suzi's bridal shower

Before we could have our bachorette fun at Suz-a-palooza, we celebrated Suzi and Jon's upcoming wedding by showering them with gifts.  My friend Wren who is Suzi's maid of honor threw her the sweetest shower with perfect little touches of Jon & Suzi scattered throughout.

She ordered these Jones sodas personalized with a photo of Suzi & Jon riding their vespa.  They were the perfect compliment to their orange & grey wedding colors.

Sweet hydrangeas topped runners of burlap.

Radiant bride.  She is so gorgeous.

 Tiny tea sandwiches, summer squash orzo and a fresh garden salad were accompanied by these delightful strawberry mimosas.  And followed by an array of petits fours including caramel frosted brownies, key lime tarts and mini cupcakes.

 Shower guests sipped on coffee and chatted lightly as Suzi and Jon began to open their beautifully wrapped gifts.  Including this towel cake adorned with their initials in pearl-topped pins.  People never fail to amaze me with their creativity.

Each guest was sent home with a potted herb of their choice.  A perfect favor from a party celebrating a couple that makes some of the most amazing food.  Their Chinese New Year meal was one of the highlights of this past winter.

 The future Mr. and Mrs. :)  Less than a month to go!



That title kind of makes him seem like one of those sponge things that you throw in water and voila!  An eight-inch sponge giraffe suddenly appears.
I assure you, he is not one of those.  Rather more so one of the rockstars of my instagram feed
And the center of attention today.

 We adopted Ricki on this day five years ago and since we don't know his actual day of birth, we use this day to celebrate.  Rest assured this pup will have treats galore and many pets to celebrate his 'birthday' today.  Some good ol' spoiled  puppy loving.

And hopefully some ice cream cake for his humans.
Hey, we need to celebrate too!


to the sea

In eight short days I'll be leaving on a plane with my girlfriends.  And our mamas.
For a week filled with sunshine and the beautiful gulf coast of Florida.
I simply cannot wait.  Which is why I've been window shopping for some new swimwear.

I love that the retro 50s look is back in a big way, but sometimes you just have to be realistic about your body type.  I have short legs and an extremely long torso, so a higher cut bottom just doesn't quite flatter me.  Instead, I'll give a nod to the trend in my color and fabric choices...mint, coral, ruffled details and seersucker fabrics.



Remember that time I went to a bridal shower in the middle of nowhere?
I returned.
For the wedding this time.

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE a wedding.  Any wedding.  Even if it's in the middle of nowhere, dry, the entire buffet involved mayonnaise and the bathroom was a port-a-potty.
Okay, so some weddings I love more than others.
But the bride was beautiful, the groom was dapper in his military blues.
And we all got a nice tan.

And to top it off, I completely embarrassed myself by shrieking like a little girl when a frog jumped out at me while we were in the buffet line.
Nature doesn't stop for weddings.

The rest of our weekend was spent enjoying the sunshine, some fresh Mediterranean bread and moscato out on the patio and long walks with the pup.

 I wish it were summer year-round.  Everything is so green and full of life.
I'm hoping this weather stays with us this week, I have some photo shoots coming up and this hazy summer background is the perfect accessory.

Happy Monday friends, I hope your week is full of sunshine too :)



One of my girlfriends is getting married next month.
Jon's a lucky man, to have snatched such a hot wife.
After Wren threw Suzi a gorgeous bridal shower last Saturday (photos coming soon), we headed downtown to celebrate Suzi's last month as a single lady.

And being as she is a pretty big deal, the event needed a name all its own.

T-shirts and all.

There was definitely a prom going down in the center of the hotel.  They probably didn't even know what hit them.
Hint.  It was a champagne cork.

Katelyn & Wren did a great job planning this little night out.  Dinner at Zocalo, bowling at Corner Alley and then bar hopping up and down E. 4th.

We're all still rocking our Cleveland tans.  Better get on that this month.
Only 29 more days until the wedding, eeeeep!


lemon-blueberry yogurt loaf

After making the internets hungry with my photographs from the brunch I threw last weekend, I figured I owed you a recipe.
Specifically for this lemon-blueberry yogurt loaf that was TO DIE for.

And as I told my guests...low-fat but high-sugar.
I used low-fat yogurt, so that means the entire loaf is low-fat, right?
Solid logic.

 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 cups confectioners sugar
lemon juice 

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 1 9x5 loaf pan.  Whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and vegetable oil.  Add in flour, baking soda and salt.  In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with a little bit of flour.  Then slowly fold into the batter.  Pour into loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Immediately prepare the simple syrup by heating 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan on the stove, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.  While the loaf is still warm, poke holes in the top and pour the simple syrup over the loaf (you might want to put a cookie sheet or wax paper under the wire rack to catch the syrup that runs over the sides of the loaf).

Let the loaf cool and then mix together the lemon glaze in bowl using 1 cup of confectioners sugar and lemon juice (add slowly, a little amount at a time) until the glaze is thick but pourable.  Pour over the loaf letting it drip down the sides.  Let the glaze harden for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.


a peach & blue birthday brunch

I wish every Saturday started with brunch.
A kitchen full of laughter.
Bubbly champagne, the sweet aroma of bakery and the soft sizzle of the crepe maker.
It makes me want to celebrate a birthday every weekend.

