Wednesday, April 27, 2011


As I mentioned here, this Easter Sunday was a special treat. Since Mark and my dad were in Virginia, my sister-in-law invited my mom and I over to celebrate with homemade raviolis, chicken, pork, pasta, salad, bread and lots of dessert.

And there was only five adults and two kids.

But that's the way our holiday meals are. Lots of food, lots of fun and even more love {if you can imagine it}.

~ Nonna and L finishing up the pork ~

~ homemade raviolis from can't beat it ~

~ M being goofy with his salad in his teeth ~

~ J checking out the dessert ~

~ tuckered out ~

~ doesn't he look like the cutest zombie ever? S just up from a nap ~

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

childhood easter memories

When I was little, my community's Jaycees Club would put on an annual Easter parade. I would usually walk - or ride on a float - in the parade as either part of my church or my Girl Scouts troop. Either way, I enjoyed tossing candy to the other kids.

I found out that this year the parade celebrated its 35th anniversary and is now sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. I think it's so cool that this tradition continues.

When I stopped by my parent's place to spend some time with my mom, I saw their new neighbors were planning to participate.

Friday, April 22, 2011

easter weekend

Today, my mom is headed over to my future sister-in-law's house to learn how to make handmade raviolis {from scratch} with my SIL's 90-year-old Nonna. Nonna is amazing and an absolutely beautiful woman. We'll be enjoying the made-from-scratch meals on Easter Sunday, and I can't wait. Nonna's pasta is the best, so I'm excited my mom is learning the tricks of the trade.

I'll be putting together Easter baskets for my nephews tonight, filled with candy, arts and crafts. What goes in your Easter basket?


Thursday, April 21, 2011

multi-tasking made pretty

The mailman {or mail lady} left me three wonderful presents in my mailbox yesterday - new shoes {they were an exchange!}, a new movie from Netflix {"Love and Other Drugs"} and the newest edition of Real Simple magazine. As if by magic, I flipped the magazine open to a page dedicated to the most wonderful peice of multi-tasking furniture I've ever seen.



Shoes, handbags and other treasures are tucked neatly away. Is it bad to build a house around the furniture you want to purchase to fill it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The Cure's "Lovesong" is one of my all-time favorite songs, and thanks to Adele, I've fallen in love with it all over again. As most of my friends can attest, if I'm obsessed with a song, I'll play ad nauseum.

This song is no exception.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

long distance love

Mark is back in Virginia, so our conversations are back to taking place over text, phone and Skype. And picture messages from work.

Monday, April 18, 2011

jordan catalano has a great lean...

So I've been obsessed with watching old shows on Netflix, shows like "Arrested Development," "Pushing Daisies," assorted old British comedies...but my favorite so far is "My So-Called Life."

When the show first aired back in 1994, I was 13 and in eighth grade and I loved everything about it - Angela's red hair, Rickie's guyliner, the awkwardness of it all. But mostly I loved Jordan Catalano. He may actually qualify as my first celebrity crush {and did you notice that he was never referred to as simply Jordan? He's always Jordan Catalano}.

Looking back on it now, it brings back all those middle school / early high school memories. And it also reminds me of how far technology has come. They didn't have cell phones {or even pagers!} and it definitely wasn't filmed in HD.

What was your favorite old TV show?

Friday, April 15, 2011

invitation station

Our wedding invitations are a DIY labor of love : my MOH designed them, I wrote the copy, Mark prepped them for printing and took them to the printer, I'm hand-addressing {while I love the look of modern calligraphy, there's something so personal about receiving an invitation hand-addressed by the bride or groom} and my mom and I are packaging, stuffing and mailing.

If I'm not at work, at the gym or out on the water, I'll be spending my evenings and weekends working here.

Welcome to project wedding central.

Happy weekend, lovelies!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

egg hunt

This year, my definition of a perfect Easter egg isn't one filled with chocolate {which is nice}, or peanut butter {who else loves Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs?} or money {although I'd love that, too}, it's filled with lip balm. Remember how I told you of my lip gloss/balm obsession? Add another favorite to that list.

