Wednesday, November 30, 2011

foodie wednesday: sevilla, bite by bite

craig and i were lucky enough to enjoy a 10 day honeymoon in sevilla, spain and marrakech, morocco following our november 5th wedding.  now that we're back...and have thoroughly enjoyed a loooong thanksgiving break, i wanted to share some images from our amazing honeymoon abroad.

tapas & cheese

the cathedral

antique shop


when in like the sevillans do : )

le torre del oro
sevilla is a fabulously walkable city - we didn't use public transportation once!  we were able to see all the sites on foot and enjoyed every minute of the high-60 degree weather - sitting at sidewalk cafés sipping sangria. 

chocolate con churros (the richest, thickest hot chocolate ever!)

inside the cathedral

pitcher of you-guessed-it

plaza de san francisco

walk by the river

goat cheese salad - yum!

the cathedral at night

me walking inside the cathedral

our favorite shop

champagne cocktails on our hotel's rooftop terrance

our favorite course from our 8 course dinner at az zait restaurant - fluffy goat cheese wrapped in crispy puff pastry in a caramelized onion reduction
another view of plaza de san francisco

inside museum
our hotel in sevilla - hotel casa 1800

i have to credit my husband (feels so weird, but so great to say that) with the honeymoon.  while i focused on wedding planning, he took the helm and planned the entire honeymoon - hotels, restaurants, excursions and all.  he did such a fabulous job, i may have to let him plan all our trips...

stay tuned for honeymoon part 2 - marrakech!

Monday, November 28, 2011

om monday: all or nothing

i have to admit, i'm a follower of the "all or nothing" thought process from time to time.  it's not something that i'm proud of, but it's something i've come to recognize and work with.

in case you're unfamiliar, "all or nothing" thinking goes like this - "ugh, i already ate way to many sweets....might as well have some more since healthy eating is shot for today". or maybe a few obstacles come up as you begin to pursue a new venture and you throw in the towel.  all or nothing is the code of the perfectionist.  either things are perfect or they're not...there's no in between.  no gray area.  no room for growth.

credit {here}

when we harden around trying to be perfect, we close ourselves off from boundless opportunities.  yoga teaches it differently.  it's about the balance of effort and ease.  yoga lives in the zone between your current abilities and your absolute highest potential.  you cannot be a perfectionist with yoga - or you'll quit.  no one can do all the poses perfectly all the time.  the beauty of the practice comes from walking on the edge of your comfort zone and discovering in what areas you can grow.

in yoga class i have been able to let go of my "all or nothing" perfectionist tendencies.  enjoying exactly where i am, because i've seen gradual improvements from showing up day after day.  and i know that i will continue to grow.  it's not about getting full form of the pose now, it's about appreciating where my body can go today while also knowing there is unlimited potential for expansion if i keep showing up for myself.

now, the next step is to take those lessons off the mat and into my daily life.  remembering it's not about perfection, it's about practice.

namaste : )

Friday, November 25, 2011

happy hour: what to drink with thanksgiving leftovers

thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  i love how cozy my parents' house feels with fires in both fireplaces, the smell of turkey and other thanksgiving goodies wafting from the kitchen and family and friends all around.

and, if your family is anything like mine, we are sure to make plenty of extra so that we can enjoy thanksgiving leftovers all weekend long.

below you'll find my wine suggestions to pair with your bird & stuffing today...or tomorrow : )

whether you like red or white, you're in luck - both go great with thanksgiving food.  if you generally lean toward reds, try rex goliath free range red.  this friendly, approachable red isn't too heavy and drinks nicely with a hearty meal.  (bonus: this wine's a steal - only $7 per bottle!)

if you prefer white, try ménage à  trois white.  as you may have guessed, it's a blend of 3 grapes (hence "trois").  it's crisp without being sharp and has a full-bodied flavor, which again, works well with your thanksgiving spread.  (you'll find it for $12 per bottle.)

and remember the 20 minute rule for serving wines.  keep whites in the fridge and remove 20 minutes prior to drinking to let the temperature settle a bit.  for reds, keep them room temp and put in the fridge for 20 min prior to serving to drop the temperature ever so slightly.  simple and effective.

cheers!  here's to enjoying your leftovers every bit as much as you did the meal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

foodie wednesday: feast for the eyes (i.e. wedding pics!)

