Over the last year, Ryan has always talked about a secret place place he went to whenever he was having a bad day, or just needed an escape from the real world. As close as we are, the location of his ‘secret place’ was one of the things he never told me. After a tougher than usual day last week, I was finally brought to his secret place – and he was right. There definitely is something magical about it. Wandering through the forest, being dwarfed by the gigantic trees surrounding me, suddenly made me realize how small and insignificant all my worries are in the grand scheme of things. After a few minutes of getting lost in the woods (post-changing into some sandals, of course), all my worries seemed far away, and this magical secret spot seemed to calm me.
(Prepping for the wedding celebrations to begin)
Wedding weekend is finally here! It seems like ages ago that we started all of the planning – beginning with picking out my sister’s beautiful dress. The big day is finally here, and I couldn’t be more excited to watch my sister marry the love of her life. After months of shopping, crafting, hot gluing, printing, and decorating, I can’t wait to see it all come together. The festivities start with primping and pampering this afternoon, followed by the rehearsal and dinner this evening. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends that I haven’t seen in far too long, and celebrating the love of two amazing people. Hope everyone has a great weekend – can’t wait to share snapshots from the wedding next week!
(Bud vases from my sister filled with fresh pink tulips)
(A beautiful bracelet my parents designed for my 25th birthday using a family diamond)
(Incredible gelato at my sister’s bridal luncheon)
(Enjoying dinner al fresco for a friend’s birthday)
After a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I came home to find myself with a surplus of blueberries. Although my house was already full of fruit, I couldn’t resist picking up a fresh carton of them to have around for snacking. The only thing to do with that many fresh blueberries was to bake up a blueberry crumble pie. So, I put on my favorite French playlist (can be found here), and started whipping up this recipe by Williams-Sonoma, and I couldn’t be happier with the end result.
For Pie Crust:
1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tbsp very cold water
For Blueberry Filling:
3/4 c plus 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch thick pieces
5 c blueberries
Prep pie crust (recipe I used found here).
Place rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Place rolled out dough into a 9-in pie pan. Refrigerate until firm. Line chilled pie crust with heavy aluminum foil, and fill with rice, beans, or pie weights.
Bake for 15 minutes, until crust has dried out. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Remove foil and weights. Bake until the curst is light brown and center looks dry (about five minutes). Transfer crust to wire rack. Increase oven heat to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, mix 3/4 c flour, 1/3 c brown sugar, 1/3 c granulated sugar, 1/ tsp of the cinnamon, and the salt. Cut butter pieces into mixture until large pea sized balls have formed. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the blueberries, remaining brown sugar, remaining teaspoon of cinnamon, and 4 tbsp of flour. Stir gently until the blueberries are evenly coated. Sprinkle remaining sugar and flour into bottom of baked pie crust, and pour evenly the filling into the crust.
Sprinkle the topping over the filling, and bake the pie until topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling starts to bubble, about 50-60 minutes. Transfer to rack, and cool completely.
I usually steer clear of any article of clothing that is patterned, overstated, or rather, anything other than a solid color. I surprised myself last year when I picked up this anchor printed top, immediately loving how much it reminded me of summertime, but only pulled it out of my closet once or twice in the last year. Since we celebrated the first day of summer this past weekend, I decided to give it one more chance to win me over – and it did just that. Pairing it with a navy skirt to give the look a monochromatic flair, suits my taste so much better than the bright color options I had opted for in the past. This look made me fall in love with this top all over again, and has guaranteed it a much more frequent spot on my summer wardrobe rotation.
As previously mentioned, Ryan whipped up a spectacular Italian-themed picnic for us to enjoy this past weekend. One of my favorite dishes he prepared was this sun-dried tomato and basil cream cheese spread. It was so light and refreshing, and only took a few minutes to mix together. It’s the perfect hassle-free appetizer to serve for summer parties, or a tasty addition to a basic cheese platter.
1 – 8oz package cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp thinly sliced basil
pinch of salt
Mix cream cheese with a wooden spoon in a medium size mixing bowl. Stir until cream cheese is soft and easily mixable.
I had one of the best days when I turned 24 last year, so I wanted to have a similar birthday this year – just a simple picnic and cookout with loved ones. I thought it would be hard to beat last year’s celebrations, but as usual, my family and Ryan outdid themselves to make me feel incredibly special on my birthday. The day started with a lovely Italian-themed picnic with Ryan, followed by a croquet match, cookout, homemade peach ice-cream, and game night at my parents’ house. The celebrations continued the next day at a friend’s wedding, and ended Sunday by wrapping up the majority of my sister’s wedding planning. Overall, it was an amazing weekend, filled with all the little things that make me happy. Here’s a peak at my turning twenty-five.
The days leading up to today seemed to drag on forever, as I was in anticipation for the start of my vacation and my birthday. I’m turning 25 today, and as I look back on the last quarter century, I am so incredibly thankful for all of the wonderful people that have surrounded me, and all of the small moments that have made the last 25 years amazing. I plan on celebrating this weekend by grilling out with my family this evening, and attending a wedding for friends tomorrow. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
(Feeling the need to fill my house with just a few more of these)
(A beautiful hand-painted print from a friend)
(My best batch of chocolate chip cookies yet – the secret: mini chocolate chips)
(Coming home to the perfect surprises from Ryan for my birthday-eve)