EOS makes the most obsession-worthy lip balm I've tried in a while. I found it at Walgreens {near medicinal lip moisterizer, not the makeup} and shared it with a few people, who also found themselves quickly obsessed. I even pulled it out while in line at my favorite coffee shop and the girl in front of me squealed "Where did you get that?!"

It's 95 percent organic and 100 percent natural. The one on the left is well-loved, while the one on the right is about to be.

in my own little corner...

On top of my dresser is my uber-girlie sanctuary {my closet is getting there, but since I still share part of it with my honey, I can't say it's all mine}. Wanna take a peek?

Mark and I spent one late night painting an accent wall in our bedroom early in our relationship. 
Cute, huh? 

I love mini perfumes. So much variety and the opportunity to mix scents. But I have a few full-size bottles that I wear more often: Stella McCartney Stella and Chloe {sweet, feminine and perfect for every day} and Narciso Rodriguez For Her {a little spicier and perfect for date night}.

This bird-in-a-guilded-cage ornament is something I picked up at Anthropologie just after Christmas. It had a broken tail but my handy-dandy dad fixed it. Good as new and too pretty to pull out only once a year, so on my jewelry box it sits.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

orange blossoms

It's one of my favorite times of year here in the desert. It's springtime and the temperatures are perfect, the days are getting longer and a sense of renewal is in the air.

When I was little, my parents would take me down the street from our house to an orange grove filled with hundreds of delicious-smelling trees. We would get out and walk around, hoping to see one of the many peacocks that called the grove their home.

I still love the scent of orange blossoms. Luckily, there is a street not far from me where I can soak up the heady scent.

When it's not blossom season, there are two products that bring the scent I love straight to my house.

This Jo Malone candle is a luxurious indulgence, but it smells amazing.

More accessible is Trader Joe's French Liquid Soap in Orange Blossom Honey. Delicious!

Monday, April 11, 2011

channeling jules leotard

There is some unusual "inside baseball" terminology that specific groups of people use to communicate. Most of it sounds foreign to others. In rowing, phrases like "weigh enough" and "catching a crab" don't hold a lot of meaning for people who don't find themselves in that circle.

This weekend, I added another term to my vocabulary - hep.

Yesterday, three of my friends and I tried our hand at the flying trapeze at Trapeze U in Gilbert. Yes, the one like you see in the circus. And it was amazing.

Let me preface this by saying I'm deathly afraid of heights. Get me anywhere above the second step on a ladder and I get light-headed. But I was determined to try the trapeze, so I mustered up as much courage as I could and climbed up the 20 or so steps on the one-foot-wide ladder to the two-foot-wide platform, chalked my hands and grabbed the trapeze. 

Jenny's flight was awesome, too.

After little more than an hour of taking turns climbing up the ladder and swinging, flipping and twisting, we tried some more advanced tricks. Katy practiced her catching and Skyler was busy showing us all up by doing two different tricks {here he's doing the bird's nest}.

Oh, and by the way, "hep" is circus-speak for "go." 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

seasonal musts | stripes

I still love stripes - they're classic and a good staple for everyone's wardrobe. They can be thick and preppy, or thin and Parisian.

*where to find it: forever21, anthropologie, free people, anthropologie, target

Friday, April 8, 2011

seasonal musts | patio dining

Another must - especially in the spring here in the desert - is patio dining. And we've got some great patios. One of my favorites is Cibo in downtown Phoenix. It's located in a converted historic home and has the most. amazing. patio. Seriously, it's perfect. The brick patio is surrounded by bistro lights, shrubs and gorgeous trees. There are heaters for cooler weather, but springtime dining is my personal favorite.

Everyone I take here or suggest dine here falls in love. Pizzas, salads, sandwiches, matter what you order, you can't go wrong. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, they offer a special pasta dish {or two} - always made with homemade pasta and always worth a try.

I spent a breezy spring evening here with one of my dearest friends, Diana, sharing wine, stories and yummy food.