This particular one was in honor of my mama, who's birthday is coming up this month.
We're usually camping on her birthday, so I thought a more elegant, um, cleaner, get-together was in order.  So with the help of my friend Wren, we rounded up some of my mom's girlfriends for a little Saturday morning treat.

My mom is our resident crafter, so I tried to incorporate all the things she loves in the decor.
Handmade peach and blue napkins.
Natural linen and lace.
Fresh flowers from the market.

Wren whipped up some savory crepes for the main course.  Filled to the brim with asparagus, ham and cheese, they were light, but perfectly filling.
She's fancy, her and that crepe maker of hers.
Also on the menu?
Fresh orange-cranberry scones.
Lemon-blueberry yogurt loaf.
Walnut-cranberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing.
Mixed berry salad.
Peach mango mimosas.

Fresh coffee and sweet strawberry banana crepes were served for dessert.
While my mom opened her gifts.

Simple and sweet.
A perfect little brunch for my mama to celebrate her birthday with her girlfriends.


sneak peek

Wren and I hosted a little brunch for my mama this weekend.
She's turning 29 again.
I know, lucky girl.

Here's a quick sneak peek while I go through all the photos I took.
I can't help but be that girl stuck behind the camera the whole time.
At least that way I stay out of the photos :)



I've been on instagram for a hot minute.
Since Android finally hopped on that bandwagon and let me share my life in a much cooler looking way.

Here's a look at the gallery so far.  And some of the highlights of the past few weeks.

long puppy walks on weekend mornings
celebrating my promotion at work
my sister and i like to give each other random birthday presents.  rockin team gale
sunday bonfires are back
summer volleyball
brunch invitation crafting.
vip tickets to cleveland fashion week
styling for a photo shoot
mint toes = summer

follow me on instagram for more, username: nstudly


what my twenties have taught me

27.  Geez that's old.
To me.
It baffles me to think of where I was seven years ago.  And how I've managed to get here now.  I wonder what 20-year-old me who think if she knew of the journey she had ahead of her.  If she'd take to heart the lessons that I learned in those seven years.

you cannot be happy until you're happy with yourself
My husband taught me this.
Smart man.
Happiness comes from within.  A deep confidence that you are who and where you want to be in life.  Knowing that you're able to handle what comes your way.  Feeling like you have a purpose.  Only once you've achieved that can you truly be happy with your life and others in it.

good girlfriends are your lifeline
Choose them thoughtfully and carefully.
Never be afraid to end a toxic friendship.

you don't know until you try
If you had told 20-year-old me that at age 27 I would be playing in five volleyball leagues a week I would have given you the crazy eye.  If you had told me that I would be pretty decent at it, I would have just walked away.  What a loon, doesn't that girl know I absolutely hate volleyball based on my brief one week gym class experience?

their perfect isn't your perfect
I didn't really learn this lesson until a few years ago.   Maybe at the ripe age of 24.
I was just getting into blogging more regularly and found myself overwhelmed with others' lives.  The portrayals of their beautiful homes and lifestyle on their blogs.  It could be disheartening and made me feel like less.
Learning to accept that my perfect is perfect was an amazing lesson.
We live in Cleveland, where the weather is always less than impressive.
We own a house, that is usually in a state of disarray.
We have dates at fast food restaurants.  Where our food is not served on a perfectly styled table.
I sometimes cannot figure out if chicken is cooked correctly.  This haunts me.
We make our own adventures.  Sometimes our big night out is just a bike ride or a family walk.
Just because you're not living 'the life' doesn't mean you can't live yours.

marriage is not what you expect
It's better.
WAY better.

 beauty comes from within
We have the world's SWEETEST, most LOVEABLE dog.
He has one white eye because he has a cataract which cannot be operated on at the moment.  It breaks my heart how people look at him.  How some people in our lives comment that his eye freaks them out.  I don't post a lot of straight on photos of him anymore because people can just be cruel.
But he's beautiful.
We're blind to his variation in eye color.  Because we love his unbounding energy, quirkiness and snuggles.  For being an amazing friend that we've been blessed with.
A lesson that should ALWAYS be applied to both people and animals.

  three things that will make every day a little better
mango orange juice
the smell of summer
uncontrollable giggles

And now for your viewing pleasure.  From 20 to 27.
Craving some more life lessons?  Find some from my favorites over here today.


simple brunch invitation

My friend Wren and I are hosting a little brunch for my mama this weekend.
It's her birthday and we think it's a big deal.
I wanted the invitation to set the tone for this whimsical little party that we're putting together for her.  So I set about creating with some of the supplies I had on hand.

I loved the outcome - simple and sweet.

kraft paper
textured cardstock
metallic gold paint
a foam brush
lace ribbon
glue stick
hole punch

 I used my foam brush to apply the metallic paint to my peony stamp and then applied it randomly on the cardstock.  After it dried I printed the invitation portion in thick black ink.  I love that the peony print is subtle and it glimmers ever so slightly as the light catches it.

To hold my invitation, I cut out some kraft paper cards the size of the A2 envelopes I had stamped.  And hole punched the open side for a future purpose.

I was having too much fun with the metallic paint to stop at the peony print.  So I gently brushed some on the edges of the kraft paper for a slight glimmer of gold as you open the invitation.

Each cardstock invite was trimmed and glued down inside.

And then lace ribbon was threaded through the punched holes and tied off in a bow.

Easy, simple and sweet.  
A perfect invitation for any brunch whether it's a special celebration or just a beautiful morning spent drinking mimosas with your girlfriends.

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