Sneak peek

I'm still engulfed in the wave of love and happiness that surrounded last weekend's wedding festivities, and haven't quite come back down to earth yet...but I wanted to share a couple of my favorite scenes from Saturday, as captured by my sister and others (we won't have our "official" photographer's shots back for a little while).  I hope you're having a lovely week, and I promise to return to blog land soon!



Odds and Ends

My Organic Creative style statement is featured on the Style Statement blog today!  Hop on over and check it out if you are interested.  And thank you Carrie for such a lovely write-up!  (Above is the Organic Creative vision board I created on Polyvore.)

I'll be taking a blogging hiatus for the rest of the week to spend time with friends and family and
get married (on Saturday)!  Thanks to all of you for your well wishes.  See you in a week!



Wedding prep "boot camp"

The wedding is less than ten days away (WHOA) and I couldn't be more excited to see our family and friends, and of course - to get married! With only a week and a half to go, I've officially immersed myself in my own little body & mind wedding prep "boot camp" to ensure I'm feeling my best on the big day.  I should note that this is not about losing weight (in fact, I'm under strict orders from my seamstress not to lose any more weight so that my dress doesn't "fall off" - yikes!).  Rather, it's about maintaining a sense of serenity throughout the week's festivities and being my best, most vibrant, relaxed, and glowy self when I walk down that aisle.

So, you might wonder, what's the "boot camp" part?  Glad you asked!  Here's what it entails..

Body & Mind Wedding Prep "Boot Camp

  • Alternating days of running (usually 5 miles) and yoga (60 or 90-minute class)
  • In addition to the above, going on walks and/or tossing a Frisbee with Jason several times a week
  • Lots of fresh veggies and whole grains, which provide a steady flow of calm energy throughout the day
  • Healthy fats in the form of avocado (can't get enough), raw almonds, walnuts, ground flax seeds (sprinkled over oatmeal, salads, etc.), small amounts of wild salmon, and other foods rich in Omega 3s - essential for glowing skin and healthy hair!
  • Tons of fresh fruit: grapes, strawberries, mangoes, apples, watermelon, etc. (Aside from containing tons of vitamins and nutrients, fruit, with its high water content, is super hydrating!)
  • Speaking of hydration - LOTS of water and herbal tea
  • No meat, dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol (aside from that glass of wine yesterday - oops), overly processed foods, or white starches (bread, pasta, etc.).  I try to avoid these things for the most part anyway.
Peace of Mind/Stress Relief:
  • Yoga definitely fits into this category as well!
  • Mini meditation sessions throughout the day
  • Deep tissue massage two days ago (I was SO sore afterwards, but now I feel so good)
  • Deep breaths.  Lots of 'em.
  • Going to bed super early...I'm talking 9pm or so.  This means I'm getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night which feels amazing.
  • Plenty of at-home spa treatments - mud masks, exfoliating with my loofah, etc.
  • And, being grateful every second of the day that I'm marrying such an amazing man!
P.S. I know I promised to share a bit more about the exercises that helped me discover my Style Statement, but guess what?!  Carrie contacted me on Monday and asked if she could feature my style statement story on the website!  So, instead of posting here yesterday, I spent some time putting together material for Carrie to share with her readers.  I'll let you know when the feature is posted so that you can hop on over there and check it out!



Style Statement: Organic Creative

Do you all remember when I blogged about Style Statement by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte?  Back in January, I started the book with tons of enthusiasm, racing through the self-discovery exercises with the eagerness of a golden retriever puppy.  Then what happened?  Well, I got a little bit stuck on my second word, and promptly forgot about the whole thing.  That is, until last week when Project Clean and Serene Home kicked into high gear (more on that later) and I came across Style Statement while sorting through the stacks of books threatening to overtake the office Jason and I share.

or anyone who's a bit lost right now (and don't worry - I might've even lost myself there), a style statement is a two-word 
compass that defines who you are and how you express your authentic self to the world.  The first word represents your foundation, your 80%. The second word, your 20%, is your growth edge and motivator. As Carrie notes on her website, some people have likened a style statement to a "personal brand" or a "creative thumbprint."  Once you have defined your style statement, it can help you to make more authentic choices about almost every element of your life. This concept extends far beyond what we might typically think of as style (fashion and other aesthetic expressions) to encompass decisions about career choices, relationships, how we spend our time, and how we express our unique selves to the world.

