! We can’t wait!

Alyson's an event planner and is always prepared.
She gave her sister a dress and told her to bring it to
the shower so she could change into it once she arrived.

And, due to popular demand, here’s the recipe for Easy Lemon Cookies:


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into a ball and drop them in a bowl of confectioners' sugar to cover. Once sugared, place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy.
Adapted from

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Follow the God Mother

Weeeeehooo. I'm back. I know what this may look like: The wedding day's over and so is the urge to blog. Well just the opposite is true, my friends. Ever since we said "I do" it's been one change after the next. My work load increased 5 fold in the last month and I'm working my butt off to produce a magazine that makes my readers, my boss and the advertisers equal parts happy. And, AND, I became a god mother. It all just happened so fast. A little more than a month after I became a wife, I became a god mother to my new brother & sister-in-law's new son, Henry.

On June 12 the world welcomed Henry Anthony! Ain't he cute?

We just got back from a visit. The priority of which was to baptize the little man. (See above) The second being to spoil him—and his twin sisters—silly. What does a fairy god mother spoil her god son with?

A guido chain, of course!

And for twin sisters, auntie picked out two pretty little dresses at Baby Gap. Now, I had to get a shot of the girls all dolled up so I asked them to show me their dresses. They both acted like I told them I was going to start shooting their modeling portfolio!

Lily here, just turned two. Will be 22 next summer.

Daphne can count to ten and smeyes. Even ANTM contestants can't do that!

But really, these little babies are so sweet and innocent. They spent most of their weekend "softly" petting their little brother and playing with the hose in the back yard.

Daphne was the sly one who did all the splashing...

While Lily laughed hysterically when Uncle Keith squirted her with the water gun.

I wanted to do something really, really special to welcome baby Henry. I mean it's not like I get asked to be a spiritual role model for a tiny little human every day! The only way to truly express my love for my nephew was to wear it on my chest. Yes, I made myself an I <3 Henry T-shirt. And I made one for everyone, too!

Modern Family anyone?

Ok, ok. so this post has nothing to do with weddings. But wait till you see what I have lined up! Inspiration galore!! For now, I'll leave you with this squishy face.

Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Find Found Objects

A lot of brides are incorporating found objects into their weddings. I’m not just saying that because I'm one of them. It’s really happening.

For my wedding, my mom and I thought it would be fun to display centerpieces on cake stands. The florist agreed and our search began. Really, it was my mom’s search. She was much better at finding cake plates, so I woke her up early this morning to find out exactly how she did it.

The Mother of the Bride’s Tips for Finding Found Objects

1. Decide on your theme before you begin your search. You may love mason jars, but they are too casual for an elegant ballroom wedding.

2. Set a Price and don’t go over it. “The florist said she charged $25 for a footed bowl, so I set my price at $12,” says mom. “Sometimes I’d price average though. I bought one that cost $18 and another that cost $8.” If you stick to a price that’s lower than one the florist quotes you, you’ll end up saving a bit of money.

3. Search everywhere! Seriously, never stop looking for your desired objects. Mom found them at antique stores, lot sales and even Home Goods. (Ok, those were not vintage, but I’m not going to tell you which ones they were!) You can also look on ebay or etsy, but I found a few of the same cake stands sold for more (plus shipping) online. *

4. Get others in on the action. Shop with friends so you have extra eyes to scan the piles of stuff in antique stores. They’ll continue to look for you as time goes on. Mom made friends with the owner of one antique store and he called the house once every few weeks with news of more cake stands.

5. Have an exit plan. Eventually, you’re going to have to transport the found objects from your house to the florist or the reception hall and back again. We ended up with almost 40 cake stands! While we focused on collecting them, my dad collected wine boxes. The cake stands also fit nicely into some of the boxes from shower gifts, so be sure to save a few of those.

6. Know when to call it quits. We’re still working on that one. Mom just bought a cake plate last week, and is already thinking about the next thing to collect—milk glass!

*Use your florist as a resource here. He or she may have some great leads about cool places to shop. For example, our florist told us about a store in downtown New Haven, the English Building Market. I also learned about a few local flea markets during a makeup trial, so be sure to ask everyone!

Visit the Marketplace at 100 Layer Cake. There, you can score the finds of other brides.

If you don't want to invest a lot into a collection of items, consider renting them.
I found Recollection Vintage Rentals on Style Me Pretty.
They carry everything from flower vessels to furniture!

While we had our eyes on the prize for most of the time, the actual process of collecting cake stands was very enjoyable. I'd recommend it over buying these items in bulk. I loved going on rides and hunting through stores. Plus, the thrill of victory every time we found a cake stand was unbeatable.

Who else is collecting found objects for their wedding? Where are you getting them? I’m itching to find new places to shop!