~sunset on the way to dinner~

~wine while you wait~
~welcoming home~

~salad, bread and wine~
I wish I had more photos, but the conversation was just too good to remember to take shots. Suffice it to say, if you come to Phoenix, swing by Cibo for delicious food.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

seasonal musts | bright flowers

Daffodils are the perfect springtime flower. Bright, sunny and big. Over the weekend, I stopped by my local grocery store and saw they were having a sale on bunches of daffodils. I selected three groups {that were still closed} and watched each day as they bloomed.

day one

day two

day three

By day four, they were in full bloom and smelled heavenly.

day four

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

seasonal musts | nude shoes

They are my go-to color for this season. In a heel, they elongate the leg. In a flat, they go with everything.

seasonal musts | sun block

And we're back!

Whether or not you live in the desert, you should always protect yourself from the sun. Wearing sunscreen daily is the best defence against premature aging and cancer - but you already knew that, right?

Moisturizer, tinted moisturizer or foundation/primer with an SPF is the easiest way to cover your face. 

A quick-absorbing lotion with a touch of SPF kills two birds with one stone.

You may not think about it, but protecting your hair against harmful rays is just as important as shielding your skin, especially if you color your hair. I just picked this up at Sephora, and although it says it's formulated for curly hair, it works fine on all hair types. {Aveda also makes a nice sunscreen for hair, but I have yet to try it out.}

Since I spend a lot of time doing outdoor activities {I just picked up a new one! Details - and photos - coming soon}, this is a must.

If you're going to be out in the sun, be it at the beach or out on a hike, the easiest way to apply - and reapply - is by using a spray-on sunscreen. And applying a sunscreen that is specially designed for your face won't clog your pores and cause breakouts.

Out and About
I found these sunscreen wipes in travel size at Nordstrom and full size at Sephora. Toss these in your handbag or car to always have sun protection on the go. The best part : it won't leak or burn you if left in a hot car for an afternoon in the desert.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

technical difficulties

I had some technicial difficulties with today's post.

Be back tomorrow with more of my seasonal musts!

Monday, April 4, 2011

seasonal musts | beachy hair

Warm weather is upon us {or will be very shortly} and if you haven't been already, it's time to think about the looks that will carry you through to fall. Each day this week, you'll find my picks to perk up your spring and summer ensembles.

This season, I'll be rocking beach waves. Soft and flowy, waves can look easy and effortless but still put-together. Case in point : my hair is naturally stick straight and baby fine, but the other day I pulled out my curling iron and in less than 10 minutes had perfectly tousled waves. Looks good, right? My boss even complimented me, asking if that's the way my hair is naturally when I don't straighten it. Now, maybe it's just me, a girl who has longed for thick, gorgeous, textured strands my entire life, but this comment was akin to telling me I look like I've lost five pounds.

It's easy to do, trust me. Here's what you need...

Day-old hair and/or dry shampoo. I prefer both, since my hair loves to produce oil
I have two favorites : Bumble and Bumble {$$$} or Tresemme {$}

1.5-inch curling iron
I love Hot Tools because it heats up quickly and stays hot

Flexible hold hair spray
To me, Goldwell is the bee's knees

Now that you have the tools, here is the how-to...

1: Spritz your hair with a bit of hairspray.

2: Face your curling iron barrel-side down.

3: Open the clamp and wrap a thin piece of hair (one-half inch wide) around the barrel away from your face, keeping the end of your hair off the heat source.

4: Hold your hair without clamping it for 15-20 seconds.

5: Repeat, moving around your head. 

6: Run your fingers through your hair and finish with another spritz of hairspray.

7: Enjoy the compliments!

Friday, April 1, 2011

friday faves

Happy Friday! 
Here are a few things that made me happy this week.

pink moka pot for yummy morning coffee or iced caramel macchiatos. 

 fresh mozzarella, local tomato and basil sandwiches from pane bianco. with a mexican coke.

student art at my favorite yoga studio. 

hawaiian-style beverages. lava flow and something equally fruity and delicious.


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