So, after a six-month hiatus, I've been revisiting my style statement quest with renewed energy throughout this past week.  I figured out during the first go-round that my foundation word is "Organic."

(via the Style Statement book)
Organics are a divine dichotomy: practical but spontaneous, structured but flowing. The disposition of an Organic is like that of bamboo—light, incredibly strong, growing freely and prolifically. Organics are mindful of the connections between parts, whether in relationships, systems, or physical things. They keenly sense what’s going on (never miss a thing!) They are commonsensical, practical, and organized and adore systems and solutions that simplify or create ease and efficiency. Look & Feel: Organic’s aesthetic is based on sensuality, quality, and construction—whether structured or flowing, shape is important. Timeless or simplistic styles and handcrafted, socially responsible, or eco-friendly materials. Layered aromas, rich textures, enduring and natural fabrics and substances; hearty and sturdy; never static, always changing; free from manufacturing, overprocessing, and chemicals

he second word - as I mentioned - was more of a challenge.  The second word should not only describe you, but inspire you to grow and possibly even push beyond your comfort zone.  I considered the following



et, I didn't feel that any of these gave me the push, or, as I call it, the "oomph" that the second word should.  But then, this past week, it hit me.  Of
course.  It was right there all along, just daring me to claim it (which makes total and perfect sense because I am constantly challenged to honor this aspect of myself to its fullest extent).

via the Style Statement book)

Creative: Aesthetic, artistic, clever, crafty, cultivated, cultured, elegant, exquisite, fertile, formative, gifted, graceful, harmonious, hip, ideal, imaginative, ingenious, innovative, inspired, inventive, musical, original, ornamental, pictorial, picturesque, pleasing, poetic, productive, sensitive, skillful, stimulating, stylish, talented, tasteful, visionary.

o, there you have it!  I'm Organic Creative.  Nice to meet you
!  Have any of you discovered your style statement?  If so, I'd love to hear it!

omorrow, I'll share some of the exercises that helped me to uncover my style statement and some of the ways that Organic Creative shows up in my life.



Sick day cure: mango smoothie

Yesterday I woke up feeling yucky and decided to stay home from work.  After crawling back into bed for a couple more hours of sleep, I finally felt up to eating something.  I decided to create a mango smoothie to use up some of the amazing champagne mangoes we've been buying from Whole Foods like they're going out of style.  

I peeled and cut two mangoes and combined them with about 3/4 cup of almond milk, 1/2 tsp of organic vanilla extract, and 1 tsp of agave nectar. The result was so good, and I swear it healed me because today I feel almost 100%. Next time, I think I'll try it with coconut milk!

What's your favorite smoothie recipe? I'm on a smoothie kick and I need ideas!


Image via Champagne Mango.