m2 photography
hello, mavens!  i’m back : )  after 2 weeks of wedding and honeymoon bliss, we’re finally (slowly) re-engaging in the real world.  craig and i were married on saturday, november 5th in philadelphia, pennsylvania at the bellevue hyatt.  the weather in philly that entire weekened could not have been more glorious – high 50s and sunny.  november perfection.

view from my sister's suite at the hyatt of city hall
i began my weekend with mani/pedis with my mom, sister and a good friend on friday morning and then continued the festivities with lunch at max brenner, where we met up with the guys and a few more friends.  the food was delicious, and next time i plan to save room for some of their chocolaty treats.

after lunch, we had a bridal party dance rehearsal – yes, we did a bridal party dance to rihanna’s “pon de replay” following our first dance.  (it was a huge hit with the guests and so much fun!)

friday evening found us at our ceremony rehearsal, and then later at our rehearsal dinner at valanni – a fabulous little tapas restaurant on spruce street in philly.  the food was outrageous, and everyone enjoyed the father-of-the-groom’s and best man’s speeches…or should i say roasts.

wedding day morning, i went to le pain quotidien, a french café/bakery, near the bellevue with my girls (mushroom and gruyere omelette anyone?), while the guys enjoyed a traditional irish breakfast at a nearby pub and then went for hot shaves.  after our breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to meet up with the hair stylist and makeup artist in my sister’s suite.  and thus, the hair & makeup marathon began…

we rocked out to my friend’s dance party playlist and just enjoyed lounging around as we all awaited our turns.  around lunch, we ordered up some champagne and cheese platters and enjoyed some sandwiches.  as is the usual, i found that i didn’t have much of an appetite at this point though i didn’t feel nervous at all.

before i knew it, it was dress-time.  everyone left the bedroom but my mom, sister and our photographer to get some getting ready pics.  we had kept my dress a complete surprise – my mom, my sis and me – and for a very good reason (as you can see in the pics).  it was blush colored.  once in my gown, my dad came in to see me, and then we did a “big reveal” for my bridesmaids.  their reactions were priceless – a mix of happy tears and smiles.

m2 photography
me and my girls squeezed in a few pictures, and then it was time for our 4pm ceremony to begin.  when people tell you that your wedding day flies by, they are not kidding.  i waited around the corner by the elevators while my girls lined up and processed into the ceremony – the coordinators wanted to make sure no one saw me before it was time.  i was shaking like a leaf.  literally shaking, which was funny because i wasn’t all that nervous.  i supposed the gravity and immediacy of everything was just more than i could handle at that moment.  and then it was time for my entrance.  my dad and i walked around and waited outside the grand double doors behind which you could hear the music playing.  calm swept over me, and they opened the doors.

m2 photography
my dad said that there was a soft but audible gasp from the guests as they saw my blush vera wang, but i guess i’ll have to wait for the wedding video to see if that was really true.  all i knew was that i could see craig, and i was happy.  the ceremony was a roller coaster of tears and laughter and more tears, but when all was said and done, we recessed down the aisle with huge smiles on our faces.  i was so enraptured by the moment that i even forgot to take my bouquet back from my sister before heading down the aisle.

as the guests went up to cocktail hour on the 19th floor in the café at xix, we got in some picture time.  our photographers - m2 photography, a husband and wife team – were totally awesome.  our bridal party fell in love with their senses of humor and undeniable likability, as did we.

m2 photography
craig and i were able to attend the tail end of cocktail hour (and grab a glass of our signature cocktail – bellevue bubbly) before lining up with our bridal party and parents to get announced into our reception in xix restaurant.  as we crept closer to the door, awaiting our turn, we got our first peak into our reception room now filled with our guests.  the room was glowing.
reception in xix - m2 photography

our first dance was to “make you feel my love”, recorded by yours truly.  we love that song (especially adele’s version), but it’s a bit melancholy.  with a few lyric tweaks and a couple visits to a recording studio, we had a lovely and memorable version that was all our own.  our dance was followed by a surprise bridal party dance – a smash hit.  then we settled in for an unforgettable evening of dinner and dancing.  and dance, we did indeed.  our modest-sized dance floor was definitely too small to contain all the guests who were dancing.  it was totally wonderful.

to be truthful, we kept waiting for a small hiccup.  a little thing that probably one else would notice, but we would catch.  but it never happened.  the entire day was flawless.  the staff at the hyatt and our wedding weekend coordinator went completely above-and-beyond.  i’m not usually one who can easily hand over the reins, but with the team we had, it felt easy to pass on the control.  and they executed it with the utmost elegance and care.  it was truly a dream come true.

m2 photography
later in the evening, for a momentary reprieve craig and i stepped out onto the xix’s balcony for some refreshing november air.  the view of the city from 19 floors up was breathtaking.  the sparkling lights of the buildings resembled twinkling starlight, and the sky was completely clear.  looking back in through the large french doors into our reception, we watched our guests – laughing, dancing, talking.  with the city on one side and our wedding reception on the other, we took a moment to let this extraordinary evening sink in.  for one night, this view, this place, this splendor was all ours.  and we were married!!!

our wedding pics on m2's blog {here}
our wedding slideshow by m2, set to our first dance song {here}

Monday, November 21, 2011

om monday: mind yoga {guest post}

Well Hello Mavens,
 My name is Ashlee Michelle.

 Usually, you can find me over on my blog.

But, today I get the joy of being a guest blogger here on
the most fabulous Lifestyle Maven, Cailen.

Today, I am going to talk about Yoga.
But not the physical kind of Yoga, I am going to talk about
Emotional “Mind” yoga. Yes, I called it Mind Yoga.
I have been practicing yoga, both physical and mental for about
4 years and I can honestly say my life has changed drastically.
Did you know that you are always practicing yoga in your everyday life?
When you lean over the get that pencil you dropped, or you bend down to pick up that load
of laundry, and even when you compliment your peers on their wonderful attire for the day.

 How are we able to keep our blood flow going, our minds at ease and our Karma good?
               Simple, we do it by breathing. In and out. All Day, Every Day
Frustration, Anger, Tears, and tense muscles don't need to happen.
When you are having a bad day or you are in a tight spot, just close your eyes for a moment
and take a deep breath in, hold it, and then breathe out. When you open your eyes, your mind will be peaceful.

There is no need to get all stressed out and hurt about the things that aren't going your way.
There is also no need for being rude to someone, you can redeem yourself by just taking a breath in and releasingall that stale air and bad thoughts. It is quick and simple. Your mood will change and so will your luck.

If your mind is at ease, your muscles are calm, and you are generally happy...
Then you are practicing yoga in the right way.
Keep on Practicing...
Just Breathe!

Thanks for having me, Cailen.

visit my blog {here}
Peace, Love, and Butterflies
- Ashlee Michelle

Friday, November 18, 2011

your signature piece {guest post}

Hello Mavens! 

I was so excited when Cailen asked me to guest post on her fabulous blog while she's off having a beautiful wedding and honeymoon.
My name is Jenna, and I am a relatively newbie blogger over at Leggings Love.
i <3 leggings.  credit {here}

As is indicative in the title of my blog, I have an unapologetic fetish with leggings. 

I wear a pair of leggings every single day. Seriously. Every single day. I only buy black Mossimo leggings from Target. They are the perfect amount of thickness, last ages, and only cost $8 (!!!).

Essentially, Target leggings are amazing.
But anyway.
"You wear the same thing every day," my sweet mother loves to say, "and people probably talk about you. You aren't a cartoon character. You've got to change up your outfits now and then!"
leggings galore!  credit {here}
While I appreciate my mom's concern, I cannot say that I'm too worried about being mistaken for a cartoon character. 
I love the idea of having a signature piece. I think it would be quite cool if every person had one piece in his or her wardrobe that so perfectly defined or expressed him or her.

Leggings make me feel posh and put-together while still being comfortable.

They've become

So what about everyone else? Do you have a signature piece?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

foodie wednesday: date night {guest post}

Hello Lifestyle Maven Readers, Julie from Julip Made here. I adore Cailen and constantly find myself adding her recipes to my "to make" list. I am delighted to be guest posting for her while she is off marrying the love of her life! In the spirit of romance and in honor of the lovebirds, I've created a cozy, romantic meal for two.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
This is the type of meal you want to eat curled up in front of the fire with a bottle of Brunello and candles.  Also, boys, don't forget the fresh flowers... they NEVER get old!

Recipe here.