Things that are making me happy these days

Good afternoon lovelies!  How was your weekend?  It's been a little while since my last happy list, and I thought it was high time for another.  Here are some things - large and small - that have been making me happy in recent days.
  • Recommitting to yoga.  Throughout this past year, my yoga practice has, unfortunately, taken a backseat to other activities and obligations.  With good intentions, I began a home practice but found it difficult to stay as disciplined and motivated as I was when I was taking classes at a studio.  So, this past weekend I joined a wonderful little studio near our home and renewed my commitment to yoga with a beautifully flowing vinyasa class.  It felt so amazing to return to the mat, stretching myself (physically and mentally) in ways that I haven't for a long time.  I felt a wave of openness and possibility wash over my heart...
  • Getting married less in less than three weeks!  (Thank you all so much for your sweet comments on last week's wedding-themed posts.)
  • Blooming periwinkle hydrangea plants.  Basil growing on our porch.  Tossing a Frisbee at the park.  Glowing pink and purple sunsets over the South River.  Long sunny days.  Juice from Wonji Juice Bar (current favorite is a blend of carrot + cucumber + apple +olive oil + basil + rose oil).  The gorgeously photographed Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods.  Exploring new and exciting opportunities.  Happy endorphins after an amazing workout.  Delicious dairy-free coconut milk ice cream (so decadent!).  Girls' nights.  Planning an action-packed whitewater rafting camping foray with good friends for later this summer.  Iced chai with almond milk.  My new Manduka Equa yoga towel.  Rereading The Red Book by the super inspiring Sera Beak.  Learning Italian phrases for our honeymoon.  Discovering my Style Statement (will share soon!).  Scheduling deep tissue massages with my favorite masseuse (have decided to invest in my well-being by making this a semi-regular indulgence).  Greening my work surroundings with plants.  Making my own salad dressing (currently obsessed with a mixture of tamari + toasted sesame oil + brown rice vinegar + minced shallot + fresh ginger which I drizzle over salads, veggies, tofu, etc.).  Good friends, old and new.  Champagne mangoes (.  Hand-crafted terrariums (how cool are these?!).  Dreaming of adopting a shelter dog (hopefully turning this into a reality in the not-too-distant future).  Taking the scenic route.  Good conversation.  Perusing local art exhibitions (can't wait to see the Yves Klein retrospective at the Hirshhorn).  Getting back into the groove with Artist Dates.  Mellow tunes (Bon Iver, The National, and Okkervil River are getting lots of playtime on my iPod these days).  Chunky turquoise jewelry.  Reading this blog.  And of course, all of you!
Your turn!  What are you loving right now?


Image via Planet Green.


Wedding details: the groom

Ok, so Jason is not exactly a "detail"...obviously!  I realized, however, that I've never properly introduced him here on the blog
This handsome guy is my husband-to-be (in case that part wasn't clear), my best friend, and the most amazing person I know.  We met in the summer of 2007, and within several weeks of dating, I called my mom and said, "I think I've met the man I'm going to marry."  The thing I love most about Jason is that, first and foremost, he is a genuinely nice person.  Like, pretty much the nicest person you'll ever meet.  Need a good listener?  That's him.  Car problems?  He's there.  Need someone to help you move?  He's first to volunteer.  And he does it because he wants to.  Because that's just the kind of person he is.

Other cool facts about my soon-to-be husband (can't stop saying that word!):
  • He makes a mean cup of coffee
  • He is incredibly smart and always has an interesting perspective on current events
  • He's super active and because he was an Eagle Scout, he knows all kinds of useful stuff about the great outdoors
  • He knows how to cook (and does so often)
  • He's crazy good with computers (he actually built his own), so I basically have built-in tech support
  • He shares my love of books and bookstores
  • And while I may be biased, I think he's pretty darn handsome...don't you agree?
I hope you enjoyed the wedding-themed posts this week!  Have a wonderful weekend!



Wedding details: food and drink

Being the food-lover that I am, I have to dedicate a whole post to wedding food and drink!  Jason and I are both passionate about food and about using local and organic ingredients whenever possible.  We wanted our reception dinner to reflect the value we place on fresh, sustainably sourced, and delicious food.  When we found Ken's Creative Kitchen in Annapolis, we knew we'd found the right caterer for us.  Ken's takes pride in using local and organic ingredients (many sourced directly from area farmers) to create simple yet amazing dishes.  We had so much fun working with Ken's to devise a menu (of course, we had to do a bit of taste-testing before we could make our decision...).  Here's what we finally decided on.

Between the ceremony and reception, there will be a cocktail hour during which guests will sip fresh-squeezed lemonade and refreshing mojitos.

Hors d'ouevres
Miniature Sliced Tomato, Mozzarella, Pesto and Fresh Basil Crostini
Caramelized Vidalia Onion, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Gruyere Tarts
Sautéed Jumbo Lump Maryland Crab Cake with Lemon-Parsley Aioli

Wild Seasonal Field Salad
Mache, Arugula, Mizuna, Red Oak Leaf, Watercress
Burgundy Amaranth, Baby Red Romaine and Frisee
A Variety of Fancy Miniature Tomatoes
Nasturtiums and Pansies
Goat Cheese Medallion with Olive Oil and Fresh Seasonal Herbs
Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette 

Choice of Entrees
Seared and Roasted Salmon Fillet
Atop Ratatouille
Roasted Red Pepper-Basil-Garlic Butter Medallion
Fresh Thyme
Velvet Potato Puree


Roast Breast of Chicken Tuscany
Stuffed with Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella, Sundried Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce
Fresh Basil Garnish
Sage-Parmesan Polenta Triangle
Oven Roasted Seasonal Vegetables with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Throughout dinner, guests will have their choice of beverage: several types of wine or craft beer from a local brewery.