  • 1 lb. Italian sausages, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 medium eggplant, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, medium dice
  • 1/3 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • **SECRET INGREDIENT** Dash of maple syrup
  1. Saute the sausage with a dash of olive oil in a french oven over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add some more olive oil and saute the onions for a few minutes then add the eggplant.  The onion should be translucent and the eggplant should be just starting to brown on the edges.  
  3. Throw in the garlic and saute until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).  Add the red wine and turn up the heat, reducing most of the liquid.
  4. Add the canned tomato, bay leaf,salt and pepper, and the dash of maple syrup.  This is the secret ingredient as it will cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
  6. Once sauce has thickened, mix in with pasta and sprinkle Parmesan on top.  Enjoy!
Recipe here.
I hope you enjoy this meal and if you want more recipes stop by!  Cailen, I wish you and Craig all the best in your new life together filled with love, laughter, and lots of romantic meals like this one.


Monday, November 14, 2011

foreign style {guest post}

Good morning mavens! I'm Emily from so anthro and I am so. excited. to be guest posting for Cailen while she is a bit busy getting married this week :) I can't even remember when I began reading Lifystyle Maven, but I do know I have been a fan and a follower of all of its inspiring posts and delicious recipes for quite some time now! I try to focus my blog on lifestyle, so I thought that I'd put the fashion-focussed part of my brain to work to come up with some pretty honeymoon outfits for my lovely host! Cailen and her hubs will be visiting Marrakesh, Morocco and Seville, Spain this week, so here are some outfits I put together with those two destinations in mind! And also pretending that we have no budget to keep in mind...

Marrakesh, Morocco

Stefe Shift, Lilly Pulitzer Pashmina, Jones New York Twin Bracelet, Alexander McQueen Sequinned Wallet, Zara Maggie Kitten Heel Sandals, Jack Rogers Paloma's Venezia Goldoni Quadruplo Drop Earrings, Tiffany & Co.

When I picture Morocco, I just see these rich colors and intricate shapes and designs. Because the dress pops on its own, I paired it with solid accessories, just a lot of luscious gold! And a pashmina, I have always found, is a lifesaver while traveling. Cover up in the museums? Warm up on a chilly night? AC blasting on the plane or train? It's got you covered.


Seville, Spain

Swing Tee Dress, Desigual Silky Rosette Headband, Forever 21 Evening Bag, Balenciaga Identity Heels, Two Lips Bangles with Clip, Michael Kors Therapy Mood Cuff, Fallon 

This summery dress (for those warm Seville temperatures!) is by a Spanish brand I discovered while I was studying abroad in college. So for Cailen's trip to Spain, it seems only appropriate to wear Desigual! Desigual's designs are always full of color, so I like to take advantage of that by pairing the outfit with accessories that bring out those colors. And for jewelry, you can never go wrong with some chunky gold bangles.

What do you think? Would you wear either of these on a trip abroad?

I'm wishing Cailen the most happiness and well wishes for her wedding and honeymoon and thank her again for letting me borrow her blog for the day! If any of you have any questions or want to see more of my personal style, you can find me here!

xo, Emily

Friday, November 11, 2011

happy hour: snack time {guest post}

hi there, lovely readers of lifestyle maven! my name is erica and i blog about my life and adventures in washington, dc - all with 'boyfriend' - over at pocket full of chuckles. i've been following cailen's blog for quite some time. she was one of the first people i found on the blogosphere and i was instantly smitten (i mean, who wouldn't be!). so when she asked me to guest post while she's off marrying her best friend (!!!) i squealed with excitement. and then when she asked me to write about a fun recipe, i did my happy dance. because boyfriend and i love to cook. and our favorite thing to make is guacamole. it's always our go-to dish for parties and it was such a hit at this year's halloween party!

you will need the following:
(note: this recipe feeds a large group of people, so feel free to cut ingredients in half) 
dry cilantro (1 tbsp)
orange juice (a splash)
lime juice (2 limes)
red onion (1)
ripe avocados (8)
jalapenos (4)
roma tomatoes (4)
garlic cloves (6)
salt & pepper
1. slice avocados in half and remove pits. score with knife and squeeze in large mixing bowl.

2. chop onion and add to bowl.

3. finely chop jalapenos and garlic cloves. toss in bowl.

4. dice tomatoes. and you guessed it. toss in bowl.
don't mix just yet...

5. slice limes in half and squeeze juice in bowl.

6. add a splash of orange juice.

7. add your cilantro, salt and pepper.

8. now you can stir :)

so it looks like this!
or this..

enjoy :)

xo erica
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