Now the really fun part: dessert!  After considering some fun cake alternatives (like a tiered cupcake arrangement, a "candy bar" with a variety of sweets), we decided to go the traditional route with a big old-fashioned wedding cake.  Let's be honest...when else, besides your wedding day, do you get to have your own humongous customized cake?  After a mouth-wateringly delicious taste test, we decided on a round, three-tiered cake from Sweet Sue's Bakeshop.  On principle, Sue uses only buttercream frosting because it tastes so much better than fondant.  Love that!  After much deliberation, we settled on flavors for our three tiers:  chocolate cake with Junior Mint filling (she crushes up real Junior Mints to make the filling and it is to-die-for)yellow cake with hazelnut buttercream filling, and chocolate cake with mocha cappuccino filling.  

For the design of the cake, I drew inspiration from this photo:


Cake will be accompanied by a prosecco toast!

Can you tell I'm a wee bit excited about the food and drink aspect?  A few people have warned me that I won't really have time to eat anything at my wedding because I'll be too busy, but I firmly intend to enjoy a full meal before dancing the night away!


Image credits: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7


Wedding details: colors and decor

In my opinion, one of the most fun elements of planning was brainstorming color schemes.  I originally wanted to use a very subtle palette of light peony pink, warm grey, and shimmery neutrals.  However, I kept finding myself drawn to hues of rich periwinkle, cobalt, and bright sunny yellow.  I found particular inspiration in the subtly varied shades found in blue hydrangeas.
Because we're getting married in June, I wanted to keep the look light, summery, and cheerful.  I fell in love with the idea of incorporating yellow as an accent color.  (And coincidentally, Jason and I will be dancing to an instrumental arrangement of Coldplay's "Yellow" for our first dance!)
Once I'd decided on this color scheme, the look and feel of the event began falling into place in my mind.  Here are some of the images that inspired me throughout the process...
Some of the details I'm super excited about:
-Vintage tea tins as centerpiece vases (like this)
- Favors that incorporate pretty cobalt blue glass jars, stacked together on a table for visual effect
- Colorful escort cards made by my mom
-Yellow roses as hair accessories and boutonnières
-An assortment of yellow shoes in various styles for the bridesmaids (and Chuck Taylors for the groomsmen!)

And just for fun, here's a little collage I put together on Polyvore.  We aren't using these exact elements, but I  think this illustrates the look and feel that we're aiming for...

Wedding Inspiration
If you've gotten married or are planning a wedding, I'd love to hear about your color scheme and decor.  Post a link to pics if you've got 'em!


Images via StyleMePretty and Polyvore.


Wedding details: the venue

Upon reading about the lovely Nina's beautiful wedding plans a couple weeks ago, I realized that I really have not shared many details of my own upcoming wedding.  I thought it would be fun to devote a couple posts to the Big Day which is now officially less than a month away.  (Whoa!)

I thought we'd start with the venue.  We are getting married at St. John's College, which is a small liberal arts college in Annapolis, Maryland.  St. John's is one of the oldest colleges in the area, and the campus is filled with beautiful, historic brick buildings.

e visited a number of venues, but when we set foot on the campus of St. John's, I just knew we'd found our spot.  Everything about it felt right.  

I love the expansive front lawn and its lush greenery.  Won't it make for pretty photos?
The ceremony will be in the Great Hall (exterior above, interior below), which is the college's main academic building.
And the reception will be in the Dining Hall (exterior above, interior below).
Before the reception starts, guests will mingle and sip on mojitos and fresh-squeezed lemonade on the terrace overlooking College Creek (the view from the terrace is pictured below). 
Since the Mid-Atlantic gets super hot and humid during the summer months, we opted to keep the festivities mostly indoors.  However, the terrace will be open to guests throughout the evening, so we'll at least have some element of the outdoors!

I'll be dishing about the color scheme and decor elements tomorrow!


Images via St. John's College.


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